About J

Explorer. Unix geek. Devoted single fatherBad golferFrequent photographerBumper-sticker saying creatorIndie buffSpam fighterOld fashioned drinkerCigarette smoker. Gay atheistPun inflictorIntentionally inappropriate. Musical Lyricist.

I was born in Manhattan, raised in Ohio, and if you consider what I’ve done since growing up, I grew up here in Austin.

When someone asks how I am doing, I invariably respond

I am having way too much fun for my own good.

By day, I am a usually mild-mannered Systems Engineer, specializing in unix/linux administration. My two biggest work-related claims to fame are that I introduced Michael Dell to the web in 1993 (“click on the blue stuff” was the core of my training), then I helped write security policies for IBM. It also amuses people who know me to retell the story of when I called the then-president of Earthlink “stupid” (for not having any backup data centers). I have participated in turnaround-consulting (yes, I was one of “the Bobs“). I have attended both UT and Carnegie-Mellon, but never stayed at either long enough to get my degree.

By night, for many years, I primarily identified as G’s Daddy. I have apparently mellowed much since she was born in a minivan outside the Ob/Gyn’s office in late 2001. By Fridays I was a volunteer at computer lab or math at her school. One year, I was “Coach J” for robotics club, a term that never fails to get a laugh!

By the weekends I was a bad golfer This was an improvement over being just a schmuck with some clubs in a cart on a course, using my 3-iron to trench for fiber-optic cable. Our favorite saying on the course was either

What, you think I’m out here for the golf?


I really need to spend more time at the range.

That last line demanded that everyone in our group to take a sip of their drink, in the same manner that the game “Hi, Bob” is played.

In my spare time, I was, with my ex-husband Cy of over 34 years, a lyricist and playwright. Our first musical, “Wand,” has been performed a few times, but now that I’m widowed, that too is in the past.

I prefer summer over winter, teamwork over competition, unusual over common, new over used, hot over cold, New York over LA, sunset over sunrise, beach over mountains, tequilla over gin, ubuntu over windows, and my daughter over you. Sorry about that last one, just being honest.

I tend to like new things, yet I am very much a creature of habit.

I often make bad puns, and like to be inappropriate on purpose, for the humor effect. I also am quite good at combining disparate ideas to make people laugh. Often these elements are combined into a neologism.

Musically, I tend to prefer Philip Glass, light jazz, Annie Lennox, classical music, and Peter Gabriel. In film, I prefer Woody Allen, David Lynch, David Lean, Stanley Kubrick, the Coen brothers, and of course Hitchcock. For television, I like 60 minutes, Twin Peaks, The Simpsons, britcoms , Dirty Jobs (actually, almost everything on Discovery) and Dexter (untrimmed for CBS, and now, excluding the cringe-inducing last two seasons). I also enjoy reading — unfortunately, my tastes have mostly changed since my daughter was born. My favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Douglas Adams, Larry Niven, Mark Twin, John Irving, Stanislaw Lem, Sandra Boynton, J.D. Salinger, Jeff Lindsay, Phillip K. Dick, Neil Stephenson, and William Gibson. Yes, I know that my reading list is sci-fi heavy. It is also very incomplete.

The best sound in the world is my daughter’s giggle.

And, yes, I go by “J” — one letter (you, however, may use as many as you like) because “Cher”, “Sting”, “Bono” and “Madonna” all require too much work to spell out. Dilettantes! Whenever anyone learns my full name, they immediately understand why I have made such a choice.