Youth Bio

Age 29 1/2: Opposite charges. (LINK)

Age 29 1/2: Still one more poem. (LINK) (LINK)

Age 29: Paradox. (LINK) (LINK)

Age 29: Miles Davis Poem. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 29: Yet another poem. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 29: Endless rearrangements. (LINK)

Age 29: Another poem. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 28 1/2: Meaningful meaninglessness. (PDF)

Age 28 1/2: Another one. (LINK)

Age 28 1/2: Alone in the Woods poem (LINK)

Age 26: Lectured in Uruguay; made new friends. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 25: Two. (LINK)

Age 24 1/2: Impossible crushes. (PDF)

Age 24 1/2: Talk. (LINK)

Age 24 1/2: A poem. (LINK)

Age 24: Echoes. (LINK)

Age 23: Began graduate studies in linguistics at “The world’s only liberal arts college for the deaf.” Communicated with American Sign Language much more often than with English. Even my professors lectured in ASL. (LINK)

Age 23: New college graduate. (LINK) (LINK)

Age 21: My best professor. (LINK)

Age 21: My best photo. (LINK)

Age 18: First university lecture was a memorable one, during calculus class, about a (fictional) boy who was able to come up with a geometrical proof of the Pythagorean theorem on his own (referring to Aldous Huxley’s short story: Young Archimedes). The professor, who was once the president of the Sierra Club, kept his very long hair from his hippie days. Got “F’s” on my first two calculus exams, due to being used to just coasting through high school. Learned to buckle down a study more. Got straight A’s thenceforth and pulled my final grade up to a high B. (LINK)

Age 18: Went on two backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with close friend, Bill. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 17: First trip in a jet airplane. (LINK)

Age 16 1/2: Thanksgiving with Dad at our house. (LINK)

Age 15 1/2 to 16: During the spring and summer I would take the bus to the university and sneak into the computer labs, looking over the older college students’ shoulders to get passwords. One day I witnessed and participated in an exciting event (what I realized later was) the first time the Internet had been used in Fresno. (LINK)

Age 14: First camping trip in the mountains with Mom and two brothers and family friends. Camped two nights at Nelder Grove campground in the Sierra Nevadas north of Oakhurst, CA. Climbed up 10-foot-plus tall giant-sequoia tree stump. Swam and bathed in frigid creek water. Got dirt in my nose. Had a sing-a-long. Ate “s’mores.” Hiked in forest and saw huge sequoia trees for the first time. Bravely dove off 12-to-15-foot ledge over pool of water in the creek with the other kids into very chilly water — a lot of fun. (LINK)

Age 14: Gave the first-ever presentation in my life (besides show-and-tell at age 8) in English class on the topic of Boolean algebra. “What can you use it for?” one girl asked. I was calm and collected, contrasted with the next presentation I gave during biology class during the summer school the next year (on the topic of the Bison bison, in a medium-sized lecture room with stadium seating) in which I was fairly nervous. (LINK)

Age 13: New family dog. (LINK)

Age 12 and 9 months: Took first cross-country trip, moving from Illinois to California. Spent the night in Jefferson City, MO (after driving over the Mississippi River and seeing the Arch at night); Oklahoma City, OK (swam in indoor pool during snowstorm); Gallup, NM (my first time at a high elevation); and Needles, CA (ate pancakes at Sambo’s restaurant). Saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time in Long Beach, CA.

Age 12: Having fun in the park. (LINK) (LINK)

Age 11: Watched The Great Escape on TV with brothers. Inspired by the heroic actions of character Roger Bartlett (code name “Big X”), especially when he was cornered while trying to escape and got away by speaking perfect French and perfect German. Became my favorite movie. Was also very impressed by Bartlett’s leadership skills and the respect his men gave him. (“Let’s pretend were not looking at him, so the goons won’t think he’s important.”) Impressed by the men’s ingenuity and rationality.

Ages 9-12: Went to Grandma’s (Mom’s mom) often to be babysat while mom attended community college. Wonderful memories of playing Yahtzee, Mille Bornes, Scrabble, High Low Jack and the Game, Aggravation, Trouble, Perquacky, Game of the States, and Go to the Head of the Class. We once rolled three Yahtzees in a row (going around the table). (LINK)

Ages 9-11: Got paid $2 per week helping dad on week-long visits. Broke down boxes on pizza truck run. (LINK)

Ages 9-10: Fourth grade. On the first day of school, I hit a line drive playing wiffle ball that went over a classmate’s head at shortstop (John S.) I ran the bases to make an inside-the-park home run and was hero for a day. Read two same books that my mom had read when she was my age and recommended to me, The Good Bad Boy, by Gerald Thomas Brennan, and also a Babe Ruth biography.

Age 8: Stayed up for the first time until very late at night with best friend David and my brothers, imagining how we could build a real helicopter out of a lawn mower engine and a TV antenna. We went to the junk yard the next day and quickly gave up on the idea. For a few hours that night we had been true believers. (LINK)

Ages 7-8: Wonderful memories of my Dad’s new roofing company partner who became a close family friend. He took my brothers and me, plus our close neighbor friends to an amusement park (“Adventureland” in northern Illinois), a local carnival, our first airplane ride and first boat ride. He was killed by a train at an unmarked crossing due (probably) to not wearing his eyeglasses and then being under the care of an inept physician who didn’t reduce the pressure build-up in his brain caused by internal bleeding. I cried in my room for two straight hours after being told.

Ages 6-7: Artwork done in first grade. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 5: Photo in the backyard. (LINK)

Age 4: I liked this popular joke: “What did the big chimney say to the little chimney? — You’re too young to smoke!” I think I laughed at it without really getting it! Also: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Age 3 years, 3 months: Photo. (LINK)

Ages 3-6: Idyllic memories of tulips and sunshiny days in the backyard. Played in the sandbox and on the swings. Rode in little yellow car. Played with brothers and neighbor friends, including best friend Brucie. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 3: Loved to draw and color (“By age 3 1/2 I could stay in the lines when I colored and could draw lots of things.”) (LINK)

Ages 1-6: Birthdays. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) (LINK)

Age 1: First family portrait. (LINK)