25 random things about me you may not know

This is from a page I created on Facebook in 2009:


1. I was born and raised in Benton Harbor, MI. Sinbad graduated from my high school, and I was in marching band with his sister. My cousin Doug Henkelman was my band director my senior year, which was way cool. I was in pit band, pep band, symphony band, jazz band, marching band.

2. My senior year, I moved from the pit to the stage, and landed the role of Bill Sykes in the musical Oliver. We found it rather funny that I was the only white in a lead, and it was the one really evil character.

3. There was a book written about my hometown called “The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America’s Dilemma”. It highlights the issues of segregation that have occurred in the twin cities of Benton Harbor, the black side of the river, and St. Joe, the white side of the river. I’ve always found the segregation between the cities disturbing, particularly as I really enjoyed the diversity of Benton Harbor. Its the reason I’ve continued to be involved in issues of racial justice much of my life.

4. Growing up, my family and I once walked through the woods to visit a new neighbor. We took with us our two goats, Bonnie and Betsy, or pony, Doc, and our two dogs, Pee Wee and Big Bear.

5. My dad built us a cable car that ran across our backyard pond about 300′. We used to jump out of the cable car and into the pond, a drop of about 15′

6. My dad made us pairs of wooden skis that we could use with our snow boots to ski downhill in our backyard woods. When I was 13, I purchased my first pair of cross country skis, and have been cross country skiing ever since. When I was 18, I discovered they actually used snowmobiles to set down tracks for cross country skiers, and I didn’t always need to set my own trails. Last year I purchased my first pair of downhill skis. I now do more downhill than cross country, but love both!

7. When I was in 1st grade, I had to wear an eye patch to try and correct a lazy left eye.

8. I initially applied to Michigan State in the Forestry program; my mom said I was too good with people to spend my life talking to trees. Other majors that I’ve sampled include sociology, criminal justice and music. I ended up getting my degrees in Psychology.

9. I went to Lake Michigan Community College as a music major, my chosen instrument, trumpet. I worked in the band office. At the start of my sophomore year, I was president of the band and choir association. But after 3 semesters, I decided I didn’t have the discipline (said another way, I never got around to practicing) to make it a career.

10. While at Anderson University, I initially intended to go into clinical psychology. I switched to research psych at the encouragement of my clinical psych prof, who suggested I might be a “B” rated clinician but an “A” rated researcher. Harsh words at the time, but most valuable when all was said and done.

11. I helped to form the psych department intramural volleyball team. We called ourselves the “Freudian Slips”.

12. I needed to find a way to take statistics once I decided to move into research psychology. So I did an independent study in which I learned how to do ANOVA’s by hand, then was to setup a spreadsheet in this new thing called Lotus 123 to help future students learn how to do it on the computer. The Kaypro Pro and it’s 64 MB of memory and 2 120 MB floppies weren’t up to the task — I kept running out of memory and storage.

13. For three summers I worked at “Camp Good News” on Cape Cod. One summer during pre-camp, my job for the week was to rebuild a bus engine. The bus ran great for the first several weeks of camp, until one counselor, coming back from a day trip to Mt. Washington, drove it down the Interstate at 70 miles per hour. It never ran again.

14. My first computer was a Commodore 64, purchased for $800 in 1984. When I took it to Anderson, I was told I couldn’t keep it in the dorm because it used too much power. A letter from the person I bought the computer from got the rules changed.

15. For my Ph.D. research, I figured out how to get rats to nod their heads in front of a camera. That way, when I gave them cocaine and they wanted to nod their heads because of the buzz, they’d do it in front of the camera just like before getting the high. And their still using the paradigm to study psychomotor stimulant effects on single neurons in the striatum 15 years later!

16. While doing my post doc at the Beckman Institute in 1993/94, we were trying to figure out how to bring together results from multiple research labs, put them in a database, and share them with others around the world. A graduate student had a friend who was working with the group developing something called X-Mosaic. We realized this new thing called the web might be our answer. My job was to find ways to right CGI programs that would talk with the hooks written by our database programmer to create this cool new thing called dynamic web pages. Every so often, new features would be added to X-Mosaic and the NCSA web server which would allow us to do new things, like click on different parts of an image and go to different links. It’s hard to believe we were early adopters of the world wide web!

17. I used to be a beaver, and a good ol’ beaver, too!

18. I started backpacking the year we formed a new troop, Troop 314. We choose to do 30 miles on Isle Royale in far northern Michigan. Our troop has hiked about that distance in the Smokie Mountains. Our biggest accomplishment was hiking 60 miles in New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch. Coolest moments include summitting a 11,500′ peak after starting at 6,500′, spending 11 days on the trail with my two sons, watching the growth in the boys as we met one challenge after another, and coming within 50′ of a bear!

19. I love my job! I get to teach a course introducing hardware, operating systems, and networks to future librarians while having the students help community organizations working in under-served communities explore ways to implement information technology to achieve development goals and mobilize citizens, also an area of research. Plus I get to research in the area of scholarship of engagement, bringing together students, faculty, staff, and community in communities of inquiry.

20. I love my wife even more than my job! When I proposed, I said I couldn’t promise her money or comfort, but I could guarantee a lifetime of adventures. And yes we do, over and over again!

21. I love traveling, both nationally and internationally. I prefer traveling through the backdoor (yes, I’m a Rick Steves fan!) My whole family traveled for 3 1/2 weeks through Europe with only a car rental and plans to stay the first couple of days at relatives in hand before we departed the states. I’ve been doing similar ever since.

22. Angie and I have remodeled every room in our house, and many of the spaces around our yard, mostly all on our own. It’s taken 13 years, but we’re about done. But we started with the basement bathroom and it’s time to redo it. And the back deck needs replacing. And the furnace is end-of-life. And… And…

23. I’ve made a number of good friends in East St. Louis as part of my academic work in the community, and more recently with mission trips I’ve lead for our church, New Horizon. Hanging out for hours at Pirtles playing Conquian, spending time with George and Essie Calhoun, talking to Billie and her mom, visiting with Sister Marge, Martha, Christina, Brad… It’s a shame it’s had such a bum rap that has kept so many businesses and developers out of the community.

24. I’ve always been intrigued by what other people think and how other people live. I often wonder what it would be like in another person’s shoes. I’m happy being me and wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I just like to see the other side of the eyes looking at me and to try to understand who they are and why.

25. I’m an introvert. No really. The tests tell me so. It doesn’t mean I don’t love hanging with people, quite the opposite. It just means I need quality alone time to recharge batteries.


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