I was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1969. Since then, much has changed. We moved back to the States, I went through 22 years of school, emerged with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA, and a job making approximately $10 an hour. Now I live in Florida, work in the publishing industry, and I'm enjoying myself as much as I can in a state with high summer temperatures and humidity, hurricanes, and an electorate that can't make up its mind whether it wants to vote for one candidate or all of them! I have two hobbies, astronomy and birding. Both pursuits get me in the out-of-doors, which is absolutely critical to maintaining my sanity. I grew up in a fairly large city (Los Angeles), and even then, although I didn't really realize it at the time, I always sought a connection with the natural world. My hikes through Griffith Park, even when I came home covered in poison oak, were formative experiences. Even earlier, as a youngster in Colorado, we would always go fishing and camping on the weekends. Astronomy gets me outside at night, which is a completely different experience from the daylit pursuit of birds. Nevertheless, both astronomy and birding seem to me to be two sides of the same coin. Both are intellectual pursuits, requiring careful study and planning to make the most of that precious time in the field. They each make use of technology (binoculars, scopes, cameras) to enhance the experience, but each can be enjoyed just as well “au naturel.” And the objects of each study are both infinitely complex and beautiful. And both of these hobbies can be pursued productively in my own backyard. Sure, I wish I had a bigger one (my entire lot is the typical <1/4-acre plot near "downtown" Boca Raton), but it's got native plantings to attract birds and butterflies, and I have a relatively decent view of the sky (or as much of it as one can see from inside the light dome of the south Florida coast), so most of my naturalizing occurs here. A major new chapter in my life opened in the spring of 2008. See below for details.
A second chapter (perhaps a sequel?) opened in the spring of 2011.