I guess this is where the bio goes eh? First off, I'm a high-school drop-out who managed to earn a total of ten high-school credits, the equivalent of about half of grade eleven, in four years. Just recently my mother found my old report cards and I was dismayed to find that I would have passed grade 11 chemistry if I had handed in one piece of paper. It seems I got 49/50 on tests and 0/50 on assignments so if I had only handed in one piece of paper I would have passed! "Today we boiled water. It took time to get hot." would have done it. I guess the labs were a little boring after working in a biochemistry lab all summer. Yah, my first job was as an assistant/bottle-washer for a post-grad student at the U of M working with Calmodulin protein. Oh if only I'd passed chemistry 200 what a difference that would have made in my life!
"What are you rebelling against?" "What have you got?" - The Wild One
So how to summarize the rest of it? Fell in with the right/wrong crowd of course! What else is a freakazoid like myself to do? Having two older brothers that are heavily into the punk scene helped. At 17 I was living in the third floor of a downtown warehouse loft, skateboarding all winter in the second floor, and sipping coffee while watching the fights in the street after all the bars closed. My late-night hangout wasn't the local 7-11 but the local bohemian artsy late-night coffee house where one could talk books and play chess with Hungarian ex-pats and poets, and smoke hash with the gals of the night who'd drop in to warm up. Nice scene! At 21 I was the live-in security system and grunt worker at "The Cauldron", an all-ages punk club. I'd spend my days postering and my nights fetching beer, pizza, and weed for the bands. Slept in a cubby-hole above the freight elevator, scavenged butts and roaches from the ashtrays, and traded in beer empties to buy boxed macaroni and cheese which we would cook up on a hot-plate. Sweet!
"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." - Oscar Wilde
So what's a guy like that to do to earn a living? Well lie of course! Lied about my experience with computers and went from job to job learning as I went. Lied about knowing Autocad and got a job doing the Cad work on this little thing which everyone in Canada has seen. Meanwhile I'm doing my own business thing on the side, graphics, a bit of 3D rendering in PovRay, oh, and selling the hardware and support for pirating the DirecTV system (legal in Canada!!) Lied some more and ended up doing a custom application in Acad Lisp, lied about having a drivers license and did road-work all over the mid-west, lied about having network experience and ended up running an entire ISP up in Thompson, MB. That however, was when things started to change. Well actually they changed a year or so earlier when I came down with an absolutely ripping case of the shingles, the first sign that things were seriously awry.
"It's a complicated case, Maude. Lotta ins, lotta outs. Fortunately I've been adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, limber." - Dude
The last sign was dropping right in front of the nurses desk at the hospital. Fade to black. I woke up to find that I'd been in a coma for over a month, collapsed lung, pneumonia, end-stages of long-term HIV. I don't know what I weighed but I couldn't even raise my arms and I looked like a survivor of a concentration camp. I weigh something like 90 lbs in the picture on the right which was taken on my birthday, three months after I woke up. I also found at that time that my bank account had been drained by my cousin who had a crack habit that I was unaware of when I gave her access to it.
"Some people never go crazy... What truely horrible lives they must live." - Charles Bukowski
So what to do? I decided to burn all the bridges that led to a comfortable apartment in the city, a dead-end leading to mere existence, not life. I loaded up a three-ton truck with all my books and belongings and moved into an insulated room in the barn on my parent's country property with the aim of converting it to workshop space and starting my Strange Attractor. If Mohamed can no longer travel, the world must come to him. And since any ecological niche will be filled eventually, I set out to create that niche. It is my goal to provide to wandering artists and creative types the space and tools they can use to collaborate and brainstorm interesting projects. A place where the cost of living is so low that any creative person can support themselves with the products of their minds and skills. A Strange Attractor, drawing in people who whirl around, change each other's courses, and then spin off into different unknowns.
"The great tragedy of life is not that people set their sights too high and fail to achieve their goals but they set their sights too low and don't." - Michelangelo
And so here we are three years later. My workshop space is built and constantly being improved, I've made some serious inroads as a photographer and two years after taking my first picture I've got space in a gallery and am selling my work. I am no longer living in a 12x12 room but am now in a barn that I've comfortably renovated in my own style with no preconceived ideas to influence me, a fluid space that can be adapted to any need anytime. Three years ago I had nobody, and now I have all of you inhabiting the world of networks that I've been waiting for all my life. You know what? This is going to be fun!!!
"I don't like to dream when I'm asleep... I like to dream when I'm awake." - Atomicat