This article presents my life story up to the present time and delves into the topic of death, a topic which holds much fascination to me.
My life apparently started out as a newborn baby in June 1973 but I have no memory of that event. I was probably conceived one night when my mother had a bit to much wine to drink with her meal. I am an alumni of Wharenui Primary School, Kirkwood Intermediate and Christchurch Boys’ High School.Year 16
I spent three years (1992 - 1994) completing a four-year B.Sc. (Hons) in mathematics. I didn't get first class honours because I was not a great student. My memories of this time of my life consist of time spent with my three brightest classmates: Michael Burns, Diane Maclagan and Tim Sturge who where all of high intelligence. Bizarrely only two (Diane and Tim) of those three has a web presence. I have no idea what has happened to the other one (Michael). Last time I conversed with Diane she told me that Tim was working for Yahoo and Michael was studying at U.C. Berkeley under Vaughan Jones.
For the first two years of my maths degree, I entered into a marraige contract with Jane Garden, another Christchurch resident. The purpose of this was to exploit a loop hole in the law whereby married students would not have their benefits culled by the government based on parent's earnings. We stayed married but separated for two years since a divorce can only be made in New Zealand after two years of separation. I earned over $5,000 per year for three years by entering into this marriage contract.
Because of this (along with my father paying my course fees) I managed to get through my B.Sc. (Hons) degree without getting a student loan.
At the end of my second year studying mathematics and in conjunction with Bruce Webster wrote my second computer game, a three player Tetris clone called Tritus in the language of Blitz Basic on the Amiga platform that sold hundreds of copies worldwide as a shareware game.
I spent 1995 studying philosophy. I failed miserably as I only passed one out of five attempted courses. My reason for failing so badly is that I was not at that time in the correct mindset for studying philosophy. If I had studied it now or in the future, as I plan to, then I would get vastly improved grades. Failing so badly puts me in good company however with Harvard University drop-out Bill Gates and others.
I spent 1996 on the dole (unemployment benefit) teaching myself to program in C and C++ by writing a simulation of 2D rigid body dynamics for the purposes of inclusion into a computer game that never went anywhere. Some of the concepts established at this time were included in my new computer game R4: Rocketman.
I spent 1997 working for the Task Force Green program doing programming research for Dr. Michel de Champlain of the University of Canterbury. The job involved programming in C/Java and adding functionality to a 6,000 lines of code compiler compiler. Specifically it involved rewriting a C compiler compiler so that it generated as output compilers in the Java language rather than compilers in the C language which was the default. It is also where I first started to learn the Emacs editor and the Emacs Lisp customisation language. I have written an article that explains most of the customisations I have made to Emacs in the over 19 years since that time.
I spent 1998 - May 2001 as a COSC (Computer Science) tutor. The most memorable moment was when I got a Chinese woman-friend while doing this job. It turned out that she already had a husband that was the result of an arranged marriage. As a result of these encounters with this woman I tried to kill myself because I was so enamoured with her and I couldn't see any way out.
Attempted suicide is a phase that many of us goes through. If you are in such a predicament that you see no way to proceed except by taking your own life. To all people who are reading this article and are contemplating suicide, I say to you: please reconsider your course of action. As you come out of a depressive state, your lot in life improves to the point where committing suicide is a tremendous waste of young potential.
While working as a tutor I experimented a mental breakdown. I spent June 2001 - December 2003 in hospital recovering from my illness. The diagnosis was schizophrenia. At this time I also did some part-time volunteer work for the Christchurch City Mission and Catholic Social Services.
From 2004 to the present time I have re-enrolled at university for my second degree. I am spending my spare time writing computer games and doing research into the field of computer programming languages.
My second University degree, a Grad Dip Sci. was paid for by my mother paying the course fees and being on an invalids benefit to pay my day to day living expenses. Therefore I managed to get through my entire university education without needing a student loan.
I am planning to enter the vocation of teaching, either at a university or a high school. To get job in this area I will probably need to get a one-year teaching qualification known as a Diploma of Teaching.
Men want to die for a noble cause. Living is not so great that we would prefer it over dying to help a noble cause, provided that we can find a cause that is noble enough. Examples of this are young soldiers entering a war-like situation and terrorists who sacrifice their lives for their God. Women simply want to live. That's why in emergencies we conventionally say: women and children should be saved before men. Women tend to want to live the most, followed by men who are not sacrificing their lives to any particular cause.
Luckily there is a noble alternative to dying for a noble cause and that is to live a long live. By living for a long time, you can serve as a positive role model for other people who cannot see any value in living a long life. Such people tend to think: "If (s)he can see value in living a long life then maybe I should want to live too".
Young people don't want to live forever, but older people always want to live for another year, if only to see what happens to the world in current events in the space of that time.
Here is a precis of a feature entitled An Innocent Abroad which aired on the 5 May 2008 episode of 60 Minutes and is borrowed from TV3’s Website:
19-year-old Murat Kurnaz was picked up in Pakistan because of his fairer skin. He was bound and shackled and taken to an American prison in Afghanistan, before being sent to the infamous jail at Guantanamo Bay. For the next five years of his life, Kurnaz tells of vicious beatings and torture as people demanded to know about his connections with Osama bin Laden and his connection with al Qaeda. He says he was hit in the stomach while his head was held underwater, so that he would have to take a breath. He claims he was given electric shocks and strung up for days on end in a freezing cell.
For some reason when people are tortured they want to live on despite the tremendous suffering that is inflicted upon them. To me it sounds like a lot better idea to let the torturers kill you and then your legacy will be a good one (dying for what you believe in) and the legacy of the torturers will be a bad one (using questionable tactics to elicit confessions or other information).
Nelson Mandela on the other hand was not tortured during his 27 year imprisonment mostly on Robben Island. Since he was not, it seems reasonable for him to accept his questionable punishment with good grace, knowing that his legacy from a long period of questionable imprisonment would be a strong one.
My most important project in my life is my Website for it is the way I will be remembered when I die. For me my Website is a noble cause. I believe I am asking for trouble by systematically breaking all of the "rules" that say what a professional Website should contain, including containing intimate (extreme facial close-up) photos, not wearing a tie, my detailed curriculum vitae including my home phone number, non-pretentious research articles including works in progress, my signature, my jokes and finally the "taboo" words: welcome, hello, sincerely, regards, my, I and you. I believe in the cause of Websites because they are a vastly more efficient means of communication than paper books. I would want everyone to have the same opportunity as I have to produce sophisticated personal and professional Websites.
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