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Kindergarten
Me in my carefree, kindergarten days.

I was born and raised in San Diego, although I spent a few years when I was little in London and Bremerhaven, Germany when the navy posted my dad over there. I have two older siblings, my brother Mark and my sister Brooke.

I’ve been working with computers since I was at Pershing Junior High where the “computer lab” had a teletype connected to the San Diego City Schools timesharing computer. I’d like to say I started off writing brilliant programs, but the truth is we mainly played Star Trek.

I had been a boy scout since I was old enough to be a cub and after making it to Star in regular boy scouts I switched over to an Explorer Post at the Control Data facility in northern San Diego County. While the older scouts played hearts and spades, the rest of us worked with different cards – real life punched cards – and ran programs on various minicomputers.

Although I’m not sure of exactly how it all happened, at some point Bud Edelman who ran a small software consulting firm in El Cajon contacted Control Data looking for someone to help with a Cyber 1700 series computer problem. Exactly how I ended up getting the nod for the job I’m not sure but during the summer between my Junior and Senior years at Crawford High in the Independent Study program I started working at AFB.

I worked there for several years as an “independent contractor” for AFB and when AFB went under I continued as a real independent contractor. Most of my work then was still on kit-based computers, microcomputers that an engineer would put together as opposed to getting by mail. I also continued work at Carpenter Technologies’ Special Products Division out in El Cajon. This was a fairly large project that Bud had underbid (which is why AFB went under). A few of us from AFB were then contracted directly to Carpenter to finish up the system.

All of this work was going on while I was attending UCSD, majoring in Computer Science with minors in Math and Philosophy and playing D&D and other role-playing games with friends whenever possible. Our gaming group was based in the UCSD math teaching assistants’ office and although I never TA’d for math (although I did a semester as a TA in the computer lab) I knew someone there and before long I was a regular player. Although it wasn’t every weekend, we played whenever we could.

During my senior year at UCSD I decided to get a real job and became a software engineer at Kaypro corporation up in Solana Beach, just a few miles north of UCSD.

My work at Kaypro went from firmware and driver support through the Carrot project (a secret project to develop an Apple clone) and then went that project went away, left me as “manager of software engineering”, an impressive title for someone with one person reporting to me. After a year or in charge of firmware, bundled software, MSDOS drivers and getting this new “Windows” thing from Microsoft to work, I went back to consulting.


Me and my bike somewhere...

One nice part about consulting is that between contracts there is often plenty of spare time. I tried to go on an long bike tour - two to three weeks, 1,000 - 1,500 miles or so - every year. Usually I would pack my bike in a box, fly somewhere then ride south or east (you always want prevailing winds behind you), then fly back home.

For the next few years I spent most of my time working on device drivers, mainly for disk and tape drives. This was always a challenge because SCSI, while not really new back then, was coming into use with fits and starts and each manufacturer interpreted the standard their own way, meaning that each new drive had quirks that had to be discovered and dealt with.

Our role-playing group wasn’t overly distracted by little things like graduation so we all kept playing as much as we could. Although some of the group moved away for a while for grad school, the center of gravity for our gaming group remained in southern California. In the late 1980’s three of us decided to go on a vacation together so we went to a travel agent and she put together a visit to Brazil and Argentina, including a river boat tour on the Amazon (Pink dolphins! Crocodiles! Piranhas! Caipirinhas!)

The trip was fun (except for the flying) but the most important thing to come out of it was that we discussed the current state of games on the market and decided to form a game company of our own. That was the birth of RiddleMaster games.

RiddleMaster was a partnership whose goal was to create games that had our level of intrigue to them. Our games always contained a large amount of mystery to them: even if you thought you knew what was going on, there was probably a deeper plot underlying things you knew nothing about but would learn of as the game progressed. Nothing was ever as simple as “go here and defeat a dragon”, instead you would go there and discover the dragon’s actually guarding a time machine and that one of your group is actually a Federation agent who has traveled back in time to destroy the machine – or something like that, something completely unexpected.

We came up with several games over a couple of years which had promise as board games containing the essential cleverness of our role-playing campaigns. In the end we picked Rick Smith’s “Ritual of Magic” as the one to concentrate on. We later changed the name to “Castle of Magic” because a retailer at a trade convention told us that “ritual” would “never sell in the mid-west”.

In 1990 we finally got all the packaging and pieces and assembled most of the games in Rick’s living room. We had done our research, gone to trade shows and made contacts and so forth, but the actual marketing and selling of the game was tougher than we had hoped.


My snazzy suit from kindergarten no longer fit so I needed a new one.

Also in 1990 Vicky and I got married and then the next year she was accepted to graduate school at the University of Colorado Boulder and so we moved out there. About a month after we got there the temperatures dropped into the teens and I knew I wasn’t in Southern California any more.

I got myself an office in Boulder and continued working with my Southern California clients for a time. A friend from UCSD (and the gaming group) also moved out to Boulder soon after and we shared the office space.

By the end of the 1990s we had two daughters (Amber and Kayla), RiddleMaster had turned into Cloud Kingdom Games, Inc. and Flying Duck had half a dozen employees.

Over the next few years Flying Duck grew to 15 employees and a number of contracts, although when the tech boom deflated we lost a bit of work as our customers started tightening their belts. By 2010 Flying Duck was down to me and my support manager, Keith Olson and then soon afterwards it was just me.

During these same years Cloud Kingdom slowly kept publishing books and games. The latter part of the 1990’s was primarily books, things associated with riddles mainly. Our books were targeted to ourselves, sort of, as resources for people running the games as opposed to the players themselves. In 2003 we came out with our first card game and over the next few years kept up a mix of card games and books.

I had started doing Sudoku puzzles in 2006 but the “thrill” wore off after a while. There’s only so much to find that’s interesting in a grid with just digits. Vicky and I had been playing NTN trivia at restaurants for years, a national trivia game where questions pop up all televisions in the restaurant and you answer with a little wireless remote they provide. Vicky and I had also been doing crosswords and cryptic crosswords together since before we were married. Taking trivia and Sudoku I decided to put together a book where some of the digits for the Sudoku puzzle are discovered by using your knowledge of trivia.

The project always took the back seat to paying customers but I finally got the book done and ready to publish through Amazon’s print on demand house, Create Space. Since I had been the main editor and layout person for Cloud Kingdom, the publishing part was straightforward for me. In short order I made other books of Sudoku variations.

In 2012 my youngest daughter was off to college and so Vicky and I kept with our plan to move to the mountains once the kids were out of high school. In early 2013 we started the seemingly endless process of getting a 15 year old home emptied out and ready to sell. We hit the market at just the right time and handed the keys over in May. Since then we’ve been up in Frisco in the Colorado mountains where the scenery is such that we keep have to reminding ourselves that we actually live here, we’re not just on vacation.

Latest work:

  • Deploying Joomla 3.5.x sites under Windows 2008 IIS 7.0 and SQL Server 2008/MySQL
  • Developing C#/JavaScript code for automated Adobe InDesign publishing
  • Managing an Azure Windows 2008 server
  • Automated interpretation of PDF contracts

Development skills:

  • Programming languages: C#/C++/C, Adobe Actionscript 2.0 (Flash)
  • Platforms: IIS with ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC through MVC 6
  • Scripting: JavaScript, sh/csh, PowerShell
  • Database: MS SQL Server through 2008, transact SQL
  • Operating systems: almost all versions of Windows and Windows server, SCO UNIX (1990s)

Tool & Applications:

  • Cisco router management, routing/NAT/sub netting/firewall/VPN, IOS 12.x
  • Adobe Creative Suite through CS5.5, particularly InDesign, Fireworks, Dreamweaver and Flash.
  • Visual Studio through VS 2015
  • Team Foundation Server
  • SQL server, including automated backup and scripting
  • Windows Word, Excel, Project, Outlook, various versions
  • Active Directory management
  • Exchange server management
  • QuickBooks through 2010

Management related experience:

  • Owner/president of two S-corporations since 1992
  • Managed up to 15 employees, 401k, insurance and other office related tasks
  • Prepared (with various levels of software support) 1120S, 941, 940, Colorado DR106, UITR.