|The User's Guide to Adam D. Barnhart|
I was born in moderately humble Long
Beach, California, about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. It's
an interesting place, torn between the entertainment capital of the world
and the (reputed, at least) ultra-suburbia of Orange County. You can hear
it in the art of the musical exports -- the
Snoop Doggy Dogg
(and Tha Dogg Pound), Trouble Dolls -- it's a place that's constantly
searching for a fixed identity. And, though I don't live there now
(though my most recent relocation has me once again south of the Santa Monica
Mountains), I was bornunraised there and while you can take the guy out
of Long Beach, you just can't take the Long Beach out of the guy...
I'm now a resident of Los Angeles proper, sitting comfortably on the Los Angeles/Culver City border, a stone's throw from the Sony/Paramount studios of "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" fame. Though it receives its fair share of crticism, West Los Angeles certainly enjoys a wide variety of cultural offerings and entertainment options; it's not easily confused with most any other part of the world in that respect. Even for a native of elsewhere in the Basin, it's an interesting if sometimes strange place.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, I spent five years as a full-time Alamedan, a town best known to the world for its now-closed Navy Base -- think "Nuclear Wessels" from Star Trek IV (yes, Virginia, it is Star Trek IV...thanks to Matt Levy for confirming my iffy recollection of the movie). It's a nice little town -- it's near several cultural centers, has a climate amenable to my lifestyle, good crime statistics, isn't too expensive to live (by Bay Area standards, anyhow), and offers a number of good but casual places to eat. While my insistence on maintaining my Southern Californian citizenship never got me past Resident Alien status in the Bay Area, I've only good things to say about the place, really.
The employer enabling my somewhat unusual lifestyle is a neat little software company called Computers for Marketing Corporation (CfMC), located in SoMa (South of Market, for you non-Bay Areans). In addition to being a fine employer, they've been generous enough (at least until we run out of space or someone complains) to provide the space in which all this wisdom is presented. To boot, they've enabled me, as a new resident of Los Angeles, to further the cause from the comfy confines of my second bedroom/office, outfitted with a DSL line (I wasn't just an early adopter, I was the early adopter in my neighborhood), a work environment I could hardly recommend more heartily. If you're interested, go back and see something about what I do. We spruced up the corporate site again fairly recently; it looks pretty slick to me, anyhow. I work, at least nominally, in the Service Bureau, primarily on Survent and WebSurvent. We've worked an awful lot at the latter for a while now; if you're really the curious type, we have a bunch of demos that you can give a spin.
I'm also a doctoral student in the History department at UCLA. My project, for the morbidly curious, deals with the impact of globalization and the changing nature of technolgy in the port regions of Long Beach-Los Angeles and Liverpool, England. Ornery type that I am, my own work allows an awful lot of Sociology (my other major as an undergrad) in, making me a more theoretical historian (which must be said with a healthy dollop of distaste to evoke the proper sentiment) than most. If you can imagine, the unversity has even cut me loose a little to corrupt the minds of America's youth; I was a TA in the History Department for the 2000-2001 academic year and migrated over to General Education, were I was a Teaching Fellow (and part-time web guy) for the 1960s Cluster. The experiment (both as a student and an instructor) has been largely successful and enjoyable thus far, a process made far more livable than it has any right to be as a result of a cool cohort and a genuinely supportive faculty, both of whom have more tolerance for my bad jokes about Marx than I could have hoped for.
Allison Massenzio qualifies, at this point, as my long-time, long-term, long-distance, long-suffering S.O., hiring me lo these many moons ago to practice my trade on her behalf. And while I'd certainly performed better professionally, she seemed willing to deal with the periodic lapses in code one tends to get from a less-than-detail-oriented guy. Then again, she's abandoned ship on the industry entirely (as opposed to my foot-in-every-pool approach), and escaped to Vet School, which seems wise to most everyone. As the kids say, she's a groovy chick.
I've spent quality time as a musician of varying levels of proficiency and professionalism. I played in a band, Premonition, for quite a while, in addition to the one-off jam sessions that comprise a big part of most musicians' existence. The band's since taken the moniker Stone Blue (no, they're really not a Foghat tribute band, I swear...) and gigs fairly regularly. Beyond that, two of my former bandmates have pages up, Rowland Ebright and Alex Campbell. Pat Rideaux, our former drummer, hooked up with another damn fine band, Zen, whose online presence has been all over the board (it used to crash my computer, but, at the moment, it's a pretty safe, simple site). I'm a bass player (upright and electric) by trade and play a number of other instruments very badly. Big influences: Geddy Lee, Jaco Pastorius, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke, Steve Harris, Bill Laswell, Stu Hamm, Chris Squire. Needless to say, I'm big on Progressive and Post-Progressive music...I like folks who make an effort.
I also have a pronounced predilection for sport. As a Southern Californian, I follow the California Angels, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Kings pathologically. L.A. doesn't have a football team anymore, but I wasn't unusually fond of either team that inhabited the area a few years ago (though I suppose I'd say I "liked" them both) -- for some reason I was always a Dolphins fan. Go figure. Anyhow, since I left, my hometown's picked up a minor league hockey team, the Ice Dogs, and a minor league baseball team, the Long Beach Breakers. I'm also dangerously into sabermetrics...which is, of course, what happens when good statisticians go bad.
Like all good eggheads, I also read a lot. Good authors are many. My favorites: Douglas Adams, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Bill James, Ernst Mayr, Dick Hebdige, Robert Kaplan, Stephen Jay Gould, Erving Goffman, William Cronon, John Stuart Mill, Perry Anderson, Arlie Hochschild, Ludwig von Mises, Harold Garfinkel, Thomas Kuhn, Barbara Ehrenreich.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens: Indian Food, Monty Python, Dr. Demento, George Carlin, Pizza (preferrably with Linguica), Stanley Kubrick, Kevin Smith, Highway 99, T1 Lines, M.C. Escher, The Far Side, Airports, Civilization.