where the writers are
On Being Batman

The Batman is driven by a belief that it is his duty to make the world better.  I am also driven by a belief that it is my duty to make the world better.  I had the lucky chance to be born in the middle of the last century, into a family which had not yet reached fame or billionaire status.  My imagination was my closest companion growing up and I constantly imagined myself in adventures. 

My friends and I played Cowboys and Indians in our parents' yards and went on afternoon adventures to the wilds of the blank areas around our homes.  Sometime after I learned to write, I started making lists of the things I wanted to do, have and be.  There was no time-frame and there was no urgency.  I didn't know how to get to where I wanted to go and I didn't need to. 

Some of the dreams that came true:

The Dream: I was interested in dinosaurs and paleontology as a lad and later was enthralled by the Indiana Jones series of movies.

The Reality: I studied archaeology in school as part of an Anthro degree program, and got to do a 2-year osteological study of the fauna from a prehistoric site in Northern Illinois.  The site covered a surface survey of about 40 acres and there were approximately 2000 bone samples from approximately 400 species for me to identify, weigh and catalogue.  I not only had access to several archeological sites and the Illinois State Museum's osteological collection (mostly not on public display), I got to really do the work rather than just taking a single course in archeological field work.

The Dream: I wanted to follow in my father's footsteps and teach at a 4-year college.

The Reality: I taught at my first college in Spartanburg SC, after applying for a part-time adjunct instructor position to supplement my part-time computer technician job at Rainbow Rentals.

Even though I had only a BA in a non-related field, the department head gave me the job above other applicants with better educational credentials because I had gotten a CompTIA A+ Certificate.  She felt that my actual experience and journeyman's IT certificate would keep me from blowing up school computing equipment.    I completed my Masters in Information Technology within the next two years, to give me proper credentials to trach at a 4-year school, while working full-time in IT Network Administration and User Support.

The Dream: I wanted to write a book and do research in the area of Internet security.

The Reality: While I was working at a college in Atlanta as an adjunct instructor in Network Security, a colleague, Dr Alfred Basta, invited me to co-author a textbook for college-level penetration testing, Internet attacks and "Computer Hacking."  I got to write a good part of the work and do all of the network attack and defense research.  This was a hugely fun exercise that took the better part of two years to write and get published.

When I look back upon my lists from a few years ago, I always find at least one thing that I wished for having come true.  I am not done creating new realities and making the world a better place, as I am still breathing. 

The Method:  I do not often tell others about the contents of my lists, for I want to be able to change direction without holding a committee meeting.  I read back over my lists at approximately yearly intervals, to see whether the dreams have neared reality or whether they have lost their luster in the mean time.  My lists are not all career-related.  Any dream - from meeting the perfect partner (2001), to traveling to other countries (1983, more to come), to learning to play the bagpipes (done in 1987), to visiting every state in the USA (I have seen 38 as of this moment), to having a private pilot's license, to being a Linux god.  I write it down and live my life looking more toward the outcome desired than the steps required to get there.

I have a lot of interests and they change from time to time, so I do not display Bruce Wayne's singleness of end-goal.  I am having a great time improving the world around me and helping others achieve their own goals.  

Most Recent Dream: Volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium.   have already started getting my feet wet.