About Talin

Talin is "self-assigned nickname". I also respond to the name "David Joiner" (my birth-name), but not as readily.

Location: I'm currently based in San Francisco, in the Twin Peaks area. I live near the big red and white radio tower that overlooks the city.

Physical parameters: Height: 6'1". Weight: 137 lbs. Morphology: Ectomorph. Birth-month: June 1958. Marital status: Single.

Personality type: XNTP. (See the Kiersey Temperament Sorter if you are interested in a useful classification system for personality types.)

Relationships: I'm a tall, thin male, and I'm most strongly attracted to women who are similarly proportioned, as well as being strong and intelligent. At the same time, however, I'm enough of an artist to appreciate the sensuality of alternatives.

Personal Philosophy: All my life I've gotten the greatest enjoyment out of "making stuff". I'm compulsively creative, my home is cluttered with tools and old projects (and little else). As a consequence, I tend to see things in creative terms, as though the universe were some sort of art project.

I also have a deep interest in the essential natures of things. I tend to ignore superficial aspects of most situations, often to my detriment. I've noticed that when I get tired or hungry I tend to lose my ability to deal with practical matters, while my ability to think abstractly remains intact somewhat longer.


Music: I've been interested in electronic music since the early 70s. I built my own synthesizer (from one of those PAIA kits), and later wrote software to control synthesized performances. Not suprisingly, I like electronic performers such as Synergy, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, etc. I also like traditional celtic music such as Altan, celtic rock bands like Wolfstone, Annwn, and Boiled In Lead; and progressive rock bands such as Trace, Rush and Boston. Other favorites include Fresh Aire, David Arkenstone, Mike Oldfield, Enya, Heather Alexander, Boiled In Lead and John Renbourn.

Computers: I've been programming "professionally" (whatever that means) since 1976. I'm an almost entirely self-taught programmer (Although I did learn COBOL in the Air Force). I've done a lot of different kinds of programming, everything from compiler design to MIDI drivers to word processors to games, and a lot more.

Over the years I've programmed in dozens of computer languages, including C++, Perl, Python, many different brands of assembly, Rexx, Fortran, Basic, Lisp, Scheme, etc. I once wrote a FORTH interpreter for the Exidy Sorcerer in hex code, since there was no assembler for the Exidy at that time.

Nowadays, I'm interested in object-oriented design and software architectural techniques, such as those described in the Design Patterns book, and in ways of understanding complex systems, such as the Unified Modeling Language. At the same time, I am notorious for my skepticsm of object-oriented dogma, and my insistance that OOP is only one of many valid methods of structuring a system.

My current burning passion is what I call "Community Engineering". That means the study of how communities work, and the ability to design social environments which foster certain desired behaviors.

Games: I've had a long-standing addiction to fantasy role-playing games, including the original D&D, RuneQuest, as well as various home-brew rules systems. I recently stumbled across Changeling: The Dreaming and was totally transformed by it. I also have a modest collection of Magic: The Gathering cards, and a few board games such as Civilization and Cosmic Encounter.

Japanese Animation: Project A-ko and Nausica are my favorites.

Science Fiction and Fantasy: Reading is my preferred method of depressurizing my brain. I like a lot of authors, but especially Robert Heinlein, J. R. R. Tolkien, Vernor Vinge, Larry Niven, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Raymond Feist, Anne McCaffrey, H. Beam Piper and Gael Baudino. These are the writers whos work I can read over and over again. Other writers I like are David Gerrold, David Brin, Jerry Pournelle, C.J. Cherryh, Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Springer, Neal Stephenson, Isaac Asimov, Julian May and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

I go to a lot of science fiction conventions (LosCon and BayCon, especially), and in fact it's a significant part of my social life. I also worked at the Renaissance Faire for a year, however I haven't had time to even go in the last few years. I occasionally visit the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS).

Elves: I have a long-standing (since childhood) and inexplicable interest in all things elvish. This includes portayals of elves in fiction such as Tolkien, Baudino, Cherryh; as well as comic books such as Elfquest. "Elf" is a very nebulous concept, and like most of the ancient mythical symbols has been heavily trafficked and trivialized in modern society.

I have a similar and more recent interest in Celtic stuff, although that ethnicity comprises a relatively small part of my genetic make-up. (I have some distant ancestors who were Welsh "rabble-rousers" that fled to the Colonies to avoid arrest.)

Mythology: I have been deeply inspired by the writings of Joeseph Campbell, especially the six-tape lecture series "Courtly Love and the Grail" available from Big Sur Tapes. From there, I have been reading other stories of the Arthurian romances, including Cretien de Trois and Wolfram Von Eschenbach.

Hiking: Although I don't do nearly as much as I should, I do enjoy a good hike in the mountains around LA, or better yet in Northern California (I particularly like Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County.)

Ethics: I have a deep interest in ethics and moral behavior, even though I have no formal belief system. My goal is to add beauty and value to life -- life is a dance, and playing outside the rules of the dance is tragic and not much fun. This is coupled with my interest in mythology. I am similarly interested in religious beliefs of all kinds, including primitive Christianity (before Augustine), Christian Heresies (such as Donatism, Manicheanism, etc.), Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, and Wicca. Someday I want to write a book of "modern parables", which would include things like the Parable of False Efficiency, the Parable of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, etc.

Low-Cost access to Space: I've been following the DC-X project for a long time, and I'm looking forward to the next stage in Single-Stage to Orbit development. See the Space Access Society page for more info. Also check out Rotary Rocket Corporation for details on the Roton, a new type of Single-Stage to Orbit craft.

Friends: Some of my friends on the web include:

[] Robert McNally is a creative and inspiring person who has led me (unwillingly sometimes) into more than one adventure. His home page is well worth the click.

[] Joe Pearce Joe's my roommate and highly skilled programmer. He also likes wombats and frogs. He and I are co-owners of Sylvantech.com server, although Joe does most of the maintenance work.

Kee Nethery and Kirsten Malmquist are two of my friends in the Bay Area, who both seem to have that unique knack for combining spirituality and warmth with successful business enterprise. Kee runs the highly successful Kagi Shareware, a unique payment service for shareware authors.

[] Karen Wilson and Chris Weber are a pair of highly creative individuals who have worked on an astonishingly broad range of projects. Their latest effort is A Girl's World -- Online Clubhouse.

[] Dennis Hescox Dennis is a fun person to be around, and is useful for enhancing one's surrealism quotient. He's one of the founders of Lightside", a local ISP.

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