What to say? It seems to me that the idea of personal Web pages was thought up by people with rather large egos. People that think everyone must be interested in him or her. I'm not sure that I'm that interesting On the other hand, I do admire myself for my modesty.
See also my newer web site: http://www.joehuffman.org
Table of Contents
For three and a half years I worked for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory which is operated by Battelle. I was fired on January 3rd 2005. They refused to give me details on why but the logs of my websites told the story. Read the details on the bigotry at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Before that I worked for Chromium Communications, Inc. It was composed almost entirely of former Microsoft people. Eric Engstrom and Chris Phillips are probably the two best know people there. I was the employee number one (Eric was number zero). The company was a startup and it has almost shutdown now. We had our first product out the door, but couldn't get sales because of the stock market conditions (our customers were web based companies). From May of 1995 until December of 1999 I was a software developer for Microsoft in Redmond, WA. I used to work on Direct Draw (a graphics interface for games) drivers for Win95/Win98. It was neat helping to push the speed envelope with fancy hardware. I got to see some neat games before they actually hit the streets and occasionally meet the game developers. I talked to and meet with the people who made the video hardware too.
Then I worked on the Chrome project. See the book Renegades of Microsoft for information on the stuff that I worked on. The book is about Eric Engstrom, Craig Eisler, and Alex St. John. Eric is the guy that hired me and I worked in the same groups as either Eric or Craig for most of the time I was at Microsoft. From there it was work for Eric in a new company that he started. If you knew what we were working on you would probably think we were totally insane. My wife kept saying, "Is this a dream?" She can't believe it is really true.
But the best part of both working at Microsoft, Chromium, and my current job is the people I work with. I love the stimulation of all the bright people. If I ask a question they almost immediately grasp what I'm trying to say and almost always have excellent answers. When I'm explaining something to someone else they catch on very quickly and I never have to explain it again the next day to them. It was very draining at lot of companies that I have worked -- explaining the same things again and again. They just never seemed to get it.
I started working for Boeing Aerospace in Kent right out of college (BSEE from the University of Idaho). I later worked on DTMF (Touch-Tone) receivers for Teltone (Kirkland, now Bothell), and Data I/O (Redmond) before I got my MSEE from the University of Washington. Then I worked as a consultant for a variety of companies in the Puget Sound area. I gradually started writing more and more software for the hardware that my coworkers and I designed until I did little else. I ultimately worked out of my home for Zortech (first C/C++ compiler for MS-DOS). That enabled my wife and I to move back to Idaho - home. Among other things, I wrote the DOS based graphics package sold with the Zortech compiler - Flash Graphics, which ultimately lead to my job here at Microsoft.
When I worked in the Seattle area I commuted via commercial air (Alaska/Horizon Air) the Pullman/Moscow weather become increasingly important to me. One Friday night they told me that if I got on the plane I would most likely end up in Portland rather than Lewiston and definitely not Pullman/Moscow. So I asked them to pull my luggage off and I took the next flight out the next morning at 7:15. It landed in Lewiston just as the fog rolled in. We were fogged in for about 20 minutes and several of us said we would rather not get back on the plane if there were a chance we wouldn't be able to land in Pullman. They told us, "Pullman is clear, there is a 99.9% chance we will land in Pullman." We all got on and well we didn't land in Pullman. We circled around the airport a couple times. I saw my car in the parking lot and then they brought us back t o Seattle. I finally got home about 5:30 PM that night.
My wife and I grew up in a rural area of North Central Idaho. I went to grade school (first through eighth grade) in a two-room school. The two teachers each handled four grades. I was in a big class, sometimes as large as 6, with about 30 kids in the entire school. We (my wife Barbara Scott and I) went to High School in Orofino (population ~3K) and took a lot of math classes together. We started dating after we went to college and got married between our junior and senior year. We moved to the Seattle area and continued our schooling, worked, and had our children before we moved to Sandpoint Idaho (home of Mark Fuhrman - see what the people of Sandpoint think about that! My son and I attended the '91 rally mentioned in the article) in 1990. Then moved to Moscow in 1992 when Barbara got a job offer for twice as much money. We love it. We both got our Bachelor's degree there at the University of Idaho. No traffic problems, very low crime, fresh air, and close access to mountains, trees and open fields. Now, don't go thinking that Idaho is where you want to live too, because it's got all the people it needs already, stop by and visit, but out of state newcomers are not always welcome. Here's a joke, to illustrate:
A Texan, a Californian, and a guy from Idaho were all sitting around the campfire, drinking, telling stories and shooting at things (very stupid, but this is just a joke so don't sweat it). The Texan takes a drink out of his Tequila bottle throws it up in the air and shoots it. The other guys are aghast. "Why did you do that? That stuff is expensive!" The Texan says, "Nah, we've got lots of Tequila in Texas." So the California takes a drink out of his wine bottle throws it up in the air and shoots it. The other two ask, "Why did you do that? That bottle was still over half full!" The Californian says, "So? We have lots of wine in California." Next the guy from Idaho takes a sip from his can of Budweiser, sets it down on a nearby stump and shoots the Californian dead. The Texan is shocked, and stammers, "Why, why did you do that?" The guy from Idaho says, "Didn't you know? We've got lots of Californians in Idaho!"
Now that I've introduced firearms into the picture, I'll mention some of my hobbies. My most recent interest is in firearms. I enjoy shooting both rifle and pistol at a variety of targets. I'm a very competitive person and frequently compete in pistol shooting events.
Religion is also a hobby -- I collect and read numerous books on various religions and philosophies, with the most common theme being forms of Christianity. I'm not superstitious myself, I'm an atheist (Just say NO to religion).
Human sexuality is a hobby of mine. In addition to an active sex life I collect various books and some videos on it. These range from Kinsey's reports on male and female sexuality, Masters' and Johnson's works, to lesser known stuff like "The Gilmartin Report" (on swingers) and of course the 'candy' of the literature -- various types of erotica. I used to do a lot of photography (see my picture of a cheetah) and I even got a couple pictures published in an international "men's" magazine. The models got a little bit of money from it but all I got was credit for the pictures. Of course there was a certain amount of pleasure in telling these beautiful, nude, women exactly what position I wanted them to assume as I adjusted the lights and took hundreds of pictures to try and get just the right one to send in. I would put them up on the web server, but my ISP asked me to sign something saying I wouldn't have sexual content on their machine. Oh, well...
I love sick jokes (The secret to rocking a baby to sleep is in finding the right sized rock). Check out my sick humor collection.
The down side of living in Idaho and working in Redmond or Richland is, of course, that I spend a lot of time away from my wife and three kids. I go home nearly every weekend, but still, it's a strain. But being a contractor for Microsoft I was able to leave at a good stopping point in the spring of '96. I took off a couple months while the kids were out of school. We went on some great adventures that summer. First we went to Mount Rushmore, then my oldest daughter Kim and I went to Parent/Child Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. After that we had some camping, and boating adventures. Then we went to Colorado. We were amazed at the altitude, we stayed in Dillon -- over 9,000 feet and the nearby mountains still towered over us. Jamie and I went backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail and got snowed out on August 3! Then we all went to Sacramento (two blocks from our motel we had reserved in Klamath Falls, the transmission in the van went out) and then up the Oregon Coast. On our twentieth wedding anniversary I took off in the rental car by myself and drove 13 hours (round trip) back to Klamath Falls to retrieve the van. Always seems to be something. On our fifteenth anniversary while Barb was in Idaho, I was in the Boston area on business.
Summer of '97 I again took off about 2 and a half months. We didn't do as much traveling. The kids and I did some but Barb's mom was having a number of health problems that prevented her from having much time to travel. The kids and I visited Palm Springs, Disneyland, the Mojave Desert, Yosemite, Sequoi National Park, Salton Sea (yuck!), and Joshaua Tree National Monument. But for the most part we worked around the house. We put in a new lawn, cleaned the gutters, and stuff like that.
Summer of '98 I took Xenia (our youngest child) to Space Camp.
Barbara Scott and I have been married for over 27 years. Follow the link to find out more about her and read some of her short stories.
Barbara and I have three children. We often wondered why people congratulated us each time Barbara got pregnant. Within a month of each decision to have a child, she was pregnant. It was a lot more work NOT getting her pregnant for ten years and no one ever congratulated us on that! Since then we know people who had great troubles conceiving and have a lot more understanding of what the "congratulations" are all about.
Although there are times we have thought they more closely resembled barnyard animals than humans (I am tempted to use a wheelbarrow and a shovel to clean the scraps of paper, cardboard boxes, crayons, pencils, broken toys, and dirty clothes out of the girls room). We are quite proud of our children.
Hoping to Push Buttons In Everyone
I had a discussion with a distant cousin asking why I wanted to push people's buttons. After I told her she made a good point. She thought I was just trying to annoy people. That isn't the case at all. What I want to do is make people think. I like for people to challenge the status quo. To do things and behave because they know their actions are correct, not just because they were told by someone or the conventional wisdom is that this or that is correct. This brings up the questions -- How do you know something is true or false? Or right or wrong? And even how do know if you know something as opposed to just believing something? Recently, when I get into debates with people on various things like religion, gun control, sex, politics, etc. I started asking people how they determine true from falsity or right from wrong. I've asked probably a dozen people. And not a single one had a coherent answer (hint: works well on door-to-door religious evangelists). I've had several people tell me that it depends on how they feel about something -- whether it is right or wrong. At which time I point out a few hundred years ago nearly everyone "felt" the world was flat and his or her feelings were totally irrelevant to the truth. And so it is with every issue. Feelings are independent of the truth. Just because someone feels that homosexuality is wrong does not make it wrong. Just because someone feels safer after taking firearms away from private citizens doesn't mean they are safer. Just because someone feels his or her religion is the one true religion doesn't mean it is. In each case the existence of people with feelings different from theirs proved that both sets of feelings couldn't simultaneously correctly gauge the truth. And thus, feelings are irrelevant to the truth.
Also, I want to "push the envelope" a bit. People tend to allow their freedoms erode away because, "No one needs that anyway." Or, "If someone did that, we don't want them around anyway." I'm thinking in particular of things like homosexuality, freedom from religion, firearm's ownership. I think the gays have made tremendous progress by "coming out of the closet". More people need to do this on a number of topics. Atheists and firearm owners in particular need to do this. Come out of the closet and let people know that you aren't some weirdo creep that no one would miss anyway! Make it easier for others to enjoy the same activities (or freedom from) that you do. It's more than just for you, it's for society as a whole. People, in many ways, are like sheep. They are herd animals. They feel most comfortable when they are somewhere near the center on an issue. By being quiet it makes the center appear to be closer to the opposite end of the spectrum. Speak out, appear sane, and when the next control freak tries to get into a political office and restrict yet another freedom people will be more likely to notice toes are being stepped on. Just like when people used to talk about gay's living in the apartment next to them. People didn't want "someone like that" living next to them. Then they found out they already did have "someone like that" living next to them. In fact Uncle Albert was gay and he was an okay guy. Then it became a lot more reasonable to tell someone they were out of line when they wanted to restrict housing (employment, etc.) for gays.
In following items I hope people will put aside their feelings and think.
If you have looked at all these items and I STILL haven't pushed some buttons, send me some email. I'll try harder next time.
The Truth about the Center for Purposeful Living
Last modified: October 22, 2005
Email: Joe Huffman.