"I think that when you gotta spit, you gotta spit."
--Iron Head Haynes
Hi, I'm Dave. I grew up in south-central Pennsylvania, close to Gettysburg, the famous American Civil War battlefield. My parents have a dairy farm and I've done my share of farm chores over the years. The area that I grew up is very rural, but until I graduated high school, I only had the vaguest of ideas as to what went on outside our county. Everybody more or less subscribed to the rural lifestyle, so the kids and grown-ups with whom I had contact were a lot like me. There were no large cities, and really, no small cities in proximity to where I grew up. I was rather nicely insulated from That Which Lies Beyond The County Line. That's worked well for my peers in that most of them have stayed in the area. Even many of those that went to college eventually found a way to return back to the comforts of country living.
Anyway, college was hard for me, not so much academically as socially. I discovered that no one thought like me and, truth be told, I don't think I was taken seriously since 1) my family and I were dirt poor, and 2) country-boy/girl stereotypes are firmly in place. I couldn't talk about going to Hawaii or going skiing or the usual vanities in which sophisticated people indulge themselves. Looking back, I had a lot of resentment towards those of a higher class than my parents and me, but it wasn't necessarily because my peers got to go skiing and I didn't; it was because I was lower on the food chain. The tacit assumption was that anyone could live in depression-era Adams County PA and small towns are passe' anyway. In addition, I never could play up the merits of my hometown enough for others to see the special affirmation that comes with a rural lifestyle. I didn't fit in very well at first, but eventually hooked up with a very close circle of friends. I also had the best roommate in the world all four years.
So college was tough, but I made it through. I came out with a deeper understanding of people, and I also earned a broader view of the world. In addition, I got a bachelor's in math with a minor in statistics. Since, at the time, the only thing I could do with a math degree was teach high school or go to grad school, I went to grad school. I ended up at Colorado State University and pursued a PhD in statistics.
Grad school, to me, is about paying your dues. It was horrible and yet it was wonderful. What was more wonderful is that it ended. I thought it ended about the right time too. After one becomes the foremost expert on whatever the heck one's dissertation topic is, it's time to move on and shed the student lifestyle thing. My grad school experience was monastic, but I think that's about the only thing that got me through it. Well, that and a certain Men Without Hats tape that I had in an endless loop while I studied real analysis and measure theory.
In grad school, I had the great fortune to meet Zube. I daresay that Zube and I are cut from the same cloth. Zube and I had the pleasure of working together, running the CSU Stats computer systems. He did the hard work and I tried to distribute clue to the clueless professors and students. Because Zube is brilliant, he explained as much sysadmin stuff to me as my tiny little brain could deal with. I also picked up web skills and learned how to program lots of languages.
Grad school ended.
I couldn't believe it.
So I looked for jobs. Happily, statisticians with good programming skills were in huge demand, so I could pretty much write my own ticket. I ended up in the cancer unit of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. My job was to analyze cancer clinical trial data and see whether a new chemotherapy treatment is better than current chemotherapy regimens. Now I live in Los Angeles and work at a cancer hospital.
Let's see, what else..
I am a nice guy.
Another quote comes to mind:
People always say to me: "You're a real catch; why aren't you married?" And I always think "How the hell should I know? Why don't you ask the women who aren't dating me?"
-- TopFive Rumination sent in by Danielle
I have very few pictures of myself scanned. If you'd like to see what I look like, here is my passport picture. You may also look at the pictures from my Cambodia trip, in which two others and I taught high school coaches how to form a program that would culminate in a Cambodian Olympic Team. By the way, I just got contact lenses, so you'll have to use your brain to airbrush my glasses from these pictures.
My more unusual hobbies are:
Taxi-cab confession: I chronically confuse Kevin Pollak and Kevin Spacey.
I used to be in an Australian Rules Football League in which I pit my Manix Maulers against other footy teams. It would have been nice if I knew how to play footy, but that apparently wasn't a requirement to manage a team. If you'd like to read some funny stuff, check out the SPARF press releases.
Finally, I like the cartoon "Rocko's Modern Life".
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