(relative to me, of course)
A brief history of time:
Back to my home page.
- [Undisclosed date], 1971: I
come into the world two weeks late (my mother never lets me forget
it). This inaugurates the new millenium.
NOTE: Everyone who argues whether the millenium started
Jan 1, 2000 or Jan 1, 2001 is just plain wrong. The start of a millenium
is a wholly arbitrary decision. As far as I'm concerned, it started with my
- 1971-1989: grew up in Newport News, VA
(school year) and Gaeta, Italy (most summers).
- Learned to understand, speak, read,
& write English & Italian. La mamma è italiana.
- Read a lot more than was probably
healthy for my future social life. But, I was in bed with asthma a lot.
What should I have done, submitted to the opiate of the masses and watched
- Walked the aisle at the altar call
to join Hilton Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Church, around age 12.
Maybe 10. Somewhere around then.
- Labored as a lawn mower, paperboy,
and fast food employee (Hardee's). As a consequence of Pavlov's principle,
I now hate the smell of grease.
- Attended the Governor's School for
Math and Science at Virginia Tech University in the summer of 1988.
- Spent prom night working at Hardee's.
The basketball team captain brought his date to say hi & bum a Sprite
- Learned to program in BASIC.
I am not proud of this.
- Learned rudimentary Latin. Salvete omnes.
- Graduated salutatorian from Warwick high school.
- 1989-1993: attended Marymount University
in Arlington, VA. Majored in mathematics.
If their alumni web server is working (not
usually), my old personal space was
- Labored as a fast food employee
(Wendy's), math tutor, math grader, research assistant, and computer programmer.
- Learned to program in Pascal, Modula-2,
and C. I did not choose to learn C; it was foisted on me. To my dying day,
I will wish C had never seen the light of day, and wish Modula-2 had become
the dominant systems-programming language.
- Worked as a programmer one summer
for Contemporary Cybernetics and one summer for CEBAF (now Jefferson
- Graduated magna cum laude
with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Mathematics Education. I minored
in Computer Science.
- 1993-1995: attended Northern Arizona University
in Flagstaff, AZ. Majored in mathematics.
- Labored as a teaching assistant
and a math tutor.
- Entered into full communion with
the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1994 at Nativity Catholic
Church (now Nativity Chapel).
- Discovered the Liturgy of the Hours.
- Fell in love with a woman & had the
courage to admit it to her. To our surprise, the feelings were mutual.
- Read a fascinating excerpt from
Srinivasa Ramanujan's notebooks on continued fractions that neither I
nor my thesis adviser could decrypt. So, instead of writing a thesis,
I took an oral exam.
- Graduated with a Master's degree
- 1995-1997: taught high school at Franklin
County High School in Rocky Mount,VA. (Yes, Virginia, not the other
- Taught Technical Algebra, Algebra,
Math Analysis, and Honors Math Analysis. Ran after-school tutoring.
- Summer of 1996: volunteered for
work in Jersey City, New Jersey at Christ the King parish.
- My fiancee and I agreed that I needed
to explore a religious calling. We broke up. She later married a great guy
and they now have two sons and two daughters. I am godfather to the second daughter.
- 1997-1998: attended the University of Saint Mary of
the Lake, supposedly one of the premier Catholic seminaries in the
- First fortune cookie from a dinner
at seminary: There is yet time to take a different path. Thought
it was kind of funny, at the time...
- Read a lot of theology and philosophy
(obviously), including Karl Rahner, Luke Timothy Johnson, Raymond E. Brown,
and other stalwarts of contemporary Catholicism, without neglecting Saint
Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, and others in the Catholic tradition.
- Read perhaps a bit more about exorcism
than I should have. Possession is a real phenomenon, and it's pretty terrifying.
- Visited a lot of sick people in
hospitals. The patients probably taught me a lot more than I taught them.
- Summer of 1998: served as a resident
seminarian at Holy Family Catholic
Church in Virginia Beach, VA. More hospital work.
- Learned some Spanish.
once considered this the happiest time of my
life. I decided to leave, against the advice of just about everyone involved
in my seminary formation.
- Note: During the 2002 priest-sex
abuse scandal, many people have alleged a pervasive subculture of homosexuality
within the Catholic priesthood. There was even a book published that garnered
a lot of attention.
I myself am decidedly heterosexual. I did not observe
any homosexual activity at my seminary. I did not observe anyone advocating
it. What I did observe was a very mature and very healthy view of
sexuality that MTV and its ilk sorely lack. I did observe a lot of
heterosexual men talking about healthy relationships they had had with women.
Some, like myself, had left a relationship to pursue God's call, and this
was not easy. Never did I observe the widespread dysfunction
that so many people allege. These allegations constitute a slander against
the most decent men I have ever known, largely for reason of Church politics.
This is not to deny the existence of a homosexual subculture
in the Catholic priesthood. I merely repudiate the notion that such a subculture
is accepted, encouraged, or even of such mythic proportions as has recently
been tossed about in the press, including certain Catholic authors
who are more interested in polemics than truth.
- 1999: taught at Marymount University
in Arlington, Virginia.
- I was officially a "lecturer in computer
science" although I didn't lecture one bit in computer science.
- In reality, I supervised computer labs,
and lectured in two math courses.
- Learned Java in my spare time.
Wrote some pretty darn good educational applets. Also studied Oberon and Eiffel. I much wish people
would teach these languages instead of C-based languages.
- 1999-2005: teaching assistant and research
assistant at North Carolina State University
in Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Courses taught/teaching at NC State include:
- Calculus I
- Concepts in Mathematics
- Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry
- Ph.D. research in Computer Algebra. Studied:
- the Macaulay matrix (also known as
the multivariate Sylvester matrix);
- the behavior of Gröbner bases
- ways of deciding, or detecting, that an ideal basis is a Gröbner basis.
- My advisor was
Course taught at Meredith College: College
- Courses taught at
Durham Technical Community
College: Trigonometry and Calculus II.
- Taught at a Huntington Learning Center
for five months.
- Took up biking to work for exercise, to
save money on gas, and to satisfy the small part of my conscience that
strives for "environmental responsibility". (That's also why I grew a beard
the summer of 2002: they told us to conserve water since we're in a drought.
I shave the old-fashioned way to conserve electricity, so...)
Dissertation Title: Combinatorial Criteria for Gröbner
Bases Under Composition. There's a copy in my office, if you'd like
to see it.
- Graduated with a Ph.D.
Fell in love with a Russian pen pal and visited Russia
- Married during the summer of 2005.
This was a "buy one, get one free" deal, so I also acquired a son.
- 2005-2006: Assistant Professor at
North Carolina Wesleyan
- 2006: Birth of my first daughter.
- Summer 2006: "Problem writer" (or something like that) at Advanced Instructional Systems, Inc. AKA Webassign.
- 2006-Present: Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. I teach mathematics and research Gröbner bases in particular and computer algebra in general.
- 2007: Birth of my second daughter.
- Summer 2007 and Summer 2008: AP Reader, Calculus.