Who is "Viking," you ask? Let's see...
The nickname came about originally on an MSN Groups site (one about GIF animation, of course). You need a nickname to be known by on those sites, so after some straining of the brain I chose "Viking." Why the nickname "Viking?" Well, my paternal grandfather came from Sweden, and his wife was from Norway. A good chunk of Nordic blood there. And on my mother's side, that's mostly from all over the British Isles with a hint of German and French. And we know the Vikings were running around there!
My interest in animation came about from surfing the web. I though all those neat little animated gif files were cool, and it would sure be neat to edit some and make my own. A wee bit of surfing later led me to a site featuring Ulead GIF Animator 4. I downloaded the trial, installed it, and started fiddling around with it. Well, it didn't take long to decide to buy the full version. Maybe a couple hours...
I eventually discovered there was a version 5 out there for Ulead's GIF Animator. Bought the upgrade and installed that, too. It was so different from 4 that I didn't use it much at first. But after I took a good look at what it could do, well... Been hooked ever since! It also worked nicely with Adobe's PhotoDeluxe Business Edition 1.0 that came with the old used PC I had at the time...
It didn't take me long to explore pretty much every facet of GA 5. A fellow GIF-making acquaintance on the internet was impressed by my knowledge and inspired me to write a tutorial on GA 5 (Ulead GIF Animator 5 Basics). Thus this site was born.
Presently I am moderator of the Web Utilities forum at the Corel User To User Web Board (formerly the Ulead User To User Web Board). For quite some time I was moderator/co-moderator of the Animation Station forum at the PhotoImpact International bulletin board, but I have stepped down from that for personal reasons.
Now for the boring background info...
I was born and raised in a very small town in the province of Saskatchewan. In a part of Saskatchewan that's not flat. (I'm sure Canadians will get the joke...) I lived in Saskatchewan until 1981, when I moved to Manitoba, the next province over to the East. I traded dry heat for humidity, and grasshoppers for mosquitoes. Not sure that was a good idea, but too late now. While I still have a soft spot for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are now my team. The Riders have won a few Grey Cups lately. It's the Bombers' turn!
You could say I was a geek from an early age... I was one of those weird kids that read encyclopaedias because I wanted to. I spent hours reading my parents' "TIME-Life Science and Nature Library" series. I used to make things from "junk" - spaceships, extra things for my GI Joes, toy submachine guns, whatever. And I would spend hours with Lego bricks!
I got my first computer in the early 80's, the old Commodore VIC-20. (I won it in an arcade video game competition, of all things.) It had a whole 5K of RAM, I believe. And so I taught myself programming. Now that was fun! I also ended up with a Radio Shack Color Computer 2 (AKA the Co-Co 2). I still have both of those stashed away in a closet.
After graduating from high school, I ended up taking computer programming, getting a diploma in 1986. BASIC, COBOL, Systems Analysis, Accounting, Database stuff and more. It was so much fun, I couldn't call it work... Then a bunch of other stuff happened. I won't bore anyone with details.
Back to the present...
By day, Viking works for a large Canadian federal government department. Nothing fancy, I just wear a headset and answer the phone. If it's technology and it's not working, other folks in our department, from all across Canada, call us. (I hear we look after some 26,000 people. Glad they don't call all at once!) If we can't help over the phone, we dispatch "the tech guys." I've had other illustrious careers, like gas jockey, pizza delivery guy, restaurant work, and working in a hog-processing plant, to name a few. Tried self-employment once - it was fun for a while, but didn't pay the bills in the long run.
These days, much of my spare time is spent with a very wonderful woman... Deneene. This is the lady I've been looking for all my life! Besides her charm, wit, smarts and numerous other qualities, she's an amazingly talented artist. Breathtaking work... She's also quite handy with doing home renovation things, too.
I could ramble on and on about Deneene for quite a while, but I'll refrain from that - for now. This lady is a keeper for sure!
By night, when Deneene isn't keeping me busy, I can be found on the computer. Fiddling with graphics, surfing various interesting sites, poking around with new software, and once in a while I actually work on this website! Not often enough, though, as there are still a few tutorials I would like to get written and posted here. I also find myself answering others' computer-related questions, via web, email or otherwise.
I am the father of two handsome little boys, who live with their mom. They keep me busy on the weekends, that's for sure! A guy could not ask for better kids. Well, you could, but you wouldn't get them.
Home is about 20 minutes from Winnipeg, Manitoba, out in "the sticks." It's quiet, and one can actually see the stars at night, unlike in the city. It's a bit of a drive to work, but the peace and quiet is worth it.
Apparently my personality type is "INTJ." If you're into that sort of thing...
Other stuff I like or like to do, or would like to get back to doing if I could find time:
- Watching a Winnipeg Jets game. Go Jets Go!
- Games - Chess, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Boggle, Dungeons & Dragons, card games, and others on occasion. I don't play games on the computer, but I do like "Perfect Dark" and "Goldeneye 007" for the Nintendo 64, and Mario Kart 64 with Deneene. She says I cheat at that one!
- Calligraphy, pottery, drawing, woodworking, writing and other "artsy, creative" stuff. I've also done a bit of scratch-building of 1/6 scale things, and dabbled in a bit of sculpting. If I could get some spiffy power tools, I'd be inclined to make some furniture - one can always use more bookcases and stuff!
- Reading - don't do enough of that these days! J. R. R. Tolkien, Tom Clancy, and other stuff in the fantasy genre. Magazines like Discover, Popular Science, and anything else that's full of interesting information.
- Astronomy - I do have a telescope that could use some exercise...
- Photography - I've got a nice old Pentax K-1000 SLR camera that takes great pictures. Just need to get it fixed! I finally got a nice little digital camera, but seem to forget to get it out and use it. I'll have to remedy that.
- Tromping in the wilderness. Camping where no other humans are. If I can see people, we haven't gone far enough. Setting up camp with a few hundred other tents and trailers in sight isn't camping.
- Music: Classic Rock (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, lots more), Metal (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Savatage, etc.), and much mellower things (like Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Jean Michel Jarre, assorted medieval-era music), to the usual mainstream stuff. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is pretty cool. One of the best live shows ever! Deneene and I have managed to see them in Winnipeg that last two years. When they return, we'll be there, as close to the front row as possible. Within Temptation is also really good. I must say I'm very impressed with Nightwish. Their album Dark Passion Play is awesome! And we can't forget RUSH. Nobody drums like Neil Peart. Pretty much everything, but Country, Rap, Hip Hop and Jazz are tastes I cannot seem to acquire.
- Movies: The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is the best! I never thought anyone could do the books justice, but Peter Jackson did a brilliant job! Action flicks, Sci-Fi, James Bond, a good comedy. Monty Python's Holy Grail, anyone? Jabberwocky, too.
- Favourite Beers: Fort Garry Dark Ale, brewed in Winnipeg by Fort Garry Brewing Company; Maudite and La Fin Du Monde by Unibroue in Quebec. Mighty tasty stuff indeed.
- You'll never see me without: My coffee mug. Mmmm, coffee...
- I'd like to get back into some serious computer programming. As mentioned earlier, I got a diploma in it way back in the '80s, before that thing called "Windows." Anyone remember DOS and those green monochrome monitors? I still recall when 64 kilobytes of RAM was lots! That's not enough memory to store a decent jpeg picture nowadays.
- Beware my sense of humour... I like puns and telling jokes, and if you give me a straight line, I'll jump on it.
- Preferred house pet: A cat. When it's -40 outside, you don't have to walk a cat when nature calls.
- I finally renewed my Mensa membership. I've yet to go hang out with the other nerds and geeks... Time and energy is hard to find! Must remedy that.
- When I'm not using my computer, it's busy looking for aliens... I can't say I've found any with SETI@home (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence), but I'd swear I've seen some aliens out on the streets now and then! ;)
- Checking out car shows with Deneene... There are lots of really nice cars in this neck of the woods! My hard drive is filling up with photos...
- Dressing up in funny hats...
You have to love high-speed internet access! I don't miss dial-up at all...
There, that's enough information to satisfy most of your questions...