Okay, so, I’m late to the Blogtag game, but better late than never, right?Â I’m not sure who came up with this, but the idea behind the game is that you have to tell 5 things about yourself that most of your readers might not know, and then “tag” five other bloggers by linking to them. Stephan tagged me  back around Christmas timeframe, and I was so busy vacationing, and then getting back into work-groove that I neglected to play out my piece in this cool little SEOÂ meme. So, here goes.
Five Things You Didnâ€™t Know About Me:
1. – I’m fascinated by the Voynich Manuscript . It’s compelling to me as an enduring mystery — likely one of the top seven mysteries in the modern world. Many cryptographers and linguists have attempted to decode it, and failed!  If I thought it wasÂ more thanÂ an antique hoax, I’d be writing my own Perl scripts to try to break the code down. My first decoding book was written by Martin Gardner , and I used what I learned from it in third grade to break a coded message I found in my great-great-grandmother’s autograph book. I guess the takeaway is that I’m just damn compelled by puzzles. I used to compete with people in high school to see who was the fastest at solving mixed-up Rubik’s Cubes. I think my record was right around 42 seconds. (I’m not that fast anymore, but I’m obviously still a geek.)
2. – I’m a painter. Yup – I’ve always had aspirations to do art professionally, though I’ve only done commercial art for brief whiles in the past. I don’t practice my art as much as I’d like because I’m always getting sucked into working on technical puzzles. One of my best friends is an artist named Margaret Withers . Her art is completely different from mine. I’m generally realistic and surrealistic, while hers is much more expressionistic with a delightful quirkiness. If I tried to do “quirky”, it would fall on its face. (BTW, Margaret and her husband have been trying for months to sell their house in Denver , so if you’re in the market please take a look at it. It’s a great house — I stayed there recently and I wished it was in Dallas area where I could buy it. I’ll even go out on a limb — if you’ll buy the house, I betcha Margaret would agree to throw in one of her marvelous paintings!)
3. – I’m from the Deep South — my family is from Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. But, I don’t have a southern accent unless I’m visiting Mississippi and am trying to fit in (believe me, it’s just much easier if you speak the lingo down there). My grandfather’s family were way into steam engines, and he worked on enginery all of his life. He managed something like 10 refrigeration plants in Tenn/Miss, and he also worked on amusement park rides at Libertyland , including the rollercoaster, billed as the nation’s oldest until the park closed in 2005. One of my favorite pieces of Southern architecture is Waverly Mansion – one of the antebellum plantation homes which escaped the torches of the Northern Aggressors.
(Note: I’m just saying “Northern Aggressors” to be funny.) Waverly was renowned by the book documenting the Thirteen Ghosts of Mississippi — and I heard the real story directly from old Mrs. Snow’s lips herself.
4. – I like goth music. I know, it’s generally not acceptable by polite society! Some of us are just “fashion victims”, though, and we can’t be all “perfect” in the same bland, vanilla, mainstream way that everyone else is.  In fact, I am one of the founding fathers of the online goth group of the Dallas area, and used to be called the “gothfather” of Dallas until I placed a ruling Cabal into place so I could fade into obscurity. Please donâ€™t fear me because of my underground contacts, though â€“ I donâ€™t bite. Much.
5. – I’m a voracious reader and book collector, nearly bordering on the mentally-insane definition of “bibliomania”. My favorite dead author is Lewis Carroll, famous mathematician of the Victorian age, best known as the children’s book author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking-Glass. I’m such a fan of those works that I became a member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America  back in high school, though I only seem to pay my dues intermittently these days. As a member of the inner circle, I do happen to know a number of secrets, like: (1) why the Cheshire Cat smiles even though real cats in Cheshire don’t seem inclined to go around smiling; (2) why one of the chapters in Through The Looking-Glass was Suppressed before publication in 1868 (and lost to posterity until unearthed and republished by Society members in the seventies); (3) why a Raven is like a Writing Desk; (4) who the real life person was that likely inspired the Mad Hatter character; and (5) how to get past that insane Duchess monster in American McGee’s Alice video game. My favorite living author is the Californian fabulist, James P. Blaylock, of whom I’ve authored a comprehensive bibliography which includes the works of his best friend and author, Tim Powers. Itâ€™ll soon to be published, if I can overcome the difficulties in leather binding by hand.
Five Blogs I’m Tagging:
Matt McGee  – A damn fine expert in the local space, Matt is now the SEO for Marchex, and he can be found at SES conferences speaking about small business SEM.
Chris Irby  – Chrisâ€™s acidic political commentary and stories from his personal life crack me up. Chris also happens to be doing SEO copy writing for me at the moment, so please donâ€™t attempt to steal him from me.
Iâ€™ll tag Laura Lippay , SEO for Yahoo, though sheâ€™s already been tagged earlier. Sheâ€™s a former circus entertainer (!) turned tech maven, so naturally I feel some sort of freakish affinity to her. We respectable corporate freaks have to stick together.
Henk van Ess, who blogs at Search Bistro , (informatiewebsite van de zoekmachine). Henk has occasionally outed some interesting Google info, making him an irresistible read for any SEO, though he hasnâ€™t posted recently, or frequently enough.
Amanda Palmer  – Iâ€™ll also tag Amanda Palmer, one of the principals of the fantastic alternative music band, the Dresden Dolls , which I first got to hear at a concert in the East Village. I confess, I have a mild crush on Amanda for her mix of punk defiance, clever performance artistry, and vintage-influenced fashions. She reminds me just a bit personality-wise of Hazel Oâ€™Connorâ€™s character in the tragic Breaking Glass film . Maybe sheâ€™ll let me buy her dinner next time Iâ€™m in Boston and weâ€™ll see if I can break her out of her current angstiness following the apparent recent breakup of the Dresden Dolls.