In the infinite space that is the world wide web, it appears that most web sites have a page entitled something like "About us". For a business, I find the information especially useful. I like to understand the history of the company, where they are located, etc prior to doing business with them. For people with blogs, I can be informed, in a small way, about their tastes, character and their life's philosophy. Since, like myself, I believe most people find such information useful, I have added the obligatory 'about me' page here.
This site started as a method to host and distribute the LaTeX style guide I had written for use with Montana State University's (MSU) electronic theses and dissertations (ETD's). It was originally hosted on one of the free sites that MSU gives to all students. After I graduated and no longer had a free site, I created a google site to host the files. While the site was free, it left me longing for more as I could not customize it the way I wanted nor give it my own name. I then purchased the domain name and self hosted on an old computer sitting in my utility closet. It first ran ArchLinux and then Debian. However, I ran into several issues for site visitors which included uptime, bandwidth and IP address. I either had to setup DNS to point to my machine (not difficult) or purchase a static IP from my ISP and thus increasing operation costs. I opted for a web hosting service instead as I was already paying for the domain name. After considerable searching and looking at available options, I decided to use Hostmonster for a cadre of reasons. The site grew from there as I realized what I could do with the space. I have not dedicated as much time to this as I would have liked so, as of yet, you will not find sourdough or dutch oven recipes. However, you will find interesting tidbits and things that I have posted here for my own reference.
On hstuff, I will often contribute my point of view regarding many issues including such hot topics as dutch ovens or national and world events. If there is something you like or don't like please feel free to let me know and, if you so choose, you may share that for the world to see as a comment. It is important to carry on a respectful discussion of ideas. I learned a long time ago that it is easy to surround yourself with people who think the same way as you but you learn more by being around those with opposing opinions. I will be polite and respectful and ask of you to do the same. If you feel the need to be rude or disrespectful, I will ask you to leave and will remove such comments. I understand that some topics can cause heat under the collar in the moment, however in lieu of letting our emotions carry us to actions we may regret, let us all take the time to reflect and put together a respectful and coherent argument. In this way, we can more effectively share our points of view and perhaps someone, who did not previously, will agree with us.
Some may be interested in the banner image at the top of this site. It is actually a composite image taken by astronauts during the Apollo 17 mission. This image and others may be found on the Lunar and Planetary Institute's website. A couple years ago I met a young man (probably about 20 years old) that asked what I do for work. I told him about lasers and several applications. Somehow I mentioned that lasers are used to accurately measure the distance to the moon using the retroreflector arrays left by the Apollo missions. He looked at me as if I were an alien as his jaw about hit the floor. I noticed his reaction and paused. He then composed himself and asked "We landed on the moon?" I responded with an affirmative and that there were several successful missions with men actually walking on the surface. I added that it has been more than thirty years since anyone has returned there. I didn't think there was anyone left who, like this lad, honestly didn't know (this is Much different than denial) we had landed on the moon.
There is yet another item I should mention here. Despite some assertions against me, I am not a techno-phobe; as is, in part, evidenced by building and operating this site myself and is seen elsewhere herein. I just happen to like privacy. By which I mean to assert that I want to be in control of the release of my information. I do not want some corporation sifting through my emails to gather and sell information about me. Those are often private and personal, which many companies want to use in order to determine my real desires and thus, so they think, serve me ads on which I am more likely to click. Things I put here, on the other hand, are open and may be data mined. Information has a price. If I let the company get that from me, they don't have to share in the profits. However, if I control my information more closely, I can sell it.