Hi there! My name is Michael, I'm 31 years old (I really am getting old now!) and a researcher in computational science working at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury1 Laboratory near Warrington. Before that I spent five years completing an Engineering Doctorate (including a diploma in management) at the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at The University of Manchester, which is in Manchester, apparently. I was also there when the section of the university was called UMIST as I completed my first degree, a Masters in Chemical Engineering, in 2003.
While computational science and, to a lesser degree, chemical engineering are my (official) career interests, I also have a major passion for 'classical'2 music. As well as listening to it on CDs and my iPod, I also play piano and viola, violin, and I can *just* about play clarinet and recorders. I'm a member of many amateur orchestras as a violist and keyboard player, both in my hometown and in/around Manchester, and also a percussionist for a local brass band. I also compose and arrange music for various instrument groupings - I wrote a piece for a youth orchestra which they performed in July to some success and might lead to some more if I can get round to it. I am a fan of most composers' works, although my real passion is for music written by Shostakovich, Walton, Britten, Debussy, Beethoven and Bach. Hook me up to an iPod with e.g. all 15 Shostakovich symphonies, Britten's 'Peter Grimes', Mahler's 9 symphonies (and Das Lied von der Erde), Beethoven's 9 symphonies and Bach's Brandenburg Concerti and I'll be set for life! Mind you, I'm also a big fan of the Beatles and can often be found listening to Cole Porter and other musical music, Blur and possibly Slade and the Sweet if I can be bothered to buy any of their songs from iTunes!
I am also interested in languages and linguistics - one of my A-levels3 was German - but in particular, I have learnt to speak Esperanto - this is a language that was invented by a guy called Zamenhof in 1887 and believe it or not, it's still in use more than 120 years later! I've been to many Esperanto events, including one in the Czech Republic where I spoke with people from such places as Croatia, Italy, France, Germany, Iceland, Russia, China and Japan - such is the power of Esperanto, as I could never learn enough of those people's languages in my lifetime to speak to them! I have also done some voluntary work related to Esperanto - typing-in articles for the editor of 'La Brita Esperantisto' [The British Esperantist] and helping to recatalogue the Butler Library at the new Esperanto House (a very big task indeed!). By the way, my h2g2 name is made up from the Esperanto form of my name: well, sort of - the editor of 'La Brita Esperantisto' started calling me Mikeo and it's kinda stuck!
I am also interested in computers - to a point. I used to be very enthusiastic about them until a few years ago, but as exams for school and university piled up, I had started to lose track of emerging computer technology. However, thanks to the fact that I had to build a PC for my research, I have picked up on it again and I now use Linux4 as well as Windows (partly so I can do some hardcore programming as part of my job but also to satisfy the geek in me!). I have a particular interest in computers that were state-of-the-art when I was younger, such as the Dragon 32, Sinclair Spectrum and BBC micro. While the machines may now be under a bed or in the loft collecting dust, I can still experience the thrill of typing in programs thanks to emulators.
I also like to read from time to time - Hitchhiker's Guide by the sainted Douglas Adams is one of my favourite books (or more accurately, series of books), of course! But I am also a fan of the Harry Potter series, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and many factual books about subjects as diverse as codebreaking, (auto)biographies and political satire. (I now have an Amazon Kindle, so there's now almost no excuse for me not reading when I'm free.) I'm also a fan of comedy: I laugh to the antics of Graham Norton, Jasper Carrott, Paul Merton, Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Michael McIntyre, Russell Howard etc., and I regularly listen to the Radio 4 shows 'Just A Minute' and 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue'. I am also a fan of the older radio comedies, e.g. The Goon Show, Hancock's Half Hour, Round the Horne, Navy Lark, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again - most of which appear on BBC Radio 4 Extra - as well as some on TV, such as Monty Python's Flying Circus.
I'm also a Sub-Editor for h2g2, so if you've written any entries that have just been recommended by the Scouts, I could well be the lucky guy who edits them! (Mostly for grammar, layout and GuideML code, though - I generally leave content alone.) I've edited articles on many different topics: the entire list can be found somewhere on this page. I've also written entries on Shostakovich and the programming language Fortran, both of which have made it into the Edited Guide. If you have any comments, criticisms or nuggets of wisdom to share about my efforts, please feel free to leave a message.
Finally, I get to my personal life5. Now you could say I'm 'unstraight' or the G from LGBT. I've been contributing to h2g2's forum for LGBT people, M2M2 - The H2G2 Lesbigay Area - and not so long ago I became its editor. I'm currently in a relationship with a wonderful guy who I may end up marrying6. I've now come out to my immediate family: my three sisters, my mum and my step-dad all know, and I reckon at least an aunt and uncle and some cousins also know. I'm still up for making new friends with other gay people, so please don't hesitate to leave a message! You might also want to keep an eye on my journal, as I'll try to keep adding entries as various things happen.
Now I will hope for two things: firstly that you did not fall asleep while reading this introduction7, and secondly that you found it (and me) interesting enough for this h2g2 guide. I've already written one Edited Guide Entry, but I may eventually write another one on something else. For the moment though, I'll just keep nit-picking at other people's articles (both officially and unofficially) and updating things!
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Name: Mikeo the gregarious
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