[In Western astrology, that makes me a Gemini. For purposes of traditional Chinese fortune-telling, my eight characters (two each for year, month, day, hour) are 乙酉 (yĭ-yŏu), 辛巳 (xīn-sì;), 癸卯 (guĭ-măo), 乙卯 (yĭ-măo). There is a way to convert that into a weight, but I don't know the math.]
I lived with my parents, my sister Judith, and for a while our half-brother Noel, at the Perry Street lodgings until May 1948, when we moved to 62 Friars Avenue, in Delapre Estate on the south side of Northampton. I lived there until September 1963, when I left home to go to university in London.
I subsequently lived:
1963-1966: At various lodgings in London.
1966-1969: At various lodgings in Liverpool.
1969-1971: In London, first in lodgings, then in a house I co-owned in Manor Park.
1971-1973: In the Far East (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos).
1973: In London for a few months.
1973-1978 In rented rooms and apartments in New York City and Westchester County, New York.
1978-1979: At my parents' house in Northampton, but with a few weeks back in Hong Kong in the winter and spring of 1979.
1979-1980: At lodgings in Ealing, west London for the academic year, thereafter back home in Northampton.
1981: At lodgings in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, with a spell in Dublin during summer 1981, and a long visit to the U.S.A. in the fall.
1982-1983: First at lodgings in London; then in Siping, northeast China, for the academic year 1982-3.
1983-1984: At home in Northampton for a few weeks in the fall of 1983, then at lodgings in London.
1984-1985: In a rented apartment in Bloomsbury, London.
1985-1990: In a rented apartment in New York City. (Married 1986.)
1990-1991: First at the family home in Northampton, then at a flat we bought in the Isle of Dogs, London.
1991 onward: In New York City for a few months, thereafter in Huntington, Long Island.
I attended schools in Northampton: Far Cotton Primary School, 1950-1956, then Northampton School for Boys, 1956-1963. I attended University College London, 1963-66, graduating with a B.Sc. degree in mathematics.
The following year I was at Liverpool University School of education studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. I failed the final exam, one of only three out of 120 students to do so. Ignoring the hint, I spent two years as a schoolteacher in Liverpool, work for which I had neither interest nor aptitude. (In spite of failing the exam, the government somehow saw fit to certify me as a qualified teacher, I don't know why.)
In 1969 I switched careers, becoming a computer programmer for the National Data Processing Service in London. NDPS (later PODPS) was the computing arm of the Post Office, which was a government monopoly embracing not only the mails, but also the nation's telephone service. The first programs I wrote were for telephone billing. My job grade was APC-II, which is to say Assistant Postal Controller, grade 2. The gubmint had not yet got round to working out job grades for computer people.
In 1971 I commenced wandering, spending two years in the Far East before drifting to the U.S.A. in 1973. I stayed here for five years, most of it as a programmer and systems analyst for Savin Business Machines of Valhalla, New York.
In 1978 I returned to England. I went back to Hong Kong for a few months in 1979. During the summer of that year I worked as a construction laborer, helping to put up a factory for Avon Cosmetics on the south bank of the river Nene.
I spent the academic year 1979-1980 studying Chinese at Ealing College of Higher Education in London, graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Modern Chinese. This entitles me to put the legend P.G. Dip. Chin. after my name, but I keep forgetting to.
I taught accounting and computer science at a community college in Northampton during the fall term of 1980. For 1981 and most of 1982 I worked as a contract programmer/analyst in London and Dublin.
I spent the academic year 1982-1983 in northeast China, teaching English language and literature to college students. Then I returned to England.
In 1985 I went to New York to work for First Boston Corporation as a programmer. I stayed with the firm (which became Credit Suisse First Boston in 1988) until 1990, when I returned to England with my wife. We lived in England for a year or so, I doing contract systems analysis work, before going back to New York in 1991 at the request of CSFB. We lived in a flat in Queens for a few months, then bought our house in Huntington, New York.
In 1999 I ceased being an employee of CSFB, though I maintained my systems on a part-time contract basis until September 2001. Since that date I have been a full-time writer.
Through adult life I have been 6 ft. 1 in. and my weight has gradually increased from 170 lb. to 190 lb. I am healthy but not often fit. My IQ is 135. On the currently favored Big Five measures of personality, I score as follows. "Low" indicates scores within the bottom 30 percent for adult American males, "average" the middle 40 percent, "high" the top 30 percent.
Extraversion: Low. I am an introvert, "reserved, and quiet. You enjoy solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends."
Agreeableness: Low, "indicating less concern with others' needs than with your own. People see you as tough, critical, and uncompromising."
Conscientiousness: Low, "indicating you like to live for the moment and do what feels good now. Your work tends to be careless and disorganized."
Neuroticism: High, "indicating that you are easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be sensitive and emotional."
Openness to Experience: Average, "indicating you enjoy tradition but are willing to try new things. Your thinking is neither simple nor complex. To others you appear to be a well-educated person but not an intellectual."
Hmm. A disagreeable, disorganized, neurotic introvert who is moderately open to new experiences? Sounds right. "One of the Awkward Squad," according to my mother. Mothers know.
African Americans: "Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for European American compared to African American." This groups me with 27 percent of other respondents.
Asian Americans: "Your data suggest a moderate association of Asian American with American and European American with foreign compared to European American with American and Asian American with foreign." That puts me with a much more select six percent of respondents.
I am less astonished or dismayed by these results than some other test-takers (e.g. Malcolm Gladwell) have famously been, though I admit to being a bit baffled by that second one. I didn't realise I liked Asians that much. However, the IAT has been much criticized: see John Tierney and subsequent links here. (Added June 2009: The latest pro-IAT study is here.) (Added January 2017: Here's a later discussion.) (Added October 2017: Here's a debunking of the IAT by Heather Mac Donald.)
I married my wife, formerly Rosie Qi (齊紅玫) in August 1986. We have two children: Eleanor Muriel ("Nellie"), born January 5, 1993, and Daniel Oliver, born July 3, 1995. From June 1992 until January 2008 we were blessed with the love and companionship of a terrier mutt, Boris.
In July 2008 Toby, a Jack Russell terrier, joined the team. Toby left us in August 2018.
Basil, a terrier mix, took over as the Hound of the Derbyshires in November 2019.