Hand-crafted Knot Jewelry:
Decorative Marlingspike Seamanship rendered in precious metal.
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  • "Who is this guy 'Loren' anyway?"
  • "Why this obsession with Turk's Heads?"
  • "Why do you give away so many cotton bracelets?"
  • "Were you in the Boy Scouts?"
  • "How big an operation is "Golden Knots"?"
  • "What do you mean by 'lead'?"
  • "All your knots have an odd # of leads. Do you ever use even numbers?"
  • "What's the difference between a 'lead' and a 'strand'?"
  • "I don't understand your pricing list - what do you mean by 'single', 'double', 'triple'?"
  • "Is there a price difference if I choose twisted wire instead of plain wire?"
  • "How do I figure out what size I want?"
  • "What patterns do you recommend?"
  • "What is the difference between a finger ring and the settings for your opals and other gems?"
  • "You seem to have a lot of opals on your site. Aren't they unlucky?"
  • "If I order one now, how long til I get it?"
  • "How do I get in touch with you?"
  • "I asked for a 5x11 ring in a size 6, and you said no. Why not?"
  • "Why can't I have one of your rings in a very narrow style?"
  • "Some of your rings have gaps between the wires, how come?"
  • "What do you do with the ends of the wire?"
  • "What happens if a wire breaks?"
  • "How thick are your rings?"
  • "How do I keep my ring clean?"
  • "Why don't you have any necklaces like your rings on your site?"
  • "Why are your prices so high?"
  • "Your rings seem more complex than others I've seen. Shouldn't you charge even more?"
  • "What metals do you prefer, and why?"
  • "How do I know it's safe to order from some yahoo I've never even heard of?"
  • "Why don't you take credit cards on your website?"
  • "Why do you link to others who could be considered your competitors?"
  • "Will you link to my site, or let me link mine to yours?"
  • "May I borrow images from your site?"
  • "Will you teach me how to make jewelry like yours?"
  • "What can I expect if I take one of your workshops?"
  • "Do you sell wire, plain or twisted?"
  • "Who develops and maintains your website?"
  • "How do you do your photography?"
  • "Why is your background "default" grey?"
  • "Did you know you misspelled 'Marlinspike?"
  • "May I ask you a very personal question?"
  • "Is there a reason you have links to sites about Asperger's Syndrome??"
  • "How many of these questions did you make up?"

  • "Who is this guy 'Loren' anyway?"
    As you can see from the picture on the links page, and on another page with various shots, I'm a middle aged guy with a red face and not much hair, at least for now. I was born in the early fifties, observed the hippie generation mostly from the sidelines, and managed to survive the Viet Nam war by dint of becoming a technician instead of a killing machine. The former might not pay as well, but it's a more marketable skill. That's what I've been doing ever since, anyway, up until the end of 2006, when I retired from the aerospace industry. (back)

    "Why do you give away so many cotton knots?"
    I make cotton Turk's-head knots almost constantly, because I find the process of doing so very soothing, and if I kept them all I would soon run out of room. They are ideal conversation starters, too, so when I finish one I look around for a pretty girl to present it to, if I can manage it. Generally, whenever someone comes up and asks me what I'm doing, I will give them one.

    It would be unethical to charge money to some if I'm willing to give them for free to others, so they are not for sale. (back)

    "Why this obsession with Turk's Heads?"
    Why not? The regularity and symmetry of the knot is very appealing to me, and lends itself well to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional applications. My rings (and other items) are extremely tactile objects, they have a "feel" to them that is different from all other jewelry I've ever handled. Even when I use ordinary materials to tie these knots, string, small stuff, or rope, they are pleasant to work with and to hold in the hand. I have some other knots that could very well work their way into my repertoire, but I doubt if I will ever exhaust the possibilities of the Turk's Head Knot. (back)

    "Were you in the Boy Scouts?"
    As a matter of fact, I spent a few months in the Cub Scouts, but that didn't last long. You have to understand that, at that age, I could spell, pronounce, and define the word "nonconformist", so there wasn't much for us to talk about in the Webelow Den. I read the manual and admired the goals, though. (back)

    "How big an operation is "Golden Knots"?"
    "Operation"? That's rather grandiose . . . I make the jewelry by myself. The work is very hard, in a way, but it's a bit like knitting, a few small tools, a minimal work area, and some jazz, and off I go. I've been doing it since late in 1980, and it is now my full-time job, as well as my full-time passion. I have a helper who makes some of the fixtures that I distribute in the workshops that I teach, but I made the tools that he uses to perform that task.
    You probably meant "How many of those things do you make?", though. Well, not all that many. When I first started making them, one ring would take me up to forty hours to complete, and I couldn't possibly sell anything so horribly labor intensive. I would make something, though, and give it to a family member or friend. As time went on, I became a bit more efficient, and I can now expect to finish a gold or platinum one in just a few days, if I concentrate. I can do silver rings much more quickly, and my students generally finish one in less than a day at my workshops. (back)

    "What do you mean by 'lead'?"
    A Turk's Head looks just like a braid, if you only look at one side of the knot, and you're probably familiar with a regular braid that someone would use in their hair. Normally such a braid would be in three parts, with one going over and under the other two at any given spot. A knot with three parts would be a "three lead" knot. Mine start with five leads, because I don't think three are enough. You can see some pictures of rings with five, seven, nine, and eleven leads on another page, and perhaps that will help explain it.(back)

    "All your knots have an odd # of leads. Do you ever use even numbers?"
    There are actually a few rings with even numbers of leads, but I find odd numbers more esthetically pleasing, possibly as an aspect of my Asperger's. I made a ring with six leads and nine bights, which took three separate paths to complete, and another ring with four leads and ten bights, which took two. There is at least one four=lead knot with nine bights out there, as well. (back)

    "What's the difference between a 'lead' and a 'strand'?"
    Think about long hair in a braid, which would normally be a three-part braid. There are a lot of strands of hair, but they all follow one of three paths through the braid. My rings frequently have more than one strand in each path, or lead. If you look at the page that attempts to explain about leads, you will see that some of the more complex rings only have one strand in them. (back)

    "I don't understand your pricing list - what do you mean by 'single', 'double', 'triple'?"
    If the wire only goes all the way through the knot once, it is a "single strand", even though you see it in each path. If it is then tucked into the same path again, all the way through, it is "doubled", etc. I have a page that shows the differences in single, double or triple strands. (back)

    "Is there a price difference if I choose twisted wire instead of plain wire?"
    No difference. That's because although it is much easier to tie a knot in twisted wire than it is to tie the same knot in the same amount of solid wire, the additional work to turn that solid wire into the three-strand twisted material means that I end up spending just as much time and effort on either pattern. I can't buy twisted wire, as I am the only person who makes it the way I do, and the process is lengthy. (back)

    "How do I figure out what size I want?"
    The easiest way would be to go to a local jeweller and ask to be sized, but there are other ways. If the finger in question is available to you (your own, for example, or that of someone who is aware that they are receiving a ring) you could use the paper strip method. Take a quarter-inch wide strip of paper that is several inches long and wrap it around where the ring would be. Don't pull it snug, or leave it too loose, adjust it to a comfortable fit that will not fall off, but still be removeable. Once you've got it right, make a mark that will show on all the layers, especially the inside two, of the paper band. I would recommend sticking a pin through it, though not while it is on your finger. The paper is then unrolled and the distance between the marks, when measured carefully, will tell you the circumference of the ring. There is a discussion of this >here<.
    If you are trying to match a finger attached to someone who is unaware of the circumstances (surprise gifts are fun, aren't they?) you can use different tactics. If they have a ring, swipe it and measure it. (The above method, using a strip of paper inside the ring instead of around the finger, will do nicely.) If that is not an option, you could try wandering around the mall with the unsuspecting party and lure him/her into checking out rings at one of the stores there, then go back later and examine the one that seemed the best fit. This might require a bit of deceit and misdirection, but it's for a good cause, so tell your conscience to stuff it.
    Important note! If you are measuring yourself, or someone else, for one of my rings, please bear in mind that all of my rings are wide. Although there are some narrower rings in my display, they normally range from 1/3 inch (8mm), on up, even as wide as 3/4 inch (18mm). For this reason, normal ring gages, those graduated sets of rings that you slip onto your finger, and which are marked in ring sizes, should be the widest ones you can find. If the gage is not at least a quarter of an inch wide, add a half size to your selection. (back)

    "What pattern do you recommend?"
    As is usual in such cases, the first answer is a question: what are you looking for? Do you want something that will only be worn for special occasions, or are you looking for something you can wear all the time without thinking about it? As a general rule, the more open and airy a knot is, the more delicate it will be as jewelry. In addition, twisted strands of wire will be more flexible than solid strands of the same diameter.
    For the strongest and most durable rings, I would recommend all solid wire, in either a doubled or tripled knot. (Single strands tend to be very open, unless stretched out so far that they start to distort the even flow of the weave.) When tripled, the center strand can be twisted without any loss of strength. If you want to chop wood while wearing one, it'll probably be fine.
    Rings made with all twisted strands are comparable to very heavy cloth -- it is possible to see one flex if you compress it between thumb and forefinger, depending on the thickness of the wire, of course. Twisted rings can be a little more vulnerable to edge impacts, and though I will wear any of my rings while working with tools, I recommend that twisted wire rings be removed for most manual tasks.
    For a given size of ring, one must also decide if it should be loosely woven or tight, and this affects the strength of any wire pattern. For maximum strength, the ring should be made just barely large enough so that it is at full flex when worn, with a minimum of open space between strands. The more open the weave, the more easily one strand can ride up over its neighbor.
    It doesn't matter how strong or weak a ring is, never wear one while climbing trees, working with electrical eqipment, or with engines or motors. Just a word to the wise. One of the rings I repaired recently was just a little weaker than the finger wearing it, fortunately for the owner. (back)

    "What is the difference between a finger ring and the settings for your opals and other gems?"
    Almost no difference at all, since the principle is identical. I measure a gem to find its "ring size", then make a ring to fit it. The fact that they are seldom round means that I have to use other methods to measure them, that's all. (back)

    "You seem to have a lot of opals on your site. Aren't they unlucky?"
    I'd say that being ruled by superstitious fear would be pretty unlucky for anyone. Blaming one's personal luck, good or bad, on a totem or ritual or the favor or disfavor of some supernatural force is up to the individual. All I can say is, opals have had no baneful influence on me or anyone I've ever known. Recipients of them as gifts are lucky they didn't have to pay for them, themselves, I would think. (back)

    "If I order one now, how long til I get it?"
    That depends on several factors. For a while during the summer, I had quite a bit of spare time, so I managed to get a little ahead of things. I've been trying to accumulate an inventory so I can enter some shows and display my work in person, as opposed to online. Right now I have maybe a dozen pieces, four or five of them new, pretty pathetic as a display, but I expect to add more. When an order comes in for a ring, all other jewelry goes to the back burner. I've never had more than a couple orders waiting to be completed at the same time, (frequently, none at all) so generally I would predict that a ring would be completed within a week of my receiving a validated deposit, and shipped as soon as the balance is paid off.

    (A rather critical factor in all of this is that I must be able to exchange information with you. If you don't provide me with a valid email address, or a telephone number, I will be unable to respond. If your mailbox is blocked, or your email host requires some sort of handshaking or pre-approval, my messages will simply bounce into oblvion.) (back)

    "How do I get in touch with you?"
    If you are online with someone else's system, so that you can't email me at lorenzo@golden-knots.com, I would encourage you to visit my comment page and dash off a note to me there. Remember, I am not a good guesser when it comes to email addresses, so spelling counts.

    To write to me, use this address:

    Loren Damewood
    P.O.Box 48543
    St. Petersburg, FL 33743-8543

    To call:

    (727) 347-0593 (24/7)
    You can also sometimes find me online.

    AOL Instant Messenger: goldknots


    "I asked for a 5x11 ring in a size 6, and you said no. Why not?"
    There just isn't room enough in a ring that size for that many crossings, as each wire takes up at least as much room as its diameter, more in an open weave. I would have to use such thin wire for that ring that it would collapse the first time you picked up something heavy or put your hand into your pocket. I normally do not use wire thinner than about thirty thousandths of an inch in a single-strand ring, though multi-strand rings, due to the support the wires give each other in parallel, can be made with wire as thin as twenty five thousandths.
    If you look at the page where prices are listed, you will see that each model of ring has a range of sizes associated with it. These are based on the ratio of the number of loops around the edge to the circumference of the ring. I refer to this as the"loop density", and if you look at the various rings displayed here you will see that they all fall within a narrow range. The loosest ring shown has a density of 2.8 loops per inch, and the wires move freely back and forth when flexed. The tightest one is 4.5 loops per inch, and it is very tight indeed, almost no movement possible within the knot. (back)

    "Why can't I have one of your rings in a very narrow style?"
    Due to the nature of the knots themselves, and the material involved, it is unlikely that I could make a ring that is less than a third of an inch wide. It would be physically possible, but you couldn't wear it for five minutes without messing it up, since the wire would have to be extremely thin - you could crumple it in your hand. It'd look nice in a display case, though.
    If you want to get a ring with fewer leads, Fair Winds Design, AGA Correa are in the business and they will undoubtedly be happy to accommodate you. I do not work with fewer than four leads, and prefer five or more. (back)

    "Some of your rings have gaps between the wires, how come?"
    Remember, these are hand made. If there were a machine making them on an assembly line, they'd probably all come out perfect, identical, and worth about as much as the material costs, certainly no more. Even were I to do what I might consider to be a "perfect" job, I could never expect to make another ring that exactly duplicated it, even if I wished to do so. (back)

    "What do you do with the ends of the wire?"
    When I use a single strand, I bring the two ends together and solder them. I usually try to get the joint well soldered, but not invisible, since everyone gets a charge out of being able to say "Hey, I found where the ends are!"

    For cases where I bring the single strand through again, parallel with the first, I just rely on the structure of the knot, and overlap them, though I will fuse parallel ends together when one is a twisted strand. I have a picture of the inside of a ring that illustrates this. (back)

    "What if a wire breaks?"
    If there is a problem with a ring, I would prefer that it be sent back to me for repair, though there are maybe a couple of things I might trust another jeweller to take care of. I've repaired individual broken wires before and had the ring looking as good as new, but if I can't get it satisfactorily repaired, I'll just tie a new one. This assumes that the piece in question has not been subjected to abuse of some sort. I recommend removing jewelry whenever one does any mechanical work, or when working with open electrical wiring. In addition, wearing another ring on an adjacent finger so that it can contact one of my knots is certain to cause excessive wear, and I strongly recommend against doing so.

    The following circumstances will void the warranty:
    • Wearing the ring as a "pinky" ring.
    • Wearing a second ring which will physically contact either the edges, or the outer face, i.e. on the same finger or an adjacent finger.
    • Attempting "home repair". Soldering, kinking, or untying the ring in any way, in other words.
    Note that this is not intended as an exhaustive listing; I reserve the right to evaluate any ring or other item of jewelry that is returned and determine it's status based on my knowledge and experience. (back)

    "How thick are your rings?"
    The knots are cylindrical, just like a straight-sided section of pipe, and are the same thickness all the way across their width - just about twice the thickness of the largest diameter wire used in the knot, since they cross each other at each intersection. Here are a couple of pictures showing (I hope) what I mean. (back)

    "How do I clean my ring?"
    My usual method of cleaning my jewelry is to brush it with a very soft toothbrush and regular toothpaste. Don't use that industrial grade stuff with the abrasive in it that's guaranteed to remove unsightlly coffee-stains, or you'll wear away the surface of the metal, leaving it burnished instead of polished. Normal wear may dull the shine over time, of course, but there is no reason to accelerate the process. (back)

    "Why don't you have any necklaces like your rings on your site?"
    The one underlying theme that all of my current work displays is the continuous nature of the pathways through the knot. Even though I do some rings that have two or three separate paths, those paths are still continuous. Most people would want to be able to take off a necklace from time to time. If you want such a necklace, I refer you to the other jewelers to whose sites I have provided links on my home page. If you want a Turk's Head necklace, I could do it, but it would either be extremely large, in order to fit over the head, at all times, or it would have to be specially made for you and installed on an effectively permanent basis. Basically, if you can "undo" it, it just isn't a Turk's Head.

    I've got one very Turk's Head-like design for a necklace, it's an extended version of the Prolong Knot bracelets and it looks like this.

    I have some other necklaces, as well, made with chains of interlinked knots. These are incredibly labor-intensive, therefore incredibly expensive. (back)

    "Why are your prices so high?"
    Unless you have actually attempted to tie a smooth, even Turk's Head knot in a piece of wire, you just can't imagine how much work is involved. Since they are not machine made, or even possible to be machine made, each one is hand tied to order. It would be prohibitively expensive, in time and materials, for me to stock an inventory of each size and style of ring. When an order comes in, I must begin by calculating the dimensions and material requirements, and, if it is an unusual piece, I will often do the work in fine silver wire to verify my plans. There have been occasions when I have made two or even three silver models before attempting to reproduce it in gold or platinum. I have attempted to find a compromise between the labor, time, and materials involved, and prices for similar sorts of work by other artists. The most complex ring I've seen a price on, from anyone else, (a five-lead nine-bight, tripled) would come out at about $460 by my price calculation, very close to the price charged on that site.
    For those who disagree, I have no problem with that -- they're welcome to pay higher prices for simpler rings, elsewhere.
    As for the items that have what might be considered astronomically high prices, like the chains and earrings and pendants, those are things that have never been done before, and will never be duplicated. I spent three months tying minuscule knots under a magnifying glass to make one of the chains, for example. I'd be willing to sell it for the same price someone else would charge for a piece of equal complexity and quality. If you run into anyone else who does such things, let me know -- I'd like to make their acquaintance. (back)

    "Your rings seem more complex than others I've seen. Shouldn't you charge even more?"
    I saw a sign at an art show a while back, which read "Affordable Jewelry!" I was unable to fathom why anyone would want to wear "affordable" jewelry, at least if it looks "affordable". However, I scale my prices according to complexity of the knots, and I can make very simple (though not too simple) or very complex knots. To me, it seems a good thing to give people similar prices to what they could obtain elsewhere for similar complexity, even though it is difficult to find any knots as complex as mine for a valid price comparison. For that reason, I choose, arbitrarily, to set my prices at their current level. Some of my work is so complex that the idea of anyone actually buying it is a bit frightening. (back)

    "What metals do you prefer, and why?"
    My favorite materials are pure silver and pure gold, because they're so easy to work with. I can't guarantee they'll last well in everyday wear, so I prefer to work in 18K gold for "real" jewelry. My absolute least favorite is platinum, as it work-hardens so very quickly that I am in imminent danger of breaking a strand by the time I am halfway through a ring, especially if it is very complex. Even nickel-alloy white gold is less frustrating, though it never gets anywhere close to being soft, as I have the option of annealing it at any time. (back)

    "How do I know it's safe to order from some yahoo I've never even heard of?"
    Well, how do I know it's ok to cash your check? Realistically, though, there's a big difference between whether your trust in me is unfounded, or vice versa. If you stick me with a bad check, I have recourse through civil action to try to get my goods back from you, or, if I don't ship you anything because your check bounced, all it does is make my bank get huffy with me. However, if I ship you shoddy merchandise, or fail to ship anything when I've promised to do so, that's more like fraud, and the government takes a dim view of such matters, a very dim view indeed, especially when the US Post Office is involved. I have a strong sense of self preservation.
    Besides, as time goes on, more and more people will have heard of me, and I value my reputation for integrity over any material gains or losses that might occur in the short term.
    Of course I could just say "Trust me . . ." However, there is another way to handle this: There are a number of companies who have undertaken the role of middleman in such transactions, holding the payment in escrow while the goods are delivered and examined, thus protecting the interests of both parties. Since I don't take credit cards, this is also a good way to permit you to use your credit card instead of sending money through the mail, in whatever form. (back)

    "Why don't you take credit cards on your website?"
    As stated above, I'm not really a business. If I had an account with one of the credit card places, I'd be committed to doing some astronomical (to me) volume of transactions every month, or the costs would outweigh the benefits. If you want to use a credit card, you could go through PayPal or find one of the third party brokers who are in the business of facilitating transactions like these. (back)

    "Why do you link to others who could be considered your competitors?"
    I admire what they're doing, actually, but more to the point, I don't think they're doing what I do. Their approach and mine differ quite a bit, so I think our activities mesh well, rather than overlapping. It's apples and oranges, as far as I'm concerned. People who like fruit can appreciate both. (back)

    "Will you link to my site, or let me link mine to yours?"
    I tend to be sparing in the numbers of links I place on my site, but there's no harm in asking. Please, no obnoxious music, multiplying browser windows, or esoteric code, or I won't bother.

    Reciprocal links are not the way to my heart, for those who send me messages to the effect that "I'll link to you if you link to me". If I place a link in my directory, it is because I wish to do so, and there is no reciprocal obligation. I occasionally sort and/or prune that directory, arbitrarily or not as the case may be, reflecting my own mood of the moment. I recognize the same right on anyone else's part.

    A dead giveaway for sites I'd just as soon skip is the boilerplate request that seems always to include this paragraph: "You probably know that linking our websites will benefit both of them. Our website has a very popular resource directory and your site would fit perfectly in our theme!" I'm not saying that every person who sends me that particular bit of spam has a site that I don't want to link to, but it doesn't get you off to a good start, that's for sure.

    For those morons who think that I'll be impressed if they pretend their "client" site is so important that they have to keep it confidential until I answer their email, I have nothing but contempt. (back)

    "May I borrow images from your site?"
    If a request is made, via email, I will consider this on a case-by-case basis. One restriction that would be very important to me is that there be some attribution or link back to my site, an acknowledgement that I retain full rights to the image and that it is being used with my permission. (back)

    "Will you teach me how to make jewelry like yours?"
    Sure! Get a book that shows how to make the Turk's Head Knot, (I recommend The Ashley Book of Knots) and use wire instead of string. Do it for about seventeen years. It's as simple as that . . . but there are a few tricks I can tell you that will shorten the process. First, make the knot the size it's got to be when it's done, since you can't change it after the fact. Second, start with completely annealed wire. (When ordering wire, specify "dead soft".) Third, make sure you know what the knot is going to look like before you start. Tie it in string, look at it carefully, and even keep the string one on the bench in front of you. Good luck. I'll be glad to sell you a ring when you're done, and if you can provide satisfactory documentation of the quality of the gold wire you've kinked up, I'll even accept it and credit it to your bill.

    "What can I expect if I take one of your workshops?"
    The workshops for two-dimensional bracelets are usually scheduled for seven hours, from nine to four. It takes a while to settle in, so things get going by around ten. I generally have one or two who just tear right through theirs, finishing by a little after noon, and I've had some who just plug along steadily and finish up around five. I'm not sure I could survive a class with more than ten people -- I've managed that many, but it was rough. I can lose track too easily and end up having to untie several passes for the ones who've gotten too far ahead and "dropped a stitch", so to speak.

    Because the work can be really hard, I prefer that everyone start out with the softest possible metal, and since the results are theoretically (and usually!) going to be successful and wearable jewelry, I provide pure silver 18ga wire myself, rather than asking the students to bring some. Once you've completed a bracelet in pure silver, you can go home and wear yourself out repeating it in whatever material you want.

    Not only do I provide the wire, I make fixtures in advance -- they're simple and easy to make, but it takes time that is much more profitably spent in learning to make the jewelry. I discuss how they're made, and how to vary them to make other things, and I show examples of work that I've made, but that only takes a few minutes.

    The charge is $95 per student, and the host gets a break, or no charge if there are at least five students. The requirements include enough space for someone to walk back and forth about six feet or so, and an anchor point at about midriff height or so that can withstand a pull of up to 20lbs. A fence railing, a cup-hook screwed into the wall, a doorknob, anything that will hold still is fine -- I've used those, palm trees, bedposts, whatever.

    The requirements for the student are the ability to use both hands, to pull hard on the wire, and a willingness to learn. Show up emtpy handed, leave with a bracelet and the knowledge to make all sorts of things. (back)

    "Do you sell wire, plain or twisted?"
    The short answer: No. A refinery will be happy to sell you plain wire, any karat, any gage, and I'm not in the business of retailing precious metal. I add a surcharge related to, but not equal to, the cost of the materials, when I price my jewelry As for the twisted wire, there is plenty of information on the website about how to make it, and anyone is free to do that, too. The twisting of the wire makes it easier to tie it into knots, but I'm just shifting the focus of the labor I'm putting in, not reducing my overall labor. Thus, a length of twisted wire would cost you almost as much as the knot I would expect to tie in it, and nobody would be crazy enough to pay me that much for just a length of wire. (back)

    "Who develops and maintains your website?"
    This website has been pretty much my own creation from the outset. I looked at other folks' sites and tried to emulate the ones I liked, learning as I went along. In answer to the implied question, I do all my own graphics, either scanning the work directly, scanning pictures of it, or letting the local photo shop save the pictures I've taken directly to disk when they develop them. I write all the text, make all the grammatical errors, and misspellings, as well as doing all the layout work. It would probably be better if I paid a professional to do it for me, but I'm already well into the red, thanks very much. (back)

    "How do you do your photography?"
    I used to pay someone else to take the pictures, but over the last few years I've moved from that to using a digital camera and processing my own images. I have a Nikon CoolPix 990, and a Cloud Dome, both of which I unhesitatingly recommend. (back)

    "Why is your background "default" grey?"
    Well, technically it isn't. If you have your browser set to use your own background colors instead of using those provided by the site, you'll notice that it's still grey - that's because I decided I liked the way it set off my pictures and circumvented any such attempt on your part. Take that, Sheppy! ;-) (back)

    "Did you know you misspelled 'Marlinspike?"
    It's my understanding that "marlin" is a fish. "Marl" is a verb, or used to be, and while it is very common to drop the trailing "g" in pronouncing it, that doesn't mean it isn't there. The "marlingspike" is a tool used in tying knots, useful for poking and tightening. (back)

    "May I ask you a very personal question?"
    Why not? Everyone else does . . . I'll just cover the more believable ones, and very lightly. Yes, I am single. Yes, I am unequivocally heterosexual. No, I'm currently celibate. No, I do not regard "personal services" as legal tender. (back)

    "Is there a reason you have links to sites about Asperger's Syndrome?"
    Everything I've ever read about it looks to me like my biography. Even though it doesn't make any difference, really, it's good to know that it's not a problem unique to me, and that my strengths and weaknesses have a certain inevitability to them. I'm extremely good at doing some things, and I'm very lucky that some of those things please other people. I'm extremely bad at other things, though I've managed to find ways to deal with them. I have learned to apologize in advance for my almost complete lack of inherent social aptitude, and it pleases me that sometimes people will express skepticism about it. Consider, though: I've been reading about social interactions and practicing for over fifty years, so it's no surprise some common patterns have sunk in, at least a bit. In the Cracker Jack box of life, though, mine didn't come with a secret decoder ring -- I have no real-time ability to "read" people. I seem to relate to others much better in a teacher/pupil setting, which is probably why everyone likes my workshops. (back)

    "How many of these questions did you make up?"
    You'd be surprised - just this one. ;-) (back)

    (This site last updated on 12-12-2020)

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