As is evident from this website, I have always been a person of multiple interests. I’ve never focused on a single object. I need to vary, to wander. For me, doing the same thing is a bit like being in prison. Clearly, those who focus all their energy on one subject have a lot of chances to succeed in that field. I’ve always criticized myself for dispersing my energies on so many things without ever making a really good one. Then someone pointed out to me that there are also pentathletes and decathletes. It’s a personal trait. And nowadays I have to say it’s been my luck…
Ever since I was a kid, I had a thing for music. I used to sing before I went to school. I used to listen to the music charts on the radio and put the records on at my aunt and uncle’s place.
When I was 11 years old I started playing the guitar, which became my main characteristic. I was always with the guitar in my arms and I was also accused of using it as a shield. When I was 16, my parents bought me my first electric guitar and I couldn’t part with it. Soon my passion for music led me to the passion for high fidelity and stereophony.
With music my interest in the English language was growing too, actually it had already started in primary school. It turned out to be very useful at university and later for work. As a child my interests moved from chemistry to astronomy. In the end I graduated in geology.
Shortly before I enrolled in university I started to take an interest in computers, which at that time began to appear timidly in homes. My first computer was a Commodore 64, then my parents bought me the first PC so I could prepare my thesis.
I have always used the Internet in this way, to inform myself, to learn more and to deepen my knowledge
My PC always ran with an English version of Windows and the American keyboard layout. I was criticized for not using my language and for being a computer addict, always experimenting with configurations, updating components, assembling PCs, trying various Linux distributions before switching to Macintosh. My interest was always scientific-like: I was moved by the desire to understand.
At one point, the Internet had arrived. The first impact hit me very hard. My first Internet search was on the subject of geology, tectonics in particular, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of information available. I immediately interpreted the Internet as a source of information, a sort of virtual encyclopedia long before Wikipedia appeared. I have always used the internet in this way, to inform myself, to learn more and to deepen my knowledge. At that time social networks did not exist, even mobile phones were not very widespread. I put up a lot of resistance before I bought one. When smartphones arrived I welcomed them instead, for me they were and remain palm computers. At a certain point my curiosity led me to want to understand how to create a website. And so my personal website was born. I opened accounts on all the social networks to understand how they worked. I use them, of course, but I try to focus on the information I can collect, rather than just “social” activities. And I am lately trying to lower my social profile as much as I can.
Instead, I’m one of the very few children of the 60s who can use the new technologies without any problem.
When I use my smartphone, messaging and email aside, 90% of the time it’s to read something, whether it’s news or information I want to know. I’ve been accused of having an exaggerated obsession with the guitar, of being a computer fanatic, of always being attached to my mobile phone, of loving English more than my language (it’s not true). Most of my online activities are meant to learn and share (from my website rather than social sharing).
It took me a long time to get a job as a geologist. I was criticized for not taking or keeping other jobs. I held out and eventually got my dream job. Then disaster happened. I went from college to industry and the Canadian hydrocarbon exploration company I was working for went bankrupt. I lost my job in my early 50s in the middle of an economic crisis.
It was hard but if I managed to recycle myself it was thanks to my obsessions with English, computers and even the guitar: a friend I played with hired me thanks to my computer skills and my English – I’m practically bilingual. If I hadn’t started playing again after losing my job I would never have known so well the person who offered me another one.
My analysis and problem-solving skills, typical of those who have studied scientific subjects, proved to be fundamental.
My analysis and problem-solving skills, typical of those who have studied scientific subjects, proved to be fundamental. Even more so was my familiarity with any type of software or operating system and my understanding of how programming languages work. My English is excellent, no false modesty. Those who criticized me for being a “fan” of it, those who mocked me for “always being in front of the computer” or for playing the guitar in a rock band at 50 as if I were a teenager, can be considered well served. If I hadn’t done all this before college, I might be under a bridge today. Instead I’m one of those very few kids from the 60s who can use the new technologies without any problem, indeed, and with some confidence too…
My attraction to science, my interest in computers, my fascination for the English language and, yes, also my passion for the guitar, have practically saved my life.