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Matt McIrvin's Steam-Operated World of Yesteryear

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Matt McIrvin
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I'm a programmer specializing in graphics for embedded systems. I was trained in theoretical physics and got a Ph.D. In physics in 1997, but then immediately got out--I'm happy I did it, because I learned a lot of things I wanted to learn, but in hindsight I don't think I was that well suited for the academic life.

I live in Massachusetts with my wife, Samantha Wilkinson (samantha2074), our daughter Jorie (born in August 2006), and three cats.

I was active on Usenet through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, posting to physics and science-fiction groups and to the peculiar humor/chatter group alt.religion.kibology. Since mid-2003 I've mostly been posting to LJ. The subject matter of this journal shifts wildly according to whatever I happen to be interested in; it was almost a photoblog for a while, and at other times has concentrated heavily on political rants, musings on science, baby care, peculiar snippets of original fiction, book reviews, and the Cassini mission to Saturn (some people thought I was somehow affiliated with the project; I'm not). Right now (early 2009), I seem to be posting about music a lot. That will change.

Raising a child leaves me less time to mess around on the Internet than I used to, and since my job still involves computers, my outside activity in the time I do have tends to be less computery. When I was a young adult I had dreams of being a cartoonist and/or science-fiction writer, and the Internet gives many a platform for doing these things nonprofessionally, but lately I find myself instead gravitating toward types of projects that I never gave much thought back then. Whether this is maturity or just a midlife crisis talking, I leave for others to decide.

Since 2005 I have been semi-regularly acting in productions of the Post-Meridian Radio Players (http://www.pmrp.org), a Somerville, Mass.-based troupe doing live stage recreations of old-time radio and original audio productions, sometimes with live sound effects. I'm usually in PMRP's Halloween shows; I also got the chance to perform at Boston's Orpheum Theatre at First Night 2009.

I've also been practicing the guitar. This makes me a rank beginner in a pursuit that most people take up as kids or not at all, and I'm pretty much made my peace with the fact that I'm never going to be that good at it. But learning an instrument is giving me occasion to learn a lot about music and become a more informed listener. Sam is a musician, and it's been fun starting to better understand that part of her life as well.

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