Sumeria, 320 B.C. ...no wait, that's something completely different... ah, this is it... Germany, 1973 A.D. - yours truly is born in the early morning hours of what will turn out to be a lovely warm day in March. The first thing I was told was that the final lunar landing had taken place just three months before. Damn, what a disappointment. Bad timing, I guess...
My birthplace and hometown to this day is Paderborn, right smack in the middle of Westphalia. Westphalians are said to be stubborn, sly, and all in all somewhat slow. Does that apply to me? Don't know.
Where my interest in spaceflight derives from, I have no idea. It's more or less natural to me, as much as I consider spaceflight a natural and thus important thing to do for the human race. My first clear memories related to this topic are about Skylab crashing in the late 70s, since it was a pretty big story in the news. At that time I started to learn reading, so I swallowed about every syllable our public library had to offer about spaceships and astronauts. I grew into spaceflight that way, that's where my humble expertise that I now am allowed to offer to the ALSJ basically originates from. I can't remember learning just anything about the history of spaceflight in school.
The years in school passed by quite flawlessly, so did my time in the army. Today I try to make a living out of doing lots of different things as a freelancer, most of which are related to advisory services regarding Internet marketing, web-based businesses, web-design, "e-commerce" (gosh, I just hate those buzzwords...). I also do bits of design work and quality insurance in that field, and am about to give introductory beginners' courses and do some writing. Yes, I'm single; no, I couldn't run a family's household that way. But for now it's okay, I have nothing to really complain about. With 'computers & the net', I've chosen two of my hobbies to be my profession, and who can honestly say that?
From school over army until today, computers were an important part in my life. I started with a C64 in the early 80s, which I still own, and not surprisingly you'll find me in any CBM-related newsgroup today. I consider the .net to be an important revolutionary development and a blessing, and I really enjoy using it in lots of different ways. After all, that's what made me get involved with the ALSJ.
I can't fully remember what I was looking for when I stumbled over the ALSJ for the very first time. It was still in its infancy, but I was already amazed by it. Wow, those transcripts were just fantastic. Anyway, around that time my interest in spaceflight had to step back a bit in favor of other things, so I didn't note down the URL, which was why it took quite some months/years until I encountered it once more, again by accident, but this time it looked much more complete than the first time I saw it. Not surprisingly, I couldn't stop reading it. What a terrific resource. I felt like having to somehow pay for the possibility of reading it freely, so I contacted Eric offering my help regarding some minor flaws I had found, which he gladly and thankfully accepted. That's how I got into it. Typing this text I realize that this _again_ is already _years_ ago. Well, time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas...
My other interests in life? Well, music is very important to me, preferably hard rock and pretty extreme heavy metal (I play e-guitar, or rather 'try to'...), but basically every kind of music that you'd hear in the radio. I like football (that's 'soccer' for you Americans...), which I play fairly regularly. I also enjoy watching about every kind of motorsports on four wheels, most other sports aren't bad to watch either. I like reading a good SciFi short-story by Robert Sheckley or Theodore Sturgeon, I do enjoy classic SciFi movies, I like Star Wars, and I consider myself a fervent Treknician and Trekologist, which is a subtle nuance away from being a Trekkie. Plus a thousand other things I like and care about.
To finish this: Big Kudos to Eric for his ambitious devotion to the ALSJ, and for his decision to make it freely available and to let others participate in it. That's not only a clever concept for making about every project a success (anyone remember FractInt?), it's also a marvelous example of what the original net.spirit and net.philosophy is all about.
Now that you've read all this boring bio-stuff, get back to reading something that's actually interesting, like the ALSJ. I'm not the important figure here, but the 12 moonwalkers are."
Editor's Note: More about Markus can be found at his website.