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Information about John Griogair Bell

About me, John Griogair Bell

Topics on this page
Personal History
Education
Work
Family History
Decades
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Text
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Personal History

Personal History

I was born in White Sands, NM on the military base there while my father was in the army in 1969. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in Western Washington. At various times, I've lived in Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, North Bend, University Place, Longview, Woodland, Amboy and Olympia. I spent some summers in Olympia back in the day, such that I shopped at the old Yard Birds, enjoyed the food at both locations of the old Cracker's restaurant, and remember when there were still freakishly large banana slugs that seemed to outnumber students on the Evergreen campus.

I have also lived in a few other states, including North Carolina, Virginia, California and, since early 2008, Oregon, where I currently reside.
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Education

Education

I went to Battle Ground High School in Battle Ground, WA. Battle Ground is the only place I know of that is named for a battle that did not happen. (There is even a historical marker.) I focused on Theatre, Debate and Video Production. After high school, I attended Lower Columbia College, with a focus on the excellent Theatre program there.

As I returned to college earnestly in 2002, I petitioned for my Associate of Arts degree from Lower Columbia College for which I had completed all but one requirement many years ago. At The Evergreen State College, I finished a Bachelor of Arts degree, with an emphasis on Political Philosophy and Economy, graduating in 2004. While at Evergreen, I also trained in dispute resolution with the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center.

Early in 2004, I participated as a facilitator in the month-long Search for Peace: The Palestine-Israel Conflict. I also represented Evergreen and the Olympia community at the 2004 National Conference of Dialogue and Deliberation where I presented a couple of papers, including being on a panel presenting the community work and reflection on the Search for Peace series.

I immediately entered the Master of Arts in Whole System Design program in the Center for Creative Change at Antioch University Seattle. In December of 2004, I was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Skills for Sustainable Change.
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Work

Work

For a gander at my resume, Click Here.

I moved to Seattle in 1990. I worked in retail and retail management, before switching gears and earnestly working with a large, regional Internet Service Provider in 1995. I moved to another Internet Service Provider based in Fife, WA in 1998. I performed a great number of technical and management functions, as well as representing these companies to the press and public on the radio, at conventions and on television.

During the crash and recovery of the tech stocks in the last 5 years, I worked with two non-profits, developing software for use in rural and under-funded libraries, including contributions to an existing Open Source library system from New Zealand and the development of an entirely new Open Source library system for struggling US libraries.

Over the years, I have also done freelance programming, website design and technical consulting. While I was a worker in high-tech, I was a union member of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a local of the Communication Workers of America.
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Family History

Family History

For my genealogy, Click Here.

I am a first generation American on my father's side of my family. On my mother's side, I am a member of a Founding Family of Ohio, and have been in the Americas since the late 1700s, and am a descendant of American Revolution and Civil War veterans.

My father's family came to Washington State via Canada. In an interesting twist, while my grandfather was born in Scotland, my great-grandfather was born in Pittsburg. My great-grandfather and my earlier family were workers in the mines and steel mills of Wishaw, Scotland; Pittsburg, PA and Butte, MT, during the period of violent labor unrest there.

There are two family rumors that are very interesting. My great-grandfather may have worked in the 1920s on the now demolished Music Hall in Seattle before moving from Butte, MT to Vancouver, Canada. The other rumor may explain why they moved to Vancouver. It seems that within days of arriving in Butte to join my great-grandfather right after WWI, my great grandmother went walking to downtown, and witnessed someone being machine gunned to death. That night she announced that she was not staying and was going to move to Vancouver, BC.

When my father's family moved to the US in the 1950's, they moved to Everett where they worked in and owned grocery stores for several years, before moving to Bellingham.

My mother's family has roots in the early Republic. However, there is also a first generation American in almost every generation as well. The first McAdams in the US arrived from Northern Ireland in the late 1700s. This was John McAdams from Antrim. One of John's sons, Ephraim McAdams, was, along with his father and family, one of the founding European families of Ohio in the early 1800s. The McAdams family fought in the Revolution, the war of 1812, and there is an unsubstantiated family rumor that one of Ephraim's 13 sons helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition, for at least part of the way. It is certain that Ephraim was a noted abolitionist in Ohio, and many of his sons fought in the Civil War for the North.

My mother's mother was born a McGrath. Her father worked with his brother to run the McGrath Hotel in North Bend, which was just beautifully renovated. We recently found that my grandmother's brother Henry Leo McGrath received a posthumous purple heart for his part in the campaign at Iwo Jima in 1945.

My mother's father worked for many years at the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant south of downtown Seattle. My grandmother retired from many years at work in Edmonds School District #15. She was honored as a "Living Legend" by the District after her retirement. During WWII, my mother's parents helped protect the assets of a Japanese-American family while they were held in an internment camp so that family could return after the war and still have their home and possessions.

As an aside, my middle name is not the only interesting name in my family which has included Grahame, Edna, Rex Leroy, Ethel, Philabena, Elmer and Ephraim, to name a few. My name was selected from a list of Scottish names that began with the letter G. It is the Scots-Gaelic version of Gregor, and my family has never been completely certain how it is pronounced. In fact, it even took me several years to learn it.

It is this a sample of the family history into which I add my life and work.
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Decades

Decades

I've imagined that each decade of my life has been part of a theme. As a child I was perhaps, prodigal, or at least I believed I was. My next decade, I was an artist and poet. My third decade, I was a reclusive technologist. As I am in my fourth decade, I appear to have become a scholar.
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Prodigy

Prodigy

So much vim and vigor, potential and promise ...
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Artist

Artist

During this period of my life, I thought my future would alternately be as an actor or an architect. I was focused on theatre, visual arts and literary arts. I have quite a bit of the poetry I wrote in my late teens and early twenties online. If you want to read that, Click Here.
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Technologist

Technologist

After a period of working in retail, I started to seriously focus on technology. I worked in technical support for a while, moved to systems administration, and from there into technical management. After several years, I then transitioned into development, working with some non-profits to write library automation software. Technology itself wasn't really my focus. I have the ability to rapidly acquire knowledge and communicate that to others, so I was able to do the work because of that meta-skill.
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Scholar

Scholar

I have many of my academic papers and materials online, in another area of this website. I have these online mostly for my own reference. These materials are mostly exported from a word processor without subsequent editing, so the html can be nasty. It is a great thing to be able to use a search engine to find quotes and such from a stack of papers. If you are interested in these, Click Here.
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Code

Code

(These are links to some projects.)

For the CCC Personal Organizer tools, Click Here.

For my library automation system, Click Here.

For php genealogy website tools, Click Here.

 
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Text

Text

For some books that I highly recommend, Click Here.

I have many of my academic papers and materials online, in another area of this website. I have these online mostly for my own reference. These materials are mostly exported from a word processor without subsequent editing, so the html can be nasty. It is a great thing to be able to use a search engine to find quotes and such from a stack of papers. If you are interested in these, Click Here.

 
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Images

Images

For pictures of me at various times in my life, Click Here.

For miscelaneous designs by me, Click Here.

For miscelaneous pictures by me, Click Here.

Most of my recent graphics and images are related to my academic work. Many are linked to on my academic page, which is elsewhere on this site, Click Here.

 
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Travel

Travel

(Some travels around the world.)
I have been lucky to travel. I have been through most US states, and been to Europe several times.

1998 - England & Scotland

2000 - Germany, Austria, Italy & Slovenia

2004 - Ireland

 
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causes

Causes

(Some select causes I support.)

KPLU 88.5, Click Here.
"NPR News and All that Jazz"

WashPIRG, Click Here.
The Washington State Public Interest Research Group

Amnesty International, Click Here.

Habitat for Humanity, Click Here.

American Civil Liberties Union, Click Here; or for the Washington State chapter, Click Here.

WashTech, Click Here.
"Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Communications Workers of America, Local 37083, AFL-CIO - A Voice for the Digital Workforce"

Olympia Food Co-op, Click Here.

The Olympia Film Society, Click Here.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Click Here.

 
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John Griogair Bell - Arlecchino Malbenvolio

“Clown with a Bad Attitude”

Original material is Copyright © 1995 – 2011 J G Bell
Comments, Questions, Suggestions?

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