Wednesday, December 07, 2022 09:33


Me (?!)

So you ask, “Who is LaughingVulcan?” Good question. Someday I’ll have a complete answer for you, but for now…

I am Darren Erickson, of Bloomington, Illinois.

As this is a Chess Blog, I’ll start there. I am a USCF member, and only just started to obtain my rating in 2010. I’ve been a member for three of the last ten years. I am also a Local level Tournament Director (an Arbiter of the USCF for international readers.) I am involved with our local chess club (Twin City Chess Club, meeting at Colley’s Chess Cafe,) our scholastic chess organization (BNASC,) and play Correspondence Chess via IECC. I’ve worked as both a floor and computer TD, and also have directed tournaments solo. I recently passed the Local TD exam.

As with everyone else in the world short of Kasparov, I feel like my low rating is a little underrated. My excuse, FWIW, is that I frequently act as a house player in my tournaments. But it is also that I don’t think my rating is terribly important – I’m not anywhere near expert territory. But I enjoy my chess, and hope you do too! (Which is the important bit, to me.)

I am active in the USCF Forums, user name “LaughingVulcan.”

When I’m not serving as an amateur minion of Caissa…. Among other things, my current work is as an Executive Assistant to the Director of Operations at a local medical practice.

I was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1997. I am no longer rostered in the ELCA as an ordained minister; although I no longer use the title, under the “once ordained always ordained” philosophy I still feel fully entitled to the honorific Reverend. I graduated Master of Divinity from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

I am married, and we are both owned by a cat.

I deeply enjoy fishing as well as chess.

I consider myself a technogeek of the first order and a hacker by the old school definition of the word, and also the yet older definition. Although I have not been on the air in years, my Amateur Radio Callsign is KB7VPI (General Class with Code, thank you very much.) Obviously Star Trek is important to me, but I also enjoy Doctor Who from the 70s to the present, the works of William Gibson, and through my wife discovered the joy that was/is Firefly.

OK, you really want to my cred level on the prior paragraph? Try this little blast from the past:

Version 3.12
GAT d@ s>:++ a+ C++++$ U>++++$ P--- L++>$ !E-- W+++ !N !o K---- w$ O M V
PS+ PE Y+ PGP t+++ !5 X++ R+++ tv+ b++++ DI+++ G+ e+++>++++ h- r+++ z+++

You can decode that at this link. (For those who dare to decode it… Yes, I actually do have a Newton MessagePad, and at one point I did surf the web and do my email by cell phone on it!) Eventually I may work a javascript hack to just click that code block and be taken direct to the decode screen…. yep, that’s how bad it is. Sometimes it is hard to be a LaughingVulcan…

…but oh so fun! :D

Me (!?)