Sunday, December 9, 2012

Who Am I?

 Well, my name is Malcolm Thomas Alfred Smith, as this is what I looked like the day before I turned 40. Since then, I have acquired a few grey hairs, some wrinkles, and a pair of spectacles.
I was born on 6th May 1949 in Sydney, N.S.W., the first of two sons to Sydney George Smith and Margaret Clare Smith née Dennis. However, I have spent most of my life in Brisbane, Queensland.
      According to accepted definition, a "nerd" is someone combining high intellectual development with low development of the social skills. At school, I was the class nerd, before the term was even invented. Moving on to the University of Queensland, I gained a B.Sc. in zoology then, for my M.Sc. thesis, performed groundbreaking research into the behaviour of koalas. It is my sole claim to academic fame, so I have written about it in another blog.
      How matters would have turned out if I had been able to follow my chosen career is anyone's guess. Alas, only one in 20 zoology graduates ended up with a placing, and I was one of the other 19. So, in 1978, while waiting for a real job to come along, I decided to sit for the public service exam, and found myself in the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
     That took care of the next 30 years. By the time I received a voluntary redundancy in 2008, I was acting as an advocate for the department before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal - a pretend barrister in front of a pretend court. When I had been recording the scratches and squabbles of koalas, that was one thing which never entered my mind!
    Although zoology was neither my first, nor my only, love, I did keep up with it to some extent. I was a member of the now defunct International Society for Cryptozoology, and I wrote a book on the subject, Bunyips and Bigfoots.
     Also, safely ensconced in a government job, I found myself free to use my annual leave to travel the world - to 83 different countries, as far afield as Greenland, Madagascar, and Easter Island (twice). I have walked among gorillas, hunted with pygmies, and stood, barefoot and shivering, in the Yukon rapt in gaze at the northern lights. I have been places millionaires never visit.
      Then, in 2000, everything changed. To the complete surprise of everyone who knew me, I got married - to Esther Philippi, a pastor's daughter 8 years my junior, born and bred in New Guinea - and lived happily ever after.
       Life has not turned out as I planned it - whose does? - but it has turned out well. I now live in retirement, with leisure, affluence, health, memories, and someone I love. In this life, a man is blessed if he can achieve any combination of the above.
Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life,
And I expect to dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
      I have a very wide range of interests, and over the coming months and years, will endeavour to share them with you in a wide range of blogs, which will be listed below.

29 going on 30

      HUMOUR  This pretty much speaks for itself.

      CRYPTOZOOLOGY This involves research into animals not yet officially recognized by science. Initially, I shall be translating foreign articles, but later will move onto actual sightings in Australia.
(There is an article about me on another cryptozoological website here.)

      ANOMALIES UFOs, apparitions, the paranormal, and much more. Essentially, this covers all manner of things which don't fit into the scientific paradigm.

    REPAT RACKET. The book I wrote on the workings of Veterans' Affairs legislation has now been put on the web.

    STRANGE BUT TRUE. Quirky stories which I come across, and which just beg to be preserved and shared.

    RIVERINA GIRL. These are the stories by mother told me of growing up on a farm in the years 1909 - 1930.

    A ZOOLOGIST LOOKS AT SCIENCE FICTION. In which I explain how science fiction writers' ignorance of zoology affects their work.

    MISCELLANEOUS Anything that does not fit into the other blogs: history, science, religion, politics, literature, languge - you name it; there will be something for everybody.