Welcome to my only web site. Here's where you look to find out who it is behind the scenes at the Debbie Harry Collector's Society, an important but small part of my overworked world.
You'll probably find more random chaos and weirdness here than you expected, but if that interests you, keep reading.
Barry L. Kramer
124 South Locust Point Road
Mechanicsburg PA 17055-9709
Planet Earth, although I'd like to travel space and time sometime soon.
birthdate: 1964 September 20
images: me in black, 2001, me after Mother party, May 2000 me and Debbie Harry, Dec. 2000 (taken by Teresa Hale)
B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA. I specialized in Digital Hardware Design, fought constantly with a few idiots in the Computing Center ("Loser Services", who spent so much time reading my private email without my consent that I had to write an encryption program), took graduate-level economics courses as free electives, and had the great fortune of studying with Professor Holzinger, Professor Wagh, and my advisor, Professor Eberhardt. Keep lots of money for parking tickets if you visit there. You can't park anywhere!
Various responsibilities (which are not particularly clear and not consistent over time) as Senior Engineering Section Manager at STMicroelectronics (Malvern and Lancaster PA). ST acquired Ravisent (since eviscerated) in March 2001; since then, my statement in the next paragraph about having to be dragged away no longer applies. I'm looking for an upgrade; see my online resume.
previously: Manager, Design Integration Engineering, Consumer Electronics Division, RAVISENT Technologies Inc. (formerly Quadrant International), Malvern PA, beginning approximately October 1999. I manage a group of mostly software engineers, working with them to develop digital video and audio products such as DVD players, HDTV devices, digital video recorders, and other similar fairly advanced technology. Ravisent filed our Initial Public Offering in July 1999 and we are constantly hiring. Please feel free to apply! We're one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. They'll still have to drag me away to get me to leave.
previously: Manager, Hardware QA Engineering, Quadrant International, Malvern PA, beginning approximately July 1997. I manage a small group responsible for all quality-related and test engineering activities for our products that contain hardware, such as our Cinemaster PCI DVD card. Formerly, we called my department "Test Engineering" although there was not much difference in our function.
previously: Senior Test Engineer, Quadrant International, Malvern PA, beginning October 1996. I do all sorts of engineering, test plan creation and execution, hardware and software test and debug, and design evaluation. Quadrant International is a small company that wins competitions for awards not only for our products, but for the company as well. Most recently, we got Startup Company of the Year from Business Philadelphia, and there were 500 in the competition! We make digital video processing boards for capture and compression of live video, and decompression and playback of motion video, including the recent DVD technology. I work a lot, but I'm treated with respect, I do something I like, and I wanted to be an engineer since childhood - for almost as long as I can remember. Now I get to train others how to be good engineers! They'd have to drag me away to get me to leave.
Formerly, I worked at Tseng Labs for more than two years, where I did test and debug (from first prototype to final production) on the ET6000, the fastest graphics accelerator you can buy. Tseng Labs is where I got the career opportunity I needed, and my manager (an amazing engineer) taught me many of my skills and the discipline to do quality work. I really enjoyed working there, but it was time to move on.
Before that, I worked for a barcode scanner manufacturer that will remain anonymous because I don't want anyone else to work for low pay and no promotions! The best thing that ever happened to me was losing my job there.
I grew up in Mechanicsburg, where my parents and most of my friends live. I graduated from Cumberland Valley High School in 1982 (favorite teachers: Joe Walker, the best calculus teacher in the world, and Ted Mannino). Mechanicsburg is near the center of the state, near Harrisburg. I have two cats there (born in June 1990) , named Fripp and Trilloch. I usually call them "Gray" and "Black", and they're very large. The black cat kills wild animals for me. I'm highly allergic to both of them.
I have a very intense personality! I'm not very tactful or sensitive; rather I prefer to be straightforward and let people who don't like that stay away. I develop long-term, intense friendships and implicit trusts that last for many years, if not forever. Usually, it's with people who are very unconventional themselves and perceptive in an almost telepathic way that would be considered unnatural by most; with luck this happens once every few years. I've been married since two days before I turned 30 and I have two children. I am honest, ambitious, creative, intelligent, funny, unconventional, imperceptive (yet very observant), short-tempered, and can often be perceived as obnoxious, irritating, and intolerant! I also have this strange talent for catching spelling errors, which stand out as if they're printed in red, with only a glance. This makes it take longer for me to read something than it would to type it! Too bad there isn't money in that field.
If I had rules to live by, they would be these three:
Debbie Harry and her music, Halestorm, Garbage, computers, nature, the night sky, intelligence and learning, technology, writing, insects, reptiles, gardening (vegetables and flowers), shrimp toast, the moon, digital audio recording, photography, pinochle, Absolut vodka, food (usually what's bad for you; I particularly like chicken, steaks, hot/spicy, cheese, and pies and cakes my mother and grandmother make), cooking, sleeping late, lightning, England, email, Star Trek, Twilight Zone, garlic, The Far Side, The Muppet Show, Michelle Pfeiffer, meteorites, space exploration, explosives, guns, spices, strong black coffee, a great car stereo, Terra chips, Seinfeld, cactuses, emacs, M.C. Escher, unconventional people.
For more things I like, check out the list of Things to be Psychotically Happy About, below.
dishonesty, disrespect, politics, politics on the job, treachery on the job, trickery, psychological game playing, traffic, trucks, lines, religion, morning, incorrect grammar, financial irresponsibility, people who can't drive, illiteracy, treachery by someone you trusted, legal jargon, sales and marketing catch-phrases, registered trademark symbols all over everything, authority, censorship, car commercials, commercials in general, TV too loud, cold weather without snow, excessive noise, neighbors, redundant work, frustration, not using my middle initial, the phone interrupting, people who are important to me disappearing, and creamy white sauces (I can't believe I forgot that since I hate them so much - "Barry L. Kramer, President and Founder of the No Creamy White Sauce Club"). I also don't like stepping in water when I'm wearing only my socks.
Here's something else that sucks ass: AOL. Back in 1995 I registered an Instant Messenger name "dvdplayer" and used it almost every day until some illiterate moron called them up in 2002 and took it from me because they said it was available when it wasn't. They kept the account for a month (imagine that) and now it's permanently gone. I encourage everyone to tell all your friends how much AOL sucks, and to subscribe firstname.lastname@example.org to every spam list on the planet.
I wrote this list around 1988 when a friend I went to school with, Franklin W. Veaux, had the fantastic idea to name all the weird and devious things that make strange people like us psychotically happy! His list was a little different than mine, and the last I heard, he lived in Florida, but here are my contributions... most of which I still like and all of which are funny (I've added some since then...):
squirtguns, passing zone, flexible wire saw, sarcasm, lying when the truth don't suit, criticizing others' driving, cursing at trucks, barking at a dog, snowballs, voodoo, cutting off a taxi, the Hegins pigeon shoot, exaggerations, piranhas, quicksand, bats, subterranean tunnels, doing something really wrong instead of just doing something wrong, playing people against one another, getting your way regardless of the reason, seeing something you're not supposed to, seeing someone get flogged by a goose, just breaking even in court, burning chestnuts on an open fire, silicon carbide, taking advantage of a situation, exploiting a weakness in someone, I told you so, Halloween, random numbers, hot peppers, garlic, acetylene torch, high tension wires, birth control pills, rat traps, rat poison, boiling a lobster, going over someone's head, telling bums to get a job, bulletproof vest, pigs, ants, snakes, bees, HK P7, hornet's nest, radiation, assault weapons, tanks, gasoline, nuclear power, contact poison, impact wrench, sledgehammer, weed eaters, shattering glass, the occult, witchcraft, black cats, mold, fungus, cactus, gourds when they turn moldy and rattle, graphite, the noose, nylon rope, duct tape, hypodermic needles, rotten eggs, soaping windows, vinegar, thunderstorms, flooding, ice pick, caffeine, intoxication, triple bonds, two weeks notice, spray paint, full moon, loud music late at night, Paris Hilton, Polaroid cameras, incinerating an aerosol can, someone else's clogged sink, high powered amplifier, 2,4-D (weed killer), seeding someone's yard with dandelions, feeding flies to a spider, spitting watermelon seeds, not backing down to avoid an argument, spraying Lysol into a fire, "trying this at home", importing booze into a dry county, scoffing at the law, the electric razor, taking prescription drugs not prescribed to you, change for a 20 when you paid with a 10, power failures, crossing a police line, air conditioning, cemetery at night, Courtney Love, wireless bugs, digital audio tape, itching powder, bootleg records, the distinctive smell of burning circuitry, comment cards, radar detector, a free box of low-density floppies, the elegance of a successful bank robbery, shooting point blank, secret doors and hidden rooms, briefcase full of unmarked bills, darkness, lightning, eclipse, sunspots, glass, driving, integrated circuits, magnets, springs, freedom, mail, photographs, batteries, color, domestic E-stamps, fog, neon signs, animation, some life forms (fish, reptiles, pigs, armadillos, earthworms, pheasants), some insects (ants, butterflies, beetles, dragonflies), some chemicals (aluminum, platinum, alkali metals, acetone), sand, snow, satellites, United Parcel Service, Tops-20, Sir Richard Dawkins, black holes, elevators, copy machines, laser printers, mechanical pencils, matches, bioluminescence, Terminate, Stay Resident, fatty foods, decongestant tablets, letting the dog drink out of the toilet, retributive strike [D&D term], moving and not leaving a forwarding order, successfully evading the police, quitting Windows first thing and using the command line, putting your trash in someone else's dumpster, watching natural disasters on TV, snowed in, free office supplies from work, dropping a pumpkin off a building, midnight snack.
There are also some things that transcend reality (or a list like this), like finding someone who understands what that means and adding them to the list below.
More details coming soon! In the meantime, here's the list:
Teresa Hale, who I randomly (but with destiny) encountered on the Internet and for whom there are no words and who will probably remain at the top of this list forever
Franklin Veaux (website, live journal), long-time friend and extraordinary writer; we have a lot in common
Louis A Bustamante ("LAB"), DHBIS list Administrator and nice guy too
Robin L. Kramer, we're each other's second in command
Alan P. Flory, my best friend, and the one I've known longer than any other friend (since 1972)
Allen J. Brenneman and Allen N. Marshall III, friends from Mechanicsburg
Chris Stein, guitarist and cofounder of Blondie, and really up there on my friends list!
the late Lance E. Kohlhaas, formerly my best friend, killed in a car accident in 1993
Chris Bracy, Netware genius and good pinochle player
April Kincaid, we can't wait for a Debbie Harry tour to follow!
Andrea, who fascinated me at a Blondie show in 1999, shares my musical likes, and remained my friend ever since
Mo and Josi, my friends from Germany who I'm always talking to and can't wait to actually meet in New York
Jennifer Knox and Kathleen Bishop, my best friends at Tseng Labs, who I unfortunately rarely hear from
Richard E. Baum ("REB"), friend since college, runs a hilarious mailing list (mail a subscribe request to email@example.com to join). REB runs taco.com and hosts this Debbie Harry site and the Official Blondie Web Site!
my relatives (my dad and grandmother at the top of the list!)
David Bader and William Bader, both funny as hell and both who live too far away.
and here's to all the people who've been important to me over the years but who are no longer part of my world... I miss you all. Helen, Elda, Ray, Debbie, Gunter, Phil, Ron, and various other nuts, you know who you are.
There are a few people who have been intentionally left off this list; you also know who you are.
Everyone already knows how much I like Blondie and Debbie Harry, but what else? I like a lot of things, but my favorites are mostly rock albums from the late 70's. I don't like much new material (in fact, commercials annoy me so much I never listen to the radio... only CDs), and I really despise country music and rap or any music that is disrespectful to, condescending of, or advocating violence toward women. I also tend to like groups with male musicians and female singers, but I'm not sure exactly why other than I like the female voice.
Specifics you ask? Here are some of the groups I really like: Garbage, Nena (a German group I first saw in 2000, named after lead singer Nena Kerner, who sings mostly in German, and whose discs are almost impossible to get in the U.S.), Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, The Sounds, Roxette, Pat Benatar, Heart, The Ramones, J. Geils, Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Scandal, The Cars, Eagles, the B-52's, and Robert Fripp. I never liked much new music (especially lately), but I think I like Natalie Imbruglia, Sheryl Crow, and the Cardigans enough to keep my eye on them and hope they keep recording. And Garbage is so amazing there are no words, even though their website is a pain in the ass to navigate in 800x600 and you have to pay for essentially everything. Finally... mark my words... Halestorm (official site, alternate site on myspace, my fan site lzzyhale.net), named for their sweet and lovely lead singer Lzzy Hale, is going to be killer and if you haven't heard of them you will. They are a fantastic rock band. If they're playing near you, do anything to see them. Some of my favorite bands have myspace accounts also (often with music samples): Blondie, Debbie Harry, Halestorm, Garbage, Goldfrapp, The Sounds.
Fortune File (DOS program to generate funny quotes, for PC only) 138K zip, don't download if you don't like obnoxious humor.
More to come!
Teresa R. Hale
Official Blondie Web Site (I am the owner and technical administrator)
I almost put a link to my own site here to be funny, but I didn't!
simplywirelesssucks.com - never buy a cell phone from them!
Lake Superior State University List of Banished Words
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