First Day of Self-employment

About 21 years ago, before sitting my “final” exams I knew I had a full-time job. Thanks to Tim Kleemann now owner of Next Byte, the IT industry had sucked me in. January 6th, 1986. I was working for the man.

20 years on…and for the first time in my employable life, I am technically self-employed. Whilst my self-employment is by choice, but it’s still weird.

Do I call myself if I am going to be late to the office?

Hodge History goes Windows Live

Hodge Family History in Windows Live Local Maps. Added some notes, for comments from those who might know more about the History of Melville Hodge.

A project over the last 2 months has been to research the history of one Melville Hodge. Born in 1803 in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland (yes, this is the home of golf), he is the fifth and last child, and second son of John Hodge and Elspeth Clarke. A theory I have here is that he did not take an apprenticeship, and moved to Cupar following is older brother, James.

In 1820 maps of Cupar and St Andrews, a Hodge owns a house in each town. Again, I have a theory that John Hodge was a Baker; and his son James once trained, moved a short distance west to Cupar.

In 1854, Melville, his wife and two children moved from Fife, Scotland to South Australia. Sadly, his wife died on the voyage. Melville remarried, and had a son in Australia: David Melville Hodge. David Melville is 5 generations removed from myself. Using a new rail line that ran through Fife to Edinburgh, through to Liverpool in the north of the UK.

As Australia is just about to go through another Census, some research on Scotland People, I found that the 1851 and 1841 Census’ were online. Quick searching produced Melville Hodge living near Cupar (pronounced Cooper to Australians!) in 1841, and Leuchars in 1851. In both, he is listed as an Agricultural Labourer. It is my hypothesis that he moved to South Australia for the opportunity to own land.

Melville intrigues me: he had wonderlust at a late stage in his life (he was over 50) and left his native Fife for Australia. I need to do more research on the early 1850’s in Fife around Cupar and Leuchars to get a feeling to why he moved, and to Australia rather than the US or to a large city.

David Melville, born in the 1860s near Angaston (Barossa Valley, South Australia) inherited this wonderlust: there is a diary of his travels to the far north-west of Australia in the late 19th Century.

As a “Dawkin-ist” when it comes to the Selfish Gene, in my Y-chromosome lives a part of Melville Hodge. Could the wonderlust many older generation immigrants to Australia and New Zealand — and need to see the world genetic? More research is required, and its fascinating how much you can do via these interweb of tubes.


Hodge on Cupar Map, 1820

Clipping of 1841 Census Record

Carlsogie House, West of Cupar

Nick Hodge in Meego

Nick Hodge as rendered by Meego, a service I don’t quite get – but it is all the rage with the Tech.Ed AU crowd… and for some strange reason, it doesn’t like Firefox on my Mac. Booted up Parallels, ran WindowsXP and used the command-shift-4 to get MacOS X TO capture this off the WindowsXP session. Clean up in Photoshop CS2, save as a nice small compact PNG with transparency.

Taking Time To Reboot

On January 6th this year, I had a small personal celebration: my twentieth (20th) year of full-time work. Whilst I am at my third employer, I’ve never had more than a day between jobs. ( Profile: Nick Hodge) The longest holiday I’ve had in last 20 years has been the month the Hodge family went to Europe (70 Days, 7 Countries). Apart from that refresh, its been a week or two here and there.

Here I am, in my late thirties. A potentially jeopardous time for men. They do silly things like buy fast red sports cars (Scarlett Comes out in Style). The body doesn’t look, feel and work the same old way. And they start to look ahead a little, and drive a little slower.

We are all bound by the decisions we make: what cars we drive, what houses to buy; what job to do; and further bound by expectations: what do people expect from me? Why do I have to get up every morning and go to work? It leads a difficult decision: “Can I get off this merry-go-round?”.

After weighing up these conundrums, I’ve decided to spend the next 5-6 months “rebooting”, “reseting” and “reloading”, prepapring for the next 20 years. Slow down, smell the roses. Look back and look ahead. Read some books, learn some new things. Return to Adobe in a different role. Calm down and get stuff done that matters. And as Carl Sagan said to his students: “Do Something” (Carl Sagan)

After a busy, full and fun 20 years – that “something” remains equally as ethereal, but I’ll be ready to tackle it head on.