My Profile

About Me …

Alex Forbes April 2008. Photo by ABN Jr.Alex Forbes is owner, editor and publisher at

I worked in mainframe software development and testing for 17 years. I retired in 2009. In the past, I pursued interests in backpacking, hiking, climbing, flying, fishing, motorcycles and marksmanship. I currently enjoy armchair amateur astronomy, reading, music, writing, photography, web coding and scripting, and personal computers.

I completed college at San Jose State and UC Berkeley after a stint in the US Army in Vietnam. Before joining the computer industry, I spent years in many fields, including sales management, sales administration, and commercial insurance underwriting.

I do enjoy having time in retirement for a social life. I visit friends and stay in touch with those many of us who worked in our former employer’s west coast office before it was closed down.

I was active in the 1990’s as President of the Gay Italian American Club, a social club with members in several Bay Area counties. Editor for 9 years of its newsletter, La Parola. Former peer group facilitator at the Pacific Center For Human Growth in Berkeley, California.

An Apple and PC user since starting with a 16K Apple II in 1978. Computer interests include programming, website and desktop publishing, digital photo processing, and database. Formerly active in PAUG, Peninsula Apple User’s Group. 1996 PAUG Vice-President.  I built my own AMD PC boxes for about a decade, but more recently I use Macs for 95% of my needs.


I and my lifetime partner Bob lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area together for 15 years. We enjoyed life together in the Bay Area and our house in the Phoenix area. Bob passed away in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer, in 2005. We had enjoyed travel, gardening, movies, club activities, and many wonderful friends. We will all miss you Bob, and yet we will carry on the dream.

Rocky & Fluffy Computer Co. is an entirely fictitious “dba.” Rocky&Fluffy has published HyperCard shareware, writes Perl web applications and utilities for this web site, and has long been associated with

I don’t read bound paper books as often as I used to, mainly due to eyesight issues. Instead, use my computers for most reading, including e-books. I have the time to devour news, politics, computer and science postings, and so probably end up reading more than I ever read in the printed paper days. I post numerous comments to Huffington Post, which offers both satisfaction and  good training in expressing an idea in as few words as possible.

For two years I’ve also been writing a book, with the current working title The Mysteriously Unsuccessful Boy. In an age where every Baby Boomer seems to be writing life stories, mine is also, characteristically, an autobiography. From time to time I publish snippets of it in this blog. It appears my work should be ready for self-publication as an e-book, for iPad and/or Kindle, sometime around 2013.

Top “Favorites” (in no particular order)

  • Movie Favorites: For A Few Dollars More; Hornblower
    (A&E); 2001 – A Space Odyssey; Wall-e; Unforgiven
  • Favorite TV: Waiting for God; As Time Goes By, NOVA, Doc Martin, Dr. Who
  • Favorite International Detective TV: Poirot, Inspector Morse, Foyle’s Wars, Beck, Wallander (BBC and Swedish), Inspector Maigret
  • Off-the-wall TV: The Red Green Show, Mr. Bean
  • Most Admired Actors: Stephanie Cole, Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz , Michael Kitchen, John Thaw, Bruno Cremer, Jeremy Brett, Judi Dench, Alan Alda
  • Favorite Authors: Wallace Stegner; George R. Stewart
  • Favorite Novels: Angle of Repose (Stegner); Earth Abides (Stewart), Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirzig), Learning to Fly (P. H. Liotta)
  • Favorite Comic Strips: Calvin & Hobbes; For Better or For Worse, Funky Winkerbean; Shoe, Bizarro
  • Finished  reading: Herodotus, The Histories (Strassler translation)
  • Favorite Reference: The Outline of History, H. G. Wells
  • Favorite Composers: J. S. Bach, Philip Glass, Berlioz; Scott Joplin
  • Current Classical Favorites: Trout Quintet, Schubert, The Nash Ensemble; Yo-Yo Ma; Tallis Singers
  • Favorite Country Western: Jerry Jeff Walker; Kris Kristofferson; kd lang; jj cale; Waylon Jennings; Lightfoot; Bob Dylan
  • Do you remember: KFAT, Ry Cooder , Ghost Scribner, Papa John Creach and Doc Watson? Rediscovered: John Fahey.
  • Favorite Jazz: Keith Jarrett; Herbie Mann; Stan Getz; Jimmy Smith; Paul Horn; Vince Guaraldi; Louis Armstrong
  • Favorite Old-time Jazz: Bob Scobey, Turk Murphy, Riverboat Five
  • Favorite Pop: Beach Boys/Brian Wilson; Bananarama; Fleetwood Mac; Leonard Cohen; Patrick Cowley; Pink Floyd
  • Astounding Vocal: Neville Brothers, Aretha Franklin
  • Favorite Beverage: French Roast (Starbucks, Trader Joe’s or CostCo)
  • Favorite Computers: home-built AMD; Mac Book Pro, iMac
  • All-time Favorite Motorcycle: Kawasaki KZ-1000
  • Favorite Handgun: Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 mag (single action), 10-1/2″ barrel, iron sights
  • Favorite Camera: Canon EOS 5D (DSLR), Panasonic Lumix FX-580 (compact)
  • Favorite Programming Language: Perl
  • Current learning curves: PhP, MySQL, navigating retirement services
  • Most-used Websites: Google, BBC, Huffington Post
  • Cautious Participant: Facebook. Amazing how many old friends you reconnect with!
  • Favorite Magazines: New Yorker; Sky and Telescope; Astronomy; Scientific American
  • Recent fiction enjoyed: The Sound of Mountain Water, Stegner
  • Favorite personal work: Wild Plum (poem)
  • Most Admired People (also see Profiles sidebar links on this page and in Writing): aviator Bob Hoover; architect Frank Lloyd Wright; civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; journalist and author Randy Schilts; astronomer, science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson; astronomer, and science communicator Alex Filippenko
  • Favorite Fishing Spot: not saying


  • “The Ant and the Grasshopper”: I started out life as the former, but by dint of vigorous exertion, I’ve graduated to Impoverished Grasshopper.
  • Things I regret: having taken so long to regret them soon enough.
  • Things I treasure: picking up the pieces; looking out the window at the face of the universe; figuring out how things work; people.
  • The horse’s mouth: that part of an equine anatomy presented to those inspecting its teeth.
  • Metaphor: not quite like anything you want to hear again.
  • “There must be something wrong with work, or else the rich would have taken it away from us by now.” — Cantinflas
  • “I look about me, even in a foul hole like Mitching Hill, and I ask myself — How can I leave this foul hole a better and happier foul hole than I found it?” — P.G. Wodehouse, “Uncle Fred Flits By”
  • “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” — Gary Newell has published web articles on a wide variety of topics since 1995. For more information about this website, please see our HOME index page and top navigation bar, the links found on any page sidebar, and my article “About This Website“.

Originally posted Mar 16, 2009. Last updated October 6, 2012

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