My name is Richard Karsmakers. I am a teacher of English. I live in Gouda, the Netherlands.
I was born 3 November 1967 in Helmond (though I usually say “in the vicinity of Eindhoven”), Netherlands, and I am still alive. According to the death clock, I’ve got until August 15 2041.
After studying English at Utrecht University, I stuck my big toe in the pool of secondary education, left it after a mere six months and then rolled into what is known as the IT industry. Initially I started out as a teacher of Microsoft “Office” application for end users, but I quickly worked my way up to teaching “Visual Basic” and “Visual Basic for Applications” in any version of “Office” you’d care to throw at me. I also did some consulting in that area. In mid 2002, in the wake of the economic, um, downheavals in the IT business, I sought (and found) a little more security in profession-oriented secondary education (“MBO/HBO” in Dutch), and from that went on to become a full-time teacher of English at a secondary school. I am having one hell of a good time.
On a personal level, my life has had a few ups and downs as well. On May 21 1999 I got married. Unfortunately this perhaps a little too uxorious an experience ended in a divorce in July 2001. This has been the second most fundamentally impactful – and sudden – event of my life. The dinosaurs could scarcely have been more stunned – and destroyed – by the meteorite that hit the earth 65 million years ago. Its damage can still be felt at times.
Things have improved, deteriorated and improved since then. I got married for a second time in September 2003. The most impactful event of my life was the birth of my daughter, Anne, on 24 April 2004 at 22:10. Another divorce happened in summer 2007, though this time it was a mutual thing so there was little shock and barely any anger.
Life has really been spoiling me with my current relationship with a lady that fits me just like a glove. After trying each other out for a while and living together for a few years, I married for the third (and hopefuly final!) time on 13 March 2013.
My main hobbies are music, some programming, and maintaining web pages.
I started programming back in 1984 on the Commodore 64, having to make do with the simple and atrociously incomplete “Commodore Basic v2”. I never took Basic seriously and started doing bits in machine code. I was known primarily as a music ripper (my handle was “ACC” – “Amazing Cracking Conspiracy”, not to be confused with the German “Active Cracking Crew”). That went on until early 1987, when I discovered “GfA Basic”; I had in the mean time switched to the Atari ST. During the years that I had an Atari ST (and later an Atari Falcon) I developed and maintained the “Ultimate Virus Killer” (a virus killer for Atari ST/TT/Falcon), the disk-based magazine “ST News” and a variety of more or less useful (or perhaps useless) shareware/freeware programs.
In 1996 I switched to the PC, and picked up “Visual Basic” programming in early 1998. Using the ST emulator “GEMulator”, I also sortof maintained the “Ultimate Virus Killer” in “GfA Basic” until April 2004 when the (final) version 9.0 was released.
My claim to fame (sortof) on the PC is an insult generator called “The Second Reincarnation of the Final Grandson of Wowbagger of Infinitely Prolonged”. I don’t think there is a better insult generator anywhere. Since I lost the “Visual Basic” source files I am no longer able to update it, however I made the wowbagger.com support site into an interactive swearing experience to make up for that. The magic of PHP!
Web site maintenance is something I didn’t start doing until May 1998. It basically consists of looking at other people’s HTML code and asking a lot of questions, then mixing that basic knowledge with what I want to get across. The result is never quite aesthetically staggering, but will have to do anyway. I always put emphasis on the content, and I realise that nobody in their right minds will ever hire me to do web page design. Still, I’m learning. I maintain several web sites, for my old disk magazine “ST NEWS” (though everything that looks professional was done with considerable aid from Frederic “Dyno” Poeydomenge), the Atari Scene party site “STNICCC.COM”, the Stratocaster guitar fetish site “Strat Central”, the Heartfield guitar info/fetish site “Heartfield Guitars”, a site for Plantiac (the smoothest drink in the world) and Wowbagger (the best insult site in the world). For the links to these sites, please check the menu on the right of the home page.
Of late, my new web exploits centre around providing support for the kids at school, so they can practice listening proficiency and pronunciation, and work through a great deal of practice exams. They are generally only accessible to students from my school.
Music, to be honest, is a pretty passive hobby as far as I am concerned. Although I play the guitar (and a bit of bass) I am not in a band. I am more of a music consumer. Genres I dig include many kinds of metal (including thrash, death, doom and black), hardrock, neo-classical/shred guitarists, synthesizer virtuosos, bombastic classical music and a rather select (or eclectic, or idiosyncratic, my wife describes it as “idiotic” or worse at times) section of pop. Hardcore/skatecore/mallcore/emo does as little for me as country and western (or free jazz, for that matter). Here’s a list of my favourite rock/metal songs.
I also used to have a fourth hobby, writing fiction, but I haven’t been really productive in recent years. I have been fiddling around with a new concept and basic storyline for a novel since 2015, so I might pick that up again. I’ve got dozens of ideas sitting in files, ready to be used when (if) I’ve got the time again. I used to publish a fiction-only magazine called “Twilight World” (24 issues published from April 1993 to July 2001), which ended publication just around the time when I had shot my imagination’s load. A link to a permafrost version can be found elsewhere on this site (check the menu on the right of the home page).