20 year career as computer journalist, specializing in writing about software--especially complex business systems
--includes writing hundreds of articles, editing thousands; also spent a year or so as editorial director of my company's conference division
Previous career: high school teacher for several years, after getting teaching credentials in Elementary Ed, English, Social Studies, Biology, Physical Education, and Art. Wound up actually teaching AP English, Algebra, Basic Electronics, and the school's Gifted Student program
Earlier gigs: ad agency copywriter; public relations copy writer; corrections officer in juvenile detention center; bookstore clerk; rent-a-Santa Claus
Avocations: scuba diving with spouse (California, British Columbia, Baja, Cozumel, Bahamas, Caymans, British Virgin Islands, Hawaii (Big Island, Maui), Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea); bicycling (14 centuries), riding a tandem frequently with spouse; car camping in the Sierras and California Coast; casual observational astronomy; cosmology; natural history.
TV (everything by Joss Whedon, Babylon 5, Red Dwarf, New Who (not Old Who), Farscape, Lexx, Sara Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica (new), Dark Angel until it got silly, Roswell, Andromeda sort of, Stargate Atlantic sort of, Cleo 2525, the Starlost, the dozen good episodes of Star Trek Next Generation, Xena Warrior Princess (really), plus a bunch of non-scifi stuff, especially House, So You Think You Can Dance, Veronica Mars, Heroes).
SciFi/Fant movies: 2001 in Cinerama, Serenity, Spirited Away (Miyazaki), T1 & T2, Forbidden Planet, This Island Earth, War of the Worlds (remake with the little Scientologist wack job and Girl Who Screams), Existenz, Lord of Rings trilogy, Galaxy Quest, 12 Monkeys/La Jetee, Dark City, Return to Oz, Kukushka (Russian/Finnish), Star Trek IV for Sarah Silverman, Dune for the scene with the Navigators only, Akiru.
Sci fi reading: Got started with Tin Tin, Dr. Doolittle's Adventures, HP Lovecraft and suchlike, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov yada yada. Read thousands of novels. Tend to prefer hard sci fi like Niven/Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye; agree with some other posters about not appreciating attempts to amp up the literariness and dilute the science/technology. That said, favorite author is probably Joseph Conrad & of course Shakespeare for playwrights & Joss Whedon for screenwriters.
Pet peeves in scifi: How filmmakers who know nothing about biology have created a set of expectations about aliens that have no kind of evolutionary model and don't meet the minimum needs any intelligent alien must satisfy. How filmmakers who know nothing about physics & technology have created a host of dazzlingly beautiful, meaningless images of space ships and everything else that again create reader/viewer expectations divorced from reality. CGI is great but it's no substitute for actually thinking about this stuff.
For example: intelligent aliens across the universe probably look like us--yet this proposition sounds ridiculous to most sci fi readers/viewers, because they haven't done their homework and instead, like George Lucas, have filled their heads with the products of special effects meisters.