Phil Symons is an enigma.  The best way to describe this character is to publish the interview given to Herbert T. Jeffrubillant from The Irregular Astronomical Body in 2006.

What's it like being an engineer?

I didn't want to do this as a living.  I- I- I wanted to be a lumberjack!  Leaping from tree to tree.. as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia...

Er, I hate to interrupt you, but what's it really like being an engineer?

To be an engineer is to be in a perpetual state of cogitation (read confusion); it is one of the few pursuits where the furrowed brow is a required and permanent addition.  Unfortunately, after spending far too many years making computers do things that they'd rather not do, the grip on ones sanity loosens.

Ah, I see.  So are you clinically insane?

Well, I regularly check for hairs on the palms of my hands.  Haven't found any yet, so I guess I'm ok.

That's encouraging. If you were born 100 years ago, what would you have been?

Caractacus Potts from Chiti Chiti Bang Bang; a cracked inventor of crazy contraptions.  In my spare time between inventing I guess I would have been an author.

If you weren't an engineer today what would you have been?

A tree.

Any old tree, or one in particular?

A big one with leaves - as long as it's not in British Columbia.

Fair enough.  What do you do in your spare time?

Commune with nature; desperately trying to steal its soul by capturing as much of it as possible on camera.  When nature is having a sulk I create books of words.

Really?  What sort?

It varies.  I don't have a fixed style, but some are historical fiction, others are humourous fantasy.  Others just tend to be a random strings of nonsensical sentences - at least it seems that way when I read them back through.

Any luck publishing?

Hmmm.  <inaudible - grumble - mumble>

Ok, change of subject; what's your favourite colour?

Impossible to say.  I like them all equally, as long as they're not all in the same place at the same time.  They can get a bit rowdy you know.  I understand that there are special rules like blue and green should always have a colour inbetween, but I'm an engineer so I don't bother with silly things like that.

What's your favourite number?

My favourite number?  You shouldn't ask an engineer that question.  That's like asking for the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything...

Well, thank you, Phil.  I'm off to report on the World Ant Counting Championships...

You're welcome.  Er, can I have my pen back?


I've been spending some time trying to retrieve my early software work recently, and for posterity, have put some information about it on this page
So if you are interested in a bit of computer nostalgia check it out. 
The document is still work in progress and I hope to add more software as I succeed in recovering it.

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Please feel free to email me, but I can't guarantee to reply to all.