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Who is spikegifted? What is this doing on the net? These may be a couple of questions you might ask yourself when you hit this website. Fear not, there is nothing offensive in this website (not that I can think of anyway) and I'm not trying to sell you anything... It is just that I like to maintain a 'presence' on the net. The following is a little about myself and my life...

Who is spikegifted?

That's me!! I'm not going to bore you with my full name here, but my first name is Benjamin. (In case you ask, I didn't pick my first name out of hat, my folks did give me a Christian name at birth. Anyway, Benjamin can be translated to a particular rude phrase in Cantonese and I certainly would think twice before picking it myself... ) I guess you can figure out that I'm Chinese. My folks are from the former British colony of Hong Kong.

How old is spikegifted?

I'm too shallow to give you a straight answer for that... But I can tell you that I was born right at the tail-end of the 1960's - it was the year after the Nobel Prize in Economics was established. Ok, that was a difficult clue... To put it another way, it was around the time when the first man put his boot print on the surface of the moon. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. From the pictures I've seen of my folks, it looked like a really cool period to be around. Anyway, the tail-end of 1960s... that kinda makes me quite old compare with the general 'net population'.

Where is spikegifted?

I live and work in London, England. I've been living here for quite a while now and I've gotten to know London quite well. One of the main reasons why I am here is because of the type of work I do... Thanks to more satellite imagery technologies, here is an overhead shot of where I live and here is one of where I work.

What does spikegifted do?

Contrary to the fact that I've a website, I don't work in IT! My 'day job' is with investment banks here in London, England. I'm currently working in a large German bank. Previously I've work in a Japanese brokerage, a large Dutch bank, a very large US investment bank, a leading French bank and a large Canadian bank... In one of my previous jobs, when I was working in the Dutch investment bank, I was working in its debt origination team, specializing in 'Emerging Europe', which kept me in the office for most of my waking hours during the week. I tried very hard to make sure that my work didn't spill over into the weekends, but there were times that I had to show up to finish things that were urgent... Nowadays, I've returned to credit risk management and the hours a lot more reasonable (and sensible).

What does spikegifted do when he's not working?

I spend my time away from the office doing things have very little relation to my work. I love sport, but I simply don't have the time nor the dedication to participate in any team sport because I don't have the time to practice with a team. Moreover, after years of punishment, my knees and hips are all suffering, so only the gentle stuff these days. However, I'm a keen follower of American Football, rugby union, golf, cycling, athletics, soccer and ocean sailing. I tried playing some table-tennis with a club in west London, but it's a long trip for me to go the venue and the practice times were very inconvenient for me... (You might think that table-tennis is not much of a sport, but let me tell you, at any level beyond the very basic, it requires a large dose of speed, agility and, in some respect, strength.) Occasionally, I managed to squeeze a round of golf during the weekend. I used to try to ride my bike into work a couple of times a week. Commuting by bicycle requires a lot of aggression and it really gives me a buzz after a good ride through the city!

Outside sport (and to be completely honest, I don't do that much sport... ), I have lots of other things to keep me occupied - music, art, books and computers. You'll find out more about what I like or don't like when you've seen some of the links. Since the Ruler_of_spike and I bought a house, much of our time has been spent renovating the house and generally improving various bits of it.

Nowadays, I seem to spend more and more time sleeping!! Yeap! You hear me - I NEED MY SLEEP!! I'm not 21 anymore (haven't been for many years ) and I need my beauty sleep...

To keep my sane in this insane world and pretty much keeping me going as a relatively normal human being is my dear, lovely, wife - Anne-Marie (referred throughout the site as the 'Ruler_of_spike' ). In case you ask, my greatest contribution to her life is so that she can kick my butt... Just kidding! (which, in itself, is a good thing...)

Just where do you get such a stupid nick name from??

spikegifted is actually a combination of my old school nick name (I've had spiky hair since the mid-80's ) and the first part of the original CompuServe password I got when I joint them back in 1994. Since I was having trouble using 'spike' on the net (there're apparently a lot of 'spikes' around... ), I just put the two of them together to make it my own unique net name...

What is this doing on the net? 

I guess this is something I like to have to fulfill some geeky part of my personality, I like to have my own website. You might think it's all a bit superficial, but that's just something I like to do. In this day and age, nearly everything has a 'web presence' - movies, shops, businesses, organizations, religions, governments... and this extends to the individuals as well. I'm not dissimilar to one of those average Joe who like to have their own website on one of those free-hosting services or have their details plastered all over the social networking sites. I've tried the free-hosting services already and went further to get my own domain name as well. So in this way, I am kinda hoping that this is not just an average 'homepage', but that is something I can really call 'home'... spikegifted.net is not my first website... In fact, this is my forth attempt to make a website. The first three were all computer-related and they all ran on those 'free hosting' services. There are hundreds and thousands of computer-related site around the world, and mine were in no position to keep up with them. Also, the computer world simply changes too quickly and I wasn't in a position to keep the sites up to date, I lost motivation and stopped updating them...

So, what is motivating me to keep this website? Late in 2002, I decided to get my own domain name - spikegifted.net - and actually pay for a hosting service. Why? I figured that the reason why I let my older experiments lapsed was that they were free - they didn't cost me money to get the hosting and the domains were free also and they really didn't matter. However, I had an idea - I wanted to make a website not about hardware or computers in general, but about myself - Who am I? How do I feel about things? What makes me tick? However (I try hard to make sure of this...), it is not "Look at me!! Look at how smart I'm!!" (Well, I hope it isn't, anyway.) No, it is just me thinking aloud. I don't care if I have an audience or not. If people find my stuff interesting, they'll keep returning to find out more. If they're not, I'm sure they'd go elsewhere or find more interesting things to do... Having a website gives me a certain personal freedom - unlike a diary, this is intended for public consumption, but at the same time, if you don't like what I have here, you can either let me know or go elsewhere. This site doesn't exist to keep the readers happy, instead it is here let to me talk about things I want to talk about - kinda like a private venting space...

There are many 'social networking' and 'professional connection' websites about these days and many people are on them for one reason or another. Let me say this right now - I am NOT on any social networking sites. So, no MySpace, no Facebook and no bebo. Also, I don't have an account with Twitter or other blogging sites. However, I contribute to blogs on the BBC News website.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your stay.