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Who is Mark Kane?

This is me in 2004, while taking a break from snowboarding in Les 3 Vallees, France I've been born and raised in Munich, Germany. Son to a German mother and an Irish father, I was raised bilingual and am fluent in both German and English. Critics might say I suck equally at both, I'll let you be the judge.

I have a lovely girlfriend, Susanna, which I met shortly after finishing school. We're still together and I'm more in love now than ever! My hobbies, like most people's I guess, include listening to music, reading books, going to the movies and playing games. I also like snowboarding, traveling, open-air music festivals, BBQs and scoring goals against my mates in Pro Evolution Soccer.

Traveling: I love traveling to foreign countries. I was lucky enough to travel a lot as a kid with my parents and have tried to continue that habbit. I've been to a number of Asian countries (Phillippines 2x, Hong Kong 2x, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand), the US (twice), Mexico, the UK and Ireland (like a dozen times), and of course many other European countries (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, etc.). My girlfriend and I try to make at least one big trip a year. One of our highlights so far was driving to and around Iceland in my old car (got there via ferry), awesome experience!

Music: I prefer my music with rocks in it, add original, strange and noisy if possible (if noisy is not available add a dose of weird and quiet, that's cool too). The band that had the biggest influence on me has to be NIN. Before them I was happily ignoring music altogether. You see, I live in a country where mainstream (radio) music taste is about as bearable as an itch in the crotch. I was always quickly bored by the crap that pollutes the airwaves, with very few exceptions. Listening to the sountrack of the movie "The Crow" was like stepping into another world for me at the time!
Some music that I have learned to appreciate over the years, in no particular order: Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, Marylin Manson, Dredg, The Doors, Eels, Jane's Addiction, John Frusciante, Tool, Mogwai, (the early) Pink Floyd, Vast, Stabbing Westward, Subway to Sally, Rammstein, Rob Dougan, The White Stripes, Muse. There's plenty more and I probably left some good stuff out, but its not supposed to be a comprehensive list.

Books: I like reading, but its an on and off thing, I can't help it. There's a phase about once every year, where I devour several books in a short amount of time, then I won't really touch any more for a quite a while. I like reading SF the most, been catching up on all the classics lately and greatly enjoying it (Dick, Heinlein, Clarke, Bester, ...).

Movies: I used to be a bigger movie buff than I am these days. I was into Independent and Hong Kong cinema big time. For me and my friends Heroic Bloodshed movies were da bomb! Were we hyped when Woo's first Hollywood movie was rumored. Waiting for it was only recently topped by the excitement about the LOTR trilogy. And what a dissapointment Woo's marriage with Hollywood turned out to be... *sigh* ... Not that his new flicks are horrible, nobody matches Woo when it comes to creating stylish firefights, they just lack the intensity of "The Killer" and "A Better Tomorrow".
I still love movies, I'm just not as easily excited about them anymore, and I don't have to see them ALL right NOW. Give me a new Lynch every 5 or 6 years to go along with that NIN album and I'm a happy camper. Well, not quite, but you get the point.

Games: I can pretty much define the moment I fell in love with gaming: Civilization. Wing Commander and Ultima 7 were the next milestones. Before that I was what people today would refer to as a "casual gamer", although back then such a thing didn't really exist: all gamers were weirdos or nerds in the eyes of society. Still are in a way, at least here in Germany. No wonder, the only time mainstream media actually talks about gaming, is in context of how ultra-violent games are turning the youth into mutant killer monsters. That those games only make up a miniscule part of the market is apparently not important.
Anyway, of course I had played on friend's video consoles and the occasional arcade games, but that never really caught my attention like those games did. PC games just offered a depth that couldn't be found on consoles in the arcade. If it weren't for the marvelous Gothic series and a couple other exceptions in recent years, I'd probably bitch about how "they don't make 'em that good anymore" ... *cough* they don't *cough* ...
I enjoyed a brief flirt with SEGA's Mega Drive (Genesis), currently own an Xbox and play regularly on a mate's PS2. So it's not like I look down on console gaming, not at all at all. I still prefer PC games a little bit though, at least those that aren't just shoddy ports.

Nerdy stuff: I've always been interested in PC technology, been following the 3D hardware scene specifically pretty closely for many years.The last 2 years or so have been a bit slow though IMO. The PC world seems to be stuck in bullet-time. CPUs are still recovering from hitting that 3GHz brickwall, while the R9700 is still a fine gaming card even after several years. I usually upgrade my PC every 2 years - not only do I dig building myself (or friends) a new system, the high demands of 3D software and games rely on regular updates.
My current rig is well past it's 4th birthday and still doing surprisingly well though. It wasn't even high-end when I built it as I'm always looking for a good price/performance ratio, something that is not known in the high-end/early adopters market.