Welcome and Reading List

Welcome! You seem to have found the blog of Chris Hansen. How do I know this? Well, you're here, aren't you? At this point some of you may be disputing being "here", or even digging into deep questions like "where is here anyway?" As these sorts of questions and arguments aren't liable to lead to anything good, let's move on, shall we?


So first off, "Chris Hansen" is not such an uncommon name. You may be wondering which individual of this name is the denizen of this blog. Well, I'm probably best known as the creator of FX.php. Perhaps not as well known as some things in this world, but I think it's done a fair bit of good. Hopefully there's more good yet in me.

Also, as you may have guessed from my claim to fame (such as it is), I'm a programmer by trade. Presently, I work mostly on web stuff, but I've worked with all sorts of languages on various platforms. Right now, I work from home, and you wish you did too. Trust me. You do.

I also happen to have a wonderful wife, and great kids. But I won't go more into that subject here. The thought process behind that decision definitely merits a post of its own...

So, all that aside, if you've looked over the above links, and peered into the various nooks and crannies that they provide, you should know by now whether you're in the right place. Well? Are you? At the very least, you're still here with me. And who am I?

Perhaps one way to help you learn a bit more about me is to share a list of books that I think are "shiny" (as the crew of the Serenity would say) in no particular order:

  • The Hobbit: J. R. R. Tolkien has produced some very fine stories. This one makes it into the list because it also makes a fine bed time story -- that is, after all, how this story originated.
  • The Book of Mormon: I love this book, but how to describe it... Another testament of Jesus Christ? Check. Helps one understand the Bible? Yep. Has a tendency to make to make people happy? That's my experience. Definitely worth at least one read. You can even request a free copy.
  • A Bridge Too Far: I like Cornelius Ryan's books. They're long, but he seems to have done his homework. As for my choice of this particular book, I think it's the scope of the airborne operation that grabs me.
  • Our Mutual Friend: Though I grew up hearing more about some of Dickens' other books, this is the one that I like the most. The BBC did a nice rendition a few years back, which inspired me to actually read the book.
  • The Well-Grounded Rubyist: This is my favorite book for learning Ruby programming. I've looked at a number of Ruby books in the last few years, but in my opinion, this one does the best job of teaching the language.
  • The Holy Bible: Still by far the most printed book of all time, there are great lessons to be learned from both the Old and New Testaments. I prefer the King James version printed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Beyond the scripture, this version also includes a nice bible dictionary, a good selection of maps, and an extensive topical guide.
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower: This is the first of a series of books about a (fictional) British naval officer during the Napoleonic wars. Though I feel like things fall flat after the fifth book, I can't seem to get enough of the first few.
  • Burns: Poems: I love Robert Burns. Yes, there are lots of poets out there, but of the "classics", Burns is definitely my favorite. He writes some very funny stuff, too.
  • The Phoenix Guards: There's something about the series of which this is the first volume which really appeals to my sense of humor. Unfortunately, I've never found someone else who feels quite the same way.  facepalm
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: I like fantasy as a genre. The cool thing about this series is that there is some additional meaning below the surface. C. S. Lewis is a great author in general, but these books, like the Hobbit, work just fine as bedtime stories. Oh, and stick with the original order. Though The Magician's Nephew is chronologically first, it really works best to read things in this order:
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    • Prince Caspian
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    • The Silver Chair
    • The Horse and His Boy
    • The Magician's Nephew
    • The Last Battle
  • The Second World War: Before you just gloss over this one, I'd like to point out that the text in this series was written by Sir Winston Churchill, and the pictures, charts, and maps that go along with said text are first rate.
  • Programming Ruby: Generally referred to as "the Pickaxe book", this is my favorite Ruby reference.