I was born quite a few years ago in Bloomington, Illinois. I’ve never lived anywhere else. Oh, I’ve been just about everywhere else, but I keep coming home, because I haven’t found any place that contains as much complex, subtle beauty. Oh, and it’s cheap to live here, too. That helps.
I went to elementary school at Ben Funk Elementary, a now decommissioned country school in McLean County. We lived in the country, I spent my leisure time in the country, I went to school in the country… I’m a product of the country. Country values, country aesthetics, I even work for a company named “Country.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go around with a cowboy hat singing country music. I like old school country music, but pretty much loathe whatever it is they call “country” nowadays.
I went to Heyworth High School. The whole school had a couple of hundred students back then. My class was fairly dysfunctional. I was fairly dysfunctional. High school years were hard years for me. But it was then and there that I learned that I could write, take pictures, and program. There are three teachers there, to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude: my English teacher, my Science teacher, and my Algebra teacher. In many ways, they shaped who I am to this day.
I went to Illinois State University to learn to be a professional computer programmer. I also spent a great deal of time in those years, and a few years after graduation, learning to play piano. Those were classical training years. I figure conservatively somewhere around 8000 hours of practice in that time. I hope it helped.
After graduation, I worked at the university, and a few years later, got married to Diann Moreland, the girl of my dreams. I’d known her for thirteen years at that point. We had a special celebration on our 13th anniversary, because we’d been married for as long as we’d known each other before. She’s a special woman.
She gave me two incredible boys, Joel and Ben. It’s an honor and a privilege to be called their father. Most of the time I don’t consider myself to have been the best one of those. But I have to figure that mine wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, either, and somehow I managed to turn out reasonably, so the same will probably happen for them as well.
After the university, I worked in the IT division at an insurance company, then a seven year stint at IBM, and then a Financial Services company, where I presently work as a Manager of a quality and reliability department.
What’s next? Who knows. I’d love to be a professional photographer. Not much money in that, though. I’d be ok with doing freelance web development… there’s more promise there. But for now, I’m quite happy with my current job and circumstances.
I’m a photojournalist. Not one that works for a publication or anything like that. I tell my story with pictures and words. Normally a picture is worth a thousand words. I take pictures that are worth about 500, then I add another 500 to make up the difference. Check out my flickr.
I’m a writer. There are things you can’t take pictures of. Feelings. That sort of thing. Sometimes I can’t find the chords to say that stuff. Sometimes words are the only things that will do. How could music communicate the idea that “Love” and “Fear” are proper names of best friends? Poetry is the only way.
I love music. All kinds of music. I listen to music a lot, and love to revel in a brilliantly written lyric. I’m also a pianist. Piano is the language of my soul. I take pictures and write words for the benefit of those who don’t speak my language. If you really want to know me, you have to listen to my hands. And don’t give me a keyboard. I don’t speak that language. My language is spoken with strings and hammers.
I’m a programmer. I’ve lost count of the number of computer languages I’ve learned. There’s an elegance, a beauty, to a well-written computer program that’s beyond expression to anyone but another programmer. I find that programming is very similar to writing poetry. It’s a visual experience, a tactile experience, an intellectual experience, artistic in every respect. If you’re a programmer, you know what I’m talking about.
You can see my professional profile on LinkedIn. Of course, you can see more if you’re a member of LinkedIn.