I grew up in an artistic family. My father was an artist and my brother and sister both played a variety of musical instruments (mostly string). I myself took to art and music and various crafts. I have composed music from an early age, but found my true love in the written word. I wanted to be a writer. I wrote from morning until night (when I wasn’t jotting down some musical notation or crafting). I attended art fairs with my father and lived a bohemian existence. I learned from the masters of their trades as it was very much a part of the 70’s art movement to share your knowledge and make the world a better and more beautiful place by doing so.

I started programming back in the early 80’s. My school got a low-priced Mac in that deal Apple made with the government to get financial help in exchange for selling computers to educational institutions at cost. In any case, I’m from a small town and, in the 80’s there weren’t many programmers to be found in small towns and the ones that there were wanted a lot of money for their rare skills. The school gave the advanced math students a language aptitude test (like the ones used by the military and government) and I guess I did well because I was selected to “teach the computer math.” Armed with a cheat sheet of the language the computer understood, I taught the computer to do geometry and some trigonometry. It took me a while to realize that what I was doing was programming and the language I was using was Basic. My appetite for these language became voracious and I continued to learn what I could about them. I was a hacker in the original meaning of the word: a self-taught programmer who wrote quick and dirty code that did what it was intended to do, but wasn’t necessarily pretty.

I worked in theatre for many years as an actor, a stage manager, a lighting designer and a lighting technician. I left acting because I felt as though I was selling my soul. I left technical theatre because I felt as though I was selling other people’s souls. It was a fun, wacky, wild, and dramatic life, but it didn’t fulfill my needs. I was an introverted “writer type”  and a computer geek in a world where charisma and outlandish behavior ruled. I wasn’t in my place in the world. I felt often as though I was an outside observer of my own life.

I went back to programming and to writing lengthy novels that I never had the courage to submit for publication. The novels were too close; too personal. I could face neither rejection nor acceptance of them. The characters, the stories, the worlds and the religions I created were destined to remain mine alone to enjoy. The programming fulfilled my need to create and to share and to seem productive. I developed sites for non-profits and helped with open source projects and continued to learned my trade the old-fashioned way: by doing it.

In the dot com madness, I was offered jobs with companies big and small, but I turned them all down. I didn’t want to sell out. I also didn’t want to turn my hobby into a job where I answered to a big boss and had set deadlines. I killed my love for theatre by being paid to do it, I didn’t want to kill my love for programming the same way: art for art’s sake and programming for programming’s sake! Later, I came off my high-horse and realized that I needed to pay the bills by doing something and programming paid more than most of my skills. By then, the dot com bust had happened and everything that could be done by offshore companies had been outsourced. I decided to start my own company and to persue a degree in business so that I had some idea of what I was doing.

And so that brings me to where I am today. I’m a senior MIS major (Management Information Systems) and soon to be grad student. I’m in the process of starting up an internet development company that melds my interests in music and the arts with my programming skills. I’m also trying to keep from going stir-crazy with all the business and finance jargon by keeping some of my crafting hobbies alive. I will always have the bohemian spirit and the beliefs of the art movement in the 70’s. I hope that  by sharing what I know I can aid and inspire others and do my small part towards making the world a better and more beautiful place . Peace!

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