A Bit About Me
I grew up on an island in Maine called Islesboro, and went to a small school with wonderful caring teachers. My Mom was the art teacher and she encouraged me to pursue my passion for art and design. I studied graphic design in a time when there wasn't much in the way of web design or UX. I thought I would likely use my design skills at a trendy little design agency and work on pieces that would end up in Print Magazine.
But the world changed and so did I. Now, instead of realizing my design aesthetic in print, I make it come alive online. I started coding around 2002 to create my own online portfolio and eventually started making other people's websites too. From small websites to full-blown e-commerce shops, I really love to be able to implement my designs exactly like I envisioned them. I also know that good design is an iterative process and I really love to tinker with things to get them just right.
20 Totally Random Things About Me And Counting
When I was 5 my sister and I were given hamsters as our first pets. We sat around the dinner table swapping name ideas and I remember I proudly said "How about we name them Cheese and Gas Pump?" Everyone thought that was a really splendid idea.
When I was 7 I was on a boat with my Dad and one of his friends. When we came up alongside the float I tried to jump while nobody was looking, but missed and fell overboard between the boat and the float. It took them a while to figure out what had happened but luckily I was hoisted to safety before any harm was done.
In 1991 my class took a month-long field trip across country. We flew to LA, then travelled by mini van to the Four Corners, and had many adventures in national parks along the way. Near the end I got to ride in a hot air balloon on my birthday. I usually reference the 1991 Club Trip about 2-3 times a week according to my wife.
I studied graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I made it through the core design program in 2001, but dropped out because I was a few credits shy to graduate and needed a change of scenery after 9/11 and the death of a close friend.
Shortly after I dropped out of college, I moved across the country to live in San Francisco with my future wife Nicole. We crashed at my sister's apartment in Sausalito while we hunted for an apartment we could afford. We spent a lot of time outside exploring new places to hike and making new friends. We eventually moved back to the east coast but always have fond memories of our time in Northern California
I went to several raves in my later high school and early college years and used to call myself a "Raver". I used to mix and scratch records for a hobby and spent most of my spare money buying new records. One of my best memories was DJing at my sister's wedding, they let me play all my favorite house tracks and everyone including parents and grandparents danced their asses off.
My wife and I and two of our close friends once ran a half marathon at Disney World. We started the race around 4 AM, and I remember distinctly we were nearing the last leg and the sun came up, and lots of people and Disney characters were cheering while we wound our way through the theme park. I'm not sure if it was a runners high, or maybe some acid that finally worked it's way out of my spinal column, or that it was actually just very surreal.
I once took a month off of high school to sail on a small boat to the Bahamas. We met my parents in Florida and sailed across the Gulf Stream to get to the islands. My sister and I piloted the boat together in the early AM during a downpour. I remember waking up later in the morning to dolphins swimming alongside our boat as we neared land.
I did a deep dive in Unit Origami for one of my final design projects. The day I was supposed to present it, there was torrential rain and high winds. I road a bus to class and tried to cover my project with an umbrella. As soon as I stepped off the bus, a huge gust of wind blew my project out of my hands and then the bus ran it over. I handed in a mushy pulp for my final but my professor thought I was trying to buy more time. I ended up having to do the whole thing over and haven't touched origami ever since.
One winter on Islesboro, the island where I grew up, it was so cold for so long and then we had an ice storm. I remember my friend and I strapped on our ice skates and were skating on the main road for miles. It ended up being the easiest way to get around because the salt truck hadn't treated the roads and it was too icy to drive anywhere safely.
One summer I went to Alaska to visit a college girlfriend. I ended up spending most of the time working for her old man who knew how to put a young lad straight to work. The first week we spent on his tug boat bringing massive barges from China and Korea into safe harbor. The next week we put up an aluminum roof and I demolished an old camper that had become an eye-sore. By the end of the trip I decided I got along better with my girlfriend's old man than the girl. He had really good taste in music.
I once tried to rescue a man and woman from a burning car in Northern California. The car flipped over after speeding through a tunnel and the passengers were semi-conscious. Although I couldn't get them out, my wife was able to call 911 and shortly after they were rescued by fireman and police. On our way home I reached my arm to pay the toll over the Golden Gate Bridge. I noticed my arm was covered in blood and I said "It's OK, I just came from the scene of a crime" . I was asked to pull over and then my wife had a panic attack. We made it home OK after that.
When I was around 7, we used to live on another island called Peaks Island, off the coast of Portland, ME. The island and some of the other surrounding islands had the remains of army fortifications built to protect the harbor from would-be invaders during WWII. One of them was called Battery Steele, located on the ocean side of the island, was a bit of a hike to get to but provided an exhilarating dare for anyone brave enough to walk through it without a flashlight. Sometimes we'd ride our bikes through and I'd imagine being chased by army-clad zombies.
One winter on Islesboro, we had several long periods with perfect ice for skating on little hidden ponds. One of them was a short hike from my Mom's backyard and my sister and I would skate there frequently. I decided that it'd be more fun with more company so I gathered up all the extension cords I could find at the house, and requested more be sent home from the boatyard. Eventually I had enough cord to make it from the house to the pond, so I gathered up my stereo and loud speakers and setup a little DJ booth by the ice. Then invited all my friends over and we had a pretty fun time together until the sun went down. This was the closest thing to a rollerskating party I'd have as a teen.
I was somehow voted "Best Dressed" in one of my high school yearbooks. I'm not really sure what the voting criteria was and judging by the fact I had a bowl cut all the way up until I was 14, I can't say I was on the bleeding edge of fashion. I do know I was very self-conscious about my looks and probably pleased to have somehow won this prestigious title which I still flaunt whenever I need to prove to my kids I still have amazing fashion sense.
While on a family vacation in the Bahamas, we decided to explore some trails around Staniel Cay. Our fearless Captain George led us on what started as a leisurely hike that ended up becoming a bushwhacking scene straight out of Romancing the Stone. Not only did we completely lose the trail, but it began to rain harder than Dirk Diggler and we eventually found shelter in a small sea cave exposed by the low tide. During the torrential downpour, we amused ourselves by making a sand mermaid. Eventually the sun broke the foul weather and we eventually made our way back to the safety of our sailboat, a little scraped and battered but happy to be dry.
Once while hiking Hurricane Island I happened upon a knot display used by the Outward Bound students. One of the knots was a Hangman's Noose which had always fascinated me in a morbid way. I thought it would be a good idea to put the knot around my neck and scare my sister by pretending I was dead. She wasn't easily fooled but in turn I became scared when I discovered the noose had tightened around my neck and I couldn't get free. I had to stand on my tip-toes while my sister ran to get an adult to help us. Needless to say I lived to tell the tale, and I'm happy to report that I never put a noose around my neck again.
As a teen I found living on the island almost unbearably boring, especially during wintertime. We used to spend many evenings driving around in someone's car, parking and doing what teens often do when there's nothing to do and no internet. We had this town constable who's name shall rename anonymous, but he seemed to make it his mission to make our small lives even smaller and prevent us from congregating in public places. One evening as we sat in a car I saw his headlights pull into our spot and I decided it would be fun to just run. I ran as fast as I could down a wooded path called "Billy's Lane" and dove behind some tall grass. I remember trying to be quiet while catching my breath and watching as the officer ran past with his flashlight scanning the area trying to catch a glimpse of his runner. Knowing what I know now I realize that may have been the closest I've gotten to being shot.
One spring while I was in my late twenties, my Stepdad asked if I would help him and his brother in-law bring an old shrimp boat he purchased in South Carolina back to Maine. I agreed as I was feeling a bit stir crazy from a long New England winter and in need of an adventure. We drove down to get the boat in a rental car and when we arrived it was raining and it continued to rain the whole way back. The boat had a 5-gallon bucket for a restroom and only space for two to sleep in the main cabin so we alternated taking turns piloting and sleeping around the clock. On the trip I learned something valuable. Keeping one's balance while seated atop a 5-gallon bucket on a swaying vessel while attempting to go #2 is rather humbling and challenging.
After college I worked at an architectural firm in Watertown, MA. I was working on a PR brochure that would be used for a municipal building being built in the United Arab Emirates. We were putting the final touches on the brochure by making final copy edits and I put my excellent design training to work to perfect the line rags. I then got the final approval from my boss and emailed the files to the printer to have 1000 copies made. When I showed up to work the next day my boss told me we had to get the brochure reprinted because unfortunately spell check doesn't work if you accidentally transform a word like important to impotent.