I've been a software engineer since the turn of the millenium. Starting my career writing HTML, CSS, Classic ASP, and a little VB6, I quickly jumped on the .Net bandwagon once it was released in 2002 and have never looked back.
I have attended several colleges such as DeVry University (82 credit hours), University of Phoenix Online (16 credit hours), and Kaplan University (6 credit hours) trying to acquire my bachelors degree only to be met by the many obstacles in life that don't always agree with your life plans. While it's difficult to compete with my colleages who have their Bachelor's degree or higher, I'm still able to keep my head above water and plan to someday return and complete my degree.
My 1st real full time programming job was in 2004 with a company named GFS (Global FulFillment Services) in Phoenix, AZ. I was working as a certified propane technician making $8 per hour when GFS found my resume on Dice.com and offered me $15 per hour to start. While by today's salaries, it may not sound like much, at the time, it was life changing for me.
Over the past decade, I've worn many different hats. I've been a Web Developer, Windows Programmer, .Net Architect, DBA, IIS Admin, .Net SME/Trainer and a few others I've since forgotten. By today's standards, these all reside under the same umbrella commonly referred to as a ".Net Software Engineer".
Years later following defaulted student loans with over 150% compound interest, a decade of Uncle Sam intercepting my income tax return, moving from city to city and state to state every six months for a new contract, the student loans are paid in full and we've managed to stay in one place for more than 5 years but I'm still doing contract work. Someday, soon I hope, I'll be able to land a permanent full time gig with a reputable company so that I have some retirement to look forward to but at this point, it's just a dream.
It all started at age eight, well it actually started 8 years before that, but this is when I played my first guitar so we'll start there. My fingers were too small to get around the guitar neck. I played an open G major with 2 fingers. I next learned C major and D major and the song "Little Brown Jug." I must've played that song a million times even after my parents got sick of hearing it. Once I got the hang of those three chords, I added a few more three-chord songs until I had four or five memorized.
I don't remember the brand of that guitar, but only that it had F-holes and the action was about an inch off the neck. It was horrible. It took every ounce of strength I could conjure to press and hold those strings down without them buzzing...and the calouses on my fingers were layers deep.
The strings were probably as old as the guitar and were only changed when they broke and it was usually the high E and occasionally the G string. Now considering I grew up dirt poor in a little village called "South Branch" in the mountains of Pennsylvania, a new set of strings was a luxury. If I were lucky, I found a loose string from a mismatched set and on it went...and if I wasn't so lucky, well I played 5 strings for while. No biggy. I wasn't that good anyway.
Guitar picks? Well if I had one, I protected it with my life because as soon as I dropped it or lost it, it was replaced by the square bread bag clips or tie. I'm not sure what they were called, but they were square and plastic and worked ok for a guitar pick. They didn't last long but I loved to play. I'd wear it down until the strings were hitting my fingers and I had to throw it away. Then I'd go to the neighbor's houses and ask them if they had any plastic square bread ties. The funny thing is, today I have picks-o-plenty but usually only play fingerstyle.
As a kid, I grew up on country music playing songs like "Wabash Cannonball", "Green Green Grass of Home", "Candy Kisses" to name a few. I then upgraded to modern (at the time) country singers/players like George Jones, Merle Haggard and on to Randy Travis. Shortly following this, I heard Huey Lewis and the News on the radio and bought my first album. I must've listened to that a million times. Another phase passed, and I heard Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and BB King. Albeit, they were all before my time, but I couldn't stop listening. Then I found James Taylor, Jim Croce, Neil Young and other amazing acoustic players and I was hooked for life.
Today, after years of listening to and learning amazing cover songs, I felt it was time to express myself with original songs about my life. I had written a few over the years but never really wrapped them up. They were loose and incomplete. So I sat down one day in a moment of inspiration while the muses were visiting me, and almost completed a full album in a weekend. I did eventually finish it and remix it as you'll see on the Tunes tab...and the rest is history.