I was born in 1971, in Westminster, CA.
I moved around to various parts of California growing up. My dad was a career Navy man and Mom was stay-at-home mom who eventually went back to school and got a degree in computer programming. I have a sister 2 years younger than me.
I was an average student throughout elementary school. I always struggled with math though and even had to attend summer school one year in that subject.
I started playing drums in elementary school. I took formal lessons for 2-3 years but that was it. I’ve played on and off my entire life, though there has been years where I haven’t picked up sticks or owned a drum kit. In elementary school I also played soccer as well as being into BMX/Freestyle, skateboarding and art.
Throughout my youth I enjoyed sometimes extended visits to my grandfather’s ‘ranch’ – this is what we called it – though there were no animals per se. It was a large property in the California foothills, very quiet and relatively remote. My grandfather was very DIY in the old-school sense, and working with him around the property instilled in me an appreciation for the benefits of physical work, the satisfaction of a job well done and a respect of and admiration for the outdoors. In addition I developed an affinity for Labrador Retrievers, of which he always had at least one.
In 1980, I moved to Virginia. Finished elementary school and started secondary school.
In secondary school I developed an interest in architecture and drafting. I decided at one point I wanted to be an architect. Also studied art and photography. An introduction to the band Rush by a guy in art class would leave a life-long impression.
In 1985, I moved to back California. Started high school. Went out for the soccer team but didn’t make the cut. Played on the tennis team. I was a bit of a loner, had a few close friends, but wasn’t popular with the ‘in’ crowd, nor did I really care. Had diverse interests. Was into art and progressive rock but also SoCal punk, skateboarding and BMX.
In 1987, I moved back to Virginia in the middle of high school. Continued to play tennis for the varsity team and lettered. Never played tennis after high school. Studied drafting, art and photography. Got a job at local drug store as stock clerk. A guy there who shared my affinity for Rush got me started playing ice hockey, and in turn informed a lifelong passion for the sport. He eventually became one of my best friends and would go on to be best man at my wedding.
1989. Graduated high school with average grades. Applied to two ridiculously-difficult-to-get-in-to architecture programs at major universities. Didn’t make the cut. Moved out. Went to work.
Lived a ‘frat house’ (was my aforementioned best friend’s dad’s house) lifestyle without the academics. Played shit loads of hockey. Partied. Worked basic jobs to pay for food, rent, beer money. Saw enormous amounts of live music. Played in some bands. Jammed with lots of people. Worked for a band as a driver/roadie that had some semi-notoriety, a small record contract, and toured the East Coast. Was primarily shiftless. Did manage to go to community college and over the span of 8 years earned a 2-year associates degree in architecture. Also studied english and philosophy. Avoided math like the plague and took 3 attempts to pass my statistics and strengths of materials class.
I also at this time dabbled in mountain biking, having been re-introduced to cycling by one of my roommates. My enjoyment of cycling was rekindled after initially losing track of it like so many kids do when I’d obtained my driver’s license in high school.
I was early adopter of the Internet and digital graphics technology which I utilized to make websites for the house I was living in and local bands. I also taught myself screen printing and printed shirts for friends and bands as well. I taught myself early versions of Corel Draw, Photoshop, Illustrator and other software programs with some books and guides but mostly through trial and error. Eventually this led to a stint as owner of my own screen printing and sign business that failed. I have the ‘distinction’ of having declared personal bankruptcy before I was 30. Eventually I landed a gig as a graphic designer with a hockey buddy who had his own start-up marketing/design firm.
While still living at said ‘frat house’, I met a girl from Canada over the Internet when she randomly sent an email responding to one of my early blog posts basically letting me know what an idiot I was. After three years of emails, phone calls and visits, in 1998 I moved to New Brunswick, Canada. We were married a year later in 1999.
For my first 3 years in Canada, I worked remotely for my buddy’s firm in the US. My wife had a job with the provincial government but was eventually laid off.
In 2001 we moved to Nova Scotia where I had landed a job with a printing company.
In 2001 my first daughter was born.
In 2003 my second daughter was born. After 3 years the printing company was bought/downsized and I was let go.
In 2004, after a short layover in New Brunswick, we moved to Virginia where I worked in the office of my buddy’s agency. At this time I began to commute by bike to work, a practice that would eventually radically change my life in ways I didn’t fully realize at the time.
After several years of big city living I decided I liked it better up north, so we moved back to New Brunswick in 2006 when I landed a job working for an independent publisher and design firm. I made it my mission to continue to commute to work by bike, regardless of the fact that winters in New Brunswick are brutal. I was successful to a point of pride most of the time and continued to commute year-round. I expanded my cycling repertoire to include more serious mountain and road biking.
In 2007 my son was born.
In 2008 my third daughter was born.
In 2009 I left the publishing/design firm to go to work for a well established marketing firm in Fredericton, NB. I continued to commute by bike to work. In addition to copious mountain and road biking I also branched out into bikepacking, fatbiking, and general transit/transport cycling as well as becoming an advocate for the physical and mental benefits of cycling to work, and otherwise.
In 2012 I helped develop The Bike Commuter Cabal, originally on Google+, an online movement/community dedicated to commute, utility and transport cycling.
In 2015 I quit drinking and developed a meditation practice and study of Zen Buddhism which has greatly influenced (for the better) my understanding and awareness of my place in the world, and what I should be doing with my time in it.
In 2018, for all intents and purposes, I ‘retired’ from freelance design work which I had been doing on the side of all my ‘day jobs’ since 1997, in an effort to spend less time in front of screens – which has been a rewarding, positive and ongoing endeavour. I also moved on from being involved with the Bike Commuter Cabal.
In 2019-2020 I started and then suspended and online bike club, The Corrective Action Bicycle Club.
In March of 2020 when Covid hit, I started to work from home, something I’d always been itching to try, but never had the chance/gumption to give it a go. Eventually when folks started going back to the office, I told my boss that I was happier – and I thought more productive – than at any other point in my career and if it was ok, I’d prefer to stay at home. She agreed.
- I don’t mind solitude. Not at all. My wife jokes that if they (her and the kids) all went away one day I’d go live in a cabin by myself. She’s right. But I’d have a dog. Or two.
- Bikes are important to me. As transport. As a metaphor. As a lifestyle. They have saved my life in many ways, and almost always been a component of it. I have commuted to work by bike on/off for over 15 years in all conditions. By all I mean extreme heat/humidity, rain, snow and cold (coldest, -28º C). I find it very therapeutic and pretty much loathe having to drive to work.
- If I could, I would get ‘off the grid’.
- I would like to own a huge chunk of land, preferably with some sort of water feature on/bordering it.
- I would like to go university to earn a Philosophy degree.
- I jokingly say I have OCD. I’m not ruled by it and haven’t been diagnosed, but if you move something even in the slightest on my meticulously arranged desk, I will know when I come back. I like routine. Order. I like to organize.
- Assembling IKEA furniture brings me joy.
- The older I get, the less I want to be inside. I enjoy living where there are 4 distinct seasons.
- I was born in the US but identify more with Canada and Canadians. It’s hard to pinpoint why. Call it a ‘vibe’.
- Other than hockey games, I don’t watch tv. Or movies. I feel like I’m wasting my time.
- When I started playing hockey in Virginia coming up I was a Caps fan. Upon moving up north I shifted my allegiance to Les Canadiens de Montréal. #gohabsgo
- I’m not big on showing affection or emoting. That’s not to say I don’t feel, I just don’t convey these things very well or often. I’m working on it. It’s a process.
- I’m terrible with money. Always have been. I’m impulsive in many ways, including what I do with money.
- Music has always been important to me. I have always played and listened to music. I have friends who are musicians. It has always been and remains an important companion and coping tool.
- At one time I had over 1,000 cds. Eventually, after carting them through several moves and much hand-wringing, I sold them and jumped both feet into the Apple Music model of delivery/music experience. I continue to struggle with Apple Music – feeling torn between my desire to adequately support great artists who produce music that is crucial to me and my financial ability to actually do so.
- Rush albums mark and coincide with distinct periods of my life and I have memories of time periods that jive with each release.
- I have a buddy who I actually jammed with in real-life with whom I have a fictional band that has an entire backstory and timeline. Though we no longer live local to each other, we often have online dialogue regarding the future of the group.
- I am a sucker for liner notes, packaging – all the minutiae of ‘old school’ (pre-digital/online) music delivery. I know the studios where my favorite albums were made, who put the mics where, and who was thanked. I love reading about the process of making records and the unique differences for every artist/band out there.
- Books of Artist/Musician/Band/Genre auto-biographies, biographies, histories, tell-alls, historical documents are my guilty pleasure.