I started playing the piano at five years old, and for many years did little else. I took hours of lessons, practiced every day, gave recitals, composed, played competitively, and sometimes played paying gigs. Competitions and performances took me around Texas and the USA, and ultimately won me a scholarship to college. I still play a fairly mean Rachmaninoff G-minor today.
I got into computers and circuit design through MIDI and digital music and pretty quickly discovered a talent for electronics. In 1995 I was introduced to Slackware Linux and unlocked a passion for the terminal. Within a few years I was managing a small network of Novell servers, and not long after a datacenter full of Sun Microsystem servers.
My amazing wife Becca and I met at a high school speech meet as teenagers and fell in love instantly. For the first couple of years, while still in high school, I entered and won piano competitions and talent shows for gas money and drove my beat-up ’66 Mustang four hours to South Texas to see her most weekends. I later followed her to university, then to a different university, then to several other universities. Today she’s a tenured professor, published academic, award-winning teacher, astoundingly creative director, internationally-respected panelist and speaker and a 5th-generation South Texas cattle and goat rancher whose family ranch predates Texas statehood, so tougher than anyone you know.
My family are all in real estate – my folks build houses and develop land, my grandparents did the same, my great grandparents did the same, and all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are real estate agents, brokers, or in the industry in some other capacity. My brother Cole was a Construction Manager who built houses at Habitat for Humanity before his passing in 2012. We grew up hauling trash and lumber for allowance money as kids, learned how to frame and roof houses as teenagers, and spent summers on paint, sheetrock, flooring, and other construction crews.
Cole and I were also taken to so many festivals, concerts, and sporting events growing up that we stayed in near-permanent trouble at school. We followed Pink Floyd, Madonna, Neil Young, ZZ Top, Leon Russell, The Allman Brothers, Elton John, and many others across Texas anytime they came through, and for years had season tickets right behind the Texas Rangers dugout. I still occasionally drag my folks to see ZZ, and one of Becca and my favorite date nights is still a Rangers or Stars game.
Our three dogs are named after musicians who performed at Woodstock. Our two cats are named after Egyptian sun gods to tease the Jack Russell Terrier (Moon), who as an advanced species understands and hates it. Our axolotl was a test subject used in research into tissue regeneration at Becca’s university. We adopted him after his program, taught him to swim (he’d only ever lived in a shallow dish), and keep him fat and happy.