I'm not sure how much of this is for your benefit, and how much is just to help me keep it all straight. It's amazing how much the years blend together. Until I put this all down on paper (so to speak), I couldn't tell you exactly when most of it occurred. It got especially difficult when I decided to add pictures. I had probably a hundred photographs without dates that I had to try to put in order. Most of it was educated guesses, but some of it was closer to blind luck (going off the postmark on the envelope, for example). I imagine this will all be "a work in progress" for a while.
I was born on April 26, 1978
in Blessing Hospital
in Quincy, Illinois (USA).
My immediate family moved to Colorado Springs in September 1979, and I've lived in Colorado ever since. So I'm as close to being a Native Coloradan as one can be without actually being native.
|I don't really have any memory
of these years (understandably).
I attended preschool this year, but the only thing I remember was that this one time, on the way to school, I had my hand in the door frame when mom closed the car door, so she closed it on my hand! It hurt. A lot. The oddest thing is that I remember that I didn't make a peep until we got to school. Mom had told me not to put my hand there, and I was afraid I would get in trouble.
|Christmas, 1982. Left to right: My cousins
Aaron Brinkley and Neil Winking, and me.
When I was five, sometime during the summer of 1983, I think, I broke my nose falling off the swing set onto a railroad tie. You see, my backyard had a row of railroad ties separating the grass from the swing sets, and the back of our four-person swing was broken, so we had the genius idea of sitting backwards in it. Now that might seem like a pretty dumbass way to break your nose, but I was only five at the time, and really, what five-year-old isn't a dumbass?
I went to Divine Redeemer Elementary School from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. It was there that I met my best friend in the whole wide world, Bill LeNoue:
We parted ways some time later, but we still stay in contact. Actually, come to think of it, we've parted ways and reunited several times over the years. Not so much that we've ever had a "falling out" or anything, but we actually had periods of years where we didn't see each other, only to end up going to the same High School, even though said High School was not the High School for the area that either of us lived in. Weird. Maybe I should start referring to him as my "Hetero Life Partner," or something...
Somewhere during 1st grade, I broke my left arm when I fell off the monkey bars in my backyard. It was a "greenstick" fracture, which meant that the bone hadn't completely separated, and didn't need to be set. I had a removable cast for six weeks, though.
(just as soon as
I can find one)
(ain't I a cutie?)
For 4th and 5th grades, I attended Evans Elementary School. A bit of a shift to not have nuns at your teachers, I must say. My 4th grade teacher (Mr. Whitson) was even a man! My 5th grade teacher was Ms. Calhoun.
|Nine years old & a
sexy beast was I.
|Even at age ten I had
already begun to transform
into the stunning bit o'
manliness I am today.
Grades 6th through 9th were at Horizon Middle School. For High School, I attended William J. Palmer Senior High School. It was nice to have taken 9th grade at Horizon, as my sophomore year was the year they decided to move the 9th grade to High School, so I skipped over the whole "Freshman misery" that many people experience. I had my own misery, though, in The International Baccalaureate Program.
The International Baccalaureate Program, or IB, as it is usually abbreviated, is a curriculum set up to the "world's standards of education." You take a significantly larger courseload than your classmates and graduate High School with a Freshman year of college credits under your belt. I lasted one semester. That was one of the worst semesters I ever experienced, as my day basically consisted of "get up, go to school, come home, do homework for four hours, go to bed." Naturally, this was also the year that my depression really came into its own.
I got my learner's permit on my birthday. I was disappointed that I couldn't get my license when I turned 16. I took Driver's Ed that summer at what was the sorriest excuse for a school I've ever come across. The classroom was handled by a gentleman who probably couldn't have spoken a sentence in proper English if his life depended on it, and the practical instructor was a gentleman who had a wheezy voice like someone who had smoked menthols for 40 years. Ugh.
I finally got my driver's license in November, a month after my first kiss. A late bloomer all around, I suppose.
|Prom, May 6th, 1995. I was so smooth I picked up
a second date! From left to right: Twila Huffman,
Me, DJ Moores, Michael Mantz, and Aisha Sayles.
|I'm on the bottom, the third from the right,
blue tunic, eyes pretty much closed.
The summer of 1995 I worked at the Renaissance Festival at a restaurant call The Queen's Pantry. My primary responsibility was scooping ice cream, which really put my forearms through hell. I was surprised I didn't end up looking like Popeye by the end. I started working with my brother Tony in November, framing houses. I graduated from High School midterm, as that allowed me to attend Pikes Peak Community College on District 11's dime for a semester.
|Prom, May, 1996. I went with a good friend,
Cathy Wlezien, who actually went to all four
of her High School Proms. She went with Bill
LeNoue as a Freshman, Me as a Sophomore,
and Ryan Byerly her Junior and Senior year.
(Please excuse the quality of this photo. I'm
almost certain I have another copy that isn't
so scratched up, but even if I can't find it, I
can clean this one up when I have the time.)
I finished my semester at Pikes Peak, and was accepted at Colorado State University. I decided to "take a year off" (which ultimately ended up being three years off), and continued to work with my brother. I left construction to work for Cimarron Hills Video Store that October, and started with Blockbuster Video in November. I had to cut my hair shortly after starting there, but I was kinda sick of it by then anyway, and really, I look better with short hair.
Almost nothing of consequence here. Pretty much two solid years of unremarkable status quo. The main exceptions being my attendance at John Robert Powers Modeling and Acting School in summer, 1998. I went on to compete in the International Modeling and Talent Association convention in Los Angeles that January. I took away "4th Runner Up" in Comedy Monologue, which considering there were about 50 guys in my division, was no small accomplishment.
|My head shot, circa July, 1998.|
I left Blockbuster to work at Premiere Conferencing in May, and applied to The Art Institute of Colorado (then called the Colorado Institute of Art). After I was accepted, I moved to Denver to Bill's apartment on October 4th, 1999. I began my brief career in the banking industry with Guaranty Bank & Trust in November.
|Guarantee Bank & Trust Holiday Pary, December 18th, 1999,
with Cat, my girlfriend at the time. (note my Looney Toons tie)
I left Guaranty to work for Ticketmaster in March, and then left Ticketmaster in August when they closed the Colorado office. I then worked for Lightbridge from October 2000 to October 2001.
During summer of 2000 I saw the first X-Men™ movie, and thought that maybe I might want to grow out chops like Wolverine™. For years I denied the horrible truth that I was trying to look like him, but I...I can't hide it any longer. I'm man enough to admit I started growing chops to look like Wolverine™.
|July, 2000. It started slowly...|
My brother Ryan got married on September 9th, 2000. He had asked me to shave off my new chops as I was part of the wedding party. Since it hadn't taken all that long to grow them, and it was, you know, HIS day and all, I complied. I figured I should take a "before" picture or two, though.
|September 9th, 2000. The
morning of my brother Ryan's
Wedding. Nope, certainly no
X-Men™ influence here...
|September 9th, 2000. I really
like this one. I think I'll try
to grow my hair back out to
look like this again.
|June, 2001. I had tried a short,
fuzzy full beard for a while. I'm
not Don Johnson, and it wasn't
1986, so I couldn't pull it off.
During 2001, I had started to
grow my hair out again. This was
probably the best it looked.
2002 was, I think, my most prolific year as far an employment is concerned. I think I had eight W-2s at the end of the year. I started working for Sprint PCS in January, Answer Inc. in May, Alexander's Data Services in July, Quality Education Data in September, and Intrawest Retail Group in October. The man could not hold a job!
May of 2002 was also when Bill moved out to Chicago, with the intention of moving on to Toronto, eh?
|June, 2002. See?
Nowhere near as sexy as above!
At least I came to my senses by
Halloween. I'd also shaved off the
chops to put on a mask I had created
in my Special Topics: Makeup class.
I grew them right back afterwards.
I graduated from the Art Institute in March, 2003, with a Bachelor's Degree in Media Arts & Animation. I also ruptured a disc in my back that month, and began the long odyssey of trying to get it fixed (see below). I started working for Visual Information in April.
I was contacted by Lorene on 2003-05-28 through eMode.com (now called Tickle.com, I think). We were engaged in September. We moved in together in October. Also in October, I received a pair of dwarf hamsters from my niece Tia. I named them Bartleby and Loki, although I generally referred to them as the "Little Dudes."
In November, I had a microdiscectomy and a laminotomy, which basically means they cut out the part of my disc that had pushed out and was pressing on my sciatic nerve. The surgery was less than successful. I ultimately had a fusion done on both L-5/S-1 and L-4/5 in early 2007.
In April, I drove our African Grey parrot, Alixandre, to a sanctuary in Phoenix, AZ. With both of us at work all day, we really couldn't give him the attention he needed, and he was plucking his feathers pretty badly. We agreed it would be best to give him up. I think it worked out really well, as he seems really happy there.
My cat Bastet was born in March, and we purchased her in June. She and her littermates had been found in a window well, and were turned in to Table Mountain Animal Center. Lorene saw her at Paws N Play, a fabulous little pet supply store in Olde Arvada.
Lorene and I were married at the Callahan House in Longmont on 2004-10-02 . In late November I lost my job at Visual Information, and in December we moved to Westminster.
I started with Nextel in January, first as a contract employee, and then as a regular employee in October (there was a hiring freeze until the merger between Sprint and Nextel was complete).
2005 was a banner year for our pets. We purchased a new golden retriever in June (she was also born in March), and named her Wilhelmina Dusanna Williams, but most just called her Mina. Loki died in July, after the cat knocked his cage off the entertainment center. Bartleby followed suit in October, almost exactly two years after he was born. In November, we acquired Gabriella, an adorable gray gerbil. Lorene was still working at the Denver Dumb Friends League, and someone turned a gerbil that someone had left in an apartment when they moved out. So we didn't know how old she is, but we loved her all the same.
We moved to Lone tree in June. Lorene and I were separated in September, and I moved to Denver. I took Bastet and Gabriella, and Lorene kept Ferrin and Mina. We filed for divorce in December.
I had my second back surgery on 01/08/2007, a double spinal fusion, or PLIF (Posterior, Lateral, Interbody Fusion). After staying at Skyridge Medical center for five days, I went to live with my brother Ryan in Windsor for three weeks. While my back healed reasonably well from the surgery, we determined that I have nerve damage that continues to produce sciatic pain down both of my legs. Dr. Jamrich seemed optimistic that the damage would heal within a few years. That was sadly not the case.
My first cat, Bastet, had to be put to sleep shortly after I got out of the hospital. She had swallowed a small spool's worth of thread after I mistakenly left it out (I didn't realize thread was so dangerous to cats), and it was tangled up in her intestines. After I moved back to Denver, I adopted two new adorable kitties, a brother and sister pair from the same litter. I named the girl Dory, and the Boy Nemo. They were eleven years old when I bought them.
Dory had probably already developed cancer before I adopted her, but it didn't really come into its own until two months after I had adopted them. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she had to be put to sleep on 2007-03-22.
I started back at work with Sprint Nextel on 2007-03-26 after being on Short Term Disability.
Sometime in late April I adopted Socks from my brother Andy. She was a long-haired gray and white cat with two milky-white socks on her front paws, hence the name my nephews, Zach and Zeke gave her.