From Music to Computer Programming


The nineties were pretty good times for me. I was in my 20's and playing trombone in the Navy. I had money and time to learn about computers. I mostly did music though. Early on in my music recording, computers couldn't really keep up with multitrack recording. At least the ones I could afford. I recorded enough to learn that my time wasn't as good as what I thought it was. So I started playing drums to get my body infused with good time. I used a metronome and played hand drums and drum set. I took a few lessons from Steve Crady. I perfected a West African groove on drumset, playing in 12/8 and 4/4 at the same time. By 1999 I was making some pretty decent multitrack music using all acoustic instruments.

Music and Websites

It was around that time that I made my first website, a site for my music. Very early on I was interested in the creative use of html to make things like fortune cookies. Computers were really starting to get fast. I got out of the Navy and embarked on almost two years of recording when I moved back to the West Coast. The biggest blunder of my life was not getting a place to live right when I got relocated to Portland. I stayed with family for the first six months. I finally got a job as a courier, but that didn't last very long. I had a string of bad jobs for a couple of years. It wasn't that the work was bad. I'm a good worker. Work is meditation to me, a celebration of life. It was the people that drove me out. They were just real bottom of the barrel type of jobs.


In the summer of 2002, Marc Fendel got me a copy of Flash 5. I got a book on it and started out learning how the timeline works for animation. It wasn't long before I got into code though. I had been doing little projects like mp3 alarm clocks with Visual Basic for years and the DHTML for my music websites. During this time I was living half the time in cars and vans. I made a lot of music in those vehicles. I eventually found myself obsessed with playing Millipede. I wanted to make a game where I could move all over the screen and the centipede could move in other directions. On New Years Eve going into 2004, I found myself in the freezing cold, in the snow, in front of a grocery store for 8 hours proving on paper that I could program a collision detection for that game using only ratios. After 8 hours, I had proved it. I then walked through the night to live on the streets of Seattle and work on my game.

Enter the Programmer

I spent the next six months working non stop with paper and pen, living on the streets of Seattle writing my game. Once a month I would spend a couple days at a friend's place entering my code into the computer to see how I was doing. I explored just about every type of collision detection there is. Around the 4th of July, I got a ride to Portland to stay with my friend Sam Burton. At Sam's place, I coded my Bumper Bubbles game, a two player game based on Asteriods. I hand coded the collision detection for it and the game was done in four hours. Sam helped me get assistence to get off of the streets through Central City Concern. I rested up that Winter after my computer crashed. In the early Spring, I started coding PHP with Flash to make web applications. I started off making a couple animation applications with server side saving. Later in 2005, I embarked on making a clone of Snood and a 4 player online Scrabble game. The Scrabble game incorporated a hand coded window and list box that I made in 15 minute increments on paper while riding the bus to a data analyst job. That work nearly got me a job at Microsoft prototyping the Office Suite in Flash.

About a year later, I started working for Fablevision making educational games for I've been rockin' it with programming ever since.