Jump to content

Tell Us Your Backstory


johnb
 Share

Recommended Posts

Don's topic about the etymology of member's handles got me to thinking. Chowhound once had a thread on what members do for a living, and the responses were fascinating. I tried to search DR to see if there has been such a thing here but did not find anything. So assuming that is the case, here goes. If this has already been done, beat me with a wet noodle.

What do you do in your "real life?" And how did that come about? How did you become a "foodie?" Are the two related? Fill in whatever details you like.

As for me, I'm (well, I was) an economist specializing in transportation, particularly ocean shipping, ports, and aviation. Over the years I did a lot of cost/benefit studies of ocean and river port development in the US and many developing countries as a consultant, mostly on contracts funded by organizations like the World Bank or the US govt. In 1991 I went to work for the Inter-American Development Bank and got involved in C/B studies for a wide range of projects in Latin America, both for governments and private sector organizations. I retired from IDB when reached my mandatory retirement age in 2005, but have done a few jobs since as a consultant.

These days I mostly take life as easily as possible, in the mountains of North Carolina; Janet and I also recently bought a "beach shack" in Florida so we expect to be spending time there too in years to come (actually here since that is where I am now, working to get the house fixed up -- when you find yourself getting on a first name basis with folks at Home Depot and Lowes, you know you doing work on your house). Unfortunately, neither far Western NC nor our part of Florida (Flagler Beach) are food meccas, but we do the best we can.

I was always interested in food, but that interest really got amped up while I was a grad student in NYC in the 70's. No better place to develop one's interest in food and wine, tho the degree to which things have changed for the better everywhere since then is staggering.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Professionally: I'm an IT Architect in a pre-sales role at a government contractor. When I went to UVA, I started as an astrophysics major in Army ROTC, but due to problems with depression (and having never learned how to study) I ended up dropping both of those, briefly going into economics before switching to a government degree. Unfortunately, despite working part-time at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, I wasn't making enough to pay for school and had to take a semester off. During that semester I got a job doing first tier tech support for a local ISP. Soon they promoted me to full time, then to engineer. When they got bought out, I moved on to a dot-com, which went belly-up in a year. From there, I switched back to UVA, working in the School of Engineering primarily supporting *nix systems and Linux clusters.

However, my boss there was very paranoid about me and regularly made up false stories about what I'd done (more accurately, perhaps, what he had perceived I'd done). I decided it was time to get out of Charlottesville but declined opportunities in California and Afghanistan (in 2004) when I learned my parents were moving back from Ohio to Virginia and my brother, graduating law school in Mississippi, was moving to northern Virginia. One fortuitous day my predecessor got drunk and quit in spectacular fashion, emailing not only the whole company his complaints but all his customers telling them the company sucked, and before HR had even seen those emails one of my best friends had my resume' in as a replacement. Close to nine years there and I'm still with the same company, said friend is also my boss now, and I've done a ton of really cool things (and some really stupid ones).

As for what brought me here...I like to write. A lot. I started off with short stories, mostly sci-fi and often cyberpunk type stuff, on USENET. Later I migrated to LiveJournal and switched to mostly doing book reviews and occasionally other things (albums, etc.) and some random musings. A friend of mine in my guild from Dark Age of Camelot put me in touch with a new website that needed writers to cover video games. I came on board, willing to review anything at all (my review of the Blackberry "Brickbreaker" game got me on CNBC, and my review of "Desperate Housewives" is one of my most popular ones), which got me into regular media events such as E3 for a number of years, interviews, etc. etc.

I burned out on that after a few years. In 2007 I was looking for a new hobby and considering Warhammer 40K. (To be honest, I figured I'd end up playing against a lot of 12 year olds, but maybe their moms would be single. Also, I really dug the setting.) Marshall came over one day and started babbling about cocktails. "We're gonna make our own simple syrup, and use fresh citrus, and blah blah blah" and I was like "WTF are you talking about?"

Well, he started to convince me, so I told him we should write about it if we were going to do it. We started an LJ feed first, then moved to WordPress/etc. later. When we went to a MoTAC event, Derek Brown said he read our blog and that we should go drinking. I didn't believe him, but Marshall did, and it took off from there. Marshall heard about Ace from someone, and I believe Joe was the one who told me about DonRockwell.com.

Whew! That was a good procrastination from studying!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's 4:30 p.m., I was in court all day and need a diet coke and a break, so here goes:

I am an attorney at a full service law firm in Alexandria and Reston, I mainly do all aspects of family law, but get thrown on employment, real estate, and other civil cases from time to time, although less now that my firm has grown larger and I am no longer the most junior attorney (in terms of experience not age). I grew up on a beef farm in Garrett County and we also had a house on Deep Creek Lake. I had an Amish nanny who took me all over the place doing all sorts of things in her buggy. Consequently I grew up knowing dutch german, farming and a great deal about the Amish religion. My Amish nanny and my Mother were phenomenal cooks, although the whole family on both sides can really cook well. Mainly traditional country and Southern food on my Mom's side. I have a couple half sisters who married into Greek Orthodox families on the other, one makes killer baklava. My parents traveled a lot and normally took me and my brother along for many trips, business dinners, etc. I knew I wanted to be an attorney from the time I grew out of my working at McDonalds stage at age 3 when I found out you didn't get free chicken nuggets whenever you wanted, the cowgirl stage and then the fashion designer stage at age 7. It was helped along by being forced to have my own guardian (attorney) for my parents divorce, I figured I could do what he did better than him and I liked the courthouse and the judge.

I went to Western Maryland College and quickly learned I had a talent for lobbying when the Western Maryland delegation was threatening to cut school funding and they needed someone who had some ties to that area. My father and mother were both really well connected politically, as my father used to testify a lot for different groups on coal and WV related issues. I ended up lobbying for the Maryland Independent College and University Association and then working for the Maryland General Assembly for delegates and then legislative services briefly before backpacking through Europe and going to law school. When I went to law school I quickly figured out I didn't want to go back into lobbying, that this was what I was meant to do. I thought I was going into tax law, I really did, and then ended up doing phenomenally well in all my business and contracts classes, but always was good at family law. I worked for an exceptionally cool law firm in law school located in DC that does tax law, but more policy than personal tax issues. Anyway there weren't many jobs when I graduated and I was offered one right away doing family law. I hated that job mainly because I worked for a firm which I didn't like and didn't believe in their practices, so I switched firms. I really love what I do, although it is immensely challenging and stressful on many occasions. And I love the firm I work with. I get to be a guardian ad litem (attorney) for children from time to time. I also serve on the board of the Junior Friend's of the Campagna Center, a non-profit that provides educational services to children in Alexandria doing their Events Donations.

I have loved food since I was little eating lot of homemade good stuff most of the time, going out to eat at business dinners, traveling or just exploring the region around us. I always loved to eat out when we traveled and my Dad was a definite chowhound, my Mom a great cook, so it is in my genes. My Dad would "split" tasting menus with me when I was little. I first joined Chowhound so so long ago I can't even remember, probably when my Mom moved to Baltimore then Annapolis when I was in high school and I wanted to figure out where to go. I really got addicted to it during the end of college and law school when I wanted to eat well, but had little money, then met my Hubby who needed to know where he could take me on dates. I always have been passionate about writing and had some of my poetry published when I was a kid. I found out about DR through Chowhound and started my blog which I pretty much always am forgetting to write for and take pictures. I mainly did it because all my friends told me I had to because I had so much information on other internet sites and deserved my own place to call home on the internets. My Hubby has really tolerated and encouraged all of this and his wonderful parents too, who are the ones that live in Cville.

My Hubby works for a big PR firm in DC, he loves racing cars and now has a speedster he likes to take to different events, he has taken flag training at racetracks, done skip barber, etc. I have really enjoyed some of the driving stuff I have gotten to do with him. And he really likes to travel from the near to the far and explore so we have a lot of fun together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...