About Me...Cliff aka Snarky!

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This is the page where you learn all the boring details of my incredibly dull life.  Of course, if my life were really all that exciting, I probably wouldn't have time to keep up a web site (or two or three), so you should have already guessed that this isn't going to be some incredibly gripping tale of life, love, and loss.  Though there is some of that in here...

Suppose we should start of with some sort of picture of me, so you could recognize me if you ever passed me on the street.  Not that I'd have any idea who in the hell you were, or why you might stop me to say, "Hey, I saw your picture on your web site."  What kind of moron would do that, anyway.  But, some folks have been known to ask what I look like, so here it is, a picture taken in December of '96 at a conference in Arizona (to the right):

And to your left, here's me today (well, actually April of 2002, but close enough).  Amazing what just five years will do to you, eh?

Like I said, not that exciting.  But now that you know what I look like, I suppose I can start telling you "About Me", like the title says.  So, let's start at the beginning...I was born in November of 1974 in Connecticut, into a Navy family.  Luckily, I wasn't the usual Navy brat, having to move all the time as parents are assigned and reassigned.  In fact, we've only moved once due to the Navy -- when I was 5, we moved from Connecticut to here, Washington State.  And I'm not planning on leaving any time soon.

I grew up in the small, essentially Navy, town of Port Orchard, Washington.  I went to, survived, and graduated, from South Kitsap High School, one of the largest high schools west of the Mississippi (at the time, at least; last I heard they were packing almost 4,000 kids in a building built for 2,000 at the most -- and you thought prison overcrowding was bad!).  While in high school, I concentrated mostly on breezing through my classes and exploring the joys of drama.  We had one of the best (and most professional) drama programs that I've ever seen (though it died a slow, painful death once the dogmatic dictator director moved to Italy), and I had the joy of being involved in several plays -- including Camelot (where I played a named, but no-line character -- got to play with swords, though!), Arsenic and Old Lace (wherein I played a dead body), Guys And Dolls (my first role with actual lines, not to mention winning a solo dance in the Crapshooter's Dance scene), and finally The Madwoman of Chaillot (a French absurdist comedy playing to nearly empty houses in conservative rural America - great choice!).

After high school, I went on to the University of Washington, where I bungled through four years and wound up with a double-major to show for it: Psychology & Sociology.  Almost got a minor in Philosophy to make a nice humanistic triple-play, but didn't feel the urge to spend more money and time in school for a measly four credits.  Aside from getting the lovely piece of paper they call a diploma, I also managed to get talked into joining a national community service fraternity by my best friend (at the time, well, actually still)...Alpha Phi Omega.  For those unfamiliar with the group, it's essentially a (now Inter-) National Co-Ed Service Fraternity, which meant that there were women as well as men (score!), though we had no "official" house (aw...), and we got to party as well as perform service for the community (it all evened out).  APO really was an awesome experience for me at the time, and I gained nearly all of my time-management, delegation, and project coordination experience through one seemingly-endless debacle or another.  But as time went on, the politics became more important to my fellow APO'ers than the service, and I politely dropped out of the picture.

After graduating from the UW in December of '96, I immediately found work doing tech support for a then-local ISP, Sprynet (bought by CompuServe, then sold to Mindspring, who I think is now part of EarthLink).  It sucked.  I was so happy when I got my acceptance to Seattle University's School of Law, and quit my Sprynet job so that I could move on...instead, I wound up screwing myself hard-core, working 35-40 hours a week with an IT helpdesk for WorldVision and trying to keep up with my summer class (which I barely pulled a C+ out of).

Needless to say, I stopped working for awhile.  Instead, I focused exclusively on school, working my way through three years' worth of feeling like I was back in high school ("Oh my God!  He's dating her!?  What a skank!" - actual quote overheard in a conversation among 3rd year law students), and finished law school in May of 2000, graduating cum laude in none other than the newly-opened Safeco Field!

Then we skip ahead to the bar exam, August of 2000, a hell-on-earth that I somehow managed to pass on the first try -- don't ever want to try that again!  And the real, honest-to-God bitch about the WA State Bar Exam is that you don't know if you pass until November.  Yep...August, September, October, November...that's four months of not knowing whether you'll practice law or not.  Four months of sheer and utter uncertainty about your life.  Try it sometime...if you don't kill yourself, I'm impressed.

But did I wait?  Noooooo...some small Internet start-up in Bellevue, CourtLink, offered me a customer service job with a guaranteed $40k/year salary.  Compared to the other offers on my plate at the time (ie: NONE), I took the job at the first opportunity, and flew to Dallas for six weeks of "training", aka "drunken partying".  Unfortunately, I'm still there, now in the employ of the prestigious LexisNexis corporation, and pretty much desperately unhappy (though making decent money).  Since the job market took a dive last year, Seattle's still at the bottom of the barrel, and I count myself lucky that I simply have a paycheck every two weeks right now.

As for the future...well, to borrow from Yoda, "Always in motion, the future is."  I wouldn't exactly say that I'm happy with where I am right now; I'm actually sending out feelers in the legal community about heading out and actually practicing law.  But I'm not exactly unhappy, either.  I have a job that pays well (which in this economy should be enough to keep me here for now), and I'm growing accustomed to the "big business" culture of LexisNexis...not impressed by it, but more accustomed to it.  I'll be launching my latest web venture sometime this summer -- I'll be developing and hosting websites for some small firms here in the Seattle area.  Then, my hope is to move on to bigger and better things.

So...if you've read this far, I suppose you deserve some form of compensation for your time.  Unfortunately, there's not much I can offer...just thanks for reading all about my "life"!