Thanks for being here grad. Everyone on the site loves your stories, what is your best story from college?
Unfortunately some of my best stories are not appropriate to publish on this family-friendly website. I don’t think I’ve got anything PG-13 I haven’t mentioned before on here (the beer bong face-off, etc).
I’m not sure if I told my dinner with Bill Self story, or if I’ve told it recently, so I’ll go with that. My sophomore year I was camping before one of the basketball games and the team and players had food catered in after practice. Apparently they ordered way too much, so Bill popped out and invited those of us that were camping to come get some. Some people didn’t even hear him because they were listening to music or whatever, so only a handful of people went in. Most grabbed some food, thanked Bill and the coaches and left. Me? Nah, I’m staying.
So I made a plate and just sat down at the table with Self and the other coaches, all like "well I’ll just see how this goes." No one blinks, they all sit around and talk and bullshit a bit while I’m just sitting there eating my free dinner. What pisses me off is this was before Snapchat, otherwise I would have been totally adding snippets of that to my story.
When I got to bro out with Self last summer, I should have mentioned that dinner. It really opened my eyes to how laid back and personable Self is, and the relationship the program has with its students.
I know you moved around a bit as a kid. What did your folks do? How big was your family? Give us a glimpse of what little grad was like.
My dad is a businessman and has worked for a gigantic, international company his entire career, and part of moving up the corporate ladder was moving every couple of years. Really Wisconsin was the only consistent "home" for us as all holidays were spent there as my parents are from the same small town (they actually went to high school together before attending UW Madison) so all my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc on both sides lived there (and still live there).
I’m from a family of four; just have one sibling, a younger brother. He is about to graduate with his bachelors and masters in Accounting and has a job lined up for him in Chicago this summer. He didn’t go to KU, mainly because my parents moved to Illinois right after I graduated high school, but he roots for the Hawks, especially since all his friends are Illinois or (gasp) Missouri fans.
My childhood was pretty normal. I loved sports and played a lot (soccer and football in the fall, basketball and indoor soccer in the winter, tennis in the spring). The only sport I didn’t play was baseball, as my parents tried it on me as a kid but I would get too bored during games.
I was usually a "funny" kid in class and often bent the rules a bit. I once put on a concert in fourth grade during recess in which I sang songs but replaced the lyrics with inappropriate ones (I had been listening to some Weird Al I guess). I also got in trouble for burp-singing songs in church (I went to catholic school) and things of that nature. But it was all harmless; I was a pretty good kid for the most part.
I know you lived in Switzerland for a bit. Was it hard be a young American kid in a foreign country? How would you say that experienced has made you who you are?
We moved when I was in sixth grade, and at first it definitely was a big culture shock. Right after we moved, the Packers played the Broncos in the Superbowl and my dad and I had to watch it in the middle of the night off some hack feed he got from Germany. He didn’t make me go to school the next day because I was so upset. I hate John Elway so much.
Luckily for me I adjusted pretty quickly. I went to an international school so there were a lot of other American kids there, and not only that, Geneva is such an international city that all the kids knew what it was like to move around a lot, be in a foreign country, so everyone was friendly. We got a TV signal from England so we got all the Sky channels so I got to watch English-speaking television. I had my Nintendo 64. I made the school’s basketball team and became a regular player and that took up a lot of my time (the season over there went from like October to May, it was insanely long). Our team actually won the city championship for middle school. Our prize? A stack of notebook paper. LOL Europe. I once scored 21 points in a game that included two banked three pointers from the top of the key and the fact that I picked up my fifth foul and wasn’t forced to leave the game for some reason. Nor was I forced to leave after my sixth. I still don’t know if I’m proud of that or embarrassed. Maybe both.
The overall experience made a pretty big impact on my life. For starters, I absolutely love to travel, especially in Europe. In the past couple of years, my wife and I have gone to Paris, Ireland, Paris (again), Spain, Switzerland and Italy. I love being in new countries and trying new things, and that developed from all the traveling I did when we lived over there.
If you want to get into that deep shit, I guess I’m a lot more tolerable of other cultures than I was before we went over there. You learn that no matter where you come from, or what color your skin is, we all pretty much do the same thing in a life. Raise up kids and make love from time to time. And warsh.
Did you do all high school in America? What was high school grad like?
I did, we moved to Kansas right before I started high school. High school was not easy or fun for me early on. For starters, the kids at my school weren’t very friendly to the "new kid from Europe." Not only that, I developed a foot problem and couldn’t really move about much my freshman year and got chubby (I didn’t get my growth spurt until later in high school). As a result of being the new, chubby kid, I didn’t really have many friends and got picked on a lot my freshman year. It was pretty rough.
So naturally, when I grew, got skinny, made a lot of friends and started getting attention from girls, I had a pretty big chip on my shoulder that never went away. I was a real nice kid, but I had a fiery streak to me, especially in sports. My senior year I actually tried to fight another team’s tennis coach and the East Kansas League (aka EKL) suspended me for two weeks. I remembered the kids that bullied me two/three years prior and was a dick to them. I’ve matured a lot as I’ve gotten older, but for some reason that chip on my shoulder just never goes away. I guess that is good and bad.
Still, I had a good group of friends in high school and that rubbed off on me in a good way. Had a lot of smart friends ( a lot smarter than me) who did well in school so being in that environment was good for me. I got pretty good grades, kept out of trouble for the most part. I didn’t drink or party much until my senior year due to sports and all that. I had fun, but didn’t go overboard. I mainly ended up going to KU (instead of Wisconsin) because I had some good friends going and I liked Lawrence. Oh yeah and that in-state tuition…
How and when did you find RCT?
After I graduated I had a really boring internship in Topeka working for the government. I was desperate to find stuff to read and do while at my desk. I stumbled upon the site around the summer of 2009 I believe. I loved the fact that there was open discussion, but you didn’t see the general bullshit of other sights or forums. People were fairly level headed and above all else, wanted to talk KU sports. It was refreshing, since all my friends are way too extreme (the people who wanted Self fired before he won the title) or too apathetic.
When did you first start playing guitar? Was there any particular musician or band that inspired you to play?
I took a few classical guitar lessons in 8th grade when I lived in Switzerland. I always wanted to play guitar, but my parents made me take piano for a few years first. After we moved to Kansas, I took lessons but it didn’t stick that much. I was really busy.
My sophomore year in football, I separated my shoulder (got blindsided on a freaking kick off) and also messed up my ankle. So I had a lot of down time. I started to really get more into it. Luckily my interest in guitar coincided with the age of technology, so I started to find tabs online of songs I wanted to learn, video tutorials came later when I was in college, etc.
I got decent in high school, but college is when I really got good. The biggest key was playing with other people. I’d spend hours noodling on my guitar instead of studying, but I found when I jammed with others (other guitarists or other instruments) my learning accelerated big time. My junior year me and some buddies formed a band.
I don’t know what attracted me to the guitar, but I always wanted to play it. Probably because I can’t sing. I grew up listening to my parents’ records from the 70s, a lot of Arena Rock, where the guitar is heavily featured. All I know is when I got my first electric guitar and amp, I waited until my house was empty, turned it up all the way, and just slugged a few power chords. My God, it was heavenly.
I know you are in the marketing field, what exactly do you do?
Mostly online / e-mail marketing, but it’s really about end-to-end campaigns. I work for a technology company, so we may be promoting a new product, advertising our booth at a tradeshow, trying to get attendees to a webinar, etc. It mostly starts with segmenting the target audience (company size, location, etc) and then executing the campaign (e-mail blasts, social media postings, building a landing page if need be, etc). I also do a lot of the analytical reporting to help gauge where we are at (and to improve future campaigns) as well as some data clean up from time to time (to improve the target audience and deliverability).
It is a pretty fun job a lot of the time, although it does keep me really busy. Luckily my previous two jobs were not time consuming at all, which made it easier for me to complete my Master’s degree and to post on Rock Chalk Talk.
What is your biggest success and biggest regret?
My most recent success was running a half marathon. I never thought I’d ever be able to do that. Not sure what my biggest is… getting my wife to marry me? I outkicked the shit out of my coverage on that one.
Biggest regret is tough. I guess I’ll say that while I’ve got a good job now, I wish I would have known what I know now about getting jobs / the corporate world back when I was graduating. A lot of things I would have done differently. That actually is what inspired me to write my book about the subject (which I know you have read, Fizzle). If anyone wants to read this unpublished, 60 Microsoft Word pages document, shoot me an e-mail, I’m still tweaking it and would love feedback!
If I came and visited you, where would we go and what would we do?
Hoo lawd. Well if we have a full day, we’d start out by taking my dog for a nice walk in the morning. Its good to get the blood flowing before a day of rampage drinking, plus ya know, burn some cals before you earn some cals right? I just made that up, not sure if that even makes sense.
After that, we’d get a nice brunch or lunch somewhere, and then we’d talk my wife into driving us to Lawrence. We’ll walk around campus for a bit sipping on whisky and coke hidden in a coke bottle, take it all in. Then we’ll hit up a few places on Mass Street and slowly get hammered. Then we’ll head to downtown KC for dinner at one of my favorite spots and afterwards nab another drink or two.
At the end, we’ll head back to my place where we can shoot some pool or play beer pong in my man cave which is covered in Jayhawk swag. I know you also play guitar, so this is when we go into my music room and make just absolutely terrible drunken jam music. I’ll also show you my guitars and pedals and talk about them for at least an hour and tell you a story about how I got each one and another hour demonstrating what they do.
Anything else interesting we might not know about you
Not really… everyone knows I play in Kansas City’s top (in terms of alcohol consumption) cover band, Bow Tie Affair. Go to www.bowtieaffair.com (the site built in twenty minutes by yours truly on a flight) to learn more about us!
Where do you live Olathe, KS
Facial hair Normally I’m clean or just have stubble
Any pets One dog, a Wheaten Terrier named Rudy
What kind of car do you drive 2010 Nissan XTerra
Corrective lenses Had contacts for sports in high school, currently no
Hair style Fairly short most of the time
Favorite movie Grease
Favorite tv show All time would be The Simpsons
Favorite beer Newcastle
Favorite band Too hard to answer
Favorite food Sammiches
Favorite non KU team Green Bay Packers
All time favorite KU player Danny Manning
First concert Green Day in 1995
First w-2 job Lifeguard
Best athlete seen play live Michael Jordon