I spent the first 18 years of my life gently flirting with heat stroke in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Admittedly, I did get some serious tremors once after a vigorous mid-summer bike ride, but from October 3rd, 1978 until the day I finally left Phoenix for college, that awful, blazing sun never got the best of me.
Looking back on those years, it's actually quite an accomplishment that I somehow didn't just drop dead in the driveway because, you know, it was 115 degrees at midnight. Which was good. I had big plans. And dropping dead in the driveway wasn't necessarily one of them.
In 2001 I graduated from American University in Washington, DC with a degree in Visual Media. It was a special time in the world of production. I literally learned to edit using VHS tapes, and also developed photography in something called a dark room. Look it up, kids.
While at American, I was also a member of, and, later, producer and artistic director for, the university's far better than average comedy troupe, Mission: IMPROV-able. It was a rogue operation, and I used to surreptitiously tape unapproved show posters to doors and windows all over campus and, when questioned by authoritative people who cared about such mis-deeds, I always just said that we had a really great fan base who must've put the posters up for us. Wasn't me, sir. But it was totally me.
After college, I lived in Colorado for a year because, damn it, those mountains weren't going to ski themselves. And, besides, PF Chang's in Denver seemingly needed a host-with-the-most. Fate brought us together. At least for a couple months until I peaced-out for other odd jobs around town to fund my trips west on I-70 to Breckenridge.
Eventually, though, in January 2004, shortly after doing the whole European backpacker thing and seeing what I can only assume was every single cathedral west of the Elbe, I joined CNN in Atlanta. I started as a Video Journalist. Which is a bit misleading. Video Journalists don't actually do any video or, for that matter, journalism. It's the entry level position at the network, and you're basically a glorified production assistant with a fancy title. And I was totally OK with that.
There, I quickly moved up the ranks, and soon helped usher in podcasting to CNN Digital as the host and head writer of "News of the Absurd." This role - essentially poking fun at local news stories - later led to me becoming a senior producer for original video content, where I produced, shot, and edited hundreds of videos that have been watched over 25 million times. Which I'm told is a lot.
I'm most proud of creating the CNN Red Chair interview series. Through that, I got to go one-on-one with countless notable names including Tom Brokaw, Tommy Lasorda, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bob Barker, Billy Corgan, Temple Grandin, Darrell Hammond, Marc Maron, Dave Ramsey, and Insane Clown Posse, among many more.
I even sat down with Ted Nugent, and he let me hold his new puppy. So, that happened.
Besides video, I'm most proud about writing a regular humor column for CNN Digital called "Apparently This Matters," which was a rather irreverent take on some of the trending and fun stories popping up all over the Internet. The column was viewed by more than 15 million readers. Which I'm also told is a lot.
In December 2014, after almost eleven years with CNN, I joined CNBC for a two-year stint as senior producer for original video content, taking on the new challenge of reporting financial news. This also included conceptualizing and producing high-profile projects with primetime personalities such as Jay Leno. The chin is real. And it's spectacular.
Outside of writing and producing, I live a simple little life in Atlanta, where my weekends are often spent on the couch, cursing at the TV, wishing I had never become a fan of Tottenham Hotspur or the Arizona Cardinals. Really, I don't even know why I wake up on Saturdays and Sundays. It's just not worth it.
My time would be better spent acting. Seriously. You should cast me in something. I don't mean to brag, but I did recently have a role as "Bearded Hiker #2" in the sci-fi thriller, Beacon Point. So, you know, I'm sort of an experienced thespian.
I even had speaking lines. Two sentences. Memorized both.
Besides lighting up the silver screen, I also play bass guitar and have released two albums with my former band, Animal & the Evolvers. We played a holiday show in 2009 that I'm certain was right up there with the greatest live performances in the history of rock n' roll.
So long as we agree that by "greatest" we mean mediocre at best.
And I was totally OK with that.