February 19, 2003
A few things about me
Awhile back, Scott suggested I add a bio of some kind to this page. Well, in honor of my birthday, this post is it. If you're curious about some possibly interesting but mostly obscure facts about me, then please click on the More link.
- I was born in Staten Island, New York. My parents and all four of my grandparents were also born there.
- I attended Sacred Heart Elementary School until the sixth grade. My paternal grandmother was my second-grade teacher.
- I've worn glasses since I was 10. I've never worn contact lenses, and have never wanted to. I'm considering Lasik surgery, but I'm not ready to do it yet.
- In sixth grade, I transferred to William A. Morris Intermediate School because they had advanced classes. One of the things I got to do there was to join the band. I learned to play the saxophone, and I still play today.
- I attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. In four years of taking the subway to school (plus two additional summers after high school when I had a job in the city), I never saw any crime. I've been mugged twice in my life, both times within sight of our house on Staten Island. The first time, coming home from school my watch was stolen. The second time, walking home from the local pharmacy, I wasn't carrying any money or wearing a watch, so they let me go.
- One of my schoolmates at Stuyvesant was Lucy Liu. To the best of my recollection, I never knew her then. She doesn't appear in my Class of 1984 yearbook.
- One of my teachers at Stuyvesant was Frank McCourt. He wasn't famous then, but he was a pretty cool English teacher.
- Despite growing up in New York, I've never been to the Statue of Liberty. I did get up to the observation deck at the World Trade Center once, but it was a cloudy day so I couldn't see very far.
- The first baseball game I ever went to was at Shea Stadium in 1974. I saw a lot of games at Yankee Stadium over the years because my dad's law firm had season tickets. I saw the 1977 All Star Game, a few playoff games and one World Series game, and the infamous 1983 Pine Tar Game. I've seen games at the Astrodome, the ballpark formerly known as Enron Field, Qualcomm Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, plus minor league games in Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, and Indiana. I've written up some of these experiences here.
- In 1984, I headed off to college in San Antonio at Trinity University. My Stuy classmates all thought I was crazy to go to Texas. One of them signed my yearbook with the words "Remember, once aboard a Texas filly, no other filly will do." 1984 was also the last time I was completely clean-shaven, on Graduation Day. I've always had at least a mustache since then. The current variation is a goatee, which I've worn for about eight years now.
- Early on in my freshman year, a writer for the now-defunct Houston Post came to campus. She was doing a story on National Merit scholars at Texas universities. The dean of admissions asked about a dozen students, including me, to meet this reporter for lunch and talk to her. I must have made an impression, because I was mentioned in the opening sentence of her article, which ran in the Post's Sunday magazine. Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy of this.
- I joined the Trinity newspaper, The Trinitonian, in my sophomore year as a sportwriter. Midway through the year I was given a sports column, as the previous columnist graduated in December. That column was called "Off the Kuff". I wrote it for two more years at Trinity, then for two years while a grad student at Rice. I won the Texas Collegiate Journalism "Best Sports Column" award for a small-college paper in my senior year. I'm more proud of that than any other academic achievement.
- One of the quirks of being born in 1966 had to do with the drinking age in Texas. It was 19 when I started college, meaning that I became a legal drinker during my freshman year. On September 1, 1986, the drinking age went up to 21. There was no grandfather clause, so after almost 18 months of being legal I once again was not allowed to drink. Fortunately, my roommate's 21st birthday was in early November. We stocked up beforehand, then held on for two months.
- My paternal grandmother, Jessie Kuffner, passed away in October, 1986. When I went home for Christmas that year, I was presented with her green 1969 Nova, the car on which I learned to drive. I drove it down to San Antonio with the help of my roomie Greg, who'd come along with me to New York. It had 53,000 miles on it when I got it, and had 50,000 more when I finally had to get rid of it five years later. It had no air conditioning, an AM/FM radio (an upgrade from my parents, as the car originally only had an AM radio), and most importantly came equipped with Our Lady of Automatic Transmission, still the coolest car accessory I've ever had.
- After graduating Trinity with a BA in math, I came to Houston to attend Rice University as a grad student. Graduate school was not a good choice for me, and I quit after 2.5 years. I did manage to get a job thanks to a couple of classmates who were working for a small software company on the side. That was my entry into the world of information technology.
- I worked for that small company for three years, getting briefly laid off at one point due to their cash flow problems. Eventually, one of my laid-off-coworkers, who was the same former Rice classmate that had helped me get that job to begin with, gave me a lead on another one. That was with an outsourcing company that put me on a consulting gig at the large multinational firm where I now work. I did three years with the outsourcing firm, then jumped to the multinational. I've been here for nearly ten years now.
- In 1996, I attended nine weddings, including weddings in Montana, Ohio, and New York.
- In 1997, I changed jobs (from the outsourcer to the multinational), got a dog, met and got engaged to Tiffany, and bought a house. It was a very busy year.
- Tiffany and I met through a mutual friend, Nicole, whom Tiffany knew in elementary school and whom I knew at Rice. Nicole brought Tiffany to a show at the Mucky Duck by the now-defunct Celtic band Ceili's Muse. Tiffany wound up sitting next to me. I called her first, to invite her along to the Houston International Festival to listen to Marcia Ball. She called me a few days after that to invite me to a movie (we wound up seeing Inventing the Abbotts).
That's about all I can think of right now. Any questions?
Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 19, 2003 to See, I do have a life!
Happy birthday, Chuck. Couldn't happen to a better guy.
From Chuck-a-like #2,
Hey, Chuck, Avram's 37th birthday was five days ago! He's an alum of Bronx Science; I often say that, as a Hunter College HS grad, that I'm slumming by dating him. (My brother and one of my two sisters went to Stuy, so I feel more kindly toward it.) With the glasses and the goatee, you probably look a little like Avi, too, but only if you're tall, brunette, and well-fed.
BTW, my best friend in high school had a brother who went to Stuy around the time you did -- his name was Josh Robey. Any chance you might have known him?
Dear First Born, the Second love of my life:
On February 19th, 1966 you were born in the early am. I rushed up stairs to tell my Mom and Dad(we knew he was dying) and announced, "Charles III was born this morning". Instantly he was Grandmom's comfort after my Dad died. Mom would come downstairs to the apartment and just take Charles in her arms and caress him, love him, and play letters and numbers with him. His Mom and I still love to tell of his reading the sports pages from the Daily News when just a little guy and how he loved the Knicks andf Yankees.
You are are first born, we have loved and been inspired by what you have done over the years. We are proud of you. May God grant you many more years of just being a nice guy and a good person.
Dud and his child bride.
Chris - I'm 5'8", brown-haired, and reasonably well fed. Here's a reasonably decent and recent picture of me (and Tiffany).
I'm afraid the name Josh Robey doesn't ring a bell. Stuy's a big school - my graduating class was about 730 students. I'll try to dig out my yearbook and see if I can find a picture of him. That may help.
Dad - Thanks. Very much. :-)
First, I gotta love a man (in that manly way that I will never acknowledge) that not only includes some great baseball info in his biography, but has the only picture of him and his beloved with the greenery of a baseball diamond behind him.
Second, does it bug you at all to be called Chuck? Some Yankees don't like the Texas (or southern) tradition of nicknames, but it's so deeply ingrained I can hardly stop myself without thinking hard about it, Charles.
Third, well, I hate to brag, but DAMN! I had a great idea!
Happy Boithday! Texas wants you anyway!
Now that I think about it, Josh may have been class of '83, so I shouldn't be surprised if you don't know him. (My class at Hunter was fewer than 250, and I knew lots of people from outside my year, so I assume other NYC specialized high school grads had similar experiences. Wrongly, I surmise.)
Avram is six-one and shaved his head last summer after having (lovely) waist-length hair for years -- I admit I have fun playing with his bare head too -- and is somewhat bulkier than you appear to be (to be fair, I'm bulkier than you look). Tell Tiffany she has good taste in men.:)
And I forgot last time to wish you a happy birthday, but you knew I meant to do that, right?
Scott - I'm perfectly happy to be called Chuck. Many of my friends call me that, and in fact I often consider it my default name. Tiffany is the main proponent of calling me Charles, and that's had an effect on a lot of folks. But I'm perfectly happy with either name. And thanks!
Chris - I will be sure to tell her that. :-) Thanks!
I was born December 17, 1966, and turned 19 and 21 in Texas. I'm still a little peeved about that drinking age thing too.
Hey, Chuck. I went to Trinity with you and just stumbled across your blog while looking for info on "Texans for True Mobility." Enjoyed your comments as much today as I did back in college. That's a compliment. Really.
Hello, enjoyed you blog and the "boot bush" signs. Please considering posting our blog: www.houstonmonsterhomes.org a grass roots fight to stop contractor predators :-) Thanks
Sorry... its how new I'm to this... WWW.HOUSTONMONSTERHOMES.COM not .org :-)