Andy lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, just north of Miami. He attended a local community college where he earned every CISCO networking and computer programming certificate that was ever offered. Eventually, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in network security from Phoenix University. He said he went into IT because most people assumed that he knows a lot about IT just by looking at him.
Andy started his career out of high school working as a lab assistant in the ESL learning lab making $6.50 an hour. He never quit his employer. After 10 promotions, he gradually worked his way up to Information Technology Network Security Administrator (IT NSA) for the whole campus. He says he got his job because everybody else moved on and went somewhere else. Besides technology, he says he loves helping foreign people learn how to speak English. A few years ago, he earned his certificate in Teaching English As a Second Language (TESOL). After countless unsuccessful attempts to “break into” the ESL teaching industry, he had no luck landing any kind of employment. Andy never gave up, and he eventually got lucky. After three years of sending resumes and cover letters, he landed a part-time volunteer internship as an ESL teaching assistant at the same community college where he works.
Andy has a passion for teaching. In his former life, he was a free-lance on-line chess instructor. Especially, he enjoyed teaching for kids with disabilities since he liked to push people outside of their “comfort zone.” After getting bored and giving up on trying to teach chess , Andy decided to try something else. He couldn’t think of anything until he watched the movie Forrest Gump. That movie inspired him to start the table tennis (ping pong) club at his community college. Initially, the club consisted of one old ping pong table in a game room and Andy. Whenever people came to use the game room, Andy told them that it was “ping pong club” time and they would just have to play a game with him. Andy tried his best to promote the club, but it seemed like nobody cared about ping-pong, and nobody really cared about Andy, for that mater. Andy was not an artist, but somehow he managed to paint what were supposed to look like ping pong tables on giant pieces of poster board. He would hang these posters all over buildings on campus after going through a lengthy, bureaucratic approval process. He also printed thousands of fliers and attached them to bulletin boards, lunch tables, and even lamp posts. He advertised free cookies, milk, and chocolates on the fliers in order to entice people to come and join the club. The goodies were not free for Andy who spent his meager earnings as a lab assistant just so he could get people to come join the club. All he really wanted was to make some friends and get people to play ping pong with him. Many times, people would just come for the free food, and they would not even play with Andy.
Again, Andy didn’t give up. He worked relentlessly towards earning a prestigious reputation the club. Even when it rained, he would stand by himself outside the student union building (SUB). Many times, he would show off his skills by bouncing a ping pong ball with his paddle. Through the top of his lungs he would yell, “Ping Pong Anyone!” Slowly, but surely, people would come to the club either to play pong, get free food or just look at Andy for the sake of entertainment. As more people joined the club, Andy managed to move the table from the basement in the SUB to the student gym and even convince the community college to pay for a second table. When the manager of the student gym asked Andy when he was planning to graduate, Andy smiled and said, “As long as there is a table tennis club here, I’ll never graduate!” After five years, the club grew to its peak size of 50 registered members and over 300 people on Andy’s e-mail list. He communicated with the club members by sending a weekly President’s newsletter with different events that the club was involved with. Besides ping pong, Andy would organize lunches at restaurants. Eventually, other people got involved and invited Andy to host parties at their houses for the club. Andy managed to upgrade the club’s status from official student organization (OSO) to a sports official student organization (SOSO). As a SOSO, the table tennis club was entitled to an annual budget of $200, which could be used to buy balls and pay for dues of the College Table Tennis League (CTTL). Andy would also organize various fundraising events. He even convinced several members of the club to volunteer as telemarketers on behalf of the community college’s alumni association. For all their hard, they were awarded a coupon to get a burrito from Chipotle. Another time, he got a lot of people to show up to sell parking tickets at a basketball game. Andy was trying really hard to raise money to pay for more tables since the tables the club had were very old, and the college refused to pay for more. After three years, Andy managed to raise enough funds to purchase five brand new table tennis tables and even a machine that would spit out ping pong balls. Andy believes in what he does with a passion. He thinks there is a real difference between regular ping pong and professional table tennis, which is a real Olympic sport.
While most club members don’t realize this, he has been President of the Club for the past 12 years, and many don’t even know his name. Sadly, they don’t appreciate his efforts to help the team qualify for “Nationals” and take Andy for granted. His USATT (legit) ping pong rating is still 1100, which he says is good enough to beat most garage players. Sometimes, he complains that it’s nowhere near to earning real respect at the club level. Andy does not like to live life with regrets. However, he is sorry that he never managed to find a girlfriend after so many of years of ping pong clubbin’. He blames this on bad luck and his inability to learn more than two words of Chinese besides “ping” and “pong.” Recently, Andy’s luck changed for the better, or so he thinks. He subscribed to a foreign bride service. He is firmly convinced that “love has no borders” and that he has to “engage the exotic.” His latest game-plan is to go to Colombia. He is excited about a recent e-mail that he received. Apparently, his profile won the romance on-line sweepstakes, and he was selected as a special VIP guest on a marriage tour. He hopes to find a foreign bride who wants to be his ping pong doubles partner for life. He really believes she will see past his “US citizenship” and love him for his ping pong potential, dashing good looks, and wonderful, “easy to get along with” personality.
Andrew was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He had a typical country boy upbringing. Every summer, Andrew’s father would send him to his grandparents’ farm just outside of town in San Felipe, Texas. His family owned the land for generations since the earliest settlement in San Felipe. He and his cousin, Leonard, would work on the farm from dawn till dusk Every day, they would feed the chickens and hogs, and take care of of the crops. The most difficult thing for Andrew was to harvest, grade, sort and field pack the watermelons. Sometimes, a watermelon would weigh up to 30 pounds. Andrew had to load them into the truck while taking great care not to damage any of the fruit. Nevertheless, Andrew was never really happy there as a kid, and he always wondered if there was more to life than deer hunting, bass fishing, and four wheelin’.
As a “army-brat,” Andrew moved around all over. Being an “army brat,” Andrew also developed a strong work-ethic, sense of discipline, and love for his country. Growing up, Andrew always dreamed of graduating at the top of the his class at the US Military Academy at West Point. A member of Andrew’s family going back to the founding of the United States had fought in some kind of military conflict. His father participated in the Gulf War, his grandfather drove a tank in World War II, and his great-grandfather rode a horse in the cavalry during World War I. Before that, his family had fought in the Spanish American War, US Civil War, Mexican American War, War of 1812, and the War for Independence. Andrew also wanted to go to West Point, so that his father would have to salute him instead of the other way around. Andrew’s father was a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Andrew also wanted to go to Westpoint, so that his father would have to salute him instead of the other way around. Andrew’s father was a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
His father treated Andrew like one of his soldiers, and he expected him to be disciplined. Whenever he got really drunk he would get out his army belt and threaten to kill Andrew and his mother. Andrew’s father never really loved and appreciated his mother. The only reason he married her is because she was the best looking woman he could find. After they got married, he would cheat on her every chance he got. Andrew feels that his father was always hiding his true identity. On the outside, he tried to appear confident, serious, and mature. He had an imposing demeanor. Unlike Andrew, he had a heavy built, and he was a serious weight-lifter. On the inside, Andrew’s father was childish and immature. He was prone to sudden bursts of anger and violence. He was also an alcoholic, pot-smoker and heroin addict. When Andrew was as young as five years old, his father would bring him along to his hang-outs. Andrew would get a glimpse of the world of junkies, drug users and alcoholics. He would even let Andrew drink beer. He would tell him that the older Andrew would get, the more beer he could drink. His friends and colleagues all said that his father had a lot of potential. However, he lacked the internal discipline and will-power. He was unable to drink alcohol in moderation. Things got so bad, that his mother filed for a divorce and a restraining order, and Andrew’s father had to move out of the house. His drug addiction gradually deteriorated, and he even started selling drugs at the army base where he was stationed. The only reason he was able to stay in the marines is because his poker buddies covered for him, so he would sell them drugs at a discount.
Right after Andrew turned 17 years old, his father died after getting drunk and injecting too much heroin. Nevertheless, he was still honored with a military burial with full honors. His father’s family tried to raise Andrew with “southern values.” For example, his grandparents always told Andrew that the Civil War was about states’ rights and not about slavery. They often frowned upon Andrew’s mother just because she was Jewish. When Andrew asked them what’s wrong with being Jewish, they told him that Christians were better than all Jews. They also made racist comments about people from different ethnicities and nationalities. They didn’t want Andrew to be friends with kids from African American and Hispanic backgrounds whose families often worked as part-time laborers on their farm. Andrew never listened to them. Instead, Andrew has always befriended people who were different from him. In his view, true Christians do not hate, discriminate, or exclude people. Ever since he was a kid, h was always questioning his grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and their biased views. Especially, they didn’t like Andrew asking about how his ancestors could fight for the Confederacy. Instead of feeling pride, Andrew felt guilt and shame. They also didn’t like when Andrew asked them if they participated in the Civil Rights Movement to stop discrimination. Usually, they told Andrew that he asked too many questions, and that he should stop. His grandparents passed away a few years after his father’s death. Not surprisingly, all their property and farm was left to Andrew’s cousins Leonard and Natalie. They sold the land and used the proceeds to feed their meth addiction and pay off the loan sharks.
AAndrew decided that it would not be wise to follow in his father’s footsteps and rejected his acceptance to West Point. Instead, he ended up double majoring in criminal justice and economics at Texas A&M University in College Station. After graduation, he worked briefly selling insurance before he got his real estate license. Now Andrew works as an associate for a “big time” realtor in Austin, Texas. He lives in an apartment not far from Barton Creek Greenway. He loves jogging on the trail amid cacti and exotic plants to catch the sunset over Lake Austin. In his free-time, Andrew loves to listen to ranchera music, which he thinks of as “Mexican Country Music.” Some of his favorite artists are Espinoza Paz, Los Angeles Azules, Los Socios Del Ritmo, Los Darreyes de La Sierra, and Pesado. Andrew also likes to listen to the music to “brush up” on his Spanish. Andrew started studying Spanish when he was only 12 years old. The real reason he took Spanish was when he met a beautiful girl from Mexico named Dulce. Dulce didn’t speak any English when she moved to Houston. Nevertheless, they still fell in love with each other, and she was his first “girlfriend.” Sadly, Dulce moved back to Mexico after only a few months, and Andrew never saw her again. He knows it’s silly, but he hangs to a childish dream to go to Mexico and find Dulce there waiting for him. He keeps his dream alive by studying Spanish in his free time. He is also a big fan of The Jonny Ramirez in the Morning Show. Due to his passion for the Spanish culture, Andrew identifies himself not just as a Texan, but as “Tejano and Proud.”
Andrew has other interests besides Tejano culture and learning Spanish. He attends his local community church every Sunday. His favorite bible verse is: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths”(Proverb 3:5-6). Besides Mexican music, Andrew likes Country music as well. His favorite musicians are Travis Tritt, Toby Keith, and Garth Brooks. he also listens to lesser-known artists like Junior Brown and Joe Ely. Every once in a while, he even listens to Shania and Sylvia. Andrew’s favorite conversation topics are the teachings of Jesus, the Civil War, and the US Constitution. He is interested in analyzing more modern military conflicts from a strategic standpoint to see what went wrong and what he would of done to fix it. When he can’t think of anything to do, he heads on over to Barnes & Noble to read the latest books on Christianity and American History.
Andre was born and raised in Paris, France. Ever since he was a kid, he has been an ardent admirer of the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot invented by the detective novelist, Agatha Christie. Even though Andre is extremely proud to be French, he is actually half Belgian on his mother’s side. This way, he think he is better able to relate to Poirot who coincidentally, is Belgian. Like Poirot, Andre is a perfectionist who takes great care to look very neat and professional. After every meal, Andre brushes and flosses his teeth and shines his shoes. Reading about Poirot inspired Andre to choose a career in law enforcement. Eventually, he managed to work his way up to be a police detective in the French Gendarmerie Nationale in Paris.
He takes his job personally. He regrets that one-time he let one criminal get away, who was his own estranged grandfather. Andre’s grandfather, Anatole, worked as a master diamond-cutter in Antwerp’s Diamond District. As a supervisor, he embezzled small diamonds from the factory where he worked. One day, Andre’s grandmother, Lucienne, discovered the stolen diamonds hidden in a chest in their closet. According to Anatole, the chest was for his private “rock collection” of unusual mineral stones he would pick up in his prior career traveling the world as a geologist. Lucienne did was she thought was the right thing when she asked Anatole to return the diamonds to the police and turn himself in. Instead, Anatole killed her and disappeared with the diamonds. Anatole’s malicious betrayal has caused a lot of pain for Andre and his family. Since he was four years old, Andre has vowed to track down his grandfather and bring him to justice for his grandmother’s murder and theft of the diamonds. After many long years of searching, Andre found out that his grandfather lived in a mansion in Vevey, Switzerland. Just before Andre and the Police Cantonale arrived at the residence, Anatole dropped dead of a heart-attack. Andre knows that Anatole was greedy and malicious, but there is one he will never understand how a diamond can be worth more to somebody than a human life.
While Andre started his career investigating burglaries and murders, he eventually switched over to solving white-collar crimes. According to Andre, the secret to solving any murder and finding the perpetrator is finding the money. He especially enjoys solving more sophisticated crimes such as securities fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, and money-laundering. He says the motivation behind all crime is money except the difference between “white-collar crime” and non-white collar crime is that in white-collar crime the money is usually “bigger.” Over time, Andre has solved many white-collar crimes crimes and gained a reputation as a fearless fraud fighter.
Despite the serious nature of his job, Andre does have a sense of humor. Whenever tourists in Paris try to speak to him in English, he initially pretends that he only speaks French before gradually switching over to English. He thinks that is really funny. He also likes to visit many of the criminals that he imprisoned to give them a “hard time” and “talk about the good old days.” He says he does this because he thinks the only people that truly care about crime are the cops, victims, and criminals.
Andre is serious about taking at least one month of vacation in order to take a break from the criminal world. He likes to relax in his small cottage, which is located just outside of Cannes on the French Riviera. He uses this time to bring Hercule Poirot back to life in the 21st century and write about the many financial crimes he would solve in modern day France. Occasionally, he leaves the Riviera behind and travels throughout the world, usually on assignments and conferences.
Whenever he is out of the country, he still tries to eat “so called” authentic French cuisine restaurants, just so he can write restaurant reviews explaining why he doesn’t think the food was French enough. He also enjoys tasting Champagne and trying different French desserts. Even though he tries to exercise, he just can’t help himself away from custard-filled croissants, créme brulée, strawberry crépes, pear tarts, lemon moussé, and chocolate filled souflées. Andre loves to listen to French music. For the most part he likes to listen to what he considers “oldie hits” by Ottawan, Joe Dassin, and Mireille Mathieu. On occasion, he will listen to something more modern by In-grid Albertini and Kareen Antonn. He brushes off what he considers to be “non-French” music, but he does have a soft spot in his heart for Celine Dion, who is French-Canadian. Andre will admit that Celine is more Canadian than she is French. That will not prevent him from loving her music because “she is his lady” and “that’s just the way it is.”
Drew was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He is really proud to be one of the few real locals in the Pacific Northwest. Drew calls himself “the cat’s meow” since he lives in a stylish studio in the Belltown neighborhood of downtown Seattle. “He really loves Starbucks” and shopping on-line at Amazon.com. He also cares about the environment and “every issue related to it.” Everyday he “goes green” by riding his bicycle to work while wearing his North Face jacket. Drew doesn’t like to drive because he doesn’t want to take part in “environmental genocide.” Whenever he does, he makes sure to take out his eco-friendly Prius, which is covered by environmentally friendly bumper stickers, so he can spread the “Go-Green Gospel.”
Drew also loves to talk about fashion. He complains that there are no good stores in Seattle, and that people here have no sense of style. Every other weekend, Drew likes to get his hair done and go shopping. He prefers the color pink because it makes him look like a “sexy biatch.” Besides poor investment decisions, he says his biggest pet peeves are fashion fau paux and people showing up late for an appointment. He is also annoyed by the complete absence of recycle bins whenever they are needed and not labeling foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He is disgusted with foods containing artificial colors, flavors, and GM ingredients like modified corn starch. He thinks GM foods cause cancer and destroy the planet. That’s why he barely eats anything. When he does eat, he is willing to pay a little bit extra for food that is labeled organic and GMO free.
Drew really believes in “getting involved” and helping the less fortunate. Last Christmas, he adopted a rescue puppy named “Gus” and a “big family” who live somewhere in Colombia. Apparently, he pledged to keep the entire family for two years for just $39.99/month. Moreover, Drew claims that he is supporting his family every time he buys fair trade coffee in Starbucks. He has two separate pictures with Gus and his adopted Colombian family in his cube. Every Thanksgiving, he volunteers at a local homeless shelter. He makes sure to take lots of pictures for Facebook, so everyone knows he was there to “give back to his community.”
Drew can’t stand his real family who he describes as ultra-conservative, right-wing, and low-middle class pretentious pricks. When his folks, Jerry and Judy, are not kissing ass at work, they are the most boring people at home. All they talk about is where they are going to hunt, fish, and eat. They also don’t really care about politics because they will always vote Republican since they don’t want to pay any taxes, although they don’t make much in income. They would even vote Republican if they didn’t have a minimum wage, and their health insurance was take an away from them. Sometimes, they like to bicker among themselves on going to be elected to the home-owner association committee. They like to brag about how they go to Church and Bible Study, yet they judge other people and think they are better than people they don’t consider to be “Real Christians.” Drew only visits his home on Christmas and Thanksgiving, so he can take pictures and tell everyone in his office what a great time he had with “the fam.” He also makes a visit every April, whenever he does their taxes. Every now and then, Drew invites his uncle Bob for gelatto to talk about stocks and whatever he saw on the “History Channel” that year. Uncle Bob was always the “oddball” in the family before Andrew came along. Drew admires his uncle because he is over 70 years old, and he is still working as an electrician in order to support his side of the family who are “useless.” Andrew almost feels sorry for Uncle Bob, who most of his retirement money on penny stocks. Andrew insists that penny stocks are for people who are too desperate, greedy, and lazy to follow real stocks, but uncle Bob won’t listen.
In fact, Uncle Bob is willing to invest more in those stocks and says that tomorrow he will be a multi-millionaire.
Drew likes to say that there is one topic that is near and dear to his heart. He describes his day job as the most exciting in the world. He has been working as a tax preparer since getting his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Washington University. After doing 1040s for individuals a few years, he decided to get his Master’s degree in taxation from Central as well. After that, he switched over to the “dark side” and started preparing 1120s and K-1s for corporate clients. Recently, he got a promotion to be a senior tax associate for a local CPA firm in Seattle. He considers his tax skills to be somewhere between myth and legend, including his ability to memorize every line item in the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gains Tax Worksheet.
Dre was born and raised in the part of Chicago, Illinois, he calls “da hood.” Since the time he was born, he has lived with his “mama” and her two cats called “sistahs” in their tiny apartment. He is laid-back most of the time, but he says he gets nervous whenever his mama threatens to open up a can of “whoop ass” when she thinks he gets out of line. The only thing that is worse than getting smacked by his mama is when his mama counts to three. If she says three, it means she will stop cooking for Dre until he settles down and starts acting like a normal son. When he was in high school, Dre started his own boy-band called the “7 digits.” He turned out to be the first and only member of the group. According to Dre, he was just a “single digit.” That didn’t stop him from creating “chart-topping” albums like “Let’s Get Digital” or “Girl, Don’t You Forget my Digits.” Dre believes that his music and lyrics combined and captured the best elements of the Backstreet Boys, Emniem, and Vanilla Ice.
He is a big fan of all professional Chicago sports except hockey. He “just doesn’t get it.” He says the only time he would watch hockey is if all the hockey players wore the mascot’s costume while skating on ice to different rap songs. Dre never jokes about football and basketball. He says these are his favorite sports, and not just because they have the “best-looking cheerleaders.” He is a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, and he fondly remembers the glory days when the Mikes were in town – Mike Ditka and Michael Jordan. One thing he will never understand is why MJ put his basketball career on hold and went to play for the White Sox instead of the Cubs. Dre is a bleeding Cubs fan for life. He will never stop pulling for the Cubbies at the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field no matter how bad they lose. He always keeps telling himself that next year they are going to come back and win the “World Series.”
Dre considers himself a “playa.” He claims that he works hard to “maintain his reputation.” In reality, he has never had a girlfriend, kissed a girl, or even been on a date in his life. When he was in college, Dre was a member of various student clubs just so he could meet the girl of his dreams. He was a registered member of the International Students Association (ISA), Chinese Students Association (CSA), Hispanic Students Association (HSA), Japanese Students Associaton (JSA), Black Student Association (BSA), and the Russian Student Association (RSA). He had also visited the Baptist Student Fellowship (BSF), Catholic Student Society (CSS), and even Muslim Student Association (MSA) just to meet beautiful girls. He joined the Feminist Student Association (FSA) to say that he really cared about women’s rights, but he didn’t last their very long. Dre never asked that many girls out, but when he did he was rejected. Most of the time, he was too shy to even tell a girl he truly cared about that he liked her.
Unsuccessfully, Dre also tried to find a girlfriend through on-line dating. For almost two decades, he had spent much of his free time trying to find love on-line. On-line dating seemed like the perfect solution for him. He thought he could date any girl he wanted if he found her. He tried various web-sites including E-harmony, Match, ChristianMingle, Zoosk, PlentyofFish, OkCupid, and even latin-cupid.com. Altogether, he had spent thousands of dollars for membership dues and special fees that supposedly increased his “status.” He had contacted, favorited, winked, and smiled at thousands of beautiful girls. He had even sent friend requests to beautiful girls he had never met before on Facebook, and he has liked thousands of their photos. Unfortunately, not even one of them liked something back. Sometimes, he would spend hours writing long letters where he poured his heart out and shared his life story to girls he’d never met before. He has even volunteered to be a pet-sitter for free for girls who have cats and dogs on their profile. He had never even received a single response in his life on any on-line dating web-site.
Gradually, Dre has shifted his passion from one-sided on-line dating to healthy living. He also decided to try to a healthy diet. That means quitting eating pizza, burgers, trans-fats, and even alcohol. Last year, He also decided to lose weight and start running. Over six months, he worked his way up from walking one mile to running a half- marathon. Over the next year, he lost 40 pounds by eating less and working out. In order to stay motivated, Dre listens to his rap music. He has also joined a running group that meets every weekend, where he interacts with fellow runners and shares their stories. He works out on a daily basis, and he has put between 30 miles and 40 miles in each week before big races to improve his pace. Over one year he improved his half-marathon time from 2 hours and 10 minutes to just 1 hour and 38 minutes. Next year, he hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Running has also helped Dre focus on getting his career back on track. He now works in a local office of a national on-line brokerage company. His motto is to help folks invest their money the right way by making sure they “stay out of trouble.” Occasionally, Dre likes to reminisce of his days as a rapper. He things that his rap background empowers him to relate better to some of his investment clients. After all, “too much television watching got him chasing dreams and even his mama thinks his mind is gone.” He considers himself to be “an educated fool with his mind on his money and his money on his mind.” He still likes to parody different songs such as his recent song called, “My Stock… Yo Stock..” He also says the secret to his success is “10% luck, 15% skill, 20% concentrated will, 30% research, 15% pain, and 10% is his love for the game.” As a single guy who’ seen at all, Dre realizes that there are a lot of really beautiful girls out there. On the other hand, he knows that there are even better looking stocks! That’s why he focuses his attention on stocks that are really hot right now.