All About Dashifen

By day, David Dashifen Kees is a mild-mannered programmer living in Alexandria, VA working remotely for the Engineering IT Shared Services unit within the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. By night… he’s pretty much the same thing. Programming since the sixth grade, Dash has been writing web applications in academia since 1998 and using WordPress since about 2007.

That can’t be it …. right?

Well, no, but that’s the quick version.

I guess you want some other details?  Dash has a degree in Computer Science and Instructional Design and Development (i.e. designing curricula, especially involving technology).  Professionally, he’s been a nerd forever, though, and hasn’t gotten to flex the instructional design muscles in quite some time.  As I mentioned above, he’s been working in academia pretty much as long as it was legal for him to be working, and that environment has helped hone his communications and customer service skills in ways that other programming environments may not have.

But, what does he do for fun?

Honestly, sometimes he programs; remember: I told you he was a giant nerd.  But, he also enjoys reading historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, political thrillers, and mysteries as well as biographies and non-fictional history as well.  He’s been an avid reader of comic books (mostly Marvel) for quite some time and is thoroughly enjoying the modern age of superhero media.

When the weather’s nice, you can often find him out and about on his bicycle for some exercise.  In fact, at times it’s his only form of transportation, since he and his wife share a single vehicle, she’s a hybrid (the car, not the wife), and she (the wife) usually uses her (the car) to go to work.

He also knows how to play piano, clarinets, and saxophones, and has a guitar that he’s hoping to learn how to use soon.

What about those pets up there?

Oh, yeah!  Dash has pets.

At the moment, there’s the dog, three cats, and four snakes.  They’re named Jill and Aiden (pictured above), Noel, Toshi, Kiera (pictured here), Uzuri, Kendi, and Mahiri.  The snakes are a milk snake, two ball pythons, and a Kenyan sand boa.

Before the current menagerie, there were Gus and Betsy (also dogs, also Boston Terriers), Oliver (cat), Java and Cobol (mice), Caia and Enya (rats), and Daria and Zerrick (geckos).

Whoa! He’s got a sweet snake tattoo!

Yup!  He’s pretty proud of that one.  It was about seven or eight hours non-stop just to get it all colored.  Plus, that’s not the only one; he’s got seven more: a bee on a white rose, a tribal/celtic cat, a golden apple, a digital circuit, Betsy’s dog collar (a memorial), and an elaborate representation of the four elements as a tree on fire in a windy storm.

If you were paying attention, that’s only six.  The sixth is one he shares with his wife.  Their song is Moondance by Van Morrison, and the tattoo (pictured here) shows two figures dancing in the moonlight and autumn leaves.

So, he’s married then…

Yup.  He and his wife met in 2001 when she joined the Lehigh University Marching 97.  Dash attended Lehigh, and she was at nearby college without a marching band (poor souls).  Luckily, she was able to march with Lehigh, and especially luckily for her and Dash, they met, fell in love, got married in 2005, and are still together today.

Interesting fact:  Dash took her name;  he wasn’t born a “Kees.”

She’s a veterinarian, which helps explain their menagerie, so her schedule’s pretty busy.  But, when they have time together, they enjoy similar television and movies, books, the occasional session of World of Warcraft, as well as concerts and plays, especially musicals.

Parting Thoughts?

Wow; you made it all the way down here?  You must really be curious — or a stalker.

Hrm … parting thoughts.  He’s been known to paint his nails; he and his wife go for manicures together.  The ladies at the salon seem quite taken by their particular form of date night.

Dash has been an avid table-top role playing gamer (remember: giant nerd), and he’s been running Shadowrun pretty much non-stop since 2001.   And, speaking of being a nerd, while he was selling his house, he moved back in with his folks for about three months.  During that time, he was literally a 30-something computer programmer living in his mother’s basement while playing World of Warcraft.

He should win an award for that.