-a.k.a. the " Entrepre Nerd"
The place: Dallas Texas The time: Summer, 1982
Paul's love of cruising is born in a most inauspicious way.
Sitting in his lonely studio apartment, suffering the pangs of a sorely broken heart, he wonders how his life could have gone so astray. He thought everything in life was coming his way, but he was actually just in the wrong lane. Suddenly, with perfect crystal clarity, a brilliant light penetrates the muddled fog of his existence. It has the sound of angelic voices eminating from within.
It is the TV set -- playing reruns from the original 1970s series, "The Love Boat."
His obsession starts innocently enough. Merrill Stubing? ...the wisdom of Soloman. Doc and Isaac? ...lovable buffoons. Cruise Director Julie? ...ohhh, wait a minute. She's different. A guileless ingenue with the courage of her convictions. Paul can't tear himself away, he's learning what women really want. The Love Boat! The Love Boat! Soon will be making another run -- da dee dee dum da!
The Love Boat becomes a life study for Paul, every episode ending in a happy romantic glow. He even purchases one of those brand new fabulously expensive VCRs back when the only movies available are of an adult nature. Paul pretends to like that fare for appearance sake, but he secretly uses the VCR to tape "The Love Boat."
Two years later, now living in Hollywood (California, not the East Coast version) and working as a recording engineer for a Grammy winning recording studio, Paul is surprised by a new client, a cruise line looking to record the sound track for their onboard shows. Over the next few weeks he gets to know these people, Royal Viking Line, and they are really great. He hasn't heard of the line, but he certainly can't get enough of their stories. Finally, after a month he pops the question, "How much do I have to pay you to get a job on a cruise ship?" and to his great and stupifying surprise they offer him an interview as a stage manager. Paul flies to San Francisco on a lark, never expecting to get the job, walks into the office of the head of the entertainment department and confidently shakes like a leaf.
Royal Viking Line gave Paul the job on the spot, and he still doesn't know how or why that happened, but he does know that in 7 weeks he was setting sail for Tahiti aboard the finest cruise line in the world. During the next year he sailed three quarters of the way around the world, from the South Pacific to the Arctic Circle in Norway. It is the greatest experience of his life. Sadly, Paul meanders to the beat of a different drummer for the next 10 years, but his love of cruising never leaves him.
The time: 1993 The place: Salt Lake City
Paul sees a flyer for auditions for entertainers for a company called Jean Ann Ryan Productions out of Florida. They are looking for dancers and (aha!) stage techs for the SS Norway. He dials their number and once again they hire him on the spot - over the phone! Paul logs another year on the high seas, three months with Norwegian Cruise Lines and then a switch to Holland America for eight straight months. He travels all the way from Alaska to Italy.
The time: 1994 The place: New York City
How a west coast kid like Paul ends up in New York City is long story, but after his stint with Holland America he moves directly to the East Village. Paul begins writing for an Internet and AOL financial site called Motley Fool where he served as the resident expert on Internet and technology stocks. In 1997, in an AOL message board, he meets Anne Campbell innocently enough, neither of them knowing how much they have in common. A simple comment about Alaskan salmon started the watershed of discovery. Two cruise veterans living in New York, writing professionally for AOL-related Internet sites! The number of things they had in common boggles the mind.
Today, Paul is living in Arizona and is "somewhat recently" married (as of October 25, 2004) to his high school sweetheart, Lou Ann. Well, actually they would have been sweethearts had they known each other back in high school, but actually they "met" at their 30-year high school class reunion and exchanged vows on the two-year anniversary of their first date.
Paul is still based in Phoenix although he plans to move to San Diego before long. He has a retirement home waiting for him there, although actual retirement is not exactly imminent.
Paul is the Captain of the CruiseMates Website - we lovingly refer to him as the "Entreprenerd."