Aaron Giles

Miscellany

How Did I Get Here?

Currently residing in the greater Seattle area, I am a programmer, musician, husband, father, and hophead.

St. Pius X school
St. Pius X school

I was born in 1970 and spent my formative years attending St. Pius X elementary school in Toledo, Ohio. Upon graduating, I decided to attend one of the two big all-boys Catholic high schools in the area, St. Francis de Sales High School, where I participated in yearbook and debate and played lots of D&D, finally graduating as Salutatorian with the class of 1989.

I applied for early admission to two colleges—Harvard and the University of Chicago—was accepted at both, and decided to attend Chicago. During Orientation Week I met my future wife who lived two doors down from me in the dorm. In order to save money, I took advantage of AP credits and finished my undergraduate degree in Physics in 3 years by writing a bachelor thesis exploring data collected from the particle detector at CERN.

The OPAL particle detector at CERN
The OPAL particle detector at CERN

Since my girlfriend still had an extra year to go, and since I was debating going to graduate school, I signed on with the U of C Physics Department as a Research Assistant, which gave me the opportunity to travel to CERN and work on the OPAL Particle Detector, for which I developed firmware and diagnostic software.

From there, we moved to New York City where I worked as a Mac programmer at the Cornell University Medical College. Our experience of NYC was that it was awesome for 6 months, neutral for the next 6 months, and we were itching to escape for the final 6 months. Just not our scene.

Instead we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I worked at LucasArts Entertainment Company on video games. It was during this time that I discovered emulation of old video games, and jumped in to help out on the arcade game emulator MAME, which became my primary side gig for the next 15 years. Soon after discovering MAME, I decided I preferred writing emulators to writing new video games, so I took advantage of an opportunity to join the programming team at Connectix, where I worked on software emulation technology for both the Mac and Windows.

In 2003, the Connectix engineering team was bought out by Microsoft, and we got the chance to move the Puget Sound region of Washington State, where we bought our first (and so far only) house. Compared to NYC and the Bay Area, this area has felt the most like “home” to us. Also, it was—at least at the time—a way more afforable place to live and buy a home!

In 2007, I started singing with the local church choir, and discovered an intense love for choral music. Since then, I have become heavily involved in the local choral music scene and have been actively developing my skills as a musician in many different ways. In 2011, our son was born, and life hasn’t been the same since!

 

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