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Matt Beck 3 March 2008

Matt Beck

Web-guy, geek and wearer of hats

Matt Beck is a downtown Portland web designer and developer.

He lives in a small but cool apartment in the smack-dab in middle of downtown with his better half Jessica, their son Ellison and two small, furry, quadrupedal beasts.

Matt is an unapologetic nerd. Now in his early thirties, he still plays D&D, loves video games and reads trashy sci-fi and fantasy novels and comic books. When he and Jessica got married, the wedding took place in a historic movie theatre. Before the ceremony they screened the Princess Bride.

By day he is the mild-mannered Development Director for a downtown company that provides web-based lead generation and marketing services to the automotive industry. Which is a rather fancy way of saying he builds websites for car dealers. By night, he is a partner at CouldBe Studios; a tiny design studio that he runs with his aforementioned better half Jessica. They are heavily focused on working with small and micro businesses (many of their clients run home based businesses) to provide quality branding, identity, graphic and web-design services to people who normally could only afford something basic or crappy.

Politically Matt is more or less centrist, so he’s been identified as both a conservative and a liberal at various times without changing his personal politics, simply because the national pendulum swings with whichever group is currently in power.

Matt is also devilishly handsome, and has superpowers. Sadly he won’t divulge what the powers do, but they’re there. Oh-yeah, they’re there.

What are you up to?

At the moment I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row before heading out to Texas for South By Southwest. I’m trying to finish as much client work as possible, get the house in order, etc. before leaving town.

Beyond the short term, I’ve got more ongoing projects than I know what to do with. Sometimes the biggest challenge I have is just to stay focused on what I’ve already got in the works without shifting gears to work on a new idea.

What are you into?

If it’s a nerd cliche, I’m probably into it.

I like D&D, anime, Star Wars, comic books, the works.

I love to read, pretty much consuming books as fast as I can. I particularly like old books, so you are likely to find quite a few 19th century books on the shelves.

But more than anything else, I’m into my family.

My wife and my son really are my life.

It turns out that being a husband and father IS what I want to do when I grow up.

What do you like most about Portland?

Powell’s Books. Seriously.

I love being able to shop at Powell’s, but mostly I love Powell’s as a statement on Portland.

I’m not a Portland native, but to me Portland feels like home. I knew it did after only spending one all too short weekend here, and Powell’s is the thing that sealed the deal.

I’m an avid reader, and I horde books. Both of my parents were professional writers and I grew up surrounded by floor to ceiling books. So on a personal level I think Powell’s is great, but there is so much more to it than it just being a great bookstore.

You can learn a lot about the character of a town by checking out its’ bookstores. The simple fact that the locals support a business like Powell’s speaks volumes about the city.

Portlanders are well-read folks, and believe me it counts for a lot.

In most towns the largest bookstore you are likely to find is maybe a Barnes and Noble, or a Borders.

Independent booksellers are a rare breed in the US these days and most of those shops are tiny hole-in-the wall joints which stay open only by catering to a small but loyal specialty audience.

Visiting Powell’s with my wife for the first time we both knew that we could live here. Less than a year later, we dropped everything and moved.

What did you do before becoming a web designer?

A bunch of different stuff.

I did a lot of system administration/network administration work with Novell/Linux. I worked as an IT Consultant for a while building and maintaining PC networks.

I served six years in the National Guard where I worked as a personnel clerk running a battalion command center and a crewman on an M1 Abrams tank. I found out that I’m an excellent shot with a pistol, a passable rifleman and I got to play with a bunch of big expensive toys.

I’ve worked in wood shops, warehouses, commercial record storage facilities, collections, security, retail management, even food service. All of the usual jobs that young people have.

What is the proper way to make a bloody mary?

Big, spicy and full of salad.

Here’s what you’ll need.

1 Pint glass
1 Shaker
1 Spoon
1 Saucer (or similar device)
Ice cubes

2 shots (about 3 oz) Vodka
Approx. 8-10 oz Tomato juice
8 dashes Tabasco
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Implements of Destruction:
1 Slim Jim (preferably the spicy tabasco kind)
1 teaspoon Wasabi Paste
Celery salt
Chili Powder
1 Celery Stalk
2 Spanish Olives on a toothpick
2 Cocktail Onions on a toothpick
A lemon wedge

What to do:
First, you need to prepare your glass by salting the rim with the celery salt. Shake out a liberal amount of the celery salt onto your saucer, wet the rim of the glass with water and dip it. You should end up with about as much celery salt on the rim as you’d have sugar for a lemon drop or salt for a margarita.

Next stick your slim jim and a celery stalk in the glass. You’ll probably have to cut down the celery stalk, and if you bought one of the big slim-jims you should cut it down too.

Add a small amount of ice to the glass (don’t fill it more than half way at most).

Now for the shaker, add all of the liquids and the wasabi paste. Give it a stir to mix up the wasabi paste, add some ice cubes and a couple dashes of chili powder along with your (squeezed) lemon wedge and shake very well.

Strain this into your glass, depending on how much tomato juice was in your shaker you might want to toss in some of the ice cubes from your shaker as well.

Add your olives and onions.



Website, CouldBe Studios, Twitter

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