About this site

At various times in my life I have been interested in different creative activities, such as photography, writing, and music composition. This is a repository for some of the results of my efforts in these areas. That’s why it’s called Sight Word Sound.

About me

My bio, cooked down to the essential neuroses I carry around day after day, is as follows.

Born and reared in Fresno, CA. by Greek immigrants, somewhere between boom and genX. I started working various jobs as soon as I could get my work permit at age 15. (Kids don’t really do that anymore do they?) After an initial stint pumping gas, I mostly worked in restaurants, mostly waiting tables and sometimes cooking, but I did just about everything there was to do in a restaurant. I suppose I was unwittingly following in my father’s footsteps. I still love food, wine, cooking, and making other people happy through food. The thought of opening my own restaurant continues to be enticing–despite what I know about how hard the restaurant business often is.

As a teenager, I wanted to be a musician and learned to play guitar, of course. This was an unfortunate choice on account of my being all thumbs, tone-deaf, and having no sense of rhythm. But I plugged away at it anyway. For years. Eventually, I got into computer music with my first Atari ST back in 1985. This was fortunate on account of the computer keeping better time and hitting the notes every time. Moreover, it was easy to move to genres for which I have more affinity: atonal experimental noodling, and musique concrète (noise). I still have the old Atari packed away somewhere. Now my hobby composing happens on a Mac. All along, I have had a love for music of all kinds, from avant-noise to alt-country, and have tried to expose myself to as much as possible. This is something my wife, Sarah, and have in common. It’s harder now, but we still try to get out to see live music when we can.

After college and some soul-searching, Sarah and I moved to Seattle for several years while I got my PhD in philosophy from UW. At first blush, this was another unfortunate decision owing to a lack of intellectual horsepower,  neurotic self-doubt, and hyperbolic and emotional effusion in argumentation. Just the same, I still love philosophy. And I miss the time to philosophize, the mental space, and the community that comes with life as a grad student.

Just after I started graduate school, in 1994, my father, Paul Serafimidis passed away at the age of 95. (Yes, he was already very old when I was born.) I have yet to write his story, but it is something I plan to do.

Eventually, Sarah and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to be close to family we both have here. We bought a house in Albany even before we had a child or knew that people move here for the schools. It may be suburban compared to SF, but it is a great community.

In 2003, our son Theo was born. This fall 2009  2010 2011, 2012,  he started first second third fourth grade. (The phenomenological experience of the passage of time accelerates rapidly as the years go by.) About the time Theo was born, we moved my mother into an apartment nearby, removing her from home and familiar surroundings of 40 years in Fresno. Was she happy about it? Not really. Was it wise? Hard to say, but she was in her mid-80’s and couldn’t live alone that much longer. In the past few years, my mom used up one or two more of her nine lives, but is still plugging along at 93. Yes, she, too, was pretty old when I was born. At exactly the same time that I was laid off, her dementia required her to move to a board and care facility. She also spent a lot of time in the hospital with hip replacements and other surgeries. The stress of it all happening at the same time was horrific, but in retrospect, the timing gave me the freedom to take care of her through the roughest part of it. So anyway, you can add “sandwich generation” to the list of over-simplified generational caricatures that can be applied to me.

In the 2000’s, I worked as an account and product manager for an online photo and print services site. The company is now defunct. Even before it went down completely, I was laid off in the great recession of 2009.  Late that year employment came along. 2010 was better.

One good thing that came out of this time was my reconnection to photography and fine art. The rudimentary work I’ve done so far has been incredibly satisfying. And while I have been at it for a few years now, I am currently in crisis trying to figure out how to develop the work into a meaningful form of expression.

In 2008, my cousin Tommy Panos died.

Currently, I am working as a web developer at an Oakland book publisher, focusing mostly on turning all the books into ebooks. I’m learning a lot doing it. We’re also now embarking on totally upgrading our website, and we’ve selected a company that builds in Drupal to do the heavy lifting, so I’ll get a chance to learn some of that in the process.

I’m late in coming to it, perhaps, but I love the Web, designing, tinkering, blogging, sharing photography, and social networking. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep at if for a long time to come. Of course, soul-searching is still in progress; life goes on, and optimism abounds. So many things to love, so little time!

You can communicate with me at “neo” at this domain, sightwordsound.com.

  • Great photos! and great stories.

  • Neo – One of the top 10 essentials for a photographer’s website is contact info. Did it disappear??? email me