About Me

Portrait of Melissa Fedak

I'm that person...

Who follows the rules in an uptight, annoying manner. Except when they're stupid.

Who trusts blindingly, naively, completely. Or not remotely.

Whose religion is "not to look stupid in the afterlife."

Who is obsessed with the feeling of coming back to a familiar place as a new person.

Who prefers planned spontaneity.

I'm a web developer and a writer.

Zero in common, you say? No! Both are magic. Abstract symbols and words on a page transform to vivid, colorful life, as long as you know the secret patterns.

I endeavor to be that skilled magician. To evoke emotion, beauty, and new worlds from two dimensions. To reflect the mystery of evolution and our drive to grow and change for the better. To capture that elusive feeling of living an alternate life.

And to make your journey effortless and intriguing. (Unless you're on a mobile device... shut up, I'm getting there.)


Education, Skills, Experience, and Cute Icons
University of Oregon
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(Minor in Architecture)
Professional Web Development and Programming: NodeJS, React, and Svelte; ASP.NET MVC using C#; ASP Classic using JScript; Delphi using Pascal, and all the Javascript, HTML, XML, and CSS you can shake a stick at
Development-related Proficiencies: Visual Studio, Git, Subversion, Kibana, Atlassian JIRA, BitBucket / Stash, TeamCity, SourceTree; experience working in the Agile methodology
Professional Design: Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks
Instruction: Teaching college-level workshop on web development skills; Creating activities for English as a second language to every age group from preschool to the elderly in Japan; Training and tutoring to improve computer and technical skills
Other Software Proficiencies: Microsoft Word, Excel, Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, WordPress, FileMaker Pro, and several custom database solutions
IHS Markit (previously Markit On Demand) (2006 - present)
Sr Web Developer / Team Lead
Duties: Develop and maintain financial websites in React, .NET using C#, and ASP JScript using NodeJS, jQuery, HTML, XML, and CSS (including LESS and SASS); manage and mentor junior developers; organize and head up meetings, create training materials, troubleshoot website problems, write documentation, interface with clients on a technical level

JET Programme (2003-2005)
Assistant English Teacher
Duties: Created lesson plans and activities, both as a team and on my own, for teaching English to Elementary school students, Jr. High school students, and adults in Japan; wrote a monthly newsletter for the students and a column in the town weekly

Mickie's Sweet Spot (2015)
Duties: Developed website using Wordpress plugin
University of Colorado Foundation (2002-2003)
Duties: Performed data entry, interpretation, and clean-up, using SQL queries
Riverrun Designs (2002)
Duties: Designed and developed original website in its entirety
Just Screen It, Inc. (2001-2002)
Duties: Software development in Pascal; web development for original Just Screen It and Celtic Arms websites in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Technical Marketing Research, Inc. (1999-2000)
Duties: Updated and debugged Windows printer driver GUIs (C / C++); debugged and helped develop a Sharp portable device plug-in (Visual C++ / MFC); wrote and programmed help files for Windows printer drivers (Tokyo, Japan)


Works in Progress, Memberships, Conferences, and Samples
Works in Progress:
The truth is, I can be gullible. Yet I will eventually question everything. When a person or group loses my trust and loyalty, it changes me, hardens me, though I fight to remain soft. Fair. My characters embody my journey from trusting to skeptical, while struggling to keep wonder thriving.
  • No Shortcut to the Sun (Gravityball trilogy, Book 1)
    Young Adult Science Fiction
    Avalae, a loyal rebel in an underground city, lives for the day she can help overthrow the tyrannical government. Ordered to kill a traitor at seventeen, she dutifully pulls the trigger. But the act haunts her. When she's assigned to infiltrate the highest office on the planet and assassinate the president, she struggles. Doubts arise. She suspects the government is not as oppressive as she was led to believe and that the rebels are the true tyrants. But she must not fail or she'll be considered a traitor. And she's learned firsthand what the rebels do to traitors.
  • Thirty-Nine Hours
    Urban Fantasy
    Lance, a lonely immortal stuck for over two centuries in the body of a 25-year-old, saves the lives of two urban professionals from San Francisco leading to the discovery of others like him, but ones who are at odds about their greater purpose.
  • The Ayara Tyranny
    Young Adult Fantasy
    When the beloved prince of the land is mortally threatened, Elise must decide whether to risk revealing herself as a powerful Ayara to save his life, knowing she'd be condemning her family and others to execution. But is the prejudice against the Ayara as undeserved as she believes?
  • Word Frequency
    Want to know how many times you use a certain word (or if you are overusing words?) I searched online and came across this handy macro. You don't need to know anything about Macros. If you have Microsoft Word, you can do this! It will search you doc and create a list of unique words and how frequently they appear in your document.

  • Creative Writing Exercises
    Ideas for simple writing exercises for your writing group

Stuff You Didn't Want To Know

Silly, Self-Indulgent List of Facts About Me
  • I can do a cartwheel
  • I can drive a stick shift
  • I can touch my tongue to my nose
  • I can change a tire (thank you, Dad!)
  • I've jumped off a bridge (Geronimo!) and it felt about as crazy as it sounds, even with a bungy cord
  • I've driven on the left side of the road
  • I can type 80 words per minute (in a world where I make up the rules of spelling)
  • I've eaten frog legs, octopus, sea urchin, raw wild boar, fermented shark, fermented soy beans, and Rocky Mountain oysters (not all in one sitting or anything)
  • I've lived with 10 unrelated people in the same house (generally not recommended)
  • I can write backwards and upside down
  • I've slept in a sleeper car on a train
  • I own Jesus Christ Superstar in Japanese (a doubly odd phenomenon)
  • I've won over 50 kinds of solitaire (yes, I have a life)
  • I can bake some darn decent chocolate chip cookies
  • I've seen the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo in person, but when I was a teenager so I hardly remember.
  • I can play pinochle but not bridge
  • I've legally purchased marijuana
  • I've had a Philly Cheese Steak in Philly
  • I've snowboarded in jeans (don't do this)
  • I've been up to the Seattle Space Needle and the Stratosphere
  • I've been the only girl in one of my classes (a software class of 18; still surprises me)
  • I could do a standing backflip before puberty (afterwards... not so much)
  • I've been up the Eiffel Tower and the orange version, the Tokyo Tower
  • I've seen Patrick Stewart's forehead live and in person (and what a fine forehead it is)
  • I've been parasailing 500 feet above the Atlantic (was more scared by the bumpy boat ride) and paragliding in the Himalayas
  • I've had braces (twice)
  • I've walked atop the Great Wall of China and paid to use a squat toilet at the base
  • I've witnessed the birth of a baby
  • I've been to the southern hemisphere (the toilets flushed no differently, but the new constellations were cool)
  • I once had the first movement of Beethoven's Pathetique memorized on the piano (I even impress myself sometimes)
  • I've sung karaoke ... sober! And I am a microphone hog
  • I have circumnavigated the globe (continued heading east until I got back to where I started) and it involved all sorts of airlines
  • I've stood on a road at over 17,500 feet (pant, pant)
  • I've snorkeled in (essentially) the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
  • Speaking of which, I've swam in the ocean and jumped the salty waves, but can't boogie board no matter how many times I try
  • I've been skydiving! (tandem, so I didn't have to be the one to actually jump out of the plane)
  • I've done a home video reenactment of the movie Clue using the board game pieces (life, what life?)
  • I've seen a volcano smoke from an above airplane
  • I know who Moxy Fruvous is!
  • I've won $100 at blackjack in one sitting
  • I've lost $100 at blackjack in one sitting
  • I've played blackjack at casinos in three different countries (Macau, US, NZ)
  • I wrote a blackjack game in javascript
  • But I'm not sure I really like gambling...
  • Though I did play pachinko once
  • I've been the Maid of Honor (and did a speech)
  • I've received a dozen roses (lucky me!)
  • I've been river rafting (once on the Ganges, even)
  • I've stayed up all night writing
  • I've been to a Wawa (as everyone in New Jersey goes 'So?')
  • I've played until I had two 'Juniors' in Ms Pac Man (at an arcade, not a console, so the real deal)
  • I've seen a lego-reproduction of the Sydney Opera House from a boat
  • I've seen the actual Sydney Opera House from a boat
  • I can count to ten in a New Zealand accent (you laugh, but I can)
  • I can spell my name in sign language (at least I can until I forget, then I go look it up again)
  • I can French braid and Dutch braid my own hair
  • I've taught a tribal war chant to fourth graders
  • I can see stereograms (aka Magic-Eye or 3-D pictures) it's not a conspiracy
  • I've hailed a taxi and a rickshaw
  • I've played the shamisen and the koto harp (not well or anything)
  • I've spent the majority of the day on the roof of a house
  • I've driven over 14 hours in one sitting
  • I've played netball (as everyone in Australia/NZ goes 'So?')
  • I've played cricket (but had not a clue what I was doing)
  • I've beaten King's Quest IV
  • I've been on a hovercraft (not as interesting as it sounds...)
  • I've played goalie in soccer
  • I've water-skied successfully... once
  • I've been to a professional baseball game
  • I have 20 inches of my hair in a paper bag
  • I've spent the night at LAX (not recommended due to freezing air conditioning, announcements every 5 minutes, and couches designed not to lay on)
  • I've been to a concert at Red Rocks (just like the U2 video)
  • I've been to Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin (just like the U2 video!)
  • I've been on the Petronas Towers skybridge, though made my friend wake up early to wait in line for tickets
  • I've been in an earthquake (well, a little one anyway)
  • I've been to an actual Shakespeare play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (Shakespeare's birthplace)
  • I've been to an actual McDonalds in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • I've never been to the Statue of Liberty
  • I've never been to Canada Now I have, finally! (Only took me thirty years.)
  • I've never flown first class (though I have managed, by some streak of luck, to get into business class twice)
  • I've never scuba dived Done! Whoa! ...never again.
  • I've never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey
  • I've never been to New Orleans
  • I can't bend my pinky finger without my ring finger bending too
  • I've never been in a hurricane or tornado
  • I've never broken an arm or a leg (though did fracture a thumb)
  • I've never driven a motorcycle Now, not only have I driven a motorcycle, I've also fallen off one!
  • I've never been in a police car
  • I've never been to the Olympics (even as a spectator)
  • I've never ridden a camel or an elephant (Thanks, India)
  • I've never been to a fraternity or sorority party (... and at this point, probably never will)
  • I've never been backpacking (i.e. overnight in the wilderness without a car nearby) unless you count the Inca Trail where the porters did the hard work of setting up tents, providing food, carrying stuff...
  • I've never grown my own food (not for lack of trying)
  • I've never dialed 911
  • I've never been sailing
  • I've never fired a rifle or handgun
  • I don't have any tattoos
  • I've never hitch-hiked (though have gotten a couple rides from 'illegal taxis')
  • I've never been pulled over for speeding (Darn it, almost made it to my 40th birthday without this happening.)
  • I've never been to Africa or Antarctica or Alaska or Alabama or Armenia or Andorra
  • I've never ridden in a helicopter
  • I've never blacked out or vomited due to drunkenness (in fact, it's a toss up whether I've ever really been drunk)
  • I can't do a crawl stroke properly (nor any stroke, really, but I can swim fine)
  • I've never held a running chainsaw
  • I've never been to an NFL game
  • I've never hiked the Grand Canyon
  • I've never fasted (the only times I may have gone a day without food were when I was very ill and when I was on an international flight and nervous about getting sick)
  • I can't play any string or wind instrument
  • I can't jog more than two miles without stopping (...out ...of ...shape)
  • I've never climbed above 14,000 feet (not for lack of trying, and not counting driving)
  • I've never been in a car accident (though my car has been hit in parking lots)
  • I've never successfully popped a champagne cork (not for lack of trying again and again and again)
  • I've never met a celebrity (not counting local politicians)


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