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Category Archives: Memory Lane

Haven’t got a clue…

It’s time to talk about my past again.

Many of you alert readers have likely already surmised this, but my younger years weren’t exactly a crazy hedonistic romp on the back of a naked cheerleader through a field of flaming marijuana. On the contrary, from the time I could muster enough strength in my chubby little digits to type on a computer keyboard I have largely spent my personal, educational and professional time gently, if sometimes inappropriately, caressing a digital device of some kind. But there have been times when some simple analog activity was interesting enough to coax my portly ass out of the lightless cavern of my bedroom and into the harsh and unforgiving sunlight.

I’d like to talk about one such activity.

As I have pointed out on a few other occasions, my friends and I were a pretty imaginative bunch of folks who had a lot of free time on our hands. Now, I am not suggesting that we were the only teenagers to have abundant free time, or even imagination. But the key difference, in my humble opinion, is that unlike your typical high school fare, instead of using our free time to conduct bracketed competitions for who could sustain a flame the longest using their own gas, we typically engaged in activities that were a bit more cerebral or at least a bit less… gastrointestinal.

The activity that I am making my glacial way towards introducing is one that we called a “Clue Hunt”. The name pretty-much gives away the purpose here; the teams race each other, following a trail of hidden clues, until they decipher the final clue that leads them to the goal. Games typically started in the late evening and went on into the following morning (or afternoon).

The clues lead these poor souls all over Long Island, and took the form of anything our twisted minds could think up. Some clues were simple riddles or cryptograms, while others were much more complex. One clue lead the teams to a fairly precise location and asked them to tune their car radio to a specific station. The next clue was transmitted in a loop from a short-range FM transmitter. I always liked that one.

Although we never actually used it, one of my absolute favorite clues was a variation of the Indiana Jones map-room puzzle. At the entrance to Jones Beach there is a large map of Long Island inlayed into the walkway with streetlights nearby. If I remember it correctly, there are no landmarks on the map except for all of the parks and beaches. We planned to have the players make a staff of a certain length, and place it in a specific crevice in the sidewalk. The shadow of the staff on the map would point them to the park that had the next clue.

Most of them were less creative than that, but it any case, these clues didn’t exactly write themselves; they took large blocks of dedicated time to come up with, and in many cases required hours of driving for “site recon” to ensure that our chosen locations had places that were public and accessible, and yet somehow… secluded enough to hide the clues so that they would not be removed before the players got to them. And, as you might have guessed, the placement of the clues was no easy task either. Don’t get me wrong, it was not as hard as it would be today, that is for sure. Back then, security was much more relaxed…

*A security guard walks up just as I am taping the clues behind a sign at a state park*
Security: Hey! What do you think you are doing?
Me: I’m… um…
Security: Out with it!
Me: Ok, ok… I am trying to place these envelopes of clues here so that, later tonight, carloads of teenage kids can trespass on government property and find them.
Security: Are you out of your mind son? That’s a terrible location. Over here is much better. Here, give me those envelopes, I will tape them up. You run along.

Today, it is highly unlikely that the security guard would finish blurting out the word “Hey” before neatly punctuating it with a taser to the testicles.

Anyhow…

My friends and I planned and executed several of these during our teenage years. The planning took months, and the execution was brutal, but we always had a great time. Eventually, other groups of people began to copy our fine work and planned their own clue hunts. We were always curious to see how we’d do if we were ever able to compete in one and so we cheerfully handed in our registration fee and anxiously awaited the day of the hunt.

We made all the necessary preparations: police radio, drinks, snacks… matching uniforms. We were a vision to behold. We all wore black sweatpants and black t-shirts with our “codenames” on them (Mine was “Sarcastus”). I chose to enhance my outfit even further with the addition of a dark grey full-length hooded cloak. In my minds eye, I envisioned the cloak billowing out behind me, in slow motion, when I exited the vehicle; a dark miasma surrounding me as I calmly searched for clues. It turns out that in this one particular case, my imagination wasn’t all that far from the truth.

One of the clues lead us to an elementary school in some town that I forget the name of, but we had a bit of trouble finding the envelope that was hidden somewhere on the school grounds. So… here I am, dressed all in black and sporting a very I-am-a-cult-member looking cloak, running around the normally peaceful grounds of a picturesque school of a small Long Island town in the wee-hours of the morning.

Starting to get the picture here? I am sure the fact that I made several very darkwing-duck-like cloak motions didn’t exactly help the situation either.

A short while after we drove away, we heard a call on the police radio. Apparently a “cloaked figure” was “terrorizing” the town that we had just left. I would describe my emotions at the time as equal parts “unparalleled elation” and “please drive faster, I don’t want to get raped in jail”.

As luck would have it, however, we made a clean getaway and ultimately went on to win the competition. We had our victory brunch at the International House of Pancakes, and gloated appropriately to the people that we knew on the other teams. And, after all was said and done, I think we had some experiences that are worthy of remembering and, as we get older, blathering about at parties and in blog entries.

So, no… I will be the first to admit that I may not have lead the most exciting childhood possible. But can you say that you terrorized a small town?

I didn’t think so.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Memory Lane

 

You can pick your friends…

Ever since I was child, I have found thieves to be absolutely fascinating.

Not your “smash and grab” variety, mind you.  No, I mean your truly talented burglars.  People who can stake out a potential site, stealthily bypass any security measures, deftly pilfer the goods, and then fade like smoke into the night.

In another life I could envision myself as a rogue of some variety.  Having the skill to pick locks, hide in the shadows and move silently really appeals to me, and the idea of obtaining other people’s property without their permission doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it probably should.  But, in this life I have a less-than-lithe physique and thus I am ill-equipped for the job; I couldn’t walk silently on a bed of moss, and there’d need to be an awful lot of shadows to hide this body.

Still, that doesn’t mean that I am incapable of obtaining some of the less physically demanding skills.

When I was a young nerdling, just getting started in my career, I met a man named Steve.  We’ll just stick with his first name here because a) he seems like the kind of man who would desire a measure of anonymity, and b) I cannot remember his last name.

Steve worked for a large consulting company and helped us set up our physical and network security.  Aside from being a talented security professional, Steve was also an obnoxiously interesting person to talk to.  He was in the Marines where he engaged in all types of daring and dangerous activities. And he worked with the Secret Service where, in addition to protecting the President of the United States, he actually got the chance to guard Mikhail Gorbachev.

He has shed skin cells that are more impressive than me.

Now, because of his background, one of my favorite things to do at that time was to introduce Steve in a meeting:

“Everyone, this is Steve.  He knows six different ways to kill you with this

Then I would hold up just about any seemingly harmless object (a sugar packet, a napkin, a marshmallow, etc.), and everyone in the room would laugh… except for Steve.  The others, I am sure, believed this was because he didn’t appreciate my sense of humor, but I personally believe that it was because he was calmly thinking “Actually, I know seven“.

Anyhow, I mention Steve — if that was his real name — because he is the man that taught me how to pick a lock.

To start off, I learned how to unlock a file drawer using a paperclip and a small screwdriver.  It was not terribly challenging and yet it was, oddly, very satisfying.  It was like the feeling you get when you successfully shoot your “mark” through the eye with an ice bullet from 400 yards in high winds.

NOTE: It occurs to me that some people may, perhaps , define “satisfying” differently than I do. Perhaps.

In any case, as simple as this was, I was hooked.  I needed to pick more locks.  Every morning, for weeks after that, I am sure all the people in the neighboring cubicles would come in and think: “Hmmm… I was SURE I locked this.”.  No file drawer was safe from my prying tools!

But it still wasn’t enough.  I mean, sure, a paperclip and screwdriver was nice and all, but not exactly in line with my ideal vision of a rogue.  So, naturally, I bought my own set of legitimate lock picks from a website that I found that sells all manner of devious items: www.southord.com. This site is basically porno for people like me.  I found a nice, simple set of starter picks and placed my order.

For the week following that, I was like a kid that ordered a decoder ring from a cereal box.  I would come home every day and rush happily to the mailbox, only to walk despondently away moments later when I saw that they had not come yet.

When they finally arrived my obsession took a steep jump up; I quickly picked every lock in the house.  I followed that up, soon thereafter, by picking every lock at work that I could without getting fired which didn’t quite fall short of my bosses office door (sorry Lisa).

I was having a ball.

I want to be honest here; Although I would love for it to be otherwise, I am not particularly good at it.  Don’t get me wrong, I can open most locks, but it usually takes me several minutes to do so.  It’s not quite like the movies where they barely do anything and *click*, the lock is open!  No, at least for me, it’s a much more complex and time-consuming process.

Before I learned what was involved, I fantasized about never using a key again; I would just pick my front door lock every night.  But since it takes me so long to do, and I need to kneel down to be at eye-level with the lock, it’s very obvious and more than a little awkward to explain. “No, really, officer… this is MY house.”

My greatest lockpicking moment, so far, happened several years ago when I was living in a townhouse community.  My neighbor Harry got locked out of his house and came over to ask me for help.  I am sure he had something else in mind; he probably pictured me giving him a boost into an open window or some such inelegant method of entry but I was having none of that!  When we walked up to his door and he saw me take out a set of picks his eyes went a little wide.

To make matters worse, I got really lucky and I picked the lock in less time than it would have taken me to open it with the key.  On the inside I was bursting with joy but outwardly, of course, I brushed this off as normal and calmly put my picks away as he nervously thanked me and quickly entered his house shutting and locking the door behind him.  I think they moved soon after that.

My wedding comes in as a close second for the happiest moment of my life.

(I am so going to get my ass kicked for that line)

Eventually, my passion for lockpicking faded a bit, and I stopped picking every lock in sight.  But even now, many years later, I still carry my picks with my every day, just in case an opportunity to use them comes along.  And I still get a bit giddy when one does.

So, if you suspect that I have been fiddling around with the lock on your door, please forgive me; it’s an addiction that is difficult to kick.  I promise that I am just doing it to keep my fingers nimble and that I will leave all your belongings intact.

Unless there’s something really cool.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2009 in Memory Lane

 

Don’t do this at home… unless you invite me over!

I have no illusions about my life. It has not been, what most people would consider, thrilling. In fact, it has really been pretty damn dull, if you asked me. Even so, there have occasionally been some brief flashes of excitement that stand out in my memory and make me wonder how I turned out to be the fully-grown, chemically-balanced, mature adult I am today (stop laughing).

And so, today’s blog entry focuses on my fixation with blowing things up.

NOTE: For the benefit of those readers that happen to be members of a law enforcement agency, you should know that this blog is purely fictional. It is merely an amusing outlet for my playful and creative, if sometimes violent, inner child. None of the things you read in this blog entry have any foundation in reality. Not one shred of it contains any believable or, dare I say, prosecutable information.

NOTE: For everyone else… That last note is bullshit. I totally did all this crap!

Now… back to the story.

I suppose I was pretty typical as a child in respect to my fascination with fire. Using a magnifying glass to make the ants in my back yard feel the fiery wrath of their angry god was a frequent summertime activity. But, what started as a desire to burn things, eventually blossomed into a yearning to blow things up. And so, like millions of other people, despite the fact that it is against the law, I used to buy fireworks every 4th of July and set them off in front of my house. I mostly bought the standard stuff: firecrackers, bottle-rockets, roman candles, jumping-jacks and so-on. However, no matter what I bought each year, the resulting pyrotechnic display was always… lackluster, in my opinion.

One year, right around July 4th, I was flipping through channels, when I came upon Barney, that ridiculous purple dinosaur-ish thing, while he was in the middle of a song that was clearly designed to convince the children in the audience that he wasn’t just a pedophile in a large purple costume. I had seen him before, and thus I am not entirely sure why this particular moment was any different, but I decided right then and there that he had to die.

So, I went out to the nearest toy-store and purchased a stuffed Barney hand-puppet…

Clerk (cheerfully): Heya! Welcome to Toy Palace.  How can I help you?
Me: I require a stuffed Barney.
Clerk (happily): Sure, we have loads of those!  Who’s the luckly little kid?
Me: Fool!  This is not for one mere child!  This is for the justice of children everywhere!
Clerk (nervously): You… um… don’t like Barney?
Me: No.  I loathe him.  I am going to destroy him.
Clerk begins to cry.

I bet you think you know where this is going. You probably think I strapped an M80 to his chest and sent his fluffy purple ass to meet — and be subsequently rejected by — whatever poor saint drew gate duty that day. Well, guess again! You are wrong on several points:

    1. It was a blockbuster
    2. I sewed it into his chest
    3. I sincerely doubt he went in that direction to begin with

NOTE: A blockbuster has the explosive force of 1/2 a stick of dynamite, and this was a hand-puppet. The term “unbalanced response” comes to mind.

Once he was properly prepared, I put him on display for all to see during our 4th of July party. Then, later that day, before it got dark, I placed him in the middle of the street, lit the fuse, and watched as the blockbuster disintegrated Barney, with a loud and satisfying “thwump”, scattering millions of Barney molecules all over the neighborhood.

It was a breathtaking experience, not just for me, but for all onlookers (well, except for maybe a few of the younger kids… cry-babies!). We filmed it, of course, and watched it over and over for the rest of the night, raising a toast every time Barney met his explosive end.

Given our great success with Barney, we decided to repeat the event the following year. This time, however, it was the red Power Ranger (Jason) who was the focus of our ire. The explosion the previous year, while adequate for Barney, didn’t quite pack the punch that Jason deserved so we upgraded from the blockbuster to the pineapple which gave us the staggering power of a full stick of dynamite.

I fondly remember Jason’s detonation. As I recall, his head sailed so high up in the air that we were surprised by the “thud” as it landed well after the smoke had cleared.

Each year, as the show got bigger, so did the crowd. The following year, the crowd was so large that we had to block off both ends of the street. The main event that year was: Elmo.

Frankly, I am surprised he wasn’t the first. If there are any child icons that need to be rigorously dismembered, it is he. The other two were just plain annoying, but Elmo, in my opinion, was much worse. Here is a character, on an educational show for children, that doesn’t actually speak proper English! It’s like having Jar Jar Binks teach your kids (“Meesa gonna teechoo eenglits!”).

After a brief search, we found a huge stuffed Elmo. He was about 2 feet tall, and built like a big fluffy pillow. It was clear to us that something that size deserved more than just a measly pineapple! So, we taped two together and surgically implanted them in his chest.

 

IgnitionThat year was the only year we actually used a homemade electrical ignition system, and as you can see, we had an extravagant materials budget. Not just any cigar box would do; only one that was filled with hand-made cigars that were imported from Honduras!

No, it wasn’t pretty, but it enabled us all to be at least 25-30 feet away from Elmo when his payload was ignited. And, since we were now talking about the equivalent of two sticks of dynamite, volunteers to light it by hand were pretty scarce.

As I said, Elmo was about 2 feet tall, and very pillow-like. So, in order to enable him to stand upright in the street, we had constructed a cardboard stand. Basically, he was propped up in a box with his arms sticking straight out from his sides.

Just as the fuse was nearing its end, his right arm slipped from its perch and fell back down to his side; almost as if he was waving goodbye. And, just as it reached his side… he exploded with a concussive blast, spraying flaming bits of plastic stuffing everywhere.

The timing could not have been better. I am getting all choked up just thinking about it.

Maybe it was because we matured a bit. Maybe we began to value our lives more as we got older. Or maybe it was just because explosive fireworks became harder and harder to come by. But, sadly, Elmo was our last victim.

It’s a crying shame too, because we had our next show all planned out. The guest of honor was going to be Dora the Explorer, and the show was going to be entitled: “Dora the Exploder”!

You live, for now, Dora. But I’d watch your back if I were you!

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

Reaching My Goals

I think I firmly established in a previous entry that I really do not like sports, but I feel like I need to explain myself a bit better so that you can understand why I believe my dislike of sports is not without good reason.

SoccerProFor starters, I have always been a fairly overweight person, even as a child.  Around the time I was in my “tween” years, some of the more common terms used to describe children of my particular build included: “stocky”, “heavy set”, or my personal favorite, “portly”.  Ostensibly, these terms were meant to be less offensive than simply calling me a “lardass”, although I am not entirely certain that they were.

To make matters worse, at that age I also exhibited a level of grace and dexterity normally reserved for semi-tranquilized livestock.

In the picture here I don’t look quite as porcine as I remember, but you will notice that I didn’t exactly have six-pack abs either.  You may also have noticed that, not only was my shirt a stomach-churning mustard color, but it also had logo on it that was large enough to be visible from space.  The whole “lumbering butterball in pee-colored polyester” look was a real hit with the ladies.

But, despite these facts my parents forced me to play soccer, as you may have guessed from the picture.  I know what they wanted.  They wanted what all parents want for their kids.  They wanted me to go make friends and be popular.  But the fact is, even at that early stage of my life, I really didn’t like… well… people.  But, I didn’t have much choice in the matter, so I donned the hideous uniform and went to my first practice.

When I met the coach, he — after instantly assessing me with a practiced eye — decided to assign me to the position of “Fullback”.  I assume he figured my girth would block a fair potion of the goal.  He then patiently explained to me what I needed to do.  This amounted to:

    1. Watch the ball
    2. If the ball moves towards the goal, take it away from the guy kicking it
    3. Kick the ball away from the goal, and to another player (preferably one on our team)
    4. Repeat

These instructions were as simple as could possibly be.  But, understanding them was not the problem here.  The problem, in a nutshell, was that I sucked at soccer.  It wasn’t long before I realized the only way that I could provide any real value to the team.  And so I amended the coaches instructions as follows:

    1. Identify the best player on the opposing team
    2. Pretend to be trying to take the ball from them
    3. Slide-tackle them

Even simpler!  One less step!  Naturally, this always got me benched, but the way I looked at it, our team lost one shitty player, the opposing team lost one good player (because, trust me here… they weren’t getting up), and I got to sit down.  Win, win, win!

As you may have guessed, my soccer career didn’t last long.

Now here I am, all grown up and with kids of my own.  And as I subject them the same treatment, it makes me think about what sports is supposed to teach us.  If the opposing team represents all the obstacles that block your way to success, and the goal represents… well… your goal.  Then what I learned from my short, yet somehow disturbing brush with soccer was this:

“In order to reach your goals, you must avoid all obstacles.  Some of these obstacles, however, are more nimble than you are (they probably have better ‘cleats’) and are therefore able to continually block your way.  In those cases, obstacles seem to go down pretty fast when they take a shin guard to the groin.”

I know what you are thinking.  Do obstacles even have groins?  Rest assured, they do.

But that’s not my point.  My point is that, for most parents, sports are all about teaching kids some sort of lesson.  We all know the lessons that sports are supposed to teach our kids.  Sportsmanship, Teamwork, Bravery, Compassion, etc.  But, deep down inside, I think we also know that this is all a load of hooey.

Occasionally, when I suggest this, some sports zealot will point me towards a news story wherein one of these farcical lessons is embodied.  Some tear-jerking story of compassion and sportsmanship where the player(s) sacrificed the game in order to “do the right thing”.  Of course, if this happened as often as it should… it wouldn’t be “news”.  But, these are sports fans we’re talking about here, and counter-arguments are only truly understood if they use small words… and are belched.

So, instead, I have come up with a few lessons that I believe sports really teaches our kids:

Losing sucks

It’s not about winning?  You really believe that bullshit?  Right…  Um, Losing blows.  “It’s ok to fail” is a great moral to impart if you want your kid to grow up to be a carpenter.  Not so great if you want them to be a test pilot.

No pain… no pain

This one seems fairly self explanatory.  Pain sucks even more than losing.

Sports aren’t always healthy

Playing sports, generally, gets you into great shape.  I get that,  But I have many friends that are into sports, and let me tell you… they aren’t without their share of problems.  For a comparison, let me list all the health-related problems that I can think of that my friends have had as a result of playing a sport, and then let me list the ones that I have as a result of not playing one.

Friends: Broken bones (just about any of them), knee surgery, concussion, many stitches, loss of a finger and loss of sight in one eye.

Me: I’m fat.

I think the data speaks for itself here.

Chicks dig athletes

A sad reality of life.  Women seem to fall all over sports guys.  Playing a sport well appears to be the human equivalent of having really vibrant plumage.  At least I can say that I am in no worse shape than most of the popular sports figures of my high school days.  And I don’t tell boring stories whenever anyone is around (I just blog about them).

I am sure I could come up with a few more if I tried hard enough.  But those will have to do for now.

Hey… I am not suggesting that these lessons aren’t worth learning.  Truthfully, I think they may actually prepare our kids for at least some of the harsher realities of life.  I’m just saying that nobody I know has ever played a sport and come out of it as some sort of shining example of perfect morals.  In fact, quite a few of them are narcissistic douche-nozzles.

So if you are a parent that is trying to provide your kids with a strong foundation of good old-fashioned American values, then I hope this entry has helped you realize that sports aren’t necessarily the answer.

If, however, you are a sports fan that is reading this because you are looking for some deeper meaning to apply to your hobby, then I probably lost you by the second paragraph when I used the word “ostensibly”.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

Dungeons & Dragons Live!… ish

If you have read my previous entry on Dungeons and Dragons, then you have been properly educated on how it is played.  Because of that, you may think that there is nothing dorkier than sitting around a table pretending to be a warrior or a sorcerer.

Oh, how wrong you are my friends.

For, although D&D is, without question, one of the premier activities for nerds the world around, it doesn’t hold a candle to Live Action Role Playing (LARP).  This is an activity that snaps the needle off the dorkometer.

It goes without saying that I’ve tried it.

How could I not?  I had played D&D for many years at that point.  This just seemed like the logical next step.  The next stage in the evolutionary process that would ultimately produce a mature adult nerd.

The basic premise of the game is the same as D&D. One notable difference, however, is that when you want to hit someone with your sword, you don’t roll dice… you actually hit them with your sword.

Before you run over to the Christian Life Ministries and tell them to fire up the printing press… These weapons are not real.  They are soft(ish) foam(ish) replicas.  Your weapon is actually  a couple of pieces of PVC pipe with pipe insulation around it, held together by a generous amount of duct tape.  Most of them are about the size of a railroad tie but, thanks to their lightweight materials and cutting-edge design, allow you to swing it like a person wielding a lightweight railroad tie.

Like the tabletop game, you have to choose a type of character to be.  I decided to be a rogue.  I have always liked the idea of hiding in shadows and sneaking up on my victims instead of fighting them the “fair” way.  I’ve never really been a big fan of “fair”.  And, as an added bonus, my weapon wasn’t one of the gigantic swords, but instead it was a dagger, which is much smaller.

With my choice of character made, I moved onto the next challenge:  My costume.  A hooded cloak, a tunic, a pair of boots, etc.  In the end, I created a look that I think speaks for itself:

DorkRemember that cloak.  I will have a future blog entry in which it will make a triumphant return; an encounter that involves the Police.

Now I was ready.

The game that I went to was run at a 4H camp.  It ran for three days, included all meals, and cost only $35.  It really was a good deal.  Unless you considered the fact that it was wintertime, and we were housed in unheated cabins in the middle of the woods.

I don’t usually mind being cold, but since I knew about the cabins in advance, one of the few things that I brought with me from the world of normal people was a small pile of chemical hand warmers, and I am very glad I did.  For, while I found them to be pretty nice to have, other people looked upon them with thinly disguised lust.

Not one to pass up an opportunity, I sold some of them on the first day (for in-game money). I would probably have sold all of them, but then I realized that, because of the cold, these people were desperate enough to buy used hand-warmers from me.  So, I used a few of my hand-warmers each night, and sold them in the morning.  They were still a little warm at that time, but I could almost guarantee that by nighttime (when they would actually want to USE them) they would be stone cold.  But hey… I was supposed to be playing a rogue, right?

One of the people I peddled my wares to was a lovely young lady who clearly hated being cold.  She was practically orgasmic when I handed her the almost completely spent hand-warmer.  She started rubbing it against her face and moaning with pleasure.  Thankfully, she didn’t know that the small bag of carbon that she was so lovingly caressing against her cheeks had spent the previous night warming mine (yeah, those ones).

But LARP isn’t only about hoodwinking lovely young ladies.  No, like the tabletop game, it has its share of “Combat Encounters”.  You needed to be on your guard in this 4H camp.  At any time, danger could come calling…

 

OrcSo, there we were, my friends and I, three brave adventurers out for our first foray into the wild when, suddenly, out of the forest charges an Orc!  In unison, we…

Wait, I have to stop here to explain something.  When I described how D&D is played, I mentioned that, as a player, your heroism is off the charts.  Even if the odds are overwhelming, you fight.  And you will fight until there is no breath left in your body.  This is important to understand so that you can put this next part into context.

…in unison, we ran screaming like schoolgirls.  That’s right, three fully grown men totally chickened out when faced with a dweeb in a poorly constructed Orc costume.

Our skills at combat did not increase appreciably during that weekend, and all encounters generally ended with us retreating as fast as our stubby legs could carry us.  In the quiet hours of the night, when I had sufficient time to reflect on the events of the day, I realized that this behavior should not have surprised me.  We are nerds, and not typically constructed for actual combat.  Our physique is more optimized for maintaining a sitting position for long periods of time than it is for trading blows with someone.

After a little while there, however, I began to wonder… who were these other people with us?  Because it seemed like we were the only ones running away.  I imagined that if we were ever to actually engage in combat with someone, and gain the upper hand, they would start to smile because they are “not left handed”.

It wasn’t until the second day of the event that we realized who these people were.  These seemingly combat-ready individuals were all fencers (they know how to fight with a sword, not put a boundary around a yard.  Keep up with me here).  This seemed a tad unfair to me.  The whole reason that I like playing fantasy games was because in them, I don’t get my ass kicked.  This wasn’t shaping up to be a good weekend.

A short while after that epiphany, I realized that there was yet another category of people attending this game because, if I had to guess, I would say that roughly two thirds of the people there didn’t engage in combat at all… they just spent their time hovering around the “town center”, being… whatever they were.  These people were… thespians (not lesbians!  THESpians!  Stop giggling!).

It kinda made sense, when I thought about it.  Here, they had the opportunity to play a role all day long for three whole days.  The problem with this idea, for the rest of us, is that they clearly refused to communicate with you unless you also played a role.  You have no idea how annoying this can be until you witness it…

Me: Hey, buddy!  You know where the bathroom is?

Robart:  Well, hello my good man!  I am Robart the Grey, a wizard of some renown in these regions.  Perhaps you have heard of me?

Me: Of course.  Your ability to locate bathrooms is known o’re the land.  Care to point me towards one?

Robart: You speak a strange tongue.  From what land do you hail?

Me: A far away land without any bathrooms called Urinea.

Robart: A strange land, no doubt!  Have you come here to escape the tyrany of some evil overlord?  Or mayhap to live a life of adventure and to seek your fortune?

Me: No, I have come here to urinate.  Blink twice if there’s a normal person in there somewhere.

Robart: Haha!  You are a curious fellow!  Are you perhaps the court jester?

Me: Haha!  I am going to pee on you.

I was tempted to run back into the woods and talk with the Orc (what’s the Orcish word for “bathroom”?).  At that point, I was pretty convinced that we were the only people in the entire camp that had ever actually played D&D.

We spent most of the remainder of the weekend in hiding, coming out only for meals and bathroom breaks.

So, in conclusion, if you are a D&D player, then LARP may not be your cup of tea, but if you are a fencer or actor, then I highly recommend it.

Before you go, however, don’t forget to get some chemical hand warmers.

I have a few I can sell you… cheap!

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

Nerds Gone Mild

Idle hands are, as they say, often tools for the devil.

When I was in High School my friends and I frequently did things out of sheer boredom that, while really harmless, were often disturbing and sometimes of questionable legality.  But they were funny… at least to us.  I guess they could be considered pranks.  Things on the scale of toilet-papering someone’s house, although usually less messy.

One type of activity that we used to entertain ourselves when we had clearly had too much caffeine was something we called a “Drop-off”.  It was named thus because we would think up something, almost random, and drop it off on the doorsteps of people we knew.

Our very first drop-off involved goldfish.

Warning: If you are a member of PETA, you may want to stop reading this now.

We were going for the typical “Baby on the doorstep” thing here.

But, with fish.

It was wintertime, and our plan was to freeze goldfish into blocks of ice, and put them into tiny wicker baby baskets.  We would then drop these baskets off on the doorsteps of our friends with a note like this:

Dear Sir,

  Please take care of my pet goldfish Nippy.  I have fallen on hard times and can no longer care for him.  He deserves a better home than I can provide. 

PS – Please take him in soon.  It’s awfully cold out here!

Alas, by the time they got to Nippy, it would be too late.  Damn them!

We found little wicker baskets and paper in a craft store.

Then, we got goldfish from the pet store.

Another Warning: For all the PETA members that didn’t heed my first warning.  Please reconsider.

Now all we had to do was to freeze the goldfish.

The slippery little buggers were not being very cooperative though.  You see, we were picky, and really wanted them to be in the center of the blocks of ice, but they kept moving.  I am sure that today we could have figured out something a bit more clever but back then, to our adolescent brains, the answer was obvious…

The goldfish would actually need to be dead for this to work.

We had reached our first logistical problem.  What’s the best way to quickly kill a dozen goldfish without damaging them?

Final Warning: Seriously now… Shouldn’t you be out pouring red paint on someone?

Our first idea was electrocution.

We dumped all the goldfish into a 5-gallon bucket and then dropped both leads of a car battery into the water.  I don’t know what we were expecting.  I suppose I was picturing sparks dancing across the surface of the water while all the goldfish were shaking violently in the throes of their deaths.  But what really happened was… nothing.

We sat there for a while, staring at the bucketful of fish.  Each one of them staring back defiantly; a few of them sticking up their middle-fins at us.

Not exactly what we were hoping for.

Not ones to be easily deterred, we moved onto Plan B which, if I remember correctly, was poison.  The details are a bit fuzzy, but I think we may have used bleach, or perhaps ammonia.  I am almost certain it was a cleaning product.  But, even in reasonably high concentrations, it didn’t seem to be doing the job.

There were the goldfish, quite alive, tossing out gurgly insults about our mothers.  It’s like they were taunting us.  Saying “I was going to be eaten alive and slowly digested by a snake!  You think household chemicals are going to kill me?  Bring it, bitches!”

I don’t remember what else we tried.  I think maybe they all eventually died from laughter.

But die they did.

And we got them frozen into little blocks of ice, pretty close to the center.

We tucked them into their baskets with the note attached.

And, finally, we dropped them off

After all that work, the drop-off itself was fairly anti-climactic.  I wish there was something more exciting to report as the outcome of this endeavor.  But, all we had really done was to secure our positions as “the weird kids” in the school.

I suppose we could have done worse.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

The Games People Flay

If you’ve read any of my other blog entries you may find this difficult to believe, but I have friends.

No, really.

Stop laughing.

Two of my oldest and best friends, both of whom are named Chris, have been tolerating me since High School.  When we were younger, we would do all sorts of stupid, albeit nerdy, shit together, but those are subjects of future blog entries.  As we all got older and, more importantly, married, we started playing party games whenever we got together.

And that, my friends, is the subject of today’s blog entry.

I am not talking about drinking games, for you see, none of us drank.  No, I am talking about your standard run-of-the-mill, very tame party games.  Ones which do not involve the loss of any motor function or the removal of any articles of clothing.  Games like Charades, Taboo and Pictionary,

Oh my, how I loved Pictionary…

The problem, however, was that my wife Karrie and I were way too good at it.  We would almost always win, and were frequently accused of cheating because of this.  But I swear we never cheated; we just know each other very, very well.  I think the best example of how ridiculous we were was when I had to draw “David and Goliath”.  I drew the following:

DavidAndGoliath

And Karrie guessed it on the first shot, blurting it out before I was even finished drawing.

Sadly, nobody wanted to play Pictionary with us after that, and so we were forced to move onto other games.  Over the years, we experimented with many, but two of our absolute favorites were called Beyond Balderdash and Wise and Otherwise.

The gameplay for both of these games is very similar, the only difference being the content of the cards.  I’ll start with Beyond Balderdash, and explain the basic premise.  Each player gets a pad of paper and a pencil.  One of the players draws a card, and reads an entry from it.  These entries fall into five categories “Words”, “People”, “Initials”, “Movies” or “Dates”.  Each player has to write down either a) The actual meaning of the word/who the person is/what the initials stand for/etc. for the entry that was read, or b) A believable lie.  The player that read the card writes down the actual answer on their pad, collects all the other slips of paper, shuffles them and, finally, reads them.  Players then vote on which of these they believe to be correct, for you see, that is how you get points.  If anyone votes for yours, you get a point.

If you look back at most of my submissions, many of which I kept, you would be absolutely convinced that I missed the entire point of this game.  I didn’t try to garner the true essence of any of the items that were read to me, nor did I make any attempt at believability, as is illustrated by the following typical submission:

Figgum

 

As you can see, my attention to detail slips a bit when I only have a minute to work with.  But if you can get beyond the poor spelling and horrible handwriting, you may notice that three people voted for my submission.  It is important to remind you here that none of us were drunk.  These were three fully-grown adults in complete control of their facilities.  Based upon these results, it would appear that I could make up the wildest crap, and people would actually believe it anyway.

Any of you readers that are salespeople are probably laughing at me right now.

Anyhow, I used this tactic to great effect over the years, and won many games.  I used not even a single thread of truth to weave a fabric of lies, which I used to sew a hood of deception to slip over the heads of my unsuspecting victims.

I was an unstoppable force in the world of party gaming.

That was… until one fateful day, when one of the Chris’s drew a card with the word “Cockatush” on it.  That’s when things took a sharp turn for the worse.  You see, there’s a fine line here that cannot be crossed.  On one side of that line is creative, and surprisingly believable pretense.  And on the other side are fabrications that, while amusing, are only believable to to people who have recently suffered blunt head trauma.  But what was I supposed to do?  I am not made of stone!

I kept the original slip of paper from the game so that, many years from now, archeologists can unearth it and use it to show precisely where my downfall began:

Cockatush1

 

Yeah, I know I spelled Cockatoo wrong.  Don’t rub it in.

I only got one vote there, and I am honestly not sure how that’s even possible.  The person responsible for reading it was unable to read the entire submission out loud without collapsing into a giggle-fit despite the fact that it was only five words.

And, that’s not the worst of it.  I blame Cockatush for ruining the game for me.  From that point on, for me, all entries no matter what they were, somehow involved the nether regions of exotic birds…

Cockatush2

 

I had hit rock-bottom.  A voteless entry.  A truly sad day…

Cockatush3

 

Aw, c’mon!  That sounded believable!

This pattern spilled over into our other favorite game Wise and Otherwise.  As I said, this game is played in almost exactly the same way.  The difference was that instead of the five categories on each card, there were five partial “old sayings”.  So, for instance, one of the choices might be “There’s an old saying: A bird in the hand…”, and everyone has to finish the saying.

With the right group of people, this game is obnoxiously fun.  With the wrong group of people, you get entries like this:

Cockatush4

 

Although my words rang true, it would seem that I was doomed to remain vote-less.  Shortly after the game with that submission, we stopped playing.  We grew apart, they stopped calling, moved away, changed their names, etc.

No, seriously, we still see each other, but don’t play these kinds of games anymore.  This is mainly due to the fact that most of us have kids now and, for obvious reasons, don’t feel that it’s appropriate to play these games around them. (“Daddy?  What’s a Cockatush?”)

Heed me readers.  If you play games like these, don’t fall into the trap.  Learn from my sad example. 
Nobody could have predicted the impact that a single word would have on the promising career of a talented party gamer.

Go figgum.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

Dungeoneering for Non-Nerds

I pointed out in a previous post that, like any self-respecting nerd, I have played Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). I played it quite often when I was younger.  I own quite a few of the books, and an impressive collection of figurines.  But it occurred to me that, while most people have heard of it, not everybody has had the pleasure of actually playing the game.

You see, while my friends and I were holed up in my basement surrounded by books, dice and tiny figurines, many of you were probably enjoying other, more popular forms of teenage entertainment such as “beer” and “sex”.  Therefore, it is unlikely that you know precisely what goes on at a D&D session.  Well, my chemically enhanced brethren, you are in luck.  For today, I am going to enlighten your remaining brain cells about this fascinating game.

Let’s start with some of the people involved in playing the game.  These people fall into two basic categories:

The Players

That’s you (and some of your friends).  But this is not the version of you that runs away, screaming like a school-girl, from angry Chihuahuas.  This is a bigger, badder, butt-kickinger you.  This version of you is a Hero!  And you need to do heroic things.

You know… traveling the world with nothing more than what you can fit in your backpack.  Saving big-breasted, eternally grateful damsels in distress.  Pummeling dragons until they are reduced to naught but a handful of loosely-coupled dragon molecules.  Stuff like that.

The Dungeon Master (DM)

Oh, he may look like just one of your friends.  But don’t be fooled.  When he chose to wear the mantle of Dungeon Master he became the god of your sad little fantasy world.  And he is an angry god.  He is your friend no longer.

The DM is the narrator of the story, the keeper of the rules, and the arbiter of disputes.  He also plays every other character in the story aside from the players themselves, which means that he needs to either be very talented, or mildly disturbed.

But how is it playedD&D is remarkably difficult to explain to people that have not played it.  I think part of the difficulty stems from the fact that it is called a “game”, but does not actually work like any game that normal people are familiar with.  I remember my Mom frequently entering the room we were playing in (usually to deliver some pizzas) and asking “Who’s winning?”.  This is not that kind of game.  People don’t “win”, although they can lose in a rather spectacular fashion (aka. dying).

I guess, if I had to sum up how D&D was played, I would say that it is “A group of people, sitting around, talking.”.  Wait… that’s not entirely accurate.  I suppose, to be more specific, it’s actually “A group of people, sitting around, pretending that they are someone else… talking.”.  It is called a “role playing” game, after all.  The whole point is that you play a role; you act like someone else…. right?

In reality, unless you have a budding thespian in the group, this doesn’t tend to be the case.  More often, each character begins to act much like the player that is playing them.  So, you end up acting as… you.  But in this case, you act as a you who has a sword and is well versed in the art of buttkickery. It’s all very visceral, but totally harmless.

Of course, there are some that disagree…

<insert harp music here>

So there I was, a young Junior High School kid, sitting at home with all my Dungeons & Dragons books arrayed before me on the dining room table, when the doorbell rang.  It was a plumber.  Apparently, my parents needed something… plumbed.  Anyhow, he walked in, saw what I was working on, and immediately went back to his truck.  He returned a few minutes later, and presented my parents with a pamphlet entitled: “Dungeons & Dragons: Only a Game?”.

This document was intended to inform my parents of the danger that this “game” posed to young impressionable children like myself.  He patiently explained to them that I was in dire peril. That, at any moment, the game could possess me and make me a potential danger to myself and others.  My parents, instantly grasping the gravity of the situation, gave the pamphlet to me and went back to watching TV.

I bet you think that I tossed it in the trash as soon as they weren’t looking.  Well then you, my friend, are a fool… I read it.  I read the whole thing…

I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that this is the finest document ever written in the history of the human race. I was personally moved to tears by the following paragraph:

DnD2

Wow!  I wanna go to those games!  I mean, sure, sometimes we would talk about murder (“Eat that last slice of pizza, and I will kill you!”), and maybe toss out an occasional cannibalistic comment (“I will eat the last slice, and you can eat me!”), but… sexual perversion? gambling? desecration? That sounds more like college.

I get the feeling that the folks over at Christian Life Ministries picture a typical D&D session going as follows:

DM: Ok, let us begin.  Player1, did you bring the sacrificial dagger this time?

Player1: Yes Master.

DM: Good.  We don’t want a repeat of last time.  The virgin escaped while you searched for something sharp enough to carve out her still-beating heart as an offering to the Dark God we worship.

Player2 shifts uncomfortably.

DM sighs:  What is it Player2?

Player2: It’s just… it’s just that Player1 always gets to carve the still-beating heart out of the virgin.  When will we get a turn?

Player3: Yeah.  I want a turn too!

DM: Ok, ok… we’ll take turns… there are enough virgins to go around…

What great imaginations they have over there!  Haha… I bet they have some wild parties over at the Christian Life Ministries.  But, while that is fascinating, that’s not typically how a game goes.  Our sessions consisted of alot of talking, and rolling dice, and talking more.  There was pizza, and alot of soda.  And the only virgins were the players.  I remember game sessions going more like this:

DM: …from the rim of the valley, you can see the castle in the distance….

        *The DM deepens his voice*

        It’s dark presence fills you with foreboding…

Player1: Do I see anything I can shoot with my bow?

Player2: Asshole, the castle is miles away.  Put the dice down, you douche.

Player1: Nevermind.  I see something I can shoot.  I aim at Player2.

Player3: Did we order the pizza yet?

Ahhh… such immersion.  If you close your eyes… you can almost feel like you are there.

So, you see, D&D is all about the DM telling a story.  And you, and your other fellow players, listening and interacting with that story.  These interactions are referred to as Encounters, and can take two forms.  Non-combat Encounters, and… you guessed it… Combat Encounters.  Us players generally live for the Combat Encounters.  We fast-talk our way through all the wussie non-combat crap just so we can get to the good parts.

But, occasionally the DM foils our plans and tries to ruin the fun of the game. Some DMs think that, since this is a Role Playing Game that everyone needs to be an actor. You’re just waiting for them to scream “Again! This time with feeling!”…

DM: …suddenly, a group of Orcs comes around the bend…

Me: I want to stab the leader-

DM: Don’t tell me what you want to do, tell me what you are doing.

Me: Um… I stab the lea-

DM: You are 50-feet away!  You are stabbing him from there?

Me: …I walk over and sta-

DM: You just waltz right up? In broad dayli- *glack*

Me: *cleans knife on his shirt*

We went through so many DMs that way.

Where was I?  Ah, yes… Combat Encounters.  Let me first explain something here.  Not only are you a hero, but you are the bravest damn hero ever!  When faced with a group of creatures, you jump into the fray with nary a concern for your well being.  You wade into their midst bellowing a battle cry!  You do this even if you are wearing a loin cloth and armed with only a pickle.  You do this because doing so amounts to rolling dice.

You want to hit a filthy Orc with your pickle?  Simply roll a 20-sided die, and if you roll over a certain number, you hit them!  Then roll some more dice to figure out how badly you hurt them. And finally, sit back and enjoy the DM’s description of how the miserable wretch dies.

DM: You swing you pickle around your head with alarming force leaving a trail of brine and the faint smell of dill as it passes.  It connects solidly with the head of the lead Orc and barely slows down as obliterates his skull and tears through his brain.  The, now headless, Orc remains standing for a few seconds and then falls to the ground with a sickening thud.  Your pickle is now covered in gore and no longer kosher.

Me: I attack the next Orc with my throwing gherkins!

String a bunch of encounters like these together, and there you have it!  A D&D game!  A group of people, sitting around, trying to act like other people, but really acting like themselves, rolling dice, and talking… alot.  Believe it or not, it’s more fun than it sounds.

Maybe some of you may even want to try it someday.  If you do, just let me know…

We play every Friday night over at the Christian Life Ministries.

Don’t forget the sacrificial dagger.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

The Gauntlet

My wife’s name is Karrie, and she is the most wonderful woman on the planet.

And, lucky for me, I happen to know for a fact that she loves me very much.

I know this, because she said “yes” when I asked her if she would marry me.

I know what you are thinking… many people say “yes” to marriage proposals, and still don’t truly love each other. Well, those people likely proposed to their (ex)wives in some pansy “traditional” way. All suited up… in a fancy restaurant… on bended knee… pleading with the object of their affection… blah. Honestly? I am surprised most marriages outlast milk.

Personally, I made my bride-to-be run the gauntlet before “popping the question”.

But more on that in a second. First, some background.

Karrie and I had been dating for seven years before I proposed. We already knew more about each other than people have any right to. We were, and still are, best friends. At that point, in my opinion, marriage is just paperwork. Yeah, I am sure that just takes all the romance out of it for many of you, but that was the reality of the situation. I mean, there really was no question in either of our minds that we were going to be married. The question was… when would I ask… and how?

As I said, Karrie knew me very well at that point. So, she knew that there was NO WAY that I would ever propose on a traditional day, like Christmas Eve, or New Years. That’d be too cliché for me. She knew to “expect the unexpected” from me. So… I proposed on Christmas Eve.

Here’s how it went down.

Karrie came over to my house so that we could exchange gifts. She gave me my gifts first. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t remember what they were, but in my defense, I was about to propose here, so there were other things on my mind at the time. Anyhow… after I finished opening my gifts, I presented Karrie with four, identically wrapped gift boxes. And I asked her to pick three.

As you might imagine, at this point she was already thoroughly confused.

She picked three, and I took the remaining box and tucked it under my arm. I then told her to start opening them. And thus, she opened the first one, which was…

Gift1

I could almost read her thoughts as if they were printed on her face… “What an odd gift.”. For those of you that don’t know me very well… I am not what you would call “normal”. And Karrie was well aware of that, so the unusual nature of this first gift certainly wasn’t enough to deter her. So she continued on and opened the second box, which contained…

Gift2

The confusion deepened. The ring holder was one thing; she had rings after all. But, a baby toy? Still, she continued on… determined to discover the contents of the third box, which was…

Gift3

At this point, she probably wanted to get me a CAT Scan. What was I thinking? Soup? How were any of these… things considered Christmas gifts? It wasn’t until I said “Better luck next year” that she started to put it all together…

“ring”… “ring”… “ring”…

Her eyes opened wide, and her head snapped towards me.

And then… her eyes slowly narrowed until they were slits.

“What’s in the last box!?”, she rasped.

A battle ensued.

I will spare you the details but, suffice it to say, I defended the remaining box as bravely as I could. She had, after all, made her three choices. The contents of the last box, such as they were, were not for her. Not that year, at least.

But, in the end, she proved stronger than I. And she eventually foiled my defenses, and wrestled the box from my hands. After a cursory check to ensure that I was still alive, she stared down at the spoils of her victory.

The last box.

This was it.

What she had been waiting for.

In this box was something with the power to change her life.

In this box was her future.

She tore it open

In this box was…

Gift4

I think she came close to the edge of her sanity at that point. But it was then, while she was curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth mumbling to herself, that I finally pulled the ring out from my pocket and proposed to her.

So, you see, if she said yes after all that? She must love me.

Oh and, by the way, I ate the Ring Dings.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2008 in Memory Lane

 

A Nerd Is Born

I am a nerd.

I have been one since way before it was cool.

Now, I figure that a statement like that cannot go without some foundation of facts, and so, here is my story:

The first 12 years of my life were fairly uneventful, nerd-wise, so I will skip to the “good” parts.  I got my first job at the tender age of 13 so that I could save up enough money to buy my first *real* computer…

The Commodore 64

<insert sound of a choir of angles singing here>

But that was a long time coming. First, I had to work like a small, highly-motivated, slave in the Southside Fish Market

…I think it’s important at this point to mention that, at the age of 13, I had not had my “growth spurt” yet.  That didn’t happen until 9th grade, where I started the slow and steady growth that eventually shot me up to the ridiculous height of 5’9″, making me the tallest member of the family of midgets that adopted me.

But I digress… back to the fish market.

So, there I was, barely even a teenager, and much smaller than the average one.  And I had the job of busboy. There was a restaurant as well as the fish market and it was, and likely still is, very popular. Clearing the tables of dirty dishes, although dramatically unpleasant, was the least of my worries while I worked there.  You see, they had a “Clam Bar”, and behind this bar was a large kitchen garbage pail.  Every night, this pail contained a nights worth of discarded clamshells, and nothing else. They didn’t like to take up valuable space with anything less dense, it seemed.  And, every night, it was my job to take it out to the dumpster.

Because God is frequently benevolent, I was supplied with a hand truck to get the garbage pail to the dumpster.  But, because he also likes a good joke, emptying the pail into the dumpster meant lifting it over my head. The difficulty level of this task may be a bit hard to grasp without visual aids, so…

 Dumpster

As you can see, this job required me to ignore several fairly important laws of physics; gravity and I are still not on speaking terms.  But, somehow… I survived the experience, made enough money, and actually purchased my own Commodore 64 <insert more singing angels here>!

My parents, I am sure, thought it was great.  Here I was, 13 years old, and already grasping the importance of making and saving money, and for what?  A computer no-less!  Fools!  That computer, once I learned how to use it, became responsible for the formation of just about every bad habit I have today.  It did more damage to me than any “bad kids” ever could have.  If my parents had only known, they probably would have willingly given me crack-money.

Behind that sexy brown keyboard I learned:

    1. How to chat without using any English words.
    2. How to carelessly flout Copyright laws
    3. How to get many, many pictures of naked women
    4. How to spend countless hours in a chair only moving to get snacks, and to pee.
    5. And much, much more.

NOTE: My current computer allows me to do those same things, only much faster (except the peeing part).

…and all this before the Internet even existed!

As far as computers go, approximately the next 10 years of my life followed a rinse and repeat kind of pattern.  Get another job… save for another computer.  But, then I graduated from college, and got my first real job.  And that’s when the pattern changed…

Me: Well… I guess it’s time to get a new computer

Employer: Since you use it for work, we’ll buy one for you

Me:

Employer: Are you ok?

Me:

Employer: Are you crying?

I was now a fully-grown nerd-man.

My Rite of Passage into a mature adult nerd was not only paved with computers.  My life was filled with the usual nerdly fare.  I watched Star Wars and Star Trek.  I played Dungeons & Dragons.  I developed an unnatural love of Coca-Cola.  I had the social skills of a turnip.

That was long, long ago (last week), and today I enjoy a more well-rounded existence (I watch Firefly too).

But, I’ll save the details of my other pursuits for future entries.

They may frighten you a bit.

Not afraid?

You will be…

You will be.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2008 in Memory Lane