Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting History

I don't know why but I've in in kind of an archaic mood as of late, at least as far as my reading habits go. I recently picked up Michael Crichton's Timeline. Not a bad book, some of the science is hard to follow, but an interesting look at the Middle Ages. When I think of the 1300-1400's I think the Dark Ages, not an age of invention and creativity. We all tend to focus on the negatives of that time, such as the Black Death and events like the Spanish Inquisition. Mr. Crichton's book gives an interesting and alternative look at what may have been.

I also picked up a copy of The Name Of The Rose. I've never read this book before, although I have seen the movie adaption with Sean Connery and Christian Slater. It's a very interesting story involving a murder mystery at a 14th century monestary. I really haven't been able to read a lot due to a heavy work load lately, but I was very excited to see this book and couldn't resist picking it up.

The Middle Ages isn't the only period in history that intrigues me. I am also fasinated with World War II and the events leading and following that world changing even. Being in the line of work that I am, having a healthy knowledge of military history can only help. Now, it's time for me to return to the present and, shortly, go to sleep. I have work in about 6 1/2 hours.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Perfect Day

Not all of us have one. Some of us are lucky enough to have more than one. But one thing is certain, we are all striving to achieve the mythical ideal of a "perfect day". I have had many great days, a handful of phenomenal days, even a few days achieving "take to the grave memorable" status, but I've only had two perfect days. One of those days was the first time I saw my daughter with the aid of a sonogram. My wife swears to this day that I had tears in my eyes at the doctor's office (I won't deny it, but I still say it was because of a bit of dirt). Of course, every day since then my daughter has tried her hardest to get me to forget that first glimpse of her, namely by being a normal teen-aged girl, but I digress. Truly, that was a perfect day, but it was not the first.

My first perfect day was one that I experienced by myself and an experience that I find incredibly hard to convey in words. I don't think I've told more than three people about this, but I do think it's time for me to try and explain it one last time. Forgive me if I stumble around a bit. I'm not used to writing on subjects like this in general, even less about myself in specific.

I am originally from Montana; I grew up living in several small towns all along the western side of the state. My family and I moved on a pretty frequent basis, the longest stretch being 6 1/2 years in a place by the name of Evaro starting when I was 5 years old. During the early to mid 80's we lived in this very rural community, which was about an hour drive from anything resembling an actual town. We were very poor at the time and could not afford much in the way of toys, but I still managed to have some really good times there. During this time I really learned to love the forest. I would frequently go out and explore the woods behind my house, being in an extremely rural area with few neighbors, there was just not much else for a child to do. I would venture out to watch the local wildlife (including a brown bear that never knew I was there), catch frogs and salamanders and climb trees. I would spend hours by myself and I would love every minute of it. This love of the forest has stayed with me through my childhood to my adulthood, and will continue until I am no longer around to enjoy it. But, my perfect day did not occur in this place or time, it's just the foundation for it.

Several years and three moves later I ended up in Missoula, Montana. Missoula is one of the larger towns in the region of the Bitterroot Valley and the place where all the people in outlying communities go to work, shop for groceries or just to hang out in the mall. I arrived in Missoula (pronounced mizoola) when I was in the 8th grade and 14 years old. I took to city life (such as it was in Missoula at the time) like a fish to water. That afore mentioned mall was a favorite location for me to go, especially to a place called Aladdin's Castle, my first and favorite arcade. Aladdin's Castle would be an incredible influence in my life in the following years, but it was not the center of my life, that would still be the forests.

When I was 15 or 16, it's impossible to remember my exact age now, I went for a walk in a small wooded area near my house. This was a normal occurrence for me, I found walking amongst the trees to be relaxing and stimulating at the same time. I enjoyed hearing the sounds of nature and it gave me a sense of calm that allowed me to concentrate on whatever problem or thought that had persisted in occupying my mind throughout the day. Oftentimes, this was the only chance I had to escape real world concerns and allow me to just be myself. Some people escape their problems through drugs or alcohol, with me, just being alone in the forest was enough to clear my mind, not that I had any grave issues to work through then. All I had to worry about at the time was the standard fare of a normal teen-aged boy. I started my trek that day by walking through the woods. I had no goal or destination in mind, I just wanted to be out. A little while later I came upon a tree near the edge of the wooded area. I wasn't tired, but for whatever reason, I decided to sit under this tree and just sit for a few minutes. And that was the start of my perfect day.

I don't remember falling asleep, or even if I actually did sleep (for the life of me, to this day I cannot tell which it was). What I do remember though is a feeling that everything was...perfect. I had no cares, nor worries. I had no idea of self or even where I was. The first thing I was aware of was...now this is hard to describe. It was like I was waking up from a dream, although like I said, I don't think I was actually asleep. I had no thoughts, nor was I able to visually focus on anything. Even though it felt like the moment lasted forever, I don't think I was "out" long. The sun was in the same position, the temperature was still the same, but during that time it felt like the world just ceased to exist. Nothing mattered, I was just in the moment. The first thing I was truly aware of was a feeling of perfect happiness and of being completely at peace. At that point a nuclear bomb could have gone off and I don't think I would have cared. Hell, I doubt I would have even noticed it. As I regained my...I don't know, consciousness maybe, I remember being refreshed and able to think very clearly. I then remember getting up from under that tree and walking home, back through the woods that took me to that wonderful spot. After that my day was a blur, that feeling of peace and that everything was perfect was the last thing I remember of it.

Progress in the form of a housing development has removed that wooded area and the tree that allowed me one perfect moment in time. Now I can never go back and relive that part of my childhood, but as is the case with everything in this world, nothing ever remains the same. Time may have removed certain objects and details from my life, but the one thing it can never remove in the memory of that one Perfect Day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Of A Kind. Damn It.

For those of you that don't know, I'm in the military and currently deployed, and that's all I'm going to say about that, not a topic for this blog. What I will write about is the fact that I seem to be a tad bit different from the other people on my team, the same people that I see and talk to every single day. These are the only people I'm able to converse with, mess around with, and hang out with. And that is annoying as hell.

Don't get me wrong, I like all (well, maybe not all, but most) of the people I work with. I've been with most of them for the past year and have gotten to know them pretty well, and they know me pretty well also. I have a pretty good understanding of what makes each of them tick, and what ticks them off. At work, I have a fine time. I'm able to talk shop and I do accomplish my primary function, which is to train and supervise the junior members of my team. I'm good at what I do and my team respects me for it. The problem comes in after working hours. I may not look it, I'm 5' 10", 220 pounds of (mostly) muscle after all, but I am a geek at heart. I love comic books, video games, and blogging. I'm a huge fan of Twitter, Penny-Arcade, and CAD. I love Red vs Blue, RPGs, and G4 TV (AOTS is the best). I know for a fact, I'm the only one that reads Wil Wheaton's blog. Hell, I don't think anyone else even knows who he is here. And I'm the only one on my team that is seriously into electronics and really understands computers. Sure, a couple of the guys know a thing or two about operating their laptops, but most get lost trying to create an Excel spreadsheet. If I was to actually explain how a computer works to one of my guys I swear, his head would literally explode. As in boom. No, really.

Off hours are a little bit of torture for me. I really can't relate to the people outside of work. It's not that they aren't as smart as me, because that's not true. I work with a very talented group, it's just that they think a bit differently than I do. Take this for example: I just got back from vacation and decided, in commemoration of the release of the Watchmen movie, brought my copy of the graphic novel with me. A couple of days later I was finally able to watch the movie (and loved it). OK, side note, pirated movies are bad and you should not support this illegal activity, unless there are no movie theaters that you can go to in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, then it's OK. After watching it and finding out that most of the guys had already seen it the week before, I decided to bring out and introduce them to the afore mentioned graphic novel. I mean, if they liked the movie then the source material should be interesting, right? Wrong. My roommate took a look at it, flipped through a couple of pages, then promptly became bored with the book. Here I am thinking "WTF?!?!", how is he bored with it already? The book in itself is a classic, and I found that comparing the similarities and differences between it and the movie was very interesting. How can someone lose interest in the first couple of pages? At that point I came to a realization, I am alone here.

No, I'm not actually alone in the physical sense, but I don't have anyone here that I can truly be myself with. I can't talk gaming or books. I can't discuss science or sci fi. But, it's not all bad. I really do like the people I work with, they are interesting and intelligent. They just aren't like me, and I'm OK with that. I still have the internet to escape to.

Monday, March 16, 2009

And Everything Else In Between

I've decided to do something a little different now. A couple of you may be aware of the fact that I actually write a blog about videogames. Well, there's more to life then just videogames, so this is the result. Life, The Universe... I cannot wait to try a couple of different ideas for this, but it'll take me a couple of days to get it off the ground. Anyway, that's enough for a blog intro. Damn. I forgot to actually mention what I'm going to write about. Here it is in a nutshell, everything except for videogames. And no, religion, politics and money are not off limits.