|The early years... (1979-1997)
What was I like as an infant? I probably drooled and smelled a lot. I can't quite remember those years from so long ago. I don't imagine being a rugrat was that fun of an experience, but I think there were a few positive sides: 1) You can scream all you want, and everyone around you wants to kill your parents, not you. 2) No school 3) No work 4) Your food has been processed already, no annoying chewing.
Well, it all started out in September of 1979. I was born in some sort of hospital in Sacramento, California. My dad was in the air force at the time, so I got to experience what being an "Air Force Brat" was all about. Don't worry, it's nothing glamorous, you just get to move around a lot and constantly lose your good friends.
I guess I spent the first 3-4 years of my life in California. I really don't remember it much, I suppose there isn't that much to remember about Sacramento. I think there was a bad drought, a minor earthquake, no tsunami's to excite the public. Not one freaking Godzilla attack... oh wait, silly me, you have to go to Japan for those.
Afterward, I spent some time in Tucson, Arizona. I recall a few fishing trips to Mt. Lemon, my little brother falling into the lake because he's clever like that. What else? I went to private school here for kindergarten and first grade because my birthday was a few weeks behind the cutoff date. My parents were kind enough to pay so I could go to school early. I'll forever be grateful about that. This is the point in my life where my parents got me Kitty, my evil, insane, cute Siamese cat. I miss her.
Next on the US tour was Albuquerque, NM. Gosh, I can't even spell that without the spell checker going haywire. :) What I remember most about this place is spending many hours sitting in the car while the military types moved around all of the bombs in Kirkland AFB. New Mexico has some nice ski areas... hmm... what do I really remember about this place? There's a yearly hot-air balloon festival, um, you can throw plenty of dirt clods at your closest of friends.
I guess New Mexico's weather wasn't annoying enough, so the Air Force decided to transfer my dad to Omaha, Nebraska. I know... ewww. I recall it being very, very hot and humid here. In the winters, we'd occasionally get an insane amount of snow. One good thing about Nebraska is that my dad got me involved in Ice Hockey. It was a very fun and dangerous. I remember getting injured quite a few times... ah, the memories. I spent grades 6-8 here, and I met some good friends. Of course, just as you get to know people well, you move on and that's that.
The last leg of my dad's military career was spent in Ogden, Utah. Now that I think about it, Ogden is pretty scenic. The air up there is a lot cleaner than the air in Salt Lake City, but Ogden is sooo boring. I spent most of my Jr. High and High School years up here. I went to Bonneville High school... <sigh> I had quite a few friends up there over the years.
Suddenly, right before my senior year, I was ripped away and forced to work in slave labor in Lynchburg, Virginia. Well, not really, but I hated it. I spent my senior year in a new high school, where I had all of the credits I needed except a government credit. So, instead of just taking one class and going up to the university, like I would have in Utah, I had to take a full set of courses because the decent thing to do was not allowed. What did I end up doing? I ended up hating my situation and everything about Virginia. I regret not even giving Virginia a try sometimes. There are friendships I probably lost out on because of that. After school was up, my dad moved to Fairfax.
And so it begins... (~Fall 1997 - ~Dec 2000)
A month afterward, I headed back to Utah to start college. Why did I go back to Utah when I could have gone to U of Mass. or Penn State? I missed my friends. By now, you're probably thinking this is really boring and you want to kill yourself... right? Oh, you don't? Damn, I guess the story will have to continue for a while. :) Oh well...
Well, I had the wonderful experience of living in the dorms at the University of Utah for a year. Imagine living on the third floor of an old stone building... now imagine sharing your very small room with another person, now imagine trying to fit a desktop computer, a mini-fridge, and a tv in there. Now imagine that you both snore, that there's a community bathroom and a community kitchen. Imagine that occasionally, there are fire drills in the middle of the night when it's snowing and you're in a t-shirt and shorts. Imagine waking up early for classes and staying up late doing homework. If you have made it this far, you have a good imagination... you can continue with the story.
I was really in college doing something I discovered that I didn't like. I enjoyed engineering things in high school for science projects and competitions, but engineering in college is no picnic. Two years of advanced calculus classes, as well as physics classes based on calculus was enough to shake my interest. After a year of really doing something I didn't enjoy, I decided it was time to drop out and pursue programming as a profession.
While I was a few months into college, I had started working as a computer operator for a telemarketing company. Even though I hate that place now and the pay was shit, it was a good stepping-stone for my career. I began to take over designing the company intranet, and about a year after I started, I was promoted to their data processing department. Oh, that was a fun week. I recall my roommate (he and I were given the job of helping in that department at the same time), cracking a joke to the two women that were training us in what we need to do... something about us being put in the division so they'd be fired. Well, very shortly afterward, they were. I think he learned a valuable lesson about keeping quiet sometimes, wait, no, he didn't. :)
Sometime afterward, Jeremy was hired. Gosh, at first I really thought he didn't want to have anything to do with any of us. I don't know why, but that's just the vibe I thought I was picking up. He was hired to be the company's SQL Server guy. I had learned a lot from him. I would probably be stuck in a crap job making $25,000 a year if it wasn't for that opportunity to learn and grow. Enough became enough with that company after just over two years, and I decided to work elsewhere.
I started working at a brokerage firm shortly afterward. The pay was better, but the job was so boring. Imagine having about eight hours of real work to do during a forty-hour work-week. Geez, I was crawling up the walls after the first week, looking around for another job after the first month. Hell if I know how I managed to hang on for six months, but I did it. I was offered a way out and I fled the first chance I got.
I started working at a software development company afterward. This, was six months of pure hell... not boredom-hell, but "work your ass off and it'll be worth it hell." Guess what, working like crazy wasn't worth it. In the week after I returned from my Christmas vacation, there was a layoff and I was part of it. I won't say any more because I don't want to get sued by the evil power... of course, that evil bastard company never did provide me with a copy of the forms I signed when I was laid off, so screw them.
Well, normally one would assume that being laid off would be crushing to a person. Not us... after the big event, most of us went to lunch. It's pretty rare that you see people who have just had their shackles removed. Everyone was quite happy to not have work there another day, and there was a cautious optimism about their futures. The dark cloud had risen... it was a glorious day.
Aftershocks (~Jan 2001)
I don't ever remember a time where I was happier with my life. Sure, it was near the beginning of a horrible market and I was unemployed for a month, but I had saved up for this contingency and I was able to fully enjoy it. It was wonderful being able to sleep in until 10 every day. I had plenty of time to do anything I wanted... and what an experience that was.
I think the girls at the Salt Lake Roasting Company probably got tired of seeing me a few times a week for the duration of my freedom, but oh well, I'm sure they didn't mind the extra patronage. I must have squeezed in at least about six months of my usual writing material into that time. I believe I went out on a few photography excursions as well. Nothing's better than being able to relax and take some pictures when the rest of the suckers have to be in an office.
The most important thing about my month-long vacation was that I discovered who I was. While I was working for that EVIL dot.com sweatshop, I was working probably an average of 60-70 hours per week. A database programmer was all I was. I didn't have time for anything else. It's pretty sad when all you can find to define yourself is your occupation.
What am I now? Well, I'm a writer and a photographer who happens to work as a database programmer eight hours a day. Someday, I'll get away from sitting in front of a computer for all of my daylight hours and get to do something more artistic. Really, when you think about it, what's the point behind sitting at a computer, pounding out code day-after-day when no one will remember what you have done six months down the road? Working with computers may pay a lot of money, but it leaves you hollowed out inside. Life is too short to spend years droning away at something that will ultimately amount to nothing.
Anyways, this is about the end of the road. What are my goals for the next year or so? I plan on moving to Portland sometime this year. I plan on completing one or two photography courses. Perhaps I'll update this page a few more times. Oh well, I hope you enjoyed this. If there's anything else you'd like to know, email me.
Solidification before the storm (June 2002)
I'm generally happier with my life than I used to be. Am I at the point where I want to be? Nah... my life still seems pretty boring. I'm working on improving things, maybe venturing into a photography career eventually. I started working as a database programmer for an advertising agency. It's a really cool company sometimes, but it sure is struggling in today's economy. Photography and/or writing seems to be the way I want to go.
I made a trip out to France in April of this year. I honestly never had a better time in my entire life. For the first time in my life, everything just felt right... I had the feeling that I could really be happy out there. I served the duty of being my uncle's best man at his wedding out there, met some really awesome people, saw a bit of the country, enjoyed the culture. I'm thinking I could totally dig going to a photography school in Paris for a while.
Well, I'm still looking for some groovy chick to hook up with. Isn't that the quest everyone partakes in until they find the right person, get hitched, then spawn some rugrats? :) Well, if you would have asked me a couple of months ago what I was looking for in another person, I wouldn't have known exactly. I think I have a much better idea. I'm looking for a geek who likes other geeks. It doesn't matter specifically how you're a geek, it could be a computer geek, photography geek, music geek, etc... just a geek in general. Why a geek? Because people that are passionate and knowledgeable about things are cool. Geeks tend to strive to improve themselves to learn more to enhance their geekiness. Chicks with glasses high a high standing in my book too. Why? I dunno, it's just plain sexy for some reason. No, I'm not looking to shack up with a supermodel, just some real person that has a good brain on their head. One thing I know for sure... I'm not really into Asian women... odd considering the fact that I'm half-Asian. I dunno, it just doesn't seem exotic to me at all like it does for my friends. Weirdos. Some are cute, but not really all that many. Oh well, enough blabbing about women.
For now, I'm working on improving myself. I took up biking recently, which is lots of fun. I also discovered that I like geocaching / hiking. How groovy / yuppie, eh? I was pondering taking some flying lessons, but I decided that going to Europe again next year was a more important goal. I plan on taking a French class this fall, then another one in the spring.
0-1 years: Get in non-wussy shape with hiking and biking. Learn french, continue improving my photography.
1-2 years: Return to Europe for 2 weeks. Visit France, Italy, and Spain. Research viability of moving abroad. Maybe move to Portland during this time if I cannot find a reason to stay here.
2-5 years: Paying off debt completely. Start saving for a house. Possibly move to Europe somewhere (Maybe France). Hopefully, being a published photographer. Become a gourmet chef, chicks dig men that can cook.
5+ years: Who the hell knows? I hope the world is still around by then.
Okay, so things really haven't worked out quite the way I had hoped. The economy is literally in the shitter, and I don't think that Bush's tax cut plans are going to make anything better. In fact, I believe things are going to get a lot worse. Yeah, it sucks, but there's not much I can do about it.
So, I left the job at the advertising agency. Why? Well, things had gotten increasingly unstable. I survived 5 rounds of layoffs while I was working there, and I don't think things are ever going to improve for that company. It's a shame too, it used to be an excellent place to work. There was a round of layoffs that slashed most of my department the day before my final day at that particular company. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't jump ship, I would have been in the unemployment line.
I'm now working at an insurance agency. They provide insurance services to companies that do things like white water rafting tours and para-skiing. It's a small company that's growing... yeah, there are some growing pains, and I do have daily bouts of frustration with that place, but it's livable. I'm doing more of the database admin / architect / software developer role there, so it's giving me room to expand my skills.
The same week I switched jobs, I moved. I had the same roommate for over 3 years... he's a good guy, but we both mutually came to the agreement that it was time for a change. So, I'm now living just over a mile further south in a slightly bigger house. I have a female roommate again (I know, I swore I wouldn't do that again after putting up with a psycho hose-beast before, but this one's pretty cool). It does suck having to give up central air for a swamp cooler though. So, I have the new roommate, who has a pug (it's so ugly it's cute, really), who also has a 3 year old kid. It's giving me a glimpse into what parenting must really be like, and I think I'd rather hold off on spawning a rugrat or two for a long, long time.
I haven't had the best of luck recently. Someone rear-ended my car... luckily, the guy's insurance covered everything. I dislocated my shoulder in a stupid biking accident in Sugarhouse. For about three weeks there, I was in constant pain... to varying degrees, but it kind of changes your perspective on things when you live through an experience like that. I'm almost fully-healed from the shoulder issue, but now I'm just fighting my way through a nasty head-cold.
As for the ones I've previously mentioned... yeah, I've done a little more biking, not as much hiking as I should have. I haven't learned French yet, I don't plan on being able to go until next summer. I think my photography has continued to improve. Paying off my debt has become more difficult than I thought it would. I moved into a new place that costs me more a month... sure, I've halved my car payments, but I've also started working somewhere that pays less than my previous job. I guess my goals usually tend to be a little too ambitious for my lazy nature.
I would still like to get out of Utah sometime soon. Doesn't seem very likely with the way the economy is going right now. I'd still like to establish myself as a professional photographer someday, but in the mean-time, I'm trying to pick up some .net programming skills so I can move up that corporate pay scale. Oh well, we'll see how this all works out.