Thursday, January 22, 2009

Memory triggers...

While going through looking at the new Starcraft II (Which looks like it is going to be so very much full of win), I came across a recording of the zealot from Starcraft...

Let me back Starcraft, when you click on a unit, it will utter one of a handful of phrases. I think it is to allow you to use hearing to confirm that you have selected the unit you wanted to, which can be difficult in a crowded screen. for instance, the dropship confirms that he's ok, and ready to fly with "In the pipe, 5 by 5", SCVs respond with a cheerful, "SCV Here! Where do you need me?", etc.

So, getting back to the present, while reading up on it, I found a new video. Amongst the sayings was one from the Protoss Zealot. One of his "phrases" was, "My Life for Aiur" (pronounced "Aye-er"). Aiur being the home planet of this fictitious character.

It took me back.

You see, back in the day, I used to have LAN parties regularly. We would crash someone's house (Typically my parents, Paul's Parents, and later, Paul's), bring our computers, and enjoy each other's company while we blew things away late into the night (leading to mornings and afternoons again), until we just couldn't physically keep our eyes open.

Well, while in a caffeine-fueled fragging session at 2AM, pretty much anything is silly. So, when playing starcraft, the zealot uttered his usual catchphrase: "My Life for Aiur". John, ever the thoughtful one, said, "Wow, it sounds like he said, 'My Wife for Hire'".

We broke out in a fit of giggles.

Hearing it again, it got me many memories.

I remember fitting seven people in my room and John's "annex".

This was before flat-panels.

We had monitor precariously perched on every spot on the desk we could find space. The heat in the room was overwhelming. John didn't have it too bad because he had stone floor, and could open a window. But my room, the 1 air vent with no return from my room, calibrated to a thermostat set in the living room, and two small doors with no airflow, usually got the room to a temperature reserved for saunas and heat lamp interrogations.

While playing Counterstrike (the original, mind you), Alvin, who was getting shafted, turned to Matt and said, "How sad is this? It's a Friday night, and we're playing video games with a bunch of guys?"

Of course, this is the same Alvin that, at another LAN party, this time at Pauls Parent's house, realized that Todd Afshar was nearby. After inviting him down, Alvin hung up the phone and said, "Todd says 'lube up, I'm coming over'". IIRC, that was the LAN party that had Paul, John, Sheasby, Dereck, Alvin, Todd, and myself, all at the Laufer's place.

I also remember Steven Harriton (aka "munchiebutt"), playing us at Starcraft. You see, we were recreational gamers with all games. Steven was ok at Counterstrike, but when it came to Starcraft, he was just sick.

At one time, he took on all three of us (Paul, John, and myself), and humiliated, nay, violated us. He even came down to my parent's place to play the night he proposed to Amy because, "I knew that if I stayed there, bad things could happen".

I remember when we had high speed internet in the dorms, and set up the IKYN Counterstrike Clan (IKYN stands for "I KILLS YOU NOW!!!!!!"). John (aka [IKYN]Phantom), unfortunately, was trying to play on a 33.6 modem. He tried, but usually was just too laggy to compete on our server. EXCEPT for the one time he got a headshot on [IKYN]Uranus during a practice session. Nobody except Paul and I knew what an absolutely awesome thing it was. I was soooo proud of my little brother...

Life moves on I suppose. I'm even more of a casual gamer than I used to be. I've gotten into other things. Friends, girls (or, more accurately, "girl"), VHDL, Phone re-flashing, etc.

But it is amazing how quickly a simple phrase can take you back.

"My Life for Aiur"


Monday, January 19, 2009

Love and all the scariness it entails...

Today I had a rather important lesson in the difference between knowledge and realization.

As with anyone who has been single for awhile, I've gotten into a rhythm of dating. It's almost imperceptible how it creeps up on someone: cautiously, almost mechanically, trying to find out if any of the dealbreakers in previous relationships can be found in your current interest.

As has not happened in quite some time, when a certain level of comfort and interest is attained, you begin to have thoughts that this is the one, so you start to entertain that idea, going about the relationship, evaluating your interaction at a deeper level, thinking, "this is cool now, but can I deal with this the rest of my life?"

Not to say that emotions and feelings aren't there, but previous dating disasters have taught you not to get hopeful. Years of dating have diminished the expectations of this relationship to the point that that the initial response is to dread the other foot dropping, something horrible to be discovered, and for it to all come unraveled. (Hey, I have a sense of pattern recognition, after all)

So, up to about two months ago, it's been a period of me keeping myself in reserve, waiting to see what will or will not happen, knowing that, on paper, Tab holds all the qualities I'm looking forward to.

I was reflecting on this yesterday in the middle of a BORING meeting (seriously...hold a staff meeting only if there is something to go over with ALL the staff.)

Something broke. I am looking forward to being with Tab. The thought of being married, not just in general, but specifically to her, is one that excites me. I finally realize just how much I have based my happiness on her well-being.

And it wasn't anything overnight. No big "Ok! I Care a lot now!" moment. Only the realization that that point had been reached.

I don't know how long that has been the case, only that I am there now.

It's amazing how you can harden your heart for years and not realize how calloused you have become. It's also weird to realize the extent to which one person can become so emotionally ingrained without you being entirely aware of the process. You women are weird.

After a lifetime of being either alone or unsure about the girls I've dated, I've finally met a girl that I can put all of my effort into. She inspires me with her drive, perplexes me with her whimsical nature, challenges me with her point of view, and shows me, without telling me, where I need to grow.

We both do realize that nothing is set in stone, and things could end at any given moment for any reason, but right now I feel happy and cautiously optimistic.