Tag Archives: Chess

The day I realized my life is legendary.

As a mere man, I am not legendary. I have done very little of note on a grand scale.

But I have lived an amazing life. Though only in my mid-thirties, I have:

  • Lived in two countries and four states (one shire)
  • Visited five countries
  • Held 48,011,517* nicknames
  • Misplaced an entire automobile
  • Eaten dinner with the homeless
  • Created [confidential] for [redacted] – this one’s impressive, I promise.
  • Played chess with strangers
  • Transported hitchhikers
  • Partied with people I’d only met online
  • Acquired a nickname in sign language (I’ll show you…watch my hands…wasn’t that neat?)
  • Was in the military for two whole months
  • Played seven musical instruments (hammered dulcimer!)
  • Dabbled in four careers, innumerable hobbies
  • Worked in offices, warehouses, schools, retail and a county jail
  • Had my writing cited by high school students
  • Given speeches to cops and college students
  • Created a video so polished that I was accused of illegally hosting an official trailer
  • Been referenced in a Readme file
  • Been stranded with $3 to my name

* Final results are still being tallied.

I’ve known amazing people and had incredible opportunities. Almost every day, something legendary happens to me or occurs to me.

In college, Pastor Andrew Wiesner asked, “What made you the way you are?” My friends might interpret “the way you are” a little differently, but he meant it as a compliment. At the time, I tried to explain my own open-minded philosophy, but that was short-sighted.

I can take credit for things I’ve done, but that’s a small sampling. How did I get so many opportunities to try different walks of life? And who taught me to embrace them?

My parents.

My brilliant parents, who taught us to be open-minded above all else. My parents are the reason I’ve never hesitated to learn anything, try anything, or spend time with anyone, from homeless hitchhikers to driven business owners.

My awesome parents, who taught us that we’re not too good for anyone or anything. That nobody and nothing is too good for us.

My legendary parents, who taught us, “Do what you love, and the rest will follow.” Bizarrely, ‘the rest’ has followed, though not in the direct, linear way I first assumed. At 33, I have virtually every thing I want from life, and I do what I love to do Every. Single. Day: Reading, writing, gaming, picking on my wife**, roleplaying, level design, writing music, harassing the cats**, designing tshirts and more.

** This is how Peters men express their love.

How can I give back to my parents? How can I give back to the friends and family and colleagues and total strangers that have given me so much?

I tell stories.

This blog chronicles the legendary occurrences that follow me daily.

I hope that you enjoy them a fraction as much as I have.

Assembling these scattered pieces

I must become a great writer. This means investing years of time in writing.

The trouble is that I must also become a really good singer. Guitarist. Strategist. Gamer.

Even “gamer” is misleading because the teamwork skills that aid you in MMO raiding don’t translate to RTSs like Starcraft 2, which requires split-second decision-making and execution. In one game, you manage one character with 40 abilities. In the other, you manage 40 units with different statistics.

I design Portal 2 maps, and I would not rest until I became good at designing them. I stayed up late, got up early, and was working on Portal puzzles probably 40 hours a week in addition to the 50 or so at my day job.

I must also become great at my day job. I’ve earned a couple of promotions within a half decade and don’t intend to stop. Sometimes this requires staying late, working weekends or flying to Orlando to give a guest lecture.

The writers I follow don’t have 37 hobbies and 2 careers. They write in their free time. They might play guitar or sing, design portal puzzles, play competitive strategy games, study chess, edit machinima videos, paint and webdesign.

They do some of these things. But not all of them.

So that begs the question. If I intend to be a great writer, what should I give up?

 

The trouble with multiple passions.

Recently, a good friend from work changed jobs, which prompted the exchange of all manner of contact information. Including, naturally, my website, where I hope all friends past and present will converge in unanimous pride once I make good on my career as a writer.

This event forced me to realize the website is woefully behind.

The reasons for this are simple, but multitudinous. Speaking of work, for example, I devoted a good deal of time to applying for a position more suited to my talents; sadly I did not get it, but bucking for a promotion (even a beneficial lateral move) can be all sorts of time-consuming.

Additionally, I have begun playing guitar again. But as with any of my hobbies, it is not enough to merely do the hobby; I have to explore new outlets for the hobby. So not only am I playing guitar, but I am practicing vocals, and trying to take recordings for the purpose of eventually producing a demo album and posting on Youtube.

And if that weren’t enough, several long-awaited video game titles have occupied much of my leisure time; among them, Final Fantasy XIII and Starcraft 2. As with guitar, merely playing is not enough; I have to go Achievement hunting. In Starcraft 2, I have to compete in leagues which are unlikely for the casual player to attain.

It’s not enough for me to merely experience a thing. I have to explore the ramifications and possibilities of it. The advantage of it is that I learn lots about many things. My friends who are serious video gamers do not have hobbies like writing and music. My friends who are musicians are not gamers. My friends who are writers are normally not either one.

Trying to be all three — and many more, such as, for example, a competent chess player, or an educated film buff, or decent theologian — takes its toll on the expertise I can bring to any particular role.

One reason I created this site was to force myself to admit that though I have many passions and hobbies, writing is first and foremost the one in which I want to succeed above all others. Now and again, it does serve to remind me of that.

It worked…

addictedRather than quitting World of Warcraft cold turkey (which I have done before, but it didn’t stick in the long run), I have instead tried the the route of discipline:

Simply playing less.

It worked. When I feel the urge to game, I will attempt to scratch the itch by playing much more cyclical one-player games instead. I don’t know how others feel, but for me single player games don’t cut it anymore; I just get bored with seeing the same content over and over. Cheats, mods, savefile editors and such can add a certain additional replay value, but those grow stale even more quickly than the original game.

So then I pace the apartment. I check chess.com compulsively every five minutes. I watch *gasp* television. (Streaming with no commercials, still, though.)

And then eventually…I get bored enough to write.

Success!

I wrote for some 7 or 8 hours Saturday and another 4 on Sunday. Furthermore, I managed a personal first: Diving directly into another story while the ink from my last project is still drying.

I considered putting up another poll to ask what you want to read next, having now (re)finished Perfect Justice. But then I’d want to give the poll time to gather enough info — the last one took about ten days before all votes were in, and even then I only garnered nine votes in total.

Instead, I decided merely to write the next story.

For those who are keeping up with me, I’ll go ahead and tell you the next one is going to be Second Chances; you can read the synopsis over on the sidebar.

I will also introduce you to a new project on my idea board:

Road Rage is about a guy so frustrated and angered by the idiotic and dangerous ways of rude drivers that he finally decides to do something about it. But he isn’t content with merely taking your license. Violate his rules, and he’ll be taking your life.