Isn't that how is always starts? At least online, it seems that the most common question ever asked of someone is a/s/l... mostly by prepubescent teenagers who think that getting to cyber with some 40 yr old trucker in Alabama pretending to be Britney Spears is a rewarding experience. Well, I've never pretended to be a famous rock star online, just your average computer geek with a penchant for getting himself into trouble. At the very least I can answer that question, as well as a few others about me... *WARNING* Please do not opperate heavy machinery during or after reading this page... it has been known to have heavy sedative effects on the average reader. Proceed at your own risk!
My name is Richard, but you can call me Rich or Crash. Call me Dick and I’ll break you in half. I'm 27 years old (as of Nov, 2005), and I live in Chattanooga TN. I didn't start out here, Tennessee is simply where I live now. I started out in Redondo Beach, one of the suburbs of Los Angles, California. I went to a small private Christian elementary school. I was taught the importance of manners and morals when I was young. I’m not saying I was a good student, just that I was taught those thing. At least some of those lessons stuck with me, so at the very least I hold a civilized conversation without offending too many people. However, I can be a real asshole, under the proper circumstances (much to the amusement of my friends who see me in action). Oh, and the religion thing didn't stick too well either... go figure...
I spent a lot of time on the beach and in the mall when I was young, if for no other reason than that's what California kids did with their free time. I also developed a healthy addiction to 7-11 Slurpees, and even though I haven't been to California in over 10 years, I still stop at every 7-11 I see and get a 128oz Ultra-Super-Mega-Mega-Slurpee! Of course, the nearest 7-11 to me is several hours away, so I don't get to do that very often, which is probably for the best. Even still, the Suicide Slurpee is the official drink here at Zerospace.
My parents got divorced when I was 13 or so, and my family split up and moved out. My dad went back to Kentucky to live with his family, while my mother took me and my sister to live in Tullahoma Tennessee. To give you an idea of the scale and magnitude of this change, let’s look at some of the differences I discovered upon arriving at my new home. First off, in LA, we had smog. Not the kind of smog you see here, in the cities and near the Interstate. Here, you can smell car fumes for a mile or so in either direction of the interstates then it clears out in the residential areas. In LA, we had SMOG, the kind that so thick you could eat it with a spoon! Smog that can sit up in the morning, hand you your paper and cup of coffee and smack you around a bit before you head to work! When I got to my new home in TN, I could breathe, there were trees in the front yard (big huge ass 3 story tall Cedar trees, no less) and the front lawn of our house was larger than the apartment complex we lived in before we left LA! Needless to say, I was in shock. Then I got to school…
School was a trial in more ways than I can count. I know that LA doesn't have the best school systems in the country; but they certainly aren't the worst. TN is down there at the bottom of the barrel, and it showed in a bad way. The first day of school (which was in the middle of the year, as we moved in March) I was asked all the typical new kid questions: "Where’re you from?", "Why’d you talk so funny?", "What's it like where you're from?" Most of these things were pretty routine, and didn’t phase me all that much. One thing did get to me, and I think I've been permanently scared by it. One of the kids asked me "Where’re you from??" in a particularly thick accent. I simply replied "I'm from LA", assuming that everyone and their fucking dog knows what LA is, it's the second largest city in the country, after all! His reply: "LA? You mean... lower Alabama??" To this day, I still don’t know if he was being serious or just being a smart ass. If I wasn't in so much shock from his answer, I might have been tempted to do the human race a favor be removing him from the Gene pool before he had a chance to breed.
High School wasn’t much better. I had been making friends fairly well here, but I was still something of a loner and an outcast. I was still used to the idea of being a California kid so I tended to hold myself aloft from most of the kids. There were a number of people I let in though, and I managed to survive. I was on the Quiz Bowl team for 2 years, though never in the ‘Varsity’ team (i.e. the ones we put in the competitions we wanted to win). I even won a few awards at the Academic Decathlon we entered one year. I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but I realized pretty early on that almost none of the people in high school mattered to me, and so I didn’t need to worry about what they thought of me. Turns out I was right ;)
One thing I did do in high school that I was proud of was being on the yearbook staff. I was the photographer, editor, and the chief graphic artist. Of course, we were running on 486dx’s back then, and only had CorelDRAW 2.1 to work with, so that isn’t saying much. It was then that I discovered something very interesting about cheerleaders, and in fact, students in general. They are vain, to a fault. I used that to great advantage back then. It was easy, really. I would pull out my camera and grab a couple rolls of film, then inform our teacher that I was off to take some ‘Action Shots’. I got away with murder in that class, so this never posed a problem. The cheerleader practice room was right outside our yearbook room, so as soon as I stepped out into the hallway, I would be mobbed by the cheerleaders, all clamoring to have their picture taken. They all thought that since I was the Editor and the photographer, I could put as many of my photo’s in the yearbook as I wanted. They were right about that, they just didn’t expect me to choose pictures of non cheerleaders to fill the empty spots ;)
One of my favorite stories from High School was the time I got injured in a football game. This confused me, even at the time, because I don’t like football, and haven’t played a game of it since before I left California! As you might have guessed, I was at the football game as a photographer. We were short on action shots of the team, and our teacher sent me and my camera along with the football team down to Nashville for their next game. Things were going fine, up until the 3rd quarter. There was only a couple minutes left in the quarter, and the other team had the ball. Their running back was tearing down the side lines, headed to the end zone. This was good for me, it seemed, because it meant they would be within just a few feet of me when our guys got the tackle. Can you say ‘Perfect Action Shot’? So, I get my camera ready and follow this guy as he gets closer and closer to me. About the time that he is right in front of me, our boys caught up to him, and one of our overzealous tackles launched himself at the poor bastard. It was a perfect flying leap, and he took the running back out right at the waist. Unfortunately, this happened about 2 feet in front of me, and the tackle had so much momentum that he carried himself and the running back right into me. They took me out at the knees, and I went down like a sack of rocks. I still have trouble with both my knees now, because of that… However, this story does have a happy ending! After the field coaches and medics gave me a quick once over, 2 of the most popular cheerleaders in school came over and carried me off the field! The band, most of whom were friends of mine, saw the whole thing from the bleachers, and made me into some sort of high school hero for the rest of the year at school. Oh, and surprisingly, the Camera wasn’t hurt when it was dropped.
I managed to survive High School, even graduated with honors and in the top 10% of the school. I was surprised by this, as I’m a notorious procrastinator, and often waited until the last minute to study or do my homework. Still, I took what I got, and went off to college. It was difficult choosing a college, back then. I was torn between going to the University of the South, which had a beautiful campus and was only an hour from home, and the University of Miami, where I could study Marine Biology, and get back to the ocean. In the end, I was scared away from Miami by my parents and friends, all of whom claimed I would become a raging drug and alcohol abuser if I went to Miami. I was just naive enough back then to believe them, so I took the scholarship to The University of the South, and headed for the hills.
Sewanee (as the University was popularly called) was a trip. It was completely different from what I expected college life to be. Maybe if I had seen Animal House before I went up there, I’d have been better prepared. As it was, I was taken completely off guard when I got up there, and I still have the scars to prove it! One thing that I had trouble adjusting too was the way any college works, in that you pick the times you want to go to class, and what classes you will take. Couple that with the idea that Sewanee was very spread out, and you might see that Classes could become rather spread out, easy to miss, and even easier to sleep through. In fact, one of my old Sewanee friends, Andy Gallian, still gives me shit for the times I skipped class because I couldn’t find a parking space close to campus and didn’t want to walk the mile from my dorm to the science building.
One way to combat the problems of the wide spread, very hilly campus (it was built on top of a mountain, after all), was the use of bicycles. Sewanee had a pretty strict honor code, and (at least when I was there), it was pretty rigidly upheld. So, it was not uncommon at all for people to ride their bikes to class, and just leave them, unlocked and unattended, outside their buildings. I knew about this before I got to campus, so one of the things I demanded before I went to school was a new bike. My old Swchin beach cruiser just wasn’t going to cut it on those hills. Since I never had a lot of disposable income growing up, I settled for a Target special, a 15 speed Huffy Mountain Bike. That bike was going to get me into more trouble than I cared to imagine…
So, picture this. I’m on campus. I’ve been moved into my dorm for approximately 2 days. The upperclassmen were just now returning to their dorms from the summer break. I had a meeting with my advisor to plan out my school schedule for the fall. That meeting is in the library, about a half a mile away from my dorm. To get there, all I had to do is ride my bike down the hill in front of my dorm, around the side of the of Bishops Common (or University Center, in layman’s terms), and across the yard to the library. So, I got on my bike; kicked off to a good fast started going down the hill.
Now… do you all remember that feeling we all had when we were young? That we were invincible, and always knew what we were doing? Well, I was no different, so the idea of riding a mountain bike down a hill at about 25 mph, while standing up on the pedals didn’t register as a bad idea to me, at the time. Until my hand slipped… I hit the shifter with my hand, which caused the front wheel of my bike to jerk to one side. I lost control, and the front wheel turned to a perpendicular angle to the direction I was traveling in. Because it was a mountain bike, the tires were really knobby, so they gripped the road and just locked up. Due to my high momentum and cheap bike, the wheel crumpled in on itself, turning itself into a twisted metal Taco. I went flying… or rather, skidding, down the pavement. I think I slid about 15 feet.
I had severe road rash all along my right side. I was bleeding, not profusely, but in that slow oh-so-painful seeing manor that accompanies most of these kinds of injuries. I also was having severe side pains. I didn’t think much of it at the time; I figured I just bruised myself pretty bad. The student health office was on the other side of my dorm, so I had to drag my bike back up the hill, while bleeding and in some serious pain. It did give me the opportunity to drop my bike off by my room. As I was dropping the bike off, one of the returning sophomores was moving his stuff in, and walked right past me. He took a look at my bloody arm, looked at the bike, at my arm, at the bike, then at me. He got this big dumb goofy grin on his face and said ‘Dude! That is AWESOME!’
I found out that the massive pain in my side was internal bleeding. That’s always fun. It was contained though, so nothing had to be done about it. The bike was fine, except for the wheels and the front brakes, but that was easy enough to fix. After a round of bandages, antibiotics, and pain meds, I took my bike down to Woody’s bike shop in Winchester, and had a new wheel put on it. Sewanee had a student bike mechanic on staff as well, and he helped get my bike back in good shape. I still had trouble staying on the bike, though… About a week after the first accident, I was powering my way back to my dorm, up the same hill I had fallen on. About half way up, something slipped and I went over again, but this time the only damage was to my new pair of Duck Heads. However, I wasn’t satisfied with just 2 bike wrecks in 1 week… I had to go for the gold!
Two weeks to the day after the first wreck, I was leaving the dining hall, on my way back to the dorm. I walked my friend Mellinda to her car, and we had plans to work on our Chemistry lab together that evening. Because I walked her to her car, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I was crossing the street about 20 yards to the right of where I normally cross. As I crossed the street, I saw a car speeding up, so I accelerated, because I didn’t want to get hit by the car. Unbeknownst to me, I crossed the street right above the Japanese gardens… which dipped a good 9 feet down, almost vertically from street level. The Lambda Chi’s playing Hacky Sack out in front of the dining hall saw me speed up, take a nose dive down into the gardens, and saw the bike bounce back up, sans rider. One of them said ‘Dude… did you see that? Let’s finish this game and go check it out!’
I was out cold. Well, almost… I remember seeing a lot of grey, not being able to see anything but that color, and only hearing voices as if I was still asleep and not really able to focus. I heard the gathered crowd call for the EMTs. I heard the sirens. I even recognized my friend Pitman, who was the lead EMT that semester, by voice. I still couldn’t see a damn thing. It took a good 20-30 minutes for my head to clear enough for me to start processing visual inputs again. Eventually, they got me on a stretcher and over to the hospital. The X-Ray tech, whom I still curse to this day, bent me every which way imaginable, trying to get neck, shoulder and back x-rays, to assess the damage. The Doctor, who couldn’t have been in this country for more than… 5 minutes, told me I had some ‘bad news’. He showed me the x-rays that showed my right collar bone shattered into 3 pieces. Then he asked if I would like anything for the pain…
The idiot gave me an 800 mg Motrin and sent me on my way. Oddly enough, he gave me a bottle of Percoset too. Had I been less of a goody two-shoes then, I probably would have taken people up on the offers to buy them off me. I never took them myself, you see… but I digress. They got me back to my dorm room, and waiting for me in my room was John Kindig. The very same sophomore who told me the road rash was ‘AWESOME’ 2 weeks earlier. He and I had become friends in the intervening two weeks. He looked me square in the face and said ‘Ok dude… that’s your third bike wreck in 2 weeks. That’s a record, and now it’s official. From this day forward, you shall be known as CRASH!’ Kindig spent the rest of the year introducing me to everyone he knew on campus, and the nickname stuck. That was in ’96. Ten years later, about 50% of my friends still call me Crash, including people who I didn’t meet until long after I left Sewanee…
With a start like that, how could I fail at Sewanee, eh? Well, let’s just say that I met with less than success over my 2.5 years spent at that school. I started down the path towards a Chemistry degree. In truth, the only reason I went with Chemistry over Biology was that my freshman work study job was the chemistry stockroom bitch-boy. I got to wash a lot of glassware in that job. It didn’t take long for my friends to point out to me that I was making a mistake, and I should have gone into computers then, but I was stupid and didn’t listen to them. I was biased due to the fact that Sewanee was a Mac campus, and I thought I wouldn’t learn anything useful coding on a Mac. So, chemistry it was! You would think that after making straight C’s my freshman and sophomore years, I would have realized I was on the wrong track…
One of my favorite experienced from Sewanee was participating in the Bacchus Program. Bacchus, named for the Greek God of wine, was a national program that Sewanee adopted then adapted for their needs. The program was designed to help eliminate drunk driving on campus. Maybe you’ve heard this, but Sewanee is notorious for being a party school. They made the top 10 list every year back then. This is mainly because there isn’t anything else to do on the mountain except go to frat parties and get shit faced hammered! So, to cut back on the students drinking, they purchased 3 15 passenger vans, and worked with the campus police department to set up a free taxi service for anyone who needed it.
The way it worked was simple: Students would call the Bacchus line (which was really Police Dispatch, although most students never realized that). The dispatcher would then radio out to whoever was driving the vans (we were all given radios for this purpose), and tell them were to go. We’d pick up the students, take them where they needed to go, and roll on to the next pickup. The net effect of this was that we’d have a van full of drunk, happy students who were more than happy to get a free ride. It was a party on wheels ever weekend, and we got paid to do it! In fact, it was the highest paying student job on Campus. Everything else was minimum wage ($5.15 at the time), while we were getting $8.00 to drive the vans. How can you beat that? I have such great stories to tell about those times… but that’s a whole other website.
Unfortunately, Sewanee wasn’t always a party on wheels. See, the problem with Sewanee is that it’s a rich kid’s or smart kid’s school. You have to be really rich and buy your way in, or be really smart and get a full scholarship to make it through the place. I only looked really smart by comparison to the idiots I went to high school with, so I was really only an average student. As such, I was woefully unprepared for my college life. It’s no surprise really that as soon as I progressed passed the introductory level classes I just crashed and burned. It didn’t help that I bit off more than I could chew my junior year there. Between being hopelessly addicted to Starcraft (Damn you, Blizzard!), being the only PC student tech for the entire campus, and being inherently lazy and prone to procrastination, I had no chance. I left in the winter of ’99, after only 5 semesters.
The following spring and summer were pretty dark. Nothing ruins your fun like feeling like a complete and total failure. I couldn’t comprehend back then that College was supposed to be hard, and Sewanee was harder than most. The fact that I never really fit in there probably had something to do with it. Either way, in my mind I had completely failed at something that I should have been able to do, and I had a lot of trouble coping with that. Diversionary activities became a big part of it… so lots of computer games, reading, or chatting on the internet all night long. I did have a pretty interesting job for those 6 months, at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. I was working in their laser labs, doing some light chemical work and sample prep. I even got involved with their laser work for one of the side projects, and met with some success there. It was enough to help me get over feeling sorry for myself, and by the following fall, I was ready to give College another go.
Sewanee had left a really bad taste in my mouth, so I wasn’t interested in going back. Instead, I turned to my friends Lee and Sophia, here in Chattanooga. I had met them through IRC the summer of ’96, between high school and college. We’ve been friends ever since then (wow… has it really been 10 years?). It was Sophia who convinced me to apply to UTC and move here. They offered me a place to stay, helped get the paperwork done and they gave me all the support I needed to get back on my feet. I started back to college at UTC in the fall of ’99.
I had figured out over my hiatus that Chemistry might not be the perfect path for me, so I started taking classes in computer science, in the hopes of getting a CS minor. The next 2 years progressed pretty smoothly along those lines. I moved out of Lee and Sophia’s house to move into an apartment at the foot of the mountain with my old friend Jon Talbot, one of the few people I kept in contact with from Sewanee. I learned enough of Java and Object oriented programming to start finding jobs in that area here in town. When Jon moved to Washington DC, I was more than ready to support myself.
I found out over the summer that Talbot was moving to DC, and I either had to find a new roommate or get a better job in order to keep the place I was living in. It was pretty rough, at the time. I have never lived alone; I never even had a single dorm at college, so the idea of living on my own for the first time was pretty daunting. The blow was softened when I got my first real professional programming job. I use that term lightly, because that mad house was anything but professional, but it paid the bills, and I got more out of it than it did of me. The only real downside at the time was that it was a full time job, which means I had to drop back out of school to take it. The job was with a start up company called ExoBrain Incorporated, and they were writing software in Java that was supposed to revolutionize the world… riiiiiiiight….
The CEO of that place was a lunatic with delusions of grandeur and a fuse that was only slightly longer than the attention span of a 5 year old at Disneyland. We patched up at least 2 holes in the walls that he created (with his fists) in the 2 years I worked for that place. His anger management issues aside, Peter Warren still had enough going for him that he could have made several psychologists very rich. He was a Scientologist, and a pretty staunch one at that. For good reason, mind you… Peter was L. Ron Hubbard’s personal assistant, and was the chief ethics officer of the church back in the 70’s. He was excommunicated from the Church sometime back in the 70’s, after a murder that happened on a Spanish cruise ship. I don’t know the details, all I know is that someone hi up the church killed a poor girl, and didn’t want to go to jail. Peter took the heat for it to save the high up, and fled Spain. To this day, he still can’t go back to Spain, as he is wanted for Murder.
My psychotic CEO aside, ExoBrain wasn’t a complete cluster fuck. I met a lot of people, including several great technical contacts here in town. I learned a disgusting amount of Java and OO programming techniques from the staff there. The company premise was fatally flawed, but that didn’t stop Warren from hiring the best programmers in the city he could sucker into working for him. It was at that job that I really learned how to code, and how to deal with projects. I even made a few friends, who I still talk with, 3 years after the company collapsed and we all had to find new jobs. I left there a much smarter, wiser person, and I had learned 2 very important lessons. First off, I learned how not to be intimidated by new code and languages. Secondly, and more importantly, I learned that Scientologists are fucked in the head, and they like to eat babies!
The summer after I got laid off was rather interesting. My friend Carl Dull, another of the few friends I kept from Sewanee, needed a place to stay for a few months, before he started grad school. He moved in right before I got laid off. Having Carl around while looking for work was fun; it was nice having someone else around to commiserate with. Obviously, since he had just moved to town, he didn’t have a job either, so it was kind of sketchy for a bit, but we made it work. It’s amazing how much you can get out of an unemployment check when push comes to shove… We never sunk so low that we were eating Raman to survive, but Hamburger Helper became one of the staples of my Kitchen that summer. Fortunately, this wasn’t set to last very long…
One of the best things Jon left with me before he went to DC was a business contact at a small software company, Mars Interactive. My friend Brian already had a job at Mars, thanks to Jon. When he found out that I needed a job, he put my name in the ears of the management around here. Within a couple of months, a great opportunity opened up for an HTML coder. It was a bit beneath my skill set, but I had heard a lot of good things about Mars, and a job is a job, after all. The best part of the job was that it involved a 2 month stint in Chicago, working directly with one of our large corporate clients. The icing on the cake was that they encouraged their employees to further their education, so even though I was applying for a full time salary position, I would be allowed to return to school. When they finally called me to offer me the job, at the same salary I was making at ExoBrain, I was more than happy to accept.
Chicago was more fun than it had a right to be. Carl was moving off to grad school at the same time I was moving off to Chicago, so I had to have someone take care of my stuff. That problem was neatly solved, when my old friend Sandy decided she needed to get out of down town, and move closer to her boyfriend Len. So, she moved into Carl’s recently vacated room, and looked after the place while I was off gallivanting around in the Windy City. I wasn’t there alone, either. I had a partner, a girl named Abby, who was training for the same job I had. It was a little strained, living with a complete stranger for 2 months, but I treated it like a dorm roommate and we got along fine. Besides, my freshman year dorm didn’t have 1200 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and came fully furnished with swank gear, in a swank neighborhood!
We had a blast up there… well, I guess I should say I had a blast up there… Abby had never left home before, much left gone to the big city to live with a stranger and work in a corporate office before, so she was in shell shock most of our trip. Not me! I wore that city out! I dragged her out to see the Blue Man Group show, and to the Museums, the Aquarium, and the Navy Pier. I even got to see one of my favorite bands, Delirium, play live in one of the best clubs in Chicago, The Metro! It was unreal, and one of the highlights of the trip. I still regret not getting to the Art Museum, and not buying a framed print of the Chicago skyline at night… These things simply inspire me to go back for vacation sometime soon.
My favorite project was the link tool I wrote for us to use to do the html work we were supposed to be doing. This thing did about 75% of the work for us, in a matter of seconds! The people who did this job before us had to do everything by hand. By automating a majority of the process, we were able to consistently surprise our clients with how quickly we were able to do the work, without making the kinds of mistakes that get made by doing work manually. Even though I haven’t worked with the html team in over a year, that tool is still going strong and has become one of the cornerstones of their workflow. I’m rather proud of that, to be honest. It feels really good having written something that is not only useful, but essential for people to do their work.
One of the biggest and best things that happened to me at Mars was getting pressured into joining the bike team. Given my track record, I was not at all inspired to get back on a bike, so I approached the whole thing with skepticism. Having been hospitalized no less than 3 times due to bike related injuries, the idea of putting my fat ass on an even faster bike and telling me to play in traffic just sounded like my friends wanted to kill me off and collect the insurance money… but I relented eventually, when my boss Debbie offered to give me unrestricted use to a brand new Trek hybrid bike she bought for her beach house. All I had to provide was a helmet, which I’d never ridden with before (hence the 3 trips to hospital, and even one case of acute memory loss… but that’s another story).
I have been riding bikes since I was old enough to walk, and I found out first hand that it really is true… you never forget! I took to riding like a duck takes to water. I easily put 300-350 miles on that bike in under 2 months. I even got my power and speed up enough on that bike to keep up with my friends who had real road bikes! Within my first month of riding, I was riding with the Mars bike team, the Martians on Wheels, in my first team event, the 2004 Three-State-Three-Mountain challenge. As I had only been riding for a month, I only felt I could accomplish the 30 mile route. I was riding with several other members of my team, including Debbie, Cat, Shannon, Mindy, and Anne, to name a few. It was challenging (especially when my gearing locked up and I couldn’t get into granny gear!), but I made it! After a particularly spectacular finish, in which I came over the handlebars at the finish line and took out Cat’s bike, I resolved to get myself a road bike! The next day, I was in Owens Cyclery here in town, picking one out.
Being a poor college student and still working at an entry level salary, I couldn’t afford much. I wound up with a Trek 1000c, a comfort road bike. It has 24 speeds (3 in front, 8 in the back), entry level components, and an aluminum frame. It was nothing fancy, but it was the first road bike I’ve ever had, and I loved it! Counting the miles from the hybrid, I put just under 2000 miles under me that year. I upgraded the hell out of my bike, too. Clipless pedals, bike computer, thinner Kevlar tires, and enough bike accessories to outfit a small team, I was geared up! I was using that gear, too. The team as a whole was gearing up for a 150 mile, 2 day charity bike event, the Tour de Cure, a diabetes charity fund raiser.
It was right around 2 months since I had started riding, when the TDC came around. I honestly didn’t know if I could pull 150 miles, even on the new bike. The longest I had ever ridden prior to that was 40 miles one afternoon, and I had run out of water at about 30 miles and was just miserable afterwards. So, I was very nervous. Thankfully, I have the best bike team a guy could hope for! On the first day of these 2 days rides, we decided that we would all stick together and ride as a team, no matter how slow that put us. This wasn’t a race, it was a ride, and it was a team event for us, so we intended to treat it as such. We weren’t fast, but we all finished the first day. The second day everyone rode at their own pace, but by then, I was moving at the same speed as Debbie, so the two of us kept each other company and kept each other on the bike for the rest of the day. We pulled through the finish line around 2:30 Sunday, with just over 150 miles behind us.
Ultimately, I want to drop down to below 200lbs, and lose the spare tire I carry around my mid section. It’s slowly coming off, but it’s hard to motivate myself in the winter to stay active. I hope that will change after I get out of school. To that end, I have an elliptical, some light exercise equipment, and even a yoga ball at home I can use to stay active in the colder parts of the year. I really want to pick up a bike trainer too, but a good trainer costs between $150 and $200. Maybe I’ll get one as a Christmas present in 2006. Who knows, I have a lot of time between now and then to think about it.
One of the other side effects of losing the weight and getting healthy is that I get out more. This has many benefits, not the least of which was a huge self confidence boost. It was really entertaining at the second Halloween Party from hell, when people who I had met the year before didn’t recognize me, because I had lost so much weight. Keith actually said that I had lost too much weight be called Crash anymore, and changed my nick name to Fender Bender. Fortunately, old habits die hard, and Crash won out in the end. The net effect was the same, I felt a lot better about myself. So much so, in fact, that I picked up a girl at that party, and officially began my adult dating life…
I didn’t date much (see: at all) in high school. I didn’t get out much in college either, so I was pretty new at this. So, understandably, I didn’t meet with the best of success at first. However, nothing worth doing is ever easy, so after a few false starts, I managed to piece together a pretty nice dating life. I’m not going to go into details, no one needs to hear them, and I don’t like talking about my private life. I will say that I’ve learned a lot, I’m getting better at talking to women, and I feel a lot better all the way around. I’m still looking for a hot red head with the nickname Burn, just to complete the set, but I don’t hold out much hope of that ;) I’m just happy I’ve finally learned how to be shot down gracefully, instead of going down in flames! That alone makes the past year and a half of dating worthwhile…
Hmm… what else is there to say about my history? I’m pretty much caught up, now… I’m currently single, I’ll be finishing my chemistry degree this May, I still work at Mars, and I’m still riding my bike. I’m not perfect, and life isn’t all wine and roses, but I could be a lot worse off than I find myself. I’ve still got some growing up to do, and I still have a lot to learn, but that pretty much applies to everyone. I have plans for the future, but I’m not going to share them with you just yet ;) Consider it my little surprise. When the world is mine, you’ll know that my plans came to fruition. Until then, hang tight, drop me a line on my live journal, or just say hello the next time you see me!