The Idea Of Progress recently tagged me with a task I thought might be fun to attempt.
I am acutely aware of my own idea of coolness and how it often intersects with what others would consider lame.
To fulfill my task, I now present to you five I’m-cool-yet-lame-to-you facts about myself.
1. I geeked out with a couple Apple II graphics programs in junior high.
In what was perhaps foreshadowing of my current career in IT, I was really into playing around with some Apple computers in the computer lab at my junior high school.
There were two different graphics programs I played with — lo-res (GR) and high-res (HGR).
In HGR, I mostly did weird things where I would have shifting lines I created by plotting lines using X-Y coordinates, set by counter variables I would decrement and increment. Ah ha! I can see already that you have no idea what the hell I am talking about. In plain English, the stuff I created in HGR kind of looked like the Qix.
In GR, I was even more geeky. The GR screen consisted of a screen of 40 by 40 blocks. In GR you could issue commands to make horizontal lines, vertical lines and individual dots. I actually had graph paper where I would draw out pictures, which I would then painstakingly render in a GR program.
My pièce de résistance was a nighttime scene with a red sports car, with an animated shooting star falling from the sky. Wicked! Unfortunately, I have no idea where my original graph paper or programs are. Your loss, I guess.
2. I made Billy Bob swear.
Here’s another computer anecdote showing how cool/lame I am, also from around the time I was in junior high. I was a big fan of arcade games in my youth. Chuck E. Cheese’s was about the only place within walking distance of my house that had any arcade games (and those weren’t even all that good), so every once in a while I’d go there.
At the time there was a computer terminal there on which you could play some various games. I think the games were free (they were educational, and not that popular with Chuck E. Cheese patrons). One of the activities on the computer was a somewhat primitive voice synthesis program. You typed in some words, and “Billy Bob” the bear would say the words in his eerily synthetic voice. Obviously, the first thing I tried to do was make him swear.
Oh, those clever computer programmers! Whenever you typed in “shit” or “fuck” the voice synthesizer would instead say “Billy Bob Will Not Say That”.
I immediately rose to the challenge, typing “shiht” and “phuck”, which Billy Bob promptly pronounced. I think that’s when I started to insanely cackle.
Then I typed “fuck phuck” which made the program say “Billy Bob Will Not Say That Fuck”.
Man, I still smile thinking about that. Good times.
3. I was a kickass Dungeon Master for a day.
I have already documented my limited experience with Dungeons and Dragons here. However, I have not mentioned that I DM’ed a game once. A DM (Dungeon Master) is the guy who is responsible for guiding player’s characters through an adventure. He or she (aw, who the hell am I kidding, it’s just “he”) plays all the Non-Player characters (NPC), he rolls dice for monsters fighting the characters, he is the characters’ eyes and ears in the world they are experiencing. My short time as a DM was at the University of Illinois in Urbana. With me being lame and living in a twelve floor male-only dorm of concentrated lameness, I am assuming that the probability of me playing Dungeons and Dragons in some capacity there was very high.
Anywho, it was just one game, with me as the DM and two other people playing characters. It actually was just the start of an adventure we never finished. For preparation, I had scribbled to myself some very basic details about the world I was having these people move their characters through. I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. But, here’s the coolness. I realized I was good. I reacted very quickly to their characters’ actions. I was rapidly painting a world as their characters walked into it, and it was a nice, vivid world fraught with danger and excitement. I was confident, and knew I could be a decent DM if I wanted to be.
But, that’s as far as I took it. Which I’m fine with.
4. A band I was in got a record released in Italy.
Wow, that sounds cool, don’t it? It does until I tell you the band was one of the most stinkingly pretentious, dumb-dumb lyric, cheesy bands that ever reared its head in Southern Illinois.
I guess I carry the coolness/lameness duality within myself for this experience. It was great to be on a record in another country, but I just wish it wasn’t the lame album that it was.
If you play your cards right, I might upload one of the songs I was on.
5. I still remember the plotlines of my Amazing Spider-Man comics.
I stopped collecting comics over twenty years ago. My favorite title was The Amazing Spider-Man. I have a pretty damned good memory for things I like.
I am proud that I still remember the one-off villain Mindworm made his first appearance in issue #138. Oh, who can forget the sadness that is issue #121? Poor, poor Gwen Stacy.
If you check out the Amazing Spider-Man Wikipedia article and scour through the revisions, you may note that I corrected the first appearance of The Lizard.
Damn, I am cool/lame!
I tag all the lame people! Cool people, relax!