California Native, Pennsylvania transplant. I’m a person of two states and I love both. Former soccer player and swimmer, my athletic career was ended when I tried to block a shot (my soccer position was Goal Keeper) and the forward kicked me in the neck. At least when when I woke up from the blackout, and the referee asked me who I was, I answered “I’m…BATMAN”. Because I’m a dork.
My grade-school adopted technology in the early 80’s, setting up two Apple IIe labs where they tried to teach us about math and spelling via Number and Letter Munchers, or how everyone died from Dissin Terri via Oregon Trail. I never liked “Where in the world was Carmen Sandiego” as even at a young age I found it absurd that this woman in a very bright red coat and hat traveled the world stealing things.
In Junior High they let us play with HyperCard on higher end Macintosh’s and I spent an entire semester making a choose your own adventure based on the “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” SNES hit. It wasn’t a hit because I couldn’t get the sound effects right, but I still got an A. 30 years later I found out that the original Myst was based on Hypercard and I’m sad I never could finish that Zombie game and publish it. Then again, I was a 9th grade computer geek; I was to early for the .com days.
In high-school I focused more on athletics despite my swim coach also being the computer science teacher. He tried, but I was more interested in going back and forth fast in a pool, then writing endless lines in C. I did discover Geocities however and learned to write HTML by hand with an “HTML For Dummies” book. Utilizing the school computer lab I setup a series of hilarious websites that I will never show the world as its my generations version of my space, and who ever wants to look back at their Duncan Shiek, Tonic and New Radicals fan club days. Oh the joys of being a side sport jock in the computer lab at lunch with your nerd friends writing lines of HTML code broken up by flashy bar images and hit counters. Webrings were so cool before Facebook.
After being told my several guidance counselors in high-school I would never do well in college, I opted instead to go into the early form of Trade School in which I got a “degree” in Networking from Compu Vista Business Institute in 1999, with a Certified Novell Engineer, A+ and Network + certificates. 10 days after graduation, the .com bubble burst, Microsoft came out with Windows 2000, causing Novells stock dropped faster than the Titanic, and I had several IT job offers dry up over night, as nobody wanted to pay Novells ridiculous licensing format.
Cherry on top of that Sundae was that it turns out the trade school ended up getting shut down for Tax Fraud so my degree was useless, Novell Certs was all but useless and so I took the first job I could find, as a Tech Support / Installer with my local mom and pop ISP. I keep in touch with some former graduates and a professor there who teaches at our local community college and so far only 3 of us have IT jobs. The rest went back into construction or plumbing which is way more lucrative now I suppose.
The rest is history; in the last 19 years of working in the Telecom industry, I’ve been an broadband installer, Dish Network, T1, IDSN & DSL Salesman, been chased by a camel who ended up just wanting pets from a customers front yard, and finally a Network Administrator. I also almost got stabbed by a dude in a chefs hat while fixing a laundromat’s phone and internet issues.
It turned out he as an actual chef, who thought that a guy wearing a company hat, company shirt, company badge, wearing a toolbelt and telephone butt set was a homeless man stealing his copper wires. I got a free plate of spaghetti for that one. Turns out Italian chefs don’t get mad when you touch their SPAGHAT, they get mad when you steal their phone lines.
In 2014, realizing that my guidance counselor was incorrect, I went back to school and over the course of working 50 hour work weeks, taking 1-2 classes a semester I am set to graduate in 2021, delayed a year due to COVID-19.
I am proof that guidance counselors are often wrong, that your detractors are never right, and that if you have a desire to do something, you should take the chances. They had me pegged as a Garbage Man or a Tire Installer. I now work for the company that gives them high speed internet.
My mom is very proud. Dad just calls me and asks how to fix the Amazon Firestick.
It’s the circle of tech; your parents send you off to IT Trade School, 19 years later your mom is calling at 9:00 PM as your dad accidentally purchased $50 in British TV shows thinking they were free on Prime. Take that, Al Gore!
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