If you are reading this I assume you are curious what its like being me...
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of which I terrorized for most of my youth. Nothing was safe from my wrath. Not school teachers. Not classmates nor pretty much any kind of authority figure. Then something happened that changed my rebel outlook. I picked up a guitar.
Music was no stranger to me growing up as my dad plays guitar and my mom plays banjo and I was raised on flatpicking good ol timey Bluegrass music. But my rebel nature took me down the path of rock/metal. During the course of my teenager years I played in a rather successful Bay Area metal band and this was a perfect outlet for that teenage angst. And them something else happened. I left the band. And found myself directionless again. After finding myself without a home and without purpose I took a job doing sign painting and silk screening. The dude who hired me helped me out quite a bit but he had to close shop in the Bay Area and was going to move the buisness back to the East Coast (Long Island) and asked me if I was interested in going with him to open a new shop. With nothing to lose I went. NYC here I come! So we set out cross-country in a 74 Ford Thunderbird and a U-Haul trailer.
It was about Ohio when he told me that our destination did not have room for me to stay. I should have kicked his ass at that point but I told him to take me as far as NYC and I would figure it out from there. So he dropped me off in the South Bronx at his friends house. OMG what a site! You can not imagine me being from Castro Valley CA thought of this spectacle of The Bronx. Never in a million years would I have imagined. But after 3 days the dude who was kind enough to let me sleep on his couch told me it was time to move on and took me to Washington Square Park with the instructions of "If your going to find anything, here is where you will find it" Once again I found myself homeless, hungry and in the middle of NYC!
I made some friends in the park who were kind enough to help me out during this rough time. In particular a Jewish girl who would meet me every morning and take me out to breakfast. But enough was enough. I was dirty, hungry, and in a NYC daze. So it was time to swallow the pride and call mom for help. During the course of this phone conversation with my mom I was vaguely aware of a woman standing behind me. The conversation with my mom ended and a plane ticket was to be waiting for me at JFK. But this woman said "I couldn't help but over hear your conversation, and I think I can help". So she takes me to a brownstone building in the East Village and introduces me to the landlord who needed someone to do house maintainence. Well after a short conversation with the house owners it was agreed that I would work for them for room and board. SWEET!
This went on for a while and I slowly built a foundation for me living in NYC. I eventually landed a job at Pan Am working in intl reservations. And was able to fly anywhere on a whim. Even better...50.00 business class, 100.00 first class. I flew back to the Bay Area monthly and traveled to Europe, and all over the Carribean.
I made many friends in my new found East Village neighborhood. I was immersed in the East Village life style. Playing pool at Nightbirds, hanging out at The Mars Bar, Vazacs, The Continental Divide, CBGB's. And I figured it was time to give the NYC music scene a go. I had a pretty successful go at this playing with a band called Patient Zero and we played throughout NYC at many popular clubs. It was a blast! But alas after 5 years NYC lost its luster. Perhaps because I moved out of the East Village and to Astoria, Queens. It was time to go..SO back to the Bay Area I went.
I promptly found a job at AMEX (To this day I am not sure how I landed that gig). The job payed well and I rented a room from some friends I grew up with. 3 crazy girls. OMG the trouble we would get in. I can guarantee that parts of San Francisco will never be the same after we would come through. Drinking and carrying on. It was perhaps some of the best times of my life. But somehow in the midst of our nonstop partying chaos, we all managed to keep our jobs. And somehow I got AMEX to put me through technical school. This opened up a whole new career path for me. The world of Network Engineering. But anyways during this time period of my life I was invited into yet another band. Playing guitar for a cover band doing college parties and bars. This is how I met my wife.
We were down one bass player..The drummer, my good friend of many years brought her in. There was no particular magnetism between us but during the course of being bandmates we had become very close. As good as friend as I have ever had in my entire life. Then one day we took it to the next level. Completely unplanned. But a solid foundation was set for a lifelong relationship. And with the birth of our daughter a family came into existence. It is funny how strongly the embers of love still burn hot after all these years. We actually left the cover band and started our own band. Elysium. We did fairly well playing throughout the western US and sold about 1800 CDs but the touring and sheer amount of energy it takes to sustain a musical calling, and work a fulltime job, and be a father was to much to sustain. So Elysium went the way of 10000 other talented bands. Ultimately good memories and a lot of fun. And I can say that the music touched more than a few people.
Time passes on...I am deep in my career and being a father. And I guess God was not happy with my mundane (but not entirely unhappy) routine. I got laid off my job (with a decent compensation package). I was in contact with friends in Austria and I was curious how hard it would be to get a job in Europe as an American. At this point I was entirely fed up with the US Goverment and the endless lies that was streaming from the White House. So I flew to Vienna with 2 arranged interviews. By the time I left Vienna I had 2 job offers. Of which one I took. I moved over here and started working with the intent of moving my family here as well. Austria it seems has a lot more to offer than the US. A low crime rate, a clean city, friendly people, and no feeling of threat. Oh people in Vienna will say that this or that area isn't safe. But they have no idea what the South Bronx, or Harlem, or the East Village is like. Vienna is Disneyland in comparsion! So I have been here for almost 2 years and due to my wife owning a buisness in the Bay Area, and the sheer cost of intl relocation it has been decided that back to the US I come. Both my wife and daughter have been here for extended stays and this I can be thankful for. There is nothing more glorious than the Austrian Alps! You can not help but feel the history, and be humbled by the lifestyle of the Alpine villages. Lifestyles that have been more or less the same for centuries. I have been flying back to the Bay Area about every thrird month. But I feel my next trip back to the Bay Area will be one way.
This brings us more or less up to today. In preparation of my US return I have been actively seeking employment. It seems the job market is good enough. I have had some offers already but the one offer that really is catching my eye is one in Seattle. In my near future I can see me and my family living there. I have a feeling it may even exceed the SF Bay Area quality of life...But this chapter remains to unfold...
And whereever I go I can guarantee. I will still be producing music. I will still be reading mind numbing sci-fi. I will not repeat the mistakes of my past.
So this is me in a nutshell. How I ended up being me. And how long it took for me to be me. In the above story I have excluded many details and would be happy to share them. But this could only happen in a dark smokey dive bar. And it would start with me sipping a drink, looking across the table at my questioneer and saying..."So there I was...."
The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley
Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds
The Solaris Book Of New Science Fiction edited by George Mann
Glasshouse by Charles Stross
Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds
War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
In Fury Born by David Weber
Next by Michael Crichton
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
Spin by R.C. Wilson
Radio Free Albemuth by P.K. Dick
Spindrift by Allen Steele
Iwo Jima by Bill D Ross <-----My Grandfather landed Iwo. AND LIVED!
Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
...and so on....
Music that has changed my life.
3) Juno Reactor
My all time favorite SF writers (besides the obvious)
3) Phillip K Dick.
4) Le Guin
5) Alaistair Reynolds.
The one story that changed my lifes outlook.
Hagakure - The Way Of The Samurai.
Last edited by Ray
on Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
When one creates goals. One also creates obstacles.