A Book About My Life

During our life we experience a journey that shapes who we are, love, pain, hope, despair, dreams… it is rare that we know when someone or something will become a part of that book.

If I had to pick a theme or message for the book about my life it will be love. I believe that everything in this journey comes back to love, having it, feeling it, giving it or simply lacking it. People without love and passion about life have come and gone through my life and they will not be main characters, what is even more surprisingly is that even the most painful experiences in my life have simply become chapters… every day getting smaller. Back then I seriously thought that chapter of my life would forever shape me, now it is a simple chapter almost comically remembered as the brief appearance of Voldemort.

My book has many characters, but I would have never imagined that most of the main ones would be people that I have met online. My wife is someone I met through my blog, and besides my friends Tom, Bobby, Mario, Travis, Carlos Andres, Julio Cesar, Corey and the Marks (there are 3) all of the members of the friends that I know will be friends for life are people I met first online.

From the moment I saw my wife walking down the hall in O’Hare Airport I knew a new chapter of my life had begun. She helped me rebuild not only my life, but we built a life together. And true love, lasting love had been found.

The CLSB crew, Crazy, Ken, Tony, vCook, Kim, Brother Bill, Dave, Kruz, I all met online… actually I had been friends with Cook before but when he showed up to that first group ride I had not yet married the online persona to the guy that I had gotten drunk with during my college years.

XO is going to kill me for even putting his name here. He is just one of those books you open and know from moment one that the fun will never stop. I don’t use this word lightly and in intellectual matters and coming to conclusions I feel he is a mentor. Being in completely opposite ends of many topics makes our bantering that much more fun. Ever since I saw that he is the scape artist of social events I knew that he would be that elusive character in the book that is not quite Yoda, not quite Obi Wan (he will get the humor) but more of a Captain Picard minus the Jean-Luc part.

Chimpo is a man of few words face to face, and we actually both met the rest of the crazy KC blogger community the same day. Since that day we have shared many beers, many laughs and I continue to steal Loren (Happy Birthday little one!) every time I get a chance to get attention by proxy.

Nuke and I had informally chatted back and forth online. However, he recognized so much of my personality that I don’t show that it amazed me. I am used to reading people like an open book, even if the cover is complex, but very seldom do people read me that way, more often people see what they want to see. A chapter had begun.

The moment I met Mike for lunch now years ago, another chapter was written. Even though our personalities are quite different, I almost felt like I found a long lost brother. He and his wife will be here to visit us once again this summer and it made my day after having to drop Daniel off at the airport… more on that in a bit.

Daniel, its even hard to think about how different the book of my life would be without him being a main character. The interesting part is that Daniel became part of the book and we had never even met face to face. We did not need a personal connection to create a bond that has at times scared the both of us because it seems almost impossible to feel kinship without ever meeting face to face.

This past weekend he fixed that technicality by coming here to KC for a visit from California. I had no doubt that we would get along, I had no doubt that we would have lots to talk about, I had no doubts that he would have a good time because that is who he is, always moving forward always trying to pick up the best… what I did not know was that I would experience this level of friendship from what some call a complete stranger.

I am reading a new book this week about how the brain works. I skipped to the chapter on happiness, my second favorite subject to love, and I was pleasantly surprised when it almost wrote the last chapter of Daniel and I meeting. Paraphrasing a little “While measuring happiness can be debated, it is almost certain that happiness is about little moments stacked together being more significant than one big happy event. Someone that has a drink with a buddy every night will be a lot happier than even someone that wins the lottery.”

The online crew that plays WoW with me have also become a big chapter or the people I first met online, Damayan(bring her a little closer, I am still getting experience!), Hon, Dave, Ann, Smidge, Rob, Chris, Patrick, Yuert, Theydrin, Mr iWipe (Fredler), Dr. Alagorn (he is a freaking Pediatrician!), Sokym, McTeague, Wook and the old drunk.

It is amazing to have so many great relationships, people that I can go and have a drink with, even just virtual. They each enrich every chapter of my life even more than I would have thought possible and cement the idea in my heads that happiness and success has nothing to do with what you have in the back or in the garage, but with who you have around to share your life with.

I play WoW

It feels a little like coming out of the closet (no homo), because since I have been playing the trial I have been keeping it quiet. MMORPGs are quite addicting and I knew I would love the game. I could never get into games that were quest based unless there was a sense of going in with other people and doing stuff. I also admit that if it was not because I am playing with people I know, I would probably have quit playing right after the trial ended.

A couple of weeks ago a guy started working where I work and at first I thought his love of StarWars was going to be the extent of what we had in common. The person that he replaced was probably the only person that I did not truly get along with at the office. I thought, I have to give the new guy a chance. The more I got to know him the more I liked talking to him and he seemed to enjoy our little chats. We went to lunch and he mentioned WoW and like I always had when someone tried to get me to play I replied with the I cannot do something that will conflict with my already busy life.

He then started a very methodical and successful campaign to get me to play. He prayed on my open mindedness to not let my past negative views on the subject. I had a coworker that had played Ultima Online for over 8 years and felt almost obligated to keep playing because of the time he had already invested in the game. I also have met several people that let WoW control their lives. He told me it could be all of those things if you let it, but it is up to the person to control the game and not the other way around. He told me he ran a guild and he would help me out if I was ever interested.

I love sports, but if my wife wants to do something else instead of watching a game I am all for it. I also have been able to stop playing other games in the past with relative ease. I realized that maybe I had to try it for myself before I judged the game since, well the name Logtar did come from a blizzard product.

The first week was rough. My wife had heard all of the horror stories about people’s life’s being ruined by WoW… marriages had ended… people had lost jobs. I questioned my sanity for even downloading the trial and spending any time playing it. Then I realized that WoW is a game with a very active chat room, specially if you are part of a guild.

I started to level up pretty quickly and then my buddy from work created a character to help me level. I got myself into a lot of trouble because I went into a cave and was surrounded and pretty much dead. Then he came to the rescue with a healer at the last minute. I though, that is awesome. We went on a couple of quests where he backed me up and it was very entertaining, but I still was not sure about continuing my WoW career after the trial.

This past weekend was when I got to play the most. We had a dinner party for Earth Hour that was very cool, and the next day was pretty much a lazy day. Then I ended up getting a little WoW in and I was advancing pretty fast. For only spending an hour or two a night my character was already over level 10. Then my buddy who after attending the dinner party and getting along and acquainted with most of my friends is now becoming a friend too jumped into WoW with one of his level 70 characters.

He said, I am going to take you on an instance. Just stand back watch the show and grab the loot. He ask if anyone in the guild wanted to join and we ended up with a party of 5. I am sure anyone that has played WoW has been to the mines a couple of times, but I was there for the first time. I had seen the open areas and done quests on my own but had not gone into a place that felt almost like a totally different game. I also got to see some of the bigger cities on my way to the instance.

I have played RPGs before and they have always bored me. Even when playing with another friend, there are areas that are just insanely difficult and you just have to keep on playing them over and over. In WoW, to even out the odds, or even stack them up on your side all you need is a group of friends. I don’t think without having a guild I would have had as much fun as I had this past couple of weeks.

I know what some of you most be thinking, but seriously, until you actually give it a try don’t base your view on the game on someone you know actually being swallowed by the game. I think it is all a matter of you being in control rather than letting the game control you.