The story of how Brian the IT guy (as I’m known around the office because still to this day no one really knows what I do) is probably not unlike most beginnings stories of people that work in most IT departments. I really liked computers as a kid as a result of being around them so much (thanks to my Dad who to this day still prefers his home built PCs over anything that can be bought off the shelves at the likes of places like Best Buy). My Dad got into computers because they were really fascinating to him. Mind you this was just after the days when a computer literally occupied the entire space of a room and could only solve rudimentary algebraic expressions (which is still better than I could do) and took about all day to do so. Mind you this was in the 1970s. A few years past and he decided to try and build his first computer. Now it probably went as smoothly as putting lipstick on a pig but, I’m sure he figured it out. Honestly, if you know what components are required in a computer they practically build themselves. All you need is power, storage, RAM, a CPU (with a fan preferably, i.e. cooling) and some sort of IO card that allows you to connect peripherals like a mouse, keyboard and a monitor. Well, by the time I was born in the early part of the 80s he had been building custom PCs for a while.
I still remember when we purchased our first CD-ROM for the home computer. He took me to Circuit City. Are those even still around? Anyways, I think he had a coupon from the paper otherwise we would have never bought one. We walked in and he asked a sales associate and they brought it out. The CD-ROM. It came with a free CD-ROM game. I don’t remember what it was called but, it was basically a bunch of geometric lines like from the scene in Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope when Luke shoots the two plasma torpedoes down the vent pipes of the Death Star. Yea-who! If you can’t tell I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. And a regular nerd too.
Before Becoming A Nerd
It wasn’t always that way. I used to surf. A lot. When my family moved from Palm Desert to Huntington Beach in 1996 I started surfing like everyday. I first learned to surf when I was like 5. And every summer I would come down to Huntington Beach with my Grandparents who owned some apartments. We’d come down for like two weeks at a time. So, whenever I was in HB (as it’s know here) I would go surfing or boogie-boarding. For the record I say boogie-boarding because it’s like a slur for anyone that actually “body boards” because I don’t really have any respect for them. Also, people that ski. It’s like you have a choice whether to be cool or not. So you choose skiing when snowboarding (and surfing IMHO) are way cooler? Wow, wait a minute you might be asking yourself. Why is this guy concerned about being cool when he clearly is a nerdy IT guy? To answer your question, as stated before I wasn’t always this nerdy. I use to wear really tight jeans, play guitar and have really long hair. Seriously, I have pictures. That was when I aspired to be a musician.
I’ve been playing music since I was 5. Yeah, the same year I learned to surf. Except that this past time wasn’t voluntary. My parents made us kids take piano lessons starting at the age of 5. They thought it would help us later in life if we had a skill that we could fall back on or something. Then, we also had to take up a different instrument in middle school. My sister whom is the eldest played to trumpet, my brother got a pass somehow because he was already playing Football and didn’t have anymore time in his schedule for playing an instrument. I played to saxophone. Alto-saxophone to be exact. Not what Kenny G plays. If I’d have known who Kenny G was back then I never would have chosen to play the saxophone. The problem was I wanted to play the drums but, my parents weren’t going to let that happen. Somehow after we had moved from Palm Desert to Huntington Beach my brother had convinced them to let him play the drums since he wasn’t playing Football. That’s total bullshit if you ask me and my sister. We got shafted. But, seriously, out of all the dorky instruments to play I made my decision to play the sax. Honestly, it seemed the least gay.
That turned out be worst mistake and bit me in the ass because all my friends insisted that I played the ball sax. I know, so juvenile. But, I wish I had thought of it. At this time, dial-up had just become available to us in 1996. My first experience with the internet back then was completely different to the experience now. Back then you would turn-on things in order to connect to the internet. Nowadays your always connected.
I had met this kind in my science class because we both liked to play Duke Nukem 3-D. It was one of the first games that had blood, guts, naked women, etc. And for a boy of 13 I was stoked. Anyways this kid in my science class had asked if I wanted to play Duke Nukem 3-D after school. I said, “Sure.” At around 8:00 pm he had called and said “Let’s play.” I replied, “Okay. Are you going to come over to my house, or do you want me to go to your house?” He laughed and said, “No let’s play online”. I was like “huh” how the hell are we going to do that. He said that he’d call back to get started. Back in those days you could use your computer’s modem to call other computer like a fax machine, just in this case it was to connect to a PC game over the modem. I hung up and told my Dad. He started scratching his head and repeatedly saying, “How the hell?” Well, I guess he figured it out and I was playing against this kid from science class. I was blown away how cool it was to be interacting with another player that wasn’t’ a computer. And also I was blown away. This kid destroyed me. I remember thinking “How the hell did he do that?” He was there and then he wasn’t and now I’m dead.
Soon after that I was in high school. DSL has just started getting popular. We still used dial-up because we could get it for free. Remember my Dad and his coupons. Anyways, I remember that in-order to get connected we used a K-Mart Blue light special dial-up software. It had K-Mart adds (that’s why it was free). Finally, after some persuading we got DSL. This was a whole new world. Not like that bullshit in Aladdin. I mean I could download any song from any artist with the website called Napster. My life was forever changed.