The Moments that Define Us Pt. 2

I always find it nostalgic to read about our childhoods.  I remember that Christmas with the Nintendo 64 but its hard to think that it was almost 20 years ago.

Twenty fucking years ago.

Hang on.

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Its hard for me to look back and pick out the little things that defined huge swaths of my life.

Probably because memories become less about facts and certainties more about how things felt.

I started drawing when I was young because Toonami came to Nickelodeon.  I remember watching Gundam Wing for the first time.  It was amazing.  I was just sitting there slack jawed in awe of it.  I began drawing my own Gundams in my free time and building those model kits.  We moved to Washington and I had to enroll in middle school late.  The only elective classes open were scrapbooking (not a joke) and drafting.  I asked mother was drafting was and she got excited for me, “It’s like how you draw airplanes and robots!”

Drafting led to CAD drawing, which led to industrial design software, which led to me becoming a 3D render artist.  You know, the career I have today.  All because of Toonami.

I met Pretzel in middle school.  We didn’t interact much but it was around the time that I started thinking girls were really pretty and I remember her standing out to me.  She had cute hair and full lips.  We had some sort of a study hall class together and I’d always peak at her during reading hour.  She was the perfect combination of pretty and tomboy.

Innocent enough.  We didn’t even have a meet cute until high school.  We didn’t date because I was too nervous to talk to her and apparently I was into some jive bitches.  My girlfriend at the time went into my phone one weekend and deleted all of girls out of my contacts.  So I lost contact with Pretzel for a while after high school.

One day I was walking down the street heading to god knows where I and I see Pretzels friend driving down the street.  I get in front of her car to stop her and then I walk up to the window (because apparently I was a maniac) and asked her for Pretzel’s number again.

I live with Pretzel now.  We’ve been dating for two years and some change and its the happiest I’ve ever been because she’s neither jive or bitchy.

All because one day I was walking down the street and her friend drove by.

After we’d lived in Washington for a year one of our numerous Wisconsin relatives passed away.  We drove back.  Four days, twelve hours each.  I promptly finished my book the first day.  Within the first hour I think.  We pulled over to go to a department store or something and there was a Barnes and Noble.

I was wandering around.  I was just getting into literature that was more sophisticated than Animorphs and The Circle of Magic.  I was walking past a “Must Reads” table and picked one up.  The cover looked neat and the world looked expansive.

It was Steven Eriksons Gardens of the Moon.  I read his books to this day and wait for them with bated breath.  I have that original hardcover on my shelf along with the rest of the series.  I’ve been reading that series for almost two decades.


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Seriously, read this series.

One summer my previously mentioned jive bitch and I were out shopping.  And by shopping I mean stealing stuff.  You know this one.  We went to Winco and stole a couple of sodas.  Security was watching us and stopped us in the parking lot.  I remember being in that office.  They put the Pepsi in front of me while calling mom and dad.  The Pepsi cost $1.08 and the fine was $150.  The drink all together cost $151.08 and they didn’t even let me drink it.

So I was ultra-grounded.  I had a lot of time that summer.  I found an old set of throwing darts I was given and mom gave me some hypodermic needle heads from her nursing bag.  I used an exact-o knife to carve the plastic dart tips into mounts for the needle heads.  I made hypodermic throwing darts.  No, I never used them for anything.


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That you know of.


I did take them to school because I don’t learn lessons involving rules and guidelines to show some people.  In my science class some dude sat next to me who I’d seen around but never really talk to.  I showed him my throwing darts.

That person was Devon Cox.  The dude I’m still best buds with today.  He tells me he used to think I was a douchebag, but when he saw the darts he realized he we were going to be friends.

Because I stole a Pepsi.  If I had had a dollar on me at the time, he’d probably still think I was a douchebag.

Got anymore about me that I’m not thinking about?



The Moments that Define Us

I’ll always remember the Christmas we received our Nintendo 64.

There was a huge pile of presents on the couch next to the Christmas tree. I distinctly remember most of them being wrapped in red paper, but it was so long ago I can’t be sure. Anyway, we began pulling presents off the top, doling them out to everyone like we always did. Then, we moved one present and underneath a face was peering up at us. It was a cartoon face, with big blue eyes, a brown mustache, and a red plumbers hat. It was Mario.

Now, I’m pretty sure I remember what you said next:

“It’s a Nintendo! Dig faster!”  

We started throwing presents left and right until we finally unveiled the prize underneath: a brand new Nintendo 64. It included a copy of Mario 64, which I remember playing with you while we gorged on the cheddar popcorn from one of those oversized holiday tins. You were struggling with that penguin race in the arctic level. It was a Christmas to remember!

Unfortunately, I don’t remember when Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time arrived in our house and I so wish I did. That was a moment that would define the rest of my life.

The Legend of Zelda franchise shaped my childhood. I spent so much of my youth drawing fanart and trying out new games. I specifically fell in love with Majora’s Mask while I was in elementary school. My friend Shelby and I rented it from Hollywood Video and played it in her garage. It was so fun.

Sometimes I wish I had the power to step back and look at my life from start to finish. I want to step back and appreciate all the moments in my life that, at the time, seemed small, but in reality set me on a completely different course. I remember when we got the Nintendo 64, but I can’t remember the day Shelby and I walked up to Hollywood Video and it makes me a little sad.

In a previous post I mentioned that you were the one who got me into Harry Potter. I don’t remember when you brought the book to me, I just remember we were living in Vancouver and you said I should read Chamber of Secrets because I liked horror stories. Your decision to do that is the reason I’m married to Michael and, at the time, I had no idea that such a little thing was going to make such a big difference.

I vaguely remember the day my professor approached me in my college journalism class and said she wanted to put my name up for an internship with the communications department. If I hadn’t gone for it, I wouldn’t be working where I am today. That internship got me this position. What if I had decided not to go for it? What if I had decided to pursue one of the many other internship opportunities there were? Where would I be now?

Thinking about these little moments also makes me think about the decisions I’ve been making recently and I guess I would say it’s making me appreciate the present more. I want to remember the little things so that when I’m older and in a completely different place, I can remember what put me on this path.

So what are you defining moments, Dan? Can you remember the first time you rented a Mega Man game? Can you remember when you decided to pick up a pencil and start drawing?