First, I have to start with my first friend. When I was really young, and still rather innocent to the world, I had a blonde haired blue eyed friend by the name of Kenneth (Kenny) Sutcliff(sp?). Basically we'd do a lot of stuff together. His dad was a leader in the boy scouts so we'd have boy scout stuff at his house or led by his dad. He had a pool at his house, and I'd go swimming in the summer. I always liked to do cannonballs, even though it sort of annoyed his dad. He also had a grandfather that lived at his house, though he eventually died. I can still sort of picture how he looked, and that he was sort of a wisecracker, but I always enjoyed his company. I think he had a goatee, and might have had somewhat longish hair.. he might have had a longish goatee but I don't recall really. He had the appearance of a wise man, anyways.. at least that's how I remember it. Until about 8th grade we'd do stuff together. However, around 8th grade we ended up in different divisions (middle school had X100 and X200, where X was the grade, and we were in 5200, 6200, and 7200 together I think... maybe not 7200, but almost certainly not 8200). Around that time he started going to kenpo karate classes, and I went with him. After about three or four classes he never really went again, but I went for a few years. Basically that was about the time that we stopped hanging out much. Those were basically all happy times. We were young and just played and had fun. Also, Kenny had a Texas Instruments console, and eventually a Nintendo. My grandparents had a Coleco and I eventually got a Commodore 64, but for the most part when I went over to Kenny's place we'd play video games. Eventually he seemed to get bored by them, but I never did...
A bit of a tangent, but it was also around 8th grade that I started noticing girls. There was one raven haired girl that caught my attention, I think she sat next to me in English. There were also some others, but for that grade she was my focus. There was a tiny blonde haired girl that was sort of a friend, we would write stuff in each other's notebooks. I remember one time we were writing in incredibly small letters just to see how small we could make them and still appear legible. I think if I could find the paper now (extremely unlikely) the letters would probably look like periods. At any rate, after the 8th grade I think Kate (I just remembered her name) moved, perhaps to Florida. After she left, there were other girls that were interesting, but none were quite the same as her. I realize now that her appearance and raven hair are probably at least partially why I found Brandy to be so interesting. Hmm.. I need to see if I can find a yearbook and get her full name. Be curious to see if she's on the web anywhere. Anyways, moving on..
Mike Bealieu was my next friend. I think we started hanging out together in the 7th grade, though he might have a different recollection. My memory is that he was someone I might have been vaguely aware of but that until the first day of 7th grade I hadn't really talked with him much. Then we chatted a bit and I think he asked if I'd like to go over his house (we both had Nintendos and were gamers). From then on, we'd do a decent number of things together. I think some attempts were made to have Kenny and Mike hang out together with me, but I think either they didn't especially like each other, or else things just generally never worked out for them to come together. One of the defining aspects of Mike is that he has a "silver tongue". Often times, he might want to do something, and I'd either feel lazy or be a bit against it, but generally he'd be able to convince me to go along with it. And to his credit, I think that most of the time I'd enjoy whatever we ended up doing. Another sort of interesting thing about my relationship with Mike was that we would call each other almost every day and talk about stuff. It was such a habit that we'd often call each other after school even if we had nothing to talk about, and just do something with a phone at our ears without saying anything (often playing a video game, sometimes doing homework, and occasionally if I was tired I'd fall asleep with him on the phone). This continued in to college, when I met up with my next friend (though Mike continues to be a friend to this day).
In college I "ran into" a rather large fellow by the name of Mason Bliss. I recall seeing him in the compter lab and considering his remarkable appearance. For one thing, he is large, both in height, and in girth. For another, at the time, he had a pretty good beard going, and really long hair. Seeing him for the first time was sort of a shock, as he had perhaps a bit of an unkempt and unique appearance. I quoted the "ran into" not so much because I physically collided with him, but because our first real social interaction was one of combat. Again, however, this wasn't a physical excersize, but rather a mental one. Mike and I had been introduced in to a newish game called Magic: The Gathering by a few other friends we had in college. After I had been playing for a while I had a pretty decent black deck that I'd used to win a few cards of off people with. In those days, Magic was played for ante, and there were even ante cards that were printed. I recall that Mason and I played in the cafeteria once, and he was using this blue/red control deck. He had flipped a decent ante card from me (might have been Phantom Monster? Serra Angel? something I thought was good at the time..) During the game I got a Sengir Vampire out, which generally means I win, but he was playing blue, and used something called Control Magic to take control of the beast. Basically I ended up getting beaten by my own creature. After that, I, not being used to losing, attempted to ask for a best two out of three, but he was adamant on taking the card he had (rightfully) won. I recall being somewhat irked by his attitude, not to mention his deck, but I couldn't argue with the fact that I'd lost. In many ways I think this colored our relationship in the years to come. Mason is a brilliant individual, is very creative and can be compassionate, but there is this edge of control which I didn't completely enjoy. Despite that, he was my friend for a decade, and while recent events have put that on hold, I still don't consider him completely out of the picture. It just doesn't seem possible. In a way, I hope that the distance we have now will allow for both of us to grow a bit, and if we can come back together in the future, it will be as more understanding and less argumentative individuals.
After I had started going to college, I started working at an arcade which was near my house. Eventually we hired a young man by the name of Jim Govoni. Jim was something of a prankster and a goof-off, but he was also well skilled in video games. While his virtues may have seemed somewhat slim, he shared the vice of gaming with me, and in that we were kindred souls. One of our passtimes after a day of work would be to talk in the parking lot. He'd sit in his car, and I'd sit in mine, we'd have our windows down, and we'd just talk about stuff. When I would wax philosophical, he'd often not have much to say, but we would talk about what had happened that day or whatever else there was. After I stopped working at the arcade I lost touch with Jim for a time. I don't even remember exactly how we got back together. I know that it wasn't all that long before we were hanging out again. I remember riding in his car and he was talking about Stream, so it was before he left there. Ironically, I started working at Genuity with a guy named Steve Bolton (who, also ironically, had some of the appearance and attitude of Kenny Sutcliff), who happened to also work at Stream with Jim before coming to Genuity. After we got back together, there was a bit of the Mike/Kenny thing, though in this case it wasn't so much that Mason and Jim didn't like each other (I guess?) as that they had fairly radically different ways to entertain themselves. Mason was always in to the brainy and elegant methods of entertainment (Magic) and Jim was more of a twitch based, no-frills video gamer. Of course, for a while there we had LAN parties with first person shooters and Starcraft. Jim and Mason also liked baseball and both had a bit of a wildness in them which allowed them to develop a friendship between themselves. I feel sort of bad about what happened, and how my advice seems to have affected that.. but again it's something that I hope in time will either become right again, or .. I guess whatever happens will be what happens.
Anyways, before I started writing this I had watched the second disc of Wolf's Rain, and now I've had the intro to Key: The Metal Idol playing for a while. I don't think I have enough time to watch it all before my shift ends, but hopefully I'll be able to put a good dent in the series.
This post actually helped me a bit, it made me remember some stuff which sort of explains some of my attitudes and how my current frame of mind came to be. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that my past has been a pretty decent one.
Till next time..