I’ve jumped from profession to profession over the years, never really feeling totally happy with the majority of them and moving on eventually. These are some of the highlights (and lowlights) of my search for something fun to do for a living …
Chances are you found this site because of one of my writing projects in the first place. Writing is probably one of the longest running, yet most intermittent, things I’ve ever done.
I’ve been creating stories of one form or another since before I was ten years old. After being exposed to my first ever science-fiction novel, Robert A. Heinlein’s “Space Cadet”, I began to create in my imagination the universe that has evolved into my writings, the K’Arian Legions, as well as become involved in roleplaying game design. I count myself as very fortunate to have also been exposed to good advice from several authors and game designers I respect greatly, and I try to pass those lessons on to others when I can.
When asked what my motivations are for writing my stories, my reply is that the universe that I’ve created is so full of stories, it would be selfish to keep them from others to enjoy. None of my writings are produced with any specific meaning or morals involved, although I admit that my characters tend to be based on my own life experiences. Jim Moore once told me when I complained that I didn’t know which one of the characters I was writing about was “me” that they all were. I have to admit, this answer is pretty much true, although I have my favourites – K’Alee was the first character I ever created, and there is another (as yet unnamed) character in development that I freely admit I have a lot of affection for.
Pen & Paper Roleplaying Games
Roleplaying games are completely to blame for my writing desires, and my first writing projects were less along the lines of storytelling as they were creating rules and scenarios for games.
Being able to create roleplaying “stories”, or more usually fragments, is a skill I was able to use frequently in Underlight, the online roleplaying game mentioned in the computing section.
The pinnacle of my pen and paper roleplaying writing efforts, and the reason why this section comes under both Work and Play, is being able to work for a time with Ken St. Andre on the release of Tunnels and Trolls, 7th Edition. Tunnels and Trolls has been the backbone of my philosophies towards roleplaying games since the very first day. The opportunity to remind the world of the days when roleplaying games didn’t require you to spend a fortune on source material, then spend half the game session rolling a bunch of strange shaped dice then hunting through those materials just to figure out if you stabbed someone, was too good to pass up!
We won’t go into some of my more spectacular roleplaying game writing failures, however. Such as a very bad attempt to create a roleplaying game around the BBC’s “Blake’s 7″ TV show …
Let’s not go there …
Technically, this should also be listed under both Work and Play.
UNIX Systems Administration
Starting with a Slakware Linux distribution, I pretty much taught myself UNIX Systems Administration. I’ve never been comfortable with point and click type interfaces, I wanted more fine control over the systems I use, so UNIX was a joy to play with.
Eventually, this turned into gainful employment, working as IRC Administrator for PSINet’s online IRC server for many years. I then moved to UUNET, an MCI/WorldCom Company, but eventually I had to fall back on a small web hosting company that I founded with Patrick as my primary employment.
Web Design for me is one of those fields I’m still not sure if I enjoy it or not. I like to take on projects that are challenging, or require the development of new techniques, however the market for web design doesn’t always provide such projects.
Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in two such projects for one of our customers here at MWE – Moonwolf Enterprises. I had played Underlight, one of the first (and arguably one of the best) online roleplaying game systems and was given the opportnity to re-do their web presence. What started out as a simple site redesign with underlight turned into a major coding project for their newest game, Reclamation.
The web site behind Reclamation’s community features was the biggest web design project I had ever undertaken, to combine information taken from the game itself with community building features that enhance the game experience for players by a large amount. It was a challenge to figure out ways to create the features that have been sketched in to make such a community site a success, but unfortunately circumstances conspired to make participating in the project difficult, and so I resigned from the task with regret.
And, of course, there’s also the web design for this site itself, as well as the main site for MWE – Moonwolf Enterprises. I consider myself very fortunate in that I have the services of an excellent web graphics designer in Patrick
Everyone knows what a Bodyguard is. They’re the ones you see out jogging with Madonna who’s primary role is to keep the fans and Paparazzi away. They’re obvious, and not always that subtle.
Close Protection, on the other hand, is a more low-key and covert method of providing protection. Close Protection clients are usually CEO’s and the like who know they need security, but don’t want it to intrude upon their every day lives. Close Protection specialists utilize high-tech equipment, a lot of it “black box”, and are generally unnoticeable. The idea isn’t to protect by intimidation, it’s to protect through professionalism and planning.
A good comparison between Bodyguards and Close Protection specialists is to compare the Bodyguards protecting Celebrities like Madonna to the US Secret Service protective details. The difference is in the entire philosophy surrounding how to keep the principal alive, and the best way is to never let things get to the stage where the threat can get anywhere near the principal in the first place.
This is where Eight-P’s comes into play – Proper Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. With Close Protection, you plan as much as you can, both specific and in general, to try to make sure the threat never gets anywhere near your client.
Whilst this ranks up there amongst the best professions I’ve ever entered, unfortunately it’s one I can’t pursue any longer.
In the process, though, I had a lot of fun, and made friends with people who have remained so to this day.
It helped to give me a sense of confidence and strength that has been of great benefit in the past few years, a peculiar insight into several areas that have positive benefits, and the support of those friends I made doing this has been important.
The side benefits of being able to toss people around like rag dolls can’t be understated too much either One of my current projects is to further develop a set of strange ideas I had for unarmed combat techniques that can be performed by people in wheelchairs, and I hope that with the help of some of my friends, those ideas can be codified into something of practical use.