Monday, May 21, 2007

Hell! it's About Time!

As you might guess, I am here at work on rotation for a problem on one of our machines. Hopefully I'll be leaving here momentarily and heading home after I get confirmation from IBM that they have received the data collect and that they will have someone out to replace the part. However I noticed an email from a friend about one of the computer games that I used to obsess over ten years ago. It's a game that was damned fun, but it had serious consequences for some friends and but for the grace of god, I didn't join them.

The Dragon's Tales gets its name from the screen name that I used for gaming: I was Dragon[ka] and ended up being pretty damned good at Starcraft. I found that I had an absolutely useless talent for Real-time strategy games. It wasn't the only one that I played and was good at: Total Annihilation, Red Alert, Age of Empires, and the culmination and last game that I would play extensively before my marriage was Empire Earth. I was very good at EE, but Starcraft was pretty much my favourite though.

I always played Terran. I was never a siege tank terror or anything like that. I had two tactics that I became infamous for. The first was the Opposed Drop: I'd max out on marines and dropships, fly in right over the enemy base, and UNLOAD and stim the crap out of my marines. With medics. Tres carnage. The tactic that ended up evolving as the end game was the Battlecruiser rush. I cranked BCs faster than anyone that I ever knew. Others would try. Damned if they didn't try. Heh. I was noted for being very aggressive in the game and also being The Cockroach. If you didn't outgiht kill me, I was NOT out of the game at all.

I had one friend that he and his wife used to play SC extensively say that said, "We have this game down to a science. It used to be an exact science until Dragon [moi] showed up with his fucking BCs." (Loved ya too, Noah!) Later on, the game would devolve down to a slug fest between Mynok and myself. It really was a lot of fun. It also ate a hell of a lot of time.

The event that I repeatedly call my "But for the Grace of God" Moment happens to be the fiasco of Bnetd. One of the main developers on it, Ross, was my best man at my first wedding. I had originally planned on writing some code for bnetd myself to help with the enhancements. The whole section in the code for statistics was based off of ideas that I related back to Ross (and I am sure were enhanced after the fact). Originally, I was going to do it, but as the greater personal events of the time period unfolded and my new job out at HELSTF ate my time I didn't have the time or inclination to code for fun at that juncture. Just because of that, I avoided getting my ass sued off by a vindictive, asinine Blizzard.

I used to have an extraordinarily ambitious asshole inside me. He was tempered by the shocking losses - a divorce, multiple suicides - that rattled my world just prior to the release of Starcraft. I was knocked on my ass - bad - and my faith in myself knocked down pretty hard. For those of you that knew me during that period from 1997 to 1999, you know of what I speak. Some wounds, no matter how long the time passes, never heal. These won't, but I've grown and grown much stronger since then.

On Saturday, a very good friend and old roomie emailed me that Blizzard had announced Starcraft 2. The timing couldn't have been more appropriate.

Something happened on Friday that shook me up. I had a nasty surprise at work and it was not of the positive sort: something that I thought I had received back in January turned out to have been a typo (!!! WTF?!). I found out through other paperwork that I needed get done for something else the reality of the situation. I was first shocked and a bit depressed. Then it grew to some damned serious anger. With some patient counsel from my wife and my daughter's laughter, I have calmed down, chilled out, and put it into some perspective.

It made me realize that I had been getting a bit too complacent. I had been taking more time to get certain projects underway that I should have moved faster: nothing hurt me, just didn't get done what I wanted. I have certain things that I want to accomplish before I leave NERSC. I have two papers that are in various states of completion. I have a new project (and associated papers to get underway and coupler code) to get launched and its a doozie. I also have a pair of clusters that I need to completely revamp in the process. And some records to break. My mark to leave here and upon HPC. That's not all. I have projects outside of work - ones that will facilitate me leaving here and even transitioning to a new field eventually - and others that have been simmering and cooking slowly with almost glacial progress.

Enough. If this were an RTS, I'd say it was long past time for a multifront assault upon reality.

Rage. Rage. Rage. RAGE. Rage can be a constructive emotion. Anger makes a good fire to temper a very sharp sword. The Beast consumes. This rage, this beast awoke the ambitious asshole. His only comment was

"Hell! It's about time. It's about gawddamn, fucking time!"

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