One thing I have never really done here on the blog is take some time specifically to tell you all about the man behind the words of these pages. I mean, I have an About Me section here, but what does that say really? I’m married, I have a son, I went to college – that’s all good stuff, but it leaves a little something to be desired. You can put some puzzle pieces together from reading posts over time – I’ve talked about when I fell in love with writing, the gameplay and game development philosophies I am most drawn to, I’ve talked about a few events in my real life – but ultimately, I’ve never gotten down to the nitty-gritty. The real meat of who I am as a human being. So whether you’ve read Adventure Rules in the past in order to enjoy the video game reviews or the tabletop memories or the fanfiction pieces, today I’m gonna talk about some random facts about the guy who wrote all that stuff in the first place.
Random Fact #1: I sing pretty much constantly
I’ve been musical since I was a little kid. I didn’t grow up in a musical family where everyone was playing instruments and singing in five part harmony all the time, but I did grow up in church. Singing hymns and participating in kids choir programs helped me to develop a love for music at a young age. That love for music has carried over into my adult life, and like Marshall on How I Met Your Mother, I tend to sing songs about every tiny thing that happens during my day.
I have some staples that I frequently go back to, of course. There’s “I Don’t Know What to Watch (Yeah),” a song dedicated to not being able to find anything to watch on Netflix. I have a call-and-response song called “Destiny” that I sing to my wife where I sing her name, she says what, I sing it again, she says what louder, I sing that I love her, she says it back, and then I sing her name one more time so she says what again. It’s one of my favorites.
Of course, I don’t just sing the same couple of classics over and over again. I frequently compose new pieces as needed for different life situations. I recently created a very emotional number based on trying to get your son to sleep for so long that you run out of lullabies. There’s also the “PIN Number Song,” which I wrote because one day at work I got a PIN number for my workplace account that I immediately forgot, so the next day I wrote a song so I wouldn’t forget it a second time.
Maybe for a future Multiplayer Challenge I could do a theme song for Adventure Rules…let me know in the comments if that is something you’d be interested in, adventurers.
Random Fact #2: I am very vulnerable to emotions in kids’ movies
I’m not a cryer. I can’t exactly explain why. It’s not as if I think that crying is “unmanly” or “pathetic” or anything. I’ve had times in my life where crying felt appropriate, where I had the desire to cry, and just couldn’t. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Unless, of course, I am watching an animated movie.
I think it’s the music that does it. As I mentioned above, I love music, and the sounds of music can change my mood pretty easily. Happy, dance-type songs make me want to jump around, grungy songs make me want to yell, and sad songs bring a tear to my eye quicker than a method actor in a soap opera.
It’s ridiculous, really. Something bad happens and I don’t cry but then I watch Frozen or Inside Out and suddenly I’ve got these huge tears welling in my eyes. The really weird thing is that I don’t even have to be watching the movie. There’s this song from Phineas and Ferb called “Little Brothers” that has kind of a sad sound to it, and I can suddenly get that song in my head at work and the waterworks start up.
This is usually just tearing up and not full-on crying, but I do remember one kids’ show where I had a good cry because of my reaction to a scene. My favorite television show of all time is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and one of my favorite scenes in the show is when Zuko and his uncle Iroh are reunited in the third season after a lengthy time apart. Their last meeting saw Zuko saying some very cruel things to his uncle, and though the young man had changed during their time apart, he still felt terrible guilt and shame over his previous actions. But Iroh forgives his nephew so readily, and he’s so proud of how Zuko has become a better person and they love each other so much and I just can’t handle it. The first time I watched their tearful reunion I lost it, and though I only cried for real the first time just the thought of that scene still makes me tear up to this day.
Random Fact #3: I had four majors in college
It took a long time for my career aspirations to get to where they are now. Or rather, to go back to what they were when I was a kid.
I’ve dreamed of writing on a professional level since I was ten years old. To my recollection, it’s the first job that I seriously wanted to do. But in between then and now I became convinced by various influences that writing was not a practical, realistic career and that I needed to do something else. Another love of mine, as I’ve said, was music, and I’m also pretty passionate about theater. I attended the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts in 2008 and learned a lot about drama during my time there, and it was then that I decided I should somehow use acting in my career.
When I first went to college, I was majoring in Worship Arts. I thought being a worship leader was a great way to combine my faith and my passion for music, and I had a theater minor tacked on just so I could do some acting and possibly use those skills to direct children’s plays or something.
Due to bad experiences with a musical audition and some unpleasant classes I had to take for the worship arts program, I decided that I couldn’t sing well enough to be a worship leader and changed my major for what would be my second of four different majors: educational ministries. That’s really fancy college terminology for children and youth ministry, something I was interested in because I’m pretty decent with kids. I kept the theater minor, still hoping to direct a church musical at some point.
There came a time towards the end of my sophomore year when I realized that theology was not my cup of tea. Now this isn’t a theological blog by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not going to get personal with details about my beliefs. But there are some people who are able to make their faith into their job, and it works for them. I am not one of those people. I was damaging myself by continuing to pursue something that clearly wasn’t working for me, so I decided to leave the theology department and I turned my theater minor into a major. Major number three had arrived.
When I took theater as a major, I had to choose a new minor to accompany it. I asked if it was possible to get my teaching certification and count that as a minor for purposes of graduating. As it turned out, the answer was “yeah, pretty much anywhere except for here. Pick something else.” I figured the next closest thing to a teaching certification was an English degree, so I added a minor in that.
Fast forward to the end of my junior year. Despite all the jumping around and all the different majors, I’m on track to graduate early. I’d earned some college credit in high school, and that combined with taking the maximum number of hours pretty much every semester put me in a place where I was going to graduate in December rather than may. I wasn’t particularly interested in doing that – I was in a new relationship that I thought was going places (turns out I was right) and I cared a lot about graduating with the close friends I had developed over the past few years. My solution was twofold – stop taking 18 hour semesters and instead take only the minimum 12, and bump up my English minor to an English major. Hello, major number four.
I ended up graduating with a double major in Theater and English. And that crazy set of circumstances and jumping around and changing plans all worked out in the end, because it was majoring in English that helped return me to my roots and realize that writing was what I wanted to do with my life.
Random Fact #4: If I could only eat one food forever, I would choose rice
What? Rice? Seriously? Won’t I starve?
Here’s the thought process behind that choice. I have to choose one food to eat forever out of all the possible food types. If that one food is the only thing I’m allowed to eat, I want it to be as versatile as possible. I want to be able to eat it over and over again without getting tired of it because I have options of how to fix it. Rice is that thing.
Rice is a staple in a number of cultures around the world and as such it has a lot of ways it can be prepared. Rice can be spicy, salty, cheesy, and have meaty flavors like chicken, beef, or pork. Plus it’s cheap, so I wouldn’t be breaking the bank eating the only thing I’m allowed to have for the rest of my life.
That said, I hope I never, ever have to make this decision, because eating only rice for the rest of my life sounds really unpleasant. I’m just trying to make the best of a bad situation, adventurers. Let me know in the comments what your “one food for life” would be.
Random Fact #5: I am clumsy
My clumsiness is not simply an internet affectation, adventurers. Everyone on the internet likes to talk about how clumsy they are, just like everyone on the internet is an introvert and everyone on the internet likes bacon and yada yada. I’m the real clumsy deal, folks. Liquid physical awkwardness pumps through my veins. The propensity to trip over things replaces the marrow in my bones.
My clumsiness stretches all the way back to my early childhood. I have a small scar over my eyebrow from a night where I rolled out of my mother’s bed and clipped my head on the corner of the nightstand. When I was three or four years old, I pulled an entire Christmas tree down on top of myself. These events were just the first steps on a long, clumsy journey.
In elementary school, I played football. I was pretty terrible, mostly because even as a kid I was a pretty pacifistic person. Despite my love of fantasy violence, I’m not a violent person, and I could never bring myself to hit people with any kind of force on the football field. Well one day my grandpa decided that I should learn to tackle someone properly. He set me in the living room and told me to get mad and tackle him. I tried. I failed. I tried again. I failed some more. Finally, he got me riled up enough that I really smacked into him. I drove him backward into the door of the living room closet and splintered the frame. After that, my grandma had a pretty strict “no football in the house” rule.
Now for a middle school story. My first year of drama camp (yes, I went to drama camp, no, it is not like the Band Camp movies) occurred when I was pretty new to the whole puberty thing. I had just discovered girls and I wasn’t particularly experienced in looking at them in a way that was subtle. One day at lunch, a particularly cute young lady walked by, and while rudely staring I managed to walk face first into a stone column, knocking myself firmly to the ground and sending my tray full of food to the floor as well. While I don’t particularly remember the girl noticing, some guys at the table right beside the post definitely noticed why I hit the pillar. They laughed, I blushed, it was awkward, and I had a mess to clean up.
In high school I went on a mission trip to Vermont, and I stayed in the house of this really nice older gentleman. Now to understand my feelings towards this fellow, I have to tell a small story. I’d met his mother the year before on a similar mission trip. She was super nice, but she’d cooked meatloaf for me for dinner one night and I really hated meatfloaf. I didn’t say something rude to her or anything like that, but basically all I remembered about her was hating the night that she cooked dinner. The next year rolls around, I’m living for a week at her son’s house, and guess what? She had died. So here I am and I already feel like a horrible person for hating his mother’s meatloaf. I felt kind of guilty and I wanted to make things right in a karmic sort of way, so I tried to do as many chores for the guy as I could. Over the course of the week, I managed to break not one but two different things in the guy’s house. I smashed a lightbulb with a ladder (ironically, I was trying to change an adjacent lightbulb), and then broke some of his glasses while trying to wash dishes for him. So not only did I hate his dead mother’s meatloaf, but every time I tried to do chores for him, I broke something. I hated myself that week, and I was very excited to get to go home.
These are just a few of the klutz highlights in a life full of clumsy. Interestingly enough, despite all the stuff that I break, I’ve never really broken anything that’s part of my body. I got a couple of fractures as a teenager playing catch with baseballs or footballs, but that was about it.
Well, there you have it. Five facts about me that you probably didn’t know before. Remember to comment with what food you’d want if it could be your only food forever, as well as letting me know if you’d like to see an Adventure Rules theme song in the future. Be sure to include a random fact about yourself as well!
This post is part of a challenge called the Multiplayer Challenge. If Adventure Rules gains seven new followers by the end of the week, I’ll play some video games with any willing followers and create fictionalized accounts of our battles for all the internet to read. If you enjoyed reading today’s post, be sure to share it with your friends to make sure that we reach our follower goal!