Monday, October 15, 2007

Lack of leading

At Horizon Church, I stepped down from leadership.
I told a group of friends that I no longer can have the label "link group leader" applied to me.

Some may say I just wrote the same thing, 2 different ways. I say there is a significant difference between these two phrases. Words have power, and people choose words that best fit a meaning they want to convey.

The very fact it's fallen into fashion to say that link group leaders are "raised" to leadership or that they "step down" seems in conflict with the idea originally told to me that new link group leaders are people whom are already leading, they are just given the label.

How long do I have to be absent from leading a link group to not be a link group leader?

How long do I have to be absent from leading in my life to no longer be a leader?

End Of Line.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How many starts until it sticks...

I've made multiple attempts to make a blog post; stopping each time and either scrapping my ramblings or saving it as a draft that will never be published.

My thoughts on this are: it's better to err on the safe side of not posting anything if I think it may be controversial, ranting, or pointless. But I think I've been "too safe" and have allowed myself to be disconnected from anyone who wants to keep tabs on me through my blog exposure. So here I am blogging with reckless abandonment, loads of transparency, and (most likely) some inappropriateness.

Marriage has been hard. I've had 30 years to determine how I want to act, clean, decide what events to attend, etc... and it's all out the window. Same for Melissa (minus a few years). On the plus side, I think we're doing a good job addressing our rough spots and expect it to get easier in year 2. We'll see.

What hasn't helped our marriage is our church: Horizon Church of Towson. I love Horizon, and believe it's the best church in the Northern Baltimore area, but have experienced our greatest weakness: married couples. I can't go into specifics without inappropriately calling out people; but I can say I'm doing my best to see it through thanks to:
Outside of Horizon, my close circle of geek guy friends (my groomsmen) have been consistently interactive with Melissa and I. Perhaps this interactiveness is so prominent because I'm now in their group of married folks, or perhaps it's just my realization of how active they have always been has changed due to others now infrequently reaching out, but whatever the reason, I'm thankful for them.

It's funny too, because right now, in this transition, the one thing I'm not pushing for is new friends. I almost feel like I need to take stock of the communities I'm a part of, the ones Melissa is a part of, and figure out how we each now fit in them before I want to add more individuals to the mix.

So that's what I've been pondering the last few months. How long until I feel ready to welcome new people to my life? Will the people at church who don't understand how to empower, encourage, and help a newly married couple grow in the community instead of chase them away? Will I continue to make infrequent blog posts?

Let's see...

End Of Line.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tron movie article

My brother sent me an awesome article that reminisces on the movie "Tron" over at Ain't It Cool News. I too own the Tron shoes, an original still from the movie (thanks to Bill, and a gaggle of friends), as well as have a remake of the post hanging in my living room. Oh there's the name change as well; which had some inspiration from the movie. ;)

I got the job at Breakaway. I start on May 7th.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Making it through the GameDev gauntlet

game graphicAt a gathering in early February, a friend of mind heard my latest IT contract was coming to an end in March. She said, "You know we're hiring at BreakAway [Games]."

As that statement slowly sunk in, I realized that if I was going to risk an attempt at jumping into the game industry via an existing studio, now would be my short window of opportunity. And so since February 12, I've been in the BA hiring Gauntlet.

I wasn't at all prepared, as my ex-room mate (and former BA employee) told me that his interview process was coming in one day for a few hours, answering some technical and design questions then being hired. The processes I helped establish at Prometric and on some contract gigs where much more rigorous then when he had described. What I didn't know is that the process at BA has changed...

Two phone interviews and a weekend take-home exam later, I was invited in for some face-to-face interviews. That happened yesterday, from 10am to 4:30pm.

While the reality was I spent all day at an "interview", it had felt more like I was with friends, geeking out on gaming technology talk. Time flew by, as none of the questions were about ASP.NET business apps, but instead about my gaming passions and then grilled with technical questions related to these passions.

I should hear back today or Monday about their decision.

Friday, March 23, 2007

No longer a 30's newbie...

In a few weeks I will be 31. My 30th birthday came and went without much fanfare, and it occurred while attending a friend's wedding in Texas; and a wedding is more important than a birthday in my humble opinion. At the same time I now feel some remorse that I didn't encourage a large bash to mark this era in my life.

22nd birthday partyOne of the best moments in my life was from celebrating a birthday. It happened my senior year in college, when my friends threw a surprise 22nd birthday party for me within the last hour of my birthday. About 30 people just flooded into John and my room and a party started out of no where. The best gift was daquiri mix, ice, and vodka for me to mix drinks for my friends. Being an "acts of service" guy, and having my friends serve me (by making it easy to serve them) was just awesome.

The goal this year is to celebrate with a house party.

This is going to be tricky because lots of friends aren't dancers, and when I mean house party I mean "house music party". It's been so long since I've danced... and even longer since I've performed. Too many times I re-watch the clip Tiffany took of me performing at Alpha Omega 3 years ago. It's time to move forward with my music.

On the note of techno music (and to jump away from self reflecting), I learned about the world's most important 6 second track, the "Amen Break". I picked this up while reading through the forum posts on my favorite music site,

Weh, the post redeems itself with some educational value at the end. ;)

End Of Line.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How many geeks does it take to fix a server?

I'm stumped. My web-server (Microsoft's IIS 6.0) is corrupting pretty much every binary file it transmits. I first noticed this when AVI's from would have static introduced or wouldn't play at all. Then I realized all ZIP files from any of my sites weren't working too.

The real kicker is that my network of fellow computer geek friends are stumped as well. This is huge, as 2 of these guys are network techs and they live and breath this stuff... with pimped out networks at home. They don't just punch out of work for the day and try to forget what they do; they love it! And they are baffled.

This entry is happening to vent, and potentially have that one person come along who knows what the problem is and comment / e-mail me. After various searches through Google and Microsoft's KB articles, I don't know what else to do except either
  1. Format the system and re-install Win2003 and IIS
  2. Install Linux (or keep with Win2003) and Apache

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The point of all this.

Back in October 1998, before the term "blog" had become mainstream, I created a "News" section on my web-page. The purpose was to keep friends up-to-date as to what I was doing. It served me well with frequent updates until February 2005. Then I stopped, and took it all down.

I was about to turn 29, just a year away from 30. I had an overwhelming desire to deconstruct myself, my life, and my outlook. The results were more grim than I had hoped:

  1. I had worked for the same company (ignoring a name change from a corporate take-over) for 6 years and hit a glass ceiling. My team mates (who hit the same ceiling) had found better jobs else-where; why hadn't I even tried?

  2. My dreams of being in the game industry were still just dreams. I had done nothing to pursue a game development job other than a short stint leading the Open Source Zelda project.

  3. I had no idea what I wanted in terms of a significant other; and had just recently damaged a friendship by selfishly acting on my own immediate needs without listening to my inner voice.

...the list goes on but those were some highlights.

So I blew away my web-site's blog and photos. Then I proceeded to destroy all evidence of who I was on the net, short of canceling accounts. (I knew that someday I would most likely repopulate my MySpace and other online profiles.)

All this to say I'm now 30, and working towards new goals. None of my issues in February 2005 still apply to me today; they are done and a whole new handful are on my plate.

As I face these issues, I'll update this blag. Expect to frequently be reading about Christianity, coding, techno, and of course geekdom. And as of this post, you are one of the few people to even know this corner of the internet exists, at least according to my Google Analytics:

So enjoy the time we have together here, before everyone learns that Tronster (and not Tronster) has a blog again.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

In which way to spread the Word?

A question I have been asking myself since late 2005...

"God, with all the gifts and talents you have given me... what's the best manner in which I can tell people about how awesome You are, and your message of love and forgiveness for the world?"

In 2002 it was easy. With a bunch of talented friends, we started throwing Christian Raves, and I even spearheaded the group Ictus Ichthus Productions. But back then I was short sighted and wanted to ramp up to monster 1000, 2000, or 5000 people raves... all about worshiping Christ instead of the DJ. Looking back I realized these events, while small in attendance (I think 130 was the biggest # we pulled in), were huge in terms of impact on peoples' lives. The bonding between the DJs, other Christian Dance promoters, and myself has established many friendships I still cherish today. I still receive e-mail from random people who attended our events thanking us for providing a way they could worship God that was relevant to them.

If we had persisted, we may have grown larger but eventually the drive was no longer there. In prayer I didn't have a sense that this was where I was to continue to place my energies. And so the last event was in 2004.

Around the same time I had become increasingly involved with my church community, Horizon Church of Towson. Eventually co-leading a "Link Group" (small discussion group), and even started preaching on Sunday mornings. I loved doing this, and in early 2006 had quit my computer programming job of 7 years to decide if this was where God wanted me to spend my time and talents. By the middle of that year my depleted savings were a good sign that I needed to do something for an income, as just the possibility of a staff position at my church wouldn't be viable in the budget until 2007. So I went back to the computer world, but at the same time started to pursue a dream of mine since 3rd grade.

It's February 2007, and I have been doing consulting for a little over half a year. I love the projects I am working on, but even more I am enjoying the thought of getting my own game development company up and running. All the legal, and most of the business work, is completed; leaving the small task of creating a prototype for the world changing game development system. I feel I've been dragging my feet though, because of this one question of what does God want me to do?

Doors have been opening (in a surprisingly large number) for my game company endeavors. I also am finding peace in something Rick Faint, a successful CEO, told me over breakfast one morning: it's that we are in the position of being pastors to our company, and have the power to influence the culture around it. I've heard others (non CEOs) speculate this possibility before, but as he's actual done this (multiple times) there is more weight to his words.

So by blagging this, and seeing my history unfold in my own words, I am affirmed that I'm making the right decision in spending time to get Geek House Games, up and running. If you know someone with VC or Angel funding ties, please help connect me with them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Desire for life efficiency

I like to be efficient.

Take the shortest route when driving between places. When writing code I hate to make an inefficient routine. Why quickly spew out a slow, sloppy routine when a little time spent on planning can create something beautiful, and efficient? If the routine is going to suck, I'd prefer to not write it in the first place.

I also like people.

I love hanging out sharing in life; sharing in struggles; sharing in ideas... I particularly love this when it happens over coffee. When investing in people's lives, I still have a desire for efficiency. This means getting the most out of the time I am spending with the other person. I try not to let my borderline ADD interfere with listening, and am always cross referencing my internal Rolodex to see if I can help build some additional connections. (I also love connecting people.)

But while I enjoy meeting people to talk about life, I despise repeatedly meeting to talk about a project that fails to materialize.

This week...

I sent a frustrated e-mail to some friends about such a project; a web-site that I've helped maintain which has been long overdue for an overhaul. My frustration stems from how the group has become inefficient with meetings and little action; and that this situation happened to me 7 years ago.

Back in the day, I was on the technology committee at my old church. Once a month about 10 of us would meet for 2 hours to discuss technology related issues. At one meeting, a web-site was proposed. By the next meeting I had a mock up. Everyone in the committee had an opinion, from page layout to color-scheme to navigation tree. Additionally there were opinions on the the ISP, domain name, and other aspects of the web-site. For 6 months I continued to solely revise the mock up, based on the group's suggestions, and for 6 months the cycle repeated. Eventually I got fed up with the inefficiency.

The logic in my head was clear, "Talk is cheap, and brings no support. Action takes time, and brings results."

I had decided to stop making mock ups and just built the web-site. Then I paid, for a domain name and ISP. I made the site live, and presented it to the committee. Then I quit attending the monthly meetings. Every month I valued that 2.5 hours of time that was no longer being used inefficiently

So here I am in the same place I was 7 years ago. I don't want to just fix the web-site, I want my friends to understand the inefficiency. I realize most people are not annoyed at this like I am; except for perhaps Scott Adams, who's notorious for slamming meetings.

Perhaps this is a first step in getting my voice back out there. I suppose blogging again can't hurt unless I start telling everyone what I had for breakfast (biscuits), the mood I'm in (tired), and the song I'm listening to (nothing). ;)

End Of Line.