In order to de-clutter my About page (which is really meant to be more for my resumé), I’ve decided to remove the biography and create it as a series of blog posts. So without further ado, here’s the first part: Beginnings.
The best way to describe me is to start at the beginning. And there is no truer beginning for me than my birth. I had the honor of being born to my parents in North Carolina in an apartment. It was planned that way. What wasn’t planned, though, was that I’d be over a month late. I was supposed to be born March 30, but it was cold out, there was a blizzard, and I just wasn’t ready for those sorts of temperatures. So I stayed inside where it was delightfully warm. Until a month and a half later.
My head exploded. Only a moment later, much like the alien in Men in Black that had his head shot off, it grew back. Of course it didn’t really explode. But wouldn’t that be a great story? And, to make a long story short, I was born into my dad’s arms. I spent the next few years in such a state of mental and physical disrepair and development that I must simply believe my parents’ stories for the details.
Even once my memories began truly forming, most of them didn’t stick around for long. I remember going to a friend’s birthday party where the parents of the friend gave presents to all the visitors. I remember highlights of my first few years in school. I remember that I started drawing sometime around age four. I remember many things, but not most.
I do recall having moved back and forth between Washington and North Carolina during my first few years. Somewhere in there my sister was born. I know the exact day, but only because people tell me. Otherwise, I only remember growing up with her.
When I was a kid, I liked to draw. I also liked to run around outside and enjoy the world. I enjoyed gardening (playing in the dirt) and eventually cooking (eating). I liked, as most children did, causing trouble in my own little ways (invading my neighbor’s back yard). Not for the sake of causing trouble, mind you, but because much of the fun I had got me, and sometimes others I was with, into trouble.
I was also interested, as most children are, in video games. Particularly those on my family’s Atari 2600. Some time later, I became hooked on computer games. Initially it was Mac games like Shufflepuck and Lode Runner. After a while, my father tried teaching me how to use HyperCard. HyperCard was my first experience of what is commonly called a WYSIWYG editor. Unlike most modern web development, HyperCard required no code editing at all. If you wanted to edit code, like my father did, then you could. But you could create complex stacks (or programs) without ever writing a line of code.
Of course, I mostly used it to play with the train game and some other games. But I also used it to create some basic navigational stacks. Also, I played with KidPix. And a space shuttle flight simulator. I messed around with SuperPaint, and Scarab of Ra. Most of my time spent on the computer was playing around. I still spent a great deal of time outside, but with so much to do on the computer, why wouldn’t I spend more time inside?
When I was a teenager, I spent much of my time after school hanging out either in the computer labs at my high school, or at Evergreen State College. You see, they had much better computers than what we had at home, and I wanted to play with and modify a game called Escape Velocity. I also spent a fair amount of time online.
One summer while I was hanging out at Evergreen State College, a math teacher (Mr. Nadelson, I believe) from my high school came in and started teaching a class. Despite that I wasn’t in the class, he didn’t ask me to leave. It was because of that, that I was able to learn about one of the earliest versions of Photoshop (I believe it was Photoshop 4?). It still didn’t strike me as being as useful as SuperPaint, but my sentiments on that did eventually change.
This post was written by Mikal