18 years of experience described in, what, an hour?

The other day I got an assignment from one of my teachers inviting me to submit a brief one-paragraph autobiography of sorts to introduce myself to the class.

My first thought: Great! A chance to plug Da Blog! For you see, at the time Da Blog still registered as having zero visitors happening by. (That seems to have changed this weekend, though. Congrats to all six of the visitors who have happened by since Friday! What led you here, though?)

As I do with almost everything, though, I procrastinated until this evening, planning on doing something I never got around to doing. As I sat down to write it, though, I realized that in my first post I presented to you a portrait of me frozen in time. I haven’t given the backstory behind my life that would add a palpable, possibly essential, dimension of context to what I say here. I gave you where I was on one day in December 2006, but not where I was in the eighteen and a half years before then.

So, then: a brief version of the story of my life.

I was born in Seattle… well, technically I was born in a suburb of Seattle, but my parents lived in Seattle so I lived in Seattle for my first five or so years of life. During this time we lived in a living space in the basement of another house. (It sounds more dirt-poor than it is. It was actually fully furnished and lit and everything.)

When I was five, my parents moved to Los Angeles and lived in an apartment in the Venice neighborhood (as in Venice Beach) south of Santa Monica. My dad, heretofore an aspiring stand-up comedian, got jobs as extras in TV shows (some episodes of Babylon 5) and movies (Forrest Gump). After a year, the market research firm my mom had worked at became desperate, and she moved back to the Seattle area, taking me with her. We lived with her parents just outside Issaquah, another Seattle suburb.

After another year my dad came back up as well, and we rented a house in the same neighborhood as the house we first lived in when I was born. I would have been about seven, so this would be in 1995. It was during this time that I first got a computer for full-time use (as opposed to mooching off ones in Mom’s office, just in time for Windows 95 to be on it. I quickly became addicted, especially after discovering the Internet.

It was also during this time that I took a stand against a teacher I really didn’t like by basically not doing anything all day at school. I finished up second grade being home-schooled by my dad. That summer our landlords decided to either sell the house or rent it to someone else (I forget which) and we had to move again, this time staying in Seattle but moving across the freeway. After having never lived in any house for more than a year since I was five, I would stay in this house all the way up to college, and my mom still lives there.

I was put in another school, but was taken out again after one or two months. In late November I was put in a special-ed room at yet another school and started riding in those small buses you probably have associated with special-ed at some time or another.

My dad, having had a taste of acting, directed and starred in a super-low budget film that looks like it was shot on a camcorder and not on film around 1998. Filmmaking has been his life’s calling since then, and he plans to move back to LA later this year. After getting rave reviews with his first film, he decided to make another film with a higher budget, planning to shoot some scenes in the high school I would ultimately attend early in my freshman year. That film has yet to move very far beyond the point it was then since then, and in 2006 he ultimately made another incredibly low-budget film. He has taken much ribbing from me about that movie, and it has become our family’s equivalent of the sitcom dad who always stakes fame and fortune on hitting the winning lottery ticket.

After elementary school I went to middle school, in a place right across the street from my preschool home, and at first spent basically all my time in the special ed room again. The effort to “mainstream” (the move to verb every unverbed word strikes again!) me began almost immediately, and by the end of sixth grade instead of having all but one period in the special ed room I was spending all but one period out of it, which would be the pattern throughout middle and high school.

Meanwhile my parents got divorced, which at first seemed like a divorce on paper only, but it eventually led to Dad moving out of the house. Mom got tired of the “Dilbert“-like course of business at the market research firm and started training for network certification. Once she was done with that, she took a job as a technical support worker at Seattle University, which had the added side effect of making tuition for me when it was time for me to go there absoultely free. Which, in turn, made it possible for me to even consider it in the first place. While waiting for the Ever-Absent Movie Contract, Dad took jobs as a cook, working at one area pizza place first as a delivery guy and then a pizzeria cook for many years, until last year, when he left to become a manager at another pizza place. (Why not the place he’d been working for for years? For the same reason Mom left the market research firm.)

After middle school I went to high school, and after high school I went to college, and I’m really skipping over a lot of things that happened along the way. I’m sure some of those things will trickle out over the course of Da Blog. For example, two of the five colleges I applied to were in LA, so I accompanied Dad on a trip down there in late 2005, which he spent trying to grease the movie wheels and I spent rediscovering the place I hadn’t been in for over a decade.

So, that’s my life. On an unrelated, and yet somehow not, note, expect me to have a lot of trouble ending blog posts, but hey…

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