There are many times where I think back to fond memories in high school where I think of close friends or things that happened. These memories are sometimes so vivid that I feel like they are fresh and just occurred the day before. It is hard to imagine how ever that these memories are 10 years old or even older. I was able to reminisce many of these memories and even several I completely forgot about a few weeks ago with old friends. It really is hard to imagine that over 10 years ago, I graduated from high school and even more hard to imagine that we have now had our 10 year high school reunion weekend. Yes, you read that correctly, Weekend!!! A three hour small gathering is not long enough to catch up with old friends and find out what everyone is up to these days. So our high school reunion committee made it into a small weekend event. A good choice if you ask me because picking a date when everyone is free and able to attend is difficult especially at our age when so many of our friends are getting married and money is still a major factor in plans.
Since I was in AJROTC, I have followed several different organizations for Veterans. The two I check on regularly are POW/MIA and Honor Flight. POW/MIA helps track down lost soldiers and to provide families with closure as well are remembrance. Honor Flight helps organize and bring World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans to DC to see the memorials dedicated to them. They help plan and organize transportation and medical needs while traveling. I am a big fan and supporter of both of these organizations and will at times go to events to volunteer my time.
For the week of Fourth of July this year my best friend from school flew in and visited me. We had a blast checking out many different museums and monuments around DC. It was the best week I have had this year and in a long time. Since I rarely see any of my friends let alone be able to go to different sights and explore new things; I really cherish these moments and looking back on these really give me hope and happiness.
I am a nerd. For many years I have been called a nerd. I have been teased and bullied for it. I am proud to call myself a nerd however, this name does not hurt me but instead empowers me and makes me different. The names geek and nerd don’t harm me and I think of them as names that make someone special and actually more interesting.
In my eyes there are many defining attributes that makes someone a nerd. Now a geek and nerd are two different things. A geek is one who follows one specific genre such as a certain game, movie series, comic, fandom, or narrative. A geek is well versed in a lot of the world, history, and defining points and arguments for their love.
I think of a nerd as being someone who can master many different fandom bases, for me I am very knowledgeable in many different realms. I grew up on Star Trek and have seen every episode of every series multiple times as well as understand a lot of the background, history, and details. My main love is Firefly and I am apart of a lot of the Browncoats movements. I am also one for Star Wars, Dr. Who, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, and hitchhikers guide. That is just the scifi part, also enjoy many other shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Castle, Dexter, Trauma, Chuck, Office, Parks and Rec, the simpsons, and many others. Anime is something I also enjoy such as Sgt Frog, Shin Chan, Ghost in the Shell, Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note, Bleach, Pokemon, Yugio, Naruto, and Dragonball Z.
Not only do I follow tv shows but movies, comics, and video games. I grew up on Sonic, Calvin and Hobbes, Batman, green lantern, ironman, Thor, and Donald Duck comics and still enjoy reading them. When it comes to video games I have tried and played most of them, not so much recently due to time. I still love to play world of Warcraft, starcraft, legend of zelda, Mario kart, and age of empires. As for movies there are to many to mention but my top three are serenity, Simpsons movie, and Avengers.
I wanted to give you a list because a geek will focus on only one to a handful of these but a nerd is wide spread and verse in very many. This alone doesn’t make one a nerd however there are still many more aspects to it. Nerds are typically loners who have very few friends because of the lifestyle. We tend to get wrapped up in all of these different worlds and enjoy them that we don’t like the real world.
Nerds are also scholars and have a massive knowledge base to pull from. Typically nerds are great at the logical applications, math,and sciences but have knowledge in history and common knowledge. I am well verse in the sciences and have been to large science fairs and won. I am great with computers and fixing things but also having the understand of how things work. True nerds respect intelligence and if they don’t know something they will learn and discover. In the TV show Big Bang Theory, the characters have masters and doctorates in science but retain knowledge of history, facts, and other fields. I enjoy this show because it gives a nice taste of what it is to be a nerd and challenges as well as benefits.
A lot of people however call themselves nerds however they are nothing close to it. There was recently a PSA that was released on the net of being a nerd. These people who think they are a nerd are just really part of a fad. If someone says they play video games and Pokemon ok they might be but then again challenge them and really see what they know. These people wear large dark rimmed glasses thinking that’s what makes you a nerd, it’s not, I had to wear glasses due to eyesight and I like thin metal rims. There are so many differences from people claiming to be nerds and those who truly have been nerds all their life.
The video also states that nerds don’t like to be called nerds and that it is hurtful. For this I will agree, along time ago back in grade school I hated the term. Today I will say that I have grown to the title and actually consider it somewhat of a term of endearment. I say that if you can stand up as make a name something positive then you are stronger and I know I am intelligent and capable of a lot.
I am writing this because I want people to understand my meaning of the term nerd and that I am proud to be someone weird and different in a lot of good ways. You have the ability to be anything and I am comfortable with who I am. The true nerds will rule the world not the fake ones.
I have three role models which I look up to and conduct my self in a manor that would bring honor to their legacies. These are not athletes or movie stars nor are they some internet or reality star. My models are ones who lived for knowledge and the betterment of man kind. They are known for their works and advances in the humanities and sciences.
Today surprised me with someone I have not seen in several years and a person whom I always looked up to, Mr. John Porter. For those of you who don’t know Mr. Porter was the principle at TC Williams High School from 1984 till 2006… 22 amazing years. He is a native to Alexandria and was brought up through Alexandria City Public Schools system. After college he came back to Alexandria and work at the schools. To find someone who has dedicated so much time and has really made an impact to students is a real hidden gem. He always knew peoples names and even their family. He was also there for some of the most scary and dangerous moments in our high school career and he really helped us through them. He was there for us during 9/11, the DC Sniper, terrifying hurricanes, and even the deaths of some of my fellow students. He was a rock to us and I greatly admire him.
Ahhh the Barber Shop a mans way of relaxing and making him self feel pretty. This is one of the few ways I like to cheer myself up and make me feel good. Anyway I have a big date or interview or meeting I go to this one barber shop in Springfield. This started back when I was in AJROTC, a few of us on days of inspection or before a trip for competitions we would go to this shop and get a fresh high and tight cut and a Irish shave.
So the other day a friend and I were working out and we were discussing work. He told me how he is working several jobs. Now he is happy with the work he is doing which is great. Well during our conversation it was brought up how a lot of our friend are either is crappy jobs or still can’t find work even with a degree. A good chunk of my friends work in the food services either as chefs or as servers and waiters. Another group of my friends has a hard time even finding work that will look good on a resume.
That is where it hit me how happy I am with the path I took. See during high school I was in JROTC and was ready to enlist in the US Army as a combat medic. After some debacles I ended up deciding to work full-time out of school. I had worked in many different fields including roadside and accident response, working at Apple, and even working in some corporate auditing jobs. Most of these jobs and others lasted for atleast a year.
The benefits for waiting was that I was able to get some early work experience under my belt. I also gained a sense of maturity and discipline to do my work which helped me in college. I now work at a historical research firm 9am-5pm weekdays. This is a great job for me to have and I know my previous work experience and my newly gained work ethics also helped me land this job. Being able to work hard at this job and actually enjoy going to work is a great feeling.
I know I am lucky to have a job like this. It pays way more than minimum wage and that I have a steady hours to rely on. For my friends who are working these late shift or whom have minimum wage jobs all I can say is work your hardest and even if the boss or coworkers piss you off just stick with it because it will pay off in the end.
Five years ago today was a very tragic and disturbing massacre at Virginia Tech in which 32 people died from a gunman. I remember it like it was yesterday because I was down there visiting some friends that weekend and was on my way back to stop at Mary Baldwin before heading back to DC. I heard it come over the radio and also saw swarms of police driving down I-81 towards Blacksburg that morning. My best friend Ahmed also happened to be down there that weekend as well and had just left before the first shots. It was very chaotic and scary as to what was happening and wondering if my friends were ok and safe. I turned around and sped back to VT and checked in with some of my friends. Ultimately I brought a few back with me to DC to be with their families. I know I was not there and did not have for fear for my life but I feared for all the people I had grown up with from TC and wanted to make sure they were ok. Even after five years there are lawsuits and more investigations going on about what Virginia Tech could have done differently.
All I know is that my friends are safe and alive and that it was a crazy person that put them into harms way. For those who have passed we remember and today we are all Hokies.
If I won a million dollars today I would…
So today is my 25th birthday and here is a look back at the last 25 years and memories…
-1- baptized in Finland, started to walk at 7 months, I have a vague/not sure if it is real memory of my grandfather holding me as a large white cottage is delivered to our back yard
-2- first cross country skis…
-3- Harri was born and I wouldn’t even look at him lol
-5- started to play soccer, cracked my head open hence my bald spot
-6- learned to swim, took first trip to Florida with grandparents to the Everglades (grandmother freaked out at the python.)
-9- first kiss with Tita god she was beautiful but she moved a few years later
-10- broke my leg arm falling out of a tree at blue park
-13- I won 1st place at regionals for the science fair for a math experiment i did, could have gone to nations but ended up not going
-16- started my first job at Safeway as a courtesy clerk (bagger)
-18- worked at best buy, senior in high school, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in Jrotc, first girlfriend Natalie, lost virginity, got my Truck (Doris still have with 278,000 miles)
-19- tired to enlist in the Army got shot down at MEPS for medical … To much acne, got a job as a corporate auditor for Safeway (god I got a great job but didn’t take is seriously wish I did.)
-20- worked at Vector Marketing for a few weeks selling Cutco knives (didn’t make any money but good knives.) got a job working at Auto Rescue doing emergency roadside service and accident response which I loved that job and stayed there for a while.
-21- got a job at Apple
-22- felony, gained and lost the best thing ever in my life I love you Sam always, decided to go to college, attended Finlandia University (yep FU) joined the soccer team
-23- rented a awesome house just a block from school
-24- hurt my leg
-25- Back in Dc working at a research firm for military lawsuits
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of September 11th 2001 and the worlds largest rescue mission. As I am sitting here at my desk reflecting on the fact that I was so close to the attacks and yet I am here and alive; I look around and see many others who didn’t find out about the attacks till much later in the day or just watched it on the news yet had no personal connection to the travesty. Living in DC I saw the smoke coming from the pentagon, visiting the World Trade Center, I realize how massive and awesome the twin towers were. Over 50,000 people worked daily in the Trade Centers and out of all of the attacks only 2,976 people passed; to me this is a major undertaking by the rescue operations in NYC and DC.
As I asked people yesterday were they where at the time of the attacks most barely remember it or were aware but didn’t know the magnitude of the devastation – yes they know the pentagon and twin towers were attacked but many didn’t know the final count of who passed (2,976), the number of firefighters (343), or even that there was a fourth plane flight 93. Yesterday there was supposed to be a tribute and reading of the names of those who died on the attacks; yet i personally was disgusted at how people never came out to show their respects, or that there was no personal connection and that it was just another day to them. Many people didn’t want to read the names asking why them, why do we have to be the ones to do this… Well the reason is that your an American, this was an attack on your home and could have been one of your family members who passed.
Yes it has been 10 years but I feel people are starting to forget (at least those who weren’t there) or don’t care as much as they should. I wish I was back in DC for the ceremonies and moment of silence. For some reason and I dunno why but it was as if people around me didn’t care or didn’t cross their mind. The school should have done something big yesterday for the community, it doesn’t matter if the school wasn’t hit or hurt, its a show of respect to those who did.
I know this is a rant but this is how I felt! I was upset at people laughing at the reading of the names, that none came out to hear the names read, that persons did not want to be apart of it, and that people just didn’t stop to think or reflect that its 10 years and were are we now… are we any better than before, are we safer, are we in a better place with others and do we respect those who stop to save someones life when they don’t need to be risking themselves?
Today has again reestablished my view of our generation. Like every generation before mine we have grown up with different fears, from slavery, to world wars, to nuclear conflicts, and now to terrorism without political boundaries.
My generation has not learned the duck in cover but rather shelter in place… These words have come about and for me meant countless hours of drills and alerts. Since 9/11 when I first saw that smoke bellowing up from the Pentagon, I knew things were changing but I didnt know how extreme it would go. Living in the DC area and going to TC Williams High School… was both good and bad; the good I was in an excellent place to learn and discover… the bad however is that we are target #1. Our school went thru 9/11, DC sniper, anthrax alerts, shootings, and even bombing at the Pentagon.
My generation has had to accept the fact of the lost freedoms to stay free and today was another example of it. This morning there was a threat at the Pentatgon and there for the whole city when to lock down. There where police barricades and check points, many many military and police helicopters in the sky and low flying fighter jets (low enough that my ears popped and I could see the pilot.) Ofcourse this is nothing new to us here in DC but to my friend around the rest of the country this seems extreme, personally I feel safer when I see those flying around; the fire, ems, and police command trucks out; and even the lockdowns of some areas.
Ofcourse traffic this morning was a nightmare with so many roads closed due to the threat and the inconveniences but what would you rather have: that 5 minute trip to the pentagon to work and get inside and blown up of wait two hours in traffic to get the its safe command???
So on 4-16-2007 a shooting occurred at Virginia Tech. Now ofcourse I was not enrolled at Tech but here is how that day went for me. On Saturday 4-14 I drove down to Mary Baldwin to visit Carmen and Jeincy. I hung out with them for that weekend. On that Sunday night I drove further down on I-81 to Tech since my best friend was down at Tech hanging out with some friends from TCW. So that early morning after seeing a few people I started to drive back to Alexandria and while back on the road I heard over WTOP that there was a shooting and I went and called my friends. If anything I know that I was lucky and for some reason our class has gone thru hell.
The class of TCW 05 has gone thru 9/11, the dc sniper, Katrina, the shootings at tech and so many more losses.
Also on a side note; this weekend was the Kelly Cares Run and it is to support children in Alexandria. It is in memorial to a wonder woman who I have known since 1st grade. Her name was Kelly Swanson and her twin is Katie. Kelly passed away just after our graduation and was a great loss to all of us. I still remember many different times we had such as the time in 5th grade we preformed in the Magic School Bus song challenge., or the time at all night grad, or when we marched in the 4th grade parade as safety patrols. I miss her very much even to this day. Anyways her walkathon was this weekend back in Alexandria and I really wish I could have been home and walking in something that really means alot to me.
Recently a few of my friends (Danielle, Kelsey, and Brooke) have been coming over and hanging out with me watching the Big Bang Theory. If anything this has cheered me up alot and means alot to me. I didnt really have many friends or people to hang out with growing up. Only at TC did I meet Naeroby, Ahmed, and Antonio and actually get out and have some fun. I dont get to see or hang out with them much anymore with them being in other states and always working. At Apple I hung out with Ben and Kyle but i dont really keep in touch with them anymore. Here at Finlandia for the first year I hung out with Timmy, Zach, Steve, and Fons. They introduced me to alot of people at Finlandia and we had plenty of fun playing soccer but now they are not here anymore.
So as for these these 3 lovely women, their company means alot and really cheers me up for the fact that they want to hang out and get to know me. I have been happy with their company in the past few days with every problem and piece of hard-ache that has been happening. These three women are awesome to hang out with and to get to know (altho at time the sex talk and the shit bout boys does get um weird…)
A lone young Belgian waits to salute Canadian Troops who were attending a memorial service. The “Eyes Right” command is the highest compliment Troops on parade can pay and is reserved for dignitaries at reviewing events. Being a Cadet Colonel back at TC Williams, I understand the importance and significance of this command. This just makes me proud.