Brothers

I have two younger brothers, Jordan and Ryan. I don’t really remember going to the hospital to see Jordan when he was born (I was 2 at the time), but I do remember Ryan (when I was 5). I really don’t have any brotherly jealousies–you know that feeling some children get as if they are losing the spotlight–but there was always the occasional tiff. Don’t get me wrong though, I have two of the greatest brothers in the world but just they weren’t short of their annoyances.

Annoyance #1 – The copy-cat
This was the first annoyance I recognized. Jordan was the primary culprit. It comes with brotherdom that there is almost always a time when your younger brother will try to imitate your every move. At first it can be kindof cool. You pretty much are the focus of this young kid’s world…but later on it just gets plain annoying. You always have to shoot it straight with them. “No, you cannot go with me and Andy. We are playing Cowboys and Indians and you would just make this game chaotic.” “No, both you and I cannot be a magician (my first profession in life) at the same time.” Later on in high school the copy-cat syndrome changed into music tastes. Nowadays I am happy to say that for the most part the copy-cat syndrome is gone and more often times than not I find myself copying them.

Annoyance #2 – Playing the drums at the most inopportune times
It just so happens that Jordan is a drummer. He is an amazingingly talented drummer. But I am sad to say that it was not always this way. There was a time–yes a time that lasted several years–when Jordan had a drumset that he would play with little to no training. And he had a knack of playing the set at the most inopportune times, like say when I was playing an old school Playstation game like 2Xtreme or say when I was watching the latest episode of the Batman Superman Adventures. It just so happened that the drumset was located in the den, the room that contained the only television and game station – aka the entertainment center of the universe for a young middle/elementary schooler. The worst part about the whole escapade was the fact that the drum hits were random. Later on his terror did get better, but there was the whole LOUDNESS factor of it all. When he practices you can pretty much forget about concentration on your Algebra II exam. The one positive benefit of it all for me was I learned to love headphones.

Annoyance #3 – Here, let me mess up your magic trick
I was always very fond of magic tricks growing up. I would always spend my limited allowance money on any magic trick I could get my hands on at the local Wal-Mart. You know, like the occasional trick deck of cards or the disappearing handkerchief fake thumb. Anyway, Jordan LOVED (this could be quite possibly an understatement) to mess me up in the middle of the trick. So say I was presenting the disappearing handkerchief to my parents, well he would come up and rip the fake thumb right off my finger. At one point it got so bad that I had to hide all of my magicians equipment away where he could not find it–less he destroy my next greatest act. There was one trick that I’m pretty sure he never figured out. I believe it was when I took a pencil and carefully placed it through a Styrofoam cup filled with water without allowing any water to drip…even after removing the pencil.

Upbringings

Artist-types, it takes one to know-one–or at least spot one quickly. My experience with “artist-types” started with my father, a multi-talented music pastor at a thriving Assembly of God church. For those of you who are not familiar with the Assemblies of God fellowship, the denomination is pentecostal, upbeat and the type that speaks in a “heavenly language” that can sometimes be interpreted. Needless to say as the son of a pentecostal music pastor I had a very unique upbringing that drifted somewhere between the son of popular musician and the social etiquette of a royal family. It really wan’t till I moved out of the house that I felt comfortable wearing jeans to church on a Sunday morning–something my mom continued to obligate after my parent’s divorce in high school.

As a son of a music pastor I was required to get involved in almost every church adolescent outing like children and youth choirs or attend special services. At that time I really didn’t care much for being forced into the youth choir. Basically anytime the church was open, I was problaby there and on my best behavior. I wasn’t much of one to push the boundaries as a pastor’s kid. I know some pastor’s kids are known to do that, but it really wasn’t in my nature. I’ve always been one to try to stick to the good side and not one to push boundaries–which is frankly funny considering my profession as an art director–aka: artist type. One of the few times I remember getting in trouble in church was when the church had a worship service on a Sunday night. I started goofing around with some of my friends in the pews–at least until my mom had a note delivered to me from the choir loft to let me know to “STOP”. Other than that I was a pretty good kid.

For most of my adolescent life I defined my identity with my father, and many in my surrounding community defined me as that. The son of the music pastor. Not much outside of that. I attended school at the small church-run private school, so my surrounding contacts with people were for the most part pretty limited. Unlike my best friend Andy, I’m a fairly introverted person. I kept quiet most of my childhood and was labeled somewhat shy.

My life completely changed the summer after my freshman year in high school. First, I found out that my dad was leaving his pastoral position at the church. Later that summer my parents told us that they were getting a divorce. I knew life was going to be different after that. It was also that summer that I started learning the tools of the design trade, primarily Photoshop. Before that I had dabbled in web development, building fan-sites on free hosting websites like Freeservers and Angelfire. The sites ranged from gaming to fingerboarding–practical occupations for middle-schoolers. I knew at that time that the future of my development as a web professional meant I needed to learn more about design. The real catalyst of the skills development that summer was a brand new custom-built machine that I put together with some of my friends. Before that my family had an extremely slow old Compaq that couldn’t handle Photoshop. Most of my work with Photoshop was done on computers at the church and with my dad leaving the ministry, that wasn’t going to be a very feasible option. The second catalyst happened when I quit playing football. I started playing football in middle school. In the previous season I was named as the most improved varsity player on the team. I started as a defensive end on the varsity team my freshman year at the private school. I got my butt kicked on a lot of plays, but the team was in dire straits for players. When I quit football that summer, I suddenly had a lot of time to start experimenting with web development and graphic design.