From Whelp to Wyrm – A Retrospective

Time has been interesting to me, take a trip back and let us review the tapestry that is my life.


Life is an interesting thing… We grow, we change, we evolve, and become dynamic beings. Joy and sorrow; blessings and hexes; life and death sculpt us into amazing people. These are all woven on our illustrious tapestries that Fate sews on her loom. I was oddly inspired to write this from an Ask Reddit thread saying “What one thing about [present you] now would surprise [past you from 10 years ago]?” and with my birthday coming up… I wanted to review my life beyond 10 years and see what has changed.


As a kid, I was sadly raised a little bit on the xenophobic side thanks to my parents. “Don’t trust anyone“, “Any friend can be an enemy the minute you don’t bend a knee to them“, “Asians are pretty trustworthy“, and the like were things I grew up with. It wasn’t until I moved into central Plano that I would slowly make friends outside of the Asian spectrum… But never would I imagine that the majority of my friends would not be Asian ever and find that some Asian folks can be catty as all hell. The worst irony was that I would lose a good deal of Asian friends from dramatic fallout and when it happened… I felt free. Today, I have made friends that will last me a lifetime and found friends from my past that really were the truest friends I could ask for. The friends I have now… If I had to sacrifice my life to eternally defend their happiness, I would do it with no regrets in my heart.


I think the past me would be surprised that I have been able to keep playing video games as a professional working adult. Especially considering that as a kid and teen, my family would always say “When you get to the real world, you will never have time for games“. I still remember sleepless nights as a kid playing Final Fantasy VII on my gray PlayStation and doing things like turbo-grinding experience to clone Knights of The Round materia to make the end game easier. Now, I almost have a deeper love and appreciation for games as a medium that almost has critical value like film. Presently, I can be seen spending time…


  • Reliving stylized Chinese history in Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition on my PS4
  • Chatting with a childhood friend while playing Titanfall on the Xbox One wall running, piloting a Titan, and just having a grand time shooting grunts and opposing pilots
  • Having a blast with 3 other friends playing Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U trying to kill the scoreboards
  • Putting serious time into Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on PS3 with Willa watching me play her absolute favorite Final Fantasy for the first time in my life
  • Chasing arcade nostalgia in DoDonPachi Saidaioujou on my Xbox 360 with an arcade joystick
  • Relaxing in my home office area on my 3DS playing Bravely Default for an old-meets-new JRPG experience
  • Laying in bed and playing Toukiden: Age of Demons on my Vita getting my demon slaying on
  • Taking a remixed trip in time playing Rise of the Triad  on my gaming computer


The list could go on… Much like my younger self, I still do have marathon gaming days where I will stay up almost 24 hours just to try to crunch out a game to the finish. I have an amazingly vast library that I (as a younger lad) could have only dreamed of and I am very sure the younger me would be in utter shock-n-awe. I think the bigger thing that would probably bring a tear to my younger self is that I have never forgotten how much of an influence the arcades have had on me and I now own arcade joysticks for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. I see them as “relics” that pay tribute to how a sack full of tokens and a noisy arcade could help me escape the troubles of my past. As an adult who carries portable consoles in my work bag, built a stout (and out of date) gaming computer, and a range of both current (8th) and 7th generation of home gaming consoles… Just knowing that the ritual of playing games after school has continued/evolved into a post work day ritual now.


Another big shock that my younger self would probably have is that how I never stopped loving technology and I now work in the field of technology. My family wasn’t one for anything technology related. It was “weird” or too complex for them. I was always the tech support guy at home from the ripe age of 12 when we got our first PC. I went in not knowing very much to quickly advancing to things like understanding how entry level computer viruses were born and then to taking great fascination with repairing infected computers… Also, back in my youth, mobile phones were just beginning to show up in the hands of ordinary folks (where as they were an expensive item reserved for the business elite formerly). If I were to show my younger self in high school (age 16) my current Samsung Galaxy Note 3… I think my poor little mind would be in utter shock that the stuff parodied in sci-fi would eventually become reality.


On the realistic side… Finding out that the bright philosophy of “fighting for what is right for the world” and living under lofty ideals would only be an exercise in disappointment would probably be something that would cause the past me to question the ways of the world. Especially growing up and forming idyllic values… It’s a chaotic world and it can be unfortunately depressing.The line of good and bad is so blurred that when you hold noble ideals… sometimes watching them fall apart in front of you almost is demoralizing. It’s something I have had to come to terms with professionally and personally. It’s made me a little more cynical, but I haven’t lost the spark that has kept me true to myself and my principles.


Probably one of the more random things I would be shocked at is that I would actually own a daily driven sports car (Mazda MX-5) for almost 7 years of my life and all that I learned about good driving would be thrown out the window from it. Mostly, this will be due to the fact that I would rarely have the help of my father… Most of the car’s care would be in my hands and it would be up to me to ensure the car would have to be in tip-top shape to even be able to do any daily/professional obligations. The best way I can compare the the MX-5 is to a kung fu sifu… It was a nurturing teacher helping you find your talents, but at the same time… poor form and technique were not tolerated. It made you (as a driver) appreciate the hard work that goes into performance driving: the pedal pressure for the clutch is like that of a compound bow, the gear lever is short but firm in throw, and having no electronic aids (stability control, anti-lock brakes, power steering, etc) to force you to learn to be those as human powered skills while thinking much like a race driver. For me now, that car epitomized itself as a classroom for driving technique like a Skip Barber – School of Hard Knocks Edition for the former neophyte performance driver. It also was the car that helped me appreciate other cars for what they are and their merits. It was definitely a far cry from me entering the automotive world as a Honda enthusiast and slowly evolving to a Mazda fan who just loves fast/agile performance cars hailing from all the brands out there.


Lastly, I think the past me would be surprised that I’m not marrying an Asian woman and fell hard for the blonde bombshell that is Willa. As a kid, I only knew mostly only Asian folks and naturally when I was still trying to win over their approval… I skewed my dating preferences in favor towards Asian girls/women. While Aurelia (who is Asian) and me dated for many years, it simply wasn’t meant to be and we grew to be different people. After her, I would date a few more girls, but personalities wouldn’t mesh and things would always clash. It wasn’t until I met Willa that I finally had the courage to speak up to a woman that (I thought) was out of my league/normal: blonde, older, and a true geek to the core. It may have taken a journey, but I wouldn’t trade my past experiences (bad and good) that lead me to Jamie. I think my past self would probably be in as much shock and awe as I was when Jamie said “yes” to me asking to date her.


Overall, I really changed as a person and I-for-one am happy for it… I think my past self would be in disbelief that I am a little better than I was living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford my hobbies, finally redeeming back my face with my family, and soon to be marrying the most wonderful woman in the world. It’s just utterly staggering just seeing how things have come and I think my younger self full of doom-and-gloom would be in disbelief if I told him “Endure… It will get better, I promise” cause it does sound cliche and I know past me would have lashed out in response saying “How the fuck would you know?! It sucks NOW, dude! There’s no fucking light at the end of the god damn tunnel!” Little would past me know… The light at the end of the gloomy road would be almost blindingly positive.

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