Disturbing the silence

It is the darkness Simon and Garfunkel sing of;
The steroid to my senses that creates thoughts without fences.
Like a mad horse without a saddle, my mind goes back to the battle,
And with that singsong rattle and unsolicited prattle,
The mind starts talking again.

As eyes close, vision clears, sometimes with tears
caused by the fears over the years, now, simply…
pixels on a screen placed there by machine interpreted… by you it now seems.

You may be the reason I type, but you are not the reason I write.
In my mind and in the night, such thoughts emerge with force.
These incredible and powerful feelings of such deep understanding,
stemming from the time allowed for leisure spent in mental seizure—without remorse.

This thinking hits a nerve, and the light once again takes hold.
I feel it, and behind the glasses and behind the face, it illuminates the hand.
I  value the cards, think of the bet, and fold.
Now these words, for a reason, not written in sand.

Parallel Perspective

We thought with emotions painted on paper,
Thoughts from a place devoid of structure,
Formed from disjointed views and parallel perspective,
Screaming to be heard but speaking to be ignored.

We knew the form and but not the function,
The words but not the meanings,
The sounds but not the feelings,
But this is not true.

The form was old and the function too,
And with the words, so too was true.
The sounds from our mind
Only insight of our time.

As a child looking up to the world,
We were parallel;
Not yet looking down,
But no longer gazing up.

Just to say a little about this, I just had what could very easily be described as a bad day. When I returned home, in an attempt to get my mind of what I had just been through, I cleaned my room. I am often seen by others as being unorganized, but in my own way I know where everything is. My desk is covered in useful material, all placed conveniently…see by others, my desk is covered in junk.

Anyway, as I was putting everything back where they “belong”, I came across a book. It was a compilation of poetry written by High School students from Spring 2009, and as I saw it I remembered that it was given to me because my work had been published. I took it off the shelf, sad down on the couch, and started flipping through the pages. I found mine eventually, and was shocked when I realized that I am proud of what I wrote. I was still in a bad mood, the whole drive home I had been thinking about how I had always been so naïve and continue to be, so I naturally assumed that I would cringe to read something I wrote in tenth grade.


So many people seem to know what to do,
So many people must live in a zoo,
So many people go along with the crowd
And so many people keep falling behind.
That world is so fake.
Someone smiles
Someone laughs
And someone knows it isn’t real,
That they don’t care,
That they won’t wait one moment to walk away,
And never see you again…’til the next day.

Oliver, Grade 10

I continued to flip through the pages, and I began to see that these were the thoughts of my generation as we grew up. These were thoughts from people who have now lived for more than half of their lives in a world that felt the shock of the attacks on September 11th,  and for nearly 2/3 of their years we have been at war. Some talked of life, love, spirituality; others of loss, sadness, and angst. Mine was nothing special, simply the view of a lonely kid in a big world and a small school.

Collectively, these were the thoughts given form by those of this new generation just starting to see the world as it is.

I sat down and thought about all that I had read, and it flowed, so I decided to share it. Thoughts?

Life is good

That look in people’s eyes.
The look that says “empty”,
and “lonely”.

That look in people’s eyes
Is not a look at all–It is simply a reflection.

reflection, projection, attention, and retention.
reflection projection laugh and retention

When you see that look,
That look in people’s eyes,
Think again.
Smile for no reason and bid them “Good day”.

Good day? who’s to say
There could be another Katrina happenin’ today.
But you never know what to say,
And who’s to say it won’t.

A little about myself

Sometimes I don’t feel like getting out of bed. Sometimes I just feel like I’d rather lie there all day just thinking, lapsing in and out of sleep. I could watch the shadows creep along the ceiling. I could listen to the cars drive by. I could write poems in my head, think about where I am now and how I got here. I can imagine what the future may hold. I can dream of where I want to be. But most of all, I can take time to just think.

It seems that too often nowadays, people ask questions and want an answer right away. In school we seem to be asked to regurgitate facts as if it were nothing but a simple call and response where everything is predetermined. In our free time, we turn on the TV and watching something, if it is not interesting, we switch the channel—this continues endlessly until the TV is turned off.

When I was young, people around me would ask “What is it that you would like to be when you grow up?” I told them that I didn’t know. I didn’t know, I hadn’t put in the time to actually think about my life. It was not until around the middle of eleventh grade when I really took the time to think. Before then, I had been failing classes and not giving a care at all. I believed that I would be nothing, that I would fail at anything I tried, I just found all my classes boring. Then, almost as if a light was turned on, I started thinking.

I started evaluating what I liked, what I didn’t, and what that all meant. It started simply: I liked videogames. Then I thought to myself, ”What about videogames do I like?” and that brought me to some other realizations. First and foremost, I liked the idea of cooperation in tasks that otherwise would be quite difficult. Secondly, I thought it was truly amazing that I could play with someone from Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Canada, the UK, and all around the world all at once.

So I first looked into videogame design, and found that I didn’t like it at all. Now, to jump back a little, I first got into online gaming with an MMO (Runescape) but then moved on to Halo 2 on Xbox LIVE. I joined a forum, and met some really nice people, all of whom had come because they loved Halo and wanted to talk about it. This got me into the video gaming community so to speak, I talked briefly with some members of Bungie (creators of Halo), and my gamertag actually comes from a talk with, at the time, Bungie’s community manager, KP.

Within the gaming community, there were some prominent podcasts that I had started to listen to (Podtacular, Gamer Andy, Sarcastic Gamer, Achievement Junkies, and most notably Major Nelson Radio). Now the last on there, Major Nelson’s podcast, was hosted by Larry Hyrb, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division. That podcast got me thinking about not being a game developer, but being something else involving video games / video game consoles. I was quite enthused, I became a somewhat active member of the Xbox.com forums, applied for and was accepted to several beta programs for Xbox as well as the Xbox Ambassador program.

Throughout this whole Xbox craze, I continued to listen to Major Nelson’s podcast and a few times he had on a guest named Stephen Toulouse (Stepto). Now I had already been pretty interested in some of the legal aspects of Xbox LIVE, especially the Terms of Use and Code of Conduct and how this affected users of the service, so I was quite interested to hear that he was the head of the Policy and Enforcement team for Xbox LIVE.

So, for a while, that was my goal, work at Microsoft on the Policy and Enforcement team for Xbox LIVE. When the host, Major Nelson, was on vacation, his cohost “e” put out a show with himself and Stepto where they talked about how they got into the industry, and gave some advice to others who wanted to (if you’re interested, the podcast can be found here, jump to around 55 minutes in). I remember playing MW2 at 2 in the morning, just listening to that podcast. It made me start thinking seriously about what I really wanted to do. That podcast, made me stop and think about where my life was going and where I actually wanted it to go. That podcast, and the advice that those two guys gave, helped me make some important choices.

First, I started reading. I read a lot, I read about computers, the internet, and just anything. If I had a question, I went to Wikipedia and read the entire page, and then I’d click some more links and read some more. I started reading the news, daily, and one day I read an interesting article about a virus. It was Stuxnet, and it changed my life. I followed the link from the BBC article to a small German IT Security website called Langner. They had been following and analysis Stuxnet for quite some time and had made a lot of progress. That’s where I was first introduced to the field of computer security. I looked up more security blogs, and I really liked what I read.

One day, when I was wading through the deluge of daily college emails telling me that “You’d be great for _____ college! Take our survey!” or “Here, have this free success kit from _____ college!” and hidden away in all of that was a simple email from Penn State. This email did not try to give me a free success kit, it did not talk down to me, it simply laid out the Information Sciences and Technology majors that they offered. One of these appealed to me, specifically Security and Risk Analysis.

Fast forward two years, and here I am. I am writing this from the dorm at Penn State, I’m on track to graduate in four years with a bachelorette degree in Security and Risk Analysis – Information and Cyber Security. And from there, who knows?