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back to life in the fast lane

According to my watch, I got back from camp yesterday. However, as I haven’t slept in between being there and here, I’ll just say that today I came home from Camp Segowea after being a counselor there for two months. I’ve spent the last few hours catching up on email (I received 1248; approximately 1200 of which were spam), webcomics, and a few other things. I have not yet started to unpack.

This leads comfortably into a point that I’ve been meaning to write about for a few days: I am an information junkie. Going to camp pointed this out to me. I hadn’t thought of free time, so all I brought for entertainment was a cd mix of approximately 163 songs that happen to work well together.

Funny thing, the way camps lack electricity.

Within three days of my arrival, I was scouring the camp’s meager library for reading material. I was frankly amused by some of their selections; mixed in with the nancy drew and babysitter’s club books, for example, was An Introduction to Calculus and Analytic Geometry. A very poorly written textbook, anyhow; I know calculus and I didn’t know what it was talking about half the time.

The book shortage got better when other counselors started arriving, because they had all been to this camp before and therefore knew to bring reading material. They also had a convenient habit of leaving their books out in public places (who would steal a book at camp?), where I could yoink them for a day and return them later.

But I’m not saying that I’m an information junkie because I craved reading material. That’s pretty commonplace among educated people, as I understand it. It’s more that when faced with the prospect of not having anything to read, instead of waiting it out or arranging to have something sent to me, I just started reading anything that came to hand. The ingredients on the cereal boxes in the morning. The graffiti. All manners of literature meant for the young adult. I started on the encyclopedia, and stopped when I realized that I’ve already been through that particular encyclopedia, in grade school.

That’s no joke. All through junior high, I would read the encyclopedia in social studies class. Mostly because the teacher let me, and I got good grades in the class anyway.

But it’s more than the compulsive reading, even. It’s that when I came home, the first thing I did was turn on my computer and go online to check the livejournal, my email, the webcomics I read, my contacts list just in case anyone’s online… my duffel bag, right now, is still in the kitchen. I’ve spent three hours home now, and not a minute of it was spent doing something sensible, like sleeping.

So what have I done in the last few months, besides read? Camp stuff. I’ve hiked 25 miles with a pack of food on my back, trying not to kill the campers when they start faking injuries in order to stop moving for a few minutes. I’ve worked on improving my skills with a .22 rifle. I’m probably deadly up to 150 ft with it at this point, but I haven’t had a chance to try on humans. I’ve taught sailing to people who don’t understand why you move the tiller opposite the direction you want to turn to; to others who are simply to weak to raise the sail by themselves. I’ve made model rockets with people who were more happy when their rocket blew up 10 feet off the ground than they would have been had it flown as it should have. Archery, boating, campcraft; I’ve done it all. And now, I’ve taught all of that, too.

And the campers. Some of them have the worst vocabulary I’ve heard to date, and apparently could not form a sentence without a swear. Some of them didn’t want to be at camp, didn’t want to listen to anybody, didn’t want to do anything but stand where they were and swear apparently for the sheer release of swearing repetitively. Some of them were the best, most helpful, coolest people I could ever hope to meet. The groups aren’t mutually exclusive, though.

Dealing with the campers was a challenge and a pleasure. I’m incredibly happy to be out of there, for school to start, to be back dealing with people my own age on a regular basis instead of just after hours when all it seems we talk about are the campers and the camp.

And I am hoping deeply that next year my schedule works out so that I can go back and do it again.

I don’t really know what to say about the whole experience, except that it was fun and tiring, stress-free and aggravating, a bittersweet premonition of what parenthood must be like, except that at the end of the session, after two weeks with any particular batch of kids, we give them back to their parents. Whereas the parents have to live with their kids for the other 50 weeks of the year.

A friend of mine, who introduced me to this camp because he’s actually a friend from school, and I have invented a card game. It is called Snipe Hunt. If you read this because you’re a friend of mine from school, you probably will end up playing the alpha and beta versions while we playtest it. By the end of this year, we hope to be selling the game as an actual product, at least online. With a whole lot of luck, we might get to sell it in stores.

And once it gets to that point, it’s free money. We just have to keep stock and reorder from whatever company is printing them for us, and sell as many copies as people want. It’s a good game. I think that people will want a lot of them.

Actually, I’m hoping that money won’t be a problem at all this year. It wasn’t last year, but that’s because I worked the last semester of school and all summer at a job that paid decently. Last year, I ended up with about twice as much money as I ended up using.

This year, I worked only during the summer. Moreover, working at a camp is not exactly lucrative: I got less than $125/week. So I’m not going into the year with a lot of capital.

On the other hand, my scholarships finally kick in, and it’s looking like this year at least, I have approximately $3000 more scholarship money than the total tuition, fees, and whatnot associated with going to college. Moreover, I start getting paid $200/month plus $600/semester just for being in ROTC with a scholarship. What I want to do is live off the stipend and whatever I did manage to save over the summer, and hopefully buy myself a new computer with the scholarship excess. After all, I go to a technical school with a computer science major. I need to have a good, non-obsolete computer in order to properly maintain my studies.

Which is doublespeak for, I want to use all the money that people are going to give me instead of letting it lapse. They won’t write me a check for the money, so it disappears if I can’t think of a good way to spend it studying. And I think that this is a pretty darn good way to spend it on my studies. If I happen to be able to run Morrowind at full resolution with no stutter, that’s just a fortunate coincidence, right?

Right. I’m just about out of topics right now. It’s good to be home. On Monday, I leave home, to move into school. And then it’s another school year. I hope to have another good year of entertainment and whatnot for all of us.

And this year, I’m going to kick ass.

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