I am Sparks.

Look at this inactive blog. The last post was in January, and at this point, this entire web page is collecting dust. An inactive blog is a useless blog. This isn’t some shot at our pal Andrew or at the KIWI blog, It is more of a personification of the last few months here at KIWI. We’ve had an insanely busy few months, and i’ve been very busy myself.

Hi, I’m Sparks.

Have you ever felt like you belong somewhere? In the sense that there is somewhere you need to be, somewhere you’ll truly thrive. I’ve been searching for this feeling for a long time, I have never really felt a sense of belonging anywhere. Now this isn’t some edgy way of saying “I’m misunderstood and sad, I’m such an outcast sigh”. This small analogy is just to personify that I don’t feel right with my surroundings and where I am.

For those of you who don’t know I was born and raised in Michigan, in a small city called Port Huron. It was a nice enough town, I had a great childhood, and everything there was just fine. Through high school, I felt like I didn’t belong in Port Huron, and to be entirely frank I didn’t belong there, the job market was almost non-existent and there was no real opportunities for advancement in anything besides a career in flipping burgers for 7.25 an hour. I was at a very serious point in my life, deciding where to go to college and what to do with my life. It wasn’t until junior year that I decided that I was going to move to North Carolina for college and try to get a simple IT Job there. My heart was entirely set on moving there, lucky for me I was (and am) able to stay with my aunt and uncle who live a short ways away from my college. Just two weeks after my graduation and commencement, I was on the road to North Carolina.

In North Carolina I live in what’s called “The Triangle”, “The Triangle” is made up of three big cities, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill there are various tech giants here, and the area is developing rapidly. Eventually I enrolled in the Networking Technologies program at the local college here, in hopes that after two years I’ll be able to get a solid job with Cisco or Citrix, or another big company here. I ended up applying for internships at various places and got in as an Intern Sysadmin for a computational science education foundation called Shodor. At Shodor I am responsible for many tasks, including the installation and maintenance of system and network hardware. I deal with reoccurring tasks like running updates on systems in a heavily OSX and GNU/Linux based environment, and troubleshoot and solve a wide variety of technical issues that may arise. I’ve learned so much at Shodor and have gained invaluable experience to further my career in IT.

After two years of living here, I can say that I’ve fell into a rut. It’s the same routine week in and week out for me. Class on Mondays, Online classes on Tuesdays, work Wednesday to Friday. The weekend is just homework. I don’t have the same sense of belonging here as I did when I moved. Sure i’m advancing in school and my career but this place doesn’t feel right. I do not see myself in starting a family, and having a career in Apex North Carolina. I see myself doing that roughly 700 miles away in Massachusetts.

Through the course of my two years in North Carolina, i’ve met some incredible people, some of which I even consider family. I found KIWI just a month and a half after I moved to NC, and ended up getting closer to Andrew as the months went on. Eventually in the beginning of 2016 we launched the KIWI Bot system, and reached the height of our PUG platform popularity.

It’s been an entire pleasure for me to work with KIWI, and with Andrew as well, he has become one of my closest friends and I am quite thankful for him.

Around this time I was introduced to my future wife Alison, via Andrew. Nothing could have been going better for me. In March I had decided to take a weekend to go up to MA to visit not only Alison but Andrew as well. It was a fun trip and was entirely well worth it. It was strange. It felt like home almost, being there felt right. As time rolled into the summer months, I began working with Andrew on a project separate from KIWI. Something more long term, a project that will shape our occupations, and maybe even our lives.

As summer progressed and I got to thinking about my future, and the project Andrew had devised. None of it would be really feasible from North Carolina, so to really continue, I would need to move. Now I had a lot of options in terms of moving, heck Alison and I had been talking of moving in together for months now so that was totally on the table.

Just as a small side note, I never thought I would ever be in a long distance relationship nor did I think they worked, but it has worked out surprisingly swimmingly. We’re on Skype 24/7 even when we sleep (As I write this the Skype call is still going strong at 754 hours). It sounds a tad silly, but it works for us and we love each other and visit each other whenever possible.

In September I went to MA again to see Alison, and decided that this is truly where I wanted to be. I had good prospects there and was very capable of finding a job with a full years experience of systems administration under my belt. We came up with a time frame of when I’d be moving, and by then we had already found an apartment for ourselves. By November, I knew that in May of 2017 i’d be shipping up to Boston (Well, Taunton).

After the 2016 Holiday Season, and partway into January I went up to MA again for a couple of weeks this time. Once again, it felt right, the entire trip I felt that this is where I belonged. I even went to an interview for a prospected position at a IT solutions and service providing company. Everything is going so swimmingly, here just two months later in the end of March, i’m just about 50 or so days away from moving and hopefully starting this project with Andrew, starting a new job, and starting a new chapter in my life, where for once I can truly feel as though I belong. If it wasn’t for the help of some people very close to me, I’d probably be stuck here in NC for a very long time.

Great novel, thanks for that sparks.

No problem.

KIWI

Most of you are aware that I am the Co-Owner of KIWI, I help to maintain operate our servers whilst Andrew is tirelessly working on our glorious PUG service. So what is it the I really do around here? Well; I administrate, moderate, update, and facilitate. That is my cycle.

But Sparks, it doesn’t even seem like you do anything here.

False

I spearhead a multitude of projects, and pick up whatever needs to be done while Andrew works tirelessly on our glorious pug client. Just look at what i’ve accomplished in the last two months.

  • Developed and implemented a new administration strategy, as well as expectations and guidelines for administrators
  • Implemented KIWI staff meetings.
  • Began researching new marketing and advertising schemes for KIWI PUGs
  • Developed plans for KIWI Summer League
  • Devised strategies for tackling various issues facing our retake servers
  • Collected valuable input from our community regarding the future of KIWI and the community itself.
  • Created a new admin application, and weeded through a couple hundred applicants picking only the best and brightest.

Thats is all on top of my normal duties of updating the servers, and keeping the servers clean. I do a lot around KIWI, and I am more than happy to do it. You wouldn’t believe the crap I get from community members who think that all my position amounts to is a [Co-Owner]title. Now I get that it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I spend hours planning and developing these things. I put 110% into all of it and I am more than happy to do so. I love KIWI and what is has become. It’s only going to get better.

Thanks for reading this blog post. We will be culminating our thoughts and ides here weekly from now on, so expect more posts from us!

-Travis “Sparks” Sparks