Email Rob

Yet another slow Personal Web Page in the fast lane of the Information Super Highway.


Last Web Update: August 15th 2006

Hi, I'm Rob Merritt. Some of you may know me by my handles such as Baron Calamity and Spider Ham. I’m 36 years old. I’ve been married for 13 years to my lovely wife. We have one child, our 6 years old son. Living with us are two cats, Thor and Amber, and two dogs, Tiffany and Chloe. I’ve lived in Maryland all my life and currently working in the I.T. field for a team of engineers. A picture of my son and I halloween 2001

I’ve been gaming for 32 years. I started on the original Odyssey 100 and I have the pictures to prove it. I started gaming in 1974 when my parents bought me an original Odyssey game system. Since then I’ve owned virtually every game system released . Recently I have been given the nickname “Rob Merritt: Bringer of Doom” since any game system I tend to be an early adopter of has been destined to fail in spectacular fashion. Around 1981 I got my first computer, a Commodore Vic-20.

In 1985 I met My best friend, Ron Powell, aka Mmaster. I was running a game of TSRs Marvel Super Heroes at the local library and Ron was somebody’s tag a long. We started hanging around together. Playing each others’ console systems. Then in 1986 we both got our first IBM PCs. I with my Tandy 1000ex and him with his IBM PS2/40. That’s when we played our first, first person multiplayer game. A little game called Swords of Glass.

My first online gaming experience came in the form of a BBS door called Tradewars. This was around 1988. A year later I started my own BBS and ran it and many a door game until 1996. Also in 1989 I began the road that many of us are trapped on. I did my first “upgrade” Since then every few months I’ve been buying something expensive for my computer.

I’m not a big death matcher so my first multiplayer game that I really got into was Half Life: Team Fortress Classic. Its probably still my favorite online game. Counter Strike is a close second with Battlefield 1942 bringing up the rear.

Another hobby is home theater entertainment. I got into home theater in the late 80’s. With my 27inch TV, matrix surround sound stereo system, and laser disk player; I was as close as mere middle class mortals could get at the time. Don’t worry, I’ve since upgraded.

I am disabled. As a baby it was discovered that I was born with a rare heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. Basically that means oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood mix within the heart, via holes between chambers and weak valves. My mom early on knew something was wrong. The doctors didn’t believe her. During my six month checkup the doctor finally saw that I was a blue baby with a defective heart. They rush me into surgery to install shunts to get more blood to get oxygen from my lungs a few days later. However things didn’t go well. They didn’t bother to take my temperature. I was running a high fever. Which added to my condition caused the anesthesia to drop the oxygen getting to my brain. I have several stroke like cyanotic attacks. This caused significant damage to the left side of my brain. My right side mostly paralyzed and I was slightly delayed in walking, I was actually talking and reading early. I do have a lot of trouble putting words and sentences together and that’s probably because of the brain damage. please be understanding. Its not that I don’t care enough to proof read or intelligent enough to generate paragraphs of good grammar, its just that sometimes, my brain decides to start working differently. For example; I’ll see and think the sentence, "The phone rang and I answered it." and I’ll write, "Two plane ran any A antsaw ot." I was told that had I been born just 5 years earlier I probably would not have lived past 10 years. I can tell you that when ever a new echo tech examines my heart they tend to get frustrated and end up dragging in a doctor because “nothing is where it is suppose to be.”

In 1973 I had another shunt operation, this time performed at John Hopkins, because the first one wasn’t sufficient. I had several heart catherizations done during the 70s as well. In 1977 I had my corrective open heart surgery. They were going to replace a valve but after doctors got in there, they decided that it wasn’t needed. The valves are something I should have watched though.

In 2000 I thought I had a heart attack. So about three months a laid around thinking I was going to die. I was 30 years old and sure that my time was up like the doctors in 77 said. I couldn’t get my HMO to send me to a cardiologist who specialized in congenital heart defects. The cardiologist they did send me too was rather confused by the readings of the test. Since they never found anything, they felt it was probably an anxiety attack. Compared to examines I had in the mid 90s they did find one valve had weakened and pressure had increased in one chamber but nothing that wasn’t still normal. At least what is considered normal for me.

About this time I started passing out on roller coasters. The doctors claim that its because of my low blood pressure and its nothing to worry about. I have my doubts.

In 2002, I thought I had another heart attack. This was different than what happen to me in 2000. I was putting the dishes away when all of the sudden an invisible man places his hand on my chest. I ignored him. So I finish putting the dishes away and the invisible man presses harder on my chest and says, “sit down”. I go outside to get some air. That’s when the invisible man’s pet invisible elephant sits on my chest and demands that I sit down now. I come inside and I’m feeling confused and I’m sweating like a pig (even though outside and the house was cool.) After several minutes of that I found my way to the computer. I looked up “signs of a heart attack.” After I realize that I had a good majority of the signs, I made my way to the emergency room. I ended up being admitted and was ran through all sorts of test. There were blood test, Xrays, MIRs, Stress test, and so forth. The end result was they found nothing. My heart and vessels are fine. In fact my heart is in better shape than it was two years ago thanks to weight loss and my diet and exercise that I started thanks to the 2000 incident. The doctors feel I had another panic attack. However since they aren’t specialist in my defect, I have to wonder.

Copyright 1989-2005 (C) Rob Merritt