Web Update: August 15th 2006
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.