The following interview originally started a few months ago and was intended to accompany the Gunslingers 5 year anniversary celebration. Aligning the interview of Freddy with said celebration made sense. Freddy, otherwise known as bigfreddy or TripleF, has been with the rest of us for quite sometime, traveling with the clan across multiple games and even consoles. Life is the cleverest of pitchers and, due to some curve-balls slung Freddy’s and his family’s way, the discussion had to be postponed until now. Please, readers, join me as we learn more about a long time member and dear friend to many members, bigfreddy.
GS: You originally joined the Gunslingers back in October, 2008. To put that in perspective, we were all communicating back on the original GS site then. We weren’t exactly easy to find at the time, either. How was it that you ever came across the group, and what made you decide to join the Gunslingers? Do you remember who you first gamed with after joining?
bigfreddy: I had recently managed to get online with my Wii and was enjoying online racing so much I thought I might join a clan. I had signed up on mariokartwii.com (when the site admin wasn’t full of douchebag spineless hacker wannabees..lol) and looked through their clan recruiting threads. Most of the clans seemed to be little kids who took the whole thing WAY too seriously. Being a teacher I didn’t want to hang around with kids. I have enough of them at work, coupled with the fact that it would be just weird.
I was looking for an adult-only clan, and Gunslingers popped up from the search. The rest, as they say, is history.
I believe the first people I gamed with was Vykk Drago, Thorny, LilBev, Korchie, Balki, yourself (Murph), Worcester Rob, Forming, Jethro and Bennet Tilapaugh also seem to ring a bell.
GS: Extremely few active members can have the global perspective in regards to the evolution of the Gunslingers as you. What are some of the most striking changes that have occurred here that, maybe, people who have joined after you may not be aware?
bigfreddy: The clan was so small back then compared to now. You would go into chat and know everyone there. In fact, because the Wii had such a poor friend request system, the GS chat was the only way to communicate with other clan members.
It was fun, Friday nights used to be the BIG event. Everybody would be on, and because the site revolved around one system and one game (MKWii) we could have 2/3 rooms going at one time , all full of 12 GS members. One of the biggest changes is the way the site operates. It is huge and amazing compared to how it used to be.
As many people will be aware, I don’t use the forums much, mainly because I just don’t have the time, anymore. However, the games and topics that are now available are astounding and a great credit to yourself, the site admin and the contributing members of GS.
GS: Let’s take a trip down memory lane. The following is the exact quote from the registration information you provided when first joining:
“Interests/Hobbies:Walking the dogs, flying my kite, spending quality time with the wife, taking the piss out of my friends and Logging on to NASA’s Website.
Left Uni in the late 90′s, studied Applied Chemistry, but most of my uni mates will say I studied Mariokart and Super Mario World instead. Worked as R&D chemist. Now in education.”
How much of the above information is still reverent to your life now days? And, Freddy? Flying your kite? Really?
bigfreddy: Well, the “Brief Bio” is still fairly accurate, but I would need to add “Proud Father, zombie slayer and occasional pwner of Noobs on CoD”.
I have a kite in the boot/ trunk of my car still …. so, really Murph, I do still fly it ….infrequently..lol. I would need to add “Playing with and educating my son Theo (aged 3), going to the park and gardening”.
Some things change and some things stay the same, like me taking the piss out of my friends, Murph …. lol
GS: There was a segment of time when you took a break from the Gunslingers and gaming in general to support your wife during her pregnancy. What are some of rewards and challenges of fatherhood that you didn’t necessarily expect? Can you give an example how your son is clearly taking after his father?
bigfreddy: That time was sadly due to the unexpected arrival of Theodore, our son. Why sadly you ask? Well, he was born premature because my wife, Sammie, had a placental abruption, and I nearly lost them both. It was a very worrying and then ecstatic time for us both. He was 3 lbs 7ozs when he was delivered by emergency C-section.
Rewards:- When he looks me in the eye and says “lub you Daddy”, running to greet me after I get home from work, his first milestones in talking, crawling and walking, the list is endless.
Challenges:- Changing and burping such a small baby, he was like a little doll ; Having to take him to A&E (ER) because he went blue through crying when he had colic at 2.5 months old ; Having to wait 4 weeks to get him home as he was in special care ; Screaming to get his own way (doesn’t happen often but it still does happen…. thank goodness almost never in public) ; Puking on me …I have an irrational and pathological fear of vomit ….I can’t stand it. He puked on me two nights ago…..and I just whined for Sammie to come and take him off of me ….lol.
Poo and wee :- Not a problem, as a baby he projectile pooed and wee’d on me many times …it was funny, I didn’t bat an eyelid, but puke……urrghh…lol.
Theo takes after me in quite a few ways … He likes gaming…..He makes sackboy jump up and down on LBP and says jump, then laughs. He also likes toy cars. Oddly enough, I have also rediscovered my love of playing with toys cars and going “brummmmmmm, brrrrummm, rrrrrrrrr (Brakes squealing)” …lol. He also is a bit of an adrenaline junkie….like I used to be before I got fat…lol, He also likes using the “….” key instead of a comma ….
GS: You are a teacher of science. How did you first figure out that you had such a passion for science? What do you find most fascinating about it, and what article of scientific trivia still proverbially blows your mind that you can share with the rest of us?
bigfreddy: Ever since I was a kid and allowed to mess about with mercury and actually touch it (something that health and safety no longer allows), science has always interested me. The fact that it CAN actually answer many of the questions that plagued me as a child also helped; i.e.: How did we get here? Where are we? What causes night and day? What happens when we die? Obviously the last one (and maybe the first one, too, for the creationists..lol) is contentious. I’d say rotting and a good time will be had by bacteria everywhere….lol. There are many things that “blow my mind” about science.
There are three that I will share with you. All of them are quotes by the great Carl Sagan:
The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.
Atoms are mainly empty space. Matter is composed chiefly of nothing.
This was Carl’s speech when Voyager’s cameras were finally turned around and A “Portrait” of the solar system was taken. Our planet was smaller than one pixel. Man, that guy had a way with words.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
Finally, this is a clip I show to the kids at school to get them to realize the vastness of the universe:
Science is truly the greatest pursuit that humankind has ever undertaken. (That’s my quote…lol)
GS: Anyone who has gamed with you can testify that good times have been had. For example, you have been known to wander off to grab another brew or take a needed smoke break…sometimes in the middle of the match. These moments can lead to hilarious times. Can you tell us about one of your personal favorite moments while gaming?
bigfreddy: Many times I have to wander off after getting crawlers on BO Zombies, and I come back and my bro, Mr. Richard Lazer (Dick Lazer) is standing over my soon to be cold corpse. “Bro the crawler died, you went down, blah blah I’ll try and save ya.”
The one that sticks in my mind though I was playing with Dick, the Docs and Tick….I think GS4thMason was there too and others. We were playing sticks and stones. I come back from a smoke to find that EVERYONE is lined up in two rows all aiming at me. I am on mute and I can hear them laughing. I think about what to do and then just fire my crossbow. I dunno how many I took out….only that I was dead very soon after.
GS: Recently, your news in regards to your wife being diagnosed as having breast cancer has made us all collectively pause. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during these trying times. Are there any updates or thoughts you can share with the rest of us?
bigfreddy: I have been meaning to update the thread I posted for a while, but it has been just too much emotional for me to do. Sammie has had her mastectomy and is coping with losing her breast very well now. She was obviously quite upset at first, saying that they have “butchered me”. Now she uses a prothesis to go out and she feels absolutely fine.
The chemotherapy has been rough, though. She has been quite poorly and has had some touch-and-go moments with her white blood cell count being so low and getting infections. So far, she had had Bladder and kidney infections, pneumonia, gastric flu, and been 4 hours away from total organ failure. We have been back and forth to the hospital quite a lot recently.
Sammie is halfway through her chemo now. Her nails and the rest of her hair will go after the next treatment. She is coping, and we are still laughing at life. But it is hard sometimes. Especially when putting it in print.
To those people who don’t know me very well, I may seem a bit sweary and aggressive when playing online. This is currently my release valve and opportunity to vent my pent up anger and rage at the injustice of it all.
Sammie is a good person who has never harmed a soul and always worked her whole life, who desperately wanted to be a mother. It seems that there is no justice in the world, that just three years after the difficult birth of our son, at the age of 42, after being told she would never conceive naturally (which she did), she is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her odds are an 81% chance she will live 10 years. Theo will be 13 in ten years. Further thoughts or words aren’t necessary. I just can’t contemplate that possible future. It is just too awful, not just for me but for our little boy.
GS: You reside in the UK, but more specifically, where? Do you have any locally bound interests that keep your attention?
bigfreddy: I live in Royal Lytham St.Annes, more specifically in St.Annes on the Sea. Any golfers amongst the clan will recognise the name as The Open was recently held here. I live about a ten minute walk from the course. I didn’t go because the price was ridiculously high just to gain access to the course.
I could watch it all in glorious HD, and I am not that interested in golf, though I do play infrequently.
My main interests lie in going to the park I “inhabited” as a child and taking my son around it, playing football (soccer), and taking him on the swings and slides. We also teach him about nature, and it is fun watching him explore by himself. There are plenty of tourist attractions that we have and can go to, as St.Annes and the neighboring toilet of a town Blackpool is well known for it’s tourist attractions. We don’t go often as we like to get away from crowds of people and get some piece and quiet.
GS: Not too long ago, you had a real life get together with a few other English Gunslingers. Who was involved, and what do you all do? It is reasonable to believe that it may have been awkward at first. Was it? What broke the ice, sort of speak?
bigfreddy: We got together in Blackpool. We went to the Pleasure Beach, which is a Theme park, which for a while had the tallest rollercoaster in the world.
Dave and Becs Gosling (goz007boyz & ss007mums) and Steve Shaw (GS SteveUK) and their children (Harry, Mia and Matthew). You would probably think that it was awkward, but we have been playing together for over 2 years and had been talking on a daily basis almost for over a year. So after a bit of “you look different to your photographs” it wasn’t awkward at all. In fact, we invited them all to our house and ate dinner together and played the new maps for BO that had been released that day.
We also met again this year. Sadly, Sammie wasn’t well enough to join in on the first two days they were here, and we sadly missed out on seeing Steve, Emma and Matthew this time.
However, we went out for a meal with Dave, Becs, Harry, Mia and baby Mason. Then they came over to our house the following day, and we went for lunch and a shell hunting expedition on the beach. We had a great time. Theo loves babies and older children. Mia and Harry were excellent with him and played with him like he was their little brother. No, from our experience meeting GS’sers is a good thing. Just got to organise a trip to the States to meet some people. Richard and Lee, family Freddy is a coming…….Well, sometime in the near future. Hopefully.
GS: Most importantly, what is your favorite drink?
bigfreddy: Jamaica’s finest : Red Stripe Lager Beer is my favourite tipple. That and Dr. Pepper, Barcardi and Coke, Vodka and Coke, JD’s and Coke….lol…. the list is endless…..Oh, I forgot Southern Comfort and Coke or lemonade…..lol.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. We are honored to count you as a member and a friend. Fellow Gunslingers, if you would like to leave your best wishes to Freddy and his family, you are invited to do so in the “Sammie’s Get Well Thread.”