Steve Barrera's Page
Steve Barrera lives, works and plays in the Greater Philadelphia Area, and in other places along the East Coast of the United States.
Hi, my name is
Steve Barrera. Thanks for visiting this page, where you can learn all about me, as well as visit some of the other web pages I've made.
I recently moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, and work as an ETL Test Lead (or, if you prefer, I have a "computer job"). In my spare
time I read and write, watch TV and movies, play tabletop games, travel and see shows with my BFF and her family.
When I'm reading, it's usually a history book, or a biography, or maybe a work of philosophy or social commentary. Video streaming on demand has sucked me
into its gravitational well, and I spend an inordinate amount of time binge-watching movies and TV shows. I also love to play table top games, and
am usually tryng to do that as much as possible.
And I've started blogging again, after a ten-year hiatus.
In The Zeitgeist
My latest blog, where you can stay up to date on my adventures in these times.
My profile on BGG
Games I have played recently or are current obsessions.
Links from my past life in North Carolina
If you'd like, you can
send me an e-mail,
or find me on facebook. You can follow me on Twitter
My profile on Linkedin
More about my life
When I was a child, my father worked in the foreign service (U.S. State Department), which meant we travelled the world, and lived in
different countries as a family. I like to think that my exposure to other societies and cultures helped me to develop into a tolerant
and open-minded individual. As Mark Twain said, "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." I highly recommend to
everyone that they get out and see the world - it will help you become aware of the big picture of human existence, and to see your
own familiar milieu in a new light.
The Barreras eventually returned to the United States, and moved to Virginia, where I attended South Lakes High School in Reston. Then
I pursued a Bachelor of Science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. While doing so, I participated in the University's work-study program. Another recommendation
of mine is for young students to get work experience as early as possible - you will develop skills and knowledge that you will
not pick up in an academic environment, and you will get a head start on building your resume/CV.
That being said, I did linger in Blacksburg for quite a few years after graduating. I just wasn't ready to give up the college lifestyle. No doubt
my best memories of good times come from that era of my life. But I had to move on, to make something of myself, so just after my 30th birthday, I moved
to Nashville, Tennessee, to work for a software startup company. That was in the glorious days of ye olde dot com boom.
The startup burned out, and after a little meandering I eventually found myself in the Triangle area of North Carolina working as a software tester. There are a lot of IT jobs there,
and friends I knew from Virginia Tech were living there, so it was natural to be drawn to that location. The job I moved there for lasted a few months before
the company was swallowed up by a competitor and the office shut down. But I stayed put, and continued to advance my career, sometimes working contracts,
and sometimes full-time positions.
I lived in North Carolina for nearly twenty years. Toward the end of that time period, I attended my thirtieth year high school reunion back up in Reston.
There, I reunited with my old girlfriend and we found that we wanted to be together again. She lives in Pennsylvania, and for a few years we visited each
other and travelled together. Then, after my last contract in NC ended, I searched for work up where she lives. When I landed a job, I moved up to West Chester
(about 20 miles west of Philadelphia), and a new book in the life of Steve began.
I'm excited about my progress in life and looking forward to many great adventures ahead. My BFF suggests always having your epitaph ready, so here is mine:
Influences on my thinking
Since sometime in the '90s I have been very interested in the generational theory of William Strauss and Neil Howe. Their
book 13th Gen really struck a chord with me.
Then I read Generations,
and before long I was an active participant on the
T4T discussion forum (now defunct - but it lives on here). For several years I had a generations blog where
I posted news stories and commentary relevant to the theory. I stopped updating the blog some time ago, but I'm keeping another site up
with my latest ruminations on generations.
Steve's Saecular Pages
My latest material based on the Strauss and Howe
Another big influence on my thinking has been the work of Amit Goswami. That started when I read
The Self-Aware Universe at the
recommendation of an old friend. The book opened my eyes to a new way of understanding the spiritual dimension
of life. Now I own most of the books Goswami has written.
Goswami uses quantum physics as a starting point to explore a consciousness-based science of
reality. As such, he reintroduces spirituality into scientific thinking. He describes a model of the world we experience
which affirms the beliefs of the perennial philosophy; there is an excellent synopsis of his theory
of the self-aware Universe here: The Self-Aware Universe Synopsis.
His ideas make sense to me in light of some of the stranger things that have happened to me in my life.
I really think there is a synergy to be found between the consciousness-based ontology described by Amit Goswami and theories of
history, sociology, and other so-called "soft sciences". The idealist paradigm of the perennial philosophy recognizes that higher-order
things like ideas, beliefs, and choices are real, whereas the materialist paradigm brushes them off as mere epiphenomena.
I also believe that acknowledging that higher orders are not mere trappings, but rather are substantial realities, helps one
to see that there is a progressive evolution in the cosmos. Life is not a meaningless struggle for existence; we really are going
somewhere. To paraphrase Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, if we can't accept that there are further stages in the development of
consciousness, then all that we've come to so far has been pointless, and the universe is absurd. But if we can believe in higher
orders yet unattained, then we can have full faith that a brighter future awaits.
More web sites I've made
Big Steve's Big Site
This is a web site where I rant about life, the universe and everything, and collect links and stuff.
A Real Live Gaming Workshop
This my web site with some game ideas - board and card game variants and PC game scenarios and add-ons.
I've made one complete but flawed text adventure game.
My original generational theory blog. It records my struggles to figure out
what was happening socially in the 2000s era.
In 2004 I had a seizure while driving,
so I wrote a sort of a blog about it.
Book and DVD Reviews
Here I have some reviews of books and DVDs, often written with a touch of social commentary.
Thanks for visiting and have a nice day!