Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday - I'm 33.

I got some very thoughtful emails from my Mom, and Cindy called from Florida to wish me a Happy Birthday. Leslie, one of the other store managers, sang the happy birthday song to me. I also got very nice cards from Grandma and Mom, and a handsome gift check from Mom (who promised she wouldn't send me a birthday gift after sharing my airfare with me).

I slept in this morning - maybe I slept too long, because now I can't really seem to get going. I gave myself the gift of "day off" from exercise this morning. Maybe a workout would have helped me wake up, I dunno.

I'm at work now. I installed FrontPage (a web layout program) on my PC at work. Since today is going to be a "sitting around in case someone calls" kind of day, I thought I might get some work done on my web site.

It took a bunch of rigmarole to get the FrontPage program installed - the cd tray on my work PC is broken, and so I had to put the disc into another computer, copy and paste the contents onto the network, copy from the network to my PC, and then install. For some reason it installed to Drive E instead of Drive C and I spent 20 minutes looking for the program, uninstalled and reinstalled it onto C. (See, I know just enough to mess it all up.)

So now it's installed. I open the very first page to work on, and it's all messed up. Text and art boxes are misaligned, everything looks like crap.

It seems that the 'Mike School of Web Design' means that it only looks good on one computer - mine at home. I could fix everything to look good on this computer, and then it would look like crap at home. Not to mention what it will look like to everyone else in the world. Like who knows what.

Ugh. Bleh. Blahgen.
(Blahgen is a new word I invented a few months ago. It means 'frustrated, fatigued, annoyed, disgruntled, or indifferent' Pronounced "blaagin". I just put an H in the spelling to annoy Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard is a comedian, very sharp and smart, he's amazing. Check him out.

I just don't know enough actual web design (or ANY web design at this rate - let's be honest) to do it right. I'd get Fiction Interactive launched, blow my paycheck on advertising, and then wonder why no one uses the site. Why?? Why? Because it looks like crap!! This is not a good motivator.

But not to worry, I'm not gonna give up. I've put too much time in at this point to just walk away. There is a slight temptation to shelve the whole thing till I've gone to school, but no.

I've already streamlined the site drastically over the last few months. The site is now about 25 pages, rather than the dozens it was before. Since I dropped the idea of interactive crime scenes and suspect photos and all the complex stuff, there's no reason why I can't make those 25 pages look adequate.

It's just annoying. Everyone's PC has different settings for fonts and images - how do you allow for that? Bite the bullet and actually learn some real programming, I guess. Instead of just fudging everything with FrontPage until it looks ok.

No worries - I have nothing but time... As of current data, life expectancy is 77. And I have a young wife who can care for me in my decrepitude. Hah! Whack the bootie with my cane. Hee hee!

77 years old. That's 44 more years. My poor children - they will have to put up with me for a long time, and listen to me ramble about how my web site is almost ready.

Bwah haa haa haaaaa (evil laugh) Bwaaaaa haaa haa haa haa

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

40 is looming...

What do you know, tomorrow is my birthday. 33 years old. Wow. Before I know it I'll be 40 at this rate. The idea of 40 looming is kinda creepy.

Society has all these expectations for a 40 year old. Good grief, I'm just a big kid. I play video games, I watch cartoons. Not that I'm one to keep up with trends or cultural expectations, but I'm feeling this weird pressure. It's not peer pressure, cause my peers are video game playing, cartoon watching big kids too.

I think this pressure is an embodiment of observation. As kids, we observe adults and emulate them. That's how we learn and grow. We expect that one day we'll put on a shirt and tie and grab our briefcase and head off to the office. We'll be All Grown Up and we'll know and understand life and our position in it. Our role and duty will be clear.

This has not happened yet.

Since Cindy and I don't yet have kids, my biggest duty/responsibility is to go to work every day and help pay the bills. Once we have kids, that will still be my job... But right now I have the freedom to work in an industry with little stability. I work as a temp with no insurance and get laid off, on average, about every six months - not a career for someone with children. For a few years, I was working to learn all about the video game industry, what the jobs were, how to get them.

What I learned was that I don't want to be in this industry. It's too 'cool' and popular. There are too many ready-made replacements waiting for you to quit, burn out, or be laid off. All levels - from entry level to management - in this industry are used up and burnt out without concern from corporate because there are lots of people waiting to take your job.

It's like working during the Depression. You can't complain very loudly about any of the terrible truths of the job or industry, because a few hundred guys would happily do the same work for less pay.

It's the nature of the industry and unlikely to change. I got into it with the hopes of getting into the creative aspects of it. They don't want storytellers in the video game industry, they want game programmers and digital artists. Since I'm neither one of those and don't have a lot of talent in either direction, the alternative is management. The pressure on management to bring an ill-conceived project with an arbitrary ship date in on time and budget is not fun.

I've affirmed the fact that I'm not a people person - all of the bullshitting, cajoling, convincing, arguing and etc of video game development is very tiresome for me. I need something a lot more singular. I'm happy to work in a group and on a team, but I have little interest in being in charge of that team - unless I have ultimate say-so.

Also, though video game development is branching out, it's still largely a California job. If you move to Idaho, your video game job opportunities are slim. Cindy's job could be done anywhere there is a bookstore - and every town has a bookstore. Since I'm the kind of guy who likes to move around, I don't want to lock myself into an industry that exists largely in one state.

I have plans for early 2005 to go to college, to study web design. Web design has the benefit of being widespread - I could do web design in any city and even do the work at home. The capacity for freelance work is also good.

Of course, I could not pick something simple. Oh no. Web design is a mixture of functionality and aesthetics. It has to work, and it also has to look good. It's graphic design, journalistic layout, art placement, and programming code. This programming code covers many different functions. For each function there is a language. HTML is the basic language, with Java, Flash, PHP, Perl, and more doing more complex functions.

I don't know if I can do programming. It might involve too much math for me. We'll see. (I noticed a funny class in the listing for Math at El Camino - it was something about overcoming mathematics intimidation - the whole class is to make you like numbers I guess. I know that I need that class.) I had 3 years of Apple Basic programming classes in junior high school. I enjoyed that - (no math) but the programs were very very basic. Very. And that was a long time ago.

Web programming seems straightforward, from my current, ignorant point of view. Web seems a lot easier to learn than game programming. With web programming, you plug in a variable here, save the page, and then view it. You can see your results. You can tell right away that the font size is wrong on the web page, then look at the code and see what you did wrong. Oh - I see the problem. I typed in "12" when I wanted "10".

Web programming seems to be more about understanding the theory, and then grabbing one of your hatful of templates, and plugging in the content (art and story). Then you tweak the code to customize it for that site. Since I'm about to go to school for this, I'm probably about to find out how very wrong I am. In simplifying the steps, I don't expect the classes, tests, and certifications to be any easier.

One good thing about web design as a career is that a lot of people don't need degrees in order to get hired. You create an online portfolio which demonstrates your skills. The potential employer can explore your portfolio site and even check out the code. Some people have elegant code, and others throw things together sloppily. An experienced programmer can tell a lot about your work by looking at the code. It's like a snapshot of your work ethic. Since I have a solid work ethic, this works well for me. Hopefully.

I'll need to work while I go to school, which is fine - that's what happens when you don't go to school when you should (living at home with the parents, right out of high school) but nothing really interested me enough to go to school for in 1990. The idea of going to school for 4 or more years for a creative writing degree - with no job opportunities afterward (journalism annoys me) - was not appealing.

The internet has always inspired me with its possibilities - like the Fiction Interactive site I'm working on now. I'd never heard of the internet when I graduated in 1990. Hell, the DOS version of AOL was not released until 1991! The Windows version didn't debut until 1993.

When I first started getting online, probably in about 1995, the internet was still pretty new - a lot of people thought it was a fad. Nowadays it is clearly not a fad, it's here to stay. We now have cell phones with internet access!

I don't know what I'll be doing as a part time job while I go to school... I don't really want to work a retail or food job if I can help it - but I don't know how many office/professional positions are part time. I'll have to contact the placement agencies I've worked for - Helpmates, Yoh Interactive, and Spherion and see what they can do for me. Unfortunately, the job I have now will last until November.

November isn't a good time to be looking for work. Neither is January, February, or March for that matter. Perhaps I can get a job at B. Dalton through Cindy, especially if just for the Christmas season. Or perhaps she could recommend me for a job with the BN company.

I'm not worried, I'll find some job to do while I'm at school. I might even end up with something at Realtime (where I work now) they like me and always have work to do. I can see them hiring me part time.

So yeah. Almost 40, big kid, going back to school, need work.

Nice Lunch!

I just had a nice lunch at Chili's with Lisa, Karen, Keiko, Lucas, and Chris. It was Lisa's Birthday and I didn't reveal that my Birthday is tomorrow.

It was good to see Lisa - I felt bad after all that talk(in June) of going to Crave, and then not going. It felt as if I owed her an explanation. She and Bob might not have thought anything of it, but I felt bad.

Lisa said Bob still speaks very highly of me, and that I'd always be welcome back... I can't remember the exact wording, but that's the gist. It's nice to know! A good feeling.

I mentioned that I would be going to school early next year, and that I was going into web design. Karen does/did web design, and asked me some questions. She was concerned I guess, what with her knowledge of the field... I said I was leaning more toward the programming end rather than the artistic end, which seemed to reassure her.

She recommended concentrating on programming, since so many programs now make it easy to do the basic stuff. If I wanted to do well, becoming a real specialist in the deep recesses of the programming would be best.

Personally, I'm still leaning towards the more surface stuff, HTML, Java, Flash, etc. As I learn more, her view will probably become more obviously correct. But engineering a stable server environment is not as appealing as creating elements the user can actually see and interact with.

I'd rather be a house painter than a plumber.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Wait Wait There's More!

I mailed off my college application printout/signature form to El Camino College this morning.

Also, I completed my FASAASAFA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at and we'll see what happens. I made $30,000 in 2003, which does not sound very pathetic. I doubt I'll get student assistance.

Maybe I can try again later on with my 2004 tax info - I may have earned less this year...

Slow Day!

Work is moving along slowly - no stress, so I can't really complain. Still, it would be nice to have a real project or task list. Right now we're just trying to break 2 Player mode. I found a few little things, but nothing worth writing up.

I slept in till 7:30, did my workout but did not work on the web site. I did enough yesterday! I'll be working on it tonight I'm sure. Maybe I'll get a new cafe press account (it's this website that does merchandising - check it out - and place the new artwork on some t-shirts.

We had a 5.9 earthquake today here in California, check out the coverage on CNN - but we barely felt it here. Felt like a gentle rolling motion, as you would feel on a small boat riding a smooth wave. I called Cindy to let her know I was ok, in case she heard CA had fallen into the sea. They all called their stores to check, and all is well.

I'm considering going to the grocery store over lunch to pick up some more fruit and other work snacks... There's not a lot to do, so a little outing would be nice. I might get a haircut later in the week (during lunch/work) so I'm ready for the Ohio trip.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Monday Off! So Nice!

I called off from work today, saying I was feeling tired and crummy. The tired part was certainly true, I worked 7 days in a row. A day off now and then is an important thing!

I took Cindy to the airport this morning - she had to fly to Florida for her Barnes and Noble Manager's Conference. She's staying in a very posh hotel - The Westin Diplomat in Hollywood Florida -

Check out the hotel's web site. It's a very snazzy place, and when she phoned earlier she was praising her ocean view! How cool is that? Because her room-mate's flight was delayed, I think she may have the place to herself tonight.

I relaxed today, did laundry, took some naps, watched some tv, took a walk, and worked on my web site -( which is not online yet, so don't bother trying the link. I've been working on the cover page for a week or so now, and I think I've found a layout that will do for now. Or at least until Cindy comes home and can give me input.

Oh! Last night we picked up a new dance pad from Best Buy. The pad came bunded with another DDR game, this one is Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. I wanted the package for the pad - it's hard to find the pads in stores, you have order them online. This pad is thicker and more heavy duty. It also feels like it's hardier inside, as if made of sterner stuff. It's working well and I'm getting good scores once again.

I just turned on the DDR game and it's telling me that the save game data is corrupted. Grrrr now all my stored scores are probably all gone. Oh well, no biggie. I can just assume that Beginners Mode has been pretty much mastered (which is largely true I'd say) and it's time to move on to Light Mode.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Here's Hoping!

Working again today. I'm the first one here, I expected to be. One of the programmers is supposed to come in and fix one bug, then I'm supposed to test for a while to make sure his fix didn't break anything.

Cindy is supposed to get off at 2pm, and I'd like to be able to spend the rest of the day with her, since she leaves for Florida tomorrow morning. I hope no trees or power lines fall on her while she's there! Florida is not a prime location right now, with all the hurricanes. I wonder how many people living there now have decided to move to another state? I sure would.

I got to work now so I could work on some art for my website. It's easier to concentrate here, and there's AC too. Plus, as soon as the programmer gets here and gets his work done I can get the fix checked out.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

First Fool Here

It's Saturday morning and I'm the first one at work. Clearly I'm not working at this exact moment, but soon. Not surprised that last minute BS has led us to this point - The programmers have very little stomach for overtime, and so don't want to work late unless they are 5 minutes away from missing a deadline.

Personally, I'd rather work a couple of extra hours every day through the week, making sure my project is on track, rather than "golly gee!" realize at the last minute that my ducks are in fact not in a row. Instead, my ducks are going buck wild all over the farm, and suddenly sodomy aint just a river in Egypt. Bad Ducks! Now, see - if we'd been killing and eating the ducks all along, we wouldn't be in this pickle right now.

I slept in and didn't exercise. I'm a bad duck? Nah. I'll just work out when I get home. I shook the DDR dance pad within an inch of its life, threatening it with exploratory surgery. (I held it at the opposite end of the problem and tried to wriggle the error-causing wire to return to its rightful region.)

The dance pad is now behaving about 60% better. I'm glad, I really didn't want to try and open it up and fix it. Some gizmo's, once you open them up, they never quite shut properly again. See, it's not screwed shut like most electronic items, it's sewn shut - and there are multiple layers inside, and I don't want to go there.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Long Day - Went Fast

Well today was a whirlwind of last minute work on the game - we played the same level like 40 times. We took a quick look at 2 Player, and found a crash bug which is now fixed.

I need to mail my college application signature page and finish the online grant form - Cindy laid out the tax info for me.

I go to Ohio in like 14 days! How cool is that? It'll be really nice to get to spend some time with the family. Last time was only for two days, and that's just not enough!

It's Friday night and I'm still at work. They're trying to decide whether we're on call or coming in for sure tomorrow. Funfun.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

They Will Come and Drag me to Class? Is that extra?

I filled out the online application for the Spring 2005 Semester at El Camino College ( yesterday! I'm not completely sure what this application means. Is there a possibility they can deny my application? When will they respond? What happens then? Am I now obligated to attend? Will they be sending me a bill?

At the end of the application, the college site linked me to a government grant page, for the FASASSAFASS grant or some such. I got partway through - until they started asking for 2003 tax information. Since I don't have an itemized tax list in my head, I'll have to wait and get the information from Cindy. I forgot to ask her last night, so I emailed her today. Email is great! I email myself reminders all the time.

Oh! And I'd emailed the Unemployment Bureau to get info on how taking college classes and or online classes effects your eligibility to collect unemployment. They responded pretty quickly:

Q: How does attending college effect your qualification to collect unemployment? The courses taken directly reflect my career. Also, how are online classes different from normal classes, when it comes to effecting unemployment?

A: The Unemployment Insurance Program is strictly an eligibility program. It is not based on need. One of the eligibility test is: are you able and available for work in your usual occupation? School during what would normally be your working hours is a conflict that must be addressed.

If you attend school and have not been accepted into the California Training Benefits program, you could be denied benefits based on the inability to accept work. Online classes may or may not conflict with the eligibility requirement to seek and accept work.

We will have to look at when the classes are offered, are they offered only during certain hours of the work day, etc. before determining if the online classes interfere with your ability to seek and accept work.

Please read your handbook on California Training Benefits or look for the information on our website.

So now I have more info, taking tiny steps forward. Still a lot I need to find out.

I got up early this morning, per usual. I worked out for my usual 30 minutes (dancing on the dance pad, instead of the exercise bike) and did my weights. I really wasn't feeling very well this morning, but I wandered through my workout.

But when it came time to do my web design stuff, I couldn't do it. My grumbly side was muttering: "This is a waste of time, it will never be finished and if it is it will be a failure."

Damn I really don't like my grumbly side. I decided to be useful in a different way - So I cleansed the computer of spyware and adware, burned a backup CD of our important files, emptied trash (house trash - not PC), and by then it was time to go to work.

I got so caught up in a daydream about secretly remote controlled robots (supposedly autonomous housecleaning bots) that gather a family or group's personal info and drama - for a reality show - that I missed my exit on the freeway and had to wait for the next exit and double back. What a pain. Such is life with chronic ADD.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Boy Howdee! (translation Heck Yeah!)

Work is work, what can I say? I forecast OT this weekend, with winds from the northwest.

Cindy's off today, getting last minute errands done for the conference - with my bank card! Yikes! :o)

Actually I'm more likely to squander money than she is. There's always some gadget I wanna add to my hoard.

Cindy and I discussed the whole 'Mike goes to school' scenerio this past weekend, and she helped me create a list of things I need to accomplish/info I need to gather - - -

Map the whole plan out on paper -

Find exact classes, times/days, and costs -

Figure out how many days/hours I'll need to work to pay the bills -

Decide on online or in-person classes (in person preferred) or personal tutor?

Get details on programming languages certification -
How much are they, where and when are tests offered and by whom (how credible are they?)

Study job market for web designers - growing?

- - -

All of this will be good information to have. I just need to do it, do it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What's Up With That??

Working on the 2 Player Mode on the job. They are debating whether to keep 2P or drop it entirely. I think it should stay in. Even a decent 2P is better than no 2P, you know? It's not like this is a commercial product - thank goodness - I can't imagine worrying about network code for online multiplayer and all that fun.

Cindy is gearing up for her Manager's conference - bummer to be without my Sweetie for over a week. (Insert sad face here)

And then I'll be in Ohio for about a week. Lots of traveling for us this year!! Busy Busy.

Working on my web site in the mornings and evenings, blah blah same news every day.

The DDR dance pad is definitely messed up - it's my fault, and I want a new pad. I'll try to make do with this one and see if maybe I can fix it. If I need a new one, how much can I really mess up the broken one if I open it up?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Not An Ordinary Fellah!

The beginning of another week! Who knows what it holds and will bring? It was a very lazy weekend, I did a lot of sleeping on Saturday, and took some naps to prepare for the strenuousness of still more sleep.

I got off my ass at one point and rode the exercise bike for 30 minutes, thinking that this would get me moving. Not so - I went right back to bed. I guess I had some sleep to catch up on. If sleep could be stored, I'd be set for the week!

Sunday was more fun, Cindy was off and we went to the beach and had funnel cake. It was freshly made an yummy! The wind was blowing and we got peppered in powdered sugar. The wind made lots of pretty waves and sea spray, and we watched surprisingly entertained as a man in his undies salvaged a lost purse from under the pier.

I was getting my Dance Dance Revolution on last night, but was hindered by the fact that the dance pad is acting up. The 'Up' arrow is being triggered while standing calm and still in the center square.

This is really annoying, because when you try to go for an 'up' marker at the correct time, it doesn't register, and you get a 'BOO!' which is really annoying.

I'd folded the pad into thirds to store it, and now it's messed up. Damn. I'm really enjoying the game, and it would suck to not be able to play any more. I've left it unfolded in the hopes that it will magically unkink itself.

By the way: "Not an ordinary fellah" is one of the lines from Dance Dance Revolution. When you're doing well, the line plays.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Well that's neat - work is ending early today to take us to see 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'. I have plans with Ed to see it tonight, but how can I pass up the chance to see it for free?

The day has been pretty slow, yet again... Lots of hurrying and waiting. Hopefully next week will be all about writing bugs on 2 Player mode.

Liz is applying for a lead position at Universal. She'd be a great lead, I hope she gets it.

Blech Gaarf Ack!

Friday fun! After a week of 'hurry up and wait' at work, we finally have a new task - a play through of the single player mode. At least that will take up some time.

I need fruit for the work fridge, and will be going to the grocery store at lunch time to get resupplied. Note to self - get a hair cut next week.

Going to see 'Sky Captain' with Ed tonight - Hope it's good. Cindy has elected to stay home and work on schedules and whatnot. It needs done, but ugh, all that paperwork must get old. I think I'd be spreading the paperwork between myself and my two assistant managers, if I were the boss...

I cleaned up the clutter in the guest room this morning - it was a mess after I threw everything from the living room into it. I threw some stuff away, shoved some crap into the closet, and tried to clear up the floorspace so Cindy could have access to the window, where she hangs her clothes.

After cleaning, I was in a disgruntled mood and sat down in front of the computer anyway. I couldn't muster the oomph to work on the web site today. That's fine, I'll have this weekend to look at it. Never design disgruntled.

I'd worked on the front page for Fiction Interactive last night, and it came out pretty fugly. The main logo is just too busy to use in a large size, I think. I may to go to the small version at the top left, and then find some attractive way of laying out the genre selections.

Right now the genres are: Mystery, Horror, Romance, Espionage, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, and Erotica. Only 'Mystery' will be active intially, with the other choices greyed out. I'm going to put in a survey/voting feature that lets users vote on which genre will be the next to be active.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Geez Man - Give the Rabbit Some Trix!

Cindy and I watched 'Reindeer Games' from Netflix last night. It's not as good as the trailer makes it seem (good trailer editing by someone out there - way to go!) I think that's a job I could enjoy - editing film footage into trailers. I think it's interesting how they will have several different types of trailer for the same movie - one that focuses the action, one for the comedic elements, one for the romantic elements. Tricky of those editing peoples.

I've heard a lot of people say 'Reindeer Games' was crummy, but I've been wanting to see it since it came out. It's not as bad as rumors say, though not as good as the trailer would lead you to believe. I'd give it a 'B' - if you like Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron, you'll like this movie. Plus, you get to see each of them naked. What's not to like? Something for Cindy, something for me... Charlize likes to get her naked on in movies.

Worked on Fiction Interactive this morning for an hour, hour and a half. It's kinda scary how much time you can spend on one page! Granted, it's Page 2, and it has a lot of information to impart in an attractive way, but damn, I've spent a lot of time on this page. I was thinking back to how much time I've spent on this site over the past couple of years. YEARS. It has been way too long to be still working on the layout.

I had one element on the site from the very beginning - the vertical links strip that lets you navigate the site. I've improved it numorous times, but always kept it. The problem with the vertical links strip is that it takes up a lot of valuable real estate. I finally put the links strip horizontally along the top of the page, which has allowed me to make each page have the same elements. There's no room for a banner ad at the top now, but I'll find a way to work an ad in. Maybe a tower ad on the right side?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Fruitfully Delicious!

It's the noon hour and I haven't done any work since I got in at 10. We're supposed to be testing the 2 Player version of the game, but it's not ready for prime time just yet. As of last Friday we were supposed to be working on 2 Player - still nothing, and this is Wednesday. Today we're not even pretending to work on anything. Not even trying to look busy.

I got up early, rode the bike, showered, and worked on the web site. I wasn't into the web work at first this morning - but about the time I had to leave and go to work, I was enjoying it and wishing I could stay longer. I left the page I reworked on screen for Cindy to look at, and she seems to like the changes. I like them too.

I need to get back into the habit of getting up early to work on it, now that overtime at work is no more, and I have no real excuse. Plus, I'm going to Ohio soon and want to have something good to show! I need to change all the pages from reading 'Mystery Interactive' to 'Fiction Interactive' in the text. The first page I did wasn't that bad.

I'm thinking of having the main Fiction Interactive logo with all the genres around it - mystery, horror, romance, etc. I'm going to grey out the choices other than 'mystery' and set up a voting system that will allow the readers to decide which genre will be active next. Cindy recommeds 'erotica' as the most popular one, and she's probably right. Cindy is helping me with logo ideas for the front page. She's a great help - I couldn't do it without her.

Cindy is trying to prepare me for the Jimmy Buffet concert - she's so tickled we're finally getting to go - the last few years, there's always been some reason she could not go. This year, it will happen! I don't mind going, she's been waiting for years! The music is nice and Mr. Buffet isn't gonna live forever!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tostitos need no dip - they are no mortal chip

So I got a 102 combo on DDR last night. That's right. I kicked Cindy's butt - Hee Hee! I know it's a fleeting record, by the time I get home from work she'll have a 200 combo for me to try to beat.

I've been Dance Dance Revolutioning every morning for my exercise - I just have not been in the mood for the exercise bike. I'll probably start swapping back and forth between them soon, but for now it's all about DDR. I meant to try playing Pac-Man on the dance pad, but keep forgetting.

Not much other news... Work is winding down for now (until the next deadline approaches) and we've been working normal 8 hour days. This gig is supposed to last until November, now. We'll see. I'm gonna treat each day like it might be the last, and so I won't be surprised when it ends early.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Crisp and Clean with No Caffeine

Wow! I had two days off in a row. I can't remember the last time that happened. It was a nice, lazy weekend. Went to see Resident Evil Apocalypse, which was really cheesy, but had lots of cute little moments from the games.

Cindy had to work all weekend, so I had the apartment to myself. It finally has started to cool off over the last couple of days. I went to have lunch with Cindy on Sunday - we went to Johnny Rockets, and it was good.

I didn't get any work done on the web site, but I needed some rest. I watched lots of 'Band of Brothers' on the History Channel. I think they were running the whole thing from beginning to end over the weekend. Very well done, lots of great actors.

We're waiting for Alias Season 3 Disc 1 from Netflix. Right now the indicator says "Very Long Wait", so there's no tellin when it will arrive.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Craving Apple Fritters and Milk

We've submitted the final candiate of the game, here at work - just last night in fact - so this should mark the end of overtime, for a few weeks at least. I guess it depends on what the guys up north find during their evaluation of the build we gave them.

I got some good work done on the web site last night. I really don't know why I go home and work some more after working all day, but I do it. I guess I know that if I don't work on the site every day, it will never get finished.

I got the story selection page reorganized after browsing the web for ideas on layout. Everything on the web is so damn tiny. All the buttons, icons, and text is mini mini. I fear for the day when my eyes go bad and I can no longer enjoy the internet.

Got a bad headache last night about midnight, and it took about an hour and a half for the advil to kick in. Cindy was a sweetie and took a walk with me around the apartment complex. It was cooler outside, but still very humid.

I'm considering an air conditioner. You can get them for about $130 nowadays. We're usually pretty good to go with the weather, a nice breeze is usually blowing. But there is about a month every year that is pretty uncomfortable. I'd say that $130 is worth being comfortable for that month... Plus, what if this is just a hot year? And we suffer for months before breaking down and buying an AC.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

IKEA Dreams and Stranger Things

It's been an okay day. We got lots of work done, verified many fixes. We're supposed to get a new build sometime soon. This will probably be a 12 hour day, but we've been bracing for this, so it's no surprise.

I got fed up with the living room layout last night and did some re-arranging. It looks a lot better now - all we need is a room full of new furniture, end tables, lamps, area rug.

Because of this re-arranging, the guest room is now a crowded mess. I just shoved everything from the living room into the guest room. I need to dis-assemble the bed and stow it in the closet. That will free up a lot of room.

I'm tempted to say "screw the laptop" and just go on an IKEA spending spree. I don't know, though... I think the couch we wanted is no longer available in the color we liked. Hmn. We probably waited too long on that one. That's the way things are at IKEA - buy it when you see it, or next time it will be gone.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Grumpy Du!

Du: New Speak - Origin: Brat1
Short form of "Dude", corrupted to mean any person, especially one with whom we are sympathetic.

Lil Scampery Du = A small and cute child.
Lil Old Du = An elderly person
Good Du = A productive or well behaved person
Excellent Du = A hard worker or especially thoughtful person
Bad Du = Naughty or lazy person

So yeah, I was a grumpy du this morning. The day has definitely improved. I have a new stash of fruit in the fridge, and I had some tasty lunch. I don't know what to expect for tonight - overtime I mean...

I think we're about to get a new build, so the evening depends on how the build turns out I suppose. I went home around 7:30 last night, so I could work late tonight without hating life too much. Especially since it's hot out and work has AC.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Sore, Sunburned, Surly.

Tuesday as Monday - my whole week is going to be off kilter now. Holiday weeks are always kind of odd. People stagger in from whatever wild weekend they had, sore, sunburnt and surly. Brian came in but went home within about 30 minutes - sick with a cold.

It was nice having a day off for a change. It's been really hot the last few days, so it was difficult to relax at home. Cindy had most of yesterday off and we went out for lunch, and spent time in a bunch of different air conditioned retail outlets.

I got some work done on the web site - I'm reworking it into its new "Fiction Interactive" format, which will take a bit of massaging on each page. I need to change the references from 'case' to 'story' and update the logo on every page.

I'm grumpy today, and I don't know why. Maybe just tired. I avoided caffeine cause I know it makes me edgy... I ate a good breakfast, and had some fruit... I am craving bad foods, deep fried and with lotsa gravy. I will be good, and eat the food I brought with me. Something batter dipped and salty sounds yummy though...

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Here I am on Sunday

Where am I? Come on, you can guess... Work! That's right. Supposedly it's just for a few hours, but we'll see what happens. The tiniest issue could blow up into a big mushroom-cloud of doom.

Cindy works this evening, I think she's just going in for a few hours to close the store and do some paperwork.

I have a headache. It's hot in here cause the air conditioning computer won't respond. I want to go home. Oh well, at least I am making overtime pay.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Working. Weekend. Me No Like.

Not much new going on, working and sleeping mostly. I was planning on getting some web work (art) done at work, but by the time I got photoshop installed on my work PC, it was time to get to work. Oh well, I'll be prepared from now on.

I'm trying to resist the urge to completely redo the layout of the mystery interactive site. I think I'm going to have to do it though. It needs redone to fit the 'Fiction Interactive' rename. Sigh. When will it ever end? I'll start coming in to work early, instead of trying to get work done at home. The commute will be quicker earlier in the morning, and there will be less distraction while here at work.

I really wanted to have a Fiction Interactive story ready for my visit to Ohio... It does not seem that this will happen now. Granted, I thought I would have a month off to work on it. Grrr.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Fiddling While the Gold Master Burns...

The 'gold candidate' is due soon - our deadline is Friday, and I'm not feeling urgency. I know we're gonna be late with this game, I feel it in my bones, and it seems that I'm the only one. People are wandering in whenever they please, enjoying lengthy lunches, and leaving by 8pm. This is not a development team concerned about meeting their deadline. If this were my game - if I were the producer, I'd be five kinds of pissed.

The producers should be here, at least one of them, making sure that all that can be done is being done. But they are not here, and so that sense of ugency is missing. Hey, maybe the contract for the next game is already signed, and they're not concerned. I don't have enough information about future projects to guess. But this project AINT READY TO SHIP.

All this means lots of OT for me, and likely a healthy dose of DT too. Demon Laptop torments me from the possibility realm of "gee golly wouldn't it be nice..." (Like Demon Alcohol, you know... Demon... Oh never mind).

Doing DDR in the mornings, it's a nice switch from riding the bike. Cindy's been talking about a treadmill lately. Pretty soon here, we're gonna have to turn the spare bedroom into a gym. If we use the stuff, I don't mind spending money and space on exercise gear. Especially when it's fun like DDR.

Still toying with the idea of the bike riding game... Flash game might be pretty easy... Hmn. Maybe someday.

Cindy still hopes for us to move to Florida some day. They keep getting hit with storms... I tell you, Florida isn't a safe place to be in this era of global warming.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Thickly and Sticky

It's a still, humid day today. It was hot at 7am. I was glad to come to work where I could enjoy air conditioning. I was given a new PC on which to test the game, because my old one was producing really long load times, and a bunch of A and B issues. I think Eugune worked some dark magic on these new components, just to get these bugs closed.

I went to Fed Ex during lunch and shipped back the violin that arrived in error. Hopefully in a week or two I'll get my money back from Sam Ash. $200 is nothing to sneeze at. After Fed Ex, I went to the grocery store and got a bunch of fruit, more cereal, some draino, you know the usual.

Speaking of the violin, I need to get Cindy some lessons before we forget about it and we realize it's been a year since she got it, and never touched it. She was playing with it the other day, but you really need lessons to get rolling. Maybe some day I'll get a dulcimer. Hey, if Cindy, Liz and I ever learn to play, we could be a band. A Violin, Guitar, and Dulcimer would sound pretty good together.

I was hoping for a laptop for my birthday this year (was gonna split it wi Cindy), but it doesn't look like it's in the cards. We've been trying to pay off the dentist (Just a few more months) and the truck needs a bunch of work - new tires, air conditioner switch, and it's been running rough lately. Maybe it's just old, but I'll have to see what Frank (Our Mechanic Extraordinaire) can do with it.

I'd like to get new furniture, too. The stuff we have in the living room really needs to be trashed. Ah well, never enough cash to do everything.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Step by Step With the New Solution...

The home computer is fixed! I gave in and did the scary thing - I told the truth. I told one of the programmers that I'd taken the game home and installed it.

He was very nice and told me how to fix the problem. I was worried about his reaction, but he took it in stride. Now I wish I'd asked sooner, instead of waiting for like 3 days. Now we have our desktop icons, taskbar, and start button back. You miss those icons when they're gone, let me tell you!

Things are hopping at work, lots of new bugs have been entered - most of them French and Spanish text - and we're supposed to be Gold on Friday. I'd be amazed if we were actually ready. We need at least another week. There's a lot of bugs left in this game, I can feel it.

Cindy's Regional Manager was very pleased with the store on her visit, which is good. Cindy has really been sweating this visit and putting in lots of extra hours. I'm glad they paid off!

She works too hard. And of course, she's salary, so no extra cash for all that work. If I can help it, I won't take a salaried job again. It's the only thing that keeps an employer from working you to death. There's always more work to be done.