Monday, February 26, 2007

tread ahead

man, what the hell. myspace is such an unbelievable piece 'a crap. i know, i know "what do you expect, a million billion people can log on and off at any given moment, it's bound to be a lil' bit unsteady" -- yeah, well, google always gives you results without so much as a hiccup, hell a billion other sites seem to mask their problems at least a little more creatively. Well I am not so whiny (oh look, i've lied again) but for some reason myspace's inability to get it's shit together regularly confounds me. i guess i just get pissed when i want to write/read some email on the thing (or just do a damned blog entry) and it denies denies denies that it gets under my skin. oh "i bitch because i love" yeahhhhh. Well really, it goes along with my general philosophy of life though, in that al the shit i have is somehow kind of busted anyway. Oh okay i don't have a heart murmer or a bum kidney or anything of that kind of magnitude (that i know of.. perhaps someday my sperm count will come up low - well if chronic masturbation truly has anything to do with that, we shall see. Oh hi, my parents who read this!!) Hey, just havin' fun. I'm a fun guy. Really.

but yeah almost everything i own is kinda busted. even my ear seems fucked up lately. i guess it's a little humbling to have a general "ghetto touch" to everything, and makes you not get to terribly attached to anything and worried about maintaining it contiued pristinity. For crying out loud, anytime my girlfriend buys ANYTHING she has to get a custom-fitted screen protector slapped on it ASAP. Oh, I have had my moments too. That was the OLD ron.

I guess I should riff a little on video games right about now. i have actualy thought about starting a second blog just for video gaming, in general, but i am not at that precise level of nerdiness just yet. Actually, I consider it more of a business-related thing than anything, it's not exactly my hobby anymore. I do consider it kind of a responsibility of mine to talk more on t mater though, especially as the years pass and I delve deeper into the industry (in a more business and philosophical sense). One thing I'd not be too concerned with it just being a drooling fanboy yammering about the flavor of the month. That's all well and good, but there's more than enough of it out there and so in my own capacity, it's pretty useless. But then I am not that type of gamer though.

So I guess I will use this opportunity to take an inventory of what I am looking at, lately, game-wise. The last real system I bought was a Playstation 2, probably about... uhmmm.. 2002, summertime? I was working on action sports (oh hell, it was motocross racing) and up to that point I was fretting (to slight degree) "which console should i buy?" The job I had made it an easy choice, and I filled out my library fairly well to represent the theme. I had actually bought a PS2 a couple years earlier at the system's launch, only intending to sell it and make some cash (I think i ended up making about 200 bucks, no big deal). So I still have the thing sitting in my cabinet these days, i have to say it functions really well for watching divx movies streamed off of my PC and the occasional DVD rental I suppose (I probably rent like.. 5 DVDs a year.. maybe, if that!) Yeah, I am not what you would call any kind of a media zombie I guess. Not mainstream anyway...

On a couple trips home I dug up my Sega Genesis (sitting in the closet but "i'll hook it up one of these days") and a Super Nintendo, circa 1991 (woa, that sounds old). it's yellow and gross looking, but if i was gonna sit in front of my TV for an extended period at this point in my life to play a videogame, in all likelihood it'll be to play some game on that thing. 2D was king for me and it peaked right there. My collection of games is somewhat anemic, but already it's more than I'll ever play (I got on a little kick for ebay with SNES gams for 5 minutes, a little over a half year ago - if only to increase my assets - but most of the stuff I bought hasn't been even loaded into the deck yet, for longer than to ensure the damn thing would boot up). Even now, I could still wrangle a night of absolute fun out of the SNES, some booze, and a couple of good friends visiting, I must say.. it's thoughts like that which make me still appreciate the community aspect of those games.

I have somewhat recently acquired an Xbox and, much more recently, a Sega Saturn - but systems relatively antiquated by todays standards (okay Xbox ain't THAT old but old enough to be abandoned by it's developer!!) I was fortunate enough to get both systems for free, and though the Xbox I will say maintains it's presence purely for research purposes, the Saturn is definitely there for a little more "fun," I'll admit it. I have spent next to nothing building up any kind of collection for that thing, but it's one of the.. err... "weirder" systems out there, meaning there's some cool weird games out there I could get my hands on, and I intend to when it's a little bit more appropriate in my life (hard to justify shelling out bucks for video games when yer broke and jobless). I did get a couple hard-won discs off ebay though, I would like ot sit down and mess with them some afternoon "when there's time." I never feel like I have any time for that stuff, really.

I am not a console gamer anyway. I have a Gameboy micro, that's pretty much the smallest handheld system of any serious merit one can acquire. Granted, I DID used to have a Tetris Keychain, and it dd make a pretty compelling argument - hell I got more than my money's worth out of it, I wish I could find it now!! But it was "just Tetris." No small feat, but gameboy micro trounces it about 800 times over. I could lose all my video game systems, paraphernalia, etc, ALL OF IT, as long as I had my micro still I'd likely not bat an eyelash. There is one holdout exception to that rule, I have this nice little korean toy called a GP32, which is a bit bigger than the ol' micro (it can still squeeze into one's pocket, but juuuust barely!) and it's power is significantly beefier (though already dwarfed by it's own successor). But while the micro will play all my old 8bit NES/Sega games, and of course gameboy advance games (who cares), the GP32 will cover a ton more territory. It'll play tons of old actual arcade machines, and a fairly decent handful of the 16-bit-shit I grew up in my gaming heyday. yeah, as long as I have those two to mess with, I am pretty set - if I can't play it on the toilet, and there's a color-depth > 256, then you'll be hard pressed to get me to care, fellas...

So it's an interesting time ot be me, somewhat, and ironically so - well in this respect at least - the console generation has upgraded and we've got VASTLY more powerful hardware on the market for the first time in several years, and yet the retro-scene is enjoying quite a resurgence of popularity these days. Definitely interesting, if a bit surreal - not overwhelmingly important, but it makes me realize that the types of games which people used to like might not be quite as easily forgotten as history'd otherwise convince us. Yeah, a bunch of nerdy talk, but rather than just enjoying this in a nostalgic light, I am trying to consider it in more of a business mentality - are the days of "simpler design" attractive in a way as the style of gaming today is not satisfying? Games today look pretty well phenomenal, all things considered. A long way to go yet, stylistically ad technically, but it's growing by leaps and bounds, no one could argue, evolving. But for guys like me, something is definitely missing. novelty, fun, simplicity. The sense of accomplishment just isn't there, man. Pass checkpoints, collect widgets, gone is the visceral thrill. There's too much which has got your back - I used to always sweat "seeing what could be around the next corner." Now it's just a mismatch of good and bad all over the place. Rushed projects of half-realized ideas. The development times have not always increased proportionately with the budgets.

Ah, but I speak as a jaded person who's worked too long on one particular side of the screen, it could be argued. Maybe there's a reason I have lost my love for the scene. Still I will say it, i can pick up a puzzle game where the screen never moves and play for hours and hours. that shit is just FUN. It's simple, maybe I am simple.. but there's a thrill in there, a thrill of risk. the graphics aren't anything spectacular, but at least they are tidy. the controls are tight enough. I am a little surprised that puzzle games have never burst to a further level than the occasional blip on the radar after Tetris, and it takes so-called Genius to discover this stuff. That's bunk i have met several designers who i consider to be extremely smart, the industry and the dollar are what force them to remain bound to a specific path rather than cutting loose and developing more along the lines of innovation and experimentation.

There has been a semblance of hope with the new "budget games" and the different distribution methods that we'd see some resurgence in this style of "lower-budget" or casual gaming, likewise with the modification of the cell phone as ubiquitous hand-held console. The depe game nerds rejoiced, but as is their nature, they quickly enough fell under the spell of the much higher-tech offerings popping up around the corner. Duh, didn't see that happening, the new damned videogame systems just came out....

The Nintendo DS touches me, pun intended, as it's ancient-tech by modern standards but it's sweeping the world with it's popularity. The games look fine for what they are, mostly, and it's already overflowing with a beyond-solid-lineup of offerings. I haven't picked one up (might never) which is kind of a shame, at least not for lack of interest (I haven't the time, energy, or money) but again it's very interesting to see such a style and mindset of gaming proliferating so profoundly. It's really what guys like me would have always dreamed of, and I hope it continues in the next level.. I am amazed to see Nintendo's Console offering (the Wii) following suit and selling out like hotcakes everygoddamnedwhere, but I can't help but think that people are being a little too optimistic regarding the thing, and the industry analysts know it. It's novel, it's fun, but it needs some serious maintainence to get to any kind of success as it's "little brother" the DS is enjoying. I don't care if one in four homes has one in 6 months, that's useless if people aren't buying system-specific offerings for it. And I am not sure that the wobbly flying remote is truly the answer to the console problems those guys have had. I admit it, i sort of WANT those guys to get their asses whupped a little bit - Nintendo's long had this posture that's been a little too proud, and though they've been getting spanked for years now in this particular arena, they really need to follow up with some dedication, some art.. some love for the past besides re-releasing old NES games. That's nice to see, but as support, not a star feature.

Yeah, I suppose I have a lot to say on the business end of this whole argument, and it's hard for me not to consider that I've had a bit of personal attachment to all of this in a few (strange) ways - but this industry has been special to me, growing beside me since I was a kid, and now it's a whole different world. It's still not degraded completely into money yet, though it's made some huge thrusts in that direction, but mostly the heart of it is still just being FUN, enjoyment of life though a new and fascinating abstract, and that's something new and weird that people are still trying to comprehend on all sorts of levels. That's not geeky, that's not novelty, that's just part of trying to be happy. You can say whatever you like "oh yeah but at it's heart it's just about businesses trying to make money," and yeah that's a huge contingent of it - but the vultures will circle anything under the sun, it's almost (almost!) irrelevant in a way. The point is, it's all ben one way, it's changed hands a few times over, it warps a little more and differently through each phase, and it's got a hell of a long way to go yet, which no on has a real clue about. That's frightening in one way and fascinating in another.


damn i feel like i haven't written in this thing in ages. fact is, i am tired of blogging. i am tired of thinking of all the stuff going on in my life right now.. i have a lot on my mind and i am just tired of it! i am still pretty excited about it all, but it's been this back-and-forth for so long now. i just want to have my goddamn cake (err, P I E) and eat it too.

last week was pretty eventful. 2 job interviews, 2 job offers. i said to both of them "not yet, not till i get done with interview number three" which is tomorrow (tuesday) in new york. that job is still the one which has been at the center of my attention - for good and difficult reasons. anyway without reiterating it all for the nine-hundred-and-fifty-seventh time, same shit, different day. at least things are happening. i did start work on another art test for another job (local) today, but then... ahhh.. petered out of gas. it's for a job that is close by, pretty stable by the looks of things, but NOT what I wanna be doing so much.

what else to say then! not much else to report. i feel as though there's just not much else to say. i caught up with a bunch of friends last night, something which i don't feel like i generally do very often -- and it's always good to do that, of course. i did also go out and be a little more social a couple of times last week, hitting the club scene. it's alright, but the clubs are just NOT stimulating my nerves at all like they used to. i think i have definitely blown a fuse in all of that - i really do need a new drug. i just gotta hang up on drinking jagermeister for real, or at least cut my dosage into by 2/3. the stuff is fine, and gets the job done, but that shit blacks me out. it saves me money like you wouldn't believe, and it never ever makes me sick or crazy, but it really fucking blacks me out and that's like... what's the point of it, at all? might as well just go to sleep early.

i think another thing about that is just - going out and doing the same thing. after all this time, the scene is just not electrifying to me at all. it's fun, and it's interesting or whatever but you can only go to the same exact places and listen to the same tunes so many times. the same scenery. it just runs together after a couple years. i need a change if i wanna keep doing that.. but also, i am 32, not 22. does it really hold so much of a fascination for me like it used to? i'd like to think so, i mean i still have the energy. i need to find a fresh angle though. this is why people use expensive drugs i guess.. hahaha...

we watched jackass last night. whew, you know, i have never watched that stuff very much before, i've been aware of it and i can appreciate why it is so popular but DAMN - i could feel my IQ dropping by several points just sitting through that shit. i have never been into "shocking humor" though, i am more of an abstract guy I suppose. i just don't like watching people barf and piss on each other and eat one another's shit. call me old-fashioned. it's okay, i have my moments when i will start howling at the top of my lungs in a crowded place about how everyone has a big pink asshole with hairs awkwardly protruding out, or something like that. We all have our flavor I suppose.

I locked my girlfriend out of the apartment by accident saturday night, (yeah... "by accident!" HAW HAW) and to make it up to her, I drove her to the outlet mall in Ontario (about an hour and change of driving). Ahhh, the mall, the mall. You know, when I was a kid, the mall was COOL, I liked going there. Sort of. Well, really, we were mall rats somewhat, it is true. Slumming at Friendly's, drinking fribbles. I had my pulse onthe 16-bit videogame scene and regularly haunted the local Electronics Bougeek and of course the old standards, Toys R Us and Kay-Bee toys. that shit was white hot back in the day! Got te new EGM yet? Got the new Shinobi game? Whip Rush? Atari Lynx? What's up with Ninja Gaiden II? Man those were the days. i was such an ubernerd (yeah, "WAS") I spent so much time hounding the employees of those poor places "where oh WHERE is Simon's Quest???? I MUST KNOW!") Alright, so the point is we go to the mall now and it's a completely different scene. And yeah the mall in Everytown USA is generally a cleaner and more sanitized experienced ("devoid of character"). Ugly design. Bland Gross food court. A little too packed with blue collars and red necks. The fun is gone... recordtown is gone... The last vestiges of any kind of mom n pop stores are GONE BABY GONE. We used to have a few of 'em in Shopper's World, yeah I loved that place too. I know, this is just Old Man Alpert talking now. This is what happens..

I'll miss it even more when I get 20 years older, I'll actually miss THESE days "I remember a time when people had to actually GO places to buy things, at all!" Yeah so the world is changing a bit too rapidly these days. Keep paying attention or you'll miss the next revolution in the blink of an eye.

Damn. I don't wanna call it a night. it's 4am and i am happy sitting here in my old-man bathrobe listening to DJ shadow and typing away and my eyes are bleary. I have nothing to do tomorrow except the usual juggling act, get some food, go to the post office to mail some stuff off.. pack my crap up... sigh and tread into the future. Best part is I am gonna fly jetBlue, to new york and back... argggh, hopefully they won't trap us all on the goddamned plane. Yikes! Enough out of me then..

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

the incorrect lines about the pestilence

what, what was i going to type right now? oh, yeah.

sigh. another late night, a sort of pensive one. a night which feels like it's fallen out of time. is it ironic, or typical, that i've previously spent $250 or so for a huge MP3-filled jukebox with enough music on it to last me a lifetime, yet all I ever listen to is current talk-show downloads or streams of live radio stations (local, yet, inaccessible downstairs as my tuner is compromised. like so many things i own - partially junked!)

a lot going on right now. i had an interview for a job today; it went well. i showed up about 15 minutes late (the freeway exit was missing an important sign and so pointed me several minutes in the wrong direction, before i wised up and corrected the error). It didn't matter, i sat down before a committee of 4 or 5 men and had it out with them, before doing the same before a fresh set of 4 more, all over again.

interviewing is interesting, i've done it several times. i love/strongly dislike talking about what i do for work, depending on the context- going over my passions with strangers is not something i've ever had much of an affinity for, especially when it is stronly and personally relevant to my future, and i have long been the sort who'd get stricken with stage fright in any similar situation. Still, I seem to have got the hang of the interview thing, by now it feels more than ever as if i am in fact the interviewer and those before me the interviewees, "who will i spend my time with next?" In some ways, it's as if judging, beforehand, what sort of a relationship you are applying to involved yourself with: certainly as intimately, and more than romantically. Now I know how women feel, right down to the painful sex part. Anyway, dramatics aside, the interview went well and I feel confident I will get a job offer of some sort out of it (we'd not talked money, but I don't think that'd break it at this point - still, never say NEVER.)

it's been quite, but of course as they say - "when it rains, it pours." I had just arrived home recently when another company called me up on the phone and we had it out for some time this afternoon, probably about an hour. So I will likely have an interview with them in the coming days as well, should things go as they have. And then ANOTHER call came in today, also, my old boss whom I've mentioned recently came through and is trying to place me with yet a 3rd position. Al these things are interesting, and in their ways tempting. None of them is "the perfect fit," not as when I had a strong realization that night back in 2004 (THIS is what I want to do!) No, I have feelings in different regards about many things..

Option #4 is still New York City, and that trip is exactly one week away. The more that topic comes up, the more polarized the answers from those I ask become regarding the matter. This job, above all the rest, is still the strongest draw to me for many reasons, and also the most PAIN IN THE ASS TO CONSIDER at the same time. It excites me, the job itself does - the prospect of killing everything and refreshing my system is exciting to say the least - and the knowledge of what i would be leaving behind is terribly upsetting to balance it all off. I know I will go there and like their project. i know when I am there I will be blown away by the opportunity and say "i want this, i want this..." But for the right reasons? I talked to a friend today, he revealed to me that his age is 24 and that he is working in the industry but "tired of being in the same place, I want to move to a different city; see the world." Oh how that makes me ache!! I am 32, my world is a particular color, i am held by all these things in my life that keep me in a certain way, I wish I could just cut loose and be young and stupid and careless again, care not for what lay ahead. just fuck it and just do it.

I sat on the toilet a few minutes ago, reading a friend's novel about homeless, careless young derelicts passing through the country, without money, without connections, without any care. Not without problems, but not without means either. The story charges me, as other things I have read charged me: miller, kerouac. I leaned forward and saw the contour of my face in the long bathroom mirror. I am wearing a hoodie, it's matting my hair close to my face and so emphasizing the curves and contours that make up my cheeks, my nose, the roundness of my chin. I look tired, I look older, a little silly, a little out of place. Not like the place where these thoughts come from, this character.

I yearn for my stability, but I despise it. I love what I do and I wrap myself around it, and i wish DEARLY for some control and variety of choices in what I will do with my life. they lie at my feet and it's completely up to me now, and I want to turn my back on it all and let my adult mind "choose the proper path" so i can pay bills, save up for my house, be responsible. So WHAT? So I can be married someday, so I can have a house and a wife and a family? Is that what i want? Is that the control that I seek? Isn't that what I am always told will make me happy?

Today was an interesting day. It's given a little bit of my self-confidence back. It is hard-won. And it's reminded me that the biggest problems I have with the world are the real weaknesses I have allowed it to develop in myself, as "special" or "different" as I would like to think I am, I am truly built of a backbone that's just the same as all of my peers, of my progenitors, I am another safe path just following the program. The little blips which I would curse are the gifts, the opportunities in life which truly give one chance to be that difference, to get away from what is known and expected. I am hard on myself I suppose, everything in the world can be black and white sometimes and so I will react with a similar outlook, perhaps I should be a little more considerate of things. I just don't wanna blow it.

damn it, i really want some pie.

Friday, February 16, 2007

pre-traumatic stress disorder insecticon syndrome

4:30 in the afternoon, still feeling kinda crappy but not falling down the stairs with my head cracking open like a fragile eggshell and leaking the gooey contents all over the floor and formica countertops, not yet anyway. I am a bit dizzy though, and more than anything just wanna be left alone... which is nice to be, right now... but yeah, i'm on the mend, feeling better day by day.

i did send out another CD-rom demo to another local developer today, that marks the third one in a week's time. That means I will collect about 10 jpgs together (usually the same for any CD's I send out, give or take 1 or 2 - depending on who's gonna see it), track down the name of the art director for said company (you know, for that "personal touch," it leaves me with slightly more confidence that the intended person will get to have a gander on it as opposed to "Art Director" which means it'll likely immediately get shoveled onto the lap of the "HR person") - modify the cover letter accordingly, touch up my breakdown sheet (explaining what I'd done in the jpgs, likewise the QT movie - which is 50 percent too small dammit, my own oversight - and the 3D scene files and supporting textures), and of course a cleanly-cropped 1-Page resume, burn it all in Nero CD, print out a nice neat professional-er looking adhesive label, wrap it up nice and tight in a USPS envelope and ship it to wherever it's gonna go. This is exciting, I know "the process, the process..." Usually to a studio fueled by somewhat partial egomaniacs who've long forgotten how tough it can be to get a break here and there so they'll likely not even glance at the fruits of my labor, but y'never know, it's worth a shot. Anyway No matter how gross I feel I'll always jump at the opportunity to send a CD-rom out to wherever it might do me well - yeah I've a website, and that's all well and good, but sometimes it pays to be a little more aggro and hit multiple fronts, if you know what I am saying. So yeah, sent it out, piked up a sandwich at the local italian joint up the street - not very hungry (my appetite has been absent) but I need to put some food in that gullet. Oh i paid my bills today and ARGH that's enough to get a boy's pants wrinkled! FUUUUuck. I need to get a job soon. It's always a good feeling to get a bunch of that shit out the door "I won't be seeing the likes of those hooligans for a little while" but at the same time it's a sobering reminder of how much money I owe and how much progress I've gt to make. I am not a money-hungerer, but i get tired of seeing that same amount sitting on the mantlepiece, a constant reminder of how far I've gone and how far I've yet to go.

The reality of leaving Hollywood is hitting me a little. I know I have this job interview in two weeks out of town, and after considering the whine-worthy things mentioned above, it truly feels like a really NICE escape-hatch. It also feels like a bullet, just like killing a part of myself, which is admittedly a harder thing to come to terms with. As I have mentioned, time and again, I've done this before, and I am cognizant of the consequences (good and bad) and more than anything else, the thought of it all just exhausts me. It's not to say it is not exciting, hell even tantalizing, and more than anything else the same thing echoes in my brain "this is what you asked for!" but hey, i am a hypocrite as much as anyone else. It's easier to watch shit happen to other folks and let your own life kind of cruise down an easily digestible path. Oh okay this stuff is not that hard to digest.. didn't I mention I was a drama queen a few times here and there?

I got a call two days ago from a former boss, I don't think it's got mentioned in here yet - he hired me for my first job in LA, and he was always a pretty decent guy. He didn't promise me a job but he said he might have something lined up (by the pedigree, I was expecting it'd be something relatively shorter-shooting than the relatively higher-profile projects I've been involved with the last couple of years) Anyway that was nice to get a call, even if he disappeared as mysteriously as he'd
appeared (he intimated that i'd be hearing back immediately, which didn't happen). And today I got an email from another position i was checking out, we've just set up an interview for early next week. So, yeah, things aren't quite as bleak as my overly somber tone might not want to betray. Bitches.

the weather in LA is gorgeous right now. I keep thinking about the fantasy I wrote about earlier.. sipping on the pina colada, watching the sun set, relaxing with my feet in the sand. The tropical paradise of my dreams, it doesn't really have to be quite so far away... does it?

dream on

no news this week really. the whole week has pretty much been a wash really, i have been sore and feverish and not felt like doing much of anything. i would have liked to push forward and worked a bit more on my portfolio, but biology comes first i suppose (though i did get my website updated a little, and tidied up to boot).

strange dreams last night (yeah, i love the anxiety dreams). I dreamt I was living in the house i spent the most of my youth in - after i moved out of there, i had dreams for YEARS that involved me still living there, but now it's been a good 10 years since that's been the case. Anyway I was still kind of employed but trying to do video capture of some of my work for my demo reel, so - as we were moving our desks around at the office - i "borrowed" a $20,000 Playstation 2 development kit and brought it home so i could perform the video capture (note: i have not done anything like this in real life! Well, the vid-cap yes, the equipment stealing, no). I was in my old bedroom, and i kept resting the PS2 tower on the edge of my bed's comforter (noting it was about to fall!), finally resting it somewhere slightly more secure. I had to hook up mountains of spaghetti wires to get the process to work, and some of the jacks just wouldn't fit (so i forced them in, even though they were making "breaking" noises) I practically had to start disassembling the expensive unit when I gave up and moved onto something else..

I think I woke up and fell asleep again, or just the scene changed, because suddenly I was back in Framingham High School next - again, used to have lots of dreams about "the last day of finals at high school and i am not ready for them!" Well in this case I was a Senior, but I don't think I was terribly worried about taking a test. Class let out and I had a heavy-heavy bag ful of equipment (printers and books and crap) and I didn't want to lug it with me all over the place, so I figured "yeah well I will just throw all this crap into my locker.." Problem was, I hadn't used my high school locker in like... 14 years, which is true since I was my current age in my dream. Oh, that's depressing. Anyway the locker had been amazingly left open a crack, and all of my old books, notes, bas etc were in it.. i tore through everything, certainly I'd written down the combo somewhere, right? I kept getting flashes of memory "is that it, is that it? and trying different ones on the door to see if the mechanism released (to add to the pressure, there were like 3 different spinners). Hours passed, and I missed "the late bus" home so I knew I was gonna have to walk - I didn't want to be lugging this huge heavy bag with me the miles it would take to get home (though I didn't have anyqualms about walking otherwise).

Dreams are strange. If you've ever tried to read, or write something in a dream, you may notice that it's not been more than vaguely symbolic, if possible at all. I have seen strange words/etc but not true sensible sentences. Supposedly the part of your brain that deals in reading/writing doesn't really function when you are asleep, there's been studies on it - so it was really difficult for me to read the scrawls i had written down in my decades-old chemistry notebooks. Suddenly it came flooding to me through the clouds "7-18-24!!" I thought it was hogwash but i tried and the mechanism on the door limply lifted. I was not so much surprised that i had remembered, so much as aggravated that it took me so long. Now I wish I could go back to my old locker outside of Mr. Lutender's classroom and try it for real and see if that was what it was. Anyway I woke up at this point, the combo playing over and over in my head, also my current gym lock combo being remembered as well (probably a sign that my body wants to get back to the gym... sigh)

bah. I hate anxiety dreams. I need to have dreams where I am relaxing at a distant Polynesian resort watching the sun gently set while exotic women serve me pina colada's and rub my feet and shoulders, and fan me with palm fronds. Where can I get my brain reprogrammed?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

calliope meltdown

head aches. i caught some bug from my girlfriend. yeah.. the "LoooOOOOOOVe Bug!!" Oh, barf. Seriously, feeling sort of shitty all day, but that's alright (sorta) since I am not really having too much pressing to do. Well that is always a lie, but relatively. Ok, no immediate deadlines lurking over my shoulder, how is that..

I spent much of the day either surfing the net (i tend to get lost in the endless sea of information) or watching the History Channel. I never watch TV, but if I get sucked in, it might be pretty good. War is definitely something that will fascinate me, our digestion of it/its portrayal/the psychology and social consequences of it. Also, how close it is to our nature. Even working at game companies, you can feel the heated competition bubbling under the surface, internally and of course externally. Something we don't like to face, or to embrace.. or do we..?

Looking at some crap online, I have been a little nostalgic for my youth lately I suppose. Not in the way that "i wish I could go back there!" but just marveling at the way my brain works now as compared to the much younger person I used to be. I look at my life, my personality, and I try to decide.. "am I an adult, am i mature? Responsible, do i take things seriously - do i conduct myself in a manner befitting a 32 year old?" My knee jerk reaction is that naw, i am still a kid, I always will be trapped that way, I am kind of a child living in a man's world. the things that go through my head moment to moment, the abstract ways I consider reality, they are the things of a child. But on closer inspection I will look at the world around me and how everyone else handles likewise, and it confounds me. The "adults" are worse, gross kind of, lacking their innocence, their colorfulness. Okay, i live in this grimy and aggravating world and so I paint a bleak picture (look at the work i produce) and perhaps I kind of even like to get wrapped up in it - but then I think it's not only me who's the kid, it's everyone. No one takes shit seriously, life is just a big ol' game. Yeah, things change when you have real responsibilities (bills, kids, etc) but even then people skirt it and get caught up in their, umm, "childishness" for lack of a better term,

So then my next deduction instead of "that's dumb and people suck," I will usually say instead "okay why do i view people this way and further why ARE we this way?" Well I could type all night.. so I won't.. but suffice it to say the answers to those questions, which glimmer in my head, at least make me feel a little better about my self-image. And so my ego furnace is quelled, for the moment..

It's cold in here. Anyway I was starting this entry with the intention of writing about how when I was a kid, I had this driving need to CREATE stuff. I don't think I would say it is gone now, in fact my life can be considered fueled by it, but back in those days it was such a raw, naked urge which knew no satiety. I HAD to draw. Draw, draw, draw. I read lots of comics, watched lots of cartoons, played lots of videogames - I absorbed all tis weird abstract commercialized shit like a sponge, as kids do, and shat it out my other side (well, through my pencil onto the paper). I used to make comics, probably HUNDREDS of them, with my friends or my brother or alone, riffing off whatever comic character or thing I was into at the time and making my own over-dramaticized versions. I would sit with my sketchbook and draw by flashlight for hours after my parents had put me to bed, lovingly rendering futuristic cars and robotic superheroes and fantastic colorful environments for them to reside in, either swiped from my favorite toy or imagined out of my own head, all with horrible anatomic definciencies but i didn't care, i knew that understanding could come with practice and age.

Sigh. I look at my website now, "here is the work i present to the world" - some buildings and crap.. yes it looks all nice and technical or whatever, but that childish fantasy, the sense of mysterious wonderment is missing from it. The angles and the lighting are all correct, but in such a way that they are rendered bland. I get older and I find my muse in there, somehow, but the best parts of what i create will never be appreciated by anybody else (or even reflect back on the quality and love in my work). Should my goal be, then, to find a way to dig that out, to unearth my youthful energy ad create things that are excruciatingly exciting (yep!) Does working in an industry like this render all of that secondary, as I strive to be competitive and bland and look "just as good as the other artists who make nice art?"

Will I get drunk routinely and cause a stir and make a scene and dace wildly and uncontrollably to the glee and frustration of everyone else around me? Ah, to be a caveman..

I watched the "hair conference" video on youtube the other day. My legs gnarled up as I viewed it, i actually felt pain for those guys. i could remember being then The spotlight of the world (all relative) is on you and you're being held up as an example "you are different, apologize and make everything right and normal again." Instead they ran with it, somehow, filed by some bizarre artsy adrenalin.. I dunno.. and just irritated the media like i had never seen before. It both pissed me off and made me admire them at the same time.


sometimes i get a glimpse of the genius that is around us, in everyday life. I was kind of referring to this back at the beginning of this entry, in that -- sometimes I wonder if I should feel ashamed, do the smart people make me feel.. stupid? It almost seems like brilliance is not even THAT special of a thing. Even moderate brilliance. I always like to think of myself as a smart guy, but i always see myself falling into dumb traps of my own design (imagined, or otherwise). I guess it's good to be humble, rather than overconfident - but at the same time, it's nice (and important) to have a little boost to the old self-esteem. I can look at myself on paper, and think that things are alright.. and I will get reassurance from people, strangers or folks I know.. but I will always dwell on the fuckups. Maybe it's a bad streak, or maybe I have expectations that are too lofty. I think the biggest feeling of disappointment I ever experience is when I do lower those expectations, though..

Ahh well whatever. I should just fix up the rest of my damned website and be done with it so i don't have to have it pestering the lower corners of my brain anymore.

job updates

ohhh.. just got this from new york city studio, i gotta headache...

Monday, February 12, 2007

derided once again

man, what the hell?

I had this toy when i was a kid ( a very spoiled kid, mind you) - yeah, this Transformer was cool 'cause not only did it turn into this cool looking sci-fi gun, from a nearly equally cool looking (and articulate) robot mode - but when you pressed the trigger the lights would flash and it would make a loud zap noise if my memory is correct (hey, it has been over 20 yrs, alright?) Now when you bought these toys, they always had this crazy cool airbrushed rendition of the character's robot mode on the box, just to further drive home the point about how great these futuristic techy things were and how badly you needed to have them. The toys generally looked cool, but the robot modes were kind of hit or miss in ways (as more emphasis was made in representing their vehicle or object modes as opposed to the robot modes.. for obvious reasons). So yeah, they released this one, but WHAT HAPPENED to the box art? Did someone blow it or what? Look at that awful picture. He looked really cool in the cartoon, the comic.. pretty basic design... guh. I guess the guy was partying too hard and hungover that day, and he had a deadline. look at that crappy HAND. There's not like just one problem with it, there's like at least 14 seriously shitty problems with poor shockwave here. The fet. The perspective. The dumb wires in his chest. He just looks like an asshole. Man, does it feel good to complain about things that don't even matter... I have more to say about shockwave but that will wait for a future episode.

Kids love guns. i am pretty much from the last generation of kids who got to grow up with toy guns which looked somewhat accurate before the parent groups started going out of control and outlawing them left and right. gee, that's funny, i don't remember too many stories of kids flipping out in the 1980s and bringing real guns to school to mow everyone down!! (doesn't mean it didn't happen, but it sure wasn't quite as spectacular if it did) I remember I was probably in high school, I guess, when Super Soakers were introduced.. now the title of a popular line of pornographic videos, likely, but in the late 80s these were hi-powered squirt guns which could blast liquid like.. geez, i dunno, 30, 40 feet? They were battery powered I think, I remember they had these huge crazy tubes on them so you could have plenty of "ammo." This was after the previous round of crazy parental groups, or whatever, so as they released they were already crazy designs/wacky abstract colors. They didn't last too long before the media freaked out "ohhhh noooo, guns gun gunnns?" And you'd hear reports of kids filling them with bleach and shooting people.. ahh, I dunno. Anyway I remember they got outlawed pretty damn quickly, in Boston at least, and I'd see them in Child World all wrapped up in police tape. very strange. i think they resurfaced after the mania died down (hey, there was money to be made) but it always seemed kind of goofy to have these guns that looked like sci-fi wacky cartoons, as opposed to.. you know,a cool black and silver metal GUN. Yeah, phallic, i know. We've all seen A Christmas Story though. My dad had an old air rifle leftover from when he was a kid, I used to play with that thing. It felt cool to carry it around the yard, make the loud POP noise. Sometimes I would shove some clumps of dirt down the barrel and satisfyingly shoot it onto the side paneling of our house. Yeah, that kind of ruined the firing mechanism, sorry Dad...

Guns.. guns, guns.. Yeah, i had this cool batman gun too (I know, "Batman doesn't use a gun!") Hey, it was a cool toy, i didn't care (and I sure thought batman was the bee's knees) It has a little flip-up mirrored plate with a batman icon on it, and lik the oter toy i mentioned, you'd "fire" and it made a noise and lit up. but man, this thing mad e a REAL noise, it was loud (and therefore, better). My Dad was a great guy, he'd go to NYC sometimes for business trips and, wracked with guilt on being absent during the week, he'd sometimes bring me back little toys like that to remind me that I should love him (heh heh) or comic books from Philmac Pharmacy. So one night he gets in late after I have already been tucked into bed, wearing his business suit and wakes me up kind of excited "here, boy, I got you a batman gun..!" I was a little confused, but i put the battery in and shot the batsignal (or whatever) across the wall and this HUGE WAILING SOUND rang through the whole house, waking my poor brother up and upsetting everyone.. he snatched it back "ahh... maybe you can play with it tomorrow" but I already knew I was gonna enjoy pissing everyone off with this loud thing.. heh heh heh.

-Ron, voice of the Nostalgic Generation

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Friday, February 09, 2007

penetrating thoughts from the underworld to your underpants

greetings, my fellow cybernerds. where, oh where, does my brain need to go today...

well first of all, let's get this crap outta the way:

yeah, i just uploaded this stuff for the NYC test. Man, this thing has been a seriously endless nightmare for me - i think i am just getting tired of doing these things, especially since partway through i seem to lose enthusiasm for them and realize that it may be useless to keep "wasting time" with them. But ahh, nothing ventured/nothing gained, so far be it from me to spare the effort. Also the other end of it is that i've gone so far with a thing, and I need to see things through - i hate how so many people can start something with lofty intentions and then peter out with less than a quarter complete. I'm not perfect, but I like to think that I manage to see things through (come hell or high water.. neither of which sound good - oh and DEJA VU by the way)

I am not sure if those pics above are particularly much better looking than the ones I submitted previously, that irritates me - it makes my work feel half-assed, especially since I did get a lot of harder-to-wrangle stuff set-up in that scene, though that's invisible to anyone but me. That means I have to reel it in, as time permits (if so!) and push it to the end, leastways if i wanna be showing it on my website. Whatever, the fact remains that it is officially "sent out into the world.."

The week has been trying, I've been working countless hours, my life's pretty much been reduced to dealing with work (it happens sometimes). This has been something of a new low for me, more than ever just diving in and working literally to the point where my body would just turn off from exhaustion.. constant headaches from various factors (too much staring at the screen, wearing way-old-prescription glasses for too many hours on end, wearing expired contacts for too many hours on end, sleep deprivation, mounting stress, why doesn't this function or that work, why crashing (BTW almost completely NO MORE CRASHING since I reformatted last week, yay! Helpful after all..) Too many back-to-back MP3s of Loveline for hours and hours and hours...yeah, well i know this all sounds excessively whiny, but I always reiterate "hey, I love what I do, and it is worth it to keep that up..."

I had an interview today for a gig in Glendale, a very tiny studio and a very simple project (low-rez-ish textures of las vegas) - but the money is so small it's almost not even worth my time. if my wallet wasn't so bone-goddamn-dry i would probably have walked out the minute he laid down that laughable price tag on me, but as it is right now I think i might need to just suck it up and just frick'n do it. The thing is, even when you get kinda shat on you need to build up your contacts, your relationships. I say that, but then I consider my history and how easily you can get shit on as well. Ah, there's a time and a place, and you've gotta pick your battles. Anyway I will likely start this gig next tuesday, just dive into it and enjoy, uhhh, working at a different location for a little while. I can hear the unwashed masses now "where's your backbone, negotiate for more moneyyyy!!" It's nice to be able to do that when one has other options on the table, right now all i've got is McD's... haha. Anyway nice part was that th fast-talking guy seemed like he wanted to pretty much snap me up for a fulltime job at this point, as opposed to the usual "do a little bit and then yer outta here" that you get with these types of things. I think he detected my lack of enthusiasm due to the size of the studio and his offer, but like i said.. right now, I'm not in a good position to be picky. Also, I got an email to work on some film project and just churn out assets. Again, the money's looking smaller (though not as infinitesimal as the first place) but there's good opportunity in it as well. Anyway in spite of my bitchy mood, I am happy to have any opportunity with places of this manner, it's a big step down from the "big-shot-status" jobs I have held in the past but -- yeah, money's money.

I am a completely broken record on the subject of "move to New York?" to the point that I am a broken record in referring to it as "a broken record," but as I've just resubmitted a test for that very job, it suddenly becomes an issue on my mind once again. It's out of my hands, and my possible fate is essentially left up to others to decide. The facts are this, right now - I have nothing particularly wonderful on my plate right now, professionally, and the NYC job is looking the most tempting in that regard. It'll do the most for my career (possibly, as always.. no sure things!) give me some sweet cash if it does pan out well, give me a whole new crazy city and culture to explore. And yes I am rather mournful as i look around my apartment and think about leaving my comfort zone here, "doing a big pain-in-the-ass-move" into the relative unkown and all of that. I could get over that, of course..

One thing which I wanna mention, on this topic - and I might have typed it in here previously, so bear with me.. I DO feel shitty about the fact that taking that new york job would essentially end my relationship with my girlfriend. I guess it's weird to write about this stuff in my blog, but it is definitely eating at me lately, and for some good reasons. One thing is that I have definitely been on the other end of this before. I dated two different girls who would regularly let me know that they planned to pick up their lives and move away eventually.. away from ME. I never was to psyched to hear this, but what can you do, you have to be supportive of the other person, if things aren't working out for them... I guess... anyway now I am the asshole regularly talking about "yeahhhh... I dunno.. we've been together for X amount of time and you know, i might be moving away from here sometime soon.. I dunno.." I remember how shitty that made me feel and I know it's not gotta be making her feel much cooler either, now. Of course, it's still relatively hypothetical - but as the odds stack up, it gnaws at me. And sure, i will whine about "being in a relationship" problems like anyone else, but really -- i DO love my girlfriend, she is special to me. We may not see eye to eye on some things (haha, who does) but she is very sweet and especially supportive of me - particularly in these more-aggravating times of my life.

Also, of course I must mention that of course I'd miss my friends, but of course it is different with friends than it is with a relationship. My friendships seem to flick on and off over time (some people i won't see in several months or even a year's time, regardless of the fact that we may only live about 20 minutes apart..) yet with your relationship, you'll see and talk to that person a lot more, like every few days or so. Anyway, my intention in writing about this was not to blubber on about the situation, but to express that it is an issue, one which I definitely can appreciate the (shitty) irony of - but also, I appreciate the support of those who care about me, it definitely goes along way into helping give me a bit more of that much-needed self-esteem..

friday night, ovah heah... my work is finally done, at least for a little bit. I have been cranking non-stop-straight for about 2 months now, I still have other shit to do (before getting absorbed into the next project) but on thing i need is a little bit of TIME, I am not sure what that means any more.. time to clean up my apartment, wash my car, go for a walk, go to the gym, eat something else besides a hamburger in front of my computer, time to clean my yukky bathtub, be affectionate towards my girlfriend, drink a beer with my buddy, drag my sore-ass to the dance floor.. hell i even put my name on a guestlist for tomorrow night at the local hip slutty dance-o-rino joint.

hell, i need time to take a nap. i think that's the first thing i will do on my step to recovering my humanity...

more interesting informations are coming zoon, Zone Snout is Out-t-t...

Monday, February 05, 2007

i'm tired of...

hearing terms like "weak sauce." Really tired of it. "Weak" is bad enough, though properly descriptive, so I never really felt particularly irritated by it. But adding "-sauce" to the end just makes it sound like "yeah I am cool when I talk like this." Also I hated when I moved here and people would occasionally say "hella", derivative of "hell of a lot" - like "that girl's hella cool". Man you don't hear it anymore, and I am happy about it, but for awhile you couldn't tool around in socal without hearing it burn your ears in some pool hall or bar. Just as lame, or worse, was the "kindersized" version, "hecka." Please. can I PLEASE be deaf now. I say that, knowing every morning I wake up with more earwax buildup mounting in my right canal, making it actually increasingly difficult to hear. If anyone has some home remedies, please send me some information.

An absolutely beautiful day in Los Angeles today. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Were I not trapped indoors, i would have spent the majority of the day walking through the city, or the park.. the weather was just phenomenally as wonderful as anyone could ever ask for. Sunshine, warm, happy feelin'.. even as I drove to get some lunch, in my usual bitchy mood, I couldn't help but feel enlightened by the beauteousness of the day around me. Sure, i just destroyed sentence structure with that last one, but for a valiant enough reason, so help me...

Still art testing, the nightmare of reformatting my PC behind me. it's still a little funky-seeming, as in "slow to boot up" a bit - more than I'd prefer - but largely more reliable-seeming than before the crash, and generally functional, so la-de-da. Talked to someone about a job today, wih looks like it might well be a lock. Not sure if it's a good one, or any kind of long-term (might be a brief two-weeker) but it's something, we'll see. got a couple leads today actually, still nothing huge to rejoice over. Progress is always nice though.

Check out this website, here's the link for the NYC job I am going for. Once in awhile as my spirits diminish, I'll look through it and feel kind of invigorated, it looks like it'd be a good piece to attach my name too, likewise a fun project to be a part of. the possibility of moving to NYC is still daunting, however.. though this opportunity makes it hard to shy away from such a gamble. Have a look at their screenshots (scroll down for better ones) and know what i am talking about - it's a good time to be involved with games like this.

damn, with that, back to work... a long restless night ahead, i need a break!! Soon, soon...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

changes up the tempo

yep. yepppp.. another of those "two-entries-a-day" days, yessiree bob....

well, this is something i don't like to type in here too much about, but it feels pertinent at the moment, so here goes. i am sitting here working on my art test (what else is new), all the REAL men of the world are watching there superbowl XXLLLVVINHDDJ or whatever, and I am cranking away unwrapping pixel-thin window frames (do not ask...) I have spent a lot of my work-time listening to "video gaming podcasts" lately, which is generally a bunch of nerds sitting around their PCs and recording discussions between themselves about the various topics relating to the industry in which i have been working. Yes, very nerdy, but also very useful to me, as I am not what one would call a "hardcore gamer" by any stretch of the imagination - well not so much as would be a conventional definition. Though i DID make it up to LVL 35 in Columns. And damn I would like to be playing that game right now, ohh my pants are tingly. No I am not joking. Anyway I have been hunting down different "shows" and finding some interesting ones to listen to (we're talking several hours of material, here) and it gives one a unique insight into the minds of those on the other side of the screen, the consumer side.. the aforementioned "hardcore gamer" side, which has now become quite a acceptable/expected thing in our culture (as opposed to when I was a kid, video games were pretty much seen as a child's toy/socially inept geek's plaything/etc)

Anyway. So I am listening to these shows, a lot of the people running these things have actually grazed the industry as well, to varying degrees. Mostly game journalism, but it does seem like more than a few of them have had a hand in some level of actual production. And it hits me, you know, here I am sitting at my desk belting away and as I was saying, I don't like to dwell on it too much, but yeah - I am still overall rather pissed off with how my career has gone, I am 32 years old and I haven't more thana couple of cents to my name, and "have to constantly jump through hoops to find a goddamned job..." My friends and family express sympathy for my situation, "we wish we could help," etc. etc. Which is all well and good, certainly appreciated but to be honest, it kind of pisses me off too. 'Cause I'll listen to this podcast, hear these super-HYPER-mega level nerds reminiscing about their own experiences in the industry, on the fringes and whatnot.. and I'll tell you, their dedication to all things gaming certainly seems like it behooves them to the field a lot more than I'd've ever thought, for myself... but DAMN - the point is, it is at times like this I can look back at the time I have spent in this industry, and the wonderful projects I have been able to work on, the great people I have been involved with, the experiences I have had - the things I have learned, the insight I have gained, the opportunities I have had, blah blah BLAH. A lot of the people in my field, they have to do some truly bottom-of-the-barrel bullshit to get where they are going, and maybe ultimately they never really get to that satisfying of a level, well at least not by my definition (whether or not they are happy and fulfilled is a different story, mind you... @#&!@#). The videogame industry, like many others, is certainly lined with plenty of shitty, boring, time-wasting unbelievable tedious crap that so many of my peers have actually had to live and breathe for years of their lives. I may not have the bank account to show for it, but I have a really nice resume with not much in the way of huge stinkbombs spread across it, which has been relativly (gulp) enjoyale to be involved, oh-so-intimately, with. Sure, maybe it wasn't all roses, but nothing in there was utter garbage (the Batman game and ER games might not have been top-level, or even in the neighborhood, but it could have gone so much worse). Yeah, and I mean, I got my first job like 5 months after graduation from college, and it was as a game artist - I never had to spend years doing testing, QA, etc.

So, yeah. I am still pissy and bitter, but when I look back at my history, it makes me thankful for where I have been and the pedigree of great projects I have my name attached to and the people I have been working alongside. It's exciting to consider what that means for my future, and definitely invigorates me. Back to the windowframes, then..

so we were waiting in the queue for our new HDTV

sunday AM. woke up sweating, my constant headache came back to me pretty quickly (damn it, i will drown it in advil today). the last couple days have been what one would call a consistent pain in the butt, my PC finally murdered itself (proving my neurotic prophesizing to be true!) and it took me a good couple of days to get the whole thing reformatted and back up to spec. Yes, an obnoxious inconvenience, but at least i know how to do it without having to drag it on down to the shop on Pico and letting them have it for a few days while i sit home and wait anxiously. (or worse, shelling out for a new machine altogether.. $$ $ $ $ $ $$$$) Believe me, the notion of throwing the entire setup out of the window of a moving car is becoming more and more appealing by now.

I am way overdue on my newest art test as a result, but what can you do, I'll just have to keep churning it out as fast as possible (working on trees and landscaping right now). I wake up in the morning thinking of details of rusty metal worn away where screws have been bolted in. i notice rusty hinges a lot more now (i'm looking at YOU, bathroom mirror)

LA is getting nicer, finally - the weather is not quite so cold and it's sunny and inviting outside. Pretty much, heaven... sent to tease my soul beyond the windowsill, well it is gonna have to wait a little while longer. The sunshine sneaks in my room through the cracks in the blinds and tempts me.

Not much else to say! I have been exhausted the past couple of days, taking lots of random naps - my body doesn't care anymore, it just needs to make up "that sleep debt" I guess. May bought a scale and I weighed myself, surprisingly I was several pounds lighter than I expected (a good ting, or a bad thing?) Edwin brought me a hug steak and cheese sandwich, and May got me a yummy cake which is almost gone (from a guy who doesn't like cake to say it is "yummy," you have the idea that it was pretty good). Thanks guys!!!! Meanwhile, i notice my hair is seriously graying at the temples..

I am a little weird right now, I feel like I have been a pretty morose codgery character lately - i'm pretty far into it that I was shocked by the notion that there was a time when i was a pretty goofy, carefree individual, with a halfway decent wit. Perhaps he will emerge at some point again, eh...? Alright now where's the advil.