Monday, April 30, 2007

output filtration

and so we reach the end of another april. and so, i notice i have not been blogging too much lately. well not at all really. i notice that my spare time for such things has been diminishing, markedly. i guess it's not so much of a huge surprise, as these things go...

things have been busy. work's not really been "crunch," but it IS work. my commute isn't bad, but it definitely eats into my "spare time" - i can always be more efficient with my time, i guess (well, that is the plan anyway). The point is, i need to find a way to make more time for the "periphery" of my life. That's a little pressing. Even if it is not urgent, i want to start hacking away at it and get that kind of system in place - developing a decent routine is obviously a priority.

I haven't felt like blogging about my personal life in here lately, probably a good thing. Having a public blog isn't the best option sometimes. I do it this way for my reasons, not that I am so concerned with people thinking I am cool 'cause I like to update this thing (cause yeah it is soooo coool yeah yeah) I just find it is a lot more humbling to write things that could be seen by anyone rather then get wrapped up in my own overblown rants that would be intended for my eyes only (yeah, it gets bad). Well, whatever, it's always some kind of experiment I guess. I do miss writing though, and I want to be a little more on top of it. For one thing, I am thinking of starting a second blog - I know have mentioned it before - but I think it would be a good move in many ways for my life, my career if I began some sort of specifically industry-themed blog. i often have much to say about what I do for a living, and it's always coursing through my thoughts - I DEFINITELY have a very unique vantage point of things, and hell I have been working for a decade by now, so I have seen some shit. Anyway there's upsides and downsides to attempting such a thing, and I should be careful about it. I do think that for where am I am now (and where I want to eventually be,) it's as good a time as any to raise my visibility in my field and put my name, my thoughts out there a little more. This will be interesting..

On this topic, work is going well. It's about 6 weeks in, and I am pretty well-adjusted here. I have LOTS I would love to write about my new job, but as the nature of all things goes, I will just say that things are good and I am not regretting my decision to join up with this studio. It's a very weird time in games right now and I feel happy to be in a stable kinda place which treats their employees well. I look forward to spending some solid time here and turning out some nice work. I am DEFINITELY learning a lot right now and not just merely "going through the motions," so though it gets to be a pain in the butt at times, it's reassuring and satisfying. Also finally getting to gel with some of my coworkers a little more, which is one of the most important parts of ANY job..

I partied a bit this weekend, after having a weird fight with my girlfriend. It made me feel weird, and in fact I have been feeling weird about a lot of things lately. How many times did I just use the word "weird?" Anyway, we got over it and things are okay, we don't argue often but once in awhile we'll sort of back each other up against a wall and kind of re-evaluate things in our heads "is this what we want to do, should we keep dating?" That stuff is tough, when you are younger it's easier to be bull-headed and say "screw this!" But as I get older I look at things more rationally.. "I am with this person for a reason, is the good stuff better than the bad stuff?" We both seem to think so. It's tough sometimes though - we're very different people, at very different stages in life. I think that is one of the things that excites us both, though...

The partying was kinda blehhh, I am glad i indulged a bit since it seems to have turned me off from that a bit more. It's hard to live in Hollywood around all this endless craziness and NOT get warped from it, and it really does something to your head.. Especially if you are a guy like me, at my age, in this industry. Excuses, excuses. I have managed to find better ways to make it more affordable (drink at home, walk to the club, don't bring a CC) - all these things add up to save your ass!! Anyway as I have lots of bills to whittle down right now, excessive partying is a bad notion for me anyway, so I am glad to put that on the backburner anyway. It is hard to turn the volume of the city down, though. Fortunately, I do have other things which can captivate my attention and keep me occupied besides going out and goin' nuts...

Weather is getting nicer, it's been cool and overcast (which isn't bad) but yeah, i need some nice days at the beach to just r-e-l-a-x, man that sounds good right now. ALright, I am going to stifle the small talk - get home, cruise over to the gym (i need to lose this gut!) and work off a little energy. I'll post about my "game blog" shortly. Maybe in the next month.

Friday, April 13, 2007

duck punch chicken

holy shit it IS friday the thirteenth, well lookit that.

how to sum up this week. let's see.

"call the doctor!"
"pay your taxes!"
"Obesity gene discovered!"
"where's my paycheck?"
etc etc.

work's shapin' up. i can't believe i am wrapping up my 4th week there already. i got moved into a different room today, by myself (another new hire will be coming to share it with me next week). yeah i have been meeting tons of new people..

i am getting tired of meeting people...

still getting used to the new tech, and my different attitude about this project. a lot of things have changed in my mind, since my last job. i feel myself getting older and jaded - SLOW DOWN! it wasn't a really crazy week, and i didn't spend much money - except on gasoline, i am spending lots and lots of money on petroleum these days.

it's nice having an ipod again. it's just nice. being without for so long has reminded me that i don't "need one" anymore though, but it's handy to have around in the car i gotta say. it's also nice to have a car radio that works again (fixed it a year or so ago, after several years of it being ghetto-sort-of-working)

this don imus garbage is bullshit, BTW. I don't care for his show but i do care for freedom of speech. this country can be irritating sometimes. i remember being upset about the rising power of PC in the late 80s. the hypocrisy stuns me, but then.. i have slowly gotten used to it. I can see the newspapers 5 years from now "white person says 'black person' in the media, is fired" I have no problem with tolerance, it needs to go both ways - though i can say i really understand why this shit happens. I do not AGREE with it but i understand it. As for Imus, I am sure he is okay with retiring and history will probably be alright to him in spite of all of this. Honestly the thing is that no one even CARES about him - the only ones who do are the old conservatives in the closet who actually do subscribe to his school of thought, but they're the ones who are too frightened not to pull the trigger. Well they deserve what they get then, too bad that it sets a terrible precedent for the rest of us to have to suffer through however.

sorry, it hits too close to home in some ways.. i will just put it on the shelf for now.

weird week, weird mood. glad it's payday, i need a few more of these in a row to help lessen the sting (and the stink). adjusting to my new life, and wondering where the next phase is going to take me. sigh, memories, last time i said something ominous like that it took me some distance..

it's 2:30 in the morning. i've not slept well at all this week. probably should give it a shot.

Monday, April 09, 2007

end alarm piano

remember when i used to blog like every fifteen minutes?

end-to-end, it has been a pretty good weekend. spent a lot of time hanging out with my friends, having some drinks, some laughs, some good food. running around town ad just takin' it sleazy. yeah, you know what? i feel like i am sort of coming out of a fog. now that some of the shit in my life is getting a little more sorted out, it's becoming easier to feel normal-er. i am psyched i have a job to go to tomorrow, my car is (mostly almost all) dealt with (new registration etc), taxes are good to go (gotta drop in the mail, just a couple days left!) My apartment is in nice shape. i had some better times with my special lil' lady-friend... i have a new ipod at last (thanks justin!) which i have had nearly a week and still not loaded up with tunes yet. i should rectify that immediately, dammit.

yeah,things are pretty good, and looking up - my mood is turning around. don't get me wrong, i am still a pissy whiny mofo, but that is what makes me so damned lovable right...?

i guess i have lots of things to say (as usual) but it's late and i need to get some rest. by the way, started going to the gym once again, 'bout damned time too... btw this is my 401st post in here dammit..

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

crash course teeth shattered

actually i typed "may" for the date for a moment. that would be ludicrous (--wince-- may '07 is only a single month away)...

tired. it's the beginning of my 3rd week of work, i'm settling in. it's been busy ramping up, getting to know some of the guys there, finding my place. some cool people work there, friendly. Like i said before, it's very different than other places I've worked.. similar in some ways, as well. all game companies are comprised of nerds, just different kinds of nerds (i am a particular kind as well, shocking right?) I am starting on my levels tomorrow, after just getting used ot software/technique/styles.. I am kind of just jumping into this now. You see, every game company follows a different procedure for how they handle the production. At other studios I've worked at, I've been secondary to a designer who would usually "own" the level. In this situation, the designer apparently roughs things out in the early stage and then passes the whole thing over to me to own, very much upping my own status as designer at this point. That's a daunting thing.. exciting, though. But yeah, while I will have others to support me, I am pretty much the last person to touch my levels, it appears. This will be interesting.

Looking at the tech we have, and the "freedom" I might be enjoying (good or bad?) I feel that this will be a tremendous growing experience. I know it's trial and error, but i am up to the task.. I have spent thousands of hours building all sorts of assets to all kinds of specs by now! I know my way around.. anyway, exciting to get into the groove.

Driving back and forth between Hollywood and Orange County hasn't been as horrendous as expected, actually after my initial interview I knew it would likely be manageable. Well, 3 weeks in and it's not phasing me so far, anyway. As I have mentioned, I am putting a lot more mileage on my car (and gas into it), but there's always a tradeoff. Anyway my wits aren't frayed and I am not miserable from the drive - the trip home is rather pleasant! Long enough to feel like "how much further? ohhh almost home, there's downtown!" Seriously, probably the same commute time-wise as when I worked at Rhythm or Zoic, Left Field... never mind Boston..

though I did think that I left my house keys in my desk drawer in the office as I was at the half-way point driving home. i was SURE of it. I pulled over and searched the car, fortunately they were in he back seat (that was close, I was about to get miserable). I didn't have any way to get back into the office at that time of night, and I would have to break into my own apartment.. probably climb up the roof. Haha. it's pleasant to know that I could do that (would be burglars, ignore this.. thanks).

Before I get off the topic of cars... well, since I got paid, and my registration is expired as of Sunday, I went to get a smog test last weekend. Failed! Pissed!!!! Ah well, after 10 years and about 170,000 miles, I guess I was due. Anyway I brought it to the best mechanic ever, and he says it's all good to go and only gonna set me back $70. Well, we'll see tomorrow when I re-test. If it's for real, than I am a happier person for it. Still, the fact of the matter is - my car runs well, but it IS old. I haven't had to pour money into it in years, but it needs a tune-up badly (from the dealer) - and no matter what, I am closing in on the big 200! With my 40 mile-each-way commute, it is not gonna be long before I get within range. I have to face it, i'll be needing a new car someday. Unlike most people, i am not a "car guy..." I like to have that shit all paid off and not demanding of worry. One thing at a time.

Movies... the Fast and The Furious was on TV the other night. Man, do they really make movies THAT stupid? I never saw it before but I knew it'd created something of a cultural sensation. Ah well, I guess there's room for movies like that - hard to watch though (but I like a good chase scene as much as anyone). Not seen any terrific movies on the big screen of note, lately. Nothing terrible, but nothing inspiring either. Like all the other manchildren in the world I am looking forward to the next Spider-man I guess (don't really give too much of a shit, but I am sure I will check it out.. those are kinda fun to watch). And of course the Transformers movie will be out in a couple of months. I feel like I can predict already what kind of a movie it will be... honestly I hope there's a bit of fanservice in it, and it will be kind of a kick to watch no matter what I guess. But i think after what happened with the Star Wars prequels years ago, my generation has learned a valuable lesson, "you can't go back..."

I will tell ya what though, we were looking at the Arnie DVD "Total Recall" at work today. Man, I remember seeing those movies when I was a kid, back when movies were made somewhat differently than today (and they played very differently as well!) Yeah I am whiny "it's not the same as it used to be" but those action movies inthe eighties, with their---uhm, analogue SFX and stuff, extremely limited CG, greenscreen mattes, miniatures, etc etc - there's something very endearing about it. It's not like the old days of Hollywood, as there were decent budgets and established history for lots of that stuff, so things always looked good (if not unbelievable.. and somewhat limited) - but there was such a thing as Suspension of Disbelief. Nowadays movies are much higher-standard, and things look bad only if they don't look PERFECT. yes the shots are impressive and numerous, but they are not quite so novel anymore. Maybe I am just getting old..

Watching "The Children of Men" was noteworthy, along these lines - they had some very long takes, and though they were obviously choreographed (and doubtless spliced together), that shit is still very difficult (and costly) to do. In this day ad age of hyperactive ADD cuts all over the place, it was certainly something to watch that film with those ridiculous scenes (motorbike attack, soldier battle at the end of the film) and think about how they must have been created.

Not much else to report here.. my mood is alright. things have been weird in my life and it is settling down to some sort of normalcy, once again. I need to save up some money and pay off my debts (as I have said, again and again). Right now I need to concentrate on getting into focus and finding my place at work, "my gang" and all of that.. find my passion for this project. And just keep on goin'...

BTW it is nice to have health insurance again. In a couple of weeks I am gonna get me some'a them new-fangled contact lenses, yeee-hoo!!!