Monday, February 23, 2009


Oh, I feel dirty. It was bad enough when (gulp) I acquired an Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii all within mere months of one another. Worse, when I participated in some kind of online connections with each. But now-- NOW-- I have actually downloaded and installed Steam onto my PC. HEAVEN HELP ME - I KNOW NOT WHAT I HAVE DONE. Sigh. That's just for research. It can't have any possible bad repercussions in the future, can it? ULP.

Things are alright. I am busy as hell with all that has been going on. Learning lots of stuff. Running things thru my head, particularly business-wise. To be honest, it's nice sitting around at home and really I'd love to pull away from the PC and plant in front of the TV and just.. play some frickin' GAMES, man. Once in awhile I will look into my shelf full of software, longingly "soon, my pets... soon.." You know what - some of those discs have been sitting there for YEARS. Some of them have never even been removed from their cases, even - pathetic, eh? It's not laziness, it's just I don't have time to enjoy my hobby anymore! What used to be my hobby anyway.. Well, if I DID have time to indulge right now, I am sure I'd be further investing time into LittleBigPlanet - also Thunder Force VI which I picked up as a second-hand import. My friends gave me some Xbox points for my bday so I would likely check out R-type Dimensions, 'cause it looks so neat and trippy. Honestly, as mentioned earlier, I am anticipating the eventual release of Space Invaders Xtreme (or whatever they call it) on Live - that's probably my #1 interest in all of gaming, odd as it may sound (I still regularly enjoy rounds of the oldschool one - even all these years later, there's still something weirdly entrancing about it). Otherwise, hook my X-Arcade stick up to the original Xbox and go to town with Mame. Right now my idea of paradise, dorky as it sounds, is going through a 12-pack and a full day of no worries and just that..

I have a new PC running here at home.. it's a.. damn, I AM so weak with the tech... a P4 3.80 Ghz, 2GB of Ram. Some kinda video card in there too. In spite of it all, I am a shitty nerd so I don't know what that means so much, other than that it doesn't choke and kill me wen I try and run Photoshop, a 3D app and mayyyybe a game engine all at the same time. It might not be psyched, but at least it doesn't crawl. Also, unlike my old box, the thing hardly sounds like a damned vacuum cleaner when it is running. I like the future! And, more bonus, it doesn't take 35 minutes from powering the on-switch! Well okay that last one is likely my own fault, between age, viruses, adware, shitty uber-fragmented drives and what-have-you. Also, this is funny - i have an older (couple years) 500Gb USB drive, Maxtor, it was essentially my jukebox - that and a bunch of necessary data as well, it pooped out on me like a good 9 months ago or so. I tried the freezer trick. i tossed it around a bit (bad idea). I set it in the closet for.. oh, 7 months. One day I will have enough spare scratch, perhaps, to shuffle it around for resuscitation, oh I dunno if it is worth it even. But I did find a "hard drive repair" program which attempts to file through the partitions and see what can be salvaged. Sure, why not, it's just sitting in the damn closet anyway! Ah so it's been plugged in, and the app's been running. I launched it.. Uh.. a week and a half ago? Let's see where it is now (checks) 14%. Oh okay that's incredibly promising. So now it's what, almost the end of February? So sometime after July 4th then maybe I can see how much of my data got corrupted then? Sigh.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

so, then

Saturday night. Pretty tired. Stayed up late last night (sigh, yeah, I am falling into -that- routine), got up outta bed/shower/store/get to meeting for a large chunk of the day, then to the Gym, then eat a salad, then increase my chances of becoming a diabetic (craving sugar lately, something awful), then some follow-up work stuff at home, then further organizing my blog, and now writing in it, and THEN.. do some more work. Or just pass out. But I really need to get some work stuff done. So we will see.

Things are alright. As alluded to recently, life is very busy right now, very hectic, actually a lot of ups and downs. I am not so sure that the good is outweighing the bad, I mean it's not like the sky is falling, but I definitely have a couple of little fires here and there which I don't want to spread. These I can contain, those i am not too excited to deal with.. It's the usual stuff, like everyone else in the world. Cars, money, career, relationships, friendships, health, my own general state of mental cohesion. Sadly, I can't really complain about that last one ("I am too damned HINGED!!") as I know I will always be to cognizant to be fully enough aware of when the shit is going down! But yeah, I have just coasted into my 34th year on this planet, I guess that means it has been several years since society/my peers/folks have considered me "an adult and (somewhat) competent member of society.." I still look around at what I have amassed and what is behind, what I have learned (and what I have shed!) and I think, man, I guess I am just doing the best I can. There's certainly things in my life which sketch me out a little bit at the moment but really, I am just trying to keep it on the level as best, as clean as possible. Since being out of work, again, I have done my best to keep busy and hit every nail with the hammer as possible. I haven't scraped every last job lead out there, but I have inquired to nearly all of them and kept the scant few remaining in a prominent shelf in my brain. Not being slacky, trying to order the way I spend my time sensibly and effectively. Yeah, it is true I went out and let loose a little bit following my job termination, but I can't really take shit for that.. it's like being dumped. You pour a sizable portion of your heart and soul into something, for a decent amount of time, especially with all the backlog that led you to that point - you have honestly made an emotional, and to a degree physical investment in things. I always say "never get too attached to things - it could be here one minute and gone the following..." but honestly, as human beings it is impossible for us NOT to invest in that routine, to become susceptible to it, to require it. It's part of our nature, whether or not we choose to be entirely cognizant of it. So, yeah, letting go - though it gets somewhat easier each time, depending on the circumstances - in removing one's routine, it should be expected that a person will go a little wonky for a spell while they try to adapt to the new situation. At least, to return to an older model of being..

My hand hurts, I type too much..

So I am sad because there's a lot of things on the periphery of my life that are ending and changing. Like I said, it's the background, but it's still enough that it's worthy of noting in my blog. For one, and it sounds petty, but my favorite radio station is GONE. Just like that. As I've got older I have listened more and more to talk radio, especially with my long-ish commute. It's never impeccable, but it's always been there for me in some shape or form and it's just - gone now. It's manageable, we have internet, we have ipods, etc - I can find other shit to suck up my audio time when the need arises. But yeah, sucks to acknowledge the end of a nice little thing in the background of my life. Ah well, it happens, and it ain't the end of the world. The great thing about the world, is that it's always full of TONNNNNS of cool stuff, you just need to do some homework and be a little daring/adventurous/experimental, and you will find. Culture is a fascinating resource..

Still trying to exercise as much as possible, it's been 4 years since I have had a gym membership (geez you think I'd approach getting in some kinda shape by now!) but honestly, I am one of those people who will be real dedicated/work fairly hard to maintain consistency with it, and then some BS (like losing a job) will happen and it will knock me out of whack (see above) and I'll just have a "fuck it who cares, not me anymore" attitude. And then time will pass and I will say "fuck it I paid for it/am still paying for it" so won't cancel, with the hope that I'll get back into the swing of things when it becomes convenient, but then - like - 9 months or so will pass and I'll get by on only the tiniest amount of exercise a day (like, walking to my car/the bathroom). Not good! Especially as I get older and my metabolism continues it's plummet, earthward - seriously. So, I have maintained this recent go-round with some sincere steadiness. It's not perfect, and I lapse a bit here and there, but I am getting to the point now where I feel it's fairly ingrained in my basic lifestyle, that I need to go out and exert to the point of uncomfortable sweatiness for a short time, every day or so. So yeah, let's keep up the fight!

On that note, I am gonna check my weight, put the laundry away, and try to get back to messing with the game engine which I am attempting to decipher. Another day, another engine, yaddayaddayadda..

Friday, February 20, 2009

business minded

going to start posting duplicates of my texturemonkey blogs in here as well, labeled under "game industry". Right now I keep them as separate blogs, but I wanna consolidate them so they are "handy in one place." I will keep publishing TM blogs separately, for business-minded reasons (never mind the name of this particular blog entry!) But really I'd like to keep all my stuff accessible through one main location for personal reasons/general documentation/etc. I will keep the business stuff off of Myspace - and I will still dupe the myspace posts in here under "personal." Confusing, eh?

it's been a wild week, kind of. lots of ups and downs - lots of things to think about. stuff that makes me happy, stuff that makes me depressed. stuff that makes me feel pressured - i guess it sounds like every other week in my professional life, right? anyway, it's good to keep busy, and there's a lot of directions that everything could go right now. today i woke up VERY late, after being grilled by the unemployment lady on the phone (that stuff is still up in the air - lovely!) Cleaned up my house a little, took a long walk thru hollywood - i like doing that, makes me remember i live in a world that exists beyond just my desk, fridge and toilet - had a nice burrito ultimo at baja fresh, contemplated hitting hooters next door for $2.50 beer specials (all day Thursday!) but, super-stuffed from my $9 Burrito (yeah,I need to not do that stuff right now!) i continued to amble on down hollywood blvd, westbound. They blocked off the main street cuz the academy awards are coming up and they have a massive show to prep - i rounded the corner on la brea then made my way back homewards.

got home, downloaded Noby Noby Boy for PS3 (by the dude who made Katamari Damacy) - messed with that a bit, then plunged back into learning a new game engine, i need to produce a self-imposed test to get a shot at a decent job that i am looking at. I know a guy over there, I don't know how good of an in it is (but anything helps!) - looking at their editor, it's a little cumbersome but not TOO bad so far, just trying to adapt my usual style and pick up like I always do (a lot of that in my life lately!). I am familiar enough of the theme they wanna see, so i am not to worried about nailing it at this point - hell, i have done it enough times before. just concerned "will i make it in enough time, before someone else snatches up that position?" and all the usual "what other limiting factors are gonna work against me?" But yeah, the course is always the same really. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I have my hands in lots of things right now. Perhaps a few too many - mostly interesting, some kind of outrageous. There's enough stress to keep me motivated to follow up as much as possible, well - between that and hope for a better future. One day it will line up alright! But yeah, good to be busy, and kinda nice to feel like i am kinda in charge of my destiny --- kiiiinda. As usual, i must remain humble, good to be confident but bad to lean on it, especially during these trying times.

Grab another beer and get back to work - now!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

more of the same

.. I had left that last post half-realized and decided to pull the trigger on it (oh.. so committing!) Well to finish up the rest of that story - we went to spaceland to see a bad "Don Caballero," powered on whiskey. I threw down a couple of shots (well, just one maybe) and enjoyed the music. I liked the band for years, but never saw them (discovered them in, like, college - so you can imagine the scene). The show was.. it was alright. Bad sounded great, but hell - they were old. WE WERE OLD. The whole scene was so sedate. The band was rockin' but the crowd was half-a-goddamned-sleep. I guess the point is, we are not rioting punk-assholes anymore. I had some energy and slam danced a little, for what it was worth, but overall - it was good to get out of there. Ah well! Good to see my friends anyway. Next day was hanging out, I had lots of errands to run (what else is new eh?) - Saturday night = Valentine's day dinner, took my girl out to the valley for some yummy japanese BBQ. I really like Gyu-Kaku. So damned tasty. One of the more enjoyable places to eat I must say. She enjoyed it, so I was happy too - Sunday night met up with some friends to see that new movie "Coraline" which was well-made and creepy, then my friend Andy and I drank late into the night (he had the day off today - good excuse). I cabbed home, then realized as I was getting out of the cab that my housekeys were back in my car (at Andy's place - ulp, shit). Cabbed back to his pad, got my keys, then back to home again, then just hang out 'n pass out (honestly, I think I stayed up till like 8:30 the next morning). Yeah so - my hours and lifestyle are a little questionable now. What do you want, huh. I went out in the pouring rain, in the wee hours, to mail out my first unemployment claim - found it this morning face-down on the ground, ignored by the mailman, drenched by the elements, a squished dead moth attached to it. Dropped the f'er in the mailbox up the street as I walked back to my buddy's house to reclaim my vehicle (took me about an hour of walking). And the rest of the day, going through game engine tutorial stuff. Dry - very dry - but useful, I will get more mileage out of it tomorrow I am sure.

So, there's the snapshot of my life then. Things are alright. I am okay - feeling a little weird right now. I stumbled on some old photo albums (online) from days past, reminding me of the fact that it's been like 4 yrs since I started this leg of my life really. Made me feel old, kinda gross, kinda.. pointless. It's like, each time I go through this stuff, I just toss all this older stuff out from behind me, my enthusiasm gets kind of waning for a little while. I like things, life is good, but the raw stupid innocence which used to drive me really needs kicking back in. I need some kind of different direction or something. I don't know. Something is just missing. I think when I go on some other crazy adventure, maybe it will invigorate me again. We will see. At least stuff is moving on, right?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

absurdly terrific

WELL OKAY THEN, seeing as how it is a good couple of weeks wort of time since I have posted in this thing - and I find myself with a couple of free minutes to go on about things here, and there, in my life, so I will do just that!

First and foremost, in recent times there's been some activity in a certain major point of my life, professionally - but which I'd best keep hushed up about for the time being, and so for now I will do just that. Regardless I have been on the warpath once more, in the job-searching fashion anyway - that's never what one would call ' a wonderful time time," though while it certainly is a pain in the ass, it also is an overall chance to slant one's entire life in a more positive direction - and so for that I am not only grateful, but also quite optimistic. It should come as no surprise to those who have known me, that I have been rather unhappy in my professional life for some time. The videogame industry is quite an exciting one, but it can also be fairly exhausting - and punishing as well - even, or especially when one pours a fair amount of their heart and soul into it. But that's what on gets when they get involved with a relatively new industry, one whose nuts and bolts are still being fairly figured out (and all the while, they are evolving in spite of that). Without going on ad on about i, I will say that it is, essentially, business as usual...

So then, to the job search. I usually will not divulge much in the way of details in a public forum for obvious reasons - let's just say I am talking to plenty of people about different prospects, and they are all across the board (well, I shouldn't say any of them AREN'T things that sound like they could be good steps). Yeah, the world is a hairy place rigt now, economically, but in spite of it I am happy with the things that are on my plate. So too must I mention that I am DAMN busy right now. I am touching up a lot of my existing work (that which I am permitted to show) - lots of tightening up of things like my website, resume, cover letters, etc. Scrounging around for ideas/info about what it is I will do next. Do I wanna just plunge headfirst into "the sure thing" or something a little more unusual, even a bit more possibly daring? When things calm down with all of this headscratching, I will just sit at my desk and plow forward with the thing I desire most, which is to update my body of work, generally - that is, make some stuff that's completely mine, not just "stuff for work." I have lots of ideas floating around in my head, and I am feeling particularly inspired right now. But I would rather put that energy to prper use at the moment than just get all started with some new project off in XYZ direction, purely for the sake of that.

I have a new PC running at home, it's been sitting here largely untouched for some months now, waiting to become useful. In this period I have funally got it all tweaked out and loaded up with all the necessary apps and directories and things setup, it feels nice to have a clean slate to work with - also it's a fair sight more powerful than it's half-decade old predecessor, so it's much more of a joy/less of a pain in the ass to actually use the thing. I am trying my damnedest to keep it "all about the business" with this box, not messing around with any "bad stuff" on it, but in this day and age, there's a blur on that line at times - and today, when applying some patches to a necessary tool I unwittingly downloaded some shitty trojan onto the thing, and am presently trying to clear that up. Nerdy to complain about, but the danger is real - ALL MY NECESSARY FILES are residing on the sister drives, so if my system goes down right now, I AM gonna be prety mad. I am talking about tons of work, loads and loads of things which I need to backup properly. It's not happened yet not because I have been lazy, so much as that it has not been terribly practical - it's a pain in the ass to do it. If it goes down, I am not ruined by a long shot, but I will regret losing so many valuable files - textures, mesh files, etc - irreplaceable renders of some of my best work, and so forth. I will take tis as a warning to get the most vital stuff backed-up ASAP, and I am not trying to sound neurotic as I wonder about this - I had some serious virus problems at my office just a couple of weeks ago, within two weeks' time my HD died twice. Fortunately it didn't kick my ass, but it was enough to rattle my nerves.

Anyway - enough about all of that. So what's up besides the job hunt? Well, I am a different guy these days, in some ways - happier to have certain stressed behind me, but also mindful of the pain-in-the-ass potentially coming down the road. I have been trying to live a little, maybe a little more than I'd think is practical, but it's been a hectic and stressful time and I feel like I deserve a little reprieve at least. After this all started, I hit a crazy club in Hollywood with my friends who were trying to console me, the place was wild - like being in some swanky vegas club. Super Bowl/My birthday (argh!) followed a couple of days after that, which I celebrated by relaxing with some friends and eating lotssssss of nachos. Next week or so was pretty mellow with the work stuff, really - last weekend I met my friend for some Armenian (ah Zankou), it turned into a sunday night jaunt to Jumbo's Clown Room up the street (ah atmosphere) and then, a few beers later, over to Ruby (Hollywood and La Brea) for Beat It! ('80s dance night, used to be the shit - for real!) This past week had been busy with more of the same during the day - tweaking stuff, chasing leads, running out to the post office to devlier demos, video editing my reel, etc. Tuesday night turned into another Cinespace evening, but it kinda devolved into some shitty drama which I'd be best not writing about in here. Gave me a nice hangover which led to a fairly unproductive Wednesday, though I did manage to run several errands in spite of that (going downtown etc). Friday some of my buddies from down in Irvine decded to make the haul up to Hollywood to pay their respects, so to speak, so they brought some whiskey and we downed a bunch, then headed over to spaceland in silverlake to catch a show.

Friday, February 13, 2009

that weight has fallen

It was leaning against the side of my computer and keeping it from making the damn whirry "I am gonna explode someday, soon" noise.

Tonight I drove out to the valley, it was my friend's kid's birthday. it made me melancholy - i really dislike the valley (as many do) for several reasons, but i do miss working there. in my decade-plus career in the industry, I have to say that my time at Neversoft was definitely the happiest, in many ways. Yeah, there were umpteen million tony hawk games put out by the time I joined up, but it was still a labor of love for many of the folks cranking them out even after that many iterations - and there was still a long way for things to go. But, that's beside the point - that was one of those studios which had attracted and maintained such a potent staff of wonderful, talented people, not only in their own right but collectively. I always used to refer to it as "imagine if you worked at a company with all of your best friends," even some of the shadier guys who kind of were more standoffish at first ended up being really genuinely cool guys who were a blast to hang out with. Man, I knew people at that studio for ages, and for my reasons I avoided trying to get in the door, I suppose - when I finally came around, well - it was kind of late, but I was still there long enough to learn and appreciate what i have just relayed. And of course, time passed and things change, as they always do. Projects changed, people left, priorities changed. Obviously, since that relative lull NS has gone on to be an even bigger and dramatically more successful company (lightning struck twice, who would have thought) - but the point I am settling on now is irrelevant in that regard.

Hollywood, I love it here, I really do - but it's a damned dark place. Not dark like the Combat Zone, per se, but still dark and shitty enough that you see a lot of messed up things when you venture out for a good time with your buddies, you see a lot of stupid people doing asinine things. You see your buddies getting a little sucked up into it; you see yourself getting sucked up too. So, yeah, after nearly a decade of this, one tends to get kinda down and depressed I guess (plus, hey, I am getting old). But hell, tonight hanging out with my buddies, those of the gang I used to see every day, work alongside, man - they have things that stress them, but they just seemed HAPPY, you know? One of the guys from Neversoft, he and his wife just had a kid and we watched them unwrap her 1st Birthday presents with her. And it was really a good time - just happy people, happy being together. It makes me a little sad, thinking back to those days, when things just were a little less complex, when we were all wrapped up in this stuff together, that excitement and enthusiasm.

The future is still bright, and it still makes me excited. I have a mixed feeling about my experiences over the past couple of years, it's not my interest to get into it now very much - for my own personal reasons as much as others - but I will say that I am very proud of the strides I have made, the tools I have learned, the work I have done, the perseverance and fortitude I have displayed, if only for self-gratification. And also, very importantly, I have made other friends since moving on from "that dream job," every time that's honestly one of the brightest points of this whole deal, working in this industry. It's not a shitty competitive rat-race. It's a brotherhood, it's fraternity, it's respect and appreciation and admiration. Yeah, sometimes I have been betrayed to some degree, I have had stupid crap happen, that happens to everyone. You never get less bitter for it, but you learn from it, and you move on, and you must appreciate all the positives that come out of it.

It's a sad time for a lot of folks in the world right now, even in this blog I have been writing much of the layoffs at many game companies - yeah, well there's plenty of poor SOBs out there in the world who have nothing to do with the games industry who are getting the pink slips handed to them en masse as well, let's not forget about them either all right! Good luck to us all, steel up for some more shitty darkness, and hopefully something good will come out of all of this, soon enough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

tough as nails

So, things are alright. 2009 has been quite an interesting year out of the gate, and it's barely even started yet. I have to say I was a little disappointed at the beginning "oh it will be another one of THOSE years" and now - well, it's gonna be something. Just not too sure what...

The world of videogames is evolving in difficult and strange, painful ways. I guess it shouldn't be shocking, and yeah "the salad days" as we knew them are definitely over. There's still a lot of exciting, fun times coming, but it's gonna be hugely different from PS1 and PS2 eras. The world shapes games, and they shape the world. It's okay - even from my jaded standpoint, things have been kind of stale for awhile and in need of a drastic kick in the pants. It will come - the seeds are there (xbox live!). Nintendo and it's juggernaut systems will keep sailing along pretty powerfully. I don't know what things will look like when the dust clears, the world will still be there though!

I am really busy with my website, I have spent several hours pouring over it the past couple of weeks - have a look! - those that have seen it before will probably think "oh doesn't look that much different really.." Well, with certain things you can work on them a lot over time, even artistically - and the changes will be nearly negligable to the naked eye, but when you're dealing with a, ahem, nitpicky audience, a little will go a long way. The point is I have been running my website, in one form or another (it's pretty much direct from the same source - it's always been a portfolio website!) and though it's been upended quite a bit over time, I have it pretty comfortably representing myself, professionally, at this stage. There's always more I could do with it - and some of the stuff up there is painful as hell to look at and must get resolved ASAP - but for what it is worth, I am proud of my work and how it is presented there. Let me take this opportunity to request any feedback (always!) on anything up there, the overall design/presentation/individual content, anything that anyone sees that looks like it should be revamped or removed or whatever, please let me know - any info is always welcome and useful.

It is a really busy time for me right now. I have so much to think about, and a lot of important things to deal with - I wish I could write more about it on this blog, I will when the time is right. I will say this much, it is exciting and stressful at the same time (but then that is how it usually goes). Either way, watch this space, no matter what I should have some cool things to show and interesting news to relay soon enough.