Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Things I'm going to miss when they are gone

God's blessings ebb and flow like the tide. I'm taking stock of things that bring me joy in this season of my life.

  1. Living 2 minutes from work
  2. Shane's cute voice and speech impediments
  3. Being able to pick up both my boys with one arm and my wife with the other
  4. A stable job without crazy overtime demands
  5. The best church I've ever seen
  6. A stable economy
  7. Wrestling with the kids
  8. Being able to kiss my boys without their embarrassment
  9. The ability to tumble down stairs painlessly
  10. Looking young enough to blend in with the crowd at metal shows

And here's a list of things I won't miss. (Assuming they change for the better.)

  1. Computer technology not being powerful enough to convey my creativity
  2. Living in a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 adults and 2 kids
  3. A small, modest house in my area selling for 3 -4 hundred thousand dollars
  4. Our stupid hamster that just pees on you whenever you pick it up
  5. Not having room to work on my art
  6. Putting Shane on the potty every night because he never wakes up himself
  7. My current lack of discipline in so many areas
  8. My current lack of wisdom in so many areas
  9. Over technical modeling and animation software
  10. Impossibly expensive 3-D printers

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Going to E3 again this year!

It looked like I wasn't going to. My company has grown a bit since I started 2 ½ years ago. I was hire #33. Now we are around 120. Last year they sent everyone who wanted to go. This year it's just not feasible, so they are only sending team leads. I was sad. Besides being my best source of news for my industry, E3 is like a class reunion for me and my friends from my previous job in Michigan. The Outrage crew. We were like a family. I worked there for 5 years and most of us were relatively new to the industry. We went through some really, really stressful times together such as a 6 month crunch at the end of Descent 3 and an on-again-off-again relationship with a desperately flaky publisher. (Interplay) So have a really strong bond and still keep in contact to this day. My point is that keeping in touch with them is really important to me so I was very disappointed to hear I wasn't a golden-child picked to go to E3 this year. I half-jokingly told my team lead that I'd take his place if he wanted since he has expressed his dislike for the whole experience. Well the next day he told me that there was some concern about keeping the company productive during E3 so some of the leads could stay behind and choose replacements. He chose me, so… hooray!

This is a good opportunity to show some real initiative and do a great job collecting data and promoting our game. We are supposed to be much more work oriented than we have been at our past shows. So I'll be on my feet a lot more analyzing our competition. Oh, and I heard that they are cracking down on the scantily clad 'booth babes' this year. It should be fun.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Remember when?

Remember that time... what was it... like in the early '90s at some point... When the Amish almost took over the U.S. and Canada? They joined with the Mennonites and declared that they seceded from the union. At first we were all like, "Whatever". But then we found out they had a nuclear program. Detroit was the first city hit, and by the time the military was mobilized, New York City and Philadelphia had been laid to waste. Once we stormed their "nation" we found that they had been busy over the last 200 years digging secret passages to every major city in the U.S. and Canada. They were all gone except for one suicide bomber at the entrance to their tunnel system. He blew himself up, (along with most of the second battalion) and collapsed the tunnel making it impossible to track where the Mennonite/Amish Coalition forces had gone.

I remember how the nation was on pins and needles during the mid nineties because we all knew that the M.A.C. forces had blended into our society, and we didn't know if our new neighbor, or the guy they just hired at Burger King could be one of them. The government was doing all it could to weed them out, but the ACLU, and a political climate that shunned McCarthyistic tactics made the job difficult. Everyone knew that there was bound to be some kind of attack, but had no idea where or when it would happen.

There was a trend among the left to grow their beards really long to show that 'the enemy within' was an exaggerated threat. Then, on the right wing you had the black ribbon bumper stickers, and the slogan, "No beard here!" It was a surreal time of fear and speculation as I'm sure you all remember. The economy was slumping and many people were moving out of urban centers to the country knowing that the next strike would likely be in a major city. There were rumors that the M.A.C. had an underground base where they did all their planning.

Remember the way they would interrupt the TV and radio broadcast signals daily with propaganda about living the simple life, and embracing peace and humility? It would be Oprah one minute, and next, a dower, bearded man with a black hat saying "Berid thyself of thy damnable automobile and fancy the brisk trot of a fine horse!" or "If thou should'st find thyself cuffed about the neck and head, bow politely and bestow a blessing of friendship upon thy assailant!"

Then finally the big day came. We knew it would be bad… But not THAT bad. Using some sort of amazing technological device they caused major earthquakes on both coasts drowning the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Florida, and the west coast from Portland to the Baja peninsula. Over a hundred million people died that day. It was amazing that the president was evacuated in time. Do you remember the first national address he gave after the quakes? How he broke down in great shaking sobs. I never thought I'd see a thing like that! Virtually everyone in the country had lost family or loved ones in that disaster. He really connected with our pain and focused our rage in the weeks afterward when things went from bad to worse.

I don't think I'll ever be able to forget the images when the mammoth Tunneler first rose from the ground. The spinning drill bit on the front towering over the buildings of Dallas…. The spider-like legs, each one longer than a football field. Then the napalm cannons hosing down the city like an inverted fire truck. I never thought that steel and concrete could melt so quickly!

Even though I didn't vote for Bill Clinton, I have to admit I'm glad he was elected. I seriously doubt that Bob Dole would have noticed the weak spot on the Tunneler, or had the tenacity to fly an F-16 directly into it, destroying to colossal monstrosity in a glorious kamikaze maneuver carried out over the flaming rubble of Chicago.

I couldn't believe that even after their giant flaming spider robot was destroyed, the M.A.C. persisted. Do you remember the war trials we had after they were finally defeated? I'm still in shock how many of them got off due of technicalities. And while it's true that they renounced their independent nation-state and seem to have gone back to life as usual, I'm still skeptical. I guess we all learned a valuable lesson. 'Never trust people you don't understand.' I'm not racist or anything, but I have a message for all you Mennonites and Amish out there… I'm watching you!