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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

De-Lurking

I thought long and hard about what my first post would be after my self-imposed media fast.1 Should I outline what I did with my time during my hiatus? Would my readers like to know what I learned from the experience? Did anyone even notice I was gone?

After much inner dialogue with my Thought Hamsters, it was decided I wouldn't really talk about those 3 months all at once, opting instead to mention specific scenarios when they seem appropriate to the topic at hand.2 Suffice it to say that some good stuff and some bad stuff (and some really boring stuff) occurred during that time, and I'll talk about it all. . .eventually.

For now, I'm taking a note from my buddy Chuck Wendig and delivering a splatter post straight into your face, like forcing you to stare down the barrel of a paintball gun at point-blank range just before I turn your world (and your face guard) bright purple.

SPLAT!

What I'm Playing

In the middle of my media fast, my husband John finally ran out of excuses and conceded to my rabid need for a Playstation 3. I rationalized that as long as I didn't play online, I was still holding true to my self-imposed lurking.3 That purchase triggered a game consumption frenzy never before seen in the d'Adesky household. Not just PS3 games, but games in general. Here's the rundown:
  1. Uncharted
  2. Uncharted 2
  3. Assassin's Creed 2
  4. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  5. Brutal Legend
  6. Dragon Age: Origins
  7. Modern Warfare 2
  8. Left 4 Dead 2
  9. The Saboteur
  10. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 2
  11. Borderlands
  12. Mass Effect 2
  13. Prince of Persia (2008 version)
Note that those are just the games I've been playing. Were I to include the games John's been playing, all the games we bought that we haven't played yet, Facebook games, older games revisited, and the board games we've been playing with friends every few weeks, that list would be two-to-three times as long, easy. The only thing I haven't done is get back into tabletop RPGs. (Though the year is still young, so who knows?)

At some point, each of those games will get it's own post, but for now, I need to replay a few things to make sure I'm not mixing up details from different games. That's what happens when you take notes using a pen and legal pad, then lose said legal pad. *sigh*

Whistle While You Work. . .
  • First, a word or three on the subject of GameX 2010. There's been no official update on the show as far as I've heard, though it has been confirmed that VGXPO has NOT renewed their show slot on the Pennsylvania Convention Center schedule for 2010. Interesting. . .we shall have to see what's left after the dust settles.
  • Anyway, no GameX means no concrete job at the moment, other than my online boutique business, and that's only paying for the kibble my dogs enjoy every day. I'm not bitter, though, because at least I can make my fur kids happy, plus John is very supportive of this wild dream of mine to work full-time in the games industry. (How the heck did I get that lucky?)
  • Of course, there's always the game testing gig. That, though, is only part-time work and I'm in the phase of rotation where I don't get called into the office for 6-10 weeks. (This particular company does it's level best not to burn out their testers, and for that I am very, very grateful.) I suppose part of the reason I've been on a video game binge is to keep my chops, so when the testing pool rotation comes full circle I can hop right back in the saddle with no problem.4
Projects A Go-Go5

To keep myself busy (and, by extension, out of trouble), I've lined up a lot of projects, of both the geeky and not-so-geeky variety.
  • In the world of self-determined curriculums, I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of Adobe Creative Suite 4. I have no idea why it is so hard for me to grasp these programs. It is what it is, though, and so I keep trudging on, determined to use this down time to my advantage. I have vowed that I will not pick up another program/software suite to learn until I've finished with at least 3/4 of what CS4 has to offer. That means Unity, Unreal Engine 3, and Python are all waiting in the wings for their turn in the spotlight. Here's hoping the Thought Hamsters don't start poking them with sticks, or this could get ugly. Like, putting-a-box-of-donuts-backstage-at-a-beauty-pageant-ugly.
  • Hanging out with self-guided education on the stove is the revamping my resume and plumping up my writing portfolio. Not terribly exciting to most of you, but there it is.
  • Gearing up for the season that is games industry conferences. No GDC for me this year, though PAX East, UNC C.H.A.T. Festival, Triangle Game Conference, and GDC Austin are all possibilities.
  • Also on the stove, but relegated to the back burner (for now), is a video project my pal Josh Loomis brought me in on. I can't talk about it much at the moment, but I promise you when this thing goes live, The Escapist Film Festival won't know what hit them.
Life, the Universe, and Everything Else
  • We've reached something of a breaking point with our living situation. The housing situation is the biggest obstacle that continues to pop up in my personal and professional life. For the unfamiliar, John and I have lived in a barn (that we built with our own two hands before we were even officially dating) for the last 3.5 years. This video on my YouTube account, while somewhat embarrassing, from this time last year pretty much says all that needs to be said on the matter that is the Abarnament.6
  • If (a really big IF) I can find more work, be it a series of 1099 gigs or a regular W-2 job, we should have enough assets pulled together to finish building our house by the end of this year. I say "finish building," but what I really mean is, "bulldoze the old foundation, as it has been exposed to the elements for 5 years, so we need to start from scratch." (I rarely talk about such things on this particular blog, so if you want to hear more on the matter, you can always ask to add me over on LiveJournal. Otherwise, I won't bore you further.)
  • For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter (and I can't say that I blame you, because really, I'm not that fascinating), let me update you on some family stuff. John's family hails from Europe. . .and Haiti. From that statement alone, I'm sure you can surmise what has been at the forefront of my thoughts for the last 4 weeks. To answer your unspoken question, yes, we've heard from those who live in Port au Prince, and miraculously, every single one of our family members is alive and uninjured. Their homes and businesses, though. . .well, we won't know until the properties have been inspected just how badly damaged they are. All proceeds from last month's sales at the Etsy store (minus shipping and administrative fees, obviously) are being pooled into a single donation for our family members abroad.
  • In addition, 50% of all the sales my web store garners for the month of February will go to the Red Cross. John will also be giving blood sometime this month, and once the doctor gives me the green light, I'll most like be giving blood for the first time in my entire life.7 The blood banks are pretty well depleted right now, so if you're strapped for cash but still want to help, I urge you to consider this as an option.
And that, as they say, is that. If you stuck it out until the end of this post, you deserve a cookie. Unfortunately, I'm too broke to provide you with one via USPS, so you'll have to settle for the clever footnotes I've stashed below instead.

See you on the flip side.

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1--To clarify, "media fast" is a term I first encountered in The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It means to take a break from most, if not all, media in order to recalibrate your mental compass.
2--Yes, I have thought hamsters. (Shut up.) Instead of running around on exercise wheels, though, they form a conga line and tromp through my brain in a constant loop. When they have something to say, they stop and convey their concerns via posterboard placards. What?
3--
Do NOT bring up the fact that I was still using Twitter and Facebook during this time, or I will sick Luna on you. She may look harmless, but don't let that face fool you. Make not mistake; she's lethal. She will lick you to death.
4--Oh, hi there, Rationalization! When did you drop by for a visit?
5--I listed "Projects" separate from "Work" because I don't consider those projects work. I guess I should be a good hostess and get Rationalization set up on the couch, because it seems he's going to be staying a while.
6--We have a ceiling now, and the place is much cleaner now that the ceiling construction materials are gone, so don't worry overly much about us. As long as we can get into a proper dwelling before next winter, we'll be fine.
7--I had the misfortune of contracting meningitis nine years ago, and as such, there is a certain period of time that must pass before you are deemed "fit" to give blood again. (Actually, a certain amount of time must pass, AND your blood work must show no anomalies.) Before that, I had a string of bad luck where, without fail, I ALWAYS had a stupid cold that came about two to three days prior to any blood drive I signed up for. I kid you not. Somewhere, the Universe is sniggering, the smug bastard.

4 comments:

ladykalana said...

Wow, the idea of a media fast is kind of resonating with me. I long ago got rid of cable, and now I only watch what I bother to find online (usually the first half of Colbert and Daily Show eps). I'm thinking I'd like to try doing a day long fast from the internet from time to time in order to focus on other things. What specifically did you fast from during this time?

gamerpanda said...

Kalana:

Mostly, I stayed away from anything that would send my inner yeti into a blind rage. Internet forums, LiveJournal, links sent by friends, etc. Logged on to CNN or MSNBC only once or twice a week.

I only logged into Facebook twice a week to keep up with friends, and took 48-72 hour breaks from Twitter to keep from overloading my brain with too much information. I even opted to check my email and voicemail only once a day or every other day for nearly 2 months. That part, at least, was VERY relaxing. Nothing exploded, no one died. I lost nothing by squashing the urge to obsessively check my email.

Does that help at all?

weaver42 said...

I want Thought Hamsters all my own.

-- c.

gamerpanda said...

C.--

I could ask them if they're willing to do a 1099 gig at some point. ;)

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