Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Free From Malicious Logic

I'm sorely tempted to rename my blog.

I was doing some reading at work today and came across this term. It is engineer speak for "code that doesn't contain a virus," but it really is fun.

It may also be a label that could apply to my old company, though it would need a slight addition:

Free From Logic, Malicious or Otherwise

or maybe

Free From Malicious Logic (or any other sort, for that matter)

I crack me up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I Never Thought...

I never thought I would hear it come out of my mouth.

I saw the ketchup bottle tipped over and screamed "Don't!" Me. Have you met me? I'm the ketchup guy!

But I was over at my brother's for dinner after a ride tonight and saw him about to put ketchup on nachos (in this case, nachos meaning corn chips with cheese on them). I couldn't help but scream.

He stopped with the ketchup and went to the salsa, but who knows what he gets up to when I'm not there?

He mentioned me putting ketchup on potato chips (yeah, who'd have thunk it, ketchup on a fried potato product).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Nobody Wanted This

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Don't be confused by the "trowback" Milwaukee Braves unis. That is the Brewers, and that is Ben Sheets. Get that trainer away from Benny!

Aw poo. If Benny is out for another month, the chances of the Crew ending the season with a winning record aren't so good (much less their already paper thin chances inthe wildcard race).

Shame, Benny was headed for his 5th complete game in his last 6th outings before the lat thing happened in the eigth last night. Maybe he'll make his next start, but the way things usually go for this club...mmmm...bah.

Breaking News. Crap.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Oh Yeah...

That is what it is like to work.

Lots of orientation, followed by lots of reading. I'm tired now.

But I discovered my brother's family has an N64 with 2 controllers. I picked up Mario Kart and 2 more controllers. Time for some hot red shell action tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Admit It...

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
You love yelling "Bubba!" whenever he catches one of his patented 2 yard TDs for your Fantasy Football team too.

And now he gets paid 4 mil a year for the next 7 years to do it. Good thing for him that the other TEs in camp either suck or got hurt, or both.


Master Plan: Thwarted

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Had my picture taken for my new badge this morning and filled out some papers. Should be stunning.

Really, I have very little to chase down for the next couple of days other than following up on real estate mechanics and getting some clothes.

The big plan today was to get to the Hampton Inn, aka my home for 2-3 weeks, early and try to get situated in a first floor room near the entrance.

Fail. Not only am I on the 4th floor, but I have to wait another hour before I can go up to my room. Ug. But, an unexpected bonus, Days of our Lives is on in the breakfast area...there are worse ways to kill an hour (don't get me wrong, there are few less productive ways).


On the 5 movies part below, remove Empire, replace with Big Trouble in Little China (viva Jack Burton).

Wheels Down

I am arrived in St. Louis.

Bleak and rainy day, which fit my mood. I'm still very sad from last night, and then leaving Kathy this morning. What a weird night it was, combining the celebration of a baby shower with the sadness of a going away party. I don't think there is a neat emotional hole to fit the peg that was last night into.

My brother picked me up from the airport and took a couple hours off of work, hoping to get a bike ride in. I would have loved to (might have broken my melancholy), but I think I'm on the way down into some summer cold sinus infection action. Blech.

My sis'inlaw had gotten my car washed and vacuumed while it was staying with them over the weekend, which was sweet, and a nice surprise to be sure.

I better get to sleep so I don't look like a complete doof on the badge picture tomorrow that I'll have for godknowshowlong.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I'm it...thanks K and CK

10 years ago today: August 23, 1995
I was is St. Louis working for the company I am about to return to. I was actually probably contemplating a move into a pretty bad neighborhood. It is my firm belief that there is no reason for a guy between the ages of 22 and 26 to spend any more than the bare minimum on the place that they live. That is the time to bank some money and pay off some loans. Nobody cares what your place looks like, cause ya ain't got any taste yet anyways, and you are still used to living in college dormlike squallor.

5 years ago today: August 23, 2000
Cripes, I guess CK was right that we were starting to think about LotR, truly a dream property at the time we signed on. I only wish we would have developed the initial design more. I wish we would have had the time, structure, and the last little bit of experience to do the property justice. We gave it a good go though.

1 year ago today: August 23, 2004
We were getting ready to launch WARS, or actually trying to deal with the monumental fuckup that was putting Rift in the title (and dealing with the threat of legal action because of it). I ask you, is WARS not the lamest name for a game EVAR? Shame, because the work we were allowed to do there was really great. God did we waste so much time and energy jamming into the uppers on that one though. That project should have been great, starting with Stackpole, with the design and development resources, and finally with Ed managing the Art side. As soon as I get my retirement redirected out of the Company, I'll have some words on that.

yesterday: August 22, 2005
Saying goodbye. It has all been said, but that was just words. Tonight it slammed home. God I am so fucking sad. God I miss you people already.

tomorrow: August 23, 2005
Trying to stop being so sad. Trying to figure out how to take as many of the great parts with me. Starting the wait for Kathy and Pavel to catch up with me.

5 snacks I enjoy
Queso, Krispie Kreme (chocolate topped, cream filling), McDonald's Fries, Wendy's Chili (with hot sauce, cheese, and onions), Panera Bagel (of either the asiago cheese or cinamon crunch variety)

5 bands that I know most of their lyrics
Violent Femmes, Yes, Dave Matthews, Rush, Talking Heads

5 things I'd do with a million $$
Make sure my kid(s) can go to school where they want, make sure I don't have to trust anybody else with my families retirement, take an Austrailian style vacation (a couple of months, not a couple of days or weeks), buy a new set of hockey equipment so I could play again (shit is expensive), start up a business.

5 places I'd run away to
Miller Park as long as Benny is there, Lambeau Field as long as Brett is there, Madison, Wisconsin on a hockey friday as long as my Dad is there, Anfield as long as Stevie is there, Disney World as long as Kathy is there.

5 bad habits I have
Getting too up or too down depending on how the Brewers do, not following up on days that are important to other people (birthdays and such), staying up too late, eating too damn much (damn your cookies CK), being a wee bit passive aggressive.

5 things I like doing
Design work, watching the Brewers, cutting the grass, blogging (strangly enough), gaming.

5 things I wouldn't wear (Halloween costumes excepted)
A hat besides a baseball hat, anything pink, anything Cardinals, anything Rams, anything Bears.

5 TV shows I love
Entourage (Hug it out, Bitch), Deadwood (Cocksucker), Battlestar Galactica, The O.C., Veronica Mars

5 movies I love
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Aliens (obviously far superior to Alien), Blues Brothers, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and I guess Empire.

5 famous people I'd like to meet
Stephen King, Sid Meier (of Civiliazation fame), Alain Prost, J. K. Rowling, Robin Yount. I actually met someone who would have been on this list in the past, Chris Pronger of the Blues. But I learned something when that happened. I learned that I don't want to meet famous people who are the same age or younger than me. I feel like I should be looking up to them, but it is hard to do that with someone who feels like a peer when you are nose to nose.

5 biggest joys at the moment
The Kathy, Pavel, Winnie the Pooh socks and hat, moving closer to family, certainty.

5 favorite toys
MP3 Player, Guru (bike the 1), Felt (bike the 2), TiVo, laptop.

5 people to tag
I got nothing. The well is dry.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Good Day

I had a really great day today.

I was feeling kind of stupid about dragging a pair of pedals from my bike around the country with me, and putting them back on my spare bike here, but it was worth it when Joe made it out this morning for one last ride. Nothing too strenuous, we just rolled around Pungo at about 17 mph and chatted. It was a nice day, not too hot, but plenty of sun.

Made a mess at the house (sorry my Kathy), grabbed some bagels at Panera, and bummed a ride from Joe over to Justin's for my going away present, the pay per view showing of Arsenal vs. the Russian mafia, er, Chelsea. Ed made it over too, and we yapped and watched soccer, drank coffee and beer, and ate chips, salsa and bagels. It was like having a hobbit meal...went on for hours, had lots of great talk, and ate and drank whatever. It will be a long time before I'll be able to do something like that again.

Justin made the comment that there was so much quality on display at the game, that it was more likely to be decided by the weak link on the field being found than a standout player making a play. I correctly predicted the weak link. Give Senderos another year, and he'll be fine, but not today. By the way Justin, I'm watching the EPL review show now, and the Pederson with the goofy hair plays for Blackburn.

Bummed another ride, this time from Ed, over to CK's, where my wife was hiding from the househunters in our joint. Disappointingly, we didn't drive over anything or body in the Jeep.

At CK's we talked some more, and watched a combination of Rams preseason football (when they had the ball) and the IRL race (Danica finished 8th) and ordered up some Chinese. While we were waiting for CK to pick it up, his LWC gave Kathy some solid advice on diaper changing. After that, we had some hot 4 player Mario Kart. Good stuff.

Finally came back to the house to make sure we caught the finale of Six Feet Under and Entourage (good thing the hotel I'll be living in has HBO so I can catch the last 2 weeks of Ent). I listened to my Dad's message on the answering machine, and he launched into a description of his day's activities down at Irish Fest in Milwaukee. I asked Kathy if she heard it (he had some nice words for her) and she kind of chuckled at his Irish Fest words and called him "a poor man's Wikipedia." HA! Too accurate.

So I got to see five people today that have meant an awful lot to me during my time here, and that I'll miss more than I can express. And I got to spend quality time with all of them. I can't imagine that it could have been any better.

Do You Care?

Maybe the only thing less interesting than pictures of someone else's children? Pictures of someone else's new house. Sorry bitches, it is pictures you get (and watch out in a few months, as you'll get the other barrel of that gun).

First is the (great room) TV room. Built in bookshelves, big windows that we can leave unshaded as we have no privacy issues with homes behind us, and it is an open floor plan, so that room runs to the breakfast room and into the kitchen.


Kitchen, not huge, but I like the breakfast bar, and again, open floor plan.

The Back

Back of the house. Deck and the big windows in the great room. The deck looks over the common area/sledding hill in back.

The Sledding Hill

And that is the sledding hill.

I like the other spaces in the house too, though the formal dining room is a bit of a waste...oh well.

Ok, and we asked for them to include the playhouse!


Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Phone Call From Indy

I was over at CK's today, Kathy and I hiding out while the house was being shown. We were watching the Harry Potter marathon (well, we got through the first two before we snuck back home).

My phone rang, and it was my best friend from high school on the line, calling from GenCon. Actually, he is largely to blame for my time in Virginia, and meeting my wife for that matter, as we bought our first CCG cards together. I'm not sure he ever bought another card after those Magic starters, but obviously for me, the rest is history. Kathy and I drove by the shop in St. Louis where that happened while house hunting.

It was interesting hearing his take on GenCon this year (as essentially a once a year outsider who likes to show up and play some RPGs). He felt like the show is withering. Makes sense. Until some great new game type comes along, MMORPGs are going to continue to steal players and cash from adventure gaming, and the military being largely overseas right now stealing another group of players. Frankly, I'm not sure there is a deep and longterm future for paper gaming, though if it turns around, I'd expect the product that does it to come from Mark's new company out in Seattle, as they seem to be the one force with both creativity and management skills. And they can afford to pay for their phones.

He said even the big dogs are smaller than in the past though, much smaller. Don't know what to say without being there, of course.

Anyways, he was there with another buddy from high school, and I guess they were killing some time by playing a little Gain Ground on an emulator. Always one of our arcade favorites, and a 3 player game. "We just couldn't get throug some of those hard levels without the third player." Good to know I was missed.

Winter is Coming (again)

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
So, maybe this has been noted before, but I just saw the release date for Feast for Crows. Looks like November 8, unless you live in the UK. There it releases in October.

But I also noticed that there is a contest involved. Looks like an ARG (alternate reality game), which means it could either suck, or be pretty cool. Looks like Martin might have been involved in the game creation? I've been assigned to the King of the Narrow Sea kingdom.

I wish first 3 books weren't already packed, as that would give me something to do while living in the effing hotel for a month.

Some Random Notes

Well, as my brother is requesting an update, who am I to deny him?

Speaking of my brother, he mentioned that the company that I'm going to work for in a week just sent an email around about blogging. Sounded like it was just some common sense stuff, but stuff I'll make sure to chase down.

It was good to hear from Evan tonight. After reading of his exploits over the last couple of weeks, I mentioned that he is a younger man than I if he can still drive through the night, even with co-drivers. My brain just shuts dwon at 3 in the morning now. But those through the night drives always make for some epic stories.

I love the view from the back of the new house. We realized that we had actually seen the house about 3 years ago as we went sledding down the common ground behind it with my nephews and neices. I've always wanted to back onto a sledding hill. What can I say, some people want to live on golf courses. Not me.

I learned what a difference there is between how real estate deals are done in different markets. Here, there is a bid, and maybe a counter. In St. Louis, the opening bid is always super low, and the counter is always super high, with the expectation that there will be a couple of rounds of counters and a meeting in the middle. But it can be unsettling if you don't know that it is how things work. I'm not sure our agent did the best job in preping us for it.

I'm looking forward to watching one last match with AA on Sunday. Hopefully the Arsenal has something for the Russian Mafia cash.

I hate Kane Davis. What the heck is he pitching in a 1-0 game in the 7th inning for? I'd rather have Eveland or Capellan (a prospect) blow a game than a broken down retread.

I won the last game of Puerto Rico in the forseeable future by one point over CK.

I think I'm going to be living in a hotel for the next 3-4 weeks. Opposite of fun.

My fooseball skills started to come back after a few games with my nephew. The secret? Always keep your left hand on the goalie. He started picking up some of my tricks by the end, and my back reminded me that they don't build those tables for 6'5" people.

Fooseball is a very silly looking word. Any idea what the origins are? (I suppose I could look.) Do they have fooseball in other countries?

Tee mentioned to me that Dave Z updated his site, and has an interview with Magnus Bacstedt ("champion of Norway"). As always, not to be missed.

Apparently, my new company runs a soccer league! (as well as basketball and softball leagues)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I Will Buy Mark's $8 Hot Dog

Mark talked a little bit (well, ok, a lot) about his home selling/buying goround. His comment about making more on the house he sold after being in it about two years than he made at work during that same time caught my eye.

After talking to a couple of realators (real estate agents? whats the difference?) today, I can see how he said that. I also see how Joe thinks he can't get into a house for a couple of years.

For the love of Pete, what the heck happened to prices around here in the last couple of years? There is no way that we could afford this house today. It almost fucking doubled in price in three years.

Mark mentioned that plus, but then mentioned he is moving to an area that is even more expensive. We, on the other hand, are moving to an area where houses cost less than they do here (note to self, move to places that have land in all directions instead of a place with water on one or more sides).

So, we'll have a low mortgage and a nice house, and be able to start saving the gobs of money that we are going to need for college in 18 years. And for schools before that? Not sure, we have to figure that out. Gonna be an interesting discussion, that. I just know that Notre Dame in 2023 is gonna cost some loot. If we can get that done, this house will probably have been the key.

So instead of Mark's $8 dog, after we heard the prices today we went to Outback.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Scoreboard Watchin'

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
I spent some time today scoreboard watchin'.

I told Kathy yesterday that I hadn't done any scoreboard watchin' since before we had met. It has been so so long.

My definition of scoreboard watching is, at any time after August 1, following games of teams besides your own and hoping they lose so your team can get into the playoffs. Oh, and your team has to be within 5 games.

1992. That is the last time. I remember the Brewers chasing the Blue Jays until the last weekend of the season. I'd have to go to the basement of our dorm to watch sportcenter looking for highlights.

What made watching the Brewers fun this week was them taking two series in a row on the road from teams that have triple their playroll, and no heart whatsover.

The Crew is still probably a year or two from making a serious run, but I'm going to enjoy them sniffing around, and getting mentioned on Sportscenter in a playoff report tonight for the first time I can remember since those nights in the basement of Grace Hall in '92.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Limbo, Pergatory, You Name It

Blech, what a long summer this has been. I honestly hope I never leave myself in position to have this happen again. I've asked myself several times if I should have been more proactive in getting out of the way of the bus.

There is little question in my mind that I clearly saw this coming. And not just all too accurate musings of AA. Deep down, I knew things were headed for the crash for about three years. Unless something radical had happened to turn things, of course. Problem was the last great thing to happen at the company took place in 1994 when they locked up the Star licenses. Everything since then was slowly circling the drain. Not saying there weren't things that could have made money, but only Star Wars was the kind of thing that had to make money, despite any efforts to get in the way of that.

I just didn't know how deep the pockets were, and how committed W was to emptying them. Also, I couldn't tell just how much damage C had inflicted to Star Wars cash reserves with Boy Crazy.

I'm all for loyalty, and fighting for people who have shown you loyalty. But is that why I stayed? I guess that was the noble part of it.

The less noble part was inertia, inertia in the daunting work of getting back into (engineering) industry. Now that I've jumped through that hoop, I can honestly say that I didn't underestimate the effort. And I was lucky to have the support of my brother and Pam, which sped things up a lot.

I also think that I will probably never get to work with a group of people as interesting and fun as those at the company, and that added to my inertia. During the last year or two, the work wasn't much of a draw, but the people still were. Even games become ugly work once you grow up and realize the "vision" (think air quotes there) behind the product means you are wasting your effort.

So I guess I was waiting for the end, and not acting. That will not happen again. I owe that to K and Pavel at the very least.

I told someone today that this summer felt a little like being home from college for break. I'm ready for school to start again.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Don't Do This

Turn your sound down.


Blame Canada

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Well, someone has to take the blame. My favorite team traded my favorite player, Chris Pronger, to the Edmonton Oilers.

Some quick thoughts on 44.

The Blues traded Brendan Shanahan for Pronger shortly after I first got to St. Louis in one of the least popular trades in STL history. I distictly remember the small asian woman who had the season tickets behind us screaming at the chronically underachieving Pronger, and being absolutely correct to do it. He gave up a lot of goals.

I remember watching Pronger grow from a gangly, tentative youngster into what he became when Kathy and I saw him play against the Caps. The most dominant player in the league. The year he won the MVP, when he was on the ice, nothing was going in the Blues net. And he played more than 1/2 the game.

Kathy surprised me one year with tickets to the NHL All Star game in L.A. Well, we flew through St. Louis, and it turned out we were on the same plane with Pronger. When we were waiting for the luggage in L.A., I got my Pronger jersey out of my bag and had Chris sign it. What a goofy fan boy I was.

I wish the Blues weren't for sale, and the current owners weren't trying to clear salary to make the team more desireable. I'm less inclined to go looking for tickets with Prongs gone.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cleaning Out

Cleaned Out
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
With another change of house on the horizon, it is time to go through the ritual of clearing out the crud.

Pictured are three dressers, a ladder that I aquired from my old company (because a contractor had left it and Becky didn't want it), a pile of chairs from our first apartment, and crappy computer table. The table and chairs were taken by somebody during the night before the special pickup. K and I feel bad about the dressers, as they were antiques, but they had turned into Claudia antiques (more crumbly than useful).

It will be interesting to see what other artifacts turn up. So far, the old direct TV dish and reciever, any number of Star Wars dodads, a late 80s era Apple, an iMac (green), and several VCRs.

The challenge will be to figure out what of this stuff needs to be left behind. There are different reasons to keep things. Some of it is already boxed, and the move is payed for, so why not just move it? Some of it we don't really need, and will probably never open again, but can I really throw away the Factory Set of Star Wars version X Falcon Edition Limited trading cards?

All of these decisions don't just apply to stuff either.

I've spent some time thinking about what I thought I learned at the Company? Or more precisely, what was the lesson that I should have learned? That environment laid some real beartraps, so taking the right lessons into a more structured setup is going to be key. Interesting to see Mark and AA already discussing.

Work habits are going to be another issue. Some unlearning is going to be in order. I've already got some good rules in mind to start with. For instance, no laptop to meetings for the love of pete. Some way to kick the email monkey will also be required. More work, less things that can be justified as work, but really just get in the way of progress.

On the plus side, I won't have to go to any message boards to figure out how I'm doing. Process and management will be there to do that, or so AA leads me to believe. He also mentioned a week of training. Ah, it'll be good to get some of that. Being a self taught designer was nice and all, but it'll be good to have backing to add skills that help the company. So I guess I'll be adding more too (ok, that was a crappy tie in, sue me).

So, who thinks I can get the CEO of my old company to buy that 80's Apple as "vintage"?