|Liquid White Light
This is the time of day when the sun begins to dip downwards towards the mountains. As it sinks lower and lower, I can clearly see the Pacific light up, turn into shimmering fish scales. There is no question that there's an ocean out there; I only have to wonder to myself, "How far out there is adventure?" This city breathes magic as the sun goes down; directors don't call this time the magic hour for nothing.
I should mention that this is also the time of day when I have to get up and draw the blinds 'cause I can't see the monitor anymore. So much for romance.
Friday, July 7, 2000
For the first time in three years, I have altitude. And I'm not talking about the kind of altitude I had in Big Bear; the only thing I could see out that window was parking lot and sugar pines. No, I'm talking about being vertical, high rising, up off the ground. I'm eleven stories from the street, and I can see forever.
Wednesday, July 5, 2000
Time is slowly winding down here. I'm waiting for the office manager to get out of a meeting so I can find out what the deal is with the check they gave me (it's the end of the pay period, and I'm not leaving with anything less than what I'm owed), so I figure I'll play a little Unreal with the boys. And then it's off to dinner at Sharon's, and then drinking at Father's Office.
How do I feel? A bit sad to be leaving. Really. I'm sorry I won't have the opportunity to be working with the Good People here. And ending a relationship of any kind is sad. It's a little death, and it feels like that even more after all the time I've spent here.
And it's a little scary to think about The New Gig. Bigger company. More work. More responsibility.
But I'm bloody well ready for it. It's time to learn again. It's time to be part of a company rather than a dysfunctional family. These things and more I will ponder over the next few weeks. Updates to follow.
Thursday, June 22, 2000
Some of last night's good things:
-The banter between Robyn and Grant Lee. The two just played off each other beautifully.
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Dear God and his big brother Frank...last night was wonderful.
The setup was quite simple; Robyn and Grant Lee up on a stage, with 6 and 12 string guitars, respectively. Jon Brion came up to play piano whenever he was asked. The guys would take turns singing, first one of Robyn's, then one of Grant Lee's. For their encore, they did David Bowie and Mott the Hoople.
I love my home town. I love that acts like this blow through and you can see 'em for fifteen bucks a pop. It almost makes up for the misbehaving cretins the world has been seeing lately. All I have to say is: Chicago did the same, so we're not the only ones. Feh.
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Oh, and there's been no sex yet. Operators are still standing by, people!
Tuesday, June 20, 2000
|A Small Request
I remember, back in the day, when I sat in a crowded auditorium in the Museum O' Modern Art, watching a movie. I remember Justin Hall saying that he used to request things on his website, and people would respond. He got money. He got soup recipes. He got a cheap car.
So, I figure it's about time for me to try this. I haven't ever asked for much, have I? Maybe it's about time I did.
So, here it is: I need sex, people. Lots and lots of sex. Mountains of it, in fact. I don't know what the hell's been going on, but I haven't felt this horny since springtime. Maybe it's California's screwy growing season rearing its ugly head again; there's more pollen in the air, and baseball is in full swing. I have decided that I want neither of these two, that I, in fact, crave sex.
So, all I ask is that one of you have sex with me. The sooner the better. I'll cook you dinner, make you breakfast, whatever. I just want to get this over with and get it out of my system and go back to whatever.
Thank you. We will now return to our regular programming.
Meowmeowmeowmeow, meowmeowmeowmeow, meowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeowmeow...
Monday, June 19, 2000
|Unloading (Part 1)
There's no more room for rockstars in this industry.
(I'm talking about games, by the way. All of you Web people can hash over what it means to do the work you do in your own spaces. All I ask is that you ponder the words of the great Kurt Vonnegut: "Art should not come out of its own asshole.")
This was on my mind this morning as I thought about an email from Yet Another Recruiter (to this guy's credit, at least he had followed through with my requests: 128-bit console work, a good track record, and within 16 miles of Santa Monica. One guy kept calling me to ask if Carlsbad was too far. Why are there so many knuckle-draggers in the recruitment racket?). He'd finally gotten back to me with stuff that sounded interesting, a lot of it local. Granted, it's a moot point now that I've taken a gig with Treyarch, but nice to know those outfits are there.
Anyway, the point, though, is that one of them, the one closest to home, is made of guys who, while they had one very impressive title on their resumes, didn't seem to have much else. And yet they'd taken that one title and leveraged it into founding a company with a bunch of funding and a pretty office.
Where have we heard of that before?
I dunno...maybe they've got their act together and realize that they have to come up with a game that's actually fun to play, but I can't help but think of the Rockstar Mentality, ie "I've done one cool thing; therefore, everything I do will be cool, because I say so."
My experience over the past four years have been that of grunt labor and diminishing returns; games do not run like normal businesses, and I think they should. I don't give a damn about all the marketspeak about how we're consumer driven or how cut-throat things are. This industry needs to stop and slow down and realize that if they want to compete with television and music and inflatable sheep that we need to take time and do it right the first time. That's one lesson I learned the hard way from FarSight: we had all the time in the world, and I was a dumbass not to take advantage of it, get my shit done, and not worry anymore.
There's more to it, of course. There needs to be a recognition of the fact that there are people who do not see this as a way of life. I love technology, I love toys, I love the fact that I can sit down with a book and and a dev kit and have things flying across the screen without having to set up a manufacturing plant and hire janitors.
This, however, is still a job, and I'm in a business, and I know that we need to make money. "The business of business is business," my dad has told me time and again. This doesn't mean that we need to become like IBM in the 50s; I like wearing shorts and Tevas to work. I like having music, I like seeing my John Lennon action figure sit on top of my monitor, I like the idea that I could come into work at 10 and leave whenever rather than the regimented 8 to 5.
However, the games industry on the whole needs to recognize that if we're producing titles that sell for fifty bucks a pop, we need to give it our best effort. And that best effort takes time, kids; you cannot make the world in seven days unless you're God, and even He rested on the seventh day. If we knew right out of the chute that our title was going to sell for twenty bucks, that it was, essentially, a B title, then there should be no reason to kill ourselves. We map out what it's going to be like, we play it fast and loose, we get it done. But we still stick with the 40 hour work week.
If it's going to be an A title, then you'd better be ready for it. You need to have as much planned as possible, you need to hash out tech issues, you need to make sure your flow is going to work. And you bloody well give yourself enough time to do it. If not, if you expect an A title in a short period of time, then you damn well better compensate everyone for giving up their lives, and I'm not talking about getting fed Panda Panda every night. Compensation means money, additional paid vacation, stock, equity, higher matching for 401(k)'s (if you get them at all). You cannot take cool to the bank. I'm sorry, but you just can't. Cool works when you're 22 and don't want to go write air traffic control software for Hughes; cool doesn't work when you're 26, you haven't slept well in a month and a half, you've gained fifteen pounds from eating pizza and KFC for two months, and haven't had sex in seven.
(Note: Ponder connections between above three items. Initiate weight-loss program and high-fiber diet immediately. Sex will surely follow.)
To be continued...
Tuesday, June 13, 2000
I want to see us all rise above the norm. I want us all to know what joy is and how to take its hand when offered. I want us all to be well-rested and clear-headed, to see the world with our own eyes and hear it with our own ears. I want us to be unafraid of the smell of another human being, to take comfort in the touch of another. I want us to plug into Tao and understand just what's going on.
We're getting there. Soon.
Monday, June 12, 2000
I can already feel myself holding back; it happens when you realize people are reading what you write.
I know that you need to keep the audience entertained, but you need to take care of your own creative impulses. The need to cut loose completely tends to clash against the need not to step on too many toes or, even worse, turn people off.
It's the frustration that gets me. I get so close and then something happens and I have to cancel or back out or put things off. And all it does is get me more and more bent out of shape, and I go and see what kinds of pornography Wash has downloaded this morning.
Yes, people, I'm talking about sex. Right now, I do not want to be the kind, romantic man that you all know and love. I do not want to be the guy who buys you flowers and gives you backrubs and puts you in the dirver's seat.
Dammit, I want to be John Wayne in The Quiet Man, and I want you to be Maureen O'Hara. I want to break the window, howl into the night, grab you as you're running past me, and give you the kind of kiss that melts the wax in your ears.
And then we'd go and do all the things that they could only do off-camera.
Monday, June 12, 2000
It all changes when you say you're going to leave.
Your time is your own again, and they're lucky that you've even deemed them worthy of it. The crush of work is now fun, because you don't have to deal with the consequences. And there's no need to sleep at the office or stay late, because, what are they gonna do when you leave? Fire you?
That still, however, doesn't make up for the fact that Ken didn't get to teach me how to play go this afternoon. Or that I missed going to Yangtze with Burke and Carrie. Or that I didn't get to say something wonderfully American to make Iva laugh. Or that I didn't get to see Rebecca give me That Look (and you know which one I'm talking about, baby. Could we just pretend we're both already 35 and get married next week?). It doesn't make up for it, not by a long shot.
But it does make me smirk a bit more.
Sunday, June 11, 2000
I'm not Irish, but, when I listen to the Pogues, I sometimes wish I were.
Thursday, June 8, 2000
I know I've been talking about love and sex and romance here for a bit, and I've suddenly realized why. Hell, it's the reason why I've been doing this all along: this is all nothing more than one gigantic personal ad.
The problem is, see, is that I've just had too much fun writing it and haven't gotten around to sending it in.
Thursday, June 8, 2000
I don't write down obscure things to show off that I'm part of some Inside Group and you're not.
No, it's usually because I'm a clueless idiot who's amused by the strings of words he puts together. Whether you're amused or not is irrelevant (but it's nice if you are).
Thursday, June 8, 2000
|Haiku, part 279
The time spent at home
Great pile of dishes:
Blooming basil plants:
Reach for the heavens
Wednesday, June 7, 2000
The difference, I know, between being a ronin and a regular mercenary is this: though the former may be without a master or, even worse, dishonored, he is still bound to follow bushido. Granted, he may not do it, but who the hell wants to hang around someone like that?
I know that there's no call for samurai in our day and age; I think American culture doesn't gel with the little bit I've learned. However, is it so wrong to want to look out for yourself, and yet hold yourself to a level of conduct that means others will respect you? I swear no loyalty to a lord, not anymore, but I'll follow through on my contract with you. This contract is soon coming to an end, and I shall ask for release. Arigato.
Wednesday, June 7, 2000
March and April
April and May
May and June