Friday, December 22, 2006

happy holidays

Not sure how much I'll be writing over the next week as I'll be pretty focused on three things:

1. Family - my mom, sister, brother, and Lisa-in-law are all flying in over the next week for Xmas-stylee fun.

2. Wedding - With a week of prime-time weekdays open to us, Amanda and I will be trying to get as much detail work done as we can.

3. Turns out, it's just two things. But, I'd rather not go back and delete the 3 and change it to 2. So, instead you get this.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

stories from the train: lost in translation

You hear a lot of crazy things when you cram a ton of people into the same location every morning. People say stupid things, people fart on you, and sometimes you get some music along with it all.

At the Embaraderro BART station, there's an old asian man who sits by the escalators most mornings and plays traditional music on his erhu, a traditional stringed Chinese instrument. It's pretty quaint and definitely beats the usual mumble-ridden acoustic guitar busking you tend to find in most other subways.

Today, though, the guy clearly was in the holiday mood - either that, or he just wants some money from those who are - because he was trying to play "Jingle Bells." I say trying because he only sorta' had the melody right. I don't know if it's a limitation of the erhu or if he just doesn't know the tune.

I didn't have a means to record it, but I did my best to recreate it as soon as I got to my office. It sounded like this:

Click here to get your own player.

As I was leaving, I found myself behind a british guy having a conversation with a german guy. They both new each other and were talking about their plans for the holiday. It was a ... special conversation.

Anglo: Hey, mate.
Saxon: Oh! Hello! I thought you had taken your plane already!
Anglo: Naw, I don't fly out 'til tomorra.
Saxon: Well, here's to hoping you don't fly through Denver.
Anglo: [laughs] Yeah, dat's quite a blizzahd they got.
Saxon: [laughs as well] Yes, well, I hope to see you die.

!!! What?? I don't know what the hell that guy was trying to say, but I sure as hell hope it wasn't that. Crazy germans.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

sucker for the season

Never one to pass up an opportunity to create some new sort of online avatar for myself, has one that's a flash holiday greeting dumping ground. Apparently people's greetings are all just making the scrolling world of mix-mas grow and grow and grow.

Anyway, you can find me and my message here. Just look for this guy:


He's northwest of naked Hitler.

Monday, December 18, 2006

too much stuff

I've got too much going on. The game industry seems to shut down for the week of Christmas. Frequently that means that the week before the week of Christmas ends up feeling like a dead week, too. Many people are already gone on vacation. Many more are simply focused on their up-coming vacations. Not a lot gets done.

I, on the other hand, seem to have a completely full plate. I have to cut all of the files for a new game. I have an article to finish up. I have wedding stuff to tackle (though we found our officiant this weekend. Her name is Sasha Rusk and she's super nice). I have to clean up our apartment before my family arrives this weekend. And I have to deal with a week full of meetings on top of that (like the 2.5 hour long one I had this afternoon that kept me from everything else I needed to be doing).

Anyway, there's a lot going on and no one seems to comment here anymore so I don't know if it's cuz this is boring or no one reads it anymore. Probably both. Guess I'll keep writing, though.

Friday, December 15, 2006

the grass has to actually be greener somewhere, right?

I'm in a funk. Have been for days. It's why I haven't been writing here. Haven't been doing much of anything these days, to be honest. I go through this with some degree of frequency. At least once a year, it seems like I sit down, decide that I hate my career, and that there has to be something better out there somewhere.

Which is not to say that I hate working at LucasArts. It's more like I go through a period of hating being a composer. I get this frustrated knot of 50% boredom and 50% angst in the pit of my stomach and it won't go away. But it seems to stop me from doing anything. So, I sit here and I think about all of the other careers I could have had but chose game composer instead.

Sometimes I wish that I'd been an author. I love to write and would love to actually have time to finish the various things I've started to write over the years. Plus, I've thought about writing a book on game audio. But how many of those does the world actually need? Plus, what am I going to say that's new? "Chapter 9: When the going gets tough, consider a career change"

Anyway, other than that, I find that I think about ditching anything creative and intellectual and romanticize taking a job in construction. There's something very appealing about a job that doesn't require me to wrack my brains every day to create something the world has never seen. Instead, I'm pounding nails into something someone told me to pound nails into. Even thinking about a construction job is more physical exercise than I ever get as a composer.

But ... I never do anything. I'm here in my "dream job" wondering what other opportunities are out there in the world. Like I said, it's just a funk. I'll get through it like I have before. I just wish I'd get through it sooner rather than later. This one's been going on for a week now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

stories from the train: anger management

I was waiting for the train home tonight, contentedly wasting my life playing Jewel Quest on my RAZR, when I noticed some guy pacing around the train platform. He was clearly some kind of "no one loves me/hugs me/calls me on my birthday" punk with a chip on his shoulder as well as in his paper bag he was carting around.

Angry Punk had a bike, a very conservative and completely not-punk blue roadbike, that was leaning up against a sign post. Again, I wasn't really paying any attention to anything other than Jewel Quest at this moment. Angry Punk just kept pacing until his bike suddenly fell onto the ground.

What happened next can only really be described as a shit fit. Angry Punk instantly ran up to his bike and started to kick it and punch it as it lay on the ground. All the while he was yelling "FUCKING BIKE! FUCKING NEVER ANYTHING BUT FUCKING TROUBLE! FUCK THIS THING!" At which point he then picked up the bike, lifted it over his head, and threw it onto the train tracks. "FUCKING BIKE! FUCK YOU! I WAS THINKING ABOUT WOMEN! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCKING THINK ABOUT WOMEN ALL THE GODDAMN TIME!"

With his bike now laying on the train tracks and the train only moments away from arriving, he then proceeded to resume pacing around the train platform, this time muttering to himself. The only words that were understandable were either Fuck or Fucking. The rest was "mumble mumble FUCK mumble FUCKING mumble mumble" etc. After pacing and cursing for a little bit, Angry Punk then jumped down onto the train tracks, retrieved his bike, and then set about lovingly inspecting it to make sure it wasn't damaged.

I really didn't feel like being the one to him that his bike falling over was probably more a product of not having a kickstand than thinking about women all the time.

When the train finally arrived, he was very clearly talking to some kind of imaginary friend and the two of them were having a conversation about how strange it was that the train was going in the wrong direction. (I think he wanted to be on the northbound platform.)

When I got off the train four stops later, I was worried that he was going to say something to me while I waited to get off the train. Turns out, he was completely well behaved crazy angry punk guy. My guess is that he was back to thinking about women again. Strangely, though, the other guy standing behind me picked up where Angry Punk left off.

As the train pulled into the station, the guy behind me started to talk to himself saying "hehehe ... The train ... it just farted ... IT FAHTED .... ::imitation of hydrolic break sound:: ... hehehe ... it fahted ..."

I miss my car.

ticking along

The wedding is coming a long well. Every week we finalize more and more stuff. For those playing along at home, here's where we stand (actually, this list is more for me than anyone else):

What we have finalized:
- Date
- Location
- Dresses
- Rings
- Band
- Photographer
- Guest List
- Invitations

What's in the works:
- Someone to perform the ceremony
- Flowers

What's not done:
- Cake
- Tuxedos
- Decorations
- Favors

So, that's not so bad. We have all of the major stuff out of the way except for who's performing the ceremony, and even that we have a meeting on Sunday with a potential candidate. Things are going well.

Meanwhile, I'm a complete dick and forgot to say "Happy Birthday" to Ry on Saturday. So, in honor of his turning 29, here's a fan film of The Ghostbusters taking on Freddy Kruger. Apparently Freddy seems to have killed their lighting guy or something.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stars of MySpace issue 1: Sasha Lans Project

MySpace is awesome for many reasons. Partially, though, it's awesome in how much exposure it can give anyone with simply enough thumb dexterity to work a mouse and sign up for an account.

Take for instance Sasha Lans. Sasha may very well be a joke much like Borat. I'm not entirely sure. What I do know is that his MySpace page starts with the sentence "The Peace and Love to you my Friend who has come on my Website!" and then doesn't let up from there.

You see, Sasha is an electronica composer who doesn't speak English all that well. Along with his attempts to blend a bunch of different cultures together making him a "musician of new generation of electronic musicians."

Take a look at his Pics page. Please tell me that he isn't 100% correct. If this is where the next generation of electronic musicians are going - photographing themselves poorly voguing in front of a vertical rug - I'm totally on board.

So, Sasha rocks and should go on tour immediately. No doubt. In fact, he should go on tour with No Doubt. I think their fans would appreciate his style. I know I do.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

how about a "stop all the bullshit" dance?

People are starting to tell me that they're receiving the wedding invitations that went out on Tuesday. So, that's good. The bad news is that I'm now completely addicted to checking the website to see if anyone has RSVPed yet. So far, no one has.

I still haven't found someone to officiate the wedding. Trying to find someone who isn't completely flaky seems to be really hard. Maybe it's particularly the Bay Area, but it seems like people who are professional officiants for a living walk a very thin line between religious figurehead and complete bullshit artist.

Sure, there are reverends who just do weddings. But they seem to be few and far between. Instead, you'll find TONS of people who do all kinds of weird things like the Walking Into Wisdom Menopause Ceremony, Home Blessing Ceremonies upon moving into a new house, and the Dances of Universal Peace that I can't even begin to figure out what they're for.

Can't I just find someone who isn't crazy to do a secular ceremony? Is that too much to ask, San Francisco?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

stories from the train: frrt

At the Embarcadero BART station, the platform is dotted by these large, round marble benches for commuters to sit on while they await their trains. Most of the time I get down there, the benches are full of people and I end up standing. Monday night, however, I got down to the station just as a train had departed and so there was an open spot to sit. I sat down right next to this older guy - mid to late 50s - who had a bike leaning up against him.

Now, the seating was tight. Only about two inches separated his ass from my ass on the bench there. Not to mention, because the benches are circular, everyone's backs are angled towards each other a bit.

Anyway, there I am sitting contentedly waiting for my train and reading some billboard or something when I notice Old Bike Guy lean forward like he's going to stand up.

Only ... he doesn't stand up. Instead, he just stays bent over like that. Suddenly from right next to me I hear:


This gross old fuck farted right on me. He couldn't have aimed it at me any more if he'd gotten up, walked his ass right up to my face, and then let loose right there. No apology. No "oh my god .. I can't believe I just did that." Nothing. Just a massive raspy fart and then he straightened himself up again.

Other people suck.

Monday, December 04, 2006

it's sorta like "ground hog's day"

I feel like I keep reliving the same week or two over and over again. If you're playing along at home and would like to re-enact your own round of "Jesse's Life™", it goes like this:

Step 1. At work, I start the week with my most recent sketch being rejected for various different reasons. I'm then asked to write more sketches.
Step 2. I write sketches. Those sketches sit around until a meeting is called about them, sometimes that meeting is on the following Monday.
Step 3. In the meantime, I do tedious paperwork that's meant to speed up efficiency somewhere.
Step 4. No one reads the paperwork.
Step 5. I attend meetings.
Step 6. At night and over the weekend, Manda and I plan our wedding.
Step 7. Monday comes. Repeat step 1.

This weekend Manda and I got our invitations all assembled and they'll go out in the mail tomorrow. (64 invitations * 8 adhesive photo corners per invitation) + 64 envelopes = one metric assload of glue we had to lick. But they're all done, they all look great, and I'm very happy that we can cross that off of the to-do list.

I'm in a bad mood. I should stop writing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

if I knew anything about robots...

I think I'd be one of these guys. The R2 Builders' Club builds their own robots that are recreations of and inspired successors to the astromech droids from Star Wars. For those who don't speak fluent dork, R2-D2 is an astromech droid - three wheeled legs, a dome, and an old ARP synth for a voicebox inside a garbage can and you've got yourself an astromech droid.

And to be completely honest, I think this is the greatest little invention waiting to happen. It's like the Roomba only does more than clean your carpet. It can wander down to different departments in your office and give people files (paper files, not electronic - although I guess it could do that too), it could get you coffee, or hell ... it could even brew coffee and then just dispense it. Yes, the work world is waiting for the astromech droid to become a reality. And by "work world" I probably just mean me and the guys at

Anyway, in the meantime, I can placate myself with action figures. So I did. And now I'm happier.