Monday, September 28, 2009

a bush by any other name

LucasArts has a new blog that we've been using to talk about the up-coming release of our new game, "Lucidity."

So far, the blog has been doing well and we've been getting a nice dialogue going with LucasArts fans and developers. However, as with every blog, a little spam slips into the midst. This weekend, we got some spam that was caught by the spam filter, but the text of it just struck me as so goofy that I wanted to share it. Spammers, does this really prove to be a successful way of driving traffic to your spam site?

"I stand here today humbled by the task before Dofus kamas, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our cheap Dofus kamas. I thank President Dofus for his service to buy Dofus kamas, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition."


Turns out the "kamas" are the currency in a free, Flash-based MMO named Dofus. I have to say, I'm very grateful to them for their generosity throughout this transition, as well. Who knows what would have happened to us if President Dofus would have turned his back on us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

a little night music

The first two pieces of music from our new game, Lucidity, have hit the interTubes. You can check them out here and here.

Needless to say, I'm happy to see them getting out there like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

goodnight, buddy

pipper's hug

She's gone.

Amanda has a very detailed post about how things were for us with Pipper as we watched her get sicker and sicker. Friday was horrific. Our vet appointment was at 3 and we found ourselves tortured by watching the clock throughout the morning. All I wanted to do was smother her with hugs, but she was miserable and wanted to be left alone. I was heartbroken - I didn't want to bother her, but I knew that with every minute that passed our last goodbyes came closer and closer. Every half hour or so, I'd go search out wherever she was resting, cuddle up to her with a big hug, and then leave her dejectedly as she shrugged me off and tried to find another place to rest where she wouldn't be messed with.

This went on for a few hours. A little bit before 2, just about the time I was starting to really freak out that I wouldn't get to hug her and say my goodbyes, she finally let me curl up with her. For the next hour, I lay there trying to soak up every last second we had together - trying to memorize the smell of her fur, the sound of her purring. I hugged her. I talked to her and told her how much I loved her. I thanked her for all of the things she taught me, thanked her for being one of the greatest friends I've ever known. I cried like crazy and then apologized for crying all over her.

The hour was gone quickly. Amanda and I began to help each other by trying to focus on "one minute at a time" and only one task at a time. Time to get dressed. Time to get the crate. Time to put her in the crate. Time to take the crate down to the car. Time to drive to the vet. I don't think either of us would have been able to really function if we'd been viewing the situation with any kind of macroscopic vision.

I don't think I can really talk about the vet visit. Suffice it to say, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.

Life without Pip is hard. We've been sleeping poorly - both of us wake up in the middle of the night worried about kicking her or trying to figure out where she's at only to painfully remember that she's gone. We've been hearing phantom sounds around the apartment that sound like her purring, her nails on the hardwood floors as she walks around, etc. Each of us have broken down into tears a number of times and there have been many sighs and frowns without the need for any explanations as to why.

Logically, I know that she's no longer in pain. I know that she's no longer struggling to breathe, struggling to be comfortable within her own skin, and struggling to hide her illness from us as she did for so long (something I've now learned that cats do). But those thoughts are small comfort when I walk into our bedroom at night and feel the habitual words "Hi, buddy" choke themselves in my throat with the sudden remembrance of her passing away.

I miss her immensely. I love you, Pip. I love you and I miss you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

my friend is dying

It's been a difficult last two weeks. We found out two weeks ago that our cat, Pipper, is dying of both lung and brain cancer. She's started to have raspy breathing, a general lack of energy, and a diminished appetite. I don't think we have much time with her.

And I'm having a really hard time with that.

Pip is essentially my first pet. When we were little, my dad had a habit of getting dogs in the winter, holding onto them for about a month while my brother and I got attached, and then returned them to the SPCA because he didn't like walking them in the cold. So, I never really got to experience what it was like to come home every day to a buddy who was always kind, always happy to see you, and always 100% love in a pure form.

I've learned so much from her and I'm having a very hard time saying good-bye. I don't even really know what to say ... I'm just losing a dear friend and it has me pretty crushed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

phase one: complete

I did it and it felt great. I purged about 150 people off of my friend list from Facebook. Gone are all of the people I don't know. Gone are all of the people that I once approved out of a feeling of obligation. Gone are all of the people that I don't feel like seeing updates from anymore.

Feels good.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

step one

I'm completely tired of Facebook. At first, it was just MySpace with a better code base that didn't take a million years to load each page. Not to mention it had that really smart feature whereby it asked you when you confirmed a new friend how you knew them. If you said "I don't know them" it then asked you "then why are confirming them?" or something. This simple question stopped me from friending a bunch people I didn't know.

Unfortunately, as the popularity of Facebook grew, more and more people that I didn't know - and perhaps more annoyingly - more and more people I do know started asking for friend requests. Eventually it just seemed to become one massive, unending High School reunion. I went to one reunion. I don't need an eternal one.

Anyway, I've had it with Facebook. So, Monday I'm going to dig into my friend list and start purging. If I don't know you, you're gone. If I don't feel like keeping in touch with you, adiĆ³s. If I get I down to where the only people are people I want to keep up with and I still get annoyed with Facebook, then I'll just delete my account.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

inconsistency at its finest

I've been terrible at maintaining this thing, and by thing I mean blog, and by blog I mean weblog, and by "I mean weblog" I mean you knew that already. Mainly, though, it's because of one massive reason or the next. There was a time a number of years ago where I had plenty of time for blogging. I also happened to have a fair amount of time for Minesweeper and for learning how to play Spider Solitaire.

Nowadays I barely have time for lunch. Those old days of Minesweeper seem like a laughable distant other life. I've been working a lot lately. WAY too much lately, to be honest - and that's saying something for me. Sitting here two days out from the end of the fifth game I've completed this year already (five games in 6 months is crazy), I'm really starting to feel some fatigue from it. Monday I start two new games. I need to find a way to pace myself amidst the crazy ... pace (ahem) ... of my job.

One of the things that Amanda and I have been doing is setting up a new habit where I come home every Tuesday at 6:30. We've done this two weeks in a row now and I have to say that I love it. I get to leave work while the sun is still up and I get to reliably know that we'll have some quality time together.

I haven't even had time to write about how I finally got rid of my faithful old Camero, The Green Wind. It died two years ago, and like all good Cameros, it then sat dead in my driveway rotting from the outside in. It was retired gracefully and donated to a breast cancer charity for scrap.

I gotta wrap this up and go home. So ... ::BAMF::

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i know lots of words

And I use them in this interview with all about the updated soundtrack to The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.

Just in case anyone is interested ...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

you can't please everybody

And sometimes you can't please anybody.

For years, LucasArts has been the target of fanrage that came from the cancelling of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, a sequel to the 1990s adventure game Sam & Max Hit the Road. Loyal adventure game fans felt that the company had turned its back on them in favor of making a quick buck on Star Wars games.

Anytime we put out a new game, there was a very vocal minority of people who would complain on our forums and across the net saying things like "Who cares about Star Wars!!?! Make more Monkey Island games!!"

Well, fast forward to Monday of this week. LucasArts announces the impending release of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Telltale Games' Tales of Monkey Island. While the adventure game fans of LucasArts all seem genuinely happy with the announcement, there's now messages like this on our forums:

"I HATE U LUCASARTS Save Star Wars: Battlefront 3 NOT Monkey Island


So there you go. Make Star Wars: Battlefront? Get yelled at for not making Monkey Island. Make Monkey Island? Get yelled at for not making Battlefront.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a calipigeous rose by any other name ...

[Thank you Word Power Made Easy and Ms. Von Rembo's 8th grade English class for the blog title today.]

I have a friend that I worked with who told me recently about how he and his wife combined their names when they got married. Not in the most common form by hyphenating, mind you. No, they took part of his last name, glued it onto the first half of her last name, and created a new last name for themselves.

Amanda and I had briefly talked about doing that when we got married. Unfortunately, none of the combinations we came up with sounded very good.

- Yarlin
- Haste
- Haraste
- Yaslin

You get the picture.

Anyway, the other night we were lying in bed talking about it and we realized that we'd forgotten to try taking all of the letters of our names and rearranging them together into a completely new name. Unlike Yarlin, this new approach yielded some pretty spectacular results.

While we missed the boat on being Mr. and Mrs. Hyenas-Trail, Earthysnail, or Ashy-Ratline, I think we definitely should have considered Mr. and Mrs. Nearly-Has-It.

And by far and way, my favorite that I'm still considering, is Mr. and Mrs. Alstarhiney.

Jesse Alstarhiney. It has a certain ring to it. I might need new business cards ...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Monkey Island: Special Edition


After months of working on it in secret, I can finally talk about what I've been doing at work lately.

Today, LucasArts officially announces The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition!

I'm so happy I can finally say its name out loud after such a long secret wait. It feels like the "secret" of Monkey Island has really just been that it existed again after so long. Can't wait to see how the world responds.

Monday, February 16, 2009

um ... wtf?

Anyone see the Valentines episode of SNL this weekend? Something about it was weird. Everything seemed normal until the skit with the Wii and then after that the whole rest of the episode seemed edited and full of old fake commercials from other episodes. Was it edited? Did a skit get cut or canned? Was something censored and then filler material added in its place for the West Coast broadcast?

Anyone know?

Monday, February 02, 2009

rap logic

So I'm listening to Young MC's "Bust A Move" this morning on my way to work - like you do - when it starts to nag a me...

If your best friend Harry has his own brother (Larry), why are you going to be the best man at Larry's wedding? Doesn't he have any friends of his own? Why wouldn't his brother be his best man? If there's bad blood between the two brothers, what are you doing getting between the two brothers? Harry's your best friend. Wouldn't you side with him?

I should have asked Young MC when I randomly met him one day in LA.

Or, you know, maybe it's best that I didn't...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

more to come ...

The inauguration was amazing and I'll try to get our pictures and a write-up up soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

change we can partake in

Hanging in Philly with my family right now. Manda and I are fueled on Wawa and east coast snow. We flew into town for the inauguration, knowing that we didn't have tickets and would be hanging out with 4 million of our closest friends on the national mall. However, my brother had arrived in town a day earlier so that he could drive down to DC and pick up the two tickets he was allotted through sheer chance.

As luck would have it, they asked him how many he needed and - long story short - Amanda and I now also have tickets.

Can't wait. : ) It'll be great to witness history in the making.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

at the risk of sounding like an old man ...

Can I complain about my ailments?

My cold that I got just after the New Year still hasn't gone away. In fact, it's gotten worse with my shotgun trip to Montreal last week. Oh, by the way, I went to Montreal last week for business.

So, my cold is still hanging around. My cough has progressed nicely to the point that I've coughed my throat raw and have no voice anymore. Plus, as of this morning, my cold has moved north and I now officially have an ear infection as well.

And and, I got a freakin' $45 parking ticket this morning for not turning my wheels towards the curb while parking in the city.

Okay, so that last one isn't really an ailment, but it's definitely a pain in the ass so I'm counting it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

uh .... merry happy?

Cripes, I've become really lousy at updating this thing. So, happy new year to everyone. I'm enjoying the onset of my first cold of the year. Hopefully I have fewer this year than last. Then again, I won't be killing myself to finish The Force Unleashed this year, so hopefully that means less crunch time this year than last too.

I've been getting my ultra-nerd on recently and playing D&D with a group of guys from work. I haven't really played this much since I was in my teens and I'm really enjoying it. I didn't realize back then how much the basic principles of game design come into play with D&D. Story pacing, puzzle design, the basic design of what is fun and what isn't ... It's all related to video game design. So, that's been fun.

Work's been good but I can't talk about it. I did an interview as part of an article on game composition for the New York Times. Not sure when that comes out though. Amanda and I had a really nice Christmas and shared breakfast with Ry followed by the rest of the day at Amanda's mom's place with her family.

OK. I'm tired of thumb-typing on my iPhone. Update done for now.