Thursday, July 31, 2003

I'm still alive, don't worry. I just haven't had much time to spend in front of the computer. GenCon went very well. I had a good time and it was good to see some people that I only see at these shows.

Check Greg's blog over on the left -- he and Deb just had their baby. Hooray! Congrats to the both of you.

Kevin R-R, I have something for you, so we'll have to get together while I'm back in Madison.

See you all soon.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I made it to San Diego, through the ComiCon, and back with no problems -- although I may have threatened Joss Whedon's life -- I'm not sure what he thought. For those not in the know, he's the creator and often writer or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, not to mention the writer of the Buffy movie, and had a hand in Toy Story and other movies. Anyway, I was walking downstairs in the hotel, going to meet up with some friends, and I looked up to see him walking up the stairs toward me. Immediately upon seeing him I said, rather loudly, "Hey!" He stopped, a bit surprised -- and I can only think that he thought he was going to get the beating of a lifetime -- and then I said, "Thank you. I really enjoy your stuff," and shook his hand. He was very nice and said thank you and we were both off again. I'm bummed I was so shocked, because I could have handed him a card and told him that I was supposed to work on a game featuring his characters. He'd have known my boss, so we're not too far removed.

Aside from him, I also talked briefly with Brian Michael Bendis (the writer on the comics Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil, Alias, and Powers), and J. Michael Straczynski when my boss brought him by the booth. He apparently like the game I designed, so that was cool. I saw Kevin Smith (director of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma) and saw Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd as they walked around the convention center.

The convention was enormous and it was packed. The estimate is that there were 80,000 people over the course of the weekend. Lines from hell...all the time. I'm really glad the first time I went was with a company that had a booth, because I was able to skip most of that.

I had a really good time, saw a lot of people I haven't seen in a while, and was able to check out many, many new artists, comics, and creators. I enjoyed seeing the Happy Tree Friends for the first time as well as finding Tom Neely's art. I really think some publisher should snap him up, he does very, very cool stuff. I'm trying to convince the art department to use him for something...I just don't know what. Oh, I found these cool cards from the folks at Monkey Cult Industries. Heh, heh. Fun. Buy some.

Okay, I'm tired and I still have to unpack and maybe do some laundry. I'll update tomorrow if I have time.

Good night.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

See, now I think he's doing it just to get ink, but now Greg started his own blog. Oh, and thanks for telling me what you enjoy on the site, Greg. At least now I have some idea.

I have way too much work to do before I leave for San Diego. Yikes. That's, of course why I'm still here -- again -- at ten at night. I'm leaving soon to do some laundry and watch a DVD. I'll pack in the morning, I think.

So, the cool thing today was watching the new 14 minute cartoon based on one of the games I work on. There's a shorter version on the company Website, but this new cartoon is a lot longer and appears on the DVD that will be included in the starter sets of the game when it's released in September (I think that's when it comes out). If I can get an extra copy, I'll bring it home and show you guys. It's very cool.

Okay, time to clear out of here.

I'm very nervous that the post immediately below is too long and will be lost. I need to start saving these things since my Archives disappeared on me. I know they still exist, but even so...

I had a busy weekend, but not in the way I'd planned.

I have no clue what I did Friday evening, but if I remember anything I'll let you know.

Saturday I slept in...maybe because I was up late on Friday...? I don't remember. Around 1:00 I went to the gym, but I got so hungry after about an hour of working out that I had to leave to get some lunch. Isn't that lame? I had to stop working out to eat! But, really, I could tell I wasn't going to get anything out of working out if I didn't have any food in my stomach, so I left and ate. After showering I made a trip down to beautiful downton Burien (gag, choke) to pick up some comics I missed a while ago. It was a good trip and I managed to pick up all but a couple books I needed.

Oh, I remember, Friday night I went to see "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" with Matt and Dawn from work. It was an...okay movie. Too different from the original comic book, which is excellent and I really think you should read it. Here, I'll make it easier for you; go here. It really is excellent. Better than the movie by a damn sight. More entertaining, more well written, pretty much more everything. Unfortunately having Alan Quatermain start out as a opium addict, and having Minna nearly get raped by other opium fiends (it's always nice when you can use the term "opium fiends" in conversation) while recruiting him, and having Mr. Hyde being one of the most amoral, self-centered, NON-heroic creatures in existence doesn't work very well for a major motion picture. Plus there's all the really racist "yellow menace" stuff that probably wouldn't play to well in some places. Anyway, check it out. Alan Moore is a genius.

Okay, back to Saturday. After getting the comics I ran a couple of very quick errands, then went to Dawn's with Matt to watch High Fidelity and play some games. We played a bit of Magic and an old game called Quest for the Pholosopher's Stone. (Seth, I'm sorry to report that I won, so I'll never play it again. I'm at 100%, why ruin that? I'm sure you're all with me; Seth hates that about me.) It was about 1:00 AM then so we left, but I stopped in at work to check my email and ended up surfing the 'net for an hour or so. Once I finally left I ended up watching a movie until about 4:00 AM.

Sunday I slept in until late. Late in this case meaning noon...that's 2:00 PM to those of you playing in the Midwest. I was supposed to meet some people from work to go to a festival that the International District (roughly equivalent to Chinatown) and then see "Pirates of the Caribbean", but they called and said they wanted to skip that and just go see "Pirates of the Caribbean". It was an epic quest -- going to see the movie, not the movie itself.

I drove across town to Ballard to see the 3:20 showing (meaning I left at 2:30 to meet everyone). When I arrived I learned that the show was sold out, but three of our number bought tickets off a scalper (probably some guy who decided he didn't want to see it right then) so they went in. The other four of us decided to find somplace else to see it. We hopped in the car, consulted the newspaper, and drove down to the Cinerama. Notice that it's "the" Cinerama, not just Cinerama, that's because this place is an action-moviegoer's wet dream; big seats that you have no choice but to relax in, a sound system that God would envy, and a rounded screen that really immerses you in the film because it curls around into your peripheral vision more. Not that I got to see the movie there, instead we walked over to a mall and bought tickets for a showing an hour and a half later. We ate some food, checked out a couple stores, then went to see the movie.

Let me tell you about the "Pirates of the Caribbean", well, it was pretty good. I think anyone who watches t.v. or movies will think it's pretty good, too. Comedy, action-packed, has a mystery element, some horror trappings, romance, sexy bits featuring the all-too-skinny female lead, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom for the ladies, and speical effects that weren't just well done, but also worked with the story as opposed to just being thrown on the screen to be impressive. So, if you can see, you'll probably like this movie. It's like they planned it that way.

After the movie we walked back to the car. Bought some Dippin' Dots from McD's because some of our number had never had them. Yes, yes, they're totally a novelty thing, but I enjoy this particular novelty. Plus, ice cream! (Greg, I'll buy you ice cream when I'm back in Wisconsin. You deserve it.) Anyway, they dropped me off at my car and I drove back to Bellevue. Seven hours after I left! Gahh, it's not like I had anything to do except go to the gym, but I really didn't think it would take seven hours to see a two-and-a-half-hour movie.

Completely unrelated to this waste of a day I thought about how late I stayed up both Friday and Saturday (and pretty much every other day of the week) and I realized that even though I don't like to sleep and I really don't get tired, I still need to get about eight hours a night. So I was thinking that staying up really late is sort of silly because all it means is that I have to get up that much later -- and usually what I end up doing late at night is watch movies and veg out. Not very constructive. I'm going to have to fix that. Very irresponsible use of time on my part and I don't like it.

This week at work I have to get a ton of stuff done before I leave for San Diego. I finally get to go to the San Diego Comic Con International. Something I've wanted to got to for years. I'm pretty excited because it's my first trip there, first trip to California, and I have a lunch planned with Marv Wolfman -- one of my favorite writers of comics. He's written some classic stories and created a number of very cool and very popular characters (some of which you can see on the new Teen Titans cartoon starting soon). I sent him a bunch of product from the line I used to work on and he really enjoyed it. It was fun to be able to do that.

So, Greg and I have been trading spots in each other's blogs (even though his is really just a Website that he updates and not a blog proper) and I'm glad that I can do something to validate his existence since his wife apparently isn't doing it for him. She won't even buy him ice cream or laugh at his posts. I really get a kick out of some of the stuff he writes, and if you're not checking in on his site, you should. It's very entertaining and I'm always impressed by Greg's ability to talk about normal things in a very funny way.

I can just imagine that if Greg read that to Deb --and I'm sure he will -- that she'd probably start crying and call him all sorts of nasty names. (She's all pregnant and emotional right now. You know how they get.*)

What I don't get is why he likes the stuff I write here. I look at this blog as a great way to keep all my friends and family informed as to what I'm up to day-to-day. I don't give much thought to how or what I write, so I ask you, is it entertaining? And if so, why?

I'll understand if the only reason you have is that it's about me. I mean, hell, I'm pretty cool, so I can understand that I could be that entertaining.

Okay, leaving now. I'm trying to adjust my sleep schedule to near-normal. Wish me luck.

* I say these things with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Deb's a great woman and she and Greg are a lot of fun. Stop crying now. I'm not a sexist bastard who thinks all pregnant women are hormonal wrecks. Although my mom and sisters all swear that when you have a baby that some of your brain goes with it. Really, they said that.

Friday, July 11, 2003

I walked in this morning and had a response to my question about spelling and the way the brain works. Scott's my good friend that now lives and goes to school in beautiful downtown Green Bay. Here's what he wrote:

Jon -
How ya doin'? Upon my morning ritual of checking the e-mail, news sites, and your and Seth's Blogs, I found a topic that I can answer quickly and accurately! WOO HOO! My linguistics research tells me that the language portion of the human brain is... wait for iiiiiit... all over. That is to say that the language centers of the brain CAN be located just about anywhere, but usually are not. They are usually located in the left hemisphere due to normal hemispheric lateralization along with other abstract thinking ability. People that lose this area of the brain later in life will usually suffer some form of language deficiency. People that lose it early or never had access to it almost always undergo a sort of shuffle with regard to brain capacity so that other areas of the brain take up the slack. The brain is very powerful and not very well understood, so we don't know yet how or why this happens so readily, but there are some AMAZING brain stories. I recently read a study on a guy on the east coast who complained of chronic headaches after a head injury. His doctor found out that he was producing too much fluid, filling the skull, and putting too much pressure on his NONEXISTENT BRAIN! This guy had (has, he's still alive) no more than a golf ball's worth of brain matter and functions at near normal capacities. The epithet "empty-headed" suddenly becomes a much more pointed barb!
Anyway - the experience you describe (which I think we had a conversation about years ago) is a fairly common occurrence for people who use a variety of unconscious spelling strategies. Long story/explanation, but it implies that you are generally a superior speller. It is also seen as a common symptom in early Alzheimer's patients. (I am not making this up.) But they usually forget the word entirely for a time. I can't remember the name of the experience right now but I'll look up the exact terminology for you...

Peace/Love - Spread 'em around

Cool, eh?

Okay, Greg made me laugh.


Greg's a funny guy. He should be famous like Dave Barry...unless that second post was real and not a dream like I think it was. If it wasn't a dream, then he should probably be the main character in a reality t.v. show. Or in jail.

And Greg, I think it's possible for Deb to be a fan of "The Little House on the Prarie," but still want to be heavily drugged while the doctors cut her open and remove the spawn of your loins.

I mean that "spawn of you loins" thing in the nicest possible way.

Oh, hey! I forgot to mention that I received the statuette for the Origins award. It's quite spiffy and is sitting on the bookshelf next to my desk at work.

I was a slacker this week and didn't make it to the gym on Wednesday. I hope to go Friday evening.

Here's something else; I was talking to Kelly (our newest designer) and we were discussing the phenomenon of when you look at a word that normally makes perfect sense to you, but right at that moment looks wrong, doesn't make sense, just simply can't be correct. I've found it usually happens only after I've been writing for a long time. She said that had just happened to her the night before as she was working on some new rules. The said "put" really looked wrong. I've had the same thing with words as simple as "the".

This whole thing got me to thinking; what if, when your brain is so involved in making things up that it gets too mired in the abstract portion of your brain, so that when you look at letters on a page (or screen) they don't make sense because your brain isn't working like that at the moment. You're working on the level of fantasy and you can't switch to the more concrete launguage section of your brain easily, so the words you write look wrong.

Does anyone know if the language portion of your brain is in the right (creative) or left (logical) portion of the brain? I'm assuming it's in the logical portion, but I don't know for certain.

That's all for now. Must sleep.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I've been having a heck of a time getting in touch with the guy who bought my car last month. He was to have paid me by the first of this month and now it's late on the ninth. I've called a number of times in the last week and a half and finally got through to him tonight. I now have more information about how to contact him and we're going to settle up on Monday. I even offered to drop the price significantly since he's reportedly had some problems with the car. I don't disbelieve him, but it would have been nice if he contacted me.

If he doesn't get me the money or contact me on Monday, I'm going to report the car stolen. I hate to do it, but I can't risk having the car out there while I still have the deed. Very bad.

I didn't go to the gym tonight, instead I stayed to get some work done. I have lots to do before I leave for a good three weeks of travel.

I need to get more sleep, I'll tell you that. I think I'm going to go do that now.

Hey everybody!

Go make your own shoes!

Everybody's doing it!

I went to see Charlie's Angels Sunday night and here's my review: Painfully stupid, but very entertaining. If you can't handle the first five minutes, leave. The filmmakers (and I use the term loosely) do a very good job of letting you know what you're in store for right off the bat.

I went for a three-mile walk around Green Lake on Monday night. Walking is a lot different than using a treadmill. You may not think so, but you use different muscles and get a much better workout walking normally. I know, because my legs are sore after an hour of walking outside, whereas they're never sore after do my normal cardio stuff at the gym. Don't believe me? Try it and see!

Oh, I ran into two people I know as I was finishing up my walk. It was Meredith (whom I helped move a couple of weekends ago) and Jo (who was helping with the move, too). They were playing a game of ultimate frisbee, but it wasn't going well for them.

Last week, this week and next week will be filled with lots of extra work as I try to wrap up a number of things before leaving for some conventions and vacation. We're also in the midst of some big deadlines, so I'll be at work more than usual until next week. I'm excited about the trips I have coming up, though. I've never been to San Diego and after GenCon it'll be good to get home again and see my friends and family.

More later.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Just a quick update before I run off to see a late movie and go grocery shopping.

The weekend went pretty much how I said it would in my last post. The birthday party on Saturday was fun. It was nice to see all those people again and even meet some new ones. Too much good food, but it's a holiday weekend, so I have to forgive that. In the evening I went over to some other friends -- actually friends of a friend, but we all get along well. It was odd because I was there with a bunch of people who have been friends for a long time, but it was very comfortable. We ended up just chatting and watching some cheezy movies.

Sunday I went to the gym and came into work to play game with people in my department. I was late in arriving, so they'd already started one game, so I worked on some things for my Mutants & Masterminds game. Then I joined them in a game of Formula De. That was a lot of fun and I even ended up winning. (It's a racing game. Very good.)

After that wrapped up I ran my D&D game. It was hilarious! They're very disorganized, but it's very, very funny to run things for them.

Now I think I'm going to go see that movie with those angels that work for a guy named Charles.

Friday, July 04, 2003

This is just a quick update before I leave laboring under the false assumption that I'll be going to bed shortly. Instead, I'm sure I'll find something that will keep me up for the next hour or so. Luckily and happily the only place I have to be tomorrow by 11:00 is a friend's to play some games for most of the afternoon, then to the gym, then to another friend's to watch the fireworks over the park in Bellevue. I could have gone into Seattle to see the fireworks there, but I'm sure I don't want to deal with the traffic. At all.

Last year for the 4th of July I was in Columbus, Ohio at the Origins gaming convention. I just thought of that.

Most of this week has been pretty low key. I've been working on my new line and it's slow going, but I'm getting the hang of it. I just wish I could do it faster. I'm going to be travelling a lot in the next month or so and I really need to be ahead of the game on everything by the middle of this month.

I'm changing around my routine at the gym because I'm gaining a lot of weight (definitely muscle...all my clothes still fit just fine) and my goal is to lose weight. I've gained about 20 pounds from my lightest weight. That, I don't like. So, it's more cardio for me! Wheee!

Saturday I have a birthday party for my friend Will's fiancee. That should be a good mix of people. I also have the option of meeting Heather from work for a night on the town. I'm interested, but I'll have to see how the party is going.

Sunday I'm mostly free, but in the evening I have to run my D&D game. That's going well, but a bit slowly. I think this week we'll make some progress.

Other than those things, I'll be going to the gym and seeing what my new work out does for me.

Seth, Rob, Jenn, Kim and her new hubby John are all getting together up at Seth's parent's cabin this weekend. I really wish I could join them. That would be a lot of fun. I wish I could fly back for it.

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Here's the packaging art for the "choco-burgers" that I picked up the other day. I think it's pretty funny.

Also, here's a link to a story about the awards my company won last week. (This is mostly for my mom, whom I know won't see this anywhere else.)

That's all for now.