Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I Can't Breathe

Tuesday night I took a break from work in order to have some fun with friends. We had dinner, played some City of Heroes, and then went to see Kung Fu Hustle. I know it's not a movie for everyone, but I don't want to know the people who wouldn't want to see it. And I really don't want to know the people who wouldn't enjoy it.

It was totally over-the-top martial arts action in the same vein as Steven Chow's (the writer/director/star) last movie, Shaolin Soccer. The story was pretty basic, but easily undstandable to Western audiences (as opposed to many Chinese films which can be a bit alien in some ways), and a heck of a lot of fun. The action was good and often hilarious due to Chow's sense of timing, comedy, and juxtapositioning. It's surprising to me how Chow manages to balance all of the different styles, plots, characters, and motivations, while still moving the story along quite briskly and managing to entertain with a good mix of drama, comedy, action, and love stories.

The title of this particular post comes from one scene that had my boss gasping for air because he was laughing so hard. I actually can't describe to you how hard he was laughing. It was like sitting next to a little kid having an uncontrollable laughing fit. (It was the knife-throwing scene that set him off.) We all had a great time.

I'm just over 200 pages into my editing, so I have about another 150 to go. This weekend will be full of editing for me. I'd like to have everything edited by next weekend so I can work on some of the math invovled in the document over the course of the following week. Wish me luck on that.

I came up with an idea for a novel -- or rather, I should say, I came up with some interesting characters for a novel, but I'm having a hard time developing a satisfactory plot for them. I mention it only because I fall asleep every night trying to think up ideas for the plot. Which is exactly what I'm going to do again tonight... probably very soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I Don't Feel Like It

In the last 45 minutes I became really, really tired, so I don't really feel like writing about my weekend in full. Instead I'll give the highlights and maybe come back later to flesh things out a bit.

Friday: Worked on wrapping up my deadline, nearly succeeded. Went to see Katie and Beth (and Bing) and got really drunk. Much drunker than I'd planned. It all turned out okay.

Saturday: It took forever to get downtown because people don't know how to drive across a bridge. Bought comics, bought the Star Wars DVD collection (finally back in stock at Best Buy). Edited. Laundry. Dinner with Jen and Hays at a sushi place near their house. More editing.

Sunday: Up early-ish for dim sum with Kian, Ariel, Jen, Hays, and Joseph at Maple Court (I think). Very good Chinese place. I'll go back soon. More editing. More laundry. Went to work to play City of Heroes and work on some actual work.

Now I'm home and ready to read or watch a movie for a while.

No big revelations this weekend, just all the normal stuff, and I'm tired, so I didn't have the energy to pretty it up for you. Sorry. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Keeping Up With the Gamers

In case you happen to be wealthy and a huge fan of Settlers of Catan... I present 3D Settlers!

Get your orders in now!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fair and Square

I finished another tournament on my poker game and came in 1st out of 1500 and some players -- without cheating or saving at critical points so I could jump back. That was pretty cool. The imaginary me playing the game invested $10,000 and won $5,000,000.

Now if only that were real. Heck, I'd buy you all dinner or something.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bits & Pieces

I managed to get a full fifty pages edited this weekend. That's definitely good progress. A few more nights like that and I'll be done before I know it.

I received a contact notice from (who knew it actually worked?!) from one of my best friends from high school and her sister. She doesn't have email (can you imagine?), so she was contacting me from her sister's place. I'll be writing her a letter soon.

Thinking about her makes me laugh. I doubt any of my friends from the last fifteen years have ever heard me mention her. We just sort of lost track of each other after high school when I went off to college and she trained to become a dental hygienist. It'll be good to correspond with her again.

Monday is Dad's birthday, so happy birthday to him!

Friday night I played poker and managed to win $21.50. It was like I couldn't lose. There were a few hands I folded after I saw my first two cards that I would have won with full houses or trips. Kinda weird.

On the weightloss front, I'm down the ten of the fifteen pounds I put on over the past month or two. I've been very good on my diet and I plan to continue it. I'd really like to get past this plateau.

I met my Friday deadline and I'm very happy with the results. I think I mentioned this in one of my last posts, but it bears repeating. I'm very happy with this game.

Satruday I spent two-and-a-half hours at the tire store (about twice as long as it should have taken) and had to replace all four of my tires, which ran about $400. Ugh. But now I have spiffy new tires that I won't have to think about for a while.

I finished A Hunger Like Fire and have finally started reading A Storm of Swords. Hopefully I'll finish it just in time to pick up the last book in the series, but I'm sure I'm just being optimistic that it'll be out this year. I'll enjoy it regardless.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

So... What Have You Been Up To?

I haven't been doing a whole lot except working, so I have little new to report. See, I have this big deadline Friday for the new game and I've been trying to wrap everything up and turned in to editing. I turned some of it over late tonight, but I have more to work on tomorrow with some of the other designers. Actually, I'm pretty happy with how this game has turned out. I hope it does well, because I think it's one of the better games we've made. I guess we'll find out in August.

Cathy left for South Africa today. Shane will be at loose ends a lot over the next three weeks, so I'll probably see him a bit more during that time.

My editing project is going well, but I will have to spend most of the weekend working on it if I plan to get it done on time. And I do.

I didn't get to run D&D on Tuesday and I didn't go to the game tonight, both in favor of working on things at work. Next week should be back to normal. I hope.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

24 Hours Ago

Twenty-four hours ago for me I was trying to remove the hubcap from the flat tire on my car. I'd just finished having a great dinner and an even better time with my friends for Cathy's Unbirthday party at the B&O and while driving home it felt like I hit something in the road, but no big deal, right? A couple of blocks later I hear a rumbilng coming from the front tire and simultaneously I think, "I have a flat tire."

I pulled over and sure enough; flat, flat, flat. Sorry, only one flat tire, but it was really flat. No biggie, I pull out the spare and all the fixin's, but I couldn't get the hubcap off -- sure, you can't do it when you want to, but the damn things will fly right off your car when you're not looking. So, what the hey, I pay AAA for something, so I called them and they sent someone about an hour later. I read A Hunger Like Fire while I waited. (Oh, yeah, I finished the first book of The Deed of Paksenarrion last week.) Five minutes after the guy arrived he finally managed to get the hubcap off and three minutes later the tire was changed and off I went. Hooray.

I mentioned it was Cathy's Unbirthday party and I should explain. She leaves for her home in South Africa on Thursday, so she'll be gone for her actual birthday, so we had her party Monday night instead. She's really looking forward to the trip, but not the 29 hours of transit (10 to London, a 9-hour layover, and 10 hours to South Africa). I think I'd go nuts.

I picked up some tea called Rooibos (also from South Africa) and a cool tea strainer so I could make the tea. Wow, is it good stuff. I think I'm addicted.

Time to edit.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Geeks Gone Wild

The standout event this weekend was Saturday night. I won't recap the rest of the weekend except to say I did all the normal things and did some editing.

Anyway, I had been invited to the house some friends from work were housesitting. It's the house of their good friends. Both of whom were involved in the founding of Wizards of the Coast. They have money. They're geeks. So, I went to their house to join my friends and about a dozen other people to get a tour of the place and spend the evening hanging out.

I drove out of Bellevue about 30 miles to a subdivision so full of money that you can't see any of the houses when you're driving down the streets because they're so far back from it. I drove up to the gate, buzzed the house so my friends could let me in. The automated gate opened and I drove down a half-mile long driveway to the house.

The house itself didn't appear all that unreasonable. It's a nice, big mansiony house, but not totally ridiculous. I mean, it was only 11,000 square feet, right? So, I walked in and the first thing I see is two more double doors (closed) with movie posters on either side of the doors and running down the hallways. All of them Star Wars posters. All of them originals.

The right-hand wing, called the Y-Wing, is where the couple lives. It contains the kitchen, wine cellar, dining room, cabana with shower and changing room for the hot tub and pool. It also contains their two-floor library, which alone apparently cost $500,000. It contains their collections of comics, roleplaying games, and fantasy novels. I just wish I had that much shelf space -- and the spiral staircase.

The other wing, you guessed it, the X-Wing, contains their gaming room (all set up for their Tuesday night D&D game), their arcade (which contains a pool table and one of every Star Wars video and pinpall game ever made, plus a couple others just for fun along with a free soda machine and some full-size statues of Star Wars characters), and last, but not least, their Star Wars museum. We didn't get to go in the museum, but it's packed with everything Star Wars that you can imagine. Everything. It looked quite nice, actually.

One of the things that really impressed me was how organized everything was. The books were arranged by author, the roleplaying stuff was arranged by game and world, the comics were all alphabetized and by number in labeled drawers. The various figure displays were all clean and put together. The movie vault was organized quite neatly. And apparantly they do all the assembly and organizing themselves, which is pretty cool.

The movie vault reminds me of the big doors when you first walk in. Well, you open those up and step into a home theatre designed by the same fella who designed the Star Wars sets, complete with Han Solo in carbonite (actually a secret door leading to the movie vault), sliding doors just like in the movies, three rows of stadium-seating leather chairs, and a huge-screen t.v. that you can watch movies (THX sound, of course) or play X-Box on. And you can do all of this while statues of C-3PO and Boba Fett watch over you. It's pretty impressive.

The house also contains a not-quite complete recording studio, two offices (one of which is only used to display all of their Simpson's playsets and Star Wars Legos), and a couple other rooms that are a bit more mundane than what I mentioned above.

Okay, so now the geeky part. Just kidding, that was the geeky part. Now I know what happens when geeks aren't limited by money.

The group of us had a good time snacking on food everyone brought, playing pool and arcade games, watching Star Wars: Clone Wars in the theatre, and playing poker until midnight. It was a good time.

I'd write more, but I really have to go to bed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Not Overworked

Somehow I'm not feeling overworked. I have a ton of things going on at work, any one of which could prove to be quite stressful, plus I have an editing project (my largest so far) that I've been working on in the evening, and yet, I feel fine. Not rushed, not stressed, just busy. I don't know what's up.

I am feeling a bit undersocialized, but that's mostly the whole lack of a girlfriend thing that weighs on me now and again. Maybe I'll get to the point in that cycle in which I'm actually bummed about it, but right now it's just the way things are.

I'm happy with the progress I've made on the editing project. Typically I get only ten or so pages edited in the evening after leaving work late, having dinner, and running whatever errand needs doing, but tonight I managed to get a good 20+ pages done. That's a good thing.

The Battlestar Galactica meme has continued to make it's way around the office. Matt just called after watching the miniseries tonight and he said it was probably the best thing he's seen in years. Like I said, pretty impressive stuff. Now if only I could get my hands on season one...

Tuesday's D&D game was called on account of a Mariners game (I didn't go, one of the other players did), so nothing new to report there. Oh, but I do want to chat with Glenn (please contact me, I don't have your contact info) about banging out some ideas for the game. I'd use Seth or Jason as sounding boards, but they both play in the game.

Nothing else interesting is coming to mind right now, so I think I'll sign off.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Holy Carp!

Holy carp #1: The Pope died the other day. That's sad. I don't agree with many of the things that come out of the Pope, but he definitely thought he was doing good work and I'm sure he was a good guy. Have a safe trip.

Holy carp #2: I went to see Sin City (the movie) on Friday -- I even skipped out of work early with a couple of co-workers -- and it was amazingly true to the original comics. I've never seen a more faithful adaptation; which is both good and bad. The visuals were stunning and the direction was very good, but some of the actors seemed to have decided that since they were acting in a comic-book movie that they could deliver lines as if they were cheezy lines that came from a comic book. In addition, because the movie was so true to the originals, well, let's just say that some of the original material wasn't the finest fiction ever put to paper. The Sin City books are good, but the best thing about them is the art, while the quality of the stories vary significantly. So, weak original stories, weak adaptations. That said, they did an amazing job and it was fun to see such a true adaptation.

I won't comment on the characterizations or men, women, power, heroes, and villains in the Sin City universe, they are what they are, black and white characters in a very gray world.

Holy carp #3: I saw the Battlestar Galactica miniseries today. I'd never seen the miniseries for a number of reasons, the big two being 1) I don't get that channel, and 2) the name of the series has too much nostalgia associated with it for me. There's no way I could think of the show without being sent back in time to when I wasn't quite ten years old. And, I guess I should throw in a third reason, so 3) I can't imagine that they'd be able to remake the show in such a way that it would be fresh and new and cool.

Boy, was I wrong.

The miniseries was, quite simply, amazing. Interesting, intelligent, inventive, exciting, new, and different. They took what was old and made it new again. They reinvisioned the universe while still acknowledging the old series in ways that were very cool. Now, if I could just get copies of the first season -- which apparently just had its season finale...

Now that the "holy carp" postings are out of the way... this weekend ended up being quite busy. Friday night after the movie, I played poker. Saturday I went to a birthday party for a co-worker, did very little editing, then went out for drinks late in the evening with the same birthday party crowd. Sunday Shana showed up early to spend the day at my place doing laundry. When she arrived I went to work to watch the aforementioned Battlestar Galactica series, finish cleaning up my desk (hooray), and play some City of Heroes. Then I went home, had dinner, and tried to edit, but Shana had the television on, so I didn't have very good luck with that.

Now I'm going to read more of The Deed of Paksenarrion (which I'm enjoying quite a lot, thanyouverymuch, Glenn) and go to bed.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Wedding Bells

So, that's it.

I'm getting married.

I just got off the phone with my ex-girlfriend and we got to talking about how well we got along and how we liked each other and all that other mushy stuff and we decided it was silly to be apart since we enjoyed each other's company so much -- and I said, "Well, would you marry me?" and without missing a beat she said, "Yes, I would." And we were off, talking about how we could do it, where, when, who'd be involved, where we'd live, all that stuff.

The thing is, it felt so natural. So right. You know?

It's nice.

So, she'll move in with me next Friday, April 8th, which I'm sure all of you are well aware is a full week after today, April 1st. And yes, I have to do this every year apparently. Sorry.