October 26, 2002 12:36 AM
deep in the heart

Hey, lookit me not writing.

Did I mention that we live in Austin now? It's been a pretty crazy week and some of getting unloaded, unpacked, moved in, settled down, hanging out, and everything. I think things are starting to get almost normal again - tomorrow we'll be setting up the living room, which means couch, television, and playstation. All ready to take a little trip to Vice City next week. Plus, I need to roll out the DDR pad again - there's a lot of good food down here, and I'm eating a lot of it. Plus, DDRMax is out in a few days, too, so there's that.

Not that I've been sitting on my ass or anything - we've been running around like crazy, plus I unloaded all three CityToCity crates by myself. There was literally a ton of books and stuff in one of them. I thought I was pretty good, but I think I did something bad to my elbow, and now it sort of sucks to pick anything heavy up with the right arm. Old and decrepit. Need to start looking around for some Aikido or something around here to ease back into the whole going outside and moving around thing. Dave and Mel - who are our neighbor buddies now - go to this boxing gym, which sounds pretty fun, but it also sounds like work and stuff. We'll see how the motivation works out.

Point being, all our stuff is inside the new apartment, and the bulk of it is unpacked and put in some order. Most of the media is still in boxes, and that's going to be the biggest pain, sorting and stowing all the books, CDs, video tapes, DVDs, and various games. We're only planning on staying here for six months or so before we find a real house to live in down here, so there's a strong inclination to just leave stuff in their boxes for next time. Again, we'll see how the motivation goes.

This morning, we got ready to go out for coffee at Jo's, and I had my boots on for a good couple of minutes before I felt something start to wriggle around in there. I don't think I've ever unlaced and pulled those suckers off so fast in my life. We get these cockroaches here - it was hard to get an exact reading from across the room where I threw it, but the one that crawled out of my boot had to have been at least two or three inches long. And now it's lurking somewhere in the office. Great.

But we've been keeping ourselves pretty busy. Tonight was Mr. Sinus doing Masters of the Universe at the Alamo Drafthouse. Funny stuff - we're going to see the Invasion of the Bee Girls for the halloween show next week, too. Last night was bingo with the El Orbits at the Continental Club. Bernie should have won, but she wasn't loud enough. It was Mel's mom's birthday, too, so more fun. Man, I don't even remember all the stuff we've done in the last week or so, but I'm like tired and stuff.

Plus! Our old colleague from Organic, Kari, called me up this week to fill in for one of the guys (jbelew) who's going to be on paternity leave for a month or so. Mary should be popping any day now, so I've got to get up to speed on this Flash thinger and get some work done over the next six weeks, give or take. Which is really good, because the bank account is dipping pretty low after the move, and buying new stuff for the house/office. New matress and bed frame, new monitor, new desk, new chair, new coffee maker, new toaster, new printer/scanner/copier, plus all the moving and shipping and all that. Majcher needs work badly.

Fortunately, common wisdom has it that "your unemployment dollar goes further in Austin!" Which looks like it will be true soon, as soon as the relocation reverb dies down. So, no worries.

Okay, off to read my new game AI book, then sleep, then work and stuff.

Oh, right, one more thing. I made a deal with myself that, after Vice City, I'm not allowed to buy any new games until I make a new game. Flash, Java, Director, Perl, whatever. I drive a pretty hard bargain, but I think I was pretty fair with myself. Got to do something.

October 17, 2002 11:33 PM
fried pie

Hey, we're in Austin, Texas. We live here now.

After a long drive across the wide spaces of West Texas, we stayed in Junction last night, at a nasty little Days Inn with bugs in the beds and grasshoppers in the cement pond. This afternoon was a leisurely stroll through the hill country west of Austin, culminating with lunch at the Salt Lick before getting into town proper. We showed up at the apartment that I scored on my trip down here and... Bernie totally hated it. Like, in tears with disappointment hated it. After a little time to recompose and regroup and renegotiate, we finally sat down and signed a six month lease (instead of the year we had planned on), with the intention to look around and get something more suitable in the coming months. It's still livable, and the location is pretty darn sweet, but it looks like it's just a temporary landing pad.

So, after getting the few things we brought in the car unpacked and getting settled a little bit, we drove around the city, and I showed Bernie what I knew of it. After a few hours of taking in the sights, and stopping at Amy's for some ice cream, we headed back to catch Dave and Mel at Magnolia's next door for some dinner. Now I'm all full and caught up and dog tired.

Tonight, we sleep on the floor - tomorrow, we buy a bed.

October 15, 2002 11:08 PM
it's not easy, being a cop

Tonight, we're in El Paso. Last night was Tucson, night before that was just outside of Los Angeles. The trip is going well, and going a lot faster than we thought it would. Tomorrow we start making our way across the vast wasteland that is East Texas, and the day after that, we hit our new home in Austin. We're both giddy with anticipation.

This afternoon, on the way out of Tucson, we took a little detour down to Tombstone to visit the site of the OK Corral shootout and all that. Pretty entertaining, and a nice break from the highway. Bernie didn't know a lot about the history of the Old West, so she had a great time at all the historical exhibits and such. We chatted for a little while with the guy at the gun store there - he somehow made his way down there from Ohio, and how he lives there with his wife, who is a Tombstone native. Crazy.

We've been listening to the BBC Radio production of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, which Bernie has also never heard. We just watched the television version recently, and I think she's starting to get the hang of it. She's got a lot of catching up to do.

Okay, bed, then the long haul across the big state.

October 13, 2002 07:54 AM
outta here

Okay, all done packing. Got all our stuff in three CityToCity crates, and we're ready to get the hell out of here.

In an hour or so, we start the drive to Austin, Texas. See y'all on the road.

October 06, 2002 12:05 AM
blue collar man

Well, the last few days have been a bit more eventful than the recent streak of slackitude. My last paycheck from my current contract just showed up yesterday, so I deposited that, and rode down to our old housemates' cycle shop, Subterranean Cycles and dropped off the title for the old Yamaha I've been tooling around on for the last three or four years. It's had various problems, the usual, electrical and stuff, and the alternator stators finally gave out a few months ago. It's still rideable, but every time I take it out, I've got to remove the battery and bring it upstairs for a recharge. She's in the capable hands of Pat now, though, and it sounds like he's got some interesting plans for it - some sort of wacky customization or other. I reckon they've done me enough favors in the past, so I just gave it to 'em - which is also sort of a favor to me, since I would have had nothing to do with it when we leave next week.

Speaking of which, we also had a little going-away party at the Drift yesterday, which was pretty fun. Saw a good chunk of the gang together in one place, some people from Organic that I haven't seen in a while, and all that. Our favorite bartender wasn't there, though - she's doing a little bit of time for rolling up and capping her abusive boyfriend in the head. He lived, but I'm pretty sure they're not seeing each other any more. Anyway, our other favorite bartender was there, and everyone had a good time. I'm still sort of recovering from the whiskey, and maybe from the Lucky Penny afterwards.

We finally got home around 1AM, and three of San Francisco's Finest showed up at our door about 30 seconds after we took our coats off. They said that they received a complaint that there was a "loud party" going on in our apartment, but it was pretty obvious that there wasn't anything happening, and they left without incident. I'm pretty sure it was our downstairs neighbor's doing - I had left my mp3 jukebox on shuffle/repeat (at a reasonable volume for any time of day or night) to give the place a little whiff of habitation while we were out. This young lady downstairs is insanely sensitive, and has been a giant pain in our collective asses pretty much since the week we moved in. She's the one who complained constantly because we were sitting too loudly. Really. Anyway, she's one thing that we will definitely not miss about this place - and now that we've only got about a week left here, I don't feel too badly about stepping up the campaign of retributive terror against her. Staying up a little bit later, getting up a little earlier, stepping heavily and lingering on the squeaky spots in the floor, slamming the back door when we throw out the trash, and leaving the music on just a liiiitle bit louder every time... Next week, I think I'm finally going to buy that bag of live crickets from the pet store. And the fun in just beginning!

Anyway, today was fairly low key. Some shopping, some packing, some movie watching, a lot of eating comfort food and resting. Oh, yeah, and Bernie finally launched the website that she's been working on for the last while or so. It might look simple, but it's totally badass on the production side. She's quite the Perl diva these days. I also think I figured out how something I'm working on ends, but we'll see about that later. Now, a little bit more Mister Mosquito, and then bed. There's going to be a lot of packing going on tomorrow.

October 02, 2002 11:22 PM
is "queeg" a word? no?

The gaming gods, though fickle, have chosen this day to smile upon me. I bought some new games at that EBX store I was talking about yesterday. They totally washed away the stink that Stuntman left on me. The games are:

* Frequency, which has been recommended to me many times, and it turns out, is super fun, if you like that whole rythm game thing. Which I do. The music is good, if you're into the electronic music - and it's tolerable if you're not - plus, there's a brand new track from Curve on it! Woot! I don't know how I managed to wait this long to pick this up, but I did. And now I'm happy.

* Smuggler's Run, which was an early PS2 title from the same guys who later brought us Grand Theft Auto 3. GTA3 is probably the best video game I have ever played on any console, and you can see the beginning of that in this game. Great driving engine, simple yet addictive play, totally open to free exploration from the beginning, with both career and single game modes, so you can play it in whichever way strikes you, as motivation and free time allow. Me, I tend to go for the crackhead method, and just play and play until my eyes fall out. Which is why I got to bed at 7:30AM last night/this morning. I see that there are a couple of sequels, too - I reckon I'll pick those up someday when I need a quick fix.

* Stretch Panic - okay, so this game is really weird. You play a little girl with a scarf that's possessed by a demon, so you can grab things with it - like, everything - and stretch them out of shape. The story is that you have to rescue your demon-possessed sisters, but to do this you must first get points by using your scarf to destroy these women whose breasts are each as large as they are. Not making this up. Overall, it's fairly entertaining - the gameplay, again, is pretty original, and it' just the strangest damn thing, ever.

* Mister Mosquito - I already knew this game was good. Played the demo disc, and Phil loves it. It's one of those wacky Japanese games - in it, you play a mosquito (surprise), and you have to fly around and feed off of this family. Again, weird, but fun.

So, all in all, I'm probably looking at around, say, a good solid couple of weeks entertainment from those games, with pretty decent replay value on the whole. How much did they cost? Well, I got them used, so the whole batch ran me about eighty bucks - plus a new memory card - so let's say an even hundred. New video games generally run about fifty bucks - which is almost what I paid for Stuntman, which I hope to never see again.

So, I'm reading Penny Arcade, as I am known to do, and they've got this link to this Fair-Play Campaign thinger. I didn't look too deep into it, but from what I gather, it's a bunch of nerds who are trying to get people to not buy videogames for a week in December, to protest the high prices of games these days. Now, like I said, I'm not up on what all their arguments are, but my initial response tends to be something along these lines: "Shut up, you whiny dorks." First off, you're not convincing anyone to not buy anything with your little website. And even if you did, a week of slightly lower new game sales isn't going to have the slightest little effect on the industry. Not the teeniest tiniest little bit. And you know what else? It costs money to make games! There's whole teams of people that don't go home for months and months - sleeping under their desks, eating crappy snacks for food, and alienating their friends and loved ones - to produce the game that you'll spend a few hours on every now and then. Then it launches at forty or fifty bucks, sits on the shelf for a while, and then, unless it was a great success, ends up in the bargain bin in a year or so. It's a rough industry, and you've got the easy end, pal.

But all hope is not lost. There is a solution to your life-threatening game-buying problems right here: Stop paying fifty bucks for crappy new games all the time. Something cost too much for you? Don't buy it. I mean, sure, I've bought more than my share of ripoff titles; I've got a week's worth of burger lunches sitting on my game shelf in the form of a hastily snatched-up copy of Fantavision that I picked up in my initial PS2 game-buying frenzy. But you don't have to buy every damn thing that comes out the minute it ships to the stores. Being a year behind the industry isn't so bad. Used games, for the most part, are just fine. And hey, they cost about half as much as new games most of the time - sometimes less. And if the game does suck, you've got a year's worth of reviews and anecdotal evidence to give you fair warning.

There are exceptions, of course. If you're into RPGs, you're probably going to be first in line to get the new Final Fantasy when it comes out. I've got my copy of GTA:Vice City pre-ordered, and I'll probably be propped up against the mailbox waiting for it when it shows up. But that's the thing. If they charged $100 for Vice City, I'd pay it without blinking, no question. Because I know that Rockstar makes kickass games, and I know that this game is going to keep me unemployed and awake for a few months, solid. Hell, I should still probably go out and buy a few more copies of Half-Life for all the hours I've put into it. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, if you're still feeling cheap, someone pointed me at a brand new time suck today - and it's free. Don't click there if you have anything else to do today. Seriously.

Okay. Less blabbing, more playing. I've still got packing to do, dammit, and nothing's going to get done until I finish these last two missions...