So, it's official. I gave notice at frog, and I'll be starting at Enspire Learning come June first. I just went through a whirlwind week or so of interviews and emails to get that set up, so now I just need to hang on and finish up my current cellphone project here (which is why I'm staying a whole month - there's not really anyone else here that's available that has my skillset on the project) and then it's back to all Flash, all the time. Less demos and crazy-ass C++ stuff, and more training software and simulation games, which is good. A whole lot less money, but I think it'll be worth it.
So, that's one of three big things. Two more coming soon.
In other news, Google Sketchup is awesome. That is all.
Last night, Karaoke Apocalypse. Kareem and Valerie from P-Graph showed early, and Eric from The Leading Brands came just before Jason showed up from taking first place in the Air Guitar Championships at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sweet! The Dead Motley Sex Maidens' lead guitarist was out, and Mel wasn't hosting, on account of she's got a bunch of thousands of words to finish up for her book (cvoid-clone Everett filled in for he), but fun was still had by all. I got up and did three songs (Holiday in the Sun, California Uber Alles, and Enter Sandman), and got home a bit late, deaf and hoarse.
Speaking of, I'm pretty sure that a horse kicked me in the back at some point in the last couple of days, because my back is all seized up and making with the hurty. I finally broke down tonight and dug into our emergency stash of vicodin, but it's not doing much good. So, lots of laying still and playing with my new Brain Age game. Bernie is also really tired and loagy lately, too, on account of a sudden and directed expenditure of energy, so there's a whole lot of not moving too fast going on around here. And still, got work to finish up before bedtime. I sure picked the wrong year to give up smoking crack.
Whew. I'm sore everywhere today. The muscles in my hands are sore, even, and I didn't really touch a computer at all this weekend. We finished off our clowing class yesterday afternoon - we started off with the same warmup as the day before, which left most of us gasping and sweating. Slacker improvisors. We covered a lot of good character-building stuff - which worked pretty much the exact opposite from the way we usually do stuff, so that was a great exercise - and then went on to some slapstick and short scene ("gag") formats, and incorporated the characters that we'd built up into those scenes, using the hits and trips and takes and reactions and everything to put together a bunch of two-person thingers at the end. Lots of fun, and pretty useful, I thought.
Almost immediately after the class, the IFE segment of the class stuck around to warm up and do a quick run-through of the stuff for our 7pm graduation show. Nadine was sick with the same sore throat and junk that everyone's been getting, but after maybe fifteen minutes of running through the games and scenes, everyone's energy was back up again, and we went out and put on a great show - half games, half scenes. A lot of other improvisors came out to support us in the audience (woo, Parallelogramophonograph, represent!), and the show went extremely well, all around - everyone was totally on, our edits and support were pretty good, and although we maybe let some details slide here and there, everyone on stage was connecting, and we had a lot of fun with it all. Dave Buckman totally whooped our asses into shape over the previous six weeks, and I'm looking forward to more of the same in our upcoming classes.
We were thinking of heading out to grab some pasta for a celebratory dinner afterwards, but I think we were all pretty spent from the full weekend of running around crazy like, so the going home and the resting. And now, back to work. Fun joy fun.
Whew. Busy day yesterday, mostly with the improv and stuff. Started off with three hours of rehearsal with the IFE kids, plus Bob from our level 4 class with Dave Buckman, because we're ramping up for our (FREE!) graduation show at the Hideout tonight. Took an hour or two for lunch, and then most of us headed to the first of two clowning classes with Schave and Reilley, which was great, and probably more exercise than a lot of us have had in a while. I swear, even just the warmup was a pretty good ass-kicking, and the physicality and character work that we learned will serve us very well in our upcoming performances. I think it's really fun that a bunch of us are taking (and some teaching) classes in a bunch of different theater styles - it should really help differentiate IFE from the usual "guys standing up on a stage in jeans and tshirts trying to be clever" thing. It also helps that there's a pretty sizeable improv community here in Austin, with a shitload of super talented and supportive people to learn from.
After the clowning, Jason and I hopped in his brand new car, and he gave me a ride over to Huff's house for a baby shower/BBQ for our friend Emily, where it was discovered that yes, a shot of whiskey does make one of those Starbuck's frappumochawhatever thingers into a tastey candy coffee treat. Then another break to freshen up and get ready for Maestro, which was one of the best shows we've done in while, and the Maestros that I've seen/been in lately have been pretty darn good. There was talk of trying to do the show for a while with as much of the same cast as possible for the next few weeks, instead of the usual random collection of imps, and just polish the hell out of our games and see how much ass we can kick. Which would be a lot, I'm guessing. (Also, I think my buddy Jerm is going to come play with us next week, which should be a hoot.) After the show, everyone headed over to Roy's house for his birthday party, which was still humming along when I left around 3am. Rotten kids with their not being old, and the staying up late after doing shit all day.
Today, back to the Hideout for the second clown class, our 7pm show, and probably some frivolity afterwards. I've also got some work to do sometime befor monday, but now, I think a nap is in order. And food. Food nap.
Okay, okay, my sysadmin-fu is weak. Good thing I don't do that for money any more. After way too much effort, and several rounds of, "aha! that's what was wrong! okay, it works now... CRAP!", I have given up on trying to get ImageMagick installed on the new majcher.com. (For the record, it's Fedora Core 4, and the latest WTF breakpoint was "Exception 420: no decode delegate for this image format" - for the life of me, I cannot get the ImageMagic build to locate or recognize the libjpeg libraries. If any googlenauts have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.) So, I've moved all of my photos over to my Dreamhost account, and have all the old stuff redirecting to http://xhibition.majcher.com/. It should be pretty transparent to everyone - if y'all are looking for stuff, and it's broken, let me know. I still have holes from the Big Crash that I need to restore from a deeper backup, but for now, it'll do.
Bernie was attending/assisting a birth for a friend of ours yesterday, so I rode my bike to work. Man, I'm old and slow. Also, my back totally spasmed up without provocation at work - that, or some bastard ninja snuck up behind me and whomped me in the lumbar with a tire iron. Yesterday was also the first day in quite some time that I didn't have any specific obligations scheduled, but I had a little work to so - instead, I sat very still and watched the two Netflix movies I've had sitting around for a couple months. Yay, Pistol Opera! Bernie got home around four in the morning, but I don't remember that.
Okay, back to work - BREW/ARM, boo - and then, tonight, my penultimate Intro To Game Programming class! As I've mentioned before, I won't be teaching it this summer, to free up some of my time for traveling and other projects. On Tuesday, I met up with Mark Kreitler, an engine programmer from Edge of Reality, yet another fine, fine game company in town here. He seems pretty excited to be taking over the class from me, and I think he's going to do a great job - he comes off as intelligent, knowledgeable, and well-spoken, and I'm sure that he has quite a bit more experience in the industry than I do. There was talk of switching to using j2me instead of pygame as a learning platform, which should be fine - I'm not particularly attached to python, and they both have different strengths and weaknesses for beginning programmers, so, fun. I look forward to seeing how that goes. Okay, I was supposed to be getting back to work almost a paragraph ago. Lazy!
Also, this is fun. Mmmm, moraley.
Whew. Back from the dot dot dot vacation. The wedding was brief, but sweet, and there was a lot of hanging out with the folks in the beach house. (I lied before about fixing fucking ImageMagick, so bear with the pictures being uploaded but not visible yet.) It was good to see everyone, and sit and gab, but I could have really done without the rest of the whole Port Aransas thing. They give you special tar wipes to wipe off the tar you get all over you when you come back from the beach - this seems like a clear indication to me that you shouldn't go out in the tar-muck. But maybe that's me. The boys seemed to like it just fine, and they were perfectly happy splashing around in the nasty-ass gulf water and digging holes in the sand. Right near where my sister found a huge syringe washed up on the beach. Driving back through south Texas, we were very glad to be back in civilization; a little whoop was let out when we hit Austin city limits. I think I made myself a little sick on road food, too. I need to do some work today, but I think that a nap is immanent...
Last night, I captured a wasp in the house. We generally have a catch-and release program for critters, but this one was very angry, and would most likely come back with some friends to exact his stingy revenge. So, the insurgent had to be executed. One minute in the microwave, no parole.
Taught my third-to-last game programming class at ACC last night. I'm not going to be teaching the class this summer, due to travel and other random responsibilities. It's been a good experience so far, but I feel like we're kind of in coasting mode right now - we went pretty quick this time, as the students were a little more experienced in the ways of programmy this time around, so I blew through my material a bit faster than I'd planned to, and I'm back to the old bad way of asking what they'd like to see, and then sitting in the middle and coding live on the projector while narrating and illustrating as I go. Not the absolute worst way to do things, but it sure is less engaging than I'd like. It also sounds like there's not a lot of motorvation on the class projects, either, but we'll see what they've got for me in the next few weeks...
It's some pagan holiday today, so I've got work off. So, we're driving down to Port Aransas to observe the wedding of my cousin Alex to his lady friend Tiffany. Drive drive drive, wed, party, rest, drive drive drive. Should be fun.
There are other surprises in various stages in the pipe, but they're surprises. Ha!
Also, I'd just like to mention that I have a huge Internet crush on Google Calendar. It's so dreamy.
Hey, I tracked down the magic linux incantation to make ImageMagick work on Fedora Core 4! Now I can finally spend too much time getting all those photos back in order! Uh... yay.
On a more entertaining note, I've just had a couple days of really good improv classes, with a miserable rehearsal sandwiched in between. Well, maybe not totally miserable, but it definitely showed us where our major weaknesses are, and we realize that we've been a little too ambitious with our goals for our first show, so we've decided to scale back a little bit, and focus on some simpler stuff that we know we can really kick ass at. The classes, though - there was Shana's class from Saturday, and our level four with Dave Buckman tonight was awesome - everyone was totally on, and I think a couple of breakthroughs were made, structure-wise and character-wise for a few of us. We were a bit down after our train wreck of a practice show at rehearsal (and our whiter-than-white attempt at freestyle) but we had our re-focusing talk, and I think that IFE is back on track to come out strong next month.
Oh! Right! We're doing an end-of-class show at the Hideout - 4/23, 7pm. That should be plenty of warning for you lazies who haven't made it out yet. It should be extra-entertaining, because most of us will be poppin' fresh out of that two day physical comedy/clown workshop - it ends at 6pm same day, same place. Wakka wakka!
Now I need to take a fistful of analgesics to put down this face-splitter of a headache I've had all night...
Tonight was the second time that I've performed in the Maestro show down at the Hideout - my first time was last weekend. It is a blast. The way the show works is very gamey - players are chosen at random do play improv games or do short scenes, and the audience gives each performance a score, by applause, of one, two, three, four, or five. There are a few rounds where everyone gets to go up and play, people are eliminated, and by the end, there is one winner, the Maestro, who receives the famous framed Canadian five dollar bill. We've had at least one person from IFE in pretty much every show since we got together (last week, Mike won!) so tonight, it was me and Jason. We had an awesome show, and got to do some kickass scene with each other, and with some other great improvisers - there was ten or so people in the show tonight - and almost all of our scenes got fours and fives. Neither of us won - although we were on stage up until the very end - but that doesn't matter, it's just super fun to be up there.
Jason and I also attended Shana's advanced storytelling workshop this afternoon, which rocked. Got to solidify a lot of stuff we already sort of knew, and got to work on a bunch of new stuff, including doing a full-on epic hero's journey type long-ish form with the other folks in the class, who were mostly from The Leading Brands another red-hot up-and-coming troupe. So yeah, good stuff. We've got rehearsal tomorrow afternoon (which is very convenient for me, as there will be a baby shower for a friend happening at our house...), and we're looking forward to being on the regular performance schedule at the Hideout sometime in May or so. We've all been spending an awful lot of time working together, and I think we're going to be doing some pretty badass shows real soon now. Now, if only there was a way to get paid to do this, we'd be all set...
Things I gotta do today, after work:
- Fill out my tax paperwork, prepare for a visit to my evil accountant.
- Figure out what to do with this speeding ticket.
- Get my totally out of control Skywalker hair cut by John Dee.
- Send in my application for clown school. Okay, just a weekend class.
- Hook up my old desktop pc to complete my office re-settlement.
- Burn a couple of Aqua CDs for my fellow imp Nadine, before she kills me for forgetting again.
- I think there was something about programming...? Yeah, a lot of that.
But first, work! Work work work! Heeeya!
/me looks at watch
Man, I'd better get back to playing those video games now, before it's too late.
Just for the record, our office remodel is now done, stuff is moved back in and set up, the bed is back in the bedroom, hundreds of pounds of Ikea furniture has been assembled, a bunch of stuff has been thrown away, and this house is clean. Also, I have been a little busy at work this week, with new project meetings from 10am to 4:30pm pretty much every day. So, all that, plus my usual load of fun with the improv and the teaching and the glavin, equals zero free time. Oh yeah, and I got that strep or whatever that's been going around, so, no energy either.
One of these days, I'll take a nap. Then you'll see!