May 31, 2006 02:31 AM

Bernie and I went in for our genetic counseling today, which basically involved going in to have a chat about our family history and various screening options with a nice doctor lady, followed by a sonogram in a dark room with a really nice tv. They did some measuring of bits and pieces and ran some numbers with all that and some previously taken bloodwork, and compounded with Bernie's age, decided that there was a bit of risk for various things, so we're going in to do an amniocentesis in a few weeks, just to be sure. And by we, I mean that Bernie's going to get stuck with a big-ass needle while I watch the little alien dude on the video screen. Oh yeah, they saw a little thinger on the science machine, so it looks like it's going to be a manchild. I'll get some scans of the scans up before too long.

After a quick break for lunch, I headed over to IFE rehearsal for our show on Thursday with the gang. We ran through some warmups, scenework and support stuff, did some singing and freestyle games, and finished up on a high note with a really good mock show in our brand new format, the Apocalypse. We're actually shooting for actual long form, it looks like, but it went great - the world was destroyed by the Christmas Pox, and we managed everything really well, didn't heighten too fast, developed characters and relationships and story and kept everything straight and blah blah blah and finished up right on time. I think we're ready to release this in front of a live audience tomorrow! (Thursday is tomorrow now!) Unfortunately, Mike isn't going to be able to make it - he's got some kind of janky neurological disorder that's been acting up, and he's in no condition to be moving around and stuff, which is super sucky. It sounds like we're going to be able to get Christina to fill in for him though, which is pretty exciting. It'll all work out.

After rehearsal, Jason and Matt and I went over to Headhunter's for some Karaoke Apocalypse, and hooked up with Eric and Sara (from the Leading Brands) to do some screaming and rocking out. I did the usual round of Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys and Misfits, and Jason and I pretty much hung out and hollered until they threw us out. Dave showed up at the last minute, and did not do any rocking.

Now, I'm home, headed for bed, and ready for my last day of vacation. Woo!

May 30, 2006 12:55 AM

Man. Woke up at 7am to take Bernie over to her mom's hotel, so they could watch the triathalon. The plan was to go back to sleep for a while, but I sat down and started poking at the start of a python/pygame project, and didn't. Apart from an ice cream break (mmmm, Amy's) and some quick showering and snacks, I was pretty much heads-down until midnight. I leveraged some of the work I put together for the Intro to Video Game Programming class I taught at ACC, but I did some major reorganization and refactoring of the libraries and application architecture, so things are a bit easier to work with now. (Python, by the way, for all its touting as such a simple, elegant language, is just as jacked up as any other scripting language, just in different ways. Anyone who says otherwise is either blind, lying, or has never used anything else...) So, basic major functionality in, separation and setup, state machines, config file loading, image pipeline and display rendering junk, user input controls and response, all that. There's probably a lot more code, volume-wise, than is absolutely needed to prop up an application framework, draw some junk on the screen, and move a little guy around, but this is all pretty modular and reusable, so it's all worthwhile. It's been too long since I've gotting into one of those forget-to-eat programming grooves; this little three-day vacation between jobs is very, very nice.

I have a short list of things to take care of tomorrow (appointment with the doc, do a little maintenance on the bike, some paperwork for Enspire, a few tiny bits of client stuff, and a few store-type errands), so I can probably get a few more hours of work in on the game (Wu Xing), and then it's off to rehearsal, and maybe some Karaoke Apocalpyse after. No work until Thursday, woo!

Oh, yeah. IFE has a show at the Hideout on Thursday with ColdTowne at 8pm, so come on down, if you're in town.

May 28, 2006 09:48 AM

Hey, I'm married now. We didn't want to make a huge deal out of it (we've been together for nine years today, and we're basically just doing this for insurance purposes and whatnot) so we kept everything really low key, and didn't really tell anyone except for a few key people. The ceremony took all of ninety seconds, and then we went out to eat some tasty Indian food. They had beef vindaloo at the buffet - this is how you know for sure that you're in Texas.

Played in Maestro tonight, as usual, and got out in the second round, but it was yet another really good show, with Wes and Roy directing together/alone for the first time. We had some imports from the improv scene in Atlanta come in and play with us, who played well and seemed like cool guys, and then we all went out for the usual beers and bar food (mmm, brownies and ice cream) at Opal Divine's afterwards.

Also, before the show, Mo handed me a CD with the new Improv For Evil podcast on it! Very exciting. My friend Christina is also doing a podcast on the Austin improv thingy, too, and was hanging out at the warmup before the show last night to get some audio there, so I'm eager to hear how that one turns out, as well. Bloggy mp3 fun all around.

I also totally thought that I lost my keys at some point during the festivities last night, but it turned out that they were in the pockets of my shorts - I changed into long pants for the show, because, hey, you never know when you're going to be falling over and banging up your knees or crawling around on a filthy stage. Lesson: never take off your pants. Er, or never put them on. Never change your pants! Something.

Today, I have absolutely nothing to do. Let's see if it's everything that I imagined.

May 27, 2006 11:38 AM
rose garden

Last day at frog! Woo, unemployed! For a few days, anyway.

IFE was the host troupe at the Hideout last night, which means that we got to take care of the box, lights and sound, cleaning up, bringing beer and snacks, and hosting the three shows for the night. I did my first time in the light and sound booth for the threefer show (featuring Parallelogramophonograph, ColdTowne, and Tight), and ... well, got better as the show progressed. Pretty stressful, for just making lights and sounds happen. All the buttons and switches and cords and blinky things are too much for my squishy brain. After playing some warmup games out on the catwalk, I also hosted the Cagematch (between the Dark Blood Lords and Conspiracy Butter), which I did a totally piss-poor job at - I wasn't familiar with the format, and didn't really have time to do any kind of run-through with anyone who did, but, the show happened, and everyone had a hell of a time anyway. I also got to hang out and chat with my friend Sara, who's getting to do some animation for an upcoming movie adaptation of Flatland, which I think is super exciting.

Speaking of, we're heading off to the park to get married by our good friend David Moses. Like, right now. Seeya!

May 21, 2006 11:50 PM

Caught the finale of The Great Mundane at the Hideout on Friday. Good show, considering that they had a bit of a break to lose continuity - it had a slow start, but ramped up and finished up with a whirlwind of neck snapping, strain curing, and exploding cyborgs. Looking forward to getting the DVD.

Skipped the big party afterwards to geek out over at Great Hall Games with the Austin Stink. I finally got to play Colossal Arena with Mischa and Dan and company, followed by a rousing little game of Cape Horn. Then, of course, instead of heading back to the party, I hung out in the parking lot (and later, headed over to IHOP) to talk about game design and general nerdery. Nerd, nerd, nerd.

Speaking of skipping parties, I skipped a going-away barbeque for Huff yesterday, to stay home and Get Shit Done(tm). I wound up actually getting a lot of shit done, mostly organization and backing computer stuff up and finishing off little bits and pieces and odds and ends here and there - none of which, naturally, was for anything that anyone's paying me for. But, yeah. Good.

Then, being Saturday, I did my usual bit in Maestro, and only missed winning by a half second or so. I was up last with Kacey Samiee, and we kept gettind tied scores through four games/scenes or so - we did an emotional little scene together where I was cutting off her limbs for some reason, we did solo scenes (that were a little gaggy, but eh), we played the Hat Game for two out of three, and wound up in a tie again somehow, so they just had us play rock-paper-scissors for the win - and we both threw paper. I threw just a second late though, so she walked away with the Canadian five dollar bill... this time. It was a great show all around, although we had a couple of new (or new-to-us, anyway) directors (Jeremy Lamb and Valerie Ward) that were trying some experimental things out, to change up and improve the show. Some went pretty okay, some not so okay, but overall I think most people enjoyed the show, and we learned some important stuff about what works and what doesn't. Fun, fun.

But the weekend doesn't stop there, oh no. Today was two food-related birthday events. First up was a brunch for Shana's birthday, with a whole mess of improvisors and associated personages; it turns out that a lot a bunch of people in the scene work at Enspire, where I'll be starting work on the first of the month, so I got to chat with them a little about my impending employment there. I also put in another pitch to try to get a new prospect, Madeline, to join up with IFE, but I'm not sure she's going for it. Which is a shame, because we played together some in Maestro, too, and she's really talented, and a lot of fun.

After the brunch, I squeezed in a little more work before heading over to my sister Katie's birthday party, hung out with all her lady friends and ate way too many cupcakes. She just finished up her boards yesterday, and she's off to San Francisco for a year or so before coming back to Austin (I think) to hang for a while. Afterwards, we rolled back down to South Austin to grab some orange ices at Amy's, and stopped over to Aunt Kathy's house to tell her in person that we're pregnant.

Oh yeah, we're pregnant. Due in early December-ish. Woo!

Okay, time for sleep. Got to get up early to make with the tree guy who's coming over to chop up this tree in the yard - we lost the big hackberry in the back during the storm last week. Then, over to the county clerk's office to take care of some business...

May 15, 2006 09:50 AM

Giles (of Steve Jackson Games, until recently) sent me an invite to come over and play Werewolf with a bunch of people yesterday. I haven't played in a while - it takes a good deal of effort just to get four or five people together to play a regular rpg/board game, much less the dozen or so that are needed for a decent round of werewolf or mafia - so I accepted eagerly. I think we had about nine or ten players out of an expected twenty or so (including the esteemed Mr. Schubert), but it went really well. It's always interesting to observe a fresh batch of nerds, and the game was a lot of fun. I had to leave "early", but I got in a good five or six games - only one of which I was on the losing side of, I might add. I did get strung up quite a bit though. I think I'm a much better werewolf than I am a villager - not sure what that means, but there you go.

Other than the game, got some client work done this weekend (getting back into Flash and Actionscript after doing C++ for about six months is mighty weird, I tell you what), signed some papers for the job, and hit Showgirls at the Sinus show on Saturday. Wow. That movie never fails to leave me struck, not necessarily by awe, but, man. I'm not sure the boys can do it justice, because it's such a train wreck on its own, but, a good time was had by all.

I think my back pain has finally run its course - I've switched to these lumpy bumpy sandal instead of my flat-ass styley Fleuvogs, and I think it's helping. Time for new shoes, no doubt. And some red pants. Soon.

May 13, 2006 11:16 AM

Improv For Evil's first show was awesome! We totally kicked ass on stage, the audience was great, and we had a ton of support from all the other troupes and improvisors around. On top of everything, we totally sold out the theatre - we heard that the box office had to turn a bunch of people away, unfortunately. (If you were one of those people, and I know you, give me a holler, and I'll hook you up with a free pass or something.) We got some good cherry-poppin' presents, too. McNichol and May brought us a gift bag containing a bottle of good twelve year old scotch, Parallelogramophonograph got us a big IFE cookie cake, Chris Allen hooked us up with some Shiner, and The Leading Brands made with a bunch of Pez dispensers for everyone. Jason was in a cage match team later on, The Dark Blood Lords, so a bunch of people hung out and watched that, then headed over to Opal Divines for beer and foods. I got home around 2:30am or so - sixth street at two am is quite the sight, let me tell you - and now, tired. Painters came at 9am, so, yeah. Woo!

Tonight: Sinus does Showgirls! Double woo!

May 11, 2006 10:47 AM

Rehearsal on Monday, rehearsal last night, four mock show run-throughs, and I still feel like I have a knife in my back. Ready for tomorrow night? Yeah!

Also, today is the day when everyone at frog finds out that I'm leaving at the end of the month. Yeah!

May 08, 2006 11:26 AM

Ow, still with the hurting. I got myself jacked up on painkillers, and headed over to Francois's place to meet up with the RRA to finish up our Seven Leagues game. One of our key players wasn't able to make it, though, but we'd planned for such a contingency, and brought a bunch of backup games. After some discussion and pizza ordering, we settled on Primetime Adventures, and set about working out our show concept and making up characters, which went surprisingly well, considering that there was exactly zero planning involved. I really like the concept we came up with for the show - titled "Cold Watch", the players are a team of troubleshooters kept in cryogenic suspension on a generation colony ship, who get woken up every couple hundred years to take care of whatever problem has sprung up in that time. We had fun, and played for four or five hours - the resolution system in PTA is a little on the light side, but it more than makes up for it with the structure it has in place to encourage good storytelling and character development, and our premise was just a hoot to play around with. So, the pilot episode went well, and, surprisingly enough, was resolved without resorting to shooting the bunch of commie hari krishna maoists that had taken over the ship while we slept. I hope it gets picked up for the full season.

In other news, check out our fucking sweet flyer for our show on Friday:

Improv For Evil - First Show - 5/12, 8pm at the Hideout


May 07, 2006 12:36 AM

So, I've been in varying degrees of excruciating pain all week from this nasty whatever is was that I did to my back sometime. Usually, I can go for a walk for an hour or so and shake it off, take some advil or something, but it's really been a bitch this time around. I just about self-destructed at work on Friday, the back pain making every other muscle in my body sore, going up my neck and causing the old railroad spike in the face headaches, which is enough like a migrane to make me nauseous, and so on.

I think it's getting better, though - I skipped gaming at Great Hall on Friday to stay home and lay flat, and I've been hitting the Excedrin and Skelaxin hard enough to beat my back into submission long enough to... go play Maestro tonight. And, of course, I get a scene where I'm doing two dances with Mo and Sara - one where I portrayed the opression of the Jews as Moses parted the Red Sea, and one where I represented the third breast of that alien chick from Total Recall. Just the thing to loosen up a bad back. Hey, at least I got a Mexican Coke out of the deal. Good show all around, though - there were about as many people in the audience as there were performers, but the energy was good throughout, and everyone involved had a lot of fun. A bunch of us were going to take a break for a week or so, after a couple of lackluster shows, but we were running low on improvisers tonight, so some of us IFE guys stepped up, along with a few other folks, and filled it out nicely.

Tonight, some more writing and working, tomorrow, maybe some more Seven Leagues with the Renegades, and a bit more laying flat and writing. Monday night is rehearsal, Tuesday night is a bit of work and/or the jam at the Hideout (depending on how much work gets done), another IFE rehearsal on Wednesday, maybe, and a meeting with a client on Thursday, then the big opening show for Improv For Evil on Friday night! Another busy week, yay.

May 04, 2006 11:19 PM

Well, that's some storm we got there, huh? Darn near split that tree next to the house out back clean down the middle. I reckon the tree guys are gonna be pretty busy the next couple of days, cleaning all this up. And it ain't over yet. Still got the high winds and thunder and lightning and enough water to drown a bus full of possums. Yup.


We had the last - short - video game programming class over at ACC tonight, where my students showed off some of their final projects. Some worked, some needed fixing, and some are still late, but overall, stuff looks pretty good, time and whatnot considered. While it was a fun class to teach, and the students were on it for the most part, I'm pretty glad to be done with it for a while. Just one three-hour class a week really takes up a lot of mental space that I could be putting to better use these days.

Speaking of taking up a lot of time and mental space, improv is still going full on. We've been rehearsing like crazy, and I think we're totally psyched and ready for our first real show as a troupe at the Hideout next Friday. I was planning on taking a week or so off from Maestro after a lackluster show last week, but they're running low on performers again, and the current lineup looks pretty good, so I'll most likely be on stage again this Saturday, too. Then there's the upcoming level 5 class with Bob McNichol sometime soon, an impending camping trip, planning for the trip out to SF for the Johnstone workshop in August, possibly another six-week class with Shana Merlin to do more improvised singing stuff, and rumors of another troupe forming out of some combination of that stuff in the coming months.

I've really been trying to limit myself to two nights a week or so of improv, but it's rough. Especially with stuff like those crazy kids Parallelogramophonograph getting regular gigs with Jerm at his show at the Carousel - now I got double extra reason to go. So, I'm currently averaging... three or four nights a week, counting shows, classes and rehearsals. Which, with the ACC class, a trickle of game development related stuff, the occasional bit of side work, and the barest modicum of socializing and gaming, leaves me pretty tired. Waugh. Who knew that having fun could be so much work?