We made pretty picture in the Austinist:
Come out and see us (and Laura Freeman, after!) if you can make your way to the Festival. If not, there's always tomorrow, or the next day... I highly recommend the Coldtowne show tomorrow - Pgraph is debuting their 1930's show, which they've been busting ass on, and Shannon McCormick is bringing his "Spices" show back, which is just him drinking and telling stories of his adventures on the high seas. I was lucky enough to catch it last time around, and it's worth the trip alone. Bring it!
And yes, the comments are now actually turned all the way off, or, at least, intentionally broken in such away that posts are no longer able to be commented on. The spam problem has become insurmountable, and I've got better stuff to do than wade through mountains of crap for minimal return. Some day, and that day may never come, I will move this pile of words and letters to a hosted WordPress solution somewhere, and forget all my troubles. Until then, you know my number.
Short Shameful Confession:
I've tried several different varieties of vegetarian pizza in the last month or so, and I've liked them all. I feel like I have to go strangle some piglets now.
Friday night was Andy Crouch's birthday, so after the shows, a bunch of us descended on his house and forced him to make us crepes and watch the Fuccons DVD. This took far too long, and led to a bedtime that is usually only caused by a fresh dose of video game. This also caused a long period of unproductivity on Saturday, which was remedied - or treated, at least - by a short work date at Austin Java with Kristen. I actually managed to concentrate for a couple of hours and knock out all of my major outstanding bugs from my video player refactoring, and hung out and had caffeinated drinks and whatnot. So, yay working in coffee shops. Austin Java has a pretty miserable kitchen, though, so it was fortunate that I had taken the initiative to cook a super tasty chicken and sweet potato based dinner for Bernie and myself beforehand. Mmmm, yammy. That's a lot of 'm's.
Saturday was actually busy - we got up early and went to the Hyde Park Theater for IFE's tech rehearsal for our Frontera Fest show. We were actually underrepresented - the only people who made it out were Jason and Kristin and myself, but we got all of our sound and lighting cues set up for the show, which are actually pretty minimal, comparatively. The staff there is a lot more professional about that kind of thing than we're used to, which was awesome. The shape of the theater space is a little weird, but that's why we went to check it out - we're pretty flexible, and we can definitely work with it and play around with the new geometry some. The Frontera shows have been selling out - it looks like the theater might hold a bit over a hundred people? - so I'm looking forward to the whole thing. I'm not sure, but I think the Frontera shows are maybe more "theater"-y than we're used to, so I don't know what the crowd will be like, but it'll be fun either way.
After wards, the three of us went over to Trudy's (where Jason used to work) for some breakfast foods, and then headed over to Jason's place for an hour or so to hang out and play some video games before heading over to campus for rehearsal. We had a full complement again, minus our stalwart Mike, who suffered some kind of seizure that morning, and was out of commission for the day - but he said that he should be back up and ready to do for our shows this week. Everyone was kind of whooped - Nadine just ran a half-marathon, and most others were just tired from working too much and whatnot - so it was kind of a low-energy practice. We discussed and nailed down the new format that we'll be doing for our February run at Coldtowne - "The Apocalypse", which we performed a few times before as a kind of long-form narrative montagey thing, but has since been morphed into some kind of pseudo-armando format. We practiced some object monologues for the show, sat around and went over the details of the Frontera/HPT stuff for those that missed it, and broke a little early.
After rehearsal, we ran over to Roy's house to pick up some chairs and stuff for game night, hit HEB for beer on the way, and I stopped home to grab some games and allergy medicine and check in on the girls. Then it was back to Kristin's apartment for games - we had a decent little turnout, one of the guys from the juggling club, Matt, Asaf, Ratliff, and Valerie. We played some Deadwood (on Kristin's badass homemade wood-burned board), some J-Speed, Cranium, Dibs (yeeugh), and finished up with a possibly too-long brain melting round of Taboo. I gotta say, I'm definitely used to playing games on the the more "German" side of things - and my own designs reflect that - but I guess I'm glad to get more exposed to the typical kind of "party" games. Some are super fun, like Taboo, some suck a bit, and some are basically just there to occupy yourselves while you're hanging out. I guess I generally like playing games for the sake of the game more, but I'm starting to appreciate the more casual side a bit more now, too. (Ratliff quipped, "There's really only one game, and that's, 'which one of my friends is a competitive asshole?'" That'd be me.) Anyway, there were beers and pizza and Val brought fizzy wine and good chocolate and a fine time was had all around. I look forward to more of the same.
But, I guess I stayed up too late again, and wound up pretty tired again all day today. Work, meetings, nap, hanging out with Bernie and Pai, and general futzing around. I've let my work desk and gmail inbox get out of control again, and I'm going to have to stake out some time to clean up and regroup and get my shit together again before I can become genuinely productive.
It's also shaping up to be a busy week already. Tomorrow night is our flywheel game design and playtesting get-together. Improv For Evil has three different shows on three different nights at three different venues, and we're doing three different formats. Wednesday is our "standard" IFE show for Frontera at Hyde Park, which is something that we're all comfortable with, and should be fine. We're debuting the new Apocalypse at our Thursday night slot at Coldtowne, which will run through February, and on Friday, we're in the Double Barrel show at the Hideout - we'll be doing a special Groundhog Day format which should be super fun, and something we've never tried before. Very exciting. Maybe we'll all sign up for Maestro on Saturday or something, and see how long we can keep the streak going. Yeesh.
Anyway. Enough jibberjabber. Back to work.
Sometimes, I think I'm maybe not so smart.
Also, everyone: cut it out.
Good rehearsal with Erika May. Good troupe lunch with everyone at Madam Mam's after. Good day, all around.
Yawn. More thrilling stories about what I ate to come!
IFE was the host troupe for the Friday lineup at the Hideout tonight. That means that we take care of various show-related duties like selling and taking tickets, running sound and lights, bringing snacks and booze for the other performers, and so on. I wound up actually hosting the Threefer slot, warming up the audience, telling them what they were about to see, introducing the acts, making announcements about other shows and classes, all that. I think I kind of suck at it. I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing wrong, but it feels really wrong. I need to start paying closer attention to what other hosts - good ones - are doing for a while, and see if I can't do that. Time to break out the little black book of notes again, I guess.
Sore. There's a juggling group in town that's pretty big, but I just heard about it recently. My troupemate Kristin mentioned it a few days ago, that she used to hang out with them all the time, and that their meetings were on Thursday nights, and since our run at Coldtown was preempted this week, that I should check it out, so I did.
I've got some clubs (and torches, and machetes, and etc) from when I used to juggle fairly regularly a while back, but they've been sitting in the closet for a long, long time. I didn't even know where they were - Bernie had to dig them out from where she saw them last. So, I grabbed those, and we headed over to the church on campus where they meet (on account of the high ceilings). There were a whole mess of people of all skill levels (which I think I fell neatly on the low-middle range of), and the floor was just covered with clubs of all colors. I just started in with my clubs, and was quickly joined by Kristin's friend Roy, who wanted to pass with me. Urr. I haven't really picked these up in maybe six or seven years, but sure, okay. So, we did that for a while, and he went off to jump in a larger passing group, and I grabbed some rings that were lying around, which I'd never tried before. That went pretty well for a while, I passed some of those with another random guy (James, I think), went back to the clubs for a while, switched around, did some more passing/practicing with someone else, and so on. For pretty much three hours straight.
Around ten o'clock, everyone packed up, pushed the tables back to where they're supposed to be, and headed across the way to Conan's for some deep dish pizza - which was super tasty. My cousin Nick has been bugging me to go there forever, and I'm lazy, so I hadn't, until last night. And that's why being lazy is dumb. Anyway, it was a really good time, I got to meet a bunch of people - many of whom seemed really familiar to me, and vice versa, which was weird. I know that jugglers generally run in the same kind of nerdy circles as a lot of the other stuff I do - computer stuff, gaming, theater, etc - but I swear at least half a dozen people said, "oh, yeah, I know you from somewhere, right?" when we were introduced. A lot of them remind me of Leri people, which is totally possible, but none of the social probing that we could do in the brief periods we had to figure it out proved fruitful. Ah, well. Good to know another batch of people in town, anyway.
The main point being, I haven't juggled in a long time, and three hours is a long time on top of that. The tips of all my fingers are bruised from mis-catching doubles and triples, my creaky old elbows and shoulders are sore from using them in ways they haven't been used in years, and I think I'm just a little beat all over from doing stuff for that long. I went for a brisk medium-length walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon, too, so maybe that's contributing, but man. Feeling old. Gotta do stuff like that more regularly.
And that's why I went down for a two-hour nap this afternoon. Fortunately, I have the excuse of having a warm baby on my chest for the duration. I mean, you can't just get up off the couch whenever you feel like it and wake her up, right?
Yes, I managed to make it out twice yesterday. After a spectacularly unproductive day of staring at work and trying to force something interesting to happen by sheer force of will, I was elected to drive up to the Salt Lick 360 to pick up a bunch of tasty meat for Bernie and her mom and myself. That place is a total 180 from the one out in Driftwood, being situated right up there in the heart of evil. We probably dropped about 90 bucks, all told, but we'll have leftovers for days, and it's still the same tasty stuff. It only took about 45 minutes to get there and back - 22 minutes each way - with maybe an eleven minute wait while they scooped everything together and assembled the ice cream for desserts, so it's a good chunk closer than the usual one, but not as much fun, by far. I was super hungry, and scarfed everything down in about five seconds, before heading out for part two of the evening's festivities.
One of the improv dudes, Orf, is a pretty regular brewer of his own beer, and had arranged a "focus group" for a bunch of us to come over and try some of this year's batch, with more tasty snacky things in between. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get out to the store due to the recent inclemency, and called it off at the last minute. This did not deter the beer tasting, however - a couple of us (that is, me and an IFE troupemate) altered the plan to just go hang out at the Ginger Man pub downtown to sample some of the tasty selection there. That worked out just fine, and the outing was topped off with a walk over to Opal's for brownie sundaes and a few rounds of "Pirate's Dice". Our weekly show at Coldtowne Theater isn't happening this week, due to a festival, so I'm glad I had the chance to time-shift this week's outing - although, we're the host troupe at the Hideout on Friday, so, there's that. Anyway. Out is good.
The driving around wasn't nearly as treacherous as I'd been lead to believe. There was a little bit of snow and ice on the bridges, but overall, the roads were pretty dry and clear, and the Texans on wheels out there were driving slow enough, for the most part. There were very few people out, though, even during rush hour on the big yuppie commuter highway, which was a refreshing change - it was totally deserted downtown at around 11pm, reminded us of a zombie movie or something. I'm pleased to report that restraint was exercised, though, and no homeless people were decapitated accidentally. Chalk one up for our side.
I'm generally kind of a hermit by nature, but as soon as conditions are such that it's "unsafe" to go outside - say, it gets slightly chilly and a town that's totally unprepared for anything but the sun touching down receives a light glazing of winter ice, shutting the entire urban infrastructure all the way down - I get a sudden attack of cabin fever and feel the urge to flee my warm screen and ... I dunno. Do something. Out there. I'm sure there's stuff to do out there, but I've got no call to go do it at the moment. Maybe I should make a little pilgrimage to the Drafthouse down here and see if there's anything worth watching tonight. I'm not sure if I've still got the allergies, or if I've picked up a low-grade cold or something, but whatever it is, just sitting around here isn't doing me any good.
Cold! The ambient temperature outside dropped below freezing, and now there's solid water everywhere! Holy shit! Everyone panic!
Now is just about the exact wrong time for it to be too cold to open up the doors and windows here. One of the critters out there decided that inside the wall of our bedroom closet would be the perfect place to hole up and die, and now we got critter-stink all up in there. A miasma, if you will. I'm not sure if it's that, or the hint of poop in the air, or some food smell, or just the general closeness of people cooped up in a small house together, but it's getting to me. I should bundle up and go out for a walk.
Stupid ice. No rehearsal, just work.
Garg, my voice, my throat. Jason threw a "hooray, the holidays are over" party on Saturday, and all the cool improviser kids were there. Guitar Hero competitions, hanging out on the cold back porch smoking cigars and watching people press their already cold faces up against the shot luge, singing way too much karaoke, finishing off two big bottles of Barenjager, and so forth. Folks from Maestro came, folks from the Platforms show came, everyone came to Hoover's Evil Blanket, and since it was but-ass cold outside, everyone was inside. That was pretty fun - we eventually cleared out of there around six in the morning, and canceled our usual Sunday rehearsal. A few hardy souls made it out to Hoover's (the other Hoover's) for a lunch-breakfast, but there was a lot of recuperating going on.
On the home front, we fed Paidia her first bottle full of boobie juice today, so now maybe Bernie will get a little break from feeding every now and again, and I can take on some of that sleep debt that she's been racking up.
Here's a spinny rocketship to break up the text, inspired by a bit at Lost Garden.
(Oh, hey, the game that I did some level design for is out now - check out Playing With Fire. I don't get any royalties or anything, but it's fun, and it was fun to work on.)
Speaking of games, we played a whole bunch of 'em at Great Hall on Friday. Cash and Guns (with actual foam guns!), some Wiz-War, Tsuro, and a few rounds of Jungle Speed. Ahhh, Jungle Speed. I like me some games.
So, at Hoovers, we had the good idea to go back over to Jason's afterwards to play some games. I ran home to pick up a bag of favorites, and by the time we arrived at the Evil Blanket, we discovered that it was not warm, on account of his heater breaking down sometime in the night. Not wanting to take the chance of having to resort to huddling and cannibalism should we be trapped there, the gang headed over and converged on Kristin's apartment, which not only had a supply of fresh heat, but is close enough to food sources should things go south. It wound up being me, Jason, Kristin, Matt, Andy and Nadine playing a bunch of games in various combinations as people came and went, including Category 5, My Word, Jungle Speed, Wise or Otherwise, Falling, Blink, and some I'm sure I've forgotten. Yay, games. Then, home and sleep. Yay, sleep.
We're getting that winter storm in tonight, it looks like. Let's see if we get iced in...
Man, the bedroom closet reeks really badly of decayed critter. I'm pretty sure that something crawled up in or around there and died. Maybe it was Robert Anton Wilson.
Zonking out unexpectedly at 9pm and waking up in the giant beanbag at 4am isn't the best way to keep (or establish, really) a regular schedule. Fortunately, a regular schedule is exactly what I don't have right now, so, uh... good! Sleep!
Let's see, working a bunch, which is good, because that means I get paid a bunch. Had a meeting with my voice work teacher, Lainie, about getting a commercial demo put together, which sounds like it's going to be kind of expensive, but worthwhile.
IFE did two shows back-to-back at the Hideout on Friday, the first of which was pretty good, and the second of which was freaking awesome. For us, anyway - we were followed by Get Up, who are super double awesome, so I'm happy for the audience, which was a good size, and included cousin Nick, Dad, and Jane, who had flown in from New York to visit and see Paidia and stuff. We taped the shows in the hopes that one of them would be good enough to use for festival submissions, and I think this one will totally work.
Today (Sunday) was another good day for IFE - we had our first rehearsal as a troupe with Erika May, which went really well. A bunch of us had taken classes from her and Bob a while back, so we're really happy that we can get more of awesome all together. She'll be watching our shows (*cough* eight week run at CTT *cough*) and giving us notes on those, and using them to help us work on what we need work on, and to make what we already do well even better. Even after just the one session with her today, I think we've got a bunch of great stuff to go up with next time - the next couple of months are going to see a big ramp-up of kickass.
After practice, we all geared up and headed over to Kristin's apartment for a troupe photo shoot. And by "shoot", I mean that all of us brought all the weapons we owned (plus a heathy supplement from cousin Nick) and got Laura Steffen, our badass photographer to capture our essence for future schwag, press materials, and festival submission stuff. The shoot itself was a blast, and the photos came out really well. (I'm trying hard not to use the word "awesome" too many times here, but I tell you, it's a chore.) I can't wait to see what all comes out of this.
I also finished Bully. That was fun.
Are we doing resolutions? I don't usually do the resolution thing (1024x768, har har har! *BANG*), but everyone on the bloggernets seems to be kicking down, so let's see what I've got.
- Get out of "fatass" territory, which means losing probably twenty or thirty pounds.
- To that end, get out and run some more. I don't especially like running, but when we were training for the marathon, that seemed to work pretty well, so let's say three mornings a week.
- Keep working with my improv crew and continue to get better. Play in at least one out-of-town festival.
- Publish at least one game per quarter through Gizmet. Now that the cherry is popped with Honeypot, there's no reason not to squeeze out the rest of the stuff in the pipe, and then fill that pipe back up.
- Get a demo produced and get signed with an agent for voice work.
- Finish up the seekrit Rails project I'm working on in the next couple months, and improve my Rails-fu in general.
- Make at least as much money this year through freelance and contract work as I did working full time for The Man last year.
- Get Paidia started along the path of Girl Genius-hood.
- Read more fiction. Write some back.
- Make another list of all the other stuff that I really want to and intend to do at some point, but in all reality probably just won't fit in the available hours any time in the next year.
- Keep some hours available to do some of that stuff, if I get struck by it.
- Ride my bike more.
Make more lists. Done!
<joel> This is step one. I'm cutting a hole in the box.
IFE had our first show tonight in our two-month run at Coldtowne with Parallelogramophonograph. It was a show, all right. Fortunately, our newly hired coach, Erika May, was in the audience, and will be helping us smooth out some of the rough spots over the next couple of months. Which is awesome - we took a six-week class from Bob and Erika last year, which kicked ass, and absolutely helped to steer us in the good direction that we've been heading lately. I'm looking forward to what's coming up - including our two shows at the Hideout tomorrow night! (8pm Threefer and 10pm Double Barrel - if you miss 'em, you can make up for it by coming to Coldtowne any of the upcoming Thursdays at 8pm. Just sayin'.)
I've found myself getting back into some HTML work lately (as opposed to the Flash/Actionscript programming and various other "real" coding work that's been paying the bills for the last couple of years), and it's kind of fun. I've been building websites pretty much since there's been a web, and I think I still manage to pick up new stuff every time I put together a new one. I've developed some pretty strong opinions about how stuff should work, and sometimes that causes some friction when I come into contact with other strong-headed developers, but it's good, all around. I have noticed, however, that majcher.com has become my proverbial Barber's Haircut. I haven't touched the main content or layout since I built the last version of my rendering system, which has been abandoned and gathering cobwebs for what, three or four years now? Maybe it's time for an update. When I get some free time. (So... never.)
Paidia continues to eat, sleep, and poop. We took her up to the godless north last night for a family gathering at Grandma Majcher's house, which caused an immediate flurry of high-pitched grackling from the ladies. That was way too much stimulation. Dad and Jane are visiting for the week, too, so we get to see them a good bit, and Katie is down here for good now, which, along with Bernie's mom hanging out and helping for a month or so is just about good enough for me. I've actually mostly been sitting here, banging out computer stuff and helping out when I can. Baby and Bernie are well, work is going well, improv is ramping back up nicely again, and all my side projects are simmering along nicely. Now I could maybe do with some sleep.
Well, that was a pretty darn good year, there. Let's go for another one.