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  Projekt 10:22 AM -- Tue September 27, 2005  

Okay, so scratch that - I'm working on FIVE projects at once. One for each day of the week! I'll tell you about one, because it wasn't meant to be secret, and I've been working on it all along: Dueling Doodles. That's the new name of my board game Art Attack. I'm working to make a better prototype with cards that are easier to use and smooth it up, and then we'll see about getting it published or self-publishing or something. It's a great game!

Then there's Ninja of course, the two mystery projects, and a new mystery project. Two of them are attempts at Halloween games. I'm hoping I can have one or the other ready in time! Sure, progress on all of them is slow, with only one day a week working on each one (and only 3 or 4 hours!), but you know what? It's the first time I've felt like I'm making steady solid progress since Kid Mystic Redux! So sure it's a little slow with so many projects, but all of them are constantly chugging ahead at the same time, so it's good. It's hard to be bored with a new project every day! And the new mystery project isn't really getting in the way of anything, because it's going on the day I previously had "Other" as my project (meaning work on any of the projects).

So you wanna know about the mystery projects?!?!!? Ah, that's a shame. Here's all the hints you get: they're all computer games in some sense. Two of the three are extremely innovative, and I don't think any games quite like them have ever been done before. One can be played without coming into physical contact with any part of your computer. All will (assuming they do get released) be available, in time, for both Mac and PC. One of them will work on almost any computer, in fact. And lastly, you already have the main software needed to play one of them.

One other thing about the mystery projects should be noted: they're all pretty early in development, so I don't even really know if they'll be fun! So they may still get dropped. But I have very high hopes for two of them, and the third I just started yesterday, so that one's just WAY up in the air.
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  Fury and Righteous Anger 07:15 PM -- Mon September 26, 2005  

I received an unsolicited telemarketing call on my cell phone today. My cell phone.
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  Fun n' Games 03:25 PM -- Thu September 22, 2005  

Ah, so I fixed the Ninja bug in the first couple minutes of my workday! Then I got a bunch more done. You can now complete (some) goals in the level, and they get marked off and everything. I still have one more Ninja hour later on today, I'll have to finish up the goal stuff. I also made the model for the Trainee, the first enemy you fight that can actually move (well, obviously I "made" it by starting from the Time Ninja himself, who incidentally was modeled from the scared guy in Habitat For Horror):

There's the closest thing to a Sneak Peek you're getting for a while! Nothing new and exciting to show.

So here's the latest Game Design Showdown I've entered: BGDF Forum. See if you can guess which game is mine. It shouldn't be too hard actually, for you guys. I will reveal the answer once voting on that site is done (oh, and please don't go and vote, that's just not fair, and I would be really embarrassed... if you wanna join that site though, join up and vote next month! Hey, enter your own design next month too!). I really like my entry in this contest more than usual. I've been thinking to make a prototype and try it out if I ever have a spare moment.

Okay, so I'm on my web time, I've gotta go look some stuff up and do some work.
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  Twos 06:31 PM -- Wed September 21, 2005  

Two days of using the schedule, and it's still great fun (today was a blast!).

Two food discussion items: first, in searching for something to make, we came across a recipe for Vegetable Chowder ("Chowdah! Say it! Chowdah!!") which is just awesomely good! And it was really easy. It was also good to actually be cooking something for the first time in 11 decades or whatever it's been. Second thing is that we have been dieting here at the HQ. Not seriously, because we don't really need that, but we've just been eating too much. So here's the easiest way to diet (I think), it works great for us: all you do is write down everything you eat in a little journal, along with how many calories it is. At the end of the day, you total it. What you do with that info is up to you, but that's the whole diet! It helps if you go online and look up your basal metabolic rate (Here's a calculator), so you have something to shoot for. Your basal rate is what you burn if you spend all day in bed, so if you eat that much, then any movement you actually do end up making by some chance is burning the fat away. I guess you could call it the shame diet, because it works entirely on the concept that you'll stop pigging out when confronted with just how much you are eating. Would work even better if you had to post your calories publicly! But then you'd probably starve yourself and die.

Two nature notes, in wacky bunny story form: First, I went by the window one day and saw a bunny sitting out there on the ground, just chewing away. Then I noticed what he was chewing on - it was a huge piece of plant, about 2 feet long, just laid out across the ground. I sat and watched for over a minute, because the bunny just sat there, his jaw constantly churning, as the plant gradually inched into his mouth. It was so funny to see, like he was very slowly slurping up a spaghetti noodle. The thing was bigger than he was! The other wacky bunny story doesn't really work as a story, but it was cool to see. One bunny was chasing another, rather viciously, and every time he caught up with it, the chased bunny would turn and hop right over the chaser, and lead him in the other direction. They did this back and forth a bunch of times before they vanished behind the trees. I think bunnies amuse me.

Two secret projects. Yesterday I worked on one, and today I worked on the other. Both of them are going great, and are a lot of fun to work on. That's putting them above the Ninja game, for sure, which is being very cantankerous. I ended my day monday with the Ninja game in a state where it crashes every time you start it up. I spent half the day digging at that bug, and it's still not fixed, so that'll be fun to go back to tomorrow!

Oh hey, the family of quail are out in front of our house munching up all our birdseed right now! The babies have grown up, but they're still smaller than the big ones. And they all still travel in a big pack, which is funny to see, because they run like... I don't know what, cartoons I guess.

Well, tomorrow's the ninja game according the Mr. Schedule, so that bug better get packing. Oh, and speaking of twos, you have until two-morrow to vote on Halloween Horror, and then the building can commence!
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  Shhedjule 10:11 AM -- Tue September 20, 2005  

(I like to pronounce it that way for fun) Well, it's that time again - the web problems I mentioned last time have become too harmful too bear, and thusly a new schedule is born! This happens every few months. It's always nice and effective when it first kicks in, so this should be good. Of course, I'm doing an awful lot of projects, but it'll do. And that keeps me from getting too bored on any one.

This is a simple schedule like I've done before - just the days of the week broken into hour blocks, with a lot of different activities scattered around. So I'm never doing the same thing for more than 2 hours, keeping the interest high, and keeping me from blowing anything off. Each day has a different arrangement, so it's always an adventure.

When your only pressure comes from yourself, getting work done can be tough. So part of the value of a schedule like this actually lies in when it tells me not to work. See, without a schedule, I always feel like I should be getting my game done. It'll be 6 at night, and I'm thinking "I didn't do much today, I should go try to do something...". That's totally unproductive, because it means I never want to work. By limiting it, and saying I can only work during these 3 or 4 hours (work on games that is, I have other work scattered throughout, like chores, website, marketing), then when those hours are up, and I don't let myself work anymore, I become almost eager to get to work again. I guess you always want what you can't have. Motivation is the biggest problem when you're not working for someone else, so finding tricks to deal with that is always the plan.

So anyway, right now I am on "Web" time, which is why I'm writing a journal entry. But I ought to do some more productive web stuff. I have a fairly long list of website changes. Let's start by fixing up the archive format on this journal!
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  Caught in the Web 06:21 PM -- Thu September 15, 2005  

The web is an evil thing. I should just learn to disconnect and do my work while offline! Today I did no work at all, and it's 4pm. I've spent the whole day flitting back and forth between a few websites reading comments, articles, stories, forums, whatever. Well, I also hauled trash to the dump, which was a remarkably long process. The web is evil!!! Such a nasty addiction. I clearly need to get back to having some rules against it (the poker chip thing I was on previously has died out).

Two nature notes: we saw our first roadrunner out here. Also, there are these little boring birds that cluster on the power lines on the main road near here every afternoon... I wanted to get a picture, but today was apparently the exception, maybe because it was hot for the first time in a while. They cover the wires, maybe 2 inches apart from each other, a solid mass for several hundred feet. It's creepy! I did try to get you a picture, sorry I couldn't. Oh, and did I mention before that there was a praying mantis who came to hang out on the screen of my office window each evening? Pretty big too.

I'm working on putting the merge together (oh yeah, I sorta did some work - tested out some merge levels and started on the hub for it), and will be getting together with Sol tonight to whittle down the HH name list. So hold on and tomorrow both of those things should be ready to rock. See you then!

Oh hey, speaking of Buffy, if you are in a Buffy box-set buying mood, definitely check out The Chosen Collection. We have only 3 of the 7 seasons left to buy, and it would be almost a break-even for us to buy the collection instead! It's all of the seasons (same exact content as the individual box sets, commentaries and all), plus an extra bonus disc with a documentary, for $130. Once we Ebay the sets we already have, we'll actually sort of make a profit by switching to it! I mean, we won't actually end up gaining money, but we'll probably end up having paid a total of about $30 for all 7 seasons. So I just wanted to point out that deal. If you want Buffy, that's the way to get it!
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  Kung Fu Hustle Up! 06:24 PM -- Wed September 14, 2005  

Hey gang, listen up! You have until tomorrow to suggest Halloween Horror names (as if the 65,000 names up there weren't enough...), and to finish your level for this month's Monthly Merge. Hop to it!!!

Me, I've been working hard on the 2 secret projects that you know nothing about! Ha! Tomorrow is designated as a Ninja work day, although I will also spend a good junk of time on the Merge and Horror stuff too. Busy busy. Oh, and I have to haul trash to the dump. Yay!

Most interesting thing I can tell you today is that we saw Kung Fu Hustle the other day, and it's really good. It's not as good as Shaolin Soccer, which is a definite favorite of mine, but it's still a lot of fun.

Speaking of Hong Kong movies, in the introduction to the Iron Monkey DVD, Quentin Tarantino says something about how Hong Kong movies have everything - they're not a romance movie, or a comedy, or a thriller. They pack in all that stuff into each movie. He said something about how peasants would go see them, and they were really poor and had no other entertainment, so they had to get everything out of one movie. I don't know about that theory, seems kind of dumb to me. If I could only see one movie a year, or every 5 years, I would probably just pick a really good comedy, because I like comedy. What I'm trying to say is it's not like vitamins and minerals - you don't have an FDA daily requirement of witnessing each emotion. If the only movies you ever see are romances, are you really missing something? You can get drama, action, horror, and comedy in your daily life. Movies aren't your only way to experience feelings.

Anyway, that was actually an aside, because what I wanted to say was that Buffy, which we have been plowing through another season box set of, is just like those Hong Kong movies (so are Angel and Firefly - the entire Joss oeuvre). It has elements of every genre in every episode, and it jumps all over the place through them, yet ties them together incredibly well. It's the best thing about those shows. They meet your FDA requirement of every single emotion!

Wait, didn't I just say that didn't matter? Whatever. It's good TV.
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  Perfection Of Flavor 04:48 PM -- Mon September 12, 2005  

You know what the perfection of flavor is? Wheat Thins lightly dabbed with just a bit of Laughing Cow cheese. It is almost is if the two products were intelligently designed to merge together into an unholy burst of saltiferous cheesiosity, a conspiracy of flavor straight from the Illuminati's top chefs. Of course, I'm not actually a snooty opera-goer in a top hat, ergo I can't actually afford Laughing Cow, so thanks Kakey & Joe for making this glorious amalgamation a reality. Ah, but alas, just like hot dogs and buns, the cheese in a Laughing Cow box is no quantitative match for the crackers in a box of Wheat Thins, and so now I sit, alone and dejected, with nothing but stacks of rectilinear salty wheat before me. Of course, I will still eat them. But I do miss the cheese.

Okay, I'll admit the truth. I am working on 3 separate projects at once and have been for a couple of weeks. But I'm still keeping two of them secret! The only hint you get is that I do hope to have a Halloween surprise for you this year as I try to every year. And you can rest assured that that surprise will not be the release of Ninja Time! Not unless I discover my own time-traveling moonshine still.

So what do you find to be the perfection of flavor? I'm well aware there is more than one - a good apple pie with crumb topping for example. But it's the hidden ones that are so special. Just as the duality of cheese and wheat disrupts the time-taste continuum, so surely are there others which can accomplish the same. Aren't there? I'm looking at you, chocolate and peanut butter!
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  Busy Week 02:04 PM -- Sat September 10, 2005  

So it's been crazy all week. Sunday, we stayed the night with my sister and her family at a timeshare in Carlsbad. Monday, big Labor Day BBQ at my parents'. Thursday, trip up to Anaheim to visit my aunt & uncle. Friday from there to Disneyland (and then the looong drive home!). Thursday and Friday were spent with a cold too (thanks to the sister's kids!), making them more difficult. But still quite fun! So, here's the tidbits:

  • The radio controlled Hummer is amazingly accurate - the battery runs out in a few minutes*, and it has the turning radius of a brick that's been glued to the ground. Seriously, the turning radius is funny - you crank the controller hard left and the wheels tilt about 5 degrees. It has to be intentional!
  • Said in complete innocence by my nephew when asked which ride was his favorite at Disneyland: "The one with the frickin' laser beams!" What makes it so funny is that he wasn't making a joke, he just thought that was the proper way to describe something that has laser beams, thanks to Austin Powers. Specifically, that was the Astro Blasters ride, which is way cool because you get to use a laser gun and can spin your car around with a joystick, so you shoot at targets, and it keeps score.
  • As you're facing the Matterhorn line, the one you want to enter is the left-hand one. It's way faster and more exciting than the right-hand track!
  • Yay, Space Mountain! Twice!
  • This was a great time to go to Disneyland - even though it was a Friday, there were almost no lines at all. What was scary was that we were still shoving our way through dense crowds the whole time. It must be horrendous to actually walk around there when the lines are full!
  • News flash: food at Disneyland is not very high quality, and extremely expensive. Shocked?
  • Some internal work on Ninja Academy got done on the couple of days between adventures.
  • You know what's sad? When you were in the very first Power Rangers season, and you came back this season as a special surprise. That guy is like 30 years old now! Guess his feature film career must not be taking off. And yes, I recognized him because I watched Power Rangers in college! Why wouldn't I!?
That's all. Or it's all I can remember. We drove late into the night, slept in late, and are still recovering from illness.

*Just kidding about the battery - for the little time we drove it, it was fine. But it really helped the story!
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  Personal Responsibility, My Eye! 01:59 PM -- Sun September 4, 2005  

Warning: hurricane oriented.

Extreme looting!! Oh the horror! What an awful kid to have committed such a heinous act! Hopefully they can punish him severely and let that be a lesson to anyone else who dares to save 100 peoples' lives.

But anyway... In other news, a bunny died in our yard, and now we have a buzzard! It's the cycle of life. My sisters came out to see our house yesterday and seemed to like it a lot. Unfortunately, my sister's kids got to discover the dead bunny with us. I think they got steered away pretty well, though.

I will try to be more on top of this journaling thing. I have not been very bloggy of late. I will surely have wonderfully exciting things to tell you about, but at present, nothing much. I hope the disaster management starts actually getting managed to some degree in the near future. What's happening now is as much travesty as it is tragedy.
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