Month: October 2010

Work / Life Balance? It doesn’t! | Weifarer’s Wanderings

One of WordPress’s Freshly Pressed featured blogs caught my eye today, and it really hit home for me.

OpenQuote

Maybe it is just that my eyes are glazed from too many hours of spreadsheets and my brain feels like it has atrophied to the size of a pea due to lack of stimuli, but I’m feeling less than amicable to my current job. Sure, everyone goes through spates of unreasonable deadlines where work piles up faster than it leaves and nothing seems to function correctly. Top brass sends sympathy cards along with the next stack of due dates. “Keep your chin up! You are doing a great job.” My personal favorite: “We know this will be a tough goal to meet.” You know you are doomed when you hear that one!

Not that I hate my job or even average much more than an 8 hour day, but I am feeling a little burned out recently. Work burnout combined with school stress is actually making me sick. Pile on top of that personal stresses (my mother’s health, my own obnoxious health problems, etc), some days I’m surprised that I can function.

The rest of the blog post is a great. Give it a read at: Work / Life Balance? It doesn’t! | Weifarer’s Wanderings.

Monday update; and maybe the last for a while

This last weekend was busy. Saturday afternoon and evening when Hubby and I visited some friends and had a nice relaxing time playing games (the D&D Castle Ravenloft board game and pinochle).

The rest of the weekend was pretty much all school work. This quarter is going to be intense, there is no doubt about it. I spent most of the weekend trying to get comfortable with the simulation software that we’re using and how all the different options in each screen impact all of the others. My brain hurts. It will be a fun project, but it will take a ton of work.

Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to get to do much more than the random lunch-time post for the next couple months. I know I’m sporadic about posting normally, and not having new stuff here never really comes as a surprise, but I thought I’d give some warning.

I hate knowing that the five posts in progress that are just going to sit untouched in my drafts, but school comes first.

SecondLife by Proxy

I’d like to be participating in SecondLife with @LiberalTugboat today, but I had to turn him down.

What, you don’t know what SecondLife is? Kreg’s Donations Page says it better than I could:  

Hi I’m Kreg Schlosser and this year I’m raising money and awareness for my local Children’s Miracle Network hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital.

On October 16th, 2010 I’ll attempt to play video games for 24-hours straight, and I’ve asked you to come by in hopes that you’ll support me by giving just $1.00 per hour ($24 total).

Your donation is tax-deductible and 100% of your gift goes to help heal sick kids, here in Seattle, WA.

This Fall, my fellow Extra Life gamers are going to make miracles happen for kids. I can’t do that without your support. My goal is to raise $500.00.

Children who spend their lives in the hospital deserve more than we can ever give them. I hope my small sacrifice can help a child who has had so much taken away from them.

Visit Kreg’s donations page to make a donation and watch all the fun on justin.tv

My last class! Is it over yet?

It is almost time. I started working on my bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2005. Actually, let me rephrase that. I returned to school in the spring of 2005. I had about one year worth of general credits that transferred from my time at WWU when I started at Capella.

Now, I’m starting my last class. My dreaded last class. I’ve heard rumors about this class over the past year, and it seems the rumors are true.

Holy crap ton of work! I’m not kidding. My textbook alone weighs at least ten pounds.

The course is called “Business Capstone Project”. It should be called “Business Capstone Projects”. Plural.  There are three main components to the class: Discussions (40% of my grade), an individual course project (40% of my grade), and a group project (20% of my grade). Both projects have a strategic focus.

It looks like the group project alone will be as much work as any other class I’ve taken since I returned to school. It looks like it will be fun though. Well, as long as I’m not stuck with a group like my last group project; I did most of the work on the group presentation, we had to give a presentation via a conference call, I had bronchitis, and no one else got the material well enough to present.

My group looks like they will be good though, and the project will be interesting. It is a business simulation that takes place over 8 years, with each week of the course being a new year. This week doesn’t count because it is a practice week.  The entire simulation is strategic business decisions, but it will play out like a game with each team’s strategy impacting the other teams. No cute little avatars dancing across the screen though, that part is a little disappointing.

The discussions are the typical discussions that my classes have had. Read the text, read an article or a case study, analyze them, then discuss with the other students.

I’m a bit apprehensive about the solo-project. It is a critical analysis of the strategy presented by a case study. It is supposed to be no more than 6 pages (including references) and it counts for 40% of my grade. I am not good at being concise, so I expect it to be a major challenge.

Well, this really isn’t what I had in mind when I started writing. Apparently I needed to vent a bit.

Bed time! I’m going to try to get up early enough tomorrow morning to meet up with my east coast team mates for a team meeting before I have a bit of social time tomorrow afternoon.

Asheron’s Call; my first MMO love

Last week, I volunteered to answer some questions for Justin Olivetti (Syp), a writer at Massively, about my experiences playing Asheron’s Call. I played AC for a long time, and developed some long lasting friendships with fellow AC players.

It was fun reliving the good-old-days, and in the past few days Hubby and I have had some good debates about what made AC so great.

Read the full article over at Massively



Woot! gods, please forgive me.

I turn my friends into jealous bitches every time I mention it (and maybe I’m getting a little annoying talking about it too), so I avoided it in my last post. It has now become apparent that I’ve offended the Woot! gods. I must correct this.

During PAX, I checked my twitter feed regularly. Around mid-day on Saturday, @WootLive said something that made it apparent that whoever runs @WootLive was at Bumbershoot. I love Bumbershoot, but with a choice between Bumbershoot and PAX, PAX seemed the logical choice of place for Woot people to be on Labor Day weekend in Seattle.

 So I said:

@WootLive how can you be in Seattle and NOT at PAX?

and @WootLive made me giggle:

@AmandaRainBHM We try to only cover COOL events. #uncalledforslam #oneofusisatPAXtoo

Not long later, @wootgatzby introduced himself as the Woot person who was at PAX:

@AmandaRainBHM Hehe, I’ve been at PAX the last two days. Nobody even asked about the giant woot! symbol on my shirt. =(

@AmandaRainBHM (They don’t let me have access to @WootLive though. Something about restraining orders, public indecency, and fire.)

And thus began my twitterfriendship with @wootgatzby. This was another of my favorite highlights of PAX (even though we didn’t really meet).

Since then I’ve also met another Woot! employee via twitter. Another nice, funny guy who is new to Seattle, but this one doesn’t include Woot in his profile, so I’m not going to share his name here (in case he actually likes his privacy).

I’m enjoying the odd twitterfriendship that I’ve developed with these Woot! people, and hope we can still meet for a game night some day (after I’m done with school).

PS – If you’re one of the other people who I met at PAX, I do have a couple more PAX posts coming eventually. You probably aren’t forgotten.

PAX: In a nut-shell

PAX was pretty amazing.

Seriously. Where else can you be in a line with hundreds of other people in sight for two hours and have everyone remain patient? When else have you looked down on the floor of a theater to see more than three quarters of the audience fiddling with their laptop, PSP, DS, or phone while waiting? People who weren’t messing with some form of electronics before a show or panel looked out of place.

I began the weekend with my wish-list of panels. I picked all of the panels that I wanted to see, then eliminated panels that overlapped (of course, giving preference to any that may enlighten me about getting into the industry or what it is like working in the industry).

I was left with a list of panels for Friday that was packed so full that even if there were no lines, I wouldn’t be able to make all of them. I knew this, and I accepted the reality that I would be lucky even if I got into half of them. My “wish list” for Saturday and Sunday was nowhere near as full, but still had some very intriguing panels.

After all of my planning, I didn’t actually attend any of the panels that I’d planned on.

I’m always a bit embarrassed that I know very few names of people who are legendary in the industry I want to work in. Warren Spector is one of those names. Until a friend gave me a hard time for not knowing who Warren Spector is, I was clueless. After I was enlightened, I decided that I should go to the keynote.

On Friday, I got in line bright and early. I sat and chatted with Alex from New Jersey and Adrian from Texas while we waited in line and again during the keynote. Adrian and Alex were great fun and I regret not swapping contact information with them.

The keynote was spectacular. If you are passionate about gaming, work in the industry, or want to work in the industry, I highly recommend listening to a recording. All of the recordings that I’ve found have poor sound quality and video that isn’t worth watching, but are still worth listening to. A couple options are here and here.

After the keynote, I stayed for the Penny Arcade Q&A. It was amusing, but I think I would have preferred to spend that hour walking around the show floor.

On Saturday, Hubby and I met up with friends and sat in line for Acquisitions, Inc.; a live game of D&D with Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (the Penny Arcade guys), Wil Wheaton, Scott Kurtz (PvP Online), and Chris Perkins (who I have heard is a legendary DM). After sitting in line for about 20 minutes, an Enforcer came by and told everyone that our section of the line was the end, and we should turn away everyone who came after. We waited another hour before the doors opened, and in the end our section of the line (about 200 people) weren’t able to get in. There had been a mis-count. I was super bummed, mostly because of the hours wasted waiting to get in (and knowing that we would) when I could have been seeing games!

Saturday morning we met a friend for breakfast (most expensive bowl of oatmeal ever). At the table across from ours Warren Spector was having his breakfast and reading. Even though I’d only learned who he was a few days before, I was a bit star struck.

The rest of Friday and Saturday we socialized with friends and wandered the convention center. I never actually played any games, since it takes me way longer than the 15 minutes to decide if I like a game. I loved watching the Rock Band free play stage; it was fun seeing people cheer more for performers who tried and sucked than they did for performers who were just mediocre. The Saturday night concert was great fun. Paul and Storm were great. I would love to see them live again.

Hubby wasn’t feeling well on Sunday, so I was on my own. I explored all the areas that I hadn’t seen yet, and then I walked through the entire expo floor again so that I’d know where I was going.

Sunday was the day I was going to put my cards to use. I was going to introduce myself to people at the various MMO booths, talk to them about how they got into the industry, and ask them for advice. But that dreaded shyness took over, and I just couldn’t talk myself into bugging people when they were obviously busy. I did end up talking to a couple of people who work at MMO development companies. I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not being more outgoing.

In all, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait until PAX Prime 2011.

(Edited 10/14/10: Because I’m a dork and like to believe that PAX continued until Monday. Corrected references to things happening on Monday to reflect Sunday.)

I’m Back!

I intended to start posting about my experiences at PAX the day I arrived home. That didn’t happen… So what’s been going on?

First of all, I was exhausted from all the fun and craziness that is PAX. That coupled with that I’m not the most eager writer ever might have been enough to get me to postpone writing about PAX.

And then there was the suitcase ordeal. That is a story for another post. It was Tuesday afternoon when the suitcase issue was resolved and then the reality that part of my little vacation was set aside for studying sunk in, and I had to move on to school work.

My final for last quarter’s class (Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting) was due two Fridays after PAX. (more…)