Seattle

Happy long weekend!

Holy cow… where has the time gone?

I’ve definitely been unmotivated to post recently, but I didn’t realize that it had already been five months! I’m kinda embarrassed with the visitors I may be getting from Syp’s blog, given that I haven’t posted in so long…

So, what have I been up to?

In April I spent a weekend in Seattle with friends at SakuraCon. It was a great time! Lots of anime, people in cosplay (but not me, I’m not that brave), really fascinating panel discussions, and good food, drinks, and laughs with friends. My favorite panels were a couple of panels put on by Roland Kelts about Japanese culture (I’ve been enjoying his book Japanamerica in bits and pieces since then), and a lecture by The Librarian about the symbolism in Spirited Away (Hidden Away by Gods: Rediscovering Miyazaki’s Spirited Away).

Work has gotten more interesting too. In my last post, I vented my frustration with not getting to project manage an implementation project I’d been looking forward to. Well, in late March or early April, that changed. The project manager was no longer available, so I’m leading the project again! Fun work, but overwhelming because my other workload hasn’t decreased much.

In June, Hubby and I were sent to England for some work on the implementation project. Hubby was there for some training on proprietary development tools for the ERP we use in the England office, and I was there for some discovery and training with our UK team. We were there for two weeks, and had a great time. Maybe one of these days I’ll share Hubby’s photos from our day in Bath.

Hmm… Nothing else major has been going on. I’ve been reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series (A Game of Thrones is book one), and am trying to complete book four before the next one is released in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and I’ve been playing Rift. Hubby bought Rift just after it came out, and about a month later he gave me a trial. After the first time I’d closed a rift, I was hooked. I made it to max level faster than I have in any other MMO, and am still enjoying it.

For the rest of this weekend: Today I’ll be doing some reading, visiting my EQ2 guildies, and maybe doing some PvP or dungeons in Rift. Tomorrow we’ll be visiting friends, BBQing, and blowing stuff up, as everyone should on the 4th of July!

If you haven’t seen it already, I wrote a silly little post for Syp, and it went up on biobreak.wordpress.com. I must warn you, it’s cheesy, and I’m not very creative.

What comes next: anticipation and anxiety

When I went back to school, I had a grand plan: after graduating I would be qualified (by both project management experience and degree) to take the Project Management Professional test. I would study for a couple of months, take the test, and get my certification. After being certified, I’d try to get a project management job at Turbine.

I was in love with Turbine at the time, and still am, but I’ve realized that Turbine isn’t the only place I’d like to work, so I broadened my horizons. I want to work in a role where I can contribute the creation and support of video games (console, PC, mobile, you name it).

Last year I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait for the certification. It is still a goal (for this year even), but it doesn’t have to come before finding a job in the gaming industry.

So here I am, anticipating the thrill of finding a job and company that is a perfect fit for me and anxious about all of the things that a new job might mean for me.

The thought of a new job scares the hell out of me in some ways. I’ve worked for the same company for the past eleven years (That’s more than one-third of my life, yikes!), so it is comfortable; it feels like home. It would also mean a big move for my husband and I. We live in Bellingham (between Seattle and Vancouver, BC). I hope to find something in the Seattle area so that we can move between Bellingham and Seattle so Hubby doesn’t have to leave his job, but it is still a major change for us.

A new job would be exciting tons of reasons that I’ve shared before, but most importantly because if I choose well it will be a place where I can learn, grow, and be challenged. I know I’m odd, but I really like my work, when it is challenging (unfortunately, recently it hasn’t been). I could go on and on, but those are topics for other days.

I wake up every night thinking about it. Would Hubby really be comfortable moving out of state if I were to find something at Turbine or SOE? Will I be confident in interviews (the thought of interviewing terrifies me)? How do I meet people who work at the places that I want to work? What can I do to make my resume’ stand out? Should I call about the application I submitted before Christmas, or wait a while longer? So many questions and random thoughts float through my sleepy head.

It is exciting, and will be a fun adventure (even if there are a few sleepless nights).

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.)

San Diego, here I come!

I love to travel. When I was in middle school, I went to Russia with a club from my school. When I was a teenager it was day trips to Seattle on the bus. In my adult years it has almost all been about work. I made a couple of trips to Hawaii while I still had family there, and last spring my hubby and I went to Disney Land. Otherwise, my travels have mostly been to our office in Phoenix and once to England.

I have always wanted to buy a plane ticket on a whim and travel somewhere new. And to go all alone. To have the freedom to do what I want, when I want. To sit and read by the pool, stroll down the beach, spend 2 hours studying a painting in a museum, or perhaps just wander the city.

(more…)