Life, Sleep, and Games

Life goes, and feels like it’s mostly been consumed by work lately. It’s not that work has gotten particularly busier or more difficult than usual, but I’ve found myself having a really stressful time with it anyway. I think a lot of it is probably due to my increased (really, changed) responsibilities and I start overseeing different areas and products from a technical standpoint more than actually embedding within a team and generating code output. When I do end up coding, it’s usually been for either weird things that no one else wants to touch, or cleanup work that is pretty mind-numbing.
I guess we’ll see how things are looking and feeling after this release is over, but it’s been utterly bizarre to no longer be writing code every day, and having solid meeting days become a more frequent occurrence.

In other (perhaps related) news, I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. I’m not entirely sure why, since I have no trouble falling asleep during the day if I want to take a nap. But at night, as I lay in bed, it seems there’s just endless thoughts and ideas and concerns that fill my head all at the same time, and I can’t clear my head enough to actually doze off. Often, when I do sleep, I find myself waking up randomly in the middle of the night and then unable to fall back asleep for hours, if at all.
This is a pretty recent problem, and it seems to coincide pretty well with my generally feeling increased stress levels at work, so we’ll see if things get better once we finish this release.

In non-work news, and in terms of things consuming most of my non-work time, I’ve been working on a game. This isn’t particularly new news, given I’ve been working on this game since something like February of this year, but it’s recently become a bit more of a time sink as it’s finished to the point of being playable and I’ve started hiring artists and putting polish onto it. It’s not something I feel comfortable sharing with the world at large yet, but I’ve learned a lot of really interesting things from doing it.

My main takeaways are that I’m really, really appreciating having a well-paying day job, and that I really wish I had any artistic talent whatsoever so I could try my hand at doing at least some of this myself. Also I wish I was filthy rich so I could just finance a bunch of awesome artists to create art unrelated to anything I was doing, because that stuff is hard, yo.
It really feels to me like pretty much anyone can code (especially given how important it’s become, in a lot of ways, now), but very few people can art well, which is only amplified by the fact that the engine I’m using (RenPy) makes it extremely easy for anyone to write a game with basically zero coding ability. The people that seem to make the best games on it seem to be people that can draw sprites and backgrounds and CGs, rather than people that can code.

In other, unrelated news, my second daily photo project ended yesterday. It had long since run its course, and I often found myself going downstairs and taking pictures of the stove or something. Still, I managed to do a daily photo for over a year, which is a pretty nice thing.

This has become a wall of text, so here’s some photos.



Blargh (politics, work, life)

It’s been a horrific week, both in politics and in work, but at least I’m home.

On the politics front, it goes without saying that this administration has been absolutely insane, hypocritical, dysfunctional, and ruthless in its actions regardless of (or perhaps in spite of) facts, reason, and the law.
I’ve been donating $300 a month to the ACLU, and will likely raise it next month, as well as making sporadic donations to the EFF and maintaining an NYT subscription. If you have the financial means to help, I encourage you to make some donations as well, particularly to the ACLU, which has already played a role in part of the immigration ban being stayed.
Also consider some more locally-impacting charities that will directly help your area. Here again is my list of charities (as well as suggestions by friends).

Seen on Facebook (via Greg): John McCain, Dick Cheney, Michael Moore, and the Pope are all on the same side right now.
I guess that’s how you know your administration is batshit insane. :\

On the work front, we’ve had a rather disastrous release filled with e-releases and customer cases… and the release isn’t even half deployed yet. I feel really bad for my manager, who has to deal with all this as well as pressure from upper management… and particularly bad because a lot of the issues that came up came up in features I built and designed. To be fair, the features themselves are working exactly as expected, and we put in existing toggles for customers that have problems. But due to either oversights or underestimates on the sheer magnitude of impacted customers, we’re having to pull out or tweak the features anyway.
Le sigh.

Things are depressing so here are some photos.


The new Apple store in Chandler is really pretty. (Also the outside of the store has no indication in any way that it’s an Apple store, but I guess it’s pretty obvious from the interior.)

I guess they have to clean escalators somehow…

Ikea is doing that “kids draw things and we make them into stuffed animals” thing again.

Pretty.

I also brought back a lot of TCGs (including my entire collection of Pokemon cards and X-Files cards, and my remaining WoW cards) and have been sorting them and generally assembling decks. I now have assembled WoW “booster” packs to do a booster draft (limited card selection to 4 different classes so drafting won’t be insane) and assembled two X-Files TCG decks, and will be making Pokemon and Case Closed decks as the next thing. Yay for TCGs?

Edit: Woke up feeling unhappy this morning, and I wanted to use up my company match for their FY, so gave another $1500 to the ACLU. Take that, Trump.

Life

It’s been an interesting January.

Returned to work last Thursday, the 5th. It was a standard no-meetings Thursday, so I was expecting it to be pretty quiet, but instead I got thrown into a P0 bug and several other problems related to the release that had just gone out.

Friday started out as a much more laid-back day, until lunch time, when I got a call from my mom, which resulted in me booking a flight to Phoenix less than 3 hours before it took off, and rushing to the airport.
If you know me, you know I’m the kind of person that likes trips planned far in advance, and has all logistics worked out, and gets to the airport hours before boarding to make sure I have no surprises. So this was a particularly new kind of stress, although it worked out fine in the end.




So now I’m unexpectedly in Phoenix for a couple of weeks. It’s nice seeing friends here again, but otherwise life has been fairly monotonous outside of work, which continues to be stressful.



Although work at least has been more design-y and meeting-y than code-y, which has been good given I’m on a slower connection here using my manager’s box for development work. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I love having a box physically with me until I have to remote to one to work from Phoenix.

House, work, Until Dawn, Powerball

It’s 5 AM and I can’t sleep for some reason, so here’s a general braindump of things from the last few days.

Our house is approaching usable and livable status! Keith needed a trip to Robinson last weekend, so we tagged along and used his car to buy 8 chairs and a TV stand at Ikea. Our living room couch and armchair also arrived, so we actually have furniture now, and it’s awesome. We spent the weekend building furniture and cleaning the place in preparation for my birthday party there this upcoming weekend, did our first load of laundry in the machines (which all work fine, albeit slowly and strangely since I guess they’re all fancy and have tons of modes and settings), and generally started bringing over things from the apartment.

Except that I got a call Sunday night from work that things were exploding. Apparently we managed to break API logins for many customers. It turned out to be a weird edge case that we hadn’t considered, and that had existed for years, but that was revealed now because we stopped doing fallback in a way we had previously. Lesson I guess is to always always always log when stuff is happening that you don’t expect to, and pull logs before deprecating code. (No matter how many times we do this I still get amazed at the weird things our customers sometimes do.)
That was an all-nighter mostly (with an hour or two of sleep between Sunday and Monday), so it was a rather unfortunate start to the week. At least the rest of the week has been quieter.

As previously reported, I acquired a PS4 for Rock Band and Guitar Hero recently. As part of the Black Friday deals, I also picked up a copy of Until Dawn, which plays out kind of like a visual novel but with more exploration and real-time reaction events. It’s actually ridiculously fun, even if my video gaming skills are super rusty from not having really gamed in like a decade. (Then again, I never did play actiony-type games anyway, preferring to stick to RPGs, so maybe I never had them in the first place.) Completed my first playthrough today and somehow managed to get everyone through without dying.

I still need to pick up a second guitar for Rock Band, but the $100 price tag is proving to be a psychological barrier. If I get that, the drum cymbals attachment, and a second mic (and mic stand), I’m going to be down nearly another $200, which seems like it would be better spent on several good board games, or a bunch of good DLC songs. Meh.

Also today, I bought a lottery ticket for the first time. The thrill of having a tiny shot at that ridiculous sum of $1.5 billion proved too alluring, but I was also hoping I’d at least win the cost of admission back by matching the powerball or a couple of numbers. But no such luck — between my manual pick and the QP ticket, I matched exactly zero of the final numbers. It’s just as well anyway… who needs nearly that kind of money?

Thanksgiving and flooring

I had a Thanksgiving. It was nice to sit around for 5 days with no commitments.



Of course, life made up for it afterward.

On Monday, we had people over to refinish our hardwood floors. This by itself would have been fine, because I live (and work) about 4 minutes from the house. But Monday we also had a P0 production issue that I had to deal with at work, involving lots of calls and coordination of the change with different teams. Which meant that I was just further behind on the thing I actually needed to be doing work-wise, which has a hard deadline and I was already in danger of missing. Monday was probably work until 11 PM or so, as a result, including tons of jumping around between the apartment and the house.





On top of that, all of my Black Friday purchases started arriving. I wanted to make sure everything worked properly, so I could return or exchange broken items this week, so I had to spend some time setting everything up and making sure it worked. On the plus side, Guitar Hero and Rock Band make for some reasonable diversion from the general stress of things right now, at least.

Tuesday wasn’t much better. Floors are still in progress, and work is still crazy, and I’m still generally feeling overwhelmed with things. But at least I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now.



Also my new camera is awesome. Looking forward to using it tonight at games.