Invitations Done

101 invitations created, assembled, and sent. Yayz.
Here they are laid out in roughly the right geographic places. We have a lot of invites in California and Ohio. (Local ones are not pictured because we’re delivering those in person, which is why Pennsylvania is underrepresented.)

Here’s what they look like (with the RSVP and information cards on the right). I think they turned out pretty awesome.

I’m glad we took all of last week off of work to finish these up… it ended up taking pretty much the entire week.

In other unrelated news, there was a new year! We had people over for board games. We had the best champagne glasses.

(More documentation of the festivities is here.)

Also, with a new year comes life updates. Both the photo stats site and photo journal have been updated.

It’s only day 3 back at work and I’m already feeling super overwhelmed and stressed out. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I’m really not cut out for software, or any job that requires talent and ability. :\
There’s just been so many different things demanding my attention recently (particularly interviews… so many interviews) that I haven’t had a chance to really finish any one thing. And that’s incredibly frustrating.

The week got even better when I went to ship back my old phone today and managed to leave the apartment without my keys, wallet, or phone. That was a fun walk to Squirrel Hill and back in the snow. It’s supposed to be even colder tomorrow though, so I suppose today was a less-bad day to be stuck outside for a while. Blah.

KoL, Boston, wedding, and San Francisco

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.

I started ascending again in KoL (abandoning my level 52 character). Did a couple Slow and Steady runs while it was in season, and I have to say, I really didn’t dislike its concept as much as I thought it would. The old item restrictions I didn’t really notice (even though like 90% of my “premium” things were unusable since I haven’t bought very much recently), and the 100-adventure-per-day restriction worked really well with my hectic travel schedule…

Two weeekends ago was rlambert’s wedding in Boston. Greg and I flew out Thursday to save on airfare (and to have some time to explore Boston), and had a nice time at the wedding on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, it was home for him and to San Francisco for work for me.

Just got back from San Francisco yesterday, and I’m already gearing up to head to Toronto this week for yet another wedding. A little after that there will be another wedding in Ohio, followed by another wedding in Chicago. It’s going to be an interesting summer. (Well, end of summer, I guess.)

Work had recently moved to a new building, so I got to experience the awesomeness that is sufficient conference room space and awesomely-stocked kitchens (including a Coke freestyle machine). Also the kitchen has Its Its ice cream sandwiches. I had some for breakfast every day. I am so bad. D:

Anyway, as much as I hate travelling, I had a good time in both Boston and San Francisco. Explored some new things around Boston, got to see a lot of people again (in both cities), had a bunch of tasty food, and attended some fun work events.





More photos of the stuffage can be found at http://photos2.alanv.org/.

Movies, photos, People Wars, work

In the past few years, I’ve only seen a couple movies in theatres: Frozen this past February with Austin, Yubin, and Max; and The Lego Movie this past March with my dad when I was in Phoenix.
It’s interesting then that I’ve seen both of these movies again in McConomy: Frozen with the rest of the in-town Fairfax group over Carnival weekend, and The Lego Movie tonight with Greg when we were out of ideas of what to do and decided to see whatever movie was showing at CMU.
They’re both really well-done films made for kids but enjoyable by adults. So that’s kind of awesome. I keep thinking I should buy Frozen in Thai when it comes out on DVD. I already enjoy looping the Thai version of Let It Go while I work.

In any case, life has been really uneventful lately. Due to whatever reason, I’ve been taking far fewer photos than usual. A quick check reveals that I only have 318 photos since the end of Carnival (since April 14), which represent a total of 619 shutter releases.
So it’s both interesting how much I edit down what photos to keep now (a huge difference from in high school and college when I would just dump my memory card and keep everything), and how few photos I’ve been taking (619 photos used to represent a single day of photos for me).
A lot of the editing is because tagging photos has grown to be a chore. It’s super useful to have tags to be able to find photos by person or event or location, sure… but having to manually do all that for every photo I keep is rather frustrating. This is probably a good thing for my hard drive consumption anyway.

I think it would be interesting to stop carrying my big camera around all the time. I do so now half out of a sense of fear of not having a camera with me for that one big thing or some important moment I want to capture. And it’s also kind of neat to have photos of mundane everyday life. But my little camera is sufficient for that… and after all, I survived for several months (after the death of my D50) with only the little camera. We shall see.

Work has started on the next People Wars expansion, Hijinks. It’s themed around Climbing characters and Route cards, which enhance task playing and scoring.
I’m worried about maybe having overbalanced the game toward tasks given all of the task-centric cards entering the game recently (and given that I haven’t actually played a game with cards past the Exchanges expansion)… but it kind of feels like attack decks have it so much easier that tasks should be getting boosts. Who knows.





Work has been rather interesting lately. The other senior dev on the team recently left Salesforce, leaving the role of senior team member once again solely on my shoulders. Between that and a bunch of planned vacations from other developers, there are days when I’m the only developer working, and we’re probably down to about 2/3 of our previous productivity. Which will mean interesting things given the jam-packed plans for the upcoming release.
I guess time is showing me to be a terrible leader and coordinator, especially given how I already know I do badly under stress (or, rather, I will get the shit done, but I’ll feel like shit the entire time while doing it and hate my life).
We’re hiring a new senior developer for the team, who will hopefully be able to ramp up and help handle a lot of the knowledge, planning, and design work (which right now I think is falling mostly to me). But until then, onward as best I can.
It’s just frustrating though when a lot of time is being eaten up by bugs and questions and emails. I pulled a task last last Tuesday (the 15th) with the intention of starting it the next day. But between bugs and other things, I ended up not having time to do anything on it until this past Thursday (the 24th).
Let’s hope that’s not a sign of things to come in the coming months.

San Francisco, again

I spent the past week in SF for work, and it seems I still can’t get a good travel experience. Last time, I got stuck in Vegas for 12 hours. Having learned that SF arrivals can be at the whim of the weather, I booked my flight into Oakland instead.

The flight itself was fine, and I got in at the expected 9:05 PM. I had booked a Supershuttle because I figured it would be more convenient, and that’s where the trouble started. Called for my shuttle, went to the curb, and waited. 15 minutes later, with no shuttle in sight, I called again and waited on hold for another 10 minutes. Turns out my shuttle had developed a flat tire and the expected pickup time was another 30-60 minutes.

This, obviously, was not good, so I decided to take AirBART and BART into the city instead. Unfortunately, I just missed one while I was on the phone, so I waited another 10 minutes for the next one to leave. Got to the Oakland BART station and found that one of the tracks was out of service, so they were running trains in both directions on a single track, resulting in slower service than usual. I finally made it to the hotel at 10:45 and barely caught the restaurant before the kitchen closed. Sigh.

The trip otherwise was really good. Since the four devs on my team are all in different cities, we’d synced up our visits to meet up. It was the first time the entire team (minus the doc writer, who is in Seattle) was in the same place. Woo.

Monday was a holiday, that none of us had realized before we booked, so we all spent the day individually wandering. I’d tried to sync up with South Bay folks, but no one responded, so I made arrangements to meet up with SF friends for food and karaoke instead. Unfortunately, I was called in for a P0 around 5, so I missed karaoke and instead met up with Zeke and Ian at a bar for food around 8:30.

Wednesday evening was a team happy hour. Over a period of 5 hours, I had four small sangria pitchers (about 6-7 drinks), a couple of glasses of wine, and about 5 cocktails at a beautiful high-up bar called The View. Was fine afterward, and didn’t have a hangover the next morning. I think this might be a new record for myself as far as alcohol goes. Let’s not do this again for a long time, but it’s good to know I still have my tolerance.

The rest of the week was work and usual group dinners, except for Friday when we had a team trip to Napa and Sonoma for wine tasting. That was tasty.

More photos will be added to photos at some point.

I’m currently in Lake Havasu with my parents. The most interesting part of the city is that they purchased, moved, and rebuilt one of the London Bridges. Unfortunately the city itself isn’t all that interesting, especially given that pretty much everything closes down after 6 PM. But we’re enjoying the weather and change of scenery, at least.

Whee things.

Life, games, TV shows

Life goes. Rather busily, in fact. It hadn’t occurred to me how busily until Chloe asked about dinner plans last Sunday and I had to stop before automatically responding that I was free “any evening”. My schedule now consists of climbing two evenings a week, board games one evening a week, and Tartan on Monday afternoons and all day Sunday, in addition to other random things that come up (like dinner plans, impromptu board gaming, or parties).

The benefit of all of this, at least, is that I now am guaranteed to leave the house at least once every 48 hour period. It’s a big change from a few months ago where I would often not even change out of pajamas most days, but really nice. (Yeah, yeah… working from home makes you lazy. :P)

For Christmas, we acquired the new board games Ticket to Ride, Yspahan, Hey That’s My Fish, Bananagrams, and Word-A-Round. Euphoria also arrived recently. Each of these (except for the new Euphoria) have been played many, many times. Yay for new board games.
(There was a mishap with The Agents where I both entered the wrong shipping address, and the package also didn’t arrive at the wrong address… so I need to figure out whether it’s worth my time and money to hunt down a new copy of the game. Le sigh.)

I received the first three seasons of The Walking Dead for Christmas and have watched through the first season and half of the second. It’s a really, really well done show, and I can see why it gets all of the acclaim it does. It provides a really character-centric focus on the zombie apocalypse (much like World War Z [the book] provides a global view of the disaster). I’ve also finished through season 4 of Supernatural and should start season 5 at some point. At least all of these DVDs are getting some use. :)

The hunt for houses has begun. It’s looking like houses with our constraints in the neighborhoods we want are going to run between $350,000 and $450,000… a bit more than I had expected. It’s not like we can’t afford that, but it just feels weird to be spending so much on a house. We went to two open houses last weekend on the opposite ends of the spectrum (a modern 4-bedroom house by CMU at ~$470k and a townhouse in Squirrel Hill at ~$280k), so we’re getting a better idea of what we can get for the money, at least. At some point we should figure out financing and find an actual agent to work with. Argh I wish buying a house was easier.

Work… has been work. In general, I tend to come back from breaks feeling like I want to quit my job and just travel, rather than feeling refreshed. This was particularly true coming back from this Christmas break, and it feels like I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things three weeks in. I’m stressing out about really minor things, irrationally irritated at bugs, and generally feel like I’m getting less done than I should be doing. Sigh.