Squam 2009

We’re now in the last day at Squam Lake, where we’ve been spending a week at the lake house. It’s been a good and relaxing trip, though not as productive a one as I might have liked. I’ve begun collecting a public calendar of gaming related conferences (industry events, not fan events), partially because I’m sick of finding out about these things after it’s too late to try and go to any of them. I’m hoping to continue to flesh it out as time progresses and more conferences announce their 2010 dates (very surprised to see how few had announced dates, or if they had, hid that information away, rather than displaying it as prominently as possible — as someone who has been involved in event planning, this seems like an incredibly poor idea).

While I’ve been enjoying myself, I’m also looking forward to getting back to Portland.

Six Months Silent

It has been almost exactly six months since I last posted on here. I don’t really have an excuses for the hiatus, and it’s not just been this blog: I’ve been largely silent from most of the net for a while. It’s been a really strange winter for me, mentally and emotionally, and it was consuming a lot of my energy and thoughts. Rather than complain about it, though, I opted to simply not post at all. In hindsight, this was a dumb idea: writing has been a catharsis for me in the past, and I can’t help but feel it would have been beneficial to be posting to get my mind off things; also, the longer I went without posting, the more daunting it became to start posting again.

I’ve finally updated the blog (like the new design? If you want a refresher on what it looked like before, Critical Games is still using that theme), and am now posting again. I’d been meaning to for a while, but what motivated me to actually do it is that someone asked me to. It’s a thing for me: if I feel something I do will be appreciated, I am infinitely more likely to do it.

I was having a conversation with Jessica last night, where she asked me what motivates me, what would motivate me on the various projects I have sitting on the back burner. What it came down to is that I need to feel like I am valued. I am hardly what you would call a workaholic — I think work for the sake of work is stupid (this is a longstanding philosophy, as anyone who has heard my rant about homework can attest), so for me to feel motivated on a project, I need to feel that the work is valued in some fashion. (This takes many forms: it could be personal appreciation, it could be feeling that I’ve contributed to a greater goal or dialogue, it could be a tangible reward, it could be getting to enjoy the end result…)

I’d hardly say it’s the best motivator, though: you have to DO before it can be valued, and the point of motivation is that it gets you to DO. So feeling appreciated or valued as a motivator basically relies on momentum, continuing to feel the drive to act based on the result of the last time you did so. And if you have an extended period where you feel like you’re not valued, or you feel unappreciated… well, you’re dead in the water. Which is where I’ve been for a while: feeling economically and creatively unvalued. (Where I have felt valued is socially, I’ve felt appreciated as a friend, and that’s where my energy has flowed as a result.)

I’m going to aim to post more often (more than once every six months shouldn’t be too hard), but in the meantime: what motivates you? It’d be interesting to hear others’ insight and suggestions for motivators.

The End of January

The months do seem to fly by lately, various projects churning up my time but not getting done. Life has been a little nutty lately. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend decided she wanted me to teach her how to play World of Warcraft (she’s never played games of this type before), which I’ve been delighted to do. She started out with a character on my account, but now she has her own account so we can actually play together. It’s definitely made a shift in the home-life — I’ve always been a casual player (play for a few days, then leave it alone for a week or two), and now we’re playing at least a little nearly every day. (For the record, no, I still don’t have a 70, err, 80… highest I have is a 50 Druid on Kil’Jaeden, and now a 30 Draenei Hunter on Bloodhoof, both named Nadreck.)

A little over a week ago, Dad had a heart attack. I didn’t write about it publicly because I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about people knowing while it was happening, but now that he’s back home, I’m a bit more comfortable mentioning it. It was his first, and we didn’t know there was a likelihood (we do now), so it had us all a little spooked. Due to the surgery, he can’t lift anything heavy (anything over 10lbs) or overly exert himself for a little bit — given that the house renovations are nearly complete and they’re going to have to start unpacking everything back into the house, I may end up flying out for a few weeks to help out (cross-country tickets are pretty cheap at the moment if you’re flexible on flight dates — I’m seeing as low as $200 round trip). He should be back up to speed by the time I’d actually get out there, but an extra hand never hurts, and it’d be good to see Mom and Dad and Freya (it was also Mom’s birthday two days ago. Happy birthday, Mom!)

There are things in the works that will hopefully be done and in place soon, and I’ll be able to get into a more regular update routine. In the meantime, watch the kitties.

On Web Sites and Harumphs

So, I’ve been largely radio silent for a while now, as I’ve been pondering where I want to write and about what, and trying to get some new projects up and running. This is currently leading me to designing a new wordpress theme for wanderlu.st, which in turn is leading me to researching HTML5 and CSS3. There are some great resources out there for each, but ultimately a lot of it is moot since no browser actually fully supports EITHER yet. They’re too new.

So why not just blow it off and use CSS/CSS2 and XHTML, you might ask, and rightly so — if even the bleeding edge doesn’t support it, how long before the general public has it adopted? Well, I’ve noticed a little trick in how web browsers render things that (thus far) allows me to adopt HTML5 without breaking anything. Basically, when we talk about a browser understanding an HTML tag, what we’re really saying is that it’s been told how it should render that tag by default, which things it should inherit from, and so on and so forth. So, while it’s a bit of a kludge, you can TELL your browser how to render a given tag via CSS. You just have to tell it a LOT of things, instead of just the things you want to change (you can’t take for granted what things display inline and which things display as a block, or inline block, et cetera, you have to tell it what it should behave as).

Now, I’m sure this will all bite me in the ass as I continue, leading towards getting the design exactly how I want it, and then discovering some major browser doesn’t work like that. But so far, it’s been working like a charm in both Safari (Webkit engine) and in Camino (Gecko engine). Need to test against Firefox (Gecko engine again), Opera, and IE6, 7, and 8. Also need to make sure I’m not using the tags incorrectly compared to how they’re specified in the standard. Until proved otherwise, I’ve opted to be optimistic!

Huh, Who Knew?

So, I was feeling a bit bummed that I didn’t fulfill my New Year’s Resolution of taking at least a DVD’s worth of photographs each month, but then while organizing and archiving the year’s images, I discovered that I did at least take over a thousand more pictures than I had in any given year to date. So, Woo! Little happy surprises.