Wherever You Go

I am simultaneously excited and scared shitless by the state of my life right now. I gave up my apartment, and moved out on the first, without having a job or a place to live lined up anywhere — while I thankfully have friends and family whose couches I am able to crash on for a while, I am effectively homeless, without the funds to rent an apartment. I don’t really know what I’m doing or where I’m going or even what the hell I’m thinking. I just know it’s time for a change.

For now, I’m in Portland, and have been crashing on my brother’s couch for the past few days. His roommates are friendly and nice, so there hasn’t been any complaints about it, but I know it’s not a viable position for more than, say, a week. Exactly what I’ll do next, I’m not entirely sure. It depends to some extent on what sort of work I find and when.

It’s exciting and freeing to have no real ties, able to end up anywhere, but to be that completely adrift is also incredibly frightening: I love to travel and wander, but it’s nice to know there’s somewhere that is ostensibly “home” when doing so, which isn’t something I really have going for me right now. (It’s also nice to have some cash set aside for such wandering, and it goes without saying that I don’t have that either.)

In other news, Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons and an essential lynchpin for so much of what the gaming industry and achieved since, passed away last night. Rest in peace, and my best wishes and condolences to his friends and family.

What a Day

I know I said I was aiming for a lengthier post, but it ended up not happening. Today kind of sucked to be honest. My friend Eli finally updated his blog, but for a really unfortunate reason. I had a big fight with someone I love very much, which resulted in me realizing just how broken I am and choosing to walk away for both our good. I found out that my friend and former classmate Justin Kautz was killed in an avalanche on Friday out in Jackson Hole. It’s sort of a fitting way to go, given his love of the mountains and skiing, but still really really unfortunate. He was a hell of a person, one of the few genuinely nice guys. Last time I’d touched base with him, he was working on a book (a collection of short stories) out in Jackson Hole. Ironically, I was just thinking about getting ahold of him to see how it was coming a week or so ago. It may be something of a pipe dream, but I hope things were done enough to be published posthumously… I think he would have wanted that. He’ll definitely be missed. Requiescat in pace.

General Update 93.2.2b1

I’m down in Rhode Island again (this is a trend observant readers may have noticed). I’ve been spending time with Erica, and in general making rumblings about getting work done rather than actually doing it. I’m feeling alright about that, though, as it’s helping me collect my thoughts for my critique of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, viewing it as a social commentary.

Today has been a mixed bag. On the positive side, my laptop has shipped a week earlier than expected (it had been delayed due them upgrading all the systems from 1.83GHz dual core to 2.0GHz dual core), which makes me quite happy. I’ve also been upgrading various bits and bobs of software (including WordPress and Gallery), and in general doing little computery housekeeping that I’ve been slacking on.

On the negative side, I just received an email from the school’s dean, informing the student body that one of our professors just passed away from cancer. I worked with Charlotte for fully two semesters, and greatly appreciated both her humor and her insight. I strongly suspect I’ll be blowing off my other weekend plans and attending the service this Saturday; she really was a gem, and I feel like I should pay my respects.

On to other things. My friend Eli proposed to his girlfriend Pia last week, and she said yes, so congratulations to them. Also, I’m thinking of moving to Rhode Island for an interim period of about 2 years, while I get Critical Games rolling as a development company (yep, Uri and I have decided to bite the bullet and do it… I hope to speak with people at GDC both for seed funding and developers, but also for general insights into trying to put together a small, tight development team in this day and age). Why Rhode Island? It’s as good a spot as any for now, and it’s also where Erica is, so that way I’m at the very least not dividing my time quite so frenetically as I am now. It’s hardly set in stone, but basically I’m looking to buy a townhouse or condo in the area to live in until Erica finishes school, and then both of us want to go west.

Of course, time tables change, and so do locations, so it’s all still very tentative. I may end up back in the Upper Valley instead (which is at least closer to RI than Montpelier is, but that’s not saying much), or in southern New Hampshire feeding Boston. A lot will depend on what happens at GDC, in terms of accelerating or deccelerating our plans. I am fully aware that I may need to go take a job elsewhere for a while and leave this as a side project that I do in my spare time until we can afford to break free and do it full time. Again, depends on what happens at GDC.

Death in the Family

The past few months really have been hell, between the divorce and the deaths of my grandparents. It doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down, either: I was informed this morning that my cousin Bob Niss passed away. He was one of my mother’s first cousins, and a hell of a nice guy and talented writer. He will most definitely be missed.

Winter Exposes the Nest, and I’m Gone

We buried my grandparents yesterday. The clouds sat low in the sky and muted the world, leaving just a rustle of wind through the grass in the cemetary. A few words were spoken, and each of us were given the opportunity to place a handful of earth in the grave. There were hugs all around, and then we went down to the church, where services were held. Several family members got up to speak, though I’d chosen not to. At the time, however, I was strongly tempted to. There was a lot of talk about all the community work my grandmother did, and being such an upstanding member of the community, which is absolutely true — she did a lot. My memory of my grandmother, however, is far more simple and personal: climbing into bed in one of the really high beds she had in Lyme, and her coming in with her hair down, and reading to us before we went to sleep. For all the big things she did, that’s the memory that’s been running through my head for the past few days.

After the services, my brother, my cousin Philip, and myself climbed up the bell tower and rang the bell, once for each year of her life (comes out to 30 each plus one or two by the person who let us up there, whose name is currently escaping me). After it all, we went to Dowd’s Country Inn, which is Gammy’s old house, and had a reception and dinner together. It was a good conclusion to the day, and really made it feel more like a celebration of Dick and Mary’s lives than a mourning of their deaths.

After getting home from dinner, I went out to Hanover, and spent some time with my friend Jasmine. I’ve only known her for a week, and I already think she’s absolutely fantastic. She is both forthright and honest, yet compassionate and caring, and simply great to be around, whether for a quick hug or to spend the day with. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with her. I’ll leave it at that, for now.

I’m thinking pretty heavily lately about the lack of deeper thinking I’ve been doing. The notion of spirituality and emotions and mysticism and energy, these things I’ve been touching peripherally but not actually delving into on a personal or deeper level. To some extent, it feels like these topics are knocking on my door, waiting for me to let them in. Maybe it’s time I did.


As mentioned in an earlier post, my grandmother passed away on June 17th, 2005. It seems that my grandfather held on for another week, then passed away in his sleep during the night between June 22nd and June 23rd, 2005. While abrupt and unfortunate, it wasn’t entirely unexpected, and it’s a blessing that both were able to go peacefully. I feel privileged to have known them, and will miss them both.

Memorial services will be held on or around July 8th in Lyme, NH.

My Grandmother

Mary Sharples Bowden Olmsted, my grandmother, passed away today. I’ll update more when I have information on where to send condolences and well wishes.

[Update 6/19/2005: The memorial service will be at the church in Lyme on July 8th. There is an organization that will be accepting donations in lieu of flowers, but I’m waiting to get that information.]

[Update 6/28/2005: Donations in lieu of flowers on behalf of Mary Bowden Olmsted should be sent to:
The Utility Club
PO Box 323
Lyme, NH 03768 ]


As some (most) of you know, I’ve been on a MUD called AVATAR for seven years now. One of the things that really kept me playing it for so long was the sense of community that exists there. It’s like an extended family in many ways, and was made moreso by getting to know some of the players and other immortals in real life. (For instance, the owner of the MUD, Snikt, is both a friend and a business partner, and we would never have met without the MUD.)

One of our regular players died last night. Last week he had gone in for a routine tonsillectomy, and during the operation they knicked an artery. He was sent home afterwards, but ended up back in the hospital the following night, and slipped into a coma not long after. It continued to get worse, with a period during which he was brain dead for six minutes, causing irreversible brain damage even if he ever awoke from the coma. His parents signed a Do Not Resuscitate order yesterday, and he passed away at 1am last night. He was 19.
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