Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moving.

Moving to here. Please update your feed/bookmark. Thanks!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Slidetronica

So, I quit Apple roughly two months ago. I've been living la vida desempleada. Why? I've decided that my career is in gaming, which means its time to bid audio driver engineering adieu. That begs the question of what I've been doing with my time.

The answer: Slidetronica.

You can read all about the 15-puzzle here, which has been around since the late 1800's. Slidetronica started off more as an academic exercise than anything else, but now with music I've composed and visuals by my friend Matt over at Area 5, I think we've created something that's actually worth playing. I keep official information on the app here, and I just submitted version 1.1.0 with a load of updates.


Slidetronica is free for now, but that may change in the future. It runs on all iOS4 devices at native resolution.

How fast is your 15?

Monday, July 05, 2010

33

Thirty-three this year. Lots of threes. I turned 33 on the third.

I haven't blogged here in half a year. Blame the onset of my midlife crisis, but you won't find me out buying any convertibles. In fact, you won't find me buying much of anything extravagant for a while since a few weeks back I resigned from my previous job. After years of flirting with chasing a videogame-oriented job, I've finally left my cushy audio engineering position to study iPhone game and music application development. Everything I want to do for a career seems to either smile upon or require this type of experience, and I wasn't going to get it without cutting myself loose for a bit.

Yes, a risky game. It's jumping off a cliff and counting on sprouting wings on the way down. Like I said, blame the onset of my midlife crisis. I call it brewing the antidote to self-doubt.

In five years of audio engineering, I had never written a single application with a user interface. I'm used to writing software that runs whether you want it to or not -- software that never gets noticed unless something goes wrong. I'm used to debugging with remote connections and copious print statements. It's highly specialized work that pays well, but it's not for me any more. On the other hand, since I kissed my regular paycheck goodbye, I've completed the game logic for my first iPhone game. It's more of an academic exercise than anything else, but I've decided to treat it like the accomplishment it represents for me. It'll get an original soundtrack and some fun artwork. It'll be my game when I'm done with it.

Anyway, as I'm wrapping up development on game #1, I'm already planning the next project. My friend Rodin came up with a brilliant idea for an application that, while being neither a game nor a music app, is something that I simply must write for the iPhone. It also stands the chance of making a little bit of money given how useful it could be. That's all I'll say about that.

For my birthday, Rodin came to my place at 8:00 AM to make eggs benedict, one of my favorites. We beat Portal (again), watched trailers for Portal 2, watched the mind-blowing demo of Limbo on Giant Bomb, and then did a big screen TV code review of my iPhone game software.

Nerd-out bromance complete, Vincy came over looking smoking hot for our weekend trip to Carmel. We headed down to 17 Mile Drive, stopping to walk the dog at Spanish Bay and to take a few pictures at the Lone Cypress. Then we headed to Casanova for dinner; let's just say that I have a new favorite restaurant.





We wrapped up the evening relaxing in a friend's hot tub in Pacific Grove. The next morning I was up stupid early to rent scuba gear and hunt halibut on the ocean floor with a spear gun. We never saw any "flatties," but it was still a good excuse to spend an hour and a half underwater on the fourth of July.

Anyway, it's back to everyday life for me. I need to compose an original soundtrack for my iPhone game so I can wrap up development and then start on my next big programming project. Aside from that I've got things to sell, a house to clean, a dog to walk, a girlfriend to love, and a career to build.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010

I'd like to acknowledge the new year and decade. Yes, I noticed that you happened. Good job rolling over, there.

There is one thing that bears mentioning, though: one of the most significant events of last year took place on the night of December 31st. It was an extraordinary conversation.

I have a number of friends that believe in completing on the outgoing year before creating anything for the new year. Intuitively this makes sense; I'll wager that the majority of us bold enough to declare new year's resolutions have some failure in our wake. Creating new resolutions without clearing out whatever innate meaning you've attached to having not completed last year's sounds like a proper recipe for failure. I just didn't expect what I'd find.

There has been a deep pallor of dissatisfaction coloring most of my achievements for the latter half of 2009. I've known this for a while, but I could never put my finger on the source of it. All I knew is that it started shortly after my ex and I broke up. The thing is this -- for many months I have been clear that:
  1. That was not the relationship I wanted.
  2. I have no undelivered communication for her.
  3. I'm open to having her in my life in some other capacity.
So if all that was clear, why did life seems so gray most of the time? If it wasn't the absence of my ex, what the hell was it?

"What did you make the break-up mean about yourself?"

I don't remember exactly what I said. I know I said something about having been completely vulnerable in a relationship for the first time ever. That's something I just don't do. For someone desperately concerned that if you really knew me that you'd see I'm nothing special, the last thing I'd want to do is bare my heart for someone else.

"What I heard is that you were fully vulnerable, and you still didn't get what you wanted. And then you decided you were done with being vulnerable. The ability to be hurt and failing at the relationship is more than you were willing to deal with. If you're going to fail, why also allow yourself to be hurt in the process? Can you see that?"

"Yes, I see it very clearly," I replied. Not willing to be vulnerable any more -- what has that been like for Vincy?

"Okay, so there's one last piece for you," the conversation continued. "Consider that you were vulnerable and that you got exactly what you wanted."

My mind exploded. I had been totally vulnerable, and all I wanted was to be free of that relationship. Yet I had been living inside, "Giving yourself fully to something still doesn't get you what you want." What followed immediately was a clear view on half a year lived half-assedly.

My eyes slowly filled with tears as I smirked and said, "I'm done with that."

For 2010, I declare a year of triumphs and heartbreaks inside my commitments painted in shockingly vivid colors. I will live for an entire year.

So be it resolved.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Links

This blog is thwalker.blogspot.com.
Its companion relationship blog is vincysboyfriend.blogspot.com.
My full website is toomuchthw.com (including my music).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Holidaze

My week-long Thanksgiving vacation in Mississippi produced three major results:

1. I spent more money than I intended to spend.
2. I had more fun than the past as dictated was possible.
3. I (naturally) gained more weight than I was prepared to gain.

This trip was Vincy's first opportunity to meet my family, and the expected result of mutual adoration was realized in short order. I have it that it's just easy to meet my parents. My father once said, "If you love her, we'll love her. If you break up with her, we'll just be nice to her." Vincy was walking down a street already paved with success, but the fact that she's open-minded, inspiring, and conversational certainly works to her advantage.

{As an aside, I remember when I never used to have girlfriend parent problems. Parents always loved me! That was, at least, until I started dating Chinese girls. Out of hand dismissal based on race is something I had mainly considered a relic of the past -- my parents' era -- but I've since learned that the women I've been attracted to lately risk running afoul of their family's good graces by dating me.}

My Thanksgiving break did nothing if it didn't heighten my anticipation for winter break in a few weeks. I'll have roughly two weeks to myself with no plans to travel and no other person to keep entertained. No offense to Vincy on that last bit, but all too often I find that the default context for "you're free and I'm free" in a relationship is "we should do something together." That viewpoint can turn into a nightmare for someone managing as many open loops as I am right now. I view completion as an access to personal growth, and I stand to be crushed by my current stack of outstanding projects.

In addition to plenty of QT, I'll be taking on the following:
  • Master Cleanse [link] from December 8 to December 17
  • Finish Assassin's Creed 2 [link] on Xbox 360
  • Finish Shadow Complex [link] on Xbox 360
  • Play and finish Uncharted 2 [link] on PlayStation 3
  • Finish Power Up [link]
  • Finish Opening Up [link]
  • Compose two new original songs
  • Daily dog walks
  • Replace my front door assembly and screen door
This is just thinking out loud, though ... some of these projects don't require much to complete (i.e., sit down or stand up and do them), but others require something more than just budgeting time. Completing projects of that ilk carries a far more pronounced cathartic effect than consuming media.

To that point, I suppose an accomplished vacation is precisely what I want driving me into the new year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cleansed

I'm done with ten days on the Master Cleanse. All told I dropped about sixteen and a half pounds of stuff my body clearly didn't need. Jesus. The verdict is that I feel great, and my skin is clearer than its been in ages. Oh, and it might be time to go shopping for smaller clothes again.

I've heard a lot of concerns voiced about the Master Cleanse, so I'll share my personal experience from these last ten days.
  • I heard that you have very little energy on the Master Cleanse. - I hesitate to say "true" here. Your body definitely goes through a few spaces during the cleanse -- fatigue, foggy-headedness, headaches, and nausea -- but all are fairly short-lived and do pass. After about day five of the cleanse, I consistently felt as energetic as I normally do.

  • The Master Cleanse forces your body into ketosis because it thinks it's starving. - This is not true. Throughout the cleanse, you'll kill hunger pangs with a shot of lemonade sweetened with maple syrup. Since your body always gets some sugar when it's hungry, you shouldn't be entering ketosis like on Atkins-based nutritional approaches.

  • The weight lost on the Master Cleanse doesn't stay off. - This is a complaint of nearly every nutritional approach or cleanse, and I think the answer never changes -- if you go off the approach, you can regain the weight easily by going back to your old habits. No one stays on the Master Cleanse forever, so yes, if you want to keep the weight off, you'll probably need adjust your eating habits.

  • I could never go so long without food. - If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. I've heard it recommended to do the cleanse along with others since it can be difficult to follow alone. The emotional desire to chew and swallow food can get pretty intense around days four and five, but I was able to brute-force my way through the cleanse alone.
I think the most valuable lesson I brought away from the Master Cleanse was the utility of having something present to deal with hunger at all times. On the cleanse, you'll always want to be carrying around your lemonade and water so that you can deal with hunger whenever it strikes. Why not do this regularly regardless of your nutritional approach?

It occurs to me that when I get hungry, I want to eat *NOW* and I want to eat enough so that I won't get hungry for a while. For the last ten days, I've always had my lemonade handy, so I never had to worry about staying hungry. Outside of the cleanse, however, I rarely have food readily available. I instead find the quickest way to get something tasty in my body, and for good measure I eat a lot of it so that I don't have to deal with that problem again for as long as possible. It's so clear now.

To combat this tendency, I'm going to be carrying around a load of plastic containers at all times. The goal is to always have some food on me that's okay to eat. If I go to a restaurant, I can eat until I'm no longer hungry (instead of "until full"), and then I can take the leftovers with me. I won't fear getting hungry again soon because I will always have food available. This does nothing to safeguard against unhealthy foods, but at least I'll be eating more, smaller meals.

I'm not exactly sure how this will work out in the long run, but today I brought to work rice porridge, two cans of chicken soup, and a bottle of orange juice to hold me until dinnertime. I think and hope it's more food than I'll be able to eat, but at least there is a cafeteria here at work if I come up short. It'll be another day at least before I can eat regularly again.

To be continued ...