Tag Archives: entertainment technology center

Crawfish and other fun

Today was a fantastically social day, by my standards, seeing as I normally spend my weekends napping. Rob and I and some others were commenting about how the older ETC alums know very little of the current first-years (or rising second-years at this point), so we decided to organize a brunch for the LA alums and students who were interning in the city this summer.

A healthy crowd turned up, and a fun time was had by all mingling and chatting and such. I got a really tasty drink, which was essentially water infused with lemons, oranges, and cucumbers, with a large amount of each floating about in it. It was cheap and refreshing, and I’d like to attempt making some myself at some point.

After the ETC Brunch, Ben and I headed south for the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, which is supposedly the largest festival of its kind out of New Orleans. The buzz had been spread around Insomniac about the event, and we were all for it. I’m certainly glad I went, for the crawfish were DELICIOUS. They scooped up a giant pile of steamed crawfish onto my platter, along with some red potatoes and corn, and it was all seasoned very well. I also picked up a plate of jambalaya from another booth, and it too was fantastically made.

We sat down in the shade with a multitude of other people and listened to some great live Cajun music, including one band featuring a washboard played with spoons. Fantastic! The atmosphere was great all around, as there were tons of people decked out in fancy hats, dresses, and parasols (much to my delight, as I was carrying my own). Everyone was having a great time, and I couldn’t help but snap up some photos of people dancing and enjoying themselves.

After our crawfish feast, we met up with Josue, who lives in the area, along with his wife and friend, and went to an arcade. Normally I am not one to pass up on playing arcade games, but today I was content to watch Josue and his amazing skills at the old school Star Wars game, as well as some crazy sword game on which he got the high score for the day (some other girl was doing quite well playing after us, and Josue eyed her intently, thinking he may have to defend his sword game title, but she only got 2nd place. Fortunate enough, as we may have been there all day, otherwise).

We parted ways at last and Ben and I returned to Burbank, where I was quick to catch a nap upon arriving home. Today was a delicious adventure, for sure. I think I’m going to have to make a pot of shrimp creole before too long.


I have a Masters degree! Wooo! This morning when I woke up, I felt free and full of adventure. I felt like a different person, which did not happen at my high school or undergrad college graduations. It was mysterious!

First off, an update about my grandfather. He was able to get his oxygen intake down and return home, where he is apparently doing well considering the circumstances. Hooray!

When my family came in for graduation on Saturday, we went to Claddagh for dinner. On a Saturday night of graduation weekend, it was unsurprisingly packed, and we had a long wait for our table. Later, they informed us that the wait would be longer, because the kitchen was so backlogged on orders that they weren’t taking any new ones until they caught up. They said they could seat us and we could order drinks, but that it’d still be 45 minutes or so until we could order food. We said that was fine.

When the waiter brought us our drinks, he also brought a couple packages of oyster crackers for us, which was very thoughtful. While we were snacking on them, my brother and I theorized that oyster crackers might be tasty with malt vinegar. So we started pouring, very carefully, single drops of malt vinegar on single oyster crackers, then eating them with delight (it was very tasty afterall!)

Well, I think the waiter saw us doing this, and assumed that we were either starving or crazy, because he showed up a few minutes later with the good news that he’d talked to the chef and was going to be able to take our food orders just then. Bwahaha!

The graduation ceremony on Sunday was really nice. Delicious, delicious food! Photos of me looking all masterful here. Afterwards, in true nerd fashion, I took my family to see Star Trek, and everyone enjoyed it. Wins all around!

Speaking of wins, my parents totally surprised me by getting me a PS3 as a graduation gift! I was completely caught offguard! Hooray! Now I can actually play the games that Insomniac gave me! Oh, that too…I know I jabbered about it on facebook and twitter, and most people know about it, but I can’t remember if I blogged about it on LJ. I have a job! I’m going to be returning to Insomniac as an Associate Designer. I’MA MAKE GAMES FOR A LIVING!

WOooooooo! Spring Break!

San Francisco wrap-up

Ugh, I have been sick like a dog all week with post-convention funk. I think I’m finally killing it, though.

So, GDC was fun times for sure, but several of us stayed an extra day over the weekend to hang out around San Francisco. Andy, Edmundo and I stayed with M.E. We got up the next morning and headed for Chinatown to meet Carlos, Carren, and Carren’s sister. The goal was dim sum, but no no, not just ANY dim sum.

You see, when the crew went on their ETC West Coast trip two years ago, they went to a specific dim sum place while in San Francisco. They were all determined to find the same place again, but had no idea what the name of the restaurant was, and nothing but fragmented memories about where exactly it was located.

Between looking up dim sum places and seeing if they looked familiar on Google Street View, looking at photos from their West Coast Trip to see if any pictures contained street signs in the background, and trying to combine their memories (“I remember it was at the crest of a hill!” “I think we were parallel to the Transamerica Tower!” and no less than a dozen “THIS LOOKS FAMILIAR!”), we walked up and down nearly every block in all of Chinatown and STILL didn’t find the place.

I suggested that perhaps it were a magical place, and you could only find it if you’d never been there before. All the same, I wasn’t about to go wandering around by myself to test the theory.

Nevertheless, there is no shortage of good dim sum in Chinatown in San Francisco, so we still had a DELICIOUS lunch!

The other big highlight of the day was going to see the Exploratorium. I had heard many sing the praises of this science museum, and was anxious to check it out for myself. The songs of praise are true! It is, by far, the best science museum I have ever been to. All of the exhibits are 95% interaction and only 5% text (The Louisville Science Center’s newest installations could learn from this place for sure) and the interactions were significant and engaging (not just “press this button”).

Of course we didn’t see it all, and I really wanted to check out the Touchdome, but it was sold out for the day. This is fine, for it will give me an excuse to go back to San Francisco at some point so I can finishing exploring the museum. HEY COLIN!! Can I come visit you sometime so we can go to the Exploratorium? 😀

Anyway, it was lovely time spent in San Francisco. (it was actually sunny for the whole week! Not a cloud in the sky! MADNESS!!)

2008 Review

The first thing I learned when looking back on 2008 was that I forgot to do a year review for 2007. Doh! Oh well, such is life!

08 was a good year for me. I think I have changed into something different by the end of it, but something for the better.

– The ETC West Coast Trip: adventure and fun and education! I went to Disneyland for the first time and sniffed out more companies than I had any right to see. It was a fantastic opportunity, and I’m so excited to see this year’s first-years head off on the same trip. Wee!

– I was lucky enough to land a sweet deal for my first project course at the ETC. Bandology was amazing, and I was so grateful to be on a team with such awesome people. I feel like it was a first step in boosting my confidence, and convincing me that yes, I could be a designer.

– speaking of which, GDC ’08 was a pretty big turning point for me. That was when I figured out that I should be looking for a design internship, not a production one. For some reason, I’d held the role of game designer in my head as something that I couldn’t do, reserved for people more awesome than me. At GDC I reached up and plucked it out and held it right there in my hand. It was some kind of magic.

– Ah, the summer. Pre-Insomniac Lisa and post-Insomniac Lisa were two completely different Lisas. Oh, Insomniac, you will forever be the incubator that hatched a new phase of Lisadom.

– Dorky though it may be, ’08 was the year where I did some semblance of end-game content in WoW. Rather, it was the Year of the Tank. Confidence boosts come in more forms than one would guess, you guys.

– Imagine my luck when my second ETC project team was also awesome! Get In Line harnessed a freshly hatched new Lisa and drove her to new levels.

– I got to go to Project Horseshoe! What an awesome experience. I met cool people and stretched my brain in cool new ways and learned a thing or two about myself in the process.

– Which brings us to the most recent: ringing in the holiday season with the Tuesday Night Ballers. It was as though we’d all gone off on our own adventures, then came back to enrich one another with all that we had learned. Such wonderful friends, I am lucky!

I am extremely excited about 2009. A little scared, sure, but who isn’t? It’s going to be some kind of adventure, I can tell already.

Semester Recap

This is a slightly abridged version of my most recent posting to my mailing list, so I apologize for repeats.

My fall semester project was a HUGE success. The experience we created for the line for the BVW show was incredibly well-received, and people waiting enjoyed themselves (and felt like the time went by very quickly, which was one of our most basic goals!).

To catch people up, we decided to use Megaphone as the software platform for our games. Basically, you dial a local phone number and, once connected, can control things on the big screen with your cell phone acting as a game controller. In addition to mini-games, we filled our our experience with videos and factoids and break times, all themed for the BVW show.

The games worked and people played them, and the people in the two competing lines really got into it, cheering and sighing depending on how their team did with each game.

One interesting last minute idea was our crude version of a “virtual host” for the experience. Whenever the web camera breaks were on, I opened up Notepad and typed messages to the audience. They LOVED it. If I typed “hello,” the guests would wave at the screen. If I typed sassy comments, they laughed. I even got them to do silly things in line, including the wave and an impromptu dance competition. It was a fantastic success!

All in all, the experience went really well. We did have one issue with our phone server crashing at the end, which means people didn’t get to play our final game, but we glossed over it and no one knew the difference.

Here’s a video clip of footage from the day of the show. All the music was composed by my teammate, Soo, and was the music we used in our games.

If anyone is terribly curious and wants to watch our final presentation, it’s posted on the project website here:


So, since I’m doing an internship for the spring semester, that wraps up my official graduate school experience! I’d say it’s an incredibly positive way to close off my ETC education.

As for now, I’ve been enjoying my last school break as much as I can muster. I’m already enjoying being back in Louisville for the holidays by being as sickeningly lazy as possible. It’s wonderful!

I has a hunger

Let’s be honest. For a long time now, I’ve been scraping by on other people’s consoles, nibbling at new video games as a good-natured jackal might nibble bites of other kills, and have been happy doing so. I’ve sustained myself as such since, well, since Halo, I suppose, and fun times on the XBox back at Rhodes 2 in undergrad. There have been a smattering of purchases here and there, but for the most part I’ve been scavenging.

It’s been frugal living, and for a long time it’s been quite an acceptable means for me to absorb enough gaming to keep myself going.

However, things have been changing. I’ve grown hungry to own my own games again, and to feed off of my own consoles. With the recent wave of November releases, I become restless and jealous every time I read a twitter or a status update about some such game that some such person has been enjoying. It makes me twitchy and antsy and fuels a desperate hunger to play and learn and consume and shove games into my brain as I do so often with books. Can I hold out against this craving? Should I?

I haven’t felt this way, really, since back when I purchased my Playstation 1 in high school, which is pretty much when I began sustaining my gaming crave with my own money. It began in a similar way…I remember scraping by on the consoles of friends, playing what I could on visits, and slowly growing hungrier. Then Spyro the Dragon came and I was like “okay, that’s it,” and I happily devoted the meager income of a high school student to support my gaming hobby in full with a fresh new console.

I suppose, if I’m going to be a game designer, I could write off the investment cost as research and not worry about it. Still, it’s so much money! Even if I became a devoted GameFly user, I still have to get the consoles and a TV to play them on.

I think the best happy medium would be to take advantage of the ETC library and lounge in the time I have left, but students on co-op can’t borrow games from the library, so I’d have to have someone else get them for me. It is not quite the same, I know, but it might help sate my appetite for a bit longer. We shall see!

Things are good

I am in a startlingly good mood today, and I am unsure of exactly why.

Part of it, I think, is that I am so excited about going to Project Horseshoe this weekend that I can barely stay in my seat nor stay focused on any one thing for too long of a time. I have a feeling that it will be something like a Game Design retreat, and I am oh-so-excited to see Insomniac Drew again. I was also delighted to see that James Ernest and Nick Fortungo will be attending, both of whom recently visited the ETC. Plus, I’ll hopefully get to visit with Bryan Cash while in Austin!

My good mood could also be attributed to the fact that Resistance 2 is coming out, and though it probably marks me as an excitable young whelp in the industry, the launch of my first credited title does have me dancing and skipping and giggling in anticipation. First steps!

It could ALSO be attributed that my WoW friends have finally managed to do a full all-guild Karazhan run (with the addition of one helper), and will hopefully do another one this week. Granted, this was enabled partly from the nerfage, but it fills me with joy and love to be able to play the big instances with friends. I think I’ve given up on the notion that I am a casual WoW player, and will move it over into the “hobby” category. It is just such a fantastic means for me to nurture my friendships with those people I love who are far away from me!

Perhaps it is the weather. Who can say!

Halloween Studio Crawl

Last night was prowling about in the local Goodwill trying to figure out a costume for tonight’s Studio Crawl. I have been mildly depressed lately that I haven’t really built a good Halloween costume in ages, and was poking about the aisles hoping to be inspired.

I began thinking about props I could use, and my bright green parasol came to mind. It was bright green, it was Asian in design, and suddenly…that was it! I would go as an Eastern dragon and tote along my parasol! I was quickly galvanized to scour the Goodwill for any bright green article of clothing I could find.

I put together the costume last night and the headpiece this morning. For the headpiece, I used a ball cap and created a dragon face on top with foam and feathers and the like. The bill acted as the dragon’s snout, and I was quite pleased with the whole outfit! I even made three-claw gloves out of some purple mittens (it was nice to fire up the sewing machine again). Pictures to come soon, I’m sure.

Anyway, I joined up with Edmundo, Carlos, and Rich, and we invaded Schell Games as the League of Awesome. Rich had put together a fantastic steam punk time travel monster-hunter get-up, with a brass-plated gauntlet, a steam-powered shot gun, and other such fun gadgetry. Carlos was a mime, and Edmundo was a classic Frankenstein monster. The details in their costumes was delightful, and the Studio Crawl was great fun.

There were other such fun costumes from other IGDA members at the Crawl: Beast in scientist garb, Michael Cera’s character from Juno, a Tonks and Lupin duo, and a FANTASTIC Phoenix Wright getup (the guy just modeled his hair out of flat fun-foam, it looked great!).

All in all, a great night, and a refreshing one at that. Having a venue to go all costumed up is just the spark I needed after several years of dull or effortless costuming on my part. I feel very much in the Halloween spirit.

Clean clean clean

So, remember back when I said I was going to get rid of something every weekend? Yeah, that didn’t happen. I should have known the hectic ETC schedule would get in the way.

BUT, I have been making some progress. I disassembled my desk and moved it to the basement, and yesterday I did a massive room-cleaning spree. After 4 bags of trash and 1 bag destined for the Goodwill, I am feeling lighter already.

Among purged items include 2 old motherboards, a pair of snowboots that I never ever wear, even when it snows, various trinkets that didn’t live up to the sentimentality test, and the like.

Next on the cleaning agenda: THE CAR (horrors)