Tag Archives: insights

On Efficiency

Recently I started having thoughts about how to limit my futzing-around-on-the-internet time in order to allocate it to more productive ventures.  I do spend a lot of time browsing around, consuming random articles about random topics, reading facebook and the like.  However, in the middle of my efficiency plottings, I realized that I’ve tried this plan twice before already.

The first time was back in college, when I spent a lot of downtime reading Livejournal and participating in various forums.  One year for Lent I decided to give up non-school-related internet activity, with the intention of using all the freed up time on all kinds of wonderful personal projects.  A cunning plan that surely could not fail!  So, when Ash Wednesday came and my habitual forum-browsing time arrived, what did I do?  I took a nap.  And that’s how it rolled for the whole time.  All the time I saved by giving up those internet ventures went straight into sleep.

Several years later, after college, I had a similar scenario turn up.  It was during my World of Warcraft prime, when that game consumed up vast amounts of my free time, that I at some point decided to limit myself in WoW so I could work on more productive personal projects.  Again, I stayed true to my promise and strictly limited my time, but all that was freed up was quickly consumed again by sleep.  Naps galore.

So I can only assume that the same thing will happen again.  Is it my body’s way of demanding a certain amount of downtime from me?  When I go into overachiever mode, it just counters by inducing sleep?  Or is it some test or obstacle that I just haven’t overcome yet?  Afterall, time is the one true currency.  Am I wasting it?

When I give it some honest thought, I don’t ever feel guilty about the time I spend not-being-productive.  I have no regrets about all those hours playing WoW, and in spite of my growing list of Someday/Maybe projects, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something by not getting down to them.  In fact, I’m rather content and happy with things right now, so maybe this is just something I need to shrug off.

Singing in the Car

Tonight I drove out near LAX to meet up with Jesse while he was in town and catch-up on life and the universe. On the drive back there was some accident on the 405, so I took the non-interstate route, which was no faster but at least I was moving. It made me realize that I miss singing in the car very much. These days I live 5 minutes from work (and am FINALLY getting my bike repaired this weekend, so will be in the car even less!), so I don’t get too much car-music time. I rather miss times when I drove to Louisville from Pittsburgh, and had 6 full hours of car singing.

Anyway, the hour I spent weaving my way through LA to get home was actually quite pleasant, from the singing but also because I was in no hurry to get anywhere, so I could take my time.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve made a playlist of some of the songs I sang on my evening drive home (predictably, there’s a lot of Bryan Scary in there). Enjoy!


The games I’d make

My team just finished hitting an intense deadline at the end of June, and I’m finally winding back down to a normal pace. As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and that question that every game designer gets asked…

“If you could make any game you wanted, what would it be?”

I’ve been asked that a fair amount recently, and I’ve always responded with “I have to think about it,” not as a dodge but just because I really did have to think about it. I spent the better part of 2 months pondering the matter, and have finally come up with my response.

Response below…

Football insight

While watching the Superbowl tonight, I had an insight. I realized that the time I started enjoying football corresponded with when they started using augmented reality to render the first down line.

I used to be all, “I don’t know what’s going on! Wait, why are they switching out? What happened? Was that a good thing? Did something good happen?” And I pretty much gave up on attempting to watch the sport.

Now it’s easy, I just look at the screen and think “Okay, they have to get to there, got it.” Suddenly, football is enjoyable to watch!

It’s amazing how a little piece of technology can make something so much more accessible to a casual audience!

Inner Fire

I’m having one of those stretches where I’m really excited about what I’m doing at work. We got updated schedules, which helps a TON in how energetic I am in any job. When I know my schedule, I can adjust my energy output across time very efficiently.

It’s one of those times where I’m all giddy when I wake up in the morning, because I’m excited about getting in and doing stuff, or perhaps I solved a particularly tricky problem in a dream. It sounds silly, but I solve game design problems in dreams all the time. Subconscious Lisa, she is very clever, and I give her plenty of time to work, what with all the sleeping I do.

Like everything else lately, I know that times come and go and change, so I’m trying to be thrilled and happy while the inspiration lasts.

I think part of the inner fire comes from me recently jolting up and realizing, “OMG, I’m making games, like, as a job.”

A similar thing happens to me with music. I often forget music exists, and then when I suddenly remember for whatever reason, I’m like “MUSIC EXISTS!!” and listening to music endlessly and dancing for days. It’s a strange phenomenon, but whatever. Being surprised now and then by a truth of life never hurt anybody.


Today I was eating an orange, which at the time was the tastiest orange in all the land, and I realized that I’m living like a queen.

I have this little home, and it’s perfect, and it’s pretty and the light shines through every morning and makes little rainbows. And there’s an uppity hummingbird who chirps demandingly at me if his feeder is empty, but that’s okay. And there’s all this water! Look at all the water we have! It’s like a miracle! We can swim in it, and take baths in it – queenly activities, don’t you think?

And I can lay on the floor and stare out the window if I want to, and that’s okay.

Oh, what a happy time I’m having!

What It Is: Part 1

Jesse gave me a book called What It Is by Lynda Barry, as a spontaneous gift. He said that reading it felt like talking to me, and I can see that, because for me reading it feels like being inside of my brain. It’s the sort of book I’ll have to read twice: Once to absorb it all, and the second time to put into practice the questions and exercises.

There is a part that touches on things we wish we could do, often as children, wishing we could draw, or sing, or dance, or write stories, or act, and so on. Barry questions the reader, “Do you wish you could draw? What do you think it would be like?” Similarly, what do you imagine being able to sing would feel like? I answered along as I read through, and noticed a similarity that I hadn’t before.

“I would feel free,” I thought. I think that being able to sing, or to dance, would make me feel a certain, unique freedom. I think that many people who wish they could draw imagine that it would feel the same way. Isn’t that interesting? What’s that all about?

I remember riding on the ACTS bus with Monica Hardin as a sophomore in high school, and we would badger her to sing for us. I remember thinking, “if I could sing like that, I would sing all the time!” I also remember stopping suddenly after that thought, and remembering all the times people had complimented my drawing, saying “if I could draw like that, I would draw all the time!” Interesting.

There seemed to be a disparity in the reality (my being able to draw already) and the perception of what it must be like to be able to (probably similar to my perception of what it would be like to sing). I think it’s similar to the idea of not being able to fly. We often wish we could fly, and dream about it, and yearn for it, but I think it’s important that we can’t. The feeling of yearning is an experience in and of itself that can be appreciated and taken for granted. If we COULD fly, it would mean something different to us.

I feel like I’m scratching the service on some insight or another, and that there is deeper digging to do. I haven’t pieced all these thoughts together quite yet, but I have them all in the same net.


I am full of happy, you guys. A near-full month has flown by right under my nose, and I am completely at ease with the pace. I don’t feel like I’m in a hurry for anything.

I love my job! The Insomniacs scooped me right back up into their pack, and I feel completely at home there. I love my team and I love the work that I’m doing, and I try every day to be grateful for it and for how lucky I am.

I also love the place that I live. There are so many flowers piled up outside my window, and every day hummingbirds zoom about and drink out of them. It smells wonderful! I was hesitant about choosing to live by myself out here at first, but now I’m very glad I did. Owning my space has inspired me to take responsibility for it, and I’ve made it into a place where I am happy to be. I took Joyce’s suggestion and printed out several photos from my trip to the Phipps Conservatory, framed them, and hung them about my apartment.

The greatest thing about moving across the country and starting a new career is the opportunity it gives for creating good habits. It’s like a clean slate for starting up routines.

I’ve been cooking regularly again, like I used to before grad school, and I have a little herb garden which I use just about every day.

I’ve started riding my bike to work every day, and I’ve been stretching every morning and every night. It’s like I’m getting healthy again, or something!

Anyway, I’m trying to burn a solid memory of how I feel these days into my mind, so that when I run into hard times in the future, I can call it back up and smile.

Her Morning Elegance

My favorite thing in the world is when people find things or make things that they say reminds them of me. It is so fascinating!

On that topic, Bryan Cash said, “I think that can tell a lot about what you unconsciously bring up in people.”

He said this video reminded him of me. Perhaps for my unusual relationship with sleep? Who can say, but it might be indicative of how I live my life!

Simultaneous Attraction and Repulsion

Yesterday, Jesse and I were chatting about a Civil War game he picked up out of curiosity. We were speculating on what a Civil War FPS might be like*. Jesse figured a lot of bayoneting, and I figured a lot of gangrene.

“Oh!” I said suddenly, “what if there is an amputation mini-game with a hacksaw?”

IMMEDIATELY after the words fell from my fingers, I recoiled in horror. UGGGH!! Ew!! EW!

“Undo, UNDO!” I shouted, but alas, once an idea is birthed into the world, it cannot be forced back from whence it came. It is here to stay.

Even though I shuddered at my horrible idea, it kept coming back up in conversation, both then and again tonight.

At one point I even said, “I want someone to make a BVW World about it. NO I DON’T!”

But it wouldn’t leave my brain! Imagine the sound design on that. Bits of bone…..no..ew…EWW!! UGGH!! STOP IT.

Jesse laughed and said that there’s no word yet for those mysterious things which attract and repulse at the same time. And he’s right. Attempting to google it only brings up some science journal article titled “Independent functions of slit-robo repulsion and netrin-frazzled attraction regulate axon crossing at the midline in Drosophila.” Which, of course, is not helpful at all. Do scientists publish these things and then giggle behind our backs? Netrin-frazzled, indeed.

Anyway, my poor, horrible Civil War FPS amputation mini-game may as well get logged away on my great list of ideas. Perhaps writing it down will cast it away for good. And who knows, perhaps it will come in handy someday. Poor little idea. Uggh….*shudder*

*apparently it’s pretty terrible.