Soon To Be Classics

Monday, February 25, 2008

How Do Wagons Work??

I can never remember. If you give up an addiction, are you going "on the wagon"? Does that mean you've left your substance of choice (alcohol, cigarettes, illegal drugs, products hawked by Billy Mays on late night cable) behind and joining the circus of "clean" people? Or, are you going "off the wagon" because the wagon is full of bleary eyed, medical marijuana induced hippies that's plunging over a cliff into Hell?

Why you ask?

Because I'm staying at Shocho's place for a bit while I start the new job. I'm currently writing this in his basement (or "man cave" as he called it and I want one) while he and LWC play a certain online MMORPG that I've been clean from for about 9 months. I hear them talking about quests, noobs, drops, and such and my hands are shaking. I hear the sounds of battle and the grunts of something called a grim totem as they're slaying them left and right. I'm starting to sweat. My credit card is calling from my wallet, begging for release and telling me it has nothing to do with a f'ing wagon.

This might be a good time to begin chain smoking.

The First Day Of School

The only thing I'm missing is my Spider-Man lunchbox.

Today is the first day of my new job here in Denver. Chuck and Cheryl picked me up from the airport yesterday, took me out to a lovely dinner (Chili's, of course - it's a Company thing), and I bought my new clothes for the first day. I did notice this morning that I forgot to bring a pen (or pencil). This is 2008, of course, so perhaps that won't be necessary. I hope the new kids like me. I wonder what time recess is.

On the homefront, we had two showings of the house on Saturday but we won't know until Thursday what the comments were. We made a mistake in packing because we put my bearcat scanner away. My wife asked why that was a mistake and I told her that since we still have a baby monitor running, we could just tune it to the same frequency, go one street over and listen to what the people viewing our house are saying.

So I believe the quest for a house here begins tonight but I haven't talked to the realtor yet.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ben Franklin Originals...very rare

In between lugging loads of furniture out of the house, I managed to get my eyes checked today.

For the...first time...ever.

I guess the BMV eye machine doesn't count. No, the wife and I had a couple of hundred bucks in a flexible spending account to burn by the end of the week. Just in case you don't know what that is, it's pre-tax money you can spend on medical expenses. So Jen went last week and got her glasses yesterday. Heh. Four eyes.

Today, I had to get the air blown into my eyes. Not as bad as I expected. Got the exam and the itchy eye drops that make you look like a wide-eyed salmon for the rest of the day. Oh yeah, and with my pupils the size of hubcaps, the f'ing sun came out in Seattle. Tell me THAT isn't karma.

The reason I went in, I told them, is not that I'm having problems with my eyes. Rather, my former company and every other company in the world has begun lowering the font point of all of their text. TCG cards are nefariously guilty of this crime. Further, the ink in several books that I bought years ago was apparently bad as it's causing the typeface to shrink. Doctor Wong just laughed and proceeded to strap strange apparati to my head.

It turns out, that entering my 40's, my eyes are getting just a tad blurry on stuff right in front of me. I suggested it would be easier and cheaper to just step back. Not so, I'm told. (By the way, NEVER tell an optometrist you spend 10+ hours a day looking at a computer. It's roughly the equivalent of eating a box of oreos before getting your teeth cleaned.

Anyway, I'm just a hair over the line on need a prescription for reading. My far sight is spectacular but reading tiny text is a bit difficult. So I have to get glasses, just for those occasions when I read something more meaty than a comic book. (heh heh...) While being fitted, "Debra" asked if I could pick out my frames or whether or not I needed the wife there. After staring at her dumbfounded for a moment, she said that "many men aren't permitted to pick them out themselves." I promptly picked the most obnoxious pair I could find. I'll show her.

I wanted a pair of Ben Franklin originals, but that just got me a funny stare.

Maybe I should have waited for Jen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Congrats to Blu-ray

And just like that, Toshiba's HD format is dead.


The next generation DVD format war is over. In the wake of the decision by Wal-Mart, which accounts for roughly 37% of the U.S. DVD market, to carry Blu-ray disks exclusively starting in June, a Toshiba source told Reuters on Saturday that it was ending support for the HD high definition format.

The decision was driven by both retail and supplier losses for HD. Target had already gone to Blu-ray, while Best Buy was now recommending Blu-ray as its "preferred format" and NetFlix had decided to go completely Blu-ray.

Blu-ray was also winning on the supply side--Warner Bros., which had been supporting both formats, had decided to go to Blu-ray only, leaving Paramount, Universal and Dreamworks as the only major studios still supporting HD DVD. But given its immense power in the retail DVD market, it was the decision by Wal-Mart that likely spelled the end of the format war, which has slowed the progress of next generation DVD sales.

As recently as December (see "Both HD Formats Are Here to Stay") it appeared that the two formats would likely be able to continue to co-exist, but the very slow growth in sales of high definition DVDs and players demonstrated conclusively that consumers were going to sit on the sidelines until the format war was over. Add in the difficulty of supporting two formats at retail and it's obvious that there were plenty of incentives for Warner Bros., Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target to make the market-altering decisions that they did. With sales of regular DVDs leveling off in 2007 and the number of new high definition TVs soaring, the studios are looking to the hi-def arena for growth in the lucrative home video market, so getting over the troublesome two-format hurdle was imperative.

It still remains to be seen if the consumers will find the qualitative difference between regular DVDs and hi-def Blu-ray disks compelling enough to spring for the higher cost Blu-ray players and disks, but it will certainly now be easier for consumers to invest in the hi-def format, since they can be fairly certain that the Blu-ray format won't be going the way of Super-VHS. The studios and the mass market retailers won't be happy if the high definition DVD doesn't expand beyond its current status as a niche market for well-heeled early adopters, but that is the scenario which would probably provide the most opportunity for independent retailers.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What A Day

Today was my final day at work. I got in about 7:40 to be greeted by my cube covered in balloons and confetti.

Throughout the day, I received some lovely gifts, lots of "we'll miss yous" and yes, some more snubbing. We had a great lunch in my honor with some very nice things said by both of my bosses. There were literally so many moments today worth noting, it's hard to remember them all. The best part of the day was that I pulled off securing a MAJOR promotion with one of our licensors that I was told I wouldn't be able to do. These guys liked my promotion so much I was able to pretty much put it to bed by lunchtime. Everyone seemed surprised that I was still working up to my last day. That's how I roll baby. :)

After work, the company President took me out for a drink. We talked business and we talked about other stuff. He's a genuinely nice guy and one that I hate disappointing.

After that, the rest of us joined up at this Chinese restaurant-bar. The group there was just about perfect. There's one or two people that I wish would have come, but pretty much the crowd there was right. At one point, at a lull in the conversation, Rollie told me to entertain the crowd. So I asked everyone to share their favorite memories of me. That was a hoot. It's fun to learn how other people see you.

Leaving was tough. Especially saying goodbye to Rollie. He's pretty much been my go to guy since coming here. I don't think they realize how solid he is. I'm not sure he does either. It's so rare you meet someone in this life that you really trust to watch your back.

So the next chapter begins. The realtor rescheduled and will be here tomorrow. The POD is here so we begin loading it tomorrow. In just over 1 week, I hit the road for the next phase of life.

But that's next week. Today, was a pretty good day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Mad Dash

Today is Monday. The last Monday at work, at least in this job. In two Monday's I report to my new job provided I can get my Grand Am through the mountain passes that have received a record eleventy-billion inches of snow this year. (Yes, that is a number because numbers are infinite so sooner or later "eleventy" comes up.)

I've received some incredibly flattering emails from various levels of customers. Many I have know for years, others for just my last couple. Consider I've been involved in the hobby gaming industry since 1995 in one form or another. On the other hand, some of the forums are filled with the most incredible hatred and bile directed toward me than I have ever seen. This must be what it's like to be in politics.

Right now, we're in the mad dash to get the house ready. The realty agent is coming over tomorrow. We'll call her Donna, as in Prima. Her introductory packet contains 14 photos of her (5 full body shots) and not one photo of a house. That would be like a sausage ad showing only pictures of the grinder and nothing of the meat. Well, it's sort of like that. Really. Did you know eleventy might not be a real number?

Anyway, "Donna" (according to her bio) is the most successful real estate agent in our neighborhood which I believer her translation of "neighborhood" is "all of creation". She is REALLY impressed with herself. For some reason, this is putting heightened pressure on us. We have two kids, which means our house looks roughly like one of those houses they used to test atomic bombs in the desert, but in mid blast. We have a LOT of work to do. Booger removal from the wall next to J's bed is next on the list.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Thank God It's Tuesday

I'm glad Monday is over.

I officially gave my notice to WizKids yesterday and told them that I would be accepting the offer from Sony Online Entertainment. I will be working as a Brand Manager for the San Diego Office, but will be embedded in Denver. Most everyone took it very professionally. There's a couple of people that appear to be snubbing me in the hallway, and have yet to say a word to me since I sent the email. People react to things in different ways, I suppose. My departure will certainly pile more work on the backs of folks that are already busy, and I do feel horribly guilty about that, but it was really something I did for my family.

The family and I are very excited about the move. Denver has 300 days of sunshine a year. (I think that's a guarantee.) The job is great money, houses are MUCH cheaper there, and the traffic is not as bad. We can finally get a big yard for the kids and I think in the melee of talking to them we promised them a dog.

The details are still being hashed out and now we have the horrible task of moving, trying to sell a house, buy a house, get two cars 1000 miles, etc. Gimmie another deep breath, folks.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Take A Deep Breath Folks

I hate New Year's resolutions. You'll never keep them because oftentimes you set unrealistic goals for the wrong reason. For example, people who have heart attacks will generally become very weight conscious after that attack and trim down. To start that regiment because it's tradition tied to the calendar date is silly. Hence, I don't make them.

I did, however, do something a little different this year. On New Year's this year, I took stock of how our family did in 2007. And found that it really sucked. Two days into the year I was diagnosed with a skin cancer. Not a big deal, no, but the "c" word is not something you want to hear when you're starting the new year. Mom's health was a huge issue this year. Work got harder and harder. While still fun and rewarding, it just became so difficult to repeat the previous year's success. The traffic is getting worse, not better. They're saying that in 10 years, my one hour commute will be 3 hours. The house is expensive and mom's condition has really hit us hard in the wallet. Jen of course despises the weather here, and I have to say that the last two years have been so ridiculously bad (supposedly the worst two on record), that I have to agree. The worst part though, was watching Bailey and Jameson. I think the weather is affecting both of them. It ALWAYS rains. The yard (small as it is) is always wet and muddy. It smells of wet leaves and moss here. Most of the time, they either can't go out or I just don't want them to. They stand at the window and ask "why does it rain here all of the time". Coming from Virginia Beach, VA, they know there's something better.

Incidentally, I really don't want to hear "you have to just suck it up and deal with it" from lifetime Seattle-ites anymore.

So I made my non-resolution. I decided that I was going to improve my family's situation this year. That's exactly how I worded it. I wasn't going to necessarily look for something else. But, if something came up, I would give it a look.

Interestingly enough, something did come up. And it looks to be very, very good. It also definitely fits the bill of improving my family's situation. I'll be a little vague right now, but starting tomorrow, things are going to happen very, VERY fast.

Take a deep breath everyone, because I'm going to need it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Take Off, Eh?

I'm not sure what was funnier. The situation that led to me finding this little gem on YouTube, or the fact that I watched with a Canadian.