Trial by fire…

I’m sitting in a Starbucks. It’s a cold, rainy, night in Las Vegas, NV. I flew here this morning, by way of Los Angeles, CA, from Boston, MA at 5:00 AM this morning. I’m here to build a huge Rock Band stage for The Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Convention and Tradeshow.

Without knowing any better, you might think that I’m living the same life i was a few months ago. Well, that’s true, but only partially. I don’t live here anymore. Instead of being here for a client, I am the client. It’s surreal, and kind of exhilarating. It’s something I’ve worked towards for a long time. Something I’ve always wanted. Something I plan on preserving for as long as I possibly can.

Well, that’s all wonderfully vague. It’s been a while since I wrote here and it will definitely be a while after this. Blogger is discontinuing it’s FTP publishing, which means I have to radically rebuild this site in the near future. I’ve already started working on it via WordPress, but I’m having a hard time giving up the control I’m used to having by hand coding everything. A lot of the WP options and features are really cool, things that would take me forever to hand code, but the trade off is that i don’t get to control every line of code. It’s like giving up my baby and I’m really struggling with it.

Anyway, back to what I was saying earlier.

Since I wrote here last I’ve gone from a fulltime professional freelancer to the fulltime Event Specialist for Harmonix Music Systems. Yes, you read that correctly. For 10 years I’ve worked incredibly hard as a freelancer, always just outside a legitimate, actual, job in the video game industry. Now I work for, easily, one of the coolest video game studios in existence. I’m busting my ass to keep it that way.

I’m still adjusting to being back in MA, but it’s my home state so it’s not difficult. Next month I’ll move into Cambridge proper and ditch the ridiculous commute I have at the moment. I say next month because I’ll be on the road for nearly all of March. If you’re out and about, swing past and say “hi”.

Dates: March 7th – March 10th
Event: The Las Vegas Bar & Nightclub Convention
Location: The Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas NV

Dates: March 10th – March 22nd
Event: South By Southwest Music/Film/Interactive Conference and Festival
Location: The Austin Convention Center – Austin, TX

Dates: March 24th – March 28th
Event: PAX East (Penny Arcade eXposition)
Location: The Hynes Convention Center – Boston, MA

I’ll actually be involved in a lot of other events, but those are the major ones this month.

I’d like to think I’m transitioning well into my new position, but this month will put that to the test. Trial by fire, but all fire I’ve walked through in the past.

In other news:

  • The epic saga of my battle with Helio/Virgin Mobile/Sprint has come to an end. As expected, the doors will be shut on Helio forever in May. I’m glad I got out when I did. I carry an Eris now, chock full of Android, on Verizon. It’s really just a hold-over until Windows Phone 7 Series makes it’s debut. I will be all over that when it hits shelves. My experience with Helio has left me as kind of a buff on mobile technology. It’s been quite the fascination for me recently. I plan on writing up a recap of the saga and the absurdity of what I had to go through just to get off the sinking ship before I was pulled down with it
  • I need to buy a bike again. I haven’t ridden seriously since I was run down years ago (mangled me and my bike up pretty badly). With my relocation to Boston, it’s time to start cranking again.
  • I have a new love affair with Timbuk2. I carry a small, custom, TB2 laptop messenger everywhere now. It’s almost knocked my Ogio Hip Hop off it’s golden pedestal. I still consider the Hip Hop the greatest messenger bag ever created. My TB2 hasn’t been through everything my HH has though, so it remains to be seen if it can take top honors. I also have a large TB2 custom that I use for travel now. It is amazingly comfortable and the True Fit cam buckle is possibly the greatest invention in bag history. I can’t really say enough good things about TB2. If these two bags survive this month, they’ll become my new full time bags.

Well, that’s all for now. Build day for Bar & Nightclub starts at 8AM tomorrow and I have to walk back to the MGM Grand in the rain. Fun.

The clanking of crystal.

So this is the new year. Again. 2009 was a hell of a year for me. My Rock Band year (but that’s a different story/post/whatever). This year hasn’t quite started like I was hoping, but I’m financially in better shape than I thought I would be. That’s at least something. Once of the biggest “looking back” things I’ve been working on is how much I didn’t write this year.

I’ll clarify a bit. I actually did a lot of writing. In fact, I was published multiple times this year over on the RockBand.com ‘Zine. I had a great time writing those articles and the response I got was overwhelmingly positive. I enjoy writing, a lot. The problem is that no one would know that from this website. This blog/journal/whatever it is offers pretty slim pickin’s when it comes to providing solid examples of my literary pursuits. The site is obviously not finished, since work keeps me out on the road so much, but the reality is that there is a single overwhelming reason for the lack of creative writing.

Most of my inspiration for writing is born out of personal experience, as I imagine the case is for most writers. The issue, though, is that I can craft and revise my narrative very quickly in my head. Anyone who hangs out with me knows this. I have a penchant for delivering highly articulated rants and lengthy monologues within minutes of having my imagination sparked or my ire set aflame. Of course, I’m almost never behind a keyboard when this occurs. Even when I plot out the entire course, every detail, of an article in my head I’ll lose the majority of it before I can commit it to any kind of medium. If I could record my thoughts at time of conception, this website would be updated on a daily basis, if not moreso. I usually just find better things to do. My inspiration, or at least my desire to act upon it beyond thought or speech, is fleeting.

A good example is the post just before this one. That entire transcription, from start to finish, occurred in a matter of minutes in a Subway, over a foot-long turkey on wheat with lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard. My next destination just happened to be a Starbucks across the street so I was able to get it down and out quickly. Those are the kinds of things I compose in my mind every day, but never get into any kind of long term form. My next subject, distraction, anything, is just on the horizon and as soon as it comes into focus, the last one is lost.

Even now, in the sidebar of Windows Live Writer, are dozen of drafts for posts I started but never finished. It’s not that I didn’t want to; it’s just that the next best idea for one came on too quickly and I had to shift gears. It’s interesting to me because it’s pretty much the only area of my life where I don’t see a task all the way to its finish.

Something I like about myself, typically, is that I have a pretty strong OCD streak when it comes to my work. I am notoriously meticulous, almost to a fault. I will work to nail down every little detail, tweak every possible option, and adjust anything that can be. I subscribe to a simple philosophy: Perfection is unattainable, but that’s no reason not to try. The devil is in those details. This is especially true when it comes to consumer interaction. I’m tweaking and adjusting things they will never know about, but all those little things will contribute to a better overall experience. The consumer should be totally focused on that experience; the best possible result is what they should be walking away with. The downside is that people I work with think I’m an obsessive nutcase. A lot of people subscribe to a “good enough” mentality and that’s a very hard thing for me to do. My work is a reflection of me; It has to be the best it possibly can be every time.

Anyway, I’m like that it nearly all aspects of my life, except this one. This writing. It kills me. I’ll spend hours creating highly specialized metatags and non-existent sub-genres of music to keep my iTunes library in a ridiculously precise order. I even hacked in half-star ratings for more rating structure control. I can’t take 30 minutes to commit thought to word though.

Twitter helps a little bit. I’ll send the base ideas out for later cataloguing, hoping I can respark interest in a later date or letting me get the gist of something out there. It’s not a substitute, but at least it’s something. I suppose. It’s not like giving up twitter would help, all those things would just back up and get lost in my mental æther.

Let’s take a look at what I can remember (at the moment) not writing about this year:

  1. My Rock Band Year. (This may still happen)
  2. The total eclipse of Helio. (An ongoing battle)
  3. Hello East Coast, I missed you… kind of. (I’ve been back for two months)
  4. The Take Away. (Needs to still happen, more site related)
  5. Leaving Las Vegas, without the drinking myself to death part. (See “Hello East Coast”)
  6. Observations on human proximity.
  7. A guide for the unexpectedly freelance. (Been working on this for too long)
  8. “I just kind of fell into it.”: Observations on employment.

Alright, this is a great example right here. Everything prior to this sentence was written a week ago. A solid week. In that time I’ve wanted to write about like, 15 new things, but I knew I still had this to finish. At this point, having been removed from the writing and the mood I was in when I was composing, I, of course, am not nearly as committed to it as I was during mid-creation.

Fortunately, as I re-read this, I’m not completely disgusted by it (only partially). The fact that you’re reading it means that I didn’t hate it enough to not publish it and saw to it that I at least attempted to complete it. I suppose that’s a good start for the year.

I still have so much to do around here. Little things, like the fact that this site doesn’t display to my satisfaction on my netbook (right gutter needs to be narrowed) and that while my portfolio is constantly expanding I need to work on the fact that my professional persona is more than just the sum of my contracts. The cold, hard, facts only paint part of the picture. They are what I do, not who I am.

So, anyway. I have tons more to write about but this particular document it already an idiotically long wall of text. If you’re just scanning over it:

TLDR Version:

The writing process is the one aspect of what I do that constantly evades my meticulous, OCD, perfection seeking, nature. I’m working on it. I promise.