Christmas Plans

Heyo Pennsylvanias: Amanda and I are coming to town! We’ll be in Harrison City from December 23rd to January 1st. The rough idea is that we’ll be spending most of our time with Jason’s family in the first half of the week, then more with Amanda’s family in the latter half. Hopefully we’ll find some time to chill with friends in the mix there. We’re thinking of having our annual New Years party at the Portsers again this year, to leave with a bang (literally, if Mogush shows up again this year). Just be aware that our flight leaves Pittsburgh at six in the morning, so we’ll be going straight from the party to the airport. Ugh.

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I’ll probably be sending out formal invitations in a few, but leave a comment if you think you’ll be coming, not coming, or are just plain interested.

Work Update

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been busy as of late. Okay, probably not, because I’m always busy. But this is a new realm of busy-ness. Here’s the low down: The Gold Master of my game on the lead handset was supposed to be due on 10/12. That means that for one phone, the game was supposed to be finalized, tested, balanced, and bug-proof. After that comes a couple months of porting (making the game work on all the other phones). The game should be done in its entirety, for all handsets, by January 2. That was the plan. In actuality, it is December first, and my game is not yet officially at beta (when it begins its formal testing) for the first phone. We’ve been making a lot of changes. Most of them are for the better, but it’s really pushed everything back. And I still need to have the game done for all phones by January 2. So now you know why I’ve been occupied as of late. But don’t worry, if all else goes well, you’ll have a kickin’ game to play on your cell phone in February made by yours truly.

Revisionist Editing At Its Finest

Those of you who previously read the U.K. review of my company’s game Casino Royale will remember that the reviewer got stuck on the last level of the game, and was rather bitter about it. Well, a producer at Sony Pictures contacted the reviewer and showed the n00b how to use the sniper rifle correctly. What I think is interesting is that the reviewer then went back and changed certain points of the review. One result of this is that my previous post no longer makes sense. But more importantly, the review now more accurately describes the game as a whole. Thank you Stuart Dredge for your honesty and support!

Javaground Releases Casino Royale

For all you who have been asking about my company, check out our latest and biggest release: Casino Royale! We’ve also found an early review, done on the U.K. release of the game. (Yes, you do need to use the sniper rifle to get through level 14. And no, it’s not a bug. Our producer is contacting the reviewer to find out what his problem was.) It’s exciting stuff to see some real press on a game I’ve seen going through production. But it’s also got me nervous about reviews for my own game. Remember reviewers: give Jason’s game a 10, and he will give you lots of candy.

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Congratulations Ben and everyone else involved, for putting so much work into such a great game! And for the rest of you out there: buy the game, and Jason will give you lots of candy.

Out with the Old, In with the New

We’ve had a lot of changes recently.

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—Old Shoes—
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Old Shoes

—New Shoes—
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—Old Car—
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img_3202.JPGimg_3198.JPGMy Old Car

—New Car—
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—Old Dog—
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Old Dog

—New Dog—

… Just kidding.

We bought our first car ever! It is a Used 2006 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. It is a midnight blue color with a black cloth top. I traded in my old 1993 LeBaron Convertible finally (it was sooo sad, like losing a faithful dog). The new car is really nice, though. We bought it with 15,000 miles on it, although we have put many more miles on it since getting it and driving up and down the beach! We’re excited to have a convertible that we can open the doors to get in (instead of climbing in with the roof down in the old car because the door hinges were rusting off). We’ve got one of those cool computers in the dashboard that tells you how many mpg you are currently getting. It also has a compass in it and tells you how many miles until you need gas. All in all, it was a stressful but rewarding experience.
img_3243.JPGNew Car Interiorimg_3235.JPGA sweet dashboard!

Amanda’s Landed a Dream Job!

Well, I finally got a job out here in SoCal…. and I LOVE it. I am working in a family practice office for a doctor who has been a GP for 20 years. He has two offices- one right on Laguna Beach and one about an hour north of my home. So far, I have been scheduled to work pretty exclusively at the Laguna office, luckily. The commute is only 6 miles, no traffic, with a view of the beach along the way. I love the job. I am working part-time– about 20-24 hours per week. And, I LOVE what I do. I basically work alone with a nurse and a receptionist. I never see the doctor I work for (I can reach him by cell phone if I have questions). I see patients who schedule routine appointments and also we see walk-in patients for urgent care. I will also start working in the OB/GYN clinic one day per week and the Pedicatric clinic one day per week starting in November. So, it is a little bit of everything in general practice.

Below are pictures of the outside of my office and the georgeous view from when I step outside after work to see the sun setting over the ocean.

The Office Building I Work InAnother picture of the outside of the officeCaduceus Medical- the physician group I work for.Stepping outside of my officeI can See the Ocean!

First Semi-Star Sighting!

Apparently Amanda and I saw Alexis Bledel in an ice cream shop at Laguna Beach. We were there with our neighbors, and Tara told us one of the Gilmore Girls was standing in front of us in line. We certainly didn’t recognize her, but looking at her IMDb pics, we’re pretty sure it was her. She was also in the movie, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and she was the lead in the movie, “Tuck Everlasting”. She must’ve been some movie star to be eating there anyway, because the ice cream cost $5 a scoop.

Here Comes Halloween! (Better look the other way.)

I promised pictures, and Chris is impatient, so here are some dead/dying things from our experience at Universal Studios Haunted Horror Nights:

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This is the one time Amanda wasn’t desperately clinging to my arm:

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And this is from when I died:

This is from when I died.

We had a good time, although four hours certainly isn’t enough time when the wait time for all the Halloween-related events is 60-70 minutes. We still managed to do the Mummy Returns ride, the Terror Tram (those pictures of mass carnage are actually on the War of the Worlds plane crash set), Universal’s House of Horror (just Van Helsing’s castle thingy but with more spooks), and the Carnival of Carnage, chock full of two guys poking themselves with needles, swords, and nails.

We also carved pumpkins on Friday night with Tara and Jason (the friends with whom we went to Universal). Here’s the lineup:

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From left to right, the creators of these masterpieces are Amanda, Jason Downstairs (me), Tara, and Jason Upstairs. Here’s some close-ups of the MacAllister works:

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Life Is So Unfair

Amanda and I are going to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights tonight with a couple of our neighbors. We bought the tickets last week, only to discover that Javaground (my company) is holding a StarCraft tournament at the office at six tonight. We are both deeply upset at this unfortunate timing, so don’t even try to console us. It won’t work.
I plan to take pictures tonight if the zombies let me, so expect a post filled with horrifying unpleasantries in the near future.