Phone Fun

Today my cellphone contract expired, so I went to the ATT store and asked to downgrade to a prepaid plan, and to keep my current phone.

The guy helping me was completely baffled, and fulfilled my request with an arched brow of puzzlement. He said he had worked there for 2 years and had never had anyone ask for that, was surprised he knew how to do it, and was extra surprised that the change was instant.

Alas, in spite of my cravings for an iPhone, I simply can’t justify the phone part of it. I looked over my phone usage for the past year and I use an average of, like, 6 minutes a month. And I never use more than 200 texts a month, so the 200 text $4.99 feature package, and $0.25 a minute basic prepay plan is plenty good for me. It certainly will save me lots, considering I was paying about $50 a month for the contract service.

I suppose an iPod Touch would be more practical a device for me, so I’ll keep my eyes on that for the future.


I had a wonderful evening of games and stories and food with the ballers!

Beatles Rock Band is a blast, and far superior to normal Rock Band, and even Lego Rock Band, in my opinion. Most of this is due to the classy visual between-gig load screens, and the hilarity of multiple part harmony with Scott and Maria. I would have loved to sing, but alas, my voice is completely lost, so I stuck with the guitar.

I can only use Rock Band style guitars, because I can only use the meedley string buttons at the base of the neck. My hands are too small for the normal buttons, as are Beth’s, which lead to this conversation snippet.

Beth: I can’t use this, my hands are too small.
Maria: Mine are too, that’s why I don’t have to give prostate exams!

After dinner and pie and catching up on stories with the Clarks, we gathered to play Shadows Over Camelot with the Merlin’s Company expansion. I think the expansion is an excellent supplement to the game, but Merlin couldn’t help the knights this time, as I had my first successful game as traitor. Muahahaha! The lack of voice didn’t help, as all my commands and narration turned to diabolical hissing.

Nevertheless, it was a fun game.

I also got to see Brenna, who was very happy to see me again, and George (who is always happy to see anyone). Hooray for puppies!

Hopefully I’ll be able to hang out with people again some tomorrow night. There is a plot of my brother and sister-in-law to go see Return to Oz, which is this week’s midnight cult movie at Baxter. I would totally go see it, but my flight leaves at 6am Sunday morning, and a midnight movie would probably end up with me staying up all night.

We shall see, we shall see…


I’m sitting in the airport, waiting around for my red-eye to board. I’m very excited about going home! LAX is bustling with holiday travelers, and there’s a guy sitting next to me using his dog to pick up chicks (well, I dunno if he’s doing it intentionally, but he sure is attracting all the ladies!)

Anyway, I’ll be happy to see my family tomorrow, and hopefully catch my friends before skipping back out here on Sunday. I’m mostly looking forward to getting back to Kentucky for a little bit. It always seems to recharge my roots when I spend time there. I miss its beauty more this year, I think, since I’ve spent the last 6 months in the desert. Well, LA likes to pretend real hard that it isn’t a desert, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head, you can see right through to the rocks and sand.

Even in the winter, Kentucky has a special beauty to it.

What I’m thankful for…

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.

More on Uncharted 2

Josh: So, which is better? Uncharted 2 or Arkham Asylum?
Me: Hmmm, it’s a tough choice, but I’m going to say Uncharted
Drake: I don’t think so

In spite of Nate’s humorously-timed modesty, it is true. Both are amazing games and super fun, but I’m gonna name Uncharted 2 as the winner because of being an original IP.

Now, I could talk about all the mechanics that make this game wonderful, or its amazing character and story development, or I could speak of its touching amount of polish. Many elements of the game are blogworthy, but you can probably read about all those elsewhere.

Today, I will instead talk about how appreciative I am of the design of the main character, from my perspective as a lady.

Now, note that as a girl into games, I’m used to being subjected to character design aimed to please the straight male demographic. Many a time I have rolled my eyes at the stock shape that most girl characters seem to take, and the attention to detail in the realm of boob physics. At the same time, male characters also seem to be designed for the straight male demographic, because apparently straight males fantasize about being large and unattractively bulky? I don’t pretend to understand.

I long ago accepted this quality as the way of games, and moved ahead with my life.

But at long last, ladies (and gay men), we have been given a piece of eye candy unto ourselves! Surely those Naughty Dogs must have made this character for us, and I am proud of whatever research into the straight female/gay man market they did to finally come up someone that we could gawk over.

Sure, sure, they made Chloe to appease the straight males, and how the straight males latch right onto her. They don’t seem to mind that the main character has been given to us. It’s a win situation for everyone involved!

Also, butt!

Even more, it has perhaps helped bridge the gap between the sexes. For example, I was always a little bit baffled when my male friends preferred hot and scantily clad women to use for their avatars. I would make male avatars, sure, but never from the perspective of them being attractive. But now, with Drake as my default Multiplayer skin, I understand!

And so, thank you, Naughty Dog. Thank you not only for making the best game I’ve played so far, but for creating a fictional character who is easy on the eyes for the…uh…more neglected gamer demographic.

Internet Power

Most of the time, when I get mail from the former residents of my apartment, I just toss it in the shredder. But occasionally I get something that gives off the “important” vibe (something from the IRS, packages, etc) in which case I turn to the internet.

There’s something fun about tracking down a stranger on the internet at finding a means of contacting them, be it email or myspace message. Every time this has happened, the person has been very grateful of my snooping so that they can be reunited with their important documents.

Last week I had my first incident since moving to LA – a suspiciously important looking letter turned out to be a check for $130 for one of my unit’s former residents. Lucky for me, she had a unique name, so google turned her up pretty quickly (though I did have to make a Plaxo account to get her email address). Anyway, it turned out she still lived in the complex, but in a different unit, and was EXTREMELY grateful that I’d tracked her down. I went over the next day and taped her letter to her door.

Today when I got home, she’d taped a little thank you note to my door, thanking me again and saying I could call on her if I ever needed anything. So nice! Physical thank-you notes are the best thing ever.

Anyway, it just goes to show that having all of your personal information floating out on the internet available to anyone with decent google-fu can lead to good, afterall.

Dream Games

I often have dreams about games I’ve made, and of course they’re the awesomest ever in dreamland, because they follow dream logic. When I wake up and start reviewing my awesome new game idea, it is usually quickly apparent that, in real-world logic, they wouldn’t work at all.

All the same, I try and write them down, because even if they are meant for the land of dreams I occasionally pick out some idea or mechanic or insight that could be useful later. In some cases (like tonight) I wake up immediately after the dream and can not get back to sleep until I write it down.

tonight's dream game