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Strip 669, Volume 4, Page 208


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< Piro >

fredrinOS would be this wispy ghost like OS-tan...


Sunday - February 6, 2005

[Piro] - 11:41:00 - [link here]

Well, i can tell you one thing about my list of goals for 2005 -- I've already dropped the ball on the "minimum two rants per week" item. I can't even manage a compromise goal of one rant per week. I wonder why i resist writing rants the way i do? Am I too uptight about them, worrying too much that they need to be like entertaining or something? That may be part of it, but it is probably has something to do with the fact that i'm not that good at multitasking. This isn't really surprising considering that i'm not really good at singletasking either.

True multitasking is not about doing several things at the same time, it is about threading multiple tasks together and applying time to each of them in an efficient way. Kind of like the way most processors can't really do two things at the same time, it just applies varying about of CPU time to each of the programs running. By doing this well, you can run many programs at the same time. Remember the days when you could only work with one program at a time on your PC? That's kind of the way my brain works. Moving between projects requires unloading of one program and booting up another. Sometimes the reboot process requires several tries.

Deep down i don't think i'm ideally suited to being the jack-of-all trades that being an independent owner/creator self employed trying-to-run-a-website-and-keep-it-from-falling-apart kind of guy. The cracks, flaws and down and out embarrassments that make up this site are a testament to that fact :) I do worry sometimes that i'll never be able to do all the things i want to do. For example, i have an item on my goal list for this year called "build various backgrounds for Megatokyo in Maya (also learn how to use Maya and be able to save up for and justify purchase of Maya to budget department)" the Maya 6 PLE icon is sitting there, but i haven't launched it in ages.

There are many tasks that i've started and continue to work on, but the approximation of multitasking i use (lets call it "multiple singletasking") can be more frustrating than rewarding. Some things i do manage to get done in a reasonable amount of time, like implementing Movable Type over on Fredart and keeping up a rough and boring daily blog. Some things get started but get put aside and i have trouble getting back to (like the site re-design and rebuild for Megatokyo - i'll get to that in a minute). In the end, there are a few tasks that take precedence over everything else: the Megatokyo comic, the Megagear store, and all those tasks that will result in armed goons or lynch mobs at my door if i don't get them done. The remaining fredrinCPU time is a precious commodity, and action on other projects requires efficient use of it. Too bad fredrinOS is so inefficient. Damn organic OSs have a mind of their own...

I was originally going to present a list of goals for 2005, but i know myself better than to think i can really do everything on the list so i decided that i don't want to embarrass myself further. This doesn't mean I'm not going to try, i just figure it's better if people are amazed by anything i manage to get done this year :)

One of the things that i am just now getting back to is finishing up the Megatokyo website rebuild. The project has been on hiatus for six months because I have not managed to get to the task of finishing several design templates for some sub pages of the site. I won't give a time table for this getting finished, but i will say that i've jumped back into the process and hopefully I'll be able to get Larry back to work on the project in the next week. Considering the fact that I started this project over a year ago, i think it's time i did my part so Larry can finish up. The drop down of death is just getting too big.

I should also note that i've been working with Dom and a few friends putting together a rather extensive amount of material that will become the community pages and FAQ page for the new site. Dom has finished a FAQ that i need to review and shinmeko has gone to great lengths to unearth every MT related website she can find ^^;; I'm working on the long absent Character pages... It's all in progress, and i want to have them all part of the initial launch of the new website.

People often ask me about what is going on with warmth. As i've said before, warmth is a project that really should not have been started two years ago, and should have been left in the wings until i had time to do it right. I've been doing a lot of thinking about how best to work on it and at what time I should get it off the ground again. I prefer to actually do things and have them underway rather than hype about something i'm planning to work on, but i will say this - i'm not doing many conventions this year (San Diego Comic Con, Anime Central, Otakon, and perhaps one other) and the main reason is: i intend to start the Warmth project up and start production on it this year. I won't make any promises right now but lets just say that i've settled on a plan for 'how' it will be released, and all i need to do is jump in and start working on it. This is a huge task, and it's going to be a real trick to keep it from derailing other tasks as i work on it, so don't get your hopes up too high, not yet :)

As you might expect, there are also a lot of projects i'm working on for the MegaGear store. One of the reasons we wanted to run our own store is that it gives us the freedom to pretty much do whatever we want and choose the kinds of products we feel like we want to make. I've been working on several new products, and some of these have long lead times so it will be a while before they show up in the store. Some of them are looking pretty good tho (at least i hope people like em)

The real pain about some tasks is that you put a ton of work into them but don't see results until months later. Books definitely fall in that category. As many of you may already know, Megatokyo Volume 3 shipped last week and has even started to show up in some comic stores around the country. Because of the way the distribution system works, comic shops are usually the first to get books, and bookstores the last (this is not always the case, because it varies a lot depending on where things end up in the distribution system). Our shipment is en route to t3h factory, and should arrive mid week or so. As soon as they do, we'll start sending out preorders. :)

New shirt designs don't have anywhere near the lead time some products have, and can take only a few weeks to show up in the store once i send in the design. Of course, sometimes it takes me months to get a design right. ^^;; It took a few weeks for me to get the design right for the Recycled Heart girls shirt, but the final product ended up looking pretty good.

The best kinds of products are the ones where you just pick something you want to offer in the store and order it :P Even this isn't always easy. Those Pentel Graph 1000 pencils in the Piro's Pencil set are hard to find, and it takes a while to get an order of them shipped from japan through our distributor. I seem to have a proclivity for making even simple things difficult.

this is a pretty disjointed rant, and I apologize for that, but its a pretty fair representation of the struggles i deal with in trying to keep multiple large projects going at the same time. I haven't mentioned things like mopping floors (i had the joy of picking out a bucket and mop last week :) and trips to the recycle center with all the cardboard from the boxes shirts come in... there are all sorts of tasks that make up a busy life, and not all of them are, uh, interesting. If you don't mind disjointed rants like this, then i'll see what i can do to fill the space more often. I do need to write another one this week so i can cover all the webcomic related stuff going on at Katsukon two weeks from now (even tho I won't be there, there are a LOT of webcomic people who will be).

A few notes on my last rant - several readers pointed out to me an error in my translation of the title of the opening song for AIR i was gushing about. The title of the song, 鳥の詩 is indeed "Tori no Uta" but the translation is wrong. The correct translation is "A bird's poem." "A bird's song" would be written this way: 鳥の歌 thanks to the several people who pointed this out :)

On a similar note note... wahhh! there are times i wish i lived in japan, this is one of them. The AIR movie opened today (saturday the 5th) Anime movie releases are always a pain because unless you like, live there and can go see it in the theater, it will be a while before you finally get to view it. I remember suffering from similar pangs when the Marmalade Boy movie came out. Also on this page are all kinds of AIR goodies, some of them i'm sure Piro would want (cough). Me? I'm just holding out for a Potato plushie. :) Gimmie.

< Dom >

That's the Kronos Titan, heroes included for size reference.  No, that's not lightning coming out of its butt.

"Stasis and love"

Friday - February 4, 2005

[Dom] - 01:15:00 - [link here]

This is a rant in three parts. First, a random City of Heroes note. Second, a musing on the career path I've chosen, specifically, how far you can go writing about video games. Third I haven't thought about yet, but will think of by the time I get there. Maybe it'll be about movies, or something. Or maybe I'll stay on topic and talk about games.

Anyway, so in City of Heroes news, my toon hit level 47 today--meaning that he can now hitch a ride on the Sooooooooul Drain, sucking out the souls of evildoers and turning it into righteous might.

FEAR my soul-sucking sentai santa!

On a much more serious note, I was talking to an ex-coworker of mine, Wataru (Wat, apologies for the possible flooding of your blog). After the collapse of Gamestar, Wat's been looking for work again, and he pointed out to me that video game writing isn't really a growth industry. It's an industry people stay in for love, and as another ex-coworker of mine can attest, sometimes the work beats the love out of you.

I mean, seriously, after making it to Editor, where do you go? Jay, a fellow GamePro alum, is now working for Bioware, and Wat is thinking of making the same move to development--or to marketing, a move I told myself I wouldn't ever try to make (I'll talk about THIS part later).

So really, what future is there in this for me? I once had a dream where I would join the GamePro staff as an associate editor, then gain experience and became a senior editor or something, so I'd make my living writing about video games... and then what? What would I do once I had that quirky little office covered in game posters, action figures, and strange artifacts, from which I passed judgment on games as they flitted through the offices on their way to store shelves?

Wat made Senior Editor and was briefly an Editor-in-Chief, but realistically, Senior Editor is about the highest you can really aim for in this business. The hierarchy, as far as I can tell, basically goes Intern, Freelance Writer, Associate Editor, Editor, Senior Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Vice President of (insert title of the editorial department). And the higher you go, the less you actually write, and the more you deal with business-end crap, which really takes the love out of writing for me. So would I just stay in that office for the rest of my conceivable career, and be happy with that? Pumping out little nuggets of sarcasm and honesty in 50 to 500-word nuggets? Is that my ambition in life?

Other options I've seen for video game writers include lateral movement, like Sean, another ex-GamePro, who I'm told has moved to a Mac magazine. So he's gone into the rather wider field of personal technology, which, while it has the same problems with advancement as the video game writing gig, has the benefit of having a much broader pool of categories and magazines dedicated to it.

Or, like in other industries, you can become an "expert" and write books on the subject--but I have no idea if I'm ever capable of writing a book, since I have such a horrible attention span.

The saddest thing is that with all this thinking and dreaming about video game writing I've done since I started as an intern at GP in June 2000 (amusingly enough, almost exactly the same time as MegaTokyo started, contributing to my withdrawal from the Computer Science courseload and moving to English Literature), almost all of my freelance writing is as an anime writer. So the video game gig might be a dead end in the first place. I'm currently writing reviews for the April issue of Newtype USA, I'm writing about anime-related video games for Anime Insider every issue along with a soon-to-be-expanded role in the anime side of the magazine, and I've written just as many articles about Japanese culture for Wired as I've written video game reviews.

I don't know where I'm going with this, really--I think it's a combination of frustration at the inability to find myself a job in the industry. Most of my freelance gigs have come thanks to old GamePro co-workers, while I write for Wired because I interned there... and it seems like no other magazines I've contacted want me to write for them. I just don't know what more I can do--or if there IS more to do in my chosen field.

Okay, I lied, there's no third part to this rant, I'm too busy thinking about what I can do with this whole "writing" thing. It's 1:30, and I have a lot to think about.


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