Reshaping the world around me.

I’ve decided to finally stop being lazy and attempt to progress my knowledge in the 3D modeling/animation area. This is the thing i’ve wanted to learn the most, yet I just stopped it almost completely after I finished school, i’m not really sure why. Though i’ve been thinking lately and finding all sorts of motivation in different places so I decided it was time for a change.

I went to Barnes and Noble with my Dad the other night, and after spending an hour or so geeking out in there, I came out with Introducing Maya 2009, and so far it seems like a worthwhile investment.

My sleep schedule seems to be returning to normal, and hopefully it stays that way. I got up around 6 AM today, and got a fairly decent night’s sleep so hopefully I don’t ruin it and take another 3 hour nap in the middle of the day, so I can get something done. The seemingly endless cycle of wake up, think about doing things for a few hours, go back to sleep for a few hours, wake up again, think about doing some more things, go to sleep, has long since been boring, and I really need a change.

Getting that out feels good, and it feels like a step in the right direction.

Hopefully I will do something soon to break the cycle, because I really need a change.

The ever changing face of self-discovery. pt. 1

As soon as I started home economics class in 5th grade, I knew I wanted to be a chef.  I even went to a vocational high school for Culinary Arts. I enjoyed most of the time there learning how to become a chef. It was very different from other high schools in that half of my day was spent in a kitchen or bakery or the on-campus restaurant(nothing spectacular) we had. As the years progressed I narrowed down exactly what kind of chef I wanted to be, a pastry chef.

There were 3 sections of the culinary arts department in this school, the Restaurant(front end), the Back kitchen, and the Bakery. I wasn’t crazy about the back kitchen, because you always ended up having to wash a TON of dishes and containers and various tools. The front end was pretty fun, but I didn’t like being a waiter, I wanted to cook. I learned how to be a pretty awesome breakfast cook with my time spent in there. I still feel pretty at-home in front of a griddle/grill. Everyone loved being in the bakery though, for this was a fully-functioning bakery open to the public. We made looooots of goodies and sold them very very cheaply(25 cents for a cookie as big as your hand), but the quality of the food wasn’t really cheap at all, aside from the occasional mess-ups you get as a result  of it being a place of learning too. The teachers had something to do with it, but you often got to slack off a lot in the bakery, and I think that’s another reason a lot of people liked it.

Every 2-3 months for the first 3 years we would rotate between the 3 “stations”, and in our senior year we would get to pick which one we wanted to be in all year long. Well, we would have if an overwhelming amount of people hadn’t chose to be in the bakery. They didn’t take into consideration that some of us genuinely wanted to be in there to learn how to do the things you do in a bakery, or take us seriously enough to consider it. I admit I was very much the class clown in high school, along with my best friend at the time. We would cause mischief all over the school, mostly in the culinary arts department, it was all in good fun though. They probably saw this as an opportunity to split us up, but unfortunately I got the short end of the stick and my friend got to go to the bakery while I was sent to the front end. This really wasn’t too bad as I had mentioned previously that I enjoyed doing the grill cooking, just not the waiting. I didn’t really like many of the people who were in the bakery anyway, so it kind of worked out.

That year was a little strange, but I finished high school and ended up moving to Florida with my family the following September.

It was time for college now, and within weeks of moving I started my first classes at the Art institute of Tampa, for video game design. Wait, what? What happened to cooking you ask? I really enjoy cooking, maybe one day i’ll even open up my own restaurant or something, but at that time that wasn’t the direction I wanted to go with my life. I changed a lot over the summer. I was not the person I was in high school, and my change of career choice reflected that. I was done trying to fit in to the crowd, I wanted to be my own person and persue the things I truly enjoyed. I embraced my inner geek and went full speed ahead.

Fast forward 6 months.

8 hour days split up into two 4 hour classes was a bit more than I could handle. It would probably still burn me out. The Art Institute was a great school, and while new, they were a nationwide college that had a set curriculum that worked for them, and weren’t starting fresh like some schools, but i’ll get to that in a little bit. In march of 2005, one of the classes I was taking was College Algebra, the other was some abstract design class which I had failed the first time, but I was doing much better this time around, i’m pretty sure it was the teacher. I was really struggling with the algebra class though, and even though I had one of my favorite teachers at the school teaching the class, I just gave up. Math is not my friend. I try, and try, and try, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to grasp the more advanced types of math. In the past I was able to skate by with a C or B if I was lucky, but 4 hour sittings of College Algebra just got to be way more than I could handle, and being a dumb, impatient, 18 year old and not fully thinking about my actions, I started to skip school. Not just the algebra class, the design class too. I was so frustrated with it that I just didn’t even want to be there. Still being relatively new to the area, I wanted to see what tampa bay was all about, so I spent the time skipping classes exploring the city of tampa and the greater tampa bay area. I’m pretty famliar with this whole area now, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss, but it shouldn’t have come at the expense of my education. I’d probably be in a different place than I am now if I had stuck with it, and I really wish I had, because the next school I ended up going to two years later wasn’t half the school the art institute was.

After my fallout from the art institute, I went on some job interviews to try and get a full time job since I wasn’t going to school. I responded to an ad about getting to play video games while you work, so I drove 30 minutes to Brandon to find this little office in the back of a building, where people were playing games on a lone PS2. I’m not sure what their deal really was, but I ended up getting the job, which was soliciting ripoff brand perfumes and colognes to people going in and out of shopping centers. That lasted all of about a week. It was really shady and I didn’t want any part of it, plus the hours were at a time where it would take me an hour and a half both ways to get to and from work, so It just didn’t work out at all.

After that I basically was wasting away in my room playing video games all day, a pretty sad time in my life. I didn’t have any friends down here, or a job, or go to school. I was hanging onto threads of my old life, even though I was the one who suggested we move to Florida. I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to get settled down here. I still had friends online, so I relied on them to keep a fragmented “social life” until I had one in real life. Eventually I got out of that rut after much arguing with my parents about the state of my life, and six months later I was able to get a job at a local supermarket.

I had previously worked in the bakery department of a supermarket in high school, so I figured I could do the same thing here since I had the experience and was a little older, so I could use all the equipment and get full time hours. Well, I got a job there, with full time hours, as a cart pusher. They told me it would be an interim job until something in the bakery opened up, which they expected it to within weeks. Six months later i’m still pushing carts and not happy at all. I felt like I was wasting my life there, and I was really itching to go back to school. So I quit the job and within a couple weeks started at Keiser College. You’d think after having gone to college once, I would do a bit of research on what my choices of colleges are. Nah, I knew was I was doing, I was 19 after all. When you’re that age you are a conquerer of worlds, a king among men! I didn’t really think that, but I knew what I was doing was right.

Boy was I wrong.

To be continued…

Pass the Grey Poupon

There are zombie games, then there is Left4Dead.

Left4Dead is a relatively newer game from Valve, the makers of the Half-Life, Portal, and Counter-Strike games(to name a few.) They put their own unique spin on the zombie survival genre and turned it into a team-based deathmatch. Think of it as Counter-Strike meets Resident evil(minus the crappy controls) and you have this gem.

There are 4 different scenarios with 5 different maps, which get progressively harder the further you get; this is campaign mode(4 survivors against AI zombies). Versus mode(4 human controlled survivors against 4 human controlled special zombies, with AI controlled regular zombies) uses 2 of those scenarios right now, but Valve has mentioned that they will be adding more versus scenarios in the future.

The goal of this game is to make you feel like you’re in a zombie movie, and I feel it accomplishes that very well. Each scenario is actually a different “movie” that you play through, and with titles such as “Death Toll”(you fight your way through a highway map) and “Blood Harvest”(Mostly played in the woods, culminating on a farm) you can’t help but chuckle a bit. The four survivors have a fair bit of dialogue, much of it being “Help me up!” or “Get this off of me” etc… though a lot of the things they say usually reflect whats going on around them. For instance, you’ll be passing a flashing car and one of them will tell you not to shoot it or the alarm will sound, calling a massive rush of zombies to ruin your day. Other times they will give a bit of info on the back story before or after an event; to continue through the map you will need to turn on the power of the building you’re in so you can open a large door. The sound from the generators firing up and all the lights coming on triggers a pretty consistent flow of zombies for a good minute or two. They will then talk about the best way to reach the hospital from where they are so they can be air lifted to safety from the hospital roof. Another example is when they’re in the hospital and they have just called the elevator. This too triggers massive amounts of zombies to come at you from all directions for a minute or so. After they finish all the zombies off they hop in the elevator and ride it to the top and engage in some short dialogue. Which survivor(s) do the talking changes every time, but after a few play throughs it will start to sound familiar.

There isn’t a whole lot of back story to the game, which I like and dislike at the same time. While I would like to know a bit more about what caused people to turn into zombies and maybe where each of them come from, it’s not really a story-driven game and works quite well without it. In one of the elevator chats, they talked about being “immune so far”, but in the opening cinematic one of the survivors states that “they’re changing”, so who knows what that means for them.

While this game has barely been out for half a year, there are rumors of Left4Dead 2 already. Whether or not there is any truth to the rumors, i’ll still be enjoying this game for a long time to come.

Anyone can draw a picture

I’m sort-of in the Graphic Design industry. Sort-of because I went to a 2 year school that supposedly taught me how to be a graphic artist, but most of the days there were spent browsing the internet and/or listening to music because there was never exactly a lesson planned out or projects to be done. All of the time spent there wasn’t a complete waste however, the websites I browsed were mostly related to learning graphic design. So essentially I paid a lot of money to use the internet on a fancy computer to teach myself how to be a graphic artist, and while I have a pretty good understanding of how the programs work, and have a good eye for design, I still don’t feel like I necessarily know how to be a graphic designer.

But I can make logos like a mofo.

And when I see classified ads from people looking for you to make them logos  I don’t expect anything reasonable to be said in the ad, and most of the time my expectations are met. People like to think they ask a bunch of people to make a logo for them, and “if I like it i’ll pay you”, but fail to realize that it just doesn’t work like that. Any self-respecting artist would tend to agree with this, and some have their own take on it. That’s like ordering food from a dozen restaurants, eating the food, then telling the restaurants if you like their food then you’ll pay for it. Unless any of those places are giving out free food, that’s not gonna fly.

Like the restaurants, who spent money on the ingredients plus the time spent preparing the meal, logo design is a great time investment in both research and implementation. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize this, or just don’t care enough to acknowledge it. Their line of thinking is probably something along the lines of “it’s just drawing a picture, anyone can draw if they tried”, but not everyone can draw something well enough to represent your business.

I don’t really pay too much attention to these sort of ads anymore, because they just end up being a waste of time(literally.) That doesn’t mean there aren’t companies out there willing to pay you what you’re worth, you just have to look a little harder.

Whats all that noise?

I really love music.

I find it odd yet interesting that a lot of people of my generation say that when describing their interests. But one has to think to one’s self, what person wouldn’t love music?

Music, like writing, is one of the most basic forms of self-expression, and has been around probably since humans learned to communicate. Now that I think about it, music has predated humans by a very, very long time. Music is everywhere; birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees, the ebb and flow of the surf on the beach, the waterfalls and rivers that flow throughout the world. Hell, i’m sure even dinosaurs made interesting sounds that would be akin to a bird’s song since they’re related, but that’s for another time.

The definition of music is “sound organized in time”, which is pretty general, so you could essentially tap a stick on a rock in a regular manner and call it music. Probably not the most interesting music on it’s own, but add a few more elements and I bet you could get something that sounds pretty nice. Some people may not consider that music though, they would just call it noise. Those people are close-minded and need to expand their horizons.

Nature isn’t the only place where music is found though, walk through a busy part of the town or city where you live and I bet if you took a minute or so you could pick up a rhythym of some sort, and sure enough that can be considered music. More people would probably consider that noise, but they probably have more actual noise in their head, and are unable to filter out the things they should be hearing. There are some who call this “noise” an award winning dance troupe. I have yet to see them in person, but I watched an HBO special they did years ago, and it was really amazing. They take everyday things like brooms, garbage cans, or plastic containers, and make music with them.

Music like that is interesting in it’s own way, but not very listenable on a daily basis, to me anyway. My musical preferences are pretty eclectic, with the exception of a lot of country music(don’t get me wrong though, there are definitely times when I wouldn’t mind listening to some bluegrass at all) and “hardcore rap”(though even a lot of the sometimes tasteful “hip-hop” and R&B has gone south, and I don’t mean dirrttay south.)

While i’ve always had a pretty wide range of music I enjoy, I really love the fact that it has grown even more as i”ve gotten older. Not so much in the way that I listen to so many more types of music, it’s that I understand  a lot more of it and I can appreciate it that much more.

One of these days i’m going to learn how to make my own music, most likely guitar or piano(maybe both?) Just for personal entertainment mostly, don’t count on seeing “The best of Reverie” anytime, ever. 🙂

Lost & Found

Today is the first day of the rest of my blog.

The first forms of “writing” were not as you would imagine, they were more like symbols or marks used as indentification for currency or social groups and less like what you’re seeing right now. This is when “history” first began.

History started around the 4th millenium BC(4000-3900 BC), anything before that is known as prehistory and only verbal language was used to communicate anything.

Fast-forward 4000 years.

Around the early first century AD is when the beginnings of diaries and journals began to show up. Eventually, this evolved in to what we know today as the blog. We’ve come a long way from pressing sticks into pieces of clay to communicate. 🙂

Writing since then has been a way of self-reflection, record keeping, or to communicate your thoughts and ideas to others. My intent for this blog is a bit of the all those, though right now, mostly the former.

I really enjoy writing, as it is one of the few things I consider myself exceptionally good at, but I don’t do it half as much as i’d like to or should. Every time I try to start a blog I end up getting preoccupied with who knows what and forget about it.  Thinking back on that statement, that seems to be a theme of my life. I’ve never fully committed to any one task that I can remember. At the time though  I don’t think I was capable, but I am sure I am now and I’ve been looking for something to commit to, and this is where it will begin.