Category: Friends

Third Warning

My God, I do not want to come back to this topic, but I don’t really have a choice.

Saturday evening my wife Jamie had a mild heart attack.

She was bringing in the groceries and was carrying too much. The entrance to our apartment goes through the utility space, and she collapsed against the dryer. She had all the classic symptoms: chest pain, tingling in her left arm, dizziness and nausea. Once we got her to the couch I gave her a baby aspirin and called 911.

After doing all the necessary tests on her, the doctors concluded that her heart had blocked 100% for a moment and then cleared itself. If it hadn’t cleared itself she probably wouldn’t have made it out of the utility closet. The damage to her heart appeared to be minor and there were no other major blockages.

In other words, if she had to have a heart attack, it was about the best kind of she could have had. Of course, that’s like saying, “If you have to eat a crap sandwich…”

My wife and I fall under the category of “morbidly obese”. This is our third warning. I’ve had two and now she’s had one. She was lucky it was just a warning; I could easily have been writing her obituary right now.

Expect a renewed instance of Put That Freakin’ Sandwich Down, this one done with a vigor that verges on the frantic.

And I’d like to thank everyone who prayed for Jamie and supported me during this time.


So, how exactly is Michigan different from Texas?

Snow – Let’s get this one out of the way first. Yes, the weather in Michigan is much colder than Texas, and I’ve never seen so much snow in my life. Georgia would have a heavy snowfall every ten years or so, but after I moved to Texas such a thing was a distant memory.

I think falling snow is beautiful. I’ve always loved it. I’m sure I’ll get sick of it by March, but right now my enthusiasm is not dampened, and neither is my children’s.

The good thing is that I do much better with cold temperatures than I do with hot. (I think my brain is overclocked or something.) I can walk around outside in just a shirt and coat (no hat, gloves or scarf) until the temperature gets down to the 20’s or so. Then I have to zip up my coat.

It’s Like Living in the Shire – It takes me about twenty minutes to drive from my home in West Bloomfield to work. As I do so, I pass through five towns: Commerce Township, Farmington Hills, Novi, Livonia, and finally Plymouth. All of these towns abut and few of them are more than five miles across either way. The entire Greater Detroit Area is like that. It’s incredibly confusing to navigate even with a GPS.

Lane Ends – Dear god, does it ever. The surface roads around here tend to be close, narrow, poorly lit, and (unfortunately) poorly paved. Plus, streets will widen to create a right-hand lane as you approach a light. These lanes are not turn-only, and if you’re me, you tend to think, “Oh, good, the street is now two lanes wide.” No. That lane merges back into the left lane as soon as you get through the light. After a while I figured I could stay safe by just staying left all the time…until I got on the highway to go to work and had the left lane disappear on me several times.

Penalty For Injuring or Killing a Worker: $7500 and 15 Years in Prison – Okay…I understand that the roads are narrow, but is this such a big problem up here that they have to put the penalty on the traffic sign to get people to not run into construction workers?

Strong Spirit – There are lots and lots of churches up here. As we entered Michigan during our move we passed the biggest mosque I’d ever seen. People up here seem to take their faith very seriously.

Vice – On the other hand, a lot of things that people like to do that are needlessly curtailed in other states are legal here. Gambling? Yeppers; every night I pass a restaurant that has a sign that reads, “Poker Room Open”. Alcohol? You can buy liquor at your neighborhood grocery store, even on Sunday. Guns? Not only is private ownership of guns legal, but Michigan is a shall-issue state so citizens can get a concealed-carry license with a minimum of fuss. I approve of all of this.

The Michigan Left – In yet another bit of driving weirdness, making a left turn here in Michigan usually involves turning right, then making a u-turn at a nearby pass-through. This is called the Michigan Left. It’s designed to prevent accidents caused by people darting across two lanes of oncoming traffic to turn left. I would guess that it probably works, but it’s going to take some getting used to.

Overall I’m liking it, and not just because I could become gainfully employed by moving up here. I’ll probably post more observations later.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may you have a wonderful holiday.

Congratulations, Ryan and Julie

I wish I could have been there.

Trigger Pulled…Sideways

Guess who’s an official Apple Developer now?

Go on, guess.

I’ll wait.

But that’s not all. Oh, no, that’s not all.

I’m employed, and have been for the last two weeks. I’m working for a company called Warped Productions, making (of all things) iPhone games.

It’s currently a temporary gig with no benefits, but I have every intent of proving that they cannot get along without me.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you guys earlier, but I wanted to clear with my bosses how much I can talk about (which boils down to, yes, talk about Warped and talk about our development process but give no details of the games we’re making).

Now, this is not going to affect Inaria one bit – I made absolutely sure of that before I signed on. Inaria will still be published, and it will be published under the “Viridian Games” label. (Label! Tee hee!) But after Inaria is done I won’t be making any more of my own iPhone games while I’m working for Warped.

And here I have to give huge thanks to Ryan Clark, who convinced me to port Inaria to the iPhone and even lent me a Mac Mini so I could do so. If he hadn’t pushed me in this direction, I wouldn’t have gotten this job.

So Ryan, thank you. Bottom of my heart, man.

Inaria iPhone Update 4: Musings on Inarian Architecture

Okay! One of the reasons I haven’t been posting regular updates about Inaria iPhone is because it’s been changing SO FAST. But this was just too good to pass up.

This update is being guest-written by my friend/graphics programmer/tester, Ryan Clark. I’d tried to solve two problems at once by putting the towns directly on the overworld instead of having separate maps for them. I thought I was Clever Dan…until Ryan got a hold of the new maps. Take it away, Ryan!

Yeah, but...look, I was trying...wait, let me finish...OKAY, OKAY!  I'll fix it!


Well…I haven’t been posting here much.

Why? Has nothing happened to me?

Oh, no. Quite the opposite.

But none of it has been good.

I don’t like posting about bad things…but the thing is, I created this blog so I could post about anything…and then I haven’t been using my newfound superpower.

Before you ask, no, I haven’t had any more heart problems.

But I now have some anxiety problems. I’m currently on some mild medication to help, but the thing that would really help is if some of the sources of stress in my life would resolve.

Unfortunately, none of them want to.

The job situation is dire. I’ve had exactly one in-person interview, and even though they really liked me, I didn’t have the necessary skills so they hired someone else. I’ve had several phone interviews – some went well and some went poorly, but none of them have resulted in employment. It’s as if the game development scene in Austin has dried up and blown away. I’ve had dozens of recruitment calls for companies all over the country, but I currently don’t feel like I can move because Jamie’s mother is currently in a nursing home…and David’s doctor is here (he’s supposed to be one of the best in the world).

My son, David, has been acting out increasingly at school. He’s mildly autistic, and something at school is just setting him off. He’s exhibiting behavior there that we never see at home – screaming at the top of his lungs, turning over furniture, thrashing wildly on the floor – and at this point I’m putting him on the bus, waiting an hour, and then getting a phone call from the school for me to come get him because his behavior is already out of control.

I consoled myself with the fact that within a few weeks the school year would be over and while he’d be in my hair, I wouldn’t have to worry about him accidentally kicking his teachers in the face.

And then last Thursday, Child Protective Services knocked on our door.

Now, the things that I hate about CPS are:

a) We cannot ask them who called them,
b) We cannot know exactly what they are looking for, and
c) They have the power to arbitrarily take our children away from us.

This seems a bit unconstitutional to me.

Needless to say, my stress level went off the chart. Now, it seemed like the case worker who knocked on our door was a good guy, because he agreed to an appointment the next day when it turned out my oldest daughter was in school. Thus we spent the next twenty-four hours scrubbing every surface we could reasonably clean in that time.

And then he came, had the appointment, and he ruled that there was no reason for CPS to get involved in our case. Which, frankly, I knew was going to happen…but the uncertainty just killed me for that twenty-four hour period.

And when I’m stressed, I eat. Thus my weight briefly got back up to 330 last week. Thus, no PTFSD posts. I’m currently dieting like crazy to get back to 320 (and perhaps below, if I can keep it up.)

Our financial situation isn’t looking good. Despite help from our wonderful family and friends, we have trouble making the rent and the COBRA payment (necessary for David and I to retain our health insurance) every month. As the month comes to a close and I still don’t know how I’m going to make the payments, again, my stress level spikes. At the end of April it got so bad I couldn’t sleep.

And, of course, the end of May is coming up. But I think I’ll handle it better than April because at this point I’ve been worn down so much that I almost don’t care any more. I’m on autopilot – check for new jobs in the morning, send out resumes, pick David up from school, help him do his schoolwork (he won’t do it at school but he does it fine at home), walk an hour, work on Inaria iPhone, try to eat under my calorie limit, go to bed, wake up, do it all again. All very healthy, positive behaviors that are not helping me one damn bit…but what else can I do?

Now I feel the need to apologize for the above. I’m not going to use this blog to complain about my life (at least not very often) but sometimes you just have to express this stuff to somebody.

Now THIS You Can Believe…

I made a video about my Cheesehead. That I love.


As I look back on last year on this, the day of my birth, all I can really say is…

Last year sucked.

Indeed, there were several times last year when I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it to this day.

But I did, and despite everything I’m very grateful.

I’m also grateful to the support I’ve received from you guys through this past year; I really needed it.

Here’s to the eternal hope that the future will bring better things!

Speaking of Becoming a GameDevDad…

It’s time to congratulate my long-time friend Jari Komppa and his wife Mia – they’ve just had their first child, a boy named Niklas Antero!  Both mother and child are doing well, and I’m sure Niklas will be coding logic simulators in no time.