Balance on the Edge of Oblivion

I’ve been reading through an awesome book called; Blood, Sweat and Pixels about the insane process of game development. Jason Schreier does a fantastic job of explaining the tomultuous process of developing a game, he does this by following many different games from inception to release. As a game developer it’s both eye-opening and awe-opening. One of the main themes that is present throughout the book is ‘crunch’. Crunch in game development terms is basically when the team has to work constantly to finish the game/project before the deadline. We have all crunched at some point, for school or work. It’s late nights and early mornings, bleary eyed and caffine fueled.

Crunch in game dev is a necessity, no game has come out without crunch. The reason I bring up crunch? Well it all plays into work/life balance. I’ve been thinking about this idea for the whole week. Work and life (or the rest of your life) is challenging to balance, even if you go to work at regular hours and don’t stay late or work from home it follows you. After work you have to try to forget or destress.

For creatives this is nearly impossible. As a game developer and author I can attest firsthand. My brain never stops working, either it’s characters and scenes or code and design elements or mechanics, it never fucking stops.

For me the only time I can let go is only sometimes when I’m either playing a game or totally engrossed in a novel. Otherwise, its a constant barrage of ideas or stressing about how something isn’t finished or isn’t quite right. Or it’s how I’m doing this instead of that, why am I not working on this, or why am I just laying in bed right now on instagram or facebook or reading an article? I could be working on something!

In the whole work / life balance thing, I find I go through cycles of productivity. I’ll have weeks of consitent productivity, then lull’s. This I have learned is not that uncommon either. But I also find when a new game comes out I tend to binge in a similar way when working on something new, it’s all I think about, how do I get to the next level or the next item or whatever. Right now I’m in a lull, unproductive and distracted by other work and a game. My brain is struggling to focus on my creative projects.

It’s very frustrating.


I posted an MIA a while ago. Foolishly claiming I would keep up with the blogging and stop neglecting it. Clearly I failed miserably at that. But I have an excuse.

I’m working on a novel. I’m approaching 30,000 words and feel like I’m only 15-20% in. It’s all very I know, a novel you say!? Until a year ago I hadn’t even though of myself as a writer let alone having the potential to write a novel. It made me realize how much I need to use the creativity I have.

I work on it almost every day, sometimes its a few words, sometimes its a few thousand.

For anyone who’s interested it’s a contemporary historical epic fiction. I’ll explain. It begins in 2014 with the beginning of the Ukrainian civil war. It follows several characters from different parts of the world as the world slowly devolves, war, disease, famine, natural disasters, all contribute to the collapse of our current society.

I’m not attempting to tell the future, but I would like to think it could be a potential future.

I’ll try to continue to update as I work my way through the writing process. I’m hoping to complete a first draft before the end of the year. Who knows how possible that will be considering I intended to write a blog post at the very least once a month. (You can see how well that worked out)


Long Distance

Long distance is awful.

I had to go away for a few months of contract work and unfortunately my girlfriend was unable to join me. I am stuck in a city where I have basically no friends. I go to work and then I come home play some games or watch some tv and then go to bed. That is my life right now (apart from the writing). At the beginning it didn’t seem so bad, the days went by fairly quickly and it seemed totally manageable. Things changed.

Now I can’t stop thinking about her, every minute of every day I am haunted by her. It’s basically torture.

We have not seen each other or felt each other in just over three weeks.

It will be at least another two weeks before we get a weekend together.

I hate this, I hate being so far away with no one, not even a friend to distract me. All the people in the office I am at are at least 20 years older and they are nice but it’s not like I would go hang out with them anyways. I feel so constricted.

The only positive so far is that my creative side has had a bit of a revival. I write all the time, and drawing is starting to come back. (inspiration lately has been lacking).

We talk fairly often but not enough, never enough. Texting and chatting on the phone can only do so much. What’s worse is that we can’t Skype because she doesn’t have adequate internet where she is. It’s no ones fault but it sucks.

End of an Era

We spent the whole summer together.

The two of us spent the entire summer looking for work, basically wherever we could find it. Unfortunately this has led to a problem. Now we have jobs in different cities, and they are far from each other.

The summer was amazing. We decided to live together for the first time, and since neither of us was working we spent most days together just hanging out. Many naked days. It was impressive how little we fought considering how much time we spent in the same space.

Everyday we would wake up and then go into the room where my Xbox was and we would spend most of the day there, watching movies, playing games just hanging out. There were a few times when I found myself thinking “I need a bit of space, just a day or two” but those were rare and even then I didn’t really need it.

Now I wish so badly to go back to that time. When she was always in arms reach. When I could kiss her whenever I wanted.

Hopefully in a few months we can go back to something like that. Only where we both have jobs in the same city.

A New Job… New Life… and the Desiccation of the Internet

I just started a new job a few weeks ago, right after I got back after a few weeks of travel, basically… I have been busy. I have also moved in that time, to place, out in the forest… Waaay out in the forest, the closest anything is an hours drive away. Suffice to say, my internet connection is limited and pathetic at best. I will be in this predicament for the next four months, so I apologize now for my lack of posting, I am sure you my wonderful reader will understand, or maybe not, who knows. Just know, I will keep writing and being creative, whether or not I will be able to post much.

Published!… sort of…

I recently started writing for the website, if you are interested in technology, film, tv or gaming I strongly recommend taking a look. It is a great site, with lots of talented writers, plus me. 

Here are two of my articles which were posted this past week.

I plan on writing a lot more, both for this blog, Screenrobot and anywhere else that will have me.
Feel free to let me know what you think of the articles with comments!

Listening to Lately…

I have been listening to a lot of music lately. As I’m sure you know it can be useful for a great many things, soothing you before sleep, relaxing you, taking your mind off stress, helping you focus… you get the picture.  When I was younger around grade school age (basically before high school) I did not listen to music all that much, I heard what my parents listened to, and I was forced to wake up every morning to my sister blaring her latest and greatest pop sensation. Around grade 8 I decided it was time I figure out what I like listening to.

I started out with the bands I knew, ACDC, Led Zepplin, Rush, these were bands my parents (mainly my father) listened to. Soon though, I got bored, I wanted something for myself that no one else in the house listened to. I wanted rock and metal that was new, not from the 70’s and 80’s.

The first band I found on my own was Linkin Park, I’m sure everyone has heard In The End, probably one of the greatest songs of all time (at least in my opinion). I had heard it many many times but never known the band behind the song, it wasn’t until I started looking for music that I found out who actually sang the song. I was instantly hooked, I couldn’t get enough of their rock/metal/modern style (I’m not entirely sure what genre to put them in…). Linkin Park opened the door to metal and modern rock. Within a month I was listening to Avenge Sevenfold and Disturbed. I thought I was so hardcore, such a badass. I was naive to say the least.

Then in high school, around grade 10 I started hanging out with a new crowd, made some new friends, who introduced me to the world of screamo. At first I hated it, it was awful, I couldn’t understand the words, it sounded like noise. But every time I got in my friend’s car I was submitted to this hellish, ear bursting music. As the weeks went by, I found myself humming some of the tunes, I started understand the lyrics, they weren’t just incoherent screams anymore. Had I found a new genre to listen to?

Soon enough I was in love, this was my genre, this was what was missing from my life. The first bands I chose were The Devil Wears Prada (whom I still love and listen to) and Atreyu (not so much a fan anymore). From there I just delved deeper and deeper into the world of screamo, hardcore and punk.

Now just an FYI screamo is not all devil music, in fact most of it isn’t. There is in fact a hefty portion of Christian bands in the genre, but for the most part the songs may sound angry but in reality the lyrics are not. Most of the bands I listen to sing about relationships, friendships, and their experiences such as being on the road and such, not and I repeat NOT devil worship or satan or evil things or what have you.

Now, lately I have been listening to the new album by Memphis May Fire, and even if you don’t like screamo, have never heard of the band or the genre or have never listened to any music ever in your entire life, you need to listen to this album. In my mind this is the pinnacle of the genre, perfect in so many ways, the perfect mix of screaming and melodic singing, and the lyrics are simply fantastic. Here is one of their songs from the latest album Unconditional. Have a listen and maybe you will find yourself as hooked as I am.

Another song you should have a listen to, especially if you enjoyed the first one: Need To Be

I know there isn’t much screaming in either of the songs (if any) but I really think they deserve a listen. Screamo and hardcore bands get a bad rap I think, and this is some truly great music. Don’t always judge a book by its cover.

The Somewhat Unexpected Lessons from University Life


The imagined library I thought every university had

I recently finished up my university career (in Political Science so my experience was probably slightly different than a science major, but bear with me) it was the usual length, 4 years to be exact. It was fraught with many perils, such as getting to class on time even with a head invaded by city workers hammering away. It was somewhat educational I will begrudgingly admit, although not in the way one might expect. I remember being a high school senior, ‘ruling’ the school and thinking I knew everything that was coming my way. HA! What an idiot!


What I assumed every university party would be like

I was a dope, a fool, a typical naive teenager.

I thought university was going to be like it was in the movies, going to class was mandatory, just like the parties, hangovers were something old people had and everything could be done the night before. University was a place to grow up and find yourself… right?

Well now I can say ‘based on experience’ unfortunately only some of what that foolish naive idiot thought was true.

University was a terrible amount of fun, that was true, but it was also not exactly the quiet hall of learning I was expecting.  The biggest thing I was wrong about was the way you would learn, you went to class and the prof explained things ONCE to the CLASS, if you didn’t understand, too bad. If you really wanted to understand, better hop on the google machine. The prof expected you to do the learning, in high school my teachers would help everyone figure each concept out, they made you understand. University profs could give a shit, it’s up to you. This leads into my second thought, university was not about learning facts and concepts, it was about learning how to learn. I remember probably less than half of what I actually needed to know to pass classes, that information was deleted to remember more important things, like what games are coming out in the coming months, I know valuable eh? My point is that I have been imbued with the gift of learning, I know how to research, how to understand things on my own, I don’t need a teacher any more. That’s the key.


A weeks worth of drinking between 5 of us (first year)

The other thing is that university is way more fun than I could have imagined. If you want to have a good time, you will! My first year was for the better part spent drinking, drinking some more and then enduring the nightmare hangover the next day. It was an awesome amount of fun though, and I have no regrets, I don’t drink like that anymore and I don’t want to, but back then we had a great time and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Basically all my stories from those days begin with “we were so drunk when…” or “that [blank] party…” or “that time we drank soooo much…” you get it. The years after were much the same, at least second and third. Lots of drinking, I won’t lie, the thing I learned the most about was drinking… That and lessons of the opposite sex.

But that is for another time. 😉

What was your university experience like? Similar or different? It doesn’t matter to me, I’m just a curious person, so give me some insight.