Posts Tagged personal

There and Back Again

Just got back to Seattle from a week-long trip on the Magic Cruise. It’s unsurprising that a combination of floating hotel, drinks with friends, dancing, Magic, other games and tropical vacation has been the best trip I have taken each year for the last 5 or so. Woooo! This post will be pretty stream-of-consciousness because maaaan I’m tired.

  • I found myself getting a little tired of Magic at points on this Cruise, but since tablets and phones are now ubiquitous, I could always get a game of Solforge or Stone Age in between drafts.
  • Martini bars are the best bars!
  • I should bring two suits next year, so that I can suit up at least twice as much. (So basically every day.)
  • Faceboat was a success! A moderate one, since the signal range was awful, but luckily the next project in the works (codename: Facebuoy) will be able to address these shortcomings.
  • I should probably take an extra day off after the cruise next year 😉

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Experiences, Designed

My relatively new position at Wizards (within 6 months or so, although I started laying groundwork from the start of 2012 or so) was honorably mentioned in Director of Magic R&D Aaron Forsythe’s yearly State of the Union style address on our website today!(Aaron’s my boss.) I got some great kudos from friends and admirers on social media. I wanted to chat a little bit about the ups and downs of being an “experience designer.”

My job, as I see it, is to enhance the enjoyment of our products by providing one-time one-of-a-kind experiences for players associated with those products. So, for example, when we release a new expansion set, we make a big event of it (the prerelease) and I am in charge of defining how to make that big event special, memorable and on theme for that product. Maybe a huge treasure chest that the players must work together (in small ways) to unlock, or a special themed “initiate to the group” box chosen by the player when they select a group to join and fight for. Incredibly, I actually got a bit of a start on this sort of design in college, with Caltech Ditch Day – designing a full day of fun, themed activities for underclassmen as seniors.

The best part is that I feel directly plugged into giving our fans opportunities for more fun. We get to do some really creative stuff for these experiences (which I can’t talk about – yet!) and I get to be at the center of that creative effort, which is really invigorating, especially working with so many talented folk all along the line.

The challenges so far have been communication-related – getting everyone on the same page about what we are trying to accomplish with any particular experience – and process-related – it can be a bumpy road, creating these new experiences, since we are new as a company to making these things.

I hope that this year, with a full year behind me of experience with experiences, I can start to lay a more formal groundwork for a kind of template starting-point for experience design!

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#2: Workout Ethic

I went in super early (well, I guess not super early – only 6am or so) and did an aerobic/treadmill workout at the gym at work.  Man, it was tough – taking time off from exercising is just terrible for my ability to get back into the swing of things, both psychologically and physically.  Still, I completed my run and felt pretty good about it.  I am unhappy with my current weight, or I guess more accurately the distribution of weight – I’ve got too much flab on my chin and chest, and I think I’d feel a huge amount better about myself if I toned that down a little.

So, how to form an exercise plan that works for me?  The way I got it to work at Caltech was to wake up early (because Robin and Fred pounded on my door).  The way I got it to work in Los Angeles when I was working at Pretty Good Games (in Manhattan Beach, about an hour away from home if I didn’t hit traffic) was to wake up early and drive to a gym near work.  And the way I generally find it working here in Seattle is to… wake up early to get to the gym at work.  Waking up early, because I have more “free energy” in the mornings (I think that makes me a morning person!) seems to be a good plan.  And making it fairly regular would also help.

#2. I resolve to get to work early enough (pre-7am) on two days a week for a full month so that I can get a short workout in before I start my workday.

That should still give me enough time to work on various things before I get distracted by folk in the Pit / meetings / playtests, and it won’t be ridiculous on either my body endurance or my sleep cycles to do this twice a week.

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#1: This One’s for the Ladies

Specifically, I am unhappy with my personal (relationship) life, so I need to resolve to take steps to “fix” that.  I understand that it’s not a problem to solve per se, but rather that I need to take positive steps toward improving my confidence, get myself busy so I stop overanalyzing everything, and get myself feeling better physically and socially.  All of these things I will resolve to do in the coming days, but first and foremost I think it’s worth talking about some direct action I can take to meet/get to know more women.

I use OkCupid (please don’t stalk me k thx), having been a member since like… 2003?  It’s quite a good dating website overall, but I feel like I’m spinning my wheels (and also I am unsure whether I’ll be able to find someone right for me via this method, since I have not done so in our time together).  I’ve also, at the suggestion of friends, tried other sites / personals listings.  Bill made a great suggestion to me tonight which was, just try to talk to more people.  So in resolution form, it’s:

#1. I resolve to message one lady I am romantically interested each day for 30 days.

I don’t think I’ll start this right away (either right right now, or right after the New Year starts) because like I said, there are a lot of other personal improvement steps I feel I’ve been lazy progressing on that I can do first to build confidence, but I think this is a great step for me to get myself in the habit of starting conversations that might lead to something rather than sitting around (which will lead nowhere).

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Call for Advice

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If you could call any living person for advice today, who would you call?

This is an interesting question, because it really comes down to evaluating the people I know (and know of, as in they are famous) by what I feel most unsure about – and whether those people could help on that subject.  I would say the subject about which I am most unsure is how to integrate my ambition and desire to do something that impacts with the world, with my day-to-day happiness in what I do (day-to-day).  Who might be a subject-matter expert on that subject?

My thoughts came to Bill Gates.  I don’t particularly know whether Gates has had success with day-to-day happiness in his life, but I do know he’s been wildly successful both in the arc of his career and in affecting the world with what he has done.  If the question is how to be impactful, I think he’s a great candidate for expert on that.  In addition, Gates has spent a while now being the head of a large charity organization, so in some sense he also is probably acquainted with how to maintain that impact over a long period and make sure it spreads to those who need it.  My thoughts naturally tended toward solving the impact problem because I am pretty happy right now with my day-to-day (at least, in terms of work – as for personal life, I have my friends to call for advice on that, so I don’t really need to call out “any living person”; they do an excellent job of it!)

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