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Category: Personal

Goodbye, Cologne

Some people blog from planes, some people blog from trains. I feel awfully civilized.

Cologne was great. The Excelsior Hotel Ernst, not a great business hotel, although possessed of quality service — but the location was unbeatable. Great food. Very nice beer. GDC was also quite useful; lots of vendor meetings, a few really good talks, and so on.

Gamescom really is that enormous. To put it into the context of my tribe, take the Gencon dealers room and fill it up with computer game booths outfitted by companies with money to spend instead of printing debts. Keep the 30 foot ceiling; you need it to fit the booth displays. Yes, that is a 120″ HDTV. Now turn up really loud techno from every booth. With me so far? Make the room a bit bigger. Good.

OK. Now make three more copies of that room and put them across the hall from each other. Also add five or six slightly smaller halls with less egregious booths for B2B stuff. That’s Gamescom.

Yeah, it’s my first computer game trade show. I reserve the right to be staggered. And I didn’t even see it tomorrow, when it opens to the public.

Hello, Cologne

It’s the sweet taste of jet lag! I had plans to sleep as soon as I got on the evening plane out of Dulles, but with a lean-all-the-way-back traveler in front of me, that became untenable. So I watched Thor instead, which wasn’t half as bad as I expected it to be. Not a super-bright movie, but man, it’s got science fantasy vision in spades.

Schiphol Airport was huge. This is not an original observation, I know. But it’s worse than O’Hare! So that was interesting and new, even though the half an hour walk between gates was lengthy. But if you gotta do it, might as well do it at 4 AM body time, right?

In a fit of thriftiness I took the S 13 from the Cologne/Bonn Airport to Cologne proper, since my hotel’s right off the Hauptbanhof. The cathedral bells were ringing as the train pulled in, and they’re ringing right now. It’s a tremendous chunk of architecture.

Now I’m kind of killing time till 1 or so, at which point I’m going to wander out to a touristy biergarden and get some sausages, and then go pick up my conference badge. Then I’m going to try and stay awake more. There’s a sauna in the hotel but that sounds like a really bad idea in my current state.

Walking for Prevention

This post may trigger.

On September 28th, 2008, my life changed. That was the day Wyatt killed himself; that was the evening Susan and I found Wyatt’s body on the third floor of our communal house. A year later, the grief has abated somewhat, although there are sharp moments of pain. The anger’s still pretty strong. So is the determination.

In 2006, 33,000 people killed themselves in the United States. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years in this country. (15 to 24 year olds? Third leading.) Last year the rate of military suicides increased for the fourth year running. More than half of all violent deaths are suicides.

Two hotlines, if you are concerned about yourself or others:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Samaritans Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-877-870-HOPE (4673) (and in Boston: 617-247-0220)

On October 10th, we will be walking to raise money for suicide prevention. I expect to be working for this cause for the rest of my life. I barely saw Wyatt’s body; he’d fallen between his bed and the wall. I still won’t ever forget it.

I’m asking for donations. AFSP is a good, solid organization that does a huge amount of work to raise awareness. Anything you can give is wonderful. Little-known fact: my mother spent a lot of time in the 80s as a fundraiser for hunger causes, so I’ve seen how much difference the small donations make first hand. It adds up!

Also, if you’re moved to spread the word on this, or if you want to walk with us, that’d be completely wonderful.

Thank you.

100 Best Films You’ve Never Heard Of — Done!

Finished entering the 100 best films you’ve never heard of etc. Man, for a site with a cool concept, the interface for adding things to lists is painful. Well, no, more correctly, the search interface is atrocious. You can literally search on a full title, find nothing, then search on the first two words of the title and get the movie you want.

It could also use some data normalization. They key on Amazon entries, which is wise, since the revenue stream is Amazon affiliate links. However, there’s no linkage, so if you note that you’ve consumed a movie in one format there’s no record of it being consumed in any other.

… OK, that’s nitpicking. I know it’d be a huge amount of work. I’d love to see a way for users to do the work, though.

Job Hunt Progress

The job hunt is going quite well. I had a face to face interview Thursday, which I feel optimistic about; I also had a good phone interview today, and will be hearing back from them on Monday. Plus a couple more phone interviews next week. Plus maybe an interview in California. So I couldn’t feel too much better about my progress so far, although there’s obviously a ways to go.