Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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GX notes - April, 2000

wednesday 26 april

don't read this, read shapeshifter.

e-sheep.com. The best thing I can think of to say about it is that it reminds me of the best Jimi Hendrix. Soaring sacred fantastic funky. The e-sheep combination of observation, humor and artistry is extremely potent. Plus he uses a rich soup of cultural references - a delicious synthesis of web/biz mockery, pop cult, religion, gaming, comix, drugz and politix. It's rare to see so much art from someone so aware. Especially online.

tuesday 25 april

Here's a joke pic running gaming email today (based on this game - a tactical anti-terrorist simulation).
Thanks Trish.

Rainbow 6 Two
My bosses boss pulled a great one on me.

meanwhile i'm feeling stressed to the gills - residual projects hanging on and new projects emerging daily and the ones that are fun are being pushed out by the time sensitive demanding projects. Oy. James keeps telling me "delegate, then manage." But most everyone says they're too busy. And I start to see why companies grow.

monday 23 april

Matt sends this link: X-Rated Panda Videotapes. It's great working in a place where people keep me abreast of the latest shifts in culture.

friday, 21 april

Today, I wish I was Here, at the Louisiana Museum. It's right up there with my bed and between Amy's boobs as a favourite place in the world.

Today COPPA goes into effect. So far the best story to come out of this is eCrush rejecting 12 year old from their teen matchmaking service - and receiving lots of irate replies.

We have an operator standing by, so far no parents have called to turn on their children's account. As we expected I suppose - but you gotta be prepared.

thursday 20 april

Chris from IT remarked that we now have hired someone that doesn't know a phone jack from a power jack on a laptop - it's the next frontier for the IT department - up until now we've been staffed largely by people who can install their own memory, assemble and dissemble computers. Geeky boys. Now we're hiring people on the management/ops side of the fence and they're not so 1337.

One of the things I love about working next to Angela is that she constantly offers me snacks and food. Like she'll eat only half a granola bar and give me the rest. Or she'll split her lunch with me. I eat my own food (lately bacon and eggs for my bachelor self in the morning - love that frying pork smell) but I can always do with a metabolism balancer mid-afternoon. Trail mix - i need to get some trail mix.

Today we got a temp in the office, Nicole, who is going to be answering the phones so we can comply with federally mandated children's privacy regulations. She was quite blown away that we have "critters" hamsters in our office, and people play games, that they dropped out of school as game experts to work here. I imagine this must be a strange place to work, to drop in as a temporary worker. Then again, Kathy worked as a temp at a mortuary, and that's pretty weird too.

Yesterday I worked from 9am to 3am without leaving the building. I'm a real man! yar! Actually, it struck me as being cyclical - like every six months, there's another all-nighter type project going on. Like school! Part of the rhythms of life it seems - nice to get cranked up now and then, do a little premature aging. It's the upcoming scuba diving trip this saturday with people from my company that has me a little weary - I hope I'm not too tired to enjoy the frigid waters of Northern California.

wednesday 19 april

Had lunch yesterday with Joel, Terence and John.

tuesday 18 april

at first I was a giddy gameplaying bachelor. now I think I'm maxing out my brain and my work is beginning to poke out from the thin spaces where the gelly of my eyeballs rolls against the flesh/bone basket of my eye sockets.

amy left town, i ate fried chicken, drank beer, jerked off, sat around, talked to the cat, had a grand old time. now I'm at work from 10-9 every day, and working from home in the morning, and I'm not working on my garden which I want to do so I'm going to take some time away. without her i feel unbalanced, like i don't know how to tear myself away from work to come home to eat and snuggle and watch a movie. i sit here because i think that the work I need to do will get done better if I stay and get more things done in advance of tomorrow's morning meeting. If I transfer my work email from one server to another tonight so I can work during the day tomorrow. this sucks.

but obviously I enjoy it on some level, or I wouldn't be doing it! I think of my family at times like these - how I was brought up surrounded by people who really put in a lot of time trying to get their jobs done well. And I guess I was raised seeing some benefits of that attitude.

I think I've definitely grown closer to my brother as I've started working harder at an office job. He sends me Budweiser ad videos from his Microsoft made mail program to my Microsoft made mail program. Then when he gets home he entertains me with worldly tales of his New York social life while I poke fun on my end from within my cubicle.

I'm not much of a drug user these days, but this Kava is making me forget the pain in my body and the urgency I felt about getting home. That and making non-linear stories about my life on my personal web site. Whee!

Between kava and electronica I think I might survive the internet age.

sunday 16 april

Professional gaming (like computer gaming for cash) is alive and well - a tournament was held this weekend - here's the Cast of Characters, and here's some play by play coverage of the final match - can you see a Quake/Sports commentator reading that over the graphics as millions of homes tune into see who is the twitchiest of them all?

saturday, 15 april

Webby Judging tonight.

friday, 14 april

Companies grow so that they can sustain their business and support all the ideas within the organization. Necessary if they're staffed by people with a large sense of their role in the world. As the company expands the range of personalities and range of personnel quality expands as well.

Here we are.

The stock market is tanking. I've been sorta detached from that - I have a web site, but I've never really had any internet stocks. As some Bay Area people grow sad with their jobs a little, start digging in for the long haul, or leave for LA to look for "low hanging fruit" (ie, older media companies need web people bad), I'm glad I have a job I love and a garden that I can not do enough with.

So I'm not net-rich, and I'm definitely not hardcore. But I've got a partial sunburn and I shaved for the second time today and my face hurts!

tuesday, 11 april

Along the lines of a new title every so often, it looks like I'm now a "Project Manager" within the company - a sort of hired gun, I shepherd ideas that span departments, manage workflow, make calendars, drink water and sand down my nails. Nice to be sort of freelance/roving within the company. Keeps me moving, which is good.

"Singular Stress Injury"

I worked out super hardcore with Jim and Lori in Nebraska this weekend and now my arms are so sore in my elbow joints and around my shoulders - I can't lift anything or straighten my arms or bend them, it's a sore sore day. I'm popping Advil like nuts. And I'm slowly realizing that if I don't work out more soon, all this pain will be for naught!

"Customer Service"

We're setting up some 800-numbers to deal with parental consent for COPPA (this is a project I'm managing). We were talking about getting temps to fill those phone operator positions, but I said that we've got to hire a gamer, someone excited about the site, someone who wants to work here, because once they get on the phone, they are going to be the closest person in our organization to our clients, our customers, our users. Talking to Wilson and Amy's friends who worked as temps, it seems that at least half of the temporary workers out there are unhappy alienated workers. Do you want people who feel like that answering the phones? Amy pointed out that hiring a full-time permanent person for the job is probably more expensive. I guess then it's a question of priorities.

Today's interesting reading: The Rise Of The Chickclickers

monday, 6 april

left earlier for work this morning, listened to Fresh Air (thanks Steve). 1997 US poet laureate speaking about haiku. Inspired:

always more boxes
summer heat is coming on
where does the trash go?

This was predicted, still it's interesting:
PlayStation2 is a DVD player, the low priced multi-feature DVD player that many people were waiting for:

Nekkei news reported that the Japanese DVD market has expanded by 60% since the launch of Playstation 2, about 60% of the PS2 owners have purchased more than 3 DVD movies for the month, and 30% have rental DVD movies in major video rental shops, and 15% of the PS2 owners are mainly using the system as a DVD movie player.
from Magic Box

And here's an unlikely form of convergeance:

In a surprise move, the famous home sewing machine maker Singer is developing for Nintendo Gameboy! They are working on a new model of sewing machine called Nuyell that can be controlled by the Gameboy through link cable, you can draw different picture and patterns on the Gameboy, and then the sewing machine will create the same pattern on the sheets. Over 300 kind of patterns and figures will be built-in to the system. The new Gameboy corresponding sewing machine Nuyell will be released in May, for around 50000 - 60000 yen in Japan.

Again, from Magic Box

I need a haircut bad. I think with my hair like this I must look like Iori! Wild Iori
Still playing Card Fighters Clash on the Neo Geo Pocket Color - this is now longer than I played the Sims. We have a page on the Intranet that tracks the scores of people in the office and that's been a bit of an encouragement to try to accumulate all the cards I can. Gotta catch 'em all! as they say. Plus playing this game is giving me a great sense of the joys in Collectible Card Games. Strategy, accumulation, resource allocation, competition. Combined with long plane rides, it's an addictive combination. Too bad Majesty isn't out for the NGPC!

thursday, 6 april

I was talking to my Mom about buying a car, because I need more legroom and safety for my driving life. And she says, why don't you research cars online? It was a very strange moment for me.

So I poked around a little bit locally, and eventually through the deep car nuts here I ended up indirectly linked to Smart Car Guide which is like the perfect thing I'm looking for - a home schooling course in car buying.

These two URLs were being tossed around our internal funny stuff list:


Tiny Terence The company is mourning the death of Terence McKenna. Okay, I'm mourning his passing. But I work here.

wednesday, 5 april

I'm trying a new thing - since Amy's sick and sleeping early, I'm waking up at 7am to start my day with paper reading eggs and sausage and some writing.

In our office we're trying to institute new "project management" routines to insure that the 60 people we've hired since December will be part of a productive corporate whole.

So now we're making nice new business cards for everyone, and I get four separate emails from people asking me if I want my personal cellular phone number on my business cards (no thank you). Four separate people from three separate divions, all within a week.

I got assigned a project, figuring out how we can comply with The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by April 21st. So I'm making outlines and meetings about COPPA and my mind keeps drifting back to salty ham.

combed glee Anyhow, the wild fluctuations in the American NASDAQ stock market don't bother me much - so many people around me are knee (or neck) deep in tech stocks, and I used to feel restless I hadn't bought in, but when I hear about this, I figure I'll save my $300 and invest it after the crash. heh. If you can tell when that is.

unsure On one hand I mourn my tech friends who might now be some of those interesting weirdos in the Bay Area who find themselves on the low end of the food chain because their stock options aren't enough to leverage the lifestyle. And it's sad to put in all that effort and not see handsome returns and a fabulous new car, let alone retirement and full time dedication to painting and philanthropy.

earnest This is my fourth internet startup and I got a job here at gamers.com cuz I wanted to learn something and I'm still very excited about that. Once in a while I run across someone at the company who mentions something akin to cashing out (usually someone with a lot more shares than me, too, which is slightly disheartening). The tightening of the tech-stock noose means that these folks now might find that Gamers.com is not the path to early retirement. And while it would have been nice to fuel my personal media empire with a few thousand shares, I'm eager to continue work whatever the circumstances. As I wonder idly what will happen to all the unique and useful startups here in the Bay Area when few can expect to go public any more.

tuesday, 4 april

more notes from the frontlines of gaming:

Sega, synthesizing an internet appliance, mp3 player and game machine:

Magic Box reports that "Sega has showed the new high capacity Visual Memory at TGS, this new VM card has a headphone jack built-in to the card, and supports MP3 music playback. "

A VMU is a two or three finger sized device that you stick into your Dreamcast game machine. You can save your games onto the Virtual Memory Unit and some Dreamcast games provide games in miniature you can play solely on your VMU.

So what's important about this annoucement, in light of yesterday's news that Sega intends to release the Dreamcast for subscription in August as an Internet appliance, people can download MP3s into an adjunct MP3 walkman/memory unit. With a single 200$ machine!

Seaman Also, the other piece of news from Magic Box, an Excellent Prize from the 4th Japan Game Grand Prix was awarded to "Seaman: Forbidden Pet"

We have a British guy working here now, David, and he says things like "that's rarer than hen's teeth" or "that would be like pissing money up a rope." what?

monday, 3 april

Ahah, more reason to only carry one pocket electronic device: Neo Geo as MP3 player - thanks Matt.

Much of life is seeking something true. When I'm in the mist of a workday, feeling compromised and corporitized, I find my zen collecting information about obscure games and improving their entries in the gamers.com database.

And then John sends me newsof SegaNet (shades of Consolizing the Web) and it just seems evermore like Gaming is a thrilling place to be - straddling the infotainment economy. something like that.

Otherwise, I'm pleased to discover the occasional useful reverent history of computer gaming - data for my own work.

march notes

february notes

january notes

december notes

november notes

october notes

september notes

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