To Buy or Not to Buy


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A couple of months ago, my sister invited me to go out to Florida to see her and her family. My mom and her husband were going to be there too. It seemed a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

I don’t mean that the way it sounds. That came out wrong. It seemed like a great chance to see them all in one trip. Mom and Hank live in Illinois so I usually have to pick one place or the other if I’m going to go visiting.

Anyway, so I went. That was last week.

My sister, Aria, and her husband own a business, and they do a lot of work in an over-55 community. You can visit their website here.  Aria took us there one day to show us the place, just because she talks about it a lot and they have some big contracts there and she wanted us to be able to envision where they spend a lot of their work time.

I was super impressed with the place. It rocks an Italian theme—Tuscan, to be exact—with tile roofs and big terra cotta planters and buildings with columns and all that. The homes are well kept up and the landscaping is consistently cared for throughout the whole property. (HOA dues are to thank for that, I know.)

I asked Aria if we had time to go through a couple of model homes while we were there. The thought I had been struck by was: I am 45 and retirement is only 20-some years away.

It’s not a bad idea to start checking out places now for where I might want to live.

Sounds a little crazy, maybe, but hey, I’m a long-term thinker.

We went through about six models and I probably would have bought on the spot if I had been ten years older. I just wasn’t quite ready to make the commitment. I mean, 20 years isn’t far away when you’re thinking about preparing for it financially, but it’s kind of far away when you’re thinking about buying a place and maintaining it long distance for two decades.

Still, it felt great to find a place like that, do a bit of exploring, and know that it’s there. The development is still being built out, and I imagine in ten years if I’m still interested, there will still be homes to buy.

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Covered in Shite

contract labor

You’d think that after 20-plus years in the game industry, I’d be used to the roller coaster ride. Meaning that given the nature of this business–you’re only hired on a project basis, and once a game is done, you might be out of a job—you never really have job security. You may work on a game for three years, but if the game tanks, the producer won’t hire the studio to make the sequel, and you’re out of a job. Of if the studio has poured all their resources into producing this game, but no resources into lining up a contract for the next game, then you’re screwed. I know. I’ve been ejected from studies more than once just because the game we made didn’t do as well as expected or the project ended and the next project didn’t have room for me.

Are blogs supposed to have paragraph breaks, like papers we wrote in school? I’m thinking so. I’ll work on that.

I have never gotten used to that roller coaster, and it always kind of pisses me off, even though I know it’s just the industry.
Actually, my job here is probably the most secure one I’ve had. I honestly think that the main reason I keep my job is that I put up with Rob’s crap. Rob is my boss, who, incidentally, is ten years younger than me.

(I’m 45, and I’m the senior guy on the team. Everyone else is ten to 20 years my junior. Crap! When did I get to be this old! These guys are all KIDS!!)
Anyway, Rob is a dick. Most people give him the birdie behind his back. He micro-manages and is a controller on steroids. (Pity the woman who becomes his wife.)  He totally pushes all my buttons. I can hardly stand him. But, being the quiet, mature person that I am, I keep it to myself. And that, my friends, is why I keep my job.
I think.

So the roller coaster isn’t quite so threatening for me as when I’ve worked for other studios. Last year we went through a bunch of lay-offs. I was sure I’d be given the boot, but amazingly, I wasn’t. Since I’ve survived several of those glorious events, I feel a little more secure.
Nevertheless, I’m actively looking for another job. I’ve gotten tired of what I do. The game we’re currently working on is a spin-off from a major motion picture. So the scenes in the game have to closely resemble scenes in the movie. Just think for a minute about how much excitement there is in creating game scenes using settings that some other yahoo has already created?

Yeah, you’re tracking with me, I’m sure.

So my creative spark is covered in shite, to borrow a phrase from that great movie of Heath Ledger’s, A Knight’s Tale. (The spark of his life has been covered in shite! Says the red-headed guy about the knight that is decomposing in his armor under a tree.) I love that line.
And it pretty much describes how I feel about my work right now.
So, like I said, I’m looking for another job. Not broadcasting the search, but quietly looking.
OK I’m tired of this screen and I’m ravenous so I’ll catch ya later . . . .

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