More inane ramblings about my wretched life

Life’s shifted into a definite low gear at the moment. The project is, theoretically, winding down. I’m always surprised how the end of a project never ends in a whiz-bang but a whimper; There is almost never a huge rush to go over the top but rather a kind of slow, boring decline into boredom until we are finally told not to piss about any further and that the disc is going into production. I’m now in that slow, boring phase.

I’m afraid to actually redo or brush up much stuff for fear of breaking something. It’s such a delicate little snowflake that the merest wrongly converted texture can lead to massive headaches. So I try to do as little as possible and only do those tasks directly allocated to me; change this texture here, just tone down the saturation of that texture there by 1%, etc. It’s mind-numbingly tedious stuff and I am more than a little bored.

I dare not do my own personal work as my monitor is broadcasting what I do to whomsoever wishes to cast a glance in my direction, and with my colleagues being as nosey as your average Japanese I fear being asked the question “oh, what’s that you’re doing there?” and having to explain, or lie about it. So I don’t and watch the clock in stead which has suddenly decided to run extremely slowly. I swear the average hour takes about half a day. I hate being bored.

Luckily my day gets filled in short bursts by the artist next to me. He’s fairly new to the industry but is showing promise. What’s more, he is actively learning new skills by himself and isn’t afraid to ask for help. He cunningly spends his weekends as a teaching assistant at a graphic design school so he can benefit from the lessons being taught, as well as earn some extra pocket money, though not much. He also has it in his mind that I’m an expert at Maya, which I certainly am not, so I can often wile away an hour or two teaching him techniques and methods.
At a previous company I made some extensive tutorials on using new technologies in Maya and games in general which were either so good that it answered everybody’s questions outright, or nobody read them at all. It’s good to see I can be helpful to at least one aspiring colleague. He is telling me I should teach but the prospect of losing my weekends is too much for me to bear, so I throw him the “but I don’t speak Japanese” line in Japanese.

I can’t take a short holiday yet, as I would like to, because I still need to be in the office every day all day in case some insidious little bug pops up that needs attention. “Oh, JC, can you re-export that model again?” Sure. That’s what I’m here for.

I’ve started surreptitiously shaving some time off my working day. I come in a little later each day but I’m still always the first one in. By my estimation I can come in as late as 9.30 and still be there when other people arrive. That’s a pretty good deal as the idea of me being there so early is a good thing to have in the mind of a boss. Unless of course he is logging my PC activity, which, to be honest, I won’t put past him. I’m also leaving a little bit earlier each day; not by much, as these things have to be introduced slowly. Soon I’ll be down to a 9 hour day without loss of reputation.

Traveling a little bit later in the morning has little noticeable effect; the trains are still too packed but at least I’m not quite as crushed as I would be on the slightly earlier train. Also, as it’s close to regular companies’ opening hours I get to watch that fantastic half-run a lot of people get into when they think they might be late. It’s a joy to watch as they show all the physical attributes that go with running without actually going any faster. I have often overtaken running people with my brisk walk. But appearances are important, I guess. Although, I can understand the art of the non-run in company time; if your boss looks over and sees you running, even if you’re not, it can only mean brownie points. But what is the use of non-running in the street on the way to work? Maybe it’s just habit.

Recently, in the morning commute I have come across this strange new smell; a kind of orange breath-mint mixed with stale sweat. It’s a little spiky and unpleasant but I have not been able to pin down who it is. I thought it may have been me, as I’m trying a new orange-minty toothpaste but after some extensive sniffing I have eliminated myself from enquiries. I suspect one middle-aged salaryman whom I’ve seen on a few occasions, but I haven’t been able to get close enough to test my theory. As you can see mobile phone Tetris isn’t really enough to occupy my brain with anymore.

Another new time-waster is DS/PSP observing; I count about 5 or 6 DSs a day in the wild. Aqua Blue seems to be the most popular colour. I have only seen one original, bulky DS recently, played by a sour-looking schoolboy. I can’t often see what people are playing, especially with the old design DS, but when I do it’s usually Pokemon. The types of people I spot with a DS is heartwarmingly varied; from school kids to young and middle-aged women to young and old salarymen; not that Japan ever had that much of an issue cracking that supposedly elusive “female market” that western PR people like to harp on about at length anyway.
In sharp contrast I only ever see about 2 PSPs a week. Usually the white version, for some reason, and more often than not it’s being used to watch video rather than play games. And it’s only ever men “of a certain age” who have them. Go figure.

You’d think with the extra time I’d finally be able to do some home hobby work, but no. Being bored all day is much more tiring than working hard. I usually do most of my hobbyist work at the start of a new project, when I’m all fired up and full of energy. The day may be long but by the time I get home I’m still full of adrenaline so I often work until late into the night doing my own thing. But these days I get massively tired by mid-afternoon and when I finally drag myself home I have little inclination to do anything but watch the telly or play some g…I mean, do competitor research. Maybe I shouldn’t have dug out Drill Land again for the post a few days ago; the addiction is renewed and I am having a hard time putting it down. And all the while some freshly downloaded Virtual Console games are still begging to be played with more coming along every week. Which reminds me: I need to buy another points card, probably with a classic controller included again so me and the wife can each have one for our Bomberman battles.

That, in short, is my life at the moment. I have some drinking engagements planned for the coming weeks which should at least give me some variation in the people I bore with the tedious stories of my boring life. It’s already the end of January. Sheez, where does the time go?


  1. It’s a joy to watch as they show all the physical attributes that go with running without actually going any faster.

    I almost spill my milk on the computer screen after reading that line.

    And yeah, I get more tired being bored than working hard >_>

  2. Same with me about getting tired from boredom.

    On the last project I worked on, I was so bored of the work I was doing toward the end that I would get my shit done asap (fuck the overtime rule, because it was bullshit and I wasn't going to waste my life sitting there with sweet FA that actually needed to be done just so the planner could change his fucking stupid mind and make me do it again) and go home at 7. Almost as soon as I got home I would cook, eat, wash-up and then get straight onto doing my own stuff. I got tons of work done during this period, although thanks to my lack of a proper place to work at home thanks to just having moved in and having no furniture I fucked my back and wrists up from lying on the floor using the PC for so long.

    Things are more interesting at work now, but I've recently decided I HAVE to do lots of personal work at home so that I don't get left behind whilst an influx of talented artists with 3d skills take all the good industry positions. This is bound to piss off my gf, but I think I really need to do it, because the shit I DON'T know about Maya or Max could fill a book :(


  3. I've observed the half-run half-walk, and determined: it's not for visual appearance, or out of habit. What happens is that a person is getting a bit late, but not insanely late, so they decide to speed up, but just a bit. To speed up, they switch to the half-run. They assume, then, that they're now moving faster. However, because they're a little late, they're concentrating on getting to work fast, or how much longer the pedestrian walkway light will stay green, or the like. They're not concentrating on what people around them are doing. As such, they never notice that they're moving at walking speed. They actually think they're moving faster.

    I'm pretty sure this is the way it breaks down, because once, my wife and I were walking, at the same speed, to catch a train. She then broke into a half-run, but didn't accelerate at all. When I pointed it out to her, she was really surprised. She genuinely thought that she had sped up when she did the half-run, but I pointed out that I kept the same walking pace, and the distance between us never changed. It was a bit of a revelation for her.

  4. I noticed the walk speed vs awkward jog speed phenomenon in college. Even when I tried putting more effort into just walking, I found that my strides were more forceful but a bit shorter. I discovered the trick to going faster for me was just to lengthen my stride as much as possible.

  5. Boredom at work is a killer, the more time u have on your hands, the more time u have to think about how crap yous job is. It's depressing stuff. I try and keep myself as busy and possible. A couple of naughty things I do to while away any boredom: surf the net (obvious, but I stick to text-only sites like forums and blogs, also, turn off images to prevent unwanted attention). It's not always possible to surf on your PC inconspicuously tho, so, I have a Nokia N73 which can also be used to surf the net, plus, I have some eBooks (novels) on it which I sometimes read. The N73s small screen can be easily hidden from snooping eyes :-) And when worst comes to worst, I occasionally do some hobby work on my PC... I'm a programmer and it's almost impossible for passers-by to distinguish between company-work and home-work, code looks like code ;-) Also, u could claim u are 'expanding' your company knowledge by reading your C# book at work...

  6. Damn, anon, you're a genius! I hadn't thought of learning my C# at work! Plus there are one or two *good* programmers there to give me pointers too! Done and done!