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Day to Day
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Saturday, 5 March 2005
Workless co-worker day
Topic: San Francisco
Today I did something I've been wanting to do for a while, which was to have some of my co-workers from Namco join me for a day out and about. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but not badly attended for being so short notice.

Fellow Namcoites (Namconians?) Amy Steele, Bryan Chang, and Jeff Buccellato arrived, along with Jeff's fiance Eileen. They carpooled up to Oakland and met me at Jack London Square. The overall plan was a day in San Francisco, but the only thing I had decided for certain was our brunch destination. I planned to wing everything else.

After recent rains, and Friday's downpour, I was concerned that the weather might not be condusive to running around. However, Mother Nature smiled on us and after the morning gray it was sunny and not cold. So, we went with Plan A and took the Ferry across the bay from Oakland. I love that ride, out on the bay and under the Bay Bridge. Sometimes it can be frickin' freezing, but not today! The ride was so nice I proposed that we not get off the boat at the San Francisco Ferry Building and instead ride the ferry to its final stop at Pier 41.

There was one big rule for the day: no talking about work! This was a social exercise and I wanted all of us to hang out as friends and not get into office stuff. Fortunately, no one really crossed the line, so spankings were not required! Well, maybe I'm just a tad disappointed by that, but that's not really appropriate to discuss I suppose...

As we arrived I told the group the story about the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America building as seen from Marin County across the Golden Gate, where the two are often referred to as "The finger, and the box it came in." And yes, "finger" as in "giving the..." Take a look at ye olde pyramid from due north sometime and see what I mean...

After disembarking at Pier 41 we made a beeline for the F Line streetcars. My goal: get as far away from the tourist trap that is Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 39) as quickly as possible! After a very short ride on an old SF steercar we had to change to a different car, which was from Milan Italy (the F line usues vintage streetcars from all over). We rode this car along the Embacadero (SF waterfront) and then up Market Street to the end of the line at Castro. Ah, Market Street, where the socio-economic scale fluctuates by block almost as rapidly as a Gough Street changes altitude... but perhaps that's a tad too much an S.F.-insider comparison.

Anyway, after showing they group ye venerable Castro Theater, we used an L underground train to get to West Portal, where I took the crew to brunch at one of my favorite restaurants; A Cafe for All Seasons. Rob Schoeppe joined us there (he lives on the far west end of S.F.) and we have a very pleasant meal with mucho good food. Bryan had never had polenta before (he's from Irvine, CA, so we cut him some slack), so we expanded his palette with a taste of these "fried italian grits" as I called them.

Our boss Kenji-san was out of town an unable to join, but he left a phone message saying that uncle PAC-MAN should pick up brunch, so the meal went on the company credit card. Thank you PAC-MAN!

As we were leaving, co-worker Umesh Ghodke called and told us that he was sorry that he could not attend. I hadn't actually expected he would make it, but one of these days I'm going to make that man come have fun with us! Hmmm...a plan must be formulated. Bribes musy be made...plots must be thickened...

We piled into Rob's vehicle, but there wasn't really room for six, so poor Bryan rode in the back. He got pretty comfortable...he looked like he was napping!

Next stop was Ocean Beach. The sun was shining, the waves were impressive without being big, and the temperature was perfect for an early March day. I was the only one who dared to shed shoes and dip toes in the ocean. Amazing how people can be so fearless about all kinds of things, but hesitate about putting their feet on sand for fear that someone somewhere broke some glass there. Wimps! Needless to say, my tootsies survived without incident. A few jokes were had about all the great white sharks that inhabit the waters offf the S.F. coast near the Faralon Islands, and we did make a few obsevrations that kids and dogs playing the water's edge would be "tater tots" for said fishies. But no fins were seen, and no puppies were gobbled up like so many deep-fried potatoes. Ah, never any excitement on this beach!

Amy's boyfriend Bill met us at the beach, and we moved the group slightly up the coast to the site of the old Sutro Baths. Most of the group climbed the rocks north of the old tunnel, but Eileen didn't feel up to it, so I stayed with her and Jeff and we climbed around the old foundations and eventually met with the others.

Naturally, being a mere 26 blocks from Tommy's we couldn't leave the city without stopping for a drink or six. We were there for quite a while (where DOES the time go?) and put away a lot of drinks but none of us crossed the line in drunken slobland. Rob and Bryan were the odd men out, though, because Rob was drinkign Jack and coke, and Bryan drank maybe half a margarita total to my 3+ or whatever the heck I drank. Heck, even Amy drank more than Bryan and she's the lightweight!

We parted company at this point, Amy and Bill heading back to San Jose in Bill's car, and Rob drove the rest of us downtown so we could catch BART. Jeff and Eileen live near the Froment BART so Bryan and I bid them adieu at the Lake Merritt station. We then strolled back to Jack London Square to fetch out cars from the garage, and parted company there. Lucky me, my drive home was like 5 minutes. Bryan's was probably 40+!

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it was nice to hang out socially without work stuff interrupting. I actually genuinely like my co-workers, and I really enjoyed this day out with them. Another excursion seems mandatory. But where? Angel Island? Bodega Bay? Las Vegas? The sake tasting place in Berkeley? Tune in next time to find out!

Posted by molyneaux at 10:01 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:32 PM PDT
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Thursday, 13 January 2005
Q&A Via Email
Topic: Just Cause...
I got this via email. I'm never comfortable sending things like this it smacks of Spam, but I filled it out anyway and decided to put it on here and on a Yahoo Club I maintain.
Welcome to the next edition of getting to know your Friends.

What you're supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it onto a New email that you'll send. Change all of the Answers so that they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know "INCLUDING" The person who sent it to you. The theory is that you'll learn a lot of little known facts about Your friends. It's fun and easy. You might be surprised with some of the things you learn about People you think you know!

Somewhere in San Francisco with a view.

My shirt that is nearly magenta, which everyone always compliments me on.

Songs for a New Generation, the B-52's

8 a.m.

The coffeemaker.

The piano.

7. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLORS?! Yellooooooooooooow! (and if you get it, kudos!)

Of course. It's a game, commercially available. Buy now!
Actually, no.

Sports car. SUV's are glorified trucks that roll over waaaay too easy. I hear about SUVs rolled over on the traffic reports all the time. What did they say about the Suzuki Samurai? 0 to 180 (degrees) in 1.2 seconds!

10. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? As a child, The Boxcar Children. I don't read Children's books now, and neither should you. And the Harry Potter books are technically for young adults, so Booyah! on you if you said it. DO not pass Go, do not collect 200 dollars.

Indian Summer.

The power to block SPAM and keep people from forwarding lame jokes.

Don't have any. Won't get any.

At work, yes. Mandatory!

Charles F. musican once-friend who sorta fell off the face of the Earth.


My car is a hatchback, ergo no trunk. But in the back are rain clothes and a tripod. Thanks for asking.

Not gonns email it...but I'm gonna post it on my Yahoo Club called Fallon's Fallen. My guess is Sherri will reply first, since I know she sent this to question 21's answer.

Brian Doe. Karen. Tracy. Gene. Barry. Damn you all! ;)

Phil in Elko...the metrosexual in the middle of nowhere!

Posted by molyneaux at 1:06 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:34 PM PDT
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Friday, 7 January 2005
Pine Sol clean
Topic: Work Stuff
I'm so behind on this Blog...I really have to get back in the habit of writing in it.

This week's been rough. I've been pulling 11 hour days at work. Thank goodness I'm meeting a developer in San Francisco mid-afternoon, because it'll force me to get away from the office and get off work at something approaching a reasonable hour.

Kinda backfilling events since my last posting, on Monday Dec. 20 I attended the company Christmas Lunch, held at the Decathalon Club in Santa Clara. The food was decent, and there was wine. Once nice thing was that the company popped for actual entertainment, having hired two comics from San Francsico to perform for us. The first guy was the funnier...a juggler and comic who runs a comedy club in Union Sqaure. The second is someone probably better known, but not as a comic. She's the woman who appears as the Pine Sol lady in all the commericials. In her act, she was talking about how the only video game she can play is Ms. PAC-MAN, but complained that it as hard to play on her cell phone...and as she said this, she looked right at me, which is funny because I'm in charge of the cell phone products at Namco. After that, she kept talking to me throughout the act. She even gave a gift certifacte for Pine Sol. After that, I won one of the table decorations in a raffle, which, strangely enough, was made from Pine branches.

So, no, I wasn't pine-ing for anything that day.

Posted by molyneaux at 12:46 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:35 PM PDT
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Sunday, 12 December 2004
More Incredibles
Topic: Cinema
Went to see The Incredibles again on Saturday. Great movie. Definitely a must-have on DVD. I'm always impressed how PIXAR's animation and rendering is two years ahead of everyone else's. I loved director Brad Bird's "The Iron Giant", so I'm thrilled he's two for two in the feature dept now.

Spoke to Terry today. Making plans to get together next weekend and hash over his script. I reworked the scene directions in the fist 16 pages of it, and I need to get on the next chunk. The plan is for me to help him streamline the directions so we can get an accurate page count, and then start hashing over the scenes and characters and dialogue. I'm looking forward to it because I like the story, and it's fun to work on something so utterly different than the kind of thing I would write.

Posted by molyneaux at 4:11 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:37 PM PDT
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Saturday, 11 December 2004

Topic: Day to Day
Well, it's over with Nick Pettitt and I. Not that there was much there, just a few visits in 2002 and 2003, but I'm still disappointed.

Well, let me qualify "disappointed". Nick's partnered, so I never had any illusions about the relationship being more than what it was. But I did like his company when we were together. I'd hoped we could stay long-distance friends who occasionally saw each other, but apparently he started to see our getting together as some sort of obligation, which is too bad. I never asked anything much of him...even he was the one who instigated all his visits here. Just goes to show you that sometimes even asking for nothing is too much. Cest la vie!

Actually, I'm surprisingly ambivalent about the whole thing. I knew it was coming when he typed "we have to talk" just before I went to bed Thursday night, but I didn't lose any sleep over it. I mean, how broke up can you really be about someone after 18 months where all you do is type a few short messages to each other a couple of times a week?

Friday was a little crappy at work. Lots of stuff didn't go right. No major disasters, just lots of frustrations. Fortunately the evening was pretty good. I went out with my friend (and next door neighbor) Patrick and his new boyfriend for Happy Hour, and chatted with some nice guys. A nice wind-down to the week, and the kind I rarely get as I don't usually get home from work in time to go out for things like that.

Also, I got a call that my new dining room table has arrived from Italy. Now I have to arrange to go pick it up, as the cost of shipping it here from SW San Francisco is a bit much!

Posted by molyneaux at 12:44 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:36 PM PDT
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Saturday, 20 November 2004
Behind the times
Topic: Day to Day
Boy, I've let this go months without an entry!

So much has short:
  1. MOVED. After 7 years in my apt. at Lake Merritt, I moved. My previous entry here was when I decided to make the move. I've been here a little over two monrhs now, but I'm nowhere near settled. Work's had me so busy that I'm seldom home! I did manage to order a dining room table last weekend. Maybe tomorrow I can finish painting the bathroom...
  2. JAPAN. In late september I took my first trip to Japan. It was a business trip, but not an overly busy one. The food was great. The people were nice. The trains are on time. And then there's the sake and Karaoke...
  3. BIRTHDAY. For my 41st birthday a bunch of friends and co-workers showed up at Tommy's and farrr too much tequila was consumed...hoo boy.
  4. WORK WORK WORK. I've been working a lot...part of this is because we've been understaffed, and I've been doing the job that producers would do...if I had them. Well, I just on Friday officially extended offers to two candidates, one of whom's already accepted. Having them will make it possible for me to do the job I was hired to do, and maybe actually have a social life again.
  5. HIKE HIKE! I've beeen trying to go out and do more walking and hiking on weekends. Skip and I have been out hiking in the Oakland Hills over the past few weekends. Today we hiked to the top of Wildcat Peak. Hoping to keep doing that.
  6. MOVIES. Haven't seen that many in recent months, but I do recall seeing these:
  • The Indredibles -- A blast!
  • Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow -- Laaaaame
  • Team America World Police -- Rude, crude, foul, and I laughed until I hurt
  • The Corporation -- Interesting and Infuriating
  • OutFoxed -- Which Proves that Fox News is neither Fair nor Balanced...which should come as no big surprise to anyone

Posted by molyneaux at 9:31 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:40 PM PDT
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Saturday, 14 August 2004
Movin on Up
Topic: Domesticity isn't pretty
I've been in this apartment 7 years and 1/2 month. It's the longest I've ever lived in any one place nonstop. But, that; coming to an end at the end of this month, and I'm going to be renting one unit of a duplex owned by my friends Jerry and Patrick.

The place is great. Built in 1936, it's two floors with two bedrooms and bath in the carpeted upstairs, and living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs, which is mostly hardwood floors. The house is on a hill, so streetside the master bedroom is at 3rd floor height and the front door in up a flight of strairs (there's a garage below the living room), but step out the back door (kitchen) and it's ground level. There's a nice back yard I'll share with my landlords, and off the master bedroom is a wide balcony with a great view of all of downtown Oakland and glimpses of San Francisco beyond.

The living room and the 2nd bedroom both have corner windows. I love that. Now I have to start buying furniture to fill the place! Today I stopped at an open house at the Design Centre Italiano in Emeryville, and they had some really nice pieces, but more were too pricy for what they were, and a lot of it was too modern for my tastes. I did see a dining room table I drooled over, but it was close to $3K with the chairs. Yowch. For the living room I'm contemplating doing a mix of the art and crafts pieces I have with something more modern. I'm also toying with painting, because I hate white walls. I'm also trying to figure out what to do with the TV, since I hate how they dominate a room and I don't like those big TV cabinets. Can't wait for the day when those wall-hangable plasma screens are a reasonable price.

The only real downside is that the 2nd bedrooms's pretty small, but I've got some ideas on how to make the best use of that.

The other downside is that I have to start packing. Oy!

Posted by molyneaux at 4:59 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:41 PM PDT
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Saturday, 7 August 2004
What a day...
Topic: Work Stuff
Today was one of those days...

I woke up early and was showered and out the door by 6:50 a.m. All was fine on the commute...traffic wasn't too bad on I-880. Got into a slowdown just around the bottom of Hayward and the car in front of me stopped suddenly. I braked to a stop. The driver behind me wasn't paying close enough attention and slammed on his brakes late. He came to a stop just short of my car, but POW, another car hit him, and another car hit that. His car lurched forward and tapped my back bumper, but there was no damage. The other three cars were a wreck. Shook me up pretty good.

Then the day was really long. Not only did we have one of those 2+ hour meetings, but I had a zillion things to do, and I had to get a bunch of material ready for meetings with visitors from Japan on Monday. I got to work at 7:45 am, but didn't leave until almost 11pm. Oy!

A few things balanced out there day.
  1. Kenji-san had the arcade division bring a mini-cabinet Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga machine into my work area. Also, I understasnd we're also going to get a full-size Taiko No Tatsujin (Taiko Drum Master) arcade unit soon (it's a video game where you literally beat a Taiko drum as the controller)! Sometimes I love working in the videogame biz!
  2. Today was a company BBQ and it was nice to sit outside, chat and stuff my face.
  3. By the end of the night it was just Amy, Umesh and myself there, all slogging away, but we took a break for dinner (ordered in a pizza) and had a fun conversation that was part work, part personal, and mostly silly.

Posted by molyneaux at 1:10 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:42 PM PDT
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Friday, 9 July 2004
Random thought whilst commuting
Topic: Day to Day
I've thought this before, but it popped into hy head today while driving up highway 101...

Bumper stickers are the most cowardly form of self expression. You tell people what you think while racing away from them at 60 miles per hour.

Posted by molyneaux at 12:02 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:42 PM PDT
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Friday, 2 July 2004
Double A, M, C, O doesn't spell Namco
Topic: Work Stuff
My life takes some funny turns now and then. Today was the end of my first week at my new job as General Manager of Wireless Products at Namco of America, a place I wouldn't have expected to be only a month ago, when I was seriously considering bailing out of the game biz entirely.

As with most of the work I've had in this industry, I didn't go to it. It came to me. A colleague who knew I was looking for work gave my name to a recruiter. After much phone tag, the recruiter called me about this position at Namco. Two hours later, Namco called me and I did a 1.5 hour phone interview that went really well. They wanted me in for a face to face right away, but the man I needed to meet was in Japan, so, almost two weeks passed before I was able to come in for the interview. I honestly wasn't sure if I'd done well or not when I left, yet less than 24 hours after I'd left for the interview, the Chief Operating Officer called me directly and offered me the job!

Settling into a upper level position like this isn't the easiest thing in the world, as not only are you trying to remember eveyone's name and where the paperclips are, but you have to hit the ground running on a whole bunch of projects in various stages of pre- post and production.

But I can't complain too much, despite the 40 minute commute each way, I'm making over 1.5 times what I was making at Psygnosis 6 years ago, the company bought me a spiffy new camera phone and let me pick out my own computer for work, I get good benefits, work with nice people, I get to have a lot of say in what products we do, I'm going to Japan in Sept., and I get to play a lot of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man as part of my job. Yes, Namco IS the Pac-Man company, and the bread and butter of the Wireless division is getting the two main Pac games out on every handset possible. What a treat, since Ms. Pac-Man remains, to this day, my favorite video game of all time.

Life she is good!

Posted by molyneaux at 10:40 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:43 PM PDT
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