The Early Life of a Nerd (My Not-So-Epic Story of How I Entered the Gaming Industry)

Everyone who works in games has their own unique story of how they started, after all, it’s a fairly new and rather small industry. The best way to describe how I got my first job in games is that I really just stumbled into it.

CCILogo-R_LargeAll my life I’ve been a nerd, I like to say that I was born into it. Both of my parents, despite my mother’s protests, are super geeky, and my older brother grew up on comic books, cartoons, and video games. Now, this doesn’t necessarily make them nerds, until you factor in that our family’s vacation each year was a trip to San Diego Comic-Con International. The same Comic-Con that now has an online lottery-style waiting room over eight months prior to the con just to try to buy tickets. The first year my family went, my mother was still pregnant with me. Pretty sure that was the beginning of the end of my hopes of ever growing into anything other than a nerd, and I wasn’t even born yet.

As a child, I really didn’t see myself as too much of a nerd. Sure I played games on an hand-me-down Gameboy and would beg my brother to play Duck Hunt for the NES any time I saw him playing Super Mario, but I also liked Books, Sailor Moon, Barbie, tag, Disney, jungle gyms, and Saturday morning cartoons. As I grew older, I tended to prefer to watch my brother play video games or sometimes play multiplayer games like Golden Eye and Star Fox 64, only really playing games like Pokémon on my own and usually preferring to read if I had free time. I remember it wasn’t until about the time that GameCube came out that I really began playing a lot more games, and it wasn’t until I got my own PS2 that I started considering myself a “gamer”. I remember one Christmas I got a copy of Animal Crossing from my brother. He shrugged when I opened it and confessed that he went to a game store (back when there was more than just Game Stop) and asked for a video game for someone who doesn’t play games.

66075-Animal_Crossing-7.jpgOoh were they right. I spent hours playing animal crossing, and later discovered the wonderful world of The Sims, which I sunk more of my life in then I care to admit. It was around this time as well that I began discovering anime (outside of Studio Ghibli, Sailor Moon, and Dragon Ball Z). My best friend also began introducing me to JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) like Final Fantasy, the Tales series (at the time specifically Tales of Symphonia), Star Ocean, and Lunar. Not too much later, another friend of mine got me started on an MMO called Guild Wars, and with that I was hooked.

Throughout high school and college I spent at least 8,000 hours on Guild Wars & Guild Wars 2 collectively. Plus I played through Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet and Clank, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (GameCube), Rock Band & Guitar Hero, Super Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario, God of War III, Mario Kart, Portal & Portal 2, Minecraft, Borderlands & BL 2, and countless others. Not to mention all the anime, manga, sports, job, clubs, and of course school work I kept up with too (thinking back on it, I wonder if this has anything to do with my insomnia).

main-qimg-38a887cacba1a7017dbccdbe1ac77f4a-cAnywhozies, all of that was to lead up to me graduating college wanting to go into sleep research or something dealing with artificial intelligence. So working in a lab that monitors people as they sleep, for research. Only problem, I had no idea where to find a job in a sleep research lab or what to even look for to apply for such a job. Instead, my first job out of college was at this terrible scam of a company which forced us to cold call people and try to convince them to refinance their homes (there’s more to talk about with them but I’ll save it for another time). After working there for less than a week, I decided to apply to just about any other job I could find. When my mom noticed how much I hated the place I worked, she suggested I should apply to video game companies in the area, since I spent so much of my time playing games. After she convinced me that there was really nothing I could lose by just applying, I sent my resume to just about every game company I could find a listing for (in addition to still applying to all the random other jobs I came across). I got lucky. After about a week of sending out my application, I got an email asking me to come in for an interview for a Quality Assurance (QA) tester for a video game publishing company, which I was entirely over dressed for (game companies are pretty casual, going into an interview wearing a blouse, blazer, skirt and heels to be interviewed by a guy in shorts and a t-shirt is, well, awkward). They hired me about two weeks later and I began working on my first game, Barbie.


TL:DR – I was a nerdy kid with a nerdy family. I wanted to work in AI or sleep research but didn’t know where to apply. I found a list of local video game companies and sent my resume to everyone who was hiring. I got a job as a QA tester a few weeks later.


Flash Fiction 365 Writing Challenge

Last year, I participated in a writing challenge where I posted a flash fiction story every day for 365 days straight (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017)343_believe-in-magic. It was a wonderful experience and I feel like it helped me to grow as a writer with both dedication and creativity. The “rules” I gave myself were to write a story between 100 and 350 words and each story had to be posted on my blog daily at noon. Another rule was that each story had to be unique and couldn’t be a sequel or a sort of fan fiction based in a previously established world. Overall I felt rather proud that I was able to complete the challenge, though I did have to use some prompts I found on the internet for inspiration on some of the days where I just felt little motivation or inspiration to write. One of the most important things I found was to know when I wouldn’t have time to write and be sure to prepare something in advance.

I strange thing that I gained form this that was completely unexpected was a change in my sleeping schedule. Since I had to post stories by noon, and I’m a natural procrastinator, I would often write them the morning of, before getting ready for work. This meant I would have to drag my normally sleeping self out of bed early enough to write something, check it for errors, and schedule it for posting all in time to leave for work (which arguably isn’t that early, I usually leave around 9:30 or 10 am to get to work on time). This also meant I couldn’t laze about on my weekends sleeping in until or past noon, as I needed to get writing done. I still definitely have issues waking up in the morning, but, I feel like I’m more capable of waking up and slightly less grumpy if I wake up before I need to for work.

Oh, and if you’re interested, you can find my collection of short stories here. I plan on doing something like this again soon and plan to write about the experience (the second time around) as I go.

Happy New Year!

It’s now 2018 and although I don’t feel like I’ve changed since the start of the new year, I’d like to try and share the things important to me. Instead of posting a writing exercise, review, dream log, and random snip of my life (and or recap of a few months) I wanted to post things that inspire me in my everyday life and share my stories. I’ve changed my page to breakdown what I’ll be sharing between Writing, Video Games, Disney, my artsy craftsy creations, and for lack of better description spiritual experiences which I’m trying to get more in touch with (this will include the stranger of my dreams and sometimes a short description about them).

I plan to post at least every Thursday or if something happens and will probably post rants and weird things that happen in my life somewhere, just cause where there are people, weirdness follows.

I hope 2018 brings you great stories, happy memories, and fun abnormalities!

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Let’s Talk Politics: “Not My President”

I’d like to take a moment to briefly reflect on my interpretation of “Not My President.”

Imagine your place of work, whether it’s an office, a kitchen, a retail shop, anything. You’re entry level, but make far more than any other entry level positions in town and have a lot of potential for growth if you continue at your job. Someone walks in, either to make a purchase, as an investor, or for an interview. You notice they’re wearing a cross around their neck. Out of his office, bursts your manager/boss. He screams at the man yelling that white Christians are not allowed in the store/office, pointing at the door and yelling at him to leave. He does this every time he sees someone with a cross. When the man asks why, he continues screaming, calling the man a murderer and telling him that his faith is wrong. He says that the man must be evil, citing the crusades in his tirade about violence. Now, you cannot leave your job, because if you did, you’d have no way to pay your rent or put food on your table for you and your child. You’ve considered leaving, but nowhere else in town is hiring or they cannot offer you as much as you’re getting now, and you’re barely getting by on your current salary, not to mention that you love your job, aside from your boss. Every time your boss does something like this, your respect for him gets less and less until you need a way to express that 1. You cannot respect him and 2. His views do not represent how you think or feel. You begin to say to yourself that he’s not the boss of you, shortening it to “Not My Boss” which you use in quiet retaliation.

With most people I have talked to that say “Not My President” they are not denying the fact that Mr. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, nor that they are a resident of the United States. Instead, they are trying to make a statement that his words do not define or represent them.

Career, Writing, Hair, Writing, Movies, Writing, Random Adorableness, and did I mention Writing? – December 2016

It’s official! I’m a video game writer! Last month, a VR game I’ve been working on at my company launched. This is the first game that has been released that had any of my writing in it (I named the items in the game, wrote their descriptions/upgrade text, and wrote the tutorial). It may sound boring, but so far, it’s been the most exciting thing I’ve done in my game dev career!


A still frame from our Dev Diary video

I think in the final cut the “Big Red Button” logo was removed, but this is the image that I was able to get.

My hair is growing back in many patches on top of my head, so that’s good, but it seems I’m still growing more bald patches faster than I’m regrowing hair. The whole thing is rather disappointing. I’m still glad that treatment seems to be working and I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of trying to ignore the problem and just focus on other things in my life. It’s kind of working, but I still have my moments where the whole thing just gets too real and makes me way more upset than it probably should.

I’m excited to announce that I’m nearly 90 short stories in, and have yet to miss (or even be late) on my noon daily deadline (although I’ve posted a few early by mistake and accidentally made some scheduling errors so that not all of my posts go up at noon… but overall those have been pretty rare!


This is one of my favorite stories I wrote for this month.

I saw a lot of movies this month. Well 3, no four? Maybe 3? In order, I saw Dr. Strange (maybe that was last month, I don’t remember), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana, and of course Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (I saw Fantastic Beasts, Moana, and Rogue One twice each, so maybe that’s why it’s felt like so many movies). Anyway, I’ll be posting my reviews for all of those movies as soon as they’re finished, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Which leads me back to writing! I just posted my first review on this site I meant to post it on a site called “MoviePilot” but apparently I don’t know how to internet… anyway, you can read my Kubo review (the same one that’s on this site actually) here. I have no intention to stop posting my reviews here on my site. In the coming weeks, I plan to export my existing movie reviews to, or MoviePilot, or whatever, as well as write a few new ones. Because of my flash fiction challenge (To write a 100-365 word stand-alone short story every day for a year. These can be found on my other blog, Let’s Get Creative) it will be difficult for me to chug out reviews endlessly (and, let’s face it, I don’t watch all that many movies), but I’ll try to continue to add to my writing!

Oh yes, and I did promise some random adorableness. Recently, I found a series of memes about me. Well, not me exactly, but they’re uncannily similar to how I act and react to a lot of things. When I found them, I jokingly whined that I was clearly “normal” and this was proof. The tumblr series is titled “I think I love a Derp.”

Anyway… I saw this one comic and started laughing so hard because a few weeks ago, I took a picture of the guy I’m dating holding up a Hank plushie at the World of Disney in Downtown Disney, Anaheim… and the resemblance to the comic was so close… he added his pic to the comic <3…


Also, I failed hard core at Christmas shopping this year, so if you got a “meh” gift, sorry!

The Other Woman – 12/14/16

ponce-de-leon-ballroom-side-largeI was at a beautiful gathering; a gala maybe? I wore a gorgeous floor length gown that glittered when I twirled and was dancing, slow dancing, maybe the waltz in a grand hall with a marble floor. The hall had giant intricate pillars that lifted for miles and I truly would have felt like a princess except for an aching feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me something was wrong. Servers carried platters of champagne and finger food by me as I danced with him. I looked over his shoulder anxiously, looking for anything suspicious, but all I saw were happy party goers minding their own. It was nearing the time I had to leave. I had a work party or something I needed to make it to, but I wasn’t planning on going. He was up to something, something he didn’t want me to know. I had been with him for a while now, and my gut told me there was something he was hiding. My head did the rest, thinking the worst, as I searched the room, looking for her. Nobody looked out of place. When it was finally the last moment I could leave and get to my other engagement on time. I excused myself, parting with a hug and words of well wishes. I headed toward the door, but ducked behind a magnificent pillar, he didn’t seem to notice. It didn’t take long for her to appear. Her gown was beautiful and she seemed a bit younger, but I was too far away to get a good look. Her long blonde hair looked natural, but as I got closer, I could see her darkened roots.

07e4ae4dcd8eef3e11a1864752b62684-d4khunt.jpgWith all the stealth of a graceless bull in tap shoes, I marched to his side, placing m hand on his arm while they danced. He gave me a surprised look, but didn’t appear alarmed. Neither did she. I began to question if I had been wrong the whole time, and cut in, lying that I’d gotten a text message saying my meeting or party or whatever had been postponed. The other girl stayed close at my heels as we danced, waiting for the moment I stepped away, a moment I didn’t plan to give.

After a while, my manners got the better of me. I turned to her and introduced myself as Amy. She smiled at me. A genuine smile, like one you’d see on a kid usually picked last for kickball being the one chosen first for a team. My man stopped dancing and looked at me, his face clearly embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I should have told you a while ago.”

My stomach turned to knots as I anticipated the gut punch I already felt coming.

“This is my daughter, Suzie.”

Father Daughter Dance.jpgAnd with that, before my eyes, Suzie transformed from the beautiful young woman that she was into a small, child; sweet, adorable, and full of life. I smiled at her, a real smile.

“It’s great to meet you.”

I shot her dad a look that I was hoping said “Why didn’t you tell me?” but he just smiled and shrugged.


Writing Exercise #6 – Chatter

Writing Exercise

Write a story using nothing but dialogue. Try to describe the setting and emotions in a natural way but do not add narrative.

Response to Exercise #5

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Class was mind-numbingly boring. He’d already read the chapter being discussed and had no questions except for ones he knew the teacher wouldn’t answer. As he sat at his desk, eyes glazed over and feeling like the teacher was speaking like the adults in Charlie Brown, he decided to sharpen some of his pencils, at least it would look like he was doing something. As he grabbed his sharpener, the shavings all spilled out on his paper, he mumbled inaudibly under his breath, he knew he needed to replace his sharpener. Instead of sweeping them of his paper, he drew a line behind a smaller shaving, making it look something like an airplane in flight. And with that he was hooked. He began drawing everything from birds to lions, people, to Christmas trees, rearranging the shavings to be fun accents like dresses and fans, hair and feathers. Before he knows it the lecture is over. His teacher is hovering over him, staring at his page, no longer making unintelligible noises, but instead trying to hide her amazement as she told him how he ought not to draw in her class and needed to pay attention. She resisted giving him a detention slip and he nodded before quietly sliding his phone out of his pocket and snapping a picture of his creation. He crumpled the page and threw it in the trash on the way out, he had plenty more pencils and he’d also read ahead for his next class, U.S. History.


Note: This post’s upload time/date was edited to fit into the scheduled posting timeline.