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.


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!

NaNo, Hair, and Politics – November 2016

Warning: This post does contain my political views. If you do not wish to read them, please do not read or stop reading after the section about my AA.

imgres.pngAgain this year, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I tried to write a novel. I didn’t get very far, especially because I was also trying to get my daily flash fiction writings done (success!) and keep up with life in general (I survived the month so successful again). Definitely had to fail somewhere though, and for the fourth year in a row now, that failure came from not finishing my novel (which is a bummer because I was really excited to get one done. I haven’t scrapped the story though, and plan to get back into writing it soon.


This poor kid… At least the hair I do have can be styled so nobody is the wiser 😮

Again with the hair. Wanted to do a quick update. I had a new doctor this month, well a RN I think (I’m terrible with what medical terms are) but he was nice. I now have another patch, this one on my left temple, bringing my total up to four. The one on my right temple got larger, but the top of my head has about 30% regrowth. The spot on my left is still small, and I’m hoping it will stay that way! I’ve mostly stopped crying about the hair loss. I’m still pretty bitter about the whole thing, but I’m starting to accept it (months later). I am, however, glad to know that there’s some regrowth going on and I’m trying very hard to stay positive, but it’s a difficult order to fill.


fightingdonkeyelephant.jpgThis Thanksgiving, I had a very strange, very upsetting political conversation with my family that resulted in me storming off into the night. I do feel bad about leaving, but finding out what I learned proved more upsetting than I imagined. There were members of my family, family that I see often, that were able to justify themselves turning a blind eye on issues that I find to be very important. See, I’m a supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and most of the equality things that surround it. When I found that they weren’t I tried to understand why, but whenever I tried to explain my reasons, explain that the “all lives matter” is a way to sweep the situation under the rug, I was outnumbered and spoken over. Since my immediate family, mother, father, brother and close friends all have similar thoughts on the matter, seeing the spike in violent hate crimes, seeing the percentages of unnecessary deaths to blacks compared to other ethnicities, I couldn’t quite get why anyone living in a large metropolitan area couldn’t see it. When they told me that “everyone struggles, if you want to get out of a bad situation bad enough, you just pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and do it,” my heart sank. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was, to me, like telling a rape victim that she wanted it, that she had it coming. Not quite the discussion I wanted to have over the Thanksgiving turkey.

Looking back, I don’t think I walked out because of their views, I’ve had civil enough conversations with enough people of opposing viewpoints to be able to have a discussion. It was a combination of learning the intolerance of my close family (and trust me, they made a few rather shockingly racist comments) the realization that I wouldn’t be able to bring some of my closest friends to large family gatherings without scrutiny for things about them they were born having, and the fact that my opinion was being drown out and ignored, with no area to give my reasoning or express my opinions/beliefs. It’s very frustrating to be told you’re fundamentally wrong and given no opportunity to defend or explain your beliefs.


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

Ride Review: California Adventure’s Hollywood Tower of Terror

What is it?

In Disney’s California Adventure, there’s a Twilight Zone themed ride called the Tower of Terror, which opened on May 5, 2014 and that will be closing on January 3, 2017 to make way for a re-themed ride “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” For the past month, the park has been running a “late checkout” which allows guests to ride the attraction in complete darkness.


Concept for the remodel



The Good

tumblr_nkclj1pcmc1tw2a73o4_r1_1280This ride is amazing. The first time I rode it I was grinning ear to ear because of my love of Twilight Zone as a kid and how great that it was that Disneyland’s California Adventure incorporated it into their park. The entire building is themed, sometimes even having live period music. Much like the Enchanted Tiki Room’s waiting area and the Haunted Mansion, the story is introduced in a waiting room, playing a synopsis about the strange occurrence that occurred in the hotel themed attraction and readying guests for what is to come ahead. After, the line leads through an amazingly detailed boiler room area full with a furnace and antiqued set-up.

When the ride started doing their “Late Checkout” where guests rode in total darkness, I knew I wanted to check it out, but was surprised to find just how much more terrifying it is without lights or sound effects (aside from an eerie narration). During the 2-3 minute ride, the pauses before the drops seemed to drag on forever – letting each rider feel the tension and anxiety in everyone else, even when they couldn’t see their hand in front of their own face. Everyone was holding their breath, myself included, as the usual cues for when the fall would begin were absent.

unnamed.jpgSomething cool, is after you get off the ride, but before you reach the gift shop/picture area under the staircase, you can see the a set of feet sticking out from behind a crate. When facing the stairs as if you would walk up them, the feet are under the right-hand staircase. Ask a cast member to show you if you have trouble finding them, it’s definitely worth it to see in person.


The Not-So-Good

Although I think it is a good thing, the overall ambiance of the ride is about as “creepy” as the Haunted Mansion (my favorite ride), but may scare young children. If you’re planning to check into the hotel (ride this attraction) expect the line to be an hour to two hours long, and fastpasses go pretty quick, especially now that the ride will be taken out, which is disappointing considering how popular it is. It’s also important to understand that the ride does close frequently for maintenance and in cases that it breaks down, but tends to reopen in a couple of hours. If you don’t like free-fall rides, or are afraid of heights/falling, this ride is not for you, as at the top of it, doors will open up, giving riders a view of the park, before dropping them to a 130 foot free-fall.

os-disney-tower-terror-guardians-galaxy-rumors.jpgI think it’s also important to note that the Tower of Terror ride in Orlando Florida is a bit more interesting than the straight drop in Anaheim’s California Adventure. The Hollywood Studios (Orlando) ride moves not only vertically, but horizontally, taking guests through different rooms, which was less plausible in the Anaheim location because of the physical space available for the ride.

Final Thoughts


Overall, I’d give this ride a 9/10. Even though it’s nowhere near as anxiety-causing as other free-fall thrill rides, such as 6 Flags Magic Mountain’s Lex Luthar Drop of Doom, it’s a fun, fairly family friendly attraction that will add some adventure and excitement into your California Adventure Trip. Remember, the ride will be closing January 3, 2017, despite petition to keep it open, however there are not currently any plans (or rumors) to close other The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror rides at other Disney parks.

towerofterror_mgmOther parks that have The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Ride:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Orlando, Florida – USA)
  • Tokyo DisneySea (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris, France)

Mostly Hair, Partially Shenanigans- October 2016

So, I’m not going to lie… this month hasn’t been too different from last month.

Hairbrush with strands of auburn hair stuck in itIn some ways the Alopecia Areata is getting better, in some it’s getting worse. Let’s start with the bad news. I got another new spot, just above my right temple, for a total of 3. This one’s been around for a few weeks and didn’t lose all of the hair. It’s also by far the smallest bald spot, measuring in at about the size of a dime. The one on the back of my head grew from about a quarter to a half dollar and the top of my head seems to have grown, but it’s still about the size of my palm, give or take. The whole thing has been emotionally taxing, to say the least. I feel pretty drained most of the time, and I frequently burst into tears over the loss. Even though it’s unbelievably upsetting, I find myself talking about it more than I’m sure my friends would like to hear, but they’re all wonderful and let me tell them about the research I’m doing on it and my hopes/fears about getting better/worse respectively. Since my last doctor’s appointment I made it perfectly clear to myself that I’d stay positive, even if I wavered a bit on the “all the time” part. Even though the internet is full of doom and gloom, most studies, articles, and even my doctor, tell me that there’s a very high recovery rate, and the fact that I haven’t lost all, or even half of my hair is a good sign. And having my eyebrows is an even better one.


Hopefully this will be what mine looks like soon ❤

Now for the good news about my hair; it’s starting to grow back! Well at least I think it is. When I move my finger above the balding part of my head (the top of my head at least) there’s fuzz everywhere. I can’t yet see it in a mirror, but studies show that many of the hairs will grow in white and wispy-thin, and since my scalp is pretty light, I’m guessing that it’s just hard to see off a few mirrors and adequate indoor lighting. The fuzz feels kind of like rubbing my finger “against the grain” of my arm hair, if my arm hair was super short and stubbly, but the fact that there’s any hair at all I’d say is cause for celebration! I’m still losing more hair than usual, especially from the area around the balding spot… but if it all will grow back, I think I can live with having to wear a wig or a limited hair style for a few years!

Wooh, now that I’m done with the depressing stuff… things with my guy have been going great! He’s been working a lot this month, which is good, but going from seeing him almost daily to seeing him a few times a week, if that, is making me feel like a part of me is missing… which is horrible because I don’t want to be that needy person, but when life starts to feel more like a chick flick than an actual real thing, it’s nice to have that constant good. But it’s not a dream, my hair will remind me of that every time I almost forget to clip it over my bald patch!439cb5484bc7b5f7f0b5a4534af5e99be6e6e7a5c4452557ada3f7ceeb75ba12_1.jpg

As for work, I still have my same ol’ job, only now they’re having me do some social media management as the “Community Manager” – same pay. Sadly, a lot of people are leaving the company, or their contracts are expiring, as there becomes less to do on our projects and as they find other opportunities they find more suitable for them (‘tiz the nature of life). I’m also doing some additional writing as a sort of in-house writer! Which is pretty exciting for me, more than marketing for sure!

Speaking of writing, I’ve been keeping consistent with my daily writing post on my other blog Let’s Get Creative. Last month, I decided to begin writing my Flash Fiction 365 posts which are stand-alone stories of 100-365 words each and post one every day for the next 365 days. Fun, but a lot of work! This is one of my favorites so far:


Anyway, next month, November 2016, is going to be difficult, as I plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and try to complete 50,000 words of my next book (and hopefully complete my first real novel!) All the while, I’ll still have to keep writing my flash fiction!

Wish me luck ❤

And I almost forgot, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!! Happy-Halloween1.jpg

Stay spooky my friends!