When I hear opportunity kicking in my door."
My goodness, this has been quite an overwhelming couple of weeks. Opportunities and events have been hailing down on me, some of them great and some of them challenging. In fact, some of it I can't quite talk about yet, because it's not quite official. Here, though, is a sampling of the rest of it.
* I've agreed to design a game for a startup interactive fiction company. This company is taking a pretty unusual approach to game creation -- it splits the design, writing, and coding duties between three different people. It reminds me a bit of the way some comics are created by collaboration between a writer, a penciler, and an inker. I have no idea whether it will work -- it could be an awesome way to expedite game creation, or it could be an utter disaster. I really hemmed and hawed over this decision -- the pros and cons felt about evenly balanced, and in fact they still do. What finally tipped the balance for me was that after sitting with it for a while, an idea came to me that I really wanted to use, and given the current structure of my life, I couldn't really hope to actually design, write, and code it. If I can just design it, perhaps it will be able to see the light of day after all, maybe even better than I could have made it on my own. The writer I'm teaming up with is somebody whose work I definitely respect, so it's possible that we'll hit a creative synergy. And if it turns out I make a few bucks off it, hey, that'd be great.
* Laura and I have agreed to participate, with Dante, in a local research project focusing on speech-delayed kids. Basically, once a month for six months, we outfit Dante with some clothes that conceal a device a little bigger than an iPod nano. That device records how many words are spoken to him, how many words he speaks, and how many conversational "turns" (i.e. alternating speaking with listening to another person) occur in his day. In addition, he gets evaluated at the beginning and the end of the study period by one of their speech therapists, and in a couple of the months we do two extra recording sesions. Our motivation is not altruism in the interest of science: we're well-compensated for our trouble. If all goes well, we should earn a little over a thousand dollars by the end, which should make a nice addition to his college fund. He just had his first recording session last week.
* Laura's car is a 1992 Ford Escort, with over 100,000 miles. This car was not designed to go over 100,000 miles. We know this because after 99,999 its odometer rolled back over to zero. Tons of little things on it have broken over the years. Its gas gauge doesn't work. One of the doors won't open from the inside. One of the doors won't open from the outside OR the inside. The trunk also won't open from the outside. The little plastic piece that holds the driver's-side lap belt in place is broken, so you always have to fish around beside the seat for a few minutes to snag it. Et cetera. Well, recently she reported that a few times she felt like the car had hit a pothole, when in fact there was no pothole. We took it in to our trusted mechanic, who reported that the front struts were just about to break, and the back ones were deteriorating too. All in all, it would be a $900 repair, which is a bit ridiculous on such an old car. It was the death knell. Time for a new car for Laura. The only question was whether we would try to leap into action and get one immediately, or get the front shocks fixed and buy ourselves some time. We opted for the latter, partly because of all the other craziness that's been going down. It feels a bit silly to do a $450 repair on a car that we'll soon be getting rid of, but to me it's worth the trade-off for not having to frantically rush through a big purchase, and not having to try to dispose of the car while worrying that the wheels are about to snap off.
* Oh, and today, Dante fractured his arm. Sheesh.