I'm back in New York after two and a half months in New Hampshire doing the Derrick movie. I am psyched! I came back and there was immediately a new Pixar movie and the Lil Wayne album I hadn't really listened to in earnest, and a whole city of food that isn't catering or D'angelo (Northeast staple sandwich place that is actually pretty awesome, but significantly less awesome when you have it almost every day for two months and change). There are friends and parties and every person on the street looks amazing.
I was warned by everyone who knows that immediately after doing a movie you come home and get epically sick. I haven't gotten sick in any easily identifiable way, I more just have this vague trembly-all-over thing and a general feeling of malaise, like the subject of a Radiohead song. It basically feels like I should be wearing an over-sized sweater and scurrying through the streets of a bleak European city-wasteland, but it's summer in New York, so I feel like a shivering sickly weirdo at a 24-hour all-city block party. It's really going to be very nice once I get back in the swing of things.
The movie went really well. We did it! Well, the shooting part of it, anyway. Now there's the whole post-production process. But we are very proud of it so far and cannot wait to show it to people when it's ready.
People were honking car horns and singing songs two blocks from my apartment continuously for, no joke, two hours straight. I wanted to go see what the deal was, but it was pissing rain. So I just stayed inside and pondered when I would stop feeling like a shaky malnourished shut-in, which is a stupid thing to ponder when you have shut yourself in and not fed yourself all day.
But it isn't raining anymore so I'm going to go get a burrito and see a movie.
Speaking of movies: "Wall-E" is an unfair movie. I never had a chance of not liking it. Post-apocalyptic wasteland? Adorable robot? Old musicals? Pixar? Fuck me. It practically put a gun of quality in my face and said "love me" and I had no choice but to comply.
While working on the physics engine for Ecomorphosis 2: Killpocalypse, I briefly become convinced I am God.
Myself and the other developers on my team have been studying water, breaking glass, dirt clouds, and countless other real-world phenomena in hopes of delivering what the president of our company has promised the readers of Electronic Gaming Monthly will be “the most realistic physics engine in the history of video games, bar none.” I have just spent eighteen hours in an awful chair in a dark room describing to a machine how to accurately simulate the motion of a feather floating through a shaft of light coming from a church window and now, on a snack break, halfway between my cubicle and the Snickers ice cream bar machine, I am pretty sure I have achieved perfect consciousness.
I have catalogued the “motion vocabularies” of dozens of different kinds of materials in the past few weeks and I see an example of each in the hallway where I am frozen, enjoying my newfound omni-mind. There is the torn paper of a poster for AquaCycle, the futuristic jet-ski game we made last year. There is the aluminum of an Arizona iced tea can underneath John’s desk. There is the pebbled glass of the fluorescent overhead lighting. There is the latex of a condom Aaron stretched over Elise’s mouse as a joke six hours ago when everyone was still in the office. I know them all, and I know exactly how they would react were I to touch them with my hand, or run them over with an all-terrain vehicle, or blast them with a sub-machine gun modified with alien technology. Everything is perfect and still and quiet and I am deeply and all at once aware of how every bit of it would look burnt, trampled, or exploded. I see any and all possible trajectories and can extrapolate outward. Show me any item in this hallway, describe an interaction with any other object in the universe, and I can tell you how it would look. I can tell a computer how it would look and make it re-create it for you at home so well you would take it for granted. Three floors up in an office tower in Burbank at four forty-five in the morning I am two days from a massive deadline, sixty pounds overweight, and infinitely understanding. I am convinced I could lift the Snickers ice cream bar machine up and blast it through the drop ceiling and into the online poker start-up company offices one floor above without ever touching the machine, just by being so completely in tune with its weight and density and vibration and glow. A Monster energy drink thrums through my heart, little lights wink on and off everywhere in the office, and I am so completely God.
The cleaning woman pushes her cart out of Tom’s office. Sticking out of her back pocket is one of those big synthetic feather-dusters, and I’m undone. There has been no call in this rush to simulate a universe for us to study, describe, or catalog these things. At no point in his adventures does Lieutenant Phong, cybernetic anti-hero of the Ecomorphosis franchise, wield a big synthetic feather-duster. It means my knowledge is less than perfect, the tendrils of complete understanding which had just seconds ago extended forever in all directions draw all at once back into my head, and again I feel fat and tired.
I feed a dollar into the Snickers ice-cream machine, then curse as I realize the two quarters I thought I had are really just one. There’s some more change hanging out in the right back pocket of my jean shorts, though, so I put that in and the robotic vacuum hose sucks a Snickers ice-cream bar out of the freezer, drops it into the slot, and I grab it and unwrap it. I’m finished before I get back to my desk. My hands are all sticky so I steal some Wet-Naps from Morgan’s desk drawer. A left-over drop of vanilla glistens on my hand and I am tempted to imagine its limitless varieties of motion, but the thrill is pretty much gone and I’ve got a lot more work to do.
The game will be in stores in November. I don’t expect the epiphany will ever return.
At the big rock festival a thousand kids went ape-shit for the Japanese girl and the skinny man in the striped t-shirt playing spaced-apart guitar notes at each other.
At least two thousand other kids pretended to be as ape-shit for the Japanese girl and the skinny man as the one thousand kids who were legitimately ape-shit for them, and did so in order to impress those one thousand other kids.
And thirteen thousand other kids were bored stupid because they were waiting for the Japanese girl and the skinny man to vacate the stage and be replaced by four well-groomed handsome Southern California dudes in an acceptable amount of eye-makeup, and they said how bored they were with bottles and cans and whatever they could lay hand to and throw at the Japanese girl and the skinny man, and whatever curse words they could shout between and over the spaced-out guitar notes.
Until finally one of the well-groomed handsome Southern California dudes, the lead singer, came onstage and pleaded for everyone to pay attention to the Japanese girl and the skinny man in the striped t-shirt, because they blow his mind and they might also blow the mind of the thirteen thousand bored kids if they’d only take the time to pay attention.
And as he left the stage the two thousand kids pretending turned to the one thousand really ape-shit kids and said “That’s really cool of him to do that” and the one thousand kids said, “Yea, but he’s a douchebag” and the two thousand kids said “Yea, you’re right,” and reminded themselves silently not to hand their iPods to the one thousand kids to play in the car on the ride home without first making sure they had definitely taken off all of the well-groomed handsome Southern California dudes’ songs.
They were pretty sure they had done it when they started hanging out with the one thousand ape-shit kids but they weren’t absolutely sure, and they didn’t want to take them out and check now because that would be obvious.
And it’s a good thing they didn’t because the simultaneous glint from the screens of two thousand iPods being removed from backpacks and pockets and purses might blind the pilot of the promotional helicopter circling overhead dropping coupons for an energy drink, causing him to veer wildly off course and crash into the Japanese girl and the skinny man in the striped t-shirt, killing them.
In which case one thousand kids would think “What a horrible tragedy but it was really appropriate considering some of the apocalyptic imagery from their lyrics” and two thousand kids would think “Fuck, now that they’re dead everyone’s going to like them a lot more and I’m going to have to pretend to like them forever” and thirteen thousand kids will think that the well-groomed Southern California dudes sure have stepped up their live-show theatrics since the last time they toured, when they entered the stage on the hood of a tricked-out Cadillac hearse.