Heyo! I'm Matt Brett, a freelance web designer living in beautiful BC, Canada. I specialize in WordPress development and generally making things that are awesome. When I'm not working, I'm playing video games, and I've published 133 game reviews over the past few years.

December 2006 Catch All

Things have been so hectic lately, and yet I feel like I’m hardly moving in any direction at all. I’ve definitely been feeling like I’m living to work, as apposed to the opposite which I much prefer. It truly is a hard cycle to break – one that I’ve not even begun to figure out. It’s one of those “you know what needs to be done but can’t seem to bring yourself to do it” situations. And all the while I’ve been telling myself that I’m almost there. Just about in the clear when I can have my evenings and weekends back. I’m pretty sure that’ll never happen. And as such, my personal life continues to suffer. But wait just a minute – this is not what I set out to write about this morning. This is merely the reason things around these parts have been pretty stagnant as of late. So I wanted to write a “catch all” post of sorts and cover some of the subjects I had planned to write about but couldn’t find the time.

Work

As you may have gathered, I’ve been working myself around the clock for weeks on end. And while it may not feel like I’ve made much progress, or any at all. I know I definitely have. This month alone I managed to complete a project for my Uncle on the side, along with my top secret Xbox 360 site which is nearing completion and set to launch before New Years. And on top of that I have my day job, where I just built my most elaborate WordPress powered site to date that I’m extremely stoked about.

For a while there, I stopped booking new projects when I found myself scheduling 3-4 months in advance. I’ve recently opened back up with a new weekly routine (including half-day Fridays, w00t!) and have decided to give each project an extra 2-3 days on top of what I would normally schedule. We’ll see how it works out. I thinking working like mad has finally taken it’s toll on me and I’d rather take an extra couple days and be able to breath than crank something out and be working right to the final second on the last day.

My Site

It’s been over a year since I launched the first iteration of this site. While I’m still happy with it, a year is a long time on the interweb. I’ve learned a lot in this time as well and would do a thousand things differently if I had the opportunity. I was planning to spend some time over the holidays to put ino my site, but I doubt that will happen. Mostly due to the fact that I want to spend as much time away from my PC as possible, but also that the Xbox 360 site will be launching and I know I’ll have to put in some decent hours finishing it up.

While we’re on this subject, a number have people have emailed me asking about that small orange in my footer and the sudden absence of the (mt) partnership badge in my header. Long story short (and many of you are already aware of this), back in October (mt) Media Temple launched a their new hosting platform, (gs) Grid-Server. It sounded like it was going to be the next big thing in hosting, but turned out to cause nothing but irritation and frustration amongst those using it. I was personally experiencing down time up to 4-5 times a day over a 6 week period. I simply couldn’t stick it out and longer and jumped ship to A Small Orange. Apparently, things are better now, but ASO has been treating me very well and I don’t see myself moving back to (mt) any time soon.

Gaming

So, the PS3 and Wii are out now. Yay. Apparently prices for the Wii have been topping that of the PS3 on eBay lately. That’s madness! Console launches are such BS it’s astounding. Especially these two. I mean, there’s hardly any games worth playing on the two platforms combined. The Wii has Zelda (I hate reading dialog and never played any games in the series) and a bunch of mediocre exclusives that have been said to be more like tech demos than full games. The PS3 has Resistance and a bunch of other good games, but they’ve all received higher ratings on the Xbox 360, where I would prefer to play them anyway simply because of the better controller. Needless to say, I’m more than happy with my Xbox 360 and even if I had the choice of any of the “next-gen” consoles, I’d still stick with the 360.

I’ve now played Gears of War three times all the way through and am on my fourth round, this time assisting my wife. She wasn’t overly stoked at first, but now that she’s got a handle on the controls and played through the first chapter (Berzerker!), she seems pretty into it.

Need for Speed Carbon has definitely grown on me. Now that I have everything opened up, I find that I’m tossing it in just to do a few races here and there on a pretty regular basis. Call of Duty 3, not so much. I’ve popped it in a few times to replay some missions but always get frustrated and end up shutting it off before the end. I’m still having mass problems connecting to games and have pretty much given up in that department. But last night I had a wicked craving to play a WWII FPS and remembered that I had Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood on my Xbox. I hadn’t actually played that one yet, but absolutely loved the first in the series. I think the sequel came out at a time when I didn’t have an Xbox and my PC couldn’t handle it, so I simply never played it. It took a while for my eyes to focus on the low res textures ;), but once I got past that, I was really enjoying myself. The Brothers in Arms series is completely different from the other WWII shooters out there and I highly recommend you check them out if you haven’t already. I’m stoked to have a new WWI shooter to play now that won’t make me want to pull my hair out.

I’m pretty excited for Lost Planet which is set to be released in early January. The demos are both incredible and it looks like it’s going to be yet another solid exclusive for the Xbox 360. Aside from that, I’m going to pick up COD2 after Christmas and want to have a run through F.E.A.R. again, this time on the Xbox 360. A buddy of mine is coming into town for the holidays and is going to bring his racing wheel, so I’m looking forward to checking that out as well. Considering getting one, but I want to try it out with a few games first.

Annnd, that’s pretty much it. Got my Christmas shopping all done with the exception of some stocking stuffers for Deanna. Looks like things will be pretty relaxed around the holidays, which is exactly what I need right now. How y’all doing with your holiday preparations?

11 Comments

  1. Duuuude! I can understand that may not be into Nintendo's style of gaming. But please give Zelda a go, it's the greatest game series ever created and Ocarina is still the best game in existence (although that Assassin's Creed video looks orgasmic!).

  2. I know the feeling of being snowed under dude. I had planned to have so many personal projects completed before the New Year, but I just don't see it happening. I've been spending my days at the office as well as spending my evenings at home doing work stuff. Throw in a couple of staff holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and the normal errands, preparing for in-laws and other family arriving on Christmas day for 10 days, and I've only had a few spare minutes for myself in the last little while.

    And regarding the whole (mt) fiasco, things did get better. I ended up sticking it out and my (gs) has been rock solid since just after you switched over to ASO.

  3. @Sam: It's not so much Nintendo's style of gaming. I enjoy a lot of games Nintendo puts out. I've just never been into the Zelda games. I hear Twilight Princess is the "same old", so I doubt I'd like it.

    @Jeff; Good to hear things have improved on the (mt) front. Although, I'm calling bullshit on you as I've been working on a site hosted on the (gs) this afternoon and it's gone down and returned the dreaded db errors three times now. :P

  4. what up matt! i know exactly how you feel, i'm going through the same damn things. definitely good to take a breather every once in a while.

    as far as the Wii, i had the opportunity to play one the other day and its pretty sweet. my buddy picked up madden and zelda… i know what you mean about reading text, especially in a RPG, it's damn annoying. however, both games were pretty fun and i found myself enjoying both.

    hope you have a great holidays, let me know if you are interested in any help on the 360 site.. i play mine quite a bit… gamertag: DOM1NANT

  5. @Matt: Way to go (mt), making me look like a damn liar. ;)

    Honestly though, I hadn't noticed it going down on me in the last few weeks. Mind you, I haven't been running any monitoring software to keep an eye on things either.

  6. Hey matt,

    See you what you mean about the call of duty 3 problems when trying to connect to other servers for multiplayer. I tried quite a few servers a few nights ago and had no luck even tho it said the connectivity rating was 5 star :S .

    As for time issues and work load, understand how you feel there too, been aiming to coincider playing WoW (do you play this game?) my website, and time for the 360.

    Not fussed about the wii or ps3 as well, the 360 for me has it all. BUT ITS JUST SO DAMN NOISEY :(.

    By the way, i'm the guy who added you on xbox live the other day…from the uk?

    Keep up with the good work dude. :)

  7. Ahh man I know how you feel bro.

    When I was freelancing I was super busy and enjoyed the semi-free lifestyle but missed interaction with people daily. I also have spent hundreds of hours in great idea projects that never saw the light of day and if they did no one ever had enough money to get them going properly which is why it's always to hard for me to work on personal projects as I can sometimes find them consuming my time when it could be better spent out with friends and relaxing.

    It's always been a pretty big tug of war with me for things like that, enjoy life vs. spending massive amounts of free time trying to do the next big thing. Maybe I just stopped dreaming.

    Oh well I have a new project idea, I may just try to get it off the ground one day :)

    You can always holla if you need any help with stuff.

  8. ouch, such Nintendo hate, it hurts! I am a proud owner of a 360, you probably see me on daily, but i ADORE my Wii. And dare I say, the new zelda is inching out GoW as my pick for Game of the Year.

  9. Living to work, working to pay bills and eat, in that order!…knew I wasn't alone but this design stuff has consumed my life, but I do love it! However last year a friend advised I throw some of my hard earnings into the market(stocks) and relax. Initially Thought he was crazy(also for using the word relax) but it worked and funded several bs personal projects, payed bills for a year and allowed a few more zzz's…just my experience and something I like to share with other designers!

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