Monthly Archives: December 2009

“Stuff”-less, or “Less Stuff” Christmas

Every Christmas, I try to creatively mask my lack of creativity with presents for my friends. One year in high school, I made these snowman ornaments out of off-white felt that I had learned how to do in fifth grade. A few years later, I made my Naps Shirts and gave them to my friends. Two years ago, I gave my friends each a copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen as an attempt to convert them, but I’m sure none of them have read a word in the book, let alone a sentence.

As I, along with the rest of the world, become more environmentally aware, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the volume of “stuff” that we make, buy, and dispose of every year, especially during the holiday season.

In my daily life, I try to be conscious of my purchases and look for more sustainable options before considering more popular or more “bang for the buck” ones.

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What Am I Doing? (December 2009)


PetVille Logo

So the game that I’ve helped work on is finally launched! We launched on the night of December 2, but obviously I’ve been too busy to even write a post about it, as we’re still working to make the game better and better! We’ve been getting mostly good reviews and people seem to be really excited about it.

I understand some users’ concern that there isn’t much to do in the game right now, but we have many things planned to be released in the next few weeks, so there is always something new to check out! Since launch, we’ve already added a holiday furniture/accessories collection and released our first new mini-game!

Ivan's pet, next to 'Holiday Budding Tree'
“Holiday Budding Tree,” and my pet in front of “Ivan the Table” (partly named after me).

During my time here so far, I’ve noticed the amazing talent of the team all around, from the product team to the art team to the developer team, and especially the developer team. These guys (and gals) are amazing, and I am ecstatic to be working with them.

I know some people, including myself, aren’t ready to add an app to their Facebook account unless they know what they getting into. Those people can check out the Info page of the application, look at screenshots and read reviews before deciding whether to add the app. But if you are ready to play, you can go here.

Macau/Hong Kong

Before the team launched PetVille, I was in Macau and Hong Kong for a total of three weeks. I mentioned this in my previous update, but now that the trip is over, I can give a better review of the experience.

It’s somewhat sad to say that I was feeling varying levels of homesickness throughout the trip. Things were not only different from the States, but also from the last time I was there four years ago. There were a lot more casinos built in Macau in four years, but it’s nowhere near the status of Vegas yet, or ever. The mentality around casinos there is different from Vegas’s, where in Macau, it really is about the gambling. In Vegas, however, it’s about entertainment, which includes gambling for some people.

Macau Buildings in the Evening
Old “Casino Lisboa” (red), New Casino “Grand Lisboa,” (middle) Macau Tower (right)

Hong Kong is also another level of difference that I didn’t expect. Having lived in Macau and not Hong Kong for part of my childhood, my first impression of Hong Kong was that it was the perfect mix of old and new. I would see a shiny skyscraper right next to an old street shop with obvious wear and tear from years of pollution. There was a clear distinction from one building to the next.

I thought that Macau and Hong Kong would be the same, or similar. In some ways, they were. But they each have their own style, own way of doing things. For me, Macau has a local culture that has not completely taken over by casinos yet. Hong Kong, probably because of the vast amount of land they haven’t leveled yet, has more of an international culture that continues to foster new experiments for architecture and cultural style. Even though Hong Kong was more Westernized, I felt more homesick because 1) I obviously did not know my way like in Macau, and 2) it was trying to be like Western cities like San Francisco, but it’s not, and therefore I felt betrayed.

During my trip I have taken many photos and potential photomerges (mostly in Macau) that hopefully, I will be able to work in somehow in the future, mostly in the Experiments section.