Business Phrases

We have corporate inboxes for Worldwalker Games now, because we are totally a real, serious game studio, guys.

And I don't know if it's something about corporate inboxes in general, or just a feature that I turned off in my regular inbox a long time ago, but Google likes to try to auto-complete my "business phrases" as I start typing them.

"Let me know if you have any questions."
"I'll look into it."
"This should work fine."
"I'll need a signature..."
"Let's circle back in a couple weeks."

And now I feel like a huge dweeb because of how accurate it is. I'm going to have to find weird, wacky ways to say boring business phrases. And if anyone asks, I'll have to admit that I'm only doing it to spite the auto-complete.

Minivan - Under No Illusions

We got a minivan when we had the third kid, and I've really come around to it, despite some initial hesitation. The biggest drawback is the abysmal gas milage. But frankly, we don't drive drive all that much anyway, so it's not the biggest deal.

When I drive though, there's a little green "Eco" light that comes on when I'm coasting or... I can't even figure it out. When I'm not driving like a maniac, I guess. And it infuriates me. Like, minivan, I get that you're trying to stay positive, but we're getting 17.5 miles per gallon here. There is nothing "Eco" about this entire situation.

The Tragedy of the Sandals (aka Our Heroine Continues to Write About Her Toes on the Internet)

I've been on a quest for durable walking/hiking sandals for YEARS.

Well, "quest" implies that I've been super devoted to it, and I haven't. It's just something that's been in the back of my mind whenever I need a new pair of shoes. It has been going on for a long time though.

Long ago, I had a pair of Merrel sandals, and those were pretty cool, but I wore through the... not the sole, what's the opposite of that? The part that touches your foot? I wore through that into a really flourescent orange layer of material, and the leather strap around the heel kinda disintegrated at some point.

Then there were a few years of buying like, twenty-dollar sandals. So not quite garbage flip flops, but not great either. Those tended to fall apart after about a year, except for one pair that was literally just some straps of plastic on a foot-shaped cutout of more plastic; I wore those things for like six years. They were waterproof, they were indestructible for how flimsy they looked, and they had this big ol' plastic black "gem" set into the plastic straps, like they were pretending to be fancy. I loved them until they finally broke.

Then I bought some Tevas. These are supposed to be cool? And they would have been great, except that the back heel strap was too stretchy and not adjustable, so my feet slid way too far off the back of them and they've worn in like that and become almost impossible to walk in.

sandal
Not ideal.

As you can see from the wear and tear, clearly I have been using these as hiking sandals anyway and complaining about them the entire time. Which makes all kinds of sense.

Someone gave me a pair of Alegria sandals, which are supposed to be good for your feet. And those are fine, they're waterproof, I can walk in them for a long time without soreness. But they only have flip-flop straps and are over an inch high, so not the most stable. I've taken a couple of spills in them just walking through the neighborhood, and wearing them on rough terrain (especially while carrying a baby, which I often am) would be ill-advised at best.

So this summer I finally came across a pair of Birkenstocks, and I thought, "IT IS TIME."

My soul is that of a Birkenstock-wearer, I have no doubt about this. Little bit hippy, little bit yuppie, practicality over fashion. And yet, it took me this long to finally buy a pair. But I sprung for 'em! And I was thrilled at how well they fit! How well-constructed they seemed! How easy they were to walk in! I worked on "breaking them in" for a couple weeks...

Until they wrecked the nerves in my big toe.

This is a thing, apparently! In a few people, the toe ridge in Birkenstocks can make the edge of their big toe go numb! I was happy to discover that this was probably the cause of my sudden big toe numbness, and not some neurological issue. But I was disappointed, too. These were supposed to be the nuclear option in Durable Warm-Weather Footwear. We've tried pounding down the toe ridge with a mallet, and it's definitely less pronounced, but I'm waiting for feeling to come back into the whole big toe before we test the fix. According to the couple internet posts I found about this, that could take anywhere from one month to "never."

So we'll see, and the hunt for a rough'n'tough sandal (maybe) continues...

Thoughts From the Hotel

I act all adult
And respectable,
Until Nate walks out the door,
Then me and the baby
Start eating Cheerios
Off of the hotel room floor.

***
While Nate's off helping his brother get ready for the wedding, we're killing time in the hotel room. The baby has finally fallen asleep but pinned me to the bed in doing so, so I turn on some Animal Planet to kill an hour before dressing up the kids.

After years of Netflix and no regular TV, commercials are weird. I grew up with them, so I didn't realize how weird they are, but trust me, avoid TV commercials for a couple years, then come back and tell me how completely bizarre they are. It's an alternate universe where people are extremely animated about the most random things. This lady is so committed to telling me why I was should buy this dog food or whatever. It's awkward. I feel awkward for both of us.

I'm used to internet ads, which have way lower production value.

***
This wedding was delayed a year due to Covid, which sucked, but I found a bright side. Had it gone off last year, I would have still been pregnant, and the hotel courtyard and wedding venue are chock full of Society Garlic.

Beyond Burgers

Nate & I had a pack of Beyond Beef in the freezer, and we finally decided to make burgers out of it. We gave it a fair shot by making pretty tasty burgers—toasting the buns and using spinach, mozzarella & garden tomatoes. Good backup flavors, but nothing like blue cheese or balsamic vinegar that would overwhelm.

Verdict: it's not bad! Notes:

-It wants to crumble, so it was a little tricky to make burgers out of, but Nate managed.
-It also wants to crisp up at the edges, even with relatively little fat in the pan. The crisping takes it from what would be a 5/10 to a solid 8/10 for me, personally.
-It'd be fantastic as a filler in breakfast tacos, where you've got eggs to hold it together and other spices to do the heavy flavor-lifting. Probably good in chili too, but it wouldn't be able to show off its crispiness as well.

Yeah, it's not beef. If you want the springy, chewy beefiness of beef, this isn't it. But it scratches some other itch that I tend to have for savory, meaty things. I also love tofu for tofu's sake, so maybe take my words with a grain of salt (ha), but I'm legitimately looking forward to eating the leftovers.

This sounds weird, but I always want trying some weird meat to be a "new" experience, but everything kinda tastes like chicken, or the alligator jerky just tastes like regular jerky, you know? Beyond-burgers are what I wanted that experience to be: something close to the flavors I was used to, but not quite. A food of its own.

I don't know if the Impossible beef or the other brands are any good, but we might try this again sometime. Right now grass-fed ground beef is still cheaper, and I like pushing beef towards being grass-fed in my miniscule way.

UPDATE: I tried a corner of one of the patties that was going to be left over, and it was way less tasty after it had cooled down & been sitting out for a while. We'll see how it reheats.

Annie, What Ever Happened to That Game You Kept Talking About?

We released Wildermyth! For real this time; not Beta, not Early Access, actual real 1.0 release.

It's done well. Quite well.

Of course, there's a big part of me convinced that everyone has just made a mistake, and they'll soon realize this and redact all of the nice things they've said. But the other part of me is, to borrow a term I learned from the Great British Bake-Off, "chuffed."

chuffed

We've made a game with art and writing styles that are both pretty nonstandard for video games. People could have easily said, "What is this? Take your dumb cartoons and your weird sentence structures and get outta here."

(And some do.)

But most people didn't.

So we'll have to decide what to do next, how best to do right by our team, etc. But maybe that happens in a month or so, because man. A year ago, we were waist-deep in pandemic, trying to get the game in shape, and 8 months pregnant. And now, all of that madness has mostly resolved. So for now, we vacation.

Thoughts Inspired by Tax Registration

When you've got an ecosystem with a lot of animals, and they're all trying to eat or avoid all the other animals, you end up with these interesting things that happen. Predators get sneakier, prey get keener senses. Aye-Ayes evolve freaky long fingers. Giraffes get long necks. Cheetahs get dog-claws and crazy backbones. Deep-sea fish make bioluminescent patterns.

Eyeballs develop. Eyeballs are ridiculously complicated, and you'd never get one on your organism right out of the gate. But give it a billion years and some evolutionary pressure, and it's possible.

Tax codes are kind of like this. You've got federal governments, state governments, local governments, businesses, and individuals all scuttling around in this jungle of money, trying to get as many resources as they can. Little by little, they write new laws or get laws changed or add or close a loophole.

Give it hundreds of years and enough evolutionary pressure, you get this.



(Fun Fact: when you google "creature concept art," the vast majority of things at the top can be summed up as "like a pachyderm, but with weird jointed mouthparts and no eyes." I'll try to remember that next time I think I'm being original while designing some creature.)

Tax Registration!

So you're trying to register your business in California for income tax. You already registered for payroll tax, but there's more registering to do, apparently. Your accountant tells you these things in emails. You're not sure how people find them out otherwise. California never emailed you.

So you've downloaded a form from one of California's very unhelpful government websites. Maybe it is the right form? Maybe you should print it out and mail it somewhere? The website doesn't tell you. Your accountant is an accountant for Texas, not California, so he doesn't have any great leads here.

Alright anyway. Form. Register. You've been putting this off for a couple weeks, but now it's time to sit down, pinned under a napping infant on the couch, balance your laptop on your knee, and BE A BUSINESS OWNER!

Federal Tax ID Number. Yeah, you know that!

Address. Yes! You are so good at filling out forms.

California Corporation Number. Uhhh. You have something labeled "CA tax#?" in a Google Doc. And a "Tax Account ID." Are either of those...?

California Secretary of State File Number. Definitely don't have one of those.

ew

Oh boy.

"Have all required information returns (e.g., federal Forms 1099, 8300, and state Forms 592, 592-B etc.) been filed with the Franchise Tax Board?"



It kinda goes on like that for four more pages.

There are lots of suggestions to "See Instructions." There are no instructions attached.

It occurs to you that if California wants this money, maybe it could make the process a little easier. Maybe it'll send you an angry letter in a year and say, "You owe us $XYZ. Plus a fee now." And you'll reply, "I would have happily paid a fee for you to have just told me that in the first place! Thank you, though!"

Overheard in Remote Learning

Teacher: Our next spelling word is "water."

Kid: DID YOU KNOW? If you go three days without water, you die! And if you go three minutes without breathing, you die, and if you go three weeks without food, you die!

Teacher: Huh. Well, remember to drink water and breathe then. We learn lots of things in second grade, don't we?