Archive for the My Life Category

What Have I Been Working On?

Posted in General News, My Life on February 21, 2017 by Matthew VanDevander

The Past Year

About a year ago I started working on an adventure puzzle-solving game. Progress was going good on that for four or five months until I hit a major stumbling block with the design. Because of that, I decided to take a break and work on some video essays.

Sadly, because of my high standards, I had not released much in the prior year as far as videos had gone, so I decided to lower the bar in order to perhaps release more frequently. The results of this decision, a rambling loosely-edited monologue about Dark Souls’ world design, were quite disappointing to me and so I set out to do much better on the next video.

Unfortunately, for my next topic, I chose non-verbal communication in The Witness. This proved to be a challenging topic to pin down, and progress was very slow. Although I had hoped to finish the essay in one month, as of now, it is nearly 9 months later and it remains incomplete.

Around December of 2016, I went on a layoff from my day job and managed to get back to seriously working on the Witness essay. I was making some good progress, the video grew from 2 to nearly 6 minutes in about a month of work. I felt like I was getting close to being able to finally release something of quality.

But when I sat down and watched through all of what I had put together, something became very apparent: I had gotten completely lost in the weeds. I had hoped that by talking about some very low-level design aspects of the game, I could build upon that to speak about how the game’s design works at a high level. But much like quantum physics fails to explain general relativity, what I had was two different types of analysis videos that were cut together, and it felt very disjointed.

This left me with a couple options. I could either move ahead, knowing that the final video was going to be disappointing to me and spotty in its quality. Or I could cut what I had done over the last month.

I opted for the latter. (It may perhaps appear as some deleted scene extra, but it is not a proper part of the full essay anymore.)

This was, needless to say, a huge setback for me. Furthermore, I didn’t have any really great ideas on where I should be going with the essay instead. This meant I was in a major creative quandary, much like I was on the game that I had taken a break from nearly 6 months earlier…

So, I’ve decided to set aside the video essay for the time being, and instead have been working quite well on that other project, which is a game called Taiji.

So, What is Taiji?

Taiji is a puzzle-solving exploration game, focused on player freedom and discovery. As a player, you are free to explore and solve puzzles.

All of the puzzles in the game are solved using a consistent interface: a grid of tiles which may be either on or off. Inputting a solution to a puzzle in the game requires the player to put the tiles in the right configuration.

taiji_basic_gameplay.gif

An early puzzle

newsnakepuzzledesign1.gif

Another early puzzle

Although having all the puzzles be this way might seem like it would be dull, this is really just the interface to solving the puzzles. The puzzles themselves might be about all kinds of different things. The puzzles are free to increase in subtlety and complexity, but unlike a traditional adventure game, where the rules change on a whim, in Taiji the player knows from very early on that in order to solve puzzles, they need to interact with these panels.

If you want to keep up with Taiji, you can follow the development blog here.

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HandmadeCon 2015

Posted in Handmade Hero, My Life with tags , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by Matthew VanDevander
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From left to right, Me (Matthew VanDevander), Abner Coimbre, Casey Muratori (holding the Owl of Shame), Andrew Chronister, Dustin Specht

So, I’ve just got back from one of the craziest trips that I’ve ever taken in my life. I headed out to Seattle last weekend for HandmadeCon, a convention which is centered around a low level game engine programming tutorial series which Casey Muratori broadcasts weeknights live on the Internet.

I’m not sure that I necessarily want to cover every single thing that I did while I was in town in excruciating detail, especially since there’s literally no way that I can put into words how awesome of an experience this has been for me. But I guess I’m writing something so I may as well talk about some of my thoughts about the experience.

Heading Out

I’ve never been on a plane before, so of course that was a little bit nerve-racking. It turned out to not be as big of a hassle as I thought it would probably be (what with the TSA being totally banana-cakes and all). I had some friends telling me before I left that they would never fly anywhere because they were scared of being on the plane, but much as I suspected for me: that turned out to not be a problem at all. I actually enjoy flying–insomuch as you can when you have a four-and-a-half hour flight packed in like sardines next to somebody that doesn’t want to talk to you.

Arriving in Seattle was just a surreal experience for me. I’ve never been so far away from home and everything that I know. I started to feel little bit alone, but luckily I met up with some people that I knew from the Handmade Hero chat at the airport.

About Seattle

The city is cold and rainy. Apart from Friday–the day I arrived, it rained pretty much the whole time. The city seems to have a lovely culture, feeling much more like a smaller city while still having lots of things to do. I had some of the most amazing food of my life while I was there, and overall I had a really good time, apart from the weather.

Because sometimes I think about getting outside of my bubble of Tennessee and maybe moving somewhere else, I naturally evaluated whether or not I could live in the city. My overall assessment is that I like it much better than, say Manhattan, but I’m still not sure I could live there if the weather is like that all the time. There’s also a little bit of just my general uncomfortable feeling about being in cities because of growing up living in rural areas. I always get a sense when I’m in the city that I can’t relax because something terrible could happen at any moment.

Meeting Online Friends

We ended up throwing a few meet-ups together for some of the conference attendees that wanted to socialize: the first of which was the night before the conference at a Szechuan place called Seven Stars Pepper. (Those Dan Dan noodles were amazing.) I had booked the reservation for 10 people initially, but I quickly had to double that. Thankfully somebody else reserved a table too, because we ended up having about 38 people show up in total (including Casey). So that meet-up was awesome, as were all of the social gatherings that we put together around the conference.

The Con

Since I was heading out there for HandmadeCon, it only makes sense for me to quit stalling and go ahead and talk about what I thought about the conference itself.

Overall, the conference was amazing. It was packed from beginning to end with amazing speakers who are totally at the top of their game in terms of what they do. Because Casey decided to go with a more informal “Fireside Chat” style discussion with each speaker, I feel like the conference was easier to pay attention to and felt more relaxed than the typical PowerPoint-centric type conference.

The best way for me to talk about what I think about the conference is to break it down by each speaker and give a few thoughts about each of them.

Tommy Refenes

In my assessment, even though he is often known as “and Team Meat” in favor of Edmund McMillen, Tommy Refenes contributed immensely to the design of Super Meat Boy. The controls and the physics of a platformer are a significant portion of the game design. To that point, the part of the discussion with Tommy about how early the controls, jump height, and movement speed were set in stone was interesting. My experience designing Duet showed me that the level design of an entire game naturally follows from those early low-level decisions, so it was cool to hear some familiar stories.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to discredit Edmund as a designer, because he obviously brought his own massive contribution to the game, both from a level design standpoint, and from a character and art standpoint. (The odd one out in this was Danny Baranowsky, who received no mention during the discussion for his amazing contribution to the soundtrack. It seems that the working relationship between Team Meat and Danny has soured somehow, as the latest ports of the game do not feature his music. I am not certain of the details though, so it may be possible that there are no hard feelings. )

The discussion with Tommy was overall an enlightening and interesting dive into Super Meat Boy. It was often technical in a way which I don’t think I had seen before, naturally because we were at a conference for programmers. (Not to say that there weren’t non-programmers that attended.) A lot of times when you see an interview with a programmer, everything gets talked about on a very high level. You rarely hear concrete technical details about how something works. So it was pretty great to hear about how the art pipeline has evolved over the years and some of how it was implemented.

Mike Acton

So Mike Acton is mostly known inside the Handmade Hero community for a talk that he gave at CppCon 2014 called “Data-Oriented Design and C++”, in which he made the argument that programming should be seen as problem solving using a computer, and that finding effective ways of solving problems requires focusing on the nature of the problem. Since most computer problems are primarily about manipulation of data from one form into another, as a programmer, your job is to focus on whatever the most effective way of doing that transformation is. The common Object-Oriented approach often misses the point, and focuses instead on world modeling using objects, which only makes the problem harder than it really is. Mike Acton’s approach, as outlined in that talk, is very much in line with the kind of programming that Casey does on the Handmade Hero series. Casey often calls his particular approach “Compression-Oriented Programming”, but I feel like any programming methodology with “Oriented” in the title is destined to become abused at some point. So my personal preferred description would be “Pragmatic Programming”, because I feel that puts the focus on the mindset: solving problems using a computer.

Mike Acton works at Insomniac. Being a AAA developer, he’s in sort of a different sphere then Casey or myself in terms of being at a big company with a lot of programmers and multiple projects. However, that’s really why it was important to have him at the conference. He stands as exemplary proof that Casey’s straightforward method of programming does actually scale up to very large and complex projects.

The discussion with Mike was perhaps less specifically technical to a certain game than Tommy’s, although that could be because Mike mostly works on more generalized technology, but there is still a hell of a lot of knowledge that he shared. As with the rest of the conference I definitely plan on re-watching it to try to absorb as much of that as I can. Also Mike was hilarious.

Pat Wyatt

So, I’m just going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I didn’t know who Pat Wyatt was before the conference. But wow–he has an unbelievable amount of expertise with network programming, which is a topic that gets brought up all the time in the Q&A on Handmade Hero. Unfortunately, Casey does not have a ton of experience in that arena, and the nature of Handmade Hero is to be single- player. So, Casey has been unable to really give people a good idea of how the system like that should be architected.

It was super cool to hear from Pat about how he managed the complexity of network infrastructure supporting Guild Wars, and did so in such an effective way that the game launched without the seemingly industry standard server issues.

Hearing the nitty-gritty details about how some of the content management systems for Guild Wars worked was really cool. It functions in a similar way to what Casey is doing for Handmade Hero, where if the game is unable to successfully load an asset during runtime, It just keeps going with an empty asset instead of crashing.

Again, this will be a great talk to go back through and refresh because there was just so much information there. Also Pat offered to come on the Handmade Hero stream to talk more about network code, which will be awesome if it comes to fruition.

Jonathan Blow

So, if you have known me for a while, then at some point I will probably have talked to you about Braid or The Witness. Braid has been my favorite game for a while and is probably the only reason that I’m still working on games now instead of pursuing some other career option. It literally changed my life.

Naturally, it was an amazing opportunity for me to both hear from Jon at the conference, as well as to briefly introduce myself and talk to him before he grabbed some lunch. ( Hopefully I wasn’t too awkward. )

I feel like the discussion between Casey and Jon was almost a breather from all of the technical details of the earlier conference. As much as Casey tried to push Jon to talk about very concrete things, Jon still talked about stuff from mostly a high-level. Jon does love metaphors, even if perhaps sometimes that means that the point that he’s making can get a little bit lost on some people with less experience doing the type of game design that he does.

That may seem like a criticism of the talk, or of Jon in general, but it’s really only a response to what I heard from some of the other conference attendees. I highly enjoyed the discussion between Casey and Jon, and my personal nitpick criticism would be that there was a few times where Casey failed to ask for elaboration on certain things that were highly understood between the two of them but completely unintelligible to me (and presumably the rest of the audience). At the start of the discussion, Casey brought up this possibility, saying that he would try very hard to pretend to forget everything that he knows about Jon and his games. I think he did probably as good a job as could be done, but there was still a little bit of that conversational short-cutting that you do among friends and people that you know very well. I’m not really sure i would be capable of anything better with my close friends if I were asked to talk for an audience.

Overall it was great, as always, just to hear Jon talk about whatever comes to mind. In particular I liked that the talk ran over a little bit into the break for Jon to go on a rant. His point about the apparent lack of results despite the increased prevalence of university game design and programming courses is apt and quite damning.

I definitely geeked out about getting to see Jon in person, since he’s been such an important influence of mine. I’m super excited to play The Witness when it “probably” comes out on time next year.

Ron Gilbert

What can you say, Ron is the definition of a game industry legend. He created the point-and-click adventure game genre (which has recently seen a little bit of resurgence, after a long period of being possibly deservedly dead). Not only that, but in creating The Secret of Monkey Island, he perhaps created the best game the genre has ever seen. Of course, games are a collaborative art, and there was a team involved in making that game besides Ron, but by creating a strong technical foundation for the game–in a similar way to Tommy–he contributed an undeniable amount to the game design and what made the game feel great to play.

It was totally awesome to hear a perspective from someone who had been in the industry since before I was even born. To learn about the challenges and perks of dealing with a completely different set of technologies and tools for producing games. The live reloading of assets on the Commodore 64 was a particularly awesome tidbit to hear about, but also amusing was the fact that they manually encoded all of the walk box information by hand for way longer than was probably reasonable.

It was also cool to hear about Ron’s current project, Thimbleweed Park: how as much as it’s a nostalgia project for fans of Ron Gilbert’s early work, it’s also a way for Ron himself and the rest the team to recapture their own past. It was a reminder that, at the end of the day, the reason that we all program games is simply because we enjoy it. There really doesn’t always have to be a better reason. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the feeling that I always need to be pushing game design forward and I shouldn’t be living in the past or whatever, but I think sometimes it’s okay to feel comfortable with doing something that’s purely for self-indulgent reasons.

Conclusion

I haven’t been to any other conferences but I’ve certainly heard from people that have that this was one of the best if not the best that they’ve ever been to. I don’t doubt it. I thought it was amazing and there was not a single speaker that I would not have gladly listened to for another hour at least. The discussions were extremely enlightening and enthralling to watch. I had a great time and I definitely plan on going next year. I look forward to the next speaker lineup, as well as getting to see all of the great friends that I met once again.

P.S. Campfire BBQ was the greatest barbecue I’ve ever had in my life. No scratch that: it was the greatest meal I’ve ever had in my life. If you’re in Seattle, do yourself a goddamn service and go get some of that barbecue now.

Gettin’ Paid

Posted in My Life with tags , , on October 10, 2015 by Matthew VanDevander

Obviously the change of the Patreon from being a “per work” thing to being a monthly thing would be a big change in the relationship between me and the backers so I felt like I would need to think about it a lot. I thought it may also be a good idea as part of this process to share some of my thoughts and reasonings.

It’s always uncomfortable for me to talk about money when it comes to my work. It’s never been a thing that I have done for the money, I just love doing it. So it’s a weird transition to try to start thinking about the work as also something that maybe I could (or god forbid, should?) get money for. However, I have definitely gotten a lot of support and positive feedback on stuff lately from friends and people that I admire. Also people tell me that artist-types (and maybe I am one of those) tend to greatly undervalue their work. I am still super wary of falling into being an entitled douchebag who expects people to pay him, but maybe it is worth something.

When I started the Patreon, I didn’t know how much support I would get. Since I tend to produce things somewhat sporadically, I felt it would only be fair to ask people to pay if I actually put something out. However, I’ve only charged the backers for one thing since I started the account about seven months ago, and many of the backers I have never charged at all.

This could really be a sign of two things. That I haven’t put out any good work over the past seven months at all and therefore the backers shouldn’t have been charged. Or that what I put out I must’ve undervalued greatly.

So, what have I even done in the past seven months?

Well, one obvious thing which I have put out is a monthly mystery box, exclusive to backers. There could be an argument that these are not worth anything, since I never originally had any intent on charging for them. But on the other hand, although I was thinking the mystery boxes would just be me sharing some of my unfinished/unreleased projects, I greatly underestimated how quickly a monthly thing churns through all of your things. (Especially considering I lost about ten years of my stuff due to a hard drive failure, so I only have fairly recent stuff) This means that it’s actually mostly been me making new stuff to put in them, which kind of turns it into a different thing than my original conception. That in and of itself has had me considering putting an end to the mystery boxes, so perhaps a monthly Patreon payment is a way to help me feel more like I have a good reason to keep putting those out. (Plus people like them)

Additionally, I worked for a while on an unnamed project with the lovely Martin Cohen (of Disposable and Hale fame), which although I loved and was super promising both from a gameplay and aesthetic perspective, I have put aside until I feel I am up to carrying the weight of my own ambitions there. I have not yet reached a point where I can have the productivity level needed to complete a large project like that.

So, instead I have returned to a small project which I began a couple years ago. Initially called Dive Dive, it will probably be renamed Ushanka Jones, and it is a roguelike game with heavy design inspiration from Zelda 1. I have been slowly redoing the artwork for that before I move on with adding more gameplay complexity, but I have a lot of fun ideas there.

Time is continually an issue. I have a reasonably long commute (around 45 minutes) to my day job and back. Also, I have been working 6 day weeks for 5 weeks now. So my free time for personal work is actually quite limited and consequently progress on things has been a bit slow.

Even still, I’ve started a new season of the dunceCast, a podcast featuring myself and my brother, doing what we do best, which is basically just goofing off and being morons. Maybe that’s worthless, but I prefer to consider it “priceless.” 😛

Anyway, this has perhaps become a digression, but it answers the question of “what I’ve been up to lately” pretty well. It does perhaps fail to answer the question of if all that stuff should be worth cash monies from all my lovely backers. Unfortunately I guess I can’t answer that one, but I did put a poll out and around half of the current backers feel as though they would not be being ripped off if I switched the Patreon over to monthly.

I suppose that’s really the core of my concerns. I don’t want to rip people off or leave people feeling like I tried to trick them by changing the terms of the Patreon out from underneath them. That’s why I’m making such a concerted effort to draw attention to that I’m even thinking about changing it.

So let’s go into another reason why it would be good to switch over, which is what I like to call the “Strategic Reason.”

As I have said earlier, I have never gotten paid for my work on games or essays before so it’s terribly unfamiliar to me to see it as having anything beyond intrinsic value. Still, for some time now I have seen going full-time indie again as a long term goal. Achieving that really means that I have to start taking some steps in that direction. I’m not a very hasty person, but there needs to be some forward momentum and risk taking in some capacity to make any progress at all. I don’t want to always feel like I am spending the vast majority of my time not doing what I should be doing with my life.

I see the Patreon as a possible path towards financial independence from my day job. Even a relatively small income from backers would be enough for me to be able to spend less time at the day job and more time on games and essay work. And if I somehow miraculously could reach $1000 a month or something, I wouldn’t need the day job at all. (I only make like $15,000/year now)

So, there’s the “Strategic Reason”, and maybe it’s a good reason or maybe I’m just entitled. After all, it’s just one possible path, and (for better or worse) it happens to be one that is within my comfort zone. It doesn’t require me to set aside my timidity and take a big risk by jumping out of my job without a real safety net or plan.

On an additional note, I also have backed a few people on Patreon over those months, so having set up the account has actually been a net financial loss. That’s my choice to back other people, so it’s not really the responsibility of my backers to foot the bill for that. But it’s worth mentioning since I’ve been thinking about that as well.

Anyway, this post has all been a bit rambly but I wanted to share some of my thoughts and reasons for considering making this change. I hope you will understand, and be sure to answer the survey if you haven’t already.

❤ Matthew

Down to the Wire

Posted in Duet, Games, My Life with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by Matthew VanDevander

Screenshot, again

On the last day before the deadline, after a rush to the bank to deposit the 95 dollar entrance fee into a check card ready account and a 40 minute drive back home to get the thumb drive holding the code for the prototype, following a late arrival for work with a sneaky ftp upload when I was supposed to be retouching, Duet is now officially entered into the 2012 Independent Games Festival.

It is competing alongside 568 other games: a record turnout. Submissions come both from first time developers, as well as seasoned veterans. Unfortunately, the production version was not yet complete enough for a viable submission, so that means no fancy graphics or sound. Here’s hoping Duet wows some judges with it’s intellectually stimulating puzzly goodness!

Some good news, and some bad news…

Posted in Duet, Fij, Game Design, Games, My Life with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by Matthew VanDevander

Well, it’s that time again. The time of the month that I suddenly realize that I haven’t posted anything on this blog in a few weeks. But anyways, I said had news, so I should get on with it.

I always feel that it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first, so that the good news can give me some hope in the end. It’s more dramatic that way. So the bad news is that Fij is postponed indefinitely. Meaning that I most likely won’t work on it for a while. Truth is, I probably won’t finish it, looking at my history of unfinished projects. However, I definitely have some ideas that I want to pursue with Fij, so it will sit on my back-burner.

The good news is, I’m working on a new project in Game Maker. Which I know probably seems like a step back from real programming. But it’s actually going great.

Screenshot

Standing on a precipice

The game is about cooperating to solve puzzles. So it’s naturally a two-player game (at the minimum.)

Screenshot, again

A puzzle!

I don’t currently have a name for the game, so it’s just Untitled Cooperative Platformer in my mind right now. I also don’t know whether the current graphics are any indication of what the final game will look like, but the little blocky people have a certain charm to them, don’t they?

The design process is sort of an exploratory one, I just doodle out levels and try out any gameplay elements that I might be thinking of in different ways. If I can make it through the level some how, then it’s a puzzle. But usually I don’t know if I will be able to make it through the level before I test it. So the game is telling me what it should be. And I’m just sort of letting it become itself. Not to say it doesn’t require work, or that there aren’t bugs. But I do keep an open mind before I squash bugs, and try to see if the bug is actually functionality in disguise.

And just in case you want to test it out in it’s currently simple state, here’s a demo-ish length version of the game. It is my first game maker game, so if there’s some wierd .dll file you need, then let me know. Feedback of any kind is gladly appreciated. However, do keep in mind that it requires two players to play the game. It is possible to get through it on your own, but it would require some serious skills.

(Sorry, demo is no longer available for download.)

And the weekend comes to a close, uneventfully.

Posted in Games, insiginificant, My Life with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2009 by Matthew VanDevander

Sad to say I let the weekend pass by without doing anything very productive. However I do have some good news. I’m learning to program in C++

Maybe this could mean things for Fij, maybe not. I dunno. Just thought you might be interested. On second thought, you’re probably not.

*sigh* anyways….

Here’s something rather…interesting that I’ve found. It’s a little flash-based game about being trapped. I’ll just let you play it. Audience Award winner of the Nordic Game Jam 2009.

I’m so sleepy…

Hell week.

Posted in insiginificant, My Life with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by Matthew VanDevander

It’s a pretty hectic school week, and today in particular. I have two exams tomorrow, both of which I am vastly underprepared for. And It’s almost eleven o’clock. I’m currently taking a break from studying to chow down on some Taco Bell. (These Enchilada Platters are delish but filling.) So that’s why you see me typing instead of studying. Just thought I’d let everyone in the world have the chance to know how much I will bomb my Spanish and Recent American History Exams.

Oh, and the chick at the Taco Bell window asked me if I was Kurt Cobain, I’m not sure whether I should laugh or stab someone…

More progress should happen on the game during the next week, considering it’s Covocation week, which basically means that I don’t have homework and have to go to Chapel a lot.

Gaddang it’s been a long freaking time..

Posted in Game Reviews, Games, My Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by Matthew VanDevander

And another three months or so pass before Matthew VanDevander writes his next blog post. I guess I’ve just been busy with college, or maybe it’s the fact that I changed my firefox homepage to ANGEL instead of my blog managing page. I’m betting it’s the second one. If I don’t really get the time to think about posting new blogs, how can I ever actually post new ones. I have to apologize every time I post a new blog it seems, because I’m so unreliable in terms of how often I do post them. I want to be more regular with them so that I can get some people to be interested in reading. I don’t want to disappoint someone who is reading my blog to the point of them just giving up on ever reading it again.

Well, since it has been so long, I guess that means that I had better supply the goods when it comes to this post, which definitely means some sort of lengthy rant or a review. Hmm… what about?

Continue reading

It’s been a while…

Posted in Computers, Game Reviews, Games, My Life with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2008 by Matthew VanDevander

Sorry about not updating for a while once again… I’ll just put it off to laziness, but you should be glad that I’ve took the time to write a new post for you all now. And since you are investing your valuable time in reading it, I will try to make it worth your while.

Update on my life:

I’m enrolled at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and I’m about to enter the amazing world of college life for the first time. To be honest, it’s a bit scary, and to be more honest, I’m not really excited about it, but I thought I’d let you know. My room-mate is some kid named Josh from Connecticut, I talked to him on the phone, he seems pretty cool from what we talked about.

My girlfriend got a settlement check from a car accident that me and her were in. She injured her neck and I guess they don’t want her to decide to sue later on if she experiences more trouble with it. So she got a check for $2000. Which her parents immediately took $500 out of for “bills.” *rollseyes* Anyways, so we got hers a computer and she bought me an Xbox 360 and GTA IV. (Which made me feel like crap…I don’t deserve that, I mean, seriously…DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THOSE THINGS COST???) Ahem… Well… I’m pretty grateful about that though, cause she didn’t really need to spend any money on me. But I won’t bore you with any more of this and I’ll get on to my impressions of GTA IV thus far.

Continue reading

School trips and stuff…

Posted in insiginificant, My Life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by Matthew VanDevander

Yeah, well I’ve been kinda ignoring this blog for maybe a little bit too long now. I haven’t even posted on it in probably 2 weeks or something. I’ve been gone on trips to…well basically all over the place. I went up to Washington D.C. two weeks ago for the national history day competition. I was competing in the category of group documentary. I didn’t even make the finals but I guess it was better for me to go and try/see what happens than to just say screw it…well anyways. We went to New York and Gettysburg and walked all around D.C. and I hurt my feets with all the walking… But eventually I returned home for a much needed rest.

Only to go on ANOTHER trip Continue reading