So. 40.

Hey Mack,

As is occasionally the case, I wanted to write you a letter. This is 40. A time for reflection.

The year in review

Last birthday I got weird at Derek’s house. Made music all day. That week I bought a midicontroller for $99 and all year used garage band to make beautiful music that I enjoy not only creating but also listening to. So much to learn.

It has been a hard year. Corona did not fuck us. For this I am grateful. But it has been a hard year. At the beginning or 2020 we were trying to coordinate our departure from rennovicted main street, keeping the kids in school until June but sticking our arrival in Abbotsford in time for school to start in September.

We took a home we’d lived in for ~15 years, left in a month, moved to a one bedroom on Oak for what was supposed to be our last great summer in the city and then we, along with the whole world, got Ronaed.

We ended up in Abbotsford for the weekend and never left. Without the home or Rachel’s driver license — two things we insisted on having before we moved here, to make our quality of life palatable. We spent nine months with four of us in one bedroom. Again. An unfinished basement as our living room, my office, the classroom and any other space we needed. We shared a kitchen with my parents. (So we did eat real good- thanks Mom!) We lived in a construction site with a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Our home. It is beautiful. But the journey was long. It taxed us in new ways. All six of us.

I quit the best paying job I’ll ever have because I didn’t believe any more. I attached my carriage to a rocketship in Korea. It didn’t work out. Graveyards and bad bosses made for poor quality of life.

I left and went full circle. Back to where it all started. I took a job in game design at East Side Games. The snake eats it’s own tail. Once again Bailey gives guidance and money and I try to make games. The company is in a very different place. So am I. I can’t tell if I’m thrilled that I’ve had such a ride and now come home, content knowing what’s out there and that this grass is green enough for me, or if I’m disappointed I could never achieve escape velocity.

For fun I made a side project with Zsigmond. The Ambassadors. It’s genuinely compelling, our small playtests have been taken very seriously. Many taps were tapped, many schemes schemed. It’s fun to have another creative outlet, it’s fun to build.

For the first time I’m playing games online. 20 years late. With Pierre and Rachel and Shane. And Roman. It’s my bowling league and I love it. In general I’m drifting back to more games. Big real games. Console games. It is good.

This fall Grandma Jean passed away. She was ready. I spent a lot of time going to hospice. Not as much as Grandma Sheila. She lived there. This was hard on her.

I read some things, though not as many as I expected.

We got a dog. She is good. And so much jogging pants.

I made paths through the woods.

The last decade

We’ve come such a long way. Ten years ago I had a baby and a shitty location based games business. Now I have a daughter who’s 11 going on 18, a son who’s seven, a job I both enjoy and am good at, and a new home I hope to die in.

Tapstream led to SF. AZ led to CryptoKitties. Many adventures followed. We’ve seen some things.

20 to 30 wasn’t about much. Made some friends. Hosted some events. Rap shows and product debates and most things in between. Had some good times. But not even that good. Not stories good enough to entertain your heroes. Thankfully I managed to get married and make a baby. Eventually got a big boy job at EA.

30 to 40 was reasonably well played. Businesses were started. Products were made. People were met. Countries were seen. Children were raised. Self reflection was attempted. Love grew.

The life in review

I don’t know. Grew up in a wonderful home. Was kinda a shitty teenager. Met a woman I loved at 18 and never fucked that up. She is the blessed constant in my life. The best.

Drank a lot of beer. Enjoyed the ride. I was aimless. Ambition was low. Until it wasn’t. I can’t figure out why nihilism isn’t valid. I love my kids.

It’s been a good ride.

The next year

No liquor. No twitter. More broadly no social media and no alcohol. These things get in the way of whatever else I want. They are both lovely, but not worth the price of admission. At least that’s the hypothesis for the year.

I hope to read more.

The next decade

I don’t know what’s next. I never have. There’s never really been a plan. I haven’t needed one. This is the nature of my privilege. Or a dimension of it.

We don’t know that we get the year. And we sure as hell don’t know we get the decade. But if we did, what would I want that to look like?

  • I want to help my parents age gracefully.
  • I want to make our land and our home a testament to good things. Beautiful and warm and strange and mysterious things.
  • I want to teach my kids what they need to live well.
  • I think I want to continue to create. It seems to bring joy. The camaraderie of collaboration and the zen of focus, devotion and mastery.
  • I want to help.

After ten

Who knows? Hopefully the swamp is filled with life and I have the opportunity to share in that life.

Now I sit in our new home. My children pester me. My wife walks the dog. My mother buys groceries. My dad is lost on his computer or on his land. Life is good.

The crows dance in the trees, infinitely they hop.


Uncle Mack



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