What a year it’s been! Much has happened in the realm of my work life. I sincerely believe the AU team is one-of-a-kind and we have accomplished some grand feats over the course of the year.
Our dynamic is also amazing, and unlike any other I have ever had the privilege of working with. I figured it would be nice to reminisce about some of my more vivid work memories that have happened over the course of the year and share them. These are written to the best of my memory, so I’ve probably invented/paraphrased a few lines to make it all gel together more logically. But the general gist is the same.
I laugh too much
“Heroes of the Storm…” I started, and promptly burst into a fit of laughter. Standing behind the camera, Edmond looked like he was trying to refrain from rolling his eyes. I could barely breathe from laughing.
“I don’t know why I’m laughing, it’s not even that funny,” I gasped in between breaths. It was probably sparked by Edmond’s monotonous criticisms of the way I delivered my lines (totally founded and constructive, of course.)
“Why don’t you have some water?” he suggested. I nodded and grabbed the nearby glass, taking a few quick gulps.
“Okay. I’m ready. Let’s try again,” I said. He resumed his spot behind the camera, rolling.
“Heroes of the Storm-” I started.
“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to stop you,” Edmond interrupted, “Because I can see a wet patch on your shirt”
The laughter resumed, followed by five minutes of us sitting in silence while waiting for the wet patch on my shirt to dry.
I was elbow-deep in the fridge, gently rummaging through the frost for my breakfast. Our fridge has a crazy build up of frost. It’s as though Antarctica itself (which isn’t that far from Australia when you think about it) was trying to come through a special wormhole in there.
“Zorine!” Dan called out across the office. I could already discern from the tone of his voice that whatever followed next would be amusing/strange/stupid/all of the above.
“What?” I called back, still fixated on trying to find my yoghurt.
“I can change the size of my earlobes!”
He was, of course, talking about a game.
The best day ever
The taxi had dropped Jess and I off in the middle of the textile district, it seemed. Neither of us knew where we were, just that we were flanked on all sides by stores selling endless rows of cloth. Different textures, patterns, colours, the shops in this area had it all. I would’ve been quite excited at the prospect, had I not been in LA, with a single day to spare, and limited by what I could carry with me back home.
“That’s a lot of cloth,” Jess observed, “Where are we?”
“Let’s find out,” I whipped my phone out and begin searching maps. And thus began our amazing adventure in the LA fashion district.
“Do you know how to tie ties?” Dan asked.
I turned away from my desk to bestow him with the most incredulous look I could muster.
“Yes,” I replied at length. He already had them in hand, unwrapped from the packaging. I couldn’t help but smile as I retrieved one and began arranging it on my neck, making sure to tie them in a way so that he could easily pull them over his head later.
Crawling at 3am
Edmond and I were hungry. It was 2am, and we had trawled the streets of San Francisco, desperate for food. Our search proved to be completely fruitless, and I was moments away from punching something with anger (the bond on the house we stayed at was under Edmond’s name.) Hangry is my middle name. It was too late for anything nearby to be open, so we trudged back to the house, defeated and still starving.
“I have some leftover pizza in the fridge,” Dan suggested after Edmond and I had barreled through the front door, probably looking like how we felt. It had been a big night. At his suggestion, I hastily retrieved the pizza and popped it into the oven. For whatever reason, this house lacked a microwave. On that note, what the hell? Who doesn’t own a microwave?!
I stood up, ready to blast the oven to full in order to get our pizza heated quickly. Except, well…
“How the hell does this thing work?!” I exclaimed. Edmond examined the buttons, of which there were way too many to have any place on an oven. “What the fuck?” he mumbled. I collapsed into a nearby chair, feeling too hungry to stand.
Dan sauntered over in his pyjamas and leaned in next to Edmond to examine the appliance. I watched them apprehensively from where I sat, laughing from the absurdity of it all. Both men pressed many buttons and debated the order of things before Dan eventually stood up.
“This is too much. I can’t handle this right now,” he declared dramatically, and left. I looked hopelessly at Edmond, my expression probably that of a child about to cry.
“Cold pizza?” he suggested.
Please to the Kwality Assurance
“Daaaaaan!” I whined, “Didn’t you read my QA?!”
“Look, you sent yours through when I was halfway through mine. I’m not going to go up and hit backspace a few times just because you got in before I did. That’s just too much.”
He picked up his chair and tried to squeeze it past me. Our workspace is a little cramped, but I have grown accustomed to it and love the space we have claimed as our own. It is almost a natural action now, to flatten my stomach and pull myself against my desk as he pushes his chair past me.
It’s that wonderful time of year again, in which the team gets locked inside a meeting room for an indefinite period of time in a test of physical endurance and patience.
I refer to the meeting in which we debated for the recipients of the Game of the Year awards, of course.
We had been in the room for an hour, and by then I could see the telltale signs of waning patience. Of course, those signs had sprouted as soon as we entered the meeting room in the first place. Ed had brought his 3DS, Dan had tried to bring the Wii U gamepad with him (but failed due to the distance), and Jess brought her notepad for what I could only assume was drawing animals. I took to alternating between standing up and attempting impossible stretches, waving around the boomerang-spear thing that had somehow made its home in the meeting room, and taking snaps of my colleagues in various states of disarray.
At some point I snuck out to the bathroom and returned to Edmond restlessly pacing the room, Jess at the whiteboard drawing a cat, and Dan… well, Dan doing that thing he did to help his back injury, which consisted of lying flat on the carpet. Of course, we all listened intently to the heated discussion being put forward over the phone, and participated when we were called upon or had something to share. But for the most part I was highly entertained by observing my colleagues. It was like trying to identify the quirks and oddities of the team when put to the test.
“Observe as the male attempts to alleviate the physical tension held by all members of the herd by showcasing displays of suffering,” David Attenborough narrated in my mind as I watched Dan boot up Spelunky and manage to die five times in quick succession.
“The female tries to assist, but ultimately fails as she is not given a chance to do so,” the narration continued as I attempted to wrestle the laptop from Dan.
“This physical test of patience will ultimately decide the fate of the herd by nightfall.” Attenborough finished. Oh, how right that was.
“What’s this office Christmas decorating thing?” Dan asked. I suddenly pictured he and Edmond prancing around our office in an overjoyed fashion, sporting Santa hats and trailing tinsel behind them. Apocalypse now.
“Oh, exactly what it sounds like,” I replied calmly. His sigh wasn’t audible, but I knew it was there.
“Our area is too small to do anything with,” Jess said sadly. She gestured to the large pole in the middle of said space, “Unless we can turn this pole into a Christmas tree”
“Yeah well, we can’t do that… or can we?” I mused aloud. Perhaps we could salvage our space and turn it into something festive.
At the end of the day, Jess and I brought back a strange tinsel lantern thing, and a reindeer’s head on a pole (not as morbid as it sounds.) I climbed the couch to shove the tinsel lantern into a gap in the ceiling while Jess watched with trepidation. It wasn’t much, but I liked the little bit of cheer it added to the place. That, and the reindeer’s head stuck out from the couch beneath it. It would be the best team Christmas yet!
I had been making preparations for the Hearthstone event being hosted by Blizzard, one which involved our local media facing off against one another in a bid for bragging rights. Edmond saw me going through my decks as he walked past my desk. What he didn’t see was the string of losses I had faced earlier that day. I had yet to claim a single victory, and it wasn’t particularly morale-boosting.
“You gonna win tonight, Zorine?” he asked, in a tone that said ‘you better’.
I sulked in my chair. “No.”
He stopped in his tracks, “Aw, c’mon.”
I continued to sulk in silence.
“I thought you were esports” he chided, trying to get a rise out of me.
“Hearthstone isn’t esports,” I scoffed.
“That’s not what Blizzard said,” He said.
“You gonna listen to what Blizzard says now?” I challenged.
I don’t remember where our dumb discussion went from there, but I always appreciate the little push Ed gives to get me back to my fighting self.
Dan was trying to explain shutter speeds to me, and how the effect was being mimicked in a game we were currently playing for preview. To do this, he linked me a YouTube video. I sat there and watched the video intently. When it concluded, my face remained blank.
“I don’t see it,” I stated, nonplussed.
“What?!” Dan exclaimed. I reached for my mouse.
“Hang on, let me watch it again,” I said. So I did. Once again, the shutter speed changing failed to visually register in my eyes.
“It looks the same to me.” I stated flatly.
“Oh my god. You can’t see shutter speeds? This is like you not being able to see the colour blue!” he exclaimed with a horrified look at his face. Like this inability of mine was some great tragedy. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. He took to twitter to ask for a good example to show me. The internet, as always, provided him with a clip from Gladiator to educate me.
And that is how we ended the afternoon with discussions about shutter speeds and Russel Crowe in Gladiator.
Dan: How was the movie last night?
Me: It was great! Sort of. Some parts sucked. I liked it!
Dan: I appreciate the occasional burst of pessimism from you, Zorine.
Our team certainly has its quirks. Like the fact that we can’t eat out anywhere that doesn’t serve chicken schnitzel, because some of us won’t eat anything else (*cough*). Or that a beer/cider at midday is okay and totally helps us work better. But I love them all very much and feel like we’re more than just colleagues—we’re family. Merry Christmas everyone!