travel

GDC 2013!!!


It's been a while since my last post but much has happened in the last several months. I'll get to all of it very soon, but for now I am really excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in Read more

And I'm back!


I know I've said this before, but what a year! I meant to write a lot more these past several months, but Hitman: Absolution took every moment I had. Even when our newest little one, Livia, was born I only got a brief break before diving right back into Read more

stuff...


More than anything, I just wanted a reason to post that image. So, I'm going to be making a couple of additions to the site. If you haven't noticed already, I have added an Animation page (you can click on it at the top). I'll be adding an updated demo Read more

a hell of a year...


Well, hello. It's been a while. 2011 has been one kick in the crotch after another and updating the blog always felt like the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. Not that things have gotten any better or easier, but I'm getting the urge Read more

a pox on our house...


(artist rendering) So I have come down with the chicken pox. It sucks. Along with the Norwalk of '06 and the Rotavirus of '08, this falls in my top three worst sicknesses. I wish I could say the time off from work has been relaxing, but it has been a sweaty, Read more

a hell of a year…

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Well, hello. It’s been a while.

2011 has been one kick in the crotch after another and updating the blog always felt like the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. Not that things have gotten any better or easier, but I’m getting the urge to write again. Plus, I’m losing track of a lot of things I want to document and if I don’t do it soon, I might forget much of it.

The worst thing to happen this year was our dog, Rylee, passing away. She came down with a rare condition that caused her jaw to freeze shut. Eating was next to impossible and she deteriorated rapidly. I ended up having to take her to the vet to get put down and it was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. This was months ago and I still feel sick about it. I don’t think I’ll ever get the image out of my head of her on that steel table closing her eyes for the last time. We had her cremated so we can bring her with us when we leave. It didn’t feel right to have her tossed in with some other animals and left in Denmark.

On the plus side, we had a great summer. Leigh and the kids spent seven weeks back home in Vancouver. I joined them for the last three but not before spending a long weekend in Portugal on a surf trip! I’ll post more about that later.

We also announced the game! Hitman:Absolution! It’s such a relief to be able to talk a little more openly about what we’ve spent the last two years doing here. Again, I’ll be posting much more about it very soon. Until then, you can go to the site I linked to and check out the trailer.

Both kids are back in school and for the first time, they are at the same school together. They’re having a great time and making a lot of new friends. Evan says he misses his old børnehaven a lot, but I think he mostly misses his little buddy Sebastian. At least they still get together for play dates nearly every week.

Most recently, our best friends here moved back to LA. Next to losing Rylee, it’s been the hardest thing to come to terms with. It’s left a massive hole in our lives and one we’re not sure will ever get filled here.

Anyways, stay tuned for more to come (for really real this time)


remember me?

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So…umm…yeah. If there’s anyone left still reading this thing, I apologize for the lack of updates. A lot has happened since the last post so I’ll do my best to bring it back up to date.

After my last post, I went to LA for two weeks to help direct a mocap shoot. It was mental and full of all kinds of problems, but it was also an amazing experience and a lot of fun was had. I got to hang out with famous people all day (who were all awesome btw), surf a couple of times (James and Matt came to visit for a weekend!) and eat a ton of amazing Mexican food. I have a lot of photos from the shoot that I will hopefully post soon, but I will have to doctor them a little as I can’t reveal who they were or what the project is just yet. We have a really cool plan and there is some amazing stuff coming out early next year. I can’t wait to be able to talk about it and show some of the hard work that has gone into it. Just trust me when I say that if everything goes according to plan, it’s going to be huge.

So I got back just in time for Halloween. We weren’t sure where the trick or treating was this year in town, so we did a candy hunt in the apartment and played some games with the kids instead. We had a lot of fun but it just wasn’t the same. I have some better info on where to go next year and will plan it a little better. At least Leigh and the kids got to go to Tivoli while I was away where they decorate the whole park for Halloween. They only started getting into Halloween here a few years ago so it hasn’t really caught on yet. Emma’s school did have a costume day and Evan showed up for the party as well…

Just after Halloween, Rylee started acting really lethargic and generally upset. We checked her mouth and one of her teeth was loose so we figured she hurt it while chewing on something. We took her to the vet and she ended up having a mouth full of abscessed teeth. Six removed teeth, a round of antibiotics, a new diet, and a rather large vet bill later, she is doing much better. I think in some way or another, it has been bugging her for a while. Now on the new diet, she has pretty much stopped shedding and looks a lot happier. Poor little pug.

Also around this time, Evan and Emma auditioned for a voice-over part in a Lego commercial. Evan ended up getting the part and the nice people at the ad agency sent us a big box of Lego and a pretty shirt for Emma. Evan is now a little richer in his bank account as well! I’ll post the video of it when it comes online. It should be airing in the US soon I think.

Around April of this year, we bought tickets to a show that Leigh really wanted to see in Malmo, Sweden. Well, on the 19th we jumped on a train and headed to the spectacle that is Lady Gaga…

I’ll give her credit, it was a good show and she genuinely does sing live. Plus, it’s always fun to take the train to Sweden and have a night off with just the two of us.

Things are still really hectic at work. We just passed a large milestone and are steaming towards an even bigger one. I’m also finishing up the planning on a second mocap shoot in LA for early January. On top of all of that, we are moving apartments next weekend and one week later Leigh and the kids are heading home for xmas. I will be following them the next week and heading to LA from Vancouver. It’s going to be a crazy couple of months, but when hasn’t it been for us.

I’m going to try to find a way to streamline my posting process so I can do it more often. I just renewed the hosting and domain name so I’m not going anywhere soon.


Roma!

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My apologies to anyone who still visits this place. The last few weeks have been absolutely mental and I just can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to post in the little remaining time I get each day. There is a lot to catch up on and I will be making an effort to do so over the next several days.

But first, ROME!

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So after an over-complicated trip from the airport to our hotel in the Trastevere area of Rome in nearly 40C heat, we had arrived. Showered and lighter by a few too many bags, we headed to a local restaurant on the advice of the guy at the front desk.

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5 euro for some of the best pasta I have ever had and less than 10 for a nice bottle of wine…heaven!

The next few days were spent going to as many of the sights as we could. I think we did pretty well considering we had three little ones in tow. The Pantheon was amazing…

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There were guys dressed as gladiators all over the place looking to snag a couple of euro from anyone willing to take a photo with them.

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Next stop was the Colosseum…

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Did I mention it was hot? We bought a couple of umbrellas for some portable shade. Vanessa had a great time haggling with the vendors. Never sell her anything, you will lose.

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The area we were staying in really came alive in the afternoons and evenings. Tons of restaurants and bars. Here’s Evan on one of the walking streets with a piece of the biggest watermelon I have ever seen (that’s just a ‘pizza slice’ of a cross section from it)…

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Having lunch in Piazza Navona…

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Ken and I ordered the Grande Birra and received two giant mugs of the most expensive beer we ever had…

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Which way to the beach?

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Of course, we went to the Vatican as well. St. Peter’s Basilica was beyond amazing. The scale of it is overwhelming. The Vatican museum was equally awesome. I got up close to some of the most amazing art in their contemporary exhibit, but the highlight was easily the Sistine Chapel. It was packed with people and quite dark inside, but being in the presence of such amazing art was really moving. I need to go back and spend some more time there as it’s just too much for your brain to absorb in one visit.

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Here’s Ken, Vanessa, and little Kobester in front of St. Peter’s…

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Can you believe it!?! I never thought they would put out a greatest hits collection! Finally!!!

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It was hot, noisy, crowded, and awesome. If you haven’t been, you need to go. We will definitely be back and we also want to check out Florence and Venice as well. Ciao!


road trip, the journey home…

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no, we’re still alive. I have just been really unmotivated to update the site since we got back. The kids started at their new schools (yes, I’ll write about that shortly as well) and work is right back into it.

Anyways, let’s wrap the road trip up first. I’m going to do more of a slide show and less talking. I need to save some stories for later don’t I?

So, after Milan we headed to Nice.

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It was beautiful, but it turned out that the hotel I had booked didn’t allow dogs. They let us stay the night and we found a place just down the road in Cannes that would let us bring our furry co-pilot. It was beautiful there. The beach was crowded but the water was amazing. They don’t allow dogs on the main beaches there, but there’s an island just off the coast called Ile Sainte Marguerite that did. We hopped on a ferry and had a nice little swim in the Mediteranean,

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Then we were off to Paris! Here’s Leigh in front of Notre Dame…

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…and a couple of random photos from around the church…

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The peanut and I in front of the Louvre…

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And of course, we had to eat like the French…escargot! Emma and Evan had two each. Delicious!

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Last stop of the day was the Eiffel Tower…

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After Paris, we stopped for a night in Bremen to do some last minute shopping (back to school clothes) and then pointed the car for home.

It was an amazing trip and we have a ton of stories and some incredible experiences. Our goal was to pack as much into the three weeks as possible and I think we did a good job of that.

I’ll be posting a recap of Rome very soon as well because it needs it’s own post.


road trip continued…

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So I’ll pick up where I left off, Milan.

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Switzerland was definitely the low point of the trip, but Milan was a close second. I had booked two nights at a hotel there, thinking we would like it enough to want to stay. Wrong. If you want to shop for clothes or run around like you’re really important and have somewhere equally important to go, this might be your place. I didn’t think a place so close to Rome could be so different. The people were rude, there was almost nothing to see historically, and it was really expensive. Driving there was mental. No defined lanes, just natural selection in vehicular form. I managed to make it the whole time without anyone honking at me, but you have to switch from defensive to offensive driving to survive there.

We did, however, manage to get pulled over by the police. The one main historical sight in town, the Duomo, sounded like a neat thing to check out so we punched the info into Jill (our GPS) and had her lead the way. Turns out she has a hard time telling the difference between a pedestrian street and a driving one because after doing as I was told, I turned right down a street and into a nest of cops. Leigh snapped this picture right before they started waving their arms at us and a couple of fancy dressed lady-cops came over to give us the third degree.

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After about 15 minutes of strained English, they let us drive back the way we came. I think they couldn’t understand our strange documentation and my Canadian drivers license.

The only thing keeping Milan from beating the Swiss for lowest point in the trip was the food. We ended up at a restaurant recommended on tripadvisor.com (where the picture from the previous post was taken) and it was some of the best food we ate on the whole trip. It was so good, we went back the second night. Here’s a picture of my pumpkin ravioli, ZOMG!

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Also around this time, Evan started to develop an odd little habit. He had decided that wearing shoes in the car was so last year, so he would take them off and throw them out the door. There were several times along the trip where I forgot to check and nearly drove off without them. Here is the little monkey being caught in the act…

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Next stop…Nice!


road trip update #1

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Now that we finally have some consistent internet I can write an update. I know I promised a write up on Rome, and I will, but if I don’t write down what we’ve been up to the last few days I’m sure I’ll forget a lot of it.

I picked up the rental car on Sunday morning with minimal set-backs. I had booked an A6 wagon and all they had for me was an A4. Still enough room for all our crap, but not as spacious as I had hoped for this trip. Oh well, at least we have a car, right? I had planned on doing this trip the old fashioned way, with just some google-maps printouts and a smile, but on a whim I threw down some more money on a GPS from the rental company as well. Let’s just say it’s paid for itself already. More on that later.

Driving back through Copenhagen from the airport was a strange experience. I have been riding a bike in the city for a long time now and it was the first time seeing it from this angle. It was my first taste of driving in Europe and it was a little confusing. In retrospect, it was a walk in the park compared to what we’ve been up to the last couple of days. I’m getting ahead of myself though…

So, we loaded everyone into the car and headed south. Our first destination was Hamburg which is apparently the original stomping grounds for the Unger clan. We made it to the bottom of Denmark and onto the ferry bound for Germany with not much to report other than the crazy price for the ferry. I shouldn’t have been surprised, still being in proximity to Copenhagen, but it was a bit of a shock. We’ll most likely take the longer way around on the way back, though I think there are toll roads that way too. Don’t we pay enough in taxes already?

Driving in Germany is what I imagine heaven looks like for cars. Rest stops every few kilometers, high speed limits, and everyone driving with a high level of skill. I always thought the autobahn was a specific stretch of road hidden away in some remote part of the country where you could drive as fast as you bloody well felt like. It looks like that is just the word for ‘freeway’ in Germany and the unlimited speed thing is all over the place. We would be doing 140kmh+ in the SLOW LANE with people passing us on the left like we were standing still.

Anyways, we got to Hamburg and it was really nice. I think we will definitely go back for a longer visit because we all got a really good vibe there. Our next goal was to head to the middle south of Germany to a stretch of road called the ‘romantic road’ which was supposed to be the quintessential German countryside experience. I had also read that along the top of this route, there was a small town called Colmberg where you could stay in a 1000 year old castle that had been turned into a hotel. I tried to book on their site bit they appeared to be filled up. I found a couple of back up hotels in the area and we decided to try our luck at the castle just in case. We got there just as it was getting dark (and starting to rain) and were in luck. They had one room available with a double bed and they could move an extra cot in for us. A bit of a squeeze, but how could we turn down a chance to stay in a real castle for the night.

It was family run and they couldn’t have been nicer. The kitchen was closed when we arrived, but they put together a meat and cheese plate for us anyways. The whole place was decorated in a hunting theme and was really cool.

Here’s the view from our room. The castle was on top of a hill overlooking the town…

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The kids checking out some of the ‘furniture’…

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…and part of the view…

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It’s strange. I had tried to plan my shortest route through Germany as it didn’t hold much interest for us. By this point, it was really starting to grow on Leigh and I. The people were really friendly and we just got a good feeling wherever we went. We will definitely be coming back to check out more of the country. In particular, I’d like to see more of Hamburg and visit Berlin.

That said, the gloomy weather was bringing us down so we decided to head south as quickly as possible. We chucked out the plan to do the romantic road and head for Switzerland. I’ve always wanted to see the Alps and in my mind, it was full of quaint little ski villages with people wearing suspenders and pockets full of Ricola. How wrong we were. We headed for Zurich, thinking that in a Larger city, we wouldn’t have trouble finding a place to stay. Turns out Switzerland is crazy expensive and full of really rude people. The only place I could find for us to stay that didn’t break the bank was in Luzern, about 45 minutes away. We plugged the coordinates into our trusty GPS, who by this time we had started calling Gill after a really nice lady at the Hotel in Hamburg, and headed forth.

The next morning, I was really looking forward to our drive through the Alps to Italy. Turns out the Swiss are a bunch of mole-people as we spent probably two-thirds of the driving time underground. One tunnel lasted for nearly 40 minutes! I got dizzy when we finally emerged. Unfortunately, because of all the tunnels, I have no pictures of the mountains. Take my word for it, they are beautiful when you get a glimpse of them. Also, they sell firecrackers in the grocery stores, so the Swiss aren’t all bad.

We arrived at the border to Italy with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees and sunny weather, yay! Now, there was pretty much nothing as far as a border crossing into Germany and Switzerland, but Italy had a proper station. As we pulled into the line up and started getting our passports and Rylee’s documentation out, we noticed another lineup with an ambiguous sign over it that said ‘Other Passports’. Surely a Canadian passport falls into that category (whatever category that was) so I pulled into that lane. We drove through some randomly placed cones and barricades, past some border guards, and out the other side in Italy. I felt really weird, like I had just robbed a bank in plain site or something. The guards looked right at us and did nothing so I assume everything was cool, but what the hell were the hundreds of other cars doing waiting in the other lanes. I kept watching the rearview mirror for the next hour thinking they were going to chase us down.

Well, we arrived in Milan and settled into our hotel just outside the city center. I will go into more on a later post, but let’s just say that driving here is not for the weak.

It’s getting late and tomorrow we are heading to Nice for a couple of days. I can’t wait to hit the beach. We should have some decent internet at the next hotel so I will continue this tomorrow hopefully. For now, I will leave you with this view from our table tonight where we had dinner…

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