Growing was a success before I even posted it.

I sent the final build of the “gift version” to my Mom early Monday morning. I went to work, planning to post the public builds and link them on the social networks during my lunch break. By lunchtime, my Mom had already played through it and responded. The response was just…

“Oooohhhh my goodness….that is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and it was for me, and it was from you, and it took you gazillions of amount of time, and almost lost! I am so not worthy!!!”

My family (in real life)Now that last sentence is pretty silly cause let me tell you some things ’bout my mom:

  • She and my dad raised 6 kids, and by ‘raised’ I mean she did ALL of the cooking and cleaning (seriously, I didn’t learn how to do laundry til college), and now works two part-time jobs on top of it.
  • She’s tirelessly searched for the diagnosis of my mysterious severe autoimmune disease. I’ve been suffering from it since I was 15. She’s been adamant about finding the answer even during the times I get frustrated and give up. She just never gives up.
  • When I decided to go into games, she not only supported the decision, she was straight up proud of me. She actively believes in gaming’s ability to change people for the better.

“I wish all [traditional] Catholic mothers could see this and then speak negatively about video games.”

I was SO HAPPY my mom said this. We don’t agree on religion anymore. She raised us all not just Catholic, but VERY Catholic… and I found myself kinda simultaneously pushed and pulled away from religion as I got older. One thing that became clear was my career didn’t stand well with a community who thought games were evil, violent and manipulative. I know my mom has to deal with backlash from said communities when she defends my decision to make games.



YEAH, I’ve released my game! Here’s a link to the landing page. You can also get to it via the Games section of my blog.

That’s what’s UP! Many of you who know me well know this is a pretty big deal for me. The rest of you probably know little to nothing about the game, or even that Growing is a game. That’s my fault! I’m going to be more open about future game projects.

I started Growing at a game jam in May 2011. The theme was “Motherhood,” and the idea was that I would give this game as a present to my mom when I completed it. By the end of the jam, I had a working prototype that I refined over the next few months.

I threw myself into the work in my off-time. By October, I had an almost completed game that I felt pretty good about. But all that changed in an afternoon, when my backpack get stolen with my laptop, wacom tablet, and all my game’s design notes inside. I hadn’t bothered to keep my project up to date in source control (a decision whose stupidity is only really considered in hindsight) and as a result the only remaining copy of the project I could find was from the beginning of the summer, not long after the game jam.

To say I was devastated would have been an understatement. I couldn’t stop crying. I’m really lucky I had Kyle around because I had some pretty violent and irrational reactions. Growing had become a part of my identity, a bright spot while I was going through some major life troubles. The worst was knowing I had brought it all on myself with the lack of source control.

When I calmed down, the most difficult decision was whether to quit the project forever or keep going. The thought of continuing work on it was so fatiguing.



With the CrossFit Games happening this weekend, it seemed like a good time to look back and reflect on the more subtle effects a year and a half of crossfit has had on me. One unexpected benefit was that my perception of women’s bodies has changed drastically!

Andrea Ager There was a time when I would have agreed that yeah, it’s totally possible to become “too bulky” as a woman. And I probably would have argued that the veiny forearms, bulging quads and trunk-like cores of the Games’ top competitors like Andrea Ager would fall well within that category.

Lifting weights has given me an appreciation of the effort and dedication those muscles represent on a girl. It means she’s developed some steely mental fortitude, she’s set goals and pushed through them, she’s failed and bounced back. It means she’s fought stereotypes and championed above the prevailing opinion. I know how much work goes into it, having been through some of it myself, and I respect the shit out of her success. A muscular build is a thing of beauty to me now, not repulsion.

That being said, it’d be cool to see some more representation of muscular women in media. If this is the build we can expect from someone who makes fitness a living, why shouldn’t we see it in most of our female characters (fighters, action-adventure heroines, platforming protagonists)?

Why is it that our fantasy heroines aren’t even as badass as the ones we have in real life?

laras2 There’s been a movement towards “more realistic” and that works pretty well for some characters like Chell or Zoey who are supposed to be ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

The quest for realism has brought Lara’s boob size down and made her look more interesting, for sure. But why are her arms so small? If her life revolves around shooting, climbing, and generally vaulting herself around, shouldn’t she look like she can knock out a few dozen pull-ups with ease?

(I don’t mean to pick on Lara too much here, but it’s hard to pick out recent examples of females who are supposed to be physically strong. Zero Suit Samus, Jill Valentine, Faith from Mirror’s Edge, Eva from MGS3, Purna from Dead Island for a handful of others.)


Happy New Year! To kick off 2012, my housemates and I have started a new round of the Whole30 program. (You might remember I did it this past October with some pretty awesome results.)

This time however, we have a formidable new ally in our midst, form of… DAN, THE FOOD PROCESSOR! (We didn’t really name him Dan.)

Having a food processor cuts down hugely on prep time, which means I’m free to experiment with a relatively low cost of failure. AND when the experiments turn out successful, as you’ve probably guessed: they’ll be here! And so, ladies and gents, I present to you…

Food porn at its finest right here, folks.

Paleo Baked Salmon with Basil-Walnut Pesto
(with optional yummy side veggies!)


  • 1/4 cup walnuts, ground or finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 3 tbsp chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

  • 2 medium-sized salmon fillets
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon (optional)
    Side veggies (if you want ’em):

  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • A handful of white mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Happy November, everyone!

So yesterday, my boyfriend Kyle and I wrapped up our adventures in an interesting paleo diet derivative: the Whole30, named for the 30 days you are supposed to follow this stricter version of paleo as a sort of “hard reset” to your body’s food response.

The Basics

My understanding of this is that you are training your body not to have insulin spikes as a result of food intake. One thing we noticed is that we NEVER got food comas while eating Whole30, not even once, which is probably a good measure that we were doing it right 🙂

You can read about Whole30 on its official site, but for a quick definition: no sugar or sweeteners (even honey), no processed foods, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol, no white potatoes (a somewhat arbitrary measure by their own admission), limited fruits, and generally a focus on low GI foods and a healthy protein/good fats/carbs ratio (veggies are crucial, as the main source of carbs).

Our Methods

That certainly sounds like a lot of ‘no’s, but if you’re committed to putting in the time and effort to maintain this diet, it’s not that hard. Sugar cravings subside fairly quickly, believe it or not, and there’s no limit on how much food you eat as long as it’s approved! You have to be willing to cook a lot, but fortunately there are a lot of resources on the web related to delicious paleo and Whole30 recipes. We used thefoodee pretty extensively for this, it has some nifty features like dynamically generated shopping lists that really simplify the process.

Here are a few favorite recipes from around the web:



Snacks (not all are recipes):

Generally, our strategy was to reserve one night every 5 days or so for a “cooking marathon”: make as many of these recipes as possible all at once, and then eat the leftovers as meals for the next few days. This seems to work really well, although if you’re not planning carefully you’ll occasionally run into a night where you’re all out of options and need a meal on the spot. I used Chipotle as an emergency reserve. There’s a very limited menu that’s completely Whole30-approved, but luckily they list the ingredients in all their components right on the site!

Speaking of restaurants, eating out is generally very difficult, as restaurant cooks and servers aren’t used to thinking of food in “paleo” terms. Most places I went to, the waiters were fascinated and had never heard of this diet before. I think Kyle and I have had one possible slip each, and both times it was from a restaurant entrée where we suspect they might have misunderstood our order (of course, at restaurants it’s really hard to tell). I’ve had better luck with steakhouses than anywhere else: you can generally sub vegetables for their side dishes if you ask nicely, and make sure you order your sauce “on the side.” Still, it seems like the best approach is to avoid dining out as much as possible.



Kyle and I have been following this throughout the month of October (technically making it a “Whole31” for us). We’ve been as exact on these guidelines as possible to be totally scientific about it. We’ve even stayed off the scale at their recommendation, though that one seems to just be about defining clear “before” and “after” states. Obviously, this is all completely anecdotal, but I’ve tried my best to remain objective.

Here are my observations: (more…)

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