Loki is the Norse god of Chaos. How aptly named is this company, then. Once you walk through the pleasant garden in the middle of this office complex (you Queens people can think of the center area of Albright for a visual), and find the door to the Loki suite (suite #42, coincidentally), these are the first things you might notice, in no particular order: - Bill Gates's picture on the dart board. - An iMac ("Blueberry") on the front desk. - Boxes. Cardboard boxes everywhere. - Cables, joysticks, and other assorted hardware everywhere. - Handwritten list of exact weight of each product taped to the wall. - Original proof of box to Myth II, uncut, tacked to the wall. This is actually pretty cool. If you cut the pattern out and fold it, you get a real packaging box. - Robotic Operating Buddy, his gyros, and associated ghetto Nintendo. - Piles and piles of games and books. Everywhere. I wouldn't walk in here in my bare feet. "Disorganized" does not begin to cover it. It's great. So around lunchtime I'm pulling into Orange County. I now understand what everyone's been telling me about the smog out here. I consider dicking around until nighttime, since all I have are directions to Scott Draeker's house, and I assume he and his wife (who also works for Loki) won't be home. Still, I get bored and decide to check out the house. Nice place; kinda what you expect in a place like Orange County...I guess the best description is expensive looking, but not on that Fresh-Prince-of-Bel-Air level of expensive. "Well off," perhaps. Kinda a Spanish feel to the design, like a lot of the houses out here. Since there's a car in the driveway, I give a knock on the door. A rugrat answers it. I hate that. If I have kids, I'm training them to do the same thing my cat instinctually does when the doorbell rings: run and hide under the table in the dining room. So I'm like, "uh, is your mommy or daddy home, kid?" At this point Kayt Sorhaindo (that's Scott's wife...dunno what's up with the last name) gets to the door. She's pretty cool, in a frenetic kind of way. She's this giant source of energy...talks a mile a minute...and seems a little burnt out by the two little kids and-one-on-the-way. Honestly, the little girl is cute, but the little boy just continually does that maniacal laughter and jumping on you thing...it's a lot like what your labrador retriever does to your guests when they first show up, no matter what you do to stop him...the kid just kept jumping on me...if he tried to sniff my crotch I was gonna roll up a newspaper and bap him on the nose. So I put my hat on his head to distract him while I got directions to Loki's office. Kayt drew me a map and wrote down the telephone number, in case I get lost on this five minute excursion (hell, I just made it 2500 miles on worse directions, this was gonna be a cakewalk!)...she looked sad and said, "oh, you don't have a phone, do you?" "I'm sure I can find a payphone if I need to..." This seemed to releave her immensely. In so many words, she thinks that most of Loki's staff could do quantum mechanics in their sleep, but probably are so socially inept they couldn't handle finding a payphone if they get lost. So onward to Loki. There's no one to be found in the front room. So I wonder down the hall, and into a german dude with LONG black hair. And no shoes. He's walking around in his athletic socks. So much for my fears about walking around barefoot, I guess. He points me to Scott Draeker's office, and I make my way down there. Scott's got a beard now, and his shirt open about three buttons too low. He's on the phone when I poke my head in his door, and without missing a beat, midsentence, he says, "holy shit, Ryan Gordon just walked in my door. I'll call you back." (What an introduction; you'd think I was the Pope or something.) I get roughly a similiar reaction from Sam Lantinga, Loki's lead programmer. Smart dude; looks and sounds a lot like the hippie teacher from Beavis and Butthead. Apparently my first project will be to write a map editor for Heroes of Might and Magic III (I mentioned I knew how to use GTK+, so I guess I signed off for this duty automatically) ...Quake 3 Arena is already shipping, so I'll be picking at bugs for the next release...there's a crate of a couple hundred copies of Quake 3 CD-ROMs in the hall...definitely droolworthy. I got my "employee starter kit": a pile of six or seven games. Myth II, Heretic II, Quake 3, Railroad Tycoon II, Civilization: Call to Power, Erik's Ultimate Solitaire, and Might & Magic III. And a dual Pentium III/500 system to run them on. Oooooh baby. So today was spent customizing my machine, and playing deathmatch Q3 against a few other Loki employees. Sam and I spent some time squashing a bug with deadlocks in SDL. Sam and his girlfriend took me out to a place called "Spoons" for dinner...some of the best milkshakes I've ever seen...when I ordered a hambuger, the waitress asked how I wanted it cooked....I'm like "uh...with fire?" (for those not in North Carolina, there's STRICT laws there about how you can have beef cooked...you'll never gets asked there how you want your burger, since there's only one way: burnt to hell.) She took me by surprise, I guess. For you Phish fans, apparently my email address will be email@example.com. It's not set up yet. Scott was mentioning that I could unload my stuff at his house for now, and (cringing to myself as I think of the disarray in my car, which makes Loki's office space look damned clean in comparison) I told him that, being the world traveller that I am, I'm fully prepared to live out of my backpack for the next six months. Apparently this was a "good" answer, since the response it elicited was, "hey, do you want to go to New York?" (For reference, that was said roughly like, "hey, do you want to go get some pizza?") Sure. Looks like I'll be manning the Loki booth at LinuxWorld in New York on February 1st. Sweet. So, I'm beat. It was a long day of playing video games. Life is good. Talk to y'all. --ryan.