My first order of business was moving out of the Red Roof Inn that I had made my home and into someplace a little more permanent. A week in this cozy roadside motel was more than enough time to cast into doubt the wisdom of waiting until my arrival in Durham to find an apartment. With each Craigslist post that failed to result in an acceptable living situation, I grew more desperate. My checking account was dwindling, and the walls of the hotel room seemed to get a few inches closer together each time I returned to my room without a suitable alternative.
Salvation would come in the form of an apartment complex a mere 10-minute walk from The Escapist's global headquarters, and home to roughly half of the company's staff. It also happened to be the very first housing recommended to me by my boss, over a month before I gathered up my meager belongings and hit the open road. Certainly, I could have put more faith into the wisdom of the crowd and avoided the expense and indignity of motel residence. But the dream of finding the perfect apartment for under $400 a month by skimming a few Craigslist posts was too seductive to pass up.
I ended up in a cavernous one-bedroom apartment that will undoubtedly test the limits of my budget. But its relative roominess posed another challenge. A few days of lying huddled on the floor next to my laptop, leeching Wi-Fi from the one generous soul in the building who kept an unsecure wireless network, was enough to convince me that I needed some kind of sitting device. A chair; perhaps a stool, or a sofa if I was feeling especially ambitious. It was time to mine for upholstered gold the only way I knew how.
I imagined a kind of epic Craigslist fetch quest that would span the Raleigh-Durham metro and result in a perfectly appointed living room for less than the cost of renting a trailer. Despite all experience to the contrary, I had some unassailable belief in an Ideal Craigslist where each location was a five-minute drive away, furniture lifted itself and everything was free to a good home. All I needed was a Saturday afternoon, I surmised, and my apartment would practically furnish itself.
Like a true fetch quest, however, sheer tedium got the best of me. When a weekend of fruitless efforts resulted in the same empty apartment, I took the easy way out and hit up a factory furniture store. Sometimes getting power-leveled has its benefits.
As for the work itself, it seems I couldn't have started at a more chaotic time. Between the DICE Summit, GDC and a virulent flu virus that has put a quarter of the office out of commission, there have been few opportunities for instruction beyond a quick tutorial now and then. On-the-job training is the order of the day, and the workload fluctuates wildly between staying late and just trying to remain useful when there's nothing to proof. No one has sat me down in front of Puzzle Quest and asked for my critical opinion. But with just the right amount of self-delusion, sometimes just pinpointing a misplaced comma can feel like a pretty heroic effort.
Jordan Deam is the Editorial Assistant for The Escapist. He has undergone more than a dozen MRI brain scans in the name of science. The results, while promising, were inconclusive.