Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Visitor In My Own Life

Sorry for the lack in entries.  Been busy as hell.

So to start…  The ride in.  18 hours straight in the car.  And a blizzard.  Yep, towards the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border a blizzard hit, and with the blowing snow I literally couldn’t even see a meter in front of my car with the brights on.  Pure white.  I had to drive 20km an hour while looking out my side window at the yellow lines passing just to make sure I was still on the road!  It was scary and claustrophobic.  Then to make it worse, I almost ran out of gas.  So for 4 hours I was driving with 0 visibility and watching my gas gauge near empty.  By the time I found a gas station in Hedingly the fuel light had been on about 15 minutes.  It was a stressful ordeal.  I parked my car outside my Mom’s place once I got in to Winnipeg around 5:00 AM and had a smoke to calm the nerves.  I went in and my Mom had slept on the couch waiting to make sure I made it home alright.

Other than that, the visit has been great.  Hung out with the gang the very next day.  Kyra was there and it was a lot of fun, great seeing her again, but things with her and I didn’t work out in the end.  That is a true casualty of me moving, cause in the end that was the only real problem.

It’s been so bizarre being a visitor to my own life.  When I pulled into Winnipeg it immediately felt like Edmonton had just been a dream.  It felt like I’d never left.  Even now, I’m sitting in my Mom’s basement, in the corner that was once my room!  It all feels so familiar and safe.  And in some ways I miss it, and in others I’m so glad to be out there trying something new and exciting.  Seeing my friends in person again has been great.  I really do have an amazing life here, and heading back out to Edmonton in a week might even be harder the second time.

Ashley and I had brunch at Cora’s, which was a lot of fun.  Afterwards we ran through the snow, sinking down to our knees in it, lol.  This was to get to the Humane Society to look at cute kitties.  It was a fun time.  She’s sick right now so tomorrow I’m bringing her some Chicken Noodle Soup and we’re gunna watch a movie.

Christmas was great.  I didn’t buy any presents for anyone since I had to pay a fair amount just to visit.  Everyone understood, kinda sucks though, I love buying people presents!  I did alright, got a fair amount of money, and an air pump for my car tires.  Bought some clothes out here too.  It was good seeing my family.  Sadly my Dad is out of town for Xmas this year so I didn’t get to see him, which was kind of strange.  My grandparents on my Dad’s side live near Andi so I visited her for a bit on Christmas Eve night. 

Chatted with my cousin Bill at the Xmas dinner on my Mom’s side.  Sounds like his ride from Edmonton to here was just as bad as mine, but for different reasons.

Tonight Kristina and I hung out.  It was actually really great hanging out with her again.  We were great friends before we went out, and things with her and I didn’t end well at first, so it’s nice to know we’ve both matured since then and been able to recapture our friendship.  Went to see Seven Pounds, which was a really good movie.  Lol, we went to the Fyxx for coffee beforehand, and then again after the movie.  I missed her.

Tomorrow Chad and I are going to see The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, really looking forward to that!

It’s been so great being back.  Smoke breaks with Andi, conversations with Brett and Tim, movies and games with Chad…  Nights just cruising around with friends, movies and pizza.  This is my life, and it’s great remembering that.  I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I love the life I have here, and am proud of it.  Now hopefully some of you will come visit me in Edmonton!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Comin’ Home

Doing the last of my packing right now, loading it into the car, buying a new GPS and headin’ home!  Looks like it’ll be a 2 day trip, so see you all soon!  Feel free to text me on the road to keep me company (I may not be able to reply until I stop for a break, but still).  Seeya soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Place Called Home

I remember sitting in my car with Tim, late one night.  We were eating take out McDonald’s and we were talking about the possibility of me moving.  He’s moved around a fair bit in his life and has finally settled down in Winnipeg.

He told me some things which only now are starting to become quite poignant.

“People are just people, no matter where they are.”

It’s true.  Waiting in line at the grocery store I just watch people going about their daily lives.  They didn’t wait for me to come from Winnipeg.  They don’t know who I am, and most of them have never seen the place I call home.  Their lives have been here, and they’re doing what they can to stay afloat.  It’s beautiful in its own right.

“Every city has it’s own culture.”

While people are people, it cannot be denied that each city has a distinct feel.  I picked up on this on my road-trip, but those were short times at notable cities like Chicago and Montreal.  But after a month in Edmonton I can see what Tim was talking about.  Conversations tend to go a different path with different points of reference.  People have different histories than the ones you’re used to hearing.  And people genuinely act differently, sometimes better sometimes worse.  But at the end of the day it’s a new place with its own rituals.

“You need to completely escape your life before you can see it with any real context.”

This is the one that echoes the most.  As I find new friends, learn new routes around the city, start to memorize the scenery of my new city and my new life, I can look back on where I came from with a scope I never could before.  You can’t read your story until it’s been told, can’t see a life for what it is while you’re living it.  And as I prepare to visit a place called home, I’ve begun to reflect on just what that means to me.

I was too hard on myself.  I always felt like I was failing.  I never felt good enough.  But looking back I see what a great life I’d accumulated.  Despite a rocky history, my family has pulled together and we all love each other.  I’ve found and kept some of the best friends a guy could ask for, some of them have stuck around for years.  I can be an idiot, I can make stupid mistakes.  But they’ve stuck around through thick and thin.  And even now, thousands of kilometers away, they’re still there for me.  And I feel privileged to be there for them.

I’ll see you all soon, as I visit a place called home.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shave & A Haircut, 2 Bits

Hi Kyra, you stalker.

So today I’m getting a haircut through work during my break, lol.  We get discounted haircuts.  All sorts of weird discounts through this job, not that I’m complaining.

I am sooo tired today.  I don’t know why since I got a full night’s sleep.  Probably just excited to come back home for 2 weeks!  It’s gunna be a blast!

Well I don’t actually have anything to write, I’m just waiting for an updater to finish at work and trying not to fall asleep at my desk :P

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2 Weeks Home!

So I come home in 4 days!  And today at a work meeting I just found out it’ll be for 2 weeks, not 1!  This news was bittersweet…  On one hand it’s an extra week to see friends and family, which will be GREAT.  But on the other hand that’s an entire check I won’t see, and the drive to and from Winnipeg, and the 2 weeks of living it up there will definitely cost some money.  Hopefully I get some Xmas money.  I’ll be working overtime all week to try to squeeze in an extra 100$ or so too.

My GPS hasn’t been working cause it’s been so cold so last night when I got home I brought my GPS inside to let it warm up, then promptly fell asleep and slept right till this morning!  But on my way to work this morning I tried setting the GPS back up and it still doesn’t work!  The cold must have ruined it permanently!  I guess I’ll be using my iPhone’s GPS to get home, even though it’s not nearly as good as the one I had.  I’ll have to buy a new one whenever I get chance.

So I hope to see everyone when I come back!  Put some time aside for your ol’ friend Dale!

Monday, December 15, 2008


It is freezing out!  On Saturday after work I went to start my car and it barely did.  Then when I went to drive the gas pedal froze completely down, my engine revved up right to the red, and I went up onto the curb.  I slammed the breaks and couldn’t get the gas unstuck.  I had to turn the car off, then turn it on, let it rev for a while, turn it off, etc, until the engine warmed up enough to let the gas pedal up.  That’s cold!

This morning it was so cold my GPS and cd player wouldn’t turn on in my car, which again barely started.  Thankfully by now I know how to get to work, though the silent freezing ride wasn’t the best.

I really wish the bank hadn’t held my check.  I now have 25$ to last me until I leave for Winnipeg.  Hopefully they release my check on Friday like they said they would, otherwise they’ll hold it till Monday and I won’t have enough money to drive back to Winnipeg and might have to come with my cousin.  If that’s the case Brett couldn’t get a ride back.  Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that.

Last night it was so cold we had 2 blackouts in our area.  Bill, Tia and I sat upstairs around the 1 candle we could find.  Bill and I just browsed youtube on our iPhones, lol.

I went out for a smoke during the second blackout.  Suburbs are beautiful when there’s no light and a full moon.  Reminds you that we’re still in the wild, no matter how many buildings we erect or streets we pave.

5 days till I come back to Winnipeg!  Can’t wait to see everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Today was my day off.  Slept in and then played the Penny Arcade PC game all day.  I’m seriously addicted to it.  I bought episode 1 and it was a solid 5 hours of gameplay, a lot of fun.  Reminds me of the old Sam & Max games, if anyone remembers those.  Tim, Craig, if you guys are reading this, I think you two would particularly love this game.  Download the demo and see what you think!

Episode 1 I took a break half way through and went down to South Ed Common for a bit.  Checked out the Le Chateau Outlet, lots of really nice clothes I want to buy.  I didn’t get anything though.  The drive home and back is gunna cost a lot, not to mention I’m sure I’ll spend some money in Winnipeg when I go out with friends.  I would have caught a ride with my cousin to save money but Brett is moving out here to work on the oil rigs so he’s gunna catch a ride back with me.

I got some food at Pita Pit and came back home.  A pretty lazy day all around, but it’s what I needed. 

The light in my room doesn’t work anymore, so I only have the light from a little desk lamp.  Kinda gloomy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Working The Weekend

So I came in to work today, to make up for the sick day I took on Monday.  I got here and was surprised to find it locked, all the lights off and completely empty.  I thought more people came in on the weekend.

I was right.  This morning it was freezing and my car almost didn’t start.  It made some pretty weird noises before it finally did.  I decided not to start till 11:00 today to allow myself some time to sleep in.  Which means I work until 8:00, though I don’t think I’ll take my hour break so I can leave at 7:00.

It’s been pretty nice working in an empty office.  I plugged my iPod into the speakers and have my music cranked and singing along, and when I go for a smoke the office is eerily quiet and dark.  I played some pinball in the lunchroom for a bit in the dark, lol.  On the way back up I sprinted down the halls, lol.

Well, back to work!

Typing With Frostbite

So because I’m new to Alberta and it was my first pay check from Bioware, BMO is holding most of my check for another WEEK!  It’s gunna be pretty tight!

And it went from like +2 to –30 in one day, I swear I got frostbite on both my hands from putting gas in my car, I was only outside for a minute!!  Tomorrow morning is gunna suck.  I hope my car starts.

But some good news, I finally got around to setting up my MY5.  Here’s who made the cut:

  1. Andi
  2. Chad
  3. Tim
  4. Brett/Linda
  5. Mom (awww)

Expect some calls!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

“Wow That’s Good” or, /Yum

There is a World Of Warcraft themed restaurant in Beijing.  Check this link.  I bet you you leave full but are hungry again within an hour.


I’ll take the

 Seasoned Wolf Kabob


Pay day!  I thought I was getting 3 weeks of pay on my first check but it’s only 2, so about 900$.  And that was with no overtime.  This week (which will be on the next check) I’ve put in 10 hours overtime already, and I’m coming in tomorrow to make up for being sick on Monday, so the next paycheck will probably be about 1200$.  I’m beginning to remember why I came out here!

Xmas is coming!  We’re working on a take-home build so I’ll be able to bring a playable copy of the game I’m working on home and I’m allowed to show a few people, let them play and see what they think, etc.  I email the feedback back to Bioware so they can get some fresh perspectives for free.  There’s gunna be an Xmas party at the end of next week, should be fun!  Bioware rented a huge hotel, sounds like it gets pretty wild.  Lol, yesterday one of the guys in the office went around giving out little Xmas ducks.

So as you can see from the first image (which is Bioware), I’ve been on Google Maps.  I had to figure out where the closest BMO is so I can deposit my check on my way home after work.  I planned out my route:

To the bank

I’m getting the hang of navigating the city, but never hurts to be prepared!  I’m gunna sleep in tomorrow and come in and work 11:00 – 8:00.  Finally gunna put a dent in my debt.

Now With Quotes!

It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost Penis?

So I’m in the bathroom at work, doing my business at the urinal, when some old guy walks him.  I’ve never seen him around the office, most people here are pretty young.  Anyway, he walks up to the next urinal, unzips and starts shuffling around for a while.  I start to wonder what the hell is going on and suddenly he looks over at me and says “Geeze, I couldn’t find it, starting to think I lost it!”    Nice.


Working overtime again.  This whole week has been 12 hour shifts.  I’m not complaining, it’s easy work with cool people.  And it’ll be goooood money!  I’m on my break right now and just killing time.  So here’s some random crap.

-  The digital picture frame I bought has turned out to be one of the best ideas ever.  I have it beside my desk and whenever I’m feeling blue I just look over and have good memories.

-  My first paycheck is tomorrow and I can’t wait for it.  The move out here cost more than I was expecting and my last paycheck from Rogers was less than I was expecting.

-  I did a complete 180 turning on to our street a few nights ago.  Because it’s such a new neighborhood they don’t sand our streets yet, and because it’s been bouncing back and forth from –10 to +5 it gets pretty slippery!

-  The game I’m working on is beginning to come together and looks like it’ll actually be pretty cool.

-  I think I’m going to start dating out here.  Not expecting anything serious if anything at all, but we’ll see what happens.

-  Random text messages from my peeps back in Winnipeg put a smile on my face.

-  I still miss my posse back home.

-  I am finding myself quite happy these days.  I like it out here, though I am looking forward to heading back to Winnipeg come Xmas.

-  I love being able to listen to my iPod at work.

-  I miss the Pug.

-  The Mac’s convenience store near our place has a Subway built into it.  And it had 2 East Indian people who seem to hate my guts for some reason.

-  I’m totally cheating on Winnipeg winter.  It’s +2 today here and it’s like –27 in Winnipeg.  Then I’ll come back in March in time for the weather to warm up.  I should do this every year!

-  Chad is on MSN with me right now telling me how excited he is about getting his neck size measured, lol.

-  My break is only half over…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Pulling overtime second day in a row.  Working 12 hour days.  Kac-hing!

More Celebrity Crushes!

Yep, it’s that time again. Time for some more celebrity crushes!

Anna Paquin

Most people probably think of her as Rogue from X-men. It’s her quirky little mannerisms that do it for me.

Audrey Tautou

Best known from Amelie, in which she plays my dream girl by the same name. So innocent.

Jena Malone

Even though she acts super innocent, she always plays a total whore. I’m ok with that.

Liv Tyler

But who doesn’t, really.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fire & Ice

Just what I need when I’m feeling sick, lol.  Fire drill.  The entire building had to head outside and wait in the cold for 15 minutes while they made sure the building was empty.  One of these days I should really buy a real winter jacket.  I don’t know if I’ve ever actually owned one…

Further From Home

Things didn’t work out with Kyra.  It really sucks cause she’s the coolest girl I’d met in a long time.  I guess we just underestimated the challenges of the long distance thing.

Sunday night I started feeling a little sick, and sure enough Monday morning I felt like death.  I had to call in sick.  I felt very guilty cause normally I can go up to a year before I call in sick, and this was the beginning of my third week.  Bill had been sick recently, so have a few people at the office, so I guess I just caught whatever was going around.

Spent the whole day in bed watching Frasier, lol.

I’ve started to settle in to my new life here in Edmonton.  I’m beginning to think of myself as an Edmontonian.  I’ve been driving around and can get to several places without the need for my GPS.  Every day life is starting to feel like just that.  Waking up in Winnipeg would actually be weird at this point.  In some ways I’m glad the worst is finally over, cause I was feeling really lonely and homesick for a while there, but at the same time it makes me kind of sad to find myself remembering Winnipeg with nostalgia.  It’s a weird feeling.

Well I’m writing this from work on my break.  Don’t feel as sick as I did yesterday.  It’s finally getting cold out here, and today there’s supposed to be a fire drill so we’ll have to stand outside for up to 15 minutes.  Boo.  Until then I’ll just sit here at my desk with my iPod playing Mars Volta.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Internet Love Letters

Dale says:
i just stumbled onto the wrong page
Dale says:
"existential depression"
craig says:
Dale says:
a quote:
craig says:
Dale says:
"once you recognize that death is inevitable, that all structures in life are held up by your own need for them, and that no matter how close you get to someone there is still a gap, between your being and theirs, and thus you are alone...
Dale says:
" get angry. But then you recognize that anger is just as futile as everything else. And anger without a solution leads to depression"
Dale says:
"-What's the point?"
Dale says:
thanks internet. You always know just what to say.

Letting Go

I've decided to be more pro-active about my new life in Edmonton. I've been letting my past and things back in Winnipeg stop me from realizing the amazing opportunity that surrounds me. By no means am I shunning Winnipeg, it's still my home and I still really miss everyone there. But I need to focus on where I am, and at this point in my life, this is where I am.

I had lunch with some of the people from work on Friday, and it was a good time. All the other terms are really cool guys. I might do something with Dann tomorrow, we'll see.

Today was the beginning of my second weekend. Last weekend I just lay around the basement the whole weekend, and that was what began my bout of homesickness. So I decided 'hey, I'm in Edmonton, might as well go see it!' and jumped in my car bright and early. I drove around town for a while, checking out some of the cool scenes, and eventually made my way to West Edmonton Mall!

I'd been there once when I was really young with my Mom and brother. I didn't plan on buying anything, mainly cause my first paycheck will be 3 weeks of work, so I'm broke until then. It took 10 minutes to find parking, lol. Once I headed in I walked around and just explored. Lots of cool stores, and one of the nicest things is there actually seemed to be just as many guy stores as girl stores. Lots of nice men's clothing, electronics, a huge arcade, and sports stores and gyms (if you're into that).

The biggest mall in the world is CRAZY during Xmas! Not that I'd expected otherwise, but still! CRAZY! All sorts of people. And today I saw some good looking girls, finally a place that can remotely compare to Winnipeg's ratio of good looking women!

I stopped by the food court and had some lunch. Afterwards I went out for a smoke. As I did there were 2 attractive girls standing there too. I just enjoyed my cigarette until these 2 guys, complete wiggers who kept calling each other "soldier" (like come on, really!?) came up all "yo yo, whatup homedawg" and that. All I could think of was what losers these guys were. Then the 2 girls started hitting on them. *Sigh*. I can never seem to save up much faith in humanity before I lose it all again.

I walked around the mall some more and kept recognizing places from distant childhood memories when I'd come with my Mom and brother. Like the giant aquarium, the whale who's mouth you could walk in, the floating ship, etc... It wasn't quite as I remembered it. Felt more like... A mall. Go figure.

Afterwards I decided to head home, and other then getting caught in traffic while really having to take a leak, it was mostly uneventful.

Later that night Bill, Tia and I went to check out the new Futureshop that just opened in South Ed Common, now the biggest in Canada (and maybe the world, I dunno). Pretty cool stuff.

Believe it or not, despite spending my whole day in the capitals of consumerism, the only money I spent was for lunch! The fact that I didn't actually have any other money to spend may have had something to do with that though.

Came home and talked to Andi on the phone for a while, then just chatted with Chad on MSN. It was a really good day, and I'm finally starting to accept that I am here. I don't know what the future holds, what will stick and what will drift away, but the one thing I can be in control of is how I appreciate the current moment. And today was a good day.

Friday, December 5, 2008


As the title suggests, I've had an existential day.

In the past few days homesickness has hit me in a big way. To the point that I've started wondering if moving out here was a mistake. The job is great, but life feels so much less rewarding out here. It's the people mainly. I've always been a people person, the people in my life are more important to me than pretty much anything else...

But the more I thought about it the more I knew this was more than just that. Much more.

I've always been a creature of habit. I like my routines and my comfort zones, I've never hidden that fact. After being alone out here, making new routines and patterns, I'd begun to notice a strange discomfort within me. I knew there would be an adjustment period, but this is not what I expected.

When you've only had one way of living your whole life, you can come to depend on things you never even knew were there. You can avoid certain facts because they never become necessary. You've never had a reason to question these things, so why would you? Until the placeholder answers are gone, and there's a void left.

It took me a while to realize something wasn't quite right. All I knew was I felt uneasy and couldn't quite pinpoint why. Was it just homesickness? Did I just miss my friends? Just a healthy amount of lonliness? No, this was more than that.

I can't quite put into words the conclusions I came to, mainly because I haven't really come to any yet. But I'm beginning to sense I'm not in Kansas (or Winnipeg) anymore. And I'm beginning to realize maybe I'm not who I always thought I was. I'm seeing my own life from foreign eyes. I am completely removed from my patterns, finally free to recognize them for what they were. From inception to completion.

I'm learning things about myself. Some of them bring pride, and some shame. Almost all are shocking. I have some serious redefining to do. It's not that I'm changing, in so much as I'm finally recognizing my reflection. The ripples are subsiding and it's starting to become clear. It's just not what I was expecting to see.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I am so tired my finger nails hurt.

Also, this is my 100th post!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I had flowers delivered to Kyra at work today :)


Well, I was constantly bragging about how there was no snow here yet... I can't anymore. Snowing outside ride now, a fair amount. It probably won't stay, but still...

So yesterday I did my first overtime. The terms are now allowed to take up to 6 hours overtime per week, however they want to do it. Early, later, whatever. I don't think I'll be coming in early, lol.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Week 2

So I had my first weekend. It was boring as hell. During the week I come to work, talk to co-workers, play unreleased games, and just marvel at how lucky I am to work here. But then the weekend comes and I sit in my room wishing I had something to do. I ended up doing a lot of sleeping. It made me really homesick. I wanted to go out with friends, watch a movie with Kyra, etc...

Things with Kyra have been going really well. In an odd twist of fate, me being out here has actually worked well for us, we've been chatting on the phone every night for hours, and we're really getting to know each other, and the more I learn the more I like her.

Monday. Waking up was rough cause even over just a 2 day weekend I managed to screw up my sleeping pattern a decent bit. And Bill was sick today so I had to drive to work myself for the first time. Totally got lost, the GPS didn't seem to work. I made it to work just on time, but on my way up the elevator I realized I forgot my passcard, so I had to get a temp one from reception. Then when I sat down at my computer I realized I forgot my headphones. Monday...

I'm counting down the weeks until I can come home for Xmas and see friends, family and Kyra.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wild Edmonton Nights

Well, I've had a few interesting nights.

Thursday after work my cousin wanted to drop by the pub on the main floor cause Diarmid Clarke, a big name in the video game industry and one of Bill's mentors, was retiring. We were only planning on staying for a bit. I met them there and as I walked in I saw Jack, one of my term group's supervisors, and Humon, the project manager of our group, sitting with Bill and Diarmid. This was gunna be a great way to get some face time in with senior staff.

It didn't take me long to realize Diarmid was trashed. He was dispensing all kinds of pointers to a newbie like me all night, and even though he was hammered, it was really helpful stuff. Humon, who was essentially my boss, was pretty tanked and kept saying things like "You can't tell any of the other terms about tonight!" and "You don't think any less of me do you??", lol.

It was really a cool moment. Sitting back having a beer with a bunch of video game designers talking shop, and Diarmid, a legend in the industry.

But the moment passed and eventually everyone was trashed. I only had one beer, so I was fine. Bill was good too, and when the night came to an end (hours later, not the few minutes we were expecting) Humon and Jack were in no condition to drive. So Humon asked me to drive him home, lol. Yes, I loaded my drunk boss into the back of his super expensive car and drove him home, loaded him out and walked him to his door, lol. He was hillarious, and was not looking forward to running into me at the office next week when he'd be sober, lol.

Bill had followed us so I jumped in his car and headed home. The next day I didn't tell any of the other terms what had gone down. The terms training was over so we all moved up to the fifth floor and got set up in a new office with a new project manager, Zack. Went to lunch with some of the other senior staff. Bill and one of the other terms, Nathan, came with us. Taco Del Mar, very good stuff.

After lunch I approached Zack and told him if Marketing needed any screenshots, videocaptures or savegames, I'd be very interested in supplying them since I have a background in photography and video-editing, and think I have an eye for it. He seemed very impressed and passed the message along to Nathan, the lead on the game I'm working on.

6:00 came and it was Friday night, so I headed down to the pub and met up with a bunch of work people. Friday night the pub is FILLED with Bioware people. Nathan and Bill were there with a group of others and I joined them and got pretty drunk. Good people, and we had a great time, some seriously awesome conversation.

Now it's the weekend, and to be honest, I'm bored. I wish I worked today :P

Pic is of Dann, one of the other term testers. I might go to his house warming party this weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Morning Person??

Yup, I'm a morning person now. I get up at 7:30 AM every morning, and tonight I'm probably going to bed after I write this blog, by 11:30 PM. I actually really enjoy being a morning person. Well, day person. Still takes me about an hour and some caffeine to de-zombify in the mornings, but fortunately I get to sit around and do nothing at work while the build updates for the first hour.

My life has been pretty much nothing but video games. Weekends and evenings, all the great 360 games online with Chad and Bill, weekdays, working on Dragon Age at work, playing games at break. G4 Tech TV is on 24/7 in this house, and Bill and I talk shop all the time. Many people won't get this reference, but a few gamers might appreciate how much this lifestyle has effected me through the following story:

I had a dream last night that I was going around my daily life, until I noticed at the bottom left corner of my vision there was a fraps FPS counter, yellow numbers flickering around. I then realized I was in a videogame, and started looking for tell-tale bugs. Seriously. I am becoming a videogame.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From Work

So every morning when I get to work I have to update the build of the game I'm testing. Essentially I have to download a huge game every morning at the same time everyone else is, so it generally takes about 2 hours. It's quite nice, because I get paid for those 2 hours but there's no way to do any work. So I go down to our amazing lunch rooms on either the 2nd or 5th floor and get myself some free breakfast, generally a croissant and Cinnamon buns, but there's cereal, waffles, toast, eggs and bacon, etc... I catch up on all the video game sites like Kotaku, chat on MSN, check facebook etc... Some days everyone in the office will play games like Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2 while we wait for the update. Today I decided to write a blog entry.
Once the update finally finishes I check on a program we have if there's any tasks assigned to me (test this, re-test that, what do you think of this, etc) and then start hunting for bugs. Yesterday I submitted around 10, and today I got my first responses. I even got a few "hey, nice catch!" comments from senior staff on the responses! I play through the game, which is still pretty incomplete but fun none the less, and report any and all bugs I see. I try to submit them with screenshots, video and/or savegame files.

Throughout the day I'm free to head to the lunch room and play some pinball, go for smokes on the really nice smoker's balcony, etc. We get an hour lunch, but I usually only take 20 minutes to half an hour. With a job this easy I don't feel like I need a break.

So ya, work has been going well and I really like it.

Yesterday after work I talked with Kyra almost all night, first on MSN then on the phone. That was nice. I miss her. I miss everyone.

Well, that's taken up 10 minutes. My update is at 32%, I doubt it will be done before my lunch break. Back to facebook I guess!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1st Day

First of all, I made the playlist on the right a few days ago but the service was down. It's a playlist of songs I listened to on my drive out here, and been listening to a bit since I got out here. Very "life is changing" songs.

So today was my first day at Bioware. I can honestly say it's the best job anyone's ever had anywhere. Ever.

Woke up at 7:30 AM! That's a new one for me. Had my morning smoke outside while I watched the sunrise. Then I caught a ride to work with Bill.

Today was mostly training and paperwork. It was me and 3 other new guys. Nathan, Pieter (his last name is Parker... Spiderman!) and... Can't remember the other dude's name. We waited in a meeting room and played 360 and PS3 on big LCD tvs. There were posters everywhere of Bioware games, framed articles from the best video game magazines about their games and interviews with some of the staff I'd be working with.

Met my mentor Richard who showed me the ropes. It was cool meeting the people, in person, who are responsible for some of the best games Chad ever played...

Come lunch the senior staff, including my cousin, took us noobs out to lunch. Went to an awesome Asian place called OPM. We ordered tons of food and all just talked about video games and other nerdy stuff. Loved it.

For the second half of the day we started setting up our computers at work. We had to do an initial build update which takes hours, so while we waited we just went on Facebook, MSN, etc... We're allowed to use those things all the time at work, so long as we're focussing on work. I chatted with Kyra, Chad and Craig on MSN while it updated. When it was almost done it failed and I had to restart. So I didn't get to do much, kinda disappointing.

At 4:30 all the staff suddenly burst through the door with all kinds of nerf guns, including a gattling gun, and we got seriously hazed. For like 5 minutes we were chased around the office taking a shit load of nerf bullets to the face. Funny stuff.

Towards the end of my shift the update finally completed and I got to try the game I'll be testing, Dragon Age. Only got to play for 10 minutes before the day was over though. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some more hands on stuff instead of just browsing the net and chatting.

Bill wasn't quite ready to go so I hung out in the AMAZING staff lounge. A wall full of arcade games and a pinball machine, all free. A tv with all the systems on it. Ping Pong table, pool table, etc... Awesome. And a really nice smoker's balcony.It was an awesome first day. It doesn't feel like work, cause when I come home I do the same thing. Work on some project with MSN and facebook open on the side, periodically going out for a smoke. I work with a ton of cool people, and we all joke around about the same stuff. I work in an office where it's perfectly acceptable to chase each other around with Nerf guns (it's a big thing, there's an ongoing nerf war). I got home and realized how backwards it was that I was counting down how long till I could go back!I love my job.

P.S. We got these cool pass cards that we wave infront of a sensor to unlock our doors. Lots if sensitive I.P. (Intellectual Property for those of you who don't know... lol) and secret stuff. Makes me feel all important. Goes right to my head, lol. It's hanging off my belt in one of those cool little zip line things. And you get a pleasant little beep as the door unlocks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A New Life

So another day of exploring Edmonton, and getting settled into my new home with Bill and Tia. Loving it so far. It's such a cool feeling to be surrounded by new opportunity. Bill had been telling me more about the job and I'm just plain excited to go to work tomorrow morning. I really think I'm going to love it, and be good at it.

I've been thinking of this since I got out here. I'm normally very meticulous and have everything planned. I usually thrive on a routine. But I left my entire life behind, and out here I can't really say what's going to happen. So many things in my life I'm playing by ear, taking it day by day. Who knows what the future holds. It's a new feeling for me, and I'm loving it.
On the drive out here I stopped and slept at a motel in Brandon. After taking a shower I was looking at my tattoo in the mirror, and realized how significant it was. I had so many reasons not to go on that road-trip, but I knew it was something I had to do. And looking back I realize if I hadn't done it, there's no way I'd have had the courage to move out here. Even though I am here to pay off the debt I accumulated from the road-trip, it's so much more than that. It's opportunity.

I've been finding a bunch of cool places here. Like South Ed Common. It's just a section of the city with a ton of cool stores in it, has a very similar feel to Kenaston in Winnipeg. There's a Moxies, Earl's, a Famous Players, Pita Pit, and (*GASP*) a Le Chateau outlet. It's really warm out here so Bill and I have gone there both days and just walked around checking out the stores. I really wish all my friends in Winnipeg were here, cause all I'm thinking is how fun it'd be to go shopping at Le Chateau, grab some food at Moxies or Earls, then go see a movie. Then again I came here to get OUT of debt and away from impulse spending... But Bill is a total tech-nerd like me, so this may be a little difficult.

One thing I'll give Winnipeg, it had BEAUTIFUL women. In the past 2 days I've been hanging out in malls, grocery stores, video stores, PITA PIT... I have yet to see one 10. I've never been surrounded by so many people with so little to look at... I think I might have to make a term "Edmonton Hot", meaning hot by Edmonton standards... A shame.
One thing I've noticed, and Bill warned me about, is service. All the young people here have rich parents working with oil or some other boom industry, and so the kids are all spoiled little brats. So entry level jobs are hard to find staff for because none of the kids work, and if they do they don't know what they're doing and don't care cause they're only doing it cause their parents are making them, and even though they just started, are about to quit. And no one signals when they change lanes. But maybe the gravity is just different here... (That's a nod to you Brett, even though you'll never read this).

I got Skype working and used it a lot today. Called Chad from my iPhone and chatted for a while, then called my Mom from the PC to tell her how things were, then Kyra and talked with her for half an hour. It was good to talk with her. Andi called soon after that and we ended up talking for an hour and half. Lol, we both went out for smokes at the same time. Even provinces apart we keep up that tradition.

But I better start thinking of getting to bed, I have to wake up at 7:30 tomorrow morning... Yikes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Edmonton or Bust!

So I made it to Edmonton. I live here now. Weird.

I left Thursday night cause I needed to get some thinking done, and I learned on my roadtrip that the road is the best place to do that. Alone in a car with nothing but music and scenery... You get some thinking done.

Leaving was weird. It had been an emotional day already, and then packing, and saying goodbye to everyone... Watching them vanish in my rear-view window... It was taxing, and definitely a 'moment' in my life.

Got to Brandon around 6:00 AM and checked in while everyone else was getting their free breakfast and checking out.

The next day I woke up around 11:45 and immediately checked out and hit the road. It was a LONG drive. I was on the road that day about 13 hours, straight. I didn't stop for anything except gas and bathroom breaks. Had to pull over once or twice for a quick nap since I was getting drowsy on the road. Got even more thinking done.

Saskatchewan lived up to it's reputation of being one boring province to drive through. Though I did drive past a Prince Albert exit sign which reminded me of my visits to Tim and his friends/band-mates when he lived out there in our teen years.

Got stuck in traffic in Regina for a while, just happened to be passing through around rush hour. And supposedly I missed a meteor coming down near Edmonton by 12 hours, that would have been cool to see! I saw a cool video on youtube.

As I was finally approaching Edmonton I saw what looked like a solid wall of lights with pillars of flame coming out the top at a few points, clearly visible from even 30 km away. As I got closer I realized it was all the oil refineries. Quite a sight to see in the black night. Once I hit the city limits I got another cool sight when a GIANT owl flew over the freeway, in the same direction as my car as a cool somber song came on. It kinda reminded me of that scene in Collateral with the wolf.

I met up with my cousin at a sev and he showed me how to get to my new home. It's so new it's not on GPS, google maps, etc. VERY nice place in a VERY nice neighborhood. He helped me unpack as we caught up on things, but I was pooped from the road and crashed in my 'room' immediately.

My room is essentially just a few sheets hanging from the ceiling in the basement, not unlike my living conditions back when I lived with my Mom.

This morning I woke up around noon (keep in mind Edmonton is an hour behind Winnipeg) and my cousin took me out to show me some cool places to get good deals. Working at Bioware gets you discounts at certain computer whole-salers and stuff! I also get 360 games for 20$.

Bought everything I needed to get my pc and Xbox online, had some lunch and talked about 'the industry' all day. My cousin makes it sound amazing, and I have no reason to doubt him. It'd be awesome to get a career in it. It was a really cool day. Edmonton is an awesome city so far. Granted the drivers are terrible, and all the minimum wage jobs are held by annoying emo tweens with rich parents who are terrible at their job and probably just started and are about to quit, but you can tell you're in a city with money. The recession feels like some sort of fable here.

After that I came home and did my best to personalize my room. Did what I could with the space I had. The room kinda has a 'teenage' feel to it, but what can you expect in the corner of a basement with sheets as walls. I'm not here for the room, I'm here to make some money at a potential career and get out of debt while having some cool experiences and meeting new people.

Met my cousin's girlfriend and we ordered pizza and watched Family Guy. Afterwards I played Gears Of War 2 all night with Chad, which is a fucking amazing game. I'm really looking forward to getting into gaming in a big way while I'm out here. Always loved video games, but been pretty casual about it. Now I can play with no guilt, knowing that
A) I have no social life so what else would I be doing.
B) It's career-related.
C) It's fun!

So that's been my experience so far. When I first got here last night the reality of it all finally sunk in and it kinda scared me, but after today I'm realizing how much of an amazing experience this is going to be. Who knows how this will go. Will I get a career with Bioware and stay out here? Will I be able to leverage myself with this work experience into an awesome job in Winnipeg? Will I make new friends out here and form a second life? I know I miss my friends and family already... Regardless of where this all goes, I'm proud of myself for following my curiosity out here.

On a side note, I signed up for Skype, 3$ a month for unlimited long distance in North America. AND I found an app that lets me use Skype from my iPhone. So calling everyone in Winnipeg will be easy-mode. If you ever wanna shoot the shit, text me and I'll call you back. Chances are I'll be calling you a lot anyway. Unless I'm at work, which from the sounds of things I will be getting a TON of overtime. It will pretty much be my life.

Also, that digital photo frame I got was such a great idea, I have it set up in the corner of my room and it just cycles through all the good times with friends and family. I look over right now and see a pic of Brett playing an Xbox game with an army helmet on and a headset mic, lol.So, I start my new job on Monday; wish me luck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Change On The Horizon

It's getting real now...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sending Off

Had my going away party. It was a blast. Thank you to everyone who came, it meant a lot! Had such a good time. Olga had 2 12 hours shifts but made time to show up, which I really appreciated. Andi moved a bunch of things around to come. Kyra actually stayed up 24 hours cause she opened at work the next day. Well she did fall asleep in my arms for a while, but I didn't mind :)

We all got pretty drunk, and had some good conversation, some good laughs. Afterwards several people came back to my place and watched Tropic Thunder. I was too drunk to drive so Chad drove. The steering wheel was so cold he had to borrow Kyra's little blue mittens, lol. We were all pretty pooped and eventually Craig and Lauren took off, and then Andi, Chad and Kyra split a cab. It was a really good night, and meant a lot to me.

Now it's sinking in I'm actually leaving. I went out for a smoke today and just watched the snow come down. I pictured standing outside my cousin's house, looking down the street and not knowing what was even around that corner. I imagined walking back in and sitting in the basement with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I know I'll meet people, and settle in, but it will definitely be weird at first, especially after such a send off. I'm going to miss everyone.

I bought a bunch of 360 games to keep me busy in Edmonton, plus I have WoW. I think Chad and I may have convinced Kyra to give WoW a try. It'll be another way to keep in touch.

Tonight Kyra and I are going to dinner and movie. I'm looking forward to it. Gunna miss her. Life is funny.

So for those I don't get to see in the days before I leave, I'll hopefully see you again in about 3-4 months!