Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tripping The Light Fantastic

Another playlist for you (to the right of this post)! This is a long one, and it’s split into separate acts. No one can accuse me of not taking my playlist making seriously!

Act I: Indy Is Not A Genre (except it is)

  • 1. Choir Of Young Believers – Action Reaction
  • 2. Final Fantasy – Butcher
  • 3. Vampire Weekend – Ottoman
  • 4. The Albertans – Furniture
  • 5. Tunng – Bullets
  • 6. Mother Mother – Body
  • 7. Kings Of Leon – Closer
  • 8. Kings Of Leon – Be Somebody
  • 9. Anna Ternheim – What Have I Done?

Act II: Electronic Will Replace Instruments (except it won’t)

  • 10. Bearbot – The Radio Star
  • 11. FrankMusik – In Step
  • 12. Milosh – The City
  • 13. Wolfsheim – Find You Gone
  • 14. Innerpartysystem – Obsession
  • 15. Innerpartysystem – This Town Is Your Grave

Act III: Punk Is Dead (except… well ya, it pretty much is)

  • 16. The Offspring – Trust In You
  • 17. Rise Against – Audience Of One
  • 18. Rise Against – Hero Of War

Epilogue: The Death Of Music (aka Dale has too much time on his hands)

  • 19. Paul Tiernan – How To Say Goodbye
  • 20. The Real Tuesday Weld – Last Words

And there you have it! Enjoy! As always, if you like any of the songs you can get them from my server at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.”

-John Schaar

Life has been getting pretty good out here.  I finally feel like I’ve really hit my stride, and this feels like MY life now.  I don’t feel like I’m on some temporary adventure (though this is an adventure for certain), or a vacation from my actual life.  This is a new chapter in my life, and it’s really gaining momentum.

Last weekend I went out for sushi with some of the friends I’ve made here, and afterwards a few of us went to Nathan’s and played board games until 4:00 AM.  Junk food, joking around and some epic last minute wins.  It was a ton of fun.

Work has continued to go quite well.  I don’t want to count my eggs before they’re hatched, but I feel confident I’ll be getting contract renewals to keep me here for a while, hopefully long enough to prove myself worthy of a permanent position.

I continue to make new friends, and have started meeting some women through lavalife.  Bioware doesn’t exactly have a high ratio of women, and I’m in a new city, so online seems to be the only way to meet any women for now.  But I have a few prospects and one set date, so hopefully all goes well!  Of the prospects I have, they’re all quite good looking, so hopefully I click with one of them on a personal level as well.

I tried out a moustache for a while, lol.  Always wondered what it would look like, and now I know.  But it wasn’t really my style, and with a date on the horizon I decided to shave it off.

When I first got out here it was so bizarre.  I’d committed myself to doing something, for many personal and financial reasons, but now I was actually out here, and all ideas of how it would be were left in Winnipeg.  The reality of it was somehow more surreal than my speculation had been.

But I had faith in myself.  This is relatively new.  It was developed over the past few years through things like gaining clarity on the demons that had haunted me most my life, and proactive approaches like the road-trip.

It’s been exactly what I needed to take the next step on my journey as well.  Leaving Winnipeg was one of the hardest things I’ve forced myself to go through.  Seeing my friends, my life, vanish in the rear-view mirror as I drove off into the night is something I will never forget.

But it’s also been liberating.  I got out here and I had no one to answer to by myself.  This was monumental for me.  And while I make new friends here and know that relationships come with responsibility, I learned a valuable lesson through all this;  I’m the one living my life, I’m the one with the most information on my life so I will always be the one to make the final decisions in my life, informed decisions.  Outside perspective is incredibly important, but it’s a crutch if you don’t have the commitment or confidence to follow your convictions or to trust your own values and reasoning.

As the novelty started to fade, as I began to find a new me in a new city, and as I found that certain truths about one’s self are true no matter where you are, I felt a new life beginning.  And this was bizarre as well, but in a new way.  Looking back, mere months, I see a life that now seems distant and unreal.  That this new life is now my life, and the things I defined myself by ended up being circumstantial is the new sense of novelty I find.

A few nights ago I went out for a smoke.  We live at the very edge of the city, and as I have my smokes I often listen to the coyotes howling in the distance.  This particular night, from out of the darkness, one emerged.  It stood there in the field and just stared at me.  It was relaxed and calm, and one of the most cinematic moments of my life.  In no way did I feel threatened, and I stood there with my smoke, in silence, and just let myself experience it.  As I finished my smoke and began to turn to leave, so did it, and vanished back into the darkness.

I have much more to learn from this new adventure, and I have no way of knowing where it will take me.  But I do know that I’m getting stronger for it, and that it wouldn’t have been a reality if not for the strength I always possessed and never trusted, until now.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Mass Effect 2 Teaser Trailer

So it’s been announced!  I’ve had to keep my mouth shut about this one, but I can finally point at the video above and say “Guess what’s coming!?”.   I’ve helped a tiny little bit on this project so far, hoping to get more involved once Dragon Age comes to a close.

Yay Bioware!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I’m definitely over my homesickness, so it’s not that.  But I really miss some things from home lately.  Namely family.  Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends and other comforts from Winnipeg, but it dawned on me today I haven’t seen my Dad in 4 months, and I have no plans to head back to Winnipeg anytime soon, so it’ll likely come to be that I go over half a year without seeing him. 

I saw my Mom and Brother at Xmas, but I used to see them so often that even a few months is weird.

I guess that’s the inherent downside to chasing dreams away from the place you once called home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Prove Your Logic

A lot of entries today!  Just a quickie though.  If you have some time to spare and want to exercise the ol’ brain muscle, give this a try.  I actually beat this, and I’m quite proud of that fact.  Beware some of these questions took me 20 minutes each.  NO CHEATING, no looking up answers online or trial and error!  Think it through.  Also, the test is a translation from another language, so sometimes the grammar can be a bit confusing.

Prove Your Logic!

Lunch Plans

After deciding to go to Boston Pizza (where Bioware gets a discount!) for lunch:

DaleHey Nathan, wanna split a pizza?

NathanYa sure!

DaleMeat Lovers?


Chad Vader After The Dentist.

Well, a few posts ago I had a kid after the dentist.  I started this blog with several Darth Vader youtube videos.  So this is only natural for my blog.

Working From Home

So I’ve been playing some good video games lately at home.

Chad and I bought Left 4 Dead.  I’ve been wanting to get it for a while now, everyone at work plays on their breaks and it looks like a lot of fun.  So I convinced Chad to buy a copy and we been playing that a lot.  Every so often we’ll get the guys from work to join a game.  Nathan and Dann play a decent amount so we’ve had a few games with them.  Chad is coming down to visit sometime in Spring or Summer.  Looking forward to introducing him to the guys I’ve been hanging out with here, I think they’d get along.  Hopefully Olga can come too!

Chad is Audiodoc in the screenshot below.

Also been playing the Resident Evil 5 demo with Chad.  Can’t wait to get that game.  I love coop games.  Had a blast with Gears of War 2 when I first got out here, also with Chad, and L4D has been great, but short.  RE5 will be awesome.

And ALSO picked up Lost Odyssey again, had that one on hiatus for a while.  I’m a bit of a RPG traditionalist so it’s right up my alley.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Mass Effect was clearly a great game, though I haven’t played it myself.  And Dragon Age is a lot of fun, and when it comes out I fully expect everyone I know to pick it up to support Bioware, see my name in the credits, and ENJOY IT, but they ARE NOT RPGS!!!  I hate how these days the definition of RPGs seems to be “anything with story”.  The way games are going, and this is a good thing, EVERYTHING will soon be classified as an RPG.  If Mass Effect is an action RPG then Half-Life 2 was a FPS-RPG.  To me, RPG is turn-based combat, top down view, menu driven games with epic stories.  Like Lost Odyssey.

Next game:  Fear 2.

So Nvidea gave Bioware a pair of their new GeForce 3d Vision glasses to try out.  Dragon Age, even though it was never programmed for it, looks beautiful with it.  Some friends and I saw U2-3D in Imax last year, and this uses the same technology for home.  The glasses cost 200$.  I already have a compatible graphics card, but unfortunately it only works with LCD monitors that have 120hz refresh rate.  Nvidea offers an upgrade kit including the glasses and an amazing 22 inch widescreen 120hz LCD monitor for 600$.  Thinking of picking that up for myself in a few months, once I’ve gotten some more pressing matters out of the way.  I’ve heard Left 4 Dead looks phenomenal in 3d.  Can’t wait!

So ya.  Video games are my life these days.  :)  I have finally started meeting some women, but I’ll save that for another entry.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Internet Finds

So I haven’t written anything in a while, and feel the need, but have nothing amazing to say.  So, instead, here’s some cool time wasters I’ve found on the internet lately!  Be advised, most of these links are NSFW.

  • F My Life – A list of short stories from cynical people with bad luck.  So my type of site, lol.
  • One Sentence -  User submitted stories told in one sentence.
  • Post Secret – Come on, who hasn’t heard of this.  People anonymously send in postcards with deep secrets written on them.
  • Savage Love – A co-worker showed me this guy’s stuff.  Dan Savage, it’s a guy guy who gives sex advice for some Seattle news paper.  Apparently he’s famous.  He’s certainly blunt.

And last but not least, I spent my Valentine’s Day in the basement watching this web-show:

It’s quite awesome.  A hot girl, who is also a  bit of a dirty whore, and her hilarious gay guy friend take emails from viewers about sex advice and stuff, all while totally high.  There’s like 18 episodes and they’re all great.  Despite her dirtiness, I’d totally get with the girl.  And if I were gay, the guy would probably be my type =P

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dragon Age In The Media!

Ok, this is just plain cool.  Dragon age has been getting more and more media coverage lately.  There was covers and articles for several big video game magazines already, but what I just found out is one of the coolest things ever for me.  Penny Arcade, a webcomic and gaming forum that any self-respecting gamer knows of, wrote about Dragon Age.  Specifically, Tycho played the demo that I spent 3 weeks helping prepare, and was blown away!!!  The article can be seen here.

Also, featured a walkthrough by one of the guys in the community scene whose name I’ve heard around the office, but never actually met.  If you watch this video, the main character is actually from a savegame I supplied!  So I picked the name, the spellset, the gear, etc.  That is MY character!  The demo featured is the one I was working on for 3 weeks.  I even wrote an article with pointers on how to make the game looks it’s best, and since I can’t go in to specifics you probably won’t have the context I do, but I can see some points where they go out of their way to follow my advice, and one or two parts where they don’t with funny results.  I find this so cool!

And lastly, just for coolness factor, here’s a video dug up on youtube from a few months back.  It’s an inside peek at Dragon Age.  The cool thing is I know almost each of these people personally.  Stan Woo is hilliarious, in fact I stole a donut from him this morning.  Chad deWolfe is a great guy too.  Bruce Venne’s desk is right behind me!

I play this game 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and make money for doing it!


I wonder if the novelty of a job like this ever wears off.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Office Life

I remember when I first got out here.  I remember meeting Bill at the 7-11 and following him to his place.  I remember everything being so foreign and out of context.  I remember stepping out my car and Bill helping me unpack my car.  I had no idea what was in store for me, and at the time this was more scary than exciting.

I remember my first day at Bioware, sitting in the waiting room with the guys who would become my friends, Nathan, Dann and Dave.  I remember sitting in the waiting room taking turns playing PS3, and thinking this couldn’t possibly be an actual job!

Looking back and remembering when all this felt external to my life helps me appreciate the state of things now.  I’ve begun to build a life here, and I love it.  I have the best job in the history of jobs, I live in a new and exciting city, I’m making some really cool friends and having some good times with them.

Yesterday during my shift Zac (my boss) and a few other of the higher up guys came into the office and started writing out a plan for a bot to test the economy of Dragon Age.  As they wrote out their plan on the dry-erase board one of the guys said “So essentially, we’re building a super-term-tester?” to which I chimed in “Hey!  Don’t replace me!”  This led to them naming it Dale-Bot…

Last night after pulling some overtime, I sat on the floor in Nathan’s office with him and Melissa, and we chatted for a good hour.   After that we went down to the break room and beat Snow Brothers on the free arcades.

Things like this, when I stop to appreciate them, really make me realize I love the path I’m on.  I’ve never had something that I was

a)  Good at

B)  Loved doing

C)  Was lucrative

D)  Could take pride in the final product

E)  Had a clear path to even more of all the above

I know I’m fighting an uphill battle.  EA just lost 621 million dollars, closed a bunch of their lesser studios, laying off 1100 people in the process, and have put a hiring cap for the next year as far as permanent positions go.  My Dad warned me about this kind of stuff happening, but I’d always heard the video game industry was recession-proof.

Even so, for the first time in my life I can see a clear path for me.  I can’t picture myself doing anything else now.  I’ve found something I love doing, and am willing to do anything and everything I have to to make myself indispensable to the company.  I’ve been ambitious before, but it was only for the sake of being ambitious.  I knew I ought to be, given my age and what I wanted out of life, but for once I found something I’m truly passionate about.  I could care less if I was 20 or 50, if it paid $6 an hour or $60.  Fortunately all the pieces just fit.

And what a career.  Permanent positions start at 45k a year, Bioware offers RRSP matching, great benefits, pension, etc…  And the biggest factor, again, is that after years of hard work my team and I can have a product we can be proud of.  Dragon Age is gunna be another huge Bioware title, and MY NAME will be in the credits.  I will do everything I can think of to earn more responsibility and have more creative control.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep practicing my Pinball.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is This Gunna Last Forever!?

This kid is freaking hilarious.

Stoned little kid after the dentist.

The Outside Perspective

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.” - Alan Alda

A lot of major stuff happened over the weekend in my personal life, and I can’t get too specific out of respect for the other people involved.  So I don’t know how legible this entry will be to someone without the proper context, but I feel the need to write about the lessons and direction I’ve gotten out of it all.  So here goes.

I messed up, pretty bad.  I violated the trust of someone I never thought I’d be capable of doing something like that to.  And when I was confronted with what I’d done I had 2 ways I could handle it.  I could ignore the validity of their complaints and shrug it off as lunacy, or I could take a long hard look at myself, and ask what it meant to who I was as a person and what could have possibly led to such a moral break between my actions and my beliefs.

After the gut reaction to senselessly try to make myself the hero of this situation, I knew I’d done something wrong and had to fess up.  Through email I apologized, profoundly.  I can’t claim to be perfect, or anything close, and I begged for a second chance based on history and the knowledge that it wasn’t something I was taking lightly.

So I began to look at myself, and my history.  I began to look at my relationship with this person/people over my life.  I’d been accused of being passive aggressive more than once, and now I had clear evidence that this was not made up.  I knew something deep-seeded in both my relationship with them and my own personal issues must be the underlying cause, and that it had clearly been building for years now.  I began to look at this as an opportunity to learn something about myself, if only to be a silver lining.

And learn I did.

Looking back over, literally, my ENTIRE life, I see a pattern in my relationships of almost every form.  I am a very dependent person.  I’ve never truly faced a dilemma on my own.  And this trait meant the only friendships that historically stuck were ones where I had something to offer in return for my dependency.  And so almost every long-term friendship I’ve ever had was severely co-dependent.  They would lean on me for certain things, and I would go to them to validate my opinions, beliefs, actions and extensively, my identity.  I could rely on their strengths so long as they could rely on mine.

I realized this because I began to see what had led to my passive-aggressive behaviour.  As I grew as a person, and on some level began to become aware of my dependence, I began to go through 2 things.  I began to want to separate myself from the people I depended on, to establish my own independence.  And I also began to resent the ones that I couldn’t find space from, either through my need for them, or their need for me, often both.

It’s funny, at the time of my road-trip I didn’t know what I was looking for.  So many people asked me in scepticism about why I felt the need to do something so drastic when I wasn’t financially ready for it, and historically it wasn’t something I was known for doing, something so independent.  But as time goes on since then, I find more and more answers as to what I as looking for, and there were many, some unrelated.

One of those things was independence.  For just under 3 weeks, I was completely on my own, free to make my decisions and have my own personal experiences.  And it was amazing.

I began to sense this on the trip, but only now do I see how sadly ironic, but also kind of revealing it is that the source of this advice ended up being the issue:

“You can’t really see your life as a whole until you leave it completely and see it from the outside.”

Realizing these things I explained to the people in question that the passive-aggressive actions I’d done I could finally explain.  I was trying to distance myself from them because, for me at this time, it’s what I needed.  But because of history and strong personal bonds, and not to mention a tendency to trust their opinions more than my own, I kept failing.

And now that I was identifying the nature of our severe co-dependent relationship, I somehow expected them to realize it from their side too, to see how they had depended on me for other things.  I poured my heart and soul into an email, because they deserved to know why I had been drifting away, and why I had been acting out.

When I got my response, it became quite clear they didn’t understand where I was coming from at all.  They completely side-stepped the issues I brought up with them.  By now I’d realized if our friendship were to continue, we both needed to acknowledge our dependence on one another, and seek independence in those areas.  I was out in Edmonton chasing my independence, and doing my part in removing any dependencies I had on them.  I had pointed out their dependency on me, and clearly they were not ready to see it.

This did not make me angry in the slightest.  Their letter, though effectively telling me it was all in my head, was very sensitively written, and I could tell they truly believed what they were saying, and were truly concerned for me.  They claimed to acknowledge the co-enabling we’d done, but didn’t actually acknowledge any of the dependencies they had on me which I had clearly pointed out and supplied ample evidence.

But I knew, for now at least, this had to end.  And so did they.  It was a very peaceful parting of ways.  They have their path to walk, which hopefully diverges from each other as well at some point, and I had mine.

But to be fair, I couldn’t accuse them of sidestepping my issue without giving theirs some real thought.  This was, after all, a moment of true clarity in my life, I should seize all information given to me.  But the issues I had with them were actually being pointed out to me for years now by other friends, family, and even complete strangers who knew me over other mediums.  Clearly this was not all in my head. 

Whenever those friends, family members, and others would ask me how it didn’t bother me, I’d see it as a strange question.  They were my friends, and this kept them even closer.  But now I see that dependencies will do that.  And even though I was one of the last people to see it, I do now.

And so my life in Edmonton has taken on even more excitement.  I’d already decided this was something I was going to pursue as a career before any of this started, but it gave this new life even more reason, and gave it an even profounder sense of accomplishment.

I’ve begun to form some real friendships out here already.  Hanging out on weekends, meeting new people every day, having deep conversations and great fun.  Some really cool people too.  And it feels great, because it’s something that is mine, something achieved independently, of my own accord, for my own reasons.

The only fear I have is that, given the nature of dependencies, these people will follow me to my new life.  This independence is revolutionary for me, and for now I want it to be entirely separate.  I don’t want to see them right now, or have to worry about ignoring them.  For the time being, it’s best for me not to have to worry about them at all. 

It’s a shame I didn’t realize these things earlier so we could have worked them out before it got to this point, especially before I allowed myself to subconsciously act out against them, but what’s done is done, and because of the urgency of it coming so late, I just need complete separation.  For my own sake, and probably for theirs too.

My other fear is that I’ll get too hung up on the specifics and lose sight of the larger realization here.  I need to watch my new friendships to make sure I don’t fall into the same habit of depending on them to validate my views and actions, and this has already proven itself to be difficult.  It’s a fine line between trust and dependency, between an exchange of values and an amalgamation of short-comings.

A life too isolated runs the risk of becoming solipsistic.  No outside information or reality checks can lead to a skewered perspective and a me-against-the-world attitude.  But a life of co-dependency can lead to similar pitfalls.  Concepts and definitions are constantly renewed and validated by the same source, and you lose any valid reality check just as easily.  It becomes us-against-the-world.  Progress can be made in groups, but not until you’ve truly defined yourself on your own, and can maintain that identity without outside reinforcement, or conversely, without bitterness for the lack thereof.

There was no hard feelings with the old friends, and I wish them the best of luck.  They’re smart, they’re good people, and they’re constantly working on bettering themselves, and I know without a doubt they will deal with the issue I just dealt with eventually, just like I’ll have to deal with some of the issues they’ve dealt with first.

And I don’t mind that they think I’m making this all up, or that this is all an extension of my issues and mine alone.  For the first time ever, I can actually truthfully say, I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.  I value information, but only as objective information.  It’s time for me to truly discover who I am, to me.  It’s time to define myself.  To be self-sufficient.  To live a life that is mine.  It’s time to once and for all take control of my life.

And here I go.