Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I’m a very all or nothing person. Black and white. I try not to be, intellectually I know most of the world lies in the grey realm in between, but my gut still acts as though I live in a world of absolutes.
I hate the glacial pace of change. Well, at least change I’m ready for. It’s comforting when it’s something scary, because you get to ease yourself into it. But when you’ve made a mental commitment, some sort of decision to change, you want it NOW. And I have a bad habit of pretending that’s the case. When I decide I want something to change, I act like the decision itself changed it. The very next day I trick myself into believing I’m living in a new world, everything looks different under this new light. But then a bit of time passes and I sober up from the initial excitement and realize these things take time.
I know that’s ok. And realistically it’s probably better this way. But it’s really frustrating waiting for the results of your old decisions to give way and be replaced by new results of newer decisions.
Maybe I need to be a bit more forgiving of myself too. I think I tend to approach problems backwards sometimes. I act as if my mind changing if the finality of some long journey, when in reality it’s usually just the beginning.
My life has changed a lot this year. I tend to say that every year, but it’s been true every year. And this leads me to believe I’m on the right path, because as I grow and learn, I grow and learn faster. But I have to be patient and can’t expect a new life to immediately feel natural and comfortable. That comes with time and experiences.
So I’m learning that, while these decisions seem to be the right ones, I still need to remember that the most important thing is to just believe in myself, be myself, and let the changes follow. I can’t continue to expect the world around me to define me, I need to start defining my world. I need to be who I am, project it outwards and then navigate the world illuminated by that light.
And that’s my vague existential post for the day! Forest Ham!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Gametrailers came to Bioware last week and did an entire episode on the projects we’re working on. I got to meet the host (bit of a douche, lol) and for a chunk of the interview I was actually behind the camera watching. Dragon Age is the project I’m working on, and I have several friends, including my cousin, who are working on Mass Effect 2. So check the vid out. The entire interview takes place inside the Bioware building, so what you’re seeing is a place I walk through every day. The people in the interviews are people I talk to personally and joke around with on a common basis. Check it out!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Stolen from Buffy, here's 15 albums that helped form my taste and passion for music.
EMF - Schubert Dip: Before I had my own taste in music I would just listen to whatever CDs my parents had laying around. And in the early 90's that was EMF. My Dad loved this CD, and since I'd hear it every time we went to the lake it was only a matter of time before I loved it too. I can still listen to this CD today and enjoy it. It's actually on my iPod... Same goes for Collective Soul. Listened to it cause my Dad did, but still like em today. Well, the albums from that period. Collective Soul are a bunch of pussies now.
Weird Al - Bad Hair Day: Yep, was a huge Weird Al fan as a kid. And half the time I hear an old song I have to remind myself not so sing along with Weird Al's lyrics (myyyy balogna!). My mom even took my brother and I to see him live, and we ran into Brett Naskrent! Good times. But it was his parodies that got me into real music eventually.
The Offspring - Smash: After hearing Self-Esteem on the radio a few times I convinced my parents to get my this album for my birthday. It was the first real band I got into (I was late getting into music). For the next few years I was pretty obsessed with Offspring. Lol, I remember when Americana came out my friend Neil and I called each other up and hit play at the same time, so we could listen to the new album while we talked about it. =P
Our Lady Peace - Spiritual Machines: As I got more into music this was my first experience of a concept album. I found it really interesting and did a bunch of research on the book it was based on (though I still haven't actually read it).
Stabbing Westward - Darkest Days: First heard the song Thing I Hate in an intro to a Playstation Duke Nukem game and hunted down the band. Listened to this CD repeatedly for a good year. It still reminds me of all the drama I went through with a particular girl I was pining over at the time.
KoRn - Life Is Peachy: This was a big one. As I got more into music I joined Columbia House to expose myself to more music. I'd heard talk of KoRn at school, though this was before their massive success. This is the album that officially made me passionate about music. Up until now it was entertainment, and this album was when music became art to me. May seem like a weird source, even I admit it's a crass album and KoRn has become a cliche, but at that time of my life, those tumultuous teenage years when everything seems so important and life changing, this album was perfect for me. I was obsessed with KoRn for a good while. It is also solely responsible for my identification as a metal-head and "goth" for my high school years. Ahhhh, to be a teenager again.
Moby - Play: This was the first album that made me appreciate music on an atmospheric level. I have one memory of Brett driving around the city in his van while Julia and I were lying together under a blanket in the back =)
Vast - Visual Audio Sensory Theater: I admit I only bought this album because the name and cover-art really caught my eye at CD-Plus. Man, am I glad I did. Almost 10 years later I STILL listen to this album on a regular basis, and am not sick of it at all. Every so often you find an album that you just cannot get sick of, and this is the one. I've gotten so many people into Vast since then and everyone seems to love them once they give them a shot. This CD, their first, remains their best, but I've found something to like in each of their albums since.
Clint Mansell & The Kronos Quartet - Requiem For A Dream OST: I was always in to orchestrated stuff, soundtracks especially, but this was the album that solidified it. The soundtrack made the movie, and I was obsessed with the Lux Aeterna for a good long while.
Linkin Park - Meteora: I remember driving out to Bird's Hill Park with Brett and Linda the night Power 97 played the full album. Linkin Park was more than just another Nu-Metal band, in my opinion. That's why they're still around when all the others are long gone. They understood the importance of melody, and they knew how to blend the 2 elements of nu-metal, rap and metal, seamlessly. And Chester really knows how to belt em out. I have many drama-filled teenage memories with this band as the soundtrack. I also remember listening to Lying To Me a bunch while trying to decide if I should really get my first tattoo "Stay True". God, I was so emo, lol.
Devin Townsend - Terria: This is when my taste in music began to mature. Tim showed me this guy, the lead singer from Strapping Young Lad had his own solo career and it was amazing. Existential, silly, progressive, metal/folk. Devin Townsend was my gateway into all things progressive, which became a staple of my musical taste. If it weren't for this album I'd never have gotten into The Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, etc... Suddenly verse verse chorus wasn't cutting it for me anymore.
Nine Inch Nails - Fragile: I don't know why I put off listening to Nine Inch Nails for so long. For years I had a pre-conceived notion of what they'd sound like and I wasn't interested. I pictured something like old school Tool, or Type O Negative. And even though there was a time I would have loved that, I felt like the time had passed and Nine Inch Nails was just a band I'd missed out on. But when I finally gave them a fair listen I was hooked. It was nothing like a imagined, more "industrial" and electronic, with some strong pop sensibility. Even the stuff from the 80's was passable as something new! Quickly became one of my fave bands, and I've never been able to find another band that quite "gets" it like Trent.
Mr Bungle - California: What a fucked up album from a fucked up band. A side project by Mike Patton (of Faith No More fame), this album caught me by surprise. It was completely different from anything I'd heard or enjoyed, and I took it almost as a challenge and forced myself to listen to it over and over until I liked it. And this is when I realized the value of expanding your musical horizons. From then on every time I got an album I never deleted it until I've had it a few months and given it a few real listens. Some people argue that you shouldn't have to "try" to like music, but to me it's the bands I forced myself to listen to because I heard potential that ended up being my all time faves.
Pain Of Salvation - Be: I'd have to say this was my favorite album of all time. Which is not to say I still listen to it as often as some other classics, like the previously mentioned Vast album, but I've never been as obsessed with an album as I was with this one. It was like the perfect storm for me. It was a new band I'd found on my own. It was progressive. It was metal. And they were philosophical. What part of that doesn't scream Dale? The album was an extremely planned out, somewhat convoluted concept album about the creation of God, God's creation of man and man's relationship with God. It's not a dogmatic approach to the God debate though, more the approach of a stoned teenager enjoying in a "what if..." conversation. The album uses various kinds of music, while somehow remaining prog-metal. One song is in the form of a prison hymn, the next is a Broadway musical style song split into 3 acts. Amazing album.
Vampire Weekend - Self Titled: I know this is incredibly cliche, but I swear I heard this album before everyone jumped on board. I took a chance on a band through iTunes and ended up loving it. I tried for months to get my friends to listen to it, and they mostly ignored me, then months later once the band had become huge, they were of course all listening to it. So juvenile of me to care, lol, but it was frustrating! This album opened me up to the "indy" scene. And even though I can't relate to it quite like I did with my metal phase, I still enjoy the music a lot.
I realize it's been a few years since the final entry, Vampire Weekend, but only because it hasn't been long enough to see what albums of the past few years will stand the test of time and form my musical tasted further, and what will end up being a flash in the pan. Either way, I love music and don't see myself becoming one of those 30 year olds who refuses to listen to new music or expand his tastes and just ends up listening to the same stuff he was listening to at 16 for the rest of his life.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I had a pretty fun weekend. After work on Friday I went with Dann downtown to get his iPhone. I hadn’t spent much time downtown yet, so it was cool. Surprisingly similar to Winnipeg’s downtown, except it’s on a giant hill next to a river, so there’s a much more vertical element to it. Afterwards we went for drinks and food at a pub near Whyte Ave. Good times.
Saturday was a pretty slow day, just ran a bunch of errands. It was super nice out and I drove around with the window open and tunes cranked, in a good mood. Bought some new clothes with some of the extra money I had from my last check. Been a while since I bought clothes, which was nice.
Sunday I had a coffee-date with a new girl. Met at Second Cup and chatted for about an hour and a half. It was fun, and she seemed cool. I’m still new to the blind-date thing, so it’s hard to say how my first impression was, but the real victory was just to get into the dating scene. I’ll probably hang out with her again. She invited me to an 80’s dance night somewhere, but I dunno if that’s really my thing… Lol, we’ll see though.
Last night I ended up getting sick, and I missed the first half of the day at work. I came in to get my timesheet signed and wasn’t planning on staying, but by then I was feeling decent and decided to stay.
So, that’s life in Edmonton for the time being. Even though it’s not at the level my Winnipeg life was, and probably won’t be for a while since a life like that takes years to build, it’s great starting fresh. I’m building a life that more closely reflects who I am these days, and one piece at a time it’s coming together.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My contract at Bioware was renewed! All the way until the end of October, at which point I’ll have been here for a year. A year…
I consider myself really lucky because a fairly large amount of friends did not get renewed and their contracts end at the end of the month. Really sucks that some of the friends I’ve made here I won’t be working with any longer, but I’m sure I’ll still see them outside of work.
This has really made me start thinking though… Contract extended until end of October, hoping to have a permanent position by then, but even if I don’t yet, if I keep doing what I’m doing, I should get another extension after that. My cousin worked on contract for 2 years before he got a permanent position, so that’s how it goes.
But my point is that it’s really starting to sink in… I’ll probably never live in Winnipeg again. How long do I keep calling it home? There was a time when I was extremely anti-social and I had to devote myself to overcoming my fears, bettering myself and meeting new people. By the time I left I really felt like I’d accomplished that. I’d go out for drinks and activities with friends I’d made on my own. This was something that while most people consider it standard, I felt was a huge accomplishment for me considering where I’d started.
But now I’m gone, and don’t see myself returning. I’ve already formed a new social life out here, which really is just further testament to the progress I’ve made, but it’s definitely sad to realize the life I was so proud of building in Winnipeg, and the friends I’d made over the years, would now have to be left behind.
Tim and I had some issues that, in the end, we couldn’t really reconcile. I made my mistakes, and am continually learning from them, and I hope he is. None the less, his friendship was incredibly valuable to me, and a lot of the progress I made in the beginning was with his support. We’d been friends since grade 2, so I hope some day at a different time in our lives we can reconnect.
Brett and I also have drifted apart, but, at least on my part, I can’t speak for him, it wasn’t for any real reason or issue. I think our interests just diverged and we could relate less and less at a time in our lives when we were getting more and more excited about our own prospects. He was another friend who supported me and challenged me in those early years, and a big part of who I am now is a result of his friendship and dedication.
Another sad casualty that came of this is that Linda and I don’t get to talk anymore. Understandable, but still sucks. When her and Brett first started dating, it’s no secret we didn’t like each other. But we both grew and matured, and by the time I left Winnipeg I considered her a true friend, and it really sucks that had to end.
Jeff and I hung out once and a while, but he’d been drifting away from everyone, it seems, for the past year. From bugging him in french class in grade 10 to being the only one kept in contact with him the first time he moved to Calgary, to now he’s always been a good friend. In many ways my complete opposite, but I think that’s what made our friendship work. I really hope it survives this in some form or another. I fear that if he was hard to get a hold of while I was in Winnipeg, living out here will only make it tougher.
Chad and I met when we worked together at Sal’s. He was the first real friend I made on my own, and was a real turning point for me. It’s hard to believe it’s been something like 7 years now, but we’ve become great friends, and there’s never really been any issues between us. He’s actually coming to visit me in Edmonton for a week in April, and may be moving here in a year or so. He’s been in to gaming for as long as I have, and while I had a hiatus from videogames for a while, he never lost interest. I know his interest in a gaming career springs from an internal passion about gaming and he’s not just emulating the success I’m finding.
Olga is Chad’s girlfriend, and I like to tease him that I got them together. When Chad lost a bunch of weight and went through his own transformation, there came a point when he was getting back into the dating field he had a choice between 2 girls. We ran into her and the UofM one day, and from then on I told him to go for Olga. He did, and they’ve been an awesome couple ever since, and I would be surprised if they didn’t get married (and even more surprised if I wasn’t the best man, though maybe shared with Jason). Olga is really fun, and if Chad moves out here I’m looking forward to her being out here as well!
Kristina and I met through Chad and flirted for a while before going out. We were both in very different places in our lives and it didn’t work out. Neither of us handled it ideally and for a while we barely talked. None the less, she was another big step for me and I never regretted it. More recently we’ve become friends again, and I’m glad, because while any kind of relationship would never work out, I was attracted to her by some good qualities, and those qualities remain. We hung out a bunch while I was back in Winnipeg for Xmas and it’s a shame our friendship only repaired itself once I left Winnipeg.
By this point the risks I’d taken and hard lessons I’d learned were finally starting to come to fruition and I began to make new friends on a regular basis.
Andi and I worked together at Pita Pazzaz but never really hung out. Eventually one night, on a whim, we went for dinner and a movie. This may sound like a date, but there’s never been anything between us, and so started a long, rewarding friendship many would insist should be more, but we both knew our friendship was perfect as is. It was a unique friendship in that we were both decent looking people with real social lives, and we could always go to one another for an honest opinion from the opposite sex without complications of emotion or sexual chemistry. We still talk on the phone often, and I’m probably visiting her in Vancouver this summer. I’d imagine soon enough she’ll be going through something similar to what I am right now, when she realized she’s not just on a trip, but starting a new life.
Once I started working at Roger’s I made even more friends. There was Marcus and Lauren, who were ‘secretly’ dating even though I knew. I loved putting them in awkward situations while feigning ignorance. We’d go out for drinks often and have a great time. A particular memory of getting a confetti popper to the face stands out. And all the times I’d scare the shit out of her at work. Not to mention the time I made Marcus scream like a 5 year old girl when I put the mascot costume on and waited in front of the bathroom door. And MarcusPix.com
Craig and I became good friends. We’d talk about life at work, go out for coffee or beers, play WoW all night, etc. He introduced me to a bunch of his friends, all of whom were cool people, and I introduced him to mine. He was even invited to come on my road-trip. Unfortunately he soon went through some hard and confusing times and this put a strain on our friendship. Once these times were over he apologized profusely for any mistakes he made, which he took full responsibility for. It took a while for me to see the sincerity of this, but in the end I’ve made mistakes while going through tough times in my life, and I can’t judge. He did good by me once he pulled it all together and apologized. It’s just a shame by the time we got all that out of the way I was living out here. None the less, we play WoW and chat on Skype several times a week, and whatever capacity we stay friends, I’m glad to have him.
The day Kyra had her interview at Roger’s I immediately started hitting on her. I was ready to get back into the dating scene again, and she struck me as an awesome girl, and quite good looking. Things went really really well at first, but soon after the prospect of moving to Edmonton to work at Bioware came up. This put a lot of stress on whatever chances we had, as we were forced to decide between fast-tracking things and trying the long distance thing, or call it off completely since I was probably leaving. In the end, not surprisingly, this proved to be too much. This is another big shame, because she was the coolest girl I’d met in a very long time, and I sometimes wonder what would have come of it had it not been for bad timing. We stay in contact once and a while, and there’s no hard feelings. She might be going out to BC for some work later this year, and when I visit Andi in Vancouver we’ve talked about my picking her up on the way so the 3 of us could have a fun week in Vancouver.
I even recently heard from Mykyla, another girl I met while working at Pita Pazzaz. Her and I had a weird but rewarding friendship, and it was good to hear from her again. She moved to Saskatoon a few years ago, so oddly I’m just as far from her here as I was in Winnipeg.
There are so many great people I’m proud to consider my friends, and I will always miss them. I know I didn’t mention everyone, shout-outs to Jenna, Omar, Evan, Liane, Heather, John, Ashley, Julie, Nancy, Nikki, Olivia, Shea, and anyone else I may have missed. I know it’s not like I’ll never see them again, but I felt the need to… Canonize them in some way. So this entry was a tribute to them. For what they meant to me, what they helped me become, and for each and everyone, in their own way, guiding me to where I am now, the best place in my life yet.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The weather out here is freaking bizarre.
I guess it’s those Chinooks.
So I’ve gotten back into WoW. It was the 3d Glasses. The game looks amazing in 3D and I had to give it a shot, and sure enough I got sucked back in. Running instances in 3d is awesome, and flight paths give me vertigo!
Sounds like I’m going to see Coldplay with Nathan. His friend Kyle got some advanced choices on cheap tickets, great seats. And we just found out he also sold the adjacent seats to some hot lady friends of his, so sounds like we’ll be sitting with some hotties!
Also next weekend I’m probably meeting a new girl, exciting times!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
So i got my Nvidia 3d Vision goggles and new Samsung 22 inch 120hz monitor. It’s all awesome. At first the 3d was a disappointment, and I actually regretted it… Then I installed the new drivers, and it fixed all the problems and now it’s just incredible. Left 4 Dead looks AMAZING in 3d, and can be downright scary! It’s impressive how 3d it actually is too. You feel like you are actually there. Level design really shines cause it actually feels like a place now, instead of just a flat picture. Already beat Fear 2 in 3d.
So tonight was a fun night. And I write that with sarcasm. Pulled some overtime at work, and when it was finally time to go home I found out I was snowed in to the parking lot. A few of us got put in a separate parking lot because the main one was full, normally not a big deal. But it snowed a lot today and sure enough, a few of us couldn’t escape the parking lot. A tried to plow through the snow, but there was just too much, so I had to call CAA (thanks Dad!) and get towed out. I made it though. But then on the way home I noticed the brake lamp indicator on. Checked my brake lights and they work, so not sure what the deal with that is. THEN I realize I really need gas, so I stop by the gas station. I go to take some cash out, BMO is down… So no gas tonight. Running on fumes now…
So it was an interesting night. Going to see Watchmen this Saturday with Nathan, Dann and Melissa, then going to Dave’s house-warming party. Him and his very pregnant girlfriend just bought a place. Awesome stuff, really happy for them. Sunday we’ve sort of established a routine of going to Nathan’s place around noon, having junk-food and playing board games all day, and we plan on keeping that tradition going this Sunday.
Well, that’s it for now!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Ever since we got a free Nvidea demo of their new 3d Vision product at work I’ve been contemplating picking it up. In fact, I decided immediately I would, it was just a matter of when, since I’m focusing on bringing down my debt (and have finally started to make real progress).
Basically, how it works is you install some new nvidea drivers that take any DirectX game and interpret its z-axis data to create a stereoscopic image. Your monitor flashes both images several times a second and a pair of glasses syncs up via infrared to the monitor and you get amazing 3d vision. Some friends and I saw U23D in Imax last year and it was amazing, and this uses the same technology. You don’t have to wear those stupid red and blue glasses, and the image you see is in full color. From what I’ve heard it isn’t plagued by the headaches and eye-strain the Imax version came with because it’s on a personal sized monitor viewed head-on.
I’ve wanted it for weeks, but did the smart thing and didn’t buy it. Because the screen has to flash 2 images at such a fast rate it needs a 120hz monitor to work, and LCD monitors of today are only 60hz (the 120hz monitors give 60hz for each eye), so I’d have to buy a new monitor on top of the glasses. Nvidea offers an upgrade package that includes a new monitor, but it was expensive. Fortunately my current graphics card already supports it, so I don’t need to buy a new card.
And then things started working in my favor. Right after paying a grand to my debt (woot!) I got a letter in the mail from HSBC. I was worried it was a statement telling me I’d forgotten about some other debt and would owe more, but it was a letter telling me I’d been overpaying a debt that was finished being paid off months ago, so it was a check for the extra money I’d been sinking into it for those months. Then Dann agreed to buy my current secondary 19 inch widescreen monitor. AND I filed my income tax return. So money came flowing. Enough to buy the upgrade kit with some left over for more debt payment!
So I ordered it last night! Should take a week or two to arrive from Nvidea. And now I can’t wait. I have Fear 2, but I’m going to wait till I get the 3d glasses with monitor and experience the game in 3d! Gunna be awesome. All the reviews for both Fear 2 and the 3d glasses technology has been overwhelmingly positive, so I think it’s gunna be a blast. A 3rd dimension could truly revolutionize gaming now that the technology is available for the home-market. And it’s a new tech at that, so the price will most likely come down within the next year or two and make it more accessible to the average consumer!