Sunday, September 26, 2010

QA Lead

Updating my LinkedIN profile felt pretty good.

9-26-2010 11-49-10 PM

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Check out my new couch and computer desk!  Place is starting to feel a bit more like home!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I woke up this morning and had a very nice surprise. I can now fit into the last pair of jeans I couldn't fit into back in Edmonton. I remember when I couldn't even button them closed, and now I can wear them quite comfortably, even sitting. So I'm officially size 32 waist again, and back to my Winnipeg weight.

I started 9 months ago with no idea how to go about it. I was eating better and working out, but it wasn't until about 3 months ago that I really figured out what worked for me. I know I wasn't "fat" but I'd been skinny my whole life, and I definitely wasn't skinny any more. It feels good to like how I look again. I've had several people comment that I look a lot skinnier than I was earlier this year. I still have some work to do, I want to lose the last remaining bit of my gut, and then do some muscle training for a bit more definition. But it feels good to have a visible difference!

Before (hard to see the difference from this pic, but I was kind of avoiding the camera at the time...)


Written on my iPad.

Location:River Rd,Halifax,Canada

Friday, September 17, 2010

Into The Blue, Part IV: Sink or Swim

A complicated last minute move with several major catastrophes along the way. Alone in a new city vastly different from either of the previous cities I'd lived in. An intimidating new job two positions higher than I'd been in at my previous job. My first hurricane. A new apartment that ended up being in the slums of Halifax. No furniture, not even a blanket or pillow. Haunted by the memories of my previous life I'd left behind. These were dark times indeed.

When I left off at the end of my previous entry things were looking pretty bleak. The toll of it all was weighing heavily on me and I was honestly beginning to think this had all been a mistake... I was looking for a way to move back to Winnipeg or Edmonton, effectively abandoning my dreams for the sake of comfort and familiarity. I was realizing comfort and familiarity are valid things to want in life, and making a sacrifice for those kinds of values is not necessarily a surrender.

These virtues only seemed more important as more and more challenges piled up in my new life in Halifax. My stuff had arrived so it was time for me to move from my cushy corporate apartment downtown near work to the cheap apartment I'd lined up which had turned out to be in the slums, 20 minutes from work if by car. My car still wasn't here yet, and even if it was, there was no parking anywhere downtown so I'd have to bus, which was closer to 40 minutes.

My first night in the apartment was a Saturday, and kind of depressing. A weekend alone. The apartment was completely empty other than a tv, computer and bed. The area was definitely questionable and I wasn't looking forward to the bus ride to work. But as the weekend went on I realized the area wasn't as terrible as I'd feared; it actually seemed pretty quiet at night. The bus ride was one straight shoot from my doorstep to the front door of work, and I had TV and internet hooked up which went a long way in making the apartment feel a bit more like home.

At work I was finally gaining momentum. I was working on a database to roll out to the team for bug filing and tracking. I'd never made a database before, but my experience using BioWare's informed me on what worked, what didn't, and how I'd like one to work ideally.  When the database was complete I ran a studio-wide meeting to familiarize everyone with it, and it went off without a hitch.  I started to get more comfortable with the people at work, and a routine was starting to form. I was even appointed scrum-master for the latest sprint.

That night it really dawned on me. Comfort and familiarity are completely valid things to want in life. So is ambition and adventure. But the two are generally thought of as at odds with each other. But as I lay in my empty apartment wondering if I'd made a huge mistake I realized I'd been here before. As I struggled to adjust to the new levels of responsibility at work I felt something brewing just below the surface. And as I learned the layout of my new city that feeling only grew stronger. Familiarity...

See, this whole time I thought I was trying to adjust to living in Halifax and working at Longtail. I thought I was adjusting to the loss of my old life and the introduction of a new one. I realize now what I'm actually adjusting to is a lifestyle.

I started at the bottom, no schooling or experience, but ambitious to get somewhere in the video game industry. But in this industry, at least until you've made a real name for yourself, you have to be ready to move a lot to get ahead. You have to be ready to face significant challenges and prove your worth to others, and to yourself. This was what I was trying to get comfortable with. And it is in fact becoming familiar.

My first few months in Edmonton I laid in bed wondering if I'd made a mistake. I struggled with a new job, felt completely alone in a new city I didn't know and missed the one I'd left behind... I've done this all before. And it's getting easier.

Over my life, every time I took on a new challenge I always thought of it as the end of one life and the beginning of a new one. I see now that's not the case. Taking on challenges IS life. This is not the beginning or the end, but the very substance of life that makes up the story in between. I'm really beginning to see that when I'm presented with a challenge, I rise to the occasion. When I'm down, I pick myself up. When I fail, I learn from it. And I will never give up. This is life, right now, and I'm learning to live it.  I'm beginning to bet on myself, and it's paying off.

It seems my virtues are not at odds with each other after all. Adventure has become familiar. I've become comfortable with my ambition. I look forward to the day when I'm at a place in my life where I'm satisfied enough to settle down. By my very nature I want to form roots. But in recent years I've discovered another side of my nature. A passionate, determined side which has been starved most of my life, and needed to be let out. Now it's time for reconciliation.

So for now, I take my home with me. I live in the moment. I nurture the seed before planting the roots. Because you can't build a life until you've learned to live.

Written on my iPad.

Monday, September 13, 2010

House By The Sea

Mobile Photo Sep 13, 2010 1 03 14 PM
An intermission, if you will, before the conclusion to the saga of my move to Halifax.  A playlist for you, made up of all the songs I’ve been listening to during the move!
  1. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Being Bad Feels Pretty Good
  2. The Airborne Toxic Event – Something New
  3. Bag Raiders – Shooting Stars
  4. Interpol – Lights
  5. Linkin Park – Burning In The Sky
  6. The Bird And The Bee – My Love
  7. Iron & Wine – House By The Sea
  8. Radiohead – Videotape (phaseone remix)
  9. Brad Sucks – Overreacting
  10. The Airborne Toxic Event – Happiness Is Overrated
  11. K.I.M. – B.T.T.T.T.R.Y. (Bag Raiders Remix)
  12. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Weird Science
  13. Bag Raiders – Fun Punch (Bag Raiders Remix)
  14. Linkin Park – The Requiem
  15. Linkin Park – Waiting For The End
  16. Interpol – The Undoing
  17. Jonsi – Grow Till Tall
Playlist can be accessed on Grooveshark as always.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Into The Blue, Part III: Lost At Sea

I stepped off the plane and walked down the terminal. As I stepped into the airport everything was familiar but different. I'd been here just a few weeks before for the interview, but it had just felt like a free vacation at the time. This time everything had more gravity, more impact. Because I was here to stay.

Longtail had a limo waiting for me again. It was the same driver as when I visited. We'd talked last time, so he congratulated me on getting the job and we chatted as he took me to the corporate apartment. I had an apartment lined up already, but until my stuff arrived it was empty, not even a bed, and until my car arrived it was also really out of the way. So Longtail put me up in their corporate suite for a month until my apartment was ready. I'm there now writing this entry. There was one caveat though, this is where all employees in the middle of a move stay, so I'd be sharing it with one of Longtail's new artists, a guy named Fernando who recently moved here from Columbia.

When I arrived I saw the apartment was quite nice. Two bedrooms, two floors with a ceiling balcony. Longtail really takes care of their employees. Fernando was chilling in the living room and we introduced ourselves to each other. He seemed like a cool guy. I was tired from the flight and headed to bed. It was Friday night, I had the weekend to get settled, then Monday would be my first day at Longtail Studios as QA Lead...

Saturday I slept in pretty late. I was pretty heavily jet-lagged; Halifax is 3 hours ahead of Edmonton, 2 ahead of Winnipeg. After showering and getting ready I went down to the living room to watch tv. Fernando was gone to the beach. I needed to do some grocery shopping so I went for a walk. I ended up walking for an hour to a grocery store, getting some essentials, and then walking back with the grocery bags. It was a workout all it's own, especially since Halifax is so hilly.

Later in the evening Fernando got back. He told me some of the Longtail guys were going to Moxies for some food and drinks and invited me along. There was a guy named Sean who was moving to Vancouver, and he'd actually worked at BioWare before too, though I didn't know him personally. So it was sorta a going away thing for him.

We drove across the bay to Dartmouth (a different city, technically) and headed to Moxies. We were there for a while, and I got to introduce myself to some of the Longtail folks. It was Sean, Fernando, a guy named Andrew and myself. They all seemed like cool people, but I definitely felt like the odd one out. They all headed to the bar afterwards, but I've never been much of a bar guy, and I had some important calls to make so I headed home.

The next day, Sunday, there was a BBQ at another Longtail person's place. His name was AJ and he was staying in the corporate apartment as well cause he'd just moved here from the New York location, so it was just a walk down the hall. I tagged along again and met AJ and his girlfriend. Both really nice people. Sean was there again too. I could tell Sean would be missed, and could relate with what he was going through, as I'd just gone through it myself. We ended up watching the Emmy's after. It was fun, but I definitely still felt like the odd one out. These guys were all higher ups, and because I'd just been a term tester, jumping to a lead position and hanging out with other leads was still new and intimidating to me.

That night I tried to get to bed a bit earlier since the next day would be my first day at work. Wasn't happening. My mind was racing and I couldn't sleep. I did finally manage to though, and suddenly it was the next morning.

After quickly getting ready I walked to work. It's only a few blocks away. I arrived at work and met with John, the producer I'd had my main interview with. He got me set up with my desk and computer and left me to it. I was pretty overwhelmed. I was essentially told to "go make a QA department". Longtail hasn't had an in-house QA department before, so that's a big part of my job. My first tasks were to create and implement a database for bug tracking using JIRA, roll that database out to the team as seamlessly as possible, create test plans for smoke testing of the builds and for pipeline testing of the tools, start looking through resumes for new hires for my new QA department, integrate into the SCRUM meetings and have deliverables ready for sprints. It was more than a little intimidating.

As the week went by I fell into a bit of a routine. I'd go to work and try to wrap my head around everything. I'd leave wondering if I was in over my head. When I'd get back to the corporate apartment I'd hole up in my room cause I was just completely drained. I'd lie in bed and watch tv on my iPad until I fell asleep.

Honestly, at this point I was feeling pretty low. I didn't know anyone, and felt like even though everyone I'd met was super nice, I'd never find a place in the group. I felt like I'd maybe bitten off more than I could chew with the job, and I felt completely lost in Halifax. Winnipeg and Edmonton were very similar. So it wasn't too huge of an adjustment. Halifax is very different from either. Almost no one drives here, mainly because the few that do take up the very limited parking. It's a city with way more history. The building across from the Maritime Center (the office complex Longtail is in) is 200 years old! There's character everywhere. Buskers at every street corner, horse-drawn carriages making their way down the streets of downtown. A freaking' cannon going off at noon every day from the Citadel! But as cool as it all is, I was feeling lost in the shuffle.

As my first week came to an end talk of a hurricane started to come up. Hurricane Earl was a category 4 hurricane trending up the East Coast, directly over Halifax. Fernando was moving into his new place on Friday but then I found out Sean would be taking his room until his flight to Vancouver sometime during the weekend (flight time was dependent on the hurricane). Fernando and Sean were both great guys, but I was a bit disappointed. I needed some down time. I hadn't had any proper time to myself since I'd left Edmonton. Was staying in my Mom's basement in Winnipeg and then sharing a corporate apartment with people I'd just met. They were great people, but I was getting overwhelmed with everything and desperately wanted some time to myself to just process it all.

Friday night I stayed in. I couldn't get these lingering doubts out of my head. I was starting to think I'd made a huge mistake moving here. I felt like I was in over my head at work, I couldn't picture ever fitting in with anyone at work and the city seemed completely foreign. The hurricane was estimated to hit Halifax the next morning, making it that much harder to silence my thoughts long enough to fall asleep.

Saturday morning I woke up the howl of the 120+ kmph winds. The windows rattled and the rain was going sideways. The power was out by noon. The power lines in front of the apartment had torn right out of their sockets on the telephone poles. In the afternoon, while still pretty intense, it started to let up a bit. I had a knock on my door and it was AJ, his girlfriend, and one of the programmers from work. He told me they were feeling adventurous and were going to walk the waterfront during the hurricane. As stupid as it sounded, I knew I couldn't pass it up.

The power was off in the entire building and we were on the the 5th floor. We had to make our way down the hallways, then down 5 flights of stairs with nothing but the light of our cellphones. It was really creepy. As we walked the streets we surveyed the damage. There were thick tree branches laying everywhere in the street. Store signs as well. Many street lamps had the glass fall out or were bent. It looked like half of downtown was without power. It was still insanely windy, and the buildings seemed to act as wind tunnels carrying the powerful winds up from the waterfront.

We made our way to the waterfront, and it was getting windy as we got closer. We stopped at the Maritime Center, the same building we work in, and had breakfast at what was probably the only restaurant open. Some of the windows had been broken so the rain was getting in and they had to mop it up every few minutes, but they stayed open!

After we finished eating we made it to the waterfront and walked down the docks. The bay was empty except for the Coast Guard. They were making sure no one tried to take their boats out, and also to catch any debris before it did damage to the docks. There was what looked like a giant propane tank in the water that could of done some serious damage if it made it back to shore and we watched them retrieve it. The waves were pretty big, and they had a tough time.

Eventually the winds died down. The hurricane was over. Not soon after we split up and I headed back to the apartment. I had to climb the 5 flights of stairs in the dark alone this time. Even though it'd been a fun afternoon, I was still really stressed. I was honestly beginning to consider moving back to Edmonton or even Winnipeg, industry or not. I was so filled with doubt and depression. I missed my friends, my family, and any sort of familiarity. I couldn't see a future in Halifax, it was just so far removed from anything I'd ever identified with.

These were the thoughts running through my head as the sun went down. The power was still out and non-stop sirens could be heard throughout the dark city, so I knew it'd be a while. As the sun went down the apartment descended into pitch darkness. No tv, no internet. I didn't want to use my phone to save the battery in case of emergency so no music or phone calls / texts either. I was alone in the silent darkness with just my thoughts...

I still hadn't seen the apartment I had lined up. I'd heard from a few people the area it was in was considered the slums. I'd figured I'd get a really cheap place at first since I was making the most money I've ever made it'd be a good way to save a lot of money fast and get some nice furniture and save a bit of a nest egg. But now I was wondering if it'd been a bad idea. Would this place be dangerous? Would I even feel safe in my "home"?

Could I just cut and run? Imagine how nice it'd be to just undo this. Go back to Edmonton and live in the old apartment with Chad, watching our favorite tv shows and playing video games. Olga would be there too now! I'd be able to hang out with my Edmonton friends again, I'd live with my friends from Winnipeg and I'd know the city.

Or what about Winnipeg? Imagine living in Winnipeg again! The city I grew up in, where everything was familiar and safe. Back living in the same city as my family. Going to Christie Road for all the family gatherings, heading out to the lake with my Mom and Dave or my Dad and Andrea, family nights at my Mom's etc. I could hang out with Kristina whenever I wanted, reconnect with some of my old Winnipeg friends I'd lost touch with, etc.

But neither of those scenarios were happy endings either. For either of them to happen I'd have to give up on my video-game industry aspirations outright. I'd have to go back to working an unfulfilling job for a low hourly wage. I don't think I could do it.

So where did that leave me? Every option felt like a failure, and I felt like I was progressing on momentum alone, and wasn't sure if I liked where it was taking me. I was completely lost. I was alone in the silent darkness of my room in an equally dark city, drenched and battered. But the storm was clearing, and tomorrow would be a new day...

Location:Sackville St,Halifax,Canada

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Into The Blue, Part II: Home Between Homes

The drive from Edmonton to Winnipeg is a long one, 13 to 15 hours, and it's a drive I've made several times. So many times in fact, there is a greasy spoon restaurant at the halfway point, somewhere between Saskatoon and Regina, which I try to stop at every time I make the drive. There's an older woman who works there, and I swear she must live there, because she's been on every time I've dropped by. She's come to recognize me, and we always shoot the shit when I stop by. This time I told her it'd likely be the last time we had our little talks. I was moving to Halifax.

I'd originally planned on driving the whole way to Halifax from Edmonton. Over half the country. 5000+ km in a week. That's a significant portion of PLANET EARTH. Thank God for my Mom, she talked me out of it. In the end I organized to have my stuff moved from Edmonton to Halifax, then I'd drive to Winnipeg and spend a week there, and ship my car from there. A week in my hometown was exactly what I needed before my trek into the great unknown.

I sang my heart out in the car, as I left one life behind and headed towards a new one. Blown Wide Open by Big Wreck will now forever be linked in my mind to that drive. I'm not as young as I once was. I used to do the drive in one go during a blizzard without any problems (other than the aforementioned blizzard), this time I nearly fell asleep at the wheel several times. I even drifted off the road a bit at one point, not proud of that. Fortunately it's the last time I'll be making that drive. When I finally arrived at my Mom's house in Winnipeg, I immediately fell asleep.

The next day I woke up to my brother giving me breakfast. My brother and I have a funny relationship. I love him to death and am so proud of him, but when I'm away we don't talk much. I talk to my parents at least once every few weeks, but my brother and I can go months without talking. But whenever I'm back in Winnipeg it's like I was never gone, and we pick up right where we left off.

I went to Home Depot to say hi to Kristina at work and hung out with her a bit. Always great to see her. She invited me over to her place where I had a really cool chat with her parents about ambition. Kristina and I briefly dated when we were younger, and at the time I was a punk kid, so it was kind of cool to show them I wasn't the loser I'd been when they first met me. I actually related quite a bit with her dad about goals in life and how to achieve them. Afterwards Kristina and I went to BDI for ice cream, a Winnipeg tradition!

I'd made plans with several Winnipeg friends to at least have coffee and catch up, but I knew there was a good chance they'd fall through. That's just how it is. I've been gone 2 years. Their lives have continued on, and they have their own things going on. I had plans to meet up with Brett & Tim to catch up over coffee, but they have their own things going on. Brett is still doing army stuff, and Tim is in school taking psychology. Nikki and I were going to get together for dinner with Jeff and Scott. But she is now engaged and pregnant! I'd hoped to meet up with Andi for one of our late-night chats, but she works at a bar now and is in a partying stage in her life. So none of those things ended up forming. It was a weird feeling realizing, in many ways, Winnipeg was no longer home.

It's largely on me though, I failed to maintain most of my Winnipeg friendships. I was out in Edmonton discovering who I was as an independent person and needed some space from the bulk of my Winnipeg life, and now I'm just not the same person I was when I lived there. I don't plan on letting that happen with my Edmonton friends.

Winnipeg will always be home in a different way though. I love my family, and it's always great to see them. I stayed at my Mom's place with my brother and uncle. The first 2 nights we had some good ol-fashioned family nights. Watched TV and/or a movie while eating takeout or BBQ. Simba was Simba. I wonder if he even remembers me.

I couldn't sleep that night. Ever since I'd arrived in Winnipeg I had a very unsettling feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on. So I decided to drive around the city. One thing I love about Winnipeg is the streets are EMPTY at night. I always loved driving the city at night. I drove by all the houses I'd lived in growing up. I drove by the Rogers Video I worked at before moving to Edmonton. Last time I visited Winnipeg I found out it was being closed down, and sure enough it was gutted with a For Lease sign up. It was a weird feeling. For what it was, it had been a great job and I'd made some great friends there. I then realized every place I'd ever worked in Winnipeg was now closed. Pita Pazzaz, Badass Jack's, the Salisbury House Chad and I worked at when we met, and now Rogers Video. It was actually really weird visiting Winnipeg without Chad being there. As I drove back to my Mom's to try again for sleep I realized what the unsettling feeling had been. I was currently homeless. And more than just a technicality. Edmonton was now behind me. I knew I wouldn't be seeing it again for some time. I was a visitor in Winnipeg, studying the relics of a life I once had. And Halifax was a mystery ahead, I really had no idea what to expect. It left me feeling very vulnerable and lost.

I slept downstairs on a couch. When I was a teenager I had lived in this basement. I walked around looking at the evidence. Tape and pin-holes on the wall from where I'd hung my posters, marks from where my computer desk had been, etc. It was impossible to believe I had once been that kid. Content working minimum wage at an unfulfilling job because "the less you have, the less you need". I see now it was a lifestyle that revolved around one hidden, but paramount cop-out. If you don't try, you can't fail.

The next day Kristina and I drove down to Gimli for the day. The last time I'd been there was before my road-trip 3-4 years ago when I used to make the drive for highway driving practice. Ironically it feels like a mini Halifax, on a big lake. It was a fun day, though quite windy. Afterwards we drove back and caught Scott Pilgrim at St. Vital mall.

The day after that I had brunch with Ashley, one of the few plans that did come to fruition. It's become a tradition for us to have brunch whenever I'm in town, and we always end up taking the exact same picture of each other, every time.

I spent the rest of the week out at the lake with my Dad, Andrea and my brother. I missed the lake. Going out to the lake doesn't seem like it's a common thing in Alberta, but I grew up going dozens of times over the summer. It was like old times, when Derek and I were kids and we'd spend weeks at the lake (or going lake to lake with a canoe). We stayed up until almost 4:00 AM making hotdogs on the fire and talking about science, philosophy and life, much to Andrea's dismay. It was so weird to go from the life I'd created in Edmonton, to the life I grew up in in Winnipeg, before leaving to Halifax for a 3rd, brand new life.

And like that, it was over. My car was picked up for shipment, so my Mom drove me to the airport. I hugged her before walking to customs. A part of me hated it. By my own nature, I'm a person who likes to set down roots. And I'm a family guy. I missed living in the same city as my family. I missed living in a city where I had decades of history. But now it feels like it's forbidden. I've grown to equate returning to Winnipeg with failure. Nothing against the city or the people there, but it wasn't until I moved away from my hometown that I discovered true independence and ambition, and to return would somehow feel like regression. It doesn't matter though, there's no studios in Winnipeg anyway. It makes me angry sometimes that to get what I want out of life, I have to leave behind what I want out of life, either way.

On the plane I was seated next to a 10 year old girl who clearly had a crush on me. It was cute, and we chatted for a while. She freaked out when I told her what I do for a living; she thought it was so cool! It's things like that that remind me how lucky I am do be doing something I love for a living.

There was a transfer in Toronto, and after a short wait in the airport I was on the second flight. This one there was no one to talk to and I had a bit of time to reflect on it all. The moment this plane touched down, I'd have a new home...

Location:Sackville St,Halifax,Canada

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Into The Blue, Part I: End of an Era

I live in Halifax. I am in a corporate apartment right now; if I lean a bit to the right I can see the Citadel and ocean from the balcony window. But let me start at the beginning, I have a lot of catching up to do.

When I last had a chance to write an entry proper I was about to start packing up my Edmonton life. I'd organized the move, budgeted out my moving expenses and was beginning to grasp the gravity of what I was about to do... Again. I finally bought a wireless keyboard for my iPad so I can now write everything that's happened since then. Prepare for a long entry.

My last week in Edmonton was surreal. First of all, the city was engulfed in smoke. Some BC forest fires had been going out of control and the smoke made it to Edmonton.

Nathan, the awesome guy that he is, threw me not one, but two going away parties at his place. The second one was actually quite the party. Lots of people showed up, we had drinks, ordered pizza, played video games and had a bonfire. I spent most of the night outside by the fire chatting with everyone. At one point everyone came outside. We all sat around the fire chatting, Nathan had made a perfect playlist for the occasion, and it was the perfect night for a fire.

As I sat there, surrounded by all these friends, sharing memories of the last 2 years, I had a truly reflective moment. I remembered when I first arrived in Edmonton. My first month was lonely, and I'd wondered if I'd made a mistake. I missed my friends in Winnipeg and was almost haunted by the memory of my going away party. Surrounded by people who knew me and loved me, people I loved in return, I wondered if life would ever be like that again. And now here I was, at another going away party. I was surrounded by all the friends I'd made over my time there, and I knew I'd truly miss them all, and could tell they would truly miss me. I was overcome by an immense sense of pride, and I realized I'd struck gold twice. In just 2 years I'd made a life full of joy, love and laughter. I'd remember my time here for the rest of my life, and these people would be friends forever.

My last full day in Edmonton started with my last day at BioWare. It was surreal. A week before my last day the seating arrangements for QA were moved around. By pure chance I ended up in room 555. This was the room I'd started in 2 years earlier. It reminded me of the days when I started, working in that room with Nathan, Dave, Dann, and led by Zac, all complete strangers at the time. At the time I hadn't planned on being in Edmonton or at BioWare for more than 3 months. I was very much into Kyra at the time, and was trying to maintain a long distance.... something with her. And here I was 2 years later, sitting in the same room, a completely different person, leading a completely different life. Since then I'd made Edmonton a home, made some amazing friends, had become extremely ambitious and was now about to make another move. We all went out for a final lunch, and had some great laughs and food.

I had to leave a little early to be home in time for the movers, so as I packed the last of my stuff it began to sink in. I went office to office, and I won't lie, I got a bit misty eyed as I said goodbye to some of the people who I'd become so close to. I couldn't believe I wouldn't see them walking down the halls of BioWare anymore. I wouldn't go on lunch breaks with them, have cheap Ikea lunch days, have beers and cake on their respective BioWare Fridays with them. This was it.

It was also oddly emotional to be leaving behind the Dragon Age franchise. I'd started as a typical play-tester on Dragon Age: Origins, then through a newfound ambition made it onto Dragon Age: Awakening in a much higher responsibility role. Then after my 3 months off I was now on Dragon Age 2 on the content team, responsible for overseeing several plots. And now I'd be leaving it behind. I won't see it again until it's released and I pick up a copy.

I stopped by my cousin's office on the way out and thanked him for everything. If it weren't for him I'd never have found my calling. Before this, I was completely aimless in life. He'd let me live in his house, got me an interview at his company, and was always willing to give great advice. He wished me the best in Halifax and I went to reception to turn in my pass card and hand in my final timesheet. As I left the building, I looked back and it finally truly hit me. The best period of my life thus far was ending, at this very moment.

I got home and did the last bit of my packing. Wrote my final little entry I could before packing my computer, and waited for the movers. And waited. And waited. Chad showed up after work and we'd had plans to go see Scott Pilgrim together, one last night hanging out while we lived in the same city. But the movers still hadn't showed. We were kind of bummed, and I was getting stressed. The movers office was closed so I could only sit around and wait for the movers to show up. We ordered some pizza and watched a movie at home, the whole while my eyes were on the window waiting for the movers to show. And they never did.

The plan had originally been to leave bright and early the next morning. But my stuff was still there, so I called the movers again. Still closed. I had never been so poorly treated by a business before. If you're ever moving long distance from Edmonton, NEVER use Burly Boys Moving & Storage. I'm reporting them to the Better Business Bureau for their horrific service. At the last minute I had to make new arrangements. Once everything was set up, it was about noon. I spent about an hour stalling, not wanting to leave this life. Chad had moved out only a few months earlier, we lived together in an awesome apartment we were renting from Dave, a close friend of mine. I couldn't believe I was leaving right after Chad got there, finally living in the same city again, with Olga about to move out too! We sat on the balcony and reminisced. More misty eyes.

Eventually it was time, and as I packed the last of my stuff into my car, Chad and I had our manly handshake, hiding all emotion. Chad and I talked about how it was kind of like I'd spent 2 years building a life, and was now handing it over to Chad to go do it all over again. And right before I drove off, I told Chad I hoped it did everything for him it did for me. Maybe it's just me, but this kind of thing does NOT get easier with practice. I was an emotional wreck for the first hour of the drive. But it was a long drive, and gave me a chance to think it through, grieve, and make my peace with it.

Edmonton is where I truly found myself. It's where I finally became truly independent. I found a passion I'd been looking for my whole life. I found a future for myself. I made some of the best friends anyone could ask for, and they all taught me a lot about myself. Edmonton will always have a special place in my heart, and I will miss it, and the people in it for the rest of my life. It's not the home I grew up in, it's the home I made.

Location:Sackville St,Halifax,Canada

Monday, September 6, 2010


In the biggest 180 ever, I seriously love my iPad.

Location:Sackville St,Halifax,Canada