WTF?

So on Saturday night, I’m coming home from Safeway, primarily to pick up some caffeine-free Coke. I’m driving and I’m stopped for a red light as the lead car in the right hand lane at the intersection of Clarke and Como Lake.

I’m waiting and then I hear this short beep of the horn. I think it’s coming from my left. I ignore it. I hear the beep again. I turn to my left. The car next to me is some blue Volvo I believe. I look at the front two passengers of the car and they’re both looking straight ahead. It doesn’t seem like that car was doing the honking.

I look at the rear passengers of the Volvo. I see two girls in their twenties. The one closest to me starts smiling and waving. She’s wearing an orange toque of some sort and her wavy brunette hair is poking out from underneath that.

So, I start to smile and wave to her, even though at the same time, I’m thinking, “I have no idea who you are.” After a few awkward seconds of mutual hand waving and smiling, I turn back to face the light. The light turns green soon after and I drive off.

They make a left somewhere down the road and they’re gone. As I continue driving, I’m trying to think who do I know would venture out in the boonies. I quickly come up with the answer of no one. I didn’t recognize any of the occupants of the car. Also, nearly everyone I’m friends with lives west of Granville Street. Those who don’t I would recognize in an instant.

I’m almost home before I realize I could have rolled down the window and yelled out, “Do I know you?” Then again, as I write this, maybe that the whole thing was a ploy so that I would roll down my window and they could throw something at me. Though, that seems pretty far-fetched.

I might never know who that was.

LAST DAY

Tomorrow is my last day at work. My first day at work was June 13, 2005. I can remember as if it were a month ago. I can even remember what I wore that day. It was cloudy in the morning but still a tad muggy. By the end of the day, it was blazing sunshine. I got taken out to lunch for my first day. It was Joe (now studio head), Dan (who helped me get the job), Ron (who would later advise me on race relations), and myself. We ate at the Papaya Hut. Later on, Greg would find a maggot in his food and the Hut quickly lost its popularity around the office.

The great thing about a blog is that you can go back and read what I wrote that day.

So a little over a year afterwards, I am departing. Part of me still can’t believe I’m leaving. I’ve developed such a routine that it will feel a bit weird knowing that I no longer work near Granville Island. I will, above all else, miss the people I work with. These are some incredibly smart, creative, and good people. I hope I have half as much camaraderie at EA as I did here.

I will leave you with a small anecdote. I mentioned this before but everyone at the company receives a caricature of themselves when they start their jobs. About six months into my own tenure, I noticed people who quit the company would leave their caricatures behind. I began collecting all of these caricatures. I then put them up in my cubicle with a red “X” through each of them.

In the old office, everytime someone quit, I would just slap their caricature up on the wall. When we moved to the new place though, I began arranging the caricatures in neat rows and columns. I even printed out a title sheet which I placed above the pictures. I called it “The Wall of Fallen Heroes”. I’m not sure why, since it doesn’t really make any sense. Anyways, people would give me caricatures of people who had been fired but I would toss it back at them. “The Wall of Fallen Heroes” was only for people who left voluntarily.

People would sometimes comment on “The Wall” and its possible effects on morale but management never talked to me about it, and I knew they had seen it. “The Wall” has quite a few entries in it now, about nine or so.

There would be times where I would stare at “The Wall” and wonder if I would ever make it there. Tomorrow, I will move my own caricature with the rest on “The Wall of Fallen Heroes”. People have volunteered to continue my work after I leave. One guy wants to make a picture book out of all the caricatures. Another wants to continue it in its present form.

So, when the day ends, I’ll be looking towards a new beginning and new opportunities. And I’ll be soon writing another “first day at work” post.

FIREWORKS

Due to the desire to avoid massive crowds tonight and also due to a nasty, day-long case of heartburn, I decided I’d skip the fireworks show.

Instead, I took in the poorman’s version of the show over the Internet. Sad, huh?

BORAT AT COMIC-CON

If you went by just the name, you’d think Comic-Con would only be about comic books but that’s hardly the case these days. The convention is now another great venue for movie studios to show off their new films, whether it’s comic related or not.

That explains why Borat made an appearance at Comic-Con this year. Apparently, he stumbled out of a women’s washroom and then tripped while walking on stage.

Click on the pic above for the video. Listen for a woman off-screen who says at one point, “not funny”.

CLERKS 2

I saw Clerks 2 on the weekend. It was an entertaining movie which was almost funny from start to finish. It was absolutely hilarious in several parts, especially a scene where two parties engaged in a Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings debate. I am sure such a debate has occurred in parents’ basements a million times over!

Now, the movie isn’t for everyone and it’s something I accept. If you like Jay and Silent Bob, and the other characters in that universe, you won’t want to miss this flick. Now as surprising as it seems for a movie that features a donkey sex scene and a frank discussion about ass-to-mouth, this film does have an honest emotional heart to it.

The movie would be pointless if it was just a series of crude jokes strung together, intercut with Jay dancing and swearing. It actually does have a story to it which makes the ending all them more satisfying.

As always, head on over to Kevin Smith’s blog for some good readin’.

CANADA DAY CLASSIC – PART ONE

Canada Day long weekend was a few weeks ago but I only got the pictures from it now. Through a bit of planning and a bit of luck, many ex-SJCers who had thrown themselves to the far corners of the world, returned to Vancouver for a very special weekend.

There was Adam who returned from Toronto. Tom came all the way from London. We cannot forget about Nenagh who travelled the farthest, who arrived from wintery Australia. Last but certainly not least there was Frank who made his away across the water from the Island.

The first “official” activity of the weekend was a blast from the past, ball hockey in the parkade next to SJC. Hockey at SJC has fallen on hard times in the last few months. With Tyson busy with finishing up his Ph.D., there wasn’t anyone else to take up the organizing mantle. Plus, none of the new residents seem very keen on playing hockey.

So, it was an absolute delight to see the eight or so people show up for hockey for possibly the last time in this incarnation. We played hard in the heat and had some fantastic games. Two hours later, we were all very tired but also very satisfied.

After hockey ended, Tyson had to go pick up Tom at the airport. Adam and I chilled out in Tyson’s room and also showered (separately). The next item on the agenda was a third floor patio BBQ where many others would join us.

The BBQ was well-attended with Nenagh arriving just a few short hours after getting off the plane. I give her credit for coming in her jet-lagged state. Tyson came back with Tom soon after. He hasn’t changed a bit.

As the evening wore on, they was much food and drink to be had. In general, it was just good to talk to people I hadn’t seen in a long time. You can see pictures of the whole day in my brand new gallery, which is a new feature here at et.com.

Now, if you’re wondering why this day is divided into two parts, I do have a reason. Near the end of the evening, there was an amazing battle of wills between individuals. I believe the incident merits it’s own post, so you’ll have to wait for that.

AW MAN

The HR manager sent out today the company-wide announcement about my impending depature. In the year or so I’ve been at the company I’ve read plenty of these e-mails. Even though I expected mine to come, it was still a bit of a shock to read it.

I had to read it over twice today. I couldn’t actually believe the message was about me. Did I really give my notice a week ago? Wait, did I actually quit my current job to go to EA? It was a very sobering reminder that I indeed chose to end my tenure at the company.

As with most things, it’s the people that I will miss the most. This was clear to me after the e-mail got sent out. Though some people got the news days before, a lot of people didn’t find out until today. One such person came to my desk with this sad and slightly shocked look on his face.

“You’re leaving?”

I explained to him it was a difficult decision but it was something I felt I had to try.

“Well, I’m going to miss you… you were my first real ‘friend’ at the company, if I could use that word.”

Hearing that just made me feel crappy inside.

“Of course you can use that word, I’m proud to be your friend.”

Another person came up to me later and asked me where I was going. We chatted about the details for a few minutes. I think some people are just curious.

This isn’t the first job I’ve quit but this is certainly the most weird I’ve felt about quitting. One job I was absolutely ecstatic about leaving. When I quit my testing job, I was really excited about going to grad school. This time around, it ain’t so fun.

One other guy told me he didn’t even blink twice when other people left but he said when I leave, I’ll be missed. Yeah, hearing stuff like that doesn’t exactly make my heart sing with joy.

I hope next week it gets a bit easier.

LEAST NERDY

Over a month ago, a new producer joined the Sonic project. Zoe has been a great addition to the team. She’s helped smooth out the crazy process of trying to get a video game done on time. Plus, being in a video game company, it’s always nice to have another female around to help fix the gender ratio.

A few days ago, while we were unpacking the Thai food that the team had ordered for dinner, Zoe mentioned our team had the least nerdy programmers she had ever seen. I asked her how many programmers she had seen before coming to the company. She said lots since she had worked at a school where programming had been taught.

Apparently, until taking her current job, she’d never met any programmers that worked out during their lunch hours. About half the Sonic programmers go to the gym regularly during their lunch hour. Some of them are actually quite buff.

In general, I’ve been quite surprised by how non-stereotypical most of the programmers are in the company. Some have girlfriends and a lucky few have even managed to marry a woman. A lot of programmer participate in sports and have interests outside of the computer.

And you learned something today…