REROUTED

I’ve decided on a new route to work now. My old commute consists of one bus, which basically takes me from door to door. Travel time is usually 45 – 55 minutes. My new route consists of one bus, Skytrain along the Millenium Line, and then Skytrain along the Expo Line. Travel time is anywhere between a swift 40 minutes to no more than 50 minutes. Is it more of a hassle along the new route? Yes, I gotta get off the bus, onto a train, off the train, and then back onto my last train.

The positive is there’s a lot more room on a Skytrain car than my old bus. When it’s crowded I’m sealed in that bus for almost an hour. Combine that with the stupid bus heaters and possibly wet umbrellas and clothes, it’s unbearable at times.

I just enjoy the commute a lot more when I’m taking Skytrain. I almost always get a window seat, I’m above the roads, I can see for kilometres in every direction, and interesting people get in and out of the cars. When I say interesting, I don’t mean smelly old people.

On the way back home, I’ll still take my old route because it’s a lot less crowded in the evenings and I like sleeping on the darkened bus. Without having to change buses, I can usually get a 20 to 30 minute nap in there.

To a better commute!

OWN THIS DOMAIN!

Does March 24 have any significance to you? Of course not. Anyways, it was the day erwintang.com came into being. This year marks the seventh anniversary of this web site.

It’s also the last day I can renew my domain before really bad things start happening. For example, some Russian hacker group can buy my expired domain and then start re-directing my vistors to porn sites.

Why I only renew my domain a year at a time is a mystery to me. Maybe I like the excitement. Who knows. Well, if I wanted excitement, this year I got it. My domain is registered with a Mickey Mouse operation. GoDaddy it ain’t. Anyways, my registrar went through some sorta name change and their web site is a mess. The kicker is that they changed over to a new billing system, which includes the functionality to renew domains. They’ve sent out e-mails to their customers for them to request the new billing log in info. Guess who’s tried to send that request out to the four times now? Yep, yours truly.

I’ve gotten no response from them. The next step is now to call them. Of course, being a shoddy operation, they have no toll-free line. I gotta call them long-distance. I won’t do that though. I’m going to call them collect. Who wants to bet they won’t agree to the call?

So what are my options? I can transfer my domain to GoDaddy and get all my services consolidated under one roof, domain and hosting. I could do that now… except the control panel that allows me to do that is broken because my registrar has responsibility for that.

I also could let my domain expire and then re-register my domain, using a more reliable registrar, on my behalf. It should probably slip back into the pool of available without too much fanfare since it’s not exactly largeboobies.com. I am, however, writing about this now, so there’s a small chance one of you jokers out there could beat me to the punch.

There’s less than a month until D-Day! Johnson! Move us to Defcon 4!

I'M ALL GROWN UP!

Tomorrow, I’m signing up for the company group RRSP plan. The deal is if I contribute 6% of my gross yearly income, EA will match that amount in a profit sharing program. Well, they’ll kinda match it. If the company is doing poorly, they’ll match a percentage of that amount. In any case, people tell me it’s a no-brainer. Everyone should be putting away money for retirement anyways and in this case, the company is giving me free money.

Since I’m just signing up now, it’s a pretty hefty cheque I’m writing to London Life. Hefty in the sense that I usually write cheques for about $100.

I’m sorta late to the RRSP game. I made small contributions before grad school but man, I wish I was like other people. I know some who have put several thousand into RRSPs every year since they were in their early 20s. Now in their early 30s, they’re in great shape and can easily see the power of compounding.

I guess it was hard for me to contribute since I only worked full-time three years out of the ten when I was in my 20s. Wow! What a stat. That’s just horrible. I feel shame.

IT'S AN OLD SCHOOL WEEKEND

I’m not exactly sure what the title of this post refers to but I do know Old School has stood up to the test of time, if that test involved four years. It’s as enjoyable today as it was the first time I watched it in the SJC TV room. Wedding Crashers be damned, I’ve taken all my wedding guest ettiquette from that movie.

“It takes a man to give away an angel.”

CHAOS

Author’s note: This post may contain embellishments to increase drama.

Though the two studio are viewed separate entities, EA Canada in Burnaby and EA Vancouver downtown share a lot of infrastructure. As such, when something goes offline in Burnaby, we get e-mail notices downtown as well.

Today, we got one of those e-mails. At around 4pm, we received a message from IT that the Burnaby studio had experienced a power fluctuation. Phase I lost all power, while Phase II suffered a slight flicker but recovered to full power almost immediately. With Phase II almost ten years newer, they were likely saved by a much more advanced warp containment field located right next to the Phase II lounge, you know, right next to those funky, velvet chairs.

You can imagine what a loss of power means to a video game studio. Programmers can’t program, artists can’t art, producers can’t produce (I will refrain from making a snide remark here), and development directors can’t DD. A follow-up e-mail noted that after consulting with BC Hydro, the ETA on power restoration would be 8:30pm.

My friend Tim works in Phase II and I began to get worried for him. The loss of power means a loss of order, which means a loss of civilization as we know it. The people in Phase I would be looking jealously at the occupants of Phase II. No power means no web surfing, no coffee from the Starbucks, no afternoon snack from the EAt cafeteria, nothing. I know human nature like the back of Jessica Biel’s hand. I knew trouble was brewing.

Things were going to get violent and nasty. The focal point would be that walkway that connects the two Phases, the one with that weird bump right in the middle. Phase II would probably barricade that area while Phase I would probably make some sorta siege engine from old Xbox dev kits. In front of my shrine to Kristin Bell, I prayed for my friend’s safety and well-being.

I saw he was still on MSN, so I sent him a good luck message. Several nervous minutes went by before he responded. When he finally got back to me, he was breathless, or as breathless as one can get on MSN. Apparently, I was right. He had just returned from battle lines. Phase II had somehow rallied their people and managed to beat back the initial invasion force. Their triumph was not without a cost though. Tim was lucky but several good people were lost in the repelling of the invaders. People from Phase I were swinging original Xbox controllers around their heads and then flinging them in deadly strikes.

I didn’t get any more details from Tim, partly because he went silent and partly because I really wanted to get a coffee. I’m pretty sure power got restored to all of EAC before 8:30pm. Man, it’s gonna be awkward in the cafeteria lineup for some people tomorrow.

CON AIR… BUT ON A BUS

I’ve been riding on the same bus for over a year now. For the first couple of months, I didn’t mind but now, I’m starting to despise that bus route.

Between the old people that smell like a pharmaceutical factory, bus drivers who think the bus should be 80 degrees Celsius, people who open the windows to get the temperature down to -14 degrees Celsius, and last but not least the general low-class yahoos that get on, I’m having a hard time dealing with the commute.

As an example, let me explain what happened last week. I get on the damned bus and take a seat. I close my eyes, partially to rest and partially so that I don’t have to look at the freak show that are the occupants of this travelling side show.

Two seats away from me, I hear a young man talking on his cell phone.

“Um, hello? Listen, I’m still trying to get a hold of my lawyer but I’m coming in for sentencing today and I just wanted to let you know I’m gonna be late.”

Wonderful. I can do nothing more than continue to listen.

“Yeah, I’m at the top of the list for this morning. I was wondering if you could sentence those other people and move me to the bottom of the list.”

Nice. I think back to the summer of 2005 when I rode the bus from UBC to work every morning. Not only was the bus not crowded, most of the riders were young people, mostly female… and law abiding. Now, I have this, somewhat akin to once living at the Temple on Coruscant but forced to move to a dishevled hut in some arid desert.

Granted, the young man was not bothersome in any way while on the bus. I even listened intently as he spoke with his friend during the trip. Yep, he even admitted it was kinda stupid to be carrying that weapon when he got arrested.

I wonder if they rent bus buddies. People who accompany you on the bus so that you have at least one person you don’t dislike onboard, like a single-serving friend. Man, I am on fire with the movie references tonight!

PS3 FOR ME?

So last week I’m in the company store buying a second Wiimote for my Wii. I see there’s a draw for a PS3. As I’m filling out the form, the dude at the counter says, “Just to let you know, that’s a draw for the right to ‘purchase’ a PS3.”

“Um, ok.”

Had I known that, I wouldn’t have filled it out in the first place but I was half way done anyways, so what the hell.

This morning, I get to work and there’s an e-mail in my inbox with the subject “CONGRATULATIONS”. I open it up and the store has told me I’ve won the draw. I have the right to purchase a PS3 for $659.99 and it’ll even get delivered to my cubicle.

The first thing that comes to my head is “oh crap”. I don’t want to spend $700 on a PS3. I only know one guy that owns a PS3 and I work with dozens of people who consider themselves hardcore gamers. Sure, I’d take it if it were free but there’s no way I’m forking out money for the PS3 while Sony works out the kinks.

The e-mail goes on to say that if I’ve changed my mind, I should let the store know ASAP so that another lucky winner can win the right to purchase their PS3. I respond right away and respectfully the decline the honour. With that, I push away my fleeting chance to own all three next-gen consoles.

I dodged a next-gen bullet there! Probably because I was using cover much like Scott Mitchell, Logan Keller, or Marcus Feenix all do. Points for the references.