TWO YEARS ALREADY?

Two posts in one day! How much free entertainment can you stand from et.com? Anyways, I just realized it’s been two years to this day that I officially received my degree of the Master variety. Since then I’m now on my second job, worked on three games, eaten 46 Big Macs, taken five showers, dated Lindsay Lohan twice, and successfully ran for the mayor of Tijuana.

Last but not least, I’d like to welcome my many new visitors to this blog. Nearly all of you have come here via search engines looking for my post on Barbie Cummings, the porn star that performed oral sex on the state trooper. You’ll be looking for this post. Thanks for visiting and I hope you find there’s more to et.com than just porn stars.

WHAT I'M DOING RIGHT NOW

Sadly, I am still at work right now. I am, however, doing nothing… actually, I’m waiting. I’ve been working all day fixing some timing issues with a feature I’m responsible for. The lead front end engineer has put in new text and HUD elements to let the user know what’s going on. It’s a good improvement on what we had before.

I’m making sure gameplay doesn’t proceed too much before the messages and text finish displaying. I’m pretty happy with my changes so about half an hour I was testing everything before checking in my files. That’s when I discovered a crash in the game. Turns out one of the AI guys had put something new in earlier today. I called one of the AI dudes over and we looked over the problem. He went away to whip up a fix.

While he works on that, I have to wait since it’s better that I test his fix with my changes before submitting the whole thing in. I could just check in my files and then assume when the AI fix gets in that it’ll all work in harmony together. That’s a dangerous assumption of course. So while I could be in a taxi on my way home right now, I’m doing the right thing by waiting.

I just realized there’s something productive I could be doing while I was waiting but instead I just wrote this post. Whoops.

THE COST OF EATIN'

Today, I overheard one of our DDs (project managers), I won’t say who, mention something about our food budget. Apparently, we are three times over the amount in the budget.

Why is that? There could be several reasons. We started OT way earlier than expected. More people are working OT than predicted. We are working more OT than predicted. We ordered more expensive food than was necessary.

In reality, it’s a combination of all those things. Oh man, I remember early on we were having Alaskan king crab legs, goat cheese salads, and little pastries for dessert. We don’t get that anymore!

WORKIN' IT

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to improve on a post about Olivia Munn in a gold bikini but I guess I’ll try. So…

Well, I took a cab home tonight again, no big surprise there. My favourite driver was unfortunately second in line in front of the Pan Pacific. He was talking to the guy who was first. He saw me and then said to his friend, “Ah! This is a good customer! Treat him well!” He left and went back to his cab.

I hopped into the van and we were off. I’m getting pretty good at predicting if I’ll like talking to the driver. Within five minutes I knew this guy was alright. All the drivers take the same route to Port Moody. As such, I get pretty familar with the sights with includes the hooker strolls just off Hastings. I can even recognize one streetwalker on a particular corner. I’m not sure why I can point her out now. It’s probably because she doesn’t look like a stereotypical hooker on the streets. It’s weird. I wonder if I’ll see her again tomorrow?

OLIVIA MUNN AT CELEBRATION IV

Attack of the Show co-host Olivia Munn was at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration IV, the most prestigious of all Star Wars conventions. For part of the show, she appeared in the much revered Slave Leia outfit. As many of you know, the original outfit worn by Carrie Fisher ushered many boys into early puberty.

If you click here, you can see the rest of the pics of Olivia. If that’s not enough for ya, YouTube has a clip of Ms. Munn in costume. Is that Ray Park (aka Darth Maul) at the end?

HAPPY 30TH!

Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars film. A New Hope (or simple known as Star Wars back then) became a ground-breaking smash hit. It completely altered the way Hollywood perceived movies. So much was changed by this single movie.

I’ve written many a post about Star Wars, so I’m going to invariably repeat some things here but bear with me.

A New Hope redefined the modern definition of the Hollywood summer blockbuster. It also ushered in the era of mass merchandising with toys and just about every tie-in you could imagine.

Let us also not forget all the spinoff companies that were formed because of the success of the movie. Without Star Wars there would be no Industrial Light and Magic. Almost every modern special effect you see today basically has some connection to the effects house that George built. Without Star Wars, there would be no THX. The fact that we can sit in a perfectly calibrated auditorium is because of the strict certification standards brought forth by THX. Plus, they have some pretty cool trailers.

Of course, more importantly were the films themselves. They were somewhat simple in nature, drawing upon the old-fashioned fight between good and evil. George managed, however, to package it in a way that appealed to both young and old. The Star Wars myth, stories, and characters have been deeply ingrained into our pop culture. Thirty years after the first film came out, we still talk about the Force, Ewoks, lightsabers, and Darth Vader (not necessarily in that order).

For people who were born in the mid- or late 70s, Star Wars was a big part of our childhood. We saw the films, bought the toys, and dreamed about that galaxy, far, far, away. Rather than letting it go as some sort of childhood distraction, fans held onto their love of all things Star Wars well into adulthood and beyond. Today, we have grown adults adorning their cubicles and homes with figurines, toys, and memorabilia, much like they did when they were children.

It’s quite telling that three decades later, we’re still finding Star Wars to be still relevant in our lives. So thank you George for making something that made my childhood that much more enjoyable. It’s been a great thirty years and I look forward to many more.

ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT

There’s a rather interesting story in Tennessee right now. Apparently, a small-time porn star was pulled over by a Tennessee state trooper in a routine traffic stop. While the original stop was for speeding, the trooper found narcotics in Justis Richert’s car. Richert, who goes by the stage name, Barbie Cummings, alleges the trooper became quite interested in her line of work after she disclosed she was a porn star.

Apparently, the trooper then took her to his vehicle and used a laptop to pull up her web site. After watching two of her videos, he indicated he was getting aroused. Somewhere in all of this, the trooper dumped the narcotics and Ms. Cummings performed oral sex on the law enforcement officer.

If you want a vanilla version of the story, feel free to click on this SFW CBS News story. If you want the most awesome and complete story, you’ll need to visit Barbie Cumming’s web site. It includes her telling of the story, which indicates she initiated the oral sex in a manner most titilating. Not only that, she has posted explicit pictures of the roadside encounter. Blogging at its best! Unfortunately, she took down her web site yesterday but fear not! Thanks to Google’s cache, this is what you do. Go to Google and search for “Barbie Cummings”. Her web site should be the first hit. Do not click on that result. Instead, just below it, click on “Cached”. Under no circumstances should you be doing that while at work or in a church of any denomination. The post in question is about half way down the page. Just scroll past the various pictures of Ms. Cummings surrounded by penises, well until you get to the pics of the trooper’s penis.

THE ROOM

Some of you know that I am susceptible to hypoglycemia, where my blood sugar drops really low in a short amount of time. I got my diagnosis in 1997, so this year, actually this month, is my tenth anniversary. Strictly by knowing what I have and eating at proper intervals, I cannot remember a single time in ten years where I’ve had a bad incident.

So how did I get my diagnosis? I took a standard glucose tolerance test at the UBC hospital. I fasted for 8 hours beforehand. The test starts in them morning. First they take a sample of blood. They make you drink something that tastes like Orange Crush. Then you wait. They force you to stay at the hospital. You can’t eat or drink anything. You can’t do exercise. You can sit and read.

Every hour on the hour, the nurse came in to take another sample of blood. They alternate arms because the test can take up to eight hours and that’s a lot to ask of you veins.

Anyways, that’s not the point of this post. I was so bored during the entire time. I brought a book with me but I quickly lost interest. Instead, I began looking at the reading material in the room. It was pretty typical of a medical facility. There were some MacLeans. A few Readers Digests. A sprinkling of People magazines. I spotted a New Yorker. An Economist was poking out from underneath a pile. A smattering of US Weekly kept me entertained.

Then I noticed something different. There was a catalogue in amongst the magazines. It was a women’s swimwear catalogue. It was unlike any swimwear catalogue I’d ever seen. Who ever made these swimsuits, it was geared towards fashion-impaired and extremely modest women. As I flipped through the pages, I saw garish, floral print, one-piece suits on “real-sized” models in their 30s. Think moo-moo swimwear. It didn’t say “Swimsuits for Republicans” on the cover but it could have. What type of woman would buy these things?

As I finished thumbing through the catalogue, I kept wondering why the hell was this catalogue in here with the rest of the magazines? Maybe someone brought it in by accident with a stack of other magazines? I couldn’t figure it out, so I picked up another US Weekly where I quickly discovered where Brad and Gwyneth had vacationed recently.

By now, we were several hours into the test, so my mind was in this low-blood sugar induced haze. It was hard to think properly. Then, I looked up from my magazine and stared at the walls. My mind churned for a bit more. I was in the laboratory section of the UBC Hospital. I was sitting in a room for people that came to the lab. People came to the lab for tests. I myself was sitting in a chair with an armrest designed to make giving blood easier. The room had a small bathroom with a built-in shelf for containers. People came to the lab to pee in a cup in that bathroom. In a bit of a daze, I looked at the sharps next to me, the empty, sterilized cups, the rubber tubing, and the bathroom with the shelf.

People came to this room to give their body fluids for testing.

Then I realized I forgotten about one other fluid they sometimes test. It was a fluid that only men can make. I looked at the row of sterile specimen cups on the table next to me. Then I looked at the bathroom in front of me. Finally, I saw the swimsuit catalogue again.

No.

It made somewhat sense though. The UBC hospital does testing for almost everything and that includes fertility for men. I shook my head though. Whoever thought that catalogue was going to do the trick was greatly mistaken. The models in that catalogue were far from “spankerific”. It was like if your high school cafeteria lady decided to put on a bathing suit.

I quickly decided if I had to give a sample, looking at those ladies would probably hamper the operation rather than help it. Then I wondered what type of guy would actually get aroused by that catalogue? Probably an older guy perhaps? Even then… still… man… floral print?

My thoughts trailed off as my blood sugar began to drop like a rock. In minutes I began to sweat and the shakes began. I called out for the nurse. She rushed in to take one last vial of blood. I was then given the ok to eat. It took me about 30 seconds to drain a can of Coke I had brought with me.

I haven’t been back to that room since.

PARODY NIGHT

Last but certainly not least is Family Guy with their Meet the Quagmires finale. Peter and Brian go back in time only to find they’ve changed the future by disrupting something in the past. It’s a plot straight of the Back to the Future. In one of the last scenes, it’s almost a shot by shot redo of the Enchanment Under the Sea dance. The clip above shows a bit of that. Seth sure sounds like Rick Astley!

HOW YOU DOIN'?

Monday is a holiday for most of Canada, yet here I am providing more intricate details of my life in a tasty and compact blog form.

Last week, I had my very first performance review as a software engineer at EA. The review process at EA is quite structured and is designed so that every employee in the company must go through the same steps to get their performance evaluated. A lot of times EA is faulted for having too much bureaucracy but it’s cases like this that it makes sense. I’ve been at smaller companies where their mantra is, “we’re small, we don’t have crazy bureaucratic processes!” Yeah, that’s great, so when review time comes around, different managers are reviewing employees using wildly differing standards.

There were no big surprises in my review. I meet up with manager enough to get a good idea of how I’m doing. I was pleased with what my manager had to say and with what my peers had mentioned as well. Then, came the fun part… compensation. Yes, I did get a raise but it wasn’t a “I’m-gonna-buy-a-trailer-home-now” type of raise. Actually, I think you’d be surprised at the amount. Anyways, the big deal was my bonus. It was easily the largest bonus I’ve received in my entire life. Keep in mind though the largest bonus I’ve received previous to this was $700 (pre-tax), so it’s not like EA had to break the bank to eclipse that number.

I’ve heard people at the company refer to EA as a meritocracy, where rewards and status are acheived purely by ability and performance. I know this is true now. I’ve worked my ass off for months to be a competent SE and I’ve been recognized for that.

Though I have no doubts about my decision now, it’s interesting to note last July that I nearly turned down the EA offer because I didn’t think I could hack it in the “big leagues”. Had I not taken a leap of faith (in myself), it would have been a really bad choice on my part.

So if there’s one thing to be learned here, it can be said with mangled cliches: believe in yourself, be your own wind beneath your wings, get your own groove back, and don’t cross the streams.