WHAT I DO ON A DAILY BASIS

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ-QSJmEgHU&hl=en]

Do you sometimes wonder what I do at work on an average day? Are you curious about how games are made? These two videos above are an exact, 100% accurate representation of the things I do while I’m at work. No joke.

THE NON-HAND WASHER

When it comes to jobs, some people work alone and some people work in a team environment. I rather enjoy working on a team. A team environment though, necessitates that you adopt an understanding, thoughtful, and communal way of interacting with your fellow co-workers. That means you don’t leave the coffee machine messy when you’re done making your beverage. You don’t put all your dirty dishes in the sink, you put them in the dishwasher to get washed. You don’t check in broken code and then take off to Vegas for the weekend.

It should also go without saying that if you’re gonna share washrooms with your c0-workers, you kinda have to wash your hands when you’re done doing your business. That is just common and dare I say it, expected courtesy. Yet there a dude on my team who doesn’t wash his hands when he’s done taking a leak. I’ve seen it twice with my own eyes. I’ve been side by side with him at the urinals. When we were both done, I went to the sink and he just left the washroom. Incredible! I’m pretty sure his penis hand was also the door-opening hand.

The thing I don’t understand is that he’s a clean cut looking dude. He’s not slovenly nor unkempt. Just by looking at him you wouldn’t know he’s not a hand washer. Now here’s another thing, I don’t want to act all high and mighty. Have I not washed after taking a leak before? Yes, I have but that was in the privacy of my own home. If I’m ever out in public, I always do what I would want another dude to do. No one should be walking around with penis tainted hands.

I don’t even want to know what he does after a deuce.

THE CREDIT CARD SOLICITOR

I’m in the market for a new digital camera since the one I currently own was made in 2002 and is the size of a car battery and requires roughly the same amount of juice. Staples is actually a great place for digital cameras as their prices can be very low. About two weekends ago, I headed down to my local suburban Staples with the intention of buying a particular model.

Upon entering the store, I made a beeline to the digital cameras. I made a quick glance of their selection and to my dismay, the camera I wanted was not there. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone saunter up next to me.

“Looking to buy a new digital camera today?”

I looked over. It was a young dude, probably no more than in his early twenties. He had a nametag on which I didn’t read too carefully.

“Yes actually but the camera I wanted isn’t on sale here.”

“Well, if you do make a purchase today, I hope you consider doing it with our Staples MasterCard. It’s got a really low interest rate and if you sign up today, you’ll get $100 worth of Staples merchandise for free, just for signing up.”

I immediately felt bad for this guy. It was a sunny, beautiful weekend and he was stuck inside a Staples trying to get people to sign up for new credit cards. Was this the only job he could get? Maybe he enjoys it. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to sign up for more debt today.

If it were my father in this situation, he’d just tell the guy flat out no and then dismiss him. I’m not my father, so I can’t just do things like that, which probably explains why things went the way they did from this point on.

“Yeah, I don’t need another credit card. I’m trying to decrease the amount of debt I carry and I already have two credit cards.”

This was of course, all true. Actually, I’m not in debt anymore but hey, I’d like to stay that way and having two Visas is more than enough.

“I understand but our rates are less than five percent for the first six months, with no annual fees, and remember the free $100 worth of Staples stuff. Here, why don’t you take the free $100 card and we’ll get started on the paperwork?”

He held out this card for me to take. This guy wasn’t taking no for an answer just yet.

“No thanks but I have a real problem when it comes to large amounts of credit and temptation. I’ve actually maxed out credit cards buying booze and other expensive items.”

I swear those words just came out of my mouth and I had no idea I was going to say them. It was out there though and I kinda just ran with it.

“I see. You know, you don’t have to buy those things with this credit card. Why don’t you just keep your purchases small?”

“I don’t think this is a good idea. To be honest, I’m a recovering alcoholic and this is making me uncomfortable. I have a real problem with temptation and indulgence.”

“Really?”

The dude didn’t look like he was completely buying it but I think I had come outta nowhere with this stuff that he wasn’t sure what to think.

“Yeah. This isn’t good. In situations like these, I’m supposed to call my AA sponsor and he’s at Cultus Lake with his family. Gee, I better call him now…”

I reached down to my pockets of my shorts to get my phone but before I could, he stopped me.

“Ok, well you have a good day then.”

With that he walked away to leave me in peace and with my credit rating intact. I don’t feel all that bad about lying to him because I’m sure other people are way more rude to him than I was. I just sometimes say no in a different way.

As a final note, I am still looking for a new digital camera.

PHOENIX SUCCESSFULLY LANDS ON MARS

It was a thrilling day for space exploration today as the Phoenix Mars Lander made a safe descent and touchdown on the surface of Mars. I watched the last twenty minutes before landing on NASA TV online. I found the whole coverage to be absolutely exhilarating. Just from watching the mission control room you could tell people were nervous, excited, eager, and hopeful, all at the same time. Listening to the mission commentator report all the various events left me at the edge of my seat. You could not help but feel good every time the control room erupted in applause as each subsequent piece of good news was reported. It was truly exciting to watch.

If you missed it the first time you watch the last few awesome minutes of the landing with this video, which intersperses mission control room footage with CG animation of what the lander was doing at that stage of the landing.

Among the many cool things about the landing was that among the various space agencies around the world, there are now enough spacecraft on or around Mars that each new arriving craft can be monitored by existing ones. In today’s case, the Phoenix was sending data during the descent to the Mars Odyssey, already in orbit. Going forward, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter should be able to pinpoint the exact location of Phoenix on Mars as well as help send its scientific data back to Earth. The MRO currently has the best communications system of any space probe in the history of space exploration.

Last but certainly not least, the Phoenix has begun sending images back to Earth. The one you see above is an approximate colour image of the area where it landed. You can see a full gallery of the images sent thus far here.

It’s expected the first set of data from the analysis of the soil and hopefully water will come in about five days. Exciting times!

MARS PHOENIX LANDER REMINDER

This is a reminder that the Phoenix Lander is scheduled to land on Mars today at 4:53:52 p.m PST. NASA TV will begin live coverage at 3pm PST. You can watch online by clicking here. It should be an exciting day for interplanetary exploration! Good luck to the Phoenix team!

I RECOMMEND CRACKED.COM

When I was a kid, my mom used to drive myself and my sister to Safeway every weekend to buy food. It was something I looked forward to because as a kid, I loved buying food that wasn’t good for me. Actually, that’s something I still love to this day. Anyways, when we passed by the magazine rack, I’d often pick up a copy of the latest Mad magazine.

It was entertaining stuff for kid like me, who enjoyed regular features like the movie spoofs, Spy vs. Spy, the awesome artwork of Sergio Aragon├ęs, and of course the iconic fold-in jokes. Along side Mad magazine on the rack, however, was a publication named Cracked. Cracked had no shame in positioning itself as a Mad magazine imitator. If it was possible for me to have distinguishing tastes for corny magazine content, I found Cracked to be not to my liking. I believe I might have bought an issue once just because I was bored but regretted it when I got it home.

Though both magazines have had their readership numbers waver over the years, Cracked has actually ceased publication. Both properties have been remade in different formats. Most of you know that Mad was spun off into a sketch comedy show that competes with my beloved SNL. Cracked itself now lives on through an excellent web site.

As a web site Cracked.com, is one hell of a good read. In my opinion, the best thing about their site is the huge compilations of lists they have. Consider for example, 8 (Pointless) Laws All Comic Book Movies Follow or 8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Geeks.

Another thing I like about the site is that, given its content, the level of grammar and writing is at a very high level. Similar sites on the web are just rife with mind-numbing spelling and grammatical errors. To see Cracked.com deliver good content in a nicely packaged form just makes me like it more.

Sadly, the site is blocked at EA for “adult content” even though there’s no nudity, so I gotta get my fix at home. Maybe it’s because of lists like The 15 Most Sexually Unappealing Porn Titles .

A BAD LIST OF 10 WORST ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS IN TECH

Valleywag recently put out a list of the 10 worst entry-level jobs in tech. While it seems like an interesting list, I think it’s got some dubious entries with jobs that don’t seem so bad. Getting paid $80K USD right out of undergrad and working for Amazon.com doesn’t seem like a horrible proposition to me. Hell, I made $38K straight out of grad school three years ago and I don’t see my old job on that list.

The author should also look at some QA jobs in the gaming industry. Getting paid $10/hr and working long shifts for months on end is far worse than some of the jobs in that list.