Because I like to let my imagination run wild, I have a strong suspicion that one of the dudes who lives in my apartment building is a pimp, or at the very least, the 21st century version of one. Why do I think he’s a pimp? Let me list what I’ve seen and heard, then you can chime in with your opinion.

First, this guy doesn’t seem to keep regular hours. I’ve seen him around the building well after 9am, in the afternoon, but strangely enough, rarely in the evenings. For a lot of the other residents, I know they’re 9 to 5 types (or thereabouts). I sure don’t see them leave for their 9am jobs but I’ve seen them returning from their workplaces. They’ve got packs and briefcases, they have groceries, and they have their mail from the day’s delivery. This guy doesn’t seem to operate on any regular schedule. Is it possible that his job is in the evening? Sure, I suppose but I just get this vibe that his “work” is a regular job.

Second, every single time I’ve seen him, he’s always got his phone with him and he’s always on it talking to someone. He can’t seem to wait to be on his phone. I’ve been in the elevator several times when he’s stepped on from his floor and he’ll pull his phone out right away to call someone, even if the elevator is crowded. The most recent time he did this, I heard something really interesting which deserves its own point that I’ll get into later.

Third, he’s often got some friend or “associate” with him. One particular guy appears to live on another floor. They’ll often ride the elevator down to the lobby together. Once the dude gets off the phone, they’ll either sit in the lobby chairs waiting for someone or they’ll go for a walk. Where they go walking to or what they talk about while walking, I am not sure. One time I saw them waiting for a third dude. They let some guy in and while the “friend” waited in the lobby, my suspicious friend took him upstairs for who knows what.

Fourth, one time I was going out, dude and a pretty but young girl got on the elevator with me. Dude appears to be in his late 30s or possibly even early 40s but this girl seemed barely out of her teens. They didn’t seem like they were boyfriend and girlfriend. They didn’t say much while in the elevator but they did walk out the door with me. I couldn’t catch all their conversation on the street but he seemed to be explaining a lot of things to her, as if she had questions about something. I never saw her again.

Last but certainly not least, was the conversation that I overheard while he was in the elevator with me last week. He was on the phone and this is what I heard:

“Hey, how many clients does Jasmine have today? And Laura, how many does she have booked? What about Jenny?”

Oh, and I just remembered this now. A few months ago, he was talking on the phone and I heard:

“Please tell Jenny that her first client is at 8.”

What could he be talking about? What type of business could he be running that apparently only employs women? What kind of business employs several different women and refers to clients? Yes, I suppose he could be running a hair salon, which predominantly might only have women stylists, but does this guy seem like a salon owner to you? I’d love to hear what you think of the situation. I really want to discreetly ask him about all of this some time. It’s a delicate thing though because I don’t want outright ask him if he’s a pimp, that’s just not classy. I was thinking something along the lines of, “Um excuse me sir, if I could respectfully ask,  am I correct in thinking you’re independent businessman?” I’d see where it’d go from there since it leaves an out for the both of us.


I’m not going to actually outline each day of my unemployment but we’ll see how far this goes.

Today I met up with two friends of mine for lunch. One of them was unemployed game developer just like me. The great thing that happened during lunch was that he got an e-mail while we were eating to inform him he had just gotten a job with a local and major gaming company. I was quite happy for him. We talked about the industry a bit and he gave me some sense of what the employment scene is like out there for developers. There are a ton of unemployed game makers out there right now.

After lunch, I went home and napped. I can do that because I don’t have anywhere to be. It was my first afternoon nap in a long, long time. After my nap, I cleaned up my apartment for a bit and then got ready for dinner. I was meeting another friend for dinner. This time around, my dining companion was an employed game developer! What a rare breed these days in Vancouver! We settled on having our meal at Kamei Royale, which I think is a very good Japanese restaurant. They currently have a prix fixe menu right now with five courses for $28. The selections are quite decent. The evening was quite enjoyable and it was good to hear what my friend was working on.

What will day three of employment bring? Who knows??!?!?!


Day one of my latest stint of unemployment did not start off smoothly. I forgot to turn off my alarm the night before and I was awoken much too early for a dude that had nothing planned for the day. I managed to fall back asleep for about another hour and a half. I probably should have kept on sleeping but I was now awake a second time and decided it was probably best to get up at this point. I rolled out of bed and went into the living room to look out the windows to see what kind of day it was. It was a bright and beautiful sunny day at that point. I was about to go get some water when some movement in an apartment across from me caught my eye. This apartment had all the blinds up and the sun was shining directly into it so I could easily see into the bedroom and living room. The movement was a young lady moving about in her home while wearing a tight t-shirt and thong underwear. It was clear she was fit and healthy. Whatever problems I might have had with waking up early were quickly forgotten at this point. I proceeded to watch her get ready for the day, putting books into a bag, doing her hair, and looking into a mirror, all while in the t-shirt and thong. I then watched her slide on some black yoga pants. It was at this point I made a mental note to look into buying a telescope. It was my turn now to start my day.

The rest of my day was unfortunately not as exciting. I deposited my last paycheque from UFG at my bank. I wonder when I’ll get another one of those valuable paycheque thingies. I then went to Wal-Mart to buy a bulb for my bathroom light. At a local market, I bought some fruit and vegetables. It was then time to go home.

I had a nap before dinner, then made dinner, and played video games for most of the evening. Not every day of unemployment can be jam-packed with excitement but that’s why there’s always tomorrow.


As I wrote in an earlier post, approximately two weeks ago Activision canceled the game I was working on, True Crime: Hong Kong. This left my employer, United Front Games, in a really tough spot. With no more on-going financial support from Activision, UFG had no means to continue paying a team that numbered around 150. There were attempts to reach a deal with another publisher to get the game finished and out the door but those attempts were not successful.

There was a big team meeting this afternoon where this was plainly and clearly explained to us. We were then all instructed to go to various rooms by disciplines to find out our fates. For the majority of people, that meant sudden unemployment. I don’t know the exact numbers but I heard more than two-thirds of the team were let go. I knew I didn’t stand a chance even before going into any room. I was the new guy, working in an area of the game that’s not glamorous, and I didn’t know any of the important decision makers in the company. No one needed to tell me my services weren’t required any more.

I didn’t get any severance but that wasn’t really a surprise. I had worked at UFG for less than three months. As a new employee, you’re the most vulnerable in the first couple of months of employment. If something bad does go down, you’re not entitled to any compensation because you’re so new. On top of that, no one knows who you are or what you can do, so you’re stuck without any potential protectors who might have shielded you from harm. While three months at a company before getting laid off seems bad, there were people who literally started their contracts the same week the game got canceled. They essentially worked just a handful of days before they got the boot.

When EA laid me off at the end of October, it was the first time I had ever been really laid off. Now less than six months later, I’ve been laid off twice. That’s not something I really wanted to experience again so soon. If you’re wondering what my short term plans are, I have to admit, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Money isn’t an immediate concern right now. I received a generous severance from EA in November, so in essence, I’ve been doubling up on pay since December. Also since I have never lived paycheque to paycheque in my entire life, I have enough money saved up to last me for quite a while.

There are some items that I will need to figure out. When should I start looking for work again? There are now at least three major groups of game developers out of work in the Vancouver area: the remnants of the True Crime team, the whole of Propaganda Games, and the laid off people from EA (from last October and this January). Should I even bother trying to compete with these people right now? Should I take a little vacation first? Where will I apply? What studios are left? Given what has happened to the industry in the last several years, does it even make sense to work in games any more?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions right now but I’m ok with that. I have the luxury of time on my side and I am going to use that. For example, I am going to reserve the next 8+ hours for sleeping. Tomorrow is another day and I may not do much with it but at least I will be well rested.


All set for hot dog day!

The above image is an example, albeit a bad one, of the practice taking a photo of yourself with considerable amounts of cash. Usually, this type of behaviour is reserved for “gangsta” types who think they’re “hard” and have made some measure of success, thus being able to display large amounts of cash in a single photo. Perhaps this is a better example. The photo is supposed to convey how “rich” that person is and that they’re no broke-ass punk. I think it’s the truly dumbest way to flaunt your wealth.

Just consider for a moment a person who has let’s say $10K to show off. If that person gets the $10K in cash and then shows it off, that cash is just sitting there doing nothing. It doesn’t make more money for the gangsta while he’s there holding his money. The smartest thing to do with money is to use it to make more money. There are many ways to do this, starting with the simplest, a savings account that earns interest. The better way would be to diversify the investment into several different sectors, fixed income solutions like bonds, equity like stocks, and even mutual funds. Let’s not forget real estate which is usually a good investment.

Flaunting wealth by taking a photo of yourself with cash just means you don’t know what to do with money. You don’t see Donald Trump or Richard Branson doing these photos. Why? Because they’re too smart to have their wealth in straight up cash. Ask the Donald to show off his wealth and he’ll point you to all the real estate he owns. Ask Sir Richard to display his wealth and he’ll gesture towards his fleet of jets used for Virgin Airlines. Those are real displays of wealth because that money is making more money.

Hell, even the average homeowner taking a picture of his or her home is more impressive to me. They get to live in their money and it’s gaining value at the same time. That sure beats a stack of $20s lying on some gangsta’s Biggie Smalls duvet cover. Show me a gangsta displaying a land title in a photo and then you’ll get some respect from me.


On Friday, some of my network equipment broke at home. When I moved into my apartment, Telus supplied me a router that served as a hardware firewall and also a device that distributed wi-fi throughout my home. That router stopped working on Friday. Lucky for me, I get the Internet piped straight into my apartment. Instead of using a phone line or a coaxial cable that has to go into a modem to get my Internet, I get all my ones and zeroes from a single RJ-45 port that is located in a closet next to the front door.

Anyways, with the router being broken, that means I don’t have any wi-fi anymore, which is really the only inconvenience. That kinda sucks because I use wi-fi for my netbook and my phone, leaving my desktop as the only computer with Internet access. I decided to call up Telus to let them know my problem. Their tech support on the phone was swamped, so I decided to use their online chat feature for tech support. The following is the conversation I had with one of their employees. The chat is not really funny nor entertaining in any way but I have nothing else to write about tonight.

6:30:38 PM :  Welcome! Thank you for using TELUS Chat Support, please be advised that your chat session will be recorded to ensure a quality customer experience.

6:30:38 PM : Erwin Tang: Initial Question/Comment: My 2wire router is showing all solid red lights. It is no longer functioning.

6:37:39 PM :  Dara has joined this session!

6:37:44 PM : Dara: Welcome to TELUS Support Centre, my name is Dara and I will be assisting you today.

6:37:44 PM : Dara: Am I chatting with Erwin?

6:38:03 PM : Erwin Tang: hello!

6:39:09 PM : Dara: In that event, I recommend resetting the 2Wire Wireless Gateway to its factory device default settings. Here are instructions on how to do that.
1) Look on the very back of the device (near the power switch) for a red RESET button.
2) With the tip of a pin or a paper clip, depress the RESET button and hold it in for either 30 seconds or until you notice all of the lights on the 2Wire Gateway go off or blink.

6:39:29 PM : Erwin Tang: should the device be powered on when i do this?

6:40:44 PM : Dara: It should be plugged in.

6:40:49 PM : Erwin Tang: ok

6:44:00 PM : Erwin Tang: depressing the reset button with a pin for over 30 seconds does not seem to have any affect

6:45:25 PM : Dara: Okay, I am going to try from my end, just a second.

6:46:10 PM : Erwin Tang: oh wait, i should probably plug in the network cable back into it

6:46:22 PM : Erwin Tang: but if i do that, i will disconnect

6:47:20 PM : Dara: So, you mean the ethernet cord is not plugged in? Or the cords to the wall are not plugged in ?

6:47:35 PM : Erwin Tang: i had to disconnect the ethernet from it, to get connectivity

6:47:40 PM : Erwin Tang: it has power

6:48:42 PM : Erwin Tang: this is my dilemma, to chat with you, i had to disconnect the incoming ethernet from it

6:49:10 PM : Dara: So, are you still connected to the 2Wire ?

6:49:15 PM : Dara: It shouldn’t be working if it has red lights…

6:49:31 PM : Erwin Tang: no, i am not… it only has power right now, there is no data connectivity to the 2wire

6:49:50 PM : Erwin Tang: i am directly connected to the fibre coming into my apartment

6:50:31 PM : Dara: Oh okay.

6:50:46 PM : Dara: Well, I submitted a request for a new modem, you will receive it in 3-5 business days.

6:50:51 PM : Dara: Once receive install the new modem and you will be good to go.

6:51:13 PM : Erwin Tang: thanks, so it’s gonna be mailed to me?

6:51:26 PM : Dara: Yes, it will be.

6:51:31 PM : Erwin Tang: cool, well that was easy

6:51:39 PM : Erwin Tang: i hope you have a pleasant evening!

6:51:51 PM : Dara: You too.

6:51:51 PM : Dara: If you have some time, please fill out the feedback form at http://promo.telus.com/emailsurvey/Chatfeedback.php so that we can better serve you. (you may have to hold down the control-key and click it for it to work) Thank you for using TELUS Support Centre.

6:51:51 PM : Dara: Thank you for using TELUS Support Centre. If you require assistance again feel free to open another chat or call Technical Support at 1-877-310-8324.

6:52:06 PM : Erwin Tang: bye! you made a difference in my life!

6:52:16 PM : Dara: I’m glad I did 🙂

6:52:21 PM :  Dara has left this session!

6:52:21 PM :  The session has ended!


About two years ago a co-worker of mine started dating this lovely young woman. Let’s call my co-worker Shep and his new girlfriend Eunice. Despite being a software engineer, Shep was able to catch the eye of Eunice even though she did not partake in any nerdy nor geeky activities. She worked in an industry that was predominantly women. Her female friends were mostly like her, pretty, stylish, and hip. Shep, I admit, isn’t like your typical software engineer, so as a couple they didn’t seem mismatched in the slightest.

The interesting part of their relationship happened when it was after work or on the weekends. Often, Shep would be out on the town with our co-workers. We’d be having a great time at a bar or restaurant and then Shep would call Eunice to get her to drop by if she had been doing her own thing socially earlier in the evening. I distinctly remember the first time this happened. Eunice had been out with her friends and she explained to them that her boyfriend was somewhere else and she was going to see him now. She then convinced her friends to join her. I am certain she did not explain to her friends the exact situation they were about to get into.

I remember the exact moment Eunice and her friends arrived to join us. There they were, a group of beautiful young ladies, coming to join a bunch of dudes who worked in game development, mostly of the software engineering variety. Along with my keen sense of where the nearest fried chicken is, I also have a keen sense of the social awkwardness of any situation. It was at this moment, I realized this was going to be a gong show for however long these girls were going to stick around.

The girls were dressed for the bar, meaning they looked great, sexy even. Most of the dudes in our party were wearing t-shirts, some of which proclaimed a few slogans or lines from video games of various genres. The girls looked clean and fresh-faced. A few dudes had unkempt facial hair. If it weren’t for both Shep and Eunice, these two groups of people normally would not have mixed in the wild, yet here we were, some artificial force pushing together a layer of oil and water together.

Everyone that had arrived managed to get a seat but it was clear there was a divide between Eunice’s friends on one side and our twenty-sided die on our side. I could see the looks on the faces of the girls as they realized what they had gotten themselves into. The look that said, “we have gone out to have fun but we are now sitting at a bar with nerds and geeks of the highest order”. Eunice on the other hand, was fine, because she was now with Shep, so she was happy. My memory of what happened after that is a bit hazy. I believe the ladies ordered at least one round of drinks but the evening was not memorable beyond what I had just described.

The situation repeated itself perhaps two or three more times as I believe different friends of Eunice’s accompanied her to join us on various evenings out. I remember the last time I ever saw Eunice’s friends come out with her when we were around. It was a Friday night and someone had organized a huge social event at a bar for the entire gaming industry in Vancouver. So the concentration of nerds and geeks at this place was higher than normal. Eunice and her friends showed up a few hours into the event. I don’t think her friends lasted ten minutes at this thing. They took a look around the room and quickly realized this was not a normal bar crowd.

Unfortunately, Shep and Eunice aren’t dating any more so we won’t be seeing more episodes of awkwardness. It’s a shame because it became quite entertaining for me after a while.


As some of you know, the game that I was (am?) working on was canceled last week by the publisher that was funding its development. With this surprising news, it left the studio I work for with much uncertainty, especially since the game is nearly complete. Many people were concerned about the security of their jobs, as they should be, given that there was no longer any money coming in from Activision.

After almost a week off, all of us returned to work today to get an update. There was a team meeting and we were told what had transpired during the week. What I can divulge is that with a nearly complete game, there are efforts under way to see if someone else would like to publish the title. Whoever that might be, would need to obviously fund the development the rest of the way but as I said before, the game is almost done. There were no mass layoffs today and everyone is still getting paid. We are to return to work on Monday for another update.

That’s really all I have to report for now, so I guess I’ll just relax and enjoy the rest of my week.


It was Valentine’s Day today and I hope none of you were waiting for my traditional Valentine’s Day post. I’m not going to write one this year because I honestly think most of you are tired of reading about me playing video games, drinking Mountain Dew, eating Hot Pockets, and masturbating by myself. If you want to read the “classics”, just type “valentine” into the search box to the right and you’ll find what you need.

For the last three years, I had another tradition on Valentine’s Day and that was giving out cards and chocolates to the women I work with. I would usually buy cheap and cheesy Valentine’s cards that were designed for elementary school kids to give out. My favourites were the superhero-themed cards. The chocolates would be Hershey’s Kisses. On the day before VD, I would stay late at work and then distribute the cards and chocolate at the desks of the ladies. Since I work in gaming, it didn’t take very long to place all the items. It was a huge hit with all the ladies and I would get thank-yous the next day.

The tradition was broken this year for several reasons. First, I don’t even work at EA any more. Second, even though I work for another studio (for now), we were told to stay at home for the last few days so there wasn’t even an opportunity for me to hand out the goodies. Lastly, I barely know anyone on my current team so it would be just awkward if I randomly handed out cards and chocolates to women that I hadn’t even met. The tradition has ended for now but I am envisioning a day in the near future where I’m handing out Justin Bieber VD cards.