GAMBLING

On the weekend I officially received 21 shares of EA stock from my latest round of participation of the employee stock purchase program. I written about my follies with the ESPP program in great detail in the past. I’ve held onto some ESPP shares too long as I’ve watched their value slide below the discounted price I bought them at. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the safe bet for these types of shares is to sell them the second the market opens after you get them. You realize your 15% gain and be happy you get that.

On Friday, I was just going to do that, sell my 21 for whatever market price I could get come Monday morning. I was going to put my order in and let the computer just execute it while I slept. On Sunday night, I changed my mind though. For the first time, I was going to be awake while the markets opened on the east coast. I wanted to see what EA’s stock price did as trading started for the day. Sure, I could have put in a limit order but what if the stock price kept going past that limit in the morning?

So far it’s been a very interesting experience. During the night, most financial web sites expected the markets to open in a negative trend, reflecting the performance of Asian markets during their Monday. This made me think that I’d probably have to sell within minutes of the markets opening as I tried to stem my losses as stocks across the board would be dropping in price. Then about an hour before the market opened, the news reversed as futures seemed to be rising ahead of the business day. Now reports indicated the stock market would be going up upon opening.

When trading began at 9:30am EST, I used an app to get real-time data on EA’s stock prices plus market indices. The initial bit of data I got showed everything in the red as stuff dropped for about five minutes. It didn’t go down by much though, so I decided not to panic. Then as the reports predicted, the market began to rise but not by much as well.

Trading began about 30 minutes ago and EA’s stock opened at $64.45. The latest real-time quote I have has it at $64.90. So in this very particular case, I was right not to sell it at soon as the markets opened. The problem remains, I’m still not sure what to do with it.

I’m tired and want to go to sleep. Here are my options. I can just go to bed and just let it ride. When I wake up I can figure out what happened. The price could drop $5 while I sleep… but it could also rise $2. Or I could put a limit order in. I can go to bed knowing if the price reaches my limit, the order will execute automatically. The question remains then, what do I put in for the limit price? $65? $65.25? $66? Those higher numbers fall on the greedy side, so the chances of the price getting there today are probably pretty low. A limit order also won’t protect me against a massive price drop. If I put in a limit order of $66 and while I sleep the stock drops to $50, there’s nothing I can do about that.

Ok, I’m going to bed. I reserve the right to make an order from my bed while using my phone. Wish me luck.

DEADPOOL

I saw Deadpool today in a weekday afternoon matinée. Beside myself and my other unemployed friend, there were about three other people in the theatre. I’ve said it before and I’ll write it again, the empty midweek afternoon matinée is one of the best benefits of not getting a paycheque.

The movie is fantastic and I enjoyed myself immensely. I know the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies try to be humorous but Deadpool is on another level of funny. As the title character is allowed to break the fourth wall, the jokes that are made at the expense of other Marvel characters and indeed real-life actors, really made the movie for me. It also earned its R-rating, though it was technically 14A in British Columbia. The violence wasn’t necessarily gratuitous but it was necessary to tell this particular story.

I also enjoyed it for its many layers of local flavour. The movie was shot in Vancouver and I was delighted to see many parts of the city that I frequently hang out in, namely the Georgia viaduct, Chinatown, and the No. 5 Orange strip club. There was also a huge shout out to Regina, Saskatchewan where apparently Wade Wilson hails from. That makes two huge Fox characters Canadian, the other one being Wolverine. Last but not least, Ryan Reynolds was born and raised in Vancouver, so for him to come home to shoot this movie that meant so much to him was great. You can almost see his happiness come off the screen. Reynolds and I are almost the same age, so many of the 80s and 90s pop culture references he put into the movie really resonated with me. From the Juice Newton song in the title sequence to the obscure Bernadette Peters reference later on, it hit the right notes for me.

Deadpool is definitely not a film for everyone but for this kid, it was awesome.

TV ON THE GO

Several years ago I cancelled my cable TV subscription and in the process saved myself several hundreds of dollars a year. I got myself a TV antenna and used it to get about ten over-the-air HD channels. For the TV shows that don’t come over-the-air, I’ve used torrents to just download them. The only real weakness going without cable is live sports. For the first couple of years, there was very little to solve this. Within the last year though, things have gotten better. There are now high-quality live streams of hockey games that require no subscriptions nor fees. These streams of course are illegal for the streamer though. Sometimes streams for the particular game you’re looking for are not available.

Tonight, I discovered a more reliable way to watch sports. My parents still have a cable TV subscription as my father likes watching live soccer and both my parents enjoy watching Chinese language specialty channels. For their level of technical savvy, having cable still makes sense. Their cable provider recently launched a new app that allows subscribers to watch live TV and shows on demand on their mobile devices. Though my mother has a smartphone, my mother has no use for this app. As such, I decided to download the app myself and logged in using their credentials. I discovered the app itself is pretty slick. The live TV channel line-up is dependent on your cable package. Since my parents have a very basic package, the app’s line-up wasn’t very extensive. Several of the channels overlapped what I already get from over-the-air. Out of the 19 available channels, 14 I don’t get through the antenna.

The key channels for me are the four sports channels I get access to: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1, and TSN 2. Having those ensures whatever hockey I want to watch, mainly Canucks games, is available to me in high-definition. For sports highlights, I prefer TSN so it’s nice to have access to Sportscentre again.

The app also lets you watch TV shows on demand. The list of available shows is again dependent on the subscribed cable package. Since my parents have a basic one, the shows basically come from the main broadcast networks. So the app doesn’t let me have access to the some of the more popular shows on HBO and AMC. For some of the shows that are available, there are even restrictions on that. Depending on the agreement the cable provider signed with the content creator, you might be only able to stream on demand the last three episodes from a show. This might be ok if you’ve been following a show from the get-go but not great if you were looking to watch from the beginning. In this sense, torrents are still offer more flexibility.

This app should allow me to watch sports in a more accessible manner. I wonder if I should chip in a few dollars for my parents’ cable bill now!

DAY ONE OF FREEDOM COMPLETE

Well day one of freedom is now in the books. I woke up around 10:30am, ate some breakfast, got dressed, and headed downtown to meet with a friend for lunch. Man, do I miss being downtown during a weekday. I love the sights, sounds, and the energy of being downtown.

Anyways, the friend I met with still works at one of the studios downtown that I used to work with. I stopped by to say hello to a few others there and then we headed to Fish Shack for lunch. It’s one of the places I used to patronize for lunch when I worked in Yaletown. I love seafood so this was natural choice for my first freedom lunch. After eating, my friend had to go back to work but I didn’t so I took a leisurely stroll down Granville towards the water. I made a quick jaunt along the seawall. The afternoon was beautiful as the sun was out. As I gazed across the water, I briefly thought about my co-workers who were at their desks, fixing bugs.

I returned home before the rush hour started. By this time, I felt like an afternoon snack so I heated up a Pop-Tart and ate it. I was also feeling pretty tired as well so I took a nap. I love naps. When I woke up it was well past 6pm so dinner was on my mind. The local poutine place downstairs has 50% off poutine on Mondays so I decided it was time to try out a new poutine, if even it wasn’t the healthiest thing to have. I wound up getting a buffalo chicken poutine. It’s basically chicken strips tossed in Frank’s Red Hot sauce with poutine. It was so good.

I spent the rest of the evening gathering my documents for filing my tax return and also watching some TV torrents from the weekend.

I’m pretty pleased with how day one went and the great thing is, tomorrow is another day of freedom!

FIRST DAY OF FREEDOM

On Friday I handed in my badge and left work a free man. Unlike some jobs I’ve left, I did not feel like a great weight had been lifted from shoulders as I walked out the doors. I suppose that’s a good sign. For the most part, it was an enjoyable year where I learned a lot and expanded my breadth of knowledge into new areas. Having said, I am very much looking forward to some time off.

This weekend felt very normal to me, just like any other weekend really. It will be tomorrow when it kicks in that I don’t have to be at work. I’ve turned off my work alarm and the only thing I have to do tomorrow is to meet a friend for lunch. Tomorrow is the first of what I hope to be some amazing times!

LAST DAY!

Tomorrow is the last day of my contract! Like any last day of work, it’s going to be a bit of a write-off though I actually have a bug I’m still working on. It’s a fairly serious one too so I would like to, at the very least, discover the cause of it. That way, if I have to hand off the work to someone, I can explain what’s wrong.

Over the last few days I’ve been bringing home the stuff I have at work. There wasn’t a whole lot there really. I had a hoodie, some desk toys, a Tupperware container, some cold medicine (I got sick twice around Christmas), a box of orange pekoe tea, a novelty ball cap, and some candy. I have a pair of powder blue slippers that I wear while I’m at the studio but I’m going to throw those into the garbage at the end of the day. While comfy, they’ve served their purpose and I’d rather not have to bring them home.

I will be an upstanding citizen and attempt to clean my desk before I vacate the premises. I sit in a pretty good spot, so I know people will be hankering to take my desk. I don’t want them to move all their crap over to find out I left it a mess. For example, I just made a new stain on my desk when some of the sauce from today’s pork roast lunch took an unexpected excursion.

Anyways, I’m a free man after tomorrow! I can’t wait!

GAME IS LIVE

The game that I’ve toiled on for a year is now live. Subscribers to EA Access and Origin Access now have access to their limited time trial for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

By my count this is the ninth game I’ve worked on that actually has made it to consumers. I really want to get to double digits. Anyways, as with any game release, I’m slightly nervous about how gamers will receive it. So far, the reviews have been good, probably one of the best reviewed games I’ve had the chance to work on since skate.

Though it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I spent some time looking at various parts of the Internet tonight and the game is crashing for some people in various areas. That is not good. In a very specific case, it seems to crash 100%. Yikes. I’ll be discussing this with my co-workers tomorrow.

Anyways, I’m super proud of all the hard work I put into Garden Warfare 2. I hope everyone has a blast playing it!

CONAN IN SOUTH KOREA

This week Conan O’Brien travelled to South Korea to film some material for his show. Just a few months ago, he visited Armenia with his assistant Sona where her family hails from. That trip was extremely successful as he filmed a lot of good material while there. Conan decided to visit South Korea because a fan from that country sent him a nice letter and some Korean snacks. Many people have said Conan’s comedic strength comes from his remotes, which might explain the two major trips in less than twelve months.

Conan took several of his staff with him this time, not just Sona, including Aaron Bleyaert, he of the Clueless Gamer fame. From what I’ve read Conan’s show actually isn’t broadcast on any South Korean channels at all. Yet one would find that hard to believe given the reception he was given at the airport when he arrived. In the video above, it appears that hundreds of people showed up to meet Conan, along with South Korean media. It’s the type of reception reserved for rock stars, not a talk show host that has a show that doesn’t even air in that country. From what I’ve read, Conan gained his popularity through the Internet where clips from his shows have been put on YouTube and the like, sometimes with Korean subtitles.

We often hear the Internet has changed the world but here’s another example of that. It’s a shame that the success of Conan’s show is only measured by the now antiquated method of “TV viewer ratings”. Do those ratings take into account what you see above? I don’t think so.

LAST WEEK!

I’m into my last week of my contract at work. It’s been almost a year since I started working back in Burnaby. Hilariously, this is the longest I’ve continuously worked since I left EA in the first place back in late 2010. For the most part though, that’s been my choosing. I enjoy having extended periods of time off.

As for the immediate future, I am planning of getting lots of rest after next week. I already have a list of things I want to do and people to see. I am so looking forward to getting up at noon everyday!