My friend Garrett and I have maintained a friendship over sixteen years. We first met each other on a very important day in both of our lives, the same day we both started our careers in the games industry as QA testers. He eventually transitioned into being a UI artist and now I’m a software engineer but the roots of our friendship started in the lobby of EA campus in Burnaby.

Now when I returned to EA last year, Garrett was already working there but on the NHL team. He eventually joined the PvZ team late in the project. That was so cool! It was the first time in sixteen years we were on the same team, since we were both testing NHL on the PlayStation. He moved into the UI artist area, which was not really that close to where I sat but still close enough that I could visit.

I left to go on my awesome travel-filled four-month vacation soon afterwards though. When I returned, I discovered that they put my new desk right next to Garrett! So since the beginning of June, we’ve had the pleasure of sitting next to each other at work. It’s genuinely great to sit next to a real friend at work. It’s easy to talk to each other and go on coffee breaks together.

Unfortunately, we have a team move coming up and some people needed to move early, including Garrett. He had to pack his stuff today and move like twenty feet in another direction to another cluster of cubicles. Twenty feet might not seem like far but it might have been in another building. I was honestly a bit sad when I looked over to his empty desk.

I’ll be moving desks next week too. I’ll be on the other side of one of Garrett’s cubicle walls. We’ll be close but now we’ll have that wall between us. There will be a physical wall but there will never be a wall in our friendship.


I totally understand that living in a modern, large city comes with both conveniences and inconveniences. I sure enjoy the conveniences but man, some of the inconveniences can drive you crazy. One such thing is construction.

I’ve been fairly lucky where I live because in the last six years or so I’ve dealt with very little construction noise. When I first moved in, the two other towers on my block were already well underway in terms of development. In the intervening years, my block has been quiet. That all changed about two weeks ago.

There’s been an empty lot next to my building for years. The developer who built my apartment building has been trying to get city council approval to build on that land for years. It’s taken years because said developer had no clue what the hell they were doing. They finally got approval this year and they’re starting building what undoubtedly be an ugly blight on this street.

Anyways, there’s nothing I can do about the construction. I’m not sure if you’re aware of how large and tall apartment towers are built but it starts with the foundation, specifically pile driving supports. This rhythmic action is loud and disruptive and they start as early as 7am at times. It’s loud enough to be heard almost twenty blocks away and I live right next to the site.

I estimate I’m woken up anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half early everyday now. It sucks but there’s not much I can do. The construction company is working within the city by-laws for construction times. I make sure that most of my windows are almost completely closed before I go to bed. That helps a lot but this type of noise cannot be totally shut out, even with all your windows closed.

The only solace that I can take from this is that the pile driving stage of construction won’t last forever. I expect this to go on for a few more weeks and that will be the loudest part of the construction hopefully. That’s not to say it will be completely silent at that point. The rest of the building will have to completed and you can just imagine the noise that will come from pouring concrete and everything else that goes into making a tall glass tower.

My hope is that the building will be finished within a year. Then I get to deal with the increased traffic on this street!


I can think of at least two things I did wrong this evening. The first problem involved me taking a one hour nap and waking up at 10:30am. At around 9:30pm I felt really tired, so much so that I almost fell asleep while playing a video game. I decided to let my body do what it wanted, so I crawled into bed and fell asleep. I had intended to only nap for about 20 minutes or so. How I was going to accomplish that without setting an alarm escapes me at the moment. I woke up at 10:30pm, feeling both refreshed and disappointed at the same time. Now I’d be even more awake than usual before bedtime. This problem can be solved with a sleeping pill but my second mistake requires something else.

Since I had a simple salad for dinner tonight at 7pm, I knew I was going to be hungry later. Sure enough I was but rather than eat again at say 11pm, I didn’t get around to heating up some leftovers until close to 1am. I ate a significant amount of food really late and quite close to my bed time. Some people can eat and then go to sleep right away. Perhaps I could have done that when I was much younger but I can’t now. If I do that, I get terrible heartburn during the night. So the solution is to just wait, stay vertical, and let my digestive system do some work before I lie down for the night. It’s almost 2:30am now, so I think I’ll be ok now. Sure, it’s super late for a school night but I can wake up past 9am and still get to work on time.


The highlight of my weekend was buying a new band for my watch. This particular watch was one I bought in Hawaii in April. I liked the look of the watch but I knew the leather band was going to be a problem.

Leather watch straps for the most part aren’t resistant against moisture. Moisture from washing your hands, sweat, or anything in involving liquids can ruin a leather strap. Even if it dries out, the strap can retain the smell of whatever liquid got on it. The strap can also start to smell moldy after a while.

I knew I was going to replace the strap with a synthetic one eventually but I was waiting to see how long it would before it became a problem. Well, it became a problem about two weeks ago. I guess the summer weather made the strap start to stink. I’m not even sure why they make that type of strap that retains all that moisture.

Anyways, I went to the Swatch store and replaced it with a silicone one. It’s awesome. It’s light and thinner than the leather one. It will obviously be water-proof and much easier to clean.

Well, next weekend needs to be way more exciting.


As part of his shows in San Diego for Comic-Con, Conan visited Ironhead Studio, a practical special effects firm specializing in superhero costumes and suits. They’ve done amazing work for both Marvel and DC, including Batman vs. Superman.

Conan went to see what goes into making such a suit. I don’t want to spoil it but he gets fitted for his own Conan-style suit and it looks phenomenal. Seriously, it looks amazing. Part of the awesomeness is that it’s not plainly obvious if his physique is enhanced by the suit or not. Part of you thinks those aren’t really his muscles but then again, it looks like it could be. If I were him, I’d wear that all the time going forward.


On Monday, Stephen Colbert returned as his character Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report for the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Every four years, I wonder how is it possible that I hear even more hatred, fear-mongering, and Bible-thumping compared to the last convention, yet right-wing Americans dig deep and find the strength to hold back humanity again. One might even be able to laugh at this if the stakes weren’t so high.


One of the perks of returning to EA as a regular, full-time employee is the game console credit. This perk is not new as I believe it’s something they were offering almost twenty years ago. It used to be a one-time $100 credit towards the purchase of a new game console. It was literally a one-time thing though. If you bought a Sony PS2 in 2002 and used up your credit, you’d be on your own paying for any new consoles years later. As consoles came out in subsequent generations, long-tenured employees complained it kinda sucked that they had just one credit.

EA changed their mind and now all regular employees (even those who used their original credit) have another credit to use towards the purchase of a new console. The credit is even adjusted based on your country of residence. Due the variation in console pricing between regions and the strength of a country’s currency, consoles can be much more expensive in certain countries. I believe for US employees, the credit stands at $100 USD for but Canadian employees, it’s $150. The credit also had a time limit. It has to be used within six months of your start date. For me, I’d have to buy a new console by December 6.

Getting $150 off an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 is a great deal. The interesting thing is, I’m not even sure if I really want either of those. I loved my Xbox 360 but neither of the current consoles have had me running to the store. If had to choose though, I’d easily choose the PlayStation 4. I’m slightly biased because I’ve had a chance to develop at least one game on either platform. Microsoft made the Xbox 360 a joy to develop for, especially compared to the PS3. Microsoft took all of that good stuff and threw it out the window. Making a game for the Xbox One is a pain compared to the PS4. Sony learned from all their mistakes on the PS3 and now the PS4 tools work really well.

So why don’t I just go with the PS4? It would be that simple, except that there is more powerful PlayStation 4 coming out sometime in the next six months or so. Therein lies the problem. The Playstation Neo is definitely coming out but the release date hasn’t been confirmed. Some people say it will be out sometime in 2016 but that’s not a given. I don’t want to be in a situation where I buy the current PS4 model and then see the beefier model in the stores the next week. Why does the increased horsepower matter? At E3, earlier in June, I read that the faster PS4 was designed in part, to properly power the PlayStation VR headset. Though this might be just hearsay, it’s been speculated that the current PS4 model is not powerful enough to truly give a proper VR experience. If I were to get a PS4, I would also be interested in getting the PlayStation VR headset.

So do I wait and hope the Neo comes out before December 6? And if it doesn’t, do I spent my credit on the slower PS4?

Of course, this is a completely silly problem to have, worrying about applying a credit on piece of consumer technology designed to entertain. The other option is to just wait. Time is the ultimate discounter. In late 2013, the Xbox One was $500 at launch and now you can get it for less than $350 in some places.

This is another of those first-world problems that most other people would love to have. Will there be a PlayStation 4 in my living room before December 6? I’ll keep you posted.


The 2016 Republican National Convention is taking place this week in Cleveland. So far, it’s been an absolute mess and about one “hail victory” away from being a Nazi rally. The convention is a focal point and magnet for of the worst kinds of people who call themselves Americans.

This farce though is a goldmine for political commentators and comedians. Stephen Colbert was or still is at the convention but in the form of “Caesar Flickerman”, one of the characters from The Hunger Games. I know that Triumph is also at the convention! Can’t wait to see his stuff too!


For the last two weeks I’ve done my best to eat healthy every single day. For lunches at work, I have the same old boring salad with boiled chicken breast, walnut pieces, dried cranberries, and a strawberry vinaigrette dressing. I avoid snacking as much as possible, with maybe an odd small cookie or two during the day. In the evenings, I have a decent dinner, reasonably low in fat and carbs.

On Friday, I was starving after work and I decided I’d earned a little bit of delicious food so I went and got a chicken burger and some fries. In the grand scheme of things, not a terrible bad meal. It tasted so good, especially after my two weeks of healthy eating. About two hours after dinner though, I felt hungry again. I heated up a PopTart, thinking it would be enough to last me until next morning. An hour after I ate the PopTart, I was hungry again. This time, I decided to heat up a can of soup. I felt like there was a deep-rooted hunger in me that just wanted to keep eating.

I went to bed without eating anything more. On Saturday morning, I woke about 11am. I had a dentist appointment at 12:30pm, so I decided to have another PopTart for breakfast. I was thinking it would be enough until I could get some lunch after the visit to the dentist. I left the dentist office at about 1:30pm and I was almost shaking with hunger at that point. I was so hungry. I immediately went to the pizza place two doors down and got two slices of pizza and brought it back up to my place. I ate both slices in quick order but it felt like it barely dented my hunger. I was already thinking where I could get some more food. I somehow waited another hour before heading out to get some Thai chicken wings and some rice and gai lan. I came back home with the food, ate all the wings right away and ate about half the gai lan and rice. It was only then I felt somewhat satiated.

From about dinner time Friday to about dinner time on Saturday, I felt like eating and eating some more. I’m not sure if my body detecting some sorta deficiency in my diet. I like to think I’m not deficient in protein, vitamins, or any of the really important stuff. I’d like to think that I’ve cut back on my carbs, sugar, and fats. Of course, that’s all the good stuff and maybe that’s why my body is craving it.

I’m going back to my boring salads for lunch on Monday and more sensible dinners in the evening. I wonder if I’ll get these ravenous cravings again.