CRISIS AVERTED

Despite my very real fears that there would be no SkyTrain service today, a deal was brokered this morning at 5am. I woke up and heard the faint sounds of a train in the distance. That was my first indication that the trains would be running. Because the deal was reached in the eleventh hour, service was actually delayed from it’s normal start up time. By my calculations, service started at least an hour later than usual. It’s quite possible for some people that rely on the first set of trains in the morning, they were late for wherever they needed to be. Of course, by the time I left for work, it was business as usual.

I wonder how many years there will be labour peace for the last two unions before this stuff rears its head again?

DOH

Less than two weeks after a bus strike was narrowly avoided, the union representing SkyTrain workers has issued a strike notice. Unless labour talks change this, trains will not run on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. While my commute entails using the train and the bus, I would argue not having the trains running is worse than if the buses weren’t running.

The capacity of the train system far exceeds the bus network. Those who usually take the train will now look for bus routes to get them where they need to be. Even with increased service, the buses can’t make up for extra demand. In some cases, bus routes were eliminated once the SkyTrain was built, since the trains were faster and were more frequent. So for some people, a bus route won’t even be there for them.

From a personal standpoint, I can take a bus that will get me pretty much to work, with a 15 minute walk the rest of the way. I can wait for another bus which will made that walk just a quick 5 minute ride. All told, a bus only commute will add about 20 minutes to my normal train and bus commute. That’s actually not bad considering they are people whose commutes could double or triple or not even be possible with just buses.

I am hoping that a last minute agreement will be reached on Monday because it will be chaos on the bus system otherwise.

HOLIDAY CHEER

It was the Motive Vancouver holiday party this evening. There were was food, fun, drinks, raffle prizes (which I did not win), and general merriment. While I had a great time downtown, I still have to go into work tomorrow. Since I’m on FIFA now, it was just a regular evening for my new co-workers, so I gotta drag my ass into work tomorrow. It doesn’t help that nearly all of them are early riser keeners who get to work at 9am or before.

I need to get to bed.

LONG WEEK

I thought it was going to Thursday tomorrow. When it occurred to me it’s only going to be Wednesday, I got the distinct feeling this week is dragging on. I then realized why. For the last two months or so, I’ve been working from home on Mondays, so after two work days where I’m actually at the studio, it’s usually Thursday. Well, I joined the FIFA team on Monday and I can’t work from home anymore. 🙁

I’ve only been there two days but it seems like a whole week by now. Tomorrow is just hump day! When do the holidays start? Not soon enough is the answer!

SIR PATRICK STEWART

In my many years of being a game developer, I’ve had a lot of trailers come out for the games I’ve worked on. Up until today, none have been narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart. Since I’m super low on the totem pole, this came as a total surprise to me when a new trailer dropped in the morning and there was Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice saying silly things about our game.

I don’t want to know how much money EA paid him to do this gig, I’m just very pleased I worked on something he lent a voice to, even if it was just a trailer.

COONSKIN CAP

When I was at Disneyland, I saw so many people who had bought Disney gear from the stores inside. People really get into the whole Disney thing, buying t-shirts, hats, jewelry, toys, pretty much anything you could brand with Disney, they sell, and people buy.

The mouse ears headband must be in the top three in terms of sales. I didn’t think those things are my style but at the same time, I wanted to bring something back that would be a reminder of my trip. I was at the Frontierland portion of the park, in one of the stores, when I happened upon a replica coonskin cap. These caps were all the rage in the 50s, when the Davy Crockett TV show was on the air. So many little boys had one at the time. I have never seen the show, nor am I a big wilderness fashionista but the coonskin cap was relatively cheap at $15 (the mouse ears are at least $25!) and it’s really unique looking.

I didn’t realize it until I brought it home but this cap also has value beyond its novelty. When I arrived back in Vancouver, I discovered the temperatures had dropped considerably since I left. It was below freezing at night now. With my refusal to turn on the heat for any lengthy period of time, I was chilled to my bones. As an experiment, I put the coonskin cap on and to my surprise, it keeps me rather warm. It makes an appreciable difference in how much it keeps the heat in. I wear it at home on most nights now and I kinda wish it would make a comeback fashion-wise.

CARRY ON

I had dinner with two friends this evening and I took the train home. When I arrived at my station, I got off the train car, and I was greeted with a most peculiar sight. Amongst the many people who had also stopped off at this station was a man who had bought a TV. How do I know he had just bought a TV? Because he was trying to carry a 58″ Samsung TV, in the box, all the way home.

The box was massive and he was trying to balance it on his shoulders but with the size and weight of the box, he had to awkwardly tilt his head to one side. He seemed to not really know what to do next after getting off the train. He had brought the TV box past the fare gates. He went one way towards one end of the station, stopped, and then put the box down. He then picked up the box again, went the other way and stopped once more. I think he was trying to figure out the best way to get the TV down to street level. There are two sets of stairs and two elevators to choose from but it seemed like he wasn’t sure which option was the best.

It was really cold this evening, so I couldn’t watch him make up his mind, so I kept on going so I could warm up at home. Seeing a man trying to bring home a large 58″ TV, still in the box, using public transit brought up a lot of questions for me. Was this a planned purchase? Or did he happen upon a Black Friday sale and did an impulse buy? Was public transit the only option to get the TV home? Could he not afford, say a taxi home? Most people that can afford a brand new 58″ TV can probably also afford a few more dollars to take the TV home in taxi.

I hope that the man with the new TV got it home safely and is enjoying as you read this.

CRISIS AVERTED

I have returned from vacation and was about to steel myself for a bus strike but it seems that labour talks have proved to be fruitful. In the last hour, the strike has been called off. Had it not been, there would have been three days of no bus service, starting with Wednesday. I know lots of people were scrambling to make alternative solutions to get to work.

Even though I have a car, it’s kinda on its last legs and I would have preferred to not put commuting miles on it. I was prepared to make a 30 minute walk from the train station to work but that won’t be necessary anymore. I am pleased.

Over the next few weeks I’ll also write about my trip to Anaheim. Yes, I did go to Disneyland.