REBRANDING

Quite unexpectedly today, the team I work on got rebranded with a new identity. The work and people remain the same but for sake of identification, I’m now part of something called Motive Vancouver. Motive was originally just a single studio in Montreal, headed up by industry vet Jade Raymond. Her business unit encapsulated our old PopCap Vancouver studio brand but apparently that is no more now. So, we’re now Motive Vancouver, even though we’re still working on the same thing as we did yesterday. Is that confusing?

COMPENSATION TIME

This week my manager had a short meeting with me to discuss my salary increase and bonus. Company-wide at EA, employees and managers have been having such meetings last week and this. It always happens this time of year.

For the most part, everyone gets a “cost of living” increase every year. In terms of percentages, think of just inflation. My increase was slightly higher, not because I was awesome or anything, just because my original salary was slightly lower to begin with. My manager is trying to make it up to me now.

As for my bonus, it was average. It wasn’t anything to write home about but also significant enough that I’m not going to complain. I chose to defer 50% of my bonus as an RRSP contribution. The rest will come in as plain old salary, which I’m taxed on of course.

If I really wanted to take home some bacon, I’d work on the FIFA team.

COOLANT UPDATE

This evening I went and bought almost four litres of engine coolant to top off the stuff that was already in my car. I poured a lot into the radiator and if I had to guess, almost half the jug went in. It was a pretty simple process and I hoped it would solve the overheating problems.

I started the car and let it idle for a few minutes. I kept my eye on the temperature gauge and everything seemed alright. It moved a bit but that was to be expected. I then decided to take a test drive. I was hoping the temperature gauge would move to about the mid-point and stay there as I drove. It takes about two or three minutes to drive down to the parkade exit and in that time, things remained ok. As I exited the parkade and drove along actual streets, the needle move closer to the mid-point as the engine got hotter. I then drove a few blocks up a hill. This is where it got bad. The needle shot past the middle and quickly approached the red zone. While my car definitely needed coolant, it was still overheating.

I had to turn on the heat full blast to get the engine temperature down before it got into the danger zone. With the heat on and the car coasting down the hill, the temperature rapidly dropped back to the mid-point. As I turned onto a flat street to drive the three blocks back to my apartment, I turned off the heat again. The temperatures zoomed up once more, so the heat had to come back on and I left it there until I could get my car parked again.

It was too dangerous to check the coolant levels after the drive but I’ll check it tomorrow evening. This problem feels like it’s beyond my capabilities at this point so I’ll have to bring it into the shop.

MECHANIC

I am not a car guy. I drive a car that is almost 25 years old. This car has been running hot lately and today, for the first time, I opened up the hood to look at the coolant levels. I did it smartly, of course, when the engine was cool. The levels were dangerously low and thus began my education on Honda Accord engine coolants. Through YouTube and the Internet, I now know how to top up the coolant.

This week, I’ll make time to get to an automotive department, probably at Walmart, buy some proper coolant, fill up the radiator, and hopefully that will stop the car from getting too hot. I’m excited!

CORD AND TISH AT THE ROYAL WEDDING

If you remember from the beginning of the year, TV personalities Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan were hosts for the annual Rose Parade in California. They were very warmly received, especially by the older generation of viewers.

They returned to televise another event, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The above video is over an hour long and I haven’t seen the entirety of it but what I have seen is pretty funny. Make sure you watch the part where Tish discusses horses with Cord.

ALARMS

My apartment building had its AGM last evening. We voted on many things, including a lobby renovation, but one of the more interesting things was a special levy for a fire alarm panel separation. Since this building was completed, the entire complex, that is, the three separate apartment buildings and the lower commercial and business spaces were all on the same fire alarm system. That means that if someone pulled the fire alarm in the pizza place downstairs, the fire alarm would ring in all three apartment buildings, even if the pizza place was separated from us through a bazillion fire walls. Over the years, this has led to countless false alarms, to the point where no one takes these alarms seriously anymore.

We’ve finally gotten to the point where the alarms will separated: for each building and for the commercial spaces. The cost of the whole operation will be a stunning $240,000 or so. This is divided amongst all the involved parties. My share will be about $250, in a one-time levy. It’s not a huge amount but it’s not small change either. This work will proceed sometime before the end of the year. After its done, if the alarm goes off, I know it’ll be for realz.

ANOTHER ESCALADE UPDATE

Escalade guy wasn’t parked in the mocap lot this morning. I’m not sure if he’s gone for good and if he is, I’m not sure we’ll get any more info about why he was there in the first place.

A friend and I saw him outside of his SUV last week, he was using a laptop and on his cell phone. He was stationed close to his vehicle though. Whatever he was doing, it required him to be near the parking lot.

I will update again if he comes back.

COCONUT BRITTLE

I just spent the last 20 minutes eating coconut brittle because it’s so damn tasty. It’s probably terrible for my teeth and the sugar can’t be that good for me either. It’s just so good. The texture is both crunchy and also chewy. The sugary parts are crunchy but the coconut pieces are chewy. It’s so fun to eat.

I’m gonna go brush my teeth now and floss.

POWER OUTAGE

Tonight was the last night I was supposed to feed my friend’s cat as he’s back tomorrow morning from his business trip. Everything had gone smoothly the previous two nights. This evening I got to the apartment a bit later than usual because I stayed late at work and didn’t leave until 7pm. I got home, decided to eat dinner first, and I may have played some PS4 for about 15 minutes. I then walked over to my friend’s place.

When I opened the door, I was greeted by the familiar meowing of the cat. I stepped in and I immediately noticed something was off. The previous night, I had left some kitchen accent lighting on so the cat could have some light to see his water and food dishes. This lighting was off now for some reason. I went over to the switches and flicked them back and forth. Nothing. Odd. I went over to the switches that controlled the living room lights and flicked them. Nothing again. Just darkness. More oddness. My friend had left a fan on in his bedroom so the cat could have some moving air. The fan was off. The microwave clock in the kitchen was off. It was now clear to me the power was off. Why?

When I entered the building, all the common area lights were on and the elevator was certainly working. Did the breakers trip somehow? I found the breaker box in the bedroom. Meanwhile, the cat wouldn’t leave me alone. He was rubbing my legs and causing me to almost trip over him as I inspected the apartment. He kept meowing as well. I noticed his wet cat food dish was empty, so he was probably really hungry. I decided to check the breaker box but afterwards, I’d have to feed the cat. I used my phone’s light to check all the breakers. They were all in the correct position.

Before opening a can of wet cat food, I texted my friend that his power was out but it was on everywhere else in the building. By phone flashlight, I then washed and refilled the cat’s wet cat food dish. I set it down and the cat immediately went for it, chowing down heartily. I refilled his water dish and then scooped more dry food into his other dish. My friend replied with some surprise. He wondered if he had remembered to pay his electricity bill. He also mentioned they usually slip a letter under his door if he forgot. I then remembered on the second night, I found a letter that had been slipped under his door. The letter was from the city.

I texted him back that he indeed did have a letter from the city. I asked if I could open it and he agreed. Upon opening the letter, I discovered it was from the utilities department. It was a notice of electrical disconnection. They had sent him two other reminders of late payment but he had not paid them. In total, he was in arrears over $400 and it would cost at least another $130 for a re-connection fee. As such, the letter went on to say he would lose his power anytime in the next day or so. It was clear they followed through. I sent a picture of the letter to my friend. He was deeply embarrassed.

I decided to stay for a few more minutes to pet the cat and give him some companionship but it was weird just sitting their in the near darkness, only illuminated by my phone’s flashlight. I left soon after, feeling a bit bad for the cat without any lights.

My friend returns tomorrow but he intends to call the city before his flight in the morning.

I was told the name of the movie would not appear on the hotel bill