Since I was a small child, I’ve heard those grown-up adult types say playing video games all day will get you nowhere in life. That’s actually kind of true. If I had sat on my ass and did nothing but play video games through most of high school and university, I wouldn’t have the skills today that allows me to make video games for living. Wait, what was the reason for this post?

Ok, while video games in moderation is good, playing games can also lead to exploration of new ideas and concepts. For example, I have been playing a game called Far Cry 2 on the PC. The game takes place in Africa, where the setting ranges from swampland, marshes, grasslands, and even desert areas. The game is unique in that the player character, the dude you control is afflicted with malaria early on in the game. Traditionally, most players usually have to deal with more less exotic threats to them, namely bullets and/or zombie bites. I can’t remember the last time a high-profile game featured a decidely real-world disease. The symptoms of malaria affect the player every sixty to ninety minutes of game play, though it’s hard to tell what timetable the game is using.

Because of the inclusion of malaria in the game, I decided to read up on malaria to see I could predict what might happen to my character before the end of the game. Since I was in elementary school I always thought malaria was an affliction that you could only get in equatorial places that were hot and humid. After reading up on the disease, I discovered that wasn’t and isn’t always the case. For example, malaria was common in North America and Europe until mosquito eradication techniques in the early 20th century basically wiped out the disease in those areas. It is interesting to note that North America sees a handful of rare malaria cases each year.

Of interest as well is the history of the parasite that causes malaria. Scientists believe it may existed before even humanity did and has plagued us for nearly our entire history. The malaria causing parasite has affected humans so much, it’s believed it put enormous evolutionary pressure on our species. For example, the development of sickle-cell disease in certain people is thought to because of evolutionary response to malaria. Those with sickle-cell disease are far less likely to develop clinical malaria.

In 1976, the first continuous malaria culture was developed, allowing scientists to study malaria in a much easier manner. Unfortunately, still no vaccine exists at the moment. The bad news continues in that drug resistant strains of malaria are appearing all over the world.

I learned all of that just because of a video game.


I had a new bed delivered today. I’m still not sure what was going through my head when I went mattress shopping in late February. The original bed I purchased from Sleep Country Canada was way too firm for my liking. It lead to many nights of less than satisfying sleep. It was so bad, I’d get up and my shoulders and hip areas would be numb from having the circulation being cut off (I’m a side sleeper). The mattress was indeed way too firm.

Stupidly, I let the sixty night comfort guarantee expire. I went back to the store anyways and was ready to beg the salesperson for an exchange. Luckily, that was not needed. He just told me to phone the regional office to get a guarantee extension. I did just that and was able to select a new bed. Not only was I given an extension, I was given a 30 day extension. The dude who was doing my sale said I could spent four weeks picking out a new bed if I wanted.

I didn’t really want to wait that long. I basically told him to show me the softest mattress in the store and we’d go from there. I eventually selected a mattress that felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls compared to the granite slab I had originally.

The delivery went without a hitch this morning and now I actually have something where I could get a decent night of sleep. Sleep Country Canada didn’t have to give me the exchange extension but they did anyways. So at least in my books, Sleep Country Canada is ok in my books.


Until tonight, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, you’d have to go back to 1971 when a road team won game seven in the finals.

In another parallel universe, you’d only have to go back to 1994.


On some days when I look at my Facebook feed, all I see are people answering quizzes and tests, varying from “How well do you know my vagina?” to “What kind of potato are you?”

Perhaps I’m getting all old and crusty but I refuse to click on any of those things myself. Part of the reason is that I try to keep the number of apps installed on Stalkerbook Facebook to a minimum. The other part is that most of those quizzes are poorly written. Most of them on Facebook have just been ported over from web-based quizzes that were quite popular many eons ago from 2005. The authors would generally skew the results so that if you just once gave a chicken a “reach around”, Linus would be the Peanuts character you resemble the most.

Please, let’s all get back to the basics. Why can’t we just continue to post pictures of drunken outings like we all did before?


About two weeks ago, I got my assessment for property taxes. I’ve never had to pay property taxes until this month. Lucky for me, we have this “grant” program here in B.C. that knocked my taxes down a few hundred dollars. Still, it’s a lot of money for something I never used to think about. To make it worthwhile, I better go to the local community centre, take grade five at the closest elementary school, and get a tour of city hall.


So today was the second Tuesday working out in Burnaby. One of the things myself and another co-worker have discussed previously was the lack of nearby KFC locations when we worked downtown. Knowing we were going to the ‘burbs, we talked about being closer to KFC locations. In fact, where we work, we have nearby locations at Metrotown, Brentwood Mall, and on Kingsway by NCIX.

We were both looking forward to partaking in “Toonie Tuesdays“. This is a KFC promotion where just over $2 gets you two pieces of chicken and an order of fries. We thought it was too soon to go last Tuesday. Today, we almost pulled the trigger on our first “Toonie Tuesday”. Unfortunately, I was already starving and opted to the cafeteria instead. I had the tuna steak, which tasted great but left me with a queasy stomach afterwards.

I’m almost certain that next Tuesday I’ll be ordering two “Toonie Tuesday” specials.


So last week was the first full week that the skate team spent working out in Burnaby. After the first week, here are my thoughts.

First, I get the feeling everyone is getting a handle on the commute. No one is really late and I haven’t heard too many complaints, except about the lack of signage in the underground parkade. Personally, having the shuttle bus run from the Skytrain station right to EA has made my commute much easier. I’d always have trouble getting into the studio before 10am. Now, I’m always there at 10am or before.

Food-wise, I’m still getting used to the cafeteria. There’s a plethora of choices every day. In fact, if you count the smaller cafe in Phase II, there’s actually two places to get lunch on a daily basis, each with its own menu. People complain about the cafeteria but honestly, there’s so much to choose from every single day. Last week, I went out three times for lunch. Once for pho, at the exact same location I used to get pho when I was a games tester. It was surreal and a bit of deja vu at the same time. As if it was a previous life that I had lived. I also lunched at Swiss Chalet just off the Lougheed Highway. Man, I love me some Chalet chicken. It was so good. The lunch outing consisted of Sushi Town out on Hastings Street. I heard so many good things about it but it turned out to be a real disappointment. The service is bad, the tea was cold, and food was pedestrian. I admit it appears they give you a large portion of sashimi when you order it but that’s the only positive I could find.

Back at the studio, we’re still working out the minor details in our space. Our Flavia drink machines didn’t come over with us, so it sucks not having our usual selection of teas and coffees. We do have a Starbucks coffee machine, that is until it broke after the second day. So now on the entire floor, there’s no where to get coffee or a decent cup of warm water.

It’s a bit of a longer walk now to the washrooms and kitchen areas. What I don’t like is having to walk behind people’s desks to get to those places. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to do it. On our old floor, there was a continuous ring that was a common walk space. There was always a wall to separate the foot traffic from people working nearby. This isn’t the case now, so I try to walk as far away from the desks as possible to give as much privacy as I can. This won’t change and I feel really lucky no one can constantly look at what I’m doing on my computer.

The last team from Black Box is moving this coming weekend. Once that happens, we’ll all be one big happy family again. From there, I hope our little studio can once again define our unique culture.



Tonight, I was ready to present my treatise on the political and economic situation in the Middle East but darn it, I’m just too tired to give the effort it requires. Instead, please enjoy the video above of kittens playing.


Just for comparison, the two photos above represent where I used to work (top) versus where I now currently work (bottom). The placement of the arrowhead in the second picture is pretty accurate. I may only be off by one or two windows.

You can also see the previous location was pretty urban with some understandably spectacular water views. The current location has a very suburban feel to it. It’s very weird to see so many trees when I look outside now.

Check out the areas yourself:




So this evening I’m standing in line to pay at a London Drugs store. Directly in front of me is a dude about 14 years old, give or take some face peach fuzz. Ahead of him is another dude, about 40 years old.

Forty is putting down his items for the cashier to scan. He only has a few things. He then puts down his last item, which just happens to be the June 2009 issue of Penthouse magazine. Trust me that it was the June issue, I did a lot of Internet research after I got home. Anyways, the clerk sees forty slap down the Penthouse and in a blink of an eye, the clerk picks it up, scans it, and places it into a bag. I guess he was trying to spare forty some embarrassment and probably didn’t want to expose the kid to actual printed porn. Forty paid and he was off.

I can’t remember the last time I saw someone buy actual porn at a store. Who’s buying porn mags these days? With the advent of the Internet, having to pull your pants up from your ankles, and going to store isn’t required any more to get your porn fix. Maybe forty was moved to kick it old school for once. I can appreciate that. As far as magazines go, Penthouse is a solid choice (or so I have been told). Or perhaps he’s going to a place that doesn’t have Internet access. Another reason could be that he needs a skin mag for a prank of some sorts.

In any case, I hope he enjoyed looking over Pet of the Month Kagney Linn Karter.