I wonder if it would vex my high school English teachers if they knew that in adulthood, I would mostly read books about vampires and zombies. For every sonnet or play from Shakespeare we analyzed, I would go on to read three books about a world-wide apocalypse brought upon by the undead.

The current book I’m reading is entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The book is written as a biography of the 16th President of the United States. The biography, however, is fictional (I think) because it includes the fantastical notion that Lincoln was one of the greatest vampire hunters the world has seen. Lincoln’s life is told from the time is he a little boy right on through to his untimely demise. The book purports that he kept journals which recorded his most personal thoughts and his most vicious actions against vampires.

I have been quite taken by the book and I’ve had little time to put it down. I’m about half way through it and I wonder how his last days will be interpreted within the vampire theme. I am also been left in a curious mood about Lincoln. Since the author has mixed in authentic details about the President’s life with his own fictional accounts, there are some items that I cannot determine if are historically correct or not (excepting the parts where Lincoln vanquishes the undead). I am almost positive that when I finish this book, I will read up on Lincoln’s life in great detail, as to determine what his life was really like. Before this, I only knew Lincoln as the man who freed the slaves in the US and that he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. You know what’s odd? The Lincoln and vampire connection is never mentioned in National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I guess Nic Cage’s character didn’t dig deep enough.

In any case, if you’re into that type of stuff, I definitely recommend the book. It’s fascinating to discover how Lincoln balanced being a father, husband, lawyer, and ultimately President, with staking vampires in the chest.


Well, with Wednesday officially being my last day as an employee of Black Box, I have started enjoying my time as a lazy bum. I have no where to be tomorrow, which is why I’m writing this at 4am in the morning. I’m just gonna sleep in and see what the day brings. Being laid off sure has its negatives but I think you have to look at where you can scrabble together some positives as well.

By the time I wake up tomorrow, some of you will have already been at work for four hours. I think that’s kinda awesome.


At beginning of March, I sent my Samsung Blu-ray player in for repair as I was encountering frequent stuttering during playback. The repair process took about two weeks and I had the player shipped to my workplace as there was no one at my apartment to receive the package.

The box, with the player in it, has been sitting underneath my desk for almost two weeks now. I didn’t want to take it home on the bus and Skytrain with me. I waited until I had time to borrow a car so I could drive it back home. With the unfortunate circumstances with me being laid off, it took me until this weekend to have enough time to borrow my father’s car to bring the player home. Now if you’re wondering why I’m still even allowed to be at work, it’s because everyone who got booted technically is employed until the end of the month. No one really needs to show up but if you wanna go use your work computer to update your resume, that’s ok.

Anyways, so this afternoon I’m leaving my apartment building and driving up 8th Street in New West which essentially takes me straight to the studio. I get a few blocks from my apartment when the car ahead of me stops at a pedestrian crossing. At the crossing is an old lady. Instead of crossing though, she runs up to the car ahead of me. I now suspect this old lady maybe a bit crazy. Instead of stopping at the car ahead of me though, she now runs over to my car. Oh great. Why does this stuff always happen to me?

The old lady had a concerned look on her face so now I’m thinking she might need some genuine help. She’s now at my passenger window, so I open it a bit.

“I need some help, I need a ride down the block! I forgot my stuff on the bus. Please?”

My brain is trying to process what’s going on. So there’s no emergency and no one is dying. She’s all excited because she got off the bus without some of her stuff. A very, very tiny part of me thinks she’s totally blowing this out of proportion as she shouldn’t be running into traffic over some material goods. Then I see it’s raining and she’s just an old lady, in her late 50s, standing in the road. I instantly regret saying these words as soon as they leave my mouth:

“Fine. Get in.”

The old lady gets in the passenger seat. I now realize that I have a strange old lady in my car and she wants me to catch up to a bus that I can’t even see in the distance. This could go so bad in so many ways.

I tell the old lady I can’t even see the bus. She says it’s just ahead of us. I drive another block and I can now see the bus just a block ahead of us. Lucky for her, there are a quite a few stops along this route. The car ahead of us unfortunately decides to turn left though and there’s a lot of traffic coming the other way. There isn’t another lane for me to go around him though, so we wait.

The old lady tells me she forgot a bag of groceries. What the hell lady?!?!? I’m racing a bus because you forgot a single bag of groceries? I almost told her right then and there that I’d go to Safeway with her and I’d buy her new groceries. Instead, the car in front of us makes its turn and we’re off again.

Without speeding too fast, I get within three or four car lengths to the bus. Unfortunately, the light turns yellow, the bus makes it through the intersection but two cars in front me don’t, so I’m forced to stop. As we wait, the old lady mentions how it totally sucks getting old as her memory ain’t what it used to be. I also find out she just retired recently.

The light turns green again and now I’m wondering how it easy it would have been for the old lady to have a gun or something in that green purse of hers. The thought of being car-jacked by some grandma runs through my mind. Because of traffic and the head-start it had, it takes me a good five blocks before I catch up to the bus again. It’s a good thing I was going this way anyways.

I managed to get in front of the bus but now I need to figure out how to the bus to stop so that the old lady can get back on it. The plot of Speed runs quickly through my mind but nothing practical comes up. Great movie by the way. I figure I have two options: get ahead of the bus far enough so that I can I drop off the old lady at a bus stop before the bus can pass us or find any stop with someone waiting so that person forces the bus to stop (thus buying the old lady enough time to get out).

As I speed ahead of the bus, we encounter stop after stop with no one waiting. I’m still not far enough ahead of the bus to drop her off without the bus passing us. I briefly wonder what would happen if I just stopped randomly in front of the bus but that seemed dangerous. Instead, I drive on, increasing my distance from the bus. As we approach a major intersection, the old lady assures me there’s always someone waiting at the next stop. As we cross the intersection, the old lady turns out to be right. There’s a single person waiting at the next stop. There’s even a small lane that I can turn into right before the stop. This might actually work as the bus is now over a block behind me still.

I pull into the lane and stop. As the old lady hops out of the car, she thanks me profusely. I wish her good luck and say bye to her. She runs off to the bus stop next to the car. I’m forced to drive off as now there’s another car behind me. I have to circle around to get back on track and because of traffic it takes me a while to do so. When I finally get to the major intersection again, I can see the old lady crossing the road to get to the other bus stop so she can go back home the other way now. In her hand now is a single white grocery bag that she did not have before. I guess she was able to get her stuff back.

I was able to drive the rest of the way to the studio without any further incidents. By the way, my Blu-ray player works great now.


Today marks the last beer and cake I’ll be attending as a member of Black Box. For over three and a half years I’ve had the honour of drinking beer and eating cake to my heart’s content each and every Friday.

Shortly before I left my previous job to go to Black Box, I was told about the long and proud tradition of beer and cake on Friday. People said it would be one of the many perks of joining the studio. I didn’t really understand how beer and cake went together but I kept an open mind.

I remember the very first beer and cake that I went to. I had met a user interface artist named Tony who was new to the skate team as well. He’d started working at Black Box downtown just a few weeks earlier than me. He knew a few more people than I did, so he invited me up to the 19th floor patio to have some beers with everyone else.

I remember stepping onto the patio with a beer in hand. It was a beautiful summer day with bright blue skies and barely any clouds in the sky. The patio was crowded with people drinking beer and enjoying the sun. Music was playing over some outdoor speakers. Tony and I made our way to a table and sat down. As I looked over the patio railing I could see the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, Canada Place, and the surrounding waters of Burrard Inlet. It was a view that I would enjoy for countless more times after that. That first beer and cake sure was a sign I’d made the right decision as to where I wanted to work.

Since then I’ve had a chance to go to over 150 beer and cakes. Sometimes, I brought my friends to let them see where I work. Other times, I just chilled out with my co-workers after a long week at work. I even skipped out a few times, when I was just too busy or had to be elsewhere downtown on a Friday. No matter what though, a late Friday afternoon meant always meant I had somewhere to go and take it easy with the rest of the studio.

Beer and cake changed quite a bit when we moved to Burnaby. We no longer had many guests who wanted to drink free beer all the way out in Burnaby. Even the people working at Black Box seemed to have less enthusiasm for the whole event. Back in the downtown location, we’d invariably run out of beer before the end of the evening. Now in Burnaby, there’s lot of beer left over.

Tomorrow, I’ll have my last drink at Black Box and think about all the people I’ve shared a beer with over the years. Thanks everyone for having a cold one with me.


In a previous post, I wrote about my desire to run my rarely used to dishwasher, just to ensure that it remains in good working order. Since then, I’ve used it twice and I gotta admit, it’s pretty damn convenient.

The second time was less than efficient since the dishwasher only had 4 or so dirty plates, one bowl, and a few utensils to clean. I didn’t feel like cleaning them by hand however, so I went the automated route.

I wonder if this is start of something lazy.


On March 24, 2000, just months after the global Y2K disasters had ravaged the world, I registered the domain erwintang.com under my name. Every year since then I have renewed my domain for one additional year, always finding a reason to keep it.

Today marks the first decade of existence for erwintang.com. I admit I haven’t really done a whole lot with this site. I certainly value my blog and it’s really cool to have my own personal e-mail address but I’ve seen some pretty cool personal web sites out there. In hindsight, I should have really pursued that idea I had in 2002 where I would allow people to upload their videos to my web site for free so that others could watch them.

As we close the chapter on the first ten years here online, I say thanks to everyone for their support and loyalty over the last decade. I feel like I should have run some sorta contest to celebrate the occasion. I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps I’ll give away another set of promotional clothing again. I’ve been threatening to make a bunch of panties with the et.com address on it, maybe I’ll finally go through with it this time.

Thanks for being with me for the first ten years and I look forward to another ten more.


Over the last few days, several people have indicated they didn’t know I had a blog. Most of these people discovered this little dog and pony show when I did a status update on Facebook that had a link to the post I wrote about being laid off. Wow, I got laid off. As you can tell, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I had employment terminated. Writing it that way doesn’t make it any better. *sigh*

Anyways, while I always welcome new readers and hope that they continue to read, it can be interesting to think who they might be. When I first started to blog, I think maybe two or three people were kind enough to read it. That number is too small to make a blog worthwhile to write. As I met more people in grad school and the years went on, I started to pick up more readers. Even more started to read as met I people in the games industry.

As my audience widens, however, I have to be increasingly more vigilant about what I write about. When two people read my blog, I could write anything because no one was reading so there was no need to censor myself. Now, I gotta be careful not to insult anyone because I can’t be too sure who’s reading this. Last week, I could have written about so-and-so’s outfit not matching but now I can’t. A terrible loss indeed.


I just want to thank everyone who sent me kind words of support and encouragement over the last two days. The sheer number of people who have shown genuine concern for my current situation has certainly made a difficult situation that much easier to deal with.

I am in the process of discussing with HR what other teams might be interested in my services. One other team has already expressed their interest in me. I’ve met with representatives from that team from both the managerial and technical side. I am taking my time to think about the position they have offered me. I have a few days to decide.

There’s one last thing I want to discuss. Anytime there are tough changes at work like this, there can be a danger of focusing purely on yourself and ignoring others who are going through the same thing. I suppose this can be somewhat understandable but it doesn’t change the fact that over 20 other of my co-workers were affected yesterday. These are my friends and colleagues, some of whom I have worked with on three great games, spanning a four year period. Some of them weren’t offered alternative employment on another team and were laid off outright. So while I deal with my own situation, my thoughts are with them as well.

I’ll provide an update when it’s appropriate.


Well, I got laid off today. I got pulled into a meeting by my manager as soon as I stepped into the studio this morning. I was told there was a need to reduce costs at the studio and I was unfortunately one of the ones affected. I was also told it wasn’t related to my performance but I don’t entirely believe that. If I really was doing an awesome job then why was I chosen over others to leave?

Anyways, I was also informed that I had a job waiting for me on another team in the sports label. This job is for me to take or turn down, my choice. It would, however, get my out of the games label which I rather quite enjoying working in. I know very little about this new position so that’s why I’m meeting with some managers later on today. I’m going to keep an open mind about this.

New job or not, I feel very disappointed in having to leave the skate team and Black Box in general. I’ve been part of an awesome team with great people for almost four years. I’ll be missing working with those great people and that’s the toughest part of this.

I know that I have a standing offer from this new team but I have to stress I am keeping all my options open at this point. My loyal readers, if you or anyone you know has even an inkling that someone might need a software engineer to make video games, you let me know. At the very bottom of this page on right, there’s a link where you can find my e-mail address. Feel free to contact me.

Don’t worry about me in the meantime, I’m still part of the skate team until the end of the month. I’ll have a job no matter what going forward. The only question is, where will that job be?


As some of you know, I maintain a simple visitor log for this web site. The tracking service I use recently upgraded the level of information they provide to me. In particular, they have now started to provide domain resolution from IP addresses, meaning that IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX resolves to something a little bit more meaningful.

In the image above, I’ve chosen a select few to show you what I can see. The first entry isn’t a surprise, that’s probably Cam at UFG, one of this blog’s most loyal readers. If this web site ever went public with an IPO, I’d probably have to give a million shares just out of principle. It’s a shame this site will never reach that stage.

The second entry is quite interesting. Greedy Productions is actually the company that produces the local TV show The Electric Playground. That show is about video games and stars Victor Lucas, whom some of you might have seen on TV if you’re a gamer. I could let my imagination run wild and think that Lucas himself stumbled onto my blog and read it once before deciding to take a nap. Should I dare to dream? In all likelihood, it was probably someone on his staff.

The third entry is interesting because it comes from Sweden. If you see the referrer line, this person came to my web site because they explicitly typed my full name into Google. Were they actually looking for me and not some other E-dawg? Who do I know in Sweden? Some people whom I work with and know at EA were recently in Stockholm to visit DICE. Maybe it was them? I think they’ve been back for several weeks now though so the timing isn’t right. Maybe someone at DICE knows me? That would be super cool because I have much respect for the people working there.

As always, don’t be alarmed that I have these visitor logs, every single web site on the Internet does the same thing. In fact, other sites know a lot more about your surfing habits than I do.