In my previous post, I reported that the results of my painting endeavours was less than ideal. I couldn’t understand why the new paint was shinier that my old paint. I figured it out pretty quick. I had been fooled by the finish schedule that was provided to me by the developer. When I bought my apartment, I was given a manual for it. In it, it contained what’s a called a finish schedule which tells you what materials were used in decorating your home. That includes what kind of paint was used. In the finish schedule, it clearly stated the sheen was eggshell latex out of the many sheens you can choose from.

Eggshell is the second to last shiniest of sheens. I just assumed that’s what actually was on my walls because they don’t reflect much light at all. It turns out what they most likely used on my walls, despite what the finish schedule says, was a flat or matte sheen. A flat sheen is the least shiny of sheens and doesn’t reflect a lot of light at all. Had I known a bit more about painting, I would have been more diligent about matching the sheen as well as the colour, which was the only thing I was concerned about when I bought the paint. I just went with what the finish schedule told me. It was wrong of me to trust a piece of paper when I should have done a reality check on my own walls.

I called the paint store to figure out my options. Obviously, I’ll need to buy more paint but this time in a matte or flat finish. The good news is I was told that I don’t have to remove the old paint. I can just paint right over it without any primer. It might be helpful to sand some of the existing paint down to remove the sheen so that the new paint might not require more than one coat.

It does suck I have to redo the paint again but it’s been a learning experience for sure. I’ll also go much faster this time around since I’ve already done it once before. Let this be a painting lesson to you!


As I wrote in a previous post, I intended to finally paint over the drywall repairs in my apartment. This weekend that actually happened. Though I’ve never painted any home that I’ve lived in, the whole process went relatively smooth. I started a bit later than I had wanted on Saturday but I was still able to apply the primer coat and a single coat of paint before the end of the day. Beforehand, I envisioned several accidents, including me falling off a step ladder, spilling paint onto my carpet, having paint bleed onto the trim, kicking over a paint tray, and forgetting the ice cream on the counter. None of those things happened which surprised the hell out of me since I don’t really fancy myself as a home repair type of dude.

The one thing that did go wrong was something that I was warned about. Since I was trying to match paint with existing painted walls, there was a danger it wouldn’t exactly match. I had the best information with me as I knew that Benjamin Moore made the paint and I knew what kind it was. I even brought a small paint chip with me to the paint store so they could do spectrometer analysis to do the colour matching. By the time the third coat dried on Sunday evening, I knew I had a slight problem. The colour itself was almost perfect, no complaints there. The problem is that the new paint is shinier that the old paint. I’m not sure what happened with the sheens but I’m wondering what my options are. I know using a fine sandpaper can help remove a bit of the sheen but I’m not sure that’ll do the trick.



It still boggles my mind I was able to sleep that first night, knowing that Mike, the pest control guy, had confirmed I had bed bugs in the apartment. I suppose the situation was helped somewhat knowing he was able to kill (or attempted to kill) the bed bugs he saw in his initial inspection. I was eagerly awaiting the next day because he’d be back for a full on treatment.

Before he left, Mike gave me instructions on how to prepare. I was told move as much furniture away from the walls as possible. He cautioned me about moving anything from the upstairs to the downstairs part of the apartment. Clothes would need to be washed to ensure decontamination. Other items like books, papers, electronics, and so forth would need a different method.

Mike showed up the next day ready to do full on battle with my infestation. He also brought with him some gifts. He gave me a ton of clear garbage bags. Mike also brought some “No Pest Strips” with him. These things would help reclaim some of my property back. Mike explained that I couldn’t assume anything was bed bug free upstairs. Anything could be a home for bed bugs. As evidence, these bastards shacked up in my night stand. Unfortunately, I had boxes of notes, textbooks, binders and various other things upstairs in my closet. Clothes can be washed but you can’t wash a book or a clock radio. Mike told me to put these boxes into a single clear plastic garbage bag. I then needed to toss in a single “No Pest Strip” into the bag and then seal the bag. According to Mike, keeping the bag sealed with the pesticide strip inside for two weeks would ensure anything inside that bag would be dead.

I think I prepared three or four boxes this way. It was tough knowing I would be able to get at this stuff for two weeks but it was better to safe than sorry. Mike also brought something special for my mattress. He gave me a mattress bag, which is just a giant plastic bag shaped for a mattress. Usually they’re used for protecting mattresses during transport but he told me to put my mattress in the bag and then chuck in two of those strip things. I paused briefly at the thought of sleeping on a bag containing so much pesticide but as long as the bag was kept sealed I’d be ok. Plus, the additional thought of knowing any of those bed bug fuckers would be dying inside that bag made me feel somewhat better.

Having prepared the boxes of my possessions and my mattress, Mike asked me to leave so he could begin pumping nerve gas into my apartment. The truth is, he really wanted to use some powerful stuff to kill the bed bugs but he explained to me those chemicals aren’t available to him anymore because of government regulation. He said that back in the day, they’d just DDT the place and be done with it. We now know DDT is too dangerous to use. I told Mike I’d trade six months off my lifespan if it meant we could DDT these bastards back into hell.

In any case, I had to leave the apartment for a few hours while Mike did his thing. After the requisite amount of time, I returned to my apartment and started a protocol that I would follow for months. By this second day or so, I had already cleaned one valuable bag of clothes. These clothes had been washed and then dried on hot, guaranteeing their bed bug free status. They immediately went into a garbage bag from the dryer which I then sealed. Upon entering my apartment the bag was left downstairs where there were no signs of bed bugs. These would be my outside, clean clothes that I could wear to class, other people’s homes, and on transit without fear of spreading the bed bugs. As soon as I entered my apartment, I would strip down naked by the door and put the clean clothes into garbage bag and then re-sealed it. The goal was to have the clean clothes exposed to my apartment as little as possible. I would then dress myself in downstairs clothes, these were items of indeterminate status since the downstairs was probably safe but not guaranteed. If I had to go upstairs, I’d get naked again and then go upstairs and put on my upstairs clothing, which usually just consisted my of PJs and a t-shirt. I slept in these items so the upstairs clothes were highly suspect and under no circumstances could they be brought downstairs. Washing upstairs clothing meant putting them in a sealed bag and taking them to the laundry room.

It was weird having different sets of clothing depending on where I was but I just got used to it; sad but necessary. In my next post, I discover some interesting information.

You can find the other posts of this series here.


At the appointed time the next day there was a knock on my door. When I opened the door, I saw two people there: a man and a woman. The woman introduced herself as “Mary”, a manager from UBC Housing housekeeping services. I forget if she was the manager of all housekeeping or just one of the managers. The dude was “Mike” from the pest control company. I believe he was an Orkin guy. Mary wanted to meet me, get a bit of my info, and introduce me to Mike. After a brief conversation, Mary left to let Mike and I get down to the business of bed bug inspection.

It didn’t take long to tell Mike was an alright guy. He was patient, explained everything, and genuinely seemed to care about my well-being. He asked me when I noticed the marks on my body. How many marks, the shape, and the location. He then asked to go upstairs to the bedroom to start his inspection. Mike immediately went to the mattress on the floor and got out a flashlight. He examined the duvet cover and then the sheets. Then he removed the sheet from the mattress and looked at the mattress in great detail. He dug at the seams and even brought out a tiny magnifying glass to see the finer details. Mike explained he was looking for two things. The first was bits of dried blood that might have come from bite wounds. The second thing was bed bug poop. Bed bugs are nasty creatures. Not only do they prey upon you for your blood, they have the audacity to poop in your bed. Think about that for a second. On this planet, there exists a creature that consumes your blood for food. When it is done with its blood meal, it will defecate your blood. So Mike was looking for insect feces in my bed, feces that was made of my own blood. That part did not sit with me well.

He then fanned out from my bed. There was my night stand next to where I slept. Mike asked if he could turn the night stand over. I gave him the ok. Keeping the drawers shut, he went bottoms up with my night stand. There were four holes at the bottom where screws went. Mike immediately shined his flashlight into these holes and looked through his magnifying glass. He looked up and asked me if I had duct tape. I actually did have a roll lying around. I went and got it for him. He took the tape and taped shut all four holes. He then put the night stand back upright. Next he examined the carpet in the corner where my mattress was. Using a utility knife, he dug at the carpet corner and pulled it up a bit. Then using both hands he just yanked on the carpet, pulling it up away from the floor. There was more examining with the flashlight.

After that, Mike said he’d seen enough and asked me to come back downstairs. He was very matter-of-fact when he told me there were indeed bed bugs in my apartment and they were at the very least in my bedroom. The reason why he taped up the night stand screw holes was because he saw bed bugs nesting in them. The corner where he pulled up the carpet contained bed bugs. Surprisingly, he didn’t see any bed bugs evidence in my bedding nor my mattress. Mike told me that I’d have to be very vigilant from now on if I wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible. There would be things I needed to do and I had to them without wavering and without delay.

Mike said he didn’t have time to do a full treatment on the same day and I also needed to do prep work anyways. What he would do was to go and get some of his chemicals and do an emergency spot treatment in the areas he did see bed bugs. I was also then told to do some important things. I had to assume that anything in the apartment might have bed bugs or their eggs in them. I had to isolate items that were known to be infested. I then had to decontaminate anything that might or definitely was infested. Anything that was guaranteed clean had to stay that way by isolating it from anything else.

Mike informed he was going to get his gear right away and that he’d treat my upstairs but it wouldn’t be a full-on roll in nerve gas nuke it from orbit just to be sure type of thing. I was to stay away from the upstairs for a few hours and leave the windows open. He also suggested I get back in touch with Mary. Since I had the time and the UBC Housing offices were a short walk away, I went to see Mary in person. She didn’t seem at all shocked when I told her about what Mike had found. She did seem very motivated to help me with my problem however. She told me that I could get free laundry cards from the life residence manager, we’ll call her Alexis. RLMs help a residence with more of the social and living aspects of housing as opposed to the business stuff like Mary did. I went downstairs and met Alexis for the first time. She also told me she would be there to help me with any aspect of getting rid of my bed bugs that she could assist with. The first order of business was nearly $20 dollars worth of free laundry. At UBC, there was no insuite laundry, so it was all coin operated laundry rooms.

Mike had explained to me that getting my clothes clean needed to be one of the first things I did. The heat of water and especially the heat of dryers would be able to kill beg bugs and their eggs. It was critical that I get a first batch of clothes in the guaranteed clean category because I was running the risk of contaminating other places just by going outside. To help with this, I was also handed a box of garbage bags. Keeping items stored in bags would help isolate clean from infested.

Thus began a series of protocols that I would follow for what turned out to be months. It was something out of the CDC in Atlanta. Now you might be asking why I just didn’t get the hell out of there at that point. It’s not practical to just leave when you first detect you have bed bugs. Unless you’re willing to basically leave everything you own in your infested home, you can’t just take off. Anything inside your home can’t be trusted until it’s decontaminated and deemed safe. Even taking a book away is dangerous because there could be eggs hiding in the pages, waiting to hatch into bed bugs. So until I had a handle on things, I had to keep myself isolated in my apartment. Considering I had blood-thirsty creatures in my bedroom, that was no small feat.

In the next post, I detail some of the changes I instituted in my every day life to keep things clean and safe.

You can find the other posts of this series here.


The next entry in my detailed battle with bed bugs has been postponed because I’m trying to track down some images that will be relevant to the next post. I also happened to get Deus Ex: Human Revolution this evening which admittedly ate up some of my free time. I regret nothing.

Recently, I received some e-mails from some random Internet dude. They were looking for information about a game that I worked on but hasn’t yet been released. I believe this was the first time someone who I didn’t know was trying to solicit game information from me. I understand and appreciate that some people are genuinely excited and curious about aspects of a game that hasn’t come out yet. Unfortunately, it’s not my place to divulge details like that. First, I’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement or NDA, which legally prevents me from telling anyone who will listen every single aspect of the game. Technically, I could get sued for breaking an NDA. Second, it’s not my place nor my job to spill the details about a game. I’m paid to make the game, not sell it. The marketing guys behind a game are the ones who control what info gets out and when. Sometimes they have really elaborate plans and promotions in place. Lastly, there’s no benefit for me to let these details out. I’ve heard of instances where people have attempted to leak information but in nearly all those cases, those people are doing it to gain “Internet” cred, which is useless in real life. Most of those people are very low on the totem pole who hear a lot of second hand info at a studio and then try to look important on a message board by spewing out random details.

You know, if this type of stuff got women all excited, I might re-think my position but as it stands, I can’t be bothered to waste my time on this.


As my food poisoning ordeal subsided, I began to settle into my new apartment on-campus. My new home was definitely institutional living. The apartment, while fairly large, was very basic in design and construction. It appeared, at first glance, to be clean. Then, things began to happen.

I first noticed problems on my upper right shoulder blade and on one of my legs. These areas were itchy, red, and raised, almost like welt. I had no explanation for these initially. Insect bites didn’t even come into my mind. Previously, the only things that had bitten me were mosquitoes and I knew how my body reacted to them. Those bites were certainly itchy but didn’t cause major redness and large, raised areas on my skin. I actually began to reason it was an allergic reaction to something, food, clothing, or a detergent. It looked like hives to me. I even made a visit to the on-campus medical clinic to see a doctor. It was easy to see doctors as a student, especially if you lived on-campus, so I thought why not? The doctor had no answer either unfortunately. He didn’t think it was an insect bite but he didn’t rule it out either. He asked if I had recently changed detergents. I had not. There was nothing medically wrong with me in his opinion so he was not concerned and told me to just keep an eye on it. Since there was no medical reason for the skin condition, I let my worries subside just a bit.

Then a few nights later, I made first contact, without even knowing it. I was asleep and it was sometime after 2am. My bladder woke me up and I crawled out of bed to relieve myself. It was dark and since my bathroom wasn’t near a window, it necessitated turning on the lights in there. The light was bright in there and walls were mainly white, so I went from near pure darkness to instant blindness. Through the piercing light and my unfocussed grogginess, I peered into the bowl, about to do my business. Then I noticed something through my squinting and my sleepy haze, it was dark, small, and round spot on my right bicep. Without thinking and just using my instinct I flicked it off my arm. I knew it was an insect but for some strange and worrisome reason, I didn’t give it a second thought. I finished my business and then went back to sleep.

It was several hours into the next day when possibilities began to churn in my head. It was after my classes for the day before I suddenly arrived at a more reasonable hypothesis. I was sitting at my computer when I realized those itchy areas were indeed insect bites and that spot on my arm had been a bed bug. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t even know what bed bugs were. I thought they weren’t even real. It was just something you mentioned in that stupid saying. I turned to Wikipedia for the first of many times that year. In 2004, Wikipedia was still quite new to me but it gave me the first bits of crucial info about bed bugs, including what they looked like. It was at that moment that I saw my first picture of a bed bug and it sure looked like what I saw on my arm. It was not looking good for me.

It still boggles my mind that I was able to sleep that night, knowing what possibly could have been in my bedroom. The plan was to contact UBC Housing in the morning with my suspicions and to get someone to inspect my apartment. I woke up the next day and I was on the phone before doing anything else. It took a bit of transferring but I eventually got in touch with the housekeeping department at UBC Housing which apparently were the best people to deal with my inquiries. I calmly told them I had a strong belief that my apartment had bed bugs and I wanted someone to come inspect it and confirm my suspicions. There was strangely no surprise reaction on the other end. Whoever I was talking to seemed to almost expect I’d be calling and that this was a normal request, like I had asked for a repair for a sticky window. I was told they would get back to me once they had secured an appointment with a pest control company.

I did get a callback that day which informed me that someone would be coming by the next day (strangely expeditious). Though I didn’t know it, that week would be the week I got to meet three people that would be regular “buddies” of mine for the next several weeks, if not months.

You can find the other posts of this series here.



Loyal readers, welcome to the first post of a multi-post series on a subject I have not publicly divulged on this blog yet. Privately, some of you know have known about my battle with bed bugs. You may be surprised that this battle occurred nearly seven years ago, so I now tell this story from the standpoint of a grizzled, old war vet. I have decided to tell you this story now because I believe the time is right; also, I don’t have anything else interesting to write about. Because the gap of seven years is fairly lengthy, some details have gone fuzzy and I may get some of events in the wrong order. The following account though is truthful and without embellishment.

Though nearly everyone now knows about the incredible resurgence of bed bugs into modern civilization, seven years ago, bed bugs were still relegated to the domain of that old bedtime saying. Back then, I certainly only knew bed bugs as that mythical thing. I was still in grad school in 2004. Due to having too much fun and putting off important scholarly pursuits, I needed an extra eight months to finish off my M. Eng. Having taken all my time at my beloved St. John’s College, I had to find another place to live. That place was to be a one-bedroom apartment at the Thunderbird Residences on-campus at UBC.

There were signs of my impending misfortune but I wasn’t smart enough to notice the clues back then. It’s easy now to see the pieces put together. The first sign of trouble was the move in date. I was expecting to move in at the beginning of the school year, which traditionally is at the beginning of September. I was told cryptically that while the apartment had already been vacated, I couldn’t move in until three weeks into the school year. It was foolish for me not to press UBC Housing on the matter but when they told me it was because of maintenance issues, I left it alone. The second sign of trouble was literally a sign. I somehow wrestled the apartment number from the housing office. Early in the school year, though still weeks away from the move-in date, I went by my future apartment. Because I was in a hurry, I didn’t have time to come up close to look at it. I was perhaps about 20 to 30 feet from it. What I did notice was some sort of sign or notice on the door. It had some big letters on it and some symbols. Stupidly, I did not go up to it and look at it closely. I now recognize that sign was a warning from the exterminators. Seven years ago though, I did not know that.

The move in date finally arrived weeks later. Because I knew I was only going to be there for eight months, I decided to furnish the large, split-level apartment with very little furniture. The bottom level, which contained the kitchen and living room, had only a small card table and two fold up chairs. The upstairs, which had the bathroom and the bedroom, had a mattress on the floor (which turned out to be a terrible, tragic choice), a small night stand, a desk, and a chair.

If you go back in my blog archives, you can actually read up about this period in time. Go and find the archives for September of 2004. You won’t find any mention of bed bugs but you’ll notice that I actually moved into my apartment while enduring a nasty bout of food poisoning, a gift from my mother, who while always means well, has a poor understanding of food safety (to this day). So my week or so in my new on-campus apartment was taken up with me dealing with liquid death coming out of my butt just about every 30 minutes or so. The food poisoning incident was certainly an ordeal but had I known what was coming, butt coffee would seem like a minor inconvenience.

In my next post, I detail the first signs of the initial skirmishes and the horror which had just begun.

You can find the other posts of this series here.


Some of you might find this interesting but I technically have been crossing a picket line to go to work for many, many weeks now. I work in the same building that serves as the head office for Rocky Mountaineer, a company that runs trains to popular destinations. Since the end of June, the company has locked out their onboard train attendant employees. Their story can be found here.

Anyways, the locked out workers have been picketing in front of the building on the sidewalk for a long time now. The company has hired extra security to keep an eye out on the picketers. I have not witnessed anything dramatic happen. The picketers don’t hassle any of the people coming and going from the building. They seem quite respectful, at least to me. Some deliveries have been affected though. A few courier companies with unionized workers have refused to cross the picket line, so alternate arrangements have to be found in those cases.

It is somewhat amusing (if you can find amusement in people not being able to work and get paid) that there is a picket line in front of a video game studio. My industry will probably never been unionized. It just wouldn’t work. There are times and I’m not saying every studio does it, but sometimes studios press their employees to work a bit harder during crunch time to get the game done. With a unionized environment, either crunch wouldn’t happen or it would cost the company a lot of money. The game would then take an eon to finish or it would be prohibitively expensive to make.

I hope it works out for everyone in the end.


Yes, it’s another post relating to video gaming. I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen of my readership who aren’t interested in games. Well, there’s a huge trade show related to video games going on in Germany right now. Called Gamescom, it is the largest gaming related event in the world, surpassing that of E3 in Los Angeles.

EA used the show to debut the latest trailer for their upcoming modern combat shooter, Battlefield 3. The game looks amazing and the trailer features the public’s first look at jet combat. Ok, I promise the next post won’t be game related.