It could be just water retention or normal weight fluctuations but I’m three pounds lighter than I was last week. Unemployment has allowed me to be more active. For some people, that would be the opposite but not sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day has freed me to do other things. I’m also eating less or in some cases, eating better. I don’t regret having access to well-stocked PopCap kitchen but certainly the wide variety of high-end potato chips we had probably was not healthy. I’m now concentrating on reducing my carbs and focusing on protein, vegetables, and fruit. I’m not perfect of course but awareness is the first step. I’ve also discovered a super cheap way to eat (useful when unemployed). Safeway has an extremely cost efficient set of meals at their deli counter. Today for just $4 + tax, I essentially got half a BBQ chicken, some onion rings, and a drink of my choice. A six-inch sandwich at Subway would be at least $5 before tax and you don’t get no soup, drink, nor cookie with that. I’m going back tomorrow for sure!

I mentioned recently that I wanted to learn how to make a decent beef stew with my slow cooker. Well, this evening I got all the ingredients for a stew and threw it into the cooker. It’s currently in the third hour of a low-heat, twelve-hour cook. It smells great so I’m hoping it turns out well. I’ve come to the conclusion though that my $12 slow cooker has several flaws. First, it’s small, with a capacity of about 2 quarts I believe. Second, the damn thing is shaped wrong. It’s taller than it’s wide, meaning most of the surface area is vertical rather than horizontal. This means most of the ingredients sit up and possibly out of the juicy goodness that it should be cooking in. Larger slow cookers are flatter and shorter, allowing you to spread the food across a larger horizontal surface area. To counteract this flaw, I’ve been stirring up the stew every hour or so to ensure everything is mixed up properly. I’m going to sleep soon though, which means there will be about eight hours of unattended cooking time. I hope it’s nothing like that gross mess I had with the pot roast last time.

I’ll update everyone tomorrow.


As I mentioned in my previous post I’m in no hurry to get my next job. I’m thankful for the time off but I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with that time. In previous times like this, I always wound sleeping in late and playing video games until the wee hours. I found that to be extremely relaxing and a great way to recharge my batteries but this time around I feel like I should be more productive with my time. That’s not to say I won’t be sleeping in and playing video games though, as I’m already enjoying the newest Tomb Raider and woke up at noon today. My desire though, is to work on the other aspects of my life as well.

One of the things I’d like to do is get more exercise. Sitting in front of a computer for almost eight hours a day can’t be that healthy. I’m not chained to a desk now, so I have a chance to be more active. The weather is supposed to be quite nice and sunny near the end of the week. I have a long urban walk I have planned out. It’s about 6.4 km in total. I’m looking forward to it. Perhaps, there will be other parts of the city I’ll try exploring.

I’d also like to expand my culinary skills. Several months ago I bought a slow cooker and my initial attempt at making a pot roast was a severe disappointment. The resulting hunk of meat looked like it had been boiled more than it had been roasted. Perhaps a slow cooker just isn’t my thing. I also want to make a decent stew for once. Something that I’d enjoy as a comfort food.

Lastly, I finally would like to learn more about Android development. I have an idea for a starter app. It’s not something I’d even sell but a pilot project to help me get some hands-on experience with mobile development.

So that’s a small list for now but knowing how lazy I can get sometimes, I’d be extremely happy if those three things got done.


In my previous post I wrote that this would be a big announcement of sorts. As many of you already know, today Electronic Arts shut down the downtown Vancouver studio that I worked for. The more astute readers out there might have noticed I knew that the studio closure was coming. That was in fact, quite true, all of us knew for several weeks in advance. We didn’t know today was going to be the day until about a week or so in advance. Most studio closures in my industry happen without warning or very little warning, so this was actually good that we knew with so much notice. Earlier in the week, our office manager gave away all the studio swag that we had lying around. I got a few boxed games that the studio had previously released, some plush toys, a nail clipper, and a mug. Most people didn’t even have to clean off their desks today because all of us had already taken all of our things home in the preceding weeks.

As expected, there were support staff from both Seattle and Burnaby to assist myself and my co-workers into the realm of unemployment. It’s interesting to note that they gave out severance packages to all of us immediately. During some EA layoffs, they sometimes hold off on giving out severance as they try place individuals at other EA teams. During this limbo period, people are still paid their salary and in effect, are still employees, just without a team. Only when it’s clear that no suitable positions are available is severance then discussed and offered. This did not happen today. That’s not to say, however, that there won’t be attempts to place people elsewhere. There were a few recruiters present in the studio today who were available for consultation. If you wanted to perhaps stay within EA, they were willing to discuss your background and skill set. To keep my options open, I spoke to one such person this afternoon. They will reach out to other teams within EA to see if there’s a good fit for me. Understandably, some of my other former co-workers were less interested in pursuing other opportunities within EA. There’s a real entrepreneurial and independent spirit within some of them, so they will definitely be going the indy route going forward. I applaud them for being bold and brave.

It took less than two hours for the formal announcement, the speeches, and all the individual meetings with HR to wrap up. I’m sure there was lots of work behind the scenes but the nitty-gritty execution of shutting down a studio was done in two hours. It didn’t take long for the news to get out into the public. Someone from our studio tweeted the news which then got picked up by several major news sites. He was Internet “famous” for several hours. Also as an example of how fast new travels, one of our designers was able to get his photo taken and interviewed for the Vancouver Sun before the end of the day. The story appeared online well before I even got home!

As you might imagine, most everyone wound up at a nearby bar once everything had wrapped up. To his credit, one of the original founders of the company accompanied us to the drinking establishment and paid for a substantial amount of food and alcohol. He wasn’t directly involved in the decision to shut us down but I appreciated his kind gesture. We spent most of the afternoon drinking, eating, and talking. There was a lot of “what’s your plan going forward?” and it was interesting to hear all the answers. A lot of people are going to take some time off. Some are taking a week off, while at least one plans on taking the whole summer off. Some are staying in the games industry, while others have decided now is a good time to exit.

After about five hours at the bar, I was getting too tired for my own good, so I headed home. I said my goodbyes to the remaining now ex-co-workers. As for my own future, I think a lot of you know I cherish any time off I can get. I’m hoping to get at least a few weeks off to relax and rest. I’m not burdened by any financial restrictions that might force me to jump into a job right away, so I’m extremely thankful for that. It’s a shame that once again I’ve been removed by EA from a downtown Vancouver studio. We were the only remaining downtown Vancouver presence for EA but now that’s all gone. I’m looking forward to some time off. To a brighter and more rested future.


I’ve been a fan of goat cheese for many, many years now. Surprisingly, I didn’t start buying goat cheese to use at home until this month. I’ve always loved goat cheese in my salads and the salads I’d been making at home have become a bit boring. I felt like a real adult when I went to the supermarket downstairs to look for goat cheese. I found a log of it in the deli area and not in the dairy case where all the regular “orange” cheeses are found.

I’ve been adding it in very liberal portions to my salads and it’s quite delicious. I love the taste and texture of goat cheese. That certain saltiness mixed in with the smoothness is so delicious. I sometimes mix in avocado chunks in with the goat cheese in a salad, with a berry vinaigrette dressing. It’s a very rich salad but so good.

I eat about 300 grams of goat cheese per week. I don’t think that’s too harmful but I’d like to keep my eye on my consumption. Maybe I should start spreading it on crackers!


Last year my dentist retired after many, many years of service. He’d been my dentist since I was a kid and was my regular dentist all my life. He sold his practice to a new dental group, consisting of several dentists. I believe there was only one employee from his office that continued to work in the new office. They transferred all the patients to the new business. I believe I’ve been there twice now for cleanings. I feel no connection to any of the dentists. I’ve seen a different dentist each time and it’s my belief they just slot in whatever dentist is free.

There’s a dental practice in the retail space below where I live. It looks very modern and inviting. I’ve been thinking about switching to that office for a while now. My current “dentists” are all the way out in downtown Vancouver, by Stanley Park. That’s super far to go. I finally made the decision to take my dental needs to the office downstairs. Two weeks ago I made an appointment for a cleaning, which will happen this Saturday (they even have weekend appointments). I used to travel almost an hour from my home to get my teeth looked at. Now, I will simply take the elevator downstairs from my apartment. I don’t think it gets more convenient than that.

I mentioned above that there is still one employee from the old office that works in the new practice. She’s the one that usually books my appointments. I wonder how I’ll phrase it to her that I’ve decided to move on. She’s seen me come in as this buck-toothed kid for cleanings and fillings and now I’m a buck-toothed adult. I hope she doesn’t take it personally.


So I was at my doctor’s office this week for a regular check-up. Everything was fine except that my doctor said that I needed to lose twenty pounds. He said he could see a bit of a gut hanging out and that I was developing a bit of a double chin. Ok, so the first observation you can quantify as he was using my height and body mass index to determine my ideal weight. The gut and the double chin remark I think was purely subjective. I may not have a rock-hard six-pack for abs but I think I’m far from having a gut. I’ve seen a lot of TV and movies where they have a fat dude for comedic relief and I’m not nearly fat enough to have a gut. As for the double-chin, I share my mother’s genetic trait of having a weak chin, so it doesn’t jut out like a finely chiseled movie star’s chin. As such, if I just slightly pull my chin towards my neck, it looks bad.

Now, I don’t dispute that I should probably lose those twenty pounds. According to the BMI, I’m in the overweight category (which a lot of people belong to) so I’m fine with looking at improving my diet and exercise. I just don’t think I have a gut nor a double-chin. Alright, let’s see how long it takes for me to lose this weight.


This weekend I’ll be attending Fan Expo Vancouver 2013. Held at the older portion of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the show brings together fans of comics, anime, mange, sci-fiction, fantasy, and garden tools. Special guests will include comic book artists, writers, actors, and other personalities. If you want an idea of how the whole show will look like, you can watch the video above, which features footage from Wondercon Anaheim. Though no disrespect to Fan Expo, Wondercon is probably an order of magnitude larger and grander at this point.

I’m excited about going since this is my first real con. I know that might be a big surprise to some of you as my towering stature as geek and nerd would indicate I’d be a con veteran. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many decent conventions to my own specific tastes that are local to Vancouver. There is Anime Revolution, which seems extremely well-organized and attended, but I’m not a big fan of anime. Fan Expo seems general enough that I decided to plunk down my dollars.

The initial thing that got me interested in attending was the list of guests at the con. The highlight, at least for me, was to be Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl on The Walking Dead. He was going to be the only actor who is currently on a huge hit TV show, which makes him a hot commodity. Most of the other guests are years removed from their most famous roles. Unfortunately, Reedus had to cancel, which disappointed many ticket buyers. Yes, they did get Michael Rooker to replace him, who played his brother Merle on the show, but Merle is now dead. There have been several other cancellations as well, including Tom Felton, known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.

These cancellations are disappointing and you can bet such things wouldn’t happen at Comic-Con San Diego but Fan Expo is nowhere near the scale of that. I’m hoping I’ll still have fun nonetheless. Ok, I need to put the finishing touches on my Jem costume. See ya on the convention floor!