By the time I start work next Wednesday, four months and nine days will have passed since I last woke up in the morning and strolled into work as an employee of a company. Since about noon on April 25, 2013 I’ve been a free man. That was the last day that I had to go into work but that wasn’t the last day where I actually did any work.

I’ve told some of you this in person but for the last four weeks or so before the studio got shut down, no one was doing any real work. I remember sometime in late March or very early April, we were informed that there was no use in doing any more real work. Our fate had been sealed, so we would just wait for the axe to fall. We had to show up for work (we could be somewhat late) but while at work we could do almost anything we wanted. There were some real practical suggestions like working on our resumes and doing job searches. I surfed the Internet a lot. Reading Internet stuff for almost eight hours of day can get tedious. The days didn’t seem too long though. If you show up for work a bit late, take a longer lunch, extend your coffee break a bit, and then leave a tad earlier, the work day doesn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately, you’ll know your job is about to disappear in a few weeks.

Anyways, my point is, the last time I actually worked a real, honest day of work is probably closer to five months. That’s a long time. I hope I can remember how to be productive when the real fun begins again next week.


So in a previous post, I mentioned how I was thinking about doing a very last-minute trip to somewhere before starting work next Wednesday. I would have liked to left on this trip several days ago but a friend of mine was visiting from out-of-town and I didn’t want to miss his visit. He’s leaving today so I was going to look into my own trip, with possible departures as early as this afternoon.

After much investigation, it looks like I won’t be going anywhere. Booking a last-minute trip that coincides with the start of the Labour Day long weekend doesn’t work well. Prices of flights and/or hotels are high and that’s if they are even available. It’s expensive to go anywhere. A flight to Portland costs as much as a flight to Honolulu. Even trains are sold out. I was thinking about a train ride down to Portland but all the most practical dates are sold out.

It would have been nice to get away for a few days but I’m fine staying home as well. There are still a few local items on my to-do list before the “summer of me” is finally over and it will be great if I could get those checked off.


It rained quite heavily this evening. I had a front row seat to the weather as a few of my friends braved a heated patio for some dinner and drinks. I could tell Vancouverites have been spoiled by the great weather this summer by how they reacted to the torrential downpour. It seemed like a lot of people walking by were almost incredulous that it was raining that hard. Almost everyone was without an umbrella. Given the rainy nature of Vancouver, usually most citizens of this city always have a brolly on hand. It’s just something everyone learns if they experience even a single Vancouver autumn. Yet, I only saw one umbrella out there on the sidewalk. It must have been a very sunny and dry summer if it made even the most entrenched Vancouverites forget about the most useful accessory in this city.


Almost immediately after I signed my latest job offer I realized that this wonderful “summer of me” was coming to an end. The initial plan, which I had formulated just hours after I was laid off in late April, was to enjoy the summer, make good use of my time, and find a great job for September. Sometimes plans don’t go accordingly but in this rare case, it pretty much went as I had hoped it would. That didn’t stop me, however, from having a sudden panic because I feared I didn’t get to all the things I should have.

Overall, I should be and am fairly happy with how the last four months have gone. In those months, I’ve expressed numerous times how I wanted to use the summer not just to relax but for personal growth. For the most part, I think I made some progress there. I lost almost twenty pounds by being more active. I can’t even guess the last time I was this slim. Perhaps it was the summer of 2008 when I was playing tennis at least twice a week. I enjoyed the nearly perfect summer weather we had in Vancouver. For so many summers, I was stuck inside behind a computer. For the rainless month of July, I think I was out in the sun almost every single day. When you’re working in an office, that’s just not possible. Finally, I widened my cooking skills. There was a certain enthusiasm I had for learning how to make different dishes. I sometimes would spend a whole day running around buying ingredients, meats, spices, and cooking implements for a recipe. I would wake up with a liberating sense of freedom knowing I didn’t have to worry about anything that day other than making a delicious meal.

Of course, with the realization that I will be starting work again but I began thinking about the stuff that I perhaps missed out on and maybe should have done as well. I never thought about these things before because going back to work wasn’t a concrete reality until just last week. Was that a mistake? Maybe. There are a few things that I think I might have missed. The one that sticks out in my mind is that I could have spent more time amongst friends. That’s not to say I was hermit for the last four months, far from it. It’s just that there were many days that became about me. A day where I’d go learn how to cook this. A day where I’d go see a movie by myself in the afternoon. A day where I’d walk around Stanley Park on a glorious weekday afternoon. I suppose people didn’t have the freedom or flexibility like I did in terms of time but I should have made a better effort in seeing friends in the evening or on the weekends.

I also started to think about if perhaps I should have traveled more. Sure, I went to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas last month but could I have done more? Should I have planned a grander trip? Europe? Australia? Maybe I should have. Perhaps, I should have even thought about a trip to parts of this province that I’ve never seen. Travel was a tricky thing to balance since you can spend a lot of money on it. Burning through money without knowing when I’d exactly get a job could have shortened my summer. Still, I think there could have been one more trip.

Lastly, there are dozens of one-off things that are running through my head that I perhaps should have done. Maybe I should have volunteered somewhere like the food bank or a soup kitchen. Maybe I should have watched the sun rise on Grouse Mountain. What if I should have concentrated fixing a personal flaw in my character? Maybe I should have read more books. Maybe this or maybe that.

I have about a week and a half before I go back to work. I’ll try my best to make them valuable and purposeful days but experience tells me I won’t get to everything I want to do.


I was out this evening for a beverage and when I returned home, I blindly stepped into the elevator. I did not see the extremely large pool of dog urine that someone had just left in the elevator car. Luckily, it only got on the bottom of my shoes and not on the fabric parts. I was also very thankful I didn’t have any holes in my shoes.

I sincerely hope that whoever owned that dog was going to come right back to clean up that mess. I can be hopeful but knowing the people who live in my building, that’s false hope. If your pet makes a mess in public, clean it up, it’s really that simple. What’s not to understand about that?


So when I was a much younger man-child, about the age of nineteen, I was going to university, trying to complete an undergraduate degree. I lived in the university dorms and during my second year, I met a whole bunch of new people who were moving in. One of them, I’ll call “Rajneesh” or “Raj” going forward. Raj has always been a super friendly guy and an all-around amazing human being. I was lucky to befriend Raj and we’ve known each other many, many years now.

Raj became a doctor and is a specialist in a certain medical field. In fact, Raj was the subject of this post which I was had much joy in writing. Out of the many conversations I’ve had with him, that was one of my favourites.

Anyways, Raj wound up marrying another doctor whom I’ll refer to as “Conchita”. So here’s the interesting thing. Conchita works at the same doctor’s office as my own family doctor. Now, I don’t go to the doctor that frequently but almost every time I go, it seems like I see Conchita either at the front desk or in the hall next to the exam rooms. That makes sense because she works there, so the odds are good she’ll be around when I visit my own doctor.

One time she saw me go into an exam room and then my doctor walked in. She thought she heard my doctor ask my about my syphilis or something. The walls are pretty thin at this office unfortunately and I can sometimes hear other doctor’s speaking to their patients between the walls. It turns out my doctor was actually speaking to another patient in the room next to me. I wasn’t there for anything syphilis related at all. Conchita told me this story at a party that she and Raj were hosting at their lovely home. I suppose it was funny at the time but for a few minutes there she honestly thought I was getting an STD treated.

Just today, I was visiting my doctor for a follow-up visit. As many of you know, I was under doctor’s orders to lose weight in mid-April. This was partially spurred on because I was actually having trouble breathing after eating large meals which concerned me. Well, I wanted to follow-up because I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and the breathing problems have gone away.

So this afternoon, I’m being shown to the exam room by one of the assistants in the office. I walk into the room and as she’s about to close the door, she asks why am I visiting today. As I’m answering with “follow-up with my weight loss”, she takes a step back and behind her I see Conchita right across the really small hallway in this tiny office looking at me. At this moment, I paused because I really wanted to add “and to check up on this massive red rash on my penis”. I didn’t however and instead, I just waved at Conchita, who looked like she was doing some paperwork in a room that looked like it measured three feet by three feet. The door was closed before I could say anything else. I just sat there thinking Dr. Conchita was sitting just ten feet away from me behind a flimsy door. What if I was actually here for an embarrassing problem? What if my peener wasn’t working properly? What if I needed Depends? Would have Dr. Conchita heard that? There would have been a definite chance.

Now there’s no doubt in my mind that Dr. Conchita is a consummate medical professional but it’s a bit odd knowing that every time I see my doctor, there’s a chance she might overhear my medical problem in a hilarious fashion. It’s not that she’s purposely listening to this, it’s just coincidence and circumstance.

When I was done with the visit, Conchita wasn’t in the office anymore which was a shame because I really wanted to say a proper hello. I hadn’t see her and Raj since late July when we were all at dim sum. Well, I’m just waiting for that one time when I actually do come in with a deflated wiener and she’ll know about it.

Ok, so one last thing. Don’t let yourself get fat like I did. I think if you saw me, you wouldn’t have classified me as obese or overweight but I certainly wasn’t slim either. I was skeptical that my breathing problems were caused just because I was a few pounds heavy but my doctor was right. I’m no longer a young man so this stuff makes a lot of difference now. Fifteen extra pounds was enough to cause problems. Stay healthy and don’t let your wiener deflate!


Loyal readers, I have an exciting announcement for all of you. This has been in the making for several weeks now but I only was just able to finalize everything this afternoon. I have secured employment with Relic Entertainment. I’ll be starting after the long week at the end of this month.

This new development began many weeks ago when a former co-worker of mine stated on a social media network that Relic was hiring. Through her, I was able to send in my resume. Then a few weeks of waiting occurred. I didn’t mind because I was busy preparing for my trip to Las Vegas. Relic got in touch with me directly while I was in Nevada. After I returned home from my trip, I had a series of very pleasant interviews with them. I’ve interviewed with a lot of gaming companies and very honestly, the people at Relic were extremely nice. A bit more waiting transpired but I received the good news last Friday. This afternoon I delivered the signed offer letter to them in person.

I am looking forward to joining everyone at Relic. They’ve made some highly regarded games, including the highest rated RTS game on PC. This is also my first time joining a studio that has previously done mostly PC games. Most of my career has been spent on console games. It will be interesting to see the differences in the platforms. Last, but certainly not least, I am very enthused to be joining three former co-workers of mine, including the one who informed me of the opening in the first place. I enjoyed working with all three in the past and I look to continue the fun.

As I consider this blog to be more of personal outlet for myself than Facebook or LinkedIn, I won’t be divulging this development on those networks until probably October. Thank you, loyal readers for sticking with this blog. Now, I need to learn how to wake up early again.


It slipped my mind at the time but last week would have been my one year anniversary at PopCap Vancouver. Here’s a bit of trivia for those keeping score at home, I haven’t been at a job longer than a year since I left Black Box in late 2010. I’ve had four jobs since that. Two were contracts that were supposed to last less than a year. In one of those cases, the contract ended way earlier because the game was cancelled. One job I left voluntarily before the a year had passed. Then most recently, there was the shutdown at PopCap.

Do I feel sorry for myself because of the unsteady employment? Absolutely not. In that time I haven’t gone more than four months without a job. I’ve also positioned myself so that money was never a problem. I’ve never lived paycheque to paycheque so even during those jobless days I didn’t worry about money. I feel really lucky in that respect.

I’ve heard people say you need a decent amount of fortitude to work in the games industry within Vancouver and I’d partially agree with that statement. Some people might have been totally turned off by how the last four years have gone but I’ve come out of it just fine. I wonder if I’ll ever work at a company for more than a year ever again!


So I’m not sure if you’re aware but this blog participates in the Google AdSense program which allows me to put ads on my archived blog posts. You never see ads on the main page because I don’t want to clutter it. Anyways, I believe I signed up for the program in 2008. More than five years later, I have finally built up enough ad revenue to trigger Google’s payment verification process. That’s the work they require you to do to prove to them you’re not some shady organization. This mainly involves verifying an address phone number, and bank information. If you’re curious, the payment threshold amount is about $10. Yes, that’s right, it took me more than half a decade to monetize barely $10 from my web site. I don’t even know why I would even need a full-time job!

The sad part is that Google refuses to pay out any revenue to web site owners until the amount reaches $100. So at this rate, I’d have to wait another 45 years before I’d see my first cheque from Google. Forty-five more years of crappy blog posts. Man, that’s a lot of bad writing for $100.


It rained for a second straight day in a row today. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I know it didn’t happen in July so we might have had two days of rain in June. In any case, the skies were gray and the ground was slick today. I must admit it left me with a case of the Mondays for most of the day. This was surprising to me since I’ve experience numerous dreary Vancouver winters without too many ill effects.

I can probably attribute the blahs to a few things. First, I didn’t get a very good night of sleep last night so this most likely had a lot to do with it. Without energy, the clouds and the rain does nothing to help you feel full of vigor. Second, I think I’ve been spoiled by the nearly endless days of sunshine. I think all the blue skies and sunshine has conditioned my body to expect this as the norm. I’ve also been in the sun a lot more this summer so not basking in the rays for two days straight seems foreign now. Lastly, I didn’t do much today. Outside of having lunch with my parents, I didn’t have a “to-do” list to check off. On most days, I try to get something tangible done. It could be something simple as getting some exercise, cooking, cleaning, or running an errand but as long as the day has some sort of purpose, I feel good about the passage of that day. I probably should have done some laundry today but I just couldn’t get off my ass.

I’m looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow. I’ll start off with the laundry and we’ll take it from there. I’m also planning on meeting up with some friends and that’s always a good thing, no matter what the weather is. The sun is supposed to return on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to that!