Well, I guess I’m going to San Diego about a week and a half after I get back from Hawaii. I took advantage of Air Canada’s seat sale this time. This will be my third time going to SD. I think this time I’ll re-visit the world famous San Diego Zoo. I might also go down to Tijuana finally (before that wall goes up). This is also the first time I’ll be there when pro baseball is being played, so I might catch a few innings of Padres baseball. I definitely would have gone to a San Diego Gulls minor hockey game but as luck would have it, their regular season ends about four days before I get there.
The beauty of having time off is the ability to do anything at a moment’s notice. For the most part, I wake up whenever I want and then decide whatever I want to do that day, or not do if that’s what I decide. While I was working, one of the dream scenarios that I had for my time off was booking a random trip for the next day or even the same day. For example, I’d wake up, look online for flights and then find myself in say, Montana about 12 hours later. Such freedom is normally extremely difficult to come by. People are normally tied down by work, school, or family so for me to have this opportunity makes me feel very lucky.
While I’m not in Montana right now, I randomly booked a trip today. I woke up around 2pm and as I was preparing to get up, I felt it was going to be one of those “do nothing” days. Those are fine but sometimes you just wish everyday was super productive. After I got up, I went online and noticed some sales on WestJet. These were time-limited and travel could not start until April 1. I kinda ruled out trips to the rest of Canada because it’s still cold everywhere else in the country. Basically on an impulse, I decided to book a flight to Honolulu, Hawaii. It was just over $400 CAD return which is a fantastic deal.
I would have loved to leave this week but it’s still spring break for North America and like I mentioned before, the conditions of the sale forced all travel to have to start on or after April 1. Since I have the PvZ: GW2 wrap party on the 1st, I’ll be leaving on the 4th and coming back on the 9th. There’s probably zero chance any of my friends will be able to come with me but that’s ok. I’m looking forward to getting back to Hawaii and the sun. It’ll be my third time to Honolulu and this time I’ll try to do and see things that are new to me. I might bring my tennis racquet and get an early start to the season.
The seat sale doesn’t end for another day, so who knows where else I might wind up in April.
Actor Jason Bateman appeared on The Jimmy Kimmel Show earlier this month and he had an entertaining story about a particular visit to a spa. I don’t feel sorry for the lives that actors live but I do understand incidents like this make it difficult at times.
In the past, when it’s late at night and I’m hungry, I tend to look for something tasty to eat. Previous choices have included Pop-Tarts, chicken wings, Eggo waffles, instant noodles, and whatever might have been leftover from dinner.
Twice now, I’ve been hungry in the wee hours of the morning and for a snack I’ve made myself a helping of steamed vegetables. It’s probably one of the most unsatisfying things to eat late at night. Nothing like a bowl of lightly salted mixed vegetables which have been steamed for a few minutes to satisfy that hunger.
Steamed veggies have neither carbs nor fat in any appreciable amounts so it doesn’t stimulate any of the pleasurable feelings you might have with eating. It is, however, healthy for you and I grow older that is what increasingly counts more than taste. It’s unfortunate but a very hard reality I have to face.
A bowl of steamed veggies isn’t my only snack now but perhaps it’s time it should be.
As a thank you for working on Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, I got a free copy of the game which I played at home for the first time today. It always weird playing a game that you worked on at home for the first time, at least for me. Part of me understands that I’m seeing a video game, which is supposed to elicit feelings of fun and enjoyment. At the same time, a large part of me just sees all the massive amount of effort from hundreds of people that went into making this game. Do I just see a refreshing and original take on the third-person multiplayer shooter genre? No, I can’t but help see the time it took me almost two weeks to fix a single bug around the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of the game and our combined effort to get this game made but it will take a while before I can just enjoy the game without thinking about work. Also, don’t be fooled by the screenshot above, there were many names in the software engineers list that I had to cut out. The list of people who worked on this game was massive, as is usual these days.
UPDATE: The Swiss Chalet location in question sent me an e-mail the day after my visit and explained what happened:
“I have talked to your server and was informed that our computer system went down for a 15 min period at 240pm.I have confirmed this with our IT department .In saying this we had a few bills that did not make it to our kitchen.I have coached our server on identifying this sooner in order to prevent any wait times for our guests.”
Furthermore, they will allow me to return and have a meal on their dime, which I thought was quite nice of them. I’m not sure when I’ll take them up on the offer but I’m glad they tried to make it right.
Part of the beauty of not having a job or anywhere to be on any given day is that you can decide to do whatever you want at the drop of the hat. When I woke up this morning well past noon, I decided I was gonna have lunch at Swiss Chalet. Now I love Swiss Chalet, I’ve enjoyed their food since I was child and continue to lap up that sweet and delicious dipping sauce that seems to divide this great nation.
Now because I’m lazy, I didn’t actually get to the restaurant until well after 2pm. The lunch rush was a distant memory and when I got there I saw only three or four tables with patrons at them. I ordered a very simple meal, a beverage and a quarter chicken dinner. That’s probably the stereotypical Swiss Chalet signature item, the quarter chicken dinner and something to drink.
My first indication that this lunch was going to suck was the fact I waited at least ten minutes before I noticed I still hadn’t received my cup of tea yet. My waitress had taken my order ten minutes ago and in the meantime, I was watching her seat a family of three across from me. I watched her hand out the menus and talk to the family for a bit. To my surprise, like a minute later, she comes over to the family’s table and with a whole tray of drinks. Maybe my drink was on that tray too? Nope, nothing is left on the tray and I get to watch that family quench their thirst.
Now I’m getting ready to waive down my waitress when I see her at the bar next to the point of sale terminal looking at a small slip of paper. She starts punching stuff into the terminal really quickly and then runs off into the kitchen. I can see her grab a mug, a teabag, and a “hot” water container. She comes over to my table says sorry and drops off all that crap. I discover the “hot” water she gave me to steep my tea was actually a degree above room temperature. If this was the UK I would have been in my entire right to have the restaurant shut down. Unfortunately, I’d already put the tea bag into this ice bath. Ugh.
Well, at least I had my iced tea and I was hoping my food would follow quickly at least. Nope. I watched as the family of three got their food about five minutes after my tea arrived. It was pretty cool watching them eat their meals even though I ordered more than ten minutes before they did. I must have looked pissed because my waitress came over and said my meal was coming right up. That was a lie.
I waited another 25 minutes for my food to come. In total, from the time I ordered to the time a plate of chicken was put in front of my fat face was 35 minutes. A wait of 35 minutes in a nearly empty restaurant. My waitress also never returned once to see if I wanted more ice water for my tea nor did she return to see if I required anything else.
The only redeeming part of this whole service disaster was the food was as good as I expected from Swiss Chalet. When I got the bill, I got proof that my waitress took my order verbally but did not enter it into the system until 20 minutes later. The bill had a time stamp that was 20 minutes after she left my table with my order. I know this because I went straight to my cell phone after she left and I remember the time. The gap between that time and the time stamp on the bill was 20 minutes. Like how do you screw that up so badly? I was the only table at that point who was ordering! The rest of the restaurant had already been served and was eating. My order was literally the only she had to input.
Here’s the real kicker, I still tipped her a dollar on a $12 meal. I would have felt completely justified in tipping exactly zero cents but I still gave her a dollar. As I type this I’m not even sure why I did that. It seems pretty silly now.
Anyways, I took the bill because the fine folks at Cara Operations, who owns Swiss Chalet, puts a web site on each bill where you can provide feedback. You bet your sweet ass that I provided feedback when I got home. While I was polite and did not use cuss words like poop, I made it very clear that my experience at the Swiss Chalet on 3860 Lougheed Highway sucked balls. Surprisingly, I got an e-mail reply back within two hours. Apparently, my feedback will be forwarded to the right team and someone from Cara Operations will attempt to send me a cold cup of tea to my home in one or two business days.
In a previous post, I showed one Kevin Strahle, who attempted to drink a gallon of Tabasco sauce. Strahle, who goes by L.A. Beast on his YouTube channel, spectacularly did not complete that challenge.
Since that attempt Strahle went on to try a few more eating challenges but has cut back considerably in the last few months. As he explains it, the extreme nature of these stunts was taking a toll on his body. In particular, Strahle suffered for several weeks after he attempted to consume a massive quantity of goat meat, which he suspected was actually undercooked. He felt terrible for a long while and at one point his doctor required him to bring in a stool sample to rule out the possibility of parasites in his system. If you’re curious, he did not have parasites.
Strahle has since declared to his viewers that he is moving away from these extreme eating challenges. For example, he’s now decided that he wants to train for an attempt to walk across the United States in 45 days or less. Which is why I was surprised as hell to see the video that he posted yesterday that you see above.
In this video, Strahle attempts to drink/consume a gallon of milk that he put outside in the Los Angeles sun for two weeks. Let that just sink in for a second. The whole video is an amazing journey that I won’t spoil for you. Stay with it to the end, it’s totally worth it.
I signed up for an improv class a few weeks ago and tonight was the first session. Throughout junior high I did improv through the Drama classes I took. If we’re talking about sheer fun, those were the best classes I had in public school. If I can be bold for a second, I will say that I got quite good at it. Of course, it’s been decades since then but the memory of those good times encouraged me to sign up for this class. Also, with all this free time, it would be a waste not to work on some personal development.
Since it had been so long since I did improv, I decided to sign up for the intro class. It would be a great opportunity to re-learn and refresh some of the concepts that I might have forgotten. When I arrived, I saw there were about 12 people in my class, slightly more women than men. I was sure I’d be the oldest person in the class but there was an older gentlemen who took that title.
As expected, we learned some of the core concepts of doing good improv. Things that make a scene work and how to support your partner or partners. Our instructor had us to do some simple improv exercises to ease us into it. I remember doing similar exercises back in grade eight when I was a very shy lad. Back then, it seemed like our teacher was making us do some really odd things but now I understand why these exercises are important to allow people to “stretch” from a performance point of view.
As some of you know, I have no fear of speaking/performing in front of crowds of any size. This is mainly due to the great Drama classes I had in junior high. Nothing changed tonight as I did not get stage fright at all during the evening. I will say there was much for me to improve on for next class. I wasn’t pleased with my timing. In improv, a scene works much better when you hit the beats correctly. I also thought I wasn’t making the most of the scenes or pushing them to their full potential. I remember in my junior high days how it felt when you’re just doing so well with your scene partners and it’s just clicking, that’s the goal for me.
The class is two hours every Monday and I have two more classes left. I’m really looking forward to next week!
I’m still trying to get to bed at a decent hour. Last night I went to sleep around 6am. The problem is I don’t feel tired until then. I did set my alarm for 12:30pm today because I wanted to at least wake up earlier and not like at 3pm as I have been doing.
While I did wake up before 1pm, I felt pretty gross for the rest of afternoon. I wound up going back to sleep around 3pm for a nap. I felt better when I woke up but I then realized that probably wouldn’t help me get to bed earlier later tonight.
I think I need to decide on one night where I just taking a sleeping pill at around 2am and nudge my body clock back to where it needs to be. Ideally, I think I’d be going to bed around 3am or 4am.
The great thing is that I don’t need to wake up for anything specific. That’s the beauty of this bum lifestyle at first. I’m sure I’ll want to do something more productive in a little while but for now, it’s ok.
In February, towards the end of my contract, I began going to work later and later. I guess I was feeling a bit tired and burnt out so I just slept in a bit more. As such, I saw a different group of people on my bus to work. Depending on when you go, there will be different regulars.
In the later group, there was one guy who also works at EA. He’s a fast walker so he usually walks ahead of me on our short walk from the bus stop to the studio. He normally wears a blazer style jacket as his outer coat. It’s styled like a suit jacket but a bit bulkier so it can be worn as a real coat. Because it’s like a suit jacket, it also has most of the corresponding features, like a suit vent. If you’re not familiar with what a suit vent is, it’s at the bottom of the jacket at back where it splits into two (for a center vent).
Normally, when a suit jacket is manufactured and transported, the jacket pockets and vents are loosely sewn into place to prevent damage, like ripping and tearing. You’re supposed to take a pair of scissors and carefully cut the threads after you get the jacket home. If you want to see what it looks like when a vent is still sewn shut click here.
Anyways, the first time I walked behind my fellow EA employee, I noticed his jacket vent was still stitched together. In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal but is this a fashion faux pas? You bet it is. Let me be clear though that I did not judge this man’s entire existence and value as a human being based on two stitches on his coat. Having said that, I really wanted to speak up and tell him to cut those stitches and free his vent.
I didn’t know this guy at all though. At first, I wasn’t even sure what his name was or what his function was at the studio. How do you bring up such a random thing to someone you don’t know? It’s one thing to say “your shoes are untied” but how do you formulate “your center vent stitches are still in place and I think you cut them immediately before Paris fashion week starts”?
For about a week, I just let it go and every morning I watched him walk ahead of me, as those stitches beckoned to be cut. Eventually I found out his name through an internal newsletter that was sent to a whole bunch of people. For about a second, I thought I should maybe send him an e-mail but then I realized what an absolutely crazy thing that would. Like how would he feel getting a message from a total stranger about a totally inane detail on his coat? It would be too weird and he’d then think I was stalking him.
In the end, I decided to do nothing because there was no other option that didn’t make me look like a crazy person. My hope is that one day, in the near future, a close friend or family member sits him down and points out his error. Ok, that’s your fashion lesson for today.