This evening I saw for the first time, real, nearly finished gameplay footage from a game I worked on over two and a half years ago. If you recall, I wrote a post about the game’s announcement trailer but at the time, neither myself nor the public knew what the game looked like during actual gameplay.

Apparently this footage was taken during E3 last month but even though I was there, I totally missed this. It’s quite odd to finally see what the game looks like with nearly complete textures, levels, visual effects, lighting, audio, and game mechanics. When I was there it was very early on in the project and obviously I could not imagine what it would look like now. I don’t want to get into the details but there has been a lot of churn in the project. For example, the lead campaign designer in the above video was not there when I was on the project.

From a completely selfish point of view, I now wonder if my name will be in the credits. Probably not.


At work today they sent out a company-wide email. Someone at the studio is battling cancer and receiving stem cell treatment. The email wanted people to sign up to become a donor for stem cells because it was so helpful for the person with cancer.

I thought this was a great idea so I read the email further about the requirements for being a donor. I quickly saw that you had to be in good health and between the ages of 17 and 35. I felt a slight sting because I am over 35 years of age. I could not be considered a stem cell donor. At least from this point of view my body was too old to help anyone. What a bummer.

I turn to my co-worker next to me who was also reading the email at his desk. He’s also over the age of 35 and we both sat there thinking how old and useless we were.

Getting old sucks.


We as a civilization have built this incredible thing called the Internet, a vast data network connecting people from all parts, even the remotest, of the world. While technically there are no borders on the Internet, people, government, and corporations have placed artificial gates across the global network. For example, not every single video on YouTube is available to people, depending on where you live.

The dreaded “The uploader has not made this video available in your country” message appears because corporations have paid money for digital distribution rights for that particular country. Those corporations don’t want you to see that content on YouTube, they want you to see on their (most likely paid) platform. This problem is particularly evident in Canada where many popular YouTube clips are not available.

There have been many harebrained and inconvenient solutions to this problem but none have been as easy and slick as the one I found last week. The site YouPak allows you to view any YouTube video no matter where you are visiting from. The site seems to know whenever any YouTube video has been uploaded, so it looks essentially like a mirror of the actual YouTube site. It also contains all the meta-info for the original YouTube video, including comments.

As an example, try to view this video if you’re in Canada. Nope, you won’t be able to. I’ve been able to embed that video though above by going through YouPak.

If you ever encounter a YouTube video that has been blocked from your country, Canada or otherwise, just replace “youtube” in the URL with “youpak” and your video will be available.

Let’s make the Internet more global again.


Some of you might remember that sometime in May I discovered the culinary delight that is Italian wedding soup. Oh boy, did I find it delicious. The first few cans I bought were on sale from Campbell’s. When you buy from them, the quality is consistent and usually pretty high, at least as far as canned soups go. Once I devoured the initial batch, the sale was over though. I found myself at Walmart in the soup aisle, where I saw Walmart’s own brand name of “Great Value” soups. I’d never tasted a can of Walmart soup before. Walmart’s Italian wedding soup was almost half the price of Campbell’s. It wouldn’t hurt to try it out, would it?

In the world of retail, store name brands are usually cheaper than the big name brands. The quality of the store name brands can vary but in many cases, the deviation from the big name brands is small enough or indistinguishable to be worth the savings you receive. I find things like cleaning supplies or household items are a better value by purchasing store name brands. Food is a tougher product to evaluate. Sometimes I can be pleasantly surprised and this is what I was hoping for when I bought a can of Walmart Great Value Italian wedding soup.

On Saturday evening, it was approaching the midnight hour when I was getting a bit hungry. It was time to try the Walmart soup. After I opened the can and dumped the contents into a saucepan, I noticed it didn’t smell that appealing. I checked the expiry date on the can and it was good for another three years. Maybe it just smelled like this. There didn’t seem to be a lot of meatballs compared the Campbell’s version. As I heated up the soup, I was very wary and that weird, almost medicinal smell did not go away.

After stirring and heating thoroughly, the soup was ready for a taste test. With a spoon, I gingerly scooped up a bit of pasta, a few meatballs, and a bit of that spinach they had in there. In the mouth it went. I immediately detected notes of garbage, followed a strong middle of expired medicine, with a lingering aftertaste of both. It was horrendous. Not believing a soup could be that bad, I had to taste it again. I brought another spoonful into my mouth where I confirmed I had just heated up a saucepan full of bitter disappointment. I could not continue and I began to worry whatever stain and stench the soup emitted would be embedded into my cookware. I immediately dumped the soup out and composted the solids.

Do not buy this soup and even though I haven’t tried any other soups from Walmart’s “Great Value” line, I’d caution anyone thinking about them. Prepare for disappointment, unless you like your soups tasting like garbage.


On a whim I decided to start watching The Man in the High Castle, a TV series from Amazon Studios. The show is based on legendary author Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. I’m not sure why it took me this long to start watching it. The premise of the show is based on alternate history fiction, with the pivot point being the outcome of World War II. If there’s a specific genre that really gets my engine revving, that would be it. For example, I read Fatherland in like two days.

The first episode got me hooked immediately. The depiction of the United States in post-war 1962, divided amongst Japan in the west and Nazi Germany in the east, was fascinating. The Nazis managed to drop a nuclear bomb on Washington. They assaulted American beaches and forced America to capitulate. In the intervening years, Nazi technology progresses at an impressive rate. All those German scientists that were divided between the US and the Soviets never left. Faster than sound passenger jets are now commonplace, in 1962 mind you.

The real kicker though, the main plot device, is the titular man in the high castle. He is the individual who purportedly makes propaganda films, highly illegal in the Greater Nazi Reich. The audience is shown one of these films. It is familiar because it’s footage from victory celebrations from various countries: Churchill standing proud, the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima, confetti in Times Square, the famous sailor kissing the nurse. Most people believe these films are highly skilled fakes, somehow made in secret. Then, one character, mysteriously drops a hint that these films are not doctored or faked in any way. How could this be?

Well, that’s as far as I got. Now if I wasn’t working, I’d binge watch the whole first season plus as much of the second as I could, just like I did Daredevil. Alas, I do have a job and I need to be there, so I get maybe one episode done a night. The weekend is coming up though. Maybe it’ll be a good time to watch the sunrise again.


Did you know that Martin Short and Maya Rudolph have a show together on NBC? Are you surprised they named it Marty and Maya? Well, they did.

The show has given Martin Short a chance to resurrect his “Jiminy Glick” character, a lovable celebrity interviewer. In my opinion, it’s one of the best characters he’s come up with. Short is a national treasure and one of the many comedic geniuses to have come from Canada. I will never miss an opportunity to say good things about Martin Short, a good, kind, and wonderful family man who just happens to be incredibly funny.

In the interview above, Glick meets up with Jerry Seinfeld fifteen years after their last meeting.


Over four years ago, I wrote a post about white vs. dark meat in poultry. To sum it up, dark meat is moist and awesome, white is dry and crappy. For some reason white people love eating white meat and they even pay more for it. Hilarious!

For this reason, I avoid eating white meat when it comes to chicken and turkey. I never order a chicken breast at any fried chicken places, always drumsticks and thighs for me. At a restaurant, I never order a half chicken. Why? Half of it is white meat. If I’m that hungry, I just get two quarters… of the dark meat half, the leg and thigh.

Last week though, I experienced something radically different, something new in all my years of eating food. I ate some white meat from a chicken that was nearly indistinguishable from dark meat in terms of moistness and texture.

I was downtown, at a Joey’s restaurant. I was with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I’d had a gin and tonic and I was hungry. I was in the mood for chicken but the menu only had half portions and you know what that meant, white meat. I asked the waitress about this and she confirmed it was a half chicken but that Joey’s chicken was specially prepared and it was moist no matter what meat we were talking about. I was skeptical but I was also hungry.

When the chicken arrived, I was curious but didn’t think any white meat could be that moist. I cautiously cut a piece of white meat and gingerly stabbed at it with my fork. It felt soft at least. With great care, I placed the small portion of chicken breast in my mouth. Incredible. It was moist, tender, and juicy. Was this really white meat? I checked again. In all my years of eating chicken, that was supposed to be where the chicken breast was. I cut another piece and sampled it. It was just as magical as the first.

I ate the whole half chicken and the white meat was just as enjoyable as the dark meat. That had never happened to me before. The menu says that Joey’s brines their chicken for 24 hours for “maximum moisture”. I’m not exactly sure what that entails but I wonder why other restaurants don’t do the same thing.

I’m now afraid this one just a one-off coincidence, a magic bird that somehow was a genetic freak. I need to go back and see if I was just lucky. How could a meat so previously dry and tough becomes so tender? In the meantime, I encourage you to try it yourself.


In a previous post, I wrote that was quite impressed with the London public transit system, in particular the London Underground. I became particularly fond of the announcements that you hear while using the Tube. Part of the appeal is that I think anything said in a British accent just sounds so much better. In particular, the woman who does the announcement for some of the Underground lines has such a fantastic way of articulating the words that it becomes a delight just to hear her speak. Her delivery and intonation is perfectly British but friendly at the same time. Emma Clarke is the woman who does the announcements and her voice is heard by thousands every single day. I also like how some announcements include which landmarks or attractions are at a particular stop. This is great for tourists and I think more cities should do that.

The above video shows the full end to end trip on the Circle Line. Sometimes when I need something to listen to as background noise at work, I’ll just play this video. Oh Victoria Station, that’s my stop folks!


On Saturday, my parents wanted to take out the whole family for lunch. I decided to drive to my parents’ place before going to the restaurant together. Along the way to Mom and Dad’s I’m approaching an intersection when I see a huge black sheet of plastic blow into the lane next to me, several car lengths ahead. It might have been a very large garbage bag or it might have been some sorta protective sheet. Whatever it was, it was big and the wind had blown into the street.

A car was already in that lane and by my estimation it probably had a good five seconds or so to do something about being in the way of that bag. It was a wide road, so that car had a lane on either side to move into. It could have also slowed down to see if it would continue to blow out of the way. That car did none of those things. It kept on going straight, didn’t even see the brake lights flash once. The underside of the car caught the massive bag near the front right. It started to drag the bag along. I could see it flapping in the wind underneath the car.

You’d have to be a complete idiot not to notice a huge plastic sheet like that in your lane. You’d also have to notice that you ran over it. You’d also have notice that thing you ran over didn’t appear in your rear view mirror. Don’t we all do that? Whenever something odd appears on the road and I want to make damn sure it wasn’t caught underneath my car, I look for it in the rear view mirror as I pass over it.

Anyways, so the driver of that car just keeps on going. Now I’m seeing it’s really close to the front right, near the wheel and the axle of the car. If that huge sheet gets wrapped up in the axle as it turns, that can’t be good.

As traffic continues to move at speed, I’m keeping an eye on that car. The big bag is still caught underneath the car. Then the driver signals to get on the highway! So now he wants to drive even faster with that thing caught under their car. How do they not notice? It’s got to be making a horrendous noise under there.

The last I saw of the car was it merging onto the highway, that thing still flapping in the wind. Part of me thinks, it’s still probably there, with the car parked in that person’s garage.