144 Days

It has been a very long time since I have attempted to fill this space with words. A full one hundred and forty four days if you want to be exact. If you prefer percentages and don’t mind a little rounding up, that’s forty percent of an entire year.

I feel as though I’ve become some sort of delinquent or dead beat blogger. Hopefully I can amend this situation.

So just what happens when 144 days go by? I can tell you this, not as much as you might think. Certainly a lot of things have happened in my little life that can; but it is still well within, if not below, normal human averages.

Christmas happened. Vacations happened. Life happened. Work happened. Really, it was business as usual. Except for the whole blogging thing. I’m not sure what happened to that.

If the Earth had twenty five hour days I would probably blog more. It can be tough to find those few extra minutes to pursue things that don’t have an immediate impact on your day to day life. Or really, I could just tell the truth and say that I’ve been completely swept up in Twitter. It takes a lot of time to keep up with all of those people who tweet non-stop.

I digress, let me attempt to realign this entry.

I’ll try and give a brief run down of the things that I at least have pictures for… because pictures are cool.

Holly and I went to New Brunswick in January this year to see my family. For my family who is reading this you can rest comfortable in the knowledge that I am not posting pictures of anyone except possibly me. I know how much everyone hates having there picture taken.

It was a good time. It was great to see everyone again. I really do wish I could see everyone a little more often. I wish I was better about calling more often and keeping in touch or even writing letters/e-mails. Alas, I don’t seem to be very good at any of those things. The best I have done in past years to keep everyone in the loop has been my blog, and clearly that has epically failed.

It was amazing to see how much my nephew has grown. I swear he’ll be taller than me in a couple of years at this rate. He chose to bury me stuffed animals on this particular trip.


Then we got back and it was only a few weeks before we headed off to Oregon with Holly’s family for a little vacation. We usually go every year or two. I enjoy it there and Holly’s family have been going there forever. We went right at the end of the Olympics.

While there we did a little hiking and I took a picture of snail. Yes, a snail. It looked cool. I believe Holly was actually embarrassed by the fact that I was taking a picture of the snail because she made me stop when she heard other people on the trail behind us.


On the way back that day we stopped by a place where if you pay them you can walk up hill for a few kilometers to a light house that they won’t let you in. So we decided not to go and instead when to the very wet beach where I took many pictures of sea gulls. Yes, sea gulls. I’m from the prairie. What can I say?


A day or two later we took our usual trek to the Tillamook Cheese Factory (interestingly enough we actually go for the ice cream). It really is some great ice cream! They make great cheese too! They actually have something you can only get at the visitor center which is a sampler of all thirty eight of their flavours. Imagine that. Thirty eight scoops of ice cream…

Right next to the Tillamook Cheese Factory is the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. I’m told that if you like brie and other French cheeses it is fantastic. We go for the great grilled sandwiches. Oh, and of course you have to go feed the goats and lamas and sheep. They aren’t as scary as they look. This year they also had heritage chickens walking all over the place. Rare breeds that you wouldn’t get to eat on a normal daily basis. Holly just laughed and smiled and laughed. She loved the chickens. Especially the ones that looked like they were wearing moccasins.


I think it was on the way home that day that we pulled off the road to watch what we thought might be our very last Oregon sunset. It was beautiful and special.


Other than that we wandered around a lot. We finally saw the sea lions down on the pier. We say three squirrels facing right. I took lots of pictures of lots of things. Including weeds. I like to take pictures.


I know you’re still asking yourselves. What was the catalyst that triggered the return to blogging. Well, honestly, you probably won’t believe it. It was a bottle of pop.

You see, I drink pop like most people drink wine or microbrewery beer. I am always trying to find the best root beer, the best cola, the best black cherry, the best grape, the best other random and awesome flavors. I try just about everything. Even naturally carbonated varieties instead of traditional carbonation.

Well, Holly and I happened to be on one of our many grocery store adventures when I came across a very special bottle of pop. I say adventure because as far as I can tell we have as much fun going to grocery stores as most people have going to amusement parks.

The words describing the flavour simple leaped out at me and shouted BUY ME! It was a bottle of Fentimans Botanically Brewed Dandelion & Burdock Soda. Dandelion and freaking Burdock! I was in shock. I simply had to taste that! I thought for sure it would be incredibly, wonderfully, horribly terrible.


And the truth is, I was wrong. It was actually okay. Sort of a three way intersection between the flavours of black licorice, bubble gum and cherry cough syrup. Only better.

Now back to catching up on video games I’ve missed and debating if I should upgrade my computer, buy a new camera, or pay down debt.

A Motion For Clarity

I think we all reach a point where all we want is a little more clarity. I’ve been on a quest for such a thing recently on many levels.

How many levels exactly? Let me see if I can quantify them all:

  • where I fit within my team at work
  • where I fit within my business unit at work
  • where I fit within my company
  • where I fit within my profession

This has all been an exercise to try and discover the relationship between my internally perceived value vs. the externally perceived value within each group.

There is a lack of clarity when it comes to issues like this. In fact there is the exact opposite right now, an abundance of obfuscation.

The Dissipation of Will

What do you do when work loses it’s appeal? You know, that point where it actually becomes work; and not fun?

I have worked some soul sucking jobs during my life. I would even go so far as to say soul crushing. Yet, when I look back at those days I remember them with a fond disassosciation. The bonds that were forged back then were lifelong.

However, even during those soul crushing times there were things to look forward to. The work was interesting. I even developed a bit of a love hate relationship with the sports of Cricket and Rugby. The games we turned out even had some aspects to them which were actually fun.

After I finally got out of there I vowed not to work like that ever again. That work would be fun, and if not fun at least challening and rewarding. I promised myself that I wouldn’t wake up every day thinking ‘Fuck. Do I really have to go?’

Work is starting to get that way again. I don’t care about the product I’m working on at all. I can’t even refer to it as being a game without uncontrollable spasms of horror. It can’t even really be classified as entertainment.

If I wanted to just make software, I wouldn’t choose to do it at a game company. Plus, I would choose to make something interesting.

So far all of the technically interesting work has been cut due to capacity. There in lies the problem. You see, I like to solve puzzles.

I need something interesting to do. Something to hold my attention and keep my mind turning. I’ve had about two days worth of interesting work in the last three months.

Does anyone out there have something interesting for me to do? Gears of War 3? HALO 4? Google? I need something like that. Something fun. Something I myself would play or do.

It might be time to dust off the resume again…

Stuff Goes Here

There is no such thing as free time. At least not for me.

Work is a use case for insanity these days. My team is slowly ramping up to five people. I can’t remember the last time it was bigger than two; and that’s including me. Plus it has been about five years since I’ve been a true lead. So I’m still readjusting.

I had forgotten how many more meetings you have to go to as a lead as well. It’s just crazy! You simply can’t be productive if you’re not at your desk.

Due to all of this I’ve been much more stressed than I have been since the old HB days. I need to rediscover the secret to pushing work out of my mind when I walk out of the office.

The scope of this year’s project is unparalleled to anything I have ever done in the past and is simply too daunting to be pushed aside. When something begins to blot out the sun; it’s hard not to focus on it.

I can still remember when making video games for a living was fun. I miss that feeling. When it was us against the world! Now it feels more like me against bureaucracy.

Border Woe

They are searching every one going both ways across the border. Good start to the weekend?