Tuesday, December 09, 2008

F*ing weird synchronicity

Alright, I normally dismiss coincidences as, well, coincidences. However, this is too weird not to report:

We were watching Jeopardy tonight. A contestant's "special" skill was to speak any sentence backwards, which he demonstrated on-camera.

Flash forward three hours. We're watching Family Guy. A clip includes Adam West as a guest contestant. His answer to a question? "kebert xela"! When Alex speaks it, he spontaneously combusts. Adam says "Making him speak his name backwards is the only way to defeat him."

How many times have YOU seen people speaking backwards on Jeopardy?! F*ing weird.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where do we go from here?

Reading a Wired Blog post showing that scientists have confirmed the existence of dark matter. What was previously speculated has been confirmed -- the universe is mostly (75%) dark matter.

So what does that mean? Are we one step closer to knowing everything there is to know?

People talk about the end of knowledge -- that reach that state sometime soon. Moore's Law says we'll be at our smallest possible technological increment in a decade or so. Further, we look to the Technological singularity for complete paradigm shift.

But does that mean we will know *everything* there is to know? Perhaps, as with dying, we will pass into a realm that we cannot know without entering. If we don't know that we don't know this, how can we possibly say that we'll know everything.

There's plenty more to learn.

Monday, November 10, 2008

When I am rich...

Originally uploaded by risu23
...I am going to buy myself this watch.

We saw the Corum bubble watch series in a jewelry store in Beverly Hills a few years ago, and I haven't been able to get this model ("Bats") out of my mind.

Blogging this so that I remember to buy it someday soon!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank you, America.

Thank you, America, for making Barack Obama our first black president. This is a really amazing day. People came together and voted in record numbers for a man who offered hope to everyone regardless of race, sex, creed, or orientation.

I don't have a lot to say other than that. I am very happy. And proud. I'm very proud that all of the people who make up the United States of America had an opportunity to vote. This is what it's all about.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kitten Mania!

mina sleeping 01
Originally uploaded by risu23
We have a new kitten. Her name is Mina. How cute is she!?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Star Wars: The Old Republic announced today!

Big, giant, exciting day today for BioWare -- Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO has been announced! Hooray, and congrats TOR team for all of your past (and future) hard work! :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming was a man of many skills: professor, author, lecturer, mathematician. His most famous contribution was in the area of management. Specifically, in the world of quality management, Deming's methods aided Japan's transformation from a third-world country to the richest in the world in the 1980s.

There is a great deal to learn from Deming. My short study of the man has given me the following, which I wish to pass along. "The 14 Points" is from Out of Crisis. This is organizational management at its finest!

The 14 points

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
6. Institute training on the job.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
* Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
* Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh yeah. I'm home now!

Was so tired after my trip, I had to take a week to recuperate before I could post.

Pictures are forthcoming - I had to buy a crappy disposable camera at the student store at University of Warwick in order to take some photos. Should be developed soon, and I'll post pics to Flickr and link here.

After the conference, which was *awesome* by the way, I traveled to Brighton with my good friend Jim Purbrick. He and his lovely wife Ali put me up for two nights, which was very kind. We got to walk around Brighton and see the sites, including Paradise Pier (star of "Quadrophenia"):

and the Royal Pavilion:

It was a great trip, and I really enjoyed everything. Thank you again, Jim and Ali! :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Long journey to Coventry

I worked from 9 to 4:30 on Monday, got ready to leave, then hopped on a plane from Edmonton to London. Boarded the bus to the train station, got on train...now I'm in Coventry at the University of Warwick!

It's been a really long day, but I captured some impressions in a notepad. I will try to write them up and share here in the blog. Probably won't happen till I get home, though.

This week's goal (besides an AWESOME conference): get someone to take me to the Coventry graveyard. It looked AMAZING when we drove by in the taxi today.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Flying Pizza Kitty

The absolutely best animated GIFs ever!

Flying Pizza Kitty

Friday, August 29, 2008

How did I miss this?

This is the weirdest thing ever...I think I will never be quite the same after watching, so now you should, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Writing a keynote speech

I'm in the process of writing my keynote speech for the Women in Games Conference 2008. The event is held at the University of Warwick in West Midlands, UK. I'm really excited to go -- it will be my first solo travel abroad! -- but of course am kind of overwhelmed with the creation of the speech.

My topic is "The Perception of Games," which is broad enough to give me plenty to talk about for 45 minutes. I've written and delivered speeches before, but 45 minutes is pretty darn long.

I am very excited about it, and can't wait to report on the conference once I'm back home!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fascinating Article on Women and Technology

Very interesting research into why women may be less likely to work in technology.

For more than a decade, academics and technology executives have been frowning at the widening gender gap in computer science. Everyone has a theory, but no one has managed to attract many more women.

Now, some computer science researchers say one solution may lie in the design of software itself even programs regular people use every day.

Read the full article, "Researchers Study Software Gender Gap" here.

(Thanks to Sande Chen's Dame Dev Blog for posting the article!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dragon Age: Origins E3 Trailer Debut Tonight on Spike TV

At long last, the Dragon Age: Origins trailer is available! It's the work of my awesome pals on the Cinematic Animation team, and let me tell you -- they put their hearts into this stuff. Bravo, ladies and gentlemen!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


One of the best resources on the Web for locating game developers, publishers, game industry organizations and so forth:


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bad day and knowing horoscope. Coincidence!?

"As much as you try to remain cavalier about what's happening, your heart is too engaged to be casual about it. Complications arise from your eagerness to focus on the big picture while you keep getting dragged back into the details. It's challenging to maintain a positive attitude when loose ends continue to unravel. Do the best you can for a few more days by playing both extremes; the intensity will begin to subside after tomorrow's Full Moon."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Just a little geek humor...

Dunno if you've seen the RPG Motivational Posters site yet. If not, you should check it out...well, if you're a gaming dork like me, that is.

Here's a sample:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rest In Peace, Dear Charlotte

On Monday we discovered that Charlotte had been vomiting. She seemed better that evening, but Tuesday she was even worse. We took her to the Vet that afternoon, where she was given a blood test. The Vet called a few hours later, once we'd returned home, to say that her kidney values were terrible and that she should go to the emergency room to be rehydrated.

After spending the night in the hospital, on an IV, she again seemed better. The staff told us that she was improving, and that we could visit in the evening. We arrived at the hospital at around 6:45pm on Tuesday, and waited over an hour to see her. Finally, at 8:15pm, they brought her to us. We stayed together in the "Family Room" -- James petted and loved her, while I got to pet her a bit.

Finally, the doctor came in and told us that rather than getting better, her condition had worsened. The kidney panel showed that the organ was much worse than before, and despite the fluids she hadn't peed in a day. The prognosis was dire: her kidneys had completely stopped functioning. The doctor said that what was left of her life would be painful, so we were advised to euthanization was her only choice.

You must understand that Charlotte just turned 5 years old. We never had an idea that she was ill, and certainly not that she had congenital kidney problems. But there we were, faced with choosing a slow, painful death or a quick, immediate one. What would she want? Should we subject her to a car ride home, simply to see it one last time? Surely that was selfish when she felt so sick -- her constant meows told us that she just wasn't herself.

James and I were devastated, discussing options for what seemed like a very long time. We wept and held Charlotte, and each other. Then the doctor came in, and quietly injected anaesthetic into the IV tube. Charlotte took a few final breaths, and then was gone.

This was a horrible experience, and we are still very much in shock. We will love Charlotte forever, and can only hope that she's well on her way to a much better place.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vancouver Film School - Dancing Animals in Love

NSFW? I mean...I guess if you can't take a little mating action (and I do mean a *very* little), then don't watch. Otherwise, check it out!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Tiger Tiger" Ice Cream

Yet another exciting thing in Canada that I've never seen in the US is "Tiger Tiger" ice cream. Some call it "Tiger Tail" and some call it "Tiger," but it's always the same: orange ice cream with a licorice swirl.

I have not tried it yet. More news if/when I do.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

A friend wrote to me asking for fun stuff to do in Portland, Oregon. She seemed happy with this response, so I figured I'd post it here for posterity.

First, if you like books you NEED to go to Powell's Books. It's pretty much the best new and used bookstore ever -- Powell's is four floors of literary heaven, and they have almost every book you could ever want and many that you never knew existed. You can find it at 1005 W Burnside. Map of Powell's.

Also, there are some beautiful gardens and outdoor locations to visit.
My personal favorite is the Japanese Garden. You can reach it by car, or using public transportation. See the map, and be sure to think about a trip to the Rose Garden and/or the Portland Zoo while you're in the area.

If you are in Portland on Saturday, be sure to hit up the Saturday
, held in downtown Portland. It's a fun mix of jewelry, food, hand-made items, music, clothes, art, and so forth. It's located here.

Finally, I have a deep personal love for cinnamon rolls. You might not...but if you do, go to Rose's Restaurant and Bakery on NW 23rd Ave and have one. The cinnamon rolls there are gigantic and delicious, and they even have a whole wheat version!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quel et poutine?

There are a few things about Canada that have remained hidden to Americans. Sure, we know about maple syrup and "Mounties" and beavers and hockey and Labatt beer...eh?

But how many of us know the poutine? French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy!? Why, this dish is ubiquitous -- they even serve it at Burger King and McDonald's here in Edmonton!

In fact, it is so famous there's even a rap song about it featuring a life-sized poutine! I humbly present it to you now...

(NOTE #1: Since I don't speak French I have no idea if this is safe for work...)

(NOTE #2: Doesn't the bald guy look like the love child of Patton Oswalt and Jim Norton?!)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

In flux.

While we're in limbo in the very nice but not-ours BioWare corporate apartment, I've been thinking about places I'd like to travel. No, not right now! Just, you know...someday. Here's a list, in no particular order:

  • Walking tour of the Lake District in Northern England.

  • Return to Cologne, Germany to visit the Kolner Dom or Cologne Cathedral.

  • Portmerion Village...yes, the one from The Prisoner.

  • Once again I want to see The Louvre and The British Museum (the latter continues to be my favorite place in the whole world).

  • Speaking of favorite places, I must return to Kyoto, Japan...

  • ...and since I never actually got to visit Tokyo even though we lived in Japan for close to a year...yeah, I know...I'll close the list with that entry for now.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Living Life in Edmonton

We have completed the journey to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I start work at BioWare Corp. on Monday, April 7th. So much going on...at least the kitties, rabbit, James and I all made it here in one piece!

Gotta find a place to live -- Whyte Ave. & its environs are especially appealing -- and then get a car (ugh). Lots to do, more updates as things change.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

I got my first D&D set (Basic Set 1) at Spencer Gifts in the Southgate Mall in Missoula, Montana. The year was 1981 -- I was eight years old.

I took the set home to our comfortable house in Stevensville (population 900), opened it up, and read about character classes. Oh, the wonder! Oh, the fabulous fantasy to pull me out of the drudgery of school that was too easy, and away from the harsh reality of children that were too cruel!

I convinced my best friend Angie, who lived across the street, to play with me, but my woeful misunderstanding of the rules, combined with the fact that I was the only one of us who was weird enough to actually care what a Kobold was, made this a short-lived experience. But hey -- I was an only child, and able to entertain myself. So character generation became my new hobby, even if I had no one to actual campaign with.

I wish my memory was clearer, or I could have said that this was why I purchased, and became obsessed with, the D&D games available for my Intellivision I system. I still have Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: The Treasure of Tarmin, and yes, I still play it. I also enjoyed Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain but Treasure of Tarmin was the best by far; 27 years later and it's still my favorite game.

So, upon the passing of Gary Gygax, I felt the need to make tribute -- to discuss my personal relationship with D&D as a Christian would with Christ, or a NASCAR fan would with Richard Petty. We Americans idolize our heroes, and their mortality at once frightens and enlightens us. If they can pass on, then so can we.

I leave you with this awesome "Seventh Seal" parody from XKCD...a truly fitting bon voyage for the great Gary Gygax.

Rest in Peace, Gary.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's with 1934?

I somehow missed the fact that my last two blog posts referenced art from 1934.

That's kind of strange.

Here's a link to some other stuff from 1934:

The year 1934 (Wikipedia)

"It Happened One Night" (one of the most popular and charming romantic comedies of all time) was released.

One of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl period happened in 1934.

Harold C. Urey won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry having "devised a method for the concentration of any possible heavy hydrogen isotopes by the fractional distillation of liquid hydrogen: this led to the discovery of deuterium." (Bonus points because he attended my alma mater, the University of Montana.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Japanese Propaganda Cartoon from 1934

Really interesting cartoon. Thanks to Pink Tentacle for the initial post!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

T.S. Eliot on Finding Something...

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

T.S. Eliot's "The Rock" (1934)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No GDC SF 2008 for me???

Argh! My damn back is hurting again. This time it's worse than ever though, and I'm starting to get worried. I had to back out of my GDC coordinator role, giving it back to Eric (who is thrilled, I'm sure)...

Anyway, working...er, resting hard to feel good enough to get down to SF for a day or two to see the show and go to our fabulous Suite Night Party at the W Hotel.

Bah. :-(

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So...busy. Must blog...soon...

So I'm really busy. New product launch + new team member + GDC planning/execution + first course in two-year MIS degree program = exhaustion!

Seriously, though, I'm really happy to be the main planner for the GarageGames/InstantAction presence at GDC SF this year. I can't wait for the show -- it's one of the few times a year that I get to see all of my industry friends. Plus, I am planning a whirlwind culinary tour of The City so that I can visit all of my old haunts: Kiss Seafood, Home, Picante (Berkeley), Hana-Zen, Taqueria Cancun, and so forth.

Who's with me?!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

GTA IV Date Announced!

Grand Theft Auto IV now has an official release date: April 29, 2008.

Let's see how accurate that is. :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Too long since I posted...

Too long since I posted to my blog. I wish I had something to say.

Actually, Christmas was lovely. I enjoyed the break (about a week and a half off, minus one day of work), and had a good time relaxing at home with James. Good games as presents helped -- I spent too many hours playing Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Folklore.

I also picked up The Witcher, which is an awesome RPG. Reminds me of the classic BioWare games like Baldur's Gate I and II, with its deep, morally neutral story line.

Good stuff, man.