Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Really difficult to read street signs

I was listening to the radio on my way to work today and heard that the VANOC committee (that oversees planning and execution of Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics) is asking the federal government for 2 million dollars to make all the signs from Richmond to Whistler bilingual.

The radio jockeys were joking around and saying how we need all the signs that say "Olympics" to say "Olympiques" as well. It was mutually understood by all that French is a major component of Canadian heritage, even if Mandarin and Hindi speakers outnumber the Quebecois in BC a billion to one. The DJs joked that, if French is required to be on the signs, then we might as well add Chinese and Sanskrit as well to be fair to all.

Funny as it may be, I can almost imagine these signs popping up here and there all over Vancouver (and, in fact, there is lots of these signs already, like in Indiatown or Chinatown). If fully implemented, it would be the epitome of Canada's propensity of being a cultural mosaic. It would also demonstrate how silly the whole thing can be :p

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monster Mash

This last week or so, I've been listening to a lot of mash-ups. Mash ups are songs that are made up of two or more songs mixed together. Some are really quite brilliant and listening to how different songs from different artists (and sometimes from different eras and genres) flow together is like finding a hidden gem that you can enjoy in secrecy. It's the same feeling, I suppose, that allows grassroot campaigns and viral advertisement to succeed. The feeling of personal exclusitivity can really make you feel special and, thus, the source of it would have a special place in your heart and mind.

Here's one of my favourite mash-ups:

Party Ben
has a lot of great mash-ups available for download and instant enjoyment. Just pick anything with an artist or song that you recognize.

I think the pleasure I find in mash ups has something to do with how I tend to be a big picture kind of guy, which is one of the reasons why I renamed my blog to refer to holistics and Gestalt psychology. In either case, sharing is caring, and it is also how grassroots and viral campaigns prosper, so enjoy and share with others!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trucks in the Left Lane

I am highly critical of other people's driving. Not while I'm riding in someone's car, mind you, that's just rude. Rather, I tend to express my thoughts aloud to no one in particular when I witness other people driving stupidly on the road.

Since I work out in Ladner, I drive myself to work every morning. I am going against the main flow and typically, without traffic, the commute is a mere 20 minutes. However, because the main flow is going towards Vancouver, the highway lanes are manipulated in such a way so that there are three or four lanes going to Vancouver and one or two going South.

This is a pain because there is a huge bottleneck just before the Massey Tunnel where essentially all Southward traffic is funneled into a single lane. After a week or so, I acquired a good sense of timing and steering to essentially merge into the single lane as late a possible with little effort. This made the difference of about 10-20 minutes. Without it, my commute would literally double in time.

However, starting about two weeks ago, trucks began using the left lane, aka the passing lane, which is ludicrous. Trucks are slow and have absolutely no ability to merge seamlessly with the main traffic flow. As well, trucks, especially large load bearing trucks, are not supposed to be in the left lane at all. The fact that my trip is lengthened every day of this last couple of weeks due to a selfish or unskilled truck driver really drives me up the wall.

I realize that I am being a bit hypocritical here since I am budging myself. However, I do welcome any other car in the left lane along with me and I do allow people to cut in front of me all the time. I have no problem with that as long as the drivers can do it smoothly. However, there are some people that really shouldn't be trying it, especially large trucks.

Once, a truck cut right in front of me and tried to hold two lanes to prevent any more people from passing. Sometimes cars do this and I find it really funny because it is hard to hold two lanes. Cars tend to jut out more into the passing lane because they want to prevent cars from passing. I tend to merge behind the offending car and then see if I can squeeze them out of the main lane and effectively turn them into what they hate the most. Anyways, this truck was trying to hold two lanes and it had to move a bit back into the right lane because the truck behind it thought it was actually changing lanes. I ended up squeezing through on the left side and merging to the main lane a block later easily.

If a driver is unconfident or too passive, they should just go to the slow lane and wait it out. If a driver tends to merge too early or too late, they will disrupt the flow in both lanes. The easiest places to merge is in front of a slow truck or in front of another car that just merged, since they have less stake on the lane and don't really mind letting people in front of them. I let in merging cars after I merge as well as common courtesy. However, I encourage everyone to bully out trucks that are trying to merge in order to discourage the behavior in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Belated Earth Day!

No, I didn't miss Earth Day. In fact, I posted the revival post on Earth Day with the intent to write a later post but I got lazy (certainly a theme with me).

We got some recycling bins in our office this week and, on Earth Day, my boss asked me to write a memo to go out to the office so that they know what the bins were for. I don't think she realized it was Earth Day, I didn't but I was looking for some clip art to add to the memo (her request) and searched Earth Day for inspiration and there it was serendipitiously.

The clip art I eventually picked was something off the theme of "Make Everyday Earth Day" and I'm happy to say that I feel like I am doing something towards that cause. Since I was little, my parents taught me things like save water and electricity. Not that the environment ever entered into the equation, frugality was the topic in question, but as I grew up and got educated on sustainable living, I realized that I was already doing most of these green activities and it motivated me to pursue it more.

And, really, that's the reason why a lot of big companies invest in greener policies. Not only do they save money in the long run (only the short term set up costs are restrictive), but they get to market themselves as eco-friendly, which helps to attract similar minded customers.

Recently, six months ago in fact, I got my first car (that is, one that is solely for my personal use and enjoyment). Despite being male and asian, I really didn't know much about cars and didn't have a "dream car" vision, except for the impossible to get Vision SLR and Aquada. I was following various blogs from the Gawker network and one of them had an article about the top 5 cars with best mileage.

At that time, gas was really expensive and I really didn't want to bother with filling up all the time. Plus, my parents were offering to cover a good part of the car tag price, which really gave me leg room to look around. Naturally, topping the top 5 list were hybrid cars, including the Prius and the soon-to-re-released Insight.

My conditioned urge to save money and motivation towards reducing my carbon footprint essentially made the Prius the only car for me. I had a bit of a disliking towards Honda cars at that time, driving my family's Accord around, as I found the body of the vehicle large in the rear area and very unwieldy. So I went out and hunted myself down a Prius.

The Prius has a 45L tank, which is really quite small, comparable to a smaller class vehicle. This means, that to fill a tank, it will only cost me 25-35 bucks. Yet, this tank can last me 1.5-2 weeks and I'll be driving to work in Ladner every day, Kickboxing in Burnaby three times a week, and out on dates at least 3 other times a week.

What's really great about the Prius is the in-dash display that tells you what your current km/100L rate is. Watching this real time meter, though dangerous, really helps to show you where and when you spend the most gas and, through some personal discipline and trail and error, you can use the meter as a guide to improve your driving so that you can go further with less gas.

I took an entrepreneurship class when I was still in SFU. Our prof talked about one of his previous groups that went on to start their own business, designing, producing, marketing and selling a device that can monitor how much power you're spending at home and link the information to a handy gadget that connects to an outlet on your wall or detaches and can be carried in your pocket.

Since then, I have noticed exactly that device in the new condos going up for Milennium Waters and the Olympic Village, which is great for my fellow alumnis. However, it is also great for the gold LEED standard building and will, with no doubt in my mind, definitely guide even non-green minded inhabitants to lead a lifestyle that is healthier for the planet.

At our current consumption and population rate, it is said that it would take about 100 Earths to sustain the hunter/gatherer lifestyle that our pre-evolutionary ancestors led. With current technology, it is said that 85% of the land would be needed for cultivation purposes in order for us to live a sustainable life, which is still huge, but is much better than what we had before. Certainly, technology will play a huge factor towards our goal of long existence. While the monitors and meters don't do that much, they do help a lot in terms of motivating otherwise uncaring individuals to led a better lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back strong with fifty belly dancers

Wow, it's really been a long time. My novel really hasn't progressed much if at all :p Maybe this is the year, who knows. Before I get to that, I figure I should provide an update, explain why I'm restarting this blog and what the new posting mantra will be.

First the update. Since I last posted, I wrapped up my studies at SFU. That was last August and I received my diploma during the graduation ceremony, which was last October. Right after graduation, I decided that I wanted to take my project management skills to the gaming world. I love video games, why not work with them? Project management is not that far off from Production and I started to poke around to see if anyone would take me.

During PAX 08, I met Ron Gilbert and he introduced me to Su Skerl who was a member of Vancouver's Artery, a group of artists that met regularly at Draw Jams to drink, chat and, well, draw. I couldn't draw very well, but it was a good crowd to hang with. Not only did they have connections to the gaming industry, but we all shared many interests and had lots to talk about.

Around this time, I was still poking around different companies in Vancouver, including Hot Head Games, Slant Six, EA, Radical, Relic, Blue Castle, Action Pants, Nexon, and even Planet Penguin, which was in Kelowna. I also looked at Redmond (Nintendo, Microsoft, NCsoft, etc) and Montreal (Ubisoft). I basically got a big "no dice" from everyone seeing how I didn't have much relevant experience aside from my education. All my previous jobs were really marketing and event management focused.

After 3-4 months of this, I finally decided to look outside the gaming industry and began pursuing marketing, PR and project/event management related job. I was still keeping an eye on the gaming scene just in case I could squeeze myself in somewhere. I was active on, submitting game design ideas for their weekly contest.

Around November, while exploring around Game Career Guide's forums, I came across a section for writers and thought, hey this is perfect for me. I applied to a few places and began writing for At first I was paid peanuts, but I didn't mind as I was having fun and gaining valuable experience and references. Liking writing so much, I looked everywhere for paid freelance work and managed to get a comission from the Escapist magazine, which was awesome. Eventually, I landed a regular freelance spot with Kidzworld, where I earn an equivalent or more of what I make at my full time job.

That's right, I'm working full time right now. I managed to find a marketing assistant job for a marketing company in Ladner through Things are pretty good here, but there is plenty of downtime now and then, which is why I played around with the idea of restarting my blog.

To be honest, I'm not confident in my creative writing. The many times I've started my novel, I've essentially crumpled up the paper and tossed it aside because I was never happy with it. Currently I'm playing with the idea of writing out one of my other novel ideas, but in the mean time, I'll play around with the blog and write to my heart's content.

My goal here now is not to be totally thoughtful or whatever. I think I just want to write what's on my mind and perhaps make myself look and sound interesting. Who knows where this will go. There is no plan, just random and weird thoughts.