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It was a sad, sad day in the ARG community yesterday as word spread about the passing of Dave Szulborski, Puppet Master extraordinaire.   Dave had been battling leukemia for a long time and though news of remission gave us hope last year, he finally succumbed to his illness leaving behind his wife, Marianne, and his son Tyler.

I wasn't as close to Dave as some of the other veterans of Unfiction, but over the last six years I've had the pleasure of chatting with him in podcasts, through chat and in person at three of the ARGFest events.

The reason this hits me so hard is because Dave was the number one reason why I got into ARGs in the first place. Chasing the Wish changed my life and was the catalyst that jump started my journey into the world of game development.  I went from a closet geek-in-training who didn't even know what a source code was, to a professional game designer.  I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for him. 

From the bottom of my heart, Dave, I thank you for that.

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It seems The Fates decided that my week hasn't quite reached the extreme limit in "shittyness" yet.

The Dad lost his job on Monday.

He didn't want to say anything yet because he felt there was already enough stress on my plate, but The Mom spilled the beans from work yesterday.

Now I just have to smile and play dumb until he breaks the news at our family meeting this weekend.

Guess who's getting shitfaced tonight?!

This girl!!

~H~

Current Mood: drained drained

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... is so depressing.

Rumours are flying here and there about the future of our department and it's hard not to pay attention to them after the lay offs on Monday.

On one side you've got the managers/supervisors who are frantically running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. They're the hopefull ones who are constantly reassuring us that even though we're moving into unfamiliar territory with the online maps, we'll still be needed to make all that happen and keep it running. We know they have our best interests in mind, but their reach only extends so far and they aren't the ones who make the final decisions.

On the other side you've got the pessimists. A few people have been quietly voicing concerns that we're slowly being phased out completely and will be standing in the unemployment line by Fall.

Who to believe? Sadly, the pessimists are more tuned in to the condition of our departent at the moment.

For starters, what we do here is a free service to our members. That means we don't bring in ANY money to the company, only spend it. We also took a huge hit this last year when gas prices soared and travel became a low priority for many people. Head office has seen the numbers and they weren't very good at all.

Over the last couple months a coworker and I have been testing ways to incorporate our online mapping tool into Auto Travel. With GoogleMaps and GPS systems becoming the norm we've had to play catch-up and get with the times. Paper is a thing of the past. We were under the assumption that our office would be taking care of this and servicing the stores as usual. The new idea rolling around is to train the front-line staff in the stores to do our job for us, eliminating the more experienced personnel and settling for a lower quality product.

Good times.

~H~

Current Mood: gloomy gloomy

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It was only a matter of time before the economic crisis hit my company.

Yesterday we were called into a surprise meeting by one of the big kahoonas from head office. They're going ahead and "restructuring" our department, sadly costing 8 people from my office their jobs.

Fortunately Kate and I were one of the ones who survived the chopping block, but it's pretty shitty when nearly 1/3 of your friends leave without even being able to say goodbye.

I have a huge issue with the way they handle laying people off here. On one hand I understand because they want to avoid making a scene and have everyone leave quickly and quietly. On the other hand, my own supervisors didn't even know who the victims were until the meeting - they actually thought for a moment that they were the ones being fired.

Lis - if you're reading this, of the ones you would know we lost Marta, Ken, Heather and Gloria :(

What a shitty week, and it's only Tuesday.

~H~

Current Mood: depressed depressed

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Gotta stay optimistic.

Yesterday as The Chad and I left to pick up a new dryer (I heart Craigslist) in Newmarket, we made it 50ft down the road before my car stopped moving. Still running, but as I switched between drive, reverse, and any lower gears nothing was happening. It was as if we were sitting in neutral the whole time.

Restart engine. No movement.
Try once more. Still nothing.

Shit.

Left the car there and walked home where I Googled for some more information on the problem.

Possible explanations:

- low transmission fluid (please, oh please, let this be the problem)
- the car just hasn't been run often enough because it was Kate's month to drive and it was sitting for too long in the driveway
- the tranny is shot.

After an hour we went back and I was able to get it to drive back to the house. By that point it was too dark to check the tranny fluid and we decided to leave it til when I get home today. If that doesn't solve the problem I'll be taking Yuldan to the tranny specialists down the street.

I really don't need this right now. Things are tight enough as it is, and if it so happens I need a whole new transmission for the car... well there's no possible way I can afford it.

Emotions at the moment = 50% wanting to ball my eyes out and 50% wanting to put my fist through a wall.

I guess I just need to expect the worst and go from there. No point in stressing myself out because whatever's going to happen will happen and I'll just have to deal with it.

~H~

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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Confession: I have an unhealthy habit of collecting old books. I may never read any of them, but for some reason when I'm at places like an antique store or Goodwill, I'm immediately drawn to the old book section and almost always have to buy something to add to the collection. The older the better, know matter what the subject is.

Last weekend we went to visit my brother for brunch and he mentioned how he had cleaned out a pile of old books in the house (they rent from my grandparents so technically it's all their stuff left over from when they moved out). He wanted to make space and said they were all mine if I had room, just not to tell grandma or she would freak. If you were to look up "pack rat" in the dictionary, Grandma's face would grace the page... she never gives anything away.

All four boxes came home with us, and I spent the afternoon today sorting through....


I realize it's not as "wow" for others, but it blows my mind that one of my great relatives signed the pages of these books over 100 years ago.  These are the kind of keepsakes I can pass down to my kids and grandkids when the time comes.  Hopefully they'll appreciate these mementos as much as I do.   
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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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Instructions:

Step 1. Go to iTunes
Step 2. Search audiobooks for "Scott Sigler"
Step 3. Download all episodes of his book, Infected (don't worry, they're free)
Step 4. Listen to said episodes
Step 5. Join me in welcoming our new FOD (Future Dark Overlord)

Scott Sigler is the man.

(Step 6. Catch up on his newest podiobook Contagious, the sequel, and join me in some deliciously gory discussions)

~H~
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Mmm... muscle relaxants at work are grrrrr-eat! Especially when you have to head to a 3-hour training session less than 20 minutes before downing them!

The Chad, with nothing but good intentions, went a little too hard massaging my back on Sunday morning. He's awesome for getting out the kinks, of which there are always many, but this time he must have bruised a muscle or something because by that night I was in utter pain. Worked sucked ass sitting in my desk chair all day trying not to cry. Even simply swallowing sent my back muscles into shockwaves of stabbing pain.

I finally caved and went to the walk-in clinic last night for some drugs. Today, nearly pain-free and lovin' it.

If only I'd thought ahead, I also would have smuggled some Bailey's into my coffee!

~H~

Current Mood: refreshed refreshed

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To kill time at the office, an update on the podcasts I've been keeping up with...

ARG Netcast
I really wish I could be around to watch the live shows on Mondays, but lately I've been hitting the sack around 9:00-9:30pm every night. I've fallen two or three shows behind, but am trying my best to catch up... truthfully I've been out of touch with the ARG world for the last couple months, so maybe I'm just not as excited to listen since I'm so out of the loop.

Almost forgot - Happy belated birthday, jamesi!

Geekson
I miss these guys so much! And what's worse is after a month of absence, the first ep they air is an entire spoilerific discussion devoted to BSG. A series that I totally intend to get into, but just haven't been able to sit down and watch yet. I'm nearly caught up with all of their archived material, so they'd better hurry their asses up and put out another episode soon :)

The Good Athiest
What I wouldn't give to hang out with these guys over a few pints. Basically every subject they've touched on (society, technology, religion, you name it) has mirrored my own opinions exactly and I love them for it.

Our Big Dumb Mouth
Also kept up with this one. Again, not much of a "thinking" show, but they've got a good sense of humour for when I'm bored at the office and don't need to pay close attention to the conversations.

The Fringe Podcast
I <3 Fringe. And I <3 discussions about Fringe. Therefore, I <3 The Fringe Podcast.

Red Bar Radio
Not bad after one episode. They covered all of the main gossip that's happened over the last week and were somewhat interesting to listen to. I found the discussion regarding the little girl who died in a freak laundry accident pretty distateful, but I'll give them one more chance before letting go.

The Brink of Insanity
Thought they'd be interesting, but sadly the one I listened to was a giant snoozefest. The two hosts have little to no emotion when talking and there's way too much dead air in between discussions. Unsubscribing.
Suggestion: Add more people who can amp it up and make the conversation a bit more lively.

Nerd Blurb
I'm actually about 40min into my first one right now, and it's pretty boring. I was really hoping to find something to fill the void between Geekson episodes, but this one was a disappointment. Feels like the guys are talking more to a group of friends in a chatroom than putting on an interesting podcast. Remaining eps will be deleted tonight.

Philosophy Bites
*snoooooooooooore*

Science Talk: Scientific American
TBA

Current Mood: productive productive

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Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

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