Radical Entertainment, Buying a Condominium in Vancouver

First and foremost, I apologise for not writing sooner. It’s been over a month since my last message, and I can safely say that in those four weeks, I’ve been so busy that I can group my life into three categories: Work, spending time with Allison, and sleeping. Those of you who know me can probably guess where the majority of my time was spent. (For those of you who don’t, the list is in order of time spent.)

This means that I’ve had little time for the basic things, like shopping for food and laundry. Needless to say, email fell quite sharply in priority. But with things winding down (at least a little), I’m finding the time to write.

What has kept me so busy? Well, if you’ll remember from one of my last messages, I was hired by Radical Entertainment (www.radical.ca — yes, the website’s pretty blaise, but apparently we’re working on it) as a technical writer. For those of you who missed it the first time, Radical makes video games.

You’d think that working for a video game company means I play video games all day. Well, you’d be pretty much correct … at least when there’s a good Quake 2 deathmatch, or someone starts a game of Worms 2. And then there’s the previews of our own games, not to mention the zillions of demos we go through in a week … bla bla bla. Sounds pretty dull, doesn’t it?

The week after I started, Tim (I seem to be cursed with bosses named ‘Tim’) gave me first big assignment: get the documentation ready for the next software release … two weeks later.

That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, allow me to provide some details. The team I work in is called “Pure3D”, and they’re the rendering gurus of the company. They write all the functions and libraries that all the game teams use to make video games. This means that I had to learn everything there was to know about computer graphics in a very short span of time. I also had to learn what all the software did, how to use it, and how to use the existing documentation format.

Needless to say, the documentation didn’t meet with my satisfaction. The fact was, I simply didn’t have the time to do the job I wanted to do. Another month and a half, and I might have been able to straighten the whole thing out.

Almost immediately following, I got drafted to do the Scientific Research and Experimental Development report so we could get a chunk of money back from the Feds. I had done one last year for Arkipelago, so I was familiar with the report. I just wasn’t ready for the sheer amount of work that Radical does in a year. The document stands at over 100 pages, and I’m still not done editing it.

That has been the majority of my time for the past little while. It’s rather draining, but it’s also a lot of fun. And I know I’m getting satisfaction from the job. So all in all, I have nothing to complain about.

All this means that I haven’t been getting out of Vancouver much. I didn’t even really do anything fun until last weekend, when Allison and I decided we’d look into (everyone brace yourselves for this) condos.

Yes, condos. Glorified apartments. Condos are the most cost-effective real estate in the lower mainland … unless you’re rich and can afford the housing out here. Mind you, even after Allison and I looked around, we weren’t too impressed with the condos out here.

In fact, we were so unimpressed, that we came to the conclusion that there was only one place we could live — Calgary. Vancouver’s too expensive, and Allison doesn’t like the suburbs. (Frankly, I agree with her.) So when it comes time for us to settle down, we have to leave.

We did some calculations, and we found that no matter how we looked at it, living in Vancouver (condo or not) just wasn’t worth the money. We make sure of our ideas by popping onto a real estate database (www.mls.com) to see what we could find in Calgary. (If anyone’s interested, there’s some really nice properties in Banff for less than $200k.)

Since then, we’ve also started considering Victoria. The only reason we’re a little apprehensive about Victoria is that it’s … well, quiet. Very quiet. Disturbingly quiet. It’s for the Just Wed and Nearly Dead, so I hear. Certainly feels that way too.

We started looking ahead to vacations. We think we’re going to take two one-week vacations and explore the coasts of the US — east in late August, and west in late fall. But then again, we may go to Hawaii… We’re still thinking. There’s also Prince Albert National Park, where I can see my relatives, but that’s just a thought at this point…

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