Friday Filler – EA Confidential – I Find Bob


Thank Grog It’s Firday…

This has been a week to remember. In between dealing with getting my wife’s Dad hospice care, shuffling flight tickets for our trip back East, forgetting my computer, which forced me to do the Filler on my phone, and finding Bob, it has been one of those weeks I’ll likely remember for some time.

The “forgetting my computer” explains why I had to recycle an old graphic from one of my old posts about another mystery…Chester Dupree.  But like I said, it has been one of those weeks. You make due…with what you have…and roll with the punches. Mysteries solved, often require adaptation.

As I prepare for another week of total unknowns, I know that adapting and altering plans is simply going to be the “new normal.” Right now, nothing is normal. In these times you just have to roll with the punches. Like Bob. He rolls with the punches. But, of course, I didn’t know that…until I found him.  Which I did.

As it turns out, things with Bob are the kind of “weird” that makes a word like “weird” seem normal.  And, what’s with that word anyway?? It’s supposed to be “I before E, except after C” in the English language.  Except, apparently, when it isn’t…like with weird.   Which is weird. But, I digress…

On to Bob.
This journey actually started a couple of years ago, when my daughter who was working in San Francisco at the time,  told me that a good friend of hers was friends with one of the EA programmers for TSTO.  And apparently, that when I had written a story a long time ago about Ali (the aforementioned daughter), he had become enamored of Ali, after seeing her picture. And furthermore, had admitted to her at a party they both attended, that the staff followed our blog, and “knew that her Dad was CrankyOldGuy,” and thought I was hilarious. It made me laugh…and yet, creeped me out that this random guy was enamored of my married daughter.

And there’s another weird English thing.  Why is it “enamored of,” and not “enamored with?”  Doesn’t make sense…but it is the rule…or the exception to the rule…or something. Weird.

Anyway…I had reached out to this guy back then, and he had responded cryptically, that because of the NDA he had signed with EA, he couldn’t really talk about the game.  But that didn’t stop me from asking him questions…lots of questions…and trying to figure out how to meet him face to face.  Which I never did…until well after I had named him “Bob.”

I can’t really even remember when I first started talking about “Bob.” I just started using him as the generic EA employee who programmed TSTO…especially after it became evident that they had cut back on their TSTO programming team.  As in waaaaaaaay back.

But, it didn’t stop me from sending this guy regular emails, and asking questions. I figured that at the least, I would know if he left EA, a sign that the game was indeed going to end, if his emails started bouncing.  They never did. And he never did.  Which is how I was finally able to track him down this week.

It all started because my wife’s Dad, Ali’s grandpa, took a fall and ended up in the hospital a couple of weeks ago.  He’s been fighting leukemia, and a fever made him pass out, fall, and hit his head on concrete.  Not good.  Ali had planned to come up, and was going to take this opportunity to drive up, so she could drive back, with a car loaded with the last of the things we have been storing here after she graduated, moved and got married.  Here husband just got a new job, so he couldn’t come. I offered to fly down, and drive back with her.

Then I got an email.  It was short…cryptic…and kind of rude.

“Dear Cranky,
Yes I know your name is Patric, but because you keep calling me “Bob,” calling you Cranky is fare. I know you think you are funny…but, you aren’t. the Bob thing is so played.  Stop writing me. Leave me alone. I have enough trouble these days. Who told you about my other job?  I’ll kick their butts and turn them in to HR if I find out.  Stop. Just stop.  It’s so lame.”

Well…the first thing that jumped out, was the Bob is a lousy speller.  I’m pretty sure he meant to write that calling him Bob wasn’t fair. Not fare. But, that is a tiny error in this “auto-spell-check” world.  I was more intrigued by the revelation that not only did he have another job on the side…but that it may actually be a job delivering pizza, or other home delivery meals.

Damn. Whodathunkit?

It was time to pull in my “Dad chits,” and see if I could connect the dots.

What follows, and will follow in subsequent posts about this episode, is almost entirely true.  I did change some names to protect those who needed protection. And yes…in the end…that even means Bob. Who may indeed, be the last remaining person on EA “staff,” who is programming TSTO. And yes…there is a reason that I placed quotation marks around the word “staff,” in the previous sentence. It implies that he may or may not be staff…or that there may or may not actually be a staff…or that he may or may not actually be on the “staff” at “Doordash,” one of the top rated home food delivery services in San Francisco. Or, I may just be “weird,” and like to use quotation marks like a millennial uses “rabbit ears” when talking, to let you know that what he is saying isn’t completely true.  But, it is.  True that is. Mostly. Except for the names.

The hunt begins…

Now…for all of you who don’t know what “Dad chits” are, let me explain. First, according to the dictionary, the word “chit” is defined as:
chit1.
/CHit/ – noun
1. A short official note, memorandum, or voucher, typically recording a sum owed.

So…yes…Ali owed me a favor or two, or three…hence the word, “chit” as a reminder…and the word “Dad” meaning me…combined as “Dad chit.”  While I never actually write down who owes whom what, it has been understood for years that owing Dad a favor, for a favor rendered, will create a virtual “Dad chit.”  The fact is, I usually don’t ever call them in, (which is a gambling term for when a bookie comes to collect the money for all of the “IOU” chits he has written…don’t ask me how I know this).  I am a Dad. I am happy to do things for my daughters. But as it turns out, finding Bob required me to call in my Dad chits, because Ali wanted nothing to do with the whole seedy affair.

And as it turned out…I don’t blame her.

I could bore you with useless details…about tracking him down through this friend, who as it turns out, owed Ali a chit or two.  And how I found myself ordering home delivery from Doordash (in fact MANY deliveries, to get to the right guy), or how Ali, her friend and I, got to actually do one of those “AHA!!  IT’S YOU!” moments when he finally arrived…and how hard it is to get a the remnants of a “Falafel Platter” (Ali’s friend is a Vegan) out of the carpet.

No…I won’t bore you with the details. But, I will tell you that when we finally got Bob to stop yelling, and got him settled down,  and he revealed the reality about his work with EA, the future of TSTO, and how we have all come to playing a game that seems like it has been put on “Hospice Mode” for the past few months… well…it’s all a bit weird.

Suffice it to say, that it is a story worth telling.  And I will tell it.  Just not today.

I have stuff to do, that is going to take the rest of my day. And I need to try and figure out why all of my clothes smell like Falafel. It’s weird.

14 responses to “Friday Filler – EA Confidential – I Find Bob

  1. 1st I hope your Father-in-Law is in better health and that travels back East can be done with minimal complications (some places are going back to Phase 1 – including Nevada!) 📿

    I’ve had a week to sit back in awe …. there is actually an EA Bob – not Babs (I’m fine with whichever gender claims to be the ‘entitled TSTO Game App Project Manager’, or whatever title they have!) – but someone who actually works on the TSTO Game App …. who’s read our constructive criticism …. and hasn’t done anything to act on it? (sure seems like we’re up against the “ok Boomer” Millidiot type that doesn’t want to listen to the older generation!) 😅

    Maybe Bob should be thankful to work at EA vs oh maybe a competitor such as Ubisoft (which is rightfully cleaning house of it’s #metoo problems) …. unless Bob is a #metoo (today is Friday, so let’s learn more about EA Bob!) 🤔

    It’s no secret that EA has new platform Games to promote and profit from (especially the new Star Wars Games), so I’m not surprised if the TSTO Game App Team is reduced to just a Bot (non Russian, of course) now …. but I’ll be damned the EA Staff must be seriously underpaid (we already know that San Francisco rent is ridiculously expensive!) if EA Bob has to moonlight on the side. 🙄

    Chit (per urban dictionary)
    A once-in-a-lifetime thing that someone is able to cash in, in exchange for any favour. First used in Malcolm in the Middle Episode “Krelboyne Girl” :

    Francis – “OK Dad, I’m calling in my chit.”

    Hal – “What?”

    Francis – “You know, my chit. It’s that one thing you’re allowed to cash in.”

    Hal – “Francis, that doesn’t exist…”

    (like EA Bob, the chit got real – as in I look forward to these next Friday articles – and yes chit has more than one meaning, but I prefer ‘favour’!).

    Please Stay Safe 🌞

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  2. Whilst I am intrigued by this fascinating story there is a part of me concerned with the possibility that you could be opening the door to litigation directed at yourself and the other addicts. Chances are that isn’t going to be the case, but “Bob,” did sound awfully pissed off in that email! !!

    *Eagerly awaiting the next chapter of the Saga*

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  3. Why Patric, you little tease! I admire your tenacity. Anxiously awaiting next Friday’s installment.
    A happy and safe 4th of July weekend to you and the family. Same to all the mods, especially our newlywed Safi who is probably doing the heavy lifting on the site this weekend. We appreciate you.

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  4. So wait, you hunted down some poor guy through his second job just to question him about a freemium game?

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  5. That sure was a lot of words. I kinda glazed over things after reading the change in travel plans …..I thought we should only travel for necessity…and on a plane? That’s not setting a very good example…is this perhaps for a holiday gathering?….you’ll surely quarantine right? Anyone else terrified about the numbers after this weekend? Thankful to be in Northern Maine…and don’t let that red color on our state fool you..it is solely because of increased testing. Fake News is real….Have a safe weekend everyone!!! Sad to say but….stay out of Maine!!! Please.

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    • No worries..this is not “holiday gathering.” I’m going back for three weeks, to help take care of my two-year-old grandson. I am wearing tons of PPE on the plane…and will be “quarantined.”

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  6. Wow, that certainly escalated into an episode of Simpsons… or was it all a falaffel fever dream? Though I wish you haven’t disclosed the Other Job with such detail. What if something bad happens and “Bob’s” jobs or earnings become compromised? That won’t be good either for him nor for us, the Tappers. Some of us would like to keep the game just where it is, as the one tiny beacon of normalcy, hopefully with EA still enjoying the bits of money they are earning from us in these uncertain times.
    Best regards & bone aple teeth –
    a falaffel, harissa & hummus enthusiast

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    • Well…it will be hard to track down Bob’s job, without his real name, which I will not divulge. So…there’s that. Wait to you hear the rest of the story…

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      • I am sorry Patric, but I really feel I shouldn’t hear this story. You have already disclosed a lot and I am a bit too fearful that the sneaky weasels of the internet can find the rest 😦 😦 😦 I also feel it’s best to respect his privacy. We don’t want him to quit or set some legal action against you either…

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