I am so glad it is the end of the week. This whole week of dealing with the smoke, some of it toxic, the poor air quality in general, and having to basically close all my windows was a bit stressful. All of this happening under the existing global pandemic.

What I didn’t mention last week is that last Thursday, a blood vessel popped in my left eye. It started out as a small amount of blood in the white of my eye but by Friday morning, there was a lot more blood and what looked like a blood blister forming on the surface of my eye ball. I freaked out a bit but I was able to see an optometrist on the same day. Luckily, none of this involved any pain (just a bit of irritation), nor was my vision affected. It just looked really gross. I can’t remember the last time I went to the optometrist and really, why would I since I don’t wear glasses. This may have been my first time visiting one.

The optometrist was a super nice guy, with an excellent bedside manner. He examined my eyes, including the bloodied one. He re-assured me that while it was pretty nasty looking, this was common condition that would go away on its own. He did warn me that it would not be an overnight recovery. It could take several weeks for the blood to clear. We also did an eye test, which confirmed what I’ve known for a long time, that my left eye is worse than my right eye. With just my right eye alone, I passed all the reading tests but I wouldn’t have been able to do that with my left eye by itself. I guess glasses are an option for me but not entirely necessary. They booked a follow-up appointment for me, two weeks later.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I noticed that there was some crusty dried blood in the corner of my left eye and a tiny blood stain on my pillow. The blood blister on the surface of my eye had burst slightly and some of the blood spilled out dried while I was sleeping. While this gross to see, whatever slight irritation was there before was now gone. My left eye continued to look horrific and I wore sunglasses whenever I went outside so people wouldn’t be freaked out.

The next morning, I noticed a bit more dried blood in the corner of my eye but that was the last of it. All this week, the blood has been very slowly clearing from my eye. It’s still pretty disgusting to look at but I can now see parts of the whites of my eye where there used to be just blood. Bleh.

The doctor was indeed correct, at this rate, it will take several weeks for it look to all healed again. Don’t take your eyes for granted and it’s not a bad idea to get your eyes to get checked out about once a year, even if you don’t wear glasses or contacts.


I wouldn’t classify today as great by any measure. Though it was cloudy and I couldn’t see any sun at all, it was oddly hot and gross inside my apartment. I checked and the temperature didn’t dip below 25 degrees Celsius all day. Because of the bad air quality outside, I still have to keep my windows relatively closed. As such, the air inside was hot, muggy, and stale. I sweated throughout the day and I was a stinking mess by the end of afternoon.

By 5pm though, I could see the smoke had lessened a bit. Instead of not being able to see even a block away, I could see several blocks away. Don’t get me wrong, the area is still blanketed with a layer of haze and smoke, but at least that haze and smoke isn’t as dense as it was before.

This evening, I opened up my windows a bit more than I had before. I just wanted to get some more “fresh” air into my apartment and hopefully cool it down. I’m keeping an eye on my air quality sensor. It shows that opening the windows more definitely does make the particulate count go higher, but it’s not dramatically higher. In return, the air feels less suffocating and my skin doesn’t feel like it has this slime on it. Strangely, while it feels cooler now in the evening, the thermometers I have in my apartment show the temperature hasn’t budged at all. When I woke up this morning it was 25 degrees Celsius in my bedroom and it’s now about 2am and it’s still 25 degrees Celsius.

It shouldn’t be this hot in the middle of September on a day where I didn’t see any sun. I know for many years I’ve wished for warm September days but that was supposed to be accompanied with clear and blue skies and fresh, clean air.

It will be probably a few weeks before everything will be normal again and by normal, I mean only having to deal with a global pandemic. It is a sign that this year is so terrible that I am actually wishing we go back to the good old days of only having to worry about washing your hands and social distancing.

I am going to bed now.


It rained a bit today which helped a bit with the massive amount of smoke in the area. It now looks like there’s just a “normal” amount of smoke out there instead of the crap-ton there was because of the distant wildfires plus the plumes of toxic smoke from the pier being on fire.

The hallway of my apartment doesn’t overwhelmingly smell of creosote anymore. They must have changed the ventilation a bit since air no longer is being forced into my apartment via the gaps in my front door. This caused me to tape close my door to prevent toxic air from seeping into my apartment.

It feels safe enough for me to open my windows just a bit more to get fresher air in. I’ve been using my air quality sensor to figure out if I’ve opened my windows too much. A spike in the amount of particulate matter means I’ve gone too far. It’s difficult to be precise however, since just a random shift of wind might cause air quality to drop.

The air is fresher in my apartment now but I definitely wouldn’t call it as fresh as walking in a grassy meadow in the countryside. There’s still a lingering staleness to everything. I can still feel it on my skin, like it coats it in a grimy mess.

I’ve been talking about it for days but I think I might actually go to my parent’s place tomorrow.


The fire I mentioned in my last post has made the neighbourhood I live in a difficult place to be. The fire was controlled late last night but continued to burn through until the morning. I’m still not sure the last of it has been extinguished.

By the time I went to bed, the toxic smoke had joined the already thick wildfire smoke that had been blanketing the city. It took me a while to fall asleep but I eventually did. I woke to find that fire was going to and had already affected a fair number of things around the city. A public warning was issued by my municipality to stay away from my neighourhood as the toxic smoke made it dangerous for anyone to be outside. Anyone who has the current misfortune of living in this area, was warned to stay inside and close all windows and doors to the outside.

Businesses in a several block radius around the fire decided to close for the day due to the danger from the smoke. Schools in this district were closed mid-day due to the smoke as well. Some of these schools were kilometres away, yet the fire was able to affect them from afar. City services were closed and some pubic facilities did not open for the day.

I found out that many people who work at my studio, also live in my neighbourhood. Photos of the fire were shared on Slack, all taken from their respective homes. One of my co-workers on my immediate team lives very close to where the fire is and informed the team the smoke was making him and his wife ill, so they decided to pack up and leave for the day. I don’t blame him and if needs to stay away for a few more days, then he absolutely should.

I am thinking of either going to my parents’ place for at least a night or maybe taking advantage of some hotel deals downtown. By keeping my windows barely open by just a crack, I have been able to keep the air quality reasonably acceptable but it leaves the air feeling stale. While my air quality sensor measures the number of particulates in the air, it does not measure the amount of oxygen in it. This air, while relatively “clean”, feels like it’s old and suffocating. I have this odd sensation that the stale air is clinging to my skin. It’s a gross feeling.

I have a strong desire to throw open my windows as wide as they can go to bring in fresh and cool air but I know it will also invite the toxic air into my home. So, the alternative is to sit in this old, hot, gross, stale but “clean” air and try to survive.

I’ll see what if the situation improves tomorrow but it just doesn’t seem too smart to just sit in this toxic cloud for days at a time.


This weekend has been terrible for air quality for the greater Vancouver area. The wildfires from down south have made things just a smoky mess. I really should not have been outside on Saturday. On Sunday, I woke up to see the city blanketed in a thick, opaque haze. I was warned to stay inside. I am glad to have heeded this warning as the air was so bad, it would have been detrimental to my health had I spent anytime outside.

About two years ago, local wildfires caused similar smoky skies. I was curious how bad the air was, so I bought an air quality sensor off of Amazon. The sensor measures the amount of fine particulate matter in the air, stated in micrograms per cubic meter. Ideally, that value should be 12 or less. Up to 35, it’s in the caution zone. Between 35 and 55, we’re in a spot called “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, meaning for people who are susceptible or elderly, this kind of air is not good for them. 55 to 150 is unhealthy. 150 to 250 is very unhealthy. 250 to 500 is hazardous.

This afternoon I turned on the sensor for the first time in about two years. It registered a 24 inside, which was comforting considering the circumstances. Just for “fun”, I placed the sensor on my balcony outside. It registered a 235 right away. It was clear evidence to remain indoors all day today.

Things were bad but at least manageable but as this is 2020, things got worse around 8pm tonight. I live near a waterfront pier which was turned into an award-winning park in 2009. That pier, which is old and has creosote-soaked pilings, caught on fire tonight, in a spectacular blaze. The park and the pier is one of the jewels in this municipality. There were plenty of pictures, videos, and live streams of the fire. The smoke was black, thick, and apparently toxic. For the first two hours or so, I couldn’t smell the smoke but as I watched the live stream, the winds seemed to change, and I saw the smoke starting to drift in the direction of my home.

Around 11pm, I began smelling that familiar creosote smell near my the door to my apartment. I opened it to sample the air in the hallway and I had to quickly close it. The whole hallway just reeked of creosote and smoke. That air was not healthy. The air quality sensor inside my apartment jumped from 35 to 80 in a matter of minutes. I could feel the air seeping in from the gaps between my front door and the door frame. The creosote filled hallway air was making its way into my home. I quickly took some packing tape and sealed the gaps between the door and the frame as best as I could.

As a temporary measure, I also closed all my windows in my living room and my bedroom. I hate doing this because my apartment can get almost air tight and I find the air can get quite stale in short order. When it gets like that I feel like I’m suffocating. I had to do this, however, to lower the amount of dangerous particulates in the air. Before I closed the windows, I smelled the air near the openings and it was thick with the smell of creosote. This was the air that was coming in.

I now have two air purifiers in my home. Two years ago, I bought another to deal with the wildfires. They’ve been on the maximum setting almost all day. With everything sealed up, I was able to bring the air quality sensor reading down to 24. The air is now much cleaner in my apartment but it definitely feels like it’s stale air.

I now have a problem with a balancing act. If I leave everything sealed up, there won’t be new and “fresh” air coming into my apartment. If I open up the windows again, I’ll get “fresh” air again but that air will also contain dangerous particulates from the fire. I need to find a balance where I can open up a window or two a tiny bit to allow some new air into my apartment, while still allowing my air purifiers to clean the air enough that the air quality is still acceptable. I have opened two windows just barely to feel some air coming in and the air quality sensor is reading 35. That should be ok. The air isn’t exactly ocean fresh but if I opened the windows more, the air quality will be too poor.

Having to choose between dirty air with oxygen and clean air without oxygen really sucks.

We started this day with poor air quality to begin with and then the worst thing that could happen with regard to air quality indeed happened. 2020 continues to find new ways to absolutely suck.


At one point this afternoon I looked at the thermometer that I have in my bedroom and it told me that it was 27 degrees Celsius in there. It was very hot today. I can’t remember the last time it was this hot this far into September. We’re a third of the way into this month and today rivaled some of the most hot days of this summer.

I wrote in an earlier post that I knew it would be sunny for the next few days but I didn’t realize it would get this hot. A week of sunny and hot weather isn’t a lot of data but one can’t help but wonder if this climate change is causing some of this. The line of wildfires down the west coast of this continent also is worrying.

We also might see some wild swings in weather, as it might go from uncomfortably hot to cold and frosty within a day or two. What else does 2020 have to offer?


It’s already Thursday this week. The week seems shorter due to the long weekend. It was quite hot out today but we’re about a month away from Thanksgiving. Hard to believe it’ll be turkey time in 30 days or so. Back in the present though, the government weather service had to warn residents that there’s a heat wave going on right now. I can’t remember the last time there was a warning about high temperatures in the month of September.

The highs will apparently still be in the 20s into next week. I am waiting for that one day where the weather will turn on a dime and it will be readily apparent that it’s now autumn. I’m guessing it might happen a week and half from now. One day it’ll be shorts weather and the next day the jackets will come out.

It’ll be tougher for people to eat while in the outdoor patios once the weather turns colder. I wonder how that will work. That will definitely lead to less business as we still can’t have restaurants at 100% capacity.

This autumn will be interesting for so many different reasons.


In the early days of the pandemic for this province, lots of businesses sent their employees home to work from there. The industry I work in did the same for the most part. Many studios shifted to develop games from home as best they could.

As the months wore on and as it seemed like things were under control, some businesses allowed their employees to return to work, at least in limited numbers. Now, we have a less an than ideal situation. In British Columbia, each day seems to bring a new record of caseload numbers. More people are back to work and out and about, while there are more sick people out there than before. That doesn’t seem like a great combination.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard that several studios have allowed some employees to return to work in “limited” numbers. I can’t say what strategies each studio has adopted to keep their developers safe while in the studio. I only know of my own studio, which seems to have taken it very seriously. Are other studios big enough to keep their returning employees a safe distance apart? Do they enforced a mask policy while inside their studio? Is there a limit to the number of people that can be inside at one time? I don’t know the answers to these questions for the studios in town.

What I do know is that at another video game development studio in Vancouver, who I will not name, an employee that didn’t want to or couldn’t work from home any more, went into their studio while they were carrying the COVID-19 virus. This employee caught the virus from their partner and then went to work, not knowing they were infected.

This individual was tested and the test came back positive. I’m also been told this person is actually ill and suffering from the effects of the virus. I don’t know the whole details but it appears that while they are ill, they currently do not require hospitalization.

I do not know how many other employees this person came in contact with while they were still working while infected. This will be a great test for this studio’s policies and if these employees took them seriously. As it stands, I’ve been told the studio has now been shut down for a period of time so that it can be sanitized. I hope that the other employees that were going in are now self-isolating. To not do so would be outrageous and irresponsible. I do not know if there is a plan for the studio to be opened up for people to return to work if they want to.

I’ve relayed this news to a few other developers I know and all of them were quite surprised that people were willing to take a risk to return to work. I’ve heard a lot of reasons why people don’t want to work from home anymore. They range from children distracting them to not having easy access to equipment they need for their roles. Yeah sure, I get it, those things don’t make it easy to work from home. If you decide to go back into the studio though, you have to understand the risks that involved, especially the risk during these times of increased and record positive tests. No one wants to infect their co-workers but the harsh reality is that might have happened here. Was it worth it to return to work to have this happen? The math doesn’t add up to me or for the other people I’ve talked to.

I understand I don’t know everyone’s situation but someone once told me that making games isn’t curing cancer and that I should have some perspective on the things we do for our jobs. I’ll continue to work from home to keep myself and others safe.


One of the highlights of my weekend was buying a t-bone steak with a discount of $6 off the original price of $13. A $7 t-bone steak is a pretty good deal these days. The discount came about because I bought it on the best before date. The steak looked great, was red-coloured all over, and didn’t have that shade of grey that meat gets when it starts to get old.

I feel like the t-bone as a cut of meat gets overlooked as a blue-collar choice of steak but I don’t think you can ever go wrong with it. It’s usually got that strip of fat on the long side, the tender part, and tends to be cut thin enough that it cooks easily, so that even novice chefs won’t screw it up.

I cooked the steak sous vide style using these new sous vide bags I got on Amazon. In previous years, I was relying on these re-usable silicone food grade bags for all my sous vide needs. I certainly got value out of them but I could never get a great vacuum seal using the water displacement method. Also, the silicone was thick, so it would take a bit longer for the food to get to the target temperature. These new bags are also re-usable but can form a true vacuum seal and are thin enough for the water to heat the food much quicker than using those silicone bags.

These new bags will allow me to cook irregularly shaped food easier, as the thinner bags will allow it to wrap around the food completely, without any air gaps. Before, it wasn’t easiest if I chose food that was shaped rectangular.

Well, I hope everyone had a great long weekend!


About a week ago, a new phone case arrived in the mail for me. It was a cheap one, which cost me about $12. The only problem is, the case is for a phone that I currently do not own. It’s been just sitting there, empty since it arrived. Sometimes I’ll pick it up and envision the phone that fits in there, inside the case.

The phone that’s supposed to go in there, the Google Pixel 4a, doesn’t actually go on sale in Canada for at least another week or so. I pre-ordered it in early August. After factoring in shipping time, it won’t get to me until probably September 18 or thereabouts.

Since 2020 has been weird, the accessories like cases and screen protectors for this new phone have been available for sale for months now. Google delayed releasing this phone several times but it didn’t stop manufacturers from finding out the specs and making accessories. I’ve never seen an instance where you could buy a case for a phone about six months before the phone was even publicly revealed.

This is just a minor oddity in a year filled with chaos.