The beginning of June quietly signaled the one year anniversary of me working Burnaby. It’s now been over a year since I stopped commuting downtown and instead have been trudging to the big campus in the suburbs.

I’d like to say it’s been a great year but that would be an outright lie. First, more than twelve months out, I still prefer working where we used to be, out by Canada Place. I may have complained about the elevators sometimes but it was a really minor concern in the grand scheme of things. I miss the downtown vibe and the convenience of being around almost anything you needed. For me at least, being downtown was a real perk or benefit much like medical/dental insurance. Second, the year saw many changes to the team I grew to love. People began leaving even before skate 3 was done. Key pieces of the team left for other opportunities. One guy even said it was partly because he wanted to work downtown again. Then the layoffs came in March and caused a great number of people to be either sent off to other teams or just gone outright.

I hope the next twelve months go a bit smoother.


What you see above is a picture from my balcony after the sun had set over the horizon this evening. I’m fortunate enough that my apartment faces west. I don’t get the burning sun during the day (which really keeps my place cool) and I can be home to see the sun set. You can recognize the moon in the picture. The smaller, bright thing at the top of the picture is either Mars, Jupiter, or the Death Star. Click here for a larger, fuzzier picture. Maybe I should get a tripod for my camera, that would make me a real professional!


This being the Internet, I’m pretty sure there aren’t many of you who haven’t seen the above video already. When I first stumbled onto to a link to the video just a few days ago, I unfortunately couldn’t look away and watched nearly the entire clip before closing my browser window. For those who haven’t seen this before, I encourage you open your cultural horizons.


We’ve all wondered about the age old question of whether or not money can buy happiness. The answer I think most of us have determined is yes, money can buy some happiness. Of course, I think we all also realize that money can’t buy complete happiness. So how much money do we need to make before it stops making us happy? I’ve always thought that amount was whatever you need to be surrounded by fried chicken buckets and gold toilets 24/7 but apparently that is not true.

Two new research papers have determined that people don’t gain significant amounts of happiness beyond a salary of $75 000 a year. Here is a quote from the linked article:

“The authors found that while hedonic well-being — or happy feelings — rises with income, it plateaus around $75,000 — although life satisfaction ratings continue to improve.”

Wow, so all it takes to feel relatively happy is $75K per year. Interesting. Yeah, but what if I continue to make more, that surely would make me feel even more happy. Here’s another quote:

“Our data … do not imply that people will not be happy with a raise from $100,000 to $150,000, or that they will be indifferent to an equivalent drop of income. Changes of income in the high range certainly have emotional consequences. What the data suggest is that above a certain level of stable income, people’s emotional well-being is constrained by other factors in their temperament and their life circumstances.”

I think this makes sense. The tabloids are full of stories about people who will never have to worry about money for the rest of their lives. Yet the stories aren’t about their money, it’s about their drama because of other things in their lives, like relationships or addictions.

So there you go, find a job that makes you $75K a year and you’ll be good to go.


Because I still retain a childlike wonder at the world, I daydream enough to keep myself entertained at times. In a post that I wrote almost seven years ago, I wondered how I would handle being the last person on this planet. About two weeks ago, I began wondering about time-travel. Now being a huge fan of science fiction, I’ve explored the possibilities of time-travel more times I can count. This time around though, my daydream didn’t involved a modified DeLorean.

Consider a situation in which you were able to travel back in time. The catch is that you go back in time and you inhabit the body of yourself, in that earlier time. You retain knowledge of yourself and everything from the time you traveled from but you’re stuck in your younger body. Depending on how far you travel back, the situation would range from negligible to downright torture.

Let’s examine the case where you travel back in time three days. Depending on what happened in those three days, things could be interesting or rather uneventful. First, your knowledge of everything that could happen in the next three days really determines how you spend those days. You could use the knowledge of the outcomes of sports games to bet big. If the days happened to land on the a lottery drawing, you could try to win the lottery (assuming going back in time doesn’t change the draw). Or would you be more altruistic? What if you knew a murder or accident would occur in those three days? What if there are several terrible events? Do you try to stop each one? What if you had to choose between several? How do you choose? Of course, if you weren’t paying attention, then your lack of knowledge won’t help you in the past. You’d probably just be annoyed that you’d have to redo three days worth of work again, though possibly doing it faster since you’ve done it before. Once the days caught up, you’d be back to where you were again.

Now the most interesting case is where you go back really far in your life, say back to when you’re 10 years old. It’s my thinking that the benefits of going back that far may not outweigh the drawbacks. First, you could relive your childhood again. Yes, that might be fun depending on your family, or it might absolutely suck if you’re one of those people who didn’t have a good childhood. No matter what, it would mean no more driving, drinking alcohol, nor doing anything an adult could do. You’d be stuck going back to elementary school. School would be absolutely boring. They might put you in a gifted class but even then it’d be a drag.

Nothing would really amuse you anymore. There would be no Internet. Video games would be downright primitive. Movies and TV shows would all seem to be one big re-run for you. You’d hate your clothes because you’d wearing kids clothing and the styles would be horrendous. Your friends would be children now so you’d have a difficult time relating to them. You might naturally gravitate towards older people.

The only benefit would be your fleeting knowledge of the next several decades. That knowledge could be used in several ways. First, you could avoid past mistakes or prevent personal tragedies in your own family. Did you barf on Suzy in grade eight when she kissed you behind the school? You can change that now. Did your dog Wolfie get hit by a car because you forgot to tie him up that one time? Wolfie gets another chance at life.

Second, you can use the knowledge to gain wealth. Admittedly, as a kid, this will be difficult. Depending on far you go back, you’ve got a lot of options. You’d need to convince your parents though why it’s a smart idea to dump your university money, their life savings, and any loose change into small, fledgling companies named Microsoft and Apple.

No matter how much money you made or how many wrongs you righted though, I think it would be terrible to go that far back in time. The biggest problem is that you’d be in danger of changing your life so much you’d essentially have a different life. My life is the way it is because of many things, where I went to school or what job I managed to get. If I didn’t go to a certain school or get that job, I don’t meet a certain people. Because I don’t meet that person, then I don’t get to experience this or that. It all begins to radiate out to the various aspects of your life. By the time you catch up to where you were in time (several decades down the road), your life might be very different (for better or worse).

Well, thank you for indulging me in my daydream. I think we should all get back to work now. If you’re interested in a unique time-travel movie, I suggest you check out Primer, an indie film that has been well-received for its (mostly) accurate depiction of  time-travel concepts.


This Monday my sister and her fiancee were nice enough to drop by my place to give me a nice big bag of cherries. They were of high quality variety, crisp, and dark enough to be almost black. While cherries are delicious, I can honestly admit they are not my favourite fruit. The reason for this was probably ingrained in me when I was a kid.

In the mid to late 1980s, my aunt and uncle drove to Vancouver from Calgary (where they were visiting from Montreal), to visit my family. They had a huge family compared ours. We were a typical nuclear family whereas they had six kids, one dude and five girls, three of which were identical triplets. I forget if all the kids came along but I’m sure that the triplets plus two others were there. Somehow, it was decided that my sister and I would tag along with them on the drive back to Calgary.

It was cramped in that station wagon. Anyways, we were somewhere in the Okanagan when either my aunt or uncle wanted to stop to buy some fresh cherries from a local orchard. We got underway shortly thereafter. I remember I was sitting in one of the back benches next to one of the triplets, I forget who. Anyways, she was eating the cherries with vigour when she suddenly stopped. All I remember next is that she blurted out to her mom, my aunt, that she was gonna hurl. It was at this point I started to panic because I was strapped into place with my seatbelt and she was in the same predicament I was in. It a scene straight out of The Thing where MacReady is testing everyone’s blood. My aunt was quick to hand back to my cousin a semi-transparent Tupperware container. She grabbed it and then puked into it. I looked away while the worst was happening.

Like an accident you can’t look away from though, I turned back to look at the aftermath. I saw the container that now held my cousin’s vomit. It was this mess of red, semi-liquid cherry hurl, mixed in with whatever she had eaten earlier. As the car went over bumps in the road, the vomit would move back and forth in the container in a manner not all too pleasing. The sight of all this almost made me wanna puke too but I had seen The Goonies already and I didn’t want to make Chunk’s story come true.

Somehow I held it together. The rest of the trip was uneventful, except for when the dog peed on the sandwiches but that’s another story. Anyways, the sight of cherry vomit never left me. It made quite an impression on my young mind. I tend to like most fruits. I love mangoes, strawberries, nectarines, blueberries, and the list goes on. I will tell you this though, I have yet to buy cherries on my own accord. Coincidence? I don’t think so.


If you live or have lived in my hometown of Vancouver, you’ll no doubt know that the city’s largest and fanciest ice rink is a place that used to be called GM Place. The rink is the home of the local professional ice hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks. It’s also been the venue of many concerts including that Alanis Morissette gig I went to in 1996.

Now I mention it used to be called GM Place because on Tuesday, it was announced that Canadian communications empire Rogers had bought the naming rights to the facility for the next ten years. With all the creativity of a corporate machine, Rogers decided it wanted the venue to be called “Rogers Arena”. Though Rogers has cell phone services and video stores out here in British Columbia, it’s still seen as a company with an Eastern Canada bias. It also doesn’t help that Rogers also won the naming rights to the former Skydome in Toronto. It’s now called “Rogers Centre”. As you can see, there’s some similarity between “Rogers Arena” and “Rogers Centre”.

Here’s where I think some problems might arise. It’s no secret that people out West hold some disdain for those out in Toronto, which coincidentally is where Rogers is headquartered. So some Vancouverites might be a bit miffed that an Eastern Canadian company like Rogers came in and named the rink something very close to what this huge ballpark in Toronto (of all places) is named. I personally think Rogers squandered a huge opportunity to break the ice, so to speak, with the general population in British Columbia. If they had decided to just add a bit of west coast flair to the name I think people would have been ok. Why couldn’t it have been “Rogers Pacific Arena”? How about “Rogers Pacific Place?” Instead, they went with a fairly generic name that reminds people of a ball park in the “centre of the universe”.

Whether or not it’s out of sheer stubbornness , I know a few people who are going to continue to call it GM Place going forward. It’s not out of any allegiance to General Motors but more of a dislike for the new name. Also, we can no longer call it “The Garage” anymore! “The Phone Booth” is already used for the Bell Centre in Montreal. There’s nothing left!


So I sometimes watch videos online on this site called YouTube. One of the people I subscribe to on that site recently released one of his latest videos. In it, thewinekone, goes on to describe a list of things he’d like to do before he kicks the bucket. Anyways, that’s not the important part. Just short of four minutes into the video, something strange appears in the background. In the door frame behind him to his left (our right), it looks like a ghost-like face move into view. It’s hard to catch the first time around but keep playing it back and forth. Click play on the video above and see for yourself.

Half the comments on that video now are about what the hell that thing was, instead of the actual content of the video. Some people say it’s just digital noise or a compression artifact. Others aren’t so sure. In any case, it’s made for some great Internet drama.


I sit next to some very large windows at work. As one of the very new people on the team, I’m not sure how I scored such a nice spot. The windows looks out onto a nice patio that we have for our use. I can also see clear into North Burnaby, all the way to the oil refineries. People use the patio on nice days to have lunch. They can dump their trash in a garbage receptacle that’s out on the patio. It’s one of those ones that’s open to the side but covered on top so no rain water can fill it up. The windows are also tinted so it’s easy to look out but very difficult to see in.

Last week, while I tightening up the graphics, I noticed a solitary crow had landed on the patio. Because it couldn’t see inside, it didn’t know there were half a dozen people less than ten feet from it (albeit separated by a window). It proceeded to hop onto the edge of the opening of the garbage receptacle. It then started pulling out pieces of trash and letting it drop onto the patio. Here’s where it started getting interesting. The crow pulled out many containers, things like plastic bags that contained bits of hamburger bun or foil bags that contained potato chips. Rather than slide his head into the bag, the crow purposely grabbed the end of the bag and then oriented it so that it was upside down. Whatever was left in the bag then came tumbling down. The crow then proceeded to eat what fell out. This was really cool because I’ve seen pictures of lots of animals that have jars and other containers stuck on their heads because they go after the food, rather than finding some way of getting the food to them. I watched the crow empty bag after bag, looking for the next part of his meal. I initially thought about going out there to prevent it from making a mess but I just became fascinated by its problem solving skills. On occasion, the crow would find a large piece of food. It wouldn’t eat this piece on the patio. Rather, it took the piece in its beak and then flew off to a higher part of the building. I guess it felt safer there to eat it. The crow returned minutes later to continue his exploration of garbage.

The crow returned again today to do the same thing. I can’t tell for certain but it appears to be the same crow. It looks quite healthy as its feathers have a nice shiny look to it. I didn’t know that crows were smart enough to gather food this way. Upon reading about crow intelligence on the great information repository, I learned that crows are quite intelligent and this behaviour is certainly within their norms. My only previous personal encounter with crows was when I was dive-bombed by a crow as I walked on campus at UBC.

The next thing I’ll probably learn is that cats enjoy lasagna!


On Saturday night, Brock Lesnar defeated Shane Carwin at UFC 116 in their heavyweight bout. Now I’m not an MMA fan in the slightest, so you maybe wondering why I’m writing about this. If you follow MMA, you’ll know that Lesnar has had a crazy 12 months prior to last night’s fight.

Lesnar got very ill while hunting in Manitoba in November of 2009. He sought treatment while in Canada but he famously declared that the Canadian health care system was “third-world“. Of course, he wouldn’t name the facility he went to while in Manitoba, so it’s difficult to know if he was comparing a backwoods walk-in clinic to the Mayo Clinic (which he eventually did go to). This, however, is not the main point of this post.

When Lesnar returned to the US, he was diagnosed with mono which is quite a serious illness. His MMA career was sidelined indefinitely. Further tests, however, revealed even more bad news. Lesnar had diverticulitis, which occurs when pockets form on the outside of the colon and the pockets get inflamed. His condition was so bad that some of his pockets perforated and fecal matter began leaking into his body, which was the cause of the mono. Gross and ouch!

He was due for some serious surgery to fix this but they had to wait several weeks before they could go ahead. In the intervening weeks, Lesnar changed his diet considerably. Miraculously, his change in lifestyle was enough for his body to heal itself and he did not require the surgery. Lesnar admitted that his diet was the main cause of his condition, in particular having a high protein and extremely low fiber diet. One of his quotes was:

“I’m a carnivore, you know? I’m not a big fan of PETA. I’m a member of the NRA and whatever I kill, I eat. For years, I was surviving on meat and potatoes, and when the greens came by, I just kept passing them.”

It’s really hard to comprehend how dumb of a nutritional strategy that was. This man is a professional athlete and his livelihood depended on his body being top physical form. How could he have missed out on the fact that good nutrition made for a better body? Where were any of the support staff in the WWE or UFC to help him understand what a balanced diet looked like?

It’s difficult to comprehend not having any vegetables of an appreciable amount for years. I may not love meat as much as Lesnar but I’m a big fan of steaks, ribs, roasts and such, and even I crave a salad at least one a week, if not more. How did he not get all “blocked up” down there? He must have been crapping out stone logs without any fiber. Wouldn’t that alone be a sign that he was not eating right?

I hope Lesnar’s medical problems drive home the point that everyone should attempt to have a balanced diet. I encourage everyone to have more vegetables, fruits, and high fiber items in their diet. If you don’t, you might wind up like Lesnar, with a hole in your colon.