This post is going to make me sound like an ornery and old person but I write it nonetheless. I’ve often heard that compared to earlier generations, people in our society in general are less kind, more self-centered, and less compassionate. I’m hoping this isn’t the case but there are some examples of this that you see everyday that work towards proving that point.

A normal person is forced to go out and interact with other people in the public. This is unavoidable unless you’re some shut in who shies away from all contact. In dealing with others in the public, it can reveal a lot about a person. One benchmark I’ve come up with is how many people hold open doors for others as they themselves go through a door. This is going to sound like a cliche but when I was younger, it seemed like people held open doors for others a lot more than happens today. It doesn’t even take that much more effort or time. When you’re walking through a door, just look behind you and give the door one more little push so it stays open for a second longer so that someone behind you can catch the door themselves before it swings closed. You don’t even have to stop walking or slow down. I instinctively do it by habit if I’m in a public area.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been behind someone and we’re both going through the same door. The person ahead of me will open the door just enough to get themselves in and the door swings shut right in my face. I find it plainly rude and disrespectful when people do that. I can’t help but think that person either had a poor upbringing or is self-centered to the point that they believe it’s a waste of time to help others. Just from my informal observations in the local Vancouver area, I’ve noticed some trends. First, older people tend to do the right thing more often than younger people. This kinda reinforces my belief that the current or near future generation will destroy civilization from the inside out. Second, more courteous people can be found in downtown Vancouver as opposed to the suburbs. You could also read this observation as people are nicer as you move west from the suburbs. The worst offender in my small sample size are the people at Metrotown, a mall in suburban Vancouver. Metrotown is filled with young people who mostly give off a ghetto vibe and to be clear, I don’t mean people of colour. No matter what colour of the skin, the majority of the people I see there seem like the dregs of society. It doesn’t matter if they’re poor or rich, Metrotown just attracts the trash. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people fail to extend the common courtesy of holding a door open a fraction of a second at Metrotown. I remember one time, this girl was in front of me, and she actually got the courtesy from the stranger in front of her. She responded by scurrying through the door with her hands and arms held tight against her body, leaving me with the door slamming shut in my face. She didn’t even look behind her. Bitch, pay it forward.

I’m quite tempted to bring a video camera to Metrotown and just film all these idiots at the mall entrances. I bet it wouldn’t even take me a minute to spot the first offender. Don’t be part of the problem, hold the door open for the person behind you.


I had trouble accessing one of my online accounts for a financial services company that I use. I had to call their customer support line and even though it was well after 2am, there was someone awake to take my call.

It turns out I got routed to the company’s Irish call centre. The automated voice said I could get my call transferred to a Canadian representative at any time but I decided to go with the Irish option. I also doubted any Canadian rep was awake at the time anyways.

The individual I got was professional and helpful to me and it didn’t take very long to get my problem resolved. I was kinda hoping the person I was talking to would have a really strong Irish accent but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

I have been hearing that many companies are now setting up support centres in Ireland and to me that sounds like a good idea.


Like many of you who live in apartments, I take my garbage and recycling to a secure room somewhere in a common area. Again, like many of you, this room is frequently located in the secured parking area of the apartment complex. This was in fact, the case for me when I first moved into my apartment. Things slightly changed when they started developing the retail portion of the complex down. We were told our initial parking spots would be eventually be the public parking spots for the mall, so they had to re-assign spots for the residents. Everyone wound up parking at the higher levels of the parking area (all our parking is above ground).

The vacated spots just sat empty for well over a year. Every time I went to dump my garbage in the garbage room, I’d see rows and rows of empty parking spots where residents used to park but now had no vehicles. For more than a year, this was the familiar sight that greeted me. Then earlier this month, the first part of the mall was declared open and when that happened, the public needed a place to park. The mall opened on a Thursday. I remember taking my garbage downstairs on the Tuesday and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I took out the garbage again on Friday night, I realized my garbage room was located in the parking area of a public mall. Everything was different. Signs were up directing shoppers to where stores were. Lines were repainted on the pavement. I suddenly felt like I was in a mall parking lot, which I guess was the truth.

The odd thing I noticed which doors were secure and locked from the public and which were not. The garbage room itself is fob secured, so while it is technically out in the open for the public to see, you still need a fob to open the door. There is however, this odd little space where anyone in the public can get into when residents go to get back into the lobby where the elevators are. The door to this little room from the parking area is not locked nor secured, anyone can go into this room. The little room has three doors in it. One goes to the public parking area (so residents can get to the garbage room), this is not secure. Another door leads to the staircase which gives you access to the residential floors. This door is permanently locked. The final door leads to the lobby and this is also fob controlled.

I though this was a bit weird because anyone from the public can walk into the parking area, go through this door and then just chill out. It’s got no windows so no one can see you in that room. From there, you can just wait until someone comes in from the lobby and now that person has gotten inside the building. They can also try to work the lock to the staircase, which then gives them access to many of the residential floors. The security company that is employed by my strata must have realized this as well because it didn’t take long for them to station a guard in that little room. To give you an idea where this guy sits, take a look at this diagram:

Not to scale...

The red doors are fob secured. The black door is not locked. I’ve noticed the guard is stationed in this little concrete room during the evenings, probably for most the of the night. The room isn’t that big, it’s got drab and gray concrete walls, and it’s unheated. When I pass through this room, I usually see the guard sitting on a metal, fold up chair and a big thermos of what is probably coffee next to him. Sometimes the guard has a book for reading. I think it must be terrible to get stuck with that assignment, sitting in an unheated, small concrete room with no windows for hours a time.

I believe it’s a big waste of resources to have a single guard dedicated to just watching this one small room. They need to make that unsecured door which leads to the public parking area into a secured one that requires a fob. Until then, some poor soul has to sit there waiting for bad people to come in from that door. I wonder how many people he’s caught. I should ask him that the next time I see him.


My loyal readers, I hope all of you were able to find some time to relax and spend time with your friends and families in the last few days. Since I’m unemployed at the moment, it was sorta business as usual for me, except that everyone else seemed to be not working for a few days as well.

I am, however, looking forward to everyone else going back to work so I can be the only one not working again.


And the quarterback is toast!

The offices here at are now empty as the staff are on a much deserved holiday and it’s time for my annual holiday greeting. I hope all my loyal readers have a wonderful holiday season and have nothing but the best in the new year. From each and everyone one of us here at, we thank you for your continued support!


I assume most of my loyal readers have noses and are capable of smelling. While we’ve all experienced smells that permeate a room or close quarters, I’ve always wondered about a mysterious phenomenon where a smell extends across a large distance or volume. Take for example, just today. When I left my apartment to run some errands, I was immediately struck by a strong odour in the hallway leading to the elevator. It smelled very much like a Chinese fermented black bean. This odour was strong and slightly unpleasant. I initially thought that someone on my floor was cooking with these beans but I soon found out I was wrong.

Once I got down to the mall level of my place, I immediately noticed the whole area smelled like black bean as well. As I walked towards the Safeway, the smell lingered and did not go down in intensity. The odour was still there even up at the Skytrain level of the area where I was about to take a train. I would guess the area affected was at least a good city block. When I got home several hours later the smell was gone.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered something like this. Once before I’ve smelled something odd near my home that appeared to be very local and specific but when I got outside, the smell seemed to permeate an area of several blocks. When I was a university student, I’d sometimes detect a garbage type odour that seemed to span across a large part of the campus.

I’ve never been able to find the source of these large scale odours. It’s odd that something could disperse an odour that far. What is it? How does it go away as fast as it appears? Has anyone else experienced this?


As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s now a mall of sorts in the first couple of floors of the development where I live. One of the places that’s now open is a Subway. There is also another Subway location just half a block from my home. I can actually see that location from my living room window. The older location just opened up less than a year ago. I wonder what they think now that there’s another Subway so close by now.

Anyways, I’ve never been too pleased with the older Subway franchise. They are super cheap with their vegetables. If you ask for a particular type of veggie, they’ll try to take as few pieces as possible and string them as far as they can to span the length of the sub. The benchmark for me is the green pepper. I usually get green peppers on all my subs. At this place, they’ve sliced the green peppers into rings that have been then cut so they’re just like very thin strands. When I ask for green peppers then, the “artist” lays a single strand across the length of the sub. You wind up getting a tiny cross section of green pepper throughout your sub. It’s ridiculous how cheap they are with it.

With the new location opening up, I was hoping this place wasn’t as cheap with their veggies. I went there for lunch today. Sadly, the same thing happened to me at this location. They were as economical with the green pepper as the other place. I don’t remember Subway being so stupid with their veggie portion control. When I first started going to Subway when I was in high school, they seemed much more giving with their portions. I understand that times are tough these days and every penny counts for a company but there is a point where it’s almost not even worth putting something out on the menu if customers are going to get so little of it.


In a previous post, I detailed how a retail complex was being developed which would integrate into the apartment towers and transit station below my home. It has taken many, many months after years of planning but the retail portion of the development is finally open. You can find out more info about the stores here.

Last week, one of the anchor retailers, a Safeway, opened their doors. To go food shopping now, all I have to do is walk out my apartment, take the elevator down to the fourth floor, go down a short hallway, open a door, and I’m in the mezzanine level of the shopping area. It takes well short of five minutes to get there and I’m sheltered from the elements during the entire time. Other stores are opening up as time passes. A Subway opened their doors this week as did a CIBC bank. A spa is now open as well. A dentist’s office seems to be almost complete. There appears to be a large emphasis on food outlets which I’m pleased about since I love to eat. The piece of the puzzle that I’m most excited about is the 10 screen digital theatre that is slated to open in April. I hope they offer assigned seating in some of their auditoriums because I’d love to wait until the last possible moment before heading down from my apartment to the theatre. In my underwear one minute and then watching the Avengers just minutes after.

I’ll be interested in seeing how the provincial government assesses the value of my apartment after the development is complete. The value has gone up steadily since I bought it but I wonder if there will be a significant increase after this. While everyone loves to know their property is worth more, the downside is paying higher property tax. For now, I’m just happy to know I can buy Doritos, a roast chicken, and cheese until midnight, every night of the week.


The Great Leader

Tonight the world learned through North Korean state media that Kim Jong Il had died. “The Great Leader” as he was called had been in poor healthy in the last few years so this news did not come as a great shock to many. Some of you, my loyal readers, know that I often put pictures of Kim Jong Il as my profile photo on Facebook. He was very unique among world leaders as he was almost a living caricature of a man. It is reported that he had many eccentricities that pop culture really seized upon. The entertainment world had characterized him as this odd and slightly amusing, yet somewhat deranged world leader.

No matter how funny people found him though, he kept North Korea in the dark ages. It’s almost amazing how he was able to run his country like a cult. He somehow convinced millions of people it was ok to live in third world like conditions, with no electricity, modern conveniences, personal freedoms, and in some cases, sufficient food to eat. You can just Google people’s descriptions of their visits to North Korea, it’s surreal how backwards the country is.

Reportedly, the successor to the leadership is Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un. There are just bits of public info about Un. Some reports have said he was schooled in Switzerland. Will he continue his father’s policies? Will he even be in full control of the country or is he just a puppet of the ruling Communist party? It will be difficult to tell. My hope is that North Korea will come out of the dark ages with this new era but I have my doubts.


If you’re not familiar with the TV show Mythbusters, one could sum it up as a show where people blow stuff up. Actually, that’s quite an unfair way of describing the program. In Mythbusters, the show’s hosts try to either dispel or confirm myths about almost anything. In many instances though, the pursuit of truth involves blowing stuff up. In fact, just recently, in an accident, a few of the Mythbusters sent a wayward cannon ball through some residential homes.

That one accident aside, the show is immensely popular. It has been so successful that the two main Mythbusters, Jamie and Adam have taken the show on the road so to speak. They are coming to Vancouver in late January and I have tickets to the show. Dubbed the Behind the Myths Tour, it will offer some insight into how the show is produced, some behind the scenes stories, and some audience interaction. I am quite excited to see what Adam and Jamie have in store for Vancouver!