Do you eat cheese on a regular basis? Outside of any cheese I might get from pizza, pasta, or burgers, I don’t buy cheese. It’s extremely expensive in Canada. I once asked on Facebook why cheese was so costly in this country. Someone who is really into food, posted this link, which explains the high prices.
If cheese were cheaper, I’d probably buy it more often but I don’t remember buying a single block of cheese since I moved into my apartment about three years ago. That changed last week when the drug store downstairs was having a sale. I bought a block of mild cheddar for less than $5. That’s a steal for cheddar in this country.
I’ve been making grilled cheese just about every night. It’s delicious. If you live outside of Canada, be thankful your cheap cheese.
Yes! We return with back to back editions of “Did You Know?”! Did you know that nearly every single event that transpired in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver has been uploaded to YouTube? With over 600 individual uploads to their channel, the Olympic organization has included just about everything, full-length opening and closing ceremonies, entire hockey games from every round, and video from every single sport represented. Some videos go on for two hours or more, depending on what sport is being shown. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also highlight packages that distill the full-length videos into easily digestible chunks. You can find every single video here. Relive that magical time that’s almost two years removed now.
Welcome to another edition of “Did You Know?”! Did you know before the talented and funny Amy Poehler made it big on Saturday Night Live, she appeared regularly on Late Night With Conan O’Brien? Poehler appeared on the late night talk show as Andy Richter’s sister, who had a massive crush on Conan. She made several appearances on the show and you can tell she was just as funny back then as she is now. It looks like her character from Conan’s show served as her inspiration for her future Kaitlin character (of Uncle Rick fame).
The above video shows Poehler from when she was not as famous.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have an e-mail account that I don’t use that I received free of charge with my internet service provider. The crazy thing is, you can assign as many unused aliases as you want to this account. Just for kicks, I tried assigning common usernames to my account, ones like “bob”, “terri”, “taylor”, etc. Some of them were already assigned but I managed to get a few. That meant that I got any kind of e-mail that got sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and so forth.
I received an interesting e-mail today for a female username. Some woman had read an article in an alternative health magazine and wanted to get in touch with “me”. She wanted to try “iridology” and asked me for my rates for a session. I had no idea what iridology was until I looked it up. Apparently it’s a method of diagnosing a person’s well-being or overall health by examining the colours and other aspects of the iris. This technique has been discounted by scientists as unreliable and in no way a useful method of determining a person’s medical condition.
I’m tempted to tell this person that I was just a new age quack and I really am duping people for their money. I think that would be harsh but they need to realize the truth in some way.
The mall downstairs continues to have new tenants open their doors for business. Most recently, a Shoppers Drug Mart had their grand opening. For those who don’t live in Canada, this is large drug store chain. Though Shoppers has been around for decades, they’ve changed their retail focus in the last couple of years. Beyond normal drug store stuff, they also sell digital photography items and groceries. This particular location downstairs has a fairly extensive selection of food. They sell milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. They also have a frozen food aisle with items from their own brand.
As with most of the new retailers opening up in the mall, they have majorly discounted items to get people into the store. I noticed that a big box of chicken strips were on sale for $4.99, with the regular price being $10.99. Chicken is usually quite expensive and I love a good deal, so I decided to buy a box. It felt kinda weird buying frozen chicken strips from a drug store but the picture on the box sure made them look tasty. I haven’t tried them out yet but I think they maybe dinner for me tomorrow. I may go back tomorrow to buy some eggs and cheese from the drug store because they’ve been heavily discounted as well.
I am writing this as I sit on my couch and looking at my TV. I didn’t really need a new laptop but there was a Boxing Day sale and this deal was too good to pass up. For less than $300, I got a decent laptop and a wireless mouse and keyboard. The laptop has HDMI out which allows me to hook it up to my TV. The wireless devices give me the freedom to type and mouse around while sitting on the couch.
I wasn’t thinking I’d be writing my blog from my couch on a regular basis. The laptop is for when I want to stream hockey games over the Internet. I can do that from my desk but I’d like to sit on my couch to watch the game rather be at my desk chair. I also use my Xbox 360 as a media player so I can watch downloaded material on my TV. I discovered that unfortunately, the Xbox doesn’t play all the file formats that are out there right now. For example, this was the process I had to go through to watch The Golden Girls every week: download it in HD, convert the file to a format that the Xbox could understand, wait more than an hour for the conversion to finish, then watch it on my TV via the Xbox. Since the laptop is much more flexible with playing video files, I can immediately play videos on my TV without the conversion step. Now that first world problem is gone!
Sometimes I don’t have very good ideas for this blog and this post is probably another good example of that. In a previous post, I wrote that I decided to forgo going to sleep one morning and wanted to go to Denny’s for breakfast instead. I returned home from that adventure around 9am to finally get to bed. Before I did though, I thought it would be interesting to film me as I slept and given that it was now daylight outside, I could take advantage of that.
I timed the camera to take a picture every 45 seconds. If I do this again, I might decrease the time between pictures to 30 seconds. Anyways, it was a very long sleep as I believe I only got six hours of rest. Also, because it’s winter, it got dark before I even woke up. I believe the video is interesting but not entirely entertaining (though I seem to show my butt to the camera for several seconds). I never knew my legs slipped out from my duvet like that. I’m also of the opinion that more people would enjoy this video if I were a hot chick. People like seeing hot chicks do anything on video.
As I mentioned in previous posts, my sleep schedule is pretty screwed up as I’m sleeping for a large proportion of the time that the sun is out. It doesn’t give me a lot of time to be outside when it is light. I’ve been concerned about this, especially since it’s pretty drab during these Vancouver winters anyways. My worry is the lack of vitamin D in my body. The natural and most logical solution is to just go to bed earlier but if you known me for any length of time, I tend to avoid common sense options like that. Instead, I’ve started taking vitamin D supplements. I am certainly not taking a lot of vitamin D, about 800 IU which is well below the maximum recommended intake for several countries. I know that you can also get vitamin D from natural food sources. For example, fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain the vitamin, as does eggs. The supplements just make it easier.
The lack of vitamin D can lead to bone problems or in severe cases, rickets, but in a developed country, that is very, very unlikely. I’d like to know how low my vitamin D levels were before but it’s good to know it won’t be a problem at all going forward. On the subject of vitamins, I wonder how many of you pronounce that word, vit-ta-mens, like British people do. It sounds fancier that way.
I last saw my dentist in late November for a regular check-up and cleaning. I was dismayed that he found a tiny cavity which he said would require a small filling. I haven’t had a cavity in probably two decades but it’s not a big deal. Getting a cavity filled in is a minor inconvenience. I wanted to get it done the week after but my dentist said he was all booked up so the appointment was made for tomorrow instead. My dentist also casually mentioned he was thinking about retiring.
During the holidays, I received a letter from the dentist’s office. My dentist had indeed decided to retire. He had sold his practice to two other dentists and transferred all his patients to them. As incentive to try them out, he gave all his patients $50 off their next procedure with the new dudes. The $50 off is certainly good enough to get me in their chair, so I’ll be getting my filling done by one of the new dentists.
I’m not really sure if I’ll be staying with them though. I’ve never had the chance to choose my own dentist before. When I was a kid, my father just took me to his own dentist and I stayed with him for many, many years. I wonder if any kids out there choose their dentists, probably not. Anyways, I’m ready to explore other options in the dental field. In the mall that just opened below me, a new and large dental clinic just set up shop. The location is super convenient for sure. They’ve got all these fancy and new machines and the whole clinic looks really modern. Maybe when it’s time for the next cleaning I’ll give them a try.
I do envy my previous dentist though. No more looking into people’s mouths.
To mark the start of a new year, I received my property assessment in the mail today. Since 2009, the provincial government has calculated, based on their own formula, that my apartment has increased in value by 12% every year. From 2009 to 2010 was a 12% increase and the same from 2010 to 2011. I was quite curious to see what this year’s increase would be.
It turns out my apartment only increased in value by less than 0.5% in 2012, at least according to the government. This is interesting for several reasons. First, this a big difference compared to the previous 12% gains. This might mean that the real estate market has evened out in my area. I was also curious to see that government thinks the big mall below me only increased the value by 0.5% or had no impact on their assessment. In the next few months, there will be a whole slew of retailers down below, including a 10 screen movie theatre. The upside to having such a small increase is that my property taxes will most like remain at the amount it was last year. In my first year living here, my taxes were well below $1000 but the 12% increases changed all that. At least now, we’ve reached a bit of a plateau.
The provincial assessments are all online now. So if you know my address, you can actually see what my apartment is worth according to the government. You can look up your friends and co-workers too if you want. The online data also tells you how much surrounding properties were sold for, if the sale was done in 2011. The apartment above me, which has the same layout as I do, was sold in the summer. It was sold for almost $50K more than what I bought mine for. Who knows though, the apartment above me might have had gold fixtures and diamond walls so keep that in mind.