All posts by Erwin

LOST AND FOUND

About a year and a half ago, during the summer of 2016, I lost my wallet. It was a warm and pleasant Saturday. I had decided it was nice enough to walk to my local Walmart, rather than rely on motorized transportation. I initially thought the walk was uneventful but I realized this was not the case once I was about twenty feet inside of the store. I put my right hand into my pants pocket and to my dismay, my wallet was not there. I started to panic slightly. Where was my wallet? Did I just forget to bring it? That seemed unlikely, I have this ritual of checking for my wallet and keys before leaving my apartment, no matter what I’m doing. Did it drop out of my pocket somehow? That seemed like the more likely scenario.

Without a wallet, I had no business being in Walmart anymore. I had nothing to pay for things. I immediately turned around began re-tracing my steps. As I walked back the way I came, I began to wrack my brain. Along the way, when was the last time I could remember feeling my wallet? If I could remember that, then I knew the wallet must have been lost somewhere between there and inside the store. The problem was, I could not definitively remember when I last detected the presence of my wallet.

I re-traced my steps all the way back to my apartment without seeing my wallet on the ground. Once home, I searched through my place, just in case I indeed had just forgotten it at home. There was no wallet to be found. Resigned to the reality of a lost wallet, I began the process of cancelling all the cards that needed attention. I also began to monitor the cards for any sign of activity. I expected that if my wallet had been picked up by someone less than decent, my transit card would probably be the first thing to be used. Four hours after I lost my wallet, none of my cards showed any activity.

In the weeks that followed, I replaced everything in my wallet that I could. There were some things, I couldn’t though. For some reason, I always kept my old student ID from my grad school days in my wallet. It had the best picture I’ve ever taken for an ID. I also had my social insurance card in there. They don’t make SIN cards anymore as they just make people memorize it or write it down elsewhere.

So as weeks turned into months, I was always wary of my identity being stolen as a lot of very important info was in that wallet. Nothing indicated that something nefarious was happening though. I always kept wondering what happened to my wallet.

On Friday, this weekend, I received a random message on Facebook from a stranger. He said that he and his girlfriend were in possession of my wallet. His girlfriend worked at a restaurant on a very busy street, a street that I had walked along to get to the Walmart. Apparently, the wallet was in their lost and found, and had been since probably that evening I lost my wallet. I can only surmise that my wallet had popped out my pocket outside the restaurant and someone had thought it might have belonged to a patron and then gave it to the restaurant staff. I guess they assumed that if a restaurant guest had lost their wallet, that person would come looking for it, so they just waited… and waited. I was not a guest though.

I was also told that the restaurant had recently gone under some renovations, which probably spurred them to move things around, including perhaps the lost and found box, which contained my wallet. Seeing my wallet still there, they decided to take action, which led to the Facebook message.

On Saturday, I picked up my wallet from the restaurant and I spoke to the Facebook stranger’s girlfriend, who was a really nice lady. I wanted to give her $20 for her troubles but she wouldn’t accept my thanks. I told her instead that I’d come by again soon for a meal and I’d tip really well. The restaurant itself is extremely popular and has great reviews.

Once I got home with my reunited wallet, I went though the contents. Nothing was missing. Everything was still there. I had no cash in it originally but all my cards were present, including my SIN cards and old student ID. The other cards are useless now since they were cancelled and replaced a long time ago but it’s good to have closure.

A year and a half mystery has been solved!

WHAT’S IT WORTH TO YA 2018 EDITION

Right on schedule, I got my property assessment in the mail this week. My property increased in value by 15%, at least in the eyes of the province. The year before the value increased by 22%.

Through the provincial assessment web site I was also able to get sales data for 2017. Since my apartment layout is pretty much identical across other floors and across two neighbouring towers, I have a very accurate idea of what I could be selling my apartment for. The selling prices over the last twelve months are somewhere in the average of $450K, with one very close to half a million. It’s ridiculous that my apartment could be worth that much. It’s easily the best investment I’ve ever made, even if I haven’t realized any of the gains.

So while these numbers are impressive and all, there’s nothing I can do about this. If I sold my apartment, I’d still have to live in the greater Vancouver area. Buying a place would just eat up my profit. Renting an apartment isn’t ideal either as rents are high as well. My mortgage is several hundred dollars cheaper than what my apartment would rent for. I don’t want to throw my money away to that.

I’m happy to stay where I am because I honestly do enjoy where I live. I wonder what next year’s assessment will be?

A MORE HOPEFUL TIME

One decade ago, on this night, then Senator Barack Obama addressed his supporters in a rousing speech after winning the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucus. This was an important milestone in his march towards his nomination as the Democratic candidate for US president and eventually as the winner of the 2008 election. As you may fondly remember (especially given current circumstances), President Obama became the first African-American to hold the office and he did so for two terms.

It’s amazing how much hope people had ten years ago.

HOLIDAY HANGOVER

Despite my best intentions, I couldn’t fall asleep until nearly 4am last night and resorted to taking a sleeping pill. Strangely, I felt quite awake when my alarm went off this morning. I felt fine going to work.

When I got to the studio, it was quite quiet. The overall energy seemed low. I had a meeting first thing in the morning and I think just about everyone there was wishing it was still the holidays. One person caught a cold during the break and was still fighting it. Another person said they went from sleeping in until noon everyday for a week to waking up at 6am this morning. Their body was not happy about that.

I did great until after lunch and that’s when the fatigue set in. I felt bagged for the rest of the day and well into the early evening. Of course, now that it’s time for bed, I feel refreshed again. Oh well.

BACK TO REALITY

I was last at work on December 22 at 4pm, when I left to begin my holiday break. That was barely over a week ago but it seems a bit longer than that. It wasn’t a busy and jam-packed break for me. I didn’t fill it with events and things to do. I mainly saw my family and got lots of rest. That’s ok with me. Somewhere along the way between the end of the summer and beginning of the holidays I got worn down and exhausted. This probably explains the first four days of my break when I slept for ten hours each night.

Tomorrow is the first day of work of the new year though. It’s back to the grind. I’m sure there will be a bit of a holiday hangover for everyone. Well, I have to get to bed early again. Time to get some rest.

GOOD SLEEP

I’ve been averaging nine to ten hours of sleep since Friday night when my holiday break started. I didn’t explicitly plan on using my break to sleep that much but with nowhere to be during the day, it just seemed natural to just stay in my warm bed during these cold times.

I gotta say, I didn’t realize how tired and exhausted I was before the break. I feel fantastic after several days of rest and complete nights of sleep. I feel much more alert and energetic. I think this really underscores how much sleep I was missing prior to this.

I will really try to get more sleep once I return to work.

LAST WORK DAY OF THE YEAR

Tomorrow is probably my favourite work day of the entire year. A great number of my co-workers will already be on holidays and the rest of us left on the last day are mostly in holiday mode anyways. People will show up late and leave early. Some will even start drinking at work. It’s going to be awesome.

NEW EATS

On a monthly and yearly basis, I eat more meals prepared by the EA Vancouver cafeteria than anywhere else. Per week, I eat five lunches, two or three breakfasts, and the occasional dinner from that one place. You can understand how I have a vested interest in the quality of the meals that come from there.

Last year, studio management decided to remodel the cafeteria, which includes the seating areas, the kitchen, and the serving stations. It took six months and it was costly. Management was really hoping this remodel would greatly enhance the dining experience for employees. A few months after the remodel was done, a survey went out to some employees to gauge the current level of satisfaction regarding the cafeteria. I can only speak personally but the remodel didn’t seem to affect the quality of the meals one way or another. In some cases, we had culinary choices taken away from us. Before the renovations, I thought the meal quality was average and my opinion didn’t change much after all those millions were spent. If I had to guess, other survey responses were either similar or even said the food quality and selection got worse.

Before I continue, it must be noted that for as long as I can remember, EA doesn’t actually staff or run the cafeteria itself. It has always awarded a contract to a commercial food services company to come in and run the cafeteria. The people who make the food and run the cafeteria are technically employees of the food services company and not EA. So while the cafeteria received a whole new physical remodel last year, the company and staff that run the cafeteria remained the same.

It’s my theory that studio management weren’t too pleased about survey responses. Given how much money they spent, employees still didn’t seem happy enough with the cafeteria. Well, unbeknownst to most employees, management took action. It was revealed very recently that a new food services contract was awarded to a different company. When employees return to work in the new year, we’ll see the cafeteria run by new staff and a whole new menu will be available. Some of the changes will be immediate, while others will be phased in over the next few months. Some of the highlights include the return of the food trucks every Wednesday during the summer months. There will be a station dedicated to bacon related food items. We’ll be getting a dedicated pastry chef. Last but not least, Revolver Coffee will be taking over our two coffee bars and serving their unique selections of coffees.

I’m excited to see what’s in store for the new year. I love food, so I can’t wait for some better lunches and other meals!

SNOW

When I went to work this morning, it was very rainy and wet. It was so wet outside that my shoes got drenched and my socks were soaking up water. After a very uncomfortable walk to work, I changed my socks and settled in for a rainy work day. I had a morning meeting and then the weather changed.

The three images you see above were taken less than an hour apart from the first image to the last. Lots of people bailed from work around lunch time, afraid that the roads would be a nightmare come evening. My manager gave the engineers the ok to leave early. I stayed until 2pm and to be honest, my commute wasn’t that bad.

It’s supposed to snow again on Thursday.

CHRISTMAS WEATHER

It’s supposed to snow in the greater Vancouver area on Tuesday but it probably won’t stick around to make it a white Christmas. Rain later in the week will most likely wash it away before Monday. I’m ok with that.

So far this year, the snow hasn’t come down like it did last year when record snow falls blanketed the city. I think this time last year we would have already had two major snowfalls and I had taken a few snow days from work. It’s a different story this time around.