All posts by Erwin

MEAL REVIEW: VIETNAM RATIONS

YouTube recommended that I watch the above video where a gentleman named Steve opens up a ration that was distributed to members of the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam conflict.

Field rations, or in this particular case, an MRE (meal, ready to eat), were conveniently packaged so soldiers could have a nutritious meal that also increased morale. You’d often find things like coffee packets and cigarettes in them so that troops could have a bit of comfort even near the front lines.

In this video, Steve attempts to actually eat and drink what is still safe to consume from the MRE. Keep in mind, at the time of taping, most of foodstuffs were at least 45 years old. It’s a fascinating video.

INTERESTING

Many financial pundits think the Bank of Canada will raise the key interest rate tomorrow. As I have a variable rate mortgage, such a change is of interest to me (get it?).

Since I bought my home, the key interest rate has changed just five times and the last increase was almost seven years ago. It’s been a good seven years from a debt perspective. I don’t know how much the BoC will raise the rate but I’m hoping it won’t be more than 0.25%. My mortgage will undoubtedly be more but how much more is the question.

Will such a move put me in dire straights? No, but there will be less money to go around and the bigger question is, when is the next rate hike? Does this signal more frequent and larger hikes? Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

LACTOSE

I’d like to report a significant milestone last week. I ate an entire ice cream cone for the first time in years. In recent times I’ve stayed away from most dairy as I’ve become increasingly lactose intolerant. Things like whipped cream, heavy cream, ice cream, and just general things with cream in it do the most damage. In a way, this development has a silver lining in that dairy kinda makes you fat if you think about all the things it goes into.

For a while now, my brother-in-law has suggested taking pills which contain lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose and allows your body to process it. I finally took his suggestion last weekend when I knew I was going to be out and having ice cream with some friends. I bought some of these pills and downed two of them before eating an ice cream cone.

I was slightly apprehensive about it but even hours afterwards, there was no gas, bloating, nor diarrhea. Does this mean I’m going to now binge on milk shakes, ice cream, cream puffs, and anything with whipped cream? No, definitely not. These items should be consumed only in moderation and these magic pills won’t make them any less healthy. The good is news is now I won’t have to poop whenever I drink a frappuccino!

HOT

It’s been quite warm the last two days here in the local Vancouver area. Since I now own a fan, I’ve left it on while I sleep on the lowest and quietest settings. If you were to believe Korean superstition, I’d be tempting fate right now. Luckily, nothing has happened yet and there is no scientific proof this is harmful to my body.

SUPER LONG WEEKEND

My apologies to everyone for being away but I just concluded a four-day long weekend. I took an extra day off to really make this a wonderful weekend. The highlight was attending the 20th anniversary gala dinner at my beloved St. John’s College at UBC. If you’ve been with us from the beginning, you know this graduate residence has a special place in my heart. This institution is now 20 years old. I was there for the 10th anniversary celebrations and it makes me feel quite old (but also thankful) that I was there again for the 20th anniversary.

The gala dinner was on Sunday evening and it was well-attended by many former residents, many of whom warmed my heart with their presence. I also got to meet the current president of UBC, Dr. Santa Ono, who carries with him a bit of a rock star persona on the campus. I definitely enjoyed meeting him, even if it was briefly.

The dinner itself was fantastic. The meal consisted of two types of crab, mussels, clams, salmon, baron of beef, roast pig, BBQ duck, and a dessert assortment that could have rivaled the buffet at the Wynn. It was an incredible meal put on by executive chef Clarence Tay and his dedicated staff.

The best part of the evening was seeing old friend though. Two of my closest friends from that era saw each other for the first time in over a decade. I didn’t even realize it had been that long for them. Individually, I had the good fortune of meeting up with them about once a year separately but all three of us hadn’t been together until this weekend. We spoke fondly about our good times and it felt like we were still living at the College again.

Alas, the evening was over too quickly, years of friendship reminisced over the course of just a few hours. Some now were mothers and fathers, and had to tend to the demands of parenthood. Although too brief, the evening filled my heart with joy. I look forward to the 25th anniversary.

MOUSE SURPRISE

I take out the garbage and recycling after midnight usually. When I do so, there’s not a lot of people around as most are in bed. Unfortunately, that means I’m in the perfect situation to interrupt things. This evening I went to recycle some stuff and to get to the garbage/recycling room I have to transit this utility corridor beyond the lobby. When I opened the door to the corridor, I found myself about three feet away, at eye level, staring at a mouse. It was climbing the door jamb of the door I was striding towards. It took my brain a few seconds to process what I was seeing and meanwhile, I was still walking towards it. I was thinking, “brain, why are you still making me walk towards that damn thing?” I kinda had a bit of freak out, jumped back, and watched the mouse also freak out and run down the door frame and underneath the door I needed to go through.

This was the second time I’ve seen a mouse in this corridor and just like last time, I surprised the rodent in question. There was no way I was gonna go open that door that the mouse just snuck underneath. I had to take a detour, up and around, to get to the garbage room. I half expected to see a mouse in there as well but luckily I recycled my stuff without incident. I complained to strata council after the first sighting but I guess rodents are persistent and difficult to get rid of. I hope I don’t see another mouse soon.

BIG FAN

After years of people bugging me to get a fan for my apartment, I relented this week and purchased one. As I wrote earlier, it was really hot this weekend, so much so that it affected the quality of my sleep. As such, it finally dawned on me that it wouldn’t hurt to get a fan.

In previous years, my reasoning for not getting a fan was that Vancouver summers are short and mild. We’re lucky if we get two weeks worth of summer weather where it’s hot enough to complain. Why buy something that gets barely used for two weeks out of a whole year?

I guess I realized buying a fan isn’t going to break the bank. Fan technology has come a long way since I was kid. It used to be that fans were circular in shape with those iconic blades that did all the work. Now you can buy a Dyson with crazy new technology and no spinning blades. Of course, I didn’t want to drop $500 for a fan when I could buy an air-conditioner for the same price.

Instead, I opted for a tower fan, a modern design that takes up less space. The particular model I purchased has eight different speeds, oscillates, and even comes with a remote. I admit it got a bit hot this evening and using the fan tonight did help me cool off a bit.

Looking ahead, some people have been saying I should get a dining room table. Perhaps that will be next.

LAST WEEK

At work, this is my last week on the Madden 18 development team. The game isn’t done yet but the original agreement made between my own team and Madden 18 was that I’d go back at the end of June. I’ve been working remotely for over six months now. That’s a long time, at least for me.

There have been some challenges for sure but I feel like I’ve adapted some strategies to help make it work. Luckily, after my last day working for the football game is a long weekend. I’ve further enhanced the weekend by taking a vacation day on Tuesday, making it a four-day long weekend. I feel like I need to take some extra time off to better recharge, relax, and have clean mental slate for when I return to my own team.

There’s just four more days now until I go back.