So today was not one for the ages. It did not start off well right away. I woke up and while I was still in bed, I detected a slight tickle in my throat. I think everyone knows that feeling. You’re not sure if that tickle will develop into a sore throat and subsequently a nasty cold.
Things didn’t get better when I was late to meet my parents for dim sum. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad and we had a nice meal. Dim sum was quick though and before I left, my mother gave me some food so I didn’t have to think about dinner tonight. That’s great from both a convenience and money-saving standpoint.
Since I thought I might be on the verge of a cold, I decided to go home right away and just stay indoors for the most of the day. It was also raining quite hard too so it wasn’t pleasant weather to be out in anyways. Once at home, I just drank tea all day hoping my the tickle in my throat wouldn’t get worse.
By the evening, my throat did feel better but it’s one of these things where it can feel better and you feel worse after you sleep on it. There’s something about sleeping that allows a cold take over. I’m also now feeling the slightest of nasal congestion. It’s nothing too bad and I don’t feel like I even have to blow my nose but something is definitely off. I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to see how this plays out. Of course, I hope this doesn’t develop into a full-fledged cold.
I guess the most productive thing I did today was answer e-mails, mostly from recruiters. I feel lucky that despite not even indicating to a single person that I’m interested in finding a new job, people are coming to me with requests to chat about opportunities. To my amusement, one of the messages I replied to was from a Google recruiter. Google is wasting their time trying assess me as a candidate for their company. I know people who have gone on to work at Google and I know the type of tests you need to pass to work at Google. I’m no idiot but the reality is, I’m not smart enough to work at Google. Some might say that’s a self-defeating attitude but I call it being realistic.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully, I won’t feel like crap and I hope I’ll be able to get to back on track with some real tasks.
Every week during my time off, I’m trying to have a new set of goals or a list of things I want to tackle for that week. Sometimes it just might be a continuation of last week’s goals or things but I’m trying hard not to have too many weeks where I’m just being lazy. I figure I’ll inevitably be lazy anyways, even with goals so let’s not plan on being lazy.
Next week, I’ll be trying to get less fat and start being more active. I purposely didn’t have this as a goal right away because I was genuinely exhausted after my contract ended. Week one was basically just sleeping in and getting as much rest as possible. Now that I’ve been able to restore my energy reserves, it’s time to get back into better shape.
I prefer to be outdoors when I’m active and this is unfortunately a bit of a challenge during Vancouver’s rainy fall weather. Luckily, I bought a whole bunch of gear last fall that will help resist the wet weather. I have great hiking shoes, a North Face jacket, and a pair of water-resistant pants, all designed to keep a person dry during outdoor activities.
As for what I’ll be doing outside, I enjoy walking everywhere so I’ll partake in some urban adventures. I’ve never done the walk around Stanley Park in any season other than summer, so it will be interesting to see how it is in the fall. Something tells me it won’t be as nice. What will work against me is the amount of daylight. With the stupid daylight savings time, it can get dark as early as 4pm. I’m a sucker for sleeping in so I need to make sure I’m out there early enough to be not caught in the park in the dark.
Anyways, it’ll be good to work off all those OT meals from the summer.
As many of you know I’m currently unemployed but enjoying my time off. The freedom to sleep in and have lots of free time is tempered by the fact that I have no money coming in. That’s ok though as I’m not about to lose my home and I’m not digging through the garbage for scraps. For the most part, I lived well within my means during the nine months of my last job contract and that’s allowed me to take some time off.
So while I’m not about to be living on the streets, it doesn’t mean I can’t be smart about my spending while on this little break of mine. One of the things I’m striving to keep in check is how much I spend on food. It’d be easy to spend as little as possible and just eat junk (and delicious fried carbs) for all my meals but that’s not the way to go. One of the things I’m doing is trying to eat all the food that I already have.
I have a cupboard and freezer with food that needs to be eaten. I’ve already paid for this stuff, so let’s eat it! Unfortunately, I’ve discovered I’ve probably waited too long for some of this stuff. There are two cans of Chunky Beef Soup that expired in 2010. I have about four cans of green beans that I remember buying when I moved into my apartment in early 2010. There are no best before dates on those cans so it’s difficult to know if there are still safe to eat. I also have two cans of corned beef that are from the same time as the green beans. They too do not have a best before date on the cans. The corned beef contains a significant amount of sodium nitrite though so does that make it better or worse? As many of you know, I don’t take risks when it comes to food safety, so the soup, green beans, and the corned beef will have their cans recycled. I feel bad for wasting that food but I’m not going to take chances.
I also discovered a few cups of microwave Kraft Cheese and Macaroni. They expired in 2011 but I think if I still wanted to eat it I’d be fine. It’s just dry pasta and the packet of chemical cheese probably hasn’t gone bad yet. I used to love eating these things but I realized the stuff they put into the cheese powder probably isn’t good for you. Things like MSG just didn’t appeal to me after a while. Again, it’s unfortunate but I think I’ll have to toss these.
The good news is that the rest of the cupboard is looking fine. I have lots of pasta in there, things like lasagna noodles and orzo that’s years away from expiring. I have two cups of microwave basmati rice that technically expired last month but that’s totally ok. I have an unopened package of generic Shake’n Bake that expired two years ago but I think that stuff keeps pretty well so I’m going to use that very soon.
In the freezer department, I think I’m gonna need to toss a few frozen chicken wings I have lying around. Not sure why I decided to leave three wings in there. There’s also a box of terrible fish sticks I need to toss. I bought them from Shopper’s Drug Mart and if you’re thinking a drug store is a bad place to buy frozen fish sticks then you’d be correct. I also have a large supply of frozen dumplings in there and those are fine. In fact, that’s what my dinner consisted of tonight, some dumplings.
So there’s my strategy to at least keep some of my costs down, eat what I already have. When that runs out, then it’ll be time to hit those dumpsters!
Like previous years, I’m going to try to see how long I can go without turning on the heat during the autumn and winter.
Last year was unseasonably cold for Vancouver and by November, it was getting uncomfortable being in my apartment even when I was wearing extra clothing. On several days in November and December, I was forced to turn on the heat, lest I freeze in my own home. It was just unavoidable from a practical standpoint.
I’m hoping for more milder temperatures this year. I’ve already had to close my windows down to a tiny sliver though as the temperature has dropped down to the high single digits in the last few days. Tonight the temperature was around 10 degrees Celsius, which isn’t even all that cold but I felt down right chilly in my apartment.
I need to be more hardy if I’m to tackle this year’s challenge.
My quest to build a new computer had been going quite smoothly all last week. I bought a new power supply and was prepping my old system to swap in the new motherboard. I told Windows 7 to expect some new hardware, backed up some files, and shut down my computer. I then opened up the computer case to remove the old motherboard. What I discovered was an archive of old dustbunnies and a layer fine dust over almost everything. This was expected though as computer cases are notorious for harbouring incredible amounts of dust. I disconnected the old motherboard and power supply and removed them from the case, the act of which covered my work area in dust. I tried not to think about how many thousands of tiny dust mites were in the dust.
I then grabbed my vacuum cleaner and using the hose, sucked up all the dust in the nooks and crannies of the computer case. I also did a pass over all the computer components, including the fans. I was then ready to mount the new motherboard into the case when I realized I had a problem. On the back of every PC is a cutout for all the connectors that are on the motherboard. This thing is called an I/O shield and it snaps into the case and comes with the motherboard when you buy it. The cutouts on the shield have to line up with the connectors the board. Since I picked up my new board from work sorta hobo style, I didn’t get the matching I/O shield. Unfortunately, the old shield doesn’t line up with the connectors with the new motherboard.
Technically, you can use a PC without this shield but it provides electromagnetic shielding and more importantly in my very dusty apartment, it acts a dust barrier. Because I want to build this right, I began looking to see where I could find the correct I/O shield that I needed. The Internet told me eBay was my best choice. I wound up buying a replacement shield for $16 from a place in the Netherlands. It’s a bit of a ripoff for a thin piece of punch aluminum but that was the best price I could find. Some of you might be wondering why can’t I just install it when it arrives in the mail. Unfortunately, this stupid shield goes in first and then you mount the motherboard. I could just assemble everything first and then take it apart again when the shield arrives but that’s a huge hassle.
It will take about a week for this five cent piece of metal to get to me. So my new computer sits half assembled in an open case. I’m writing this on a laptop, which is getting long in the tooth. So until the shield gets here, I’m putting the computer project on hold and moving onto other items on the funemployment agenda.
So I just realized this evening that my track record for choosing jobs after a long break (either through a layoff or self-imposed) is pretty terrible.
As you might remember, I had all summer 2013 off when I was laid-off from PopCap Vancouver. The job I took after that sucked so hard. Previous to that, I took a four-month break after my contract at Radical Entertainment ended. The job I chose after that was also bad (but not nearly as bad as the post-PopCap one).
I need to really be more careful about my next job because I want to break this cycle. When I’ve changed jobs, that is gotten a new job while still being employed, those have been usually the best jobs. I’m not sure what the difference is. Is my judgment clouded due to a perceived desperation in needing a new job? I’m not sure, it’s not like I was about to lose my home when I chose these terrible jobs.
My next job needs to be a good one.
Earlier this week, I was in my bathroom on the toilet, taking care of some business when I noticed some movement in my peripheral vision. I almost ignored it because I thought I had imagined the movement but I looked anyways. There on the bathroom tile was a rather large insect. I had no clue where it had come from only that it was an insect that I hadn’t seen much before.
I quickly finished up my business, wiping in the appropriate places, flushing, and then scrubbing down my hands. Luckily, the insect wasn’t moving around too much and it was in the general vicinity of where I first saw it. Upon closer inspection, I saw it had two really long antenna with a long body. I initially thought it was a cockroach which really worried me. Cockroach infestations are serious business and you never really just have one cockroach. How could this happen? While I ain’t the most fastidiously clean guy out there, I never leave food lying around and my organic garbage is always sealed underneath my kitchen sink.
I quickly decided I had to capture this thing so I took a glass I wasn’t really using anymore and made it into an insect prison. The thing jumped or at least it tried to jump a significant distance once I placed the glass over it. I then ran over to my computer to Google “cockroaches”. After looking at some cockroach images and then looking again at my visitor, it appeared that I didn’t have a cockroach in my bathroom. The back legs were all wrong. So what was this? Could this be a cricket? I then Googled “cricket” and sure enough all the photos looked a lot like my friend under the glass.
I was relieved at this point because crickets aren’t anything to worry about especially compared to cockroaches. How did he get in my bathroom though? Did he drop down from the ventilation grate in my bathroom ceiling? If so, how did he get in there in the first place? He or she could have entered in through my sliding doors at my balcony but how does a cricket get 28 floors up?
I briefly thought about releasing the cricket onto my balcony but I was afraid he might find his way back into my apartment and then start chirping in the middle of the night. For better or worse, I sent him into a large garbage bag that I was about to take down to the garbage room later that afternoon.
I hope to not find any more interesting insect visitors in my apartment.
If you live in Canada, you might have seen some commercials on TV from Rogers, a massive communications and media company. The company recently won the Canadian broadcasting rights to nearly every single game in the NHL for the next twelve years, taking over from CBC, who for decades, had been the iconic TV brand for hockey in Canada.
To celebrate their multi-billion dollar investment, Rogers hired former NHL fringe player Mark Messier to do commercials on their behalf. Though he is somewhat seen as a legendary player in some hockey circles, he is considered one of the most infamous and hated players to have ever joined the Vancouver Canucks. Let it be clear, the hockey fans in Vancouver are the ones who despise Messier. He signed with the Canucks when his skills visibly declining. People in Vancouver were duped into believing Messier would be the saviour of the franchise, perhaps bringing the Stanley Cup to the city as he had done with Edmonton and New York. Nothing was farther from the truth. He ran several popular players out of town, including the deeply beloved Trevor Linden. Before he did that though, he unceremoniously took the captaincy from Trevor Linden. Linden only offered the “C” because most people would have expected Messier to not take it. He also took the number “11” while in Vancouver, even though that number had been unofficially retired by the Canucks after the death of Wayne Maki from brain cancer. Messier himself was a cancer in the dressing room, fracturing the team into two camps, those who supported Linden and those who fell under Messier’s false promises. Messier played three years in Vancouver and his great leadership led to three years of missing the playoffs. He essentially took the money, sent popular players packing, led the team nowhere, and ran back to New York as soon as his contract had expired. He then had the gall to use legal action to force the owners of the Canucks to give him more money years after he had been retired.
To say that Mark Messier is one of the most hated players in Vancouver would be an overwhelming understatement. He did nothing for the team and essentially stole money from the franchise owners. There’s a reason Messier has not made a public appearance in Vancouver since he left. He knows the people of Vancouver hate him.
So, this brings me to the screencap from one of his commercials above. In that commercial, he’s with a family of Vancouver Canucks fans. He’s telling everyone how the family can follow the Canucks wherever they go, using the Rogers Gamecenter package. I find it incredulous that an actual family of Canucks fans would be smiling with Mark Messier in their home. Social media in Vancouver have been discussing this commercial recently. First, people can’t stand to see Mark Messier at all on TV. Second, people are angry that both Rogers and Messier would have the guts to make a commercial like that featuring Canucks fans. It’s almost like rubbing it in our faces that he once played for the Canucks and made those three seasons a total disaster. I know of an actual Rogers cell phone store in the Vancouver area that refuses to put up any promotional material that has Messier in it.
In summary, that commercial is a farce and a slap in the face to Vancouver Canucks fans. We’re not sure how much more of Mark Messier we can stand and we hope he goes away real soon.
So I’ve started to assemble the parts which will constitute my new computer. This afternoon, I bought a new 750W power supply. The PSU in my current rig is getting old and though it is rated for 500W, I don’t think it outputs that any more. Many months ago, I had to disconnect my optical drive because the PSU couldn’t supply enough power to both the Blu-ray drive and my motherboard, so my computer wouldn’t boot up.
In the picture above, you’re seeing the power on test I did with the new motherboard I got for free from work, using the new power supply. All I needed to do was connect an old video card I had lying around, a USB keyboard, and three connections to the power supply. With just that, I was able to confirm that the motherboard was able to at least power on without any errors. Knowing this, I can now go ahead and take out my old motherboard and power supply from my existing computer and then put these two new pieces in. That shouldn’t take too long but I’ve never swapped out a motherboard and a power supply before.
According to at least one comparison, the new components will lead to performance increases of 200% in some situations, with an overall increase of about 50%. Think about how good the porn will be after this upgrade!
I had dinner with my parents tonight and it was there that I told them my contract job had ended last week. They seemed to take it quite well and didn’t really question why I had originally quit a regular, full-time gig for a contract job that had distinct end. I also informed them that my EI claim had already been processed and approved. I told them I was going to get the maximum amount of benefits for about 35 weeks. I think that made them feel better and you know, I’ve been laid off so many times that they’ve gotten used to having their son not having a job. Each time, I manage to not lose my home, am able to feed myself, and eventually find a new job.
On the funemployment front, I’ve now gone to bed close to 6am on at least two occasions, the most recent being last night. I’m not sure why I decided it was a good idea to start playing a new video game at 3am. Never in my life have I started playing a new video game and then was able to stop playing it only a few minutes in. I need to stop going to sleep past 6am. I’ve done that thing before and it puts my schedule into a weird place. You can’t meet people for lunch anymore and I’ve raced to get up and get to a store before it closes.
So, we’re at week two now and hope the fun continues!