After not driving my car for about two weeks, I had to run an errand on Saturday that required a vehicle. When I arrived at my car, I found that it had three large bird poop stains right on the driver side window. This wouldn’t be much of surprise if my parking spot was outside and under a tree. My spot, however, is in an above ground parking garage that is covered. Mind you the parking structure is open to the outside, much like most commercial multi-story parking garages are. So there is ample room for a bird to fly into the structure.

Upon finding my feces covered window, I looked above the window to see if there was an artificial perch from which a bird had defecated. There was indeed a pipe that ran close to my car but there were two things that made me skeptical. First, the pipe was not directly over the stain. It was offset about three feet or so, enough that you’d expect the stain to be in the middle of the roof. Second, the clearance between the pipe and concrete ceiling of the parkade was quite small. While technically yes, a small bird could fit in that space, the three large stains suggested a bird of a much larger stature had emptied his or her bowels on my car.

As I was in a rush, I had no further time to ponder this mystery and had to depart. As a testament to my laziness, I still haven’t cleaned the stain off.


For at least the last two days the greater Vancouver area has been suffering from a heat wave. Over the weekend, the high temperatures broke several records in the province. Here near the coast, things were a tiny bit cooler but not by much. It was still uncomfortably warm for most of the weekend.

I saw a lot of people out and about who had bought fans in an attempt to keep cool. Whether it’s stubbornness or laziness or both, I still don’t have a fan in my home. I just don’t think it stays hot enough in my apartment to warrant having a fan. My place faces somewhat north, so I only get direct sunlight for a few hours before sunset. Vancouver has a notoriously short summer and within that short window, it only gets uncomfortably warm maybe a whole week in total.

I think if I were to get something to deal with the heat, I’d go all out and get a portable air-conditioning unit. Luckily, the heat has abated somewhat already. It rained very briefly this evening and there has been a strong breeze coming through the windows for several hours now. The heat looks like it will return during the week but I’m glad I’ll be at work where the A/C works wonderfully!


My cell phone provider for over three years has been Mobilicity, one of the smaller and newer companies in Canada who has tried to take on the “big three”, Telus, Bell, and Rogers. Mobilicity was attractive to me as a consumer for two main reasons: no contracts and significantly cheaper rates than the “big three”. As many of you know, Canadians pay some of the highest prices for cell phone service in the world.

Unfortunately, Mobilicity has been suffering from financial difficulties for several long months now. Everyone had been waiting for them to be bought by one of the healthier competitors in the telecom market. Rather than jump ship, I steadfastly remained a customer with them because I happy enough with their service and prices (which never increased for me). This week though, various governmental agencies approved the sale of Mobilicity to Rogers Communications.

The deal is somewhat complicated but in the end, Mobilicity customers are now with Rogers. Everyone knows that Rogers did the deal to get valuable spectrum, not because of the 150,000 new people they have to serve now. I expect the worse now for me and my fellow Mobilicity subscribers. Rogers has extravagant rates and a terrible reputation. As unfortunate baggage that came with the sale, there is no reason for Rogers to give us any semblance of a fair deal going forward. We will be forced into a contract should we want to remain with Rogers, a contract that will undoubtedly be of a much higher price than what I am accustomed to paying.

I already have an exit strategy if one is needed. I will take my business to Wind Mobile if things go bad with Rogers. They are now poised to be a stronger fourth national carrier in the next few months and years. I’d like to help them with that. Interesting times ahead for the Canadian telecom landscape.


I’ve decided to stop eating potato chips for as long as I can. Why? I always struggle to eat healthy and I think this is another way I can make improvements in my life. I suppose the seed of the idea was planted about a decade ago. A former co-worker of mine would pick a new food to stop eating on New Year’s Day. When I first met him, he was going through his whole year without having french fries. He did that successfully and then went onto pizza. A current co-worker is going one step further and staying away from any and all fried foods.

I’m going to start small and eliminate potato chips from my diet. I don’t think this will be that difficult. I don’t consume them at work and I might buy the odd bag here and there during a regular month. I’ve loved eating chips all my life however. I’ll take this week by week and see how it goes. If I’m successful maybe I’ll move onto french fries as well.


Because of recent Safeway deals, I’ve accumulated several tubs of 500ml Haagen-Dazs ice cream. As many of you know, I’m slightly lactose tolerant so having that much ice cream at home is a risky proposition, no matter how delicious I think it is.

I initially tried savouring little bits of one tub at a time, no more than perhaps a large spoonful in total. I was good in that respect for several weeks but then over the weekend, I went hog-wild and ate half the container in one go. That left me fairly gassy for a while and I’m still kinda feeling it today. Ice cream also contains a lot of fat and sugar, so I’ve decided it’s best if I didn’t consume the rest of my ice cream stash. The question remains, what to do with the rest of it?

The easiest answer is to just throw it away. I can put it into the compost container in the garbage room and be done with it. That seems like such a waste though. Ice cream is so delicious and for those who don’t get all farty and poopy from it, it’s a real nice treat. I unfortunately don’t know my neighbours well enough to give them food. I could bring it to work but it takes me about a half hour to get there and I’m afraid it’d get pretty melted. It’s quite warm now and even though tomorrow is calling for showers, the temperatures will still be in the mid-20s.

Though now that I think of it, maybe I can just re-freeze it once I get to work. Yeah, my co-workers deserve a nice treat.


Just like that and my passport is now expired. I haven’t been able to travel abroad since the beginning of May. Since I have less than three days of vacation at work, it’s not really urgent that I get a new passport. Nonetheless, I am applying for a passport renewal tomorrow. I’ve already filled out the simplified two-page renewal form and on the weekend, I had some terrible passport photos taken.

I could go to one of the three local passport offices in the greater Vancouver area but it won’t be necessary. Those offices have notoriously long lineups and you only really need to go there if there is a time constraint involved. As such, I’ll be dropping off my application at a Service Canada location. These places are usually way less busy than a passport office and by dropping it off there, I save the cost of mailing in my application.

I should get my new passport in about 20 business days. I decided to get a ten-year renewal, so I won’t have to do this again for a while.


The Bank of Canada keeps track of millions of dollars in unused bank accounts across the country. After ten years of inactivity, the money in dormant accounts is transferred to the national bank for safekeeping. The rightful owners of the money (or in some cases, their heirs) can retrieve this money by claiming it. A useful website details the whole process.

I checked the name of all my immediate family and only got back one result. My mom is listed as having a dormant account in the last city she lived in before moving to Vancouver. Geographically, it adds up since she did in fact live there at one time and it would make sense that she would have a savings account. The address listed is a bit of mystery to me as I never knew where she lived in that city. I checked it on Google Maps and there’s free-standing house there. I have no clue if she lived in an apartment or a house back then.

One thing that doesn’t make sense is the dates associated with this dormant account. The last date of activity on the account was in 1994. At that point, my mom had already been living in Vancouver for well over twenty years and it was my understanding that she had moved all her financials over to British Columbia. If she had forgotten about the account, it would make sense that it would have been dormant since the early 70s, when she moved here, so where does 1994 come from? It’s true that our whole family has been back to that city numerous times over the years to visit family but why would my mom still have an account there only to abandon it twenty years ago?

It’s quite possible this account is not my mother’s and that someone with the same name in that city left that money behind decades ago. Tang is a fairly common last name and her first name, while not that common, is not obscure either. I’ll bring up the details with her the next time I see her. The amount is several thousand dollars, so this is something worth looking into.


The final few hoops of my new mortgage are being jumped through now. The part where I meet with the lawyer and they get some documents from me is coming up. I thought I’d have to do go downtown and drop by their office but when it was time to schedule the appointment on the phone they told me they worked Saturdays as well. That caught me by surprise and they even told me the lawyer was willing to come by my home to get the documents. Before I gave it any more thought I had scheduled the lawyer to drop by my place this Saturday. After I got off the phone, I realized that my place is a mess.

I called back the next day to see if they were willing to just meet me at work instead, which would have been closer to their office but I was told the appointment was set in stone already. So now I gotta clean up my place so I can give the lawyer the impression I don’t live like a bum. I’ve had plumbers and other tradesmen in my place but this is the first time a lawyer has ever made a house call. I hope he wears the wig.


For those of you who don’t know, there’s a drug store in Canada called Shoppers Drug Mart. There’s one downstairs from where I live, so it’s convenient for me to go get my drug store items at that location. Shoppers runs this free points card program called “Optimum“. When you buy stuff, you get points on your card which you can redeem later for free crap. It’s a bit of a scam though as it takes almost a billion points for you to get a free stick of gum.

In reality, it’s all about getting consumer data. When you fill out the membership form, they get all sorts of data like your gender, age, and address. Once you start accumulating points, Shoppers knows what your spending habits are.

As an example, I checked my mail this evening and found a coupon Shoppers had mailed to me, as an “exclusive” for Optimum members. It was a coupon for a shampoo that gradually turns greying hair back to a darker colour. This product is made especially for men. Thanks Shoppers for reminding me I’m getting old and that I might require a product that will cover up the inevitable signs of my march towards my grave. It’s clear they took into account my age and gender and decided that I fit the demographic that would need such a product.

I can’t wait until they start sending me coupons for adult diapers.