We’re half way through June now and I would normally call this “summer time” (solstice notwithstanding). This, of course, is like no other summer we’ve experienced. There are very little travel plans. I was supposed to be back from Los Angeles on Saturday. There are no concerts. There are no food truck festivals. There are no large summer weddings. There are no large gatherings of any kind.

The weather isn’t even co-operating as its been very cold and rainy recently. Though, one could argue that is very typical of a Vancouver summer. This pandemic has lasted long enough that I perceive it through a lens of different phases now and not the phases that public health institutions have been using. For me, the first phase was in March, when all of this was very new, many things were unknown and uncertain, and there was a slight sense of fear and apprehension. As the months have fallen away on the calendar though, I feel like I’m in a second phase. This one has less unknowns and less apprehensive and fear. There’s a strange familiarity to everything that would have been deemed strange before. All the masks, sanitizers, distance between people, not seeing friends, not going to malls, and so forth, it’s just the way life is now. Under all of this is a sense of not being complacent. It’s natural to let your guard down a bit when nothing seems to be going wrong but that would be a mistake. I’m trying hard to continue to be safe and smart. I’m looking forward to the next phase but I’m not sure when that will be. For now, this is what summer looks like.


Well, after all these years, someone made a playable Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge from The Simpsons. If you’ve forgotten what that means, it’s the video game that Bart got instead of Bonestorm, which is the game he really wanted. The episode this is from has some lessons about being appreciative about gestures and reminding you it’s the thought that counts.

Anyways, if you finally want to play the game Bart didn’t want, you can do so now in your browser.


I just received my electricity bill, which is the first one that completely encompasses an entire cycle where I was working from home. There’s some good data to compare now. Let’s break it down compared to my last bill:

DatesDaysUsageAvg. daily usageCost
Feb. 5 – Apr. 156357 kWh6.38 kWh$63.40
Apr. 1 – Jun. 363522 kWh8.29 kWh$83.27
Electricity usage before work from home and during

So, the previous billing cycle includes the first two weeks when I worked from home, from mid-March on, thus the data isn’t completely clean. The comparison is still quite useful however. You can see a dramatic jump in the amount of electricity I used when I started to work from home. Just looking at the average daily usage, it’s about a 30% increase compared to the previous billing period where I was actually physically at work most days. In the “before times”, I was usually out of my home between around 9am to about 6:30pm each day, during that time I’m using minimal amounts of electricity at home.

Now, I’m home all day, using electricity for more hours of the day. On a normal work from home day, I have my desktop computer on, plus two monitors, and then my laptop. I also have a desk lamp on. When I’m at work, I normally have my hot water dispenser off. Now that I’m home all the time, this stays on from morning until I go to bed. On top of this, I cook way more than I did before. During this current billing period, nearly all my meals that I ate were prepared at home. That means my electric stove and convection toaster oven were all in use to make those meals.

Now you might be wondering where this increased cost of electricity falls in the grand scheme of all things financial. On average, this wound up being an extra $10 a month in electricity but that is offset by a whole bunch of other savings. Not having to pay for a transit pass, which was about $100 a month for me, already makes up for that. Preparing many more meals at home does use more electricity but the savings from not going to restaurants more than pays for itself. It’s definitely a fair trade. Lastly, my employer has recognized that some of our expenses have gone up. To combat this, they have decided to supplement our income by an $300 or so every quarter to pay for such things. This will last until our various locations are deemed safe to return to.


I’ve had my eBay account for about twenty years and in that time I’ve sold exactly one thing with it and that was an early access invite link to a new Gmail account when the service was still new. As you might imagine, this was a long time ago, probably around 2004.

It’s taken a while but I’ve decided to sell some physical items on the online auction site. It’s all computer or telecom equipment that I’ve had lying around that I no longer use. In this first batch, I have some old DDR4 computer memory, an old Blu-ray drive that also plays HD-DVDs, and a DSL modem.

Since I’ve never sold something that I’ve had to ship, I’m still learning how much to charge for shipping. It’s my understanding that eBay helps you figure this out when you create your ad. I’m also not sure if I should include a “buy it now” price option for these items. It also doesn’t help that I have no clue how to price the Blu-ray drive nor the DSL modem. There doesn’t appear to be a big market for either of these specific models, so I can’t rely on a lot of previous sales. Though, the drive can be seen as somewhat of an interesting novelty because HD-DVDs are no longer a thing, so having a drive that can play one could be quite valuable to someone.

I’m looking forward to making some extra money!!!


So I learned a neat trick a few days ago. There is a WordPress app that you can download and install for your smartphone. It allows you to write and edit posts directly from your phone. You can also read comments from people, edit comments, and delete spam comments. It essentially allows you to run your WordPress site from your phone. I’ve used it in the past to write posts if I was travelling or away from my computer.

Last week, I tried accessing this blog using the WordPress app. It didn’t work, it couldn’t grab the latest posts and comments. It looked like it was trying to log into my site but couldn’t. It was kinda odd since it worked before. The app was even up to date. Then, using a regular browser on my phone, I tried accessing this blog. It was not responding. It was as if this blog was down. Then I tried accessing the regular parts of this site, not related to WordPress at all. Those were unavailable as well. My initial thought that my entire site was down, that’s why the app didn’t work and why a browser couldn’t get anything from my site either. It turns out I was wrong.

After doing some experimenting, I realized that the app, somehow when it tries to log into my WordPress installation, it causes my entire site to be unresponsive for several minutes. I’m not sure why that is. My web host might be detecting the app as some sorta attack? Or is there a bug in the web server code that makes it not act nice with the app?

I think I may need to file a support ticket with either my host or WordPress to find out what’s going on.


On a whim today, I decided to buy a new computer case. I had been thinking about getting a new one for a while. My old computer case is ancient by PC standards. It’s heavy, comes from an era where we didn’t have glass side panels, and it doesn’t have mounts for solid state hard drives.

I picked a great time to be looking for a new PC case because there is apparently a shortage of cases due to a drop in manufacturing output, all because of that pesky pandemic we’re all fighting. Surprisingly, I somehow found a case in stock that looked good to me (I wanted a white case), had a good reviews, and also wasn’t stupidly expensive. After a few clicks on a web site, I was headed to a shop near Metrotown to pick up my new computer case. When I got there, the guy who rang up the sale said I was really lucky to get this particular one because most cases are in short supply and I got the last one of that model in the store.

After I ate dinner, I decided to take the evening to transfer over all my computer components from my old case to my new one. It shouldn’t have taken that long but I spent two and a half hours doing the whole transfer. This is only the second time where I’ve put all the components into a case by myself, so I’m not exactly a pro at it. This is also the first time I’ve installed everything in a modern case, where there’s a lot more emphasis on cable management and modular pieces.

My computer actually booted on the first try, which surprised me. Not one cable was plugged in the wrong place nor were any cables loose. In the video above, you can see the whole case is blinged out in RGB fans. It’s very bright but luckily you can turn off the RGB lighting if you want. You’ll also note that the third fan isn’t spinning. That’s because my motherboard is a bit old and back then, they didn’t think anyone would need to have any more than two case fans in their PC, so there’s only two plugs for case fans. To contrast that, new motherboards now apparently have up to six plugs for case fans.

Well, that was a fun way to spend a Sunday.


Because of the pandemic, graduating classes of all levels around the world have been deprived of traditional graduation ceremonies. Earlier this week, Conan spoke to students at his alma mater remotely, from the comfort of his back yard. As you would expect, his speech was amusing, comforting, and inspiring. This was not the first time he spoke to graduating students from Harvard, twenty years ago, he did so in-person, in the year 2000.


If you’re able to read this, you’ve been able to access this site in a lucky window where it’s working. There has been a problem with my web hosting and I’m still tracking down the issue. Thanks for your patience.


In my last post, I wrote about going downtown to deposit a cheque. I called Tangerine bank today to confirm that was possible. It turns out it isn’t possible, at least not yet. Tangerine cafes are still closed and my cheque needs to be physically processed by a human and then mailed to the head office in Toronto. It seems archaic but I think it’s because of the no-frills nature of the bank as well as the foreign currency involved.

All this means is that I don’t need to go downtown just to deposit a cheque. I could still go, but it’d be just for the adventure of it.


I have not been in downtown Vancouver since probably the beginning of March or possibly the end of February. Once the pandemic took hold in North America, many people stopped going into the downtown area because we all needed to stay home. Some people started working from home and others, less fortunately, lost their jobs, so they also had no reason to go downtown. Since nothing was open in terms of stores, businesses, and restaurants, that led to more people not needing to go downtown.

In the absence of all those people and activities, the marginalized and the homeless in the downtown region appear to have expanded their reach into other areas of the downtown core. I have a few friends who live downtown and they say the area has become dirtier, the homeless have become more bolder, and it just feels a bit less safe than before. Without seeing it myself, I can’t make a comment about that, I’m just reporting what they have said to me.

Now that some shops have started to open, along with restaurants, in the downtown area, some people have returned to their regular activities, in this “new” normal. I wasn’t planning on returning immediately do buy things or eat out but I may now be compelled to go downtown for a different reason.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a trip booked to LA for this week. The pandemic cancelled that trip but I had already paid for the hotel. The hotel refunded my money but since I paid for it with a Mastercard, the refunded money went back into the credit card account as a credit. For many reasons, as you might imagine, I am not going back to the United States most likely for quite some time. So a significant amount of money will just sit in that account as a credit. Well, I called my credit card company and asked if they could transfer that money back to me, to say, a a bank account. I was told an electronic transfer would not be possible but they could send me a cheque. I decided to go that route.

The cheque arrived yesterday and the funds are in US dollars as the credit card is in US dollars as well. I have a Tangerine US dollar savings account but since Tangerine is kinda no-frills, the only way I can deposit this cheque into that account is to physically go to one of their “cafes” and drop the cheque off into a box. The Vancouver Tangerine cafe is located downtown.

If I do go deposit this cheque, I’m not sure how to go get downtown. I guess I could take transit as that would be the fastest and cheapest way. It’s really hard to social distance on the train though. More and more people are heading back to work and taking the train. Is this a risk? On the other hand, there were only four test positive cases announced yesterday in the last 24 hours for the entire province. Are we in a good spot now? Maybe I should just drive downtown. That would be safer, even if my car is super old now and might breakdown at any time. Perhaps I could take an Uber. Before all of this happened, I was so excited to take my first Uber trip in Vancouver.

Another option is to not deposit this into my US dollar account. I could take the cheque and convert it back into Canadian dollars. There are currency exchanges nearby that give better rates than banks and I could capitalize on the relatively low dollar and make a buck or two. Then armed with Canadian cash, I could deposit it much easier in my other accounts.

Not sure what to do at this point, but I am curious to see what downtown looks like with my own eyes.