Today is the last of August and according to my own personal almanac, it is the end of the summer. Nature seems to agree with me as the temperatures have dropped perceptibly in the last two or three days. I partially closed my living room window last night, which had been in the same open position since probably early June. I went for a walk this evening after dinner and I had to wear a jacket since it had rained earlier and it was quite cool. Yesterday was one of the coolest August days in the history of Vancouver weather. The temperatures will rebound later this week as they are forecasted to rise to the mid-20s again. This is the last bit of good weather we will probably have for the year.

It’s common to ask where did the summer go and lament that it went very quickly but I feel like this summer did not fly by but it did not drag on either. I think a lot of this was because that it was a summer lived during a pandemic. Every month offered new challenges and new developments both global and local. May was not like June, June was different than July, July and was a departure from August.

In this hemisphere, I think the summer brought some relief to those living in the pandemic. The exposure to more sun light, the better weather, and longer days probably helped people feel a bit better and made it somewhat easier to deal with the current state of the world. Autumn and winter are fast approaching now though. Shorter days, colder weather, and less sunlight will be the norm soon. I’m a little nervous about the cold and flu season but it seems like Australia’s went ok. I don’t know if it’ll be the same for this hemisphere.

Who’s ready for snow now?


In the beforetimes, I commuted to a large campus for work in Burnaby. The original facility was opened in 1999. It was state-of-the-art, big, and wowed most people that visited. As video games grew as industry and as the company also had more success, it necessitated an expansion. The original facility was now labelled as Phase I and the new expansion was called Phase II. Phase II opened in 2006 and it connected to Phase I via walkways.

The campus stayed like that for a long time, just Phase I and II. There was always talk about a Phase III but the world and the company went through some ups and downs. The recession hit in 2008, which was tough for the company. It culminated in yearly lay-offs, which included mine (at least twice). I wasn’t there around 2012 but I had former co-workers who stuck around tell me that once bustling floors in Phase II, so desperately needed just years before as space was needed for new employees were now filled with empty desks. Whole floors devoid of developers lost to increasing financial losses for the company. It was a grime picture being painted.

Things started to pick up in 2013 though and finances turned from losses into profits once again. Hiring began to pick up again as more work needed to be done as the company became more successful. About two years ago, the company acknowledged that space constraints had become an issue. Too many people were trying to fit into a campus designed for far less people.

We were told solutions were being explored. We didn’t know what those were. Some were hoping for a return to the downtown core, when the company had Black Box near the waterfront. I maybe biased but those were the glory days. In interim, as a stop-gap solution, several floors of an office building nearby were leased and several hundred employees were moved there to relieve capacity issues.

Rumours of Phase III began to start again. About six months ago, an e-mail was sent out confirming that some adjacent land, across the street from the existing campus would be developed into new buildings. This would allow everyone to return to the same campus plus have space for the future. This was going to be Phase III that everyone had been talking about for so long.

This week, to most employees’ surprise, we found out a lot of the details of the planned expansion have already been developed. The concept drawings how the new buildings will look was unexpected but welcomed. It doesn’t look groundbreaking but it doesn’t look bad either. The street will be changed too to accommodate the free flow of people crossing the street. Currently, the street has no pedestrian crossings between the current campus and the new buildings. A new roundabout will also be built.

I’m not sure how long it will take for these buildings to be finished or what the world will look like when they are done. I can’t wait to see them one day, hopefully in a pandemic-free world.


I was at Safeway tonight and I saw that Oh Henry chocolate bars were on sale, two for $1.10 each, which is even cheaper than what my local dollar store charges for them ($1.25). By the way, I have not stepped into what used to be my default dollar store since mid-March. That place used to be somewhere I’d go frequently for snacks and stuff. Unfortunately, the aisles in there are small and it’s popular with people in society who aren’t exactly able/willing to get with the program during the pandemic.

Anyways, the old dollar store was where I used to get my Oh Henrys, which I guess is my favourite chocolate bar. I haven’t had one in about six months. I have to say, they remain delicious. The fudge, caramel, nuts, and chocolate combine to form this unassuming, yet classic chocolate bar. There’s nothing fancy about it but it’s just so darn good.

I can’t believe they don’t make them in the United States anymore. I guess that’s just another disappointing to thing to put on the list down there. It’s a privilege to still have them being made right here in Canada.


What a weird weekend this was. Saturday did not feel like a Saturday. Sunday didn’t feel like a Sunday either. I can’t explain what those days did feel like though. I guess it was one of those circumstances where Friday just blended into Saturday and Saturday blended into Sunday. I had to remind myself today that tomorrow was Monday and that I would have work the next day.

I probably stayed at home a bit more this weekend than in previous weekends. I’m trying to be extra careful. As I written before, I think it’s more dangerous now than it was in previous months.

This is the last full week of August. In a way, I welcoming the impending colder weather. It’ll force people back inside and give them less incentive to go out and gather in groups. On the other hand, there’s the cold and flu season as well. It will be an interesting autumn.


After this weekend will the be the start of the last full week of August. For me, that signals the end of summer. I could ask where did the time go, but at the same time, when I try to think about May, that seems so long ago. What was I even doing in May? Can you remember?

It was a summer without travel, friends, restaurants, and all the usual things people do when the weather is nice. It’s ok though. I had low expectations for the summer. I just wanted to make sure I stayed healthy and kept those close to me as healthy as possible as well. That’s probably as much as one could ask for given the circumstances.

I’m thankful for my health, the health of those around me, and my continued employment. My expectations for the fall will probably be the same as they are now. It may seem like we’ve been living in a pandemic for ever but for most of us, it’s been just six months so far. We probably still have a long way to go, so I’m ok with taking it day by day.

It’ll be Christmas before we know it!


The movie Solo was fairly average and quite forgettable as a Star Wars movie. It may not make it a better movie but at least someone added Harrison Ford’s face on top of Alden Ehrenreich’s. It looks pretty good.


Somehow, I found myself looking at Bing Maps this evening. No one uses Bing Maps on purpose. I don’t think even Microsoft uses Bing Maps. I got there by accident, probably like most people.

What I found was fascinating, at least for my home town, Vancouver. Your results may vary. I live in a suburb of Vancouver, so naturally, I wanted to know what Bing Maps thought my area looked like. I instantly saw the map displayed stores and restaurants that had been permanently closed for years, some almost ten years in the past. Map data like that was shockingly out of date. Though oddly, the maps was able to display businesses that were relatively new (for Bing Maps), that had opened in the last three years or so.

Some of the map data was just outright wrong, not just out of date. Bing Maps lists a Walmart just two blocks from where I live. There is no Walmart there, nor had there been ever. It also says there’s steakhouse nearby but I can’t remember a steakhouse being in that location in the ten or so years I’ve lived in this neighbourhood. Those are just two examples of many incorrect items I’ve seen using these maps.

Looking at the map for my area, it’s presenting me with this very odd alternate reality version of my neighbourhood. As if it’s a combination of businesses that never closed in that reality, plus somewhat newer businesses, and businesses that are in the wrong place. I’m having difficulty trying to imagine what all that would look like.

The fun doesn’t end there though. I used Bing Maps to look at downtown Vancouver. The downtown area is where Microsoft was able to get the most “street view” data. Guess when they captured the image data for their version of that? It’s from around October of 2009. That’s right, their street view data is more than a decade old. Not only is it wildly out of date, the resolution of the images are quite bad by today’s standards. Think about what kind of camera your phone had back in 2009. That’s how old Microsoft’s image data is.

Now as bad as these old images are, it actually captured Vancouver in a very interesting time in its history. Back then, the city was about four months away from hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It was super cool seeing many of the official and non-official venues in various stages of readiness for the Olympics. It was great seeing that massive Canadian flag on the corner of what was back then, the under construction Hotel Georgia. If you swing by Canada Place, you can see the fenced off area for Jack Poole Plaza, where the cauldron would be set up. If you head just east of there, you’ll see the convention centre being prepped for being the international broadcast centre for the during the of the Olympics. In general, I was able to see lots of construction happening in the downtown core as the city got ready for a historic two weeks in February.

So yeah, Bing Maps is bad but it unintentionally gave me a sense of nostalgia for that time. No one in the city was expecting the Olympics to be as fun and exciting as it was. It was almost an innocent time.

Lastly, if you’re wondering how good the competition is, it’s not even close. Google Maps, even for my hick suburb, has street view data that is barely a year old. A new Brazilian food joint just opened up downstairs three weeks ago. Google Maps already has it listed on the map and you’re able to see photos from inside where customers are wearing masks.


In terms of the pandemic, I think it’s more dangerous now in this province than it was back in March and April, when all of this was new and we weren’t sure what was going on.

I don’t remember in the early spring reading about daily reports of businesses announcing virus exposures. Some of these businesses weren’t open even in the spring. Positive cases are rising again, people are going out into the public more, and frustratingly, there are people who are acting like nothing is wrong with the world right now.

There is a segment of this province who are more worried about enjoying the summer weather than the global pandemic that is gripping the world right now. While restaurants, airline flights, gyms, malls, theatres, beaches, parks, and lakes are open to the public once again, the risk appears to be much higher to the average person than before. I feel like I gotta reel in my expectations of what I can do safely again. Just because these places are open, it doesn’t me it’s entirely risk-free.

I probably would like to go back to buying groceries once a week. Limiting my time outside to essential activities like visiting my parents or getting exercise in a place away from people. There’s no reason to go to a bar, a mall, or a theatre.

We probably need to buckle down again as a province before the falls brings about a double-whammy of the flu and the virus.