March is approaching quickly and for a lot of us in North America, that marks the month where we started working from home and where the pandemic began. There have been many times I’ve been thankful I’ve had this blog because it’s a record of what I was dealing with at the time. I’ve gone back to just a few of my posts and I remembered that just as we all transitioned to working from home, my main computer went haywire. It refused to boot into Windows and it would work maybe one out of one hundred attempts. I realized that I couldn’t shut my computer down, so I would just put it to sleep until the morning. It was frustrating to figure out how to get my computer stable enough so I could at least put it to sleep.
Having to deal with that plus the beginning of the pandemic was not that great. I tried many different things during a month or so of troubleshooting. I eventually had to install a new hard drive to fix everything. That was less than a year ago but it seems like ancient history now. I’m guessing that if we’re talking about March 2020 people will either think it seems like it was just yesterday or that it was a million years ago, there is no in between.
As we get into March, I’m going to read more of my posts from a year ago. It will be interesting to see how things have changed.
I used my dishwasher for the first time in probably over a year today. I normally hand wash my dishes and then use my dishwasher as a drying rack. I think that’s fairly common amongst Asian folks. The only reason I even used it today was because I was afraid that if I didn’t run it, all the moving parts would get old and rusted from disuse. Just like you have to drive a car once in a while, the dishwasher needed to be test driven.
The dishwasher appeared to finish cleaning without any major problems. Everything sounded fine and everything inside came out clean. I probably shouldn’t wait another year to run it again.
Last Thursday, NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed safely on the surface of Mars. The feat was a marvel of science, engineering, and technology. It was a reminder that using intelligence, science, and logic can push the envelope of what we as a species can learn, explore, and accomplish. I have been fascinated by space and the human exploration of space since I was a kid and that will never change.
In my opinion, the above video is one of the most important pieces of footage that has ever been recorded. It shows in high-definition, in colour, and at a high frame rate, the actual decent and landing of the Perseverance, shot from multiple angles. When you consider that this happened millions of kilometers from Earth and we are now able to watch this as easily as last night’s hockey highlights, it is simply stunning that this video exists.
I’ve watched this video many times now and I’m just in awe that I am to see the Martian atmosphere catching the parachute, making it ruffle in the wind. That’s actual Martian air making that happen. Then as the rover gets close to the Martian surface, the thrusters kick up a storm of Martian dust. Something that we made on Earth traveled millions of kilometers to Mars and was able to make all that dust swirl around. I remain in awe.
While as amazing as the landing was, there’s more to look forward to. In a few weeks, the helicopter that the rover brought along will attempt the first powered flight on a planet other than Earth. Exciting!
It wasn’t on purpose but in the last few weeks there have been days where at least two of my meals is vegetarian. This sorta happened because I’m just lazy and just didn’t figure out the meat part of the meal. Either I didn’t have the time or the ingredients to add the meat. Instead, leafy green vegetables comprise most of what I’m eating.
This is supposedly healthy, especially if I eat less red meat. Also eating leafy green vegetables on the regular is great for you. There are so drawbacks though. I get pretty hungry quite quickly after these meals. If I go vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, I’m ready for dinner at like 4pm. I guess if I was really committed, I’d ensure I get some vegetable protein mixed in with my breakfast and lunch.
In any case, this is something I’d like to continue doing for a while.
One of my favourite impressions that Dana Carvey does is his Johnny Carson. As the years go on, fewer people know or remember Carson, which is a shame. That’s why Carvey’s impression remains so important.
My T4 became available online today which meant I could do a rough calculation of income tax return for 2020. I write rough because not all my receipts and forms have been sent to me. For example, my charitable donation receipt isn’t available yet but it’s fairly easy to calculate it down to the correct dollar. I also don’t have all my receipts for the savings account interest I accrued for the year. These amounts are marginal though and won’t swing my return one way or the other too far.
Using some tax software, I discovered that in my current situation, I would owe the government of Canada another $450 or so. I won’t find any more tax credits hiding in my couch anywhere, if anything the accurate calculation might show I owe even more. Since it was easy to do, I ran the calculation again but this time I added in another $5,000 worth of RRSP contributions. This turned an amount owing to a refund of about $1,400. This was good enough for me, I didn’t want to fiddle with the contribution amount too much and I also need to factor in some breathing room, because the numbers aren’t firm yet.
I then went online to contribute another $5,000 to my employer RRSP. There’s still well over a week, almost two weeks until the RRSP deadline at the end of the month, so I can relax now. Once all my official receipts and forms are available, I’ll re-visit my return and enter in the official numbers. I can now complete my return at my leisure.
This afternoon my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. It was uncomfortable enough that it delayed me from eating lunch for a few hours. I kept on drinking water though because that didn’t bother and also it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day. As I was getting more water for my glass, I noticed there was a chip missing near the rim. I had no idea when this happened. I poured the water out and there was no piece of glass that I could see. I would have heard it in the sink too.
Of course, I began to think the worst, that I had somehow swallowed the piece of glass and that it was not wreaking havoc in my stomach, ripping it to shreds. I entertained my own panic for a few minutes before logic took over. While I couldn’t prove I hadn’t swallowed this piece of glass, it seemed like it would have been unlikely. The piece was large enough that I probably would have noticed it in my mouth. I also have this habit of never drinking all of the water in my glass before refilling it. Since glass will sink in water, I’m guessing if this piece of glass was in my water, it would have been in the bottom, where it would have stayed.
That glass has now been put aside for recycling and I felt much better later on, enough that I very hungry in the late afternoon. While I’m somewhat confident I’ll be ok, I’ll be watching my poop for glass for the next few days.
Monday was a public holiday in this province, so it was a long weekend. I gotta admit, all the long weekends are now blurry together. Without the ability to travel or see friends, it’s mostly another day at home. At the same time, I am very thankful not to have to “go to work” on this extra day off.
It snowed this weekend in the greater Vancouver area. It was enough to be noticeable but not enough to overwhelm all the municipalities’ snow removal equipment. The city looked great with the snow but all the roads were driveable, which I guess is the perfect combo if you’re gonna have snow.
Well tomorrow is Tuesday, which means it’s a short week. We’re already one day closer to the weekend.
The cold front dried up the air real quickly overnight. This morning the relative humidity was 29% in my apartment and my skin was itchy and uncomfortable. I brought the humidifier out at noon, placed it in my bedroom, and turned it on immediately. I set the target humidity to 50% and closed both doors to my bedroom. After twelve hours of continuous humidification, the humidity is still only around 45%.
My skin feels a bit better but it’s still freezing cold. The humidifier will be on all night.
We’re currently experiencing a cold front here in the Lower Mainland. I believe this is the first of the winter. It’s two degrees below freezing and with the wind chill it’s minus seven. This is cold for us here. As terrible as everything has been, I can say the winter has been quite mild up until now. The forecast is for some snow on Friday and Saturday.
As I refuse to turn the heat on in my apartment, I am sleeping with socks and a toque on tonight. The humidity has also dropped quite low tonight. If it wasn’t so late I would have brought out my humidifier. That’s something to do for tomorrow.