My employer lets all their employees know in late May or early June what their salary increases, bonuses, and stock awards are, which reflects the performance of the employee and the company.

Grunts like me don’t know the full picture but I have my sources and they have confirmed bits and pieces. The first confirmed bit is that, at least on my team, merit or salary increases will be very small this year. I have been told it might almost nothing for some people to perhaps 6% if they are lucky. Given that inflation was and continues to be a tangible hit to most people, a negligible salary increase might actually mean making less money when inflation is factored in. I am not expecting great things here since I was promoted earlier in the year, meaning my salary was already bumped up months ago.

Bonuses at my place of employment are calculated using a formula, which can be confusing at times. The formula factors in the performance of the company as a whole, the performance of your particular team (in my case, the performance of the game I work on), and employee performance. Weakness in one of these areas can be offset by strength in the others. I have been told the company performance, while decent, slipped compared to last year. Last year, however, was probably a huge outlier. The company did phenomenally well, and it would have been hard pressed to repeat it. I have been informed that on the other hand, team performance this year was nearly the same as last, which it is to say it was tremendous. Our game apparently did very well again financially. Lastly, for personal performance, I can only guess that since I was promoted in this fiscal year, it would be odd that my personal performance for the purposes of bonus calculation would be rated low. All said, bonuses this year should be the same as last year, which is great and all, but earlier in the year, there were rumours that there was a chance that bonuses were going to wildly exceed last year’s. I suppose I shouldn’t complain since I know there are others on less fortunate teams that will receive significantly smaller bonuses.

As for stock compensation, this is a total mystery to me. I have no clue if I did well enough this year to merit additional stock awards. I would love some but even then, our stock has taken a bit of a hit compared to last year.

All will be known in a few weeks to a month.


This morning I went down to the local A&W to get some quick breakfast as I was very hungry. As I entered, I saw a police officer near the bathrooms talking to a meth-ed out lady who had no pants on. She was screaming and yelling, while the staff of the A&W kept their distance. It was quite a scene.

In the one minute I was there, no customers were being served and it didn’t seem like any food was being made either. I was the third person in the line and I didn’t have the patience to see this through. Even though I really wanted A&W breakfast, this situation wasn’t gonna resolve itself quickly, so I left.

I don’t know what happened to pantsless meth lady but I do feel for the staff at that A&W. They have to deal with so much BS for so little pay.


About two weeks ago, I left the country for San Diego, my first trip outside of Canada since late 2019. As some of you are aware, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, so travel (which was already complicated pre-pandemic) had added risks and complications now.

Since I was going to the United States of America, I was a little apprehensive about witnessing first-hand the difference in attitudes towards the pandemic. We can agree that at a general level, citizens of Canada and the USA have approached the pandemic differently. Vaccination rates are higher and masking is more prevalent in Canada.

I wasn’t about to throw caution to the wind and do as Romans do and go maskless in San Diego though. Would I be the only one masked in crowded indoor places? Would I be shamed for wearing a mask? I didn’t know.

It was smooth sailing on the plane as the flight left from Canada and everyone was required to mask. From what I could tell, everyone took it seriously. Once I left the plane in San Diego and entered the terminal, there was near universal masking wearing. This was before the federal mandate was struck down by a Trump-appointed judge. At the time, Uber also required masks, so my trip to the hotel was also done in relative safety.

It was once I arrived at the hotel that I knew I was definitely in a new city and country. The hotel lobby was massive, busy and full of people. From the plethora of front desk staff working, only one was wearing a mask. It was honestly odd to see and initially unsettling. After checking in, I got to my room to drop off my stuff. I was really hungry and next door was a Cheesecake Factory, so I decided to grab some dinner there.

As it was Cheesecake Factory and even though it was only around 4:30pm or so, I still had to wait for a table. Inside, I was the only one wearing a mask as I waited to leave my name with the hostess. I was feeling a bit self-conscious but at least no one was giving me weird looks. Once I left my name for a table, I went outside and sat on a bench to wait. A parade of people were coming and going from the restaurant. I people-watched for five minutes before I saw this one couple entering the restaurant. They were both wearing masks, which made me think at least some people still wore masks here. A few minutes after that, I saw a whole family masked up.

It took a few days of exploring and seeing various places but I came to realize that while the majority of people were maskless, it would be very rare for me to be the only maskless person in indoor locations. Especially in touristy areas, like Legoland or the Gaslamp Quarter, there actually would be a fair number of masked people out and about. In fact, while I don’t mask very often outdoors, I did see a fair share of people masked outside, which is their right and prerogative.

After a few days, I became very comfortable with the whole situation. Being one of the few masked people indoors was second nature to me. No one gave me strange looks, nor did they say anything to me. It felt like there was a level of respect or at least, indifference to what each person preferred.

Near the end of the trip, I realized that with some luck, it’s quite possible to travel, enjoy a vacation, and be relatively safe about it. It’s been more than a week since I returned from San Diego and I’ve tested four times since then, all returning negative. San Diego remains one of my favourite cities to visit. It feels inclusive and safe, as it has been to me in the past.

Now I understand my experience may have been different depending on lots of factors. I may have been just plain lucky. I traveled to fairly liberal city on the west coast of California, sticking to mostly touristy areas. Had I visited say a small town in one of the southern states, my experience probably would have been very different.

Travel in general incurs a slight risk, especially in these times, but I didn’t feel like I had to compromise my own measures to vacation and that felt great.


I fell asleep on my couch again this evening while my TV. It’s just so easy to do that now. My new couch is longer so there’s no obstacle to stretching out my stubby legs. It felt so good that I debated just sleeping on my couch for the whole night. I eventually got up because I have an early Zoom call tomorrow. Speaking of which, I gotta sleep for real now. Goodnight.


Prior to the pandemic, when I traveled to the United States of America, I switched SIM cards and used a plan through Roam Mobility. It was affordable and convenient, allowing me to have voice, text, and data access while traveling. As with many businesses, Roam Mobility went out of business as travel diminished because of the pandemic. As such, I had to find another way to continue to use my smartphone while in the USA.

Roaming with my Canadian plan was not feasible. It would have cost me possibly hundreds of dollars depending on how much data I used for the week I was away. Some solutions required me to have a US billing address, which I did not have, since all my credit cards have my Canadian address.

I solved my problem by having to wait until I was in San Diego and actually visiting a T-Mobile store. A sales associate greeted me and asked me what I required. I told then I wanted a 10Gb pre-paid plan. I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to give me that since I was not a resident of the USA. As soon as I mentioned the pre-paid plan, the associate grabbed a new SIM card for me and I quickly went to work, swapping my existing SIM card with this new one. The associate then handed me an iPad where I had to enter in my name and nothing else essentially. For payment, I just had to tap my credit card. After the payment went through, the associate helped ensure the plan was working. They also explained that if I didn’t top up my account, it wouldn’t automatically charge me again, so I didn’t need to cancel anything. The only downside is that after three months of non-use, my SIM card would be unusable, so I’d have to get another one if wanted to go this route again.

All told, I was in the store for probably less than ten minutes and walked out with a smartphone plan that enabled me to enjoy my vacation without having to be constantly searching for wi-fi. In some cases, had I not done this, getting a ride through Uber would have been impossible, so it was worth it.


No one enjoys their first day back to work after a vacation to a sunny destination but it almost seemed like work wanted to punish me today. I didn’t check my email or Slack messages while I was gone, so I was very surprised this morning when I saw that I was scheduled to conduct three separate one-hour interviews with engineers who had applied for a position. I also had a last-minute Zoom meeting with an engineer to discuss a crash.

Suffice to say, it was an exhausting day even normally but then factor in that it was a Monday and I’d be in travel mode for a week, I was totally spent by the time my last interview was done at 5pm.

I fell asleep on the ouch after dinner. I think I deserved that.


I have returned from my trip to San Diego and I had some unexpected excitement during my vacation. Last Thursday I was in my hotel room, on the bed, around 9:30pm, watching TV. The bed began to shake and then the walls began to as well. I could hear the walls of the room creaking and making noise. The movement was ramping up in intensity and just as there was some serious panic beginning to creep into me, everything stopped.

I immediately thought this was an earthquake and it turns out, it definitely was. A magnitude 4.6 earthquake centered off the coast of Mexico shook my hotel room on the 23rd floor. If the shaking had continued, I was just about to hop off the bed to seek a safer position from which to ride it out.

I believe this has been the third earthquake that I’ve been awake for and also felt. The other two I experienced back in British Columbia, so this was the first earthquake I’ve felt in another country.

It was very exciting and I am glad it was not more powerful than that.


I apologize for being missing in action. I am currently in San Diego for my first real vacation since the pandemic started. I am doing well and I am glad to be here.

I’ll post more once I return home.


I went to pick up my Mom, my aunt, and my grandmother from the airport. My Mom went to visit my aunt and grandmother, and they both came back with my Mom. This is the second time I’ve picked up my Mom from the airport during the pandemic.

The first time I did the pickup, it was the fall of 2020. No vaccines were available back then and everyone was taking the pandemic very seriously. The airport was nearly deserted on a weekday evening. Everyone who was there was masked up.

Tonight was a very different story. The airport was crowded, like it was back to pre-pandemic levels. Even though regulations still require people to wear masks in the terminal, there were lots of people who weren’t. Of all places, where people are coming from all over the country and the world, mixing in crowded spaces in an indoor environment, this is where they decide to go maskless? Is that difficult to be masked for ten minutes to wait for their luggage? After that, they can go outside and take it off.

I suppose if people want to take chances, it is their right. It just seems like a weird hill to die on.