I was nearly pooped on by a crow this evening. After dinner, I went for a walk and I had stopped by the river to watch the traffic cross a bridge. I was letting my mind wander when I heard a massive splat that was about a foot and a half away from me.
I looked down and there was a large, wet, and slimy pile of bird poop on the ground. It was very liquid and green. It was disgusting. I looked up and I just happened to stop very close to underneath a power line. A crow had been perched almost directly above me.
I took a step back and checked my shoes, my legs (I was wearing shorts), my shirt, and my head for crow poop. I luckily saw none and but that definitely my signal to keep walking.
Crows are smart and it’s very likely that crow knew I was below him and it purposely pooped to try to hit with it.
It was a public holiday today in the United States as it was Memorial Day for them. Since my American co-workers had the day off, it was day with no meetings and ample time to do focused work without any distractions. I wrote about this before but I haven’t changed my opinion, such days are great work days. I’m able to get lots done.
Since I had no meetings to rush back to, I was able to go out for lunch. The local parks in my area have opened their concession stands for the entire summer now. I’m a sucker for their burgers and hot dogs. Today, I walked down to the waterfront park and I had a burger, fries, and a drink while sitting next to the river. My entire lunch cost exactly $10 which is a steal in these times.
After lunch, I took a leisurely stroll in the sun back to my place. Before long, it was already the end of the work day. I actually thought to myself that I didn’t want the day to end, it was so peaceful and productive.
It’s not often a work day is so pleasant, but today was one such day. I can’t wait for July fourth!
This week was a tough week for some game developers working for studios that have a Vancouver presence. Layoffs occurred at both Relic Entertainment and Kabam. Lots of people good people lost their jobs and many of them I’m proud to have worked with them before. Some of the people who were affected have decades of experience, so it didn’t matter if you were a junior or veteran.
In recent months, I’ve heard more about layoffs than I’ve heard about new studios or hiring blitzes. Companies are still hiring though. I just had two recruiters contact me last week about opportunities. The question is, are there enough jobs out there for everyone that has been laid off? I don’t know the answer to that.
As a veteran of several layoffs, I can tell you that the majority of the people who get laid off were not selected based on their ability or how well they did their jobs. In fact, I’d say most people did exactly what they were told, helped make the best games they could, and despite all of that, they lost their jobs. That’s the part that’s most unfair. I would guess that there were many software engineers who were laid off this week that are much better engineers than I am. Yet, I still have a job. It’s totally random, unfair, and inexplicable sometimes how things happen.
Many decent folks are looking for their next job right now and I hope everyone is going to be ok sooner than later.
The Central Valley Greenway is a pedestrian and cycling route that winds its way through three different municipalities in the metro Vancouver area. In the map above, it’s the red-coloured route.
Depending on where you are on the route, you can be walking/cycling through nature-filled areas far from any roads or be traversing on a sidewalk next to four lines of industrial traffic. You can experience all different kinds of things from start to finish.
A few years ago, I attempted to walk the length of the CVG, from one end to another. I began on the New Westminster end and tried to get all the way to Science World in Vancouver, all in one day. I didn’t make it and I got about half way, just west of Burnaby Lake. The map below will show you how far I got.
I’m not sure what happened. I chose a really sunny and hot day to attempt this and by the time I gave up, I was sweaty, thirsty, tired, and sore. I always wanted to go revisit the CVG and finish what I had started.
Last week, I had Thursday and Friday off, so I decided to give it another go on Thursday. It was a really nice day, sunny and hot but not so hot that it was foolish to be outside for hours on end. I attempted to pick up my journey as close as possible to where I left it last time.
Because I was lazy, I didn’t get out to the starting point until around 2pm. A part of me was worried that I had started too late. I had no clue what kind of pace I was going to go at, so I wondered if I should have began in the morning. There was still lots of daylight left, so all I could do was just begin walking.
The first bit was basically walking on a sidewalk in an industrial area. I hadn’t been on any of those streets before, so that was interesting, but it was a lot of walking past industrial businesses and seeing trucks on the road. About thirty-minutes in though, I entered into my first little nature area, away from traffic, next to a creek.
I emerged back onto a major street, which I had to cross, but then the route led away from traffic again. For the next forty minutes or so, I was a path built specific for the CVG, just cyclists and pedestrians sharing the path. Pretty soon, I had cross in the Vancouver proper.
At that point, I realized I was making good time and the odds of me getting to the end were pretty good. I wasn’t tired at all, I had lots of water, and I wasn’t hungry. I was basically following the Skytrain line, so I would see station after station along the route. Once I got to VCC-Clark station, I made my first scheduled stop. The new studio location that I’ve written about many times is right next to that station.
I had decided that stopping there would be a good idea because it had washrooms, water, coffee, and a place to rest if I needed it. So, I made sure I brought my access card with me. When I got to the studio, I probably could have skipped it but I decided I had lots of time and I wanted to sit down for just a bit. The studio was basically empty because most people are still working from home and we all had that day off anyways. I used the washroom and then refilled my water bottles. We have a patio on the fourth floor, so I went up there to sit and drink some of the cold, fresh water.
I sat for about five minutes but was aware that if I sat too long, my muscles would get cold and my body would think I was done walking for the day. After the five minutes, I left and kept on walking.
Once I was back on the sidewalk, I realized how close Science World was. It wouldn’t take me very long to get there, so I knew I was going to get to the end. I think it took me about another 20 minutes to get there. I lost track of time but I think it took me only 2.5 to 3 hours to go from Burnaby to Science World and that includes the time I stopped off at the studio.
The map below shows the route I took for the day.
Once I was done, I grabbed a bite to eat at a very secluded and not busy noodle place. I then decided I still had enough energy to walk all the way down to Canada Place where I’d take the Skytrain home.
I did some rough calculations and in total I walked about 12 km that day. I have to admit, it was quite enjoyable and it wasn’t difficult at all. I was probably a little bit dehydrated but nothing was sore or painful. I woke up the next day feeling great.
Upon reflection, I think my first attempt a few years ago was more difficult because of elevation changes. The back end of the CVG is basically flat from Burnaby all the way to Vancouver. The first part of it from New West to Burnaby has a few more hills, so that might have had some affect on how hard I found it. It’s also possible that I’m in better shape now.
I’d like to attempt the CVG again, from start to finish. I think it’s possible for me to do it but it would definitely be much more of a challenge. After all, I’m probably doubling the amount of distance I need to walk, including needing to tackle some hills in the first part.
In a recent post, I detailed my attempts to turn my single-hose portable A/C unit into a dual-hose one. I have completed my first-pass attempt at the conversion. If you look at the picture above, you can see the results.
The whole thing was made from recycled cardboard, duct tape, and a $16 flexible aluminum dryer hose I purchase from Amazon. This isn’t really relevant to the story but doesn’t the aluminum hose look like a giant, flaccid metal penis? Uh no? Just me?
Anyways, I finished the assembly in the late afternoon on Saturday and it was sufficiently hot enough on that day to test it out. The first step was to get everything into place again. You don’t see it in the above photo, but the original hose that came with the A/C needed to be attached again. You can see the attachment point is the smaller vent below and to the right of the aluminum hose.
I then had to move the A/C back into my bedroom from the staging area in my living room. I then connected the hoses to the vinyl cover I have that seals off my sliding door opening from the outside. This cover had two distinct openings, so it was designed for dual-hose systems. I place each end of the hoses into their respective vents to the outside.
With some trepidation, I turned the thing on. My initial fear was that I had not sealed the intake vent off properly and some of the air was still being sucked in from the inside of the bedroom. The whole thing is sealed by duct tape, from the edges of the cardboard, where cardboard meets the A/C, to where the hose meets the cardboard. At first glance, it appeared that nothing was leaking.
I could feel cool air blasting from the A/C, so it all seemed ok. I ran outside onto my balcony so I could informally measure how much air was being sucked in through the aluminum hose. I put my hand up to the opening of the hose and I could feel a very significant amount of air being sucked in. It was working! Instead of drawing in outside air into the rest of my apartment, the air was now being drawn in throw this hose, cooled, and then blown into my bedroom.
The real test was to see if my living room was going to get hot after several minutes of running my A/C. In the past, I’ve seen my living room increase in temperature up to four degrees Celsius, in as little as ten minutes of having my A/C. I saw the baseline temperature of my living room was 26 degrees when the A/C was turned on. I waited ten minutes and while my bedroom got cooler, the living room stayed at 26 degrees.
I think I can call this conversion a preliminary success. There are, however, a few caveats I need to point out. First, I noticed there is a secondary vent that I forgot to seal up that is actually another intake vent as well. I discovered this a bit too late. It doesn’t seem to a primary vent because it doesn’t have a filter on it like the primary one does and it doesn’t seem to suck in enough air (or change the pressure enough) to cause the rest of my apartment to get hotter. I suppose I can make a secondary shroud and then make it meet up with the first one, punch a hole in one of the walls and then seal them all up. This would then ensure there is no intake vent at all exposed to the bedroom air. Based on my initial observations though, I’m not sure this is needed.
Second, I noticed the A/C’s thermometer was not detecting the air getting cooler, even though you could definitely feel the air in my bedroom getting cooler and also another thermometer in my room was showing a drop in temperature. I am theorizing that the A/C determines the temperature of the room by sensing how hot the air coming in is. This makes sense, because the original design of the A/C has it sucking in the air around it, which is the air it’s cooling. So if it’s sucking in air and that air is 20 degrees Celsius, the A/C then thinks it must 20 degrees Celsius in the room the A/C is sitting in. I’ve changed this now. The air it’s sucking in is the outside air and that air will always be hotter than the air around the A/C, but now it has no way to measure that temperature. In my test, the A/C was thinking it was 28 degrees the entire time it was running. That must have been the outside air temperature. The consequence of this change is that I can no longer rely on the A/C to turn itself off once it reaches its target temperature. It will keep running even if my bedroom is much colder than it needs to be. Of course, I can just stop it whenever I feel it’s cool enough but now I also need to turn it back on when it gets too hot. Is the loss of this automation worth it? I say yes, it’s a good enough trade off for not having an oven in the rest of my apartment.
Third, I have no idea if I’ve affected the efficiency in any way. I’d like to think I haven’t and that it all balances out in the end but I have no clue. Is my A/C working harder to cool the room? I can’t be sure.
Anyways, I just wanted people out there to know, it is possible to convert your single-hose A/C unit to a dual-hose one. It just requires an extra dryer hose, cardboard, and some duct tape. It can work but be aware of some of the caveats.
A few days ago I was returning home and I got on the elevator with a couple. It looked liked they were returning home from grocery shopping. The lady was holding a single coconut in her hand. It was a bit odd to see a single coconut not in a bag or anything, just being held. I’m not sure what possessed me to speak but I just said, “That’s a nice coconut, are you gonna eat it like that or use it in a recipe?“
The gentleman chuckled a bit and then the lady proceeded to explain to me that she bought coconut to use in a bit of ritual they had planned for the new car they had just bought. Apparently, the ritual involves breaking open the coconut in front of the car and then dousing the tires in the coconut milk for good luck.
I don’t think she was trying to fool me as she seemed very sincere about this. I’ve never heard of such superstition and my limited Google search did not yield any results. She made it seem like this was just something her family did and it isn’t part of a larger cultural awareness.
Anyways, this is one of the most interesting things I’ve heard of recent memory.
As I mentioned in my last post, I turned on my air-conditioner this week. I am thankful for it but it has a major drawback. It’s a single-hose design. The hose exhausts hot air outside. The unit must also draw air in because it can’t just move hot air out without replacing that air, otherwise there would be a vacuum created somewhere.
The A/C unit needs to draw the air in and creates a negative pressure situation so the air gets drawn in from my other open windows. Whenever I turn on my A/C, it’s sort of a double-edged sword because while my bedroom will get cool, the rest of my apartment will have hot air from the outside drawn into it.
My living room and kitchen will get unbearably hot when my A/C is on. The hot outside air that is drawn in then just stays there. It’ll take forever to cool down and it’ll be hot well after midnight.
This is why lots of people insist on buying an A/C unit with a double-hose design. The second hose is used as an intake. So instead of creating negative pressure and causing hot air to be drawn into the other parts of your home, the incoming air comes through the hose and directly into the A/C unit.
This week, I learned you can sorta convert a single-hose design into a double-hose one. It requires that you figure out where the air is being drawn into your unit. You then create a custom shroud around it and attach another hose, which then you connect to the outside. I saw a picture of one such “conversion” using cardboard.
I got inspired, so this evening, I created my own very janky and messy cardboard shroud. I also ordered a cheap, second hose from Amazon. It’ll arrive on Thursday. Once it arrives, I’ll cut a whole in the back part of the shroud, attach the hose, and then duct tape the whole thing shut. By the way, duct tape is essential if you’re doing this type of inexact production of cardboard elements. The shroud needs to be airtight, so the duct tape covers and seals all the gaps I had.
I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve haven’t done this type of homemade engineering in a long time.
I finally caved and turned on my A/C around 5pm this evening when my bedroom climbed back up to 27 degrees. I left it on for about an hour, just to cool down my bedroom while the sun was directly shining onto the windows (blinds lowered and closed).
It’s now several hours beyond sunset and the temperature has dropped down to 26 degrees. It never ceases to amaze me at how efficient my apartment is at retaining heat in the summer. I didn’t have a great night of sleep last evening and I don’t think it’ll be much better tonight.
The forecast says it’ll be like this every day until at least Sunday. Yikes!
This evening, my apartment got to a high of twenty-seven degrees, as the quarter of daylight heated things up. It’s the middle of May and my apartment is as hot as it was last July and August.
All across the province, weather records were broken. It seems like every year now, weather records are re-written, either for the lows or the highs, sometimes in the same year.
I’m not sure I can remember the last time it got so hot in mid-May. A typical spring for Vancouver would have us experience clouds and showers, with the temperatures gradually moving the from mid-teens to possibly the low 20s by June. It seems like we skipped all of that and just went to the height of the summer. In May!
I brought my air-conditioner out and it’s now ready to go at a moment’s notice. An air-conditioner would have seemed like a novelty in Vancouver even just a few years ago but it’s turned into a necessity.
I just hope it does cool down for the rest of May and into June. It’s not good overall if this is the type of heat that sticks around for the next four months. Having the A/C on is a huge expense for my electricity bill. Typically, I only have it on regularly in July and August. When that happens my bill is about double what I usually pay in the spring.
A prolonged heat wave also is not good for a large part of the population. Many people here, mostly seniors, still aren’t living in homes that are prepared for the intense heat we’ve seen in the last two years. Many are on fixed incomes and can’t afford to get a portable A/C. They’re the ones who I worry about the most during this heat.