Back

All our websites are back after a truly international effort to deface one website (a crew from Indonesia) and to inject code to forward all links to some stupid advertising rich website, the persons behind the link redirection is unclear.

Thank you WordPress. I’ll send you a bill later for lost time due to your lack of security by design.

I took this opportunity to delete old files and web projects dating back 20 years or more. Lots of memories. Many projects that are likely best forgotten, like:

I used to absolutely love the web, not so much anymore.


Emoji apocalypse

I spent far too much time yesterday re-entering emoji’s for 100+ article titles on one of our podcast websites. I made a decision a year ago to make extensive use of emojis as part of our communications for our kid’s products. I haven’t performed any testing to see if kids respond to the imagery we create, so the end result could be having a little fun finding suitable emoji’s on emojipedia.

A week or so I noticed that all emoji’s used in titles had been replaced with question marks – no idea why, though I blame a bug in the Yoast plugin, the only difference between this site and others.

As an aside, I think it’s issues such as this that keep people employed as social media managers. What business owner has the time and inclination to deal with all the designed complexity of WordPress and other such tools, such as Facebook. If these tools were designed well, a whole group of people would be unemployed. Facebook is especially egregious. Despite having a huge staff of design talent, their business suite of tools are some of the most ill designed I have ever seen. Answering a query from a listener required a roundtrip through 2 devices and 3 different apps.

One of the remaining mysteries of my emoji cut’n’paste journey was the realization that in text displayed via WordPress, not css, the emoji’s that displayed are from Twitter Twemoji 13.0.1 and not those displayed by MacOS. This problem doesn’t reveal itself when viewing via an iOS device.

I’ll leave this issue to a time when I have nothing better to do.


Fresh snow

Taken en route to a haircut yesterday with Barbie Girl, near the soon to be closed Starbucks, a victim of North America’s inability to summon enough discipline and responsibility towards their fellow citizens to reduce the spread of COVID.

My forgotten photography skills didn’t capture what was a beautiful scene on the part of the trail we are permitted to be on last night. It’s only slightly over 4km’s one way from start to finish, but a run or walk on that trail cures all that ails you. It should be on every local mental health practitioners or physicians prescription pad. Your first step to wellbeing should be a walk on that trail.


Office hours

I came out of my cave yesterday and had coffee with the outgoing CEO of the Startup Zone, who is moving with his family to Halifax. In our conversation he reminded me that I have been renting space at the fish bowl and rarely set foot in the space. So today I am sitting in my space away from the lure of the kitchen refrigerator.

It’s been since the pandemic that never goes away (because of people) since I have worked with any regularity outside of home. It’s also one of the few times I’ve been concerned with looking human – it’s t-shirts and sweatpants and an ever growing beard at home.

I get the feeling that working from home is here to stay. The travel time and cost of working in even Charlottetown doesn’t make the same sense that it once did.

If we ever finally settle down here in the Charlottetown area, ensuring that there is a dedicated space for work will be a priority.


Stupid

We need to recognize that stupid is a thing and, per Professor Cipolla, encourage our youth to discern how not to be stupid and to aspire to be “intelligent,” which also is a thing … and a noble thing, and not derived from a place of privilege that demands apology and self flogging.

He glosses over many issues and over simplifies situations which are actually complex – over-simplifications, objectifications, and identity politics are what have helped create the mess we are in. But sometimes the effort to understand human behaviour is just too great and a label such as stupid is all that can be summoned.

Stupid. His views on the pandemic are also of interest.


Fitness year in review

I did 405 workouts and ran 1,727kms for the year.

This is a marked improvement over the year before when due to an aversion to cold I stayed indoors and only managed 909kms of running (I worked out more, with 487 workouts in 2019).

Considering how little preparation I did and the lack of stretching and mobility work, which is essential at my age, I was surprised that I suffered no injuries. I think CrossFit and the fact that I build up my weekly mileage slowly over many months kept the injuries at bay. Now that I am restricted from running on the trails, I haven’t figured out a way to do long runs in winter safely. Between ice on the roads and distracted drivers I’m not confident that I won’t suffer some sort of calamity.

While it was a good year, it still pales to the amount of running I was able to enjoy in years past. Hopefully, I will find the will to run 2500 kms for the year, and if people would help us get the pandemic under control, run a few races.


Closet full

I have a thing for sneakers, which other than coffee is one of my few arguably necessary indulgences. I’ve long run in Hoka One One’s with their super sized cushion but after running 900km in a pair of Bondi 7’s have become a Altra Running convert. It takes time to adjust to these shoes, as they are zero drop and place a greater emphasis on a natural foot position. The last time I tried this kind of change in shoe it was with a pair of Soloman’s and I developed plantar fasciitis as a result. This time I am taking it a bit slower and paying attention to any discomfort or tightness in the lower kinetic chain.

The orange pair in the middle I bought specifically for winter trail running, which I have since found out is prohibited (and the fact of which still annoys).


The private public trail

Pedestrians on Confederation Trail ‘quite a safety issue,’ this season says snowmobile association

Snowmobilers excited for season as more Islanders join their ranks

Who in their right mind would have agreed to this lease?

On Sunday when I was running on the Confederation trail, Sheryl was out for a walk and had sent me a warning of 2 snowmobiles coming down the trail towards me. One apparently sped by her with little regard to her safety. I met one of them, who was extremely curtious, but luckily didn’t see the other. We commented afterwards that it seemed odd to see snowmobiles on a public trail.

Now it seems the oddity was us, as according to the Snow Mobile Association people are for the winter months forbidden on the trails, as they have an “exclusive lease” that “covers the entire Confederation Trail except two sections reserved for pedestrians: in Charlottetown from the bypass to Joe Ghiz Park.”

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous agreements I have ever seen.

The trails are the safest places to run, walk or bike in the Charlottetown area. And the views are beautiful. If anything we should be encouraging people to borrow snowshoes from the library and get out and explore the Island in winter.

To give exclusive access to public land to those with the money or even inclination to drive a snowmobile seems extremely short sighted, to say the least (actually I think it’s heinous).


Christmas Gifts

This year outside the usual coffee or running gear I gave myself a number of gifts which will I expect will keep on giving throughout the year.

As to plan, I gave myself 4 days off this year, which marked the first time I have taken any time away from work since around February. Generally I have been working 7 days a week with Saturday and Sunday mornings off for running and CrossFit. Though Christmas Eve was busy enough that I was wishing I was at my desk, it worked fairly well, will a nice mix of boredom and quiet fun. This was made all the more special by the fact that the family all had this time off as well – Christmas in Asia though celebrated, has often meant school or work. This worked well enough that I am going to make it a habit, perhaps taking Saturdays off every week.

I quit Twitter. “Doom scrolling” Twitter on my idle time was having a distinct negative effect on my mood and mental health. The algorithm that influenced my feed was all doom, idiocy, or “life on the Island is constant rainbows so let’s be kind to one another” extremes. My mood has improved immensely since I’ve stopped reading it. Though I haven’t deleted my account, I don’t plan on returning.

Lastly, I finally replaced what was perhaps the worst purchase I have ever made. Satechi’s bluetooth keyboard may be an attractive device and pleasant to type on, but it constantly repeats characters randomly on key press. This behaviour drove me to near madness and I have no idea why I waited so long to send it to the recycling bin. I replaced it with an Apple keyboard and won’t bother with 3rd party bluetooth keyboards again (we have a couple solid keyboards from Logitech which are great but I don’t like the feel of the keys). Next up is the expensive Logitech bluetooth mouse which always runs out of power at the most inopportune times.


Winter Running

I’ve been out running a couple times since the snow fell – last night in the dark and on Sunday afternoon. I’m not a lover of winter and it has taken me a couple years to acclimate to the cold, so I’m very pleased that I am able to enjoy some activity during this season. There is no denying that winter scenes on the Island have a certain beauty.

Running in snow or the semi-prepared surfaces of the various trails is quite a work out. It’s particularly hard on my ankles and shins.

I’ll likely restrict my running to the trails as many streets in Charlottetown are a “slippy” mess and falling on ice is on my short list for things I fear.


A festive wee poyum

What a lovely sounding language.


My gift to myself

Fu

I think likely the greatest gift I can give myself this coming Christmas is to take some time off. I may be wrong, as my memory fails more often now than years past, but I don’t think I have completely disconnected from work since January or February. Working weekends has been the norm.

But my enthusiasm for the work and productivity have plummeted of late. Each day feels like I’m slogging through large drifts of snow. Which is pretty indicative of the need for a break.

I have no plans for the 4 – 5 days I plan on taking off. I’d love to proclaim a complete disconnect from the screen, but that might be too optimistic. Instead, I’ll likely eat, run, read books, and spend time with family. Hopefully I’ll fit some boredom in there as well.


Great emptiness

Just after dusk in the downtown.

I don’t think I was expecting a Hallmark moment but I think I expected some signs of life.

On Sunday I ended the day a bit early, cleaned myself up, put on pants and decided to go on a Christmas shopping sojourn to the downtown area. Outside of my hobbies of running, food and coffee, I do little in the way of window shopping, so Christmas has traditionally been the time I look through the stores in search of interesting things to buy for the kids. In years past I would spend hours looking through Eslite bookstore and the multitude of other small design/craft related shops that inhabited the central district of our old residence, going elbow to elbow with the throngs of people doing the same. This effort would often necessitate rest breaks in a café or 3.

That’s life in a big urban centre and I would like to say pre-pandemic, but they got that under control from the onset, so it only applies to our experience here.

The downtown on Sunday was like a scene from the Walking Dead with streets devoid of people and no traffic whatsoever. You could say that the new restrictions are having an unhealthy effect on business, but I’ve heard that these restrictions haven’t stopped families from shopping en masse at those big box stores that keep moving farther and farther from the town.

I’ll admit that I have a bias. I hate the experience of shopping in Walmart, Canadian Tire and the like. With an experience largely devoid of warmth, personality and efficiency, I would rather shop online where the prices are much better and the selection far more vast.

I do enjoy the downtown and would love to be able to do all our activities there, groceries included. I’d also prefer to buy local, but how many fancy soaps, coffee cups and fine mittens and hats can one buy? Luckily, my kids love books, and we have a trio of bookstores, of which the previously read stores provide a great selection. It’s a shame that downtown Charlottetown can’t thrive without tourists and expand it’s retail options beyond what appeals to the cruise ships.


Running into winter

We have been blessed with a somewhat mild fall/winter to date and as a result my running season continues unabated. The photo above was taken just before the finish line during the 2018 PEI marathon. I couldn’t deal with the cold that year and stopped running shortly after. The winter also brings the real possibility of falling on the ice and breaking something, a fear that ranks up there with drowning for me. Hopefully sticking to the trails over the winter and my new Altra shoes that I purchased explicitly for running in snow and slush will lessen that risk.

Tuesday past I had an unexpected guest, my son, on my nighttime run on the trail between the entrance at Sherwood Rd. and end point at Covehead or Union road. It made for a nice slow 10k run in pitch black darkness, with no others on the trail but a few hares running about hiding from some plush foxes that I’ve seen other evenings. It’s nice running with Camren, a first, and like many his age his goal was not only to keep up with me but find some way to win in the end. Which he did. The fact that he was sore and wondered how I did this everyday gave some satisfaction.

The new public health rules have had an effect on his life as well. No more swimming or CrossFit. His swimming team, the Bluefins, have had a rough time – first the pandemic killed last season, then both the pool in Charlottetown and in Summerside were unavailable all summer and fall. It would be nice if sports other than hockey got some attention from the local government.

Camren declined an invite to run last night but may be convinced to go again tonight. I’ll see if I can’t sneak a couple more kilometres into our route to push him a bit farther.


A new colleague

Though when it was announced that we were switching to home based learning, I started spewing obscenities, I am happy to have Catriona studying at home. I can’t say the feeling is shared as she doesn’t like my reminders to stop reading Chinese soap operas and study biology.

Hopefully, teachers this semester will have higher engagement rates than 25%, the often touted figure from the last time they tried home based learning. When teachers look at her report from last semester they regularly discount the achievement as many I talked to feel little was learned. I don’t disagree. Many kids need school to flourish and Google Classroom is a poor imitation.

It’s interesting to me how you think you have adapted to the loneliness of working at home, until you have a temporary colleague and realise what you have been missing. This ongoing social isolation, was in part the reason for my anger at hearing the new temporary restrictions from Dr. Morrison.

If I hear one more time the phrase, “we can do it,” or “we are in this together” I am going to puke. The fact is after all this time we still don’t have the pandemic under control. How can we, when you have a huge percentage of people who don’t believe that the virus is real or doesn’t affect them, or have incredibly poor risk assessment capabilities, and/or lack the sense of civic responsibility to care about others? People complain about having mask fatigue! Like washing your hands and wearing a mask is some Herculean task.

What is a Herculean task is to “continue to be patient and kind”, as espoused by Dr. Morrison. I think it’s time to start taking a harder stance against those who refuse to follow common sense public health measures. Perhaps handing out fines like they hand out in Taiwan might be a good start.

This push and pull from a government who wants zero cases and a portion of the public who doesn’t seem to care has real consequences. People get sick and people die. There are seniors I know who are alone, I have a mother-in-law with cancer who we can’t visit, kids are out of school and we, and many others, face risk of severe financial hardship, as there are no government programs available for our family.

It’s time to set aside the politeness so prevalent in Canada and take a more aggressive stance.


Patreon procrastination

I recently set-up a Patreon account for Sleep Tight Stories as a means to allow our fans to support the continued production of the podcast, and future improvements. It hasn’t been publicized yet, and we still have some jiggering to do with the pricing of our tiers.

We set a couple goals:

  • remix all the old episodes so that the sound is more balanced and calm inducing.
  • create more original stories that feature girls in strong leading roles – instead of the prince saving the princess, how about the princess saving the prince.

Though it’s extremely common for creators of all types to ask for support using Patreon, I have resisted, and procrastinated as I didn’t (and still don’t) believe that the amount of money that could be raised would make an appreciable difference in our lives. It might not even pay for the time required to maintain the service. One of the fascinating aspects of our podcasting adventure is time costing all the busy work – the copy’n’pasting, the uploading of files, writing summaries, and etc., all (surprise surprise) takes a great deal of time.

As is my method, I became a customer of all the common platforms that podcasters use to help monetize (shudder, I hate that word) their shows. Many like Supercast are efficient, and built with easing customers through the sales funnel as quickly as possible. Others like Patreon, until recently, are a usability nightmare.

One of the values commonly given to patrons on Patreon is ad-free access to the podcast. Until recently Patreon required your patrons to copy and paste their RSS feed into an app of their choice. I asked 6 people to try and accomplish this task. No one could. Addressing this deficiency, many podcasts write lengthy how to’s about how to access the episodes. My conclusion was Patreon presented yet another app., yet another pain point for our listeners.

And yet here we are. To address this problem Patreon recently partnered with Acast to provide free private feeds for podcasters. This means that patrons no longer need to copy’n’paste, but can conveniently subscribe via their favourite app., except Spotify which doesn’t permit private feeds.

The only issue I have encountered thus far, is that if you want to offer your complete back catalogue to listeners, you need to enter each and every episode manually. Acast has a feed import tool but they only allow you to use it if you are migrating to their service, which judging by my experience with the company to date, wouldn’t be advisable.

Thats over 150 episodes to import manually. Perhaps a task for my son.

As I have reduced my work load slightly, I hope to be able to report more on our successes and failures in our venture. One of my chief complaints about starting a podcast has been the lack of transparency, at least as compared to video or web publishing. We publish some data here already, but hope to share more if possible.


Apple Embeds

This is test of sorts. Apple released the ability to web embed podcast episodes recently, which in my case means I don’t have rely upon Spotify and their funky player, nor Libsyn’s ugly utilitarian version. I’m not convinced of the utility of this beyond marketing purposes, as it’s not available via Podcast app on mobile, where most people are going to be spending their time listening to podcasts.


Tracks

This photo, taken in 2011, came up via the “On This Day” feature of Apple’s photo app. It shows Catriona at a local elementary school participating in a track and field meet.

When Camren was out at UPEI recently participating in what the swim team calls dry land training, I decided to take the opportunity to go for a long run on the trail that conveniently passes through the back of the school. When I returned 50 minutes later, knowing he was still training, I wanted to run a few 1k loops around the UPEI track for time. But when I sauntered over to the track I discovered that it was surrounded by a high chain link fence and only accessible by express permission of the university. I find this extremely odd for a public institution and rather disappointing, particularly since it’s the only such track in Charlottetown. Stonepark has a prepared surface on their soccer field but it doesn’t compare.

Incidentally, UPEI has one of the only two available pools, suitable for swimmers on Prince Edward Island, and it has been inaccessible for months. Charlottetown is definitely a hockey town.

It’s one of a multitude of differences between our current and former home. Every school had a rack comparable to what is found at UPEI, and they were used by all, from serious runners, to those looking for a place to walk and talk. Basketball courts were popular and also something you don’t see much of here.

Thankfully we have a great trail system, and with the exception of some crosswalks a safe environment for walking and running.


Sleep Tight Stories on Mainstreet

I had a chat with Matt Rainnie on Mainstreet PEI earlier this week about our recent success with Sleep Tight Stories. This is the first time I have been interviewed on radio since many years ago in Taiwan when I was sharing a sound art project I was involved with. It was done remote over the phone, so lacked the excitement of being in studio, but I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of our story to date.

I have a tendency to not share anything we are working on, no matter the level of success, so this was for me an exercise of sorts, led by Dee Enright of JEBBCA Strategies + Holdings. She has been a great help, because though we share the same work ethic, she approaches the topics we talk about from a completely different perspective. She has strong business acumen and I just like to make things.

Other than Matt Rainnie, no other local media were interested in our story, no doubt “2 people have started a podcast in their kitchen fatigue” has set in. But if we are able to keep the project afloat, we might have something more to share in the not so distant future.


Weekends

My weekend activities are generally a continuation of what I do during the week, though lately at less frenetic, more God why am I sitting at my desk, pace. The exception being that Saturday and Sunday morning are for exercise.

Saturday I run to Court 6 CrossFit out by the airport, in what often feels like an attempt to explode my heart. A quick consult with a physiotherapist reveals that I am too weak and am forcing my heart to work too hard.

Sunday morning is for long runs, which I often refer to as going to Church, as being in nature is a far more spiritual experience than the interior of an old building.

It’s taken me many months to get over the mental hurdle required to constantly enjoy the long run. Running for an hour is fine, but being inside my head for two, tends to get very boring and the focus shifts to how sore my feet are. Lately, I’ve abandoned the meditative aspects of running in favour of listening to more podcasts while I run.

My original goal was to run to Cavendish beach every Sunday, equal to a marathon, but I have only been able to make it to the halfway point. It’s again more of a mental hurdle than a physical one. That said, I’ve finally reached my weekly milage goal of 80kms a week without any injuries other than sore hips.

When fall started, I stopped to take some pictures of the route. Below are some of those photos.


Precarious placement

This is often how I find Sheryl’s devices, no matter if a phone, iPad, or in this case a laptop, they are always precariously placed on the edge of things. I don’t know exactly what this means, but miraculously none, in the many years I have noticed this phenomenon, have fallen off.


A day off

This is for me the defining feature of PEI. Deep blue skies, fluffy white clouds and no pollution.

Sheryl and I took a short respite yesterday from work and the kids to spend a day outside in the sun. We haven’t spent ay significant amount of time together not working in many months, so this was long overdue, and has proven to be an antidote to my general feeling of downtroddenness.

The day started with a short walk through one of the many short trails that dot Stratford, then followed by a gentle 5k run and back home.

Sheryl and I then drove out to Greenwich a place we both have never been and spent the afternoon walking through the well maintained trails that take you through the property. The trip to and from of which required a stop in Saint Peters Bay for refreshments. Saint Peters Bay Black & White Cafe and Bakery sells receivers coffee and seems in desperate need of customers.

We ended the day with dinner in Georgetown at the Wheelhouse. Sheryl had chicken and I had fish chowder and their version of a lobster roll. The chowder was excellent, though ideally twice the size. The lobster roll was interesting; I love lobster and I love melted cheese but I think the two should never meet. Service was great.

All told I was on my feet for well over 21k yesterday which is a good way to relax I think. I guess there is some truth that fresh sea air and sun cures what ails you.

Not sure where else you could be practically alone on a beach of this quality.


For free

From J.B. Rainsberger’s latest newsletter titled Conversation Dojo. Would that help you?, comes a paragraph of which I love the tone of, and which I might just use in the future.

I’m not going to lie: I would like to be paid for this work. Even so, I recognize the need to give some of this away before I can reasonably expect to charge for it. Accordingly, I bring this idea to you, my faithful readers, so that you can participate before I feel justified asking for money.

I’ve been giving my time away for free for so long, to the tune of often having no days off whatsoever, that the very concept of getting paid for work seems almost novel. It’s especially difficult when I see people out enjoying the Island summer while I sit in a hot office; I’m not sure what I would do as I don’t golf and sitting on a beach is boring to me, but at least I would be away from this monitor and outside where it’s cool.

I’m sure I will come to my senses eventually.


A day

I’ve been suffering from a bought of negativity lately, brought on by a whole range of small inconsequential issues that alone are easily overcome, but together seem to make me, as my son would say, salty.

Today was another one of those days, full of nonsense problems.

It started with me trying to do a quick voice recording, a process which intimately involves my upstairs neighbours bathroom usage. Their fan I find makes a hum that poisons ever so slightly a decent recording. This lasted a short time and was followed by the fan on our laptop kicking into high gear – we still use Audacity on this particular laptop and it unlike other options causes the fan to kick in in a big way. After a short time in which the MacBook had a chance to catch it’s breath, we started anew. I didn’t get but a few sentences in when the midi interface we use started producing noise of it’s own – first a hiss, then some weird crackling. This took 90 minutes to successfully diagnose and repair as I hunted for different cables to try.

Sheryl was in Souris so I took my life in my hands by riding my bike downtown from Stratford for a meeting at noon and a later photoshoot. I swear that drivers dislike people riding bikes here. I arrived early which gave me time to get coffee, but then found out that only 2 of us showed up, so we said our greetings and bid adieu. Meetings on PEI in summer are seemingly more and more alike in Thailand all year round.

I then headed home and tried to salvage the recordings I made earlier.

Feeling exhausted I canceled CrossFit and tried to go for a short run but failed due to general soreness and malaise, and the realization that I will never be like David Goggins.

Now, this evening with food in the oven, work to do, and 2 hours of Zoom workshops to hold starting at 9pm, the power goes out. Someone decided to crash into a power pole and the power in our neighbourhood is out for at least 7 hours as they work to replace the pole. Holding office at the StartUp Zone in Charlottetown, basking in the coolness of AC, we then realize that we left some equipment at home.

I think we are due for a break and since this Monday marks our 24th wedding anniversary (Sheryl and I have been together for 31 years now), that day will be the best day to take one.


IKEA’s order fulfilment difficulty

Living on a remote Island on the East coast of Canada has regularly meant that the multitude of things that can only be, or more likely, economically be, bought online, take far longer to arrive than in other areas of the country. Amazon’s 2-day delivery expands to 5+, and more pedestrian Canadian online retailers start at about a week, after they have prepared your order. A notable recent exception has been Nomad in the US which had an iPhone case delivered in much less a week after payment. An extreme example in the other direction was a book ordered through an Amazon reseller which took almost 5 months to arrive, with false shipping notices throughout that period, forever poisoning me from buying physical books through Amazon ever again.

The never ending pandemic has meant that all kinds of delays can be expected depending on the efficiency of the business ordered from. Amazon seems fine, with delay depending on the reseller. Coffee shipments from Taiwan speedy, and coffee from Vancouver just in time.

IKEA seems to be in a league of their own.

We are in the midst of changing our working environment from home office, to office home. This has necessitated the purchase of yet another desk; like the last two I’ve ordered recently, the economical choice locally is the used market. Which is fine, if space provided, I would enjoy the idea of refinishing or repurposing old tables, but when I looked at the usual places the choices were uninspiring. “Genuine’ office desks I’ve seen are expensive and ugly.

I’ve had a great deal of luck with turning IKEA kitchen tables into desks, I’ve owned 5 INGO tables which are just about the perfect depth to allow for optimal monitor placement, great for kids, and are a blank canvas on which to finish.

This time we opted for LERHAMN, primarily because all the desks were sold out, no doubt due to many now working from home, and because we no longer have the space for refinishing.

Unfortunately, at $199 the cost for shipping to your home has ballooned from the reasonable, to the ridiculous.

I selected the pickup location option for the more reasonable $39. The pickup location in Charlottetown is at Same day Worldwide on Day Avenue, near the airport, and a slight deviation from our route home from CrossFit. We selected a pick up time convenient to us and arrived there last Monday night after receiving an email notification that our package had indeed arrived.

Arriving at Sameday Monday night we were met by a sign stating that we weren’t allowed to enter due to COVID-19 (it’s not clear how we will eventually retrieve the shipment if we can’t enter). I called them. The call was answered with the usual Island friendliness and it was explained to me that it is unknown whether my items have indeed arrived or not, that the email from IKEA is causing all kinds of problems, and that all I can do is wait for an email or call from Sameday when they have had time to sort though the shipments. How long this could take is thus far unknown.

Meanwhile, checking back on the IKEA website it now states that the packages are on their way, with a delivery date of Monday past.

In the grand scheme of things this is nothing. The sense of urgency is a desire to move from the kitchen table to a proper workspace, particularly when the new computer we ordered arrives within the week.

What I do find interesting is how many of these automated systems break down in face of an unknown. We are now, in the case of IKEA, back to physically distanced human contact, phone calls and unknown arrival dates as their just in time delivery falls apart. I’m not sure I’m ready for “Sears catalogue it arrives when it arrives” kind of delivery, especially since the first step companies can take is to better manage customer expectations, which IKEA attempts only via an easily missed thin banner on their website.

Hopefully this won’t turn out to be a repeat of the book ordering experience with Amazon. Life wouldn’t be the same without cheap designed furniture.


Grammarly popup

This popup I encountered this morning is certainly worthy of the Reddit group Asshole design. Clicking on the more attractive or wellformed close button brings you to the ad page. Nothing like tricking people into viewing your product to both increase conversations and hate for your company at the same time.


Grass cutting

One of the many things we missed in the 20 odd years living in Taiwan and elsewhere was the summer tradition of the smell and sounds of fresh cut grass. There is something inherently satisfying about the distant hum of the lawnmower and the sweet smell of grass. It goes hand in hand with fresh strawberries and ice cream, BBQ meat, trips to sandy beaches and wearing shorts to signify the start of the Island summer.

Where we live now, a former farmers field turned soulless neighbourhood, in otherwise beautiful Stratford, people don’t seem to enjoy this summer tradition. This is likely in part due to the number of apartment buildings, multiple family housing, and the general transience of the people who choose to move here. Instead of the weekend morning or afterwork yard work that you see elsewhere, what you see here is leagues of workers descending on the neighbourhood with large noisy machines zipping around trying their best to work as quickly and as noisily as possible. If there is a pattern in terms of when they might arrive I have yet to see it. It could be early Saturday morning or during dinner through the week. Or like today, as we were about to record some voice over, they descended like monsterous sounding bees reverberating sound through our building.

It’s not nearly as romantic as the memory we had held while we lived elsewhere.