Is It Over?

To be honest, it didn’t start too bad at all. We travelled in late December of 2019 flying halfway across the Atlantic to enjoy post-Christmas and New Years 2020 in the Azores.

It was fantastic! Did you know you can fly direct to Sao Miguel from Toronto? Five short hours and you’re standing in pleasant weather waiting for your rental car. We spent a lovely week exploring the island, eating fantastic food, enjoying delicious wine and beer. We arrived back in Canada to cold and snow but that’s what you get when you live here right? January was almost over, things looked pretty good for the rest of the year.

In February my sweetheart surprised me with a weekend trip to Montreal to see Jim Gaffigan perform at the Orpheum Theatre. It was excellent fun. He is a funny guy indeed. It was super cold in Montreal but we managed to have a fun evening, enjoy some delicious food, drink some delicious wine, enjoy a comfortable train ride home.

March arrived. Cue: ominous music. Going to work in an office tower in downtown Ottawa was pretty normal for the first week and then things started going pear shaped and suddenly we were the only ones in the office, contractors and students, and the downtown core was beginning to empty. People started to get nervous and then our client, followed shortly by our company, sent everyone home. Shit got real. The Mrs. was on her way home too. The “youngster” was still at the college but by this time he was in a mostly deserted residence building. Working from home is old hat for me, I’ve been doing remote work since 2000. No big deal. For a lot of other people this was some odd stuff.

Food boxes became the norm. We’re now 140 and a few meals in (I’ve prepared probably 130 of them) thanks to Good Food, Hello Fresh, Red Apron, and a handful of other lovely people who provided provisions delivered to the door. Juniper Farms delivered special boxes of goodies. Cylie Chocolates prepared amazing chocolate boxes for pick up. The online order frenzy began. All the crap you don’t need and more. I have a mountain of books and a similar sized stack of plastic model kits. I have new rubber wheels on my 30 year old office chair. I ordered a 24 port switch from the office. I think I need some new music. I’ll get some thank you. Thankfully that has settled down a bit. We’ve done our best to order through local shops and not a—-n. Like I want to hand more money over to Bezos. Fuck that guy.

In May my company celebrated its 25th year in operation by doing something super cool. They provided meals, including wine and a celebratory cake, that we picked up from volunteers at agreed on pickup points. Back home to warm up the food and we all jumped on a Teams meeting and celebrated from the comfort of our own homes. Super smart, super safe.

Haircuts have been fun. I discovered I can cut my own hair, down to the bristle, without assistance although I do miss the nice people at the barber shop. I started an instagram account to entertain myself and provide some animal hijinks for the masses.

Summer was mostly the new routine although we did get new neighbours in the unit above us. Canadians from California coming home. They seem like nice people.

I waited to the last minute to finally sit and pass the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate exam. It was retired a couple days after I passed it.

At the end of the summer we spent the long weekend in a cabin in Gatineau Park. Isolated and surrounded by nature, including a late night visit by a bear, we relaxed and enjoyed some campfire foods and read books and chatted. No tech.

We took another SPAO course with David Barbour starting in September. Socially distanced photography. We’ll start a couple more courses in January.

October and November were fairly new normal. Events we expected to be participating in were cancelled or postponed. Thanksgiving was a much reduced event involving our house and the one other person in our bubble. Christmas has been the same. None of the usual gathering which we all enjoy. We’ve all read a lot more and I’ve surpassed my usual movie viewing habit by quite a bit. I’ve just watched movie 185 of the #2020MovieMarathon.

In the end I think its pretty clear. We haven’t had to sacrifice much to get through this year. We’ve been able to modify our lives to allow us to continue to do much of what we did before but without the contact we usually have with people. Many people have given a lot to get Canada through this and we’re forever thankful for that. We’re very much looking forward to 2021 and vaccinations. Travel will be nice, seeing friends will be nice, going to restaurants will be nice. Stay safe everyone, see you all next year. First round is on me.

Phone Case Packaging Waste

I bought a new phone recently. It cost me a few dollars more than I would normally spend on something I look at as a necessity more than anything else. Before I bought it I watched some reviews on Youtube discussing the device. One in particular spoke positively of the phone and then mentioned a phone case and skin sold by a company called dbrand which looks like its located in Toronto which is excellent. I’m always looking at supporting local/provincial/national if I can before looking South or East or China for stuff like this. Anyway, bought the case, its called the Grip, and bought a skin called a Teardown because it shows the inner workings of the device in question. Using my best Borat: It’s very nice!

They shipped Purolator, also nice but really unnecessary and when I opened up the box I found a couple of things inside. The skin came in a plastic sleeve with a cardboard insert with some logo stuff and a link to show me where I would go to learn how to best install it. The second item was a book sized box with foldout doors to reveal the Grip firmly attached to a foam slab inside.

I get that this is a special item and I guess by wrapping it in this extensive case it makes me appreciate it more? But really I don’t see the value in putting something plastic and solid and phone, for the protection of, into a case of such elaborate design. My initial, and continued, thought was that this package was a terrible waste of resources and was completely unnecessary. It probably costs them substantial amounts and is without doubt going to the landfill as soon as the Grip is removed. That makes me sad.