Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Lego Tradition

My mom has a Christmas village that she gets out every Christmas and I've been contributing to it, for the last few years, by buying Lego houses that we build together. The one I got this year is from the Harry potter set that contained 2 houses.

I had a blast building it but it was painfully obvious that my mom wasn't enjoying herself. What I found, through this ordeal, is that my mom isn't really comfortable doing things that she's not used to do regardless of how simple it is (Lego steps are simple) and all she wanted to do was to give up however she stuck to it and was very proud of herself once it was completed. 

If I look at myself, I share this with my mom in the sense that I, too, want to give up relatively easily when I do something that I'm not comfortable in doing but I usually tend to stick to it, with some complaining, and am usually proud of myself once it's completed due to the extra struggle I felt doing it.

I told my mom that I was getting a bigger Lego house next year. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I changed My Mind on Debt!

We live in a financial system designed to make us work until the day we die if we let it. It's our responsibility to learn about the rules of the game and how to apply it to our advantage.  The sooner we learn about these rules the better it'll be for us as the earlier we begin the better it usually is.

Recently, I came across some information that changed my mind on debt. Before, I was against debt but there's some very specific situation where debt can be to our best interest and the secret is to look at the interest rate on that debt vs the interest rate you would get from investing that money. 

You have 10, 000$ in the bank to buy a new car and you can have a loan to buy this car at 0% interest for 5 years. The best thing you could do in this situation is take the loan and invest that 10,000$ somewhere that will likely have a return better than 0% over that 5 years. If you want to play it safe, you can invest in things that have a guarantee that you won't loose the money you invested. At the end of 5 years, you will have paid that car and made money on the investment that you've made.

Obviously, this requires us to investigate the market at the time of purchase/investing but doing so definitely has benefits that I hadn't considered before. Debt, in those conditions, can be a benefit. When it comes to investing, however, I will always follow the rule of "never invest what you can't afford to loose".

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

My Credit Card was Stolen

My Credit Card information was recently stolen and I've taken some additional steps, with my new card, to protect it and thought I would share it with you.

While it can be difficult to know where my credit card information was stolen, I believe it was stolen at a local store either via the security cameras or via a RFID reader someone would of used over my wallet in my back pocket. Knowing this, I've taken the following steps to minimize the risk going forward:

  1. I bought a RFID blocking wallet. This wallet is designed to block scanning signals normally used for credit cards.
  2. I've covered the important information on the credit card with black tape. It's not clear to me why things like credit card numbers are so easily readable but it's now hidden. I can still use the card in the machine but now nobody can see the number unless the tape is removed.
  3. I use the tap feature whenever I can as it's always possible for someone with malicious intend to put a small card reader inside the machines where you swipe the card.
While there's never any sure way to protect your credit card information I believe the above steps are steps in the right direction. Do you have any other suggestions? 

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

I'm Tired of Fakes

What I mean by fakes are people that built careers out of lies and deceits. We can see them in all areas of life with mixed results. Some, like Theranos, managed to lure in many investors for billions of dollars on the promise of a revolution in the Health industry but alas it was all a lie. Others, like Stephen Seagal, Uri Geller, Billy Mitchell (and more) have been a little bit more conservative in their scam only doing things to make a profit for themselves.

Of course, some are better at lying than others but the very fact that there's an environment for them to thrive is annoying to me.

How can these lies go for so long unopposed?  

Well, often these lies are being opposed by some people but nobody listen to them until it's too late. The cracks of Theranos were shown to the field experts ever since the company first came to be. In-fact, the only investors that Elizabet Holmes was able to lure, or wanted to lure, were people outside of the medical fields. Those that had the experience were either avoided, by Elizabet Holmes, or wanted nothing to do with the business feeling that it was a scam.

These lies sounds good, they appeal to people but they're just lies. It hurts me that this is the world that we live in. 
Will we ever reach a point in our society when these things will come to an end?

Well it does look that the Internet is helping in exposing the scammers of the world (while also creating some). The "MeToo" movement is an example of a wrong that's society is trying to rectify. Scammers are surely adapting but the truth will always come to light and perhaps the Internet is helping this endeavor.

I think that the responsibility also falls on us to insure that we do research on all things that sounds too good to be true in an attempt to find what's genuine and what isn't.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Secret to Confidence is Discipline

Confidence is something that's difficult to come by as a child but today I see that a child is more likely to feel confident when he feels likes he's capable of doing great things at something. A child that's good in sports, for example, is likely to get some sense of confidence from it. Discipline is key to get good at something and is one of the steps of getting confidence. 

I played soccer as a child but never really became good at it and therefor never achieved any meaningful confidence from it and the root cause of this is because I wasn't discipline. I was never taught to stick to things when they were difficult. I was never taught to work hard at something until I become good at it.
In my family, we always had a misunderstanding of where talent originated from. We used to think that some people were born with innate skills that made them better when in reality it's the person with the best work ethic/discipline that gets good at things. Because of that misunderstanding I never really become good in anything that gave me any sort of meaningful confidence.

It took me a long time to connect discipline with confidence as this isn't something that was taught to me in school or in my personal life growing up. It makes so much sense, however, as we do come to feel confident when we're good at something and the only way to get good at something is to be discipline with it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Misinformation & Covid

All over the world, we see people protesting the pandemic measures designed to protect people and misinformation is at the heart of the problem. Facebook started to work on some features that help reduce the spread of misinformation by flagging videos that they deem misleading and reducing its reach. The problem who is qualified in making these decisions? Maybe the field experts can review each and every videos and flag the ones with misleading data but even them are prone in making errors. 

Few of the problems:
  • Part of the problem comes from the Schooling system, and society in general, that teaches kids to not question the information from authority figures. Because of this, which ever piece of information that's the loudest takes precedents even though it may not make the most sense (misinformation and negativity does tend to be louder).
  • Misinformation, and negative news, have a shock factor to it which help spread it faster than truth or trustworthy information.
    • More often than not, people ask what is legal rather than what is right. It's not illegal to spread misinformation, in order to profit from it(from social media or other), but it's not the right thing to do.
    • Internet algorithms put emphasis on stories that are more likely to sell and misinformation/shocking news sell more.
  • People no longer see their Government as a trust worthy source of information. Governments, all over the world, are sharing the information given to them by top medical professionals but this is seen as unreliable because of the many errors committed, by those Governments, in the past.
    • Celebrities' have more influence than Governments and/or medical professional among the masses. If a Celebrity says something that doesn't align with the medical professional it could still be believed solely due to status. Some celebrities' have voiced their oppositions to the vaccines and the security measures which had a devastating effect.
  • Virus, vaccine, Covid-19... these are all things that only experts fully understands and some people don't trust what they don't understand no matter the source. All that they know is that one day they used to be able to go to restaurants and now they can't.
  • We live in a "Microwave / I want everything now" type of society and the pandemic has been around for a few years now... people are exhausted.
What's the solution? It took years for some of these problems to materialize therefor there are no quick fixes/easy solutions here. People will continue believing what they want to believe but we first need to be more patient and we need to revisit some of these beliefs as well as how we function as a society. We need to build a society that's not a representation of who we are but who we need to be. A society that seeks truths rather than shocking.

In the meantime, my hope for the world is that the Pandemic ends and that these protest don't turn into something uglier.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Now Isn't The Time To Buy a House


A friend of mine, who's in sales, recently contacted me regarding how "hot" the housing market was and wondered if I was looking to purchase a house. While my friend was well intentioned, I know not to buy when the markets are "hot" as this is when things are more expensive.

What's a hot housing market?

A hot housing market is simply that there's a high demand for houses which as an obvious effect on the price. The reason why it's hot right now is because many people are working from home, due to COVID, and decided to move as they no longer require to live near their workplace.

I live in the countryside and the obvious benefits of living here is the cost of living is a lot less than in big cities. Another friend of mine bought a decent size house, a few years ago, for 70K and could probably get double that today if he wanted to sell it. On my street, 2 houses were sold roughly 2 months after being on sale, which is unusual here, and because they were sold at higher price point than normal it had the adverse effect of raising everyone else's taxes on this block... but that's something for another day.

All this to say that you want to sell when the markets are hot and buy when they're cold. When the markets are hot, more people places bids which increases the prices and when the markets are cold less people place bids and you end up with a better deal. It's a bit like playing a game of hot potatoes ... you don't want to be on the receiving end of the hot potato as you'll get burn.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Old Couple - Same Old Fights

Long term relationships, something I've only ever seen from afar, seems to have their fair share of fights that are just repeats of older ones. Even though I've never experienced this myself, just hearing about it from friends and family, over and over again, is tiresome. I can only imagine how tiresome it must be for those involved.

While I can certainly understand that couples sometime fight, having the same fights over and over again seems to suggest that there's an unwillingness, from either side, to do anything with the problem. When neither make compromises, or take responsibility, over the issue then they allow it to remain. It's not about finding who's at fault as much as it is to find peace. Every situation requires a solution tailored to the problem. Communication is key!

Some people seem to be more comfortable in having the same fights, over and over again, than to make the change necessary to for peace. For someone like me, who wants peace out of life, this isn't an acceptable situation to be in. I either need to be with someone who can workout the issues with me or let me be alone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Where Do We Go After We Die?

Humans have wanted to know what happens after death for as long as we were able to formulate a thought. We found answers for ourselves which we compiled into the various religious text that are still being taught today. I've never really liked the answers the various religions gives to that question because a lot of it isn't based on anything tangible or that can be measured.

Where do we go after we die?

When we're alive, we're able to hear, feel, see, smell... but, after we die, we change into the state we were in before we were born which doesn't have any of these bodily characteristics. We are part of this Universe regardless of the state that we're in but our interaction with the Universe, when we no longer exist as a person, will not only be different but incomprehensible to the living.

The Christians Heavens is said to be a place where we'll meet everyone that was meaningful to us but everyone that was meaningful to our bodily self remains in the memory/brain of the decaying body. The state we were in before we were born can't be referred to as a person and neither is the state we will be after we die because what is referred to as a "person" remains here.
Sometimes, when we sleep, we don't have any dreams. Everything is black and we feel, see, are nothing. This, at least in my mind, is how death will be.

Am I scared to die?

We're naturally afraid of the unknown and death is unknown to us but when we die we won't have the ability to feel afraid, or anything else, anymore.

A.I. will complicate things...

I think that once Artificial Intelligence becomes common place the question of where we go after we die will have a different meaning. Where would an A.I. mind go when it's shut off? Religious folks will be quick to point out that A.I. doesn't have a soul they, therefore, don't have an afterlife but once A.I. becomes so good that we can differentiate them from human minds are we, finally, going to conclude that the difference between mechanical and biological death isn't that different.

In the end...

In the end, nobody knows for sure what will happen after we die but I think that if we focus on what we know of our physical body we can find some plausible answers that make more sense than reincarnation or heaven/hell theories. Some people have had near death experiences where they "saw" angels or a glimpse of a heaven/hell but then the question becomes "which version of heaven/hell did you see?" as many religions not only have different heavens/hells (some have none) but also have different requirements on how to get there. Did they see the Christian heaven or one of the 7 heavens mentioned in Islam? Considering that they're still alive can we truly say they were dead or did they simply have a near death experience? Were the images they saw something that they wanted to see?

One thing is for sure is that we're alive now and we should live our life the best that we can.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It's Unlikely that the Seniors of Tomorrow Will Have a Pension

"You can be young without money but you can't be old without it." 
-Tennesse Williams

There's this misconception that the Government will take care of us when we retire and maybe at one time this was true but this definitely isn't the case anymore. Many can't afford to live off of the pension the Government has setup for them, once their own savings have run out today. How likely will things be better for seniors in 10,20,30... years from now?

What's the solution? 

The solution is: Don't rely on a Government pension. Don't setup your life thinking that at the end of it all someone will take care of you. Insure that you are financially stable now and working towards major savings.
If you can't save money now then work towards another degree, another course, another career but put yourself in a position where your earning power will insure future security. Earn like a millionaire and spend like you're broke. No, you don't need 50 streaming subscription, a new car every year or the latest and greatest gadget. Put the money you would normally spend on these things into savings accounts. Invest in yourself by learning a new skill. Start a side business or take a calculated risk towards something that has a chance of a return.

Do what is necessary, while being morally acceptable, to prepare for the inevitable end of life. Don't underestimate how long you will live once you retire. Better have money to spare at the end, that you can give away, than to run out before you move on.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Feeling Nostalgic

When I was younger, my dad would tell me that I should go out with friends as much as possible and that I was living the best years of my life. At the time, I was a overweight kid with low self-esteem and talking like a chipmunk which made me doubt in my dad's words of wisdom.

After college I moved out of the city I was born in and tried making a life for myself in a few different places in Canada only to come back to my hometown roughly 12 years later. Since coming back I haven't really been able to connect with my friends in large part due to COVID but also because we've grown with responsibilities of our own. My friends are married, have kids and I generally busy with the responsibility these things brings.
Thinking about this makes me feel nostalgic about the good old days. As a kid I wasn't the party type but my friends and I would hang out all the time to play outside or to play some video games. Sure, we can still hangout and do some of these things but it won't be the same as we have other things that we also have to do. The focus is not as much in the moment as it used to be.

It's not clear to me when was the last time we all hung out but one thing is certain is that, at the time, nobody thought this would of been our last time together.

All this to say that, if you're younger, you should listen to my Dad and hangout with your friends as much as possible and enjoy it while it last because next thing you know, one of them will move to a new city, the other will get married and perhaps one may even die unexpectedly (R.I.P. Rene). Oh, sure, you'll make new friends but it won't be the same.

Life is short.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

We Don't Understand How We Feel

Scenario: You just had a bad day at work. You come home and you seem to be frustrated with everything your spouse is doing.

Is your spouse really the cause of your frustration or is it the bad day you've had at work?

It can be difficult to know where our feelings originated from because what we feel in the present moment may of originated sometime in the past. Our inability to properly identify the root cause of these feelings can create unnecessary conflict in our lives.

The body is like a computer without a cooling system. We get overheated with all these daily frustrations and we have no build in process to release that heat. Therefor it's our responsibility to find ways to release that heat, or frustration, in such a way as to not negatively impact the lives of those close to us.

How can we do this?
  • Talk it out: Sharing your frustration can free you of it.
  • Exercise: Lifting weights can help it getting that frustration out of your system.
  • Read: Reading is a form of meditation and focusing on what you read does alleviate life problems.
  • Sleep: Often, a lack of sleep is the cause of our frustration.
  • Eat a Healthy Meal: A unbalanced diet can cause havoc to your mental health. Eat right and feel right.

Get the daily frustration out in a way that doesn't negatively impact those that are near you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Should There Be Another Lockdown?

In Canada, many provinces are tackling their 4th wave and one has to wonder: Should there be another lock-down? 

The answer to this question becomes increasingly difficult as more and more people are getting their vaccines. The vaccine, let us recall, doesn't prevent us from getting the virus - it just greatly diminishes our chances of needing to go to the hospital or actually dying from the disease while also being less contagious. Most people that are in the hospital, right now, are those that don't have both shots.
In an ideal world, the only people that we should see in hospital right now are those with both vaccines that still have complications from the virus.

I don't really have any pity left for those that could, but didn't, take the vaccines. I believe there will be a time when medical professional will have to make the difficult decision not to treat those that don't have both vaccines. I hope we never get to this point, because who would want to make such a decision, but what do you do when the only other alternative is total collapse of the medical system? What do you do when you can only save 1 of 2 COVID patients and one of them has the vaccines and the other doesn't? Ideally, you would want to put your effort towards the person that, statistically, has a better chance at survival.

This would be way more easier, on everybody, if everyone would just get vaccinated. We're fortunate to live in a world where we have vaccine to fight off deadly diseases and I fail to understand why some people are more afraid of the vaccine than the virus itself.

Some people say that they want to "do their own research" before taking the vaccine well how about you look at the statistics? How many people died of the virus? How many people died of the vaccine? How many people died of Covid with the vaccine vs how many died without it? 

The data is already available for people looking to do their own research. What they heck are they waiting for? Do the research, come to the same conclusion as the majority, and get vaccinated. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Great Divide

The Pandemic has brought with it a great divide in the world. There are those that got vaccinated and follow the rules set in place by medical experts and there are those that don't (also referred to as "anti-vaxxers").

Both parties are frustrated with each other but there's one thing that we can all agree on and that is we all want the pandemic to end.
The anti-vaxxers seems to believe that the pandemic is a conspiracy and choose to deny its existence which, in a way, is a way for them to end the madness.
Those that follow the rules want the pandemic to end by having everyone else follow the rules as well. 

There's a right and a wrong way for the pandemic to end but it will eventually end whether it be with 500 000 deaths or 5+millions.

Which way is the right way? 

Let's answer this question by looking in our history. How did we end Polio? In the U.S. the last case of naturally occurring Polio was recorded in 1979. Thanks to the Polio vaccine, Polio was eradicated in most parts of the world for more than 40 years.

The right way is obvious to me... 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What Scares Me The Most about the Pandemic...

What scares me the most about the Pandemic, besides the Covid-19 virus, is how idiotic some people are towards it. 
Why isn't there anyone protesting drunk driving rules? Nobody protest drunk driving rules because there's an understanding for the need to protect those that use the roads. 

It's one thing to follow, blindly, rules and another to understand why they were created in the first place.

Why isn't there such understanding when it comes to the Pandemic? Why are people protesting the use of mask, vaccine or social distancing? Some people go as far as protest in-front of hospitals where some patients are dying from COVID-19... like patients can literally see them protest out of their windows and somehow the protesters are okay with that.

Why isn't there an understanding that we need to vaccinate in order to protect the masses the same way as we shouldn't be driving on the road drunk as to not injure our peers?

Some anti-vaxxers are quick to say that they're not taking the vaccine because they're not "sheep" but then proceed to take horse medicine. Maybe someone needs to tell them that they're also not a horse?

In Canada, many provinces are well into their 4th wave of this Pandemic and It's surprising that some people are still not vaccinated. During wave 1 & 2 vaccines were difficult to come by but became readily available in wave 3. Unless you're underage, or have a medical reason, you should of gotten both your shots by now. 

Personally, I didn't want to see a wave 4 but here we are and now I feel like we're going to see wave 5, 6, 7, 8,... because this thing won't stop until most either get the vaccine or get infected with the virus. By the time we're done with Covid-19 we'll likely see another virus come about and what are those protesters going to do then?

This College Humor video, titled "Livin' Mask-Free', is probably the best thing to come out of this Pandemic as it perfectly illustrate the problem. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Are The Canadian Liberals Going to Loose Due to The Pandemic?

Canada is going through an election initiated by the Liberals who are attempting to gain more power/seats but it doesn't look like this is going to happen for them. If history taught us anything is that every 8-10 years there's a major political shift happening in Canada and it looks like it's about to happen again only this time it seems to be driven by misinformation caused by the Pandemic.

After talking to a few of my peers, I found that some of them were going to vote against the Liberals and the most common reason given was because of how they handled the Pandemic. They didn't want to have a Government force mask, vaccine or a passport unto them as they saw this as an attack on their "Freedom".
Obviously, the discussion I had with my friends is by no means a reflection of the opinion of the entire Canadian population but it did make me want to discuss about it some more here.

It's my hope that any other political party in power would of made similar decisions as the Liberals did, in regards to the Pandemic, because it's a good idea to be listening to the subject matter experts in a time of crisis. To not vote for Liberals, because they did what subject matter experts have suggested, is a bit silly to me and makes me wonder what kind of political party are they looking for? Do they want the kind that doesn't listen to the experts, in a time of crisis, and end up making a bigger mess of things? (see Donald Trump handling of the Pandemic...)

The Liberals made mistakes, as everyone makes from time to time, but not to vote for them because of how things turned out with the Pandemic is a bit silly. You actually want a Government party that isn't afraid to listen and apply the suggestions of experts during time of crisis because this is what good leadership is about. Maybe what we could say of them is that they didn't listen to the expert enough?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Want To Make Thoughtful Gifts?

A thoughtful gift doesn't have to be expensive but it does have to be bought/made with the absolute person in mind. This isn't something that you're buying for yourself, it's something that you're buying for someone that's important to you. Therefore it's possible that you would never get this particular item for yourself and that's okay because, again, it's not meant for you. 
There's nothing that shows you pay attention to someone quite like a thoughtful gift. I've been quite blessed in that sense as I've been told many times that I'm a good gift giver. 

Today, I'm going to share my secret with you. 

When thinking about a gift for someone in your life consider the following:
  1. Know the person: Pretty straight forward. You need to spend time with the person in order to be able to know them and be able to provide a gift tailored to their wants/needs.
  2. Plan ahead: Is Christmas coming up? Is there a birthday coming? I usually start planning my gifts 6 months in advance, which is a tad on the extreme side, but anything below 4 months is, in my opinion, too short notice. The reason why you want to start planning a gift long in advance is because your mind needs to be thinking about it when you are around that person. Was there a comment made at one point that could turn into a gift? Did that person share something with you that could turn into a gift? When you're on the lookout long ahead, you're more likely to pick up on the queues. Planning ahead also removes a lot of the last minute gift finding stress.
  3. Do some research: Ask your friend's friends questions about the person you're trying to give gifts too. Ask them what your friend would like as a gift. With the person in mind, look for gifts in stores and online.
  4. It's not about price: It's about thoughtfulness. 
  5. It's not always an object: It could be you doing something for the other person. It could be inviting that person to an event or a gateway.
I hope that this "gift" of mind will stuck with me for my entire life as I love being able to make someone's day with a well received gift. Hope my tips have helped you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

RingFit Adventure - Better than I was Expecting

Back when the Wii was still popular, there was game called "Wii fit" that I had tried but for which I didn't really connect with. At the time, I was going to the gym 6 times a week and whatever exercises that the game offered was too easy.
Fast forward 10 some years and the situation is a bit different. I haven't been able to go to a gym since the pandemic began, over 2 years ago, and my fitness level isn't where it used to be. RingFit Adventure has been out for a bit now but I never really paid attention to it until a week ago when I started looking for Christmas gifts (we do that quite early in the family). I decided to give it a chance and boy am I glad I did.

I don't know if it's because I haven't been able to have a proper workout in a while or simply because the game is more challenging than Wii Fit was but boy do I ever workout a sweat when I play it. What I like the most about the game is just that ... it's more of a game than a fitness routine. You do physical, fitness based, actions in order to progress through the game and you're rewarded the same way as you usually are with any other games. RingFit Adventure certainly isn't the first fitness based game but it's the first one that I connected with and now I "get" the potential that these types of games can have.

In the future, I hope to see a version of RingFit Adventure that can be used with actual fitness equipment. Think about plugging a cardio machine with RingFit and using that instead of "walking in place"... wouldn't that be something?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A New Beginning for Manking

In Star Trek, we're shown a side of humanity where we've conquered ourselves which allowed us to reach the stars. In that world, we have Holodecks, Food Replicators, Transporters... (and other technologies) that very few seems to be using for selfish ends. Someone could, for example, spend their entire lives in a Holodeck but it seems to be understood that these technologies are to be used in moderation.

I like the idea of leaving the worse of ourselves behind as we reach for the stars. A new beginning with all of the good and as little as the bad as possible. The closest mankind got to a new beginning was when Christopher Columbus invaded the Americas but I don't consider this a good new beginning as there was no thinking behind it. 
That event eventually lead to the formation of the United States of America which is mankind's best attempt at creating the perfect form of Government yet. It's not perfect because we're not perfect but it still revolutionized the world. Sadly, this form of Government can only be maintained for as long as the people within it are educated, and engaged, enough to keep it from collapsing and it does look, at least to me, like cracks are starting to show... but that's outside of the scope of this post.

It's not to say that everything is wrong with the world today or that we would get it right simply by starting over again but if we were to start a new civilization somewhere else it would force us to sit down and think about the type of society that we want to build. Having this moment to ponder about our new beginning would, hopefully, be as beneficial as it was in the creation of the United States of America.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Joys of Online Dating

My initial thought about this new online conquest is that she was beautiful and we were a match. Obviously, I wanted to know more before setting a date so we decided to add each other on Facebook which revealed that she was pretty active in the anti-vaccine/conspiracy community.
When I confronted her about this, shall I say, blatant disregard of science she proceeded to call me a sheep and we decided to part ways soon after.

Look, it's pretty simple to me, anti-vaxxers falls in the same category as people that believe the Earth is flat or that Trump election was stolen. What I mean by this is that in order to believe these things we have to either look facts straight in the eyes and say "I don't believe you" or bend our sense of logic in order to accommodate those beliefs.

My hope for these people, at least as far as Covid-19 is concerned, is that they don't get complications from this disease.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Yes, I shared the above quote in a previous post but it's worth mentioning again. We may not like the idea of vaccines but we can't disregard its benefits. For many, the vaccine is the only thing that can give them a fighting chance against the virus.

My initial impression of that person was very good but I can't see myself dating someone that can turn a blind eye to the events that's been dominating our lives for the past 2 years. I can't date someone that can look at the millions of death and say "it's not worse than the flue" or "it's a conspiracy" and shut off any information coming from experts in the field.

Oh the Joys of Online Dating!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Gaming Companies Need a Positive Work Environment

Whether it be Blizzard/Activision, Ubisoft, EA or others... buying a game today feels like supporting some sort of corporate monster that overwork employees or that foster a culture of sexual harassment. Sure, the games those companies produce might be fun to play but the cost of playing them goes beyond the dollar as we're directly supporting the negative environment that created these games. 

I play games because it's fun but the negative work experience many employees went through to created these games tarnishes the overall fun factor for me. I can't help but wonder how many women had to endure unwanted sexual advances in order to work on these games? How many crazy hours did these employees have to work to create these games?

A recent McDonalds ad showed that the coffee they sell are from 100% ethically sourced beans. When you buy a McDonalds' coffee, according to their ad campaign, you're supporting an ethical system which is something that may not be the case with competitors. 

McDonalds is attempting to sell peace of mind along with their coffee and this is something those big gaming companies need to start doing because we live in a world where any, angry, employee can reach millions of people by sharing details of a negative work environment on social media and this is bound to have a negative impact on the overall image of the company.

*Note: This post was taken from my blog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Fear - The Long, or Short, Battle

Have you ever been afraid of speaking infront of a crowd? Talking to a potential mate? The easiest thing to do in the moment is often to run away of the things that we're afraid of but when ever we do then the fight becomes trying to be at peace with the regret that ensues. 

If we don't face these fears then the work becomes trying to be a peace with the regret felt whenever that event pops up in a memory.

Face these fears and the fear disappears but run away from them and they will stick for a long time afterwards.

Talk to that person... speak infront of that crowd ... make the career change... You'll regret not doing it and you may not a chance at these things later on. It's now or never!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Priorities - 2021 Edition!

Every once in a while, I write about priorities trying to figure out a universal order for it something that most can agree upon as being the correct order of things and something to thrive towards. The following is my updated list:

  1. Health: If your Mental/Physical Health isn't on track then everything else on this list becomes more difficult. Regardless of how many time I review these priorities, this always comes at the top.
  2. Self-Improvement: Self-Improvement goes beyond official schooling - it's a lifelong process. We're all students in the school of life and we should learn until the day we die. Education doesn't guarantee success but it does help in all areas of life.
  3. Freedom: Learn about the governmental system of your country and get involved if only to give your opinion. Freedom is important and it's our responsibility to insure that it's not needlessly taken away by those in power. Without freedom, the everything on this list becomes more difficult. This comes after self-improvement because you need a knowledgeable opinion.
  4. Relationship: Being successful means little if you don't have anyone to share it with.
  5. Finance: It's not about being a millionaire as much as being financially stable. The financial system is all around us and it's important for all of us to know how to swim in it.
  6. Fun - Why is this here? Well it's here because we seem to forget that we also need to find some enjoyment in life. While the other items on this list may also be enjoyable, this one is to set some time aside for the activities that you enjoy most.

The above are the priorities in the order I feel they should be... but if you were to look at my life today, you would probably see the priorities as follow:

  1. Finance: I've been fortunate enough to be able to save and invest money during these toughs times. Budget is more important to me than ever as we never know what tomorrow will bring especially when Covid is around.
  2. Fun: During Covid, I've tried to find many escape and "fun" seem to have been the focus.
  3. Health: Nutritious meals, or a good workout, is a bit more difficult to come by again because of Covid. I'm one that seeks the comfort of junk food during difficult times and it's a bit difficult to control these urges.
  4. Freedom: The focus of most Governments right now is on Covid and the Canadian Government has been, for the most part, an example for other Countries to follow. As I'm writing these words, a few provinces are about to go back to "Green" (normal).
  5. Self-Improvement: My reading/learning time has been spent on new boardgames I'm trying to learn (Fun). While this is still "learning", it's not really learning anything useful hence why I haven't put this high on my current list.
  6. Relationship: I've never been that good at keeping in touch with friends. This has become even more of a problem during Covid. 
Do you agree with my list? Comment below! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Now or Never!

Someone recently shared with me their fitness goals, which were totally attainable, but one thing about the goal that was a bit odd to me is that it was set in a few week's time. Why? If you don't start today, what are the chances that you'll muster up the inner strength necessary by the time that you actually want to start? If you don't start today... well you'll never start.

You want to loose weight? Start small! What can you do today to get you a bit closer to that goal? Go for a walk, start looking for the cost of gym membership, do some research on the type of food that can support your fitness goals... do anything that will get you a bit closer to the goal. Start today! 

If you set yourself a goal be sure to include steps that you can do right away. If you wait in order to start then you'll likely never start. Something will always come up that will further delay the beginning of the journey. Start now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

It Doesn't Go Away on Its Own!

A flaw can remain a flaw throughout someone's lifetime as only the things that are considered to be a problem, or that are known to the author, can be changed. 
If someone, for example, started stealing in their youth it is very likely, if left unpunished or unrecognized as being wrong (and subsequently being worked on) by the author, it will remain with him until his death.

I'm saying this because I used to think that some of my flaws would go away, on their own, over time but fast forward 10-15-20 years and those flaws are still there. While I was aware of these flaws, I haven't put the necessary work into fixing them.

Time, by itself, doesn't fix our flaws. Time and acknowledgement of the flaw, without work, will also not fix anything.

The only person that can improve you is you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Have you Tested Your Body?

Mt. Sugarloaf is a mountain I last climbed 10 years ago. I remember at the time that, while the climb was difficult, it wasn't that uncomfortable as it was fairly similar in feeling as the Stairmaster that I was doing 2-4 times a week at the gym.

Fast forward 10 years, I'm now older and not as fit as I used to be and I thought the climb would be as easy as the last time. After all, even though I wasn't going to the gym anymore (due to Covid) I was still working out at home. Lifting weights, doing cardio ... it's all the same as the gym so I thought.

Boy was I wrong...

The climb was difficult and it was made evident to me that my home workout wasn't as difficult I was making it out to be. During the climb, there was a guy that looked at me and said "We're not in our 20s anymore" to which I agreed but age is only part of my problem here. I fully believe that if I would of trained properly the climb would of been easier.

It was a test and I failed...

Is it possible to do as good of a workout at home as you would do in a gym? I think so but, for me, the gym provided a better structure than my home situation allows. When I went to the gym, it was 2-3 hours fully focused on the exercise at hand and at home... well I focus on it 30 minutes and then I get a phone call or the dog wants to get outside or I don't have the proper equipment or...or... Basically all of this, over time, put me in this predicament that I don't want to be in.

It's important to me that my body doesn't get in the way when doing physically demanding activities even if said activities can be few and far in-between. This climb was a wonderful way to make evident the changes I need to make in my home routines. I can see an end to this Pandemic and I can't wait to get back on the gym grind.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

It's My Final Answer!

Lately, I've been feeling like people don't listen to me. When asked if I want to do something, for which I reply negatively, I'm being asked again almost as if they're expecting my answer to change. What am doing that makes people think my original answer isn't my final answer?

Sometimes, these people will ask me "why I said no" in order to find a solution that would make both parties happy but these sales strategies rarely, if ever, work with me as I've read too many books related to selling that I know how to avoid these useless bargaining conversation starters. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you just need to say that you don't want to discuss the reason which is usually enough to stop the inquiry.

I hate having to repeat an answer or the bargaining period that follows an answer that they didn't like (some people won't ask you for a reason and go straight to the bargaining phase). While there will always be times when I'll have to do things that I don't want to be doing, there are also plenty more times when I get to choose and going against how I truly feel isn't being true to myself. Some may call this being difficult but they're only saying that because they don't like the answer they were given.

What ever answer is given to a question should be considered final.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"Be Yourself" (Who Ever That Is)

How can you "be yourself" when you don't know who you are? When you're young, you're just trying to find the best way to live your life and that pursuit has a lot of uncertainties which just adds to the insecurities. While those uncertainties doesn't go away, it does feel like time makes you more comfortable with them and perhaps that is when you truly find yourself.

I lived my life a long time trying to fit in with other people and that part of me started to change in my 30s.

I feel silly now for all the things I did for the sake of being accepted in my group of friends. I've listened to music I didn't really enjoy, partook in activities I didn't really liked or consumed substances I didn't really want to take - all for the sake of being part of "a" group.

Thankfully, I've had no long term effects for doing these things other than perhaps feeling a bit silly for having done them.

"You need to make yourself happy before you try to make others happy. Put yourself first, & do what you have to do for your own well being."
-Nisban Panwar

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Try New Things

My sister is part of my Covid "Bubble" and whenever we hangout we always end up going to a, new to me, restaurant. We both live in the same city but she's definitely been more adventurous with her culinary escapades as I have and it made me re-examine my approach to life (at least as far as restaurants goes).

Growing up, the family wasn't really comfortable with change. That means that, most of the time, we ended up in the same fast food restaurants ordering the items we knew we were going to like. Now I realize that this is such a small way to live!

I recently brought my mom to a "new to us" restaurant and ordered something totally at random on the menu. When my mom saw what I had purchased she was in utter disrepair. She definitely had a look of "I'm going to hate whatever this is supposed to be" but guess what? We actually both enjoyed the meal and are planning to try something else from that restaurant in the coming days.

I didn't realize how much in a rut I was until my sister showed me what she was doing with her life. Sure, it may just have been a restaurant outing but it showed me that I'm a man that enjoys his comfort and I tend go towards what is comfortable when I stop paying attention. I made it a point to not only try new restaurants but also try some new things - one of which is trying to learn what Dungeons and Dragons is all about.

Try something new... you may end up enjoying it. If not, then that's something else you know that you don't like in this world.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Shame on YOU if You Need an Incentive to Vaccinate!

We're very fortunate to have a vaccine that help us on our fight against COVID-19 but it seems that some people are still reluctant on getting it. Some countries have offered incentives to get more people vaccinated and if you're one of those people that needed an incentive beyond the, you know, not dying and being a threat to your entourage - shame on you!

If you are one of those people, I know you think that those of us that got vaccinated are all brainwashed by taking our information by trusted sources and the media. I know you prefer listening to a youtuber, who's only goal is to get more views, than the facts of the experts. I know you think the vaccines contains a microchip designed to control and track you (like a cellphone). I know you think vaccine causes autism...
Some of you think that if everyone else gets vaccinated then you will be fine but the reality is that you will remain a risk to yourself and those around you. People going through chemo, for example, have a weakened immune system and can still get the disease even though they got vaccinated.

Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from taking the vaccine, there's absolutely no reason for you not to take it. 
It's because of people like you that we need to isolate ourselves for longer than we should. We're all tired of this pandemic and want to move on with our lives but that won't happen until the numbers of new infections goes down and it will go down faster only if people keep lining up to get vaccinated.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Your Career Changes You

It wasn't uncommon to hear someone say "what are you going to do when you grow up?" when I was a teen and I rarely had an answer to that question. I've always been a person that goes with the flow which was still true when choosing a career path. I didn't know what I wanted to do but technology definitely was something I was interested in and seemed the most logical path for me to take at the time.

A few years after High School, I had a software programming college degree at hand and was about to embark on this adventure. While it's been a fantastic career path, I had no idea at the time that the career that I was choosing would also be defining who I would become.
When I was a teen, I was a social butterfly and this is a characteristic of me that changed, for the worse, due to my career. Spending most of my work days in front of a computer, I slowly became more and more comfortable alone with my thoughts than being around other people. 

It's a career path that very few understand, outside of the field, which means that it can't be easily discussed with other people. My parents, for example, often ask me how my day went and on the days where I do feel like sharing I need to dumb it down in order for them to understand. It's not like I can just tell my parents that I spent my day reviewing design/functional/requirement documentation, or spent my day automating a system, as they have no idea what these entail.

The funny thing about the Information Technology industry is that it's so vast that even if you work in it for years it doesn't necessarily mean that you could have a discussion with someone else because their experience with I.T. may be totally different than yours. This means that even people working in the same field sometime can't share their experience with each other. There's a person on our team with the sole responsibility to oversee the network side of things, which is a side of I.T. that I don't fully understand, and when we chat about what he does I'm completely lost.

The person I would become in my career isn't something that was at the forefront of my thoughts when I decided on this career and looking back it's something that should have definitely been included in the decision.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Vaccine - The Choice that Isn't One

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan

When we only think of ourselves, it's easy to say no to a vaccine but we have to remember that these, important, decision doesn't only impact us. It impacts our family, friends and strangers both near and far - all good and decent people that deserve to live a life free of deadly diseases.
While I can certainly understand the fear some people have in regards to vaccines we can't, however, deny it's efficiency as there are many more people surviving a vaccine than people surviving the disease the vaccines were designed to protect us against.

There's no choice in regards to vaccines designed to protect us against an infectious, deadly, disease. Not taking those types of vaccines means that you are a potential risk to yourself and your entourage in spreading the infection. It's our duty, as individuals, to insure that we don't become a vehicle for infections for diseases with a high mortality rate.

If you choose not to take the vaccine, you potentially become a danger to yourself and others. It's illegal for anyone to kill someone else; why is it legal for someone to spread a deadly disease? We could argue that the method of killing is different but the result is the same from the victim's perspective. 
Being responsible for spreading a deadly, infectious, disease may end up killing more people than a knife, or a gun, ever could in your hands.

Be part of the solution and get vaccinated. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Need a Reason To Walk? Play Pokemon Go!

My sister got me into Pokemon Go, again, and I was pleasantly surprised by the improvements made to the game over the years (last played in 2016). A side effect of playing Pokemon Go is that you'll heavily be enticed to go on walks because when you do you can hatch "eggs" or increase your chance of finding those little critters to add to your collection.

Obviously, this won't work for everyone but it sure did for me. I do have days when I don't feel like walking but then I look at Pokemon Go and see that I have an egg that's about to hatch in less than 1KM... That's often enough to get me to go for a quick walk. Once there, I usually end up walking for longer than I originally planned.

When it comes to personal fitness, apps like Pokemon Go may just be the little motivation you need to get started on a given day. The game is available on Android/IOS phones and is free to play. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Learn to Love the Noise in the Home

It's not uncommon for a parent to tell their kids to behave or not make as much noises. In the moment, the noise may seem aggravating and we may want to have silence in order to think more clearly but the reality is that the noise means that someone else, often someone we love, is around and living their lives nearby. No noise means that nobody else is home.

While we might value peace, we are also social creatures that is within a society where we seem to get lonelier the older we get. There comes a time when we wish we could have a noisy life again as it means we were around the people we cared the most about.

There's life, there's movement, there's energy in the noise that we ear. We may not like it in the moment but it's very likely that we'll miss it once it's gone - especially if it's noise that's the result of a happy home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Time goes By Fast When You're Having Fun

It's been said that "time goes by fast when you're having fun" but I would argue that time goes by fast even if you're not having fun.

My father told me recently that he believes the main reason why we feel that time goes fast is because we don't remember much of it. When we think back, there are some obscure memories that pops up but not necessarily anything from last week, or last month, or last year. 
This "void" we feel when we look back on our life is, according to my dad, the reason why we feel like life went by fast. We know we were young once, then there's a laps of time that we only remember bits and pieces of, and there's now. 

It almost feels like something is missing.

We don't remember trivial things because it's not necessary for our continuous survival. Our brain set aside some memories, that are less important, in favor of more important ones. Remembering what you ate for diner, 2 weeks ago, isn't as important as remembering how to drive. (There's an interesting article on this on Lesley University page here)

Yes, life is short and that's especially evident when we look back trying to remember all that we've accomplished. We need to forgive ourselves for not remembering every details and remember that the fact that we're alive today means that what ever we did was sufficient for our survival up to this point.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Working out During Work Breaks

Nothing has made me move more than my Apple Watch. Every hour, it tells me that I need to get up for at least a minute and it keeps sending me reminders of my exercise progress, or lack thereof, throughout the day.
I'm thankful for this little device because, ever since the Pandemic hit, I haven't been going to the gym and working out at home has proven more difficult. I find it a bit shocking how little I would actually move, on some days, if my watch didn't tell me to.

One thing I've been doing is incorporating some exercises during my work day. On my lunch break, for example, I'll do 20-30 min cardio. When my watch ask me to get up, I sometime work on a muscle group for a minute to "satisfy" it... All of this doesn't really replace the gym but every little bit helps.

I recently ordered a fitness ball and the plan is to use it as an office chair in order to work the core as I work. I'm also thinking on buying a under desk bike. All these little things may not sound like much but it's important to find the time to workout and these little things do add up over time. Sure, I may not be able to build as much muscle mass as I used to from going to the gym but it's more about getting the stress out than anything else at this point.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

That Sure Was Negative...

I spoke with an individual that suffers from depression and it was made evident to me that the philosophical beliefs someone has is greatly influenced by how they feel. The discussion was about the benefits of eating good food versus bad food and ended up with that person telling me that "it doesn't matter whether you eat well or not because we're all going to end up dead anyway".

While the statement is true, there's a definite negative connotation to it. To me, it's not a question of whether or not we'll die, because we will, but how to make our time, alive, feel the best that we can.

It's proven that eating good food increases our overall wellbeing.  
It's proven that exercising increases our overall wellbeing.
It's proven that a good night sleep increases our overall wellbeing.

Not following these "wellbeing rules" increases our chances of having mental or physical problems. 

Sometimes, even if we follow all the "rules", there will still be days when we won't feel our best. We should still follow them to give our bodies a fighting chance because feeling negative can ruin a day and, as my friend specified above, there are only so many days for us to enjoy.

When you don't feel right, try to identify the reason behind it and see if you can make an improvement. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Are You a Passive or Active Employee?

I've been working for the better part of 15 years now and I've come to understand the difference between an active and a passive employee.

  • A passive employee is someone that can do the work but usually won't start until he's told, exactly, what to do.
  • An active employee is someone that can do the work but generally doesn't need to be told what to do.
Generally speaking, both type of employees are able to do the work but active employees are easier to work with. Since you don't have to tell an active employee what to do, it's possible that he'll be working on things that are not necessarily the top priority for the project; this is why it's important to share clear objective with them.

I originally was a passive employee as I had no clue how to add value on a project when I first started but, as I became more comfortable in my role, I slowly evolve into an active role. Part of this is due to the fact that I hate being told what to do and by finding out, myself, what to do it removes the need for someone else to tell me.
Some people remain passive employees for their entire careers. I wish I could tell you that this is fine but this isn't how I feel about it. When the work demands someone that is able to think on their feet, and the passive worker's contribution never goes beyond what you tell them to do, then their contribution to the project is limited to their manager's ability to tell them what to do. Those types of people are better suited in position that are clear and consistent and require little to no supervision.

Are you a passive or an active worker?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Fear of Running Out

It's been said that the Fear of Running Out (FORO) is a universal phenomenon. You can see it when people make large purchases before a storm, a pandemic, or buy the same item multiple times for fear of one breaking.
We do this because we associate these things with our survival and having more of it means that we can survive for longer.

While I'm guilty of this too, I do find it irrational when thinking about it. The most wanted item, during the Pandemic, was toilet paper. 
The biggest fear my mother had was missing out on toilet paper even though she already had a year worth of it in storage (she buys in bulk when it's on special). In this case, it make sense for people to stock on food as we all fear that Covid can have a negative impact on the food supply but why in the world is toilet paper an issue? I mean, worse come to worse, everyone could just get a bidet (which we should all have to save water really).

For me, this fear of running out is mixed with an addiction. When it comes to video games, my addiction, I'm always afraid that I'm going to run out. I have a stack of video games that I haven't even opened yet just because I'll get to it when I'm done the current ones I'm playing (I also like to collect them). I buy 2 controllers in case one goes out and I also have 2 versions of a console (ex: PS4/PS4 Pro) for the same reason.
It's important to understand what the fear is and, in my case, the addiction as that's the first step in fixing things.

Do you have a fear of running out? If so, what is it about?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I'm Not A Good Leader

When I first started my career, at around the age of 20, I believed I could lead the company I worked for within 2-3 weeks. That was fifteen years ago and now that I am in a leadership role I feel like I'm not doing a good job at it... where did all of that youthful optimism go?

Delegating the tasks is one of my biggest problem as I strongly believe that nobody else can do things better than I can. The problem is amplified when the task is given to someone else and he tells me that he doesn't know how to do it; of course he doesn't because I've been doing it all this time not letting him learn from it. 
I'm at the point now where it's no longer possible to do everything and I have to train other people to do some of what I do. What is sometime odd to me is that I get a feeling of frustration when they don't "get it" as I, somehow, believe that they should of picked up a few things over their time spent on the project.

As crazy as it may sound, there's a feeling of accomplishment I get from completing all of these tasks and knowing that I'm better at them than most - this is the core of the issue. To be an effective leader, you need to be good at delegating the less important things so that your focus is on the important things. Perhaps the best thing about this new position is that I get the opportunity to try/fail and, most importantly, understand the things I've been reading in all those leadership books.

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