Does anyone need cheap confetti?

Earlier this year, I was cycling to work and had to evade a car. I did so, but in the process lost my balance and fell, breaking my right arm. It’s fine, I’ve recovered now. I’ve even started cycling again, though it takes more courage and determination than it used to. Part of me’s scared of getting hit again, I suppose. Which is probably perfectly reasonable.

What really grinds my gears is the way medicine works down here. I get that public healthcare does not exist and everything is private. Yeah, it’s great that I have effectively full coverage through my employer – which is the only way I’d ever move to the US – but what’s not great is the way billing is handled. Billing is in fact pretty terrible. I received a bill this week for services back in May, that my insurance hadn’t paid their part on until July, and apparently I owe late fees on this amount. I make a point of paying my bills as soon as I get them so I’m not entirely sure where this came from. Unless I just didn’t get the bill originally to begin with. Or maybe I did, but I didn’t notice it when I opened my mailbox only to receive junk mail to legitimate mail in a 10:1 ratio at best.

I’m not blaming USPS, I know they’re in dire financial straits and are struggling to remain solvent. People aren’t sending as many letters as they used to and junk mail is their bread and butter now. But I consider it a chore to check my mail because it nearly always consists of:

  • A million flyers
  • A credit offer I’m not interested in. I try to be fiscally responsible, which seems to be a shockingly foreign concept to the credit agencies. Or maybe that’s why I get all the offers, because I actually pay my bills and live within my means.
  • Sirius XM begging me to subscribe to their services

If I’m lucky, there might be a piece of mail I care about in the mix somewhere. Usually not, but sometimes. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if a bill was sent to me but just didn’t make it to my apartment because I didn’t see it amidst the junk mail.

Really, the whole system seems inefficient. Bill me electronically – clearly the capability is there as my insurance is able to notify me by e-mail whenever a claim comes in. Stop sending me flyers that go straight into the recycling without getting more than a sigh from me. Let me come to you if I want more credit. Right now it’s just a waste of everyone’s time in fuel delivering me this paper, only for me to throw it in the recycling, or shred it, and then truck it off to the recycling depot.

I miss Canada. Less junk mail and saner health care. Assuming King Steve hasn’t gutted everything while I’ve been away.


I’ve been with Google for a bit more than a year now.  Where did all the time go?  I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve renewed the lease on my apartment so I can finally go for a year without moving.  Which is really nice – I’m finally decorating the place a bit and it feels more like a proper home.

Reflecting on recent events, I don’t think you could sit the me of a few years ago down and tell me where I’d be at this time in my life.  Living in the United States, owning a car, working for Google, all that.  Oh, and I can’t forget managing globally distributed systems which make the build system I worked on at Relic insignificant by comparison.  The tech, the scale, the complexity and elegance of everything is just mind-boggling and many mornings I wake up still feeling incredulous about where my lot in life has taken me.  I’m very fortunate.

The biggest thing I didn’t expect was that I’d be forced to learn to go with the flow, to choose my battles, by virtue of not having enough energy to do otherwise.  I’ve struggled to learn to prioritize and ration my energy to make it through the day. This all began when a routine physical and blood screen detected elevated compounds in my blood, leading to diagnosis of a condition causing me fatigue, mental fogginess, lethargy, the works.  Throughout this, I became intimately familiar with the spoon metaphor. Also, there were plenty of days where I was basically a zombie – physically present but not contributing much of anything mentally.

That was finally dealt with this week, conclusively, via surgery, and already I notice a huge improvement. I feel like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m beginning to have energy again. Today I was able to do whatever I wanted without feeling pressed to ration my energy and ensure I can make it through the day. I’m tired right now, but it’s the kind of tired caused by my body being physically worn out. Once I’ve finished recovering from surgery I hope to get right back to the gym, right back into cycling to work, and shed the weight I’ve gained this year.  Now that my mind is rapidly coming back into order, getting the rest of me into shape ought to be easy by comparison. Right?

Sui Sha Ya

I didn’t plan to write restaurant reviews, but today I went to a good Japanese place at Metrotown and feel like posting about it. Sui Sha Ya is an all you can eat Japanese restaurant by The Bay. The reviews on DineHere are mixed, so I had my reservations, but it turned out to be really good! Between Shadan and I, we ordered the following:

  • Salmon maki
  • Beef maki
  • California rolls
  • Chicken teriyaki
  • Beef teriyaki
  • Yam tempura
  • Beef udon
  • Agedashi tofu
  • Miso soup

Everything was really tasty. I never really liked sushi before, but this was so nicely done that I found myself quite enjoying it. I haven’t had enough Japanese food to really qualify a baseline for what was good about this restaurant, unfortunately. I’ll admit I ordered some of the above for the sake of staying in my comfort zone but it really wasn’t necessary. Now that I’ve had good sushi, I have to say I like it! I’d like my geek license back now, Internet.

Dessert consisted of plenty of orange Jello (Shadan’s a Jello junkie) and fresh orange slices. It’s Jello and fruit slices, nothing particularly special.

Other times I’ve had green tea, it was too strong. The tea here was the right strength for my tastes, and the servers were very good about keeping us topped up.

My chopstick technique has been developing at a good pace recently, so I was able to have my udon without constantly dropping the noodles. It’s a good thing, especially since I’m going to Japan in November! Stay tuned for more frequent updates, and photos, from the Land of the Rising Sun.

P.S.: This week I will get a post up about the jambalaya I made in September.

Where’d everything go?

I have decided that a combination of my rants about things I don’t like, the odd bit of good news, and my adventures in cooking just don’t form a good blog. So, I have taken down all the irrelevant posts and have decided to refocus my blog. It will cover the following:

  • My cooking
  • My programming projects
  • Any major personal stuff I feel is worth sharing with the Internet at large

Stay tuned for better, hopefully more frequent, content, and some renewed enthusiasm from the author. On my to-post-about list:

  • Jambalaya from two weeks ago. It was an easy recipe, though I didn’t have the right rice in stock.
  • My latest indie game dev idea. I’ve codenamed the project Megavania, in reference to some of the major inspirations.

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