I am not participating in the CrossFit Open this year, and feel no great interest in participating in the future, though that may change as the competition has been far more inclusive than I remember in the past. People with all range of challenges are encouraged to participate, from wheelchair bound athletes to people in their 60’s.

Our new gym does include the workouts as a part of their programming and I completed this last Saturday workout “21.2.”

Prior to heading to the gym I watched Tia Clair Toomeycruise through” the workout with seeming ease. Encouraged, I went to the workout without any reservations as to how hard it might be on my body. As evidence that nothing is as easy to accomplish in real life as what you on Youtube, I did not “cruise through” the workout with any of the grace I witnessed with Tia.

I was a complete sweaty mess and it took me 2 days of rest and stretching to recover.

My workout was the scaled version, which I completed in 18 minutes which though half of the Mens Rx winner of 9 minutes was not a bad performance for my first time out.

A better sonic experience

When we purchased a new MacBook last summer Apple was running a promotion whereby they would throw in a pair of AirPods for free, or a pair of AirPod Pro’s for $100. I jumped at the chance and purchased the AirPod Pros.

They have proven to be miraculously effective in staying in my ears no matter the activity – there have been one or two pairs of in-ear headphones that could fit securely in both my ears, Etymotic and Yurbuds, but they do so reluctantly.

Having access to Siri while doing various things is nice, though Siri itself is rather anemic and it’s utility beyond sending messages suspect.

The defining feature of the AirPods must be the noise cancellation which is pretty effective in my use cases.

One of the most interesting use cases for me, which though my son says I look like a Dweeb (and I agree), is to wear them while shopping at the grocery store. You never realize just how noisy retail environments are until you have the opportunity to remove all the background hum and machinations that this environment produces. I’ve listened to podcasts or some of the soundscape episodes I’ve produced, but walking around while cancelling noise is effective enough.

Now if there was only a way to reduce the amount of harsh blue light in the stores, the experience would be all the better.

3 + 1

16 years ago we were invited to display our musical chairs prototype in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei but somehow forgot one of the chairs we used. Though the replacement worked it was rather embarrassing. Actually, considering how simplistic the concept was, I’m surprised we were invited at all. We embedded pressure sensors in pillows which allowed people to create music by activating prepared samples and manipulating various parameters based on how people moved to the music. Though the artists statement was ever so slightly more eloquent, essentially four people created a musical performance with their ass. An in-action shot is below.

In praise of Apple Pay

Until recently I’ve avoided having any financial data on any phone more out of a sense of prudence than being a luddite. When I was in China I carried a separate iPhone, due in part to the rampant thievery there, the realization that the company I was working for tracked my every movement with their required app, and because WeChat was the default payment method.

Recently one night in a string of many mistakes I’ve made of late, I walked out the door to buy groceries without taking my wallet. Having set-up Apple Pay earlier when I arrived at the cashier I gave Apple Pay a try and was struck at how much faster it was compared to the usual tap with credit card.

I’ve always been a bit dubious about any added benefit of using a phone for tap vs a credit card, but for whatever reason the process is much faster with Apple Pay and I’m now sold on it’s usage.

Which makes me wonder about the future of cash – something I haven’t had in my pocket in years.

Off to UPEI

Catriona and her Japanese teacher.

Catriona is off to UPEI in the fall to study modern languages. We had given some thought to sending her abroad but the pandemic here in Canada has changed so many plans, and UPEI should give her a more gentle start to adulthood.

She has studied and had interest in a number of languages. Chinese is her mother tongue, with English spoken at home, and while in Taiwan she studied Japanese, Taiwanese, and Hakka. She took a class or two of French in high school, but the results were primarily passing a test vs. any real understanding of the language.

She didn’t take a linear path to attending UPEI in the fall. When we first arrived on PEI we were discussing goals and I mentioned that McGill had a Chinese program that she might be a good fit for. But teenagers apparently have a mind of their own and she stated that she was going to be a surgeon, and that languages were no longer her interest. So began a painful 2 years of her taking sciences and math. She did well in math, but sciences less so.

With the prospect of a 4 year struggle finishing a science degree she quickly changed her mind and will start with the program offering at UPEI. And unlike her younger self when she stated that she was going to move to Alaska as soon as she could, she seems inclined to stay close to home, for now. And for that we are grateful.


This photo was sent to me recently to me on Facebook and reminds me of how supportive many colleagues and friends were during our early years in Taiwan.

Pictured is Sheryl and I, a very small Catriona, and the trio of friends who became my family in Taiwan. My Taiwan sister, Mother, and brother. Camren was still in progress. We were fortunate to have even more sisters and brothers who didn’t appear in this photo.

I often talk about how living overseas developed a kind of resilience, or self-reliance that we would never have developed if we had stayed in Canada. Taiwan’s government was efficient, and at times fair, but the farther the government was from our lives the better. If we lost our jobs, no help was coming, and in fact you would be required to leave the country quickly. If you wanted to retrain for another career, you pay for it yourself. There were no-one of the social or business supports that so many enjoy here (and interestingly, because we were away for so long there is no government support for us here either).

But we did have support from wonderful people for so many of the years that we lived there. Even after I left ITRI, where I met many of our Taiwan family, the support remained, and we have been in regular contact since.

What getting dressed means now

This photo of my father and I at the CDP was part of a section on garbage in a health/social studies text book.

For all of my adult life, with the exception of that period of time where I would wear a black suit to the office, my definition of work wear consisted at its most fancy, a pair of khakis and leather shoes. For the most part, I’ve dressed the same as when I was a kid – jeans, t-shirt and sneakers.

Today, I stayed home and didn’t make my weekly trip to the town centre for meetings and general conversation. But I still decided to dress for the office. Which meant ditching the comfy gym shorts and old t-shirt, and donning gym pants and a fresh sweat shirt. I don’t think it’s possible to get any more casual.

I’m in full support of this anti-fashion, super comfortable work from home office attire.


A business card message I can agree with. It’s amazing the small stupid things that you carry around for years.

CrossFit via zoom

I joined a Crossfit class via Zoom at lunch time today and while I appreciated the opportunity to be gently goaded to get out of my chair and move my body, I hope it doesn’t become a habit. It’s essential to do some kind of functional exercise everyday and throwing myself into CrossFit training has helped my mental health immensely. It’s a great diversion from running while the roads remain perilously ‘slippy”.

But more Zoom time is not the answer, for me. It’s just far too impersonal.