Wear a mask

The view from my apartment window in China. I wore a N95 mask regularly for entirely different reasons than we do today. Eventually it became inconvenient, I became complacent, and as a result, I have no doubt my lungs are filled with all manner of micro-garbage. It’s scenes like this which help me appreciate what we have here on the Island. Often when outside I simply stand and stare at the deep blue skies in appreciation.


Yesterday, after a short run, a bit of work, 2 naps, and a long Fascial Stretch and Release session at Reactive Wellness I was still feeling tired, listless and generally … blah. Remembering the wise words of my mother, I headed to the closest beach for a short walk in the hope that by being close to the sea all ailments may well disappear. While it did nothing for my aching muscles, a short walk amongst the red sand cleared my head and prepared me for the remainder of the evening. We are lucky to close to clean beaches.

The Shed Visited

I think we have contender in the upcoming Charlottetown coffee wars. I had the honour to have tried one of their first Lattés, and though the barista seemed unsure of himself, it tasted fine. This is the second coffee shop in town where you can choose what flavour profile you want in your expresso, I chose the light roasted bean from Peru. My only complaint is that in terms of taste the coffee to milk ratio seems off – too much milk.

3 Years Ago

3 years ago today I had my last taste of Japanese cheesecake and a Latté at Ink as a sending off treat before I boarded a plane the next day ultimately bound for Charlottetown. We’ve decided to stay another 3 years to allow our son to graduate high school and our daughter to settle into university life. By then perhaps the housing market will have settled and we can be in a better place to decide whether to stay or move on.

On to the next

I have a pernicious habit of not celebrating wins with more than a simple statement of “Good, what’s next”.

I finished the PEI marathon one year unscathed, and unsatisfied ran it again the following weekend. I was unsatisfied with that effort as well, but my Achilles wouldn’t endure a third attempt. I launched a 5-6 year effort to change my direction in life – lost 40kg in the process, became a marathon runner, became fluent in Chinese, and landed a job as a usability “expert” and did the same, said “good”, and picked the next target (China).

That’s fine for me but I often forget that it’s not fine for others.

Tomorrow, my son graduates middle school with grades in the high 90’s, is an accomplished swimmer, loves CrossFit, and is smart and strong as hell.

Tomorrow, my daughter, who with her boundless creativity has influenced my life immeasurably, graduates high school, and is attending UPEI in the fall to study modern languages.

Both of these kids have seen more of the world and accomplished far more than I could have ever dreamed of at their age.

And I am proud.

This week I will take time to celebrate their wins and let them know that what they have done deserves far more joy than I commonly give myself.

Walking to town

I gifted myself a walk across the bridge today and the experience is so much more improved than the previous dance with large trucks that it verges on relaxing. What a difference a little thought makes.

Not to sully this little celebratory jig, but I find it hard to believe that the city of Charlottetown had much to do with the planning of this project. As the superhighway sized road construction continues on St. Peter’s Road seems to illustrate, the continued effort to drive people out of the city and into the countryside continues unabated, thereby eventually turning the whole of PEI into the banality of suburban Toronto. It’s not just a government stuck in the 70’s but a people who don’t want development in their backyard because … traffic. But you can’t get people out of cars without density and so the cycle continues.

What is it like to work in China?

I found our constant attention to WeChat both fascinating and frustrating.

I worked in the design centre, not finance, and was in a less developed province, so while this made many things slightly more relaxed much of what is related by Zara Zhang rings true.

“Work”, as we know it, is basically a struggle to reply to WeChat messages. On any given day, I probably receive several hundred WeChat messages (this is not counting large WeChat groups) for work. Business plans, legal documents, and due diligence files are sent over WeChat. It is very common for professionals to have tens of thousands of unread messages on WeChat. Consider it your email inbox, except that every sentence within an email is broken down into separate messages, so the number of unread messages multiplies. Since WeChat messages come at all times and many require immediate response, people are constantly interrupted and distracted during meetings.
What is it like to work in China? via Jan Chipchase

The Shed

I’m really liking this lets open a coffee shop trend in Charlottetown. I plan on supporting them all. Is this what happens when Starbucks leaves a market, local small enterprises have room to try to make something work?

More taxes

This explains why I have been getting all these last minute notices to enter our BN to avoid tax collection.

The move comes after Ottawa unveiled plans last year to require foreign multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, something they said was fair since Canadian companies were already required to do so.


One of the reasons I have parked myself in the downtown for the summer is to spend time around real live people. When I worked out of my then Jhubei office I would spend my lunch hours watching people come and go at the train station, in part to study how people used mobile devices while living their busy lives, and also because I am an avid people watcher.

Charlottetown is a great place to walk, if you discount the soulless outer rim, you can pretty much walk most of the city within 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, the pandemic has given the downtown a feeling of abandonment with few people out and about, so while I had a relaxing and safe walk, I only met 5 people during my time outside. Hopefully, with restrictions being lifted visitors to the city will breathe some life into the downtown during business hours.

The Bridge

Sheryl and I both spent most of Sunday working so an after dinner walk was in order. One thing we both appreciate about Stratford is her network of trails, parks and beaches, which we need to take advantage of more often.


I’m downtown today on a sunny Sunday sitting in air-conditioned comfort in this lifeless office. I love to work, and I have a tendency to love to work a lot.

Lately I have been spending more time perusing job ads, looking for a position within my current skill set, that doesn’t push my capabilities, nor require intense study. Every position I’ve ever had, bar serving coffee at the YMCA in Toronto, has required hauling out the method books; required a frenetic pace of study to just keep up or lead.

I see others spending their weekends working in their back-yard, tending their gardens, going off to unbeknownst to me events, and generally enjoying some down time. I’d love to spend the day on a bike ride with Camren, or go for a hike in the woods somewhere.

This 7 day a week push was supposed to be temporary. A pandemic thing (what else was there to do but work) and not a lifestyle. We aren’t attempting to cure cancer or solve big problems, nor are we trying to make a lot of money, and yet here I am.

When you reach middle age are you not supposed to slow down? I’m doing the opposite, longer work hours, harder work outs – work outs I compare to going to war. Neither are producing great results.

Maybe it’s time for a period of self-reflection, a re-examing of priorities and goals. Except, I’m not sure how I’ll find the time.

Toilet UI

When I was in Tokyo and had to make a pit stop I was confronted by this interesting array of choices for what one would assume were to flush the toilet; sometimes the most obvious affordances are best, but for those who have a sense of adventure, pressing the wrong button might lead to surprise and a story to tell. Unfortunately, I could read the characters and was familiar with similar toilets in Taiwan so in this experience I was denied the discovery of something new.