I got back from Montreal last night after a four night stay. I went up with the Canada Games swim team to an International meet primarily to support and spend time with Camren, but also to help the team wherever required. I spent most of my time outside in the hot sun, pool side, watching, listening, learning and occasionally yelling kudos to the swimmers.

Originally I planned to fly up as I couldn’t fathom sitting on the coach bus for 12 or more hours, but luckily I didn’t, as those few that did fly suffered at the hands of Air Canada. Their trip was far longer than ours and without a nights sleep.

There were many highlights during the brief trip: watching kids compete is a powerful thing, Montreal unlike Charlottetown has wonderful mango and watermelon, my son was thrilled to eat rice triangles again, apartments and condos seem built to last unlike the ugly rickety structures built locally, and I love how much space is given to bicycles and pedestrians.

While I enjoyed the trip, I’m not sure I can ever live in a big city again. I feel more settled in small towns like Charlottetown. We’ll see if I feel the same way when we decide whether to move back to Asia in the next few years.


I’m experiencing deja vu this morning as some workers next door are sawing, drilling, and generally making as much noise as possible. This as I have a deadline which requires quiet.

In Taiwan, inevitably whenever plans were made to do some concentrated work at home, or take a rest day, or in one case celebrate Christmas, someone somewhere would decide to refurbish their whole apartment. Some neighbours would do it multiple times a year. This of course involved lots of drilling of concrete and deafening noise. This tendency to create noise whenever it pleased was one of the many reasons that prompted our decision to leave and return to a place with slightly less noise. Except for today of course.

So much has been happening all at once lately, that I think I must add a shit happens clause to my life. Whereby everything gets postponed until all the dust settles.

Give yourself permission to be creative

Many nights when we have time to watch a show Camren and I afterwards will watch a little something on Youtube. I’ve been fascinated lately with these small svelt young women in Vietnam constructing houses using simply their surroundings, and then gather food at the end and have a meal. Other times we have a chuckle and gain a little inspiration from various David Goggins videos. What’s interesting is that since we don’t log in to our TV’s Youtube app we get delivered a fuller range of interesting topics.

Thursday night it was an interview with Jordan Peterson, where he said his oft repeated trope that “weak men are dangerous”. So of course Camren picked up on this and made a joke about it, but it was a good lesson, as we listened to it multiple times, and I pointed out that it was nothing but completely incoherent verbal diarrhea with sound bites like above, that impressionable young men like my son could pick up on. I mentioned to Camren that I think no one truly listens anymore, they just hear what they want to hear, just like on the web they see what they believe, rather than believe what they see. Camren said maybe he wasn’t prepared.

But we did find something interesting to watch, which was the above talk by Ethan Hawke, whose views on work and creating I enjoy listening to. He too is not always easy to follow, and reiterates on “being the fool” or step outside your boundaries advice that many could use (I write children’s stories though I’m not a writer, and have been failing at Olympic lifting for years now). It’s obvious that he is an intelligent and thoughtful artist, unlike the aforementioned, who seems to have gone off the rails of late.

Comment no more

I wrote in January about the effects that my Twitter habit was having on my mood and since deleting my “PEI list” that contained hundreds of people and organizations with roots on the Island, my mood improved immeasurably. I took it a bit further and unfollowed even more, and if it weren’t for @Asymco I might not use Twitter at all.

The fact that their language started to enter my lexicon was reason enough (to classify is to be human, but to oversimplify risks objectifying), but their constant yelling, “vitriol, virtue signalling, and an endless stream of all that is wrong with the world” was depressing.

Online discussion amongst strangers is largely dead I think and best avoided.

The only real source of Canadian news that I read is the CBC website, I can’t stomach many of the big city papers and the local Guardian doesn’t seem worth paying for. Lately, the comment section has been over-run with angry angry people, maybe it always has been, but I found a decent antidote to them polluting what is otherwise a rather pedestrian read.

I installed a safari extension that deletes all comment sections on most websites I visit. That, plus the ad-blocker I use removes all many of the current annoyances of the web, and makes for a faster loading, more satisfying reading experience.


I spent a morning recently with my 90 year old Uncle at the QEH, helping him get from point A to point B, and ensuring when possible that he understood the instructions of staff. He’s the last remaining elder on my side of the family, with the others having succumbed to the evils of cancer and bodies that could no longer support them.

If you are open to change and are on the fence as to whether you should modify your eating and physical habits, just spend some time at the hospital to see what it could be like if you don’t. The number of people of all ages unable to move their bodies as designed is distressing.

The way our medical system operates, you only interact with it when you are at your worst, when things are broken, or when you are sick. That is if you are able to see a doctor in a timely manner. In my youth I remember seeing my GP on a regular basis and being told to take care of certain aspects of my health, lose weight and get exercise. I’m not sure if doctors still do that or if they are even allowed to tell someone they are overweight.

So while my hospital observations may represent the worst case outcome for a sedentary lifestyle, it certainly gave me some encouragement to continue trying to keep moving, keep working on some form of athleticism, as I move through this phase of my life.

Last night I reluctantly went to a CrossFit workout. All I really wanted to do was stay at the office to try and finish the endless list of tasks I have to do. But after an hour of hanging out with good people, safely sweating a bit, my mood completely changed. I was talkative even. That’s evidence enough for me to keep trying.

Favorite stretch

I take a picture of this stretch of Victoria Row most days that I walk over to The Shed for coffee. It’s possibly my favourite stretch of road in all of Charlottetown and I only wish most of the downtown area was closed to monster trucks and open to those who can and like to walk (or bike).

Camren and I

Though he at times struggles with being overshadowed by his extroverted peers, and the negative framing that seems to follow being quiet, Camren has many of the qualities I respect in young men. He is quiet and determined, posesses grit, is intelligent and curious, dependable, works hard, and has great athletic potential.

To quit

I dropped into KC clothing for the first time in ages yesterday in search of something suitable to wear to a dinner I have to attend. I am told that it’s socially unacceptable to wear what I arrive to the office in – gym pants and hoodie – at a fancy restaurant in a hotel. So to avoid embarrassing my son and wife with the stares of others, or the possible baring of entry, I am in need of some proper pants.

I do have pants, and my previous office wear, jeans and t-shirts, but what I have recently found out was that they were purchased for someone who was slimmer and more athletic than I am now. My legs wouldn’t even fit in one pair. Thank you carbs.

This revelation was the topper to a week of suffering through what Goggins would call Poopy Pants mentality.

About 10 days ago during a workout I seemed to have strained a minor muscle that connects to my hip, making running impossible. This occurred after having spent a small fortune on a running assessment with a local physio., where we identified some minor issues to work on, so I can get back to training after a year off due to a different injury.

Though I am not ambitious, I’ve long believed in a work harder (and smarter), keep moving forward attitude, and I shudder whenever I hear people talking about being kind to yourself. But this past week I have come the closest I have come yet to just say, what the fuck am I doing this for, and quit.

I’m a big believer in keeping active and functional fitness. So many people my age or even much younger can’t get from point A to B without a car, some can’t bear a couple flights of stairs, and then later many find it hard to even get out of a chair. That’s no way to live and a sure fire way to frequent visits to a doctor, if you can find one.

Running has been a boon to my mental health and the inability to go for a long run has contributed to a more gray outlook towards the world.

Crossfit or functional fitness I describe as essential for injury free movement. Ironically, it’s where all my injuries have come from of late. It has done wonders for my conditioning and I love the intensity of some of the workouts. It keeps my hinge (hips) strong.

I’ve been through this before and worked my way through it, but I wasn’t working 7 days a week then, and there was more extrinsic motivation than what I have now.

Perhaps It is time to reexamine my concept of work life balance and see if I have the energy to work through injuries again.