Two totally different worlds

The company that I work for has secondary offices in Texas. While our primary office, and most of the employees work here in Canada, there are quite a few who work in Dallas.

The company as a whole has been working from home since March 9th. That’s everyone. Those here in Canada and those down in Texas. While Canada’s cases of COVID has been serious, it’s not nearly been as bad as what the United States has seen and what Texas alone has seen.

So we’re all working from home and will likely be until September or later. While there are less than 1,000 active cases in this province right now, everyone is still being hyper-vigilant about COVID. You don’t go anywhere without a mask. Large events aren’t happening. People, for the most part, are trying to keep the spread at bay.

Texas, on the other hand, we keep hearing stories about how there’s been a surge in cases lately and that the state may have to do some form of ‘shut down’ once again due to the public health risk of so many people being out and spreading the virus.

For reference, there are presently 65,000 more COVID cases in Texas than there are in all of Canada.

So this morning we’re on a call with the Dallas team and one of them asks ‘So how was your Canada day? What did ya’ll do?’

Each of us responded with different variations of ‘absolutely nothing’ because we’re still very much not in the public event planning stage here in Canada.

Anyways, she says ‘I’m so excited for the fourth!’

‘Oh yeah?’ I asked.

‘My girlfriends and I are renting a house down in Galveston and we’re going to have a giant party on the beach. It’s going to be four straight days of barbecues and bar-hopping.’ She laughs.

‘You’re not worried about Corona Virus?’ My boss asked, cautiously.

‘Nah. That’s not that big of a deal.’ She said.

‘It is a big deal’, my boss said. ‘Please be safe and social distance with your friends!’

My boss said it in a very concerned, but very professional manner. He wasn’t trying to lecture here, but more just trying to state the obvious. Well, she didn’t like that. Her response?

‘I ain’t going to let no imaginary disease ruin my 4th of July. We only get one 4th every year and I’m going to make the best of it’.

I was trying to hide my face at this point so that I didn’t say anything condescending. I honestly wanted to. People on the video call kind of… looked away. She was like ‘Hey, if I get sick I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. And if it’s my time to go, I guess it’s my time to go. Nothing is going to ruin my fourth of July.’

I just…

Wow.

I can’t.

How do you have discussions with her? How do you explain to her that it’s not just herself whom she’s putting in harms way?

You can’t.

You really can’t.

We’re living in two completely different worlds.

Our office is avoiding the human race, and each other, at all costs. Seven people have been diagnosed and they’ve all shared some very scary stories about what they refer to as the worst sickness they’ve ever experienced. And this girl? Her response is ‘If I get it, oh well!’

Paid sick leave, right?

Oh my.

Our countries might be right next door to one another but we’re living in two completely different worlds.

Canadian Corona Update

The daily provincial update for Corona Virus was a big one for our corner of the world today. For the first time since March 6th, there were no new confirmed cases of Corona Virus in our region.

Businesses have been slowly reopening, kids have been slowly heading back to class and there seems to be a little more pep to everyone’s step. The Cancer Clinic has started booking appointments again, which is great for my mom. All of her appointments got suspended in March.

While I’m still weary about getting too close to others, it feels like others really don’t give a damn. Like they believe this virus is behind us. Social distancing seems virtually non-existent and the mask/no mask ratio is pathetic. I’m also in the process of moving to a part of the country that was a lot harder hit by Corona Virus then where I’ve been presently residing.

I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, cautious that the worst is in front of us and hoping that if wave two does strike, people won’t be as slow to react as they were this first time.

86% of people who tested positive in British Columbia have now recovered. I don’t recall how many are still in hospital, but I don’t think the number is too high. Also, we received my Uncle’s death certificate so things can officially proceed forward with paying his bills, taxes and debts and the subsequent distribution of his estate.

If you’re going to a protest, make sure you wear a mask. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane.

Thoughts and worries and such

As tree planting season begins in the north, it’s noticeably different this year.

See, one thing that BC is famous for is our forests. They’re everywhere. There is so much forest in BC that if every single person in this province was actually separated, we’d each get 32 square kilometres of forest to ourselves.

While summer is a beautiful season which is normally great time to celebrate in this part of the world, summer often puts our forests at risk. Hot weather mixed with lightning, careless humans, bonfires or lit cigarettes being discarded of in dry landscape makes for some extremely large forest fires just about every summer without fail.

This province relies on fire fighters and tree planters every summer.

The tree planting season has begun and it’s structure is distinctly abridged from previous years. People are questioning the effectiveness of what these tree planters will be able to accomplish this summer if they stick to strict social distancing guidelines to ensure each of them stay healthy.

And honestly, if that’s the case, when the fires start… we’re fucking screwed.

How are the fire fighters going to effectively fight forest fires if they’re either having to practice social distancing, or they’re falling ill due to COVID?

It’s something I’m genuinely worried about.

We haven’t had enough warm weather yet this year for fires to start. But I genuinely don’t think British Columbian’s understand what could be on the line if we don’t social distance enough to fight off COVID. Those fire fighters keep our homes from burning, or lives from being ruined and our province from turning to ash.

What happens if they can’t do what they do because we haven’t done the simple act of staying the fuck home to stop COVID from spreading?

Grocery store math

I had to buy razor blades. I’ve needed razor blades for a while but I have been putting it off because I find them to be so dang expensive that I hate buying them.

Anyone else think that razor blades cost way more than they should? Just me?

So, tonight I made a run for the grocery store just ten minutes before it was to close in hopes that would make for less people in the store. (Totally viable strategy by the way)

The hygiene aisle. Oh, the hygiene aisle is a bad place to be.

This is going to sound very whiny of me, but I’ll just put it out there… shit marketed towards women is ALWAYS more expensive than the counterpart marketing towards women. It just is. That’s actually another reason why I hate buying razor blades.

You can buy a totally bomb razor from the men’s side of the aisle for $10. Four refill cartridges cost between $10-15. You can buy an average razor on the women’s side of the aisle for anywhere from $16-22. If you want a good razor, it’s likely going to cost $25 or more. And cartridges for those… oh the cartridges…

I went to the grocery store to buy refill cartridges for my razor. I already have the razor. I don’t need a new razor. How many more times can I say razor in the same paragraph? Stop me, please… I’m in a sarcastic asshole kind of mood and I could probably go all night.

Four refill cartridges for my razor at the grocery store were priced at $25.99 (and that is on sale, they are regular $28.99… three dollars off… whoop-dee-do). Five refill cartridges plus the razor, the value pack, was priced at $22.99. (three dollars less… whoop-dee-do)

Wait a minute.

I can buy four cartridges for $25.99, or I can buy five cartridges and the razor for $22.99?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

It seems like a no-brainer to me. Buy the one with five cartridges. Five cartridges is three dollars less so the obvious move is to throw out my current razor and let it sit in the landfill for the next 400 years. Yeah, that’s overdramatic, I know. But it’s the truth.

Truth is men’s razors are often better anyway.

Truth: most products geared towards men are cheaper. It’s actually a practice that’s been coined in economics as the pink tax. Example:

Women’s 74g deodorant for $5.97 at Walmart
Men’s 85g deodorant for $5.27 at Walmart

The price difference is small. So small that people don’t often notice it. But the truth is, over a year… hell, even over a lifetime these differences add up.

These deodorants are priced at Walmart in the nearest town. They’re made by the same brand, likely in the same manufacturing plant (though that’s just speculation) and one is marketing towards Women and one is marketed towards men. The difference in prices varies more when you look at differing brands. As a whole, men’s deodorant is much cheaper.

Why does the women’s deodorant cost more? These products serve one purpose and it’s the same purpose for men and women.

I’m just ranting right now. The moral of this whole story is that razors are expensive and if you want to go to the store when it’s emptiest, pick ten minutes before closing.

Okay, bye.

The one where I talk about guns

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today there will be a ban, effective immediately, on some 1,500 military grade ‘assault style’ weapons. Starting today, May 1st, licensed gun owners will no longer be able to buy, sell, trade, transport, import or use these weapons in Canada.

The Canadian government will also begin the process of a ‘buy-back program’ in which individuals who own these guns will be provided with compensation to turn over their weapons.

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said. “There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.”

Though legislation for this has been in the works for more than a year, this announcement comes less than two weeks after a mass shooting in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where 22 people lost their lives. When speaking of the deadliest rampage in Canadian history, Trudeau said “Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers. Canadians deserve┬ámore than thoughts and prayers.”

While reaction to the announcement has been largely positive, it is worth noting that not everyone has been happy to hear this announcement. Conservative Politicians have been very critical of the plan, proclaiming that it infringes on the rights of legal gun owners in Canada. Also, claiming that it’s poorly timed and crass.

Trudeau’s response? “You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”

So what does this mean for Canadians? It means that if you want to be a hunter, you can be so without assault style weaponry. It means that these weapons will no longer be on store shelves. It means that, while we can’t bring and of these people back for their family and friends, we can honour their lives by taking positive steps forward in society.

It is true, more work will need to be done to stop these weapons that are being transported illegally into Canada. But, in my personal opinion, I reckon that steps are already being taken to stop the illegal import of these guns. I also reckon it’d be a pretty stupid move on behalf of the government or any law enforcement agency to publicly announce their plan for stopping the illegal weapon imports. If the criminal enterprise can watch law enforcement plans on television, they can easily stay five steps ahead. It’s a delicate game that needs to be done in the strictest of confidence to protect the lives of law enforcement and all Canadians. So please don’t expect plans to stop the illegal spread of guns be broadcasted for the world to hear.

My personal take? It’s about fucking time. The Prime Minister is right, Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers. I touched last year on a story about how two teenagers legally purchased an assault rifle and went on a murderous rampage throughout Northern BC, lead RCMP on a cross country manhunt and turned their gun on themselves after they were cornered in rural northern Manitoba. Something I didn’t touch on that was released months after their bodies were found was that they left detailed suicide notes explaining how many more murders they planned to commit that they didn’t get too because the police caught onto them too quickly.

From BC to Nova Scotia, if we can save even one more life, it’s a worthwhile investment in our country’s future.

A glimmer of hope

Well I woke up to a nice surprise this morning. I was officially approved for EI and actually had money in my bank account when I woke up today. As someone who’s had roughly $50-$100 to my name for the past six plus months, seeing money in my bank account is a huge sigh of relief that I’m very thankful for at this point in time.

I also woke up to a second surprise this morning. The engineering firm that I was interviewing with in early late February/early March has decided that, though they’re not back at their office yet, they want to move ahead with recruitment as a measure to have someone hired to start when they do return to their offices. They’ve asked if I can do a video interview next week. I presumed that they were either going to forget about me, or cancel the posting because businesses have to be very careful with their spending in this present economy and hiring a new employee is a large investment. They still want to talk to me though… two months later… so they haven’t forgotten about me yet.

Two good things happened in one day.

I almost don’t know how to contain myself.

I forgot about most of these photos.

Last June when I got that job offer that fell through, I ended up switching from an iPhone to a Samsung. I was going to need a new phone for the job, and when I went to replace my phone, I decided to take a leap and make the switch.

I still have the iPhone, mainly because I never took the photos off of it. Well, now that I have all this time on my hands… why not?

I am no photographer, just a girl who likes to remember moments. I tend to save my favourite photos for Instagram, so if you want to see my favourites, follow me on Instagram (shameless self promotion).

*These are in no particular order. Just some random photos that documented my days. There’s also no identifiable people in these photos, for the sake of the privacy of my family and friends. Any people you might see are strangers. Hopefully I don’t upload any photos of identifiable people though. I hate it when I wind up in the back of other’s photos so I never want to do that to someone else.

Sunrise from the balcony of my old apartment.
Watching the Calgary Stampeders. Yeah, yeah, I know what people say about the CFL. I don’t know a ton about football but the Stampeders are a fun team to watch.
Golfing in Calgary on one of the few days of the year there isn’t snow.
The view from the top of the Zip Line at Canada Olympic Park. This was the Ski Jump for the 1988 Olympics. 1988… also the year I was born.
Watching the end of summer at Lake Louise, Alberta
One time the road flooded and this is how the neighbours got around for a few days.
This is at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, BC
The top of the Westin Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta
This is from Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. I am still not sure why they let us into the Stadium that day… in the middle of football season, but it was a fun afternoon.
This is Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a very… ‘instafamous’ stop on the Copenhagen crawl. We didn’t really get there until the sun was already setting so it made for a very dark photo. Oh well, still a nice photo!
I haven’t the foggiest idea what this hotel was called. I remember, though, that it was in Whistler, BC. It was a perfect mountain escape.
This is the penthouse of the Westin Hotel in Downtown Calgary. I remember thinking that my entire apartment could fit into one room of the penthouse suite.
An epic display of rainbows on a top secret weekend away.
When the locals cause a brief interruption of your golf game. Canmore, Alberta.
I cannot remember the name of this place but it sure is beautiful, California.
Shopping District in Copenhagen, Denmark
Watching hockey with the Danes in… Vojens (Voyens? Sorry if any Danes read this and I butcher the spelling), Denmark.
This was at one of those UPICK farms in Chilliwack/Abbottsford, BC.
This is what $85 Canadian gets you at Hells Kitchen on the Las Vegas Strip.
New York New York Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Strip. I am proud to say that I never got drunk enough to risk that roller coaster.
That time I snuck away for a rainy day in the city…
That time that I snuck away for a rainy day in the middle of nowhere. Well, nowhere now. This was the primary route used for British Columbia’s Gold Rush.
The Driveway. It’s just a driveway, I know. I just thought it looked… majestic with the sun poking through like that.
Springtime in Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, Alberta

Alright, that’s enough of a photo spam for now. Next time: Germany, England, New York, Alaska and… probably a lot more of BC and Alberta. Let’s face it, the majority of my days are spent in BC and Alberta. This place is heaven on earth. What’s not to like? Well, there’s a lot not to like right now… but that’s a story for another day.


Thank you to each and every one of the #MillennialLifeCrisis Patreon supporters.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.

We can save our adventures for later.

XOX
Vee

BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

Canadian Neighbours

It’s not a smart idea to go for a walk when the neighbours are out. Actually, when these neighbours are out, we tend to just let them be and avoid even driving past them. It’s a little ‘extra’, sure. But they don’t like it when humans bother them and we Canadians, we like to accommodate one another. They might look nice, docile and cute but I promise you, if they feel threatened you will wind up in a lot of pain.

Normally we don’t see the kids (just the grown ups), but they’re extra territorial when their babies are with them. People say Mama Bears are protective, I swear to goodness, the Moose are a lot more protective of their little ones.

And yes, the plural of moose is moose.

And yes, this is a Mama Moose and baby. Only male moose grow antlers.

A new low for the human race.

Honestly, I should just make an series on this blog to showcase all of the reasons why Influencers are idiots. Because there are a lot of them. There are stories which anger me, there are stories that annoy me and then there are stories that make me wonder how I am the same species as some people.

An ‘Influencer’ (we all know I use that term lightly) and aspiring rapper from Ontario was recently detained at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport due to a stunt he pulled on a plane headed for Jamaica that he hoped would make him go viral.

Approximately 30 minutes from landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica, WestJet Flight 2702 (Toronto to Montego Bay) was rerouted back to Toronto.

Why?

James Potok stood up in the back of the plane to exclaim that he had just gotten back from China and was not feeling well, and that he thought he might have Corona Virus.

Potok’s buddy actually filmed the stunt because they had hopes of releasing the video of his ‘prank’ to his YouTube channel and it would make him an internet sensation.

Being the idiot that he is, Potok thought everyone would laugh it off, he’d sit back down and land in Jamaica for a nice holiday, which he exclaimed was to ‘film his new music video’.

Oh no, no, no.

Infectious disease protocols require that any plane must return to it’s originating city unless there is imminent risk of death to one or more passengers on board. Furthermore, the infected passenger must be quarantined and ALL passengers are subject to medical evaluation upon landing.

Jamaica, an Island Nation, certainly isn’t going to let someone land in their country with an infectious disease that could spread throughout the rest of the tiny country. So, the plane turned around and returned to Toronto. More than 200 people had their holidays delayed, put on hold or cancelled and Potok’s response was ‘I’m an artists… any publicity is good publicity’.

There are three important notes to point out here:

  1. More than 200 people were forced to sit on a plane for several hours (as it returned home to Toronto) with someone who’d claimed that he had an infectious disease, a disease that they could very well have caught by just being in proximity to him.
  2. Those people were then subject to medical evaluations, as precautionary measure, after it was learned this was all a hoax, thus delaying their abilities to get on new flights, or rearrange their travel plans. Many people didn’t just miss a day or two of their holiday but there were at least a dozen people on that flight who were headed to Jamaica for a wedding and were not able to get to the wedding because of this.
  3. More than 200 people were stranded in Jamaica, unable to return home to go back to work on time, or back to their lives because the plane that was supposed to drop people off in Jamaica and pick up passengers to fly back to Toronto never got there. Work was missed, and people were in panic mode trying to secure childcare because they thought they were going to be home several days before they were actually all able to get home. They had to spend extra money to stay extra nights in Jamaica because of this, and it could take up to a year for the airline to reimburse them for this, if they get reimbursed at all.

As you can tell from the #VirusBoy and #WuhanClan that are new additions to his Instagram Bio, James Potok clearly shows a great deal of remorse for what he did.

Here’s what he had to say in the airport after returning home, getting medical clearance that he did not, in fact have corona virus, and being detained by Canadian authorities:

Look at the smug written all over his face…

It’s worth noting that Potok is being charged with mischief and breach of recognizance and is due in Ontario Provincial Court on March 9th for the stunt he pulled. But, I really don’t think that he cares.

To take his manipulation even a step further into the territory of shiteous human being, and, in his words ‘to say sorry for all of the hassle [he’s] caused’, he’s now claiming to be giving away $5,000 on his Instagram page. All you have to do is like and follow his account, his friend’s account who was on the flight to shoot the video they hoped would go viral, and to like his post, tag three friends and share the post to your own Instagram.

God, if I were a lawyer right now, that would be cataloged as Exhibits A through Z of why he’s not sorry for what he’s done, shows no remorse and is currently trying to capitalize on the attention he’s received for his careless, dangerous stunt.

I mean, how am I the same species as this person?

Could you imagine believing you were trapped on a plane (a tiny sky tin with recirculating air) with someone who potentially had an infectious disease? As someone who suffers from anxiety, those several hours flying back to Toronto would have been the worst hours of my life. Imagine the people on board with babies, or the elderly people on board who’s immune system’s are, at times, weaker than the rest of us. Imagine the torture of having to fly back to Toronto wondering the whole time, worrying the whole time.

And to the 179 people who commented on his ‘Instagram Giveaway’ tagging their friends, you also need a lesson in basic human decency.

As far as I’m concerned, this smug idiot should have his social media accounts shut down. I’d love it if Instagram just outright deleted his account and if YouTube just deleted his channel. People like this deserve to fade into obscurity somewhere.

Point of Note – When asked if he felt sorry for what happened, Potok proclaimed that his joke was taken out of context and that he was talking about a Chinese Food restaurant and that he had food poisoning. Though it’s on video him saying ‘I think I have Corona Virus’, he’s currently trying to tell the news outlets, and the world through his online platforms, that he never said anything about corona virus.

Given this is basically all online at this point, I can’t wait to, in a month’s time, hear that a judge used his Instagram and YouTube messages against him and that he’s being charged criminally.

And honestly, if I were WestJet, he’d be on a no-fly list for life and I’d go after him to seek damages for all of the reimbursements to other travellers they had to make and are going to have to make, because of his stunt.

This disease has killed more than 500 people worldwide. And all that is to him is a means to get more Instagram followers…

*Additional Note: To the people tired of me ragging Influencers, I’d be happy to share some good stories about Influencers, I just don’t know any. I wholeheartedly believe that people who use their influence for good don’t seek credit/internet fame for what they do. But, if you have a lovely story of an Influencer using their influence for good, please share. I’d love to shine a light on it.