Tuesday, September 14, 2021

new experience

Out of the ordinary events tend to happen every so often to people who either seek them out, or, happenstance evades the idea of being ignored.

If I was to count on two fingers the ideas that permeate when I awaken from a well rested and nominal duration sleep period, I'd get at least two ideas. If I had more fingers, I am fairly certain I'd be able to relate more ideas.

I received an email from Alorica that I start on September 20; so now I won't be working for Elections Canada on that day. I will need to inform them and will pass by the plaza where they have an office today or tomorrow. It is too bad, I was looking forward to the experience of it.

One out of the ordinary event I will be seeking out today is a nuru massage. It will be the first, and potentially not the last time I do this. Following that I will eat out somewhere, and then I will attend the Shang-Chi movie for which I have already obtained the ticket for the 13h showing. This is a day 100% for me.

Monday, September 06, 2021

eight times the value of

As the federal election here in Canada approaches the midpoint, it no longer looks like the Liberal Party will get the majority they were after. In fact, the way the poll tracker shows, it is at present a toss-up if it will be a Conservative led minority or a Liberal led one. If it is a Conservative one, I think it is doubtful that many new policies would be enacted in law as the Conservative party has very little overlap with the tertiary parties.

I signed up to be an Information Officer at this election and I'll be on stand by this coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to fulfill this role at any Advanced Polling Place that calls and has a need. I am to show up at the central Elections Canada office of this riding by 8h and wait there until 11h. Those three hours are paid. If within that window I am summoned by an Advanced Polling Polling Place, I would then to go that Advanced Polling Place and fulfill the role of Information Officer. 

Had I signed up earlier, I would have been assigned to a specific Advanced Polling Place

In principle, the IO is responsible for saying, 'Bonjour, Hello', and then depending on the language used in the response, ask them if they have their voter card (that they would have received in the mail) and an ID card. If they have both, I can direct them to exactly the polling station since on their voter card the polling station number is clearly written. If they do not have their voter card I am to direct them to a registration desk where the person there will look them up and let them know which polling station they are to go to.

I am not to validate the ID that they bring, I just need to make sure they have one; it will be the deputy returning officer (the one working at the polling station) who validates the ID.

New for this election, as an IO, I would be asked to make sure people have masks, maintain as best as possible 2m distancing, and write down their name and phone number for the purposes of contact tracing.

As the IO, I may also be asked by the supervisor to help direct people into or out of the polling place, disinfect certain areas periodically, help set up the polling place before voting opens and help to take everything down when voting has ended. 

If I see an elector whom I think needs help I am to follow the A-L-D, first Ask if the person needs help, then Listen to what they say, and finally Do what they have asked. For example, assist a visually impaired person by lending an elbow to move towards the correct polling station.

On Election day, if I was to work it, at the end of voting I could be asked to be a 'Recorder'. The Counter (who during the voting was the deputy returning officer) opens the box that has the votes, takes a vote out  and says out loud who the vote is for, or if the vote is rejected, and then places it on the table. I as the recorder, check a little box on a form underneath the name of the person whose vote that was for. This is repeated for each vote in the box and the Counter makes different piles of vote slips, one for each of the six candidates in our riding. At the end of the box we compare the number of ticks I made with the number of voter slips, per candidate, and if it all checks out, we're good to go. If not, the slip count is the official, so those get recounted.

If the job I spoke about in my last post works out, my first day of work would be election day, so I would have to tell the elections office that I am no longer eligible to work; however, if they need any extra IOs to do the counting at any polling place following the end of voting, I would be available.

Friday, September 03, 2021

heh, two languages, not ice cream

Further news on the job front, I'll get a call at 11:00 on Tuesday to see how well my French speaking goes, hopefully that call will succeed.

If it does, it is likely that I'll then be offered a position with Alorica to be a bilingual support person for Best Buy; to help with the shopping experience, answer questions about orders, about products, etc.

The service covers 8am to midnight seven days a week and is all WFH, so I would have shifts that vary, hopefully not too much. It will pay 15.50$ and after 30 days there medical and dental benefits would kick in. They also talk about a monthly bonus, but I do not know how that works.

If I pass the French interview, I do not think there is any other impediment to me getting the job. It would start on September 20 (17 days from now) and the first five days would be training during regular business hours where I do get paid.

In the mean time, while I was at the movies yesterday I received a phone call (saved as a message I retrieved after the movie) that for the picker/packer job, I've been offered the position and would go in on September 7th for training. The lady called me back today and I told her I was no longer interested.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

night shift?

So things are moving ahead with this 23-7 shift picker/packer job for the grocery store chain.

I have applied for it to be part time, but I am thinking now that if I was to do that shift, it might be better to do it full time.

It has to do with changing my sleep schedule to be a fixed alternative, rather than jumping back and forth between different schedules.

What follows is what I envision.

23:00-07:00 this is the work shift and in the middle of it I presume there will be a break for lunch, and what I'll call supper.

7:00-7:30 commute home - the location is an 85 minute walk or a 100 minute public transit commute or a 29 minute bike ride. In the immediate I would use my bike, but plan on getting an electric scooter.

On weeks that I have the kids and the kids are in school, they ought to have left already by the time I get home, or will have just left. If was to to leave work early by 10 minutes and race home, I might catch them.

7:30-8:00 putz around in my apartment, eat a small healthy snack, take it easy.

8:00-8:20 read in my bedroom which has had the windows blacked out so that it is absolute dark in there and I need to use the lamp to read. So I will need to find an inexpensive way to blot out all natural light.

8:20-14:30 I sleep for six hours and 10 minutes, and this is my primary sleep window. If I have the kids with me and they are in school, they won't be home. If they are home, I will ask them to be silent until I awaken.

14:30-14:40 Have one of those lamps that very gradually brighten to simulate a sunrise

14:40-15:10 Have breakfast and have this be my biggest meal of the day since it will have a fair number of hours following that I will be awake.

15:10-19:00 roughly four hours of free time until 'lunch'. This is when the kids would come back and I would spend time with them.

19:00-19:30 Lunch, a light meal since I will be going to sleep soon

19:30-20:00 Do something calming for this half hour, like reading

20:00-22:00 Evening sleep session where I am not awoken gently, at 22:00 it is time to get up and get ready to go to work.

22:00-22:30 Eat a snack and prepare and pack my 'supper' that I'll eat at work and otherwise get ready to go to work.

22:30-23:00 commute to work, as mentioned above, by bike until I get an electric scooter.

On days that I do not work I won't want to change this up too much. My evening sleep I would do from 20:00 to 23:00, and then I would wake up, do something out of the apartment to make sure that I stay awake to mimic a work shift. Get back and sleep from 7:00 until 14:00. If I am not working the next night, it means from 14:00 until 20:00 I have open to do whatever, for example, going to the cinema.

It can be seen that since I would have to keep to this odd sleep schedule seven days a week so as not to ruin my circadian rhythm it may be better if I was full time. Since my original application was for part time, I will start doing it that way and see if I actually like the job itself. And if that works, I'll see if I can switch to full time.

What doing this schedule will mean for me is that instead of going to church on Sunday mornings at 9:00 (which is during my primary sleep session) I would go on Saturday evening at 16:00.

Occasionally I would sacrifice my evening sleep session for things like the book group that happens once a month, or a church meeting that happens once or twice a month during that evening time slot.

I'll work with my financial planner to see how long I would need to do this job in terms of months or years, I think maybe just a few years, but I'll know with more certainty after I meet with him in two weeks.

I do not actually have an offer yet, but the phone interview today went pretty well and it doesn't look like there is any impediment for them to hire me.

Monday, August 30, 2021

two more times than that

The parish secretary job isn't happening. The priest listed the three contenders for the job in order of who would get first dibs, and of the three contenders, I was not one of them.

So I've put in three applications so far: I did GDI first, since it was an easy on-line application. Next, I did Metro grocery store to be a warehouse on-line order picker/packer. To do this I had to provide a CV, so I quickly created one where I put the very highest level description of the technical jobs I've been doing for the last 25 years. Finally, I received an email from LinkedIn about a technical support job that looks to more or less match my skill set, so I applied to that one through LinkedIn using my LinkedIn profile as the CV, which goes into more detail about the technical experience I have.

For GDI and Metro I'm applying for a part time role that I would hope to hold for 7-10 years so as to replace the next two years that I would have been earning a good salary where I was. I prefer the idea of part time since I'm 17604 days old and getting ever closer to having enough in my retirement fund to cease working altogether.

For that technical support job, it would be full time, and I'm guessing the salary would be less than what I had before, so I'd probably commit to doing that job for five years or so.

I hope to hear from one or more of these three in the next week or two. Barring that, I still have Subway and Home Depot to which I could apply. The technical support job would pay me most, the GDI and Metro jobs would pay me second most and the Subway and Home Depot jobs would pay me least, which is why I applied in the order I did.

I may see about applying to more technical support jobs through LinkedIn.

Thursday, August 26, 2021


On a whim last night I went into the city.

I had noticed earlier on in the summer that a 2" width red line had been painted on the sidewalks forming a circuit through the city and so I went into the city to walk that route.

I joined it at the corner of De La Montagne and Ste-Catherine and walked what I thought would be counter clock-wise until later on I realized that the loop turned and crossed on itself. So, I walked south on De La Montagne and followed the route which soon enough took me through Old Montreal and then eventually to the Quartier des Spectacles. Once I go to the QdS construction obfuscated the red line I was to follow and it wasn't clear where I was to go next.
In the mean time, in the QdS I noticed there was an event happening with live music. So I went to check that out.
I did not know who it was that was playing.
In this photo, (click on it to make it bigger) you can see the female artist on stage in the back of her mixing table. I did some digging today to try to figure out who this was and from this site I found this:

Anna Pavlova is a multidisciplinary artist, music producer, vocalist, and DJ working under the alias Softmatter. Originally from Moscow, Russia, she currently resides in Tiohtià:ke Tsi (Montréal, Canada). Softmatter’s sonic methodology explores mutant, discordant electronics, alongside bouncing, stony drums and pitch-shifted vocals that travel between steepled choral motifs.

Indeed, her music was discordant, occasionally had a measured rhythm while at other moments did not seem to have any rhythm at all. I recorded a 30sec video with my mobile device, it isn't great quality, but you can see the light show and more or less hear the music she was playing during those 30 seconds.
There are dozens of festivals that take place in Montreal throughout the year; many of them have been going on for years. This is Mutek's 22nd edition. While this electronic discordant music isn't exactly my cup of tea, so to speak, it was nice to sit down and witness a live show.

Monday, August 23, 2021

like the side swiper

My last post on August 16th I could not have guessed that the next day would be my last day at the company I had been working for for the last ten years.

This employment termination did not come as a big surprise to me as I know that I was hardly working for the last six months (or more). Putting in maybe three to five hours a week. I just lost my motivation to do the work that I was assigned to do. This was the fourth role I took within the company and so they figured they had given me enough chances to find a role that would work for me.

I received 30 weeks of severance at full pay, which is getting paid to me a little bit oddly: for eight weeks following my termination date (from Aug 17 to Oct 12) I will be paid as normally as if I was still an employee. Then, within 30 days of Oct 12 I will receive 22 weeks of salary as a lump sum all at once.

So my goal is to get a part time job close to where I live before that October 12 date, and, hopefully sooner. I've done an analysis and it looks like with a part time job paying me between a quarter and a fifth of what I had been earning and doing this until age 60 would be just as financially survivable as if I had continued on my current salary and retired two years from now.

My first choice of part time job is that the parish secretary position has opened up in my church. What is a point of consideration is that I am at the moment a warden at the church. There are six of us as wardens and this volunteer position requires monthly meetings where we discuss anything that is with respect to the financial running of the church. There are rules that say I can not be a warden while also being an employee of the church. We (the wardens) will have our next meeting in the next week or two so hopefully I will find out then what can happen. Advantages here is that the hours are only on weekdays (like 11h to 15h or 10h to 16h) and I don't need to speak French on any regular basis.

I have four other options, none of which really stand out as above the others.

The advantage at Home Depot is that even as a part timer, I will get medical and dental benefits, which I would not get at the church or at the other two options subsequent to this one. They would provide the training and the location itself is at the border of how far I'd be willing to walk to work. I'd need to brush up on my French speaking skills. At the moment it looks like they have two part time roles open, a spot in the tool rental place, and to work in the lumber/materials section. Both would require some French speaking skills, to know the names of the tools and of all of the different lumber and materials, and the lumber/materials role would need strength as well. Of the two I can't decide which I'd prefer as the tool rental is easy as people just come to me asking for a tool to rent, while the lumber/materials will give me some amount of exercise every shift that I work in terms of lifting and moving materials.

The advantage at Subway is that there are four locations nearby and none of them, as it seems to me, will ever have super busy times, so it will be mostly stress free work. Three of the four locations are within walking distance and three of the four are easy bus rides. I'd need to brush up on my French speaking skills, but less so as compared to Home Depot as at Subway it would be a very limited vocabulary that I would need to know with respect to sandwich making.

The advantage at the Metro grocery store is that it is the closest of all of the options listed above. This Thursday and Saturday they are having 'career' days where people are welcome to bring in their CV and see what jobs can be had. It is just too bad that I won't know about the parish secretary job this soon. Depending on the job at Metro (customer facing, or simply stock reshelving) I may need to brush up on my French speaking skills. Though, if, say, I am behind the deli meat counter, I think the vocabulary I would need to master would be limited much as it is for Subway.

The advantage of GDI is that the ad on the bus that I saw about them indicated they pay up to 40% more than minimum wage jobs. GDI is a cleaning service company for commercial and institutional places and they have part time positions. They would provide the training and I don't think French language would be an issue. I'm not certain I could get this job as on the general job application form they ask if I have a driver's license (which I do) and as a follow-up question if I answer yes to that, they ask if I have access to a vehicle (which I don't). Still, their questionnaire also asks what area I would want to work in, and I can pick downtown and west which all have public transit options. They also ask what shifts I am good to work in terms of day, evening, night and weekend. Of these I would say yes to all but night as sleep is more important to me. 

Since it seems I have so many options, I will wait to hear about the parish secretary job and hope that that works out. If it doesn't, only at that time will I investigate the other options. Doing this means I will miss the career days at Metro; but I figure I could still apply there after the fact if they still have positions open.

Monday, August 16, 2021

pandemic federal election, a good idea?

Yesterday the prime minister asked the governor general to dissolve parliament to allow for an election to take place. The federal election is to take place on September 20.

Here is what happened in my electoral district at the last election:

The Liberal party candidate won by an enormous margin, so my vote to the Green Party candidate last election served no purpose. Francis Scarpaleggia has had it easy as he has had a significant majority like this in every election since he first became this electoral district's Liberal candidate back in 2004. Well, in 2011 it was close as the Orange Wave took place when Jack Layton led the New Democratic party to its best result ever.

I am leaning toward voting for the New Democratic party for this election even though it is a very high probability that Francis Scarpaleggia will yet again get elected. My reason for voting for the NDP is that I believe that if they were in the leadership position, they would do a better and more aggressive job of cutting GHGs. The recent IPCC AR6 report is a clear signal to policy makers that the time has come to not only get serious about emissions reductions, but to make significant changes in all areas that could lead to CO2 and methane emissions.

In terms of running an election where there are still SARS-CoV-2 transmissions going on, there will be plenty of advanced polling days and mail-in votes which will make it so that on election day, the polls should not be too overrun. I know that in my recent pre-pandemic voting experiences in my electoral district, I would vote on election day and there were barely any people around.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


As mentioned yesterday, I went to the National Bank Open. It was annoying; my mobile device at home that morning was able to show the tickets, but when I got there, it wouldn't. Fortunately, the ticket wicket was devoid of a queue so I was able to get them to SMS me the tickets and when I clicked on the link in the SMS, the ticket was shown.

For the first match, which started at 11h, this is what the stadium looked like:

A scattering of people strewn throughout the stadium, mostly in pairs. It may be hard to see in the photo, but in the upper most seats on the far right of the photo, those seats are in shade. That whole 'bowl' section of the stadium was in shade for much of the 11h-15h period, depending on where within it you were sitting. Those sections, from left to right are 217-221. So what I'd say is for a future day time ticket, buy the ticket in a low row in sections 217 or 221, and a middle to high row in sections 218-220.

New this year, to keep people from congregating, they had a way to order food from the app that was made for this event. I ended up using it to order a gourmet turkey sandwich and a Pepsi. They put the order in a brown paper bag and then one of perhaps a dozen teenagers who were hired for this bring the bag directly to where you are seated. This is a nice feature that I hope continues in future years.

There were three matches in this early part of day session and after the first match some people left, and after the second match, more people left. This is what the stadium looked like during the third match.

The third match ended at about 16h35 and we were compelled to all exit the stadium which is something that may only hold true this year. I just sat in the shade just outside the stadium, reading my book and went back in when they allowed people to go back in. I had tickets for the evening session in a different section and this session had as its first game Bianca Andreescu against Harriet Dart. Bianca is our top Canadian player and Harriet ousted one of our top Quebec players in the first round. It was a tight match going the full three sets.

In the top image you can see Bianca in the orange one piece suit on the left and Harriet in the dark one piece suit on the right. You can see that there were way more people for this match. It had been clearly advertised that Bianca would play so that was a big draw. It started to lightly rain very close to the end of the match, but then it held off so that they could finish. The rain then started again and really picked up so the second match scheduled did not end up being played.

Where I was sitting on this side I'd have had the sun in my face for the beginning of the match and longer still, had not the cloud cover come in. For the evening session I think I'd prefer to be anywhere in section 223 to 227 in the early rounds and in sections 325-328 in the later sessions.

The ticket ordering website compelled me to buy two tickets at a time for this year's tournament; there was no way to buy single tickets. Next year, if single tickets are able to be bought, I'll consider perhaps going to three day sessions and three or four night sessions. If they have a ticket plan where 5, 8 or 10 session packages are available, maybe I'll consider that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

when all else fails, tie a

On Sunday (two days ago) I went to the National Bank Open (previously known as the Rogers Cup) to watch some tennis matches. On Sunday it was the second day of qualifying rounds where unseeded players trying to work their way up play against each other to earn a spot into the first round of the actual tournament.

Today I have tickets I already purchased to attend the early session and the evening session. The early session starts at 11h and so I will be leaving in the next half hour to catch the train to get there. The second session starts at 19h and the first match at that time involves Bianca Andreescu against one of those preliminarily qualified players from the weekend. Bianca is the current top player in Canada and won the US Open in 2019. Unfortunately, there is a risk of a thunderstorm this evening which may interrupt the evening session.

On Sunday I packed quite a bit to bring with me and it turns out I made use of almost everything I packed. The only thing I didn't use was the umbrella - there was a chance of rain that day, but it did not end up raining. In addition to the umbrella, here are the other things I've packed:

  • portable battery and charging cable to recharge my mobile device
  • small set of binoculars
  • sunscreen
  • a filled water bottle
  • a book to read
  • credit card, transit card and keys; the former to pay for food, the middle to get there and back and the latter to get back into my apartment

I took a few photos of the mostly empty stadium on Sunday, however, I didn't notice at the time that the lens on the back of my mobile device was smudged and so the photos did not turn out very well. I'll do better with my photos today.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

GAMF 700

Yes, so I have reminders on my calendar about GAMF.

In this post I mentioned that I applied to have a family medicine doctor assigned to me and the response I got was that it would be assigned within the next 612 days.

In this post I mentioned that we had gone past the 612 days and that I made a phone call and was actually able to speak to someone who confirmed I was still on a list and that I had not yet had a doctor assigned.

Today is the 700th day since I put in the application, 88 days since the deadline I was given in the original email. On day 1019 (the date I next celebrate the anniversary of my trips around the sun) I will call them again to check up on my application. 

I am still in quite good health, so there still is no urgency for me, though as I get closer to 18262 days old I am hoping that I will get one assigned soon.