December 22nd, 2012
This year, I decided to participate in the Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange. I know a few people who’ve done it in the past, and it seemed like a really neat idea, plus I’d be part of a Guinness World Record.
When you register, you have to option of being matched up with someone in your own country, or someone from a different part of the world. I chose the worldwide option, and I sent my match a cool Hunger Games pocket watch that I purchased off a really nice seller on Etsy. I was excited to see what kind of fun and interesting gift I would receive, and wondered what part of the world it would be coming from.
I came home today to find a note on my door that I missed a delivery. I rushed off to the post office, grabbed the yellow box and was a bit puzzled when I shook it and heard a bunch of stuff rattling around inside. It came all the way from Austria, so maybe whatever’s inside broke during shipping, I thought. When I opened it up, I thought I got pranked or something. Here’s what was inside:
A bunch of crumpled up paper with some Austrian chocolates inside? Weird. Then I saw this:
It’s a letter from the Canada Border Services Agency, telling me that they confiscated my Secret Santa gift. Apparently the box contained two bottles of Austrian beer, and it’s illegal to import beer into Canada.
It was only then I noticed the package had been opened and resealed:
My Secret Santa filled out the customs form in full detail (even listing the 5 pieces of paper he used to wrap the beer, lol). There were 2 Wiselburger beers and 36 Mozartkugeln chocolates listed as the contents of the package.
If you’ll notice, there are only 26 chocolates in the box… The CBSA agent must have taken 10 chocolates to go with the beer.
Needless to say, I was a bit sad with the way this all turned out. At least the crooks at the CBSA didn’t steal all of my chocolates. And I’ll still be part of the record-breaking 58,504 people that participated in this year’s Reddit Gift Exchange.
I’d like to thank the nice man from Austria that took the time to send me some fine chocolates and beer. I’ll enjoy the chocolate, but I’m upset I won’t get to drink the beer.
September 7th, 2012
Today is my last day at Sun Life. I was recently offered a new job at a local pharmaceutical company, and I took it.
The whole thing was unexpected and happened so fast. I heard about the position, sent in my resume and had an interview just a couple days later. The interview went very well, despite the fact I went in totally unprepared. I didn’t dress up, didn’t even shave that day, and basically just winged it. Surprisingly, it seemed like everything I said was the right thing to say. I left the interview with a feeling they would offer me the job, but also thinking they wouldn’t offer me the compensation I was looking for. I was surprised when they made a very competitive offer.
I had just one day to consider everything before giving them an answer. It was a really tough decision, but in the end I realized making the move would be in my best interest, so I accepted the offer and gave Sun Life my two weeks notice.
It’s a bit of a sad day, saying goodbye to all my friends and coworkers. But it’s the start of something new, and I’m looking forward to that.
August 27th, 2012
The other night, I got floss stuck in my teeth. Like really stuck. I still don’t get it.
My 2012 resolution to floss every day got off to a rough start, but I’ve been flossing pretty regularly for the past few months. Even on the weekends when I stay up until 4am. Flossing before bed is now part of the routine. I’ve come to terms with it and now I spend the extra minute or two flossin’ it.
So anyway, the other night when I was flossing, the dental floss got stuck between two teeth. It was smooth sailing, then it suddenly jammed up. I kept pulling in every direction, but it hurt a bit and I swear I saw my tooth wiggle in the mirror.
I had a mini moment of panic, but then I realized it’s just a bit of nylon string, so I just let it hang there while I planned my next move. Off I went to my trusty internet machine and read a million stupid Yahoo Answers before I realized I should man up and just pull the damn thing out. So I checked my angles and was preparing for a mighty pull, and it just came right out. My theory is the floss compressed, or ever so slightly nudged my teeth apart, allowing it to slide right out. Or my teeth crushed the floss with their brute strength. Either way, it basically just fell out.
Moral of the story: if you ever get floss stuck in your teeth, don’t go reading Yahoo Answers to solve your problems. Just wait it out. 10 or 15 minutes, and it will practically fall right out.*
* Rob Maeder is not a dentist or dental health professional, although he endorses good dental hygiene, including flossing. Consult a dentist if you are unable to remove the floss yourself. Avoid using household tools and utensils in an attempt to remove stuck floss.
August 7th, 2012
A few years back when I was really into cycling, I heard about the Race Across America (RAAM). It’s a 3000 mile (almost 5000km) race across the USA, but it’s different than most other well known bicycle races, such as the Tour de France.
The Tour de France has various stages that are scheduled over a 21-day period. RAAM has one giant stage – ride across the country as fast as you can. Riders in the Race Across America are usually on their own, or in small packs. You don’t see huge pelotons, since riders are spaced out so much more.
RAAM is very underappreciated race. It doesn’t have the big sponsorship backing that most of the Tour de France teams have, so you see a lot of family, friends and volunteers supporting the cyclists across their ridiculous ride. People that complete RAAM are true endurance athletes. They ride for as much as 23 hours per day (!), so it’s as much a sleep deprivation contest as it is a bicycle race.
I watched a lot of the highlights this year, and it’s pretty inspiring to see people push themselves so hard to win a race that doesn’t even have a prize.
May 17th, 2012
A few months back, I was tinkering with the idea of creating a Facebook game. Nothing too fancy, but something simple and easy to use, with high replay value. So I started playing a few games to see how they worked, what I liked and didn’t like, and to get some ideas on Facebook games in general.
One of the games I started playing is Zynga’s CityVille. Everyone’s heard of FarmVille, and as far as I know, this is basically the same game, but it’s based on building a city instead of a farm. The game really is just Sim City, with some social networking stuff built in.
I used to make fun of all those people who were addicted to those games, so when I found myself going down that road, I got a little embarrassed. That didn’t stop me from playing though… using Facebook’s privacy settings, I was able to hide my addiction from most of my friends. Only a select few fellow CityVille players would get to see my requests.
However, after playing for some time, you reach a point where you can’t really proceed any further unless you either a) annoy the shit out of your friends with messages and requests or b) pay money. Once I got to that point, I figured I had reached my limit, and I slowly stopped caring about my city. Eventually the daily emails and requests stopped, and I haven’t even checked it out in months.
My experiment is over, and I realized a few things. It’s easy to get sucked into something as innocent as CityVille, and I finally understand how some people get addicted to these sorts of games. It’s an easy game to play, and you can pick it up and play for as little as a few minutes a week, or you can get right into it and play for hours a day.