25 September 2016

This week in: ‘The Diary of an (F)Unemployed Accountant’

Jimmy’s A&A

Think of the most massive donairs you ever had. If you are thinking of anything smaller than the size if a small ham then you sir have been found lacking.  These donairs are stuffed with meat (I got the combo which is half beef donair and half chicken shwarma), has a good mix of veggies to keep things fresh, and the pickles keep everything from getting too heavy. From there depending on the type and amount of sauces you get there can be a real change in the structure and taste of the donair. Hot sauce-always. Sweet Sauce-a little extra. Garlic Sauce-in moderation (it gives me the itus.

Mango Mania

I got these awesome free drink coupons for Mango Mania; first time having aloe in a drink. I was expecting soap flavour for some reason, but it turned out to be rather refreshing -think boba jelly but crunchy… I picked up a Mango Aloe drink which was pretty refreshing and definitely worth checking out again for the other flavours.

The Locked Room

Went to the Locked Room (#191 5330 72Ave SE) and completed “Captivity” with ~5minutes to spare!!! I won’t lie we needed 2 hints in order to complete it on time. The locked room was really well setup having 4 electronic magnetic type locks (counting all the cages as one), and the experience was separated into 3 separated areas. The props were pretty standard (foam body/rubber parts, science stuff in blacklight illuminated jars, cadaver table, etc. The puzzles were challenging and fun, though we couldn’t follow the logic on 2 of them (hence the 2 hints), and the setup was stellar!

Calgary Octoberfest

My roommate and I got free tickets to Calgary’s Octoberfest. Spent $80CAD total and got completely faded. Thankfully we had the opportunity to sober up at a friend’s place where I immediately went into a tirade questioning why doctors would want to work at Grey’s Anatomy’s hospital as the staff were oddly susceptible to death -shouldn’t the FBI or local PD be looking into why so many doctors and staff had died??? Perhaps its an American social thing where murder and strange death occurrences are socially acceptable and the norm??? It was then Julie and Jeanette told me only like 2 doctors died (or something) and the others just left the hospital. I swear like 8 people died on that show… I’m going to look this up.

OK so we have 6 doctors who have died (http://www.tvovermind.com/greys-anatomy/doctors-died-greys-anatomy -all violent deaths may I add) on Grey’s Anatomy (GA) over the course of 13 seasons, and there are 28 cast members (doctors?). This means that there is a 21% chance of death working at this hospital. Who the fuck would choose to work here!!! OK maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here 1 death every 2 years isn’t too bad, but considering that these were all violent deaths it is far too much. The board of directors, the FBI, someone needs to get in here and make some drastic changes in the way that this hospital is run, and do some investigation into why there is such an outrageously high kill rate for doctors in this hospital. GA universe FBI please get on it.


Black Friday wish list:

Cube i7 Book Table (& all the accessories)

http://www.gearbest.com/tablet-pcs/pp_366651.html

This looks like a great little tablet PC running Windows 10. Looking at all the reddit and forum reviews there doesn’t seem to be a lot of negative feedback on it and there is great emphasis on the value of the specs and the quality of the components.

To summarize these points:

  • minimal bloatware
  • cheap price
  • comparative specs to Surface Pro 4 (entry level) & macbook (fuck you Apple)
  • active stylus enabled
  • heat/throttling issue (fixed with throttling or adding a copper heatsink if you’re tech savvy)
  • 64GB SSD is quite small (can be upgraded if you are tech savvy and willing to crack it open)

Looking at GearBest on Saturday 24 Sept 2016, the price for the tablet, keyboard, and stylus was ~$500CAD during a GB flash sale and I am estimating ~$45CAD in additional customs duties. This should be a nice substitute for my laptop (which I will sell if this fits my needs) and will allow me a great amount of flexibility in my CFA studies in the new year. I’m looking forward to having all my CFA notes digitized and being able to use the stylus to annote PDF’s and make notes; physical paper and inefficient search and documentation was a significant hurdle for me with the CMA Strategic Leadership Program.

Waiting for Black Friday I am hoping to get a significant deal on this as well as a 128GB or 256GB M.2 2242 SSD, a thermal pad, a 10x10x2mm copper heatsink, and one of those tablet spreader devices. I’m fairly confident that I can switch the hard drive out and add the thermal capacity with no issues as the videos on these subjects are quite straight forward and easy to follow.

17 September 2016

All my necessary renos have been completed, now all that remains are my optional ones. I’ve spent all day cleaning out the spare room and taking pictures for a rental ad (a tax deductible cost if you didn’t already know). Its funny, all the weird random shit you accumulate and toss into storage only to forget its very existence. For instance, I’ve found a box of scopes! I remember purchasing a box of 6 various scopes for $200. I mounted the Redfield scope that I wanted and proceeded to store the rest of them -I am uncertain of my intentions at the time (perhaps to let them accumulate in value??? hahahah), but here I am with a box of scopes and no rifles to mount them to.

I’ll throw these guys up on kijiji, CGN, and outdoorsmen for $80-$100 each, which should net me a pretty good margin. My net will still be positive if I hit these numbers, even counting the Redfield that I’ll be taking against my bottomline. I’m starting to think that there are a few good value propositions around Calgary, if I can keep my eyes open for stuff like this and the YYC Chapel Knife sale, then flip some of the good stuff on kijiji, eBay, etc. I might be able to make a few easy bucks on the side… why I’m only thinking about this now is beyond me.


I’ve begun my power rack build, inspired by the good people at Home-Gym-Bodybuilding. I’ll be following their build here for which they have thoughtfully laid out engineering drawings in a delightful pdf format here.

Yesterday I sourced materials from Rona costing a total of $137.26 CAD, the majority of the costs were from the 60″ 3/4″ID black steel pipe @ $23.09 CAD (5% HST included) each -essentially 49.74% of my current materials costs are going to these 3 pipes. I’m alright with these high materials costs as these pipes will be potentially taking significant weight, representing the lower safety bars and the pull up bar.

I haven’t even sourced the full set of materials yet, but those remaining parts should only be incidental as it only includes some nuts & bolts (maybe a few sets of cable pullies if I add a cable crossover system in the future). Fortunately these costs are also tax deductible (building upgrades) as this is a new basement fixture available for tenant use. The weights and equipment itself will be a whole other story however. I will have to source an olympic bar, plates, and a bench to complete this set, and to round out the basement gym I’d also like to add a 100lb heavy bag.


To Do:

  • finalize clean out of spare room
    • store roommate’s stuff in the basement
    • general cleaning
    • new blinds
  • general house cleanup
    • kitchen sink blinds
    • put away tools
    • clean table
    • lightbulbs (bathroom, stove)
    • electric outlet covers x3
  • backyard cleanup
    • pull weeds
    • mow lawn
    • research grass seed/rolls cost
  • tenant ad photos
    • bedroom
    • shared washroom
    • 360° living room/kitchen photo
    • foosball room photo
    • laundry room photo
    • front house photo
    • patio photo
    • backyard photo
  • power rack build

EDC Knife Review – Smith & Wesson SWMP7TS

Specs Sheet:

  • blade length-3.125″
  • closed length-4.5″
  • open length-7.5″
  • width-1.5″
  • weight-3.92 oz *as per bladehq website -independent verification unavailable at this time*
  • height (including belt clip)-0.8125″
  • blade composition-4034 steel
  • blade style-tanto, partial serrated
  • open type-thumb stud
  • lock type-button
  • handle-aluminium, rubber grip
  • other notes-n/a

S&W SWMP7TS

Best Use: main/backup EDC knife, urban EDC kit

Pros:

  • solid construction
  • light weight

Cons:

  • stiff operation -unable to flick open
  • weird smell -was this sprayed with perfume???

Summary: another cheap EDC knife with a tactical spin ($42.07 CAD on amazon.ca). its lightweight form allows for easy carrying, but its size is somewhat boxy and obtrusive in the pocket. the large tanto blade is very secure and locks down with no noticeable blade play (both side to side and forward and back), though this creates so much friction that a flick open is impossible. the blade can still be opened one handed, though requires constant and smooth force on the thumb stud -a spring assisted open type would have been greatly appreciated. although this knife has a very solid construction it still wouldn’t be my ideal knife in a survival scenario. the less than effortless opening makes it less practical in utility scenarios where you only have one hand available, but would still work none the less. the blade is still sharp and shows its factory edge, and despite noticeable wear on the handle seems to be new. I have no concerns that this knife will be able to take down boxes, packaging, various cordage, and some light wood whittling.

EDC Knife Review – Schrade SCH501S

Specs Sheet:

  • blade length-3.12″
  • closed length-4.625″
  • open length-7.75″
  • width-1.4375″
  • weight-5.15 oz *as per bladehq-independent verification unavailable at this time*
  • height (including belt clip)-0.75″
  • blade composition-9Cr18MoV steel
  • blade style-drop point, partial serrated
  • open type-thumb stud, flipper
  • lock type-liner
  • handle-Stainless Steel & G10
  • other notes-glass breaker tip, lanyard loop

Schrade SCH501S

Best Use: backup EDC/car knife, small urban EDC kit

Pros:

  • solid construction
  • glass breaker =)

Cons:

  • heavy & bulky

Summary: this cheap Schrade EDC knife ($28.47 on amazon.ca) seems like a really study EDC. its hearty construction leads to the idea that this knife can take some abuse and may hold up under light survival and camping activities (ie whittling and not breaking down firewood). the integrated glass breaker and lanyard loop are welcome additions, but the weight and size of the knife really hold it back from being a perfect contender. clipping it to jeans adds a noticeable bulge to both the back and front pockets (if it doesn’t for you, congratulations! you’re wearing dad jeans) and puts a very noticeable sag into my running shorts. the blade itself is a very sturdy drop point, half serrated edge that could use with a bit of sharpening. on the hair shaving test it couldn’t take out the thickest hairs on my leg leading me to believe that this knife may have issues holding an edge. still the blade flicks open and easily everytime and I have no concerns with its ability to take down cardboard boxes, cut twine, string and other cordage.

EDC Knife Review – Gerber EVO Mid – Tanto

Specs Sheet:

  • blade length-3.12″
  • closed length-4.625″
  • open length-8″
  • width-1.125″
  • weight-2.40 oz *as per Gerber website -independent verification unavailable at this time*
  • height (including belt clip)-0.625″
  • blade composition-7Cr17MoV steel
  • blade style-tanto, partial serrated
  • open type-thumb stud, flipper
  • lock type-liner
  • handle-aluminium
  • other notes-n/a

Gerber EVO Mid – Tanto

Best Use: urban EDC/pocket knife, backup EDC knife

Pros:

  • light weight
  • small form factor

Cons:

  • horizontal blade play *I will try tightening the pin once I can get my hands on a T8 torx bit
  • liner lock jamming issue

Summary: this is a cheap little EDC knife ($38.98 CAD on amazon.ca) whose light weight and small dimensions lead to a very unobtrusive profile in a front or back pocket, making it an ideal pocket knife for the urban yuppie types. carrying this around in the pocket I barely know it is there, even in the back pocket of my running shorts! the blade lock jamming issue is caused when flicking the knife open with moderate or excessive force, causing the lock to jam the blade in the open position and requires both hands to close. the blade itself seems to still be rather sharp despite some obvious use and a ding from making contact with one of the screws. given the light construction of this knife it would not make a dependable survival knife, but as an EDC pocket knife used for breaking down cardboard boxes, opening mail, and other menial scenarios its tough to beat the portability of this knife.

16-Sep-2016 UPDATE: the horizontal blade play is getting worse! the pivot point is so loose that the leaf spring is now pushing the blade into the handle upon close. there is a little nick in the aluminium and in the blade where the 2 parts make contact. I’ve tried unscrewing the torx nuts, but they seem to have used the strongest possible lock tight as I actually bent my torx bit. I’ll be attempting a few more fixes before I send this back to Gerber for a full fix; I’d really rather not pay an additional $8.36 to get this fixed if I don’t have to. I’ve included a copy of Gerber’s warranty info and the Canada Post costs to ship to Portland below.

2016-09-sep-gerber-warranty
Gerber Warranty Information
2016-09-sep-gerber-shipping-cost
Expected Shipping Costs to Gerber

08 September 2016

YYC Chapel Knife Sale!!!

Every few months or so there is this huge charity sale where the Calgary airport chapel sells many confiscated items. There are literal buckets of folding knives, multi tools, Swiss army knives, and loads of other knickknacks and paddy whacks at 30-50% of retail prices. This September marks the first knife sale in 3 months so inventory was huge!!!

Imagine a bucket brimming with $20-$35 CAD Leathermans!!!

Today’s haul:

  • 2 Leatherman Waves ($20 CAD each)
  • 2 Swiss army knives (1 medium – $15 CAD & 1 large – $25 CAD)
  • 1 Gerber EVO MID – TANTO, SERRATED ($20 CAD)
  • 1 Schrade SCH501S ($10 CAD)
  • 1 Smith & Wesson SWMP7TS ($10 CAD)
  • 1 Unbranded Emergency Services Folding Knife ($15 CAD) *for my roommate*
  • 2 bags of various butane and BIC lighters ($5 CAD)

Its not a bad haul today especially considering today’s CAD to USD exchange rate and that most knives take a much higher margin than in the US -these are probably $35-$50 knives in Canada.

05 September 2016

Happy Labour Day!!!

Labour Day Wikipedia Entry

In brief Labour Day was created to celebrate the achievements of workers & labour unions, with specific emphasis on the 8 hour day (8 hours for work, recreation, and sleep).

Lake Agnes

**just a friendly reminder if you do hike please ensure that whatever you bring up gets taken back down again**

To celebrate this holiday a few friends and I hiked from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to Lake Agnes Tea House, then to the Big Beehive. Total round trip was 10.2km, 520m elevation gain, and only took 4.5 hours (including 2 hours for lunch, pictures, creation of 2 Inuksuks, and general tomfoolery).

The first leg from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to Mirror Lake was a great warm up. Steady elevation gain, and sturdy footing made this a really easy hike for young kids and dogs (to which we saw tons).

From Mirror Lake to Lake Agnes Tea House the elevation gain was still quite easy, though towards the end there was a ton of horse poo all over the trail. Horse Poo. Horse Poo!!! HORSE POOOOOOOOOoooooooo…….!!! hahaha Avoiding the horse apple landmines isn’t too bad when its dry, but when it rains it tends to spread out into poo puddles and poo streams. You’ve been warned people! The hike culminates in a nice little waterfall at the base of Agnes Tea House overlooking the crystal blue waters of Lake Agnes.

The hike from Lake Agnes to the Big Beehive takes you around the right of the Lake to the far side and up a moderate elevation gain over the last 0.6km. The last 0.6km is where all the elevation gain of this leg is contained. After a moderately strenuous hike to the summit you’re treated to spectacular views over looking Lake Louise and the Fairmont hotel. And it was at this point in our hike that it started to snow and rain!

All in all this was a really memorable hike, especially due to the snow. While the mist and snow rolled in we were treated to a swathe of different views from what we had just seen!

6 / 10 

Point Deductions:

  • -1 tons of people
  • -1 litter / garbage
  • -1 horse poo
  • -1 elevation a bit too easy for my tastes

Summary: solid hike w/ beautiful views!!! a definite one to repeat in the future. mental note: next time bring a coat if its expected to rain.

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27 August 2016

My personal finances are kinda fucked right now. EI just isn’t cutting it -my basic costs just aren’t being covered by this biweekly stipend.

I would actually be just fine, if it weren’t for my bi monthly mortgage payments. By my calculations I’m behind by about $1.5-2k per month in cash flow.

The last 2 weeks have been a panicked blurr of applying for jobs and planning. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Australia Visa

  • should have applied for it in October (the month I would have become ineligible)
    • I turn 30 in October, that is the maximum age for acceptance into the WHV program
    • it doesn’t make sense to apply for it any more than 4 weeks in advance of when you need it
  • VisaBureau.com
    • DON’T use this service
    • a waste of money as far as I’m concerned
      • they don’t really know their stuff when it comes to the true ins and outs of the WHV -though good if you are only looking for basic info
    • I was in a rush and used this service to apply for my visa, just use the Ausralian visa website (https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/417-)
  • You cannot amend your visa expiry date
    • got this info second hand from VisaBureau.com -I don’t really trust these guys so I’ll have to fact check this in the near future

Jobs

  • YYC & MEL accounting labour market scan
    • YYC
      • few limited term 3-6 month contract positions
      • few jobs mostly intermediate to senior experience levels
      • O&G jobs are available, but given the increased volitility in the market these positions will be given secondary consideration going forward (first consideration to service & tech industries)

2016-08 Aug YYC acct labour market

    • MEL
      • Robert Half recruiters say that there accounting positions are mostly urgent in the AP/AR ranges, entry and intermediate areas
      • tons of project accounting jobs with salaries >$100k AUD -I’ll have to look into these if I decide to stay in MEL long term

2016-08 Aug MEL acct labour market

Personal considerations

  • I’ve been applying like mad to these YYC positions in reaction to my finances
    • I’m thinking that this might be a flawed approach especially if I wish to leave in 3-6 months
    • It does take a lot of company resources to hire and train someone, leaving as soon as I’m 100% productive is disingenious
  • It doesn’t really make sense to take a permanent or contract position >6 months
    • my WHV expires in May 2017
    • Mark & Melissa’s weddings is in May/Jun 2017
      • (do i really need to be there for this???)
      • it doesn’t make sense to go to Australia just to come back for this wedding after anything less than 2-3 months
  • I must still complete some final renovations and get 2 tenants into the spare rooms
    • To complete ASAP
      • hood range vent
      • various floating shelves -kitchen
      • fix soft spot in the floor
      • clean out both spare rooms
        • Bryan needs to put his stuff somewhere else
        • find somewhere for Bryan to put all his shoes (so many pairs of shoes!!!)
      • fix crawl space door & add lock
      • locks on all the doors

3 Month Break!!!

Highlights of the last 3 Months:

May

  • New (to me) Camera!!!
    • Sony NEX-F3
  • New (to me) BBQ
  • Picking up Buddy’s New (to him) Dorsorduro
    • such a sick bike
    • was contemplating doubling him all the way to Bragg Creek so we could do a ride out

June

  • Riding with my cousin
    • getting him preped for riding in Canada
  • New (to me) Motorcycle boots
    • only used twice!!! SCORE!!
  • Allergy Appointment #1
    • Rabbits, horses, and cats oh my 😦

July

  • Homemade Throttle Locks
    • they’re a bit too sticky -ate up the rubber part of my throttle
    • will have to re-engineer a better solution
  • Motorcycle Trip
    • 2 weeks of glorious roads, twisties, glass smooth roads, and switch backs
    • Stranded twice due to bike issues (shredded back tire & clogged fuel filter)
    • Victoria harbour!!!

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August

  • Camera accessories
    • adjustable filters
    • cheap 35mm & 55mm lenses
  • Allergy Appointment #2
    • Dermatographia -skin writing 😦
    • No allergies to foods!!!
    • Regular bleach baths
  • Budget review
    • sudden realisation that I am bleeding money
    • panic and apply for a bunch of jobs in Calgary
    • I can put off Australia for a bit right??? 😦
  • Tragically Hip Concert stream
    • this was an emotionally packed concert -I’m glad it was streamed live across all of Canada
    • one of my first memories was listening to Ahead by a Century while lying on my aunt’s waterbed
    • I can’t help but to think this is the dead of a quintessential part of Canadiana
  • MSTRKRFT Concert
    • WTF is this shit that they’re playing??? They’re not going to play any of their songs???
    • I want a refund (or at least Han Corea)