And we’re back

I guess 18 months between posts is long enough so I thought I’d check in with you.

I’m still at the job I got in 2017 and it’s going well, if a bit stressful at times. But you know how everyone says nobody really knows what they’re doing? It’s true. But it’s odd to be surrounded by MBAs and CPAs when I have a English degree and twenty years working for an airline. But I spent half of those twenty years inadvertently acquiring skills for the newly emerging field of legal pricing. So I’m doing well in most senses of the word but I also know that a financial crisis is looming out there in the world so we’ll see if my job can weather it.

Mrs. Shatnerian still works at the Children’s Hospital and things are working out well there.

It was a kind of spendy year. We did March Break in Dominican Republic at a resort. I used to scoff at the notion (“That’s not the real country, you know!”) but then we had a kid and suddenly the idea of putting your feet up with a mixed drink wasn’t so bad. We went ziplining. Have I mentioned I don’t like heights? It was very, very high. James had no fear and just screamed “YOLO” all the way down. He’s normally a risk adverse kid. I also stepped on a small round ray. They have a painful stinger in their tail, I learned.

In the summer we did the super touristy trip to PEI by staying near Cavendish. I had a nice birthday where I turned 47. This is becoming a tradition with me, having my birthdays in PEI. There are worse places.

Then in the fall, the Mazda 5 gave signs it was about to fall apart so it was replaced with a brand new Ford Escape. I find the older I get, the more I want to be up high. I’ve barely put 1000 km on it as I take the train to work or sometimes work from home. It’s mostly for weekend excursions out of town.

James is doing well(ish) in school but struggles because of his ASD/DCD. We do what we can to get him additional help. But the new government wants to abolish school boards and I don’t know how that is going to affect him.

I still enjoy my science fiction movies and TV shows but I’ve found that I enjoy the superhero stuff more when it’s aimed at kids. But Star Trek is still my favourite.

But speaking of TV, we’re considering cord cutting and going without cable. I may miss just turning on the TV and flipping channels but it seems we’re all just forestalling the inevitable move to streaming.

On my bookshelf is The Obelisk Gate, the second part in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy which received the Hugo Award for each book in the series.

In my Spotify, is Frank Turner’s latest, Be More Kind.

So that’s about it for me. What’s up with you guys?


On Podcasts

So the new job gave me an iPhone for work. They gave me the choice of transferring over my current line to theirs but instead I decided to separate church and state and now I go around my work week with two phones like some kind of weirdo.

Because I now take the train, I’ve taken to listening to podcasts on the iPhone because Apple recently separated their podcasts from iTunes and I find it’s easier to find podcasts on the iPhone.  But also, I’m just coming back to podcasts now that I have a little time in the day to listen to them.

I’m not the most adventurous podcast listener as most of the ones I subscribe to are just the podcast versions of public radio shows like CBC’s The Current, Q, Spark, BBC 4’s In Our Time, and NPR’s On Being.

But I’ve discovered  a few new ones I like:

StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson is a weekly live show on the topic of science and astronomy. It’s aimed at general audiences and usually has celebrity guests. It’s not going for a deep dive here but it’s a fun talk on big science topics.

Trumpcast is Slate’s almost daily report on the comings and goings of America’s 45th president until he resigns, gets impeached, dies while tweeting in the bathroom, or, I don’t know, goes on to serve two terms. They’re not fans.

Women at Warp is a Star Trek themed podcast from a feminist point of view and with the female-led Star Trek Discovery coming out, they’re bound to have brand new material to cover.

Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly, a podcast about the economy, technology, and culture. A recent favourite episode was “What We Talk About When We Talk About Jagoffs.”

CANADALAND (yes, all caps) This one I struggle with because, while I usually enjoy the topics, I don’t really know who this is for. Is it a general audience or is it for a closed circle of broadcasting and publishing professionals who want to hear what host Jesse Brown thinks of the job they did this week. I get my news from CBC Radio in the morning and I usually catch the TV news at night and read a bit of online news in English and French throughout the day but my schedule doesn’t really allow me to consume that much news. So it’s weird to think I would be that interested in media criticism and yet, I listen.

So that’s what I’m listening to. What are you listening to these days?

Also, here is some Nirvana played on the Gayageum, a 6th century Korean string instrument because you need that in your life.



One Month Done

It has flown past but I’ve been on the job for a month now. After a rough first couple of weeks of 12 hour days, I think I’m getting the hang of it. And now the team is expanded to three people so the workload will be a little more evenly distributed.

There is still a ton of things I don’t understand but that will, I hope, come with time. And I really need to adjust my working style. I’m really content to sit in my office and produce analysis but for this job to work, it’s really about the face to face meetings and selling the partners and associates on what I’m doing. So suddenly I need to become more social and start working on relationships. This isn’t my strong suit but when in doubt, I can always act like it is.

I was in Toronto this week to finally meet my boss and other co-workers. He works in Calgary. Our mutual boss works in Toronto, as does my counterpart. Prior to that I’ve only spoken to him on the phone and in videoconferences. One thing I’ve gotten used to is that, now that I’m 45, my bosses are just going to be younger than me unless I suddenly start moving up the ranks but that’s never been my career goal.

As we were waiting to leave in the Porter lounger at Billy Bishop Airport, a colleague from the Montreal office asked me, “As tu remarqué que les gens de Toronto sont vraiment ‘into customer service.?’ C’est comme, ‘Just give me my double espresso. You’re too happy for six-thirty in the morning.'”

Now that I’m back in a job, and a rather demanding one at that, it’s important to use the downtime well. Tomorrow we’re going to see Les Géants downtown and camping trips are planned for the summer. I may not get a summer vacation this year but I’ll need to make sure I’m spending time with friends and family and getting to the gym when I can.


Things I Saw This Week April 14


In the late 90s, before the days of torrents, Netflix, and YouTube, if you wanted to watch something that wasn’t available in your country, you had to rely on an underground network of people willing to tape it onto VHS and pass it around. That’s how I discovered Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Now it’s back and perfectly accessible on Netflix with a new cast but the same concept: a man in a jumpsuit is forced by mad scientists to watch bad movies with his robot friends and hilarity ensues. Now that I’m not a university student who runs on irony, we’ll see if the appeal is the same.


This week, the Trudeau government unveiled plans to legalize pot by July 1st of 2018. It seems ambitious to meet that date, especially as it will be up to the provinces to figure out how to enforce the laws. But most Canadians are on board and few politicians on the opposition side seem willing to go against the proposed law. I worry that once it’s in place, those who do indulge will go so over the top with it that Canada will just smell like one big summer music festival for a year or two until everyone calms down.


Because bombing always, always works President Trump dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan this week. The weapon used is called the “Mother of All Bombs,” or the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast. And now terrorism is over forever. The end.

Russia has a bigger one which they call the “Father of All Bombs” because #masculinitysofragile.



I’m currently reading the latest Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I’m a late arrival to the detective genre. Perhaps because I find the subject matter too gruesome, I’ve just avoided it. Rowling doesn’t avoid the gore here but it’s handled well and she doesn’t revel in it. The books are character-driven and well-plotted enough to keep me coming back.


Last summer I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I’m not one for self-help books or management books and I heard the author was a devout Mormon. I had this idea that the book was some kind of lesson in financial success while being a good Christian. It’s nothing of the kind, of course. He does, from time to time, touch on his faith but really, it’s about being an honest, principled person. The 8th Habit is a follow up for the contemporary age.



Because I want something light to read on the train to my new job downtown.

Yes! I’m burying the lede but I’ll be starting a new job on April 24. It’s for a law firm. It’s a manager role in an emerging field. I haven’t updated my LinkedIn or said anything on Facebook yet. I’m waiting until I’m actually in the office and they haven’t decided they’ve made some terrible mistake.

But I’m working again! Hooray!