As expected Ontario's third lockdown did not end on May 20th and so we spent another month stuck indoors. That meant more TV, video games, books, and lots of unhealthy snacking. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let it be known that while Ontarians love to complain about lockdowns we have also become very good at them. Daily new cases and hospitalizations have been trending downwards and the Ontario government has finally detailed how we are going to return to "normal".
There is a three step process to reopening the province and it is directly tied to vaccination rates. To enter step 1 we need 60% of adults vaccinated with one dose. Step 2 needs 70% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20% vaccinated with two doses. And finally step 3 requires 70 to 80% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25% vaccinated with two doses. If you've been reading my previous monthly retrospectives you'll know that I have been harping on the government about their vaccine rollout. But in this instance I must eat crow because while they haven't gotten to the 200,000 doses a day I was hoping for we've still done extremely well.
For three weeks now Canada has been averaging well above 120,000 doses a day. At the end of April only 4.5 million Ontarians had received a dose of the vaccine. At the end of May we're now at 8.5 million or 67% of the adult population. When you compare Canada to the rest of the world we're now second overall in terms of of percentage of the population with at least one dose.
Canada may have started late but over the last two months we have become incredibly consistent. Also, I will admit that the percentage of the population willing to get a vaccine is much higher than I imagined. As someone who lived in the United States for six years, I had convinced myself that there were enough anti-vaxxers across all of North America that Canada would be lucky if we even got to 70%. But it is look like by mid June we'll be over 80%.
I have to pour some cold water over all of this excitement. We are still a very long way from herd immunity. We need everyone to go back for their second dose and it's going to take until the end of August for that to happen. So yes, the summer is still basically a write-off. But for the first time in a long time I am actually excited about the future. The next three months will continue to be a slog but come September I truly believe that I'll be able to go on a vacation again.
I just spent the last five paragraphs hyping Canada's vaccination numbers so I am very happy to say that I contributed to them. I got my first dose of the vaccine and it was easy-peasy. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes with no side effects other than a sore arm for a couple days. I am not patiently away my term for a second dose which will hopefully be the first or second weekend of August.
Read The Premonition: A Pandemic Story
Keeping with the pandemic theme I read Michael Lewis' newest book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, and it was fantastic. A large portion of it focuses on a public health officer in California and her uphill battle with the lifelong politicians who just didn't want to face reality and admit what was happening. As someone who lived in California I was disgusted but honestly not surprised to hear how things were handled behind the scenes.
Maybe don't read this book if you're not in the mood to get angry at the government. But if you're someone who is interested in the people that OVER A DECADE AGO flat out predicted this pandemic and had detailed responses that would have saved us, I highly recommend you give The Premonition a read.
Ontario's COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout
I know I did this at the beginning of this retrospective but I gotta continue to give props to Ontario's vaccine rollout. The consistency that they managed to achieved was amazing and for the first time in a long time we finally have a clear path forward.
8.5 million first doses and almost 800,000 fully vaccinated. By the end of June I don't think 10 million first doses and 3 million fully vaccinated is out of the question.
World of Demons
One of my goals this month was to hook a PlayStation 5 controller up to my Apple TV and try out a game on Apple Arcade. I chose World of Demons by PlatinumGames and I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised.
As a hack-and-slash game from Platinum most people would consider it fairly basic. You're not going to get the combat of Bayonetta here. But for what is essentially an iPhone it is much more involved than I could have imagined.
Personally I don't really think it benefited from the big screen but the controller was an absolute necessity. I think I'm going to buy a Backbone controller for my iPhone and continue playing there.
Read The Last Wish
I finally took the plunge this month and read, The Last Wish, the first book in The Witcher series. As someone who loves the games and the TV show, the book lived up to all of my expectations. Obviously the novels came first but you can see how both the games and the show captured the essence of of these characters. At no point was Geralt or his companions behaving different from what I would expect. They are the same characters that I have loved for years and I am looking forward to continuing reading the series.
The Toronto Maple Leafs
Buckle up because this is going to get ugly.
As a Leafs fan you know that every year is finally going to be the year. But this time around I truly thought that was the case. Sure we're spending $44 million a year on four players but they really seemed to click this season and with the weak Canadian division it seemed like destiny was saying it was our time.
But then we actually had to play the games.
In the first game of the playoffs we literally had to watch our captain, John Tavares, nearly die on the ice. Dr. Brian Sutterer has an excellent breakdown on what happened but I warn you it is incredibly difficult to watch.
Unsurprisingly, after watching an injury that gruesome the Leafs proceeded to lose game 1. Thankfully Montreal then forgot how to play hockey and we won the next three games pretty handily. So that's it right? We're up 3-1 and game 5 is in Toronto. Let's close this out at home and move onto the second round for the first time in 17 years.
For games 5 and 6 we thought it would be amazing to go down early, tie it up late to force overtime, then give the puck away for an easy goal. I'm serious. Check out these goals:
So now we're all tied up at 3 games at piece and going back to Toronto for game 7.
The Leafs have lost their last six elimination games so you only get one guess as to how this one turned out.
That's right. Of course we lost game seven. The score says 3-1 but in reality the Leafs were shutout. Scoring a pity goal with less than two minutes to go when you're down by three doesn't mean anything.
So that's it. The Leafs lost a series that they had a 97% chance to win and did it in the most Leafs was possible. And what was amazing was after the game I was confidently able to say I'm done being a Leafs fan. I've removed them as my favourite team from Apple, Google, theScore, etc and will refrain from paying to watch any of their games in the future. In the back of my mind I always believed there was the chance they could win but now I actually understand that it is an impossibility. The Leafs will not win a playoffs series in my lifetime and with that knowledge I can let them now just fade from my mind.
Monoaco Grand Prix
This was the first running of the Monaco Grand Prix since I started watching Formula 1 live and it absolutely sucked. I have no idea why this circuit is allowed to host F1 races. It's not even a race. It's a parade. I think the collective racing community just has Stockholm syndrome and can't admit this circuit was good in the 1950s but now absolutely sucks!
Last month I ranted about how I continued to suck at chess. I played 62 games with 28 wins, 28 losses, and 6 draws.
Well in May I managed to play 62 games again. But this time with 42 wins, 18 losses, and 2 draws. The worst part? I have absolutely no idea what I did differently in May. The only type of "learning" I did was watch this 10 minute video by GothamChess on the London System.
But that doesn't explain my results because I actually went 18-12 as white. I went 24-6 as black which is insane because black is statistically weaker.
So I started the month with an ELO of 698 and ended at 793. But what still concerns me is that I really didn't enjoy most of these games. I think perhaps what happened is that I managed to just keep my composure for mere seconds longer than my average opponent at this skill level, and that resulted in them blundered more often than me. I can barely remember any games where I felt actual tactics and strategising came into play and I enjoyed my duel with the other player. But I do have games burned into my memory where I hung my queen and/or rook on move 6 and then wanted to throw my iPad at the god damn wall.
While I still have no idea what I should be doing to improve my skill at Chess, whatever I am doing seems to be having some effect so I'm gonna keep on keeping on. My goal for June is not going to focus on playing a certain number of games but to try to get to and maintain an ELO of 900.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
I played a bunch of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town on my Nintendo Switch and I gotta admit I'm enjoy it more than Animal Crossing: New Horizons. While it doesn't have as much decorating as Animal Crossing it is very much focused on daily, repetitive activities and honestly that's what I find myself in the mood for with these games. I like the idea of getting up, checking the crops, caring for the animals, and then finding another chore to help progress me to a larger goal.
I definitely think there is a middle ground between these two games that would be a lot of fun but for the time being Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a very enjoyable, chill game.
Season 1 of Invincible
I'd say that about 50% of Season 1 of Invincible is really enjoyable and the other half is incredibly boring. I had this on in the background while I was doing other things and it was the animation style and the battles that managed to grab my attention.
I don't think I'll watch season 2 of Invincible but I really do now want to read the comics that it is based on.
Season 4 of Castlevania
We finally got some closure to Netflix's Castlevania series and very much like Invincible I'd say that most of it is fairly boring but the battles and animation are out of this freaking world. It definitely is a step up from season 3 and still had a very cathartic ending so I am glad that I watched it.
Army of the Dead
Not really much else to say. If you're a Zac Synder fan you're probably going to enjoy Army of the Dead.
Review April Goals
- ✅ Run 50+ kilometers.
- ✅ Read The Last Wish, the first book in The Witcher series.
- ✅ Play 50+ games of rapid chess.
- ✅ Take Lacey to the vet for a checkup.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Paint miniatures or throw out that damn painting set because it's never gonna get used.
- ✅ Beat New Pokémon Snap.
- ✅ Hook PS5 Controller up to Apple TV and play an Apple Arcade game.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Start working on Monster Hunter armor set builder app.
- Run 50+ kilometers
- Get to 900 ELO in rapid chess.
- Finish reading Monsters in the Dark: The Making of X-COM: UFO Defense.
- Start reading a second book. Potentially Sword of Destiny, The Queen's Gambit, or All Systems Red.
- Paint miniatures.
- Watch at least 12 WWDC 2021 sessions.
- Play Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Beat 3.0 patch of Monster Hunter Rise.
- Play at least another hour of Spaceland.
- Write WWDC 2021 recap articles.
- Write E3 2021 recap articles.