a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies


Losing My Virtual Wallet

On either my morning or evening train on Monday the 22nd, I put my iPad down and forgot about it.

Realizing this at around 11:30 that night, I panicked. I felt violated. Lost. Worried. Scared. Despite what you may think of me as an Apple fanboy, this had nothing to do with some addiction to the device. If I'm to be honest, there's nothing I do on my iPad that cannot be done on my phone, albeit not always as well. 

What worried me most about it was my data. The iPad held many apps that automatically logged into things. It held some of my photos and many of my emails, not to mention access to my Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and even some work systems. After a few minutes of debating, I used Find My iPhone (really should be called Find My Apple Device) to send a remote erase command. The next time my iPad connects to the internet, it will be erased.

I realized too much was at stake, in my mind, to justify the chance it might come online and I'd be able to track it via the GPS. I was too worried about someone using that data to harass or attack me or the people I love. It felt like losing my virtual wallet or purse; so many personal things were in there. I've spent the last few days concocting ways someone malicious could use that data, the various ways they could keep my iPad off the internet and still use what was there. A colleague at worked joke there usually aren't too many evil tech geniuses on the train, "except you, of course," she said with a grin. And realistically I think if my iPad did fall into evil hands, I would have seen SOME fingerprints on my accounts. Weird accesses. Emails accidentally read. Something like that.

Since Monday at 11:53pm it has not come online, which means it's either in a place without cell service, it's been turned off since then, it's been wiped and has moved on or it's been switched to Airplane Mode and some evil genius is browsing what's cached and turned it to Airplane so as not to delete it and is monitoring my Twitter and blog (hi, EG). Honestly, any of them except the latter is kind of okay. It's an expensive device, that I'd very much like to get back, but I could never lived with myself if someone used my data maliciously to harm others. Keeping that from happening is worth the money.

It was interesting, going through and changing every password, thinking of all the things that are connected to that iPad, the things that are linked together, the things that work without an internet connection. I've done that and, as far as I can tell, there was no penetration of any of my accounts. 

It may still turn up. I contacted GO Transit, the system on which I lost it, who told me their standard procedure is to turn the device off when they find it and ship it to a central lost and found, who then turn it back on and try to identify the owner. They also said it often takes a few days for things to get to the central lost and found, so I am holding out hope for that. The fact that it hasn't turned on, not even once, since then is a good sign that some kind soul may have turned it in.

I have learned my lesson, though. My iPhone is locked down tighter than a drum now, and if I get that iPad back (or purchase a new one) it will be again. The cloud services are kind of double edged swords; I lost no data, but I'm constantly worried it fell into another's hands.

Ah well. Life goes on.

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Surprising Things About Tom

Following the trend from Lauren, GFM and Emma, I thought I'd try and post a few things about me that might surprise you. I find I've LOVED reading these; partly cause they've been done by 3 of my favourite ladies so far (with more to come, possibly) and partly because sometimes I think those little minute things can really make a person. Particularly what they decide to tell you.

So, a few things that might surprise you about me (and that I may not have mentioned before):

  •  Around February in my second year of uni I started running daily. By July of that year I had dropped almost 50 pounds and was running over 9k a day.
  • love to sing and dance. I am, by most definitions, terrible at both, but if there is a cheesy pop song on that I know and no one is around I will likely belt it out while dancing around the room.
  • For a while in university I considered myself a Buddhist. At this point I'd probably go with agnostic, but distinctly not atheist. I believe there is more to a person than what we can observe with our eyes and what science tells us.
  • I had planned to become a university professor up until 4th year of university, when I realized it wasn't something that excited me.
  • The person I see in the mirror is likely starkly different from the person you see when you look at me. I've only recently started to realize how different that view really is.
  • I love airports, and could spend hours there watching the comings and goings.
  • In drama class at high school I was told I was a really good actor by a few people, and got high marks. I regret to this day not pursuing acting further and being involved with it in university.
  • I have mentally worked out a fanfic continuation of Star Trek, based on the last series' timeline (not the movie) that would see a story arc spread over 20 years and 4 different TV series. Very little of this exists outside my head, but the characters and lore behind are well fleshed out, and if you see me zoning off I may be writing/playing a scene in my head.
  • Similarly, I used to participate in weekly Star Trek chat-based RP sessions with 10-20 people at a time. I rose to the rank of Fleet Captain in the group I ran with, and ran my own ship.
  • I am incredibly uncomfortable, to the point of fear and revulsion, with the idea of my nails being filed.
  • Instead of going into HR I almost started working for the Canadian government. While I slightly regret not jumping on that opportunity (the job, 4 years ago, paid above what I'm making now) I do ultimately think I made the right decision, as without it I wouldn't know so many people I know now.
  • Despite being Canadian, I've never gone snow-boarding or skiing and don't have much interest in either.
  • I also find hockey really boring and dislike the taste of Tim Horton's coffee.
  • I often bemoan, quietly, to myself, the fact that I will never visit Minas Tirith, Rivendell, Balmora, Babylon 5, Ankh-Morpork, Halfhill, Orgrimmar and many others.

There are more things, I'm sure, but that's all I can think of for now, and my lunch break is nearly over. What are some surprising things about you? Why not write your own post?



Wine and Love: 13

5641043482 6f577b210d mTwo weeks in a row! Blogging win! Today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!


  • I left my iPad on the train sometime on Monday. I've been worried sick about someone getting into my data, harassing friends or doing God knows what with it. So far I believe we're safe; it looks like whoever got it either turned it into the lost and found or has wiped it. Using the iCloud stuff I can tell it hasn't been online (at least without being wiped) at least since Monday night, which means either it's been turned off since then (which is the lost and found's standard procedure) or wiped. I've set it to wipe the next time it comes online for data integrity. All signs seem to be pointing to it being in the lost and found, but since all that stuff has to be processed I won't know for a few days.
  • Honestly that's been the big one, and some of the fallout and worries from that. Besides that, work's been busy, but I could practically leave that on here permanently!
  • I haven't been sleeping well lately. Part of it is just bad habits, part of it is the myriad things I'd rather be doing than sleeping, part of it is iPad and work things on my mind a lot. I've been trying to get to bed earlier, but it's not easy when there's so much I want to do.


  • Mists of Pandaria continues to delight and entertain, which is great. I said this last week, but I cannot overemphasize how glad I am to have this awesome outlet and the wonderful people that come along with it. We ran dungeons last night and, even though they didn't go super well, I had a blast. If you've ever thought you might enjoy WoW, do give it a try, and let me know so I can bring you into my awesome group of people there.
  • My friends have been amazing. GFM especially has been a big help and is great at keeping me grounded and keeping things in perspective. Thanks, GFM.
  • I bought a ticket to VidCon! Still figuring out the flight and everything, but it'll be awesome to meet and hang out with people I've blogged around with and whatnot for so long.
  • I'm generally eating healthier and feeling better these days. I've had one person ask if I lost weight; I haven't checked in a while, so I'm not sure, but that was nice. I feel like I see a little bit in my face, but that could be imagination.
  • Therapy has been going well. I feel like I'm making real progress, which largely means breaking down a lot of the things I had thought I knew about myself. It's fascinating, and a tad bit scary, but good.
  • I've moved some money around and cleared up some financial stuff, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm getting close to being ready to tackle the move. Not quite there, but close.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?


I’m bad with money

The title kind of says it all, but I'll go into detail.

I'm bad with money in general. I'm bad at keeping track of things and bad at controlling habits. Lack of self control is a theme in my life that I'm working on, as a lot of my problems in terms of weight and finances can all be traced back to that. I use food and retail therapy as a way of fixing my problems. I buy something that I think will encourage me to turn my life around, or cause I've had a bad day. I eat something sweet because it will just be this last time, or cause I've had a bad day.

This isn't some post to declare I've done those things for the last time. That would be silly; I'll do both of those things occasionally, and probably will right until I die (or am uploaded into a new collective consciousness when the Singularity occurs). The idea, however, is to recognize patterns and say "I'll do that later." Not never. But later. Cause all it takes sometimes is just saying "tomorrow" for one more day.

Anyway, I'm over dramatizing a bit here. 

Today I also did something to help with that. I moved some money around and paid things off. I was hesitant to, because it was money I had held as a little bit sacred. I was cursing myself for my financial mistakes, and thinking I deserved to pay it off slowly and painfully, instead of taking some of my own money, paying it off, and paying myself back.

It was stupid. Honestly, it was. I get why I did it, but it was childish. It was me saying "no, this is my fault, and I'll do it without touching that, cause they were my stupid decisions." It was ingrained in me from a young age that you should be ashamed of financial mistakes, and never touch any savings under any circumstances.

So yeah. I fucked up. But I'm done beating myself up over that, and I'm done sticking to a principle that makes no sense. I'd rather pay myself back, with interest, than someone else.

I'm tempted to say "of course, the worry is I won't," but I will. That's the adult thing to do, and I'm trying to do the adult thing these days.

You know, while playing video games.

(Ed. note; this came out more angry sounding than I had intended, but I think it works. I'm a little proud of myself for doing this and making my own decisions, hence the sharing, but the decisions that got me into this mess are something that make me angry at myself, more than anything else. But it's important to remember I made those mistakes out of the urge to better myself, and I'm learning now how to do that a better way. I'm getting help. So that maybe, this time will be different.)

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What I’m Absorbing: October 19th

Each week I'll post the things that are in my ears and in front of my eyes. This can include articles, websites, blogs, YouTube Channels, TV shows, podcasts, books, games, programs, utilities or anything I can think of! Where possible I'll try to put links to check things out. The idea here to share, critically look at what I'm doing, and to motivate myself a bit to not just play WoW all the time.

Watching: Homeland - I've been watching Season 1 of this a fair bit and really enjoying it. Damian Lewis is a great actor who, in my mind, doesn't get nearly enough work. The spy aspects, the politics, the family dynamics, coupled with the weaving of Islam into it, are fascinating to me. Not to mention Morena Baccarin…I'm sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes. Homeland. Great series so far, and I'm hoping to finish season 1 this weekend.

Reading: I finished Up and Down by Terry Fallis last week. This is a Canadian author who had written two great books, The Best Laid Plans and its sequel The High Road, both comedic stories about Canadian politics. I love both of them, but didn't love Up and Down. This book centres around the inner workings of a Canadian PR agency, trying to help NASA increase their public profile. While neat, it just didn't grab me in the same way. Could be because I don't work at a PR agency, but that seems a very narrow audience to write for, though I know the author worked at (and I believe founded) one. It was an easy read, though, much simpler than my last one, which was a nice change.

Playing: I've been having tons of fun in WoW these days, playing the new expansion, Mists of Pandaria. It introduces us to a new, Asian-inspired continent and a new race of Pandaren (I'll let you guess what they're inspired by) as well as a new martial-arts themed class called the monk. It's been the most fun I've had in years, to be honest. Tons of guild mates are back for it and I think we've all just been really happy with it. There's lots to do for me; professions to work on, alts to level, my monk to level especially plus the usual WoW stuff. I'm letting myself have a bit of fun with it, and since it's early in the expansion I'm just letting myself play, while trying to balance things.

What are you absorbing this week?


Wine and Love: 12

5641043482 6f577b210d mBack at it after a break! Today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!


  • Friends are having problems, and I'm trying to help, but I find I say the wrong thing all too often. I almost want to try and find a book on it, but I think each person is different. I just wish I could help more, that I knew what to say and do.
  • I'm failing a bit at adulting these days. It feels like the money is just slipping through my fingers, and I have no idea where it goes. I've been using Mint to track and keeping an eye on my bank account but it just all seems to slip away, and with that a lot of my goals get a little further off. I'm doing my best, but it just doesn't seem to be good enough.
  • Work gets busier and busier, with more and more things being heaped on my plate. I know largely there isn't much choice, but it still is making for some stressful days.


  • Mists of Pandaria continues to delight and entertain, which is great.
  • I've discovered an easy, healthy dish that I can cook and vary a bit in order to keep it new and interesting!
  • I've been chatting to folks on GChat more often, which has been nice, getting to know some blog folks a bit better.
  • I had a lovely second Thanksgiving with Matt and Lauren at their new house. It's looking amazing. Their family is so welcoming, and I got to do a nice mini road trip with some friends. Overall, a fantastic weekend. More of that, please.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?


Practical Revelations

Therapy so far has been full of revelations. Little moments where someone else, looking at my thought processes, rearranges them and shows them to me in a whole other way that I had never quite considered.

This always amazes me, because I'm a very introspective person, and tend to think I've explored things from all possible angles and avenues. I feel like I have myself figured out when, in reality, I likely don't.

The most recent session involved a lot of that sort of thing. A lot of what my therapist uses is a technique whereby she asks me to say the first thing that comes to my head, particularly when she's asking me about my motivations for things. And when I'm honest about what first comes to my head, well, I'm not always pleased with what comes out.

But sometimes I think you have to face some of your more uncomfortable desires before you can start to change them. The idea that money is a large motivator to me will likely not come as a shock to some who know me, but realizing it really was was uncomfortable for me. I don't want to care about having the bigger house, or the fancy suit, or the nice car. I do, apparently, and I'm not happy about that. But I'm confident I can learn to change that because, mentally, I know, that all means very, very little. 

The other interesting piece that came out in that session was the high standards I place for myself. The conversation came around to a point where I was describing the kind of person I wanted to be, and she asked me to run through what the ideal day, for that person, entailed. And when I laid it all out, it sounded exhausting. To lay it out for you, my ideal person;

  • Wakes up early.
  • Runs/does yoga (possibly both).
  • Meditates.
  • Writes.
  • Cares for his animals.
  • Reads the paper.
  • Takes care of his hygiene for the day.
  • Cooks and eats a delicious, healthy breakfast.
  • Goes to work.
  • Eats a healthy and delicious lunch he prepared himself yesterday.
  • Comes home.
  • Cares for his animals.
  • Cooks a healthy and delicious dinner.
  • Catches up on blogs and vlogs.
  • Plays a healthy chunk of World of Warcraft.
  • Socializes with his friends.
  • Watches some television.
  • Reads a book.
  • Gets 8 hours of sleep.

That all would be very tough to fit into a day. Near impossible, I'd say. When I finished laying that out, she looked at me like I was a little crazy, and she's not wrong. I do want to try and fit more of these things into my life, but the idea that…not that these things would be impossible, but that I was setting a very high standard for myself, was kind of surprising. I'd always thought this kind of life was just what everyone else led, and that I was just lazy. The idea that, hey, maybe not everyone does all these things…well, it was a bit of a shock, albeit probably a good one.

This week, I'm trying to look at the ways I sabotage myself. A lot of what we've been looking at lately is how I have a tendency to stay in comfortable patterns, and even sabotage my goals to stay in those patterns, because it's comfortable and easy. She's asked me to take notes on any ways I've sabotaged myself. There are a lot of similar themes so far, food related mostly, but it's been an interesting exercise, and we'll see how it goes.

Have you ever had any sudden revelations like these?