Sunday night. A sunny day is always a treat, but when it falls on a Sunday, it feels like all is right with the world.

First things first: I’m giving away an e-book on happiness! I wrote “50 shades of yay: great thinkers on happiness” six years ago, but it seems particularly relevant in 2020. The book combines 50 writings on the nature of happiness by pre-modern authors. (Incidentally, everything written prior to 1932 is copyright-free.) Some of the pieces in the book are long, some are short, some are collections of thoughts and aphorisms. I’m sure there’s something there that will help you feel a little better in this weird, unprecedented year. The book is free to download from now until the end of Thursday, October 1. If you like the book, I’d appreciate it if you left a nice review and told your friends.

In other news… The great MRI odyssey last night ended with me getting back home at 4am. Ye olde sleep cycle is going to be a bit off-balance for a little while, but hey – worth it. I spent a couple of hours outside the downtown hospital, enjoying the warm weather and the quiet night. I don’t believe I spent a single evening out and about in Toronto this year… The city gets so different at night: quiet, peaceful, somehow more futuristic. That’s also the only time there are no traffic jams, which makes driving on the local highways an actually enjoyable experience, for once.

I spent a solid couple of hours today just walking around the neighbourhood, trying to find the nearest walking-distance Tim Hortons that sold sandwiches. (I had no idea they had some that sold only doughnuts!) The 30-minute walk ended up taking two hours, but it was a) delicious, b) sunny, c) warm, and d) a nice change of pace. (No pun intended – honest!) It was also a nice opportunity to start reading the new novel by Claire North, one of my favourite authors. (I can’t recommend her “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” highly enough!)

As I was waiting outside the hospital last night, I joined the subreddit on Canada immigration, and the things I read were not very encouraging… Some wrote that they had to wait 11 months to receive their PR (permanent residency) after applying last year. Of course, they’re just anonymous Internet strangers, and they might have had different PR applications than mine, but still… This whole time, I’ve been bracing myself for six months of waiting, from August till maybe as late as February. If I have to keep hanging on all the way through next summer… Let’s just hope it doesn’t get that bad, eh? I like to think that somewhere, somehow, some dedicated Service Canada folks are working hard to eliminate the PR application backlog to keep it from turning into a timebomb.

An online buddy of mine (we stayed at the same Costa Rican hostel years ago) has a girlfriend who just got her PR. Not sure how long they had to wait but hey, this shows that the system works. Even the waiting isn’t worthless: to apply for Canadian citizenship later on, you need to have spent three of the last five years in Canada, and the pre-PR days (work permit, for instance) count as half-years. That means if I get my PR on my two-year arrival anniversary in April 2021, I’d need to spend just two more years in the great white north to fully cement my position. Goals and aspirations!

In covid news, more of the same old, same old around the world. Locally, there’s a bit of a funny story… My previous landlady, here in Toronto, who fancies herself an event organizer, got tired of all the restrictions. She tried to set up a party for 40 people (two separate groups of 20) on the second floor of a downtown bar, skirting the 10-person limit on technicality, and making masks optional… (She’s the sort of person who believes that essential oils will cure everything – and if they don’t, you obviously need more essential oils! It’s basically essential oils all the way down.) When she posted online ads for her party on local social media, some of the saner folks were less than impressed… I’m not sure what exactly happened, but the event page got taken down. (Did someone call the bar and tell them about the legal ramifications? Alas, we’ll never know.) So yeah, it’s not just college students and Millennials who keep starting parties – it’s also older folks who really ought to know better, but just can’t stop chasing the almighty dollar. (The almighty loonie?) But hey, if you look on the bright side, that’s one super-spreader event that got successfully nixed. If that’s not a success story, I don’t know what is! Heh.