Year in review 2021

11 minute read

It’s been another unusual year with the continued global COVID pandemic, less eventful than 2020 but overall good. I found a new hobby that makes me happy, completed a health plan, and moved to a new city.


At the start of the year, Lori got a telephoto camera lens for herself on her birthday. A Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3. I started to borrow the lens to go birding and quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. It really speaks to my trend of “gotta catch them all” style projects, similar to my 2020 Vancouver parks project. It’s like a giant hunt and seek puzzle!

Steven looking though a camera
Steven and Lori behind a cameraSteven on a dam with a camera

Before this year I knew there were more than ~20 types of birds in Vancouver but I couldn’t name many of them. I often confused the difference between a Sparrow, Chickadee, Junco, Finch, Towhee, Swallow, or Starling to Lori horror. Everything that was small was a sparrow, anything that was black was a crow, if it swam it was a duck, and everything else was either a pigeon or a gull.

A non birders guide to birds

A year later I can correctly identify +100 species of local birds, often by their calls alone. I know the migration activity of most of the common species, and what they eat, where they make their nests, and where is the best place to find them.

I started carrying around peanuts wherever I went, to feed the crows. Training them to do tricks for the peanuts. I could tell the difference between some of my favorite crows based on their behavior.

Walking crowCrow looking into the camera with three peanuts
Crow with two peanuts in his beakCrow with peanut
Crow about to fly away with a peanutCrow with a peanut

I quickly started amassing a number of good photos of birds and was looking for a new project to do for the year after the parks project from last year. I decided to make a deck of playing cards using the photos of the birds. “Birds of play”. You can read more about this project here 2021-bird-playing-cards

Playing cards layed outStack of playing cards in boxes
Playing cards spread outPlaying cards all layed out

By the end of the year, I had taken 31,893 photos, 2,125 observations, 363 different species

I have been posting some of the best bird photos on my Instagram (@funvill) and on

Some of my favorites are;

Belted Kingfisher
Red Breasted Sapsucker
Mandarin Duck
California Quail
Black Headed Grosbeak
Cedar Waxwing
Spotted Towhee
Turkey Vulture
Black Capped Chickadee
Double Crested Cormorant
Song Sparrow
Red-Winged Black Bird

Birding has changed my life for the better.


In 2020 the company that I work for, Chipkin closed down its offices and I started to work from home (WFH) permanently. This meant that all the equipment that I use for work ended up in my living room and slowly took over my entire apartment. Without a spare room or office to differentiate my work life from my home life they merged into an endless workday. I got a lot of work done but my stress skyrocketed.

I started looking for a new place to live where I could have an office and more space. The market was crazy with houses going for 20-30% over asking with no subjects. After looking at over 50 places in 4 months, making multiple offers, and being outbid over and over again, I expanded my search area outside of Vancouver to Burnaby.

In the middle of May, I got an accepted offer on a townhouse near the “Amazing” Brentwood in Burnaby. This meant moving out of Vancouver where I have spent the last 20 years of my life. It was a hard choice to leave Vancouver but it was a good opportunity in a great location and hit all my major requirements. A door in an office that I can close at the end of the day. Close to shops and restaurants, parks, access to transit, outdoor space, and just more space to breathe.

1250 sqft, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 floors, fireplace, washer and dryer, Gym, Sauna/hot tub, 2 mins to the grocery stores, 10 mins walk to ~30 restaurants, movie theater, hardware stores, drug stores, etc… Best of all, I converted one of the bedrooms into an office, with a door that closes at the end of the work day.

I have been living here for six months and so far so good.



We didn’t travel much this year because; house hunting, packing, moving, and setting up the new place took up most of the year. We did a lot of hikes in search of birds.

We took our annual Canada Day trip to our friend’s cabin in Shuswap Lake. I have been there many times before but this time I took the opportunity to look for spiders to photograph. Now that I was looking for them there everywhere!

Group photo on a deckGroup photo infront of a metal flower
Group photo infront of cranog brewerySpider

I made a trip to see some old friends on the Sunshine Coast. Found a few new-to-me bird species while I was there.

Playing pandmicBelted kingfisher
Spotted TowheeSteven hiking

In December we went to Palm Springs to escape the cold. We spotted a Greater Roadrunner in the wild (They do exist! Beep Beep). Got to see my first oasis and a Turkey Vulture.

PalmSprings signGreater Roadrunner

While in Palm Springs we took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The Joshua Trees look like the trees from Dr. Seuss - The Lorax

Joshua Tree National Park signbig rock
Joshua TreeJoshua Tree

What’s next for 2022?

We have booked our dry suit scuba diving lessons so we are able to dive in Vancouver’s cold water. I really enjoyed the scuba diving we did on our 2018 Asia trip. I have a few friends that are experienced divers that have been trying to get me into this hobby for years.

If it becomes safe to travel internationally again, I would like to see Morocco; Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Chefchaouen maybe even take a quick detour up into Madrid Spain. I miss exploring the world.

The new townhouse has a lot of strange angles that need custom furniture. I would like to get back into some wood working to build custom furniture. Building things with my hands.

Looking forward to new adventures in 2022.

Stats 2021

Stats from different services for the year 2021


Listened to 12,228 songs in 2021 up 16% from 2021, 10,593 songs played. That’s approximately 32 days, 16 hours of music.

Top albums:

Songs on repeats: Let go of my ego by NNAMDÏ


I watched 46 movies and at least 1 season of 22 tv series. That’s approximately 16,800 or 280 hours or an average of 45 mins a day.

Average personal rating of 3.4 out of 5. Above average


I took approximately ~60,000 photos. I don’t have a total count because I switched cameras mid year and the older camera did not have a shutter count. Most of this was bird photography.

Only kept ~18,000 photos. A keep rate of 30%


I worked 2145 hours in 192 days, an average 11 hours a day and 41 hours a week. Top week was 81 hours.

I spent 781 hours in voice/video calls this year. That’s approximately 36% of my working hours or 4 hours each working day.

Sent 1064 emails approximately 5.5 emails a day. Received 10,084 emails approximately 53 emails a day

I made 1004 code commits. Approximately 5.2 a day across 15 projects. Biggest single day commits count: 55. I don’t code much these days. Most of that is code review, documentation, and readmes


  • Instagram: 69 posts
  • Facebook: 50 posts (mostly cross posts from Instagram)
  • Twitter: 520 posts/retweets
  • Reddit: +10k karma, 220 awards, ~100 hours, 26 posts, 580 replies
  • iNaturalist: 2,125 observations, 363 different species
  • BCHydro: 2838.55 kWh


From google maps


Movies and TV reviews

This a list of the movies and tv shows that I watched in 2021. Netflix allows you to download your viewing history that helped me with creating this list, then I used the new releases in 2021 from Rotten tomatoes to jog my memory for everything else.

Ranking: (5) - Awesome, (4) - Great with issues, (3) - Better then average, (2) - Meh skip it, (1) - Horrible don’t watch

Day trips

Below is a list of all the trips that I have taken in the last year.

  • Jan 1 - Minnekhada Regional Park
  • Jan 2 - Byrne Creek Ravine Park
  • Jan 3 - PNE light show
  • Jan 9 - North 40 Park Reserve
  • Jan 13 - Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Jan 16 - Burnaby lake
  • Jan 18 - Stanley Park
  • Jan 23 - Eagle Run Squamish
  • Jan 31 - Queenborough island
  • Feb 6 - Iona Beach Regional Park
  • Feb 7 - Crescent Beach
  • Feb 8 - Colony Farms Regional Park
  • Feb 9 - Charleson Park
  • Feb 14 - Maplewood Flats
  • Feb 20 - Fraser River Park
  • Feb 22 - Charleson Park
  • Feb 27 - Garry Point Park & West Dyke Trail
  • Mar 6 - Charleson Park
  • Mar 7 - Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Mar 15 - Burnaby lake
  • Mar 22 - South Arm Marshes
  • Mar 22 - Bought a 30W laser cutter
  • Mar 29 - New Brighton Park
  • Apr 2 - Stave Falls
  • Apr 3 - Richmond Nature Park
  • Apr 4 - Vedder Park, Chilliwack & Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • Apr 10 - New camera & Queen Elizabeth park
  • Apr 12 - Deas Island Regional Park
  • Apr 17 - Rice lake
  • Apr 25 - Baden Powell Trail
  • Apr 26 - Stanley Park & Richmond island
  • May 2 - Riverview hospital
  • May 15 - Grant Narrows Park at Pitt
  • May 15 - Accepted offer on Townhouse 1889 Rosser, Burnaby
  • May 16 - Queenborough island
  • May 18 - Home inspector/second viewing of Townhouse
  • May 22 - Colony Farms Regional Park
  • May 27 - Victoria Butterfly Gardens & Kinsol Trestle
  • June - Heat dome
  • Jun 7 - Burnaby Lake Regional Park
  • Jun 12 - Jun 14 - Sechelt
  • Jun 18 - Scandinave Spa, Whistler, Train wreck, Squamish Estuary Wildlife
  • Jun 20 - Boundary Bay Dyke
  • Jun 29 - Birds of play deck of cards arrived
  • Jun 30 - July 4 - Cabin trip Shuswap Lake
  • Jun 12 - Maplewood Flats
  • Jul 15 - Industry Arcade
  • Jul 19 - Vaccine
  • Jul 24 - Sports day
  • Jul 25 - Owl Orphaned wildlife
  • Jul 26 - Bloedel Conservatory
  • Aug 6 - Took ownership of Townhouse
  • Aug 15 - Bloedel Conservatory Stink flower
  • Aug 16 - Merridale Cidery & Distillery & Kinsol Trestle
  • Aug 22 - Aug 26 - Trip to Ancona
  • Sep 10 - VOTED
  • Sep 11 - Sep 14 - Cabin trip Shuswap Lake
  • Sep 18 - Bloedel Conservatory
  • Sep 21 - Work in-person meeting at the Townhouse
  • Oct 3 - Rice lake with Nattiely
  • Oct 4 - Burnaby lake
  • Oct 7 - Go-Kart racing in Richmond
  • Oct 10 - Deer Lake park
  • Oct 20 - Lori goes hunting and gets a grouse
  • Oct 23 - Tsawwassen
  • Oct 24 - Found the Lighthouse redemption machine
  • Oct 30 - Bowen island & Crippen Regional Park
  • Nov 1 - Colony Farms
  • Nov 5 - Vancouver Art Gallery for Yoko Ono exhibit
  • Nov 7 - Minnekhada Regional Park
  • Nov 11 - Belcarra Regional Park
  • Nov 13 - Cultural crawl
  • Nov 21 - Iona Beach Regional Park
  • Nov 27 - Surrey Xmas lights
  • Dec 3 - Hogshack with high school friends
  • Dec 4 - Lori’s work Xmas party, + Cleveland Damn
  • Dec 9 - Burlesque at Rio for Lori’s Birthday
  • Dec 16 - Dec 30 - Palm Springs
  • Dec 17 - Indio Hills Palms in Coachella Valley
  • Dec 18 - Herb Jeffries Trail
  • Dec 19 - Joshua Tree National Park
  • Dec 20 - Exploring Palm Springs city
  • Dec 22 - Butler-Abrams Trail
  • Dec 23 - Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge & Bombay Beach
  • Dec 24 - Celebrity house spotting in Old Las palmas & Xmas lights at Candy Cane Lane
  • Dec 25 - Road Runner Trail
  • Dec 26 - The Ramp Trail
  • Dec 29 - South Lykken Trail
  • Dec 30 - Flight from PSP (Palm Springs) to YVR (Vancouver)
  • Dec 31 - New years at home.

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