What I’m Doing Now

Happy New Year

Welcome, 2021. I’m excited for you.

Hunkering Down with Family

Well, COVID.

Decembers seem to come in two flavours for me at Intoria Internet Architects. First, everyone is quieting down before the holidays so things slow down. Or, everyone is trying to fit in one last project before the holidays, so days are spent trying to convert emails into tickets for the team before two more emails appear. As we’ve launched a larger number of websites and application projects than usual, I am looking for the upcoming two weeks off I usually take to reflect on a new corporate website, do some Local Green Fees experiments, and plan out new processes for next year.

Jamie is still a part-time Supervisor at our neighbourhood grocery store, Sobeys. With COVID, the job has become a lot more physical as cleaning time and actions have increased by several hundreds of percentages. Although she comes home tired a lot, I’m super proud of her commitment to be on the front lines of getting people food. She’s an all-star and I love it. (Side note: there is a large room of tables and chairs where she and I used to spend many of her breaks as it is only a ten-minute walk from our home. As COVID has closed this large Community Room, I am very much looking forward to getting this back hopefully next year so I can still have some Jamie-time on days that she works).

Erik (20) is finishing up his second certificate program in the animal industry. By mid-December, 2020, he’ll have his Veterinarian Technical Assistant certificate from Olds College and is already looking for work at nearby veterinary offices. He’s also doing a lot of Aikido teaching via video from our upstairs bonus room. And, his weekly Calgary Zoo volunteering continues as he looks for an “in” for his eventual dream career in zoo animal care.

Jordan (18) is just killing it as a lounge waitress at Boston Pizza. I knew when she was about three that she would grow up to be an exceptional server and although wrong about many things, I was not wrong about that. She continues to put in a ton of energy to be an exceptional employee and makes her papa proud. Of all our kids, however, Jordan is finding Alberta’s Stronger Public Health Measures very hard to deal with due to her incredibly social personality. Since we’re pretty much confined to the house, her shifts at the restaurant are one of her only social activities and she thrives on her shifts. Sorry, Jo. We’re so looking forward to her being able to get out and about again. Finally, she’s deeply considering following in her daddy’s footsteps and taking WSET courses in the new year to increase her liquor knowledge and eventually allow her to work at a fancier place.

Autumn (16) is a delight, as always. After home-schooling for nine years, we put her in her local high-school only to be returned to home-schooling during COVID one year later. Her grades are good and she continues to work on her writing and her art. Although her weekly art classes are currently postponed, we’re still enjoying her budding abilities in both digital, canvas, and the sketch pad. She’s also a star employee at Edo Japan where she continues the Schroeder legacy that her sister left behind when she left to fling pizza across the parking lot. I am so proud of my kids who work hard and don’t complain about their jobs. After COVID, I’m excited to have laptop dates again with Autumn at our local coffee shop.

Side-Hussle of Passion: Local Green Fees

Local Green Fees has been my experimental playground to learn about SEO and online advertising since 2009. The goal of LGF is to provide accurate daily pricing for the golf courses of Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This represents over 85% of the world’s golf courses and is an enjoyably mammoth and often overwhelming project to take on. This year we launched the ability for users to add courses and suggest pricing updates, check off where they’ve golfed, awarded digital badges for tracking their golfing habits, and added several thousand new courses to the database. In response, this year has seen a 500% increase in traffic and therefore, ad revenue. I was finally able to purchase .ie after two years of working to get around their TLD citizenship requirements and .com is only one state away from having all 50 states completed. .ca is still a work in progress and I’m hoping next year to break into the UK and New Zealand.

One thing that surprised me about this grand experiment is that making crowd-sourcing tools available this year hasn’t flooded me with updates from the user community. Although we have thousands of daily users, I only receive a couple of update notifications each week. This means I’m mulling my current focus on a long list of programming improvements back to time spent updating existing course information as out-of-date information is currently quite embarrassingly rampant on all sites. Many thoughts about this but it is always, quite literally, the most enjoyable hobby I could think of.

Oh, and this year I bought Local Green Fees golf shirts. They’re fun to wear. Now, if only I was a good golfer (I am not. At. All).

Running Intoria Internet Architects

Since 2002, Intoria has been a challenge and bunches of fun to own and run. This year, we got a few new very high-caliber clients. (If you’re not technically-minded, feel free to skip to the next paragraph). We’re in our third year of working through some challenging app synchronizing with one of our biggest clients and are in the process of exploring hosting with Amazon AWS in Ubuntu. I’m hoping that some of their scalability services will ease the problems we’re having with mass uploads from our apps. This problem has gone on far too long and looking for solutions moving from a very sound Windows knowledge to a bit of a fledgling Linux skillset has been all of challenging, interesting, and humbling. My biggest goal in 2021 is to permanently fix this problem so I can be much more confident in the apps we build.

I probably need to start looking for more team members (we are currently five-strong) but the caliber of people that are currently around the table is pretty impressive and the challenge of finding someone else to play at this level is actually quite daunting. We’ll see.

And, as mentioned above, our website needs a major upgrade and… yesterday. Hoping to have some thoughts put to paper before New Years’.

Books I’m Currently Enjoying (books I don’t enjoy don’t make it here)

November, 2020

Camino Island (John Grisham: Fiction) – A super interesting break from his regular court-room dramas! And, at its core, a heist (which, for some reason, I love). Watching a mature story-teller try something new but still retain his hooks and suspense in a new method was an enjoyable read.

The Sentinel (Lee Child and his brother, Andrew Child: Fiction) – Well, well. I’ve read the entire Jack Reacher series and greatly enjoy Lee Child’s ability to write short chapters that seem to always end with you looking at the clock to see if you have time for just one more short chapter. Really, it’s quite impressive. Well, Lee Child wants to retire so he’s passing the reins over to his brother to continue the series! What?! I didn’t have high expectations but was very pleasantly impressed! Good story, fun pace, and loads of Reacherisms – that fans of the series will pick up on – were retained. If you thought about the writing style, you could tell it was written by someone else but not distractingly so. Quite pleased.

December, 2020

Prisoners of Geography (Tim Marshall: Non-Fiction) – This was in my stocking last year and it was brought to my attention that I hadn’t yet read it this year (sorry, Jamie). What a great book! This book talks about human history in regions around the world and how mountain ranges, rivers, or climate naturally stopped the movement of people and contained cultures into countries. It went further and showed how a lot of imperialist countries leaving regions drew borders without full knowledge of the people groups they were drawing straight lines through and the challenges and even, wars that have happened because of it. This is one of the more interesting and well-written, educational books I’ve read in a long time.

Up Next

The Dhando Investor (Mohnish Pabrai: Non-Fiction): I’m a podcast listener of Phil and Danielle Towne’s InvestED and he mentions this book quite often. I’m hopeful that Mohnish’s Indian culture is reflected in his writing and perspectives.

Hell Yeah or No (Derek Sivers: Non-Fiction) – Just arrived after a bit of a wait. Couldn’t be more excited to dig in.

Sapiens (Yuval Harari: Non-Fiction) – Although a Christian, interested and excited to read this bestseller about evolution as a contrary view to my personal beliefs in a God’s intelligent design. Also, Autumn’s art teacher is a stellar human being and has a doctorate in evolutionary biology. I’d love to give this book to him after I’m done and discuss.

Random Basket

  • I am both fascinated by and not-at-all interested in the US election results and aftermath.
  • Jamie’s birthday is this month. I love her birthdays because although we both agree on a budget for Christmas gifts, we never have for birthdays. It’s fun to think about gifts without the limitation of budget. This year’s isn’t overly expensive but more thoughtful and I think she’ll love it.
  • Jamie and I have booked a cruise for March, 2022 leaving from Argentina.
  • I have a basement office – best small purchase of the last year: Cozy Toes
  • Been sketching architecture again. I tend to draw with paper and pencil and then move it to a 3D Sketchup model of a ridiculously large and unnecessary dream home. It would be a total blast to build someday but I’m completely satisfied if I never move out of the home I am in. I love our current home’s layout, the location, the community, and the memories. But, drawing is free and fun.
  • The game currently installed on my iPhone: Golf Rival – much more fun than I expected.
  • We just crossed our 10-year anniversary of living in our home. The last basement room to get renovated (a small bathroom) is finally starting. Hoping to have it complete by March.
  • Both of our cars have had massive repairs in the last two months. Happy to have them both back.

This page was last updated January 3, 2020

Tips to Enjoy your Wine More

So, I’m about to sit down to a bit of wine and I thought I’d share with you all how I enjoy my favourite beverage in an optimal way. In case you don’t know, I’m a level 3 Advanced WSET sommelier. I don’t share that fact for props; rather, to let you know I enjoy the scientific and have a little bit of training to back up some of the following.

I’ve heard it said (and I rather agree) that the most important way to increase the enjoyment of wine is the right temperature. The second is the right glassware. Obviously, these only really apply when you start drinking some quality wine. I don’t care what temperature you serve Blue Nun at, it’s always going to be $9 wine.

Right Temperature

This is by far the most important part of opening a new bottle. Most people put white in the fridge and keep red on the counter (or, if you’re fancy, in a rack). However, refrigerators are usually set somewhere around 35°F/1.6°C. That is WAY too cold for whites (you won’t be able to smell the aromas properly). And, most people have their room temperature set around 70°F/21°C, which is way too warm for most reds.

A good rule of thumb is to serve reds between 55-65°F/13-18°C and whites between 45-50°F/7-10°C. If you want to get even more specific by the type of wine you’re drinking, you can view this excellent Varietal Serving Temperature Chart.

But seriously, who has any idea how long to put a bottle in the fridge to get it to the right temperature?! Have no fear. I have more thumbs and more rules of them. Average refrigerators cool about 10-12°F/6-7°C every hour. So, roughly, if you want to have a nice Cabernet Sauvignon that has been brought home from the wine store, set a timer on your phone and put it in the fridge for 2 hours. Generally, you’ll want to wait about 30-45 minutes for a white wine that has been in the fridge for the day to warm up the required amount.

The Right Glassware

This is where the critics may jump in and say that varietal-specific glassware (popularized by RIEDEL) is simply a money grab and that it doesn’t make any difference at all. Well, I’ve been to several RIEDEL tasting events and can assure that that either through the placebo effect (aka social proof) or from the science they tout, there certainly is a difference between drinking from a plastic cup and from a crystal glass.

Keep in mind that part of the joy of drinking wine is the experience and the luxury. Just as a three piece suit and dirty crocs don’t really go together, there is something to be said about a beautiful wine in a beautiful glass.

Scientifically, at least purchase crystal wine glasses. Microscopically, glass is smooth, but crystal is very jagged (or lead/mineral glass as it should probably be called).  When wine is swirled in a crystal wine glass, the jagged edges of the crystal increase the surface area of the phenolic compounds (what makes things smell). Furthermore, crystal is much stronger than glass meaning that it can be spun much thinner at the rim. This causes the wine to flow into your mouth (and therefore, all over your palate) at a more uniform speed. Lead glass/crystal also refracts light which will make your wine look better (yes, snobs like me look at their wine carefully before drinking it).

The Right Knowledge

Now, for the part that I have added on my own to this. As I am interested in wine, I am always keen on increasing my knowledge as it concerns wine types, wine regions, vintages (years), etc. As in, I like to know a little bit about my wine before I drink it. Some people may not care about this, but 10 minutes of Googling prior to drinking a bottle adds up to a whole lot of knowledge over time. Winemaking practices of those in Bordeaux compared to the processes employed in Australia are vastly different. Reading a little about the winery, the wine type, and the year it was produced goes a long way in becoming more wine-wise over time.

Winery– Simply Google the winery. See if you can find a page dedicated to the wine you’re drinking (take note of the year). Then, simply look at the “About Us” page and scan it for any tidbits that may affect something about the wine (ex. “We only use unused, new French oak barrels”). Put this in your head and keep it in mind when you look, smell, and taste your wine.

Year– I love this one. Have you ever heard a wine nerd say something like, “2007 was such an amazing year for Napa!” Well, that is a measurement confirmed by one of the popular wine critics. I use Wine Spectator’s vintage charts to find the region and wine that I’m about to enjoy.

Varietal– This was the focus of most of my wine training, but if you’re a novice, simply hit Wikipedia. Look up the name of the grape (ex. “Chardonnay”) and read the first paragraph(s) before the Contents box.

Putting it All Together

I’m enjoying a half bottle of Beaune (Burgundy) Pinot Noir this evening. Let’s look at what I did prior to popping the cork.

Beaune 1er Cru

Temperature– This was sitting in my room temperature wine rack, so I popped it into the fridge for 90 minutes. From our rough rules above, that means it is currently at around 55°F/13°C. Perfect!

Glass– I am drinking this in a REIDEL Sommelier Series Burgundy Grand Cru glass. Expensive. Fancy. Crystal. Perfect for a beautiful French Pinot Noir.

Winery– Google has pointed me towards Maison Champy‘s website. The site no longer has a 2009 vintage chart, but it does have a 2013 Beaune 1er Cru page which I’ll read. I read to see it’s bright ruby (although, my 2009 will probably be a bit darker cause of its age). 2013 is intense, spicy, and floral on the nose. These things are fun to look for when I smell it. Let’s see if my older vintage is similar! Finally, I go to the Winemaking page and read about how this particular winery does its day-to-day.

YearWine Spectator says that 2009 scored 93 (quite impressive!) and that I should be drinking or holding this wine. This is good! It is 2017 while I’m writing this post. If WS says it’s good to drink, it means that I am not missing out on some mature flavours I might get if I had waited. But, if I change my mind, I can probably put this back in my cellar for another year or two and check back again (if it only says “Drink”, get your corkscrew… your wine might spoil soon!).

Varietal– I know lots about this from my training, but if you don’t, a quick visit to Wikipedia will show an amazing section devoted to Pinot Noir from France. If you’re curious, have a read (“complex fruit and forrest floor flavours“)!


Time to publish this and go enjoy my wine ten times more than drinking a room temperature wine I know nothing about from a mug!

Great World Wines

Since my WSET training, a lot of people have been asking me to recommend to them a great wine to pick up. While I certainly don’t mind recommending something that I enjoy, I sure have learned that wine is an intensely personal thing. What I love may be terrible on your palete. And if you love Apothic Red, well, we’ll probably have a difference of opinion 🙂

In my opinion, if you like wine, you should really always be trying new varietals and regions. The wine world is so big and so diverse, you can constantly find new gems to add to your cellar. However, it is easy to get lost in the aisles of a wine store, not really knowing if the $40 Borolo is really going to be that much better than the $20 Pinot Gris.

That’s where it comes in handy to look at the wisdom of Father Time. Over the centuries, certain regions have found that specific varieties work really well in their soil and climate. The first trick to knowing how to pick a good wine, is to know what you like, and where that berry grows well. In that manner, you can walk into a wine store, directly to the country that is known for quality in the type of grape you’re looking for. Grab a bottle from a quality region, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll have a great bottle of wine!  As for price, we’ll get into that in another post.

Here are some of the most common varietals and regions that are known for producing quality wine of its type. This is simply from my experience and is not a complete list.

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Bordeaux, France
  • Napa Valley, USA
  • Central Valley, Chile (especially Maipo)
  • Margaret River/Coonawarra in Australia


  • Burgundy, France (pricey, but amazing)
  • Carneros/Sonoma/Monterey in California, USA
  • Adelaide Hills, Australia
  • Walker Bay/Coastal/Robertson, South Africa

Sauvignon Blanc

  • Loire Valley, France
  • Marborough, New Zealand

Pinot Noir

  • Burgundy, France
  • Oregon, USA
  • Martinborough/Central Otago, New Zealand


  • Mendoza, Argentina
  • Cahors, France (these can be hard to find, but offer an interesting change to their Argentinian brothers)

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

  • Trentino, Italy
  • Alsace, France
  • Okanagan, Canada


  • Pretty much anywhere in Germany

Feel free to comment or question below.