Happy Canada Day!

It is a great day if you are getting it off from work for the Canada Day celebrations, and I must say, a scorcher of a day indeed for them. But sadly I am working tonight, but fear not, I get a three day weekend to make up for it. So get out there and enjoy it! Happy Canada Day!

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I was trying to get as much sleep as I could get before it warmed up, but by noon my place had already heated up to 36C, so sleeping was impossible. This is a problem since I work nights. Although working at night is comfortable on sweltering heat wave days light this one, trying to sleep in the middle of the day is next to impossible. So, I am posting at this unusual time when I am normally sleeping. Life of the nocturnal worker.

Detour – Due to Heat Stress: My Smoking Logo

I decided to take a little time off from my scheduled activities because it is too damn hot outside (and inside). I was going to spend some time answering emails and phone calls, doing some follow ups with my Bank, and a letter from my auto insurer–I can only imagine what they want, so I decided to sit in the shade, and play on my laptop. I head into work tomorrow at noon, instead of my normal graveyard shift start, so I will need to head off to bed at an earlier time, totally screwing my weekend up. But, hey, I did volunteered for it, since this is a short week, and I get next Friday off. Yeah! So here is my final result from playing with Blender, doing some basic animations. Funny thing – as I am typing this out, it is starting to rain.

The Smoken Thomasso LOGO June 29 2015 Weblog Image

Okay, the animation was crated using Blender 2.74, following a guy by the name of Richard van der Oost, who did this tutorial on Blender Cookie back in September of 2013 using Blender 2.68. Do not worry, most of the settings are the same on 2.74 in “Blender-Render” as they were back then. I rendered out 60 frames into PNG image files, then did some post editing on the last four images using GIMP 2.8 to dissolve the GIF to white to make the loop more pleasant on the eyes. Then finally creating the GIF using the command-line “convert -delay 8 -loop 0 *.png output.gif” in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to create the animation from the 60 images.

Now it has stopped raining. It only lasted for a couple minutes. I guess we are back to drought/heat-wave? Crazy weather–still very warm outside.

Let me know what you think of my smoking logo? Have a great (what’s left of the) weekend!

Guilty of Dreaming of Arctic Pleasures

Yes, I am guilty of dreaming of Arctic pleasures, only because we are now into day two of our little heat wave. I can honestly say that I am better equipped to deal with the cold than I am with the heat. Sure, I may harp and whine about the cold, but nothing compared to this heat. In fact, it is so damn hot that I cannot even start harping or whining with the energy that it takes to do it with because I have none. The heat has come sudden, and with a vengeance, for us here in the Fraser Valley. Knowing that 35C is out of the ordinary for June, I have yet turned on my air conditioner. Why? It is broken.

The June Heat Wave - Dreaming of the Arctic June 27 2015 weblog image

Like all things that put pressure on our infrastructure, stuff gets broken from it at a faster rate. These extremes test our way of life. In this case, power outages, the kind that dim your lights, or suddenly flicker on and off for no reason, seem to be ramped. I know that everyone is cranking their A/C units on to combat the heat. Even at my work we had a number of these power surges, and yes, deep, deep down inside me I was hoping for a complete power outage, all because the power grid is operating at high capacity to keep up. But the most shocking effect that this has had on me was going to the Walmart in Langley City, and discovering that their entire cooling system (for their freezers) was shut down, resulting in all of their perishable foods taken out of the store. I was ready to do some grocery shopping this evening, and came home empty handed on a lot of items that I needed. It was far to late to go elsewhere to food shop. Yes, disappointed indeed.

I have electric fans, a nice size roof vent that lets a lot of air circulate. Added to my comfort, I live amongst the forest, surrounded by many large trees that shade my home during most of the day. This aids in my daily life during the heat wave. But my greatest invention is my “swamp cooler” device that I rigged up. It consists of a small bucket, a towel full of ice cubes, and a fan, giving me a nice super cool breeze when the day is at its warmest. It works! Kind of a poor man’s A/C system.

One thing I have noticed that has really put me on edge are the tree that surround my place. On the tops of trees most of their leaves are withered, and some are falling. Today, my driveway was littered with fallen leaves–almost like an autumn day in the fall, but these are dead leaves from lack of water. I can say, I agree with the news, this is a drought. The little creek that runs behind my place is now down to a trickle, and the only great thing is that it has taken the mosquito population with it too. So there is a silver lining with this: not getting bit every five seconds.

So, for tomorrow, another day of heat is forecast. I will start by cooling down my place tonight, leaving all of my windows open, then closing them just before 9:00am when the air heats ups again, to keep the cool air inside for as long as possible. Then I will open everything again when the Sun warms the inside up close to the outside temperature. That is when I turn on my swamp cooler. I do not work tonight, nor tomorrow, so I will try and do my sleeping early in the mornings.

Oh, a Heat Wave is Upon Us?

It appears that we here in the Fraser Valley are in for a little heat wave going into next week. I just looked online at the CBCnews website, and seen the news article, stating that most of Southern British Columbia will be hit with temperature ranging between low to mid 30s for at least a week. Right now, looking at the official Thomasso.com Head Quarters’ Temperature Gauge here in Glenn Valley, Langley Township, I am seeing a sweet 31C, partly cloudy sky with 40 percent humidity. Cannot complain about that.

I should also point out that I am surrounded by forest, so I do not get the direct sunlight most of the day. The huge advantage of living amongst a large stand of trees is that the air is always much cooler then if I were out in the open. The breeze through the forest is amazingly cool as compared to being out on the road, just a few metres away. Even owning a roof-top air-conditioner, I very rarely use it since I have been living here, it is a nice thing to have when the heat gets too unbearable. I think last year, I only used it for a couple days, but do use fans a lot.

As long as we have water, then everything is good. With the new well, our water supply seems to be more than enough as compared to the old well when it would start to run out about this time of year.

Oh, my Pathfinder has A/C. So driving is very pleasant during a heat wave. I almost forget about that.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Happy summer everyone! The fun season is finally here, as it was a long winter and spring getting here, but we made it. Today is a glorious day, with just a few clouds, and prospects of hitting the 20C mark, I will try and enjoy every second of it. By sheer coincidence, I also have the rest of today, one day off (my short weekend) as I go into my shift changeover. So I get to stay up late today and enjoy the longest day of the year.

Summer Solstice 2015 weblog image

To update my situation regarding my vehicle: it is finally fixed and running like it was before. The problem was not the alternator, but the wire harnesses that connected to it, and some other vital components, that caused my Pathfinder to run poorly. The bill was huge, but in hindsight, my mechanic friend fixed many other issues that could have been equally devastating, so all was good, just a bigger hole in my wallet than I anticipated on having.

My vacuum cleaner, it is a goner. :(

Right now I am so tired from work. It was a killer week–so much going there, and so busy as spring buying is still going full-blast. Where I work, spring is our x-mass, and this year we seemed to breaking more records as far as volume and sales go, which is surprising because Canada is doing so poorly in terms of economics against the world market forces. I just wonder where everyone is getting all this money from?

I will enjoy the first of summer once I have rested up. I have waited for the summer solstice to get here for so long, and now that it is here, I wish it would stay forever–I hate winter. LOL Right now it is about 8:45 am, and I just got home about 2 hours ago form my shift. Officially, summer starts at 9:39am, in less than an hour, Vancouver BC time. So I will stay up for that, just because, then head off for to bad for a nap. I tell people, working nights, I do not sleep, I just rest. You try and sleep when it is sunny outside–damn near impossible.

All right – summer, here I come!

*The image above in this post was made with Blender 2.74, using the Deform Modifier and a Cloud Texture as a bump-map for the foreground. The image was rendered at 300 samples in Blender Cycles’ Render Engine.

My Fragmented World

This week seems to be one those periods in time when everything just seems to fall apart, so I call this post, My Fragmented World. Even as I type this post out, things are either braking, developing problems, or just stop working. What is worse, some of my repairs are going to cost me a lot of money, and I get this feeling that there is no coincidence that these events are all happening at once.

Fragmented World Graphic - June 15 2015 Weblog Image

At the top of my list is my vehicle. Last night I noticed that when I started it, is seemed to be harder than normal to start. When I was driving it, that was when I noticed that my dash lights were dim, and when I tested my theory out by using the horn, the horn barely made a sound. This meant that I was running off the battery, and my alternator was no longer working. My vehicle sits on the side of road while I get a tow truck to tow it back to my place. Also, the cost of a new alternator will run to about $250, plus I will need a battery charger too.

My main PC’s OS started failing, one of the software I use on it is several version outdated, but because of its cost, I keep that version going. Also, that version will only run on my graphics card, so I am damned if I do, or damned if I do not.

My vacuum cleaner seems to be falling a part. First the hose connector broke, right at the housing, then the power cord would not retract back inside the unit.

I live on a farm, and we use well water. Last night, the pump stopped working, so we are with out water until that gets fixed by the land owner. Yes, a shower and a shave would be nice right now.

I broke the doorknob when I was coming home last night. Snapped it right off. It appears that the handle was broken along time ago, and it waited until yesterday to finally break. Now I have a screw driver in there as a makeshift doorknob.

I am really hoping that my streak of misfortune comes to an end. I know statically, there is nothing out of the ordinary, but hey, this gives me an excuse to complain. So there–bad luck.

Back To Normal – If You Can Call It That

Yup, back to normal now. Tired, working the usual shift, and wishing it was already my weekend. I still have so much to do, but now that I am working the fill-time shift, time all of a sudden just slips away on me now. Gone are those days when I could complete a project, and still catch up on sleep. But what am I complaining about–I have some money coming in now, right!

SPLAT 2015

I think what did it for me, this onset of boredom, was my visit to Terrace,  along with the mountains, open spaces, and most of all, friends. I cannot even sit down long enough to do some graphics for a friend for his website. I am literally forcing myself to do this. That is why I put the “splat” graphic up, I did this one in less than minute–no real thought went into it, among the energy and talent, just quick and dirty-simple. Perhaps this could be a graphic worth keeping for future references?

I go in tonight, day two of a five day straight shift, then one day off, and three back. Kind of a screwy shift cycle, but it works for me. Also, this could change later on, as demand from one department outweighs the one I am in now. This is a life in retail now a days. So See ya on my next post. Cheers!

Some Sights From Around Terrace BC

I am still going through all of my photos taken from my trip last week while up in Terrace BC. So many still to go through. But I managed to dig through some images that I took when we went on our trips to some various parks near Terrace. The weather was perfect, not one drop of rain, and just enough cloud to keep the hot Sun away, yet having lots of light for some good photography out in the bush. So let me start off with the most iconic shot of Terrace, the old Skeena River bridge:

Terrace BC June 4 2015 Weblog Image 05

Taken from Ferry Island, which the new Skeena River Bridge now crosses, this is a great shot of the old bridge. In my opinion, this is the scene that says Terrace. The bridge was originally built in the 1920s-ish, and today it can only support a single lane for modern vehicles. Yes, you need to wait at a signal light before you can enter the bridge, while waiting for the traffic on the other side to pass.

A shot of some snow covered peaks just North of Terrace, taken from town at the ice rink. I was shooting the sunset when I took this shot (below) and figured that even though it is nearly summer, the mountains are still covered with ice and snow. A very contrast image when the temperature was a nice 18C out that evening.

Terrace BC June 4 2015 Weblog Image 03

The above image I used a 300mm lens, with an ISO of 28000, since the time of day was around 10:00pm. Because Terrace is so far North, during the summer the sky really never gets dark, but a mere bright twilight, enough to read a news paper with. I could say it gets nearly 24 hours of light around the Summer Solstice.

Kleanza Creek, or a small river, is a place that I grew up by when I was a kid living there. Many fond memories from camping trips, hikes, and a place to hang out with friends. Yes, I climbed those cliffs when I was a teenager. Of course now you can’t because this is a protected park, so the party days there have ended long ago.

Terrace BC June 4 2015 Weblog Image 02

The last spot on our trip around the parks and hiking trails was on Ferry Island, right on the Skeena River. The last two shots were taken at the South end of the island (sandbar) away from the camp grounds.

Terrace BC June 4 2015 Weblog Image 01

Terrace BC June 4 2015 Weblog Image 04

This is enough for now. I just entered the start of my weekend from my crazy work schedule, so I am going to sit back and relax. I may start going through more photos later on tonight when I get caught up on my sleep. I am still riding the hight from my mini vacation up North. I so want to go back there again.

More On Terrace, BC With Pictures

Okay, were was I? Oh yes, some of the interesting sights that I seen while up in Terrace, BC. First, lets meet Oreo the cat, then I was off to the back yard where I was staying and shot this bee keeper thing, then off into town where I spent my day before departure.

Terrace June 4 2015 Weblog Image 04

Oreo the cat, named obviously because she looks like a Oreo Cookie, is one of the most friendliest cats I have ever met. She loves toes! Once she likes you, you can hear her purring from all the way in the kitchen. One of Oreo’s gleaming features is her super thick, shiny, clean fur. She is one of the best looking cats I have seen.

My walk to the back yard, I came across this little contraption, called a Bee Catcher, for attracting Bees so they can live, while pollinating the flowers in the near by flowerbed. Odd looking thing, but it seems to work according to my friend, although I did not see any bees inside of it while I took the shot. Probably a good thing.

Terrace June 4 2015 Weblog Image 03

Next, I was whisked off to town where we spent the morning eating out for breakfast, and then off to see some art galleries. This is where I spotted this weirdly painted woman fire hydrant. I was not sure if the artist was going for arms, or a heavy chested fire hydrant?

Terrace June 4 2015 Weblog Image 01

Terrace is in bear country, so it is no mistake that the town’s logo is a Kermode Bear, which is an all white bear, but it is not an albino. Anyway, someone painted some bear tracks along the side walk near one of the art galleries. They look neat.

Terrace June 4 2015 Weblog Image 02

So I am back to work now, quickly leaping back to my normal life. The break up North was great, but time to get back and make some more money to pay for another trip in the future. I had so much fun that I wish I could just leave right now and move there. I wish the economy did not suck as a bad as it is right now, I would be gone in heart beat!

Reflection: The Day After Being Up In Terrace, BC With My Camera.

I still have so many photos to go through, but I am digging out my favourites first before I get serious and go through them all. Having just jumped into the town so close to the equinox, I missed the season of “snowmegoddon” and the rainy season, so it easy to get caught up in the spring/summer beauty of the Pacific North West of British Columbia. The air, water, trees, mountains all look so clean and fresh, comparing them to where I live now. This is a photographer’s dream land if you are into nature and wildlife scenes. This is also wide angle lens country because the mountains look awesome with lightly covered snow peaks with trees and rock everywhere along the slopes where you want to do tones of landscape shots–just nothing but eye candy 360 degrees all around you.

A Fly Fisherman On the Skeena River in Terrace BC June 3 2015 Weblog Image

It has been nearly twenty years since I have lived there. Thing have changed, yet they have not. I remember it as a hard place to live, which was the very reason why I left. It was a tough place to earn a living when you are young, no experience and little support from those around you. The 1980’s and 90’s recessions did not help either during my youth in the work force. I remember Terrace as not a good place to live if you are young and just starting out. But times have changed, and now that I am (a lot) older, my perspective of the town has also changed along with it. I see opportunity where there was none before. I see a great place to live, where the environment will not kill you from pollution; and there is work, enough to live off of–even with such costly goods because of being so far North from the major urban centres. I am inspired.

The above image is a fly fisherman along the banks of the Skeena River, right by Terrace B.C., on Ferry Island, looking North towards the Old Bridge of Highway 16. I used a 300mm telephoto lens, mounted on my Sony A77 to get the shot. To put this shot into perspective, the bridge is about 1.5 km away, but the lens seems to compress the background up wit the foreground–the river is quite wide, say something like 300m at this spot. Plus the river is high this time of year from the spring run-off; why the water is full of silt and mud.