Things That Kept Me Up At Night

I was having a rough week. Work was dragging me down, dealing with home issues and of course family and friends with things like deaths, funerals and the aftermath of it all. But on this particular night, it was all about the little things.

At first, the day turned great. Sunny and warm, so I guessed that it would remain warm all night. Boy was I wrong. After I dosed off, I found myself waking again, shivering under my covers because it got so cold I had to get up and turn on the furnace. That was it, it took another fifteen minutes to get myself back to sleep.

Again. Once dosed off, I awoke to the sounds of our neighbourhood owl, hooting and hissing just outside my bedroom window. A quick fix is to turn on my flood lights, and leave them on for about twenty minutes. It rids my owl hooting problem, but then I am up to for that whole time.

Once the owl problem was done with, I somehow fell asleep again. And like before, it was short. Years ago, I was given one of those push buttons from a store outlet called Staples. They were giving away these buttons that you can press, and a voice says, “That was Easy.” Funny at the time, but somehow, I left it on the living room hutch, right underneath the flat screen TV that swings out. The TV sits at just the right height to clear the plastic push button. But when I was trying to sleep, moving around in my bed, the vibrations along the floor was just enough for the TV to move up and down, pressing the button. So during my sleep, rolling in my bed, I could the sounds of the button coming from my living room, “That was easy, that was easy, that was easy…, that was easy…” After ten minutes of that, I got up and threw the button on my couch, and tried to sleep again.

I think I got something like four hours of sleep.

Day of the Equinox, a Day of Condolences and Celebrations

As summer ends, and the fall season begins on this day of the Autumnal Equinox, so to are family and friends, as some who are close to me have passed on in death, their mortal bodies cease and their life essence leaves our sphere of relativity. Such as life, we go on: reborn with new from the old, and like the seasons, the cycles goes on. But today is different; equal day and night, and from death brings life, and so forth. I lost an Aunt, from my Mother’s side, and my best friend lost a sibling, her younger brother. I learned that my niece is pregnant, due in a few weeks, and a friend from my 20s celebrated his fatherhood with a set of twins (at age 38). It is odd that today of all days, it begins with condolences, and ends with celebrations. Maybe this is true, life and death should be celebrated as equals? But in this case, I have to agree, all being equal.


The E Reader Dilemma

We have all forgotten something at one time or another, keys, hairbrush, lights, and the list goes on and on. When we realize, it often ends with one end of the spectrum as, “Oh well,” to the other end as, “Oh Noooooooooo,” and the worlds ends as we know it. My mishap occurred when I left for work, and forgetting my E Reader behind, still plugged in on my kitchen table. It was harsh, and I had to make a choice.

I always go to my work with a novel, or textbook, something that I like to read while I am on break or my lunch (half) hour. Reading for me does a number of things besides offer good entertainment: it kills time while leaving me in my own little world away from the bothers of my daily chores. I fire up my E Reader, put on my headphone, to cancel out the background noise, and read until my alarm goes off. I have been doing this for years. I love it. It is my thing.

Back on Monday, I forgotten my tablet (e reader) at home. I totally thought I had it with me. Usually, as a precaution, I do a small check list before I head out away from home, making sure that I have all of my gear and food for the day. All it takes is a small hick-up in my daily routine to disrupt this, and everything goes to Hell. It was the phone that did it for me that day. I was on it for less than fifteen seconds, but it was the urgency of it that threw me off from my routine and caused me to say, “Oh Noooooooo,” once I discovered my mistake.

My choice was either sit it out for the day, and hope for the best, or run to the nearest store and buy something to tie me over until the next day. I choose to sit it out, reading trashy magazines and daily news papers, drastically lowering my reading standard.  It was harsh; but I survived.

Now, to make sure that this does not happen again, I pack everything up the night before. E Reader, headphones, even my lunch, I pre-pack now (though that stays in the fridge until I pack that too). A lesson learned! I even bought some backup novels too for my locker at my work—just in case.

I’m Still Here, Just Fighting Time, and Those Damn Deadlines

For the record, I have not abandon the weblog. I am just super busy. Work, stuff around the house, and other issues on my private side, time all of a sudden is racing against me. So this post is just a filler post, just to let you all know that I am still here, but not able to sit down and compose my thought at the keyboard. I know the following nest two weeks are going to be lots of overtime and endless work, but I will try and cram a few posts in as I can.

The Child’s Mind

Kids are wonderful to talk to because they say the most unpredictable things that even an adult could not possibly come up with. Sometimes, they themselves make me sit in awe at their logic and reasoning. But too much information, their little brains just shut off anyway, so I most often give them short direct answers, and they usually are satisfied and go away happy with the newfound knowledge they just acquired.

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine from my work had his seven year old son with him when we got together for a chat over coffee. I was being asked about any advice I could give regarding his home network he was building, and the kid was patiently sitting, listing to us talk. I went on for about twenty minutes, doodling on some paper, sketching out schematics and plans that I think might work for him. Then the young boy blurted out, “do you know why all the trees are green”?

I looked at him, and said, “Yes, Yes I do, but are you sure you want to hear the answer. It may not make sense to you?” The kid was so focused on me, I could feel his gaze burning through me.

Normally, I just start with a short answer, and then take note if the kid is still wanting more, then pour on some scientific jargon, sprinkled it with some facts and figures, hoping that will suffice. But in this case, the young mind wanted more. And more I gave him.

“Yes,” I said, “ it is because of the Sun, and how the plants, like trees, need the Sun’s energy to live. The Green wavelength of the Sun is the highest out of the Electro Magnetic spectrum being emitted from it.  Therefore, the plants use the green pigment to capture the most amount of that light energy. We call that Photosynthesises. This is when plants use the light energy to break down the chemicals they take from the air and ground and turn it into food they can live off of.”

A quick check, and the kid’s eyes have not glazed over yet…

“So ask yourself this, why do plants not use black pigment instead?” I rambled on.

Kid is still focused one hundred percent on me. OK, keep going.

“Well, the problems with using black pigment is,” taking a long deep breath, “the plants would absorb the heat and other forms of radiation that are given off from the Sun and that would cause more damage than good for the poor plants.” I pause.

The kid’s eyes are starting to glaze over. Yes, he is going into ignore mode. I can feel it.

“So, do you have any questions.” I looked at the kid for a check, and now he is clearly focused on something else. Yes, he is getting bored.

“No” he says. I got it. “I already learned that in Mr. Daten’s class last year. He is a scientist, and he made a tonne of discoveries, and inventions, like stuff they use on the Moon…,  and other things like that.”

Yeah, you gotta love the young mind.

Long Weekend! At Last!

First, wow, September already. Time does pass by when you are not paying attention to it. Second, it was a good day to watch the setting sun. I took my camera along too, to catch it. It was good: on a scale of one to ten, a seven. Lastly, wishing fall and winter fly by quickly for me. I am not looking forward to the cold and wet of these two seasons.

The Surrey BC Sky Line Sept 3 2016 Weblog Image

I guess I am never prepared to meet the month of September head on. I think it has a lot to do with my childhood: being whisked off to school against my will. I never liked school when I was a kid. The bullies, the teachers, and long hours sitting in a classroom wishing to get out of there and explore world. Yes, those were rough times for me. Never did like them that much. But still, September still has that feeling of loss and regret for me. Summer is over, and the work of preparing for winter begins in earnest. Already I miss summer, and technically we are still in summer, though you would never know it by looking outside to day. Bahh.

I decided to make an effort to view the sunset from my favourite location, Brander Road in Abbotsford, BC, about ten kilometres from my place. I thought with all the big clouds in the sky, today would be a good one. Like all things with nature, change is a constant. The sky started clearing, and by the time sunset arrived I only had a few clouds to make that dramatic sunset shot I wanted. Nonetheless, I think I got a few good shots.

What I like about this location that I took the above photo from, is I am standing in Abbotsford, BC, and I am looking across Langley Township, at the skyline of Surrey, BC. This is nearly a thirty kilometre shot. Of course I am using my 300mm zoom lens, so I am pretty much looking through a small telescope.

I was something sweet while I was standing on the side of the road with my mammoth lens, shooting the sunset. A couple was walking along Brander Road going North bound. I passed them when I was driving up to the viewing site. The Sun Set was at 7:50pm, and this couple had just timed it right, as they got to where I was just at that moment to see it for themselves. They sat on the cement pylon, and watch the final moments of Sun’s rays as the Sun slowly sank behind the horizon. I thought, “that is love if I ever saw.” Once the moment was over, they started walking back to where they came from, still holding hands, walking slowly.

It was a good day to watch the sunset. 🙂

Throwing Old CDs and DVDs Out

It looks like all those writeable CDs and DVDs that I bought are starting to break. Some of these DVDs I have had since 2000 are slowly breaking to the point that they no longer hold any of the data I put on them. I remember reading a news article back in 2005, or there about, that said writeable disks were never built to hold archival information for long periods of time, somewhere around five years. I wish I could find it again, but it does not matter, I just threw out an entire pack of 100 that are all corrupted from age.

I bough this 100 pack way back in 2009. I only used about thirty disks from it, and left the spool in a cupboard in my bedroom. I was going to put a dual O.S. on my buddies old computer, and thought I would make use of these old DVD -Rs to load the software with. My home PC has a fairly new optical drive in it, so I thought using my old disks would not be a problem to write with. It turns out, after ten attempts, I finally had a disk that I could write to. After closer examination of the broken disks I tried to use, I noticed small black dots and cracks along the edges of each disk. Then I inspected all of the remaining disks in the spool, and found all but six were still good. I threw them all out. I could not waste any more time like this.

We now live in the new age of flash drives. With tablets and phones, and most new note books, you need a flash drive anyway if you want to load something onto it, other than wifi as the other option. Gone are the days of the old clunky disks. At least, as I heard from somewhere on the net, flash drives are very durable; more so than the old disks were. I also heard that data can last on a flash drive for up to ten years? We will see. Some time in future, say ten years from now, I might write another post on how much flash drives suck. We will see.

Why Having No Neighbours is So Nice

Listening to my ex-neighbour who moved to another neighbourhood, telling me about his new problems, makes me appreciate the peace and quiet of my little corner of the universe. I could not live in a trailer park, or condo, or any other place that has people crammed so close together. When I thought about his tails of the weird and wacky people that have moved close to him, I realized that half of his trouble were his alone: he wants his privacy, yet craves the social interactions at the same time.

Sure, having people around is human. We humans like to live in colonies, families, and sometimes in metropolitan centres and cities. I even heard this called “human nature” while taking my undergrad classes university. Ultimately, we take on a mate, and raise children, and build our own families. In turn, we live close to populated areas for jobs, schools and stores, which give us securities.  We in our homes, towns and cities, governments to give us Rule of Law and build roads, schools and keep us safe. Some how, in this human utopia, chaos can ensue.

For my friend, in his trailer park, the mix was spoilt over time. Drug users, which are common among low income sites, were part of his problem as they moved in, but also tenants who wanted the joy and happiness that they claimed of their properties, also interfered with his peace and enjoyment. Then there were the whores and prostitutes that occupied the park as well; many are also drug users, and bring their own troubles. The neighbourhood is now labelled as a haven for lawlessness. Law enforcement even fears venturing into the area, and unless they have to, it is with body armour.

As I look across the farm fields and forests from my front door, I am happy. I live where many would not choose to. My neighbours are far enough from me that I like them. I can leave my windows open, and car unlocked and barbecue out on my patio without a chain. Good ridden to the trailer park trash; my friend, I feel for you–honest.

Fort Langley’s Little Bumpy Problem

What can I say, Fort Langley has a parking problem. This post is more of a rant, than a piece on constructive criticism. I offer no solution and point my finger at no one, only offering a few bits of observations from the twenty plus years I have lived here.

Have you driven down Glover Road, going through Fort Langley lately? It is not a pretty sight. The road, for about four blocks, is like driving on one great big—never ending—endless series of speed bumps. In fact, I think my exhaust system on my vehicle is ready to fall off because of it.

This is stupid. It has been over half a year now since the construction of underground power lines were installed (which by the way, I think was a complete waist of time and money, and I am glad I don’t live there any more to pay those taxes). Next to parking, this is my biggest gripe about the village.

I still have to drive through twice a day, as I go to and from work. It is by far the shortest route for me. Anyway, that is my rant for today. Hurry up and fix the damn road! Grrrrrrr

Shooting Stars: A Disappointed Night

After a week and a half of being too busy, I am posting again! I finally made some time to go out and do some night sky shooting with my camera. I took along my Sony A77, with tripod and 14mm lens to capture the Perseid Meteor Showers with. But the shower was more like a trickle, maybe even less, as I saw only five really good streaks fly through the sky per hour. My high hopes were fraught with moon light and  high clouds, alone with the usual Lower Mainland light (and air) pollution. But I stuck it out, leaving around 3:00am with just a few really bad images of shooting stars.

Moon Set August 14 2016 Weblog Image

I was not empty handed, however, as I did manage to capture the setting moon (2:45am), using a timed 30 second exposure with my 14mm lens. I thought that this image looked really nice for all of my efforts. The image above is the Moon just as it was setting below the horizon. You can see the high clouds and ground level fog creeping in as the night grew.

My method was simple for trying to photograph shooting stars. I used a really wide lens, 14mm, almost what I would call a “fish eye” lens. The wider the lens, the longer the exposure time you can use before you start to see star trails from the Earth’s rotation. With my camera mounted on a good tripod, I set the camera to full manual, with my shutter speed to 30 seconds, with my ISO at 100. The Lens, I set the fstop to 2.5, or wide open, and set the focus to infinity. These settings were used in all of my shots.

The ambush. I find an area in the sky where I think the meteors are coming from. I point the camera to that area, and lock it in. Then using the time delay on my shutter button, I press it, and step away from the tripod, avoiding camera shake. Then I wait, hoping that a meteor will fall in the sky right where my lens is pointed. Then after 30 seconds, and another 30 seconds for my camera to format the image, I shoot again. So, in effect, I am ambushing sky, hoping that in one shot I capture a streak of light across the star canopy.

In all, I shot 60 images list night. Only in two images did I find any hint of a light streak. These images were to faint for me to really want posted. Until the next meteor shower.