An Ankle Ache

Just an update: I stepped on a large staple from a cardboard box on Saturday. It poked me right in the side of my ankle when I was cleaning. Walking is not too bad, but it sure hurt when it happened. But as my luck would have it, later on in the evening it still was bothering me. I thought I would check it out again, and noticed that I could feel something else still in there.

Sunday morning I went into the local medical clinic to have them have a look at it, and they noticed something too. The nurse there, managed to dig out another chunk of staple, about 6mm long, with some large tweezers. Now my ankle is in pain–but walking is still good.

This morning, the hole left from the staple is now swollen, so I changed the band aid, and cleaned it up.

It is amazing how it is the little cuts and pokes that hurt the most.

Lesson: do not leave flatten cardboard boxes laying around on the floor. They are deadly traps!

The Apples Look Sick This Year

No doubt about it, the apples this year look sick from the summer drought. Most of them have fallen off of the tree that grown behind my place, and the ones that are still hanging there, do not look that appetizing either. However, the tree did produce far more apples this year then the previous two years since I moved here. I attribute that to the early start on summer. But when you have too much of a good thing going, it usually turns bad in the long run.

Under the Apple Tree Aug 20 2015 Weblog Image 02

Heat and lack of water have made the apples fall early this year. Normally around this of year, most of the apples are still hanging from the branches.  Also, most of them are normally still green, as they would need a few more weeks to mature before being picked. Right now, only a fraction are still green, and most of the mature red ones are full of worm holes and bug bites. You can also see many dried up leaves, but for the most part, the leaves generally look healthy.

So, apple pie this year maybe reduced to enough to cook perhaps two or three pies. Contrast that to last year’s crop of enough to cook more than a dozen pies.

Near Death Deer Cakes

As some of you know already, I have just started doing the afternoon shift at my work this week, replacing a friend who had to get an small surgical alteration done, and is now on medical leave for the next three or four weeks. So, my new hours mean that I start at 5:00pm in the afternoon, which translates into having to drive through late afternoon traffic. I had forgotten how much I hated rush-hour. Anyway, yesterday I came cementers from driving off the road because I almost had an head-on collision with a deer crossing the road. To be quite honest, I am not sure if I had contact with the animal or not.

What had happen was, I was just making a long corner by West Creek on River Road in North Langley Township, when out of now where, from the bushes along the hill, came darting, up and over across the road, a deer at full speed. The animal had jumped from the ditch, and landed in the middle of the road, in just a fraction of a second. I estimate that the distance that it jumped was about five metres; quite a lot, in my opinion. Then it made another leap trying to reach the other side of the road, towards the river.

It was at the point that the deer landed from its jump in the middle of the road that I seen it; slammed on my brakes; and tried to swerve to avoid it. It happened so fast. When I came to a stop, along the edge of the road in the other lane, automatically sped back to the other lane becuase I knew how busy this stretch of road is. When I parked on the right side of the road, with in seconds another car came around the corner in the on coming lane. As for the deer, there was no sign of it at that point in time.

When I looked back to where the deer came from, that was when I seen a younger deer, about half the size of the one that leaped in front of me, standing there, also getting ready to jump across the road. I though, “Oh great, another accident waiting to happen.” It was at that point that I looked back and seen the mother deer waiting just behind the alder bushes; she was calling for her young one to cross the road. I just shook my head.

When I assumed that the mother deer was OK (that I did not injure her), I started to drive off.

It was then that I heard sound of screeching brakes coming from behind me. When I looked in my rear view mirror to see what was going on, I saw that smaller deer darting across the road. The young animal had just narrowly missed an small car that just made the same crossing as I did moments before. Though this time, the small deer lost its footing when it tried to change direction on the pavement.  It tumbled, landing on its side, all the while kicking franticly all four of its little legs trying to gain traction on the smooth road surface. That was when the mother came running back to the middle of the road.

With both animals on the road behind me, in the same lane as I am in, the little car which also stopped on the other side of the road, swerved in front of the mother deer, as the driver tried to steer back on the right side of the road. This time, I seen the small car hit the mother deer–just enough so that the mother deer bounced back about a metre, but managed to stay on all four legs. It was a very slow velocity collision. I am sure that neither car, nor animal were damaged from that contact.

With a flash, both animals were gone. As for myself, it took me a while to collect my thoughts and drive off. It was about the same for the driver of the other vehicle as well.

This now marks the third indecent that I have had this year with deer collisions on River Road. This was by far the closest I have had as far as actually hitting an animal–though not fully sure if I had actually made contact with the animal or not. I have not actually hit a large animal yet so far since I have lived here. My speed was at the posted maximum, 60Kmh, and it was in the middle of the afternoon. One wonders if there is nothing more that can be done to avoid these road crossing collisions, or not.

A Funny Thing Happened When I Posted Some Photos.

It was a couple of days ago that I released some photos I shot for a friend who needed some portfolio shots. He posted them both on Twitter and on his Face Book. I don’t do FB, so I haven’t seen them there, but I did see them on Twitter. He gave me credit, and somehow one of his followers from Twitter contacted me via Twitter. That’s when I got the strangest Tweet regarding my work. It goes like this, “Nice Pics… You’re the guy who does those clear photos. What do you use on your pics?” I laughed. That’s like me explaining The Theory of General Relativity in 140 letters, or less.

So I tweeted a direct message back to her (I’m assuming it’s a she) which went something like this: “I use a DSLR, and lots of post editing software. My cameras are semi-pro quality.” So a day goes by that I hear nothing from her. Then today, a flurry of 20 DMs shoot across my Twitter-Feed. The first volley were along the lines of, “why can’t my Smart Phone do that…” to “How do you get the back ground so blurry, yet everything else is perfect…” Then they ended off with, “Do you photograph horses too?”

OK, photography is something that I have being doing for a long time. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve taken it to a semi-pro level, mainly due to finally having enough money to buy those big ticket items I’ve always wanted. But, I guess, you either love it enough that you absorb all the knowledge that comes with it, or you sit down a study it until you master it completely, either way, you get it, or you don’t. I see photography as an art form. I draw, paint, and sculpt, but photography is just an extension of that art form, like the next logical step in my quest of beauty and perfection.

The weird thing about photography for me has been the ability to make some money with it. I didn’t throw up a sign and set out to create a business with it, it (or they) found me after I started posting photos on my Blog and website. I like flowers, so I have thousands of images of just flowers and plants, but that landed me a small contract to do a floral shop’s website. I don’t push my talent, I get emails, tweets, or phone calls out of the blue, asking me to do some work for various people from all walks of life. It started with some simple architectural/landscape jobs, selling houses on a website, to doing modelling shoots with real models in a real studio, then a few weddings. Now I turn down jobs simply becuase I have day job (actually a night job), and I have so many other things going on in my life now. I’m time-crunched. But I do sneak in a few odd job now and then if it really perks my interest.

So, I guess I’m going to photograph some horses in and around Langley City sometime in the near future. This should be interesting. But we’ll see what sort of job it is before I start packing up my camera bag. Business through Twitter–how’s that for networking.

Those Shooting Specks of Comet Dust

The Perseid meteor showers are looking really great this year. Last night I seen about 15 really good ones shooting across the sky around midnight in a  span of a half hour. I think this year, the showers are going to be great, and we seem to have good weather too adding that we have a New Moon too–making the sky nice and dark to catch even the small ones. This year, the peak is going to be around the 13th of August, but there is always that few weeks before and after that the showers can be seen.

Screenshot from 2015-08-10 16:24:39 weblog image

According to my sources, these specks of rocks and dust are from debris left behind from the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet, which by the way, passes by every 130 years. So if you stand looking towards the East, and a little to the North, they seem to radiate from that point. As you get closer to dusk, they will appear to shooting downwards, meaning that you can catch more of them in a smaller viewing area.

Sadly, I never have time to set up my camera to catch these streaks of light for a photograph. Though, keeping an eye on Twitter, many people seem to be photographing them all around the world, and saying that this year is no disappointment. I have seen some really awesome photos of multiple steaks in one image. I just wish I had the time and energy to make the effort.

Staying Ahead: Knowing My Employer…

My work week starts today. Waking up, in the middle of the afternoon (only becuase I work nights) I knew that when I arrive to clock-in for work, there will be news for me. Like always, the one thing I can count on is change. I opted to work as a “floater,” helping fill in at different departments, back when I was part timer. I did this as a means of getting the maximum hours that I could under those circumstances. When I graduated to full-time, the need for a floater was never relinquished from me–and I kind of liked the idea of switching around my time at work, so this does not brother me too much.  I was worried when it looked as if my “floater” needs would end, but that was quickly quashed when vacation times came.

I live in a world of unpredictability at work becuase of this “floater” position I have. My boss even told me that I am a key factor in how the other employees are given their vacation times. And becuase of my low seniority, I am still a long ways from having vacation time of my own, so for the next several months I am a sure bet for filling in while my co-workers go on their leaves. So, a lot of plays at my work are in motion becuase of me.

I knew that sooner or later there would be a more permanent need for my easy going caviller labour position (and work ethic). It happened when I heard, through the grape vine, that one of the other workers was having some sort of medical issue, and maybe on disability leave. Within minutes of clocking in, I was given the news, and knew right-a-way that I was being switched into one of the departments that I trained in. The questions I needed to know was, “how permanent was this going to be”?

With no real answers, I figure that this maybe only for a few weeks while someone else will fill the position longer until the regular employee is back from leave. But I can count on one thing: change is in the air–it always is. I figure that will last for at least two more weeks. So a tug-of-war ensues between my night-shift department and the other departments that I trained in–who will get me to fill in. Already this week, three more employees are off on sick leave. It seems like an epidemic right now. I guess the need for more to cross-training is inevitable now, only if there are willing participants–which there does not seem to be.

I wonder if this is a good time to ask for a raise now that I seem to be a valued commodity?

Behold–Four Round Tires!

It has happened! The ride home was so smooth and quiet, that I thought I was driving a brand new vehicle. This morning I got my brand new tires installed. After a couple of hours going through Kal Tire’s inventory at their Port Kells outlet by Walnut Grove, British Columbia, I found a set that both meet my “aggressive tread” criteria, and above all else, fits within my budget. I can say that I am very satisfied with my choice.

Traffic Scene Aug 19 2015 Weblog Image

So, here is what I bought: a set of 235/75R15 TBC W/C XTX SPORT 1950 OWL 80. Sadly my Tire speak is a little rusty, but I can assure you that these are very good tires. I will not disclose the price, only to say that they almost hit a thousand bucks. But I can tell you out right, they look good on my Pathfinder.

Broken Tire on Aug 7 2015

The above image is my old set of tires; and yes, that is what my tires looked liked. As you can see, the tread is almost worn, and the steel belts were showing though and some were broken. That tire, in the image, had a bulge in it, that just made my driving dreadful. As I would drive, the tire would cause a thumping sound, and the whole front of the vehicle would shake, getting worse the faster you went down the road.

I should point out that none of the old tires went flat. But I feared a sudden blow-out, or loss of a chunk of tread, just like what happened to me the week before when I had to use my spear to replace it. The noise it made when the strip of tread came off and started slapping my wheel well was unreal.

Ta-Dha! Behold the new set of tires!

New Tire Aug 8 2015 Weblog Image

Here they are! Notice the tread. The drive home was like riding on a bubble of air–so smooth and quiet. Now, I really need to watch my speed, unlike before when I was afraid to drive over 50khr, thinking that my vehicle would disintegrate from the vibrations.

Traffic Scene B Aug 19 2015 Weblog Image

The road to happiness, as I am once again a happy member of the motoring public.

Wow, August, and Still Coasting at 30C.

Since summer, here, started back in May for us, August 2015 already feels so late for Summer. I guess getting slammed with one heat wave after another, this is a normal feeling now, and for many others too in the Lower Mainland. Normally, here in British Columbia, this month is the climax of summer, the lazy days of summer happen now, when kids are on the last stretch of their summer break, and farmer’s are taking stock of their crops that will be harvested in the coming weeks, but we seem to have passed that point. Already August is continuing on with the hot and muggy weather that I just seem to be getting used to now. I do not know how much of shock it will be when we are in the midst of the annual freeze scheduled for November now that my body has been climatized for all this heat. But the summer heat rages onward!

Fort Langley BC On the Fraser River Aug 2 2015 Weblog Image 02

Last night, a friend of mine from my old work came over for a visit, and we did coffee in Fort Langley, BC. We took our cameras, and did some shooting in and around town. I got some awesome shots of the sunset, and some good landscape shoots as well. Even then, near the Fraser River, it was hot and muggy out. The temptation to strip down in my shorts and jump in the water was very strong, but I resisted, only becuase I did not bring a towel with me.

Fort Langley BC On the Fraser River - Aug 2 2015 Weblog Image

This is also the long weekend, BC Day, so many are at home, or out on holiday. I wanted to go camping, but with the flu, and with so much going on, staying at home was the best thing to do. Plus, there is no one else to go camping with. Oddly enough, I get four straight days off from work. A surprise when I checked my work shift schedule.

Summer Morning Flowers - Aug 02 2015 Weblog Image

Hopefully I can get more time to blog and work on my numerous other things I want to do, instead of working all of the time for August. So many things to do, yet so little time to do them all. Isn’t that the way it is. LOL!

Oh No…. Eleven Weeks of Attack Ads! Election 2015.

We have been hearing it on the news for days now. Hints that Prime Minister Harper is going to call the election sooner rather than later, have been all over the news for days now (CBC news). As of this morning, the Federal government called for the start of the election to start today by officially “dropping the writ,” after giving notice (after the Prime Minister speaks with the Governor General, the Queen’s representative). But what is so unusual about this race: it is going to be eleven weeks long! Yes, that is right, eleven weeks, 78 days, of attack ads until the October 19 date when we go to the polls to end all of this.

Naturally, it makes sense for the Conservative party (Cons) to call it so early. They have more money than the other parties who are running (according to the CBC). So, for them, it appears to me, that they are going to wear the public down with more attack ads than what the other parties could muster up.

Also, with the new rules under the “Fair Elections Act,” (or as some in Canada call it, the Unfair Elections Act) this piece of law will give the Cons some advantages that work in their favour (CBC news). I am even questioning if this make us less democratic than we were before.

From my point of view, I am not looking forward to having the media bombard me with political attack ads (that the Con’s are most famous for). I will not be looking forward in seeing election signs planted all of the our roads and streets throughout our communities, especially for eleven weeks. This will now make me more conscious about what media I pay attention to, and will make my choices on what I watch, now that I get 90 percent of my media from on-line.

Sick, Yet Again

Another flu/cold/illness in less than four months! What is going one here. Is it really that bad working among the general public that I am going to catch every bug/sickness that people bring in with them? I follow all the precautions: wash properly, cough in my arm, avoid sick people, keep surfaces clean and sterile. And yet, here I am suffering with another round of sinus infection, and a killer sore throat that makes me sound like a Mafia Boss in a bad Hollywood film.

Sleeping is the worst. Working nights, you sleep during the day. And when the day time temperature is reaching 30C, sleeping is next to impossible. Add a cold/flu, and you have a recipe for pain and agitation beyond anything else.

Even at work, inside the building they turn off the A/C, so by two hours into your shift, you can really feel the heat. And when you are inside the Receiving Department, which is four cement walls and a tin roof, you might as well crawl inside an over and set it to 50C.

I hope I can loose this bug soon. :(

End of diatribe.