Construction is Moving Along in Fort langley, BC

It seems like a blur, one moment the little town of Fort Langley is this cute little out-of-the-way little town nestled in the middle of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and then next there is this flurry of construction as the community faces the full onslaught of gentrification. Fort Langley is growing and changing, there is no doubt about that. I no longer live within the town itself, just on the outskirts, so I have become a little bias as far as all of this change goes, but I do drive through town almost daily. Today, with the Sun shining on a cloudless day, this “new” really stuck for me.

Fort Langley Sept 28 2014 - Weblog Image

There are four main construction project that are currently under way in Fort Langley. First, the biggest and most expensive, and the most controversial, is the Coulter Berry Building located at Glover Road and Mavis Avenue. Second, is the Reid Building (or Reid Block) which is not far from Coulter Building on Church Street and Mavis Avenue, winch is almost completed. Then there is the medical building along 96th Avenue, just West of off Glover Road, which is also in the final stages of completion. Last, there are the new town houses built on the Old Lombardy Camp Ground property, just one block West from Glover Road on McBride Street. I have to admit, the shiny new buildings, and street fix up, it adds a shine to the old town it did not have before.

How I keep My Email and Web Browser Settings While Upgrading Ubuntu

This is my little tutorial on how I do my upgrading while keeping my email and web browser settings intact after a fresh install/upgrade of Ubuntu. This could work for other O.S., but I did try this on Window$ 7, and I ran into nothing but trouble with my email, so beware, this is not full-proof. The basic idea is I archive the program’s data file so that after the upgrade, I install the software, then copy the archived data file back to its proper spot in the file directory. For Ubuntu, this has worked great for me since I started using the O.S. way back in the days of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) era. Even before that I have kept the same the email data going since I first got set up with my ISP way back in 1996, up to the present day–so I have a very huge email data folder!

UPGRADE GRAPHIC

Okay, you are ready to start upgrading your Ubuntu Box to the latest greatest. So before I start the upgrade, I perform my back-ups of specific data, in this case, from my email and web browser’s data. You can use any archiving tool, and compressing data program for this, but I like to use RAR to do my archiving–it is free and open source, and works on most O.S. For Ubuntu users, it is in the repositories.

  1. Download and install RAR (Archiving software).
  2. Locate your program’s data folder. This is located in your home directory, the files that are hidden, so you need to un-hide them to view them: Open file Browser, Click VIEW–>Show Hidden Files.
  3. Now you will see folders that look like this: “./mozilla” and “./thunderbird” with a dot in front of them. These are the folders that you want to archive.
  4. Delete the dot in front of the folder’s name before archiving. This makes the folder “normal” and is viewable on the system.
  5. Now right-click on the folder, and choose “Compress.” A window will pop up giving you some options. You can keep the archive file in the same directory, so leave that alone. However, you are also given options as to what program you to compress the file with. I choose RAR. Once done, choose OK, to start the process. Depending on the size of the file, this could take some time. Please note that if the file is over 1G in size you may need to save it in parts if you are on a 32 bit system–RAR will combine the parts during the uncompressing process for you later on.
  6. Once you have created the archive files for the programs that you want to keep backed-up, store them on a USB Drive, or Disk, something that you can load it back onto your system after the upgrade.
  7. Once you have finished the upgrade of your O.S., make sure that the programs that you have archive files for are installed. In my case FireFox and Thunderbird were pre installed in Ubuntu, but other software I will need to download and install.
  8. Copy the archived files from your storage device onto your hard-drive–in the Home Directory.
  9. Now uncompress the files by right-clicking on them and choosing “Extract Here.”
  10. You should see the uncompressed folder now on your hard-drive. Move it onto your Home Directory (if you have not already done so).
  11. Delete the file folder (after you have chosen to view hidden files) with the dot in front of it, example,  “./mozilla” and “./thunderbird.”
  12. Now right-click on the folder that you have just added, and choose “Rename” and type a Period in front of the text. This will now replace the blank data folder from the upgrade with the archived data from your last O.S., right where you left off.

This method solves two issues for me. First it is a means to back-up just the data that I want, such as email content and web browser’s bookmarks. This way, if something happens during an upgrade, my data is safe and I can try the upgrade again. I cannot tell you how many times I have had upgrades fail on me, loosing data along the way. Normally I do clean upgrades, so I like to start fresh each time. Second, this method is fast, or faster, than doing an upgrade, as opposed to doing an install of an O.S. You are just uncompressing and copying the folder, a huge time saver.

But there is another reason why I do it this way–this method keeps file ownership at user level, rather than root. I have found that using the software’s archiving tools, I have run into situations where I had to play around with the file settings before I could start using it on a freshly upgraded system. Too many headaches.

Saying Goodbye to Summer, the Autumnal Equinox is Today

In just a few hours from now summer will officially end as the Sun crosses the celestial equator from the Northern hemisphere, down to the Southern hemisphere. Kicking off the Autumnal Equinox, officially changing the season to fall, will occur at 7:29pm Pacific Daylight Time, here on the West Coast of British Columbia.

Oddly, with the way the Canadian economy has gone, and Government cutting back, the Teacher’s Strike here in British Columbia ends today, meaning that the school aged kids go back to school, starting today. It is kind of funny that today is also the first day, or the starting of, fall. So for the kids, summer truly ends today for them. Parents rejoice; kids, not so much.

Right about now the weather should start turning for the worse, as we go back to normal: rain, cold, wind, rain, heavy rain, hard pounding rain, breezy rain, hard rain, side-ways rain, and no rain-but snow. Oh yah, looking forward to that. Not! Maybe we will get lucky and the Weather Gods will have mercy on us and accidentally give us some extra tropical sunny weather, just for our sheer enjoyment. That would be nice.

Rally for Profit

“I was not prepared for what I was about to see,” my thoughts as I walked into the receiving department seeing a stage erected and over two-hundred chairs placed in neat rows on the cold grey floor. This morning was the semi-annual company meeting (that is mandatory for all employees to attend) and sadly for those who work during normal day shifts, means an interruption in their weekends. This meant a Sunday morning back at work, but for me, it was an extra two hours, putting me at hour eleven before I had left for home. I found most not happy about this after the event when I talked to a few co-workers. Some did not care, while most would have rather spent it at home with their families, but there were those few who were one-hundred percent happy to be there. The meeting was to celebrate the end of the first and second quarters of the business cycle for the corporation. This was the time for the company to gather its employees and pay homage to profit, success and pay recognition to those individuals who the company felt made a difference to its moral standard of gain and productivity.

Hands in the Air Sept 22 2014 Weblog Image

No, I am not Mr. Lemon Squeeze today, just tired. Honest, I actually like my work–I work with some very interesting people, and the job itself, although very labour intensive, is not a bad job. I can say that the term “micro-managed” does not exist on my crew–in fact working alone is encouraged.

The two hour event started off with a breakfast that is served once everyone has signed in. Most of the management team does the cooking. Once everyone has eaten, which took us forty-five minutes in, we all gathered in the receiving area for the event. We all took our seats, and the head manager gave his talk. Funny thing, there was a prop-failure with the laptop used for the presentation–the Window$ 7 Blue Screen of Death popped up, and caused a delay of several minutes, but after that the rally went on. There were some awards, tokens of recognition handed out, and special presentations to individuals who earned the company profits with their outstanding performances.  Then the profit sharing cheques.

Motivation

Now that I have had time to reflect on this morning’s event, I wanted to jot down a few thoughts I had during the experience and what I feel now. Mainly, I was not motivated. How could I be. The main reason for the event was the profit sharing cheques that were handed out after the two hour stage show. So me being a brand new employee, I had not spent enough time with them to gain any of those perks, so there was no profit sharing cheque waiting for me.

It was also hard to not be motivated when we now face, not only the seasonal slow-down, but the economic slow-down as well as the one line on the chart, the management team never pointed to, was the long term downward trend of overall profits. Funny how, no matter how “right-in-your-face” the numbers are, no negative data was going to crush the positive success that “our” corporation was going to have. The other side, all the competitor’s outlets were shown, and they were all of course trialling in “our” wake as their sales trends from the last two quarters radiated negative growth. Looking from the bottom up, I was not feeling the energy.

Normally, I stay away from these kinds of events. I know how group-think does funny things to the masses, and anything to do with money means either taking it from you, or you helping make someone else gain more of it. So yes, I get very sceptical about going to a company a pep rally and waving the corporate banner around. This is my nature.

Disclaimer

As usual, I do not mention the name of the corporation that I work for, or detail any of its operations. Not that I am worried about pending law suits and civil litigations from its members, I just like to keep that part of my life personal, and mysterious. Besides, why bite the hand that feeds you?

Future

Now I have an idea of what to look forward to in the next six months when the next semi-annual meeting takes place again. I will have to remember to reschedule my private and personal times around this to accommodate this event. This time around I was only given four days notice–the problem of being a part-time employee–you are not there during normal times of operation to receive all notices and news bulletins when they are posted. I am not sure if there are punishments attached to not attending, but I will looking into this. I know of one co-worker on my crew who did not attend, so I will ask him when I see him on Wednesday night.

Personal Blog Post: Stardate – 68180

Personal blog, Stardate 68180, supplemental. I turned myself off from the outside world for the last twenty-four hours: phone, internet, cable…, even the blinds I left closed. I needed the break from it all. The phone was especially annoying becuase I was getting up to ten calls during the morning to afternoon period, when I was trying to sleep, with most calls just being solicitors and people that I know who were just wanting to talk becuase they were board. I left the phone on, with the answering machine switched on, but turned off the ringer noise off so I could not hear it (only four people left messages anyway). I also never bothered to watch cable, or turned on my personal computer to check email. I just turned everything off. The only electronic device I used was my e-reader, which I spent most of my free time reading a really good book, which I should have done in the next day or so.

ART 05 Weblog Image Sept 18 2014

I had to do this. I was feeling exhausted and trapped as my body was telling me that it was ready to call it quits and I could feel a flu, or fatigue setting in. Sleep has been a real problem for me, dealing with the night-shift timetable. Dan was right, your body will hate the night-shift, no matter what you do. So the break did wonders, but I know I will just go through this cycle all over again starting tonight when I go in to work.

As for the people who call me during the day while I am sleeping–get use to it. I will not wake up just to answer the phone for you; my sleep is important, and you will just have to deal with that. Sure I will miss out, but this is the sacrifice I made when getting this job. At lease I am working.

Now that I am recharged and ready to go for another week of work, I thought I better post something now before a whole week goes by with nothing on the Weblog. So feeling better–a lot better than before. I may do this more often. ;)

Note: I have tiny frogs sticking to my windows and outside walls. I am not kidding! They are everywhere. They make squeaky sounds too, like what a mouse would make, but louder.

Frog Stuck On My Window - Sept 18 2014 Weblog Image

This is the window to my front door on my trailer. The frog can easily crawl along the glass surface like he/she were crawling on the ground. Quite amazing. It is only about 3cm long–very tiny.

Link:

To calculate your Stardate: Trek Guide

Seeing a Ghost From Long Ago

First off, I am a Criminologist, so I know a thing or two about how the criminal justice system works here in Canada. The reason why I say that now is becuase I get emails and tweets from people who either say that I am full of “it,” or I make this stuff up. I can assure you that I know what I am talking about, and everything I say here is fully verifiable. Second, no one is braking the law by posting decisions made from our Courts, as this information is public knowledge and anyone can see for themselves any decision made by the courts that has been released into the public court system. This also holds true for those who have been accused and await their day in Court. Yesterday while I was scanning the public court records (for a paper that I am working on), I haphazardly came upon a name that grabbed my attention; of course I am not going to mention that name for personal reasons. It was like a ghost from long ago returning to hunt me–a name that I not since heard from my days at high school and my early twenties, heck, even from my childhood. But nonetheless, I felt this need to satisfy my curiosity and searched further.

The Scales of Justice Sep 2014 Weblog Image Once I had access to the Court documents that cited the arraignment and reasons for the charge against him, it was easy after that to grab his entire criminal history, going back to just before his time in Youth Corrections–which I knew of.  The list was long, spanning thirty years, from five provinces, and ranging from driving offences, drugs, to serious charges of assault and forceful confinement–I was shocked at how violent some of these charges were. Each time in person he would serve his time, usually released early, and then he would reoffend a year or two later. This time, as of September 2014, the charge of Robbery, or as it is known as, CCC 344, which means, Robbery and Extortion–with the use of a weapon, a firearm, used during the event. Not surprisingly, this charge is an indictable offence, with a “minim punishment of imprisonment of four years,” or life–a very serious charge. Naturally the Court is holding him in remanded custody upon his next court appearance.

Perhaps once the media has latched onto his case I may talk more openly about him. For now, all that I want to say is, it is amazing how, for all of my friends while growing up, how different our paths have gone as we grew through time, and the twisted path this particular person took. We parted our ways many years ago over the theft of some money that he took from me, and I never bothered to seek him out after that. Only through third party associates and snippets of news paper articles I found his name pop-up over the years–other than that I left him behind in my mind for those terrible things he did to me, and to my friends. To read this, it brought back many memories, and sadness too that he has never took hold of a life that would bring him peace and happiness, but to continue to hurt people, and himself. At age 48, I doubt that a second chance will reform him.

Costs Going Up – Three Year Anniversary For the Green Pathfinder

It was three years ago today that I bought my Green Pathfinder from my sister who lives on Vancouver Island. Today also marks the renewal time for the auto insurance for the green Machine. As the vehicle gets older, the costs for keeping it on the road keeps going up as well–almost in a perfect line on a graph. When I first insured it, back on September 11, 2010, I was paying only $285.00 for a three month package, but as of today, the price has risen to $325.00, as the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) says that it needs more money to pay for everyone’s claims, and to run itself. ICBC also says that it is raising its prices again as of this November by another five percent!

The Green Pathfinder as of June 18 2013 Weblog Image

I should note that here in British Columbia, we have a province wide public insurer, so everyone in the province must pay ICBC for their auto insurance. Most places have private auto insurers, and pay premiums based directly with that company’s policy rates.

I figure that I have about another year to go with this vehicle before it is time for its retirement. already I had to change the rear brakes, costing me about $600.00, and my mechanic friend told me that rust is setting fast. He noted that I should start considering a newer vehicle within the next year or so.

Night Shift – First Month In

I can now say that the toll on my body from working nights is now having an effect me. At first I thought just keeping everything regular would keep me on the straight and narrow, but factors outside of my control creep in, completely throwing off my sleeping rhythm. Also, sunny days are hard to sleep through. I can say, work is fine, but my personal life is not becuase when I want to do something, everyone is asleep.

My number one peeve right now is that I have to shut the phone off when I sleep. No matter how many times I tell people I am working nights, they feel free to call, and visit during the day. Resorting to turning off the ringer means that I also need to remember to turn it back on too–I forget sometimes. Not everyone leaves a message, so I only know if someone has called if I check my call log. Lately, I have been too busy to check that, so I can only assume that there are calls I have missed, and will never know who called because of this.

The unexpected visitors are also a nuisance because they always show up during the early afternoon. I have a few friends who are unemployed, or underemployed, so they have a need to occupy their time by visiting people they know to keep themselves in touch with society. Good psychological exercises for them, but a bloody pain for me while I struggle for sleep. I have since disconnected my door-bell. I have not posted a sign to warn people that I am sleeping, or unavailable, but that may come yet.

When the days were filled with clouds and rain, sleeping was great. The sky simulated an almost night-time look and sleeping was, well, normal. The good weather has since returned and the Sun now shines while I am sleeping. One fortunate change with the season is that the days are no where near as warm as what they were a couple of weeks ago, so sleeping has been by far more comfortable. But the light is something that I will need to fix if I am to continue working nights.

I am still getting use to the new normal that during my off time, the rest of the world is resting. I have to plan out, long in advance, when I need to do things such as shopping. Where I work, I am very fortunate that it is also right beside a big-box store, and my hours do not conflict with that store’s hours of operation. In fact, it is so damn convenient that shopping there has saved me about one-hundred dollars already as compared to shopping at my local grocer. Fore example: a 500ml bottle of Ketchup at the big-box store is $2, at my regular grocer it is $3.25. Because I am spending money on gas going to work anyway, why not use that same trip for grocery shopping as well?

Right now, I am tired, but I know when I go into work tonight I will be fine. As for my relationship with some friends, well that will take time to fix. I am no stranger to working nights, so I remember all of the techniques I used back then, but it is taking time to adjust. By body is still fighting the urge to stay on the day-shift. I have no idea who long with stay at this shift, but one thing is for sure, this is not permanent.

A Tribute to a Friend and Teacher: RIP Mr. Allen

A tribute to a man who played a pivotal part in my academic endeavours, may you rest in peace Tom Allen, you life was taken way too soon. He was a teacher, a mentor and a very kind person who gave more than he took. He cared deeply, and passionately, about restorative justice, and he cared deeply about those who were caught in the web of the criminal justice system. As a teacher of Criminology at Kawntlen Polytechnic University, he toughed many, and touched our lives in his classes. I will never forget my time in his classes, and the knowledge and wisdom he passed onto me. After almost a year of fighting leukaemia, he passed away on August 28, 2014.

I wanted to blog about him becuase he was one of the few people who impacted my life in a very positive way while I was an undergrad.  He took me aside one day while I was in my third year, to ask me how I was doing after I had written submitted  a paper which I had blasted through becuase of lack of time from my busy schedule. He want to help me, so he reached out. I remember him taking me into the staff lunch room, where it was dimly lit, but very clean and well maintained, and I was thinking that I should not be here. He sat me there and took out my paper and said that he could not mark it becuase he knew that I could have done ten times better as compared to my previous papers earlier on in his class. I explained to him that with work, and other assignments that my time was stretched to the limit, and rather receiving a zero for that assignment, I would “throw a hail Marry” and write the paper that morning. He sad, “No, you are going to rewrite it, as I am going to give everyone in the class a second chance because you are not the only one, …but for you, this is out of character.” I did rewrite the paper, as did everyone else in the class, and my mark was substantially grater then before.

My last encounter with him was at my graduation. As I walked across the stage to receive my BA, and greet the Dean, plus the photo op., and just as I walked off the stage, Tom, and one other Prof stood up from their chairs, and walked over me. While on stage, they came over to me and shook my hand saying, “well done–you did it!” They were smiling and their faces glowed with excitement. when I sat down, all the graduates around me were asking what that was all about. They said the Dean stopped and paused, looking at what was going at the back to the stage while I was up there. I just told them that I got the true hand shake from my profs.

I first heard of the news on Twitter back on Tuesday from a current student who said that the university emailed everyone of the news, so I emailed the Faculty of Criminology at KPU. The secretariat replied and gave me a copy of the email. It reads:

Dear Criminology Students,

I’m very sorry to be writing this email and it comes with immeasurable sadness and grief.  Our friend, colleague and teacher, Tom Allen, died on August 28th, 2014.  Tom was diagnosed with Leukemia nine months ago.  Tom didn’t want a lot of pain or to suffer and that was what he was facing.  He’s now at peace.  He spent his last days surrounded by colleagues, friends, and family. 

Tom was KPU Criminology’s social justice heart and soul.  He was one of the most vulnerable/courageous and authentic human beings I had the pleasure of knowing.  I also know that Tom loved teaching.  He cherished connecting with students and challenging and transforming their perspectives.  Tom was deeply compassionate and strived to make the world a better place through his students.  He was going to retire a few years ago, but always returned because he loved teaching and the relationships he formed with students.  Over the years, many students told me that they stayed at KPU because of Tom.  His irreverence, humour, passion for social and transformative justice and ability to connect with everyone in a heartfelt way will be deeply missed by students and faculty alike.  

Tom was resilient.  He would want all of you to go into class this week, connect and engage empathetically with each other and the material and breathe life into your journeys.  And tell ‘Tom stories’…there are lots of them. Please also reach out to each other, and to the members of our faculty. 

A celebration of life is being planned and I will relay the information as soon as I have it.  

Sincerely,

Lisa Kitt

Tom lead by example, and taught by conviction, sharing his life with us in those classes. He reminded us that we are human, and that through our humanity we can have society that is caring and tolerant, but above all else, having equality and understanding as its foundation. I will never forget him, and a part of him will always be with me.

 

Foggy Morning In the Langleys

When I started back for home this morning, (remember that I work night-shift now) the fog was so think that it seemed like you could cut through it with your hand. It was cold and very damp–a sure sign that winder’s grip will soon be felt–or will it? At any rate, we have been getting some cold weather, but this soon could change as the weather prognosticators are proclaiming, starting today, until the weekend that we will resume our regular scheduled heat-wave. I am sure this spider is just thrilled about it.

Spider Web Dew Sept 4 2014 Weblog Image

I could see hundreds of spider webs everywhere were there are a branch, an out crop, an overhang of some sort as the dew reflected them perfectly once the Sun’s rays got strong enough through the fog.

This morning I took advantage of Walmart’s 7:00am opening to do some shopping before I headed for home. I like Walmart for the simple fact that I can get good Root-Beer there for $0.98 a 2 litre bottle. When you are on a tight budget, like mine, you need to take advantage of these deals when you can. Also, working right beside the store helps out a lot too. Yes, I am root-beer-o-holic, I admit it. I was the first one in the Langley store today too–no door prize! :(

Okay, I am off to bed in a few minutes. I wanted to get this post up, mainly becuase I just took a bunch of photos (witch I have not done in a long time now) with my Sony A77, and wanted to get them copied onto my PC.

Also, just to let you all know that things are vastly improving for me as I got my work schedule sorted out, and the money is flowing in again. I am almost all caught up on my bills now too, and should be back to normal in about four more weeks.

Yes, I am going to try and sleep through eight hours of pounding sunshine! Do you pity me? LOL!