Added Some More Photos!

I spent the morning today cleaning up my Weblog. It needed it, and non too soon, I must say. I cleared about 1.5GB of old photo files that I felt have out-lived their time, and perhaps should be left in the archives, and presented another time and day. Plus, I fixed up my photo galleries–that in itself was a monumental task as well–gobbling up three-quarters my morning from that alone. And the rest of my time was spent doing cosmetic work, and basic editing in places where it needed it.

The photos I uploaded onto my Blog are from just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the 2017. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake and took a walk out on the ice. I put the slidewhow of it here in the post, but if you want to see in a lager format, look to the side menu, and find “North Coast Terrace British Columbia” under “The Photo Gallery,” and from there the photos should be about 900 x 600 pixels in size.

A huge problem I had was having to relearn how my Photo Gallery plug-ins worked…, again. I am kind of kicking myself becuase I had forgotten how most of the functions worked. Also, terminology, and the software’s semantics, used in some of the help files threw me off. I got through it, laughing a little, keeping it all in good humour.

The Winter Sunset that Brings Winter Back into Perspective

I just got home, about 4:00pm, and the Sun’s light was shinning everywhere at my apartment as the day was ending. Normally this would not be a huge event, but when you are living in an area where the days are a lot shorter, the light becomes important. From where I lived before, the difference of daylight compared to Thornhill is almost 45 minutes less a day during the winter Solstice. So you can see my enthusiasm.

This shot was taken from my bedroom window, as this is only one of two windows that I have that are facing South. But you are asking yourself why I would go and take effort to take this shot? Simple, the Skeena Valley gets very cloudy, especially during the winter months, so when you get a awesome stretch of clear weather, you get out as much as you can to enjoy it. Even though the Sun was low in the sky, everywhere was above freezing, even drying up the dampness outside in some parts.

The greatest attraction of having a wonderful winter day in the Skeena Valley are the mountains that tower at every side of this tiny valley. Seeing the snow covered peaks shine with sunlight is in itself an awesome sight. But when the mountain are bathed in the pink light of the setting Sun, the world changes, as you are surrounded in golden to purple shades of light at ground level. It is like being on a different world in a Science Fiction story. For a half an hour, your world becomes changed; something that a camera cannot capture as you need all your senses to experience it at once. This is what makes winter on the North Coast awesome, but do not tell the Southerners this.

A Quick Turnaround On the Weather To Say the Least

Just like that, the temperature climbed from minus ten Celsius to a blustery zero degree, almost sending a shock to my system, in less than twenty-four hours. Last night we had ice pellets falling from the sky, along with a misty rain, causing some icy sections on the roads, and enough to coast the windows on my car. Driving around was not a problem with the black ice on the roads, my snow-tires were more than enough. As promised, the sky was almost clear, with about a quart cloud cover. In all, this is looking like a great day, as the sunlight pours through my bedroom window.

When I woke this morning, I saw the sunlight hitting the North mountains, casting a brilliant pink colour on their snow covered peaks. My vantage point does allow me to capture great photos, for that means a trip down the road–still a little cool for that. Nonetheless, a great feeling, even with the wind howling out. Yes, did I mention the wind?

Here in “Lower” Thornhill, it is also know as, “The Wind Tunnel” as wind seems unobstructed from the North, and like a wind tunnel, the wind just screams through the flats. Else where, usually are calm, with just the hint of a breeze. But usually those places are much cooler as they tend to be in the shade more often during the day.

So, super nice day. Hopefully I will spend some time in it today. I would love to get more photos of the mountains, but we will see. The days are still short, as we are still a while from saying that we are in the middle of winter yet.

Now Comes Warmer Weather; Me Gets the Snow-Shove Ready

The rumour is, some snow is on the way. Right now, we are in the tail end of an arctic outflow weather pattern that has plunged us back into the deep-freeze, but not as bad as before. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we should start to see it warm up a bit, maybe taking us to just above the freezing mark. We can hope. But sadly, the weather prognosticators say some snow is in the forecast as well, as the next weather system is part of the Pineapple Express that will hit the coast.

Hard to say as what I should do. Get the show shovel ready, or the umbrella. Either way, there is a change coming in the weather pattern, and it could be nasty.

As you can see, I brought Mr Egghead back. It has been nearly six months since I last used him here on the Blog, so I thought it was time to bring him back. Actually, I totally redid him in 3D Blender, becuase most of the files I had before were missing from my last hard drive crash back in November, 2017. He has arms now, and I redid his armature for a more streamlined pose when animating him. I still have a more work to do, but I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I worked on Mr Egghead.

It is All About Fairness – No Freeloaders!

I cannot stay silent any longer on this subject because I am sick and tired of listening to business people complain about how they are unduly singled out with higher taxes and other parasitic encumbrances to their bottom-line, and that they should be given tax breaks. In traditional fashion, you have the Right-wing saying that all businesses must be taxed in order to stay competitive, while on the Left-wing side, they say businesses must pay more in taxes because they make the lion’s share of the profits. Oh Boo-Hoo. I am tired of everyone from property owners to business people saying that everyone else except them should shoulder the taxes burden. I just heard a small business owner say that all taxes should be dumped on the consumer and property owners while they focus on enjoying their profits and employing more works. Oh-no, I say pooh to that, everyone pays their share—period, especially those who make huge profits in my city!

Ok, we have this issue of gentrification, and it is prevalent in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Gentrification is where you have a depressed area, become affluent and prosperous as a higher class of the socioeconomic population moves in as their boundary spreads outwards. When you have an area where everyone wants to live, that area goes through a cycle of inflation as property prices and costs rise. So too for businesses, as they enjoy rise in the boon of consumers. Nothing is free, as all must pay to enjoy the benefits of this. It boils down to choice. People move to the cities, like Vancouver, because they want to enjoy its weather climate, and the bounty of employment. Businesses do this along the same lines of reasoning too. But sooner or later, inflation creeps in, and so too do taxes. Remember, you have a choice to stay or leave—simple.

The majority of Canadian’s taxes are paid through taxing their income. This concept of paying taxes on the amount of money you make, goes back to the Second World War in Canada, and is one that many have no choice in the matter. You earn a pay cheque, you employer is obligated, in most cases, to collect that money on behalf of the Government. But the bulk of Income Tax goes to both the Federal and Provincial Governments, leaving the Municipalities left to eke out their sources of revue in other ways. So municipalities share the proceeds on mostly businesses and property taxes that they tax directly. I am probably over simplifying the tax laws here, as there are hundreds of different forms of taxation in Canada, but this is a thumbnail sketch of where and who gets what. So as a community grows, in its population and services, so too does its operational costs and development.

The idea of fairness is simple: all of us, who choose to work and live in an area that is going through gentrification, must pay their fair share, no matter who you are. If you are a home owner, then yes, you pay your taxes. As businesses who want to set up in this area as well, they must pay their fair share in taxes too, as they enjoy the prosperity and volume of consumers moving through their doors. Usually it’s the business owner who argues that the market economy should run the world; then let it be so, as the market place becomes over saturated, and the population shifts, then businesses should make a choice. If they have to raise their prices for their wares, then so be it, but to stay competitive by paying less in taxes is not fair—then you need to adjust your profits.

Bottom line, everyone pays their fair share in taxes. No one should be exempt, or reduced, from their fair share in taxes within the population. If you come here to make a profit, then you come here to pay your taxes to enjoy all the benefits that come with living here.

Let There Be Warmth

Now that we are back to “normal,” as in were I live is back above the freezing mark, and it is liquid water instead of that solid type you have to shovel, falling from the sky. Life is good once again. It appears that the deep-freeze we were in is now gone. We sat in the midst of an arctic out flow weather system for over two weeks, which gave us well below freezing temperature, and in some cases we went as low as minus twenty for a bit, but all it good again as the weather patterns seem to be back to normal again.

The weather changed around Thursday, so this is “day number two” with our day-time highs above the freezing. It is a nice change, but during our cold spell, the days were filled with sunshine and clear nights, so I will miss that. But equally so, I do not have to warm up the car for ten minutes any more. Now we are getting rain with lots of overcast sky, highs of five to seven Celsius. At least we do not have shovel it.

The weather prognosticators say we might be back into what appears to be more arctic weather come next Tuesday, as the freezing weather system creeps back in, but so far their numbers jump around a lot from day to day. The bright side, the next weather system will not be a cold as the last arctic front was. I am, for now, happy that double digit lows are not in the forecast. Being that climate change has presented us with extreme weather, anything is possible, and it would not surprise me, if we end up getting a cyclone or two before March rolls around. Either way, this is my first North Coast winter in over twenty years, and I am dealing with it nicely.

My Take On Property Assessments

The privilege of being a property owner is the right to do with it as you wish within reason. As a landlord, there are huge benefits, and responsibilities. However, as land is a “fixed” product, meaning that there is, and always will be, the surface area of the Earth to own and live on (in this context), so the value will hinge greatly location. When one area of the plant becomes desirable to live on, then so to does its value. With value, comes taxes, as land can’t move, or be relocated. Hand in hand, when its value goes up, so to does its taxes as most countries’ governments are depended on land taxes. Here is my take on Property Assessments, as my region undertakes what it calls Property Assessment Season, the time of year when British Columbia does it property assessments evaluations.

On one side of the table you have the land owners, who are loving the growing rates of real estate values in many regions, so their potential investments are, in some cases, beyond their wildest expectations. Where I use to live, the Lower Mainland near Vancouver, property values have sky rocketed, so many there are enjoying their investments grow over the couple of decades to the point that they are, in some cases, worth millions. Almost everyone has enjoyed this increase. Not too many property owners are complaining about their investments today, only those who wish to buy.

On this other side of the table, are the Governments, who all are enjoying this boom in property value as well becuase their cut of the pie is in the form of taxes. It goes hand in hand that both sides should prosper. Simple, eh? But here is where fun starts, in my opinion.

So the BC Government has just released their Property Assessments, and mailed them out to the property owners, plus you can go on-line and see them too. And so the grumbling starts. Many are not happy, and see this as a huge burden, especially those who have huge mortgages against their properties. Maybe many of those who are in this huge state of debt should think twice about being property owners in their desired area to live? But nevertheless, as a property owner, very few reasons can be given to kick you off of it, unlike a tenant in a rental situation. But back to the point, and I call this greed–plain and simple. Your investment has grown beyond your expectation, yet you see many parasites nibbling way at it. Sure, taxes can be seen to be that way, but when your bottom line is just barely able to keep up, any parasitic increases are seen as critical. Perhaps some land owners have forgotten what taxes do, and why inflation in land reflects in costs of services? It is called “inflation.”

One of the criteria built into the assessment is the land’s market value. But Property Taxes reflect more than just market value, they also reflect the community that you live in, such as what utilities you have servicing your community, and future developments. Sadly, I see land owners refusing to see this, but rather looking into their pockets and seeing the gouging by taxes taking place.

Mom Says Don’t Eat Yellow Snow. But Multi Coloured Ice?

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is technically the first true post of 2018. So as always, in keeping with my Blog format, I just skip all the 2017 reflections and 2018 resolutions. So, with that, let me jump into this post, on multi coloured ice. I first saw this last year, just before New Year’s in fact. It was a no-brainer to wait a bit and get a photo of this. Regrettably, the Sun was blocked from the low overcast sky, but I still think the defuse light made the shots just as good.

 I laughed when I first seen the painted icicles on the rock faces of Terrace Mountain. Obviously, another artist was busy at work creating this. I sort of felt like I was steeling the artist’s work, but this is after all this is in the public domain, so it is fair game for photographers. For the record, I did not add the painted colours on the ice. Please do not accuse me of public vandalism or causing harm to the environment–assuming this is some form of lead based paint, or something toxic–this is someone else’s doing. I am just a bystander with a camera who happened to drive by, and stop, to admire it.

I also took some other shots of the non-coloured ice on the same stretch of road. I am surprised the people, or person, did not squirt paint on all the other ice chunks along this road. Anyway, I hope you like it; I thought it was neat.

Yay, it is 2018: What We Did On The Last Day of 2017

It is fun to mark events in our daily lives, and New Year’s Day, and Eve, are probably the biggest in my calender year. So what better way to celebrate it, than being with family and friends, and heading out to lake. Yup, that is what we did, we spent the last day of 2017 on the lake, just walking…. on it. Of course, I could not leave my camera at home when there was such a beautiful day calling out to me, saying, “take my photo.” And that is exactly what I did–over four gigabytes worth of them.

To our surprise, there were a lot of people at the lake. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake, near Terrace, BC, about a ten minute drive from town. When we got to the lake, there were already about fifty people on it, doing everything from basking in the sunlight, skating, walking and some were even ice fishing on it. So we were not along by any stretch. The above photo was the very first photo I shot when we got there. As you can see, lots of people on the lake, enjoying a nice crispy cold winter day, albeit a chilly one at -11C, with a light breeze coming from the North.

We decided to walk as far as we could on the ice. We were kind of amazed that we were walking the lake, as opposed to driving around it, or swimming in it. The time that we decided to return was almost at Furlong Beach, walking from the Lakelse Lake Park, at the North end of the lake. In all, the round trip was about one hour from the time we got the on ice, to when we left back to the car. A good walk to burn off the holiday turkey dinners with. In the above photo, a shot looking North towards the mouth of Williams Creek.

So here is the last shot of the year I want to leave you with on my Blog: The setting Sun over the ice and snow of Lakelse Lake. On such an awesome day, it was almost magical as we headed back to the comfy warm car. We were seeing the orange and yellow light on the mountains in the Skeena Valley around us as we drove away. As great way to end the year with: sitting in the car at the lake, warm coffee in hand, and the beautiful Suzette with her pink and purple toque on, sipping on her Latte, beside me. Magical.

Wish You All A Happy New Year 2018!

Once again we have come to the end of another year, yet ready to embark on a fresh new one. Although 2017 was awesome for me, there is always hope that 2018 will be even better. My plans for New Year’s are a bit up in the air, as I never really committed to any, but I am sure I will have fun, and bring in the new year with fun and excitement.

This will be my first New Year’s up in the North in nearly thirty years, so I am kind of interested at what will happen. There are a few events in town planned, but nothing to exciting that I can see. Me and Suzette have left tonight wide open, as far as what we might do. Anything is better than what I did last year–I slept through it all.