The Transit Experience: Langley Style

Now that I am using the transit system, again, it does not appear to be as bad as I thought it would be, but time will tell. I did take transit many many moons ago, back in the days when I first moved to Fort Langley. Back then, I had no vehicle, so I had no choice but to take transit then until I earned enough money to buy one, but that took a while. So I used the bus system a lot.

So anyway, here is what my day looked like at the crack of dawn. I was the only rider catching the very first bus of the day out of Fort Langley. This would be the 6:06am bus heading into Langley Centre from Walnut Grove.

About twenty-seven minutes later the bus dumps you off at Langley Centre where I waited. I have a choice at this point. I can jump on the 314 bus which will drop me off at the doorsteps of work, or I can hang around town, wait a bit, and walk that whole distance. My shift does not start until 7:30am, so I have over an hour to kill.

I bet you are asking yourself why I do not catch a later bus?

The next bus that leaves Fort Langley is a 7:06am bus which would get me into Langley Centre with just over ten minutes to travel a five km distance, so the 6.06am bus is my only option. Today I used my walking time to stop and take pictures. And I took several.

This image, (above) is Glover Road and Fraser Highway, standing in the little park. Note: the number of cars and people around. Even the vagrants are not up yet?

This photo makes me laugh: the broken water fountain (above). I have never seen it working.

And finally, on my way to work, looking at Langley City Hall, we have the sign and entrance. Do not tell anyone, but I think the lettering is real gold… <_< …>_>…?

So, I tried to take as much time as I could, and I still ended up arriving at work a half hour early. It was a good walk. Took lot of pictures, and enjoyed the early morning sunshine, but hanging around in an empty building was not much fun either.

And this was my morning commute into work today.

Today’s Walk Around Brae Island

I had a walking friend today. It was nice. Here are some photos I took as the day ended perfect with a super sunset. The Sun was so wonderful!

Above, this image is proof that the sky was blue, and the trees are green with leaves. A week ago you would have not known this.

The sunset. This photo speaks for itself!

The Fort Langley Railway Station Museum. My friend’s first time.

Beautiful “Sunny” Spots in Fort Langley

I was walking back from doing a bread run at the Fort Bakery when I saw how pretty the community building looked in Fort Langley this afternoon. The day was beautiful, as the Sun got a chance to shine through the clouds which have been so dominant this year, and that turned the gloomy grey town into a place of pleasantness and a beehive of activity. Having the Sun shine on through makes that much of a difference around here.

I was up very late last night working on upgrading computers. I did not get home until 2:00 ish am this morning. The full moon last night was just as beautiful as the Sun is today. I knew today was going to be a day to get out as the clouds started moving out late last night. I just wished I did not have to miss most of the morning as I slept. Now, my body is so far out of sync that my sleeping pattern is going to be affected, probably for the rest of the week.

Mayday Parade is this coming weekend! Yay! The weather should be super great, like it is today, so that will make for a great outdoor event. Nothing like watching your town swell up to ten times its normal population for half a day! Yes, I will have my camera, and will be out shooting up a storm. Attack of the shutter bug!

The Weird Feeling: It is Great

It was a weird day, a day that I should have been angry about because nothing worked out right, but I am not feeling bad about it for some strange reason. In fact, right now, I am feeling pretty good, it is a natural high. When everything is changing faster than I can comprehend it, I should be curling up onto a ball from stress of chaos, but I am not. What a weird feeling, but it is great.

The day started out with a plan. I had a number of errands to run, and a drive into Surrey, BC for some Banking with some Banksers, and a ton of paperwork that needed to be taken care of as the clock was running out on them. The day was scheduled to be a very busy one for me. I had it all planned out in such a way that I would utilize my time and resources to the maximum. Living like this on a very tight budget, just the simple little things, like shaving a few kilometres off during a trip, is a must.

On the drive out to Surrey, when I got to Scott Road and Nordell Way—the Banks location, the Bank teller told me that the client’s chequing account was no longer with their branch. Their account moved into Barnaby, BC, another twenty kilometres West, further away from my original course. This meant throwing more fuel than I anticipated. I was lucky that I carried some extra money for the trip.

Finally reaching the Bank out in Burnaby, I had to wait in a line-up that was ten deep and took almost forty-five minutes before it was my turn. When I got to the counter, the teller told me that the cheque I had must be cashed out in the Langley branch, that they would not cash it there. I was mortified, but kept cool. I must be tempered now dealing with such backwards institutions who keep trying to sell me services that I cannot afford, and service that are substandard—in my humble opinion. But I politely left and drove all the way back into Langley, BC. Round trip was sixty-four kilometres, and fuel I did not have.

When I got to the Langley branch, it was empty. I walked right up to a teller who greeted me with a huge smile and she took the cheque, and before I knew it, I had the cash in hand. The other very wired part of my day, was the teller never charged me a  service fee for cashing the cheque? Although I drove all over Hell’s  half acre for the right Bank, at least the N.S. Bank has really reasonable chequing rates!

When I got home I had to deal with some paperwork with Revenue Canada, the lovely Income tax people.  Actually, I cannot complain about them too much because they did send me out all the forms and booklets that I requested so that I could file everything myself without having to fork out money for a lawyer and an accountant. Normally, under so much pressure, I probably would have stressed right out into a class ten anxiety attack, but for some reason I was as cool as a cucumber. In fact, I was whistling away while I was typing out the forms, which you can do on-line now!  Everything is now sent off for their people out in Ottawa, Ontario to process and file.

Then there are my friends, the people who I hold dearly to my heart. One of them told me that he was willing to hire me, to get me through this slow period, he would get me to work on his website and keep it up and running while he expands his business. Then another offer came from a friend who runs a small trucking outfit, and he has some servers that he uses for the company email system. He asked if I could update and fix all the little problems that he is having with it and get it back to normal. So win-win! Of course these are promises, but knowing that friends are helping out too—is—priceless!

At the close of today were my friends from University. I had a really good Twitter session with some of them, and that ended the day just right. It is so nice to hear that at least some of my friends are doing really well out there.

So what a weird feeling? It feels great!

My Desktop Today

I could stare at this image all day. I took this image around lunch time today when I did my rounds over at the post office on Mary Road and Church Street in Fort Langley. It was a spur of the moment thing when I decided to shoot this with my point-and-shoot camera.

What do you think? Pretty eh?

Yeah, I could stare it all day. Although this mini-sized version does not do any justice, the ten-mega pixel version is awesome. It really looks cool as a Desktop with a 25inch monitor!

Dominion of the Dandelion

The lawn mower just did a cut about two days ago, and just as it does every year without fail, (and a another sure sign of spring), the dandelions return, always seemingly having an edge up on the rest of the plant kingdom. Dominion of the Dandelion might as well be the curse the average lawn in British Columbia right now. They are beautiful, but if you want lawn grass to grow, they are one of your worst nightmares!

How can you fight such a resilient plant?

I just did a quick search online to look at what other bits of information is out there, and low-and-behold I am not the only one out there who has a love hate relationship with these bad boys. Sadly, as I found out, chemical companies have being trying to develop the perfect cocktail of ingredients that would eradicate them without taking the rest of the plaint world with them. So far, no mixture has been found by the chemical companies that is completely been effective yet. Right now Taraxacum, aka the Dandelion, will rule every lawn as far as my eyes can see this season.

The plant even has a list of  medical properties too! ..and you can eat it too?

And of course, Dandelions can live anywhere. Here is a shot of a few of the boys moving into a neighbourhood, taking over.

Voted! Saoked but Feel Good.

Since the time I left this morning, and up until I got home and started typing this post out, it has rained relentlessly. I mean, I am not talking about that light kind of drizzle, but the onslaught of what we get from those fall and winter type weather systems called the Pineapple Express. This is ridiculous.

I decided to walk to the Polling station, since after all it is only less than four blocks away. That was my first mistake. I thought the weather was going to let up for a bit, or just enough to make the round trip without suffering from the soaker. That was a dumb move. I think every step closer I got to the voting both, the harder it rained. Once inside, I was soaked!

When I got to the elections site, I presented my card and some identification, and then received my ballet. When I opened my ballet to see who the choices were, I saw a new party on it that I never seen before on the elections programs. “Pirate Party”? What the hell! Why the hell have I not heard about these guys before-here in this riding?

Who ever did the public relations for the Pirate Party really should have sat down and thought about it more clearly. I heard nothing about them in this riding. It would have been nice to know who all the candidates are. I had long since decided whom I wanted to vote for, having gone through the election platforms and analysed each prospective candidate for their merits and political statements.

On the way home, the rain kept up, never leaving my side. It has been several hours since I got home, and the sound of that constant wash of rain drops hitting my roof is now permanently fixed in the background. I do not even notice it now unless I move from one room to other.

Oh, and about the “WET” image. I made that using Inkscape 0.48.1, which is free and open source. Wonderful vector graphics program. I use it a lot!

VOTE! Get Your Butt to the Polling Station and VOTE!

Today is the big day. I’m excited. Later on today, probably around noon, I will head down to the voting booths and cast my vote, hoping that the guy I voted for gets in power.

I am keeping that information privileged. The guy I’m voting for will remain a mystery here on the old weblog. That is personal information and my own opinion, and I have learned over the years that you should keep that bit of your life personal unless you want it to be exposed to the public. I’m a private kind of guy with this sort of stuff. Only the trained, and keen individuals, can figure out who my true colours, and ideologies, are from reading this blog, but that is for you to make, and of course, that is your opinion too. I respect that.

I have spent most of the day so far reminding people to vote. I’m going to walk with a couple of people because they like to be with people when they go out into the public spaces. I know one of them suffers from agoraphobia, so timing and comforting is everything for him. As weird as it sounds, they (my two friends with phobias) do not like to venture often, or by themselves, so they travel in pairs, or with a group of friends. But hey, it gets them out to the polling station!

I’m even going to go over who the candidates are and what parties they represent for my friends. It will be hard to do this of course while being unbiased. But, on the same token, I don’t want to be too simplistic and contrasted so that they they build a false sense of impressions and become disillusioned.

So here is to the greatest privileged that anyone can have in our modern world, the power to individually choose and take part in the election process of our government!

And on a side note: Thank you Twitter! With out you, the lest vestiges of our government’s control have been taken away and reduced to nothingness! I thank you again for  making the world an even freer place to live! Now I think we can say we are living up to the standards set out by our constitutional law, not what a small group of people’s opinions are who interpreted this as so long ago in a long ago era. (I’m off my soap-box now).

Get your ass out there and VOTE!

Promising the World with Wooden Nickles

Since my graduation, I have been on the quest for the ultimate dream job, the job to end all jobs, that pivotal career job that will be my final place of employment. Cue (scratching the needle over vinyl record sound). With the seasonal economy, high food and fuel prices, an election, and oh heck I will throw in the Royal Wedding too, the market economy has not being doing so well. Naturally, the best employer in Canada, the government, is not hiring as much at this time. So, I wait for that moment when my dream job floats across the frontiers of cyberspace, calling out to me “job opportunity.”

In the meantime, it is remedial, labour type jobs. The sad truth is, with my education and experience, I am doing a lot better than most, so therefore, I consider myself not doing as well; then there are a lot of hurting people in this country. I now have first hand proof.

I was talking to a group of young adults in Langley City on Tuesday. Each one of them are in their mid twenties. All live at home with their parents and guardians. None have full-time work, or a job, and they all claim to be earning little bits of income from doing various jobs, and favours that come by every so often. They scrounge bottles, collect scrap metal, and do the odd acts of labour for profit that they can find. They are very good at the “Con” game.

In a way I feel bad for the world. Everything that could not happen to the market economy has happened. Greed is flourishing well, and I blame that squarely on most of the troubles we see today with large over extended corporations, and people who spent beyond their means. For the young adults that I met with back then, they dreamed of having credit cards, driving around in expensive cars, and having a magazine model as girlfriend. Reality is a far off distant land for these guys. But, they are also trapped in the land of promises.

They too want that dream job, that career where they are boss, and they bring home the mountains of money, and never have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from. They even play the lottery regularly, spending what little money they have, after buying cigarettes and beer, on these bets. All for that single dream chance—that dream.

Here we have a case of the Cons, being Conned in the great cycle of disparity. There is tragedy and humour all wrapped into one emotion for these guys. I sit, and all I can do is listen.

One of the best dialogues that has stuck in my mind over the years came from a short story called “Daemons in Middle Town America” by R. R. Brendon (spelling?), circa, 1950s, which was mandatory reading in one of my English courses. The story is told from the first person point of view of a young boy who encountered a preacher selling trinkets that would ward off evil beings. The boy was on his way into town to buy a hammer for his father who needed it to finish fixing the family wagon. The preacher noticed that the boy had money was trying to “con” the boy out of it.

The fat man in the white suite stood up said, “Behold, I give you the Sun.”

“But the Sun is not yours to give.” I answered.

“Only the pure in heart can see the Sun for what it means…” the fat man snapped back.

“The Sun shines equally everywhere on the Earth,” I replied back.

“You do not believe! You dare question that what is right, as the nose plainly on your face!” yelled back the fat man, pointing upwards at the Sun. “Then you will forever live in darkness….” as the fat man looked down and shook his head.

“Um, Nope! The Sun looks as bright as it did this morning. And I know this, dad said it is going to be Sunny all this week. Are you sure you are not getting confused with night time?” I then mounted my bike and continued onward into town.

I am sure these young men will grow up to be great and wonderful people. Perhaps one or two of them will survive this economic depression and leap forward and make their mark on the world. The sadness is in the talent that is being wasted as each of them claws their way through each day to get by.

What Ever Happen to the Albion Ferries?

Do you ever wonder what happened to the Albion Ferries, the ones that took passengers from Fort Langley, BC (the South side) and connected them to the Maple ridge side, across the Fraser River? Every time I walk down to the old terminal site, I see them, and then shake my head. Why? Because I see the cost, as they sit there and rust away.

The ferries are up for sale, but no one wants to buy them becuase they are rather expensive. And no wonder, with the economic downturn and recession, whose got money to spend on ferries?

The Albion Ferry was shut down after the Golden Ears bridge was build just a few kilometres down stream about two years ago now. There was no point in keeping the ferry service going with the new crossing completed. However, it should be noted that the Ferry was free to cross for anyone, while the new bridge is a toll bridge, and is a rather expensive one at that. It seems many are making the long trip around through the none-toll Port Mann bridge instead, judging by the low usage of the new bridge, according to the Langley Times News paper. As it goes, there is politics, and then there is consumer demand, as ultimately it is the people who vote with their feet-the demand is there, but the costs are still too high for the masses to make that transition, according to the Langley Times News Paper.

So, the land that once docked the Ferries now sits abandoned.

Now, from someone who lives in Fort Langley, the shutting down of the Ferry was a blessing, albeit not for the businesses who demanded the flow of traffic for their patronage. I now love that I can cross Glover Road without having to deal with speeding traffic surges every fifteen minutes! My friends who run the local coffee shop swear that they have lost business ever since. Of course they cannot tell me for sure if it is just the economic downturn causing all of this instead, but they are, after all business people – they think only in terms of profit margins, not reasoning.

So, if you know of anyone who wants to buy some Ferries, they are parked (docked) on the Maple Ridge side of the Fraser River. I have no idea how much they are asking for them, but I am sure you could swing them a deal. I do know that the asking price is far more than they are worth for the scrap metal.