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.

Construction

For the last three days the ground had been shaking in irregular intervals, marking the onset of construction across the tracks from where I live. Like the play, “Death of a Salesmen,” gentrification has crept into my neighbourhood, slowly choking the view, sounds and peace from obscurity. As my windows rattle and the noise of the machinery sends shock-waves across the yards, the birds and squirrels are absent now.

My view of the Fraser River will be gone soon as our once prime real-estate now gives way to those who have paid a hundred times more than us to have it in their front windows. The sound the train which travels down the twin tracks almost once every hour will be much more louder as the sound now will have a multistory building to bounce off of with. I will have people gazing down at me for the first time, as opposed to me gazing down at those who walk the shores of the river.

Our era of quietness and privacy will be broken for the first time as the North side of the tracks will become the new new.

Oddly enough, the very reason why so many wish to move here, is the very thing that is leaving us at exactly same the rate. Numbers have a way of doing that. You take one, then you loose one. Very simple mathematics. It is the simplicity of the universe. There is no mystery or supernatural force, just plane and simple mathematics.

It has been three days since the vibrations of construction started on the North side of the tracks. It does not bother me, as it is all done during daylight hours, but it is a warning, a reminder that soon we too will have to uproot ourselves because the land must give way for development.

In the play, “Death of a Salesmen,” gentrification was only one piece of the message presented in that fictional story. Growing old, and loosing your usefulness as the twilight of your life approaches is perhaps the main thesis of that classic masterpiece. The home you build, out in the suburbs, then becomes the new mecca of development, but your time has run its course, and fighting it is no longer an option as the value of the home is only as good as the development that needs its space.

I have made this connection between the play, and the little town of Fort Langley before. The old must give way for the new. And like the laws of mathematics, the new will eventually out number the old, whether through attrition, multiplication or migration, the change is inevitable. The hardest part for the old is to accept the new and understand that it was once the new, as the old before it had to give way to make room for them.

The play has taught me to embrace the change rather than fighting it. I have learned never to attach myself to the land, as the land will always look after itself. Instead, I must look after myself. By the power of mathematics, so to will it play directly into my being. As the buildings become erect, and the people move into them, causation will demand that the value of the space I currently occupy must increase as well. So, then I must accept two dilemmas: First, stay and live with the new new which entails more cost for the privilege of living in my home in lieu of higher taxes and public utilities. Or, second, relocate to somewhere to the equivalent of what I have today, interfering with the same mathematical equations  elsewhere. There is no irony on this ironing board!

These are my thoughts currently rattling around inside my head. Pay them no mind.

The Spring in My Step

What a week. Between the weather being unusually cooler than normal and some more maintenance issues that only money, or spare parts can fix, the week was pretty hum-drum. I think the high point was the Tuesday run out on the trail.

Running on a busy hiking trail has its ups and down. The high point is that you meet people, fellow joggers, who share the same passion as you do. The bad side is that you are bound to run into one of them – like have contact with them, and fall down and go “boom,” as my baby sister would say. I will probably never give up the evening runs unless I physically cannot do them anymore, so the odd run-in will not discourage me from doing it.

Contact hiking is something that I do not recommend. My incident was with a person who was riding on a mountain bike. So, it was not really a hiking accident, but a collision with a biker. She got me pretty good in the shin. The impact was enough to knock me off my feet and push me into the bushes, but there was no real damage. The rider of the bike was probably more shook up than I was about it. I could not get mad at her because she was beating herself up hard. I just asked her to slow down.

Since the collision, I see her every now and then, and she says hi. So, perhaps a friendship was forged out of it. She is one of those people that really does not need to exercise, but she does anyways. In fact, I look forward in seeing her on the trial, as a friend.

I am starting to meet more and more hikers too, besides the run-in. It is like that secret code of the road, the wave of the hand, and eye contact. I was at the Post Office on Thursday and I met one of my fellow hikers, and I got that same look and the slight hand wave, as if I was out on the trail. Too funny. I am part of another community now.

As we head into spring season, so does the problems of home maintenance spring upwards. I had another plumbing issue where I found a leak in my bathroom. Water had been leaking for sometime, albeit a very slow leak, but enough to cause the onset of wood-rot.  My next bout of home happiness was my kitchen ceiling fan making some weird noises, noises that I never knew a ceiling fan could ever make. That little fix was $59.95. I am afraid to look in the crawl-space to see what lurks down there?

Well, off to bed. Another week is about to start, so lets see what joys of goodness are going to happen then?

Another Cool Photo I found While Archiving

I spent some more time today archiving my stack of DVDs full of images, and found this sunset shot from circa 2005.

This shot is obviously of Glenn valley, at the same location as the photo shown in my last post before this one, but with a worse camera. Wish I had a better camera for this shot as the Sunset looks absolutely gorgeous.

Judging by the all the con-trails up in the sky, how can you tell I live near an airport?

Those were the Days, circa 2001

With all this free time I have lately, I have being sorting out my huge, and ever growing, collection of images. Five digital cameras later, and fifty DVDs loaded with images from them, my collection was getting out of hand. When I wanted an image that I remembered taking from about five years ago, it took two days of searching through the possible disks until I eventually found it, only to be disappointed that the image was not quite what I wanted. So I have spent the last week, off and on, archiving my library of images.

While I was going through them, one disk, my July 2001 disk caught my attention becuase that was when I started taking a large numbers of images from around town.  Up until then I was that opportunist photographer who carried a camera around, but I only took a shots when I thought it was going to be a good one. Since then, I am the random shooter, with a rule that if there is the possibility of a good shot, then so be it. That is the beauty of digital cameras – no such thing a wastefulness – just delete them if they suck.

OK, the two images that I choose today from way back in 2001 are as follows:

The above image was taken in Abbotstford, BC, looking down into Glenn Valley at the Fraser River where the Albion Ferry crossing used to be. Where the river forks, that is McMillian Island, and to the Left of that is Fort Langley, BC. This photo was a mistake becuase of the Sun and the way it reflected through the lens. As a rule, I never throw away any image. Really!

Fort Langley, BC, circa 2001. Obviously the Bank has changed hands, and the Pizza and Fish & Chips joint look different today, but surprisingly the buildings themselves have not changed that much. Now there are planted trees and cute lamp-posts along the sidewalks, but basically everything still looks the same.

Cherry Blossoms

I have been told on good authority that these are Cherry Blossoms. I took this photo today while I was doing my afternoon run along the Fort to Fort Trail. Strangely, these trees were not there the day before. I think the Parks People, who work for the Township, transplanted them there.

These are by the pump house along the creek that flows along the outskirts of Fort Langley, BC. I guess the Parks People, or who ever is in charge, wanted the pump house to look pretty?

The Month End Report

It is always sad to see the end of something and become cautious heading into something else. Normally I would agree to this, but March 2011 has not been one of those periods. In fact, The month, and most all of the beginning of the year, has been very disappointing. It is really tough to break down all of the positive accounts from the bad ones, and lump them all into one nice little paragraph. Mind you, there are a couple of very positive outcomes, but they are only in contrast to the gloom of the general state of the Canadian economy and preceding nauseating effects of the glacial speed recovery. I can understand why everyone is so reclusive and withdrawing; when even citizens are practising austerity measures of their own to fight bankruptcy, nothing moves fast.

I have met many people who have given up, yet will not admit it. They are the ones of whom worry me. Which is funny when I hear marketing experts and business people talk about how we all must diversify, these are same tards that forget that thirty percent of the population is in, or near retirement. This translates into a very large chunk of our population that is living on fixed incomes. For the young and budding business person, exploiting any segment of the market that has potential is fair game, but whine and complain when our elders do not nibble at their marketing. Yet, for other reasons, our seniors are responding to the attention, but not in the way that marketers want. Seniors are craving attention, and seek companionship, no matter how little, or from what source, but talking to someone, interacting, bonding, this is a human condition. So they spend money to seek that attention. To meet with a person who is eating Chinese noodles, cabbage, and wieners, once a day for seven days straight, and they will not admit it, scares the shit out of me. These seniors are in a self made prison in the sense that they have very little interaction and contact with stimulating people. This is why they will have a sales person come into their house and sell them a Seven Hundred dollar vacuum cleaner to fulfil that need.

I have started taking up hiking, and I will slowly get back into running again once I have achieved a better level of fitness. Baby steps. But yes, time to rid myself of the “spare-tire” that is wrapped around me.  I have started the Fort to Fort Trail and then I will start on some of the other trails once I get familiar with them. Today’s run was great. I have hope yet! I power-walked the whole trail, 8 km in total. The weather was perfect and there was lots of other joggers too, so this could be a good very good change for me.

On a side note, I seen my first sighting of a woodpecker. He was chewing up the top of the hydro-pole at the end of my block. How this bird does not get a headache is beyond me?

Well, it is late. I want to type on, but I must get sleep. Tomorrow is April Fools day.  I must be on guard as I know many pranksters!

The Fort Trail Tail

Now that spring is underway, I have being upping my hiking time, going to the old ferry terminal and the Fort to Fort Trail more often. I chose to walk the Fort to Fort Trail because there was plenty of daylight, few people on it, and I really enjoy that part of the river. As my luck would have it, there was a reason why there were few people on it – bad weather. Bad luck instead.

We have been under a severe weather warning for most of the day with rain fall amounts of over 50mm. Last night it was crazy with how hard it rained. I was awakened from the noise of the rain hitting my roof around 3:00am, it was that bad.

This afternoon it calmed down enough that the ground was starting to dry up. But as soon as I gotten about one kilometre into the hike, the rain started. I had to turn back because I took my camera with me. Had I not had the camera with me, I would have kept going.

Anyway, here are some photos from that hike. I started taking the photos at the IGA parking lot, and old site from where the building stood before the January 2011 fire, and then crossed the tracks at Glover Road, and onwards on the Trail. Enjoy the photos.

Oh, I also put all of them in my photo gallery, the link is over to the right under “Pages.” Check it out.

IGA Parking lot, and old IGA building site looking towards Glover Road.

Above: The historic Fort Langley, BC train station.

Glover Road, the bridge that connects McMillan Island and Former Albion Ferry Terminal to Fort Langley, BC – Looking East.