Thanking the Township of Langley for the Sign!

Finally something has being done! I have to congratulate the Township of Langley for erecting this sign on Mavis and McBride Street in Fort Langley, to make this corner passable and safe for everyone. This is a very smart thing to do. Parking has been a huge problem for visitors, employees from the near by businesses and the residence, such as myself, who have to drive through this maze of parked vehicles. And, according to the Motor Vehicle Act, you should be parking a few metres way from a Stop Sign anyway so that you are not blocking it.

The “No Parking” sign was erected a couple of weeks ago. I am just getting around to posting this now becuase I have been so busy. But, I was very excited to see this, and it could not have come sooner with the summer season upon us. Already this has made a huge difference in the pass ability along McBride Street. Two vehicles can safely pass each other on this stretch of road now, where as many times before it was impossible. Imagine, driving down the block, only to have to back up to let the person ahead of you by becuase of the “sea of parked cars” along each side of the “already narrow” street as it could only accommodate a single lane becuase of this?

Filming of Super Natural in Fort Langley

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, August 30th and 31st, Fort Langley was a buzz with filming crews shooting the hit TV show “Super Natural,” which is seen on the Space Channel here in Canada. We were given lots of advance notice of the filming. This played a huge impact on my life for those two days–I live less than a block away from where all of the filming was done. This effected my coming and going from home, my walks into town and dealing with the bright lights during the evenings. They kept the noise down, and it appears, for the most part, most of the neighbours were happy with the whole production as they tried really hard not to interfere with our lives.

The only exception were the trailer park owners how are never happy when film crews shoot in this area of town anyway. People block their driveway.

What was funny/interesting was all the activity in the twitter universe about the filming of “Super Natural.” It has a huge cult following–I found out! I mentioned once, to a friend who I knew was a die-hard “Super Natural” fanatic on Twitter, and that tweet seem to have set off a chain reaction with five or six other Twitterers who were also fans.  They wanted photos, details and locations – up to the second play by play. Way more time and effort than I was willing to give. I was swamped with requests.

On my way from work I seen about twenty women sitting on chairs on the East side of Glover Road facing the Community Hall where they were filming. All were armed with cameras with telephotos lenses. True fans!

Some did get their “money shots” and posted them on Twitter. I seen them posted online. Although I never saw the actual shooting on their set at the Hall, I did see the actor who plays Dean. He was walking across the lawn along the side of the Community Hall; it was for a split second. They had tarps and large screen that blocked the view from the main street.

Seeing the town transformed into a small American one is normal around here. It seems we get about ten or more movie productions shooting in various location in Fort Langley per year, so we are use to it. Some are big, and take days and block traffic, while most are small, and you hardly notice them. When watching TV, it is a weird feeling seeing a scene that is shoot right on my street. That is what is so cool about Fort Langley.

X-ing Hell

Yesterday I was crossing Glover Road at Mary Street in Fort Langley when out of no where a cyclist darted out in front of me when I was halfway across the crosswalk. This is not the first time that I have had near misses at this cross walk. Over the years, I can recall three other instances when people either kept on driving, never even slowing while I was crossing, or they would slow down then try to accelerate through the crosswalk before I crossed into the lane that they are in, and one woman even stopped, then sped onwards while I waited for her vehicle to come to a complete stop before I entered the crosswalk.

The cyclists proved to me that it does not matter who your are, or what your mode of transportation is, you have to be on your highest level of alert possible when walking the streets here. This is probably good advice for anyone around the Fraser Valley.

The only thing that I can think of that would make this part of Fort Langley safer would be to request that crossing lights be set up here at this crossing. Pedestrian traffic is very high on this section of Glover Road, but so to is vehicle traffic as more and more people are using River Road to get to 200th Street, or to Highway 1, further South. With the population explosion of the surrounding area, drive-through traffic will probably increase at a very high rate, and so too will the foot traffic.

Comparing Ontario to British Columbia (BC). In the city of Toronto pedestrians must point, with their finger, forward as they cross on the crosswalk. Here in BC, you would be classified as a “nut” if you where to do that. The point would be driven to the motoring public that you intend to cross, but because driver’s are not accustom to this practice, I think you would be ignored here in BC. Drivers in BC, after all, pass other vehicles on the right at intersections, or on single lane roads when a vehicle that is stopped is trying to make a left hand turn. The “me first” attitude is common here, and sadly this has spread to cyclist.

Where’s a COP when you need one?

Snow? July? Fort Langley

For the second time since I have lived here in Fort Langley, the lawn and side walk in front of the community centre have being covered in fake snow for movie sets. The first time was over ten years ago when they shot, “I’ll be home for X-mass,” and back then they filmed for almost a whole week. Today they are, shooting “Trading X-mass,” but on a smaller budget, for a TV production. I guess it is easier to shoot a winter scene in the middle of summer than it is while in the middle of winter?

It is kind of cute to see a fake snowman, fake snow on the side walks, and X-mass decorations all over the lawn in front of the community centre in the middle of July. But that quickly turns to “sick” as we have not had that much of a good season so far with awful weather and a very prolonged winter and spring.

They must use computer graphics to take out the trees in the back ground, and re-do the trees on the front lawn to make it look real?

Funny, we have had such a lousy spring and summer so far, and to have this in the middle of town sort of adds insult to injury when everyone is hoping that we can have at least a half normal summer. Super warm days filled with lots of Sun, and maybe a heat wave or two would be nice? Even the weather forecast for the next few days look dismal: rain, clouds and cool with lot of mosquitoes!

100 Years of BC License Plates

When my Mother came over for a visit during my convocation a couple of weeks ago, we took in a lot of sites. There were so many places that we went to I am still sorting out all the photos I took. I finally got to the trip we did at the Fort Langley, BC Agriculture Museum that houses so many exhibits that when we were done walking around, finally making it through the whole building, I had taken somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 photos.

This photo, which I had to cut into two becuase of the details I wanted to show while keeping the image size to my blog’s standard, is a really good example of all those everyday things we take for granted, but rarely get to see in one collection. These are License Plates from when British Columbia started issuing vehicle plates to the motorising public, spanning almost 100 years. The oldest plate in from 1923, going all the way up to present day plates. According to some sources that I looked up on the net, BC Plates have being around for just over 100 years now, so this collection is probably missing a few plates (A History of British Columbia License Plates).

Please come on down to the Fort Langley Agriculture Museum and take a look for yourself. Admission is almost by donation, which I think is a minimum $3.00 fee, but it is well worth the trip and experience.

The Blacksmith’s Shop at the Fort

One of the first places me and Mother went to when we visited the Fort Museum back on June 11, 2011, was the Blacksmith shop. I have always had a fascination with metal working, especially these historical methods without the use of modern methods of heating and casting that we have today. It was well informative as the demonstrator used his furnace and showed us the various techniques of bending and heating the iron to make all the tools and things people needed back then to have the creature comforts they wanted.

The Blacksmith made everything from farm equipment and tools, to everyday household goods such as knives, barrel-straps and eating utensils–even the nails to build the houses they lived in.  There is quite the history when these first settlers came over.

It was very fascinating to see this guy (who I have no idea his name, but he was part of the staff that worked at the museum) shaping and customising this piece of metal into a very cool looking hook for hanging tools on in the barn with. It took him about five mins to create this hook. He gave it to my Mother becuase at the time she was from the farthest place visiting. She in turn left it with me because of her fear that they my not allow it on the bus. The Blacksmith also make the comment that if you are flying, then it would not be a good idea to take it with you also. Oh our modern times are something, eh?

Spending Time with Mother: Hiking!

As some of you now know, my Mother has left back to her home in Alberta, as her visit here had come to an end last Sunday, but it has taken me all of this week to catch up on this blog, entering in the backlog of posts that I want to write in it. I have several hundred photos, both stored on my camera and hard drives, and going through them all has been a test of endurance. With so many photos, and so little time, choosing the best of the best has not been easy.

In this post I want to write about the last evening that my Mother stay with me in Fort Langley, BC. We agreed that a hike along the Fort to Fort trail would in order for the quest of the allusive rabbits (bunnies) that inhabit the forests in the thousands along the shores of the Fraser Rive and beyond. So I captured the journey, and lots of bunny photos from that hike, with my camera.

Perhaps the best part of the trail is along the Derby Reach leg of the hike. Shown above, you are walking through some well groomed, and wide open area that is managed by the Park at the Derby Park end of the trail. You are walking along the edge of farm land and a bird sanctuary by the Park. At this point of the hike, the trail stays along the river after a short detour when it follows a road for about a kilometre. Remember that this photo was taken around 7:00pm in the evening. Still lots of light, but getting late.

Above: The marker says, “Fort Langley – the original Fort Langley was built here in 1827. James McMillan in charge. The site of the first permanent settlement and cultivation of the soil in the Lower Fraser Valley, later known as Derby, home of the Royal Engineers. 1858 – 1859.”

Reaching the marker of the original site of the fort at Fort Langley, BC, this sort of marks the end of this section of trail. There is lots of trail left, but this was as far as we went due to the lack of time we had. Now, from here, we started the trek back to home.

We also took time to admire the setting sun. This section of the trail we incredible for viewing the sunset through the forest and farm land. Oddly enough at this the bunnies started hopping along the trail more frequently too as they crossed it when we walked by. My camera sucked for shooting photos of them becuase of the low light, and crappy flash that I had.

It was good hike, and I did feel it in my legs. My Mother insisted that we do it, and she never complained about the distance. This proves that she is super stubborn, or she is in way better shape than I am?

Was it a Riot? My City is in Shame.

When I got home from work, I prepared myself for the game, as millions of other Canadians did becuase this was the final big game to prove which team was number one. Hockey is, after all, Canada’s game; our favourite past time as most of us as kids played some form of it at one time or another. In anticipation, I made my dinner early and made sure that I was not going to not be disturbed while watching the game. I did, however, know that the momentum of the Vancouver Canucks was on a downwards roll, so everything was on this final game to decide who was going to take home the cup.

I also knew that Vancouver has a history of rioting after such events, for example,  back in the 1994 Stanley Cup play-offs, when the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers, people turned into hooligans then and went on a rioting rampage through the streets causing millions of dollars in damages. But every city has had its share of riots in one form or another. What makes this so embarrassing is that Vancouver was just on the world stage hosting the Olympics, and that seemed to go fairly smoothly with just little hiccups from a few idiots. So what happened to our peaceful attitude?

Some say, from my Twitter stream, that it was from not enough police on the streets, to the police and the city totally under estimating the potential for such violence to occur. Either way, it did, and we now have a huge P.R. problem becuase of it. But could the police have gone further to at least contain last night’s situation?

I argue that, no, the Vancouver Police could not have gone to point that they could have totally stopped the violence and rioting that we seen last night. Controlling that many people would have required something on the order of what we seen in the G20 protests in Toronto several months back, and that would have being very unacceptable both in terms of Vancouver’s image, and the cost to the taxpayers.

What was intriguing was the use of social media that was given to the police, by the public, so that the police could start identifying and using these images, and videos, as evidence in order to prosecute the accused for their acts of hooliganism. So the age old question of private freedoms versus public rights popped up. The terminology that was used by my Twitter friends was the use social media as a form of surveillance in such cases as last night riots to lay charges by the police.

I am in full complete favour for the use of such media as a tool for laying criminal charges and the prosecution of such individuals by the police. My argument is two fold.

First, police already use such tools out in the public sphere for catching and bringing to justice people who are committing a crime. The courts are already equipped with the tools in the justice system to handle the difference between arbitrary issues and the weight that such evidence is placed against the accused. Photographic evidence is very difficult to use in the courts as it is. The photographer literally must be there as a whiteness if the image is in question, but then now you have a whiteness, which is the strongest form of evidence there it in Canadian Courts, testifying against the accused.

Second, as the use of cameras from smart phones and other devices become the mainstay of everyone around the world, so too does the way these tools are used by all parties in cases of criminal events like rioting. Perhaps the court of public opinion is the most serious for seeing the electronic eyes of these events. The the armchair philosopher who is tying to critically analyse these images, this is secondary to the pure entertainment value that the media gives them while these scenes are played repeatedly every hour of the day until the news losses its splendour. You do not go to a major event without your social media device. Protesters use them, police used them, and the value that we give them changes, from recording history making events, to tools for presenting your side of history, from your point of view. So now the question of surveillance rears its ugly head from the use of social media.

Like yourself witnessing a criminal event, the electronic eye’s gaze is also a party to the criminal event, and at a moral level, and under law in our Criminal Code, you do have an obligation to come forth and  present what you have seen to the police and court of law. But people seem to have a fear of authoritarian governments, and the use of surveillance over the general public they seem to bring with them. (See the movie, or read the book, 1984 as an excellent example). I believe today that the conditions have being met in Canada that justifies the use of such tools for bringing to justice those who cause such damage during acts of great civil unrest. We have balance in our justice system, and a very strong media and public process system that polices the police.

I strongly request that anyone with images of rioters from last night come forward and share your eyes with the police so that justice can be served. For the few people to created such distasteful acts in our city is unacceptable. There is a moral judgement that each person must make, and it is between the public good versus the private rights that each Canadian holds dearly. I hope I have convinced you to make that choice and move forward with it.

Lunch with Mother: Planet Java 50s Cafe

Yesterday me and my mother went out for lunch at the Planet Java 50s Café in Fort Langley, BC just on Glover Road in down town. I thought it would be a cool place to eat becuase it is set up like a restaurant from the 1950s, decked out with a statue of Elvis, and 50s music playing all the time. The look and feel is seemingly authentic, according to my Mother.

 

The meals are not quite what you would have gotten in the 1950s, but it tries to be as authentic as possible. You are not going to buy a meal for $0.35 here.

My Mother loved the table top music selectors they have that only cost $0.25 for each song at each booth. She tried it. You gotta love chrome!

The only glitch we had here was the server got our order mixed up. My Mother wanted the chefs salad and I wanted the Elvis Burger, but instead we both got Chefs Salad.

Mom in the Fort

Since after the Convocation from Wednesday, me and my visiting Mother did some sight seeing around Fort Langley, BC. I have no vehicle right at this moment, so I could not take to her places that I wanted to go, so we did lots of walking and local sight seeing. We went to places I have not gone to in years. Yesterday we did the Fort Langley “Fort” heritage park, and the Fort Langley Farmer’s Museum.  It was amazing how much time went by when we were finished.

 

Above is a panoramic photos of the Parks Canada Historical Fort Langley.

We first went to the “Fort” where we could see what it was like to live in the 1820, or an re-enactment of life back then. I have to say that Fort Langley has quite the history, and I learned lots of interesting facts that I did not know about our little town up until now. The exhibits and the history of people there were very good and well put together. It was an awesome place to go and be, and very family friendly too!

Above, according to what I have heard from the tourer, is that this building is one of the oldest–still standing building in all of British Columbia circa 1830s 1840s (according to the handout Parks Canada gave me about the Fort). I have to do some more research to check into this, but I can say, the building is built out of the huge cedar planks, so it could have another 200 years before it starts rotting!

Then is was off to the Fort Langley Farmer’s Museum. This was a great place to walk around becuase they have everything form old farming equipment to general every day household times from the 1800s right up to the 60s and 70s.  Most of the times came from donations right here in the town of Fort Langley and the surrounding area.

This one made me laugh. It is a gasoline powered MayTag washing Machine (circa 1940s). Just imagine the excuses you could have with this unit!

“Mom, the washing machine will not start. I think it needs a new spark-plug!”

“Yeah, who forgot to fill up the washing machine… with gas.”

“How come the cloths are not done”? “The washing machine ran out of gas…” LOL

“Don’t over rev the washing machine – it’s not a race car!”