Canada Cannabis Day

Happy Cannabis in Canada Day. Today marks the day that smoking, or doing, cannabis becomes legal, all across Canada. Now, for the record, I am not “on board” with this, but this is what the people voted for, so, far be it for me to impose my beliefs against the Will of the People. Instead, I wish everyone in Canada, Happy Cannabis Day, and for those who wanted to get their first legal puffs off, I guess the place in British Colombia to do that was in Kamloops, the only legal store that was ready to do so here on the West Coast. That store opened at 10:00am this morning according to CBC News. But from what I heard, there is plenty of illegal weed to feed the masses with, so there is no shortage of the stuff around here.

This is also my fourth attempt at writing this post, before I settled on this one. Simply put, I was either too harsh, or too Liberal in my statements, so I just stuck to being very neutral in choosing my words. I had some nice size rants, around the fifty-five hundred word mark, but I deleted those and went for this post instead. Short, sweet, and to the point, reining in my personal feelings on the topic.

I wonder if this will be the dawning of a new National Holiday? Anyway…

So far the people who live around me are not smoking the stuff. However, the 2:00pm happy hour started at the far end of the apartments, from where I am, so alcohol is still the choice among my neighbours that I can tell. I guess this is day one, of many to come, so we will see what the weekend will have in store for us here with legal cannabis.

As for when the Skeena Valley getting cannabis stores, I only heard from our local news paper that only four store are applying for the permits to sell cannabis in Terrace, BC, yet none in Thornhill, BC. The article did say, as of today, you can buy cannabis through the Liquor Distribution Branch–on line, so not many options for the North Coast as of yet, to get your first legal took going. Please read, “Four Marijuana Stores Looking at Terrace” from the Terrace Standard News paper for October 17, 2018, for more information on this source.

Well, that is it for me on this fine October day. Rock’n the time off from work, so peace, and chill out.

A Frost Morning In Thornhill BC

Yawn! It is not even a Friday, and this does feel like a Friday the Thirteen kind of day. Lets see, where to begin… The Septic is backing up, and the Land Lord just happen to be here doing various maintenance projects, so he is currently working on that. This is the start of some vacation time that I have owed to me from my work. I have a meeting with my Bank, and so far to, and it is not even 10:00am, five scammers have called; some are down right funny. Anyway, it is a cold one, so let me being the Post.

First thing, it is cold outside. It is just at the freezing mark, and there is some wind, but not much. My windows have no frost, but my car is just covered. I took off to Walmart around 8:30am, for some items I needed for breakfast, and I had to chip away at my windshield, as it was encased with a thick layer of frost. The last two days have been dry ones, with lost of sun, and clear skies, so it is no big surprise that the night time temperatures are falling below the freezing level. During the day, we have been getting close to 18C, so no big complaints there.

Second thing, and a real big issue, not life threatening, the septic system is backed up. I think it needs the sewage-sucker machine to come in and slurp the tank out. Thornhill does not have sewer service, so all properties must have their own septic fields. This is why so few like to live here, or own land, it is pricey to put on in now-a-days. So, my toilet started making “gurgling” sounds, and would not flush properly. This went on for a couple of days, and I was thinking that maybe it was plugged. I phone the caretaker, and he said it was the sewage tank being full, and that he will get someone on it as soon as possible. So, as I type this out, there are two guys under the crawl space of the compartment, working on the plumbing, and a sewage sucker truck outside, sucking up the sewage from the septic tank.

Third thing, I spend the last part of the day, yesterday, trying to set up a meeting with my Bank for a mortgage, or the possibility of getting one. As the housing market shots upwards, I figure I might as well see if I qualify, now that I have over a year’s time living here, and a year with my car loan. So I have a meeting set up, but the lady at the Customer Counter, told me that they are swamped with requests, as everyone wants to move here with the promises of well paying jobs on the horizon. So I spent some time this morning getting my documents ready that she said they needed to my assessment. My fear, the Bank will take too long, as the housing market slips away to unreal prices, and all the good deals are gone–leaving only million dollar homes left over that no can afford.

Lastly, five phone SCAMMERS in a row! Yes, I had some funny ones. I had, what looked like a local caller, from the Grand Forks area of British Columbia, but never bothered to answer that one. Then two from India, as it was real easy to ID the callers on the web. One was a robot voice that said I was going to jail becuase of my income tax. The other said I was in trouble by the IRS in the United State of America, becuase of goods tax not paid on some perches I supposedly made there. They left messages, at least. I do not buy from the U.S.A., as I am personally boycotting them right now. I would rather buy from China. But it was the East Indian Ascent, from the very young sounding girl, that gave that away, right off the bat. Next was a guy claiming that my PC had a service ticket issued on it, and that he was going to up-date my OS. I answered that one. Hum, let see, Oh, I run only LINUX on my machines, and there is no outside support for that OS, so SCAMMER. I was chuckling, and I hung up on him. The last one, for now, was an American sound lady, with a very sexy voice, sounding like she was from Texas, claiming that my Life Insurance Claim was being issued, and I had to give her all of my personal information, including Banking information. I hung up on her becuase I was getting ready to type out this post.

So that has been my day so far, and it not even 10:30am, on a Saturday morning.

We Had a Little Fender-Bender, But All is Good!

Imagen driving down a very dark highway, and you are going from 80km/h to 100km/h, and way out in front of you, you see a vehicle, then from behind it, sparks at random places on the road, and they are getting closer and closer. Then an object bouncing towards you that you can hardly see becuase of its dark colour. What would you do? The quick thinking Suzette did what most of us would have done: stop to avoid the object. She safely came to a stop, just metres from the object, and this is what we saw.

The object was a metal picnic bench, painted dark green, that was being transported on the back of someone’s pick-up truck, and they never bothered to properly secured it to the deck. It fell off as they accelerated in the 100km/h speed zone, so when it hit the road, it was already travelling a 80km/h. So what we saw from behind were sparks, as it bounced along the surface of the pavement then came to rest.

An emergency stop was initiated. The vehicle behind us also had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting us, and as we heard it brake–at that moment I was happy. But then a second later, a third vehicle was not so quick, and collided into the back of the car behind us, then the car behind us was pushed into us. So now we have a three vehicle accident, and loose objects on the road. We waited, and after a ten second pause, we assessed ourselves, and looked outside. There seemed to be no other sounds of crashing cars–it was safe to go outside.

I will not go into the specifics of what happened to all three vehicles, but I will say this, no one was physically injured. All three vehicles had to be towed away, and the metal bench was taken off the road, so we were thankful that it was just our vehicles that were damaged, not anyone else. However, a few things need to be addressed here.

Let me quote Suzette’s Face Book post, using her words:

This piece of metal lawn furniture fell out of a vehicle last night on Kitimat highway just Terrace side of Hirsch Creek. It caused a 3 car fender bender, no major injuries thankfully. I stopped in time to miss hitting it. The woman behind managed to stop in time to not hit me, but the third car hit her, pushing her into my driver side back quarter. So, all 3 had to be towed. PEOPLE! tie down your loads! If I had not seen the sparks when this fell out of the vehicle, I would have had less notice of something wrong ahead, could have hit it, into my windshield and could have caused a major accident. Now my car is heading to the shop…

Two points. First, the owner of the park bench was the cause of this accident. You never move items on your vehicle without first properly securing them to the vehicle to prevent them from falling off and causing damage to the road, property, and people. This is the law.

Secondly, As a driver, you must drive in a safe manner. This means driving with enough space between you and the driver ahead to stop safely, in case of an emergency. Driving too close is not only bad driving, but in the case of an emergency, you are not going to stop in time to avoid the driver ahead of you. This is the only time, that you are one hundred per cent at fault if you cause the accident.

Anyway, we are all good.

On a side note, I told Suzette today, “we were partly responsible of closing down the Kitimat to Terrace Highway for an hour, yesterday”!

 

 

Scammer’s, You are too Funny!

Over the last two weeks now, I have been getting SPAM phone calls, emails, even a survey that was mailed to me, asking for some weird information, to a private organization. The level of frequency it hitting fever pitch. Most scammers are emailing me, and a quarter of those are from phone calls, and then there is the one piece of mail in the Post. I am not to terribly surprised, as this time of year some people are in debt and desperate for money, while those who are well-off, are usually tight in the wallets, so the flow of cash trickles this time of year. What made me write about scammers today is the call I just had a few minutes ago.

I just got home from work, and sat down at my PC to check emails when the phone rings. Normally I just wait to see who it is on the call display, then let it go to voice mail if it someone I do not know. I was not paying that much attention, and sometimes it is the girlfriend who phones around this time of day. Though Thursdays, she is usually out at her classes and social events. So I answer the phone. It was a women with a New York accent who says, “Hello, may I have few minutes of your time for this special offer…. your name was chosen to….” and I hung up. Then the phone rings again–I am letting it go voice mail!

I let it go straight to voice mail. It was a computerize voice synth, stating that it was the Canada Revenue Service, and I have a criminal warrant against me, and that I must pay in Bitcoin before I jail for the rest of my life. I thought this was crazy, two in a row.

Last week was the best. This East Indian chick phoned, and left a message on my machine saying that she was from a Collection Agency, and that she was directed from the “Toronto Corporate Office, representing the Credit Agency,” and that I have a debt that needs to be paid off by 4:00pm that day, or my credit history will be adjusted. This one was one of the best I have heard so far, but she got her “official” titles mixed up. The part about payment was outrageous too, as this Collection Company only collects money through Bitcoin. Imagine that? I used to work for a collections company in Langley, BC, so I know a lot about the rules about phoning people up begging for money.

Sadly my phone number is out in the Scammer’s data bases, or they got a list from my local Telco–which would not surprise me. But yes, the frequency of the scammers and sophistication is growing by leaps and bounds.

A Cool and Cuddly Passed Weekend

So it is Wednesday, or “hump day,” as I sometimes call a typical Wednesday, and with it, the happiness knowing it is the halfway point in the workweek where we are moving towards the next weekend, a sense of hope that Friday is getting nearer. So, having said all that, what I wrote below, was written last Sunday, and rewritten Monday night, with proof reading and corrections done. So forgive me on my past tents, and wondering sense of time, in my use of grammar. This is, after all, my personal Weblog, so I get to make up the rules as I see fit, yet trying to conform to the standards that I was taught.

Friday night is somewhat a night to myself. I did my laundry, cleaned up a bit around the apartment, and prepared for tomorrow.  I have a couple of emails to send out, and some matters on Evil-Bay that are pending. Mostly, my online to-do list is small this week. It is the month-end, so I paid all of my Bills on-line (November 30), and made sure that my Bank statement balanced out with my records; it all works out, right down to the penny (though Canada no longer has pennies). I also bought a large size bar of chocolate–do not tell–it was my treat for a week well done. Somehow, chocolate has gripped my needs and wants in the food department. For the record, chocolate is not just a “Female” food, we Males get the cravings too. šŸ™‚

Saturday was spent working on the PC, getting it’s software all up to date and fixing some of the on going bugs that have popped up in the last couple of days. Then I spent the rest of the morning reading some Court Documents that I want to study. These are rather touchy for most folks who live in and around the North Coast of British Columbia, so I will not include any details here on the Weblog. But, I did spent over six hours pouring over them, and I learned a lot. But having said that, I see even the Courts are a long ways from finishing this matter, as there are so many questions still yet to be answered. About high noon, Suz., called, and said she is on her way to pick me up, as we wanted to check out the weekend’s community craft events. The craft fair at the Kitsumkalum Centre was the best one, in my humble opinion, as it was packed and had more goodies to offer. In all, we had a great time. To end the night off, it was movie night at Suz.’s place. A fun and relaxing evening, even the Cats enjoyed curling up on my lap, playing chaperone on the couch, as we watched the show.

Sunday was spent with more morning reading, though not as deep as the morning before, but the rest of the Court Documents that I had with me, I finished. Later on, the plan was having dinner with Suz., and her parents, as we were celebrating her birthday. The dinner was awesome, and I was very full. We had Chinese at the Golden Star Restaurant, in down town Terrace. I have to plug this place because they are great, and me and Suz., go there often. Then I left for home early, so I could have a great start for Monday at my work. 

This was an abbreviated version of my weekend. So much more happened, of course, but this is all I need to write. I would also like to add that my car went five weeks before I needed to fill it up with fuel, and my heating bill was under seventy-five dollars (electric heat). Now I know we are getting ripped-off down in the Lower Mainland as far as bad Land Lords and local Governments goes. Shame on you! Just so glad I moved away from all that nonsense. But, you all have a great week, and as always, “stay out of trouble.”

Beware the Scammer

It was a couple a weeks ago now, as I was nonchalantly looking at the rental market up in Northern British Columbia, that I came across an ad that seemed to good to be true. I was delighted when I got a response almost within hours of my query to the ad. I was inspired, and felt hopeful glee, when I was told that this particular home was available, and that I was the only one who has responded. However, in the end, once it was evident that this was a scammer hard at work, trying to dupe me, I whisked away the happy thoughts and moved on.

So, yes, scammers are everywhere, and sadly, not even our law enforcement in British Columbia, the RCMP, can do much about it. It is buyer beware, and due diligence that must be practice when combing the ads of both printed and on-line media. Scammers are everywhere, and they have no moral values; they are human parasites in today’s world.

What was obvious at first for me was how awesome the ad was. It was too good to be true. The price for the dwelling was, unreal, to say the least. So moving forward, looking at the price, and how it was a deal, was the first sign of the scam. In a market that is flush with little competition, where prices were outrageous, seeing a deal that was unbelievably fifty precent below market value, was a dead giveaway. But I kept going with the email exchanges anyway, hoping that this could be the real deal, but doubting it more and more as time went on. Added to this, all utilities were included, even cable and Internet. Yes, he was going to pay for my Internet! My B.S. meter/detector was pointing off the scale now.

The second warning sign came in the form of how fast the acceptance was, and the rush to move to the actual rental agreement form. I should also point out that the replies I received were typed in very poor English, almost to the point that this person was using a spell-checker, while doing “cut and paste” chunks of phrases from other emails. The poor grammar, and ward choice, coupled with flawless paragraphs in the same email proved that this scammer was luring several victims at once. Yes, I had one section where he was speaking to me as a female. Not to mention how basic the rental agreement was, and how little information I had to give, I laughed when he added that to the text of  the email–no attachment or signature in return. It was obvious that all I needed was a pulse, to prove that I was alive, and money, to give to the scammer.

Third, was when I asked to see the place first before I would give out any money for the damage deposit. Now this is where things got murky. In British Columbia, the laws are different from other jurisdictions about what a land lord can, or cannot, ask for as far as money, information and types of contracts rental agreements. To pay for “site unseen” is, well, not the proper way of doing business here in Canada. So when I asked to have the address of the dwelling before I would consider paying with any money, the answer was no: “pay first, then you get the keys” was the reply. The exchange was to priceless. First was the Trans Union Money address in the Untied States, and then the promise of the keys and receipts delivered to me by Fedex. Then was a possible visit, once I was moved in, to see how I would enjoy my new home.

I stopped my conversation with David, the scammer. He never bothered to continue as well. It all stopped as it began. However, I could imagine him waiting for his next prey, another unsuspecting person searching for a place to live here in British Columbia with his deceptive ad.  All I could do was hope that his ad be taken down after my complaint and rid the net of this parasite for about thirty seconds.

Please use your head when shopping on-line, or from printed media, especially about renting. If it seems to good to be true, than it will be a scammer hard at work ready to take your money. Do your research, and please report these ads to the appropriate authorities once you have determined them to be scammers.

It Seems Like it was Thrown at Random

Ode to email Spam, those wonderful texts of lures that pop up on my in-box on an almost daily event. Some are funny, becuase their claim, requests, action, and demeanour are painfully out of whack. Others, well, they are so damn scary becuase I almost read into them. Sure, I know, everyone has a email story of their own. And I am not typing this out to play One-Ups-Man topping the worst email tail of all time, but rather to say, they are getting clever, sneaking through email-filters, and methods more meticulous. Here is an account of events that happen to me yesterday, as I almost fell into an email Spam trap.

A Pile of Numbers On the Ground Weblog Image

I had just finished opening an account with a VPN service that I wanted, and I was waiting for their Account Verification email, after I had done the payment, and typed in all of my biographical information, on their website. Like clock-work, an email popped up in my in-box, with the header, “Account Approved – Your Reference Number.” So I clicked on it, and the page opened so neatly, with a short blurb on “Terms and Conditions” and “Account Information – Terms and Uses.” But in the body of the email was, “Some fields in the form were not properly filled, or the wrong information typed in – Please enter the necessary fields (highlighted in red) to complete the form.” Like a monkey following a banana tied to a stick, I did what I was asked.

After clicking on the hypertext, my browser opened up to a page that looked totally foreign to me. I had never seen this webpage before, and in fact, my browser was having problems tying to construct the HTML into a meaningful looking page. But, just at the moment when I was going to dive deeper into the page, I noticed the URL header looked strange. It was an URL address that did not make sense (…bradshawfq-3442433-sum223-543.net/qr24332/m-text23.) My fingers applied the brakes towards the Enter Button, and I paused for a moment. “This is not from my VPN, nor would they want this garbage/information from me.”

Then it hit me (only after spending a sum total of less than a minute looking at this webpage) that I was being doped. Yes, I had almost fallen into a Spammer’s trap. So evil they are, those Spammers.

A few minutes later my anticipated Conformation Email came from my VPN provider.Ā  With my VPN account opened, I laughed at the thought that for once I had almost fallen into the trap of a Con. (not meaning Canadian Federal Conservative Member of Parliament).

I did report the URL to my ISP, and found it listed onĀ http://hoaxbusters.org/

The Born Again Armchair Criminologist

Nothing worse than getting involved in an un-academic argument over issues about crime with the armchair Criminologist. In fact, one of the first warnings I got in my first year in University was, “Criminology is one field that everyone believes they know more about than the expert.” And I can honestly say that my Professor was absolutely right. I hear it at my work, when I am out in public, and among my neighbours–they all have their their tails of victimization, abuse of authority and bulk at why laws are so loose on those who commit crimes.

I was waiting in the check-out at Walmart, when I over heard two women talking about how bad the crime rate is in Langley City. I listen with curiosity, and they were aware of my proximity to them, as I am sure they would have happily allowed me to join them on that topic. While they went through the line-up, and departed on their marry way, I heard another couple, this time behind me, talking about how they just installed their brand new auto security system; to deter would-be thieves from taking their SUV. They talked at length at what they say is a growing problem of vehicle break-ins; so they wanted to protect their investment. On my way to the parking lot, after paying for my groceries, two young teenage boys wearing their hoodies over their heads, riding on B.M.X. bikes, raced through the parking lot at full speed, sparking another conversation, with the people in the parking stall beside me, on youth crime.

Yes, in a very short period of time, about an hour, I heard these three groups of people all talking about crime. I am not surprised though, as this time of year people are more stressed, and more busy than normal, so attitudes change, and priorities too, when being with families and friends over the holidays take precedent. I like to call this, looking through rose coloured glasses, as we tend to see world in this weird tint.

But remember the media, pumping out story after story about crimes, one after another; it is no wonder that more people do not just stay at home with their doors locked and windows bolted shut–now I am being sarcastic. And this is where most get their few bits of data from, the morning newscast before they head out to work. One would think that crime is all around us, in every corner, behind every closed door–it is everywhere–oh no. We all believe we are victims, reciting that one event when a wrong doer wronged us, and we felt that the punishment given was a joke, or the authorities did nothing to catch them, and they got away with it. Everyone has an event to talk about from their past.

The last time I engaged a person on the topic of Criminology, specifically on youth crime, was my former land lord’s wife who was dealing with her grand child’s social and physiological deviance, and I chimed in. The first response to my thoughts were that she should recommend her daughter take her child to a specialist, was, being that I did not have a child of my own, I therefore have no valued knowledge in the field of child rearing–and she said, “Thank you.” In which I replied, “That is like you saying that, becuase I am not a criminal, I do not know anything about criminals? How absurd.” She did not offend me, but I learned a valuable lesson that day, citing that I can bring a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink.

Knowledge is valuable tool to have. It changes us from ignorance, to people of reason. Knowledge is very costly, both in time and access; you generally have to go to an institution that teaches it, where you learn from those who have mastered in it, in order to have gained it in its pure form. Anyone can obtain knowledge, but few do because of its costs, yet in the same vein, the free stuff–well, you get what you pay for.

A Key Holder’s Life

There is a very strong correlation between how many keys one has, and how complex one’s life is. In my experience, all throughout my adulthood, the level of a stress-free and meaningful lifestyle, can be measured by how many keys I am holding at any one time. I really noticed this when I was managing a warehouse during the weekends for a company back in my late twenties. I remember the day vividly, starting out on that job, experiencing “super stress” for the first time with all the responsibilities that came with the position.

KEYS - April 3 2015 - Blender Render - Weblog Image

Looking at my key-chain then, I counted fifty-four keys attached to it, all different sizes and shapes. All the keys were active; they opened doors and turned locks needed to start equipment; they locked-up, turned-on and shut-off various facets of the daily routines that came with that job. This also meant that I had to be available, everywhere, throughout the time I was on the clock. But it did not end there. The keys stayed with me, almost 24/7, so in the event of another manager calling in sick, or he or she lost their set, then I was obliged to step in. Of course, with such responsibly came higher pay, which was the motivating factor thatĀ compelled me to accept this position in the first place. It was the stress that was attached to those keys that eventually wore me down.

Later on in life, at another point, I started to develop an upward growing collection of keys that reached critical mass, and I found myself again mired with super stress. It was in the winter of 1995 when my home in Langley City was burgled, and several items of high value were stolen. So, then came my period of “high defence” spending, were every door, window and gate had a lock installed on it, and it did not end there; my security PVR had a lock on it too, along with all of my harddrives on my PC. That was when the keys on my key chain started to populate. I was so paranoid of being preyed upon by the local thieves that I found a good deal of my time was spent opening and closing everything with my keys. The ultimate stress reliever was moving to a moreĀ rural residence, and overnight my stress was greatly reduced, along with my 1kg of keys.

One day, I hope to reach a Zen like state where I only have one key to serve me my whole day. Perhaps even going to a keyless life style, where everyone around me can be trusted, and not a worry in the world would cause me to keep a key with me, let alone to lock something up. But, as an old friend once told me (who is a Lock’s Smith) “a lock and key only keeps honest people out.” But at least with the seven keys that I keep with me now, I can deal with the stress and responsibility that comes with them.

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.Ā  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.