Voted! Civic Election in Thornhill, BC, 2018

There, the deed is done. Me a Suz., voted around 3:00pm today at the Thornhill Community Centre, where we voted for our School Trustee, and Regional District Representatives, being that Thornhill (aka Electoral Area E) is an Unincorporated community, we do not have a Mayor or Aldermen to choose from. And as always, it felt good to get out vote. I was also happy to say that we saw a few people there also out voting too, including Suz’s. folks. However, I did notice while I was looking at the lists of registered votes, few were checked off, but the day was still young, and the polls close at 8:00pm tonight.

So hopefully all of you got out and voted. The people that run your community are the ones who effect you the most, so these elections are the most important in terms of where the rubber meets the road in your neighbourhood. These guys will be controlling everything from your roads, to the schools that your kids go to, so that makes it kinda of important. Sadly, voter turn-out is traditionally low. Maybe this year, will be the year the voter turn-out will break records?

I cannot wait and see the results tonight!

UPDATE: 11:00pm

Well it appears that in my little corner of the Skeena Valley, our Regional District election, we have a new person in that seat! According to the Terrace Standard, “UPDATE: Eric Nyce defeats Harry Nyce in Nass Valley, Meziadin.” October 20 2018. Quoting the on-line news article, “In the regional district election, Jeff Hammond has defeated incumbent Ted Ramsey, 181 votes to 169.” What shocks me, is that there are about four thousand people who live in Thronhill, BC, (aka Electoral Area E), and only 350 voters came out to vote. According to my Math, I get a total percentage of 8.75% of the people of Thornhill who went out and voted. Wow!

Congratulation Jeff Hammond.

ADDED: The 8.75 percent is based on the total number of people who live in Thornhill, BC, not the total number eligible voters. This would bump up the percentage of voter turn-out by a few percent. I do not have that information at the moment.

 

Doing Some 3D Work at Home

It has been a while, leaving my rendering and animation hobby sit on the shelf for nearly a couple of months now. I was not too busy for it, but I did have other “likes” I wanted to pursue first before I jumped back into doing 3D art work. So, being I was talking a one week holiday, this week, from my “real job,” I made it a week of rendering on my 3D software. And rendering I did.

So I completely recreated it from scratch, again, my Egg Head character, but this time making it as a female. So, her she is, Ms Egg Head.

Those first few steps were hard. 3D Blender is not an easy piece of software to learn on. Setting up the rigging for the mesh, I had to go right back to my help files to relearn the process, as I completely got stuck with the Inverse Kinematics settings on the armature. The other issue I had was setting up the mesh, so it matched the armature the way I wanted it to–that took a day to get it the way I wanted it to go. But, I was pretty happy with my results. The mesh, and rigging, took less that an day, and I was doing basic animating the next day. The stuff I am doing here is “kindergarten” stuff to what the software can do. You can do Motion Picture grade work with 3D Blender–it is everywhere.

Anyway, I am currently rendering out a small “Dance” video. We will see how well that goes. More to come.

Instead We Did a Hike Along Howe Creek, In Terrace.

It was a spur of the moment switch up from our past routine, so after Mochas and Coffees, we headed up to the Howe Creek park at Sparks Street, and do the trail from there over to the Howe Creek Tree park. Since it was fall, and the trees looked so awesome with their fall colours, I took the camera along. I was not disappointed, becuase at every turn, hill and field, the trees were stunning. It was a great hike becuase it took all the worries that were on my mind, and allowed me to focus on the beauty that was around us. Hey, this might sound cheep and tacky to you, if you have lived here all of your life, but for someone who lived far away from this, it is like coming to a whole new world. I will let the photo speak for themselves. Anyway, I shot 152 photos, and it was hard to choose what to post from them. I would say about 60 of them turned out as keepers, and out of that 60, choosing these ones were hard. I might do an album, and post that too. We will see.

The above shot is looking at the Bench, just below Skeenaview Drive, from Sparks Street, using a 300mm lens. Sadly, power lines fill the horizon, so I used the telephoto lens to try and see through them. It is hard, but if you look closely, I missed a set running right up against the tree line. And just a short walk to the tree line, you will hit the creek itself. And once you are in the among the trees, you are blown away at the colours as you stand underneath the tree canopy.

Once we started walking down the trail, we met several people, some jogging, some walking their dogs, and a few were on bikes, and yes, we stopped at one time, talked, and then started walking again. Terrace is a small town, so you are bound to know half of the town, sooner or later. And many also like to hike the trail too.

Over the last couple of days, rain had fallen. The creek had some volume to it, but you could see the signs that it was almost running dry during the summer months. This pond was almost transparent, with the clear water from the springs that feed it. The leaves dotted the water’s surface, and were slowly sinking to the bottom, making the water look really dark. I call this the black mirror effect.

SQUIRREL! Yes, you will see squirrels here. This little guy was not happy to meet us on the trail. He scurried around, from tree to tree, like Tarzan on speed, so we figured that we were close to his nest. He chirped and squeaked until we moved on, but not until I got about ten shots of him right above me.

And then for the grand finale, the tree park. Almost at the end of the trail, you meet the bottom of Lanfear Drive, and on the Western side of the road, lays the Howe Creek Tree Park. It is here that you are blown away by the colours of the trees at this time of the year. With just the right amount of Sun light, with some clouds to diffuse the light with, in the right position in the sky, shafts of light illuminate the trees in a stunning, and breath taking, show that even a camera cannot duplicate. You have to be there to see it.

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.

The Hills Look Bright Today

A little tongue and cheek with the photo I chose for this post–a shot of down town Terrace, BC looking North East at Terrace Mountain, all lit up by the setting Sun. In the for ground is Lakelse Ave., and Emerson Street; pretty much the down town centre at the old mall parking lot. But anyway, let me get on with the post. It is Thanksgiving day, Monday, a holiday for us here in Western Canada. Me and Suz., did get out for the afternoon. There was a drive down the Prince Rupert Highway, to Ackers Point Telegraph Point, then a romp around town before we called it a day. I did get lots done at home; more or less cleaning and organizing. Oh, then there was the awesome dinner over at Suz., place, totally yummy! You could say it was a great day overall.

Yes, it did rain. We needed it. According to the forestry website, we are still in a level-four drought classification for the North Coast. Even Suz., admitted that in all of her life, she has not seen it this dry here in the Skeena Valley. Climate Change, or what! Last year, at this time, the mountains were completely white with snow. Today, they look like are in the middle of summer: dry and bare. Even with what little rain we got over these last few days, it is not even close to what we need.

Holidays, you gotta love them! Need more of them. This working life it sometimes to tough on a guy.

The Long Weekend is here: We Made it for Another One!

I have been basically preparing for it, getting as much done ahead of time as I can, here at my work, so the short week coming up will be a smooth one. Normally, I get the “Friday Rush,” as everyone else from other businesses, that I deal with, are trying to do the some thing. My Friday was filing up with just the little items of work that normally precede a long weekend. October 8th, will be Thanksgiving Day, here in our neck of the world, so most of the country will honour it; there are few places that are hold-outs, but I am sure the people will stand and demand it too as a statutory holiday. And finally, rain, it is happening, the clouds have moved in above, and there is the odd sprinkle when I drove home. The badly needed moisture could, once again, soak us, giving the forest the rain it needs. All of this is making the next seventy-two hours looking great!

So, work, I was feeling great when I locked the doors for the weekend. As you know, I deal a lot with logistics, so getting all my shipments out to their destinations, is a big part of my day. But I received stuff too, and the normal rhythm of every long weekend is getting hit with an extra amount of incoming goods to process. Hey, I do it too, as I go through the shipping flurry, on long weekends too, no doubt causing extra grief to my counter parts in the valley. Today, was different. My receivings was just like any other normal work day–just a few items, taking only a small part of my day them processed. I will say that this is just part of the season, though my experience is still short, comparing to last year, it was a slow time too. Nonetheless, I was happy knowing that I have no loose ends to deal with when I come back on Tuesday.

Apparently not all of Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day with a stat. holiday. I was, some what shocked, to learn that there are provinces that only “observe” it: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. But we are also several weeks early from our neighbours down South too, from when they celebrate it, but my point is, it is nice to have it off from work. I do believe we will be having turkey also on Saturday, so Monday is just a day for getting rested up, and doing lots of household cleaning chores.

The rain has come. So far, just overcast skies with the odd sprinkle here and there, but we are scheduled for some significant rain showers throughout the long weekend. The Skeena River is super low, and many here in the valley are noting that too–finally. And the mountains all look like the Southern mountains becuase they have no snow on the tops of them yet, just dry and dusty looking. This is not normal to go so long into the fall season without seeing snow covered mountain tops here in the Skeena Valley.

Well, I must go and get organized for the day. I am doing laundry right now, having a few issues with the washing machine–dealing with that right now. Everyone, have an awesome, super great, long weekend, (you to on East Coast) and Happy Thanksgiving!

What is Left of the Harvest Moon

The first full moon after the Autumnal Equinox is called the Harvest Moon. No doubt dating back to a time when we depended on growing our food, this moon cycle was the sign to get the harvest underway, or at least started. Not surprising, here in Canada we start our Thanks Giving holidays on the second Monday in October, just days after the time the days become shorter than the nights. Though this holiday does seem a little weird in its timing, in my opinion, this year I noticed timing is everything. For the most part, I only care about the celestial events, rather than holidays.

The above shot was the Moon just before it hit third quarter, on Sept 30, 2018. October 2nd will be the official time it reaches third quarter. Last Full Moon was on September 24, around 8:00pm local time. What I find neat this year, is that on the Thanksgiving holiday, in Canada, the Moon will be in its New phase, completely dark. So on October 8, around 8:45pm, the New Moon will occur, right when we get our time off, or long weekend: roughly 14 days after Full Moon, or roughly half a Moon Cycle, in Canada. So this means, if we have clear skies, then star gazing should be awesome during that long weekend, in less than ten days from now! Choosing the telescope over turkey my friends!

 

Loving the Autumn Colours of the Trees in Terrace, BC

We hit the weekend, and with it, super awesome weather–again. Another weekend with not a cloud in the sky, and with warm air, to “almost” make you want to throw the shorts back on. Sure, it is a little cool in the evenings, but that could be all forgotten with the amazing day we just had. So much was done today, and now so tired to type it all out that I will just cut to the highlights, and spare you the details. I took the camera out in the afternoon to shoot some of the streets of Terrace, BC, to capture the changing trees, as their leaves get ready to fall for the winter. And today is also the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is my second one. It was an action packed day.

All week I was preparing for that opportunity to walk around town to take photos of the changing colours of the trees. So I scouted the down town area in Terrace, looking for the best trees to photograph. With the help of Suz, as she drove in her car, we hit some of the locations I wanted to shoot with the camera. Our first stop was on Kalum Street, right near the Court House. There I shot the above image, right on the corner. The maple trees there are awesome, and with the right light, this looked great. The second stop was on Lazelle Avenue, just passed the Medical Building, looking East, towards Kalum Street. The whole street was bursting with colours from the trees. See image below.

You can clearly see how awesome the day was in this image. And yes, I waited for most of the cars to drive off from the street before I started shooting. Tomorrow is supposed to be as awesome!

To end the evening off, me and Suz., went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, where we watched ten films that were submitted for the tour. Like last year, these films were awesome to watch. We really enjoyed ourselves, and were entertained. I would like to go to next years event too. I highly recommended it! The tickets were twenty dollars each, and the event was about four hours long, held at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre, in Terrace.

As We Enter Into the Fall Season

As a famous playwright once wrote, “Parting is bitter Sweet,” and I quote these words as we leave the summer season as a memory behind, as the sky darkens so early now. The campers out on Kalum Lake were living it right to the bitter end, as the weekend came hurling to a sudden close. Not only are the schools open for the children, but the “Regular” season starts to ramp up to a deafening pitch for those campers. Back to the grind. The smell of illegal recreational drugs fills the air, along with the smoke from a dozen campfires, and as the night creeps in with the coldness of the changing season, we decide to take leave from the chaos and confusion, and head back to this thing called civilization. Bye summer time, bye.

Paying homage to the day of equal light and darkness, I aim my camera into the horizon above the lake and press the shutter for a 30 second exposure. “Why not,” I ask myself. The camera can see far better than I can in this light, almost twilight to my eyes, and the viewfinder lights up with the captured image, so bright, I need to squint to see it. I pack up my photography equipment, as I did a shoot with me and Suz, using a speed-light, and we trudge through the sand along the beach, back to the car. It was tough going, all that weight, sinking in the sand, walking in the dark, but we made it back to the car, only to face the thirty minute drive back to town in the pitch back of the early night.

Now in my bed, resting from the day’s activities, I am thinking of tomorrow–it is now the fall season. The hope is that Mother Nature will throw us a couple more weeks of awesome Sun filled days, to cheat the impending winter wrath yet to come. Thinking positive here. Thinking positive!

 

What Did You Do On the Last Day of Summer?

Happy Autumnal Equinox! The last of the summer is here! Yes, I know: “booooo.” But , hey, it will be back again, next year–deal with it. Anyway, the last day of summer gave up no ghost as far as the weather goes. It was a cloudless sky, with temperatures reaching up to 25C in the valley. I have the photographs to prove it. I even got burnt slightly from the Sun. My Vitim “D” levels are at the maximum. Yes, it was a summer’s day. So, naturally, I did my photographic rounds, celebrating the celestial event, and took photos of my area in its natural spender. It involved a personal hike up Terrace Mountain, and a walk with Suz., along the low laying sandbars of the Skeena River, just North of the Old Bridge in Thornhill, then an evening (officially fall now) at Kitsumkallum Lake. An action packed day, with over 12gigs of photos.

This is on Terrace Mountain, looking South East at the Skeena River. You can see both bridges, crossing into Thornhill from Terrace, and Ferry Island on the right (Terrace, BC). I used the Back Eddy Trail this time to climb up the mountain, and it took me about fifteen minutes to get to the Rocky outcrop locals call “Baldy.” I used my 14mm lens for the shot to get everything in. Already the Sun was climbing to high in the sky, so I have to deal with lots of lens flare. I stayed on the mountain for about an hour, taking lots of shot of the landscape. The only wildlife I met was a very unhappy squirrel who did not like me being there. I also ran into two families of hikers too, along the trails. After that, I climbed down, headed for home, showered and Suzettet met me at my place.

We walked along the sand flats, right across from where I hiked up Terrace Mountain, along the Skeena River. With the river being so low, we could walk (North of the Old Bridge) where river water would normally be. It was like being on another land–sand–lots of sand. In this shot, above, the rocky out crop, is where I took the first photo in this post from. You can see the trees here are starting to turn into their fall colours.

River art is everywhere, where you least expect it to be. This spiral of rocks could not be seen from the road because it is placed in a depression about a kilometer from the bridge. There many such sculpture/monuments around, that locals built. Some are awesome to see, others are personalized, and some are weird.

Like this inukshuk, built on the mud, still in the water. Not to sure if this was built when the water was lower, or it was created in the water? It looks really good, standing at less than 30cm high. I guess if you have a big enough sand box, even the gown-ups like to play too.

I will end this post with some Macro Photography with. I shot this below the Old Skeena River Bridge. Moments before I took this shot, a butter fly landed on it. I missed the shot–but Suzette got it with her Smart Phone. I hope she publishes it.

It was an awesome day. The last day of summer, went out with a bang. Even our Forest Fire Level with placed back into the “Moderate” level again, after having a couple of weeks of cooler weather with rain. But it was not enough to quench the forest’s needs. Everyone is wonder what kind of winter season is in store for us. Will it be a snowy one, or a green winter?