Life Goes On–Blue Skies Ahead

Great news, if you are living on the North Coast, we are at the leading edge of a possible week’s worth of awesome, but cool, weather! The snow seems to be behind us now, as a nice high pressure area parked above us, and will hold for a while. But enough about the weather, let us talk about life, mainly my life. It is going good. On all accounts, I would say, things are moving along quite nicely. The job is awesome, I am meeting new people all the time and the money is good. The leaps and bounds I have made here are impressive comparing it to my time spent down in the Lower Mainland–life is good.

In typical North Coast fashion, the days are getting longer quite noticeably. Already, at 7:00am, I noticed the sky getting lighter, and by 8:00am, it is practically daylight. I remember the spring seasons from my younger days, and spring hit with a bang. Though at least three weeks behind South, the spring season erupts with explosions of green as the trees ignite their buds all at once. I am waiting for that moment—with camera in hand.

With my holidays booked for the year, it seems that this will be the very first job in which I get mandatory vacation time within six months blocks. When I asked to submit my holiday time, I had only a a couple weeks to figure what times I wanted. The only caveat was that it meshes with the person who flies up North to cover my time away. Other than that, I had free rein of choosing when, not by some complicated formula on a calendar.

Before I forget, the computer is better than what I expected. The faster RAM and CPU are awesome. My rendering times for 3D Graphics are a lot faster. In a way, I should of done this earlier when I was doing simple animations. The image in this post took less than fifteen seconds at 500 samples in Cycles on Blender at 1080 pixels.

So, to wrap it up, today is looking great as I start the weekend. Once the stores open, I am going to do some shopping and perhaps buy some lamps for the apartment. It needs more light.

The Day After the Five Dumps

As the title of the post says, since my last post, we have had about five storm systems move over us since January 29, and finally today, we are getting some rest. Yesterday, the storm left us with 48cm of snow up at the Terrace Airport, so that is 48cm in 24 hours. Before that we were averaging about 20cm per storm. My little car has managed to get through it all, with only getting stuck this morning, twice. Overall, I am glad to finally have a nice day, and we hit plus  1C too.

The snow storms from last week were brutal also. Each system bringing with it anywhere from 5 to 20cm of snow. But the worse part of it, we hovered around minus 11 to minus 8C throughout it all.  Being that I start work very early in the morning, there were some trips where snow removal was not started yet, so driving through snow banks was my nail biting experience getting to work. However, I still say Terrace, British Columbia has some of the best snow removal on the coast. Highway 16, was always awesome to drive on.

I wanted to get a video of today’s drive home from town, but my camera mount for my dashcam broke. I guess I will do it again tomorrow, if I can get this thing fixed.

My DDR3 RAM is coming from Ontario. I was hoping that it would arrive from Vancouver, but they seem to be fresh out. So, my PC sits broken until I get it. The wait time is around February 13. The reason why I need it is because of the hard drive. All my photos are on it, but I do have back ups, but the hard drive has them nice and organized. Also, my PC will be many times faster than this lap top that I am working now.

Yet Another Dump of Snow

Yup, it was on the news that another dump of now was upon us, up here in the North Coast. And sure enough, it came to past. The white fluffy flakes came from the skies, like ashes from a bonfire, the land was covered on mere moments. When I awoke, the chaos was well underway. It was digging time!

This storm is going to be the first in a series of weather systems that are going to hit us over the next few days. Sadly, this might be a taste of what is to come.

The cool part about getting back into my driveway, from after work, was that some of my neighbours went out help me shovel the last car length of snow after I got stuck. I was getting worried when I was at work watching the snow fall. They said that there was no mail either at the apartments. I guess we wait until the driveway is cleared. Calling the landlord now. On the news, they said that almost 30cm of snow has fallen.

Getting Out On a Saturday Night – a Drive Down the Highway

It was the spur of the moment, a nice dinner at the Golden Star after we headed out for a drive going towards the ski hill called Shames Mountain. Our timing was almost perfect as the Sun was just setting, and the light was changing to the golden hour of the day (which is photography speak for one of the best times of the day to take photos in). The day had just peaked out at 1C, and 3C if you were parking out in the direct view of the Sun, so driving down the Prince Rupert Highway (HWY16 West) was a bit crisp on the roads, but I no issues driving on it. The scenery was just awesome as we drove through the narrow Skeena Valley.

The above shot was taken just before the town limits looking East into Terrace, BC. The first rolling mountain is Terrace Mountain, and to the right is the Copper Mountain. Of course, in the fore ground lays the mighty Skeena River. 

The evening was getting on with the Sunset around 5:00pm there about, but it is hard to tell when you are down in the narrow valley. It was time back to town. We went driving only because we had some time to pass until the restaurant was wanted to go was open. As we were driving West down the highway, we were seeing a whole bunch of cars heading East. Suzette figures that these were people who were skiing at Shames Mountain.

With the clear sky, came the view of the Moon. Sadly, a Pacific Storm has been forecast for tomorrow, so this would it as far a super clear weather, so I took a couple shots of the Moon with my 300mm telephoto lens, saying “goodbye” until the nice weather returned. We are fortunate, there is very little light pollution, and the pollution in the sky is fairly low too around here. Seeing the stars here is very different than seeing them in Vancouver, BC.

Of course, the night was young, and dinner at the Golden Star was awesome. It was time to wrap up the public portion of our outing, and head back home. This seems to be our new routine now, having movie night at home instead of the theatre. I think it is the winter time that has change our pattern for doing stuff on weekends. The nights are long, and the days very short, so you compensate with those fun to do activities that you put on hold during the summer. It has been a few weeks since we took off to a craft fair or public event.

Oh, and as I slowly discover more about my car, I see that I now have an alarm that I did not know about. For the longest time I was trying to figure out why the horn did not work. I thought it was a fuse, or disconnected wire, but it appears that it just started working. We were just wrapping the evening when Suzette said she heard the sound of a car alarm going off. So she looked outside to see. She said, “It’s your car.” I went over to have a look, and sure enough, it was. Apparently, while I was getting my jacket on, I must of pressed one of the buttons on the car key, because once I pressed it again, the alarm stopped. So when I got home, I pressed down on the bumper, and sure enough, the car alarm went off. The sales person that sold me the car never said I a car alarm installed on it!

A Lazy Saturday Morning – What Life Looks Like From My Front Door

Oh yeah, I am feeling extra lazy this morning. I had very little energy to become motivated enough to get out, like I usually do on a Saturday, so I just made some breakfast, did my usual ablutions, and then sat in front of the computer watching YouTube videos, and checking out websites. When that became boring, I got up from my chair, grabbed my camera, and stood at my front door to take some photos. It is still a little chilly out, a mere 3C, but there was wind, which cuts through you.

The above photo is looking East from my front door. That is the Copper Mountain in the back ground. I am about four kilometres from the base of the mountain.

Away, back to post on my Saturday laziness. As the morning roared on outside in the real world, I was peacefully sitting back in my nice warm comfy chair deciding on whether I should write a post or not. It was the photos I just took that inspired this. But then I got an email. It read, “Hey Tom, wondering if you want to go into Vancouver next week to see a presentation on the latest, greatest, home security seminar at UBC? Allen.” I was like…, Allen, did you not get my memo from last July that I was moving out of Langley? I emailed back right away. Allen responded, “Of course I knew that, but I thought you would want to go… This is the latest security tech against hackers and Governments, and home security. Can you make it?”  I politely threw in the towel on his invite.

The need for more food crept into my mind. It was the lure of those ham and cheese scones I bought the day before. Damn, they were tasty. I will pay for that, as my pants get tighter in the near future.

I just heard on the news that we will be able to see the “Blue Moon” this Wednesday, at 4:30am, lasting until the Sun pops above the horizon. The greatest factor around these parts for anything astronomy is the atmosphere itself, those pesky clouds. The question is, will the clouds part enough for us to see the Moon through them on that morning? The odds are against us.

Well, it is almost eleven o’clock. I guess it is time to get motivated. Maybe a shower to pump up the blood and get the day moving?

Happy Saturday!

Filling In the Pieces

Great news, as I just heard back from my friend down in Vancouver, BC who was looking into my finances on my quest for home ownership. It appears that my plans with my Bank up here on the North Coast are a go, too. I will wait until October of this year to start the process either with him, down in Langley, BC, or up here in Terrace, BC, for starting the mortgage application. I figure going with two options is the better way to go, this way if one is not happy, then I have the other.

The goal now is amping up my credit rating score. Doing the car loan, and various revolving credit accounts are paying off, so it is playing the time test, keeping the momentum going so the Credit Gods can see my “staying power.” Also, saving like crazy, which is what they really like to see. The point was to do the new Stress Test that the Federal Government implement earlier this month, and so far I pass with flying colours. Both with the Affordability Index and Stress Test, I think I meet those thresholds today.

I can see how the money lenders are getting nervous as Canada and World are sliding into chaos. At one part of the stress test, it was set up as high as 11 per cent, and I just made it at my current annual income. Of course, as a kid, I remember when the Bank Rates were up around 23 per cent. It would be interesting to see where the Prime Bank of Canada Rate will be in 2025?

My target of next October-December, are going as planed.

A Shot of Terrace, Close Up

It was our day out, getting a coffee to go, then taking our beverages to a place to where we could sit and watch the small town go about its business. We first decided on parking over at the arena, but that was dashed as there was a hockey tournament going on. We decided on heading up the Kalum Bench, the look out park, where you can see town through permanently mounted binoculars. This is a great spot for taking photos. But the point was, getting out and enjoying the day, so this was our starting point.

The day was not to bad weather wise. It was overcast, but the clouds were high, and there was some wind, but not a constant breeze from the North. When it blow, you needed a hoodie over your head, but when it was calm it was nice. In this shot, taken with a 300mm zoom lens, is Terrace, BC. When using a telephoto lens, you get the “compressed” effect, and it turns a three dimensional landscape into a two dimensional one. You would be hard pressed into estimating the distance of the Skeena Mall (Very top of the photo) to the bottom row of houses. I guess two kilometres, or more.

This is our Saturday ritual now, or it seems. We take turns driving, usually starting out at noon, and depending on the weather, we either go window shopping, or do a hike on one of the many walking trails in the valley. Today was a window shopping kind of day, though we could have gone out for a hike. It was great just being together no matter what sort of adventure we embarked upon.

Anyway, the day ended with buying a couple of frozen pizzas at the food market in the old Skeena Mall, then going back to Suzette’s place to watch a movie from off the Internet. In all, an awesome day, all around. I was so late getting home, way past my curfew, I will pay getting all my Sunday stuff done on time. LOL

Added Some More Photos!

I spent the morning today cleaning up my Weblog. It needed it, and non too soon, I must say. I cleared about 1.5GB of old photo files that I felt have out-lived their time, and perhaps should be left in the archives, and presented another time and day. Plus, I fixed up my photo galleries–that in itself was a monumental task as well–gobbling up three-quarters my morning from that alone. And the rest of my time was spent doing cosmetic work, and basic editing in places where it needed it.

The photos I uploaded onto my Blog are from just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the 2017. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake and took a walk out on the ice. I put the slidewhow of it here in the post, but if you want to see in a lager format, look to the side menu, and find “North Coast Terrace British Columbia” under “The Photo Gallery,” and from there the photos should be about 900 x 600 pixels in size.

A huge problem I had was having to relearn how my Photo Gallery plug-ins worked…, again. I am kind of kicking myself becuase I had forgotten how most of the functions worked. Also, terminology, and the software’s semantics, used in some of the help files threw me off. I got through it, laughing a little, keeping it all in good humour.

The Winter Sunset that Brings Winter Back into Perspective

I just got home, about 4:00pm, and the Sun’s light was shinning everywhere at my apartment as the day was ending. Normally this would not be a huge event, but when you are living in an area where the days are a lot shorter, the light becomes important. From where I lived before, the difference of daylight compared to Thornhill is almost 45 minutes less a day during the winter Solstice. So you can see my enthusiasm.

This shot was taken from my bedroom window, as this is only one of two windows that I have that are facing South. But you are asking yourself why I would go and take effort to take this shot? Simple, the Skeena Valley gets very cloudy, especially during the winter months, so when you get a awesome stretch of clear weather, you get out as much as you can to enjoy it. Even though the Sun was low in the sky, everywhere was above freezing, even drying up the dampness outside in some parts.

The greatest attraction of having a wonderful winter day in the Skeena Valley are the mountains that tower at every side of this tiny valley. Seeing the snow covered peaks shine with sunlight is in itself an awesome sight. But when the mountain are bathed in the pink light of the setting Sun, the world changes, as you are surrounded in golden to purple shades of light at ground level. It is like being on a different world in a Science Fiction story. For a half an hour, your world becomes changed; something that a camera cannot capture as you need all your senses to experience it at once. This is what makes winter on the North Coast awesome, but do not tell the Southerners this.

A Quick Turnaround On the Weather To Say the Least

Just like that, the temperature climbed from minus ten Celsius to a blustery zero degree, almost sending a shock to my system, in less than twenty-four hours. Last night we had ice pellets falling from the sky, along with a misty rain, causing some icy sections on the roads, and enough to coast the windows on my car. Driving around was not a problem with the black ice on the roads, my snow-tires were more than enough. As promised, the sky was almost clear, with about a quart cloud cover. In all, this is looking like a great day, as the sunlight pours through my bedroom window.

When I woke this morning, I saw the sunlight hitting the North mountains, casting a brilliant pink colour on their snow covered peaks. My vantage point does allow me to capture great photos, for that means a trip down the road–still a little cool for that. Nonetheless, a great feeling, even with the wind howling out. Yes, did I mention the wind?

Here in “Lower” Thornhill, it is also know as, “The Wind Tunnel” as wind seems unobstructed from the North, and like a wind tunnel, the wind just screams through the flats. Else where, usually are calm, with just the hint of a breeze. But usually those places are much cooler as they tend to be in the shade more often during the day.

So, super nice day. Hopefully I will spend some time in it today. I would love to get more photos of the mountains, but we will see. The days are still short, as we are still a while from saying that we are in the middle of winter yet.