Out from Beneath the Rock

I am coming out from beneath the rock as the weather is starting to warm up, after what seems like an eternity staying inside from the freezing cold. So the rumour has it that Vancouver is getting this blast of tropical like air directly from the Philippines, across the Pacific, and landing on our doorstep. With it, a little rain (which we can deal with), and warmer temperatures for the foreseeable future.  Already, I am showing signs of happiness. See, I am smiling right now–> 🙂

I think the first thing I am going to do once the snow disappears, is clean the debris that is on my patio that had got blown around from the last wind storm a couple of weeks ago. I have a fair size mess there. Most of it is branches and twigs from the trees, but there also some garbage from the neighbouring fields too that is bugging me. Then I must start focusing on the leak in my skylight. That started about two months ago, but between not having enough time to deal with it, and being too cold to work on it, the upcoming week will be my time to deal with it once and for all. Also on my list, I will need to do a tune-up on my Pathfinder. It needs an oil change, and some other fluids to be top up as well. Oh, and wind shield wipers too; the snow and ice kind of wrecked the pair I have now from last week.

I am so looking forward to warmer weather.

Now I wait for the heating bill, hoping that it is not going to break the Bank. There goes the smile… 🙁

I Know, It’s Friday The Thirteenth

Yes indeed, it is Friday the Thirteenth, but in all, the day was not that bad. Though, it could have always been better, but never look at gift horse in the mouth, right! No, seriously, it has been a great day: here is why. Making no waves here!

Unexpectedly, I was notified that my annual review from my work was due today. Just to back track, I never had it last year, and the one from before was eighteen months late, so obviously no one at my work seems to be keeping track of these things. Like that last one, this one was no different. Overall, is was a very positive review, with the emphasis on good team work and good work attitude. I guess they notice that I show up every day, and take very little time off–that is how I interpret it. Unlike the one from before, this one was really quick–which I appreciated. Sure, if there was a problem, or issue, then we should sit down and talk for an hour or two. In this case I glad becuase I wanted to go home. They never do these at the beginning of the shift. LOL

Signs of the Flu. My body is almost rid of that pesky flu bug that has plagued me for the two-and-a-weeks. Sleep is that now, I can get a good night sleep now–so wonderful. There is the odd snot ball, but for the most part, no more rivers of snot from my nose, and my lungs seem to be healed now–but there is the odd lung button coughed up every now and then. In all, I feel pretty good. I still believe that this is all tied to the weather. Just to much of a coincidence here, eh?

OK, yes, I did make some small waves. Only small ones. A friend, who I still can call a friend, finally paid me the money he owed me from years back. I actually gave up on the debt after five years of nothingness. I just let it go. But then last week he popped in for a visit, and the topic of that money came up. When I lent the cash, a small loan of $300.00, which I wrote up a small contract, he agreed to pay it back in a five month term, in one lump sum. I kept the paper, as a memento, just in case such an opportunity would pop up again, like it did last week. He asked me for another loan. Well, you can guess what I said after that, happily reminding him of the outstanding loan. I must of really rattled his cage because he came back today, and paid me–in full. Will I loan to him again? Hum.

The weather still sucks here. Sure, it is not raining, or blowing, or too hot; quite the opposite. We are still in the grip of the deep freeze, the Arctic Vortex something unheard of over the last few years when we were getting warm ocean currents in our favour. Hopefully, the weather prognosticators are correct, this nightmare should be ending after this weekend. Rumour has it, we might see temperature as high as plus 10C! I cannot wait! Bring it on–faster. LOL

Happy New Year 2017!

In just a few hours from now the new year will kick in, and with it, a three day long weekend! Now that is something to celebrate! The very end of 2016 has been (or still is), well, shitty for me, to say the least. I am ending the year off with the worse flu I have had in years. I even took time off from work becuase of it–that is how bad. I am not going to let that dampen my mood tonight as the old year draws to a close, and we switch over to 2017, I will stay up and celebrate it!

The only worry I have tonight is that we are being told to watch out for some bad weather. It is snowing at the moment, and it should start to clear up tomorrow, but then stay well below freezing for the next ten days or so. All should be good if the roads are free of snow before the freeze starts. If not, then we will have ice everywhere after that. And so much for the heating bill too.

I am planning on staying home, like the last five years, to celebrate the New Year moment. I will watch my clock as it moves from 2016 to 2017, and then wait for the neighbourhood to erupt with fire works (gun shots) and horns to mark the calendar change. Then slip quietly back into bed. Actually, last year, if I remember correctly, I think I just stayed in bed: woke to the noise, then fell right back to sleep.

ADDED:

It is about 9:30pm now, and the snow has not let off. There is one thing worse than having to deal with 15cm of snow, and that is power outages. Already, since 7:00pm, I have had 5 short outages, caused by trees touching the power lines. Luckily none have lasted longer than 10 seconds. The forest sounds like a war zone from the branches breaking from the weight of the snow. No doubt it will get worse as the night goes on. I think I am OK as far as a tree breaking on my home though, but I do have large ones not to far away from me. Tomorrow we are expecting to be well below freezing, so if the power does go out, it will be a chilly one.

I just looked outside to check on the falling snow, and it is still falling at a fast rate. No matter what, I am staying inside tonight; staying far, far, far away from driving on the roads today. OK, signing off. See you next year…

Arm and Leak Issues

To sum up these last few days into one word, it would be the word “pain,” as the most common thought that runs through my mind twenty-four hours a day. After my second trip to the Doctor for the check-up, and a week on these lovely pills that keep the inflammation down, pain is with me day and night. I fear this could last longer than I expected based on experiences from friends who have had similar injuries.

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However, I am optimistic, and I have noticed a drop in how much this injury is hurting over the last week. In fact, my mobility has increased greatly. I can lift my arm straight up now; something I did not dare to do just seven days ago. So progress is slow, but surely.

I am still on light-duties at my work. Even with one good arm, I am still showing up for work. My co-workers seem to appreciate this effort, although I sometimes think I am nuts, but it is better than sitting at home focusing on the pain. This is Doctor approved, by-the-way. And I will not lose any money from my pay cheque—yay.

From the last couple of down-pours of rain, my skylight in my bedroom started to leak—again. I had this problem two years ago, and fixed it with this really tough tape that seemed to work wonders. This time the leak was not from old age and weather cracked, but from the ten kilograms of soaking wet leaves that collected on my roof from the last set of storms. Last night’s rain, which was unbelievable, was the final straw that finally broke it from all the weight. The leak has spewed about two litres of water on just the first night that it started. This is a major problem, and one that I need two good arms and a nice sunny day to deal with.

So happy the weekend is here!

Happy Scary Halloween!

Yes, it has finally come to be–Halloween 2016 is here at last! Sadly on a Monday, but oh well, what is a day anyway–right. Work, fireworks and trick and treaters should all be interesting this year.

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Who at my work will dress-up as what? Will there be lots fireworks this year, unlike last. And will little monsters and clowns be soliciting my neighbourhood, begging for candy? Oh what is in store tonight–the best night of the year–hummm?

Be safe this year. Wear costumes that can be seen at night while drivers deliver the little candy beggars door to door. Watch what you eat–candy goes right to your thighs and hips you know. Clowns, it is a sad time for them–be nice to them, you never know if you will be IT!

Happy Halloween!

Day of the Equinox, a Day of Condolences and Celebrations

As summer ends, and the fall season begins on this day of the Autumnal Equinox, so to are family and friends, as some who are close to me have passed on in death, their mortal bodies cease and their life essence leaves our sphere of relativity. Such as life, we go on: reborn with new from the old, and like the seasons, the cycles goes on. But today is different; equal day and night, and from death brings life, and so forth. I lost an Aunt, from my Mother’s side, and my best friend lost a sibling, her younger brother. I learned that my niece is pregnant, due in a few weeks, and a friend from my 20s celebrated his fatherhood with a set of twins (at age 38). It is odd that today of all days, it begins with condolences, and ends with celebrations. Maybe this is true, life and death should be celebrated as equals? But in this case, I have to agree, all being equal.

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Red Photons – A Photographer’s Dream

I have heard this before, red being a photographer’s favourite colour, and that red is one of the colours that stands out to the human eye when one is looking at an image. Regardless of who said this first, I agree whole heartedly, red is awesome. When I see red through my lens, I just cannot get enough, and bathe my camera’s sensor in it. When I see red in a portrait, or digital image, it catches my eye. Of all the colours, red will attract me more because my eye finds it so pleasing.

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Most of the time when I see a garden, I zero in on the reds and yellows before I hit the flower patch.  For me, red flowers are the most sought after, simply because of the colour’s impact on me. Sure the orange and yellow ones get it too, but red triggers something in me. And I am not alone.

I started asking people who viewed my photos, what photos they found to be their favourites. All included the majority of images with red in them, like flowers, building, and even sunsets where I pushed the white balance over to the warm side of the scale. Even images with people in them, who were wearing red clothing. Of course, there are a small percentage of those who did find other  images where red was absent in the image, but those were rare, unless purple counts as part red.

When I do portrait photography, I always ask my subjects to wear at least a little bit of red in their outfits, or have red somewhere else in the shot. Red sells, especially with women. Nature and landscape shots, if I can find red flowers, or red buildings and objects, then the shots sells that much better. Heck, once, I even CGIed red into one image I worked on a while ago, just to give that extra bit of “eye candy” to it.

The photo in this post I shot just a few days ago. Normally I like to leave flowers where they are, in the ground, so that someone else can appreciate them after me. But since this batch of flowers only has a couple of weeks of life, I cut the older ones off, and put them in a glass, then moved them around so that I could choose good backgrounds in my shots.

Happy Canada Day 2016!

First, Happy Canada Day! If I remember correctly, Canada is now officially 149 years old now. I will have to double check that once my P.C. has finished upgrading. Other than getting the day off from work, it is a national holiday, I decided not to go anywhere. So Second, I am getting some stuff done around here at home that I have been putting off. You know, procrastination. Yup, that is me. I would say, I really needed today off from work.

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So, for Canada Day, I decided to do a little art graphic for this post. Nothing to over the top, yet classy: rather than just copying some web graphic, or me creating a cheesy image like I have done in past years. The above image is an image that I found on line, then used Blender 3D to turn the image into a flag; then rendering it as an animation. Once done, I threw some text over top using InkScape Vector Software, then scaled it, and water marked it, using GIMP.

I am also doing the major upgrade on my main PC today. After nearly 20 hours of backing up my drives, I am finally ready to wipe Ubuntu and switch over to Linux Mint. I am doing this mostly becuase of the change, but also, Ubuntu was getting too buggy for me with my current hard ware set-up. So hopefully, in about four more hours, I will reporting back on a freshly installed PC.

Happy Canada Day – 2o16!

Added: Success! Everything went without a hitch–fully upgraded to Linux Mint version 18. I have to admit, so far the O.S. is very snappy and quick. OK, going out to enjoy the fireworks!

Cutting The Cord – A How to Guide

As you may have read here on my weblog in the past, I hate the price gouging by my cable provider. The main reason is that they (my ISP) created this idea called “bundling,” which is code for “there no free lunch – you either eat the whole smorgasbord, or do not eat at all.” You have to have the cable-TV content, along with the Internet Service, and/or phone if you asked for it. You cannot have the Internet by itself. The end result, is much higher prices for content and services that are either poor, or not wanted. And worse,  those TV channels that you do want, are bundled with garbage channels that you do not want. It all adds up to one big cable bill. There is a solution here in Canada, but it takes a leap of understanding. You can watch all the TV you want, either for free, or for much less: you are doing it from off of the Internet! But you still need the cord. How?

3D Box with Key Hole April 2016 - Weblog Image

Step One – Where I live, I can call upon other ISPs that rents the infrastructure that is owned by my current cable provider. You really do not cut the cord, but you can change companies that you would deal with. In my case, I have ComWave, who rents the wires that connects my house to the web, and they offer Internet (and phone) only packages that are much cheaper than the cable companies’ bundles. The savings – two thirds cheaper. I can go from $160.00 per month (TV Cable, Phone and Internet) to $60.00 per month with the same internet connection I have now (just Internet and Phone).

Step Two – You may still want the TV you like. There are a couple of options. You can sign up for speciality channels from right off of the Internet from streaming websites created by those providers. You would watch them from your web browser through your computer, connected to your TV. Yes, high-def TV over the net! Another option is to buy a “Black Box” that connects to the Internet and acts like a cable TV box that hooks up to your TV. A good example is FreeTVBox that is offered here in Canada, and works by streaming TV content from off the net to your TV. The Black Box is a one time buy, and you get free TV content for life according to its creators.

This seems to be the biggest change in the media market to date as consumers flock away from the big cable gougers, to just having Internet as their only means of entertainment and social connection to the world. I would say it is partly convenience, and mostly costs that is driving this change. This is easily fuelled by the youth who can live with just their smart phones, who have cut the cord, and the middle class who seek better and more modern means of getting their TV content. The result, Cable is a sunset industry.