We Made it: Summertime Season Has Started 2019!

It was a long six months of cold, and rain, plus the snow, but we have come full circle in time to reach this day, and the Skeena Valley is exploding with festivities and summer time life as the longest day of the year is upon us. The city of Terrace had a free breakfast/lunch, which was free. and today, we are heading out to the theatre for a free movie, also sponsored by the city of Terrace, BC. We are probably going to see (Men In Black 2019) as we are Si-Fi fans, instead of (Toy Story 4). So Happy Solstice, and all the goodness that goes with it.  The only down side to today is, that after today, the days get shorter again.

UPDATE:

This image, to me signify the start to the summer season, in Mm Humble Opinion, as this one, I took today at the Lake, just moments after a good down Pour of Rain, from a fast moving storm that reached the Lake and lasted only a few hours. This is Suz, conducting the clouds to move away from the lake and head over to Prince Rupert, and rain their. It worked, as she worked her magic, and conjured up the powers of nature and other mystical forces. You can see the clouds scattering away on the horizon in this shot over to Prince Rupert, BC.

OK, we were having some fun taking cool photos, but The day turned out awesome.

Yay, it is summer now, and let the party rip away for the next four months! We saw Men IN Black 2019, for free at the Tillicum Twin Theartre. It was awesome, and a bit of the Farmer’s Market before it closed for the day. Then we drove out to Shames Mountain, the Ski Hill, and took a bunch of photos. Then off to Kitimat, BC to see the Ocean. It was a packed day. We drove all over the place. We even went to the Art Galley in the Terrace Library, and seen some really awesome paintings. I have taken so many shots but have so little time to post.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As usual, I created another Valentine’s Day graphic for the yearly event, and this year I went with the Steam Punk theme. I put in the standard heart shape, with a bunch of 3D gears and “doo-dads” into the art work, to make it look as cool as I could, using the 3D software. I think it turned out awesome, but that is just me. See for yourself.

So, happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Our Turn: The Cold Weather is Here.

It is the first day of February, 2019, and I must say, “what a mild winter season it has been so far, for us folks up in the North Coast of British Columbia.” However, this will all end, very soon, as a fidget Arctic System is creeping down on us, fast. The weather prognosticators say, starting tonight, the deep freeze will start, and will last until next weekend. But what really hits home for me, is that I saw temperatures as low as minus 14C on the chart! Right now it is minus 2, snowing, with winds from the North, gusting to 40km/h. A piece of cake, by North Coast standards. But, cold is cold, no matter how you slice it. (I wrote this part while I was on my lunch break)

So, here is where we are at for conditions. It is snowing out, although lightly. There is about 3cm of slush on the ground. It is windy out, with winds coming in from the North. So, add super cold weather to the mix, and all this will freeze. Tonight will be the perfect night to stay at home–this I can predict. So, let me talk about my commute home.

(I am at home now) So, I am driving home. The roads in Terrace near perfect: dry, and void of any snow. Once I got onto the side streets of Thornhill, BC, then is was a different story. When I left the nice and dry road of the highway, and hit the first side street, to my house, I was faced with a nice thick layer of ice on the road. I mean, it was perfect, as the setting Sun’s light reflected from off of it, I have to put on my sunglasses, it was so bright. So, I took the first corner very slowly, at about 20km/h, to make sure I had full control. When I had to stop at the first stop sign, my car’s brakes would not go into ABS Mode (Anti Braking System) and I slid a few metres past the stop sign. So, this had me worried. So I started pumping the brakes at the next top signal. Even the very large SUV, behind me, was having troubles of his own, navigating on the same road.

So the lesson here is that, no matter how good your tires are, driving on pure ice, is still a cautionary tail. You treat the road condition with a huge amount of respect, and HOPE the people driving around are doing the same thing.

 

It is now down to minus 4C, to it is expected to dip below 8C, over night. I am prepared for this. I have an emergency kit, if the power goes out. Plus I have my car, if I need to leave. But, since I have lived here, the whole place seems to be build to handle this type of weather, so I have confidence that all this will be a walk in the park. So, bundle up!

The Yearning of the Sun

Actually, when I saw the sunrise last week, it felt as if I saw an old friend again, the Sun, but really, the yearning was for the return of summer. Yes, I had that feeling of needing the good old days of summer back, as I saw the Sun rise. Here in the Skeena Valley, you have the winter position of the Sun, which is just 25 degrees above the horizon, coupled with the mountains that circle around us. This leaves us with a very short day period during the fall and winter months. Seeing the Sun sink below the horizon, as the Earth spins, (this happens around 4:30pm in the afternoon), puts the damper on daily life, when you get home from your work day.

The above image is Miss Egghead enjoying the Sun rise in the mythical Cube Land. The image is a render done in Blender 2.8 Beta.

It is normal to have weeks with overcast sky, and days with rain in the valley. During the colder months, snow is the daily routine, sprinkled with ice, as the sky is cloud filled, with moments of clearing, allowing the Sun sneak through. But it is the darkness that creeps in, making the night life some eighteen hours long, leaving some people with the “Winter Blues.” However, with seeking moments like this day, where the Sun shines, getting out and absorbing its rays, is a natural rite.

Also, one more point: This has been an unusually warm winter, so far. We have missed the full onslaught of the Arctic Vortex, but nonetheless, it is winter. The Earth spins it usual way, and nothing can be done about that. However, there is, with out any doubt, less snow, than normal. The Skeena River is still way below its usual level, and the Coastal Mountains do not look that snow packed, as compared to last year. These are just my opinions, not scientific facts. Though, I have read some articles in the media agreeing with me.

May we see more Sun, and less clouds in the coming weeks, without causing drought conditions like last year.

The Local Flu Bug Is Still Attacking

It looks like there are more sick people at my work than there were when I was sick a month ago. It sounds like at least five technicians have it now. That is roughly half the co-workers I interact with that are coughing, and complaining about flu like symptoms. I personally thought we were over the hump for this year’s flu season, but looking at these guys, it appears we just might be getting started with the flu season up here on the North Coast.

Their symptoms appear to be a little different from what mine were four weeks ago. I had full on lung goo that caused me to cough every ten seconds, shooting up flem and goo. These guys, they seem to have the sinus infection with fever, without the goo infected lungs. So, for now, I call this a different type of the flu from what I had, but nonetheless, just as nasty.

The flu bugs still roams wild here on the North Coast. Beware, and trust no one!

New Video Card–A Blending We Will Go!

So, on today’s program, it is Blender Time. So let me back up a we bit, say a month ago. Back then, I installed my newer video card because my older video card was not to speed with the latest release of Blender, loving called software “Blender 2.8 Beta.” As work and time sped on, my time to play with the program and fully test it out on my video card, passed by. It was not until today that I dedicated time for myself to play on the PC, taking the graphic software to it limits on my poor old computer. In general, I am really happy with it. I just love the GUI layout.

I was really surprised with all the changes, as I felt my way around, I quickly picked up on new GUI. At first, Shock and Awe, hit me as I looked at the new layout, thinking, “I have to relearn everything….” This was not case. In fact, I can say, these changes are really quite natural, and mesh with my regular user experience and feel of my Operating System. I am very happy that Blender went to the Left Mouse Click. But yes, I did get a little frustrated having to look for stuff, all over again.

The new look, I feel, speeds up my work flow. Everything can be accessed from the main window–I like that. The new widgets, with names and Icons, also are a huge improvement. And to think, this is the Beta for 2.8. So, every week I download the latest build, and I see the improvements. It is awesome to see the progress.

The new rendering Engine: EEVEE is awesome! However, it has some more work needed before I can say it is perfect. I had to get a new video card becuase Eevee would not work, and even with this card, Eevee clunks and sputters when memory is nearing full. But the real time viewing is nothing short of awesome. You need a fairly good video card that can handle the extra horse power, say at least 2GB of video RAM. And the Grease Pencil would not work as well, as it needed the new video card too. Once the card was installed, the magic happened.

The above render I used Cycles, as Eevee still lacked some of issues of not capturing some mesh areas, and left blacked out areas in the background. Even using the Cycles Engine, the improvements are impressive. Less time rendering was the first thing I noticed. The number of crashes has been greatly reduced too. But the way Cycles is catching light reflections with the surrounding materials, is hugely improving. The above render took only a few seconds to render out, at 150 samples, and the result looks great.

Smile

It is Friday, and on top of that, a long weekend ahead. The day is going smooth, with no real issues, and the people around me have been awesome. The office phone only rang twice today, and no messages were left when I started the day. Outside, it is weirdly warm for November, here in the Skeena Valley, a whopping 10C on the building thermometer. It is overcast, but the sunlight pokes through often.

Tonight, the plan is to spend the evening with Suzette, have dinner at her place, see a movie, and get lots of hugs from her two cats, Neesa and Oreo. Also, we make do a walk through the Mall and check out some other stores in town before they close up for the day before dinner. The sleepy little town of Terrace, is pretty much asleep after 9:00pm on Fridays.

I did more back-ups on my 4TB hard drive that I was having trouble with last year. For some reason, I managed to get it to format. I run Linux on all my machines, so usually I have more luck with getting hardware to work, than I do with those other “U Pay For it” operating systems. However, this time I tried formatting with FSNT, and the drive took. I was formatting with EXT4, witch is  Linux format, and I could not get the drive to work. Oh, by the way, to transfer 4TB of back-ups, is a 18hour operation.

Well, the day is moving into evening, and it is time to get ready for Suzette. I bid you all good evening!

The Local Snot Bug Making Its Rounds

With the cold weather now upon us, and the threat of snow just days away, with that comes the flu and snot bugs. This year we have a treat, a strain that I call, “The Skeena Valley Snot Bug: 198D.” As the kids go to their schools, they bring back these little gems of misery, right to their parents laps. You walk into a store, or gathering place today, you will meet a victim, as they give back to the community which they received. You touch a door handle, hand rail, table top, or toilet flusher, and then stick your fingers into any orifice on your body, guess what? You got it.

Fortunately I do not have it. I know my turn is near, as many around me have it, and are carriers of it too. With the cold weather, I crank my heat up at night, and wash my hands often. I wipe down most objects that people touch, that could potentially harbour these snot-bugs. But all it takes is just one snot-bug to get you.

My poor Suz., is currently suffering from the bug. She has it, full on. Runny nose, post nasal drip, red eyes, sore throat, sneezing, and general crankiness. Still, with her contagious state, I welcomed her at my place for dinner with open arms. I think it helped her with the symptoms. It is hard to say for sure.

Needless to say, the bug is making its rounds, and coming soon, for you. Beware, and do your best to keep it under control. This one seems like a doozy.

Wet, Soggy and a bit Moist In Spots.

As I write this out, I can hear the rain pounding on the roof, and my office is within the building, one level down, at the ground floor. When I drove in this morning, the rain was bouncing off the road by about 10cm. And it has not let off since I was awake this morning; so for about four hours now. With out a doubt, it is rain jacket wearing weather.

When I drove to the mall for some office supplies, I could see snow mixed in with the rain on my windshield of my car. And I had the wiper going at full-speed, and even then it was hard to see ahead on the road. Happy November!

Halloween Day!

We made it! The spooky day is now upon us now, and to night: we roar! I got most of my costume done early this morning, using a couple of prosthetics, and lots of fake blood. Plus I am using sprite-glue for the latex bits that I have stuck to my face, for the first time. The stuff works. I may post a photo later on tonight.

Since I get off work early, I will head home to finish my costume, then drive up to Suzette’s place where we will greet the Trick or Treaters, and then have dinner there, as she is cooking something yummy. Because it is a work night, I will probably get home early for bed. I am hoping that this glue comes off with out any troubles.

So, Happy Halloween! Have a scary night!

ADDED: Spent the evening at Suzette’s place for dinner. It was an awesome meal, the best chilly in the Skeena Valley. 

It was funny to watch. As Suzette was preparing and during the cooking process, the interruptions from trick or treaters, seemed like everything five minutes. In all, from the time that I was there, and estimate of thirty kids were asking for the sugar loaded treats.

A note about the kid’s costumes here in Thornhill, BC. From what I seen, I can say that the kids are better dressed here, than from what I remember whan living in the Lower Mainland. Also, it appears that the kids here spend more time on their makeup and appliances from what I have seen. I did not see any indecent costumes, and I can say this might be in part to how cool it gets here in the evenings on the North Coast.

It was a good time. I am too tired from my busy day, so I am calling it sleep-time early.