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.

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 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.

Now Comes Warmer Weather; Me Gets the Snow-Shove Ready

The rumour is, some snow is on the way. Right now, we are in the tail end of an arctic outflow weather pattern that has plunged us back into the deep-freeze, but not as bad as before. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we should start to see it warm up a bit, maybe taking us to just above the freezing mark. We can hope. But sadly, the weather prognosticators say some snow is in the forecast as well, as the next weather system is part of the Pineapple Express that will hit the coast.

Hard to say as what I should do. Get the show shovel ready, or the umbrella. Either way, there is a change coming in the weather pattern, and it could be nasty.

As you can see, I brought Mr Egghead back. It has been nearly six months since I last used him here on the Blog, so I thought it was time to bring him back. Actually, I totally redid him in 3D Blender, becuase most of the files I had before were missing from my last hard drive crash back in November, 2017. He has arms now, and I redid his armature for a more streamlined pose when animating him. I still have a more work to do, but I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I worked on Mr Egghead.

My Take On Property Assessments

The privilege of being a property owner is the right to do with it as you wish within reason. As a landlord, there are huge benefits, and responsibilities. However, as land is a “fixed” product, meaning that there is, and always will be, the surface area of the Earth to own and live on (in this context), so the value will hinge greatly location. When one area of the plant becomes desirable to live on, then so to does its value. With value, comes taxes, as land can’t move, or be relocated. Hand in hand, when its value goes up, so to does its taxes as most countries’ governments are depended on land taxes. Here is my take on Property Assessments, as my region undertakes what it calls Property Assessment Season, the time of year when British Columbia does it property assessments evaluations.

On one side of the table you have the land owners, who are loving the growing rates of real estate values in many regions, so their potential investments are, in some cases, beyond their wildest expectations. Where I use to live, the Lower Mainland near Vancouver, property values have sky rocketed, so many there are enjoying their investments grow over the couple of decades to the point that they are, in some cases, worth millions. Almost everyone has enjoyed this increase. Not too many property owners are complaining about their investments today, only those who wish to buy.

On this other side of the table, are the Governments, who all are enjoying this boom in property value as well becuase their cut of the pie is in the form of taxes. It goes hand in hand that both sides should prosper. Simple, eh? But here is where fun starts, in my opinion.

So the BC Government has just released their Property Assessments, and mailed them out to the property owners, plus you can go on-line and see them too. And so the grumbling starts. Many are not happy, and see this as a huge burden, especially those who have huge mortgages against their properties. Maybe many of those who are in this huge state of debt should think twice about being property owners in their desired area to live? But nevertheless, as a property owner, very few reasons can be given to kick you off of it, unlike a tenant in a rental situation. But back to the point, and I call this greed–plain and simple. Your investment has grown beyond your expectation, yet you see many parasites nibbling way at it. Sure, taxes can be seen to be that way, but when your bottom line is just barely able to keep up, any parasitic increases are seen as critical. Perhaps some land owners have forgotten what taxes do, and why inflation in land reflects in costs of services? It is called “inflation.”

One of the criteria built into the assessment is the land’s market value. But Property Taxes reflect more than just market value, they also reflect the community that you live in, such as what utilities you have servicing your community, and future developments. Sadly, I see land owners refusing to see this, but rather looking into their pockets and seeing the gouging by taxes taking place.

Wish You All A Happy New Year 2018!

Once again we have come to the end of another year, yet ready to embark on a fresh new one. Although 2017 was awesome for me, there is always hope that 2018 will be even better. My plans for New Year’s are a bit up in the air, as I never really committed to any, but I am sure I will have fun, and bring in the new year with fun and excitement.

This will be my first New Year’s up in the North in nearly thirty years, so I am kind of interested at what will happen. There are a few events in town planned, but nothing to exciting that I can see. Me and Suzette have left tonight wide open, as far as what we might do. Anything is better than what I did last year–I slept through it all.

No Doubt it is Winter

Day one of the looong weekend, and already, only twenty-four hours into winter the air tingles with frost, and the wind hisses outside. Ice is forming on my bathroom window, as that is the only single pane window in the apartment–yes I have thermal plastic covering it. Everywhere else in the apartment seems to be holding out well from the deep-freeze. Actually, I cannot complain as it could be much worse than it really is. As the “old timers” say, this cold only lasts for a couple of weeks, then it all thaws again. Great news to hear, but I am dealing with it in good spirits.

The car runs excellent in this cold, and no issues with my apartment either, so I am happy. It looks like the apartment was built very well to handle the arctic out flow weather like this. Actually, as I type this out, I can hear the wind blasting away, making that hissing sound, as it passes through the trees near by. I almost forgot what winter was like, living down South for so long. Oh, we will have a white holiday that is guaranteed.

I did some shopping today. Bought some neat stuff. One of the items I bought was a clay “Sleeping Mermaid” on a water lilly-pad figurine. Very cute. I will post a photo of it in a couple of days.

Well, time to rest and get ready for day number two of my four day weekend. Despite the cold, I can say, “this is the life.” I just hope I do not gain too much weight from lazing around for to long.

Entering the Looong Weekend

After celebrating the Solstice, the welcomed time off is now upon us. Not complaining one bit, the joy of a four day long weekend is wonderful, as the calendar lines up perfect this year, but would it not be nice if it was like this all of the time–like every year? Heck, make it a week long holiday, from the 22 to the 29th of December, or right up until January 1st. Maybe make December 21st the New Year’s, and just take a full week, minus actual weekends, so you can maximise the Holiday Season. Make this as part of, getting rid of the Daylight Savings, too, while we hack up the out-dated calendar.

Anyway, it is so nice to have the time off. Whether they leave it, or change it, having the time off is great–period. Looking at last year’s calendar, once New Years is finished, we will not see any more long weekends until next March here in Canada, so you kind of want to get as much as you can this week. So be marry and be sensible, as we enjoy the time off from work, and time with our families and friends.

Four Days Until Winter

Hard to believe, four more days, and already this year has been weird for weather. I look outside, and see snow, albeit almost melted away, but the dump of snow from November is still there. So some might say winter has been with us for a few weeks already. Nope-sadly it has not. Winter starts in four days, whether you like it or not. At just after 8:00am on December 21st, that is when winter starts according to astronomers. The great news out of all this is, the days will grow longer, but if you are a star gazer, like me, then the nights become shorter.

The winter solstice has always been something of a special time of the year for me. It is always nice to know that once we pass this time of the year, the days get better again, with spring and summer soon to be here. Pin-pointing the exact time is important for that knowledge, and is just cool to know, strictly nerd speaking of course.

I find few people really know what is happening with the Earth and our nearest star, the Sun this time of year. Sure, most know that the Earth is tilted, but some think that the Earth is swinging back and forth like a pendulum on a clock–that is farthest from the truth. The Earth is permanently tilted at about 23 degrees, in relation to the Sun, as it rotates around, with the centre axes almost pointing at the star called Polaris, or the North Star, all of the time. This is why a Sun Dial works like clockwork.

The other big question I hear people wondering about, and some just cannot wrap their heads around it, is why say, “start winter now, once the nights start getting longer again,” on the shortest day of the year? I agree this would make people wonder, but put it simply, it is called seasonal lag. It takes a while for the land and skies to warm up or cool down once the nights and days get longer or shorter. Remember, these astronomical events are more or less just symbolic, points of time in the Solar System. Nature does not play fairly all the time, and the seasons maybe pushed around on the calendar each way by a few weeks. (praise Nature) Just go with it.

Hey, if you are going to have a fixed calendar, then you might as well put down the Winter Solstice too, and say, “winter will start then.” Heck, we should change the calendar altogether and make the New Year start on December 21, instead of where it is now–it makes more sense. Or, lets go further and go with “The Star Date” time system, like on Start Trek. Problem solved.

I like to celebrate the winter solstice by getting my camera out and taking photos of nature, hoping to get as many awesome shots during the daylight period as I can.

A Birthday Wish, Warm and Comfy

These last couple of days have been awesome, as usual, I would not have it any other way. A celebration of a birthday of a super close friend, some better weather, and meeting old/new friends, to mention a few reasons why these days are awesome. But most importantly, it is the friends who made the difference. Whether far away, or close by, it is friends that may these days awesome, but the closer they are, the better the effect. But more on this later, I have to talk about my car that is now just over the two month old mark. It just amazes me at how fuel efficient it is, or it has a broken fuel gauge?

My 3D Birthday Card I made for the birthday girl.

The first couple of weeks that I owned my car, a 2014 Ford Focus, I drove it around a lot, and four weeks later, I made my first fill-up. It has been over five week since, on that tank of gas, and I am now only at the quarter tank mark. The fuel economy has blown even my expectations out the door. The car is still going, working great, and even with all the rain and snow, the car is wiping all bad expectations of owning a small car away. I thought owning a small, front wheel drive car would be disastrous living way up here in the frozen North, but this little Ford car has proven me wrong.

I celebrated a birthday this week with a very special friend. Actually, in my close circle of friends, this month, or this week, the calendar is doted with them. Just within my family, there are three for November, so it has been a busy time keeping in touch, wishing Happy Birthdays over the phone. But I only focused on one, I took her out for dinner, made her a custom birthday card, and talked her ear off–It was a great time. Perhaps over the weekend, we will continue the celebrations. But I must say, November is a busy month, and happy times too.

I also met some new/old friends. Let me clarify. I met people who are relatives of very old friends from my younger days when I lived here last. It was freaky connecting the dots, and making the connections. I also saw an old high school friend too, when checking out the weekend markets in town. I can say, the more we grow older, and people change, the more things stay the same once you blow the dust of the cover–using a book metaphor. I am sure I will meet more people like that as I spend more time here in Terrace, BC.

The next three days should be relaxing ones. I have nothing planed. Mostly work stuff to do, and my usual cleaning at home, but for the most part, I want to take it easy. It has been warming up too, as far as the weather goes, even the threat of some sunshine on Saturday, but that I must see it to believe it. I have exceeded my quota of chocolate and food, so my body needs a rest from that. Yeah, time to switch this computer off, and watch a movie.