Yay, It’s May!

Well, the first day of May is here, and with it, not too shabby of a day. It is sunny, warm and hardly any clouds to worry about. In all, the makings of a great day. Though rumour has it, we are going to get overcast, and some possible sprinkles are expected. Right now, I am just happy that it is May. I am so looking froward to the warmer days ahead.

I was looking at the weeds outside at my work, and noticed that the dandelions were out in fool bloom, while the flowers in the planters were just sprouting. Funny how the weeds do great, while the flowers you plant suffer. Maybe we got it all wrong, and we should be growing those weeds instead. Anyway, the trees have leaves on them, and the grass is green, what more could you ask for!

The Sun is beaming over the mountains now as I drive into work in the mornings. I keep forgetting that the days are a lot longer here than they are in the Lower Mainland. Here, on the North Coast, it is one extreme to the next; either lots of day light, or just dark. Here, during summer, you can see outside all day, as the sky never turns dark. Now that is a summer.

Yay, it is May!

Tuesday Morning Wakeup – Day Two – Vacation

As weird as it may sound, I woke up just about at my normal start time as if I were just starting my work day, but remember, I had only three hours sleep. Perhaps psychologist would argue that my body is fixed to the daily rhythms, and all that stuff, but I think it was just gas. LOL I got up and washed, figuring that I should at least do something, now that I am up and sort of a wake. So off I went.

My first stop was the tire shop. I decided that I would keep the one set of rims, and just swap over the summer tires on the rims, and just take the winter tires off and store without rims. I wanted to buy another set of rims, so all I would do next season is just change the tires, but my car has these air senors on each tire, which are about sixty-five dollars a piece: a little pricey right now for me. So I will just keep everything on the one set of rims I have now, and deal with it next time.

The brain is slowly running out of steam.

Next I went to the Post Office. I was looking for rates to ship about six kilograms down to Vancouver, BC. This was something I thought I could do more efficiently at the facility in town, but that affirmed that doing it at home over the Internet was what I have should done in the first place. Anyway, to send something that heavy was a little price. I may price out some other carriers this week.

Brain, down to a crawl. Just enough brain activity to drive home.

Nice – coffee. Slurping away on some Dark Roast beans I picked up yesterday. I am thinking about doing a short nap since my appointment time at the tire shop is 2:00pm, and Suz., will be busy until 1:00pm, I might as well log in some horizontal time on the foamy-bed. After all, I am only living on a few hours of sleep. This coffee sure is good.

Brain just started running at normal speed now. Must be the coffee.

Heck, I might as well just watch some You Tube videos while I am up, after writing this Blog Post. Who can sleep with this much caffeine coursing through my veins. LOL

Vibrating. Coffee induced coma. Bra….

The “Meh” Moment

Yes, I am having a “Meh” moment, but in a good way. I was sitting back in my comfy-cozy chair wondering about what I am going to do for the next ten days, when it finally dawned on me that I am in “Vacation” mode from my work. I will not have to get up on Monday morning at the melodious sound of my alarm clock going off, waking me into oblivion, as my muscle memory instincts propel me out of bed, and off to my place of employment–all while still in deep sleep. Actually, it will be the lack of routine that will disrupt me the most, come to think of it. Added to that, it costs so much in Canada to go on a “real” style vacation, the kind where you leave for a tropical paradise, and drink from a coconut with hallucinogenic properties in it. So, thus born the poor-person’s “Staycation” where you simply do day trips, or stay at home to either save money for the mortgage, or you have no where to go because you have no money to travel with. I am sort of in between these two extremes, as far as money goes.

So I figure, this “time off” from work will be a kind of a hybrid of “time off,” when I will do a little of both: travel, and stay at home. No doubt I will spend some money, but not locally. In fact, I have no plans on making any huge purchases. I would rather save my money for that rainy day that might greet us here in Thornhill, BC. That was a joke, by the way. There is that dilemma of a lack of services that directly manipulates the “cost of living” in a very small community becuase you are fairly isolated from the rest of civilization. Thankfully, we have the Internet, and with it E-Commerce, to help us through this situation.

This is tire changing season up here in the North Coast, so I need a set of summer tires, now that the winter like season is over. This is a double edged sword that most people of the North have to obey if you need to drive on the highways–it is the Law of the land to switch from one type of tire of another based on the changing season. Sure, if I live in town, a set of All-Seasons Tires would do, but you do it at your own risk. You could even do the “Lower Mainland” life style and just drive with summer tires on, if you live and commute in just the town limits, but that would just plane stupid, and silly with forty centimeters of snow on the ground. And oddly enough, I was hard pressed to discover that I could NOT find any Summer type tires around, this after going to four tire shops and inquiring. So when in a market where Laws determine what you can and cannot have, expect a level of gouging from one region to another. All you have to do is go on the Internet to price shop to see this. So, not summer tires are available, just all seasons and winters. I just heard a cash ring somewhere out in the Great White North. LOL

Back to my “Meh” moment. I am fortunate to have a partner to be with. Most probably, and ultimately, this is highest level of gratitude one could ever have while living on this planet Earth. To have a friend to share this time with at the most finite level, is truly the highest point-of-being we humans may ever have. And to go even further, life no longer lingers at the level of “boring,” but becomes exciting, with new discoveries, and enlightenment, emerge from where once ashes were piled. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons learned from all of this, is to share, and by that I mean, every dimension of your life: space, time, concepts and one-another. There is peace to all of this; where uncertainty and chaos abound, calm and passiveness now exist; no longer challenging it all, but accepting everything as it is. Where Kingdoms and Religions lay claim to this, they only distort, and diminish it, while they pale by its power. Where tragedy and comity are separate on stage, in real life this friendship encompasses it all as a whole. The mountains, trees and lakes, never looked so great when sharing that view with another. In a nutshell, this is truly awesome. So this is what ascension in life feels like.

Now time to start my day. I have no idea what is on a agenda, per se. I do know, I would like to have some ice cream at the Chill, our local ice-cream parlor. The root-beer float flavour seems to tickle my taste-spuds at this very moment. I will put in a request for that as part of our itinerary for today. Other than that, the great tire hunt for my vehicle. Yay, vacation-here we come.

April Fools, or Just Fools?

Listening to all the news on the United State wanting to drop out of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or at least awing it in their favour, got me thinking about what lays in my future as a Canadian. And to be fair, I am only referencing this on my own personal life–a life that is almost spanning five decades now. So I think I have some experience under my belt. I remember a time before NAFTA. There was a time long ago, that Canada only had bi-lateral agreements with other trading nations, and it worked. But people wanted bigger, better, with more profits, and the ability to grow at more accelerated rates, and at the time, this was the Automobile Market that launched it. But this was far from the utopia of free markets that the businesses wanted. There will always be outside forces that could bring down, or at least distort, the economy, and as corporations grew mightier then the countries they lived in, so to were the negative effects of the market shifts.

When listening to the U.S. president say he was pulling out of NAFTA, or at least change it into his favour, I thought to myself this must be a April Fool’s Joke of some kind. Could this be true, or just another one of his “flip-flopping” agendas he is so famous for? Changing his mind through an early morning Tweet on Twitter, like a teenager on social networking. The ramifications of all of this is the Markets bouncing up, then down, reacting to every tweet, like a farmer in his fields watching storm clouds pass by.

Sure, it is nerve-racking, as the media plays on every and tweet the US presidents throws out into the Internet. But remember, you can only cry “Wolf” so many times before no hears again.

So here is how I look at it. And I have lived through a bunch of rescissions in my lifetime. We may have our cars and oil increase in costs, but these are commodities that will not bring down our neighborhoods and governments. Sure, it will sting as a small portion of the work force will have to adapts into new industries, but there basic needs that can be met to keep our nation running as long as we have the will to do so.

We can produce our own basic needs like food, building materials and modes of transportation. Unlike some other countries, Canada has the ability to move forward at both the micro and macro levels inside our borders with self sustaining ease. We are, after all, an exporting country, thought not as efficient as China or the U.S. due to our small population, but we can pick ourselves up and run with it. We are fortunate that we are not reliant upon service industries, and raw resources, we have kept a sizable manufacturing sector alive.

So it is far from not being the end of the world when the U.S. president tweets the end to free trade. In the end, he will only hurt the people he leads–his own country. Sure Canada, and Mexico, will under go a transformation too, but both nations will pick up where they left off, and continue to grow, as we all look for more stable markets to trade with. And with the changing world dynamics through tools like the Internet, and digital money, it is quiet possible the U.S. will be left behind if they stagnate.

We need to eat, and we can grow our own food. We need homes, and we can build them. The only thing that will hurt us in the current market economy, is the mountain of debt that the average Canada carries–this we must get under control. But perhaps we need this market shift to correct the economy after all? Homes are out of reach for now for many people, so a good shake up might be what we need.

The Glass Net

In this post, I was going to talk about cryptocurrencies, their advantages and disadvantages they pose on our daily lives, but that got side-tracked when I started reading about the British Columbia’s new “Speculation Tax.” When I looked at how housing prices are being effected in different regions, I thought this was more of an issue than how we are going to buy things in the future. So I took some time to read further on how this tax was going to effect you and me, but more so, how the money lenders look at this.

There is an lesson I have learned in my life about money: you always need more, and you never have enough, and you fight to keep what you have. This sets the frame work between Land Owners, and everyone else in Canada. In Canada, over the last three decades, we have seen property values climb three fold. There are many factors at play here, but the main factor that I see is that more people want to be land owners, rather than renters, so this automatically ups the Land’s value as our populations grows. This is compounded in desirable areas like Vancouver and Toronto, and negatively dries up value in other parts of Canada. So no two areas are the same in terms of Land Values. But there is one constant: for most, property ownership is the biggest, and most profitable, investment–period–in one’s life. As a property owner, any tax or encumbrances, is a direct threat to that investment. 

The double side of property owners is funny to me. Obviously, the land owner wants their investment to grow in value. Added to this, you want the enjoyment and happiness of your land, minus anything you feel would diminish that state of mind such as gentrification or industrialization around you. Your house, its location to the community, means that of all the investments to your future, your land is your greatest investment of them all, and you are going to fight if anyone taxes, or reduces its value for other means. You want that value to grow.

If you are someone who is looking to buy land, in this day and age, the bench-mark is almost unattainable for the vast majority of people based on their level of wealth and income. With cheap money (borrowing it from money lenders), and the lure of living in centres like Vancouver and Toronto, property values in these areas have tripled in price over the last decades. So many are willing to put themselves in huge debt for the pleasure of living in and around these areas. On the same scale, money lender’s are being ask to increase the criteria for borrowing on property, stamping out further those who wish to be land owners, but money lenders are still willing to lend to make their profits. 

Today, the world seems to be looking at Canada, as our personal debt per Canadian is one of the highest among the G7 countries, noting how much trouble we could potentially be in. With so many carrying these mortgages, some are speculating either a meltdown, or a slow deflated collapse of the market, but nothing positive. Needless to say, we could be in trouble as Interest Rates and Market Forces start turning towards a new course in our economy, and these forecasts start coming true. I would not want to be the person who has to juggle public policies, and Laws, to keep everyone happy. 

March 27, 2018

It was announced that the British Columbia Government has laid out sweeping exceptions to its Speculation Taxes. It appears that many who own land in smaller regions of the Province are spared the tax.  

Like a Hit to Head

Well the weather is nice and “springy” with 12C and no rain in sight around here. Still, snow lingers on the ground, but the air smells of spring and good times to come–it is almost magic. Anyway, today’s post is about all those people who think they deserve more than everyone else, yet they do the least amount for it. There are a few ingredients, such as respect, skill, and even to a degree, merit, but these qualities you need to earn by the social standards set by your peers. Self proclaimed leaders and invented titles, such as those you would call scammers and swindlers, every society has them buried amongst the general population. Around here in Terrace, BC, we have our share. But one guy in particular stands out above all the others I have met since I moved here last summer. The truck driver that wanted me to sign his log book. Ya, like I need a hit on the head.

When this person wanted me to sign his log book, I thought “why would I sign that—a log book.” So I told him that it is company policy for me NOT to sign anything of Government in origins, unless directed by the Company Owners. (Yes, I played stupid.) He insisted, and even said that he has Receivers do this all of the time, and that this was his company’s policy. So I said, “Then I need to make a phone call.” Then time all of a sudden time became an issue. His troubles of being an Owner-Operator, and having several employees working for him, was so much stress, and that I was only adding more unnecessary stress to his already stressed out day–he needed to get going on his next trip. (Yes, cue the violins.)

Log story–short, I use to drive trucks for a living. Yes, in my humble younger days, I was a Commercial Truck Driver, and did both short and long haul all over North America. So I knew how the game was played, and heard of all the tricks and stunts played by other drivers. Now I stay away, far far away from driving trucks becuase of both Dead Beat Bosses, and my health–in that order. So listening to this guy, just conjured up many memories of all the dishonest drivers that I use to work with, and who tried to pull scams like this.

Here are the facts. Only the driver and the Scale Officer touch that log book when the driver is on en-route to the destination point. The Bill of Lading are the shipping documents that the Driver carries from the Shipper, to the Receiver; both of these are legal documents. In my current employment, I only sign the Bills of Lading, and I put the times and date on that document–not the driver. If it does not match his Scale Logs, then that is his problem, he has to deal with the Government and his Employer.

After ten minutes of him trying to get me to sign is documents and Log Book, he gave up. But not with some choice words after I unloaded my product from the trailer. I wrote in my logs, that this driver was not following procedure, and that my company should request that he be barred from hauling for us, for life. We will see how far that will goes.

Anyway, that was the start my day.

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.