As the Bubble Expands, Again

With news of the LNG project getting its second life at becoming reality once again, here in Terrace, BC, the real estate market seems to be erupting again right along with it, like it did when Reo Tinto brought wealth and prosperity to the valley. In fact, old properties that were once on the market, that I thought had sold, were being re-listed, but at slightly higher prices. It seems that Kitimat is once again the hot bed for the housing market, as speculators move in to take advantage.

My question is, “will the bubble burst, or is this the next wave of the markets moving to even higher house prices”? In hind sight, will this be like it is now in Vancouver, as million dollar homes become the norm? Will criminals take advantage of the boom and start flipping up here, to launder their ill gotten money, as reported on the CBC News in Vancouver this year. Will this be, or added to, a full blown housing crises? Will this be the boom-bust cycle that happens normally up here in the North Coast? So many questions, with no answers.

By comparison, the housing market is very reasonable, compared to the Lower Mainland. The average detached free hold house sells for about three hundred thousand here in Terrace today. I also noticed that hardly anyone is touching the mobile homes and condos, as much as the houses with property, as those inventories move more slowly.  I am starting to see more vacant land up for sale too.

I am holding back, as I wanted to buy in, but seeing what is going on, I may wait longer before I buy. The one property I wanted, did sell, but I herd that they got it for ten thousand less than what was asking. But that was a couple of months ago. And I still have a few conditions left to full fill with my Bank before we can start talking borrowing money. My down payment pile is growing in the mean time.

I am seeing a lot more out of province vehicles too. The majority are from Alberta, but I saw a few from Ontario and Quebec in the mix as well.There are more cars on the roads in the morning and afternoon–a good sign.

So this means that our little town in the Skeena Valley is growing again, as we help Kitimat absorb the boom. Good for the economy, but bad if you are looking to get into the housing market. Great news if you are looking to sell for your retirement nest-egg, but not so good for the low income class who cannot find a home, and afford to rent any more. When will the bubble burst?

Not Enough Tom

It is beginning to cloud over, with a sprinkle or two, here in the Skeena Valley, this after an awesome two weeks of sun fill days that could cause a suntan if you are not careful. It is hard to believe it is still May here on the North Coast. Awwwww, climate change, marvellous. But that is not what I am going to blog about today. No, this is my monthly round up what is going on in my little corner of the neighbourhood. This month, I call it, “Not Enough Tom” to go around. Between the needy around my place, and all four levels of Government, my hard earned money is being targeted like Mexico paying for the “Trump Wall” along the Southern U.S. border, I keep saying “No,” but the “please” keeps sounding in my ears, louder, and louder, and louder. In our free and democratic country, the need for Taxes grows ever stronger, where “asking” turns into “taking,” and like the Internet scammer, the sound has become more demanding than ever before. The root cause in my mind is, the needy get less back from the Government, so both Government and the needy turn to the Middle-class for more. I ask, “What part of NO don’t you understand?”

In my everyday routine, the to and from work part, I get asked at least once for “something” by my neighbours, in my neighbourhood. It may vary, from hard cold currency, to material items like tobacco or access to the Internet, but in all cases, the asker is someone who is either self medicating or mismanages their income in varying degrees. Whenever I enter my car, or leave it, that is usually where someone will ambush me, and the asking starts. I am an easy target here in the Thornhill Ghetto: I drive my own car, and it is shiny and black, and I have a job–a regular job–yup, paint a “bull’s eye” on me. Even the Government is asking for more, but I have been able to hold them off for now through tax loopholes and investment incentives through reputable programs, but that is still money I can not spend for myself right now. So here is the list: from “least,” to “most often.”

ONE: The Internet scammers are working harder than ever. In the last month (April 15 to May 15, 2018) My phone has logged up an impressive twenty-six callers that use “spoof” I.D. on the call displays. Yes, I screens my calls, and if it is “friend or foe,” it either goes to voice mail, or I answer it back–but “picking up” is almost a no-no.

TWO: The Taxi service out here in the Skeena Valley is very expensive. Unless you are disabled, either through health issues, or through intoxication, walking is the only true and tried method of getting around without a working and licensed vehicle, on a pauper’s income. Most do not like walking, especially if you live way out in the “sticks,” and you want to bring back that “twenty-four Pack” from the Beer Store, to your home. If you do not have money for a Taxi, then you target your buddies who own a vehicle. I get asked at least four times per week for rides. There are only three of us who have our own vehicles here in the Ghetto. I give no rides, becuase once you open that gate, then the flood begins. We have transit, yes, real actual buses that for a small fee, and it gets you back and forth from town–and it works becuase I know from first hand experience. Forget the Taxi Service and take Transit!

THREE: Being asked for money is the most often need I get asked for by my neighbours of all. Usually, it begins with, “I need food,” while they puff on their cigarettes, to “I need money for Cigarettes.” Sadly this is a reflection on the State of Canada’s economic well being, and those who made poor lifestyle choices. We are heading down the path of great economic disparity between the rich and poor. Lines are drawn between the old and the young, the Educated and labourers, all while those who are property rich cling to prosperity, and the “property poor” pay more and more to live in shacks. We have to learn to live without, and adapt to this economic change. We have choices, and drugs and alcohol are easy once to make, you just need the willingness to do it. But most of all, food should be made the first choice over Cable TV, and so on. To date, being asked to give money is by far the most often request I get here in the Ghetto.

In closing, I like say this: there is just not enough Tom. Yes, I save, but it comes with great sacrifice, but I do it. I plan, and it comes battling forces who try to disrupt my goals to their means, but I still plan anyway. For those who do not save up for their future, or plan for it and set goals, then these upcoming days are going to be your hardest ever. The poor need to ask the Government for more, not from me, becuase Government is taking so much as it is, and they make the rules. So, there is not enough of me to go around.

Construction at the Four-way Stop Begins

This started about last Monday, or so, when the clearing started. I first noticed the surveyor’s ribbon marking the side of the road, then it moved to the trees, and then on Tuesday (April 10, 2018) the Arborists started their work. By Wednesday, well over the ninety per cent of the area was cut down, and by today, most of the wood and branches had been cleared away. With the change to skyline, comes the great view from the road, but a huge change nonetheless for most who grew up here over the years. But this is all in the name of progress, as next year, we should see a double lane round-about in this very spot.

In the above image, I am looking West, towards Terrace, at the New Bridge. It is here that the new round-about will be built.

I know that they had to cut down the trees now, this time of year to beat the birds that might nest here. Apparently, you cannot cut down trees with nesting birds in them–it would be uncool and not nice to the birds if you do this. The trees are cleared now, and then work will slowly begin without the knowledge of hurting any birds.

Because people were not suppose to collect firewood during the clearing, the Highways Contractors hired a security guy to make sure no one entered the Construction Zone. Even signs were posted at both entrances, and along the main highway stating that you must keep out. I am not sure if this guy is posted all night and day, but I felt sorry for him–a boring job–to say the least.

Anyway, the view has changed now in an impressive way. In this image you can see the “really old highway” that connected to the Old Skeena Bridge and Queesnway Drive, and the new route that connects the bridge traffic to the newer junction of HWY16 and 37, the Kitimat Highway (upper road).

Scammer’s, You are too Funny!

Over the last two weeks now, I have been getting SPAM phone calls, emails, even a survey that was mailed to me, asking for some weird information, to a private organization. The level of frequency it hitting fever pitch. Most scammers are emailing me, and a quarter of those are from phone calls, and then there is the one piece of mail in the Post. I am not to terribly surprised, as this time of year some people are in debt and desperate for money, while those who are well-off, are usually tight in the wallets, so the flow of cash trickles this time of year. What made me write about scammers today is the call I just had a few minutes ago.

I just got home from work, and sat down at my PC to check emails when the phone rings. Normally I just wait to see who it is on the call display, then let it go to voice mail if it someone I do not know. I was not paying that much attention, and sometimes it is the girlfriend who phones around this time of day. Though Thursdays, she is usually out at her classes and social events. So I answer the phone. It was a women with a New York accent who says, “Hello, may I have few minutes of your time for this special offer…. your name was chosen to….” and I hung up. Then the phone rings again–I am letting it go voice mail!

I let it go straight to voice mail. It was a computerize voice synth, stating that it was the Canada Revenue Service, and I have a criminal warrant against me, and that I must pay in Bitcoin before I jail for the rest of my life. I thought this was crazy, two in a row.

Last week was the best. This East Indian chick phoned, and left a message on my machine saying that she was from a Collection Agency, and that she was directed from the “Toronto Corporate Office, representing the Credit Agency,” and that I have a debt that needs to be paid off by 4:00pm that day, or my credit history will be adjusted. This one was one of the best I have heard so far, but she got her “official” titles mixed up. The part about payment was outrageous too, as this Collection Company only collects money through Bitcoin. Imagine that? I used to work for a collections company in Langley, BC, so I know a lot about the rules about phoning people up begging for money.

Sadly my phone number is out in the Scammer’s data bases, or they got a list from my local Telco–which would not surprise me. But yes, the frequency of the scammers and sophistication is growing by leaps and bounds.

How to Have Fun With Twitter On a Rainy Day

I read this line that someone Tweeted that goes like, “Everyone deserve happiness,” and then “The Key to success is to keep your eye on the goal.” Nice little notes that I think the author was trying to relay inspiration with motivation. But it made me laugh. I responded to the Tweet, saying, “What do you mean”?

The reply was beyond what I expected. The reply was, “Are you that stupid….#%$@.”

Well, am I? Of course, I knew what I was getting myself into. I promptly responded with, “I think you just like Tweeting garbage, and you have no idea what you are saying.”

Several hours went by, then “The world needs less people like you. Are you sure you can read? Only stupid people not understand. Get a life!” Then another Tweet followed, “If you can’t know happyness(sic), then stay off twitter.”

I replied, “OK, I’m not going to be Spelling Nazi, but I need to critique your messages of your 400,000 plus Tweets over the past three years. You say, “Everyone deserves happiness,” explain what you mean by “happiness”? Am I going too fast for you?”

“%$#-hole, I’m reporting you—I hope you go to jail.” I left out the rest of the text because its content was not public Blog friendly. Then, the tweets were promptly deleted.

Sadly, I was still curious as what “happiness,” meant, and why I deserved it. So, I will try and fill in the blanks for you.

In my mind, happiness means, either I am going to have the rest of my life off with no more work, or someone will hook an needle into my arm loaded with good old coffee goodness, and I go about my day with my heart beating at 1000 beats per minute. Or, it is pure psychological; my mind is hooked up to the Matrix, and I am living in an alternate universe as the leader of the world. Logic would say then, I am not happy because I am not hooked up to Matrix—or am I? Does “happiness” mean the same for everyone else? Does it mean this for you?

My point: everyone has their own definition of happiness. And do not get me started on “Goal,” because Hockey keeps popping up. I remember in my Post Education years, an English instructor lectured to me that the world lacks critical thinking, so looking at the world through this lens changes us the most. When we critically think at what we read, then we can analyze what it is that is been said, and then form an unbiased opinion. If the Writer is not willing explain what, he or she, has written, then it is meaningless and has no value to the reader.

Roundabouts and Terrace, BC

OK, we have all heard the news by now about the main highway from Smithers, and Kitimat, BC, going into Terrace, being changed from a four-way stop to a roundabout. And we all seem to have an opinion on this. So I did an unscientific pole at my work, just to see what everyone there felt about it. The comments were both interesting and entertaining, and full of myths and lore, of what will happen once the roundabout is in operation. But first, please have a look at the link from the British Columbia’s Government website, before I move on in this post.

Highway 16 and 37 Intersection (BC GOV CA, as of December 28, 2017)

So, the number one reason for not having a roundabout in Terrace, BC, is: No one will know how to use it, and there will be accidents galore as everyone tries to figure it out.

Number two: People from out of town will never figure it out.

And three: It will be a complete disaster during rush hour, as driver’s compete with the transport trucks motoring through the intersection.

When I first heard about the idea of replacing the intersection with a roundabout, I was a bit in awe. Having come from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I have driven over a few roundabouts in my time. The most frequent roundabout I used was at McCallum Road and Highway 1 in Abbotsford, BC. To see this roundabout, please go to the BC Highway WEB-CAM link.  I was actually quite amazed at well it worked. When I seen it for the first time, I had no troubles navigating over it, as long as I knew which lane to be in. The marking on the road were quite clear about that. So, the one  about to be built in Terrace, should be the same.

The BC Government made this nice animation about how the traffic should flow while using the roundabout versus the existing four-way stop we have now.

Next is a propaganda video about the myths of roundabouts, and why they are better than four-way stops.

Anyway, my personal thoughts about having this intersection changed is a positive one. I see it as something that is badly needed, and was happy to hear that it will be built, starting in spring of 2019. I think this will be a boon for any highway traveller going through Terrace, BC.

Snow Removal to Air Plants

Where to begin? First I will talk a little about the snow removal issues that are going on in my little corner of the universe. There has been lots activities on that subject over the four days–to say the least. Second, me and Suz., went to the various local markets, to see old friends and see what lurks in the deals department, or anything that might “tickle our fancies.” It was a win-fall for Suz., as she won a huge basket of goodies in a draw that we entered. Lastly, I finally bought an air plant. Yes, a plant lives in the air, and has no need for soil. How cool is that!

The topic of snow removal has been a hot, yet muted, issue here in the sleepy little town of Terrace. We have been bracing for cooler and more wiled weather, since the weather scientists have been overwhelmingly predicting such. So far, for the this month, they have been right on the mark. So too have the snow removable companies, as they gear up for the bonanza of business. With my case, the snow plough company has been very aggressive with their efforts of make sure we have spotless yards, free of snow, before we start our day. However, with the lull in business over the last few years, they want their share of the pie, and when you are main game in town, it goes hand in had with modern day thinking, to want it all. So any way possible, to charge extra for work, especially when you do business for a large corporation, is oh so natural. At my work, the battle rages, as the snow removal company wants more money for there services, yet at the same time, wanting to leave the contract the way it is. I say, get some competition in this town.

My hat goes off to the very lucky Suz., as she won the huge basket of goodies today. It was kind of amusing, we were eating at the Golden Star Chinese restaurant, when she got the call. The women that called her is also named Suz., so it was kind of funny to know that there are Suz. One, and Suz. Two–they worked that out for themselves. It was Suz., Two that called to let Suz. One, know she won the door prize. Tomorrow, Suz. One will collect her prize.  Yay!

I finally got an Air Plant! I have it sitting on my old lamp by the window. This is a short term solution until I get something more permanent for the plant. The lamp “arm” seems to be a perfect spot for the plant for now, as it is right by the window, and easy enough for me to spry-water it. This was something that I always wanted for a long time (since I heard about them on Twitter, from a contact).

Just Upgraded and Did Some Bug Fixes On My Blog.

Today is the day of upgrades. Not only did I do my WordPress, but some internal upgrades as well on my PC, including FireFox. Perhaps the biggest was the Kernel upgrade on my Linux OS, and everything seems to be working a bit better there after that. So, all this killed about three hours this afternoon, as I sat glued to my chair in front of my PC watching progress bars after progress bar flash by.

This post is mainly is a test post to see if my Twitter post alert plug-in works. I hope to have fixed that bug where it would send Twitter alerts of new posts from my WordPress, but for some strange reason, it would show the post from five years ago–not very helpful for someone on Twitter following my Weblog. So when I press send, I will see.

Success! I just posted, and all looks great. I checked the short-URL on my Twitter post, and it took me straight back to this post. So happy that worked on the first try. Now my Weblog and Twitter can live in harmony once again. 🙂

Sold the Pathfinder – Yay!

Just a quick post. I just sold my Nissan, Pathfinder, just moments ago, to a couple who live not to far from my place, around the Copper Mountain Subdivision area. They were happy, as they got a good deal, and I am happy, I got rid of it rather than taking it down to the scrap metal place. At least it will be driven around for a little while longer if they can fix the fuel-line issue it has.

I got a “thumbs up” from the messenger from their Facebook account, so that must mean they are unbelievably happy with it–or at least I hope they are. In the end we agreed on $300.00 clams for it, a fair deal if I do not say so myself.

I am happy. Now I get my parking spot back for my newer car. Thankfully, the apartment next-door has not rented yet, so I was using that spot. So I had until the end of the month to get rid of the truck.

Thanks to the guys at my work, and some help from Suz., I set up a Facebook account, to log onto the local buy and sell chatroom and with in three days I was getting messages about the Pathfinder.  So that is how you buy, sell and do things around here, as the dedicated websites are to full of scammers and idiots.

A great day!

Weekend Wrap (You Can’t Eat this One)

I am sitting back, contemplating whether to post some photos, or just go with a general wrap-up of the long weekend’s activities, and the wrap-up won. I guess, since I am just too tired, and have no enthusiasm, to transfer over all the photos I shot this weekend over to my PC for editing, I am just going do a just a simple run-down text post. Clear, and cut, plane and simple, no fancy stuff in between.

This was a long weekend. In Canada, November 11th, is Remembrance Day, so since that fell on a Saturday, we got Monday off from work, as this is now a national holiday. I posted right up to then. Me and Suz., did go out, but only for a little while. I stayed home most of the day, mainly becuase I was feeling a little bit of a head cold coming on, but it was mild. A good night sleep cleared that up!

Sunday, I slept in as much as could, since I knew that the day was going to be a busy one. I finished off the last of my laundry, and did a little cleaning before it was time to pick up Siz. I worked on the Blog as well, after I found out that my Twitter Poster Plug-in was acting up. It was posting alerts from five years ago, not my current posts. So I disabled it, and will try and fix that once I get some time. I also had to work on PC, as that was acting up too.

I am getting lots of nibbles on selling my Pathfinder. I had one fellow out to day, and a couple wanting to look at that evening. There was one fellow, who posted a message to me, saying that he really wanted to buy it, but had to wait until Tuesday. I said, “Sure, but who ever brings their money first, gets the Pathfinder.” So we will see what happens. I am really happy that I get rid of it and have my parking spot back. Yay!

So, after 3:00pm meeting this guy about my Pathfinder, me and Suz., went out into town and looked around, had a coffee and sandwich before we had Sunday Dinner over at her parents place. It was a awesome night! Yes, we played dominoes! Never played it before, which made that more fun for me. We played fairly late. I drove Suz., home and got ready for Monday.

It turned out to be a great weekend after all as far as the weather goes too. It stayed quite nice, since that the weather apps were forecasting snow/rain/wind/minus zero type weather. None of that happened I am happy to report. Today (Monday) was really nice, though overcast, the temperature was a nice 5 to 8C day with no precipitation.

Monday, today, was a slow start. I guess I wanted to sleep in, but that never happened. So I did some more cleaning, and organizing around the house, and also spent some time getting the Pathfinder ready to ship out to the first buyer to take it. I am feeling stoked about that. Then Suz., came down, and picked me up in her car. We had a quiet day up town. We stopped off at the book store, then to the art gallery, and health food store, and even went to some places that sold quarts crystals, which I really like. I did buy a nice quarts crystal, and some tea over at the health food store, so I spent some money. Plus we splurged, and had a small dinner over at the A&W on Keith/Hwy16 in Terrace. Then we decided that we should call it a night, and get ready for tomorrow’s work day, as I am sure that will be action packed: cramming five days into four.

So that is the long weekend wrap-up. Hope you all had a great weekend!