Yes, Another Rant About the Time Change

Pure and simple, I hate it. This putting the clocks ahead, then back again, as we shift from season to season, is, in my mind–stupid. I believe we should just do with out it. We should either just leave time on “normal” or “Daylight Savings, and be good with it. I hear that the NDP Government in Alberta is proposing in doing away with all this clock changing; to them, I tip my hat. “Leave time alone,” I say, “and let me sleep!”

So, according to the Calgary Sun, the NDP Government there wants to leave time alone, and on top of that, switch it to Saskatchewan’s time instead of what Alberta’s normal time is, Mountain Time. And Alberta has some good evidence that switching the clocks around costs more money, and energy. According to the CBC, March 12, 2017, there is evidence that when Alberta switched to Daylight Savings Time, electricity usage increased, just over one precent. So much for the savings, eh?

When you think about it, the farther North you go, the more extreme the length of day and night becomes. The questions is, when it is British Columbia’s turn to have a Government that is willing to opt out of Daylight Savings Time, what side should we choose, Pacific or the Mountain time zone? So, in other words, would you like your day longer at night, or would you rather have your mornings flooded with sunlight if we keep to one time zone all year round.

New Worlds – The Trappist 1 System

How cool is that, the discovery of, not one, but seven new worlds around a dwarf star that is just 30 light-years away, and one or more of those planets could have Earth like conditions. When NASA made the announcement back on February 22, 2017 I did a search on-line once I got home to browse their website for all the information I could get. This was great news, a star with possible Earth like worlds, only 30 light-years away–wow. But I was so busy with work, and home projects that just now, that only this weekend I have been able to sit down and do some serious reading about the Trappist-1 system. I am blown away with all the data I see about this star system. 

A few cool things about the Trappist-1 system is that the star is an “ultra cool dwarf star,” which sounds weird and unappealing, but even with such a small star, the planets are close enough to it that they may sit in “inhabitable zone” for life as we know it to exist on. The dwarf star will out last our Sun, in terms of life expectancy becuase Dwarfs Stars burn their fuel more slowly. And something that I found really interesting, becuase the planets are really close to each other, all seven planets’ orbits would fit inside Mercury’s if compared to our Solar system, so you would be able to see the other planets really well if you stood on any one them. They would appear very large in the sky from your vantage point because of the small distance from one another.

On the down-side, becuase of the planets’ size and close proximity to the star and one another, all seven planets maybe “tidal locked” which means they would all have one side permanently facing the star. Read the Wikipedia page for more information.

The astronomers who made the discoveries, never actually seen the planets themselves becuase they are just to far away. They used the dimming effect of the objects passing in front of the star to spot them. So the images of the seven planets are artist’s who just guest at what these worlds would look like. Though, it helps to sparks the imagination.

Please visit the NASA webpage about the Trappist-1 System.

Yay-It’s March!

Finally, and about time too I must add, it is March. It is here, at last! And this means that it is about Twenty days until spring, or the Vernal Equinox! Officially the Vernal Equinox, or first day of spring, will start on March 20th, at about 3:29am PDT on the West Coast. Yes, do not forget about that stupid time change too. But any way, we are slowly creeping up to spring, whether it means we will really have a spring, judging by how screwed up our weather is, or not. Last weekend we had snow, and Environment Canada is forecasting snow for next weekend, when will this madness stop.

Regardless if we have snow up until the first day of spring, I am just happy that the days are getting longer, and soon it will be spring. Either way it will warm up.

The other side of this screwed up weather is, could this also effect our summer too? I mean, will we have a super scorcher summer, or will the cool weather follow us into the summer months?

In my flower bed, at the end of my driveway, the sprouts are popping up. With so much snow, and frosty nights, the normal February flowers have not made an appearance around my place yet, but the regular summer ones are trying to grow–trying. I see the lasting winter weather is making its mark in my area–it is still really cold at night. Though I did see some Snow Drops, but they were flatten to the ground by all the snow we had three days ago, but still exciting to finally see them. So a disappointing season for the early flowers.

Do You Have Cotton Balls?

An update about my little rat and mouse problem from last month. As you are aware, from reading my January posts on how the little buggers chewed up the wiring on my vehicle, I have initiated steps to combat the problem, and I am happy to report that I seem to have things under control. Yes, I have some new chew marks on a couple of the wires, mainly the spark-plug wires, but overall no new chew marks in the last three weeks. I am happy, but I must keep a vigilante eye out to make sure this does not happen again. So here is my progress thus far.

Cotton Balls, although they look nothing like balls, seem to really do the trick. The idea is to load them up into old socks and tie them off, so that there are about ten to fifteen cotton-ball packets in each one. Then I placed the sock-loaded-cotton-balls on top of the engine where the spark-plug wires are, over top of the intake manifold. This area of the engine does not get too hot, and I can keep the cotton-ball loaded socks between the wires and intake manifold without worry of losing them and catching on fire while driving. So far, after three weeks, no issues.

The downside, you smell like a hospital when you park; a small price to pay after a $1600.00 repair bill. I have read that the cotton-ball packets need to be changed once a month, so I bought a large bag of them from Walmart, in Langley City, that should keep me going for the next six months. The cotton-balls only cost me about five bucks for a bag of them! 

I now do a visual inspection at least once a week now. I pop the hood, and do a look around to see if I can spot any fresh chew marks on the wires, plus looking for mouse droppings and any other indicators of rodent trespassers. This also makes it less hospitable if any rat or mouse who thinks about moving in becuase of my activities. At least once a day now, I operate my vehicle, making sure it does not sit for to long, or no longer than a day.

So, I can say that cotton-balls do work for this type of problem. The extra benefit is, I will have no moths around me either when I park the vehicle for the night.

February Snow–More of it…

When I woke on Friday morning, I really did not think I would react so strongly to what I was on the ground, and what was coming from the sky. The snow was falling so hard that visibility was less than 1km, and the ground already had 6cm of snow by 9:00am. This was not your cold powdery snow, but the thick huge wet fluffy type that packs up hard and turns to ice once you have driven over it. Again I say, “I bought good tires for this season!” (place smile here) The good tires on my Pathfinder made the difference commuting to work on the roads.

Yes, the roads between Langley Township and Langley City, a tail of two towns. Overall, the roads were almost void of any volume of traffic; this made me very happy. But, the downside, the main roads in Langley Township were, well, for the most part, untouched by snow removal crews. My Nissan Pathfinder drove over the untouched roads without any real concern, though there was one spot that traction became an issue on River Road (88th Avenue), but as long as I kept my speed low all was good. As soon as I got into Langley City, where I work, the roads were bare, in really great condition. Like the Township, in the city, tragic volume was low–scary low. I felt I was driving through a ghost town. PARKING WAS AWESOME!!!!!! I never thought that I would see the day were I would have to choose between where to park my SUV in Langley City–like actually having a choice of parking stalls to pick from.

I give up on shoving. No more! I will wait until it melts. I protest the snow! No more.

Cube Land, a Story of a Friend Boxed In

Without naming names and keeping the innocent anonymous, I will just say a friend who lives in a condo taught me a thing or two about why you should always do your homework before buying a home. At just 23, my friend bought his condo in Langley City, which at the time was a really awesome deal. His mortgage was just a mere $250.00 per month, and his work was just a 5 minuet commute away. On top of his monthly payments were some maintenance charges, and of course his yearly taxes and insurance payments too, but all well within his means. All was good for my friend, and his life was one to envy.

It was a dark and stormy day back in the fall of 2014 when my friend’s life changed. Cube Land (the condominium), as I called it, hit a sudden snag for him. The building had a large crack along the under ground parking floor, and it grew day by day, suddenly spewing water and causing flooding, forcing some of the owners to park outside along the street. A broken water main that ran underground beside the building was the blame, and the repairs had to done at once. The inhabitance of Cube Land rejoiced as the repairs were completed, and all was normal again. But not until a yellow envelope was found pushed underneath my friend’s door that dark and stormy day, did his happiness ended, and his world imploded on him.

First his girlfriend wanted to move away from there, then he decided it was time to leave too after months of resistance, but the cost of those repairs was half of what his mortgage was worth now, and together his young family found there was no way out unless giving up all that they had worked for. His debt now nearly doubled, and his upgraded monthly payments dug into his living expenses, so he took on a part time job on top of his regular work to help pay for life in Cube Land. His girlfriend, now his wife, also took on extra work to help. They now found themselves struggling to keep a float, and each day brought new horrors of higher costs and extra fees that they had to pay.

Cube Land, once utopia, now became known as The Blight. It instilled all that my friend hated in the world. Selling was not an option, as there were rules and obligations in place that made it next to impossible for him to do so. It was a tragedy.

In this strange world of Cube Land, unexpected events happen that catch you off guard. It took an act so devastating that it changed my friend’s fortune, unexpectedly, to the good. A fire broke out in the unit below his, and caused enough damage that my friend had to move out. One would think this to be the ultimate of tragedies, but not so fast. With the help of Lawyer, and his insurance company, he managed to take his losses and turned them into a gain. He was one of the lucky ones.

Today, he now lives on land, a solid foundation, a house with a back yard, in the little city of Chilliwack, BC, now a 30 to 40 minute commute to his job. Thanks to the buy-out, his family has a new lease on life, pardon the pun. Cube Land still sits unrepaired and empty, “cursed,” as my friend says. Never again will he set foot there, never again.

Record Snow – 2017: Update

Since I last posted here, so much has gone on weather wise that I thought I would dedicate this post to just the weather. The top story is the amount of snow we got here in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver area, but like with typical weather in British Columbia, you only have to wait fine minutes for it to change into something else. The rough outline of events: it is said that we got over 62cm of total snow dumped on us since the beginning of last week when the storms hit us. We also had below normals temperatures in that period of time too, along with a sharp warm-up that started on Wednesday (February 8th). On February 8th, we had a mini ice storm, which I drove home in, which was the most hazardous time of diving I experienced all this winter season from the black ice on the road and freezing rain sticking to everything including my wind-shield. Now, we are dealing with snow melt and rain, along with plus 5C weather, but the good news, it is melting.

The above image was taken on February 7th, 2017 showing the day after of the snow storm. This shot shows the highest amount of the snow that fell this last week. I took this shot before I left for work. That same night we had the ice storm. It was a struggle to get back into my driveway. Ice was everywhere, as the rain hit every frozen surface. Branches from near by trees were snapping like toothpicks.

In the above image taken today, one of the many trees that had its branches snapped off during the ice storm back on Wednesday. Some of the branches were nearly 10cm in diameter! This is why we have some many power outages here.

According to the weather prognosticators at Environment Canada, we should see a steady increase in daily temperatures, well above freezing, along with night time lows as well. So, it could be conceivable that all of this snow will be gone by next week. For now, we are dealing with pooling water, and the odd road that has not been cleared. For me, it is my driveway, the snow bank left by the grader is my biggest obstacle, but my 4X4 SUV can handle that.

I have to hand it to these guys, they are tough as nails. While it was minus 11C out, with the blowing wind and ice pellets on the snow, these guys kept on going, as if nothing was wrong. They have the advantage with their wool coats. LOL Though, they do look a little pissed in this shot, but as long as they have straw, hay and water, I think they keep to themselves. They snuggle up to each other in the covered area when it really rains out, so they do use the shelter from time to time.

Snowpocalypse: The Dump Continues

I think this is the best word to describe it: “Snowpocalypse.” It seems to sum up it best for me. I measured it on my patio table, and I got 42cm of powdery snow. I also noticed that underneath, a layer of ice, about 2cm think, is everywhere too. I did a little drive in my SUV, just down the road a little, about 4km and back, and I seem to have had no troubles with getting around, but I was driving slow. But the weather prognosticators are saying that we will see snow weather systems for the next five days here in  the valley! Umph.

We must be breaking records around here with all of this snow and cold weather? I do not think I have ever seen it this bad in my time living here. Oh well, we have to live with it, no matter what. I hope the melt will be as fast as it got dumped.

I spent part of my afternoon shovelling out my driveway, for my morning commute tomorrow. I figure at least I should have a clean driveway so that I will not get stuck there. I just hope the Township has its snow removal gear out by tomorrow, or we will be in a Snowpocalypse for sure, as chaos erupts everywhere with crazy motorists on the roads going to work.