Yay, It’s May!

Well, it’s May 2017, already. I can sort of feel it outside, I mean the warmer weather, and the promise of summer fast approaching. But we all know how wacked out the weather is with climate change and all, and who really knows what’s going with Mother Nature…. (*praise nature). Yesterday my patio thermometer said it was almost 18C, albeit it was in direct sunlight, absorbing all that lovely solar radiation, mmmmmm. Far be it for me to say, but I’m hoping for summer like weather to start today. Yes, like right now!

 

Way back in April (about four hours ago) I took some more photos from over at the Glen Valley Aquifer site, and just did the finishing touches to them on my P.C. with the program called Dark Table. This bird was part of that shooting session. I was testing out my 28-300mm telephoto lens and seeing how good the auto focusing was with that lens. My Sony A77 had no trouble with it, as it kept the bird in focus at twelve frames per second. Out of twenty-four shots, only two were slightly out of focus. I love that camera. Anyway, I thought the bird shot was appropriate for this month, as I feel I want to fly away, far way, to somewhere else.

Later on today, I start Monday at my work. Not much to say there, other than I’m not looking forward to it. This is the busy season, and as the weather warms up, so does the building I work in. We have A/C, but it barely works when it get to 30C outside. So, here’s hoping that it does rain tomorrow, or at least it’s overcast. But not my luck, as the good weather always seem to start when I work, and stops during my weekends.

A Lovely Day in the Neighbourhood

The Sun poked out through the clouds, and I was up, and I had my camera with me, so I took the “shot of the day.” Here it is, just to prove that we had some awesome weather today. It was nice; for a change. I decided to blog about it, just becuase.

I had an evil thought today. I thought, is it time to shut down this blog, and give it a rest. After all, it is getting on twelve years now, and I notice that my web traffic is a mere fraction of what it was back in the day. I do not know, just thinking about it, for now?

There are two main reasons why I blog now. First, I like writing. Writing is the most difficult thing for me to do. And I know this goes for most people that I know. Writing is a though thing to do, especially in English, which is just a dog’s breakfast when it comes to technical writing, and the spelling and grammar police that comes with it. But I write on, and now I love it, or else I would not be putting these lines of texts here. My second reason is my love with photography. The website is a means to express that love for my art, and post it for all to see on the world wide web. This web site is loaded with images. Since I graduated up to semi-pro gear, so to has my volume of images as well, and this is the place to see that. But still, I have kept a huge number of photos from my point-and-shoot days with hundred dollar camera. But these are it, my reasons for doing it.

 

Above the Clouds in Never Ever Land

This post was a long time coming. As most Canadians know, the price of a house is way beyond the average wage earner now, especially here in the Lower Mainland and surrounding Vancouver area. As money from Banks gets cheaper, with super low mortgage rates, and the supposed Off-Shore buyers, the prices for a house have gone passed the clouds. The effect is not just here in the lower part of British Columbia, but have spread everywhere, where there are meaningful services and work. The North Coast, for example, has also seen its share of higher real estate prices, just like the South, but not as strong, yet. I was doing some searching on-line, and saw something disturbing, in my opinion. 

Buying a house up North seems to be relatively easier than here in the Vancouver area, with almost a two-third difference, but I noticed that the rent rates are almost in tune with each other. As a good friend told me, gouging seems to be the flavour almost everywhere in British Columbia, as both job and house seekers alike scramble to get their share of the pie. Sure, makes sense, if everyone cranks up the rent, hey, that is a good thing for home owners, right? Now it seems that everywhere there is a house shortage…, or is there?

I say no! There are lots of homes to be lived in for everyone, but who has the money to live in one when rent rates have to keep in pace with the mortgages. It seems you need a 70k plus per year job to keep pace with the housing markets. So, if you’re not a drug dealer, C.E.O. of a off-shore corporation, have rich parents, or won the lottery, then where are you getting your money from?

This goes into my next question: what happens when the prime lending rate bounces back? I mean, a full on gain of say, five percent, by the Bank of Canada? Market crash, as the big correction take place? The bubble explodes and prices tumble? Something tells the Bank of Canada will not let this happen, unless…

The crash of ’06 seems to teach us a lesson that we are all greedy, and some more than other’s, when money is at play. The United States taught us that it is not just the head of fish that rots first, but the whole body at the some time. Canada follows the U.S. lead well, although there are more ridged rules in place to prevent financial institutions in Canada from imploding the market from this type of mismanagement, we are on the path in my opinion. But I think Canada is just a decade behind the U.S., and we only out lasted the impending melt-down with these rules, but we will get there.

At my work, I am tied directly to the housing market. I see people doing renovations, upgrades and complete construction projects, and the do-it-yourself-er. I see the cost of those materials going up, and cost of labour climbing even higher. The race to upgrade the house for the already set homeowner to cash in on the white hot market has created it own super local economy. Sadly retail has also become a race to bottom, as customers demand the lowest prices, and competition make the profit margin that much thinner. This leaves the worker at a huge disadvantage now–where to live?

The Bleeding Hearts Survived!

I am totally amazed! Once upon a time ago, when I first moved here, at my humble abode, the previous occupants had a really nice flower bed right by where my back door is now today. It was a really nice flower bed. But sadly, the day before I moved in my land lord moved a bunch stuff around, like the patio deck, and as a consequence, that flower bed was wiped out by the heavy equipment. Today I noticed some flower at my back door, actully a bunch, and saw these growing up from between my deck and back door.

To my surprise, these are Bleeding Hearts flower! What a surprise.

With all the rain in the last two days, I fear that this batch of flowers might not last long. They will get very little sunlight, and rain water usually pools right in that spot now.

If I have the energy and time, I might try and transplant a few of them for the front garden, but I fear this might be a long shot if I did. They sure are nice to look at.

The Growing Homeless Problem

Each day, as I drive to work, I see them, the homeless. In the field, along 64th Avenue, as I drive over the overpass above the railway tracks off from Glover Road in Langley, Township, huddled among the low bushes are tarps and sheets of plastic used as tents. Strewn along the bushes and tents are shopping buggies and bicycles, some with baby trailers attached, and most are adorned with boxes and makeshift saddle bags designed for hauling heavy items and personal belongings. Sometimes I see them, but mostly I just see the small tent community in groups on the vacant field.

During the work week I see the RCMP, their cars parked along the road, officers with gloves on, walking or huddled in the middle of this field. Near their cars, sits a pile of plastic and a circle of shopping carts, just thrown into a large heap waiting for pick-up to the landfill. But more often that not, the tent community returns. Each morning, its members pack up and start their day, leaving only a small group of tents behind. Those are the tents that get taken down, and their occupants taken away.

It is hard to count their numbers. If I go by the rule that there is one occupant to one tent, then I would say there are at least twenty people living there. Then the question I ask, is twenty too many? Are there more? Are they the same people returning each day.

The vacant land is up for sale. It is prime real estate for commercial use. Like all land development around here in Langley, the market is hot, and options for cheap housing are almost non-existent. Affordably and housing are heard most often now by special interest groups, and some say we have reached a crises point. Government is hard to pin down as to how much help they are willing to offer the homeless. Perhaps if there are homeless people sleeping on this vacant land, then Government has failed?

Regardless, the homeless are there, and they are not going to go away. If the RCMP do keep them out, then it seems to me that the homeless will simply find another vacant field to stay the night in.

Anyway, that is what I see every day I drive to my work.

72 Hours of…. nothingness. :)

I call it, “time off for good behaviour,” but it is all the same, a long weekend form work that I have been salivating about for weeks now. I really need this! I mean, in March we have no statutory holidays, so it was long four weeks on top of dealing with an already crummy winter. I got paid a day early, with did not matter, as I would wait five days for my credit card to register my payment, and for some goods I bought on-line from China to pop up on my delivery tracker. Anyway, which way you slice it, I do not care, I just want the time off becuase I am staying home.

Already I have my first day planed. I will go into town, buy a coffee and sandwich, then catch up on all the updates for my O.S. This, after I sleep in for an extra hour or two first. Once I got my PC up and running in good order, then I will focus on cleaning. Other than that, I am staying inside, unless it is nice outside, then I will read on my deck, but I doubt that it will be nice out. Our weather has been crappy of late.

OK, now to clean the grime off my body with a good ten minuet shower, then off to sleep. Oh I cannot wait! Weekend, here I come. Good night.

I Saw the Sun!

Wow, but typical. Monday, and the sun is shining–go figure. One of the benefits of working afternoons is, I get the mornings to myself before head in. Right now I am outside on my patio, with a glass of orange juice and my laptop, typing this power out. Sadly, in a couple of hours I will have to start my work day. Right now, the sky is clear, and breeze is warm and the Sun feels so nice on my skin.

As much as I am looking forward to the short week–yes I get Friday off as a Stat. Holiday. I know it will be chaos at work as I know my employer is going to cram five days into one. It is the way of the beast, as my co-workers always say. Actually, two of them will most likely say, “it is what it is…” I find that one a little ambiguous, and often used like a phrase of defeat. But, who cares; I am happy! If my employer wants to load us up to fill the weekly quotas, then “go ahead,” as I only work so hard for my few bits of money per hour. I have been looking forward to this short week for a while. I have plans, and so much to do. Bring it.

My taxes were done over a month now, but I have received two letters from Revenue Canada since. The first one was to let me know that they will be holding off on my assessment until they have had more time to look over my maths and deductions. The second one was asking me to send them more information on two separate incomes I claimed. So last night, I spent five hours franticly organizing and documenting the requested data they wanted. I felt foolish for the amount of work I put into this, been that I balanced my year end taxes. I believe that they are more interested in the people I worked for than little old me. Oh Big Brother. LOL

Well, off to work I go. Let us see what kind of week it will be.

Gloomy Spring, But Spring Nonetheless

I guess we will right-off this spring too, as it is pouring outside, as I type. We had hail a few hours ago, and a big purple colour storm could is hovering over top waiting to dump its load of rain on everyone, so the weather is quite “moody” today. But it is warmer, and I think we are going back to our normal weather. Hummm, “normal,” is that really a word that can be used with the word “weather” any more?

Well, regardless, work is chugging along. It is getting busy now, as people are starting to do their spring type stuff. Though, items like lawn care products and outside garden tools are way down from this time last year, we are slower as far as sales go due to the weather (so I am told). But, it will warm up, and with it, the buying frenzy as people want their crisp green lawns this year to bolt up the value of their homes. The turf farm down the rad from me is still sitting idle; the rain is doing them no justice either.

I saw this before, last October, when I had to go in for my arm. Yesterday, I saw a little baby girl in the clinic at Langley City who had her ear lobe infected from unclean earrings. I see the new fad is implanting ear rings into babies so they do not have to endure the pain when they are older to have their ear’s pierced, is all the rage now. I was in the clinic to deal with some bladder infection issues, when I saw this little girl, maybe a year old, with her mother. The kid’s left ear lobe was all red and oozing white puss, but the right ear ring was still in the ear. I felt sorry for the kid, pain and mutilation for fashion–really? …and twice in six months now that I have seen this–gross.

I heard on the news that this year has been the gloomiest of all time. So far, for April, we are way low on sunshine, and February was bad too. We are chalking up more rainy days then ever before, according to Environment Canada. It shows too, outside my window, as the rain beads down it. but I am happy not to shovel it.

Some have probably noticed that I have been spending much less time on-line, especially on my Blog. Blame this on work. I am spending more overtime as a result of under staffing, and hitting the busy season. Yes, we are having problems finding workers to fill the vacant positions. I think I know why, but this is only my opinion: we do not pay enough to actually afford to live in Vancouver, with the way housing prices are going up. I can testify that you need at least a job that pays $25.00 per hours to scrape by. Good luck getting a job here that pays that much.

Well, time to enjoy my weekend. Maybe I will swim to the Post Office and check my mail.

No April Fool’s Joke Here, but I Uploaded a Video

April already, and as expected, I saw a few pranks out in the cyber universe, mainly the one on the KODI website which claimed it was taken over by the U.S. Government. Other than that, the other April Fool’s pranks were tame this year, that I could see.I was going to do a prank, but then decided against it. Not becuase I feared the consequences, but more towards my lack of energy and enthusiasm. With the head cold and a lousy week, I was spent, and slept in.

Today, I spent most of it preparing my small video for upload onto my YouTube channel regarding my first few attempts st using the Blender 2.78c 3D software’s Physic Engine with animation. I call the video “Smashing Cube 01.” I had been working these little video clips over the last two weeks, and though it would be neat to edit them altogether and then upload it to the net. Please check it out.

With laundry and my other weekend to-dos, I think I will spend it at home. It is trying to rain out, and the weather is cool and mild, so staying at home, in doors, will be as far as I go today.

Just An Update To End March Off With

Sure, I’ve been busy. So busy that I have been neglecting my on-line duties, and letting everything else slip into disarray. Oh ya, not to mention that I’m just coming off of a head cold that started last weekend, and today my nose is still plugged. But in all, it has been not a bad last few weeks. The weather is changing for the better as it warms up with longer days, and flowers are starting pop up, albeit weeks later than usual for this time of year. So much, and so little time as we move into the spring season.

I missed Earth Hour, simply becuase I was at work when it took place. I could say that my lights were out on the 24th, but that would be lying a smidgen. But apparently British Columbia did not-to-bad with power consumption dropping a few megawatts. I’m not quite fully switched to LED lights in my home, but I’m getting there. I figure once my incandescence and CFLs burnout, then I will replace them with the LEDs, as they will all end up in the landfill anyway–might as well get the full use out of them.

My work has been interesting as well. It is a place that has a high turn-over and sometimes you never get to meet someone long enough until they move on. Well, this month I have seen a few people leave that I knew fairly well, and was shocked when they came out and said that, “today is my last day.” For the last two weeks I have had five people tell me this. Since I’ve been there, I can say nearly thirty precent of the people there are newer than me. That is nearly a three year period. When I was on nights, there was a constant loss of half of that shift never lasting longer than six months.

As the grass begins to grow and the trees bud, I am so happy that we’re going back to the warmer weather. I can’t wait until I can sit out my patio and absorb some Sunshine. I think I would reflect enough light back that you could see me from space, with my white skin. LOL