Salt of the Earth, or Vancouver

It seems that the stores in the city of Vancouver, [Canada] have run out of rock salt for salting the sidewalks and driveways and other icy surfaces during our winter freeze up. The demand for rock salt has resulted in the City of Vancouver giving a small portion of salt, 5 kG worth as long as you bring your own bucket or other means of carrying it. Once the story broke early this morning, there has being a steady line up at the city works yard. News broke on CBC Radio about the City’s give away. However, just when such a great deed was a blessing to our slippery problems, some environmentalist and eco scientists have put out a plea to everyone using salt, to use it in sparing amounts. They claim that over salting the sidewalks and roads will have a diverse effect on the local environment, particular, the lakes, rivers and other waterways. Kind of like adding salt to the wound?

I know, it was bad?????

Rotten Weather and Poor Roadside behaviour

To top it all off, not only has the weather man being wrong, or only half right but not too many people that I see out on the streets are prepared for the wintry blast of freezing cold temperatures of minus 3C and little snow. I know, I hear the violins, off in the distance over in Winnipeg! But hey, this is Vancouver, people here mow their lawns in January. The weather man said more cold and snow, but instead, it seams to of tapered off. Anyway, I followed a young person in a tiny, supped up car that never made it up the hill in Walnut Grove on 108 Street heading into Langley, that road still has ice on it. It was amazing as he start going backwards, as he spun his tires with full gas: paddle to the metal only to make assent on hill increase with speed. I stopped, with nowhere to turn or go backwards, I shifted into low and drove over the curb and stayed on the curb until he passed me going backwards down the hill. Regrettably, it was now the poor sole who was behind me to deal with this renegade driver going out of control. I had plenty of traction and control on the road, partly due to good tires and owning a pickup, so I was quite confident in my ability to drive off the road and knowing that I could get back on again with little effort. However, the car that was behind me was not in so good of a position to deal with the backwards moving car. For him, all he could do was honk his horn as the sliding car collided into him. There was too much on coming traffic to cross the yellow line and the curb was too high for the small car to climb. I can only imagine what it was like for both drivers as this slow motion accident took place.

I guess I hearken back to my days when I was in the boy scouts. The motto of the boy scout was “be prepared” and knowing that at any time, whether the forces of nature or man made disasters, you must be ready to deal with the unexpected. Yet, we all know winter comes and goes, it will happen approximately every 12 months or so. Don’t think that this global warming is going to prevent snow and freezing temperatures from occurring in Vancouver or Southern British Columbia, it will still happen no matter how screwed up he weather is. Snow Tires are a good case in point! Drive Safe. 😎

Burr, It’s cold..? No… it’s freezzzing!

Great, all summer long I was hopping for some relief from the heat wave we had, now I think the “over praying” has kicked in and we are on the brink of going into the other extreme. Looks like we’re going to get our first dump of snow for the season and this cold snap is just a teaser. For those of you who live elsewhere in the country, your probably thinking that I’m on glue or crack saying, “it is cold everywhere in Canada,” but au contraire my fellow Cunucks, Vancouver only gets the deep freeze every now and then, not like Winnipeg or Toronto. When the mercury falls below 0C around here, it’s an emergency. Just look at the amount of homeless people who were unable to fine shelters in the last couple of day because the lack of warning. That hit the media you know and shelters started to get more beds ready for the pending nights to come. We here in the Lower MainLand are not use to such cold temperatures. We are use to a more temperate climate with lots of rainy and sunless filled days, all year round, not this cold, below freezing weather and rain that you got to shovel, yuk. Crap, I think I even forgot how to drive in the snow?

One Week after the Tsunami

In a news program on CBC Radio today, they says that Canada has kick in over 57 million dollars in private donations and adding that from the Government’s donation (I do not know that amount) this has made it the most aid ever raised in our history which is in proportion to the magnitude of it. It pains when I look at our government’s response to the global disaster. It pains me when we see and hear on the news the size and depth in which the tsunami levelled over five countries and taken so many lives. It pains me that I did not hear my leader speak to the nation until six days after the disaster. When I hear the President of the Untied States, Gorge Bush speak, just one day after, giving his sympathy and words of payer to the people who lost their homes and families in those countries, I wonder, where the heck is Paul Martin? Why did he decide to continue his vacation in some tropical country, when the people of Canada had already moved in doing something, way before the Government got organized in getting aid off to those countries. Maybe I’m just a little over reacting here, but I see Canada as a caring and giving country with a strong reputation around the world. Maybe I want more from my government when the world is brought to it’s knees in such a disaster. Perhaps, when we all look back twenty years from now, this will be some miss placed diatribe that was the result of me waking up on the wrong side of the bed? But regardless, when watching CBC News World, Rex Murphy speaking about the same topic on December 31st, 2004, I really wonder if this is a bigger problem than what I’m doubting myself with at this moment.

The Morning After, Day One of 2005

Gee, I thought I was going to be up all night, sitting and waiting for the grand fireworks and people yelling out at the top of their lungs, “Happy New Year”? But instead I found myself sitting in my armchair with my book in hand and somehow, subconsciously I awoke to the clock seconds away from ringing midnight, then I drifted off back into deep sleep. So that is how I celebrated the New Year. I guess I could also add, this is how I felt about the last year. Well, we will see what is in store for all of us. I see that in the weather forecast, we have snow in the menu with a low of -3C. Hey, we may yet get a winter that I have to shovel? Too bad we could not of saved some of that heat from Summer and use it now?

The year in retrospect: 2004

As I look back at 2004, it reminds me that I’m not getting any younger, but I’m getting a whole lot wiser. With a summer that was a deadly heatwave to a killer wave that killed over a 120,000 people half way around the world, a roller coaster would have being boring compared to the ride I had in 2004. It was a year of change, enlightenment and loss. I bid it farewell and usher in the new year with hope, happiness and plans for a great future. But oh, what a year it has being…

Perhaps the best thing I could say about 2004 is that this was the year that I became debt free. For the first time since I joined the work force, I now have no personal debt whatsoever. The effects of have such debt was huge as the amount if interest paid to the powers that be, in this case Banks and other lending institutions, were almost One to One. For example a Forty thousand dollar loan almost topped the Seventy thousand mark because I refinance it through the last quarter of the loan period. Another example was the interest rate that the Bank charge on credit and line of credit. Having this weight gone has being an almost spiritual enlightenment for me. For the first time I now can save, not to worry about payment deadlines and best of all, no more service charges from Banks. As part of my grand plan of debt freedom, I have also terminated all my Bank accounts and any relationships with them whatsoever. I have an agreement with my employer that allows me to cash my pay cheque without dealing with a financial institution. I live and operate in a cash world now. I owe this lifestyle change to my Sociology Professor who gave me the tools and source of great writers who have deconstructed our social economic system and published works that throws mud in the faces of all those who claim that investing your money in Banks will give you riches beyond anything else. I own everything I have and best of all, I have now saved to the point that buying new with cash has in it’s self made me richer than I ever could of imagined!

Also for 2004, this was the pivotal turning point in my academic life as I now earned enough credits to shed my undergraduate label and now move toward mastering my chosen discipline. After many months and hard work, the goal is within arms reach. My “pay as I go” policy made it slow and cause some bumps along the road, however, I’m still a free man with now student loan dept or holds on my transcripts.

This year marks the first anniversary that my father past away. The family never really celebrated X-mass in 2003, thus 2004 was the first X-mass we had. I miss him. I is hard to accept that this is part of the natural life cycle of a human being. We take death for granted as it is apart of us just as birth and birthdays are. I am great full that I have my siblings and a Mother and now have made it more of a priority to keep in touch with them and cherish every moment with them.

Technically, this blog is now one year old, although the domain name didn’t go on-line until March of 2004, however, January 1st 2004 was my first entry. I really wanted a blog after reading about the concept from journals and a CBC documentary that open my eyes to the world of blogging. Actually, NetChick’s website was one of the first blogs I saw because of that program. Since then, I have being hooked. I bought some web space and this name from a local server and started to learn the language of PHP and HTML, researching what would be the best tools for me and my humble little piece of the inter net universe.

Wow, has time gone by fast. this year was fast and action packed. Perhaps, in a hopeful sense, 2005 will be a little slower and a chance for me to enjoy it a little more? I guess we’ll fine out in a couple of hours?

Happy New Years everyone! May 2005 be the best year ever!

To Stop a Train for a Cup of Coffee

Picture this: You are sitting at the local Cafe’ on the corner of Glover Road and Mavis Street in Fort Langley. Glover Road is most famous for the exit to the Albion Ferry that crosses the Fraser River to Maple Ridge. But just before Glover crosses the river, there is a double set of train tracks which lay between the Cafe’ and the buildings that line the shores. To hear the noise of the train is quite common, especially for me because I live quite close by. But this morning, The sound of the bell kept ringing for several minutes and yet the arms of the railway crossing indicator did not swing down to stop traffic. I was sitting outside under the patio heater while I ate, drank and read the Vancouver Sun news paper. I just finished my meal and then started walking toward my home when out from behind the Fort Langley Railway Museum on Mavis Street walk a tall grey haired man wearing a reflecting vest sporting the initials C N on the back. I looked further on ward and saw a parked train with it’s engine running.

As we moved closer toward each other, I look at the gentleman and ask, “Is that your train?”

He replied, “Oh no, that’s not my train,” he then smiled, “but I am on it.” He was already on the road and was heading straight for the Cafe’.

I looked back toward the train and saw two more men wearing the same type of reflecting vests. One had just hopped off the train and the other was waiting along side the tracks for him. Then, they both started toward the road leaving the engine running on the train with a mile of boxcars behind them.

I laugh to myself and thought, “Coffee break, and they pulled into Fort Langley for a coffee…”