All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

Off to Los Angeles!

Headed off to Los Angeles today to visit family for a week.

I had a car reserved with Budget, and a loop north up the coast and then inland through the hills planned for the afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a huge lineup at Budget and it took over an hour to get into a car.

I was pleased with the vehicle though — while the reservation was for a midsize Chevy, they gave me a bright red metallic Mazda 6.
Mazda 6
Photo from Mazda Canada website

The Mazda was solid, peppy, and sure-footed, so roads like this one in the hills north of LA were exhilarating to drive.  The 184-horse four-banger teamed with a 6-speed auto with available manual mode was fun.

California hills

Unfortunately, halfway through the loop, my phone and its GPS ran out of juice, and for some reason it wouldn’t charge either through the car’s cigarette lighter or USB port. I even stopped and bought a new cable, and that didn’t work either.

Eventually I was, um, unsure of where exactly I was. OK, lost. There, I said it, I was lost.

The Budget folks had asked if I wanted a paper map, and I’d said sure, but there was nothing in the rental-agreement package or glove box. Sigh. I finally stopped and bought a map, and figured my way “home,” a couple hours later than planned, so I missed my nephew’s key basketball game.

I know better than to rely solely on GPS in the bush, and now I know better than to rely solely on GPS in the big city!

BC Govt Steps Up to Protect Our Water. Huh?

So according to an article entitled “No more free water for bottlers in BC” in Business in Vancouver, and another in the Globe & Mail, BC will start charging commercial bottlers for water now taken freely from the commons, put in plastic bottles, and sold.

Yes, our water will now be sold to commercial bottlers for $2.25 per million litres. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.

That means bottlers like Nestle will now pay 0.00022 cents per litre.  In case you have trouble seeing the decimal point, that’s “point zero zero zero two two” cents per litre.

Er, how much does Nestle charge for a litre of bottled water?

Volunteering Professional Time

I was recently contacted out of the blue (the email writer likely found me through the Editors’ Association of Canada database) and asked to do some free proofreading for a charity.  One that I had never heard of, and that was way across the country.

I politely replied that I was busy, and that I already volunteer (not editing, but plenty of board and on-the-ground community hours) with several organizations. Of course I occasionally write/edit stuff gratis for groups that I volunteer with, but it’s the first time to be “cold-called” for such volunteer work.

I posted my experience to the “Editors of the World” group on Facebook, and several editors wrote that yes, they do volunteer on occasion, but as with me, it’s nearly always for some group that they are already a member of, or have some other personal connection with.

So a bit of advice for folks seeking free, aka volunteer, professional assistance. Do your homework. Find someone who already volunteers in your geographical area, and your subject area. Find a friend, or a friend of a friend. Or contact your local community college or university and see if a student studying toward the craft or profession that you’re targeting needs work that they can put on a resume.

But I do not recommend cold emailing or calling, and asking folks to work for you for free.

Kodo Delivers Superb Concert Again

Yumi and I went to the Kodo concert in Vancouver this evening. We’ve seen them several times, and this show was another fantastic event.

While they used to focus on the sheer stamina and physicality of extreme, marathon taiko drumming, this tour is more nuanced with more story-telling.

It worked well. Close enough to their ripped roots to satisfy hard-core fans, and different enough to demonstrate that they are not creatively stagnating.

Also a bit more humor, which is fun.

Good show!

Trusty Subaru Keeps Chugging Along

Was fooling around with Blue Book/Black Book values for our trusty ’98 Subaru Outback with 270,000+ km on it. No answer — either too old or mileage too high for the online databases.

But based on the closest results I could get, it looks like we’d be lucky to get C$1,000-1,500 for it in trade-in value. That’s less than the annual insurance fee!

So seeing as it’s near “worthless” now, and it’ll continue to be worthless going forward, I think our ongoing strategy of keeping it well-maintained and running for as long as possible is a no-brainer.

At the rate that we put on mileage, we’ve got a good year, or even 18 months before the next major service, which will likely run $1,500+. That’s when a decision will have to be made.

Bye-Bye Christmas Tree, I’m Going to Miss You, Meow

Yumi “undressed” the tree nearly two weeks ago, but we were loath to let it go. It still looked and smelled wonderful, but today we finally wrapped it in a canvas drop sheet, and took it down into the garage.

Choco the cat finds the garage spooky, but she sat by the door and cried, so I let her out. She went directly to the tree, sniffed around, meowked a couple of times, and then trotted back to me.

I guess in her own way, she needed a minute.