Category Archives: Society

Edmonds City Fair & Car Show 2014 Great Fun Despite Rain

I was asked to be the event photographer for yesterday’s Edmonds City Fair & Car Show in SE Burnaby. It was a great event, with lots of activities for all ages. While it drizzled intermittently, with a real soaking for the last half hour or so, people had lots of fun, and stuck it out to the end with great spirit.

I focused on people and not so much the vehicles on display. You can view my Flickr album here.

Edmonds City Fair 2014

 

Mandela Quotations Make Up Google Doodle

I’ve typed in these quotations from Nelson Mandela that Google is running as a Google Doodle today. Powerful.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its 
opposite.

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.

Partying with Elders – What a Great Time!

I posted this on my Facebook account several days ago and its gotten a pile of “likes” so thought I’d share it here, too.

 

Had a wonderful evening last weekend. A BBQ hosted by friends of ours in Vancouver. Lovely old house in an older neighborhood. An evening in a gorgeous, modestly groomed, but more wild, back yard, with many burgeoning fruit trees and raspberry bushes.

We were the youngest couple there, and we’re in our mid-40s to mid-50s.

We’re a “mixed” couple, and so was everyone else. And some were in their 80s and 90s, and enjoying life to the full. Former neighbors, still friends, now living in old folks’ homes but graciously picked up and driven to this communal feast in their former ‘hood..

Awesome.

As the evening eased by, there were smatterings of Korean, Italian, and Japanese in the conversations. Not all understood by all present despite concerted efforts at interpretation.

But everyone was cool with that. We were all happy to be with other convivial folks.

And all were sure to ensure that all were happy.

The food was a wonderful melange of those cultures, and more.

I’m not sure where this post is going, but I have to say that if I make it to 80, I hope I still have caring friends like this bunch of party animals do!

Initial Contacts with Insurance & Restoration Companies are Reassuring

As I posted a few days ago, we had a water line break on our top floor, and water cascaded down through the living room ceiling, and through walls all the way to the basement.

It’s been a tiring week.

However, I’ve been pleased with my initial contacts with the insurance company, The Dominion, and the restoration firm they recommended, Barclay Restorations.

While no work has been done yet, aside from assessing damage and placing several large commercial fans here and there to dry things out, everyone that I’ve had contact with has been prompt, professional and courteous.

Both the adjuster from the insurance company,  and a couple of fellows who came at different times from Barclay, have been on time, and if they were running late, they phoned to let me know.

Tomorrow a few guys are coming by to check how the drying is coming along (it will be a relief to get all those fans shut down), and pull out some lino in the basement that has to go. They will also likely make a few exploratory cuts in walls if their meters detect any residual moisture.

It will be a lengthy process–I’ve been warned it could take several weeks from getting everything estimated and approved, and the work done.

But I feel we are in good hands.

Why Does Canada Post Hate Me? Why?

Canada Post has done it to me yet again. I was expecting an ExpressPost package today and tracking it online. Everything was looking good. As of 9:41 “Item out for delivery.” By mid afternoon I thought I should check again. There was a new entry on the tracking page at 14:09 “Attempted delivery. Notice card left indicating where item can be picked up.”

I was home all day!

They do this to me regularly, only this time, there is also no notice card to be found anywhere. Not in our post box, not on the community cork board, not at the front gate, not on our door. I’ve done the rounds three times over the afternoon and early evening.

So I’ve “opened a ticket” online with my issue. See where that goes, eh?

And no, I wasn’t in the shower, or on the phone, or taking out the garbage at 14:09. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was reading a book in the living room, five meters from the front door, waiting for a project manager from a restoration company to arrive between 14:15 and 14:30 to assess our recent water damage.

I certainly would have heard the doorbell, or a knock, and I had a portable phone beside me, expecting the gate signal to ring.

When Rivers Rebel

There’s been a spate of articles recently about the Fraser River, climate change, and the potential economic impacts on BC’s lower mainland.

We dam them, dike them, divert them, dredge them, suck them near dry, build on them, pollute them. . .

And then we’re aghast when rivers get pissed off and try to break their shackles now and then.

We wouldn’t need billions of dollars to shore up dikes if we didn’t build our cities on flood plains, marshes, and bogs.

But hey, are those articles perhaps looking at things backwards? By traditional measures of GDP, all the work that will need to be done to shore up those seawalls and dikes is going to be a major boost to the economy, isn’t it?

We’ll just borrow more against future generations to keep the pyramid scheme going.

Monday Morning Welcomes Me with a Flood in the House

Oh, joy. Sitting in my basement office working this morning, I suddenly hear water running. And I’m alone in the house.

Run up the stairs, and water is gushing out of the main light fixture in the ceiling in the living room. Grab a couple of buckets and place them beneath the waterfall.

Run upstairs another flight, and find a supply line between a shutoff valve and a sink tap dislodged inside a cupboard beneath a sink in the upstairs bathroom. Turn off the shutoff valve, and then the main water valve in the basement for good measure.

When the supply had popped free and how long that cold-water pipe had been running I don’t know, but likely at least 15 minutes or more. That’s a lot of water.

Fearing the ceiling in the living room could collapse from the weight  of the water, I poked a few holes in it with a crowbar, and placed buckets under those as they began to flow.

The gusher from the ceiling eventually dwindled to a drip, and has now stopped, but water has also found its way through walls down to the basement bathroom, spreading over the floor.

Bucketing, mopping, toweling. . . Drying the carpet.

And not looking forward to assessing the full extent of the damage. The killer is the potential for mold. Once drywall gets wet. . .

I know a good chunk of the ceiling will have to come down and be re-done, but how much of the adjoining walls I don’t know yet.  May also have to pull the countertop and cabinets in the bathroom and redo the wall and floor behind them.

Sigh.

Anyway, I have reconnected the errant pipe, and turned the main water back on, and so far so good.

We were fortunate. We didn’t lose anything. It’s just the PITA factor now. . .

Dealing with Toasty Weather and No AC

I am getting back into the rhythms of dealing with hot weather with no AC:

At 10:30 pm I made miso soup with shimeji mushrooms, yellow string beans from our balcony garden, and cabbage. I steamed a batch of Chinese dumplings, and parboiled a pot of leafy greens.

Better now as the temperature is going down and the windows are wide open, than in the morning when the last thing I want to do is heat up the place. The makings for breakfast and a lunch bento for Yumi are pretty much in place (the rice cooker is on a timer).

The miso soup is still too hot to put in the fridge, so gee, I guess I’ll have to have another glass of wine before I finish tidying up in the kitchen and go to bed :-).

Will the oenophiles out there forgive me if I put an ice-cube or two into a glass of middling white?

Like I said, it’s warm, eh?

Toasty Days on Canada’s West Coast

We’re getting some unusually warm weather here in Burnaby, BC.

Depending on which forecast you believe, it’s supposed to hit between 30C to 33C tomorrow. With ocean to the west, mountains to the north, and a valley extending toward more mountains to the east, temperatures in the lower mainland can vary, with a general trend of cooler near the water/west, and hotter up the valley toward the east.

My office is in the basement of our three-story townhouse, and being halfway underground, it tends to be a few degrees cooler than the main floor or the upstairs.

What keeps us somewhat cooler is that it nearly always falls below 20C overnight, so we crank the windows open in the late evening. We usually button up overnight, but we crank everything wide open when we get up somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 am, and air everything out for an hour or two. That gets the internal temp down to around 17 or 18C, and we then button everything up again until evening.

We’re fortunate to have a forested park directly to the east of us, with tall, mature trees, so we don’t get hit by direct sunlight until mid-morning. In an eastern end unit we don’t get as much sun in the evening, either.

I’ve lived in much hotter places, like New York and Tokyo, and both required air conditioning, particularly with the high humidity and night temperatures that for extended periods would be not much lower than daytime highs. Ugh.

TV Japan Reminds Me of Lovely, Hot/Cold Traditional Japanese Houses

Caught a few minutes of an NHK Japan TV drama that my wife was watching tonight. Sigh.

I really love the look of traditional Japanese houses. I can imagine the scent of the tatami and old wood. The gentle rumbling of the screen doors moving. The gorgeous little rock-moss-and-water gardens. . .

I’d love to live in one, in Japan, for the three or four months of the year that they are comfortable to live in — at least in central Honshu — with my metabolism.

My 14 years in Japan I mostly lived in concrete “mansions”, aside from 6 months in an old, traditional “student house” and about a year in an old wooden apartment building, with teeny rooms, a shared toilet, and bathing facilities a block up the street at the local sento, or public bath.

And I’ll tell you that when I earned enough to move into an apartment of about 300 square feet in a brand-spanking-new concrete “mansion” with my own bath and an air conditioner, I thought I was king of the hill .

From memory of Japanese seasonal patterns, I’d say a traditional Japanese house without modern cooling/heating appurtenances would be comfy, at least for me, for around April-May, and October-November, in the  greater Tokyo area .