Two Adult, No Kids Xmas Shopping

Two adult, no kids Christmas shopping.

Wife: “I know what I want, I’ll show you on Amazon.”

Me: “It says it won’t arrive until mid-January.”

Wife: “That’s fine.”

I’ve already given her some funny Ts that I bought for myself so she can wrap them for me.

And yes, we reuse wrapping paper from year to year within our household, until it gets too ratty, and then the cat gets to play with it before it goes in the paper recycling bin.

As I’ve posted in years past, there’s not much that we want, and less that we need. In our horrendously over-consuming society, we decided years ago that we each inform the other of one or two gifts that we want, and will actually use.

Takes some of the fun out, but we allow surprise stocking stuffing, and a few minor, dollar-store type gifts of under $10 that come from “Santa” under the tree, often to both of us .

When Writing, Please Learn Your Subject & Vocabulary

Folks with zero interest in military history can skip this rant .

Saw this on FB today:

Just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded.

1) The attacking planes that caused most of the damage were bombers and torpedo planes, not fighter planes.

2) A barrage is commonly artillery fire. I would have called this a “two-hour attack” or a combination of bombing, torpedoing, and strafing.

3) Of the eight battleships damaged or sunk, seven were eventually raised/repaired and six went on to fight in the war. They were not destroyed. The only one “destroyed” was the Arizona, which is now the well-known memorial at Pearl.

I know that over time people conflate definitions and things get progressively mushier. But I’m in the camp that if you want to write about something, you have to learn the subject matter and vocabulary.

A battleship is a specific kind of warship or naval vessel. Just because there are no active battleships in any navy anymore doesn’t mean it’s not useful to maintain the distinction. Just as a fighter plane is a specific kind of military aircraft, and is not a blanket term for all warplanes.

Searching Squamish, BC, for Salmon and Eagles

This is a great time of year to see salmon and eagles up the Sea-to-Sky highway heading north from Vancouver to Squamish.

Didn’t see that many of the magnificent raptors today, but enough for some decent photos.

eagle_paradise_valley_road_squamish_20141122Eagle soaring above the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish, BC

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Lunching on what appears to be a chum salmon on the Squamish River

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Cruising along the Squamish River

eagles salmon squamish bc
A mass of  biomass. Lots of carcasses near the Tenderfoot hatchery off the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish. It looks gross, but salmon bring nutrients back from the ocean that enrich our coastal forests and other wildlife.

Save a Few Cents, Irritate a Customer

I ordered a SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC card online and got it today.

Disappointed that it came without a case. Every SDHC card I’ve ever bought previously — Kingston, ADATA, Patriot, and even some no-name ones — have always come with cases. And some SanDisk ones bought years ago.

I thought SanDisk was supposed to be a high-end product?

I’d think the difference between providing a case and just packing in flex must be on the order of a few cents.

SanDisk SDHC card no case

If You’re Reading This, You’re Guilty, As am I

I am an “environmentalist.” Local papers have labelled me an “activist.”

Yet as I sit here in my office, I am surrounded by metal, plastic, wood, paper — all materials mined or “harvested” from the environment I purport to protect.

I could not be sharing this with you, if you were not also in possession of plastic, glass, various metals that make up computers or tablets or smartphones, and the electrical energy required to  charge their batteries, and run the infrastructure of the Internet.

You are all plugged into your various electrical grids. Some of you could be burning coal to read this, some of you oil. Some of you may be fortunate to be using hydro power (which still kills rivers and fish).

Anyone out there know for sure that they’re purely solar? Or geothermal? And then, what materials were used to make those panels, or bore and set up those wells?

It’s a tough world we live in, for those of us aware enough to realize that we’ve got problems.

BTW this is not meant as message of despair, it’s meant to be a message of awareness, and stimulation to design things better going forward.

Frosty Deer Lake Circumrambulation

I was expecting a nature tour around Deer Lake in Buranby, BC, today, but I couldn’t find the group. I ended up taking a bit over two hours to walk around the lake with my camera on a crisp, sunny morning. Here’s a set of 30 shots in  a Flickr album.

Yes, I know circumrambulation is not a word, but I think it should be. It’s what you do when you ramble entirely around a lake : -).

Deer Lake photos Nov. 16, 2014. Flickr

 

I also counted about 30 chum salmon carcasses in Buckingham Creek, in the short stretch where it runs north of the parking lot and into the lake. I was impressed. Salmon had disappeared from the creek for decades, and began returning again only recently after restoration efforts including making culverts more fish friendly. The first time Yumi and I saw a salmon carcass there was in 2009, documented on my old blog.

Love the ‘Before and After’ Show from Japanese TV

I enjoy the “Before and After” show on TV Japan. Yes, it’s a home renovation show, but with Japanese construction, architecture, and interior design.

Often the show is about some 50- or 75- or even 100-year-old house, with a lone grandmother living there. The architects do amazing jobs of refurbishing these old homes, and a common theme is preserving as much of the past as possible while incorporating as many modern amenities as budgets permit.

Much of what is torn down is reused, and often in emotionally powerful ways. Japanese construction features extensive use of beautiful wood, much of which can be reused or re-cut.

The architects also honor the departed. For example, items from a late grandfather’s workshop may be incorporated into the modern decor.

A favorite rock in the garden takes a new place of honor in the restyled greenery.

Was a deceased family member an avid ink painter or photographer? A favorite piece may be used as a template for a much larger decorative feature.

Perhaps the house used to be fronted by the owner’s business — a sushi counter or noodle shop — and elements of such are maintained and used in creative ways.

And since these houses are often being improved for elderly persons, many shows depict creative solutions to barrier-free issues.

Japanese homes tend to be smaller than North American ones, so often unique space-saving solutions are thought up.

It all adds up to compelling story-telling that educates and warms the heart.

Streamkeeping, sustainability, community, business, photography, books, and animals, with occasional forays into social commentary. Text and Photos © Paul Cipywnyk