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Journal Entries for January 2007
January 4, 2007 - 1:40 AM
Happy New Year!

First of all, my appologies for taking so long to update the site. I think that was almost a whole week! I'm sorry. It's been incredibly busy around here over the past couple of days. I guess you could say all year! I finally decided to attack my washing machine and took some things apart that did not need taking apart (which now implies the inevitable somehow, they have to go back together canundrum...) Work has definitely picked up since the holdays and I'm back to full days of mayhem, after which sitting in the hot tub is made that much more sweet. I'm fighting to keep my work van together, but now Shaw wants the equivelant of an out of province inspection done on the vehicle (at my expense) PLUS everything that is found faulty must be fixed within 6 months. (Safety-related items must be addressed right away!) With Australia fast approaching I simply do not have the budget for the kind of repairs that will undoubtably be necessary to bring that vehicle up to spec, and quite frankly - I don't plan on staying at Shaw long enough to make it pay off... So it's a bit of a rock and hard place situation there. I bought a new Digital SLR camera for Australia the other day, and that's been a lot of fun learning. There are some pictures below. So much to learn! I've been pondering a good many things to write over the past couple of days, but at the moment when an idea strikes, suitable media for containing such ideas is nowhere to be found and once it has been secured, the idea is not. I've been making verbal notes to self on my cell, which - of course - I have on me all the time. So far it's really helped. I found out the other day it has a GPS navigator on it, meaning I can type in any address and the phone will literally talk me through turn-by-turn on how to get there. It will even pull up maps, show you where you are; it's like having Mapquest in your phone! Pretty wild. Ten bucks a month. I'll try it for a while and see how it goes. Otherwise, I'm pretty tied and sleepy. Here's one metric whack of pictures for your viewing pleasure. (In no particular order)

Bird Seed

Bird Seed


Perky Bill

Four by Four Post

One of the first pictures with the new camera. Just shot some random stuff while I was driving around today. Nothing particularly interesting, just learning how the camera works.

Bo In The Hot Tub

When I came home from work, Bo was in the hot tub so I prepped everything, set all my carrion down by the back door and made my way over towards the hot tub. I didn't quite get a scared face (although I did elsewhere - see below) Pretty nice picture with the flash, and our water is wonderfully clean and clear.

Now this one definitely needs an explanation. One house I was in some time ago MUST have been a recovered grow-op because of this second electrical panel, haphazardly hacked into the wall. Take a look at the holes ripped through the solid panel! One sharp edge could not only penetrate the insulation but also cause sparks, explosions, and even fires! When dealing with drug cultivators, safety is certainly not number one! (Look at what a nice job I did on that installation too!)

12:34 on the Microwave Clock

The other day I brought a new microwave in to my kitchen. It was virtually brand new, so new in fact that it still has the protective plastic film over the buttons! With the time what it was, I decided it would be the best time for a picture.

No Beard

A new look for 2007

Ok, so here's the gearbox of my Inglis Direct-Drive Washing Machine. As it turns out, the problem I'd been having with the unit not spinning resided outside the gearbox, making it's exploration unnecessary. Fascinating machine however, and I learned a lot. Now I just hope I can get it back together!

Inside an Inglis Direct Drive Gearbox

Inside an Inglis Direct Drive Gearbox

My bird pecking the couch

Scared Bo

This was a real scared Bo I snuck up on one afternoon, camera in hand.

Hot Tub Jet

I never tire of underwater pictures. Here are a few of some of the jets in the hot tub.

The Brominator

The Brominator

Image Inverted

Can you tell it's been inverted 180 degrees? Or is the sky normally that blurry?

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

The other day I made (instant) mashed potatoes and gravy. First time. Needed a picture.

Being raised by boys, Maddy has learned how to defend herself including a choke known in MMA as the Rear Naked. Despite her tiny little arms, she can really make it hurt, as Dexton found out. Look at those little muscles though! She's a strong little girl!

One of the best parts of the holidays is the gathering of friends. Luke came home for the holiday to visit his family and was kind enough to come and use our hot tub one evening. Cheers to good friends!

Some other pictures from that night.

Phew! That was a lot of pictures! I am barely keeping my eyes open at this point, but I think I will go sleep on one of my couches - Just Because I can!

January 5, 2007 - 3:36 AM
Tapping away at the dusty drums...

The sum of todays' labour arrives at a total of three minutes and six seconds of music. All I worked on, from the time I awoke until (now), three in the morning, has been concieving, composing, performing, recording, and mixing a song that I've had in my head for quite some time. Unlike most of my other previous musical ventures, this one was actually peformed on instruments. I used no MIDI for this one at all. (Partly because I could not get the keyboard to play back from my sequencer, and my short MIDI cord wouldn't reach the drum controller.) As such, it is not [perfect]. But maybe that gives it a bit of character.

Pecking out a tune on the keyboard

If you would like to hear it, you can download a copy of the song from my Digital Audio page. I didn't really have a name for it, so I called it Zoob. Why Zoob? The bassline from my tune strongly resembles that from a song by Zoo Brazil, called Never Gonna Find A Love (the Soul Avengerz Remix). I will probably compose somy lyrics for this song and expand it as necessary. It lacks verses at this point - but they will come. It's only a day old.

Three Birds on the couch

My birds accompanied me both on the drums (Did you see them in the picture of my at the keyboard above? They're so cute! haha) and on the couch beside me. Even my girlie bird, who is usually very shy and likes to stay in the cage, came out several times today and flew over to the drums while I was playing.

Bill eating my couch

January 6, 2007 - 12:34 AM

Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights Images of the kids stealing my Christmas lights

Beware the wrath of a patient man...

After several uneventful nights of watching and waiting, the Christmas Light bandits struck again. The first time it happened, I was surprised; the second time I was angry, and the third time - I caught them on camera. Tomorrow I'm going to go to all the convenient stores in the area and start asking about these guys, try to find out where they live so I can have a chat with their parents and drop off a copy of their pictures. Next week I'm also going to inquire at the school across the street. Why am I being so aggressive on the matter over a handful of 25 cent light bulbs? It's the principle of the thing! To steal the same thing THREE times from the same place and think you can get away with it? Not on my watch! Hopefully a scare is all it will take to stop this from happening, (Or I could just take the Christmas lights down...) but as I said, it's all about principle.

Today has been wrought with successes as I also was able to repair my washing machine. It turned out to be a simple part that needed replacing, and washing machines have become remarkably easy to repair! I took apart a lot more of it than was actually necessary, but I learned a LOT about them in the process so I don't mind having gone to the trouble. After being put back together it spun the water out of those clothes like water has never been spun in this house before! AND, my Downy Ball actually worked for once! (It's activated by the spin cycle after the wash, but if the clothes don't spin or don't spin fast enough, there isn't enough centrifical force to pop the lid and the fabric softner is never dispensed.) It's been a good day all around.

I picked up some bird seed also this afternoon before having lunch with Pat, and every time I buy seed I like to pick up a toy for the birds. This time I got them a sort of platform that attaches to the side of the cage. It has a wire that is bent into an arch, and on the wire are three rings, each a different color. The object of the toy is for the bird to slide the rings from one side of the arch, up and over to the other side. There's a baby's toy equivelant only much more complicated. I'm sure you've seen one; I know I used to have one! So anyway, I set it in the cage beside their favorite perch, and not even an hour later they'd already figured out how to move the rings! I was very impressed. They are smart birdies.

Tomorrow Jason is getting Shaw Digital Phone installed, so I am going to go over to attend the installation. I'm hoping the installer is someone I don't know - even better if it's one of the new guys. Then I'll ask him all sorts of questions, "How does this work?" "What does this do?" "Can it do this?" "Why do you have to do that?" and so on - all the while of course, omitting the fact that I do the exact same thing for a living. I told Kris about it and he laughed. "Make sure you call me and tell me how it goes!" he said. At first I thought there would be a pretty good chance he would get it, but it turns out he is floating tomorrow. Since whoever goes works on the other shift, there's a pretty good chance I don't know them. It should be interesting.

January 10, 2007 - 10:06 PM
House On A Hill

January 9, 2007 :: Last night I had a very strange dream, I was hanging out with Pam, Sandy, and Raychel and somehow these gangs got the idea that we were part of, or else, a rival gang. So to convince them that we weren't a threat, we decided to make them fall in love with Sandy, and therefore we needed pictures of her to accomplish this. Through some friend we enlisted the help of a world renound photographer and it was determined that the best place to do the photo shoot was in the bathroom, but first we had to modify the bathtub. I think we were trying to make a waterfall effect for the background of the shots but I'm not 100% sure what the purpose of that was. Anyway, we went to the store to buy some beauty-making supplies and someone at the store knocked over a wall of pop. The gang wanted to see the pictures but we didn't have them ready and I was trying to peel all the silicone away from the tiles around the bathtub. As strange and disconnected as these memories are, in the dream they followed a perfectly logical, flowing sequence. It's funny how the mind works. Especially while at rest!

A couple of weeks ago, the thought occured to me: The only real difference between 'poor' people and 'rich' people is the house they live in. Let me explain. Rich people have TV's - Poor people have TV's. Rich people have cars - poor people have cars. Rich people have food in their fridge - poor people have food in their fridge. The difference, is really only in the house they live in. I visit countless houses every month and really, that's the only difference I can see between the rich and the poor. Now you might ask, how do (I) make that determination? What rule of measure is employed to distinguish the difference between the two? A fair question. I will admit, in almost all cases, I have no idea what a person or family makes. There is certainly a stigma within certain neighbourhoods where you expect it's residents to fall within a certain income bracket, but you can sense the presence of money, or perhaps at least the pretense of it. Many of the poorer places tend to have more people living in them, whereas some of the nicest, most eloquent and elaborate estates house a mere two people! There are often 2 or 3, and sometimes even more rooms FOR EACH PERSON living there! I take that into consideration when assessing a house: If there are more rooms than the number of people who live there, you've probably got some money in the bank. If there are more people living in the house than have rooms to each his own, it's probably forming a lower income unit. But as I hinted at earlier, sometimes the preception is really a deception, a pretense of appearance where reality has been charged to a credit card. I had one such case where I went to install a rather expensive cable box in this multi-million dollar house. I made sure the customer was aware of the cost of this box, which was to be paid upon installation and they knew it's price. I got it all set up and ready to go, but when the time came to make the payment, the only credit card he could supply me with was declined. It really makes you wonder sometimes, as ever - appearances can be deceiving.

My dad asked me this riddle once. The rich man puts this in his pocket; The poor man throws this away. What is it? (And it's not money.)

Tree Lined Street

I phoned Carmen today to say hi, but when I did so I could hardly understand a word she was saying. She sounded like one of the muppets, the one that always seemed to make wah wah wah sounds instead of actual words. The reason I phoned her was actually an unlikely series of events. Somewhere in my series of dreams last night was she. I think I must have been in Red Deer and ran into her or something to that effect, at this point it's all but a blurry, dim memory. But I knew I'd dreampt about her, and although that thought had been dwindling as my day drew on, it was brought back to the forefront when this afternoon, while looking for an address I came across "Carmen Appartments" 'Allright,' I thought, 'Maybe I'd better give her a call.' Someone John and Julie in 'The Tree', Grenada else whose been on my mind to look up lately has been Julie Kerr. I've often wondered whatever happened to her. It's literally been years since I've even seen her although I did run into her mom, dad, and now married brother Dave at Costco a few years back while Blair and I were lightbulb changers working there. When I saw Caroline Miller at Samaritan's Purse several years ago while I was getting ready to go to Grenada I asked if she had heard from her. Unfortunately the information Caroline gave was vague and ultimately unhelpful. I'm sure it would be interesting to find out where she ended up.

January 12, 2007 - 7:00 AM
Here are some pictures from my day yesterday. I've got to bring my work van in this morning for an inspection, which I fully anticipate will fail miserably. There's so much wrong with it. I think I might just have to buy a newer vehicle as the cost will be significantly cheaper than trying to repair all the deficiencies of my van... Of course it's right at that time of year when I'm scrounging the most for money and money is the hardest to come by. December was bar none, the slowest time of this year, and as it is right now, I don't even have the cash to pay for this inspection, a newly made up requirement of Shaw. We'll see. If I can just hold out long enough to make it to Australia, finding new employment after that may well be high on the horizon. Anyway, enough whining - here's the pictures:

Sparkling Snowflakes

Fence Lines

Gutter Spout

Snowy Stone Stairs

Pine Cone Corner

Curly Bar

Two Curly Bars


Firepit Ashes

Puppy getting a bath

Last night puppy apparantly hadn't wiped thoroughly enough and had quite a messy bum, making taking a bath a requirement for continued peace of mind and nose of those living there. The poor old man has never liked baths at the best of times, and this was no exception.

A Sad Bather

Puppy's Grin

Puppy Wanting Tea

The Green Lantern

The Puppy Leaving and Licking

Oh - And those little punks were at it again last night... It looks like only one of them came by this time.

More Christmas Lightbulb Thieving

January 13, 2007 - 11:41 AM
One's grace and beauty may diminish with age, but there is one advantage to getting older and larger... You can make one heck of a cannonball! Last night Bo and I took Maddy to the Leisure Center again as what is becomming a traditional event. Friday nights at VSLC are teen nights, so at 8:00 they kick everyone out and the pool area is taken over by hordes of teenagers who have music and a big party. At least an hour before the pool is closed down though, clothen-clad kids start arriving in the pool area. Naturally, there is great temptation to push some of them in, but that would be mean and could get you kicked out. However, there is absolutely no rule as of yet against performing a cannonball off the diving board... And if it just so happens that the timing of which causes a passerby to get a bit of water splashed on them, well, you're in a swimming pool. Expect it. Several of the lifeguards were quietly amused at our antics, and as we were leaving the diving tank for the night, one of them gave us a nod and a good job grin. I saluted.

Maddy too has mastered the diving board, or at least the running off the end of which. I'm still trying to teach her how to dive, but that's a work in progress. She is quite the underwater swimmer too, and although we go there almost every weekend, lifeguards still comment on how amazing she is. Last night after she went off the red ball the lifeguard on the corner asked me, "How old is she again?" When I replied 'four', she smiled and shook her head, saying "That is amazing." And she shows up kids more than twice her age. It's not uncommon to hear from the lineup behind you, "See? Even a four year old can do this, you big chicken!" We're so proud of her!

On a different note, I may have mentioned some weeks ago that Shaw was now requiring all their installers to have an out of province style inspection performed on their vehicles. This inspection had to be done by January 15th, and then you have 6 months to fix up anything deficient on it - or less if the problem is more serious. Well, it came as no surprise to me that my van did NOT pass... Not by a long shot. In fact, the list of things that needed fixing or replacing was three pages long! (Note-sized pages mind you, but still.) The mechanics in the office with me while I went over the list and I were both chuckling as we went through item after item that was faulty. In fact, it was all I could do. Mind you, they did tell me that not a single vehicle that has come in for an inspection has passed yet, and even some of the newer ones were worse than some of the more aged ones... But their estimate on the cost of repair in my case was between $4,000 and $5,000! Happy New Year to me! The following was found faulty or failing:

  • The front tires need replacing.
  • The power steering pump leaks.
  • The front shocks are gone.
  • The rear shocks are gone.
  • The water pump leaks.
  • The Multi-V belt needs replacing and the alignment of the pullys checked.
  • The oil pan gasket is leaking.
  • The valve cover gasket is leaking.
  • The lifter cover gasket is leaking.
  • The entire exhaust system needs replacing.
  • The rear axle seals are leaking.
  • The front and rear main seals are leaking.
  • The right rear Emergency Brake cable needs replacing.
  • The front springs are weak.
  • The rear heater hose leaks.
  • The front calipers need replacing. (The right one is siezed, apparantly)
  • The power steering pressure hose needs replacing.
  • The inner and outer tie-rods need replacing.
  • The front rotors need replacing.
  • The rear drums need replacing.
  • The front brake pads need replacing.
  • The rear shoes need replacing. (One is metal on metal)
  • The front wheel bearings need cleaning and adjustment. (Not sure how you adjust bearings...)
  • The right front turn signal lens is broken.
  • The horn does not work.
  • The heater switch is faulty. (Actually, it's brand new but if you switch the fan to high, things start burning inside the dash. Some electrical ghost in the machine.)
  • The windshield leaks around the edges.
The mechanic said it best upon the completion of his summary by looking up and saying, "It's had a good life." I think, given the circumstances, that it may well be time to buy a newer vehicle. I don't want to go brand new, but certainly one with less experiences may wind up being cheaper in the end than spending five grand on this one, only to find more things wrong with it next year. I guess these inspections are now going to be an annual thing, and I don't blame Shaw for wanting to ensure their fleet, even the fleet they don't own, is safe. But springing it on us in January, right after Christmas when everyone is broke? The timing certainly could have been better thought out.

There's my photo-less rant for the day. I went and talked to the school across the street yesterday and the secretary and principle both mulled over the pictures I brought in and thought that one of the two boys did look familiar, but needed to go through some school pictures before they would say for sure if they knew who he was. In the mean time, they suggested that I go to the police with my findings and let them start their own investigation into the matter. There would be much more that (they) could do than I on my own. But they were both very supportive and praised my cause, emphasizing the need to catch these guys before their confidence in crime builds and they escalate their misdeeds to more dangerous or damaging doings. As I left the principle's office I chuckled and said to her, "It's been a LONG time since I've been in the principle's office, and for once it's not I who is in trouble!" She laughed and promised to keep an eye out for either of the two.

January 15, 2007 - 6:57 AM
Playing Fetch At Sunset

I love that you can see the dog's breath there. I spent all day yesterday driving around and disconnecting people. But I did get some nice sunset pictures...

I'm barely hanging in there ... only 45 more days to go until Australia. Sometimes that doesn't seem like any time, other days I don't know if I'll be able to make it. And then there's the financial side of it... This could be close. Hopefully I'll get my taxes done and back by then, and maybe I'll do some side jobs to raise a bit of extra sustinance... I went and hung out with Jason and Thereasa last night. It's nice to see him again; there was a period there where he [seemed] very inaccessible. They're looking at buying a house, although not necessarily in-province. Sigh. I'm off to work. Tomorrow is our inventory day so the warehouse will be closed. But with the amount of work I have today, I won't be able to make it back by 8:00 to see what I need for tomorrow (My last job is in Chestemere) - but I don't know this morning what I need for tomorrow. Just another frustrating nail in the coffin it would seem. I sat down with another installer last night and really hammered out what I don't like about working at Shaw. I'll write it all up sometime soon. No time at the moment. Just as the heat turns on. *sigh*

January 16, 2007 - 7:45 AM
It's Pictures Of Maddy Day!

Madison loves to sneak up on people, but sometimes I'll hear her coming and in this particular case, I had my camera ready for her. It's so funny to watch her sneaking... Sometimes she'll even cover her mouth with her hands to sqelch the squeal of delight in anticipation of the moment. Nice try, kiddo...

January 19, 2007 - 9:50 AM
Squatters Among Us...

Squatters Among Us

I was doing an installation in Temple a few days ago when I noticed a house across the street from where I was. What first caught my eye was the fact that the front door was wide open, despite the temperatures being below freezing. Quickly thereafter a brief assessment of the rest of the house told more of the story; The boarded up windows suggested some sort of disaster or calamity and lead me to examine the rest of the building more thorougly. I then observed that the roof exhibited signs of a fire. Shingles leading up to the peak of the roof seemed to have collapsed and you could clearly see the black remains of charred beams through holes in what was left of the roof. Two shopping carts parked on the front lawn of the house suggested that some vagrants had moved in, despite the fact that it was probably unlivable. Through the front door you could see the stairs leading up to the second floor. They appeared to be strewn with a variety of debris, possibly the remains of the homeowners' charred posessions. It's probably safe to assume this house had it's utilities cut off or even removed after it was apparantly condemned. I suppose the question that comes to mind at this point is why the city (or the police?) has done nothing to resecure this derelect building? Perhaps with the current homeless crisis in the city they've simply turned a blind eye to situations like this where having someone living here is one less visitor to the overcrowded drop-in centres around town... But you can bet your shopping cart that if one of the new 'residents' injures him or herself seriously or even dies in this new residence, there will be a huge outcry as to why nobody did anything to prevent this from happening... – As though it were the responsibility of the city to protect it's citizens from their own actions! There seems to be this growing mentality in society that nobody should be responsible for their own actions. The classic example: If you spill hot coffee on yourself purchased from McDonalds, it's not YOUR, fault, because you did not know that the coffee might be hot since there was no warning on the cup. Clearly, McDonald's fault for not warning it's customers that coffee - by nature a hot product - might be hot. Shame on them. It's also not your fault when you get lung cancer and countless other ailments as a result of smoking for 40 years. Nobody told you that smoking was bad for you, so you just didn't know! Because it's perfectly safe and normal for a living creature to be inhaling the toxins, tar, and chemicals produced by burning tobacco and paper... And no, the coughing is not related. It's just a coincidence. Smoke coming from any living creature is not normal. And nowadays we have all sorts of labels and pictures on cigarette packages depicting everything from cancer and impotence to damaging the bodies of your offspring by the fumes from your habit - yet even these graphic images are little deterrent to those already helplessly adicted. Even so, it's still not their fault... Their friends got them into it, it was an easy way to lose a few pounds, it helps with the stress of life, it keeps them warm in the winter, [insert your favorite "I still smoke because" excuse here.] Nobody takes responsibility for their own actions anymore. It's always someone elses' fault. Even if it's not a matter of society failing to warn you, in some cases it's up to society to physically PREVENT you from doing something that might harm you. We put fences around high voltage power plants to keep the curious from discovering why those DANGER: High Voltage! signs are there. One of my favorite "It's not my fault" stories came a couple of years ago when those kids cut through a hole in the fence and one of them drowned in a drainage ditch in the city's south. Anyone remember that? Now I'm not unsympathetic to those parents' loss of their child. But do you remember the outcry that followed that incident? Why hadn't the city done more to prevent them from accessing the ditch in the first place? The fact was, there HAD been a fence in place already to keep people out! But someone had made a hole in it, perhaps to disregard the warnings, perhaps they wanted a shortcut - but whatever the why, these kids disregarded the fence and fell victim - not to a failure on the part of the city but to their own carelessness and contempt of the precautions put in place for their safety! You tell me where the fault lies in this one! But people demanded an inquiry, higher, safer fences, more warnings, and so on. The fact is, if those kids really wanted in there, they were getting in there no matter how high the fence was, no matter how many warning signs were posted. The solution here is education. Parents teach your kids to regard warnings with care and respect! They're not there to keep you from having fun, but to keep you from harm and may well even save your life.

It's interesting to note that the first mention of passing the blame is found in the Bible, when God confronted Adam and Eve on eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:8 - Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called out to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" (I love this part!) The man said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." It's not MY fault... Adam tried to blame God for his actions by saying, "The woman YOU put here with me..." (made me do it) and when Eve was questioned, she too passed the blame to the serpent, Satan. Credit to the women though, at least her argument held a bit more merit. The serpent did in fact deceive her. The man here simply said, "It was the woman's fault." But ever since then, it's been the instinctive thing to do when confronted on something you rightfully should bear the consequences for to find and redirect the blame on someone or something else. Admittedly, I find myself doing this all the time - making excuses for things that really, were a result of my own actions and not in any way the fault of others. Something to consider next time you're called out - will you accept rightful blame or try to find someone else to take the fall?

(My long winded thought for the day. )

January 20, 2007 - 10:49 AM
There was much laughter last night

Last night Jolene and Nadine came over for supper and to talk to us about Australia (since they both have been there.) With Maddy over there was no shortage of entertainment, games, running around the house and all-out, double over laughter. We had so much fun being chased around the house by her endless energy, telling stories, singing songs, and playing games that we forgot all about discussing Australia! This in turn spawned another appointment to meet for supper at Jolene's house next week and hopefully we won't go so far off task this next time. It was a fun night, as the following pictures will depict.

Maddy punching Bo in the face

Running Really Fast!

When you run in a circle around the house, there are always plenty of opportunities to pull the ol' swithcheroo.

And now I'm off to meet Bo and Maddy at VLSC for a morning swim. I sat in the hot tub alone last night after everyone left or went to bed, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of that thing. We need to get one jet fixed though, a rotating massager because it keeps popping out. Consequently, there is less pressure at all the other jets lessening their massage potential. I'm trying to put off all expense until after Australia though. I was talking with Paul, our neighbour across the alley yesterday and his electric bill for last month, the highest according to him that it's ever been, was $67. One of his neighbours, (ours from across the alley) had a bill in the $220 range last month, despite having 3 renters living in her basement. I laughed at both those figures and reported our last months' electric bill: $347! Now the first thing everyone thinks is that the majority of that is made up from the hot tub - but the fact is, it's not! Since we got that hot tub, our electric bill has only gone up by $30 - $50 / month, depending on the temperature. I think what a fair chunk of that three hundred and fourty seven dollars was, was our Christmas lights. I think at the time I set them up I calculated about 550 watts of power to run them all - and they were on quite a bit! None the less, I've been consciously going around shutting off lights, monitors, pretty much anything electrical that I am not using or don't need. All our lights are already compact flourescent, there's little waste there. The ovens and stoves will always use power, as will the dryers and the rest of the appliances... But it will be interesting to see what the next bill looks like in comparison. It was an expensive Christmas month for utilities!

January 22, 2007 - 12:11 AM
Emergency Call

January 26, 2007 - 12:44 AM
A lamp

Allright, first of all - to explain the emergency call: The other day I was involved in an accident where a lady struck my work van while making an unsafe left turn into the lane I was travelling in. Fortunately I saw her attempt to enter my lane and swerved into the lane to my right, but it was not enough to avoid the collision. Had I not veered, I would have quite possibly killed her passenger. As it was, the damage to my vehicle was minimal. We pulled to the side of the road and got out, and when I asked her for her insurance she went back to her car, presumably to find it. I went to get my papers, and while I was rummaging through my cup holder to gather my documents, she took off. Here is a copy of the police report I filed after making the call to 911 shown in the picture from my last journal entry:

I was travelling westbound on 17th Ave SE approaching the 47th street intersection. I was travelling in the left-most lane (center) when a dark green import car attempted to make a left turn from the south side of 47th and 17th Ave SE. I quickly pulled into the right-hand lane but the car struck the driver-side door of my van and slid along the side. We both pulled over and I got out, looked at my damage and walked over to ehr vehicle. The driver of the car, an oriental woman in her late 30's to early 40's also got out and surveyed the damage to my vehicle. "I'm going to need a copy of your insurance." I told her. She walked to her car and I went to get my own insurance & registration. When I stepped back out of the van, the car was gone. I immediately called 911 from my cell phone and reported as much as I could remember to the dispatcher. A police car soon arrived and I filled out this report.

- Signed and dated January 21, 2007.

After consulting my insurance company on the matter, I found out I could get it fixed and only pay the $250 deductable - but considering everything else that's wrong with that van and the high liklihood that I won't even be driving it much longer makes the prospect of putting out even two fifty on it, particularly in light of my upcoming and quickly approaching trip, quite undesirable. So for now, there's a dent in my door.

Sean the Window Washer

Today I was helping Barb sort out computers at her mom's business, EM Services. Sean was there doing chores, and he ended up coming to beach night with me this evening at Grace. It's that time of year when they fill the church gym with sand and play beach volleyball all week. There's also a trampoline, ping pong table, and of course - hot tub. This year the hot tub didn't hold nearly as much appeal for me... I'm not sure why. hehehe

Bo checking out his viewfinder

Yesterday Bo also bought a new camera for the upcoming trek to the land down under, so we had a picture expose (ex-poe-SAY) last night to try out the new features and abilities. I have to say, I am quite liking my SLR. It brings a whole new depth and breadth of creative possibility to photography, and after nearly 20,000 pictures on compact cameras, I think I'm ready to make the switch.

Maddy's Bears

Maddy in turn, inherited Bo's old digital camera, and was eager to try it out as well. Particularly interesting was the auto-timer, with which she took a plethora of photographs of herself among various stuffed animals. Very cute, if not early signs of geekiness... We also went To Village Square last night and she learned how to dive in off the side of the diving tank! The fearless fish also tried diving off the diving board a number of times, but it's a little different falling from at least your own height into the water than it is from the side of the pool. I suppose she also learned how to belly flop too, although this was not intentional whereas the diving was. I'd love to see her first 'official' swimming lesson... I know I didn't do nearly as well as she will undoubtably do when I first took a lesson in ECS...

Testing The Timer

With three cameras on autotimer set, we posed many times for the triad of flashes, followed by the rush to compare the results.

Near Far

Here are some other pictures I took today and last night.

Bird Bath with a Trap

Computer Central

Computer Central - My little slice of geek heaven. From here the world enters through the windows of my monitors. It is filtered, condensed, compressed, corrupted, corrected, colorized, centered, correlated, and computed. It is here that I sit right now, typing the letters that form the words you are reading. It is my connection.

Faithful Friend

There's nothing like beach night to remind you that you are getting older, heavier, fatter, and sweatier. Although I go swimming all the time, I haven't felt self conscious about myself in a long time until tonight. It was embarassing. Good thing it only comes around once a year...

you try to make me wait
you come around when it's come undone
everybody makes you late
and it's never you because you're always thinking
i try making you wait
and give you me some like you give it good
everybody makes mistakes
but it seems it's mine that always keep on stinging

- LCD Soundsystem [ Tribulations ]

January 27, 2007 - 3:51 PM

Last night we went to Jolene and Nadines places (Yes, plural) to have supper and to discuss our upcoming trip to Australia. The supper portion of the evening took place at Jolene's house, then followed by a short walk down the street to Nadine's house where the sisters brought out their photo albums and journals from their journeys to Aussieland. Now there is an interesting story between the two neighbourly sisters. It seems that when they bought their houses, they only bought one set of furnature between the two of them, so it is not uncommon to see a string of chairs wandering down the street from one house to the other as the guest load differs between the residences. One day I'll get a picture of that but for now, it does sound fairly far fetched.

Maddy, being the little poser that she is, provided non stop amusement simultaneous annoyance throughout the evening ever since Jolene let her borrow her tin whistle. In fact, on one of our treks down the street, she lead the way blasting out tone-less toots on the same whistle. You've got to wonder what their neighbours think.

I followed an old friend of mine for a while yesterday. (Actually, I hooked up his Internet because Telus has been screwing him around, cutting off his services and then offering no explanation as to why it was off except that, 'It should be working...' A quick half-hour later and he was up and running on Shaw, with a connection that was easily 5 times faster than what he had been experiencing before. Horray for Shaw. hahaha Remember this truck? (Check out Adventures of a Lightbulb Changer to refresh the memory!)

January 28, 2007 - 11:01 PM
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be friend of all — the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.

January 30, 2007 - 12:09 AM
Significant Debris?

Have you ever paused. Stopped. Briefly taken a mental step outside the world of the here and now and reflected upon your life, your perceptions, the notions of what you consider to be real, and wondered if maybe there was more that you were missing? Strange as this might sound, I've had a couple of such moments in the last two days - but each time they have been triggered by seemingly unrelated and, for that matter, very diverse events. The first one occured yesterday. I entered a house belonging to a stranger. In itself, one might assert that such an action be awkward or even illegal - yet such is par for the course in my line of work. The act of entering the house was not unusual, nor unique in any way on this particular day. Shortly upon entering the premise, I walked through a cloud of scent. A scent I have not inhaled for many years and had literally forgotten up until this particular moment when once again it filled my nostrils, tickling the thinker and triggering thoughts of times past tense. So real did the memories become that I nearly expected a figure from my past to come around a corner or step into the room and so complete the recollection. Of course, that did not happen and I merely stood there [for a moment] ... smelling. It's amazing how much can pass through the mind in an instant. This particular pause made me wonder, if only for a moment before being swept back into the frenzied flurry of work orders, cable outlets and signal levels that is my day, what do I really want?

What DO I really want? It's a question we are asked all the time. (Usually at restaurants, or at least that is the most prevelant idea that comes to mind.) "What would you like to eat?" "Would you prefer paper or plastic?" "Can I help you?" "Would you like a hand with anything?" We are often asked the question, as these thoughts occured to me, it dawned on me that it has been a long time since I have seriously considered it in application to myself.

The second moment, perhaps more strange, if at least in the trigger, was this afternoon as I was driving around disconnecting the cable services of people. (Not at random, mind you, though that would be rather funny!) I was working inside one of the green boxes you see in back alleys or in a clump in one lucky homeowner's front lawn. I was finishing up when something shiny on the ground beside me caught my eye. For a moment, it seemed to be a face. Composed of a scrap of aluminum and a cigarette butt, it appeared to be an image - an image of a face smoking a cigarette. I had to take a picture. It was such a strange sight to see. What could be the significance of this? I don't smoke, and for that matter I know very few people who do. The face looked almost ghastly, but no specific message was immediately clear from this. But again, it caused me to pause, if just for a moment, and wonder. Is there more to life than this?

Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

I believe there is, of course, more to life than just what we see and feel. I suppose you could look back on my own life and even point to different experiences that might serve as evidence to support that belief. The armed robber swinging his hatchet in my face when I was 15, stopping with the blade right between my eyes. Listening to my dad's explanation of how it seemed my head had been upheld just long enough for him to catch it in his hands as I fell over backwards after running full tilt into the back of van, catching the roof of my noggin on the top of the back door to the van. He'd been standing over 8 feet away and had to climb over the rock we were loading into the back of the van. Had he not caught it, my head would have smashed upon the sharp rock. Countless times a query'd been pondered on end without result until after only a simple prayer - the solution became immediately clear. I simply can't believe in coincidence. Things don't just happen without a reason. The world is too complex; too intricate; to wonderful to have just happened. There has to be more. There has to be purpose - and where once I thought I knew mine, I have since wandered so strayfully from that place and that calling that I don't know what I'm doing anymore. It seems right now a man on a round rubber tube in a pond with one paddle would make more headway than I.

I had a moment of clarity this afternoon, just for a second and to be honest it was more sobering and startling than a two by four to the forehead. What if I squander this life? I see my share of nursing homes and long term care facilities where the elderly still struggle to find meaning. To find purpose. To make a difference. It's not hard to see, just listen to the way they talk. The way they gossip. The way they converse with strangers, cable guys who happen to be sharing the same elevator. They are no nearer finding their purpose in life than one nearly a third their age! I'm not going to wait till I'm nearly spent to discover why I'm here. That would be a horrible tragedy! How bittersweet to find your function at the end of your life. Oh to have known then what I know now - how different life might be! I think one of life's little secrets is seeking the wisdom of age while posessing the energy of youth.

Looking Through The Round Mirror

Oh ya, and I also found a pair of speakers, a digital JVC receiver, a 5-Disc CD Changer, and a Commodore 1902a monitor in a back alley today under a sign that read, "Free! Free! Very Easy To Take All!" I wrote Thanks with a happy face underneath.
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