These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Victoria Day Monday

For the past few days, the weather's been weird, starting out grey and eventually getting sunny by the evening. That is what happened today too. We went up to Queen's Park before lunch. As this is the Canadian long-weekend, our summer has unofficially started. This means many things but one is that the kid's petting zoo has reopened in Queen's Park.

There were goats and sheep this year. Young pigs were cavorting around the fenced area. The peacocks were in their enclosure and other ducks and chickens were there. I saw no rabbits and no calf could be found this year. Sometimes animals arrive a few weeks after the opening. The animals spend the summer and then go back to farms after Labour Day.

Petting Zoo Opens
Petting Zoo Opens
Petting Zoo Opens

Before heading up to the park, Jay and I did wash the truck. I will have owned it for 22 years next month. This is the old Ranger I was ready to replace as soon as we got back from our winter in SE Asia. KIA Canada couldn't get a Niro PHEV for me, so I decided to wait for another year.

As we will take it a short 2-day road trip starting tomorrow, Jay figured we could remove a layer or two of grime. Damn, it looks pretty good for its age, doesn't it? In that respect, it is just like me, I guess.

Petting Zoo Opens

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Heat Seekers

Our morning stayed cloudy and rather cool. It wasn't until after 5:00 PM that things cleared up. I do feel sorry for those Canadians outside trying to enjoy the Victoria-Day long weekend while camping and such. At least we didn't see rain locally.

Better weather is coming later in the week. We are thinking about getting away for an overnight in Kamloops on Tuesday and Wednesday. We haven't been to British Columbia's dry terrain for a while. Presently, the weather forecast for the BC interior looks great and a bit hot. Well, let me be more accurate: some people might consider 30°C as hot. We, however, regularly seek out places with temperatures above that.

In fact, today we picked up early tickets for next winter! Today was the very first day it was possible to buy tickets for a return on our favoured date next spring. As a rule, it is not possible to purchase air tickets more than eleven 11 months ahead. The price was as low as we've seen it. Yay. We're staying a few days in Taiwan on our way to SE Asia. It will be our first visit to Taipei.

New Travels

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spreading my Net-Self Thinner

Interestingly as an early-adopter and heavy-user, I found giving up Facebook relatively painless. However, wiggling my way out from under Google seems a tougher task. Changing my email to an alternative provider was easy. Yet during a trial earlier this month, I sorely missed the usefulness of 'near me' Google searches. I switched back. Consolidation just begets more and more of it.

A few areas of my Internet activity tip towards huge, alternative Internet companies. For instance, I book facets of travel on my Expedia account far too often. At least choices exist. I have purchased expensive air tickets from other companies. Getting to them is simple with the help of sites such as Kayak, or Trivago. They can send me directly to alternate vendors. Before I retired, travel had to be booked for specific dates. I seldom needed the 'big picture' in pricing. In order to try getting an overview of good deals, I defaulted to Hopper (on Android).

Screenshot 2018-05-19 12.15.45

Now suddenly, I find myself back on Google! They surely have a vast number of tentacles reaching into all sorts of places. I am always fascinated when I remember to visit Google Flights. It's not a service they push, but it is a great resource. I don't even notice time passing when I am in the middle of trying numerous scenarios. There is magic in big data, especially when it feels as though it's not directly my own.

(Now, with a substantial amount of irony, I must mention that this text sits somewhere on Blogger servers.)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Metal Rather Than Leather

For exercise, I walked to uptown New Westminster this morning. There was no reason to duck into the London Drugs but I did check my blood pressure on the machine near their pharmacy department.

As I continued through the aisles which contained items from food to computers, I thought, "How neat!" It was as though I was walking through a physical Amazon. All the items were available for purchase here too. However, in the store, I could actually pick up the items and take a closer look. As we buy more products online, I wonder if this reaction will become more commonplace.


Another little package from Amazon Canada did arrive in the afternoon. I got a replacement Swiss Army knife for the one taken at the Hong Kong airport last winter. When I boarded at Vancouver, I was assured it was permissible to carry the tiny knife onboard under the most-recent rules. Unfortunately, the border guard in HK didn't agree. It was in my pocket for more than halfway to my destination! I do like having a knife on my keychain. This time, I got a marginally larger one so I'll remember to put it in my luggage or leave it at home.

Also, my RFID-protection, metal wallet came. It is really just a card holder as I only keep a folded $20 bill for emergencies. One sometimes sits in my wallet for a whole year without being unfolded. When folded, plastic Canadian notes eventually get sharp creases which will prevent them from lying flat.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Back to Big Seats for Big ...

AvengersHey, wait a minute! Yesterday's posting was about movies but we're not turning into an entertainment blog. This place is still all about me and mine. I cannot think of another subject worthy of 15-years of daily comments.

Today, Jay and I decided to finally see the newest Marvel® flick. Oh my! Talk about overkill; this movie was nearly its purest definition. I have to admit I sort of enjoyed all the onscreen mayhem. It succeeded in the ways a summer blockbuster should, even though it is not quite summertime yet. There was a lot of noise, copious CGI, and relatively interesting banter for dialogue. The 3D action made me only slightly nauseous.

We'd not been to our local cinema since getting back to New Westminster. We saw a fair number of movies over the winter in Penang, Siem Reap, and Pattaya. Oh. We have now been home exactly a month today! So although there was a certain amount of sticker shock involved, it was nice to remember the location of our local screens.


Big Enough

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cult Classics

I have some time to explore a new genre of films. I have a propensity for collecting the weird and unique. Many films in my permanent collection tend toward this type of film. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), Barbarella (1968), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and The Warriors (1979) are clearly staples in my collection of over 700 titles.

When one searches for cult movies online, a fair number of titles seem to show up on everyone's list. I'm determined to put a dent in those lists by downloading new mp4s and watching as many as I can.

Eraserhead (1977)

I've loved some of our recent viewings. For example, I can't believe I'd lived 41 years after the release of Eraserhead but had never seen it. Some of the other movies, however, are proving to be simply beyond me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Secrets are for Kids on a Playground


I need a new phone. I've been waiting for what seems like months to get the specs and pricing on a OnePlus 6. It will not be officially released until tomorrow, so other than hype, I've nothing to analyze. No, I don't want to fly to London in order to see the introduction of a new phone, no matter how wonderful it might be.

Perhaps it's me, but the marketing games that seem the norm nowadays are as annoying as hell. Is this how one must successfully launch a new product for millennials? I guess I'm too 'old school' but I still believe that a good product at a great price will always sell. It should not take silly special-events and long queues to release a new product. I find this modern game of withholding information for a big show both irksome and demeaning to the brand doing so.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Beautiful But Boastful BC

There may be times of the year when I feel sorry for this tree. Depending on the routing I take when I walk uptown, I can pass by it. Jay and I are able to lock our door, turn off the power and water, and board a plane to bask in tropical temperatures all winter. Vegetation, of course, cannot.

I did think this New Westminster plant looked especially well-suited to today's temperatures though and I imagined it was stretching out in the sunshine feeling just fine. I was.

Walking Uptown

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Park and an Ethnic Market

2nd Sunday in May
2nd Sunday in May
2nd Sunday in May
2nd Sunday in May

Jay was looking up the bus schedules in order to go to the Sri Lankan grocery shop on Fraser Street in Vancouver. He does have a monthly pass and feels like he should get his money's worth out of it. I suggested we drive instead. Queen Elizabeth Park is not terribly far away on Cambie Street. It is famous for the quarry garden and the views of downtown and the North Shore mountains.

From downtown New West, we took Marine Drive to Cambie. It had been a while since we travelled that road, especially since we generally go to the airport by going downtown by SkyTrain and transferring to the Canada Line. My! There has been a lot of growth near Boundry Road! That and the Marine Drive corridor nearer the airport are becoming cities of their own.

Jay said it was a long time since we went to Thurga Trading. They carry lots of products imported from Sri Lanka, things which are not available in the big supermarkets. Today, he picked up dried fish, palm treacle, and a bunch of other stuff. Also, on Sundays there is a selection of freshly made items. Of course, I'm strongly in favour of anything fried ...

2nd Sunday in May
Sri Lankan Food

Saturday, May 12, 2018

When High-Pressure is Welcomed

Okay, this seems a bit silly. I feel super excited now that the weather's getting hot here. Although we were in warm places for the whole winter, this time of year in British Columbia is fun.

Screenshot 2018-05-12 18.21.50

We plan on always returning from winters abroad during April. This should annually provide us with the excitement of experiencing the season's first, long, high-pressure system. In 2018, it is a little tempered by the fact many folks in the Okanagan are dealing with some 'once-in-200-years' flooding. When the weather gets too warm too early, the water from winter snowpacks can make the floods worse.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Housing Choices

I should really hike uptown and back every day. I feel so much better when I do.


There are so many cute houses above Royal between Sixth Street and Queen's Park! Some folks take a lot of pride in the appearance of their homes and yards. The properties are nearly out of reach for the middle class due to the area's run-away housing prices. Yet, I am tempted to imagine what it'd be like to have a small bungalow on a tiny, manicured lot there.

Then, I walk back down to our apartment beside the convenient SkyTrain. I see a 160-degree view of the river from our balcony. Again, I become aware how nice it is to have a small monthly HOA fee and the ability to easily lock our door and run away for winters. I can forgo a front yard.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Amazon Delivers Underwear?

A smart purchase generally means getting something for the lowest possible price. This, of course, can be penny wise and pound foolish. Always going with the lowest prices, for example, could lead to a neighbour's job going overseas or the erosion of an entire consumer group. It's pretty hard to argue with saving money though, even when it is a surprisingly small amount.

I found I could save just a bit over a dollar on several packages. Rather than buying Fruit of the Loom underwear at the uptown Walmart, it was cheaper to order on and have them delivered right to my own door. Sure, why not? This is not the type of merchandise one must evaluate in person, nor would I have been able to open up the packages in the store anyway.


When I got home from uptown yesterday I found an Amazon box in front of my door. Because of where I live, paying extra for Prime delivery is not necessary. When I choose the 'free shipping' option, I generally get my merchandise within two working-days.

Of course, I found several more things I could use and the box also had a pair of travel binoculars and some USB to USB-c cables. These will be necessary for a new mobile phone. So, it was nearly as easy to pick up unplanned purchases on their site as when in a physical store.

Why bother traipsing around a mall?

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Home Trust Visa Credit Card

Very few cards boasting no foreign-transaction fees are available in Canada To us, that is an important perk. I saved a lot of money with my Amazon Canada card offered through JP Morgan/Chase. You see, during our winters overseas, we generally do most shopping on a card to save on ATM withdrawals. Also the bonus, cashback rewards add up more quickly when everyday transactions are included.

New Card
I got a pack of RFID proximity blocking covers. I'll still be able
to tap my wallet for my transit card and not get double billed.

However, JP Morgan / Chase recently pulled out of the credit card business in Canada. I got plenty of notification that my old account was going to disappear in March. I liked that Amazon Visa card, even though I'd not had it long. Now, during trips down I5, we will get dinged an extra 2.5% or 3% on US transactions.

So, I checked to see what else I could find. Getting this card took a while as I applied for it from Cambodia. I guess they have been overwhelmed because other, ex-Amazon holders were also applying to Home Trust. I got a PIN in the mail last week, and our cards arrived today. We'll see my opinions over time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

It'll Wait

Although it was Tuesday, Jay didn't feel like going to the gym. He has a bit of a pain in the back; that is to say, besides me.

I had a couple of things I've got to do: 1) I really need a haircut but am going to find a barber who is willing take on a challenge 2) I promised to visit the bike shop to hunt for a moderately-priced hybrid style bicycle. Today, I did neither.

I really fit into this unharried style of retirement. All those people driven, in a mad rush to accomplish something notable, really go against my grain. I know I have a lot of time this summer and for the rest of them. More importantly, nothing I need to do needs to be done right away.

Life is meant to be enjoyed through its errands.

An enormous selection of pre-mixed seasonings for all types of dishes.

We went over to Queensborough to stop at the Bulk Barn. It is an amazing little shop in 'the Landing' which carries, well, bulk foods. I never knew there were so many kinds of everything. How about pasta made from quinoa and kale? Or can I interest you in a bit of freekeh or amaranth? All types of dried fruits, even pears, are available. We generally get some grains for our morning oatmeal and nuts or seeds for snacking. We avoid the aisles and aisles of candy and bulk junk foods.

Bulk Barn Booty

Monday, May 07, 2018

A Convergence of Holland America Ships


2018_05_06The last time the MS Noordam was docked at Canada Place, we got on it and sailed away towards Auckland, New Zealand. That was on September 24th and we didn't disembark until November 6th. All that time made us think of her as home. Yesterday, the HAL ship returned for the Alaskan cruise season and we had to run down to say hello.

Interestingly, we also spotted another HAL ship we were on last summer. We flew to Rome to catch the MS Westerdam for our 24-night Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise. We didn't know she'd be so close to home this summer.

Lastly, the MS Zaandam was in town too. Another Holland America vessel will make it here today.

So the sun was out, the weather was definitely spring-like and I felt very happy knowing this is our home. We travel a lot by choice, but our hearts remain here.



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