These small images link to photographs found in my currently-active Flickr album.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Our Third Widescreen Since 2006

One of the best things one can do to help the economy in times like these is to go out and spend some cash. Due to the amount being printed and thrown around by governments nowadays, our money is being devalued at an astonishing rate. I may as well turn some into a product that will provide some satisfaction.

Keep Spending

I have been considering upgrading our TV for a while. Most new televisions have been 4K for a couple of years. Our present LG still works but it is just 1080p and over 8 years old. I notice the edges now appear a bit darkened when showing a really white screen. I've got more than enough Internet speed to stream and download UHD. So, I ordered this through Amazon and a 'Purolator guy' carried the box up to our apartment this morning.

It is still in its box. I look forward to setting up the new TV tomorrow after vacuuming all the dust bears (bunnies are little) from the wiring in the corner behind the present TV. My biggest concern is wondering if a 55" screen will fit where the 47" is presently sitting.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Much of It Should've Never Been Here

Throwing out crap is good for the soul. Being a bit of a packrat means there's always a load ready for me to get rid of.


One has to be in the right mood to declutter. Today, I was in such a place. I said goodbye to many things which had been sitting in my closet since we moved into this apartment in 1998. There were old in-flight magazines and tourist maps from places we went in the 1990s. I had paystubs paid in UAE dirhams. I had receipts from bills paid decades ago. I got rid of a whole load of old teaching materials that would've never been used again. Experts suggest keeping six years of tax information, so all of it older than that is now gone. We filled up some of the recycling bins in our building. Actually, I'm a little sore from carrying it all. I feel emotionally freer, as well as physically, lighter.

My advice is to throw away this type of junk when you have the chance, and not to make someone else do it when you cannot.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

On This Day ...

Today is April 4th. This day seems very unlike this date three years ago; thankfully. You may scroll through my post from April 4, 2017 in this box.

Embedded blog post from April 4, 2017

Here are a number of posts related to Jay's heart surgery in reverse chronological order at this link.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Quarantine Countdown

Hum. The key effectiveness of a prison sentence must be the fact one is held against one's will.

Not a Great Day for Drying Clothes
This morning was not a great time to try drying clothes outside.

There's nothing very difficult about life right now. I mean we eat and sleep without interruptions. Everything in the apartment is functioning and we have a much better outdoor view than some. I even upgraded to a faster tier of Internet access. Yet, I keep counting down the days until we can get out of here. I don't think I've ever stayed so many continuous days on this floor of our building.

Because we flew in from Asia ten days ago, we are still on a mandatory two-week lockdown. Next Tuesday cannot come soon enough!

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Snow in April

This was the date we were scheduled to arrive home after our winter in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The COVID-19 situation affected the end of our stay in Kuala Lumpur. Our way home was cancelled when Taiwan closed its international airport. So, we got back to Canada eight days early.

On Our Balcony, New Westminster, BC
Snow on April 2, 2020
17-Second Video Clip

Although we left on the 31st of October, we had a chance to see a little snow this winter. Interestingly, this morning, we witnessed a snow squall blow up the Fraser River. It got here at around 10:30 AM.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The Cloud is Better than the Closet

Found in the Camcorder

Found in the Camcorder

It's now April! However, my interest in getting our old, personal videos online has been re-awakened. This is primarily due to having a near-empty, 1TB drive in the new computer, a processor with six cores, and the addition of real video editing software.

It was scary having around twelve SD cards sitting in a drawer with a couple of years of our precious memories. Jay takes video whenever we travel. Adobe Premiere Elements is much better than trying to use free software to combine clips.

This morning, I worked on a video from our trip to Montreal, Quebec last August. The software dutifully sucked in the files from a directory on my hard disk. It also found photo JPGs which can be saved in the Canon camcorder. It put them in the middle of the video! I had to re-render after I noticed the boring, slideshow in the middle of the action! I did upload them to Flickr though and that's how they're at the top of today's entry.

Our trip coincided with Montreal Pride. The video last about 24 minutes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Legumes and Other Things

LegumesWe still have one week left of our-two week, manditory quarantine. The days are pleasant enough, but I'd like to drive the car I bought last year. I'd also not mind feeling generally less cooped up.

I unpacked my new Mavic Mini but have yet to take it out of the confines of the building. Yesterday, I did press the button for it to take off. It directly buzzed into action raising about a meter off the living room carpet. I almost instantly made it land. So, so far, it has travelled two meters. This little machine gets positive remarks for its quietness. Perhaps when compared to larger drones it's muted, but quadcopters surely do make a racket!

The only photo of today shows some of the beans and chickpeas Jay cooked up to have with dinner. Everyone should eat more legumes, or so I'm told. These had been in hibernation over our winter. When soaked it is as if they come back to life. There really is something to this magical bean story ...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Paper Fades

Taif, Saudi Arabia
Taken outside of Taif, Saudi Arabia soon after we met in the mid-80s.

I'm wondering if all this uncharted time during our self-isolation would be put to productive use. I could spend at least three days scanning some of the old photos we found in Jay's house in Sri Lanka. Photographic paper doesn't stand up too well in the heat and humidity of the tropics.

Just now, I randomly pulled this from a little pile of photos on the edge of this table. I placed it on the glass of my scanner and I created a file that now exists on Flickr. I like the idea of arresting this image's inevitable, continued decay by digitizing it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Travel Videos that Require Our Explanation

Our Winter 2019-2020 (Embedded YouTube Video - 1:21:46)

Whenever we travel, Jay takes along our video camcorder. For quite a number of years, we've had a Canon HD device that uses full-sized SD cards. It has always been a major hassle getting video off a card and formatted for YouTube's permanent archiving. However, I'd feel better knowing all this information was safely online.

We don't want slick productions but rather just an easy way to re-watch the footage. Once online, we can show specific sections to others directly from the Internet. I can stream on a big TV, stop when needed, and explain to guests what they're seeing.

After getting this computer in Malaysia last month, I bought a new version of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. I wanted to try photo editing on a PC again and the video editing program was thankfully included too. I decided to see if it could help me with the chore of uploading to YouTube. Today, I playfully put in our SD card from this winter.

The software easily sucked in the hundreds of individual scenes from the memory card. It allows me to upload a single file right from inside the program! Neat. If there's a downside, it is simply going to be too easy to start playing. Adding titles, transitions, and music would be easy. However, true to our goals, I'll put all our vacations online as they are. I have at least a half dozen and possibly a full dozen SD cards now waiting in my fireproof box.

When I do get creative, I'll use high-quality video from my yet-undelivered DJI Mavic Mini drone. Get ready to view some summertime masterpieces shot from 125 meters in the sky!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Documented Proof

Okay.  Home.  Proven.

Whenever I flip on the TV or radio, a never-ending chorus of voices keeps advising me to stay home. I don't have any trouble with that. In fact, my greatest source of annoyance in life is always other people. Being told to keep away is sort of a welcomed recommendation. This self-isolation business is going to be a walk in the park, except that some of those spaces are closed too!

It didn't take long for us to put away our suitcases and organize life in the apartment. We even managed to sleep until 5:00 am today. Just as last year, it is going to take a long time to get adjusted to this time zone. From last November until the recent January, our life in Sri Lanka occurred twelve and a half hours ahead of BC. After that, for our most recent two months in Malaysia, clocks were set fifteen hours ahead of home. We find it takes us much longer to adjust to the changes when returning.

A bright spot in hunkering down is I can put off buying my car insurance. There's no need for it to begin before I can venture out on errands. April 7th is starting to look like an incredibly long ways away.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hurry Up, DHL!

It is headed to me (in its shipping box.) I was finally able to order my DJI Mavic Mini drone. I'm expecting the Fly-More kit which includes three batteries, extra props, and other goodies in a small cloth case.

DJI Mavic Mini

If you visit the following link, you will see the other four blog posts tagged with the category, drones. I didn't get serious about having one until last December. We were in Sri Lanka, so I had a lot of time to explore my options and decided on this particular model which had been recently released.

I read up on the fact this drone weighs less than 250 grams. This makes it a perfect travel drone and means it doesn't require a pilot's license in most countries. However, I took the Canadian, multiple-choice test online and passed anyway. I look forward to getting out this summer to shoot a few pictures and videos from 400 feet in the air! I'm sure, over the next few months, you'll continue to hear a lot from me about my newly-chosen hobby.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Self Isolating for Two Weeks

Entering Canada by Air

Getting back into Canada seems like it occurred days ago, although it's been almost 24 hours to the minute. Often flights from SE Asia come into YVR at night, so getting in before noon seemed unusual. We were able to accomplish so much yesterday afternoon and evening, or so it seems. Unpacking was a breeze.

The new computer arrived safely in my luggage. It sort of takes up too much room on the dining table, but we use just a part for food on normal days. Having Windows 10 completely set up from our time in Malaysia is nice. Everything is a go and I just ordered a few things on I sure do like Timothy's Rainforest Espresso k-cups. The 30-cup packages were on sale for $CA 12 each, so I got two. Saturday delivery? Sure, why not. It's not like we have any place to go.

We will be sticking around the apartment for two weeks. Will it be nerve-wracking or a relaxing time? Time will tell. These rules are for folks, like us, as we arrived in Canada during these times of rapid COVID-19 transmission. Interestingly, there are far more per capita cases of virus infection here than in the places we've been staying for the last five months. Life seems far from normal anywhere in the world right now, I guess.

The All-in-One Arrived in One Piece

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Goodbye Winter; Hello BC!

Day 146 - This is it! This is the very last entry tagged with 'Winter 2019-20'. We are flying home to Canada nine days earlier than we originally anticipated. We're also on a different airline than we'd thought even as recently as a few days ago. Although we leave at 8:00 am, we should arrive at YVR in around three hours. On a clock that is, for we have one 6.5-hour flight and another of 8.5. In the middle, we have a nearly three-hour transfer in Tokyo. We're time magicians!

This post is automatically set to publish at 8:00 am. Hopefully, that'll be exactly when our ANA flight takes off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Leaving a Week Early
Everything fit our suitcases and carry-ons, even the new 24" all-in-one computer. See you later, Kuala Lumpur.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Incredible Shrinking Number of Itineraries

Day 145 - Surprise! Effective immediately, Taiwan's International Airport has been shut for foreigners taking transit. This means our current departure on the 31st has been cancelled. Hong Kong did the same. It's not possible to get home through Bangkok now either.

Our means to get to Canada really are dwindling. Although the Taiwan airport is supposed to be closed for just one week, it's hard to know if the restrictions will be extended. I think we'll look at going back to Canada early through Japan. As I know any details, I'll post them below.

  • 7:55 AM - Have reservations for flights on ANA to Narita and then Air Canada directly to Vancouver

  • 11:40 AM - My phone has the boarding passes for ANA out of KUL at 8:00 AM tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. We have a stopover of fewer than three hours at Narita International Airport in Japan. Then, we will board a full Air Canada flight directly to Vancouver. We should get in at 11:10 AM on the same day.

  • 5:00 PM - We're mostly packed. Later, we'll nap tonight. I hope during the travel restrictions we can locate a Grab rideshare to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at around 4:30 AM tomorrow!

  • Monday, March 23, 2020

    Virtual Vegetables

    Screen Caputre: Grocery Shopping

    Day 144 - Remember when I used to silently smirk at those who bought groceries online? I thought it was simply a bid to save time. Honestly, if one didn't have time to pick out own's own tomato, then one's priority simply needed to be modified.

    Now that self-isolation will be required when we get back to Canada, I've changed my tune. We started learning what's on offer online from here, in Malaysia!

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