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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Getting an EV Charge on the Street

Screen Shot for Blog Screen Shot for Blog

Sometimes one doesn't notice something right under one's own nose. (Or at least down at the street.)


There's free electric-vehicle charging on one corner of Sixth and Carnarvon. This project is a collaboration between BCIT and the city of New Westminster. It encourages electric vehicle ownership and uses in areas where condos have not yet provided changing facilities. It has helped make me less hesitant about deciding my future move to an EV.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

It'll Fit Like a Glove

Last week, I noticed on the Hyundai Canada website that they'd started taking pre-order deposits for their upcoming all-electric Kona. I emailed to set up an appointment to test drive one with an internal-combustion engine. I was curious just how compact the vehicle really is.

In the showroom, the Kona looked is a little dwarfed by the Santa Fes and Tuscons. However, I knew I am in the market for a new, little cross-over. One can look at pictures and read the stats, but seeing, whether a vehicle is appropriate, requires a physical encounter. We got our chance to open the doors and try climbing in and out. It does sit higher than most of the sedans stilling around. The rear is a bit tight on the knees, but we seldom have back-seat passengers. So far, so good.

Showroom Kona

My appointment was at 10:30, but Jay and I were a bit early. The electric drivetrain models don't ship until towards the end of the year. Yet, we wanted to get out on the road to see about the car's visibility and general feeling. The salesman provided this one for us.

Coquitlam Hill Test
Our Usual Parking Lot

I felt right at home driving the Kona. We didn't go far. I drove places where I could see what it was like backing up and turning at dead-end streets. We were probably back on the lot in 20 minutes.

I was pretty happy with the results. I can picture myself in one. Admittedly, I am as excited about getting a completely electric vehicle as much as any other aspect. I cannot imagine there will be a surplus of these, so I did put my $1000 returned from Tesla, and gave it to Lougheed Hyundai today.

By the third week in April 2019, they should have one waiting for us. The logistics of getting rid of the old Ranger and having this ready for pick up is tricky. We will need the vehicle after getting back from winter in SE Asia. I'm sure it'll all work out fine.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Doing Errands in July Weather

I parked on the roof of the building on Sixth Street. This morning, I had to go to the doctor's office to renew a prescription.


It took longer than I expected, not only because he was running late, but also due to how long he chatted with me.

The Waiting Room

Next, I dropped off my prescription at the uptown Walmart. I always drive up to the roof parking there as I like the top of the Royal City Mall. It is like one huge secret. Whereas the main parking floors are always packed, I am often nearly alone up there. I guess I'd lived in New Westminster for close to ten yeas before I knew it existed.

My Personal Entrance

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer Sunday Morning

Evergreen ExtensionYup. If anyone complains about the heat I just cover my ears and say, "" (Then, I slap 'em.) I want to keep the high-pressure weather system directly overhead for the rest of the summer!

The great blue skies continued today. We made a goal of heading out to Coquitlam on the SkyTrain. I make it sound as though we undertook a great effort, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Evergreen extension to 'LaFarge / Douglas' was inaugurated a year and a half ago. We seldom go to Central Coquitlam and had never been on the newest 11-kilometer line. We waited for a train heading to the 'Production Way–University Station' and changed trains at 'Lougheed'. When headed on the new line, the train travelled through the 2-kilometer tunnel down a steep elevation.

Evergreen Extension
Evergreen ExtensionEvergreen Extension

It only took a half hour to arrive at the end of the line. So, a person could live out there and still be downtown in a bit over an hour by SkyTrain. That must be why real estate appears to be booming in the area.

We walked the circumference of LaFarge Lake because it was such a lovely, sunny day. Getting back to our station was less than an hour and a half in total. So, we also drove up to Queen's Park to check out the kiddies enjoying the waterpark and petting zoo.

Queen's Park TodayQueen's Park Today

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Four Letter Korean Words: Niro and Kona.

I'm late today. I was enjoying the sun too much, perhaps. I'm adding this YouTube video without even watching through the entire thing. (Has my blog become just a place for bookmarks? Oh, how the mighty have fallen!)

Next week, I have arranged to visit a Hyundai dealership very close to where we do our weekly grocery shopping. I'm going to take a currently available internal-combustion-engine one out for a test drive. I want to see the form-factor in person. Today, I when we were heading to our Coquitlam Superstore, I drove past the place to ensure I could find the location on Tuesday.

Perhaps it is a blessing that KIA couldn't manage to have a Niro PHEV ready for me in April. From Malaysia, I had contacted a local dealership. Actually, the plug-in hybrid models are STILL not offered in Canada yet.

However, their sister company from South Korea is already taking deposits for delivery of an all-electric Kona. Is it time to request my $1000 Canuk bucks back from Tesla so I can put it down on one of these guys? Coming back from SE Asia after the winter to one might be perfect! It might be a perfect match for what should be in my downstairs parking stall next summer.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Music by the River

Ho-hum, another sunny day. One is a precious thing here in British Columbia; I should be more attentive and appreciative.

Yet after several days of sunshine, we've now got to start worrying about forest fires. It seems as if some parts of this province don't get constant rain, they burn! We don't often see much of that down here next to Vancouver, but during some summers we can be bothered by smoke. Let's not even consider that scenario yet!


Has another week sped by so quickly? I truly, truly appreciate the copious amount of free time I have. I was thinking of that when I found myself walking back from the other end of downtown.

I returned by the river and through Pier Park wearing my large Sony earphones. I was trying to locate exact requests to the Google Assistant which would play relaxing nature sounds. I figured if I could get the Google Home Mini on my bedtable to cooperate, it would come in handy at the start of my daily naptime. The Google assistant replied:
"Since I couldn't find the album Mozart's Music for the Night with Sounds of the River in your music libary, here's a similar mix on Google Play Music."
The playlist of classical music was a nice diversion. I sat on a park chaise lounge. I listened for the longest while while watching the Fraser River rush towards the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Paint Outside / Future Fiber Inside

Finally, the painters have gotten to this side of our building! We have had a pretty bare balcony since we got back from the winter. The painting of both towers is taking some time, but when they finish our corner, they're done! It sure takes a lot of work to complete two highrises.

One of our tasks today was to do some banking. A number of account updates come due for renewal in July. We have successfully changed everything to come due during our summers in British Columbia. For example, I recently changed our condo insurance to a different company but the starting and renewal dates will always be on August 1. It feels good to jet away in November and know there's nothing to which we'll need to attend until the spring.

Something else big happened this evening. We have known for a while that Surf Media Inc was coming to the lobby of our building. A few years back our little municipality installed fiber throughout much of the city. Businesses now resell Internet and data to residents over it. We arranged to do so. We gave up our Telus landline in 2017 when opting to use Ooma for a VoIP residence phone. Once, we had satellite TV but have used Telus for TV for at least a half-dozen years. Our ADSL Internet through them is years and years older than that! Pretty soon it'll all be history. We signed up for just 75 Mbps service today, but it is theoretically three times faster than what I'm using to post this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Daily Mix 1

When this time of year finally hits British Columbia, our weather sets up for a few weeks of beautiful blue skies. It may be obvious here because the cloudless sky is quite stunning, especially for those so used to dark, grey clouds.

Community Construction
Park Grasses

Today, I sat for a while, much longer than planned, in Pier Park. I was connected to New West City Wifi and streaming Spotify. The warm breeze and sun on my face felt great. I hope this part of BC stays under the high-pressure system for the rest of the month. Now that would be a great birthday present!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

You Light Up My Life

For much of my 58 years, a bulb was a bulb.

At first, except for fluorescent tubes, all our bulbs were incandescent. In 1996, after we came to New Westminster, we may have had one halogen desk lamp but Thomas Edison would have been quite at home with all the bulbs in our lamps. Then, during the following decade, we went completely to compact fluorescents. From the initial, twisty, bluish ones to the traditional bulb-shaped ones which were warmer. None of these lasted very long, especially in high-service locations. Finally, we've begun to move to LED bulbs over the past year or two.


My taste in light bulbs has rather quickly evolved. After yesterday's purchase, I got two more wifi-enabled, smart, coloured bulbs at Walmart. At last, after more than 150 years of technological stagnation, home lighting is improving rapidly.

Monday, July 09, 2018

My Own Little Red-Light District

Another day mentioning home automation? Clearly, people need something to keep them occupied. Fortunately, for me, for years now, that hasn't had to involve working for anybody else. So, I'm back at the task of ensuring that requests spoken to Google Home can include apartment lighting.

My Amazon OrderMy four, wireless-wifi, outlet sockets will not arrive from Amazon for another day or two. I needed to try something other than commanding Netflix programs be played on the TV. Rather than bothering with Walmart Canada's rather poorly-designed website, I wanted to see what was actually on the shelves at the uptown Supercenter. I took a quick trip to the Royal City Mall. The cabinet with some of the smart home devices was locked but an associate opened it and give me to time check the boxes against what I could learn on the web. Hum, hadn't heard of Merkury Innovations, but I spied a 75-watt, coloured, LED smart-bulb.

Most any wifi-enabled device will work with my Google Minis as long as the product has an app which can be linked to Google Home. My original idea was to try to keep things simple and see if I could use the Smart Life app, as I know that will work with my future sockets. I did add the bulb and linked it. Unfortunately, that app could only turn the light on and off. I paid the extra $3 for the coloured bulb, and damn it I want to be able to add an IFTTT recipe so when I say, "Blue Moon" the living room will change accordingly and allow us to bask in that hue. Hum, what will my codewords for red, or green be?


I decided to load the suggested app for this bulb. It is called, Greeni. I can now say, "Okay Google, turn on the tall light in the living room." It will. Next, I can ask it to "change to orange and dim" and I can see it magically happen. I was going to use one of the four plugs for our living room table lamp. Yet, maybe I will save to use it elsewhere and get another one of these bulbs. I could create a group and add them. Watching TV might be relaxing if we have several dimmed, red lights on.

Barking at a lamp and seeing an immediate effect is satisfying. I like giving orders. Perhaps feeling like a tiny dictator is the reason I'm keen on all of this.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

"Hey Google, Who Was Here Tonight?"

"I'm sorry I cannot help with that, yet."

Don't worry. I can remember from a few hours ago without the help of a digital assistant. Today, we had a 'duck dinner' here. We found that today was the only day our friends could all get together this month. As one of the group members has to work odd hours we called everybody over for dinner at 3:00 as we had to end the evening at 8:00.

The Dinner

Today we ate couscous and chicken tajine. That was a different choice than Jay had created offered before.The BridgeI picked up a few growlers at Central City Brewing early today. So, after chatting a bit, we went for a pre-dinner walk. It was my idea to head up on the Pattullo Bridge. It's not far away but very scary as the eighty-year-old structure is really narrow. The zooming traffic, none of which follows the posted speed, is inches away from the one, tiny sidewalk. Oh, and there's literally no barrier for the pedestrians. Apparently, we all made it off unharmed for walked around Pier Park after looking down on it from the ageing right-of-way.

The Pano

After the meal, we used our short remaining time of the evening, sitting around talking. We talked amongst ourselves and kept shouting, "Okay, Google!" It was the first exposure to a speaker with a built-in electronic assistant for our guests. We asked questions, played songs, and watched silly YouTube videos by saying as unlikely things as, "Play cat videos on the TV."

Saturday, July 07, 2018

A Few Things Which Happened One Day ...

This has been called an eJournal since 2003. Sometimes entries describe our travels, while at other times they simply contain ideas. Sometimes I recommend something or other. I complain too, but not often. Then there are days when, as the name suggests, it is just a journal.

We did our grocery shopping today. That is a pretty standard habit on Saturday mornings. One unusual thing about doing so was where we parked our truck. At about 8 o'clock I had to run down and park across the street in our municipal parkade structure. Our condo building had its parking levels power-washed today. We had to make sure our stalls were empty until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. This means we drove to our Coquitlam Superstore starting from across the street and when we returned, we carried the bags back through Columbia Station to the elevators by the SkyTrain.

Jay was working on making a few things for tomorrow's dinner as we are looking forward to dinner guests from about 3:00 PM. The weather went from showers early on to rather clear skies presently.

Oh, and see the little white and grey, puck-looking thing which sneaked into the bedroom ...


I guess one can't get more 'journally' than this, eh?

Friday, July 06, 2018

Boys Forever Need Toys

It sneaked into the room inconspicuously sitting near the back of a living room table. I got a Google 'Home Mini' because the little device looked cheap on its current, half-off sale. It has already given me a ton of enjoyment and much to consider about how stuff works.

I'd not given much thought to home automation. As I said to someone in an email, "I used to laugh at the whole idea --- thinking that it'd be better if people got off their asses to switch off the bathroom light." Basically, for me, home automation could only mean lighting though.

I don't need a smart thermostat because we no longer live here during winters and we primarily use a gas fireplace for heat. We don't own a single smart appliance not only because they weren't an option when we got most of everything, but because we have such a simple life there's not much to automate.


However, after a few days of actual banter with Google Home in my home, I've changed my tune. I am speaking figuratively not when I have said, "Okay Google. Play my 100 Song playlist on my TV's HTS."

I am going to buy another Mini for the bedroom although this whole apartment is less than 725 sq ft. Today, I also ordered a 4-pack of wifi, smart plugs on Amazon. From bed, I want to be able to say, "Okay Google. Turn on the living room lamp." Or while on the couch, I might like to request that 'News 1130' be cast to the bedroom Mini.

It's all kind of silly but the 'Home Assistant' suckered me in. I posted this on Mastodon today:
After my Google Home told me when a movie was playing locally, I said, "Okay Google, thanks." It replied, "Wow it is not for nothing that people say Canadians are nice."

Thursday, July 05, 2018

When the 'Big One' Comes

It seems I was uptown at the Royal Mall twice today.

In the Mall

First, I took Jay's bus pass and dropped off a photocopy of my present homeowner's insurance at the place I buy auto insurance. I really can't remember how I took out our original condo insurance because it was so long ago. I may have telephoned and received paperwork by post. I have used TD Insurance for years now. I figured I would see if Westland Insurance could match my coverage and price. If they could, I assumed I might as well deal locally and occasionally see a person in the process. I started to walk home and had made it all the way downtown before a #106 arrived.

The second time I went up was to sign a piece of paper and put a new policy on my card. I drove. In between, there were a number of emails and at least one phone call. I'm tired although this errand should not have taken much effort at all. I still need to check with our resident manager to remind myself what, if any, extra coverage is needed for earthquake protection. Afer all, this is British Columbia! Depending on what I learn, I may need to modify my decision and/or policy.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


It'd been sitting by the gas fireplace for twenty years. Before that, the 2.5' vase spent two years in our rental apartment on Agnes Street. Prior to being in Canada, it had survived along with most of our possessions on a sea voyage in a container from Dubai. We bought the Iranian piece of pottery from Sharjah in the UAE in the mid-90's. Ceramic items used to arrive by dhow from Iran.

It now sits downstairs in a dumpster in five pieces.


Today, I was moving furniture so I could plug the Google Home Mini into a different location in the living room. I heard the familar object tip over and smash behind me.


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