Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Old Way Works Just Swell

For a few weeks, I've been shaving like my grandfather used to. The entire experience has been a positive one.

The Old Way Works Swell

Amazon delivered the heavy Wilkinson razor at the end of August. So, I've had enough time to make this type of shaving a part of my routine. I like it. I need to shave daily and do so in the mornings. My face seems so smooth! It really doesn't take longer to prep for a real shave because I use gel from a can. Time isn't a problem anyway as I've not had to rush to work for about six years. 

There's something downright manly about dropping a new blade into the razor. The sharp, two-sided blades are wrapped in paper and come in little plastic packs of five. There's a slot to store the used ones 'neath the fresh ones. 

I shave the right side of my face with one side of the safety blade and the opposite with the other. I've found a blade will easily last a week.  Today, in fact, after shaving, I put in a new one. This means on Mondays I'll always wake up to a new blade and, on Thursdays, I'll flip it over. It'll be time to switch it out next Sunday. I guess I find routine comforting in the morning. 

There's a world of practitioners for whom blade-brand choice remains paramount. Amazon Canada sells blade variety packs so one can pick a favourite from the dozens of offerings. Being slightly more practical, I simply chose the 100-pack with the best reviews and cheapest cost. My Derby Premiums were manufactured in Turkey. They boast chromium-ceramic-platinum-tungsten and polymer coated edges. Wow!  All 20 five-packs cost a total of CA$ 9.60. So, for a mere US$ 7.20, I have a two-year supply.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Trying Some Gray PLA Filament

Today, I took no photos of our activities as our usual grocery shopping in Coquitlam was about the only thing we did. We were happy because we had some rain today and it is now clear enough to see Surrey across the Fraser River from us. The air advisory that had been in effect here for 10 days has been lifted.
  New Task  
For today's post, I'll include a photo taken moments ago. My 3D-printer is still working on the print-in-place model. The idea is probably more profound than the results will be. Being able to produce objects with pieces that are already assembled really seems like magic. I have already printed some chain bracelets which are permanently linked together. I'm not so sure about this one, but in a few hours more, I'll be able to test it.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Few Weather Spark Charts

Today, we retreated to the Metrotown Mall again!  Us? 

We went to get out of the apartment and walk around in a smoke-free environment. Today, Vancouver can hardly brag about officially having the worst air quality in the entire world. The winds from the south bringing the west coast wildfire smoke into the province are due to shift this weekend.  Hallelujah! One thing we used to be able to count on in British Columbia is clean air. 

Speaking of air, I have included a graph. It shows average January air temperatures, not cleanliness. They may look warm for Canada.  However, I have also included a second chart to show the same information for our planned location during January 2021.  All this data can be found on
New Westminster, BC, CANADA
  Average January Temperatures in New Westminster, BC CANADA  

Our Probable Location

Average January Temperatures in Playa del Carmen, MEXICO

In the top chart, 1°C and 7°C are equal to 34°F and 45°F respectively.

On the bottom, 18°C and 28°C correspond to 64°F and 82°F on the US scale.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Aftermath

The smoke from US wildfires is still choking the area. Yet, some progress has been made over the past few days on the smoke from the Westminster Pier Park fire. Cranes have removed a great deal of the western end of the deck. Once the fire is exposed, it can be doused with water. 

Today, even a small number of the piers were removed. Today, we heard initial reports that arson is suspected and that a person has been brought into custody. That adds a new layer of complexity to the sadness we feel. Here are a few shots from our balcony.

No More Love Locks Here

Pulling Old Piers

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

We're Not Letting It Slow Us Down

In 2020, I would venture that a fair number of hobby, 3D-printers have produced this object.
  Coronavirus Model

Of course, it's a coronavirus model.  I printed it this afternoon. 

COVID-19 has surely affected the world. We didn't know if we would be able to head off to a warm spot for the winter of 2020/21. Prior to the travel restrictions, we had been thinking of a lot of new and different options. Since our early retirement, we've generally avoided this area's dreary winter months. 

It appears that none of our original ideas for this winter will come to pass. However, we have stumbled upon a new plan for a less-distant destination. In fact, we picked up some one-way tickets on the WestJet website last night. A 25% discount ended at midnight.  We will ride out the situation by adapting as new circumstances develop. We've chosen a beach city we've never seen except through Internet photos. We can travel nearly all the way there on a non-stop from Vancouver in less than six hours.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Smoke is Not Only in My Eyes

Today, the smoke in downtown New West was wicked. The smoke from the US forest fires is blanketing a lot of British Columbia. However, it is the Sunday night blaze at Westminster Pier Park that is affecting us more. The old timber was soaked in creosote and the resulting smoke is toxic. The fire won't be completely out until the pier's deck is completely removed.

When the wind blows directly towards us, it is barely tolerable. We can even smell the smoke in our bathroom as our washer and clothes dryer are in a closet there. The smoke can blow in from the dryer vent on the outside of our building! Also, our buildings' exhaust systems pull the smell into the hallways. 
  Mid-Autumn Festival - T&T Supermarkets  
So, we decided to go to the mall today. We're not mall rats. In fact, although the largest mall in British Columbia is only a few kilometers from us in Burnaby, we hardly ever go inside. Today though it made an excellent place to walk in a smoke free environment. We needed to get in our 5K of steps, somewhere!  

The photo was taken in the T&T, a large Asian chain here. We love the variety in these supermarkets. Jay says they usually have the best quality curry leaves. The photo shows that the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival will soon be here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Westminster Pier Park Fire

Old Section with Original Piers

Pouring Water

Last night we witnessed a loss for our community.  The far end of Westminster Pier Park on the Fraser River was involved in a blaze.  That half of the park had volleyball courts, a sand section, umbrellas and hammocks, and our famous public art project of  four shipping containers creating an enormous 'W'.  It's too early to attribute a cause, except that reports indicated a brush fire earlier near the base of the SkyTrain Bridge.  I'll post a few of my comments left on Facebook last night and made to friends today.  


Half the park was on 100+ year old piers from the days of canneries. The newer, rebuilt section is okay as it is steel. The old creosote timbers will likely require dousing for days. I don't expect the old part will ever reopen as the fire developed under the pier. The photo was taken with my ordinary phone, so it was close. However, we were not concerned about it escaping its area. This morning, there is heavy smoke from this and the US wildfires. Can hardly see across the river ...
We walked out early-in at about nine to watch. They eventually closed the parkade. Our balcony view was fine but we can't see what happened to the W. It's going to take days to extinguish the fire burning 'neath the old creosote timbers from cannery days. I don't expect that part will ever reopen as is. The elevator and newer pedestrian bridge (which you've not seen) is fine as it's on newer steel pilings. Our windows are closed. Between the continuing smoke and wildfires we cannot see the other side of the river. There's the poisonous smell of burning creosote.

I put a FB picture last night. We went to watch but had a 'pretty good' view from the balcony. It's still being doused as the old part still had creosote timber from the cannery days. When the wind blows this way, it smells bad.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Lowe's Down

The day ended up pretty much the same as it started: with a thick haze from the wildfires on the US west coast.  It really wasn't advisable to do much strenuous exercise outside today.  The lack of view ensured that it'd not be pleasant anyway.

5:30 PM 5:30 PM Balcony Image
9:15 AM9:15 AM Balcony Image

We ventured over to Queensborough in the car.  We got our $100 back from Lowe's Home Improvement.  At the end of June, we were psyched to have some bathroom reno work done.  We paid a $100 deposit that would have been subtracted from the final total.  

We thought going through 'experts' would be a good idea.   Having plumbing work done here requires municipal permits and we thought their contracting affiliates would know the ropes.  The entire process was a non-starter.  We drove back to the location several times to enquire why we'd not heard anything.  Once, we picked out the type of materials we wanted.  Still, nothing happened.  Neither the store nor the contractor ever contacted us.  We followed up several times and were assured that we'd get telephone calls within a day.  Those days never came.  Clearly, I'd not recommend organizing your home renovations through the Lowe's in Queensborough, New Westminster!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Personal Quote #142

"This has been a weird summer. I've spent more on coffee than beer."

Dennis Sylvester Hurd (1959- )

K is for K-cup Killing the planet, one k-cup at a time.

Friday, September 11, 2020

My Classroom from July 2008

I was searching Flickr to display my photographs with common tags, such as table.  I discovered it is an amazing way to access my 30,600+ online photographs.  For example, this one from summer classes in 2008 popped up amongst a copious variety. 

I was going to wait until my 2014 retirement-date anniversary before remarking on how very long ago it seems.  At times, I still miss being in charge of a classroom full of eager students.  But considering how different things are in 2020, I'm definitely glad I took early retirement.

I would find it really hard to run a classroom without having everyone in groups at tables. Group work was my modus operandi. Getting the room set up was something I'd have to arrive early to class to do. Students used to help me re-arrange things when classes were finished. 

Now however, because of COVID-19, this would all be a big no-no. We all have the ability to change for present realities, I guess. Yet, how very sad!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Bit of Beadboard and Some MDF Trim

Buttercup?  OK.

Andrey was here last Thursday and installed the beadboard. He was booked up last Friday. Then, it was a long weekend. We didn't schedule him for Tuesday as it was Jay's birthday. Yesterday, Andrey's morning job ran late. So, he was back today. 

We liked our installer's attention to detail even though that slowed him down a bit. Our choice of Buttercup Yellow seems a tad bright, but if entropy teaches us anything, then it's that the colour has already started to fade.
  More of a Nook

Now Only Crown Moulding Paint

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Blue Sky, Foreign Smoke, and a Virtual Walk

Much Less Smoke  
Most of the smoke from the Washington wildfires cleared out today. Although the Canadian/US border is closed to non-essential travel, nature needn't follow the same rules as people. This is what it looked like from our balcony yesterday. The temperatures remained nearly 30C but they'll probably get back to closer to normal this weekend.

Sudden Smoke from Distant Wildfires

This means it's fair game to continue researching places where it stays warm and sunny from November through April. This is still true, even, though at this point, we don't know if we will be able to travel at all this winter. 

Oh, Google Street View, I Love You! 

I absolutely enjoy dropping into a place. and walking the streets before ever visiting in person. Go ahead, click it.
  Google Street View, I Love You!

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Fish Cutlets and Other Food of the Day

Sri Lankans make creating food a part of everything.  Tropical places have access to both great fresh fruit and a variety of vegetable plants.  They're an island surrounded by fish.  Oh, and there are the multitude of spices!  Jay's own birthday was the reason for the food pictures today.  

It started with milk rice in the morning, eaten with palm sugar and ambarella chutney.  There were fried snacks, a method of cooking seldom allowed in this apartment.  Today's coffee/chocolate cake was sweet enough to please without any frosting.  There was no room on it for the number of candles necessary for today's occasion.  Finally, there was a meal with basmati rice and nine items.  

In recent years, we've either been away or close to away during Jay's birthday.  So, he enjoyed doing all the work to create these.  It was kind of a little-bit the Asian way, where the person having the birthday brings the cake for all the others to enjoy.

Sri Lankan Snacks

Milk Rice

Coffee/Chocolate Cake

Special Lunch

Monday, September 07, 2020

Happy Labour Day!

An extra special thanks goes to all those who work hard, so we no longer have to do so. 

Quick Charged My Car for 15 Min w/ This View 
Jay and I stayed right in town today. The roads were eerily quiet early on. We bought some vitamins in a nearly empty London Drugs this morning. There were many more souls in the uptown Walmart

Before driving back down the hill, we pulled into Queen's Park. We parked at the fast DC charging stations near the skatepark and plugged in.  We crossed McBride Blvd on the pedestrian overpass. The photo above was taken from the end of the bridge overlooking Victoria Heights. The Fraser River is a bit wide on its bend before coming through New Westminster. 

From the balcony, this next shot was taken before lunch. Later in the afternoon it'd warmed up by another 3°C. As we have no sure winter plans yet, I'm hoping that days like this sunny 28°C will stick around for months!
  Loving September

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Burnaby's Bryne Creek and Taylor Park

It was another day to explore new places that are close by. We've been visiting local parks in New Westminster and the surrounding cities this summer. When we were working we never took the time to see so many things right in our own backyard. Today, we headed to Bryne Creek and saw Taylor Park in the Edmonds neighbourhood of Burnaby, BC. First we parked on the street and walked to the edge of the Bryne Urban Trails. Then, we walked back to the car and moved it to the parking area of Taylor Park.
  Many Paths and Trails

Need to Look Up

Edge of the Housing  
Interestingly, we saw that Taylor Park used to be the location of the Burnaby dump. I knew that old garbage areas are reclaimed as open land. I think it's rather great that the old methane is burnt off rather than escaping into the atmosphere. We were so close to Edmonds that we stopped on the way home at our fruit and vegetable place, Langley Farm Market.
  Former Dump


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