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

Friday, April 20, 2018

Mastodon is Free and Open Source

My Facebook account data is scheduled to disappear today. I am too afraid to try to login though. During a two week grace period before deletion if one enters the site, the request is abandoned. I don't want to risk it yet. I will give it a few more days to ensure my information, stretching back twelve years, is really, really gone.

#DeleteFacebook

Letting go of the pervasive social network has been a satisfying and humbling experience. I never followed FB fake news, but honestly I feel much better having gotten rid of FB fake friends. I mean, humans were not wired to maintain close, day-in-and-day-out contact with more than a couple of dozen people. Being bombarded with a manipulated 'news feed' from hundreds of people and millions of companies is simply not normal. Moreover, I can pin most of the blame on my friends for participating in stupid online quizzes and reposting non-stop links to prove their political views. That is what killed Facebook for me.

I've become a bit more of an advocate for free and open Internet, not for corporate data ownership and manipulation. I realize my tastes are far too nerdy for an average Joe. However, Mastodon is my new infatuation. It harkens back to Internet roots and even manages to hint at the pre-Internet days of computer BBSing.

Screenshot 2018-04-20 14.05.45

If you are truly interested in learning more, drop me an email. My new encrypted address is located on my blog's contacts page. Perhaps I can help you get set up in the 'Fediverse'.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Joys of Home Ownership

Badger 5I am wondering if I've lived in one place too long. I have to buy a new garbage disposal, or as Canadians say, a garburator. This one just froze up.

I reckon this is the third time I've had to purchase one for our apartment. I just verified in this blog that I put in new ones in 2004 and 2011. They are guaranteed for two years; however, we seem to get seven out of them. I suddenly seem okay with this.

I opened four websites before making a purchase. These are the order in which I opened them and they ended up showing the prices in descending order. You'll need to remember the prices are in Canadian dollars and the Canadian buck is worth around $US 0.79 at the moment.
$209.00 Rona.ca
$198.00 HomeDepot.ca
$189.00 Lowes.ca
$140.95 Amazon.ca
You might be able to guess why I didn't drive anywhere this afternoon. I can wait until next week for the Amazon delivery guy.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Lots of Little Things to Do

2018_04_18

There's only one problem with being home and it's that our bodies are still on a time zone that's around sixteen hours ahead of this one. We were dog tired last night but ended up wide awake at 4:00 AM. We got up to just ride it out.

There are a multitude things about being home which aren't problems at all. The weather was pretty good. It is very nice to come back to our cozy little lives in BC. We really are so lucky to be able to experience many varieties of existing. We have so many unique memories. This is quite the opposite of getting into a rut. We experience different actual types of life.

Now that we're back, we had a few things to do. This morning I took a bus uptown before 9 o'clock. I wanted to get to the Royal City Mall as soon as it opened to buy seven months of car insurance at my broker. That should bring us right up until the beginning of another winter away. Of course, if I decide to buy a new car this summer, I can switch coverage to a new vehicle. As well, we went to the Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam for groceries. It is a habit I've missed. Moreover, there were lots of little things around the apartment which needed to be done. For example, I had to plug in the Android TV box. We used it extensively in Malaysia for Netflix and other TV and music. Thankfully, Telus had our Internet ready and running for us when we flipped on all the electrical switches yesterday. Lastly, I caught up on updates for our dining-table laptop which had stayed in Canada. I like having my computers all vastly over-organized. Task, accomplished.

Dorothy was right about home. She, like us, needed to get away on an adventure to appreciate home all the more!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Home in New Westminster, BC

Day 140 - Thus ends the winter of 2017/18!

Our trip back here went exactly as expected and that's a good thing. The Hong Kong airport is never large enough, is it?

April 17, 2018

The flight to Vancouver was pretty fast due to a tailwind. Still, at about halfway through its 10 hours, I was ready to rip off my clothes and run up and down the aisles ... only once.

We took SkyTrains to get back to New Westminster. We rolled our backs out of the station and into our building at 2:25 PM. It was nice to see a little sunshine but the temperatures are much cooler than what we've been experiencing in Cambodia.

April 17, 2018


Monday, April 16, 2018

Flying Home Tomorrow

April 16, 2018
We're trading in this river for the Fraser tomorrow evening.

Day 139 - Well, the end of our winter has just about come. I hope the Vancouver weather gods heard that and cooperate on their end of things.

This was the final day of the New Year in Cambodia which means we'll be on a plane tomorrow at 10:30 AM. I was going to make one of my automated flying posts but as we're headed east, I might have time to jot out a note when we get home.

April 16, 2018

We leave on a Cathay Dragon flight to Hong Kong and then have just about two hours to wait for a 4:15 PM to Vancouver. That gets in about three hours before we leave. So, if things line up we might be at YVR at 1:00 PM and home before 3:00 PM.

It seems pretty good leaving Cambodia and getting home in just two and a half hours until one adds in the 16 hours of time zone differences. Regardless, our own mattress awaits ...

It's been a fun winter.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Life's Bigger Journey

April 14, 2017

Day 138 - This is approaching the twentieth week of our winter in Indochina. It is nice that life has allowed us to be here in Cambodia during the celebration of their New Year. In the longer scheme, I'm grateful to have travelled so far together as companions.

I first arrived for work in Taif, Saudi Arabia during an April. It was in 1985 when Jay and I met. We've been on an incredible journey ever since. The simple math would now indicate that this is our 33rd year as a team. That might not look like an auspicious number but could be couched in the terms of being nearly a third of a century!

I cannot put into words how very thankful I am.

1985 in Taif


Saturday, April 14, 2018

First Day of the Khmer New Year

Day 137 - The closest temple is about 200 meters from our guesthouse. We took photos there last night, but always walk though the temple area on our way to the river. Taking a short cut through that area is nicer than walking along the roads at its perimeter.

April 14, 2017

These extensive sand 'mountains' were created inside a public area of the temple. Most every home and many businesses had a small shrine set up for the New Year too. The picture below shows the table set up by the Cambodian family who live below. Jay looked up the history and mythology of both practices. Neither of these traditions was familiar to us.

April 14, 2017

We don't venture out in the heat of the afternoons. We'd end up as hydration road kill. That, my friend, is nap time!

This was the first night of the New Year and we thought we'd better take a look at Pub Street. Walking along the river was nice as lots of lights had been set up for the celebration.

April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017

As we got closer to the old city center things got crazier. These nights have become synonymous with water and baby powder fights. Some traditionalists lament that these are not Cambodian rituals, though it seems the youth consider it harmless fun. It surely is hot enough to have a little water sprayed around. Liters and liters of water covered the streets and all that was in them.

April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017

We went to eat dinner. I did end up a little wet but without a coating of powder.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Preparing for the New Year

April 12, 2018

Day 136 - One of the reasons we decided to fly back to Canada on the 17th was to see the Khmer New Year celebrations. It is a festival time in most of South and Southeast Asia. It's interesting to see how different the activities are in each country. For example, in Sri Lanka it is mostly a cultural celebration but here it seems more religious as the temples are very involved.

April 13, 2018
April 13, 2018

The real holidays don't begin until tomorrow, and run for three days here. We didn't do a whole lot of activities today as it is still pretty warm for exertion.

We have another guest who came yesterday and a French student couple just arrived from Phnom Penh. I think our host will get back from his short break tomorrow.

April 13, 2018
April 13, 2018


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Man, It's Hot!

April 12, 2018

Day 135 - As soon as we left the comfort of the A/C room, we knew it was going to be a hot one. It was probably around 37C. That is almost precisely a human body's internal temperature. It might be great for one's insides but it seems pretty warm for my outsides. It's not the heat, it's the humidity, as they say.

We walked to our fruit seller lady on the other side of the river in the morning and took Nono out of her evening walk. Four kilometers seemed like enough exercise today. We often escaped back into the comfort of our room and that's where I'm adding today's entry. It's only 9:05 PM but we'd rather use the Internet than stay in the living room for any television.

I love hot weather, but this is a bit too much. I guess one has to be careful what one wishes for ...

April 12, 2018
Workers were doing lots of loading and unloading in the nearby temple getting ready for Khmer New Year.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How Will I Remember This April 11th?

Day 134 - How will I remember today? The short answer is probably that I wouldn't. Well, I wouldn't if I didn't make sure to blog daily. Like every ... single day. For years. And years.

I had no difficulty deciding to let go of Facebook data last week. I requested that it all disappear. One reason why I decided to have my account completely deleted is because I have a sort of back up copy of the last dozen years. That is how long I had a Facebook account, but actually, my eJournal and images goes back three whole years more. It lets me see what I was thinking or what I did. It doesn't contain an endless barage of newspaper politics, cute kittens, or inane quizzes.

I can look up past April 11ths back to 2004 if I wanted. In so far as how I'll remember this one, it'll be pretty much defined by whatever I put in the space below.

April 11, 2018

I'll remember that we walked to downtown Siem Reap, Cambodia. We wanted to mail some letters, get a few groceries, and withdraw a bit of cash from an ATM.

I'll also recall that when we went into the post office so Jay could mail two letters to Sri Lanka with photos for his sisters, we came across a performance. As it's nearly Khmer New Year, dancing troupes are out reenacting scenes from the historical past. They collect money from the shop or business at which they perform.

April 11, 2018
April 11, 2018

I will know that this was the time when we were the only guests in the Nine Incense Sticks Guesthouse, and the owner left us in charge to take a short getaway himself.

April 11, 2018

I'll be able to see that we took the guesthouse dog for a walk and that it was hot. Also, that the semi-stray cat enjoyed the comfort of our AC room. Lastly, I will remember it was a clear, warm evening.

April 11, 2018
April 11, 2018
April 11, 2018

How will you remember YOUR April 11th in a few years?


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jay, the Dog Walker

April 10, 2018

Day 133 - Suddenly, I felt as if our winter was crashing to a close! The near panic was caused by the realization we fly back home a week from today. It will be good to go home, but this has been a nice winter in SE Asia. It's never too soon to start thinking of options for our upcoming winters. I think we've already got the first two months of the next one ironed out. A web app just calculated that that destination is a mere 2740 kilometers away. One would need to fly but there are no direct flights from here to there.

There is no custodian of the guesthouse at which we're staying. Well, we are now in charge. From today, we are the only guests. We're watching the place for the French guy who runs the place. I'm proud he trusted us with the responsibility. Feeding Nono, the dog, is easy. She got super excited when she realized she's going to be taken for a walk.

April 10, 2018


Monday, April 09, 2018

ProtonMail / Come to Our Guesthouse

Day 132 - I spent more time today thinking about something computer related than the fact I'm sitting in Cambodia. Changing over my email account to a new more secure service seems useful and interesting. Gmail has worked well for my situation for around fourteen years. In fact, I recall somehow being on a waiting list and being the first one I knew who could send from @gmail.com. I think suspending my own activity on Facebook and subsequently deciding to delete my account completely has helped bring privacy into a closer focus. I like the idea of more encryption for my messages even if they contain pretty boring stuff. The whole idea of throwing away old data seems liberating too. I recently deleted all Gmail contents from 2004 through 2016.

So, consider this the day to delete my old dennissylvesterhurd@gmail.com address. Of course, chances are enormous that you'll never find the need to email me, but should you desire, I'm now at dennissylvesterhurd@protonmail.com. Should you want to know why I chose this particular service, use it to ask!

April 9, 2018

We just saw these folks off on further adventures. Well, Jay and the guesthouse dog stayed but even our host, Dominique, set off on a night bus towards Sihanoukville. We will be running things around here for four days. No special deals are being offered at this time!


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Beautiful and Sunny

April 8, 2018
April 8, 2018

Day 131 - It was a beautiful day. The cooler than normal temperatures were perfect and the sky appeared very blue. April is supposed to be a very hot, humid month in Cambodia. I suppose definitions of cool and warm are pretty subjective as it was around 26C. We walked only a bit and generally just stayed close to home. Sitting in the 'egg chair' was great with the slight breeze blowing across the upper porch.

We're going to hold down the fort here for a few days. Starting tomorrow, our host figured it'd be a perfect time to get away for a well-deserved break. He'll be leaving the whole place and his beloved dog, Nono, under our care. Even after early retirement, we can still take on responsibilities, I guess.

Jay is determined that he will be able to achieve a d├ętente between the cat and dog during this period. I have my doubts as these animals seem to thrive in their classical relationship.

April 8, 2018
April 8, 2018
April 8, 2018


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Again in Siem Reap

April 7, 2018

Day 130 - I had read that the weather was going to be affected by a cold front from China. It is here and it feels cool to us. Some of the local Cambodians have on jackets and hoodies. I thought it, indeed, might be too cold to wear a tank-top and consequently dressed in a regular t-shirt when we going downtown this evening for dinner and some grocery shopping

April 7, 2018
April 7, 2018

The town is getting spruced up for the coming Khmer New Year. One of the reasons we booked tickets to leave on April 17th, is to stay here through the end of the celebration. This would have to be classified as about as big as Christmas in the West.


Friday, April 06, 2018

Our Return to Cambodia

April 06, 2018

Day 129 - We had to say goodbye to the blond-tailed squirrels which lived in the trees near our hotel balcony. (That is my own name for them for I never looked up their scientific name.) The trip back to Siem Reap went exactly as expected. We were up, ate, and checked out of the hotel at around 8:00 AM. We got on a baht-bus which went directly past the bus station, so we spent just 20 Thai baht and had tickets in hand by 8:15. The nine o'clock bus boarded fifteen minutes before it left.

April 06, 2018

The service to the airport is great. Depending on the traffic, it takes less than two hours. We got to Suvarnabhumi early. Checking into Bangkok Air was smooth and quick. We changed money and then headed to the airline's lounge for some free refreshments. There was also an in-flight meal although the journey was only 55 minutes!

April 06, 2018
April 06, 2018

We were welcomed back at the airport on 'Smile Day' or something. We waved at the TV cameras, wore the sash which was presented, and posed for the photographer. It was a nice way to be welcomed back into Cambodia for the remainder of our winter away. It felt strangely familiar coming back into Siem Reap. We were only gone for 12 nights and we'd only stayed here for about a month, but it felt a little more like home than during our initial arrival.


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