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

Friday, February 24, 2017

They're Not Furnace Filters

Just as I was about to start typing here, I had a notification of receipt of an email. It was just a friend who'd found an interesting news link.

There are very few reasons to use my email account for traditional reasons. I've been saying this for at least a decade now. The particular friend, mentioned above, is one of the last vestiges of people who contact me in such a 1990's way. The whole email thing has finally been usurped by messaging and social media. I absolutely hate the inflexibility of trying to have a conversation via email, not to mention my dismay at not being able to fix my many typos after the message has been sent!

No, now the main purpose of email has evolved to be a sort of electronic signature.

For example, since I no longer wish paper billing options, I receive all notice of bills and statements via my email address. This realization led me today to consider ensuring that Jay gets a copy of electricity, telephone, and other utility bills. Most government and businesses allow for just a single email address per account; therefore, I had to set up a few gmail filters. This key feature of email apps generally goes unnoticed and underutilized.

I just set up to forward copies of all billing emails to his email address automatically before I even open my inbox.

Blog Screenshot

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I Like a Cheap Date

We went up to visit Pat and Mitch today. They used to live in our building but moved uptown about a year and a half ago. We'd never seen the place they bought. It was nice to catch up for a few hours this afternoon.

Prior to the visit, we stopped at the uptown Walmart. While there, I was clever enough to snap this photo of dates. Our regular place is the Canadian Superstore which, of course, price matches everybody. I wanted to be able to show them Walmart constantly sells this brand of dates 50-cents more cheaply. Whenever, we need another package, we'll see if they price match more than just flyer advertisements.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Easy Life

We wanted to get to the other side of downtown New West. We decided it was a good day to walk through Pier Park. We had to snap several pictures on my phone just to show that it doesn't always rain during the entire month of February here.


Between a Rock

We came back to the apartment empty-handed. We did not find a suitable bathrobe for Jay's hospital recuperation. His surgery takes place in exactly one month.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Challenges Keep Brains Young

Does it sound silly I'm happy my bank updated their website today? My online banking screens were definitely beginning to look 'long in the tooth'. I understand it is harder to upgrade legacy systems. Banks, in particular, invested enormous sums in data processing well before web access. I could see the front end looked as though it was designed well before graphical interfaces.

Already the functionality has improved. It used to be a chore to create and identify existing automatic payments. Now that is a breeze. I'm hoping what they've done is modular and that we'll now see a flow of constantly improving features. Live graphing comes to mind. For example, I'd like a pie chart showing the share of my total money in the various accounts within the bank. I find the task of getting used to new software very satisfying. Since my first IBM XP compatible, I've enjoyed figuring out how things work on a computer.

Conquering something new by figuring out how it works is a trait of intelligent people. I guess though, I often find myself in the company of very unintelligent friends.

Remembering Canadian Pennies
Although I never use cash, I still miss Canadian pennies.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Self-Taught Film Aficionado

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

We live in rather a unique time in film history. Until quite recently, it was not possible to view most any title, from nearly any decade, right in one's own home. This flat screen in my living room beats any silver screen I grew up near. In addition, the picture clarity and sonic experience, especially of remastered classics, rival the actual theatrical prints of yesteryear. I can hardly recall the last time I saw dust or a stray hair in a frame! Even better, nowadays, an mp4 file can never break in the middle of a show!

As well as keeping up on a plethora of recent productions, I make it a habit to regularly expose myself to older movie classics. During months that my Internet bandwidth usage is low, I download and store. I'll tell you, lots can fit on an external 2TB portable drive!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Give a Bird a Perch


I am not sure why I feel quite so smug for simply picking up these Burnbrae eggs. I guess it was the stuff printed on the carton. I must have been convinced by the fact the eggs come from
... hens raised in small social
groups in enriched colony housing
equipped with perches and nesting areas.

We all like to falsely think of our food products as coming from small family farms. However, the logistics of feeding a sizeable population requires industrial-sized operations. There are simply not enough small family farms to provide the number of food products for a vast number of consumers. These eggs are surely a compromise, but do seem a bit more humane for the birds. At least they're trying to market the idea of happier birds and who can argue with that?


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Duck Dinner Day

Duck DinnerIt was a normal morning of grocery shopping but a Duck Dinner Day later. This time around we went to the downtown West End for the food and company. It was nice meeting up the gang of six as schedules generally keep the event from happening more than a half dozen times a year.

After dinner we watched the movie version of Chicago. None of the guys had ever seen it. We recalled the time we saw Lynda Carter playing mama in the West End Theatre District of London.

Friday, February 17, 2017

So Vewy Sweepy!

When doing errands today, we stopped at one of the uptown malls. I startled this raccoon when parking. Nearly always I park up on the second or third floors, but on a whim chose the ground floor area. There is a large area along the outside edge of the building where lots of vegetation is planted. Clearly, this guy thinks of it as his bedroom and wasn't too pleased at being disturbed. He gave me a very annoyed look and then tucked back into a tight ball

Verwy Sweepy

I wanted to check to see who was working at the phone store to decide whether to have my phone fixed today. I've actually had the Nexus 5 long enough to warrant replacing it but still fulfills my mobile phone needs. Back when I bought it, getting an unlocked phone was more difficult. The guy might have been the owner but he seemed a bit shady to me. I'd have rather talked with the kid minding the shop yesterday. I made an excuse about needing access to it for the rest of the morning and promised I'd bring it back in the near future.

However, I will not be bringing it back. I searched on the net for the problem I was having with the bottom speakers and mike. It seems as though it was a known problem and demanded a very simple solution. I only needed a tiny screwdriver and some duct tape. Actually, I used a 3M left-over, double-sided sticky pad. In about three minutes I got things working perfectly again.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Early Spring Cleaning

Screen CaptureThe guy at the phone shop thinks mine needs a new speaker. I was thinking the problem stemmed from a problem with its headphone jack. Whenever I have headphones plugged in, the sound on my aging Nexus 5 is fine; however, when I unplug them I hear nothing. Either way it is going to be a $35 fix.

The kid working today said I'd have to leave my phone for an hour. Jay asked if I wanted to leave it unaccompanied. We've been watching a TV series where US/Canadian border security personnel regularly review people's devices to learn more about them. That seems pretty extreme considering how much private information we carry around on them. I surely didn't want my Google or Facebook accounts compromised by a repair guy.

It got me thinking about different ways to use Android. I created a different account for the main logon to the phone. Then, I was able to add my regular Google Account to the phone. I had to reevaluate exactly what I needed on my phone. I used to keep my cell and tablet pretty similar, but they each have different strengths. I found that I had dozens of apps no longer being used on the Nexus. It ended up being time to reload each app on a need-only basis.

I'm a nerd at heart. I really loved playing with this self-tasked chore for the most of the afternoon. At least with Android, one can dress up or 'plain-ify' the screens as one sees fit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Never Leave Home Without It

The weather is what is typical for Vancouver at this time of year. What that means is the indoor lights were on all day and umbrellas were mandatory when out.

2017_02_15This was the second day for Jay's Pre-Admission Clinics at Royal Columbian. Although the paperwork promised a longer day than yesterday; in fact, we were done rather quickly.

We met first with a nurse who went though a form to grab Jay's entire medical history. He's never had an operation in 62 years. He was waiting up for a big one, I guess. She went quickly though a lot of information. She didn't need to take as much time with us as other patients because we had already read the materials Jay was given yesterday. Then, as the staff conformed they had access to yesterday's blood results, X-rays, and ECG, we were able to go directly to talk one-on-one with an anesthesiologist. Dr. Ho went though all the file and wrote down a few additional details. He is scheduled to be on vacation so he will not be the actual one in attendance on Jay's surgical date.

Everyone seems very helpful and personable. We saw one heart-patient and wife from yesterday's visit. Seeing bags containing others' heart pillows added a sense of camaraderie. We surely could've waited a few weeks, so these two days were closer to the surgery. Yet, feeling confident and getting familiar running around the hospital is probably an important aspect of these visits.

That was all, so we were done in a few hours. We needed a new SkyTrain fare to come back home although it is only a three-minute ride from the hospital to the station at our building.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Have a Heart!

At first, this photo looks appropriate for Valentine's Day, but if you look closely, you may notice that is not for what it was intended.


Jay had his first of two days of pre-admission clinics for his upcoming bypass surgery. Today, we met with the initial physiotherapist for a half hour introduction. She told about basic post-op procedures and gave materials to practice good habits for the days after coming home. The package of materials included Jay's Royal Columbia Hospital heart pillow. There's a great write up on page 5 of this, slow-loading copy of the RCH magazine.) It will used after the operation to help prevent damage to the healing collarbone during recovery.

Also, he had blood work, an ECG, and a chest x-ray done. Tomorrow we'll go back for a longer clinic session.

Monday, February 13, 2017

BC Family Day

It was rather a gorgeous day weather-wise. This winter hasn't been very nice, so seeing a bright sun and double digit temperatures seemed special.


It was Family Day in British Columbia. Most small businesses were closed and kids were out of school. We saw so many people out using the Pier Park and simply walking around enjoying the warmer breeze.

As well, we had visitors. Lynne and Joel were on their way to Whistler. They got here for a late lunch and will leave tomorrow morning. It was good to check in with them as they'd not been up for a visit for ever-so-long.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

You Are What You Eat!

The sky has turned a brilliant and gorgeous blue, quite like my own eye colour. I just thought I'd be sure to add that info here as I will only be adding a yellowing JPG file for today's blog entry. I did have to edit a bit in order to get it to look old and yellowing though. I already have enough photographs of beautiful Pier Park.

On to the old screenshot: Technology has a way of changing quickly enough to make relatively recent data look quaint or even humourous. For example, back in the day, an old 360K floppy seemed spacious. That seems pretty hard to believe now that we're streaming all of our HDTV content nowadays. I have no doubt that these juxtapositions between past and present will continue.

Of course, my eJournal and images functions as a repository for many things I could, in theory, wish to re-visit in the future. I frequently use it now in order to recall when we went somewhere or did something. How the hell else would I be able to know the year, much less the exact day, on which some trivial event happened?

How much do I eat?

I figured I could simply add my Internet bandwidth usage for last year. You'll note there was no activity during the initial several months as we were spending the winter in Luxor, Egypt. Even with all the binge television, I haven't recently come near our cap. I do remember when Telus upped the basic 16-mbps package to 200 gb per month though. It wasn't too long ago. For now it is sufficient. Yet maybe when I look back at these numbers in the future, they'll seem ridiculously low.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This Afternoon

2017_02_11Vas Rotgans was our neighbour for the most recent four or five years. He and his wife have been very considerate neighbours. Their door opens right beside ours in the hallway of our building. Vas passed away on January 18, 2017.

This afternoon, we went to a memorial service celebrating his life. It took place at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Sapperton, across from the Royal Columbian Hospital. We had never seen the inside of the building.

Vas lived a very full life recently reaching his 89th year. He was very active right up to the end. When they first moved here, I found it hard to believe how old he was. I hope I can still drive here and there at the age of 88.

It was interesting to learn more about the very different aspects of his life today.

Friday, February 10, 2017

We Got the Power!

Unlike most BC locals, we pay our city for our electrical usage. For historical reasons, New Westminster, British Columbia has its own electrical utility. Our city started creating power for streetlights back in 1891. Now, the electrical utility purchases energy from BC Hydro, but we do directly pay our city for it. Exactly three years ago this month, I turned off postal billing and moved to only email notifications. Although the billing cycle is two months here, I appreciated getting rid of some of the envelopes clogging our postal box.

Screenshot 2017-02-10 16.15.45

2017_02_10Starting this month, new software has been initiated and this required setting up new logon procedures. That has been a bit of a hassle but I'm sure the newer system is probably more robust.

Interestingly this happened to be the first major billing cycle where I got to see some positive results for having bought our new refrigerator. Of the eight weeks of the December / January cycle, the new stove and refrigerator were plugged in for seven. I hoped that I'd see a dramatic reduction because of replacing our 25+ year old electricity-hog of a fridge.

>>> Success! <<<

There have been a number of years when we were away during the months of highest electrical consumption. I used to save the old, printed bills though. I was able to verify for years all the way back to 2005, we averaged around 1040 kWh during these months. Interestingly, on the newest bill we were charged for just 732 kWh of consumption. That should allow for a sizeable savings of power over the course of a year. Unfortunately though, the required payment didn't seem much smaller. Electricity costs have risen substantially over the past few years.

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