Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This morning we measured the floor before I went down and bought cement board to go under the tiles. By four, we had the board cut out and dry fit. Tomorrow we will cement and screw the board down. This has to dry overnight and then we can start cutting tiles. Right now I am flopped in my recliner nursing a backache.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Canada seems to have lots of us. In fact the entire North looks pretty godless except for Alaska but they voted for Sarah Palin so I guess that explains it. Somehow. "They" may have Alaska but "we" have Australia!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tonight we are going to another retirement party for three people I used to work with. It is great to see these guys retiring. Telus is not the same company it was several years ago and I cannot imagine myself working there under the present conditions. Most of the great benefits us old timers fought for and won over the decades are now gone and the place is now crawling with contractors and scabs. Thank goodness we have a bullet proof pension plan that the company cannot get their slimy hands on! There are now more people drawing a pension out of the plan than there are people contributing into it. Due to some very smart planning and investing, this is not having a negative effect on the plan at all and the assets are growing every year. The plan is fully funded and will continue to pay all of us as long as we need it. My minimal involvement in the formation, building and protection of that plan is a source of great pride for me.
This is why I can always say, "Life is Good"!
BTW: Nice shirt Rod! I hope you are wearing it to work on your last day..
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Foreigners are encouraged to use only Convertibles and to frequent those establishments that trade in them. The problem with this is, this is not where you will meet the Cuban people or get the best bargains! It is best to take some of the CUC's you get from the ATM's and exchange them for CUP's. There are many places to do this but one must be careful of not getting cheated. Even where you can use CUP's to purchase something you must be very careful that your change is in CUP's or, if change is in CUC's, that you get the correct exchange rate. It is confusing and even more so for those who are newly arrived on the island. I think we will be OK because of our extensive exposure to the Mexican Peso system.
Many people think the USA dollar is a "universal currency" and is good anywhere. This is not the case anywhere and in the specific case of Cuba, leave your USA dollars at home. The government has imposed a 10% tax on USA dollars so if that is your currency of choice, you will have lost 10% of your vacation money as soon as your plane lands. Canadian dollars and Euros are the currency of choice and are easily exchanged for CUC's. After that, ATM's are the best choice.
Three Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) worth $3 USD:
Three Cuban Pesos (CUP) worth 12 US cents:
Sunday, September 19, 2010
These are two restaurants in Havana frequented by the writer. We will be staying in Veradero but will spend one or two nights in Havana in a B&B. I want to walk through La Habana Vieja (Old Havana) and a couple of stops for Papa's favorite libations would add some great flavor to the trip.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
You can watch Jimi sing Purple Haze here. Note he played his Fender Stratocaster guitar upside down (left handed).
Friday, September 17, 2010
The reason "they" say is the recent discovery that Americans are still reluctant to (over) buy consumer products with credit cards. Americans are becoming more like Mexicans and sticking to cash. Smart! For some reason I don't understand, this is driving gold higher.
I will have a good time updating my Quicken tomorrow to reflect my profits! Life is good!
I do have to admit however that this whole "capitalism" thing is pretty new to me! I do want to make good decisions with this investment but between the two of us we have six pensions so we will not be starving or even having to give up travel anytime soon. My disposable income is much higher than what it was when I was working for a living. Like I say, Life Is Good!
Here is what Gold has done over the past 20 years:
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
It was just before midnight on September 15, 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the Priest of Dolores (now Dolores Hidalgo) ordered the church bells to be rung to gather his congregation. He called to the indigenous people and Criollos (those of Spanish blood born in Mexico) alike to unite with him to revolt and to throw the hated Spanish born Gachupines out of their country. It was the start of the Mexican War For Independence which would rage for the next eleven years!
We visited many of the historic sites of this Revolution over the past two years and a look back in the Blog will show you many photos as well as stories of this historic revolution. It restored the land and country back to the people it was stolen from.
Every year mayors and government officials throughout Mexico reenact the Grito on this evening. Here is the Grito called by Felipe Calderón, the President of Mexico in Mexico City last year. I would dearly love to be in Mexico to hear the call tonight! Viva Mexico!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It just happens that I was seriously thinking about replacing the dish that got blown over in Texas on the way home. It was slightly damaged in the fall and I had to epoxy the LNB at the end of the feed horn back together but everything seems to be working fine. I just hesitate to take it with me this winter in case it does fail in which case Shaw will not ship replacement parts out of the country. I decided to add this dish to the rooftop to give me my extra outputs and to order a new $50 dish for the motorhome.
Anyway, I was taking parts and tools up onto the roof when I bumped the gutter and a bunch of wasps came flying out of a gap in the roof line looking for the intruder! I did not get stung but I broke the existing speed record for climbing down a ladder! I have to go and buy a "bomb" so the project is put off until tomorrow when I have to go downtown anyway. I love retirement. It lets me put jobs like this off without a guilty conscience.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Well, it appears that Gmail has reacted to this problem and has now added an "undo" button to their sent confirmation message. It gives us five seconds to reach into the cyberspace mailbox and grab the message back. This will not help with the morning after regrets but will help in those "oh no" moments. The feature has to be turned on in Settings.
One more reason to switch to Gmail. Now if they would only allow us to sort messages by size so we could dump those with huge attachments off the server.....
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The cost is high, $4000 here in Canada for the basic Sony system. You need to wear battery operated glasses that actually communicate with the TV and the screen is unwatchable without the glasses (remember the old 3D comic books?). You must be seated almost directly in front of the screen for it to work properly so it is really unfit for most media rooms.
I am sure the technology will improve and the cost will come down but like I say, it was a breathtaking experience. I had no urge to pull out my credit card... Maybe in a few years...
Saturday, September 11, 2010
By then about an hour and a half had passed since the first attack. I was on Highway 97 and the first thing I noticed was the lack of traffic. I was almost alone on the road. Suddenly a police car passed me with emergency lights and siren at a very high rate of speed. Shortly after another police car passed moving quickly in the opposite direction. Next a fighter jet crossed the highway flying low.
Now I began to think.... I was alone on the highway in a foreign plated vehicle large enough to carry a lot of damage in a time of extreme nervousness. At that time nobody knew if the danger was all on the east coast or what. As far as anyone knew the whole country could be under attack.
By now I was entering Bend, OR and even though it was way too early for a normal stop, I thought I had better get off the highway. I pulled into the first RV park I found. When I checked in all the staff was huddled around the TV. The woman told me to find a spot and come back in the morning to check in and pay. I found a spot, hooked up power and TV and watched CNN almost steady for the next day and a half.
The scene at Ground Zero tonight:
It was a flat week in the market, but any week you are “up” is a good week and I was "up"! Up $45! Gold took a tiny hit but my registered fund went up a bit so it all balanced out and even a little in my favor. I guess this is what they mean by a "balanced portfolio". Thanks Cec (my money manager).
Friday, September 10, 2010
One of my friends was always the life of the party. Tim was the MC and DJ at all the school dances and sang a very memorable rendition of "The Monster Mash" at a grade 12 Halloween dance of the same name. He was always one of the "popular" guys even though he did not participate in sports. After graduating he became a popular DJ on some of Vancouver's best Rock & Roll stations. This would have been in 1963. I lost touch with Tim and he was one of the guys I wanted to make a point of catching up with. It was only at the reunion early on the Friday night that I began to hear of the private Hell Tim has gone through.
Tim finally made a late entrance into the social. He did not make the usual loud, boisterous entrance that everyone remembered him for but rather made his way quietly in the door and along the wall, silently looking for a friendly face to sit with. You see Tim was no longer Tim but was now Pamela. All eyes snapped over in her direction as everyone tried to process this new information in their minds. The word had gone around before she arrived but there is a difference between "knowing" and "seeing". I waved to her and pointed to an empty chair at our table which she quickly took. As soon as the ice was broken she became the same "Tim" as everyone remembered except in a different "Pam" package. She had had the plumbing changed (got rid of the mic stand as one of her DJ friends put it) but not the voice. She still had a fairly masculine voice, she was still in the process. She told us of the terrible time she had in school, first knowing only that there was something seriously wrong and then by grade ten or so, knowing exactly what was wrong and that she had been issued the wrong body. She said she had to hang around with the guys talking about cars and girls while all the time wanting to hang out with the girls talking about clothes, makeup and hair. Nobody ever caught on, she was very good at forcing "herself" to do what "he" was expected to do, including getting married.
The turmoil she was going through lead to drugs and who knows what else. I can only imagine the frustration, anger and confusion. It was only later in life that she decided to do something about it and make the change. She started the process and cleaned up her life. I have great admiration for her.
Everything soon loosened up and at one point I was over at the bar getting a drink when across the room echoed the old booming voice we had grown up with: "This is the Tim ___ Show on LG 73!. Lets Rock and Roll"! We were suddenly back in the 60's and everyone was looking at the woman this wall vibrating voice had come out of!
Another friend at the table was Lance. He was always a quiet guy in school, easy not to notice. He ended up moving to Los Angeles where he became an LAPD detective and later a crime scene investigator. He was retired but had stayed in California. Deso, one of the two Indo-Canadians in the graduating class came over to the table for a chat. She was and still is a very beautiful East Indian woman. While we were talking Lance confessed, "All the way through high school I had the biggest crush on you"! "Oh my God" she said. "Why didn't you ask me out? I would have gone out with you in a second. I never thought a white guy would be interested in me". File under missed opportunities, Lance....
We are approaching the time for a fifty year reunion. I don't know if there will be one but if there is, I will go. Who knows what else is out there to find out?
Here is Pam last year with fellow 1960's Vancouver DJ's John Tanner, Terry David Mulligan and JB Shane at announcer Al Jordan's memorial:
Photo by Jack Bennest of BC Radio History
Talk about coincidences!
A few minutes after I posted this I got an email telling me about the upcoming 50th Reunion for My Kitsilano Secondary School 1963 Graduating Class! I must be psychic or something!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This Florida idiot has fifty followers. Fifty people (if they all show up) go to his church on Sundays to hear him speak. Fifty. Per week. Fifty three people have read this Blog so far this morning, and this happens every day. If I threatened to slam the door in a Jehovah Witnesses face and tear up the Watchtower he shoves through the mail slot would I be leading news at six o'clock? No of course not. The press could care less about me. I would not be helping stir up the anti-Islam sentiment sweeping the country. Crazy "preachers" get all the press and right now this wacko is surrounded by more reporters than congregants.
The Qur'an, like the Bible is just printed paper. Ashes to ashes. Burning a few would not upset either god, they have withstood worse over history and have, or should have, bigger fish to fry at the moment (like the illegal occupations). The Catholics used to burn people and no one got this upset. Remember, crazy is as crazy does.
If religious people want to do something about it, they should go to Florida and form a human chain between this idiot and his burn pile. Tell him that they respect all religions and will not allow him to carry out his craziness.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It took us a while to figure out how the old TV was fastened in but we eventually freed it and were suddenly holding a hundred and fifty pound TV that barely fit out the door! We built a mount out of a heavy steel bracket and a commercial flat screen TV mount. All the wires reached so it was an easy install.
Next Les wanted to convert the old TV spot to storage. He figured the space would hold all his extra pillows and bedding. A light load and perfect for the spot. The old wooden TV frame will serve as the frame for a door, so we added a piano hinge and a couple of magnetic catches and now the door is just waiting for Les to add some fabric to the opening and it will look great! It took us a good six hours to complete our work and then Les treated Norma and I to some great fish and chips on the dock.
Les then helped move some heavy furniture in the office so I could complete the flooring project in there. I got up this morning and completed that and now I am flopped in my recliner watching TV. The furniture has to be put back in the office but I think that will wait until tomorrow. I am done in!
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I finally got going until I came to the first desk. I lifted the legs on one end and propped the desk up with a stick while I pulled out the old glued down carpet and laid a couple of rows under the raised legs. By now it was time to quit for the day. I was less than half finished! If I was paying myself by the hour, I would be broke on one hand and well off on the other!
Tidy desk, eh?
The next day brought rain all day so I could not use the cut-off saw which remained under a tarp. I did a little work but it will be another day (with no rain) before I can call it "done".
The next photo was taken when Brooks and Linda were up laying the floor a couple of weeks ago. I just found the photo on the memory card when I downloaded the last photos. Here is Linda performing her magic on the saw.
Friday, September 3, 2010
We still have to tile the main bathroom and install a new toilet and counter top. We priced granite and it is not much more expensive than the conventional type. Our local granite place will sell ends for $40 per square foot if they do not have to measure or install it. If they do the measuring and installing it is $100 per sq. ft. so it is quite a savings! We only need a little over ten square feet (2X5). Plus a strong back to help me install it.
Then we have to tile the laundry room. That may or may not get done this year. I always like to have a project ready for when I come home in the spring. It stops Norma from dreaming up too many new jobs to do.
My final bit of news is the Canadian stock market has ended "up" six days in a row so I am looking forward to my favorite weekend job of updating my investments in Quicken. I have been "up" three weeks of the last four and the one week I was "down" it was only $500 or so overall. A mere drop in the bucket. This week will be very good and if I live long enough I could die rich. It is all a matter of timing before I make that call to Dr. Kavorkian.
Market Update! The doctor can wait. I made two months pay last week! Happy days are here again!
I was sitting in the TV room the other day and one of the baby deer flashed past the window followed closely by it's brother/sister. It was headed for the bush and was in a big hurry. I suspect it got a 500 volt jolt in it's snout from the deer deterrent. They have not been back so he must have had a talk with his mom about finding another flower garden to plunder. We just may have won a round!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I may add a smear of jam to the peanut butter and see if that helps. Maybe I need a Tilly hat. That might help.