Sunday, August 30, 2015

Busy Days

It has been a few busy days. First, Jim and Jan, old friends from Terrace arrived on Wednesday and we spent some time gabbing before Norma put some crab in the boiler and we enjoyed a small feast with some more conversation. A very fun night!

The next day (Friday) the bus dropped our friend Mike off in front of our house. We met Mike in the Rio Grande Valley a couple of years ago. He is a retired American lawyer who calls Alpine, Texas  home right now. He left his motorhome in Alpine and is on a tour of the west coast by train, bus, ferry and bicycle! Pretty adventurous!

Friday afternoon we went down to Dick's Fish & Chips on the dock and filled up on halibut and cod before heading back home for a couple of drinks and more conversation. Saturday we took Mike down to the local fishing pier where we got Norma to face the forty mile per hour wind for a photo with Mike.

Entertainment on the pier was provided by a young couple with a rented rod and reel who pulled in an 18 pound Spring Salmon while we watched. He was troubled with a rented reel that broke as soon as he tried to reel the fish in as well as the fact that he had caught the fish by the tail so the hook was not set as well as it could be. Between several of us we got the drop net into the water and he maneuvered the fish over the net just as the hook came loose! He managed to save the fish and was quite proud of his catch.

When we left the pier we decided to take the ferry over to Quadra Island where we explored a bit before ending up at the Heriot Bay Inn, a small waterfront pub and restaurant where we spent a few hours gabbing with the locals, eating chowder and watching the scenery. It was a very enjoyable day!

Saturday morning I drove Mike down to the bus depot where he was catching the bus to Port Hardy and the ferry to Prince Rupert. From there he is taking the Alaska State Ferry system up the coast of the Alaska Panhandle. How far he goes, how long he spends and how he gets back to Texas will depend on the weather. What a great way to travel.

So now Norma and I are spending the day eating leftovers and relaxing. Some might say 'recovering'.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We are getting visitors! Jim and Jan, old friends from Terrace who now live in Victoria will be up in the area in their 5th wheel for a couple of days tomorrow and will be staying just down the road. We have not seen them for a while so that will be fun.

As well, Mike, aka 'Wandering Mike', a Blogger we met in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas a couple of years ago is arriving for a visit as well. We spent a few days parked next to Mike in Alamo, Texas. Our Mexican friends Chris and Juan were there as well and even though it was freezing we managed to have a lot of fun. Mike is a mostly / semi-retired American lawyer who travels in his motorhome and then flies off to some exotic location to be a lawyer for a while. He will be traveling on the bus and is heading up to Port Hardy and the ferry to Prince Rupert. He will be staying with us for a few days. We are looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Norma's Garden

Norma's garden enjoying the beautiful Vancouver Island sunshine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bought an eReader!

I used to read. In fact I used to read a lot. When we first started RVing, I had my bedroom closet about 1/10 full of books and I would get through as many as ten of them over the winter. But the last few years I have almost stopped reading and am down to a book or two per year.

I have no real excuses. OK, my eyes tend to hurt after reading for a while and new glasses do not help. Maybe it is the poor lighting from my bedside lamp.

Anyway, I want to start reading again. My niece Robin and George were up for a visit and George had a Kobo ('Book' anagram) that he was happy with so I looked it up. Man, the prices of eReaders have come down! I remember when they were all up in the $200 region but the KOBO Aura was for sale for $100. I checked around and found one at our local London Drugs so I went and bought it. It is very light and about 4.5 X 6 inches, a little smaller than a paperback page.

I loaded a couple of books on it and started experimenting. The screen is very easy to read and has a backlight for when you need it. The font size can be increased slightly which is perfect for me. It has a 4 GB internal storage which holds 'up to' 3,000 books and I can add a Micro SD card if that is not enough.

I also found a free program on the Internet that makes managing books a lot easier and also converts my pdf books into epub format which the Kobo much prefers.

Maybe I will get back to reading again, It is worth the shot.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Voter Fraud

I have stirred up quite a bit of discussion both here on the blog and on Facebook with my last post. People think I am over-reacting. That I should understand and be willing to come up with the proper ID or whatever is demanded before I am allowed to vote. These laws are there to prevent voter fraud so I should just go along with them.

In Canada, Harry Neufeld, Retired Chief Electoral Officer for British Columbia, was commissioned by Elections Canada to review the problem of non-compliance with the rules in one Toronto riding after a challenge was made by the Liberal Party in 2011. That case ended up at the Supreme Court who rejected the case. In his study, Neufeld determined that there have been "no more more that a handful" of cases of voter fraud in Canada both provincially and federally.

Neufeld determined that of this "handful" of alleged cases the vast majority were the result of mistakes by election officials and that there had been little or no actual fraud. He says the errors were the result of "complexity, recruitment of election officers, training and the updating of voter lists. At no time did he suggest ineligible voters were deliberately trying to cast illegal ballots.

Neufeld recommended that the Voter Information Cards should be allowed as valid pieces of identification (as they traditionally have been in many areas of Canada) and that the entire voting process should be simplified. He also recommended that election officials should be better trained to avoid irregularities in the future. He stated that there were many 'Urban Myths' about busloads of voters being taken from riding to riding to illegally vote  and of nefarious individuals scooping up voter information cards from apartment blocks and using them to orchestrate illegal voting. All examples of these schemes turned out to be false.

Neufeld feared that if Bill C-23 passed (it did) and made it more difficult to vote by special ballot, voting by mail or registering on voting day as well as by the imposition of more and more identification requirements people would get very angry and there would be more and more court challenges.

Neufeld said he fears the Conservatives efforts to prevent voter fraud will end up disenfranchising people who have trouble producing identification with with proof of their address - primarily students, the poor and aboriginals. People with the democratic right to vote.

Just think of it. You go to vote, carrying the same ID you always have, find a parking spot, stand in line, argue with an election official and are turned away. What do you do? Drive home, find a utilities bill or some other allowable ID, drive back to the poll, stand in line and eventually cast your ballot? Or do you just say the hell with it. In all likelihood you would not have time anyway as most people vote in the last hour or so that the polls are open. You will have lost your right to vote.

And it is not only you. There will be thousands just like you in Canada that are turned away from the ballot box for no reason. There is no voter fraud problem!

Read the article here.

Canada's New Voter ID Laws

Canadians will be voting on October 19, 2015. It is important to note that Stephen Harper and his conservatives do not want you to vote. They know that a high turnout, specially one consisting of young people, women and those with an ethnic background are bad for their chances to be re-elected.

Their best chance to win is to make it very hard for you to vote and they will try to turn you away on voting day. They have changed Canada's voter ID rules to more closely match those in the USA.

The biggest change and the one most likely to block you from casting your ballot is that the new law states that your Voter ID Card that you will receive in the mail can no longer be used as ID! Amazing! Your firearms license is acceptable but your Voter ID Card is not! Like I say, Harper wants Canada to be just like the USA.

If you have a Government issued ID with your photo and current address on it, you can use that. A Drivers Licence or Provincial or Territorial ID will work as long as it has your photo and address. If you do not have one of these, then you can choose from a list of acceptable forms of ID they offer on their website. Please note, a Passport will not be accepted by itself, it must be accompanied by other ID from the list.

PLEASE click on the link below and check out the new rules. Elections Canada will be of no help as they are now prevented by law from encouraging you to vote or to offer any guides to make voting easier. Another one of Harper's new laws. Read it, start collecting the required ID and PLEASE VOTE on October 19!

Here is the list

If you do not want to click on the link, here is the address. Copy and paste into your browser

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Haven't Posted In A While

That is because not much has been going on. Norma has been working in her garden and I have been doing odd jobs and a bit in the motorhome. I replaced all the furnace vent covers as the old ones were getting pretty rusted and ratty looking. I am going to look at adding a couple of shelves against the wall under the table to hold stuff that gets stored under the table and inhibits use of the dinette. Norma is adamant that she is taking the bread maker this winter and we need a place under there for that.

We have an election coming up in Canada and we have been getting the usual appeals for money and help. We will drop off a hundred dollars at the NDP campaign office when it opens but we are not going to work this time. We have both donated many months of full time work to NDP campaigns over the years but is time for the younger people to take up the fight.

I am entertaining myself watching the USA elections as well. Specially Donald Trump. The GOP is scared stiff of this guy. They are terrified of him actually converting his massive lead in the polls into winning the nomination as mainstream Americans will not vote for this lunatic. They are equally terrified of him losing the nomination or being thrown to the curb by the GOP as then he will run as a third party candidate, taking his nutball support with him, handing victory to the Democrats. As I say, I am loving watching them squirm. They created him, now they have to deal with him.

I am looking forward to a North America being led by Bernie Sanders in the US and Tom Mulcair in Canada!

We had a very pleasant surprise visit yesterday by my niece Robin and her partner George. They drove out to visit us and Robin's aunt on her mothers side in Courtenay. They brought Yvonne Horn who along with her deceased husband Alan were life long friends of my brother in Edmonton. Alan died about a year ago and this is the first time Yvonne has really gotten away. She was having a good time and it was really great to see her. We had a hint that Robin and George were coming but Yvonne was a complete surprise!

Robin should be retired but is one of those strange people who enjoys working. They spend their winters in Mazatlan and their summers in Lacombe, Alberta where she works for the Dodge Dealer. She was telling me about all the vehicles on the lot that were severely damaged by the recent hailstorm. It costs them about $3,500 to repair each vehicle. I told her to watch for a good deal on a used Honda(ish) car for me that is not worth repairing and that they are willing to let go for a good deal to her favorite uncle. I am thinking of a $5K - $6K car that needs $3,500 repairs that I can pick up as is for a grand or three. Maybe this deal does not exist but maybe it does. If so, I will tow it down to Mexico for a paint job.

I am also starting to consider the options to begin cashing out my registered retirement savings in the form of a RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) as all Canadians must do starting no later than the year they turn 71 which for me is 2016. Income derived from this money is taxable income which sucks. We don't really need this money except as an emergency fund and I specially don't need the additional taxable income. My options are to take it in the form of a monthly cheque or as an annual payment. I am thinking I will take it as an annual payment on May 1 every year as this is when our income tax and house tax is due. These two expenses will take care of most of this extra cash.

Well, now you are caught up with life at the homestead. We are making plans for the winter which will probably be on the Baja. George warned me that we will not like it after spending so much time in 'real' Mexico. They were there a couple of years ago and had to escape by ferry to the mainland. We are prepared to do this as well. In any case we will have to spend a few days near Yuma as I have to finish my dental work at Sani Dental in Algodones. It will be even more work than last year but it must be done.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Canada Calls Election

The Conservative Government of Canada has called an election for October 19. The election day is set by law but the election call is determined by the governing party and usually comes 36 days before that and that is when parties can start campaigning. This year they called it much earlier, requiring an eleven week campaign, the longest in Canadian history. This was a ploy by the Conservatives to make their opponents run out of money before election day. The conservative party is supported by big business and big donors and is much better off financially that their opponents.

Here are the parties, their current standings and their leaders:


If anyone is wondering, we are supporting Tom Mulcair and the New Democratic Party. Canada's "Liberals" are just another right wing party, otherwise known as "Tories (Conservatives) in red ties".

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Great To Have Friends!

My Windows 10 install problems are solved! I had display driver problems after the install to the point that the resolution was so bad I could not use some of my installed programs. I had to scroll across the page to be able to read some of them.

I appealed to my friend Rick for help and after making a few suggestions he came to the conclusion that trying to direct me by email to perform these tasks was like a brain surgeon trying to talk a non doctor through a brain transplant by email! "First, cut a big hole",

I ended up installing TeamViewer and this let him take over my PC and do what had to be done. It was weird watching my cursor dart all over the screen, programs open and downloads directed all without me touching anything! Anyway, needless to say, he fixed my problem and I have a perfectly functioning Windows 10 desktop!

I can't thank you enough Rick and the number of coffees and donuts I owe you just multiplied!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sitemeter Problems

It looks like there are some problems with Sitemeter sending visitors to other sites. I Googled this and it appears to be true. I removed it and will try to find a substitute. Visitors to date, 450,089

11:15 PM. I have replaced Sitemeter with Statcounter. It seems OK so far, we will see how it goes.

In Other News:

I am having trouble with my Windows 10 install on my main desktop Computer. There is a problem with my graphics card's compatibility with Windows 10. My guru and I are working on the problem.