Sunday 3 March 2024

Hotel Television

    Back in the 1970’s when I was teaching in a one-room school located in a very isolated logging camp, we had no television or radio reception, so on those rare occasions when we left the camp and stayed in a motel in a urban area, we quickly turned on the television when we entered the room, to see what was on.  If we were lucky, the motel would have a movie channel and we could watch some movies.

    When I quit teaching in the one-room school and we moved out of the camp and into a community that had television reception, usually the reception was just one channel, CBC.  They sometimes showed movies, but not very often, so it was still a treat to be in a motel room that had HBO or another movie channel that we could watch.  Eventually, McBride, where we had sunken our roots and bought house, expanded the number of television stations it had, and among the several stations, was a movie channel, so we were able to watch a lot of films on TV.

    In the 1980’s with the rise of the VCR (video tape recorder), suddenly we could rent movies and choose the films we wanted to watch.  Watching video movies at home or at friends’ houses became an important social event and something that happened a couple of times a week.

    At the same time this was happening,  I started to realize that whenever we had the occasion to stay at a motel room, a quick scan of the television stations showed there was not much available there that I really wanted to watch.   Then after a few decades, when the internet and WiFi became common, for me, those motel television sets became less and less relevant.  

    Last week when I was hold up in a motel room,  I did scan the channels on our room’s TV, but quickly gave up.  The channels available were horrible.  At home, where I have satellite TV, I mostly watch PBS, TCM, HBO, or one of several available movie channels.   In my quick scan of the motel TV Channels, I didn’t see any of them, so the television stayed off for the rest of my motel time and I passed the time either by reading the novel I had brought, or going to websites on my iPad.

    For me, the once very important motel TV, has now become just another piece of motel furniture.

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Saturday 2 March 2024

My Memorable First Experience With Siri

    In 2015, I didn’t have a cell phone and I didn’t have any experience using one.

    My wife had an iPhone, and since I had to drive 220 km, (136 miles) on a snowy mountainous highway to Prince George to get a service on our car, my wife insisted I take her iPhone along with me, in case of an emergency.  I was reluctant because of my inexperience with the gadget and the knowledge that only about 15% of the highway had cell phone coverage anyway, but to make my wife feel better, I stuck the phone into my shirt pocket.  It was still dark outside and a little before 7:00 AM, when I started on my journey.

    I had driven past McBride and was approaching LeGrande, when I was startled when the phone start ringing.  I had forgotten that I even had the phone, but figured it was a call from my wife to tell me to pick up something in Prince George.  I pulled over to the side of the snowy highway and started trying to get at the phone so I could answer it.

    In the winter I always wear a lot of layers.  The phone was in my shirt pocket, which was beneath a sweater, a fleecy jacket, and a windbreaker.

    I had a very difficult time digging through all of those layers of clothing to get the phone out, but I finally succeeded.  As I looked down at the screen I realized that everything was blurry and I needed to get my glasses to see what was going on.  I didn’t even remember bringing any glasses, but I usually have a pair in some pocket somewhere.  This meant searching all the pockets in my windbreaker and the fleecy, underneath the windbreaker.

     In my extreme frustration, I let our a loud curse, fumbling with the phone in one hand, while at the same time I was trying to find my glasses.

   Then suddenly I heard a voice came out of nowhere.  It was Siri, Apple’s ‘know it all’ phone voice.  Siri said to me, “I don’t understand the term ‘F--K”.

    I didn’t know why Siri was even listening, maybe I pressed a button on the phone while scrambling for my glasses, but she had evidently heard my cursing and was trying to help.  At the absurdity of what had happened, I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud at the situation. 

    When I finally found my glasses and was able to finally read the message on the phone, I discovered that the message wasn’t for me at all, it was from our friend Di, who was sending a message to my wife.  I just shook my head at all the excitement and frustration the phone had caused me, over nothing.

    Once that episode was over, I pulled back onto the highway and proceeded toward Prince George.  About 45 minutes later, I stopped again and looked back at the sunrise that was starting to color the eastern skyline and took the photo above.

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Friday 1 March 2024

Snowshoe Paths

    I finally got my snowshoes out yesterday, a good month and a half later than when I normally do it for the winter.  Every winter the depth of the snow on the ground eventually builds up until it reaches a point where you can no longer easily walk through it.  When that happens, I get my snowshoes out and make paths through the snow to those places where I need or want to go.  The snowshoes press the snow down, compressing it, and hardening it, which then allows you to walk the paths with just your winter boots on.

    There are some key places where my paths go.  There is one to the compost pile, one to the woodpile, and another around the pond, where Kona and I do our walks.  If you step off of the snowshoe path, your foot sinks a lot deeper in the snow.   For some reason, when Kona pees, she always leaves the snowshoe path and fights her way through the deep powdery snow to do it.

    Every winter I measure how much snow is on the ground.  Normally its is about 2 feet (60cm), and that is snow that has been there for a while and has been compacted by its weight.  At present, there is now 10 inches (25cm) or so of snow on the ground, but it is fresh and fluffy, and not compacted, so we are way behind our normal snow levels.   At least it does now look wintery outside. 

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Thursday 29 February 2024

Overnight Snow

    We got about 5 inches (13 cm) of new snow overnight, and that added to the 5 or so inches already on the ground is starting to make things look like one of our normal winters, although the snow on the ground is still far below where it should be.  I had to get the snowblower out yesterday to clear the driveway, and as soon as I have this blog posted, I will go back out, crank up the snowblower, and clear the driveway again.  

    The snow that fell overnight was light and fluffy, a texture sort of like goose down, not like the heavy wet snow that falls when the temperature is just a bit above freezing.   When it is fluffy like this, it doesn’t take me much more than an hour to do the snow blowing.

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Wednesday 28 February 2024

Isn't It Nice To Be Home Again

    Happily, my ordeal in Prince George is over.  It wasn’t a very enjoyable trip.  It included a drive through a snowstorm, an extraction of a molar, temperatures with wind of -25°C (-13°F), and thirty hours without food (but gallons of water) in preparation for the colonoscopy.  Fortunately both the tooth pulling and the colonoscopy were not nearly as bad as I had imagined, but being hold up in a hotel room (close to a toilet) was certainly not very pleasant.  

    Anyway, we are back home again and last night at bedtime,  Kona and Lucifer were happy to take up their usual positions again, sandwiching me in bed.  Once everyone was snuggled into place, we all slept very well, happy to have things back to normal.

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Sunday 25 February 2024

Of Course, Now We Get Snow

    All winter long I have been hoping and pleading for snow to lessen the drought we are experiencing in the Robson Valley.  My pleads had gone unanswered, except for a few teasing flurries that didn’t amount to much.  Overnight we did get snow, about 6 inches (15 cm) of it, and more is forecast for later today.

    I said, “of course,” because over the next three days, I had been hoping that we wouldn’t get any snow.  The reason for that change is that we have a dental and medical appointment, up in Prince George on Monday and Tuesday, which means we will have to drive up there on Highway 16.  For a good part of our snowless winter its pavement has been clear of snow, and normal driving. 

    Two-lane Highway 16 is always a dangerous drive with its twists and turns through the mountains, big trucks sitting on your tail, and always the chance of wildlife darting out onto the road.  That is in the summertime, in winter, you still get all that stuff, plus:  Whiteouts of snow whenever anything goes past you, snow and ice on the surface, lessening traction and obscuring the centerline and edge markings, snow plows blowing snow, plus other dangerous conditions.  

    It looks like we will have to face all of those things now, as we make out way up to PG, and once we get up there, what rewards will we see after those hours of white knuckle driving:   A dental and doctor appointment, not my idea of a good time.  After that, we will have to drive back through all those bad conditions, maybe in the dark, to get back home.  Wish us luck.

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Saturday 24 February 2024

Kjell Needed a Sauna


    The photo above shows Kjell’s sauna.  Imagine how it might look in February, when everything is covered with snow.

Kjell, a Norwegian by birth, was always a big fan of saunas.  Years ago he built himself one beside Beardsley Brook, the creek that ran through the edge of his yard.  He made a dam on the brook which created a nice pool of clear cold water, right in front of his sauna.  After getting all hot and sweaty in the sauna, Kjell and his guests, would walk out on the little porch of the sauna, and plunge into the cold water of the pool he had made.

One day in February, arriving home after a tiring day of teaching, Kjell decided that a sauna would be just the thing to refresh his spirit.  Keeping his school clothes on, but he removed his shoes and slipped on his winter boots so he could walk through the snow.  He slowly trudged his way down the hill to the sauna to start a fire that would heat the sauna up, so he could use it later.

As he walked across the old 2 X 10 planks that went across the creek leading to the sauna, one of the rotten boards broke.  Kjell, still in his school clothes, went flailing head first into the very cold water of his sauna pool.  If he had been tired after his day at school, he soon found himself wide awake and very energized.

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