Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kerrisdale to Fairview Slope, Vancouver BC

I have been playing around with video, lately. You are probably tired of hearing my non-accent Canadian voice. It takes me hours to produce these and it is simpler to just post a few photos with some words dotted in-between. A photo is just a photo, a video conveys sounds, action and I like to give you a glimpse into daily life. If there is something you wish to see, something you are curious about in our area, just forward your requests. If it is within my power to perform your task, I will undertake it as a project. I love projects. It gives meaning to my life and gives me a purpose, and it will give me satisfaction to know that my life has meaning and that someone out there will appreciate it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Lately I have noticed a lot of soul searching, coming to crossroads, ageing, thinking about the future, changing our lifestyles, wondering about our futures, making changes to our free time, and leaving behind the mundane, routine and considering future changes to enhance what is left of our lives. I have been noticing this on most of the blogs (on my sidebar) . I am no different. We have bucket lists, unfinished challenges, trips to take, dreams to come alive and all this while we are still healthy enough to enjoy, yet we continue to work, do things for others and find that we have scarce time for ourselves.

With the current meltdown of the world, wondering about our securities and whether our funds will last until the end of our time. I am reduced to thinking about these alternatives available and with a clean slate to ponder these things I decided to go for a walk, ponder and just be . . . enjoy the fresh air, the ocean breezes and be by myself, as I make "Footprints in the Sand" and think about my future

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gagliardi Way on-ramp Westbound Hwy 1

There was recently a very bad motorcycle accident at this freeway interchange not long ago as was reported by SonjaM . Sonja knows that I often take this route home on my evening commute home. One day we met here by accident and stopped beside me at the stoplight


A few months ago the Cariboo/Gagliardi Way intersection was made a bit safer with the installation of a traffic light. Before that light it was hard to merge left as the traffic gets up to speed and you cannot get a clear sight line due to the slight curve in the road. The on-ramp to Hwy 1 used to enter on the right side, but it has now been dismantled with another signal light in place to make the traffic turn left onto a curved on ramp which merges with Hwy 1 also on a curve. It is hard to turn your head backwards to see the oncoming traffic, and most of the time the traffic are heavy duty trucks often tandems who insist on staying in the outside lane. This often makes it difficult to come up to speed and merge due to the short acceleration distance before the lane ends.

Perhaps I am not explaining it very clearly due to my Canadian accent. That's the problem when you enter some narration on a video and people make fun of the way you speak.

anyway . . . a photo is worth a thousand words, so you can see for yourself. I try to avoid this freeway entrance by taking another way home, but I had planned to video it for you and this I managed to do earlier this week

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blackie Spit, Crescent Beach, BC

This blog entry is a slight deviation from my usual posts. I wanted to try something different. As you know I have been doing video for a few years but mainly post still photos with narrative. I know a few of you don't like to look at videos so I try to keep them short.

I also have a love/hate relationship with the GoProHD camera due to its clunky interface, lack of remote control and your ability to see what it is doing whilst riding my V-strom, as the LCD display is "on the front", where you can't see it. Also you have to guess a bit as to where to aim it.

BUT, since it looks like a toy, many people don't know what it is or what it is doing so I have been doing some testing and find that I can "film" video without them knowing. Lots of people stare at my contraption but no one has asked any questions, yet.

For those that edit video will know how much time it takes to compile all your clips and arranged them into a logical sequence, with transitions and titles. While this video is only around 5 minutes, I have spent nearly 3 hours today, and over 2 hours on it yesterday. Uploading to youtube took nearly an hour. Excuse the narration as I am doing it "on the fly" without a script, to save time. I seem to be fumbling with the microphone and audio, and I don't stutter in person.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A lazy Staycation week

My Staycation is over. One week of doing not much, riding close to home, taking photos and working on some new video techniques and different ways to mount my videocam on my bike. It is a rare week where I would not go out of town when I had time available. These past days were a test of what will be one day when I will not have to make work my primary goal. While I did not commute to work, I did manage to ride around in our urban traffic during off peak hours. I didn't mean to make this video so long but I wanted you to see a typical day riding along Broadway, with signal lights at every block and also part of another route I usually ride on the way home from work

Most of this video was filmed last Wednesday when I rode my V-strom to Steveston for fish & chips, where I also took this self portrait


don't be concerned, I did wear my helmet as it is compulsory to wear helmets in British Columbia, but there is no requirement to wear anything else

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Liquid sunshine

Summer had a late start and recently we have had a few weeks of very warm temperatures. Our great weather is now coming to an end due to forecast for rain, the first rain this month. Since the skies were overcast and grey I got a late start and decided to go down to False Creek, ending up half way across the Cambie Street Bridge


It had been raining and this is the first time that I have had to wear a hat and waterproof shell since Spring.

I am nearing the end of my one week staycation. The idea of staying close to home was my idea as I recently came to a major crossroads in my life. It is rare that I would take time away from work and not travel somewhere. I was taking this opportunity to find out what retirement would feel like, if I were retired


Soon I change locations and head farther East towards the Olympic Athlete's Village. There are not many people out today, they are probably at work


Lately I have been carrying my Canon T2i dSLR and take more time in my quest to make better photos. Less point and shoot and more "take your time" and check your settings and focus before hitting the shutter button type photos. Since I lacked a suitable subject to practice on I had no choice but to use myself as the Model .


The temperatures have moderated a bit, you can feel the coolness in the air and so far the rain has been light and was more like a fine mist (drizzle).

I decide to head over to the pedestrian bridge


and use the Stadium in the background


The new roof is nearly completed . It gets tiring taking all these photos


so I take a short rest on one of the built-in recliners . By now my stomach is asking for nourishment when I noticed this vendor. Their actual storefront, across the street is not yet open, so they set up this street cart. I ordered an excellent chicken/bacon sandwich and beverage to wash it down


The sandwich was very tasty


I savoured every bite but soon it was gone and I moved on to the large bird statue


I also managed to climb this square rock pedestal to pose with this First Nations artwork


It was now late afternoon and the sun was trying to peer out from behind the clouds, I hopped into the car

(try it, you may like it)

and headed south back to the railway tracks I discovered the other day. I am not the only one who loves "rails" .
but instead of sitting on them, I tried my balancing act. It is harder than you think . . .


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lunch in Steveston

Our summer weather is slowly retreating. I had plans to ride somewhere with a view but with the heavy overcast sky I knew there would be no view, other than clouds and mist so instead of leaving at the break of dawn, I left closer to noon and ended up in Steveston for the best Fish & Chips in the City


Ask anyone and Pajo's is the first thing that comes out of your mouth. Pajo's has a few locations around the area but this is the original location, on a barge floating in Steveston harbour. It is seasonal and closed during the cold winter months. On weekends it is very busy, today not so much.


Even the Steveston boardwalk is devoid of people. Today you could have your choice of where to sit . Soon my small order of Cod & Chips are ready


to bring to my table. Notice that your order is presented in a paper funnel which fits precisely into these round circles cut into the tables . If I were younger I would have ordered the Larger portion, but nowadays I find that I prefer to eat less.

Here it is . . .


You are able to order 3 types of fish: Cod, Salmon or Halibut . Even though I ordered the small portion, there were more fries than I wanted to eat, so rather than throw them away in the garbage, I decided to feed the seagulls

I decided that today I was going to concentrate on photography and stick closer to home. On the way here (to Steveston) I usually pass through Finn Slough. I notice that this deteriorating foot bridge is calling to me


the wood is rotting and the structure feels less secure than before. You have to watch your step and stick close to the middle. I decide to snap a Gary France inspired Centre-Line photo, even though there is no centre line


Earlier I passed by another Marina where I thought I could set up for another photo of my bike


and another for your viewing pleasure



This is a panorama of Finn Slough, produced from 4 stitched images.
I am having trouble figuring out clickable thumbnails

(Canon G10: panorama assist mode, left to right)

after you click on the thumbnail, you have to click on the photo again

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grover the Vino

My Friend Robert gets Tuesday off. Last month he knew that I was taking a vacation week so he said to me that he was going to block off his calendar, for me. We could do anything I wanted, we could ride, we could walk, my wish was his command. This morning I took my time, packed my cameras and headed East towards Surrey where I met Robert and his friends for breakfast


This was the first time that I had seen "Grover", his wife's new Yamaha Vino 125. Robert's Vespa PX150 is being serviced and he is using Grover for a few days. It is brand new and is still being broken in so we planned to stick to slow roads, close to home. With stomachs full we are soon underway and head East towards Tswwassen, a community which is adjacent to the US border


We take the scenic route passing through Ladner and miles of farmland


half an hour later we arrive on the southern portion of Centennial Beach


A walk up those cement stairs will lead to the USA


Obviously we are on the Canadian side as you notice the fluttering flags blowing in the wind. A short half a block south we could set foot on the American side, if we wanted to endure the stiff penalties with crossing the border illegally. The trees and the homes in the background are in Point Roberts, WA .


Eventually we move on to the main beach area to use the "facilities"


The beach is deserted. There is no one here, the parking lot is empty but luckily the washrooms were open. It seemed a bit chilly with the breeze over the water and a hot beverage would have hit the spot, except the concession was closed


I managed to capture another photo of Robert and Grover


We head back to Vancouver taking Hwy 99 North and approach the entrance to the George Massey Tunnel. Notice that Robert & Grover is that speck ahead of me. I am using the BlueKat "hold the camera in my left hand technique" to take photos whilst riding and I hang back to allow a buffer, "just in case" .


As we approach the Oak Street Bridge we are caught in a massive traffic jam


the highway and all approaches are dead stopped. We have to endure 3 ft shifts for over a mile, all due to a slight fender bender . By now we are hot and decide to visit Gary and have a cool beverage from across the street when some members of the scooter gang show up


Another relaxing day, not doing much and not many miles. But I did manage to spend a pleasant day with my friend, Robert , and riding my V-strom

(Robert & Bob: Centennial Beach, Tswwassen, BC)


I did TWO stupid things yesterday:

i) Mrs Skoot said: "A light has burnt out" . so naturally I go to my stockpile of spares and pull out an Eco Halogen type dimmable, high efficiency bulb which draws 40 watts but works like a 75 watt. We use dimmable bulbs in our washroom. I remove the head, unscrew the bulb and replace with the new one. No problem, operation successful. We have two bulbs and now one is brighter than the other since it was a different type. I decided to remove the other head and when I grabbed the light bulb, I got an instant burn on my right thumb. I only grabbed it for a millisecond and now it gave me jabbing pain


I still have a white, circular blister but the photos doesn't look as bad as it was. I mean, how stupid for trying to hold a hot bulb without letting it cool down first. We had LidoSporin which took a while to take affect.

ii) The other thing was so dumb I am ashamed to tell you . . . I should have known better . I have slightly re-injured my left foot, the one that was getting better.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes I think too much

I imagine as a person ages they come to crossroads and reflect upon where they are and where they are headed, how they spend their free time and what they want to achieve in the future as it pertains to hobbies, or travel. A man of Iron recently had these reflections which he blogged about recently HERE . I too came to the same intersection about a decade ago. I was always first to offer my services which people expected that I would jump to their rescue and many times I did. As photography has been my lifelong hobby "friends" with limited budgets would pounce on me to take their wedding photos. Even friends of friends have come knocking and expected that I too would "bend" to their desires. In the past, with good friends I would offer my services as a wedding gift, I would give them a day of my life, produce the negatives and give them to the lucky couple. All this for no payment and with my best wishes.

When our daughter got married, I called upon my photographer friends to help me snap a few photos. I would have taken them myself if I wasn't in the wedding party, so I left my camera at home. No one came to my rescue and thus I had to hire my own Wedding photographer just like everyone else. You may ask, what's this got to do with being a riding instructor and giving up all my free weekends training new riders ? Same analogy, just differing skills.

The first crossroads was exactly like the Man of Iron mentioned before. I too reflected on my free time, and all the stuff I did helping others on my free weekends, some appreciative, and others not so much. Ever since I made the decision to act upon my own priorties, over the whims of others who infringe upon my free time, I feel happier as I am steering my own course.

Lately I am feeling like I am too old. Nothing has changed, I still feel healthy except for my foot, but I can still walk under my own power, and I can still ride my motorcycle but I have come to my second crossroads. Thus, a good friend recently said to me that . . .

"I think too much"

And this is probably true because I came to a major crossroads in July when I should be retiring, except for the fact that the economy has collapsed again and we are dipping into another recession. I am a bit worried about the future and lack of income, so I trudge on and continue to work like many others of my generation. I have been issued a Gold Care Card which signifies that I am receiving my CPP: Canada Pension Plan and OAP: Old Age Pension and the fact that I am now officially an Old Person. I didn't really feel any different when I turned 65, but when I received my first pension payment, things changed. I call it Retirement Mode and I am using this transitional time to try and do things that cost less (or free), and I have been staying at home more to watch the grass grow.

This week I am on Vacation but I decided that I would stay close to home and find out what it would be like to "pretend" that I was retired . It is very rare that I would not plan to go anywhere when I have time off work. Of course the idea would be to do things that were cost efficient.

This morning I got my V-strom ready to go for a ride


I had no plans but ended up Downtown on Denman Street, then rode around our beach areas over to UBC: University of British Columbia where I parked in the motorcycle area


It was still early in the day. I was planning on going down to Wreck Beach to spend an hour or so but it was still cool and windy so I continued my ride to a viewpoint overlooking the Fraser River


The YVR: Vancouver International Airport is in the distance (left horizon)


There is not much beach access on this section of the UBC endowment lands. There are dangerous steep cliffs on the south side.


I decided to return home and park my bike. It was suggested to me to ride out to Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park but that is nearly 2 hours for me, each way and I didn't feel like navigating the traffic mess to get there. Being officially old I thought that I would prefer to keep a closer radius and just enjoy the day at a slower pace


I know it's not safe to sit on the railway tracks, and there are No Trespassing signs warning of danger but today I wanted to be a daredevil


Yes, we have a helmet law here for cyclists. I dread the thought of having to ride home from this spot as it is 5 kms all uphill and my legs are feeling like jello


and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath and rest. I must have looked like the walking dead, for one of my stops a lady came out of her home and asked if I was Okay. As I neared the top of the hill I noticed a red deux chevaux 2cv


Well, I managed to ride all the way up the hill under my own power. Not bad for an Old Guy, even though I had to stop a few times. I suppose it will get easier each time. I used the bike route and I was passed by a few other cyclists who "left me in their dust" . It's not easy to see them pass and a block later they are nearly out of sight.


It was a pleasant afternoon for a ride, a chance to get a bit of exercise and to build up my sandal tan


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Meet Wayne, the Meanderer

Photography has been my passion and hobby for more years than my memory can remember. I ride, I drive, I walk, I cycle, I also meander on the streets of Vancouver and have done so for decades. Maybe not so much walking these days but you will seldom, if ever, find me without a camera of some sort. I am always learning new techniques and visit many photo forums and a couple of years ago I stumbled across another fellow Vancouverite who happens to also take photos and travels on the streets of Vancouver. One thing I noticed from his posts is that we are always following in each other's footsteps missing each other by mere days. It's a wonder that we have not bumped into each other, by chance. For months I have been trying to catch up with him but he is an elusive "fish".

Today was the Big Day . . .


Here is my first glimpse of Wayne, the meander who is author of THIS BLOG I arrived early this morning to pick him up and drive him to my usual breakfast spot for breakfast


As I don't carry passengers on my bike, I decided to use my dusty 'Vette . Wayne told me that he feels more comfortable behind a camera, rather than in front so I rushed to snap a blurry grabshot before he noticed


Every Saturday morning for over a decade I have been meeting "the guys" for breakfast at this Kitsilano eatery on 4th Avenue

(Bill, David, Gord & Wayne)

Today we also had another visitor, David from Toronto . Over breakfast we often talk about this and that and today was no different . We like to solve the world's problems before we leave . No food pOrn today


Mine was the plate on the left, my usual sausages with eggs, and Wayne had the French Toast w/syrup. It was delicious as you will surmise.


We also had lots of their excellent coffee blend . Soon enough it was time to leave and we ended up talking more camera talk. I demonstrated how to operate a 4x5 field camera, and ended up taking our photo using my radio remote control shutter release

(L-R: Wayne & Myself)

In a couple of weeks Wayne is off to Boston and we will get together again when he gets back and perhaps walk about snapping photos together.

We soon parted ways and I transported Wayne downtown and I managed to grab another image of him, with my iPhone4, before he exited the car



Our Company would prefer that we do not carry our vacation days over to the next year, which is based upon your aniversary date of hire, mine being mid-October. Prior to last year it was calculated on the calendar year which ended December 31st and I often took extra days off during the Christmas week. Not that you needed to know all of this detail, so next week I am off on Vacation. No plans, nothing set in stone, sort of a "go with the flow" sort of random non-planning. I look forward to shedding my work attire and dressing down


I worked so hard on my sandal tan and now that I am breaking in a new pair, the straps go the opposite way ruining the strap pattern. This new pair (Teva: Zilch) is a minimal design which is foldable for travelling. They are so flexible you can roll them up and when they are on they are so light it feels like you are barefoot. My commuter car has a manual transmission, and with these sandals on you can really feel the clutch engage.

I am not sure if they are better than the Vibram FiveFingers , perhaps Steel Cupcake can give a review of her pair.

It's not often I take time off from work and not go anywhere. Maybe I'll just work on my sandal tan