Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Computer Recycling for a Good Cause

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The following press release arrived this morning from CNW.
I have not heard of this organisation before and have not used their services. In Vancouver you can take your unwanted computers to the Free Geek Community Technology Centre at 1820 Pandora Street

The Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) is calling out to all businesses and individuals to donate their unwanted computers and laptops to help them fill requests from charitable organizations and individuals in need. Recycling computers? Recycling laptops? Most recycling companies and associations simply want to destroy and melt down your old technology. www.era.ca actually fixes, reuses and helps the communities Canada wide access low cost technology.

CALGARY, AB, July 2, 2022 /CNW/ – The Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 to address the growing problem of e-waste and the increasing ‘digital divide’. ERA has offers simple solutions to help individuals and organizations prevent operational equipment from premature destruction. With a focus on recovery, refurbishment and reuse, ERA continuously supplies charitable groups with donated IT equipment while securely managing the retiring IT assets of organizations and individuals across Canada.

“We are proud to provide charities, non-profits, schools and care facilities all across Canada with the computers they require for their programs. This gives them access to reliable technology while allowing them to apply their resources to what they’re good at, developing programs to help Canadians struggling with poverty, health concerns or are otherwise experiencing misfortune,” said Bojan Paduh Founder and CEO of ERA.

AB: Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters needs 100 laptops & 40 desktop computers
BC: More Than A Roof Housing Society needs 30 laptops & 15 printers
ON: Goodwill Industries needs 95 laptops
QC: Sarker Hope Foundation needs 50 laptops & 10 desktop computers
SK: Blaine Lake Composite School needs 50 laptops
MB: Altered Minds Inc needs 50 laptops & 65 desktop computers

Help ERA by booking a pickup of your unwanted devices through our online form on https://www.era.ca

Have only a few items and want us to get them next day? ERA offers shipping labels for free pickup from anywhere in Canada. Goto https://www.era.ca to donate now

SOURCE Electronic Recycling Association

Written by Stephen Rees

July 2, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Transportation

Annals of Aeronautics

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This is a blog. That is a contraction of Web Log – a record of the sites on the internet that I have been visiting. Today there are three stories all about ways we may fly in the future. They share some common features – regenerating old technologies, and using electricity to power aircraft. But they are all quite different. Except that in my life time each one of these ideas – in different forms – has popped up more than once. For example, when I went to and from Nottingham during my university days, the train took me past the hangars at Cardington. I would like to be able to say I saw airships flying but that wouldn’t be true. Though I have seen the Goodyear “blimps” now and again. That name is a travesty. It was originally applied to the tethered balloons used in London during WWII to try to force luftwaffe bombers to fly higher (and thus be more inaccurate). The Goodyear airships are true dirigibles (balloons you can steer) just like zeppelins.

The only real question I think is about the probability that these things will actually fly commercially.

The most likely, I think is the Hawaiian version of the flying boat. Unlike the effort here to refit existing floatplanes with electric motors, these aircraft are based on the aeronautics of the cormorant – to be seen every day across the Burrard inlet. By flying low and close to the water – but not actually touching it – a great deal of energy is saved. Quite how this can be turned into a commercial service around the Hawaiian islands remains to be seen. Presumably, this new type of aircraft will be able to rise quickly to get over the top of those who stick to their own preferred seaways.

I think that Sergey Brin may be the more likely to get approvals since the changes he proposes to make Zeppelins are designed to take advantage of our much better understanding of the physics of lighter than air flight, strength of materials science, and what the challenges were that lead to the rapid demise of airships both military and commercial.

I like the idea of cruising in an airship (see the works of Cory Doctorow for what he thinks might happen). The appeal of the giant flying cruise ship – not so much.

For one thing it relies on nuclear energy – always a bit of a problem in my mind – but more especially in this case since it has to be both “small” and fusion powered. As far as I know, there is not yet anything like a feasible fusion power plant.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 27, 2022 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Air Travel

Consumer EV Charging Experience in Canada

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The Press Release below arrived at lunchtime today, just when we were talking about cars, again. Now that Modo has a car close to us, I have started to use it for pre-booked trips. The car is a Toyota Prius, and the traffic was so congested this morning, coming back from Oakridge along 49th that I was easily able to keep the car in EV mode all the time. We live in a condo with underground parking, and people using EVs have become something of an issue. Initially because they weren’t paying for those charges. That has been changed to a flat fee for people with EVs. I have an older, conventional IC car but I have been seriously considering replacing it, in part because there seems to be very little opportunity to find investments in renewables – although I have found at least one. There is also some doubt in our building if our old infrastructure can actually cope with EV charging as nothing much has changed here since the building went up in 1974. There are three transformers in the basement, which turn out to be the property of BC Hydro, which have literally not even seen any maintenance let alone upgrading in that time.

There is also of course a current disruption in new vehicle deliveries, due to the pandemic, and a six month wait for a new car. While I have a Prius Prime on order, I still don’t know if I will be able to charge it overnight here – which would meet most of my needs. In the meantime I am using both Modo and Evo more often to see if there is any real need for car ownership at all.

The report cited below found

 Over 40% of respondents in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) stated that more than half of all their charging needs are met using public infrastructure. The needs of MURB residents are critical to address as they represent 33% of Canada’s population and are often constrained in terms of their ability to charge at home.

which pretty much backs up my experience. We are supposed to be examining the need for more in house charging but we do not have a good track record in terms of getting agreements with enough residents to change anything at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen_rees/52078080619/

My nearest public charging station West Boulevard @ 40th Ave

EV Fast Chargers



Pollution Probe Releases Groundbreaking Report on the Consumer EV Charging Experience in Canada

TORONTO – June 23, 2022 – Pollution Probe is pleased to release the results from a first-of-its-kind national survey of electric vehicle (EV) owners. The survey captured the real-world charging experiences of Canadian EV owners from coast-to-coast to identify gaps and weaknesses in existing charging networks, as well as strengths that can be used to maximize the benefits of future charging station deployments. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Office of Consumer Affairs at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

The comprehensive survey received responses from more than 1,600 EV owners drawn from every province. Results were categorized into four key areas: charging behaviour, network coverage satisfaction, network service satisfaction, and network payment systems.

An adequate public charging network is frequently cited as one of the most important factors in accelerating EV adoption. Not only does public charging make long-distance travel in EVs more convenient, but it makes the prospect of EV ownership more feasible for Canadians who live in high-rise buildings or homes that lack a dedicated parking space that can accommodate a charging station. Not surprisingly, one of the key findings of the study is that EV owners residing in high-rises rely much more on public charging than those in single family homes. Over 40% of respondents in high-rise buildings indicated that more than half of their charging needs are addressed using public charging stations.

While the installation of public EV chargers continues to accelerate thanks to the efforts of both government and industry, right now most Canadian EV owners think that the existing number of public chargers is insufficient. While Canadian EV owners’ location preference for the slower level 2 charging stations is varied, preference for DC fast chargers is more concentrated at highway rest stops and urban retail centres. Another key finding is that EV owners are very interested in demand management methods, such as smart charging and vehicle-to-grid charging, that could reduce their charging costs. These methods can be leveraged by utilities to avoid stressing local grids as more EVs come online.

As of 2021 EVs comprised almost 6% of new passenger car sales in Canada – but the EV market is just getting warmed up. Canada has set mandatory ZEV sales targets of at least 20% of new passenger vehicle sales by 2026, 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. Regular assessments similar to this onewill need to be led in the coming years so government policy and industry practice can efficiently address the needs and expectations of the next generation of Canadian drivers.

“Findings highlight mixed attitudes and behaviours from Canadian EV owners depending on the type and age of EV owned, their location in Canada, household type, travel patterns, and charging networks used. This pioneering work is an important start in terms of aligning consumer expectations around the convenience of EV use with public charging infrastructure availability across Canada.”

–  Christopher Hilkene, CEO, Pollution Probe

Read the report at the links below to see the full results as well as a summary of key findings and recommendations for next steps. Our transportation team is available to respond to questions and comments.

ENGLISH & FRENCH REPORT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE

— 30 –

About Pollution Probe
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization that pursues environmental gains by productively working with governments, industry and the public. With a steadfast commitment to clean air, clean water and a healthy planet, Pollution Probe has been at the forefront of environmental issues and action since its inception in 1969. www.pollutionprobe.org

Written by Stephen Rees

June 23, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Updates

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Quite a lot happening recently, some of which relates to issues that have been dealt with in blog posts on here. So I thought that I should do a single post to bring you up to date. I will also add the links to the previous posts on the topic just in case there are some readers who missed them first time around.

Arbutus Mall Redevelopment

The second stage of the project is now getting started in earnest. This week the excavators arrived and started tearing down the remains of the Mall Building. This used to accommodate the Safeway Pharmacy, BC Liquor Store, Bank of Montreal and Dance Company. They all have now moved across the Yew Street extension. I have tried to update Google maps with the new locations as the old ones keep appearing elsewhere. That has certainly added a lot more views to the photos I attached to those posts.

Pedalheads, who used to run swimming lessons in the old community centre pool (located in the basement) are now in the Jericho Hill Centre.

Arbutus Mall Redevelopment
Yew Street at Lahb Avenue

Modo Car Share

I was doing a Leo survey into travel in the region, and one of the questions was why I was not using Modo car share. The answer was going to be that they did not have a car based nearby – but I checked the map to see how far it was. And discovered a new Modo parking spot is on Yew at Eddington. So I have revived my membership. My suspicion is that it is the new development of rental apartments that has spurred Modo’s interest in this location.

Welcome to the neighbourhood
Toyota Prius Hybrid

This car is brand new! If you were in the market to buy one of these there is currently a six month wait! I know that because that is what I did this week when I decided to end the experiments I had made investing through WealthSimple and VanCity. The downturn in the stock market means that they are now both worth less than I started with, so I thought that it would be a good idea to get into an electric car and trade-in my 2007 Yaris. I also have over $500 in Open Road points by having my car serviced every six months but much to my surprise even though these points can only be used to help pay for servicing or buying a new car, apparently that did not include the $500 that I was asked to put down as a deposit for a new Prius Prime – which is a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure EV. My concern has been that the Strata Council was not being very proactive in installing charge points in the garage, but apparently that may be changing too. Given that I have at least a six months wait, I will be using the Modo when I can to see if I even need to own a car at all. Especially after reading this article today which states that tire wear particulates are much worse than tailpipe emissions – and this is directly tied to vehicle weight. Batteries are much heavier than fuel tanks – and in North America the car makers are promoting ever larger, heavier vehicles. Not only do EVs not help at all with traffic congestion, they may make local air quality worse than ICE vehicles.

Broadway Subway Construction

Broadway Subway Construction
Arbutus Station: looking west from Maple St

Traffic deck installation begins today
www.broadwaysubway.ca/app/uploads/sites/626/2022/05/2022_…

Broadway Subway Project traffic deck installation
Traffic deck installation at the future Arbutus Station site BCTran photo

and the boring machines have arrived and are being installed at the eastern end of the new tunnel. That link gives you a PDF file of what is happening here at the other end of the new line but that website, run by the province, is by far the best source for detailed information on the project as a whole. In due course I hope to be able to make a video of the pictures that are collected now as a Flickr album to show the transformation.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 3, 2022 at 4:57 pm

Book Review “Blowout” by Rachel Maddow

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Published by Crown 2019

ISBN 978-0-525-57547-4

Ebook ISBN 978-0-525-57549-8

I am very fortunate to have a neighbour who likes to buy hardback books and then rather than keep them looks for someone who might like to read them. Even though $40 Canadian is, I suppose, not out of reach, it is still a delight to get my hands on an almost new book, for free. In this case, covering the history of the oil and gas industry is mostly familiar territory, although there is quite a lot here that I seem to have managed to miss at the time, or had perhaps just forgotten. And just because it is three years old does not mean it is out of date since nothing much has changed since it was published.

For any kind of life to continue on earth, the oil and gas industry must, as a matter of urgency, be brought under control. Its trajectory is still to expand the production of the fossil fuels that have now produced the unprecedented threat of the climate crisis.

“The oil and gas industry, as ever, is wholly incapable of any real self-examination, or of policing or reforming itself. Might as well ask the lions to take up a plant based diet. If we want the most powerful and consequential industry on our planet to operate safely, and rationally, and with actual accountability, well make it. It’s not mission-to-Mars complicated either, but it works”.

Maddow’s book is mainly concerned with the United States, of course. Not that matters in Canada are any different. We too pour subsidies at both federal and provincial level into oil companies whose profits have been growing exponentially. We used to get considerable revenues from the royalties levied on these companies. Now that is next to nothing and, at the same time, the favorable tax treatments and supports are in the billions on dollars. Yes billions with a B. Maddow does not mention how Norway has been treating the oil and gas industry – it is not even listed in the index – but that might have been a welcome sign that reform is possible. But probably not very likely as long as Republicans still dominate Congress. Though there was one shining moment that she does mention when both parties and both houses got together to ensure that Trump could not unilaterally cancel sanctions on Russia. Which was a very definite objective of Putin’s campaign to get him elected.

There is much detail of the recent activities of the industry, including of course the Deepwater Horizon – which got so much coverage at the time – as well as a second Gulf drilling rig leak which went on for much longer and was even worse but got hardly any attention. The Taylor oil spill started in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan struck. It remained a secret until 2010, and by 2018 was still leaking seven hundred barrels of oil into the Gulf every single day. The industry still has little more than paper towels and dish liquid to clean up spills and very little oversight to ensure that spills don’t happen. “For every 1,000 wells in state and federal waters, there’s an average of 20 uncontrolled releases – or blowouts – every year.” (US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

Then there is the tale of fracking and the damage to water resources, homes, farms and businesses from a vast earthquake “swarm”. Again Maddow has plenty on this but misses the way that the industry has been very much aware that it loses vast amounts of methane (a far worse greenhouse gas than CO2) but simply regards that as a cost of doing business – and not something that it highlights as in many cases the methane gas they do manage to capture is simply flared, as liquid fuel for motor vehicles is by far the greatest source of demand for the industry’s output. Outright lying, and obfuscation, is naturally the industry’s preferred method of dealing with this issue. Though they do have a commitment to increase the use of methane – “natural gas” – which is claimed to be the cleanest fuel when in reality it is anything but. It is only recently that I have seen mainstream media picking up the story that gas appliances in the home – mostly stoves – are responsible for indoor air quality to be worse than anything that would be permitted industrially. And in this region Terasen (which used to be BC Gas) is proposing a large LNG export terminal in the Fraser estuary at Tilbury. There is already a smaller terminal there and it is also the case that in the US, where ports get more oversight from local authorities than in Canada, would be very unlikely to be permitted due to the proximity of many other businesses and even residential development. LNG production and transportation in general is also bedevilled by methane leaks that are underreported and difficult to control.

Maddow has a very engaging style and the book reads very easily. There is a substantial (nearly 20 pages) of Notes on Sources. With, of course, copious links to information available online. And there is also a very careful analysis of the mind set and ambitions of Russian dictator Putin, including exactly why he has such a vast and successful social media presence and which has done so much damage to democracy and public discourse. It well worth the read. Both the book and the audiobook are currently available at the Vancouver Public Library but there is a short wait list for the ebook.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 2, 2022 at 12:20 pm

End of the Line

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(Coming to digital and cable on demand platforms in the United States June 14)

Feature Documentary/ Not Yet Rated / Running Time: 65 Minutes

“Award-winning filmmaker Emmett Adler’s feature documentary END OF THE LINE is a character-driven political drama about the New York City subway crisis and a long overdue reckoning on infrastructure. 

Establishing the vital economic importance and grandeur of New York City’s historic subway system, the film dives into its dire modern-day troubles picking up in the late 2010s when flooding, overcrowding, power failures, and derailments have become commonplace. After a particularly bad spate of disasters in the summer of 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaims a state of emergency and hires a new international wunderkind executive named Andy Byford to save the subways. Byford, an earnest Briton with an impressive resume, enters as a charismatic would-be hero.

As the political turmoil behind the subway’s decline comes into sharp focus, scenes in barbershops, bodegas, and bakeries show the frustration and devastation among business owners and residents who are caught in the middle. 

Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic furthers this, and brings to light America’s need to shore up its infrastructure in cities across the country and the inequality struggles that are central to this debate. A heartfelt and scrupulous exploration, this film poses the question: what happens when the lifeline of a city goes flat?

This film is dedicated to the heroic New York City transit workers who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his tenure as President of MTA NYC Transit, Andy Byford presents his
Fast Forward Plan to fix New York City’s transit system.
PHOTO 1
(Photo Credit: Gravitas Ventures)
(L-R) Andy Byford and Joe Lhota in Emmett Adler’s END OF THE LINE
Description:
During his tenure as President of MTA NYC Transit, Andy Byford presents his
Fast Forward Plan to fix New York City’s transit system. MTA Chairman Joe Lhota stands to Byford’s right. (2018)

Written by Stephen Rees

April 20, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Railway, transit, Transportation

Tagged with

Cloud Album

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Last week we went to North Vancouver. For the last two years we haven’t been anywhere very much, but I have wanted to go see the new Museum of North Vancouver for its restored streetcar, and whatever was on at the Polygon Gallery. I had also thought of fish and chips for lunch at the Quay market but that was not to be. They are undergoing renovation and the the chip shop is not one that has stayed open. Fortunately there are other options.

The Polygon has no permanent collection but the current exhibit (until May 1) uses the same title as this post. I did put the three pictures below on Flickr but they have been mostly ignored.

John Constable's Clouds
John Constable's Clouds
John Constable's Clouds

They are three paintings by Constable that he produced outdoors at great speed to record the changes in clouds as the British weather changes rapidly. I was a bit nonplussed by their reception but perhaps I should also have posted this image

I was sufficiently inspired by the exhibit as a whole to point my camera at sky outside.

Clouds
Clouds

I don’t claim to be a Constable, but it is now a lot easier to make cloud images than in 1822. I was also much less impressed by some of the (very small) images made by early photographers – later in the 19th century – who were also using far less sophisticated equipment. I don’t know why but somehow looking at the actual paintings made by Constable was much more impressive than watching a program about him on my television set.

These images were all made later in the day. So I would like your response to this question: is it worthwhile for me to post these to Flickr?

Written by Stephen Rees

April 16, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Posted in photography

Guest Post for National Poetry Month

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I get at least half a dozen emails every day from PR people offering me content for this blog. It is not often that I decide to use any of this stuff – but then I don’t always read everything. I just skim in case I might miss something. What you can read below is something that captured my attention. I recommend that you read all of it. And I hope that some book sales might result from that.

—————————————————————————–

National Poetry Month is happening now! 

Eugenia Zukerman is CBS Sunday Morning’s classical music correspondent, world renowned flutist, and now author of the memoir Like Falling Through a Cloud: A Lyrical Memoir of Coping With Forgetfulness, Confusion, and a Dreaded Diagnosis(East End Press). Eugenia has Alzheimer’s and Like Falling Through a Cloud is a lyrical memoir she wrote shorty after diagnosis. Through poetry, Eugenia has processed her own diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, and inspired others around the world as well.

A few of the posts are pasted below. More at www.eugeniazukerman.com

A few years ago my daughters told me they were worried about my forgetfulness, my loss of words, my confusion. They suggested, or rather insisted I get tested. A flutist, writer, artistic director, busy playing and performing, I simply refused. But when I finally agreed to trek uptown with my younger daughter I was tested. I was shocked that indeed my cognitive ability was compromised and would only get worse. I was quietly terrified and indignant, and when I got home, I went to sat down at my desk and stared at the wall for what seemed a long time. I did not cry. I did not move. But then, for some reason I took out a pen and paper and started to write. What spilled out is mostly in verse. Putting pen to paper helped me to find my own way through the brambles of loss.

What resulted is my book, a lyrical memoir titled Like Falling Through a Cloud: A Lyrical Memoir of Coping with Forgetfulness, Confusion, and a Dreaded Diagnosis

Here are three poems I’ve chosen from Like Falling Through a Cloud to which I’ve included an intro to each:

BACK  

I think this poem speaks to the confusion and fear I was actually feeling in a hot crowded subway as I realized I had no idea to find my way out of the underground station. I remember having a mix of panic and self anger. “How can you be so stupid,” I remember telling myself. Yet I believe I was oddly poised and when I emerged from the station and I was able to compose myself and walk home, cooling calmly off.

I’ve returned to the city

            where everyone is busy

                 and scurrying

                        and worrying

and it’s late summer

            subways are crowded and hot

   folks are sweating a lot

 and the trains are

       always late

and some man gets up

 to offer me his seat

  which is sweet

      if somehow insulting

here’s my stop

     I’m attempting to exit

I push             my way out

  doors close behind

    but  when I look up at a sign…

            this stop

                        is

                                    not

                                                mine  

                        And worse

I’m totally turned around and can’t figure out

            do I need to go back uptown

or change to the downtown track and how do

                        I do that

            FIGURE IT OUT, BIRDBRAIN

             I wander around the station

            looking for an exit, any exit           

            JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE

there!

      stairs!

            I stagger up

                        until I’m out

                              above ground

Out of breath

            having arrived

                        survived

A walk home will be good

            I need to get my bearings

                but I won’t be sharing

            the story of my panic or pretty soon

                                    I’ll be forced to wear

                                       a lovely bracelet

                                       inscribed:

                              MEMORY IMPAIRED

————————————————————————————–

GETTING IT TOGETHER 

Here I am trying to be responsible, thinking about what I should be doing to get ready to leave my worldly goods to my family by going to my banker. At the same time I was imagining the idea my husband and I concocted, in a kidding mode, that we would put on deer suits, go out on the first day of hunting, and wait to meet our fates… hoping of course that the hunters would know how to shoot straight.

I’ve made a date

with my

banker

because I hanker

to know where things stand

when it comes to what I’ll hand

to my next of kin

so I should begin

to keep track of stuff

to see if there is enough

to pass around

when I’m under the ground

I’m not being dramatic

but I can no longer be static

about what lies ahead

when I’m dead

which oddly I do not dread

              instead

I want to avoid leaving a mess

for the family to assess

I’d like them to say

she left it this way

to keep trouble at bay

and to avoid a fray

I don’t expect to croak

at midnight’s stroke

but I don’t want to be

one hundred and three

which my mother’s achieved

I will stick with the plan

I’ve made with my man –

when the time seems right

we will have the delight

of donning deer suits

on the first day of hunting

and we’ll go out in the fields

and wait

      to meet our fates —

  only I  hope

   the hunters  know how to

shoot

      s

t

      r a   

i

   g

h  

     t

IN ORDER TO PROMOTE TRANQUILITY AND CERTAINTY    

                  WHEREAS

The parties were married to one another in a civil ceremony

                WHEREAS

as a result of their marriage the Parties wish by this agreement to

define their rights and interests in one another’s property; and

                 WHEREAS

each of the Parties has been informed of his/her rights and privileges in and to the property of the other under the laws…and each understands that under law their marriage confers specific rights upon each of them; and

                 WHEREAS

in order to promote tranquility and certainty…the Parties desire to define and limit by the Agreement the interests, rights and claims which accrue to each of them in the property of the other by reason of their marriage to each other; and…

                 WHEREAS

If the parties are wearing  their respective deer suits and each has donned their

respective antlers, then each understands that the rights and claims of the other

will be null and void if  he or she should be the receiver of the first bullet; and

                WHEREAS

 as a result of being the first receiver it will not matter diddly squat

                  who gets what

              but let it be noted

that the certainty of  tranquility will have been perfectly promoted.

————————————————————————————–

A SUPER SUNNY SUNDAY

Here I am on a spring afternoon reveling in the beauty and bounty of nature.

Almost August

       and the tomatoes are bulging

on their vines

          the flowers continue

to burst toward the sky

     in colors that astound

while on the ground

           our once hearty kale

      has been ripped out by rabbits

who attack at dawn

     and are gone

                   in a flash

leaving the crop tattered and torn

           Nothing lasts forever

not kale or tomatoes or cucumbers

   or the glorious flowers that fill our fields

      or the people we adore

        and though I know my days are numbered

       I feel unencumbered

          by thoughts of my demise

             I do not embrace

             my inevitable decline

          but I’m determined

                  to find

       a way to make the rest of my stay

           on this problematic planet

                 filled with light

                    and love

                        and

                    music

As for the deer suit I promised to don

      I don’t think I’ll put it on

not now     not yet

    I’m not ready

               I feel steady

   and I have a strategy to keep on keeping on 

                 which is simple:

      wake up

            fetch the flute

                   summon up Syrinx

          give thanks for another day

                   and then

            play on!

                  play on!   

Written by Stephen Rees

April 6, 2022 at 11:26 am

Posted in Art

Tagged with ,

Tony Robinson in Canada

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“Around the World by Train” with Tony Robinson Season 2 Episode 4 – Canada

Currently available streaming on Knowledge Network – or broadcast repeat on April 9 11pm

I will start by stating that I am greatly enjoying this series – just as much as I did Season 1, and I am happy to recommend it. It is in my opinion much better than than Michael Portillo’s similar efforts, although I have yet to see his version of Canada.

BUT there were errors and omissions in last night’s episode that I just cannot let go.

Amtrak Cascades Mud Bay Surrey BC

Tony travelled up the Pacific Coast from California (last week he ended up in Los Angeles) on Amtrak to Seattle, then took the Cascades to Vancouver. Of course that train arrives at Pacific Central but he got that confused with the former terminal of the Canadian Pacific – now Waterfront which handles SkyTrain and West Coast Express. I would have thought that the story of the competition between CP run by an American and the Great Northern which ran across the northern United States and was run by a Canadian would have been opportune here but there is only limited time on the program and they wanted to show Tony pretending to be a hockey goalie. It is, after all, entertainment.

The omission that is less easy to forgive is the first section after his arrival here when he asks why there are so many Scots in Canada, which gets a response about settlers from everywhere else. There is not one word about the people who had been living here for thousands of years, and still do, despite the settlers best efforts to assimilate them. At least we now seem to be trying to make amends, to some extent.

Then he takes off on the Rocky Mountaineer – but neglects to mention the intermediate overnight stop in Kamloops, which gets no coverage at all, and arrives in Jasper, which is in Alberta. Again that fact is not mentioned because he is too busy helping the National Park Rangers chase the elk out of town. He gets back to Prince Rupert on the VIA Skeena service, which gets a great deal less attention than was devoted to the Mountaineer. There is of course no train from Prince Rupert to Alaska, but he does get a short ride to Talkeetna on the Alaska Railroad.

Holland America train from Anchorage to Denali

Again, the opportunity to examine the extent to which Canadians now take care of passenger service on the railways that built modern Canada was missed. Though he does meet a young Calgarian woman who had never ridden any train in her life until boarding the RM.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 5, 2022 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Transportation

Green

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WordPress has started a new monthly prompt to encourage posts. “WordPrompt, a single-word monthly exercise that aims to inspire you to create new posts, regardless of what or how you publish.”

This month’s WordPrompt is:

GREEN

As it happens I recently took a picture of the grass at Trafalgar Park – one of our neighbourhood parks. I was thinking mostly of getting pictures of the sakura (tree blossoms) but I was struck by the quality of the lawn which will once again be our nearest cricket pitch. We have had a great deal of rain – and the grass has greatly benefitted. Actually out of shot in the image is the very large puddle the ducks were enjoying.

Green
This is from a link to Flickr but on my screen it looks out of focus so below is the original
Which looks better and I needed for the “Featured Image”

Written by Stephen Rees

April 5, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Transportation

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