I was at the dollar store today to buy some Coke Zero. I know that’s terrible since I previously stated I was trying to stop drinking soda of any sort that I didn’t make myself with my own machine. The soda is super cheap at the dollar store downstairs. They must sell it at cost or something.
Anyways, as I was going to the check out line, I noticed some toys on a shelf. There were some solar-powered toys that just move back and forth when there’s enough light. Some of them were moving plants but there were these classic hula girls. The almost stereotypical kitschy hula girl dashboard toy is famous worldwide so I decided to get the hula girl. For $1.25, you can’t go wrong. I brought it home and set it up in front of some strong light. The back and forth motion is almost mesmerizing, couple that with the steady clicking noise it makes, I weirdly found myself being lulled into a state of meditation.
It’s property tax time in the greater Vancouver area and I received my property tax notice in the mail this week. My property taxes went up by 6.4% this year. As a comparison, my property assessment went up by just 4.2%. Now I know the assessment value cannot be completely correlated to the value of the property tax but there is a definite connection.
When I saw the tax notice, I immediately wanted to pass along this increase to my tenants but then I quickly realized I’m my own tenant. It’s unfortunate that my salary didn’t go up 6.4% this year. In fact, I’m not even working right now. Thankfully, I’ll be able to pay the tax this week without any difficulty at all.
With all these taxes I pay I figure I should get more out of the city I live in. To that end, I’ve looked into things like that. For example, I wanted to ride along with my local police department, which is not the RCMP. Sadly, the local police here don’t offer such a program. It’s very disappointing since I’ve been watching COPS since I was a kid and I think I’d do great in a ride along scenario.
I’ve written about this topic before in a post but I thought I’d mention it again. A web site has dedicated itself in listing various local scanner feeds from different emergency services such as fire and ambulance.
Recently, I’ve been turning on the Skytrain scanner feed and leaving it on in the background as I do other stuff on the computer. Just today I heard some interesting happenings on our local rapid transit line. First, just downstairs from where I live, there was a transit user who approached a Skytrain attendant to report that because of a latex allergy, he could feel his tongue swelling up. The attendant then called for medical assistance. Minutes later, he reported the passenger was feeling his throat begin to close up. I actually saw the fire and rescue come down the street from my window but never heard what happened to the guy.
Then in downtown Vancouver, an attendant reported a belligerent male had boarded a train who appeared to be drinking Listerine from a bottle. I’m not sure if the transit police were able to catch up to him.
Minutes later in Surrey (this stuff always happens in Surrey), an attendant reported that a man appeared to have an axe concealed in his coat. His info was passed along to transit police so they could investigate. When an officer arrived at the station to look for him, someone at Skytrain control asked the officer if he was able to see the axe-hider. He responded that it was difficult to ascertain because everyone at the station looked “sketchy”. That’s Surrey for ya.
Then later in the evening, someone reported a female riding in a train wearing just panties on the lower half of her body. Apparently, she had some leopard-print top on and just panties below. I believe transit police were trying to intercept her at a particular station. The attendant said that it would be easy to find the train she was in as most of the other passengers were in a state of shock.
Sometimes the best entertainment is just real life.
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I sautéed my first onion just tonight. While that might seem like an euphemism for something else, it’s literally what I did.
I had made a stew over the weekend and I had purchased a rather large onion for it. When I chopped it up, I realized I could only use half the onion. Rather than throw the rest away, I put in a bowl and refrigerated it. I couldn’t think of what to use half an onion for until I remembered I’d never sautéed an onion before. As many of you know, I’m using my time off to expand and experiment with my culinary skills.
A quick check on the Internet revealed I already had all the necessary ingredients, outside of the onion itself: a pan, olive oil, salt, and sugar. In a pan, I heated up some olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, I tossed in the chopped onion. I then added a pinch of salt. Stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, I made sure none of the onion stuck to the pan. You can stop cooking the onion at the various stages, like when it becomes transparent, but I kept at it until it started to turn brown. It’s at that stage when the sugars in the onion start to caramelize. I cheated slightly by adding just a tiny bit of sugar to enhance things.
Pretty soon, I had a nice batch of sautéed onions. I only wish I had a hot dog to put them on. Tomorrow, I learn to peel an orange.
Last week I was at a social gathering where I met some people. One of these individuals was a young lady, whom I shall call Tonisha in this post, had some interesting stories to tell. Tonisha detailed some of her dating experiences and how she met her current boyfriend.
Like most young folk in Vancouver, Tonisha has had some challenges in navigating the dating world. She does, however, have a very unique and refreshing take on how to approach the first date. Normally, as first dates go, they are pretty boring. It’s supposed to be this safe and predictable social outing where neither party is out of their comfort zone too much. It kinda reminds me of when the US and USSR would have nuclear treaty talks on neutral soil. The first date around a cup of coffee or an alcoholic drink is pretty standard.
Tonisha will have none of that boring business. She likes to partake in what she calls inappropriate first dates. The first time she came up with the idea, she suggested to her date that they meet for the first time at a strip joint. She hadn’t been to a strip joint before and she wanted to meet this guy, so why not two stone bird it? So they met up, had a few drinks, and saw some boobies. Sounds good to me. I don’t think it worked out with that guy so there was another first date with a new dude soon after. Having done the strip club, she wanted something else inappropriate to tackle. Tonisha found a new idea in suggesting that this new dude meet her at the Fox Cinema for their first date, the last adult movie theatre still operating in Vancouver. It was a bold move on her part, which her date agreed to. They savvy enough to go to a dollar store beforehand to buy a couple of rain ponchos, which they laid out on their seats before sitting down. This was a good idea because according to Tonisha, the theatre smelled like sweat and dried semen. It was there they watched some Internet porn that was projected onto a screen. I was disappointed to hear they didn’t actually have real film pornos. Unfortunately, things did not work out with this guy either. If there was a silver lining to all of this, it was that Tonisha had to come up with another inappropriate first date idea for the next time she had a date. That idea turned out to be the one of the few remaining 25 cent peep shows on Granville Street. Again, her date agreed and that’s where they met. She described the booths as being very small and barely able to fit two people inside. The booths also smelled a bit. It was kinda dark but she mentioned that probably hid a lot of stains. The 25 cents got you a few minutes of porn from a DVD. In the glory days, I think there were actual women behind the glass to entertain you. When the time ran out, you could pay another 25 cents and the porn would continue where you left off as to not break continuity. Luckily, things worked out with this fellow and Tonisha is currently still dating him. They go out on more conventional dates now.
I found Tonisha’s approach to dating fascinating and refreshing. We got to talking about other inappropriate first date ideas. She had one unfulfilled idea of going to church with her date and getting a pizza delivered. I came up with the idea of going to speed dating with your date as the first date. I thought that was clever but Tonisha said she had also thought of that as well.
I wish there were more ladies like Tonisha out there!
In a previous post, I mentioned using my time off to be more active and to get outside more often. I found one way to accomplish this and it’s something called the Central Valley Greenway. It’s essentially a 25 km pedestrian and biking route that winds its way through several municipalities in the greater Vancouver area. It conveniently starts on one end just down the street from where I live and winds up next to False Creek in downtown Vancouver.
I walked a portion of the Greenway on Monday, covering about 6.5 km in about an hour and a half. I took my time, so I think it’s possible to for me to go a bit faster. I believe it’s possible for me to do the whole 25 km route in just over six hours but that’s without stopping and I’m not sure if that’s a reasonable assumption. The great thing about the route is that for the last half of it, it follows the Millennium and Expo Skytrain line. If I decide to end the excursion early, it will be very convenient to hop on a train and go home.
I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can go in one day and if it’s possible to do the whole route.
It rained quite heavily today, which was a great opportunity for me to institute the plan I had for cleaning my balcony. The heavily rainfall was ideal for masking the copious amounts of water that I planned on using on the deck.
Grabbing a bucket and a mop, I filled the bucket with warm soapy water while a torrential rain filled the sky. It was well over a year since I washed the deck but it deceptively didn’t seem that dirty. I was very, very wrong. As soon as the first bit of water hit the deck with my mop, I realized there was a large amount of dirt on my balcony. The water ran almost instantly black. It took a lot of soapy water and elbow grease with the mop to clean even just a small patch of the deck. I wound up having to refill the bucket with more water and soap many times before getting through the entire length of the balcony. At several spots, I had to repeatedly add more water and mop again and again because dirt would seem to come out of nowhere in those areas.
In the end, my balcony didn’t even get to a sparkling clean state. There was still some noticeable amounts of dirt in several areas. Unfortunately, the rain stopped falling which couldn’t mask the water cascading from my deck. I was afraid that someone down below me would start noticing the water. Worse yet, I didn’t even get to clean the problem areas by the railing. In those areas, moss and mildew had taken hold. The mop and soapy water wasn’t going to get rid of that anytime soon. I’m going to have to get a real deck cleaning solution for those areas.
This is going to be a work in progress for now but hopefully everything will cleaned up in time for the real summer weather.
After many weeks of trying, I’ve been able to break the 4am barrier. Yes, that’s right, even though I’ve been a night owl for nearly all my life, it took almost four weeks of unemployment for me to be able to stay up beyond 4am. I’m not sure what was going on. In the first two weeks or so, I felt exhausted as 2am rolled around, even though I didn’t do much the whole day. My sleeping habits didn’t really change with my employment status.
This weekend, I finally was able to comfortably stay up beyond 4am. It’s a silly milestone but it tells me that things are going back to normal! Sunrises have never been so pretty!
It’s Victoria Day here in British Columbia, which makes this weekend a long one. Everyone here at et.com is at home with their families enjoying the extra day off. We’ll be back tomorrow with your regular programming. In the meantime, enjoy this.