Backyard Flooding

For the first time since we bought our home almost 13 years ago, our backyard flooded. There’s a lot of water in the far back of our acre, so at least it’s not near our house.

In and around our neighborhood I noticed the ditches were overflowing from the last couple of rainfalls. It’s rare for the ditches to get like that, but the heavy rain will help replenish the aquifer that we use for our well.

Living in the outskirts of Vancouver- I am fully aware that we technically live in a rain forest. It’s still unsettling though when there is such a large accumulation of pooling water. Hopefully the rain eases up for a few days and balance will come to our natural surroundings once more.

Uber and Lyft

Is ride sharing in Vancouver? Depends.

We finally have Uber and Lyft in the Vancouver area as of Friday- sort of. It’s a bit convoluted. People who want to drive for a ride sharing company need to get a commercial driver’s license and have a newer, undamaged car. That’s all fine and dandy. I don’t mind that the driver should have those things. I’m all about safety. And saving money.

As for the areas? Haha. No pick ups out of the area they call “Region 1”. That means anything East is Surrey is left behind. Just like our home of a transit system. It seems the government put up a bunch of red tape for ride sharing.

So you can get around metro Vancouver. But there are no set designations at the airport. Nor do the ferry terminals allow for pick up zones. These would be the biggest money makers for the employees. Honestly, I loved using Uber in Los Angeles- it made life much easier to get to and from the airport. I’m writing tonight’s blog as I sit in the airport parking lot waiting to pick up my wife and son.

Has ride sharing been successful elsewhere- you bet it has. Will ride sharing get better in the Fraser Valley? I sure hope so, but I’m not holding my breath for it. It took far too many years to get to where we are now. Who knows when it will be a viable transportation option around here.

N’Ice

Oh man. It’s been cold in the Vancouver area lately. An unpleasant type of cold. The kind of cold that only the rest of Canada experiences. Hey Winnipeg-come get your weather, it appears to be lost.

For the first time ever, the water on our downspout chain froze. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice formed from our roof or eaves ever. It’s not right!

Someone can come and take this snow and ice away any time now. Our two days of winter are over. I really hope it doesn’t last much longer. Not experiencing snow and ice is the main reason we stay living in the Lower Mainland.

Property Value

Here in British Columbia, homeowners have been receiving their 2019 property assessments. According to news reports, it sounds like values have decreased slightly across the Lower Mainland.

In my opinion, I’m hoping the trend plateaus now. The decrease doesn’t bother me since we bought our home almost 13 years ago. Sure, I want to see the value increase- that just makes me “house rich and cash poor.” Every so often, I search for other listings in the Lower Mainland- future prospects for houses or neighborhoods. The “ideal” home for us once our children become adults.

Only, I don’t know what our kids will do in the future.

Will they move out or will they need their own suite to live in? Or should we look at a home that eventually our kids can take ownership of? Or do my wife and I just look out for ourselves and downsize?

I don’t know at this time. So that means- we will stay put for a few more years. And it doesn’t matter whether the assessment of our property increases or decreases. What matters now is- what will our property taxes be?

Flying Home

Yesterday my coworker and I arrived at the airport in Winnipeg over 3 hours before we could board our flight. Needless to say- we were eager to get home.

I sat at the window staring out at the tarmac and our gate, “patiently” waiting for our plane to arrive. At one point I ended up taking a 45 minute nap to help pass the time.

I rebooked my seat the night before so that I could be in the 4th row in order to be one of the first passengers to disembark. WestJet offered some free “inflight entertainment” that we could access from our personal devices over their WiFi network. I watch a movie for the majority of my flight until the last 15 minutes. Then I watched on my phone as our plane approached the Vancouver Airport. From near my home in Langley, the plane landed 8 minutes later.

I think that the plane crew wanted to get out of Winnipeg quickly as well. Since all the passengers were on board early- our flight left fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. Meaning we arrived in Vancouver early.

It is nice to be home back and with my family. I missed their company tremendously. Now to get back into the daily grind…

Soaring Gas Prices

Like many of my friends living in the Vancouver and surrounding areas- we are feeling the pinch of astronomically high gas prices. Current prices are anywhere from $1.55/L to $1.70L. Of course the Long Weekend is here which always sees an increase in pump prices as well. Ugh.

My work week has me driving 110km each day- just to and from work. I also don’t live anywhere that has decent transit. I have now resorted to making a weekly trek across the border to the USA to fill up my car. After exchange rate, today I paid approximately $1.25/L. For me is about $15-$20 of savings every fill. That is a significant amount of money in the long term. After filling up this morning, my car has informed me that I can get almost 600km from this tank of gas. That gets me through the weekend and work week until I have to fill it again. I’m lucky that I only put on 40km round trip from my home to earn those savings.

Looking at going electric in the future is definitely something to consider. Yes, I’d love to own an electric car. But I have two major issues: Nowhere to charge it at work and my home power fails in the winter regularly. That would kind of leave me stranded. So until I can figure out a more permanent resolution- punching pennies at the pump is the way to go.

Or stop driving.

Feel free to complain in the comments section.

Wedgewood Vancouver

A couple of days ago I told my wife we needed a night out. Originally she declined the idea. But advice from my friend saying “You should of told her- too f#%king bad. WE need a night away and will enjoy it“. That sealed the deal and I booked a hotel room. But not just any hotel room.

I booked for my wife and I to stay in the heart of Vancouver at a Five Star Hotel called Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. Very fancy compared to our usual stays in places like the Holiday Inn Express. It’s also a bit more extravagant than our stays in Seattle at The Roosevelt. Once in a while you just have to “Treat yo’ self“.

The navigation in my car had us stopping just outside the hotel. As soon as I stopped, the doorman came out and greeted us within seconds. He grabbed our bags and had us at the front desk introducing us to the concierge by name. He then took my car keys and off he went to park the car.

I booked one of their more spacious rooms with a large tub and king sized bed. Our balcony overlooks Robson Street and Robson Square. Of course because this is a hotel and spa I naturally booked us in for a spa treatment. The hotel had a letter welcoming us as well as a letter confirming our spa appointment. We were encouraged to utilize the robes and slippers provided to attend our appointment. When in Rome…

We arrived early in order to enjoy the complimentary Eucalyptus & Lemongrass Steam Room. When we arrived, they served us tea and we relaxed before our couples massage. My wife and I both requested a deep tissue rub down. Our service lasted an hour. To say we left the spa relaxed is an understatement.

We retreated back to our hotel room and sat on our patio in our hotel robes. A glass of wine before dinner and a realization that we can’t afford to do this all the time has made it special and enjoyable. The staff here are extremely friendly and courteous. My wife and I don’t really want to leave the hotel, so chances are we will remain here and enjoy the restaurant service in the lobby.

This is a well deserved night away.

Night Drive to the Airport

Last night I had to pick up my wife from the airport. Since I was working out in North Vancouver during the day, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive home first. I’d have driven eastward for 45 minutes just to have headed south west and drive for another 50 minutes to the airport. So I decided to kill some time in North Vancouver and had a quiet dinner by myself followed by a drive through Vancouver.

It was a route I don’t normally take. As I’ve mentioned in the past- I rarely travel to Vancouver. So I took my time and drove over the Lions Gate bridge from the North Shore past Stanley Park and into Vancouver. To my surprise, I really enjoyed seeing this part of the city at night. I can see why my wife would like to spend some time living in this area.

There’s something about city lights and a clean part of the city that becomes enticing. My wife may be able to sway me into buying our next place out that way once our kids are adults. I never thought of myself leaving the ‘burbs. But a nice view of city lights seems plausible. Only time will tell.

Taking This City for Granted

I’m always excited to travel to other countries, states, provinces, and visit different cities. I enjoy driving around certain cities such as Los Angeles or Calgary. Some of my favorite cities to walk around are Seattle, Tokyo, and San Jose. As well as the beaches of California and Hawaii. And of course, Disneyland.

Our adventures over the years have taken us to see some beautiful cities and picturesque landscapes. From unique architecture to forests to parks to beaches. But I forget that Vancouver is unique and beautiful in its own way. With many of the things I have experienced elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work downtown Vancouver. It made me want to come down to this city more often. I’ve begun to take the time and just wander around Vancouver as well as take in a Hockey Game with my son. Vancouver has parks and architecture that you can only find here.

The outskirts of Vancouver boast beautiful trails located in many municipalities; and White Rock’s beaches aren’t crowded. This year, we aren’t planning any big trips or vacations. I’m going to plan more daily explorations of our current stomping grounds. Let’s share what the Lower Mainland has to offer.

By all means, give me some ideas of places to visit and things to do. No need to keep secrets about this exquisite locale we call home.

Land, Air, and Sea

Flying home from Los Angeles I chose to sit by the window. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the scenery below.

Flying over California was neat. The change in landscapes was quick paced. Almost immediately leaving Los Angeles there were mountains and farmland. Lots of earthy tones of brown and green.

As we approached the Vancouver airport, the view changed drastically to more lush green and the blue of the water surrounding the outskirts.

Flying over both was surreal to me. In California- I could see below us all of the many roads we have driven in the past to get to Disneyland. Arriving at Vancouver, I could see the many locations that my work services. Rail cars and train tracks that I have been on numerous times. Plus many local roads that I have driven.

Once you’re in the air- flying is neat. The other stuff at airports, check in, paperwork, delays, etc… sucks. I prefer a good old fashioned road trip.

Get Out of Town!

I finished work today in North Vancouver. Being that it was a Saturday, my drive home was pretty good. (Better than it was earlier in the week during Rush Hour.) Seems like my desire to get out of the Vancouver area was different than most other people. Tons of people were heading into Vancouver at 6pm.

The Honda Celebration of Light is happening at 10pm tonight. It’s the 28th year of the fireworks display. In my life I have been 5 times. None of which have been in the past 17 years. Meaning I haven’t taken my kids…

From 1990-2000 it was called the “Benson and Hedges: Symphony Of Fire”. I liked it back then. You could smoke in the bay and wait for the show. A tobacco company sponsoring a fireworks show makes sense to me. In 2000 the Canadian government passed a law forbidding tobacco and liquor companies from sponsoring events. (Vancouver lost the Molson Indy shortly after as well because they couldn’t find sponsorship.)

But these fireworks survived. They were sponsored by a bank for a brief period, now by Honda. With an expected crowd of over 400,000 on a hot summer night, you bet your ass I won’t be there. Crowds and heat don’t make me happy. Driving or skytrain with stinky crowds make me more angry. Especially with the fact that so many ruin it by getting belligerently drunk.

But if it’s your thing- enjoy! I’m going to hang out close to home and cool off with a cold beverage and be belligerent online like a good samaritan.

This Flight Tonight

Holy crap. The day is upon us. Time to hit the skies over the wild blue yonder. My wife’s anxiety and fears have turned to excitement and fun. Now it’s my turn for the stress…

We did online check in yesterday and had an early arrival at the airport today. Our bags were dropped off 3 hours early and our stress level was turned down. I grabbed a candid shot of my wife and son as they waited in line.

We enjoyed a late lunch and we were off to pass through security. We were first at security and my wife got a secondary screening. But it was still quick. We found our departure gate and grabbed a seat by a large chessboard.

Our kids kept themselves occupied without the use of electronic devices (even though we had those with us). Lots of smiles and smack talk as they challenged each other. People watched from the distant sidelines as the games went on.

At one point, I chose to take my shoes came off for a breather before we boarded the plane. No one wants to have smelly feet for ten hours. Only a few minutes remain now until we board. Last chance to use the restroom and wash up. I want the stress feeling to go away.

I’m not worried about the flight- which is good. I’m worried about every other aspect of our trip. Argh! It’s almost time to board! Stress sweats… ugh. No! We can do this. It’ll be fine. It will be fine.

And fun. We have companions. So a bit of silly photo fun is being had. These guys will make a few more appearances during this trip.

Off we go! See you on the other side of the world!

Steam Train

The best trip I ever took on the railroad was being the conductor moving a steam train from Squamish to North Vancouver. This was on December 7th/2010 in the early morning. I briefly mentioned my adventure in Proud of Where I Work. The Royal Hudson was a majestic machine.

Being canvased to take this train in the wee hours of the morning didn’t bother me at all. When the crew caller told me it was as for a steam train- I bolted out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning and accepted the call. I arrived at the yard office an hour early waiting to get on board.

My engineer and I were taken in a taxi to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park where the engine was housed. We were called more as “pilots” to help the crew as they travelled on CN’s tracks. In the coach cars behind us were media and some higher management types. Once we got going, the trip south was smooth. Mostly I was in charge of lining switches and talking on the radio.

We stopped once on the side of the highway. This was to perform a quick inspection to make sure the wheels weren’t running hot. This allowed for a ton of photos as well. My boss had given me permission to use my camera while on duty- otherwise we generally aren’t supposed to. The public also stopped alongside us numerous times to get a quick photo of the famed Royal Hudson locomotive and coach cars.

When we arrived at our destination- we parked next to a diesel locomotive getting fuel in order for our engine to get filled with more water. Even though my journey as conductor ended here only three hours after it began, I stayed longer to ask questions of the volunteers who take care of the engine.

Yes, volunteerstake care of this engine. There is not a lot of money allocated from any railroad in order to preserve these machines. The museum brings in a bit, but it’s the train buffs who volunteer time and effort to keep these things running.

Alas, two days later, the engine returned to Squamish and has not been brought out on the main line since then. When I retire from CN Rail, I think I may put forth some of my time towards keeping these beauties around for future generations.

All In Good Fun

Yesterday I had a pretty great time wandering the show floor at Fan Expo Vancouver. I even got to do it with my wife- which is rare. But now that our children are older and more responsible, they were able to look after our table from time to time.

My wife and I laughed and goofed off. I was in my Obi Wan Kenobi Cosplay and decided to have some fun with it. I used my Jedi Mind tricks on a vendor and got my purchase with no tax added. Never mind that he had a sign out saying “no tax”- he played along.

Later in the afternoon, I wandered around with my daughter to find a quiet place to place some Nintendo 3DS. So I got her to take a picture of my impression of Obi Wan from the end of Episode IV. It got some really good laughs. We made the most of our Convention time while we were there.

I do find it odd that filming is everywhere in the Lower Mainland… Even though you’d think Vancouver would have a tremendous Convention, it kind of lacks a lot of celebrities. It is also rather small compared to some of the other Conventions we attend. Because it was a local con, we had to go. At the end of today, we’ll see how the sales did.

This year felt like an oversized craft fair, but still fairly fun. The price of tickets for attendees are somewhat reasonable compared to other shows. But there really needs to be a bigger draw to the show. Hopefully everyone got to enjoy their convention experience. I know those who I spoke with had fun.

Vancouver needs to set the bar higher and make it not just fun, but mind blowing.

Home Ownership in Vancouver

Vancouver and the nearby neighborhoods have two major issues plaguing them:

  1. The price of buying a home is astronomical.
  2. Homeless people are rampant.

It’s not looking to get any better either. I’ve been working in downtown Vancouver for almost a year now and I have only seen it get worse. Until today. Someone decided to build a new home on the corner of a lovely green parkland setting.


A clever idealist took the time to gather up scrap wood and a tarp from the nearby Rona lumber yard and built a home in a tree.  It’s an airy custom “Tiny Home”.


It’s located in a prime location at the corner of Slocan and N. Grandview with plenty of nearby amenities and lots of room for activities! 


I’m rather impressed that it’s still there. Especially since it was most likely built without permits. 

It sure beats the look of “tent city” at least.

Hooray For Rain

Finally, it’s beginning to rain in the Vancouver area.  This is much needed since it’s been so dry over the past couple of months.  Too many fires surrounding us that we have had smoke advisories numerous times. I for one am really happy that the rain is here.


I’m happy because I will soon hopefully not need to use my inhaler 4-5 times a day.  I’m also happy because my yard has needed a good healthy watering.  The trees, bushes and even my lawn (ok, it’s moss) have suffered far too long.  Over the course of only a few hours everything is rejuvenating and becoming vibrant again. I can see our plants bouncing back already from the brink of dehydration.

The rain has been welcomed by almost everyone I know.  The Fraser Valley has needed this. We need this. But as the days go on, I’m sure the rain will start to make us each a bit more dreary- just like the autumn weather. 


So find a loved one, grab a sweater or blanket, enjoy a warm cup of tea and let the summer come to an end.

The Other Side of Vancouver 

This month I’m working nights in downtown Vancouver.  I noticed a surreal aspect of being there.  The views are amazing.  No matter what I am looking at, it just doesn’t feel real.


The city was asleep at 5pm.  No one was out and it was already dark.  But everywhere I looked, I saw beauty.  

I’ve traveled to other major cities through the night.  Each of them equally beautiful.  Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Los Angles, Sacramento, even Twin Falls Idaho.  All of them are magnificent spectacles as you approach and drive through.  

Photo courtesy Trip Advisor


I forget how unique Vancouver is. As much as I avoid traveling into there, I can still appreciate what it has to offer the skyline.  Perhaps I need to spend some more time here enjoying the nightlife.  We’ll see.  It’s hard to leave the suburbs and country life that I have become accustomed to.

Extra! Extra!

I am about to step out of my regular routine and add some changes to my life. It all began while I got drunk while remembering my friend who I lost recently (I shared my feelings here: Jeremy).  The night I found out about the loss, I went to karaoke with some other friends.   It was the second time this summer that I went to karaoke.  The last time I ever went was nearly fifteen years ago.  I just wanted to be surrounded by friends having fun.

Look at all that magic!


While at the pub, there was this stranger there that looked very familiar.  It just so happened that he was the boss of a friend who was with me that evening. I began asking my friend about this stranger trying to piece together something about this guy.  Eventually, I decided to wander over to this fellow to talk with him.  I was doing my best not to make a drunk fool of myself, because I wouldn’t want my actions to affect my friend’s work.  

Motivational image inserted to add visual content.


After an I introduced myself, I mentioned that I knew him from someplace.  He and I both agreed that we’ve seen each other somewhere over the years.  Neither of us could pinpoint it.  A few mutual friends,  both of us have lived in the same general area for a couple decades, but nothing that gave me the “Ah-Ha” moment.  We continued talking, still having no clue where we may have met, but we were having some good laughs.  In the end he asked me to join his company.  Good “first” impression I guess.

Yesterday I applied to work for his company.  I don’t know what kind of work it will entail, or whether I’ll get any work at all.  You see, he runs a talent agency: Aces Talent.  I applied to become an extra in film and movies.  The thought of doing something like this has never been on my radar.  Living in the outskirts of Vancouver, you just become accustomed to filming going on everywhere.  

I can do this…


I’m not an actor, nor am I pursuing that goal.  But for a few years now I have wanted to try doing voice over work.  This may just be the opportunity to explore that avenue.  Or maybe I won’t ever hear from them because they don’t need a pink haired skinny forty year old for any films.  Who knows.  

The only thing I can say is that I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone once again to see what life has to offer.

BC Ferries 

If you live in the Vancouver area, you have spent hours at the mercy of the BC Ferries Corporation. From lineups to buy tickets to lineups waiting to board (sometimes there’s even a sailing wait or two).


Spending money for the service to get to and from Vancouver Island is expensive.  That being said, in under two hours you get to see more of the beauty that our coastline has to offer.


I like to catch an early morning ferry, usually mid-week if possible.  No waits & no crowds.  It’s been a couple of years since we’ve trekked across the Strait on one of these vessels.


On a nice day, I enjoy walking around the outer decks with the wind at my face.  The scenery is a magnificent spectacle to behold.  As a child, I remembered on windier days aboard the ferry, I would lean into the gusting wind pretending to fight an unknown force.

Almost every trip I end up stopping at the brochure stand to see what I could be missing out on in this Province of ours.  Lots of it is touristy junk, but sometimes there is something I haven’t heard of or seen before.


Many a boat ride has consisted of playing cards as well.  I had an old deck that my mother returned to my son after our visit this week.  Ah yes, crumpled and fold cards with a missing Ace of Clubs card handwritten on a Joker instead.  The creases showing off what the cards are if you can remember each and every fold or tear.  But a hearty game of “Go Fish” always seems appropriate when crossing over on the ferry.


And of course there is the loading and unloading of the vehicles and passengers.  I’ve traveled many different ways on the ferry.  Sometimes by car, sometimes by bus, and other times as a foot passenger.  Each has its own quirks.  

But in the end, we all safely arrive at our destination, happy to see friends and family or happy to be on the last leg of the journey home.  The experience of BC Ferries is one that many in BC have endured or enjoyed.  Sometimes there’s a storm adding excitement to the tide.  On occasion there is a pod of Killer Whales swimming alongside of the boat.  

Look! I made my photo artistic and stuff!


No matter what happens, each trip is both unique and the same as the previous ones.  

Olympics Summer VS Winter

As the Rio Olympics approach the final day- I have yet to put on and watch any events.  For me, Summer Olympics aren’t as exciting to watch as Winter Olympics.  I understand that all of these athletes are the best that each country has to offer.  And years of training leads to these moments.  There just isn’t anything in the summer games that grabs my attention.  Winter Olympics is just, I don’t know, faster.  Hockey, luge, skating, skiing- it just moves.  The hits are harder, the excitement is stronger.

Cool snow sculpture we saw at the 2010 Winter Olympics.


Sports aren’t my thing at the best of times.  But, I’m more likely to turn on a tv to watch sports in the winter vs the summer.  The summer is a time for patios and being by the poolside.  The winter is a time to stay warm and gather round to enjoy each other’s company.  Oftentimes leading to a game on the tv.

As I mentioned before, my son loves doing speed skating, and we have high hopes for him one day.  Maybe 2022 Winter Olympics?  I could only hope.  That being said, I fully support all the athletes, their families, the coaches, and hometowns who want to see them succeed.  This year, the Canadian Women are doing extremely well in Rio, and that’s great to see.  

I enjoyed when Vancouver hosted the Olympics.  It was well received with a beautiful backdrop, and showed the world that we have what it takes to continue to host any major event. Vancouver hosted Expo ’86 thirty years ago and that originally put us on the map for the world to see.  

I could hardly contain my excitement!


During the 2010 Olympics, my wife and I were lucky enough to go to watch the Freestyle Downhill Ski Jump finale.  The energy was amazing to see an event firsthand.  I would watch another event any day, no matter the event.  

On a final note: As always, Go Canada!  

Anime Convention

This upcoming weekend is the only Anime Convention we do.  It’s a local Vancouver one and is run really well.  We have been loyal to this convention for a few years and even did the winter one that they put on.  If you are in the Vancouver area this weekend, stop by Anime Revolution.  We will be at Booth 301.  (Side note: It just so happens that there are 2 Pokestops nearby us as well!)


We don’t do Anime Conventions regularly due to a few reasons:

  • They only draw in a few thousand attendees.
  • Most anime lovers are students with little to no money. (We are a business and still need to make money)
  • It is strictly anime.  Not comics, mainstream movies or videogames.
  • Our travel expenses exceed the earnings we would be capable of.
  • Most anime conventions are held in Universities or Colleges.  This means they cater to those students who are usually there to watch movies.

Those reasons aside AniRevo is an anomaly in the fact that we make a profit at it.  My wife also has a fan base here that stop by regularly to buy her products.  AniRevo is also becoming larger every year and it’s nice that we’ve been a part of it from the beginning.  It is held in the Vancouver Convention Centre East Wing and not at a university.  This alone shows their growth and potential for years to come.  

I love the natural lighting the Vancouver Convention Centre has to offer.


People in the Vancouver area love anime.  Vancouver is a major hub located in the Pacifc Rim with a huge Asian influence.  Because of the diversity of Vancouver we get to experience more of what the world has to offer than most.

We have made numerous friends at these shows.  From vendors to artists to customers.  It’s a great feeling to be locally recognized and supported.  That’s a major reason we do this con as well.  We love to show our support.  Having this as our only Anime Convention is like us remembering our roots and where we started from.

Feel free to stop by this weekend or visit Ningen Headwear to see what we have to offer.