Monday, May 31, 2010


On the evening news at suppertime, they were mumbling about a small patch of sunshine someone had seen this afternoon. They weren't looking in the same direction I was when I took this shot of a sudden shower about 4:30 PM. This is why we call this "the rainforest". 


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is Spam driving you nuts? Here's the cure, Folks...

This comes recommended by my friend Irfan of Irfanview fame, and so I tried it today, and I'm here to say that it really works. You should get it.

It not only works, but if you set it up correctly, and also set your mail program to allow MailWasher to do the routine checking for new mail on your server, then it can stop the spam before it ever gets to your own computer. That way, you never have to worry about what might have been in that unwanted email which could have harmed your computer or given you malware you might have trouble cleaning out again.

So far, I can say it's easy to configure, intuitive to use, and it does work grabbing the spam. It is compatible with all the popular mail programs, and if you use Gmail or Hotmail, then you can use a good spam-catcher like this one. I suggest you check it out by clicking here. 


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another one!

Here's another of those cute little toy back-hoes, digging out the roots from a mass of rhodos chopped off recently there. The clump of them had grown until it nearly blocked off the view of the house from the street, so this is the cure.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Instant camouflage

I want to see them get this big bin out of there so the truck can pick it up, in the winter with snow on the ground. Without all that claptrap around it, the truck could drive right up to it, spear it with its fork-lift, and lift & dump it without a whole crew of pushers and shovers or shovellers and cussers. This must be a 'make work' project. Don't ask me why they ripped up patches of blacktop in the driveway which were happily carrying traffic last week and are now roped off with topsoil over them.  Is that to make sure the residents can't get in or out as easily as before? There's someone in that 6-floor low-rise over there who calls for the emergency paramedics every couple of weeks, and then we get two or three big fire trucks plus one or sometimes two ambulances all trying to park in that now-torn-up driveway. So I have to wonder if the management over there has all its marbles in the right places. Looks to me like maybe not. 


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big boys and their toys....

What red-blooded male kid wouldn't love having one of these toys to play with? I hasten to add that I've seen gals around here having a ball running one of these things too.  A couple of years ago on the next block, a long-haired and shapely gal used one of these doing the smaller jobs at a new home project, where she also ran a full-sized backhoe while digging the basement. She could practically make that thing dance.  I'd never seen a backhoe being used quite that fast before. So it's not just a toy for the guys.  The gals enjoy it too.

Here it is in action, working on the landscaping across the street in the project there, where they tore down a pool-house and filled in a nice big swimming pool a couple of years ago, and then left it covered with only raw gravel afterward. Now, they're finally finishing it off with some more earthwork, and new topsoil. Better late than never.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Good Morning, Mr. & Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea...."

Why the strange intro this morning? - Just for the hell of it, Kiddies. It's an old, old phrase once used by the columnist and broadcaster Walter Winchell whose columns were syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and were read by some fifty million people a day from the 1920s until the early 1960s. His radio broadcasts on Sunday evenings, from which this heading is approximated, were usually opened with the phrase "Good Evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea. This is Walter Winchell with your evening's news...". That opening line was usually heard by about 20 million listeners from the 1930s until into the 1950s. His radio show also had some catchy sound effects to accent the intro.

Now then, so much for that! Finding something different for a heading to these isn't always easy, as we learn from doing a few of them.

Today's 'Question Everything' is:- "Do you usually purchase the extra service or warranty extension along with a new appliance or vehicle?" I usually don't, but in a recent purchase of a new TV, I did get their 5-year extended service plan, and I'm glad that I did, because here it is only 3 years later, and the TV is not doing its usual thing. What's wrong with it? Several of its channels are displaying an image which is 'jittering' or jumping rapidly up & down instead of holding steady.

In days of yore, when we were all much younger, TV sets had user-operated buttons to adjust things like 'Horizontal Hold', 'Vertical Hold', and so on, but now all that is incorporated into an Integrated Circuit or 'IC' which has no user-adjustable controls. It either works or it don't, and when it don't, you take it to a technician who removes it from its motherboard, and replaces it with a new one. Sounds expensive. I'm glad I spent the money on that extra 5 years of servicing. All I have to do now is find out if they'll actually fix the damned thing.

"So," you ask, "Who made that mess anyway?" I thought you'd never ask - it's a 27-inch Toshiba, and it was new on the 10th of January 2007, so it isn't old enough yet to be dying on the job. I always thought Toshiba made pretty good stuff. I know they used to, but then a lot of people used to but don't now. We can't judge today's quality by how they did it ten or fifteen or twenty years ago because there's a whole new flock of workers in strange lands doing it now, and they obviously need further training, or cleaner hands, or newer glasses, or better lunches, or a slightly slower-running assembly line, or all of the above. Because....? I think you know the answer to that. Nobody wants to pay hundreds of dollars for something that's not worth dragging home and setting up on the table - especially when it weighs 88.2 pounds (40 kilos) and you're older than the discovery of nuclear fission. 


Monday, May 24, 2010

Tommy says he isn't familiar with Foxgloves....

So for Tommy, here's a close-up of them from the other image. These are called 'Foxglove' I think because the flowers look something like the fingers of a glove, if you cut them off a glove where they would join the palm part. The insides of these flowers have different coloured spots around the tube-like flower, and this plant is the source of the drug Digitalis, so don't put it in your salad. It grows in many places around the world. The stems grow tall, like a Hollyhock, but with tubular flowers, instead of the more open kind on a Hollyhock.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Foxgloves are in bloom - can summer be far off ?

The Foxgloves are blooming beside the walk in between buildings across the street, and Summer can't be far away now - we fervently hope!

I also hope those remodeling fanatics over there don't decide to remodel the spot where these are growing. They look very nice, and bring back pleasant memories of rides in the country on my motorcycle years ago. On one of those, I collected a pocketful of seeds from several of these plants, and then riding further along the road, scattered those in the wind behind me. There's now more of them in different places along there. One of my favourite flowers.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Don't know what it will be.....

But whatever it will be, I hope it looks better than it does now.  For most of the week, they were building that gawd-awful abortion around and over the big blue bins over there, and then staining it the colour of fresh bullshit. They evidently haven't seen similar installations over our Visitors Parking here at our six towers.

If they had, and bothered to ask, we could tell them that this open latticework of two-by-fours and four-by-fours and posts quickly becomes an eyesore, provides no protection from weather or bird droppings, and is an excellent hazard to navigation for those who aren't excellent drivers and sober and paying attention.

The main supports of ours are nicked and slivered on almost every one from contact with visiting fenders, doors, and bumpers, and the carport doesn't move as easily as a vehicle's sheet-metal or plastic. The whole mess is just a huge waste of materials and our Maintenance Fund's money. Too bad these neighbours don't visit us more often. They might learn something useful. Like how to get that big bin out of that barricade with a foot of snow on the ground, and the garbage truck running behind schedule, and honking its horn to get on with it. Won't that be fun?


Today's weather - maybe tomorrow's

For those of us who thought winter was over, we were wrong. Here's proof!


More musings from 'Oldest Living Blogger' ....

After clouds like these finally lifted from our north shore mountains late in the day yesterday, I noticed that there was a sprinkling of fresh snow on the trees at the higher elevations on the hilltops. This 'Global Warming' sure had me fooled - I thought it meant 'warmer' not 'wear your snuggies today, Gramps!'. I'd ask, "What's the world coming to?" but I think I already know - no good!

To all those of you who, like myself, are addicted to those many wonderful freebies out there in cyberspace, like for example the free anti-virus programs which I should point out do not automatically install their own latest updates, you really should update those periodically, Folks. They can't protect you from the latest bad stuff if they don't have their latest database installed. Those are usually issued daily, even for the freebies like 'AVG Free'. Speaking of that one, I like Avast better. It's also free, but unlike most 'freebies' it does update itself automatically in case you forget to remember, or remember to forget. It's one of the most full-featured and best-working anti-virus programs there are, whether free or not.

For the curious among you, wondering why I'm pecking away on a blog in the middle of the night, please let me remind you this is one of the joys of retirement - being able to do things like this. I can sleep when I'm tired, eat when I'm hungry, cuss when I need to, and fart like a racehorse anytime! I'm totally invisible to everyone under 65 except car dealers, charity groups, politicians, pollsters, and tax collectors. Speaking of the latter, do you know the difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist? - The taxidermist leaves the hide!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

As the sun sinks slowly in the west....

This is a typical summer sunset, in the northwest, almost as far along our northwestern horizon as it will ever get even on the longest day, which will be upon us in another month. Imagine - the year's almost half over already! You've probably heard it before, but I'll repeat it again - the older we get, the faster it seems to go. Or is that because we're no longer quite keeping up to it?

I was surprised yesterday by a nice friendly email from my distant sister back in the flatlands of Ontario, writing to tell me that she's still alive and well, and enquiring after my own state of health. At my age, I'm often not too sure, and it seems to sometimes change almost from hour to hour. Dwelling on it doesn't help a whole lot, for the most part. I think our technology is working against our better health, too. Sitting here pecking away on the computer isn't nearly as good for us as taking a walk around the neighbourhood, even though it might be a bit more interesting.

Anyway, I hope my sister is reading this sometimes, and can enjoy the pictures, and perhaps even the babblings of older brother here. If you are looking in, Joan, I still love ya, sport, and hang in there! Say 'hi' to the in-laws and outlaws for me please.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have you checked your programs for updates lately?

I have a lot, and I mean a lot of third-party freebies on here, and sometimes, we need a little reminder to periodically check them for their version numbers. If you aren't sure where to do that, go into the program, and then on the title bar or whatever, look for either the 'Help' or 'About' button. One of those will show you a drop-down menu which will include an item that displays what you're after, as long as what you're after isn't sex, drugs, or rock & roll. Those are all found elsewhere on the web.

Today, I stumbled onto the info that two of my favourite 'cleaner-upper' programs have recently been updated to new versions. So if you're using either or both of 'Glary Utilities' or 'Wise Registry Cleaner' ( and you should!) then please get their latest versions. Speaking of using both of these, I've found that whatever one of them misses, the other one usually catches, and between the two of them, you're fairly well assured of having found all the empty registry keys, or keys to nowhere left behind when stuff was uninstalled. The Glary Utilities one is also very handy for finding other problems and fixing them too. These are basically one-click cures for your operating system's registry and filing system, and they don't do things that they shouldn't, so you shouldn't worry about the blue screen of death. These are both quite well-designed programs, and they work nicely if you just let them do their own thing and accept what they tell you.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My "new" 2008 Dodge Caliber and its computer

Further study of the owner's manual (390-some pages) reveals that I do not, in fact, have their 'EVIC' controls for their Electronic Vehicle Information Center, so I can't play with a little button on the instrument cluster to bring up choices to make for whether or not the horn sounds while the keyless entry system is locking its doors, or whether the headlights stay on after shutdown for periods of between 30 and 90 seconds.

However, they're right about "see your authorized Chrysler Service Department" because a nice young man there has a portable computer control which looks something like a kids' computer gaming terminal, except it has a touch screen, and it plugs into a rather large receptacle underneath the driver's end of the instrument panel, and using that, he can access and reset all of the items which would have been shown in my instrument cluster read-out, if I'd had that EVIC button installed.

We plugged it in, and he showed me all the choices, and we picked the ones we wanted, and then we did a test to see if that was working like we wanted it to, and after a couple of changes, we got it just the way I wanted it, so that there will be less battery usage as the car shuts down or starts up. My driving style is mostly short trips, and the battery needs all the help it can get just to stay charged up enough during all that short-trip driving - so I don't want headlights staying on after the ignition is turned off and the doors are locked.

Even though I don't officially have that fancy EVIC accessory control, it's nice to know that the folks in the shop have their computer terminal which takes its place if I want to re-program the system. They didn't even charge me for the time involved doing it, either - which I thought was very nice of them. Now you know why I've been going back there for years and years. We have a very nice arrangement - I drive, and they fix.  Works for me! You should try it....


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just look at the nose on that !

It's a turbo Otter, with the characteristic extended nose, and from a distance, it looks a bit like Charles Lindberg's famous 'Spirit of St. Louis' in which he flew the Atlantic to fame and fortune. This one has a range of 960 miles in its normal configuration, but it can carry over a ton of cargo, so maybe Lindberg could have made it in one of these. He'd have made it a lot faster, for sure, because this goes 160 MPH flat out. That's a little over 50 MPH faster than his, but he did very well for 1927!


The sun also rises....

This morning's sunrise, with a little help from Arcsoft's PhotoStudio 5.5 - a program that I'm told won't run in Windows 7.  Fortunately, neither PhotoStudio nor Windows 7 knows that - just you and me.  So it works just fine, and I'm happy. When I first was told that it wouldn't run in Windows 7,  and had to be upgraded to version 6.0, I dutifully rushed out and bought that 6.0 version, and tried it. I didn't like it, because they've twiddled and tweaked the features again, and I prefer the older one. So here it is, still doing its thing in Windows 7 - like a lot of older programs that aren't supposed to work with Microsoft's latest creation.  Windows 7 is more versatile than we thought.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

We're off to see......

Hawaii, perhaps? It's headed in the right direction, anyway, and it was too high to be planning a landing anywhere near Vancouver, that's for sure. This picture is at 24X optical zoom, so you know this was right up there.

My 'Question Everything' for today is: "Why does the starboard engine appear to be producing a wider stream of exhaust than the port engine is?" - "Is the autopilot mismanaging engine controls, or is there something wrong with the thrust-reverser retraction mechanism on the starboard engine, or is this just an optical illusion?" ( Is this an Airbus???)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another day, another sunset....

And we love 'em all - even if there's only one per day.

Today's 'Question Everything' is :-
 Did you know that a locking gas cap for a Dodge Caliber costs $137.74 ?
The cap itself costs $87.98, and then there's another $35.00 for coding its blank core to match that of your own ignition key. That way, everything works with the same key, and you better not lose it, or it's hiking time again. The good news is, this locking gas cap comes with its own tether to hold it onto the car, so you don't lose your investment. The locking gas cap on my Neon didn't have a tether, but on the other hand, it didn't cost $137.74 either. Times not only change, but your car dealer gets the folding stuff, and you're left with the change. In this case, 26 cents.... I'm not yet ready to calculate how many fill-ups that gas cap represents, but I'm guessing about three. That's about three months of regular driving at my usual mileage.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mayfly ?

This may or may not be a Mayfly - all I know for sure is that it was a beautiful light green, and it was outside on the window yesterday afternoon, so I tried to take its picture. It's a little out of focus, because I was in a hurry, in case it flew away, and sure enough, it did.....


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Housewives of West Vancouver...

Forget 'The Housewives of Orange County'. These are the ones of West Vancouver, which is reportedly the richest neighbourhood in all of Canada. If you had their money, you could easily afford to throw your own away. In the part known as 'British Properties', if you have to ask 'how much?' then you simply can't afford it, and you shouldn't even be thinking about it, because you are just day-dreaming. Make your millions first, then think about moving to West Vancouver's 'British Properties'.  Good old Anonymous tells us: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop."


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yesterday at Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

This cute little rocky tourist attraction in Whytecliff Park at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver is called Whyte Island, probably after Mr. Whyte, whose ancestors or 'incestors' obviously had some problems with the Queen's English. Come to think of it, so did the Queen away back when.

But I digress - this cute little island is a real magnet for children of all ages from 9 to 90 who love to climb things like this and then gawk at the scenery from on top of it, including me. From the top of this island on a clear day you get a magnificent view of Whytecliff Park.  There's only one catch - you can't get here over that rocky breakwater unless the tide's out, because if it isn't, then you'd have to swim or wade or take a boat, or Scuba your way out to it, all of which have been done already. This is just possibly the cutest little island in captivity, and everyone loves it.                


Message from Global Warming Headquarters....

God, giving us 'the finger' ???  Think about it....


Friday, May 7, 2010

'Oldest Living Blogger' and his 2008 Dodge Caliber...

This is an interesting set of wheels, for sure. I've actually lost count of how many vehicles I've owned already, but it's somewhere over 6 dozen since the first in 1950. This one is equipped with more extras and accessories than any of them so far, including some I thought were quite deluxe.

There's goodies in this one that I haven't even played with yet, and I've had it now for three days already. For me, that's some kind of new record. "So, what's your first impression of it so far?" you ask.  OK, I'll try answering that. It's a bit 'plastic-y' but so's everything else in this price range these days, and even some in higher ranges. Not necessarily a bad thing, because it's easy to wash, and it pops back to shape if bumped (unless really whacked!) and it doesn't rust or rattle like it would if made from those recycled beer cans of old. The seats are quite comfy, but if you find that sitting on your wallet makes you uncomfortable in the bucket-style driver's seat, and you take it out and put it into that cute and handy little cubbyhole in the center console under the radio, try not to forget it as you get out, lock up, and go shopping. You may find yourself feeling a bit foolish as you head back to get your wallet from the car. (Been there & done that!)

One of the first things you should do after getting one of these beauties is take a drive to your nearest Canadian Tire, and get a pair of those memory-foam Velcro-on strap pads for your front shoulder harness belts, so those shoulder harness straps won't itch, scratch, or chew into your neck as you ride along. I once broke a collarbone when that shoulder belt locked up as I hit the ditch, fast asleep - and I do mean 'fast' - one night years ago in another little minivan that I loved dearly but killed prematurely because I got too comfy in it on a too-long trip. These strap pads probably won't help in a situation like that, but for everyday use they will save your neck from the sharp edges of those straps.

I'm not yet used to the responses of this CVT transmission, but I'm learning. So far, it seems to have some nice improvements over a conventional automatic transmission, and I like the way it can be placed into a downshifted mode while going downhill to slow the vehicle without having to do that entirely with the brakes. Older automatics warned us against doing this, because it could damage those conventional automatic transmissions if we forced them to in effect use 'reverse flow' to slow the vehicle.  This CVT isn't like that, and it can be used to slow you down without requiring you to overheat the brakes going down a long hill. If you ever have overheated your brakes on a really long and steep hill, then you already know the thrill of discovering that overheated brakes equals no brakes at all, because they glaze over and slip like as if they were greased. The only thing you have left after that is the parking brake which works usually on only two wheels, and beyond that, your only other recourse is to downshift into a low gear, and turn off the engine and pray a lot. Again, "been there and done that!", but I don't have the T-shirt.

Also, I like the seating position compared to that in a small car such as the Neon, because in this you sit up higher above the surrounding road, and it also has much better visibility to the rear and the sides, so that maintaining awareness of the traffic around you is easier and less worrisome. There again, it reminds me of that nice little Mitsubishi Eagle I loved so much back in the '90s. It's nice to be a little higher than the surrounding traffic, and be able to see what's happening before you get surprised  by it. At my age, I don't like a surprise - or as they call it in Beijing, "SUPPLIES!!!"

This car/minivan/SUV/RV is probably more intelligent than its average driver, and it can tell you  almost everything except your first pet's name, and the way to Grandma's house - and if you had the GPS navigation accessory, it would point you toward Grandma's house if you asked. I'm so old, I can remember when a car's driver was the smartest part of it. These days, that's no longer true. I've seen lots of these newer cars that were much smarter than their drivers. That's rather reassuring, when we consider all those idiots out there on the freeway playing in the traffic with their iPods and cell phones. Thank God for computerized cars! Now, if only we had the power steering linked to the GPS system and a forward radar, it would be much safer out there, I betcha.....

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More about my 13-year-old Dodge Neon...

It got recycled, and now it looks like this - a 2008 Dodge Caliber - or as the guys on the Service Desk call it, "a third generation Neon".

Funny - it doesn't look like a Neon, and it hasn't got a traditional automatic transmission like a Neon, and it's a real 'Creampuff' unlike the Neon, but it has the same kind of get-up-and-go and the same good handling and it's made by the same people, but more recently. It can't decide if it's a minivan or a car, but it does both those very well. It also knows how to pass a gas station while it is out there playing in the traffic, and passing some of that too. Maybe it is related to the Neon of old after all. 

So what really happened to the 13-year-old Neon? It's going back to school, with the daughter of one of the mechanics at the dealership, and she's going to love it just as much as I did, I betcha, and with only 40,000 original Kms on it yet, she will have lots of driving left in it yet. Who knows? It might make it to voting age yet.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today is.....

......looking good! The morning sun on the new leaves looks just delightful. Enjoy it, everyone!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A nice letter from the Canadian Cancer Society

I got a nice letter today from Stephani Agg, the Coordinator of Donor Relations for the Canadian Cancer Society's British Columbia and Yukon division, thanking me for becoming a member of their monthly giving team, Friends for Hope.

They recently gave me about $6,000.00 worth of radioactive implants to kill my prostate cancer, so the very least I can do in return is to make an effort to repay their kindness so that they may continue their excellent work for others in need. Their unexpected kindness and real help surprised me, and I really don't know how to say "thank you for saving my life" except to try to make it possible for them to do it all over again for someone else. I hope I'm able to do that.


Here's to B.C. Hydro - May they rest in pieces!

Considering the length of recent outages in my neighbourhood, which is in between two main substations in Canada's third largest metropolitan region, I'm ashamed to admit that I once worked for those bastards for 20 years around here doing what they don't seem to be able to do now - keeping your lights on!

Before they gutted their crews of travelling operators during those massive early retirements of the downsized eighties, we could get your lights restored after an outage in a built-up suburban area in about half to three-quarters of an hour, depending on traffic and weather conditions. It seldom if ever took us three and a half or four hours, or three days to restore your service after a relatively routine storm. Have today's replacements forgotten how, or did they ever really know how to move their asses when the lights go out, and get those feeder circuits restored to normal? This kind of recent extended outages is ridiculous! These people need a good kick in the ass to start them breathing, and get them in touch with why they're there. 

Meanwhile, Folks, remember: "Live Better Electrically - Carry A Flashlight!"


Meanwhile, back in the swamp.....

This is the kind of day we're having here today - blustery and wet, and designed to shake the loose husks off the newly-emerged leaves and flowers, and test your windows for rattles, and I'm not trying to make fun of Microsoft - but I could.  I think their Windows Live Mail needs a much better spam filtering system. Or any at all. Who wants to have to open an email just to get rid of it? That's how the bugs get in.

Is Microsoft making it easy for the bugs to get in so that they can create work for those friendly folks who are constantly flogging their anti-virus programs? For that matter, I've also wondered if those anti-virus guys are quietly manufacturing some of those worms and trojans and rootkits just to justify their own existence.  Wouldn't be surprised - it  wouldn't be the first time that somebody created a problem so that they could then create a solution for it. The cosmetics industry springs to mind as a classic example of that. They've been flogging useless goop at exorbitant prices ever since the first woman looked into a mirror and said, "My God! I look terrible! - pass me the dinosaur grease and the powdered chalk, and the lotus-petal extract...."

Enjoy your day, Everyone!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

More musings from 'Oldest Living Blogger' ....

  While I was at the nearby Chrysler dealer's the other day, recovering from the shock of paying them $491.89 for their Spring Special Oil Change & Filter Replacement for only $50.00, we got talking about the new cars, and I went into my favourite lament about pensioners not being able to qualify for car loans, even though our income is more secure than yours is.

The Sales Manager happened to be listening to this rant, and he said, "Ray, you're not up to date with your facts. These days, pension income is considered as income for the purpose of making car loans, and as far as we're concerned, it's the best kind of income there is."  I took a deep breath, and said, "Really? - We ought to talk some more about this. I quit smoking a while back, and now I've got an extra $300.00 a month walking around money."  The Sales Manager said, "There's your payment right there! And if you want to talk about this, I'm ready whenever you are." 

There's probably going to be more to this story, so stay tuned, Folks.....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Canada's oldest shopping mall ain't what it used to be

"So what did it used to be?" you ask. "Full and busy", I reply. When I went there yesterday afternoon to get a lottery ticket, it seemed that about half the old familiar shops were closed and boarded over, awaiting renovations and new tenants.

Along the ground floor main mall area, there were several no longer with us, and up on the upper deck or second floor, the big 'Winners' is gone, and there's a 'coming soon' sign on the walls there, advertising an Oriental grocery. So it turns out Winners was really Losers, and their spot doesn't seem to me to be in a convenient enough location for a grocery operation. But what do I know? 

I went to a shoe store called 'Soft Moc' where I've bought two or three pairs of shoes and boots, looking for a pair of flip-flops to wear around the house and around the building here, and instead of the two cute young gals who used to be running it, there was an overweight young man who almost went into shock when I asked if he had any men's flip-flops. He said he hadn't seen any yet, as if they periodically wander through on their own.

That was when I decided to go up to the second level, and check out the stock at 'The Shoe Company' just across from the now-closed Winners. They still have cute gals serving the customers, and they also have a nice variety of flip-flops. I bought a pair, and wondered why I hadn't gone there first.

On the way to the mall, which is only a few blocks from this building, I couldn't take the usual direct route, because there'd been an eight-car pile-up on the second narrows bridge, and everybody had plugged all the main streets trying to get to the other bridge, Lions Gate, near the mall. I had to circle around through half of North Vancouver until I got to a reasonably clear route which took me up to the  main highway, and then used that to get over to the mall. I'm older than gridlock, and I still haven't got enough patience to accept it. Sitting in an endless line of traffic, smelling the guy in front's exhaust and polluting the guy behind me has never seemed very intelligent to me. David Suzuki and his 'Nature of Things' TV show should examine that sometime.