Yet another snow day

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; back in 2008 when we hunkered down for our first Winter in West Coast Canada, we were told by friends and family who had lived here since the 70’s “Don’t worry, it never snows in the Mid-Island.” Today I can confirm it’s snowing. Again. Cold, wet and heavy. It has snowed every year we’ve been here despite the assurances and blandishments of friends and neighbours. Despite all the assurances of those telling us that “Our children won’t know what snow is.”

The great lakes currently have about ninety percent ice cover, the most for over two decades at the time of writing, and almost as much as the 1973 record of 94.7 percent on 1979. The Midwest and USA are on the receiving end of Winter storm after winter snowstorm. Then we have witless fools chuntering on about how they think those of us with eyes in the front of our heads, and working brains between our ears are some form of criminal species they call ‘Deniers’. Deniers of what might I ask? Deniers of a changing climate? No, we can see that for ourselves. As for warming, if anything it’s getting colder. Simple observation will tell you that. In the words of Dylan; “You don’t need to be a Weatherman to see which way the wind blows.” I can tell you where it’s going to as well. Which is a bit of a disappointment as I was rather looking forward to some extra warmth.

The only people in denial are the politicians and activists who blithely swan around travelling Business class (Hey, what about their CO2 emissions, huh?) and never actually step outside for long enough to see that all their prognostications of doom are as valid as those made by some uneducated backwoods Bible thumper. And these bastards are robbing John Q Public and telling everyone it’s for their own good, and other like bollocks.

There is an upside to all this snow and ice, and I think it’s worthy of a mention. There’s a tiny colony of wolves on an island (Isle Royale – Google it) in Lake Michigan who since the 1940’s have rarely been able to get to the mainland. As a result they have suffered terribly from the misfortunes of inbreeding. Now there have been reports that some of them are on the move over the ice and looking for fresh realms to inhabit. Although one is reported to have perished recently on the mainland, others may have made the same journey and survived. The Spring thaw will tell.

The glass is falling hour by hour

I swear the Weather gods are trying to tell us something. This is the mid Island, one of the warmer climates in Canada, and yet again it’s been snowing. Yesterday evening we transported in-laws around Victoria in pleasant but chilly greyness. The minute we get to the Malahat summit, the Malahat being a bloody great piece of rock that literally splits the south of Vancouver Island from everywhere else, snow. Thence snow all the way back home. Fortunately not the settling kind like we had last weekend, but enough to coat the trees and fields in a dusty white. It was a long drive home.

Today we’re in Richmond, I hope, viewing a boat. An ex-military tug converted to a liveaboard. Tonight evil dreams rob me of blessed repose and I’m sitting here emptying the sleeplessness into my keyboard. That’s the last bottle of Crane Lake Cabernet I’m drinking. Not bad on the palate, but I was jarred into wakefulness by dreams of intruders and various misdeeds. It was either the wine or some dodgy Canadian Brie. Whatever. Going back to bed now.

A cool little WordPress feature

Doing a little site maintenance, and found the ‘Protest NSA Surveillance’ banner feature in the ‘Settings’ menu. I know it’s purely a gesture (although hopefully a highly insulting one) in the direction of the hyper suspicious state organs that need to know absolutely everything about absolutely everyone.

You know, just in case Mrs Miggins down at the pie shop is not simply putting out tasty pie recipes on her blog, but that these recipes are, in reality, coded messages to the local Al Quaeda cell to go and do something horrible, like create self detonating custard. Which is actually more likely than you might think. Custard has some interesting properties.

An interesting quote

When the world seems to be against you, and you feel like you’re drowning in a Tsunami of deception, heed these words, ringing across the millennia from the sixth century BC (No, you idiot, not British Columbia, I mean the classic date related interpretation- sheesh, some people)

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.


Wisdom allegedly spoken by Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta (Buddha)

When arguing with activists, it’s an absolute killer. Especially if they claim to have embraced Buddhism. The simple cruelty of using their own tenets of faith against them actually brings a smile to my face. But then I’m feeling particularly evil today.

A deeply philosophical question

There is a branch of 18th century philosophy that asks the question; “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Originated by Bishop George Berkeley in his “A treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

Today I have been reminded of this question in an empirical manner. My version of this deeply meaningful question reads; “If a baking potato explodes in the oven, will anyone hear it?” To which the answer is a conditional “No”. The conditional statement being; “but only if the cook is not in the kitchen at the time.”

The rest of this philosophical monologue will be taken up with a much greater question; “If indeed a potato has exploded in the oven, how long does it take to clean up afterwards.” Investigations are ongoing.

A conspiracy theory everyone can believe in

Awoke this morning to brilliant sunshine and mini avalanches sliding off the roof, thumping loudly onto the deck like bankers committing suicide. I think one of these slides may have taken four metres of guttering with it, so will report to the landlord. No biggie.

Now this is interesting. Over at ZeroHedge I read this, then went here to get the full skinny.

While these revelations are all very sinister and discomfitting, and as I’ve noted before, if the security services are out looking for trouble they’ll find it everywhere. Ultimately this gives you the uncomfortable feeling that we are all potential ‘targets’. Reminds me of working a particularly tough street where you knew the insults and abuse were going to start flying at some stage. Only to find the abuse throwers turn out to be the very people tasked with keeping the peace. Although they will claim not to be. Which raises the question; how is anyone to tell friend from foe any more? Because at the moment there is a distinct feeling going around that those supposedly tasked with public protection are actually the bad guys. Especially when one hears tales from our cousins in the south about getting put on by the tax man for being critical of the current administration.

What a chilling thought.

I’m also given to think now that this querulous moggy is well and truly out of the bag, every sad little troll who doesn’t like what someone says will start making sly asides, trying to give the impression that they’re working for the security services. Who have guns. The trolls aren’t and haven’t. There’s simply too much information out there, and security budgets are not unlimited. The tactics outlined will only be implemented by government agencies against hard targets with inimical intent. Or someone who annoys a politician. Or… oh dear. Imagination brake failure! O. M. G! Don’t panic. Don’t panic!

Seriously though. In the end it all boils down to trust. If you can’t trust the people tasked with public protection to mind their own gosh-darned business in their own country, who can you have faith in? No wonder other countries are laying cables, building their own Internets and people are developing ‘Blackphones‘.

This does not change my mind about the rest of the conspiracy theories, faked moon landings, flat Earth, 911 false flag, Area 51, aliens, man made global warming. They’re still all bunk.

To close;

All white now

A fine to moderate snow has been falling since Saturday night down here by the water, leaving us with a covering of three to five inches. Reports from town say that there’s ice in the narrow channel between Newcastle Island and the marina. I can’t confirm. It doesn’t show up on the local webcams.

Here everything is pasted white. Even roads that were clear yesterday have a four inch covering. Our traditional fortnight of winter is officially here. Well, one of them anyway. We tend to get three of four of these episodes of varying severity every Winter. This is our third so far. The first two were more or less gone in forty eight hours. This bout may last a little longer. Semi regular thumps announce the fall of wet snow from the roof, frightening the dog, and our scenery has been seriously photoshopped.

I’m not working in town until Wednesday this week, so there’ll be plenty of time for chilling (Ouch, sorry). Not that there’s really going to be much choice. According to Environment Canada we’re in a short lived ‘Abnormal temperature trend’. Just seems like an average BC Winter to me. Lots of rain and a little snow. Although I’m also informed Mount Washington Ski resort was suffering from too much snow recently. A ski resort with too much snow? Seriously? Well don’cha just live and learn.

Oh well, work calls, and I have an online course to sign up for. TTFN.

Update: All incoming phone calls are being answered thus; “Ski Shop. How can I help you?”

In a word, Genius

Well now. Here’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences coming out for a quick dance of joyful mischief.

Girl Guides in the USA who raise funds to go to camp or for their troupes by selling the traditional range of Girl Guide cookies have been setting up their stalls outside the new Cannabis shops currently springing up in States where cannabis has been legalised. A perfect example of the market in action if ever I saw one, but who saw it coming?

Really it makes perfect sense. The ‘Munchies’ are a well known phenomena of cannabis use, and to cater for that appetite on the part of those Girl Guides carries with it the mark of sheer genius. Marking them out as smart kids who will go far. The girls in question saw a need and catered to it, incidentally making piles of cash for a cherished cause.

Unfortunately this does have a dark side. The next thing you know is that there will be Girl Guide gang wars. Hot competition between cookie sellers over favoured locations. Perhaps Bake sale gang bangers might try to horn in on their action resulting in female fisticuffs breaking out over the frosting and heaven knows what else.

More seriously there’s going to be hot (Groan, sorry) competition over the super profitable pitches for hot dog stands or fast food restaurants close to these new Cannabis shops. Talk about a licence to print money. Maybe even tie-ins. I mean there’s an opening for a whole new set of menu selections at every fast food joint in the country. Do you want fries with that?

Oh my giddy aunt. That has just cheered up a very snowy evening.

Netflix

Snow day today. Probably tomorrow as well. The guys whose boats we were to have seen today cried off the viewings and rescheduled for next weekend. No biggie. I’ve got to be over in Van and Victoria next weekend anyhow. The money will be there for the right boat. So today I shall watch a little TV. Thereby hangs today’s tale.

I have a Netflix subscription. Instead of coughing up fifty bucks a month for a cable subscription, which is, I am often assured by friends and just about everyone I meet “Just not worth having.” I spend just under eight dollars a month on Netflix. Roughly five pounds. So for slightly under ninety six dollars a year – well under half the British licence fee, I get (relatively) high definition, advert free content. No trailers, no public service announcements, no drama queen TV announcers. Only the drama that I want to see. Apart from fighting over the remote control. And I don’t have to plough through the cable schedules to see the show I’m looking for when I’m in the mood to view. Or wade through ‘News’ coverage.

For example, should I take a shine to a given series like ‘Chuck‘ or ‘Longmire‘, I can watch one episode after another. Which is great if a series has multiple show story arcs, so you can watch the cliffhanger episode followed directly by the denouement. It’s also great for catching up after being out of the loop for a while. Even if the series isn’t the latest ‘Game of Thrones‘ (Loved Season 3). I can find that through other means. Hey, it’s only TV.

Which is very cool indeed. Well, it would be if only….. My one major beef with Netflix Canada is that I’m paying the same as a US subscriber for restricted choice. Significantly so. Apparently it’s down to the film and TV distribution companies who won’t license their output for showing in Canada. Well, not at the prices Netflix pay. So we have an Apple TV box as well, but that suffers from the same restricted catalogue issue. Which forces people to use VPN‘s, or browser plugins like Mediahint(Which is free) or Tunnelbear(Which isn’t) to access content and content providers. Plug or share your ‘pooter into your big screen, and in the vernacular, Robert is one’s Father’s Brother. Although being a little bit of a Techie is useful when setting up and accessing content in this way.

For your average punter, these methods are often too complicated by half. Their main problem is usually finding the right button on the remote control (or even finding the remote at all), not setting up and fixing issues like circumventing restrictions. The Internet for them is a dark and dangerous place, full of sexual predators, scammers, viruses and porn. For those in the know, the jolly old Interweb is a wonderful hall of mirrors, information and entertainment, and the small number of sexual predators, scammers, viruses and porn vendors are like Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can come a’knocking, but you don’t have to let them in. It’s what firewalls and anti-virus software were invented for. The NSA and anyone else can snoop all they want too, but all they’ll get is this. Nothing to see here, move along. Stand aside bub, you’re in the way. Quit hogging the bandwidth.

On the plus side, Netflix are putting out content like the rather amusing ‘Lillyhammer‘ and ‘House of Cards. Kevin Spacey, while no Ian Richardson, is still a respectable backstab at emulating the wit and wicked to-camera asides of the original UK mini series, which is also currently available on Netflix Canada for a compare and contrast.

Any old road up. That’s all for now, and me and my dog are off out for a play in the snow. Then we’re settling down in front of a nice log fire to watch a couple of episodes of something fun and fairly mindless. Without adverts or admonitions. Cool.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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