Samsung’s ‘Safety Truck’ Shows The Road Ahead On Screen So Drivers Can Pass It | Bored Panda

22 06 2015

Cool marketing idea. Not sure if it will make much impact to road safety on Argentina’s roads though…

Full length advert on the Bored Panda web page below.

Samsung’s ‘Safety Truck’ Shows The Road Ahead On Screen So Drivers Can Pass It | Bored Panda.

Bored Panda: Samsung's Safety Truck





Father’s Day 2015

21 06 2015

Father’s Day is one of those pseudo “holidays” created by card manufacturers (and more recently – as in the case of Pi Day – internet foibles) rather than being steeped in tradition and history. You know – like my birthday.

I have the honour of listing myself amongst those males of the species who can call themselves “father”. As well as the biological act of becoming a father there’s also the on-going relationship with one’s offspring – or even a child who is not biologically yours. This is by no means a pre-defined relationship and can be healthy and strong with step-father, foster parents etc., and conversely toxic and destructive with biological parents. Fathers don’t have the market cornered for either extreme of experience, by any means – though they do tend to have the ability to make bad parenting experiences very bad.

As my own children have matured into young adults I have observed with not a little trepidation as they transfer their decision making from the childhood surety of “mum/dad said…” to the less definite, but ultimately more useful “my own accumulated experience would indicate…”. Of course they unnecessarily re-discover some of the same mistakes we did at that age, as well as dealing with whole new decisions that simply didn’t exist a generation ago (like “Should I sell my soul to iOS or Android?”). Hard though it is to see a loved one make a mistake you could have helped them avoid, it’s definitely a lesson more fully absorbed when the cause and effect are directly experienced rather than simply discussed.

Being a bit of a stick in the mud myself, I’m not big on cards and presents for birthdays and the like. I didn’t really mind at all then that offspring No. 1 simply sent a one-liner via SMS to at least acknowledge I had a small contribution to her DNA. No. 3 offspring, my son, has asked if he can take me for dinner tonight – just him and I. Though I’m slightly nervous that he might be wanting to inform me of some unplanned life event or personal discovery, the calmer part of me is trying to accept it as simply his way of sharing the day. No. 2 offspring – the artistic one – created a small card for me, and presented it as I descended for breakfast, along with a yummy-looking Okanagan “port-style” bottle of wine from Black Sage vineyard.

Black Sage 2008 “Pipe” port-style wine

The image she chose to use for the card was from a back-issue of my BBC History magazine. It shows a medieval soldier doing battle with some sea-going monster. Odd choice, I thought, until I read the back of the card:

The great battle of 2015 when father slayed none other than the toilet clogging sea-ogress.

Demise of the toilet clogging sea-ogress

Demise of the toilet clogging sea-ogress

Leaving aside for a moment the slew/slayed debate, I feel I should explain the reference…

Several weeks ago the toilet in the “children’s bathroom” had begun to misbehave. It would flush – in the sense that the water (and some proportion of other items therein) would leave the premises via the usual method of the sewage pipe. However, it did not flush with the same amount of gusto we had become accustomed to, and would often leave unsavoury reminders of recent interactions with said toilet. Being a family born in the UK, this was embarrassing to the point of pain.

My own stance was along the lines of “one of you lot blocked it – you sort it out” for several weeks. This is an easy stance to adopt when you have access to an unaffected en suite and there’s an additional 3rd. toilet in the house as well.

No. 2 offspring though is a delicate soul and of the opinion that men should offer women 100% equivalence… except where unblocking toilets is concerned, where she’s quite happy for sexism to endure. No. 3 offspring is of a practical nature and simply moved his business elsewhere. As it were.

Eventually though, the persistent calls to address the issue got to a stage where I took it upon myself to handle things once and for all. I began by canvassing family members for suggestions, but not being in possession of the requisite paperwork to obtain dynamite, I looked to my fellow citizens at Home Depot for potentially more practical advice.

Now, it must be said that these types of toilet blockage are a by-product (sorry!) of North American design, that require the “soil pipe” to exit the toilet downwards, instead of sideways as is common in the UK. This means that the water – plus anything it may be transporting – must negotiate a full tight curve both laterally and vertically. Since this obviously increases the chance of blockages, there is an associated line of products designed to assist with that very situation… and help with the economy.

So, $40 later, I was in possession of an instrument of torture which could double for the task of freeing up the blockage. After weeks of grief, one might say that restrictions were lifted, and free passage was once more possible. This seemed to be a disproportionately big deal to No. 2 offspring – as commemorated in my Father’s Day card.

Over the years I have accumulated many tools “just in case” or because a given problem is generally just so much less trouble if you’ve got the right tool for the job. I can honestly say that I really really hope I never have to use this particular tool again, but if I do… I will still be glad I have it. The alternatives are just too gnarly for a Brit to consider.

Home Depot: RIGID K3 3′ Toilet Auger

Over the last week, CBC has been running a competition for the best example of “what my dad taught me” during my morning commute. Whilst No. 2 offspring is on break from McGill, she’s got a summer job with the local museum and I’ve been giving her a lift to work. I jokingly asked what she’d learnt from me. With an inscrutable face, she looked at me and said “how to swear eloquently at other drivers”. Though admittedly not an entirely worthless skill, I admit to feeling I’d perhaps fallen somewhat short of the mark in the parenting stakes.

Imagine then my pleasure at reading the last clause of the note she had put inside her card to me today:

Happy father’s day to the best daddy ever!

Thank you for driving me to work, fixing the toilet, being my garden partner and for encouraging me to be the best I can.

It was, I think you’ll understand, a near tear-jerking moment for me. I’ve always considered my success – and indeed, failure – as a parent as being measured solely by how effectively I have helped prepare the children for their own lives. I am but one influence amongst many and as they grow, that influence inevitably recedes into the background.

To be the best you can be is all anyone could ever ask of anybody. It’s not a religious stance. It’s possibly not even a moral one. Only you know what your best is. To perceive that that is something to aim for is a keen weapon to have along  for life’s journey – helping to assess each of the decisions that life will place in front of you.

I feel honoured that my beautiful daughter feels that this insight was some form of gift, and that it has benefited her in some small way.

Don’t get me wrong – I am immensely proud of all three of my children. This little essay was simply inspired by the small actions of one of them on one day. As “the middle one”, I felt it was about time she got her own little acknowledgement and tonight I will toast all three of them with a small extravagant glass of almost-port from the Okanagan and thank Darwin’s memory for allowing me to take some small satisfaction in all their future successes.





Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 3

18 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 1:29:15

I was joined by my second offspring this time. The theory being that her fit and youthful physique would somehow encourage me to faster things. Well it did… by 15 seconds. 😦 Those of you who have seen “Run Fat Boy Run” might suggest she equip herself with a spatula next time. The ground was tinder dry compared to last time, but the massive damage from erosion is still plain to see, with exposed roots and deep gouges into the soft peat. It seems that the management company that run the chalet at the top have changed their supplier for baked goods, and my favourite treat of a chai tea latte (extra hot) and a fruit scone had to be modified to substitute a tripleberry crumble slice. The current fruit scones I think are supplied by Home Depot’s building division. The crumble was not much better as it was really just granola, and not crumble per se. Just to top it off, I seemed to have sliced my leg on some errant stump or other on the way up. I wouldn’t say I was focused or “in the zone” or anything, but it is true that I didn’t notice the damage until we’d stopped, at which point it began to sting like buggery. (Though I use the word metaphorically and not from a personal data-point).

QE got an owie

QE got an owie

That’s 34 officially timed ascents (several others were unofficial, out of season – round the fence, etc). That’s the equivalent of 29,002 metres or 95,151 feet (but unfortunately not both). Another 6 to go before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”. Here’s the whole list:

  1. Mt. Kosciusko, Australia – 7300 feet, 2228 metres – 3 grinds
  2. Vinson Massif, Antactica – 16050 feet, 4892 metres – 6 grinds but need 9 total ( 3 from No.1 above plus the 6 for Vinson)
  3. Mt. Elbrus, Europe – 18510 feet, 5642 metres – 7 grinds, 16 total
  4. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19341 feet, 5895 metres – 7 grinds, 23 total
  5. Mt. McKinley, North America – 20320 feet, 6194 metres – 8 grinds, 31 total
  6. Mt. Aconcogua, South America – 22841 feet, 6961 metres – 9 grinds, 40 total
  7. Mt. Everest, Asia – 29029 feet, 8848 metres – 11 grinds, 51 total




What’s in a name?

8 06 2015

I was invited out for drinks and a bite to eat on Friday with some old work friends. “Old” as in long-standing, as opposed to elderly. That said, we’re none of us getting any younger. Anyway, we ended up at The Main on Main, in Vancouver’s trendy Main Street. Parking was a pain. Though plentiful, the meter-controlled parking on Main was unavailable due to me habitually travelling like royalty… and therefore without cash. Eventually I parked in a twee residential area around the back and only a few minutes walk away.

I’d arranged to arrive early for pre-drinks and my friend and I took a table in the open (as in not present) window to soak up a few rads before the others arrived, and to more readily watch the world pass by. I noticed a large old pub sign on the wall, being used as “art”. It was a Tetley’s sign for “The Oak Tree Root”, and obviously a few thousand miles adrift from its origins in the north of the UK somewhere.

Tetley's Sign - The Main on Main

Tetley’s Sign – The Main on Main

I innocently asked if they served Tetley’s and the waitress asked if I’d like tea. Taken aback, I had to explain at length that Tetley’s tea had nothing to do with Tetley’s brewery. Despite being far from a common surname, they were in fact two completely different things. The Oak Tree Root is a bit of an unusual name for a pub, and it turns out it’s in Howe Bridge, near Manchester. No idea if they realise their pub sign has been stolen though…

A photo of the pub (complete with assurances that they did indeed sell Tetley’s) can be found here on Flickr. Unfortunately it seems they went bust and the building is now a cheap Costcutter shop.

The sun was warm and still high, and we enjoyed a pint of  Driftwood’s White Bark wheat beer. Thankfully it didn’t arrive with the usual fruit salad. What is it about putting orange slices into wheat beer?!

Driftwood - White Bark

Driftwood – White Bark

Our other friends arrived, and as predicted, we had to move away from the window due to their vampire-like dislike of the sun. Oddly, I’m not a big fan of hot weather, but I don’t mind sunshine per se. The Main on Main is OK, foodwise. Slight air of pretension with the way it serves its pretty basic food, but clean and friendly. There were a few too many Greek items on the menu for a traditional pub, but all-in not too bad.





Go girl

5 06 2015

As a proud parent of 2 girls, I’m keenly aware of issues around education and sexual discrimination. Seems a young lady from here in BC has the same concerns and used her high school graduation dress as a cool piece of marketing to draw attention to the fact that not every girl in the world has ready access to education. For once, I am fully on board with a woman wearing clothes that scream “look at me”! The dress was made from old maths homework and the message on her dress reads: “I’ve received my education. Not every woman has that right.” Read more at DesignTaxi: Girl Uses Math Homework To Make Grad Dress, Helps Other Girls Go To School – DesignTAXI.com.

Source: DesignTaxi

Source: DesignTaxi





Know The Glow

4 06 2015

Heard about this on the radio this morning. As an employee of Canon, I thought it particularly interesting.

You know that annoying “red eye” you get from flash photography, where the blood vessels in the retina cause a red glow in the eyes of the people you’re photographing? Well… sometimes it’s not red. It can be yellow or white… and that’s usually not a good thing!

Turns out it can be an early diagnostic of several eye problems. Some very serious. Early detection is key to good outcomes from treatment. So – go take some photos of the ones you love!

Here’s a web page for more information: Home – Know The GlowKnow The Glow | Know The GLow.

To give you an idea of what to look out for they also have a gallery of examples.

 





Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 2

4 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 1:29:32
First officially timed ascent this year. Hey – I’ve been busy!

It was higher than usual… most of the way I was following a couple of hip dudes who were smoking and smelt distinctly of skunk. They still beat me!

The weather looked iffy, but it was only when I got to the very top and into the low cloud that it actually became damp, and even then only with tree drips. The ground was very soggy most of the way up though which was odd because we’ve not had much rain recently. Definitely humid though, my microfibre face cloth (lovingly called my dew-rag) was soaking wet by the time I finished. Asa wearer of glasses, it’s really annoying when my face sweats, so I carry this microfibre cloth to wipe my eyebrows frequently.

I felt quite shocked and horrified at the trail actually. Shocked at just how deteriorated it has become since just a few weeks ago. Horrified though to realise that I’m as much to blame for that erosion as the next person. The Grind has become so popular that the BCMC is now the overspill and is getting way more popular than when I first began to hike it. Especially at the top there is now a tangle of exposed roots and some quite slippy sections where the mud has become so dominant.

That’s 33 officially timed ascents. Another 7 before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”