Richmond Learns to Park

22 07 2015

Some time ago, my kids told me of a web site dedicated to poor examples of parking in Richmond, BC. I never bothered to look into it, as it smacked more than a little of racism. Today though, in research for this posting, I looked and the Facebook page does document some spectacular examples:

Facebook: Richmond Learns to Park

All this went unremembered until I returned to my car yesterday lunchtime. I’d driven a couple of colleagues for dim sum at Cambie and 5th, and returned to find a signpost embedded in my front grille:

Precision Parking

Precision Parking

Takes some mad skills

Takes some mad skills

Now – credit where it’s due: unlike myself the driver of the Ford F150 truck had reversed into the parking place. I was taught on my advanced driving courses that this is preferable to allow for more options when leaving the parking place. Furthermore, the driver had positioned it very accurately side-to-side in the spot. So accurately in fact that when he/she underestimated the length of their truck (even without towing hitch they were over the yellow curb), the hitch lined up exactly with the signpost between the separating curbstones. An inch or so either way and the hitch would have missed. Now THAT is accuracy.

I must however comment on Richmond City. Aware, no doubt, of the low regard its residents occasionally have for lines, boundaries and other parking expectations… they’d actually installed the signs on springs. Yup – they EXPECT them to be knocked over, and instead of paying for them to be repaired regularly had simply taken the hit of a more expensive initial installation, and mounted them all on flexible springs.

Thankfully there was no physical damage to my car, so it all got brushed off as “one of those things”. If you see a silver F150 with BC plate 8126 YR though, take my advice… don’t stand behind it!

Dance with The Red Man

17 01 2015

So in Canada it’s a red hand/white man. I think in the UK (it’s been a while) it was a red man/green man.

Different countries have different motifs but the general message is (as per The Boomtown Rats’ “Rat-trap”) “walk”/”don’t walk”. Despite the clear markings people STILL cross when there’s a definite sign suggesting they might consider the contrary. Vancouver I find to be particularly dangerous because pedestrians often treat “green light for cars” as “white man for pedestrians”. It’s true there’s a lot of overlap, so it’s USUALLY coincident, but there are exceptions. There can be a green filter light for left turns for cars, and most definitely NOT a white man, for example. People arriving at an intersection when a green light is already in effect, and no white man (due to no pedestrians pressing the button) will often march into the road unabashed. Usually this is OK, but at the end of a cycle there can be cars patiently waiting to turn left at a busy intersection, and given the changing lights will often feel the need to get out of the intersection now the on-coming cars are stopping. To suddenly find a pedestrian in the way can often not end well. Either the pedestrian gets flattened or the car screeches to a halt and gets T-boned.

Perhaps then, finding ways to make the red man more entertaining would help delay pedestrians until it was properly safe to cross…

All that said, I was once hit by a car at a light-controlled crossing in the UK and given a free ride for 50 yards down the Keighley Road in Bradford on a car’s bonnet. The car simply sailed through a red light (and me). So I’m not suggesting that following the proper rules is guaranteed to lead to a totally injury free crossing experience.

EDIT: The black and white paving patterns and chic styling had this down as Portuguese (or possibly Brazilian by extension), and sure enough it turns out it was filmed in Lisbon.

Basket weaving at a whole new level…

18 01 2013

wicker-covered car by ojo obaniyi.

Not a lot more to say really!!

Artist Ojo Obaniyi from Nigeria uses his pickup to advertise his amazing weaving skills to everyone he passes.

When did we become so bored?

4 08 2012

There’s a Roger Waters album: “Amused to Death“. Some thoughtful ideas and music. I liked it, perhaps many wouldn’t. Anyway, the title song, if you’re interested can be found here: 

The album’s general theme is how we’re inexorably killing ourselves as a species. First World War onwards. Modern warfare as a video game. “The bravery of being out of range.” Deep stuff. Not an album for those prone to depression.

Anyway, I happened upon a web article yesterday telling of the imminent Mars landing. Tomorrow in fact. How come that was the first I’d heard? It’s been an eight and a half month mission. 34 weeks of countdown to an amazing thing! Landing a vehicle on another planet, no less. But it’s so “meh” these days that I had to accidentally trip over it on some obscure backwater while meandering through cyberspace. It wasn’t front page news. No regular mention on the nightly news. It’s commonplace, it seems, for us to lob cutting edge technology ($2.5 billion worth!) at another planet these days. We recently (July 20th) celebrated (in a very muted, also meh-like manner) the 43rd anniversary of Man’s first steps on the moon. Some of you may remember it. I was only 5 back in 1969, and it was likely past my bedtime, but I do recommend the excellent Australian film The Dish for an insight (though not strictly historically correct) into the events surrounding that landing. Playing cricket on the “parked” satellite dish is a classic moment.  But that was the moon. That tiny and comparatively close satellite surfers enjoy thanking for our tides. (By the way, did you know the moon is not the Earth’s only satellite?)

We’re talking Mars. It’s a planet! On average it’s about 225 million km away. The moon? A mere 384,400 km. When did we get so complacent? How many of us actually commute to work on aeroplanes these days? Commuting used to be trains or buses in and out of the local city. Now it’s sitting in a chair… in the air! Have we become so used to stories and their visualisation on TV and cinema that we’ve become numb to the magnitude of these achievements? Has the sharing of ideas and concepts – mere stories – become so easy that nothing real has the ability to actually amaze us any more?

As a kid I remember being told apocryphal tales of how the first steam trains were thought impossible to survive as people-carriers due to their massive 15mph speeds. The cyclists in the current Olympics are topping 60kmh! On a bike! Man-powered. Call me easily impressed, but that’s fucking amazing! That’s over the road speed limit in BC towns. On a bike.

The world land speed record is currently held by ThrustSSC, and it topped 1,223kmh (760mph). On wheels. Come on guys… this is not merely “meh”! Concorde had a landing speed of 170mph. More than that, and it flew. This car is almost 5 times faster! A car!

The Mallard steam train (built in Doncaster, Yorkshire… ) is the holder of the official world speed record for steam locomotives at 125.88 mph (202.58 km/h).  Beaten now… by a car at 148mph! Steam-powered! These are amazing things that we as a species have achieved.

As a kid there used to be a TV programme called Record Breakers with Roy Castle (yes – he WAS from Yorkshire too 🙂 ). They used to break records on TV, and the Guinness Book Of Records was there to ratify it. When did it all become boring? When did we start assuming anything and everything was possible, and therefore unremarkable?

Setting foot on the moon. Heart transplants. Any surgery for that matter. Cloning. Genetically modifying plants and animals. Superconductors. Nuclear power. The list is endless… and far from all of it is “sensible”. It’s nonetheless remarkable though!

Let’s remind our kids to open their eyes, and not take everything for granted. At the end of the day we’re just naked apes with a dangerous amount of brainpower. When a kid answers “the supermarket” to the question “where does milk come from”, I see that as a very, very bad sign for our collective future…

Paradise Parking: Automobiles Reclaimed by Nature | Colossal

24 02 2012

Paradise Parking: Automobiles Reclaimed by Nature | Colossal.

Now that’s what I call long-term parking!!

Want one!

16 02 2012

Seen around Vancouver/White Rock recently…

Aston Martin: Vancouver

Aston Martin: Vancouver

Lotus: White Rock/South Surrey

Lotus: White Rock/South Surrey