Tuesday, August 29, 2017

College Orientation

Last week I went to two different orientations for new students attending Langara College: International Orientation and the normal version. Being American (and college educated) I suspected I would know most of the information bring presented. I also figured that since it had been over three decades since I last did anything significant related to school, I should show up with an open mind.

Mostly, I was right. There wasn't a lot in this presentation that I needed to know, but it was still interesting, in large measure because either college has changed since I was a student, or the world has changed (hello Internet!), or both.

Here are some things I noted from the presentations in no particular order.
  • There is a lot of support for students at this school. Counselors, free tutoring in a bunch of subjects, study spaces you can reserve, and much more. If such things existed back when I was in college, I don't remember it.
  • We were told that Langara has about 3000 international students. That's a huge number, and it imposes a lot of interesting things on a college supporting that kind of enrollment. As you might expect, cultural differences can be significant and lead to several issues. Here are some things that popped out:
    • Eye contact is good. It implies attention and listening. Some cultures see it as a challenge to authority, so it is not something that all students are comfortable doing.
    • Speaking up in class, asking questions, and interacting with the instructor and other students is expected. Again, not all cultures see this as a good thing.
    • Personal space expectations differ between cultures. Canadians have a bubble of personal space and like to keep it (as do Americans). Not so with everyone.
    • Plagiarism is a thing that you have to teach people to avoid. Some cultures think copying the work of others is just fine, or even a form of flattery. That is obviously not the case here, so that has to be discussed.
  • Another interesting section (to me) was on consent. With all those kids getting away from home for the first time and being free to try new things - ahem, sex - I guess that is a topic that really needs to be discussed, but we didn't do that 30+ years ago. Good job for bringing it up.
  • Things seem more organized now than I recall from my original college days. We were told every class will have an outline (syllabus) and all the relevant due dates, exams, papers, and so on will be listed on it. We're to be given that on the first day of class, and we'll live by it. That and Google calendar should be enough to keep anyone on track, but given the tenor of the discussion there are clearly plenty of students who can't manage that. I know some of my classes back in the day had syllabuses, but not all of them, and they were pretty simple things.
  • On a related topic, it was obvious I was much more prepared than other students I interacted with. I had gone in a couple of weeks ago and gotten my student ID, bought my textbook (only one of my classes this semester has a required text), knew my classes and schedule, had activated my local computer accounts, setup WiFi access, and so on. I figured doing all of that would be easier when there were no lines. Lots of people had done nothing like that, despite being in town for weeks already.
  • There is at least one other, mature (a lovely euphemism meaning "older than normal" in this case), international student starting in the fine arts program, like me. He's an Aussie with some silversmithing background. He's younger than I am by a fair bit, but still older then the typical entering Freshman. I hope we share a class or two as we go through the program.
All in all I actually enjoyed the orientations, and while I didn't learn a whole lot that will help me, I am reassured about my own ability to cope as I jump back into this world after a very long time away.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

More power isn't always better

Maybe it's an American thing, that belief that more power is always better. The big engine, the big car, and so on. Today I have a story where (so far at least) the opposite is true.

At our old home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we had 2.5 acres of land, on a slight slope. We had redwood trees, what remained of an old pear orchard, and a lot of very tall weeds that needed to be mowed several times during the season to keep the fire danger down. Then the rains arrived and you didn't mow until it started to dry out because your mower would get stuck or slide on the hillside.

To do that work I used a walk behind, high weed mower from one of the big manufacturers of such things. (DR, in my case, but there are others.) It had a 17 HP motor and a 30" blade. It had four speeds powered going forward, one in reverse, and weighed something like 400 pounds. Steering it was real work. I also used a heavy duty, gas powered string trimmer made by Stihl.

Mowing took 12 - 16 hours spread over 2 or 3 days, and left me dehydrated, with leg cramps, blisters, and callouses.

Then we moved away from all of that. And oddly I am mowing the yard in our rental. Doing so got me a small reduction in the rent and the landlord bought me a mower and string trimmer to do the work. The lot is large by suburban standards, perhaps 20,000 square feet, or nearly half an acre.

On arriving, the house had not been maintained for months. The grass was two feet long, dried out, and matted down.

Based on the agreement with the landlord, I bought a $300 gas mower and a cheap string trimmer that is either battery or extension cord powered. Both are laughable in comparison to the gear I used in California.

And yet...

Despite worries from the landlord about how large the lot is and the work involved, once the initial overgrowth was mowed down, mowing this place is trivial. I can mow and trim the whole thing in two hours or so.

It turns out that the cheap gear is just fine for this job. It uses a lot less gas, and is easy to steer and move. (The mower doesn't even have powered wheels... it's up to me to make it go.)

Fascinatingly, I am told the previous owner of the house had a riding mower (amusingly called a "sit mower" by some up here). I didn't even have a riding mower in California, as I didn't trust such a thing on the sloped ground. But I am certain that a riding mower is totally unneeded for this lot. Compared with what I am used to, this is an easy lot to maintain.

I admit that first mow - trying to cut the grossly overgrown grass - took a long time, and required hours of effort. But now the job is easy.

And I find it interesting that in this case, less power is just fine. Not a very American point of view, I fear.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


This post is going to cover three different mysteries. These are things I have wondered about, and want to know the answers to, but that I have yet to understand.

Anyone who can help me with the answers to any of these things will earn my eternal gratitude, and a link here to their website if desired. Obviously that means I will update the post with new information as it arrives. As with all things, you can reach me if you try, despite comments being off here.

Oh, for all images here, click to see a larger version.

MYSTERY 1 - Strange marks in highway pavement in the USA

Here's a picture taken on I-5 in Northern CA, on a trip to Vancouver:

Look at the road in front of the car. See those sets of 3 marks on each side, roughly where the wheels of the car go? Those are the mystery. Here's a closeup:

What are those things? Here's what I know so far:
  • I have googled quite a bit and been unable to find a search that tells me anything.
  • It appears that they happen on expansion joints (or some other linear crack in the road, perpendicular to the direction of travel).
  • I have seen them in several states, mostly in I-80, but also (as above) in California on I-5.
  • The spacing between groups (in the direction the cars travel on the road) can vary.
  • Sometimes there are 2 groups of 4 marks instead of 2 groups of 3. No idea why. But that happens on very different roads. I have never seen groups of 4 & 3 on the same road.
This question has driven me crazy for years. I have no clue what those marks are for. The cannot be for traction (like rain grooves) and I can't see why you'd need them across expansion joints.

Mystery 1 has an answer! Readers K and P (possible links still coming) tell me these marks are made as part of a 'dowel bar retrofit', which is a mechanism used to reinforce cracks in highway concrete. Here's a Wikipedia article about the technique.

MYSTERY 2 - Wood, round, antenna structures west of Richmond, BC

On our regular dog walks along the dyke on the western edge of Richmond, BC, we see odd, round structures, apparently made of wood. There are several of them, well spaced out. Here's one, from afar, and zoomed in. (The zoom'd image is blurry... sorry.)

And here is a shot showing several of these things off to the south:

And finally, here is a captured image from Google Maps, where I have measured the distance between these things. The points on the white line show their locations.

And here's what I know (it's not much):
  • They appear to be made of wood, and have no apparent electrical connections.
  • They face South West. (Bring up google maps for Richmond, BC, switch to satellite mode, and zoom in to confirm that yourself. You can see them in some detail there.)
  • The spacing between them isn't regular. (See map above.)
  • They are in a straight line running very close to due North/South, as far as I can tell. (Again, see map above.) It is just possible that they do not run perfectly North/South, but from the level of detail I have, it's hard to know.
  • And once more, Google has let me down on finding more details.
That's it. I know nothing more.

Mystery 2 has been solved. It prompted a lot of discussion on Facebook and in email, and many people participated in the conversation. K suggested these are navigation markers for ships, and looked at some nautical charts but didn't find them specifically. I found them in openseamap.org, but couldn't find the description of the actual things I found. J found the actual information about the chart annotation that resolved it, along with the formal description of the item type - "Daybeacons" - which says: "Generally, daybeacons are unlighted aids used primarily to assist the mariner during daylight hours" and goes on with other information that makes it clear that these things off the coast of Richmond are there to keep ships out of trouble.

Thanks to the many people who looked into this and helped find the definitive answer! It was really fun to get it worked out.

MYSTERY 3 - The scanner that stopped working in Ubuntu Linux 16.04

No pictures for this one, I'm afraid, but I wrote it all up in great detail in a post on the Ubuntu Forums here:


In short, I updated my OS and everything works (as far as I know) except the scanner. And the failure mode of the scanner is really, really odd. It's as if the bus ID and device ID that were in use for the scanner in the previous version of the OS were saved somewhere, but after the OS update everything got renumbered. When software to find the scanner is run as a regular user, the scanner cannot be found. When the same software is run as root, it does find the scanner (apparently).

As with the other mysteries, Google has not revealed a solution so far.

Mystery 3 has been solved. Without going into too much detail, there was a permissions problem because of changes introduced in Ubuntu Linux between 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS. I, personally, got the problem about 95% solved, but thanks to confusing and inaccurate documentation, I missed a bit of syntax that kept it from working. A good friend (John M.) pointed that last issue out, and suddenly everything works again. I think someone at Ubuntu needs a kick in the head for this, but such is life. The scanner works, and that is all that matters for now. Anyone wanting all the details can read this thread:


wherein I document the entire mess.

And that's it. Fame* and fortune** await the people who help me understand these things. Consider it a challenge, please!

* "Fame" defined as a link to your website, if you want it.
** This is a lie. There will be no fortune for anyone who helps. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It appears humans really are all the same

There's an old saying:
If it bleeds, it leads.
According to the internet (and specifically this site), that phrase was first used in an article in the New York Magazine in 1989. I guess it's not really that old then, but it sure feels that way.

It happens that I don't get the New York Magazine. It also happens that I only get one dead tree edition of anything, and that's Science News, a publication where that journalistic philosophy doesn't apply.

But I do read the news online, using Google News as my aggregator. When we moved to Vancouver I adjusted my feed. Google News tracks what you read and click on to build things, but it also lets you pick places you are interested in, and I am pretty sure it also taps your physical location as well.

The current political situation in the US is such a disaster that I can't stop clicking on articles about the latest idiocy committed by the orange menace and his rabid followers, so my feed still has a lot of US based news in it. With luck that will drop over time, possibly because of an impeachment. If that happens, the feed should naturally shift towards more Canadian news.

However, tying this post back to the introduction, Canada suffers from "If it bleeds, it leads" syndrome just as much as the US does. There is a difference, though: Canada has a lot less violence overall, and only about 10% of the population of the US. As a result, the news media here has to go farther afield to find blood, but they do it.

Every morning in the local sections about Vancouver and Richmond, I scan headlines about bodies found, gun shots, accidents, and so on. These are local news sources, and there probably isn't that much local news every day, so they fill their pages with whatever they can get. Blood first, though.

Sadly the national news does the same thing. I read about violence in Victoria, murders in Manitoba, and serial killers in Saskatoon. (Yes, some - ok, a lot of - liberties were taken with the truth in that sentence, but I like it.)

It's actually rather depressing, but reality is a bit different from what you might think (and in particular from what the idiotic minion in charge of the US Justice Department wants you to believe):

  • In 2015, the murder rate in the US was 4.88 per 100,000 people. Wikipedia puts that at 94 out of 219 countries. There are 93 countries with higher murder rates.
  • In 2014, the murder rate in Canada as 1.68 per 100,000 people, and the same article puts that at position 158 out of 219.
  • Due to the population difference, the actual numbers are starkly different: there were 15,696 murders in the US in 2015, and 604 in Canada in 2014.
  • Violent crime rates in the US - and, indeed, just about all crime there - have been steadily declining for 20+ years now.
  • Similarly, crime rates in Canada are mostly dropping as well.

Despite all of that - actual information! - people in both the US and Canada believe they are always in danger, and worry about highly unlikely events for no reason at all. And in both countries it plays into the hands of politicians wanting power to exaggerate those fears.

I'm tired of that.

In the US the deluge of crime and bad news - due simply to population size - means that if you live in Florida you probably don't read about murders in Oregon unless something really awful happened. And in big cities you don't read about every murder that happens just for lack of space in publications to document them. (Again that is due to population size, not overall crime rates.) So while"if it bleeds, it leads" is still true, there is other news on the front page, at least some of the time.

Here in Canada, though, we read about every murder, shooting, major accidents, and so on all over the country. The simple act of listing them all out in headlines can make you think that crime and death are rampant. It's actually a bit depressing.

I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this. I mean, the political headlines from the US are depressing enough, but add in the major crimes in cities 3000 miles away, and suddenly the news is just an awful read. I don't have any answers yet, but I am open to suggestions.

And yes, it really is safe here. It's lovely, and safe. Just avoid the news.

Note: This is a secret post. That is, I am not emailing an announcement about this one because I've written a lot of posts lately, and sent email about them. I don't want to drive people getting those emails nuts. This will get announced on FB, and on G+. And I need to think about twitter too, I guess... hmmm. But I won't email the announcement list. If you find this post you are thus a member of a very select club. Congratulations. Being a member gets you absolutely nothing, but you're in. Yay! You can join the club by getting in touch - email, DM on FB, telegram, phone call(!), whatever - and giving me an email address where you'd like to receive notices of new posts. Once school starts I'll almost certainly post less often, so you shouldn't get flooded with email. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Last night's sunset

click for full size image

That's taken just a couple of blocks from the house, looking a bit north of due west along the Fraser River, on 8/21/2017. We walk the dogs along that dike (spelled 'dyke' here) most every night. It's lovely.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Random Canadian Obervations

Just Trudeau tweets in both French and English. Should be obvious, but still made me say "huh... that's kind of cool." Imagine if Donald Trump was able to tweet in two languages. Actually, forget that. Imagine instead that he was actually fluent in English. How different things would be.

Tortillas in Canada. Yes, they exist, but note the manufacturer:

I have to admit I laughed out loud when I found these in Costco.

Speaking of Costco, you know how the items they carry are different from store to store down in the US? Well, it gets worse up here, because there are products that are US only or Canada only items. Years ago they stopped carrying Turkish apricots in the US, switching to California apricots (which are not as good in my opinion) and (for a while) some awful organic things that tasted like bland cardboard soaked in bit of corn syrup. Well, those Turkish apricots are available up here. For me that is just about reason enough to remain a Costco member all by itself.

Also, alcohol is expensive. We're trying BC wines out of curiosity. So far they are drinkable, but a bit sweeter than CA wines. The red varieties I see most are Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, plus blends of those. On the white side I see Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and a couple of others. Thus far the most impressive bottle we've had (and all the ones we've tried have been comparatively inexpensive) is the Naked Grape Pino Grigio. It's quite good. Not too sweet, with some citrus notes in it. Most of the local bottle shops, however, have fairly poor selections as a rule, and we'll have to go a bit farther away to find more choices. The Wikipedia article on BC wine indicates there are more varietals grown up here, but I haven't seen them yet.

People are pretty much unfailingly polite, unless they are driving. A small but significant percentage of drivers are rude, aggressive, horn honking, elegant gesture making, um... individuals. Not sure why that is, but it is a thing. In person, though, apologizing really is as common as the stereotype would indicate - much more so than in the US - and it's a way of greasing the skids, of making society work more smoothly. Apologize early and often - and be certain to politely acknowledge apologies! - and you'll blend in a bit better. (Being American means I will never completely blend in, but I try.)

Some things are expensive. Car insurance is something like four times what we paid in the US. Renters insurance is also costly. Maybe our rates will go down once we've been in country and insured for a year or two, but I have my doubts. Gas is also really expensive. Blueberries, though, are pretty cheap at the farm stands. Still trying to figure out electricity and natural gas. The weather has been so warm that we haven't needed much of either yet. Come January, that will have changed, and we'll see what the bills look like.

The overall pace of life is a bit slower here. Admittedly I am used to Silicon Valley - where things are rather intense - so perhaps most places would feel slower, but it is notable. It's not quite all the way to island time, as on Hawaii, but it is still significant. I am told that Vancouver Island - home of Victoria, the capitol of BC - runs on island time. Eventually I will confirm that one way or another.

Video availability on the internet is highly variable. Some things I used to watch simply aren't available. John Oliver is mostly not accessible. Rachel Maddow's stuff on YouTube is available, but the free segments from her show on the MSNBC website are not. (And don't ask me how to get paid content. Last time I looked into that, MSNBC wanted to know which cable service we subscribed to. Being cord cutters, we had none, and the same is the case here. So I guess we're out of luck on that front.) But some of these limitations are odd. Why isn't the stuff that John Oliver puts up on YouTube available world wide? No clue. Seems like they are unnecessarily reducing their available audience, but maybe there are considerations I don't understand.

Speaking of TV, so far it appears the city of Richmond mostly shuts down on Sunday evenings for Game of Thrones. Without a cable subscription, we don't watch it (and I began loathing the books somewhere along about volume 4 or 5) but we can see the park is mostly empty on Sunday nights when I think it is on. We walk the dogs every night, so the difference is pretty obvious.

Canadians pay for most everything with plastic. Credit or debit, makes no difference. Some, apparently, never carry cash at all. And they use a tap & go (NFC) system for smaller payments that doesn't require any ID confirmation. Above a certain amount, though, you have to enter a PIN. We had the tap & go system in the US briefly. I think it was called something like "pay wave" but it never caught on, and as far as I know it disappeared from all our cards after a brief time.

And of course the US never went to chip & PIN on credit cards, opting for chip & signature instead, which is dumb. Chip & PIN is much more secure, but apparently the CC companies in America thing Americans are too stupid to adapt to that. Alas, the current occupant of the white house makes me think the CC companies might be right about that.

I'll probably have more observations like this over time, but school will overwhelm me starting in about two weeks, and I hope blog posts start being about art more often once that happens.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

We have car insurance... finally

On Wednesday evening we finally completed the car registration and insurance process here in BC. That took a long time, but it is now done for a year.

Car insurance is very expensive here. We're paying something like four times what we were paying in California, but that comparison isn't really fair, since we bunded our home and auto insurance there and got discounts as a result. In addition, we had a very long accident free record in California, and while have a letter from our insurance company saying we were accident free for 10 years (which gets us a substantial discount) there may be more discounting available once the ICBC has insured us for some time.

That takes a big thing off our backs, and we're almost fully settled in and ready to just live. It's getting close, at least. That means there isn't a lot going on for us right now as a result, which is good. We've lived the last several months in a state of heightened tension as we prepped for this move. Some down time - before school starts in September - is a good thing, at least for me.

I've had a few discussions with people about the wildland fire situation in BC, and it's pretty dire. I heard yesterday that there were 138 fires burning in BC, and an online article said 26 of them were significant. I hear about evacuations on the radio, but I am not yet savvy enough with the local geography to know where they are or how many people might be affected. It is clear that most of the problems are north and east of us from online fire maps. Also, the province just re-authorized a wild fire state of emergency for the third time, and it now continues through September 1.

I know California has sever fires as well, and I wish all my mountain friends the best as the fire season progresses. Someday the rains will come back - both here and down there - and at least reduce the danger. In the meantime, be careful and keep in touch with the news.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thoughts on Charlottesville

Two brief notes before I get to the gist of this post:
  1. Some readers of this blog know me from a large mailing list where I was a moderator. In that role, I kept my political leanings and most other opinions to myself. In this blog, I don't do that. If that bothers you, feel free to skip those posts or stop reading entirely, but I am not going to limit my posts here based on the restrictions I faced in another - completely different - forum.
  2. The content of this post was first published on Facebook. I've revised it slightly for the blog format, but the basic ideas are the same.
And with that:

I am going to be a bit harsh here, but it is deserved, so...

I am appalled at the idiocy that went on in Charlottesville. Nazis have no place in America - or the world - and a president that supports them - even implicitly - has no place in the oval office. If you support the so-called "Alt Right" or the "New Right" (or any other variant on that lunacy) you're a Nazi, and I want nothing to do with you. There is no place for that in our society. World War II was supposed to have settled that.

Also, the south lost the civil war. It's over. Stop flying that horrible flag and move on. All humans deserve respect and dignity. If you can't do that, get lost.

It's sad that we've come to the point where making statements like that is necessary, but I have too many friends of different backgrounds, skin colors, and immigration statuses to be silent about this.

What happened in Charlottesville cannot happen again.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

An update on the move

We continue to settle into our new neighborhood.

The smoke from all the fires in BC blew out of the Vancouver area yesterday as the wind changed. Last night we had rain for the first time, and it was lovely.

The moving truck brought our stuff a few days ago and we are unpacking the important items. Since this is only a rental, we're not unpacking everything, but we are making good progress on getting things setup for regular use.

We have BC driver's licenses, and it appears we finally understand enough about car registration and insurance to deal with that this coming week. Both of those items were interesting but in different ways.

On the driver's license issue, we went to an ICBC office and the process of getting BC driver's licenses is simple: write down your new address, show them your passport, give them your old license and $31 (CAD), answer a couple of questions about driving, get your picture taken, and done. They give you a printed, temporary license on the spot and keep your old one. All too easy. The amusing thing is that we were told it could take up to two months for our new licenses to arrive in the mail, but they actually arrived in a week. Not bad.

Car registration and insurance is something else, however. There are two groups that seem to be at odds with each other. The federal government controls vehicle imports into Canada, and their people - the Border Services Agency - told us this was easy. Because we're here on my student visa, we're only temporarily importing the cars, so we're exempt from vehicle inspections and compliance requirements, just as if we drove them across the border as tourists. They issued us the paperwork and told us that was the case, and I confirmed it several times, with different Border Services people.

The insurance and registration side - handled by the ICBC (the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) - has a different story. When you find a competent insurance person (and a couple we tried early on were not competent, or were rude, or both) they tell you that we still have to get the vehicles inspected to register and insure them. And that inspection will be sure they pass the rules, which include a requirement for DRLs (Daytime Running Lights).

How to resolve those conflicting statements?

It appears that the Border Services people are right, but only about federal level vehicle inspections and requirements. We're exempt from those. But we are not exempt from BC level inspections and requirements.

So after a week of trying to figure it out, we are doing the inspections. The newer car passed with no problem. The older car doesn't have DRLs, but I did eventually find a local dealer that claims they can install them this coming Tuesday. Then we can get it inspected and assuming it passes - which it should - we can register and insure them both.

This is complicated by the fact that the insurance on the older car was going to run out a couple of days ago (I extended it at the last moment) and by the fact that registration on the older car ends at the end of August. So getting this done in a hurry was the plan, but we didn't manage to get it done quickly enough to beat the insurance ending. Oh well. This can be handled.

Given I am already registered for classes and orientation at the school I am attending, I suspect my dealings with bureaucratic world are done for a while. Anne is dealing with registering for provincial health insurance and work stuff, so she's in the thick of it still.

There are also interesting bits about getting mail from the US to Canada. We had one package of forwarded mail go into a black hole in the US for 10 days with (so far) no explanation. When it finally arrives (we hope in a couple of days) we might figure out what happened. Another forwarded package seems to be on the cusp of arriving in good time. And a birthday card sent for me is now 13 days into delivery and we have no clue where it is. So we're still working this mail thing out. Thankfully the person forwarding things for me in the US gets tracking numbers, and those have been helpful.

We're walking a lot - enough to lose some weight - and will be using transit the bulk of the time we need to move around, which is interesting and different from our US environment. School promises to be fun and I look forward to writing about it here.

That's about it for now. We wish all our friends and family only the best!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

First Impressions

We are settling into our rented house now, and waiting for the moving truck to arrive next week. The dogs are getting lots of walks, and we are doing lots of yard work to catch up with a suburban lot that wasn't maintained for months.

The house has more than a few quirks, but it is pretty liveable. The biggest problem is that our oldest dog hates the fake wood floors. They are slick and noisy when her toenails encounter it. And given it sounds like it is raining whenever she walks around downstairs, there is a lot of toenail / floor interaction going on. Even worse is that she has her paws spread as wide as they will go, and is nervous about her footing, which only makes things worse. Thankfully we have a number of area rugs on the truck that arrives next week, and we'll put those out to give her have safe zones.

The weather is, frankly, not what we were promised. Hot, humid, and smokey about covers it. Here's tonight's sunset:

That was taken at about 8 pm, and you could stare right at the sun without harm. Smoke in the air, and lots of it, from fires all over BC. Having come from Northern California, I understand it, but where is all the rain? Where are the cool temperatures? There are heat alerts going out for parts of Vancouver and the lower mainland - particularly a bit more inland - and people are suffering. So far, we're lucky. We have a strong prevailing wind off the ocean that has kept us in the mid 80's or so, but it will be warmer for the next few days. We'll see.

We still have things to deal with, alas. Drivers licenses. Car registration and insurance. The overhead of life as a good friend of mine taught me to call it. Now that the yard is pretty much beat into shape I will try to get onto that ASAP.

In all it's good so far. A couple of days is hardly a valid sample but things are going well.