Life of Dave

Life of Dave

Sunday, March 18, 2018


It's surprising what one can see though a broken fence. I was walking Tannah yesterday when I caught a glimpse of a muscle car; a 1967 Pontiac Firebird. I've seen this one before to be honest. A number of year ago I saw it parked in the same spot but with a carport protecting it. Then the fence went up, but I've never forgotten it. I happened to be on the same street yesterday so I checked to see if it's still there. Yup, but no carport anymore, just sitting there exposed to the weather; waiting for a restoration. It's even the perfect colour for me; blue. My parents had a '68 Ford Falcon when I was a kid that was a similar shade. That might be the attraction. But even if it was for sale, and I did buy it I'd have to get it restored by someone else. Foremost, I don't have any spare time for such a project, plus I don't have the expertise or array of specialized tools to do the whole job. Then there's the not inconsequential matter of marital harmony maintenance in relation to a "toy" I don't "need". That's true of course, but I still can't help dreaming.

It's a '67 Firebird.
Another one I came across near home is this land yacht Buick. I'm not sure of the model but it sure would make for a cool mild custom sled. Gotta add fender skirts.

Just try finding a parking space where it'll fit these days! Not an easy task.

Saw this one at Kingsgate Mall yesterday; an early '70s  Mercury Marquis. 
I've never been a big fan of wide White walls, but it gives the car a mild 
custom look.

Tannah was "helping" me yesterday while I installed trailer lights on my car.
She actually provides lots of moral support. I like it when she hangs out with me.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sprnig Break (TGISB)

Sometimes ya just can't make this stuff up. This was taken in 2012; that's why the vacation dates don't correspond with this year. It took me forever to dig through my photo files to find this photo (I'm a bit tardy with filing sometimes).

Do you think after 6 years the Statute of Limitations on irony has expired? At least after such a timeframe the students who attended in 2012 have graduated. It's not my intention to embarrass anybody.

TGISB (thank god it's Spring Break).

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Are you OK with a truck?" she asked

Last week I had an assignment in Prince George, just for a day...a long day as it turned out because either there wasn't a 5:30 return flight, or there was only the late 9:20 pm flight; I'm still not sure.

By the time the flight landed and we trekked into the terminal I think it was around 9:15 a.m. As always I headed straight for the car rental desk, but there was already a line-up. Since I had a reservation I wasn't worried. As the clerk typed in all my details I overheard the client next to me being offered the choice of a truck or a mini-van. The car fleet had already been lent out. I know I should be mature enough not to get sucked into the whole fake news advertising that pokes fun at men finding themselves trapped in a min-van full of toddlers rather than the (perceived) more brawnly pursuit of piloting an $80K gas guzzling monster truck through city streets.

Funny story about that actually. A number of years ago I briefly worked with a guy who had exactly that truck; a Ford F350 turbo-diesel, extended cab, 4x4 pickup with lift kit, custom wheels and huge offroad-tread tires. He even bragged to me about having entirely replaced the mufflers with straight pipes to gain more power (and to intentionally make more noise of course). He claimed the turbo assembly provided enough noise dampening. He was sadly mistaken in that claim. This was probably about fifteen years ago, so I estimate he'd sunk about 100 grand into that truck. I naively asked him what it was like to take it off-road and his immediate response was that he'd never do such a thing. He'd spent too much money on it to chance scratching the paint on an unpaved back road.

So based on pure practicality, given the choice I should have selected the mini-van. But lo and behold the anticipated choice was not offered. Instead the clerk asked me, "Are you OK with a truck?" Um...sure. I actually assumed it would probably be an SUV; some people refer to them as trucks. Some even have truck frames, or at least they used to. Equipped with my keyfob with license plate data written on it I made my way to the parking lot. After review of several suspected candidates I finally matched the plate with the largest vehicle in the lot; a Silverado crew cab, 4x4, Duramax diesel. Thankfully with functional mufflers! And no, I didn't take it off-road. Too much snow, and the waiver probably forbade me to do so anyway.

I'm just glad I didn't have to park this one on Vancouver's city streets. Prince
George is definitely the place ya want to drive something this big.

The coastal mountains were spectacular again, as usual. It really is a great
flight going north from Vancouver on a sunny Winter day.

This is at least the second time (if not third) that I've been awed that such a
clear divide is visible between the mountains and the plains. I'm not even sure
where exactly this occurs; I'll have to look it up on a map one of these days.

I caught a cool perspective of the plane just prior to touchdown in PG.


It's only been just over 2 weeks since the weekend snow storm (hard to believe) and all of a sudden it's 17 degrees C today! I rode my bicycle to work, and I saw some sort of flowering hedge absolutely full of buzzing bees.

The crows were roosting down at the River District on Sunday.

This is Deer Lake on Saturday morning during our 8K run. The more I look
at it, the more it reminds me of the cover of a 1970s jigsaw puzzle box.

Tannah's 11th Birthday

We always said we'd never be "those kind" of people. You know, the ones that dress up their dogs and shop at trendy little shops catering to what I call micro "Frou-Frou" dogs. And so far we've kept our word. Tannah's got a sweater or two for cold weather in the winter, especially after she comes home from the groomer, and she's got a red rain jacket, mostly to try to reduce wet dog smell on rainy days. We didn't go too far off the deep end. So far so good.

But then came along Tannah's 10th birthday last year and we felt it was kind of a milestone. There's a dog supply store close by that bakes their own biscuits and they advertised small cakes. We took the bait and bought one for Tannah. I posted a pic last year. Tannah loved it! Did we think she wouldn't? After all, she's a dog and the cake was food. 'Nuff said. It was really all about us giving her a treat, and giving myself an opportunity for a good photo op with her.

So this year we did it again. Do you think she liked it?

Lip-smackin' good apparently. Happy birthday Tannah!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Threes and Fours

It started innocently enough last week as I booked a trip to Prince George for work. The site appointment was for Wed., March 7th.  Easy .

However, I was a bit fatigued from the previous weekend spent in Winnipeg for a family gathering. It was one of those "Go to the airport immediately after work; in fact, leave early from work to make the flight" combined with "Grab the last flight back from the 'Peg to be home by 10-ish on Sunday night", with a late season Vancouver snow storm thrown in. Simply the three little words "Vancouver snow storm" should lead you in the direction I'm heading with this. In essence, after a flight-delayed home arrival of Sunday midnight, I wasn't up to the task of booking a flight Monday morning.

I entered the relevant online air travel data, received the email confirmation and tackled my next task; the rental vehicle. I've noticed over the years that I seem to have a rather strange ability in that as I review a document, small details register in my mind. Sometimes that's a helpful skill and it has prevented errors in the past. But this time, I only noticed the error on the back end; after hitting the all-important "Enter" key, thus sealing my fate. As I entered the data to reserve a rental vehicle in Prince George my proof-reading mind flagged March 7th. "That's correct" I thought, immediately followed by, "But didn't I just enter March 5th for something?" Doh!

I pulled up the Air Canada email confirmation already knowing what was coming. Yup, Air Canada was booked for March 5th as I was reserving a vehicle for the real date of March 7th. I honestly felt that a clone of myself must have booked that flight. At that point there was nothing to be done but to contact Air Canada and change the flight. I guessed threre'd be a fee involved; probably $70 I thought (although I don't know why the sum of 70 bucks should have popped into my head). With the smaller airlines I've flown in the last couple of years they don't even charge a change fee. But of course, not Air Canada. To add insult to injury, the fee ended up being $210! Fortunately the job budget can cover it. This is the most expensive booking mistake I've made yet, even eclipsing the hotel I mis-booked in Grande Prairie a few years ago, only realizing my mistake when I received the email from the hotel asking "How was your stay?" two days before I was due in town.

Disaster #2 occurred yesterday after a local site visit. I copied the day's photos onto my computer's Desktop and then continued on to other tasks, sub-consciously confident, as I've done this task many, many times before. Later I returned to this job data to copy and re-size the photos for insertion into my report. But do you think I could find them? Not a chance. I opened and closed every folder I could think of in the off-line directories I had access to for about 20 minutes. To make matters worse, again remembering a sub-set of the copying task that had me being (over) confident I could Cut and Paste the photos directly to my laptop rather than the slightly more onerous version of this task involving Copying and Pasting the photos, then Deleting them later. As I sat before my laptop, literally feeling numb in dis-belief at the irony of such a debacle, I was evaluating my options which seemed to have been whittled down to one; contact the site rep to arrange a return to site to do the 2-hour review all over again because I was literally in possession of zero photographic data for my report.

"OK", I said to myself, "Just breathe. There is probably an escape route here somewhere". This train of thought may have been in response to a book I'm currently reading about Houdini. What would Houdini do? He wouldn't just give up. He wouldn't have gotten anywhere in his chosen profession by giving up. It's not like I'm constrained in a strait-jacket inside a quadruple-locked trunk sitting at the bottom of a water a burning auditorium. Don't panic. Hmm...I must have named the file. And if so, what would I have named it? I'd likely have included the file number. Just type the file number into the Search box and see if anything positive happens. Bingo! (an ancient exclamation term if ever there was one; I'll update it later). Turns out I'd created a new photo folder within a different job file. Disaster #2 averted.

That brings me to today. I got up extra early (4:45 a.m.) to allow for finding the new long (and short) term parking lot at VYR. The old "Value" lot adjacent to the terminals was de-commissioned at the end of February. The new one is a few kilometers east, incorporating a two-stop Skytrain ride to the airport. I arrived in plenty of time, and since I'd printed my boarding pass at home and didn't have any bags to check, I went straight to the security line. And guess what? There was no line! That has simply never happened to me before. I should have known it was too good to be true because, as is usual, my suitcase got flagged for extra screening because I carry my tool vest with me to sites and it contains small tools. I've learned the hard way over the years (i.e., confiscated tools) what sizes and types of tools are acceptable. I was confidant that all would be approved with a short inspection. However, the agent opened a pocket I hadn't checked last night (I almost never use that pocket because I have to remove the vest to access it; it's on the back panel). He retrieved a small pry bar that I've been searching for at home for weeks now. It was another of those moments when I wondered which of the cloned Me's had put it there. It took me all morning today to remember that it was suggested by my manager that I bring a pry bar to a job site recently to check some particular condition, and apparently I completely forgot about it thereafter.

So that's three. Things happen in threes, right?

That brings me to the present. I'm scheduled to fly back to Vancouver tonight at 9:20. As I sit here this afternoon in the Prince George library I've decided to double-check the flight time. My internet search reveals two return flights: 5:30 and 9:20 pm. I could swear that when I booked this trip last week only 9:20 p.m. was posted as an option.

OK, that's four. Things happen in fours, right?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Retro Bikes

I unraveled a mystery yesterday; at the Vancouver Bicycle Show, of all places. It all began early last Autumn during a work-related road trip from Port Hardy to Nanaimo.

I was in traffic in Courtenay waiting for a traffic light when a car with a fantastically out-of-the-ordinary bicycle strapped onto its bumper carrier pulled up alongside me. Fortunately I had a camera on the seat beside me as I had just finished up a building review. In Vancouver terms it was very fortunate indeed, as if I'd used my cell phone to snap a photo while waiting for the turn light I could easily have been citationed for about 167 bucks for using a handheld device in the car. Ironically, I actually wholeheartedly agree with the concept of fining hand-held cell phone use in a car; texting while driving, for instance is about as stupid a thing to do while driving as I can imagine, besides being intoxicated at the wheel, or course; wow, what a big digression from my point! All I was really interested in at that moment while waiting in traffic was grabbing a quick photo of that bike because I knew I'd likely never see it again.

Mystery Courtenay bike
Review of the photo later revealed that the emblem was missing so I assumed it was a total one-off custom. I love the styling. At the time it reminded me of a 1920s motorcycle, back when bicycles were transitioning into motorcycles. The stylist has even gone so far as to include a gas tank. And the white tires evoke even more of a heritage feel. I have a 1949 CCM (kind of a back burner project) that I got custom-painted a few years ago, and I'd been wanting to find white tires. I didn't really end up looking too hard as I found original style black tires on Craigslist. One of these days I really have to finish that one...

But...back to the present. On Sunday I attended the bicycle show at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, and lo and behold, what did I come across was a clone of the Courtenay bike; a whole stall of them in fact!

The Ruffian.
It was a pretty popular stall and I should have stuck around to chat, but I have to admit the prices are a bit steep for me, and I thought the sales reps would probably more appreciate talking up potential purchasers rather than a lurker like me. However, I did notice that the "Ruffian" is an import from Germany that doubles as an eBike. It has a small electric motor located in the frame between the pedals; I imagine the batteries are in the faux gas tank. It's absolutely super cool, again taking in the styling of a '20s motorcycle.

Lately I've really been drawn to eBikes; I think it's a great commuter concept, especially in Vancouver with so many hills. But as much as I admire the styling of these two examples I can't quite see myself on something quite this custom.

Strangely enough, at the very same show I saw a postcard advertisement for a replica of a 1919 Excelsior Boardtrack Racer, very much in the style of the two previously mentioned bicycles. Apparently a limited number of ten are being built for exclusive collectors. And I thought the "Ruffian" was expensive...this is a whole other league! I bet Jay Leno has an original. I should look that up.

Then there were the '70s retro-bikes. I had a banana seat cruiser when I was in about grade 2. I can't imagine riding one as an adult, but they seem to be a "thing" these days. Every once in a while I'll see one, but usually it'll be at a vintage/custom VW car show where some hipster has tossed one in his '60s Microbus for added nostalgia.

Crazy-custom banana-seat bikes from the '70s.