Archive for April, 2016

Trenails for Diana

One of the things that I take pride in when I build a model is that I actually use wooden nails (called trenails … short for tree nails) to fasten the decking and planking.  There is no particular reason beyond, well,  just me showing off, but everyone does make a comment.

Most model builders skip this or use a few metal nails to hold the planks on the frames as the glue sets but nothing holds like good wooden nails hammered in.  You see the little dots and tell people that they are hand made nails and the first reaction is cool, and then they look at me and think, this is a weird anal person.

But as I said, I take pride in this detail.  Unfortunately the downside is the time I have to take to actually produce these wooden nails from bamboo.  The attached picture is the result of 3 hours of cutting bamboo and progressively drawing through a hole plate and then chopping into usable lengths.  Three hours of work (very boring) and I end up with, at best, a tablespoon of nails.

I will have to do this 3 – 4 times before the model is finished.  But I love it.  As I said it is a signature feature in my models.


Documentary of the BM

The reason for the title is to keep my blog for my family and friends.  If I put the name of the film in the title, the blog becomes part of the Google search.

Pat and I joined others from the hiking group to go to our theatre (not movie theatre but the Sid Williams Theatre) to watch the documentary THE BARKLEY MARATHON.  We first of all went to a micro beer pub across the street and had some pizzas and refreshments.

The Barkley Marathon is a film about an endurance race that takes place annually in Tennessee.  An endurance race where very, very few people finish.   Over 100 miles through thick forest with roughly 80,000 feet of accumulated vertical and must be completed in 60 hours with little or no sleep.  Just crazy

The documentary was fantastic.  If you ever get a chance to watch it do so.  If you ever get the opportunity to run in the Barkley Marathon do not do so.

At the end our audience was connected to a live Skype link to the couple that produced the film.  Kind of a surprise to most of us.  We could ask questions about the filming and some of the real people that are shown.

Great evening and actually came about only because one of the members of our hiking group encouraged us that we just had to experience the film (and night out).

We are on a hike on Thursday up to an overlook of Ripple Rock.  It has a fair amount of vertical but having watched this film, none of us dare complain.


Just Another Air Show

Every spring the RCAF Snowbirds return for 2 weeks of rehearsals.  We get to enjoy 2 airshows a day for a couple of weeks.

In the yard in the morning weeding the garden and you have to look up because 7 jets are flying by in formation just over your head.  I played golf last week at the golf course on the air base and it was interesting as you would be taking a swing or putting when a jet went screaming over.

Now that sounds like an issue but everyone in the Valley just loves having this experience in the spring.

Today was a lovely day so I took the Bride in little Red and we went down to Air Force Beach on the ocean.  This is the point where the team focuses the practice and you can see every loop and pass.  You have to pay money to see this through the summer across the country.

Another reason to love Paradise.

Group Loop

Smart Luggage

In previous blogs I have bragged about my being considered a Techy guy.  I am the leader of the pack when it comes to using the GPS for geocaching and friends ask me how to transverse the minefield of converting from Windows 8.1 to 10.  (a minefield I will point out I crossed once and did not like so crossed back through again to safe territory)

All of this, of course, is a travesty of the truth.  I am constantly agog at new technology.  While I admit I now read most of my books on an IPad I still read all my news on a cellulose paper.

A few years ago I traded in my smartphone for an old fashioned flip phone (and to this day consider that a great decision)  On a recent on-line survey I scored myself as 4 out of 10 on being up to date.

But I still read about new electronic technology with the same view that I had as a kid in Saskatchewan reading about adventurers sailing through the South Pacific.  Something to dream about but never expect to experience.

Today I was reading an article about new Smart Luggage.  One of those Polycarbonate cases on wheels that you see all the time at airports.  The new smart ones come with features for the high end travellers (I am thinking of Janine at this point)  It has a built in battery and a USP port so you can charge your phone.  It has a tracking GPS so if it gets lost you can locate it anywhere in the world with your smartphone (which would not apply to me).  If you stand it upright there is a screen in the handle that tells you the weight and will even tell you the overweight charge you will have assuming you have downloaded the flight information.  It will even beep to you (the carry on version) as you sit in the waiting room to tell you if your flight is delayed.

If you are separated from it the locks will automatically be engaged.

Think of R2D2 only hollow stuffed with your undies and clothes.

What a wonderful modern age we live in.

A New Baseball Season

As all of you know, Patty and I are major Blue Jay fans.  I would correct that by saying I am a major Blue Jay fan but Patty is a fanatic Jay fan.  We watch virtually all the games all season and if we are on the road we listen on internet radio.

I am a questionable fan.  If the Jays are losing 4 nothing in the late innings and no one is hitting I go off and watch something else in the other room.  Pat stays to the bitter end even if the score is 7 nothing in the ninth inning.  She is what she is.

On the other hand, we also enrol in a baseball pool at the beginning of the season (through a friend that I had back in Ontario)  We spend a lot of time preparing a fantasy team where we could win major bucks at the end of the season.  (not that major maybe $300)  But still we spend a lot of time going through the 22 groupings of players to see who will score the best.

Takes lots of research because you have to look at obscure National League teams and see who is healthy on teams where we never see them play.

Over the years we have managed to luck into finishing random reward positions such as 20th where we get the money we invested in the pool (which we always reinvest in the next season).

So tonight we are watching the Jays in Boston.  The Boston designated hitter Ortiz comes up and hits a single.  Normally we would boo that but Ortiz is on our pool team.  Very conflicting.


I love Paradise.. but

Another great day in Paradise.  I went on a hike today with our group where we ended up for lunch on a viewpoint 300 meters above Comox lake. Good hike (although I did curse Tim the leader as we were in an almost perpetual climb of 7 km for 2 hours (good test for the heart)

We had lunch while lying back on a bed of lichen moss (at a steep angle) with a phenomenal view north across the lake all the way to Courtenay and the mainland mountains.  Just beautiful.  We were happy, but mostly because we knew that it was only 4 km, mostly all downhill, back to the cars.

Now you would think this would be the end of my blog…. but not.

Patty and I were enjoying leftover lasagna tonight and I was playing songs from Musicals on the Sonos.  We came across music from Cats and Phantom and Les Miserables.  Musicals we attended in our old days in Toronto.

We were fortunate when we were living there to see Colm Wilkinson perform as the Phantom and as Jean Val Jean.  Easily the best performer for these roles of all time.  Special evenings

Our local theatre group puts on musicals like Oklahoma and South Pacific and they do a wonderful job, but nothing like the theatrical experience we enjoyed in Toronto.

I do not miss the big city, the traffic, the crowding, the miserable winter, the humidity in the summer, and did I mention the horrible traffic, but I kind of miss the opportunity to go downtown and experience a wonderful stage show.

Who knows, maybe when we win 6/49 we can travel to experience this again.

Another Geo Caching blog

If you recall I did a blog about how enthused I was to join an upcoming Geocaching contest.  Teams going after 39 caches over a 14 km route.  Our team was named Karma. (we had a fairly large team of 6)

It turns out it was an exhausting ordeal.  7 hours on rain forest trails.  The last 2 hours for our team was on a new trail that if you took a goat on it, the SPCA would arrest you for animal cruelty.

Remember this is a team where I was the second youngest.  If this had been an exercise for the special forces they would have shot their sergeant and moved on.  Instead our team swore we were going to kill the organizer when we met for the wrap up.  Our team found 25 of the 39 caches.  I admit we struggled through the last 2 km with no intention of looking for little plastic boxes.  Why would anyone sane do this as a pleasure hike?

Fortunately the wrap up was at a pub in Royston where big jugs of beer and greasy food somehow revived us to the point where we did not kill Earl the organizer.  Unfortunately despite our 25 caches we did not win.  Everyone on the team swore they would never inflict this on their aged bodies again.

Still I was in the position of holding the high end Garmen GPS unit when we came home.   Purchased by our team leader he assigned me as the techy guy to run the instrument.  He never wanted to see it again.

I was going through the list of missed caches on the unit this week, and the weather was fantastic, so I invited the remnants of our team to repeat part of the route and look for the missing caches on our own with no contest involved.  Despite their claim that they would never do this again, managed to put together 4 of us for a return to Hell.  Unfortunately we had to start with the goat trail again but in the morning when we were fresh.

Beautiful sunny day.  The early part of the hike (the goat trail) followed a ridge where we could look down on the Trent River and see at least 3 waterfalls.  I do not recall this beauty when we were trudging along last week.  We had time today to stop and admire the scenery.  Old growth cedar in a lush forest and a sparkling river.

We managed to find 5 of the 7 missed caches on the shortened route I picked out.  Had everyone back at the start by 2 pm flush with success and feeling good.

Not sure if I am going to geocache for awhile, but a good day.


We are # 1

I realize that we are very early in the season but The Jays just won their first two games against Tampa Bay.

Last year Tampa had a winning season against the Jays even though our team went off to the playoffs.  Today they beat Tampa for the second time in a convincing manner.

Pat and I, of course, watched both games to the last pitch.

THIS COULD BE OUR YEAR  (unlike for instance cheering for the Canucks or the Oilers or the Flames or the Maple Leafs)

A New CWL Computer

Pat has been the treasurer and the main go-to-girl for the local CWL for years.  All the presentations and massive (and I mean massive) spreadsheets and presentations done on our home computer as she was the treasurer and organizer for the annual conventions.

She finally turned over the role as the treasurer (with dozens of Excel spreadsheets) to a wonderful, enthusiastic member of the CWL who does not own a computer!!!!!!

So Pat goes to the general group (where I understand she is held in high reverence (I do not kid)) and manages to get the Ladies to pass a motion to buy a Computer for CWL.

Now Pat is only the secretary in the new organization (with lots of other executives) but of course she takes on the responsibility to source and buy the new laptop for CWL Courtenay.

I accompanied her to Best Buy for the selection.  Even though they do not need a lot of power for spread sheets and minutes, I convinced Pat to step up in the processing power.  There was a model on sale for $400 but the next generation was a bit more expensive.

I have learned one thing on buying tools, do not go cheap, buy the best you can afford.  It has proven itself many times.  Do not go cheap, you will regret it in the long run.

So I convinced Pat to buy an upscale laptop (with 17 inch screen) and all the Microsoft Office software.  The sales guy added it up and it was way over the budget that Pat had been authorized to spend, so she started the routine that this was for a church and they could not spend more. (Remember, this is the wealthiest church in the valley.)  Moaning and groaning like an Arab trader and she got everything for $200 less than Best Buy were asking.  I was so proud of her.

Today we picked up the new Laptop (an Acer with A8 processor) with Windows 10 and all the Office functions.

This afternoon it was fun to set up the few folders for the CWL.  I drove down to the church to get some wide screen shots that became the backdrop to the home screen.

Everyone has to love a new computer where you do not have to dump all the apps and programs and only a few Excel and Word files.  Like walking in a fresh forest.


Images of a Book Character.

I read lots of books. Probably 50 a year.

In this modern age many of the books I read are E-books on my Ipad but I still dip into my inventory of great printed books.

Now when you read a book with strong characters it is normal to create an image of the person to match the story.  When you read a series of books that have the same character it is even more important to have the image so you can follow along. I often go back to re-read books from the past.

For instance if you read an Agatha Christie book about Miss Marple you have to vision Joan Hickson in the role.  I only saw her twice in a TV series but every other actress that played the role was lost in my mind.

Then, of course, there is the James Bond movies.  I had  actually read the early Bond books before the movie From Russia with Love came out and had a different concept of James before Sean Connery controlled the image.  Ian Fleming so liked Connery’s performance he actually changed the character in the later books to match his Scottish and physical presence.  In the original books the character was much closer to the way that Daniel Craig plays it as a lower class guy thrust into the agent role.

Then there is the series of Jack Reacher by Lee Child.  When I read them I envisioned the hero as kind of like the actor The Rock.  Big, fit guy with a gentle side but the ability to do harm if needed.  Definitely not the short-assed Tom Cruise who played the role in the movie.  You just blank that out.

I read a lot of Michael Connelly books.  There is no question that I love the series about Harry Bosch, the grizzled LA homicide detective.  The stories are so interesting and often include smooth jazz renditions (as he is studying a murder file).  I have often downloaded his selections to our Sonos system.

We recently subscribed to Crave TV primarily to watch the TV series about Bosch.  Only took the 30-day free trial, but I love it.  Titus Welliver is the perfect image of Hieronymus Bosch.

I am reading the hard copy of latest of the series of Bosch books (given to me for my birthday) and I just picture this actor as I read.

Reading a book is like watching a movie with the visions in your mind.