I Do Know This….


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Cherry Blossoms over by Queen’s Park 

Over the past couple of days I’ve been very much in my head playing with plots and sub-plots for several of the projects that I have on the go.

They are in various stages of development.  Lately, however, I’ve found myself consumed by the aspect and the very idea regarding time.

A blog post that I’ve been working on recently and that I hope to post over the next couple of days speaks to the whole concept of time and where it may have had its beginnings and our interpretation of it.

I must say that this topic has intrigued me on a very deep level.

Last week I was flipping channels on the TV.  I came upon a documentary of a woman whose work involves trying to decode early forms of written communications.

The evidence is strewn throughout caves worldwide.  The similarities that exist cannot be coincidental.

What their meaning is, now that’s the puzzle currently being explored and may well be the mystery that is never solved.

A few conversations have been sparked this week regarding what part of history we’d like to visit, spy on or observe.  I found myself asking why my conversational combatants (i.e. friends) would like to experience those particular moments in time.

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I love getting into conversations with this depth as it ignites something in me.

For me personally, I would go back to the moment that humankind had its ‘Ah Ha!” moment.

Something happened some 40,000 years ago and that is where I’d like to be a fly on the wall or in a cave.

A friend laughed and commented that they didn’t like the idea because it would be too difficult to live in the days of the caveman.  Too much work and being dragged about held little appeal.

I smiled insisting they just may like it, then stated that I didn’t want to stay permanently…I just wanted to take a peek at what caused humans to begin to develop the art forms and rudimentary written symbols all within the same time frame on a global front.

Last weekend I found myself researching the whole notion of time.  Time vs. religion, time vs. creation, and for that matter, how time has been measured.  Right or wrong.

One article written by a member of the clergy discussed the time frame around God’s creation of Heaven and Earth and when we made an appearance.

Interestingly enough his take on it was that God didn’t whip the world up with all the animals and people on it in just six days then took a break on the seventh.  His reasoning was that the span of time it took had been misinterpreted.

He felt biblical time was likely more in keeping with 40,000 years.

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This intrigued me.

Now I’m not a religious person.  In fact, I find many religions to be very confining.  Being taught an ideology that does not invite exploration and free thought and where the truths being delivered are expected to be accepted based on blind faith alone is a little frightening actually.

I do know this.  There is an energy that permeates this universe and it is a beautiful thing to tap into this awareness, this consciousness that exists.

My issue is not with the message but rather with the messenger.

Now do you think it possible that maybe, just maybe something has been lost or perhaps omitted in translation?

Humans are by nature and design a rather impressionable lot, are we not?

We can be deviant and downright treacherous.  We are curious beings that are equally gullible and malleable.

Then there is this issue of power.  There are those who hunger for it even when they aren’t sure of what it is exactly.

Don’t you think it entirely possible that an omnipresent entity offered, imposed or bestowed a wisdom upon us and those blessed with this knowledge might well have deviated from sharing all of this to satisfy and/or further their own station in life?

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Why is it collectively we cannot come together to, oh let’s say, end world hunger?  I’ve heard it said that there is enough food to feed the masses and that is all of us ten times over on a daily basis.

Why are we not assisting each other when it comes to illness?  Think of the recent Ebola outbreak.  Man, the minute it landed in North America…by God, they found a cure.

What about AIDS?

Why are we still fighting for girls to gain an education?

Why are we still fighting for sexual rights and freedoms?

Why do we still judge and condemn?

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Every Christmas, while we all have the warm fuzzies, we wish for world peace.

This notion sells a lot of greeting cards, doesn’t it?

These are just a few things that in my mind I’m often amazed still exist on such a large scale.

Still, we wish for it.  Why?

We’ve known its opposite for far too long.

You cannot know or appreciate peace without having suffered the loss and sorrow caused by the upheaval of war.

Much the same with happiness.  If you’ve known the sadness, and most of us have, then we appreciate those moments of bliss all the more.

And we are so good at killing, are we not?

Images of men wearing black balaclavas’ with guns and machetes don’t strike me as a Godly men.

Oddly or perhaps not, the majority of ‘Gods’ at the helm of our religions worldwide dictate that certain behaviours and actions are unacceptable.

Killing happens to be one of them.  So, I will suggest that perhaps we’re not getting this whole commandment thing right.

 

And as I processed and developed my various characters and plot lines for those books that will soon be enjoyed by the masses, I thought of death and its finality.  At least on this plain and our fear of it. I created a new line of friction and the sorrow and pain my heroine will experience leading her to experience a great deal of anxiety regarding the choices she’ll have to make.

And on that note…

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I was here

Welcome to the human race.

Enjoy your day.  Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

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Oil and Water…They Just Don’t Mix


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 A duck covered in oil  and a pod of Killer Whales photographed a couple of weeks ago in English Bay, Vancouver, BC

I am fortunate to live in an area that is naturally beautiful with the benefit of rivers, lakes and the ocean within close proximity to my home.  We are sheltered by mountains here on the coast as well.  They too are easily accessible.

When the news broke that an oil spill had occurred in English Bay, I, along with everyone who lives here, became incredibly concerned regarding the environmental impact this would have.

The question has still not been answered, however, as to why this happened in the first place.  After all, it is a grain ship that is anchored in Vancouver’s harbor.  And bunker fuel was spilled?  How?

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We’ve recently been enjoying the return of marine life such as whales and sea lions to this area.  Otters can be seen quite often as well.  And we have ducks, geese, herons, kingfishers, gulls and an abundance of other marine bird life in all shapes and sizes calling these waters home.

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The whales drew quite a crowd and hung out in the bay for a few days

Still, upon reflection the explosion of technology in this industrial age of ours is concerning.  We have an oil company Kinder Morgan that wants to build an additional pipeline so that they can transport the stuff being pulled out of the oil sands in Alberta and transport it to places such as China.

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Over the last hundred years the changes to this world have been incredible.  And the impact that oil has had on us, well it has been a little more than frightening for this gal.  Considering that there are so many other clean ways by which to generate power, ideas and practices that have been in existence for a very long time as well, I know one of the reasons that oil and its subsequent affiliates have had the success they have is simply that in the beginning oil was not very expensive.  It was a cheap form of power and a dirty one.

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At the beginning of the industrial revolution we were wasteful as well.

Yet when I hear that the oil sands will produce enough energy and whatever else we use oil for over the next 100 years, it is concerning.  Hadn’t we best begin to look at some tried and true methods to produce energy such as wind and water and develop these on a large scale and sustainable one?

Gulf Coast Struggles With Oil Spill And Its Economic Costs

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And it is imperative that we keep our water as clean as possible.

We’ve had an incredibly mild winter here on the south coast of British Columbia which won’t bode well for the salmon run.  With no snow pack all we can only hope for is a lot of rain this year to keep the water levels high enough.

Politicians are laying blame and pointing fingers. Then they raise taxes to  stop global warming but in truth I believe this world moves in cycles.  Oddly enough the east coast of North America was hit incredibly hard this year and they had a brutally cold winter with enormous amounts of snow accumulating.

Weather patterns are not really something we can change.  Perhaps we should study more of ice samples that are being taken from Antarctica. We can adjust how we live in this world, how we function and how we interact with this organic planet of ours as this is within our control.

By all counts, this planet can be a violent place.  It is the nature of the beast.

I saw images of Paris, France on the news the other day where the pollution hung thick in the air and was a major concern to the city officials.  Something to do with allowing free parking in the downtown portion of Paris, though having never been there,  I cannot say where that may be.  Still the images of the Eiffel Tower shrouded in air thick with pollutants is disturbing.

Was the cheap alternative of oil offered at the beginning worth it?

Here in Vancouver we at one time clouded the waterfront with any number of industries that polluted the waters to the point that they were something of a dead zone.  Marine life will not venture into such water channels as they will not survive.

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Think of Paris and Beijing and how you feel breathing in these places then think of fish swimming through clouds of oil.  And like trees that die as a result of air born pollutants being caught in the rain that falls to feed them, hence the term acid rain, is it any wonder that barnacles and coral reefs are fast disappearing.

Politicians express outrage while the federal minister stands up and says ‘We dealt swiftly and effectively with this.’   Still no answer as to why it happened at all.

And it was just a small spill after all.  A few ducks and geese, a sea lion or two.  Somehow I feel like they are missing the point and the big picture all together.

This should not happen…ever…anywhere!  We have the technology, yet we don’t use it.

And today I feel such a deep sadness because despite the advances that we’ve made in so many areas, we still suffer from our own inhumanity on so many levels.

A host of isms still cloud our thinking.  When are we going to learn its not about us.

Vancouver is my birth place.  She has listened when I’ve screamed about indignities that were awarded me.  She has caught my tears on her sidewalks, in her grassy fields and on her beaches.  She has shared her quiet beauty with me time and again reminding me when I was in the depths of sorrow all I had to do is look around me to see the wonder of this world.

I’ve stood at the break of dawn being bathed is morning light watching the silhouettes of this city come alive.  I’ve sat naked on her beaches well past midnight letting a summer’s breeze kiss my skin.  I’ve run through her streets and parkways.

She is and has always has been a gracious and beautiful lay of land.

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The thing is this whole oil thing is a global issue.  The spill in English Bay could have happened anywhere.  If it happened out at sea would there be concern?  Would we know?

I would like to share a few images and history of Vancouver, particularly the waterfront.

Some poor decisions were made back in the day born more of need than anything else.  And I get it.  We do know better now and collectively we need to recognize and adhere to this.

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The following is an excerpt taken from historical accounts of Vancouver.  It is quite remarkable that city officials bought back much of the waterfront that was dominated by industry, converted it to shops and housing and began the slow process of restoring the water ways.

Archival photos were obtained from Flckr.

The following is in regard to False Creek:

‘During World War 1,  the easternmost part of False Creek, which formerly ran to Clark Drive, was filled in by the Great Northern Railway and Canadian National Railway to create new land for their yards and terminals.    For many years there was talk of draining and filling the inlet to Granville Street throughout the 1950s, but this never occurred.

The False Creek area was the industrial heartland of Vancouver through to the 1950s. It was home to many sawmills and small port operations, as well as the western terminus of the major Canadian railways. As industry shifted to other areas, the vicinity around False Creek started to deteriorate. In 1960, BC Forest Products plant and lumber storage facility on the south side of False Creek caught fire in Vancouver’s first-ever five-alarm blaze. Every piece of firefighting equipment and all of Vancouver’s firefighters fought the blaze for hours, but the facility was totally destroyed.

The future of False Creek south was subsequently shaped by debates on freeways, urban renewal, and the rise of citizen participation in urban planning. Through the 60s, the ruling NPA (Non-Partisan Association) city government and senior city bureaucrats had hatched a plan – with little or no public consultation – to run freeways through the city. In the same period, the City razed large portions of Strathcona under the aegis of urban renewal. A group of influential citizens formed The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) to oppose the freeway and to radically change the way decisions were made on land use. A key figure amongst these people was Walter Hardwick a Geography professor at UBC who envisioned the retrofit of this brownfield industrial site into a vibrant waterfront mixed-use community.

The North Shore of False Creek (NFC) was further transformed in the 1980s, as it took centre stage during Expo ’86. Following the Expo, the Province sold the NFC site to Li-Kai Shing who brought ideas of a higher density waterfront community to the downtown peninsula. Vancouver’s experience with South False Creek and the public participation that shaped it was key to developing NFC as a livable high-density community. For example, Ka-shing’s company wanted to develop “islands” of market condos on the waterfront but was soundly rebuffed by the public and by planners who favoured the extension of a 100% publicly accessible waterfront and seawall. The 1991 Official Development Plan enabled significant new density commensurate with the provision of significant public amenities including streetfront shops and services, parks, school sites, community centres, daycares, co-op and low-income housing. Since then, most of the north shore has become a new neighbourhood of dense housing (about 100 units/acre), adding some 50,000 new residents to Vancouver’s downtown peninsula.

On December 1, 1998, Vancouver City Council adopted a set of Blueways policies and guidelines stating the vision of a waterfront city where land and water combine to meet the environmental, cultural and economic needs of the City and its people in a sustainable, equitable, high quality manner.

Several decades following the suspension of industrial activity in the area, a number of shore and seabirds such as cormorants, ducks, herons, kingfishers, owls, geese, crows, and gulls have returned, as well as harbor seals. In an unusual sighting, in May 2010 a grey whale entered False Creek and traversed its length before returning to the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.

Factors working against the further return of wildlife include residual industrial contaminants, spillage from the sewer overflow system into the creek, and the seawall that constrains much of the shoreline with little habitat value. The city has attempted to recreate the natural shoreline in some areas and is working to phase out the antiquated sewer overflow system.’

I wanted to share this history with you because at one time Vancouver’s waterfront wasn’t particularly attractive over in the False Creek area.  English Bay has always been a jewel of sorts.  It sits next to Stanley Park and the area around the park has been protected over the years.  Vancouver’s Main Street runs from it’s northern most point south almost to the Fraser River.  In the downtown core of the street this was and still is a hub of industrial activity.

I want to look after what we have.  Let’s preserve it.  Oil and water do not mix.  And do we need more condo towers?  I have put together photo montage of Vancouver.  Enjoy.

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English Bay over the last 100 years…the gazebo still stands as does the Sylvia Hotel.  The Pier was removed in 1938.

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 The Vancouver Art Gallery began has the city jail.  It still has cells in its bowels with brick walls a few feet thick.  It later became the courthouse and in 1983 has been the Art Gallery.
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The Vancouver Opera House and its subsequent transformation to the Orpheum Theatre.
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Kitsilano Beach and Pool then and now
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The Vancouver International Airport is growing every year.
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Victory Square through the years where all Remembrance Day ceremonies are held.
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Looking west on Hastings Street from Cambie Street.  The Marine Building was at one time the tallest building in Vancouver.
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The Second Narrows (Iron Workers Memorial) Bridge and its many transformations.  19 men were killed in a tragic accident during the construction of the newest model back in 1958. 
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The Granville Street Bridge in her many transformations.
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The Burrard Street Bridge under construction and on opening day on July 1, 1939 and today.  It has remained largely unchanged. 
Fire Station at Nelson & Nicola in West End.Davie St. looking toward Denman St.Davie to English
The Fire Hall No. 6 still stands and is pretty much the same at Nelson & Nicola.  The view on Davie St. toward English Bay then and now. 
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Looking up Davie Street from Denman then and now.
I hope you have enjoyed this.  I will offer up more but for the time being I must have some dinner.  Cheers!

 

Wait For Me…


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The CPR train station at 8th Street and Columbia St. in New Westminster, BC  – Then & Now

Yesterday I went out for a walk.  Now that the festivities have subsided regarding the unveiling of the monument commemorating the photo ‘Wait For Me, Daddy’, I decided to check it out.

They have also placed images from New Westminster’s storied past.  New Westminster is not very big in area.  Just eight square miles or thereabouts.  Many of the old buildings are still in existence.

Above is the old train station.  It is now vacant having recently shut down after serving as a steak house for many years. I hope the city will polish it up and perhaps it could serve as a museum.

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The images are all taken in the vicinity of 8th St. and Columbia.  The first image with the crowd of people is of Hyack Square where the monument now stands.  The prominent building that you see still exists and is a Salvation Army Thrift Store.  The middle photo is the stair wall that has all these images on it.  Hyack Square, by the way, sits between the Salvation Army Thrift Store and the old Train Station.

The third image was taken at 8th Street looking up Columbia St.  The taller building to your left still stands and house a coffee house on the main level with offices making up the rest to the building.

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And this is the monument that now stands in Hyack Square.  The detail is remarkable.

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I really like the expressions and with all the hands reaching out the division of this family has already begun.

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The artists commissioned for this piece did a fabulous job of capturing this in a rather odd vortex of sorts.  It also lights up at night.

 

 

A History Lesson


 

 

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New Westminster back in the late 1700’s

I must admit sometimes I tend to get my head stuck in the clouds.  Lofty ideals and wishful thinking fill this head of mine and at times the translation of what’s in there can come out rather garbled.

I was thinking about the phrase ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”   It seems like a rather strange statement, doesn’t it?  Then again intentions can go south and sideways fast I suppose.

I’ve been refocusing my intentions and shifting them back to a level that is reasonable.  I guess you could say I’m removing the rose coloured glasses for the time being, and you now what?  The cold light of day can be pretty damn beautiful.  I guess it just depends upon your perspective and your state of mind.

This summer has found me ensconced in my orange room tapping out the final edit for the book and taking photos whenever I could.  I’ve at times been a little reflective as I pick up the pieces of this body and soul of mine in the aftermath of the cancer and subsequent treatment.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a lump on legs, but hey, I know the road back to good health will be tough but worth the work.  Last Saturday I hiked up Quarry Rock in Deep Cove over in North Vancouver.  Tough for sure, but man, you should have seen the view!

On Sunday the new civic centre in New Westminster had its grand opening.  It is known as the Anvil Centre and I must say, it is a great looking structure.  It houses a theatre, museum, archives, art gallery and much more.

The City of New Westminster is not a very large in terms of area.  The main road in the downtown core is known as Columbia Street.  It stretches about eight or nine blocks, then it turns into a busy cause way that will take you over to the Sapperton side of New West on one end and over to the Queensborough side on the other.

In any case they closed the downtown core of Columbia Street down on Sunday to celebrate the grand opening.  The one thing I’ve come to love about living here is that this little city celebrates a lot!

I grabbed my camera and headed out into a cloudless late summer afternoon to enjoy the festivities.  I took my time wandering down the street taking in the sights before heading into the building.  I’m sure half of the population of New West was in attendance.

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It’s truly a beautiful space.  On the third floor I got in line for the museum then made my way in.  Several volunteers came up and offered information freely.  I could use my camera, just not the flash.

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There was a strong aboriginal presence in the artifacts that have been preserved, as there should be.  I walked about taking the odd photograph and reading a few things.  Then I came to the midway point in the gallery.  I was quite impressed with what greeted me.  It was a scale model of the Patullo Bridge.

One of the volunteers came up and noted how impressive it was.  I concurred completely.  It is a magnificent structure.  He then told me the story of it.

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The model was built during the great depression by a young boy.  It took him approximately two years to build it.

His model won a competition at the PNE, which is our annual fair in Vancouver.  The boy was later awarded a scholarship and went on to be a life long learner.

And guess what?  That boy is still alive at 90 years of age he was at the Anvil Centre able to witness his creation being restored and being placed permanently on display.

Below is a new story from a local paper.  The article was written a few months before the opening.

What is remarkable about this story is simply the chain of events that occurred after he built this scale model and how it impacted his entire life.

I love stories like this.  And can you imagine winning a pair of shoes for your first model of an antenna?

It was a very different time and this man has witnessed all of it.  Enjoy!

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Jack Lubzinski peers through the superstructure of the scale model of the Pattullo Bridge he built when he was 13 years old. Now 90, he’s supervising the restoration of the model for permanent display at the new Anvil Centre.

— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

There’s not a lot of love for the Pattullo Bridge these days.

But the venerable old crossing over the Fraser River that links New Westminster to Surrey helped put Jack Lubzinski through school, kept him out of the war and launched a lifelong interest in math and physics.

The Pattullo still had that new-bridge sheen when Lubzinski was first captivated by it. The Richmond schoolboy had just completed a scale model reproduction of a huge transmission antenna that had won him a pair of new shoes in a contest when one of his teachers challenged him that the antenna would be as monumental a project as he’d ever be able to achieve.

Lubzinski took the words to heart and spent the next 18 months designing and constructing a scale model of the Pattullo that would stretch more than seven metres long by the time he was done.

Now 90 years old, Lubzinski was a doting observer and sometime supervisor Wednesday as the giant model’s six sections were carefully moved from the basement of the New Westminster Museum and Archives where it had been gathering dust for decades. The grey wooden model will be restored and reassembled by conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh with the help of funding from the Rotary Club of New Westminster for eventual display in a permanent exhibit at the new Anvil Centre.

Lubzinski smiles at the irony that his model may outlive the actual bridge, which is slated for replacement or rehabilitation by TransLink.

“If there’s a need for a new bridge, then I guess they’ll replace it,” said Lubzinski, matter of factly.

It’s that kind of pragmatic attitude that propelled him to build his model in the first place. The derisive words of his teacher ringing in his ears, it took him a week to whittle and assemble the pieces of B.C. cedar for the first girder. With hundreds more needed, Lubzinski devised a system that got production down to a couple of hours.

Working after school and on weekends in the kitchen and living room of his family’s home, Lubzinski gave painstaking attention to the bridge’s details, right down to the sequence of vertical bars in the outer guardrails.

When the model was finished, he took it apart in sections and transported it to his school, where it became a showpiece attraction in front of the office and a constant reminder to the teacher who dared question his abilities.

In 1940 Lubzinski presented it to the bridge’s namesake, premier Thomas (Duff) Pattullo.

The premier got him scholarship money to continue his studies and when the military called him to service, a judge intervened, ruling Lubzinski’s “place is in technology rather than in the army.”

Lubzinski earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1947 and a master’s in 1950. His thirst for knowledge not sated, he went on to take more than 360 university courses over the next 40 years, including every physics course at BCIT.

To pay the bills Lubzinski and his brother Joseph started Marine Products Company, manufacturing mahogany steering wheels for boats for more than 50 years before it closed in 2005.

He also founded the Lubzinski Center for Innovation in Point Roberts to further the study of quantum physics.

“That bridge changed my life,” said Lubzinski.

 

 

Jack Lubzinski and conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh will be at the museum June 26-28, 2-3 p.m., to meet the public and talk about its construction and restoration. The New Westminster Museum and Archives is located at 302 Royal Ave.

 

 

 

Thinking in DOS


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I started my new job this week. Three days in and I’m having to take my knowledge of computer programs back some 15-20 years.

Back in 1994 I took a year long accounting program. We learned ACCPAC and BEDFORD which, at the time were DOS based accounting programs.

Basically you enter a series of information that will result in various reports. The thing with a DOS based program is that you have to enter all the information correctly and usually repetitively in order to garner said result. You are, in fact programming the result.

I also took a course in BASIC which was programming computer speak at that time. I think it’s still around.

With a Windows operating system, everything has been formatted. You have an empty template that is structured and ready for you to just feed it the information.

Some people responded rather surprised that I took a job that is still using a DOS based system.

They will be transferring over to a new custom made platform on November 1, 2014.

I will admit to being a little intimidated when I first started. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in a program such as this.  Still, the challenge was too good to pass up.

Happily, its coming back. And you know, it made me recall when we were switching from a DOS based program to a WINDOWS based program. I can recall being terrified. I couldn’t find anything and well, I had to change how I thought about computing.

Strangely enough, DOS for me is a visual program. I have to think and visualize everything I want to do in order to dredge up the commands.

A WINDOWS based program already has the template in place so it is simply a question of plugging in the information correctly.  In other words, you need to understand the application and product that you’re working with.

Oh, there are errors and such.  They’ve not had an accountant for about four months or so and the good people who have stepped in to assist don’t understand bookkeeping so they are simply doing what they’ve been asked to do without understanding the purpose of it.

But that’s cool.  They have done their best and that’s what counts.  At least to me.

I felt a sense of relief coupled with determination once the program knowledge began to come back to me.  I understand accounting.  I know how to apply it.  This is simply a question of learning the application tool I’ve been provided with.

I love a challenge to boot!

My new boss, John, came up to me today.  I was puzzling through something in my head.  He thought it was a cry for help.  This made me smile.

It also gave me insight into the man.  He takes note of his staff and what they are working on.  Oh, I will have the bank reconciliations completed and get things organized very quickly.  Things are not THAT much of a mess.

As I drove home tonight I felt so totally in my element.  I’ve got a rather systematic way of thinking at times that compliments my organizational skills.

They hired me to organize and detail certain functions….well, yes, they shall have it, and then some!

For the moment I will parrot how things are done then make suggestions for efficiency.  The people there are very nice.  I like them. If I can make everyone’s job run a bit smoother, then I will.

And I love my hours!  I start at 7:30 AM and finish up at 4:00 PM.  How sweet is that?

The other aspect to this is the opportunity to step back and really appreciate technology on a whole different level.  When I was first introduced to the world of computers it was a quite intimidating.  I didn’t have a clue about much of the stuff but as per usual, I faked it.

In time though, the technology grew on me.  I learn a little differently as well and how I filter in knowledge is just as odd. This is the opportunity to go back and just see how far we’ve come so fast.

To appreciate the wealth of knowledge that’s been bestowed upon me and my good fortune that I’ve been able to utilize the skills as a result.

Good stuff!

I would love to hear where some of you started off in this field of computing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Namaste!

 

Remember the Fallen


In Canada and many countries around the world November 11th is a day to remember those who have fallen in wartime.

Personally I cannot imagine living through the carnage that is witnessed during combat.  I think about my grandfather and father.  Both served.  My grandfather during World War 1 and my father during World War 2.

I didn’t know my grandfather very well. He passed away when I was just six years old.  And in truth, I didn’t know my father very well either.  I don’t know the man he was prior to going to war, or should I say boy.  He was just eighteen years old when he signed up.  I do know the man he became.

He wasn’t a very kind man.  In fact, he could be incredibly cruel and abusive.  Still, there were times when I glimpsed a man who could make so many laugh, who had charm and ready smile.

He never talked about the war.  That was a topic never open to discussion.  There were many times when he would have a look in his eyes that was terrifying.  It was feral and cold in nature.  Anger would take hold and it was as if all that made him human simply drained away.

I have often wondered if this behavior resulted from his time in the war.

Perhaps I was looking for an excuse to explain the punishments that seems to always be so extreme.  My young mind couldn’t comprehend that he was just like this or that I was go God awful that the beatings were warranted.

After all, my entire family suffered at his hands in some manner.

Always on this day I reflect on those who have fallen. Thinking about the wars that have been waged and that so many young men and women still to this day are subject  to the darkest and most vial side of humanity.

I asked my dad once, and only once, if he had killed anyone in the war.  Seems a silly question.  I was thirteen or fourteen at the time.  Not sure why that question slipped from my lips.

He didn’t answer.  The coldness in his eyes and the change in his demeanor told me that he had.  Whatever demons he inherited during wartime stayed with him all the days of his life there after and died with him.

And I will never know if he was like that because of war.

Many men came home and were able, to some degree, to put it behind them and carry on to become loving husbands and fathers.

I hope that we will one day learn to resolve our issues without the use of force or weapons.  Perhaps if we could just understand that we do not own this planet. We never will.  We simply inhabit it, as millions of other life forms do, and we have a responsibility to respect and preserve this home of ours.

Fighting over land, resources, technology, etc. that are being pillaged at a disgusting rate seems barbaric at times.  Yet our appetite and consumption of these resources seems to fuel this ideology.  We have the technology to create clean energy and develop a sustainable resource base.

Many of you are just as aware of this as I am so I won’t dwell on this topic today.

I just hope that there will come a time when we can learn the lessons from the sacrifice of the fallen and live in peace.

They fought for freedom, for choice, for democracy, for a life full of possibilities.

I will not forget.  And I will try to honour their sacrifice by living my life with open and loving heart.

Peace.

Moving Forward


A few thoughts as we enter into this new era of ours.  Yes, we can mark this as the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of forever.  I got to thinking about the behaviours that I would like to modify about myself and how I want to walk out into the world now.  I have been operating at about 75% in terms of the person I am seeking to become and I think it’s time I stepped it up and began committing 100% of self to any given task.  In other words, I do see room for improvement on my end and feel I need to be more accountable to everything in and around me.

I can and will be more forgiving, more loving, more gentle in spirit and I will strive to have a open heart always.

If I can do these things then I will be the person I envision that I can be.  I won’t make emotionally motivated judgments based on perceived wrongs or slights that I at times feel are directed at me.  I can only move forward, and so I will.

I wonder sometimes why we let the past dictate so strongly how we react to this day?  I am not saying there are not lessons to be taken from past events, but at times I don’t believe we learn from them.  To me we get caught up in the emotional turmoil of the event and just stay in it.  Every time the event is brought up again, it’s like an old wound being reopened and we once again feel the misery of it.  We need to step back and look at the big picture of how we came to be in a certain mindset to begin with and develop an awareness and consciousness of how to deal with and move past these events taking the lessons with us and passing them forward.

In any case, I am putting the challenge out myself first and foremost.  If I cannot make these changes personally then how can I ask this of the world that surrounds me?

It is a beautiful day here in Vancouver.  I love this city of mine.  She truly is the keeper of my heart.  Some might say it is just a place, but for me it is home.  And the difference between a house and a home is simple really.  A home embodies your spirit.  It cradles and nurtures it and inspires it to grow.

For the year ahead I have certain goals that I want to achieve.  One of them is the continuation of letting go of ego and giving back to this world because this world has given so much to me.

Enjoy your holidays everyone.  Thanks again for checking into my ramblings from time to time.  And welcome to the rest of our lives.