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    The World Illuminated Through a Windshield

    2011 - 11.17

    Regrettably today consisted largely of replacing bulbs, which was way more difficult that in needed to be in my opinion.  Replacing the taillight it was really simple to get it out, more difficult to put back in than it should have been.  Simple four petal design that you turn counterclockwise to remove and turn clockwise to lock back in place.  What they neglect to mention in the manual is that there is one specific petal which needs to match up with one particular gap.  Seems needlessly complex, but is easy enough to deal with once you’re aware that you need to line things up.

    Replacing the two headlights was a much more difficult ordeal, they really leave less than the minimum required amount of space to replace the bulb.  Probably took half an hour to replace both bulbs.  Hopefully it would be faster in the future, but much of it is fiddly rather than “difficult”.  The first main problem was that the manual didn’t actually explain how to release the metal bulb holding clip.  For the record: when you’re facing the car, push on the left hand side of the clip, push towards the front of the vehicle and then down to release the clip.  I don’t know if that’s unique to my car (2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD) or to the bulb type (9003).  With the amount of space available and the lack of visibility into what you’re actually doing, it was way more difficult to do than it felt like it should be, but in the end I was able to do it, despite bouts of doubt and frustration.

    Despite all of that, it wasn’t all bad.  I bought my dual pack of GE 9003 Nighthawk Platinum bulbs at Lordco where they were on sale for $38.99 (seems that regular there is $67.97 according to the invoice; regular price at Canadian Tire is $59.99).  In addition to being on sale, there’s also a $10 mail in rebate on them (at Lordco only) until the end of January, which means I’ll have got them for less than half their regular Canadian Tire price… so pretty pleased with that.  Canadian Tire however was about $4.25 cheaper for the taillight, so that’s where I got those, and installed all the bulbs in their parkade.

    We went out to the mall later to return some clothes and have dinner.  While we were there there was some kind of incident which involved someone being handcuffed.  It happened in the main atrium area while we were eating, Karin took a look.  When we went past later I saw that it was an older guy (rather than a young punk like I assumed it would be).

    Leaving the mall we went to the library to pick up the next half dozen books Karin needs to read in the 100 Book Challenge, some of which are even short.  I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s first book: Elantris.

    Leaving the library we decided to go for a bit of a drive up SFU to test out the new headlights… it’s kind of hard to tell how good the headlights are when you’re driving on streets with headlights.  It was snowing a little bit, but not enough to concern us at all.  Got up to the main intersection and there were some cars essentially blocking the straight through route that takes you to UniverCity that I’d planned to take, so we turned left and headed towards the main campus.  After the first turn we saw a traffic jam which involved a bunch of cars and a couple of buses, none of which were moving forward.  It wasn’t clear what the actual problem (aside from snow) was, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  Snow 1; Headlight Testing 0.  On the bright side, the all wheel drive and all seasons are still really effective in the snow.

    Improv & Music Education

    2011 - 11.02

    Yesterday we went out to “Fund with Laughter” which was a fundraiser for the BC Orff Chapter.  So the improv was by the Vancouver Theatre Sports League.  Featured that night were:

    We had a good time, we laughed a lot.  Karin even went on stage to help with one of the segments.  Worth noting if you follow the links, you might not actually be able to pick them out if you see them in person, as the professional headshots, well they don’t totally resemble the people we saw… photoshop?

    So the actual reason we were there was because it was a fundraiser for the BC Orff Chapter, which is probably meaningless to most people.  If I told you that it was the BC Chapter of Carl Orff Canada you probably would still be lost.  They support Orff Schulwerk (or the Orff Approach) which is a teaching approach, specifically for teaching music to students (typically children).  So it’s a good cause, and we had a good time.  Go us!

    Going Pro?

    2011 - 10.01

    Today I thought I was going to have to make a tough decision, not an irrevocable one, but still a tough one.  Whether or not I should go Pro in the Duck Golf series.  On some level I’m really not good enough, at this point I can have no real expectation that I’d be able to win any of the events, or that I’d even be in the money.  But based on my historic performance over the last couple of years, my scores in Amateur Advanced (what I have been playing) would have been good enough to not finish last in any of the tournaments.

    Also, if I went Pro, I’d probably practice more and take things more seriously.  But with the car trouble from yesterday I can put off that decision for another month, which I’m ok with doing.  It means I can decide later if I want to donate $40 a month to play Pro, or if I want to pay $30 a month and probably win it back in plastic (Amateurs get paid in prizes instead of money).

    No Power Up for you!

    2011 - 09.30

    I started packing my car to go to the Whistler Duck Golf, or rather I went down to my car to pack it for the tournament, and found that I’d managed to leave something electric on and that my battery was dead.

    Unfortunately, it was late on a Friday night, everyone (practically) is out of town doing other things.  I considered renewing my BCAA membership, and although it’s a good idea, I couldn’t justify it to allow me to go to the tournament.  It simply made the tournament too expensive to be worth travelling to.

    So a post on Facebook and I’ve got a jump arranged for Saturday morning.  No tournament for me.

    Ace Race: Sold Out!

    2011 - 09.24

    Last night when I closed pre-registration there were 40 people on the list for the Ace Race, this year I went with 50 player’s packages which would be about right for previous years.  Today however there were a lot of people who showed up without registering, so many in fact that the 10 remaining player’s packages were sold, then the player’s packages for the 3 people who weren’t able to be there today were sold, then mine and Karin’s player’s packages were sold, then we made up a couple of packages out of previous year’s discs, and a couple of people split player’s packages and ordered their own.  So in total I think we had 60 people show up this year, which is pretty awesome.  The weather couldn’t have been better.

    Karin was a real trooper with all the help that she provided (all day), I really couldn’t have done it without her.  Keeping on top of everything, handling food and money and discs and unsolicited advances.  Especially after a couple of rough days (4am false fire alarm) and a long drive to Abbotsford for Pro-D, it was amazing.  Thank you!

    Busy day

    2011 - 09.21

    Went to Bellingham today to pick up a shipment from UPS, the trip was uneventful, and although I didn’t spend much time in traffic, I still managed to spend about 6 hours round trip.  Karin on the other hand, spent the day working and then went off to investigate participation in a Geek Choir.  It’s a little odd for us to both be away from home that long, and to both be in totally different places.  When we’re better rested we may have more to say.

    Pedometer Check

    2011 - 09.20

    Last time that I uploaded my pedometer data to the tracking program I was disappointed to see that my average daily steps had fallen from 4,509 to 4,371.  This bothered me, and I’ve been working on reversing the trend.  Today after the upload my daily average steps for the year are now up to 4,521 (3.39km).  I’m pretty pleased with that.  Keep in mind that’s the average of everyday over all of 2011 so far, and includes all those lazy weekends when you don’t leave the house or the couch.

    The big change that has made this happen is the reintroduction of Disc Golf into my weekly activity calendar.  I like Disc Golf, and enjoy it.  Fundamentally it gives you a reason to walk around (potentially a lot).

    For the record my actual long term daily target is 4,200 steps/day, so I’m happy to still be above that and to still be able to increase it.  I know that they recommend that you do 10,000 steps/day but with these more accurate pedometers it’s difficult to do.  So I picked a goal that seemed achievable but not necessarily easy.  If I keep the golfing up, I might make it to 5,000 steps/day, we’ll see.

    Shipping to the US instead

    2011 - 09.11

    I think this time around for the Ace Race players packages that I’ll have them shipped to Blaine and then go and pick them up myself.  It’s already saving me about 30% on shipping costs, and it hopefully I’ll also save on duty/taxes, but we’ll see.  I’ll wait until after I’ve actually successfully done it before I talk about how I’m going to do it, as I wouldn’t want to plug a methodology that in future I might not actually recommend.

    Earthquake?! Really?

    2011 - 09.09

    I guess I was out today during the earthquake and really could have gone all day without noticing it, almost.  I was out getting field permits and other errands and returned home to do some other things only to find that the elevator didn’t seem to be working.  I went to the lobby, and found that they stopped working after the earthquake.

    To this I replied: “There was an earthquake?!” while the inner monologue supplied a properly inflected: “Whaaaaaaaaa?”

    Don’t know if they’re back up yet or not, but I really hadn’t planned to do the 15 flight climb today in this heat.  Having serious difficulty cooling down after that.

    Avoiding Brokerage Charges

    2011 - 09.07

    Every year I do one of these Ace Race tournaments, and there are other times when I order significant quantities of Discs from Discraft whether that be for an event, or for Burnaby Ultimate & Disc Sports or some other reason.  Typically they ship using UPS, and realistically I don’t do a lot of shipping or ordering of things to be shipped, especially “internationally”.

    Each time I do it, I get annoyed.  What I’m buying are goods manufactured in the US, covered by NAFTA, and yet I always have to pay taxes and duty.  Ok, hard things to avoid (legally speaking).  But there’s always this extra charge “brokerage fee”, which tends to be about equal to the duty, which is just an irritating fee which doesn’t add any value to me.  In truth it feels usury.

    The thing is, I do it so infrequently, and it’s such a large area of legislation that I never have the motivation to look into it further until AFTER I’ve become annoyed by the most recent brokerage fee, at which point I no longer am motivated to look into it, as I’ve already had to pay.  I finally contacted UPS to see what I can do to avoid the brokerage fee, and it turns out there’s an option… it may not be a good option but here it is:

    Duties and Taxes apply on all shipments imported into Canada with a value over $20.00 CAD. The UPS Brokerage fee is applied on all shipments being sent Standard service. You can avoid this fee by requesting to have your shipment sent UPS Air.

    So then the question becomes is the brokerage fee going to be more than the extra cost of having it shipped UPS Air instead of UPS ground?  Maybe, maybe not, but at least with air shipping you’re also going to get it sooner, which means that at the very least you’re getting something for the money you spend even if it doesn’t necessarily save you any money.  I think I’ll request UPS Air shipping this time around.

    P.S.  The fact that the title goes ABC, not an accident.