Thursday, May 29, 2008

4:15 AM and going strong

Lately I have been suffering from intermittent insomnia. 'Suffering' is the wrong word - when I have a sleepless night it generally means that I go to bed normally, sleep for a couple hours and then wake up for whatever reason. At that point, I can either lay in bed and think about things or I can get up for a while. Tonight I find I am doing both. I was up for a while and played some video games on the computer but eventually returned to bed hoping to get some sleep.

Well an hour has passed and here I am. Not sleeping. I haven't been on caffinated coffee for months now - oh wait - today at lunch. Now I know why I am up.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Apple Store Vancouver

Today was the grand opening of the first Apple store in Western Canada. There are already THREE such stores in Toronto and another one in Laval, Quebec. My original plan was to wake up early, go wait in line and get my free T-shirt like everybody else.

As usual, things did not go according to plan.

I woke up late because I was sleepy and by the time I walked over to the mall with the dog the store was already open and the lineup was around the corner, out on the street and wrapping around two sides of the block. An optimistic guess (by me) pegged the number of people in line at about seven hundred or so, which meant that if I really wanted that free T-shirt I could stand in line and still get one. But I also had to go into the office today around noon, so I probably would not have enough time to make it. I decided to get some photos and move on, and I'm kind of glad that I did. As you can see the store was already full so the line was only advancing as enough people left the store.

I should drop by on my way back to see if the line has dissipated by then. Ah, maybe not - I do have my dog with me and her stroller. I have a new appreciation for wheelchair bound folks though as Pacific Center mall and the Skytrain station at Granville Street do NOT have elevators placed conveniently. There are escalators all over the place which are great for folks on foot, but if you can't use those, you might as well ask directions because elevators are often hidden from view, or only get you part of the way to where you need to go. The other problem is they are often at the end of dark, secluded hallways that make you feel like a potential mugging victim.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flying high at Low Tide

I got this photo sometime last week while walking along the seawall. What I noticed right away was how low the tide was under the bridge - to the point where the bridge footings themselves were so exposed you could see that the dirt underneath them had been washed away (or dredged?)

What I did not notice until I got home and looked at my pictures on the computer was the little bird flying by in the bottom of the photo. This was not the first bird I saw that day - a bunch of crows were flying right at me it seemed, one after another. As it turns out, they were picking up mussels that were exposed from the low tide, and were flying over to the street where they could break the shells. It was unusual because as they were gaining altitude to reach street level, they were basically approaching me head on. I thought I had wandered too close to a nest until I saw what they were doing with the mussels.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another night shot

I managed to take this photo last night shortly after dusk, while there was still some colour in the sky. I like this style of night shot best because it seems to have more depth than some of the darker ones. That might be due in part to the fact that we have a lot of light sources here, so it's not really possible to get a decent shot of a lot of stars.

Again, about the only tweaks to this photo have been cropping and bumping up the brightness a bit.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Attack of the Sniffles

This weekend was spent nursing a cold. Not a 'knock you out and drag your lungs down the street' kind of cold but more of a 'every time you sneeze, you leak' kind. I tried to function as best I could, but in the end I needed drugs and about two days to do nothing. At last, the sinus pressure has subsided and I seem to be breathing clearly.

In fact, my first outing today was not until about 9 pm, when I took the dog out for a walk. After being in bed all day I was eager to stretch my legs, even if only for a little bit. I am feeling good about tomorrow. It is also when I snapped this picture of the Vancouver waterfront.

In other news, my 20 year High School reunion is coming up and I was thinking that I might be able to attend. My parents were excited to have us return home for a visit and were eager to have us as guests - so much so that they wanted to use their aeroplan miles to bring us home. They apparently had enough points, but somehow it still ended up costing a $30 service fee and another $127 fee to cover airport security taxes, airport improvement fees, fuel surcharges and other miscellaneous cost extras. Both of these charges were per person, so for my wife and I to return to Nova Scotia, it was still going to cost over $300 to fly 'free' on points. To top it off, the flights in question were anything but direct. You know it is bad when the agent refers to your route as 'the milk run' (this refers to a trip that goes from Vancouver to Edmonton to Calgary to Montreal and then finally to Halifax, taking about 14 hours to complete what normally is done in about 5) and says if we didn't like that, there was an option to have a TWO DAY layover in Toronto. We decided to cancel that trip and start planning for something around Thanksgiving, when direct flights are still available (at least so far.) Luckily, since we canceled on the same day that my dad booked the flights, there was no extra charge.

We also happen to have a credit card that collects Aeroplan miles. This experience has left me wondering whether to keep it or not.