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Everything posted by Islander

  1. Thanks. It is pretty nice. The tourist ad slogan is Super Natural British Columbia. When I lived in Toronto, I was driving so much that I had to fill up my van twice a week. In Victoria, I live right downtown, and almost everything I need is within 5 or 6 blocks of my front door. I mostly use the van to go to Costco once every month or two, which is only 15 minutes away, or to drive out-of-province visitors around during most summers. As a result, now I only need to fill the tank about every 4 or 5 weeks. Toronto can be really sticky hot in the summer, so A/C is practically a necessity, while here, having the ocean on 3 sides of the South Island means that it rarely gets really hot or really cold. The situation in the Interior of the province is quite different. So, A/C is really rare here on the Island, even in classy hotels. So my fuel usage is way down, my heating budget is down, my A/C budget is gone, and I'm even using super-efficient speakers, which I didn't have when I lived in TO. We try not to tell everyone about this place, because the low population is a good part of the "secret". The unofficial tourist slogan is Come. Enjoy Yourself. Then Go Home.
  2. That would be true if the powerplants ran on fossil fuels, but in this province around 90% of the electric power is generated by hydro, which is pollution-free. We have a lot of mountains and rivers. About another 5% is generated by other renewables, like wind and solar power. BC generates enough power this way to meet all our needs, and still have enough to sell some to California when they need it. The target is to have the province run on 100% renewable energy sources, and that looks to be achievable in the fairly near future. These facts may seem to be barely believable, but keep in mind that although the province has all kinds of renewable energy sources, the population of the whole province is only 5 million people, so the total energy needs of the province are about that of a large city, but still only about half that of a city the size of New York, with its population of 10 million. https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/operations/generation.html https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/operations/our-facilities/vancouver-island.html
  3. I see that PWK enjoyed photography. That’s a pro-size bag hanging off his shoulder. Thanks a lot for these pictures, Randy.
  4. Yeah, it was great to be 25. I can't believe my current age. 50 years of being an adult should mean that we've got it all figured out, but not really. It's good to hear about Colter. I've never met him, but he was a real regular on here. I hope all is well with him. Some things are at the limit of what typical-sized humans can deal with. We get a lot of cruise ships stopping here on the way from California or Seattle, heading up to Alaska. In a normal year, we'd get 275 visits, which brings many millions of dollars into our local economy. That's great, but the ships need to keep the lights and A/C on, so they leave the engine (or engines) running to power the ship's generators. As many as three of these huge ships can be docked here at the same time, so we get localized air pollution. The cure for that is shore power. The ship hooks up after it ties up, and then the big engine is shut down. The thing is, to carry all that current, the connectors and the cables are huge. I've seen TV ads promoting the idea. The connector is supported by a small crane, but the electricians looked to be pretty much at the limits of their strength when they wrestled the big connector into place. The ads were from Vancouver, which already has shore power. It costs a few million dollars for the local hardware, but sometimes the local grid has to be upgraded as well. However, the city charges the ship owners for the power it uses, so the city recoups some of the cost. Fitting the ship with the hardware to receive shore power costs over $1 million per ship, but a number of them have been modified already, so that's good. The air stays clean, and the deep rumbling of the engines no longer bothers the people who live across the street from the docks. Step by step, we'll get 'er done, lol.
  5. Maybe, but I've never seen a disc-shaped one like that. Also, wouldn't PWK usually use a mechanical pencil? Do those ever need to be sharpened? I wonder what he'd think of this amateur detective speculation of ours?
  6. Here's a bit from Space Trek:
  7. While Natives who live in the Far North in most circumpolar countries are called Eskimos, in Canada that's considered a derogatory term used by those who live a bit south of the Arctic Circle (the "Indians") to insult the Inuit (That's the plural. An individual is an Inuk.). It means something like "eaters of raw fish", and is apparently pretty insulting. In the end, there was a formal agreement between the northern First Nations and the Far North First Nations (the Inuit) to stop using the term. Meanwhile, the clueless Euro-Canadians use the term for a sports team. After years of protests, common sense and respect finally sank in, and now the team is called the Elks, and since there are plenty of actual elk in northern Alberta, that is an appropriate name for an Alberta team. In the Far North, there are radio and TV broadcasts in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit, while further south, there are broadcasts in various First Nations languages. Here in southern BC, we can get the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, APTN, which has some interesting shows, many of which are in English. Caution! May Contain Nuts! is a half-hour comedy show, which has some funny stuff. A running sketch is Space Trek, which is about a crew of First Nations characters exploring space. Here's a graphic to indicate safe social distance, by reference to a familiar object. There were a few others, like a hockey stick (about 1.5 sticks), and an elk, to indicate 2 metres, but I didn't see them today. The top language is Inuktitut spelled phonetically for English readers and speakers, while the language below that is the same message in actual Inuktitut characters.
  8. Clearly, management had not hired the most obvious choice for the job: Bender Bending Rodriguez. Bending is his middle name. Oh wait, he wasn't built until 3000, so he was Not Available. Seriously, that sounds like interesting work. 12 ton come-alongs are bigger than anything I've ever seen. Half-ton or one-ton would be the customary sizes at my jobs. I've heard stories of those small ones slipping loose and causing injuries. If a 12-tonner came loose and flung its hook, that could be the end of someone's job, or his life. Those are some major forces at work. Everyone needs to be focussed on their job, every day, or terrible things could happen. How thick were the hull plates? In my welding courses at Hydro, we were told of some ship hull plates being welded together with up to 120 passes of the arc welder. It would be easy for boredom or distraction to sneak in halfway through the job. If stress and boredom were competing for your attention every day, that would be really fatiguing. I'm not surprised that you were eventually glad to leave. However, with experience like that, building your out-building ("shed" doesn't do it justice) must have seemed like child's play, but hopefully still fun. If you still lived in New York, it would be cool to be able to tell your relatives that you helped build the Staten Island Ferry that they could see and ride on. British Columbia has the biggest ferry fleet in North America, since it's a big province, with lots of rivers and lakes, plus the coast, of course. Some crossings take only a few minutes, while some ferries in the North make overnight trips. A few years ago one of them, the Queen of the North, making an 18-hour trip, hit an island while travelling at cruising speed at night. The helmsman didn't turn left when he should have, and the ship went to the bottom in 1300-foot-deep water. Luckily, there was a Native settlement not far away, and the Natives saw the disaster and mobilized every boat available. Luckily, the ship took more than an hour to sink. In the end, two people died, but all the other passengers and crew were saved. There was a big investigation, but nobody on the bridge would talk, so nobody knows exactly why they failed to follow the proper course. To get to the point (finally!), although we have capable shipyards in the province, our biggest ferries have been built in Poland or Germany the last few times. Apparently, those shipyards can build ships for 40% less than Canadian shipyards. After they're completed, it takes a couple of months for them to make their way over here. The biggest of the fleet, the Coastal Series, can hold 310 cars, 1600 passengers and crew, and I think around 50 tractor-trailers, which is how we get nearly everything here on the Island, from food to furniture. You can see the fleet here. The ships come in all sizes, from little ones that carry a dozen cars, to the big ones that hold hundreds of cars. https://www.bcferries.com/on-the-ferry/our-fleet
  9. You allowed clad women to dance on your La Scalas? Didn't you realize how dangerous buttons and zippers are? Major scratch hazards! Clothing should never be permitted while dancing on speakers, strictly from a safety standpoint. Not even socks. One slip, and you could have a gouge that wouldn't buff out. A second's thoughtlessness could undo hours of careful craftsmanship done in Hope, Arkansas. And oh, the tears... I'm sure you must have seen the notices posted near custom cars with very expensive paint jobs at shows, warning that clad people were not allowed near the cars, for that same reason, scratch and gouge hazards.
  10. On the topic of theft, Coytee once stated that La Scalas made great university dorm speakers for two reasons. First, they’re too big to steal, and second, their stability and large top surfaces made them safe for drunk college girls to dance on. Considering Forum etiquette, I’d have linked to Coytee’s page where his name appears above, but I haven’t seen how it’s done.
  11. I worked as a motorbike mechanic for five seasons, but even though I enjoyed the work, it was seasonal at best, resulting in being laid off for months every winter. I moved on to maintaining and repairing locomotives for CN Rail, which gave me year-round employment, but the endless midnight shifts and “weekends off” that didn’t happen on Saturday or Sunday finally got to me, so I made the jump from 3000 hp Diesel engines at CN to 400,000 hp (300 megawatts) steam turbines at Ontario Hydro. That’s where I got my millwright licence. So yes, I was a mechanic. Due to injuries sustained in a highway crash, I retired at age forty-five, and I only do very light jobs now. Ten years after I retired, I bought a pair of La Scalas, and here I am today, just another Bonehead.
  12. When I told my doc that I did not enjoy the finger exam, he told me that if either one of us enjoyed it, then we’d both have a problem. And we both laughed, because neither of us enjoyed it. Everything gets weirder as you get older. I’m not sure I even want to guess what the future holds.
  13. Wow. The bikes I worked on, primarily Yamahas, didn’t even have transmission doors. Some of the factory race bikes (never worked on any of those) had cassette gearboxes, which allowed the mechanics to pull out the gearset while the engine/gearbox unit stayed in the frame. This also allowed for quick ratio changes, to better suit certain racetracks. Those gearboxes may have had transmission doors, but that’s a guess. Are Sportster gearboxes unusual in some way, compared with other bike gearboxes?
  14. Shipfitter? That’s a really skilled trade, but I’m sure you had to explain the title a few times. Here in Canada, I think you would have been called a shipwright. Even the term millwright is barely known in Ontario. On the other hand, it’s well-known in BC, because of all the lumber mills out here. Logging and related businesses add up to be one of the major fields of income producers and employers in the province. Since there’s a long-standing “blue-collar stigma”, in Ontario at least, young Canadians first entering the workforce would often choose a white-collar/office job over a skilled trade job that could possibly pay twice as much. This applied to both the railway and the power utility. As craftsmen retired, new ones were required. As a result, many of the millwrights, electricians, licenced high pressure welders, and so on, were recruited from overseas every few years, like with a batch of a certain age from Eastern Europe, another one from the UK, another age group from Ireland, and yet another from Hong Kong. It turned out that a number of the guys from Hong Kong were shipwrights. One guy that I sometimes worked with told me that shipwrights in Hong Kong did everything called for to build ships, from making furniture to forging (or was that casting?) propellers, and everything in between. He could even produce draftsman-quality design sketches, which came in handy when we had to show an engineer what would actually work, as opposed to his not-fully-informed concept. I had a lot of respect for him and his fellow Hong Kongers, even though his way of saying “led lubba” when referring to the red rubber that we used on the tops of our tool buggies made me stifle a laugh. When he told me, “We gotta fix a leak inna loof”, though, I didn’t even smile, because we did have to fix a leak. Inna loof. Titles like shipwright and millwright were clearly understood terms at one time, just like those guys who built and repaired carts, the cartwrights. Nowadays, the names make less sense. When it’s broken, you call the it specialist. What is it, and who broke it? If that broke, would you need a that technician? Is the printer it or that? Maybe it’s a good thing that I always worked in the shop.
  15. A spring with a running creek? That property’s not on a flood plain by any chance, is it? It would be better to find that out before you sign any papers, instead of at 2 am when the rain is pouring down and your driveway is washed out.
  16. Thanks. I should have looked at it that way, but I was nearly forty then, so maybe my sense of humour at being pranked was no longer what it should have been. All ended well, because I still have my wonder buggy, and it comes in really handy at times, like when I had to cut and bend steel strips for the mounting bases for the K402 horns. While I was building the buggy (it took a few days), I was proudly describing it to my girlfriend, along with the tools you were expected to have on your first day. You’d be given the list the day you were hired, and it was up to you to pay for the tools. Most of my tools were metric, so I needed to buy a set of SAE-sized wrenches and a 0-1” micrometer. I already had almost everything else. She commented that it sounded like I’d be happily pushing my toy box around the plant, and she was kind of right.
  17. As Tommy Chong once said to the Customs officer, as he prepared to do a body cavity search, “If you find anything up there, it’s yours!”
  18. No, since I nearly always worked with steel, and very rarely used a table saw. Of course, motorbike engines are made of aluminum, but you would not typically find a table saw in a dealership Service Department.
  19. If you work your arse to the bone, what does that leave you with? A bony arse.
  20. That was the other thing I was hearing. When I started working in one of the public utility powerhouses, our first assignment was to design and construct our own tool buggies. They were rolling tool cabinets, with thick red rubber glued onto the tops, and a vise that we’d get from Stores. Since we’d design them to suit our height and the size of the items we’d typically work on, every one was a bit different. One even had 6 wheels, rather than the usual 4. The tool buggies were much sturdier than normal shop tool cabinets, because they had to stand up to being carried several hundred metres on the blades of a forklift (it was a big worksite) and still have the doors and drawers operate properly, with nothing bent or warped. The rubber-covered steel top was your work surface, so it had to withstand the occasional hammer blow. Most of the buggies were built of a frame of 1/2” or 3/4” angle iron, with a 1/8”-thick steel skin. The wheels were available at the Stores building, and once you knew how many drawers you needed, and which sizes and shapes, you’d go to the carpenter shop, where they’d be built to your specs out of 1/2” plywood. Some of these measurements may be a bit off, but there’s a couple of subwoofer boxes in the way right now, and I should be packing it in for the night, instead of shifting stuff and measuring stuff. An older English millwright was assigned to mentor me for the first few months, until I got the hang of the job. This was important, because mistakes were not only costly, they could be deadly. As well, millwrights trained to do this kind of work were very rare, so pretty much everyone, including me, needed some mentoring at first. I started to suspect that he wanted to set me up, because of a few small oddities in the way he acted toward me. One clue was what happened in the welding shop, where the sheet metal was stored. I asked him which metal I should use for the skin of the tool buggy, and he indicated the stainless steel, with the near-mirror B9 finish. I was a bit dubious, but he assured me it would be fine, then he left me to it. Once I got the metal in place on the bandsaw and started cutting the sheet (maybe 4’x6’ in size; I’m not positive now, since it was more than 30 years ago) of stainless, and its horrid shriek echoed across the shop, nearly everyone stopped what they were doing (at least, it felt like that) and one of the old near-his-pension welders came over to demand whether I knew what that material cost. That kind of centred me out, and once I loaded the buggy up with tools (It weighed around half a ton when full. Good thing I chose the heaviest-duty wheels in stock.) and started pushing it around the building, it, and I, became much more visible. It was a rolling example of Excessive Consumption of Taxpayers’ Money, which was not what Pat the Newbie had in mind when he started to work there. That jerk played me well. As time went on, the shiny tool buggy became part of the furniture/wallpaper (the building had neither furniture not wallpaper, but you get the idea) of the powerplant, and I got to be known as a regular guy. Four years later, one-third of the 28,000-strong Thermal Division workforce (around 10,000 millwrights, electricians, welders, forklift operators, office workers, and so on) was laid off, thanks to a big new nuclear powerplant coming on line, which made our coal-fired plant redundant. There were no transfers to Hydro or Nuclear Divisions available. When I asked the foreman if I could take my tool buggy to my next job, he said, “Why not? It’ll only be gathering dust around here.”, so he wrote me an authorization to show Security when I took it through the gates on an old trailer that I had. At my new work, a forklift was used to unload it. A few years later, I got injured in a highway crash and took early retirement, so I got a friend with a truck with a power lift gate to load it up and bring it to my apartment, where it became a TV stand at the foot of the bed. I could write more about my wonder tool buggy and the shriek of stainless steel being cut with a bandsaw, but I think this is way too long as it is. Thanks for your patience in reading this far.
  21. Ever try cutting a big sheet of 1/8” thickness stainless steel? It makes such a loud and irritating noise that everybody in the shop will yell at you to stop. “Sorry, guys. I’m almost done. Kind of...”
  22. I’ve got that LP! I saw Renaissance live at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, in 1977 or so. It was the first band I’d seen that had a bass guitar as the lead instrument. I think that Jon Lord was the bass player at that time. Annie Haslam’s lead vocals were other-worldly, and combined with the lead bass, they gave me an experience that I remember to this day.
  23. Islander

    Babes on bass

    Nice, but it’s a pity that the sound of her Stick is so low as to be almost inaudible. Subtitles would be a great help, too. Is she singing in Tagalog?
  24. Islander

    Babes on bass

    You're impressed with 6-string basses? Clearly, you haven't heard the Chapman Stick, invented by Mister Chapman. It can have 10 strings or more, and is played by tapping. Tony Levin demonstrates and explains it here:
  25. Islander


    In that case, I recommend that you read The Lathe of Heaven, also by Ursula K. Le Guin.
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