I quit facebook (again)!

But unlike the last time, I think this one has finally done it. I deleted my facebook account 32 days ago. Yesterday I checked (tried to log in with my old username and password) and it said it had no record of me! Which is great, because I tried this once before, several years ago, and it DID let me in (after a year of me wrongly believing I’d successfully deleted the account).

One weird thing: facebook asked me if I was buzz.trumpet.vancouver@gmail.com, which is a gmail account I have. And it asked me if I wanted to log in with my name and that account ID. Presumably it would create a new facebook account with my name and that gmail ID, and would tell all my old facebook friends I was back on facebook. Definitely not what I would choose to do. Sneaky.

So now that I’ve gotten rid of facebook I’ll probably start using my old bluesmarties.com site again. I also have an Adobe website (robbins.media) which I might use more frequently, as well. I also have a substack account (ianrobbins.substack.com)

after church

I really liked the sermon today. I felt as if I were a wounded animal who had been found by a Saint, and to whom the Saint had said “You’re OK.” And when that happened, lo, I was OK, and then I could fly, like a bird.  The bird I suddenly realized I had always been. A big, strong bird. An eagle. Look at my wings–big, strong wings! Jump! And push, and up I go–push, push, push, higher and higher!

Later in the service–during that part where we each share the peace with each other, the pastor stopped and asked Charlotte and I if we might help people make a decision to subscribe to the Canada Lutheran magazine.

It is true that we receive the Canada Lutheran magazine each month. And in that respect either of us could offer a testimonial in its favor. But how to raise the subject with the other members of our congregation, without seeming unseemly? As if we were advancing some hidden agenda? I enjoy reading it, but Charlotte rarely looks at it, so perhaps a testimonial from me would have a more authentic feel to it.

A few years ago, we were both a little mystified as to why we continued to receive it, because neither of was aware of –at that time– sending them a check to continue our subscription. After talking about it for a few minutes, we supposed that the $20 or so per year subscription cost was simply taken from our monthly contribution to the church. We both had vague recollections of the church treasurer asking us, years ago, if this would be OK with us. Talking it over today, we agreed that, if that memory ever really happened, would would likely have been OK with it, and if it were to happen today, we’d give the same affirmative answer.

During the sharing of the peace time, neither Charlotte nor myself were sure exactly how we might accomplish the Pastor’s request. But later in the day I wondered if perhaps I could use my new Nikon camera to help.

Once Upon a time I was a photojournalist. I have also been employed as a reporter. And I’ve enjoyed those occupations. In my retirement years, perhaps I could once again enjoy pursuing those occupations, but this time on a volunteer basis.

If I were to tell people in our church that I had, for example, taken a photograph that was in an upcoming issue of the Canada Lutheran, then perhaps they might be interested in subscribing, simply to see my photograph. Or perhaps I could write an article and include a photograph with the article. Even more compelling.

Charlotte bought me the camera to which I refer, for a present — for a Christmas present. Several weeks ago she asked me which camera I would own if I could own any camera. What was my “ideal” camera? I took a long time to think about this question and in the end decided that, of all the cameras out there, the camera that I would most like to own would be the Nikon D850 — a professional digital SLR.

These cameras are not cheap. I bought a lens for this camera (a nikkor 24MM 1.4 lens). Also not cheap.  Over the next two or three years I’ll probably purchase two or three more professional lenses.

I now own the Nikon camera–it sits beside me at this moment, on a stereo speaker, and I’ve had it for two days, without the lens. The lens was a “special order,” and I expect it to arrive from Japan in a few weeks.

How to justify owning such an expensive piece of kit? Maybe ‘justify’ is the wrong word. ‘Use’ might be better. Taking photographs for a magazine is one way. So it’s a nice coincidence that the pastor, in church today, raised an idea that might lead to this opportunity.

Perhaps this will become a new hobby, to replace my old hobby of playing the trumpet!


January 21 2019

Now it’s about a quarter to 3, and I’m waiting for the kettle to boil water for my afternoon tea. The sun is illuminating the kitchen curtains. I’m in my rocking chair. Charlotte is napping in the bedroom.

I’ve just finished clipping some of the grape vines in the backyard. You have to do this every year or so or they get so thick the whole side of the carport (which they grow over) looks furry, covered in tiny branches.

Last year, without trying, I filled seven or eight 4 litre wine sacks with grape juice, which we froze and consumed gradually. We’re now finishing the last sac. I filled them with fresh juice in late September, and here it is almost February. Four months worth of juice, without trying. Next year I think I’ll try, and by doing my best, I may be able to double that amount.

One crucial piece of equipment I’ll need to buy will be a de-stemmer. I saw small ones for sale at the wine-making supply shop that sold me the 4-litre wine skins this autumn, so I know there are such things.

After I put the ladders away under the deck I walked up the back stairs to have a look at one of the two rat-bait traps I set last week. These traps don’t catch rats, they simply allow rats to enter and eat rat poison contained within. The poison I purchased a few weeks ago at the Canadian Tire store on Grandview.

The traps were left behind by a pest control company we hired a few years ago. The pest-control technician explained the principle to me, showed me how to refill them, and left me the key. Then he disappeared and never returned. When I called the company to ask if they were going to return and refill the traps, the receptionist told me the technician had been dismissed. I elected to not renew  our contract, and ever since then have been putting rat poison in our garage (but not in the traps), essentially turning the entire garage into an enormous rat trap. The traps themselves I forgot about.

Rat poison is made out of corn mash, pressed into pellets, and poison (warfarin) is added to the pellets. Sometimes the manufacturers add a dye to the pellets, so you can tell, by examining the rat poop left nearby, if the rats have consumed the pellets.

In the case of the poison I purchased recently, there is no dye, so I wasn’t sure if the rats were eating the poison, although the presence of lots of rat turds laying around the trap was a clue. Today I saw a pellet outside of the trap on our back deck, so that pretty much clinches it. Yet for more than a week (just a bit longer than the traps have been set) one rat keeps leaving precisely three turds and a drop or two of urine on our front steps, right near the front door, plain for all to see.

It was this calling card that first alerted me to the recurrence of our rat problem. I don’t like using the garage as a giant rat trap because the rats leave turds all over the inside of the garage, including all over Charlotte’s car, and I have to suit up with lung and eye protection so I can clean the garage out with a blower. Then must follow a shower and clothes quick into the laundry.

Sometimes the rats die in the garage and then their rotting body stench is really bad. So I dug out the pest control traps and set those outside the garage (one is near our front door, discreetly tucked away behind a bush, and the other is on our back deck, which I know rats have been crossing due to a trail of turds).

I could write a book about rats. For example, when they die, obviously they get hard, when rigor mortis sets in, and then they get soft, and then they start to smell like rotting rat. I know this because I’ve picked them up in each of those stages. But if you leave them alone, then maggots will consume their bodies. If you happen upon a rat in which this maggotty process is well underway and you disturb them the maggots will flee into the ground (at least, I have seen this happen…the dead rat happened to be on a bed of small rocks). Very spooky to see all these little white wriggle things suddenly leave on mass and melt into the ground. And if you leave the half-consumed body of the rat alone, because frankly who is going to pick that up–then, when you come back a few weeks later, there will only be some hair left behind.

I wonder if rats eat maggots. And then later, are eaten by maggots. And bacteria, of course, are in maggots, and eat maggots. And I suppose viruses eat bacteria, and viruses dissolve into the earth. And so it goes.

But let’s leave rats for now. What else did I do today?

I finished another Christmas carol. I’ve been working my way through a list of about 50 Christmas carols and Christmassy songs, transcribing and arranging to make a book and CD collection for presents next year.

I walked here and there with Charlotte. Downloaded and began using a project management tool, to manage my project to restore my airstream trailer. Clipped the grape vines. Surfed the web, read the news. That’s about it, and it’s a quarter to 5.

Testing Transcription software

So I wonder how long–that is how many minutes–I could use this transcription program on my cell phone before it would stop working . For example–sitting in the Tim Hortons in Kamloops, and various thoughts cross my mind–and I think perhaps it would be nice to jot them down.

It’s a working class crowd the comes in at 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning . The people seem friendly enough . When I was young enough to come to this sort of place for breakfast–I was around 19 years old–I never felt part of this crowd. In those days I was a tag-along who would tag along with any employer who may wish to stop and get a breakfast coffee.

I was suspicious of the motivations of people around me. I didn’t understand where they came from or where they were going, in terms of their life direction.

I never knew what each day would hold and I felt unsettled and anxious.

Looking around me now the people all seem comfortable and at ease with themselves.

Now it’s a few days later and I’m sitting in a shopping mall before the stores have opened. I’m sitting in the main center of the mall.

Sometimes they have entertainment here, but today they’ve set up large television screens so people can watch the World Cup of soccer matches.

One of the televisions isn’t working and a technician came to see if he could fix it, but he couldn’t, so he adjusted a ribbon on some stands surrounding the monitor… I guess those are there to keep people from trying to adjust the monitor themselves.

There are 5 men here besides myself, one is the technician, one is an old Chinese guy reading a Chinese newspaper, and two are watching the soccer games.

I’m waiting for an automobile service depot to change the oil in my car.

I’m sitting on a large sofa covered in white leather. This is in the Brentwood mall, a mall–I once learned–a good friend of my father’s owned a part of.

The company that owns the mall–or perhaps it is the company that owns the property on which the mall is situated–is doing extensive renovations and additions to the mall.

In this time in which we live, in 2018, it is difficult to know precisely who is responsible for large- scale infrastructure projects, when those projects take place in the private sector.

Very large and very tall apartment buildings are being constructed on the property on which this mall is located. In addition, stores and public spaces such as performance halls and libraries are being constructed.

Construction began approximately two years ago, but prior to that time the mall existed in a different and static form for approximately 20 years. Who, precisely, made the decision to add-on to and to change this mall? Was it one person? Was it a committee? Were there people in government? Were there people in private industry such as bankers?

Four men are watching the TV screens and each man has a drink in front of him. Coffee or water.

The time currently is 8:44 a.m.

The rate at which things happen seems to have sped up thanks to smart phones and computer technology and the internet. For example, when we were on the road we managed to book hotel rooms in just a few moments thanks to our smart phones.

But other processes such as writing an article still take a long time. We don’t write articles anymore. I think this is because of the disconnect between our lived experience of things speeding up thanks to smartphones, and remembered experience of the length of time it would take to do things like write articles. On some level we know that we can’t write articles as fast as we can do most of the other things we do, so we have simply given up writing.

Then again, perhaps I’m not writing articles because I don’t feel the need to be a good little worker-bee anymore.

In the “recommended readings” section of the Kobo bookstore, one recommended book I saw recently related to productivity–that is–the book was about ways to be more productive.

But I don’t need to be more productive. At least I don’t feel a need to be as productive as I felt, say, when I was in my thirties.

Although this is a largely empty shopping mall–empty of people–the ambient sonic environment is quite noisy. In addition to the sound of soccer announcers and the sounds associated with advertisements coming from the three television sets, there are a number of loudspeakers mounted in the walls surrounding me, and from these loudspeakers soft rock is continually playing at a high volume.

These two different sound sources combine to make a meaningless din.