Category Archives: Life Musings

Musings, reflections, thoughts, links and other academic related materials.

Gaining Pinterest Followers

Against my better judgement I have entered a friendly competition with another blogger to see who can gain the most Pinterest followers.

At the start of the competition we both had about 50 Pinterest followers. She-who-I will-not-name now has 70 followers and I have 66 Pinterest followers. Clearly, she has taken an early lead.

My Pinterest feed is primarily about food with some stuff about teaching and some about leather working. But the good stuff…lots on that!!

Can you help a guy out? If you are on Pinterest, give me a follow? If you want to find me, I  am Stacey Robinsmith at Pinterest.

My First Vlog Entry on Word Choice

I did it. I have a vlog entry. And for those who do not know, a vlog is a blog where the content (blog post) is done by video. So instead of me trying to type up all the words about word choice and using italics and bold font and all that stuff to add emphasis, I did a vlog and you can see my facial expressions to understand what I am saying!

Let me know what you think because I have another vlog entry in development.

Electric Vehicles Part Two

Today’s post is a follow up to yesterday’s post about my interest in purchasing an electric vehicle such as a Nissan Leaf.

First, it is important to make a distinction between some of the electric vehicles that are on the market. Possibly the most talked about EV is the Tesla. But let’s be realistic – the Tesla is not a car that is priced in a range that will see it in that many driveways.

And the hype about Tesla bringing out a car for the masses? You can count on the new Tesla having a price of $50,000 or more in Canada. I am not sure that the masses will embrace a $50,000 electric vehicle.

Then there is the Chevy Volt – not what I would call a true EV. Having a gas powered engine is not in keeping with the spirit of the EV movement.

Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Bolt – this one sounds intriguing. A potential range of 383 km on a full charge and 0 to 96 kmh in less than 7 seconds. Interesting.

Which brings me to another point; why do we need (or want?) cars that can do 0-60 in less than 3 seconds? Where does the desire for such performance come from? Do we really need a high performance race car to get from home to work? And back?

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf and the Kia Soul are the two other electric vehicles that are priced in the range that appeals to a fairly large potential market. As such, as I described in yesterday’s blog post, I took a Nissan Leaf for a test drive.

I drove from North Burnaby to Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. I traveled on city streets until I got on the freeway at Sprott Ave. I had the heater on in the car, the defrost on as required, and the heated seats in use.

When I started the car the computer told me that I had 152 kilometres of range in the batteries.

Nissan Leaf Interior
Nissan Leaf Interior

I drove on the freeway at freeway speed and I was able to very easily keep up to the flow of traffic. When I needed to pull out and pass another vehicle, the Leaf accelerated quickly and easily. Honestly, there was no discernible difference between driving the Leaf and driving my usual car, a Toyoto Echo. If anything, the Leaf was more powerful

By the time I got to Grouse Mountain the on-screen display told me I now had 112 kilometres of range left “in the tank”. So that means I used 40 kilometres of juice to travel 26 kilometres.

In fairness, I was traveling at highway speed, especially up the steep hill known as “the Cut” in North Van and then up the hill from the highway to Grouse Mountain. It was quite steep terrain and I was hard on the accelerator to see how the Leaf would perform.

There was an available charging station at Grouse but the fact that there was a Tesla in the other spot and a massive pile of snow in front of the other spot making it so that the back of the Leaf would have been sticking out and impeding foot traffic … I chose not to park in the EV charging station plug in spot to charge.

I then went up Grouse Mountain and skied for three hours – three glorious hours of night skiing with minimal line-ups.

Upon our return to the car the on-screen display still said 112 kilometres of range was left. As we left, the range dropped. As you would expect.

The Cut
The Cut

At the top of the Cut I was told to take my foot off the accelerator and “coast” down the hill. At the top of the Cut I had 91 kilometres of range left. I kept up with the flow of traffic even with my foot off the accelerator because there was quite a bit of traffic on the Cut.

I did as I was told and at the bottom of the Cut the on-screen display said that I now had 101 kilometres of range! Coasting down that long hill added 10 kilometres to the range of the vehicle.

When I returned the Leaf to its parking spot in North Burnaby the on-screen display told me that the car still had 80+ kilometres of range left in the batteries.

To be honest, I forgot to write down the final number when I parked it but I do recall as I was driving up the street to the parking spot that it had more than 80 in range left.

So that means to travel 55 kilometres on a combination of city streets and freeway driving with heater and defroster on it took 70 kilometres of charge.

The real icing on the cake for the owners of electric vehicles at this time is the fact that by and large, the charging stations for electric vehicles are still free. So if you are able to plan ahead (there’s an app for that!), you don’t even have to charge your electric vehicles at home!

I have not yet driven the new Chevy Bolt nor the Kia Soul EV. The bottomline – there is an EV in my future. Which one…I am still undecided.

 

Electric Vehicles – Nissan Leaf

I am seriously considering the purchase of an electric vehicle and, as soon as I said those words to my friends they began to send me articles explaining how impractical and totally inadequate electric vehicles are.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

As a first step towards purchasing electric vehicles, this weekend I took one out for a test drive. Apparently the owner of the EV I took for a test drive had seen the video of my last test drive and did not want to go through a similar experience as the last sales guy so I was not allowed to video my latest test drive.

Other than the fact that the range on the Nissan Leaf is now approximately 150 kilometres (up from 100 kilometres four years ago), the fundamentals of the Nissan Leaf  have not changed all that much.

Let’s consider a couple of the anti-EV points:

First – There would not be enough charging stations if everyone bought and drove an EV. You may have to wait at a charging station before being able to charge your car.

True. However, that is the same as saying there would not be enough gas stations or a distribution network if everyone bought cars that burn diesel. Not everyone is going to buy electric vehicles. Or a diesel.

And further, the vast majority of people can plug their car in at home overnight and then have a full charge in their batteries for the morning.

Second – If you do run the batteries out of charge, your car has to be towed to the next place it can be charged.

True. However, if you have any ability to plan your day, you will not run out of charge. Yep, you have to plan ahead. Same as people who drive a diesel powered vehicle. A little planning helps you go a long way.

Anyway, the fact is that EVs are NOT for everyone. If you need a truck to haul your tools and work supplies around with you, probably no EV in your future.

If you live in Chilliwack and drive to UBC everyday, probably no EV in your future.

On the other hand, if you live in Surrey and drive to Burnaby or Vancouver, you would be well served by trading in your gas powered car and getting and electric vehicle. Not only would you no longer have to pay for gasoline and oil changes, you get to drive in the HOV lane and your tolls are lower!!

The fact is, electric vehicles (EVs) are actually very practical for many more commuters than most people realize.

New Year’s Resolutions. Sort Of. 

At the start of the new year many people make New Year’s Resolutions. I assume they do this for a variety of reasons but, I also assume they make resolutions in an effort to make themselves better people.

new year's eve
new year’s eve

I’ll be honest, I don’t do resolutions. Not because I don’t need to make myself better. I know that there are things about myself I need to work on but, I have never had much success with making ad sticking to New Year’s resolutions.

However, in an effort to make the world a better place I have resolutions or simple changes that you should make. And of course, I will attempt to adopt some of these changes as well.

First thing we can do to make the world a better place is to eat a vegetarian meal now and then. Simply give up meat for one meal.  Eating a plant based meal once a week will help make the world a better place.

Another thing you can do is to wear your jeans for a lot longer than you currently do without washing them.

There really is no need to wash jeans as often as we tend to do. You don’t even need to wash them once a week or every second week. True story, I’ve got a pair of jeans that I’ve owned for three years and I have worn them everyday for at least part of the day.

I have washed that pair of jeans three and I have given them three cold rinses. When you see me wearing those jeans you would never know it. They don’t stink. They don’t look dirty. And they are super comfortable.

You can’t even begin to imagine how much water I have saved the world by not washing those jeans.

The third thing you can do to make the world a better place is to NOT click on any Facebook link that says “AND YOU WON”T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!”

Typically things like that are Clickbait – a portal into a world of deceitful advertising that is full of advertising and scams and negativity that you really don’t need to expose yourself to. Don’t encourage these rubes and rascals. Ignore the clickbait.

And finally, the best thing you could do to make the world a better place is subscribe to my blog. All you have to do is go to the bottom of any of the things I post on the blog, write a comment and then click the “notify me of future posts” box. You know that this will make the world a better place.

That’s my list of new year’s resolutions or things to I will be doing to make the world a better place. Anything else you want to add to the list?

Why I’m No Longer Saying Happy New Year

In an effort to make our society more inclusive and to avoid excluding people from conversations, I am no longer saying happy new year to people.

Let me explain.

Satire:

the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

To begin not everybody celebrates December 31st and January 1st as the end and start of a new year. So if you were saying happy new year to them, it may not have any significance.

Many people celebrate the lunar new year as the end and beginning of a new year. So if you are saying happy new year on December 31st you are being rather presumptuous and ethnocentric in the sense that this is not a new year for them.

And what about people who own businesses? For them the new year may not fall on December 31 or on the lunar new year.

Year end in business is not a happy time. So for you to say happy new year to somebody who owns a business is hurtful and probably brings up a lot of anxiety. There is an incredible amount of accounting that must be done at the end of the year and the beginning of a new year in business.

And what about the people who don’t even use the same calendar as we do? Some people still do not use the Gregorian calendar. So for you to assume that this is a new year another opportunity to cause hurt and exclude people from the conversation.

So in an effort to be more inclusive from now on I will be saying happy December 31st.

Happy December 31st everyone!!

Snow Preparedness and Lawsuits

We often hear about how society has become very litigious. People live in fear of being sued for this, that or anything else.


People race out to shovel snow off and spread copious amounts of salt and other ice melting miracle chemicals on their walkways as soon as there’s a sprinkle of snow. After all, you don’t want some stranger to slip and fall while walking near your home. You might get sued!! 

See a wet spot on the floor in a shop? Send out a squad of staff to clean it up and post warning signs because the floor might be slippery.

Buy a cup of coffee and there’s a warning on the cup of coffee saying it’s hot. No shit. I’ll tell you, there should be a warning on the cup of coffee if it isn’t hot. If I buy a cup of coffee and it isn’t hot, there needs to be a warning issued to the person selling me a lukewarm cold cup of coffee when I’m expecting a hot cup of coffee. But I digress. 

I knew a guy who owned a ladder making company. He told me his shop stopped making ladders that were less than 20 feet tall because he said there wasn’t enough room to put all the required warning labels on a ladder if it was less than 20 feet tall. 

I think we should turn this around. If people are too stupid or unprepared for life’s little challenges, they should be sued for screwing up someone else’s day.

For example, after the recent snowfall people were slipping and falling in mall parking lots. The mall management were very concerned and sent their first aid attendants out to make sure the people were taken care of. In the case of a broken body nes, ambulances were called to haul their broken body to the hospital. 

Someone said, the customer “should bring forward a suit against the mall because the parking lot was slippery.”

No shit it was slippery! It was snowing!! And below zero, so it was also freezing. You didn’t notice that on your way from your house to your car or while you were driving to the mall? Seriously? It wasn’t until you stepped out of your car with your fancy little leather sole shoes nd landed with your stupid ass on the ground that you thought it might be slippery?

I say turn this around. The businesses or store owners should be suing the people who have come to their stores unprepared for the weather and road conditions. If it is snowy outside you should be prepared to be able to navigate the snowy and slippery walkway in parking lot.

If you do slip and fall I say the business owners should sue the person who slipped and fell because they are costing the mall or business owners valuable time, money and resources. Never mind the cost to our publicly funded health care system. The cost of the ambulance, emergency room resources, and so on. 

Fact; it is actually illegal to travel into the interior of BC on a highway without having good winter tires or carrying a set of tire chains with you. There’s an understanding that travellers need to be prepared for the conditions they are likely to encounter.

Why shouldn’t that be the same if you are travelling around town in snowy or icy conditions? Be prepared or be prepared to face the legal consequences for ruining someone else’s day. 

Of course this doesn’t mean business owners shouldn’t make every effort to clear their parking lots. After all, if customers can’t get into the parking lot, that means they can’t spend money in the shops. But how about people taking some responsibility for their own safety rather than immediately thinking about hiring a lawyer? Something to think about. 

Puzzling Situation at Starbucks

Last weekend, as we frequently do, my daughters and I met a good friend of mine at our local Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate.

At the Starbucks there is an entrance to where the lineup forms and then a “path” to exit after you have ordered your food or drink.

It is all very orderly. Usually.

Until someone enters the “exit” path and unknowingly proceeds to the front of the lineup, and inadvertently bypasses all the people who have taken the time to line up and wait for their turn.

And that is exactly what happened to my buddy and I. We were standing at the front of the lineup and a young woman walked in the exit line and stood in front of us waiting to place her order.

I politely told her that the lineup formed behind us. Although I told her about the line-up for somewhat self-serving reasons, it was also out of respect for all the people who were in the lineup behind me.

Now here is the puzzling piece. She turned to me and my buddy and said “oh gee, what would I do without two big men to tell me, such a dumb little girl, how to do things.”

I had no idea how to respond. So I went to my default reaction and laughed awkwardly and then pretended it didn’t happen. She left the front of the line and went to the back of the line so I didn’t have to say anything more to her but, what a weird awkward situation.

The reality is that I would’ve told anybody who tried to bypass the lineup that they were entering from the wrong spot. It wasn’t because she was a young woman it was because she was inadvertently bypassing all the people in the lineup.

Was I wrong? Should I have just left the situation alone and not said anything to her?

Snowpocalypse 2016; a Tip of the Hat to CUPE 

After working his regular 8 hour afternoon shift at a school cleaning classrooms, washrooms, hallways and offices, one of my friends, a CUPE brother volunteered, like so many others, to come in to work the next morning at 5am to help clear snow and ice off the sidewalks and steps around and leading into the school.

He hand shovelled 2200 stairs that morning all while the snow continued to fall. After working his regular shift the night before. 

Someone had the nerve to come out of the school and complain to him that the stairs were still slippery. 

I prefer to take a different approach. 

I send heartfelt thanks to all the CUPE members who have worked around the clock so diligently over this last week trying to keep our schools, our community centres, and our roads and the so-many public services open and accessible. 

Sincerely, THANK YOU.