The Dead Raccoon; the Final Chapter

The final chapter in the dead raccoon saga. The raccoon moves on.

On the dead raccoon; after coming home and finding there was still a large dead raccoon in my driveway I realized that it was time for action.

Dead Raccoon
Dead Raccoon

In the morning at 0630hr I called the 24 hour Emergency Services for Water, Sewer and Roads. Ryan was the happy voice of our city who had the pleasure of taking my call.

In a very stern voice I simply said, “Ryan. I justed wanted to let you know there is a large dead raccoon on the side of the road in front of my house. (Notice I did not say “in my driveway”) My address is Blah-Blah-Blah Crescent. There are no outward signs of trauma on the raccoon and he is not bleeding out. But he is definitely dead. Will you let your people know so they can come and get it? Thanks.”

When I got home from work the raccoon had moved on.

However, shortly after that call, I was sitting and looking out the window watching the rain falling and wondering about the raccoon’s life when a teenage male came slouching up the street, head down, hoodie up. He got to within three feet of the raccoon before he saw the dead beast.

Now I have to admit, the raccoon was quite fierce looking. He had all his teeth bared and his little feet with claws exposed were rather ominous. He appeared ready to rip someone or something to shreds.

When the teenager got to within three feet of that coon he made eye contact with it. And once he made eye contact you knew he was not going to make any physical contact. He turned around as quick as a wink and ran, arms flailing, fists pumping, legs taking massive, awkward strides while his coat and hoodie flew off his head. He was more like a cartoon figure than any cartoon figure I have ever seen.

Shit, it was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

The Dead Raccoon

This is one of the most popular blog posts I have ever written. It is actually a three part series, so here is the first part of the dead raccoon saga.

So I have very large and very dead raccoon laying in my driveway and I have no idea what to do about it.

Dead Raccoon
Dead Raccoon

Just for the record, the large rock near the dead raccoon’s head was placed there as a warning to other beasts (and crows) of what might befall them if they come too close. It was in no way involved in his death.

Being the kind of guy who likes to take care of things like this as soon as possible, I raced back in the house and told my Sweetheart to do something about the dead raccoon in our driveway.

My Sweetheart is also the kind of person who likes to take care of things like dead raccoons right away so she phoned the SPCA. When they heard we lived in the suburbs they just said, “We don’t come out there.” They said call someone in your own city.

Sweetheart calls City of Coquitlam Animal Shelter. “We don’t deal with stuff like that. Just put on double rubber gloves and a hazmat suit that is impermeable to claws, in case he comes alive, and double bag him in a garbage bag then put him in your trash can.”

Well I’m not letting my Sweetheart do something as dangerous as that. No way. So I told her to keep calling other agencies while I Googled what to do with dead raccoons in your driveway.

BC Wildlife was the next call. As soon as they heard it was dead they lost all interest. I suppose they didn’t hear me in the background saying, “It’s not dead yet, it’s just sleeping!” They didn’t care. All I heard was a “click.”

Thankfully it is not too warm outside or he might be getting kind of stinky. Tomorrow I will load him into a cardboard box and take him down to Coquitlam City Hall to get the definitive answer of what I am supposed to do with him.

Updates tomorrow I suppose.

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!!