Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interest Rates, Dollar, Going Up

The last few years have been pretty crazy as far as the economy goes, with many things going well out of the price range of the average person. You know what I'm talking about. Housing, fuel, etc. Everyone trying to make a big buck and fast.

I'm not much of an expert on economics, but I've felt for a long time that things are well out of balance and there has to be some kind of correction coming down the pipe. It looks like things are starting to go the way I figured.

This article posted on CBC today is in regards to the Bank of Canada and their indication that the interest rate will very likely be increasing again (it just went up last week).

CBC: Dollar jumps as Bank of Canada signals rate hike may be near

The Canadian dollar is going up, and fast. Within Canada, that doesn't have much of an effect, except that manufacturing is being hurt as other countries aren't making use of our "cheap" labour. A Big Mac is still $3.55 no matter what the rate is.

"The dollar closed above 93 cents US on Tuesday after the Bank of Canada signalled that inflation pressures may lead to higher interest rates sooner rather than later."

And the banks are predicting two further increases to stem the inflation.

"RBC economists also expect a rate hike in July and another later in the year."

So, what does all this mean? I can't say for sure, but I'm hoping it's all leading towards bringing the market back to where it should be, so that a regular working guy like me can buy a house to raise a family in, a yard to own a dog, and a garage to work in.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

FaceBook.com

Before you read this article, you will have been in one of these three categories:
  1. Never heard of FaceBook
  2. Doing your best to avoid FaceBook
  3. Caught up in the FaceBook wave
So, what is FaceBook?

It's the latest and greatest in online communities, where you can create your own profile, photo albums, groups, etc, and make connections with other users. This is mainly done through making people your "friend", allowing you and your friend to see each other's profile, plus see who your friends are, send messages, and a whole lot more.

As your network of friends grows, the more you can see happening, and the more time you can spend reading all the other things that are being posted (hence the group who are avoiding FaceBook).

I was one of those trying to avoid it, thinking it just another silly community site. Then I created an account and discovered that it's actually a lot better than the ones I've used before. It's super user-friendly, easy to do things, and allows more options than other sites. I can see why it's become so popular so fast. And worth a boatload of money too.

A success story: Just yesterday, I made contact with my best friend in Elementary school, who I haven't seen for probably fifteen years! All thanks to Facebook!

If you want to see what all the hype is about, click the link below. Then, look me up and add me to your friends list!

http://www.facebook.com

Reference

Wikipedia: FaceBook

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Victoria Day Long Weekend Trip

We took a short vacation last weekend with Nathanael and Shelley and their kids to Victoria. We hadn't been there since our honeymoon, and needed a bit of a break, so off we went for a few days of relaxation.

Going to Victoria means taking the ferry, which can be a challenge. However, we got on the next sailing both ways... snuck on the back each time with only a few cars behind us.


Nathanael and Shelley on the ferry

On Saturday, we visited a local market which was full of a lot of stuff we didn't need but was neat to look at anyway. We headed out to Fort Rodd after that. It's an old military fort that has a lighthouse which is a national historic site.


The lighthouse at Fort Rodd


Natasha and Andrew, overlooking the ocean

Just prior to that, we made a lunch stop at Burger King. Mmm... Whoppers! The kids got those paper crowns too, and we borrowed them for a quick shot while they were in the playground.


The burger king and queen

Sunday was a mostly cloudy, cool, and rainy day, and we decided to spend it indoors. The Royal BC Museum had a special feature, Titanica, all about the sinking of the Titanic. Wow, that place was crowded. The line-up just to get into the exhibit was long, and getting around inside wasn't all that easy. The exhibit itself was informative, but I wouldn't say exciting. Lots of reading, and a lot of things recovered from the wreckage, or recreations.

The IMAX film was good, but also seemed to be lacking in content. They are short films due to the nature of the film size, but I think there was room to add more information.

However, we still all had a good time, saw some things we'd seen before, some new things, and kept dry for most of the day. As no photos were allowed inside the exhibits, I have nothing to show you. I could definitely have taken photos with my 50mm f/1.8 lens without a flash, but to be honest, it wouldn't have been anything exciting to show, and getting a clear shot with all those people would have been nearly impossible.

Monday morning started off sunny and warm, and just got better throughout the day. We got up, had some breakfast, then walked down to the city center to watch the Victoria Day parade. It was a very impressive show, with tons of marching bands, and not very many boring floats. Bands came from all over BC and Washington and they were very entertaining to watch. A lot more creativity seems to go into that sort of thing than I remember in the past. Only one thing missing though. I remember back when I was younger in Edmonton, the army brought tanks to the parade... now that was cool.

Then we watched the cannon salute and another band playing God Save The Queen. The cannons were big and loud, and at least a few car alarms in the area were going off. The blast is so powerful, they created smoke rings which continued until they were quite high up.


Smoke ring up in the sky

On our way back from the parade we were a bit short on time, and hired a Pedi-Cab to give us a mini tour and bring us back to the hotel.


Riding in luxury!

After that it was a whirlwind trip to Beacon Hill Park, Patrica Bay (where we picked up a handful of sand dollars), then onto the ferry for the trip home.

Hope you all had a good weekend. For you Americans, I hope your upcoming holiday is a lot of fun too.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mega City

We're still playing our new favourite game, Carcassonne. If you haven't played it yet, invite us over (or get invited here) and we'll teach you how. It's easy, fun, and totally fascinating. Some friends of ours, Jeremy and Leanne, totally outdid us and bought the "Big Box" with all the major expansions. Looking forward to the ensuing competition!

The last game Natasha and I played together produced a city which broke our record, for a whopping 54 points:


Our largest mega city yet!

Natasha scored the city by clever use of the Count of Carcassonne, but I won in the end by a few points because of farmer placement.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gas Prices Through The Roof

Gas prices continue to climb, and here's a picture to show you what the prices are like in our area:


People need an extra part time job to pay for gas these days!

Looking back to older posts, there's one that shows Fredericton prices at $1.39/litre in September 2005. Going back to March 2005, I have a post wondering whether or not prices are going over a dollar.

We've arrived. High prices are here, and I wonder where they're going...

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Minter Gardens

On Saturday, we got a call from two friends of ours, Greg and Jola, and we decided to make a trip out to Harrison Hot Springs for the day. On our way, we stopped by Minter Gardens. We'd been there once, before we were engaged, and the other two had never been.

The weather was really great, and it made for some good photos.


Minter Gardens, always well decorated


Their gardening artwork is amazing


Tulips are the featured flower right now


The two of us, by a fountain in one of the gardens

Afterwards, we went to the beach at Harrison and had a picnic snack, walked down to the hot springs, then had supper at a local Sushi restaurant.

Overall, a great way to spend a weekend. Good weather, good friends, good food, what more could one want?

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Weekend Weather

Friday has arrived and we're heading into what looks like a beautiful weekend with lots of sun. Hopefully we'll be able to take a walk, do some biking, anything to get out and enjoy the good weather. It's been chilly for a long time so it's nice to see some higher temperatures.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Puzzle: Nantucket Winds

Our latest puzzle is our favorite so far. 1000 pieces, but a lot easier than the horses...


Nantucket Winds

We're going to take it apart, but are thinking about making it again sometime and perhaps mounting and framing it if we found the right place for it.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

More Artwork

My sister, Susanna, just released her latest drawing which was a gift for her sister-in -law.


Latest artwork by Susanna, the family artist

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

10 Year Graduation Anniversary

It's here. That time so many people talk about... when you've been out of school for 10 years! I can still remember when I was in school, thinking about how long it was going to be before I finished. Then you get out of school and suddenly you realize you've almost been out of school as long as you were in.

I haven't been contacted by anyone regarding a reunion yet. If it's happening at all, they probably tried to find me but weren't able to. That's okay though. While I really like the school, I have few friends from there (none that I have any contact with), and I can think of more interesting things to do anyway. Maybe when 25 years goes by, it might be more interesting.

Anyway, the point is... 10 years has gone by since I was a skinny kid getting out of school and going into Tech School. I sure could have used some of the maturity I've gained since then, but I guess that's all a part of growing up and getting experience in the real world.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Oral Tradition

Last night we had a guest speaker at our church; none other than Rabbi Richman, a Jewish Rabbi, and the International Director of the Temple Institute. The organization's goal is the rebuilding of the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount, as well as the creation of the tools and objects used in service by the priests.


Rabbi Chaim Richman

I've heard him speak a number of times before, and it's been really interesting. Last night's, however, was especially interesting. His topic was mainly to do with the Oral Tradition that the Jews have, which contains more in-depth information on what is written in the Torah. They believe this information has been passed down verbally all the way from Moses, when he received it from God during the 40 days and nights he was up on the mountain.

He brought out some very interesting points about a number of Bible scriptures that if simply read over don't seem that special, but when looked at more closely, seem to be interconnected. The overview is as follows:

In Genesis, we read about Jacob making a coat of many colors for Joseph just before he was sold into slavery. Surely this wouldn't have been mentioned for no reason, and in fact, throughout the scriptures, a special garment is mentioned numerous times. For example, the garment that Rachel put on Jacob when he was going to go see his father, Isaac.

The Oral Tradition says that God gave Adam a special garment, which was handed down through the generations, to Noah, later to Nimrod, and then to Esau (Apparently, these last two got it under suspicious circumstances). That would be the garment that Jacob wore to see his father, and later, the same one he gave to Joseph.

One interesting thing to note about the garment was that it is supposed to give the wearer some kind of control of animals. This could have something to do with the fact that Nimrod and Esau were hunters, and may well have assisted Noah in his care of the animals during his time on the Ark.

The question begs to be asked, however... if this garment survived for over a thousand years, surely it continued on much longer. Perhaps even until today, in which case, where might it be?

There's a lot more detail which I can't cover here, and it might seem really unclear just from this brief description. Some of the links in this article will shed some light on the Oral Tradition itself. I would love to discuss it with anyone who has an interest, however, and if you want to see the entire recorded lecture, send me an email and I will let you know how you can access it. I guarantee you will be intrigued, regardless of whatever else you may think.

References
Temple Institute
Temple Mount
Oral Tradition

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