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Interesting People Everywhere

It's been a good week to recharge after our long weekend in Vancouver for the BAC Bakery Expo. While you can almost see Vancouver from our place (you can't but I like to imagine it) it's still surprising to me how convoluted it is to get home via public transportation.

The panel discussion I hosted ended at 10AM, and after one final trip around the trade show looking for any type of connection, we left the conference centre in search of breakfast. Then it was a walk to the train station, take the sky-train to the bus connector, bus to the ferry station and a lovely 90 minute ferry to Vancouver Island. Then wait for another bus (which in the heat wave had to stop three times to cool the engine) and an hour bus ride home. We arrived to feed the cat just after 5pm.

I keep thinking how it would make so much more sense for a passenger ferry (walk ons only) to go from harbour to harbour, downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver. But it's never set up for anything more than luxury vacation travel. $199 per ticket, one sailing per day, when a boat can afford to operate. Perhaps it's because the harbours don't face each other - getting out of Victoria harbour and around the southern tip of the island adds a lot to the journey, but I'd much rather omit all the buses.

If we took 1/10th of the money we spend on road construction and put it into public ferries and trains, I wonder what we could build.

Interesting people, everywhere #

Being in a new city, with children who have grown up and moved away, means that there aren't many opportunities for casual conversations. You have to make the opportunities yourself. It seems like this week, public transportation gave me those opportunities.

I was off Tuesday but walked down to the shop (Union Pacific Coffee, where I bake part time) to pick up my set of house keys. Lindsay and John both looked like they saw a ghost when I walked in at 8AM. As in, oh sh*t, we don't have a place for him to work. The look of relief when I told them my mission was hilarious.

On the way back, I said good morning to two elderly ladies at the bus stop on Belleville. They were both wearing hot pink running outfits, even though they were both under 5 feet tall and well into their eighties. I said they looked like they were on a great adventure and we ended up chatting for 10 minutes, until their bus arrived. They are from Manitoba and northern Ontario and are part of a women's running group. They were just in Tofino and, with one day in Victoria, decided to take the public bus to Butchart Gardens.

We talked about living in Victoria and how it's so different than the prairies, why the sun is so amazing in wintertime even though it's cold, and all the different flowers you get out here.

On Saturday, Cindy and I did a huge walk to Moss Street Market, Gonzales Hill, Oak Bay Village and Willows beach. It was a glorious warm, sunny spring day with clear enough skies that the view from the Height of Land lookout was spectacular. On the bus ride home, two young boys got on trying to manage their scooters and a massive desktop computer case as well. The case was bulky; each of them had an end as they shuffled down the aisle and sat in the row in front of us. I asked them what they were building, where they got the case, etc. and they were thrilled to have someone to talk to. They're building their own gaming PC from the raw parts and you could see how excited they were to get home and crack open the box. They were buzzing like only 12 year olds can buzz.

Sunday was cold and windy when we hopped on another bus, this time to UVIC. The theatre was screening The Quiet Girl which came with a huge recommendation from my friend Bernadette. The film is brilliant and you must see it. But it gave us a chance for another chat while waiting for the bus home. A woman noticed we were leaving the film and started talking about being Irish (the film is based in Ireland and the dialogue is in the Irish language), and her family back in Ireland who she met later in life. She even had pictures of herself as a young woman to show us she used to have bright red hair.

To Read #

  • I finished the final installment of Shaun Blythell's diaries in a day and a half. The Remainders of the Day once again has me yearning to be a bookseller. I hope his diaries sell well because it doesn't look like he's ever made money at the bookshop, but my goodness, his lifestyle and the ebb and flow of life in Wigtown, Scotland seems spectacular. It makes me want to find the same ebb and flow here. I'm sure I can if I look hard enough.

  • I'm whizzing through Rick Rubin's new book The Creative Act: A Way of Being because I got it on a 7 day "fast reads" loan from the library. I'm struggling though. The book is excellent, but unlike Blythell's diaries, I get lost in my own thoughts after each short chapter. I have two days to go and I fear I will only be 80% of the way through. I might buy this one, if only to mark it up and generate 1000 posts from it.

To Watch #

  • I already mentioned The Quiet Girl but it's worth a repeat. Find this movie and watch it. Please. It's an excellent piece of filmmaking and storytelling.

  • I finally got around to watching Marc Maron's latest special From Bleak to Dark. I liked it. Although after years of listening to his monologues twice a week on his podcast, I seem to enjoy the rhythm and pace of the monologues. I guess it's what you're used to. Still, I thought the special was very good.

To Listen #

  • My Tidal 'daily discovery' seems to think I'm into 90's pop and I don't know why. Although it did throw up Everyday People from Sly & the Family Stone and Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols, which made it onto my ever growing playlist. Take a hint, algorithm!

  • And my podcast is back! Now that the bakery showcase is over I can finally release several new episodes of Rise Up! the Baker Podcast. This week I talked with Ron Bokenfohr a farmer and miller just outside Edmonton, Alberta. He's into regenerative agriculture, sprouting and milling his grain and scaling up big time. I learned a lot from this talk, especially around how what I find impossible others find easy.

On Writing #

  • I'm back keeping my own diary (thank you Shawn Blythell) on pen and paper, every morning.

  • And I made up my own custom letterhead so I can write or type love notes and send them around. That was fun.

  • I converted a dozen or so old posts from the squarespace site to work on this Eleventy site. Bringing over the posts about past podcast episodes is a very manual, tedious process, thanks to how Libsyn stores content and won't let me query it.

Geeking Out #

Lots of geekery this week.

  • On Friday I met up with my altMBA coaches gaming group. Five of us from Canada, USA and Australia meeting up every two weeks to try and play a role playing game over Zoom. I've missed the past several sessions due to work conflicts and time zones, so it was great to see everyone again.

  • Regina Stamp Club virtual meeting was on Wednesday so I Zoomed in for it. Julius gave a presentation on the changes to Hungarian stamps after WWI, but the joy for me was learning about how the Hungarian Empire was broken up and forced into nation states. The exercise tried to assume ethnic segregation where non really existed, which is one reason why that area of the world keeps on forming smaller and smaller nations. The nation state model might not actually work in all cases, you know.

  • I re-discovered Weeda Stamps and their monthly bid-board. It was all I could do to avoid bidding on several large boxes of stamps, albums and stockbooks.

  • I did a shallow dive into OpenBSD based on this post on Tech Independence by Derek Sivers.

  • Fired up my Raspberry Pi, confirmed that the Network Attached Storage (NAS) server I built on it still works, and added a personal web server on it too. I'm thinking hard about moving this website to the Raspberry Pi. I've got fast, symmetrical fibre internet access, so it should work.

  • I changed my browser settings to purge all cookies and caches when I close the browser, in an attempt at less tracking. All that means is I need to log into gmail every time I open a browser. So I downloaded Thunderbird and am playing around with client-side email again. And if that's not enough, I started reading up on Emacs and maybe reading email that way. Honestly, I think Thunderbird might be a bridge too far, and Emacs is nothing more than a time-wasting pipe dream (for me!)

  • All of a sudden my podcast site is inaccessible. Yikes! Email support at Libsyn is slooooow, so I'm a little frustrated. Nothing has changed on my end for months and months. There appear to be DNS issues but again, it's been working for months. Years even.

Mind and Body #

  • The only meditation I got this week was while scooping scones at UP. I need to do more of this (breathing, not scooping.)

  • My back is still messed up but it comes down to me. Don't stretch, don't add strength, rely on Robaxiset and this is what happens.

  • But all of this might just be due to bad eating habits. To much dairy this week. Far too much. Must do better. Embrace the oat, Marko!