Post Boxing Day

The weather here is typical ‘rain forest’ with a bit of white. It sets the mood to do just about nothing. I am back reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami. The writer is unbelievable. He has the ability to paint the scene as if you were there and then breaks you into his world by the short comments his characters make. The common become the exceptional be it a cat, a waiter or a glass of water. You can get lost in his world.

Our bathroom tap set needs some washer and parts changed but it is a Delta so it gets complicated. First let me say anything mechanical, anything that requires tools, is a foreign country to me. My son helped me remove the faucet and get the parts. But this morning, even when putting the faucet in a vice, I can’t loosen the faucet part to put the replacement parts in. A pipe wrench wouldn’t even do it. One final strategy needs to be completed before I dial the plumber.

My wife gave me a few nice shirts for Christmas. My sleeve length is long so the selection is usually only 3 choices, blue, white or sometimes yellow. They still use pins in the packaging which is sometimes dangerous. Men and pins, they just don’t go together. You could get a closer relationship with a bobbypin before you could with a straight pin. There used to be five but now there is about 7 pins per shirt. The question is why more pins?

Our son leaves for Madagascar next week so tomorrow we head down to Mountain Equipment Co-op to get him some stuff. I am wondering what items one takes to Madagascar. And of course on our way down we hit the skateboard shop. They have the neatest T-shirts and this is the only time they are affordable.

In the meantime still working on the New Years blog entry.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This last week as been, well let’s just say very volatile. It was like a roller coaster with events at every hill and turn. But by tomorrow afternoon it will return to something normal.

Not many entries this month but tons of stuff to write about. I have a number of papers to go through, 3 of the most interesting being:
– Filene’s Alternative Capital for U.S. Credit Unions?
– System Operations Committee Enterprise Risk Management Draft
– Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between BC and Alberta
Dry reading to say the least but some monumental works that will change some of the ways we do things in the future.

Time to take a break and be with family and friends. The PlayStation 3 came back from Sony (oh thank you Sony!), the fireplace is working beautifully, the new dishwasher is a quiet as a mouse, the turkey is in the fridge and someone brought me a bottle of Glen Breton Canada’s Only single malt whiskey aged 10 years. Now that should be interesting! Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

The miscellaneous of Christmas

Less than 2 weeks away from Christmas and too much left to do. Why would this year be any different from any other. The only people I have ever run into that are totally prepared for the Christmas holidays are the ones that leave for Europe or some warm place right about now.

We had a great Vancouver Blogger’s meetup last night. Interesting conversations with some of the most interesting people you could ever meet. It start’s at 7 and is usually over by 10 but it seems only 15 minutes long. We talked about how friends we know either get the social media/facebook/blogging/twitter thing or don’t. There just doesn’t seem to be a mid point, it is either or. Funny how that works.

Our oldest son Fleming and his wife came in yesterday from sunny and cold Saskatoon. It is great to have him home for the holidays. This is the first Christmas in 25 years that one of the family members won’t be with us (his brother lives in Copenhagen). It will be different but the excitement of seeing your kid(s) again is pretty powerful. Hopefully Santa will be generous to everyone.

A few weeks ago we got a PS3. Great gaming system. Never having been a gamer it was time to see what all the fuss over gaming was about and to put it bluntly it definitely has arrived. PS3 or Xbox, the hardware and newer software in producing the realism needed to absorb the gamer into this virtual world is there. And the pundits keeps saying that the games don’t use the full potential of the hardware.

Music. Listing to Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by RV Williams while driving to work today. It is on a CD called “Meditations for a Quiet Night“. The last few minutes of this piece are remarkable. This is a piece of music that evokes some strong emotions everytime you listen to it. On a lighter side the library had the Dandy Warhols – Welcome to the Monkey House in it’s rack. The CD cover was interesting, the music is pretty good. Original, melodic, and different.

Tomorrow night is the CUs Christmas Party at the Granville Island Hotel. There won’t be that many people attending but we should have fun. We’ll have a Wii setup (thanks to Forum Solutions for the idea in October) so hopefully there won’t be any serious sporting injuries.

An interesting error

Today started off bad then got worse. Nothing life threatening. It seems that the monthly member statement we send out was missing the last 3 days of entries and balances. Of course the service charges which are debited the last day of the month don’t show on the statement. So we had the challenge of deciding what to do. This is what we agreed upon.

1. A letter needs to go out to every member stating that there has been an error and that we will fix the missing entries by making next month’s statement inclusive of the 3 days missed in November.

2. The letter would be mailed out with the address on the envelope done with a label.

3. The letter would also state that members can come into the branch at any time for a corrected statement.

Will these steps be enough? Have we missed anything? Given that most members have Internet banking what is the real impact of an error like this? We have changed so many ways we have done business that the printed statement becomes a bi-product of a past age for some and for others still a necessity. There will be some members who will not notice the error because they never open the mailed statement.
We live in the best of times as well as living in the worst of times it seems. Maybe we live with too many variables and choices and the ability to decide what we want is so clouded by the variety offered.

When was the last time you bought some local art?

The holiday season is upon us and being busy just seems to appear. With only a few weeks left I am sure most of us won’t complete what we had planned for the festive season. Drove down to the Drive to get Christmas cards and also picked up a great picture by a local artist, It is an acrylic done from a picture taken in the early 60’s in downtown Vancouver. The gallery owner had a great display of local artists but we agreed that Vancouver is still in its infancy when it comes to supporting local artists. That really is a definition of a world class city, when it has a strong and vibrant artistic community that is supported and appreciated by a majority of its citizens. We give a lot of small talk about being ‘partons of the arts’ but just ask yourself how much local art decorates the walls of your residence?
Art is in the eye of the beholder but there seems to be a tendency to follow what is in vogue rather than enjoy and develop the art that you appreciate. How many Robert Bateman prints have you seen in your lifetime? Not that Bateman prints are not art, it just seems there are probably pieces that anyone would enjoy more if they spent the time to look for something more inclined to their personality. Here is the hitch — it may cost you a little more. You can look at it this way though, you are supporting someone locally who probably is still in the starving artist category (that’s why you can afford their paintings) and when you do get something you really like you will never tire of it. Art that you appreciate always holds that value of never getting boring. Pictures I have had for 30 years still allow me to sit and ‘drink in’ all those reasons why I still continue to enjoy the picture.