Monday, April 29, 2013

Working the Keyboard...

It does happen, from time to time, that bloggers have little to report....or feel they have little to say.  These past few days reflects that for us.  It is not that we aren't busy, it's just that our activities of late seem to be less interesting to write or to read about.

I have been busy co-writing a substantive TV drama production bid, with the fella who purchased my multimedia production company, a few years back.  It is a demanding submission - requiring an unbelievable amount of detailed information. 

It's an interesting film project though! That is primarily why I agreed to lend my hand to it.  Should we be chosen as the successful proponent, I will produce the film and Shawn will direct it.
Over 30 pages of substantive information are required to fulfill the bid requirements.
The bidding process has been demanding.  No stone is left unturned, so to speak! It takes hours upon hours of thought and linear planning to put a complete production plan together; including film crew positions, assignments, casting calls, actor skills, locations, licensing, permits, make-up, wardrobe, insurance, catering, budgets and more.

I have been spending hours and hours thinking, researching, formulating and writing.
We'll see what happens.  I would give our bid a 1 in 6 or 7 chance of success.  We do not know how many companies were invited to bid but my guess - based on years of working in this industry - leads me to believe that six or seven companies will spend the exhaustive time putting a bid book together. That said, it was fun to, once again, get thoroughly focused in the world of the TV/Film business.  I chose to come on board and, if we are the successful proponent, I'll be busy with this project for two months, beginning this early June.  If not successful, I'll keep busy with all of the other activities we so often blog about.
Easton comes to visit and quickly heads for his toy basket in our home.
There have been short respite periods during the writing process.  Easton has dropped by a  few times and the break away from my office is most welcomed.  It freshens the writing juices.
Jeanette dropped by Easton's home to deliver a little fire truck toy we purchased during our RVing months in the desert.
Working the phone....
A fair bit of time was spent on the phones with potential creative contributors who would work on our drama project.  So many talented and creative positions need to be filled to produce this interactive TV project and we had to show that we have the talent pool available.  The phones lines were kept quite warm.  We now have our core film crew on board....and ready.

The decision makers will advise us by mid-May on their decision.  We'll hope for the best.  What else can we do?????
Jeanette and I will not be home when the bid decision is confirmed.  We will be somewhere in California, Oregon or Washington, riding our new motorcycle back home.  Blog readers will recall that we left the Harley Davidson in a storage facility in Palm Springs.  We did bring our older Nomad motorcycle back on our swivel wheel, on the drive back from the desert.  

We leave for Palm Springs on May 6th to retrieve the Electra Glide, Ultra Classic, and ride it home.  We're looking forward to that trip.  It will be a little holiday.
Looking forward to riding these new wheels back home.'s time to end this blog and head off to our accountant's office to sign off on our 2012 income tax documents.  Actually, the documents were emailed to us for signing.  I'm going to drop the signed forms back, along with a cheque to keep Revenue Canada's lights on.

Onwards and forward....!

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Jeanette and I went to Oklahoma and really enjoyed it!
In color 'Red', the State of Oklahoma.....
Well, no, it wasn't the State of Oklahoma, it was The Musical.
The live Musical was fantastic.
Friends, Lorne and Mariette, called a few weeks back and offered to have us join them to see this 1st class musical.  We were in for that. It was a fun night out.  Thanks for the dinner and the show tickets!

We met for dinner, this Wednesday evening past, then drove to the the great little city of New Westminster - the very first Provincial Capital City of British Columbia - to view the performance at the Massey Theatre.
The city built on the shores of the mighty Fraser River
New Westminster is a historically important city in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada, and is a member municipality of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. It was founded as the capital of the Colony of British Columbia (1858–1866).
New Westminster is located on the Burrard Peninsula, on the north bank of the Fraser River. It is 19 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of the City of Vancouver proper, adjacent to Burnaby and Coquitlam and across the Fraser River from Surrey. A portion of New Westminster called Queensborough is located on the eastern tip of Lulu Island, adjacent to Richmond. The total land area is 15.3 square kilometres (5.9 sq mi).

Cast of characters....
Many will recall that the music was by Richard Rodgers and the book and lyrics were written by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Set in a a western territory just after the turn of the century, the high spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which a handsome cowboy and a winsome farm girl play out their love story.

The show was based on the 1931 play Green Grow The Lilacs, and was the first fully integrated musical play.

Oklahoma is a timeless story with unforgettable music

The theatre company put together a great cast of principals and extras. 

The musical director conducted a large group of professional musicians.

The garden is showing signs of life...
It is truly spring like weather we've experienced these past few days.  It has been sunny and quite warm.  It feels good to, once again, be able to wear short pants.

Jeanette and I have busier than 'one armed paper hangers'. It is self inflicted.  But today calls for a break in the busy business I am precoccupied with.  An invite to golf got me in the mood to play.  This will be my first golf game since our return from Palm Springs, CA.  Truly looking forward to that.
This past week has been busy for Jeanette too.  She met with her retired (and non-retired) nursing friends, for lunch.  She has spent a bit of time looking after Easton.  She played in her flower garden to remove all unsightly stems and limbs.  She attended to routine medical and dental appointments...intermixed with shopping and stuff....and will be focused on some sewing stuff today.  She's not lacking for projects and activities! 

So, all is well and fine here.  We trust all is well with you and yours too!

And that concludes this blog.   Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RV West Magazine Article & RV Repairs

Well, well, well, well, well!  Who would have thunk it!

Shortly before leaving the Palm Springs area, only a few weeks back, on our planned route back for home, we received an email from RV West Magazine.

The magazine was interested in writing an article about our RV adventures.  (Click on the following link to access the article)    RV Voyageurs | RVwest  

Photo taken for the RV West Magazine article
 We thought about that for a few days and, following up on their request, Jeanette and I agreed to participate.   RV Voyageurs | RVwest 

Other bloggers - Rick & Paulette's RV Travels     Six Saturdays and a Sunday | Work's over, now it's time to play! , to name a few, added the link for the article on their blog.  The result was a flurry of very nice emails from not only our blog followers, but from so many others who may not follow our blog.  To that we say a big "thank you." Your kind words were appreciated!
Monday's arrival at the RV Sales and Repair facility
On the home front though,  Jeanette and I have been busier than we could have imagined, since returning from our snow birding winter adventure, only a few short weeks ago. Our past blogs reflect those activities.  And there is more!

A primary activity has been in dealing with the RV insurance company to complete the 'tire blowout repairs' to our 5th wheel.  Last January's southern California blowout tore up a good part of our electrical system.  The emergency repairs, done at a Bakersfield, CA, RV repair facility, were sufficient to get us by.  In fact, the technician who worked on our rig was quite good.

From a distance, it seems there is little damage....but underneath tells a different story.
Now back home, the insurance company promised to complete the required repairs, including new fender skirting, repairing and painting the damaged metal, completing the wiring repairs (mainly twelve volt) and ensuring that our 'Safe Alert' LP gas warning system is operating once again.  

Yesterday, I received a convoluted call from the insurance adjuster stating that if the repair facility finds some electrical issues were not caused by the tire blowout, we will be on the hook for that.  I can't imagine that any damage was not caused by the blowout.  Our 5th wheel was in 'A' rated condition with all systems operating.  To put it mildly, this was the most stupid conversation I could have had with the insurance adjuster.  Remember that this call was with the insurance adjuster, not the insurance company.  The insurance company was very good to deal with by phone while in southern California.

Stay tuned for more on this.
At Fraserway RV in Abbotsford, BC
I was told by the repair facility that the plastic 'Cardinal' fender skirt could take six weeks to arrive.  That's OK.  We're not planning to RV anywhere in the next month or two.

Unhitched....and ready to drive the truck back home.
Here's a little teaser for RVers out there.  Our January tire blowout may have been caused by the fact that the RV tires were failing.  Although near new - 'G' rated (14 ply) radials - and holding 110 lbs of pressure, the tires were made in China.  Chinese manufactured tires do not have a good reputation.  Check the internet and you'll find countless stories about Chinese made tires that explode.
Readying to load the motorcycle in Desert Hot Springs, CA
Well, on our return drive back for home, Jeanette and I were concerned about another near new Chinese made tire that was showing signs of distress.  And it was!

That story will be featured in a future blog.  I am researching some substantive information before going all out with writing that blog.

In short though, we were forced to throw out three, near new (less than 5,000 miles) Chinese made tires for US made tires (with very high consumer rating) while still in southern California, only a few short weeks ago.

Have a look at these photos.  The first one shows just how one of the Chinese manufactured tires is failing and compare that photo to the one where we have installed brand new USA made tires.  Notice the gap between the two tires in each photo.
Chinese made tires about to explode on our 5th wheel - note the gap (or lack thereof) between the two tires.
USA made tires once installed on our 5th wheel - note the wide space in the gap.
The  Chinese made, steel belted radial RV tires were coming apart inside and forcing the belts outward.  An RV tire blowout is like a bomb going off. With 110 lbs of tire pressure (on our rig) the damage can be extensive.  So, tire buyers, beware when purchasing your RV tires.

Enough of a tease! 

There is a substantive story to be told.  That will happen once I have completed my research and can address the salient points with facts.

Other priorities are taking precedents for I must press on with completing those before furthering my research.

Thanks for dropping in.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Visitors, A Sleepover....and RV Repairs!!!!

Our weekend was a busy one.  Our son and his wife (Deni and Courtney) flew into Vancouver, from Edmonton, Alberta, to attend a wedding and visit with family.  They arrived on Friday evening and flew back home last evening.

Easton spends some time with his Aunt Courtney and Uncle Deni
Ginette and Trevor were attending the same wedding.  We were asked if Easton could have a sleepover at our home.  We were quick to say yes.  The little fella came over on Saturday morning and he kept us busy.
Easton loves to climb stairs - over and over and over again.....
The busy beaver that he is, Easton kept us hopping. He wants to walk - holding our fingers - back and forth...and all over.  And we did a lot of that.
When tired of walking, he played on his own
Jeanette and I had a great time with him.  When it was time for bed, he adapted quickly and slept the entire night....just like at home.
A family group shot - taken before our Sunday brunch
Easton had not seen his aunt and uncle since Christmas and it took a few minutes of warming up before he was game to to engage with them.  Once engaged, he was all in for the fun.

Courtney and Deni brought Easton a special wood box with various wood blocks.  A few books for some night time reading will be helpful soon too.

Jeanette went all out with preparations for our Sunday brunch.  What a meal that was!
Dessert was this key lime pie....and it was decorated to celebrate our son's recent birthday.
Easton was invited to help Deni blow out the candles....and he found that somewhat interesting.
Before leaving the house, Easton offers an unconditional bye bye hug.
Soon to hitch up and deliver the 5th wheel to the RV repair facility
Readers may recall the early January, 2013, tire blowout we faced while on I-5 in southern California.  That caused a lot of damage to the wiring and skirting. 

 Being a polar unit - with a sealed underbelly - the tire blast left a fair bit of work to be completed back here, following the emergency repairs we had done in Bakersfield, CA.  

Our insurance company was great to deal with, to cover the emergency repairs, and we had an understanding that once back in BC, the balance of the repairs - including body work - would be completed.  That is what will happen in the weeks ahead.

A destroyed near new tire.....!
I  do have a substantive story to relate about exploding tires and will blog about that in the weeks ahead.  Before that happens, a fair bit of research is required.  I have numerous photos and I believe most, if not all, RVers will be interested in our experiences and findings.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grunt Work and a Pleasant Hike in The Forest

A good friend of mine asked if I could lend a hand to help level his front sidewalk.  Following our 'Open Mike' Sunday morning coffee, we drove to his home and, after looking at the task at hand, I agreed to meet him on Tuesday afternoon to fix the problem.
This was bull work.
Due to root growth, the sidewalk had warped to uneven and dangerous undulations.  Now, those who know my friend, Denis and I, know that very little makes us run away from a challenge.  And a challenge this job was.  These concrete blocks are extremely heavy.
Super heavy concrete sidewalks had to be raised to access the roots underneath.
 Using long steel bars, with long 2X8 boards, for greater leverage, we managed (without hurting ourselves) to lift a total of five large concrete walks, remove the roots, re-level and replace.
If we were to guess, the larger blocks had to weigh well over several hundred lbs.
Had we taken photos in advance of starting this sweaty project, you would have seen a completely uneven walkway.
The renovated look following several hours of calorie busting work and sweat.
After lifting, de-rooting and leveling two of the five large concrete blocks, we had no energy left to lift the third.  That called for a much needed break for water and rest.  Fifteen minutes later, we were back at it and the block was lifted.  We just needed to pace ourselves better.
Great looking sidewalk once again.
Some readers may ask why we would attempt to do this work?  Well, because we can! Having known each other for well over 30 years, Denis and I have always undertaken projects (for him or for me) that would scare others away.  We always succeeded. (touch wood)

I had real fears of waking up with severe 'rigor mortise' (unbelievable muscle and back pain), the next morning though.  But that did not materialize.  Other than a few minute sore muscles in the lower back (gone today) and a few very minor arm and leg pains, we survived this bull work project.  I don't think we have ever faced a more physically demanding job as this one was.  Using our heads, as much as our bodies, we managed to lift, remove and replace the sidewalk.  I'm sure some of Denis' neighbours had serious doubts about our abilities.  Hey, we showed them!!!....and surprised ourselves too!!!

Denis and Odette now have a beautiful and level sidewalk ,once again.

Yesterday was equally sunny and bright and we had the pleasure of a one hour visit with  Easton and his mom, Ginette,
Always excited to walk....anywhere and everywhere.
 Easton is so close to walking but, for now, hanging on to Grand Papa's fingers works well.
Enjoying a bit of lunch.
Once Ginette and Easton left back for home, Jeanette and I headed for a 4 kilometre hike in one of the nearby forested trails.
Very quiet.....and no one around.....!
We met only three or four hikers during our two hour walkabout.  It was so contrasting to walk in a thick forest following so many months in the sandy deserts of southern Arizona and California.
Sure signs of spring.  the dandelions are numerous and in full bloom.

The forest is greening nicely.
Having heard about some of the testy winter winds that hit the BC west coast during the winter, we were not surprised by the high volume of dead fall in the forest.  For every tree that is felled, several new seedlings are planted.

The groomed trails are in great condition.
We returned home and I got to work on the research and reading of a potential multimedia drama project I have been invited to participate in.  More on that in a later blog.
Calm stream....but no signs of fish....yet!
That's pretty much the story around here for now.

Thanks for dropping by.