Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A busy day in retirement

It wasn't quite a set the alarm kind of a day, but I was up early anyways. Then off to get the car serviced, just routine. I'd brought a book but barely got settled in to read after strolling the new cars. They got me out of there more than an hour before their estimated time. Turns out one of the mechanics is a keener and wants to leave a bit early today.

Diversion one. I like strolling the new cars while waiting for the shorter services. They get more amazing every year. Used to be the salesman tossed you the keys and waved as you drove off the lot. Now you need an introduction to your new car. You and your phone. Our neighbours bought a new one, and rather than a thick owners manual, it comes with a disk. You can watch a movie about your new car. I can only imagine it's like every terrible how-to video on youtube, only worse, with all the embedded commercials. When we bought ours it took the salesman about 20 minutes to fire through all the features.

Diversion two. Much of it revolved around the horribly designed, so-called 'infotainment' feature. I hate it. I wish I could get a nice car that didn't have one of these. One minor example, the sound system volume control. Back in the day when it was a knob, a simple swipe turned the sound down or up. It took a fraction of a second. Now I have to stab my finger against the console, or thumb against the steering wheel again and again. It takes a while for it to notice, then to be convinced I'm actually serious, and then to respond.

Diversion three. I think they are making the cars bigger again, particularly in the leg room department. That seems to be where I get short changed. The one thing I sat in had a sunroof, but still lots of headroom otherwise. Of course the milage is worse, and the one I was sitting in costs 2x what our current car costs. I don't think any of them were battery powered, or even a hybrid. Honda used to sell these, but I don't know if they still do. I know perfectly where there is a sales person desperate to tell me all about it.

From there it was off to the pool for a lovely swim during what my lifeguard buddy calls, 'our meditative time.' Hardly anyone is in the pool, and they're all good swimmers. Not much for them to do. My shoulder is coming around, but it's still a bit cranky about swimming.

Then some shopping. A couple new camera toys. A tabletop tripod for macro and garden shooting. This will also be good for a second tripod for the second camera during field trips. Set it up away from things and let it run till the SD card or battery dies. Plus another battery for my main camera. I've got some trips coming up where I could be out for many hours, shooting.

Diversion four. I sort of thought about looking at the new mirrorless cameras, or maybe a new lens (they had a sale on) but decided not to. I don't need either of those things. Photography is really bad for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and people buying stuff they don't need. Then it sits around gathering dust. I have lots of gear, and it all gets used.

MEC for some pants. I'd bought a pair of cargo pants for the vacation, mainly for the lighter fabric. Turns out I like the zipped pockets, extra pockets, lighter fabric, all that good stuff. They seem pretty durable. MEC had lots of choice, and I even got a bit of a sale.

Diversion five. The quality of jeans has gone completely down the toilet, through the sewer, through the treatment plant and out the other side. They don't even deserve the name jeans. Used to be new jeans were practically bullet proof. One had to break them in. They lasted for years, and often could still be handed down to someone else if you grew out of them. The fabric is much thinner now, so they aren't as durable. They don't have as many belt loops so each takes more stress, and they are sewn onto that cheaper fabric. I've had a bunch rip out. Last time it was really hard to get jeans that fit. So I'm done with jeans. I'll wear what I have around the house, mowing the lawn or whatever.

Then lunch with a close friend and our usual great chat. Then home to find an accountant error in my favour. I'd forgotten to tell her that I'd actually made some instalment payments she had told me to make, so according to her I owed a little bit of money.

Diversion six. I like ending the tax year owing a bit of money. That means I've had the use of all my money all year, till it's time to give the government it's cut. I could have it making money for me through investing in any number of products. Or I could buy something nice, knowing I'll have the money later to pay the tax. When you get a refund, that means you gave the government an interest free loan. It means you paid too much tax. Part of my problem is that when you work part time, you make less money, and it takes the government a little while to figure it out. They base next years tax instalment payments on last year's income, so if (as was the case) I knew I wouldn't be making as much money, I'd sort of be forced to overpay.

Diversion seven. I don't mind paying tax, particularly. Taxes are the price of a civilized society. In times past the king hired tax collectors who were paid based on how much they shook out of the involuntary payers. Not a system I want to see here. The problem is that everybody should pay at least a bit of tax along the way. A tax on income, or a VAT, whatever. Even if most or all of it gets refunded back to you. The tax system should be fair and transparent, and simple enough that the many tax dodges that get set up simply aren't worth it. And those people that are convicted of actual tax fraud should lose everything.

Today I get home to a refund cheque, which is nice, notwithstanding diversion six above. I don't need to spend it on anything in particular, so I will just go into the bank later today.

Home, blogging, thinking about what to do this afternoon, and a community association thing for this evening. Retirement life is good.

I was downtown earlier this week to meet up with another buddy, and along the way I did some cityscape photos. Here's the reflection ones.

I like looking at other buildings reflected in the wall of glass. The panes of glass are supposed to be flat, yet clearly that is not so, making a much more interesting image.

One view of the old stomping grounds.

Another view.

 One of the more famous buildings in Calgary, done to death in photos, unless you can find something interesting.

Driftwood of the Day
For some reason this photo makes me think of life, or project planning. There's a reasonably nice path into a situation where you can't see as well, and it gets all complicated.


  1. The bald headed man and the reflection above him are key to the success of this photo. I would be curious to see what a much tighter crop on that portion of the image would like. Cheers, Sean

    1. The problem with a tighter crop, is that I like that bald guy in the lower left, and the tower in the middle, and the line of windows in the upper right. I think the upside down image lends more interest because of the bit of confusion created. Then again, maybe I should actually try it and see the actual result, instead of my visioning of it.

  2. A contrarian comment from my buddy Lynda, "Lol I have had the exact opposite thought about jeans in the last little while. I love that they have more stretch and I don't need a belt. You don't need a new camera. You don't need a new camera. Just keep repeating this. :)"

  3. All great shots but I'm most intrigued by the first and fourth. The driftwood is lovely too!


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