Saturday, March 31, 2012

The rise and fall of the Hobbit hole

Greetings Bloggies.

It was the summer of 2010.  The job was bull shit, because the boss was possessing a large series of negative personality traits.  The job proved that I had burned through my life time meters of logged core.  So a few days after few points of balance left the job I buggered off too.  I just packed my things and drove off the site, everone should do that once in their life, its a wonderful sense of power.

A couple weeks later I was staying in a sketchy motel on Kingsway in Vancouver.  It had a weekly rate, I was hunting for a new home.  Money constrained the form of my accommodations life style biased me to nearer the city core. It became a Goldie Locks situation.  The first place was too old, too creaky.  The second place was too expensive and too far from any where, even though back than I had a car.  The third place would do.

Stand back I'm going to do Science
I mean cooking
The blank slates
The place that became the Hobbit hole was of interest first because it was near, the recently, discovered by me, area of Commercial Drive.  It had the advantage of being cheaper too.  Now it had some issues, it is a basement unit.  The space had quirks, no discrete living room or dining room.  But Gods Damn it, it had the best kitchen I had seen in my hunt.  After years of camps and shared kitchens or kitchens that were simply other peoples, I needed my own.  The Hobbit hole was picked because all the quirks aside I could cook and have a good space to do so in.

The first year was good for it.  I worked a few bush jobs before landing my now long term position.  Between jobs I enjoyed cooking and cleaning.  I gained access to a garden and through that garden a handful of good friends.  And low life was good.  I had Friends Credit Cards and Keys.  Much food was made, people were had over for dinner.

The furniture trickled in, in torrents at first as I snagged a table and chairs and a bed as soon as I could.  Despite have made solid money at jobs I hated, because I was effectively homeless for that time I did not invest in any domestic hardware beyond some kitchen stuffs.  The Hobbit hole became a starter home a place to raise my standard of living to functional.  In January I got a new couch.  This was the trigger.

The couch a simple thing from IKEA that half of Canada likely owned at any one point in time tipped the scales.   It filled up as much space there was to spare, yet it was only a love seat, I could not fit the 220 cm length of the full size model.  Then I knew a side from some details this home was nearly wrapped up.

Kitchen Stuff

The new couch was trigger for starting the choice for moving but it was on its way for sometime.  Prior to that bit the positive qualities of the Hobbit hole were eroded .  The neighbors for all the right reasons moved to a better home.  I discovered, that when there are 6 people a washing machine and maybe a dishwasher, there is not enough hot water for me to get a proper hot show at normal times of day.  The smoke detector is over sensitive.  The kitchen sink needs to be babied to drain proper, and that is using the strainers.  The garden is a no go for the 2012 summer, and I can no haz cat.

Making a home the early days.

So now I am looking.  It will cost more to live in any new place that meets the criteria.  Above ground for starters, a generic 1 bedroom in not too old building would do.  The prospect of central hot water is enough to really make the best starting place.  I want it with in 10  to 15 minute walk of Commercial drive skytrain station.  It would really be sweet if a cat could be wrangled in the deal.  That would give me room to get more seating, more book shelves, and a feeling of being more grown up.

Now I just have to pressure myself in to actually doing stuff.  I have been coasting without, post work mental challenges for months, its time to break that habit.

The Return of the Hobbit Manifesto

Greetings Bloggies.

In my self identified hobbithood I strive to achieve a comfortable and largely sustainable lifestyle.  Currently I am in a home that will be as close to a hobbit hole as I will get.  That will change, I am planning to move because I have made the place as much of a home as it can be.  My next move will be for a longer haul.  Today's post is not about me, a novelty.

On Sunday I had to go to the laundromat.  This happens about twice a month, this is one of the few times I will read a print paper or watch the TV news.  On this occasion I found my self reading the Province. An experience I had not missed. The issue there had a special on the high cost of housing in this city.

There was nearly no substance to this spread.  It was a series of letters written by former Vancouver residents about how much cheaper homes were elsewhere.  Extolling the virtues of Edmonton, Calgary and other cities.  Now I am sure all cities have there charms, but this is not about the cities.  Nor is it about the professional aims of the folks in those stories.  No I question do you really need a house.

Today I found my self chewing over the whiny letters about housing costs.  It struck me as I went for my lunch time walk, the arrogance of the assumption.  It also crossed my mind, thank you for leaving  Vancouver.  Your departure makes more room for those of us who are willing to make do with constrain.

It comes down to energy, people who choose to put themselves in a self contained, conventional, house will likely use more energy in day to day life compared to and apartment dweller.  Choices that lead to more energy use lead to more carbon burned.  That irritates me.

I stop and stop signs

Greetings Bloggies.

This post has been sitting in my head since spring.  This is a default rant of mine.  My favorite mode of transportation is a bicycle.  I own three with two in Vancouver.   I ride to work in every month of the year, not every day, some times the weather is too nasty, sometimes I am hung over and sometimes things need done in town that make a bike a pain, but the trip gets made often.  My route to work is over one of the busiest bike paths in Vancouver.

The Georgia Via Duct, looking toward Main Street

I take the Adanac Union bike route, which connects to Dunsmeir street in down town Vancouver.  The majority of this route is residential side streets where the vehicle traffic is low and generally slow, but intersections must be crossed.  It is the un regulated or weakly regulated crossings where I see the worst of cyclists and drivers. I have issues with both the drivers in the cars and other cyclists.  Bad habits are had by  both sides and need addressed.

First and foremost bikes are governed by the same set of laws as motor vehicles and it when that fact is ignored by either set of road users I get a bit angry.  It happens some times that I actually get angry at drivers for stopping to let me through.  Firstly I stopped because, legally I should, more importantly it is unsafe for me not to.  When I have stopped I do what any driver would, look both ways and judge when to make my move.

Now two things can happen, I am ignored by the cross traffic on the other road and I make my crossing when it is safe to do so.  I like this out come, I know whats going on and I am not as subject to whims of others.  The other out come which makes me angry is a car that legally has no business stopping sees me and stops.  In the mind of the driver I imagine the bike is viewed as toy and the rider a subset of pedestrian.  Now why I hate this, I am crossing a street with two lanes, and I can never be sure if any one in the other lane has seen me.  That means two out of three people know whats going on and the third could plow through there.  After all they have no stop sign.  

So you folks in the cars, I try to play by the rules so you know what I am going to do.

Now my complaints to other cyclists are largely mirrors of the issues with cars.  Thats right folks on two wheels I expect you to signal, stop where it says you should, have lights so you can be seen.  It comes down to playing nice with others.  If we all agree that we are following the same rules, we all be come more predictable.  For the one with the steel underneath me rather than around me that makes the differences between broken bits or not.

Now I have a special set of rants for people who, ride on side walks,  ware helmets wrong, don't where helmets, or worst of all hang the helmet on the handle bars.  I always imagine the rider magically putting it on adjusting the fit all while flying through the air.

Play nice folks. Enjoy the spring.
Viking 1, the Long Bike