Recently, I’ve been feeling nostalgic and watching old episodes of Siskel and Ebert on YouTube, having regularly watched the various incarnations of their show when they were still new, going back to the 1890s or thereabouts. Siskel died in 1999 (Ebert was felled by cancer in 2013), so it’s closing in on 25 years since they last appeared together reviewing films.

One of the things that struck me in watching them, captured in that timeless way old TV shows have, is how life is as much about loss as it is about anything, especially as you get older. Your life is framed increasingly by losses. Sometimes they are cruel–how Ebert must have felt to lose Siskel at the young age of 53–and sometimes they’re just silly, like losing your hair. And sometimes the losses simply have that weight of inevitability to them, as when an old actor or musician succumbs to old age and your mind shifts from thinking of them as here and now to being in the past, forever locked there.

But the losses can be other things. Your childhood home might be replaced by an apartment building, your old neighbourhood all but unrecognizable as time sweeps away what once was. You realize that the pace of change is relentless, that so many things we take for granted as always being there are far more ephemeral than we realize.

The McDonald’s in Duncan seems eternal, though.

I remember riding my bike through the freshly-paved parking lot with a friend the day before it opened in the summer of 1978. It’s still there today, 45 years later, though it looks contemporary, thanks to a remodel a few years back. No matter what else changes in Duncan–and Google’s Street View confirms that so many things have since I moved away way back in 1986–there are some places that seem to just stay on forever.

I don’t really have a neat wrap up for this, and I’m not saying getting older is a downer because your life becomes filled with all the things you lose, it just struck me tonight when watching Siskel and Ebert dissing on what would be Gene Wilder’s second-to-last movie as one of the worst of 1990, that so much of our lives is impermanent, even as we don’t realize it until much later, when we begin to look back.

Except that McDonald’s, of course.

(Google Street View, 2021)

A brief experiment in user registration. Goodbye vanderpoo.

man wearing brown suit jacket mocking on white telephone
Literally the only image that comes up when I search “spam” on Pexels. Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

After getting nothing but spam accounts endlessly registering on this site (but unable to post because the first post any account makes must be manually approved by me before it can post freely afterwards), I shut off registrations altogether. My blog–this site–officially became me shouting into the void, with people unable to directly comment or cajole.

Today, I ran an experiment: I once again allowed user registrations.

Within moments, a new user had registered: clintonvanderpoo


I mean, I kind of like how the name is sort of a portmanteau as imagined by a spambot, but still, having a poo name show up within seconds of opening registrations, while unsurprising, was a tiny bit depressing. I’m not exactly lamenting the old days of Internet Explorer 6 circa 2001, but the web has certainly changed since then. In most ways, for the better.

But not quite in every way.

Bonus resolutions for 2023

notebooks on the table
I’m actually doing some of the things featured in this generic blog image for “resolutions”! Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

Here are a few more things I thought of:

  • Drink more water and conversely, drink less soda. I only drink non-sugary soda, but it’s still bad and I should feel bad. And I do, somewhat.
  • Reorganize the cabling for my computer and tidy up the desk. Somehow it’s become a complete mess again. Whoops. I also need to replace my beloved cat DJ in space mouse pad, it’s starting to curl up.
  • Renew my “draw something every day” vow because I kind of dropped that. I think the messy desk is a minor contributing factor.

That’s enough for now.

How I use social media in 2022

Remember when social media was just seeing what your friends were up to? That was about a hundred years ago!

Here’s how I use social media in 2022, which roughly mirrors how I’ll probably use it in 2023, too.

Instagram: I use this solely to post my photography and drawings, and to look at birb photos Nic posts. I follow a few people who don’t post much, so most times I’m on and off in a few minutes. Recent changes to IG make it really wonky on the iPad, which still lacks a native app because who’s ever heard of the iPad, am I right?

Facebook: My IG posts automagically go to FB, so I will see if anyone liked or commented on them there. Friends and family post more on FB, but most of the posts are memes and travel photos of places I’ll never get to, and I’m totally not jealous. FB is also stuffed full of annoying ads.

Twitter: I rarely used Twitter and started logging in more when Elon Musk bought it, and every decision he made regarding Twitter was terrible. But I don’t check anymore and deactivated my account. I don’t have a good analogy, but imagine driving a regular route and seeing this spectacular flaming car wreck one day. Then imagine you see it every day, forever. Eventually, you’re just done with flaming car wrecks.

Tumblr: I have never purposely used Tumblr.

Mastodon: A decentralized Twitter-ish service run by non-profits. A little clunky, but I made an account and pop in to check the few people I follow there. I have only made a few posts, and will probably not make many more.

Post: Another post (ho ho)-Twitter refugee camp. I made an account, will probably never post.

TikTok: I have never used the app nor been to the site. I’ve probably seen more TikTok videos on IG than IG videos.

I think that covers most of them. If I have accounts on anything else, I’ve forgotten about them.

Basically, I don’t use social media much, and I am good with that. I spend more time creating than consuming, which scratches the itches I have better. Although I do watch a fair number of YouTube videos. Do they count as social media? Probably.

New Year resolutions for 2023

scrabble resolutions
I resolve to buy three sticky note pads! Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

Here they are:

  • Get to 150 pounds by the end of February. I am 164.8 pounds as I type this, so that would mean losing 14.8 pounds, which breaks down to:
    • 0.25 pounds per day. Like eating a negative quarter pounder.
    • 1.85 pounds per week. Like eating, uh, seven negative quarter pounders.
  • Keep running. 2022 was the first year since 2017 that I regularly ran 10Ks again, and I want to maintain that in 2023. Run, Ned, run.
  • Finish my Gum Gum game. This also means further developing my mad skillz with the following software:
    • Unity
    • Visual Studio
    • Blender
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo
    • Procreate
    • DaVinci Resolve
    • And more!
  • Do more bird art. It’s very Zen and I quite like how some have turned out. A goal of at least one per month seems perfectly doable.
  • Keep birding. Also, just keep taking photographs of stuff. This is also very Zen.
  • Finally finish my blog redesign. This can be useful in other ways, too, so it’s a priority.
  • Finally start doing some stretching. For real this time. Totally. Yep.

Weird bonus resolution:

  • Record an original song in Garage Band. Also, learn how to use Garage Band.

Bonus promise to myself:

  • Try to avoid resolutions next year that include “finally” in them

I think that’s enough. It feels like enough. I have a few more days to adjust as needed.

Merry Christmas, 2022 Edition

Well, the world is still here and it’s not on fire, relatively speaking, so hooray.

But I still secretly hope that historians, researchers, archaeologists and all other appropriate specialists discover convincing evidence that Christ was actually born in June and Christmas moves to the start of summer, because the end of December is the worst time of year for the Northern Hemisphere to be travelling en masse. Or at all.

Speaking of weather, yesterday we had a deluge and today the copious amounts of snow have been greatly reduced. A few more days of persistent rain should get rid of most of the rest. This means I probably won’t be able to run on Monday (tomorrow), so boo. But Wednesday is a possibility (yay).

This also means we have an unofficial white Christmas (I think a “real” one is where it actually snows on Christmas, we just have so much snow that even a 24-hour monsoon could not wash away all of it).

Here’s my Christmas wish list for 2022. I am trying to not be too cynical or jaded. Trying!

  • Peace on Earth
  • Trump on trial before the end of 2023, and convicted. It could be for anything. A parking ticket. I don’t care. Just something.
  • Peace in my home (hopefully the PU move out in 2023, that would be the best present of all).

Merry Christmas to any humans reading these. Heck, Merry Christmas to any bots scraping the site, too!

Hooray for winter (December 2022 edition)

Today is the Winter Solstice, also the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight. So it gets better from here. Summer, here we come!

But as I type this, there is a huge amount of snow on the ground, making a white Christmas a distinct possibility (rain is coming, but will probably be insufficient to wipe away this winter “wonder” land before then). It’s also -13C, which is a low temperature record. The high is going to be -7C. -7C!

So yes, it’s definitely winter. On the plus side, we’re only three months from spring, my second favorite season of the year. We hardly get any snow in spring!

Here again, is the cat on ice, deluxe version:

Silly snow

It started snowing yesterday around 1 p.m. and is still snowing at 10 a.m. the next day as I type this (though it is sputtering out at the moment).

I’ll update with more photos in a bit, but for now, the area has seen 20-30 cm of snow fall overnight, on top of a lot of snow already on the ground. Roads are a mess, the transit system is at a standstill, ferry sailings cancelled, flights from YVR delayed.

And it’s still not technically winter!

So instead of complaining, we drink hot chocolate, stay warm and wait for it to warm up, rain and wash it away.

We have some little lights installed outside, shining toward our unit. They are still working, deep inside a snow bank (shot through a window, so you can see my monitors reflecting:

Like some snow beast laying in wait…

And a short video Jeff shot on the SkyTrain this morning, before he gave up getting to work because the buses were completely absent. The trains, meanwhile, were accumulating snow…on the inside:

All aboard! If you can pry the snow-encrusted doors apart.

And some shots of the Brunette River, doing the winter wonderland thing.

Curvy snow:

Creative shovelling:

Fall 2022 did not need two massive snowfalls

And yet here we are. Today we got another dump of snow and given the forecast (mostly clear/cloudy and very cold) it’s reasonably likely we will have some kind of White Christmas, which I was not dreaming of.

Right now, we’re in the “pretty to look at” stage.

Tomorrow it will be the “snow turns to ice after a night of sub-freezing temperatures” stage, and by the end of the week it will be “here comes the slush!” Then another week before it’s finally gone. Until the next big dump. WHICH BETTER NOT HAPPEN.


Christmas Eve is when the slushpocalypse begins. Ho ho ho.

A picture from outside my condo, looking toward the Fraser River, which you can’t really see, but it’s there! Taken about seven or eight hours after the snow started.