Buying a house is probably the biggest purchase normal people ever made in a life. There are many factors the buyer has to consider before signing the offer. Location, price, size, building material, environment, school net, etc are factors most people come up in their mind when they make a purchase. The amount of sunlight the place get is often a factor many people easily overlook. You want to have more sunlight shine on the place in the winter and avoid afternoon heat in the summer.
Even you are aware about the sunlight, most often you can only rely on the not so accurate the general rule of thumbs, like avoid having west facing window and prefer to have south facing windows. If you want to find out the exact amount of sunlight the place gets all year round, technology comes to help.
First, go to Google map and search on the address. Switch to satellite view to pin point the exact location of the house. Compare the satellite photo with the floor map of the house and jot down the orientation of the windows. Then download a sky map software, instead of finding out the stars at night, use it to find out the position of sun during the day. You enter the altitude and longitude of your city and enter the time of the day, then the software will show you where the sun is in the sky. Pick at least a day in each of the four seasons and track the path of sun the in the sky. You will have a pretty good idea how much sunlight the place will gets.
For example, this is the sunlight data of Vancouver on July 1st
Altitude (° )
Azimuth (° )
Altitude – how high is the sun. 0° = on the horizon, 90° = right above the head
Azimuth – the bearing of the sun. 0° = North, 90° = East, 180° = South, 270° = West
In the past few months, Vancouver is not longer a safe city. It has shooting after dark and in broad day light almost every day. It has become a war zone in the Gangster’s turf war. It is getting pretty bad when shootings happen on the street where you usually go to lunch or 2 blocks away from your friend’s house.
The Gangster turf war begins with US cracked down of Columbia drug lords last year. After the drug lords are gone, there is a sharply reduce in cocaine supply, so the price of drug on street goes sky high. Every gangster want to get a cut in the lucrative drug dealing business. Their strategy to gain more market share and secure drug supply is taking out the competitors, literally.
I have no objection the gangster killing each other, they are the scum of the society wants to get rid of anyways. However the gangster behave more like a gentleman when taking each other out. They should not go around shooting each other in the neighborhood when the victim is sleeping, eating or driving. Bullet has no eye. They may hurt innocent by-standers. They should they fight like a man in a duel, just like the old western movies. Maybe we can even host the gangster duel in a stadium and sell tickets of the event. I am sure this modern gladiator fight would be quite popular. We can get some good entertainment and get rid of half of the gangsters. Killing two birds with one stone.
Can you imagine yourself being an Olympic athlete? I almost feel like one when I am skating on the Olympic speed skating arena. It is less than 1 year from the 2010 Winter Olympic in Vancouver The brand new $200 million Richmond Olympic Oval is open to the public starting earlier this month. A day pass costs $12.5 but Pat got some free coupons from her friend.
The Oval is the largest ice rink I have ever seen, about twice the size of a standard hockey rink. The rink has a 200m long oval shape skate race track. The center area in the rink is converted to basketball court and badminton court. The spectator area in the balcony is converted to a open gym with exercise equipments overlooking the ice. There was a big crowd tonight. I bet most people use free coupons just like I do. Although there are lots people, it is not that crowd when they are spreading out on the ice.
Skating in a speed race oval is a very different experience than in a hockey rink. In a hockey rink people skate in all direction. In the oval everyone has to go counter clockwise. In a hockey rink, I can’t go very fast or I will end up hitting the wall soon. In the oval, I can pick up lots of speed in the long race track. I can accelerate in the straight road, but I don’t have to slow down for the turns. The turns at two ends are so gentle that I can keep my speed. I never skate that fast before. I hit my speed limit of my current skill level. I feel I couldn’t go any faster without losing my balance. I don’t even know skating can be a cardio exercise. Skating in the oval make me feel like I am running in laps.
The free pass expire next week. For those who are interested, you can download it form here. Skating in a speed oval is definitely one of the must do things in your adventure check list.
Canada is famous for its medicare system. It is expensive, that’s why our tax rate is so high. I never understand why it cost so much until my father in law has a surgery in the Vancouver General Hospital. The surgery is a success, the treatment is fairly good. When I visit him in the hospital, my first impression is I am in a business hotel. The decoration and finishing of the lobby does not look like the hospitals I had in mind. He got a private room for his recovery and there are more than enough nurses in the ward. He is recovering pretty fast, it is able to sit up, walk and eat within a few days. Originally, the nurse told us he can be discharged on Monday. But the hospital don’t have psychotherapist on weekend, so we have to wait until psychotherapist session on Monday. Then the nurse told us he can be discharge on Tuesday afternoon. It turns out they are still waiting for one of his lab report from a test in Tuesday morning. The report won’t come back for another day, so my father in law will have to stay in the hospital until Thursday if the nurses did not forget anything else. If the hospital could stream line the work, take the test on Sunday and arrange the psychotherapist over the weekend, then we can take him home on Monday as planned. Oh! Did I mention he got a private room? Our health system is so inefficient, no wonder it cost so much to the tax payers.
I drove all the way to VGH to pick up my father-in-law without know he can’t be discharged today. It is a total waste of my time. Maybe the hospital should learn from the airport, setup a website for the family of patients to check discharge status. Like the arrival information in the airport, you can see whether the discharge is delayed or not. Then my friend, Chris, hear my idea and joke about this idea, maybe they should add the canceled status like a flight. If the patient is canceled, you don’t have to pick him up anymore, because he is already dead. Pat said it is cruel and suggested the cancel status change to the departure gate to Heaven.
Pat want to go to Karaoke with her bridesmaids in downtown before the wedding. She read from Geogria Striaght that Fantacity in Thurlow and Alberni is one of the “best” place to hang out in the evening. So we went there to check it out today. It is the my worst karaoke experience ever. Here are the seven deadly sins of Fantacity.
1. It is a Korean Karaoke! It has some very old Chinese songs and a few English songs. I just can’t find any the songs I like to sing.
2. They don’t use original MTV for the songs. I have no idea where they get their karaoke disc with random travel or natural life footage with funny MIDI music. You just can’t sing without a decent background music.
3. The AV equipment sucks. They are still using CRT TV. Come on, even advertisment in toilet use LCD these days. The sound system is crap, I keep hearing funny cracks from the speakers.
4. Song entry system form the 80’s. You have to find the song from a binder, then enter the 6 digit code. Worst of all, the system has zero buffer. You can only enter a new song after the current song is finish.
5. It’s not cheap. It costs me $50 for 2 hours.
6. It is stinky. I can smell the bleach they use to clean the floor.
7. Zero service. We were there for two hours, but no one ever come to asked us whether I would like to order anything to drink or to eat.
This karaoke is so bad that it is already added to to my black listed. It frustrated me so much that I paid them zero tips. The moral of this story is that never trust any reviews from any free newspaper.