An Eclipse in Vancouver

Jeff Powell
4 min readApr 12, 2024

Last week there was an eclipse. Some of you may have heard about it. We were far from the path of totality, which meant we were only supposed to get about 17% coverage of the sun at most.

But this is Vancouver, and it has a special hatred for astronomical events.

The above photo was taken 15 minutes before maximum occultation, and I can assure you that no one noticed a thing. I was about to get my hair cut. I’d just parked, noted the time, and took the photo. Yes, it was raining.

And if you’re thinking that was a one time event, you’d be wrong. We’ve had several chances to see the northern lights here, all completely obscured by clouds. We’ve had the space station pass overhead, totally hidden. Meteor showers? Don’t make me laugh. Honestly, if a 10 kilometre wide meteor was going to smash into Stanley Park, we wouldn’t have a clue. We’d be vaporized before we saw it coming.

Which explains why I could schedule my haircut for the peak of the eclipse: Vancouver was never going to let it be visible.

And here’s a note for those of you who have astronomy as a hobby: do not move to this part of the world. Definitely not a good idea.

In other news, I continue to think about working on the entryway. It’s really more of a mental project than a physical one at the moment, and even so it continues to grow. But I will get there.

Last week I mentioned that I need to do a bunch of skim coating, and someone asked what that is. So, for those who might not know, skim coating is the act of applying a thin layer of drywall mud (compound) over a wide area to hide imperfections in the drywall installation or house construction. Basically, to flatten out a wall. In this case there are some obvious bumps that get exaggerated by the sunlight coming in through the skylights. I need to flatten those out so the entryway walls look better.

In addition, there are other issues with the drywall in a corner (the paper tape job looks to have been done poorly) and around the skylights. Drywall mud fixes are needed in those locations as well.

And the whole room needs paint. Plus there are two light fixtures to replace (wall sconces that catch dead bugs… dumb idea) and I am toying with adding an additional railing to the other side of the staircase. The latter will also require moving a switch box, though. Complicated.

So far I continue to think about all of that work rather than actually get started, but that will change.

Where else did the time go?

Well, we went to the symphony last Saturday, where we heard a pianist named Fazil Say perform a Beethoven piano concerto for which he’d written his own cadenza. It was quite nice. Then he performed an encore titled Black Earth, his own composition. It shows his Turkish heritage, and the muting of the piano strings is quite striking.

In still other news, it turns out I’m going to review/edit (sort of) a novel by yet another friend of mine. How is it that I have so many friends who are writers? I love it, but it seems weird. This is a long one, and it will take some time, but I’m looking forward to it.

What else?

I used a little bit of the good weather we had this week walking, and the rest of the time I was stuck in front of a computer doing various things, some productive, some not. My mornings generally involve a lot of reading the news, looking for local stories that might matter to residents of my neighbourhood. Depending on how the world is going, that can take more or less time, which eats into the day. But it’s worthwhile, and I generally keep up with what is going on in the world at the same time.

And there is time each week spent updating the community association website and the ongoing work around the monthly email, including going to the weekly council meetings. Nothing slows that down.

I visited the genealogy website again this past week. I nosed around for a few minutes but didn't find anything new to advance the story I am trying to work out. There’s someone in Iowa who was looking around in a graveyard for me but I haven’t heard from her in a while. She suspects that either the headstone someone claimed was there isn’t, or it’s unreadable, but she will report back if she discovers something else.

Also holding up progress on that front is the fact that I managed to miss the big discount on old newspaper access a while back. I’m waiting for the next of those discount offer emails to show up. When it does I will buy that for 6 months and see if I can find other items about the story in question. But for now genealogy progress has stalled. I just can’t quite confirm events yet. Once I do, I’ll share the story here.

And of course Fridays are always dedicated to writing these posts, among other things.

So while the laundry rotates in the washer and the dogs do their doggy things, I will draw this post to a close.

I promise to take and share photos in the entryway once I actually get started.




Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.