Happy Spring!

Jeff Powell
5 min readMar 26, 2021

Technically winter is over but temperatures here are still close to freezing at night, so it’s a bit hard to tell. Daytime highs are up on average, though, and heating bills are dropping. That’s good. Also, some plants are blooming which is always nice.

Crocus blooms in our front yard.

It’s been a busy week but once again I don’t have much to show for it. I’ll do my best to entertain, though, as always.

Since last time I finished up the remaining tasks needed to make me an official employee of Langara College. Well, except for the new employee orientation meeting which will happen soon.

That doesn’t mean I am actually working yet. Not at all. In fact I don’t expect to do any real on campus work until the fall term. There will be a meeting with the shop coordinator to bring me up to speed on things that have changed since I was last there, but that probably won’t happen until this summer.

There may be other odds and ends as well, but nothing all that huge. As things stand I will probably have had my first vaccine shot before I am confronted with students on campus. Yay!

This week also saw me become the website coordinator for the Blueridge Community Association. As far as I can tell that pretty much amounted to me saying “yes” when asked.

The BCA site is created with WordPress, which is a popular program for managing websites. I have briefly poked at it in the past but have never bothered to become an expert in it. It seems I get to do that now.

But that’s not all. Last week also saw the latest paper newsletter for the BCA distributed. I have a route that I deliver for them. It takes about 90 minutes of walking to put about 85 newsletters into mailboxes and mail slots. I took this photo when I was done purely because I found it amusing:

Blue (of course) ink. I hope it is soy based.

At some point when my hands were clean I finished painting the headboard.

Click to enlarge.

The paint has to cure for at least a week before I can put books back on the shelves.

I was asked what the holes in the shelf are for and what goes under the headboard. Good questions.

The holes are for power outlets. I found some preconfigured outlets that drop into those holes and include USB ports. And by “preconfigured” I mean everything is done and installation is trivial. They have a 6' power cord out the back that plugs into a standard outlet so there is no wiring needed to install them. If you look carefully at the first image you can just make out a hole in the bottom left that will let an extension cord through to the centre section, where the outlets will plug into it.

As for what goes under the headboard, the answer is “air.” That is, nothing. The bed pushes up against the headboard so you can’t see the area beneath anyway. But leaving it open at the bottom means the outlets mentioned above are easy to install and the carpet is easily replaced when needed. I didn’t want to enclose it all the way to the floor for those reasons.

I suppose we could stash something under there in a pinch, though I can’t imagine what that would be. It’s not exactly accessible.

Anyway, I will give the paint a week to cure and then reassess. At that point I hope to refill the shelves and finish the outlet installation. When Anne first painted these shelves, though, they did not want to cure and everything we’ve put on them has felt slightly stuck ever since. I suspect that is just the way this paint is, and we’ll have to live with it. But a week’s wait is easy so that’s what I will do.

I was also recently asked what — if anything — I’ve been reading lately. It’s true that I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t read all that much, but I did just finish the first book in a new (to me) science fiction trilogy. It’s titled The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. This is my first time reading science fiction originally written in Chinese, and it is both fascinating and challenging.

Most striking to me are the cultural differences. In this volume the translator has included occasional notes to explain certain contextual items that a native Chinese reader would know, but which a Westerner probably doesn’t. Of course I am completely unaware of these points. Chinese culture and history were not taught to me in school, and my exposure is thus limited to what little came up in interactions with coworkers from China. Some of these things are (or should be) simple, like the order in which given and surnames appear in the text. Others are difficult, like the background and impact of the Cultural Revolution. As with any translation, I’m sure some points are lost or changed when going from one language to another, though I am definitely not able to identify those differences.

Then there is the story itself, which is complex and interesting. The author clearly has a love of physics, and much hard science is wrapped up in this tale. There are a few places where I struggled with the willing suspension of disbelief, but overall it has been good. I could wish for better character development — they remain opaque in many ways — but some of that may again be cultural issues that are lost in translation. Regardless, I am enjoying it, and I will read the remaining two volumes in coming days.

Now you know I am not all business.

Finally, here’s a photo of Tinkerbelle on guard, protecting us from all aggressors: including mail carriers, UPS trucks and drivers, interloping dogs, random pedestrians, squirrels, and invisible threats she’s only just made up. We are always safe, or at least well informed of their presence.

May you also be safe from (or at least notified of) the boojums in your life!



Jeff Powell

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