More of the same

Jeff Powell
7 min readNov 13, 2020


Another week gone, and I refuse to admit that is the case. In fact, I have instructed my employees to deny what the calendar actually says and claim that it is still November 6th instead. Anyone thinking it is November 13th is wrong, and a fraud, and a loser. It’s still November 6th! It will always be November 6th!

Huh. I wonder where that tirade came from? Sorry about that.

Anyway, it will probably be a short post this week. Or so it seems as I get started writing it. Maybe I will turn out to be mistaken about that as I get going.

Last week I discussed these status of these things:

  • The guest bedroom
  • The CNC machine
  • The garage/shop/studio
  • The weather
  • A few other odds and ends

I’ll hit those topics again, mostly briefly.

There is nothing new to report about the guest bedroom except that Anne is now using it as a sewing room and is making more masks. That’s a good thing.

I’m still working drywall in the hallway linen closet when time (and Anne’s office schedule) allow. No ETA on finishing that.

The other odds and ends (the rug, mostly) are more or less unchanged and life goes on.

The CNC, however, continues to be a thorn in my side. I thought I had the stair step issue mentioned in the last post identified as a problem with the software that generated the G-Code I was running. I came to that conclusion by recreating the toolpaths from scratch and seeing the cut work cleanly. I talked with Xwalacktun — the owner of the machine — about the overall situation and the plan is to get it back to him as soon as conditions (read “Covid19 second wave and provincial orders forbidding social gatherings”) allow. Maybe in two weeks or so. I really need the shop space back.

I tried to create a video for you folks about this thing, how it works, and so on, but the new model I attempted to cut did the same stair step thing as the last one. Argh! I am pretty sure the problem is still in the G-Code, but different support people at the software maker don’t think so and want me to cut more tests to prove or disprove that theory. As you will see below, there is painting going on in parts of the garage and the combination of sawdust and wet paint is a bad idea. I hope to do their requested test cuts this weekend.

Honestly, all I want to do with the machine now is throw it off a cliff. But I cannot do that as it is not mine. Instead I will solve these issues, and when I do there will be photos and — I hope — a video documenting what the machine is and does in more detail.

The garage/shop/studio did see some progress. Here are three photos of the same corner:

The first shows it with the access holes into the utility room patched up. No other changes from what you have seen before. Next you see it with one coat of primer over the walls and ceiling I can reach in that corner at the moment. And finally you see it with three coats of primer.

It’s much brighter back there already, which is a start. I am working on a cover for the access hatch to the water heater (which will be primed and screwed down) and then I can rearrange a lot of stuff to make the other corner in the back (off the left side of those photos) accessible. After that I can finish the concrete strip and painting that back area, and finally rearrange again to make the whole place more usable. There are, of course, a zillion other projects to be done out there, but this is where I started.

And yes, eventually there will be a door installed in the main entry to the utility room, but that requires time I currently lack and a way to get a purchased door home, which I also lack. I really need someone to sell a cheap electric pickup truck. I never want to buy another gas powered engine again, ever.

On the last thing to cover — weather forecasts here in Vancouver — and it gets a bit weird.

First, I need to share this, which Anne saw on her phone the other day. Read it carefully:

That’s right “Snowfall Warning … Heavy Rain [right now] … Snow stops within the next hour”

Go figure.

That screen capture came from The Weather Network app on her phone. Note that it gives her location as “Mccartney Woods” which is not “Riverside East” which is where they decided my phone was. We’re in the same house!

That photo caused me some consternation. Just how good is The Weather Network? Last week I showed photos of them messing up the forecast for the rest of the day, and here they have no clue what is going on *now* either.

I tried some searches to see if I could find a map from them showing where the “Mccartney Woods” and “Riverside East” forecast areas actually are. If they are using cell tower location rather than detailed location of the phones, that could explain some of this, and might also imply their idea of what “Riverside East” means has little to do with what the North Vancouver neighbourhood of the same name is. Sadly, I found no maps documenting their forecast zones at all.

I also tried using their website on my desktop computer. It decided I was located in North Vancouver rather than “Riverside East” and gave me a different forecast, one with slightly higher temperatures and no snowfall predicted.

And that brought me to a halt. I’ve been saving forecast data for “Riverside East” for over a month now, trying to determine if it is at all useful. What I have learned can be summed up as follows:

  • The Riverside East forecasts are not particularly useful for our home. They have been predicting snow off and on for several weeks now and other than a few flurries on one day we have had nothing at all. Those forecasts have predicted large accumulations which have simply not happened here. They may well have happened a few hundred metres higher up in the mountains, though, and if that is where the cell tower is that defined my location, that could make sense. Still, if the forecasts are not useful here at our home — due to being wildly inaccurate — why bother with them?
  • Their forecasts are highly variable over time. Imagine that today (Friday, Nov 13) you start looking at the forecast for Friday Nov 20. This morning it might say there is a 70% chance of precipitation and it might offer a guess at rainfall and snowfall totals of (say) 1–5mm and 5–10cm. Tomorrow morning the forecast for Nov 20 might say there is a 50% chance of precipitation, no rain. and 25–30cm of snow. The day after the numbers could all be different again, and so on right up until the morning before. It seems that if rain or snow is in the forecast, the precipitation forecast means nothing over time. And I cannot tell if the forecast numbers are accurate in the end because (as mentioned above) the forecast area they decided I am in could be all wrong.

I’m not even going to bother sharing the spreadsheet I was using to track this stuff. It’s so far off from what we get at our home that it’s useless. They aren’t bad at predicting sunny days, but their predicted low temperature is generally off by several degrees (Celsius) and rain and snow numbers are completely wrong.

At this point I need to research other apps and weather information sources. I also need to pin down where we are physically located in the various forecast systems and maybe then I will find a source of weather information I can use and trust. It is possible that weather forecasts in Vancouver are fine if they come from the right source, and bad if you are using the wrong source. And for our home, it seems that The Weather Network is the wrong source. *sigh*

That’s a wrap for this week. I have no clue what progress will have been made next time. We’ll find out together. Someday I might even get back to making art again!

Take care and stay safe!



Jeff Powell

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