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Free rent to the right “lawn order” type


I’m a homeowner in Vancouver’s desirable Fairview neighbourhood offering the free run of a detached suite to someone of suitably elfin stature who is ready and willing to stand guard over my fescue grass. The right candidate must be fairy dogged in preventing canine encroachments. Read more…

A dead transit bus gets a lift back to the barn


Thursday evening (April 28), at about 6:45 p.m., I noticed that a transit bus, unlit and with its trolley poles stowed horizontally, was parked in the westbound lane of the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue.

The passengers and driver had long since disembarked and the only person that I could see moving in and around the darkened bus was the driver/operator of a heavy-duty yellow and blue tow truck that was sitting at an angle to the nose of the frozen New Flyer. Read more…

Going for Broadway Line bucks and other real estate developments

Checking the online real estate advertising for the Fairview and Kitsilano neighbourhoods, where I spend the majority of my time, I see there are some 25 current listings, representing 32 commercial properties,that are either up for sale or shown as having been sold. In case you want to explore for yourself, I’ve put them on a Google Map for easy reference.

I also see that real estate agents are under no obligation to date their online listings and that what appear to be recent property sales can be two or three years old.

While this is annoying, I think that even this outdated information can be useful for helping one to keep track the changing face of the neighbourhoods.

While it’s true that not every sale of an old building leads to a redevelopment; every redevelopment does begin with the sale of an old building and a developer who buys a building may take a few years to get all their ducks in a row before they can begin.

Francesco Aquilini bought the site of the 87-year-old Santa Fe apartment building back in 2012, in order to redevelop it. What with development plans and hearings, construction on the redevelopment didn’t begin until spring of 2015 and continues even as I write. Read more…

Flicker of recognition for our little drummer bird


A northern flicker laying down a rap on top of a streetlight at 6:33 a.m.

We all know about the early bird that gets the worm but what about the bird in the Fairview neighbourhood that gets to drumming on the tops of street lights just after sunrise?

In March of 2015 I referred to one of them as a woodpecker. This morning (April 25) I saw and heard another one and this time I think I can narrow down the identification to a specific member of the woodpecker family.

I think our little drummer bird is a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), which the City of Vancouver includes in its list of 15 common garden birds.

Apparently when a northern flicker drums on a metal surface, such as galvanized flashing, steel railing or the top of a streetlight, it’s trying to declare its territory to the greatest possible number of surrounding birds.

Metal naturally resonates louder than wood and therefore provides the northern flicker with the most bang for its beak, as it were. Click the image to enlarge it.

Why keys shouldn’t be labelled with an address


If possession really is nine-tenths of the law, then for about 15 minutes on the afternoon of Monday, April 18, I was only one-tenth homeless.

The how and why of this says something about the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in general and about the handling of one’s house keys in particular.

It all happened as I was making my way north from 12th Avenue towards a bottle depot on the other side of Broadway Avenue. Because I was traveling on the east side of Manitoba Street, which is a sort of east/west dividing line, I was making for East Broadway Avenue.

At one point I stopped to exercise the privilege given me by one of the homeowners along Manitoba Street—to go into their yard and clean out their recycling blue box of returnable beverage containers.

As I came out of the yard with my arms full of wine bottles, two 30-something guys standing on the sidewalk asked me if I had lost my keys and they showed me a pair on a ring they had just found in the street. Read more…

Happy National Weed Day everyone!


The parkade where I lay my homeless little head at night is kept tidy. The concrete floor is swept periodically, burned-out lights are changed promptly and spray-painted graffiti is painted over almost instantly.

Yet, for some reason, a large patch of chalk graffiti has been left undisturbed for at least five years. Among the red, white, yellow and blue chalk scrawls, one graffito stands out; it’s the time “4:20”, topped by a sketchy spray of marijuana leaves.

The use of “420” and its equivalents on the clock (“4:20”) and the calender (“4/20”) as a code for marijuana consumption is said to stem (cough) from a group in San Rafael, California, who arranged, way back in 1971, to get together a few times at exactly 4:20 p.m., so they could search for a fabled marijuana crop, said to have been abandoned.

It has nothing to do with the well-known nursery rhythm “Sing a Song of Sixpence“, which begins:

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.

Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

And likewise, there’s no connection to the famous American thoroughbred racehorse of the 1960s named Four-and-Twenty (after the nursery rhythm), which was bred and raced by a Canadian ranch out of Alberta, Canada.

“Four and twenty” is an old way of saying “24” and harkens back to the influence on English of the German language, where “24” is still written as “vier und zwanzig”, or rather just vierundzwanzig.

As of April 17,2016, medical marijuana is now legal in exactly 24 U.S. States but Justin Trudeau is NOT making 24 the legal age for smoking marijuana, as some bogus websites have claimed.

Absolutely nothing relating to marijuana has come down to us from either the year 420 BCE or 420 CE. Click the image to enlarge it.


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