In preparing for a trip to the United Kingdom, I’ve been exploring the ways of currency exchanges and hunting for the best foreign currency deals available to a small-time player like me. It’s been. . .
Lawn watering from May to September in Greater Victoria is supposed to be limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays for even addresses, and Thursdays and Sundays for odd addresses. And only from 4 a.m. . . .
A cataloguing of repairs, so that you can avoid and benefit from my missteps. The zipper on my waterproof MEC bicycling jacket stopped zipping after just eight years of use. I checked about zipper . . .
How do you ride Vancouver transit with a Compass card? The short answer is: buy a Compass card and tap it on the blue Compass card logo when you board a Metro Vancouver bus or approach a train or . . .
It’s proving to be the solution to a great assortment of electronic maladies: the restart. You turn something off and then, after a minute or two, turn it back on again. Or, when an on-off switch . . .
Until this past year, I’d never seen my credit report, a mysterious document that can dictate whether we are granted a credit card or accepted as an apartment tenant. Home Depot signed me up for a . . .
Update: Verdict on the food at Esquimalt Ribfest. I sampled offerings from four of the five booths. The pork ribs were all good, though one was a little tougher than I liked. Pulled pork and beef . . .
For years, I’ve been buying a particular model of pants because they fit nicely, are comfortable, and draw a minimum of snarky remarks about my fashion sense. Then, one day, when I went to buy more. . .
It was at a middle-range Toronto hotel. We checked in using my credit card. Up in the room, I decided to log into my credit card account online, which is something I like to do when travelling to . . .
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t know my Gulf Islands. I can name and roughly place the 13 municipalities that make up Greater Victoria. But, faced with an outline of the Gulf Islands, I . . .
Sometimes, when you plug an audio line from a desktop computer into a stereo receiver or amplifier, an annoying hum comes through the speakers along with the music. You stop the music and the hum is. . .
Before getting into the details of being 16 hours late on a cross-country train trip, here’s some Via Rail policy news: Via Rail has responded to on-time troubles with some of its passenger trains . . .
Flashlights have undergone a revolution thanks to the LED technology that is also changing household light bulbs. The result is much brighter light with the same size of batteries. It does not make. . .
On many days, starting about 4:30 p.m., a line forms on Government Street in Chinatown outside the restaurant Brasserie L’école. They don’t accept reservations, so people line up before opening if . . .
MasterCard calls it PayPass, Visa calls it payWave. Interac calls it Flash. Users of recent-era credit cards and debit cards have the option of paying for purchases by tapping their card or placing . . .
Back in 2007, the Capital Regional District ran a campaign to get us to use less detergent. Detergent in the water we dump down the drain can damage the ecosystem, we were told. Use less to help the. . .
B.C. Hydro increased its residential electricity rates on April 1, part of a long-term scheme that has rates increasing every year through to at least 2018, and likely beyond. Rates this year are up. . .
With a little discipline, decent access to Wi-Fi and an aversion to talking, it’s possible to run a smartphone for $10 a month. A relative has managed to do this for several years. One of the big . . .
Update: Via announced on April 8 that it is resuming train service between Winnipeg and Toronto on April 10. - - - On Saturday, March 7, a tanker car train carrying crude oil derailed near Gogama . . .
Reflecting some more, so to speak, on a pet issue: it's the fashion to wear dark clothing, which is fine until it's night and motorists (and cyclists like me) can't see all those dark-clad people . . .
The TV, computer and stereo are all off. The heat pump, dishwasher and exhaust fans aren’t running. The fridge and hot water heater are resting. Everything in the house powered by electricity seems . . .
B.C. Transit drivers in Greater Victoria are supposed to announce the bus stops. It’s mandatory, B.C. Transit says. It’s also not happening much. A B.C. Transit spokesman said in January that the . . .
The scene is a busy street in Mumbai, India. The car traffic is constant. Crosswalk stripes are painted on the pavement, and packs of pedestrians cross. But the cars never stop. The pedestrians, in . . .
This was supposed to be a quick reflection on the taste of orange juice after I rediscovered what it’s like to drink juice that I’ve personally reamed from oranges. But then, I went exploring and . . .
Some generally agreed upon concepts discovered in a survey of the egg-peeling literature (mostly found on food websites). To make the peeling of boiled eggs easier: Use older eggs; the shell sticks. . .
Via Rail is beginning to offer its new Prestige service on its flagship Vancouver-Toronto train, The Canadian. It’s Via’s version of first class. The biggest reasons why you might want this option:. . .
L.L. Bean, the U.S. maker and seller of practical clothing, is having a fashion moment. Its L.L Bean boots — waterproof and warm, and sold since 1912 — are suddenly in great demand. They’ve become . . .
Garbage pickup schedules are online, though you have to dig a little to find them. Here are direct links to garbage and recycling schedule information for the 13 municipalities in the capital region. . .
It was a good year for restaurant meals. Things started off nicely with excellent food on a Vancouver-Toronto train trip on Via Rail’s The Canadian in January. I wrote about that in an earlier post.. . .
With the arrival of cold weather, it took just over a month for our household to burn through 1,332 kWh of electricity at B.C. Hydro’s Step 1 price of 7.52 cents a unit. We’re now into the Step 2 . . .
Solar lights seem like a great idea. You put them wherever the sun shines without the need for wiring. You don’t have to pay for electricity to make them glow. They often come with sensors, so they’. . .
[Update: A reader suggests zippered pockets to keep wallets from going astray. If not for pants, for a vest. But keep track of that vest. Another suggestion: put a tracking device in your wallet, . . .
For people elsewhere in this nation of ice and snow (minus-20 in Calgary this week), a few degrees below zero is still shirtsleeves weather. They will chortle at our alarm over something as toasty . . .
I haven’t done a scientific survey, but it seems as if more restaurants are using a pay-before-you-eat format. Three restaurants that recently opened in downtown Victoria operate this way. At Fish . . .
Dryer balls are baseball-sized balls that are typically made of rubber, plastic or fabric. The promotional material for them says when you put several in a clothes dryer they’ll hasten drying; they. . .
It’s called showrooming, where shoppers go to a store to check over something they want to buy. They then go online to buy it, believing that they’ll pay less that way. The behaviour is based on an . . .
Heating season has arrived and that means much bigger B.C. Hydro bills since we heat our house with an electrically-powered heat pump. (We don’t have one of those super-insulated houses with fancy. . .
They are the energy hogs of our households. Clothes dryers, especially electric ones, suck up gobs of energy to blow hot air at wet clothes. They have essentially been the same for decades, unable . . .
The EMU-2 is a device that wirelessly links to your B.C. Hydro smart meter and displays your power use in kilowatts and pennies. B.C. Hydro is promoting it as part of its conservation efforts. The . . .
The word spread via social media (it was in my Facebook news feed) and was quickly picked up in mainstream media: the new iPhones can bend without much force. You can do it with your bare hands, a . . .
Another stage in B.C. Hydro’s smart meter era has arrived. You can install a device in your home that shows the amount of electricity you use while you’re using it. Turn on an electric clothes dryer. . .
An amazing number of houses in Greater Victoria have no visible address numbers. Or, if they are visible during the day, they become invisible at night. This became apparent to me several times this. . .
The Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival continues until Sunday, and as I said earlier, you should go. I’ve followed the advice of some veteran Fringe-goers by not always picking shows that I am almost. . .
I was slow to embrace the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. A bunch of shows by no-name performers in makeshift theatres. I didn’t see a lot of reason to go. But then I did, and I was surprised by . . .
Eating food in the proper way is a big part of being accepted into a society. Do things the wrong way and you’ll be snickered at, shunned, lectured, bullied and maybe even beaten up. You’d think it. . .
One of my office colleagues, who grew up on a farm, is very handy. He’s my inspiration. He just tackles stuff, from putting on a roof to installing plumbing fixtures. I am nowhere near that level . . .
Filed under: I only found this out by reading the manual. Reading dishwasher detergent box labels the other day, I discovered that some are formulated to clean away coffee and tea stains on ceramic. . .
We live in an amazing place, and sometimes it takes visitors to remind us of that. When I moved here 17 years ago, I was visiting a beach every few days. A long-time Islander was skeptical that that. . .