Tag Archives: hope

Vacation failure again…

How the living room has looked, for way, way too long.

I may have mentioned the last couple of vacation failures. They were supposed to be our great trip to Hawaii, the first because it was our 25th wedding anniversary, but was also Covid and so we couldn’t go, and the second because we didn’t go the first time, but it was still Covid and then stroke, so we ended up taking a three day break in Whistler instead. Very similar, in many respects.

Mrs Dim keeps pointing out that I am under a lot of stress, trying to manage the house and help with the kids’ schooling, and Mrs Dim’s medical requirements, and do my day job. I don’t really notice the stress until she points it out, but I suppose she’s right. Anyway, this led to me deciding I would just impulsively take a week off work. Not worry about who would pick up the slack, or anything, just announce my leave, fill out the forms and go!

Mrs Dim fixed up a couple of nights in the Coast Hotel in Osoyoos, somewhere we had stayed before and very much enjoyed. It’s a four-hour drive, but I like the journey, and it would just be the two of us. No leaping out of bed in the morning to feed pets, no collecting kids from this or that, no washing up after meals. A real break.

Unfortunately, that break was *something* in the back of the car, 200km from home AND 200 km from our destination. We were close enough to Manning Park to limp into the car park so we could look under the car. Everything looked ok, but the car was definitely making a weird rattling noise it hadn’t before, so we called BCAA. They said they’d send someone out to look at it. Now, the last time I called BCAA for help with the Cursed Mini, they sent a guy with an entire mechanic’s tool collection in the back of his truck. He could have built another car out of the spare parts he carried. This was the kind of person I was expecting.

A very confused tow-truck guy (called “Guy”, as it happens) came out. He was confused because he was told the car was a “Mazda F-150” (which doesn’t exist) and it had a flat tyre (which it didn’t.) We drove him up and down the car park so he could hear the worrying sound for himself, but it turned out that didn’t matter because

A: He wasn’t a mechanic

B: He didn’t have any tools and

C: he’d only been driving a tow truck for three months.

He offered to tow us to Princeton where there was a tyre company and a motel. He then admitted the tyre company probably couldn’t fix the car, and the motel was full. On the other hand, it was close, and he lived there, so it was convenient for him.

We instead opted to be towed to Hope, which was only an hour away, had an actual garage that could at least look at the car, and was close enough to home that a Weasel could come out in the Cursed Mini and take us home. An hour isn’t much, but it’s a long time in the cramped cabin of a tow-truck owned by a forty-a-day smoker with no teeth, who tells you fifteen minutes into the journey that he’s unvaccinated and believes Covid to be a scheme by Bill Gates to reduce the world’s population….

Anyway, Middle Weasel drove out to Hope to rescue us, and Eldest and Tiny Weasel made sure there was food ready for us, and that the guy putting the finishing touches to the living room wall was done and paid before we got home.

The wall looks a lot better like this. When it’s painted, it’ll be better still.

It was not the two nights away from home we’d hoped for, but there were reasons to be cheerful. BCAA covered the costs of the towing. The garage fixed the car and it only cost $600 (yes, that’s a lot, but it’s way less than I thought it was going to be. Also, ANOTHER mysterious rattling noise that no one ever thought was serious has now ceased.) The hotel refunded us our booking. And yes, we DID have to drive back to Hope to retrieve the big car, but that meant Mrs Dim and I got another drive together, and another romantic Subway lunch in picturesque Hope*.

*This is sarcasm. Subway is the only reason to stop in Hope, with no offense intended to those people who, ah ha ha ha, “live in Hope”.

Escaping to Fan Expo Vancouver

There’s little doubt that 2016 has been a grim year. We’ve lost folk heroes, rock stars, and a little bit of belief in the fundamental goodness of regular folks. But yesterday we set aside our fears and doubts, and dressed up as someone else for a day. We went to Fan Expo Vancouver 2016.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know we try to go every year. I always intend to dress up, and I never do. Time and again, the Weasels have outshone me with their brilliant outfits, and been photographed over and over.

This year, I was ready. Having spent only a short period of time building s Doctor Strange outfit for Halloween, I had spruced up the Shakespearean Vader suit that I built so long ago. I shortened the cloak so I didn’t trip on it. I added extra bling. I was ready.


We didn’t rush in this year – there would be no queuing! Eldest Weasel had booked a photo shoot with her personal Doctor Who idol, Alex Kingston, and that wasn’t until mid-afternoon, so we had a leisurely drive in to downtown, and then we gathered outside the convention centre while Mrs Dim figured out how to exchange our tickets for the wristbands that would get us inside.


Eldest Weasel’s friend came along as Kaylee from Firefly, while Eldest herself had really gone to town on improving her Time Lord Headdress.


Middle Weasel was Quicksilver (somewhat ironic, given her tendency to avoid moving whenever possible) and Tiny Weasel was Frisk from Undertale. You know, Undertale? the Game? No, me neither.

Attending Fan Expo in costume was wildly different from going in regular clothes. For one thing, I was stopped quite often so people could take photos of or with me. For another, I couldn’t actually see very much. My breath fogged up the eyepieces after about four minutes, and Mrs Dim had to guide me through the halls. I was glad she’d chosen a white jacket for the day, as it was easy to follow the white blur. Only once did it turn out to be the WRONG white blur….

From an atmosphere of fear and hate (through the internet news and the reactions of friends and family) we found ourselves in a place of acceptance and encouragement. Fans can be sticklers for details, vocally critical of the film industry when details are altered for a movie, or when a beloved character is treated badly for plot purposes. But I heard no criticisms of any of the costumed characters at the Expo. There was open admiration, compliments, applause, and , of course, photographs. Prominently displayed in the convention centre and the nearby hotel were signboards with the “Cosplay is not consent” policy clearly laid out. Some female characters wear skimpy outfits, and those that chose to dress as those characters could have no fear that they would risk assault for that choice.

Respect. Inclusion. Honest fun. Pursuit of interests for the joy they bring, not the financial gain.

It was a delight to step into this world, and imagine the one we live in coming back to these values one day.

1985 on my mind…

We’re all hearing a lot about today being THE day, finally, when Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive from the past. We’ve bemoaned the lack of hoverboards, the fact there isn’t a Jaws 17 in real 3d on at the movies. Surprisingly, there ARE still a lot of Deloreans kicking about.

But I’m looking the other way. I’m remembering what I can about 1985, wanting to remember what I thought the future would really look like.

Dim November 85

In 1985 I was thirteen. In my third year of Secondary School, and doing reasonably well. I was a big Star Wars fan, although I actually had only seen “The Empire Strikes Back” for the first time the year before, on VHS. (I’d seen “Return of the Jedi” several times, including once up in London as a result of winning a competition…)

the last show at Winchester fixed

The last days of Winchester’s cinema.

I saw “Back to the Future” at the cinema in Winchester, a relic from the glory days of the movies, sandwiched between anonymous buildings on North Walls. I likely saw the sequel there too. At thirteen, the cinema was a place I could suddenly go to with friends, not parents, and back then it was also within my limited budget.

North Walls today

What the cinema site looks like today.

It was obvious that the 2015 shown in “Back to the Future 2” was over the top, but thirty years was a long time. Look at the advancements we had made since 1955, after all – we had digital watches, space shuttles, a phone the size of a small briefcase you could carry around with you! Clive Sinclair was trying to get people to ride a three-wheel electric scooter, for Pete’s sake, surely we’d have hoverboards by 2015?

I think I missed the clear message of Back to the Future, though : that no matter how much times may change, people remain the same. If I could talk to that thirteen year old now, I wouldn’t tell him that we have a company making all-electric cars that can outperform most petrol cars, but people are still fighting wars over oil. I wouldn’t tell him that there’s overwhelming scientific evidence and vocal protest about climate change, but people are still putting profit first. I wouldn’t tell him that people are still fighting and killing over gods, over land, over ancient feuds.

I might tell him I carry a device in my pocket that can access almost limitless information and play movies and games. That my kids use computers every day and they are as common in schools as exercise books were in my time. That there are people like Malala who stand up to ignorance and cruelty, and a whole generation growing up who believe in recycling, renewable energy, healthy eating and are anti-bullying.

If you’re not sick of movies yet, try watching “Tomorrowland”. Near the beginning the heroine of the film is in class after class, being shown terrible images of the near future – climate change, over population, deforestation, animal extinction. The teachers are grim and despondent, and she raises her hand to ask “How can we fix it?”

That’s how we get the future we need. Not by aiming for hoverboards and shark movies, but seeing the problems ahead and asking “How can we fix it?”