I have some thoughts on the sharing economy. Now that I have used Airbnb, I actually have a shred of experience with the system.
While staying with hosts, I found myself trying to “game” the system. I wanted a good review, so I bent over backwards to be nice to the hosts, and even make friends with them. I don’t know if I did this more than I would have otherwise. I did get good reviews.
Airbnb will even link to my Facebook account. I don’t know to what extent that means the two providers are integrated. I suspect Uber does the same thing.
In the non-sharing economy, your credit rating is everything. The better it is, the more financial options you have available to you. You start out with none, and have to work to get a good rating. But it its an easy thing to grow if you do it carefully over time. It is why I got a credit card in university even though I didn’t really need one at the time.
Now I can see Facebook becoming the new social rating service. If you link everything to your Facebook account, all the other services can see if you are a trustworthy person or not. Different from your credit rating, this is more of a personality rating.
(This is actually something I’ve been wanting for some time, a way to rate people as human beings. If someone is a jerk, it would be cathartic to be able to let other people know that I believe he is a jerk and therefore consequences will happen. But that is a system that would be very open to abuse, so we shouldn’t go there.)
But, similar to how I got a credit card in university, it implies that everyone should get a Facebook profile to grow their social rating. You need to start developing a profile with history, or otherwise you will look like you just made a new fake person because the real you has a poor rating. And it is an easy thing to grow if you do it carefully over time.
This feels like an advertisement for Facebook: use it early and often so that you can participate in the new economy.
It is an end-run around the old economy. It is similar to how the world electrical grid may evolve in the future. Instead of all the competing electrical plugs you need in North America versus Europe versus Britain etc, you may instead just use USB outlets. A technology that didn’t have the intention to become the power standard of the world, does.
Tuesday was our last day of vacation. We just had to drive to Edmonton and we would be done.
But, we didn’t think we were in that big a rush, so we checked out the Wells Gray park nearby. Our Airbnb host was a good champion of the park and even had brochures ready, and recommended trails and stops. We decided to pass on some of the hikes, because we didn’t have too much time, but we did drive to all the highlights.
It was a very beautiful park. There were waterfalls everywhere. It has a history of glaciation and volcanic activity that makes those waterfalls so prevalent. I would have liked to have spent longer there and seen more. Maybe another time.
But we must have spent too long there, because in the end, we didn’t get back home until after eleven o’clock.
We had a lunch at the “Clearwater Stop” restaurant, because a friend had recommended it for good German food. And the Jager Schnitzel was good. I think we were in a very German area, because a LOT of the other tourists in the park were speaking German.
In Jasper, we ate at the “D’ed Dog Diner”. Last year it has a great “Big Game Burger”. This year, that burger was overcooked. My travelling companion was over-tired at that point and was taking it very personally afterwards. If I had let her continue her rant, it would have ended with the Diner being burnt down and the ashes sown with salt. I was in a more forgiving mood and would give them another shot.
Today, Monday, we got up late.
We tried to get in a little bit more of Vancouver before we had to go, so we walked to Granville Island. However, neither of us were big shoppers, so the idea of wandering through a bunch of eclectic shops didn’t appeal to us that much. Instead, we stayed on the bridge leading to the island, took some pictures of the scenery, and then headed back.
I wanted to try out some of the food trucks as a lunch option. It seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, just because they are a truck, doesn’t make it fast food. It took as long as a sit-down meal to get the food. It WAS good, just not worth the wait when you have a long drive ahead of you.
Then we started driving home. We only had to make it to the town of Clearwater in British Columbia. We have a Airbnb there, so that we don’t have to try and do the whole trip at once. Since we had time, we thought we would take the scenic Trans-Canada Highway back again instead of the faster Coquihalla Highway. We even stopped for more fruit from the roadside vendors. (So good!) We planned to not take lots of pictures. Why should we, we had already taken them on the way down. Then we hit the golden hour, and that plan went to pot.
We kept stopping for pictures because it was overwhelmingly beautiful. We got to Kamloops at around 8:30PM and picked up a very quick meal. We didn’t get to Clearwater until after ten o’clock. That was a long day.
Unfortunately, Clearwater is in the middle of nowhere, so there was no cell service. I had been overly dependent on my iPhone to map my way everywhere, and the mountains were indicating that was a bad idea. Fortunately, I had printed out a faded copy of the map. I just wish these Airbnb people would have better lit numbers for their houses.
Today, Sunday, we didn’t plan things that well.
For some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to go to the aquarium. On a beautiful Sunday, the park was packed. We REALLY lucked out and got parking after a very rough time driving there.
The aquarium was really cool. But we had arrived too late in the day to spend more than two hours there. And we lingered too long in the not-cool part. So we had to rush through the parts featuring mammals, like belugas and seals. We did end it off with touching sea flap-flaps.
Then we went for coffee with an old work friend. While there, we had two sightings of Neil Patrick Harris. I didn’t recognize him, but my friend had read his biography and was able to recognize his children enough to confirm it was him, and not just someone who looked like him.
Then off to dinner with another former coworker. We had Indian. I seem to be doing a lot of networking here.
The friends we had been seeing had done an evening cruise, so when we went to the club it wasn’t as many people. And frankly the club was disappointing. So we didn’t spend too late there.
We got a late check out, so we shouldn’t need to rush on Monday.
Today, we walked back to the waterfront and rented some bicycles. Then off to Stanley Park.
Bikes are a great way to see the park. It makes it easy to get around, you feel more connected, you see things you wouldn’t from a car, parking is easy, and you get exercise. I’m sure I have a friend who would approve; as long as we were wearing helmets.
I liked Prospect Point because of the view of Lions Gate Bridge. We were lucky to be there just as a cruise ship was going through; it makes the pictures better. Probably adds scale or something. There was a Chinese man playing Pachabel’s Canon on some instrument I didn’t recognize. It is a lovely song.
We also had lunch now a rocky beach that was only accessible because of low tide. It was near Siwash Rock, so there was a nice view too.
After four hours, we returned the bikes, and walked back to the same restaurant as yesterday. We liked it, and we had found other dishes we had wanted to try.
Then another night of meeting friends at clubs. Staying out too late too. This time we scored a cab ride there with an acquaintance, and walked back afterwards. We had planned to walk there, but the person offered to let us join her.
Please excuse the lateness of the next few posts. I’ve been busy and I’m trying to catch up.
On Friday, we evacuated the Airbnb and moved to a hotel. I’m trying to make that sound simpler than it was. The hotel wasn’t ready until later, but we could park our car there. We did that and then walked half an hour to Gastown. It is a trendy part of town. Well it pretends to be that, but at times it felt touristy with lots of souvenir shops. And occasional over-priced yuppie stores. (The fur rug at $3500 felt fabulous until I realized it wasn’t fake.)
We actually started at a restaurant I had been to before, Save On Meats. It is a diner with its own butcher attached to it. The meat is fantastic and the prices are good. If you are in the area, go check it out.
We then did the wander through Gastown, stopping to see the steam clock. I am annoyed by it because it was four minutes off. And a friend told me it wasn’t run by steam. Still the moving metal balls inside that roll around on tracks to help run it are cool to look at.
Eventually, we proceeded to the waterfront. The scenery was beautiful and we took lots of pictures. I liked watching all the water planes come in and take off. You don’t see that in Edmonton. I wonder if you could? Could we use the North Saskatchewan as a landing strip? Certainly not in winter.
For dinner we went to a cheap Japanese restaurant that is on the same block as the hotel. We wanted to have sushi here because, well, it is Vancouver. You are practically required by law.
Afterwards we went out to a club with a bunch of friends. We are being surprisingly sober here, so it makes getting around easy when you don’t have to worry about driving under the influence. Although parking feels awkward when you do it next to a homeless person and a prostitute.
Stayed up way too late.
Today we did a lot of hiking.
It started with a trip to the Capilano suspension bridge. It is an expensive park, $40 per person. It is beautiful, but the bridge itself isn’t that exciting. At the time of day we went, it was crowded, and certain kinds of people will get cranky if you take too long taking a picture. There are park attractions on either side, but the far side is better. Bonus: there are less people on the far side due to the bridge bottleneck.
They have something called a “Treetop Adventure”, but they really should have bitten the bullet and called it the “Ewok village”.
I liked seeing the owl up close, and the remains of the tree that tried to take out the bridge.
Afterwards, we continued up the road to Grouse Mountain. They have a great trail called the “Grouse Grind”. It is about 2.4km, and goes up 850 meters. You have to be strong to handle it. I was with someone, so I had to go their pace, so I spent most of the time being cheerful and encouraging to other people who may have been cranky. It was nice to be on a busy trail because I could pass people.
I don’t like being passed on a trail, and it is usually because of the slow people I’m with. (Do I sound bitter?)
Interestingly, someone died on the trail yesterday. Heart attack. I know I should feel sorry for him, but it does make me feel more accomplished.
We didn’t do much at the top because some of us were tired, so we took the gondola down.
I wish we had remembered to check out the Capilano dam. I don’t know if it an attraction, but it would have been nice to see.
We drove down the Thompson river on the Trans-Canada highway. We stopped for some fruit, and got a complimentary habanero plant too. We will see if we can keep it alive for the trip. We have a huge amount of fresh produce on us now, that we need to eat before it goes bad.
We went south, stopping to take pictures every so often.
When we passed “Hell’s Gate” (not the only time I’ve seen that name. People keep naming things the same thing ) we stopped off at what we thought was a scenic point. However it required walking down a steep road. Eventually we figured it was just to the other end of the cable car that lets you view the Gate. We decided to give up after we had gone halfway. We would only have seen the view from a bridge a bit above the water, and it may not have been that good. We also weren’t wearing good hiking shoes.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and now we are in Vancouver.
My first Airbnb was very good. I was exhausted yesterday evening, so my blog post may have been rambling. In the harsh light of day I realize how nice it was.
The host was very welcoming. I had planned to go out for breakfast, but she started offering her own food. Since she had chickens, we had incredibly fresh, fertilized eggs. They were the best eggs I’ve ever had. Fresh bread from the bakery for toast. She was also a great conversationalist.
After breakfast, we got a tour. We held chickens and rotated them. (You have to try it to see.) Then a tour of her garden.
We bought a few of her eggs (hard-boiled) and then left later than we had planned.
She gave us directions to Vancouver that would be better than the default. So now we are in Cache Creek having a lunch before continuing on. I’m sort of looking to see if there are any fresh fruit vendors along the way. But we have a lot of fruit in the car already.
The day started in Priddis. But we got up early and drove to Mount Temple, to climb it. We had decided to go today, because the weather would be better. And the weather was nice, in Priddis. Around Lake Louise the weather was decidedly more inclement. It was okay when we started out, at around nine. But it soon started raining. We persevered and we seemed to get a new form of weather every half hour. Although my other half looked rather cranky for the first part. I was too, but that was until I ate some trail mix; I hadn’t eaten for too long.
When we reach Ministemma lakes, we stopped for lunch. It was sunnier, and everything felt better. Then up to Sentinel Pass. Lots of pictures were taken. The we kept climbing up. We had no intention of getting to the top, but we got to the cool ledge, made for taking exciting pictures. There we had another lunch and then headed back.
We took too long, and we’re running behind schedule. So we ate a lot of snacks in the car instead of stopping in Lake Louise for dinner. Probably for the best, because the town was very busy and had a traffic jam. We wouldn’t have been able to get a dinner in a reasonable time. So, we had a long drive to our next stop in Falkland, B.C., where we had an Airbnb to go to. Don’t be surprised if you have never heard of Falkland. But it was a good stopover to let us arrive in Vancouver over two days.
The planning could have gone better. I figured it would be easy to find the way to the really small town (hamlet?) Except I was thinking like an urban prairie dweller. There was no cell access in the mountains. So my map plan was not reliable for a long stretch. The only other map in the car was twenty years old. But a combination of the two got us here.
It is now very late, and I need to sleep.
This had been planned long before my unemployment, so it would be hard to justify doing these things now. Yesterday, I went whitewater rafting on the Kananaskis river. That was loads of fun. The weather was slightly overcast, so I worried about being cold; especially with glacier water. But when you are paddling you keep warm enough.
Immediately afterwards there was the drive home. On the way we stopped off at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. I had always been interested in it, because it has a beautiful valley entrance that entices me when I drive past. This time, since we had the time, we stopped off. It was gorgeous. The lower parts looked like a fairly tale. In a movie I would expect little woodland creatures to be frolicking about. If you have the time, stop off there for at least half an hour. Do the small hike and take lots of pictures.
We got back late on Friday evening, which made getting up on Saturday hard. We couldn’t linger in bed, because we had to go do the Color-Me-Rad run. I’m of mixed feeling about it. I saw a lot of opportunities where the event was trying to milk me for money (especially with their convoluted parking scheme, in collusion with the Northlands) but the event itself was fun. I got sprayed with all sorts of color. At one time in the face, by request, which caused me to lose sight in one eye, until I could get my sunglasses cleaned.
At the end we were a rainbow of spectrum.
Instead of getting cleaned up, we went to the Whyte Avenue artwalk. We fit in well, and got lots of compliments. There were a few other post-racers there. Solidarity!
Today is my first day without work.
Today I worked.
I had a project I’ve been wanting to get at. I recently tried to improve my knowledge of SQL. When I went to Pluralsight for training, I found their courses… wanting. They were fine courses, but they were at the wrong level; improvements to the server itself. Most of them could be summarized with “Turn on statistics and refresh often.” Their simple examples were fine for showing how the server does its thing. None were very good at giving tips on writing a better SQL in the first place.
I’ve written SQL that is hundreds of lines long. (That is a lot.) I’ve done optimizations which changed the run time of a report from minutes down to seconds. (That is also a lot.) I felt better qualified to write a course than what I found.
Which means I had to.
Today I finished it and put it up on my website.
It is dry. It is technical. But it is mine. And it will be useful for me to consult at whatever job I end up at.
Of course, I forgot to put my name on it. Then again, I haven’t put my name on anything on my website. That will be a project for tomorrow.