Distracted Driving

I am coming to realize how much I dislike driving. Especially since I barely have to do it anymore. But I still want the ability to drive, so I have to pay attention to my driver’s license.
From what I can understand, I have 90 days from moving to British Columbia to get a local driver’s license. That time limit is coming up fast. Unfortunately it appears that all the places that I can do this (ICBC) are only open during work hours, and not a second more. (I may be possibly exaggerating, but not by much.) I did find one in Burnaby that is open on weekends.
So, on Saturday I decided to make the commute. I have discovered that Vancouver does not really have a fast transportation system. They appear to be doing well on mass-transit, but there are not many freeways here. So my drive was through slow traffic with lots of lights. I haven’t had to do that in a long time, so I really noticed how stressed it made me feel.
I also have another problem; I seem to have acquired another challenge: I’m trying to see how long I can go before I have to get gas for my car. This has nothing to do with cost or anything, just a challenge. I’m doing well. In the three months I’ve been here, I have not gotten to a half tank yet. This goal of mine, which serves no purpose, further exacerbated the stress of my 40 minute drive to Burnaby.
In Burnaby I discovered that this ICBC was actually located in a mall. A very large mall. On the weekend before Christmas.
Parking was its own layer of hell.
When I finally got in, I was told that I needed another piece of ID, besides my existing driver’s license. Such as a passport. I think I’ve had friends mention that I would need that, but I had clearly forgotten. This did not help my level of stress.
I seemed to get really angry on the drive home. About really anything.
The workaround to my problem was to walk to the ICBC that is downtown before work. This was technically open half an hour before I should be at my job, so I could do it.
However, this Monday, Vancouver had gotten snow. And while they tell me they know how to handle water drainage, they have clearly no idea how to handle snow. Lakes formed at most crossings. The actual process of getting the license was quick and easy. The swimming there and back was not.
I went home to change socks and shoes before continuing on to work.
All that said, it is the little things about walking everywhere that make it nice.
When you are driving, to stop off at a place during your commute is never as easy as it sounds. There many small tasks that wear on you: try to pull into the place; find parking spot; get out of car. But if I have to walk to a place on my commute, you just keep walking through the front door. You can’t really do that in a car. Well you can, but the authorities will have words with you afterwards.
In other words, going to the post office is really easy now, even if I have to walk a block out of my way.
A lot of this could have to do with downtown living.

Learning Cool Things

The company that I work for has occasional seminars for if you are interested in new technologies. Free to sign up. And if you want to actually use them for your own purposes, you can sign them out and go to town.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to learn about the Arduino system. Nominally it was to learn how to use Neopixels, but it was more learning about Arduino than anything else. Arduino is basically a way to create electronic devices. In the class we mostly controlled a strip of lights (the aforementioned Neopixels) but there are lots of things that you could use the Arduino for.
That is part of the problem. I wish I had something like this when I was a child. Back then I had an interest in electronics, but I never had an easy way to make anything. Or good ways to learn how to create anything. The Arduino would have let me experiment with things.
At this stage in my life, my creativity is shot. If I had the time to create devices, I don’t have any idea what I would want to make. If I was a child I could make completely stupid things. But right now, there is nothing electronic I need to make my life more interesting.
It’s kind of sad; to acknowledge the loss of youth. In such a geeky way.
Today though we learned about drones. It was an hour where we got an idea of how to fly a drone, what are the issues and problems, and what are the cool things you can do with them. Unfortunately it was too wet (Vancouver!) to actually take them out.
If I had the motivation, it would be awesome to have one and take video of people running an ultra marathon. The problem is that, in those cases, I’m usually busy doing the running. And I don’t think my company wants me give the drone to someone, untrained, outside the company.
And let’s be honest: I take a lot of pictures that I never do anything with. Why would video be any different. It would be cool to do, but wouldn’t go anywhere.
Next week is 3D printing, which I already have plans for how to abuse.