Friday, 31 July 2020

A Grand Weekend Adventure Awaits

And so does my darling dearest . . . to accompany me on said grand weekend adventure. . . or is it I am accompanying her on her grand weekend adventure?
   
(Picture is for effect, and is one from my photo archives)

Either way, this afternoon we will be heading south of the city where we live in, in order to get away and enjoy a small town that we have heard so much about.

We will do my usual Friday afternoon running around before heading out onto the open road for the short journey to our weekend destination.

We did not secure a spot but the place that we are going has an “overflow field” which is encouraging in this time of the whole province going camping for their ‘staycations.’

It is going to be a fun and fine weekend, even if it rains all weekend, why? Because my lady will be with me. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

A Neighbour Paid Me A Visit This Morning

He . . . she . . . they (I’ll respect their privacy) dropped by this morning, or perhaps last night and stayed the night . . . I’m not sure.

If I was thinking I would have snapped a picture of them, perching on my kitchen cabinet door . . . just resting there not bothering anyone.

I, however, was more than a bit freaked out, as for a bug they were a big one, they were a dragonfly. What’s more they have visited me before, or perhaps it was their friend.

Here is a crappy picture of their previous visit.
   

I have heard various tales of what nice significance having a dragonfly visit you means. 

I take it to mean that they were looking for a bit of shade and there is an abundance of food near my trailer.

Still, it was nice yet creepy (especially when I don’t remember them coming into my trailer) to see them this morning.

I did not try to smack or kill them, I just nudged them with the business end of my flyswatter. 

I was trying to either nudge them to move or try to lift them up and move them outside. Either way, outside was the objective.

They seemed to wake up when I nudged their hind legs as I was trying to get my flyswatter under them.

In what could be interpreted as either a sleepy flight pattern, or a drunken one, they made their way out of the door on their own, smacking into said door on their way out.

I am sure I will see my neighbour again . . . mental note, look around with more detail before closing up the house at night.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

I Bought More Books

So, as you may know, I am collecting books, and adding them to what I call “The Archives.” That archives will be used, and hopefully useful, when I start my town.
   

I am collecting all manner of books, yes real, tangible books, not e-books or other downloaded content (though I may do that later, or in concert). 

I call The Archives, the “When You Need To Know It But Can’t Google It Archives” because I want to have in there everything I will NEED to know just in case I can’t ‘just Google something.’ 

The problem is that every time I look at the state of things and get worried I tend to buy more books.

Why? Well, I am adding to the list of books that I want to buy, yet haven’t done so yet. I planned on buying a book or two each payday and slowly chip away at that list.

Yet, when you get that feeling, that fear, that time may be shorter than I thought, I just clear the list. I did that again, yesterday, I bought a pile of books.

On the upside I increased my Archives by a nice pile and added some good books, on the down side, that seriously diminished what I could (and was going to) put into savings with the August 22nd paycheque.

I am still going ahead to finish funding my Mid-Term Account back to its fully-funded levels on the August 7th payday. 

I will move forward, I will continue to build my savings, and I will get to the point that I could buy the land, if I had to, by the end of the year. 

I will just have more books to cart onto that land and help get things started, that’s all. How many books depends on how worried I get with the state of the world.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Heading South For The August Long

So, the long weekend is almost upon us, while it is called . . . Heritage Day, here in Alberta (though commonly referred to as the “August Long Weekend.”
   

Kim and I have decide to do two things at once, go camping in/near a small town that we have heard about through good friends of ours.

There is a small town south of the town that I live in (45 minutes south) that apparently does a lot of really nifty things this weekend each year.

So, we decided to head out and go camping there this weekend and check it out. It should be fun.

While we were not able to get a campsite reserved, there is an overflow area that we can use. 

Since Wanda is pretty much self-contained with solar power and all, we’re fine with that.

It should be a fun weekend, and excuse to get out of town for the weekend, and show my gal the benefits of living in an RV. 

At any rate, I am looking forward to the weekend, even if it rains all weekend, as I just want to spend time with my darling dearest.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 27 July 2020

I Got Hammered Friday Afternoon

. . . and not in a good way. So, there I was enjoying my relaxing Friday afternoon, after doing my running around, when I saw this . . . 
   

I did what most people did in my situation would do . . . hoped that it would be nice and just pass me by. It did . . . it passed over me . . . and it did move on by.

Yet it did not do so before giving me a bunch of “presents” . . . 
   

Yep, that is hail and not the “no need to be worried” type that I am used to seeing, it was the “let’s see what we can break” kind.

It sounded like I was in the middle of a protest and people were pelting my trailer with rocks. 

The sound was hard to hear because in the middle of it there is nothing you can do but just sit tight and hope that nothing gets broken. (I may or may not have shouted “Computer, raise shields!”)

Thankfully, I did come out relatively unscathed . . . relatively . . . but there was a casualty . . .
     

In order to stop the water from getting into my trailer, I did this . . . 
   

That is my plastic “wash tub” that I have, I have used it to wash my dishes and what have you. One handle is broken, so as a result it fit just nicely in the hole of the vent.

Afterwards I went up on the roof and encased the whole vent cover (while it was wide open) in a white, kitchen-catcher, garbage bag. 

When I then closed the vent, it sealed up the front vent nicely. It worked like a charm until I could replace the vent the next day.

My darling dearest was nice enough to drive me to the RV Dealership (where yes we looked at new ones, just for fun).

After picking up the new vent cover, it was just a matter of driving back to where Wanda was parked and swapping the damaged one with the new one.
   

The rear vent (the one over the bathroom) was not damaged, but this was because the plastic in it was newer (my theory). 

The front vent was a few years old, but I do believe that I have replaced it in the past.

I thought about buying a spare vent cover, but decided against it, as I would have to store it somewhere.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 24 July 2020

Boss’s Vacation Impacts My Paycheque

So, Boss is going on a vacation for the next two weeks. Fine. No problem. Yet, why does Boss’s vacation have to negatively impact my paycheque? Without warning yet.
   

So, on Wednesday, out of the blue Boss told us at work that we had to hand in our timesheets by the end of business the following day (as in yesterday).

Which was odd, because we had just gotten paid (Wednesday) and we had another week on the current payperiod that we were in (the one that he wanted the timesheeto of).

The reason, was an admirable one, in that Boss was going on vacation and would not be back in time to give us our paycheques for August the 7th.

I will say this that one of the things that I like and appreciate is that I have never had to worry about getting my paycheque. 

It has always been given to me, and always been correct nor have I had to go chasing after it.

If I was just an hourly employee this early timesheet thing would not be an issue, as I would know almost exactly how much it was going to be.

Yet, I make hourly rate plus a commission on every online sale I process. So, that means that my paycheque will vary; gustimateing what it will be is a game I play at work.

So, this edict of handing in the timesheet means that half of the days that I could have earned commission on, will not be on this paycheque.

Now, to be fair, I will get paid the commission from those day, just on the August 22nd paycheque. A full month away.

It also kinda works out okay, as in this payperiod (the one for August 7) will be larger than usual anyways. 

It so happens that there are two extra days on it, which makes a huge difference: I started out at Budgetary Minimum, and ended up a hundred bucks over it.

Conversely, the August 22nd paycheque has two less days (than the August 7th) paycheque. 

So I will be starting out behind the eight ball trying to get up to Budgetary Minimum. The added 6 days of commission on that paycheque will be welcome.

My point is that it is frustrating to have your paycheque jerked around by forces outside of your control, simply for the convenience of others.

I will be okay, but I am raising this point more for the sales guy who relies much more on his commission to get to his Budgetary Minimum.

One way or another, bills will be paid and goals will be achieved, regardless of what games are played with my paycheque. Of that you can be certain.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Another Year, Another Pay Cut

So, it is the anniversary of the last time that I got a pay raise (technically yesterday). I last got a pay raise on my July 22, 2014 paycheque. 
   

So, each year I note this anniversary and look at my paycheque and see that the number, the pay rate is the same. 

I still make the same amount per hour and I still make the same per sale that I process. That has not changed in six years.

First of all, I am thankful that I am still employed and I like my job, I like my company and I like my boss, and co-workers. I have my complaints but all in all, everything is okay.

My point, and the reason why I raise this every year is that I don’t think that I got worse in the performance of my duties in the past year.

So, why am I expected to work for less, when in fact I have increased in value to my company? 

The longer I work for my company, in my current job, the more experience, job-wisdom and expertise I gain in doing what I do.

Every time someone (like me) raises the point of “pay increase tied to inflation” people come out of the woodwork saying that would lead to unchecked inflation and a spiral of price increases.

It is almost as if they are saying that workers should and must work for less as time goes on. That this is the only way the current system works. 

If that’s true than the current system is busted and I want a new one.

It is also with this in mind that I (and now my darling dearest, Kim) are working to found The House and Our Town, in order to correct things, or at least do so in a small part of the world. 

I know that I will never get a raise while working for my current boss, as after a certain amount of time you just know that you have topped out.

That and with all of the hullabaloo that Boss has been making about drop in revenue and Boss himself not getting paid, I know that I am just lucky to remain employed.

I am thankful and, as I said, I do like my job, I just don’t think I deserve to be mandated to make less and less as time goes on.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 
   

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
   

That is 40.7% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
   
  
That’s right things jumped up to 42.7% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 2% of my total Savings Target this payday!

This payday it jumped up nicely as a result of two factors, one was that I could actually resume putting cash into savings, and the other was growth in my investments.

I am still working to refund my Mid-Term Savings back to its fully-funded level. I should be able to do that next payday (sorta).

The growth in my investments was a result that the value of both types of my investments both investment vehicles went up in value. 

This does not happen all that often, though it was welcome to see. Usually they play off of one another: one goes up while the other goes down.

It is just nice to get that dastardly payday of my truck insurance behind me and resume putting cash into savings.

Each dollar into my savings as well as each dollar of growth is another step closer to freedom and starting that Homestead and Town!

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward! 

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The House of Westlock

Today we are looking at the House of Westlock, otherwise known as The Big House. (Geoff is proud to announce that today's blog entry was written by my darling, dearest, Kim! Take it away, Honey!)


This is going to be the centre of the Westlock family, as well as providing some very important services to the community. We wanted to create a good source of income, as well as indulge our sense of the dramatic! After all, if you can build a castle, why not? 

Let's start with the look of the House. With medieval architecture (complete with moat and draw-bridge!) mingled with eco-friendly designs and modern amenities, this castle has a flair for the dramatic! 

There is a Keep Wall that surrounds the House itself, with both walkways and built-in passages on all four walls to the main House. The walls themselves contain both residence rooms and offices, and the main House contains a Grand Hall, along with a mixture of other meeting rooms. 

The front entrance has a 14' rounded-top double door, leading into the Keep Wall, which is open at the entrance to the second and third floors. The second floor has a double-height balcony, with double french doors and a massive stained-glass window. 

The Keep Wall has both elevators and a stair-way on each corner, and a crenelated walking path on the roof, so visitors can "walk the wall". The interior of the Keep Wall has a hallway on the side facing the exterior, and either offices or residential rooms facing the inner courtyard. 


While I am no artist, I have done a basic conceptual rendering for basic planning purposes. Of course, we plan on getting an architect to do proper plans, and I am sure they will need to make a lot of adjustments, including putting in things like bathrooms and such!

The main function of the House is to provide community services as well as to act as a retreat/convention centre. I have colour-coded the areas according to their main functions. Each function is the same for all stories.

Pink:  This is the Mother Care area. On the main floor is childcare facilities, and the garden in this area is, literally, a "Kinder-garten" (German for "children's garden"). The childcare and garden will be fenced/blocked off from the house for security purposes. The 2nd and 3rd floor would be residences for any mother/nurturing parent, single or partnered, who needs care or nurturing or extensive assistance with their child/ren. 

Yellow: These areas would be college dorm-style residences. Rooms could be inter-connected, similar to hotel rooms. They would be basic, but comfortable, and would be available for inexpensive rent for anyone who needs them. If there is availability, they could also be made available to convention guests for over-flow purposes.

Purple: This area is for convention guests. There would be a variety of rooms available, just like at a good hotel. These rooms would be nicer than the Yellow rooms, and cost more, but still be reasonable.

Orange: This is the Grand Hall, and nearby meeting rooms. There would actually be a mixture of size and style, but the Grand Hall would have grand wooden buttresses and a cathedral ceiling. This would be the perfect location for a wedding, or for shooting a movie!


Red: This is our Community Care area. This would be staffed by social workers, therapists, financial consultants, life coaches, and so on. 

White: The Kitchens would be capable of providing regular meals, catering, and a cafeteria for the entire Keep. 

The 4th floor of the main building would have administrative offices, as well as some premium convention rooms. These would be similar to a higher-range hotel room - elegant as well as having higher-quality amenities. 

The main building would also house the Westlock Family. The Family Suites would comprise the 5th floor of the Main House (minus the centre section, of course). This section would have its own independent access and would contain a private space to entertain guests, as well as private guest rooms.

As this is intended to be an eco-friendly design, we do plan on incorporating solar panels into the roof. The facing will be either stone or a stone composite. Modern insulation and heat conservation techniques will be employed, so, we challenge you to find a draft in this castle!

Now, the most important question, how will we fund all of this? Our best answer right now is: we're working on it! We eventually hope to have a balance of income from rentals and conventions to help fund the community care programs, along with some support from the Town, itself. 

That's the plan, for now. Obviously, there will be changes as we go, but, it's a start, and a good goal to aim for! This also reflects more of the community aspect of our vision, as opposed to being simply a business. 

Come join us in reaching for the future, and getting off of the hamster wheel!

Kim

Monday, 20 July 2020

The Utilities District

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Utilities District!

So, while this is not a large area, this District will be an important one, for it will be the space that all of the main facilities of the services that are required for a modern city to run and function. 


The Utilities District will be 2.5 acres in size (square in size at 1/16 mile by 1/16 mile). 

It will be located just south of the patch of land that I and my family will call home: The House of Westlock (I’ll get to it in a later blog entry). 

Also, it will be to the right of The Government District, to the left of the Micro Estates (The Mobile/Tiny Home Park), as well as to the north of the Transient/Recreational Campground (for those folks in RV’s that are staying a day to two weeks).

In truth The Utilities District is larger than just its two and a half acres, as it will, in essence include all of the waterways that surround and permeate the town area.

Those waterways will be there for recreation, but also to catch stormwater runoff and store it for our drinking water. 

As well, those waterways will be used for our agricultural irrigation. So, this will be needed to be taken into account when we setup our agricultural practices.

It is intended that it will be connected to a water source of some kind and perhaps return to that water source as well. 

At the very least some thought and planning for overflow and flood mitigation will be needed to be taken into effect, lest we want to become Venice.

The drinking water will be filtered and processed until it is as close to being perfect drinking water as it can be. 

The sewage will be processed until it is as clean as possible, with a zero waste output policy. 

While we may use a septic field or use the “output) in the agriculture process, we will not be simply dumping raw or barely treated sewage into our, or anyone else’s drinking supply.

Power generation will also be done in a sustainable and ecologically respectful way. 

Yet, as we do it, the intent is to show that it can be done, it can be done cheaply, and it can be reliable. All while protecting the environment at the same time. 

The Utilities District will reflect and be the centrepiece of our policy to build the town but do so in an ecologically respectful and sustainable way. 

I do not have all of the answers on how to achieve all of the objectives that this district must meet, but we will figure out how to do these things along the way.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday, 17 July 2020

The Government District

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Government District.


The Government District will be the area that . . . surprise, surprise, will be the functions of our central (town) government will take place.

You know, since we’re not going to be a bunch of lawless anarchists who somehow want to turn the town into either the wild west or the road warrior future, we’ll have law and a government.

That government, along with the associated administration will need a place to be. That place to be will be The Government District.

The Government District will be 2.5 acres in size (square in size at 1/16 mile by 1/16 mile). 

It will be located just south of the patch of land that I and my family will call home: The House of Westlock (I’ll get to it in a later blog entry). 

Also, it will be to the right of The Conservatory, to the left of the Utilities District, as well as to the north of the Commerce District. 

The Government District will be a place of the people, because I truly do believe in: elected, effective, responsible government that is of: the people, for the people and run by the people. 

That top down crap never works . . . or rather it does work, but works a bit too well for my liking, but never does so in a way that is good for the people they are supposed to serve.

Having said that, so while there will be the town council building, the town office (for the administration) there will also be the police station (yes, we need one of those, trust me).

I also see that beside the police station there will be an apartment building for the police to stay in, free of charge. (Go ahead, try to rob that place, I dare you).

Like a few other districts, The Government District will a district that is intended to be walked, rather than driven around in cars. 

This is to further make it a people place, a place for people to gather, and yes, protest if need be.

I could go on, but this gives you an idea as to what this vital district will be like in our town. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Daisy

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Residential District, otherwise known as “The Daisy.”

The most obvious question is why do you call The Residential District, The Daisy? The simplest answer is that when looked at from above, it will look like a daisy flower.
   

The Residential District will be a full quarter of the whole area of the town, (so, 1/8 mile by 1/8 mile or 40 Acres). 

It will be the upper right portion of the town sitting above the Urban Nomads Park and beside The Agricultural District.

The concept of The Residential District is to have a place where people can live and get around, yet do so without cars. 

The streets are to be walked or used other smaller scale personal transportation (bikes, electric scooters, etc).

The centre of The Residential District will be the area where all of the common buildings and facilities for The Residential District will be (think of the centre of The Daisy flower).

Each petal of The Daisy will be a street, and while most of these streets will end in a dead end, a few will extend out to connect with another district.

Each street will curve slightly in a slight “S” configuration, so as to give the illusion of a longer street, and some privacy on each street.

Each street will have an architectural style all of its own, yet different from each street. 

One street could be in the half-timbered style, another street could be in traditional Japanese style. Yet another street could be done all in stone, while another could be done in the style of some futuristic world from the realm of fiction . . . why not?  

The idea is that each street is unique unto itself and is crafted in such a way as to foster community. 

All of the residential buildings will be in townhouse style (one, two or three bedrooms). 

There will be one or two apartment buildings in The Daisy to allow for denser population and to accommodate those who will not be staying long. 

The back side of each street will be open in a sliver of green space that each townhouse will have a back entrance to. This green space will join up with the green space that will ring the whole of The Residential District.

Like the other Districts, The Residential District will be governed by an elected body that is responsible to the residents of The Residential District.

Those who can, along with those who are expected to pay rent, will, those who have an agreement for free accommodations (such as those working in the Science District) will have their rents covered.

Exactly how those rents are covered has yet to be determined. Like all other Districts in the town, The Residential District will be expected to break even.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The Launch of The Urban Nomads Facebook Group!

Kim and I are proud to announce the launching of the fantastic and fabulous Facebook Group that will help us build our community of Urban Nomads.


The intent of this group is twofold, one is to help with the redesign of this very website. The blog will still be here, and I will continue blogging as per usual, but the website will be changing.

The website, or rather this url (www.theurbannomads.ca) will be changing and morphing into a central resource for those who live in their RV’s/vans/busses/gypsy wagons, etc full-time.

With that in mind, the central question, around which the revamp of the website is: what do Urban Nomads want and need from such a site?

That is the first reason why the Facebook Group has been created, to create a place for people who live this lifestyle of living full time in a vehicle of some sort to talk, chat, share ideas about what the new site should be, and what it should offer.

The second reason for the Facebook Group is that it will allow those same people to talk, chat, share ideas and offer support to others living the same lifestyle. 

Or yes, offer some words of wisdom to those who are thinking of taking the leap into living in a vehicle full-time. 

I know that I would have benefited from such a group and community when I started my Urban Nomad journey. 

So, I would like to create a space to offer that support to others, so they don’t have to go through the growing pains that I did as I adjusted to this lifestyle.

Yet another reason for the creation of this Facebook Group, is for it to be a place to let people know what is happening on the plan/journey towards creating that town.

As that is what Kim and I are working towards, founding that town and having it to be a place for people to come and get off of that hamster wheel of work and debt.

There will be (and are) pictures and sketches of what the town will/may look like, and you can see how the ideas evolve and take shape.

Like with the revamp of the website, ideas and input on what should and should not be in the town are always welcome. 

So, feel free to click on the link below (or scattered through this blog entry, and join The Urban Nomads Facebook Group! (You don’t even have to actually be an Urban Nomad to join).

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

I’ve Finally Got My S

Hello everyone, today is a special day, for today I can announce that I’ve finally got my “S”! What does that mean? Well, let me tell you.

Back when I started this blog, I didn’t have any special URL (web address) I just went with the standard one that Blogger gave you.

Shortly after starting, I learned that I could get a custom URL, well the search when on for a fitting title for my blog. 

I wanted something to do with being nomadic in an urban setting, thus I settled on The Urban Nomad. One problem, every iteration of that phase was taken . . . all but one . . . you guessed it . . .


I like it but it has an S in there, do you see it? The Urban Nomad S .ca. The “S” indicates that it is plural, as in there is more than one Urban Nomad. Well, now there is . . . sorta.

I will let my darling speak for herself, she is quite literate and is quite capable of speaking for herself . . . trust me. So, I will let her finish today’s blog entry.

Take it away Kim . . . 

Oh! By the way, this is me with Kim.
   

Okay, now take it away, Kim . . .

Thanks, Geoff! 

Hi, everyone, I’m Kim! I may not be a “nomad” in the strictest sense, but I am a firm believer in economic self-sufficiency and getting off of the “hamster wheel” (as I call it) of debt and corporate feudalism. 

Just this past winter, I was talking to my friend about buying a school bus and fixing it up, but was discouraged as to the renovations that would need to be completed, not to mention the cost…  (and surviving the winter!)

Geoff and I are still having the discussion of whether to spend the winter in my basement walk-out apartment or Wanda (lovely as she is, she gets quite chilly when it’s -20, apparently…)

I happen to be a massage therapist, and I work out of two clinics in Calgary (www.spiritofphysiotherapy.com in the SW, Bridalwood area, and www.sagemeadowsmedical.ca in the NW Sage Hills area).

I am mother to a 27 year old trans daughter, who I raised as a single mother (so, boy, do I know about saving money and bargain hunting!)

Together, Geoff and I are learning how we work together, and exploring how we can both save on expenses, and in so doing, earn back our freedom!

I have been the “artistic mastermind” behind the latest sketches of the town we are imagining and working towards. 

You can look forward to hearing more about the “friend” who is helping with stew making (next batch is going to be chili) and other assorted projects. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!


Monday, 13 July 2020

Happy Wanda Day To Me!

Today (okay, technically yesterday) marks the day six years ago, when I first moved into Wanda first time. 

It is hard to believe that it has been six years since that day in July, July 12, 2014 when I backed up my two month old RV trailer into the driveway that I was renting a room in.

It has been quite a journey that has been full of ups and downs, challenges, setbacks and successes. 

That and a lot of questioning of my life’s choices which brought me to living in an RV to right my finances, but that’s a different blog entry. 
 
I wish I had taken control of my finances from a younger age. 

I wish that I had done something earlier to correct the cash-flow issue that had led me to having to take the drastic measure of moving into Wanda full-time. 

Wishing to change the past won’t happen and, even if you could, you shouldn’t as you would then change who you are, as a result of all that has happened to you both good and bad.

So, while it would be nice to have lived a different life, I have, and am still, living this one. I am happy with my life, happy yet not content.

I will continue to work towards starting that town, a town project that I am working on with a friend of mine, a friend who seems to be interested in it.

I know that I have to save up my target amount of cash before I can go start my dream. 

That is, unless fate shoves me in the direction of starting the town sooner than I am ready. 

It could happen, as life is unpredictable.

All you can do is to change your life now, here today. Take a chance, take a leap and just jump in with both feet to a change that you want and need to make.

It may work out, or you may have to make another change in an all-fired hurry.

Who knows, that is what makes life fun: the unpredictability.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday, 10 July 2020

The Agriculture District

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Agriculture District.

The Agriculture District is one quarter of our quarter section of land (so 1/8th of a mile by 1/8th of a mile or 40 acres in a square. 

Well, minus a 5 acre chunk that goes to area reserved for The House of Westlock. As in, my home, that I will get to in another blog entry.

The Agriculture District will be the upper left portion of the town and above The Science District and The Conservatory. 

Rather than be just one large field or a field and a cluster of buildings in one corner, I see The Agriculture District being a cluster of buildings near the bottom of the District. 

As in bordering both The Science District and The Conservatory, as this district will work with and collaborate with both of these areas and the groups within.

It goes without saying that The Agriculture District will work with and be important to the whole of the town, as it is intended that all of most of the food consumed by the town will be grown/produced here.

So that means that also The Commerce District will work with The Agriculture District, to help sell the extra crops that they produce.

As far as the bulk of The Agriculture District, that will be a series of smaller field, so as to allow smaller amounts of different crops to be grown at the same time.

Crop rotation will be key, so as to help keep the soil healthy as we farm in an ecologically and environmentally healthy, respectful and sustainable way.

I do see some of the fields being converted over greenhouses or some form of warehouse/vertical farming operations.

This is so that more food can be grown per square inch of soil as well as food being able to be grown year round.

Again, as with the rest of this town, I could go on with regards to The Agriculture District, but this should give you a hint as to what I envision for this vital District.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Conservatory

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Conservatory.

The Conservatory is a district unto itself yet is in reality a mixture of districts, or rather has influence from a few different districts.

The Conservatory is one building, or rather I see it as being one large building, but it could be a few different yet connected buildings.

The area that The Conservatory will take up is 5 acres, which will be 1/16th of a mile wide with 1/8th of a mile long. In essence take any of the other smaller areas and cut it in half length wise.

The Conservatory will be an extension of The Science District and will be looked after or be assisted by people from Applied Botany and/or Laboratory Botany, with some input and suggestions from Theoretical Botany as well.

The Conservatory will be a large, self-contained environment with: a burst of colour, plants, trees, walkways, paths, birds, bees, small creatures . . . you name it, it’s here.

If you have ever been inside a large greenhouse and/or indoor conservatory, you will know what I am talking about.

I see a series of tree house type buildings up in the tree canopy with walkways (think of the Ewok Village in Star Wars, The Return of The Jedi. Why? Why not.

The other district that will have an influence on this area is The Commercial District. Why is that? 

Well, as you can imagine, this large conservatory can not only help further science but also be a tourist attraction. 

This is where the fine folks from The Commercial District come in. 

For while people from The Science District know how to help grow all types of plants, people from The Commercial District have expertise in making money. 

This is a good example of people from different groups within the town working together to help each other while at the same time, helping further their own goals and objectives. 

It’s called cooperation and collaboration . . . try it . . . you’ll like it.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Science District

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Science District.

This district will be where all of the scientific groups are located, as well as where the projects are worked on and completed. 

This area will be laid out in a manner that reflects its need. It may or may not be laid out as a grid or it may be laid out like a university or other type of institution.

As far as the architectural style goes, I see it being something futuristic (yet not ridiculous) or perhaps something ultra-modern. 

It will look like exactly what you would expect a place of science to look like: reflecting and envisioning the future.

In essence this district will be the shrunk down version of the scientific part of the town that I really do want to start (you have to start somewhere).

As far as how it will be run, it will also have a democratic, responsible government with each group electing its own leader.

The leaders of each group within a Pillar (each area such as: Analytical, Theoretical, Laboratory, Field, Applied, and Trade Guilds) will together form the governing body for that Pillar. 

The leader of that governing body of a specific Pillar will be elected from and by the whole group of people that work within that Pillar.

So, within the Laboratory Pillar, shall we say, we will have a number of groups. Let’s say Laboratory Biology for example. 

The people working in the Laboratory Biology Group will elect from within themselves a person to manage the Laboratory Biology Group. 

That Elected Leader, (of the Laboratory Biology Group) will not only lead the Laboratory Biology Group but also sit on the governing body for The Laboratory Sciences Pillar.

The leader of The Laboratory Sciences Pillar could be anyone within the whole of The Laboratory Sciences Pillar. 

The same is true for the governing body for the whole of the Scientific District. The elected leader of each Pillar will sit on this governing body with the overall leader elected from the whole of the population of the Science District.

I see the Enlighteners (Library, Archivists, and Educators combined) as well as The Healers (Medical System) also headquartered here, but with facilities throughout the town.

The idea is to have various groups working on science in the manner and way that they best enjoy. 

Each Pillar or Group within a Pillar should and must collaborate and work with other groups and other Pillars so as to further science together. 

As in each group or Pillar furthers: science, knowledge, technology and understanding in the manner in which they do it (as defined by their Pillar) yet handing off their work to another group or Pillar when the work strays into their (the other Pillar’s) scope of science.

I could go on but the idea is to have an area of the town that furthers science, knowledge, technology and understanding in a manner that is governed and controlled by the scientists themselves in a democratic, responsible government model.

It is also important to note that those working in this District will take no salary, yet have all of their needs met by the Science District.

As far as funding goes, while some cash can be transferred from other districts, it will be important to somehow secure funding, grants, donations, licensing patents etc, to fund this place and hopefully break even (or come close).

I could go on much more, but this should give you an idea as to what this District will do. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 
   

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .
   

That is 40.7% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 
   

That’s right things jumped up to 40.7% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0% of my total Savings Target this payday.

That is actually something of an accomplishment, believe it or not. You see, not only did I not put any cash into my savings, I actually took some cash out of it.

This payday is always my most dismal every year when it comes to savings, you see, it is the payday where I pay for my truck insurance all at once. 

I was also hit with a few other expenses, nothing drastic but a bunch of smaller expenses that added up. 

What also impacted things was the fact that my truck insurance went up despite the truck getting one year older and not having any claims. 

The insurance company didn’t blink when I told them that their increase in claims wasn’t my problem . . . they stared blankly at me and increased my premiums anyways.

How this affected the budget was that instead of putting $100.00 into my savings as I had planned, I had to draw out $300.00.

Yet with the dance of the dipsy doodle of my two various investment vehicles, while one dropped slightly, the other one went up enough to make up for the loss and the withdrawal from savings.

So, all in all, not losing ground this payday is a victory in and of itself. A win that I will gladly take.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday, 6 July 2020

The Arts And Culture District

I will continue my series on the various areas that will be in the town that I will found. Today we will look at The Arts and Culture District.

Now, to be fair, I am not much of a graphic artist. I can’t draw all that well and I haven’t painted since I was in elementary school.

Art and Culture cover a wide range of activities and so my writing is an art form. Just like plays, theatre and music are also art forms.

Yet the expression, and exploration of that art is also culture. It is important for a society and a community to foster and embrace art and culture.

Yet, it has to be done in a sensible and responsible way, and no I am not talking about regulating or validating art or culture, I am talking about the allocation of funding.

Since our town will be founded on the concept of “there is no magic money tree” each area will have to somehow be self-sufficient with the funds it can raise (sorta, I’ll get into this later).

What this means is that while a whole area of the town has been set aside, the same size as the Commercial District, or one of the areas within The Urban Nomad’s Park. (10 Acres or 1/8 mile by 1/8 mile)

I see the overall layout being similar yet different than that of the Commercial District with similarities in how it is governed (an elected body of Artists and Culturists? Working and/or living in The Arts and Culture District).

I see this area laid out in a grid format with streets and buildings and all that, to be different, I see the buildings built in the Timber-framed or Half-timbered style.

Solidly built and built with all of the modern conveniences in it, but done so with style.

As to what is here, I see artist’s studio spaces, of varying sizes. I see various theatre spaces of varying sizes and styles. 

The prerequisite coffee houses with open microphone to express your spoken word art.

It would also be nice to have a replica of the Globe Theatre (the theatre that Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed in (why not, and it would be a tourist draw).

I see our Globe Theatre having a roof, which would be a screen, on which the sky would be projected, nice blue sky with a few clouds in it before and after the show, with the sky darkening to night sky with twinkling stars for the show itself.

I see a number of schools and academies in this area to help teach, expand and explore arts and culture through the next generation, and all those willing to learn.

Just like the Commercial District, all buildings would be owned and run by the Governing body of The Arts and Culture District, so as to keep the price of rents low.

While you will be expected to somehow make money with your art, or rather make money to pay to be able to pursue your art, art will be the focus of this area.

While art will be fostered and expressed, you still need to have a way to pay to live. Such is the balance between moneymaking and charitably fostering art, that the people of this district, and the governing body thereof will need to find and walk.

On a note of making money with art and culture, why would the people of this district do this alone.

They could, and should, seek the assistance and partnership with the individuals or groups from The Commercial District. 

After all, The Commercial District are focussed on making money and good at it, so why not use their expertise and passion to help fund and further the expertise and passion of those in The Arts and Culture District?

I could go on, but this should give you an idea as to what I have in mind for The Arts and Culture District of the town that I want to start.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday, 3 July 2020

The Commerce District

So, for fun, I thought I would continue my series on what I see my town to be like. Today we will look at the Commerce District.

Yesterday’s blog was about The Urban Nomad’s Park, so if you missed it, feel free to go back and read it.

I see the Commerce District to be 1/8 mile b y 1/8 mile, or 10 Acres in a square. It is the second district to be built because if you have people somewhere, you need jobs.

To have jobs, you need an economy. To have an economy, you need businesses. To have businesses, you need a place for businesses to grow and thrive. 

Thus the need for the Commerce District.

I see it being built in a small town style, with mostly brick and stone three or four story buildings.

The streets will be typical two lane streets (one lane in each direction) and one parking lane on each curb side. 

Back alleys are needed for deliveries, so as to keep the heavy trucks off of the streets as much as possible.

I still want to have all of the utilities placed underground and out of sight in some sort of utility corridor network. 

I don’t want to see power lines, phone lines, crisscrossing the streets. It looks ugly and gets in the way, besides it is unsafe.

I also like the idea of serviceable and accessible water, gas and sewer pipes, pipes that are not buried, and so subject to the moving and shifting of the earth.

I digress, I see the buildings being commercial space on the first floor (or more if desired). Office space could be on the second or third floor. 

A few apartments could be on the top floor. While there will be a residential district (that I’ll get to in another blog) These would be for the workaholics or “passionately employed.”

As to what businesses will be there, I don’t know, as it will be whatever businesses that desire to open and can afford to stay open.

So as to help business flourish, I see all of the buildings in the Commercial District being owned by the Commerce District itself (a governing body thereof).

This is not to bleed money out of business so as to keep them almost broke yet not quite, but rather the opposite.

I see the Commerce District bundling together as much expenses as can be bundled together and simply charging a certain percentage of the business’s gross income.

That way, the better the business does, the better the Commerce District does. Who runs the Commerce District? 

Why elected representatives of the businesses located there, of course. 

I would like to see a balance of one half of the governing body being made up of elected representatives of business owners and managers, and the other half elected to represent the employees of those same businesses.

I would like to see a large car park building near the entrance of the Commerce District which is disguised as a regular building (for esthetics).

This would encourage more foot traffic, rather that vehicle traffic throughout the Commerce District.

There is more, but you get the picture. I will continue this series on the various sections I want to see in my town. Monday it’s the Arts and Culture District!

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Inspired Day Off

So, yesterday was Canada Day, yet all events to gather together was cancelled. That didn’t mean that I was bored though.

While I did take a moment to say “yay Canada!” I also got a bit of work done. Both on the novel series that I am writing, but also on the Homestead Project (My Town).

With the town, I was talking with a friend of mine and a few areas or districts of the town was agreed upon. 

Since this is the incubator for the larger concept, things were simplified and merged together, and a few other areas were added.

One of the areas that we added was what we are calling “The Urban Nomad’s Park.” What it is, is a few areas aimed at those whose lifestyle is mobile. 

To start with there are four areas in this quarter section of the quarter section (as in take a Full Section of land (1 square mile or 640 Acres) and chop that up into four equal parts.

One of those equal parts, a Quarter Section (½ mile by ½ mile, or 160 Acres) is the size of the land that I want to purchase.

Now, take that land and chop it up into four equal parts and you have the size of the land set aside for this Urban Nomad Park (¼ mile by ¼ mile, or 40 Acres).

Chop that up again into quarters and you have the size of land set aside for each of the following areas (1/8 mile by 1/8 mile, or 10 Acres)

There will be a tiny home park, as in a development designed for people to bring their tiny homes and park them there at. 

There will also be a mobile home park, for people to bring their mobile homes or manufactured homes.

The other two parts will be a campground, two rather. One is a typical campground, designed for those who stay a day to two weeks. 

The other is designed for those who stay by the week, or month, mid-term to long-term staying, in your RV.

That park, the Mid-Term Park will have the usual amenities but also include a larger recreational hall and centre.  

One other thing is the workshop, or workshops. What there will be is a series of workshops each one fitted out with tools and equipment needed to fix and repair RV’s.

Also, attached to each shop will be a Spartan living space. Since you are fixing up, and/or tearing out the walls of your home, you need to live somewhere, so why not live next to where your home is being discombobulated.

The idea is to rent those shops at an affordable price, yet high enough to motivate you to complete your project in an expedient manner.

The concept is to develop a community of Full-Time RVers who could work together to fix up RV’s, perhaps during the winter months.

Me and my fried discussed this and decided to start with, the most likely place to start the whole town project would be to build that Mid-Term RV Campground and expand from there.

The land would have to be on or near a highway and since the town will be off-grid, thoughts as to how to generate that much power consistently in an ecologically friendly way will need to be figured out.

Also how to handle waste, as in sewage, (gray water and black water) as well as garbage will have to be figured out, as the overall concept is to be as close to zero waste output as possible.

Sorry, that I don’t have pictures, but that is the latest update with regards to The Town Project. (If I had the cash, I’d start it now, as it is needed now).

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Happy Canada Day Everyone!

Here it is, Canada Day, the day we celebrate the forming of our country. It is quite sensible and Canadian reason why this day is the anniversary of the birth of our country.

Back in 1867 (or thereabouts) a group of politicians sought to create something larger than just a series of individual colonies of the same mother country. 

After a bunch of political wrangling and back and forth it was agreed to join five of those colonies together into one “dominion” which was to be called “Canada.”

The bill to do that which was called “The British North America Act” which was actually the first in a series of acts which divested powers from Britain to Canada (over Canada).

The important thing is that that first bill, received Royal Assent, meaning it was signed into law by the Sovereign, who was Queen Victoria at the time on March 29, 1867.

Since there was some time needed to implement the actual joining of the colonies, the actual joining did not take place for a few months yet. 

For whatever reason, the date of July the1st was decided. Thus how Canada Day was born.

Now, while it was an imperfect start and there are problems within Canada that need to be addressed, and yes some historical wrongs that need to be righted, for the most part, I would say that Canada now, is a good country and a great place to live. A country that I am proud to call my home and a country that I am proud of.

I choose to see the good and build on those as we try to fix what needs to be fixed. That we make Canada a great place to live for all people who call it home.

So, to all who call Canada home, let me say, have a happy Canada Day!

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!