Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
an end is nigh
I have a love-hate relationship with the Year End Reviews. And now we have the End of the Decade Reviews to contend with. (I know it isn't really the end of the decade, but...)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
how to stretch your vacation time in an unpleasant way
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
SundayStills - odds and ends
It was mild on Christmas Day, the temperatures around 6C or 42F and still no snow. (odd for an Ontario winter) But it was not particularly quiet. The tree branches were squeaking as they rubbed against each other in the wind, the geese were honking while flying frantically overhead as they tried to scream at one another
over the noise of the waves crashing.
I went for a walk along the waterfront to capture the scene. Along the way I met a few other
brave foolhardy souls, one couple who saw the waves from the Skyway and had to get off the highway to take photos. I took one of them standing in front of the breakwall and tried not to laugh as they ran from the spray. We were all suitably impressed. We all got wet. The above photo is an untouched version, but I thought it looked too grey, so I played around with the settings to highlight the waves
Then I came home and dried off, put on my new flannel jammies and had some spiked egg nog. And watched March of the Penguins, and was pleased with my lot in life. At the time, I thought: what an appropriately odd ending for the day.
SundayStills had no particular theme this week (or so I read it!) so check out what everyone else came up with and be surprised.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
but here it will be rain and freezing rain, then more rain.
Perfect time for tea and shortbread.
Have a safe and happy Christmas, everyone, wherever and however you spend it!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
SundayStills - holiday lights and decorations
Saturday, December 19, 2009
and now, the torch
watching in anticipation, still 20 minutes away, flags and noisemakers ready… the convoy begins, cheers rise up as we look beyond the big vans for the main attraction, still minutes away there he is, the torch bearer (don’t know his name, sigh) … and by the magic of post editing, the sky darkens to illuminate the main attraction who is almost obscured by the all the lights of the vans and cop cars and streetlights… in a flash, the flame passes by
somewhere in the melee the torch is passed…
The End (for today)
55 more days to go.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
tis the time for giving...
But really, I wasn't shopping. All those presents were from craft and art shows, where there appeared in the sky above, an angel with a banner bearing someone's name in one hand and an arrow pointing, when I came across certain beautiful and perfects gift items. The message could not be ignored.
So I now find myself with some dismay, searching high and low for at least one of the gifts. And suddenly remembering that I had already bought a book for someone... somewhere.
Then, finding a couple of lovely whirly wind catcher things bought way back last March at the garden show that I had completely forgotten about. Completely. One of them was for me. I went all summer without enjoying my own present of a whirly wind catcher thing.
There was an herb planter from the same show, stored under the bed...
I now have extra gifts for next year. I'm way ahead.
But I'm not gloating.
Nothing is wrapped. Anything could happen in the next week.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
There was a poll out not too long ago that said, in a way most polls are wont to do, that very few people were interested in the Olympic Torch Relay. Pollsters are always negative. It is their role to play Eeyore in the woods of our acre.
It is, of course, very much a media centred and media driven event.
Anyway, nobody asked me. And I actually have been following the torch relay.
106 days. 12,000 torchbearers. 45,000 km. 1,036 communities.
Of course, as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of what Canada looks like, will realize that most of the torch relay involves driving the thing from place to place with the runners only actually running for 300 metres before passing it on. The torch will also travel by seaplane, snowmobile, canoe, dogsled, dory, double-decker bus, streetcar and kayak to name a few of the interesting alternative modes of transport. Unfortunately not by camel. I would have liked to see that.
It started in Victoria and is wending its way across the country, up and down and around, until it finds its way back to Vancouver. Some have said the torch looks like a huge joint. I wouldn't know about that. Ask Pinklea. Mostly, it seems to resemble a giant barbecue lighter. Sleek and elegant and resembling ice and snow (so they say).
Even with all the myriad things wrong with the Olympics, I still get caught up in the spirit of the Games. And the athletes. I've started reading the sports section that outlines the worlds' and qualifying events and gives stories about the athletes to watch. I find that much more interesting than football or hockey. Or Tiger.
I read the Globe and Mail every day and the first thing I go to is the daily account of the torch relay. It isn't so much the relay itself, as the communities it passes through. The stories of those communities and the different personalities of each. Some have been through such a hard time of it lately that the idea of this expensive journey of a giant barbecue lighter just seems to be an overblown pointless extravagance. I can understand that. Other communities have been so hard done by and isolated over the years, that the very idea of the torch coming to their town just overwhelms them in pride. A chance to feel included. A chance to shine and let the world see where they live. I have found much of it fascinating.
The Olympics are coming here, whatever we think or want. So we might as well make the most of it and get interested and involved. There really is nothing sadder than a party where the hosts are bickering and unhappy about the whole affair. Or completely indifferent.
Now, I am not a fanatic about this. I do not watch the webcam, nor do I keep abreast of its tweets.
But on Day 51 of its journey, when it passes through my town, I will be there.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
SundayStills - technology
I was house sitting for another neighbour last week and during a period of non-sleep, I thought, I'll just wander downstairs and see if her plants need watering... and who is on Ellen... and maybe catch up on Y&R, the news, then Corrie... by the time Jeopardy and a repeat of The Office came on I realized, maybe, just a little.
Then my cable bill came in. I looked at how much money I had
Except, I cannot get the blessed thing to work. It looks simple enough - you put the colour coded cable thingies into the correct colour coded bits, plug it in and voila! But there was no voila!
There was a bit of merde! and a few other choice words as I manoeuvred and plugged and unplugged, then sat on hold for 15 minutes with the cable guys. Then had an almost incomprehensible conversation that included the words 'coloured thingies' and 'the thicker cable' (oh the shame).
Now, I'm thinking it was not the fault of the television set at all, but the digital cable box. There seems to be a loose connection because of certain noises it makes when certain cable thingies are jostled. All of which is strange as that little box has not moved from its prominent position on top of the television set since it was set up a few years ago.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
tweets in the 19th century?
I consider it my bedtime story. The most fun part is that you can even have the chapters read to you by Andrew Sachs - he who was Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
And if you haven't experienced any of Alexander McCall Smiths' books, I am here to tell you he is a delightful read.
The first serial, The Corduroy Mansions began a year ago and ran for 100 chapters. This story, The Dog Who Came In From The Cold, is book two and has been running since September. You can find the story here.
Novel serialisations are an old art form, probably best and most famously done by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. And last week, I heard that there is an online publication of Wilkie Collins' A Woman In White. Celebrating its 150th anniversary, it is being reproduced in its original form every week. The story first appeared as a serial in a Charles Dickens' periodical and is available to read in its "original tightly compact form of 19th century typography" or, much easier on the eyes, as a pdf that can be delivered right to your inbox every Monday. It will take until August 22, 2010 to reach the end of the gripping tale.
We are already up to Chapter Three, but you can catch up quickly by going here
and you can subscribe by emailing Paul Lewis at email@example.com
AND there is MORE!
You can even follow tweets of Wilkie's life as his novel was being published during 1859-1860!
How much fun is that? Well, what are you waiting for? You have to get reading.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
SundayStills - pets
What do you mean "I want a picture, look cute?"
I was sleeping... and I'm going back to sleep.
Go take a picture of the turtle...
oops, Otis isn't too happy about this photo taking either.
Abby is now 14 years old and Otis is an astounding 25 years old.
Neither are terribly cuddly.
Luckily, only the cat likes to sleep on my chest.
Pets was the first Sunday Stills photo challenge a year ago, and we are revisiting the same challenge with dozens of newer participants (myself included), so check out the other pets who rule over us here.
Friday, December 4, 2009
So, here are some facts about Brunei:
> it is a Sultanate formed in the 14th Century and was a British Protectorate for nearly 100 years
info sourced from: wikipedia, lonelyplanet, cia factbook and tourism brunei
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
under a violet sky
Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
not quite decked out cont'd
that's better looking.
a bit dull on the ornaments, though you can't quite get an appreciation for how big these ornaments are are on this very tall tree.
tried again this morning, with a different camera.
hmmmm, see the colour difference between the old camera and the new one?
the new camera has a wide angle lens, so I could turn it sideways and get the whole tree in the shot, but I still have to figure out the night photos by the looks of it! both of these were taken on "automatic" setting.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
not quite decked out
sat a lonely chair.
Today, the beginnings of a tree.
Apparently, this decorating lark needs to be done s-l-o-w-l-y.
It doesn't look like much now, but I am certain it will grow into something beautiful. Or maybe not. Maybe this is just an ordinary sized tree on an very long pole?
And it's hard to see in this shot, because the ceiling is so very tall,
but the top branch is squished!
Now, how will they fit the star, or angel, on top?
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
seeing things differently
That is just so wrong. Well, not wrong really, but so different than what my brain tells me to expect. It was startling.
Traffic lights should be on a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, or on a meridian.
Or on a short curved arm extending over one lane.
And most importantly, vertical.
But on a wire extending from one side of the road to the other with the signals twisting in the wind. Now that is wrong and deserves serious re-designing.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
and the squiggles are....
These particular maps from yesterday fascinate me.
For the way they take something that is so familiar and mess with your brain by leaving out certain details.
Yet, manage to make it more accurate.
A legendless map.
I grew up in Toronto, always seeing the city as lying on a straight east-west axis with Yonge St running straight due north. Just as the map indicated.
The iconic London Tube map was designed for simplicity, not geographical accuracy. Note how the Beck map (designed in 1933) has lines that are only vertical, horizontal and at 45 degree angles. It is also not to scale.
This is a more geographically accurate depiction.
That Beck design has been copied and used throughout the world, though.
New York's subway system presents a unique challenge in part due to the size of the land in Manhattan and the number of lines running though it. I could go on, as it has a fascinating history but, I won't. Don't want to bore you. And it is again a beautiful sunshiny day (ironic as I am writing about undergound rail transport that rarely allows the light of day in....) and I need to finish this and get myself outside.
Again, one could be forgiven for getting a little confused as to which direction one was actually travelling. And, this doesn't give an accurate description of how many rail lines are involved on several levels with each colour coded line.
I am not as familiar with Montreal's system, Maybe Jazz can expand on it's deficiencies.