Well hello, hello! Long time and all that. Still having problems with this computer, but I took a couple pictures the other evening that I just thought I had to show you. You see, as nice a summer as we’ve been having here in Vancouver (and really it has been a great one) it’s quite unfortunate, and even downright tragic, that the reason for the lovely cool evenings that seem so perfect for walking in, are actually the result of our sunlight being drastically filtered by the smoke from several raging forest fires in the north of the province.
If one was to look at the long-range weather forecast for this area a few weeks ago, they were predicting a blistering heat-wave accompanied by record-breaking temperatures. But that was before the smoke drifted in and blotted out the sun. Now I’m not trying to say that you can’t see the sun, this is no Biblical apocalypse I’m describing here; in fact, far from it. If you were unaware of the fires, you might just think it was some kind of very light haze in the air. The sun is still getting through, and if you hadn’t been informed that we were actually experiencing extremely high temperatures, the coolness at ground level would just just make you think you were having a nice mild summer. That impression, however, would instantly be challenged the first time you were up late enough, and in a location where it was convenient enough, that you could catch a glance at the moon after it’s risen (or the sun while it’s in the act of setting). This happened to me while I was on my balcony studying the other night by the light of a reading lamp.
My first impression when I saw the moon out of the corner of my eye, just as it was coming up, was that we were experiencing a “harvest moon”. To see a great big orange moon when its low on the horizon at this time of the year is not all that uncommon in these parts, and I must have just dismissed it, thinking it would turn silver as it got higher in its path. It was when I was taking a break at just after nine, that I looked for the moon again, higher in the sky (thinking it would be silver by now), and then I took notice of what I was seeing. For not only was the moon still orange, but it was now a dark, almost ominous orange, with very little light getting through, and what almost looked like tiny black clouds or particles hovering in front of it, although I knew it to be a clear night. So solid was whatever was hanging in front of the moon, I became convinced that clouds of some kind had in fact moved in during the time I was studying. I immediately grabbed my camera, and took the first set of pictures, which I finished taking at 9:30 p.m.. It was the next set of pictures that I took after two more hours of study, at 11:30 p.m., (when the moon had finally climbed out of the worst of the smoke) that convinced me that I had been wrong about the clouds, it really was a completely clear night, which meant, of course, that all that stuff hanging in front of the moon in the first set of pictures, was in fact the smoke that we’ve all been breathing for the last three weeks or so. And of course, since smoke is heavy, it would be even worse here at ground level.
My own doctor, when I was last speaking with her, told me that since the smoke arrived, she’s had to be handing out (prescribing) “puffers” for her patients with asthma, and other respiratory illnesses at a rate like she’s never seen before, plus she’s had to up the rate of use for those who were already on them. I now understand why.
So at any rate, I thought I would show you these two pictures. If you’re wondering, I’ve done done nothing to enhance either of these, and as an eye-witness, I can tell you that on my screen at least, the colors, and the haziness (especially in the first shot), are a pretty good reproduction of exactly what I was looking at. So in the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Please stay happy, healthy, and safe. And oh, remember what Smoky the Bear always used to say: “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”
A strange title perhaps…perhaps not. You see, my computer has been on the verge of dying for the last couple weeks, and every day is a challenge just to see if I can get it up and running for another session. Once I do get it running, the fear is that every moment I keep it that way is one less moment that I’ll have if something of truly monumental importance comes up for which I need the computer’s services at some as yet unforeseen time in the immediate future.
At any rate, I also realize I can’t just leave the silly thing sitting there doing nothing because of baseless worries about things outside of my control. If it’s going to die, then it’s time has come, and all I can say is that it served me well in it’s brief but hectic existence upon this mortal plane. So that leaves me with this blog and the matter of adding something new to it (which I certainly haven’t done in quite a while). And as it turns out, I think I came across just the thing in my travels on the computer at the library while I was looking up some of my old pages to see if there was anything there that might be of help with some other things I was working on (better to burn out the library’s computer than mine : ).
A long time ago, while I was still exploring whether or not I had any artistic talent, I went through a phase where I enhanced the small amount of talent I did have (very small) through the use of various art programs available for download on the Net. Some were “fractal” programs, others were specialized “brush” programs like “Twisted Brush” and such. Most were free downloads, and all of them were a lot of fun to play with. Adding the rather insignificant amount of artistic talent that I inherently possess to these easy-to-use programs, I was soon able to build up a small collection of “interesting(?)” artwork that I posted to a well-known art site called Deviant Art. I decided to post that gallery here today. If a couple of the pieces are blurred a little, it could be because I drew them as “buttons” for use in computer programs (“A Rose For Anne” is one such piece). The image of the young girl that you may recognize as a famous magazine cover, took me three days to copy free-hand with my computer mouse, using the old grid method that people use to enlarge small pictures. I did the same thing with a picture of Cecilia Bartoli (“Thanks For The Music), but that picture was not in my Deviant Art gallery, so we’ll have to save it for another time.
At any rate, for better or worse, here they are, and here we go.
So like I’ve sort of said, I don’t know how long this machine is going to keep kicking, but as long as it does, I’ll try to keep in touch. If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it probably doesn’t mean Hillary got me (I hope), it probably just means I’m working out the best way to obtain my next electronic sidekick. In the meantime, you folks stay healthy, happy, and safe.
I was sorting out some pictures the other day, and sending one or two of them off to “YouPic”. That’s my other photography site. A wonderful site actually, which I hadn’t sent anything new to in almost a year. Despite the fact that even though I only used their site regularly for 1 year (as opposed to this page which I’ve now had up for going on 4 years), and as I already mentioned, haven’t kept it up at all this past year, my views there, on a much smaller number of pictures, are currently in excess of 59,000. The people that see your work on YouPic can rate it, and the highest unique rating you can achieve on a picture is a “Star”, which represents a picture the viewer feels is an “Inspiration”. Of all my pictures, and those views in excess of 59,000, I’ve only ever received 1 Star. To quote Sheryl Crow, “No one said it would be easy…”. It’s interesting to note, however, that the total count of views on that picture that earned me my one and only (so far) Star, are over 2000, which is more views than I’ve garnered on this entire WordPress page in the almost 4 years that I’ve had it up and running.
So what was this amazing picture that was the source of another person’s inspiration? I’ve taken a lot of pictures, and if I had taken a guess as to which of those would have been the first to earn me this particular honor, I don’t know which I would have picked, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this picture would indeed have made it onto my “short list”. I guess that just means I might have some understanding of where the person who awarded me the Star was coming from. Hopefully, it means all this time spent with my camera attached so firmly to my hand, and the viewport almost grafted to my eye, is finally teaching me something about photography that you can’t necessarily learn from reading books. Or maybe not?! Anyway, I have published this picture here once before, and here it is once again. (Feeling inspired? Huh? Huh?….Oh well, I tried…)
So now that Spring has finally set in, I also realized that I forgot to post any Cherry Blossom pictures. So since I’m really late, I’ll just give you a quick look at the last of the latest, which were the only ones I was able to catch. Leaving you with those to hopefully put some Spring in your heart, I wish you all a great week. Stay healthy, happy, and safe. See you next time.
We had our Provincial elections here in B.C. last night, and though things were close enough that nothing can be truly settled until the final count comes in (in about 2 weeks), the way things sit now, our Green Party made history, and may now finally swing some serious weight. Moving up two seats this time (from 1 to 3) in a contest that saw the two major parties end up neck-and-neck (Liberals 43 seats – New Democratic Party 41 seats), Andrew Weaver’s tiny little count means just as much, or more, than his opponent’s much larger tallies. If the situation as it now sits remains (the first minority government in BC since 1952 – 5 years before I was even born), The Green Party controls the balance of power, and IMHO, that can only be a good thing. Though Mr. Weaver is not tipping his hand yet as to what his strategy might be (pending the final count), he has said that one thing either Party will have to agree to if they want his support is the removal of corporate and union donations in politics.
So I guess it really is going to be a good Spring after all. I would have preferred the removal of the Liberals from power altogether, but the more I think about it, the more I think this is even better, because I’m not a huge fan of the NDP either, and now neither of them will be totally in control. Hopefully everything is going just as well for all of you. I hope your week is going great, and that you are all keeping happy, healthy, and safe. See you next time.
This last week-end appears to have brought Spring to the West Coast, and I spent so many hours walking in the sun and snapping pictures that it will be at least a little while before my latest ones can be processed, and then seen on these pages. But they should arrive before too long and until then, I’ve put up a couple that I shot the other day when I took a brief stroll over to Crab Park (which is now pretty much my extended back yard). For those of you who have been so kind as to have asked, yes, yes, YES, I am thoroughly enjoying the new place in general, and the amazing difference that a mere 4 blocks has made in the atmosphere of the neighborhood in particular has just stunned me. I’ve been getting up extra early just to go out walking (weather permitting) so I can soak in the tranquility of the day’s beginnings.
Some of the building’s occupants complain about the noise on the front street in the evenings (there is a slightly mid to upscale bar across the street that’s open quite late), but as my apartment’s windows open toward the rear of the building, I can’t really say I’ve noticed any of the commotion they seem to be talking about. I do have a fire hall right across the lane-way from my place, but the sirens were a much bigger problem when I lived at my old place. I’m thinking the crews on the trucks must take block or more after leaving the station before they fire up the sirens. Perhaps it’s just not one of the first items on some kind of check list or something?
At any rate, I hope Spring has reached the rest of you folks also, and I hope you are all getting on absolutely heroically. Everybody try and stay happy now, keep busy, keep healthy, and make sure to stay safe. Have a great week.
So there I was, taking a break from on-line activities for awhile, and devoting myself to some studying and organizing, when I decided to get some air, and take a walk through the park down by my new apartment (which is also the nearest park to my old apartment – funny how that works). Never one for traveling without my camera, I grabbed it on my way out the door thinking I might get a shot or two of the harbor, or the mountains, for when you folks get tired of the older shots that I’ve been showing lately on these pages. Instead, in exactly the way that these things happen to me so often, I just took a wild series of shots at a seagull that was swooping through the air past my head, and without any credit to myself at all, every one of the shots came out clear enough, that even when I zoomed in the shots to bring the bird up to size (it was already roughly 100 ft past me when the shots were clicked), they all came out clear enough to show them to you here today. The gull was also working so hard pumping it’s wings, driving itself into the air, that the 5 shots I managed to click each caught a different stage of the down-stroke of one single beat. I’m certainly no engineer, but even I can see the aerodynamics at work both in the way the bird is capturing the wind with it’s wings, and also how streamlined the whole animal is in order to reduce any wind resistance. But enough talk, the pictures say it way better than I ever could. So I hope everybody is healthy, happy, and of course, in this crazy world of ours, keeping safe. Until next time.