Thursday, January 31, 2008

Now, that's aerodynamic riding!

Say, speaking of Chinatown (that's where this was taken), next week begins the year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar. Now, I was going to make a joke about how it's also Dumbya's last year in office, so, just for a little information on what, exactly, the year of the Rat might involve, I decided I'd better check Wikipedia. Honest, I ain't makin' this up. Here's a direct quote: "Rat is associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities." Gees! Maybe there's something to this Chinese horoscope stuff after all!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It doesn't snow here in Vancouver all that often, so I've got to get the shots in while I can.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ah, Vancouver. Two inches of snow and it's.....yes!.....a Snow Day! School's closed! Of course, this doesn't have that large an impact on me, given that I'm not actually teaching this term. Damn!

You know what movie just keeps getting better every time you watch it? "Lost in Translation". Three times, now (gad - maybe four!), and it's been better every time. And, trust me, it started out pretty darn good the first time.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

I think that's the wrong end of the tunnel.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Plato's view of an oak tree.

It strikes me that the most exciting phase of the current U.S. presidential race is going to prove to be the choosing of Hill or Barack. Once that's done, the actual election of a new U.S. president will be a foregone conclusion - whichever one of them wins the Democrat's nomination will get it. There's no way the Republican candidate, whoever that may prove to be, will win, right? Right?

On the "movies to see" front, go see "Persepolis". Great little movie. An excellent corrective to the usual vision of Iran. Yes, its government is totally nuts (kinda like you-know-who), but the average citizen isn't. They went from having a murderous, fascist dictator in control (helped out by, again, you-know-who) to having murderous fascist clerics in control. Iranians had really hoped to get rid of the dictator and set up a reasonable state, but, well, you know how these crazy "revolution" things can get out of hand. Remember the French revolution? Or the Russian? Neither of those went quite as planned, either.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Went to see "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" today. You definitely want to see this movie. Really. No foolin' around - you really, really, really want to see this movie. In a universe that made sense (I can dream, can't I?), this film would win Julian Schnabel the "Best Director" Oscar, and the film itself would get "Best Film, Period". It won't, of course. Heck, there's no blood (at least, none released with weaponry), no death (ditto) and - oh, dear! - it's got - gasp! - subtitles. No chance for this one.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't worry - there aren't "killer monkeys" out there waiting to attack. This skull is only about the size of your fist, and monkeys are vegetarians. Well, maybe the odd bug, but...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Brrrrrr....... A little snow scene from Hamilton.

If you haven't already read the NYT's editorial outlining its recommendations for each party's choice of presidential candidate, you should.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back in the Red Hill Creek valley, where I used to hike as a kid. Funny how fascinating snow can be when you don't see it very often. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another little remnant of Japantown. I wonder who the Morimotos were.

Speaking of things Japanese... O.K., it's a tenuous connection but, well, it's there. Really. I'm a bad person to take up an exercise plan. Why, you ask? Because I'm a big believer in rewarding virtuous behaviour (especially my own) and I ran 7-ish km tonight, before dinner, which meant that when I got home I just wasn't really in the mood to cook. Solution? You betcha - head out to the local sushi joint for some ohitashi, beef (sorry vegetarian pals) teriyaki and, of course, sake. I love running!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Once upon a time, Vancouver, like so many cities on the west coast of North America, had a Japantown. You can probably guess when that ended. This little scene is on Powell Street, once one of the main streets of Japantown. It reminded me of shoji.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Any "Zoolander" fans out there? This is the back door to a modelling school in downtown Vancouver. I wonder if it's the exit the failures are forced to take. "Pout, dammit! I said pout! You're hopeless! Out! Get out!", and the poor hopeful has to slink out this back door, into a squalid alley of failure. Oh, the shame. The shattered dreams. What could have been!


By the by, I think I've mentioned this before, but the Tokina 12-24/4 is a darn fine lens. Sharp. Very, very little distortion. Try it - you'll like it! Really.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Soooooo, McCain won in South Carolina. Phew. Shows that there are at least some Republicans who aren't completely insane. Still, the fact that they're Republicans at all is some cause for worry.

And Hillary won in Nevada. I'm thinkin' you want Obama, folks. Don't get me wrong, Hills would be O.K., but she'll be pretty much status quo if she actually makes it to president. Obama might actually offer something new. And, with a little luck, that "new" thing might actually be better. It's worth a shot. Things pretty obviously can't get any worse.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for me to start running again. Yep. I've been away from it for four years, so it's time to get back into it. I'm not sure why I lost interest back then, but, right after finishing my first and only half-marathon, I just pooped out. Didn't want to run anymore. Now, I do. So I have been. And, so far, it's swell again. I'm starting slow, not being as pig-headed as I used to be, so I'm not suffering particularly (although there are a few muscles saying, "What in the heck do you think you're doing?!?", but I can ignore them).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yep. It's a rock. Sometimes you just have to take a picture of one. If you don't, well, the urge'll just fester and who knows what kind of trouble that could lead to?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ah, the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition), Vancouver's somewhat pale imitation of Toronto's CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). Both originated, more or less, as country fairs, and both retain a bit of that flavour still. At least, what little is left of them does. The PNE isn't exactly flourishing these days. I don't know how the CNE is doing, not having visited it in over 30 years. When I was a kid, though, it was amazing. Rides! Candy! Junk-to-the-max food! New cars! Big animals! A dog show (that we never attended, but it was fun visiting all the dogs back in the preparation area). It was the big event at the end of summer vacation.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pretty good description for this particular part of town.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

O.K. - everybody! - run on out and get yourself some B.B. King. Don't ask questions. Just do it.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

I think I've mentioned this before - Vancouver's got the world's most colourful "bad" end of town. Things may be falling apart, no one's got any money, but - wow! - somebody's got access to paint.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

A dragonfly in the process of being "born again"? Is this what happened to George? A blinding light, a booming voice..."The net is coming, George! Be afraid!"

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

This is part of my school project for today. I finally bought a couple of radio remote flash triggers (very, very cheap ones) a while back, and now I've finally gotten around to doing something with them. Amazing what you can do with one flash. Anyway, you can probably look forward to seeing at least a few more biologically-oriented pix popping up over the next little while.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The world must be too quiet. My whole supply of snarky, snide, cynical political commentary has dried up. The worst I can come up with is a remark on Dumbya's latest comment from the Middle East: "The time for peace in the Middle East is now." Gee, George, d'ya think?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

So, John McCain seems to have won in New Hampshire. Evidently Republicans aren't totally insane. And Rotten Rudy got stomped. Further proof that Republicans aren't totally nuts. Of course, the fact that they're still Republicans means they've got a long way to go before being considered safe for living things to approach without protective gear.

As for the Democrats, talk about a weird conundrum! A black man, a woman, a black man, a woman. Symbolically, either would be a good choice. Substantively? Hmmmmm..........which one to choose? Hillary's got experience and, let's face it, Bill. Barack's got, maybe, some new ideas and maybe even some ideals. Tough choice, folks. It's not as if Washington's a "nice" town, ready to welcome Barack in the role of Mr. Smith. Much as anyone would like to think otherwise, Washington is a pool of very hungry piranha and "ideals" aren't going to keep them at bay. Hillary isn't likely to do much to roil the waters but that, unfortunately, is what really needs doing. Can she make small, but useful, changes in the right direction?

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Yeah, the whole sub-prime loan thing has been a real pain."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

This shot is like some 3-D illusion. Every time I look at it, I see another sign layered on top of the others.

And, tomorrow begins another term. Yep. Another term. Am I frantically preparing? Am I wondering what the newest crop of students will be like? Am I worried about whether or not I'm ready? Nope. 'Cause I'm off this term! So I'm listening to B.B. King, sipping a nice single malt scotch, and wondering how I'm going to fill my days. It's hell, I tell ya.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back! Back, I say!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Welcome to small town Ontario - Dundas. It's teeny. It's old. It's quite nice, actually. Other than that nasty white stuff along the curbs. Snow? Nice to visit, but...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Weellllll, Obama showed big in Iowa. Innnnnteresting. I'd sure like to see him wind up the Democrats' nominee. That would move well beyond "interesting". Way, way, way beyond. As John Edwards apparently said, "The status quo lost". Big time, pal.

Which is something we can all only hope like crazy is true. Remember what the status quo brought last time - the world's stupidest man running the world's most powerful country as a cash cow for his rich friends. A while back, you may recall, he made sure that less-than-wealthy parents wouldn't be able to get state health coverage for their kids. The Bush motto? "Pay up or die." And, hey, he's at it again. Oh, if only he could be brought to trial once his term is up. Ah, well. It's true, after all, that scum floats.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I won't, and you can't make me.

On the other hand, my cold seems to be fading.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

And then there were places that didn't quite make it to 2008. Not because of the quality of the cuisine, I'm sure.