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    Night Views (Burnaby)


    2011 - 07.31
    Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)
    Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)
    Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)
    Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)Night Views (Burnaby)

    Night Views (Burnaby), a set on Flickr.

    Via Flickr:
    Various photos taken on an interesting weather night in Burnaby near the full moon. Assorted bracketed exposures which eventually will be used to try some HDR cityscapes.

    These were taken just after we got back from Sooke, it was near the full moon and the clouds were doing some interesting stuff.  I decided that I’d see if I could do some more HDR stuff, but with the cityscapes instead.  I haven’t done anything with the pictures yet, so we’ll see how that turns out, but some of them are sufficiently interesting on their own.  Various exposure levels are used to achieve these effects, but no post processing has taken place.

    All pictures are taken from our balcony, most using our tripod.

    P.S.  Karin took some pictures at the same time, but she hasn’t uploaded any of hers yet, so I’m not sure how they turned out.

    Backyard Flowers


    2011 - 07.30
    Backyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard Flowers
    Backyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard Flowers
    Backyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard Flowers
    Backyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard FlowersBackyard Flowers

    Backyard Flowers, a set on Flickr.

    Via Flickr:
    Flowers from the Abel backyard and deck.

    So these are some of the photographs I took when I managed to distract Honey enough to allow me to take pictures.  I’m not really a flower guy, so for the most part I couldn’t tell you what kind of flowers they are, actually I suppose that’s not true, they are “pretty flowers”, yup that’s a technical term!

    These are also from the Wednesday photo day.

    Milestone: 13%


    2011 - 07.29

    I’ve spent the last day and a half looking at Karin’s pictures on Flickr, I often see her taking pictures, but I often don’t actually get to see the end result.  I think that’s part of what’s missing with the transition to digital, she doesn’t come home one day with several packages of prints that you then just casually pick up and flip through.  In many cases I find that I’m unaware that she’s taken a picture, especially since it seems as though she’s taken over 2,000 with her iPhone alone, and of course when she first got her Canon Rebel XTi she averaged 100 pictures a day for quite a while, and is probably somewhere in the 30,000 pictures taken range.

    Well I’m currently on page 28 of 211 (although I think she’s about to upload more pictures shortly), which represents all of the 2011 pictures that she has posted and about 13% of the total posted.  Some of them are crazy good, and maybe I’ll convince her to slowly share some of the best ones here, but by all means do go and check them out on Flickr.

    Recalculation: 479/3,794 = 12.625%  Well it’s progress, and eventually I will run into more pictures which I’ve seen before, if not for a while.  Still looking at all the one’s that she’s posted in 2011 feels like an accomplishment and a good excuse to take a break, blog and maybe even have dinner, or some ice cream with raspberry syrup!  But that’s another story.

    P.S.  In theory this is a milestone post for another reason, it’s #100 at Cowbels, Karin didn’t figure we should seek recognition until we got to 1,000… so I didn’t write about that accomplishment ;-)

    Rocky Point – Port Moody


    2011 - 07.29
    Seagull on a lamp 01Seagull on a lamp 02Seagull on a lamp 03Bird at Bird HousesBird at Bird HousesBird at Bird Houses
    Bird at Bird HousesBird at Bird HousesBird at Bird HousesBird at Bird HousesPigeons on the railingPigeons on the railing
    Pigeons on the railingPigeons on the railingPigeons on the railingPigeons on the railingPigeons on the railingPigeons on the railing

    Rocky Point – Port Moody, a set on Flickr.

    Via Flickr:
    Taken the afternoon of 27 July 2011 at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, B.C.

    So after far too many days of not feeling well Karin seemed to be largely over whatever was causing the increase in Ménière’s symptoms, and in truth was going a little stir crazy at home.  Needing to get out of the house is one thing, but figuring out what to do was entirely another.  Karin seemed to settle on the idea of going to a park and doing a bit of photography.  We considered and eliminated: the seawall, colony farm and Fraser foreshore park.  The first we eliminated because we’d be too far away from our car or what have you if Karin started to not feel well again, or just ran out of energy.  The other two we were unfamiliar with, and it looked as though the getting to far away would likewise be a problem for colony farm.  So although Karin has been to Rocky Point countless times, I had hardly been there at all, and so we decided it was a good fit.

    These are some of the photos that I took while we were walking around, hopefully Karin will post some of her own as well.  I think we also may need to look at acquiring a longer lens than our current longest (75-300mm) as there were some additional opportunities out there which we were unable to take advantage of.  We believe that we saw an eagle on one of the pilings, but even at maximum zoom the bird is too small to definitively identify, and definitely not of high enough quality to be worth posting.

    Incidentally, those birds at the bird houses, I have no idea what they are, so if you know… (ed. the birds have been identified as Purple Martins, this was my dad’s first guess, which was subsequently backed up by a bird book, and then details on the Rocky Point website.  You should be impressed, as the identification was before looking it up anywhere, which just served to confirm it.) 

    The Geckos


    2011 - 07.28

    I love my geckos.  Usually I love them from school where I can chat with them throughout the day, or bring them out of their cage to hang out with.  I haven’t been doing that as much as I had in previous years because I had a group of kids that I needed to keep an eye on a little closer.  Over the breaks, I often get kids to take them home.  It’s not nearly as wrenching as it had been the first time, but I still miss them.  I especially missed them this year because I had them at home for a few weeks before passing them off to a student.  *sadface*

    IMG_5658

    I bought Sasha in September of 2008.  I wanted a pet for the classroom and originally thought a rabbit would be perfect.  We already had fish tanks with guppies and assorted other tropical fish, and I wanted the same pets as my idolized grade 2/3 teacher…guppies and a rabbit. Imagine my surprise when I was outvoted 17-2 for a lizard *.  Hokay then.  There are vegetarian lizards, right?

    I went to the pet store, after doing some research, with the idea that I would get anoles.  They’re cute, active and they don’t cost very much.  Sadly, they eat live insects…bleh.  I was talked out of the anoles with the adorable-ness that is the leopard gecko.  I was sold on the idea that we could handle them.  Then, the weird happened.  There was a teacher in the pet store with two leopard geckos…she taught in the same district as I do, in the same grade, and in the same specialization.  SOLD! Sasha came home with me that night.

    The class voted on the name and it came down to Sasha or Sparky…luckily Sasha won the day! :) Blind voting is a teacher’s godsend…not that I cheated or anything… Later that year, one of the boys got a leopard gecko and named him Sparky. :)

    Sasha

    About a year and a half later, I was at a different pet store getting some gecko-food ** when I was looking at the other lizards.  I love doing that…and I’ve almost left with snakes and other lizards before…I loves them.  Anyway, I saw this pitiful looking leopard gecko in the cage with some that were way bigger than she was.

    Ennis: The day I rescued her

    She was about the size of a key, her tail was missing, there was bedding imbedded in her tail stump, she was shedding really badly and there were bite marks all over her.  I figured she was pretty much toast…and then I saw her strike at a cricket.  She missed, getting a mouthful of bedding, but darned if there wasn’t some fight left in her.  I bargained her price down (“But she’s only half a gecko!!”) and came home with Ennis *** .

    Ennis: The day I rescued her

    Eventually Ennis grew up, although she’s not quite as buff as Sasha is, and they’re very happy geckos, except for when they bite each other occasionally. Usually by accident.  Usually.

    Sasha and Ennis

    * The criteria for a pet: no more than four legs, must be in a cage/tank and will not grow to the point of needing a cage/tank the size of a phone booth.
    ** AKA live insects.  Bleah.
    *** Ennis = NS = Not Sasha

    Sleepy Geckos

    Hmmm, Photo Blog?


    2011 - 07.28

    Looks as though this might be turning into a bit of a photo blog, and I’m totally ok with that.  Karin and I now both have our own Flickr Pro accounts* now (linked to in this sentence), and no it’s not a commitment issue, it’s because sometimes keeping things separate makes sense.

    I’ve been taking pictures for years, and some of them are even good ;-)  Karin doesn’t have the history of being a photographer, but she didn’t grow up in a family that was so photo-mad!  Is there a single person (with the possible exception of Grandma) on the West side of the family who doesn’t personally own at least one camera (and I don’t mean a camera phone)?  I don’t think so!  I wonder what the oldest age any of the kids got to before they got their first camera, couldn’t have been that old.

    The downside of that photographic tradition is that many of our photos aren’t in an easily shared format, this is less true for Karin, but I know that I took definitely hundreds of rolls of pictures, possibly even into the thousands (anyone else remember the good old days of Kirkland film packs?  Costco for the win!)  I wonder if maybe we should all get together and do a group purchase?  I know there are “cheap” photo/negative scanners out there ($100 or less), but if we pooled our resources we could probably manage to get a really awesome one for only a minimal investment each, and then we could pass it around so that we could all scan our old photos (or at least those worth keeping)… just throwing it out there.

    * If you want to check out pictures though, you should totally check mine out first… if only because it will take a couple of minutes (153 photos uploaded so far), while Karin has 3,779 (and she hasn’t uploaded any pictures from Wednesday yet… the glories of having a 16GB card I guess).

    Honey and the Whale


    2011 - 07.28
    Honey and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the Whale
    Honey and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the Whale
    Honey and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the Whale
    Honey and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the WhaleHoney and the Whale

    Honey and the Whale, a set on Flickr.

    Via Flickr:
    Unlike Capt. Ahab, Honey always gets her whale.

    “You can call me Stuffie” said the Whale.

    So we took a few pictures yesterday, I made sure to empty my card before I left home, and I essentially filled the 4GB card during the day, of course that only actually represents the equivalent of about 10 rolls of film (to those whom that’s still a useful analogy).  These are shots of Honey dog (mum and dad Abel’s Corgi) and her favourite stuffie (the Whale).

    I had actually gone down to the backyard to take some pictures of some roses, and possibly a nesting robin (couldn’t see it from below), but Honey followed me out and wanted to play.  So in order to be able to take some pictures, I pretty much had to play.  She’s by no means a “big” dog, but she’s definitely persistent, and will happily drop the stuffie at your feet and encourage you to play, if you don’t take the hint, she’ll move it closer (even if it’s already on your feet) essentially saying “Notice me, and play with me!”  So despite trying to tire her out, I’d be taking a few pictures and I’d feel the stuffie and perhaps her snout on my legs.  That said, she doesn’t bark and rarely whines, so it’s all good.  It also meant I had something other than flowers to take pictures of.

    At one point I think I actually had her pretty much tired out, she had retrieved the stuffie, but then went and dropped it in the garden and laid down in front of it, as though she was guarding it (didn’t get a picture of that though) which reminded me of this Travelers Insurance commercial which we had seen the week before (“The Cat Burglar”).  Alas the break was short lived.  Anyway, enjoy.

    Note: this stuffie has lasted a long time, she tends to destroy her other toys reasonably quickly but it seems as though this one has been around for years now.

    P.S.  There may be a few additional photo posts in your future ;-)

    Breaking Bad


    2011 - 07.27

    We talk a lot about the TV shows that we watch, but I don’t think we’ve mentioned Breaking Bad (AMC) yet.  Breaking Bad just started it’s fourth season, and leading up to it AMC ran the previous 3 seasons which we taped on our PVR.  It’s an interesting show on many levels.  The writing is good, the camera angles and perspectives are very unique.  I can see how it’s become an emmy favourite.

    Without giving anything away, I’d almost call the show a modern greek tragedy.  Not only do the characters get pushed down, then kicked while they are down, they are helped up only to be stabbed in the back, and when you think things are better someone rubs poison ivy on the wounds, oh and all this without telling anyone they care about what’s going on.  Yeah, “one step forward, two steps back” in no way actually captures the struggles of the characters.

    If you haven’t watched it before, I would recommend watching it, but it is probably best to watch it from the beginning and not join now as I believe too many references would be missed, and the “previously on Breaking Bad” section simply cannot provide adequate backstory.  On the bright side (if you’re trying to catch up) the seasons are at most 13 episodes, so it’s a more manageable task.

    Sooke Sparklers


    2011 - 07.26
    SparklersSparklersSparklersSparklersSparklersSparklers
    SparklersSparklersSparklersSparklersSparklersSparklers

    Sooke Sparklers, a set on Flickr.

    We brought our tripod to Sooke with us, our hosts had sparklers, and they were kind enough to do the sparklers with the backdrop of the ocean. I think they turned out pretty well.

    Christopher is in the top left, Keegan is top right and wee Kyler is at the bottom.

    “I don’t feel well…”


    2011 - 07.26

    Unfortunately Karin hasn’t been feeling well lately.  Fortunately she hasn’t really needed to do anything the last little while, so it’s more annoying than a true hindrance, but no doubt frustrating to her.  We’re assuming that it’s just Ménière’s, but I suppose technically speaking we don’t know that.  We’re doing our best to keep her away from the various triggers, or things which make it worse, but so far either we haven’t done enough, or they just aren’t working.

    What might be the most scary is how many more stories she would have posted for her beta readers if she’d been feeling better, as she’s still managed to be reasonably prolific despite it all.  I know that personally I’m at least two stories (and possibly three) behind at the moment.  In fairness to me, they are getting longer, and I do provide really detailed feedback, but still I really need to take this opportunity to catch up while I can.  I don’t know if she’s looking for more beta readers or not, but if you’re interested you should get in touch with her, for now most of that interaction is taking place on Facebook, so if you’re not a frequent user that might be why you’re out of the loop.

    Speaking of Karin’s writing, she had a tangential scare today, and I think I’ll not try to make the long story short.  In our building today, due to some maintenance which I don’t really understand we have no hot water from 8-5.  I believe the sign in the elevator called it “Emergency” maintenance, although I must admit I disagree, as the notice has been in the elevator for at least a week.  In my book that makes it at most “urgent”, but definitely not “emergency”.  If it were emergency the notice I’d read in the elevator would be:

    “We apologize for the hot water outage yesterday, it was unavoidable due to some emergency maintenance.  Everything is now working normally and we don’t expect any further outages.”

    Regardless, the end result was a false fire alarm this morning, so we got to wander down the stairs and out of the building for a few minutes.  Thankfully it was a false alarm, caused by the maintenance.  Having been through a few of these fire alarms before we’ve learned a few things:

    1. bring a book or some other form of entertainment, you might be a while
    2. make sure to dress appropriately, you might be there a while
    3. don’t expect to get back in quickly
    4. go to the washroom before leaving

    Today, we thought we might go for a walk while we waited for the building to be cleared, but Karin wasn’t feeling so well, so we only did a lap around the building.  Turns out that Karin had a few concerns relating to today’s fire alarm:

    • she was particularly glad that the Geckos were elsewhere and in no danger as a result potential fire
    • she was also very pleased that she’s been distributing some of here writing around to reviewers, so that her only copies were not on a computer which would have been subject to melting or water damage had it been an actual fire

    As a result of the last one, I’m doing some experiments with Google Docs to see if it might be an appropriate alternate method to help ensure that the single point of failure is not sitting in our condo.  If anyone has experiences, good or bad that they’d like to share, or alternate suggestions for “fireproofing” her writing do let us know.

    In talking to Karin last night, she is planning to post something about the Geckos, but given how she’s been feeling it might be a little while before it appears.  I think that’s all I’ve got.