Beauty is in the eye.
I went to the dollar store tonight. To get something to test my new off-camera flash cable with.
Beauty is in the eye.
I went to the dollar store tonight. To get something to test my new off-camera flash cable with.
As I mentioned previously, today I added The Chief’s First Peak to the list of places I’ve been. It was a lovely day with the views absolutely stunning.
I only hope the many climbers on the Chief’s famous faces were being appropriately careful in their enjoyment, and were well supplied with sun screen and lip balm. The iPod’s ability to dynamically build this image as I wafted it unceremoniously in the air is nothing short of amazing. Kudos Apple (and people who know me will agree that that is not something I lightly offer to The Dark Empire).
Click on the image to see a bigger version. The wiggly road to the left is the Sea to Sky highway, linking Vancouver to the left and Whistler to the right.
Sometimes I wonder why I even try to take photographs! These are just stunning captures of water (and light) in motion.
I’m just reading a book at the moment from an old work colleague. (Read about it yourself here). One of the things I’ve taken on board is that you can take a negative experience and make it a positive one. I know, I know – a bit obvious, given that I work in marketing. Just look at the way Loblaws is handling the Bangladesh factory collapse. I’d say a +40% delta in profits is “a disaster well managed”, wouldn’t you?
Anyway – I choose to remain in awe of the skill of M. Carreau, happily accept that I am unlikely to ever match it, but still be inspired to try. Not to replicate his work, but to know it is possible, and therefore that I should never stop trying to attain better than what I can do today.
Talking of doing more of what we’re capable of – I made my first ascent of The Stawamus Chief for the year today. First time up First Peak too. That’s all three peaks now “in the bag”. Lots of firsts. It was a lovely warm day. I think I even caught a bit of sun. Lululemon were doing their usual endless parade, sponsored by the young ladies of Greater Vancouver, and distracting all the old blokes like me who refuse to know better. I am supposed to be doing the Grouse tomorrow too, but it’s forecast to be 30 degrees! That’s 86 degrees Fahrenheit in “old money”. I know a lot of it is in and out of tree shade, but I don’t know… I might need some serious persuasion for that. And not all of it in Lululemon!
Only because it’s a brave soul who could even contemplate using the phrase “average woman”.
I found this page via Twitter. It reminded me of a similar project many years ago – limited to the UK. In that version, there were male and female students used as the subjects. Each participant was “pure” English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. “Pure” being defined as both parents and all 4 grandparents being born within the country.
By over-laying the images, similarities are reinforced, differences are blurred away. The experiment gives a somewhat blurred “average” face, but it’s distinct enough to recognise as “type”. For such a small, densely populated little group of islands, the UK’s regional genetic purity was astounding. When you think of the modern ease of movement, it’s amazing how distinct the regional variations have remained.
Here’s the more extensive, more global project.
Couple of years old now, but simply stunning.
Glad to see he dug a small “cold well” at the entrance to his tent.
Beautiful (near-nude – you have been warned!) models, milk, photoshop… what’s not to love?
Yes, I did say milk!
Check out Andrey Razoomovsky’s work by clicking on the link below.
Happy Red Nose Day to all my UK readers!
For those unfamiliar – this is a comedy-centric national children’s charity fundraiser in the UK (and I think Australia) done every 2 years. Formally, it’s called “Comic Relief”. Started not long after Live Aid‘s music-oriented success. I believe it was launched by the great Lenny Henry with support from his friends Rowan Atkinson, Jennifer Saunders (and his wife Dawn French of course). Been going a while now…
Every 2 years they have a new red nose design and silly T-shirts. I have one from last time with the classic Morecambe and Wise… with red noses. After the first couple of outings they branched out and started doing larger stick-on noses for cars and even buildings. The money is focused on kids – both in Africa and locally. The point though is that it’s fun! You see people doing sponsored walks with invisible dogs, pushing peas with their noses – all manner of things to raise money for children’s causes. The dafter the better.
I was reminded it was time (along with my biennial Outlook reminder) by this photo on Blipfoto: A view from her shoes on Blipfoto :: Red Nose Day! :: 15 March 2013.
Cute kids, and just look how proudly he sports his Scout promise - I’m guessing he’s Beaver Scout aged. Their mum must indeed be proud.
I have some very erudite friends. Opinionated to be sure, but then, aren’t we all? One conversation was around how readily we make snap decisions and judgments about people based on the briefest of interactions – often without a word being spoken.
I was reminded of this set of photos (9 in all) from Bored Panda. The same two models in the same pose, but with different make-up and styling.
As you browse the photos, try and be aware of your snap reaction. I found it hard initially to remember they were the same people. The reaction is obviously driven largely by their styling and appearance. And at the end… we are no more aware of the “real” them at all.
I found it interesting how I reacted to the “attractiveness” (or mainly – not) of the young lady in the photos. I was quite disappointed in myself, as one rationalises how one would like to react… and is proven wrong by reality. (Extra points if you can tell which I preferred…)
It will likely come as no surprise to regulars that Mrs E and I were married on the 29th of February. I’d like to claim it was deliberate and planned – especially as it was in 1992, making the date (in the UK at least, where it happened) 29.2.92. However, honesty forces me to admit that it was just the first free Saturday that the registry office had, though I admit the date did amuse me at the time.
I came to expect that I would be “let off” 3 out of 4 years from having to remember the anniversary, though I totally expected to have to amp up the effort every fourth year. No such luck. The fourth year bit is certainly true, but the other three don’t go by unmarked, by any means. There is however a little wriggle-room in the date. Sometimes the 28th of February, sometimes the 1st of March. Sometimes the nearest weekend. That at least gives me a couple of options to save face, if I forget.
This year, it was “nearest weekend”, and we opted for our old favourite The Chateau Hotel in Whistler. We’d first been about a decade ago, when we won a couple of nights in a Scout raffle draw, and fell in love with the place. It’s 4.5 stars, and they really do treat you very well. This year, I managed to find a pretty sweet deal for half price, and the stage was set.
Enter – El Niño, or “The Pineapple Express” as it’s know here in the Lower Mainland. Basically this has dumped an unholy amount of water on the Lower Mainland (100mm in just 36 hours – that’s 4″ if you live in Liberia, Burma or the US - incidentally, did you know the US sanctioned “going metric” in 1866? Just never got around to it, I guess!), while simultaneously raising the temperature several degrees. The North Shore mountains were all closed late last week due to avalanche danger, and the Friday night drive up the beautiful Sea to Sky highway to Whistler was a blur of dark shadows, nasty puddles suddenly pulling on the steering wheel and lashing rain on the windscreen. Frankly, it was a relief to make it to the hotel in one piece and be able to sit down and relax.
And relax we did. With a little help from the Widow Cliquot, whose acquaintance I firmly encourage if you have a celebration or are just looking for an excuse for a pleasant (if not inexpensive) tipple.
Saturday was a complete wash-out, and even our little foray into the lower village resulted in soggy socks. I took no shame in stuffing mine into the outlet vent of the air conditioning unit, and cranking it up to 30 degrees. They emerged a few minutes later lovely, dry and warm… if a little crispy. We undertook a little exercise in the gym, which had huge picture windows overlooking the hot tubs outside. These were like a scene from a Victorian bordello… with bikinis. I can’t remember the last time I have seen such a density of near-naked female flesh. Well, not since college anyway. There were a few blokes present, to be sure. They seemed to fulfill a dual role of (i) the excuse for the boarding/skiing gels to strip off in the first place and (ii) paying for the non-stop alcohol being consumed from plastic glasses. No matter to me – it was more entertaining than the bewildering North American sports showing on the array of TVs in the gym. After more than a decade here, I’ve almost got the hang of Ice Hockey (here just called “hockey” to confuse anyone expecting that to include a ball and a field of grass), but rounders (er – I mean “baseball”) and basketball leave me in a complete daze. I mean, what’s wrong with a proper sport… like F1?! :)
After showering and making ourselves look vaguely presentable (something Mrs E is always much better at than I), we were delighted to see the rains had finally given up, and there was even a hint of blue sky. As night fell, we trotted off into town again, with only a vague lingering dampness in the general toe area. We’d heard great things of a restaurant called “Ric’s Grill”, and finally tracked it down in the Crystal Lodge.
If you are in Whistler, I’d like to recommend Ric’s Grill. Unfortunately, I can’t. It was possibly the most appalling restaurant experience I’ve ever had in Canada. (Though I haven’t eaten in McDonald’s on a general point of principle). It was a little busy when we turned up, sans reservation. We were greeted very warmly, and politely told there was likely a 30 minute wait. No biggie, and we were totally fine with that. The very pleasant (Australian – as most service staff tend to be in Canada’s ski resorts) greeter then offered us an immediate seat in the lounge/bar, if we’d prefer not to wait. Done! We were in.
Our server was equally pleasant and took drinks orders which arrived reasonably promptly (the bar was all of 2m away!) and on her return, took our meal order. Starters arrived a few minutes later and a convivial evening looked set to ensue. Fast forward ALMOST AN HOUR and we were literally standing up to leave in disgust when our main courses arrived. The server had walked past us several times while studiously avoiding eye contact, apology or assurances. I think we were asked once if we wanted more drinks early on in the proceedings, and that was it.
Having heard, as I mentioned, good things about Ric and his grill, I was now expecting a steak that was not merely awesome, but was strutting its stuff on the red carpet and surrounded by paparazzi. Well – to be fair, it wasn’t bad. It was quite tasty really. But it was just like any number of steaks I’ve eaten at Cactus Club, Earls or Milestones. All chains, all expected to be “pretty good” for a vaguely (but not too) posh-ish night out.
Prior to writing this blog entry, I even went as far as tracking down their website and formally complaining. Now, this might not sound like a big thing, until you remember that I was born English. The English “complain” about bad food and service not by yelling, or even quietly complaining to the server (it is rarely their fault in fact). Not even by tipping badly (again – you impact the one person least likely to be able to do anything about it). No, we Brits simply never go there again. But now I’m trying to be more Canadian. I have a blue passport and everything. So I wrote at length and in detail… about why I’m not going there again.
The waitress gamely offered us a dessert menu, but I felt my life was too short for any potential delay, and so we left to deal with some unfinished business with a French widow we’d left in the fridge.
This morning brought the much-anticipated sunshine, post El Niño, and we drove the 10 minutes or so down to Callaghan Valley where we went snowshoeing. It was a perfect day for it. The status board claimed -2 degrees, and it was lovely and bright sunshine. The snow conditions weren’t too bad, despite all the previous rain, though occasionally I sank unexpectedly when the crust gave way to my not inconsiderable weight.
We did a black route to warm up, and it took us to the Alexander Falls which were looking a little turbid as they ejected all the previous day’s rain over the 43m cliff. Realising I’d forgotten to fill the water bottle I’d so proudly remembered to bring from home, we then opted to head for the Lodge, which is at the other parking location in the Callaghan Valley complex. It’s about a 40 minute trek… and we were rewarded by cups of tea and a place to fill our water bottle for the return trip. (No – we never did drink any of it, before you ask.)
The Lodge was peopled by young families (the rental place does these neat little covered sledges you can pull your kids around the Nordic routes in), and bean-poles trying to pass themselves off as people. It really was quite remarkable to see that the vast majority of Nordic skiers were female and as wiry as anything. I wonder what it is that skews the demographics so much. The other thing of note was how many of the aforementioned ladies felt it necessary to perform stretches and various yoga poses whilst the rest of us were trying to concentrate on our Earl Grey! Perhaps they were just trying to get their value from the stretchy clothes they all seemed to wear. You could tell the snowshoers (and there weren’t many today, at all) – we weren’t wearing Lycra. Well – Mrs E was, now I think about it… perhaps it’s just me!
Busy, busy weekend.
Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run on Saturday; Callaghan Valley “Grand Day Out” snowshoeing on Sunday; Snowshoe Grind up Grouse Mountain again yesterday (in the low cloud – very slow going) because Number Two Child wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was Family Day in BC, and Grouse Mountain had made most things half price. Despite initial appearances, I was assured the offer was available to non-Asian families. It was a pleasure to see so many recent immigrants like myself enjoying what Greater Vancouver has to offer.
After all that (no blisters though – that’s good!) I lost the princely total of 2lb. That’s nigh on a kilogram, so I’ll take it thank-you very much.
All that just to say that today is Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day! We like them thin and large – crepe style. Not thick and spongy, North American style. Either way… they’re not exactly conducive to weight loss, so I think I’ll treat this year’s Pancake Day as a spectator sport.