Now I’ve seen everything…

31 12 2011

As of September, it would seem that you may very well have to pay a license fee if your snowman is anything like “perfect”.

The 8,011,991th United States Patent is assigned to “Apparatus for Facilitating the Construction of a Snow Man/Woman,” granted to inventor Ignacio Marc Asperas of Melville, NY. The patent was filed on Jan. 31, 2006 but was just granted on Sept. 6, 2011.

Though written in a conversational way… it’s serious!

US inventor finally granted patent for snowman construction

I look forward to reading about the first time THAT one gets contested…

[Thanks B for bringing this one to my attention.]

These boots are made for walking

31 12 2011

It’s taken me a couple of days to put this posting together, and for that I apologise. Back on the 28th, three of us pachyderms went snow-shoeing up Cypress on the North shore mountains. We have a bit of a tradition of going on Boxing day, but it’s been particularly mild this winter (read: wet and rainy up top), and we were waiting for more favourable conditions. In the end, we decided to just “go for it” and made the journey on the off-chance. As we got closer, we could see the cloud just sat on the top of the mountain, which is not generally considered a good sign. Middle child made some facetious remark about Voldemort being at home, and we steadily drove up towards the murk, not encountering snow until almost at the turn for the Nordic area. There’s a viewing point half way up Cypress, and it gives amazing views over the city of Vancouver. This was below the cloud base and the views were stunning. We didn’t stop though, and headed up to the Nordic area for the snow shoeing.

I may be gone some time...

I may be gone some time…

I'm stumped

I’m stumped

We had an excellent hour or so’s hike despite the murk, taking the long way around to Hollyburn Lodge where we stopped to consume some of the hot tea (hot chocolate for offspring) I’d been lugging around, and some procured muffins.

Who's been wearing MY snow shoes?

Who’s been wearing MY snow shoes?

Hollyburn Lodge, Cypress Mountain

Hollyburn Lodge, Cypress Mountain

Unfortunately while we were there, the weather turned a bit more deliberate, and we left Hollyburn to a steady rain, the temperature hovering just above zero. Still lots of snow under-foot (reasonable but not great base of over a metre.) We decided the prudent course of action was to take a more direct route back to the base area, so unfortunately we didn’t get the full 2-3 hours walk we’d originally anticipated.

Thankfully, being now from BC, we’d dressed more for the wet than the cold, and on signing off the hill (safety check – they send folk out looking if you don’t sign back in), we were complimented on our “proper gear”. We had fun, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Sure it would have been nice to confirm you really could see Nanaimo from “Strait Lookout”… but they do wisely append “on a clear day” to the description. If you’re in the Vancouver area it’s well worth a visit, and snow shoes can be hired if you don’t have your own.


Cypress: Snowshoe Trails

Cypress: Snowshoe Trails

Cypress: Snowshoe Trails

 Snowshoe Trail Map (pdf)

That’s just not right…

31 12 2011

Good morning honoured reader. Of course, if you weren’t hanging on your inbox for this posting and are reading it later, or for that matter are currently in a timezone other than Pacific Standard, please replace with afternoon/evening/night as appropriate.

If this isn’t your first sampling of my postings, you’ll be well aware of the massive research I undertake before posting each nugget of irrelevance. (Yes… that was sarcasm. If it IS your first visit… you’ll get used to it). While looking for information about Aero chocolate bars (which I was devastated to learn is not available in France – thanks Laura, I’ll add one more item in the “cons” column for the French) I came across a variant of Kit-Kit from Japan. It’s green. Not NICE green. We’re talking anti-freeze green.

Chocablog: Matcha Green Tea Kit-Kat

Chocablog: Matcha Green Tea Kit-Kat

KitKat Matcha Green Tea Chocolate Review.

I was interested while travelling in Japan to learn that they’re not big on sweets and the like. They’re well known for their odd tastes in dessert too. But even so… this was a bit of a shock.

Personally, I don’t see it catching on elsewhere… even in cosmopolitan Vancouver!

Beyond Awesome!

30 12 2011

After a couple of months of waiting, I finally got to see Mother Mother play live today at the Commodore in Vancouver. A smaller venue than I’d imagined, but a great atmosphere.
Excellent setlist including all their well known tracks and one off the up-coming new album.
A few photos from my middle offspring who also attended…

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If you were wondering about the list on lead singer Ryan Guldemond’s T-shirt, they’re the locations of Vancouver’s J.J. Bean coffee-shops. Good places to get free WiFi if you’re close to the end of your monthly limit.

The encore finished with the great “Arms Tonite

I felt a lot younger leaving than I did entering… you knew I would!

Poetry in eMotion, Or Just Mildly Free?

30 12 2011

I was recently introduced to Damien Rice. Well, more correctly his music. Though I’m sure he’s a really nice bloke if I ever WAS introduced to him in person. According to the inimitable Wikipedia, he’s Irish by birth, so I’m sure he knows what a proper pint of Guinness looks like too. His music’s not exactly what you’d call jolly, but it’s well crafted and the lyrics are sheer poetry.

Wikipedia: Damien Rice

Wikipedia: Damien Rice

I was particularly drawn to his song “Accidental Babies” on the album “9“.

Even if you don’t like his sound, check out the craftsmanship of his poetry (they’re only a bit rude):

“Accidental Babies” – Damien Rice

Well I held you like a lover
Happy hands and your elbow in the appropriate place
And we ignored our others, happy plans
For that delicate look upon your face
Our bodies moved and hardened
Hurting parts of your garden
With no room for a pardon
In a place where no one knows what we have done

Do you come
Together ever with him?
And is he dark enough?
Enough to see your light?
And do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
Do you miss my smell?
And is he bold enough to take you on?
Do you feel like you belong?
And does he drive you wild?
Or just mildly free?
What about me?

Well you held me like a lover
Sweaty hands
And my foot in the appropriate place
And we use cushions to cover
Happy glands
And the mild issue of our disgrace
Our minds pressed and guarded
While our flesh disregarded
The lack of space for the light-hearted
In the boom that beats our drum

Well I know I make you cry
And I know sometimes you wanna die
But do you really feel alive without me?
If so, be free
If not, leave him for me
Before one of us has accidental babies
For we are in love

Do you come
Together ever with him?
Is he dark enough?
Enough to see your light?
Do you brush your teeth before you kiss?
Do you miss my smell?
And is he bold enough to take you on?
Do you feel like you belong?
And does he drive you wild?
Or just mildly free?

What about me?
What about me?

Oh, and he can play piano too. Just sayin’…

Nope – it’s not a giant Aero

30 12 2011

Someone™ once told me that when asked why he made several attempts to conquer Everest in the early 1920’s, George Mallory retorted “Because it’s there!” Of course, he then died trying, but that’s a different story. They did find him in the end. 1999 I believe. They’re still debating whether he beat Sir Edmund Hillary by 30 years. i.e. were his boots pointing up or down?

Anyway, “because it’s there” is a damned fine answer. Applies to many things, I reckon. Art in particular. I like to pay my readers the complement of a return visit, and more than often I find way more interesting things on their blogs than mine. I encourage you to make the journeys I did and check them out more thoroughly for yourself. This photo caught my eye for instance, on the ArtStormer blog. It looked like nothing so much as a sculpture carved out of a giant Aero.


Kang Duck Bong art

“Resolution” PVC Pipe Sculptures by Kang Duck Bong « ArtStormer.

Follow the link above for the full article including some other super cool sculptures made from PVC piping.

For those now craving chocolate, check out the chocoblog for a quick fix:

Chocoblog: Aero 70%

Chocoblog: Aero 70%


And now you’re all sugared up and full of anti-oxidants, consider… what really IS stopping you from following your dream?


Why kids are scared of clowns

30 12 2011

When I was a kid, I used to stay at my maternal grandparents’ house relatively often. They had many books, and there being little else of entertainment for a young geek-in-training in their mining village, I would while away the time reading. I forget the name now, but one book was about the circus. I was reading this in the early ’70s I’d guess, and it was probably from the late 40’s-early 50’s. Anyway, I distinctly remember images of harlequins which seemed a bit, well, weird!

I recently came across a posting on We Heart Vintage with images of 1950s circus folk. This reminded me instantly of why I’ve always found clowns down-right creepy.

Creepy clown

1950s Circus Performers #2 « We Heart Vintage.

If by some small chance that’s your granddad, dear reader… I assure you it’s nothing personal.

THE MEAN REDS AND THE MOODY BLUES. « thepollyannafragments

29 12 2011

I just had to point you at this posting from THEPOLLYANNAFRAGMENTS
It has so much going for it…

References to Audrey Hepburn movies, pictures of Yorkshire, humour of course, and the ugliest fish I’ve ever seen!



THE MEAN REDS AND THE MOODY BLUES. « thepollyannafragments.

I like a thoughtful read as much as the next Greek god

29 12 2011

Just got back from a run with a couple of familial pachyderms, and now need to wait my proper turn in the pecking order for the shower (whilst hoping there’s still some hot water left by then. They’re female. Draw your own conclusions…) So in the meantime, I obviate any need for feeling good about the run by eating a mince pie, listening to Mother Mother in preparation for tomorrow’s concert, and of course surfing the net.

You know you’ve had a good read when you close the book, put down the manuscript, hit “Home” or whatever, and go “hmm…” in a contemplative tone. The words – pored over for hours, days, or even longer, by their guardian, have been herded like so many cats until they made the form always imagined at the outset. They have hit home and made you think. That’s rarely a bad thing. Wandering along the back roads of blogsville, I came across the Raleigh Review. Turns out to be a literary and arts magazine, and nothing to do with bicycles at all.

On its pages, I came across a piece called “Gaia” by one J.M. McDermott: We hadn’t quite invented marriage, so we couldn’t quite divorce when he invented infidelity.

Made me think. (It happens sometimes, if I’m not careful enough.)

If you’re not in an emotionally delicate place right now, you might find it worthy of a few minutes too.

Once again: “Gaia” by J.M. McDermott at The Raleigh Review

Bryce Canyon – Bryce National Park, UT

29 12 2011

I like learning new stuff. It reminds me I’m not dead yet. I loved the hues in this photo from Tom over at PhotoBotos, but being a bit of a photography neophyte, it never occurred to me that the image could never actually have been captured in a single exposure. Tom’s write up referred to HDR, and a quick trip to my favourite comfy chair over at Wikipedia filled in the rest. Yippee! New toys to play with when I go on a photo walk.

Bryce Canyon – Bryce National Park, UT

Yeah, this picture looks pretty calm and relaxing, but it was anything quite the event to photograph.  First off it was about 4 degrees outside and the wind was whipping around 45 mph.  The gusts were blowing so hard drifts of snow were piling up at my feet.  I needed three shots (2,0,-2) for this HDR image and the tripod was shaking  on each gust.  It took me about 10 tries and a ton of weight on the tripod, but I finally got one that works.  This is what it is all about.  Thanks for stopping by.

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