Gone fishin’…

29 02 2012

Well not literally. Nor quite yet.

Today (29th February) is our wedding anniversary. Our fifth, so that’s 20 years under the yoke. My reasoning was just that it was the next free Saturday at the local Registry Office, but the off-kilter date, the fact I’d only need to remember every four years, that other people would do it for me anyway, and that the date in 1992 in the UK was written as 29.2.92 all kind of helped me on the way.

So today we’re flying to Phoenix, Arizona. Well, Mesa actually, just to the East. It’s supposed to be hot and sunny – which appeals to my better half. It was cheap – which appeals to me.

There’s Tonto national forest just out of town which has some interesting-looking cave dwellings I hope to get to see. Otherwise, it looks a bit like the Okenagan from what I can tell. Hoping I don’t meet any Gila Monsters – they sound a bit, well, poisonous really! Not to mention the 3 different types of rattlesnake and some other dodgy poisonous things. I’m considering it all a grand photo opportunity, and to quote American Werewolf in London, I’ll keep to the path!

English: Head of a Gila Monster Heloderma susp...

Image via Wikipedia: Gila Monster

So – in a nutshell, I’ll be off-air for a few days, but hope to bring you some snapshots of our trip on my return. If there’s no monsters under the bed.

Don’t mess with my Habanero

28 02 2012

The capsaicin in Habanero chilis is rated between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville Heat Units. Just to put that in perspective, the ever popular Jalapeño is rated between 3,500 and 8,000 SHU and bell peppers are zero.

About.com: How to handle Habanero Peppers

English: A close up of an orange Habanero chil...


Get your Lord, Laird or Lady Title

28 02 2012

Fancy being a Lord or Lady of Glencoe? Legit too! A Laird if you’d rather.

Yours for a mere 29 squid. $50 in new money.

Now I’ve seen everything! You can buy a square foot of Scotland, and get to call yourself nobility to-boot.

Check it out here: Buy a title and become a Lord, Laird or Lady.

Highland titles: be a Laird

Highland titles: be a Laird

Thinking larger? Buy a bit of the moon instead! You can have a whole acre of the Sea of Tranquility for $37.50!

lunarregistry.com: Sea Of Tranquility

lunarregistry.com: Sea Of Tranquility

The next thing you know, they’ll be selling Hudson’s Bay Company to the Americans. Oh, wait…

Be yourself « coaching dreams

26 02 2012

Wilde! Can’t go wrong… even if on the back of a dodgy looking van!

Be yourself. Seen on coaching dreams.

The dangers of early Spring in Vancouver.

26 02 2012

Life is dangerous. Generally. The actual event of birth itself, though inevitably still a little gooey for reasons beyond the scope of this posting, is far less dangerous these days than say even 50 years ago. For mother and child. Sort of lowering the standards of the entrance exam, you might say. But, having overcome that traditionally difficult initial challenge, one is thrown headlong into a battle to maintain superiority over this mortal coil… until one day, with 100% certainty, one must eventually fail.

At that point, assuming ones heritage isn’t Norwegian, and ones plumage isn’t particularly blue, you will be generally agreed as being dead, and not likely to be offered the option of being nailed to a perch in perpetuity, or kept as a hunting trophy. [Confused readers may prefer to just quietly leave by the back door at this point. Those a little more curious can catch up here – but don’t be long, we can’t wait for you. Regulars can continue in the safe assumption that things will get no better. Or less confusing.]

Peter Clayton: Stuffed Heads

Peter Clayton: Stuffed Heads

So anyway…

Though the wonderful annual Darwin Awards catalogue the many and imaginative occasions when the human gene pool does a quick self-clean to remove the floaties, by and large most of us lead pretty unremarkable lives. Someone has to be average, after all. If you don’t like the idea of being average, then simply content yourself that you almost certainly have more than the average number of legs. (Come on, think about it…). If in fact you have less, then though I certainly meant no offence, you are just as un-average, and that was my only point, after all.

Where the hell was I going? Yes – Vancouver! So, I work in downtown Vancouver. I use the word “work” loosely, you understand. It rains a bit there. Often. With feeling and gusto.

Personally, I love it. I find it refreshing; renewing even. I’m also 6′ 2″ or thereabouts. (Patience. if you’re new to these pages, you’ll get the hang of it. There is a point, eventually.) Being born amongst the green, wet hills of Yorkshire , I feel most at home in the dashing rain, letting it soak my head, and feeling it cleanse my soul.

Actually, I was born in a hospital in Wakefield, but that’s much less evocative, don’t you think? It’s true that I did grow up (as much as I’ve managed, anyway) on the moors, and loved sitting in the rain at the ruins of Top Withens (or “Wuthering Heights” if you prefer).

Walking Englishman: Top Withens

Walking Englishman: Top Withens

Vancouver’s a very accommodating city – along with much of Canada. There’s Quebec of course, which largely takes the Welsh view of multi-ethnicity (i.e. “it’s too hard to spell – lets ignore it”), but by and large, Vancouver takes on all-comers. Over recent years this has meant a relatively high intake of folks from the Far Eastern countries. No issue here whatsoever. Certainly makes for a much more vibrant mix, great food, colourful customs, multiple Christmas/New Year time excuses for parties, and so on.

Genetically however, there are a couple of traits I’ve particularly become sensitised to. First and I think undeniably, a lot of oriental folk (here we politely use “Asian” just to mix up the newly landed Brits, who then have to learn to re-categorise “Asian” folk as “East Indian”) are somewhat under-represented in the height department. According to the oft-quoted Wikipedia, the average height of an urban Chinese bloke in 2002 was 5′ 7″, and a rural Chinese lady 5′ 2″. Those are averages, so presumably 50% of them were shorter.

The second thing I’ve become sensitised to is how eagerly Vancouverites generally, but Asian folk specifically love to own, and deploy the humble brolly. I have to admit that I’m really impressed with the design and technology used these days. No mere folded newspaper over the head!

I’ve seen umbrellas with silvered undersides, so they can double as sun-blocking parasols (eternal hope is such a quaint human trait, don’t you think?), and I’ve seen (and for a time, even owned) umbrellas with collapsible plastic sheaths which allow the owner to avoid leaving wet puddles at their destination. These come replete with a little screw-off bottom to drain them at a more opportune moment. Brilliant! (I only paid 99¢ in Taipei, BTW…)

Oliveira non-drip umbrella

Oliveira non-drip umbrella

I’m not sure if you’ve experienced road rage. It’s not pretty. I suppose if it were, it’d be called road rouge, black-top bonhomie or something equally flouncy.

Now imagine that in a country with a population of oh, say 1.4 BILLION people, where cars have become relatively commonplace relatively quickly. Quickly as in “before more roads can be built to accommodate them” quickly. Mental image forming? I enjoyed Beijing, but the traffic scared the living daylights out of me. And I’ve driven in Italy!!

Now take that “got to make the gap now” mentality, and transplant it to a pedestrian. Say around 5′ 2″ tall, just as a random example.

Now transplant the pedestrian to Vancouver.

At rush-hour.

In the rain.

With an umbrella – held say around a foot higher than their head, just for argument’s sake.

Now let’s add some more  pedestrians.

Say around the 6′ 2″ height mark.

See the problem?

I half do… 🙂

Spo-Reflections: Eye-patch

Spo-Reflections: Eye-patch

Just don’t get me started on young mothers, pushchairs and spatial awareness…

own attention

26 02 2012

A bit soppy, but it struck a chord, and I wanted to share from Redamancy Lit.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote “Eat Pray Love”, BTW

Redamancy Lit

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

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Paradise Parking: Automobiles Reclaimed by Nature | Colossal

24 02 2012

Paradise Parking: Automobiles Reclaimed by Nature | Colossal.

Now that’s what I call long-term parking!!


23 02 2012

Vancouver town centre has some very stylish modern buildings. It also has some surprising narrow little alleys, and many of them come complete with these rather dated wooden power platforms with oil-filled gizmos and wires. Many are decommissioned and no longer connected. I suspect many have had their copper wiring “borrowed” to feed some addiction or other. A few though are deliberately kept for the the use of the local film industry, as they provide a bit of character to programmes like Fringe or V.

This particular BlackBerry capture is from the back of The Cactus Club on the corner of Pender and Burrard.

The view from Pender

The view from Pender

Quite Interesting: Oh the delicious irony.

23 02 2012

Many thanks to Misfits’ Miscellany for pointing the QE at QI…a TV series from the UK. Started watching it tonight, and heard this little titbit originally printed in the UK’s Independent newspaper on 20 JANUARY 1993:

RECENTLY a suspicious-looking cardboard box was found outside a Territorial Army centre in Bristol, Police magazine reports. The TA called the police, who called an Army bomb disposal unit, which blew the box up – to find it full of leaflets on how to deal with suspicious-looking packages.

Absolutely Fabulous dahling!

23 02 2012

I was flicking through my daughter’s copy of Nylon (don’t ask), and I saw an ad for Alexis Bittar.

Delighted I was, to see Patsy and Edina. Looking for an online still to share with you all, I found one better… a video! And as an extra, no cost bonus… the song is by Flight of the Conchords. Their video’s here.

Sit down with some Bolly and enjoy, dahlings…

Alexis Bittar Spring 2012 Behind the Scenes from Alexis Bittar on Vimeo.