The old ones are the best…

25 07 2012

I was looking (unsuccessfully) for a geocache this afternoon, after work.

I came across this and took a photo. It reminded me of an old playground joke, worthy of  365 SECRETS, STATS, AND SEXY FACTS!

How did the fairy get pregnant?

She sat on a toadstool.


No – not a toadstool, a toad’s tool!

Eagle Scouts stand up to the Boy Scouts of America: *UPDATED* – Boing Boing

24 07 2012

Thanks to my very good friend for bringing this to my attention.

Being a Scout matters. It’s not just about following the rules. It’s about deciding what’s right, and doing it. Usually it’s the same thing. Sometimes… not!

Personally, I’m a recipient of the Queen’s Scout Award, which is the UK equivalent of Canada’s Queen’s Venturer Award, and the BSA Eagle Scout mentioned below.

It’s a big thing. I went to Windsor Castle to parade with other awardees when I was awarded mine in 1982. My eldest daughter went to Government House, Victoria to have hers awarded by BC’s  Lieutenant Governor Steven Point. It matters. To feel strongly enough about something to hand it back is important.

I applaud my fellow Scouts in the US for taking this stance. A more “Scouty” thing to do, I can barely imagine.

Kudos. (But when are you going to let girls join? Just sayin’…)

Eagle Scouts stand up to the Boy Scouts of America: *UPDATED* – Boing Boing.

Swedish prisoner warned over flatulence protests – Telegraph

23 07 2012

So, I was researching a clue in a puzzle, regarding Swedish prisons, and came across this little gem. It’s a couple of years old, but “all noise and no fragrance” was too good not to re-post!

Swedish prisoner warned over flatulence protests – Telegraph.

Take three… action!

22 07 2012

I get dangerous when I get bored. So sometimes it is simply in everyone’s best interest if I just get out and DO something.

Today, I went to the Stawamus Chief again. It’s less than 2 hours away (which used to be an over-night trip when I was a kid in the UK, but is now just around the corner, in Canada). Frequent visitors will recall I’ve been up it a couple of times before. This time I took a stab at “Third Peak”. Third of three.  You begin by following the regular path up. It seems to get less steep every time which is a good thing. Simply due to erosion I’m sure!  😉

The staging and staircase that had been demolished by a rockslide a few weeks ago are back in good repair, and apart from a few fresh, very large, rock fragments by the river, there’s not much evidence that anything had ever happened.

Anyway, today there was a family of Eastern Europeans out for a saunter. Except dad. He was shooting up the hill with his 8 year old son. Unfortunately, his 6 year old son got left behind with the women folk and was screeching and wailing in loud tones something which I’m sure translated approximately to “come back dad, you miserable twat – stop being so selfish”. Either that or “save me from the hormones…”.  It certainly cut a swathe through the otherwise still, damp air, whatever the translation.

So, in due course you come to the junction in the route, and leave the main trail for the “Third Peak” trail. It’s pretty well marked and apart from a couple of places where the path is lost in the loose rocks, it’s easy enough to follow. Not as well “improved” as the Grouse Grind or Second Peak, but I preferred it for that. A more natural hike with less steps – either wood or stone. Lots of slippy roots today though.

Lovely wave-like patterns in the layered bark on this stump.

Not for the less secure-footed, that’s for sure.

Up the creek-bed

The Third Peak trail starts out reasonably flat and very well laid. It follows a bit of a stream bed, then heads more determinedly UP. There’s a bit of a dried up creek bed for a while, then some serious scrambling up loose rock.

This was way harder coming down though. Once over the scramble, it turns back into more of a forest trail, and the rain started to set in just to add its own challenge. This was a side effect of being kissed by the very bottom edge of a cloud. Quite a freaky experience. As we ascended the last slab of rock for the peak, we met a party just descending. I joked about the view (about 10m in front of you, in the cloud and rain), and one lady said it had been wonderful from the peak just moments before. She seemed happy to accept the blame I then levelled at her, and we went our separate ways. [Don’t worry, she was (at least originally) English – the accent proven by her Karrimor rucksack to match my own daypack. These minor insults are actually friendly greetings in a quite sophisticated way.]

So, we scrambled our way up the last slab of granite to the very peak. As on my previous trips up the Chief, I was amazed at how resilient life is up on the top. With just the merest hint of organic matter to begin its life within, a tree establishes itself, then its own decaying leaves add to the small amount of organic matter in which it finds succour. So, the hiker is met with this amazing panorama of bonzai trees, each no more than four or five feet tall, but presumably many decades old.

A tree apparently growing in solid granite

By now, the wind and rain inside the cloud was biting through the lightweight gear we’d brought, and it was time to make the descent. It’d taken us around 90 minutes to get up, and took us an hour to get back. On the way, I saw yet another amazing example of a tree that had begun life in a mere crack of the rock, and whose roots had spread and grown many metres in search of nutrients to continue its growth. Things like that really make me wonder what we have to complain about in our comfortable, convenient little lives.

Who says it can’t be done?

So – down we came, and I was amazed at some of the sights! Pretty much every female was wearing skimpy Lululemon sports bra and shorts (remember the rain I mentioned?) There were a few less hardy souls in longer yoga pants, but pretty much all were carrying the “look at me, look at me” placard. Most were wearing reasonably standard running shoes, but a few had canvas Keds/Converse which seemed totally unsuitable for the ordeal ahead. Mustn’t complain though – it all added to the day’s viewing delights.

And on finally hitting the gravel track at the bottom, I noticed the increased heart rate had pumped quite a bit of blood to my extremities. My hands were like balloons! They’re pretty much back to normal now, and I take it as a sign I just need to get out there a bit more often… it’s safer for everyone!!

Pudgy hand after trip up and down Third Peak.

A born fiddler

21 07 2012

I’m a born fiddler. I like to fiddle. I can’t just let things lie and be what they are. I need to muck about, and see what can be changed. All kinds of smiles and pleasure can be had with the right amount of fiddling. Hidden jewels found. All manner of things.

I also lie in that curious intersection between being engineering trained and artistically driven. This odd existence led me to recently start looking at options for “my next camera”. It’ll be years from now of course (by which time the list of options will be different), but the research led me to discover an interesting little project on GNU called “Magic Lantern“. The more recent Canon DSLRs run on a Canon developed OS. Earlier ones were on vxWorks, believe it or not.

There’s more processing power in the average modern digital camera (particularly DSLRs) than Neil Armstrong had to get him to the moon and back. So this little project was originally designed to turn the Canon 5D into a full frame video camera to rival those out there in the $25k+ range! Because it was made available via GNU though, the less ambitious photo enthusiasts extended the range of supported cameras and added plenty of static camera features… like time-lapse, motion sensing, extended bracketing, exposing hidden options, ISO extensions, and plenty more besides.

Here’s a cute little time-lapse film taken using the firmware on a Canon DSLR.


And plenty more about the project can be found by the curious here.

Scout Magazine – AWESOME THING WE ATE #868: Truffle Oil Potato Chips From Rootable At The Market

20 07 2012

Scout Magazine – AWESOME THING WE ATE #868: Truffle Oil Potato Chips From Rootable At The Market

You had me at “truffle oil”!
I had to go all the way to Brazil to buy my (Italian) truffle oil. [Not really – I just happened to be there on a business trip]. Can’t find it anywhere in BC.

ILLUSION – Google+

19 07 2012

So this came to me via Google+. It’s a superb optical illusion. The floor is absolutely flat! Einstein would be proud… at least if he went music shopping in Paris’ “Fnac at La Defense”.

ILLUSION - Google+

ILLUSION – Google+.