Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 9

26 07 2015

Route: BP Trail/Skyline Trail

Time: 3:23:32

Well, the time is pretty irrelevant on this one… I hardly took the direct route!

Starting at the car-park, Mrs E. and I headed east along the BP Trail for an hour or so to the Skyline Drive road. From here, we headed straight up the hill (and I mean Straight. Up.) We were actually trying to find the remaining parts of a General Electric J-47 jet engine from a crashed US F-86 Sabre that hit Grouse in 1954, killing its 25 year old pilot. We took the Skyline Trail most of the way up, then took a detour to the east so that we could visit the engine, which is now a kind of memorial to the dead pilot.

That makes 40 recorded ascents… but for some reason the Grouse Grind Tracker is only counting 39, despite logging all 40. Perhaps it’s smart enough to know I didn’t really do the Grind, so it’s disallowing the exceptionally long time.

When we got back to the car-park, one of the pay meters was still broken, so I told a guy about to begin the Grind that he was wasting his time continually pressing all the buttons. He was in luck though – I’d paid for an “all day” ticket, as I didn’t know how long we were going to be. He might as well continue to make use of it since we were leaving. He seemed disproportionately pleased with his good fortune, and headed off to the Grind in particularly high spirits.

Art for art’s sake

14 07 2015

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter went to the Vancouver Art Gallery on their Tuesday “by donation” evening. She didn’t get to see everything, but was enthusiastic and wanted to go again. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to go with her this evening.

Now, first of all, I have to applaud them for having Tuesday evenings as “by donation”. It allows people who might hem and haw about being able to afford the normal entrance fee to pay what they can, or what they feel appropriate, and still get to experience the art on display. As we queued I saw several posters informing attendees that it was entrance by donation, and that a donation of $10 was appropriate. The normal entrance fee is $20 (or $15 for students) and I think a donation of $10 or even $5 would be quite achievable for anyone who was even vaguely interested in visiting the gallery.

I was quite prepared to fork out my $10 and though I accept I am reasonably affluent, I was appalled by the number of well-dressed, iPhone-toting student types who were handing over 25c coins as their entrance donation. Now, I used to be a student in a former life. I know money can be tight, but 25c?! That, dear reader is most definitely taking the piss! All due respect to the staff though – they smilingly took the mite and issued a receipt and entrance ticket (which possibly cost more than the 25c received!) See elsewhere for my thoughts regarding integrity!

The temporary exhibition was “Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums”. These were good, solid religious paintings by the likes of  Botticelli. Not sure why, but I found them intensely boring. Shocking, I know. Some of them were literally hundreds of years old. They were incredibly skilfully painted. Ground-breaking at the time. I could appreciate their art, but they were just not doing it for me.

As we moved to the stairs and the first floor, I was completely lost for words. Here was “modern art” in its extreme. My daughter loved “How Do I Fit This Ghost in My Mouth?” Me though – it looked like a bunch of random items from a car boot sale. With some of it I could again see the skill in its execution, but I was left with an overwhelming sense of WTF?! One entire room (Geoffrey Farmer’s The Surgeon and the Photographer) was filled with foot high folk created from fabric bodies and carefully placed collage from magazines and the like. It looked for all the world like the left-overs from a Terry Gilliam segment of a Monty Python film.

The full half hour?

The full half hour?



Sorry Mr. Farmer… just not my cup of tea.

One of the other rooms was a bizarre installation of animatronic items with changing lights and sound. A small anteroom had an IKEA bed with a sleeping bag on it, and my artsy daughter told me that the main installation was supposed to represent a nightmare as experienced by the person who was overnighting in a strange house. Hm-mmm. Perhaps… I definitely think one of the Slag Brothers from The Wacky Races was there though…

Slag 1 or Slag 2?

Slag 1 or Slag 2?

The installation is called Let’s Make The Water Turn Black and is another Geoffrey Farmer work. It’s supposedly an homage to Frank Zappa and his developments in xenochrony or “strange time”. I can believe that.

The top floor made up for everything though. There was some weird nonsense with “wallpaper” – basically digital patterns projected onto the walls of the room, but otherwise there was some of the VAG’s Emily Carr collection and… photographs! I loved the photographs. “Residue: Persistence of the Real” included a series of photos by Robert Burley (from The Disappearance of Darkness series) of disused manufacturing plants associated with film and photography. There was Polaroid, Ilford and Kodak. I was just mentioning the lack of Agfa (where I used to work) when around the corner there were two images of Agfa’s Mortsel site near Antwerp in Belgium, which I knew very well. I wonder how many casual viewers had even realised the connection between the images.


One wall had a series of three or four images depicting the demolition of one of Kodak’s plants in Rochester as it came to terms with the death of film. End of an era that everyone saw coming except Kodak!

There was another series of images by Geoffrey James called “Inside Kingston Penitentiary” which depicted the final day as the Ontario prison was closed down. These images were stark but very human, showing how prisoners had imprinted their personalities on the harsh environment of the old prison.


Quite the drama

13 07 2015

We were invited out to a pot-luck last night, down at Crescent Beach. A most convivial evening, and dramatic sunset too.

No image post-editing, I promise…

Drama in the sky

Drama in the sky

More drama

More drama

Robber Fly

6 07 2015

Quite pleased with the clarity of this BlackBerry photo. It’s a Robber Fly munching down on a mosquito or something during our trip to Juniper Beach.



Little Things in a Big Day

1 07 2015

Canada Day today. Fireworks tonight.

English women’s team lost to Japan in the FIFA World Cup.

Lots of things going on.

I was very recently encouraged to spend some time in the woods and just “be”, so today I took my father-in-law and offspring No. 2 up to Windy Joe in Manning Park. I hiked the 16km round trip recently when there was still snow on the ground. It felt like a very different hike when it was hot, dry and decidedly snow-free. Oddly, it only took about 20 minutes less, despite the lack of encumbrance from snow shoes.

The air was still and heavy. The various scents were almost painful as you breathed in the hot air under the exertion of the climb. As the flora changed the scents altered too It’s a pretty easy hike, a 3km river-side trail followed by a series of switch-backs on an old service road up to the fire lookout tower. It’s a little overgrown with grass in places, but certainly nothing to tax the reasonably competent hiker. Despite the length, the smooth old road was an easier ascent than the various routes up Grouse. I really enjoyed the 5 hours on the trail, and purposefully took the time to stop and smell/photograph the various wonders that nature had placed along the way.

Donna Lee Stevens – Idiot Box

26 06 2015

Amazing work by Donna Stevens that graphically illustrates what we all inherently know about TV… it sucks your soul out through your eyes!

Parents: beware the downside of “the easy option” for a bit of peace and quiet…

Idiot Box — Donna Lee Stevens.

Donna Stevens - Idiot Box

Know The Glow

4 06 2015

Heard about this on the radio this morning. As an employee of Canon, I thought it particularly interesting.

You know that annoying “red eye” you get from flash photography, where the blood vessels in the retina cause a red glow in the eyes of the people you’re photographing? Well… sometimes it’s not red. It can be yellow or white… and that’s usually not a good thing!

Turns out it can be an early diagnostic of several eye problems. Some very serious. Early detection is key to good outcomes from treatment. So – go take some photos of the ones you love!

Here’s a web page for more information: Home – Know The GlowKnow The Glow | Know The GLow.

To give you an idea of what to look out for they also have a gallery of examples.



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