The view from here

4 05 2013

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.

View from Stawamus Chief, Squamish, BC

View from Stawamus Chief, Squamish, BC

A grand day out

3 02 2013

No, I wasn’t accompanied by Wallace and Gromit, more’s the pity.

Today, I had a lazy start, and finding myself alone in the house, I walked the devil-dog and prepared for a trip up Grouse Mountain. My son had gone camping in Whistler with the Venturers in support of the Cub Pack’s trip there. All well and good – I’m glad he’s volunteering his time to help others – but he’d taken half my gear with him! Instead of my lazy pull-on snow boots, I had to wear my leather Zamberlan fell-walking boots. No problem, it gave me an excuse to try out my new gaiters from MEC. (One of many presents I bought myself at Christmas… well SOMEONE has to, right?!)

It was raining steadily as I arrived at the base of the Skyride, but as we broke through, up into the cloud, it turned to gentle snow. Nothing major, but nice and refreshing. I put on my snowshoes (yes – also a Christmas self-present) and set off. It was quite heavy going with wet, soggy snow underfoot. Apparently there’d been no real fresh snow for over a day. As planned, I made 3 brief stops to take a breath and a sip of water, and was quite pleased to reach the summit of the walk in 46 minutes by my watch.

Made it! Now, do it all again in reverse.

Made it! Now, do it all again in reverse.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of view due to the low cloud, and had a chewy seed bar (like the sweepings from a parrot’s cage mixed with honey) to replenish my corpulence. One other hiker caught me up while I was at the top and we briefly chatted about the “high heels” feature on our snowshoes, since he had the same ones: MSR Evo Tour. They make a surprisingly big difference to the steeper uphill parts. They’re a pig to drop back down though, despite the rubber tab for the purpose.

MSR: Evo Tour

MSR: Evo Tour

In the MSR product photo you can see the steel bar at the back. You flip this up and it gives your heel something to push against when the snowshoes are at an inclined angle. So much more positive grip than just using your toes. Glad I paid the extra and got this model.

Well, I packed up my litter and headed back down. Part way back, I bumped into an older Asian couple who were deciding whether to turn back or not. The lady had dropped her hiking pole but was busy helping her (apparently perfectly capable) husband sort himself out. Men can be “needy” at the best of times, but I’ve noticed that some societies seem to accept it more than others. She seemed genuinely grateful when I picked up her pole and handed it to her, saving her having to bend down on the steep slope to retrieve it herself.

A snow bank, carved by the consummate artist: nature

A snow bank, carved by the consummate artist: nature

Slightly further on, there was a particularly steep section, and a bloke was stood to the side weighing up the best line to take. I took one glance, exclaimed “Bugger THAT” and took off into the virgin snow down the side. Obviously I had come UP that slope (aided by my high heels), but going down seemed likely to end only in one very fast arse slide…

I made good time down and within sight of the bear den the SnowShoe Grind (SSG) suddenly veers off the main track and takes a very steep 10m descent. Confident of my new snowshoes, I barely broke pace as I swung 90 degrees and set off down the slope. Remember that wet, soggy snow I mentioned earlier? Well… under the (too much) weight of an over-confident bloke it doesn’t matter how good your snow shoes are… it gives way.

I took my first arse slide since using my new snowshoes… right at the end. It was actually quite fun, once you remember to keep your feet up so the snowshoes don’t snag. Of course, I got snow up my back, but that was OK… I was pretty hot anyway.

Back at the lodge I finally (it was my third attempt at the SSG – second completed) found the electronic timing post for those wanting to be officially timed, and have their ascents added to their Grouse Grind totals. Typical – found it when it was too late.

The Electronic Timing post.

The Electronic Timing post.

Snowshoes off, back in their handy dandy carrying pouch, and off for a large chai tea latte and a wholemeal scone.

Back home for tea with a nice warm “got outside and did something” feeling in my legs. Luxurious bath filled the bathroom with my own personal steam cloud, and all is well with the world.

Turns out there’s a race up the SSG next weekend. I’m tempted. Not to seriously compete in the race obviously (I think you need to have completed it more than twice to be a contender, really!), but potentially just to say I was there, I took part, I finished.

What do you think? Want to join me? It’s in the morning though… too early to have a beer afterwards. Not for tea and scones though!


27 01 2013

Not for the first time, I found myself in some backwater or other of the information stream that flows unceasingly through chez moi. This time I ended up at CBC, ironically itself a relatively new influence on my opinions. And there I came across this image. Provocative to be sure. Of thought, opinion, debate. “Art” by pretty much any definition.

Judgments artist Rosea Lake | Q with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio.

So – who is “Rosea Lake” (aka rosea posey on Tumblr)? The CBC tells us she’s a Vancouver-based artist and student, and clicking on the image or link above will take you to a CBC page letting you hear her 12 minute interview on the Q programme.

The image it seems has “gone viral” (despite “PRUDISIH” – what do they teach kids in High School these days?!), so I suppose I am actually showing my lack of coolness by having only just discovered it, and even then on the website of the national broadcasting corporation! Despite her being a local, to-boot.

It seems she simply posted some of her old High School work on Tumblr to show people her work. By lunchtime it had 30+ hits and she was really happy. By midnight it had 100,000!

She’s a first year at Capilano Uni, but the image was created while she was still at High School in May 2012. The 12-part project only got her a B. I bet some teacher is smarting at THAT one…

There’s also a piece in the local Vancouver Province, along with a lovely portrait of the young lady herself.

Rosea Lake

An up-coming book about SlutWalk has asked permission to use the image on the cover – kudos! The whole point of the piece it seems was to comment on Rosea’s own reflections on how readily she judged women based on what they wore. It didn’t sit comfortably, and so she made a piece to illustrate societies judgmental attitudes.

San Francisco SlutWalk

I am often drawn (largely unprepared) into discussions and debate on sexuality, gender roles and the like. It’s a discussion that often becomes emotional and entrenched and therefore ultimately unrewarding. But I do think it’s an important one. I am reminded of Robert the Bruce and the tale of the spider. We need to keep trying, to keep opening the discussion – it matters!

Even if a particular discussion ends in repetition or stalemate, I nearly always learn something about myself, my views, prejudices… and judgments.

I wish Rosea much success in university and her subsequent artistic quests.

UPDATE: For another interesting twist, read On Curvy Kate’s gaffe on BRAVOLUTION

All Hallows E’en

30 10 2012

So here’s my ever-so-slightly geeky entry for my office pumpkin carving competition tomorrow…

Pumpkin Pi

Crotch rocket, anyone?

12 08 2012

So Mrs E asked me if I knew what a “crotch rocket” was the other day. Seems Number 2 offspring had taught her this phrase and she wanted to show off how hip’n’happ’nin’ she was. I predictably guessed it was some kind of sex aid, but was quite wrong.

It seems it’s actually one of those small but powerful motorcycles you often see kids riding – just before they die horribly in a ditch, and get commemorated with a truly naff bunch of flowers duct-taped to a lamppost. Typically Japanese, but occasionally Italian.

Yamaha: 2012 YZF-R1

So while we were visiting Craigdarroch Castle (more of this later, I’m sure), I spotted a splash of colour on the street. I didn’t realise it at first, but these scooters were actually for hire, and you could presumably get around the relatively compact “city” of Victoria quite effectively on such a 2-wheeled stallion Shetland pony.

Cycle BC rental scooters add a splash of street colour

They were Honda Jazz scooters from Cycle BC, a snip at $16 per hour rental if you fancy recreating Audrey Hepburn‘s scene from Roman Holiday.


10 08 2012


Yup – like fugly (first-born’s favourite adjective for those who were last in the queue when good looks were being handed out).

Now this isn’t strictly an entry into the Weekly Photo Challenge from last week. For a start, it’s now THIS week, and “purple” was the challenge for LAST week. Secondly, it’s more a theme thing than a single entry for “postaday“.

We have a photo club at work, and we were ferkling around for ideas. I suggested we set ourselves a weekly challenge and submitted photos on a theme. Pillock! Of course, now I’d thought of an acceptable idea, I had to think of the theme! Not being one who’s afraid of re-purposing an existing idea, I simply suggested we use the weekly theme from WordPress’s weekly photo challenge. It happened to be “purple” last week, and despite being on holiday and not expecting to be able to submit my own entry (oh the sweet irony!) I still took a few piccies… just in case.

Originally, I was content knowing that I couldn’t take part as I was away on holiday so felt no pressure to even look, but as I walked down Fort St. into downtown Victoria, I happened to walk over these rather fetching purple cobbles. They were quite glass-like, but I believe they are some kind of flint or quartz. I’ve never seen it anything but grey/black before, but perhaps a geologist out there in netland can educate us all.

Almost next to the purple cobbles there was a shoe store called Footloose. It had some pretty eye-catching (primarily in a good way) offerings. These boots were pretty funky, and I know of at least one young lady who’d be very happy to sport them on her feet.

I only half-heartedly took this photo. A “snap” really, just to record the boots. There’s lots of window reflection, but I just loved those boots!

According to the Footloose website, they’re “Classic Fluevog Radio BBC Boot in Beeswaxed Suede”. A snip at $269.00. Here’s their own much better lit photo (note my cobbles in the background!):

Footloose on Fort St.: Classic Fluevog Radio BBC Boot

Every day we walked the length of Fort St. into town and back at least once. Usually twice. On Cook St. and Fort, there was a little boutique with the eye-catching name of “The Velvet Crease” with purple lettering.

Now, I’m sorry. I really am. Especially when I know that its customers are perfectly proper, upstanding female citizens of the provincial capital. But please! I ask you… Am I the only one with a mind that thought it was a sex shop or some similar purveyor of adult entertainment?

Later in the day, we had to go hunting wild boar and similar vittles to nourish the offspring and her beloved. Actually, we just went to The Market on Yates. Now this shop impressed me greatly. It had a host of organic and local foods at reasonable prices, but best of all… it sold imported UK foods such as Rose’s Lime marmalade, HP sauce with Guinness (not sure how long that’s been available to buyers in the UK, but it’s a new one to me!), and a reasonable selection of Heinz tinned puddings! I resisted their purchase, but snapped the purple ones on my BlackBerry. (Yes, it does say Spotted Dick. Stop being so childish! That’s my job.)

Again – a quick snap to document rather than be a good photo. Sorry for the glare.

As you walk up Fort St. out of town, you enter a slightly less salubrious area. Not “bad” as such (though the high number of law firms you pass definitely make you want to shower when you get home). Just more rental properties, students and the like. Close to the apartment we were renting, there was a bit of street graffiti/tagging that (being purple) caught my lens.

Despite coming back to the flat one day to see a man being bundled into a police car while an ambulance crew tended the results of his earlier endeavours, the more easterly stretches of Fort St. were in fact quite well tended and loved for the most part. One apartment building had some quite stunning hydrangeas ranging from pinks and reds, through blues to deep purples.

And that, dear reader, is that: a whistle-stop tour of Victoria as seen through a purple lens. It’s getting late now, but I’m sure I can squeeze a few more posts out of my experiences in BC’s capital another day. You have been warned…

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!!