Saturday, December 31, 2022

Goodbye 2022 (AGR), Hello 2023

I did this a year ago, here, and it seems like fun to do this year again. At least I think so, given that I haven't written it yet. I've just actually read that post from a year ago. Hmmm. The AGR in the title? And Good Riddance.

So here we are, at the end of 2022. Three full years of COVID related issues, and we're still dealing with it. If you believe the news out of China, it's about to re-start all over again. Then again, news out of China is notoriously unreliable. I saw in the news that some places are restricting travel out of China. We've seen this movie before. It's already too late if there actually is a problem.

Part the activity was coming out of COVID, cautiously getting back to normal. It's been sort of a two steps forward, and a half a step back, just in case. People really hoped that COVID really was gone, but there's a lot of uncertainty about the whole darn thing. Some people no longer care. They've had their shots, and while they aren't stupid about it, they're getting on with their lives. They figure they'll cope if they get it.

My bout of uncertainty was coming home from one trip to find a sick Linda, but a negative test. She said it felt like a cold, and it looked and sounded like a cold. And then just as I was leaving for a trip, I picked it up, and it felt exactly like a cold normally feels for me. None the less, I was cautious about wearing a mask, and disinfecting my hands it seemed like every few minutes. I was not reassured by the guy in the airport bar that sounded like a TB ward all by himself. Part way through the trip one person went home feeling not well, and they called to say they tested positive for COVID. 

Oops. We all tested ourselves, and I tested negative, even though I still felt like I had a cold, though beginning to come out of it. (That day-quil stuff is awesome!) I checked with Linda and she said she had had a positive test while I was gone. What was odd, is that the two people I was sharing a cabin with, one tested positive, and one tested negative. We were all careful with masking, and carried on with the trip. I got home and tested negative, and then negative again a couple days later. By then Linda was negative as well. 

Which gave me a bit of a dilemma around the vaccine that was available about then. I find it completely plausible that I had had a mild case of COVID due to 3 vaccine shots and was over it by the time I was tested, or I had a false negative. I didn't know if I should go get the bivalent shot or not. If I had COVID I need to wait till Feb. Who knows what the situation will be then?

So while I hope this is over, and our supply chains get glued back together, it's going to be interesting to see the fallout. After Spanish Flu 100 years ago there were any number of public health initiatives put forward. Now, anything that gets proposed is likely to have the anti-vax idiots screaming about their freedoms. Bah! Nobody forced them to take the shot, and they're the ones who are all tough on crime and people taking consequences for their (in)actions. 

Over the last several years we've seen that we can do things differently; that we don't need to be in the consumerist rat race. Lots of people discovered they didn't need to be making as much money as they thought, or the converse, found they didn't need to be buying so much. There's been lots of business owners saying that people don't want to work. Bah! It just means people find working for them to be less rewarding than other choices. If discussion of a Universal Basic Income comes up, and you hear people saying it will destroy the incentive to work, think about it this way. Those people want other people to have no choice but to subsidize their business so they can continue to rake in the money. Maybe there's other things people want to do that make their lives better, and might even add value to society in non-monetary ways. 

Regular readers will want to know, I'm sure, what have I been doing, since it's clear that blogging is not occupying much of my time. Blog production this year, even counting the three in draft status (IotM, and IotY, and this one) is the lowest ever. Never fear, I'm still going to keep on doing it, periodically, as the mood takes me, or inspiration strikes, or the need to show a particular photo and tell a story about it. I'm still musing about what goes on this blog, what goes on the photography blog, and I need to update my LoungeCatProductions site, and I've been musing about Substack. I guess my only advice is to stay tuned.

So what am I doing instead? Would you believe sloth and indolence? Plus swimming just over 400 Km. Plus taking almost 29,000 photos. A major trip to Yukon was lots of fun, plus some shorter trips closer to home. Oh, and becoming president of our community association at our Annual General Meeting in November. This should keep me out of mischief for the next several years. Mostly it's chairing meetings, thinking about agenda items, and ensuring that there are people around to get stuff done. 

Film photography has been taking up more of my time, both reading and watching videos about it, as well as exposing 40 rolls of film, some each of 35mm and 120. This has been fun, and I'm certainly going to do more of it. It's an entirely different experience than digital. 

I'd actually thought about moving up again from medium format to a 4x5 size (that's inches), and was tempted, but not for now, at least. Mainly that I don't yet do any photography where I need that level of detail. Plus, it starts getting really expensive, really quickly. Like $10 for an individual photo. One photo, $10 or so between buying and developing the film. It makes medium format look inexpensive, and 35mm downright cheap. 

I've been going over the photos from this year to remember what I was up to and to start winnowing down to Image of the Year. Lots of  this and that, bits and bobs. There's been times I've got lots of stuff happening, and it all seems to be happening at the same time. Other times I've got some quiet time to contemplate the world. But what's odd is that the weeks fly by. Sometimes I have to look at my phone to know what day of the week it is.

Which makes doing projects tricky. It's easy to let a project slide, thinking you'll get back on it tomorrow. Except life keeps happening. When you retire, you don't have anyone pushing deadlines on you. Well, maybe your spouse. You have to set your own deadlines, which I've not been the best at. Yes, I achieved my swim goal, because I got into the pool several times a week, almost every week. Now I need to apply that same dedication to my retirement projects.  

"Which are?" I hear you asking. Well, let's see. I want to get back on the 50 project, and actually create a book with the photos. So if you're about 50 years old, plus or minus a few years and want to take part, let me know. I printed some of my earliest photos, but haven't done any recently. I really should print at least one of the Tombstone photos, and I'm wondering if there's a book of them. Plus, usually in a book there's some words to go with the photos, and I'm wondering about that as well.

And swim goals. I'd thought about going for 500, even 600 Km, but I think I'm going to go for trying to swim faster. The difficulty there is setting a goal. I can keep up a pace of 110 seconds per hundred m for a long time. A pace of 90 seconds per hundred m leaves me gasping for breath at the end of the first 100, and even the last 25 of that is a bit of stretch. That isn't a lot of room to work with, and there are dangers in pushing an aging body too hard.

Then there's the multi-novel universe that I've been working on since about 1990. It's grown and expanded, and I've fixed some timeline errors, and have several chunks of story I like, but really do need to nail down when they take place in relation to each other. The story started with Ceridwen, and it branched out to her co-workers and friends. Some of them have been hogging the show just lately, and I need to sit down with her and figure out what she's been up to.

We thought about going back to New Zealand, but there's still uncertainty about travel restrictions. We really didn't like the idea of having thousands of dollars in airfare tied up in an airline that doesn't fly to Canada much. However, we've got some travel within Canada booked. At least with that, if there are new travel restrictions, we're only talking a few hundred dollars on a Canadian airline, and we're certainly going to be able to spend that.

So I've got lots to get me out of bed in the morning. This has been the morning view just lately.

Yesterday I started with a clear morning, and then the mist started rolling in. By the time I got the camera we had this.

Of the Day. I sort of mused about what to show you here, thinking end of the year ought to be something special and all. Except no. 





River reflections



Thursday, December 29, 2022


The world is a more complicated place than most people believe it to be.
Our brains and bodies are far more complicated than we understand.

black/white (the colours, not an indication of race.)

These are just some examples of a false binary choice, presented in the way most people would think of the choices. It would have been just as valid to put them the other way around. 

Imagine a strip of paper. You have one end in your hand. It's as white as white can be. As your eyes move along the strip you notice a faint grey dot, then another, and another. Maybe it's not a dot, but a complicated shape. Gradually they get bigger, and darker. Then you realized that it isn't black dots, it's white dots, and they're getting smaller and greyer. At the other end the paper is as black as black can be. Somewhere along the way there might or might not be a signature that says M C Escher.

The question is, what colour is the paper? 

If you really want to hurt your brain, think about that situation, only on a Mobius strip

Some people would have you look only at the two ends, and want you to choose between one or the other. They ignore the vast middle of grey. The messy middle of nuance, where the differences between two adjacent points are almost imperceptible. 

Even off/on isn't binary. Computers are an example of a device that has states in between on and off, such as sleep, hibernation, and partly on, such as when the monitor might be in use, but the hard drive isn't spinning.

Most of us live in that messy middle, and yet what we hear most about is the two extremes. Why? Because they're loud and all too proud. They have a simple song and they beat the drum hard. Part of the song is about  'them' or the 'other'. There's always a them to be afraid of. A them that is unholy, unethical, unpatriotic, and every other un that you can think of. An other that hates you and wants to take what you have.

There's always a politician willing to find that extreme group, throw them some meat, get out in front of the parade, and claim their minuscule base is representative of the rest of society, and oh by the way, vote for me. Trump did it nearly to perfection in the US, and if he wasn't quite so stupid, greedy, and self centred he might still be president. 

Smith here in Alberta is only the most recent such politician. Her ability to leverage from throwing rancid meat to her base that loves it, to being able to put forth moderate and reasonable policies that the messy middle will support seems pretty dubious. I don't think she has any desire whatever to actually do it. I think she's just stirring the pot to get people riled up, because that's what talk show hosts do to drive up their ratings. In fact, I'm not convinced she actually wanted to be premier, she just entered the race to raise her profile.

Enough of that. What I really want to talk about is much more complicated than political governance. It's what happening inside our bodies. As I'm getting older I can feel the changes. The chat around the hot tub is often about various medical episodes. Our bodies are a delicate organism that is so complicated that it's amazing it works at all, and even more amazing that they can take as much abuse as they do. In some ways our bodies are really tough.

But we're still unraveling all the complexity, and still getting better at fixing what goes wrong, or preventing it from going wrong in the first place. We're learning more all the time, and some of what we used to know is all wrong. As agent Kay says, "Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow." As a digressionary nitpick, educated people 500 years ago knew the world was round, they just disagreed about the size.

Like gender, for instance. Used to be someone looked at a newborn's genitals and said male or female. End of story. And then they were expected to fit themselves into societal roles, often depending on who your parents were or what they did. What you were named, what you wore, who you dated, what you did on your dates, and how old when you did it, what job(s) you took, what you got paid, getting married, having children, raising them to continue the pattern, and grandchildren. All the while, banding together with the other people just like you (or so you thought) to enforce the pattern. "One of us" is often how choices are made.

Except gender more complicated than that, and I'll be right up front in saying that I'm not an expert in this complexity. Just because your body is shaped a particular way doesn't mean your brain matches. Our brain chemistry and our experiences right from the womb all drive how we react to the world. Some of those reactions are better accepted than others. 

We still have a concept called normal that describes the acceptable reactions. One example is kids are expected to be able to do various things within various age ranges. Faster than that is advanced, and was usually greatly to be desired. Slower than that, well, things got complicated. When I grew up there were a bunch of names that are no longer acceptable applied to people like that. Back then we sort of understood that a kid might be good at math, and poor at English, and it sort of mostly balanced out for most kids. If you were born to the right parents you would get help at the things you were poor with, or everyone would overlook your shortcomings. Otherwise you struggled with it the rest of your life, and it would certainly affect what career you could choose.

But if you were slow overall, or not as good at speaking or understanding, it was easy to get tagged as abnormal, and then that's what people expected, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the people around you didn't know how to deal with you, or you made too much incoherent noise trying to explain yourself, then you were locked away into an asylum. 

Just for being different.

Look back at the list of opposites above and remember that none of these situations exist in isolation. Take male/female and straight/gay. Place those lines at 90 degrees to one another. Map where you think you belong, even if you won't tell anyone else. Just for fun, map where you might be if you've had just the right amount to drink, and you're feeling adventurous and horny. 

Now add in another of the opposites, perhaps capitalism/communism at 90 degrees to the others, and now you have a cube to place people in. Then there's all the other mappings, all the other muddling around in the middle, and it doesn't help that our language is freighted with misconceptions and assumptions. If one was so inclined you could plot all these and more into a complicated sphere map, where each radial arm indicated where on a spectrum you were. It's a pretty safe bet that each person's map would be nearly unique.

All these mappings, driven by brain chemistry and experiences, with a few spaces or shapes in there that have been defined or accepted as normal. 

Sometimes we can play with the chemistry, giving people anti-depressants, because depression is bad, just as one example. Our doctors and Big Pharma are happy to prescribe pills for every situation under the sun, ostensibly to help someone be 'normal' or pass for it, but mainly to make buckets of money. Sometimes it helps, but all too often there are side effects. There are lots of people that think the cure to become 'normal' is worse than being diagnosed as abnormal and living with that. And all that is before the cynical observation that society wants everyone to be just normal enough to be good worker bees and not rock to the boat so the rich keep on getting richer.

Other times, the diagnosis helps the person find the appropriate responses to the world, or is the key to getting support mechanisms. People get that if your legs aren't working, a wheelchair is one potential solution, and that drives creating ramps to the entrances to public buildings. But they seem to have a harder time with the idea that some people need a quiet space, or no scents around them, or need information presented textually, or any number of other considerations. Somehow, those are considered too difficult, or too expensive, and in some cases, restricting the 'rights' of the 'normal'.

Our society has chosen to define whats normal mainly around what's traditional, convenient, and cheap, leavened with a glug of obsolete religious teachings, though there is a bit of variation about the borders. By choice or chemistry, if you are a bit out of that space, you might be considered weird or an oddball, and eccentric is used if you have lots of money or offsetting gifts that society considers valuable. But the further out of that space you are, the less acceptable you become, unless your other gifts are extraordinary, and even then you probably still won't be invited to the swanky dinner parties. Look up what happened to Alan Turing as a cautionary tale, and that was yesterday, historically speaking.

We need to get better about coping with people outside those old boundaries of normal. Different does not equal evil, or dangerous, or bad. It's just different. Cope with it. Expand your boundaries. Push past the boundaries of what some people say is normal, and embrace the non-binary diversity. You might even learn more about yourself, and find out some non-binary traits that explain who and what you are.

(I normally write a blog draft, do any fact checking I think relevant, do a variable amount of editing depending on a variable number of circumstances, and hit publish. This one, however, I gave a draft to a friend who knows more about these issues than I do. She suggested some changes to clarify my meaning, which helps illustrate why every writer needs an editor.  For some people the whole non-binary discussion is a hot button. Any errors or inappropriate wording are mine.)

Of the Day
Driftwood, but it also sort of illustrates some of the points I was making.

The last Alberta rose in the garden from late October.


River Reflections, the last one from 40 Mile. There's a few more coming from Tombstone.




Saturday, December 24, 2022

400 or goal musings

You might want to top up your current drink, this got long.

Here we are again at the end of another year, or close enough. If the traffic over the last few days is any indication, people are frantically trying to make up for the last couple Christmases being restricted by COVID. The roads themselves are mostly ok, but the intersections are complete icy shite. People don't care. Zoom! I watched one guy try to pass me in a double turn lane. Good thing he was in the outside lane because he spun out and bounced off the centre median.

My goal is to spend the least time on the roads as possible, and when on them, do it early. Like yesterday, driving at 6am (yes it was dark and effing cold) to the pool formerly known as Repsol to join Katie in a swim/coffee date. 

She, of course, is a torpedo in the water. Even after a great year of swimming, and being in just about the best swim condition of my life, I didn't even try to keep up. Not even in her draft. It was actually a bit of a clunker of a swim, but the red letter part of it was that took me past 400Km this year. That was my stretch swim goal. Yay me!

Katie and I had a great catch up chat after. She is just closing in on a reading year end goal, but is a bit behind and thus is looking for shorter books. She is a huge reader, always telling me about great books I should read. Some of you know that I used to be a big reader, but it's a bit of a struggle now. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's partly because I'm doing some of my own writing, and can recognize some of the writer tricks in other books. Plus, so many books are the equivalent of paint by numbers 'artwork', or are demonstrations of why every writer needs an editor. Maybe I'm just reading the wrong books.

Or, the opposite, so opaque and twisty and ornate that it's nearly impossible to figure out what's going on. Umberto Eco comes to mind. More recently Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus was brilliant and wonderful and even before finishing I was sad because I knew I could never read it again for the first time. So I pounced on The Starless Sea as soon as I saw it. Except I could not keep track. I've been thinking maybe I should have another run at it, and take notes.

I had a video chat with another of my readers earlier this week. She and I have been talking about an autumn photo road trip for the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick colours for several years now. (Damn you COVID!) Maybe in 2023 though it depends. But we also talked about photos, and prints, and books. Both of us are interested in doing a photo book, and like the idea of encouraging and helping each other in our projects. Doing a Lightroom to Blurb book ought to be straightforward, and they make it look simple, but there are any number of pitfalls along the way. Another of my readers has had much to say on the topic.

Not least is the selection of photos. My regular readers know of my struggle to select the image of the month, and even harder struggle for image of the year. And yes, I'm starting to think about both of them. I need to look through about 3000 photos to see if I need to tweak the star ratings to winnow down to the podium.

But a book of photos is more than just a random collection of photos, or it should be. Something should tie them together to make them greater than the sum of their parts. I've been struggling with that concept for a while, so trying to do a book ought to be more than a little interesting. So there's one goal for 2023.

One concept for a book is my 50 project, which some of you know of and thank you for your participation, but it's stalled just lately. I had some thoughts about it and film, and don't think I've fully resolved those yet, but I really do want to move forward on it, and preferably finish it. So there's another goal.

And back to swimming, briefly. I put the distance numbers up as a goal, not sure if I would make it or not. The math for doing another distance goal isn't hard. A 500 Km goal is only 10 K a week (rounding slightly, and 600 Km is only 12 K a week. I've often swum those weekly distances. Doing so consistently over a year just requires the discipline to go to the pool and do it. No big deal.

But it's sort of like what got me out of doing triathlons. At first it was about seeing if I could, because there was considerable doubt about it. Then I knew I could, barring a mechanical failure. Then there was the realization that I wasn't getting faster, and it wasn't really any fun to just do it, coming in at the back of the pack and finding all the pizza has been eaten already. Really long time readers know I once finished a race within the time requirements, but they had packed up the finish line. That was pretty disappointing.

I'm thinking about the goal of being faster in the water, and wondering what's a practical target, what's a stretch target, and what's a fantasy. What makes it complicated is that as you increase your swim speed, the water resistance, the technique, strength, and cardio capacity required all go up dramatically, and it's not a straight line. It curves upward. Trying to push that hard in an aging body starts increasing the risk of injury, which is why you don't see me doing Crossfit. In fact, now I wonder, is Crossfit still even a thing?

These days a good steady state speed I can keep up for 2 Km is 18:30 per Km, or 111 seconds or 1:51 per 100 m. I know that my best time recently for 100 m is a hair under 90 seconds, and I'm already slowing down and running out of air. The space between 111 seconds and 90 seconds isn't that big, about 5 seconds per length. I'm quite sure that setting the goal of a 15 minute Km (or 90 s per 100m) is utter fantasy. Maybe best not to set a goal number, and just churn away trying to do the best I can, and see where the year ends up. So there's another goal. 

No blogging goals, I think, other that putting them out when I feel the desire. 2022 had the fewest blogs ever, but I feel no guilt. I'd rather put out an irregular quality product that my readers like, rather than a regular rag that people won't visit.

For sure I'm going to be exposing more film next year. I've got lots, and I love how it looks. Yes, there are limitations, but limitations drive you to be inventive. I was looking at one recent photo, wondering why on earth I captured an expanse of snow and some trees. It was only later, looking at the set as a whole and thinking about what I'd seen, that I remember there'd been a coyote in that batch of trees. Unfortunately the image is slightly out of focus, and it was really too far away to crop in on it.

A random person riding their bike in Fish Creek on a lovely day in late September. I figured there's enough snow and ice on the news, people didn't need more of it here.

Oh, and before I forget. This is the last book I read, Value(s) by Mark Carney. You've heard of him. Bank of Canada, Bank of England. I suppose to be accurate I should say I read some of it. The problem is that it's a great primer for economics, and much of it covers territory I already know. He would start out, let's talk about X, and then would go back hundreds, sometimes thousands of years to talk about the origin of X, and work forward. It's engaging, and well written, but I kept waiting for him to get to the point.

Thinking about the values people hold tells you a lot about why they say the things they do. Especially in the public op-ed columns, or on Twitter. They start with a warped value (I like Trump, for example) then everything else get's twisted around to accommodate that value. They don't realize how bad it gets. 

Or, thinking about what people say, tells you about their values. It's enraging when someone says the most terrible things, and when someone calls them on it, they say they were only joking. Except they weren't, and they aren't. Or when they say one action is terrible and an affront to the values of all patriots, and the exact same action is just and noble, with the only difference being if the person doing it belongs to the party you voted for. Whether an action is right or wrong, it shouldn't change because of a partisan political position. If it does, you're a hack. And the US Supreme Court wonders why it's losing respect. They are twisting their legal positions into pretzels to support their partisan position.

Of the Day



River Reflections




Film (Kodak Gold 200)

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Goofed on the title

I'm glad I'm not working outside. 

On the way home from picking up some negatives I drove through South Calgary and Elbow Park. Even for people that live in Calgary, I might need to clarify that South Calgary part. Marda Loop is in that neighbourhood, which helps some of you. It's the neighbourhood inside Crowchild Trail, 26 Ave, 14 St, and 33 Ave. If that doesn't help, talk to Mrs Google. 

At one point it really was the south end of Calgary, but that time is long gone. From about the middle of the neighbourhood to about the middle of downtown would be about an hour walk, and maybe half that on a bike. It's a lovely established place, if really hilly. I can think of worse places in Calgary to live. Bring lots of money if you want to buy or build a home there.

Some of the old homes have been torn down and replaced with modern ones, and this is a bit of a mixed bag. Some are dreadful, lots of money and no taste whatsoever. But some are really quite striking and I'd love to check out the inside. I saw one older bungalow that I think has had some work on it, and while I had just a quick glimpse, it looks like a great house to live in. I'll have to go past it again, preferably without an impatient idiot in a giant pickup on my butt.

But back to working outside. A city crew had closed off a street and was busy digging a hole in it. I suspect a water main break. This is a regular occurrence, happening a couple hundred times a year. Not a surprise in a network with about 5,000 Km of pipe of various sizes and materials. Piping technology has changed in the century or so that Calgary has been a place. They've been pretty proactive about replacing the old pipes with new in a planned and organized way, but there are still breaks. 

The work can't be any fun. Digging a hole in wet ground, pumping out the water, finding the actual broken pipe, replacing it, packing the soil down again around the pipe, and restoring the road surface, all in the current minus WTF weather, with people asking how much longer it will be, isn't something I want to do.

What I do want to do today is digitize the 70 some images on the negatives just developed. I don't expect any deathless art here. Mostly these will be images taken while carrying around the camera and capturing an image that struck me at the moment. I'm quite certain some of the images will prompt me to wonder what I was thinking.

So go get a beverage and a tasty snack, and I'll be back in a while.

And I'm back. One case of wine delivered. Goodies picked up from the market. More swim supplies. And let's not forget, two rolls of film digitized. I'll be talking about the specifics of the film on my other blog, with more photos. One of the photos from today is in the running for image of the month, I'm that pleased with it. Out of the 72, I actually edited 33. That's pretty good, considering some of the photos were almost instant reactions. See the deer, click. See the coyote, click. Except they were a bit too far a way, and are slightly out of focus. Sigh.

Remember our long autumn? Here's a reminder. As I was walking up to the tree, it had just shed a ton of leaves, fluttering in the wind. I thought that would be a great photo, and waited for it to happen again. And waited, and waited, and waited some more. Meanwhile the people driving by are giving me funny looks. One stopped right in my sightline to the tree, and was gesturing me to cross. I'm showing him the camera, and gesturing for him to continue, which he didn't until some impatient idiot in a giant pickup roaring out from the beer store just down the street honked at him.

As a digression, I'd put a bunch of XXXX's in the title as a placeholder because I couldn't think of one. Then hit the publish button. So I suspect the link is going to look like a gateway to porn, but it's not.

Of the Day



River reflections

Tombstone x3
These are not in fact the separate images for an HDR photo. They are three separate photos taken within a minute or a bit less, with similar settings. The light changed that much.


Celina (withholding the camera love.)

Linda (hamming it up for the camera) and Celina (withholding the camera love some more.)

Film, the last of an autumn walk through Fish Creek.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

You probably wouldn't have seen it

So there I was yesterday, out in -20 C weather with my camera. Mostly standing on ice. Surrounded by a bunch of kids zooming around on skates as they waited to visit with Santa. Everybody seemed to be having a good time. You can see the link to the photos on my community association blog page here.  Even I got to visit Santa, thank you Mara for clicking the shutter button. Since you probably won't have followed the link and look for the promised photo, here it is.

I was a weenie this morning, bailing on the Sunday swim. It's -24 outside, and I can see one of the nearby trees moving a bit. It's going to be a good day to stay inside and work on inside projects, where it's warm inside, perhaps giving Celina a lap for a long time, inside.

Meanwhile, at oh dark thirty because I slept poorly, I'm up drinking coffee and browsing. Looking for other people on VERO to follow because they post interesting photos. If you follow me on Instagram and wonder why I haven't updated recently, migrate to VERO and look for me there. Once a day. Looking at other blogs, the few that remain. 

Browsing the news headlines, in a horrified sort of way. I laughed at one Facebook meme: ALBERTA: 0 Days without being a national embarrassment. So true. This is what happens when we let the inmates run the asylum.

Overheard at the Skate with Santa event, a theory that Smith was actually surprised to win the leadership of the UCP. She had entered the race only to raise her profile and increase her radio show ratings. She still talks like she's on the radio, trying to stir people up by being controversial. That's instead of trying to govern effectively, which she doesn't have a clue how to do. 

She is from the whackadoodle fringe of the conservative spectrum, believing any fool thing that appears to vindicate their mindset, where it appears the main thing is to own the Libs. I see it as spill over from the nonsense happening in USA. 

I'd like to think that she will split the conservative side of the spectrum back to where it was before Kenney came along, with mostly mainstream Conservatives in a clump a bit right of centre, and a fringe way off to the right. Kenney saw that Smith and her Lake of Fire split the vote and let the NDP govern, which was absolutely the worst thing that could ever happen, and he was determined that it wouldn't happen again. (Anything bad that has ever happened in Alberta is the NDP's fault, or so they think.) So he welded the the two parties together, after Smith and Prentice botched the merger, kind of like Frankenstein's monster. 

Except they really are two parties, with entirely different outlooks. Let's hope that split happens again before the next election, though even without the split, the NDP are doing well in the polls. When people in ever so blue Calgary Glenmore, one of the safest Conservative seats in Alberta, which pretty well overlaps Calgary Heritage for federal elections, which is where PM Harper was elected in one of the safest seats in the House of Commons, are considering voting NDP because they're seen as more sensible, then your party has a problem. We can but hope.

Of the Day
Let's go with a nice beach scene, which might take your mind off the deep freeze outside.




River Reflections

Celina and Film
We are convinced this is a solar powered cat.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022


 There is nothing to replace going to the library and browsing the actual shelf, as opposed to looking on line. That's fine if you're looking for a specific book. I love being able to put a hold on something, then going to pick it up in a few days. Or weeks. Or in some cases, months.

But serendipity strikes when you browse the shelf. I usually go first to the photography section. Mostly I'm thinking, "read that, read that, read that." But then something new appears, or even a bunch of new books.

I don't mean new in the sense they were printed recently, I mean new in the sense they haven't been on the shelf in this particular library before. I think they rotate stocks of books between the libraries. I pounce on the ones I haven't read. Some don't interest me, for whatever reason. Some are ho-hum, nice photos, but nothing special. 

Some hit that sweet spot for me. Subjects I'm interested in. Arresting photos. The right level of technical detail in the right voice. All that might change as I change. It wasn't so long ago that books relating to film photography wouldn't have interested me. Now it does. 

The edge of the world, by the editors of Outside Magazine, is amazing! Most of the photos are stunning, even if some of them make me cringe as I think about what could have gone wrong. Even better, they usually talk a bit about what the photographer had to go through to get the photo. In some cases it's just as scary as what the subject was doing. I'm willing to go to some lengths for a great photo, but like in the words of the song, I won't do that.

There's all sorts of subjects here; about the only thing they have in common is that they're outside. Various activities on mountains and other steep bits. Caves. Bicycles, (one of which was juxtapositioned with a train in a way that terrified me, and probably made the train driver pee himself.) Various activities in water. 

The photos are all stunning, even if you'd never dream of doing that activity. This is a great gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life. Or the photographer. 

I have to admit I was thinking about my cousin Rene while reading. I've seen video of him doing some of the activities in the book, and yes, I was terrified just watching. He probably knows some of the people mentioned, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has been some of the places mentioned.

Complete with a file number serendipity, as an example of how different you can make an image look, starting from the same file.

Of the Day



Tombstone, with some of my tour buddies looking for an image.

River reflections


I was taking the book photo (above) and noticed the light was nice on Celina. Except she wasn't really having it. I miss Curtis posing for the camera.

This is the second in a series of photos carrying the camera around mid-October. This is the start of one of my favourite walks in Fish Creek. I was hoping the path would show up a bit better.