Saturday, April 29, 2023

Spring has sprung, or has it?

We have green stuff bursting out of the ground in the front and side gardens. I think there's even some green in the warmest corner of the back garden. The biggest plants are the 3 new roses that were delivered earlier this month. They are in pots that get shuffled out to the front patio on nice days, and back inside overnight. I've no idea where they're going to go, and when they arrived Linda didn't either. 

I'm sometimes amused by the panicked look in her eyes as she contemplates newly arrived plants while it's still snowing. She wants to get the guck out of the garden beds, but doesn't want to disturb any little critters that might still be needing it for shelter. Neither does she want new and expensive plants to die in a late spring snowstorm.

It's the end of April as I write. The planned swim is off this morning, for several reasons, and a blog has been percolating. I'm still feeling last Sunday's swim, where I was the 10th person into the two fast lanes. (Normally three in a lane is the most that people are comfortable with.) I wasn't the slowest, but had to work pretty hard to stay in my place or gradually move up. It was a fun swim, with lots of waves, and keeping track of other people, but it was shoulder achey fast. So I'm writing, rather than swimming. 

The late spring snowstorm won't arrive this week. It's looking lovely, so I'll probably carry on with the pressure washing. I was out yesterday doing the front of the house, mainly the windows. Amazing how much guck was on them! Usually in the back I like to rake the worst of the leaves first, but there's still an ice drift in the most sheltered places. Getting the backyard ready for summer life is always a bit of a guess and by golly sort of thing. 

The rule of thumb is that it's not safe to plant before the May long weekend. We have occasionally had snow after that, but not often and not much. Before that, however there's been some pretty major dumps. Once in the early 2000's, we woke up to about a foot and a half of snow. I didn't even try to go to work. In both directions, about 100 m away, I could see two buses that spent most of the day stuck, unable to get out of the bus stop.

Still, the early plants seem to know what they're doing, and it doesn't get particularly cold. The peonies have just poked the first shoots up, and there's a few blooms already on other small plants.

One of the afore mentioned roses.

I'm trying to be better about finding flow, and focussing on whatever I'm doing. This after reading Stolen Focus and blogging about it the other day. The book talks about different kinds of attention, and one of them doesn't look like you're paying attention. Some call it mind wandering. Some call it daydreaming, especially teachers in class, which mine often did. I think of it as letting your brain idle in neutral, running but not working on anything in particular. This seems to spark creativity, as it relates seemingly random things together. I've always tried to set aside some time to just sit, not read or listen to music or converse. Sometimes I envision a nice stream of water running over me, washing away the stresses and concerns of the day. 

I was doing that a bit yesterday, taking a break from trying to figure out some of the event timing in the novel. Then it came to me, and I fired up the timeline software to document it, then started adding in other little tweaks I'd been thinking of, and shuffling events around a bit. 

This is the problem with pantsers, as writers like me are called. We write by the seat of our pants, and we sometimes write ourselves into a corner. I've been wrestling with one chunk of it for a while. There's some scenes in it that I really like, but as I wrote other bits, the hook and grounding for the overall scene went away. Oops. I think I'm back on track.

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)


One of the optimistic plants from the other day.


Film (new)
Late March it was still winter in Votier's Flats.

Film (old)
Sometime in the early 90's. Perhaps the best photo Linda has ever taken.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The denial of service attack on your brain

I saw this in the new book section of the library, and it came home with me after a very short look over.

Stolen Focus Why You Can't Pay Attention - and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari.

First things first. Put this book on hold at the library, and read it at your first opportunity. Yes, stop reading my blog now, and do that. I know perfectly well you aren't going to read my whole blog in one go, so you might as well make your first interruption a useful one.

Why? It's brilliant. It explains clearly what's being done to you and your children, and it isn't an accident. It's well written, doesn't preach, recognizes it's a complicated problem, and presents some of the alternative viewpoints. There are more than 50 pages of followup links, notes, and index. It's right up to date, quoting current research.

He dives into why you can't get anything done at work. Why you're constantly feeling anxious. With examples, and what the consequences are. He connected a bunch of dots for me.

It's not a problem with you, particularly. It isn't a moral weakness. It isn't a lack of willpower. It isn't your genetic code. It isn't that your parents are failures, in many ways they're victims too.

It's that we are being fed information far faster than we can process it. In self defence we try to simplify, try to flit from one thing to the next. We don't get time to focus on anything. We try to deal with that last email, then do a quick look at Facebook which turns into a doom-scroll, then we can't get to sleep, and need a coffee and sugar injection to get going in the morning, leading to an inevitable crash shortly after, followed by a day of constant interruptions. Repeat, again and again.

The people who built the social media monster quickly figured out how to hook us in, and push the buttons in our brain to keep us hooked in. The little hit from the likes, the comments, the never ending scroll, showing you the negative posts that induce rage and anger, the notification bell, and lots more. The longer you scroll, the more ads you see, and the more money the platform makes.

What did children do before social media, before TV, and excepting the times they were forced into child labor by rapacious business owners? They played. They found other children to play with and they made up games. Even as they got older there was still time for play, between learning about the world by helping adults.

Play is essential to learning. Play sparks creativity. Play helps kids learn to get along. Play helps them find out what they're good at, gives them a chance practice it when the stakes are small, and they can learn from failure when their job isn't on the line. Play lets them learn to figure out how to solve problems.

Children don't play now as much as they should. There's no time. Parents are afraid to let their children out of their sight outdoors. It doesn't matter that we live in the safest society ever.  They want children doing structured things so they can get into a good school. They want efficiency, a schedule, a plan, a map. They want kids to be quiet, pacified by the TV or computer. That children want to run and play and be active is now considered a disease to be drugged.

As the twig is bent, the branch will grow. We wonder why more kids than ever before are diagnosed with ADHD. Our solution is to drug them, rather than prevent the problem in the first place. Don't get me started on the whole mindset that drugs are the solution to any problem. Yes, he talks about the role nutrition has.

When was the last time you were in the groove? In the flow, completely absorbed by what you were doing? So absorbed that suddenly it was several hours later. Reading is a good example. I used to dive into a book, and I was gone. That doesn't happen much any more. Linda can still do it. Writing it sometimes happens for me. Doing this blog, for instance. I didn't sleep well last night, and some of it was mentally writing this. I got up, did my morning puzzle games and browed the usual tabs. Logged into and out of Facebook. Started writing. Resisted the temptation to look at anything else. Not totally in the groove, but working on it.

Odds are it's been a while since you were in the flow. Our world is set up to prevent that from happening, which is odd, on one sense. Most people find their work is constantly interrupted. Every few minutes something breaks your chain of thought. An email, an urgent text, a co-worker asking a stupid question, a boss summoning you to a waste of time meeting, the list never ends. Every time you switch tasks, there's an energy cost and time spent getting back into the first task while thinking about the impending deadline that's getting closer. No wonder people feel drained at the end of the day. 

I would tell my boss that they were hiring me for specific expertise related to data integrity, and that me staring at a whiteboard and scribbling little squares and arrows was exactly what they were paying me to do, and to not disturb me unless the building was on fire. That every time someone broke my concentration, it would cost an hour to get back to where I was because I was holding a bunch of things in my head, with the relationships between them, and considering subsets and query efficiency. I promised to explain it to them in detail while I got back into it. Usually just the high level job statement made their eyeballs spin. In one job I had a boss that simply couldn't let me work. It was enraging. Eventually I started being a jerk and pushing back. Things got kind of tense for a while. The reason I got away with it is because I was better at my job (and probably at his job, now that I think of it) than he was at his, but more importantly, he needed his job and I did not. 

You'd think that corporations would want to provide an environment where their staff could work productively. But no. They make us work in noisy bullpens so we can "collaborate" and "team work", and blah blah blah. They expect instant replies to emails. I hated it. I was fortunate that I never had a corporate cell phone I was expected to answer after hours. They feel it's more important to have a compliant and obedient workforce, than a productive one. Why? Because productive means thinking, and then you might be thinking unauthorized thoughts, which might lead to change that might undermine the people currently in charge or how they do things. Don't get me started on accountants showing it's cheaper to crowd more people onto a floor by removing offices.

In a denial of service attack, a group of computers gang up on another and bombard it with requests until it is overwhelmed and can't respond to the intended users. That's what social media does to you. It bombards you with trivia in a never ending stream. Celebrity gossip, sports scores, advertising, news snippets devoid of actual context, emails, texts, all manner of social media sending you notifications of watch me watch me! We start obsessively checking our devices for updates. 

When was the last time you went for a walk without your cell phone? The last time you had an actual face to face conversation with someone and neither of you pulled out your phone? The last time you did something from start to finish without pausing to check for text or email? The last time you didn't answer your phone when it rang?

We stopped answering our land line because there were so many robo-calls. It took us a while, because we've been conditioned to jump to the phone when it rings. Now we only pick up if we're expecting a call, or the person starts to leave a message, and we want to talk to them. One of my favourite lines is "It's worth the small fee each month to have a phone number I can give to people I don't want to talk to." My look clearly indicates they are on that list. Even my cell phone, I might not pick up. I liked the setting where it doesn't even ring unless the number is in your contacts list.

Which reminds me. When I retired I went through my LinkedIn contact list and was astonished at how many of them were dead. I deleted them and a bunch of other people, probably cutting my list in half. I'm discussing with myself if I even need it anymore. I went through Facebook and trimmed the 'friends' list of dead people and people I no longer share interests with. People grow and change. I should probably look at my personal contacts list in my phone; I know for a fact there are dead people still listed, but that's handy for some things.

You might remember that I bailed out of Facebook for the first part of the month. I'm back, somewhat, though I use it differently now. I actually log out, so that in order to look at it again, I have to log in. I look at the notifications and for messages. I'll look at the top item in my wall, and I won't scroll, because the next item is always an ad and then the click bait videos. I'll look at my groups. I might search for a name and see what they've posted lately. And then I'll log out. I'm trying to look only once a day. I've long since logged out of Instagram and deleted my twitter account. 

All of this distracts us from the important stuff, like getting through a pandemic and understanding what to do about the fact that our world is on fire. Our climate is changing. We've done stuff about the climate before, like when we banned CFC's. That took huge concerted action, but now it's much harder to get concerted action because everyone is so distracted, which is the way lots of people in charge like it. Plus it's a big change, and not many corporations see the incentive in leading the change.

There's lots more that I haven't got into. It's a great read, and well worth your time. I got through it in two sessions, though I was constantly telling  myself not to check my phone.

I will put the blog notification on Facebook, though I don't know how many people will see it. But it's probably the last time I'll do that. If you would like to be emailed when I blog, so you don't miss any of my brilliant writing or fabulous photos, ask to be added to my blog notification list. Send an email to or text me, or comment on Facebook or the blog. 

Now, tell me true. Did you get through the text in one go? Or did you go away oops shiny be right back got to go what was that you were saying

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)




Film (new)
Part of the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant.

Film (old)
I don't know what year this is. Probably early 90's, given the beard.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

There is a technology sweet spot

Someone gets an idea. They create a prototype or proof of concept. Then the first versions come out and are rapidly revised as bugs or flaws are found. At some point there is usually a sweet spot where everything goes together really well, and other technologies mature around it. The trick is to recognize it and buy it then.

Development continues, and sometimes there is another sweet spot with more advanced technologies. Sometimes the sweet spot is ruined with further developments, and the product falls into decadence.

Some examples, you ask. Sure.

Airplanes. First heavier than air flight in 1903. Not much happened at first as people didn't really believe there was a future for it. Then WWI happened, and the technologies made a big step forward. Post war development continued, but they were essentially still trying to figure out how the peacetime aeronautical industry worked and how to integrate it with everything else.

Then the DC-3 came along in 1935 and revolutionized air travel. This was such a sweet spot, such a perfect all round airplane that some are still flying today, hauling cargo almost 90 years later. Of course, development continued and aircraft got bigger, faster, and much more complicated. Some would say the 747 was another sweet spot, and I wouldn't argue with them. Further development has brought out refinements, like more efficient engines, lighter and stronger materials, and computer aided controls. No decadence, so far, unless the Boeing 737 Max fiasco counts. My understanding is they tried to push the design too far, and tried to game the regulatory requirements around training, rather than build a new design.

Now let's look at a software example. Excel. Let's start with a joke to set the mood for you. The recruiter asks the contractor "How familiar are you with Excel?" The response is "I loathe it with the burning passion of a thousand suns." The recruiter says, "Good! Highly experienced."

I remember the first versions in the early 90's. It could barely add up a column of numbers and create a graph. But the usefulness was obvious, and improvements happened so quickly it was hard to keep up. I've lost track of version numbers, but the sweet spot happened somewhere 2000 to 2010 or so. Then they kept adding features. More and more, regardless of actual need. Most of them didn't really make it function any better, just made the outputs look fancier. Useful features were buried behind the bloat, unless you went through and put them on a special menu bar. Which was good as long as you were working on your own computer. Go to a client's office for a presentation and you looked like an idiot searching for a function button.

At first I could routinely exceed it's row and column limitations and had to figure out ways around that. At some point they sort of added the ability to handle a huge number of rows and columns, but they goofed. The filter feature was good for 10,000 rows, and they didn't update that. I quickly learned not to rely on the filter when there were more rows than that in search results.

My go to tool was INDEX MATCH. Once I wrapped my head around it, it beat VLOOKUP hand's down. I could make it sing and dance for all kinds of data migration tasks. And then decadence happened. They "improved" it to use a matrix style functionality, and completely destroyed the usefulness of it. That lead to a great deal of swearing during my last contract.

This happens a lot with software. They simply can't leave good enough alone. I've lost count of the number of products I've used, then stopped using because the further developments buried the original purpose, or made it so difficult to use. Evernote is another example. It was  great idea to synchronize text notes across all platforms. I loved using it to track the various job applications during the year I wasn't working. I'd capture the original job posting, my exact response, any recruiter discussions, interview notes, and all the relevant dates. When someone called, I could quickly look up the notes and make it look like it was top of mind. I'd get to an interview a few minutes early, and review the notes. 

Then development happened and one day, fortunately after I was working, I looked at it and couldn't figure out how to add a new note. They'd added so much bloat that the basic function was buried. That did it. I deleted it and have never used it since.

Don't get me started on Word. If there's another piece of software more bloated and cluttered with flab to the point of being unusable, I don't want to know. There's a reason many people in the software industry use Notes, or Notes++ for, well, taking notes, creating documentation, and other data related tasks.

I could go on about cameras. They are fundamentally a very simple thing, a lightproof box with a sensor of some kind, and usually some kind of mechanism to control light entry, and maybe a lens to focus the light. The new mirrorless cameras on the market now make it much easier to produce amazing images under almost any conditions. The lenses are so sharp, almost too sharp. Now keep in mind that the photographer most people have heard of, Ansel Adams, once said, "there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."

These new cameras are also amazingly complicated, so much so that many people put them on auto and use them like a point and shoot. They are essentially highly specialized computers now, with controls that are much too difficult to figure out on the fly. The menu systems are arcane at best. The software 'helps' by tuning the image to what it thinks it ought to look like, regardless of what the photographer's actual intent is, or the actual conditions. Computational photography is the death of photographic art.

In fact they are so complicated that the bottom has dropped out of the SLR camera market, because cell phone cameras are more than good enough for almost everyone. As well, they offer a much simpler interface (for photography, don't get me started on other aspects of them), and ton of other functions, not least being able to send a photo around the world in an instant. None of my stand alone cameras can do that. That any of my real cameras can produce a better image than almost any cellphone is completely beside the point for most people. They don't need an image that good.

Cars. My first car was a 66 Falcon, bought used of course. I was a kid when it first came out. Technically it was a compact car, in that day and age. (It was much the same size as the 95 minivan we owned, and much less practical.) Technically, what it and it's ilk are called now is deathtrap. I think it was manufactured with seatbelts, but they had been removed. No airbags, no padded dash, no collapsible steering wheel, no frame crumple zones, no ABS, no traction control, bias ply tires, (yes really, though younger readers might need to google them, this was just as radial tires were being marketed.) essentially no safety features at all, let alone other amenities people expect now in a car, like a zillion cupholders, back up and lane cameras, cruise control, the whole 'infotainment system' (a decadence topic in itself!) heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, the list goes on and on. I had to install a radio with a cassette player.

Are cars now safer? Yes, unquestionably. But driving is still one of the most dangerous things a Canadian can be doing. People drive more dangerously, relying on the safety features. There are far more distractions now.

All that is before thinking about the various versions of self driving cars or driver assist features. I would like to believe that a computer controlled car is safer than a human controlled car, but I don't know what the current state of the art is. My understanding is that in a controlled environment, the computer driven car is much safer than a human because it's never distracted. The problem is that our roads are almost the definition of an uncontrolled environment. Almost anything can happen, and at least some of it appears to be beyond the capabilities of at least some humans. 

Some people get all excited by the so called trolley car problem, and think that until that's solved we can't have self driving cars. BAH! In a century of driving in North America, I'd be surprised if a dozen drivers have had to face the trolley car problem. No, I want to see the self driving car deal with all the variations of road construction, emergency vehicles (moving and taking up part of the road dealing with an idiot driver), slow moving vehicles such as bicycles or farm equipment, sudden weather and road condition changes, and other drivers doing unexpected things.

So when was the sweet spot for cars? I'm pretty sure I lived and drove through it. Of course, everybody has a different idea of what a car should be. To various people, vehicles as disparate as the 60's muscle cars and the 90's minivans could be thought of as the sweet spot. But I'm thinking recent cars have fallen into decadence. They have gone so far beyond providing a safe and efficient means of transportation that it's actually detracting from the primary purpose of the car. 

Here's a photo of a DC-3 for you. Unfortunately it wasn't open to the public the day we visited.

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)




Film (new)

Film (old)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Failure isn't just an option

It's probably the most likely outcome, and maybe that's not as bad as you thought it was going to be.

That isn't meant to be a depressing thought. If it's taken that way, it might mean you've been listening to too many motivational speakers, or you actually believe your corporate bosses when they talk about paying a bonus if you meet their targets.

What triggered this, you ask?

The Antidote, Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking, by Oliver Burkeman.

Once upon a time I went to a well known movie and was so disappointed a few moments after the famous line "No, Try Not. Do or Do Not, There Is No Try." Yoda hauling the spaceship out of the mud proved that someone hadn't been paying attention. Any real master worth his or her salt would have left it there as the test of whether the student was ready to leave. (And in a dose of 'there you go, bringing reality into it', just how likely is it that all the complicated equipment inside that craft would survive being immersed in a swamp?)

One of things I periodically did at work was to throw my hands in the air and shout "Yay!" when some bit of code worked, or something went right. When asked why, I said, "If I don't celebrate my little triumphs, nobody else will." 

Because while it's the moment of triumph that gets memorialized, those don't happen all that often. Usually there's a bunch of failure along the way. Now, keep in mind there's a couple kinds of failures. One is actually a partial success, in that you've ruled out an approach or determined that that idea will in fact not work, and now you know something you didn't know before. Then you can go onto the next step. Some experiments are actually set up that way. The classic example is Edison reportedly saying, I didn't fail, I just discovered 10,000 ways it won't work. And when someone went back through his notes, they probably found something that was useful in a different context, like the way post-it notes were discovered.

Some are a "doh!" moment of forehead slapping when it's realized something obvious has been overlooked, and before anything bad has happened. The following choices are usually to fix it, or to pretend the whole thing never happened. That latter choice is almost always what happens in response to failure, and there's an amusing chapter in the book about that. 

Some are long term, expensive failures that are kind of inexplicable, given the time, money, and other resources that went into it. The Ford Edsel of the late 50's comes to mind. Many of these failures are the stuff of organizational behaviour courses in university. I've heard people wondering out loud, how could they have been so stupid? Well, that's the very nature of group think. I was once part of a group that was well aware of group think, and actually discussed a story called "The Road to Abilene" as we group thought ourselves into a decision that was pretty stupid in hindsight.

If someone tells me they've never failed at anything, I figure either they've got someone greasing the skids behind the scenes, or they've never really tried anything new or hard. Or they're out and out lying. Lots of that going around. Failure is not a stigma. It's part of life.

The motivational speakers would have you believe that considering the possibility of failure is itself a failure, dooming the entire enterprise right from the get go. Bah! That's one of the ways that really bad shit happens. Because our world is complicated. Our technologies are complicated. The interactions between people are even more complicated than that. And then there's what's going on in our brains, which is so complicated we're barely beginning to understand what's happening.

For a while I took care of a database that documented the various safety incidents at a big oil and gas company. Most of them were minor, the cuts, scrapes, slips, trips, and falls, but some were major incidents, and there were even a few fatalities. There was a lot of effort put into understanding the sequence of events, and it's almost never one thing going wrong. Some of them were spur of the moment decisions that turned out badly, and had the person thought about it even for a second, things would be different. One of the major causes of incidents was someone not paying sufficient attention to the task at hand. Which explains lots of what happens on our roads. Don't get me started about demonstrations of driver incompetence. 

Some really were a WTF was he thinking? There was one that puzzled a room full of professionals, wondering how he could possibly have thought that doing that wasn't a bad idea. The hazard was obvious, had been discussed at a safety meeting. And yet he ended up in the hospital.

It's a really hard thing to do in some circumstances to ask, what could go wrong? How could this end badly, and what are the consequences of that? Really hard. There are some that dismiss the whole question, and I was in a meeting where this happened, by someone saying, 'well, sure and there could be an asteroid strike on the worksite.' Keep in mind that on some worksites, there is a procedure to open a door, because doing it without following the procedure could kill you. H2S is dangerous.

And even if you get that far, there's the whole argument about mitigation. There is a profession dedicated to figuring out if it's cheaper to avoid the incident, or to pay up afterward. In any for profit corporate environment, it's a safe bet they'll choose to pay up after, thinking, IF anything does happen, and IF it's major, and IF there's a mess, and IF we get caught, and IF the survivor(s) actually sue us, and IF they win the lawsuit, and IF it's not covered by insurance, and IF we're still in business, then we might pay up.

I've digressed far afield from the book, because it mostly deals with how to react to failure, although a line from Shakespeare sums it up, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)

Linda cleared away the debris from last year's white peony. The photo I got of the stubble is blurry, but imagine if you will, some old stalks with brown grass between. In a few months there will be more beautiful blooms. Stay tuned!


Flower (new for 2023!)
Not sure what's growing there, but I admire their optimism. That's snow in the background, only a few inches away. The weather channel says chance of flurries today. Good luck little ones!

In an update just before hitting the publish button, I went into the kitchen to top up my coffee, and, it's snowing. Not really a surprise for this time of year, I suppose.

Film (new)

Film (old)

Monday, April 10, 2023

First bison burger BBQ of 2023, plus GREEN!

So once upon a time, which is a nice stand-in for 'I don't remember when', our old stove died and we had to get a new one. I was busy with something and Linda does most of the cooking and we knew the counter footprint it had to fit within, so she was off to the appliance store. They delivered the new one, hooked it up, and took away the old one. Gotta love that.

I'm really not going to go off on a rant about the overly complicated way to use it to time how long the coffee has been brewing. Let's see, press the dial, press another control, press the dial once to get hours, twice to get minutes, then turn the dial to select the desired number of minutes, then press the dial to start. On my phone I can do that with a couple button pushes and twiddling a wheel or two, depending on how I last left the countdown thingie. Then again, the stove controller has to do lots more than that.

All that is a digression. It came with a griddle attachment to go over the big middle burner. We've done pancakes on it a few times, but we're more waffle people than pancakes. It's been a long brutal winter with lots more snow and fewer chinooks than usual, so the the BBQ got to the state where shovelling a path to it was more than I wanted to do. 

Except that we started jonesing for burgers. Lamb or bison. So we tried the griddle. It worked ok the first time, but we practically needed a steam cleaner to get the grease spatters off the top of the stove. Next time we laid down some foil, and that worked really well, except that I started worrying about inadequate airflow and incomplete combustion. At least the noisy alarm didn't go off. Then again, we had the hood fan on high.

We've had some actual warm weather recently. Today is 14 in the back yard, and the sun feels warm. In a sheltered area you could probably lay out on a lounge chair and start working on a tan. The ground is still gross. 

The BBQ is embedded in a couple inches of ice, but I can get to it with only a bit of shovelling and a willingness to walk carefully on ice. We had bison in the fridge. Guess what was for lunch. Yup. MMMMMMM!!!!

Linda was out looking at the front garden, which until a week ago or so was under a mound of snow, and found some plants thinking it's spring. They are probably deluded in this, since it's only mid-April, and it's entirely likely we will get at least one more big dump of snow. It wouldn't surprise me to learn the plants are better prepared for it than I am. So sick of winter.

So here's the post lunch photos.

1. Front bed, I think these are daffodils.



4. This is the white peony, looking kind of sad. However all that dead material will be cleared away to be composted, and fresh growth will tempt the ants again, and you'll have a new series of photos to enjoy. I'm thinking about ways to make the photos interesting, so you guys aren't all 'ho-hum another white peony photo. Zzzzzzz.'

5. The back yard standing beside the back door. Still lots of snow, and even with temperatures in the mid-teens, it's going to take a while before it's gone.

6. There's probably 5 or 6 cm of ice all around the BBQ. The cover is like that because the back of it is frozen into the ice, but I can pull it over the top to protect it.

7. More of the back yard.


9. This might well be the last of the ice to go away. It's probably a good 2 feet thick between the fence and the house.

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)

I've only a half dozen or so more peony photos from last year, but then soon there will be more.


Film (new)

Film (old) Sebastian.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Four seconds of lynx

Sounds like the title of a thriller, doesn't it? But no, though it was thrilling to be there and take the photos.

So there we were, inside the lynx cage at the Yukon Wildlife preserve, taking photos of the beautiful kitties. I took many photos. A great many. I suppose I should have had some self restraint and used higher standards to choose which to edit. I edited many of them. A great many. How could I not?

What you're getting here is a few seconds of a lynx leaping into a tree to get a scrap of meat put there by one of the park staff. They used the high tech defence tool (a rake) to put the meat on a branch about 10 or 11 feet off the ground. 

1. The sequence starts at 3:46:00.








9. Time stamp is 3:46:01











20. The sequence ends at 3:46:04, as my camera ran out of memory buffer. By the time the camera was ready, the lynx was out of the tree and out of sight to nibble in private.

And you wondered why the big cats are such good hunters. 

Now do you understand why I found it hard to not edit so many photos? I think 18 is my favourite. What about you?

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)



Film (new)

Film (old)
Us and Linda's mom. The occasion is the wedding of one of her cousin's. I've no idea who took the photo.