Monday, November 30, 2015

Clouded vision...

As part of our local gallery's 40th anniversary celebrations, a two-day celebration of the written word was held.

Saturday night's reading featured 15 writers and a spoken word sound-artist -- all of whom had plenty to say about living and working and writing in Surrey. Held in the charged atmosphere of a North Surrey pizza place, the event went well past the magic witching hour of midnight.

Sunday's event was more sedate, with M.G. Vassanji as the distinguished keynote speaker. Two panels followed, with various presenters speaking, including this blogger.

In my role as a panelist, I'd been asked to speak about the history of creative writing in Surrey, so that's exactly what I did -- at least to the best of my ability in 12 minutes.

During the brief Q&A that followed, questions seemed to indicate that there were two very different groups in the room -- or at least that's how it felt.

I'm still feeling somewhat unsettled by the experience, but have already begun writing an essay about it, though it's pretty slow-going, as I feel that I am groping my way along, not really able to see what's ahead. Kind of like the way the world looks through that icy windscreen in the image above.

At least the weather bureau is promising that tomorrow will see a change in temperatures, that we won't be stuck with all that scrape, scrape, scraping. Some warming up, even if it means rain, sounds fine with me. And maybe -- just maybe -- tomorrow will also bring a bit of clarity on some tricky issues that are lingering in my mind.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Full moon party

Well, no party exactly. If you're interested, you'll need to get on a plane and go to Thailand. The Full Moon Party at Haad Rin has turned into something that sounds well beyond my interests, with over 10,000 attending.

The full moon this month was not only visible here (no clouds, hurrah), but the camera contributed some special effects to this, the so-called 'beaver moon'. It gets that name from a time when this full moon, the last before Solstice, indicated that the time had come to go hunting for the beavers whose pelts were so very valuable.

It has also been referred to as the 'mourning moon' to coincide with saying good-bye to things no longer needed. Maybe it's a good time for cleaning and tidying up, or perhaps for cleaning out the pantry for donations to the food bank.

Better yet, maybe it's a good time to dig deep into the wallet for donations to charities who might help those less fortunate. Yet another kind of full moon party.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How is this an improvement?

The world is changing -- especially in the part of the world where I live. Not so very long ago, this lot held a modest house and a number of trees stood in the yard. Not any more.

I'm no fortune-teller, but I'm pretty sure there will soon be a very large house rising here -- one that will extend to the farthest legal reaches of the lot, both sides and back.

Interestingly, the people who live in the modest house just next door are apparently planning to stay, as they are in process of installing a new roof.

Something seems very wrong when houses that are barely forty years old are demolished, just so extreme (some call them 'monster') homes can be erected. It seems to me that if I wanted a mega-mansion, I'd want to build it on a piece of land worthy of such a house, and not squeeze it in on a lot in a neighbourhood where it doesn't look at all like it wants to be part of the same community.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Are deer smarter than people?

When it comes to crossing the road, this deer looks smarter than many of the human pedestrians I see.

For a start, the deer actually looks in the direction of oncoming traffic to see whether it's safe to step out (also note: the deer is not wearing earbuds, nor is it texting).

Once having determined that it's safe, the deer steps carefully toward the crosswalk.

Halfway across the road, checking again -- this time, looking the other way for oncoming traffic.

Okay, getting there --

What do you suppose the chances are this deer could give lessons to people?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What a weekend!

It was such a busy weekend, it's taken a few days for me to catch my breath and do a posting.

The photo is from Friday night, downtown Vancouver in the rain. I was on my way to attend the opening night of an opera (yes, moi, an opera!) at SFU's Experimental Theatre, a performance of 'air india [REDACTED]' a production by the Turning Point Ensemble.

Irish composer Jurgen Simpson created the opera, using words from Renee Sarojini Saklikar's children of air india as the libretto. The performance is, to put it mildly, powerful, with a full orchestra (or, what looks like one to my untrained eye) creating the threatening mood required by the story. This is, after all, the story of a plane brought down by a terrorist's bomb.

The mood is enhanced by the almost-eerie voice of Daniel Cabena, a voice that's classified as a counter-tenor -- to my ear, it could have been a female voice -- that's how clear and high-pitched it was.

But enough of the show. You can read reviews that describe and interpret it better, I am sure.

Saturday had been a day I'd been looking forward to: a symposium to brainstorm/discuss what the city of Surrey might look like in 2030 -- or, as organizers put it, a chance to play at being a city planner. Unfortunately, aside from meeting some interesting people, the day proved to be a disappointment.

For one thing I was stuck at a table forced to discuss a topic that would have been pretty much at the bottom of my priorities for the day (crime and safety, ugh, can you say 'Steve Harper' yet again?).
And, as I have long suspected, 'tools' put out for us to work with included Lego. I'm firm in my beliefs that too many of our traffic/mall design problems have resulted from planners using 'Lego-thinking' in their plans -- that they fail to consider how their designs will function once people and/or cars come into the equation.

Happily, I was at least able to end the weekend on a satisfying note, working on homemade Christmas cards with one of my best buddies.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

We did it!

Earlier today, I had the privilege of breaking out of my usual pattern by watching daytime TV. The reason? Our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was being sworn in. This felt like history-in-the-making.

Already, from seeing the members of his cabinet and from hearing his responses to questions from the press, it appears that we really are going to get our country (and all it's always stood for) back. No more one-man rule.

Hurrah and onward!

Saturday, October 31, 2015


This is one of the pumpkins greeting trick-or-treaters at our door tonight. So far, we've had 29 little raiders, ooops -- there's a new batch!

Best costumes so far were worn by a group of five girls who looked like they'd just stepped out of lessons at Hogwarts, including one who was willing to admit she was from Slytherin. Luckily for us, they promised no evil spells.

For me, the scariest part of this Halloween might be that the shots I took today might be the last ones I get with my longtime faithful Nikon point-and-shoot. The other day I spotted a crack in its body, never a good sign for a camera.

In the meantime, safe flying to witches everywhere and Happy Halloween!