Sunday, March 30, 2008

Inner Harbour with sunshine

I took a couple of photos of the inner harbour last week when we actually did get some sun, I guess.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My latest painting

I haven't been doing very much painting and they advise starting back with a warm up...something simple. I find that difficult since if I feel like painting I always have something in mind that is intriguing me. This time it was these cloud formations that came the evening before we had this storm that brought wind, hail, and snow and the temp dropped from the 80's to the 50's.

I can't do clouds to save my life so I compromised and used a cheap canvas that I bought at a dollar store. Warning: don't buy canvases at dollar stores...very poor quality and a pain to work with. Anyhow, I figured I'd just fiddle about and throw it out. I actually rather liked it so here it is.

"Desert Storm"
Acrylic on Canvas
12 x 18

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Itty Bitty Book Reviews

"What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim" by Jane Christmas

This is subtitled "A Midlife Misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago de Compostela"

Christmas' style annoyed me initially...she certainly didn't seem like someone I would like to know and I can see why she ended up losing her group and walking most of the way herself on this pilgrimage. However, I did get into it in the end and quite enjoyed reading about these modern pilgrims who walk around 25K a day for a month...or not. Actually, to finish the pilgrimage officially one only needs to walk the last 100K. People, including the author sometimes, took taxis, the bus, etc. It sounded quite unpleasant staying in the hostels although the pilgrims also did stay in hotels too.

What I found most interesting is that people get addicted to doing this. I guess part of it is not having to make any other decisions than just getting up and walking every day.

"Summer" by Edith Wharton

One of my Christmas books that Jim scoured the second hand bookstores for. This Christmas tradition gets me reading things I probably wouldn't read since I am so attracted to contemporary fiction. This was first published in 1917. A rather interesting tale about another unlikable woman. Interesting for the social mores of the time.

"The Assassin's Song" by M.G. Vassanji

Hot off the press but he didn't win a third Giller for it this year even though it was nominated. I quite liked it but probably not as much as the two novels that won the Giller. I think I'm tiring a bit of immigrant, two worlds type stories.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Raclette for Easter Dinner

Monique made a raclette and chocolate fondu with wonderful fruit for Easter dinner for us. What a treat for me not to have to do Easter dinner and also to have something that went perfectly with our blustery weather last night. We hadn't seen Ti Loup in a while and he is definitely an adult dog now! He was on his best behaviour as he apparently always is with guests and was a real sweetheart...and show off. He loves getting his picture taken and showing off how he can jump into Monique's arms.

Ti Loup showing off his jumping skills

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Willie Nelson's Pedernales Cut-N-Putt Golf Club

There was an article in the Globe and Mail recently on golf courses in the Austin area. We won't take our clubs (oversize is a real hassle these days) but we may play a couple of times. There are five municipal golf courses that are very reasonable and one gets a particularly good rating. Willie Nelson's golf course is in the area as well and I had a laugh at his "rules".

Pedernales Golf Club

Local Rules and Etiquette
When another player is shooting, no player should talk, whistle, hum, clink coins, or pass gas.
Don’t play until the group in front is out of the way.
Excessive displays of affection are discouraged. Violators must replace divots and will be penalized five strokes.
Replace divots, smooth footprints in bunkers, brush backtrail with branches, park car under brush, and have the office tell your spouse you’re in a conference.
Let faster groups play through.
On the putting green, don’t step on another’s line.
“Freebies” are not recommended for players with short putts.
No more than twelve in your foursome.
Gambling is forbidden, of course, unless you’re stuck or you need a legal deduction for charitable or educational expenses.
All carts are not allowed within 20 ft. of traps or aprons surrounding greens.
No bikinis, mini-skirts, skimpy see-through, or sexually exploitative attire allowed. Except on women.
Please leave course in the condition in which you would like for it to be found.

Willie Nelson's Pedernales Cut-N-Putt Golf Club

Monday, March 17, 2008

Japanese are in blog heaven

This info came from a Seattle Times article, Sunday, Dec 30/07. I found it rather interesting.

"Apparently the Japanese write web logs at per-capita rates that are off the global charts. By some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Japanese blogging is done on mobile phones, often by commuters staring cross-eyed at tiny screens for hours as they ride the world's most extensive network of subways and commuter trains.

Japan's conformist culture has embraced a technology that Americans often use for abrasive self-promotion and refashioned it as a soothingly nonconfrontational medium for getting along. While Americans blog to stand out, the Japanese do it to fit in, blogging about small stuff: cats and flowers, bicylces and breakfast, gadgets and TV stars.

'Behaviour is more important than technology,' said Joichi Ito, a board member at Technorati and an expert on how people around the world use the Internet. 'In Japan, it is not socially acceptable to pursue fame.'

Junko Kenetsuna has been writing five times a week for the past three years about her midday meal. With understated precision, she calls her blog "I Had My Lunch". In all the blog entries she has composed at home and in cybercafes over the years, Kenetsuna
has never written a discouraging word - not a single critical reference to bad food, lousy service or rip-off prices. Such harshness, in her view, would be improper and offensive."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Last little piece of old Kingsway

Wally's Burgers was definitely one of the best place for burgers in Vancouver when we were growing up. But my favourite was always White Spot with extra triple-o sauce and a side of dill pickles...yum!

Last little piece of old Kingsway

Monday, March 10, 2008

Borders Bookstores begin to offer some interesting things

I like the idea Borders has of opening its first of future stores that will offer user-friendly approach to blending technology and entertainment. If you want to publish your own book but don't know how, there will be a kiosk in the store's new digital centre that walks you through it. The store also features a digital center where people can make custom CD's with the help of Borders employees or on their own from a library with 2.4 million songs. They can also buy digital cameras and learn how to turn their digital photos into books.

Great idea to make all this wonderful technology easier for people.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Meeting Don Bachardy

We had an interesting last night in Santa Monica before flying home the next day. Dan Bachardy lives in Santa Monica and was Christopher Isherwood's (writer of Cabaret among other things) partner until Isherwood died. Barchardy was only 19 when he met Isherwood who was much older. He's a fairly famous portrait artist (his portrait of David Hockney is in the National Gallery) and I see Angelina Jolie commissioned him to do some nudes of her when she was pregnant. He' s in his 70's but was doing a sitting the day we met him so still an active artist. He's very fit, great person, and has a fabulous house over looking Santa Monica Bay.

View from Don's house at sunset.

David Hockney portrait of Isherwood and Bachardy

The reason we were there is Bernfried, who is organizing the Huxley conference this summer at the Huntington, asked me to take photos of six unknown photos that Bachardy had and that the Huntington now owns although they are still in Don's possession. These will be part of the conference. I'm not quite sure of copyright so I won't publish these on my blog but they are very interesting photos.

Don Bachardy Exhibition

And we finished off the evening having dinner with Derek who drove up from Laguna Beach to meet us!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Along El Paseo

Realized I didn't post this.

Not quite The Living Desert but I've always found these "animals" quite neat. We were wondering how long it took to grow them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sculpture Garden

This is an interesting store in Palm Desert featuring indoor and outdoor sculptures and other unusual home furnishings.

I was quite attracted to these "critters" but at $650 a piece...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Classis Cars from the Modernism Show

One evening they had a classic car show at the Camelot Theatre and there were to be local school jazz bands playing. A rather windy night so we didn't stick around.
some nice cars though.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The nightly lighting of the fireplace...

This fireplace didn't have an automatic start so it always provided some excitement every night when Jim lit it...definitely his job!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

For all you cat lovers...

John posted this photo on his photoblog recently.

John Denniston photo
1970's A very thirsty cat in Stanley Park

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Santa Fe Opera

Our opera tickets arrived in the mail today and made me very excited about our trip to Sante Fe after the Huxley conference this summer!

We're going to see opera we haven't seen so should be interesting. The theatre is open air with covered seating areas and looks fabulous. I see they have a preview buffet including wine with a guest speaker giving a talk about the opera during dessert. Sounds like good thing to do. I was also very impressed by the information that there is free parking and a free shuttle from the parking lots. Now that's class...not trying to weasel out even more money for parking and making it easy.

The Santa Fe Opera * Santa Fe, New Mexico 2008 Season

Sunday, March 02, 2008 own bed!

It's always great to sleep in your own bed. We awakened to raucous crows, frost, and steely cold skies. A change from the wonderful songbirds we hear in the desert, blue skies and golf and warm pools beckoning. But it's home and it has its own charms.

Everything went pretty smoothly yesterday with all flights on time. Wrestling with big heavy bags and golf clubs and all the security of shoes off, laptops out, etc was a bit of a hassle but sooo wonderful to have a short flight and no jet lag...not sure we'll ever get across the pond again.