Monday, April 30, 2012

My latest painting

 We love going up to the revolving bar of Cloud 9 and getting tapas and a drink and I knew I wanted to do a painting.   I love the photo I took from Cloud 9 that I include here but you'd have to know something about painting to actually be able to do justice to that.  I also love the red and orange sky and figured I might be able to do something with this. the end it was fun and I'm quite pleased with it.

"View from Cloud 9"
18 x 24 acrylic on canvas

Here are the two photos I took  that inspired the painting.

Sunset at English Bay

View from Cloud 9

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Connecting with humour...

 I quite liked this article in the Sun yesterday.  I've included some of it here and the rest can be read on the link.  I guess what attracted to me is I am always fascinated by the subtle,  the gray aspects of life....I can never see things in black and white terms.   It would be easier to just not ever touch on race, religion, ethnicity, or gender in humour and I certainly hate with a passion jokes that are ignorant and only meant to hurt.  But laughter can promote understanding.

From the article:  Humour my be our most unifying weapon

"Religious humour is especially delicate, since Jews, Catholics, Doukhobors, Muslims and others have long suffered persecution.
Given the context, British Muslim comedienne Shazia Murza is bravely reaching out when she jokes: “I was walking around the Kabbah, the black stone [in the holy city of Mecca], and somebody pinched my bum. It must have been the hand of God.”

Similarly, Jews are poking fun at grandiose members of their own religion when they ask: “How do we know Jesus was a Jew?”
Answer: “He thought his father was God, and his mother was a virgin.”

Spence, a retired United Church minister in Metro Vancouver, agrees that “deep laughter” comes from being pleasantly surprised in difficult times, from recognizing the wonder of life and common humanity.
“To be ‘delighted,’ perhaps one must embrace the tragic in life,” Spence said. “To be ‘lighthearted’ – perhaps one must experience the broken-hearted, the – bitterness of life.”
Just as humour created solidarity among our multi-ethnic band of religion journalists in Italy, I was often struck by the drollness of many of Canada’s aboriginal people when I travelled to research the legacy of residential schools and the rise of self-government.
Many aboriginals may have a right to be bitter. But while some are angry at the devastating effects of colonial-ism and continuing abuse, many I’ve met also have a mischievous sparkle in their eyes or are quick to tell jokes. They were far beyond passively thinking “poor me.”

Even some people in the over-ear-nest world of scholarship seem to be getting the irony. In a research piece in The Journal of American Culture, Stephen Hall et al. wrote that humour is the most useful tool for social integration in an increasingly fractured society.

“Laughter usually comes when we have revealed our own or others’ weaknesses and limitations. What could be more ‘popular’ than this reminder of our human vulnerabilities?” Hall said.
“Doesn’t being able to laugh with others bring us together? The message humour communicates is that people share common values; this in turn makes them feel closer to each other. It is sort of a ‘smile of recognition’ involving shared experiences.”

The Search | Vancouver Sun

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Theatre of the absurd....

We haven't been to a Beckett play since university days I think so we were quite intrigued by seeing Endgame.  It was in a funny little space called Little Mountain Studios at 26th and Main.  The performance was excellent but I don't think we'll go to other performances there since folding plastic chairs are pretty tough to take...more for the young.  

We had some time before the play so walked up Main and found this area to be pretty interesting so will definitely go back and explore.

 This restaurant which had a take out window as well as an inside place had a line up for the inside before the play and after.   People in the line up were being served small cups of something by a staff member...a nice touch.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Expo 67

I always enjoy the Vancouver Sun feature of looking back to what happened on the current day.  Today,  April 27, was when Expo 67 opened in 1967 of course.   Kerry and I went back on the train (a three day trip) because it was half the price of flying and stayed for a week.  The pavillion I remember the most was the Czechoslovakia pavillion and I was blown away by the chrystal particularly.  I picked this up in a google search:

"Czechoslovakia's pavilion, a world of enchantment where art, technology and industry was marvelously interwoven, was perhaps the most popular national pavilion at Expo. Its exhibits were sophisticated and presented brilliant and delightful audio-visual techniques where technology became art."

I was also very impressed with the Habitat 67 and I see you can rent or purchase a unit.

This is a rather interesting blog post on it from someone who visited.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Army and Navy shoe sale

As teenagers my friends and I would be sure to take in this but I don't remember ever buying more than one pair of shoes and we certainly didn't get up early or go on the first day...times have changed.

From the Vancouver Sun:

"They started showing up at 4:15 a.m. and by the time the doors opened to Army and Navy’s famous shoe sale, the line of shoe-obsessed women snaked down the block and around the corner. The veterans carried flip flops so they could quickly try on the shoes they liked. “Virgins”— those new to the sale —listened intently to the advise of the regulars and stored it for future reference.
“If the shoe fits, buy it,” was the slogan emblazoned on the tee of perennially first-in-line shopper Su Chun who hired her personal assistant to hold the front spot for her. Over the past 8 years, she has bought at least 70 pairs of shoes to augment the hundreds she has at home. But fit is critical.
“I have too many shoes to buy ones that don’t fit,” she says....

Nicolle Gicas and Jasmine Gudavicious, both 27, got there at 5:15 a.m. They took three days off work and came from Victoria to shop this sale and then head south of the border for more deals. This is their third year and after over-doing it the first year, they made a rule that they have to wear the shoes at least once before the next sale."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Le Parisien Bistro Fran├žais

This is a new incarnation of a French restaurant at this location and got great reviews so on this rainy day decided to give it a try.  We both had the steak/frites with Roquefort sauce.  Excellent and the fries were wonderful and the baguette was almost like a Carqueiranne one.  We will be back! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Amazing sky tonight....

I didn't think we were going to get much of a sunset at all then this happened...actually rather briefly....then suddenly turned gray.  I should have taken a photo of that but we were watching Mad Men.  We're really enjoying the new season.  I bought a "season pass" on iTunes so I download it Monday.

Itty Bitty Book Review "The Lesser Blessed"

"The Lesser Blessed" by Richard Van Camp

We picked this up in a thrift shop free bin.  I really enjoyed reading it but a bit raw so not for everyone.  It's a story of a coming of age of a First Nation's boy and quite powerful writing in places especially for a first novel (novella really at 119 pages).  Van Camp is member of the Dogrib Nation and he did the UVic writing program and is now writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta.   Apparently the book has been made into a movie and will be released this year.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Spine Poetry

 This seems to be the latest fad.  We don't have a lot of books here in Vancouver but I came up with this one.

 More examples on the following llink.

2012 Book Spine Poem Gallery | 100 Scope Notes

Cloud 9 tapas and beer...

We always enjoy a light meal here in the bar.  I think this photo of the view the other day just might inspire a painting.

We parked on Nicola in our resident's parking and I really liked this house and beautiful tree out front.  It really gives me pleasure to see these old houses that have been preserved in all the density of the West End.

*  Jim pointed out this photo was from Arbutus Street when we were at Las Margaritas recently.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Old times...old cars...

We had Don and Colleen for dinner last night and had many good laughs.   In 1970,  Don was doing graduate work in the state of New York and they drove a loaded up 1958 Anglia back there and actually made it with various adventures along the way.  You only do this kind of stuff when you're young and broke.

It worked out...amazingly....

Since we got our pied a terre in Vancouver I've been wanting wanting to do the Sylvia Hotel but realized it would be difficult for me.  I created various messes but in the end I'm quite pleased with the final result.  I could pick away forever but decided to stop and leave it be.

14 x 18 acrylic on canvas
Sylvia Hotel

Back to painting...

I started painting again the other day and am working on three paintings I had started quite a while ago.  I like to have 2 or 3 or the go so I can work on something else while something is drying.  I get impatient even though acrylic dry quickly.  I don't think I could ever work with oils.

 This one is of our "Paradise Beach" if I can just manage to paint in all the things I want....

This one will be of the Resort Course at Taquitz.   I've pretty much given up trying to capture these wonderful San Jacinto Mountains but the Resort Course has all sorts of palm trees and cacti and that should cover up a lot if I can just manage to get these right or some facsimile.

The last one is of the Sylvia Hotel and of course that presents many problems for me.  At the moment it's a bit of a real mess but I haven't given up yet.  I did want to include the tall apartments beside it but that seems impossible for me so I've painted over that.  My salvation (I hope) will be to hide flaws and shortcomings with trees in front....worked with my Notre Dame painting...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

So what was all the fuss about?

We went to see The Artist the other day at our local Denman Cinema and we were both somewhat disappointed.  It was ok and pleasant to watch but "Best Picture of the Year" some reviewer said "I'm speechless".    I think we are more in agreement with him and the following review.  To each his own...

Say anything – The Artist review | Quickflix� DVD & Movie Blog: The appeal of the three leads – yes, we include Uggie – as well as a few novel sequences – one involving an empty tuxedo jacket, and the charming finale – make The Artist a mostly enjoyable watch. However, Hazanavicius’ half-hearted tribute to black-and-white silent films seems more like a gimmick than a particularly unique or refreshing attempt to share a meaningful story in an entertaining way. If you’re looking for an enchanting film about the early days of cinema, watch Hugo. Should you be in the market for a romance about an up-and-coming movie star in the age of the talkies, revisit Singin’ in the Rain. For those intrigued about the awful after-lives of elderly silent movie stars, see Sunset Boulevard. However, if you want to see some spectacularly adorable if not particularly lasting or memorable dog tricks, The Artist is the film you’ve been waiting for.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In the eye of the beholder...

Preface by Aldous Huxley to an exhibition of watercolours by W. Eisenschitz in 1935.

“Provence is a much painted and, on the whole, an exceedingly ill-painted region...Those hideously garish railway posters...

The real Provence glows with soft, yet powerful colours; is severe and at times even savage, but full of the most exquisite subtleties; combines breath and nobility with a wealth of delicately varied brightness....In these admirable water colours Mr. Eisenshitz has succeeded, it seems to me, in rendering a great deal of the essential Provence.”

Well,  I do take exception to the "garish railway posters" as I like them very much and do feel they capture Provence.  I find Eisenschitz's water colours of Provence could be anywhere really especially the ones 1935 and before.  There is one he did in 1952 I quite like and feel is evocative of Provence.

Here's some the of garish railway's possible only the best ones have survived.

I particularly love this one.

The watercolours:

Now this one does say Provence to me....done in 1952.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Posts from the past...

I've been backing up my blog and it's been quite fun seeing what I've posted over the years.   Every evening I would spend 20-30 minutes phoning parents about absences.

 January 1 2004

Happy New Year everyone!

Taking the day to clean out files before we begin our marathon travelling over the next six months. Came across this note on a telephoning session to parents about student absences...just in case I forgot why I retired!

Student 1: Father seemed surprised. Father has been sick. Felt son was reliable.
Student 2: Talked to Mom and Dad. Both seemed surprised.
Student 3: Guardian unaware of absences
Student 4: no answer
Student 5: Talked to mother. Has been sick the past 2 days but not before.
Student 6: Parents at wit's end. Refer to counsellor

Sunday, August 10, 2003

We had a good time in Vancouver and got another nice swim in the ocean. Went to Las Margaritas with our, what a trendy and popular place...good thing we went early. Food is pretty good. The night before we went to Pastis (on 4th) and had their special menu with wine pairings. They have an interesting collection of pastis pitchers, glasses, etc. Most things on the menu were good but the monkfish course (which is why we were attracted to it since we've had fabulous monkfish or "lotte" as they call it in France) was lousy. Then the red wine they brought for the upcoming course of lamb wasn't very good. We rarely complain but did so and the owner couldn't do enough to satisfy us. He brought us another wine and also gave us the choice of ordering from the regular dessert menu. And, best of all, he gave us two pastis glasses (Ricard brand) for our own collection! We were thrilled with this because we don't have this particular type of glass and we were just talking about how we must get more glasses the next time we go to France since our new tile floor in the kitchen is taking a toll on glassware. We were impressed with the customer service since the place was packed with regulars and probably always is. I can see why with this attention to pleasing the customer.

My mom and son who share the same birthday. My mom will be 90 on the next one!
Not too bad a pix considering I used my mini digital camera. My mom was quite amazed by it.

 * I am amazed too at the quality of photo considering this was a keychain camera that I bought in Paris at the train station that winter when Jim was  teaching in the south of France.  I really liked this little camera because I always had it with me since it was so small and on my keychain.  Now I have my iPhone always with me so always have a camera.

Friday, July 18, 2003

I was very saddened to hear of Carol Shield's death. I realize how much pleasure her writing has given me over the years. A friend lent me "The Box Garden" many years ago and I was quite intrigued by her style and subject matter. I didn't think she'd ever write something like "The Stone Diaries",, what a book!

When I introduced small groups reading various novels in my classes "The Stone Diaries" was just out in paperback and it was a really popular choice with the girls. I was surprised they related so well to it. I realize I no longer have my own copy. I have replaced it a number of times but guess I didn't the last time I loaned it to a student who was an infrequent attender but was turned on by being in the "Diaries" group. The enthusiasm for English class usually didn't last and that was the last I saw of the student and my book. I liked to think perhaps that particular student or perhaps some other young woman read that book and got something out of it. More realistically, it was pawned for a meal. That's ok too.

In one of the stories I read yesterday about Carol Shields a good friend told of how Carol remained able to laugh and feel joy even towards the end. She relates how Carol had the big TV moved to her bedroom so she could be distracted. The friend threatened to bring over a video she received with her new washing machine on how to do the laundry. They both broke out into gales of laughter about the idea of a video for doing the laundry. I liked that anecdote. It shows the kind of things women can laugh about and also how gender roles have changed and perhaps there does need to be a video with your new washing machine....!

Monday, April 16, 2012

On our walk

These photos from a recent walk.  Many people pile up stones for fun....I always enjoy seeing them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Watching the Sun Run

It's quite a Vancouver's quite a people watching experience!

The number of registrants — 48,904 — represents an exponential increase from the mere 3,200 that ran the first race in 1985.

Photo and video taken from our balcony.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

McDonald's around the world

I used to feel annoyed to see a McDonald's when travelling but now it means a place where there will be a clean bathroom and free wireless and perhaps even a place to have a beer on a nice terrace.  We had some time to kill in Rome before catching a train and we saw this great looking terrace in the sun....turned out to be a McDonald's.  The beer and the people watching were great.

It seems that McDonald's has created a number of interesting local items in various countries....wish we could get them in North America.  I found it rather interesting to see what was created for the locals.

Here are some examples:

India:  McSpicy Paneer
A fried curd cheese patty spiced with cajun flavour, topped with red cabbage, celery, vegetarian mayo, salsa, and cheddar cheese.

Bubur Ayam McD is Chicken Porridge topped with chicken strips, scallions, ginger, fried shallots and diced chiles.

Spain: Gazpacho Soup
A classic summer soup, served chilled. Chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumber, peppers, celery, flavored with lemon juice and Tabasco. Specific ingredients vary by chef.

Japan: Ebi Filet-O
Small shrimp battered in egg and wheat flour, breaded with a panko crust and deep fried. Served on a sesame seed bun, a slice of lettuce and a pickle relish.

Hawaii: Hawaiin Spam Deluxe Breakfast: Spam is so popular in Hawaii it has been dubbed "The Hawaiian Steak," so it is no surprise that McDonald's put the meat in their Deluxe Breakfast. Eggs, rice, hashbrowns, spam and toast.

Now, from the ridiculous (Spam of all things...what about mahi mahi?) to the sublime and I'm glad it's Canadian (I'll keep the fact they also make a poutine for Quebec a secret....)

The McLobster
The Canadian Maritimes and Maine (Seasonally) A corporate twist to the New England lobster roll. Lobster, McLobster sauce and lettuce in a lightly toasted bun.

Friday, April 13, 2012

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson

 Tom Thomson:  The Jack Pine

We went to see this documentary with Neil and Donna last night at Pacific Cinematheque and we all really enjoyed it...preceded by a super dinner at Earle's.  We hadn't been to an Earle's for years.

Got me thinking about doing a painting of these wonderful pines you find in the south of France.  I have loads of photos of them and have done some paintings with pines.

Coincidentally, just before we left we saw this story on the 5pm news:

 From GlobalTV:

Last January the man walked into Maynards in Vancouver with two paintings in a dirty shopping bag, looking for an appraisal. He had bought both of the pieces for $50 each at an East Vancouver garage sale.
At first, the appraiser didn’t even think to take one of the paintings out of the bag, thinking it wasn’t worth anything.
But another staff member had a hunch and discovered that the painting was actually a piece of Canadian art history, a previously unknown work by Tom Thomson.

Thomson is best-known for inspiring the legendary Group of Seven artists.
A two-month long authentication process discovered that it was likely painted in 1915.
The last Thomson sold at Maynards went for $170,000 and the auction house says this latest find could go for even more, maybe even half-a-million dollars.

The second painting that the man brought in was a watercolour by Frederick Horsman Varley, and is worth approximently $4,000 – $6,000.

The unknown Tom Thomson painting.  The story was also on the front page of the Sun person isn't completely convinced it is a Thomson.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vintage Ad Sexism | Retronaut

 John sent me this link and I got quite a kick out of it.  Amazing that we didn't blink at eye at this type of advertising.  Ok...who's in for class action lawsuits against Hoover, Van Heusen, and Kenwood for shaping our views on our abilities and therefore not achieving our potential?

Vintage Ad Sexism | Retronaut

Cous Cous on the Drive

Yesterday we went to Carthage Restaurant on Commercial Drive and had great cous cous.  Jim had the more traditional with lamb shank, merquez sausage, & chicken and I went for the fresh halibut.  Excellent and we really like the ambiance and service.  Definitely a place to try again.  The owners are from Tunisia and francophone and there was a lot of French music playing like Claude Francois who we really liked but had kind of forgotten about.  I guess the music we had of his was on cassette so didn't get transferred to the iPod.  I just bought 15 of his most popular songs on iTunes and it is now on my iPod.  That also made us think of Claude Gauthier and Michel Sardou.  I'll have to get some of their stuff too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Great steak at the Granville Island Keg

We had a nice walk around False Creek before going for dinner with Richard last night.  It's been a while since we've walked around here.  And it was their crab fest so some crab with great steak.  The steak was particularly appreciated since I'm having trouble getting good beef.  Even in Victoria,  Thrifty's and Slater's are often disappointing.  Perhaps we're back to restaurants getting all the good stuff.

A micro garden in front of a townhouse...small but really works somehow.