Monday, 21 January 2019

Komodo Dragon

    I was in a conversation last week and somehow the topic of Komodo Dragons came up.  Like a bullet, my brain lasered onto one of my favorite comedy dialogues- Bob and Ray’s “Komodo Dragon”.  Even though they were comedians from the US during the late 50’s and 60’s, I had never heard of them until I moved to Canada.  I have been listening to CBC radio pretty much daily for forty years, and every few years I hear the Komodo Dragon sketch, and still laugh every time.
    I also think of it every time I hear a bad interview on TV or radio.  
    If you are unfamiliar with it, below is a link.  The sketch starts about 30 seconds in and lasts for about 4 minutes.  Since January 21st has been designated the “Bluest Day of the Year” you might need a laugh. 
     Here is the link:

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Sunday, 20 January 2019

Feels More Like Spring

    This has really been an unusually mild winter for the Robson Valley in the Interior of BC.  First we failed to have our usual “White” Christmas, something I have never experienced in my 40 years of living here.  Since then we did get snow, but the temperatures have remained abnormally mild.   The photo which I took yesterday shows some standing water on top of the ice on my pond, a result of our above freezing temperatures.
    Today’s forecast calls for a high of 0 Celsius (32F) and a low tonight of -5C (23F).  The temperatures we experience are usually warmer than what is in the forecast, so I suspect it will climb above freezing during the day. The normal temperatures for this day are a high of -5C (23F) and a low of -15C (5F).  
    An article I read said that the mid-section of North America is about to experience a “Polar Vortex” producing  very cold temperatures as we move into February.  It does not sadden me that we are supposed to remain mild and miss it here.
     Note: Now at midday the temperature outside is +6C (42F) 

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Saturday, 19 January 2019

Diary: Living in an Isolated Lumber Camp

    In 1978 we were living in a lumber camp at Takla Lake BC.  At the time there were no roads into the place; access was by plane or train.  I had a job teaching at Silvacan Elementary, a one-room school (tan building on the left.)  The camp had to generate it’s own power and supply its own water.  It was not unusual to have problems with both of these utilities.   In my diary I noted the problems we experienced on three consecutive days in January, 1978.

Jan. 12, 1978
The water went off in camp starting at 11:15 this morning.  This afternoon after school, the power went off for about an hour in the houses.  Then in came back on, then went off again, then on again, repeating the cycle about five times, 15 minutes each.  We ate in semi-candlelight.  When it was time to do the dishes, we discovered our hot water heater wasn't functioning, I guess all the power and water problems has caused it's heating element to burn out.  As I write, our lights are flickering again.

Jan. 13, 1978
The electricity went off about five times this morning at school.  It has been fluctuating all day and night.  The water has also been sporadic.  The electrician that came to the teacherage told us that the element in our hot water tank has burnt out, and another one will have to be ordered.  Today was our coldest so far this winter,  -36F.  

Jan. 14, 1978
School went okay today, although the power was off again for a while this morning.  Today at recess we played soccer in the cold.  It was the school vs. Mr. Marchant.  The school won.  This evening we discovered that now the electric oven isn't working.

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Friday, 18 January 2019

All The Light We Cannot See

    Here is a well-written, sensitive, and powerful novel, recommended to me by a friend, that I really enjoyed reading.  The storyline interweaves the lives two unrelated children, one a blind French girl, and the other a scientifically gifted German orphan boy, through the experiences forced upon them by World War II.  
         Marie-Laure, struck blind as a 6 year old child, lives with her father, a single parent, employed as a locksmith and skilled woodworker by a huge natural history museum in Paris.  She struggles to understand the world of darkness she suddenly lives in, and spends her days in the museum with her father and the museum’s other employees.  There she begins to develop an interest in snails and mollusks from one of the museum’s scientists.
        Young Werner and his younger sister Jutta, both with unusually white hair, grow up living in a small orphanage in a coal mining town in industrial Nazi Germany.  Finding the broken remains of a radio, sparks Werner’s intellect and he is able to figure out how it works and fixes it. His extraordinary abilities with electronics eventually enable him to be chosen and sent to a special Nazi school for gifted children.  There, while he is reveling in his growing knowledge of radio technology, he slowly begins to see the cruelty of the Nazi government. 
    Amidst the chaos created when Paris was about to be invaded by Germany, her father and  Marie-Laure escape to St Malo on the coast of France, to live with an aging uncle, who still suffers from shell-shock from his First World War experiences. This unexpected move to St. Malo is a disorienting change in Marie-Laure’s life, and the precursor of more negative changes in her life. 
      From the beginning, the reader cannot help but assume that the lives of these two completely different young people will somehow cross paths.  The author skillfully constructs the novel with each very short chapter, slowly developing the characters and the events taking place in their lives because of the war.  Doerr, little by little, in each chapter, shows how the war is slowly engulfing their lives. 
       All the Light We Cannot See was an extremely engulfing novel. It touched all the bases for me and had me fully involved with the characters and their situations.

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Moon, Mountain, and Blue Sky

    We’ve just experienced a couple of very clear days and we took full advantage of them by going for afternoon walks.  This is what I saw on one of those walks; the moon hanging in a very blue sky, and a mountain in the foreground.  The scene reminded me of Trevor Jones, an artist friend, who often painted landscapes which often included these three elements.

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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Another Slim Creek Shot

    Here is another photo I took near the Slim Creek Rest Area on Hwy. 16 on Monday morning.  This one also has some nice light, but I also thought it was fascinating because of the trees.  Slim Creek is in a valley bottom, so it doesn’t get much wind or direct sunlight and they are colder.  The slope you see in the background with the bare trees is in a more open area that gets more direct sunshine and wind and is warmer.
    The trees on the valley bottom are heavily laden with snow.  I assume that as much snow probably fell on the background trees, but is gone because of the its physical situation, unlike the more sheltered trees in the foreground.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Unexpected Colors and Light

    The name of my website is “Color and Light” because those are the things I generally look for when I choose an image to paint.  Yesterday we did one of our early morning expeditions up to Prince George to buy supplies.  We were traveling west with the sun coming up behind us in the east.  When we made a stop at  the Slim Creek Rest Area, I noticed the unusual lighting in front of us.  
    Slim Creek is situated in a valley bottom, and was sheltered from direct sunlight, the trees were just getting indirect ambient light from the sky.  The slope to the west however was reflecting the orangish light from the sunrise, the contrasting results of these two light sources made an unreal sort of feeling in my mind that I had to capture.
    I’ve mentioned before in this blog about how often you really have to narrow your attention when you are photographing.  In the image above, I just wanted to emphasis the contrasting colors of the foreground and the slope, so I zoomed in to eliminate most of the sky.  Had I taken the normal kind of landscape shots that people usually do, I would have had a lot of the sky, and the interesting contrast of colors would have been lost.

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