Monday, July 25, 2011

a better summer beach

Summer days are long and the computer box gets very warm in my lap - a condition I'm sure is no good for either of us. My preferred pool is about 30 miles away at a place called Crystal Crescent Provincial Park where we wandered to one Sunday morning quite recently. The funny thing is that we drove and drove going from one small road to another through charming unspoiled landscapes and seaside villages only to find ourselves on a narrow winding track that was paved by gravel. Sure that we'd found a secret getaway, since there'd been nobody in front of or behind us for miles, we were startled to find about a thousand cars in the first big parking lot with more stopped by the ditches. We traveled onwards and found a second lot a few hundred yards further along where the road simply ended. We got out and started walking to see sights like these. I'd decided not to take my camera because I wanted to play in the water but was sorry not to have it once we arrived so I 'borrowed' these. Scale is hard to show without references but there's more white sand than you can see here and the granite bedrock is colossal. If CR, Marja-Leena, or Randal reads this please note the area is in serious need of good photographers.

Happily we'd already passed the busiest beach so walking through the surf was pretty much as you'd imagine. The water may have been icy but it felt delicious and the sand was only littered by more sand and a few deceased crustaceans. I should mention the seagulls were some of the biggest and most contented looking I've seen.

We climbed the gorse covered slopes and along the granite outcrops that overlook the sea and sat for a while just watching and listening. I loved it but next time we go it will not be on a bright and sunny weekend day. Strangely enough, every little beach we've seen around here has lifeguards on duty but Crystal Crescent has none. Perhaps it's because the water is too cold for swimming 11.5 months of the year. The park is huge, much larger than expected, so next time we go we'll be prepared for a long hike around the perimeter.

One thing I didn't mention is there's a nudist beach further along the shore that we didn't hike to but I did see their list of rules:
'No walking to and from your car without clothing'
'No taking of photographs'
'Keep a respectful distance from other naturists'

Still being occasionally infantile, despite our advanced age, we couldn't help but make up more rules on the way back to the car. Every time I fell over laughing I found a few wild raspberries. Life is good.

Meanwhile, here at home a few days ago I went off looking for one thing and found something even better. Overtime is an amazing piece of work that I hope you'll enjoy as much as I did. All I know about it is that Oury Atlan is a French CGI specialist who currently lives and works in LA. I have a feeling Jim Henson would be touched by this film.

Overtime from ouryatlan on Vimeo.

I hope your favorite beach is closer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

speechless saturday

Except for a few words written by someone far wiser than I. This is called 'Disappearance' by

by Thich Nhat Hahn
The leaf tips bend
under the weight of dew.
Fruits are ripening
in Earth's early morning.
Daffodils light up in the sun.
The curtain of cloud at the gateway
of the garden path begins to shift:
have pity for childhood,
the way of illusion.

Late at night,
the candle gutters.
In some distant desert,
a flower opens.
And somewhere else,
a cold aster
that never knew a cassava patch
or gardens of areca palms,
never knew the joy of life,
at that instant disappears-
man's eternal yearning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

hidden treasures - other people's work part 2

The Etsy site has about 500,000 sellers according to their documentation. There's some nice stuff, there's some nasty stuff and every so often I'll notice something that's very clever.. not just clever in this case but ingenious. That's quite rare. I thought, just for the heck of it, I'd show you some items an actual famous artist has for sale there. Mark Bryan seems to have a similar viewpoint to me and to many of you which shows quite well in this painting called 'Republic of Amnesia'.

Now I'll show you one of the cellulose phones Mark Bryan has for sale on Etsy:

Are there monkeys in your head telling you things you don’t need to hear? Let’s face it, we all hear those guys yammering in the background and sometimes it’s just too much. You can “BE HERE NOW”. It’s time to say no to those monkeys. Breath deep and say to them “Shut the f… up!”

In addition to their fine craftsmanship and subversive message, each Lost Horizon Cellulose phone also comes with a generous service plan and user agreement : Lost Horizon agrees to provide free unlimited minutes for you to talk to your phone until you die. Our guaranteed GPS service will always be ready to tell you that you are right here, right now.

Lost Horizon phones are hand crafted (by my own pet monkey) from wood, paper, glue, a brass hinge, varnish, and one eight penny nail. They are approx. 4” tall, 2” wide and 1.25” thick. Included with each phone is a very nice fabric drawstring bag (again, made by my monkey) to store your phone safely. Your user agreement card fits nicely inside. Lost Horizon phones never require charging in order to function. An active imagination is all you will need.

Lost Horizon phones were designed by artist Mark Bryan (he’s famous) and each one features a print from an original oil painting and is hand signed by him. You may see more of his work at

Tags editgeekery,gadget,art,cell phone

As it's so well expressed on his website:

Humorologist C.W. Metcalf says humor and laughter do not exist in the absence of sorrow and tears, but co-exist as a balance of sanity. Mark Bryan's iconography, loaded as it is with multiple inferences, has the potential to make us laugh and also think about the frivolities and stupidities committed by so-called "enlightened" human beings . "Sometimes while I'm sketching," says Bryan, "I often feel like I'm taking notes at a dark comedy, but the play never ends, and they won't let us go home."
essay by Nicholas Roukes, Artful Jesters

His phones cost just $36 and I can't believe nobody has bought one yet. I think some people have had their senses of humor surgically removed.

I hope you'll have a look at his paintings and other cell phones. We all deserve a good laugh through the tears.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

a sunny day at the beach

It's mid-summer for those of us who live in northern latitudes but we always have a tendency to imagine or anticipate the opposite. This magnificent picture I found is what it looks like around here on a typical day six months from now. I know I'm supposed to be enjoying what I have and considering we experienced five very warm days followed by three wet, cold and rainy ones that other season is bound to prey on the back of my mind.

Last winter was cold and the wind knows how to blow hard in my new Maritime province. I like to walk so worst of all was having a bad coat - a raincoat with a light lining I wore in Portland suited me well there and was roomy enough to cover one of my office ready jackets. That turned out to be a lucky thing because by December last year I was wearing an undershirt, a turtleneck, a sweater, and an old fleece warmer under the coat to keep me cozy in sub-zero blasts on the nastiest days. I'm talking layers on layers. To add insult to injury that coat has lapels that would blow up and flap my cheeks as I walked so I was forced to hold them down. Now I know why northerners have rosy cheeks - it's because they constantly get slapped by flying bits of their clothing.

Anyway, I'd been keeping my eye out for a coat. I hate shopping and rarely buy anything other than replacements for what I prefer wearing but I'd been dreading another winter wearing that one. We walked past a shop downtown that had coats that looked just right and the sign in the window said 50% off. Naturally, that was a lie unless I was in the market for sundresses and t-shirts. The coat was expensive. It was also beautiful and guaranteed to be warm and weatherproof. It's the same kind of coat worn by the RCMP and the postal carriers. It has a coyote fur trim around the hood and even though I was assured the coyote was pleased to donate his pelt I was glad to see I can remove it so no one will ever know I participated in the fur market - even if it is the Canadian fur market and all the money goes to needy First Nations people. That's what Native Americans are called here.

So now I'm hoping all goes well with the immigration news because it appears I've made a commitment. I'm pretty sure I'd have little use for a Canada Goose Kensington coat in southern California, Virginia or the West Indies - my other choices for a nice place to spend winter.

Now let's get back to enjoying summer while it lasts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

calling Qatar

Now you may be wondering why my artwork hasn't been jumping off the virtual shelves over at my 'Etsy' shop and to tell the truth so have I. Okay, so you might not know I have a shop at that huge marketplace but I've kept it pretty quiet since reopening the spot a few months ago after a 2 year absence. I don't expect my blog friends to be ready to purchase some of the work I've done these past few years because you provide more than enough happiness for me when you tell me you like the pieces I've shown here. Anyway, I've been selected to be in a large number of circles, favorite lists, and a few treasury lists too but although Etsy sellers may appreciate one another not many have the funds for buying art.

It would be nice to be appreciated at a financial level by those who can afford to collect art and just this morning I discovered that the oil rich nation Qatar is in the market for contemporary work in a big way. Just as some of America's wealthy industrialists built up great collections of art in the 19th century now countries in the Middle East are doing much the same thing. Nobody really knows why and, considering the general Islamic proscription on figurative art, I have to think they are buying as many examples of modern Western art as they can simply because they can. Rothko, deKooning, Lichtenstein, Koons, and Warhol aren't well known as figurative artists anyway but their paintings have been sold recently for up to $73 million dollars each. I mean, what are billionaires supposed to do with all that money once they've stolen it? Invest, of course. The collections now moving to the Middle East and further east once belonged in private collections belonging to former wealthy American industrialists. There have also been rumors that museums have been selling works from public collections.

Anyway, I need to find a way to let those rich sheikhs and sheikhas know about my Etsy shop. Once they've bought a couple of pieces from me they can always go and have a look at some of the shops in my 'favorites' collection. That way everybody gets to make a little money and know their work is being appreciated by a sophisticated international audience. It's not like the artists they're collecting now are around anymore to accept the kudos.

I may have to raise my prices.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

halifax is hopping

Boy, it was hot around here the past few days with temperatures that must have been close to 80. There's a line of enormous cruise ships parked at the pier making me wonder who these days has the money to ride around on them? It's the Season in Halifax and if the sparkle from the water isn't enough to dazzle your eyes then the flashing diamonds of promenading matrons will do he job. Many of the tourists here for summer holidays find walking not to their liking but summer provides several choices for getting around town other than hiring a limo, hailing a taxi, or waiting an interminable amount of time for a bus. Here's a picture of one of them (taken by a news service) across the water from George's Island. There are many stories about that little place but this one isn't about that.

The horse drawn wagons travel the city streets at the stately pace of a strolling Clydesdale. I love horses and many times when I hear the gentle clopping and tinkling bells I look out the window to see them pass. It's also not unusual to see a long line of cars forced into a slow moving parade behind.

Another choice for those who prefer spending their time at outdoor bars and cafes or meandering along the harbor piers rather than hiking up and down hills is one of the big pinks. Retired from duty in London, double decker buses ferry weary tourists around the major historical sites of the city. I wonder why everybody seems to prefer the top deck?

Of course there are the boats that will take people out for harbor tours or even whale watching but that's a different thing. When you're planning to travel across broad stretches of water it's kind of handy to have a boat unless one is an exceptionally strong swimmer.

There is one means of transport seen around summertime Halifax that includes both city and sea and that's the Harbour Hopper. It can be quite disconcerting to see something that looks like a cross between a dump truck and a tugboat driving around the city streets and I must say that the passengers do tend to look a bit silly perched up in the back as it lumbers along. Nevertheless, I may have to ride on it one of these days even if I do have to wear a big hat and dark glasses so none of the other locals will recognize me. You see the Hopper is an amphibious vehicle that dives down a steep ramp into the water. It kind of looks like fun:

It's a bit strange living in a city that appeared to be fairly normal up until 2 weeks ago that has turned into a fun park for the infirm. I think I'll keep on walking.

Enjoy your days ♡

Saturday, July 2, 2011

celebrations are traditional

Last night Crow and I walked down to the harbor to watch the fireworks. I liked the ones that looked like chrysanthemum flowers best of all.

Unfortunately, we didn't get ready early enough to catch the Halifax Tattoo Parade but just because we missed it doesn't mean you have to:

This one was filmed a couple of years ago on Halifax's main business street, Spring Garden Road, but I have a feeling they're much the same from year to year. I particularly enjoyed the marching of the clans at the very end.

I hope you're all enjoying a fine holiday weekend.

Friday, July 1, 2011

and the winner is:

One of Crow's friends came by this morning to help out with the grand prize drawing. Here they are standing at the balcony door with the winner's name they just picked out of the Ming vase Crow received in 1373 for services rendered to the Magnificent Emperor Hongwu .

Congratulations Francis. Let me know what you'd like it to say, wrist size and 2 main colors. I'll be delighted to make a bracelet for you to give away or keep - note: they are a bit girlish.

Speaking of girls, or women, rather a particular girlish woman of my acquaintance - today is Gina's Birthday. Happy Birthday, my friend! In honor of the day Crow has insisted that you also receive a beaded bracelet. I'll make one for you that says whatever you want (but no more than 16 characters). Or you can have this one:

I finally found the macro function on my camera.