Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Funny money

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I did a day trip to Salt Spring Island off southern Vancouver Island's east coast. We stopped into the small town of Ganges for lunch as well as an ice cream cone at Harlans Chocolates and Gelato | The Sweetest Place on Salt Spring! I can personally vouch for the thick and tasty gelato.

They sell these hilarious homemade postcards such as this one:
One of Harlan's funny postcards...
Salt Spring also had it's own currency called Salt Spring Dollars. They feature artwork by local artists including the well-known Robert Bateman and others. Contrary to what I believed, every government, community, organization, and individual has the right to produce their own money.
Legal tender on Salt Spring Island, BC...
Funny money  on Salt Spring Island?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Serenity in symmetry...

The pagoda at Royal Roads University in Colwood, BC.
alone on the path
a quiet place at the centre
soft rain falls on leaves

Royals Roads University is located about 15 kilometres west of Victoria. The gardens there are something of a well-kept secret. Lush, colourful and dense they are criss-crossed with numerous hidden paths. One of these leads to a pagoda and a small pond... a secret, meditative space...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Take me home...

An inviting country road in Saanich, BC.
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
Take me home, country roads 
 -- John Denver

On a recent morning as my wife and I were exploring Saanich peninsula, we came across this inviting road lined with a white fence that curved off into the distance between bright green fields. I had to stop and soak it in. A gentle breeze caressed my skin... I could smell the wet grass and the trees in the cool air... The only thing to be heard was the birdsong in the distance...

I instantly flashed back to the old John Denver song and a huge wave of nostalgia for simpler times and younger days washed over me.

I think everyone sometimes wishes there was a road that they could follow back to an ideal time in their youth. The best we can hope for though is just a glimpse... a reminder... of more innocent times.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Unselfish resolutions...

Bruce Lee was said to have committed this mission statement to paper at a particularly low point in his life. He was broke and he had a family to support, but he was unable to break through in Hollywood due to his race.

Within three years of writing this though he was indeed a superstar when he starred in his breakout movie "Enter the Dragon". Unfortunately, Lee died before his star reached its ascendancy.

I've read a lot of articles about mission statements and resolutions. Typically, people always commit to a goal that they think will benefit them or improve their lot in life. However, often there's an attitude of entitlement or selfishness behind them. What's missing is any sense of contributing or giving back to life in return.

Bruce Lee's  mission statement was unique. It wasn't all about him. Instead he framed it terms of give and take -- he would give the best of himself in exchange for the wealth and fame that he hoped to achieve.

My gut feeling is that the resolutions that have the best chance of succeeding are those in which we do it not for ourselves, but for the benefit of others. As I learned from my own martial arts experience, it's harder to give up on others than to give up on yourself. 

For example, instead of this which is typical of most resolutions:

"I resolve to lose twenty-five pounds by summer so that I can look and feel fabulous in my bikini at the beach."

... maybe this would be better:

"I resolve to lose twenty-five pounds by summer. I want to inspire others in a similar situation to achieve the same."

Letters of Note: My Definite Chief Aim

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Battered and weathered mailboxes stand vigil alongside a country road...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clowns with a cause...

BC is in the final stretch of a provincial election and last night I attended a local candidates' meeting. It was impossible to miss the colourful pair of Rob and Georgia - - they were dressed as clowns in an offbeat attempt to bring attention to the issue of child poverty in BC. (Our poor provincial record on this has been ongoing for nearly a decade. It's a mystery to me why something so fundamental and critical hasn't been solved yet...)

The idea to dress as clowns and gently crash events such as this is the brainchild of Rob. As he pointed out, a little bit of levity can go a long way to preventing or diffusing a tense situation. And who wants to be known as the person who hassles clowns? Certainly not event organizers who can by stymied by how to handle the situation.

That's the theory anyway. Unfortunately the meeting organisers of last night's event didn't seem to be clown-sympathetic and, more or less, bumrushed the pair out the door.

Nonetheless that didn't discourage either Rob or Georgia from plans to crash another meeting later that evening. I also appreciate that they took the time to talk to me about themselves and their cause for a few minutes and I thank them for that.

Georgia herself is a graduate of clown school. I'm not sure how well that would go down on a resume, but I admire her commitment to put her education to good use in the service of a noble cause.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Just off southern Vancouver Island's east coast is a collection of smaller islands known as the Gulf Islands. The largest of these is Salt Spring Island known for its population of:
1. artistic types;
2. sheep; and
3. grow ops.

Salt Spring is a 30 minute ferry ride from Vancouver Island. If you leave the ferry terminal and turn left, you'll almost immediately encounter St. Paul's Church. It's a Salt Spring Island landmark...

Friday, May 3, 2013

The bridge...

Morning mist over Swan Lake in Saanich...
A footbridge over Swan Lake disappears into the morning mist...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It is later than you think...

Colourful camas on Christmas Hill in Saanich, BC...
-- Paul Bowles
"The Sheltering Sky"

Note: If you can't read the text above, click to see the full size image.

The quote above was said to be Brandon Lee's -- son of Bruce Lee -- favourite quote and is inscribed on his tombstone. Bruce Lee died at the young age of 32 so it's possible that the early death of his father left the younger Lee with a unique understanding of how short our time on earth can be and the importance of not wasting it.

Sadly, much as his father died on the cusp of achieving worldwide stardom, Brandon Lee also died at the too-young age of 28 while filming the movie The Crow. His final performance was well-received by critics who felt that he showed promise as an up-and-coming charismatic actor.