Monday, July 29, 2013

Mike the bubble guy...

This is Mike from Seattle. He was in Parksville at last weekend's kite festival as part of a four-man syncronized kite team.

When he is not flying kites though he makes giant bubbles to entertain himself and others. He has one of those outgoing, easy-mannered personalities that are instantly likeable. He was patient with the many people -- including the clearly-stoned giggly couple -- that approached him to ask questions and try his bubblemakers.

According to Mike, the best solution for making giant bubbles is one that contains glycerin and powdered KY-Jelly!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Pale Blue Dot

The expression 'pale blue dot' was first coined by astrophysicist Carl Sagan.

He was one of the guiding lights behind the Voyager missions of the late 1970s that sent two probes to explore the outer planets. Twelve years after Voyager 1 left Earth, it was on the outer fringes of our solar system.

Sagan campaigned NASA to have the probe's camera turned towards Earth to take a photo. The subsequent image was of a single blue pixel -- the Earth -- almost invisible in the larger background of the scattered light rays of the sun and infinite space beyond.

The image of that single blue pixel inspired Sagan to ruminate on its larger implications. These meditations became the subject of a book and a speech later dubbed 'The Pale Blue Dot'.

The pale blue dot reminds us of the importance of perspective. The worries that gnaw at us... the regrets that burden us... the daily irritations that consume us... they don't mean much seen from 6 billion miles away.

Many of the Apollo astronauts were profoundly affected by their experience for much the same reason. Seeing the earth and the entirely of the human race from the surface of another world had the effect of reminding them that our common humanity on this frail planet lost in space is stronger than any national or religious differences that we may have.

When you get overwhelmed at times take a deep breath or two or three. Imagine yourself expanding outwards... past forests, past oceans and deserts... As you expand out past the atmosphere of earth itself the noise of humanity itself starts to fade in the distance. You continue to expand further still, out beyond the orbit of the moon, further and further, out beyond the orbits of the nearest planets...

Imagine our blue marble shrinking in the distance falling further and further behind until it is only a single blue point in a sea of brilliant stars.

As you stare at it from a God's-eye view six billion miles away you are overcome with a profound and overwhelming calmness as the insignificance of your puny cares and worries in the grand scheme of the universe become apparent.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Copper and chrome

All soft copper and gleaming chrome, this grill graces the front of a classic car at Coombs, BC...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On patrol!

Seen recently in Parksville.

With Parksville's geriatric population it would be easy to mistake one of the walking dead with ordinary citizen out for a shuffle stroll. Let's hope this guy has some sort of special training...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Lady's mandolin

Fishermans Wharf in the James Bay area of Victoria has a guardian angel. She is the Lady in Red. I call her that because the first time I saw her a couple of years ago, she was dressed in a red evening dress and the name just sorta stuck with me. I featured her a few times in my previous blog.

I don't know anything about her other that she has a wistful face and is dressed differently every time I see her. Last week she had what appeared to be a mandolin cradled in her arms. Does she play it? Is she holding it for a friend or lover that is due to return?

Her mystery is part of her charm...

Friday, July 19, 2013


Locals play on a Parksville beach sandbar... in the far distance a cruise ship passes by on the inner passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shoal Point

Shoal Point is the name of the luxury condo development near the mouth of Victoria's inner harbour. Although it seems to have been a part of the Victoria landscape forever, it was built less than ten years ago. It started a trend of high-rise development around the inner harbour. Where you could once see the mountains of Washington State on the approaches to downtown Victoria now you only see walls of balconies and windows.

Shoal Point's design looks 'busy' but attractive to my eye. It's well proportioned and features interesting architectural details such as maidens' heads overlooking each entrance.

I've never been inside it but this link has photos of the opulent interior.

One complaint that I have is that it seems to be largely empty building. I don't think I've ever seen anyone moving about in the windows... I've never seen anyone out on the spacious balconies enjoying the spectacular views that the owners paid so much money for.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Yesterday Pride Week in Victoria came to an end with the Victoria Pride Parade.

I've been a regular parade watcher for years now and this year's parade was notable for the absence of Ernie Quick. He is (was?) a senior statesman for the gay movement in Victoria and was usually the first to lead the parade on his motorcycle. Not sure where he was this year...

Attila Basset and his sister Angela are parade regulars as well and can be counted on to bring a little bit of Mardi Gras flamboyance to the event. I've never met the man but I understand he's something of a high-profile and polarizing figure among the local gay community.

I'm  guessing from his strange appearance that he's been surgically enhanced in a multitude of ways so maybe that accounts for some of the  controversy.
Getting in touch with
his inner Broadway musical star...

Less gay and more eccentric...

Friday, July 5, 2013


Henrietta is a Hippo.

Specifically, she's a Victoria Hippo, one of three. Victoria Hippo Tours feature vehicles that are a little bit bus, a little bit boat. They drive around the city on a 40-minute tour and then DRIVE into the water off the waterfront for a 45-minute cruise around the inner harbour.

We did the tour in May of this year and enjoyed it a lot. It was fun to see the expressions of tourists when this boat-on-wheels drove up out of the ocean, sprayed a fan of water for fun and then continued on its way...