Friday, December 12, 2014

Sandra Davis-Callon

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
-- Dr. Seuss
I called her Mom...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a woman in Value Village...
A life forgotten?
One of my guilty pleasures is trolling Value Village for castoffs. It's a great place for finding the odd... the unique... and sometimes the plain weird.

Recently, I was checking out the wall art section for funky frames or inspiring ideas when this sketched portrait jumped out at me. I think it was the compelling look in the eyes that drew me to it. Her enigmatic expression fascinated me. It was impossible to say for certain if she was serene, wistful, bored... but something about the set of her face also suggested anger or disappointment.

Studying it closer, I saw from the signature that it was done in 1983. Assuming the woman in the portrait was about forty-ish at the time, that would make her seventy-ish today.

If I was to guess, I would assume that she had recently died and the portrait was among the donated estate items. In a way, this discarded portrait in a thrift shop perfectly summarizes the ephemeral nature of our existence.

Angry, bored or ?
Who was she and whatever became of her?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Elk Falls

Water spills over the Elk Falls near Campbell River.
Water surges and spills over Elk Falls.
Elk Falls are located just outside Campbell River, about 3 hours north-west of Victoria. Thanks to recent rains which flooded the upriver lake, BC Hydro decided to open the dam floodgates for a few weeks sending a deluge of water over the falls.

Lots of crowds came out to 'ooh' and 'aah' over the impressive vista...

Mist rolls off the water in the late afternoon.
The late-afternoon sun captures the mist over the water.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Artist Ursula Funke

The very accommodating Ursula Funke...
A carved gourde... one of Ursula's creations...
Catching up on my stock of photos, this one was taken in September at Parksville's P-Art-y on the Block event. Resort Drive at one end of town was closed to allow a huge number of local artists to demonstrate and sell their wares.

The talent on display was mindboggling. Every conceivable form of art was on display. What was surprising was how inexpensive everything was.

This is artist Ursula Funke -- I wanted to give her a special shoutout. She turns gourdes into art, carefully carving and shaving intricate patterns into them and then dying them a variety of colours.

We bought this particular gourd. It was priced at $55. We were digging around our pockets, purse and wallet for the cash, had $45 in hand and were still looking for the rest, when she graciously offered to take the lower amount instead.

Thank you, Ursula! Your dragonfly-themed creation now holds a place of honour on a top shelf in our living room.

To see more of Ursula's creations, you can check out her website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


An apparition stares out of a lonely cabin...
What is that staring out of the window?
One of the staples of horror movies is the creepy cabin in the woods. There really is a horror movie called The Cabin in the Woods. There is also Cabin Fever. Going back a few decades there is The Evil Dead.

This particular deserted cabin is on the south shore of Woss Lake. Decades ago the forestry company that owns the land allowed parcels to be leased so that about fifteen small cabins could be built by leaseholders.

For the most part they sit empty, prey to the occasional squatter or critter. Some are in total disrepair and are slowly succumbing to the gloomy forest closing in on them.

Mechanized fossil...
Death of a car...
Around the back of this cabin, I discovered the remains of this car. I nearly missed it altogether beneath its blanket of leaves and branches.

It's a sobering reminder of how quickly evidence of our civilization will vanish when our species becomes extinct. I once saw a show on Discovery Channel that estimated it will take less than one thousand years for most of our buildings, monuments, and infrastructure to disappear completely.

All that will be left are the ghosts...

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Every day she waves at me
That woman only I can see
I wish she would stay over there
I don't like her hungry stare

This alley in Bastion Square is next to Victoria's now defunct Maritime Museum. The building once served as Victoria's old courthouse/jail and is rumoured to be haunted by a number of ghosts.

The area in and around Bastion Square generally is considered a centre of supernatural activity.

The Maritime Museum is not gone forever. Over the winter and spring it will be re-locating to a new location on the Victoria waterfront... a much more natural fit for it, and close to the Royal BC Museum.

As for what will become of the old building and its paranormal population? No one knows yet.

The roofline of the Maritime Museum...
The roofline of the Maritime Museum...

Friday, October 3, 2014

The ancients...

Lonely monster buried on a Tofino beach...
Lonely monster buried on a Tofino beach...

I once read a sad story by sci-fi fantasy author Ray Bradbury called “The Foghorn”.

A lighthouse keeper is terrified one night when an ancient seafaring dinosaur responds to his foghorn and attacks it. It turns out that the creature was the last of its kind and had been for millions of years . It was attracted to the sound of what it thought was another fellow creature only to be confused when it discovered the call was coming from the lighthouse. After destroying the lighthouse in despair it retreats once more to its lonely existence out of sight and reach of mankind.

Dinosaurs were thought to be wiped out by an asteroid strike 65 million years ago. They didn’t go extinct immediately of course. It was a process that probably took millennia as the skies grew dark and the earth cooled. But eventually, much like the monster of Bradbury’s story, there must have come a day when the last dinosaur found itself completely and utterly alone. And on that day when it laid its head down for the last time, death must have been a merciful end to the profound lonliness that it felt.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


While strolling the beaches of Long Beach, we noticed what appeared to be hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of clear glass beads littering the beach and glittering in the late afternoon sun. On closer examination they looked like giant water drops.

They were sea gooseberries, a small jellyfish-like critter that normally floats around with tentacles. However, when they wash ashore they pull their tentacles in.

Unlike jellyfish, sea gooseberries don't have tentacles that sting. A good thing as you'd probably never notice these things floating in the water with you.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sand Sculptures

North of Victoria, BC the community of Parksville hosts an annual sand sculpture competition for four weeks every summer. It’s a scaled down event from its glory days in the 1990s, but it but still attracts world class competition.

Each year there is a theme to the event – this year’s theme was music, but inexplicably it inspired some macabre creations.

Check out the one to the left. It appears to show something resembling a swollen insect larva worming its way out of a mouth (Dear God, I hope that's a mouth!) and into an ear.

What the hell is that about?

Below the sculpture ‘Final Note’ takes the theme in a morbid direction to remind children that death is the final 'swan song' for all of us. For a few more images check out this page

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Every step you take...

I always feel like somebody's watching me.
And I have no privacy.
I always feel like somebody's watching me.
Tell me is it just a dream?
-- Rockwell

No, that is not a quote from Norman Rockwell, famous painter of slice-of-life America from a gentler, kinder time.

They are lyrics from the 80s dance tune by singer Rockwell. In many ways these words are even more relevant today than they were 30 years ago. From our Internet browsing habits to security cameras everywhere we are all under surveillance in ways that would have shocked and horrified Norman...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Better call Saul!

Fans of the excellent TV series Breaking Bad are familiar with the phrase "Better call Saul!" Saul Goodman was the sleazy -- sometimes noble -- lawyer who provided legal aid to people with few morals but lots of cash.

Recently in Sudbury, I was surprised to see several highly visible, opportunistic law offices within a block of the city's law court. It's not something that exists here in Victoria. The one above was located in a strip mall and was something that would look more at home somewhere in the United States.

Most of them provide legal advice to people who break traffic laws. And let's be honest, most of these people are likely guilty of impaired driving. It smacks of the same sort of questionable ethics that Saul would approve of.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Who's that girl?

Unless we're travelling I rarely feature myself or my wife in my blog, preferring not to insert myself too much into the story.

However, my wife is actually my favourite model, blessed as she is with great looks, blue eyes and blonde hair. Plus she's looking over my shoulder right now...

Okay, so THIS impromptu photo doesn't show off her eyes, but I love it for the hint of a mischievous smile.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Motel of the Mysteries Part 2

My previous post described my encounter with a derelict rural motel on the route from Sudbury to Toronto, Ontario.

This photo of the interior central corridor is curious. You'll see some sort of orb on the right hand side of the photo and further into the corridor there is some sort of haze slightly lower and to the right.

I thought this might be some sort of moisture on my lens but these 'flaws' don't appear on either of the photos before or after this one.

I sometimes will speak about the metaphorical ghosts that haunt places like this, but maybe some ghosts are real?

The other curious thing was the IV drip bag that I found in the parking lot... It intrigued me.

In my mind I conjured up the sort of plot that might appear in a novel by suspense/sci-fi writer Dean Koontz. It was a tale of someone hurt and on the run. An ex-spy, maybe a government created super-soldier or mutant trying to evade authorities by staying off the grid. Hunkered down in this off-the-beaten-path place, he was forced to effect a sudden escape from anonymous men in dark suits and black Raybans driving large black SUVs...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Motel of the Mysteries Part I

I have a fascination with abandoned houses, motels, gas stations... I wonder about the people that passed through them, their circumstances, what became of them, whether they think of their time in that past house or motel...

I came across this abandoned motel during a recent drive from Sudbury to Toronto in Ontario. It was one of those motels in the middle of nowhere that catered to those that had driven further than they had intended, but who desperately needed to get their heads down for a few hours. Or perhaps those who were keen to keep a low profile away from populated areas.

See Motel of the Mysteries Part II later this week...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A glorious end to the day...

Sunset over Lake Huron...
A golden Lake Huron sunset...
Goderich is a small Ontario community of 8000 on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. At night, the setting sun often produces these award-winning sunsets full of drama and colour.

Some sunsets are more dramatic than others...
Some sunsets are full of drama...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The difference between a fall and a fail...

Doing anything to move toward a goal means that you have succeeded to some degree.

Put another way, the only way you can fail is if you do nothing.
Success is like scaling a mountain. The goal is to reach the summit.
Sometimes your path may lead to a dead end. Sometimes your path may require a detour or re-tracing your steps. Sometimes you have to stop for a breather. But as long as you're still climbing... you haven't failed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Butchart Gardens is one of Victoria's most famous tourist attractions. From Wikipedia:
The gardens receive close to a million visitors each year. The gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to their international renown.
The gardens recently made the Top 10 list of USA Today's Ten Best Public Gardens in North America.

Smelling the roses ain't cheap though. It's pretty pricey to get it which is why this year, my wife and I opted for the annual pass. That includes one admission to their popular fireworks show during the summer months.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I am sailing, 
stormy waters, 
to be near you, 
to be free.

So sang Rod Stewart.

On this particular day off Ogden Point, stormy waters were nowhere to be seen... Lots of sunshine did bring out sailors who were content to let nature do most of the work as well as those who were happy enough to dip a paddle and do the work themselves.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nuthin' finer...

Warm sun, blue water
A good friend for company...
You DID bring the beer?

I really think there's nothin' quite so fine 
As lettin' the sun rejuvenate your mind

This past weekend warm weather drew the crowds down to the Victoria waterfront. Off the Ogden Point breakwater one fisherman gets his casts in...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An explorer is never lost...

-- Photo: Mike Laplante -- Saturna Island
I don't know if he was the original author, but I first heard this quote from Vic Lindal.

Risk is about going beyond your comfort zone into the realm of the unknowable. That's also the very definition of exploration.

Risk is about exposing yourself, feeling uncomfortable or awkward.

Exploring is about adventure, discovering new things, opening up possibilities, boldly going where no one has gone before...

So instead of 'I'm not comfortable with the risk' it should be 'hey, let's go exploring!'

Get your Captain Kirk on and seek out those strange new worlds, baby...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Watcher

Moai is the name given to the enigmatic statues of Easter Island in the Pacific. Typically each statue is about 13 feet high and weighs about 14 tons each.

It is estimated these statues were carved about a thousand years ago. How they were carved and moved to their present locations on the island is unknown although the best guess is that they were 'walked' across the terrain. Similar to how we would move a piece of heavy furniture in our house.

I wonder what the first Europeans thought of them when they first arrived on the island? Did they evoke unease, superstition? 

They were a big part of author Erich von Daniken's 'Chariots of the Gods' theory that suggested they were inspired and/or engineered by alien visitors to earth. The primitive cultures that came into contact with these aliens revered them as gods and expressed that awe through carvings and statues.

THIS sentinel watches visitors from the fountain pool of Victoria's Butterfly Gardens and was featured not long ago in this blog here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Ancients

Looking like some combination of wood and stone, this is one of the tortoises at Victoria's Butterfly Gardens...

Tortoises have walked -- slowly -- across the face of the earth since the age of dinosaurs-- 200 million years.

They are also among the longest-living animals on earth. The oldest tortoise ever recorded, and one of the oldest individual animals ever recorded, was Tu'i Malila, which was presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tu'i Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965, at the age of 188.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on the island of St Helena is 182 years old and may well be the current oldest living animal on Earth.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


delicate purple
but it is not yet spring here
victoria rocks!
I know nothing about flowers but I'm pretty sure these are crocuses. I tweaked this photo various ways to try to 'improve' on it, but came to realize that it had an almost painterly quality as is so I did nothing to it except to re-size it.

These were growing in front of our local municipal hall.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Lonely Puppet

Wait... did that thing just move?
Wait... did that thing just move ever so slightly?!
What's a lonely dummy to do on a rainy day in Chemainus but stare creepily out the window at the people passing by?

Some people get weirded out by clowns... for me, it's ventriloquists' dummies. They watch you with wide, dead unblinking eyes, waiting patiently for you to fall asleep, so they can slip into the kitchen and grab that butcher's knife with your name on it...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Absent companions (Blue)

I had lost all feeling in my fingers but I didn't care. I was on my scooter, the crisp air washing over my face as I admired the stunning ocean and mountain views along Victoria's waterfront Beach Drive. Overhead the sky was mostly clear and a late afternoon sun was blazing over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

I was putting a new point-and-shoot camera -- a gift from my wife -- through the paces. Passing a small turnoff I saw these two blue chairs perched on Kitty Islet overlooking the waterfront. Too intriguing not to investigate and take a photo or two...

After I took my photos I noticed that one had a plaque on it (below). Thanks to Google I tracked down the tale of Blue For You.

BTW The island in the background above is Trial Island.