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?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ladybug Ladybug

Ladybugs get amorous at Victoria Butterfly World.
Get a room, you two.
Seen recently at Butterfly World in Victoria...
Would this be considered an example of 'paradox'... or 'irony'?

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.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shadow leaves

The 'shadows' of leaves created on damp sidewalks...
the memory dims
like autumn leaves that fall and
fade into amber
On a sidewalk in Parksville, autumn leaves lie adrift next to the dye from previously fallen leaves producing a transient work of art...

Fall leaves leave an impression...
Nature and urban environment combine to create art...

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...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Zombies! Run!

Victoria's Zombie Walk drew several hundred of the undead for the event. Zombies are the monster du jour and show no signs of dying anytime soon. ;)

The usual theory to explain their continuing popularity is that they are a metaphor for any mindless group -- consumers, Republicans, the viewers of Duck Dynasty ...

I'm always impressed by the lavish attention that people give to their makeup for this event. I typically take photos that I then play around with in Photoshop to make them more entertaining.

I also produced this short video to share with the group...

This fellow reminded me less of a zombie and more of a Batman villain...

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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Future past

Stand up paddleboarding (aka SUP) is one of the fastest growing recreations on the West Coast. It's one of those activities that can be as challenging as you care or dare to make it.

My wife and I rented a couple of boards during our recent island vacation and enjoyed it so much we bought a board to add to the two kayaks that we already own.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Strange formations

The one road to Tofino on Vancouver Island is a twisty, turn-y, mostly single lane drive. Along the way you go past Taylor Creek which is worth stopping for.

The huge rocks in the river have been ground by erosion – glacial and river – into these fantastic organic shapes. Strange curves and bowls have been carved into the stone. It’s a unique landscape.

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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gonzales Bay

Gonzales Bay and Gonzales beach are visible from Gonzales Observatory.

It's a popular place for sunbathers and paddlers and is located only 10 minutes from downtown Victoria.

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Sidney's popular pirate sculpture keeps his one eye trained on the vessels off the Sidney waterfront on a recent sunny day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rock the Shores

For the past three days, the local community of Colwood was host to Rock the Shores, an annual outdoor rock festival that got its start three years ago.

We had free tickets to the third day of the event. BC was in the third or fourth day of a province-wide heatwave, so the organizers kept things cool with water stations, outdoor misting stations and water sprays for the mosh pit in front of the stage.

The local organizers, Atomique Productions, deserved a huge shoutout for the event. Everything from parking and bike lockups, entry gates, on site vendors, security and rules to prevent drugs and booze -- and the usual loud, aggressive jerks that go with it -- getting in, cooling stations... all of it was impressively organized and managed.

The music was a mix of classic bands and new music, most of it solid rock. Only one concession to a rap number that had the crowd loving it.

South African band The Kongos

Faux celebrity sighting in the audience: Jason Statham

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fun, sun, fog and a dog on a West Coast beach

There is something calming about ocean surf, particularly first thing in the morning with the sun low in the sky. Oceans exist on a much longer time scale than we do. Because of that they remind you that your worries and concerns don't even register in the grander scheme of things... so relax and enjoy the moment.

On this particular morning on a Tofino beach, a low lying mist rendered everything in muted shades of blue and grey so that this woman stood out in her bright pink fleece top.

Below a sun star finds itself beached at low tide... and making tracks, presumably to find the water.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tofino humour

Tofino cemetery and no coast in sight...

Y'know what's ironic?


Seen in Tofino.

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.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jack Torrance's worst nightmare

Topiary predator at Butchart Gardens...

Butchart Gardens in Victoria has a small population of moss-covered topiary animals -- the one of the cougar above lies in the shade of a canopy of trees making it difficult to see clearly. The silhouette is vaguely unsettling as you expect it to jump and start stalking you.

And if you get the connection of this post to the title of the post, the pop culture Force is strong within you...

Did that deer just flinch?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


There's some confusion about Gonzales Observatory which overlooks Victoria and its waterfront from a high point on the Oak Bay border. Although often described as an observatory when it was originally built about a century ago, it doesn't appear to have been one for long, if at all.

Instead it functioned as a weather station for 75 years. I was there a couple of weeks ago and a sign on the door identified it as the headquarters for The Land Conservancy (TLC). The TLC is in financial straits so I'm unclear what the status is of the building.

The distinctive white building is surrounded by a regional park with some of the best views around.

Two hikers enjoy the views of the waterfront from the top of the hill...