Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fast versus slow

Background image:Vladimir Manyuhina

How do YOU prefer your zombies?

I grew up with the slow zombies of Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead and similar movies in which the creatures slowly shuffled after the living.

For me, the scare-factor came from the relentless nature of the monsters... Sure, you could outrun one or two of them individually, but eventually, through sheer numbers, they overwhelmed you, dragged you down and then SLOWLY started to gnaw on you.

Somewhere in the early-2000s with movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, zombies were re-invented as these sprinting creatures that took you down like a pack of wolves. Which is why fast zombies don't scare me so much... because there really isn't any difference between them and a pack of, say, crazed weasels.

Plus the science geek inside me wonders how zombies could run with muscles that are decaying and decomposing. Slow zombies are consistent with the idea that their muscles are atrophying and no longer function efficiently.

And with those thoughts... Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cabin

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...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bad Moon Rising

War of the Worlds...
Mars attacks!!!
Victoria's Craigdarroch Castle has been used by Giggling Iguana Productions for years to stage a Halloween appropriate play. Several years ago, we saw their production of War of the Worlds and last year it was an entertaining production of Dracula.

The productions typically moved about inside the castle (actually more of a mansion), moving around from room to room while the audience follows along.

Last year, the group announced that THIS year's production would be The Wolfman. I was anticipating one of their typically entertaining evenings, but it turns out that the key organizer recently decided to take some time off from producing plays at the castle.

Colour me sad...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Haunted

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...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Waiting for company...


These two solid Adirondack chairs sit at the top of a rocky promontory overlooking the beach at Greenpoint near Tofino. They are barely visible from beach level unless you happen to glance up at the right spot.

They appeared to be newly installed and were chained down. That suggests maybe the park itself installed them.

With a good pair of binoculars you could watch the sea lion colonies on nearby rock islands or take in the morning sunrise.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Railway to Nowhere

Abandoned rail bed of the former E&N line on Vancouver Island, BC...

You know what you don't see in this photo?

A cougar!

I have lived on the West Coast for two-thirds of my life. One of the items on my bucket list is to take a photo of a cougar in the wild. So far it hasn't happened, but I'll keep hiking in the early morning bush in the hopes that my luck will change one day.

The other thing you don't see in this photo is a train. This is the rail bed of the former E&N (Esquimalt and Nanaimo) passenger train that stopped running between Victoria and communities north about four years ago due to a myriad of issues. Mostly what killed it was lack of maintenance on the track combined with a lack of ridership. It's a shame because my wife and I had taken the train and it was a great way to see parts of the island not visible from the Island highway.

A local group has been working hard to secure financing to re-start the service, although it will travel in the opposite directions than it did previously. In this way they hope to sell it as a daily commuter service and increase ridership.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Heron


The wonders of modern photography allow a person to transform a so-so shot into something… less so-so. During my recent travelling I took a photo of a heron by the shoreline. It was a spur-of-the-moment shot and it suffered from poor lighting. A bit of software manipulation later and – voilĂ  – a piece of art is created!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Flash


I first published this photo over a year ago on this blog.

According to my blog stats, visits to that particular page are 10x higher than the next nearest page this week. I thought that was weird until I remembered that a new TV series The Flash just started on the CW Network this week.

Google searches must be trending for the character and my website is fortuitous 'collateral damage'.

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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ucluelet


About 30 minutes from Tofino in the opposite direction, Ucluelet doesn't feature the expansive Pacific beaches of it's more famous sister community. For that reason it hasn't attracted the same attention or press as Tofino.

If you find yourself up near there though, don't ignore it. It offers spectacular and rugged scenery in the form of the Wild Pacific Trail.

Along the trail, you'll encounter this lighthouse. You'll also hear a periodic low horn blowing. As I hiked the trail, I assumed that it was some sort of mechanical foghorn. I was partially right.

It was Ucluelet's 'Red Can' -- the unofficial name for Carolina Channel Light and Whistle Buoy LL136. It uses wave action to produce it's slightly mournful sound.