Friday, September 30, 2016

Spelunking

Poking around in Vancouver Island's Huson caves...

I had never heard of Vancouver Island's Huson caves until a month ago. They are located along a very rough logging road -- is there any other kind? -- between the main highway of Vancouver Island and the remote community of Zeballos.

Driving to them, we came over a rise to suddenly encounter a mama black bear and her three cubs. It was a very close encounter. They were right beside the road and it's hard to say who was more startled, us or the bears. The cubs turned and bolted down the road while mama charged into the brush. We turned off the van and waited patiently until mama cautiously emerged on the road ahead of us. She glanced at us warily to make sure we weren't about to follow her and turned to trot off after her cubs.

We carried on to the caves.

One of the caves was closed due to the trail stairs being out of commission, but we made our way down the steep and overgrown path anyway to explore the arch carved out of the limestone by the river.

The other cave -- again more of an overhead arch -- was easy to get to and very dramatic with the river flowing briskly between the rocks to create rapids and eddies.

Current and eddies in the Huson caves...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Modern raptor

Modern pterodactyl...

Modern birds are the descendants of ancient dinosaurs and grey herons are the living proof of that I figure. In flight, with their long necks and wingspans, they look like pterodactyls. Have you ever heard their chilling raucous cry? They even SOUND like pterodactyls.

Want further proof? Take a look at that face and beak above. That is the face of a predator, my friend. Compare it to the image of a velociraptor head below and tell me you don't see a resemblance. I think we can all be thankful these things don't grow more than four or five feet tall.




-- Photo: agapemodels.com


Monday, September 26, 2016

Pop culture quiz

Bender (Futurama), a Minion, LEGO figure, Pikachu, Dogbert and ???

We were exploring an RV park near Nanaimo, BC when we can across this whimsical collection of welded figures in a campsite. Somebody had a lot of old gas cylinders and yellow paint to use up...

How many of these pop culture figures can you identify? To find the answer, simply hover your pointer over the image above...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mountain top memorial

Memorial to Jennifer ? at the top of Vancouver Island's Mt Washington...
Recently I was at the top of Vancouver Island's Mt Washington for a sombre occasion -- we were there to scatter the ashes of a family member.

The only time I've ever been to the top of the mountain is in winter for ski season. I had never seen the peak without snow. As our group was exploring the area looking for the best place to conduct the ceremony, I noticed a pair of skis and a helmet pinned to a tree. Getting closer I discovered that it was a memorial to someone named Jennifer who apparently died at the young age of 31 in 2004.

Google hasn't shed any light on who Jennifer was except for a blog post from someone else who was equally intrigued and mystified.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wayback Wednesday: Scrotum Bliss!

If it feels good on your face it must be Scrotum Bliss.
If it feels good on your face it must be Scrotum Bliss!
Update
On a recent trip to the other end of Vancouver Island I was hiking an off-the-beaten-path trail to San Josef beach near Cape Scott. A couple passed me and I immediately recognized Scrotum Bliss inventor Chip Nary. I said hi to him and his wife and he promptly recognized me from our encounter two years ago.

Chip and his wife still sell their unique moisturizer although these days he devotes most of his time to his pottery business. He does produce some beautiful stuff... if you're ever passing through the community of Ladysmith stop in and see it for yourself.

2014 Oct 18
Dragon's Den is a popular TV show in which would-be entrepreneurs pitch their products to a panel of self-made business successes in hopes of securing funding and guidance from a "dragon". A surprising number of these guests come from Vancouver Island which is relatively small in comparison to the entire population of Canada.

A few seasons ago Chip Nary and his wife, Alexa Grier, pitched Scrotum Bliss, a unique blend of moisturizers designed to soothe and moisturize... well, you can guess. It turned out that the pair were from Ladysmith, a small community north of Victoria that I have featured in this blog before.

Chip Nary (right), inventor of Scrotum Bliss

What stuck with me from their appearance on the show was:
 i. Chip's seriously deep and smooth baritone of a voice that he showcased in a little poem on the show; and
ii. the unique bottle for their product - a suspiciously round bottle topped by a grinning face.
Last week I went looking for a bottle of Scrotum Bliss and, hopefully, to meet the inventors. On our way to Parksville, we stopped into Chip's studio, Crystalline Vortex Pottery, in Ladysmith to chat with him for a few minutes and to pick up a bottle of the good stuff.

Even though they didn't score a deal on the show, the exposure secured an investor who is working with them to bring their unique product to a wider market. Chip shared the origins of Scrotum Bliss -- it was a balm developed to provide relief when extensive cycling caused problems of a scroticular nature and his wife told him: "You have to moisturize that thing!"

As a favour to us, Zak also replayed his rap/poem ode to his product:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pier pressure


Found at the end of the jetty at Fishermans Wharf in Victoria, BC...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Icons


Two BC icons align... Mt. Baker seems to loom over a BC Ferry on its way from Vancouver Island to the main land.

Technically, Mt. Baker is in Washington State, but it's a big part of our horizon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Beach life

Montague Harbour's unique beach of crushed white shells..

Montague Harbour on Galiano Island features an awesome beach of finely broken white shells.

From the park's website:

"The white shell beach on the north side of the park marks one of several shell middens (refuse heaps) that indicate native occupation that dates back more than 3,000 years. Castaway shells left by centuries of harvesting form berms on the foreshore in many areas of the park. Wave action erodes the middens, crushes the shells and redeposits them to create Montague’s white shell beaches."

A uniquely coloured jellyfish waiting for the tide to return...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Props


Last month my wife and I strolled through an Oceanside auto show. It was much more relaxed and WAY less crowded than the tens of thousands of people who came out for the Northwest Deuce Days show in Victoria.

Rather than more pics of curves and colours though I thought I would focus on the props that some collectors use to dress up their cars.

For some reason, demons and the supernatural seem to be a favourite theme with them. A lot of these guys are typically old white guys well into their senior years. Maybe it's about to trying to re-capture the 'bad boy' attitude of their long gone youth, who knows?


Sometimes the props are meant to evoke the era and the times of the car as I mentioned in a previous post.

The owner of this Ghia had an 60s era drive-in window tray hanging off his car. It looked real, but everything was plastic and strictly for show.



Friday, September 9, 2016

Zoomin'

A classic car glows in the setting sun...

A classic car parked on a Victoria street glows in the setting sun.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Enjoying a moment


Two silver-haired ladies get playful in the water of Parksville's main beach...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Durrance Lake

Floaties bob gently on Durrance Lake...

Tucked away in the upper hills on the western side of the Saanich peninsula you'll find Durrance Lake.

Jumping into the warm water from the lakeside dock...

It's a small pretty lake somewhat off the beaten path and known for its very warm water. It doesn't feature much in the way of shore access... the one small beach area can get very crowded on a hot summer weekend.

The thing to do, it seems, is to bring an inflatable and while away the afternoon bobbin' gently on the water -- discretely sipping a beer from your cleverly disguised can or bottle -- while enjoying the warm sun overhead.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Philosophical Friday: You are NOT the centre of everyone's universe...

-- Quote: Olin Miller
Photo: M. Laplante -- Bastion Square, Victoria, BC
I belong to Toastmasters, the public speaking and leadership organization. Beginners usually join to overcome their fear of public speaking. (Fear of public speaking is one of the biggest fears if not THE biggest according to numerous studies.)

Sometimes their fear takes the form of "I'm afraid I'll look or sound boring or stupid..." However, I point out to them that they -- the beginning speaker -- just aren't that important to the audience.

The members of your audience lead their own lives and have their own concerns.  A lot of their 'thoughts are about their own situations. That bored looking girl over there? She's replaying the crappy night out on the town with the girlfriends last night. That businessman who is glancing down and not paying attention? He's mentally composing notes for a business mixer that he has later that day.

And on it goes...

Fear of what other people think of YOU is actually a form of narcissism where you assume that you are the centre of attention being judged by others. Relax. You're not THAT important... and that's a good thing.

Enjoy your life and don't worry about how others think of you...