Release Guns

picture of an artillery shell display

it was a blast

Yesterday the Photo Club headed out to Fort Rodd Hill for our photo shoot. What a wicked place! There are all sorts of building, bunkers, guns, and exhibits. The picture opportunities are endless.

When we first arrived, it started to rain, and I got a little discouraged. I went into one of the structures, and by the time I came out, the rain had stopped.

I shot most of a roll on my Yashica, and lots of the pictures turned out awesome. I even did a couple “bulb” shots. The bulb setting on a camera is where as long as you hold the shutter release down, the shutter stays open. On my Yashica the longest exposure is 1 second, and anything longer than that you have to know how long the exposure should be and use the bulb setting. A couple of my “bulb” shots turned out great. I hope to scan them tonight and put them up.

Click here for the pics.

Donation Period

macro shot of a lawn ornament

Tuesday was my latest blood donation. All went well as usual for me, but one guy was pretty slow. When I walked in I could see a guy on one of the beds donating. I signed in, went through the preliminary iron check, checked the answers to my 13 questions, went and talked to a nurse, had my pulse, blood pressure, and temperature taken, donated, then went to eat cookies and drink juice, all before the guy I saw when I walked in, finished his donation! For some reason his blood just wasn’t flowing as fast as it should have been.

I am closing in on 20 donations now. When you can only donate ever 56 days, that means I have been donating (fairly) regularly for close to 3 years now. I am pretty happy with that, and I hope I can keep going for a while. The only wrench in that plan is that in the next couple years I want to get a tattoo, and once I do that I have to wait a year before I can donate again. Maybe I will be able to support Canadian Blood Services some other way in that time period.

Donate blood today!

Soaking Slopes

slightly askew
Last nigt a light rain settled in. Our wonderful snow is now rapidly turning into icky slush. The slush is harder to drive in, looks awful, and just gets everything soaking wet. I much prefer the snow. If you are prepared for snow, then going out in it isn’t too bad.

A funny story about the snow. My driveway is fairly steep, and slopes down to the street. I have been backing into the driveway so that it is easy to take off in the morning. Last night was the first time I have had to back into it while the whole thing was covered in snow. I had parked there once already and it wasn’t a big deal. After picking Sue up from the SPCA I attempted the maneuver again. I backed in with a little speed, and halfway up the rear tires broke loose.

I came to a stop with my front end just off the road. No big deal, I was off the road, so that was all I really wanted. I turned off the truck, set the parking brake, released the clutch, then the brake. As soon as my foot left the brake, my truck slid out into the street!

Shocker. I started it back up again, backed into the driveway again, and like the last time, as soon as I lifted my foot from the brake, my truck slid out into the road. I ended up parking on the street in front of my house.

all better

Responsible Meteorologists

we got snow
Hey, the meteorologists got it right! We have snow this morning. When I got up, there was a couple inches on the ground already, and it was still coming down. In fact it is snowing quite hard.

This begs the question: do I go to work, or do I stay home and play? Take the camera gear and the dogs out to Elk Lake perhaps? Dunno. Most likely I will be responsible and go to work. But damn it would be nice to go out shooting pics again.

The below pictures are the same shot. I screwed up the original (under exposed), so I Photoshopped it to brighten, then attempted to remove some of the resulting noise. I am not sure which result I like better (neither are great).

footprints in the snow

footprints in the snow

Getting Fared

we're getting snow
Apparently Victoria might be getting another dump of snow tonight. I think that would be fine. I haven’t had too much trouble adjusting to the road conditions, but some other people have, and they are the scary ones.

I love the sound after a fresh snowfall. The hush is something magical, mystical even.

I have heard Victoria might get between 5 and 15 cms. I will have another report in the morning on how we fared.

Reorganized Sunrise

we got snow
Victoria got a nice blanket of fluffy white stuff last night. There are only about 3 inches or so around our place, but the wind has reorganized it in a few areas. I stepped in one snow bank that was half way up to my knee. I woke up early this morning (6:15), and since I couldn’t get back to sleep, I decided to get up and take the dogs for a walk at Macaulay Point Park. I bundled up nice and warm, grabbed my camera gear and a cup of coffee, then stepped out into the winter wonderland with two over eager dogs.

They had a great time once I let them off leash. They ran and ran and ran. Once in a while Digger would scoop snow as he was running at full speed! Meanwhile I walked much more slowly and took lots of pics. As I was deciding to leave, I noticed the beginnings of a nice sunrise, so I quickly scrambled to the highest point in the park and took a few shots. Beautiful!
Read more for the pics.

The wind kicked up and forced me off the lookout, but I went for one more lap to use up the warm light. The doggies had a great time. In all we were gone for over an hour and a half.

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

we got snow


we got snow

we got snow

we got snow

Hangover Channel

not Richard Burns
I was awoken too early by the dog and I could feel the effects of a hangover from last nights party. Yeuck! Thankfully it is only mild. I got up, made some coffee, and while on the couch scanned the TV Channels. Speed Channel is having a World Rally-Thon! Woohoo! The whole WRC season in one day! I am sitting on the couch writing this up with the TV on in the background. I love WRC racing, and having the whole season in one day is wicked.

I remember them doing this last year and it is a welcome surprise. I missed that last few races of the season this year, so I will get to see them after all. I am going biking at 1, so I will have to tape them, but that is just fine with me! Yay! This makes me happy.

In other racing news, Speed Channel is advertising the next Dakar Rally which starts Saturday. Again, this makes me happy! 🙂 I love rally races. WRC is so fast and crazy. The Dakar is in many spots too, but it is more raw and pure. Plus some of the scenery is so stunning. I love watching the Dakar!

Captivating Christmas

it all flew by so quickly

What a week! I love Christmas, but it gets very tiring when you travel a whole bunch. I left Victoria on the 24 and jumped onto the 2pm ferry. The sailing was uneventful until we got to the open water in the straight. It was windy, and the waves were rocking the boat. I was down on the car deck the whole time and more than a few times there were some large bangs followed by the ship shuddering a little.

Once off the ferry I drove to Sue’s mom’s house. I was white knuckling for a large part of the time due to the wind, the rain, and the crazy as drivers. Who in their right mind does 60 KM/H in a 100 zone when everyone else is doing 110? Then there were a few people doing more than 130. The side wind was horrible, and the rain pounding, with a few flakes of snow mixed in to make it real fun. I was happy to arrive in Langley safely.

Christmas morning was a big change for me. This was the very first Christmas that I haven’t woken at my mom’s house. In some ways it didn’t feel like Christmas, but it most definitely was. The plan was to wait until Geoff, Cary, and Alexander to arrive, and then we would open presents. Sue and I decided to take Yoshi for a spin to the dog park, and on the way back pop in at a couple of her friends’ places. While at the park we came across another beautiful GSP. His name was Barley.

fun at the dog park

As soon as Sue and I got back to Pat’s house, we learned that Pat couldn’t wait any longer, so we opened the presents then. There were some great gifts. Sue got a picture of me at Whistler enlarged and framed. Our gifts were well liked, including Jan and Graeme’s mirror. The interesting part is that they gave us a mirror that Graeme had made! Graeme’s mirror is a beautiful walnut with a wonderful inlay.

Later that afternoon the rest of the gang arrived and more presents were opened. Sue’s nephew Alexander got a huge Star Wars Lego set. We set about putting it together, and almost finished it before dinner. Christmas dinner was very yummy.

A while later while Pat and I were working on her computer, Alexander had an accident with his Lego set, and it came apart into several large pieces. After finishing the computer stuff, I set about fixing the Lego creation. My cape was flapping big time that night and soon Alexander was happy again! I had forgotten just how much fun Lego was, perhaps I should think about getting some more for me 🙂

Boxing Day was an early morning. It was cold, icy and dark as we left Langley. We were heading to Nanaimo to spend some time with my mom and sister. The ferries weren’t too busy, and we enjoyed our fine ferry made breakfast. In Nanaimo we had another wonderful Christmas and another excellent Christmas meal.

The 27th was a relaxation day, and we went to the hospital to visit my aunt. We took Yoshi with us, and he was very good there. He made lots of people smile as he wore his antlers.

Sue left for Powell River the next day to visit with her Dad, and Jan and Graeme who had traveled up there. My mom and I went out and did a little shopping. I didn’t get very much, mainly just a new computer game.

Sue came back the next day, picked up Yoshi and me, and we headed home. Jan, Graeme, and Pat all came to stay with us.

Tuesday night we went and saw Cold Mountain at the Vic. Excellent movie. I can see why it has so many Golden Globe nominations. It was a little on the long side (2.5 hours), but I didn’t notice the length while watching it. It was thoroughly captivating.

That night I woke up around 3 am, and heard Yoshi outside our bedroom making noise. I got up, went to the bathroom, and as I was returning to bed I heard Pat calling me from downstairs. Turns out, our Christmas tree fell over! Ack. I was confused and half asleep still, so cleaning up the mess was a pain. Thankfully nothing was broken, but lots of ornaments were scattered across the floor, the lights were dangling off the tree, pine needles were everywhere, and the water had spilled out wetting a few gifts that we had yet to give. Not a nice way to wake up! 🙁

They left New Years day, we prepared for our party, and had a grand time ringing in the New Year in the company of friends.

Phew! What a vacation huh? Today is a recovery day, a light ride with some friends I haven’t been mountain biking with in a long time, perhaps going to see Return of the King (a second time for me), and then early to bed since I have to work tomorrow.