Monday, September 30, 2013

Heather's Garden

I swear it has been less than a month since Heather started her garden at The Commons here on Gabriola Island.  For those of you who don't know us, we recently moved to a somewhat larger rental house here on the island and Heather has been dying to start a garden.

Well Gabriola is a pretty special place and the community here has established a commons consisting of,  among other things, a community garden where residents of the island can grow their own food.  Heather was delighted to hear that there were spaces available and applied for one.   The cost for the garden, she found, was so small that it felt like pocket change.

I swear she has been there every day tearing out weeds, preparing the soil and planting.  Garlic, Radishes, Kale, and others.  She was excited to find strawberry and blueberry plants among the weeds and carefully saved them.

I recently had to go down south for a while and when I returned I was mightily impressed to find this beautiful space that she has so carefully reconstructed.

Here's shot of her in the garden as she began clearing.   Actually, she had already done a fair amount of work by the time I got there but you get the idea....

I've been somewhat blown away with this transition as my thoughts about gardening don't have much to do with dirt.   

Drawings From My Notebook

More to let you know I am still working on this stuff than anything else.   I wanted to share these two drawings with you because I find them satisfying.   I did them just before my last trip to California and haven't done much since.   I am excited about doing more as it seems that there is so much more waiting for me beyond the frame and on the blank page.  
I am hoping to get back to doing some figurative work soon but it appears that is unlikely as I am scheduled to head back to California next week.   It's a bit of a bummer because I love my sister very much and it is hard to watch her go through these travails.   She's at the point where she needs someone with her 24/7 and I truly want to be there for her.  
Anyway, here they are and if your reaction to them is to say "Hell, I could do that!" my response is that I am sure you can and I hope you get as much joy from it as I do.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Real Heroes

This was published on Facebook today by a chap named Dennis Roberts who invited everyone to share it.   
I must admit that I have been finding it difficult to hold a positive attitude about humanity given recent world events but I am reminded that there are people out there, and many of them who show nobility and selflessness in the face of adversity.
Here is one of them and I quote from the post...

"You're a 19 year old kid. 
You're critically wounded and dying in
The jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam .
It's November 11, 1967.
LZ (landing zone) X-ray.
Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out.
Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look up to see a Huey coming in. But.. It doesn't seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.
He's not MedEvac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.
Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety.
And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!!
Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.
He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise , Idaho
May God Bless and Rest His Soul.
I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we've sure seen a whole bunch about Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and the bickering of congress over Health Reform.
Medal of Honor Winner Captain Ed Freeman"

Friday, September 13, 2013

Steampunk Auto

I had occasion to photograph this marvelous old Rolls Royce Aero the other day. It seems the owner decided to take it to the limit and rebuild it as an aviator's dream. Heather, my partner actually spotted it and knowing my love for all things aeronautical and many things steampunk, dragged me across the road to see it. My little Olympus was a challenge to use in full sunlight as I had forgotten my daylight viewer. Plus the highly polished aluminum finish reflected clear blue sky with strong specular highlights.
The details on this car are something to behold. The cockpit, yes, cockpit looked like it was lifted from an old DC3 or something. Anyone know about that stuff? The airspeed indicator appeared to be connected to the pitot tube to give airspeed in knots. You can also see the turn and bank indicator, rate of climb etc. Anyway, here are the pictures. I hope you enjoy them..

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tokyo Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste In The US

"While traveling in Japan several weeks ago, Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen took soil samples in Tokyo public parks, playgrounds, and rooftop gardens. All the samples would be considered nuclear waste if found here in the US."
These chilling words greeted me this morning as I scrolled through my usual sites to see what has happened over the last few days.  I was away for a couple of days and blissfully unaware of the events occurring in Japan or anywhere else.   
My return to reality came with a thud this morning.   I watched Arnie Gundersen's video and learned that from the NRC's perspective, these things haven't even been considered in estimating the costs and viability of nuclear facilities in the past.   
Well, we're about to learn the costs of this calamity.   The next couple of decades will be very tragic for a lot of people.   I just hope, dear reader, that you and I are not among them.   My heart goes out to the people of Japan, especially the children who will have to bear the consequences of our collective greed and arrogance.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Anniversary of 9/11

A folio of photographs from the scene by one of the greatest and bravest photographers of our time,  James Nachtwey

I don't know how he got there but Nachtwey is a fearless photographer.   I have seen many, many of his truly outstanding pictures but I think these are very moving.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Fukushima Containment Picture

This picture (click to enlarge) was up on the CBC website today and seems to be the most concise description of the ongoing plan to manage the disaster at Fukushima.   This is the link to the rather short article accompanying the picture which is attributed to TEPCO.

I looked on the TEPCO website and could not find either the picture nor any reference to it but I confess to a certain level of impatience.   It does make a certain amount of sense to me but it seems very power consumptive and my immediate response is one of concern for future earthquakes and/or power outages.

I note the planned date for completion of the containment wall is Sept 2014.   I assume by then we will have seen a minimum of an additional 175,000 tons of irradiated water will have escaped into the Pacific.   I know, I know, the Pacific is a very big ocean but if this groundwater is actually contacting the core or carrying any radioactive particles into the ocean dilution seems irrelevant.   After all, if a fish ingests a particle of cesium it doesn't just go away and I'd rather not have it on my plate.

Monday, September 2, 2013

If You Are Concerned about Fukushima...

And you should be.

Listen to this Podcast from the Fairewinds site.  It is the best thing I have heard so far on the situation.  It is scary but there are things we can do, such as demand that our governments institute a comprehensive food/water/milk and air testing system that determines exactly what our ongoing exposure risks are and what sources they are coming from.   We need facts so that we can make informed decisions that will affect our health and the health of our children.  So far, we have been kept in the dark.  It is time for the truth.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Looking Back

Things that influenced his life...