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Category Archives: Fotoless Friday

Fotoless Friday – Camera necessary, motivation optional

A lot (not to be confused with an alot ) of photography sites, on the subject of getting better, tell you to have your camera with you as much as possible so you can whip it out whenever there’s a photographic opportunity. With this in mind, and a desire to improve my craft, I brought my camera to work the other week. It was a beautiful sunny day and after lunch was enjoyed outside on the grass, it was time to take pictures.

But a funny thing had happened. I found I didn’t WANT to.

After I had taken the time to bring my camera to work, carefully padded in my backpack for the bus ride, I sat there not quite sure what to do, not quite sure if I really wanted to. But it seemed like such a waste to not take a single shot – it was time for ‘fake it till you make it’.

I looked around.

A few meters away from the lunch spot was a beautiful flowering shrub, seemed like as good a place to start as any. Lugging a lot of gear on the bus wasn’t what I’d had in mind, so I limited myself to one lens – my 50mm macro lens. Since it was a nice sunny day, I didn’t have to worry too much about shutter speed, meaning I could set a low f-stop, have a large aperture opening with a shallow depth of field. Macro photography fascinates me and I was hoping some close-up flower shots to get my creative juices flowing.

And it helped. A little.

The shrub I was photographing was on a fairly steep little hill, making it difficult to get some of the angles I wanted to get. After a few shots, it was time to move on.

The High Level Bridge usually provides a lot of opportunities, making it my next stop. I decided to try playing around with my shutter speed, going for motion blur shots of the vehicles on the bridge. Again, it provided a short burst.

The final stop was along a the south side of the Legislature. The sun was shining through the branches of a tall tree, and I was suddenly determined to get a shot of the shun through the branches. After a few attempts, and not a few large spots in my vision! I was satisfied with my excursion.

The real test came later, when it was time to look over my pictures on the computer. I was shocked. Despite not really feeling it that day, I was happy with most of the results. I’ve already shared one of the flower shots and I’m working on posts for rest of the pictures.

Guess I succeeded in ‘faking it till I made it’. And I guess those photography sites know what they’re talking about 😉

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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Fotoless Friday

 

Fotoless Friday – A moment

Ever have those moments? You know, those moments when the stars align and everything seems perfect, if only for a moment? I had one of those last night.

It was after little Munchkin went to bed, I was in the greenhouse moving some herbs into a larger pot. The air was cool, and fresh from the rain. Outside, it was calm – a pleasant change after the vigourous winds of the afternoon, which were just as rushed as the people bustling here, there, everywhere.

Pitter patter went the rain on the roof, a soothing melody as I worked the dirt. The earthy smell filled me up and I felt a sudden urge to take off my shoes and plunge my feet into the soil, to feel it between my toes.

At that moment, I was at peace.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Fotoless Friday, Nature

 

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Fotoless Friday – A series of unfortunate events

No, I’m not talking about the children’s books.  I’m talking about the Titanic.  A hundred years ago Tuesday, the Titanic left port in England and started her maiden voyage across the ocean.  A hundred years ago tomorrow, she hit an iceberg just before midnight and sank.  Like many people, I am fascinated with the story.

My fascination with the Titanic story started in Grade 3: although the details escape me, I somehow won a book about the Titanic at school.  It was a book showing the details of the ship: the size, the building, first class vs third class, and, oh yeah, the unsinkable ship sank.  The seed was planted.

Over the years, being the bookworm type, I read a lot of books.  And some of them were on the Titanic.  I read historical fiction books mostly, books that tried to give readers a sense of wonder felt by those as they left the docks at Southhampton, to the terrifying final moments of the sinking. As the years past, I still held on to my fascination.  In fact, just last year I went to the local Space and Science Centre to see the touring exhibit with items recovered from the ship.  At the start of the tour, I was given a boarding card for an actual passenger.  At the end of the tour, you could see if you survived the disaster (‘I’ survived, along with my husband and child – a few of the lucky ones).  I’ve also read the theories as to why the ‘Unsinkable Ship’ sank.

Do I have any great insight?  No, of course not.  I was born only a few years before the wreckage was finally found and I am simply an armchair historian.  All I can offer are my own thoughts based on the books (both fiction and non) and the news articles and stories I heard over the years.  And from that info, it seems to me like the Titanic was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

So back to my title – A series of unfortunate events.  What do I mean?

First, there were the actions of the White Star Line.  From the accounts I’ve read, they were dealing with stiff competition and the Titanic and her sister ships where the White Star Line’s response.  My interpretation?  They needed a win in the trans-Atlantic passenger ship market and to do that, they cut corners.  It’s well known that they did not have adequate life boats aboard, a fact that contributed to the number of casualties.

Second, which is related to the first, the Captain of the ship was tasked with making the fastest time possible to New York.  This was because the White Star Line’s main competition, Cunard, had at that time the fastest passenger ships.  Titanic was to be the ultimate in comfort and luxury, but that was not enough – they wanted speed too.  Full speed ahead, even in the dark.

Third, it appears even the universe was conspiring against the Titanic.  One of the reasons there was such disbelief that an iceberg had taken out the ship was that icebergs were not supposed to be in that part of the ocean at that time of year.  I wish I had the link to the article, but a recent study looked at the proximity of the moon and its effect on the tides around the time of the sinking, and found that in January of that year, the moon was closer than it had been, or has been, in a long time, which meant larger tides.  Which translated to both more icebergs in the ocean, and in areas they were not expected.

Fourth, after the sinking, a trick of light and refraction made it seem like the Carpathia was much closer than it actually was, leading some to suspect that the evacuation, at least in the early part, was not as quick as it could have been. It’s speculated that passengers and crew thought help was much closer than it was in reality.

Fifth is the ship itself.  The Titanic was named unsinkable due to the air tight compartments that were designed to keep the ship afloat even if the hull was breached.  The problem?  More compartments were flooded than designed for the ship to remain afloat.  It is believed the steel used to make the outer shell was far too brittle, and so cracked under pressure rather than just buckling.  I’ve heard speculation that there may have also been an issue with the rivets on the outer hull, but unfortunately, I don’t have more detail on that aspect.

Whatever the reasons, whatever the cause, the fact remains – of the 2,224 people on board, 1,514 people (over two-thirds) died in the cold ocean water.  So many lives lost, so many dreams destroyed and so many families forever changed.

May their memories live on.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Fotoless Friday

 

Fotoless Friday – Oh, the things you’ll do!

Bath time was really short last night.  And not because, like in the past, she didn’t like water being poured over her head.

Nope.

Less than a minute in there were ‘presents’ in the tub.

Oh, the things you’ll do!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Fotoless Friday, Parenting

 

Fotoless Friday – A rant related to Sandra Fluke’s testimony

I feel like I need to preface this by saying I live in Canada, not the US. 

For those of us plugged into social media day-in and day-out, I’m sure you’ve heard of U.S. Republican Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke some very bad names after her statement to Congress regarding a woman’s right to contraceptives, specifically, that they should be covered by health insurance regardless of the institutions moral stance.

But what I didn’t see in many articles, was what Sandra actually SAID to deserve being labelled in such a way.  Because I’m a firm believer in getting the facts before rushing to judgement, I went on a search.  Since none of the articles I read actually mentioned what was said in her testimony, I do what I always do when I’m looking for answers – hello search engine!

I found her testimony, and after reading it, I’m even more appalled at the whole thing.  She’s very articulate and clearly passionate about the issue, yet no where in her statement do I see anything about contraceptives being used as birth control, despite the rush to judgement from Rush.  She calmly lays out her argument why contraceptive (or birth control, which ever you prefer) should be covered under normal health insurance policies, and the burden non-coverage places on a significant portion of the population.  She discusses illnesses that are totally treatable, future pathology that is totally preventable, though the use of contraceptive, but that the coverage these woman so desperately need is being denied to them for the very reason she her character is now under attack – lack of education, lack of understanding.  Rush doesn’t understand, and I would wager he doesn’t CARE to understand, that human biology is very complicated.  And a woman’s reproductive biology is especially complicated, with a whole suite of problems that could arise in her reproductive organs.  Many of which can be treated, and future health problems prevented, by the use of contraceptives.

For those of you that don’t know, contraceptives essentially take two forms – physically preventing sperm and egg from meeting, or hormonal treatment to alter what goes on inside a woman’s ovaries and uterus.  The first is quite effective at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but does nothing to help women suffering from ovarian cysts, painful periods, or other health issues that can affect those mysterious, inner lady-bits.  That’s where the need for contraceptives, typically in the form of The Pill, comes in.

To further help you out, here’s some basic information on The Pill (I could add a bunch of links, but a simple internet search will tell you the same thing – plus, I’m lazy):

-Unlike condoms, you don’t just take a pill every time you have sex to prevent pregnancy (well, you could, but that’s called Plan B, and is something totally different)

-The Pill must be taken once a day, at the same time, every day for 21 days, with 7 days of either placebo or no pills.  This is the routine if you have wild monkey sex three times a day for all 28 days, or if you are virgin high school girl who is taking it to prevent the excruciating pain associated with her menstrual cycle.  That means that a celibate individual with an ovarian issue would need to take just as many pills (at the same cost) as the ‘Jezebel’ that Sandra is being accused of emulating.

-Other hormonal contraceptives are available, such as The Patch (think stop smoking patch, but releases female hormones instead of nicotine), The Shot (Depo-Provera) or IUDs (Intra-Uterine Devices – basically they stick a slow-release do-dad into your uterus so the hormones are delivered right there – lower hormone levels for those that are affected by such things), but they are just as expensive, if not more so, than The Pill.

So back to Sandra’s testimony, and the back-lash.

What bothers me – or rather, one of the things that bothers me – is that Rush and his name-calling is getting way more press than Sandra’s statement and the broader issue: that health care is health care, no matter if you’re male or female.  To deny someone legitimate, proven treatment for their issue – especially in the so-called ‘developed world’ – simply because it can also be used for something the church* is against, denies them their basic human right.

Makes me wonder – is Viagra covered under health care plans without question, or does it matter what the institutions values are?  I guess I’ll have to Google… maybe you should too.

 

*I’m using ‘church’ here in the context  of ‘separation of church and state’

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Fotoless Friday, Rant

 

Fotoless Friday – Boo UPS!

Doesn’t look like I’ll get my camera today after all 😦 It’s still in Winnipeg.
I feel like the guy in the Air Miles commercial “Going to Winnipeg” when he thought he was going to Hawaii.
And here I was really hoping for some Family Day weekend picture fun.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Fotoless Friday

 

David’s Tea Advent Calendar – My thoughts on it

For those of you that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you saw my daily tea postings through the month of December. …or you saw really random names and wondered if they were the markers I was sniffing, but I digress. Now that the teas are out and drunk, I figured it was time to share my thoughts. Most of the teas, I enjoyed. Some, not so much. One, not at all!

But I would do it again this year.

To the Teas!

Day 1 – Read my lips. Home-run on the first day, this tea was delicious and gone far too quickly. It’s billed as the ‘world’s best chocolate tea’ and I can see why! The little candy lips are the proverbial icing on the tea. They’ve set a high bar, with this tea on Day 1.

Day 2 – Green and Fruity. This green tea is exactly what you would expect from the name: it’s a nice green tea with a fruity flavour. I really liked it, I’m going to grab some for those cool summer nights 🙂

Day 3 – Creme de Menthe. I do love me some mint, but while I enjoyed this tea, it didn’t leave me wishing for more.

Day 4 – Chocolate Rocket. This chocolate tea was very enjoyable, but couldn’t hold a tea bag to Day 1.

Day 5 – Countess of Seville. Citrusy.

Day 6 – Detox. I’ve had this one before. One of those teas where you don’t want to let it steep too long, or it’s gross.

Day 7 – The Skinny. Seriously, calendar? You start off with the chocolate and liquor, then hit me with detox and skinny? Great, now my advent calendar is judging me…

Day 8 – Sweet Dreams. LOVE this right before bed. I wish I would have gotten this one instead of the chamomile. Phooey! (an obvious thumbs-up)

Day 9 – North African Mint. Mmm, another minty tea 🙂

Day 10 – Santa’s Sleigh Ride. This one is easily No.2, if not tied for No.1. My only complaint was that the tea was made of big pieces (tiny cinnamon sticks, little popcorn, bits of candied pineapple and papaya, and more!) so I only managed two cups 😦 And now, I probably can’t get more until next season.

Day 11 – Japanese Sencha. A very nice, just green tea. With all the other choices, I don’t think I’ll be getting this one again.

Day 12 – Buttered Rum – Rum + Butter ? How can it NOT be awesome? It smelt so yummy, and tasted yummier!

Day 13 – Forever Nuts. Seems so appropriate 😉 And it’s definitely on my shopping list for the next trip to the tea store! This nutty tea smelt delicious, and (very importantly, for me) I could let it steep longer than normal. I have a bad tendency to over-steep my teas, so if they only improve with ‘age’, and don’t become bitter, it’s a winner in my book!

Day 14 – Vanilla Oolong. Like mint, vanilla is a flavour you can’t really mess up. This was a very nice tea. Not particularly memorable for me, but I did enjoy it.

Day 15 – Creme of Earl Grey. This canister busted open, so I didn’t get to try this tea until after the calendar was finished and I could recover the leaves in the book. When I finally did get to try it, it was alright. Not bad, not great, you know?

Day 16 – Toasted Walnut. You know, I never would have thought of nutty tea, but this is the second one in the calendar, and I loved it! And it was another one I could over-steep 😉

Day 17 – Secret Weapon. My first white tea, and me likey! I’ll be getting this one again.

Day 18 – Elf Help. Another one just for the holidays. The best way to describe this one would be ‘spritzy’. Honestly, that was my first reaction. I described it to a friend, and after smelling it, she understood. It’s almost like smelling a cranberry ginger ale! I would get this again.

Day 19 – Exotica. The name of this one makes me giggle. And break out into Adam Sandler’s “8 Crazy Nights” song. “…let’s celebrate Hanukkah, I’ll play my harmonica, and drink my exotica…” (yeesh! What are they putting in these teas? Maybe I am sniffing markers after all.) I can’t think how to describe it, other than I liked it.

Day 20 – Honey Bee. This one smells like you would expect a bee to smell. Very honey-y. And I over-steeped it, and it was waayyyy to sweet. Cloyingly sweet. I still have the rest of the canister, I’m a bit scared to try again, LOL!

Day 21 – Coco Chai Rooibos. This one is nice and spicy. My favourite bagged tea is Celestial Seasoning’s Bengal Spice, and this would be the David’s Tea equivalent, in my book. Two thumbs up.

Day 22 – David’s Organic Breakfast. Straight.Black.Tea. BLECH. Next.

Day 23 – Creme Brule. It’s kind of funny, I had a creme brule dessert at a work Christmas lunch this week, and this tea somehow managed to taste yummier than the dessert. I know, I can’t explain it. It just was.

Day 24 – Santa’s Secret. Perfect Christmas tea. Cinnamon, orange, mint, and tiny candy cane sprinkles! Had to watch this one, started to go a bit bitter if I let it steep too long, but when I got it right, on man, was it yum.

So there it is. My review of the David’s Tea Advent Calendar (No longer available 😉 ) And they sell out quick, so pay attention in November. (ugh, November? that’s like, forever!)

And now, my final words of wisdom – drinking tea is not the same as drinking water! I foolishly thought this, and while I was enjoying all the yummy teas I neglected my water intake so much that it showed up on a test my doctor had ordered. Oops. Her advice? Alternate a cup(mug) of tea with a glass of water.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Food, Review

 
 
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