Monday, January 31, 2011

A place for art

Just about everywhere I've looked the past few days has been a place where some kind of art is staring back at me. The painting, by Genevieve Pfeiffer, is a recent splurge. Some people fall for clothes or shoes or jewellery. With me, it's books and small pieces of art.

Friday was an opening at a gallery in Vancouver. Two of my closest pals compare notes on one of the photos in the show.

Saturday was supper (its own work of another-kind-of-art) at the home of an artist friend. The tour of his studio served as a second dessert. While in that very magical space, my friend and I talked about how interesting it always is to see what people hang on the walls in their homes.

What do you suppose the art in your home says about you? And really, isn't every place a place for art!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shaky plans?

At ten this morning, there's supposed to be province-wide earthquake drill. It even has an official name, the Great B.C. Shake Out. Sounds a bit like something that might happen at the airport or the border.

And no, they didn't choose today because it's Australia Day. Apparently, this day was selected for being the 311th anniversary (what's the significant gift for that year, platinum razor blades?) of the last mega-quake (9.0) that happened out here. Yep, that'd be 1700. Makes at least for nice, easy math.

An earthquake isn't something to joke about, even though it might be the only thing to dislodge our over-inflated real estate prices. The region's geography makes it pretty well inevitable that sooner or later, another big one will occur.

Still, I'm suspicious as to just how province-wide this will be. For one thing, the claim that schools will be participating sounds highly unlikely, as secondary school students are occupied in the task of writing provincial exams. Yet another case of one branch of government not knowing what another one is doing?

Of all the people I've asked about it, not a single one has even heard of it. Still, when the real thing arrives, you can bet that they'll know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not-so-Golden Globes?

Ten, twenty, fifty years from now -- when they're rolling out the classics from 2010, I find it hard to believe The Social Network will be high on anyone's list.

Facebook has changed -- and will no doubt continue to alter -- many of the ways we connect with one another. But that's sociology, combed over by technology. Documenting the phenomenon's development, and creating a script so we can meet the characters who accomplished it has value, of course. But really, best film of the year?

When it comes to listing 2010 films with longevity, I'll be putting my money on The King's Speech.

And yes, that's Oscar looking over the horizon...

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's not easy losing green

New rulings from the Metro Vancouver board will make it easier to remove greenspace, whether it's park land, golf courses or pieces of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

The picture above is now a big box development. It used to be a green space that doubled as a recreational facility for the community: 9-hole golf course, driving range and family-oriented mini-golf.

Migrating birds stopped by on their flights. Ducks raised their families in the several ponds. Native species, such as huckleberries and salmonberries, abounded in the various mini-systems that comprised the land there.

Despite public protest, the powers-that-be managed to get the rezoning they wanted, and yes, like the Joni Mitchell song says, now it's mostly a parking lot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Eleventh of January. All those ones lined up, waiting to turn to something else...

It's been a day that's felt like a day for ending things (responses to copy-edits for Shrinking Violets went out). And with endings comes the prospect of new beginnings.

A friend reminded me that this is the date (in 1935) Amelia Earhart flew solo from Hawaii to California. Of course, I take this as a sign that it's time to work harder on turning the poems from my chapbook about Amelia into a full-fledged collection.

Tonight's fresh coat of snow, and the way the sky is so bright -- the photo was taken without a flash or tripod (thus the blur) -- all help contribute to the feeling that we are on the brink of change, one that will carry us forward to better things.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Poems and other celebrations

Once again, Merry Christmas. Those countries that follow the Julian calendar are observing Orthodox Christmas today. In researching the observance, I found note of a gift of poetry as a way to mark the day, so today I offer poems as well.

One is a cooperative effort, published as the new year's Monday poem by Leaf Press. This is an annual event where publisher Ursula Vaira calls for poets to send in couplets, usually on some particular theme. She and her colleagues then assemble them into a poem. This year, I was fortunate to have a piece from my couplet used as the title.

Another celebratory poem is one by Kim Goldberg. Her poem, "Ephemeral Exhibit" is the fourth one down on this site, part of a celebration of what you might call celestial poetry, though its technical name is Astropoetry. I like the explanation Kim sent when she alerted me to the posting:
The sub-genre of Astropoetry is also sometimes termed Astrohumanism and entertains the notion that our cultural differences and grievances are diminished to invisibility beneath the vastness of the cosmos.

I'm also choosing to celebrate today, as I've sent off another version (one I hope might be getting close to final) of my novella, Shrinking Violets, scheduled to be published later this spring by Quattro Books.

Monday, January 03, 2011

...and out with the old?

Well, maybe not all of it.

In the early '70s, a friend named Bryan Yates gave me this little brass calendar -- an item boldly known as a perpetual calendar. Since it promised to keep track of the days from 1971 to 2010, that sounded perpetual enough for me. Back then, 2010 seemed about as distant as Jupiter.

Only, oops -- now, even that year is gone.

So, does this mean I should ditch the gift I've kept so long? Heck, it even came along with me when I lived in Australia for the years 1989 and 2002.

All I have to do to keep it in working order for the year is pretend it's 1983. I could have also chosen 2005, 1994, or even 1910, as all of them are equivalents, but I still have a lot of great memories from 1983.

When you think of all we have in our lives that didn't exist then, most of us probably want to remain here in the second decade of the 21st century. Though, I don't know -- maybe one of these days time travel will present a whole new wave of tourism.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

In with the new...

The start of a new year means a day of new beginnings. In my case, that even means getting to use some of the new things I got for Christmas.

At last, it seems like the right day to put things into the drawers of my new dresser -- even time to toss the old toothbrush and start using the pretty new pink one.

Of course, no start of the new year would feel complete without a walk down to the beach to watch the Polar Bear swimmers!