Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memories of Paris #7: The Clock at the Musee d'Orsay

Watching the movie Hugo reminded me of this image from a visit to Paris, 2002.

A blue moon on Aug 30th 2012: same old, sane old

The same moon, the same view, that our specie, and the pre-homo sapiens before us, saw. The same moon bayed at by the ancestors of the wolf, by the eyes and the brains of animals long extinct. The same moon that influenced the primordial seas, the same moon that fascinated Galileo and guided Columbus.
Sony a57, Minolta 100-200f4.5, 1/800 sec f4.5 ISO100, tripod. Guelph (as if it matters where) Aug 30th.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LX3 Diaries #475: Scenes from a Ribfest, Guelph 2012

What do you get when you have the hot summer sun (and acres of exposed flesh), a classic/vintage car show, live country music, a midway, a staff of volunteers, and ribs, ribs, ribs? Why a ribfest, of course!
A ribfest is a type of food festival that occurs throughout the United States and Canada. The size of each ribfest is often measured by the number of travelling professional "rib teams" which sell food and compete at the events.
A rib ffestival generally has multiple food vendors selling barbecue beef or pork ribs, puled pork sandwiches, chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, and other food choices.The vendors usually compete against one another for top spot in several categories including: Best Ribs, Best Sauce, Best Pulled Pork, and the People's Choice Award. (from Wikipedia)
Net proceeds from the three-day event went to local charities.
Chris, from the Boss Hog Team, brushes on the key to  winning the people's vote: the sauce!
The teams!
The food and beer tents...
And of course, all that food has to end up somewhere...

The arcades...
And what was I thinking? I should have taken pics of the vintage cars, the giant stage (country music), the rides, the people...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A some kind of wonderful tea place

As I start to write this blog, Michael Buble goes into his rendition of "Some Kind Of Wonderful" and right there is the title for this blog entry.
Situated on a stretch of Wyndham Street  known more for its bars and late night sandwich shops, the street view of bonThePlace shows no indication of what's within. One steps into a serene, austere but colourful-in-a-muted-sense, sweet-smelling place with a calming vibe. To my open mind, I trust my first impressions; I will definitely be back and linger longer.
It is a business, and its business is to sell tea. But just as well, I also get the sense that it exists to spread a philosophy, to set the mind and heart on the path to living a serene life in an often grimy and chaotic world (there is a tea room plus regularly-scheduled classes are offered on the culture of tea).
The photos here do not reflect the ambience and vibes I felt. This is what happens when you're only in a place for 5 minutes! But I will be back!
Aug 6th.

Monday, August 6, 2012

LX3 Diaries #470: Light and shadows

You can't have one without the other. Douglas Street. Aug 6th.

LX3 Diaries #469: half off

One has to leave something to the imagination. Wyndham Street. Aug 6th.

LX3 Diaries #468: grasshopper and red car

Zehr's parking lot, Kortright West. Aug 6th.

there's a new dog in town: The LX3 Diaries

Having grown weary of the photo limitations of the iPhone, but still enamored of its portability, I found this 4-year-old Panasonic Lumix LX-3 by trading in some photo accessories that had been sitting around unused for the last few years. As much as possible, I will be using this LX-3 instead of the iPhone. The new photo series will be called "The LX3 Diaries" but numerically, the photos will be a continuation of the iPhone Diaries. Aug 6th.

through the coloured glass and on to the floor, brightly

Mary's artwork. Aug 6th.

Book Review: "Damned Nations" by Samantha Nutt, M.D.

This book is an accounting of a true humanitarian's two-decades-long experience in 1) the frontlines of conflict: Somalia, Iraq, the Sudan, the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, in 2) the corridors of the world's decision makers: The United Nations, NGOs (both big and small), Western Powers, and in 3) the "kitchen tables" (a worn-out cliche, I know) of Canadian homes.
This book is an honest view of events that we are only familiar with through newspapers and TV clips. The world in this book is seen through the eyes of the  multi-faceted mind of a woman, a Western woman, a Western woman physician, and a mother for whom advocating for the suffering is a calling.
I personally can't think of a better book to read for the person who wants to feel the full power of empathy for these far-flung places, without the risk. "Social change (anywhere in the world) begins with education". Waking up our innate empathy is the essential ignition spark for action. This book also provides a guide to the effective deployment of a person/family's resources through an index of aid groups, advocacy groups and a who's who of groups that contribute to the war industry (including your pension fund!).
I have distilled this book to it's three main messages:
1). "War is not so entrenched that it cannot be undone". It's easy enough to dismiss what appears to be a naive, utopian statement. After all, isn't "war" hardwired into our DNA? Don't we go to war to preserve our way of life, to defend ourselves? Well, it is almost never the case. Wars are fought so your pension fund's values go up and stay up. Wars that are, on the surface, initially at least, started on xenophobic and nationalistic grounds are almost always abetted by, and prolonged by overlapping government and  corporate interests  of the Western (and Chinese) nations.
2). Empowering women (Westerners shouldn't be too smug: the West needs this done too) is the surest and  most cost effective way of nullifying the reasons for, and the effects of, going to war. It's about small victories: providing a safe forum in the remote villages for women to talk amongst themselves away from men, providing seed money for home-based business, and of course, education.
3). This book shatters the myth of efficacy of the aid-delivery methods and programs we have come to rely on. It explains in thorough detail the ineffectiveness, the folly, and the actual harm that, for example, donating used clothes does to the societies it is supposed to help. Another example, volunteer tourism, doesn't help anybody except contribute to the fuzzy-warm albums of the volunteers and their families.
The resource list at the end of the book is a must read for an awareness of who is doing "bad" things and who is doing "good" things.

why do we do this to ourselves?

In a heavy hitting article in The Globe and Mail, akin to a slap-in-the-face, ice-water-in-your-pants,  wake-up shake, NASA scientist James Hansen pins the last three years' freak weather pattern on climate change. He hasn't even  mentioned the two massive power blackouts in India, and from my personal experience, the rising temperatures in the Philippines that even the locals are complaining about, as well as the massive rains in the Philippines in the last few days.)
And yet, locally, here in Guelph, and repeated thousands of times across Canada, in the mornings, we line up our cars at the Tim's drive-through (also at McDonald's... surely deserves positive mention at the next shareholders' meeting), 10-plus cars in a row at a time.
I have watched (while waiting for my bus on Gordon and Kortright) an empty store inside with a car lineup outside. One could park their car, go inside to grab something, and go back to the car in less time than it takes to go through the drive through. And this happens in, arguably, one of the most environmentally-conscious cities in Canada.
Why do we keep on shitting in our own backyard. There is no Plan B for Planet Earth.

Last night, while lining up for entry into the  theatre, I overheard one woman, recently retired and keeping active, talk about the university courses she is taking in Santa Monica, Californa. She has taken 20 sessions so far, and she flies in from Guelph, Canada for every one of those sessions, obviously spaced months apart. What's the carbon footprint on this course?

We don't have to stop participating and  indulging in our preferred activities. But surely, we should be using our supposedly highly-evolved brains to find alternative ways of going about our business.
Please read my book review on "You are Here".