Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snow Day 1

It snowed all night and continued throughout much of the day, so they cancelled the buses, and the kids had their first snow day.

They came to ours and kept busy for a few hours. Danica made slime, and JJ worked on one of his books.





Then, they got on their phones to their friends, and made other arrangements for the rest of the day.

In the evening, I went out to shovel a bit of snow, and then took a little walk around the block and snapped a few pictures with my compact camera. And I do mean snapped (as in snapshots) in this case. But I thought some might appreciate the snow and the lights. They were taken at 1/10, 1/20 and 1/6 of a second respectively, so I am surprised that they are as clear as they are.






Monday, December 11, 2017

Just Take Your Medicine

I've been thinking about it off and on for a while now: Is it alright to punch a Nazi?

The topic came up with a friend recently, but we didn't stay with it long: a couple of sound bites, and we moved on. Sometimes, conditions are not right for a protracted dialogue. Then there's the fact that my poor, wee brain is seldom up to much deep reflection of any type.

But I had considered the question somewhat before then and have thought about it somewhat since. Not deep thoughts necessarily (because brain strain is devoutly to be avoided), but I mull it over from time to time.

As in much of my fuzzy thinking, I am somewhat ambivalent. I tend to see both sides of many topics, and when I support one side of an argument, it may seem as though I am taking a firmer stance than I necessarily hold. It may actually be that I would argue for the other side at another time, depending on the stance of the other person at that moment.

It seems as though I am always on the fence. Well not always but often enough..

With regard to the topic at hand — Is it alright to punch a Nazi? — most seem to say: "Of course not. It's just free speech. You don't become violent over someone's free speech."  It's pretty hard to argue with that on the face of it, but I think I want to try a little bit anyway.

For one thing, that word, just, is problematic to me. When you put just in front of something, it automatically tends to reduce it and even trivialize it. But let's let that concern lie for now and maybe come back to it later.

Here's the heart of it. It is ipso facto hate speech to claim to be a Nazi. While hate speech should not necessarily be suppressed, partly because our definitions of hate might vary considerably, this is a special case in my mind. Nazism is ultra racist by definition. Totally racist, ugly racist. You are freely identifying with a ideology that embraced genocide.

You know all about it. Nazis tried to exterminate a whole ethnic group and much more. They slaughtered many millions for just being who they were. Then, they caused perhaps 20 million military deaths in an aggressive armed conflict and possibly 60 to 80 million deaths in all when you factor in the results of war such as famine and disease. Wikipedia 

So, there's no just about it.

See here, if you choose to align yourself with that group, you deserve a punch. You probably deserve much worse than a single punch, for you are, by definition, the worst sort of racist who condones the worst possible sort of treatment of others. If that's not what you mean by identifying as a Nazi, then choose another word. Words matter, and those are the horrific connotations associated with that word.

So no, I don't sympathize with a self-admitted Nazi who gets punched in the face. When you choose the action/belief, you also chose the consequences.

And I may even sympathize with the puncher.

Hold on: I did say may. I would really have to know him or her and their motivations before I could say for sure. What are their principles? Why did they take that action? Is that person a goon spoiling for a fight, or is s/he motivated to stand up in defense of those who could become the ultimate victims of that foul ideology. Goon or justice warrior: just like words, motivation matters.

But I did say, sympathize. And I also said, may.

I did not say, condone.

There's a difference, for I can't say that I condone this sort of aggression. I simply can't think of a realistic case in which I would actually encourage someone to take such an aggressive action. I only said that I can sympathize with the motivation and action, at least a little bit. That's the nuance here. I can be sympathetic towards an action while not necessarily espousing it. It is not the case that I would encourage someone to go out and punch someone in the face — as much as that someone might deserve it.

But whether I would support the punch or not, whether I would espouse punching or not, I sure as heck do say that if you are going to identify with Nazism and all that it represents, then you darn well deserve a punch in the face. It's not just free speech. There's no just about it. So take your medicine.

Just take your medicine.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

The True Beginning of Winter

There wasn't much snow, but after picking up Sha and the kids at the airport last night, we sure hit some squalls on the way home. Visibility was low a few times, and the roads were a little slick, but we made it, just a little slower than usual.

Unlike that early snow in November, I think that winter is here to stay now. There is nothing but cold weather in the two-week forecast, and we are told to expect up to 12cm/5" on Tuesday with about 8 more predicted days of snow in those 14 days, albeit not so much as on Tuesday.

Two photos from the windows: one out front and one out back. Not much to shout about, but it's my news for the day. That and we are thrilled that the others are back from their cruise safe and sound.



Thursday, December 07, 2017

A Photo Frenzy

A call two days ago sent me (and Sue) into a photo printing and framing frenzy. While I may be exaggerating a wee bit about the frenzy part, let's just say that we had to get busy.

For about a year now, I have been displaying a few photos at Simon Gold's Hair Salon, where Sue gets her hair done (if you'll pardon the redundancy as it's difficult to know what else one might get done at a hair salon other than hair). In this age of everyone-has-a camera, not many people sell many photos, never mind at a hair salon. But, glory be, I have sold a few.

Well, didn't I get a call on Tuesday informing me that the photo front and centre in the following photo had been sold? It was the largest of the 4 or 5 photos that I display on the premises.



We couldn't let that prominent spot stay bare for long; it's even what the ladies see in the mirror as they undergo their beautification. Fortunately, I had a similar sized frame waiting with eager anticipation for a photo here at home. But all of the other displayed photos were also autumn photos, and since it is now winter here in The Great White North, it was time for a holus-bolus seasonal change.

I had been getting ready to do this anyway but had been set back a few days when I ran low on both paper and ink. And that is why Sunday had found us in Ottawa spending almost $300 on these very items. At least I had already been examining photos and deciding what I might print for a winter showing, so it was just a matter of gathering the materials and doing the work.

So, printing and framing soon transpired along with another trip into the city for another big frame when yet another photo was sold. We had to think pricing, print the appropriate identification tags, frame and package. I print and Sue does both the framing and the packaging of unframed prints, which you can also see on the table in both the preceding and following photo.

I simply don't do that sort of work very well. I'm a bit clumsy and don't have the fine motor dexterity that some have. I would give it the old college try if I absolutely needed to, but I also know that Sue can do this kind of work much more efficiently that I.

The result, or at least one corner of it, is below. (I did leave one autumn photo up, for now anyway.) As soon as it was up, the new main photo was pre-sold, but it gets to stay there for the time being anyway.



Other photos that we've hung here and there, all with a winter theme. All this was essentially put together in about a day and a half ... although there had been preparations in advance (thank goodness).




This has been a very enjoyable and even rewarding experience. I had never done much printing beyond 8x10s and certainly not much framing, so it has been a pleasure to display my work and even make the occasional sale. Beyond the sales, I do get reports of people enjoying and appreciating my photography, and that in itself is affirming, for I have never previously had a proper venue to display my work.

In business terms, with the various expenses of the materials involved, I am definitely in the red. If I make a little bit of money on a sale, it certainly isn't much and just gets put back into purchasing more supplies. But I never expected to make a business out of it and am quite chuffed to have had the exposure and positive feedback that I have experienced.

So, thanks to Simon Gold and also to Sue Gold and Katie at Simon Gold Perfection in Hair for this opportunity and to Sue Rayner for making it possible logistically.




Monday, December 04, 2017

Excuses

This occurs to me on occasion; I forget to check blogs for a few days. This morning there were almost 40 waiting for me when I clicked into Feedly. I commented briefly on quite a few but felt that I had to bypass others.

How and why does this happen?

Well, for one thing, I had pre-posted a number of entries last week, so they come up automatically, and, therefore, blogging kind of left my mind. It's understandable really since there isn't much room in my mind to begin with.

Also, however, there have been other things on the agenda recently.

On Friday morning, we were forced to arise at 3AM and pick up Shauna and the kids by 4 to get them to the airport by 5 so that they could board by 6. I had a nap or two that day and when awake I was into a Vera mystery by Anne Cleeves (not Anne of Cleeves).

4am Smiles

They flew to Florida and are cruising from there. Their ship is said to be the largest cruise ship in existence. Shauna has posted some photos, and I believe it. I will just post this one photo, which looks likes they are in a big mall.

Looking quite pleased to be there


Saturday came with the necessity of having to go grocery shopping. We had been home for almost a week, and I had been putting it off until I could put it off no longer. Groceries are my chore. Normally, I don't mind it, while Sue really dislikes it. I had been partly putting it off for the arrival of a new month as our November budget had been somewhat overstretched.

Sue was to be a greeter for the Christmas House Tour on Saturday night. It's a fund raiser for the hospital, but she was surprised to see the scads of visitors that dropped by on a Saturday evening. So, I would say that it's a very successful fund raiser at $25 per ticket.

When I dropped her off, the house looked so pretty that I made a mental note to bring my camera with my when it was time to pick her up.

No snow but a nice house to shoot nevertheless

Sunday involved a quick trip into the city to pick up printer ink and paper. Silly me had run short on both just when I need to print some winter photos for a display. Almost $300 later, I feel a lot poorer, but the paper at least will last for the year or near about. We also had lunch at a popular restaurant after having to wait in line for almost a half hour. We vowed to never go again on Sunday in December and, frankly, never to go again on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, I was off to the Bowes Brothers 11th Annual Country Christmas Music Show. It's also a fundraiser for the hospital. The Bowes Brothers are a local family, male quartet. I was the volunteer photographer for the event.

First Performer: Jim Simpson
Burnside Sisters fiddled some find tunes, some with a Celtic flavour

The Burnside Sisters also did a lot of step dancing which the audience loved

The Bowes Brothers with dad accompanying in the background, right



Friday, December 01, 2017

Cottage Odds and Ends

I didn't take many photos beyond sunsets, but I did take a few, mostly with the iPhone.

Sleep was a real problem for me, and it hasn't changed a whole lot since we returned. However, I find it more comfortable and with more to occupy me here. On the first morning I awoke ~3 and almost two hours later, I took this selfie to post to FB so everybody would feel sorry for me. It did not work.



We did go out for some woodsy walks. This was along the old logging road where some leaves clung to their trees.



On another day we walked along the river to the south woods. The last two were panos which scrolled on FB.





In the woods the lagoons/swamps were frozen and will likely remain in that state until April.



These tracks were made by beavers pulling chewed logs and branches into the river. There were quite a few fresh little stumps where the beavers had been doing their work. The first photo reveals multiple tracks and the second closer detail.




Oh ... I almost forgot this photo of Brian and Sue shooting the bread that he had made. Brian and Heather came up later in the week, and the first thing that he did was bake no-knead bread. He has been quite into this lately.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another Daybreak

The previous two posts were both from early Monday morning at the cottage. But on Thursday morning something similar occurred, this time with the snow gone, or most of it.

The old barn again. I think this sunrise was possibly a little nicer than the first one.




Then down to the planer mill, I took different shots this time. When I say shots, I will just inflict this one upon you.



I continues onward; this tree is not far from the mill. I chose to keep the foreground dark although I might reprocess it differently in the future since I am not sure that I like it now that I see it again.



Finally, I ambled down to the river, near the part where we sometimes swim. The reflections were gratifying.




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Beyond the Yard

Sunrises and sunsets can alter and even dissipate quickly, but I wandered beyond the yard to see what other views I might catch.

This is the new barn. While it is anything but new, it is less old than the old barn. The sky beyond was not in the direct sunrise as it was more to the north, but the shades of magenta looked very appealing to my eyes.



I then took this one of the same barn from the other side of that fence above but with my iPhone, which I was also carrying. I really like the angle with the grasses joining the road to point the way toward the barn.



As I turned around more toward the rising sun, it seems that the sky began to lose those nice magenta shades to become more yellow and orange. First came the old barn.




Beyond the old barn lies the planer mill which has been converted into a gazebo or summer room.




It was a bit chilly, and you can see above that the sun was beginning to rise into the sky, so I turned back toward the house. I did take a few more shots, but the best light was over, so I am not going to post them.

But it was such an unexpected treat to have both snow and a nice sunrise on my first morning in the country before settling into the more typical bleakness of late November that was the general norm of the week. Of course, I had been expecting bleak, so I wasn't really disappointed, but this was a very unexpected and satisfying morning. One doesn't necessarily expect snow so early in the year, and I certainly hadn't expected such a light show as well.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Serendipitous Photo-Op

I didn't sleep well at the cottage — at all! That included, in particular, the first morning (as well as the last, with some less terrible but still poor sleeps in between). After awaking before 4AM I did various things and later on lay down to listen to a podcast.

Near 7 o'clock I got up to visit the unowhat and on my way past the window saw, quite surprisingly because I hadn't been anticipating it, a nice sunrise occurring. I quickly put a coat and boots over my pjs and headed out.

There is a large yard outside the cottage, fringed by fir trees, beyond which we can see the older barn and the planer mill, and that's the direction in which the sun rises. These photos were taken just outside the cottage, looking across the yard toward the trees, structures and sunrise.




Monday, November 27, 2017

Country Drive

What a treat it was setting off to the country with snow falling: not so much as to make driving difficult but enough to lift our usually bleak November, at least for a day. A little snow settled on the branches, making the scenes most pleasant. Sue took a number of snaps on the road, but nearer our destination we were able to pull off onto a sideroad for a few minutes.



↑ This was somewhat typical except the main roads that we travelled on were not still snow-covered.

↓ Just behind me in the above photo was a former schoolhouse, now converted into a tearoom. Service was very slow that day. 😉




↑ Stairs leading from the tearoom to the store which is called the Old Hastings Gallery.

↓ A little more of that quaint gallery.



That was last Monday and although a bit of snow stayed for the duration of our little vacation, most of it melted away on the next day. But we certainly appreciated it brightening that trip.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tree Decorating Party

Due to timetables, we did our annual tree decorating get-together yesterday at Sha's. It's at least a week earlier than usual, but that couldn't be helped unless we were to do it very late [for us].

Today, if plans continue to unfold as they should, we will be off to the cottage for a few days or a week. It's a bleak time of year to be in the country, but we did have our first good snowfall yesterday, and that will help if it stays.

Whatever the case, it's our first visit to the cottage in over a year. Last winter, we were prevented by illnesses and other events, and in the fall it was important to stay home and attend to the various needs of our poor old and dearly departed cat.

I've been trying to keep up with your posts fairly well lately, but with no internet at the cottage, I will be pretty much staying offline and ignoring both my blog and yours.

So I leave you with a few snaps from the tree decorating party on Saturday.

Have a good week.