Saturday, February 26, 2011

Summertime and the living is easy

I really should have been studying my grammar (a present perfect progressive structure) but instead I was flipping through (past progressive) old videos and had come across (past perfect) this one of a deer that Peter and I were doing a sneak on (present progressive). Or maybe that was "we were snucking on" - like I said, perhaps I should have been studying a bit more seriously.

Anyhow it made me think of how much I love summer, and how I wish it were back.

For summery pictures you can go check out Peter's Gallery at and then you too can yearn for summer. Unless of course you are reading this in July in which case the crispness of a February morning is what you will be pining for.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Attack of the howler monkeys and deep philosophical questions

Okay, I know they are not howler monkeys, but when you slow down the video the results are howler monkey-like. I just had to share this as I find it amazing to watch wildlife in a different time frame.

Our perceptions of time are fixed by our abilities to discern discreet events in our day-to-day life. For all we know, time may appear much differently to an animal with faster reflexes and keener eyes. Or what of the rock or mountain that experiences time on a geological scale. Think on that the next time you plunk your butt down on a boulder that has been watching the earth unfurl for the last million years or so.

Okay, before I get too much grief for mentioning that maybe rocks experience time in a manner different to us we must keep an open mind. I mean, if the latest crop of politicians want us to believe that voting for them will in any way change our lot in life then I can assign sentient qualities to rocks.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ram Slam

Well I said on my last post that I was wishing for something worthwhile to post today and that wish has apparently come true.

On my way out to Tranquille I stopped to watch the sheep as they were grazing along the hillside above the tracks. I had just set up my camera when two of the younger rams (about 6-7 years of age) started bashing heads.

As I watched the animals square off it became apparent that this wasn't just an isolated incident but a good proportion of the herd was taking part. The crash of the horns could be heard coming from distant rocky slopes, hidden gullies and fortuitously, right in front of me.

Watch the last part of the clip and it sounds like a single crash, but when I slow it down you can hear the two distinct sounds made when first one set of horns collide and then the next.

All in all a great day. I am heading out again today to see what I can capture.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A new job!

A pair of black bears

So today will mark the end of my first week as the guy sitting in the office that has the title of Provincial Coordinator, Bear Aware Program. The job is great, at least I think/hope it will be great as right now all I am doing is trying to get enough background information on the process that I don't shoot myself in the foot the first time I am asked a question of any importance.

The mission of Bear Aware is to reduce the number of bear-human conflicts in communities through education, innovation and cooperation. So the focus is on education and it is amazing how effective the process is. I don't know yet how we get all the bears to sit still in class but I am wiling to give it a go.

I have a great office and as I mentioned the other day it is right next to where my buddy Gerry works so that is an extra bonus. Additionally my friend Pat works just down the street at Pro-Video so I should never be at a loss for coffee or walking partners.

But as much as I love my new job I am even more excited about the return of the sun. Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and crisp so I will make up for a week of no filming and hopefully have something worthwhile to post here by Monday.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rode hard and put away wet

Frank - in Arabic (I hope)

Yesterday I learned that this "working for a living" thing is not all that it is cracked up to be. Now I must remain vague at this point to as to the particulars of my new job but let me tell you I have learned to say "Do you want fries with that" in a particularly convincing manner.

No, I do jest. My new job is pretty much a dream job for me and I am sure it will be a pretty good fit. Once all of the protocols have been addressed that go with a job like this I will be sharing the particulars with all six of you that are now following my blog.

But getting back to my "dies horrendus" I can, and will, go into the particulars of that.

The day started early, about 2:30 in the a.m. early. I had eaten late and like Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol I was fighting indigestion caused by a piece of cheese or some other irritant. Being awake and, realizing that three of my three school assignments that were due were not yet finished, I stumbled down to the computer to complete the tasks.

Some of my most brilliant work is done in the wee hours of the morning, but my muse had slept late this particular morning and I struggled through all of the assignments.

I sent off the assignments, slept through breakfast (which was hard as I was also cooking breakfast) and then forced myself out through the door and off to work.

I think I will have to instigate some of the Swedish protocols around stretching breaks, coffee breaks and generally getting up out of your chair breaks if I am to survive in an office atmosphere. Fortunately, my friend Gerry has an office nearby and we get to meet for coffee and plan where we will build our next fort. Gerry and I have known each other since grade three and we started out as friends by building forts together and thought "why change a good thing" and have been building forts ever since. More on the fort building later.

Work was over and I rushed back home, changed, grabbed my books and headed off to T.R.U. where I had to teach an ESL class about the exciting world of adverbs of frequency.

Sometimes I never often get the words right usually. The lesson went something like that before it started to go downhill. Despite my bumblings the students seemed to enjoy the lesson and all gave me a glowing review on the evaluation that they had to complete at the end of the class.

Then quickly on to a 50 minute dissertation on Silence and learning. I think it had something to do with the idea that a real cowboy never passes on the opportunity to say nothing. Halfway through the class the lack of sleep was catching up with me and it was all I could do to remain conscious.

The next class was our two hour grammar class which I truly enjoy but this day proved to be my Waterloo. My classmates and I were each given 7 minutes to review a verb tense with the rest of the class. Everyone else brought Powerpoint presentations, laser light shows, fog machines, and one women was setting up a trapeze and had some guy from Cirque du soliel teaching us about future tenses. I had a piece of a chalk and a shakey understanding at best of the concept. It was probably my single-most disappointing moment of my learning career.

After my less than stellar performance one of my more compassionate classmates said "You look horrible - maybe you should get some rest!"

I concurred, went home and went to bed.

The week can only improve.

(Oh, and the picture at the top of the blog - one of my student's had my name printed in Arabic for me, I am pretty sure it is Frank but I'd better check that it isn't a part of a horse's anatomy)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fish on!

I was going through my video collection when I came across this clip from quite a number of years back and thought I should post if for my good friend Robert (and when you say Robert please say it as it supposed to be pronounced in French and not as in English or as in my middle name.)

Robert is a Clearwater-ite with an impressive list of credentials when it comes to anything to do with the great outdoors. He is an accomplished heli-ski guide and one of the top kayakers in the universe. He even managed to navigate the lower Clearwater river with me in the front of a two person kayak. When he is not out performing various acts of adventure daring-do he runs a gym, teaches, and runs a river rafting company. I get tired just listing all of the stuff he does.

Robert and I were talking one day and he mentioned how he would like to take his son Robson out on a fishing trip but didn't know of a good lake nearby. I knew of the perfect lake and since I knew Robert also had a canoe and could carry it, all of gear, and our lunches I thought it would be a great idea to let him in on my secret lake.

The trip was one of those great fall days when everything went just right and Robson got to slay the fish in grand style. This was definitely a catch and release into the frying pan type of trip and although we released as many as we caught we did end up with a pretty healthy stringer of fish.

The only item of note for the day was the fact that we got caught up in one of the most spectacular lightning storms of my life. We were forced off the lake and had to take shelter under some smallish trees. Marble sized hail pelted the earth and the skies were torn asunder. Lightning bolts danced across the ridge we were on as the gods vented their full and mighty wrath on the forest. Then, like the fickle humour of a latin lover, the violence was gone, the sun returned and we were left to finish our day of paddling around the lake and hauling in rainbow after rainbow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quick I need a rhyme for horse!!

So once again my hands are quicker than my brain. I had come across the BC Cowboy Heritage Society website and thought - hey I should enter that poetry competition again. Before you could say "dog-dieing and girl crying" I had signed up for the event.

Shortly thereafter I looked at the website to see who else had also signed up. I had recognized a few of the names but the entry that generated the most fear was some young fresh faced kid who looks about 8 years old. There was a rule in Vaudeville and that was to never follow an act with a kid and not to work with monkeys. I don't know about the latter but I definitely know about the former.

The previous year when I had entered the poetry competition there were thankfully, no junior combatants. In the musical category though there was one pint-sized singer who was not only cute-as-a-button but also an incredibly talented singer. She took home all of the hardware along with a thousand dollars to tuck in her jeans. I see she is also retunring to the festival as a main stage performer.

So now I am hoping the young poet that I will be expected to perform alongside comes down with some childhood affliction like mumps or chicken pox. Perhaps I'll get lucky and he'll be made to stay after school on the day of the festival and he just won't show up.

Lacking an effective hex to put on my competitors I may have to break down and write some really good cowboy poems. That or perhaps I can catch the end of the Star Trek marathon. Live long and prosper!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bathtime for Bonzo

Or was that "Bedtime for Bonzo", you remember, the old Ronald Reagan movie. But I digress because this post has absolutely nothing to do with past US presidents, or present US presidents for that matter, but I did think the title did offer a unique segue to this short clip I had composed of a chukar bathing in a dust bath.

Chukar, even though they possess an uropygial gland, still like to get a good dust bath in whenever possible. The uropygial gland as you may well remember from Biology 350 is the gland that birds use the oil from to preen themselves with. Some birds don't possess this gland nor do humans and hence our need for Brylcreem and other stylish hair gels.

Anyhow, I wanted to post this short video as I have been busy with the books and preparing for a job interview instead of fun things like shooting video and writing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

33 Countries and counting

 Map of country of origin of my readers

I thought I should update my quest for having at least one reader from each of the 169 or so countries that presently exist on our little blue planet. The list has grown to 34 countries, and in terms of numbers or readers, here it is:

United States
United Kingdom
Sri Lanka
Hong Kong
Czech Republic

So what does it all mean? I think it means that there are a lot of people around the world with not a heck of a lot going on with their lives!

Actually I get quite a kick out of the fact that somewhere, some person from a completely different culture is reading my words and trying to make heads or tails out of our culture. Fortunately most internet savy readers will quickly realize that the bulk of Canadians could not be like me or the country would not run as well as it does.

As a reminder to any of my readers that might have contacts not on this list, to pass the word along to your friends to get them to visit the blog and to post a comment so I can add their country to the list.

Right now however I have some very interesting bird video to edit. In the meantime you can watch this short clip that I have made about Starlings - The Kings of Bling.