Thursday, January 17, 2019

What a Sunset!

For the second consecutive evening, we had a WOW! sunset. There was no light pillar, but it was quite awesome regardless.

Once again, I had minutes to set up and snap from the bedroom window, but I was quicker off the mark this time, and I nabbed a few decent photos.

I began with a fairly wide view.

But I realized that the best action was low, so I zoomed in, always keeping the building in view for a foreground element.

You see that low patch of orange in the right corner, above? Well I thought that deserved more coverage, so I shifted the camera to the right.

But no, that wasn't far enough, so I shifted quite a bit more and got the best photo of the series in my opinion, maybe because that whitish patch is so well centered and framed.

Nothing is perfect, and the buildings don't make for the best foreground in the world although the silhouetting makes them tolerable. Unfortunately, we can also see wires. I could try to remove them, but I don't think I will bother because, despite the fabulous sky, I don't think the photo is print-worthy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Just Missed It

Sometimes we see nice sunsets from our bedroom, but I usually don't bother trying to photograph them. This is especially true in summer when the sunset moves to a different angle, and there are more distractions in the way.

However, in this season, the sun more or less sets behind the building directly opposite, and said building not too bad of a foreground element: not great but any port in a storm, eh.

On Sunday, I noticed, a little late, a very nice sunset that included a sun pillar, so I scrambled to get my camera and tripod. I shouldn't have bothered with the tripod and just shot with a higher ISO (film speed) because by the time I set up, the pillar was all but gone, and the rest of it was not quite as glorious either.

If you squint, you may see some last vestiges of the sun pillar over the steeple, or you may not at this resolution.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Back to Hockey Photos

It has been quite awhile, relatively speaking anyway, since I posted a hockey photo blog. Games were somewhat fewer over the holidays, and I don't usually do away games of which there were one or two. Then, I opted just to sit and watch the two home games that I did attend.

But I got back into the mood and mode on Sunday, a game which they lost 3-1.

I begin with two JJ pics (no. 6 in white). In the first, both he and the opposing  forward (JJ was playing defence in this game) both tumbled while contesting for the puck.

Another fight for the puck, but they both stayed up this time.

The other team was stronger on that day, so much of the action was in our own zone, and some of it involved the goalie.

A few more shots. I always try to get good action shots, no matter who is in them.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Time Flies

There is some emerging science behind the perception that time passes more quickly as we age — or appears to pass more quickly, I should say. It's documented to some extent in this article: Physics explains why time passes faster as you age.

My personal theory has been that the longer we live, the less of a percentage each unit of time is in our lives. So, if you are 5 years old, your most recent year, the fifth year, is 20% of your life. But if you are 80 years old, the most recent year (the 80th year) is only a little more than 1% of your life.

Because we forget so much, I believe that, in a certain sense, an 80 year-old doesn't feel like they've lived much longer than a 5 year-old, so the percentage is of some importance. That's just my theory, which is totally unprovable by the way and certainly not part of the physicist's explanation.

However, as referenced in this article, Bejan, is theorizing on the matter. You can read the whole piece or quickly read the 4 main points that I have cribbed, below.

Time is happening in the mind’s eye. It is related to the number of mental images the brain encounters and organizes and the state of our brains as we age. When we get older, the rate at which changes in mental images are perceived decreases because of several transforming physical features, including vision, brain complexity, and later in life, degradation of the pathways that transmit information. And this shift in image processing leads to the sense of time speeding up.

There’s an inversely proportional relationship between stimuli processing and the sense of time speeding by, Bejan says. So, when you are young and experiencing lots of new stimuli—everything is new—time actually seems to be passing more slowly. As you get older, the production of mental images slows, giving the sense that time passes more rapidly.

Another factor in time’s perceived passage is how the brain develops. As the brain and body grow more complex and there are more neural connections, the pathways that information travels are increasingly complicated. They branch like a tree and this change in processing influences our experience of time, according to Bejan.

Finally, brain degradation as we age influences perception. Studies of saccadic eye movements in elderly people show longer latency periods, for example. The time in which the brain processes the visual information gets longer, which makes it more difficult for the elderly to solve complex problems. They “see” more slowly but feel time passing faster, Bejan argues.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

And the Seasons they Go Round and Round

Sue pretty well moves from one decorating season to another. Christmas gives way to Valentines, Valentines to Spring and so on into summer and autumn and back to Christmas.

We are presently into Valentines, and there are red hearts springing out of vases.

It's a macro, so the heart is quite a lot bigger in the photo than in reality.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Smile

A Saturday Smile for you or at least I hope so. I think it's a somewhat appropriate follow-up to the previous rotary phone post, at least a little bit. It has to do with age anyway.

When I saw all of these ointments (or are they unguents?)* on the bathroom counter just now, well ... I just had to ...

I recall the time when we were at the cottage, and I had to gather and arrange my various ointments and unguents next to the bed. I said to Sue, "Do you remember when we could just go to bed?"

*From Wikipedia: An unguent is a soothing preparation spread on wounds, burns, rashes, abrasions or other topical injuries (i.e. damage to the skin). It is similar to an ointment, though typically an unguent is less viscous and more oily. It is usually delivered as a semi-solid paste spread on the skin and is often oily to suspend the medication or other active ingredients.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Can You Teach New Dogs Old Tricks

Fun is made of seniors trying to cope with new technology. In point of fact, most of us mange fairly well for the most part. True, I sometimes need a bit of help with smart phones and their associated devices, but I get most of it most of the time.

But how about kids with dealing with old technology? Well then, maybe the shoes are on the other feet in that case.

In the video, two boys are given 4 minutes to dial a number on a rotary phone. They don't quite make it.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Of Pens and Garages and SayWhatItNess

Say what? Well, perhaps I could have been clearer.

No, we do not keep pens in the garage, but the pens in question did come from the garage (tire store) where we have our tires changed.

And no, it isn't Canadian Tire.

And yes, they are superb pens.

However, many sincere thanks for the excuse to post when I had nothing else to post about today.

And also for the opportunity to post these selfies, which I have taken this week because I don't know quite what else to do with my camera in winter.

Setting up the camera on a tripod, getting yourself in the frame, and then clicking remotely, is quite an interesting procedure, let me tell you.

So, I have good reason to look perplexed.

Which is, apparently, what some of you felt when reading my previous post.


Wednesday, January 09, 2019


One recent night as I was reading rather late, I came across something that I wanted to note.

I raised myself from the chair and found my favourite pen by the computer. (Believe it or not, it was a freebie from my local tire shop, but it feels just right in my hand and writes really well.)

Then I realized that I yet to find paper or notebook, so I went in search.

Once I had obtained the notepad, I'll be darned if I could find the pen. I looked and looked . . . to no avail.

I like that pen so much that I trundled downstairs to find a similar one. (Yes, I grabbed more than one from the garage but not on the same visit, so I'm not super greedy.)

In the morning, after being up for several hours, for some reason, I reached into the sweater pocket of the same sweater that I had been wearing on the previous evening.

You already know what I found.

In my pocket.

All along.

Scatterbrained am I.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Morse of Course

Recently, I wrote about spending New Years Eve with an old friend: that friend being Morse.

And yes, since then, we have been re-watching the series. The plots are complex enough and our memories short enough that we get a lot out of the episodes to the point where we will likely watch them again . . . someday.

Morse is the one detective over whom I actually get sentimental. I really like the guy and his partner, Lewis. Poor Morse is unlucky in love and pretty much of a loner outside of work: a flawed but human and likable person.

But I had never read the Morse books by Colin Dexter. Sure, I had thought about it more than once, but so many things just pass through my mind and just keep on travelling at light speed into the emptiness of space.

This time, however, I found myself checking out the series on Amazon/Kindle. But how much would I like the books as opposed to the tv series? I wondered whether they would be worth the investment.

But wait a minute there, AC. There is a library in town, and perhaps . . .

And they did! So in the middle of the night, I checked the website, put one on hold, and picked it up the next day.

The Remorseful Day* was the final installment of the series, proving that it's true — the last shall be first (as far as reading order goes). Indeed, I found myself becoming sentimental all over again. But they key point is that I liked it.

The book version and the tv version (of the same episode) were close enough that I could picture Morse and Lewis very well. I didn't find a big disconnect between the two presentations. While I can see some differences in the characters (for example: Morse in the novels does not seem quite as crusty as Morse on the telly), they are substantially similar, which I found myself appreciating.

I enjoyed the book well enough that the very next day saw me returning it (read, of course) and picking up another Morse: this one containing the first three novels in one volume.

And so, I sat down yesterday (yesterday as I write this), and read all of the very first novel of the series, The Dead of Jericho. Since I consumed it in one day, I suppose that it is superfluous to write that I quite liked it.

Dexter is both an accomplished writer as well as a clever writer. I can appreciate his vocabulary and turns of phrase very much but also revel in the cleverness of the plot. Having recently also watched The Dead of Jericho, I could visualize the characters and scenes quite well. Although, they changed the plot somewhat for tv, the broad strokes remained very similar.

I will continue to read Morse and will most likely purchase whatever novels are not in our little, local library.
*That must be a very intended play on words: The ReMORSEful Day, which is something that I can also appreciate. But you knew that.

Monday, January 07, 2019

For Mystery Readers

Thanks you for your recommendations from yesterday's piece. I've noted them on my Amazon wish list for now.

But here's one from me.

Sometimes on FB, I see an ad for a Kindle book. Because they know my habits, it is usually a British mystery that I've never heard of, and it's usually for the first book in a series at a bargain price.

For 99¢ or whatever it happens to be, I sometimes click and buy because I don't have much to lose.

In most cases I am interested enough to finish the books although they can get draggy by times.

Most recently I downloaded a Brock and Poole mystery by A.G. Barnett and found that I quite liked it.

Poole is a young. detective newly assigned to work with the older but hardly older cop, Brock, in a lovely English town called Bexford.

I found the characters interesting, and they brought enough background dynamics into the storyline to raise interest beyond the current plot. It was an interest that could be threaded into new installments and indeed it was as I found out when I ordered the other two available novels.

I liked the stories well enough to read one a day for three days and would read the next if it were published, for the background plot will continue although the most recent case in When the Party Died concluded.

Mind you, I don't know at what prices I would continue the series. If the next Kindle edition were the price that I would pay for a major author like Elizabeth George, for example, I would probably pass. But for $3 or $4, I found the series to be a pretty good bang for the buck. And that's all that these novels will cost, close to $4 on Amazon Canada and $3 in the USA.

One reservation is that the prose can seem a little plodding at times although I, obviously, didn't find it to be a major problem. There are also some odd turns of phrase. For example: someone can be stood in the corner rather than standing in the corner. But perhaps that is an acceptable localism. Regardless, once again, I wasn't overly bothered.

What I think I am saying is that Barnett may not be the best writer of prose, but I do like the characters and the plots well enough. From a body in a freshly opened grave to a body in totem pole, I found the premises and resolutions interesting.

I certainly doesn't require a big investment to find out if you would or would not like Brock and Poole if you are interested in this genre and looking for a new read.

Amazon USA
Amazon Canada

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Remembering What I Had Forgotten

I like reading, but I sometimes find myself lacking in the subject matter that I prefer: mysteries, particularly of the British sort. However, although one of them is not British, I have recently read two mysteries, but gasp! horror of horrors, they were both audio books.

I say it that way, with a gasp!, because I know there are some who would never consider reading a book that way. I get that to some degree, but when I try it I find that I like it.

The first of the two books in question is Louise Penny's most recent Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, Kingdom of the Blind, which set in that wonderful, mythical hamlet of Three Pines in Quebec. The second is Ian Rankin's latest Rebus novel, In a House of Lies, which takes place in Scotland.

I don't want to actually review them here, but I found Kingdom of the Blind very good and In a House of Lies acceptable. Penny's series is unique and well worth reading IMHO. It's good enough to rival the best British mysteries, also IMHO.

Although I have already written the four paragraphs above (come on, they were short!) that really isn't the point of this post. I do understand, however, that there is usually little point to any of my posts. But once again, I am digressing.

What I wanted to get to is memory or lack of same and how a decent sleep might spark it.

I have the Kindle app on my iPad, and sometimes I will see an ad for a  book from an author that I don't yet know that I can nab cheaply (I mean nab the book not the author). Such titles may just sit there, lonely and forlorn, for a time until I get around to them.

So it was that I checked my list last night (which won't actually be last night when you read this) and decided to give Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz a try.

Kindle informed me that I had begun the book at some point in the past, but I decided to start over since I couldn't remember it at the time. The more I read, the more it was familiar to me, and I realized that I had read more of the book than Kindle had recorded. It was getting late, so I shut the device down and went to bed.

When I awoke this morning, I realized that I remembered the whole thing or at least the basic plot outline. In point of fact, I already knew who had dunnit. Just to double check, I scanned a few more chapters which confirmed that I was treading on familiar ground, and really, who wants to read a whodunnit when one already knows whodunnit?*

So that's it: a pretty well pointless post, which reveals that I can be a bit of a forgetful dunce but that a night's sleep can help even the most forgetful of dunces.

PS: Believe it or not, the next book that I opened on my Kindle app was also déjà vu (Yes, Yogi, all over again). I realized that I had also read it or at least much of it although my memory isn't as clear about how it all worked out. So I deleted that too and am currently working through another from the backlist. This one I knew I had begun at one time but only just begun, so I will keep going with it although it's not exactly lighting me up.

*I confess that I might someday want to re-read a whodunnit if the book was really good and was read it a long time ago. For example, I have been considering re-reading some of Elizabeth George's Lynley series, having read the earliest tome three long decades ago.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Buppa's Ruffles

Sue tracked down the video of Danica calling my stubble, ruffles.

It's not long, and it is extremely cute. Trust me on this one.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Amma and Buppa Get Mugged

When Danica was little, this is what she said for grandma and grandpa: Amma and Buppa. In truth, we probably liked the names so much that we seized on them right away, and we have been Amma and Buppa ever since.

But surely there were no other Ammas and Buppas: Amma sometimes, but Buppa was seemingly unheard of. (BTW, there's nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition.)

Except . . .  Except Shauna saw someone in our own town, our own little town, advertising Amma and Buppa mugs a little before Christmas. So she surprised us with them on Christmas morning. She had us open them simultaneously, and we are, at this moment, both drinking our morning coffee from said mugs.

Buppa [buhp-uh] Special grandpa to Danica and Jonathan. Has been known to have ruffles.

Amma [am-uh] Grandma extraordinaire to Danica and Jonathan. Often found with Rhonda.

Buppa's Ruffles comes from a time when Danica was very young and brushing my hair, and she called my short hair, on a pattern-bald head, ruffles.

Meanwhile, Amma often invokes the help of  Rhonda, when flustered.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

New Years Day

New Years Day didn't turn out quite as expected.

I had been planning to take some photographs of the town's New Years Levee, which is a free, open skate at the arena. They do this every year, and I was going to shoot it this year because it is the beginning of our 200th Anniversary, and I am to be one of the volunteer, event photographers.

Life being what it is, I awoke with a bit of a sore throat on the 31st, but it hasn't turned into much, thank goodness. But as I was sitting at the computer paying bills and getting financial tracking in order for the new year (I do a spreadsheet by year), I thought to myself, "I think I'm feeling a little bit dizzy."

Apparently, dizziness has been a symptom of recent flu, but I thought it had run its course a month ago, for I hadn't heard any recent reports. Apparently, it lasts for a long time once it strikes, so I hope my symptoms are coincidental. I have been spared flues and colds for the most part for the past few years, so maybe it's my turn.

I want to put you minds at rest that it, the dizziness, certainly was not from a NY Eve hangover since I didn't even imbibe in one drop of alcohol. I had meant to, but I never got around to it. Pity.

The long and short of it is that I didn't attend the Levee, but faithful Bob did, so the photography was in good hands.

What I did do was watch quite a lot of tv since, with a bit of a spinning noggin, I wasn't keen on settling down to a book.

New Years Eve with an Old Friend

John Thaw in Inspector Morse (1987)New Years Eve turned out to be quiet, nostalgic and satisfying.

Our tv supper (yes, with just the two of us, this is how we do supper) turned out to be a visit with Inspector Morse.

As we tuned into Britbox, the documentary, The Last Morse, came on the screen, so we clicked on it.

Although we have seen all Morse episodes, we had never seen this doc that was made way back in 2000 to go along with the very last of the 33 Morse episodes which ran from from 1987 to 2000.

We love this series with the somewhat curmudgeonly Morse and his likable partner, Lewis, to the point where we, somewhat in jest and somewhat not, tend to judge all series against this one. "It's not Morse," is commonly repeated refrain in this house when a new series is found wanting.

After that trip down Memory Lane, we tuned into the very first episode, The Dead of Jericho and loved it all over again. Perhaps we will watch the other 32 episodes again and perhaps not. We shall see.

There have been two spin-off series. Lewis ran from 2006 to 2015 and coincidentally also ended up with 33 episodes. It was also a very fine series, and we never said, "It's not Morse." We do want to watch all these again but can only find the initial episode, the pilot, on Britbox.

The other spin-off  is Endeavour which features a young Morse in the 1960s. From 2012 to present there have been 5 series with a total of 23 episodes if one includes the pilot. A 6th series will hit the airwaves in 2019. Since we no longer  get live tv, we are, regrettably, a little behind with this show.

That a tv series that began in 1987 has two successful spin-offs says quite a lot in my opinion. I have often felt that Inspector Hathaway (Lewis's sidekick) could be a very good spin-off from Lewis, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards as they say.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Dippity Do Dah

It's January 01 2019, and some Canadians do this ↓.

Can you imagine?

Here is some information for the Polar Bear Dip in Perth, a nearby town.

It's all for a good cause, and if I were 50 years younger , , , well who's to know.

Summer dips are best though.