Friday, 29 March 2013

Panic now, avoid the rush

(With respect to the Calgary Flames management finally succumbing to trading Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins....)

This being Calgary, it's lovely and warm today, unlike when I took the picture below last week.

Weather predictor

All that lovely happy stuff I mentioned at the end of the last blog post came to an screeching halt with my most recent panic attack last night: I've sort of lost track how many I've had in the last two years, given the first two months were basically a very extended one. They are, at least, coming less and less frequently however, as that was the first bad one since October.

Truth be told, this one was also much less physical: no hysterical sobbing for hours while curled up in the fetal position, for example, although there was a fair bit of yelling at my computer, and at the person who received the email that got sent in the middle of it. But all that means is that my brain hyperventilated, panicked, and was highjacked by a weird and crazy person.

The aura of snow

If I could just be able to conjure up a vision like this and quiet down the noise before the feedback loop sets up....

Oh well.

As mental therapy, I decided to sit and spin some of my ongoing project for awhile, but that became derailed when, as I was listening to the radio as I spun, the word came that Ralph Klein died this morning. Whether you loved him or hated him, you couldn't live in Calgary for the last 35 or so years and not noticed the impact he made in this city. Ralph was no intellectual, but he had a common touch, and, so long as he wasn't drunk, was always fun to be around.

The last time I saw him was June 2011, at the opening of Ralph Klein Park, when he made a surprise appearance. He walked into the room I was in, came over with the biggest smile on his face, held my hands, and I told him that it was so good to see him again. I'm glad I had a chance to say good-bye. Here's to you, Ralph, from some other good old boys.

Monday, 25 March 2013

At the edge of the universe

Interestingly enough, about seven weeks after writing about Richard S├ęguin's L'ange vagabond back in October, he appeared on a live program doing the song. Although it's a somewhat different arrangement (sadly, without the fabulous solo guitar intro in the version on Vagabondage, his live greatest hits album ), it sounds wonderful, and he still looks pretty darned good too.

Silvery sunrise

The work carries on: I spent two days out of town caring for a friend's dogs and cat while she had surgery, which allowed me to shoot some different landscapes, and get some solid writing done. More than anything else, words continue to flow easily, and I amazed myself by penning the winning haiku in the little contest Alberta Views magazine ran two weeks ago. My prize was VIP seating at a lovely reading by Marina Endicott, two of her books (autographed, no less), as well as a brief chat with her.

All for less than ten minutes' work over a hot beverage on a Monday morning.

So long, and thanks for all the seed

Calgary's March weather stumbles along: the bird feeders were full last week, and a series of sparrows were very grateful when the weather turned raw and nasty. On my return to the city, I heard several new avian visitors, and the first loud screeches from either a merlin or a peregrine: when the raptors show up, you know it's spring.

Shivering sunset

A series of art-related deadlines approach, so it's back into the studio for most of this week, with occasional -- and tentative -- forays back into the social whirl.

I haven't given up being a hermit yet, but with seeing some cracks in that wall too, I realize I'm being swept up again on the road back to my interrupted life. There's still the yawning cavern of loss, as there will always be, but two people have remarked that I actually looked happy lately: I'll take that as progress.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Spring, in fits and starts

drip drip drip

This being Calgary in March, we have had at least three seasons in the past two weeks: everything from glorious sunshine and temperatures more suited to adventures with feet clad in handknit socks and Birkenstock sandals, to yesterday's dull grey blowing fluffy flakes and windchill fit for somewhere in Nunavut. We still need the moisture, so I won't begrudge the precipitation....

In between other things, I've been playing around more with Canon Hacker Development Kit (CHDK) on my SX10IS: the latest experiment in shooting in RAW format. Good news is that it works just fine, but I need to convert them to something else (in my case, I used Raw Photo Processor (RPP) lets me turn them into 16-bit TIFFs. Mirabile dictu, it worked, but rather than go through the extra step, I've just switched over to taking pictures in DNG (that's Digital Negative, for you photo geeks out there) when I'm running CHDK.

Drilling down

That being said, I'm really pleased with the two photos I played with, and I quite like some of the things RPP lets me do with them first, so I suspect I'll be messing around with it for awhile yet.

On days when the weather's been great, I've taken to firing up the barbeque for dinner: there's nothing like grilled lamb to proclaim spring to me. And whether it's the longer days, or simply the passage of another six months since the last paradigm shift in my life, I feel better than I've felt in a very, very long time.


Since I haven't been as prolific as I'd like with my camera -- at least, not for public viewing -- my final offering in today's entry is a wonderful song from 1963.

Most people probably remember the Jack Jones version, but I've always preferred the arrangement Burt Bacharach plays as an instrumental: the arrangement in this one in particular is great, with David Sanborn and George Duke, performed live, as part of 1998's live tribute at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY, and released as One Amazing Night.

There's something about that rough-hewn vocal at the end that's always made me feel good, and right now, the lyrics make me smile.

Dim all the lights
Pour the wine
Start the music
Time to get ready for love.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Ups and downs

This is a time-lapse of sunrise from February 7 I shot while testing out a GoPro Hero2 camera: I set it up to take a picture every 30 seconds for just over three hours. Wish I had done this again this morning, as we've gone from +10C (50F) on Friday to -5C (23F) today (not counting the windchill), and accumulated close to 15cm (6") of snow in the last six hours. Thus, while the first day of March came in like a lamb, today is most certainly not.


Yesterday was kind of a blur: it was cool in the morning, not nearly as warm in the afternoon as was forecast, and thick dank fog on the way home last night. I did a long, but fun, spinning demo as part of Fibre Arts Day down at Fish Creek Public Library here in Calgary, and then spent the evening with friends commemorating (certainly not celebrating) two years of being alone.


Some days it feels like forever, and some days, it feels like it just happened. Year two was harder in the sense that once I quit being numb, I had to deal with emotions again, and as regular readers know, that was something I had difficulty with at times.

But in the four months since I returned from central Canada, I have found a growing kernel of peace and stability that I treasure dearly, and its influence on my life in general, and especially the creative part of it, has been most welcome. I have proposals going out the door, growing confidence that something will come up, and less hysteria in my life: three things I could not have said this time last year.


More installation photos from our group show at Pages Books on Kensington, up through April 27.

Books for Sale

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