Sunday, September 7, 2014

At the Mopar Show

Sadly it feels like we didn't do much this summer, mostly due to some mystery health problems that I was having, and I hope to have solved soon. There's nothing worse than being a high energy person with no energy, and the waiting is a little long. I feel like I could be a patient on House ;-)

One thing we did finally get out to was the Mopar Show back in August. I have been wanting to go for a few years but the timing was always wrong. It was a little overcast, but still a good turnout, even if the exhibitors occasionally looked upwards for signs of rain and hail. I took a lot of photographs that I haven't processed yet, but naturally did get a few snaps with my cell phone. There were lots of beauties, old and news, from the 1920s to the 1990s. My favourites were all the 60s and 70s muscle cars though!




How fabulous is this Barracuda? It's totally my style! At first I thought it was a Challenger, but my husband knew all the small details that made the difference.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Canada Day at Fort Calgary

Canada celebrated it's 147th birthday on Tuesday, and the family and I went down to Fort Calgary to celebrate. I didn't grow up in Calgary, but I am celebrating my 20th year here, so it's a little embarrassing to admit that there are tons of places I haven't visited or things that I haven't done yet. It's easy to take a lot of things for granted when you live in a place. Canada Day activities are a little tricky as Calgary is now a city of over 1 million people! That means it seems like half of Calgary is everywhere in one place, and Fort Calgary was no exception.

Along with a show and shine featuring over 100 classic cars, there were food trucks, Lord Strathcona's Horse Mounted Troop, a free pancake breakfast and half price admission to the museum. I will have to go to the museum again. It's small, but there's still so much to read. It's better than Heritage Park in some ways, as it is far more informative and historical, instead of just being a great place to stroll around with an ice cream cone :-) It's hard to believe that the Fort Calgary site used to have warehouses on it, until a new roadway threatened the site and steps were taken to save the site and recreate the barracks. Archeological digs took place too! Calgary loves to reinvent itself, and it's fortunately that forty, fifty years ago, someone could see the need to save it for the future.

Sadly, the only photos I took of the celebrations were with my cell phone. I had packed up my camera kit, remembering an SD card, but completely forgetting the battery on the charger. Ah well! Pam of Always Artistic gave me a great simple tip - buy a second battery :-D Here are a few snaps - the yellow shaggin' wagon was my favourite - it reminded me so much of our family van from the 80s :-)

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Brewer's Blackbird

Is it really the end of June? It amazes me how time just seems to accelerate the older I get. I must be having too much fun along the way. We're fortunate to live in a pocket neighbourhood with lots of bike paths, a creek and a parkway, and so are the feathered residents.

Around my house we see ducks, Canada geese, American robins, crows, sparrows (so, so many sparrows!), the occasional chickadee, house finches, sometimes an owl or two. The other week I swear I saw a Cedar Waxwing who might have been lost. It's easy for people to forget that birds are the most accessible form of wildlife for anyone, anywhere! Having lived with birds for thirty some years, I can attest that they are not that much different from people!

Last year I bought a new camera, a Canon T3i. It is so much camera - I did have a film SLR years ago, but mostly I have been using a high end Canon PowerShot, which is a great inbetween model for those that want something better than a pocket camera but can't afford an dSLR. You can get some surprisingly good photos with a point and shoot these days, although nothing beats having the lenses to take distance shots. The kit lens is just an 18-55mm lens, but, as it happened, there was a special sale on Canon lenses when I bought my camera. The salesman (who happened to be a friend) recommended a 75-300mm zoom lens since that fit my budget. He also has a Canon camera, so I can borrow his lenses too.

The best way to learn a new camera is to take lots of pictures, and unfortunately last year's flood in Calgary put the kibosh on visiting many natural places like the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Bowness Park. It was thrilling to be able to pack up my camera and head on down to the creek. Unfortunately for distance shots, my zoom lens was woefully inadequate. Way up high on the hill was a hawk (either a redtail or Cooper's) nonchalantly watching from a chain-link fence. The red-winged blackbirds cheerfully called from deep within some reeds. I didn't feel adventurous enough to wade in to get closer to some ducks. Oh well!

On my way back home, I spied a robin. I have been trying to get a good pic of a robin for years now. Either they don't stay still for very long, there are too many branches in the way, and the big one, I don't have a camera! This guy was happy twilling away in a pine tree. Unfortunately, he was backlit. Some day Mr. Robin, some day.

The only successful picture I had was below. I've been seeing these birds for years and always assumed they were starlings. Not so! It is a Brewer's Blackbird. He (or she) posed long enough for me to fiddle with the settings. It's not the greatest, but that just means I need to go out again with my camera :-)

starling.jpg

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Henry the Conure

One of the fun things about social media is that your friends share lots of pictures of the things they like, and their pets as well! This is 4x6" marker sketch I made recently for a friend, of her conure named Henry :-) Click the picture to go to my DeviantArt page. I figure eventually all my friends will get a piece of art from me!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Up, Up and Out of There!

I'm still waiting for my energy to come back after the end of the semester. So much happened in April that's it's carrying over into May. I could use a vacation. Right after class ended on April 15, I went into production mode for the comic expo, which I'll tell you all about next.

The final project in SOSC 301 was to write an essay about all the material culture in Pixar's Up. This class was so fascinating - you start seeing material culture at work everywhere. It had been a few years since I watched the movie, so I tried to remember what it was about. Then I watched it, madly scribbling notes. Then I watched it again, pausing frequently to inspect the details and backgrounds. I had pages of little notes - now the problem was how to put them all together in an essay 2000-3000 words long. There was way too much information. Curse you, Pixar, and your penchant for deliberate details.



I finally decided on comparing and constrasting the appearance of the characters. One of the concepts that was emphasized in class was that appearance was performative and could also be seen as a sort of "lie", or stand in for some else. Once I started focusing on that, it was easier to get started. I ended up getting 100% on the essay, which you can read here. And below is just a small sampling of my notes.

  • Dug's name backwards is "good"
  • Dug can tell that Kevin is female, Alpha refers to Kevin as "it"
  • Carl makes and breaks a cross your heart promise to Russell; he and Ellie made a similar promise
  • Both Ellie and Russell are a friend to nature, especially birds
  • ChARLes and RussELL - Russell is like Ellie and Carl has the potential to be like Charles (sacrificing relationships for objects)
  • Ellie and Russell wear similar uniforms; when Russell discards his sash, it ends up on Ellie's chair
  • Charles Muntz is a jerk instead of a hero
  • Kevin is a girl bird, not a boy
  • Ellie is a girl, but looks like a boy when she first appears
  • The house comes to represent the body of Ellie, while Russell is her kindred spirit (even right down to the poofy hair under their hats)
  • Dug is constantly told he is a bad dog, but he is a good dog
  • Similarly, Carl is declared a public menace and the policewoman tells him that he doesn't look like one
  • Despite being a Wilderness Explorer, Russell isn't good at being out in the wild
  • The cloud game Carl and Ellie play, which becomes the rock game
  • The majestic Alpha has a squeaky voice
  • Dug is mistaken to be a man which turns out to be two rock formations

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Craftsplosion!

Just trying to make it to the end of the semester here...never mind the mess!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Intro to Material Culture

I am going to looooooove this class called SOSC 301. It's mostly lecture, no tests, no group assignments and a few small assignments with a final project. Yay! The only reason I signed up for it was that I needed any SOSC class, and it was the earliest one available. Naturally it's too easy to get caught up in visual culture at an art college, so thinking about "stuff and where it comes from" as a macro level is really exciting.

We watched some slides by photographers who photographed people, their belongings, and sometimes both. The idea was to get a sense of who the person was from their belongings. Here's my purse contents:


purse


Our first assignment was to make a list of all the things in our bedrooms from memory. The second part is to actually make the list. The third part is to swap lists so that another student can draw inferences about us. Whoever gets mine is in for a puzzler :-D Another project is a "personal, reflective essay"..

The textbook for the class is Understanding Material Culture by Ian Woodward. I forked over $63 for a dead tree version. The Kindle versionw as $35...but the Android Kindle app is really finicky and I kind of need my book to be available :-D