Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Last night as I took myself off to Bedfordshire (at 11.15pm), I saw 2 girls making their way to the bus stop on the way out for the night.. while I was drawing the curtains. I was pretty tired, but couldn't help but think that not too long ago I would have thought they were heading out too early. We would merely be warming up to head out on the town at that time.

Midnight.. now that was about right

I'm quite happy I went to bed when I did though, since it allowed me to sleep for 12 glorious hours and still be up in time to have brunch.. ahhhh aging.

Oh, this picture is one of five or six I took of the iron(?) sculptures at King Edward Village.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Bridges can be so beautiful.. they can be monstrously ugly aswell but when they're good they're good.

This is Lions Gate bridge from Stanley Park with a view of the North Shore (mountains obscured by clouds). I am very tired and hungry right now, so I will leave it at that!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Urban Dragon Knitting

I was a little confused when I came upon the dragon head on the sea wall. It seemed to have.. what I thought was a big mess of wool, in it's mouth. Then I realised that it may have, in fact, been a calling card of an urban knitter. I wish I could take part in urban knitting, but unfortunately I wouldn't be able to sit still for longer than an hour.

Looking at it now though, I think it is most likely just a child's hat with a bit of driftwood rammed through it..

The pom-pom is a bit of a tell tale sign. Still, the dragon carries it off.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Written in Stone

When I was a kid, I was too scared to push the obligatory shoe print into the cement. They more daring ones would get a stick and write things like "Sinéad and John 4 eva" inside a love heart. I was way to good to write or push anything into cement..

Every time I walk past setting cement I have an urge to be bad. But I might aswell not bother.. I'll never be as imaginative as this kid. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I cannot stop yawning. Are you yawning with all this talk of yawning??? I went to see Har Mar Superstar last night.. which on a school night is unheard of. I was in bed asleep by 1.30 am but was rudely awoken by hungry cats at 6am. I am now very sleepy and hungry. Har Mar was brilliant though, go see him if the chance presents itself!

This picture was taken when he hopped up to perform on the bar whilst waiting for his order of a shot of Jager.. Classy guy. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Cat ON The Hat

So the best photo op ever passed me by on the street today. I was on the bus, (of course), speeding by a man who had a fully grown cat latched onto the baseball cap he was wearing. It was just hanging out on the top of his head, cool as a cucumber. I found it quite fascinating..

Cars like this make me sad. Not only is it cold and alone in a driveway, it is also littered with last years leaves. The only thing worse than this scenario is that I don't own this car.. I would give it the love it deserves. And maybe stick some records to the ceiling.. again

Monday, January 25, 2010

No I'm Not Drunk

Yes it IS an oil spill on the ground, but I thought it bore a striking resemblance to a toucan..? Am I alone on this one? I stood there for quite some time staring at it, and then waited til the coast was clear to take a picture.

If I ever see an image of a holy figure in a ham sandwich I'll keep it to myself..

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Paris, Je t'aime

People in Canada find it a little strange how un-travelled I am in Europe. I have never been to Rome, Venice, Milan, Berlin, or (the big one) Paris... well technically I WAS in Paris. Charles de Galle airport, but it was for a connecting flight to get to Cuba. I think I would love Paris, but as I see it, there is plenty of time to visit the places closer to Ireland when I'm older/wiser/settled. 

For now I will drink in Paris-themed coffee shops and dream of the next adventure..

Bad Time Management

So in the effort to both work AND have a social life I missed my deadline for January 23rd by 15 minutes.. I blame the crappy transit system..

I took a picture of the steam clock in honour of this... I will also be posting another picture later today as penance.. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

If I were a rich man...

I heard a story that a big reason why the Asian population of Richmond BC is so big, is all down to superstition. The Chinese saw the name Richmond as sounding very much like "Rich Man".. which is pretty understandable. So, in search of good fortune in a foreign country they set up base in Richmond in the hopes it would bring good luck.

I feel like I live in Asia, and thus have no real passion to go there.. I am already immersed in the food/culture etc. I regularly am the only caucasian on the bus. I just realized the last part of the word caucASIAN...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beetles and Beatles

The car not the insect... I also love the band. I saw a wall of Beetles near the skytrain station. Each box was dated differently, and each beetle had been damaged in a different way. 

A lot of the boxes were condensed, so the view of some of them was a little obscured. It was created by an Indian artist called Sudarshan Shetty, and I have no idea what it means.. but it looks nice.

On a side note, I have given myself a headache by doing a surprised face too much in work today.. true story!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Heart Crows

Crows are cool. Probably ever since I saw Brandon Lee in the movie of said bird, I have felt this way. The only thing cooler than a crow is a group of them. This is knows as a "murder" of crows. It's so sinister and dark I love it.. I saw this crow acting hard as nails sitting on some barbed wire. Tough.

Although they do lose a bit of cred when I try to feed them outside my kitchen window. They get all wimpy when the seagulls show up.. not cool. But the seagulls are about 3 times bigger, so maybe I can forgive them 1 flaw.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Car Park Buddha

So there I was, happy after a day's traipsing around about the place (mainly window shopping) when suddenly I walked through some sort of transporter. It churned me out in some Asian place of worship, or so I initially thought. But no, I had in fact just walked into the car park of a shopping centre. But there was a very ornate shrine to Buddha himself in front of the mother and baby section.

Whilst I initially thought it strange, I then came to think about the grotto idea in Ireland. I know they're not usually found in shopping centre car parks, but I'm sure other cultures must find it strange to see Our Lady perched in random areas of the countryside...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Down the rabbit hole

This is my favourite house EVER.. well, save for the one in the woods in Knockhouse in Waterford. I used to think that Red Ridinghood's granny lived in that one. I have no idea who lives here, but I like to think it's a small white rabbit with a pocket-watch. Every time I go by I always think, I should take a picture of that house. Well I'm glad I held out til today because the sun actually made an appearance.

I suggest clicking on the image so you can get a better idea of how the roof is done. It's one of the best bits.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

East Side Pride

A new sculpture was erected in East Van just this week. It hearkens back to a gang who used East Vancouver as their stomping ground back in the day.. as far as I know. This logo used to be tagged on walls, school folders, denim jackets etc. Now it has pride of place on the corner of Clark Drive and 6th avenue. People from East Van have a huge pride in their community. I've lived here since we came and I can't imagine living in any other part of Vancouver.

It's causing a bit of controversy.. some people love it (I am of this camp), and some people consider it an eyesore. It's lit by LED at night, I must go back and get a shot at night at some stage.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


There's a lot of controversy about the Olympics coming to town. Spending copious amounts of money, inconvenience for locals in terms of road/bridge closures, what will happen to the homeless etc. All that stuff aside, there seems to have been a lot more Olympic based images cropping up around Vancouver. These are some torch lights that they've put on Kingsway. The hazy purple/green colourdee bits are reflections from the lights on either side.

They just seemed be there one day, but I have been assured that they were there all along, but with normal lanterns. Obviously my observation skills are second to none.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maneki Neko

Maneki Neko date back several centuries. The exact origins of Maneki Neko and the source of its power are explained with many tales. The most prevalent tale involves a poor temple in the woods: A traveler takes shelter under a nearby tree during a storm. A cat appears and beckons the traveler to follow it to avoid the storm in the temple. As soon as the traveler follows the cat, the tree and the spot he had been in are struck by lightning. Because the cat has saved him and brought him to the temple, the traveler and his family become patrons of the temple and bring it fame and wealth. Others believe a similar tale involving a store or inn.

They are in almost every shop window here in East Vancouver, and since we live in what is essentially Vietnam; it's not too much of a surprise. I thought they were a little bit freaky looking at first, bit now I kinda love them, so much so that I bought one.

That's Pedro in the picture... I forgot/was too lazy to dust him

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blog Against Time

Time almost ran out for today's post..! I was too busy enjoying myself at Vince's going away dinner to remember to do the blog. It was a last-minute picture, so I decided to do a portrait of Mona and Gregory. They are 2 of my own creations, with the help of my trusty sewing machine of course. Gregory was born to honour Aoife's birthday, and Mona was conceived for secret santa.. which Aoife also got!

They very willingly posed for me (their creator)! For which I am very thankful. Mona is very much into music, but Gregory is more of a bookworm.. in case you were interested.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Herbs or "Urbs"

I being from Ireland say "Herbs".. being very inclusionary, (not a word, but I'll continue nonetheless), of the H sound. Canadians are quite exclusionary of the H however, making it sound like "Urbs". Poor H..
Aaanywaaay, the herbs in my local supermarket are extremely plentiful. They have a gigantic section stocking them, all packed in their individual transparent plastic bags. The smell is yummy walking by them, but I have no idea what most of them are.

They have odd names like "ScullCap" and "Horehound" and "Horsetail", which sound like items that wouldn't be unlike those in a witch's cauldron.. If anyone knows what they taste like, answers on a postcard please!

On a side-note, I used the word "Antipodean" in a sentence today.. it felt good! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Uncle Albert's House

When I was younger I always thought of myself living in a house FULL of clutter. Nice tasteful clutter mind you, not junky clutter! I think it all started when I watched Mary Poppins. Uncle Albert was one of my favourites, not just because he could fly when he laughed, (although that was a big part of it), but also because his house seemed so warm and welcoming and inviting. He had lots of STUFF, but it was all nice and cohesive stuff. 

I still like the idea of clutter. To this end, I find myself in antique shops progressively more and more as time goes by.. Old pretty things are so lovely. If only they didn't cost an arm and a leg.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloedel Conservatory

This is really quite close to where I live, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't know a thing about it until just last week. I received an email from a friend to say it is planned for closure in March, so I decided to high-tail it there on my day off. It's home to loads of exotic birds and tropical plants. It was a horrendous day weather-wise, perhaps sailing there would have been more appropriate. But the soggy shoes and socks were so worth it. 

The building is covered by a massive dome roof, and it houses a beautiful and tranquil sanctuary. I found out that the closure has been pushed back to May, but they are trying to raise enough funds to keep it open. If not all the birds (who've lived there all their lives) will have to be re-homed. As of yet they have no place to go...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dried-up Christmas Tree

As depressing as it looks, I can't part with it just yet. Even though It's crying out to be let go with dignity, our Christmas tree stands firmly beside the fireplace. Dickied-up for a number of weeks now, it still smells just lovely. Although, the fact that the cat seems to enjoy munching on it to induce vomiting is becoming a bit tiresome.. 

Commercial Drive is rarely called by it's full title. Mostly it is abbreviated to just "Commercial" or "The Drive", (I like to use the former). Names of places are set in cement around the city, but I like it on Commercial best.. don't know why.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fake Plastic Watering Can

I don't mind fake flowers.. in certain situations. Finding fake flowers in the outdoors is a little strange. By that I mean, that's where you're supposed to find REAL flowers. Today I found 2 fake bunches in manner of baby's breath or the like, just lying on the ground.. about 3 feet away from each other but lying in exactly the same position and parallel to each other.

I have thought about it, and it seems to be a changeling flower. Put in place of a real dandelion or something. I have no choice but to believe that some faerie folk are at work here... there's no other possible reason for their placement.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Know Your Mushrooms

When I was a kid I would marvel at the speed with which mushrooms manage to grow. I would also take great pleasure in trying to squash as many underfoot as possible. I liked the satisfying moisty mush it made in the grass after I had trampled on it. Friends of ours stayed with us not too long ago, and one of them had taken quite a fancy to taking pictures of mushrooms. We went for a hike, and I found myself peeling my eyeballs for as many mushrooms as I could.

Oscar and I watched a documentary called "Know Your Mushrooms" a few weeks back.. there is a LOT to know. For instance this festival attracts THOUSANDS of mushroom fanatics a year, and all they talk about is mushrooms.

This little guy lives outside my door. While I pass him every day and give him a little smile (inside my head of course), I am desperately fighting the urge to pummel him...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

After Sunrise

After living in 2 basement suites in a row, I'm so happy to be living in an apartment where the sun is actually a feature of daily life.. well when it's not covered by grey clouds that is. Being up early for work means I get to catch a glimpse of some really special sunrises.

This morning's was one such sunrise.

It sent me out happy and hopeful into the day, which turned out alright as it happens!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Street Life

It's a happy day when I discover new things around the neighbourhood. I've lived near Commercial Drive for 2 and a bit years now, and I still find myself spotting things I've never noticed before.. well, on the days when I am afforded a view upwards and and am not cowering under a brolly. Street Art is a big thing there, with more murals than you can shake a stick at, but I like the nuances best. If you look hard enough you'll see loads of them. This was one of 2 on a wide brick wall. The canvas being some sort of plywood filling in a window cavity.

The trees are budding already.. I can't believe it's 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Small Shoes

The sun made a surprise appearance on my last day of Christmas holidays, so I took full advantage and decided to walk around some of my favourite places. I paid a visit to "Dressew", one of the best haberdasheries in existence (probably). I always get a little thrill stepping through the door into a world where people are excitedly tracking down their next project. I like creating things with my hands and it's nice to be in a place with so many like-minded people. 

I love how they colour block the thousands of zips they have.. I then took myself to Value Village and bought a lovely skirt (well it WILL be lovely after a round on the sewing machine), and for a leisurely stroll home. As leisurely as a 30 minute walk can be while wearing shoes 1 size too small for you.

If only all days were like this.. well, apart from the misfortunate choice of bunion-inducers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Love Neon

I don't know if the fascination has always been there and has just recently come to the fore or what, but I really love neon. There is certainly far more of it here than in Ireland, it's an element of every second business. Whether it be just a splash as an inconspicuous "Open" sign, or if it is the trademark of the building - it's pretty ubiquitous here.

Most of the really good stuff is in the Downtown Eastside. I feel a bit uncomfortable taking pictures down there, as people might misconstrue my intentions as those of one trying to exploit rather than simply celebrate. For those of you in Ireland, the downtown eastside is what some would call "skid row". It is home to a lot of the street folk of Vancouver. 

My favourite neon artwork is over the Ovaltine Cafe, The Save-On Meats (The bottom pig's face is a bit broken now), and the BEST one at The Only Seafood Restaurant. Only Seafood is now closed sadly so the sign is forever dark.. I might go get a picture in the daylight sometime.

All that neon is bent by a person. I know this because when we arrived here, Oscar was contemplating replying to a job posting for a neon-bender... which has given rise to the saying (On observing a neon sign) "Somebody had to bend that you know".. we both do, but it's still funny

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Piste - Off

Today Oscar and I decided to throw ourselves down a sparsely snow-dusted mountain on a length of plastic strapped to our feet. We've done this before, and while snowboarding can eventually get to be fun I need to follow a strict routine to get through the experience:

1. Get up on the board (after taking AGES to do so)
2. Promptly fall over
3. Get up 
4. Fall over
5. Want to go home, but am stuck halfway down a mountain
6. Get up
7. Don't fall
8. Go for a while and feel better about things
9. Promise to go again tomorrow
10.Encounter the chairlift (whole other story)

I adhere to this routine every year and find it works for me.. at least I got to get a picture while up there.

Not too shabby the views around this place. The one thing I've started to realise about the point-and-shoot is that while it's small and easy to carry around, I miss my SLR. I tried to take this picture again on the way home when it was much darker.. it just wouldn't work. I couldn't play with the shutter speed and aperture like I usually do.

Oh well, at least it's a nice snazzy blue colour.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Memory Cards and Sacrifices

So yesterday when I made my economically-minded purchase in Best Buy, I had mentally prepared myself for the up-selling barrage which would greet me at the checkout. "Don't fall for it Jacqui", I told myself. "No matter how cheap the crocodile skin carrying case will be, you don't need it". I cut the girl off before the words had time to slip out of her mouth, and off I went safe in the knowledge I had spent what I needed to and not a penny more.

I'm thick.. I didn't buy a memory card for the stupid thing. I realised pretty quickly that the internal memory would hold a paltry amount.. three pictures in fact. THREE. So taking today's picture was a bit of a challenge. I went to Trout Lake and brutally erased one image after another.

I bought a 4gb memory card on the way home

Trout Lake is one of my favourite places in Vancouver. It has lots of shade on hot summer days, and is one of the few places to tempt me out of the house in the rain. The crows also fascinate me. They fly around Vancouver all day, but then at dusk they all head to Deer Lake Park in Burnaby (South of Trout Lake). The stream of crows can be watched for about 30 minutes on a good night... apparently (this may, in fact, be made up)

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year.. New Blog.. New(ish) leg for Gary

So today I decided to take the plunge into the world of point-and-shoots. Having pretended to know what I'm doing with an SLR for the past couple of years, I decided to take it easy on myself this year. To this end I have purchased a Fuji A230 and have decided to log 2010, one day at a time.

I have never taken a photography course, nor do I in fact claim to have any idea what I'm doing.. but I like taking pictures plain and simple. They will not be doctored/photoshopped in any way. I will write a little bit about each one (probably trying to be funny - apologies in advance), for 365 days. I will try my best to see and convey something fresh everyday.

This is Gary. I work with animals, so they will inevitably crop up from time to time. I bought my camera late in the afternoon, and Gary was the only willing soul I could find to start me off on my crusade. He was rewarded with a chin rub which made him drool. He broke his leg in the most spectacular fashion, and hangs out in the hospital where I work waiting for it to heal.