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Spider with a parking spot


Today I saw a European garden spider sitting in the middle of quite a large orbital web it had spun across the entrance to a covered parking stall. The web stretched from concrete post to concrete post.

Perhaps it had finally tired of subsisting on little flies and was hoping to bag a really big Beetle, one of the new convertibles with the more “masculine” styling. Click the image to enlarge it.

A Steller’s jay is something to crow about


Everyday in the Fairview neighbourhood I see several kinds of birds: crows, seagulls, pigeons and chickadees to name the most common but I have never seen a Steller’s jay, until today.

That’s kind of a shame. From the tips of it’s electric blue wings to the top of it’s charcoal crested head the Steller’s jay is an eye-catching bird. It’s also British Columbia’s provincial bird. Read more…

Cheese it, the cops!


As the trailer truck full of black and white cruisers waited on West Broadway Avenue this morning, I heard someone else watching it exclaim: “I saw that last week. They were shooting a movie!”

Of course they were. Read more…

What’s the story with this forest fire painting?


Every painting tells a story. The painting I saw out by a dumpster last night  tells the story of the scrawny little pine tree that was always being bullied by the other trees in the forest. It goes like this… Read more…

Cement — the real mark of human civilization


The so-called concrete jungle may not be the nature of trees and streams and furry animals but it is very much the nature of people.

At the beginning of recorded human history there were cities with walls of plaster and cement. The stuff I watched some city workers make a sidewalk curb from a few weeks ago at Cambie Street and 10th Avenue has been a building block of human civilization for over 9,000 years.

Pound-for-pound, there’s nothing better than cement-based materials for building the cities needed to house the billions of people on earth but the worst thing is that the production of lime-based cement materials, including concrete, plasters, mortars and many kinds of bricks, is also a significant contributor of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas tied to global climate change.

For better or worse, though we’re probably stuck with the stuff. I believe we’ll wean ourselves off fossil fuels long before we can see our way to living without cement. Read more…

A 1960s example of bitmap editing


Doesn’t this look like a fun building to live in?

The Regency on 14th Avenue just east of South Granville Street, is a really big apartment building covered from top-to-bottom in tiny square ceramic tiles. These little tiles run the gamut in colour from yellows through greens to various shades of blue.

The mosaic skin of the building presents smooth colours at a distance but as you get closer the colours change as the tiles themselves become visible.

It’s the same effect you get walking up to Georges Seurat’s  pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon or looking too closely at a 72- or 96-pixel-per-inch computer display. Read more…


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