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No shadow of a doubt when this photo was taken


Time was when people used shadows cast by the sun to determine where they were in the course of a day. Most, however, have long since ditched the sundial in favour of speed dial — preferring to use up-to-the-minute smartphones to get such information.

I understand though, that there may still be some people possessed of the specialized knowledge needed to determine the hour and minute simply from the length and position of shadows alone.

It’s enough to tell such people that I took the above photo of the Cambie Street side of Vancouver City Hall, early Sunday afternoon (October 4) — they can work out the exact moment for themselves.

Happily, for the rest of us, not schooled in such arcana, there is the EXIF data which digital cameras embed with each and every image and which records that the photo was taken at 1:48 p.m. and 44 seconds, precisely! Click the image to enlarge it.

Replacing a bike saddle — easier to do than explain


My new hand-me-down bicycle saddle (thanks to whomever tossed it out).

Saturday (September 4), before I went to bed, I replaced the saddle on my bicycle.

I only mention the fact because that’s what this post is about — the steps I go through to remove and replace a bike saddle (or seat).

Homeless cyclists, such as myself, put big demands on our bicycles. I routinely cover more than 30 kilometres a day on mine and I haul a trailer in order to collect loads of returnable beverage containers up to 45 kilos in weight.

No surprise then that between my bicycle and trailer, there are always things, major and minor, that need fixing or replacing.

My bike saddle has been one of the minor things that’s needed replacing for a few months now (I wear out one or two of them a year) and Saturday evening, on my way to bed, I came across a good-quality,┬ánear-new, Velo-brand bike saddle that someone had left out beside their apartment’s Container recycling bin.

Removing and replacing a bicycle saddle is no big deal so I did it first thing after I arrived at my sleeping spot. Read more…

HBC also stands for Hot Bus Colours!


For better and for worse, the classic 215-year-old Hudson’s Bay multi stripe point blanket means “Canada” to me every bit as much as the red maple leaf does. So last week when I saw the side of a Vancouver transit bus ad-wrapped in the four iconic point blanket stripes: green, red, yellow and indigo, against a white background, well, I stood up and took notice (and I took some photos). Read more…

Butterflies, art galleries and the young are not…

cabbage -white-butterfly-01

A butterfly of the cabbage white variety stops to get its picture taken.

Early Wednesday afternoon, with the warm sunshine beaming down on me, I stopped at a low retaining wall in the alley on the south side of West Broadway Avenue, just before Alder Street.

I had a travel mug of hot coffee to enjoy and soon enough I had the companionship of a powerfully curious yellow jacket wasp..

While the wasp and I took turns trying to drink the coffee, a small flutter of white crossed my peripheral vision and landed on the hedge beside me.

Seeing a chance to get my first-ever photograph of a butterfly, I left my mug to the wasp and s-l-o-w-l-y inched closer to the landing spot, zooming and focusing my camera as I did so.

I actually managed to snap three progressively closer photos of the butterfly at rest. My fourth photo caught a bit of white wing and the shadow of antennae on a leaf as it suddenly took flight. Read more…

The lighter side of saving energy


Wednesday night I noticed that four of the light poles illuminating the enormous parking lot behind the 9-storey BCAA Building at 999 West Broadway Avenue, were taking turns.

There was nothing faulty about the lights; they were winking on and off in a deliberate, repeating pattern.

It had to be a scheme on the part of the building manager, TPMG Capital, to shave a little something off the cost of illuminating the parking lot while it sat empty all night.

It’s not hard to imagine what drove them to such a whimsical-looking sololution.

Removing one of the middle light poles would’ve looked weird, while taking ones off an end would’ve left some of the parking lot unacceptably dark and reducing the bulb wattage would be too dim overall and, well, this was probably the best and cheapest solution, under the circumstances.

As for how much money the building is saving by turning the lights on and off…I can only guess.

Read more…

Another brush with Fairview art


Do you think that these stranger’s colours are strange?

Hooray! The long drought is finally over!

I haven’t had one of my throw-away art posts for a while but fortunately on Wednesday. while I was looking through recycling bins in the Fairview neighbourhood for returnable beverage containers, I happened upon four discarded sheets of artfully marked water colour paper.

What caught my eye was that each sheet was brushed with six different strokes of tempera colour, suggesting that an artist or designer had tossed the sheets off (and then tossed them out) as part of some kind of exploration in colour relationships.

And I do so like to look at someone else’s colour choices! Read more…


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