Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today is  the last day of the month. As is my habit, I flipped the calendars in my office over to the next month. Tomorrow will be December 1st, the first day of the last month of the year

Today in Toronto we got our first snow fall of the year. So this is the first day that my black & white dog becomes a black & white and white dog. It is easier to illustrate than it is to explain
Yeh, someone has to be happy about the snow. That may be beyond happy
December is a funny month. I think of it as the beginning of winter, if you will, the first month of winter, but it is the last month of the calendar year. The beginning of the season, the end of the year. The season we can feel, it's cooler, my dog is coated with snow, it's obvious that something has changed. The year is a bit more esoteric; we count the days on the calendar and name the months but in the long run, they are only words.

I turn the pages of the calendar and watch the numbers change. I watch Terra jump after the snow flakes.

It's beginning.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Day two of our Iceland vacation was day one of our guided bus tour, Country Life. We met our fellow tourists, an american or two, a pair of Brits, a couple of Australians and a few Belgians who would become our favorite travelling companions  We were all the ones sitting at the back of the bus drinking cans of Viking Beer. We also met Anna Laura, our tour guide, a mountain rescue guide and climber, about 95 pounds of dynamite, wit and opinion. Her partner was Sigi, our bus driver, who wants to visit us in Canada so we can take him to Burger King
From Reykjavik we made our way north up to the Western Fjords. We passed small fishing villages and took a long tunnel under a fjord that was contested during World War II due to its depths, the Allies sunk massive fuel dumps in it to service submarines and fighting ships. We got our first taste of Icelandic Coastal weather and were very happy for bringing the really good rain gear.
We got off the bus at Arnarstapi, a little fishing village that featured a giant Viking made out of basalt and some pretty spectacular coastal features, where surf had pounded its way into and through the volcanic rock

Anna took us along the coast and guided us through this narrow draw, with the rain stinging out faces, to an inlet where the surf pounds in so hard, it smashed to pieces a steel Russian fishing trawler; all that is left of the vessel now is just some random junk.

We had an opportunity to wring the salt water out of cameras on our way to our next location: A museum that was actually just the house of a fisherman, a shark fisherman. This is an example of Iceland resourcefulness. Isolated as they are, you find many farms with their own museums and their own churches as well. This old fellow made his living from fishing Greenland sharks. He puetrified them then served it us .. and yes, it pretty much tasted the way it sounds
After lunch (ahem) we made our way to Hraunfossar. We came to know Iceland as the land of waterfalls but even in this country the ones here are special; a waterfall that burst out of the Hallmundarhraun lava plain
Just up the road is Barnafoss, the Children's Waterfall, another example of the power of water, erupting out of the lava field
And of course, I had to perch on top of it to get some shots

And here is what I saw

Sunday, November 27, 2011


She wants her man to come back ...

She wants her man to come to the bedroom ...

She wants her man to respect her ...

She wants that man's girl friend to come to the bedroom ...

She wants young women to start wearing pants ...

She stands at a keyboard in a pretty blue dress, she prowls the stage like a black limbed lioness, she cradles a wooden slide guitar in her lap, she pumps an electric guitar Jimi Hendrix style, she holds the mic in her hands with her eyes closed and her emotion pouring out of her throat.

She is 22 and plays like 40, she is 85 and giggles like 15; she is a woman from the prarie whose life was changed by a ancient blues record; she is a woman of the black urban world who hangs on to her roots in a white suburban setting; she interprets the emotional tones of another woman's words; she turns inside herself to find her own music.

She sings alone, just her voice and her instrument. She connects with other women and rocks as unit.

She is Ma Rainey. She is Lady Day.

She is Suzie Vinnik, Aida Lee, Donna Gratis ...

She is the Women's Blues Review 2011.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


OK, let's play a new game shall we? The name of this game is: Only in Toronto ...

Only in Toronto would you have an event for dogs, in which you are encouraged to bring your dogs, that is entirely inside.

Only in Toronto would you have an event that featured a dog talent show where one of the humans declared his pet's trick was doing "whatever he wants to do" The dog laid down by the way. Gave me goose bumps

Only in Toronto would you have a gigantic state of the art convention centre transformed into a dog kennel and said convention centre's "state of the art" being an area filled with wood chips, just perfect for pooping

Only in Toronto would you have not only have vendors selling "gourmet" dog food but selling "gourmet holistic whole free range raw diet" dog food .. and no, I didn't make that up (OK I made some of it up, stop being so observant)

So what we have here is the winter version of Woofstock. And no, I don't suppose all those things are exclusive to Toronto but it is probably an urban conceit to host an event where hundreds of dogs are attending, all inside.

No I did not take Terra. When you own a border collie, you learn to avoid any situations that may lead to them mocking you, as in "Seriously, you brought me to play with all these dogs .. in a building .. with fake grass ... seriously?"

Anyway, here's the video. I'm hearing derisive canine snickering from the other room

Saturday, November 19, 2011


It's been a busy time since Collette and I had our tour of Iceland in July. In that time I have managed to edit all the video and Collette has been working on her photo's. With the year starting to wind down, I thought it was due time I began posting the final results.
Uploading videos takes time and there is the issue of file limits etc so I'm not sure how frequently I'll be able to load the videos and post the blogs, it probably may not be consecutive, so please bear with me and check back for new Iceland posts.
Day one was pretty simple. We flew from Toronto to Iceland, on our way catching a few intriguing glimpses of Greeland, which we see better on our trip back home.
We landed at Keflavik Airport early morning Icleand, but late night Toronto time. On our way to Reykjavik we caught our first glimpses of Iceland's famous lava fields, one of the few places on earth where the climate allows lichens and moss to form on the hardened lava. You'll see a couple of shots int this video, and much more in later scenes.

Our first night in Iceland was spent at the Grand Hotel, a really lovely place, very modern, I'm told the largest hotel in Iceland but a bit of a walk to the downtown of the city
Reykjavik is a lovely harbour town. Most of Icleand's population live in this area, like over two thirds of the people but it still maintains a quaint charm . . .
. . . while still looking to the future
Walking around the harbour, we came upon this little locomotive. There are no railroads in Iceland, none. This was one of only two trains that ever operated here; they were used to shuttle rock down to the harbour that was used in creating the breakwall
Reykjavik is a pretty town but jet lag began to kick our butts pretty badly; we weren't able to check into our hotel till 4 pm which was something like 2:30 am our time. We knew we would come back here, after our bus tour of the country, so we grabbed something to eat, loaded up on some Viking Beer, grabbed some quick shots and lurched around like Canadian zombies

More to come

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