October 2008


BLUE

When I looked back at the photos on my computer Blue seemed to jump out at me from everywhere. So I just randomly chose a few.


The intense blue of Irises in the early Spring

An artist reproduces the blue of the ocean on the side of a building


This quilt artist obviously is very fond of blue

Yes Vancouver, where I live. How blue is this? Taken on a beautiful Fall
day in October last year

HAPPY WEEKEND TO EVERYONE

BLUE

When I looked back at the photos on my computer Blue seemed to jump out at me from everywhere. So I just randomly chose a few.


The intense blue of Irises in the early Spring

An artist reproduces the blue of the ocean on the side of a building


This quilt artist obviously is very fond of blue

Yes Vancouver, where I live. How blue is this? Taken on a beautiful Fall
day in October last year

HAPPY WEEKEND TO EVERYONE

Miss Moggs, the blonde witch on the left and JMB, the redhead witch on the right, met up in Second Life for a Halloween photo opportunity. Actually it was a bit like two stooges as we tried, rather unsuccessfully to have the broom in the right place and the lighting right , plus the correct pose. After the fact I noticed that I had two different witch hats on at the same time. Yes you can do this in SL I’m afraid. Any possible mistake that can be made is usually made by me. Sigh! Now, no laughing else I will zap with you with my Wicked Witch Dark Power Staff which emits some flashing things but no spells, or so it says. Click any photo to enlarge should you so desire.

Looks fairly ordinary in the daytime from a distance

But let me show you a few more photos from the seriously decorated for Halloween house near me. For the past five years the Halloween decor has been been better and better. It’s not suitable for very young children but to give you a idea, besides what I wrote about it last year, here are some photos I took recently of the current display. I also showed some photos of this year’s display for the Photo Hunt Scary post last week.

When I googled this last year I could find nothing but this year there were all kinds of links from an article in the local paper to a mention in the Vancity Buzz blog, and it even has its own Facebook entry and website.

This year’s theme is the History of Terror and begins in the “building” on the left, erected especially for the display and in the darkness, with the odd faint glow, it houses the Ancient Egypt display.


Taken with flash to show the detail. Several rooms filled with these artifacts, in eerie darkness
Medieval is the theme for the next section with figures such as these lining the side garden.

The inferno follows with this horrific representation but a small part.

A witches’ coven nestles against the garage as spells are cast and magic potions brewed in the steaming cauldron. I think that fellow is beyond help.

The era of the Plague is represented in the rear garden with bodies on a cart
in the lower right hand corner.

Some pretty ghastly looking pirates with treasure chests full of loot
represent the Age of Exploration.
The Revolutionary Wars section has these life size soldiers complete with canon

The 19th Century Asylum, complete with caged figures and nasty looking things in jars, including a head, was a bit over the top for me. Here is the padded cell with bloodstained walls and syringes stuck into the ceiling and a hideous fellow waiting at the end.

Twentieth Century Mutations are represented by some ghastly pumpkins and
huge ugly insects and trees personified, but not in a nice way.

These homeowners actually have a very nice garden but seem to have no worries about scattering all these figures around for this display. As I completed the tour a woman emerged through the front door and we got to chatting. I discovered that the decoration was done by the two men who lived in the house and this lady who was the girlfriend of one of them. They are definitely not in the “business” as I heard rumoured last year. One of the fellows lectures at the Vancouver Film School and he gets his students to dress up for the show at night which is somewhat scarier as you can imagine. She told me that the sum of the donations they had received towards the three charities they support was over $20,000 last year.


A rather ugly Queen of Hearts, along with other figures, graces the front porch.

This pair in the front garden put you in mind of anyone?

Well, if you have stayed with me to the end of this rather long post, you probably understand that I really love this haunted house. I tell everyone that they should go see it but warn them to go first in the daytime. I have not been game to visit it at night myself.

As a final wrap-up here is a short video taken by the Province newspaper crew. It is worth the time to watch it I assure you.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOMORROW TO EVERYONE WHO CELEBRATES IT

Miss Moggs, the blonde witch on the left and JMB, the redhead witch on the right, met up in Second Life for a Halloween photo opportunity. Actually it was a bit like two stooges as we tried, rather unsuccessfully to have the broom in the right place and the lighting right , plus the correct pose. After the fact I noticed that I had two different witch hats on at the same time. Yes you can do this in SL I’m afraid. Any possible mistake that can be made is usually made by me. Sigh! Now, no laughing else I will zap with you with my Wicked Witch Dark Power Staff which emits some flashing things but no spells, or so it says. Click any photo to enlarge should you so desire.

Looks fairly ordinary in the daytime from a distance

But let me show you a few more photos from the seriously decorated for Halloween house near me. For the past five years the Halloween decor has been been better and better. It’s not suitable for very young children but to give you a idea, besides what I wrote about it last year, here are some photos I took recently of the current display. I also showed some photos of this year’s display for the Photo Hunt Scary post last week.

When I googled this last year I could find nothing but this year there were all kinds of links from an article in the local paper to a mention in the Vancity Buzz blog, and it even has its own Facebook entry and website.

This year’s theme is the History of Terror and begins in the “building” on the left, erected especially for the display and in the darkness, with the odd faint glow, it houses the Ancient Egypt display.


Taken with flash to show the detail. Several rooms filled with these artifacts, in eerie darkness
Medieval is the theme for the next section with figures such as these lining the side garden.

The inferno follows with this horrific representation but a small part.

A witches’ coven nestles against the garage as spells are cast and magic potions brewed in the steaming cauldron. I think that fellow is beyond help.

The era of the Plague is represented in the rear garden with bodies on a cart
in the lower right hand corner.

Some pretty ghastly looking pirates with treasure chests full of loot
represent the Age of Exploration.
The Revolutionary Wars section has these life size soldiers complete with canon

The 19th Century Asylum, complete with caged figures and nasty looking things in jars, including a head, was a bit over the top for me. Here is the padded cell with bloodstained walls and syringes stuck into the ceiling and a hideous fellow waiting at the end.

Twentieth Century Mutations are represented by some ghastly pumpkins and
huge ugly insects and trees personified, but not in a nice way.

These homeowners actually have a very nice garden but seem to have no worries about scattering all these figures around for this display. As I completed the tour a woman emerged through the front door and we got to chatting. I discovered that the decoration was done by the two men who lived in the house and this lady who was the girlfriend of one of them. They are definitely not in the “business” as I heard rumoured last year. One of the fellows lectures at the Vancouver Film School and he gets his students to dress up for the show at night which is somewhat scarier as you can imagine. She told me that the sum of the donations they had received towards the three charities they support was over $20,000 last year.


A rather ugly Queen of Hearts, along with other figures, graces the front porch.

This pair in the front garden put you in mind of anyone?

Well, if you have stayed with me to the end of this rather long post, you probably understand that I really love this haunted house. I tell everyone that they should go see it but warn them to go first in the daytime. I have not been game to visit it at night myself.

As a final wrap-up here is a short video taken by the Province newspaper crew. It is worth the time to watch it I assure you.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOMORROW TO EVERYONE WHO CELEBRATES IT

No Hair do’s here, serious stuff this time…

I have not done politics here so far, and to be honest I am not too sure what political pigeonhole I should be in anyway. I don’t think I fit any of them neatly, but this I feel needs a comment.

Maybe it will turn out to be a mistake. Maybe I will need a Hard hat this time…

It turns out the UK government has recently officially, but quietly, sanctioned Sharia courts in the UK.

I guess this has been even easier to keep quiet than usual, what with all the problems with the stock market and recession. It certainly seems to have mostly slipped by the public consciousness.

Well if you didn’t notice it I can tell you there are now Sharia Courts in the UK that can give rulings which are enforceable with the full power of the British legal system, through County, and High Court.

Now, right now you can’t just be summonsed to appear before one. You have to agree to submit a dispute to one, but once anyone does…

I find this whole idea quite disturbing. I expect you may be thinking. Well why not? Isn’t it a cultural thing?

Ok I must say now, I am not an expert on Sharia Law, I do know somethings about it though. If there is one thing I am pretty sure about, women sure tend to come off second best under it. A Woman’s word counts for less under it.

Imagine trying to get custody in a divorce under Sharia Law. I think maybe ‘Fathers for Justice’ might get a bit of a raw deal, but this would be turning the tables way too far back the other way.

I figure Sharia law is biased against females and the uk Government should not be tacit in allowing, or promoting something that is biased against females. To use a modern term you can argue Sharia Courts/Law are/is institutionally sexist.

The way society looks at things these days I figure you could even go so far as to say it might be viewed as racist to allow it, given that overwhelming majority of any females to “voluntarily” submit themselves to this institution in the UK will probably see themselves as Asian. It is these women who will be overwhelmingly subject to it.

The government insists it is sexist to have clubs that treat the sexes differently. It is illegal to discriminate against females at work.

I am pretty sure you could bet that there is no way the government would have given such an institution a second’s thought if it were not tying to placate what amount to volatile reactionary religious feelings.

I am sure there are some out there who would say women can’t manage for themselves, for whatever reasons. That they need the guidance of wiser male heads. There are probably people who would try to say I am racist, or islamophobic, or something, for even making the points I have. I honestly don’t think I am. To me this looks like letting a religious group get away with treating women unfairly.

We have a legal system that may not be perfect, but one we are constantly trying to make sure is unbiased, fair and honest and good for everyone. We have fought for equal rights for women for a long time, some might say we are not quite there yet.

Surely officially authorising these courts is a step backwards?

No Hair do’s here, serious stuff this time…

I have not done politics here so far, and to be honest I am not too sure what political pigeonhole I should be in anyway. I don’t think I fit any of them neatly, but this I feel needs a comment.

Maybe it will turn out to be a mistake. Maybe I will need a Hard hat this time…

It turns out the UK government has recently officially, but quietly, sanctioned Sharia courts in the UK.

I guess this has been even easier to keep quiet than usual, what with all the problems with the stock market and recession. It certainly seems to have mostly slipped by the public consciousness.

Well if you didn’t notice it I can tell you there are now Sharia Courts in the UK that can give rulings which are enforceable with the full power of the British legal system, through County, and High Court.

Now, right now you can’t just be summonsed to appear before one. You have to agree to submit a dispute to one, but once anyone does…

I find this whole idea quite disturbing. I expect you may be thinking. Well why not? Isn’t it a cultural thing?

Ok I must say now, I am not an expert on Sharia Law, I do know somethings about it though. If there is one thing I am pretty sure about, women sure tend to come off second best under it. A Woman’s word counts for less under it.

Imagine trying to get custody in a divorce under Sharia Law. I think maybe ‘Fathers for Justice’ might get a bit of a raw deal, but this would be turning the tables way too far back the other way.

I figure Sharia law is biased against females and the uk Government should not be tacit in allowing, or promoting something that is biased against females. To use a modern term you can argue Sharia Courts/Law are/is institutionally sexist.

The way society looks at things these days I figure you could even go so far as to say it might be viewed as racist to allow it, given that overwhelming majority of any females to “voluntarily” submit themselves to this institution in the UK will probably see themselves as Asian. It is these women who will be overwhelmingly subject to it.

The government insists it is sexist to have clubs that treat the sexes differently. It is illegal to discriminate against females at work.

I am pretty sure you could bet that there is no way the government would have given such an institution a second’s thought if it were not tying to placate what amount to volatile reactionary religious feelings.

I am sure there are some out there who would say women can’t manage for themselves, for whatever reasons. That they need the guidance of wiser male heads. There are probably people who would try to say I am racist, or islamophobic, or something, for even making the points I have. I honestly don’t think I am. To me this looks like letting a religious group get away with treating women unfairly.

We have a legal system that may not be perfect, but one we are constantly trying to make sure is unbiased, fair and honest and good for everyone. We have fought for equal rights for women for a long time, some might say we are not quite there yet.

Surely officially authorising these courts is a step backwards?


Pinchas Zukerman with the NAC orchestra

JMB: I’m getting tickets to go to the symphony with M. Do you want to come?

Old Scientist: Nope.

JMB: Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Are you sure?

Old Scientist: OK. That’s different.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is on tour at the moment so last Saturday night, filling in, the National Arts Centre Orchestra performed in the Orpheum theatre under Maestro Pinchas Zukerman. Yes, that same Pinchas Zukerman, one of the world’s great violinists as well as long time Music Director of the NACO.

The opening short piece was a contemporary one, Infinite Sky with Birds by Alexina Louie, very fast with the brass being the focus, with support from the strings and woodwinds. I quite enjoyed it however the Old Scientist muttered later if that were on a CD he would skip it. Sigh!

But next followed the Mozart Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.3, with Zukerman playing the violin and conducting the orchestra. One of a series of five violin concertos it was written by Mozart at the tender age of nineteen years. While not my favourite violin concerto, that would have to be the Mendelssohn, a much more dramatic piece to my mind, it is indeed a very beautiful work and to hear it played by Pinchas Zukerman was a very special treat.

If it please you, here is the Adagio, the second movement played by the great Isaac Stern. This is considered one of the most beautiful sections of any violin concerto ever written. A very old slightly flawed rendition due to age but beautiful none the less.

Sometimes it is a pleasure to just go and enjoy pieces that are very familiar to you, to just relax and let the music envelop you. While the Mozart soothes you with its beauty the Symphony No. 5 of Tchaikovsky fires you up with its passion and its energy. One of several symphonies in which Tchaikovsky explores the theme of Fate, his Fifth Symphony is more evocative of the distant rumble of a funeral march, as the clarinets intone a low and somber theme. As the symphony progresses, the theme returns in various guises, sometimes wistful, at other times imposing, but the general motion is toward an increasing mood of optimism, until, in the finale, Tchaikovsky transforms his Fate theme into a triumphal march.*

Here is the very famous French Horn solo from the second movement with that oh so familiar theme towards the end.

As we were walking back towards the car, the old scientist said, “The first time I heard that symphony live was at the Sydney Town Hall with Kiril Kondrashin with the Stalingrad State Orchestra. The brass were just wonderful and the woodwinds too.” What? How long ago this was, since he left Australia in 1957, but he still remembers the experience. I have no idea when I first heard this. Do you? He certainly was impressed.

A lovely musical evening it was, somewhat dimmed by the fact that there was a hockey game plus a football game on that evening. All three events seemed to conclude at the same time with the result that it took me 65 minutes to travel from my parking space on the sixth floor of the parkade to the ground floor booth to pay the parking fee. My poor passengers had to listen to me complain bitterly about people returning to cars on the lower levels long after we did but managing to exit before us because kind people let them into the line of cars. To add insult to injury, when there are hockey or football games on they double the usual parking fee. Next time I think I will take the bus!

*Elizabeth Schwarm Glesner

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