July 2009


Josh is one of the regular entertainers/buskers who sing at Granville Island. We often see him on our walks and he was there yesterday when we passed. He favours French songs, especially those of Edith Piaf and I have on occasion bought a CD from him. The entertainers have regularly scheduled times and he was just finishing up, while another was ready to take his place.

A violinist, inside the market, sitting amongst the garbage/recycling cans

These buskers are always a big hit with the tourists and locals alike.

I Love NY. Yes I guess I do love New York and I miss it.

It has been just ages since I was there, not since before 9/11. Manhattan is human sized, despite the skyscrapers. It is easy to get about in. Last time I was there it felt real safe too. I guess Rudy did a good job there.

Why am I reminiscing? Well blame JMB. She went and did a book review and I thought… why not?

Not for me the intellectual rigour of the more literary stuff she reviews. Oh No.. I happened to find myself in the book store and there it was with a buy one get one ½ price label on it no less.

So a mental lightweight… aaaand a cheapskate you will be thinking.

This is your printed equivalent of chocolate. Your, not too hard work, easy read, funny, romantic, feel good, type novel. Coincidentally titled…

I Heart New York, by Lindsey Kelk, ISBN: 9780007288380.

It would probably make a good romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock in the lead, provided she can manage a convincing Brit accent.

The heroine is Angela Clarke.

Her life is quietly trundling along, nothing spectacular, dull. She lives with her fiancé Mark. They have been together for 10 years.

It is at her so-called best friend’s wedding reception that things come apart spectacularly. Mark is the best man and Angela is bridesmaid. She is wearing a great but uncomfortable pair of shoes, realises no one can see them under her meringue of a dress so she decides to change into something more comfortable.

She sneaks back to their vehicle only to find someone else already did that and they are still there… having sex on the back seat… and it is her fiancé. Big Shock!

It turns out this is a long term thing. It turns out her best friend knew all about it. In fact she and her new husband had played tennis doubles with cheating wretch and his new squeeze.

This proves too much for poor Angela. She ends up making a scene, breaking the groom’s hand with her shoe… And after sleeping on it decided she can’t face going back home or to stay with her parents. No she needs to make a complete break.

She needs to get away, to put space between her and her unravelled life, far away.

The following morning she goes to the airport, against her Mother’s protests and puts an ocean between herself and her trouble. Grabbing her overnight bag for the wedding with her change of clothes she heads to the airport and gets the first flight to New York. Then grabbing a taxi asks to be taken to a random hotel.

On being dropped off at the Union hotel and then the reinvention of herself and her adventures really begins.

Almost instantly she manages to make friends with a savvy New Yorker Jenny Lopez (No relative to J-Lo).

This is a fast paced amusing story. One of those validating, “I so wish I could do stuff like that if it happened to me” stories. No rocket scientist-ery involved. But it will make you feel good.

Saturday evening we had a very noisy thunderstorm in Vancouver, which is a fairly rare occurrence here. When I went outside to turn off the hose, the sky had the most amazing orange glow and I called the Old Scientist to come take a look. He suggested it was some phenomenon due to the storm and later I saw this photo online, taken from katcam.ca. which I thought I would share.

Do click to enlarge, it’s worth it. The view is of the harbour looking west towards the north shore mountains. Katcam is a view of Vancouver taken from an office of Telemark Systems and which is captured every five minutes and the site describes it as Weather and sunset cam from Downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada, city of perpetual change and natural wonder.

A couple of hours later, even though the storm had not completely passed, the sky was lit by a wonderful fireworks display as it was the South Africa who put on their display for the Celebration of Light, an annual pyro-musical fireworks competition held in Vancouver every year.

It’s all over now. The champagne has been drunk by the happy winner, while cycling along during the last stage of Le Tour de France, a longstanding tradition, for the last one is largely a ceremonial stage. The winner has always been decided by the penultimate day of the race and the only thing that may change, barring some disaster of course, is the winner of the maillot vert (green jersey) as the sprinters fight to be first across the finish line on the Champs-Élysées to gain the most points and try to take this coveted prize.

It is taboo to mount an attack on the leaders during the last stage and thus Alberto Contador, the 26 year old Spaniard, won Le Tour for the second time, although frankly he had such a commanding lead that it would have been virtually impossible to overtake him even if they did. In second place was one of two Luxembourg brothers riding Le Tour, 24 year old Andy Schleck, with Lance Armstrong, a grand old man at 37 years, taking the third spot on the podium.

Yesterday’s stage was most interesting as it was one of the most demanding of this year’s race and it occurred in the schedule at the very end, after three weeks of very grueling cycling. It would have been hard to overtake the leader but Lance Armstrong was very vulnerable in his third place spot as two riders could well have toppled him off the podium. But he is nothing if not a great competitor and he held on to the spot at the end of this stage.

The 167 km stage began in Montélimar but it ended in an extremely difficult 2okm climb to the top of Mont Ventoux, also known as Mount Baldy since it resembles a barren moonscape of white rock, well above the tree line. So difficult is this stage that for more than 25 years it was omitted from the race, but this year it came at the end of the long race which made it even more demanding.

Besides the jockeying for positions this past week, the big surprise came in an announcement by Lance Armstrong that he would be riding again in the 2010 Le Tour, but as leader of a new American team, sponsored by Radio Shack and it is expected that Johan Bruyneel will join as manager. Next year he will no doubt have better conditioning since he will ride for the whole season, but then again he will be another year older. It will also be interesting to see who will ride for this new team, as Lance Armstrong convinces his favoured choices that he is capable of winning another tour. I think with his third place finish this year he has shown that he still has the ability and the drive to pull it off and with the support of a strong team, he could well win it next year. But there will be plenty of riders who will be trying to stop that happening. It will surely make for a very interesing Tour of 2010 as his presence in the 2009 race has done.

Congratulations to Alberto Contador, the winner of this year’s race, but also to all 156 riders who completed the course. You are all winners!


tnchick has really come up with some tough themes lately and it will be very interesting to see what people come up with for it. I did consider skipping this one but no, despite this probably being the lamest photo I have ever posted, here is a photo of a couple of utensils which make my life easier in the kitchen. In fact no kitchen should be without them so I often give the microplane graters (centre) as gifts. It’s funny how something like this switched from its original use to become such a hit as a kitchen utensil.

The two knives on the outside are just cheapies, but I find serrated knives essential for cutting tomatoes. So much so that I gave one to my son and to my daughter so that when I am visiting and using their kitchens I don’t have to shred the tomatoes into mush with a non serrated one. Am I the only one who finds that annoying?


There is a surprising amount of beauty to be found in Second Life. It is built by its occupants. A lot of creative work goes into it.

I like to snap stuff when I see something interesting. I use the snaps as a basis for digital art. Here are some pics. Many of me and my various looks. Some are studio posed.
That is one of the things I do love about SL. The way you can try out different looks with no plastic surgery involved ^_^

I thought the scene here was beautiful. The tree against the sunset over the sea. I do love the coast, I like to live beside the ocean in SL. There was the sound of the ocean in the background.

Here is me in one of my incarnations. I was hanging out in a diner listening to the juke box and drinking milk shakes waiting for my date. I was dressed mostly in pink. We went dancing shortly after this pic was taken. I had a lovely time. I do like the 1950s.

Here I am (hopefully) looking sophisticated, if not quite in period.

In the background is Mr Eiffel’s Tower built just over a decade ago for the Universal Exposition. It is a triumph of modern engineering as you can see. I went to the top before meeting up with a friend. We decadently drank ‘la fée verte’ and then visited the Moulin Rouge, where I saw the marvellous elephant there and we danced. Paris is lovely in the spring of 1900.

This is mystical Moggsy

Here is a more dangerous side of me. Ready to do mayhem in the style of ‘Kill Bill’, beware my katana. It can cut a silk scarf as it falls…

Here are three different Moggsies.

A punky Moggsy. A Bambie type Moggsy… and A surfer chick Moggsy

And this is Pin up Moggsy!

Having taken his family tree back on both sides back as far as he could, the Old Scientist then turned to mine. I was of little help to him since my knowledge was so scanty. On my father’s side, I knew my grandparents, immigrants from Scotland, although funnily enough not their Christian names. But he quickly had all that information, however he needs to pursue the Scottish records to find out more and that awaits him someday.

Of my maternal grandmother, again I knew very little. She was a widow and had been married to a policeman and I have the impression that her husband had died prematurely in the line of duty. She was Nana to me and died when I was a teenager and I didn’t know her Christian name either. But the OS is pretty good at this now and he has traced my family on that side back to a certain James Bull, who seems to have been a very early settler in the young Colony of Australia.

Born in Staffordshire, England, in 1780, James Bull came to Australia in 1800, with his wife Ann and their two daughters, with one born on the journey. They “came free” on the Minerva and by 1809 had settled on land at Liverpool, which became known as Bull’s Farm. Probably the most interesting thing about this man, was that he died of gunshot wounds in 1822, having been accosted by “ruffians” on the Liverpool Road.

James Bull seems to have been a man of some importance in the young Colony for a book describing the first couple of generations of the family in Australia, was written by one John Franklin,The Bulls of Bull’s Hill near Liverpool, NSW.”

Sadly, no convicts have turned up in my family and the same is true for the OS, since his Australian forebear, Thomas Jenkins, born in 1826 in Kent, England, reached Sydney in 1857, on the Matoaka, accompanied by his wife and two children. His was an assisted passage so he must have had some skills which were considered useful and in fact he assumed work at the Berrima Gaol in an unknown capacity.

The Matoaka was a fully rigged sailing ship, built for the migrant trade. A mere 1092 tons, it carried a total of 192 men, 145 women, 91 children and 47 crew members in that tiny space on the journeywhich took many months. Small by today’s standards, the ship was built in the USA and was considered the Boeing 747 of its day, designed to carry large numbers of passengers in relative comfort. Mmm. The ship later departed from Lyttleton, New Zealand for London in May of 1869, never to be seen again.

That is as far back as either of us goes in Australia and it seems we came from English stock ,although Thomas Jenkins married a French woman so there is a drop of that blood in the OS.

Like me, he now has a vast network of email correspondents whom he has never met and it would be the pot calling the kettle black if he were to think me odd for that reason.

I guess he may well be turning to my Scottish forebears for his next trick. My maiden name was Gray and while there is a Gray Clan, with the name a Norman one, Grays were also connected to the Stewart family, probably mucking out the stables if the truth be known. I wait with baited breath.

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