Trees and the things that grow on them: days 661 — 665

Leaves. Some are still on their trees, but quite a lot are falling, or fallen. Fallen leaves everywhere.

Here’s something interesting I only just noticed this week: there are a bunch of oak trees in New Westminster, specifically around the Sapperton neighbourhood, but I don’t remember seeing any in the West End. Maybe they’re there, but nobody’s leaving great big piles of leaves lying around? I mean, thank you City of Vancouver and landlords for keeping the sidewalks clear, but maybe I need to look up more.

But then the day after writing the above paragraph, I did see some oaky-looking leaves on the ground in the West End. Funny how minds work, isn’t it? I had oaks on my mind, and there they were. I’m not sure they’re actually oak leaves, though. The lobes are pointier and further apart, but I don’t know what other tree looks like that.

But that’s not nearly as interesting and funny as what I noticed last Tuesday, on a maple tree just up the street. It’s mostly bare now, exposing these weird little growths. They must be some kind of parasite, but the internet was no help, and all I could get out of my botanically-minded friend is that it’s definitely not mistletoe.

They’re pretty, though. I wonder how long they’ve been growing there, and I just haven’t noticed. How much nature is around me even in the heart of the city, just waiting for me to discover it?

Paved with gold: days 651 — 660

Magic light

Seems I’ve been focusing more on sunsets than fall foliage lately. Could have something to do with (a) leaving work late, and (b) an unusual—for October—stretch of clear weather.

Let’s start with WordCamp Vancouver 2018. Throughout the day I learned about Gutenberg—never played around with it before that day, and it’s super cool. There are still bugs and accessibility issues, but I can see Gutenberg’s massive potential… and how it could have made at least one recent WordPress project a lot easier. Oh well, here’s looking to the future.

Speaking of future: it’s not all deep dives into code here at WordCamp. Ryan Chmura just talked about his journey as a mostly self-taught web developer: things learned, mistakes made, dissatisfaction with his current job, everything. Good stuff, and super refreshing and humanising for those who think WordCamp speakers are born with expert knowledge and flawless public speaking skills. 

I haven’t thought that in a long time, especially since my own (succesful) stab at presenting in a WordPress meetup last June. So, who knows? This is absolutely something I can do again. Maybe WordCamp 2019…? Hey, I better start preparing now!

On the way home I walked past Nelson Park at just the right time of day, when the light set the very air and trees on fire. Guaranteed no filter!

My trek to the Storm Crow on Wednesday took place at around the same time. No fall foliage, but a lot of towers painted gold by the setting sun, reflecting the light back at me. When I blogged about this photo from last month I said I’d include it in my year 2 retrospective… but now I’m not so sure. I think it’s been replaced.

Mind you, it’s not just the setting sun that can work magic—shorter days also means a later sunrise, and longer shadows in the morning. Fall means a lower sun and a bit more fog in the air. Put those together and what do you get? Gorgeous Jesus lights in Blue Mountain Park.

Don’t know how long I’ll be able to shoot these. I’ve been lucky so far, weather-wise, but it looks like things are turning wetter and colder. I’m not wild about that, but I’ll do my best to find the beauty in all those shades of grey.

Just a joke: days 646 — 650

It’s the best medicine

Humour is a weird thing, but I believe it can be studied scientifically.

Experiment: take 14 or 15 budding standup comics, fresh out of a 5-week class, and have them give a 5-minute set one after the other in an apparently random order. 4 were men, all cis and straight*. The rest were women, all cis and only one openly queer in her set.

(* None of them pinged my LGBTdar and I figured they’d have worked it in their material, so I feel pretty confident in my diagnosis.)

Result: all the women were funny, including the friend I’d gone to see. None of the guys were that funny. Jokes about Trudeau and other politicians, one guy joked about offending his Indigenous wife’s relatives with the word “Indian,” another joked about creeping on 15-year-old girls or something… Their humour was largely lazy or mean, revolving around making fun of other people. The women talked about sex and menstruation and relationships and little details of life that are hilarious when viewed in the right light. There was empathy there, which I just didn’t get from the guys.

Conclusion: cishet dudes aren’t funny.

Does that sound harsh? Sorry, guys, I don’t make the rules. You can’t argue with science. And this isn’t an outlier, either; I’ve been to other default-straight standup shows that were much worse, with cringey overt misogyny where all punch lines boiled down to “cos bitches, am i right?” I don’t need that kind of crap in my ear-holes.

Anyway, let us talk of happier things. Like foggy Sunday nights. I’d come home from vball still photoless, but fortunately I spied the Sheraton hotel surrounded by a nice halo of foggy drizzly damp. That would do nicely.

And fall colours. And more fall colours. And yet more fall colours. And a gorgeous shot of cloudy morning sky over Davie Street. Y’know, if self-discipline to go to the gym isn’t enough to get my ass moving in the morning, maybe the thought of more photos like this will do!

It’s not actually a Stargate: days 641 — 645

Chevron seven, locked!

This post is all about warm tones. The soft gold of a sunset, the russet on wood hues of a cider drink at the Storm Crow, the earthy tones of a cooked turkey, and oh look another sunset.

The only exception would be Friday night: as I came home from work, not feeling very inspired, I turned around and shot my street, with a glimpse of the North Shore mountains and orangey evening sky in the far background. It’s nice, I think, but kind of nondescript, so I’m extremely puzzled at how popular it eventually became. 23 likes on IG and 9 on Facebook, which for me is a lot. What am I missing? Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining, I just… don’t get it. Not the first time this happened, and I figure that’s the way it goes. I’m good with it.

Saturday, just on an impulse, I went for a walk in Yaletown. I’ve shot photos of it before, mostly in the summer before and after grass volleyball. The real target (which I wasn’t even thinking about, but is obvious in hindsight) is this thing, which is very definitely not a Stargate. I’ve driven by it a million times, and always vaguely thought it was an homage to the franchise, even though the proportions are wrong. Turns out, though, it’s an homage to Yaletown’s industrial past, and this particular ring was part of the previous Cambie Bridge, which was a swing bridge to allow bigger boats to pass. Fascinating! This was all before my time, since Yaletown was all prettied up and gentrified for Expo 86. Only a few mementos like this exist anymore, including Engine 374 in the Roundhouse. I wonder how many others are around? That’d be a fun hunt.

The vegetarian spider: days 631 — 640

In her pretty little parlour

It’s been days of random stuff, taking in what Vancouver has to give me.

The Harvest Moon after volleyball. Harvest moons are apparently supposed to be orange for some reason, but I really couldn’t tell. And I’m a bit peeved that my phone still can’t take better full-night moonshots. Also, I’ll be honest: I’ve been doing that thing where I laze around all day Sunday, and only get off my ass to go play Intermediate. This shot was taken as I got home and realised I didn’t have a photo because I didn’t want to do yet another shot around the gym.

I really need to be better about that.

Mind you, Monday was looking up. Here’s a rare morning commute photo, of pigeons near Vancouver Centre Station. I also took a few closer shots of that one pigeon on the bike, but it turns out pigeons aren’t that pretty up close. Who knew?

Lately I’ve been pulling longer hours, so here are some photos I took as I got out of work: Granville Street. The West End from Burrard Bridge. The sunset from Burrard Bridge.

On Thursday I took the scenic(er) way home, along the waterfront for a bit. I really like this photo of Harbour Centre behind 333 Seymour, almost making it look like it’s the same building. And here’s one of North Vancouver. I do miss not having a physical zoom, but this photo’s all right.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shot the Vancouver Block Building before… maybe it was only years ago, back when I used Flickr? At first I wanted to capture the building alone, but that turned out to be impossible. I don’t mind though, this is a really good shot, contrasting the lovely white stone with the more modern glassy towers. MicroSoft wasn’t around in 1912, was it? No, I’m thinking of IBM. Which I don’t think is that old either but I’m too lazy to check.

Looking it it now, the photo has a little bit of a slant, which usually I try to correct before posting. This is all right, though. Gives the whole thing a certain je ne sais quoi. I’m slowly edging out of what I thought is acceptable, photography-wise. And maybe I’m making mistakes along the way, but that’s the fun of exploring.

The next day, coming home through Davie Village, I spied with my little eye… a spiderweb. Actually two webs, each with a pretty orb weaver in the middle, in some bushes by the sidewalk. I got as close as my lens would allow, careful not to disturb the webs, and noticed the biggest spider had a little seed in its web. Neat! Useless to her, but it made for a great picture which I’m absolutely including in my Year 2 retrospective.

And it got me thinking: are there any vegetarian spiders? Turns out, yes! Or, sort of. Bagheera kiplingi isn’t totally herbivorous, but it seems to be pretty close. Just goes to show, Nature has enough tricks up her sleeve to one-up any silly little jokey hashtag in your photos.