Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's a Thaw Thing

Spring is a noisy time of year here, what with the chirping of animals (including chipmunks and squirrels) and the drum-like drone of water running off the icicles onto the deck below.
I like the random shapes of icicles and how nice they look backlit by the sun.

Daubling With Paint

I have terrible performance anxiety when it comes to painting, so I don't do it often. At least it doesn't spill over into me blogging about them... This one here has a long provenance. The frame and canvas came from two unrelated, aborted and abandoned art projects I got for free at a thrift store. The bear itself is painted over several more previous paintings by me, one of which was a portrait of Dave that he absolutely despised.
I always wanted a Ganesh for the wall but never found one affordable or nice enough in my shopping quests. I made this one entirely in recycled materials, including the cherubs from a municipal trash compactor.
My globe-trotting friend Colleen sent me a photo she took while visting her native country and it languished on the ol' pile of 'things to do' on the drafting table for a year til I painted a little canvas of it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Upwardly Mobile

Our favorite 'number one daughter' (asian term) is up a tree as usual. Su Lin must be at least 20 feet from the ground, and feeling quite comfortable in her aerie loft. Me, I'd be freaking out if I was stuck on a flimsy branch. I envy her bravery.
Check it Out!

Panda Cub Tongue is Cute

Originally uploaded by somesai.
Somesai has put up a ton of recent pictures of Tai Shan growing up, climbing up and tussling with Zoo keepers. By far, these are the best pics of the Washington Zoo pandas on the web.
Check it Out!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

illustration Friday: Monster

Japanese Engineers will eventually create artificial forests populated with robotic animals like this grizzly bear. He can scare your pants off and vacuum the house at the same time. Extra hose attachments are neatly stored in his butt.
Check it Out!

Rules to Follow

... got these from eBay this week and I like 'em alot. They're the kind of thing distributed in elementary schools back in the 60's and 70's. Kids in Canada got metric rulers with miniature conversion charts on them instead, and they were boring. Did you know Richard Scarry invented the original 'Smokey the Bear'? Just thought I'd let you know.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Grace of History

I was at my mum's place last week doing her taxes when she asked me to help her find some way old family documents relating to the Chinese head tax my Dad's Dad paid on his arrival into Canada in 1918. I'm an odd bird out here in BC and by that I mean I very rarely come across a second generation chinese canadian whose parents and grandparents immigrated as early as mine did. The 1980's were the beginning of Chinese nationals freaking out over Britian returning Hong Kong to China, and coming to Canada by the plane load.

You can guess that I grew up on Vancouver Island feeling a bit alienated all around; being the only asian looking kid in class till grade 6. By high school, other asian kids wanted nothing to do with me because I didn't come to Canada like they did. I was born in Victoria BC to a mill worker and a laundress.
The verso admonishes the bearer to keep this close at all times. Grandpa must have has this folded in his wallet for a good thirty years before his certificate of citizenship was issued in 1955. He died in '62, seven years before my birth.

There's a website on the head tax redress issue, and you can browse some of Canada's imfamous history on it here.
Ugh, all this serious chitchat makes me wanna pour myself a cuba libre. Being in Whistler has its perks, like grabbing a handful of these by the bar on your way out. I often forget them in my pockets, my purse... and these fun bits of colour show up again in the dryer, or strewn on the car seats. Just look for me by the end of a trail of drink animals.

Furry Wholesome Goodness

I checked in to the San Diego Zoo cam wednesday to find Bai Yun chowing away. I presume she's happy, though I don't recall her being so portly. You can guess what she was doing the next day on camera...
... eating again. I'm glad there isn't a cam trained on my dining table 24 hours a day. Check out her lower foot hanging onto some bamboo yet to be chewed. Bai is round as a cask!
Imagine walking around in a park and seeing these black and white furballs high in the trees, all napping panda babies. Su Lin looks dreamy up there and Mum's most likely keeps close tabs on her during those two hour long european style luncheons.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kitchen Love

If you own our home and have an eyesore of a kitchen I thoroughly recommend to do something about it as soon as you can afford to. My reno turned out better than planned and we did it ourselves from concept to completion, including the brazilian cherry counter trim and decorative lintel under that mammoth sink. The cupboard doors and side drawers had to be sized down to accomodate.

Excuse the grainy photos, it was hard for my 2 year old olympus to focus with the back-lit windows.
This tap cost as much as the sink and was a special order at Ikea... so worth it though! It blasts pots and dishes clean while being long enough to water the plants on the window sill.
Here's some detail of the new counter arborite, mexican tile and accents. Although installing all these things wasn't technically difficult, the labour to do it right was onerous. I often felt like cutting corners and had to remember that I'd be staring at every mistake for a good 10 years or so... so I threw my all into it.
A home in Whistler wouldn't be complete without a built-in wine rack, however small. I made this one out of scrap plywood and cherry. It sits snuggly between the cupboard and a cedar bar counter I also made two years ago. I may not ski but I'm well versed in apres-ski activities like drinking and entertaining.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Let's Get Ready to R-R-Reno!

Dave and I have been waiting to do this for years and I'm a bit incredulous that it's actually gonna happen. $2000 and two trips to collect thin set, grout, tools and the biggest ceramic sink and mixer tap (not shown) Ikea carries. Arborite and lumber are a 15 minute drive to the other end of Whistler to pick up. Thank god there are some useful stores near by. It's mostly souvenir shops in the town centre.
Whoa ho-ho! These are the remains of a leaky 35 year old double sink Dave just ripped out. Those reno shows on cable tv make this sort of thing look like a breeze to accomplish. I can assure you it wasn't easy.
After the all rot was chopped out, we surmised that part of the counter needed to be replaced with new lumber. That damp back wall will be fine so long as it is undisturbed and left to wick out moisture on its own. The old puke green arborite backsplash (under an attempt at my part on decorating in 2001) took off the drywall paper with it. There I am vacuuming to keep construction dust from wafting into the rest of the house.
A replacement counter is made out of 5-ply plywood, glued and clamped into place. A third of the reno budget was eaten up in tools we didn't previously own, some of which is in a tangled heap on the right.
As soon as the contact cement stops glistening, we'll lay down some new arborite in a grey granite pattern. I can see more days and nights of work ahead of us, what with installing that 100lb ceramic sink and mexican tile backsplash... those details can be glossed over for now. Next post, the jaw-dropping finish!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Illustration Friday: Tattoo

You know a current trend is getting out of hand when even bears name their offspring unusual names.
Check it Out!

Mail Call

A fun little freebie for l'il ol' me came in the mail today from Robot-A-Day, these three prints and two little buttons (not shown). Do check out his endeavors to post a robot a day for an entire year.

Panda Ablutions

Tai Shan is getting quite large these days. He's abandoned his sleeping tub for a fairly tall tree and he'll need a bigger tree to sit on soon. If Tai in Washington DC is napping...
Check it Out!
... that means Gao Gao in San Diego is eating. I swear this panda ate for almost two hours straight.
Check it Out!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Housework, Literally Speaking

Posts may be sporadic for the next 7 or so days as I'm going to start that kitchen reno I mentioned earlier. I'd be lying if I said I was completely confident about it but as Murphy's Law usually points out, things turn out better if you waste some energy fretting on it first. Also my old roommate is moving back to Whistler, namely my house, and I'll have to pitch in for that too. So have a laff with the links after this post and we'll meet again soon.

Other People's Bears

Comic Strip has a host of wierd characters and Scary Bear seems to be in charge of 'mind screw' central. This site has some pretty funny stuff if I do say so.
Crafts so sick, they could only be from Yumlum Knitting. You'd have to be a horribly flawed human being to make this bear for a child, brilliant, but insane. Check out the conjoined teddy bears too.

Demented animals are more fun than actual ones, as evidenced at Almost Naked Animals. I haven't seen underwear like this since I last barged my way into my parent's bedroom at age seven. If you were wondering, that was 30 years ago.

A Big Whoop Goes To...

Jo in NZ for posting the totes I sent two and a half months prior to them getting there. Folks, it's worth it to buy expedited mail. Next is Happy Chicken Swing Set who likes the bits of humour I embed in this blog. I always tell who I know to 'laugh it off' or the stress will kill you right where you're standing. Not long ago a guest at a wedding I was shooting video at ripped the plug out of the socket my studio lighting was attached to. It was during first dance and on the cusp of getting too late in the dusk to register anything in my camcorder. The deejay and I shared a 'douchebag' epiphany together and he told me tales of even worse stuff he's seen at his other jobs where the bridal party left in an ambulance. Yeah, life is funnier than fiction.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Illustration Friday: Insect explains the meaning of bugbear as 'a fearsome imaginary creature, especially one evoked to frighten children' and Wikipedia says its 'merely an irritant'. Either way, a six legged bear with antennae is insect enough for me.
Check it Out!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Part III: Trekking to the Car

An hour out here causes my fingers tingle with pain and I have only a few shots left on the card in the camera. Time to turn around but there are some more things to check out on the way back to the car...
There once was a boat dock on the far north side near Parkhurst, possibly to facilitiate the train or passengers... who knows. The pilings remain, a neat reminder of times past
The No Wake buoy separates north Green Lake from the south. There's no need to worry about that today. What I don't understand is why folks, who go to Whistler to get a break from the city, bring their obnoxious gas guzzling recreational vehicles with them.
A gust of wind blew my hat off in a New York minute, almost landing in an ice hole large enough to sink my Mum's Jetta sedan. That water is cold enough to cause hypothermia in 5 seconds. Guess I wasn't destined to lose my most favorite hat in the whole wide world today.

Your Junk is My eBay Treasure

A little goes a long way: a small handmade glass pendant on three strands of pink seed beads is going to a friend in another town in BC. Only the pendant came from eBay, I strung the beads on 6 lb test. I get a kick out of making things that make people I know, happy.
A button on the side makes the bear tap a nail under the birdhouse. If the manufacturers of Shredded Wheat put one of these in every box I'd be buying them stat! Adults like surprises as much as children... at least this adult does.
These are fun little things, the guy with the violin had 6 more in it and babuschka girl sports 4 more like her.