Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Busy Times

I took a short blog break to tackle a few things that required some attention, such as filing my taxes (not shown), spackling dings and painting the broom closet in the kitchen. I warn you, today's post will be particularly long.
The glass and wood cupboard to the left is a new addition from the as-is department at Ikea. I stained and installed it yesterday, along with reorganizing the stuff all around. Finally, a place to show off my 1968 Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven over the drafting table
I don't mind buying items that need a little fixing, though they tend to wait a long time for repair on the 'to-do' list. Mint quality at times can be out of my price range. This wooden puppet lost two paws (left photo) during its possibly 100 year existence. I replaced them with a bit of matching cedar and as you can see, he's happy to finally jump on all fours.

Open Trail Season

The snow has melted back enough for Dave and I to resume our 3-5 times a week walk around Lost Lake, named after the many people who lost their way around the lake itself. The trails are actually long abandoned logging roads turned into a circuit of meandering walks intersecting in and out all over the place.

Moss thrive on the damp left behind from melting snow. This thicket of moss clings to a old stump along the beginning of our walk.
I haven't a clue why this fir tree is bowed, no other tree around the lake has this marked shape.... must be aspiring to be the 'cool' tree in the neighbourhood.
I make a habit of looking behind me at the one-third mark of the trail. Nice view of Whistler Mountain, even with the ski runs cutting through all over.
Most of the trail is still covered in grimy snow. To the left there is a remnant of x-country ski grooming from the winter season. Dave walked ahead as I took this pic.
The ducks and beavers will return as soon as the reeds and tall grasses overtake the lakeshore once again. They need the cover to raise their offspring.
Here's the end of our walk... Lumpy's parents supply his memorial bench with fresh and artificial flowers on a constant basis. They still live in Whistler and Dave knew him till a skiing mishap took his life in '98. That happens alot here.

Breakfast of Champion Bamboo Chompers

A fruitsicle first, then a bushel of bamboo for Bai Yun's breakfast. That's the way she likes it.
If being morbidly obese was socially acceptable, I'd most likely join Gao Gao in his daily two hour breakfast.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Forest Terrorist in Whistler?

Dave the husband and I went for a walk around Lost Lake yesterday and came across this very curious tree riddled with large gaping holes. Was it beaver? No, they gnaw down entire trees. Vandals with cordless power drills and wide auger bits? Maybe.
These holes are uniform and rather neat in appearance. There are many additional holes within the outer ones and they go right to the core. This poor tree will eventually die.
Another clue is these perfect little striations inside the trunk. What kind of destructive critter could do such a thing?
... our buddy the pileated woodpecker, indigeneous to North America and the largest one in its species. You can hear them peck away all year round and the noise is a dead giveaway to their whereabouts, even at a far distance. A large, noisy, hole-drilling pecker is never a good thing in the neighbourhood.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Panda Salad Days

There's Bai Yun reclining and chewing bamboo yesterday afternoon. What's a Panda to do?
When the food ran out, she did as well... not before flashing the world her big furry butt.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

illustration Friday: Spotted

Tourists in Whistler will tend to mention a bear siting as having 'spotted' one of them, on the mountain for example. I'm sure the guy who captured the most famous (or bogus) of Big Foot sitings thought about it in a similiar way.

I recommend to click on the illo and see the largest size on Flickr. You'll notice I blurred the bear just enough to blend in with the graininess of super 8 film. There is a nice .gif of the original 'Big-Footage' here.
Check it Out!

My Favorite Little Girl

Su Lin's little fur ball of a body puts a smile on my face every time I see it. I figure the chances of seeing her not curled up on the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam are .08%.
Check it Out!
My second night view of Su Lin ever captured... those dots are her ears. She climbed up out of screen on the trunk to the right.

When Dinner Behaves Badly (maybe NSFW, you decide)

As I made dinner last night, I swear to god these sausages fried into curly shapes on their own and tumbled out of the skillet, more or less, to spell one of the most belaboured words in the english language. They came out of the freezer squished together and didn't straighten out after thawing or a thorough frying in the pan.

Some people read heavily into random occurrences, like seeing Jesus in a tortilla or whatever. I'm gonna completely ignore this message.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

That Thing That I Do

...which is making stuff from other people's discarded construction bits strewn all over Whistler. The local high school offers evening courses in woodworking for a couple of hundred bucks, though I'd rather plow that money into some hand tools and tinker at leisure, at home. My work is hardly perfect but I make sure all my pieces are smooth to the touch, sturdy and well built. The most rewarding part is seeing the finished result, and quelling that nagging feeling that I sawed too much off or chosen the wrong colour.
Now and then I get solicited to buy a bear head on my antiquing trips in northern BC. I don't feel too good about having a dead bear in the house and the solution was a no-brainer; make a wooden one. This ten pound bad boy is my doing and my second try at laminating 2" x 12" solid pieces of fir. It was hard to keep all 4 layers fused together while the wood itself shrank, so I riddled it throughout with countersunk 4" screws.
I forgot to add this one to an earlier post about that other thing I'm known for; painting. Not only did I study it for 2 years in college, one of my first summer jobs as a teen was to paint high-end water fowl sculptures for sale at Birks Jewellers in Canada. After doing seventy or so of those damn ducks and loons, one can't help but become fairly proficient with a paint and brush.
The other most populous item in the house besides bears, licence plates and books, are stars. These were made from salvaged plywood I got two doors up from me. A neighbour used it as a cement mold and it was too warped afterwards to do anything structural with it. I drew these roughly 1' stars freehand and cut away with a jig saw. A few coats of indoor latex and there you go, a nifty op-art mobile.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Thrifty is as Thrifty Does

To the left is a commercially made message board ($50us) and to the right is mine, recently made from a Starbucks x-mas decoration cast-off ($5cdn) and cross cut bits of branches from my back yard. A little ingenuity goes a long way.

Yo-Yo Bear

Su Lin makes anti-social behaviour look so cute and cuddly. In the space of a minute, she shimmies down 30 feet and climbs back up the same tree. Give her a tool belt and she can fix cable connections for a darn good living.
Check it Out!

Personal Spirituality, A DIY Project

My roomie Mona was looking for a small shrine to pay homage to her departed family members for some time but these things aren't available in Catholic circles and the ones found in Vancouver Chinatown are either pretty tacky or really expensive. I made this in 1/4 size to the first one I constructed for my Dad three years ago. The inset photo is by Dave the Husband, during a conference in Quebec City at a Catholic catherdral that rented out their worship space on the weekdays.
The drawer has enough room to store 9 tea candles on their sides. The back of the frame pops out to change photos when necessary. Apart from that, the rest is made with scrap wood formerly destined for the fireplace.
It wasn't till after the paint dried that this appeared to resemble a sarcophagus. My dear Mum bought it for me in the first place for 10 cents and I have no need for more boxes. I added wood to the lid and base, painted it all over... it's going back to her the next time we visit and I'll probably get a bunch of dollar store crap form her again. If I redecorate all this stuff and give it back every time, she might get the hint to stop. At any rate, this could be a nice little box to store her rosaries and other religious bits.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

bum in the air

Zoo keepers are trying to wean Tai Shan, who weighs more than 40 lbs at the moment, to larger trees but seems to have his heart set on this one. I watched him via Panda Cam (see sidebar) struggle to maintain balance for a good ten minutes.... glad to see he has a healthy amount of tenacity and a soft furry butt to fall on if need be.

illustration Friday: Speed

... couldn't muster the energy to do an entire illo this week as I'm still battling a nasty head cold. The bear is all mine, the '69 Bronco though is some clip art I put through the Photoshop wringer and added dusty swirls to make it look like Mr. Bear is peeling out of a junk yard driveway.
Check it Out!

Weird Product Off-Shoots

The same company known for farming equipment and rider lawnmowers is also in the hosiery business. Problem is, their socks only come in combinations of green and yellow as seen here. They're on sale at Fred Meyer if your jonesing for a pair. Thanks to Mona for letting me blog her crazy new socks.

Corners of My Home

I've been a part of this Flickr group for a few months now and keep an eye out for new photos posted by other members. Seriously, these pics rival alot of the stuff published in Martha Stewart and 'Home & Garden". Well worth your time to drop by to surf and say hello!
Check it Out!
Same view to the left of the gilt framed painting, just to show off some more licence plates. I got that six years ago for $45, by the way, at a thift store in Vancouver called 'Trash and Treasures'. A real oil painting on canvas... don't see too many of those around any more.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pink Eggs, No Ham

Being ill with a head cold affords me time to finish off some projects that initially had good intentions, but become a pain in the ass and an unfinished eyesore on my drafting table. You may remember these eggs on a previous post. Well here they are, fit for the Wee Wonderfuls group at Flickr.

Messing With South Park

Head on over to South Park Studio V.2 and fart around with any myriad combinations to create your own character. I particularly like the Fozzie Bear shirt and Teddy Bear add-ons.
Check it Out!

Not Just Pandas Y'all

black bear
Originally uploaded by Hoot1.
It has come to my attention as of late that I've been neglecting certain members of the bear nation that makes 'Chief-Ten-Bears' truly whole, namely every bear but pandas. Dave the husband kindly referred this blog to thetyee.ca, and I'm grateful for the link but let's be clear here, I am all (well, mostly) to with black bears...

The Big Brown Bear
Originally uploaded by Wes & Eli.
... big ol' brown bears,
... Polar Bears with enormous paws,

Kiona and Kachina 110
Originally uploaded by The Cats Jungle.
... last but not least, affectionate grizzly bears too.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Illustration Friday: Spring

Nothing special here, I'm too ill with the flu to do a fancy-schmancy concept this week so a literal one in b/w will have to do.
Check it Out!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pandas At Night, To My Delight

I took some cold meds in the early AM to battle a sinus headache brought on by the sniffles, with unforseen insomnia inducing side-effects... so I got up and cam-surfed for a bit. The Panda cam at the San Diego Zoo is usually pointed outside in the evening and to my delight at 2:40am, it's broadcasting indoor scenes! For several minutes they were out and about, having good mum-daughter quality time.
Check it Out!
Shortly afterwards Su Lin climbed out of view to their sleeping den with Bai Yun following behind.