Tuesday, January 31, 2006

unity in diversity

Subconsciously hidden behind symbols a lonely mind seeks explanation for the isolation and finds the heart buried behind blue and chains and handles denying access to all but the determined as a weeding out process that never hopes to find the singing idol.

Beneath the broken discarded concrete block thousands of little pink faces all in a row, smile.

She missed the party and continues to hide behind the shine of plastic fashion.

More in the random lines from rare angles. The red was the allure here.

Another strange batch of lines surround the government sponsored safety intended alleyway mirror.

The circle tries to break free from the confines of concrete ideas spiral with intuition.

wisdom and family

As the bee takes the essence of a flower and flies away without destroying its beauty and perfume, so let the sage wander in this life. Dhammapada 50

The three most important things you need to learn in life are counting and speling.

Since xmas some of my relatives have started to visit this blog so I thought I'd post some recent family photos.

The five siblings, from l; me, Bill Linda, Jim, Rob.

Linda and her daughter Michelle with Tyla.

Me, Jim and Lorraine, his future wife.

An old shot from 1963, before Bill was born.

Monday, January 30, 2006

under the thumb

I know I'm always using puddles flipped for photos but I can't help myself. Sometimes like in this case the focus remains on the person and the strange perspective lines are almost unnoticed.

Here I was looking somehow to get the flow of the water since it was so wet and melting everywhere and Ryder just happened by in time to catch him in the reflection.

When the creek is this colour it's been raining/melting a lot.

Kids always seem to give you that straight into the lens uninhibited stare, which invariably makes for a cool shot.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

handle with care

Looking up at a round ashtray on a pole outside a store, one can see the graphical and balanced influence the random delineation of frame provides.

Lines imply the union of the art and the landscape to create a pot of gold at the end of the frame

A white picket fence design bent around a circle loses perspective when the dominant colour is the darkest one.

Rising above it all to scale walls to climb trees from the bricked in enclosure turning the white coat to brown

This is what the light sees as it shines on plastic dreams and a party dress with balloons of many colours.

Forced to reflect upon a head in the clouds attitude watch with care the inner treasure hidden by the glare.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

snow always falls

As if every finger alive under the fire of cold snow, the tree blazes with white.

It stands in stark contrast to the scene in my mind from the summer when all this was green and the water blue.

From the ground up, the relentless snow smothers the scenery.

Friday, January 27, 2006

vantage point taken

I was struck by how fleeting this image was. With the snow coming down lightly it wasn't going to keep this design for too long.

Same with the tire marks etched into fresh snow due to be melted away as the morning traffic increases.

The singled out pattern perfectly placed on the discoloured pavement and impressed with weight focused to imbue a state of dissociative thought.

These grouped and hardy against winter 'flowers' can take on a shine when the slanting sun finds them standing and waiting.

Somewhere in the randomness of the way nature displays objects is a cohesive pattern freely distributed and magically pure.

Gee, there's something about the way all these lines appear when grouped together and the shadow reflection seems perfect given the secrecy of this society.

With the idea in mind that it was only my perspective that was unable to discern an image, I started holding the camera at strange unexpected angles and taking pictures up into the air looking for lines as an ongoing theme. I took over fifty shots that way and selected some of the better ones.

Looking straight up a telephone pole.

Inside some bushes.

Looking up a tall tree.

Again in the bushes.

Up a trellis under the bridge.

Continuing with the strange angle theme straight up from between the boots.

Another beautiful end to the day, this colour burst was gone in less than two minutes, but such an awesome flow to watch go!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

pushing the lines

Carefully positioned amongst many lines and shapes to place the head in the bucket this self portrait is without a face.

This one was Tyla's idea. It brought back memories of the little skull head we used to chase around the neighbourhood for a few days way back when.

This one's for Bill since he loves the cooper name so much, funny I never noticed that sign there before.

One of those strange days of snow where it comes down all day but doesn't do anything but get everything wet. No accumulation because it never falls fast enough to build up and the head of the elephant plays a peek-a-boo game all day.

It's starting to get bleak, this wintry lack of colour. The flowers with their brilliant hues can not return soon enough to satisfy this innate desire to see colours again.

Desperation sees lines leading in the general direction we consider heaven to be and some convey peace through simple design.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd"

They moved the window display around and poor Robbie had his vantage point changed but tonight all will eat well in his honour!

Robert Burns (January 25, 1759 /– July 21, 1796) was a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became an important source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and in a "light" Scots dialect which would have been accessible to a wider audience than simply Scottish people. At various times in his career, he wrote in English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt. A cultural icon in Scotland and among Scots who have relocated to other parts of the world (the Scottish diaspora), his celebration became almost a national charismatic cult during periods of the 19th and 20th centuries, and his life has long been an influence on Scottish literature.

Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (New Year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known today across the world include A Red, Red Rose, A Man's A Man for A' That, To a Louse, and To a Mouse.

Burns' Night, effectively a second national day, is celebrated on 25 January with Burns' Suppers around the world, and is still more widely observed than the official national day, St Andrew's Day, or the new North American celebration Tartan Day.

The poem "Tam O'Shanter", due to its length, I posted below today's entry.


It's as if the original conception of colour for this brand of dog were designed with this moment in mind as yellow meets green for a collision in the mind of the creator.

Angular window set into a wall that borders a walk that runs downhill leaves no perspective capable of keeping things straight.

Look, if you had followed directions indicated you might not have made it out the door in time.

Inured patterns mixed with abstract design bring the realization to mind we have been sleeping on a bed of flowers all along.


Tam O' Shanter.

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors, neebors meet;
As market-days are wearing late,
An folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

O Tam had'st thou but been sae wise,
As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder wi the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roarin fou on;
That at the Lord's house, even on Sundav,
Thou drank wi Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found, deep drown'd in Doon,
Or catch'd wi warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld,haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames, it gars me greet,
To think how monie counsels sweet,
How monie lengthen'd, sage advices
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale:- Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right,
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnie,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy cronie:
Tam lo'ed him like a very brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi sangs and clatter;
And ay the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi favours secret, sweet, and precious:
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himsel amang the nappy.
As bees flee hame wi lades o treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi pleasure:
Kings may be blest but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the ills o life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread:
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.
Nae man can tether time or tide,
The hour approaches Tam maun ride:
That hour o night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour Tam mounts his beast in:
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as `twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd;
Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellow'd;
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his gray mare Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet,
Whiles crooning o'er an auld Scots sonnet,
Whiles glow'ring round wi prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares:
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane;
And thro the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole,
Near and more near the thunders roll:
When, glimmering thro the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze,
Thro ilka bore the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi usquabae, we'll face the Devil!
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventur'd forward on the light;
And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!

Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east.
There sat Auld Nick, in shape o beast;
A touzie tyke, black, grim and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.

Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And, by some devilish cantraip sleight,
Each in its cauld hand held a light:
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer's banes, in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief new-cutted frae a rape -
Wi his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi bluid red-rusted.
Five scymitars, wi murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled;
A knife a father's throat had mangled -
Whom his ain son o life bereft -
The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi mair of horrible and awefu,
Which even to name wad be unlawfu.

As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew,
The dancers quick and quicker flew,
They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had thae been queans. .
A' plump and strapping in their teens!
Their sarks, instead o creeshie flannen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!-
Thir breeks o mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o guid blue hair,
I wad hae gien them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o the bonie burdies!
But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Louping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder did na turn thy stomach!

But Tam kend what was what fu brawlie:
There was ae winsome wench and wawlie,
That night enlisted in the core,
Lang after kend on Carrick shore
(For monie a beast to dead she shot,
An perish'd monie a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear).

Her cutty sark, o Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie...
Ah! little kend thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),
Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights are far beyond her power:
To sing how Nannie lap and flang
(A souple jade she was and strang),
And how Tam stood like ane bewitch'd,
And thought his very een enrich'd;
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a' thegither,
And roars out, 'Weel done, Cutty-sark!'
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When 'Catch the thief!' resounds aloud:
So Maggie runs. the witches follow,
Wi monie an eldritch skriech and hollow.

Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig;
There, at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross!
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake;
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie's mettle!
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain grey tail:
The carlin claught her by the rump,
An left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o truth shall read,
Ilk man, and mother's son, take heed:
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd,
Or cutty sarks rin in your mind,
Think! ye may buy the joys o'er dear:
Remember Tam o Shanter's mare.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men"

On the day Burns was buried, 25th of July 1796, his wife Jean was giving birth to the last of his children, Maxwell Burns.

"To A Mouse" is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785. It is from the last few stanzas that John Steinbeck's 1937 novel Of Mice and Men took its title.

To A Mouse

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!



The poem is written in his typical "broad scots" and deals with a field mouse whose nest the speaker apparently destroyed when plowing a field. The speaker sees the mouse scuttling out of its nest, cowering and shivering in terror (and cold? It is mid-winter after all) in front of him. He begins by lamenting that the mouse is suffering because of the his actions, and then reassures it that it only has to fear the present, whereas the speaker himself has had a dreary past, and "guesses and fears" his unseen but easily-guessed future.

Nothing at all would have differentiated this poem from the millions of sentimental and tear-jerking verses churned out by assorted poets (and ridiculed by several others) - but for the fact that Burns seems to have opened his heart to the mouse, and speaks to it as if he's trying to cheer up an old friend who has somehow fallen upon hard times.

Before the first line of verse, Burns sets forth the occasion for "To a Mouse." Maintaining his poetical persona as plowman poet, he explains that the occasion for this poem was his destruction, unawares, of a mouse's nest as he pursued his winter plowing.

The technical aspects of the fifth stanza are also remarkable as Burns lulls the reader through the fourth line with a series of iambs only to shift the metrical stress (with a spondee) and mimic the crashing of coulter into nest.


bickering brattle=hurrying scamper


A daimen icker in a thrave=An occasional ear in twenty-four sheaves of grain



But house or hald=Without house or home,


cranreuch cauld=hoar-frost

thy lane=thyself alone



Incomplete like words that somehow fail to define the object in question with enough clarity to make the purpose comprehensible, this chosen for its colour representation of the place where dreams are housed is indistinct and unattainable.

If the corona of the planet curb were able to push planet stones away with the formation of ice as a barrier then the universe might change the way we see it.

Planned obsolescence keeps the business afloat like carefully placed line draw the eye to the subject posed for a place to put focus after the lines have run out and all the toys have broke.

A break in the gray only seems to come at the end of the day when it's too late for the sun to make much of a difference except in rich pastel exit strokes.

Dangling like crystals in an auburn sky alive with flowing threads of colour one upside down pile of snow reflected and flipped at sunset can change perspective to the abstract and alter meaning to suit the whim of the viewer.