Lower mainland adventures with my parents

To explain a long story as to why I’ve been a tad MIA in the past week or so, here is my attempt at a photo blog post sort of thing, thanks to my cellphone camera(our digital camera is experiencing battery issues). My parents have been in town for the last week and a half, so we’ve been doing out best to be good hosts and show them how beautiful the lower mainland is. This is a far cry from Iowa, and I think they have really come to love the beauty of B.C.

White Rock walk

Walking along the water in White Rock, B.C.

Dad digs the gelato

Introducing my dad to green tea gelato. Who knew that is could taste so good?

Brockton Point - Stanley Park

Last time they were here, we were only able to drive through the park. This time, we stopped and did a fair share of walking.

My parents on the dock

Road trip to Osoyoos, B.C.


Vineyards of the Okanagan. We did our fair share of enjoying the fruits of the labor.

And finally, this could potentially bore the pants off you, but I did all the driving this weekend. It was my first time driving through the mountains to that extent, so a huge adventure for me. The trek is not overly stressful when you kinda of know what to expect. Still, there are two words that I keep visualizing in the back of my head: “brake failure”.

Art 2.0

This CNN article is particularly interesting to me because my sister is someone who is trying really hard to promote and sell her art in addition to her day job and being a single mom of two kids.

LONDON, England (Reuters) — Collector Charles Saatchi has launched a Web site for art students and a handful have already sold works online as the Internet begins to change the way the art world works.

With prices for contemporary art soaring, collectors say they have less time to travel to galleries and shows to see new works for themselves, while aspiring painters and sculptors find it hard to get noticed amid the pressure to find the next hot young stars.

For many, the Internet is the answer, offering low-cost access for thousands of painters, sculptors and buyers and, at the same time, providing a Myspace-style social networking site for artists the world over.[cnn]

Player by Elizabeth Bollwitt
Elizabeth Bollwitt: “Player”

My sister is a ways out from attaining extreme success with her endeavors on the web, but presence is important for sure. Beth took a hiatus from the world of art for a short time. In the last few years, my sister has gone to a variety of shows in the midwest. Painting is her true knack, but she can also do graphic design and wood carving. I can almost swear that some of her pottery projects from college are still floating around, but it has been a long while since I’ve see her do much in that realm.

Pointillism[wiki] is the style Beth specializes in. That might seem to be a painful process to some, but she has a real talent for it. Her inspiration comes from a variety of places. The collection has probably doubled, maybe tripled, in the last few years, and a print of her “Sunset Flower” sits on the wall in the living room of our apartment. The recent expansion of her original works has seen some incredible progression in the use of color and technique. “Player” has to be one of my favorites. At least when I first saw it, it really impressed me. I love the bold use of colors, and she has gone on to expand that concept in other paintings she has done since then.

Sunset Flower by Elizabeth Bollwitt
Elizabeth Bollwitt: “Sunset Flower”

Being an artist that offers themselves on the web is not as easy as it might seem, and I think my sister can speak to that quite clearly. Presence is the simple part. Gaining attention is the next big step, but actually achieving success is the golden ticket. Seeing the digital image won’t get people interested in buying as much as seeing the original up close will.

It’s comparable to when I saw Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”[wiki] for the first time. The reproduction that you’ve seen a thousand times before is like an over played song. It gets old, stale, and you don’t think twice the next time you hear it. However, with art, when you see the original painting, you get it. I had to be pulled away from that Van Gogh it because I couldn’t quit staring at it.

If you enjoy the samples of that you see in this post, then please visit my sister’s website, elizabethbollwitt.com.

The deer that couldn’t

While making their way to visit some of our family in Kansas City, MO nearly a week ago, my parents did not plan on making an unexpected stop in southern Iowa, almost near the Missouri border. My mom says she had no idea what was going on and didn’t see a thing. She must have been looking down or not paying attention to the road from the passenger seat.

Dad said that it all happened in a matter of seconds. From the pictures, you can see that the weather was near perfect. This time of year, you never know if it might snow or if you should put on your shorts and enjoy a nice dose of indian summer. My dad always has his camera with him, so as soon as the initial rush of everything subsided, he snapped a series of pictures that I’m posting here. You can see all the photos in this Flickr set.

One thing you can bank on is that it’s mating season for deer. Night time driving is far more concerning, always looking out for those eyes reflecting your headlights as it bounds towards the highway. That sounds stupid, but it’s no different than knowing that, in the lower mainland, when you see a bear cub, move away as quick as possible because the mother bear is near by.

Apparently, the growth on the side of the interstate shielded this buck from my dad’s vision. When you’re traveling 65 MPH, nearly 100 KPH for those keeping score in metric, there’s not much room to react when a buck leaps out of nowhere and decides that it’s crossing the highway, no matter what’s barreling down at it.

Both of my parents walked away from it with relatively little injury. Dad said that the strangest thing was the air bags going off. Both got some soreness from those things inflating, but no medical attention was needed. Dad was able to keep the car under relative control when the impact happened, but any further across the median would have put them into oncoming traffic.

The final outcome? The deer is dead, the car is basically totaled, and my parents are alive and well. The red station wagon will no longer be a family staple. I drove it a lot during my high school days, often being made fun of for driving “the grocery getter” around town. Of course, the situation could be much worse, but now my folks have the headache of finding a replacement. I think it’s causing them more pain to do that than the actual accident itself.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Happy Birthday, Ben!

My nephew is eleven years old today. To be fair, here’s a pic of his cousin-in-crime, Anthony.  You just gotta love iChat.

Folks in Cupertino make some pretty good stuff

Talking to Grandma during her visit in Iowa via iChatIt’s really no secret that I’m an Apple fan, even though I’m very capable of living in a Windows world. Afterall, my official title at the radio station I worked at was “IT Support Level 2”, but that didn’t change the fact that I was working on 5kW AM and 100kW FM transmitter sites. I’ve just been using Apples since I was four, maybe earlier. In fact, I was probably able to use a computer sooner than I was able to read, but I digress.

The brilliancy of iChat and the ability to communicate via video is pretty cool, and lots of users will tell you that. However, when my eighty-seven year old grandma has the ability to see and talk to me from my parent’s house in Iowa, that’s when you realize that this technology is pretty damn cool. Combine that with my aunt, uncle, and cousin that Rebecca has yet to meet, you begin to understand the gap that is bridged. The world seems smaller at that point.