Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vancouverites celebrate Women's Hockey Gold Medal

Although the rest of those in our world harbouring interest in the Winter Olympics may well assume the games are about various and sundry sports involving sledding, jumping and the like, Canadians know there is only one winter sport that counts:  hockey.  People can jump into the air, purposefully falling for a full seven stories, ski as fast as they please, spin on ice wearing little nothings that hardly suffice for bedtime, or skate in circles to their hearts' content, but when it is all said and done, Canada will evaluate the 2010 games on its performances in hockey.

Men's hockey, truth be told.  But increasing numbers of Canadians are thankfully enthusiastic supporters of women's hockey as well.

Not wanting to spend $750 to get two tickets to the Women's Hockey final (as did two very dear friends), I instead joined other tightwads in watching the entire game on one of the many large screens outside.  Those of us who got to sit, sat on outside stone-cold cement steps , in my case with only boxer shorts and jeans pretending to provide insulation.  It was a long sit, an uncomfortable sit, a cold sit, but we had a great party (and did not need a bank loan).  The Zip Line ran overhead, whizzing screaming daredevils from one high point above us to another, city blocks away.  The fans were so Canadian, so utterly polite, but also so very knowledgeable about the game, quietly moving their bodies in rhythm with the women weaving complicated patterns on the ice.  The crowd appreciated every nuance, every effort, going from absolute silent terror to ecstatic jubilation.  The game's result was never in doubt (there is a God, Canada must therefore win), and the game followed the fore-ordained plan, which was an enormous relief to all (including the RCMP on the sidelines).  After the Canadian players received their gold medals, we sang the national anthem as darkness fell.  We then moved away slowly, feeling history had been witnessed before joining the thousands walking on Robson Street.  I was chilled to the bone, having been downtown from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. (with a lunch break at Le Crocodile, my little reward).  The blue lights were fun to photograph, but probably matched the colour of my hands.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Strathcona area in Vancouver in February

Vancouver's Strathcona district is just east of Gastown and Chinatown, an area that has some of the city's smaller but lovely old homes (old for Vancouver).  Our photography class took an afternoon outing, walking by a few homes but spending most of our time in a rather large allotment where many people can get small vegetable plots.  It's a bit too early to show the plots because this is the season for gardeners to clean up what is left from the winter veggies, prepare the soil for spring and think seriously about when it will be safe to plant (everybody of course wants to be first).  So I focused instead on closeup photography of grape vine bark, artifacts, a small cement pond and the like, as well as several shots of bits of homes I found interesting.  Anything beats fighting the crowds downtown looking to see what might be happening that is associated with the Olympics.  From what friends tell me--not much.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Orchid in memorium

Soon after Dad passed away (Nov. 30th), our church kindly gave me a beautiful orchid, in full bloom.  Nearly two months later, the flowers are still remarkably beautiful.  We have the plant on our broad kitchen windowsill, placing the blossoms at eye level.  The more I look, the more I see; the closer I look, the more beautiful the flowers become.  When I seen these flowers, I enjoy recalling how both Dad and Mother loved her flowers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dress Rehearsal of Harry Somer's Louis Riel at UBC

On Feb. 1st, 2010 I enjoyed photographing the dress rehearsal of Harry Somer's opera, Louis Riel at UBC's Chan Centre.  Although the stage has no curtain, the designers and craftsmen from the Theatre Department provided fascinating scenery having a powerful stairway split the stage in two.  The rehearsal was very powerful indeed, the orchestra coped well with the difficult score, and the singers rose to the challenge of performing modern music.  [Click on any picture to enlarge it.  Another 40 photos from this rehearsal can be seen on my flickr site.]