Archive | October, 2012
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The West Coast Trail Pictures

31 Oct
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How to Photograph the Elusive Octopus

29 Oct

 

The octopus is one of my favourite creatures. This is mostly because they are so intelligent and have distinct personalities- and because they also change colour! Octopus are also very sneaky and hard to find in the open during the day. So then how do you find an octopus on your next vacation for a super cool photo op?

Well my friends, finding the elusive octopus requires you to think like an octopus. Octopus in general are somewhat lazy, stick to distinct routines and live in dens or nests. Being nocturnal hunters, they spend most of the daylight hiding in their homes. The easiest way to spot an elusive cepholopod during the day is to search out their residence.

Typically these eight armed bandits will eat shellfish, snails clams and the like which all have indigestible shells. Much like the lazy in our society, the octopus will leave his empty food packages around his cave. Knowing this, it is easiest to search first for small mounds of shells and then look for the hole in which Mr. Octopus lives.

Once you have found a good pile of shells next start looking for the octopus’ eyes. Now the eyes on an octopus are one of the only bits he cant change colour and texture. You are looking for black slits, not your traditional mammalian eyeballs. Also look for his eye stalks which make a little U.

Using these hints there is good chance you will have found and will be able to observe the octopus as he rests in his home. While it is never a good idea to taunt or pester an octopus, some can be coaxed out of their holes. This is done by either placing and interesting object within reach of their hole (octopuses are very curious) or by dropping a piece of food. With some luck you might be able to see him stick our a tentacle and carefully, snatch the object back into the cave.

It should be known as well that an octopus in the open is usually uncomfortable and will show how pissed off he is by turning a reddy brown colour and leaving like Jack the Bear. So if you happen to come across an octopus outside his hole, try not to frighten him, move slow and you might just get some great shots!

Oh and fun fact, its Octopuses not Octopi .

-Chris

Vlad The Impaler – ‘The Real Dracula’ Documentary

28 Oct

I thought I would post a documentary in the Halloween spirit. Here is an interesting one on Vlad ‘The Impaler’ – the 15th century prince who’s name and character inspired Bram Stoker’s famous vampire novel. I would love to travel to Transylvania to see his fortress and castles. I’m definitely interested to read more about him after watching this!

Check out the documentary here:

Vlad The Impaler | Watch Free Documentary Online.

Happy Halloween!

Autumn Gallop

27 Oct

The other weekend I was playing around with Tyler in the back fields when Chris suggested we try strapping the GoPro to my head. It worked fairly well except that the weight of the camera pushed the helmet over my eyes a few times. This was trial test #1- I’m sure we’ll tinker with other ways to capture the video and next time we’ll ride over something a bit more exciting. Stay tuned!

Summertime Cameraphone Confessions

26 Oct

I recently cleared my phone of uneeded documents, emails and pictures to free up some space (for more uneeded emails, docs and pictures). I thought I’d share a random sample of pictures found in my phone. I’m not one for carrying my phone on me at all times but I did manage to snap a few cool pictures. Enjoy :)

-Jess

Chris likes to climb things. Here he is on the boom of a Dufour 40e sailboat.

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The city is beautiful when viewed from the water.

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I snapped this shot in Newport, RI, USA while sitting in the beer tent watching the America’s Cup Sailboats practice. They are quite a remarkable sight!

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This picture was also taken in Newport, RI. Newport is a beautiful old sailing town. The streets are cobblestone and the shops feel very small town America. What a lovely place!

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Snapped this screenshot of Chris’ name on the House Hazards credits. Proud of you babe!

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Ever wonder how they move big sailboats? This is a Hunter Sailboat was being launched for the Port Credit In-Water Boat Show. They lift them off the cradles using big slings- very cool!

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Oh Port Credit. I work in a small town called Port Credit. It’s located just between Oakville and Toronto. Port Credit is known for being a very affluent area. Sights like this are a daily occurance. Chris and I call these people ‘cityits’.

I am so bad-ass.

This photo was taken while I crewed on a 65 foot luxury power yacht watching the CNE air show!

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I took this picture while driving out to the farm. It is SO nice to spend my weekends away from the city. This is what paradise looks like!

Lake Ontario sunshine.

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A Hard Day’s Work.

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Boys will be Boys. Chris invited a few buddies over for an afternoon of clay shooting. Check out the carnage on the ground.

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Looking for Chris and I during the summer? You’d most likely find us in a similar situation.

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It’s the effort that counts right? …I attempted to bake for Chris’s parents’ birthday. Fail.

Katie refusing to take a bath.

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Boing! This is Katie dog in the hydro cut beside our house. She loves running and leaping through the thick weeds!

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I told you Chris likes to climb things.

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Sailing Adventures. Chris and I have tossed around the idea of buying a boat and sailing the world. It’s an option I suppose.

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An unflattering photo of Tyler and I in the field. When I drive to the farm after work, I routinely jump the fence in my business suit and run out to see my horse. My office friends would be horrified I’m sure!

Hope you enjoyed these random pictures and summer adventures.

Cheers,

Jess

Into the Wild – Considerations and Reflections

23 Oct

Hello, Jess here.

Chris has been busy working late hours on set this past week and I’ve been home sick for two days. I hardly ever get sick and find myself overwhelmed with the underwhelming boredom of bedridden-ness. Today in my ‘despair’, I decided to start another novel: Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. What an amazing book and intriguing story. Reading this book, I found myself pausing to reflect on what I had read, even re-reading passages to fully absorb the message.

I began Into The Wild with the impression that Christopher ‘Alexander Supertramp’ McCandless was a nutter. The book begins:

In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do East Coast Family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters. (Jon Krakauer, 1996: 2).

Throughout the book, however, I found myself intrigued by Chris’s (aka Alex) actions. The author brings to life the triumph and tragedy of Alex’s physical and spiritual journey. I find that his message challenges my own decisions and aspirations. Whether he was crazy or not, I found myself relating to his contempt for middle/upper class North American society, his rejection of his career obsessed family and his lure to nature, adventure, travel and personal freedom.

I found myself relating especially to his upbringing and the way such experiences altered his outlook on the values of conventional society. Raised in a middle-upper class family, I also enjoyed the privileges of modest wealth. His parents, like mine, were consumed by their successful careers, often working late into the night and early in the morning. And yes, I too have come to abhor the idea of greed and societal restriction. There must be more to life than climbing ladders, achieving wealth, and empty houses.

Krakauer writes that when Chris’s parents suggested that he needed a college degree to attain a fulfilling career, “Chris answered that careers were demeaning twentieth century inventions, more of a liability than an asset” (Krakauer, 1996: 114). I found this small and simple statement very moving.

I did not enjoy University. In fact, I hated it. Growing up in North America, we are taught from a very young age that if we are ever to achieve anything worthwhile in life, to ever attain happiness and prosperity, peace and security, we must go to University. University, University, University. College is for idiots and if you have no-post secondary, or worse, didn’t graduate high school, well, then you’re a complete failure. University is simply the admission fee for any job making over $15/hour. Because of this ridiculous notion, we now have millions of youth over educated and under employed. The job market is so tough that there are Ph.D grads waiting tables and working in malls for $10.25/hr.  CBC Radio had a wonderful program the other day on ‘Malemployment’. Mal-employment is a form of Underemployment, specifically relating to those in a job that is far below your education and skill level. You can find the radio program here: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Ontario/ID/2296024601/?page=3

I entered University completely unaware of the Malemployment crisis in much of Canada. Because of this, during my second year of study at the University of Waterloo (the school my father had insisted I go) my idealistic, socially constructed and internalized values that ‘University is key to success’ were obliterated.  I was horrified. ‘What do you mean I may not find a job when I graduate?’  My fourteen years of education had instilled in me a focus on the all-important ‘Career‘. Over time, however,  both my career obsessed parents as well as the idea of malemployment created a hatred for such a term.  I once read somewhere that you should “Never find yourself so busy building a career that you forget to make a life”.  These words stick with me.

Back to the book… While reading Into the Wild, I found this young man’s love of adventure and progress is compelling. I truly enjoyed Alex’s words in a letter to a friend:

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences…” (p 57). 

Ultimately, I admire this man for living his dreams and pursuing adventures unobstructed by societal restraints. To those who condemn his actions: I agree that he was reckless and a bit too sure of himself. He failed to respect the reality of living in the Alaskan Wilderness and ultimately, that unpreparedness lead to his death. That being said, I do not think we should cast Alex aside as a hippie-tramp obsessed with the beauty of nature. This man found happiness in his travels and had important ideas worth sharing that are still very relevant today.

This blog is meant to challenge those who find themselves living in ‘unhappy circumstances’ to go beyond their safe boundaries of desks and laptops and rush hour traffic. Things as simple as enjoying a walk with your dog through a hydro cut, metal detecting and experimenting in your own backyard, or stopping to watch the beetles on a leaf in the morning sun… these small adventures can create appreciation and exhilaration much like Alex’s extreme adventure. I would highly suggest reading a book and getting some sunshine. These things are important.

Cheers,

Jess

Reference:

Krakauer, J. (1997). Into the Wild. New York: Anchor Books.

 

Moby Dick and Google

18 Oct

I have to say, Google does a great job with their ‘Doodles’.  I logged onto my computer this morning with a warm mug of Zen Starbucks tea (new obsession) and was greeted by my Google homepage. Oh Google-how I love thee!  Without Google, I wouldn’t be able to trick as many people into believing I’m a genius. (Go ahead, ask me anything!).  Anyways, today’s Google Doodle  honors Moby Dick, the famous novel by American writer Herman Melville. I remember being assigned this novel in grade 8 for a book report.  I took the book home and read 10 pages. And those 10 pages were all it took for me to realize that: a) I didn’t understand anything I had just read and b) it was sunny outside. I quickly did what any self-respecting 8th grader would do- I tossed the book into my knapsack and googled the answers to the assigned questions.  A+.  

Full circle Google, full circle.

While we are on the ‘Whale’ topic, Chris and I went whale watching in Tafino, British Columbia last May. We saw some pretty cool stuff. I would highly recommend visiting Tafino if you ever have the opportunity to do so! It’s north of Nanimo on Vancouver Island.  Chris and I had some of our best adventures on our B.C backpacking trip!

 

House Hazards: Ep1 Freak Accidents

16 Oct

Check out the premiere of House Hazards tonight on HGTV! Chris finished shooting this season last week! Keep your eyes peeled for the handsome devil himself!

House Hazards – Freak Accidents | Shows | HGTV Canada.

Freaakin Lasers !

12 Oct

Jess kinda likes space things, like Star Trek and planets, you know space stuff.  So I surprised her after work with a laser!  That’s right a real live laser, not like a pointer but a real laser that can burn stuff and start fires!  The laser we have is made by Survival Laser owned by Gary Rosenfield  (a really stand up guy by the way).

Lasers are measured in output of watts and wavelength. Your basic laser pointer is well below 300mw and can’t do much, other than put a bright spot on wall. Our laser is rated at 1.2 watts or 1200mw.  It can burn paper and light fuse. It is also bright as hell and can damage your eyes. And its even visible from space! Blue light is harder on our eyes than other light, not sure why, I’m no eyeball mechanic but its a fact. So we wear glasses

Here is a short teaser video of Jess demonstrating the lasers capabilities!

If you would like to check out these lasers, find them at: http://www.survivallaser.com/

House Hazards

9 Oct

Here is the show that Chris just finished filming. He did all the stunts and special effects (all the explosions) for the hosts. In the short preview, you can see him on the yellow telehandler dropping the dummies on the deck.

Yeah, he’s a big deal. Check out the preview here: Cineflix Rights.

http://www.cineflixrights.com/sections/1-Welcome-to-Cineflix-Rights/shows/house-hazards#

During the summer, he also worked on another show called Air Aces by the same production company. He rigged four .30 Browning Machine Guns on the back of a Lancaster(!) for the show. I got to go and see the Lancaster and hung out on set one day. We live close to the airport where she’s kept- one of only two left flying! When she roars over our house, we always run outside to watch.

See the Air Aces preview here:

http://www.cineflixrights.com/sections/1-Welcome-to-Cineflix-Rights/shows/air-aces#

Enjoy!

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