The worst news comes when you're away

Yesterday I called up Sam and was dismayed to learn that Keima, one of the two cats that we raised when we were together, has come down with acute liver disease. He was vomiting and jaundiced and in pain but maybe going to be ok. This afternoon I called to find out more; there's bloodwork back from the vet and now he's doing very badly. Even if intensive care was done it would be a long time for suffering and a small chance of survival; it looks like he may be put down before I can get back. It's so sudden and one of those "life is unfair" kind of moments; I feel like a dad that's abandoned his children in a time of need. My little buddy might die and I can't even say goodbye.

Maybe if I try really hard I can pretend today didn't happen. There's still tomorrow though.


Floods, mudslides, and walking amongst trees.

Washingon D.C. has declared a state of emergency, and is asking people to avoid the downtown area. Fortunately I am in a suburb that has been relatively unaffected by the flooding and mudslides! Looks like I might not make it to the Smithsonian, *sigh*.

Reston Virginia, where I'm staying and working, it is a typically sterile suburb with cookie-cutter townhouses, highways, and hotels. One feature I like about it is a pedestrian/runner/cyclist path that runs underneath a set of high-tension power lines and connects my hotel with the office I'm working at. This means I can still walk to work, a very reasonable 30 minute stroll. The power lines, while obtrusive, do provide a nice wide swath of undergrowth between the path and the rest of cookie-cutter land. It helps; I need to walk amongst trees every day.


Safe and sound, close by DC.

After an airport blur I'm finally on my feet close by Washington D.C. (Reston VA). Last minute confusion by United regarding the status of my flights (cancel a flight, rebook later, uncancel a flight, rebook earlier, cancel again, overbook a flight, reroute...) left me feeling pretty haphazard today. However it was all worth it as I was able to meet up with the wonderful Gail for a late-night tour of Toronto. More should be said of this meeting but a short blog is better than no blog :) Thank you Gail for the tour, and thank you Rachael for connecting us!


Washington D.C.

Well the tickets are booked; I'll be in Washington D.C. next week on business. Sadly I don't think there will be much time for exploring but I'm going to try to connect with someone (anyone!) for Friday afternoon/evening. I would love to find a photographer interested in a photowalk; there's quite a few D.C. shooters on flickr.

Anyone have a contact in D.C. I could get in touch with?


Blogging Resumes - Great things about the weekend

Ok, so I've talked with a few people about the stopping blogging thing and really I'm just blowing something small out of proportion. I've been doing that lately but I think it's just a phase! Hey does anyone know when the rollercoaster stops?

The weekend was really good;
- Seeing "Little Ado About Nothing" with Rachael, Kai and Jason. A wonderful play that I thorougly enjoyed seeing; also my first time at the Pacific Theatre.
- Spending time with Travis K. and Ho Chi; we had fun wandering Granville Island and surrounding areas, although we were slightly underdressed after the beautiful Saturday morning turned into a chilly afternoon.
- Brunch with Derek and Sara on Sunday morning. Well mostly brunch with Derek since Sara had to work.
- Going to the Commercial Drive car-free festival on Sunday; the festival was great fun, all kinds of vendors, activities, performers... all fun and games until you fall from a tall bike. Ouch! It was great fun to see so many familiar faces throughout the day; Rachael, Bill, Barb, Hendrik, David, Ben, Kristi, Benoit, Chris, Leah, Pierre, and Colene.
- Mango-tofu salad and smoothies with Hendrik and Rachael afterwards. Yum!


Stop blogging?

The time may be right for me to take a blogging break. It seems my desire to be "out there" more and share more is outpacing my ability to be mindful of what I'm writing about. This is a general shift in my life right now, and anyone I'm in close communication with has probably received more than their fair share of barbs from me lately.

So it seems the way to go is to hold back on the blogging until I'm more thoughtful and considerate about what I'm putting out there. It's a frustrating but perhaps natural part of learning new mediums and opening myself up more.


On Photography

Proud Moment
Originally uploaded by slightly-less-random.
Something I like about practicing photography is being able to be there when someone achieves something great, and it shows. Like my brother here, who has been working very hard for two years to get closer to his goal of a black belt in Don Jitsu Ryu. He's perhaps half way since the hard work truly begins when you achieve the belt just below black, brown, as he did. (He didn't get to actually posses the belt until today.) It might not seem this way from the photograph, but the older man pictured here has a very commanding presence and it was quite intimidating to take his picture, even with Lucas there.


No water today - Working from home

Yesterday I came home to notices regarding problems with water leaks and the need to shut off water today to the building. Of course I get up this morning and find the water has been shut off two hours ahead of schedule! Ah well.

So it happens, "working from home" because I'm sparing my fellow office mates from my bedhead.


(almost) Celebrity Photography

One of the highlights of my weekend was attending my brother's belt-testing; he's a member of the Purple Dragon jiu jitsu dojo. This is a successful martial arts school, its success due in no small part to the charisma and commanding presence of its founder, Don Jacob. He is a powerful and dominating motivational speaker who has the respect of everyone around him. Once a year this man flies up from Trinidad to check up on how his son is doing at teaching Canadian students.

While watching him speak during the ceremony (and between writing down thoughts on what he was saying and how he was saying it) I was wondering "how do I photograph this man"? I don't typically carry a telephoto lens so if I want a close photo of someone, that means getting close to them. In the end I got two photographs of him, one at 8 meters and one at 1.5m, both with his full knowledge of what I was doing. The second shot was of him with my brother, quite an honour for Lucas and due in no small part to his new designation "brown belt, 3rd kyu, elite warrior".

I was a little nervous and as I went to take the closer shot my brain pretty much switched into full-auto mode. It is shots like this that make all the other photographs I've taken worth it, the vast majority of photographs are just training for that 1% of shots that really count. If it comes back sharp, I'll just collapse into a small heap of joy.


On cat sitting and needing birdfeed

So nearly a week ago George the Cat came into my life. Rachael connected me with Noriko and Jason, who are in Japan for three weeks and needed someone to look after George. Jason and I have been getting to know each other, especially after discovering that we eat at the same place on the weekends, Sapodilla's.

It's been really nice to have George around, I've forgotten how good it feels to have a cat follow you around the home, for the sole reason that at any moment you might dispense a little bit of cat-love. It's taken a week but finally I'm back into remembering all the ways to get a cat like George to roll around in cat-ecstacy; we're getting along just fine. Petting a cat well is really its own reward, as I find it to be quite a relaxing thing.

Also along with George came a feeding machine. This is seriously the greatest invention ever made. The machine dispenses food at specific times of the day and in specific amounts. Overfeeding George? Not me! Can I take off and not worry about if he's fed? You bet I can! All I need now is a automatic watering machine and I could leave George alone for a week. George likes to watch the birds eat the food on my deck, so once the birdfeed outside runs out he'd start to get bored, and bored cats tend to turn their focus to wires and cables, so I could only stay away from the apartment as long as the birdfeed on the deck lasts. Now with an automatic birdfeed machine...

Finally getting on top of things

It's been a long time coming, but I finally feel like I'm getting on top of the day-to-day keeping of the home. It was typically the case that I'd just let things pile up until they were a terrible tangle of papers and bills and pocket fluff, then when I had to clean just shove everything into a bucket and wisk it away. There's nothing wrong with this unless you feel bad about it, and I was feeling pretty bad about it. I've been trying to cultivate the skill of spending a few minutes throughout the day to just make tidying up an integral part of the day.

So yesterday I came home from work. The kitchen was clean, the desk was tidy, the living space was mostly in order, and George the cat met me at the door and wondering why wasn't I around to pet him all day. It was pretty nice! Coming home to a clean space, my space, somehow felt really satisfying.


On being cheered up

Ok, so I was feeling really crummy this morning and after talking with a few friends I feel much better. You guys are great!

Now, here is your challenge. Leave a comment, and type "three cheers for good cheer" 10 times fast. Do not correct for typos! Here's my attempt:

three cheers for good cheers, three cheers for good cheer, thee theers for thgo cheer, three ffcheers for good cheers, three cheers for good cheer, three cheers for tood gheer, therree chees... damn