Monday, May 28, 2007

Rhodedendrons in West End

I know I deserve much condemnation for posting pictures of flowers on my site - perhaps I've been in Canada too long and I'm losing whatever piece of Steve Waugh style Australian masculinity that I ever possessed. Oh who the hell am I kidding!! Twas ever thus - egads! Still, to wander outside of one's apartment on a Monday morning in preparation for another working week and to be confronted with blooms like this right outside one's door - now that makes life a little easier. With the new Wilco album on my iPod and my new-found comfort with all things dad-rock life is too good comrades. Melbourne's cool as fuck mean-streets seem a long way away from sleepy West End, Vancouver!

Blue Water Off the Gulf Islands

Great Views

Now the next part of the story concerns the magnificent location for the Health Canada symposium - I guess these fat-cat federal bureaucrats really know how to party eh? Ottawa, the nation's capital where most Health Canada staff are stationed, was still experiencing the death-throes of winter in mid-May so most of the HC staff who made the journey spent the whole time on their blackberry's emailing bemused colleagues and boasting of their good fortune. I think on the second day most staff bunked off to play golf or some such the weather was so good. The major sessions were held in a vast "executive retreat" atop a mountain overlooking the harbour in Sidney (Sydney Harbour could only have been slightly more picturesque you'll note from the attached evidence). The views made it pretty hard to concentrate though it did help that by the time I had to speak on the third day almost everyone was so damned relaxed from the sunshine and the fine food that they were too stupified to pay much attention. Probably about the easiest conference presentation I've ever done!

Sailing to Victoria Island

Greetings Comrades!

Recently I had the very great good fortune to be invited to a Health Canada symposium on drug monitoring systems - now before you berate for having the committed the predictable sin of gross sarcasm, I say good fortune because I was able to take the leisurely option of travelling to said symposium via the Gulf Islands ferry. This meeting was held in the the delightful port of Victoria capital of "Beautiful British Columbia". Lest I be accused of adding the blight of irony to my earlier transgressions let me add that our fair province really does deserve this particular title. Especially when the sun in shining on the deep blue waters of the Georgia Straights! Formed some billon-million years ago by the mysterious work of vast glacial formations (or merely some 10,000 years ago if you believe the "Intelligent Designers" to my south - and yes now I am being both ironic and sarcastic!!) the Georgia Straights are a joy to behold. The work of glacial erosion has helped to create any number of tiny isolated islands in among the deep channels ot the straights so the sailign is magnificent. Often times the ferry passing ominously close to the shores of tiny islands that can occupy no more than an acre or two. Always though, the water is deep and clear. This photo was taken just as we left the clear water and entered into the Gulf Island reaches - the lighthouse marked the entrance to the passage. Just awesome - the last time I travelled ont he ferry to Victoria the mist and rain were such that I remained trapped in doors the whole way - we could scarcely see the islands it was so foggy. So this trip really made up for it.

Otherwise work is crazy busy though the loving attentions of a fine woman is making up for it all - luckiest fellow in all the known lands and regular visitors know only too well!

Happy days friends and my damn head-cold is clearing up to boot.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lion's Gate Bridge in Spring

One of our most favourite fine weather diversions here in Vancouver is the walk around the Stanly Park sea-wall. WIth the leaves returning to the trees it sure is a great time to be in Vancouver - or Camada as our new friend Amy calls it. After hearin gme sing the praise of my new home whilst explaining the obviously ironic title of my blog Amy suggested that I rename the blog Camada in I would love to rename my blog welcome to Camada is this didn't mean changing also the URL address! Anyway, fun times comrades.

Charity Ball

I know this photo looks like a reprise of Charlotte's wedding (or perhaps more closely my own), but recently Anj and I were talked into attending the "Courage to Come Back" awards - a local charity that provides residential treatment and support for local Vancouverites living with a mental illness. The night was a very lavish affair hosted by the Premier and by two local news-readers. Basically the night celebrates local individuals who have struggled to overcome their illness whilst at the same time making a significant contribution to the community. Surely a good thing of course, yet still the style and manner of the evening was a little off-putting as I guess most charity dos probably are.

As each individual was awarded their prize a video montage was shown documenting their life struggles in the most maudlin and manipulative way possible. You know, emotionally sirring music, tired, emotive voice-overs replete with homilies celebrating the exceptional courage of said local, slow motion footage of children running through fields of wild-flowers... All designed of course to guilt trip the black tie crowd into reaching into their pockets for ever larger donations. Anj and I - being good cold-hearted cynical Australians - felt sure that no one would fall for this kind of hackneyed manipulation. Well were we in for a shock when later in the evening well over 600k was pledged from the crowd in the space of about 15 minutes of frantic and very public do goodery. Seems these Canadians are a little too sincere and well-meaning for we suspicious Australians. And to think that my boss told me I was being "too nice" to my staff last night!!

Eating Curry Under the Orange Lights

So spring has most certainly sprung here in Vancouver. THe whole city is slowly being transformed as the grey skies and barren tree-line is given over to blue skies, spring blossums everywhere and now finally the return of the leaves to the trees - "spring-time yawning high in the haze" as Jeff Tweedy once said. As such, Anj and I have been out and about a whole lot more as our bikes have been retrieved from their winter hibernation. This photo was taken over at a vegetarian Indian restaurant over on West 4th - the food wasn't great but the ambience with these beautiful orange lights was fantastic. Andrea's eye of course was responsible for this shot.

Me on the Beach at Byron

It's probably more a case of wishful thinking posting this picture of me on the beach in Byron taken back in April - still from the spring sunshine of Vancouver I can't complain too much.

Josh and Andrea

Don't ask me why at three in the morning it was suddenly decided that everyone present at this particular soiree should pose for photos wearing Dell's "log" eye-glasses - I'll let this photo speak for itself. Never have I seen Andrea and my very handsome firend Joshua looking more smashing - this really was the pick of the bunch!