Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sentimiento de Nostalgia (Feeling Nostalgic)

   There has been some strange weather in Victoria today. We went from sunny skies to snow then back to sun, then hail, then sun again, and now it's a little cloudy. It's also a little cold outside today, and it has me feeling nostalgic for Mexico. My wife and I were in Puerto Vallarta this time last year.
   We had a lot of fun, made some friends, and experienced so many new things. Even when it rained it was still very comfortable. I'd go back again in a heart beat.

All photos taken by me except for the humpback whales and the sunset. My wife took those ones.

The Wandering Oak

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How I Spent My 35th Birthday

   Yesterday, Feb. 8th, was my 35th Birthday. Normally I'd mark the anniversary of my birth by writing out a rambling blog about what I've done or learned in the past year and how I feel about getting older, but not this year. This year I decided to just get out of the house and go for a walk along Victoria's waterfront, specifically the Dallas Road and Ogden Point area. It's been a while since I've been down there, and you know, I didn't even care that it rained.
   My old compact camera doesn't take photos as well as today's fancy cameras, but I did get a few nice shots along my walk that I'd like to share with you. I'll write brief descriptions below each image.

The view from Dallas Road looking roughly South by Southeast. Contrast and brightness have been edited. The ship on the horizon is one of Canada's Kingston class coastal defense ships, likely crewed by Naval Reserve officers and eager young cadets, on a routine training cruise. Any given day there could be several of these little ships out there. It's fun to watch them do rescue drills and play hide-and-seek with submarines.

A wider view looking Southeast from Dallas Rd. That little ship is now just a dot on  the horizon.

The Ogden Point Breakwater.

The lighthouse at the end of the breakwater.

This is the MV Dry Beam. She limped into Victoria this past weekend after suffering damage from a rogue wave on her port (left) side while on her way to Asia.

A closer look at the ship's damaged port side. Note the bent vertical support beams and shifted load of logs. The news report said the ship was in the open Pacific just outside of Vancouver Island and that the wave was 10 to 15 meters tall. Basically Mother Nature just bitch-slapped this ship and there was nothing the crew could do the prevent it. Fortunately nobody was hurt. The huge, black white and red Seaspan cranes towering over the ship's grey cranes are on a barge docked next to the ship and are in the process of transferring the logs off the ship.

Just as I was about to leave Ogden Point, this rainbow appeared over the harbour. What a nice way to end my walk!

And that was how I spent my 35th Birthday.

The Wandering Oak

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seven Years Later, I'm Still Blogging

   Seven years ago today I stepped into the blossoming world of blogging. I always like to mark this anniversary because it was through blogging that I got to know and become friends with so many wonderful people.
   The title of my first blog page was Inland Shipwreck, an oxymoron of a name that I came up with while living in the middle of Alberta at the time, and it was hosted by the now defunct MSN Spaces. At the time, almost everybody was using that service because it was so easy to access through one's MSN Messenger account.
   I published my first post on Feb. 1, 2005 and it took a few weeks before I started to notice any traffic in my visitor stats. Of course I forgot to set my page to public at first, so once I changed that then I started to see the occasional comment on my posts. I think everyone can agree that it feels nice to see comments on your material. It's like: "Yay! People want to share their thoughts on something I wrote!"
   Slowly at first I developed a small following of regular readers, and in good karma I would read their blogs and leave comments. As time went on, my regular group of readers expanded and it soon became a daily ritual for all of us to surf to each other`s pages and leave comments. I think it became an addiction for many of us. At the time there were so many users on Spaces that it was far too difficult to follow every new blogger out there, so eventually my friends and I just started to stay within our little circle. It was like a friendly community of like-minded bloggers and it really was the Golden era. We even had a name for our little group: Spaces Boulevard.
   I made so many friends through that blog of mine, and I don't just mean cyber friends. In many cases a lot of us got to know each other outside of Spaces, exchanging emails, instant messages, text messages, phone calls, exchanging holiday and birthday cards, and even meeting in person. I can't imagine my life without some of those people. You know who you are.
   And then Facebook came along. The bubble burst. Suddenly one could write notes directly on Facebook, and easily share photos, so there was no longer a need for a blogging page. All of my blogging friends migrated over to Facebook and I went with them. Suddenly we were all able to share so much more with each other and that became the new addiction. It wasn't long after that Spaces eventually folded and was swallowed up by, what was it? Wordpress? I admit that it kind of sucks that all the work I put into that page is now lost in cyberspace, but at least I kept my friends.
   Then, about three years ago, a few of us caught the blogging bug again. The constantly changing Facebook made it a hassle to post neatly formatted blogs, and, speaking for myself, I wanted something a little more formal. That's when I learned about Blogger. By that time I had moved back to my home on BC's West Coast, so the name Inland Shipwreck no longer applied (though I kept it as an email address). After humming and hawing for a while over a name, a light bulb came on and The Wandering Oak became my new moniker.
   The rest, as they say, is history.
Memories from my Inland Shipwreck days.

The Wandering Oak
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