The shadow show

Well, that was interesting fun! After a crazy-making few days cutting up cereal boxes with an Xacto knife, and piecing together a screen (bedsheet over a wooden frame) and backstage framework, i gave my first shadow puppet show ever at last Sunday’s Lantern Festival at the Tofino Botanical Gardens.

It had turned into an entirely last-minute exercise. The previous days of damp overcast and/or pouring rain were not a motivating factor and, wondering whether the whole Lantern Fest might be a washout, i procrastinated right up till the last minute. Continue reading “The shadow show”

A curious lack of rain

If there is one factor that defines the West Coast — its flora, its people, its atmosphere, its zeitgeist — it has arguably got to be rain.

Here in Tofino (actually at the airport, 20 km south, where the official rain gauge is) we get an average 3.3 metres (11 feet) of rain every year (source).  Clayoquot Lake, among the mountains about 24 km east of town, gets a whopping 6.5m (21 feet) a year (source).

All this precip is cause for depression, commiseration, exultation and deep civic pride, for those of us who live here. Grey, dripping sky is the torture from which we long to escape (half the town decamps to Mexico come winter) and our badge of honour, certifying our superior mental toughness.

Rain is our Rorschach test and our social glue, our waterboarding and our baptism. The Wet Coast IS rain, and everybody knows it.

Continue reading “A curious lack of rain”

Two lousy words from the word crowd

The literary world has two chronic word problems. As writers, we know the power of specific words to shape a reader’s thought and feeling. We spend hours searching for the exact words to capture what we want to convey.

Trashed Technology, from DaCosta1 flickr photostream (click to visit). CC licensed.

Our thesauruses are full of synonyms — myriad, plenitudinous, superabundant synonyms — and we take perverse pride in agonizing over which will be most effective in a given sentence.

Yet in our own hopeful business dealings, we begin and often end with two loose, sloppy words that carry all kinds of unpleasant baggage. Yet we seem blind to their effects upon us. I refer, of course, to “submission” and “rejection.” Continue reading “Two lousy words from the word crowd”

The charm of the GIF


Here’s a serendipitous interweb discovery : an artist named RRRRRRRRoll (8 R’s) who produces charmingly animated GIFs like the one above (many more on her Tumblr site).

The GIF is a low-resolution old format dating from 1987 (Wikipedia article here). It would have disappeared long ago Continue reading “The charm of the GIF”