Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rewind: March 25-29, 2013

I wrote this post, starting at 12:03 this morning. Forgive me if I'm brief, but I'm exhausted.

For most of the day, yesterday, I tore up my ensuite bathroom, replacing our old vanity of three cupboard doors for a larger one with two cupboard doors that are framed on each end with a set of drawers. His and hers.

I'm not a handyman, but so far I've handled the plumbing with only a few snags: no shutoff valves (now solved), a drain pipe that was at a funny angle and had to be cut off (to be replaced today), and learning that my flex tubes are a couple of inches too short (to be remedied today).

I also needed extra tools that I didn't have, but had family members loan them to me.

And in the reno, Lori decided that she wanted the mirror replaced too.

I just love holiday weekends, don't you?

Actually, I'm recording my progress and may share this educational experience in an upcoming blog post.

In the meantime, while I'm rebuilding my bathroom, why don't you take a few minutes to catch up on this week's posts in The Brown Knowser?
For those of you who follow Beer O'Clock, I wrote a couple of posts:
It's now 12:25, and I'm off to bed. That bathroom's not going to finish itself. Enjoy your weekend, and have a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo Friday: Love Your Maman

Of course, I love my mom.

I also love Maman.

For those of you who do not live in Ottawa, who have never visited my fair city, or know anything about the plenitude of attractions this city has to offer, let me tell you that the jewel of Canada's capital is, in my humble opinion, the National Gallery of Canada.

Within its confines is some of the best art that this country has to offer, plus the exhibitions that highlight works from around the globe. Even the building itself is an architectural gem, with its high-reaching columns and glass, its fountains, and its hallways.

Outside the gallery, in the main plaza at the front, stands a colossal statue by Parisienne artist, Louise Bourgeois. It is an eight-legged creature made of bronze, stainless steel, and marble: the marble being the eggs of the female spider, entitled Maman.

When Maman arrived at the gallery, in 2004, there was, as there always is, controversy over the expenditure on such a piece of art. The $3.2 million price tag was considered extravagant. The sculpture was too big. It was an eyesore that didn't fit in with the nearby Byward Market and Parliament Hill.

I loved Maman as soon as I saw her. She was terrifying. She was beautiful. I've taken countless photos of her from all sorts of angles. My favourite angle is to have her towering with the Great Hall behind her. Currently, the Great Hall is undergoing renovations, with all of its glass panels being replaced, and so these days it's tough to take that shot.

Last Sunday, I was on a photo walk that took me and a group of photogs from the Byward Market, to the National Gallery, to the Chateau Laurier, and onto Parliament Hill. Unable to take my preferred angle of Maman, I took my second-favourite angle.

I overexposed one of my shots because I wanted to play with the light and make some changes, post-production. In lightening the metal and oversaturating the colour, Maman takes on a different glow.

What do you think? You can see another shot of her, from a similar angle but with a normal exposure, on this week's Wordless Wednesday.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lovers & Haters

Are you a lover or are you a hater?

I'm not a religious person but I firmly believe in the axiom that is held in all realms of faith: treat a person as you would like to be treated.

I'm not a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to be a good person. I try to treat people in a respectful manner, to behave towards them in a way in which I would like them to reciprocate.

I've been following the news coming out of the United States on the same-sex marriage bill, and I've seen photos, of both sides, of people waving signs condemning gay marriage and others bashing the gay-haters.

From what I see, there's a lot of hate going on.

While I can understand the frustration of the supporters of gay rights, I think that they should firmly focus their attention on support for the people who are looking to have equal rights bestowed on them. Gay rights are human rights, and that kind of thing.

I, being a supporter of same-sex marriage, join in the frustration that is directed at those who are opposed. I don't see how allowing same-sex marriage will affect the day-to-day lives of the men and women who are waving their signs of hatred and condemnation. Signs that talk of a "gay agenda."

What agenda? Do these folks live in fear? Fear of what?

I have friends who are gay. Some, I've known since high school; others, I've known throughout my adult life; few, with whom I've been friends for only a short time. These wonderful people are just like any of my straight friends: they love to laugh, they are smart, insightful, caring. They enjoy a good drink (I have few friends who don't drink), a good book, a great movie.

The only thing that differentiates my gay friends from my straight friends is their sexual orientation. And their unexplainable love for Madonna.

I'm a lover: I love my friends. I love them for who they are. I wouldn't change anything about them.

With so much hate in the world—war, cruel regimes, Democrats versus Republicans—I believe that if two people love each other, want to spend the rest of their lives together, and be contributing members to society, who are we to complain that those people are the same gender?

To those who would want to spread condemnation and hatred, look to the Golden Rule: treat people—all people—the way you want to be treated.

Are you a lover or a hater?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Several months ago, I wrote about how I joined a photographer's meetup group, that I joined this group to learn more about photography and to try shooting different things. However, since then, the only thing I seem to have done is to attend model shoots and gain some experience working with studio lighting and women in various states of disrobement.

Not that that's a bad thing.

I did attend a workshop that challenged me to take a self portrait that showed an emotion. That sort of worked: I don't know how well I conveyed an emotion but I liked the picture so much that I use it for this blog (look to your right, my friends).

Yesterday, we were given a challenge to shoot three images of the same subject and present it in monochrome—a single colour. Judging by the conversations that went around over this shoot, a lot of people seemed unclear as to what was expected.

Here is my impression of the theme for this shoot:

What do you think? (For the project, I didn't submit the sepia-toned angel.)

If you want to see what others did for this project, you can check out the photo meetup site.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Scared of Commitment

I've never been one to shy away from commitment.

Once, when I took a full-time job at a financial institute, the manager asked me to commit to staying with the bank for at least a year. It wasn't the career of my choice: I had started at the bank as a part-timer while I was in university. When I graduated, there were few to no jobs in my chosen field.

I'm an English major. Go figure.

So, when I was asked to commit to staying full-time for a year, I agreed. And I stayed for almost two-and-a-half years.

I wasn't afraid of commitment.

Lori and I moved in together after dating for about two-and-a-half years. Another two-and-a-half years after that, we married. We've been together for 24 years, this month. In that time, we've had two wonderful, gorgeous girls, and the fun hasn't stopped.

So, no, I'm not scared of commitment.

At least, I wasn't scared of commitment until this weekend.

A few weeks ago, Lori signed the two of us up for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. It's a cycling event that takes us from Algonquin College, in Ottawa, through the Ottawa Valley, past Perth, and on to Queen's University, in Kingston.

And back.

It's a two-day event, where our bags with a change of clothing, toiletries, and other personal effects are transported ahead of our arrival. At Queen's, we get cleaned up, are fed, and given a place to sleep. The next morning, we pack up, get back on our bikes, and ride back to Algonquin College.

Each way, it's approximately 177 kilometres. Round-trip, it's more than 350 kilometres.

The furthest I have ever cycled in one go was a few years ago, on Thanksgiving, where I hopped on my hybrid bike, a heavy, thick-tired, accessory-laden ride, and trekked from my house to the Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park. On my way there, I periodically stopped to snap photos of the changing autumn leaves and the views at other lookouts.

Along the Gatineau Parkway, the road was so steep at times that, moving in first gear, I could have made faster progress had I dismounted my bike and walked. But I persevered and made it to the lookout, where I snapped a few photos, ate a snack, drank a full bottle of water, and then turned around.

The round trip took me almost five hours. Total distance: 80 km.

Last summer, on my new road bike, I mapped out a circuit of the city that took me from Barrhaven to Hogs Back, through Vincent Massey Park, following the Rideau River all the way to where it met the Ottawa River, to the National Gallery, behind Parliament Hill, along the Ottawa River to Lincoln Heights, following the transitway to Algonquin College, and straight down Woodroffe Avenue to Barrhaven.

The 50-kilometre loop took me barely more than two hours to complete, including the occasional stop. I completed this route a handful of times over the summer.

So cycling 177 km in one day is an intimidating challenge, to say the least.

But we've paid up, so I'm committed.

This weekend, the reality of this cycle tour set in when I picked up my bike from a cycle shop, having paid $45 to have it tuned up. I also bought new pedals, a second bottle carrier, new, bigger bottles, and new cycle shoes.

My ride was ready to go. Now, it's time for me to get tuned up and in shape.

I've returned to the gym, where I plan to use the spin cycles at least three times a week until the snow melts, and the roads and pathways are cleared of salt. When I'm able to cycle outdoors, my 50-kilometre loop will resume.

I'm also going to return to my lunchtime power walks: three kilometres in under 30 minutes.

Those walks start today. I may even be doing the course while you're reading this blog post.

If so, wish me luck. Because I don't have a lot of time to train, and I'm scared.

But committed.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rewind: March 18-22, 2013

Spring finally arrived this week, though you'd barely know it.

Winter left us with a bang, dumping about 15cm of snow on Ottawa. Since then, it has snowed every day of the new season.

Hmph, I said.

While there is nothing we can do about the weather, we can try to make the best of it. So why not get your mind off the fact that we still have to shovel our driveways by starting your weekend off with a roundup of this week's posts in The Brown Knowser?
  • I'm No Spammer—for years, I had escaped the perils of being hacked. Now, twice in about the last four or five months, my e-mail has sent out bogus messages. But if you know my MO, you'll be able to tell if that e-mail really came from me.
  • Wordless Wednesday: The Last Day of Winter—but not the last day of winter weather. I took a moment away from my Bate Island Project to show you other parts of this island.
  • What I Am—do I really portray myself accurately on my blog?
  • Photo Friday: My "Studio"—how I make my beer-blog photos look like they were shot in a studio.
And for those of you who enjoy my beer reviews, here's what I drank this week for Beer O'Clock:
 Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Photo Friday: My "Studio"

Someday, I hope to have a studio. A space where I can set up a couple of soft boxes and have a few backdrops.

Nothing fancy. At first.

In the meantime, I use what I have, which is essentially nothing. After all, most of my photos are not staged: they're shot where the action occurs. The majority of my shots don't need backdrops or fancy lighting.

So far, the only time when I could really use a studio is when I shoot still photos of objects: namely, the beers that I review. When I shoot a freshly poured glass of ale and the bottle it comes in, it's nice to have a white backdrop. But I don't have a studio, so I improvise.

Take today's beer review, which was shot like almost all of the beers that I've reviewed. The bottle and glass are all that you see. The base that they rest upon and the background are bright white. But the shot isn't taken in a studio. It's shot in my kitchen.

My kitchen table is positioned at the back of my house, right by the sliding glass doors. For privacy, we have a thick, canvas-like curtain that has vertical stitching in a striped fashion. It has texture. Yet, in my photos, you can't really see the texture.

Also, you can't tell that the curtain isn't really white.

Because the floor is an off-white linoleum, I can't place the glass and bottle on it, because you'd see the pattern and you'd notice that it's not white. Plus, I need a little height to keep myself from lying on the floor.

What I have is a simple Ikea step stool that I painted white. It has a hole in the top for easy lifting and carrying. But I usually conceal that as best as I can with the bottle and glass. And, when I take the shot, I use a diffuser over my flash to reduce shadows, and I overexpose by about 1.7 stops, to wash it all out.

And if I can shoot during the day, the diffused light coming through helps.

The result?

Go to Beer O'Clock and see for yourself.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I Am

I have a little notebook that I keep on me, just in case I think of an idea for a blog post and need to jot it down. Because some of my ideas are fleeting and I don't remember them two minutes later.

Yes, my mind works like that.

Many weeks ago, I had an idea for a post that talked about the sincerity of my blog and whether my readers were getting a picture of the real me. Was I accurately portraying myself or was I only showing the happy, carefree me who seemed to have his shit together and was leading a rosy life?

A couple of days ago, I read a blog post by my friend, Miriam, who essentially conveyed the same thoughts that I was bouncing around in my head. And yesterday, while working from home, I listened to an article on CBC Radio's Spark (Nora Young, by the way, has the sexiest radio voice) that explored the cyberworld and how people present themselves to others.

Because I'm a writer, I tell stories on my blog: some are totally fictitious, some are true, and some have been embellished in a way that makes them easier to tell, easier to read. But I've also shared my opinion on several issues, and when I do I hope that my personality comes through. I hope that I present the real me.

When I've met people who follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, I've never had any of them tell me that I wasn't who they expected me to be, that I behaved totally different in real life than I convey in my writing.

I don't share every aspect of my life on my blog. I try not to write about the everyday, boring, mundane parts of my days. When I'm sad or depressed, I may come up with some ideas for writing, but I won't share what makes me sad or depressed (unless there's a good story in there).

This blog isn't a diary, nor is it even a scrapbook of events that shape my life. That said, you could take pieces of this blog and get a snapshot of the type of person that I am.

A couple of years ago, on my other blog, I made a list of 25 facts about my life. I wrote it when I discovered that people outside of my family and friends were reading my blog. I wanted to let people know a little something about me.

I've been writing The Brown Knowser for almost two years and have nearly 3,000 visitors each month. For some bloggers, that's not many, but for me, it's a lot. Thank you for reading.

For those of you who don't know me, here are a few facts about me. Some were used in my other blog; some are new.
  • I was born in Montréal.
  • My French is very bad, even though I work in Québec and half of my family on my mother's side is Francophone.
  • I'm named after Gregory Peck and get really pissed off when anyone calls me Greg. I only get a little miffed when someone calls me by my first name.
  • I have a general loathing of dogs.
  • The first time I was stung by a bee, I discovered that I'm allergic to them.
  • I once dropped my pants in my workplace because I was too hot.
  • I don't let anyone eat in my car, though people can pig out in my van.
  • I like singing around the house, despite my kids' protests.
  • I like to speak with a Scottish accent, especially around the house, even though there's only a smidgen of Scottish blood in me.
  • I have a weakness for potato chips. If there's a bag in the house, it won't stand a chance against me.
  • I love drinking beer and writing about it, but I get bored when people get into the technical aspects of making it.
  • I find painting a room very relaxing. But only when no one is home.
  • I've been known to get so angry that I hurt my vocal chords.
  • I broke my leg playing soccer.
  • I have bone from my hip in my right foot.
  • Although I can be sociable in crowds, I'm morbidly shy in a one-on-one situation.
  • I have a morbid fear of bears and was once bitten by one.
  • I love floating on my back in a lake.
  • I once let a cop off with a warning.
  • I have been abducted. I spent most of that time laughing.
  • I can't help editing everything I read.
  • My favourite colour is red.
  • I work better with music playing in the background.
  • I love to drive and am a lousy passenger.
  • I'm not a morning person. If you're cheery around me shorty after I've awaken, I'll bite your head off.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm No Spammer

Last week, some of you may have received an e-mail from me that contained a date and time for the Subject line and a hyperlink. There was nothing else in the message.

If you received that e-mail, I hope you didn't click the link. Because it wasn't from me. My e-mail list got hacked, and surprisingly, many folks who I know only through LinkedIn were also affected, which made me wonder if there was a hacker working his or her way through that social media.

What bothers me the most about getting hacked is that people tend to distrust anything that comes from you in the future. It makes it difficult if I want to send you an e-mail in the future with a legitimate link.

Because I'm a writer, I tend to put some thought into any correspondence I send. So I'll place a clear title in the Subject line and I will preface any hyperlink with an explanation about where I'm planning to take you.

If I post a message from my laptop, my e-mail account includes a signature that contains my name, phone number, and links to this blog, my Songsaengnim blog, and my Twitter contact information. If I send a message from my iPad, it simply has my name, but I plan to elaborate on that signature (if I can ever remember to do it).

If I send a message from my iPhone, my signature is a convoluted message that roughly says that the message is sent from my portable, handheld device that lets me listen to music, check my e-mail, browse the Internet, take photos, and place phone calls. Or something like that.

In a nutshell, if you receive e-mail from me, the message within will clearly show you that what you're reading is from me.

My apologies to anyone who received the bogus e-mail and especially to those of you who clicked the link. I don't know where it took you but wherever it was, I hope it was harmless. I hope that whatever spam the message was, it didn't leave you thinking that I'm a spammer who sends useless crap.

That's not me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Be Back Tomorrow

This is just a blog post to say that there is no blog post today.

Yesterday, I was having too much fun celebrating St. Paddy's Day and we entertained a family dinner that ran late with lots of animated discussions and lots of drinks flowing.

By the time I had cleaned up, I was too tired to sit in front of the computer.

I'll be back at it tonight and will hopefully have something that will make up for today.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rewind: March 11-15, 2013

It's been a busy week for my blogging; not just at The Brown Knowser, but also at Beer O'Clock.

Typically, I try to write six posts each week on The Brown Knowser (including this round-up) and perhaps two, maybe three posts on my beer blog. If I get eight or nine posts written in one week, I consider that a productive week.

This week, with this post put to bed, I have 11 entries on my two blogs.

No wonder I'm so tired.

If you haven't read my posts so far, here's what you've missed. Get comfortable, 'cos there's a lot to read.

On The Brown Knowser:
For those who love beer, here's what I wrote for Beer O'Clock:
  • Maple Season—a look at four distinct ales, made for this time of the season.
  • Grab Box—I kept a mixed sampler for so long in my cellar that I couldn't remember what was in it. So I reached blindly into it and reviewed whatever came out.
  • Grab Box 2—what I just said.
  • Grab Box 3
  • Grab Box 4—the final beer and I pick my favourite of the set.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Photo Friday: Another Foggy Sunrise

Sometimes, I think that posts like this one are a big of a sham.

Because it's Friday, I've made a ritual of showing you a photo. Preferably, it's a photo that I shot this week: something fresh and creative.

But because I didn't get out with my camera much this week, apart from when I went skiing on Sunday and with my Bate Island Project, I came up short with fresh photos. Last night, in a panic, I took some closeups of a collection of beer bottle caps that I've amassed, using my 40mm micro lens, but ultimately I wasn't happy with any of the shots that I took.

So I went through my archives, looking at some of the slides that I scanned but hadn't sorted. And I came up with this one.

This is a photo that I shot in 1988. On that particular morning, I arose long before the sun rose and drove all over Nepean. I took photos of old churches, of farms, of railway crossings, and, as the sun came over the horizon, foggy roadsides. Last week's Photo Friday was shot on the same morning, after this one was taken, before I returned home.

What can I say? I was profoundly inspired that morning and took some pictures of which I'm proud to show. Are you tired of them? Should I move on?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dealing with North Korea

As a parent, I've learned that if one of my kids screams and fusses, and threatens any other kid by waving something in their faces that could be used as a weapon, I take that thing away and I give them a time out.

The parallels of this situation with North Korea.

For decades, this reclusive, repressive nation has been led by megalomaniacs who have brainwashed their people into believing that they are deities. They have misled the citizens of this impoverished land that the West is evil but weak, and through the benevolence of their chosen one, they haven't crushed this foe.

But every once and a while, this puny territory feels it needs to flex its scrawny muscles for the benefit of its people and to taunt the others around it.

Just like a little kid.

When I lived in South Korea, from 1997 to 1999, we heard the rhetoric and threats from the neighbours to the north. How the leader, Kim Jong-il, would turn the south into "a sea of flames." I used those words in my novel, Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary.

Just last week, his son, Kim Jong-eun, threatened to do the same to the United States, using exactly the same words. He even demonstrated his contempt for South Korea's ally by tearing up the armistice agreement.

This, too, has been done in the past.

But North Korea's belligerence is starting to wear on people. It's childishness is seemingly starting to escalate. When Kim Jong-il's father, Kim Il-sung, died and left his son in power, Kim Jong-il mourned for the traditional three years, and then began flexing his muscles, attacking South-Korean ships and launching skirmishes in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas. 

Kim Jong-eun doesn't seem to want to wait. With the attack on a South-Korean island and the sinking of a South-Korean warship, I wonder what he'll do when the three-year mourning period is over.

Because he was educated abroad, there was hope and speculation that he would be of a broadened mind, might even relax the hostilities. Set his people on a new path.

But no. He is a child, like his father and grandfather.

When a child misbehaves, you take its toys away and give it a time out.

Here's what I propose happens to North Korea.

The American diplomats go behind closed doors with their Chinese counterparts and say, basically, this:
We're going to move in on North Korea. We're going to launch strikes against every military base and missile launch site. We're going to flatten the government offices and Kim Jong-eun's residence.

People will be killed, as the destruction will be complete. We will not attack any residential or agricultural regions that are not associated with the military. Though some civilians will be killed in these strikes, they are not our targets.

It's a regrettable action, but we must put a stop to those who threaten North America and the Asian community.

You, China, are going to protest loudly. You are going to cut official diplomatic ties with the United States for a period of three years (a mourning period). You are going to offer aid to your ally, but you are going to ensure that no one who followed the Kim family will ascend to power.

South Korea will also provide aid and will work towards uniting the peninsula. They will offer peace and prosperity to their northern kin. Eventually, there will be unified peace in Korea.
This child must have its toys taken away and be given a severe time out. Enough is enough.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Better Late Than Never?

I'm so lame.

There are times when I can drag my butt so badly that it carves a groove in the ground. And lately, I tend to do it more after I've made a promise to do something.

Back in the fall, I was the official photographer for the Barrhaven Oktoberfest, hosted by HogsBack Brewing. It was a lot of fun, especially when I got to meet George Wendt and share a beer with the former star of Cheers!

Another great celebrity with whom I'm a fan is Shaun Majumder, of 22 Minutes and Majumder Manor fame.

Shaun participated in a couple games through the day, while filming for 22 Minutes (when I watched the segment on TV that week, I saw myself for perhaps a half of a second), such as the stein race and the stein hold, where contestants held a large stein full of beer, arm outstretched, for as long as they could without spilling any beer.

Over the course of the day, Shaun and I chatted, and he even met my parents (my mom even bought him a beer). Eventually, Shaun asked me if I could send him photos from the event, and I gladly agreed. We exchanged Twitter nicknames and he sent me his e-mail address.

And then I forgot.

Actually, it's not so much that I forgot, but rather I became busy, cleaning up photos and preparing them for the festival organizers (the ones who paid me for the event). By the time I completed that project, I had started another one.

And then got busy with my writing. And then life's routine took over.

Over the months, I would remember that I hadn't sent Shaun his photos, but I would always remember when I was away from my computer. I remembered almost every time I saw him on TV, but I was too busy enjoying the show, and then I'd forget again.

I'm sorry, Shaun. I really dropped the ball.

Last night, after nearly six months, I set an alarm to remind me to get the photos to Mr. Majumder, and when that alarm went off, I made myself sit down and get it done. No distractions.

I haven't forgotten only about Shaun's photos. I've promised many people that I'd send them photos and then never got around to it. Recently, after WinterBrewed, I promised a friend and a brewery that I would send them copies of photos. Not only have I not done that (I swear I'll do it after this post), but I still haven't even sent the photos to the WinterBrewed organizer (this week, I promise!).

Shaun, if you're reading this post, I hope that you received your photos and are pleased with what I've sent you. I apologize for the delay. Please forgive me.

I need more hours in the day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bate Island Project

Okay, this isn't exactly a 365 project, but it's a project nonetheless.

Earlier this year (I think... I no longer have any concept of time), I planned to start a photo project whereby I would take a photo every day for a year. I thought I would do a self-portrait project: a different photo of me for every day.

I don't like to take photos of myself, so after some consideration I convinced myself that I couldn't take a photo of myself every day for a year. I may still take some self portraits over the year, but not every day.

I did think of just taking a photo of anything every day for a year, but I wanted a theme, and I just couldn't come up with one.

Pathetic, yes?

Four days a week, I drive over the Champlain Bridge to and from work. And almost every time, I look at the beauty of the Ottawa River, looking to the expanse of the river to the west and the downtown core of the city to the east.

And it hit me: I wasn't going to do a 365 project this year. Instead, every time I cross the bridge, I will stop on Bate Island, the large island along the bridge, and shoot a photo. And I will stand on the same spot each time, use the same lens, and capture the same image. So, over the course of the year, you will see the change in the seasons, the lighting, and the weather over the course of the year.

Not every day of the year, but just every day that I cross the bridge. Without exception. In all weather, whether I drive across the bridge or take my bike.

What do you think?

No filters, no touchups. Just the way I shot it.

This challenge starts today, March 11.

Update: as promised, I stopped on my way in this morning. For the next few weeks and through next winter, this will be quite the challenge. When the snow falls, only the main roads onto the island are plowed. The secondary roads are snow-covered and there are no parking spaces, which means that I must pull over along the road and schlep through the deep snow for about 100 metres or so to get to this spot. It's not easy but that's the way it is.

You can see my photos for the Bate Island Project on my Flickr page

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rewind: March 4-8, 2013

You may have noticed that over the past two weekends, I didn't post a weekly roundup of posts from The Brown Knowser.

Did you notice?

Two weeks ago, I was recovering from a nasty flu bug and wasn't even posting regular blog pieces. At the hour that I usually reserve for blogging, I was curled up in bed, in the fetal position, wondering when I was going to be better.

I did recover, later that weekend, but by then I was worried about future blog posts, not in reflecting on the few I had posted the previous week.

Last Friday, I was hit with food poisoning, and was once again sent to bed, crossing my fingers that I didn't have a bout of a gastro-intestinal bug that was going around. I can't believe that I was happy to learn, on Saturday morning, that my thoughts of food poisoning was confirmed.

And so, again, my weekly roundup went unposted.

I was actually considering dropping this Saturday summary, but a couple of you wrote to me and wanted to know why I had dropped it.

Apparently, some of you do read it.

And so, I bring back the weekly roundup of The Brown Knowser:
Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Photo Friday: Paved Paradise

Do you remember I wrote a story about growing up in Nepean and how I used to explore the field that separated my neighbourhood from the back of the K-Mart Plaza that used to run along Merivale Road, near Meadowlands? I used to roam that area with my good friend, Jeremy.

If you haven't read that post, you can go there from this link after you've finished with this post.

I was looking at some old slides, from 1988, and I came across a photo I shot in that area. By then, most of the trees had been felled, most of the field plowed. Some development was beginning.

These were the last of the trees from that era, planted behind the old fire station that was next to the McDonalds.

Today, they're all gone. This spot of land is now occupied by a Toys R Us. Gone is the field of my childhood.


Happy Friday, anyway.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Welcome to Rideauville

One of the things that I love about my Where In Ottawa challenge is that, in thinking up clues I learn a lot of interesting facts about my city.

Take this month's location, which was solved yesterday. The building, which is the Old Ottawa South Community Centre and was once the Ottawa South Fire Hall (Craham Station No. 10), is in a part of the city that was tentatively named Rideauville.

I did not know that.

I was going to use that tidbit as a clue, had the contest gone to the end of the week, but winner Cheryl Hynes needed only the photo and the two clues I posted to solve the puzzle. Here's how the clues break down:
  1. In the old 'hood: this neighbourhood, which lies on the south side of the Rideau Canal from Lansdowne Park, has recently been called Old Ottawa South (instead of plain ol' Ottawa South) to distinguish it from the southern expanse of Ottawa, also known as South Ottawa.
  2. The fire's out: the fire station is now a community centre. The fire fighters are out, the neighbours are in.

Congratulations, Cheryl. By now, you should have your copy of my book. Enjoy.

Where In Ottawa will be back next month with a new challenge.