Tuesday, September 26, 2006

south of why

Looking south across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco from Merrin County, California. (2005). I took this photo with my Olympus Stylus 35mm on a foggy, misty, January afternoon.

I walked across the bridge to the other side and did exactly what you're not supposed to do: I looked back. But, by then, it was too late and I couldn't see anything because of the thick layer of fog which had drifted in from the sea. Without waiting for it to lift, I left.

A long while later, I wondered if I had been foolishly impatient. Had I just stayed a little longer, maybe what I was hoping to see would have been looking right back at me.

But, by now, it's far too south of why to care. Or, at least, it should be.

Friday, September 22, 2006

inflection point

Full moon rising over the urban islands of Kastellholmen and Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. (2005). I took this photo last November with my Olympus SP-310 from the Fjälgatan, high above the cliffs of Södermalm.

"It doesn't matter anymore," she says.

"Why not?" he asks.

"Because things change. Because we've changed," she says.

He says nothing.

"I'm sorry," she says.

"I'm sorry, too," he finally says.

"I should go now. Goodbye," she says, before getting up and disappearing into the crowd.

And for one last time, he says nothing.

Somewhere beyond your peripheral vision, it's the same, and then, all of a sudden, never the same again. Yes becomes no. Here becomes there. Optimism becomes doubt. And you feel it.

But one Friday night in nowhere, you'll quit making lists of things to forget. Because, finally, it doesn't matter anymore.

Deep underground one of Stockholm's T-bana (subway) stations, there's nowhere to go but "upp." (2005).

Monday, September 11, 2006

dingobear 10,000

Here at starfish and waffles, we live to celebrate the little things in life. Like sunflowers. Ambidextrousness. And long walks through dewy meadows.* Therefore, you shouldn't be surprised that when we recently surpassed 10,000 hits on the website counter, we felt it was only appropriate that we properly commemorate this milestone event. How so? With a new drink recipe, of course.

The fun-loving, hard-drinking editor of felix's daily starfish and waffles enjoys the fittingly-named cocktail, The Editor.

The Editor
1.35 oz. Canadian Whisky
0.12 oz. Maple Syrup
3 to 5 oz. Root Beer

Over ice, pour the above ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a maraschino cherry. Stir. Garnish with a slice of starfruit. Celebrate dingobear 10,000!

In addition to its obvious celebratory connotations, The Editor also works well as a sweet, bubbly, fall drink, what with its pleasing earthtones and warming sensation. Enjoy!

* Did I really just write the phrase: "long walks though dewy meadows?" You bet I did!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

you can('t) go home again

"Have you booked your vacation yet?"


"Ok, I'll ask you again in an hour."

My hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (2006). Though not without its problems, the city of a quarter million people remains a pretty place from a number of angles. The castle-like building in the picture above is the Bessborough Hotel, which was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a make-work project during the Depression-era 1930's.

Every morning for approximately the last eight weeks, I've had that very conversation with my direct supervisor. Obviously, work has been strongly hinting that I take more time off, probably because they fear I'm starting to burn out. Secretly, though, I just think they want to get rid of me. If it's the latter, I guess I can't blame them - I'm so good-looking that it has to be distracting for all of my co-workers, and that can't be good for office productivity.

In any event, I finally buckled at my boss' demands and decided to take this entire week off. However, this time, I didn't have an exciting European getaway (Hello, Iceland!) at my fingertips so, instead, I decided to go to ... Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ... my hometown.

I left Saskatoon ten years ago, at age 18. Every time I come back, it feels a bit like stepping into a time machine - a strange mix of the vaguely familiar and broken thoughts of what things might have been like had I never left in the first place.

I guess this isn't exactly groundbreaking but on this day, it's all I've got. I suppose things are what they are and, sometimes, life simply is, and there's no use in trying spin it otherwise.

In related news, remember this post? They just called me about my ten-year high school reunion - apparently, it's now taking place Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (that's Columbus Day weekend, for you Americans). Nine months hence, I still haven't decided if I'm going to show up or not.

Sunset over the Victoria Bridge and South Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (2006). "Saskatchewan is so flat, you can watch your dog run away for a week!" ... or so the joke goes, about the province's featureless topography. The silver lining, however, is really great sunsets that hang onto the horizon longer than anywhere else.

Monday, September 04, 2006

wild animal kingdom: panda-monium!

It's been six months since our last Wild Animal Kingdom post, so we figured it was about time we did an update ... on pandas!

The giant panda: cute, cuddly, and the face of the World Wildlife Fund. With a CV like that, you'd think that it would be completely harmless. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you think wrong. Take note of the panda above ... the bamboo is just a starter, before he eats your face as the main course! So be forewarned. About pandas.

(Cue National Geographic theme music here).

Here at starfish and waffles, we aim to bring you the world. Unfortunately, many of the fascinating animals in our kingdom - the wild animal kingdom - do not live within a walkable radius of our head offices in western Canada, which presents us with something of a problem when we're searching for new material for this series. One example of such an elusive animal: the giant panda of south and central China, one of the world's most recognizable and beloved mammals.

So, never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine we could bring you footage of the giant panda. That is, until we learned about two months ago that my long-estranged brother was planning a wildlife expedition to south and southeast Asia. Perhaps a deal could be worked out?

Immediately, we dispatched our editor to negotiate. It took a suitcase full of unmarked bills and a promise of non-disclosure, but eventually an agreement was reached. Later, my editor would remark it was kind of strange that my brother had worn to the meetings a hat made of ivory, a suit made of baby seal skins and mocassins made of minks, but he was so excited about securing exclusive footage of wild Chinese pandas, he didn't think anything of it at the time.

Fast forward to yesterday. We received an anonymous email, with several panda pictures attached. Our wild panda pictures had come in! Or had they? Upon closer inspection, the wild pandas pictured mysteriously looked like zoo pandas. Feeling cheated, I shook my fist in the air and shouted:

"That wasn't part of the deal, Blackheart! THAT WASN'T PART ... !!!"

So ... yeah. Here are a couple of zoo panda pictures. Hopefully they're wild enough for you.

An An, an adult male panda resident of the Ocean Park (Zoo), Hong Kong.

Bear or raccoon? For years, the taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been the subject of heated scientific debate. My editor tells me pandas are definitely bears, but I think his opinion is biased.