Tag Archive | nature

Algonquin Park Camping, summer 2015

The first time I went to Algonquin Park was back in 2007, when I went for a long day trip. I hugged a big tree, saw a moose and a chipmunk and was generally delighted with how lovely it was there. It’s astonishing I haven’t made it back until this year, so I got pretty excited at the prospect of a 4 day weekend of camping there!

Friends Dan & Kirsty had been camping in Algonquin Park before & are all set up with great gear & know-how so they were our bastions of excellence for the trip! We decided on a pet-friendly campground (Canisbay Lake) so we could bring our dogs, and got all set with plans. Pals Fiona & Dan were coming too, so we bundled into their car with Jake for the trip! Luckily Dan & Kirsty had a lot of what we needed, and we were able to borrow a tent from friends here in Toronto who camp often.

It was so nice to get away for a slightly extended long weekend (thanks, civic holiday!). While the weather wasn’t perfect (rain showers each day, and big rain overnight our last night there), we made the most of the non-rainy parts of the weekend. For starters, we went canoeing! I had never done this before and was slightly nervous about being out on a big lake in a small boat – but it was so fun. Once we got ourselves sorted out and paddling nicely, we had a couple of trips. One was to toodle around a small island in the lake not far from the main beach, and then the other was to follow a bit of the shoreline around in a loop. It’s a calming thing, having a nice paddle on a gorgeous lake.

We also went on a nice big hike on the Track and Tower trail – it was lovely to be properly out in the woods and see a couple more lakes, and go up to the lookout there. We weren’t exactly right in the wilderness with our campsite, so the hike was great to have a taste of that and get some exercise. The dogs loved it too! Jake really took to wandering up and down the trail with us, and investigating everything. We didn’t see any wildlife, but heard a bunch of birds and saw gorgeous flora and geology!

Apart from the great outdoor adventures, it was just super to hang out with two of my fave couples! We did some fun camp cooking (and Dan and Kirsty were the BEST about bringing delicious stuff for Adam and I to add to our tofu etc), and I had my first smore and made a fire cone! And when we weren’t eating (which, let’s face it, we were eating a lot), we played some games! We also had some fun with weird fire and sparklers on our last night before the rain hit.

It was a great weekend, and I felt so rejuvenated being out there in Algonquin, which is a stunning provincial park. Having a dip in the lake, sitting by the fire, cuddling Jake and Adam in the tent and waking up to the sounds of birds was just what I needed! Sure it was nice to come home to creature comforts, but I’m already thinking about the next time I can get away camping!

If you enjoyed the photos here, my full set is on Flickr.

Digital Dozen, for your viewing pleasure.

Hello once again for your sort-of weekly link distraction.

These miniature street dioramas are almost hard to believe. So detailed and tiny. And gritty!

I am seriously considering dropping some money on a galaxy bedding set, because – why wouldn’t you want space all over you while you sleep? Exactly.

These flipbooks are hypnotic and amazing. I’m not sure I could pay this much for them, but they’re seriously cool.

I’m a sucker for gorgeous, colourful and neatly ordered photos. So this is like candy to me. The artist’s Tumblr is full of beautiful images too.

Imagine how lovely city streets would  be with manhole covers like these, from Japan.

Although Think Geek are a little overpriced & annoying with their email marketing, they have cool stuff. Like these. I want ’em for my desk at work.

And of course, I can never stop at one Adventure Time mention. Look at this great gallery of tattoos!

Would it be weird to have lots of clocks? Because I want lots of these ones. SO many. Especially this one, even if it is super-new TMNT.

Hey Toronto. You’re lookin’ good.

These are such wonderful, sometimes subtle, photoshops of Star Wars in the real world.

I am quite fond of this artist’s work, making tongue-in-cheek museum labels for the outside world.

This is in the realm of “I don’t even understand how this can be a thing” art. The detail is amazing.

The Return of the Digital Dozen!

  • Tomorrow is Star Wars day. Enjoy these wonderful geometric and abstract Star Wars portraits!
  • And while we’re at it, who wants to send me this hoodie? Han and Chewie in one! Yesss.
  • Finding inspiration in negative space makes for good art. See?
  • Seals love belly rubs – you’ve always guessed it, right? RIGHT? Well, now you can see it in action. (From 0:35 on)
  • A pen that 3D prints as you write with it in thin air? No way. This is the future. Check it out!
  • Remember that kid playing Space Invaders on the side of a building? Now someone’s done it with Tetris!
  • I’m pretty sure these would cripple me, but I do love the look of them!
  • This is a genius re-imagining of the houses from the Game of Thrones series as modern brands. All of them are wonderful, but this is the most golden of all:
  • How would you like to kick back to a smooth jazz cover of the Game of Thrones theme? Yep.
  • Someone went through a lot of painstaking photoshopping to create these images of classic album covers superimposed over real life locations. That is some very specific stuff. One of my personal favourites is..
  • Giant machinery playing jenga – no, you didn’t think you needed to see it. But it is thoroughly enjoyable.
  • I’m looking for work right now, and I’m beginning to think I need to something creative to sell my Administrative Superstar package just like this amazing Lego Resume! It stands out from the crowd, no lie.

The digital dozen – your next dose of intermittent curious things for the ingenious time-waster.

Welcome to today’s wonderful procrasti-links fest! Yay!

  • These aerial photos are so wild. The planet looks so cool, and slightly dizzy-making, from above.
  • Okay, this is legitimately the best procrastination of today’s links. Patatap, a nifty tool that lets you use your computer’s keyboard to make cool noises and stuff! YESSS! Click to go through, as the embed won’t work here. It’s totally worth it, people.
  • Philadelphia has just launched this terrific anti-street harassment campaign, every city needs this! What a broad range of stuff they cover. This is just one example:
  • This is so dreamy/hypnotic – time lapse of fireflies swarming (with some post-production tinkering, but it looks so amazing!)
  • Can we please all go and take a ride on this Adventure Time train? Yes?

  • Street chalk art/paintings like this are so amazing – the manipulation that goes into creating it so it looks a certain way from a certain spot blows my mind. LOOK AT THIS. Oh man.
  • Magic for Dogs Part 2! I love their faces. (Did you see part 1?) They clarified this time that the dogs are given treats before & after, which I’d kind of assumed, because what person would let someone be an asshole to their dog?!
  • Various strategies for leaving a party. I wish I could just POOF outta there at times.
  • There were some fun internet April Foolings this year, especially the Google Maps pokemon challenge [vid]. I got a great chuckle out of this NPR gag, pranking folks who comment on articles without bothering to read the whole thing. Click through for the hilarious screen-grab of comments.
  • I know you’re in need of seeing Game of Thrones character faces inserted into Disney scenes, so let me help you out with that. My personal favourite..
  • Just look at these flipping amazing little gardens built on broken pots. Gosh.
  • This last one is for my friend Katy, who very rightly is always stating “There is no such thing as a British accent.” Because, clearly there isn’t – watch this video to hear why! Such variety in a tiny isle/group of islands.

Digital Dozen – your snow day/hump day edition.

It’s a constant fluffy snowfall out there in Toronto today, but I’m still slogging away midweek at work. Here’s some links to keep you entertained if you’re in a similar position.

  • Considering how chilly it is where I am now, I am really dying to have these amazing USB heated slippers that look like adorable anthropomorphic Smores! YESSS!!

  • While we’re talking comfortable and warm, what about these hooded onesies? I think between this and the smores slippers I’d never want to leave the house in winter. Or try to wear the Hoodsie to work..
  • These illustrations/animations of Twin Peaks characters are so striking. I don’t think I’ve seen a style of presentation like this before for images like this.
  • I love seeing visualizations of maps that are out of the ordinary, like these country lay-overs. It’s so surprising to visually compare places like this:
  • And while we’re at it, check out the GIF of maps of the known world from 2348 BC to AD 1828!

  • Have you ever wondered about the strange differences in dialect around the USA? It’s kinda fascinating. (The NYT did a US dialect quiz too, which is hilarious to take if you’re from outside the US, especially from quite far away like Australia. It told me I was from around New York/Bostonish, if I recall..)
  • Learn about the delicious science of chocolate
  • Did you know some groups of ants can act as a solid or a liquid? Looks at the amazing GIFs at this page, or check out the physics of how ants move in the video below. Insects are so frackin’ awesome.
  • Speaking of how awesome animals can be, did you know that some young dolphins are chewing puffer fish to get high? Kids these days!
  • Holy MOLY this is awesome. A book sculpture of Smaug emerging from a copy of the Hobbit. Yes. So good.
  • Interlocking chopsticks – these need to be everywhere, and stat.
  • Look at these beautiful polar bears enjoying an Alaskan sunset. Way better than seeing them trapped in a zoo enclosure.

 

Mini-review: Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards at the Royal Ontario Museum.

One of my favourite museums to visit when I was living in London (England) was the Natural History Museum, especially when it was time for the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards exhibition. This year, it’s traveled to us across the pond here in Toronto, and it’s currently on show at the Royal Ontario Museum. I attended during the member’s preview hours on Friday, and was not disappointed. Title Card

Tucked away near the Roman galleries on level 3 is a space used beautifully to funnel you through the various categories of images. Animal behaviours, plant life, landscapes and more artistic captures are presented on backlit panels, making the quality and colour (or crispness of B&W) pop amazingly. It is hard not to be drawn in by each and every image not just because of the content and composition, but the sheer beauty of them all.

Pictures line the walls

There’s no shortage of amazing photography in this exhibition, naturally – but I am always drawn to the young photographer’s categories. I have been fascinated by wildlife and nature from a young age (suckled on David Attenborough’s documentaries, and the like), so it’s encouraging and inspiring to see young folks getting out into the world to snap the incredible photos displayed in this exhibition. I wish I’d had the drive and skill when I was young to do the same – although I’m sure digital photography has made it a far more accessible hobby.

Aquatic Life

Passing through the specific categories of competition, towards the end of the exhibition there are more specialized showings of photos – portfolios of outstanding nature photographers, and photo essays. The essays are particularly striking not just because of their look, but their substance – the first is a horrifying look at the ivory trade, and the other on the devastating affect of dams along the Amazon.  They’re brutal to see, but tell their stories incredibly well.

Polar

 

I encourage you all to visit the ROM in general, but it’s also worth the little extra admission to see this exhibition. Drink in the beauty of wildlife in their natural habitats, and how incredibly skilled all of the photographers are in capturing it. If you even have a passing interest in wildlife documentaries and imagery, you will not be disappointed. And if you’re going – let me know! I would visit this again and again.

 

Another irregularly scheduled photo post!

Another wave of photos uploaded to Flickr but not yet shared on social media means photo dump time! Click to see larger on Flickr.

Alley Flowers

 

Zodiac by Ai Weiwei, Toronto.

Ferrous liquid & Magnets, Ontario Science Centre

Vertical Garden, Ontario Science Centre

The things you find on the side of the road in the Annex..

Lonely Window

Lovebot @ A&C Games

Cottage in laneway not far from my place, near the UofT

Flowerpot stand from our friend Rob & Stacy’s wedding looks nice with my random flowery plant!

Alley couches

Spiderweb of streetcar lines at Queen & Spadina

Fahrenheit Cafe Toronto, one Sunday morning

Digital Dozen for your reading and internet vortex pleasure

Grab a cuppa, settle in and soon enough you’ll look up in a haze of “Oh, have I been looking at stuff on the internet for 3 hours?” Enjoy!

  • Let’s start with something heartwarming and equality-affirming, shall we? Have a look through the photos at Hold Hands In Sochi, the Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative. This is a “campaign to ask everyone present at the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games to take every opportunity to hold hands in public with a person of the same sex to denounce the anti-gay laws in Russia and to call the IOC to action to end discrmination in sport”.
  • I love to see animals in their natural habitats, and this series of images of the Glowing Bobtail Squid are an incredible example. Keep them where they belong!

    Squiddy!

  • More nature awesome – see what it looks like scooting about on the back of an eagle. The parts where it’s gliding are so amaaaaaazing.
  • Nothing specifically Adventure Time this week, but if you’re into that show you’d probably dig Bravest Warriors from the same creator. There’s a very short first season (all online to watch!), and they’ve made some mini videos to bridge into season 2, so get watching!
  • I’ve never seen anything quite like this “motion graphics-infused” dance piece before, it’s super engaging!
  • Ever wanted to see the Galapogas Islands? Now you can! Google street view, bringing wonderful natural habitats and animals into your computer boxes daily. (And at least we’ll always have street view of the Great Barrier Reef too, seeing as PM Tony Abbott is out to destroy it.)
  • Geena Davis shows off her Olympic-level archery skills in support of gender equality in film, television & …archery 🙂
  • I’ve linked to some awesome themed bedrooms before, but this Super Mario one obviously takes the cake. So super!

Time for another Digital Dozen

I hope you all have splendid plans for the weekend (and that it includes voting if you’re any of my Australian readers!). I’ll be spending the bulk of my weekend…

  • …at Toronto’s 29th annual Vegetarian Food Festival! This massive event showcases what awesome businesses and organizations promote health and goodness on a veg diet, and the benefits having a vegetarian lifestyle can also have on the environment and wellbeing of animals. Lectures, workshops, cooking demos and incredible delicious food as far as the eye can see. I’m going to be meeting up with my vegan knitting group to hang out on the lawn at Harbourfront and enjoy snacks while we craft and catch up, too!
  • And speaking of vegan foods, September is Vegan Mofo this year (the Vegan Month Of Food)! I took part a few years ago now, but I didn’t feel like I could keep up with the daily blogging enough to do it this year (maybe next year!). They have a great roundup on the blog of what amazing awesome vegan foodie things are being posted, so if you’re interested in finding out about the world of vegan deliciousness, that’s a great place to start!
  • I enjoy this series of tips and etiquette for NYC, but in particular this one, which applies anywhere you have a subway/train system!
  • If you’re still looking for awesome coffee mugs even after the great one I linked to last week, maybe you’d like to be the only one with the antidote?
  • There’s a family here in southern Ontario living like it’s 1986 for a year to try and shift their reliance on technology away and let their kids enjoy life more. It’s a pretty interesting experiment.. I’m almost 100% I couldn’t stand to do it. And the mullet is really taking it too far…
  • LEGO have a new female minifig, and she’s a scientist! That’s pretty awesome.
  • I need a treehouse just so I can have a bicycle-powered elevator to get to it!
  • Did you know there’s a whole website dedicated to geeky engagements/weddings? Well, you do now.
  • Mystery underwater ‘crop circles’ explained! Grab a cuppa and enjoy the show, as everyone likes some Spirograph aesthetics, right? (..right?)
  • I’m all about quirky museum-based things, and this project ticks all those boxes: “We are proud of our stewardship in developing the wonderful heritage of cereal specimen museum displays.” Amazing.
  • I’ve been taking a trip back in time watching X-Men: The Animated Series on Netflix this week, it’s been great! Someone decided to take the X-Men a little further back in time, though, and created this fantastic series of medieval X-Men.
  • Of course I didn’t forget about including an Adventure Time link, reader! What kind of fool do you take me for? Head to We Love Fine for awesome title card prints like this one:

The Digital Dozen – August 3!

Once again it is time for me to drop by and bestow links for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy! And for those of you here in Ontario, enjoy your long weekend 🙂

  • Do you enjoy Justin Timberlake? It doesn’t matter, You’ll enjoy this genre-shifting short-form cover of ‘My Love’!
  • XKCD recently finished up an epic 3000-something frame long story within one frame – Geekwagon have put it together in a big sequence which you can have autoplay, or you can scroll through. It’s like a mega-GIF of a story. Wonderful!
  • This series of Adventure Time wallets are all terrific, but I’m particularly fond of this one:

    Peskimo Wallet 3

  • Do you read Sinfest? If not, get on that! It’s consistently one of my fave comic strips. Even when there’s no dialogue.
  • Summer life hacks! I am IN LOVE WITH the chip bag suggestion.
  • Nothing will make you smile more than seeing a bear hoedown – or some veritable bear pole dancing – this Saturday!
  • It seems like to do one of these would take a fair amount of time. But a whole Tumblr full? Someone’s got some awesome free time on their hands: Beer Labels in Motion.
  • I love the concept & execution of these gorgeous woodblock prints of (mostly) video game heroes. I am especially desperate for this one:

    Trouble Afoot

     

  • More collectible TMNT goodness – a couple bought a house (sight unseen which is a bit weird, but maybe it was a foreclosure or deceased estate?) and it has a motherload of TMNT stuff in there. I kinda dig the weapon display!
  • Look at these beautiful story books from McSweeney’s! I love the look of Lost Sloth. I feel the need to buy these for all my friends with kids right now.
  • I’ve seen some interesting ways to promo TV shows before, but I think this might take the cake – a giant dragon skull on a British beach to promote Game of Thrones season 3. Amazing.
  • When design is smart and totally practical, i’m in love. I want ALL JARS to be like these. (I love how angry the guy gets trying to get peanut butter out of that jar!) How is it 2013 and we don’t have jars like this? Gosh.