Sunday, December 31, 2006

Best Pic of 2006

Hands down, this is the best picture of 2006. It is of Saturn, from the far side of it, in the shadow, and if you look through the rings, just to ten o'clock position you can see a tiny dot. That tiny dot is my house. Okay, its the Earth! Kind of puts things into perspective hmmm?
click on this image to enlarge, and for more images of planets, you can go to

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

St. Marie Among the Hurons

Reality has been much on my mind of late. Like, what IS reality! A friend of mine says that reality is that which he sees with his own eyes. So I performed some simple ledgerdemain, coin drops, pea and shell type tricks. I even levitated like David Blaine. So, clearly, what he sees can be manipulated. So I worked on the definition of "reality". The dictionary didn't help. Clearly this thing called "reality" is a slippery concept. I had always believed that anything that causes an effect is "real". Is transubstantiation "real" in the conventional sense? It certainly is real in the religious sense! Are table knocking, psychic readings and speaking in tongues "real" ? I withhold my judgement until I know more.
This needs to be developed. However, (in a most difficult segue....grin!) the monks who opened up the Canadian wilderness with their mission to the Hurons were convinced of the reality of their cause. The pictures you see here are the re-construction on Georgian Bay of that mission. It only lasted a few years, but it made a very big impact on the people there.
The first picture is of the alter at the church. The second is a lived over your workspace. In this case, a boat yard. The last picture is of a Huron "long house". Covered in slippery elm bark, it is very cozy. You can see everything is sort of "tobacco" coloured due to the constant fires going in the middle of the room. You all sleep in the "bunks" at the sides. Not a lot of privacy!
We are going into a new year. Remarkable! I made it!
This calls for a retrospective. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


After a remarkably good Turkey, we walked it off in the traditional way....a tour around Parliament Hill. The building was lit up with projected snowflakes...the only snow in the region. Hah! And about a gazillion lights donated by a local hardware store. The big maple trees look kind of bashful, all bedecked out in lights. Somebody had placed flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier, and somebody else has left Hershey's Kisses.
click on the images to enlarge them.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Oh Blowdy 'ell,
Da whole Shield Wall is Crumbling!
I fear that now I shall see Odin's face.
Aye...there it goes...the Foe is over-running!
There's little time, and I can't find my mace.
A ray of hope, my weary brain rejoices
For up there dawns the salvation of my hide!
Fall on yer face
Pretend the foe has slain ye
Then shiv him in the back,
and then Run...
Run Like the Wind!
Oh shiv, my friend in need!
Oh, oh, my little knive,
My friend in deed!
(adapted from Strygor Von Talmutz, "A Viking's Christmas in Wales".

Friday, December 22, 2006

Two years ago...

Two years ago I built this cool Roman Helmet just in time for Christmas. Didn't turn out too bad. Just thought I would brag a bit since I have not turned out anything so pretty since!
click on the images to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas and Computers...

Just feeling a little depressed this time of year. It is NOT a white Christmas! A good friend called me...desperate to unload a puppy. Do you know how hard it is to say no to a puppy? Oh My! Another friend just got laid off...and will have to sell his motorcycle to pay his rent. And I have been getting these allergy shots every Wednesday. They are killer shots...knock me for a loop every time. And nobody orders armour for Christmas, so the shop is sitting idle. Oh gracious, it sounds like I am complaining! Heck, I don't have to shovel that precip out there, its not MY puppy, and not MY donor cycle. And the shop is, well, not QUITE actually doing some swords. Doing them up right too! Step by step how to on my other blog "South Tower Armouring Guild". And I hope to get that "measured drawing" armour done this December.
Up top is a nice fella who picked up that big Viking style helmet. He looks a bit like me! Its the white beard and the world weary look! I think both of us will enjoy this great Canadian Christmas tree (bottom pic) He is in Louisiana, so the grass is still green there. Building decks in December. Well, I remember roofing in December, and setting the top shingles into hot water in order to get them to bend over the peak!
As usual, click on the images to enlarge.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

With the month of December representing the end of a wild boar hunt in the forest of Vincennes, we return to the Limbourgs and the Duc de Berry.The dungeon and square towers rising above the trees are those of the home in which the Duke was born on the eve of December: November 30, 1340. At that time the Château de Vincennes had not reached the proportions shown here, and the dungeon, begun three years before, consisted only of its foundations.
The enormous rectangular enclosure flanked by the nine towers seen in the miniature was undertaken only in 1364 by Charles V, "sage artiste, savant architecteur" ("wise artist, learned architect") in the words of his biographer Christine de Pisan (c. 1365-after 1430), to make the château "La demeure de plusieurs seigneurs, chevaliers et autres ses mieux aimées" ("the home of several lords, knights and other beloved ones").He subsequently deposited part of his art treasures, precious manuscripts, and fortune here.
Several towers of the ensemble were partially razed during the course of the centuries.Still standing in their entirety, however, are the main tower which served as entrance and the magnificent dungeon that Jean Fouquet (born c. 1420) some time after the Limbourgs, painted in miniature in the Heures d'Étienne Chevalier.
(Bill's note...second pic down is the main tower.)
The forests of Vincennes attracted many kings of France. Louis VII built a hunting lodge there; Philippe Auguste undertook the construction of a small château enlarged by Saint Louis, who, as we know, liked to dispense popular justice under one of its oaks. This is the wood we see represented here in the russet tones of a waning autumn.The boar has been run down and speared by the huntsman on the left, and hounds are tearing it apart. At the right a hunter blows the mort on his small horn.The dogs' desperate eagerness is rendered with astonishing realism: their positions, the gestures of their paws, their greedy expressions, all have been observed and noted with care. These are bloodhounds, boarhounds, hounds whose breeding an expert would recognize immediately.This scene is perhaps the liveliest in a calendar full of lively images; it completes the year in an appropriate seting and time, recalling the birth of the Duc de Berry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


When the ladder theory deconstructed a woman's mind, they demystified things a LOT. Essentially for all you frat boys out there, there are only two things which are important, babies and shoes. Personally, I would add "drama" to the list, however, the fella's at the "ladder theory" feel that most drama is created by the conflict between babies and shoes. To this end I discovered some absolutely "kicky" items just in time for Christmas.
And for those with a particularly warped sense of humour, you might like
or you might not. Personally, I howled with laughter all through the article.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cold and flue season

The last week I have had a classic winter cold. Now Brenda has it. We have been avoiding all Xmas parties, and have not gone out anywhere. Heck, I have not even gone to work. Its given me an excellent opportunity to catch up on my web site, add another blog to the list, bring this blog onto beta. That was a bit annoying since Brenda already had a g-mail account, I had to change all the passwords and stuff just to log in. Its all part of the "google empire". Instead of having one user name and password, I now have three. I don't see much more reliability in blogger, and it gives "crackers" and "spammers" yet another way to get into my system. For those of you who have not had contact with me in few days....I am still trying to figure out what usernames and passwords will work to leave comments. Apparently it is different whether you are on beta or not....

And I can't post pictures this morning. Right...beta is better. Right. grrrrrr.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Power was out for six hours. This is a little dangerous in Canada...well...because things get cold! Brenda and I had just got home from the abbatoir with half a cow (all packaged) and we put it in the freezer. Half an hour later, the power goes out. Okay....its not cold enough to put the meat outside to let it stay frozen. In fact, except for the fact that it is freezing on contact, it is pretty much raining out there. Well, leave it in the freezer for now...keep the cover closed, it should be fine for a couple of days. Okay, the chicken was just about to be put into the oven, I can cut it apart and barbeque it. An inch of ice on the bbq cover...smash it off. Okay, got the thing started. it is taking a half hour to come up to temperature! Wind is still pretty high, keeps putting the bbq fire out.

Then the sump pump alarm goes off. Right. Basement is flooding from all this rain. Fine....I send up several hundred pails of water up the hatch in the floor, which gets dumped down the drain. Field calls from the security monitoring people, finally disconnect the damned thing. Security people call because it is disconnected. Leave me alone to splash in this water darn it!

Barbeque a lovely chicken. Bring in the stuff that is cooked because I can't wait any longer to eat...I am starved! Gorgeous meal by candlelight...delightful company. Oh crap...the rest of the chicken is still cooking! Yup, Bill, you burned the chicken! First bird I have burned, for, like, ever! Well, it was hard to see how it was doing in the dark....its all silouettes against the flames. Thats my story...I am sticking to it.

After dinner, was thinking about a nap. No such luck. Look down into the basement. Right, its about 15 centimeters deep. Not over my boot tops, but I'll have to do something right? Can't dump any more down the drain....the poor septic system can't take too much of that. So I rig a siphon from a garbage can and an old garden hose. Hose keeps getting stopped up with random bits of wood and flotsam, but generally it works.

I barely keep even with the incoming water. Sooner or later I figure, I will have to quit. Don't know how much damage will happen if I let it flood much higher though. Well, just keep handing those pails of water up to Brenda. Every once in a while, I would crawl out of that hole and walk around outside a bit, watching the ice gradually build up on things. You can tell the people who have home generators...they are the ones with the Christmas lights on so bright! I don't know why it is, but I don't begrudge anybody with the forethought to purchase a generator, but for some reason I don't understand, I just want to throw a rock through my neighbour's window for showing off those christmas lights!

Then the power went back on and things went back to normal.

The joys of home ownership.