exquisite in its form, mergus merganser, also known as the common merganser, is ubiquitous on the open waters of Canada's deep running rivers, and lakes.
these rather large ducks are characterized by long, slim necks and thin, serrated, and hooked red bills, allowing them to feed on small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects.
the female, whose call consists of a deep, harsh, croaking kar-r-r and a quick kokokokok, is recognized by it's chestnut brown, crested head.
the male, whose call is also a deep croak but interspersed with twanging singular bell-like notes, is distinguished by it's dark green, non-crested head and pure white chest.
mergus merganser journeys with the canadian snowbird to the warmer environs of the southern united states in winter, only to return to the expanses of the great white north in the spring to the delight of canadian birdwatchers.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
my sister sent me some really lovely pix of her peonies in portland (hillsboro) OR. i always have a good laugh when i think of me living on the tundra. i think its been summer in oregon for quite awhile now.
i don't know what i was thinking today when i greeted a couple of jehovah's witnesses at the front door. generally, my spidey sense can detect them a mile away.
i could of slammed the door in their faces but i just can't do that kind of stuff.
so, i let the guy do his spiel.
to summarize: according to him, the news nowadays is filled with bad news. i reluctantly concurred. he opened his JW bible and started to read, at which time my brain shut down. according to God, there's a grand plan to transform the bad news into good...
he asked me, "so, what do think the solution to the world's problem is?" or, something to that effect.
i dunno. i blurted out, "maybe we should stop watching the news..." i didn't mean it to come out as a smart ass remark. he kind of chuckled but his buddy, who turned out to be his wife, gave me the scowl of scowls. oops.
the guy quickly surmised that i'd be a tough nut to crack. he gave me a couple of watchtower mags. he and his wife hightailed it to the next house.
conclusions: 1) selling religion door to door must be a really tough gig, even if you're passionate about the product. 2) you got to think of really good closer that will clinch the deal, like 72 virgin women in paradise. not something like the watchtower, pfft. 3) i will burn in hell...
if you're short of good reading material, i've got a couple of interesting mags burning a hole in the kitchen table... you know how to find me...
Monday, May 22, 2006
victoria day bonus mystery pic: what are these food items? clues: hasn't been cooked yet AND they are highly popular ethnic (middle kingdom) delicacies (sometimes take-out). i think i just it away...
this is the best vicky day holiday ever.
did a bit of bushwacking and geo-caching with LB (photo to come) in FCP on saturday.
went biking down the elbow yesterday. for the longest time, i sat on a stanley park bench watching lovely rafters float down the river. i saw a really old lady, perhaps eighty years old, wearing the same t-shirt i was wearing. i left promptly.
today? maybe i go see some big big airplanes at the airport. gotsta go before it get's too hot...
hope everyone's having a swell long weekend...
Friday, May 19, 2006
qqqqqqqttttttt, come on out. how 'bout len? or does dean work in that building? the buildings all look the same. new lens: nikon 18-200 f3.5-5.6 dx. it's a beauty eh?
spent a few hours downtown yesterday. i looked around for people i knew. no such luck. i thought i'd see qtlibrarian at least. in the end, i settled for a delish vietnamese sub sandwich. mmmm...
thought i better fire off this posting so we can get on the rest of our engrossing lives.
yes, there's still hockey... good news, the slackers, choke artists, and chump wannabes have dropped by the wayside. only the true, men-stocked hockey teams are left.
buffalo sabres vs. carolina hurricanes...
in each of the last 2 rounds i've bet against the 'canes to advance. i'll do it again. i just have a bad feeling about them. yes, they hammered marty brodeur in the quarters. i know. but, they are really up against tough competition in the buffalo sabres.
the sabres are sort of like the oilers of the east. lots of speed. lots of scoring ability. the true prototypical team of the "new" nhl. let me emphasize the word "team". they are the consummate team coming out of the east.
so, taking all of these concepts into consideration, along with season records against one another:
my prediction: sabres in 6.
the edmonton oilers vs. mighty ducks of anaheim...
my gut says oilers. my brain says oilers.
my prediction: the oilers in 6.
damn those oiler fans. damn the "blue" mile. damn the west edmonton mall. damn the eskimos. damn that city of chumps sign on highway 2. damn ralph klein.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
man, was it hot out today. i thought it was summa time. i took a picture of these apple blossums in the backyard thinking they were tell tale signs of spring!! damn that global warming, eh? (note: i tried for about a half hour to get a pic of blossum being siphoned by a bee. mission impossible my friends... i wish i had a 100 mm macro lens.)
what's a guy to do on a hockey playoff game-less night?
perhaps watch some movies on dvd?
the man who wasn't there...
i was a little skeptical about the title (i judge books by their cover as well). generally, i have difficulties getting into movies with slow moving stories. i almost gave up watching after 10 minutes, but i stuck with it. good thing. i thought the plot and characters were incredibly compelling as the movie went on.
really smart performances by billy bob and frances mcdormand. my favourite character was the sleazy, drama queen-like lawyer played by tony shalhoub. he was hilarious.
nevermind if you didn't like the coen brothers' o' brother, where are thou?. i thought it sucked too, but you'll like this coen film.
by the way, scarlett johansson, who appeared as birdy, was her usual sultry, hot self.
kill bill, vol. 2.
a whole lotta explainin' goin' in this film. i agree with soapydave that vol. 2 was self contained. but, hell, i would have missed lucy liu and all of that ku fung fightin' in vol. 1.
with all the explanations, the film doesn't lose anything in terms of entertainment value. the cinematography was just amazing - very stylish. if i could do that for a living...?!?!
most memorable characters were Pai Mei, kung fu master/classic chinese xenophobe, and Budd (michael madsen).
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
i love old news.
dug out the gps unit and went geocaching (treasure hunting) with LB on saturday. this time to the very south of the city where they are building a new sewage plant. i had 2 caches in mind but only managed to find one. you never know the adventures you get into trying to find these. suffice to say, just to find this one, we had to "ford" the bow river 4 times.
LB was very brave...
eureka! we finally found the cache called "southside surprise". ya see it? it's in the tree stump. on the left!!
are we almost there yet...?
the bikeclub took on the giant hill (coined the "mofo") north of bowness park this sunday. we did it with a twist though. we gained the elevation from its backside.
sure beats office work, eh?
the only known members of bikeclub on the silver springs ridge...
soapydave's best kung fu/karate move...
self-portrait: akira kurosawa...
soapygina wasn't feeling so swell...
i love this bridge...
soapydave: when's the cookie break?
that's, that's all folks...
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
it was my first day at work.
i was teaching a bunch of grade three's. it was another crazy day. the commute was crazy.
i was sitting alone in the staff room. i loved being alone.
my cell phone rang. it was my friend bob. he was looking for his posters. i had them kept in a school storage room.
i kept him on the line while i went down to storage room to check on his posters. the floor tiles were arranged in a black and white checkered pattern. the floor was shiny and squeaked under my shoes. i hated squeaky floors...
i found the posters rolled up in a tube. i took a seat on a wooden crate, facing the storage room's dark wooden door, as i continued my conversation with bob.
the radiator beside the door bursted into flames. i ran out of the room and down the hall.
i yelled at a kid, "fire!!! get the hell outta here."
the kid thought i was joking.
the fire alarm was blaring now. i looked behind me. there were six kids, dressed in light brown uniforms, clipboards in hand, going from room to room. behind them the hall was filling rapidly with a cappucino-colored foamy goo.
i awoke from my slumber. it was another strange dream.
i usually don't attach much importance to the significance of dreams but i couldn't help but wonder about what this one was trying to tell me...
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
ok, i didn't do too badly in the first NHL playoff round predictions. i usually really suck.
the only upset in my books were the colorado avalanche beating the dallas stars. in retrospect, i forgot to factor in the marty "i'm a playoff choker" turco phenomenon. in addition, it just goes to show you how much edge you lose when you clinch a playoff spot months beforehand.
the second round should prove to be very entertaining.
ottawa senators vs. buffalo sabres...
the senators' martin havlat was a monster in the first round. he was by far the most dangerous sens forward. he's going to need some support in the second round, namely from dany heatley and daniel alfredsson. those guys have been in cruise mode when their team needed them most. otherwise, this second round match up will be long and painful for the senators.
in the buffalo sabres, the sens are up against a much faster and hungrier hockey team, in comparison to tampa bay. in addition, buffalo will actually show up with a pretty good goaltender.
hard to pick the winner, but i'll go with the team with the home advantage.
prediction: the ottawa senators in 7.
new jersey devils vs. carolina hurricanes
the 'canes did an ok job in eliminating my habs. their goaltender, cam ward, was good. their team defence was superior. however, i'm not convinced of their offence prowess, yet.
i didn't see much of their series against the NY rangers, but it appeared the line of elias-gionta-gomez was still chugging along, and marty brodeur was still standing on his head. for these reasons alone, i think they will give the 'canes much stiffer opposition than the lowly habs.
i'll stick to my guns on this one.
prediction: devils in 5.
san jose sharks vs. edmonton oilers.
another exciting matchup.
i might not be enamoured by the oilers but i have to respect the way they play. never count these guys out. they played a pretty tough team (though many contest the legitimacy of their president's trophy) in detroit and beat them in 6. if any of san jose's top players (thornton, marleau) cool off, watch out. the oilers could come up big and steal the series.
prediction: oilers in 7.
colorado avalanche vs. anaheim mighty ducks
hmmm... i dunno about this one. joe sakic vs. teemu selanne? tanguay vs. mcdonald? blake vs. neidermeyer? the supporting casts seem on par with one another. too close to call. might come down to home ice advantage.
prediction: ducks in 7.
big predictions, 2nd ed.
edmonton escapes the west. devils win the east. devils still win the cup.
my preferred scenario: edmonton win the west. sens win the east. sens win the cup...
your calgary flames...
well, they were totally dominated by the ducks in game 7 except for the first 4 minutes. surprising? yes, in part. you'd think they'd put up a fight at least. but damn, those ducks are good.
the keys to failure? lots.
the flames should of have traded for joe thornton. should have offered phaneuf and a hand full of other players. you got to give something of value to get something of value. iginla would have been the first player to exceed 1000 goals in one season.
lack of goal scoring finally caught up to the flames. they have players like lombardi and donovan who have speed to burn but have hands of stone. in the end, they couldn't muster a goal let alone, as sutter calls it, a big goal.
they let go the heart and leadership of the team. guys like gelinas and conroyd. iginla can only do so much.
worse trade of the season: steve reinprecht for mike leclerc. i thought the flames needed offence?
what next? more offence. more speed. a set up guy for iginla (it's a proven strategy on other teams with a single prolific scorer). some semblance of a credible second line to support iginla. god forbid, they might have to open up the bank vault a little wider. shouldn't be a problem now that the loonie has taken flight.
what's with the wind?
if the edmund fitzgerald sailed the glenmore reservoir today, it would have sunk again.
i was running this morning. i'm not exaggerating but the wind totally distorted my face.