Perfect Day For Fishing

Perfect day for fishing
Eagle:”Mmmmm, a perfect day for fishing… Wait, who’s that?”

Otter
Otter:”Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now….”

Mink
Mink:”That’s all folks!”

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19

One of my friends from Serbia reminded me on her Facebook post about one sad anniversary: today is 19 years since NATO bombed Serbia over Kosovo. Sometime in May of 1999 she and her soon-to-be-husband made a 10 minutes video of how their friends, me among them, reacted to what was going on around us. Bombs dropping, people being killed.

Video is in Serbian so most of people who visit this blog won’t understand a word 🙂 But I can translate what I had said: One day, when all of this is over, our lives will be terribly boring… Scroll to 2:01. I am performing an Iaido kata and then I say the sentence that made me famous 😀 😛

I was asked once to explain what I meant with that. Of course, now after almost two decades, I can’t say that my life – and for that matter, the lives of many of other friends I have – is boring. Far from that. But it reflected a general feeling me and my friends had during bombing. We were angry, sad, annoyed, all at the same time. And we couldn’t change anything.  Years later, during one of my visits to Japan, one old member of martial arts styles that I am practicing, told me to come to Japan if ever again there is a war in my country. Not that I would do that, of course, but it was just a proof that I have friends among Japanese people and I was grateful for that. I had a chance to experience something terrible and lived to tell, so I am grateful for that, as well.

From Hagakure: “Master lttei said, ‘ ‘If one were to say what it is to do good, in a single word it would be to endure suffering. Not enduring is bad without exception.” “

Back then we were all a pawns in a much bigger game. And as every pawn, we were expendable. I was reading news when during 2015 ISIS destroyed ancient monuments, protected by UN laws. And the whole world condemned that. But when in 1999 and 2004 ethnic Albanians did the same to Christian monasteries in Kosovo – some of them as old as 500 years – most of the world applauded. Or, in best, turned the blind eye. The history of Serbian and Albanian enmity is not from yesterday, it lasts for centuries. But I am too lazy to go deeper into the topic at the moment. Everything is on line and in publications, if you are interested it is just a Google away.

These days I just don’t care as much anymore, beyond remembering. Did enemies win? Maybe. I like to think they didn’t. But nowadays, I like to do things that make me happy: martial arts, hiking, travelling, photographing… Life is short.

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Spring, but not yet…

You can feel it in the air. Whenever sun gets away from clouds, and it is not so often in Vancouver, the air got warm, the breeze is calm, the skies are blue. We’ve seen crocuses already. It was 17°C yesterday. But if you go just a bit out of the city limits, everything changes. I mean, the air is still warm (on a cooler side) and the skies are blue. However…

Lynn Headwaters Park

Lynn Headwaters park, just a few kilometers from our place, is still under a blanket of snow. It is melting, of course, but cold nights and rainy weather will prolong it. If it is raining in the city, it is snowing on the mountain. All I need is to remember last year. Snow in June…

We went for a walk, 9-10 km, Lynn Headwaters park and Rice Lake. The later is still partially frozen.

Rice Lake - frozen

But the ice is thin and a couple of fishermen didn’t have much trouble breaking it. Even this eagle was quietly observing. Who knows, maybe it developed a way of fishing through the ice.

Bald Eagle

The ice is cracking somewhere in the middle of the lake. Northern side, more exposed to the sunlight, is free of ice. Southern side usually is in the shadow of a forest, and weak sun rays can’t warm the air fast enough to melt it.

Thawing

We returned the same way and Lynn Creek was rushing on our left. Its clear waters are not as high as they will be in a month.

Lynn Creek

We’ve found a quiet spot to have a snack and enjoy the nature a bit more.

Lynn Creek bank

Moss

My last thought, before we left the place, was: the bears will wake up soon 🙂

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Late “End of the Year” post

I mean, totally late 🙂

I planned to make it some time during last week, but we were away, the weather was snowy and cold, and all the other excuses that I can’t think of at the moment 😀 Well, here it is…

If I can summarize it, in a short sentence, it would be: It was busy! Company I am employed with, had few big contracts that came to realization at once, almost all of them, enough to keep us constantly on the edge. Luckily not too many overtime days for my department, but the rest of my colleagues worked really hard. I mean, it is good to have a job, salary and security, but I wished the tempo was a bit slower. And now we were told it will continue in 2018, as well. Oh well, it is just a job…

Due to a snowy and rainy spring, San and I didn’t have as many opportunities to go for mountain hiking as previous years – at the end of June there was still a lot of snow on mountains and our favorite hikes – and then a dry summer came with forest fires. That meant that our decision to go to kayaking trip in August proved to be a good one. Broken Group Islands, on the west side of Vancouver Island, is in a fog zone, with temperatures rarely going over 17C at that time of year.

Day 1 - the rest on Hand Island

This short video may be enough to help me explain the overall feeling of the 3 days trip:

Really a unique place where we hope to return some time in the future. The rest of the photographs you can find here. I will just add, that I was happy to see starfish again, because a virus that, apparently, killed millions of them during last few years, make them completely disappear along the west coast areas where we were hiking.

It was a nice contrast to a smoky and hot Okanagan Valley where we spent a week before, trying to do some hiking but ended doing wine tours due to a smoke and forest fires 😀 We spent a lot of money buying some excellent wines 🙂

A big thing for me was a premiere of  Blade Runner 2049, a sequel of a cult Blade Runner movie from 1982, that, some of my friends already know, I’ve seen more than 60 times (what can I say, it just blew my mind). Impressions on the sequel are different, depending on the person you are talking with, but I was very satisfied and I can say that Denis Villeneuve, the director, proved to be a new star in a movie industry. If you have seen his movies Arrival and Sicario, you will understand what I’m talking about. I hope I don’t have to mention that I wore a t-shirt that San gave me for birthday and that made the experience complete 😀

What are the plans for 2018? I can’t say much except that we are planning to go to Newfoundland and Labrador some time during summer and that we will have to start planning that trip immediately. Popular hiking spots all over Canada are experiencing a big visitors’ boom, and if you don’t find a spot in certain places at certain times, you might as well spend your holidays at home. It doesn’t make me happy but there is nothing we can do about it except to adapt…

Broken Group Islands foggy mornings

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Blade Runner Theme Presents

It was my birthday the other day. Usually, I would get up early in the morning, make myself a mug of coffee, open some news web site and spend about an hour slowly waking up. This time was a bit different because on top of my laptop there was a small pile of presents, wrapped in some nice paper with origami unicorn on top of it.

Of course, I was intrigued. As some of you know, I’ve watched Blade Runner movie more than 60 times and origami unicorn scene is very familiar to me. So, I unwrapped the pile…

Blade Runner Theme Presents

These are all presents from San and I couldn’t be more surprised and in a better and more pleasant way. Even though I’ve seen… things… you, people, wouldn’t believe…

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Frisky Flickers

Yesterday was a first nice day after what felt like an endless rainy season. It feels like, when it started raining at the end of September, it didn’t stop until yesterday; that it was just switching between rain and snow. This winter was very long.

Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yesterday was gorgeous day, all sun and blue skies. We took a long walk, around North Vancouver, Mosquito creek to Edgemont, Westview and back home. Along a way, on some of electric power poles, we’ve seen some frisky flickers (Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus) doing their love dance.

Frisky Flickers1there were four of them on that pole, one is on the other side

Then one unexpectedly took of…Frisky Flickers2…but then it returned, so they could do their lovey dovey dance…

Frisky Flickers3…right…

Frisky Flickers4…then left…

Frisky Flickers5…and, generally, enjoyed the day 😀

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Anniversary

A small anniversary for me. On this day, December 7, 1986. I started practicing Kendo in Belgrade, Serbia. Thirty years of very interesting and self fulfilling path.

kendo-beograd-1990members of Kendo Club Belgrade, May 13, 1990.

Some people from this photograph are still in Martial Arts. Dejan is teaching Nakamura Ryu Battodo in Belgrade. Nebojsa, Vladan and Dragan are teaching Kendo. Others left Martial Arts (to my knowledge) but will always remain as a part of the history.

For me, Kendo was a beginning that led me further, into Iaido, Aikido and Battodo. Since 2012 I am teaching Nakamura Ryu Battodo in Vancouver, BC.

hidari-gyaku-noto-in-kata_bwfrom Nakamura Ryu Battodo presentation in New Westminster, April 2014.

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Ice

“Compare the torrent and the glacier. Both get where they are going” – Ursula K. Le Guin

 

When we left Vancouver that Friday afternoon, rain was following us all the way to Merritt; our goal was to get to Mt. Robson Provincial Park, some 700km toward north-west, roughly. We knew that July is not the perfect time of the year to go there – ideally it would be August, less rain – but I couldn’t get my holidays at other times. And, as someone said, the rain doesn’t matter, just pack and go.

After spending the night in Merritt, morning brought some sun and blue skies and a little hope that weather forecast was wrong. But it is Okanagan, it doesn’t rain that often during summer. Once we came closer to Rockies, rain returned. It was not that bad though, good enough to have a glance toward the highest mountain of Canadian Rockies.
Mt Robson - a view from visitor's centre Mt. Robson 3954m, big enough to make its own weather

A plan was to hike to Berg Lake, behind the mountain in a back country and spend three days overall on that trip. If we just knew how beautiful there is…Berg Lake - Berg and Mist glaciers - Mt Robsonthanks to a tip from a couple of hikers, we took a camp site with a premium view to Berg (left) and Mist (right) glaciers;
Nature is stunning over there and if we knew how many additional one day hikes are available, we would plan to stay longer. But what we’ve seen made a big impression and we decided to come back, as soon as possible. Maybe even next year.
Our next destination was Jasper, less than 90km to the east. A number of tourists that “greeted” us felt like a shock; after spending a lot of time in back country with alike minded people, insanity in Jasper felt almost repelling. But the main advantage of Jasper is that so many natural beauties are within a reach of a road. We didn’t plan to go to back country (there are some beautiful places there, all require several days of hiking), but did some smaller hikes or enjoyed a scenery that could be reached by car.
Mt Edith Cavell glacier1Mount Edith Cavell glacier; a viewpoint is on about 2100m, most of it accessible by car

The last part of our trip was in Columbia Icefield, more precise Athabasca glacier. Months ago we decided to pay for a guided 3 hour trip over the glacier. A bit pricey but worth every dollar we payed for it. We walk on the ice, drank the water from it, enjoyed the fact that big rain storm moved away just in time 🙂Wet facedrinking from the stream of the cleanest water on Earth

Standing on 200m of icestanding on 200 meters of ice, this is how thick a glacier is at that point

Columbia Icefield, atop of continental divide, is famous for the fact that waters, that come out of its glaciers, eventually end up in 3 oceans – Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific. And if you take a look at the previous photograph, on right side, behind me is a mountain ridge and the continental divide is right there.

Even though for most people, summer means sun, beach, ocean, etc, etc… for us it meant ice, this time. Rain was there just as a spice to overall feeling, not welcome but something we could live with. And I can’t tell the ice was unusual. Quite contrary, it was welcomed.
Ice - Berg glacier

 

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“Panama Papers” or how to explain this to your 5 year old kid (or yourself)

Sandy has found this link on CBC’s web site today, laugh her ass off and sent it to me so I could post it over here. It actually came to her mind while we were watching Edward Snowden talking to audience in Vancouver’s Queen Elisabeth Theatre through SFU Public Square You Tube channel. One thing leads to another – even better, one secret leads to another, so she, as I said before, sent me this link:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.3521507/how-to-explain-offshore-banking-to-a-five-year-old-a-reading-1.3521514

There is a “Listen” button on the left side, just under the photograph. Enjoy 😀

Cleo1
our cat Cleo doesn’t care about Panama Papers; all her assets are safe and hidden đŸ±

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The Story of Stuff Project

This is an e-mail I got two days ago from The Story of Stuff Project’s executive director, Michael O’Heaney. I don’t know Mr. O’Heaney but The Story of Stuff Project is the organization that is doing their best to prevent pollution and fight corporate greed through making short movies about the issues.

“Dear Darko,

Today is World Water Day, honoring the important role water plays in our lives. That’s one reason I’m excited to share our latest movie with you, which tells the story of one town’s fight to protect its water from NestlĂ©, the world’s largest water bottler.

Cascade Locks, Oregon is heaven on earth—a small town nestled in the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge. But when NestlĂ© came to town several years ago with a proposal to bottle their water, citizens launched an all-out effort to protect it.Our Water, Our Future tells the story of these amazing activists and shares their advice for other communities facing water grabs around the world.

If these changemakers win, they’ll change history by providing an innovative solution to NestlĂ©’s attempts to privatize public water. What we need now is for Story of Stuff Community members around the world to listen to their story, and spread their message by sharing this film, so that together we can amplify the movement against NestlĂ©.

Nestlé may have immense resources, but we have a global community of active citizens like you on our side.

In California, NestlĂ© takes water from public lands affected by a historic drought. In Michigan the corporation drains lakes and rivers and fights any attempt to lessen its footprint. In Pennsylvania it bribes communities with ‘community development funds’ and tries to buy politicians to change zoning laws on the down low. But in all these communities there are brave citizens fighting back, and with your help we can give them the power they need to win.

Thank you for being part of our community!

Michael O’Heaney, Executive Director”

And their latest project about a fight one small community in Oregon started against endless corporate greed.

Nestlé did the same thing in British Columbia, bottling water for free and then selling it all over the world. Last year CBC wrote about it in this article.

Unfortunately, someone… khm, khm politicians khm government khm khm… let them do that. Knowing how hard it is to fight bureaucracy, I’m afraid that name of that person will remain hidden from a public. I just hope times will change, political situation will change and someone will step up and stop companies like NestlĂ© abusing our natural resources.

Today, most of the wars are fought for the control of production and distribution of  the oil and gas. Tomorrow, it will be about water. And that tomorrow might come sooner than we expect.

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