"What's a triptych?"

According to M-W:

Main Entry: trip·tych Pronunciation: 'trip-(")tik Function: noun Etymology: Greek triptychos having three folds, from tri- + ptychE fold 1 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together 2 a : a picture (as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side b : something composed or presented in three parts or sections; especially : TRILOGY

A triptych, in photography, is a collage of 3 images put on one page, hung together in a series, or placed in usually a horizontal hinged or fused multi-frame. The pictures are usually related or similar in texture, tone, or subject matter. Above is a triptych. Below is a contact sheet for Carold.

the new January

ba di ya, say do you remember
ba di ya, resolutions in September?

I was actually really glad to hear an advertisement on the radio calling September the new January. Of course, it's a sales pitch for home decorating, but I'd been thinking the same thing anyways.

Here are my September Resolutions:

Cut back on refined sugars
Have a cup of tea every day
Leave my office during lunch hour
Reduce my personal pollution of the environment by at least 10%
Only work as a picture takin' maniac one weekend out of each month

There now. That's a good start. You aren't allowed to ask me how they're going except on Tuesdays. Tuesdays you can inquire. Any other day, your questions will be unceremoniously ignored. I can be a cantankerous bitch when I'm coming off sugar. Happy New Year!!!!

Anyone else care to join me in making some September resolutions?

Kyoto Accord

First, we have to establish 2 things. #1 is the fact that global warming exists. If you think global warming is a fake-out, then the Kyoto Protocol has no bearing on your life. Go to your SUV and drive up the 1/2 block to get a Starbucks. I like a latte with 3 sugars and extra foam, please. #2 is the fact that some people stand to get rich from it, so there is an ugly undercurrent as there always is when money is involved.

The objective of the protocol is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." (read the rest of this Wikipedia article here.)

A country like Canada has many many credits, because we aren't densely populated. Aside of major urban centres, the only province that's really messing up Canada's willingness to sign is Oilberta. (That's a whole other post for a whole other day.) Anyways. A country like China, which is very densely populated, obviously has a greater potential for poking a local hole in the ozone with their greenhouse gas (GHG) emmissions than someplace like say Nunavut. Kyoto proposes the use of credits and penalties, which I'm going to dummy down as best as I can. *note this is NOT the actual formula or the number of credits. So let's say Nunavut has 5 credits and China has 5 credits. Ideally, both Nunavut & China would not exceed these credits, thereby stabilizing GHG. On top of that, you can earn credits for good behaviour for reducing your GHG emissions, by, for example, using only 2 of your 5 credits. Some scientists work on band-aid solutions to the problem, like deep geological storage of CO2, which is basically filling a thick-walled tank with CO2 emissions collected from big industries, and burying it deep in the ground. You can get credits for giving money to the researchers trying to figure out how to make that work for more than 300 or so years.

Well then, let's say Nunavut is only going to use 1 credit, for all the GHG emissions from their whale blubber lamps. They also install a whole poopload of solar panels to power their diamond cutting lasers. That earns them an extra 5 credits. So sad, China has already used all 5 of their credits for being bad polluters, so Nunavut can then sell their credits to China. So Nunavut, by virtue of being sparsely populated and showing a little initiative, is enabling China to not actually do anything proactive. The end result is YOU GET SCREWED, since emissions haven't actually been reduced. Ta da!

Did I mention that the sale of the credits will propably be done by a broker? Oh yeah, people - everyone's got their fingers in the Kyoto money pie... Google 'emmissions trading.' It's the greatest thing since Enron.

Anyhow. The Kyoto Protocol is great, in theory, but in practice not so much. It's governed under the UN, which is voluntary (and kind of utopian itself) in the first place. For the record, before anyone jumps down my throat, I am in full support of the Kyoto Accord and the UN, but I think both the Kyoto Accord and the UN are too far removed from 'everyman' for anyone to really take it seriously. Filthy-minded politicians and corrupt environmental brokers, the rich oil and manufacturing companies who can afford to buy credits and pooh pooh the GHG reduction initiatives reward system have no reason to give a damn. At least the US is being honest - they don't want to participate, or pay, and don't think the good PR of saying, "Why yes, we're Kyoto.." is worthwhile. Of course, the US is THE BIGGEST POLLUTER, but they also have that monkey-muppet gdubya and his fall guys voted in to head up the club. I digress.

I think in order to be effective, the guidelines would have to be a LOT stricter, and have a better trickle-down effect. What I mean is, if you and me and my neighbour were going to feel the financial pinch of Kyoto instead of ~ I dunno, the oil companies? ~ we'd be more apt to pay attention to what's going on in our own backyards. An example would be giving each person a monthly fuel credit. Non-transferrable from person to person. If you wanted to take a big road trip, you would have to save up your monthly fuel credits until you had enough to cover your gas consumption. (Obviously, vehicles used for transport of goods etc. would be set up differently...) This would motivate people to invest in smaller vehicles, maintain their current vehicles better, and be more conscientious of where they are driving... This is, of course a ridiculously utopian scenario, but you get the point.

You can calculate your own impact on the environment here. The average person is responsible for 45,100 pounds per year. There are 6 billion people or so on the planet. Imagine if there were incentives, ones with real consequences (fines, loss of services) and tangible rewards (tax breaks, gifts) for each person to reduce their PERSONAL contribution of CO2 by just 10%. Keep the heat in your house at 22C? Turn it down to 20C and get FREE SWEATERS for everyone in your home! Drive to work everyday? Try public transit, even if you have just drive to a terminal so you aren't taking 73 connector routes, and we'll give you $5 OFF your next buspass! Think recycling takes too much work? Try at least setting aside your bottles and cans that are eligible for return, and get a SODA POP to kick start the next collection!

So, to sum up in my never-humble opinion, at this point in time the Kyoto Accord simply isn't enforceable in any meaningful way.

depth of field

Babzy referred to the increased 'blurriness' in some of the pictures I've been taking with my new lens. Depth of field is, technically, directly related to the size of the aperture opening. The wider the aperture opening, the less time it takes for enough light to hit the film or panel for a picture to be taken. If a picture is taken with the aperture wide open, there is less time for the image to burn, and the result is a shortened depth of field. When a picture is taken and everything is the foreground is in focus the same amount as the stuff way in the background, it means the aperture is set to 'infinity' and everything will be 'in focus.' Point and shoot cameras are focused at infinity.

Below are 4 sets of pictures to give you a visual reference.

In this set, the first one was taken at f1.4 and the second at f2.0. You can clearly see how much more of the picture is "in focus." Although there are a multitude of creative reasons for wanting to use a wide aperture/narrow depth of field, on a technical level one of the best up sides of a wide aperture (small f-stop) is that you can take a picture faster, with less available light. The down side using this technique is that you have to be very conscious of where the focal plane or 'sweet spot' is, which requires some practice, especially if you are shooting moving objects.

The dirty little secret on depth-of-field is that if all you've got is a point-and-shoot digital, you can ~sort of~ create the illusion of depth of field with even the most basic of photo editing software using what they usually call the 'soft focus,' a feature that allows you to select a portion of the picture to be kept in focus while the rest of it has a filter applied to give it a blur. The second two pictures illustrate the before and after of applying soft focus using Picasa, a free download you can find here.

If you are going to use digital photo editing to mess with your point-and-shoot pictures for things like depth of field, it's a good idea to experiment with the angles you shoot so that when you apply the filter you get the most 'realistic' effect. The next pictures here demonstrate what I would consider a 'bad' Picasa edit job on a point-and-shoot image. The one above is sort of taken from the top, and your brain would expect it to be blurrier down the column, whereas a picture taken from the side like this, your brain knows that unless your lens had a fingerprint on it, there's no reason for just the top of the cake to be in focus. Be conscious of the plane you are shooting from, and you will have no problems.

This last set further illustrates depth-of-field employed strictly for creative purposes by showing the same pile of sand dollars photographed from different planes using my digital SLR camera with my beloved new lens.


Trying to find God? Need someone to put biblical passages into layman's terms? Not sure if you'd rather be Sikh or Buddhist? Here's the place!

current events

Need someone to translate a Bushism for ya? Interested in knowing more about the Kyoto thing and how YOU will get screwed in the end by it? Ask away!


Curious why the sky is blue? The three states of matter? Want to know more about deep geological storage of CO2? This is a good place to place a query!

at Babzy's request

There's a new blog for y'all to enjoy. It's called 'Dirty Little Secrets' and you can check it out here. It's still under construction a bit, so bear with me as I get the details hammered out.

stupid questions

There is such a thing as a stupid question. This will be the catch basin for all of them. Bring 'em on!

life, in general

Don't understand your mother? Can't figure out why people in hats with 4 doors are usually the slowest drivers on the road? Wish you knew how to make a fruit flan? Try asking here!


Potty training woes? Your child is eating his shirts? You don't know where all these little people came from? Firestarter in the home? Let's figure it out!

my family is weird

Convinced the milkman is your father? Positive your parents are from a different planet? Curious why your siblings are all stark raving lunatics? We can answer tough questions like that here.


Itching to debate the war on terrorism? Want to know where the next demonstration is in your town? Can't figure out who to vote for? Get involved here!


Want to know how to take a better picture? Don't know what an f-stop is or why you should give a damn? Ever wonder how they get waterfalls to look all white and wispy? Picture your questions answered in a snap!


Got a tickle in your throat? Some weird inexplicable ailment? Looking for some quack psychiatry? Welcome to my office - climb up on the paper-covered surface and let us begin!


Can't remember the words to that song? Interested in finding out obscure facts about pop stars? Wondering where you can buy LPs? Here's the place to start digging!


I don't really know much about drugs, but go ahead and ask anyways. I have friends in low places.


Looking to spice things up? Curious how long a pig orgasms for or how giraffes can do it? Wonder what frotteurism is? Here's why to find answers to hard-hitting questions like that.


Need to know how to get rid of an ant hill? Like to know where the best place to hang your fuschia plant is? Looking for houseplants that won't die if you forget to water them for a month? Try me!

the new lens

50mm f1.4. It's love, I tell ya. I had one for the old K1000. Now I have one for my new camera. Which will arrive next week. Then I'm training Bill on this camera. He'll be in love, too.

The only down side of the new lens is it's tough to be stealthy about snapping random shots. I didn't capture any carnies. Next time though. Promise.

the confessional

Always wanted to tell your mother in law you hate her? Got a secret crush? Still pick your nose and eat your boogers? Have a phobia or nervous tick? Here's the place for emotional nudity, the place to get your own dirty little secrets out of the closet! Confess confess confess!!!


Due to an overwhelming response, I have set up a new blog for just this purpose. Confessions can now me made over in The Booth.

Two rules there:



(If you forget to post anonymously, I take no responsibility for people thinking you're a certifiable head case... ~evil snickering~ Actually, if you forget to post anonymously or if you comment on someone else's confession I'm afraid I will have to simply reject the comment.)


Due to an overwhelming response, I have set up a new blog for just this purpose. Confessions can now me made over in The Booth.


OK - so I admit. I would sooner brush off my own nipples with Vim and a vegetable scrubber than go to the exhibition. The noise and the smells give me a headache, which I could deal with if only it weren't for the crowds. Throngs of people with no respect for my bubble of personal space. Now I know that pickpockets and other such undesirables frequent these places and are prone to cuddling up, but what about the rest of those folks? You want to know a SECRET? The ride WILL NOT START without you unless it's already full, and if it's already full, your proximity to my body won't make the line move any faster. Standing so close to me that I can smell the corn dog on your breath isn't necessary.

Did I mention I'm a bit uncomfortable in crowds? I wouldn't say afraid - it's not a phobia or anything - I just get irritated and frustrated and start fantasizing about how handy a cattle prod would be in crowd manipulation. A saccharine, "Excuse me..." accompanied by a little jolt ~bzzt!~ and I'd be going to all kinds of crowded places! The only time crowds actually make me fearful is when I have my kids with me, because they are easy to lose since they can't be seen above the masses of bodies and can't be heard over the din of cackling teenagers, loud music, and hydraulic ride farts. If the children could wear stilts and yodel I'd be more inclined to take them.

The sad part about all of this is merely the fact that I love carnies, which is why I opt to capitalize on the opportunity to go to the mall parking lot carnivals whenever they come by. I love watching carnies, I love talking to carnies, and I wish I could be a carny for a day. There's a whole other life that goes on for carnies when the rides are turned off and the lights go down and the gates are locked. "What happens with carnies, stays with carnies." They protect their kind like it's a secret society, retiring to their trailers and doing... and doing what?


When I was about 7, I distinctly remember that my Mom took an orange to work with her, every single day. Not a day went by that I didn't see her pack an orange in her bag. I decided she wasn't really a bus driver. She was the orange princess. When she got away from my sister and I, she would eat that orange and this glorious ball gown would unfurl from under her blah grey-and-navy uniform. She'd shake her hair free from her uniform cap to reveal a delicate gem-encrusted tiara set atop a cascade of long slinky curls that smelled faintly of citrus...

Everyone I knew growing up had a secret life, one that was much more glamourous and exciting than what it looked like on the surface. Teachers were really superheroes by night. Other kids parents were international spies or famous talkshow hosts in foreign countries. My friends all had perfect moms and dads and ate magic food and had hidden trap doors under their boring little beds that would open onto a spiral staircase leading to their real but secret bedrooms, with glowing white canopy beds, closets bursting with starched ruffled dresses, and a built-on nursery full of wonderful toys and those big red-and-white-swirly big-as-your-head lollipops and candy floss and maybe even a private carousel, and I pictured myself growing up humble, and in perpetual awe of everyone around me, since they were all going to grow up to be SO COOL that they could even be the main attraction on a parade float announcing the arrival of the big BIG carnival...

Imagine my disappointment as I grew up and had my childhood fantasies systematically dashed. No, the busdriving gig wasn't a clever front for princessdom, other kids' parents fought or divorced just like mine, and no one I knew owned a private carousel. As time wore on, the fantasies became less fantastic and more realistic - all my friends had better relationships with their boyfriends, cooler houses, better jobs, more money, fame, success, and happiness - but even that wasn't true. As different as our lives are, whatever our income, social status, family size, or location, the only people I know who have ever ridden on a parade float did it a) for a lark or b) because they had to, and not a single one of my friends, even the ones I love and respect and admire, have kept me in a state of perpetual awe, except maybe some of the really dumb ones that defy Darwinian theory.


Last night as I was putting my bike in the garage I heard some screeching, howling, yelling, bellowing, and giggling. Their weathered faces like stone by day, lit up like the ferris wheel by night, I knew full well the rides had shut down hours earlier so made the assumption it was the carnies, going about their secret after-hours lives. I pictured them frollicking about, gleefully trailer-hopping with beers and smokes in hand, the never-ending party. I picture them not as glamourous, but certainly as eternally youthful. And exceptionally unhealthy, as only a diet of carnival food, liquor, and chain smoking can make you.

Bill and I laughed as we rode our bikes through the carnie trailer settlement in the mall parking lot this morning. Take out containers and beer cans strewn about, piles of cigarette butts, and hours-old loogies on the ashphalt, caking at the edges as they dry in the morning sun. I decided the secret life of a carny can stay a secret. I'm not nomadic, and I can't stand noise or kids when I have a hangover. Of course, that won't stop us from taking the children to the little mall carnival after work today so they can ride some rides and Bill & I can talk to some carnies.

from epoh

The children, for quick reference.

Wil, age 12.

Likes Nintendo DS and farting. He's a tightwad with his money. I'm kind of counting on him in case this retirement plan thing through the day job doesn't pan out. He has young ladies following him home from school but is in supreme denial about the whole girl-boy thing.


Kaelan, age 10.

Likes Harry Potter. And farting. Our resident geek and motor mouth. I vote him most likely to accidentally set the house on fire while designing a guinea-pig-and-grasshopper-manure-powered nuclear guidance system in 6th grade.


Madisyn, age 6.

She is going to be a ballerina princess when she grows up. She likes pink, pink, and pink, and doesn't think farts are really all that funny. She loves going to weddings more than anything in the world. We're hoping she outgrows this uber-girly phase before she becomes self-destructive.


Serejane, age 3.

Claims she is going to be Madisyn when she grows up, and likes farting on the boys' heads. She's not cute. She's smart. I imagine she'll be assisting Kaelan with his science projects, while secretly commandeering funds from Wil to finance a team of scientists who patent the finished product before Kaelan manages to extinguish his hair. She prefers purple.

a musing: how many roads

So the inevitable happened. Someone I'd really love to catch up with is on Facebook. And of course, while I am in the throes of, "Holy Cats!" I am, at the same time, burdened with this weird sense of... what? What's the word I'm looking for? Maybe it will come to me.

When I moved out of my Mom's house, I was very young. I was, in fact, only partway through grade 11. The group of friends I had at that time all seemed to have these wonderful families, their own bedrooms, bright futures ahead of them, and I always felt like I had to be grateful for their friendship, humbled by the fact they would be willing to waste one precious moment of their lives on me. We bowled a lot. And had sleepovers. And went to the dances together, And when I moved out, I wasn't invited to go bowling anymore. Or have sleepovers. Or to go to the dances. While everyone else was busy being 16, I was just busy - working full time, studying, doing homework. I really never had the time or energy to go bowling or have a sleepover or go to the dances anymore, but at least being invited would have been nice.

I often wondered what made them leave - did they push me away, or did I withdraw? Did their parents warn them to stay away from me? Whatever the case was, I changed schools for grade 12, because I felt ostracized. By that time I'd gotten involved with a real jerk of a boyfriend who temporarily ruined my life... then graduation, then work, then college and kids and marriage and mortages and divorce and remarriage and more babies and home renos and Green Drop spraying the thistle crop in my front lawn last week. I mean gosh, where did the time go? At the end of it all, the only thing I had left of my friendship with them was that I had picked up smoking, a legacy that has yet to end.

At the end of the day, I feel like I've done nothing right with my life and somehow have managed to get it right anyways. I love what I have, even though I took perhaps the darkest, most twisted road possible to get here. I've worked my ass off, I've cried, I've laughed, I've lost, I've gained, I've learned...

What have I learned?

Mostly, that after all these years, on a good day I'm perfectly content just hanging around abeing wonderwoman, and on a bad day, I still feel like that 13 year old kid who wanted nothing more than to be part of the 'in' crowd. How silly is that? I think the word I was looking for is 'awkward.'

picture perfect weekend

In addition to the wedding, here's a teaser for the rest of this weekend's upcoming albums! Enjoy!

Lorelei and Geoff

Thanks for letting me a part of your amazing day. The best part was Geoff's smile when you walked out of the door, Lorelei - I don't know that Geoff didn't sprain a cheek grinning like he was. Best wishes on your journey, and bring me back a rock from India...

Sheila, thank you for asking me to join your Elope to Alberta promotion - I look forward to the next event at your splendid A Suffolk House B&B!!!!


Serejane ~ pronounced with two short 'e' sounds like "serenade" or, more accurately, "serendipity" not like Sarah-Jane and you can call her Jane for short but God help you if you call her Sarah for short she'll bite your head off ~ is a precocious little thing, bright in that creepy sort of way that kinda freaks ma and pa out from time to time.

Serejane likes spinning her head from side to side like a possessed maniac when she has pigtails in. Serejane also likes to sing. She especially likes to make up her own songs. One of my nicknames for her is chickadee. The other day we were threatening to give one of the boys a labotomy. Her new favourite song rhymes. It goes like this:

(ad nauseum)

Clever, isn't she?

She keeps asking when we can sell the boys, but especially Kaelan, to the gypsies. Here's a picture of the shirt I bought Kaelan. Last night, she asked to sell one of her little playmates from daycare to the gypsies, too. The other girl's name is (get this) Sara...