Winter Fun

31 01 2011

I did not come up with much in the way of insightful writing ideas this weekend, so I am opting to post some recent photos. The snow fort shot was taken in the Millarville area, and was built during a wind chill of minus 32 Celsius. I kept the van running beside the project, so the children could warm up every five minutes or so. It was so cold, it burned the skin!

The next shots were taken last weekend, when the temperatures were much more bearable, and after a lot of snowfall. We went to play near the outdoor rink in Brentwood, Calgary.

The last photo was taken when we celebrated Helen’s birthday. She is 11 years old now, and it is so hard to believe that when I first held her she was only as long as my forearm, or so.


Batman, Then and Now

24 01 2011

I recently was overjoyed to be able to dig up a photo my father took of me in 1965, when I was a tow-headed three year old. I somehow even remember the sunny day when I put on Dad’s cool sunglasses and showed off my very favourite garment, my still unstained Batman T-shirt! Here is how I looked that day, so long ago.


Now, my son is deeply enthralled with Batman, and he has transcended the T-shirt stage of obsession. He has a whole colourful Batman suit. Wow, it even has a cool cape! Sunny Jim rabidly enjoys donning his Batman kit and makes amazing leaps from high places in the house. To date, he has not broken any bones but he sure has hit the floor hard. Each time, he simply gets up and goes for another round.


It is still great to watch modern-day Batman productions, but the ones in the 1960s were the ultimate form of Caped Crusader entertainment. The actors were really talented. The Riddler, the Penguin, Catwoman . . . they truly were entertaining arch-villains. Adam West and his allies had that ‘60s corniness that made them so special. Does anyone else remember Chief O’Hara, or Commissioner Gordon? I can still feel the riveting excitement of the fight scenes, that had the heavy base line of the Batman and Robin theme song playing, while flashes of onomatopoeia zipped onto the old 23-inch Admiral black and white television’s screen. Here is a sampling that someone posted on the net.


If I live long enough, I just wonder if I will have a grandson who will be able to top Sunny Jim’s outfit or the all-too-cool T-shirt and shades I had in the ‘60s.

2P’s Pub, Kenting, Taiwan

16 01 2011

This is a photo taken on a trip I made to Taiwan at the end of December. On the left is Phil, and the other fellow is Paul. These two have owned and operated the 2P’s pub in Kenting, Pingtung Country, Taiwan for many years. I first went to their establishment at Chinese New Year, 1995. My great friend, Petur, from Reykjavik, Iceland, and I took trains and buses all the way from the cool and rainy port city of Chilung at the north part of the island to the balmy south tip of Ihla Formosa. We somehow ended up in the 2P’s pub, and had a really great time. A bus load of college-aged pretties showed up and we danced with them. One jumped up onto me, wrapped her legs around me, and yelled, “I love youuuuuuuu!” They were being somewhat chaperoned, so nothing happened. The ladies went back to their bus. As Petur and I were waving goodbye to the young beauties, I stepped back and tripped over a scooter. I knocked over the machine, and the first thing I saw was a face of a Dutch fellow Petur and I were sharing drinks with the night before. He quipped, “Miles, maybe you drank too much, yes?” Next, I made heart-felt apologies to the scooter’s owner, who rents out machines in the same location to this day. I made a point of returning and renting from the scooter lady in later years, to make amends for dumping her machine. She still kindly remembered me when I visited in December, and still recalls the night I tripped over her rental machine. After the first trip in 1995, I returned to Kenting in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003. In 2004, I brought my family home to Canada and never thought I’d return. It sure was a nice trip in December, a great break from the horrid weather we have been enduring lately in Calgary. It is a bone-chilling minus 22 degrees Celsius as I type this, with a wind chill of minus 31! Just three weeks ago, I was in shorts and a T-shirt in Kenting, and even got a bit of a tan! Who invented this cold winter thing, anyway?

Enticing Coriolis Effect Observations

9 01 2011

In my travels in the tropics, it has always been enticing to observe the fascinating Coriolis Effect. As an observant and analytic boy, I would always watch in wonder as water screwed down counter clockwise in drains in both Canada and Britain. Later in life, I moved to Taiwan and witnessed that vines twine themselves counter clockwise up trees as they are influenced by the Coriolis Effect (see image, recently taken in a national park at the south tip of Taiwan).


I also got to vividly endure raging destructive typhoons while living on Ilha Formosa, which are gigantic mighty counter clockwise vortexes, creating incredible carnage!

   The first time I crossed the equator, my wife and I were on a visit to Bali, Indonesia. One of the first things I did was fill the sink in our hotel room and then witness the water draining in a clockwise direction. I was instantly on the phone, raving to my father about it. He snickered a bit, and quipped, “Well, Miles, if you simply swirl the water with your hand you can choose to make the water spin either way.” Undeterred in my fascination with the Coriolis Effect, I was soon out looking at vines growing up clockwise around trees. On visits to Australia, I was always sure to watch the water whirl clockwise down drains. I was also interested to hear the name of clockwise spinning weather systems as being ‘cyclone’, instead of the counter-spinning vortex names ‘hurricane’ or ‘typhoon’.

   There, that’s my take on the CORIOLIS EFFEEEEEEEECT! Yes, I am still interested in it even if some people give me funny looks when I discuss this phenomenon.