Merry Christmas Daze!

Cheers to all on this Christmas Day!!

The lights above are from a large tree in Central Vancouver (Canada), in a recent visit. I love my blurry shots in a time that feels very unclear yet still colorful. Now, I’m in Southern California with limited online access, feeling more festive inside than outside with family and friends.

Joy to all, and those around you too.

Orion T

Far out in Vancity’s Duckburg…

I think those are ducks in the picture above. Either way, I like their style.

Sometimes, very orderly…maybe forming a conga line.

Sometimes, just mingling…perhaps sharing their opinion of us tourists staring at them.

Very social creatures here.

-Orion T

Pics taken from a nice morning walk in Central Vancouver (Canada), along English Bay.

Holiday Season Cheers from Candytown

Here’s a big gingerbread person, dancing around at the Candytown Holiday Festival in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Gotta love that!

This fresh cheer has me excited for the goofy carefree spirit of the holiday season (as long as you don’t play into the madness of the shopping season pressures including Stupid Black Friday). More egg nog, please!

I’m here for a few days, seeing old friends and away from stress. I’m also doing my holiday shopping through some cool local businesses, and having a silly blast. Lots of maple flavored things!

Meanwhile, here’s more cheer from Candytown..

Orion T

Happy Earth Day and so forth appreciation…

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“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”- John Muir

The picture above is from early this year, on a day hike through Bowen Island in Vancouver, Canada. Meanwhile, Happy Earth Day! Though much of the day is gone, continue to appreciate this planet we live on, with support and protection to its natural environments.

– Orion T

The Depth of Nature

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“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

The picture was at Killarney Lake, in the middle of Bowen Island. This was during my stay in Vancouver, Canada in middle of a nice group hike. It’s a nice, short walk for those who can spare an hour or two (the extra hour for the trail that goes around the lake).

But right now, I wish there was a calm lake easily accessible to my current situation, living in a noisy city. Staring at this picture will have to do, for now.

– Orion T

Freedom to be yourself…

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“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The pic above is a moment here at Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada.

– Orion T

 

Lively Olives at the Granville Public Market

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Currently, I am not a fan of olives. I dislike the taste of them, especially on salads….too oily and weird tasting. But, I will accept them on pizzas in small amounts and thinly sliced, on the vegetarian combo style looking tempting enough sometimes.

I do find olives as oddly satisfying to just stare at. I am not sure exactly why, but I think the answer lies in the composition it’s shape, texture, and hollowness. I can further stare at an olive and appreciate it’s beauty and usefulness in flavor, oil, and other odd uses.

Did you know that the olive is a fruit, not a vegetable? They come in different color hues. The color of each olive depends on its stage of growth. Unripe fruit is green. Ripe fruit ranges from dark purple to black. Olives are hollow as each originally had a stone stem plucked out.

Olives are also big sources of minerals and vitamins A, B, E, K, B. These are low in sugar, but high in oil.

So, I did a morning visit to the big Public Market on Granville Island, in Vancouver, Canada. It’s a big place, crowded, with not much in time to appreciate the large variety of foods and drinks available there. Someday, I will come back and explore further. But for then, I  passed a stand for Duso’c Italian Foods, drawn to its presentation of olive varieties for sale. I would stare like long enough, pondering on buying some before realizing I didn’t like olives (also overspent on food the past few days of my Vancouver visit).

I wondered, what the different tastes and textures of each olive could be. I thought olives, for just being olives. Seeing these, gave me a realization of complexity and variety, then perhaps some that could change my tastebud reaction to whole olives. Then, I can learn to love olives and not just stare (and snap a photo) at them.

– Orion T

See the Black Squirrel…

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Here above is a squirrel in black, for which I have not seen this pigment until my recent visit to Vancouver. I watched them, and perhaps they watched me.

Their behavior differed a bit from the normal gray city squirrels of the Pacific Northwest US, of which I have seen around the University of Washington campus. The black squirrels seem shy to the cameras, and seemingly a bit faster and slightly smaller.

I learned through local folk and the googling, much about these squirrel mutagenic variants. Such are uncommon to see unless in some collective habitat (Midwestern and some Mideastern US, Eastern Canada), parts of the UK). However, I came across a gathering of many scuttling about through the center of Stanley Park, in Vancouver, Canada. Such are offshoots of the common gray and fox squirrels, leading to the darker gray to the very black. They can endure the cold weather better, and blend in with the dark. I heard these are not originally native to the Vancouver area but brought over some decades ago (possibly in 1914 according to one Wikipedia source), but I have yet to find the exact info.

Here is another one, living the simple life…

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and a short bonus video of more, recently put upon my Instagram (travelingorion, follow me there!).

View this post on Instagram

#squirrels #squirrelsofinstagram #citynature @reside.outside

A post shared by Orion T (@travelingorion) on

I love squirrels 🙂

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

The Icy Cold Elsewhere..

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Pictures shared today are recent and far, though I wish they could be now and near. I read much of the heavy snow in Portland to the south and the mountain snowfall activity far to the east and west. Currently, in Seattle there is just the cold air and whelming noise throughout. Snow here remains improbable in the near future, for now.

But on the recent New Year weekend in Vancouver (Canada), there was some decent snow around. And through a walk in Stanley Park (from the last posting), I cut through a little area around Beaver Lake, a quiet body of water frozen. All was still, except for a small little water area open for the local ducks. The surroundings felt calm on all the senses, canceling out the noise of the nearby central metropolis.

So in light of the recent stresses of the world and current news on modern civilization, I share the recent pics of the frozen area below; especially for those others not quite in presence of the peaceful falling snows.

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– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Embrace the Coldness…

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The above pic happened last week, on the New Year’s Day of 2017.

The waters are of the Vancouver Harbour, with the Lions Gate Bridge ahead, and the mountainous (and snowy at the time) regions of West Vancouver beyond, all in the wonderful British Columbia region of the Canada country.

But of the day and of fascination, is the lone woman taking a dip in the icy cold waters. I overheard nearby, she was practicing for some attempt at the world record for enduring the freezing water. I think it was 22 seconds, or around that. I didn’t get her name either.

But what I did learn later, was of the annual (97th) Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on the south side of Central Vancouver, at English Bay. Over 1,500 persons dived into the frigidness for a similar and shorter feat, where the waters temped at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit). I was a bit late for the main show, yet in time for leftover festivities. Here are some giving it a go.

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Overall, an exciting and notable day for many in 2017, a surely interesting year to come.

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Picture of Today 1/3/2017, Horseshoe Bay to Nowhere..


Above is on a ferry north in West Vancouver, leaving the Horsehoe Bay to Nanaimo Bay, in British Columbia, Canada.

And there, was on a two hour trip later than planned, and not feeling well. So much so, that I cancelled my plans and heading back on the same ferry boat shortly after. The totally hours spent riding the ferry was about four hours. None quite wasted, as I felt rested and away from the troubles of life in that time. I tried writing, but not much done. Sickness is bad, bah.

But what I do have are some fun pics and notations the days before in the Vancouver area , including the New Years weekend. I will try sharing that soon. But in the meantime, enjoy whatever tranquility around, even when inconvenient.

– Orion T

Pictures of Last Sunday, A Ducky Day

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Just pictures of ducks today, to bring about the calmness that comes forth before and after the busy work week (plus one Saturday of leftover plans and needed shopping). Sunday is the day we are supposed to stress a little less and be like the lazy ducks here.

And for today I did some sitting of my own, and watched the Seahawks vs. Vikings NFL game. That crazy and very cold (- 6 degrees Fahrenheit) game that had us off our tailfeathers, from the kickoff to the ridiculously close end deciding the advancement of the playoffs through one failed field kick. Go Hawks!

Pictures here, are from last week’s adventure in Vancouver, Canada on the beach edge of English Bay by the Central Downtown area. I like these shots, as I think they deserve a posting of their own, expressing my current state of mind.

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Orion T

Picture of Today 1/3/2016, Time around the Gastown Steam Clock

  

A good walk on Sunday, is to go about an unfamiliar way..

That I did for my last day in Vancouver BC, before heading out. The central downtown is vast, with far more than the few days over my short visits. This time, I walked around the Gastown area, passed many closed stores and dingy markets along the way.  I eventually spent much time at a local flea market; where locals hawked jewelry, DVDs, used tools and old electronics. That was mildly amusing. Not much else happened afterwards, other than me looking through various windows of tourist souvenir stores. Nothing quite caught my interest, as I seemed more for a place to settle down and watch the Seahawks game against the Cardinals (win 30-6!).

But something eventually did catch my eye on the particular corner of Water and Cambie..a smoking clock. Why was the clock smoking? It was powered by steam, of course. The Gastown Steam Clock is awesome and worthwhile of study..

 

The following shot explains a bit more…

  

If I had not turned down that path, I may have never known the existence of a steam-powered clock. And, I learned a bit more about the area of Gastown. Perhaps, another day for those tidbits, when I have more time..

Orion T

Picture of Today 1/2/2016, Canada Gold

  
The other side of yesterday, beyond West Vancouver and looking back…

This time, standing upon the observation deck of the summit at Grouse Mountian. The moment, a beautiful one looking southward at the land I love exploring and will continue to do so” for later in 2016. Over the mountains in the distance I believe are the United States. 

I have more to say and show, but the day is late and I am hungry. There will be features and sets soon, promise. But for now, here is a bonus pic with a different lens…

  

– Orion T

Picture of Today 1/1/2016, New World, this 2016

 

Today, I looked to a whole new world for this New Year..

Not so much West Vancouver BC, the city pictured above beneath what I think is Cypress Mountian. The perspective is afar using a 300mm zoom lens giving a sort of optical trick. The vision, is from Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, Canada; while passing through on a long five hour walk around and through the large wooded area.

Pictures will be later, of which there are many.

But today, this picture is a good representation of why I am here. This place being part of a spontaneous trip outside of Seattle; the city I live and now working excessively in. While I have a lot less time for far-out adventures, it’s important to remember the crazy new worlds that are still within a day’s drive or bus ride on the road. 

I know absolutely nothing about this huge city outside of the samewhat familiar perimeters of Central Vancouver. Is it the same or different? How are the people? Are there cool, unique small shops I can browse through and find fantastic treasure? Are there exclusive cultures or secret societies, to which I can break into? How about the food? New friends maybe? 

Not that the place is of any particular fascination, right now. It bears about the same as North Vancouver, a similar land to the east if there. There’s also the rest of Canada. Someday, I wish as I am very curious and life is short. I just want to start this new year right with the reminder and push of what I should strive for; tending to my thrill of discovery and adventuring.

2016, looking forward to what is “over there.”

Weekend Fun in Vancouver, Canada..

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Last weekend, I decided to take a trip north past the Washington U.S. border, and visit Vancouver, British Columbia (and Canada) for the first time. The reason being, to satisfy my long-time curiosity on what that big city is like. I have heard much from passing travelers through the PNW on that city beyond the border.

By much, I only heard it was. Much on the high rises, nightlife, booze, hockey cheering, food variety, expensive living and real estate. But having visited Vancouver, I have to say it was all so much more than such simple opinions.

Vancouver is a grand city, that went beyond my expectations. The central area is not enough to explore on a mere weekend. So, I took my time and savored select things and spent time with some friends for a lunch and dinner. For the remainder time, I kept to myself and walked around.

By the end, I can not close or sum up on how wonderful I think the Vancouver central area is. This must be done through repeat visits, and excessive time spent. But for now, I share my pictures and notes below of select moments in my first (of many) Vancouver visit to come.

The first large notable structures I noticed while walking towards downtown.. The Science World Center. If I had the time, I would have went inside and checked this out, as I like big science center things. Also, the big stadium in the back looks fantastic under the bright blue sky. Science and sports, so far so good.

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I noticed many fantastic creative works of art spread about around the long walking paths along the False Creek inlet. On my next visit, I will focus on some particular works and uncover some detailed info on them.

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Enter the city, after a long walk around and across a bridge. Sorry for the lopsided picture. I was too over-excited and forgot to change the lens and settings.

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My first destination was Granville street, and lunch with an old friend. It’s a great row for shopping and browsing through random shops, as I went through many.

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An awesome favorite place I went, the Rock Shop. It’s a fantastic store for various old and new pop-culture related apparel and novelty items. I bought an awesome Hulk (classic Marvel look) cup from there.

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Inside The Factory, on Granville. A small little bar where each food item on the menu is $4.95 (Canadian dollar). I noticed other places with a similar structure. I really liked that idea, and wish more places would try that. As for this place, I liked the service and the food (had a quesadilla plate with dipping sauces).

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The front display of Golden Age Collectibles on Granville street, a highly recommended comic book and collectible store for those into that.

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Later on, I relaxed at the Vancouver Central Library Branch, while giving my phone a much needed charge. Love the architecture here..

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I was quite thrilled to find the Movieland Video Arcade on Granville street. It seemed refashioned after an adult X-rated spot. What seemed odd, was the place being still for 18 years or older. All I really noticed was this selection of game machines, many of which i enjoyed when I was a kid hanging out at old video arcades.

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The Holy Rosary Cathedral. It’s an awesome building, where I think a wedding reception took place at the time of my passing by.

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The Harbour Centre Building is the closest Vancouver has to Seattle’s Space Needle. It looks grand from afar. From up close, not so much. I think I am too used to seeing the Seattle one.

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Here is a place for all book lovers to visit in central Vancouver, Macleod’s Books. This is an amazing used bookstore, where much buried treasure is likely under the overflow stacks throughout. I took out some interesting reference books and paperbacks. I have much to say and share on this store, which I will save for a future posting.

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At the end of the day before dinner with another friend, at Crab Park..

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Later in the night, I tried some poutine; a popular dish to Canadian folk containing fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It was good.

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One last picture, before some boozing with a new friend I met earlier.

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Overall, a great trip and not nearly as expensive as I thought (considering the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar). The weather started sunny, ended run on my departure the next day. Next time, I plan to explore the city and surrounding areas much more, as I live about four hours driving distance away.

 – Orion T