Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ice Mosaic

My mom pointed out that my beloved ice set creates a wonderful visual pattern in thumbnails. I haven't been adding as many in the past few days, but I am very pleased with how some of the recent ones have turned out. Patterns within patterns...nifty.


Update: Our current arctic blast gave me some new material again, just when all the ice was disappearing. Weird light-bulb bubbles, crazy streaks, some cool detail swirls, and piles more. I also decided to split up the ice set into two distinct ones: Looking Into Ice (close-ups of the interiors of ice from the backyard) and Looking At Ice (naturally occurring formations).




Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Choose Between Experiential and Material Purchases

That's a pretty cryptic title, but I think anyone could find something fascinating in the PsyBlog article I came across the other day. Turns out that buying experiences make us happier than buying stuff. I had read about that before, and it certainly rings true to me. The kicker in this article is that they've also studied what happens when purchases go bad (both experiences and stuff) -- turns out that people have more buyer's remorse over bad experiences than bad stuff, and goes into some of the reasons.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Princess Pair

I can just hear cousin Nick saying, "Yeah, Jer, we get it already. You think your kids are cute, and you like riding your bike. Repeating it endlessly doesn't make it more true." He's got a point, too. Anyway...these two got all dolled-up for Princess Night at Brownies and Sparks, and I thought others might enjoy the utter fanciness.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some Kind Of Monster

I finally finished watching the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster tonight, including most of the extra scenes and goodies on the second DVD. I knew that the reviews had been good, I had watched the trailer and lots of segments on YouTube, and even got heavy-duty recommendations from Bill and other friends...but I wasn't prepared to be so fascinated. I think what hooked me most was the humanizing effect -- to see these metal gods struggling to balance their work with family lives was simultaneously painful and refreshing. It had everything: overanalysis, creative process in the studio, concert footage, historical clips, day-in-the-life stuff...I don't know what a non-fan might think, but I loved it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It was a busier weekend than normal. A few notes before I forget:
  • Thusday night I played hockey with Myron's crew -- really fun, although I'm sadly out of shape.
  • Friday night Myron hosted me in his palatial shed for ping pong and beers by the woodstove. I played some violin for him too -- awesome reverb in there.
  • Sushi for lunch with Jason in Kelowna when I went into the office on Friday. We farted around with his wide-angle lens with funny results.
  • Somewhere in there Andrew and I hit the pub. Always good.
  • My mom took Ezra from Friday to Saturday, freeing up Tannis and the girls to host a crazy valentine's party sleepover with six girls (although one didn't stay over). Seemed like everyone had a good time.

  • We retrieved Ezra the next day, enjoying lunch with my mom (although Tannis had some solo time downtown), and spending a happy hour at the downtown library later.
  • Sunday afternoon I took the girls to the art gallery in Penticton (see below).
  • The Vandersluys clan came over on Sunday evening. To give you an idea of our current hosting lameness, we served special guests grilled-cheese sandwiches and salad. But a good time was had by all, and the girls even fit in a skate as it got dark.

February-17-09 002

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gallery Afternoon

We're finding ourselves drawn to the Penticton Art Gallery more and more lately. They've got a great curator, and he's working hard to really make it part of the community. On Sunday afternoon the girls and I dropped in there for the family art session, which turned out to mostly be a presentation for the grown-ups, but the girls sketched happily for an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, I learned all about InStill Life, one of the many programs undertaken by Olive Us, a non-profit group run by the geniuses at our favourite restaurant in Penticton, Theo's. Nikos has basically come up with a learning concept that combines many of his passions -- art, food, business and social justice -- and works with classrooms to share those passions with kids:
  • They study food, how food has been historically represented in art, then sketch and paint their own still-life pictures of their favourite foods.
  • Those pictures get turned into greeting cards, which are sold as a fundraiser in the community. They're beautiful, and include a profile of the artist on the back.
  • After paying for the printing costs, the students lend the profits to entrepreneurs in developing countries through Kiva, which connects "investors" with people who need loans to expand their businesses. It's not a donation system -- it's microlending that directly connects people with money to lend to the people who need it...and pay it back.
  • Through that final step, they learn about the economy and geography of each of the countries, as well as some things about the specific entrepreneurs they're lending to. And the money comes back to them as the loans get repaid, so they can lend it out again to someone else and learn about another country.
It was truly inspiring, not only for the content of the program, but as a way to see someone who is really pursuing his dream. Nikos already has a thriving business and a family, but instead of watching TV every night or whatever we waste our time on, he's carrying out a vision that will benefit thousands of people.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is My Brain on Ice

Perhaps emboldened by my mini-gallery experience last week, I've been adding more photos to my ice set. Obsession? Perhaps. I seem to be in a bit of a hyper-creative mode where I could easily spend 10 hours a day taking photos, playing violin and listening to music. While those are definitely good things, balance is not my strong point in these times. A few more ice shots for the record:



Next Day Update
: I added four more today, after a little session outside at lunch...orb, wisps, creature and smudged tendrils.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dry Grass and Shadows

I'm not sure how Alela Diane has seeped her way into my consciousness. It's folk music, pretty straight-up, which isn't what I'd normally go for. But there's just that certain something about her voice that meanders around and gives me goosebumps. This video is remarkable -- no amps or vocal mics, all in one take. The acoustics in that church must be unbelievable; the performance is intimate and flawless. Her new album comes out next week (review, and her label is offering the free mp3 for White as Diamonds -- video here).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Bill sent me this nifty graphic of keywords from this very site, with more common words showing up bigger. I find it disproportionately pleasing, because many of the words are favourites of mine. When he sent it, he didn't tell me what it was, but I skimmed it for about 10 seconds before writing back, "THAT'S ME!" I dig this stuff.

It reminded me that I wanted to post a list of things people have searched for on google and then somehow arrived at this site. Some are quite meaningful; others are way out there. Some make me laugh.
  • mennonite mafia
  • "elmer eidse" photo
  • bablicon orange moon
  • bertram creek park wedding
  • bill featherston paintings
  • dinos ice cream sommerland
  • gasthaus peachland opening hours
  • go leaves #14 meghan hildebrand
  • holdeman legalism
  • hooded merganser penticton new years eve
  • hope-princeton highway
  • is jeremy hiebert a christian?
  • jeremy + mountain biking rossland
  • jeremy hiebert canadian rock band
  • joey tomatoes winter pudding
  • kelowna regional library
  • okanagan symphony
  • pela diphenhydramine lyrics
  • rose melberg - cast away the clouds
  • sarson beach
  • thebirthoffeeling blogspot
  • ultra conservative mennonites
  • we seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away
  • when harry met sally intp

Monday, February 09, 2009


It was tempting to go for a skate tonight under the full moon with the owls hooting and the coyotes yelping, but we had already gone before supper. The girls have been putting in serious time these last couple of days, each piling up 100 laps yesterday and more today. It's showing in their confidence and more powerful strides, too -- these three photos of Ivy show it a bit, and smooth skater Ella is flying out there too. I liked this black 'n white shot for a change:


Learning Curve

Ella busted out this fantastic sketch last week. Ivy had a neat one too. I love it that they have so much time for art, and that they choose to use it. Tannis has a great post up about the joys and challenges of home learning with the girls. I laughed to see the first item under "Friction": Ezra. She's doing an amazing job teaching and learning with the girls while keeping that wrecking-ball toddler from causing too much damage.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Sun Rises

My birthday present arrived today. The label inside says "From the workshop of Xuechang Sun, Model VN-100" and it's a nice mellow colour that reminds me of a tasty amber ale. In addition to playing it happily today, I took photos of it because that's what I do: artsy in the case and the back of the body, which shows the colour more accurately. It plays like a dream, making me feel like a better player almost immediately. Of course I really wanted to like it and I may be deluding myself, but it seems to sound a lot nicer than my rental.

When people go looking for something handmade of excellent quality, they don't usually think "China!" In the world of violins, instruments made in Europe are king, and you pay for more for that distinction. Better yet, old European instruments, which you pay even more for. I was pretty clueless when I started looking, and needed someone to help. Rhiannon at Fiddleheads helped me figure out what I wanted, needed and could afford...which turned out to be a new (not old) Chinese (not European) violin.

I also got a second opinion from a fascinating and generous author, luthier and violin dealer in Winnipeg, John Weier. He's dealt with Sun violins before and agreed that they were great value for the money. Not that I didn't trust Rhiannon, but it was nice to have her advice supported. She had steered me away from similar-priced European violins (that she also sells), saying that the Sun model offered better bang for the buck and would likely suit me better. Her site also had info about another Chinese craftsman who has won big awards in the U.S. and was interviewed by Time magazine.

The only downside of the choice was that it came during Chinese New Year, which slowed things down considerably. I exercised patience and it appears to have been worth the wait (what would the alternative have been?). Tonight while I was playing it, I noticed that it resonates beautifully when I'm in playing in tune -- like it is trying to help me with my intonation. I was able to play much quieter and smoother, or very loud and bright with small changes in bow pressure. Anyway, very exciting and I'm looking forward to getting to know this little beauty.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ice is Nice

I've mentioned Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast before -- it's a fantastic blog about kids' books, specializing in interviewing amazing authors and illustrators. The hosts, Jules and Eisha have a cool thing going over there, and every Sunday they host "7 Kicks" where they share seven things they're thankful for that week. Then their legions of loyal readers chime in with their seven things and everyone pretty much swims in thankfulness. Anyway, although I would love to be an author and/or illustrator, I'm not. But they asked me if they could decorate this week's 7-Kicks with my photos. I said yes, which resulted in: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #101: Featuring Jeremy Hiebert.

It turned out pretty cool. Although I'm used to having my photos online, I've never had them displayed like that before, as a sort of virtual gallery hosted by someone else. Almost like capital-A art. People there were very kind, giving me a buzz that lasted all day.

Update: I also keep adding to the ice set that those photos were drawn from.


Ezra hasn't been 100% for weeks, fighting a cold and teething several incisors at once. He has his happy moments and times where he sits beside a stack of books looking through them quietly, but much of the time he's been very demanding: complaining, whining, crying, and wanting to be carried and snuggled all the time. We're trying not to hold it against him, as we know it's not the real Ezra. He also seems to be really sick of being stuck inside so much -- you can just see how thrilled he's going to be to spend lots of time outside in a month or two.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

25 Things

There's this thing flying around Facebook where you write 25 random things about yourself and then tag 25 people to do the same. I initially resisted, but by the fifth tag, I started adding a note here and there as I thought of them -- probably none surprising to people who already know me. To go with the random non-theme, I've decorated with an assortment of unrelated photos from the past two days. I also thought I'd include my taggers in the first five items in the list:

1. Linsey V. -- A friend from work who also works with my mom. She's funny and smart and very good at what she does. Like her, I love my kids' art and think they're geniuses.
2. Heather G. -- We worked together many years ago. She reminds me of Hermione, but not like in the first HP book where her know-it-allness was irritating. Once at a staff party, she got all dolled up and I didn't recognize her, just like Hermione at the ball in The Goblet of Fire. Like her, I often wish I was nicer.
3. Crystal L. -- Another work friend from the same era as Heather. Like her, I'm best friends with my mom, and secretly hope that least one of my kids feels that way about me in 20 years.
4. Melodie -- I'm lucky to have had good friends at work, and Mel is another one. She's just finishing up work on a feature-length movie script that looks amazing. Like her, I hate the phone.
5. Jennifer H. -- I miss the prairies sometimes and occasionally daydream about what it would be like to live there again. In those visions, this second-cousin is a dear friend who I see all the time. Yet the last time I did see her in real life, we sat at the same table at a wedding and I couldn't think of anything to say. Sigh. Like her, I love classical violin, but never much liked fiddle music (until I started playing).
6. I get emotional at concerts, tearing up and getting goosebumps equally at the symphony or Nine Inch Nails. I try to hide it.
7. With very few exceptions, I don't listen to any music made before 1986. In fact, I listen to almost none of the music I loved through the '80s and '90s, even though I'd still identify some of those bands as favourites.
8. Violin is the fourth instrument I've learned -- the first three (in order) were piano, baritone horn and bass guitar. Bass was the most fun, but I never got as obsessed with it as the violin.
9. I used to stay in excellent contact with my old friends with regular calls, e-mails and even (gasp!) mail. When I stopped, many of the relationships have lapsed somewhat. Among my closest friends, the new ones (last decade) are finally getting closer to outnumbering the old ones (measured in decades).
10. I like classic video games and own a sweet Colecovision that works great. Q-Bert, original Donkey Kong, Galaga, Pole Position, Pac-Man...I like the oldies and can't seem to play any of the new games well.
11. I'm terrified of telephones and shopping malls and knives, and drowning in the pools of other lives (stolen from the Weakerthans' Aside).
12. I'm a poseur vegetarian, or maybe just a non-committal meat eater. I love seafood and all Asian cuisine, but don't get enough of either. I cook tomatoes into everything, but don't like them raw.
13. I used to consider myself well-read. In recent years, my reading has been an intermittent hodgepodge of re-read old favourites, the rare fictional gem on a recommendation, hundreds of kids' books, and odd bits of non-fiction. I'd like to read more, and better stuff.
14. I don't watch TV and celebrity-pop-culture tends to make me ill. I love movies, but don't watch them enough...although I don't mind watching the same movie many times if I really like it. I'm addicted to the web.
15. The first real concert I went to was Corey Hart at the Winnipeg Arena, or Bryan Adams...I think I was about 12 and can't remember which came first, but they were both awesome at the time. I don't wear my sunglasses at night.
16. Jobs I would have liked to do: architect, curator, urban planner, professor, sociologist, writer.
17. My second and third toes on both feet are webbed. No, it does not make me a stronger swimmer. I wish swimming fast wasn't so difficult -- I can do one length before clinging to the side, utterly exhausted.
18. I've never really liked pets -- and sadly, I've noticed that this makes it difficult for pet lovers to like me. I'm fascinated by wild animals, though, especially raptors and other predators.
19. I don't like being in large groups of people, especially if I'm expected to interact with them. I'm INTP all the way, although I've become more social since moving to Summerland.
20. I didn't really want to be a dad. At one point I said out loud in front of several witnesses that I'd rather have rabies than babies. Despite this, I'm a decent parent and have found unexpected joy in the process.
21. I've spent too much money on my hobbies in the past year. New bike, new camera (plus three lenses), and new violin. Granted, I was patient enough to get bargains on the first two (very gently used and underpriced), but $3000 on stuff to use in my limited spare time seems excessive. This year I'll be frugalish.
22. I'm a good whistler, a trait/skill I inherited from my dad. It's the best instrument because it's connected directly to my brain -- I don't have to think about which notes to make, or how to make them; they just come out sounding good. Unlike the violin.
23. I get great pleasure out of cooking. The closer the ingredients come from, the better (our garden, preferably). I also wish I was a better host.
24. I didn't like beer, wine or coffee until after university. I was a late bloomer I guess -- they're all treats for me now. Local dark microbrews, local cheap whites (and more expensive reds) and dark roast espresso bring me joy.
25. I'm a slob. Considering that both my parents are neat freaks, I can only assume I've reacted badly to that way of life. I don't even notice that our house is a total pigsty unless someone is coming over.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jumbled Thoughts

I've been skipping the mundane here's-what-happened-this-week posts for a couple of weeks. I know they're not interesting for anyone else, but I've found that when I look back to see what was going on five years ago, they're the posts that are most interesting to me. So you're stuck with 'em...in no particular order, mostly in the category "thankfulness":
  • The Vandersluys family came over here a couple of weeks ago for dinner, and then hosted us last week. They've got the same sequence of kids as us, with the girls close in age and the two boys' birthdays within a week or two...and although combining six kids is chaos, it seems to work great.
  • I've been going into the office in Kelowna on Thursdays, and the highlight is going for Thai lunches with friends -- caught up with long-lost pal Craig, and hung out with Jim this week.
  • After having my most fun hockey game in years last week, I didn't play at all this week, despite trying (and failing) to join the Culls with Myron on Tuesday.
  • My folks were in Cuba this week. Not that we usually see them more often than once a week, but it'll be nice to have them back home again.
  • We went for fish 'n chips Friday night, then bowling with the family. Ezra was a wrecking crew, Ivy struggled with the concept of not winning everything she tries, and Tannis bowled as badly as she ever had before...but we had fun anyway.
  • The Duecks have been busy for weeks -- Myron's only happy if he has massive projects underway at all times, especially on weekends. No, this is not in the thankfulness category. On that note, I missed the Hildebrands this weekend -- I made an outrageous peach-cherry crisp and had nobody to share it with. Sigh.

  • The skating loop has been a source of joy and exercise in bit of a gloomy winter. It was a lot of work, but has paid off recently with lots of fun use. More photos of the girls in action: Ella happy and blurred, and Ivy's speed. Ivy hosted two friends for skating visits this week too, which was great -- Megan on Tuesday and Olivia today.
  • Swimming with the girls has been fun, so we've been going to the pool once or twice a week in addition to regular library visits. Even met Liz and Richard and their kids there yesterday, which was a treat.
  • After chasing horses on Saturday, I still had some time to kill, so I had lunch at the Bench and wandered around the art gallery. Dreamy.
  • Work is blah. I need to get my shit together.
  • Music has been good, as I'm listening to a wider range of stuff than ever. The first ten bands in my four-stars-most-recently-added playlist: Doves, Fanfarlo, Mastodon, Jacaszek, Efterklang, Lisa Hannigan, Marissa Nadler, Bell Orchestre, and Castanets. I hadn't heard of any of it two weeks ago, which pleases me somehow.

  • The new violin has been delayed and won't make it for my birthday. The poor thing is cold and lonely and quiet, stuck in transit somewhere in (or over) the prairies. Hopefully later this week we'll get acquainted. Meanwhile I start lessons tomorrow with my old-faithful rental.
  • We still haven't made it to Vancouver. Ugh.
  • Ezra is a serious piece of work.
  • Ella's skating is unreal...she improved by leaps and bounds in January.