Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Pieter Brueghel the Elder ( 1525? – 1569 ) was a Flemish painter fascinated with the idea of making peasant life into artistic scenes of poetry and drama. He thrived on intimate peasant habits, industrial conflicts, and spiritual practices of the time.

When Brueghel was a young man, he traveled over the Alps to Italy to learn from the Italian masters. However, what he did learn was that he was a Northerner through and through, and didn’t take much from the leads of the Italian masters. However, what he did fall in love with was the landscapes of the Italians. Brueghel effectively snubbed the Italian art that was beginning to so enthuse the other Flemish artists in the North. This mentality of Brueghel was aligned with the elder Flemish artists who had for so long fought to create a unique style.

Pieter Brueghel reportedly had an ironic sense of humor, which translated into his landscapes.  The natural backgrounds with such vastness and insight into life are truly breathtaking. Hunters in the Snow takes the viewers eye naturally through the landscape, to observe every nuance of the painting. I personally always start in the foreground, in the front left and sweep my way right and back. Those cliffs are what legends are made of, the distant port in the background, and the frozen canals and creeks that sweep through the landscape provide for my imagination boundless dreams that I would love to walk along and explore.

The thing I am most curious about though, is did they really have skates back then?

This painting was part of a series of landscape paintings started by Brueghel, of which only 5 were finally completed before his death. They all were themed around peasant going about chores and other daily activities. It was done with oil on a wooden panel. Apparently, there are firemen putting out a chimney fire in the background somewhere, which I cannot see..

The painting now resides with a collection in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, located in Vienna, Austria. This painting is an example of the Northern Renaissance movement.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder - Hunters in the Snow - 1565

Pieter Brueghel the Elder – Hunters in the Snow – 1565


EPIC Vancouver Sustainable Expo

EPIC is a green living consumer expo. This year it was held at the Vancouver Convention center in downtown, a beautiful venue easily capable of such an event.

I was fortunate enough to get a pass to the event to explore it and learn as much as I could, and I did just that.

First off, I learned that parts of Vancouver and Burnaby have a mulch pickup program, similar to garbage and recycling, that they are piloting in a few neighborhoods to see how well it is liked. This means that we can divert a lot of household waste from the city landfills to compost heaps that can then quickly be turned into extremely fertile soil. I learn’t this from the people at the Bag To Earth booth. They were creating bags that were 100% made from recycled material and 100% biodegradable.

I had a great talk with the folks at Whole Foods who gave me a pep talk on the importance for bees to be around in order for pollination to  occur. They reminded me that this requires plants, and gave me a coupon to go get a free 4″ plant from Whole Foods.

I also had a talk a girl representing I Heart Van Art, a new local project aimed at creating a space for vendors and performers to show off their stuff.

The convention center was filled with very local things like homemade jellies, lotions, clothes, and many other neat green ideas that I hope some of these pictures can give some insight into.

I really enjoyed the fish they had up everywhere. They were pretty cool. Great job by the artist, whoever it was.

Also, I went on the night George Stroumboulopoulos was interviewed. I think a lot of people went at the same time as it was pretty packed.

Listening to George, who also hosts the Strombo Show, which you may also know as The Hour, made me realize how much I respect him, and appreciate the change and ideas that he brings to Canadians through his influence.

To read more about the event, head over to Chronicles of Times, where the do a full report on the show.

All photos courtesy of Ned Tobin, you can view the full set on Flickr.

Cutting Your Losses

One axiom that I have heard countless times is ‘Cut your losses’, but does everybody really find this an easy concept to grasp?

I’ve been passionate about investing in stocks for a good handful of years now. Although this isn’t the main point of this article, it’s one of the first areas that I use this daily.

Cutting your losses is a very hard loaf of bread to bite into. Can you see how it would apply to the question: If you were faced with the decision of cutting off your whole arm to save the rest of your body from being infected with a disease that had a chance to kill you, would you? For me, even cutting off a finger would be a hard decision to make, but in the whole scheme of things, I prefer to live than death; I would cut my losses. I think of Bob Marley, and how he died of a cancer that started in his big toe that he didn’t want to remove because of his Rasta beliefs, or just because he didn’t want to believe it.. Who really knows? This could just be a rumor, but even if it is for him, no doubt there are countless others out there who have died because of this.

Maybe it can also be compared to the situation with a smoker today, or for that matter a drug addict. You know that you’re killing yourself slowly by puffing on that cigarette, yet you continue to smoke day after day. I have not yet met somebody who smokes and wholy embraced the smoking habit and loved every minute of it. It’s inevitable and proven that it kills you slowly, it eats away at your insides (brain and lungs). This, I feel, is an example of not cutting your losses: “I’ve smoked for so long, it won’t hurt to have one more.” Or: “I’ll quit tomorrow.”

Read the rest of this article here!

Spam Oh How I Hate You

Dear spammers,

Honestly, what do you think that you are accomplishing? Do you really think that you are gaining some traffic from doing such spamming? Hmm. Maybe you are… But does it translate into customers that click through and make you money? Do people actually not look at the content keeping it on their websites, or do they immediately delete it from their website? Really now, what is your purpose on this planet?

Further more, do you think that anybody in their right mind clicks on the links that you post, or spam us with? Do you feel happy at the end of the day knowing you have scared somebody so much about the use of their computer that it severely hinders all progress in gaining customer satisfaction on the internet? Is that your goal?

It’s people like you that make me not proud to be a human. The disgusting filth that prays on the unsuspecting by cruel means; taking their hard earned money for good causes they think they are supporting, or completely unsuspecting victims to forgery or identity theft.

Further more, you pollute the internet with crap and garbage that dilutes any great webpage from getting across its relevant information into a site riddled with bugs and garbage.

If you haven’t got the point yet: take a hike, get lost, find twigs to break somewhere in the dessert. Do something productive, and beneficial to man kind with your time and you will be rewarded much more greatly by the spoils of your effort.

Finally, do you really feel that spamming your product makes your product stand out above the rest? Because I really do feel that it highly degrades your product, and that if I had a choice between a product I’ve been spammed about, or another product, I’d be way more inclined to choose the other product.

With hate,


I’ve recently been spammed galore on one of my sites. The site is dedicated to health, exercising, mind issues like psychology and positive thinking. Yet, somebody felt that I needed to see “Virtual Life Like Sex Dolls”. I wish I could say this was cute, but it really isn’t at all. It’s rather annoying and stupid that I have to deal with such a thing.

If you are a spammer, why do you do it? If you’re not, does it annoy you as much as me?

Being You

I’ve been faced lately with a lot of decisions. Many  of them come down to character defining decisions that wrack the very confines of my soul.

Ok, fine maybe its not as drastic as I make it out to be, but they are definitely things that have warranted deep thinking and pride to be questioned. To me, its all about listening to my inner voices.

I find in these times its always great to have a list that I’ve made up to allow me to see what it is that my goals are. I find in these places a Personal Mission Statement is beyond any value one can measure. For me, its one of the most beneficial things I can do for myself, and any time that I feel confused or lost, I take a look at it and get re-aligned with  my goals. If you follow the link for Personal Mission Statement you will find a great article describing in more detail what it is, and how to write an effective one, but I think before even writing this begins, its a very valuable idea to know what your goals are. Setting yourself up with extremely effective goals will ensure that you are ALWAYS motivated to push further towards your goals no matter what the situation is. A good goal is one that doesn’t let you sleep, that keeps you awake at night thinking about it, that consumes most of your thoughts until you get there. Which further effectively illustrates how important it is to have a personal mission statement so that you can refer to it when you get so distracted with your effective goals.

So all of this aside, assuming its all been done, how do you be you? How are you sure that you are being you, and you’re not living somebody else’s dreams? If you are confused about what it means to be you, then you will not know what it means to follow your own goals.

I will admit, its not easy at all to know what you want to be when you grow up. Its like reaching your hand into a fishbowl and thinking you can catch a fish without looking! And by no means will it ever be the same from last year to this year. In fact, if it is then something has been missed! Every day new things are learned, and new ideas are formed, if you’re pushing your way towards your goals,  you will accomplish some quickly, which in turn will give you the ability to know which tactics you are using to push you towards your goals are effective or not.

I digress once more, but I think it shows how valuable knowing and setting your goals are.

To be you is to listen to that inner voice. To be you is to know what  you have inside of you. To be you is to be great. To be you is what you’ve always wanted you to be. I warn her though, make sure its what you want to be and not what you’re imagining you want to be under the influence of pop culture, aka. TV. This can be very daunting trying to figure out whats whats in this world of media and brainwashing, but its also a very good practice to constantly weary of what it is that is actually influencing you in your life. To understand this is to gain a while new insight into your life. Which in turn makes you understand who you are. What interests you.

I’m not saying that being conscientious of certain things like style and global issues are bad, but there are also somethings that just seem to be blatantly a waste of time and a drain on your brain waves.

For instance I sat down after breakfast this morning with my brother in the TV room, and he had a movie on MTV going. It was a show about these sorority girls who had a murder in their place, and were trying to figure out who it was. It was filled with bad acting, much to much makeup and dumb blond bimbos where they had a classic girl cat fight, and Tom Green acting as the hard ass cop. This WAS  a waste of my time. But it was one of those things that was so captivating I couldn’t turn my eyes away from…

A moment of weakness.

Sometimes its good though to have these moments. They act as reminders about what you do not want in  your life, provide you with fresh inspiration to be the real you that you want to be, and also can make you feel proud that you are now aware of what pulls you away from the real you. Not all of you will feel the same emotions I have about this movie, but all of  you will have come in contact within the last 24, 48 hours of something that has gotten under your skin, urked you in a way that you feel uncomfortable that you’re even having to be subject to such things.

Use this. Use this like a wind at your back and remember it, embrace it for it allows you to learn and to grow. But most of all, it allows you to understand you, and focus on what you can do to be the best you. I know I’m trying! Are you?

Do you have any other ways that you find are very effective in making you, you? Allowing you to learn how to be the best you? I’d love to hear.

Remember this if nothing else, what your mind and body tells you is often times right, listen intently to what its saying to you.

My How Time Flies

I’ve been thinking lately about how the speed at which time flies to quick. Ideas and plans, designs and goals come into ones head at break neck speed, and in-spite of all the plans and precautions, they still slip by.

What brought this on was looking at flickr photos, and realizing that I’ve got old photos that I’ve promised people I would post. But its not just that, theres ideas involving light painting, plans to read books, arts to check out, the list goes on.

Sometimes it works itself into such a frenzy that I begin to find a panic button badly in need. I always look to the folks at , where they have great ideas on how to keep the mind focused. Its tough though. Sometimes you just want to follow your day(s) dream. In a way, I guess that this is a good thing. Ideals, ideas, goals, etc. are always changing in the path of life, and so should your direction. I guess for me its just sometimes sad, or I feel that I’m forgetting something when I don’t look into projects I’ve got in mind.

I recollect various interviews where the interviewee says something along the lines of: ‘I’ve been working on this project for so long now, its taken x years to get everything together, but its finally here and its so worth it.’ I can totally relate to this. Its just something that happens.

I guess the secret to it all is to keep lists to remind yourself of what needs to be done.