Oct 11/11

Greetings from Facebooklet.ca!
Our first day on the blog is sunny,
with steam curling off the cedar fence
(it rained last night). I love this
time of year! Of course, sunny days
aren't what you expect on the west coast
of BC in autumn; we've already had lots
of rain. My lawn has greened up after
being dry straw over the summer.

We're not here just to talk about the
weather, of course. I've got a face
for you today. I hope to have a new
one every day (or almost, anyway).


Oct 12/11

Good morning - another sunny one here on
the west coast. We hope today finds you
well. Hallowe'en is coming up more often in
conversations; it's my favourite holiday
by far. I love the decorations and I
especially love carving pumpkins (and,
incidentally, pumpkin pie). Last year I
bought eight pumpkins, all excited to sit
down around the kitchen table and carve
them with the kids. However, they kids
quickly bored with the process, barely
managing to finish one each. I carved
the rest. I grew up around farms, which I think
tunes me into the seasons and the soil
and plants and produce wherever I live.
Orange pumpkins sitting stoutly in a field
after their vines have wilted from frost -
to me, that's a powerful image. In the
grocery store, I get excited when I see a
bin of pumpkins: I want them all....
Here's Phyllis, the face of the day.
Have a great one; see you tomorrow.



Good afternoon! It's sunny again! We had rain yesterday afternoon, however.

Today I want to talk about lawn care: specifically, liming. Lime is crushed up (or pelleted) limestone that you buy in bags (10-20kg, for example) and then spread on your lawn. I use a drop spreader, because the lime I buy is powdery. If you buy the kind that comes in pellets, you can probably use a seeder.

The purpose of liming is to "sweeten" your soil, which means reduce the acidity: lime is alkaline. A lawn will grow best in soil that's close to neutral. Some places already have soil that's almost neutral; those places often have limestone in their soils naturally. They are often famously productive, agriculturally. Some parts of England and also China and parts of Kentucky are examples.

Out here on BC's west coast, our trees have acidic needles, so our soils tend to be very acidic. If your soil is acidic and you want a nice lawn, liming is part of the solution. I do it once or twice a year, always when I can count on several weeks of rain afterwards. Lime needs lots of water to get absorbed in the soil.

Well, here's Robert, your face of the day. See you tomorrow.

Robert Duvall Home


Good morning,everyone! Another sunny morning we have today, but don't be thinking this is California or Nevada or the Med. Autumn on the BC coast means rain - days and days of it at a time. Trust me: it's coming. However, while this beautiful sunshine lasts, I have a few yard chores left to do: some pruning and some weeding.

Today's face was drawn in blue coloured pencil, so about that: I don't use colour much, but there are some coloured drawings in the galleries. Some others are too light for my scanner to pick up, so they haven't made it in there. (If anyone knows a type of scanner that's good at picking up light images, please tell me.)

Colour was very helpful to me in the Eddie drawing. I find colour can be used to differentiate between a shadow and a beard, for instance, whereas with graphite you only have shades of grey that can sometimes conflict.

I don't use colour much because the pencils don't stay sharp like graphite does, so you can't get the same resolution with colour - that's what I find, anyway. You probably can if you use many colours and blend them, but I usually use only one or two per drawing.

However, there are many coloured pencil art sites, and they seem to do a fine job with the details. I've only been drawing for a year and a half; maybe I just have a lot more to learn.

Anyway, here's Matthew, our face of the day. See you tomorrow.

Matthew Gubler Home

The ides of October

Good morning! The sun is streaming through the windows but the rooftops are caked with frost. I pruned the front bushes yesterday for about two and a half hours. I could have done more.

Now, to the man on the right, who probably needs no introduction, except that he hasn't looked like this for about four and a half decades. In 1966 he announced, at the tender age of 23, "What a drag it is getting old."

Of course I'm a Stones fan, and in fact I think "Mother's Little Helper" is one of their very best. It was great in the 60s as a protest against the ruling elders. Today, those protesters have become the ruling elders, so it is relevant for a different, very ironic reason. Either way, it's confrontational, entertaining and musically superb - exactly the Stones.

Before I got into web pages, I used to have some free time. Some Saturday afternoons I'd listen to satellite radio. Old songs by the Stones would come on that I never knew of before - like "Memory Motel" and "She Comes in Colours". The Stones are artists: they clearly like their own music, and pursue their own style in ways that the general public can't always follow.

I guess he's actually Sir Mick Jagger now. I wonder if, even at the age shown here, he was actually a conformist. Some people are from the day they're born, but I wouldn't have expected it from him. I've never managed to be, but that's just an honest difference. I still love you, Mick.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend, everyone. See you tomorrow.

Young Mick Jagger Home

Oct 16/11

Good morning! Once again, it's brilliantly sunny and frosty here. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

I know Timothy Dalton appeared as James Bond. However, my favourite role he played was Sir Michael Barrington - new husband of Marlo Manners (Mae West) - in Sextette(1978).

Mae was 85: I think it was her last full-length film. Yet her persona hadn't changed since the '30s. Dalton, at age 34, was "young and beautiful", as modestly pronounced by himself in their duet of "Love Will Keep us Together."

I think the musical is one of a kind. If you're a Mae West fan, it's a must-see. Dalton was great, too, but so young that he didn't bring the kind of legacy stardom that West could at that time. My wife thought the musical was a little maudlin, but there definitely were some clever lines.

So here's Timothy, the face of the day. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll see you tomorrow.


Oct 17/11

Good morning from the BC coast! Today: wet and grey. It's definitely fall: the front garden is strewn with yellow, red, orange and brown leaves. Patches of fog are lurking around like ghosts anticipating Hallowe'en.

Some Q and A today:

Joan from northern California asks, "How old are you?"

Answer: 41, Joan, although I do have some "old tastes".

Leah from Australia asks, "You're always talking about rain in the fall...what's your weather in the summer?"

Answer: Generally, Leah, it's very dry, although you can get rain here in the summer. However, it's possible to have rain only twice - or even less - all through July and August.

Greg from Maryland (great state) asks, "Did you design your site? I'm looking into it, but can't seem to get started."

Answer: Yes, I did design this site and I maintain it. Web design is a whole other topic, of course, about the size of a continent. If I get lots more web design questions, I'll start a new site just for them. For now, Greg, here's what I'll say:

I use straight HTML, CSS, and Javascript (typing from Notepad), but some people use software packages. (Ask your local software dealer about that.)

I learned from books. If you're serious, get some on HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Some websites have been very helpful to me as well, w3Schools being one.

I love questions, so keep them coming! Now to our face of the day: Gerard. I think I saw him in 300. My wife tells me he's in a lot of romantic movies as well. He was tough to draw. Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Gerard Butler Home

Oct 18/11

Hello again. Fantastic sun once again, with a high of 17 C forecast! It's only 4 C right now, though; it was a cold, foggy night.

Today I want to talk about something that comes up every morning: breakfast. Choose to eat it or not, you've made a choice.

My kids are in elementary school, so of course I feed them breakfast in the morning, including some fresh fruit and a glass of milk. After sending them off, though, I rarely do eat breakfast. Many health professionals and columnists suggest I'm making a mistake.

I started dodging breakfast when I was a teen. I remember talking to one of my friends about it. He said, "I don't care if I can just manage one bite every minute. I sit there and force myself." I wondered why, at age fifteen, he was so determined.

Well anyway, our face of the day is a man who needs a good breakfast as much as anyone. He's Nicholas Sarkozy, President of France. The great country, like so many old powers, faces some daunting challenges these days. Good luck, Nick!

As always, thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Nicholas Sarkozy Home

Oct 19/11

The first time I heard Justin Bieber was on the radio in the car about two (could it be three? - yes, I think) years ago. My six-year-old son was singing along to "Baby Baby".

Me: "Paul, do you know this song?"

Paul: "Of course, Daddy: it's Justin Bieber!"

Soon the kids had one CD, then another. They sang - and danced - to Justin Bieber many hours each week. Although he's not my style of musician, I was won over; the guy's got talent.

Justin Bieber's arrival in our home taught me two things. One was the lesson every parent learns: that kids learn by osmosis, so they discover new things long before you do.

The second thing Justin Bieber taught me: These days, people prefer to work together. Almost every song on the one album was a collaboration with another artist - a different one each time. Look everywhere: people like to collaborate nowadays. When I was a kid, solo efforts were the way. In my life, that's never changed.

So here's to you, Justin, our face of the day. I hope to keep learning from your generation, even if I can't change myself.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll see you tomorrow.

Justin Bieber Home

Oct 19/11 (afternoon posting)

Good afternoon!

I should clarify: I know it's afternoon -or evening -for many of you, but on the west coast of Canada it's still morning. So I'll start with my weather report: partially cloudy, the sun's poking through. Six degrees.

Yesterday, I did some weeding in the afternoon sun (which was brilliant). At first glance, I didn't even think there were more than a dozen weeds. After pulling about 100, I realized there's a new strain on my lawn - a kind that can hide. I have so much to do out in the yard, but more on that later....

Now, to the man on the right: a man probably not occupied with lawn care. Of course, he's Don Johnson, playing the role of Detective Crockett, from the hit TV series Miami Vice (1984-1990).

Miami Vice was the first show I know of in which looking shabby was the worst crime of all. Crockett and Tubbs (especially Tubbs, Crockett's partner, played by Philip Michael Thomas) were always perfectly dressed, with beautiful hair. Crockett drove a Ferrari (as an undercover vice agent, he had to look the part of a bigtime dealer).

The dialogue wasn't gritty - and there wasn't as much of it. The idea was that if you needed to explain yourself, it was because the other person wasn't respecting you. Edward James Olmos, the Lieutenant, barely said twenty words (it seemed, anyway) in many episodes - yet his role on Vice won him an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1985.

I think the reason for Vice's popularity was its underlying - yet very strong - suggestion that a new reality existed, and you could choose to be part of it. You could choose to sell your economy car you'd bought during the energy crisis and buy a bigger, nicer, faster one instead. You could choose the fancier, more expensive clothes if you wanted them. If you were worried about spending too much money to look good and be comfortable, you just didn't "get it"....

I never did "get it", but Miami Vice was still a great show. As a teen, I loved watching it every Friday night. Here's to you, Don, for bringing Crockett to life.

As always, thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Don Johnson as Crockett Home

Oct 20/11

Glenn Gould (1932-82), Canadian pianist.

Gould was born in Toronto. His recording debut in 1955 of the Goldberg Variations by Bach placed him among the greatest pianists known. His clean style - in which every note can be heard distinctly - is immediately recognizable.

Gould was reclusive, but ironically he loved people. He especially loved talking about non-musical topics with "everyday" people.

Like many famous Canadians, Gould was much better known abroad than at home.

Gould was fascinated with the North; he alike loved Toronto.

Here's to you, Glenn, from an old fan.

Glenn Gould Home

Oct 20/11 (afternoon posting)

Did you watch X-Files alone in the dark? Lying on the couch at 11:21pm, like Mulder used to do so often in his DC apartment? Well, I sure did.

Coming out of university in '95, we were so poor we didn't have a TV. Someone gave us their old one, but I wouldn't spring for cable. Finally, I did - just to get the Space Channel to watch X-Files.

X-Files dealt with every paranormal idea you're likely to imagine. They made over 200 episodes. In spite of its popularity, I don't think it ever was a very high- budget production. (Which, of course, meant they had to rely on good writing and acting - the old stand-bys too often forgotten nowadays.) In its formative years it was filmed in Vancouver, Canada (a few hours from here).

The first X-Files movie (1998) wasn't nearly as good as a typical episode on TV, but the second one (I Want to Believe, 2008) was pretty good. It left you wanting more, just like the show did.

Director Skinner, pictured here, was Mulder and Scully's boss. He had to run interference between them and Smoking Man (more on him later).

This is one of my older drawings - from more than a year ago - but it's definitely Skinner. I wouldn't change it.

Have a great day. See you tomorrow.

Oct 21

Are you a student of modern fashion? Then you must know the man on the right.

He was born in Italy in 1946. As a boy he helped his mother in her dressmaking.

He studied architecture, then at age 26 entered fashion design at Milan.

He went on to design for, among others, Elton John, Madonna, and Lady Diana.

At the time of his murder in 1997, his fashion business was valued at an estimated $900 million.

Welcome, Gianni! You haven't changed a bit.

As always, thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Gianni Versace Home

Oct 21 (afternoon posting)

Who doesn't love Hercule Poirot?

My kids - who are 6 and 9 and go to French school - love Poirot mysteries. It's their favourite treat to watch Poirot as they fall asleep at night.

Me, I love Poirot, but I love Hastings and Japp even more. (See Hastings in Gallery 2.) Their innocence is always surprising and refreshing, especially in sharp contrast to Poirot's understanding of evil. I think Poirot needs them - and Miss Lemon, too - to pull him back from his inner dungeon.

Here's to you, Poirot. We all know we can't get away with murder as long as you're on TV.

Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Hercule Poirot Home

Oct 22/11

Do you like American action movies? Then you probably have enjoyed this man's in-your- face charisma in The Last Boy Scout and Die Hard.

Earlier, he did a TV show with Cybill Shepherd called Moonlighting(1985-89).

Willis also had a fairly small - yet memorable role in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. That same year he starred in Color of Night, a mystery-thriller.

I know he's done other movies since then, but I lost track because I had kids.

A versatile actor who (like Johnny McEnroe, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and so many other famous people) is left-handed, Bruce Willis has entertained us for decades. Here's to you, Bruce!

As always, thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.