Thursday, January 18, 2018

Seaweed Under Water by Stanley Evans

Image from amazon

Stanley Evans has created a memorable detective in Sergeant Silas Seaweed of the Victoria Police Department. As he works toward solving the crime, readers learn tidbits about the capital's history and glimpse some Coast Salish spiritual beliefs.

This romp of a police procedural employs all the usual suspects along with a few ghosts and spirits. We follow Silas through tough bars and greasy spoons. Aboard a yacht, he meets a scheming siren whose intentions toward him are ambivalent. Local references are amusing and philosophical. The sly wit and clever turns of phrase of narrator Silas surprise and delight. His apt descriptions evoke the sleazy club called Pinky's, with its band that "belonged in a garage," its speakers "the size of coffins" and its classic yet fresh Belfast-born bartender.

On learning that a colleague from the era of "bent witnesses and rubber hoses" is retiring, Silas waxes philosophical. Besides a silver plaque from the Victoria City Council, he muses, Bradley Sunderland will have little "to show for his years on the force" but "citations for assault, drunkenness, dereliction of duty and persistent tardiness." Oh - and "a boiler-plated pension."

The loaner car that is supposed to replace his MG while it's in the shop is "as responsive as a bad date," and Chef Lou does "a very creditable imitation of whirling dervishes around his hotplate." One of the villains shows up with "purple crescents under his eyes." But, thinks Silas, "if he wasn't the best-dressed logger on the coast, Prince Charles doesn't play polo."

Proud of his way with words, the silver-tongued sergeant teases his boss for being "the master of single entendre." When pressed by a lady for a good Chardonnay he doesn't have, he describes the home made plonk in his fridge as redolent of "berries and English crumpets."

Monday, January 15, 2018

Where has the Courthouse Fountain gone?

As downtown grows ever more tall anonymous buildings, memories of earlier incarnations of Vancouver continue to be erased. The fountain in front of the Art Gallery was always lovely to pass. Now it's been filled in and bricked over. The VAG's days at this location are numbered. I hope this building, with its incomparable stone, marble, skylights and spiral staircases does not fall to the wrecking ball.

Below are Vancouver Archives pictures of the "Courthouse fountain" in 1967.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Inspired by winter sunshine filtering into my office

If this doesn't get me back to work on my novel, I don't know what will. Christmas is always a season for family and for putting the brain in neutral gear by doing jigsaws. Now it's time to get back to writing.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Art installation or makeshift shack?

Recently I walked along Georgia Street from Homer to Cardero, the first time I've made that journey on foot for a very long time. Passing this mysterious bit of construction with its partial roof and rough seating, I couldn't decide if it was a shack cobbled together by people desperate for shelter, a place for construction workers on coffee breaks, or an art installation. No sign of habitation when I passed in the early evening.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Extra pieces -- part of our jigsaw mythology now

Here's one end of the completed 1500 piece jigsaw. Those three pieces on the right fit together; they're just not part of this puzzle!

Here's what it looks like complete:

This mismatch mystery started four years ago, with the Sherlock Holmes puzzle
And that's all, folks. The puzzle season is over for another year.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Deeply puzzling -- how to explain the anomalous pieces?

Christmas is jigsaw time, and this year has deepened the mystery of missing and extra pieces. This closeup shows a piece of paper we placed beneath one hole in an effort to conceal the gap. Some of the problem puzzles are recycled ones I got from the White Rock Library to feed seasonal jigsaw habit. But some are brand new.

Missing pieces are easily explained. They slip between sofa cushions, or pets chew or move them. It's a bit harder to explain how wrong pieces get in a puzzle box. I imagined a crew of library volunteers around a table, counting pieces to make sure the donated puzzles were complete. The table was crowded and two people sitting side by side couldn't keep their piles separate. Unwittingly, they exchanged a couple of pieces without altering the count.

Three extra pieces in each puzzle above. Both also have gaps, yet none of the spare pieces fit. I guess life is like that, sometimes.