40 for 40

Sitting here thinking about how I turn 40 in two weeks time and wondering what I can do to make the milestone a memorable one. I started to think what I can do to make life more enjoyable, improve my quality of life. The regular things come to mind like, be more active, get back to the gym. Read more, keep my mind open. Eat healthily, learn to cook the food I love to try. Then a idea came to mind "40 for 40". Do 40 things when I turn 40. That works out to be  one thing a week for the next year, give or take. Now the journey begins. All good things start with a plan, and leave some wiggle room for spontaneity. 

In no particular order my list begins. I"m open to suggestion, and this list is not carved in stone and will be an ever evolving.  If anyone has suggestions please contact me. The goal is have have them attainable. 

 

1. Buy a stranger a meal

2 Help out at a food bank

3. Donate blood

4. Read a good book

5. Get back to the gym (routinly)

6. Take a trip that requires a plane

7. Help a friend in need

8. Make a new friend

9. Get a new tattoo

10. Shave my beard for charity

11.  Do something that scares me

12. Learn a new skill (skateboard)

13. Lean to play a song on piano

14. Tech someone photography

15. Plant a Tree

16. Swim with dolphins

17. Dink a $200 bottle of beer (have ready)

18. Sleep under the stars

 

 

 

 

 

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The adventure of BaE (Bill and Erica)

Every now and again someone very special enters you life and forever changes it for the better. No matter how long they're a part of it, the memories shared will last a life time. This is what happened to me when a lovely person by the name of Erica Bennett entered my life. Here is the story of us ! 

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As all fairy tails begin, it starts of  with a boy and girl falling on love. It all started when one person catches the eye of the other and a spark ignites a light that continues to grow until a burning desire to be with that person take control and a journey of begins.

April 7 - Our story started of in a little bit of a secret, as quietly started messaging each other as we were co-workers and didn't want to let the cat out of the bag as it were.  The irony of this is at the time I had no idea Erica actually had a crush on me. She kinda played me by posting about dating sites hoping I would comment. Well of course I fell for it. My response was to just give up and get a cat. She responded in saying she liked my cat photos. No shame she went straight for my hart. Well it worked. We started chatting back and forth as all things go, talking about what each of us like and where we came from. Til one day with a little bit of persuasion on her part, I asked Erica to join me on my lunch break a few day after, and we went to Value Village. I recall being a bag of nerves.  Being single most of my life this was all to new for me. I felt like I was 10 years old and the most beautiful girl I ever seen  had a crush on me. I didn't know what to say or do, the words didn't seem like the wanted to come out. Well that 30 mins seem like a life time. 

 

APRIL 17 - A few days had past and I finally got up the nerve to ask Erica out on a date. I asked if she would like to join me for a walk and go grab a coffee. I recall waiting for her to come pick me up, those 20 mins seemed to stand still, I could of swore hours had passed. Was she ever going to show up or back out the last min. Did nerves get the better of her. Well then a car appeared in the driveway, there she was. Walking to the car I thought my legs would give out from under me. I don't recall what was said for most of that ride to Cabot Tower where we started the first adventure of many that would happen over the 4 months.  The day started off with a hike and me pretty much rambling on about everything and anything that entered my mind. If she wasn't sick of me after this date, I knew she was a keeper. The day progressed with of trip to a local candy store where I bought her car air-freshener of a squirrel in underwear. Yep not your tradition rose kinda guy. We named him Cecil the Squirrel. He remained hanging in her car for the many adventures to follow.  The day progressed with coffee and a feed of Wox-Box. When the day was winding down, I remember pulling up into by driveway and I didn't know if I should ask her in or just say thank you for the day run back into the house, but I knew she was too good to let slide. So I asked if I could give her a kiss on the cheek (I know how corny thinking back on it now) but it was something I'll never forget, she face felt so soft, and did she smell so beautiful. I thanked her for the day and said I really enjoy the day and spending time with her and said I would like to do it again if she would like it too.  

Through out the following week it seemed like I was the happiest I've been in a very long time. Walking past her office like I have done a million times before and never even notice her sitting there. Well things were different now, I look into her window to see her smiling back. Well you know that warm fuzzy feeling, well I had it.  With the weekend fast approaching a second date was close  at hand.

APRIL 24 - Well date # 2 was finally here. I don't recall ever single detail of what happened, but I do recall having our first few beer together at Yellowbelly Bewrey and each posting a photo at the same time discreetly showing each other in our photos to see who would catch on  and figure out what we were up to, we end up going to Mochanoply a board game cafe where we played Jenga. As I sat across from her I though how lucky was I to be dating the beautiful girl, and what in the world did she see in me. Well I grabbed a photo to remember what this moment is like. The next day at work I couldn't stop thinking about the amazing time we had together and the laughs we share, the nerves well finally letting go. I had to make a move, how in the world could I wow her and get another date. Then it hit me. I stroke of genius. Go back and get the very same game we played the evening before and give her piece to have a  keepsake of the time we had, and tell her I had 54 more dates with her. Thus began "Pieces of Jenga"  

April 29  - We had to get up super early to bring her car in for service before heading to work. I end up getting a new phone and what seem like it took ever ounce of will  power not to take a photo before seeing her cause I  wanted a selfie together to be the first photo I take with it and to announce to everyone we were dating. :-) 

May 7 - Date # 3 Was a milestone, Erica finally got to visit my place and meet Kissandra my cat for the very first time. I recall having to clean my tiny apartment from top to bottom the days leading up to this date. As living a bachelor for most of my life this was probably the cleanest it been in years. And of course I made the excuse of not having it clean, but how was she suppose to know any different.  :-) Well the date went on before we ended back at her place. As I walked in the place was so clean and tidy, I was afraid to touch and thing. I probable went to the bathroom what seem like a million times to splash cold water in my face and quietly let our a fart. I don't recall what  I had to eat earlier but I had to remind myself to  be more careful the next time. We end up baking Guniess brownies which were simple the best I've ever had. The were a success at work the following day. Later we ended up sitting on her "flakey" couch :-) and cuddle and talked some more till the night came to a end. :-). I don't think I slept good that night, but I do remember waking lying next to Erica thinking this is what life is all about, falling in love with someone and knowing what make me happy in life. 

May 21 - Date # 4 Was our very first adventure together. We hit the road and went to Bonavista for the weekend. Cecil The Squirrel was along for the ride.  The weekend was fully planned out, by the new love of my life had every thing under control. The car full of what we needed, the most important was not a bottle of wine, but all kinds of unique beer which she is so passionate about  and my passion my camera. As all things go not everything turns out as planned when trying to find a thing  that is nothing more that the remnants of past childhood memories. We couldn't find Trinity Loop. Trust me we tired, we drove down every single road possible as far as possible. But to no avail. it was getting late and we wanted to check in to our stay for the night and catch our very first sunset together. The following morning we headed to the lighthouse before going to the Bonavista Social club for what was one of the best pasta's of my life,  while Erica had a moose burger. Simple divine.  Once lunch was over we drove to Edison to see if we could find some Puffins to photography. There weren't' many around but I manged to get a few photos. Before we knew it was time to start heading back to town, but not before one last time to look for The Loop. We drive every down every road we could think of, and we still could not find it,  to the point we'd had almost given up. Then as a last ditch effort we decide on this one finally road in which we thought it couldn't possible be down here. Well as we drove a short distance and around a corner it appear. The car wan't in park and I was out the door.  What a way to end our first adventure together. Never give up searching what you've been looking for. You never know when you'll find it hidden around the next turn in the road. 

The day after we returned from out trip to Bonavista we had went to the nearest Starbucks of course and sat next to this lovely old couple. I thought wow, that much be use in about 30 years. and laughed to myself, thinking it wouldn't be such a bad thing :-) The old man was so funny he even joked about us being a young and something about Sex Drug and Rock N' Roll. LOl 

May 28 - Date #5 This was the day we took our relationship to the next step deciding to make it official and become a couple. The day started off 9am with the first place all our adventures would begin. Starbucks :-) The destination was The Stone Jug in Carbonear. We started of at Starbucks of course and hit the road, it was a wet rainy day, but the didn't seem to matter. I was excited to check out how nice this place looked from the photos I seen. We had talked  a little about before when we should make it official but didn't  want to make it seem forced and when the time seem right we'd both agree in that moment become a couple. I knew all along I wanted to yet kept it a secret, I  didn't want to let this opportunity   a life time slip from my hands. So after our first beer we agreed. I'll never forget the smell of that place and the sounds everything around us. 

June 1  - Date # 6  This was the first time we hung out at my place. we end up watching my favorite movie Shawshank Redemption. I was so happy she watched this movie with me. I always dreamed of cuddlin up to the one I loved just in each others arms. It was so peacfull. I remember falling asleep dreaming of how happy I was in this moment, and waking up to be even happier. Kissandra even joined up on the couch. I felt like we were a happy family.

June 2 - Date # 7 Poutine Challenge 1 - Bivver

Fresh fries, tossed with onion frites, Five Brothers Bergy Bits and spiced curry sauce. It will be finished with an Indian mixed pickled and charred scallion sour cream.

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June 6 - Date # 8   Poutine Clallenge 2 Bernard Stanleys

Duck confit poutine over rosemary potato wedges topped with caramelized onion and foie gras finished with Five Brothers Bergy Bits and Fighting Irish Red Ale Cheddar.

June 9 - Date # 9  Poutine Challenge 3 Merlo's 

 The “Bacon Burger Poutine” with Five Brothers “Bergy Bits” curds, ground beef, bacon, hamburger bun topped off with a fried pickle and an onion ring with a rich beef gravy.

June 11 - Date # 10 Poutine 4 Challenge Bacalao 

A lobster poutine with a Five Brothers Bergy Bits & Red Ale Cheddar blend mornay style gravy, finished with a spiced gremolata, crispy onions and local sunflower sprouts from The Bright Side Organics.

June 13 - Date # 11 Celebrating  Erica's birthday as all couples. As always, a  evening at her place involvs Beer & BBQ. How can  We had the left overs for lunch at work the following day. 

June 15  - Date # 12 Erica's Birthday started off with a lovely surprise of chocolate covered strawberry. I wish I had to be there to see the look on her face, but from what I hear it was one to remember. The plan was to celebrate a evening at Bier Markt. The first time ever going there. Since I haven't meet any of her friends, what a great way to have a good time with people that mattered in her life. So John and Mandy decided to join up. It was a great time. Mandy laugh is one of a kind and very contagious. How can you not laugh along with her. And John, oh boy what a witty fellow. quick on the puns. Don't know where he comes up with them.   I'm not sure if this was the first time I heard the phrase. but its one I'll never forget as long as I live. "I guesses he fits the Bill"

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June 18  - Date # 13 Beer Fest was finally her. Erica had tickets and this was her thing. She loves beer. And I was excited to learn all about what she is so passionate about. We waited at her place till her brother and his buddy showed up. This is the first time I got to meet him. I was shock to see how different siblings can be. What a nice guy. We hopped in a cab and headed to the Bella Vista to be one of the first in line for teh VIP event. So glade we did. I quicly learned what I like and what I like no so much when it comes to beer. We even had Muskoka cream pork taco and cod tacos.  It was so cold waiting outside the food truck, but was worth it. The event ended with us hopping on a old school bus to head down to The Bier Markt for you guess it more poutine and a few beer. 

June 20 - Date # 14 This memory like all we have together will stand out the most. It was the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. And it was such a beautiful day. So warm and nice. It was a little bit of a struggle to find the perfect stop to sit and wait for the sun to set. Sitting on the hill side of Quidi Vidi with no one around but the two of us. I remember laying down next to Erica with my head in her lap thinking how can it get any better than this. My fav photo of the evening was not of the sunset but the one of our feet. I always like how we both like similar sneakers. :-)

June 25 - Date # 15 Meet Sister for the First time at BierMarkt. This was something I've been waiting my entire life to happen. Separated when I was only  2 years old. I'd never imagine the day would come. My life had gone from nothing to having everything I ever dreamed of. Someone how I loved and was proud to call my girlfriend and being able to have someone I can trust and be able to share this profound moment with. The plan was for just me and my sister Sherry to meet Dolly, and thats how it started, bu when she asked about Erica I didn't even hesitate calling her to join us, and I'm happy she did. ironically the first non selfie photo taken of us was from Dolly. I couldn't be prouder in the photo.  I remember thinking I had to hold Erica hand for the photo, so I grabed her hand and held it out I wanted to show how proud I was of her to my sister.  :-)

June 28 - Date # 16 1 Month Together wow, that was quick and intense  4 Poutine Challenges, Erica's Birthday. Beer Fest. Spending a memorable evening at my place (yes I actuall had a gilr over). A sunset I'll never forget. And  meeting my Sister for the first time in my life, and I got to spend it all with my girlfriend Erica Bennett every step along the way. EDNHA is right ! I don't think I ever life as much in this one month than I did in the past 10 years. Never been happier in all my life.  So happy !  We spend the night at her place, no fancy night out, no road trip, just the two of us together making supper having a beer and enjoy the company of each other. Feeling loved ! 

June 29  - Date # 17 Happy Hour at Yellow Belly after work, absolutely love that smile, Erica lights up when it comes to beer. Its called Happy Hour for a reason. LOL

July 1 - Date # 18 Canada Day celebrations at Ashley's were we I get to meet her for the first time and she became a "Pieces of Jenga" photo. Ashley was so funny, And I loved her dread' I can see Erica is such good friends with her and Mandy for as long as they've been. Good friends last a life time. 

July 2 - Date # 19 Road trip to Bishops to see where Erica grew up and camp out in a tent at her aunts Cabin for the night. We barely touched down when we were off to see the Turssel.. I was looking forward to this cause Erica talk a lot about it. We manage to get a photo for her Yogo account When we were swept of to the Cabin for the night. Her family were so nice, I final began to feel like I was a part of this new family. The food was so good, there was so much to eat and drink. We even had a visit from Cecil the Squirrel. The only bad thing was the darn flies. I think Erica got the worst of it. Her leg so bad the days after. The night ended with the both of use sleeping in a tent along side cabin. The following day before we headed back Erica gave me the grand tour of Bishops. Where she grew up and went to school. where she hung out, everyghing. She seem proud to show her past with me, and I was honored she did. We even bought all the DnR cookies that the store had left. 

July 24 - Aug 4 BaE Goes West

Best of 2014

 

The Weather Network just released the Top 22 BEST Viewer Photos of 2014. Well yours truly happened to be amongst them. What else can I say but that I'm extremely honoured  to have been chosen to be one of them. There were hundreds of thousands of photos submitted through-out the year by viewers across our vast country of Canada, all weather related. Some far more impressive and outstanding than mine. What makes our place we call  home so unique, is the extreme diversity of the climate that can be seen at any given moment on any given day of the year. It can range from Sun shinning T-shirt wearing on one side of the continent to Winter hats, mitts and scarf wearing  on the other side. In the top photos of the year you see every season, from spanning from the West coast of BC crossing over 5,514 kilometres to most Easterly point of NL (Cape Spear)  where my photo as taken. Its why so many people like me who love the vastness of the great outdoors and what better way to capture it and share it than a photo. Have a look for your self in the links below, better yet go out and experience it for yourself and share it with everyone, who knows it might be your photo I'll be seeing next year. 

 

Top 22 Viewer Photos Video

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My submission (click photo to take you to The Weather Network site)


First Snow

This past Saturday, we received our first snow fall for the year, despite the west coast of the island had already gotten theirs a week or so ago. It wasn't enough to call it a snow storm but enough to make it feel like winter. It was a calm morning, with a gentle breeze, so the snow stayed on the trees. Normally its always windy, but this morning it was like a winter wonderland. I had planned to start the day off with some Black Friday weekend shopping to get some new winter boots. As the stores weren't open yet I went for a drive downtown to see what was on the move this early in the morning and grab a coffee. I stopped down at Harbor Side Park to take pick of the narrows. While I was there a fellow Photog had the same idea as I, after a quick hello and a brief conversation  I moved on. Not happy with the shot I decided leave and get those boots I wanted. While  driving past the Government House in Bannerman Park I swung the car in just to see what it was like since I've never been there before and had always seen some nice pictures from other photographers. Well what a lovely scene. Every thing was blanketed in a cover of snow, untouched but the previous night. I had asked the local security guard if it was okay if I go through the gate onto the grounds to take a few quick shots. He replied in a what appear to me as a British accent it was okay, and as a side note to keep an eye out for the local rabbit that was known to wonder around.  In all my days hanging out in the park across the street in my early years of smoking pot in the trees,  never once did I ever see a rabbit,  beside the magical one that chased Alice down the rabbit hole. I went a few feet through  the gate and took a few quick shots as I was only wearing Converse sneaker and snow was well past my ankles, it wouldn't' be long before my feet were cold and wet. As I couldn't resist getting least one different angle, I began to walk around the yard along the fence to get a wide a shot as possible taking more and more shots as I went, till I found myself on the far side of the building. By this point my feet were far beyond cold the pants legs of my jeans began to freeze. It was time to go. As I picked up my tripod and headed back towards the car the wind started blowing and the snow started falling from the trees. As quick as that the landscape had changed, and the shot I had taken was now captured in time. 

 

p.s The new boots are toasty warm. 

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Hickman's 18th Classic Classic Car Show

Yet another Hickman's Classic Classic Car Show has come and gone, It seems like every year it keeps getting better and better. You see some familiar faces, that make a regular appearance and wouldn't miss it for the world, sometimes they bring back their pride and joy which they owned their entire lives, sometimes the end up bringing a new project they've been working on over the long harsh Newfoundland winters, hidden away in the shed behind their house. There are always newbies to be had,  ranging in  all ages, from Teens to Ol Timers.   Often the cars are older than most who drive them. But what makes each year special is that one piece that stands out from the rest. It doesn't have the be the cleanest or rearrest, but just special enough to catch the corner of your eye and draws a bunch of wrench heads around  talking for hours at a time. There is something to be had about a machine that is made out of simply rubber and steel the brings people together of all walks of life andl ages to share a common love of the automobile. Next year can't come soon enough. 

Newsweek

It's a proud moment to say the least when a magazine like Newsweek ask your for permission to publish one of your photos.  I guess I can officially say I'm a legit photographer with a name like Newsweek behind me. It's one of my favourite things to do, what I've learn is that when you have a passion for something you love doing anything can happen. A huge shout out to Tom @ Newsweek for making this happen. Your da man

New Day! New Host!

After being with another web host, I've decided to make the move to Square space. They've come along ways since I originally tested them out 4 years ago. They have wonderful templates for photography some of which I can't wait to test. Lets hope the keep up the good work of offering a great service. I hope you enjoy the new look to my site.