Sparkly things - musings in the sun
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Welcome to my blog

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 This blog may seem a little unfocused, but then so am I - I'm a writer, photographer, trombonist, online gamer, grandfather, and promoter of graffiti as both an art form and a community change agent. You can subscribe to my posts, over on the right-hand panel, via RSS feed or emails, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

I retired twelve years ago and quickly overfilled my days. I've no idea how I found the time to work before. I'm now downtown in the Parkdale/Hintonburg area, and love it. No house to maintain, walk everywhere, cafes, groceries, beer store, library, even a "local" nearby.

I'm a writer now, a new career. I was more reader than writer, but in 2010 I tried the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. Thirty days (November) to write a first draft of at least 50,000 words. I met the challenge, and repeated it for several years - five more novels. Kirk's Landing was published in 2013, and Return to Kirk's Landing in 2016. I also have written many Flash Fiction stories, inspired by several online sites that give a prompt, such as a phrase, opening line, photo, or genre, a limit of usually 800-1200 words, and less than a week to write in. It's a great way to practice and expand your skills, get some feedback, and see if there's a novel lurking in there. Here's a link to my stories . I recently started my own site for this, here. I've joined several writer related groups, I follow many writer/editor blogs, I read about writing, I dream about writing - it's my passion! 

My tromboning was limited to the Ottawa New Horizons Band, but I'm not ready to jam with friends in a pub - yet. My photos are here on Flickr, as Ravensview Images. Some of my recent photo sets are London Ontario graffiti,  a local Building Trades Ball Tournament, music at my local O'Connell's pub, an Obey mural downtown, and of course House of Paint. I've also covered live music events such as Ottawa's  Bluesfest and the Folk Festival

From my initial photography of back-alley art, I developed more interests and links into the culture of Hip-Hop, and have volunteered in several youth-related areas. I have worked with Const. Scott Mills of Toronto Crimestoppers, he uses this same approach as a way to reach youth and show them they can be valued members of the community. Check out his work at  Legalgraffitiart on YouTube. I wrote for him a "how-to" guide on neighbourhood transformations, that went into the Ontario School Resource manual, used by many police forces as a reference.  

I was part of the Ottawa Urban Arts collective, a group of local youth, with skills as graffiti and urban artists. They did commercial and residential mural projects, worked with school or community groups, and mentored other artists and "youth at risk".  Murals from local artists have included the pool at  Jack Purcell Community CentrePhotolux StudiosHillary's Cleaners,  a ravine wall in Orleans, Genest pool, Hino's restaurant, and the buildings behind Boushey's Market on Elgin. One initiative was several projects done in conjunction with Ottawa's Paint It Up! program and some community and youth groups. Some of these included an art program to help youth identify their issues and concerns, and then express them through images in a workshop, using various media. The ideas are then incorporated into an outdoor mural, painted mainly by select artists. The projects included  Operation Come Home (wall at Ottawa Mission), Lowertown Community Resource Centre (wall at Patro Community Centre), Youth Services Bureau (wall at Nanny Goat Community Garden), the Granite Curling Club (on Scott) and the Odawa Native Friendship Centre - more info is here in my blog.

Graffiti is like a dandelion - to some it's a flower to be appreciated and encouraged, to others it's a weed to be stomped out and eradicated.

My latest passion? Streaming online, via Twitch. Mostly ETS2 and ATS, truck simulator games.