I took this beautiful picture on top of Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada. Sometimes I get lucky with a picture, and with this one you can almost feel the crisp, cold air filling your lungs as you take in the unbroken vista of deep snow with no intrusive sounds of men or machine to disturb you.
I will begin posting various pictures from my files that interest me over here on the right side of this page. This will balance things out on the page. They will often have no date or theme, but I hope you enjoy them just the same. This shot was taken by yours truly in March of 2013. You can almost feel the icy cold purity as you take a drink from this river!
Boathouse In Gravenhurst, Ontario Canada. Can you see yourself sitting in those two Muskoka chairs watching the H.M.S Segwun getting up a head of steam and making its way out among the islands? I can!
This is a picture of my beloved wife, Vicki on the R.M.S Segwun as we enjoy a lovely dinner together.
February 21,st, 2015- I am sorry that I have been slow in adding things of interest to this site, but as we all know, life intervenes. Since my last post things have gone on with life as they tend to do, and my classes are almost complete. I write my final English exam for a university prerequisite course on Monday, and let me tell you it has been an interesting year and a half to say the least. I will be kind of sad to see the classes end, but a new future awaits, and I look forward to it. Here, in the Great White North, we are still in the depths of a cold snap while we await the imminent caress of springtime. Therefore, i wish to share you this charming picture that I took last fall of a old farm pump house. Once upon a time this was the only way to get water to your house or your livestock. We have come a long way indeed. This is one of only two examples of this type of pump house that I know is still standing, and it demanded that i take a picture of it for posterity and share it with you. I will try to be more faithful in adding to this site, and hope to see you all again real soon.--Crosshair
May 12th, 2015--Bit of an update for those of you who have been following my writing progress; I have, as of yesterday, submitted a new short story to Gotham Publishers in New York!! I love books, and i love writing,but it has been a interesting journey as I attempt to get my name and my work out into the world to be seen. For those of you just getting your feet wet with professional writing, i highly suggest Gotham Writers at: http://www.writingclasses.com/index.php or Authonomy.com which is a writer web site operated by Harper/Collins Publishers. Both sites will get you started on your new writing career. There is a writing contest going on right now at Gotham Writers, and it is open for anyone to enter. You can submit your original work until May 18th, 2015. it is a very interesting 10 word story contest, so sharpen up you Hemingway skills, and enter today! http://www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/10W.php
This shot was taken by my darling wife, Vicki, and is a view of the bay at the Bear Estates in Collingwood, Ontario where the graduation ceremonies were held. we are blessed to live in such an area, and the weather was perfect as the class of 2015 celebrated their success!
Here is a shot of yours truly in the full gear.
Here is a group shot of the grads down by the bay. I am sitting with my fellow valedictorian Stew Jackson. he is a 30 year military man who served his country with distinction. I was happy to share several classes with him as he worked towards his own diploma. We both showed the kids how to bust that grading curve! I think they will not soon forget the trail we blazed though that school!
Graduation day June 24th, 2015
August 23rd, 2015: I was wondering what to place in the side-panel of this blog, as I tend to put the main topics off to the left-hand side where they display better, so i thought I would share some "bookshelf porn" with you today. Do not get me wrong, I love the digital era we live in, and you will have to pry my Nook e-book reader from my cold, dead hands, but nothing says home to me like a well-stuffed book case. This is one of mine in my living room. Can you see yourself picking through these books, then relaxing in one of my la-z-boy chairs with a fuzzy blanket and a nice cuppa tea?
March 16th, 2014 - Hello everyone. This is my first attempt at my own website. I felt that after a bit of playing around on the internet for the last decade or so it was a high time to have my own site where I could express my thoughts on things I see, current events around the world, or just a place to voice my own musings, gleaned from the catch basin of my mind. I have a guest book as well as the forum all set up for any comments you may wish to leave no matter if it is just to say howdy, or to comment on anything I have posted here. I am a bit of a writer, a bit of a poet, and my beloved and I are both practicing at the art of photography. So, with all of this, I hope to keep you amused as we travel along together here.
The photograph above was taken by yours truly, and is a shot of the R.M.S Segwun. This wonderful vessel is currently the oldest functioning steamship in North America. She was commissioned in 1884 as a Canadian royal mail ship, and to this day it still serves in this capacity. In its new life it also serves as a ship that you can book passage on to enjoy a sunset dinner cruise among the islands dotting this area of Georgian Bay in Ontario Canada. This magnificent ship makes her berth in Gravenhurst, Ontario. My beloved and I had our 20th anniversary dinner on board her in October 2013, and we cannot wait until the next time we can visit her.
March 16th, 2014 - I will leave you with one more photo today and this one was taken by my beloved in The Town of The Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada. This is a gorgeous shot she took that I call Mountain Stream in Autumn. This shot was taken in Oct. 2013.
March 18th, 2014 - I try and keep things light on this site, but today I send out my prayers to the families and loved ones of those aboard the still missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I think the search is in the third or fourth day now, and the Monday morning quarterbacks and conspiracy theorists are in full plumage as they gleefully tear into the where, why, and how of a large plane like this just vanishing in this modern day and age. Instead, I think we should shelve the tabloid suppositions, and try and think how we would feel if it was our own wives, husbands, sons, or daughters aboard this missing jet. I hope that closure, one way, or another comes to all those waiting families very soon.
June 2014- I am a naughty boy. I had great intentions of this site being a place where I would faithfully put down my everyday thoughts and pictures to awe, inspire and to motivate, but as can be seen my submissions have become intermittent at best.
To make up for this lack, here are the last of the winter pictures my beloved and i took on Blue Mountain just after my March 18th, 2014 post. I will then share a sampling of our pictures from our nature hikes on the Bruce Trail that we took just this June.
This picture was taken right near the tail end of March, and shows a local apple orchard, but we seem to have some visitors!! A beautiful white tailed deer and some wild turkeys are working in harmony to dig up last autumns ground apples for a tasty winter snack!
The next batch of pictures were all taken on our amazing Bruce Trail system. You can google this incredible recreational trail, and you will discover that it runs for over 800 miles through some of our most beautiful wilderness areas( outside of our provincial parks).
That is all I have for you now, but I promise to post more in July! - Crosshair
July 3rd, 2014- Had a bit of chit chat today about people on the internet meeting up in a word game I play called Babble. It is a game that I have played for 6 years or so now, and I recommend it to anyone who loves word games. Babble has a rich, vibrant user base, and a very active chat lobby full of amazing people from all over the globe. The picture I am sharing with you today is one that my better half took of myself and two other babblers enjoying what we like to call a "Babble get-together." In the centre of this picture is Flosey, and on the far left is Joso, and I am on the right. It was a great lunch, and i hope for more like it very soon. I bet Flosey has not seen that much beef in one spot since her last visit to the Calgary Stampede!
July 10th, 2014- I have a bit of an update for you all today. As some of you already know ad nauseam, I am in the process of writing my first novel and I am more surprised than anyone at how well it is going, and the incredible progress that I have made. The genesis of this story actually came directly from a short assignment that I had to write for a College level English class that I took just this year.
Life is a funny thing. I went back to school after 33 years as one of the posts above describes in more detail, and found that I have a natural talent for this sort of thing. Of course I should had known this much earlier in my life as my better half has always told me that i can, with enough time, prattle on so long that i can talk the birds down from the trees.
Anyways, I am telling you all this today because in the next few days I will be in the delightful position of putting an excerpt of my novel out there for anyone and everyone to read at http://authonomy.com/
This great little site is operated by Harper/Collins Publishers, and allows budding authors such as myself to get a foot in the door as it were, and i highly recommend it to everyone who wishes to get published. Use the link I gave you, and click on the learn more button to discover what a great site this truly is! * Remember though, you must have a minimum of 10,000 words to submit your work at Authonomy, and that your work will always be protected and is non-transferable by those who use the site. You also reserve the right to remove your work at any time. Your work will be reviewd at this site, and voted on by your peers who also have their own submissions here. The top works make it to the harper/Collins "editors desk" and from there works are selected for offers of publication!!
I hope to see all you budding penmonkeys and wordsmiths in there!!
I leave you now with this picture of a lovely bridge built in 1906 as it plays a pivotal role in my very first novel.- Crossy
My graduation ceremonies were held on June 24th, 2015 and an amazing time was had by all! I was given the honor of speaking on behalf of my classmates as valedictorian, and I managed to fumble through with little difficulty even though i was very nervous. It took me 33 years to finish my education, but I dove in, and did what had to be done. Coming back to school was something that I should have done decades ago! I have a half a dozen pictures of the event that I wish to share with you. I encourage all those who did not get their diploma the first time around to take the plunge and do it--not just for the diploma, for in the end that is but a piece of paper, but more for your own sense of satisfaction and the myriad of ways in which you grow as a person during the process. Going back to school has opened many new doors for me, and was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Enjoy the pictures and I will post more interesting tidbits real soon.
A last picture to share with you on my graduation day. This is a picture of myself and my darling wife Victoria. I was proud to have her share the joy of this day with me. She was so beautiful in her new dress that i was often reminded of our wedding night 22 years ago. I could not have done this without her support!
July 15th, 2015: It is summertime and school break is upon me and my family. As you may or may not know, both my wife and my adult son are still in school and they are both excited to get back to classes this September. My better half needs but two credits and it will be her turn to graduate, while my son, who was rushed through high school and only has a 16 credit certificate, is in it for another year at least to get his O.S.S.D. I am very proud of them both, and as you can see by the pictures above, I am happy with myself as well. This is something the wife and I should have done long ago. it took me 33 years to come back and graduate with honors, and it will be 25 years for the Mrs.
But, now what to do? I feel adrift with no clear goals in sight. I have all this English education and nothing to apply it to. Recently, I discovered crowdfunding. It seems like a great idea on the surface; you tell everyone out there what you need funds for, and if people deem it worthy they all kick in a dollar or so, and before you know it, your goal is realized.
Well, I decided to plead my case, since I would love nothing better than for Vicki and I to continue our education on into college. I wish to get into copy editing or some form of online journalism, and the Mrs would like to take her hobby of photography and bring it up a notch with some qualifications at a good college.
I have seen many things posted at http://www.gofundme.com/ some very worthy, some not so much, so I am taking a leap here and putting my request out to all of you on the internet. If you can help with a dollar or two, that is great,if not, then I wish you the best just the same. If you feel, after reading it, that my request is totally inappropriate, then please, let me know at [email protected]
I look forward to hearing from you either way. Here is a link that will take you directly to my Go Fund Me page http://www.gofundme.com/yzfyv8
Thank you for reading this, and may you have good days and pleasant nights and be with those you love and who cherish you in return.
Paul Melbourne [email protected]
August 20th, 2015: In my May 12th, 2015 post on this blog, I mentioned a great site for budding young authors called authonomy.com. I am sad to say that the site will be no more by the end of this year. There are precious few sites that a potential author can use to circumnavigate the secret paths involved in getting their works published, and the loss of even one such as this is a severe blow. Here is a copy of my post on that site from today:
"I am sorry to hear that Authonomy is shutting down soon. The information which I received on this, http://tinyurl.com/nl2cakp says that they will be exploring other forms of user submission, but fail to state what this is or when or where it will be made available."
"To be honest, I am surprised that this has not happened sooner. Things have changed, and not for the better since I have joined this site. Once upon a time, in partnership with Authonomy, a budding author was able to feel like he or she was getting useful, tactile feedback, from the editors, and from the Authonomy community at large, but this is no more."
"For many months now,I have gotten the feeling that any piece of work that I have placed on this site has sailed off into a black hole, never to be seen or heard from again. There is also a sense that the site itself had been set adrift as "legacy-ware," to live or die by its own devices, with no support whatsoever from the parent company."
Thank you, Authonomy, for what you once were.
The site was the place I tested the Genesis, the beginnings of my first book; a place to see if the seeds of my mind would take root or die, and in the end--they thrived. I mourn the sites current state, but even so, I will be very sad to see Authonomy vanish from the internet forever.--Paul Melbourne
June 8th, 2016--I am very sorry for the sparseness of my posts of late but life intrudes as they say;however, I have something interesting for you today. As some of you may know, my better half and I have taken up hiking for fitness, and to save our middle aged knees if possible. The Mrs. and I just hiked the entire Petun side-trail (located in Collingwood) today (June 8th, 2016.) We started from the little parking area at the top of the Second Line off of Grey Road 19. From this location, you have a good solid half-an-hour before you get to an intersection in a woods shortly after a small glade. Turning left at this intersection reveals the actual Petun trail sign with some information posted on it. It is a beautiful hike, but much longer than advertised when reached in this manner. When you get to the top of the lookout, you will see a wooden stake in the ground with a red ribbon wrapped around it. You have reached the top of the bluff. This is a great place to take a break and explore the stunning view. The trail goes left AND right at this point, which caused us some confusion at first. After scouting out the left-hand path, which seemed to be correct, we determined that it was in fact not the right path. There were only two blue trail-blaze markers to be seen, and they were very worn and faint. Perhaps, at one time the Petun was set up to run in this direction, but no longer. Take a right at the top of the lookout instead. This route will eventually empty out at a ski run, or what once was a ski run. Looking to the right we found a crude sign warning of logging going on in the area ( this is a protected area, but work is often done to remove hazardous deadfalls and the like), so we gambled and took a left turn down the slope instead. This is a very beautiful area as well, but caution is needed as it was a bit steep for our Novice hiker legs by this point, and there are a large number of very deep holes hidden in the grass here just waiting to break an ankle. I advise you stay to the middle of the run if possible, and if you stray off to take pictures do so with caution. For this area alone, as well as a few others along the Petun, a set of hiking poles, or at the very least, a good, home-made walking stick is highly recommended. It should be noted that there are several small creeks and streams available for those who carry water purification kits and the like, so you do not need to pack a lot of water. About 3/4 of the way down, you will see a Petun trail marker on your left, and you can get back on the trail proper here. Half an hours walk through another beautiful forest brings you to a private dirt road, and you follow this road back out to Grey Road #19. Take a left on #19, and looking just a hundred meters or so ahead, you can see the sign post for the Second Line. Follow this back up the road, through a small swamp, up the hill, and back to the parking spot. We enjoyed this trail immensely, and it took us almost exactly 3 hours from start to finish, with no stops longer than 5 minutes, and we did not sit and rest. When we do this trail again, we may do it in reverse. There is another tiny parking area (3 cars max) just opposite of the Second Line marker on the right-hand side of the road on Grey #19. Doing it in reverse will allow the final part of the hike to be all downhill on the Second Line and may be easier for those new to hiking or those who need to build up a bit of stamina first. This, of course will mean a bit of a hike up the old ski-run meadow as your first main task on your journey. I highly recommend this trail to anyone. Going slow, and taking lots of breaks, even a newcomer to the hobby of hiking can finish this in 3-4 hours without too much pain. I can be reached at [email protected] should you need any more details. I will share some of the pictures with you that we took in the next day or two. The picture shown is a beautiful shot we took at the top of the bluff overlooking Georgian Bay and our home town of Collingwood.