Incredible photos from space!!

I wanted to talk to you about something awesome I stumbled across that I really feel everyone should know about.  Well, something awesome that’s done by someone awesome.

So I’m not sure if people really know much about the International Space Station (ISS) or what it does.  According to Wikipedia, the ISS is a satellite that was launched in 1998 to orbit Earth that can be inhabited by astronauts.  It was formed by the merger of three planned satellites: Russia’s Mir-2, the proposed American Freedom, and the European Columbus.  It also merged with the Japanese Kibō module as well as Canadian robotics.  It is a joint program among five space agencies and has had astronauts from 15 different nations.

The current mission, Expedition 35, has crew members from Canada, the US, and Russia.  Col. Chris Hadfield is the first Canadian commander of the ISS.  He’s the one I think people really should look up.

He’s been very free with the public, sharing pictures that he takes on his Facebook page, tweeting about what he’s doing, and even doing a Reddit AMA from space (along with a pre-flight one). The pictures he shares on his Facebook page are incredible.  You can see a sampling of them in the slideshow below.

He was born and raised in Milton, Ontario.  He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1978 and trained as a pilot. He graduated from Royal Military College with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, and eventually received a Masters of Science in aviation systems at the University of Tenessee in 1992.  That same year, he was chosen from 5330 applicants to one of four new astronaut spots at the Canadian Space Agency and transferred to NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  He’s done some pretty awesome sounding jobs at NASA since then, and has gone up to space several times.  He’ll land back on Earth May 14.

But really, everyone should check out his updates and posts.  They’re pretty awesome.  You’ll get so entranced you won’t even notice you’ve looked through over 400 pictures!!

It’s weird.  I don’t normally follow space news or look too hard into anytime another launch is happening.  But these pictures, along with his updates, make you feel as though you’re experiencing space with him.  His willingness to answer any and all questions – from space!! – really makes me excited to find out more.

And the best part?  No matter what city, country, or continent he shares a picture of, he always just says “us,” not “Canadians,” not “Brits,” not “Polish,” not “Korean.”  Just “us.”  He’s made us feel as though the world is border-less and we’re all the same – which we are.

Check out his Facebook.  You’ll be glad you did.

How much is a picture worth??

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and I agree! To a blog, a thousand words is a pretty long piece.  I find that most people don’t want to see a long-winded post.  They want short and sweet and easy.  There is millions of blog posts done everyday, and you have to find a way to hold the viewer’s attention for those precious few minutes (or seconds!!) that they take to look at your site.  One way to do this is with pictures.

I love taking pictures.  It makes me happy to take them, especially when I can play with them on Photomatix or Photoshop later.  I try to use them on my blog, although not all are originals.  It’s not easy getting a picture of the Spice Girls up close, or of someone’s Oscar gown.  But I do prefer my own pictures , if I can get them.

Which is partly why I started taking pictures again.  For a while, I had basically stopped all creative things (yes, even writing!!) and was living a fairly boring and mundane life.  Now that I’m back to it, I feel the need to do more and more.  But unfortunately, I’ve never been the idea girl.  I can write it, and take a picture, and edit, and anything else…as long as I have a topic or idea to work with.  Even blog posts are a pain sometimes.  The worst: coming up with titles!!  But I love writing, and so I push on.

Anyways, so I found a photo challenge.  It’s hosted on a site called Fat Mum Slim, which I found through Pinterest.  The point of the photo challenge is to take a picture a day.  She has posted a list of topics for each day, and you take pictures to do with that topic, however you choose to interpret it.

I’ve already missed the January and February challenges, although I may go back and do them.  I thought of making a page and posting the pictures on there, but I’m not sure it can handle 30 pics per page, and I’d want them decently sized so you can see them, so I figured I will create folders for each month in my Flickr Photostream, and just put the link here.  I’ll still make a page, and I’ll update it everyday (if possible) and put the latest picture on here.

I will hopefully be starting on today (I’m very sick right now, so I’m not sure about going out in the cold to take a picture of my neighbourhood), so I should have the first picture up soon.  If not, you can check in tomorrow  You can check out my Flickr Photostream in the meantime.

Don’t judge a book by its cover – unless it’s actually a book!!

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Everyone’s heard that, right??  You should take the time to find more about it, since what you can see on the surface isn’t everything.  Unfortunately, this isn’t advice I ever follow – at least not when it comes to actual books.

While I totally get this about people, which is really what I feel that sentence is for, I completely ignore it when it actually comes to books.

The cover is the first thing I look at.

It’s funny, because looks are not at all the first thing I notice in people.  Sure, I notice things like eyes, dimples, bitchface, and all that, but the overall look isn’t what I look for. Cliché (and unreal) as it sounds, I look at how people are, and who they are.  Personality is big for me.

But not in books.  I can buy a book simply because the cover interested me.  It’s actually how I shop for books when I’m looking to get something new.  I walk around, wait until a cover has my attention, then read the summary.  And then I buy. The draw for me can be anything: cool design, bright colour, haunting picture.

Honestly, I’ve discovered a great deal of amazing books this way.  It was how I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (although I first saw the fifth book, “Fiery Cross,” which has since become one of my favourites.  It’s also how I discovered the hilarious writing of Carl Hiaasen.

I can spend hours going through books at Chapters or Indigo.  I’ll wander through the stacks of fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, true crime, history, and politics.  Sometimes it’s just browsing, but here and there a cover will catch my eye long enough to get me to read what it’s about.  And then I’ll decide if I should buy it.

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So freaking cute!!

I used to love cartoons when I was younger.  There was nothing better than watching cartoons before school, or even early saturday mornings. 

One of my favourite things growing up was X-Men.  Wolverine, to be specific.  He was just the coolest of the cool. I always wished I was as awesome as he was.  He just kicked ass, and in my mind, no one was more awesome.

Another of my favourite things was Pikachu.  Clearly, this one appealed to my girly side.  I didn’t care for the fighting or anything, just the adorableness of Pikachu.  Well, and Jigglypuff.  And Charmander.

And now, thanks to Marvel artist Benjamin Ang, I can now have both.

Say hello to Wolverchu.  Yes, you read that right.  Wolverchu.  And it makes me really happy that it’s Storm that’s holding him.  I know nothing about storm, really, but I love it.

Sadly, there isn’t really too much to say about this, since as far as I know it’s just a one-off drawing – no comic, toy, or cute stuffed animal to go with it.

I’ve looked through his portfolio, though, and he’s pretty awesome at drawing comics.  He draws some fuck-hot women.  I’m not gonna lie, it made me look at both Wonder Woman and Black Cat totally differently.

I also found one called Pandaelf, which I have no idea what he drew for, but I want one!!  I think it’s the logo for a company, but I can’t figure out what the company does.  Whatever, cuteness!!

Anyways, his drawings are amazing.  I’m not really well versed in comics, so I can’t say if maybe his are just average, or even if maybe they’re terrible, but to my eyes, they’re awesome.

So there you go.  I really just wanted to share these two über cute drawings with everyone.

And if someone happens to find them in a cute, stuffed toy form, please, please, please let me know!!  If I could get these as cute little smushy stuffed toys, my life would be complete.