Category Archives: Photos

The call of adventure -1 : Starship

You read that in every How-to novel writing advice, the call of adventure that the hero or heroine spurns at first… I wish to share this incredible moment when I boarded and rode an experimental hovercraft.

The name of the vehicle was… Starship. Don’t laugh. It was a miniature orange two-person hovercraft, in demonstration at an event organized by my father (a hovercraft specialist) for an aerospace association that do not exist today. A jobless geographer atthe time, I had volunteered to help him with small things. We were in a hangar by the St-Lawrence River, under a gray sky.

Michèle riding the Starship behind the pilot. Note the smile.
Michèle riding the Starship behind the pilot. Note the smile, the ear coverings. And the faraway Victoria Bridge.

One visiting engineer had been invited to test it, but he said he would get drenched (and he was an experienced, gray-haired guy, I suspect he knew what to expect bouncing in a small craft next to the engine, while I didn’t). So, I offered to go instead. I put on a thick and loose and dark wetsuit over my light and elegant September clothes and sat behind the pilot.

The first assault on my senses was the deafening noise of the main engine (see in the pic, right in my back) and the propeller pulling the air down to lift the hovercraft, screaming at one hundred and ten decibels that made even the red composite hull shake. It was impossible to talk, and the earmuffs might have been cotton candy for all the protecting they did.

After the flat concrete, the cold, cold September water of the St-Lawrence River rushed at us, sprayed droplets everywhere. Water seeped through the seams of the wetsuit, enclosing my legs in a moist embrace. The smell of tar and exhaust, the stench of dead fish coming from the posts of the bridge we were passing nearby gave a moldy taste on my tongue. But nothing beat the excitement of flying over the water in an experimetal hovercraft!

The hovercreaft jumped over chopping waves, propelled so fast every bone of my spine and basin was vibrating at the same pace. I grabbed the hull on my sides, not sure the orange lifejacket would be of any use if a sudden swerve shook me off. The craft reached the faraway bridge at piers in less than a minute!

At our dizzying speed bouncing over the wavelets, the air rushed at my face with countless droplets, my carefully combed hair was askew, but I still remember today how exhilarating those five minutes had been!

Gratitude

My grateful thanks for the gallant Starship pilot, who may have retired since the pic ws taken (I didn’t get your name, alas, so say hello if you recognize yourself!) Note how on the pics the pilot did not wear the earmuffs; he probably lent those to me for the test drive.

And kudos to the fellow engineer who took this picture and sent it to my dad, Jacques Laframboise, a few weeks later. We thought you might like this as a little memento of a happy day, he had written, noting the dsate September 23rd, 1987, and a time 2 min 45 sec, which may be the time elapsed in the hovercraft test drive. Alas, that friend didn’t write his name, and my father has flown into the great unknown in 2014.

It had been 34 years, and I still count those three minutes as the most exciting in my life!

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Be well…

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And keep your distances, like those two birds sitting in the cold.

Let your thoughts travel faster than light, if your bodies can’t.

Humans are not like birds, they can’t survive picking up seeds or buds

So remember to share in the joy, and to share, whatever and whenever  possible.

***

Wonders of Vegas (2)

One hidden treasure of Las Vegas I discovered in March is a fine vegan restaurant, recommanded by my SF writer colleague Kris Rusch. Vegenation is an small, quiet space with a very convivial ambiance. !

The visitor is greeted by a profusion of green plants and quiet music.


Flowers (real ones) adorn each table, adding to the joy of eating. I ordered that specific, jar-contained meal at least three times!

Of course, the fact that the cutlery is metal and the glasses are reused Mason jars holds its charm! (Like the Panthère Verte restaurants in Montréal.)

It had been a looong time since I ate so well in a restaurant. Usually, my vegetarian choices are dim.

And do NOT start me on the plastic utensils and cups most budget-savvy places offer…

So I came back to the Vegenation not one, but four times, for a more excellent, fruit-filled breakfast. Here… everything was good! The meals were filling, generous and respectful of both animals and my budget!

And the meals were so satisfying, even the “meat” and “cheese” ingredients were 100% plant-based.

I was so happy of this discovery (and I am NOT a food/restauration reviewer) that I talked to a fine young man working there and asked a few questions.

Travis Schwantes, at the Vegenation. Travis was busy directing some redecorating of the restaurant, but he took the time to answer my questions.

Where did you grow-up, come from?

I grew up in Southern California and I lived in New Jersey for 15 years. My wife and I moved to Las Vegas 9 years ago.

What is your specific education ?  I have a bachelor in arts and Spanish literature.

Since how long does the Vegenation exist?
Since 2015.

How did you discover your vision, how did you came into the picture?

I met the owner, chef Donald Lemperle, who told me of his vision and I wanted to be a part of it. This was seven years ago. I have taken the tasks of manager since 1 year and a half.

What event did propel you towards the vegan lifestyle?

15 years ago I started at thinking about being a vegetarian. At the time  I got food poisoning from meat. At the time I was 22. Since then, I started meeting vegan people, and came to work here, and became inspired by all the people here. I started to watch documentaries, after watching a few, one day one day, my wife and I look at each other and decided let’s go vegan!

Any projects or  expansion in the foreable future?

I want to help lead this food revolution. To do that I am helping chef Donald achieve his vision of creating the first successful chain of plant-based restaurants. So that we can bring more positive changes to the communities.

Charming detail: non-binary bathrooms!

All in all, if you ever come to Las Vegas, step out of the Fremont Experience and turn your feet south. This nice little restaurant is on Carson av

To know more about this restaurant: Vegenation in Las Vegas.
WHERE? 616 e Carson ave, suite 120, Las Vegas, nv 89101

WHEN: opens everyday at 8am — closes at 8PM (Sunday-Thursday 8am) and 9 PM (Friday and Saturday)

HOW MUCH? reasonable: 8-15$ for a meal.

MY FAVORITE: the organic, fair-trade coffee… served in the pot, so it makes *four* good cups!

 

Wonders of Vegas (1)

Las Vegas has a Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, since 2011! She has succeeded her husband Oscar (deceased) and pursues progressive policies. Public transit is well developed, among other things.

Une vue iconique de Las vegas! Face à la Fremont Experience

An iconic view of Las Vegas, facing the Fremont Experience

I went there for a writer’s workshop. However, I discovered other less known and very positive aspects.

Murals

This week, I open with murals. In every city I visit, I try to capture the mural art. And Las Vegas has some amazing art.

This is behind the restaurant Vegenation, which I will talk about soon.Une murale qui anime un triste stationnement!

A mural that animates a sad parking lot! Near 6th Avenue

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Another colorful mural, surrounding the same parking lot.

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The Astronaut and Unicorn hidden mural, visible from a back alley!

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Here, a very well sponsorised giant mural

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A well-thought illusion featuring a place long gone.

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A museum mural. Wheter the red splurt was designed or not to symbolize the fragility of wild life  reminds to be seen.

Rebellious murals

Corporate Welfare? Not a taker!

Some very unconventional murals surprizes the visitors!

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This young pinkish girl seems to mock us!

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Another rebel graffiti. The woman’s face extends below on the asphalt, a mark of the artist’s craft. The other graffiti artists have (for the most part) respected this image!

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You can guess the hope and apprehension in this man’s eyes. (My other angle without the post was too sun-drenched to show.)

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This dignified face may be a publicity stunt, but the Fear no Fate text looks like Fear no Hate, all in all a good message for me.

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As a science fiction writer I can’t ignore that one.

La plus belle murale de Las Vegas, selon moi

That dreamy mermaid closes this review.

October in Oregon

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Back from an intense Master Business workshop geared for independant SF&F and genre authors, in Lincoln City, Oregon. The class was held near the ocean, that was all except Pacific!

Michèle à la plage

None of us even thought about swimming on this smotth beach. The waves are 15-foot tall, and crashed in a loud BROOOOM! The area has to deplore one-two dead annually from the « sneaky waves ».

IMG_20171028_200037MerRochesHumans, to the scale of the waves…

A lot of subjects were discussed, but if I can find one advice now for my writer friends, it is to plan ahead for your intellectual patrimony (IP – intellectual property), not only to keep it in your hands, but to eventually transfer it to your heirs.

*

A few pictures taken on the beach and in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Les vagues dans toute leur puissanceThe waves in all their power. Photo taken from the 4th story.

Comment l'hôtel épouse la falaiseAt this hotel hugging the cliff, you enter on the 9th and go down to your room. The beach is all the way down. The high tide can reach over the concrete steps.

Pour une auteure de SF, quelle aubaine que ces algues emmêlées!For a SF writer, those big algeas are a nice find!

IMG_20171027_173037bois800Detail on the driftwood.

Fleurs de plage. non identifiées.Unidentified flowers, at the salted and moist sand near the Inn at Spanish Head. Try to find the name for the Sunday artist!

L'avenue principale = l'autoroute 101Running on the 101 sidewalk : Lincoln City.

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Don’t forget the tsunami possibilities.

Les trois "soeurs" de la baie.

Siletz Bay, where the water is calm. A natural park has been settled, because seals visit this beach. Didn’t see one in my morning runs, but some author friends did.

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My dream, a bookshelf with the RIGHT proportions for pocket-sized novels! North by Northwest bookstore.

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After a good run in my LC 2016 race shirt, at the Inn…

L'entrée de l'Anchor Historical Inn
The Anchor Historical Inn entrance. The sailor seated on the canoe on the left is a mannequin.

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For the end : a pumpkin disguised in a Westfalia…
Happy Halloween!

My first of July wish

Les premières framboises (c) Michèle Laframboise

Generosity.
The rest will come along!

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A new generation of raspberries

A promise of summer abundance

 

Gardening Moment

If  last december weather let me do some gardening, April and May have been cold, windy, rainy… as the recent Mississauga marathon showed.

Now, the call of spring was stronger!

Here are some stars of my June garden…

 

Clematis, Peonies, and a daisy growing at the foot of a brick wall!

This week has been the first  that let me indulge in my two favorite leisures: gardening and…

The happy author finding treasures in garage sales

I always find a lot of hidden treasures in those garage sales! This time I returned with a small wooden writing table that I’m already using.

 

Dwarf Planet, Big Flaming Ice Heart!

PLuto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological  feature

(Pluto photographied by LORRI and Ralph instruments on the New Horizons, spacecraft)

Pluto is technically a  dwarf planet since 2006, but it changes nothing to the sense of wonder. Pluto surprised everyone with this heart-shaped geological feature!

Colors are boosted since only a small fraction of our sunlight reaches the Pluto system. The dwarf planet has known activity periods, and this 2000 km wide flaming heart maybe composed of nitrogen ice.

New satellites (Hydra, Nix since 2004,  Kerberos and Styx) added themselves to the larger Charon).

The sense of wonder of those pictures should not make us forget the long years of preparation by NASA astronomers and other teams, the nine-year voyage of the New Horizons craft, travelling more than 5 billions km in spirals to take advantage of the Jupiter sling-shot effect to boost acceleration.

Science, unlike movies where everything goes fast (problem detection,  hypothesis, analysis, solution finding), needs time. Reality is years of painstaking preparation for a few second of scintillating results.  Followed by more months and years of analysis, that may help us to learn more about the solar system origins. The freshly transmitted pictures show impressive mountains and canyons…

A solitary cardinal

A solitary cardinal perches on the vines

A northern cardinal perches on the vines
reminding me of my departed father
an enthousiast bird watcher
who left me all his guides!

May the next year be filled with light and creativity!

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Violet beauty

Violet beauty

A close-up of a magnificient Lily in full bloom. Picture taken near a garden, in Montréal. I was on site for a comic arts event, the FBDM.