Dec 8, 2010

Hurricane Hazell

I've been thinking a lot about love and growing old lately. I thought I would start some handsome grandpa-ing again.

This is my grandad Hazell also known as Hurricane Hazell (because of his temper). He was a fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was really tough, and really, really, handsome. He was so charming with the ladies that my grandmother felt the need to leave her first born with relatives so that she could follow my grandad from base to base in order to keep a close eye on him. Once when they were apart, he sent her the photo of him writing his letter to her (you can see he has her photo next to him and turned to the camera-I think he is showing her this to ease her mind -pretty smooth). He also sent her the one of him wearing only his boots so that her imagination could wander. I see a lot of my grandad Hazell's qualities in my own brother.

Oct 1, 2008

Anton the mind blower-a diamond in the rough.

I have been saving this gem and I think today is a good day to share it. One day back in the spring during a pit stop on our bike ride Kenta came back from the washrooms. He tossed me his camera and said "I think you'd better go for a walk up to the washrooms, I think you are really going to like what you see." I ran up there with no idea what I was looking for. A blue heron? A yeti? An orphaned baby cougar? This is what I found. Meet Anton. When I first saw him I just stood back and appreciated what I saw. He was in this amazing tracksuit walking around doing lunges and mini kicks into the air. I thought that that was it, and that alone seemed like enough. I thought it was cute that he would put on this crazy sweatsuit to do his little kicking exercises. But it didn't stop there. He goes up to the parallel bars and shimmies across them on nothing but his hands. THEN he goes over to the rings and does a few chin ups. Think that's it? Nope. He finishes it off with a full 360 belly pivot spin on the bars. I had to meet this man. I went up to him and introduced myself. He told me his name was Anton, and I wish I had a better camera because he seemed to like the attention and he stood there and posed for me. Anton honestly looked to be about 90 with a physique better then that of many 25 year olds. I found out from a 25 year old that used the same equipment that Anton is there quite often, so best believing I will be going back for some good photos. This blew my mind. What else is out there that we are missing? Thanks and love you Anton.

Sep 17, 2008

I love funny-duck Alexander Calder

"It was early one morning on a calm sea, off Guatamala, when over my couch-a coil of rope-I saw the beginning of a fiery red sunrise on one side and the moon looking like a silver coin on the other."

I love this man. I selected Monsieur Calder for my first episode of a weekly series of "Celebrity/Artist Guest Grandpa". Calder is a dream and lives in his own. He gets 5 stars in the cute, creative, hardworking, dreamy, mystified, eccentric/weirdo/genius categories, all contributing to making him A+ handsome in my books. As a child he made beads for his sister's dolls and kinetic sculptures for his parents from found objects, he went on to become a mechanical engineer, and then decided to start making children's kinetic toys. Eventually he became a full-on artist and invented the (famous) mobile. He passed away at the age of 88, coincidently on the same day as my grandfather. He explains how he took on his special way of talking that developed while training for the Army; "I learned to talk out of the side of my mouth and have never been able to correct it since." He uses his voice for my favorite of his creations, the "Cirque Calder", a traveling circus that grew to eventually take up 5 suitcases. I really love him. Check him out.

Here is a Calder quote:

"Nothing at all of this is fixed.
Each element able to move, to stir, to oscillate, to come and go in its relationships with the other elements in its universe.
It must not be just a fleeting moment but a physical bond between the varying events in life.
Not extractions,
But abstractions
Abstractions that are like nothing in life except in their manner of reacting."
AC- From Abstraction-Création, Art Non Figuratif, no. 1, 1932.

Sep 10, 2008

Hurricane Hazel: The King of Ducks

This is my mom's father, my Grandad Hazel. He was a fighter pilot in the war who loved to hunt with my dad. He was a real man's man with a temper that earned him the nickname Hurricane Hazel. I have some great stories about him and some great photos that I will be posting soon and boy was he a looker. Handsome enough that my grandma felt the need to leave the baby at home with her mom so she could follow him from base to base to keep her eye on him. The first time my Grandad took my Grandma on a date he took her to the dump with a 22 to shoot rats. On the way home he flipped his truck and she broke her ribs. She hid the injury from her parents so that she could keep seeing him. 30 years later she ended up giving that same 22 to my brother for helping her walk her dog while her ankle was broken from a car accident. My brother and I still shoot that gun when we go camping together and I love thinking of my Grandma and my Grandad on their first date.

Aug 11, 2008

My cheeks still hurt from smiling...

I have had my pee-wee's playhouse dvd's back out these last few week-ends. Cartoons over breakfast have had me thinking back to when I'd sleep at my grandparents house. I would get up in the morning and see my Papa doing jumping jacks while listening to the radio, meanwhile my Nanny would would be making me Ego waffles, chocolate milk, and a side of orange juice mixed with cranberry juice for breakfast.This reminiscing had me phone up my Nanny and Papa right then and there over my current breakfast in bed. During the conversation I explained what a blog is to my Nanny thinking that maybe a relative close by could show them this blog. My Nanny said "Papa wants to tell you why none of our friends have computers". Then my Papa got on the phone and said "You know why none of our friends have computers? Because there aren't any computers in the cemetery". Major downer I know, but they seemed to think it was hilarious. Then I explained my Handsome Grandpas blog to my Papa and I let him know that he was my very first entry. Well he is always a ham and LOVES attention, he immediately perked up a notch at the idea of him as an internet star and his response to this was: "I will tell you one, and then I am going to go. Did you hear about Elizabeth Arden? Max Factor. Bye." Dial tone.

After that Kenta and I took to the streets for some leisurely Saturday Vancouver meandering and that's when we saw the best thing ever. Opera Man! Opera Man has been singing on the Vancouver streets since I first moved here years ago. I have yelled (more then once) out my window "Opera Man We Love You" whenever I would hear his beautiful voice early in the morning. (By we I meant the community, because you cannot dislike this man's voice). But I had only ever heard him, I had never been quick enough to see him. Well, not only did we see him this week-end but we talked to him! And I meant what I said. I do love him. I love him even more now. I realize now that he never heard any of my many shouts from my window because he always has these headphones on that he won't take off for the life of him. The voice of an angel. What a happy man. My cheeks still hurt from smiling.

Opera Man from crunchator on Vimeo.

Just riding the wind

I went away to San Francisco on a mini vacation and thought I would check out where things stand in the San Franciscian grandpa department. This is what i found. He's handsome, he's Italian, and he's just flying a kite by himself. I loved watching this fellow fully engaged, enjoying his own company, just making the most of his day. Kenta helped me to capture these photos of him. His posture in the last image just gets me right in the chest. The last fellow is a grandpa that we saw in China Town. Chris Allen took this great portrait of him.

Aug 1, 2008

Grandpa Pong

I often wonder what it would be like to go back in time and see my friends when they were young and small and what it would be like to play with each other as children. Even better is imaging what your friends are going to look like years and years from now when they have all of their life experiences etched into their bodies and minds. You have to use your imagination because you can't look back to any photos. My dear friend is leaving town and will be sadly missed by many, so I decided to dig deep into the handsome crates and post his gramps. Here is what he had to say about his grandpa:

Here is my father's father, his name was Pong Wing Gong. i grew up with him as a part of my household since the age of 8 or so until my folks split in grade 10. (I remember sometime around grade 3 having a cast on my left arm as i met him and grandma at the airport when they came to Canada). He passed away in August of 2002 with Parkinson’s disease.

I used to hate the way he favored my younger brother and nagged me with little chores like cleaning the ketchup bottle lip before closing the cap. As we both got older I was in college and we saw so little of each other, especially since I moved to Vancouver, so our relationship changed. When we did see each other he was incredibly tender and loving towards me. I was told he was a heavy drinker in his day and I remember seeing bottles of XO cognac and my pops explaining how this was the "good" stuff that gramps loved.


Here's to handsome grandpas of the past, present, and future.

Jul 30, 2008

They don't make 'em like they used to...

I decided to give this handsome devil, my very own Papa the honors of starring in my first entry of all entries devoted to those sharp old fellows that warm my heart. Papa has been playing the saxophone in the local Concert Band since 1936. He loves Jazz & Dixie Land music, the Detroit Tigers, playing the Eukele, story telling, leading sing songs at the Rotary Club, being a Shriner, and he loves to tell dirty jokes.

My Papa has been married to my Nanny for almost 70 years and counting. During that time he tells me they have spent no more then 12 nights apart. Through out their marriage him and my Nan have traveled all over the world on vacations that centered around music and dancing, their favorite place being New Orleans. Above his record player is a framed illustration of a uniformed man and a lovely lady embracing on the ground while sitting in front of a record player listening to music. When I asked him about it he said that he sent the image to my Nan when he was away during the war. He said "That was us. I told Maxine ' That's me there in the uniform and that's you there with me.' " Although my Papa loves causing mischief and grins at anyone bearing witness to my frustrated Nan shaking her fist at him, my Papa still calls her 'Baby' and gives her bum the odd pat. There will be many more entries involving my Papa in the future, but I thought we should start things off slow when entering the complex, endearing, chest aching world of handsome grampas.