Saturday, October 30, 2010

klaus pichler

This photo is part of the Skeletons in the Closet project by Klaus Pichler. All the photographs were taken in museums, not of the exhibitions themselves, but behind the scenes. There is an appealing sort of jumble to the specimens, most of which are thrown together with little are. They make for a compelling composition but this lone wing-tip is my favourite.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Fungi by Groundwork found on

Here in Vancouver, as the rain sets in, it is Fungus season.
Last weeks walk in the woods revealed many fascinating varieties, none of which I have the skill to identify. However, I'm grateful that someone can, as wild crafted mushrooms are appearing at the market and making me hungry.
I was also lucky enough to stumble across this gem a few weeks ago.
Know your Mushrooms the 2009 documentary by Ron Mann. It's bit silly at times but filled with some fascinating bits of information and very knowledgeable nutty old guys tramping about in the woods animatedly spouting the wonders of fungi. They really do know their stuff and the section of the film that was predictably devoted to Psilocybin (magic) mushrooms was not the bulk of the narrative.

I found these beautiful leather mushrooms at but they were reposted from nuno magazine where you can subscribe and find the tutorial.

If you prefer a look at Fungi that is more serious and educational (and narrated by David Attenborough-who you will come to learn is one of my great heroes) here is a clip from the BBC I'm enchanted by the magical dance of the time-lapse filming. And by the many forms that the fungi can take. The white-netted fungus (Phallus indusiatus) being one of the loveliest, and most surprising to watch unfold.

Here it is again in this gorgeous vintage botanical available here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Giant Penguin

Fossil evidence of a giant penguin were found recently. Inkayacu paracasensis or Water King, had brown and grey plumage instead of the modern white and black. Along with the Icadyptes salasi another species discovered a few years ago, these birds lived in what is now Peru about 36 million years ago. They stood over five feet tall and were twice as heavy as today's largest penguin, the Emperor which stands at 3ft 7in and weighs 75 lbs. They may also have been able to dive to great depths judging by their large size. The Emperor often dives to 200m (and the record is 565m)
Articles describing these penguins are from the BBC and can be found here and here.

And strangely the mention of giant penguins makes me think immediately of HP Lovecraft.
An odd association to be sure, but there is a mention of penguins in his 1931 story At The Mountains of Madness.

This white, waddling thing was fully six feet high....a penguin—albeit of a huge, unknown species larger than the greatest of the known king penguins, and monstrous in its combined albinism and virtual eyelessness.

The story has little to do with penguins at all, for some reason their brief presence within the story has stuck with me. They have little significance to the plot but perhaps it is there recognizable familiarity within this strange Lovecraftian mythology that grounds the story. It is actually a tale of an Antarctic Expedition and the discovery of a race of Ancient beings. Genuinely creepy and written with excellent detail I find it to be one of his better stories.

The complete text can be found here.

The image below is from the Spanish Graphic Novel En Las MontaƱas de la Locura illustrated by Enrique Breccia