Large (Wikimedia)

Julian Ashton painted The Prospector in 1889.

As the Art Gallery of New South Wales points out, “[t]his heroic representation of an Australian ‘type’ is more a character study than a portrait, recalling the artist’s work as a newspaper illustrator.”

Certainly the work reveals the impulses of a documentarian—in the almost diagrammatic pose of the prospector as he examines his pan of water, and in the careful array of his tools behind him.

The Worlds Largest Silver Nugget —- The Big Boulder of Sandon

Discovered by James W. Cockle and his partner in 1892 while prospecting near Sandon, British Columbia.  At 7-1/2 feet long, 3 feet wide and nine feet high, it weighed 120 tons. 

Unfortunately Cockle did not have very good business sense.  He sold the boulder for $2,000 to a man who claimed he would exhibit the boulder at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, with Cockle earning a share of the profits.  Instead the man cheated him, breaking up the bolder and selling it to smelters and refineries, making a profit of over $20,000.

Promising leads.

Yesterday and today, I had my first 2 job interviews in over 2 months. That is a lot of prospecting to finally get a few meetings set up.

Yesterday’s interview went really well. Turns out the principle of the firm that I met with went to the same school I went to: the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He’s a fellow Ragin’ Cajun. And he even had some of the same architecture professors I did. What are the chances?! He liked what I had to say. I liked what he had to say. And he said he would to get back to me in 7 - 10 days to set up a follow-up meeting after he talks to the other candidates. Before leaving, he said I have a pretty good change of getting it. I hope it’s true.

Today, I had another meeting with another architecture firm. This was a lot more informal though. It is a smaller office with a handful of people and they have lots of large projects coming that they cannot handle with their small staff. So they need somebody soon. The only problem is that the owner and key decision maker is somewhere in Africa till the beginning of November designing a hospital. I won’t know anything until he gets back.

The two offices are opposites. One is small, the other is large. One does $30,000,000 projects, the other does $7,000,000 projects. One is more “corporate” and the other is more laid back and casual. But each has things about them that I really like. I would work at either one. So whoever gets back to me first wins. I hope that whatever decisions need to happen, happen fast. Because I don’t like waiting around!!

Oh, and I have also decided to go ahead and start flight training to become a pilot. For real this time. Perhaps even change careers and become a commercial pilot. And the job I take now will basically be used to fund my flying lessons.

So who knows… perhaps one of these days I will be captain of an aircraft, flying myself and fellow tumblrs to race destinations. Free upgrade to first class for all my followers, am I right?!?!

With the down economy, many are taking their financial futures into their own hands — literally. They’re looking for nuggets of wealth — gold, that is — which they hope will yield bigger profits than paper stocks. Certainly mining isn’t the greenest of practices, but at least one proponent of the new gold rush argues that with demand for gold continuing to rise, small-scale prospecting is far more eco-friendly than massive, corporate-run gold-mining operations.
10 retro activities making a comeback

Day 352 - Anne-Marie (1st person I approached)

December 18, 2014 - It’s been a long time since I walked out of my apartment building, and saw someone on my street, that I wanted to approach. Anne-Marie was standing at the corner, looking at her phone. I was drawn to her brightly coloured scarf and jacket. She stepped off the curb just as I approached her, so then I became this fool walking back and forth across the intersection. I told her what I was doing, and asked if she would chat with me, as she walked down the street. I suggested we could sit at a nearby bus-stop to stay out of the drizzle. “Sure, I’m just heading down here to the mall to grab some wrapping paper,” she said. I asked if I could walk to the mall with her, and Anne-Marie seemed fine with that. I mentioned that her scarf and jacket had caught my attention. She smiled, telling me she’s an artist and likes colour.

“I was born in Smithers (British Columbia). My father was a prospector. He worked panning for gold, and in the mines. We moved all over in those parts, and lived all up and down the Skeena River. My mother was an artist and teacher,” she said. Anne-Marie is the third of seven children, all born within a thirteen year period. “We’ve always loved one another and got along extremely well. We were our own community,” she said.

"The family moved around to accommodate my father’s prospecting and work in the, mines. With my mother being a teacher, there was always a school nearby. The places we lived in were often rural. That meant the schools were sometimes a single classroom,” said Anne-Marie. “My parents loved the outdoors. My father would go off on long walks, he never took gun and he’d just go out climbing and walking. My mother was the first white woman to teach in the school on the Fort Babine Reserve,” she said, with well-deserved pride. “Many of the places we lived in were so small, we went to the school our mother was teaching at. She spent time home-schooling us as well, but we attended school regularly.”

“I always knew I wanted to be an artist. From my earliest memories I was drawing and painting. My mother was an artist as well. She was such a wonderful women. We truly cherished her. Her greatest gift was her kindness. My mother came from a well-to-do family in Victoria (Vancouver Island), and was well educated. She left to go to Smithers to teach, and that’s where she met my father,” said Anne-Marie. 

“My mother and I were going to be artist’s together. After I graduated from high-school, she went to UBC (University of British Columbia), for summer school. I went along with her, and took some courses there. In the fall I went to UVic (University of Victoria) and started studying to become a teacher. I went there because Victoria is where my mother was from. I was going to become a teacher as tribute to her.”

During Anne-Marie’s second year in university, her mother had a stroke. “She was only forty-five. The youngest in the family was only nine years old. When the Doctor came to tell us she had passed away, that night, I decided I was going to become an artist. And be an artist for both of us,” she told me. Anne-Marie left UVic after completing her second year. “It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t care for the structure of school. I went back to Smithers to be an artist.” 

“My husband and I ended up selling all of our belongings and we bought a canoe. We moved up to the Takla River area. We loaded the canoe with as many supplies as we could fit, and went into the forest for the winter. It was isolated, and we painted and enjoyed the quiet of nature. In the spring, we’d put our paintings into the canoe, go into a nearby town, and sell them. We made enough money to buy more supplies and then we went back into the forest,” said Anne-Marie. For the next twenty-three years, Anne-Marie lived in remote locations in Northern BC, the Yukon and the Arctic. “We lived in places that were only fly-in and fly-out. There some very remote locations,” she said.

“It was time. After twenty-three years, it was just time to make change in my life. I needed to start integrating with people again. I wanted to change things. My husband, who I’ve known since childhood, he and I moved to a house-boat at Granville Island (Vancouver). It was definitely difficult adjusting. After so many years of living in such remote places, and deep in nature, it took quite a while to adjust. It was very hard,” she said, shaking her head slowly.

In 1986, a friend invited Anne-Marie to take part in a dragon boat race. “During Expo ’86 (the World’s Fair, held in Vancouver, BC), China had brought four or five traditional Dragon Boats with them, as part of their display. Until that time, there had only ever been men’s dragon boat teams here. My friend and I decided to put together a women’s team. We held a meeting to get things going. I was part of the organization of what would go on to become the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival.” said Anne-Marie. 

"We were good too! We qualified for the World Championships. We beat China in a qualifying heat, which completely spooked us, we never expected to beat China, of all teams. We won Silver. And then for the next ten years, we went on to win many, many gold medals,” said Anne-Marie. Early in our chat, she had mentioned that as a child, one of the mining claims the family lived on was called the ‘Golden Eagle’ site. She told me that there has been a lot of gold in her life. “It’s the name of my art studio now. I just seem to have always attracted gold,” she said. Now I understood what she meant.

The Dragon Boat team would usually go to Singapore, Hong Kong or Macao to acclimate before racing. “It was much hotter there and we would practise and get used to the heat. One day, I was heading back to the hotel, in Hong Kong. I think I had been out for a jog, because we had to keep very fit. There was this small circular concrete garden that I noticed, and I went to sit in it. There’s so little space given over to nature in Hong Kong. As I sat in this tiny little garden, I noticed a small blue butterfly. It was resting quite close to me and I watched it for what seemed like a long time. It’s funny, in the middle of Hong Kong, in this massive city of concrete, I was transfixed by this blue butterfly. I decided to listen to the voice of the artist inside me, that was going ‘What about me? What about me?’ I gave up racing and went back to painting again. There comes a point in the life of an artist where all you want to do, is be that artist, and paint,” she said.

In 1999, Anne-Marie starting painting portraits for the Vancouver Law Society’s publication, ‘The Advocate.’ “I would do a cover every two months, so six a year. They were commissions, really. But I never wanted to paint just what I saw of a person. I would call the person who was the subject, and make arrangements to meet, and take some photographs of them. I told each person during that phone call, ‘When we meet, I want to know, what makes your soul sing.’ There often ensued the most long, drawn out, awkward silence. But I didn’t want to paint the lawyer or the judge. I wanted to paint the person inside, as they saw themselves,” she said. “I would ask them where their favourite places are. If they liked surfing, then I’d paint them on a surfboard,” she said, chuckling. 

“For the last cover that I was going to do, after twelve years of painting these covers, they asked me to do a self-portrait. There was a presentation, and they surprised me. They had prepared a collection of all the covers I had a painted over the twelve years. The covers were assembled together, just as they would put together the magazine. Except they called it ‘The Artist’ and had my portrait on the cover,” Anne-Marie said, her voice soft, and emotional. (*Fact Check - see links below.)

Anne-Marie is retired now, but of course, still painting. “We have seven sons and twelve grandchildren. Maybe it’s eleven. We just built a beautiful house on the Naramata Bench (BC interior). I made hand-painted tiles and rammed earth walls. And I have the loveliest studio to paint in. The house really is a piece of art in itself,” she said. “We spend the winters there and then we have a place on Savary Island as well,” she said. 

"I’ve been so fortunate in my life. I’ve had so many remarkable experiences. We became good friends with the Factor (the person responsible for a Hudson’s Bay trading post) at a reserve in the far north. I’ve walked on land that no white person had ever set foot on. I’ve been making a living as an artist for fifty years now. I have wonderful friendships with people from all over. It’s really been remarkable” she said.

“I teach painting as well now. Just like I’d ask the subjects of the portraits I painted, I tell students ‘Don’t just paint a tree as you see it.’ Close your eyes and see if you can connect with that tree, listen to it.  Let it tell you how it see’s itself, and paint that,” she told me. “What makes your soul sing? That’s the key to life. That’s what it’s all about.”

We had taken a seat in the mall as soon as we got inside, and hadn’t moved for about twenty minutes. I remembered that Anne-Marie was going to buy wrapping paper. We finished our chat and she started to walk out of the mall. I asked about the paper. “Oh, I don’t have time to get it now, I have an appointment to go to. I was just trying to fit in an errand, before the appointment. That’s okay, I’ll get it later,” she said. Anne-Marie had spent her errand time talking to me. That made my soul sing. #notastranger

*Fact Check -

**Fact Check - Advocate magazine -

Going back to basics. Interest rates are still at an all time low, but not expected to stay there much longer. Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world just had his best quarter of all time. Why? Because he invested in homes, single family homes, companies that build homes and even brick manufacture. He was asked one question: if you had one choice between the stock market and real estate in where to invest your money, he answered real estate!
Lehigh Valley is currently one of the most in demand and competitive real estate markets in the country. If your looking to make Lehigh Valley home, contact me today!

Christopher Stager REALTOR
Century 21 Pinnacle
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Understand How Your Prospects Think and You’ll Triple Your Conversions


The most common question I get from members in my network marketing company is how to approach their prospects. It doesn’t matter what approaching method is in question, whether it’s messaging, live one-on-one conversation, group presentation or even creating a squeeze page, since each method represents giving out the information our prospects are about to see or hear for the first time. This moment is very important; it can either attract prospects to take further action or drive them away ( and it’s really painful to realize that all these prospects might be converted if we approached them differently). Of course, many things can be corrected in the follow-up process, but still, the first impression is the first impression! Read more »


My brother and I are officially in a documentary called “Gold Lust Montana” which is now getting released in Europe from Adventure Films. Ran into the guy out of the blue at a rest stop we spent the night at and started chatting and we played music for him, so my nervous clawhammer banjo music will now be critiqued by French people apparently. Just got our copy this evening. c:

People want “me” mail, not email. Email must be relevant to, and meaningful for, the recipient. If it’s not, don’t expect it to be read. If you don’t provide sufficient value, your emails will end up in the spam folder.

via Seth Godin

A good addition to my thoughts last week on cold emails.  If they are not relevant to the recipient, then it was not worth sending and you wasted your time.  Instead of pumping out tons of generic emails, make each one count and personal and meaningful for the person that will open it.  Make it about them, not you.