Friday, December 21, 2007

Going Home

Tonight we begin the long drive home. It's a ways - The roadsigns will tell you it's about 1,400 kilometers, but google maps says it's closer to 1,200. I was having a chat a few days ago with an Italian gentleman and his jaw just dropped at the thought of driving that far and not leaving the country, let alone the province.

It's a long journey for sure, but it's an amazing drive through a series of distinct ecosystems.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Affordable Solar Power

Mmmmm. It warms the heart, and hopefully some homes in the very near future.

The world's lowest cost solar panels are becoming real.


And they are shipping, or at least auctioning one of their first on ebay.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

National Pasta Association


Blogged with Flock

Bucky Awards!

My favourite Canadian music awards are being... well... awarded tomorrow.

The Bucky awards win because of the fantastic categories. Best music to listen to in the fetal position, most unpronounceable name, best yacht rock...

Great Music

I thought I'd point you towards some really good music.

B(oot)log - Bootleg blog. Sweet.

And while you work (if you work by a computer with speakers, HAHA ELENA) stream yourself some Messiah from NPR. It's a great recording and the writeup is interesting.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, December 17, 2007

Indie rockers all smoke right?

Labels Seek Apology From Rolling Stone for Camel Ad

I've talked about hating bad advertising before right? I actually don't mind this so much, but only because it's basically another brick in the wall between me and wasting five bux on a crappy magazine.

Blogged with Flock

Joystick 2007

Joystick makes some dope poles and clothing.

Every skier needs some.

Anthony somehow manages to ski like a madman, work on joystick, make movies, and maintain the best personal skiing related website around. I don't know how, but he does.

Blogged with Flock


Best place for Christmas shopping ever. Everyone wants a bottle-cozy tailored to look like a traditional Chinese wedding dress right? RIGHT?

Honestly, it was uncrowded and inexpensive. That's two big advantages over any shopping mall or downtown core in the country right now.

I loves you Chinatown.

Edit: Oh, and the BBQ pork buns. DAMN!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The post office opens your mail and I hate advertising

I stumbled across a post by Scott Rosenberg about deep packet inspection. He likened the practice to a the post office reading your mail. It's not the perfect analogy, only because the post office would then also have to put RFID tags under your skin and monitor your every move and use that information to push targeted advertising at you.

Right now Rogers is using a kind of deep packet inspection to let users know when they near their bandwidth limit. Any bets on how long it's going to take for them to begin serving ads in the same way they serve bandwidth notices?

It's a new revenue stream that could make them a lot of money, but it's an invasive technology that scares the shit out of me. What the hell, the internet is loosing its cool.

Dear Advertising,
You ruin good television, good radio, and now you are ruining the internet.

Please don't, I like the internet. It's a lot like I thought radio was like before I learned that the different public broadcasters were the exception rather than the norm. I hated you for a long time when I learned that 99% of the radio out there is little more than a vehicle for advertising. I even hated radio its self a little when I worked there and realized how much more money and effort went into advertising than went into content - music included.

My hate turned to a mere dislike as I began to explore the internet, and you became a neighbour instead of an enemy. You could have commercial TV and radio (god what a sick, sick thing) and I could have my telnet, archie, and gopher. As that all changed to my ie and netscape, mozilla and safari, you began to creep in, and my hatred of you returned.

These days my hatred is back in full friggin force. You're trying to creep in to my conversations on Facebook, you change your colours like a chameleon depending on where I shop on-line, and you pose as real people with real blogs when all you are is goddamn commissioned lies.

Advertising, I hate you and I want you to leave me alone.


Michael Boronowski

Someday I swear I'm going to snap and move to a little cabin in the arctic, then someone is going to start experimenting with monetizing the channel that is my trap line.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, December 10, 2007

Online Rights

I'm still obsessing over copyrights.
They be good

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, December 06, 2007


We need over restrictive copyright legislation like babies need rabies.

Help a bunch of people put pressure on the government and Industry Minister Jim Prentice to really go out on a limb and consult the stakeholders and consider their input before radically changing Canadian copyright laws.

I like to write letters so I mailed M.J.P. and my MP Bill Siksay. Bill Siksay's party - the NDP is probably going to oppose the bill, so yay NDP on that one.

You can find your local MP with a handy government website.

Jim Prentice can be reached at:

Jim Prentice Constituency Office
Suite 105
1318 Centre St NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 2R7
403 216-7777
Fax 403 230-4368

You could also join the facebook group, but it'd be cool if you took it a step further and actually did something because while facebook is great for letting people know what you want to believe in, it doesn't actually contact MP's or Jim Prentice on it's own.

To find out more ways to help - or some info to open your eyes to the potential threat Jim's bill poses to our rights and educators, researchers, reporters, musicians, artists, Canadians, and human beings, have a browse through Michael Geist's writings and linkings on the matter.

I think someone from the pro-evil-copyright-laws camp has invaded my pc, it crashed twice just trying to post this.

I just wanted to add something - Jim Prentice has said no to Search Engine's request for comments. This story has generated more comments and questions than all their others combined, but Prentice won't respond to the obvious concern and confusion Canadians are feeling regarding this bill.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

iMove - Motorists - Home

I love maps. This is probably because I have such poor sense of direction in unnatural settings. I'm pretty good out in the wild, but as soon as streets and drives come in to play, well I'm pretty much buggered without having first checked a map.

Seriously, it can take me three or four trips somewhere before I can navigate confidently sans-carte.

Because I dislike driving into downtown cores I tend to use transit, and here's my issue:

Transit maps or transit websites are generally a cumbersome thing. Translink's website has a really hard time understanding that when I type in something like "Granville Station" I really do mean "Granville Station." It also doesn't let me check road conditions when I'm debating whether to drive or to transit somewhere.

I was really excited a few days ago when I stumbled across google-transit, but now I'm really excited about iMove. Traffic conditions, transit directions, cycling paths, colour-coded density... It's awesome. Seriously, or for cereal as I like to say, bookmark this and maybe join me in sending a thank you card.

I should also note that the always on top of it even though he's in Malta Darren Barefoot has a post about the smartly-simple common craft video that covers iMove.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Songs for Thurston

Long May You Run -- Neil Young
Born To Run -- Bruce Springsteen
Ready To Run -- Dixie Chicks
Ain't No Stopping Us Now -- McFadden & Whitehead
Road Runner theme -- Looney Tunes cartoons
Move Your Feet -- Junior Senior
Always On The Run -- Lenny Kravitz
Runaway -- Jefferson Starship
Break My Stride -- Matthew Wilder
Runner -- Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Run -- Collective Soul
Running Down A Dream -- Tom Petty
Run Like Hell -- Pink Floyd
Running With The Devil -- Van Halen
Running On Empty -- Jackson Browne
It Keeps You Runnin' -- Doobie Brothers
Fast As You -- Dwight Yoakum
I'm Not Running Anymore -- John Mellencamp
No one to run with-Allman Brothers
Run-Around-Blues Traveler
Running on Faith - Clapton
Runaway Jim - Phish
Run Like an Antelope - Phish
Take the Money and RUN - Steve Miller
The Long Run - Eagles
We can Run - Grateful Dead
Roadrunner - Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
Roadrunner - The Who
Run Baby Run - Sheryl Crow
Run to the water -- Live
Run to the Hills - Iron Maiden
Run and Run -- Psychedelic Furs

Yep... running day.  

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I like it raw

CBC is posting raw footage from stories they've been covering. As a videographer I love watching exactly what a cameraperson shot. As a curious person I love the opportunity to see more than a streaming version of a TV news story.

Torched Bus

Shaughnessy Murder

Thanks CBC!

Blogged with Flock

Monday, November 05, 2007

Broadcast Websites

Broadcaster number three in my list of good broadcasters has just updated the music section of their site. It looks very similar to broadcaster number two's, which is similar to broadcaster number one's. The colours are different for sure, but the basic layout and nice use of boxes have a lot in common.

It's just something I noticed because I've been thinking a lot about the web.

Content wise, NPR is killing it, so go listen! I personally recommend the Nickel Creek farewell concert.

Pics From the Phone

Greasy pizza

Mrs. James's Mom's Sunflower

What happens when Canadian Tire changes a new tire.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How long does new and shiny last?

I just wanted to maintain my network of friends and colleagues, and make some new connections along the way.

Last night on the way home from work my girlfriend said she was bored with facebook. She isn’t interested in the applications. She doesn’t want to superpoke, zombify, share-a-drink, garden, whatever-else-you-can-do-now…

The fun was in finding old friends, building new connections, and sharing embarrassing photos. Increasingly it seems facebook users are being turned into lobbyists for their interests, hell bent on converting all of us into drunk aquarium-owning zombies of web 2.0. AAACH! I SAID IT!

I have been noticing that more and more of my friends’ profiles are looking myspace-esque. The clean and functional design that originally drew me to the site seems to be fading fast.

One friend of mine has managed to rig up her profile with just about every single widjet/application/quiz/poll imaginable. The result is the ugliest page I have seen since I stumbled upon MIA’s myspace. WTF...Seriously, WTF.

I love the whole power-to-the-people ideal, but why do people have to use their newfound power to create something so damn butt-ugly. The real killer-app for facebook would be an optimizer. It would take a critical look at your profile, all the applications you’ve installed, and then reorganize and format the page to be reasonable.

That, or maybe it could just uninstall the stupid things altogether.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hacking Ads?

I Hate Love Hate Love respond with strong emotions to advertising. Bad advertising will make me change the channel in an instant, really bad advertising makes me turn of the TV or radio.

Apple, love em or hate em, make some reasonably cool ads. I was floored to learn a new television ad for their iPod touch was actually a tweaked fan-ad found on Youtube.

Here's the video:

As a believer in empowering people and celebrating success I applaud Apple for making a great move.

AdHack opened my eyes and mind to DIY advertising, although I've always been one to ask "real people" rather than trust a marketeer. It's exciting to see something they've been evangelizing produce such great results.

Their post on the subject links to Digg comments as kind of a proof-of-concept. Man, I like it when Mondays make me happy.

Blogged with Flock

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bringing Web-apps back to the Desktop - Prism

When I first started learning about web applications I was super excited that my workflow could be unshackled from my computer. I loved them, except for when explorer/firefox/flock/safari crashed while I was browsing another tab.

Mozilla, brilliant folks that they are, has given us an awesome solution.Rather than needing to use a web browser to get to your web-app, prism, well, here's what they say:

Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop.
Mozilla Labs Blog » Blog Archive » Prism

I'm stoked on this because I use a boatload of web applications - stuff like the google calendar, gmail, facebook. Really, it's like one of those annoying popup interfaces but rather than popping up out of a website beyond my control, I get to choose what resides inside or outside my browser. I'm a big fan of me running my own show, and a huge fan of others enabling it.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 15, 2007

Marketing and Communicating and Relating to the Public

Now that I'm in marketing and communications I thought I should shoutout a cool marcom/pr group. They are cool, and they fit with the duties of the day:

The DesmogBlog

oh, and happy action day everyone.
Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Friday, October 12, 2007

Green Hosting?

OK, I’ll confess, I’m a bit of a greenie. I spend more time and money to buy vegetables for the week by going to a farmers market. I unplug things, turn other things off… You know, all the little things that maybe offset my disgustingly wasteful western ways a bit. But as a tech nut I know my lifestyle has a gigantic footprint thanks to power-consumption and that strange “need” to have an up-to-date computer/cell/laptop/etc.

I’ve gotten on the e-cycling train by donating my older (only slightly) tech to charities, but I always wondered about websites and hosting. I’ve seen server rooms and they certainly aren’t a natural kind of space. Is all of that energy consumption really a step forward from the world of paper?

I’d just like to thank:

and others for bringing a bit of tree-hugging hippy back into the mix.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why I don't buy (many) albums

In between bashing my head against a wall trying to keep a little staircase clean I spend a ridiculous amount of time with music. Stumbling around the net looking for some completely unrelated stuff I found Ill Doctrine.
ill Doctrine is a hip-hop video blog hosted by Jay Smooth, creator of and founder of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad.

Jay makes a good point here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

For the setup please see the original post.

I has now been two full work-days since I called the city of Burnaby about the garbage issue surrounding the steps.

I took the wildflower seed infused papers, soaked overnight as per the directions, and planted them under a little dirt. I made sure they were really soaked and that the dirt was wet because it was beautifully hot today and I was worried about them drying out. They may dry and die anyway because I don't think there's much in the way of rain on the way, and I'm leaving town for three days on Sunday.

We'll see, tomorrow I'll force myself from in front of the
lcd for long enough to wander down there with a jug-o-water.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Garden Continued

For the setup please see the original post.

I’m not the greatest go-gettingest-self-priming-and-starting-briggs-and-stratton gardener you’ve ever met, so I decided to start small.

Four shopping bags and a half-time refreshment small.

I spent about 45 minutes picking up garbage, although I stopped for a “pop” halfway through so I couldn’t have spent more than half-hour on actual work. I filled the four bags with garbage, most of it cups and wrappers from Micky Dee’s. Looking at the base of the steps things are definitely cleaning up, but at the top I barely made a dent in the surface garbage.

I used a stick to dig down a layer and I think the situation up top is more along the lines of an excavation than a simple cleanup.
This’ll require professional help.

Enter the Burnaby Engineering Department – 604 294-7210.

I didn’t expect it to be this easy. The site is near the train tracks and a highway. I thought I would get bounced between departments while trying to figure out which taxpayers, and which taxes, would be finally responsible for helping with the cleanup. I've run into similar situations trying to tell a story about potholes and who is responsible for filling them in.

The absolutely professional and pleasant person at the BED was more than happy to write up two work orders for me. One was to have a city crew remove the remaining refuse, the other was to have the area assessed for garbage-can-installation-viability. I’m happy the city will send someone(s) to clean, but it kind of stinks (and will for a while I imagine) that the area has to be “watched for a few months to see if we can put a garbage bin there.”

So, with an hour work (including commute) and a phone call we’ve got a moderately cleaner staircase that is about to get a whole lot better.
I am going to celebrate today’s success with a “pop” or two and the beach.

Oh, and sometime tomorrow I have to plant these earth-day flower-papers I found while organizing my filing cabinet.

The Garden

An experiment in unauthorized park and flora establishment for the betterment of public space

For about a year now whenever I make the decision to walk to work I pass a flight of stairs that look, for the most part, messy and ugly.

Not that I don't absolutely love seeing plant life that has begun to take over, but the overgrown and unruly flora distract only slightly from the collection of McRefuse and Tim’s own unrecyclable paper cups.The leftovers not only look disgusting, but the smell on a hot day was bad enough to make me swear off McDonald's forever (probably a good thing.) I honestly think the warm ice-teas and whatever-with-cheeses are stewing under the undergrowth and if left unchecked Burnaby could find itself facing something along the lines of a Troma video.

So yeah, it’s gross. But why has it happened?

I believe the main reason for the garbage-buildup is the bus stop.

Not that the bus stop is itself responsible, but the startling lack of a garbage bin means people who don’t want to break Translink rules by eating or drinking on the bus (thanks Translink!) find themselves forced to toss their refreshments willy-nilly on the ground when boarding.

At first I tried not to blame the bussies because I like to think of transiteers as a more socially responsible group, but I have been walking this route the better part of a year now and not once have I seen another person anywhere around the steps other than bus stop. The lack of substantial foot-traffic could be because of the disgusting smell, but really I think people don’t come down the steps because there simply isn’t much to go down them to.

It’s a quiet street with very little in the way of traffic, and even less in the way of homes or businesses. It borders on the train tracks, so there really isn’t even a south side of the road for anything to reside-upon.

I’m going to take this neglected patch of urban landscape and create an enjoyable public space. I’m hoping the small amount of foot-traffic through the space means once this little project is underway there won’t be a high amount of day-to-day maintenance.

The hidden gem is the most beautiful anyway right?

What needs to happen:
• Remove garbage.
• Install or have installed a garbage bin for the bus stop.
• Trim bushes and remove old trimmings.
• Weed (that’s remove-em you hippies.)
• Plant some plants.
• Find some buckets or barrels for rain-water.
• Install seating and sign.
• Throw a party.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Benelopy Cringlsey

Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz are right outside my office door. Filming is being done in and around the broadcast centre for what I assume to be Elegy.

Fun times.

Oh, and Penelope's stand-in is apparently one of our applicants for next year.

No cellphone, no camera, I can't even post proof that I'm easily as tall as either of these two (rare for me!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Comments on Comments

The Tyee is launching what they call “…a new approach to readers commenting here…”

As a frequent reader, but extremely infrequent commentator (commenter?) on their website I’m very interested to see what comes of this. More often than not comment strings on blogs or online journals quickly degenerate into bickering matches that sidestep whatever article or issue started the discussion and become increasingly hurtful as they grow. Why? What gives?

I am a long-time internet user. I frequent forums. I browse blogs. I peruse postings and observe online communities and the squabbles and infighting that inevitably take place.

For the world at large the issue caught on fire when Kathy Sierra started getting some startlingly obscene and threatening comments on her blog, which led her to finding more threats and even some frightening photoshops on other blogs. The "startlingly obscene and threatening" link will take you to a story from Wired about the sources of the threats.

The double edged sword of online anonymity is razor sharp. We love the feeling of security, but we abuse the power it bestows upon us. Comments, postings, and rants often feel venomous.

It’s as if when logging on we’ve collectively come back from the Secret Wars, and as was the case for our good friend Double-P, we find the mask or costume we wear has come with a little added bonus.

Or have I got this wrong? Are the original authors and content creators more like our beloved Peter Parker with readers and playing the roll of Eddie Brock?

Our online relationships are symbiotic. While mutualism would be nice, more often than not what we wind up with is parasitic readers venting their rage – a rage free of the bounds of regular interpersonal relationships because of the strangely empowering nature of anonymity.

This is a big story right now because online journals and blogs now rival traditional media, but even back in the days of Wildcat! online tough-guyism has been an issue. The term “flamer” took on new meaning as we learned (or tried to) how to deal with a world in which everybody is an instant expert.

One site I think has it right, Something Awful. This may seem ridiculous at first when we compare the content to the material covered on “serious” sites, but if we break it down to the relationship between readers and the site the issue is clearly one of ownership or partnership from a users perspective. They've got a heap of regulars that want the community to continue to exist, and contribute to the site and community through posting in the forums. Only a certain few are actual writers for the front page, but many feel a sense of ownership or at least partnership because they have ample opportunity to contribute.

The site’s readers have spawned many an internet war, including hijacking virtual communities, mass-swarming other sites, stalking each other, and generally just being inappropriate.

The forums, unlike comments on blogs or journals, exist because of a real community. Sure it’s dysfunctional, but the site is better off because readers are more than a fake email address and a few angry comments.

Users can be put on probation, banned so they have to sign up again, and even permanently banned where steps are taken to try and ensure they will never return. People are held to account for their words and actions, something very difficult to achieve for a blog or website with no persistent community.

Sure there are the regular posters in the comments sections of sites like The DesmogBlog, Insidethecbc or The Tyee, but what other than deleting their posts can be done to weed out the bad seeds. Breaking from the article/comment format has allowed the users and moderators at Something Awful to build something more than the simple reactionary relationship we see on the web.

Perhaps then, the past is the future. The potential to spark a debate, and exist as a responsive and dynamic organization, can be found in the form of a forum.

Would users stop flying off the handle or hijacking debates? No.

But could a site deal with users who prove themselves to be reactionary hot-heads? Yes.

In any case, I'm looking forward to watching The Tyee's new approach to comments. I, like many others, am saddened when a great discussion about an article is taken over by loudmouths with an axe to grind.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I love eggs!

I hate shopping for eggs because I always think of things like this.

Back at home in rural Canada we got our eggs from a farmer. They tasted better, and the chickens sure as hell weren't all locked up in "battery pens."

Now I've got to pay top dollar for organic free range eggs, whereas I used to be able to buy dozens for a buck-fitty straight up.

Stupid city.

The Sun Run

Helen and I ran the Vancouver Sun Run.

As a tribute to the absolutely ridiculously massively hugely gigantic number of people registered, we decided to pace ourselves at exactly one minute per thousand people registered to run.

54:45 was my time, pretty close eh...


Helen had a hangover and I hadn't run in about a week so we took it pretty easy (or were unable to really giver.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Truly My Favourite Band

Music is probably the single most important thing in my life. I could be (and have been) cold, alone, hungry, sad, dirty, hungover, and injured - but a good bit of music will pull me up out of the muck.

One of the bands that really inspires me is Folky Strum Strum and the Postmodern Bluegrass Boys (or Orchestra, or just Folky Strum Strum.)

I've done my fair share of jamming with songsmith Ian Bruvold, and always found him to be a creative if offbeat (but usually on or at least very near the actual beat) musician. The same goes for Reno Fitch, and especially Graham Kerr who I do believe is quickly becoming Western Canada's best bass-clef-based musician.

I can remember the first time I heard these guys rip through a set, actually it could have been more of a meander or stroll.

It was fantastic. Ian, Graham, and Reno became something more than a tall guitarist, a tall mandolinist, and a tall bassist. They became a a musical distillation of rural Canadian life during a time that saw farmers turning into oilmen and oilmen turning into drugmen. That, and they didn't have to stand on a stage to see over the crowd while doing it.

There is constant talk about style in music. We analyze genres and scenes, we pick apart influences and commonalities. For the most part, and I say this with no great joy, bands can be categorized. But the Folky Strum Strum became more than a genre or scene or a fusion of styles. They were, during their brief existence, the touching voice of something beyond human. Hearing their songs live was like tapping into actual meaning.

Louis Armstrong said, "What we play is life."

Folky Strum Strum did, and I hope we all can find whatever truth they managed to connect to.

Ian Bruvold, I hope my praise doesn't embarrass you too much. You're pretty good at the music stuff.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Mojito

Sweetness and citrus
Summer and rum I sit and sip
Muddled lime and mint
I love a good mojito.


I've had a few jobs over the last few years; Painter, carpenter, editor, computer technician. There are a few more I could add to that list, but rather than focus on what I've done I'd like to focus on what I do.

Right now I'm working at BCIT, I've got the ever-so-impressive title of Assistant Instructor - Broadcast Journalism.

It's a fabulous job for so many reasons, number one being that sharing information (teaching) is actually the best way to learn AND it's about the single most rewarding thing you can do.

As my contract expires in June I have begun the search for employment, and I realize that I've been working for the competition. Not BCIT, but the students in the Broadcast-Journalism program.

Should I be pleased that I've done (from what I hear) a good job, or should I be terrified that now there are 42 more budding journalists vying for the small pool of jobs in the region - this set had even more training that I did, although I'm not sure if that makes a huge difference because so far the most important things I've learned about broadcasting I found out on my own or while working.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

K'naan nets a BBC3 World Music Award

K'naan is awesome and completely deserves the award.

His album The Dusty Food Philosopher is a breath of fresh air in the polluted world of hip hop.

The winner for the Americas category is Gogol Bordello. Their new album Gypsy Punks sounds (to me anyways) like a more frantic while less Latino Manu Chao. If that doesn't sell you on it then you should load up your ipod with nothing but Manu Chao for a week, and then load up on Gogol Bordello for the next week. BAM! Two weeks of contempo-folk-world-punk will make you see the light and sell your crappy major-label hard rock to 12 year olds on craigslist for just enough money to buy a bottle of rum and a couple o cd's at scratch.

More fun than a barrel of baby red-pandas with sweet ass mohawks wearing plaid zoot-suits.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another streaming mag

I keep trying different solutions (all free) for streaming the Mag. Googlevideo was easy with the uploader, and they don't shut me down because the show is more than 10 minutes long.

Revisiting Citizen Journalism

Just about a week ago I wrote a bit about how I was concerned with France's move to outlaw the distribution of images portraying violence by anyone other than professional journalists. This week an interesting story cropped up right here at home that deals with this exact issue.

A Vancouver firefighter and his son are facing charges after a fight with police. The fight, and a tasty finger-wagging was captured by a tourist (from what I've heard) on their cellphone and was posted to Youtube.

For your viewing (dis)pleasure.

I'm not a fan of violence, and I'm not sure I see much news-merit in the story other than to remember, if this were France sprintrjm would be in some trouble.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Painting and Sculpting with Bees

I have been completely in love with Aganeta Dyck's work for some time now, and I feel she rightly deserves the fancy GG award she just won.

Her shoes are brilliant, and I really really really really like the Sports Night in Canada series.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Marilyn the Poet

I'm pretty proud of my mom.

Leaf Press is using one of her poems on their site.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Le Citizen Journalism

France has brought in a new law that forbids ordinary citizens from distributing video or images showing acts of violence. Not that I'm a fan of violence or anything, but the story caught my eye because of what it means to citizen journalism there.

The law sets up fines of up to 75,000 euros and up to five years of prison time for those found to be distributing images of some offenses - stuff like:
  • Torture
  • Acts of barbarity
  • Violence committed by an agent of the state in the exercise of his duties

That last one is particularly troubling n'est pas?

The law is specifically targeted at happy-slapping videos, but groups like Reporters Without Borders are concerned that the law is so broadly written that it poses a great threat to the safeguard against abuse of authority that is citizen journalism.

Images and video are understandably crucial for television news, but I'm not sure that we actually need to see violence to be informed of its existence. I for one don't really like seeing the stuff, but I think the fact that individuals risk their own safety to expose things like torture and brutality speaks to our collective hope for a peaceful existence.

Banning the distribution of videos and photos like this deals a heavy blow to ordinary people fighting for social justice. It makes one wonder what France has to hide.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I Love Maps

And I've found some really cool maps here. The countries of the world are all scaled according to statistics. It's kind of predictable, but a few are real eye openers - Overall a great bit of mappery.

5 Ring Circus

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Wanna give out hugs? Clean yourself up a bit.

Monday, February 26, 2007


This is awesome!

I try to point as many people towards Radio3 as possible, so go there and hear.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Doin’ it for the Cause

Oh Cope378...

The My Generation, A Festival of Power was a powerful event indeed, powerfully-strange. I’m Having a hard time reconciling the various groups I saw represented at the event.

One the one hand we had the union, “trying to raise awareness.” By raise awareness they actually meant work to bring back the BC Hydro monopoly to create a larger number of unionized jobs for the cope378 union to represent.

On the other hand, various groups more concerned with fighting coal based power than with rebuilding a monopoly.

And on the third and final hand, a group of musicians with absolutely no connection to the issues up for discussion at the day-long event.

When I first arrived at the daytime festivities (held at the VPL) I met Brad Hope at the Save Our Similkameen booth. I was glad to see a group opposed to coal-power because I’m a guy opposed to coal-power and I’m pretty freaked out about a plant starting up near my home town.

Brad and I had a great chat about how people in Princeton are really disturbed by the planned power-plant, and how his group is trying to link up with the Peace Energy Cooperative to look into alternative energy sources.

The other thing we chatted about was why nobody my age, or really any age other than nearing retirement, are getting involved in social and environmental justice issues. Brad wondered how to attract the younger crowd to these types of events, and while I may not have the perfect answer I’ve got a couple of suggestions now that I’ve had a few minutes to reflect.

a. Don’t stack a concert with notable artists who have no vested interest in your cause. Sure Buffy Sainte-Marie inspired millions back in the day, but there’s the problem. It was back in the day, and the issues were different. Buffy (and Jim Byrnes) telling me to keep on fighting for my cause reeked of insincerity.

Prep your performers or choose ones with a real interest in your issue if your goal is to inspire more than a hankering for a doobie and some bellbottoms.

b. Focus, focus, focus (read as if you were whatever Brady-daughter was jealous of Marcia). Don’t confuse visitors with different booths delivering different messages. I got a pro independent-power-producer viewpoint at one, a pro hydro-monopoly view at another, and a “hydrogen power is bitchin’” view at a third.

c. Localize your issue. Is expensive power your concern? Tell people in Vancouver what it may cost them in the future to heat/light their Vancouver homes. Is green-energy your concern? Show people from the GVRD some regional solutions.

In closing, Final Fantasy was amazing. Mindblowingly amazing, and not at all connected to the debate around greenhouse gas emissions or independently owned and operated coal-burning power plants in British Columbia.

Friday, February 16, 2007


BCIT's in-house streaming media people hooked me (us) up by hosting the first BCIT Magazine of 2007. The other place to check it out is on the bcit blogs - if only they were easy to navigate... Oh well, one can't have one's cake and have it too, or is that eat one's cake and not get fat... Whatevs.

BOOM! Internet explodes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Drives the News in Vancouver

Just how far have Olympic promoters penetrated the CTV Newsroom?

A student of ours (and my buddy) Joel Baycroft was at the unveiling of the countdown clock for the 2010 games, and he (along with everyone other than CTV)witnessed quite a different event.

To be fair, on board Chopper9 David Kincaid noticed the protesters and did mention their concerns - perhaps they just looked like a small group from up in the air...

To be extra fair - CTV links to 2010watch from their site - check the bottom of the yellow block of links on the left.

To be opinionated and rude, the evening news for Monday night was basically a blow job for games-organizers and a celebration along the lines of "We have the broadcast-rights, na na na na na!" I hate criticizing a broadcast in public because in general CTV really can put together a stellar show, but it was gross.

I wonder if the other broadcasters are increasingly going to focus on CTV painting the games with their happy-brush. It seems strange to me, and I think the central issue is that Bill Good is doing a considerable amount of Rah-Rahing outside of the newscast - and for many people he represents CTV-News in Vancouver. When I see B.G. on TV it means I'm watching news, not a hosted-celebration.

At first I though maybe it was all in my head, but pretty much everyone I've chatted with has agreed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

BCIT Magazine January 11 2007


As we've previously covered, I'm the assistant instructor for the Broadcast-Journalism program at BCIT this term.

In honour of that please enjoy:

The students this year are talented and bright - pretty much just like every year. It is a constant pleasure and privilege to work with this group and the students currently in first year.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Deconstructing Dinner - We love food, and we love living. I've been thinking about how much food I consume, and what that means for the world around me. I eat a lot. I put a lot away. I don't shy away from seconds, thirds, or fourths. If I grew my own food I wouldn't have time to write about eating (possibly a good thing) or spend as much time eating as I'd be busy tending to the crops all the time. So where are the crops that are being tended to so that their bounty can reach my ever-hungry gullet?

That's where Deconstructing Dinner comes in. Last week the podcast was an interesting snippet from the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security conference in Vancouver. Some very current and topical (although not analgesic) topics are discussed.

This week's episode is part one of a two-parter on agribusiness, and promises a Cargill expose.

The reason I post this is that I'm starting to realize the massive amount of fuel burnt solely for the purpose of getting food to my table, and the massive commercial and financial forces behind this strange need to ship things from where they are grown to other places where they are grown.

Alright, I'm not really "starting" to realize, I've known about this for quite a few years. It's just that now that I shop for my own food it's visible that it even costs more for food from afar, so why not pay less and burn less and..... well you get where I'm going - which tomorrow is to this sweet looking produce-market I ran by with Helen today.

Oh, and fuck the Grammy awards. I don't have much to say on that that hasn't been said before, but they suck and I hate them.

Love Mike.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More Bad Design

I don't mean worse, I simply mean that I have another really poorly thought out thing.

This knife has been the bane of my breakfast buttering for nearly two years. I particularly loath this thing because it seems to rise to the top of the stack of butter knives every morning, and it's a total piece of crap!

You know how you kind of dip a butter knife in the tub of margarine or butter - or maybe you've got a fancy-pants pad of butter that you cut little mini-pads off of to spread - well anyway, the pointed tip on this total waste of china-stainless does a piss-poor job of dipping or slab-cutting. It also totally fails to have a wide enough blade to do even a half-decent job of spreading.

In an effort to end this post on a positive note, enjoy these!

Bad design, and Bad Advice...

Sometimes making the logo bigger is a bad decision. I'm willing to bet the order for a few odd million of these went out before anybody actually took the time to hang one on a rear view.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Silence of the Lambs Shit

Jesus Mary and Joseph!
My heart goes out to everyone who has to sit through the Picton trial, and to the poor souls whose deaths are at the centre of this disgusting event.

A year or so from now we're going to be seeing a whole lot of stories on TV about journalists and jurors suffering from PTS.

There isn't a :( sad enough...

BTW, anybody want to buy a wet BMW motorcycle? No mileage, only slightly rusty due to salt-water bath. Will ship from UK.

Mood: Sushi
Currently Listening to: Brian Stewart, Senior correspondent on Afghanistan.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Evergreen Guacamole?

I was given a little jar of guacamole, Yucatan Guacamole to be precise. It's actually really good for a store bought guacamole, and it seems to never go brown. While I wouldn't ever go out and buy guacamole (I pride myself on my best-around-brentwood guac) I will recommend this stuff to those who do. Now only if avocados grew in the GVRD...

I'm sitting here about to dig in to Adobe Audition and the thought hit me, "How should I put off what I know I should be doing with what I'd rather be doing?"

That's basically the only reason I've been updating this thing at all recently.

This site is also suffering from lack-of-content because I've taken up running, and that along with my other hobbies have nearly replaced internetting as a time-waster. However, As I put off work, put off cooking dinner, and wait for the new Battlestar Galactica, I get in the occasional surf.

So, along the foodie lines of my rambling, everyone who - like me - lives to eat rather than eats to live should check out Mahanandi. I'm becoming ever more conscious of what goes into my recipes and into my body, and this site has been a real inspiration.

Go buy some local food, and make a tasty and healthy meal.


Oh, and I ran 5 miles in 44:42 today. Boo plant-hating light fixture, hooray me!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Snow and Wind

I just came back to Vancouver from a two week visit in the land of wind and snow, and what welcomes me back to the Pacific-Southwest?

Wind, and Snow. - Alright, so that one is a gallery of the collapsing dome, but you can see the southern-slush supposed to be snow.

Mood: Breakfast
Currently listening to: Breakfast

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Job

I'm Back!
  • Back in Vancouver
  • Back at BCIT - although I'm now an employee.
  • Back into running - 5k this morning

Good times.

I'm working on a lesson covering microphones and sound-gathering techniques, and just about ready to start with some AVID workshops. Lots to do, not a whole lot of time to do it in. Pretty good gig though, I'm filling in for a great instructor/broadcaster who is off on maternity leave.

So check out the BCIT blogs. At the moment there isn't much fresh content, but the term has just started back up.