Monday, November 29, 2004

from the "Why Am I Not Doing This Full Time" dept.

My item on tne American Museum of Radio and Electricity appears in the December 2nd edition of the Georgia Straight. But you can read it here first!



The Golden Age of Radio (and Electricity) is still alive and well in Bellingham
By Doug Murray

With the U.S. dollar falling like a stone against the Canadian dollar, American destinations are once again becoming affordable. Boston, Boca Raton, Bellingham.

Granted, when most people think of heading down I-5 to Bellingham, they’re either focused on Seattle or have designs on cheap socks at the Bellis Fair Mall.

But there is a not-so-hidden gem of a destination, just off the interstate in Bellingham.

The American Museum of Radio and Electricity is located in the centre of downtown Bellingham. Surrounded by small shops and restaurants, it makes a great day trip from either Vancouver or Seattle.

Bellingham (pop. 70,000) is a lot livelier than you might think. Improv guru Ryan Styles has just opened the Upfront Theatre and the Boundary Bay Bistro has been brewing great things since 1995. And it’s just an hour from Vancouver.

The first thing you notice about Bellingham is the bohemian flavour of the restored downtown core. You see so much long hair and hemp clothing that, if not for the lack of pot odour, you’d swear you were on Commercial Drive.

But the museum stands alone. In fact, it stands out.

The museum seems to take up a full city block. Out front, the art deco design announces the museum and large windows feature examples of the treasures that lie within.

I felt like I was going back to another time from the moment I angle-parked outside and dropped a quarter into the meter for a full hour of parking.

Inside, the history of both radio and electricity are presented as a storyline. As you walk through the museum, you see four centuries of really cool science.

The two driving forces behind the museum share not only a love of radio and electricity – they share the same first name.

Jonathan Winter and John Jenkins are the museum’s co-curators. Both have been fascinated with radio and electricity since they were kids.

The museum got its start when Winter settled in Bellingham to put down some roots. He decided to take his personal collection of vintage radios public and, in the mid-90s, opened the small Bellingham Antique Radio Museum.

John Jenkins was born Bellingham. He spent many years in the computer field, before retiring from Microsoft in 2001.

Like Jonathan, he spent his childhood playing with radios – ripping them apart and putting them together. He began to collect radios and also pieces from the early days of electricity – another subject that fascinated him.

It wasn’t until about ten years ago when Jenkins’ his mother told him a shocking secret – there was a small radio museum in Bellingham. He was amazed – how could there be one without his knowledge? He drove from his home in Seattle to Bellingham and met Jonathan.

“We realized that by joining forces with the two collections we could create a world class museum,” Jenkins says.

Bellingham may seem an odd choice for this kind of museum, but to them it made perfect sense. Winter still lives there and Jenkins wanted to give something back to the community he was raised in.

In this case, size does not matter. “It could be a major attraction in any major city in the world, the collection is certainly worthy of that,” Jenkins explains.

True – being located on I-5 is a good place to be: Vancouver just up the road, Seattle just down it. And two blocks away, the Whatcom Museum gets 100,000 visitors a year. “So there are plenty of visitors,” Jenkins says.

Walking into the 23,000 sq. ft. facility, you’re struck by just how big the collection is.

It is a unique museum, says Jenkins. “The breadth and depth of the collection – there really isn’t anywhere that tells the complete story of the development of radio and electricity from the beginning.”

Hundreds of vintage radios on display, as well as hundreds of artifacts from the early scientific exploration of electricity. Many of the pieces can only be seen elsewhere at places like the Smithsonian. Some are one-of-a-kind.

The Dawn of the Electrical Age features rare items from the 17th and 18th centuries. Much of the equipment comes from the study of electricity, and they’ve recreated the kind of lab that Ben Franklin might have used when he conducted his famous kite experiment.

Over in the Marconi wireless room the story of the Titanic is told. Built around an original Marconi wireless set, the display is an exact replica of the Titanic’s radio room.
It’s eerie to hear a description of the Titanic’s last moments as it clipped an iceberg and sank into the icy North Atlantic. Don’t worry, Celine doesn’t sing!

If design is your thing, the collection of radios from the last century will have you spellbound. Some of the radios don’t even look like radios – they’re cleverly disguised as statues and vases.

Turn the corner and suddenly you’re sitting in a 1930s living room, staring at the radio and visualizing the adventures of the Lone Ranger.

The museum takes the experience one step further. They have a special system of internal broadcasting that lets them feed six different stations through the electrical wires. Each station broadcasts different vintage content – so when visitors twirl the tuning knob on the big radio, they surf though the stations and programs just like in the old days.

Education is a priority at the museum. “One of the things we’re trying to do is expose the process of discovery,” Jenkins tells me. “One of the ways of getting kids interested in science is to help them understand that inventions don’t just happen in a single “Eureka!” moment. It’s a lot of trial and error and a lot of hard work. “

The hands-on approach means that kids – and adults – can learn by doing.

Winter points out some of what he calls the “Holy Grails” of the collection: one-of-a-kind and extremely rare pieces – like the Collins Wireless Telephone.

Built in 1909, it was billed as the first device to transmit sounds without wires. After the invention of the telegraph and the telephone, radio was touted as the next big thing and investors were looking to get in on the ground floor. Collins went on the road with his device, saying it was the future of communication.

In demonstrations, the wireless telephone worked wonders. Conversations seemed to be taking place across great distances. In reality, the other party was 6 inches away in the next room. The wireless telephone was just a scam used to sucker investors.

Another bizarre item is the Theremin. It’s the world’s first electronic musical instrument, invented in 1919. It looks like a preachers pulpit with two antennas sticking out. One controls pitch, the other volume.

To play it, you wave your hand over the antennas – this changes the pitch and volume. A lot of skill is needed to be able to play it correctly, otherwise the beautiful music that it produces sounds more like a handheld metal detector. Or Kraftwerk.

The museum is one of the few places that actually allow visitors to play the instrument.

In January, the museum will become a radio station when WAMR-FM signs on, featuring vintage newscasts, plays and music along with some original programming. The station will also stream to the world via the internet.

Not bad for what started as a little collection in a small city off the interstate – and much more interesting than buying socks at Target.


American Museum of Radio and Electricity
1312 Bay Street
Bellingham, Washington 98225

Take I-5 south to exit 253, Lakeway Drive. Then follow the signs.

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 4pm and by appointment.
Admission: US$4, children $2.


Friday, November 26, 2004

from the "Get Offa Dat Bus!" dept.

I wandered down to the bus stop today, anticipating that I would cross paths again with the mysterious Sandra. I was there early - and I had a business card at the ready in case it was another brief encounter.

There was no encounter.

Does this mean I've blown it? Who know. Does this mean I'll be hanging around the 15th and Granville bus stop at 3pm again? Probably. Although it will be a little more difficult when I am back on Commercial Drive.

Still - it's kind of fun to let fate do its thing.

And - I might have a special greeting in the "I saw you" section of the Straight.

Other news: the writing of the radio story is going slow. Saturday I am working on a film for most of the day, so the time is really ticking down. It still doesn't have to be done until Tuesday... but I'd like to put it to bed now.

I guess that will happen tomorrow. Sunday I'm back at the plant and relocating to the Drive.

Speaking of that... its official. I am moving again. Jan 1 I will reside with Cheryl, Tom, Bryan and Misty the dawg.

And the expenses drop yet again!


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Fate II

Fate Chapter 1 occurred in the winter of 2001-2. It involved a leap of faith, a woman in Toronto, and affairs of the heart.

Chapter 1 is closed. A chance taken, a lesson learned.

Fate appears to be happening again. Fate II, I reckon.

On Wednesday, I was waiting for the bus at the corner of Granville and West 15th. Regular readers will know that I am house sitting at my friend Lisa’s place.

Wednesday was also a day off. The plan was to do some work at home, then meet up with Cheryl, Tom, Ed, and Millie and go see The Incredibles (my second time). We would meet at the Lennox Pub at 3 o’clock.

I knew we’d probably have a pint or two (it turned out to be many) so I elected to take the bus. Hence, standing and waiting for one at about 2:40pm.

I was wearing my iPod and listening to the Eels. There was a woman standing at the stop, and she turned to look at me as I strode up. She said something, but I couldn’t hear.

I pulled out the earphones and she repeated “Are you watching TV on that thing.”

Then she laughed and pointed to the VTV logo on my jacket and asked if I worked in the biz.

We had a short chat – I mentioned that I worked at several places and VTV – now CTV – was only one of them. She mentioned that she had been interviewed at one point – and that she was in the area doing homecare for a patient with MS.

A bus pulled up and we boarded. I took a double seat halfway up – she sat closer to the front.

Across from me was a fellow CTV employee – a part-timer whose name escapes me. He asked if I was going to work and I explained that I was meeting friends for a film. We then continued to chat about this and that. I noticed the woman looking back once or twice.

I got off at the corner of Granville and Robson… as did mystery woman and the guy from work. She wished me a nice day at the movies and said she was off for a swim. “Bye, TV Guy,” she said as she walked up the street.

I waked with my co-worker to the corner and he said he noticed that the mystery woman had been looking at me a lot on the bus. He thought she was definitely interested.

So today, Thursday – I was scheduled to work nights with a start time of 3:30pm. Curious about mystery woman I decided that I would take the bus to work today – in the off chance of seeing MW again.

At 2:45 I was standing there, waiting. No sign of MW. A #10 Hastings bus came by… and I climbed aboard. And guess who was getting off… MW!

“Hey TV Guy,” she said as she climbed off the bus. “Off to work?”

I said yes – and wondered if I should skip this bus… but decided that this was kind of fun. Or I was being stupid. We’ll see.

As I climbed aboard, she asked my name… and I asked hers, Sandra.

I thought again that I should wheel around and talk more. But didn’t. I paid my fare and the bus driver laughed and said “Thanks, Doug.”

This sort of thing never happens in Vancouver!

So… what next? Well, I work nights at CTV tomorrow, so I think I will head down to the bus stop a wee bit early… and I will definitely suggest a phone number exchange and a coffee this weekend.

And if she’s not there tomorrow… well… then that’s fate!


Monday, November 22, 2004

from the "I Was Sure There Was A City Here Somewhere" dept.

The weekend was a blessing: no work, my own place, and the Grey Cup.

It was rare to be able to just chill out on the weekend, though in reality it was quite busy.

Randy and I went for breakfast and discussed our love of secret cities and conspiracy theories.

Secret Cities

This is some very cool stuff. Good reading. And there is lots more out there!

I finally got to see Control Room, the doc about Al Jazeera. This followed dinner at 5 Point (Main Street) with Marsha. We then went to her place to see the film.

Sunday... I hung around the old neighbourhood (South Granville) and played with the camera. I intend to re-launch my "alphabet" project -- shooting all the letters of an alphabet in a neighbourhood and then creating a poster from it. ie: The South Granville Alphabet.

I hooked up with Ed and Millie -- who are visiting from London, ON. They're in the throes of buying a house, even though they plan on staying in London for a few more years. They have no doubt they want to return. And they'll rent out their purchase in the interim.

Then we were off to Cheryl and Tom and Bryan's to watch the Grey Cup. The big game was in Ottawa with the B.C. Lions the odds-on-favourite to stomp the Toronto Argonauts into dust.

The first few minutes of the game were great with B.C. getting on the board almost immediately.

And then it went downhill from there. B.C. just couldn't get it together. And a few hours later, we were crying in our beer, nachos and chili.

The idea of me moving into the C-T-B house came up again. And, I think that I will be moving yet again. For several reasons, but the big one is $. Living there for the short term means I can save even more money and that means more debt reduction or, conversely, more travel.

I think it will happen in December. I am house sitting for the final two weeks of December, so that is when I would begin to ferry stuff from the other place.

The location is more remote than the current place -- but it is on the major bus line and with my weird hours, commuting will be minimal. And its a $15-20 cab ride home on those rare nights out.

The bonus is that rent includes food. So, 2 days work at CBC will basically cover the lions share of my monthlies -- leaving the possibility of serious debt reduction. It also makes taking all of Feb (and then some) off as well as May totally doable.

It means getting sticking €300 in the bank (I finally found a Euro account at HSBC) every 2 weeks. At that rate, I should have plenty banked for May.

I still have my radio article to write (due in a week)... and CBC booked me for an additional day in December and there may be more to come. My little window of time off is rapidly disappearing.

I hope to be able to take a few days over the week of Dec 14th to chill out before the nutty Christmas period. If I'm not working, I'll be out at various bashes. I'll be one tired Vancouverite by Jan 3. So a few days in paradise would be most welcome before the craziness.

I'm still housesitting at Lisa's which has been a blessing. I only wish I wasn't working so much so I could enjoy it more. But better this than the opposite.

Here's a cool site for sending retro-telegrams. Have fun!


Thursday, November 18, 2004

The first sale!

The BorderFilmsStore has made its first non-Doug sale: someone in France bought a set of postcards. And I made US$4.

This is good...


The week winds down... the hopes are raised

Thursday. And it's a slow night in the newsroom.

It's been an interesting week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was working days. In the evening, I didn't do much, but that doesn't mean there wasn't much going on.

In fact Tuesday night I was awoken by a little domestic squabble at the new place. Nothing major, but - wow - is this ever a change from having my own place to call home. It's all about cost reductions however.

Wed through Friday is nightshift. Last night was ok. Tonight is slow as hell. But there is good news: I am housesitting for my friend Lisa for the next two weeks, so I will get my own space again. This will be a nice treat.

I am also off on the weekend - and will be able to attend Grey Cup festivities at another friend's place.

This seems awful disjointed.

Anyway: I heard from the big art book published Taschen today. They want more info and samples of my border images. I've just started down this road, so who knows where it will lead. A book would be nice. :)

And there is a date for my next Georgia Straight piece: December 2nd. I have 1200 words to write about the radio museum in Bellingham, WA. And a little on Bellingham too. This is good, and some more cash to stick into the Belize or Europe account.

Or better yet, this:

or this:

If the links don't work, let me explain that both items are drool enducing lenses for my camera. One is $750 the other is close to $2000. Keeee-ripes!

Anyways... best go look busy!


Monday, November 15, 2004

It's official: the BorderFilms store is open!

A limited selection of clothing and border related items (including a swanky calendar) are up for sale.

That has taken up most of my time... all weekend, in fact. Now its back to the various newsrooms.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday.... aaaah.

It was a long week. 7am starts at, 6am yesterday. With the short days, I find the early starts take their toll. Around 8pm, I feel like its bedtime. Blame sunsets at 4:45pm. And we're still 6 weeks from the shortest day of the year.

On the flipside, its been warm. I'm done work early and that means I can catch sunset on the beach.

The last few mornings have been foggy, which makes for an interesting looking city.

The weekend has arrived. A good thing. Lots to do: border calendar, write article on Radio Museum, taxes (always the damn taxes), and maybe a little R&R.

Back to CTV next week... dayshift on Monday and Tuesday. Nights the remainder.

How exciting!

A terrible accident on a local freeway made everyone stop and think: live for today, because there may be no tomorrow.

That's nice, but I'm tired and going to bed.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Who's sorry now...

Courtesy Dean Allen and - Which you should check out, if for no other reason than daily Oliver!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What George Bush Thinks of the Rest of the World

Time-lapse Commercial Drive

I wish I could take credit for this! Click on the above!

The New Map - If only it were true!

Sunday is a day of rest... but not for me!

Work beckons at 2pm. And there are 5 more days following.

The rain continues, although there is still a lot of green around. Some flowers too. Winter is here, but it really won't get much worse.

The sadness from election night lingers. The world hasn't come screeching to a halt, but there sure is a pall cast over it.

Pres. Goofball will be inaugurated soon. I only hope the scene of 2000 is repeated - but with more eggs and tomatoes.

If nothing else, history will judge Mr. Bush harshly. And one main reason: 9-11 happened on his watch. As many point out - if that happened on anyone else's watch, there would be no way in hell they'd be re-elected. They'd probably been tossed from office.

Not Georgie boy. I still don't get it...


Friday, November 05, 2004

Phew! The $500 car keeps on ticking and rattling and shimmying...


It turns out that the engine wasn't blown after all.

I popped the hood early this morning, not knowing what to expect. There, dangling before me, was a spark plug still attached to a spark plug wire.

For some reason, the spark plug had been blown out of the engine.

I attempted to screw the spark plug back in, but was only able to turn it a couple of times by hand. I gave up, replaced the wire, and prepared to drive to Port Moody for a 8am shoot.

The car started and ran OK. And then: BANG! I assume the engine spit out the spark plug again.

Not to be dismayed, I put the bucket of bolts into gear. It made a hell of a racket - but it worked.

And, in no time, I was bombing down the Barnett highway at 150 decibels per minute.

I even arrived on location early!

The shoot went well - and by 3pm we were finished.

After we struck everything, it was back into the car - and off to Canadian Tire for a new spark plug, spark plug wrench, and some hand cleaner!

I installed the new plug - and voila! - everything was as good as new.

The $500 car keeps ticking... this months payment: $14.


Death of the $500 Car?

Oh oh...

Later today (or tomorrow, depending on one's point of view), I have a shoot out in Port Moody.

Thur/9:45pm - At work, my pal Gary (who is shooting Friday - I am doing sound) joked about picking me up along the Barnett Highway should my car die.

Friday / 12:14am - As I crossed the Georgia Viaduct on the way home -- BLAM! -- something serious let go. Not sure what, but it sounds like a blown muffler. Except it now runs rough and a loud chugga-chugga blares from under the hood.

Friday / 12:20am - Make it home, car does not stall. Smoke (exhaust?) appears from under hood. I go to check under hood, but noise is too loud. Fear disturbing neighbours. Kill engine. Try to restart - it starts.

So... either my $500 car has kicked the bucket, or I have blown something in the exhaust system (pipe? manifold?).


Dilemma: Try and drive to Port Moody tomorrow... or... ?

Must... sleep... now....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Night Disaster

I have never been so happy to call Canada home.

It is not a perfect country, but it is my home and I love it.

I have just returned from 24 hours of a roller coaster adventure in Bellingham, Washington. I wanted to experience the US election first hand. And I wanted to see George Bush and his war mongering isolationist get their asses kicked out of office.

It looked like it would happen. And then it didn't. And then it did. And then... well, you know the rest.

Around noon on election day, my pal Ted Shredd picked me up. He runs a website called Discover Fun and he wanted to do a piece for the site (which has an international audience) on how to have fun during an election.

I had a secondary reason for going south - to do a story on the American Museum of Radio.

12:00 - Ted pulls up in his Honda Accord, emblazoned with Discover Fun logos.

12:05 - We're headed south through heavy traffic to Bellingham, which is only about an hour away.

12:45 - US Customs: We take the truck crossing because the line-ups are usually shorter here than the Peace Arch crossing. I had checked some of the online border cameras before we left, and there didn't seem to be much volume.

There wasn't.

We pulled into the customs plaza which has about 6 lanes open for cars headed south. There is all sorts of weird new security stuff here too... scanners and sniffers and liberal detectors.

But there were no cars. The entire plaza was empty. No traffic what-so-ever. Did the rest of the world know something we didn't?

The woman at customs was friendly - and we joked about the line-ups. Ted says the way to get through customs with a minimum of hassle is to ask a question first... that creates a more conversational environment and reduces the chance of a Texas-style anal probe.

Within seconds we had crossed the 49th and were heading straight into election day hi-jinks in America.

Washington State leans heavily Democrat, so we didn't expect a lot of pro-Bush signs. And there wasn't a lot of signs anyway. Little pockets of support here and there, but nothing crazy.

1:00 - I-5 Southbound: I call Jonathan Winter at the American Museum of Radio to let him know that we've made it into the country. The plan is to meet with at the museum to do an interview and snap some images for my story on the museum.

1:45 - We arrive at the museum and I proceed to interview the two Johns about the facility. I snap a few dozen pictures - trying to learn how to use the new camera to produce publishable pictures.

3:00 - The interviews done, Ted and I head to the Best Western Lakeside Inn. This is not only our hotel for the night, it is also the site of the local Democratic party.

3:04 - We pass many people waving signs - mostly Democratic. Ted remarks that he doubts signwaving on election day would convince someone to switch their vote.

3:07 - We discover a massive puddle in the parking lot of the hotel. Ted drives through this several times while I snap photos.

3:10 - Check in to hotel, discover that we cannot get FoxNews or Comedy Central. But we do get CTV Vancouver, which will show the Daily Show election special.

3:20 - Head to conference room and make contact with local Dems. Not much dressing in the room, but a few big screens. Organizer promises lots of signs. Appears to be a buffet too.

4:00 - Food! We need food! After goofing around will hotel staff, we head out in search of food.

4:03 - We find a place... it'll be a NAFTA meal: Canadians eating at a Mexican joint in America.

5:00 - Bueno! Good skoff.

5:05 - Roll out of eatery with American-sized bellies, return to the hotel.

5:10 - Pass a group of female Kerry supporters dressed up in tight fitting Stars and Stripes and Union Jack outfits. Stop. Chat. Take pictures. We are told that they plan to join the party at the hotel.

5:15 - Flake out and digest.

7:00 - Daily Show election special starts. Very funny.

7:30 - Head down to the big party room. There is still a lack of flags, banners and signs. But the buffet looks like it has potential. There is just one bar, and a long line of hopeful Democrats has formed behind it.

We start to wander around and meet people. There is Joe, from the local news-talk radio station. He's a one-man band - setting up to do live reports from the party. He talks about the current state of radio and how politics has polarized talk radio. His station has a conservative bent, but he seems reasonable on most issues.

The place is filling up fast - and there are few seats left. Ted and I decide to join a table of young folks. One, Gabriel, is a dead-ringer for an 18-year-old Beck. His politics are definitely left, as are all the others at the table. This should come as no surprise, considering where we are.

We have a level headed chat about America and the world today. It is heartening to meet and talk to Americans, who are proud of their country - but also have a world view and clear thinking. You'd be hard pressed to tell these guys from a table of Canadians.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's election day in the USA.

And, it is really an election for the entire world.

In reality that last statement may be a little strong. I think when you peel back the layers, there isn't much difference between Kerry or Bush. But on the surface, it seems like the difference between good and evil. In reality it's more like Coke or Pepsi.


The world perceives Bush as a war mongering, dumb, isolationist tyrant, puppet whose strings are controlled by the unseen forces of darkness.

And Mr. Kerry is seen as the Vietnam vet (volunteer, no less) who believes in his country, but not blindly in it's politics. A man who speaks up and challenges wrongdoers.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

But - as someone who is as American as you can get with out being an actual American - I think that they are lost down there. Scared. Lied to. Wondering why the world hates them.

"What did I do? I'm just a soccer mom who watches E.R."

No wonder they get kookier everyday. US news is nothing but a smorgasbord of fear, disaster and death. There is no BBC. No CBC. It's all polarized. And it's all frightening.

And today, they - including the soccer mom - have a chance to change things. Like I said, the leaders aren't that different. The parties aren't that different. But the perception is.

And the world needs to perceive that America is ready to change its ways. Even if it's a smoke screen.

Things are going to get worse. There will be more bombs, more deaths, more craziness if you know who gets in for another 4 years.

It's too bad there isn't a viable 3rd candidate. Someone like Crusty the Clown or Bender.

But alas, in the cradle of democracy, that is not to be.

America IS a great country. Look at all the music, the books, the films. They gave us The Simpsons! How can you hate a country with that sort of sense of humour? Sure, they also gave us Extreme Makeover, but that's another story.

In just moments I am heading to America to be an unofficial observer. I'm going to a small town in Washington State called Bellingham. It is only an hour from the border... but a world away.

I'll be with the Democrats as the results pour in. I hope Kerry wins. But I doubt we'll know tonight. With all the talk about cheating and discounted votes... it may be a while before we know if the election is stolen again.

For great coverage, check often. There is actual news there that is found no where else.

A full report tomorrow!


Monday, November 01, 2004

One day left

It's been a crazy couple of days... and my blogging has been falling behind. Here's a bit of a summary:

Friday 10.29: Bought the Nikon D70 digital SLR. Pretty amazing. As of today I have taken more than 1000 images. This could be problematic... taking too many images and keeping too many images. I'm going a little nuts, simply because I can - and I am experimenting. I'm pretty sure that in a while, it'll be back to shooting with film in terms of quantity of images -- but I will be shooting more often.

I am trying to figure out a way to post pictures online easily and without filling up my .mac account. It's time to find more resources for this. Like StockPhotosOnline! Ha ha... sigh...

Saturday 10.30: It was time for my 4th annual Parade of Lost Souls party. It was fortunate that I had moved back to the area... as it just wouldn't have worked in Deep Cove.

The Parade of Lost Souls is a large community hallowe'en bash... quite amazing in that it is a great family event (meaning no mullet topped drunks around to spoil things) and that the police stay away and that everyone has a great time. Thousands were out this year... and I have plenty of images to share. Soon.

We started out by meeting at my place, and then 10 or so of us went to take part in the procession of costume clad folks through the streets of East Vancouver. Lots of fire, drumming, and positive vibes. Best event of the year, hands down.

After the parade, we headed to Nick's to pig out on pasta. And then back to my place to wind the evening down. My costume? King of Evil, although I wish I dressed up like this:

As an added bonus, the rain stayed far away...

Sunday 10.31: Officially hallowe'en, I had to get together with my CTV collegues to work on an independent film. We shot at a downtown office building for several hours. It was an amazing day... cool but clear. Even though we're well into fall, many of the trees have yet to turn colour. And, of course, there are still plenty of flowers blooming. It's an odd place.

At 2, I had to get to work... another day of local news. It was nuts -- Halloween typically brings out a million arsonists - so the scanners are a constant stream of fire calls... portapottys, pic nic tables, garages, cars, schools, houses, trees... you name it. But most of the fires are small and are doused quickly -- making it hard to capture video of the mayhem.

I was thankful by the time 11pm hit.

Today: Well, the big news is that it is one day before the US election. The plan is to head down tomorrow morning. I have to do some interviews at the American Museum of Radio... and then my pal Ted Shredd and I will be partying with the democrats... and hopefully celebrating a Kerry win.

Kerry better not be the devil in a blue dress... that's all I can say.

As for the rest of this day, I am off, but taking care of business. It's pouring outside... so I reckon I will remain inside...

If you want the best links to US political news, check out: