Wednesday, March 31, 2004

It's raining again. Work, that is.

Today was a planned day off, but I ended up having to go to CTV to produce the health reporter. And I do the same tomorrow and Friday. Next day off: April 4. Next day after that? April 17!

I'm going to bed now...


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Tuesday. Rain.

After a yesterday that was nothing less than a summer day (20C) and no cold ocean breeze -- today is much like spring should be. Wet. Cold.

Luckily it is of little consequence as I am a workin' stiff later today. A CTV shift that begins at 3:30pm.

Prior to that, I am off to CBC Radio to be interviewed for a short piece on borders.

And then - tax work continues. I banged away last night until after 11pm. Getting close.


Sunday, March 28, 2004

Well, the guerilla marketing has begun.

This morning, Don, Lionel and I attended the Vancouver camera swap. We were armed with hundreds of business cards that read:

"Shoot like a pro?
Now sell like a pro."

The whole plan was simple. To suss out potential clients for our site -- and to pass out cards. Mostly, we stuck cards on car windows.

Anyone who goes to the website will have the opportunity to enter their email in order to be notified of news as we get closer to launching the site.

It will be interesting to see how many people follow through.

After that, it was off to Walmart to buy socks. And then brunch with friends back in my part of town.

Lorne and I went walking at Ambleside in North Vancouver (the beach). It was an amazing summer-like day.

Then we drove over to the Jericho Sailing club for a beer on the balcony...

Later, it was the Sunday shopping for yours truly... and now its time to do some more tax work. But, of course, I am delaying...

Guess I shouldn't


Saturday, March 27, 2004

Saturday morning in grey Vancouver.

It is of little concern, as I am off to work in a few hours -- the news of the day sheltering me from worries about the weather. Rain? Bring it on! Though this is a tad selfish.

My bongo abatement program is in full swing. I headed to the park early this morning and put up several notices from the Grandview Park Residents Association -- simply asking for respect and cooperation from the faux-hippies. We'll see what happens. I have not yet moved forward with the city -- but happy that they understand -- and I think I'll keep them as the ace in the hole.

I am perplexed about the roommate situation. If I am to move (and I don't, especially since I have a new and fun summer project [bongo abatement]) I must give notice by the end of this month.

There had been a chance that 2 friends of mine were going to move in -- but it was decided that the place is too small for three -- and they also come with 2 cats.

So back to square one. If I move at the end of April, it will suck because I am working on the traditional moving day and I am in Calgary for the week prior. Worst case scenario is that I remain here for an extra month solo, and pay $1535 in rent (as opposed to the $500 I've been used to). We'll see what happens. There have been a few bites from some people -- so I am trusting that the universe will take care of me, as it often does.

This is pretty geeky for a 40 year old, but I have managed to create an RSS feed for my blog. If you have a clue as to what that is, the feed coordinates are:

If you have no idea as to what an RSS feed (in Atom) is, please continue on!

I've booked a bunch more work at CTV for the summer -- which takes the pressure off. June is thin, and again, I hope the universe will command the CBC to fill that up. I'm sure something will happen.

The Discover Fun TV project continues along... can't reveal much... but it should be a fun summer of doing fun stuff.

Up next: a day off tomorrow -- but the StockPhotosOnline gang is heading to a camera show to start marketing the site. 5 years in the making...

Time for coffee...


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Well, well, well.

Roadspill is one year old. Hard to believe.

Lots of things have happened in the last 365 days. Lots of good, and not much bad. Lots of travel, experiences, work, and good health to boot. We like this.

Here's what was going on a year ago:

Tuesday, March 25, 2003 ::

The first entry.

The big news right now is that I am in the middle of finishing 5 television stories for a national kids show in Canada. So the operative word is busy. But -- I have booked the next adventure: Belize and Guatemala. A little work, a little play.

Work: Screening footage for a documentary on borders. Working on a cooking show.
Fun: Exploring the Belize-Guatemala border. And the tri-point where Mexico, Belize & Guatemala meet.

There you go. At this point, the big things on the calendar are: lots of work, some program proposals, and a trip to Europe in August.

Life is good.

More wisdom to come...

Thanks for reading.

Even if its just me!


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Day for off. Wow, a fellow could get used to this.

I went to see the film Good-bye Lenin! -- it was grand. Set around the fall of the Berlin wall, it tells the tale of a son re-creating East Berlin after the wall falls. He does this so that his mother -- a strong socialist with a weak heart who just came out of a coma -- doesn't find out about the big change to the workers paradise. The fear is that the shock would give her another her attack. Anyway, its a great film and after 2 minutes, I completely forgot it was in German. The subtitles helped.

I finally got my 2001 taxes completed -- and I will drop them off at the accountant tonight. Tomorrow -- 2002. I don't think I'll finish in a day, but it shouldn't be as hard.

And that is about it for now. More later.


Monday, March 22, 2004

It's been a great couple of days -- OFF!

Saturday night I worked until 11 and then went to a housewarming bash until about 2 am. Friends of mine, Lorne and Katrina, have just purchased some swell digs... and it was time to celebrate that.

Sunday started with an early brunch -- followed by dragging my ass all morning... it was sunny and warm and I felt like some major deck time was in order.

Feeling guilty at being sedentary -- I loaded my bike in the car and headed to Point Roberts, Washington, USA. I left the car in Canada and cycled into America. Point Roberts is a great place to cycle -- much like cottage country -- and there is little traffic. It is generally flat, though there is a slight and noticeable climb from the south end to the US-Canada border. The eastern side of PR has a more pronounced bluff over the beach.

After that, I came back to the homestead and watched a documentary on Michael Jackson's face. Poor guy -- too much money, not enough brains. There was also a great edition of 60 Minutes that was required watching: Richard Clarke, the advisor to both the Clinton and Bush II administrations spilled the beans. Basically, Bush ignored warnings about Al Queda -- and chose to focus on Saddam and the faux-weapons of mass destruction. Then 9-11 happened. And Bush realized that Osama was the bad guy -- but that targets in Afghanistan weren't enough (not Hollywood enough?) -- and immediately tried to tie Iraq to Osama and 9-11. And there was no evidence.

And we all know what happened.

Great television -- and great to see it on American television. If there is going to be any chance for peace in the world, the American people have to wake up and see that Bush is making things worse on a daily basis. He is the wrong leader. And he has got to be voted out -- or we're REALLY in for some trouble.

After all that -- Marsha and Tracey came over. They're potential new roommates. We discussed the whole idea.

Monday - today. Off again. Did some stuff around the house. Went to get fixings for some homemade veggie soup. Strolled the drive. Then packed the bike in the car and went cycling at Spanish Banks.

Another fantastic day. 17C! It was nice riding around the edge of English Bay, taking in the spectacular view. This is truly paradise.

Stopped into my new favourite bread store for some loaves (Cob's) and here I sit!


Saturday, March 20, 2004

Alive, yes.

Just finished 2 days at the CBC. How cultured, how serene, how professional. I love it there. I feel I gel more with the characters in the Canada Now newsroom than elsewhere. This, of course, is a huge surprise.

In a true sign of summer, the first tickets for Mariner's baseball were purchased today. I'm headed to Seattle in mid April with a buddy to explore secret places and to eat hot dogs and drink beer while watching the M's at glorious Safeco Field.

More work booked... which is nice.

After today's stint at CTV, I have 5 straight days off. It's going to be weird to have all that time. Of course, it will come and go quickly.

Only 5 days until the one year anniversary of this BLOG. One year -- amazing.

That's all for now.


Monday, March 15, 2004

Where's Doug?

Well, after a day off that including wandering across the US border, meat pies, and some great soup... its back to working on the taxes.

Today - Monday - I managed to get out for a cycle... that was nice. And the 2001 hell taxes will nearly be done. Probably tomorrow. Then off to the accountant.

And its back to CTV tonight... 3:30. Not far away!



Saturday, March 13, 2004

I know it's been awfully quiet here in blog land. Nothing much worth reporting, except that I've been working and I had 2 wonderful days off this week.

Oh! I was at the Canucks game on Monday when Bertuzzi turned into a complete moron. What a piece of crap game. Not only was it a blow out, it just plain sucked.

I'm glad I was there!

The first trip for 2004 is booked. Not a big one, but a bit of an escape: Calgary April 24-28. Since I already have 16 days of work booked for April, I think this small extravagance is justifiable.

Things continue to percolate with the "Discover Fun" project, StockPhotosOnline, and other stuff. It won't be a relaxing summer -- but there is a short overnight trip to Seattle planned for mid-April -- actually to go to Yakima, and then see some secret US internment camps.

And later in the summer, as part of Discover Fun -- a trip to Canmore, Alberta and San Fran.

No Europe yet -- but there is a good chance that I'll be going for a border expedition over there in August. I have already started saving for that. What would a year be without a journey to Europe?

I had thought of going to Belize in late April, but I think I will wait a bit for that. If there is solid work in May, then I might go. Otherwise, debt reduction comes first.

Back to work tomorrow (Sat)... but Sunday is a day off. I spent most of today working on my late taxes (2001 is pretty much done -- and it will be tomorrow) before working nights at CTV. Sunday I will get 2002 done. And then 2003 soon thereafter.

I can't believe how much I made in 2001 considering it was my first year freelancing. I can't believe how much I spent, either.

Anyway... that's where things stand...


Monday, March 08, 2004

What a day! What a day off.

Words cannot describe what is it like to go cycling along English Bay on a glorious day such as this. Snow on the mountains, green grass on the ground. Blossoms everywhere. Fresh air -- and 15C under a bright sun and blue sky.

It's almost fake. Or like a travel commercial.

But it's real. And it's home. And I love it!

32 days later, it's over.

Finally a break.

What did I do on my first real day off? Slept until 10am (though I worked until 11 last night). Then I wrote an article for And now I am finishing my laundry.

It is sunny, and supposed to be 14 today. As soon as my knickers are dry, I am going for a cycle.

And then a hockey game (Colorado-Vancouver) tonight!


Friday, March 05, 2004

Well, I'm back home after looking after Lisa's place (& cat) for two weeks. It was a nice little break from the noise of the drive. But I'm back.

It was a triple payday today: CBC, CTV and The Straight. Not as much as I had expected, though. Taxes were one reason -- but also the delay from submitting hours to being paid for those hours.

Still, I was able to make a nice loan payment -- and move closer to being debt free. Still a long, long way off.

Tonight I am watching the Cuban film "Miel Para Oshun" (Honey For Oshun). To learn more, go to the Internet Movie Database.

A review will follow.

Buenos noches!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

It's a battle I know I'll lose. The Battle of the Bongos.

Living, as I have, at Lisa's place these past two weeks, I have fallen in love with something that I rarely get on a bright, sunny day on the east side: peace and quiet.

Sure, there is a constant din courtesy the buses and trucks on Granville Street, but that pales in comparison to the noise created by the faux-hippies of Grandview Park -- and their damn bongo drums.

The solution is simple. Remove my ears or move. The latter seems the most painless. But I shall not go down without taking a few swings. No, if the bongos are going to push me from my home in granola-ville, then I am going to make sure that I at least tried to do something.

So... I mentioned the irritating noise that I, and all the residents who live around Grandview Park, must put up, with to a reporter friend. Most, I accept -- the drums, I do not. It is simply inconsiderate to practice a loud instrument in public. If I were to play the bagpipes in the park, would people get upset? Your darn tootin'!

I also mentioned the idea of sitting beside the drummers on heavy drumming days (any warm and sunny day) -- with loud air horns. And when the faux-hippies start drumming, I'll start tooting. If nothing else, this will be worth it for the look of surprise on their little hippie faces.

But the problem won't go away that way. It will take the work of the neighbours, whom, I assume, are as annoyed by this as I am. To test this theory, I am going to register a website, and then post a note (and hand deliver letters) all around the 4 blocks that border Grandview Park. Maybe I'm the only one. If I am, then, I have become a grumpy old man, and will move to get away from those scary hippies.

If I am not -- then we will make a plan. Not sure what that plan is. But we'll make one.

In the meantime, I have written to the Mayor of Vancouver (a cool guy named Larry Campbell) and city council. I tried not to whine -- just to point out my frustration with the situation and to ask for solutions. I actually expect a reply from Larry.

This has the makings of a good story. And if there is some kind of organized resistance to the foul noise that ruins our park -- then my reporter friend is willing to do a story on it. And, of course, I will do the same.

The letter to the city fathers follows. Enjoy!

Mr. Mayor & Council:

I am writing to you because I am seeking a solution to a very simple
problem: the constant noise created by drummers in Grandview Park.

Let me say at the outset that I have chosen to live next to Grandview Park.
And I accept that public areas such as this -- especially on the east side
-- are noisy. Dogs, kids, people -- create noise. It is acceptable and I
accept it.

But a public park should not be a venue to practice noisy instruments.
Again, I think that people singing, playing guitar or other instruments at a
reasonable volume is totally acceptable and adds to our community.

But the drumming does not. It isn't musical in the sense that there are
melodies. It is more of a staccato start/stop/start/stop noise. It is
loud. It is disruptive. It is impossible to escape from. And it goes on
all day. Sometimes there are as many as 8 drummers, drumming as loudly as
they can. Is this acceptable?

There are signs in the park that say that musical instruments are not
allowed without permit -- and a in addition to saying "Please Respect Your
Grandview Park Neighbours" the signs also say that the by-law will be
enforced. What by-law? How can I get it enforced?

As I enter my third year overlooking Grandview Park, I find I am already
having problems with the noise. The way it bounces off the nearby apartment
buildings, the way the sound enters every window. It even comes down the
chimney -- an unwelcome sonic Santa Clause.

I find that on beautiful days, days that call for the windows to be wide
open -- I have mine shut tight. Or I leave the neighbourhood all together.

I doubt any of the drummers would appreciate it if I were to practise
bagpipes outside their homes all day. And I suspect that if this were in
Kitsilano, there would be much less tolerance.

I'm not sure what the solution is -- I only know that there needs to be one.
If there is nothing officially can be done, then I am ready to move out of a
neighbourhood I love. And that, I think, would be sad.

Maybe I'm more sensitive because I work from home (writer/journalist) -- but
at the end of the day, I don't think the noise created by the drumming is
acceptable or respectful to local residents.

I will open my home to you, should you wish to hear what I am talking about.
And I look forward to hearing some suggestions as what I might do to resolve
this situation. I should add that talking doesn't seem to work -- it just
becomes confrontational.


Doug Murray


Another day closer to... I forget now. Work? Travel? Yawn.

1:30am here... now... just finished a shift. And have another in 8 hours.

Nothing new about travel plans. Perhaps a quick trip to Calgary will do the trick.
Certainly a lot cheaper.

But I am babbling.


Monday, March 01, 2004

Happy New Day!

March 1st. Already. The year 1/6th over. Hmmm.

I worked again yesterday, of course. And it was the day from hell. It should have been an easy day, but no. What could go wrong did. And it was all I could do to make it out alive.

I'm back at work today, though, thankfully, not until 3:30pm. I have an earlier meeting... and I have an article to write (I didn't get a chance to this morning) and I have some Stock Photos Online homework that I won't get to.

I work days on Tuesday, so at least I'll earn some turnaround. And Wednesday is a day off, though it will be used more for catching up on stuff. My next weekend (aka 2 days off) is March 8th. It'll have been 30 days straight.

I'm waffling on Europe. As much as I want to be there for the ceremonies surrounding the expansion of the EU -- I also wonder if I can afford it. I found an Air Canada flight to Copenhagen for only $1000, but the costs there will be outrageous. And there is another, smaller, border expedition this summer. Methinks that might be a better time to go.

That means Belize is high on the list. The airfare is also $1000, but the on-the-ground costs are very low. And a week on Caye Caulker would be perfect for recharging the batteries. So would a week on one of the gulf islands off our coast. Maybe I'll rent a car and drive to Calgary for a couple of days. Lots of options.

Spring is definitely here. There are flowers and blossoms a-plenty. And my eyes are itchy and I'm sneezing a lot. It gets worse every year. Guess I better get a super size box of allergy dope.