Monday, January 31, 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Doug and Ted

Doug and Ted
Originally uploaded by
Now that I know how to post images... wheeee!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Belize Photoboy

Belize Photoboy
Originally uploaded by
The Belize trip is booked and paid for. Same dates as below. $661. Nice!

I'll be recreating the happy fellow in this picture for the 4th time since 1999.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

from the "I'm outta here!" dept.

They're not the perfect dates, but they'll do. I still have only reserved, not paid, but escape is on the horizon:

Seattle to Belize Thur Feb 24
Return Thur March 17

Price? CAD$661 Same flight in Canada? $1100 or so.
Extras? Bus to SeaTac airport... US$75 (C$91)
Possible overnight in Seattle on the 17th ( US$60 probably)

And in Belize, my home for 10 days:

The 1-bedroom beachfront apartment.

Cost? US$315! C$390!



Tuesday, January 25, 2005

from the "where the hell is Albania" dept.

Originally uploaded by
This is the route for the Great South Eastern Europe Border Expedition. There have been some route changes, but this is fairly representative of where we're headed.



Originally uploaded by kimprobable.
This is a test

Monday, January 24, 2005

from the "too busy to blog" dept.

The latest:

Working a lot.

New home is great.

Spent yesterday in Seattle at a Nikon digital imaging course. Fun!
Won some software too...

Surprise! Working tonight. Thought it was a day off.

Surprise 2: Hockey in Belize being pubished tomorrow in the Toronto Star!

Cha ching.

Links and more tomorrow...


Sunday, January 16, 2005

from the "act-of-pod" dept.

I forgot to add the work is progressing at a rapid rate on some podcasting projects. What is podcasting?




From the "slacker" dept.

For nearly 2 years I've been throwing words into the electronic ether using this fine site. But of late, I have been a slacker.

There is a lot going on, and here's a brief rundown:

Travel: The border expediton in May gets closer. Still trying to get the dates aligned and the flights booked. More on this soon.

Belize is on hold temporarily - just trying to make it efficient and affordable.

Work continues. The fear of no work in Jan proved unfounded. Feb is looking pretty good to. This makes Belize a near go.

There's been interest from a number of newspapers in my work. I've wanted to re-sell some of my travel articles -- and this is the start of that.

The new digs are great, as is having a dog.

There's been snow on the ground for more than a week, but the rain has returned and the white is beginning to give way to green. It was actually above 0 C today!

That's it for now...


Saturday, January 08, 2005

From the "let-it-snow" dept.

Day 4 with the white stuff. Quite fun. Shovelled the walk this morning, probably the first time in 7 years!

Here's an article I re-submitted to the Globe and Mail:

Winter in Vancouver

Judging from the television coverage, you would have thought it was the end of the world. The blanched faces of concerned reporters looking skyward live in horror. Big puffy clumps of snowflakes descending, splatting triumphantly on the upturned noses of these hardened journalists.

And then came the pictures: line-ups in stores to get one of the last shovels or remaining bags of salt. Summer tires spinning in a futile attempt to push 2000 kilos of truck-a-saurus up a two percent grade. Piles of white building up on the ground, at least a centimeter thick.

And then came the reporters again: delivering the worst news ever for the people of this Winter Olympic burg. More snow. And in case we didn't hear, a big red banner was flashing SNOW WARNING! Gather the children! Load up the wagons! Let's get outta Dodge!

Welcome to the end of the world. Welcome to winter in Vancouver.

This makes no sense. This is a city where, on a recent morning commute on the bus, I counted more snowboards than briefcases. This is a city where limos sport ski racks. This is the city that is hosting the winter Olympics, for heaven's sake.

Now, before I get slammed for my thoughts, a little background: I have lived in Vancouver for six years. And before that I have lived through brutal winters in Halifax, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. I am not new at this winter thing.

But, it appears, much of the lower mainland is.

Not that snow is a stranger to Vancouver. From practically anywhere in the city you can gaze north and see snow for much of the year. But that snow is in the mountains. And while it is handy - only 20 minutes away - it is also non-threatening. Like a polar bear in a zoo, we can gawk at it, but are safe in the knowledge that it won't come rumbling down the hill to spill our vanilla soy lattes.

I call it "winter on demand." You want snow? Just drive that way - and before your sushi gets warm you can be chucking snowballs towards the golf courses thousands of feet below.

In fairness, there are several things that make Vancouver a poor candidate for a winter city: no snow tires, no plows, and no 100km gusts across the prairie. In fact, no prairie!

Luckily, it rarely snows here. And it rarely freezes. These are two meteorological factors of which I was completely unaware of when I moved here in 1997.

ME: It's January, where is the snow?
Vancouverite: Snow? Up there!
ME: No, in the city?
Vancouverite: Bumpkin! Fancy a Chai tea?

But this year was different. Boy, was it different. It began just before New Years. Big blobs of snow begin to fall. And then they began to accumulate.

Then it turned cold.

Then it turned wet.

So in the space of a week, we experienced the full Canadian climate. Before the snow fell it was warm enough to golf. And with only some trees devoid of leaves, it looked fall-like. Then came winter. And now it is turning into a slushy spring. There still is lots of snow on the ground, but I swear on all that is Holy that there are cherry blossoms on a tree across the street.

But back to the television coverage. During the "WEEK OF DOOM" the media was in a lather. And that became a frenzy. Every newscast filled their first segment with team storm coverage. 5 stories or more - and charts, graphs and experts. Every story had a reporter reporting live out in the snow, The awful, terrible, dangerous, hideous, beautiful snow. One station had a reporter actually driving in the snowy rush hour live on camera. I actually thought that was pretty cool and was secretly hoping for a 360.

Every weather presenter was calm and collected, presenting the facts slowly, so as not to throw the entire population into a panic. But despite their relaxed demeanor, you could tell that inside they were screaming, "Oh my God! It's going to be -4. We're all going to DIE!!!! " I think they even shied away from showing the "Double Doppler" images for fear of possible riots and/or to prevent the hoarding of survival essentials like green tea ice cream.

I giggled.

It is so easy to make fun of the terror a bit of snow brings to the population of Vancouver. Especially having satellite delivered television. I can flip from the stories of white death locally to places experiencing real winter like Winnipeg. I stand in awe of a reporter standing out in the bitter Manitoba wind telling the audience that in the current conditions exposed skin will freeze in less than a, ho hum, minute. And the reporter is wearing neither a toque nor mitts. That's guts.

But there may be hope. There has been snow on the ground for over a week. If I gaze out my window to the park across the street, I can see snowmen, toboggans, dogs in coats and kids having a blast. There are smiles aplenty. And for a moment, Vancouver is just like the rest of Canada in the winter.

Except it's going to rain tonight and I'm going golfing tomorrow.



Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2005 Day 5

Brief update:

Finished 8 days of work Monday. Moved into new place.

Tuesday: took rental car and drove to Pemberton.

Wed: Worked at CTV. Last scheduled day of work until something like the 13th!

Nice to have a break (I can do taxes, set up my room, etc), but as I intend to head to Belize in Feb, I'd rather be earning.

And speaking of that: I had found some cheap fares to Belize -- but they've since gone up. So I plan to book on payday - Friday.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

from the "and so it begins" dept.

Jan 1, 2005.

Could it be 5 years ago that I was in Belize, as America fretted about Y2K? Wow. 5 years.

New Years eve was nice. I went to Lisa's place with Cheryl and Tom. We ate lots, drank little (me, even less, as I was DD).

Now I am back at the place where I am house sitting... two more nights and then I will finally be in my permanent home. Whew.

Got to work nightshift both Sat and Sun, which sucks. And an early (6am!) start on Monday. After that I have a grand total of 2 days of work booked in 2005.

I'm sure that will change.

If not -- it's going to be an interesting New Year. Especially with a trip to Belize only 4-6 weeks off...

Well, bed calls. More soon.