Wednesday, August 31, 2005

from the "Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t" dept.

Finally went to Bard on the Beach, the annual summer Shakespeare festival here in Vancouver.

Sad but true: I have only seen Shakespeare on the big screen. Never in person. And I have never read it either.

However, this was not because I didn't care for Will. Rather, the opportunity wasn't there.

I know from my filmic experience that I love Shakespeare. The lyrical rhythm of the language is captivating. Yet, summer after summer would pass, and despite my best laid intentions, fall would arrive and I had missed Bard on the Beach yet again.

This summer, my pals Lorne and Katrina asked me to housesit for them several times. They offered to take me to Bard as a way of saying thanks.

So last night, we headed to the tents of Vanier Park and prepared to take in a live preformance of Hamlet.

The weather had turned, so fleece was necessary in the tent. There are openings at either end, so the cool air whistles through. I can't imagine how hot it must have been on the days just last week when it was close to 30.

Anyway, the play was staged "in the round" on a minimalist platform depicting the flag of Denmark. The wardrobe was modern, but the language was 1601.

The sold-out performance was a knock out. Even though I was a little sketchy on the story -- and I refused to read the program -- I wanted to see if I could understand it. No problem. Sure, there was some obsolete language, but generally, you could easily follow. L & K remarked at how timeless the story was. As relevant in the 1600's as today.

I stood (sat!) in amazement of how the actors could remember all those lines. And the perfromances were excellent as well.

It was a fantastic night out, and there will be no more excuses. Each summer 3 plays are staged. I intend to see them all.

Another day off... but lots of running around to do. Janis arrives tomorrow. I have an article to write. And so it goes...


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

from the "day of rest" dept.

Well, a day off of work. Which means there are millions of things to attend to:

First I have to get off my ass and down to the picket line for a couple of hours.

Then I have to write an article about Albania.

And then there is some shopping to be done. Preps for visits from Janis (Toronto) and Brent (Belize).

Good news on the documentary front: the story rights paperwork will be finished this week -- as early as tomorrow. Then the hunt for $100k in development begins. We're confident of getting $50k stateside and roughly the same here in Canada. We're not bothering with the standard funding agencies and tax credits. No time for that.

We have to move on this now, as one of our interviewees is 83 and another is 97.

More news when its official!


Sunday, August 28, 2005

from the "fire in them thar hills" dept.

What a day that was! Work was kinda slow all day... until about 9:30 when a big fire broke out near Kelowna (see pic). We managed to get two freelance shooters on the ground... and fed pictures from Kelowna LIVE to air at 11:30. It was tough, but we did it. And then we got more amazing pictures up for the end of the show. Global had complete shit video.

It was nice to come home with that old news buzz and a feeling of accomplishment.

And to know there was a Victoria Bitter waiting for me.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

POD: Aug 27, 2005 - 12:30pm - Mystery Tree

Mystery Tree
Originally uploaded by

Out for a short stroll before strolling to work, shortly. This tree (actually there are several) fill a block of W. 7th (I think) around Scotia Street. Not sure what kind it is -- but it certainly challenges the Arbutus for my favourite. Who would have thought? I have a favourite tree! Two!


from the "Saturday moaning" dept

Well, here it is the weekend... but for me, it is actually Tuesday. I was bringing home the bacon last night... and continue through Monday. Nightshifts too. Hmmm.

It was strange to go back to work after three off. Did lots of stuff during the three -- so it was more about catching up than goofing off.

Still, it's been relaxing in these temporary Mount Pleasant digs. That comes to an abrupt halt tomorrow when I move back to my real home. This morning will be all about packing all my computer and camera gak up, though I will save the return of said gak until tomorrow. I want to enjoy a few hours here -- it's a cool day (it's coming!!) and there is a nice breeze a-blowing.

I know it's wrong, but I much prefer coolish days. Reminds me of the East Coast.

Speaking of which, I am giving serious thought to heading out east in October... if time and money will allow. It's been a long time, and I have more than enough Aeroplan miles.

Of course, I often talk about going somewhere and then don't. Like Belize. Or Mexico. Heh. Or Cuba.

Not much more to add... so...


Thursday, August 25, 2005

from the "true words spoken" dept.

from the "strike 2" dept.

While I did wander down to the CBC pickets yesterday, technical problems prevented me from snapping snaps. The battery was flat, and I didn't bring a back-up. Hopefully the sunset pictures are a good replacement.

Newest (and smallest) piece is in the Georgia Straight today.


Vancouver Sunset Aug 25/05

Sure it's expensive -- but it's beautiful. And home!

Vancouver Sunset Aug 25/05

Paradise with a 400mm lens.

Don and Linda's View

Don and Linda's View
Originally uploaded by

Looking towards the city just after the sun dropped. This photo and the two previous taken with a 10.5mm lens.

Don and Linda's

Don and Linda's
Originally uploaded by

And the reverse.

Don and Linda's

Don and Linda's
Originally uploaded by

I'm spending the week housesitting at Don and Linda's fab lofty-condo near 6/Main in Vancouver. Here's the interior.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

from the "labour day" dept.

Off to visit the CBC picket line today... armed with camera.

Tune in later.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by
Pics from last Sunday...


Originally uploaded by


Originally uploaded by


Originally uploaded by
Kids are a hoot!


Originally uploaded by


Originally uploaded by
Kids are a hoot!

Images from the weekend shoot

Originally uploaded by
Kids are a hoot!

from the "me again, again" dept.

I'm a postin' fool today.

I wanted to mention the discovery of a cool coffee shop. My favourite, of course, is Continental Coffee on Commercial Drive. The blends are great, the roasts are better and the price is right. However, it's not really a place to hang around in for hours on end.

SOMA, on Main Street is. Free wi-fi, groovy setting, Mac-centric customers... and a damn fine double Americano Misto. What could be better?

I spent the life of my laptop battery in there this afternoon. You can plug in, too... but a dying battery is a good reminder that you've been geeking out long enough and should go home and geek out.

Hmmm. That didn't come out right.


from the "it's a wacky land down there" dept.

Just 10 days after I was in America, and having enjoyed it thoroughly, I am now bombarded by the craziness that fills their (and our) media:

1. Former REPUBLICAN presidential candidate Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president. Yup, there's democracy in action! I hope Chavez cuts oil exports to the great land of freedom (if you agree with us).

2. News that the NYC transit authority is dropping $212 million into the pocket of Lockheed Martin for sensors and cameras to thwart that terrorist menace. Let's see, who has benefitted the most from 9-11?

3. It gets absurd after a while. This just in from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - That vagrant in the subway may not really be a homeless person. The government says he may be a terrorist in disguise.
An e-mail message from the U-S Attorney's Office in Washington warns that some terrorists may be pose as street people to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations for future attacks.

The e-mail stresses that there is no known threat of an attack. However, the message says homeless people tend to go unnoticed, particularly in mass transit systems.

Police, fire and emergency personnel are advised to be aware of any vagrants who look unfamiliar or out of place -- a in a recent case in Somerville, Massachusetts. A police officer in Somerville became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person and discovered a passport from the Middle East or South Asia and a checkbook with a questionable address.


So... not only are terrorists brown,they're also poor and homeless. Perhaps the next step is special internment camps? Not like Guantanamo Bay... I'm talking REX 84!

What has happened to this world?!?

From the "time manages me" dept.

The clock has just ticked past noon. It is Tuesday. I am in Vancouver at Don and Linda's place -- featuring a commanding view of Vancouver from their 6th and Main condo. I'll get some images up later. First, a bit of a brain dump.

I finally finished the final revisions to the final version of the short (600 word) piece on cartography. It'll be in print and online this Thursday (Aug 25, 2005). The next piece, Roadtrip Across Albania, is still mostly bouncing around my synapses... but will be out the first week of September.

A preview:

"Bandits!" my Czech friend told me.
"Robbers!" the External Affiars website warned.
"Why can't go you to a 'normal' place like Disneyland?" my mother sighed, for the umpteenth time.

It's not difficult to see why I was more than a little concerned about my plan to embark on a road-trip across the entire nation of Albania. Which, owing to its relatively small size, is not as lengthy as a journey from Vancouver to, say, Cape Breton.

But what I experienced completely changed my preconceived notions of this Balkan country. Albania was – well, amazing.


Heh: you'll have to wait for the rest.

Let's see. Today is the first day off since last week and the first of three ahead. Notice that I call a day off a day off even when I spent the morning working on work.


It's kinda coolish outside, and despite my best intentions, I am still sitting in the livingroom, my gaze alternating between the Vancouver skyline and my laptop. My intention today had been to get outside mid-morning. Well, THAT didn't happen. My feet (or ass) seem glued in place. I feel like just being.

However, I do need to get some nosh, as Mother Pennington's cubboards are bare. There's a fancy IGA just 10 blocks up Main. And lots of coffee joints and bookstores to grab my attention as I stroll uphill, wheezing as we 40-something year old's do.

There's not much news on the documentary. Still waiting for the key agreement to be signed. Once that happens, things will drop into place rather quickly. I envision stomping around Poland in 8-10 weeks.

I don't know if I mentioned that I bought another (!) XM Satellite Radio. XM is amazing, and perhaps a big reason why my ass is glued in place.

My original XM radio is an old version, and quite noisy because it has an internal fan. It's first generation and I got it for a song. It's a tad cumbersome to move around as it's really meant to be installed permanently in a car.

So I bought a new one -- that is in the form of a boom box. It plays CDs, MP3s, has AM, FM AND XM! There is a built in satellite antenna, and a remote antenna as well. Works like a charm. Cost? About $75 including shipping. Monthly fee? US$6.99. Worth it? Absoutely. Sounds great too. So now, I can take my XM with me to the beach, the pool, or even in the car.

No news coming out of the CBC lock-out. I intend to pop by this week to walk the line a bit. But right now, I am being selfish and taking time for me.


I see a bottle of 23-year-old Guatemalan rum not too far away. Would that be wrong?

Yeah, probably, he says to himself.

With that, I will don some pants and hit the hill. I'll endeavour to post some images of the view here, and of the photoshoot I did on Sunday.

More to come...


Sunday, August 21, 2005

From the "short one from work" dept.

A short one from work -- and testing to see if I can email to the ol' blog.

After getting home last night I watched an old Brian DePalma film called "Phantom of the Paradise".

Released in '74, I recall seeing it a million times as a kid. It's cheesy, but I like it. Much the same way as "Up In Smoke" never gets tiring.

Then I dragged my sorry ass out of bed with too few hours sleep and went to shoot stills of a former co-worker -- Nicola Crosbie -- her hubby and kids -- PLUS her brother and his wife AND her sister, her husband and their kids.

It went amazingly well. And then I dragged my ass to work for 9 hours of news. Less than an hour remains... and I am *so* looking forward to sleeping in

Which won't be at home as I am housesitting for Don and Linda -- who are in Montreal. One more day of work to go, then three off. Yeah!


BBC: Jaruzelski says sorry for 1968

For those interested in the East:

Polish ex-President Wojciech Jaruzelski apologises for his part in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.


Me! is sending you this article from Al-Jazeera English web site.

US TV station rejects anti-war ad

Friday, August 19, 2005

from the "news is my life" dept.

Today was the first day back to a television newsroom in the past week. Luckily, it was a fairly easy day, and now at 12:58am, I am no worse for the wear.

The folks at the Georgia Straight called. They want to run the map article next week. This normally wouldn't be a problem as I filed the story weeks ago. But there are some requested revisions and the deadline is tomorrow. Guess I'll get up early and write before I go to work and write.

"It's a writin' man I am... "

And my Albania roadtrip piece is due soon too. I will get that done next week when I have 3 days off.

No news on the documentary front. Still waiting for the final signed documents pertaining to story rights.

Randy is off to St. Pierre et Miquelon Monday (bastard), which means at least a weeks delay in doc stuff. This isn't a big issue -- I just wanted to use the word "bastard".

One more episode of Freaks and Geeks to go -- man, what an amazing series that was. I think I'll savour the last one with some nice 23 -year-old Guatemalan rum.

The CBC lockout continues. No end in sight. It means a big financial hit... probably half my income. If my tax refund would EVER show up, I'd be breathing a little easier.

Brent and Roh are coming up in early September, and that means a whole lot of going out. Cha-ching!

Speaking of 23-year-old rum... I think I fancy a dram.

I'm also housesitting at 6th and Main for the next while. I don't think I'll hang there all the time. Just pop in and out to feed the cat. Fun!

My apologies for the lack of photos... just no time. Although I have a photo shoot on Sunday, and I'll have an image or two from that. The subject matter: our departing weekend weather person and her family.



Wednesday, August 17, 2005

from the "round 2" dept.

Can't we all just get along?

Apparently no, we can't.

The battle against annoying people has moved into round two on two fronts.

One: The Old Landlord.

Long story short, my old Deep Cove landlord owes me my damage deposit. Despite assurances he would pay up, he hasn't. I have filed a complaint with the appropriate authorities, and they're now on the case. The hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15th. They tell me that if they side with me, I am owed double the original amount. Too bad I have to waste time dealing with something as trivial as this. But money is money.

Two: Barky and Yappy.

Is it any wonder I'm tense at home? The two dogs next door go off every 10 minutes on average. I have relocated to the basement in order to sleep. But the constant barking makes it hard to leave the windows open, let alone concentrate on my work when I am working from home.

In frustration, I have left notes for the owners (using the world PLEASE many times). Nothing changed. I contacted the City, who sent people to visit the inconsiderate owners. The barking continues. In fact, they're going nuts now. So, now I have to waste more of my time to get something done. I have to keep a log of the noise and round up the neighbours. How is this fair? I'm the victim here, yet I have to be proactive and waste time to get people to follow the laws of the city. At this stage, the right to be inconsiderate outweights the right to peace and quiet. Even though there is no by-law about having the right to be inconsiderate. It's shit like this that ruins neighbourhoods.

Keeping a log will be easy, since B&Y go off like clockwork. But it still drives me that I have to do all this extra stuff, just to get people to follow the laws meant to prevent this sort of inconsiderate behaviour.

Now, lest you think all I do is complain (heh) about the places I live... I have had a recent track record of chosing to live in places beset by extraordinary noise. It's no wonder I'm tense:

Cotton Drive: After three years there, the bongo drumming in the park across the street drove me out.

Deep Cove: The incredible traffic noise, and the bowl effect of the street I lived on created a place where there was never any quiet.

Current: Barky and Yappy. 24 hours a day.

I am cursed.

That's the story for now. I'm off to a coffee shop where I can read in peace.


Monday, August 15, 2005

from the "empire strikes" dept.

Arrived back in Vancouver late last night after a most excellent weekend in Seattle.

What a great city that is! Not once did I get grumpy over politics. In fact, I thought the piano playing busker at Pike Place Market summer it all up with a sticker on his instrument that read "Impeach Bush."

Quite a liberal city, I would say.

Randy and I headed to Seattle for 2 reasons: one - baseball. On that note, we had great seats at Safeco field on Saturday. 15th row along the 3rd base line. The weather was perfect, although blisteringly hot. I think I had 4 beer to try and keep cool. Only the beer was US$7 a pop. Good Lord! Land of the Free? Ha! And two - meeting about the documentary project.

Crossing into the US was no problem at all. No fingerprints or chips. Just a few questions, and away we went.

The rest of the trip included visiting favourite haunts: a Mexican restaurant in Freemont for a NAFTA meal (Canadians in America eating Mexican), Bottleworks - the best beer store in the land, the Apple Store, Pike Place Market, the Left Wing Bookstore, and the Washington State liquor store for a bottle of Ron Zacapa Centario - 23 year old Guatemalan rum.

We headed home on Sunday, via La Conner for a nice twisty drive up Chuckanut Drive. Wonderful part of the planet.

We were a little concerned at Canada Customs on the way back. First, there was a big line-up to contend with. But because we'd been away more than 24 hours, but less than 48 hours - we were limited to $50 CAN goods each.

The fellow in the booth was nice enough.

Where do you live?


How long were you gone?

Since Saturday morning.

What were you doing?

Watching baseball.

Did you meet anyone?

(Odd question that) Erm. No.

And with that, we thought we were free and clear. We were going to announce our items, only if asked. Then:

Are you bringing any goods into the country?

Yes. About $50 each.

Have a nice day.

That was it. Which was nice, not having to pay huge taxes on our purchases.

Our work on the documentary project (we call it The Christa Project for now) focused on the focus of the project and the development budget. To do it the way we want to (just development), our budget is around $115,000 CAN. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. Research is a huge cost. Plus travel to California, Florida, and Poland. And salaries for us. When it's all laid out, it makes sense.

It also means the budget for the film will be in excess of $1 million. But, again, nothing isn't justified. We're not buying cars and hookers and beer with that. We're telling an amazing story.

It makes me think I should start a side blog about the project.

The other big news to blab about is the CBC Lockout. I was scheduled for 3 days this week at the Corp. But last night at Midnight eastern time, the CBC locked everyone out. Me included. So I am out a fair chunk of change. Luckily, I have lots of work at CTV... so it's no huge concern. But it could last for a while.

Well, I should get rolling... I want to see how I can earn strike pay on the picket line. Which means heading down to the CBC.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

from the "seventh inning stretch" dept.

It's been a busy week... and a busy morning. I am heading out of town, so it's going to have to be point form blogging:

- I worked the past 7 days straight in the ol' newsroom. The money is nice, but it certainly is mentally exhausting. Thank God for the pool in the back yard.

- I've made contact with the city regarding the inconsiderate neighbour who owns Barky and Yappy. Last night things seemed quiet. I'm not sure if the city has said anything... but I am hoping.

- The "Christa Project," the documentary about buried Jewish valuables, is moving forward slowly. We have a verbal agreement regarding story rights -- the lynch pin of the project. A paper agreement should follow shortly.

- To that end, Randy and I are heading to Seattle this morning to a) work on both the development and main budget for the film. We're also taking in some baseball. We figure its too easy to get distracted here, and we could both use a baseball break. Summer will be over before you know it.

- I'm scheduled to work at CBC several days next week -- but it's looking like a labour dispute will put the kibosh on that. CBC has served the union with a 72-hour lockout notice... so I'm not holding my breath. The distruption could start Sunday at midnight, meaning I'll be off Monday through Wednesday. Which, while financially a drag, gives me time to enjoy the summer and work on other projects.

- Stock Photos and the podcast are on hold until the fall. It's been impossible to get the gang together.

- The boundary book with my Finnish pal Rolf Palmberg is moving along. We've got several chapters done. I have an article due on Albania for the Straight in early Sept. as well.

- Next weekend I am shooting candid shots of a family for real $. It will be an interesting experience and may lead to much more.

- And, as I said off the top, I'm off to Seattle this morning. The M's play the Angels at 1:05. We've got prime seats for today's game -- and tomorrow we'll do the bleachers. Looking forward to sitting in Safeco.

The camera will stay home, so there will be no pictures from Seattle... but I will get back to posting pictures of the day soon.

Until then...


Sunday, August 07, 2005

from the "guns kill people" dept.

Man Kills Another in Dispute Over War, Press and Police Call It a First

By E&P Staff

Published: August 06, 2005 6:30 PM ET

NEW YORK It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.

It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who backs the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.

Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. A grand jury may yet hear evidence in the case.

Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war.

One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here.”

This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed. The dead man was apparently just a little slower in firing. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before toppling on the walkway.

In a telephone interview wit the Lexington paper yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.

"I'm sorry this has happened," Moore, a retired railroad worker, said "but then what's done can't be undone." Moore told the Lexington reporter he thinks Smith and his family knew him well enough "to know what my thoughts are, his family does, because me and Harold was friends. That's all I'll say."

The daughter of the dead man said the two men were friends and had discussed Iraq before. She said her father "had different opinions than everybody. He felt it was wrong that all of these young people were losing their lives over what was going on. It was just a political disagreement, like a whole lot of people have."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Night at the Nat - Slide!

Night at the Nat - Slide!
Originally uploaded by

Night at the Nat - sweet!

Night at the Nat - sweet!
Originally uploaded by

Night at the Nat - nice!

Night at the Nat - nice!
Originally uploaded by

Night at the Nat - Mmmm... Girls!

Night at the Nat - Ah! There they are!

Night at the Nat - Where'd the girls go?

Night at the Nat

Night at the Nat
Originally uploaded by

One of the great things about Vancouver is our little minor league ballpark, Nat Bailey Stadium. We used to have a AAA team, but now we've only got a single-A franchise. The farmteam of the farmteam of the Oakland A's. But you know what? Who cares! It's baseball, outside, on a summer night in one of the best places on earth. Swiiiing! Batter! Batter!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

from the "perfect day off" dept.

A day off in Vancouver:

Sleep to 8:30.
Go buy some computer bits.
Go for a big sushi feed at lunch.
Hang around the pool and swim all afternoon. (30 degree day)
Go to Barney's for 2 pints.
Go with Cheryl & Lisa to a C's game.


Photos of recent activities to come tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

from the "where the hell has he gone" dept.

I have not dropped off the face of the earth. No, I actually had the ENTIRE long weekend off -- and I was far from my computer. Not that it would matter. My TELUS service has been out off-and-on since Saturday.

There was nothing today. So, I have to make due with posting from work. Ssssh.

Photos from the Sunday Pride Parade are coming.

Please stand by!