Thursday, October 27, 2005

Room with a View

Room with a View
Originally uploaded by

Summer is definitely over.

Aqua Cops!

Aqua Cops!
Originally uploaded by

John Law (or is that Captain Law) was in Deep Cove. The boys were at Honey's fetching -- what else -- donuts!

Deep Cove - Gallant St.

Deep Cove - Gallant St.
Originally uploaded by

Another summer is but a memory, and the streets of Deep Cove are crowded with leaves.

from the "three days at rest" dept.

It's been sweet these past three days. Nice weather and fall colours are very smile enducing.

Point form again:

- nothing shaking re: the holocaust doc. The work continues on the right agreement, though we are planning to head to Sacramento in December regardless.

- I'm very excited about Halifax -- and I've just scored 2 if not 3 days of work for the folks while there. I like a working vacation!

- Finally got the 2006 Borderland calendar done. Buy it here:

- Working on getting a photo archive of my border images up. Playing with MySQL and PHP stuff. NOT fun. And not very successful. Yet.

- Spent a great part of yesterday in Deep Cove. My brakes were being repaired, so armed with a camera, I snapped away. Images to come.

- Back to work tomorrow. Then 4 on, two off, 10 on, and off to LobsterLand!

- More news about a possible trip to India in Jan or Feb. Cross fingers and toes, please.

- Also applied for a 3 month position as a video journalist for the UN in Kashmiri Pakistan. Heh! Nin fun, that!

And so it goes...


Monday, October 24, 2005

from the "radio ga-ga" dept.

Working the night side tonight... but the day was jam packed.

Fought with my new (used) PC... nothing other than installing Windoze. What a pain. And after 2 hours, I still couldn't get the right video driver to work.

I love my Mac.

Anyway, once it's running, I can do my online (corp.) stuff from home. No more dragging my ass downtown for 5am. Or 7am.

Then I had a call from a new radio network, asking if I was interested in doing some branding work. Of course. But lots of hurdles to climb. More on that soon.

Returned the rental car (sniff) today... and visited my old junker. The front wheels were rusty -- a sign that the bad breaks have been spewing iron filings. Not a good sign. And I'm torn between repairing it, or being transit boy. Thing is, its a 45 minute bus ride and that sucks. Still, I think I'll take the bus tonight. And deal with it all tomorrow.

My discovery of a North Korea tour company has me very excited. I SO want to go there. And I think it's time for a top 5 desired destinations list (in no particular order):

1. New York -- what can I say? Love it.
2. Cuba -- the time is now! And I know far too many people who have gone.
3. North Korea -- ah, my second hermit kingdom!
4. Chernobyl -- sure, I'll get cancer. But the photos will be nice.
5. Caye Caulker -- see #1 above.

Best get back to work!


Saturday, October 22, 2005

from the "home on the range" dept.

The drive went smoothly -- cruising at a good speed made the KM's fly by. However, by Kamloops, I had had quite enough, thank you. Yet a distance sign delivered bad news: Vancouver 350km. Ugh!


- Not finding a border marker between BC and Alberta. (press 1 for sarcasm)

- A herd of Rocky Mountain sheep on the highway near Golden. Photos to come.

- A small forest fire 50km east of Salmon Arm.

- A huge amount of traffic heading east on the Trans-Canada near Abbotsford. The back-up caused by a rockslide earlier in the week. Westbound traffic was flowing smoothly.

- A deer/elk/sasquatch I passed running down the centerline of the two westbound lanes of the TCH -- in the dark. Very scary.

- My bed.

Back at work now for the next 3 days. Then 3 off next week. Considering keeping the rental car and heading to Tofino or up north for another break. We'll see.


Friday, October 21, 2005

from the "winter wonderland" dept.

Near Calgary, Alberta
Originally uploaded by

Apologies for not posting yesterday. Just no time. And the same applies this morning. Getting ready for breakfast and a 1000km drive.

Oh, it's -7! And I have to scrape the windows of the car.

Madness! Madness!!


Thursday, October 20, 2005

from the "frosty the snowman" dept.

9:30am Mountain time, and it's snowing in Calgary.

Further details to come after breakfast with Connie.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

from the "boy are my arms tired" dept.

Point form Calgary update:

- The drive here went well. No problems and light traffic. Saw some cheap gas in BC (95) but it is cheaper here.

- Checked email and had a ton of work offered. Dough for Halifax, I reckon!

- Thank God for my XM radio. I had coverage for 95% of the drive. From BBC to CNN to the 70's, disco, rancheros, and new music channels ... satellite radio is the only way to go. Even listened to part of the Canucks game.

- Tomorrow: visiting with old friends Doug Jones and Connie Geerts. Out tomorrow night. Similar plan for Thursday. Drive home Friday.

Life is good.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

from the "dishing it out" dept.

Still pumped about Halifax. Spoke with Lydia and Scooter this morning... it's going to be a barnburner. I can't wait.

Friday I did a little side work installing a satellite dish and earned a bit of pocket money. Could be on to something!

And it's the weekend, which means working nights. And so it goes...


Friday, October 14, 2005

from the "changes" dept.

Due to money making opportunities, Calgary is cancelled. C'est la vie. More dough for Halifax, I reckon.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

from the "drunken man on a Halifax pier" dept.

As you know, I have a certain affection for Canada's East Coast -- especially Nova Scotia.

I worked there from 1988-1994 and I dare say it was the best time of my life. Not that life currently isn't great. But I had my youth, found fitness and discovered my love of travel there.

Sadly, I have not been back for many years. Cost and time have been the biggest factors. But after chatting with my buddy BJ Burke, who is the morning voice of Q104 FM, I thought it was high time to get back.

The best time of year to visit is right now... and with the various bookings I have, I can't go.

But I decided to check fares today, and Westjet was having a 50% off sale. And Air Canada was matching it. So, for a hair over $500, I could get my ass back where it belongs. For a few days anyway.

So I booked it! The next trip is official:

Halifax Nov 16 through 29. That's just under 2 weeks and includes 2 weekends. And should be more than enough time to get up to Cape Breton.

The weather probably won't be great. Cool, but probably dry. Spring is the worst. And who knows, maybe it will still be fall like, though the leaves will have been long gone.

Not that it matters, I'll probably be inside at a cavalcade of bars for the entire visit. Or, I'll discover all my friends are older, have kids, and don't go out. Heh.

Still, it will be fantastic to get back there. And there are some definite travel stories that can be done too.

The next trip will be to Sacramento in December -- close to Christmas. And then Tampa, probably in January. Though both of those are documentary related.

And did I mention India? Another possibility for January, but only on the horizon -- nothing firm.

And off to Calgary Monday. Or Tofino. Tofino is $150/night, which is a bit much. Calgary is cheaper. Though a further drive.



Wednesday, October 12, 2005

from the "solidarity forever" dept.

Part of the new CBC-CMG agreement was a $1000 signing bonus. I was wondering if I might be eligible, but doubted it, as I am not full-time nor even contract with the CBC. I am, however, a CMG member in good standing.

I took a look at the contract today to see, and it didn't look good -- though there was a bit of room for interpretation. One key line said the bonus was to be delivered before midnight tonight.

I checked my account where my CBC pay is directly deposited -- and surprise, surprise: I got the signing bonus. It makes up for the 3 days I was booked for and lost. And other potential losses. Still, totally unexpected.

I immediately rolled the bonus cash onto my Visa.

A good day!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

from the "pointed points" dept.

Running late... so point form today.

- Diet going well, no beer for, what, three weeks? Don't even miss it!

- Rode with Ted to the foot of Grouse Mountain today. Hard one on this old creaky bag of bones, but the challenge was met. A little closer to the goal.

- Pleasant day off... earlier met up with Gary Rutherford and got his Russia trip debrief.

- Walked along Spanish banks. Beautiful fall day. And the last for a while as rain is again in the forecast until the weekend.

- Next trip will be Calgary, next week. Snagged some extra work this week... so that will cover the car rental. And a nice long drive is just what is needed.

- Made some big debt payments. Felt good, but miss having a healthy balance.

- Surprised at the hit count this gets -- considering so much of what I write is "I did this... I did that..."

- Oh, I pitched Lonely Planet. And the Lonely Planet Images pitch is in the works.

- Still have GST to get done.

- Move back to my real home this weekend. Just long enough to leave again.

- And so it goes...


Monday, October 10, 2005

from the "threes a crowd" dept.

It's late, so this will be short.

It was Film Fest day for me... went to three films today. The best of the bunch: a/k/a Tommy Chong... all about how the US Government spent millions to throw the comedian in jail for selling bongs. 9 months in the pen for that. Nice. Great film.

The others were: Fateless -- about the plight of Hungarian Jews during the holocaust. Beautiful filmmaking, but there was nothing new here. I wanted to learn more about the Kapos and why so many people turned their backs. I was left wanting...

And a German mockumentary about making the world a better place. Funny, but long.

Went to the Main for Mousaka! YUM!

Tomorrow (today!) is a day off. Sleep in!

And the cold is almost gone. Hurray!


Saturday, October 08, 2005

from the "living in the most livable city" dept.

Good reading from the Melbourne Age:

World's most liveable city: Vancouver

October 8, 2005

We've lost our crown to a city that takes the title with a grain of salt, writes Alan Atwood.

WELL that's it. Hardly worth going on, really. First the footy premiership contested at the MCG is won by a team based in Sydney. Then some bright spark tries to sell us a series of contrived cricket matches, played indoors in springtime. Now Melbourne has to get used to the idea that it's not as desirable as it used to be.

It didn't get much coverage — which was understandable, as you can file this one away under "B" for bad news (or bummer) — but this week Melbourne lost its title as the world's most liveable city. Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, came out top of the pops in a survey carried out by a think tank aligned with The Economist magazine in Britain. Melbourne had to be satisfied with a silver medal, along with Vienna and Geneva.

This was a fine state of affairs, coinciding as it did with the 20th anniversary of the Committee for Melbourne. And there's no kudos for anyone pointing out that Melbourne fared considerably better than Port Moresby and Algiers, which came in at the other end of the scale. In the past, Melbourne has traded off its most-liveable status (Tourism Minister John Pandazopoulos rarely missed a chance to mention it), so now we must cop this demotion with dignity.

Or do we? Perhaps now is the time to suggest that such surveys, purporting to rank living conditions around the world, are about as meaningful as the cricket series that concludes tomorrow. The Economist's poll, for example, is just one of several floating around. A similar survey, released by Mercer Human Resource Consulting this year, had Vancouver and Vienna tied for second behind Geneva and Zurich. Melbourne was 14th, trailing Sydney and also Auckland, though streets ahead of Baghdad.

Meanwhile the upstanding citizens of Port Moody are still basking in the glow of winning first prize in the planning-for-the-future section of the International Awards for Liveable Communities last year. Finalists in the keenly contested 20,000 to 75,000 population category included Camden and Coffs Harbour, both in NSW. And where, you ask, is Port Moody? Why, just a short drive down the scenic Barnet Highway from Vancouver.

If they tried hard enough, tourism ministers worldwide could come up with a survey to suit their purposes (though it might take a little time in Baghdad). "Liveable" is an ugly, loose term anyway. One definition is "endurable", which is what you might call a prolonged stint in solitary confinement. Yet tags such as "most liveable city" tend to take on a life of their own, rather like the quaint idea that the loss-making formula one Grand Prix is a marvellous thing for Melbourne.

There is more than a touch of cultural cringe in our eagerness to embrace things such as a liveability poll. It's the civic equivalent of Sally Field at the Oscars: "They like us; they really like us." Never mind that, as one Canadian writer noted this week, such surveys are often the work of head-hunting or consulting firms, designed to give clients contemplating relocation some idea where they are least likely to be mugged or stuck in traffic.

Ah yes, traffic. If Mr Pandazopoulos is still agonising over Melbourne's mysterious drop from gold to silver status he could do worse than try driving over the West Gate Bridge in peak hours. That Economist survey coincided with figures confirming what many commuters already knew: it might be quicker for them to get out of their cars and jog over the bridge. One radio report the other day described traffic flow on the bridge as "sluggish". A good description of the speed of the Government in coming up with a viable solution.

Intriguingly, there are some in Vancouver who are apparently puzzled by their home town's honour. In The Globe and Mail newspaper, a geography professor at the University of British Columbia suggests that public transport might have dragged Vancouver down a bit. Toronto's system was better, he said, before adding that there were fewer gridlock problems in the world's most liveable city. "Vancouver's 2 million people don't have the same volume of traffic. The only trick here is getting across bridges." Seems that both Vancouver and Melbourne have a bridge too far.

Scanning Canadian responses to the latest survey, I get the feeling that they take it with far more salt than we do. The Globe and Mail, for example, quotes a local economist as pointing out that Vancouver (like Melbourne) plays a peripheral role in the global economy. Not only that: "Committed urban dwellers — such as those who live in Montreal, New York or Paris — will find Vancouver too quiet." Conclusion: the Pride of British Columbia should work on its night life and strengthen its economy.

Ha! Two can play at that game. If he really wants that title back, Mr Pandazopoulos should invest in nightclubs rather than car races. Then do something dramatic with West Gate. Punt Road, too, while he's at it. And cancel all government subscriptions to The Economist.

Alan Attwood is a Melbourne writer.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

from the "dream gig" dept.

Just sent a rather large submission of writing samples and images to Lonely Planet. Seems they're looking for travel writers.

Seems I'm one.

Details soon!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

from the "man of few words" dept.

Got up this morning at 3:30am... actually beat my alarm. The bike ride must have resulted in a restful sleep.

Headed into work, arriving half-an-hour early. Work flew by. Had a sushi pig-out with some CTV folks at lunch.

Booked some work at CTV. And a week at CBC. All good.

Came home, relaxed.

Then the good news: my old Deep Cove landlord finally paid up -- to the tune of $650. I could have pinned him to the mat for $1200, but it would have involved small claims court, etc. $650 is all I wanted in the first place. And I got it.

And another cheque rolled in for some photo stuff I did. And there should be a Straight cheque any day. Plus 4 days at CTV this week -- a good week!

Hitting the wall at 9pm... sad.

But it's good to be flush! Looks like Belize will happen...


Idea only

Idea only
Originally uploaded by

It's in the works...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

from the "it's over" dept.

A cracker-jack of a day: early shift meant I could leave the office early. Hooked up with Shredder for a 20k north shore ride. Stellar!

CBC lockout nearly over. Voting is Friday. Things should be back to "normal" next week. Not sure what it means for me in terms of work.

Still mulling Belize. And a few other things. Heading back to the film fest again this week...

That's it!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

from the "close closer closest" dept.

Positive news concerning the CBC lockout: there is an agreement of some sort. Details sketchy, and the deal has to be accepted -- but its the best news in a long time. More in the coming days, I reckon.

Considering a quick visit to Belize. Possible work. Could be last chance to go on holiday before the doc project gets going. IF it gets going. Nova Scotia is still an option. Much depends on what happens over the next few weeks.

House sitting continues for another week here in North Van.

Monday is a day off, but the agenda is full. Was considering some picket line time, but I have wash to do, banking to take care of, and I would like to fetch my bike and get out for a cycle.

Boy, what an interesting post... nien!