Friday, February 24, 2006

from the "utata" dept.


Made it to the homepage of Utata (a photography website)(Fri 2/24). Here's the PERMALINK!

Spent the day working on my guidebook listing project. Wow, it is SO much more difficult than I had thought. Try writing a short piece of text that tells how to get to Tofino from Vancouver. The different ways, different costs, different routes. And they all have to be accurate. Now multiply that several dozen times.

Still sounds easy, but I have a whole new appreciation for guide books.

Back to "work" Saturday -- and it will continue pretty much every day until I go to Belize. THANK GOD!

And we close with a great quote:

"The camera always points both ways.
In expressing your subject, you also express yourself."
~ Freeman Patterson


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

from the "where's Dougo" dept.

I'm not far away. In fact, I am right here with a mid-week update.

I've been working since Saturday, so this is a day "off," which means I am working on a secret project. Or is that many secret projects.

Monday night I met a bunch of cool fella's at a BBQ hosted by Ted Shredd. We swaped stories of being drunken teens as we wolfed down burgers.

It was an eclectic group: an orthopedic surgeon, two CEOs and an actor, just to mention a few.

Last night Randy and Vince and I visited Fet's on Commercial Drive to sample Scotch and shoot the breeze. We were treated to the always amazing Commercial Drive parade of people outside the window. And, as luck would have it, a dandy sunset.

Today, as mentioned is secret project day. As are the next two. Following that, at least 9 days of work lie ahead.

That's pretty much the story to this point. More to come!


Sunday, February 19, 2006

from the "mr. fix-it" dept.

So, it wasn't part of a global conspiracy. There really were problems. This post is more of a test to see if the previous one sticks around.

Here's what Blogger had to say on their status-blog:

Blogger Status
Saturday, February 18, 2006

We’re experiencing some problems with one of our databases. Some posts may not be saved, and other, saved posts, may not be visible in the app. Working on fixing this now…

Update, 12:44PM: This has been sorted out. We’re continuing to investigate the root cause and why our monitoring didn’t catch it sooner, but Blogger is back to functioning normally. Posts made from now on will be saved.

I’m very sorry to say that, if your blog was on this database, posts and template changes made in the last 18 hours or so were not saved. They may appear on your blog now, but will disappear if you republish. If you made a post between Friday afternoon and now, we suggest that you look at your list of posts (“Posting” tab, “Edit posts” sub-tab) and compare it with what is published on your blog. If posts are missing, copy them from your blog pages before you republish.

Major apologies to those of you who were affected. We work hard to maintain Blogger as a trustworthy place to keep your writing, and we really hate to let you down.



from the "BLOGGER REALLY BLOWS" dept.

Ok, blogger is F**KED!

Every time I change the main picture above, or post a new entry, I lose all previous entries going back to last Wednesday.

This has been a continual problem, and it's a real piss off. Luckily, I've learned to back up my previous entries, so I can repost them again.

And, of course, THIS one will disappear when I post the next time. GRRR.

Here's the old stuff:

Saturday, February 18, 2006
from the "recovered" dept.
My last post seems to has disappeared... but it was a short one, to wit:

There are more interesting words coming from my colleagues at CTV who are in Turin and working the Olympics.

If you look to the right side of the page, you'll see I've added some links. Links to blogs, links to music, and links to US politics.

Murman & Mike's Olympic blogs make for fascinating reading ... especially for those of you who think A) TV is easy and B) working on the road is a holiday.

Although there are some benefits as evidenced by Murray's meeting with the Great One.

posted by Doug at 11:12 AM 0 comments
from the "BLOGGER BLOWS" dept.

Two posts have now disappeared. No more posts until this is fixed.

posted by Doug at 11:07 AM 0 comments


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

from the "sunny & cold" dept.

Back from Tofino, and one day of work behind me, I now have three days off. Not that I am lacking things to do. My list is long and includes such fun as muffler repair, bill paying, and laundry. Gold medal life, no?

But it is nice to have a bit of a break after a bit of a break. The weather is bright and sunny but cold. Well, not cold like Manitoba, where it is -20C. Bah! +5C here.

More work looms too -- all weekend, and part of next week. Though this Lonely Planet project needs my attention. Perhaps today I'll continue working on the draft. It doesn't seem too difficult, yet at the same time, a lot is riding on it. Massive opportunity to reach at least one of my many goals.

And the big trip is now about a month away. Certainly looking forward to some heat and cheap rum.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

from the "testing video" dept

OK, so the video posting works. Here's a larger movie of the waves on Long Beach Sunday afternoon.

The video should play without having to navagate away from the blog. If it stutters, that's just because it's loading slowly. Once it's fully loaded, you can press play again.


Monday, February 13, 2006

from the "tossed to and fro" dept.


It was a beautiful Monday morning in Tofino... and we had to go. After a quick stroll on the beach, we packed up and hit the road.

First stop was Ucluelet for breakfast at the Matterson House. Here, you get great service, great food AND a great price. Tofino's best breakfast is 40km away!

We made such good time crossing the Island, that we thought we might catch an earlier ferry than our planned 3pm sailing. But we just missed the earlier boat. So we spent time finding something for lunch (take away from Save-On-Foods) and wandering a waterfront park.

The winds were high when we boarded the ferry. The captain came on the blower to advise us that the ride would be "lumpy." And lumpy it was:

[click HERE for VIDEO].

The seas calmed as we got closer to the mainland. And before we knew it, we were dropping off the rental van and committing a great weekend to memory.

Tuesday was a work day, but went quickly. I managed to figure out how to post videos from my new digital camera here. And it seems to work. That means on the Belize trip, I should be able to upload videos as well as pictures. The only caveat is the speed of the connection to upload.

And, at the end of the day, stills are probably a more effective medium.

Here's another video from earlier in the trip when we stopped at Cathedral Grove:

Cathedral Grove (low res, small file)


Sunday, February 12, 2006

from the "still coasting 2" dept.

Later Sunday...

A quick recap:

After breakfast -- HORRIBLE SERVICE at Vincenco's (sp), but good food once it came, Leanne and I went for a long walk on Long Beach. It was damp and grey, the surf was up, and all-in-all, it was quite lovely. Until the rain came.

We then grabbed Randy and headed to SOBO for lunch. Better service, fantasic food, and decent prices.

Then Randy and I went to do some urban exploring back at the abandoned building we found back near the airport. It was pretty barren inside, but it was a good opportunity to get a feel for sneaking around abandoned places.

Then it was off to the Weigh West pub for a pint of Herman's dark, followed by a quick stop in at SHELTER, to reserve three crab dinners for tonight.

And now I am back in the office at our resort, poaching wifi.

There are a ton of new images on flickr, so click the link on the right and check them out.


from the "still coasting" dept.

Saturday in Tofino was rather mellow.

Leanne headed off to explore on her own while Randy and I went to town to poach internet and eat.

We decided on The Schooner.

When we arrived mid-morning it was crowded, and shortly became packed. A good sign. Service was very attentive. Another good sign. And then we opened the menu. Wow, talk about expensive. Nothing really less than $10.

I had the eggs benny, which was quite good. $15 lighter (each) we were on our way.

The weather wasn't as nice as Friday. Clouds hung for most of the day, but the rain held off.

Randy and I discovered an abandoned building with an open door… and proceeded to explore until a lack of light and the willies got the better of us. We'll return today (Sunday) with more courage and a flash light.

The three of us had dinner in; a large pot of spaghetti, Randy's home made sauce, and a few bottles of wine to wash it all down.

The agenda for Sunday is the aforementioned abandoned building, food, and most likely long strolls on a longer beach.

The weather is overcast again, but it remains warm and dry. And, there is wifi available at the office here at Crystal Cove.

And, lucky for you, this is a much shorter entry!


Saturday, February 11, 2006

from the "edge of Canada" dept.

Greetings from the magical paradise that is Tofino. It is also apparently the place where summer winters. But let’s go back 24 hours.

After fending off "the beast" I awoke with much anticipation Friday morning. The plan was to zip over to Kitsilano to meet Leanne, transfer the stuff from my car to our rental van, and hit the road, Jack.

My car has been undergoing various breakdowns - like the heater. And, as it dropped to below 0C overnight, I had a frost-covered window. The handy hint solution: pour warm water on it and drive like a bat out of hell to Leanne's before it froze up again. It worked.

And then there's the muffler, or lack thereof. But that's a whole other story.

Things went smoothly once I got to Leanne's. We loaded our stuff and her dog Katie and we were off. We were aiming for the 10:30am ferry to Nanaimo, which we caught with plenty of time to spare. The boat was half-empty, so there were plenty of places to flop out. It was sunny and bright, although cold – meaning the outside deck photo safaris were brief. Images to come on flickr (see link, right – near the DONATE button [hint hint]).

The traffic was light and we made good time. The weather was/is incredible. Sunny, warm, amazing.

A quick pee stop at Cathedral Grove [ movie to come ] to well, pee, and look at big trees. Then back in the minivan and up and over the snowy mountains to the far west coast of this great land.

Another stop revealed outside temperatures of 16C. Hard to believe it's February, a common theme.

By the time we listened to the weather report on Pacific Rim National Park Radio, in French, we were at the office our home for the next few nights – the Crystal Cove Resort.

Our 2-level stand-alone log cabin is dandy. Full kitchen, and on the second level, an elevated walkway to an elevated hot tub. Three other cabins share it, but they appear to be vacant.

The price is in the $100/night range. Which, considering the location – a short walk to the beach – is perfect.

As it turns out, my pal and business partner, Randy, is staying next door at the Ocean View Cabins. He's been here for a week of chilling.

Leanne, Katie and I hit the beach, which is this massive expanse of sand (at low tide). The air was warm, skies blue, and people friendly.

I wandered over to say hi to Randy, then after a picture perfect sunset, the three of us headed into town. First stop, Sobo.

This is a new restaurant that used to be nothing more than a catering wagon. But the food, offered up by Artie and Lisa Ahier is legendary. And, from the "It's a small world but I wouldn't want to mow it" category, it turns out that Artie and a buddy of mine from Halifax went to Uni together. Of course, I knew this in advance.

It is only recently that the restaurant opened, but Randy, Leanne and I were disappointed to find it shuttered. It will be today's lunch destination.

After Sobo, we discovered that Tofino on a February Friday night is somewhat dead. Pulling into the Liquor Store, it appeared that it was closed (about 8pm). But, no, there just were no customers.

Inside, two wacky BC Liquor employees joked with us, and even up sold me on some local beer. The outlet also stocks Innis and Gunn Scottish Ale, which is (because it is aged in former Scotch casks) is one of the best beers I've ever had. I bought 6.

Our growly stomachs reminded us of our dropping blood sugar levels. Leanne had heard good things about a place that was once the Crab Shack, now renamed (and upscaled) "Shelter."

It is a beautiful 2-storey restaurant with a comfortable ambience. Lots of dark wood, low light, and candles. Great attentive service. And a lot of nos.

The first no: no crab. CURSES! The explanation is that it is very hard to predict crab demand, so they err on the side of caution. Crab must be made fresh, and if they don't move it, they're stuck with product. I'm assuming the crab would be dead at that point. But… who knows.

The table beside us feasted on the last crab. Bastards!

So we ordered other items. I went with the fresh salmon and a chevre (which I cannot seem to pronounce) salad.

We ordered our drinks. Randy ordered a Campari and soda. This is the first time I have ever seen anyone order that. I ordered a local espresso stout. Leanne, wine.

The waitress headed off, and returned with Leanne's wine and two apologies. No Campari. No espresso stout.

But good news: She instructed someone to run over to the Liquor Store we had just been at to get some Campari and stout. In about 10 minutes, our alcohol needs were met.

Dinner arrived, and the verdict from all three eaters was two thumbs way, way up. Outstanding food. Filling. Tasty. Great presentation. But, it is not cheap. Our bill: $170. The mains were in the $30 range. But definitely worth it. It will be the last expensive meal, however.

A colleague from CTV is shooting a low-budget adventure travel show here as well, and after a phone call after we left, it turns out they were in Shelter at the same time. Must have been the low light.

The rich food and long drive made us sleepy. So we went our separate ways…

Saturday morning began at 6:30am with Katie demanding a pee and a walk. Since she's Leanne's dog, I stayed in the cosy confines of the bed.

It's still early as I write this, and the agenda is loose. Into Tofino to do some more LP research… and find a place to upload this. There is wireless internet at the resort, however, it must only be in the office area, as I have no connectivity. A minor detail.

More to come!


Thursday, February 09, 2006

from the "making Frank Buckley rich" dept.

Wow... bright sun today... and the forecasters are predicting 14C for today, 15C for tomorrow. Yep, winter in Vancouver is nothing like the ROC (Rest Of Canada).

Unfortunately cold and flu bugs pay no nevermind to the climate - and I am on the verge of coming down with the beast again. Last time it lasted nearly a month.

I was scheduled to work tonight, but have decided that I need to rest and relax and self-medicate myself with over-the-counter pills and potions. None of which do much more than earn big bucks for Frank Buckley.

Another reason I want to beat the beast is due to the trip to Tofino tomorrow. I do not want to be ill whilst trying to enjoy that little slice of paradise. And, as mentioned a billion times previously, I am working on the Lonely Planet "test" piece. The official guidelines should arrive today... and then the fun begins.

This could be the beginning of something entirely new, yet very familiar. Writing about travel and getting paid for it. Sure, I do it now, but certainly not in the volume I'd like.

And the cache of a Lonely Planet credit would open new doors.

This is fun, this goal stuff. Sure, it's been a long road. But, I'm getting there.

And then there are all the TV projects in the works. I think 2006 is going to be one heck of a year. And if I could only drop 30 pounds and get some more financial flow, I'd have the bull by the horns.

Right: goals! One at a time, however.

If you haven't been keeping up with Brent's life, check out his blog. It's funny how we're kindred spirits... I still think back to lunch time in 1998 when we were at a downtown Vancouver bookstore. I was looking for a book on Malta. Brent was wondering about traveling to Eastern Europe. The rest is history.

Except he's been living in Belize for six years and I'm still working at CTV.

But then again, I've been to Albania. So there!

The XM Radio is cranked, the dog is at my feet, and the sun is shining in. I'm going to go cough and sputter and get healthy!


PS: Don't be cheap! Click on the DONATE button above and fund my life!! Think Karma!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

from the "bella soleil" dept.

What a pleasant suprise this morning: the sun is shining.

It's nice to know that a day of errands will be brightly illuminated. It's a tad cold, however. And the heater in my car still refuses to function. A blessing, then, that I live where I do.

Speaking of which, the flowers are sprouting. Spring is nigh.


Murman has posted his latest entry. Some pretty funny stuff. *CLICK HERE*


I've been wanting a decent voice recorder for some time. One that takes flash memory cards, records digitally, in high quality stereo. And cheap.

A tall order.

But I managed to snag a Sony BM-1 handheld recorder for US$179, which is very, very cheap. Sony lists it for US$299 -- and they've been selling north of the border for $500!

The key features: long recording time, portability, ability to record for broadcast or transcription (for all my interviews). And ease of file transfer... blah blah blah.

Up next: The Nikon 10.5 fisheye!

This thing is amazing, and there are many samples on my flickr site. The Canadian cost is nearly $1000. But through B&H in the USA, it's about C$640!

I'll be buying that before Belize.


Heading to Tofino on Friday for 4 days. Looking forward to hanging out with Leanne, playing with cameras, and writing my Lonely Planet piece. The forecast looks ok, and really, it doesn't matter. It is such a magical place that just being there is enough. Nice weather is but a bonus.

One more day of work remains before we head out. And it's a night shift, meaning I have all day Thursday to relax and get ready.

Much like today.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

from the "what we do" dept.

It amazes me what the people I know get up to. Few of them have what we could traditionally consider boring lives.

Take Brent. He's about to head off to San Jose, Costa Rica with a kooky dubpoet that he's shooting a documentarty about.

Take Randy. He just returned from globetrotting to put the finishing touches on his Island Escapes television series. And now he's on Vancouver Island.

Take Mike & Murray. They're both in Torino/Turin working on the olympics. So are Rob, Mike and Brent (another one).

Take Ted. He runs half-way across the province and country just to have fun. It's his business.

Take Me. I'm about to write a story about Tofino and then go to Belize for a month.

And so it goes... and that's just a quick skim of the surface. Some life we all lead!


Monday, February 06, 2006


Originally uploaded by

Another weekend flew by. That's what happens when you work 2pm-11pm.

But it's not all bad.

Saturday I picked up my Sony W7 point-and-shoot camera. I've wanted a good one so I'm not always carrying the wonderful but bulky D70 around all the time.

The W7 was on sale, and I had some gift cards... so the price was right.

It's a bit of a learning curve though. Either I am too picky (naaah) or I'm an idiot (naaah).

Sunday morning I was able to play around a little -- and visit with Steve, Heidi, Charlee, Steve (brother), Lorne and Katrina.

Post grease, we stood outside wondering what to do. It was sunny, and we found it confusing.

Luckily, I had my answer... work!

Monday was more work -- a 6am start for the "other guys." Working from home, though, so it's easier and I can wear my PJs.

It was a tough day as Canada's new government took office... and that meant many, many re-writes.

However, the day is done. And a good sleep awaits.

Tofino is on the horizon for Friday. Looking forward to that.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

from the "another Mur" dept.

CTV cameraman Murray Titus is heading to Torino and will be blogging his experiences. For the inside scoop on the media circus, visit WORLD WIDE MURMAN.

Oh, and the bullshit story of the day: the feigned outrage that puppies (!!) are being used to transport heroin. Innocent Colombians dead. Whatever. Lives around the planet ruined because of H? Who cares.

No, think of the PUPPIES!!! PUPPIES!! PUPPIES!!!!

Sheesh. Sometimes I'm embarassed to work in the media.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

from the "sun exists" dept.

What a week!

And it's only Wednesday. Although when you work without regard to weekends, the days lose their meaning.

Spent the weekend writing news. Nights, of course. Not a bad thing, but I miss hanging out with my normal-schedule friends. It's funny, whenever I have a normal schedule, I fly thousands of miles away.

Monday and Tuesday were filled with more news writing. This time for Alberta online viewers. Start times are early -- 6am -- but the office is my basement. I like that.

Today I had an early morning photoshoot with Ted Shredd. See some of the results on my flickr page (link to your right). It was actually warm and sunny. Unfortunately most of our shooting was inside. But we did manage to soak up some sun on the steps of the Art Gallery.

It seemed like we were in a different city.

But not for long. Around one, the clouds moved in, and it started raining again. It's been every day for more than a month. Even if we had the one sunny day a week, that would be fine. But no.

At least it's not -30 or snowy.

And, as my heater has gone kaput in the car, it's nice that it's warm enough not to die. And keep the window clear.

Looking forward to two more days off. Have to hit the shoppes for some new summerwear. Already nabbed new sandals for the trip south. Next, not-too-loud shirts and some a pair of pair of shorts.

Also: it's car insurance renewal time. And that means taking the beast in for "Aircare" a BC program that's supposed to protect the environment. In reality, it is a $400 payday for BC's automotive repair shops. I've pontificated on this before... search them archives!

Little else to report. Looking forward to another day off...