Monday, December 29, 2008

from the "climate change" dept.

One doesn't normally associate Vancouver with snow. But after the last two weeks, it's hard NOT to associate Vancouver with snow.

I bet we had two feet, or more. And of course, with something like three plows, the city became a driver's worst nightmare. Even if you could navigate the clogged streets and avenues of Canada's most expensive city, there were no parking spots. Spots were filled with either abandoned cars or heaps of snow.

I came home why?

Elsewhere, I was shocked at the lack of people in the stores and malls before and after Christmas. I hit all the big stores (Future Shop, Costco, etc) on the 27th and they were vacant. And nary a person returning gifts. Very, very odd. And ominous.

At least gas is cheap. 75 cents this morning. See how long that lasts.

There's more, of course, but, you're just going to have to wait!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

from the "white out" dept.

A very abnormal winter continues to ravage Vancouver. After a week of cold temperatures and record amounts of snow, the city is becoming paralyzed. It's beautiful but tiring. And a good reason to get outta Dodge.

Here's a shot of Burrard Bridge in downtown Vancouver taken at 9:30am on December 24.

Merry Whiteness!

The current image is HERE at

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

from the "democracy, American style" dept.

While officials are getting closer to calling Al Franken as the winner of an extremely tight senate race in Minnesota, I'm getting a kick out of some of the contested ballots.

Perhaps this voter knows something we don't?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

from the "really big shoe" dept.

Bruce MacKinnon, editorial cartoonist for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, is arguably the best in the land. Here's his take on this week's infamous shoe incident:

from the "numbers tell the story" dept.

The software that keeps Roadspill running also allows me to look at a myriad of stats: How many visitors, what pages they looked at, how long they stayed, and, most interestingly -- where they're from.

But these stats are anonymous - I know where you're located, but I don't know who you are.

That said, I can usually deduce who most visitors are by their location, whether it's Winnipeg (Mom), Accra (Mac-Jordan) or Belize City (Brent).

But some locations leave me scratching my head. Tuscon? Argentina? Angola?

I'm not complaining... I think it's pretty cool that people in such distant lands are reading my blather. But I am curious.

So, if you're one of those folks, why not post a comment below. Who are you and why do you read Roadspill?

I'd love to know...

Cheers & thanks!

from the "if the shoe fits" dept.

Nice piece in the Guardian (UK) about the White House Press Corps and their lack of spine.

Ian Williams: Ducking the issue in Iraq


Sunday, December 14, 2008

from the "clearing out" dept.

In an effort to downsize and raise some cash, I am reluctantly selling a bunch of stuff. Everything is in Deep Cove...

2003 Norco Sasquatch Mountain Bike - offers
Shure FP-33 ENG-EFP mixer - SOLD
Nikon D300 digital SLR body - $1499 OBO

Collection of current Lonely Planet titles in new condition: West Africa, Australia, Canada, more... $20 ea.

Looking for something specific? Just ask...


Friday, December 12, 2008

from the "reverse migration" dept.

I've been back nary a week and the economic climate in Canada scares me. More specifically, the media industry.

Is everyone getting laid-off? It sure seems like it.

For your humble freelancer, this is something of a problem. More skilled people on the street, fighting for dwindling freelance crumbs. Someone's going to go hungry.

Normally December is a freelancer's dream. More work than one could handle. I remember working all day at CBC and then running up Robson and pulling a night shift at CTV.

Those were the days.

But now, in addition to the increased competition, there seems to be far less opportunity. Slashed newsrooms don't need writers. Eviscerated promo departments don't need producers. And don't get me started on the print side of things.

But that's here, not everywhere. And during this time of change the key is keeping expenses low. A tough thing to do in Canada. A much tougher thing to do in Vancouver.

Is there a solution? Yes. Will I explain it? Yes. But not yet.

I have to crunch some numbers... and leave you with a cliffhanger!


Monday, December 08, 2008

from the "Tesla would have been proud" dept.

Some of you may be familiar with a problem I have with electronic devices. I seem to have some sort of electrical aura that makes them go nutty. There is some quasi-science behind the phenomenon of Street Light Interference, about which you can read more here.

I am able to make street lamps flicker, mobile phones sputter, and computers up and die. It is an expensive curse and a bloody pain in the arse.

The latest example of my electronic hell occurred Sunday. I went to start my car after being away for some time. Not surprisingly, the battery was flat.

This has happened many times in the past and a quick jump is usually all it takes to get the car running again. But not this time.

After hooking up the booster cables to my pal Randy's van, I turned the key. After a few seconds of turning over, the car roared to life. Normally a short drive around North Vancouver is all that is needed to recharge the battery and have dependable transportation.

Suddenly the headlights came on, even though they were switched off. Then the door locks went crazy: up, down, up, down. The engine began revving. 1000 RPM. 2000. 3000. 4000.

She's gonna blow!

The lights on the dashboard started glowing. Bright then dim. The radio crackled. The engine dropped to 1000 RPM. The headlights switched to bright, then off. The turn signals began indicating on their own.

The engine revved again. At 4500 RPM I turned the key, praying that this would actually kill the engine before it exploded into a thousand parts.

The engine stopped but the door locks started up as the dome light flashed. Then the doors locked as the dashboard lights slowly flickered their last breath. Luckily I was able to open the door and escape the confines of my demon Dodge.

We decided to try again, but the results were the same. The engine and electrical systems went crazy. I managed to move the car about 5 meters before it sputtered and died on its own.

A third attempt to resuscitate the beast failed and we were forced to push the vehicle back into its parking spot.

My 1995 Stratus has apparently joined the heaps of electronic gear that my brainwaves have managed to fry.

So now the dilemma: Get it fixed or scrap it? I paid $1500 for the car three years ago, so my ROI is better than most mutual funds. And fixing it will likely equal the value of the car (if there is any).

I reckon I'll make that decision in a day or two, after I find out how much it will cost to bring my MacBook back from the dead, another victim of my curse.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

from the "in transit" dept.

On Interstate 5, near Seattle.

I am riding a wifi equipped bus from Seattle to Vancouver. At 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon, the traffic is already heavy.

I arrived in Seattle around midnight, after the long flights from Belize. After a great sleep and a free breakfast, I am on the final leg of this journey. Hard to believe that I'll be eating sushi in Deep Cove tonight.

The list of things to do over the next few weeks is long. And then who knows what 2009 will offer up.

More from Deep Cove... And photos in the coming days.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

from the "back to the future" dept.

Greetings from Belize City, Belize.

The journey from San Pedro to here began on Monday. And what a journey! First to Antigua Guatemala... which really wasn't much of a journey at all. About 4 hours from the shores of Lake Atitlan.

I hung out. Ate. And went to bed early.

On 5 am Tuesday I rolled out of my $8-a-night bed and hopped a shuttle for Guatemala City. There were only three of us on the 2 hour ride to the bus station.

I arrived in plenty of time to grab the 10 am bus to Flores, about 8 hours north of the capital. Armed with a fresh episode of Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann and an unabridged audio book (Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith -- partially set in Chernobyl) the time flew by and I didn't even need to take my Valium (especially useful on Chicken Bus rides).

I arrived in Flores just after 6 and grabbed a ticket to Belize City for the following day and a cab. Some half-cut wanker hopped in the back seat in the hopes of scoring a few bucks helping me out. Unfortunately for him, I know Flores like the back of my hand AND I knew where I was going. He wasn't dangerous, just annoying.

Luckily there were rooms at Lacandon, a cheap but clean hotel (about $12 night) on shores of Lake Peten Itza. I headed to the tienda to buy some stuff for breakfast and then had dinner at a tiny restaurant I first visited in 1999. Some things never change, like the price of BBQ chicken: $4. And 2 beer for about $2.

The bus was scheduled to depart at 7 am Wednesday, so I hit the sack early. In the morning I hailed a tuktuk to the bus station, arriving far too early. I suppose I could have actually had breakfast instead of warm OJ and some cookies.

The bus left on time and before I knew it we were approaching the border. There was a long line-up of transport trucks on the two lane road to the crossing. Our driver decided to pass the trucks. As he pulled past the final truck, he cut the wheel and -- surprise! -- the rear of the bus collided with the front end of the truck. This was far from dangerous, as it happened at about 2 km an hour. But the force was enough to flip the fiberglass hood of the semi open and crack it in several places.

The bus stopped, we poured out and joined a rather large group of bystanders made up primarily of money changers. The accident was probably the most exciting thing to happen all week.

Thinking the accident would be resolved in short order, we went to Guatemalan immigration to get stamped out of the country. It is normal when crossing the Guatemala-Belize border to get off the bus and walk across with your luggage.

After getting stamped out, we waited around what is essentially a no-mans land between the two immigration offices. After a while it became apparent that the accident was not going to be resolved quickly. A hint to this fact was when the bus took off, back into Guatemala. And, of course, any customer service disappeared with it.

Several people decided to wait, but I decided to cross by foot and find a plan "B" in Belize. A fellow from Edmonton followed.

We crossed into Belize and into another thick crowd of shouting taxi drivers and money changers. We hailed a taxi to take us to the next big town in Belize in order to catch a local bus to Belize City.

We found a cabbie, settled on a price and when we arrived in San Ignacio, we saw a bus for Belize City heading out of town. The cabbie flagged down the bus and said there was enough room for us. Perfect.

We handed the cabbie the agreed on fare in Belize Dollars and suddenly he demanded American Dollars -- exactly double. A shouting match started, but after a few minutes we told the cabbie to call the cops. We jumped on the 1965-vintage school bus and drove past the cursing cabbie.

The ride to Belize City was slow. We stopped in every little town to let people on and off. I realized that I have grown substantially since the last time I rode a 1965 vintage school bus on a regular basis.

Just outside of the city we were detained at a police checkpoint for about half and hour. No reason was given.

Eventually we made it to Belize. I bid the Edmontonian adieu and hailed a taxi for Brent's place. A few minutes later I was banging at the door. No answer. Brent has run out, said a neighbour.

Eventually Brent came home and we fixed a much deserved rum and coke. After discussing the events of the last month since we last saw each other in San Pedro, it was time for a good long sleep.

Today, Thursday, I did little more than surf the internet (with limited results) and sort through my stuff. My summer gear (shorts, sandals, t-shirts) will stay behind. I'll fetch them on the next visit.

On Friday I hop a late afternoon plane to Houston and then Seattle. I arrive around midnight and will overnight in the Emerald City. On Saturday a shuttle bus will drag my sorry ass back to Vancouver.

I can't wait for the cold and rain. Mmm mmm!


Friday, November 28, 2008

from the ¨winding down¨ dept.

Greetings from San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala.

I´m just a few days from the three day journey back to Belize. And then the flight back to the frostiness of Vancouver via Seattle. I´ll be back ¨home¨ on Dec 6.

It´s going to be hard to leave San Pedro... it´s such a great place to be. And so affordable. It makes me wonder why I would ever want to live in Vancouver again.

Oh yeah: Medicare.

Unfortunately the media business has gone for a major shit, much like the rest of the economy... which means I won´t be staying too long in Canada´s most overpriced city.

I´m not quite sure what I will do next, but it will likely mean going somewhere.

Where that somewhere is is uncertain. Although I hope it´s warm.

And with that, time to enjoy my last Friday in paradise.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

from the "on the road" dept.

Greetings from Antigua Guatemala, the former capital of Guatemala.

I'm here to record interviews for a series of magazine articles on the Garifuna and Belizean music scene.

I attended an amazing concert last night featuring a number of Garifuna musicians. It was stunning.

I return to San Pedro Monday Nov 24 and then start making my way back to Belize Dec 1. Seattle follows Dec 5 and Vancouver Dec 6

Hard to believe it's winter.

My laptop remains broken in Belize - and repairing it is the only reason I'm returning to Canada.

In the meantime I'm making do with my iPod touch -- although tapping out long emails and blog posts sucks.

Until I tap again,


Friday, November 14, 2008

from the ¨yo no trabajo¨ dept.

So week one of Spanish class is over. Holy verb hell.

But, I know more than I did, which, I reckon, is the point.

Life in San Pedro remains good. Cheap and comfortable.

The cast of characters that rotate through the Hotel Peneleu (my temporary home) are fodder for a book. From CrossBow to TrainWreck... I´ve met some every interesting folks. Stories to come.

Elsewhere... the weekend looms. I´ve signed up for a second week of Spanish... but it doens´t begin until Monday. Despite my desire to scale it back, I decided to go for another 20 hours of 0ne-on-one instruction. That should be fun and/or funny.

This weekend I´ll try to practise all those verbs between litres of Victoria.

More in a couple of days.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

from the ¨it´s no fun being a legal alien¨ dept.

[San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala]

After much delay I have finally started my Spanish classes at the Cooperativa Spanish School here in San Pedro. It´s four hours a day of one-on-one instruction with a local teacher. My instructor is Marlon, a Maya who thankfully speaks English as well as the local language and Spanish.

I started on Thursday and have now had eight hours of instruction, not to mention homework. And boy, is it hard.

I find that at this initial stage I am overwhelmed with verbs and rules and accents that go here and there. Let´s not even discuss the rolling of my R´s.

At this point I am more confused that bilingual. But Marlon is patient and encourages me at every stumble.

I´m far from putting a sentence together, but I do know more words. And I can count to 100. Woo hoo!

Elsewhere: the odd dynamics continue at the Hotel Peneleu. It is truly a collection of some of the oddest people imaginable. There are characters for a book here, the only question is what setting to put them in. Maybe they just remain at a Guatemalan hotel.

The dynamic is about to change soon however. The sketchy former Guatemalan soldier is moving out, as is the messed up 28-year-old Canadian tattoo artist. In their place: Christian missionaries. Oh boy!

If I hear any prayer circles, I´m going to start singing Motorhead tunes from my window.

And finally, in the weather:

One word: Fantastic.

Cool and clear at night. Hot and sunny (but not humid) during the day. And no rain. There hasn´t been any for 10 days or so.

And that´s it. Time for some lunch...


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

from the ¨yes, he did¨ dept.

Where were you when the earth moved?

Me, I was in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala watching US election coverage in the Alegre bar. Surrounded by Americans, we watched history unfold together. As Obama took state after state, we cheered, hugged and slammed down litres of Mexican beer and Cuba Libres to celebrate.

It was amazing.

After eight years of the worst President and policies imaginable, hope has finally returned to America. And I was lucky to share it with my American friends. I don´t think there was a dry eye in the bar after Obama´s acceptance speech.

It was awesome.

And now the party´s over (and I´m so tired)... and massive challenges lie ahead. But one thing is undeniable: America has turned a corner. And we are all better for it.

Yes! He did!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

from the ¨eight years of pain comes to an end dept. (hopefully)¨ dept.

The following from my pal REW via his American pals in California.

An open letter to the 'Red States' of America:

"Dear Red States:

If you manage to steal this election, too, we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85% of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, 95% of the corn and soybeans (thanks Iowa!), most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech, UCLA, Berkeley and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38% of those in the Red States believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

Finally, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,
Blue States"


Saturday, November 01, 2008

from the ´´living at a discount´´ dept.

Greetings from San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala.

I am here to work on a magazine project and to save some cash by living in the more affordable developing world.

How affordable is it? My hotel is about $5 a night. And I´m spending no more than about $10 a day.

Pretty affordable.

San Pedro is a pretty amazing place. More info is HERE.

I´ll have updates in the coming days. Photos too!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

from the "a plan" dept.

The computer is still down. However I have a plan.

During this time of no cashola coming in, I've decided that being somewhere cheap is the key.

Stand by for details!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

from the "still dead" dept.

The MacBook continues to be dead and my only link with the internets is through my iPod Touch.

If you're curious as to what I'm up to, check out Facebook or, failing that, email!


Friday, October 03, 2008

from the "busted mac" dept.

My MacBook is dead. My only connection to the net is through my iPod.
So expect fewer, shorter posts.

UPDATE: it's still fried!

Monday, September 29, 2008

from the "altered states" dept.

Trying to predicting the results of this week's upcoming vice-presidential debate is tough.

On the surface, I'd say Biden will wipe the floor with the history-revising baby machine known as Palin. And he should. He has experience. She has none. He can think. She has no brain. Simple right?

Maybe not. Remember, this is the alternate universe of American politics, where up is down, good is bad and being a war hero with three purple heats makes you a traitor.

I'd give nearly even odds that Sarah will stumble her way through the debate like a drunkard in a crowed bar -- bumping into people, spilling drinks and attracting looks of bemusement/disillusionment.

And the next morning the so-called Liberal media will shellac Joe for being too tough. Too mean. He'll be lambasted for treating the self-described pit-bull/hockey mom as a political candidate rather than a delicate rose.

And he'll be villified.
And Obama will lose the election.
And it will be the end of the world as we know it.

Truly, there is no hope for planet Earth if Grandpa Simpson and Maude Flanders become the next leaders of Americaland.

But maybe my worry is simply because I'm thinking like a Democrat and I can't believe 8 years of the WORST ADMINISTRATION EVER is actually drawing to a close.

Maybe I'm afraid I'll wake up and find the possibility of change was nothing more than a dream.

I sure hope not.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

from the "hello darkness, my old fiend" dept.

I'm back in crazy-driving, lululemon-wearing, sushi-eating Vancouver. I've been away since late August and the skyline appears to have changed yet again. Where do all those towers come from?

As I have no job, no home (save a couch in Deep Cove) and no clue as to what I'll be doing next ( Wanderism aside), I wonder if shuffling off elsewhere might be a more fiscally responsible move.

Why spend Canadian Dollars when you can spend Guatemalan Quetzals (and less of them)?

Yet another decision that has turned into an entry on a growing list of things to do. And a list I need to start working on.

Up first: post to roadspill.




Sunday, September 21, 2008

from the "damn you Jared! damn you to hell!" dept.

For your Sunday morning entertainment I present a darn fine parody of Keith Olbermann. Specifically a take on Olbermann's Special Comments and his (not always) feigned outrage.

If you've never seen Keith in action, here's a SAMPLE.

And here's the parody:

[H/T: REW]

Friday, September 19, 2008

from the "perogies and cabbage rolls" dept.

I landed in Winnipeg last night after a far-too-long journey from Halifax. Long layovers. Long flights. And the inhumanity of coach.

I was welcomed by warm Prairie air, a helpful car rental agent and cross-town drive past closed fast food restaurants. I was hungry, but at 11:30 on a Thursday night, no one was serving -- save the Golden Arches. Yick.

Summer is still here and the locals are taking full advantage by displaying lots of skin. This, no doubt, in preparation for the reality of winter that is likely just a few weekends away.

My agenda here is full. Work. Visiting people. Stopping by old haunts like the Wawel Meat Market, Alicia's, Jeannie's, VJ's, et al. Hello cholesterol, my old friend!

More to come. Pictures too, of course!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

from the "iPod touch myself" dept.

The words will be few as I am writing this on my ipod touch. Tap. Tap. Tap.

I'm currently killing time in the Halifax Airport Tim Horton's. Fun!!

There's still 2 hours to go until my flight. And I have a 5 hour layover in Montreal... But I have access to the Air Canada lounge. Too bad I can't drink as I have to drive in Winnipeg. Whatever...

It doesn't get any more exciting than that.

UPDATE: After an uneventful flight from Halifax to Montreal (in swishy biz class), I am now killing time in yet another airport. Only four more hours to go. Hello three episodes of Weeds and the final episode of Generation Kill.

Cheers! Santé!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

from the "it's alive" dept.

After much work, Wanderism is now online.

What is it?

Why, it's a travel website for people who actually travel.

Have a gander and feel free to comment. Click aqui/here!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Midtown Tavern

The Midtown Tavern's days are numbered... so Tuesday, a group of us will visit the Halifax landmark for what will likely be my last time. Sniff!

from the "on the road, again" dept.

I'm leaving Saint John, NB... destination: Halifax. Out the door at noon (Atlantic). Blame the day old pizza.

More from Halifax...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

from the "road tripping" dept.

A brief note:

I'm back in Saint John, NB after a long drive from the site of an abandoned satellite earth station near Bridgewater, NS.

The plan had been to hit the cottage, but the weather is decidedly wet.

Perhaps we'll just hang out in Serf City.

More photos are on my Flickr site.

And, as I often promise, more words and images are coming.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

from the "it beats appearing in Frank" dept.

The Halifax Metro newspaper covered the MITV/Global reunion last Friday:

One of the biggest parties of the week had to be the 20th anniversary celebration of MITV. Now known as Global, the little-television-station-that-could started out as an Irving-owned independent.

It launched on Labour Day weekend in 1988 with some of the biggest television names in this region, Bruce Graham, Laura Lee Langley and Alex J. Walling.

The reunion was organized by former audio guy Doug Murray, who flew in from out west to gather up his former co-workers at the Foggy Goggle.

For those not familiar, the Foggy Goggle occupies the former site of the Soho Bar and Grill on Argyle Street. The pub’s atmosphere is all about casual, with high-top tables and warm colours. Glad to see it’s open until 2 a.m. on weekends too.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

from the "no particular place to go" dept.

Rachel & Fundy
Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Just a short post to let you know I've posted some photos on Flickr and Facebook. You should know how to see them by now.

I'm off to explore the Eastern Shore... more to come!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

from the "stormy weather" dept.

I'm back where it (the career, life) all began: Halifax. I arrived Friday. The day started in a cottage on the Saint John River in rural New Brunswick. After enjoying early morning peace and quiet, I said goodbye to Janet and Mark and hit the road.

The roads were quiet, the day beautiful. I was tempted to take some of the slower routes back to Halifax, but, in the end, I elected to stick with four-lane blacktop.

The party to mark the 20th anniversary of MITV/Global Maritimes loomed. And by the time I made it to the suburb of Hammonds Plains, I was already running behind -- a theme for this trip.

The bash was great. Dozens of people from the old MITV days showed up and we kept the party going until after 2 a.m. Not bad for a bunch of 40-somethings. The sad part is that such a get-together is unlikely to happen again. Unless a certain someone decides to move back to Halifax. And that isn't the long-shot you might think.

I've got to wade through the images and will post pictures soon.

Turning to weather -- the projection map says it all:

A quiet Sunday is about to be upset by the remnants of a tropical storm. While it won't be anywhere near hurricane strength, Hanna is likely to bring high winds and torrential rains. The rain has started and the winds are picking up as I write this at 9:45 am Sunday morning. We'll see what the day brings.

I'm also planning to spend several hours on hold with Air Canada... methinks I want to change my flight plans and hang here a tad longer. We'll see what they say...


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brown's Flats, NB

Brown's Flats, NB
Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Janet and Mark's cottage on the shore of the Saint John River, near Saint John, NB. Not seen: cats and beer.

The middle of New Brunswick

The middle of New Brunswick
Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Cameraphone pic of stunning New Brunswick scenery!

from the "no lights, no motorcar" dept.

Greetings from Brown's Flats, New Brunswick -- a small cottage community on the Saint John River, near Saint John.

I've been staying here for several days with Mark and Janet, whom I worked with in Ghana. It's their family cottage and it's amazing... peaceful, beautiful and devoid of the internet and telephones!

My mobile works, but poorly. Not a big deal, but I do miss the coverage of the American political scene.

I am writing this post off line and will post from the city.

I'll return to Halifax tomorrow... and start getting prepped for the big bash on Friday night.


Sunday, August 31, 2008


I have arrived in Halifax. And boy am I tired.

Up next... Rental car!

from the "in transit" dept.

Now in Ottawa. Nice sunrise landing. Almost ready to take off again.
Halifax awaits...


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yvr to yhz via yow

on plane with wifi.... And off we go!!

from the "heading homes" dept.

Heading homes? Plural? Yep...

Now that my contract with CBC has concluded, I'm off. First to the Maritimes (tonight) then Manitoba (Sept 11).

My flight is late -- 11:05pm and I don't arrive in Halifax until Sunday morning. I sure hope the car rental joint will be open...

I'll spend today running around. Packing up and moving out of my downtown condo... putting my bike into storage... and heading over to Deep Cove to actually pack. Oh, the life of an unemployed, homeless starving artist!

But before all that: Coffee.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

from the "time marches on" dept.

As my time at the CBC winds down, the excitement surrounding my upcoming trip to the mighty East Coast grows.

One week from today I'll be hopping on a big winged thing, destination Halifax. And, with luck, a quick roadtrip to Saint John, NB and Cape Breton.

The highlight, of course, will be the party (Sept. 5) to mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of MITV (Global Halifax). The list of confirmed guests is a who's who of Maritime media elite and communications gurus. More than that, it's a list of great people who, together, will make for a night long remembered.

Upon my return to B.C., some serious decisions will have to be made. My contract at CBC is not being extended and that means the hunt for income begins anew. The question is: is it better to hang around in Canada's most expensive city or go somewhere cheaper where I can work on travel stories and live at a fraction of the cost.

My Spidey sense says the latter. And with a $391 return airfare available to Central America, methinks that is the best option. We'll see. I'll also be testing the waters out east for opportunities. Imagine that!

A busy Saturday lies ahead: up first, a trip to my storage unit in search of a negative. I just sold a photo I took 11 years ago in Sarajevo, and now I have to find it. Several hundred Euro is a good motivator.

Brent is visiting from Belize and we're off to Blue Rodeo in Stanley Park tonight. How middle-aged! But it should be fun and the forecast looks decent.

On the political front, a 3 a.m. text message confirmed that Obama has picked Joe Biden as his running-mate. Let the fireworks begin! I can't wait for the debates... snd methinks being in the U.S. for election day is another good idea.

And so... the last week of August begins, prompting the ultimate rhetorical question: Where did summer go?


from the "tune of the day" dept.

A true classic.

Rubberband Man
[ RIP Pervis Jackson ]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

from the "tune of the day" dept.

Great band, song and video:

Grateful Dead
Touch of Grey

from the "would you like some mustard with your new world order?" dept.

It was 19 years ago today that a picnic on the Hungarian side of the Austria-Hungary border near Sopron helped cause the Iron Curtain to fall.

Never heard of the Pan-European Picnic? Here's the short Wikipedia version:

The Pan-European Picnic was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungarian border near the town of Sopron on 19 August 1989.

In a symbolic gesture agreed to by both countries, a border gate on the road from Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland (Austria) to Sopronkőhida (Hungary) was to be opened for three hours. On the same spot on 27 June 1989, Austria's then foreign minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian counterpart Gyula Horn had together cut through the border fence, in a move highlighting Hungary's decision to dismantle its surveillance installations along the border, a process started on 2 May 1989.

More than 600 East Germans seized the opportunity presented by this brief lifting of the Iron Curtain, and fled into the west. In the run-up to August 19th, the organisers of the Pan-European Picnic had distributed pamphlets advertising the event. The Hungarian border guards, however, reacted judiciously to the growing number of people fleeing, and, despite their orders to shoot anyone who attempted to cross the border, did not intervene.

Slightly further away, thousands more East Germans were waiting for their chance to cross to border, not believing that the border would be opened, and not trusting the procedures in place. The number of people who crossed the border into the west on the day of this event was therefore limited to no more than a few hundred. Over the next few days, the Hungarian government increased in the number of guards patrolling its western border, so that only a relatively small number actually reached the west successfully. On 11 September 1989, Hungary finally opened its borders for citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for good.

The Pan-European Picnic is considered a highly significant milestone in the efforts that led to the end of the GDR and to the German reunification. Commemorative ceremonies are held each year on 19th of August at the place where the border was opened.

The picnic was organised by members of the Hungarian opposition party Democratic Forum and the International Paneuropean Union. The event's patrons were the President of the Paneuropean Union, CSU MEP Otto von Habsburg, and the Hungarian Secretary of State and reformer Imre Pozsgay. The Secretary-General of the Paneuropean Union, Walburga Habsburg Douglas, carried out the ceremonial cutting of the barbed wire.

East Germany's Erich Honecker gave the following statement to the Daily Mirror on the Pan-European Picnic:

"...Habsburg distributed pamphlets right up to the Polish border, inviting East German holiday-makers to a picnic. When they came to the picnic, they were given presents, food and Deutschmarks, before being persuaded to go over to the west.."

The following weeks saw a definite change in the perception of the previously impenetrable Iron Curtain.

Today the place of the picnic is marked by a large sculpture symbolizing a Cross and a barbed wire. The sculpture was made by Gabriela von Habsburg, a daughter of Otto von Habsburg

And now you know.


Monday, August 18, 2008

from the "if it ain't broke..." dept.

Dear Steve Jobs:

You know that I'm a fan of Apple. I'm on my second Mac laptop and have more iPods than I can count. And, I've been a subscriber to .mac -- now MobileMe -- for several years.

But therein lies the rub: .Mac's replacement absolutely sucks. It would suck if it were free. It sucks a thousand times more because I'm paying $100+ a year for it. Well, Steve, no longer.

Luckily I wasn't affected by the chaotic roll-out of the latest re-branding. Unlike many .Mac subscribers, my mail was down for a short time only.

What pisses me off is what you've done to .Mac -- which had been my primary mail server.

Since the "upgrade" the following problems have appeared:

1 - I cannot access my e-mail via webmail on any computer that isn't running Safari or Firefox. So, Steve, how do I upgrade the computer I'm using to access my mail? Short answer: if I'm at an internet cafe or I'm at work, I can't. So what's the use of having MobileMe if I can't read my mail on the road?

2 - Even accessing MobileMe webmail on my 2008-vintage Macbook with hardwired broadband internet is an exercise in frustration. The GUI is slow and unresponsive. It's like pulling teeth to read a single mail. And on an older desktop or using wifi the GUI slows to a crawl if it works at all. There's not even a lower bandwidth GUI option like there was with .Mac!

So it's goodbye to MobileMe and hello GMAIL! Yes GMAIL: it's free, doesn't require a fast computer or lots of bandwidth, and it just works.

If you need to contact me, please don't use my MobileMe address. Use GMAIL.

Kindest Regards

A former Apple fanboy.

*** UPDATE ***

I don't know if Steve reads Roadspill, but the MobileMe team sent the following mass email this afternoon:

We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users' patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60 day extension. This is in addition to the one month extension most subscribers have already received. We are working very hard to make MobileMe a great service we can all be proud of. We know that MobileMe's launch has not been our finest hour, and we truly appreciate your patience as we turn this around.

Too late, Apple. Too late. Careful, or you'll turn into Microsoft...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

from the "e-waste of time" dept.

Think that crappy old 486 has some value in the developing world? Think again. The BBC's Will Ross has an important story about the dumping of e-waste in Ghana and the toll on health it's taking.

The video story is here. And the print version is here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

from the "McSame as it ever was" dept.

So there's another new McSame spot. And rather than rip it to shreds, I'll let the AP take a crack:

AdWatch: McCain now says country is "worse off"
By The Associated Press

TITLE: "Broken."
LENGTH: 60 seconds.
AIRING: In the 11 states where McCain is running ads.

SCRIPT: Announcer: "Washington's broken. John McCain knows it.
We're worse off than we were four years ago. Only McCain has taken
on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties.
He'll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper
again. He's the original maverick. One is ready to lead -- McCain."

McCain: "I'm John McCain and I approved this message."

KEY IMAGES: The Capitol and the White House are shown, as well
as gas pumps with price rising. McCain is seen talking to groups of
people, shaking hands with factory workers, and walking up the
steps of his campaign plane.


McCain's assertion that "we're worse off than we were four
years ago" differs from his answer in January when he was asked
during a debate if the country is better off now than it was eight
years ago.

His response then: "I think you could argue that Americans
overall are better off because we have had a pretty good prosperous
time with low unemployment and low inflation. And, a lot of good
things have happened, a lot of jobs have been created." He added:
"Things are tough right now," and cited the housing crisis, a
weak economy and a volatile stock market.

He made a similar comment during a media interview in April.

Overall, McCain is emphasizing his independent streak and
reformer credentials as he seeks to counter Democratic charges that
he's the same as President Bush. In that vein, the ad serves as an
indictment of the direction the country under Bush and tries to
argue that McCain is the sole person who can turn it around.

That's an implicit -- and subjective -- suggestion that Democratic
rival Barack Obama, a 47-year-old, first-term Illinois senator
isn't ready to lead.

The ad also tries to seize Obama's message of change and cast
McCain as a change agent at a time the public is craving a new
direction. It leaves out that McCain, 71, is a four-term Arizona
senator who has been in Congress since 1983.

Obama's campaign argues that while McCain rails against
Washington, former lobbyists -- the epitome of Washington insiders --
are involved at high levels of his campaign. That's true. However,
McCain was a co-sponsor of campaign finance reform that put limits
on money, and influence, in politics.

While its factual that McCain has a record of bucking the GOP,
the ad leaves the impression that he never tows the party line --
and that's not the case. McCain doesn't mention areas where he and
Bush agree, like tax cuts, the Iraq war and free-market economics.

To be sure, McCain has been known as an agitator within the GOP.
He led an unsuccessful effort to regulate the tobacco industry --
and increase the price of a pack of cigarettes -- a decade ago, and
supports current anti-smoking legislation. He also co-sponsored,
with Democrats, legislation that would allow cheaper drugs to be
imported and that pharmaceutical companies opposed. However, there
were times when McCain cast votes backed by the pharmaceutical

Also, through the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, McCain
spurred the congressional investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff
in an influence-peddling scandal. Obama's campaign points out that
his final report didn't advocate new lobbying regulations in the
wake of the scandal.

Whether McCain will "reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make
America prosper again" is subjective -- as is the implication that
Obama wouldn't.

Analysis by Liz Sidoti.
On the Net:

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

from the "see you at the debates, bitches" dept.

Until today, my disdain for "celebs" like Paris Hilton was only a wee bit higher than for the backwards-thinking John McSame. Well, actually, that's changed.

You see, McSame put out a stupid-ass campaign commercial saying that Obama's popularity and star power puts him in the same leagues as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Obviously the McSame campaign is grasping at straws. Hello, real issues?

Anyway, it turns out that the Hilton family contributed to the McSame campaign and Mrs. Hilton was not happy with the use of her daughter in the McSame attack ad.

But now comes a new political campaign ad from Paris herself. You might not like her, but you'll love this. In the immortal words of Yakov Smirnov (again), "What a country!"

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Monday, August 04, 2008

from the "telling it like it is" dept.

Although the following video is a parody, it is surprisingly accurate. Not only in the graphic design world but in the television production world. I shit you not.

A suggestion to kids: learn a trade!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

from the "same as it ever was" dept.

It's been a quiet week here in Roadspill land.

I've been busy with work and planning the months ahead. Nothing solid to report just yet, but some exciting things are in the works.

It's hard to believe that today is August 1st. Summer is flying by, and before I know it, I'll be in Nova Scotia (31st).

I'm moving again this weekend... from Deep Cove to a downtown Vancouver condo. I'll be there until the end of the month... and I can walk to work and cycle nightly. Once the rain stops, that is. Oh yes, it's back.

My work contract ends at the end of this month too. Hmm.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

from the "fakin' it" dept.

The disappearance of Steve Fossett has been quite the little mystery. Fossett was flying alone over the Nevada desert when he vanished. An extensive search didn't find Fossett or his plane, but, oddly, searchers did find SIX other planes that had disappeared over the years. SIX!

Well, now come word from the highly respected News of the World that the adventurer may have faked his own death.

Gadling has their version of the story [here]. And the original NOTW story is [here].

Who needs the Sunday New York Times when there are stories like this floating around on the internets?


Saturday, July 26, 2008

from the "pulled in many directions" dept.

I'm moving again, though it's not far.

From Vancouver to Deep Cove. Just 30 minutes away by car if there are no jumpers on the bridge. I swear suicides are more common than eagles 'round these parts.

"The best place on earth," indeed.

I'll be in the mountain and water surrounded confines of Deep Cove until the end of next week. Then I move back downtown to a fancy condo for an entire month of housesitting.

The only thing I have to figure out is what to do with my car, and what to do with the rest of my life.

As usual, there are plenty of irons cooking away in the fire. But none seem to be ready. I'm holding out hope that my current contract will be extended despite taking two weeks off in September. But if there is nothing solid in that department by the end of July, I'm going to make some plans that don't include living here.

Also, I intend to sniff around for similar promo work while in Halifax. As mentioned before, I am pretty much done with Vancouver. It's nice and all, but doesn't have much of a soul. Whereas the other coast is all soul, but it lacks world-class-city-ness. And I bet there isn't an abundance of cheap, good sushi like there is here.

Decisions, decisions.


Monday, July 21, 2008

from the "signs of the times - part 2" dept.

from the "signs of the times - part 1" dept.

from the "please don't make me watch it" dept.

The original commenters have (finally!) discovered the internets!

From Gawker:

Statler and Waldorf were the original bloggers. Or no, wait, the original commenters? They were the cranky old Jewish men who sat in the balcony and heckled The Muppet Show. Now, for some reason, there are viral Muppet videos on YouTube...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

from the "the future is later" dept.

Surprise! The solution to the energy crisis is buried beneath our feet. No, not CHUDs. COAL!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

from the "missed it by that much" dept.

So. I didn't get the gig.

What gig?

Working as a television producer for NATO.

But I came close: In fact, I was number two. And, if the person who did get the job decides to bail for whatever reason, it's mine.

I'm not holding my breath.

But the NATO folks were encouraging. And told me to keep at it.

I will.

So what does the future have in store?

Well, my CBC contract is drawing to a close and it looks like it won't be extended. In the meantime I have a two week break in Halifax (to celebrate the 20th anniversary launch of MITV/Global Maritimes) and Winnipeg (to clean up a basement). Fun!

After that? I'm not sure.

I'll likely be able to cobble together work from here and there to make a fulltime job.

Or the successful NATO candidate will bail.

Or I'll just go back to Africa. Or Belize.

Time will tell...


from the "cheat sheet" dept.

To clarify:


from the "fame's a bitch" dept.

The folks at the epically funny virtual scandal sheet Gawker present their 2008 Wasted 20 list. Let the head shaking begin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

from the "iCount" dept.

Feist appeared on Sesame Street recently to sing about the wonders of counting. And count she does: monsters, penguins and other assorted muppets.

Another reason why Sesame Street is the coolest kids show EVER!

[h/t John Gushue's Dot Dot Dot]

from the "and now, the weather" dept.

English comedian Bill Bailey examines the modern news theme:


from the "try my product, please" dept.

The Video Professor helps John McCain become more tech savvy:

[h/t Crooks and Liars]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

from the "what's up" dept.

A few things have been percolating away in the background, so here's an update:

BOOKED: I'm off on a cross-Canada adventure beginning August 30. First to Halifax to mark the 20th anniversary of MITV (Global Maritimes). And then a stopover in Winnipeg on my way back. Looking forward to both destinations...

WORK: I don't know how much I should say in a public forum such as this... but what I can say is that my current contract is up at the end of August and may not be renewed. That could push life in an interesting direction.

I've got a phone interview Monday with a big organization that could see me leaving Canada for a year. No details yet -- but this is a huge opportunity and would put me back on the path to Freedom 55.

There are some African options as well. My hunch is that I won't be living in Vancouver too much longer.

FITNESS: Man, it's hard to stay fit. Or even partially fit. Or even morbidly obese. I've been cranking out the K's on my bike (80-100/wk) and eating very well and I just hover around the same weight. It sucks... but I guess eventually something has to happen. We'll see...

SUMMER: After all the cold and rain and cold rain of June, summer has arrived on the Lower Mainland. Day after day of blue skies and temperatures in the mid-20s. It's almost enough to have me liking Vancouver again (we're having a little disagreement these days). And being out on the bike has been a nice way to enjoy the sum-sum-summertime.

That's it for now. More news in the coming days...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

from the "iDon't get it" dept.

So... the second generation iPhone is out and everyone is all atwitter. Personally I think it's too expensive. Not just the iPhone but the three-year contract. Gimme an iPod Touch and a plain-Jane mobile any day.

But, more importantly... will it blend?

Mmm... 3G iSmoke!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

from the "tune of the day" dept.

Another tune that reminds me of the mighty East... and has turned into a bit of a mantra...


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

from the "lack of focus" dept.

For lunch today I went for a walk.

Now that summer has finally arrived, I've been using my midday break from work to wander the streets of downtown Vancouver (and get $2.50 sushi).

Lately I've been down on Vancouver and I suppose I'm trying to like the city better -- to rediscover what I loved about it initially. And figure out why, after 11 years, I'm tired of it.

There's a lot to love about the place:

Mountains. Check.
Moderate climate. Check.
Ocean. Check.

But something's missing. And I'm not quite sure what that is. Even a passing vehicle playing Love Shack wasn't enough to rekindle my love of a city I've grown bored with.

Who would have thought?

Maybe it was that year in Africa. Maybe I crave daily adventure. I'm not sure.

This recent bout of deep thought has brought about a strong desire to head to the East Coast. 14 years after a painful departure, it still tugs.

And now, thanks to my Aeroplan account, I've just booked a flight to the east. I've also pulled the secret Aeroplan trick: Fly from Vancouver to Halifax, with a long layover in Winnipeg. Two destinations for the price of one. In business class.

Which bring us to the Tune of the Day... something Irish that takes me right back to my time in Halifax.

It's corny, but when I hear it I think of great times and great people. Something I didn't really appreciate at the time... And now, almost a decade and a half later, I find myself wishing I had lingered there just a little bit longer...

The Cranberries

Friday, July 04, 2008

from the "tune of the day" dept.

Ah, memories of Africa. I didn't get to Senegal, but I wish I had:

Amadou et Mariam
Senegal Fast Food

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

from the "double trouble" dept.

July 1 is doubly special for me: It marks both Canada Day and Ghana Republic Day. Two nations that have had a rather large impact on me...


Monday, June 30, 2008

from the "I see dead people" dept.

A little more than a week ago I made the long trip out to my storage facility in Delta.

I have a big crate there, one that is jammed full of my stuff. Looking at it 18 months after sealing it up has made me realize how much of the contents are crap.

But amongst the crap hides some important stuff: business papers, video tapes of days-gone-by, thousands of photos and my bike.

My bike is the reason why I went out to Delta in the first place.

Unfortunately, when I packed my storage container, I was stupid. Instead of thinking ahead and asking myself what items would I want access to first -- and then packing those items last -- I just tossed everything in. The first item in was my bike.

It took about an hour of pulling all the crap, photos, papers and video tapes out, just to reveal my bike. Then I had to search for my tools, gloves, water bottle, helmet, etc. And then I had to stick it all back in.

Not fun. But, I had my bike.

As luck would have it, the weather has been great for cycling. I've been getting out on an almost daily basis. I am hoping that by getting back into cycling, I'll shrink in size and become healthier. At my ripe old age, I need to get serious.

But here's the thing: during two of the last three rides, I've seen dead people. I kid you not.

Apparently, the south end of Vancouver's Granville Street Bridge makes for a great place to kill yourself. I reckon a 6-story plunge to the South False Creek cycling route is fool-proof -- as evidenced by the yellow tarps surrounded by slowly moving first responders.

So I'm 2 for 3. And on the ride where I didn't see a body, I actually did see the -- how to put this -- stain from the first suicide.

This begs the question: Why are so many people killing themselves on beautiful summer afternoons? How do you explain it to the kids in the nearby park? Or the tourists. Or the cyclists.

If, as the B.C. government tells us on a daily basis, this is the best place on earth, then what the hell is wrong?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

from the "but what I really mean" dept.

George Carlin died last week. His passing didn't receive anywhere near the coverage that the death of Tim Russert did. He should have received double.

You may not have liked his language, but his comedy/observations certainly hit the nail on the head... each and every time.

Here's his riff on euphemisms. Priceless.

[h/t Dot Dot Dot]

from the "iDisappointed" dept.

Yay! The iPhone is finally here! And for a reasonable $199!

Boo! Rogers voice/data plans are outrageous. And there's a 3 year contract.

Mad as hell? Click below to let Ted know.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

from the "get up in the mornin'..." dept.

I don't know if Mr. Clock Radio (grinning, above) is funny, odd or just plain scary. I'm leaning towards the latter. And personally I think he's the evil spawn of Mr. Microphone and Big Mouth Billy Bass, the singing fish.

Check out the little dear in this promotional video.

Imagine that thing waking you up every morning. Pretty creepy, no?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

from the "monkey business" dept.

I'd never heard of the Trunk Monkey until today. He appeared in a series of commercials for an American auto dealer. They're funny as hell. And almost as disturbing.

Thanks, REW!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

from the "one minute warning" dept.

Bill O'Reilly is an idiot blowhard and Faux Nooze is little more than right-wing propaganda for the wankery of a failed administration.

What? You've never watched Bill-O? You can't watch Bill-O? You won't watch Bill-O?

Well, here's a solution: Bill-O's entire show in a minute.

After watching this, there's no reason to watch his show... you've seen it all.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

from the "happy feet" dept.

You may have seen Dancing Matt dance his way around the world a few years ago in THIS video. Or maybe THIS one.

However, Matt hasn't stopped travelling. In fact, he's picked up a few friends along the way.

Matt's latest video captures the joy and wonder of travel. And, it makes me want to run off and hop on a plane...


Thursday, June 19, 2008

from the "a foot in cold water" dept.


6th foot found in B.C. not human, says coroners service

Remains found Wednesday in a shoe near Campbell River belong to an animal, the BC Coroners Service says, describing the incident as a "reprehensible hoax."

The latest finding comes as investigators try to unravel the mystery behind several human feet found in shoes on the province's south coast.

The rest of the story is HERE.

from the "footloose and fancy free" dept.

There's something weird happening out here on the West Coast: Severed feet keep popping up on local beaches. The sixth one just yesterday. And the count so far? Five right. One left.

Here's the story from Thursday:

6th human foot found on B.C. south coast

A sixth human foot was found in the south coast of British Columbia Wednesday following the discovery of a fifth just two days earlier.

A Campbell River resident walking on a beach on Tyee Spit found the foot around 10 a.m. PT and reported it to police, the RCMP said.

The rest of the story: HERE.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

from the "fame, fortune and creative commons" dept.

One of my pix made it to the Gadling travel blog as their photo of the day.

Check it out HERE.


Monday, June 16, 2008

from the "pant, pant" dept.

Hello. It's me. It's been a while.

Sure. I've been posting.


But little in the way of user generated content. Or is that citizen journalism in today's 'connected' vernacular?

Regardless. I'm alive but have been working ever day since returning from Europaland. Today was day 15, for those of you keeping count. And the days have been long. 26 hours of OT last weekend, half of that at double time.

It's good for my fiscal things but bad for my summer enjoyment.

That said, the end is on the horizon. After 12 hours at work today - working on a big internal project - we almost have a 'lock'.

That's after 4 days of shooting and 6 days of editing. Straight. No breaks.

We deliver Tuesday, methinks. Me hopes!

Three smaller projects follow, all of which must be delivered Thursday. Simple, I also hope.

And then a lazy Friday followed by two glorious days off. I envision summer days and toes testing the water.

Or a BBQ.

Or a pint on a patio.

Dreams that soon will be come reality. And to follow? The smiles that come from fat pay packets. Yum!


from the "oils swell" dept.

The Times of London has a story that seems to point to a cure for our high priced oil. Stop using it? Nah. Get bugs to poop it!

Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol

To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil. [ MORE ]

Could oil pooping bugs be this century's electric car? Only the oil companies know for sure...


Saturday, June 14, 2008

from the "vote me" dept.

Screw it! I'm running for President!

from the "if wishes were votes" dept.

Unfortunately I cannot vote in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. But if I could, I'd vote Republican. Why? Let me count the reasons:

Vote early and vote often!

from the "tune of the day" dept.

An oldie but a goodie. Reminds me of Halifax every time I hear it...

Blue Rodeo
5 Days in May


Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

More fun with Photoshop. Time for a course, methinks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

from the "McBush" dept.

After 7 years of bad leadership and deaf ears, let's hope this clone doesn't become the next leader of the "free" world:

[via Crooks and Liars]

Saturday, June 07, 2008

from the "second thoughts" dept.

More changes in the Vancouver television market. So much for local production...

Canada AM cuts West Coast edition

Canwest News Service
Saturday, June 07, 2008

Canada AM is returning to its original format and getting rid of its West Coast edition, CTV announced yesterday.

The veteran morning news show debuted a West Coast portion in January in an attempt to bring a more local perspective to Western viewers.

"It was an experiment, and we hoped to keep a western version," said Tom Haberstroh, vice-president and general manager of CTV BC. "Viewers told us they wanted the national version back."

No layoffs will result from returning to the original format on Monday.

Haberstroh said viewers won't see many changes in the show, especially since a producer moved out to Vancouver to produce western stories will continue in his job and will send material to Toronto.

The West Coast edition of Canada AM aired for six hours on CTV Newsnet and was anchored by veteran journalist Mi-Jung Lee, who will remain with CTVNews, and Omar Sachedin who returns to Toronto's CP24.

The original, national version of Canada AM is hosted by Beverly Thomson and Seamus O'Regan.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

from the "just cuz" dept.

At first I thought the whole "lolcat" thing was kinda stupid. But since discovering that it's actually old skool, I'm learning to lighten up and laugh:

More HERE.


Tractor (Tibor's)

Tractor (Tibor's)
Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Another one!

Monday, June 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Another Ukraine photo...

from the "bag man" dept.

How's this for a tune of the day:

Little Green Bag
George Baker Selection

from the "comedy, comrades" dept.

Need a laugh? Here's the brilliant SCTV parody of Soviet Television: CCCP1. Hilarious... but the best is at the end... Tibor's Tractor:


Friday, May 30, 2008

from the "timeless" dept. (part 2)

D300 meets the 10.5mm fisheye:

from the "another sad day for journalism" dept.

Another sad day for journalism (and I'm not talking about Faux News):

Photojournalist covering land dispute murdered, motive uncertain

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

New York, May 29, 2008 - CPJ is deeply troubled by the death of
award-winning photojournalist Trent Keegan, whose body was found on Wednesday in a ditch in Nairobi, Kenya.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Agence France-Presse that Keegan was found with head injuries in a drainage trench along a central highway. Police have opened an inquest, he said.

"This is a devastating loss for those who knew Trent Keegan, a photographer
who worked to document people in need of a voice around the world,"
CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. "The Kenyan police must act decisively to bring whoever killed Keegan to justice. Time is of the essence here, as it is in all murder investigations."

CPJ is investigating whether Keegan's death was linked to his work.

According to a police report, Keegan's body was identified by his Irish driver's license and a business card promoting his Web site. His wallet also contained 3,848 shillings (US$62).

Keegan was working on an investigative report about a land dispute in northern Tanzania between Maasai cattle herders and the Massachusetts-based Thomson Safaris Company, according to e-mail between the photographer and one of his colleagues. A spokesman for Thomson Safaris said the company had no knowledge of such a report.

Keegan had been in Africa for a month, his Irish colleagues told CPJ. They said Keegan had returned to Nairobi this week from a trip to Tanzania. According to Keegan's colleagues, he was last seen having dinner with a friend on Tuesday evening.

He was the winner of several awards from the Irish Professional Photographers Association and worked around the world in places such as Darfur, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the slums of Mombassa, Kenya.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit