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.