Monday, February 23, 2009

from the "a workin' man I am" dept.

A short update:

- The internet is still buggered at the house. I have a solution and I should be up and running on a regular basis this week.

- My Chernobyl story will appear in one of the San Fran newspapers. Both are interested, but only one can have it.

- I submitted the final version of the story to the Straight just moments ago... more than 2 days early!

- I'm off to Antigua to meet former CTV and JHR colleague Brennan Leffler. We're going to hang out there for a day and then return to San Pedro. His sister arrives in a week and we'll all head north to Belize. This will allow me to get another 90-day visa to remain in Guatemala (if I decide to).

You're up-to-date. Now, go shovel!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

from the "it couldn't last" dept.

So, the internet I was so lucky to receive wirelessly at home is on the blink.

Technicians are working on the problem.

Please stand by.

Here's something to pass the time:



Saturday, February 07, 2009

from the "beat crazy" dept.

"Spill the beans, you!"

While I complain often about my neighbours music, it is a far cry from torture. However, music IS used as an interrogation technique by certain nations (and I think you know who you are).

Can we stop the terrorists with EMINEM, Dr. Dre or (shudder!) Barney? I dunno...

But the following piece does make for some fine morning reading. Shall I put on Hell's Bells?

The very idea that music could be an instrument of torture confronts us with a novel—and disturbing—perspective on contemporary musicality in the United States. What is it that we in the United States might know about ourselves by contemplating this perspective? What does our government’s use of music in the “war on terror” tell us (and our antagonists) about ourselves? [FOR MORE CLICK HERE]

from the "brr" dept.

San Pedro la Laguna
Saturday Feb 7, 2009

There isn't much to report from the week just past.

In terms of work, I submitted my story to the Chicago Tribune. Radio silence followed. I made inroads in with some other papers, but nothing firm.

The Chernobyl story is due in a couple of weeks, and the building has begun.

The weather was kinda cold last week. Sunny, but very windy -- especially overnight. Lots of zinc flapping in the breeze.

I was able to see my breath this morning, which I think is a first. I don't have a thermometer and there isn't a weather station here so I can't give an accurate report. But it IS cold compared to the last several weeks.

The neighbour is blaring the morning sermons again. Why is it that some people feel the need to convert the masses. All you're doing with the noise if pushing me further away.

But, for $100 a month, I suppose I can't complain too much. Still, I'd rather hear Reggaton than crazy nuts screaming. Ugh.

And so it goes...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

from the "another one bites the dust" dept.

Sad but true: Up to the minute announcements of Canadian media layoffs can be found HERE.

This is depressing.

from the "hear, here" dept.

I found a nifty little web app that lets you self-test your hearing. Now, I assume there are all sorts of caveats involved with testing your hearing online... but it is a fairly simple process that may indicate a hearing loss.

The test is HERE.

I was shocked by my poor performance at the higher end of the scale, although this could simply a limitation of my headphones to produce those frequencies. Additionally, background noise from Guatemala likely masked some of the sounds.

My results looked like this:

[Click image to enlarge]


from the "discover no fun" dept.

No-Fun-City is at it again. From CBC.CA:

Vancouver's summer fireworks festival cancelled

Vancouver's annual fireworks festival has been cancelled, organizers said Wednesday, blaming the economic downturn.

"It has been an exceptional 18-year event — the largest of its kind in the world — and it is a credit to our many exceptional sponsors that we kept the event going year after year," said Brent MacGregor, chair of the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society.

"However, the current financial situation makes it impossible for us to continue."

"To our sponsors and operational partners, to the city of Vancouver, and most important to the residents and visitors who came each summer to watch the spectacular shows — thank you!" he said.

The HSBC Celebration of Light event drew huge crowds to the city's waterfront over several nights each summer to watch the fireworks.

The displays from various countries were staged on floating barges in Vancouver's English Bay.

It began nearly two decades ago as the Benson and Hedges Festival of Lights. When that sponsorship ended in 2001, the City of Vancouver and various other sponsors took over the event.

However, the event also had a reputation for drawing some unruly crowds, making the policing costs high, and it continued to struggle financially from year to year to meet the event's $4 million annual budget.

In the past eight years participating countries have included: Canada, USA, China, Spain, Mexico, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden and South Africa, said MacGregor.

With approximately 350,000 to 400,000 spectators per night, for each of the four nights of the show, the event had an economic impact of over $37 million annually in direct visitor spending, he said.

[H/T: BT]


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

from the "PSA" dept.

A message from college Republicans:

[H/T: Crooks & Liars]


from the "fame, fortune and romance" dept.

Another one of my images made it to AOL's Gadling travel blog. Go figure.



from the "wide eye" dept.

A panorama of San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala. Click on image to see full size.


from the "alan parsons project" dept.

My little project to live in the developing world while making money in the first world seems to be working.

Last week I sold a story about San Pedro to the Chicago Tribune and my Chernobyl story to the Georgia Straight. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is interested in the San Pedro story as well, but no guarantees. Once the Chernobyl story is done, I can work on reselling it.

If everyone pays up, I've made enough to live here comfortably for nearly to months. So far, so good.