Sunday, July 31, 2005

Spectacular Fireworks!

Last night I attended one of the most amazing fireworks shows of my entire life! It was the second of four events in the annual Vancouver Celebration of Light.

I bicycled down to my friends' West End apartment around 3:30pm. After gulping down several bottles of water to recover from the ride, I met their delightful friends, most of whom had driven up from Seattle. Around 4:30pm they and their friends and I strolled down to the beach where we claimed a spot near the water, laying down a series of blankets surrounding 2 hibachis. When we first arrived, the beach was crowded, though not packed. I had great fun playing with the young nephew of my friend. A game quickly evolved that had me making sand castles with a bucket so that he could immediately mash each one. I thought I could tire him out by building several at once, on both sides of him, but alas it was yours truly that got exhausted first!

By 8:30pm the beach was getting quite full, though our territorial blanket idea served its purpose well. At 10:00pm sharp the fireworks show started. This event was put on by a pyrotechnics group from Sweden. It was truly spectacular! There was some music that seemed to be specifically written for the show but there was also a sampling of ABBA music as well - hey, they're from Sweden so it was most apropos!

I bicycled home about 45 minutes after the show ended. The streets of downtown Vancouver were still packed ... even a great distance away from the show. But on my bicycle I was able to easily negotiate past the traffic and get home in no time flat. What a great evening!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Through The Eyes of a Newcomer

As I do many Friday evenings, I bicycled down to a local beach to play some volleyball with an informal group that gets together there. This time was different though, as two newcomers joined me, one from Hong Kong and the other from Quebec via a decade in California. The three of us were among the first to get there so I said to them, "While we're waiting to start, I'm sorry that there's no real scenery to look at." This was deliberately said with much irony since anyone who has visited a Vancouver beach knows, the scenery is abolutely stunning!

Throughout the evening I periodically looked around the beach and noticed that there were relatively few people present. It was not cold, there was an unbelievable sunset, the weekend had arrived, and yet ... there were so few people there. No complaints from me, as I'm not looking for a crowded beach. But I couldn't help from noting how these two newcomers had made the effort to get themselves down there and clearly appreciated the gloriousness of the setting, whilst so many locals had long ago taken it for granted.

I have a theory that no more than a month after moving to a new community, most people establish their daily routine: where they shop, where they eat, where they walk, if they walk at all. After that pattern is imprinted, it rarely, if ever, changes. In the case of Vancouver, everyone brags about the natural beauty of the city, but relatively few every partake in it on a regular basis.

Friday, July 29, 2005

PICA Revisited

Today I went back to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, this time taking my mom. Being Friday, the special was a seafood buffet. It was as delicious as I expected it would be! My favourite were some large prawns that were marinated with a light curry sauce. Yummy x 10!!!

The Day After The Fireworks

Here's a photo of the large barge that is used to fire off four sets of fireworks every summer in Vancouver. The first event, which occurred the night before, had an estimated 300,000 people watching from the beaches all around the area.

The smaller platform in the foreground is for swimmers. Complete with a slide, it provides fun in the sun for kids & adults alike!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Quiet Moment to Reflect on One of Nature's Glories

Taking pictures of flowers is sometimes a hit or miss affair. Sometimes they're spectacular but sometimes that wondrous magic you see in front of your eyes just isn't reproduced. This photo I took today on my way down to the Granville Island Public Market. I like the way it turned out. Like it a lot, in fact.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Robert's Rules For Finding Love Online

I recently saw Will Smith's film, Hitch. It occurred to me that my "extensive" experience with online dating in my thirties makes me well suited for providing others with good advice for pursuing the 'Personals' route nowadays. So last night I decided to post the following on the world's bulletin board, Craigslist. The response was generally extremely positive. In fact, several people suggested I expand this into a book! Here's what I wrote...

Having done the Personals thing quite a bit in years past, I've come up with a set of "rules" that are beneficial for both men and women. These rules are for people that are looking for a long term relationship, not a quick lay. I always pass them on to my single friends who are thinking about meeting someone through a Personal ad.

I've found that if they are strictly followed then it minimizes the chance of either person getting hurt. Here they are:

  • Do not move forward unless the other person supplies a recent photo after the first few e-mails.
  • Make sure the first telephone call is no more than 1 week after first contact via e-mail.
  • During the phone call(s) make sure you talk about at least one serious topic. For you ain't going to find true sympatico if you're only talking about fluff.
  • Ensure that the first meeting in person is no more than 1 week after that.
  • The first date should be no more than coffee or coffee and a short walk.
  • Do not make any plans there & then about a 2nd date. Just say, "It was nice/great/wonderful to meet you." Then walk away and decide if you want to pursue something further. If the other person asks you for a second date there & then, tell them to call you if you're at all interested or to write you if you're really not.
  • Don't tell someone you want to be just friends if you're not at all interested in them.
  • If you do like the person, then wait a day before calling. Though there's no harm in sending a SHORT e-mail immediately afterwards. And call me a sexist, but even in this new millenium I still think it's the guy's responsibility to call the woman if he wants to pursue things further.

These rules came about as a result of much disappointment and wasted time & energy. I don't know about you, but I've always known within the first 10 minutes whether I could envision a relationship evolving with the other person. And though, for me, the mutual physical attraction has to be there, there's so much more to moving forward than just that. I clearly remember going on two dates - one in Toronto and one in Victoria - with aesthetically beautiful women. But once they started talking, it was immediately apparent how ugly they were inside.

I know several couples who have met online and truly did meet their soulmate. If you are considering this route then hopefully these "rules" will help you. Yes, there are some exceptions but it mostly comes down to knowing yourself well enough to understand what YOU really want. In the final analysis the rules are effective for this reason: Though politeness and tactfulness will never go out of style, leading someone on with false hopes & promises is just cruel in the long term.

May life & love rise up to meet you!

Think of me as the Canadian 'Hitch', albeit for both men & women!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Glorious Restaurant Find!

Have you ever walked by a restaurant dozens, if not hundreds, of times but for whatever reason never went in? And then suddenly one day you did and kicked yourself for not going there years before?! That's exactly what happened to me today! I'm a HUGE fan of Vancouver's Granville Island. It's quite close to my home and is a wonderful place to go for a walk, or shopping, or just to play.
At the mouth of Granville Island is a cooking school called the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. I've walked past this place hundreds of times but only once did I go in and only to check out their bakeshop. What I didn't realize was that they offer lunch and dinner offerings, as a way for their students to practice their craft. A friend from California was in town and had discovered this place on the Internet. So I joined her there for lunch.
To say I was impressed would be the understatement of the decade! The food was absolutely delicious and the presentation was what you would expect in a 4-star restaurant. What's equally amazing is that for just $11 you get your choice of an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. This same meal would easily cost $40 - $50 at any comparable restaurant. Click on any of the photos and I bet you'll start salivating. I just checked out their website and discovered they have a seafood buffet every Friday. There are few other things in life that I ravenously desire more than a seafood buffet! Guaranteed I will be partaking in such a feast very soon!!! Reservations are strongly recommended!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Enjoying a Vancouver Sunset

This evening I received an invite to join some friends at the beach to watch the sunset. I had a wonderful, relaxing time. It's one of those wonderful things that I don't do enough of. But I certainly plan to partake in more this summer.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A New Twist on an Old Game

When I was a kid it was always fun to find a nice, lush piece of grass to lie down on and look up at the sky. It was doubly fun to try to spot shapes within any white, puffy clouds that were within view.

With Google's new mapping service it's now possible to do the exact opposite: Hover in the sky and look down upon the earth, looking for all kinds of shapes. This is fast becoming a popular game for some. Here's an infamous one of a swastika in San Diego. And here's one I found, of a seahorse swimming backwards in my own home town of Vancouver.

I'd love to hear about any interesting ones that you locate!

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Vancouver Evening of Surprises

What a great Friday evening I just had. I rode down to Spanish Banks Beach and played about 3 hours of fantastic beach volleyball. Playing on sand is something I hadn't done in a long time and it's a lot harder than it looks! There were also three interesting scenes around us:

  • A group of young women, all fit, all tanned, all wearing bikinis were playing soccer on the sand. I've had fantasies like this but had never seen it in the flesh ... so to speak!
  • 3 heavily tattooed guys were taking photos of a bikini-clad woman who I guess was a model. The odd thing was though that they had no special photographic equipment and their camera was just a tiny digital one like mine. Hmmmm, is this a ploy I should have thought of long ago?!?
  • A wedding took place right on the beach. It was a glorious setting and a perfect day for it. Congrats to the new couple!

On my way home I passed by Kitsilano Beach and came across this new restaurant which must have just opened up! I don't know what the food is like but here's the scene they have from the open-air upper deck.
Vancouver truly is a very special, wonderful place this summer, full of magic and surprises everywhere!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Socialists Keep On Chipping Away At Common Sense

Some members of the Pofessional Association of Teachers in the UK have proposed that the word "fail" be removed from the school vocabulary and replaced with the term "deferred success". Here's the full story.

This is no surprise to me. It's but another attempt by roving Socialist MTs to shape the world in their own narrow, unrealistic viewpoint.

Here are some of the things that these people believe:
- We all have equal intelligence
- We're all equally motivated
- We all have equal creativity
- We all should be able to do the same jobs
- We should all get the same pay
- No one is really ever guilty of anything
- No one is really ever responsible for anything

If this doesn't make you want to vomit then you really need to search your past and find out when you were brainwashed.

I often wonder if such folks have just spent too much time at the beach, soaking up too many sunrays into their brains (think dehydrated fruit), eating slightly 'off' clams that produced a permanent hallucinogenic effect, and found their spirtual nirvana singing Kumbayah around the fire.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Do you care that we may quickly be running out of oil?

In this week's Economist magazine is a very peculiar advertisement. It's an expensive 2-page spread that simply displays a letter from Chevron's CEO, David O'Reilly.

I'm typically cynical about the sincerity of multinational companies, most especially those involved with oil, but yet I haven't been able to figure out the angle/purpose/reason for this ad other than great concern. Might it be that this oil company executive is waving a red flag to governments and citizens everywhere, saying, "Uhhh folks, we don't have much cheaply available oil left but yet you're doing absolutely nothing about this certainty."

It's hard to imagine a world in just 25 - 40 years where oil and automobile companies no longer have any significance in the world economy. If so, this would be just the very start of the repercussions of our civilization without cheaply available energy. I wonder how many people are remotely ready for such a reality? Are YOU?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Summer Beauty

This past evening my friend, Dennis & I rode our bicycles down to Jericho Beach. We had a simple but delicious dinner on the patio above the Jericho Sailing Club. Afterwards we strolled next door to Locarno Beach to watch some of his friends play volleyball. It looked like lots of fun but the strong wind made play quite difficult at times.

If you'd like to see the full set of photos from our journey then click here.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Small Minded Vancouver

There are some truly great cities in this world, three of them being New York, Chicago, and Singapore, but there are many others. All of these places have something in common: Each city had great, far-sighted leaders who had a grand vision of what they wanted their city to become.

I live in a city where the exact opposite of this kind of leadership now rules the roost. And sadly, it seems that a great many citizens are of the same ilk and will undoubtedly vote for these small minded twits forever and a day.

The latest chapter in my city's grand march into absolute stupidity involves two city councilors insisting that a "Gender Lens Consultant" be hired for $90,000 per year to examine how women are affected by every single issue that comes before city council. Let me get this straight: There are people recovering from a devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, others in London recovering from a horrendous terrorist attack, and yet the primary concern of some on my city council is whether 50% of the population in Vancouver in 2005 are suffering from rampant prejudice?!?

Oh yes, I can tell that we have our priorities in order! Keep in mind that this is happening while Vancouver is facing a growing crisis with drug addicts, property crime, and a downtown core that is quickly resembling a permanent garbage dump.

When it comes to these Permanent Victim Syndrome (PVS) types I've progressed from being dismissive to mildly annoyed to now being deeply angry. Do you ever wonder if the Roman Empire started its decline into oblivion by losing sight of the important issues facing it?!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Google Earth - Way Cool!

I just installed Google Earth, a new piece of software from the growing Internet behemoth. This is some pretty amazing technology that allows you to fly around the world and tightly zoom in on any area. Here are some examples of the things you can see with it.
My only word of warning is that you need a fast computer with a decent graphics card in order to use the software effectively. So if your performance is slow then you'll know why. But when it works well, it's quite amazing! I especially like the ability to tilt the vertical angle, as if you're flying in like a bird!

Inspiring, Timely Movie

Yesterday I went to see Crash, a movie I knew nothing about. What an incredible surprise! The film shows a series of intertwined stories in the very multi-cultural community of Los Angeles. The story is well written, displaying common everyday events that each of us could easily imagine ourselves in given the right (or wrong) circumstances). The characters fall into very defined, but believable roles depending on their race and economic status.
The first half of the movie is quite depressing but then some inspiration comes forth, showing how good consequences sometimes come out of bad events. But the most important underlying theme throughout the entire film is that we all have prejudices but really must try not to prejudge someone because of the way they look.
Crash is a powerful film, especially powerful given the current realities in the U.S. and Canada.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm not a very consumer-oriented guy. In other words, I don't feel the need to constantly buy lots of stuff! But one thing I did buy a long time ago and treasure immensely is my cappuccino maker. It's actually the 2nd one I've owned. The first was a gift, a De Longhi unit that I recall was about $100. It lasted only a month or so. I then went out and bought a good quality unit from Starbucks, which was more in the $300 range ... and that was back in the mid-90's!
It has lasted a long while and provided me with the great pleasure of sipping delicious cappuccinos every morning. I realize that sounds trivial but once you've had one, it's difficult going back to regular coffee.
There's just something overwhelmingly exquisite to the palate to have that hot, foamy milk hit your mouth first, followed by a burst of strong-flavoured coffee. Coffee is one of my few addictions and so I like each cup to be a great one!
This machine may be on its last legs though. I think the pump is wearing out and the rubber sealer rings definitely need replacing. But with labour costs so high, it may be cheaper for me to buy a new one than to get this one repaired. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bob Woodward is Full of Crap!

Washington Post reporter, Bob Woodward, has achieved the height of insincerity! He's offering to serve part of the time of the jailed reporter knowing full well that he'll never be permitted to do so.

Reminds me of those people (read "supposed friends") who offer to help you move but then when it comes to the day of they don't show up or come around for a couple of hours, move a few lamps around, and then leave.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Terrorism Hits Close To Home

The London bombings have occupied much of the news but there have also been recent terrorist attacks in Turkey. I have a friend working over there. He, his wife, and his mom were shopping at a seaside resort yesterday when a bomb suddenly went off. Here is the e-mail I just received from him:

We had a weird experience yesterday. It was quite a shock for us but we are all perfectly fine.

My mother, Emma and I were shopping at a souvenir shop when a terrorist bomb went off about 10m from us. We were very lucky to have not been hit by metal fragments but Emma was hit on her arm and shin by objects sent flying off the racks in the shop. The lady in front of her was hit in the arm by a metal fragment that cut a deep wound. We helped her until the ambulance arrived. We found the metal shrapnel or another one on the floor right in front of where my mother was standing at the time.

Being in mining a blast is nothing unusual to me but this was such a shock. It was of course without warning and the events of it are like a blur. It was loud with a strong air shock followed by flying objects and dust. My mother and I were behind the counter paying for her items at the time. Our ears were affected for some time by the air shock of the blast. Had we been walking outside the store when the blast went off we would have been on the injured list. Luckily the shop had several racks of souvenir items at the front that absorbed most of the shrapnel. A lot of those items were knocked over with the blast. The building next to us had all of its windows shattered.

My mother took some pictures and one is attached. These were taken two or three minutes after the blast. I have also attached some URL's of reports on this. The black mark shows where the bomb was. Three fragments of the post can be seen to the right of that black mark. We were in the shop that you can see bracelets on a rack on the left side of the picture. The bank that the reports mentioned was actually further away from the bomb.

The event has been on both BBC and CNN today. Have a look here:

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

Sunday, July 10, 2005


I just finished watching Casablanca, the 1942 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. I'd never actually seen it before, though it has been vividly described in so many movies that much of it felt incredibly familiar.

The most famous line in the movie is the very last one, spoken by Bogart: "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

But there's another one that caught my attention even more, especially given recent events in London. It's spoken by Paul Henreid's character, Victor Laszlo. Laszlo, a celebrated freedom fighter, has committed his life to fighting the Nazi scourge in Europe. Rick Blaine (Bogart) asked him why he kept on fighting and didn't just give up. Laszlo responded (paraphrasing): "Breathing air and fighting one's enemies have something in common. If you give up doing either, you die."

Mexican Tall Ship

This afternoon I cycled down to Vancouver's Jericho Beach to take a close look at the beautiful Mexican tall ship, Cuauhtemoc. It was one of the two largest, the one from Russia being the other. There were so many people waiting in line to see the ship, which was nice to see because I think many of us Vancouverites have lost touch with our city's maritime roots.
I spoke with these 3 Mexican sailors en espanol, explaining to them that my ex-girlfriend's father was an admiral in the Mexican navy, before he retired. I think they understood what I was trying to say!!! If you'd like to see more photos of the ship, plus some others from around the waterfront then click here. A glorious day indeed!!!

A Magnet I Am

I'm a magnet. I've long been in denial about it, but yesterday provided yet more incontrovertible proof that I'm a magnet. For what, you ask? For tourists seeking directions and advice! Yesterday I had 3 different sets of visitors come up to me. Today I've been pondering why this is, what signals I'm giving off that makes people ignore others and seek out me. So I've come up with a Top 5 list of what I think are the most likely reasons:

  • Unlike most other Vancouverites, I don't walk around studying the sidewalk, so tourists must think I know something.
  • My out-of-control hair these days reminds people of Kramer, especially in that one Seinfeld episode where he took tourists around NYC on a bus.
  • The "I Love Tourists" T-shirt, written in 17 languages, that my mom insists I always wear when I'm outside.
  • Singing opera, as I do, whenever walking the streets of Vancouver, gives people a feeling of familiarity and calm.
  • The "#1 Tour Guide" flyers with my photo that my buddies plastered on telephone poles all over the city on my 40th Birthday must have had a lasting effect!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Chinatown Night Market

In the summer, between 6:30pm and 11:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays Vancouver's Chinatown shuts down 2 blocks to cars. Merchants then set up a series of stalls. Available for purchase are DVDs, computer accessories, clothing, toys, and a potpourri of other things. Some great deals can be found. For example, I saw good quality 'Vancouver' and 'Canada' T-shirts for just $5.00. These same shirts would be 3 to 4 times the price at any regular store.

But the best feature of the Night Market are the food stalls serving a delicious array of items including Bubble Tea, Dim Sum, pan fried dumplings, etc. The most delicious of all were slender Enoki mushrooms wrapped in thin slices of beef. Yum!!!

Sunny Vancouver

My friend, Ahmed, visiting from Seattle, joined me to see the tall ships visiting Vancouver. It was gloriously sunny here today, which really showed off the beautiful ships very well. In the fenced off area, where it costs $20+ to enter, we didn't see a whole lot of people. But my mom, who was volunteering there yesterday, said it was extremely busy at times.
We came across these two pretty women at Kitsilano Beach and I took this photo of them. Some young guy decided to make an issue of this. It is never my intention to take an inappropriate photo of anyone and I trust I didn't offend these women with the one you see here.
I captured this photo of the Canadian flag, which was set at half-mast out of respect to those poor victims who died in London. But when I got home and turned on the David Berner show I learned that MP Chuck Cadman had finally lost his long battle to cancer this morning. Mr. Cadman was one of those rare politicians who got into it out of a strong conviction to improve society and he stayed true and honourable to the very end. We lost a great man today.

Some Thoughts For My Non-Canadian Friends

When I get into serious discussions with my non-Canadian friends, I think many of them are often surprised at times by the so-called right-of-centre attitude that I take on international political issues. What I don't think any really understand though is the political climate that I'm immersed in here.

There are just too many of my fellow Canadians who:

  • Have placed themselves in a self-imposed bubble of ignorance about the world.
  • Almost always blame Israel for all of the problems in the Middle East.
  • Claim to abhor racism but take every opportunity to espouse how much they hate Americans.
  • Take for granted our strong economic position that is directly thanks to the U.S.
  • Often hold China up as a shining example of what a superpower should be like.
  • Blame Tony Blair and George Bush for the recent bombings in London.

Don't believe me? Then read this. It is just one example of MANY that I see every week.

On many issues I am an open-minded moderate. For there are many issues that are very complicated and don't have simple rights and wrongs. Abortion is one of these. So is unlimited free speech. So is gay marriage. So is welfare. I have empathy for the arguments on both sides of these issues.

But there are certain issues for which I will not accept moral relativism. And one of these is terrorism. I refuse to accept that the murderers who perpetrate these crimes are "victims", as so many in the Canadian media would have us believe.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that a great number of Canadians blame Blair and Bush for the London bombings. For their world is consumed with reading free newspapers that total about a dozen pages, watching 5 minutes of soundbites on 24/7 repetitive news channels, and with political discussions on our public CBC radio & TV that consist of left-leaning people on one side and ultra-left people on the other.

What I suspect most of all is that the majority of Canadians haven't yet accepted that we are involved in a war - admittedly a long, slow burning one - but a war nonetheless. Our enemy is not George Bush, but rather the fundamentalist Islamic terrorists who want to end Western civilization as we know it. Well, I for one, refuse to accept that Canada should become another pre-9-11 Afghanistan. Coincidentally, so do the Afghani people today. While I have not and will never agree with all of the policies of Bush et co., I know very clearly which side I stand on in this war.

Friday, July 08, 2005

If Ignorance Is Bliss then . . .

Then what is Idiocy?

I was reading Michelle Malkin's column and read one link that she provided.

It's a painful reminder that:
- Not everyone you meet has any semblance of the same reality that you do
- Any crackpot can now have their own website
- The most serious nutcases are almost always bad spellers

Free Speech is a good thing but shouldn't there perhaps be a basic IQ and Sanity Test in order to vote?!?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Tall Ships Have Arrived

Vancouver is the latest city on the west coast of North America to host a cadre of tall ships on their long tour. They're docked quite a distance offshore but there are still good views from the nearby beaches.

The London Bombings

I can't stop wondering today if my fellow Canadians were as insulted as I was by the incredible rhetoric espoused by Paul Martin, Anne McLellan, and other Trudeaupian officialdom after the bombings? Hearing phrases like "Canada will offer the British whatever they require", "Canada's infrastructure is safe & secure", and "We're prepared, should anything happen over here" is so incredibly far from any semblance of truth. I'd love to see Tony Blair call Martin's bluff and ask him to send 10,000 soldiers over to help with security while the evildoers are sought out. And the idea that we're even remotely prepared to thwart such an attack on any of our transportation systems is an absolute joke.

So our glorious leaders have now done their duty by mouthing their lies. Now they'll go back to doing what they do best: Absolutely nothing! The terrorist groups in Canada will continue fund-raising. Many Canadians will undoubtedly start blaming Britain for the root cause of the attack. And most everyone in this country will retreat back into the mass denial that Canada could ever be target of such an event.

I often wonder if what's happening today is very similar to what happened in the dying days of the Roman Empire.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Useful Acronyms - Part 1

Let me share two great acronyms with you. Feel free to use them when the occasion arises.

1. "PVS" = Permanent Victim Syndrome
If our ancestors were to observe us today, I'm sure their first thought would be: "You all have it SO EASY!" And they'd be right. Yet, though the demands of life for most of us seem to be getting easier with each passing decade, the complaining of many seems to have gotten worse. I first observed this phenomenon near the start of this century and concluded that a new psychological disorder must be the root cause. So whenever you see someone whining about something that they really shouldn't be, then tell them that you're quite sure they have 'PVS' and should immediately go see their doctor about it. If nothing else, at least you might get them to shut up for awhile!

2. "MT" - Mindless Twit
This one I thought up just the other day when listening to attendees of the Live 8 concerts around the world. Not only did most of those interviewed have no real idea about the ultimate purpose of the concert they were attending, but some of them had absolutely NO idea whatsoever why the concert was being put on. And those that did, tried to explain how them getting to hear free music was somehow directly benefiting those in Africa. If I had been the reporter there, I'm sure I would have been arrested for hitting these twits on the head with my microphone! People like this can succinctly be labelled as "MTs". What's great about this acronym is the built-in double-meaning. For if you sound it out, you get the word "empty". Beautiful simplicity!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Photo Gems Around Every Corner!

For the past several months I've gotten into the habit of taking my digital camera with me wherever I go. There are just so many visual treasures around every corner, some very large and some very tiny. My eyes are always scouring the landscape - left, right, up, down, near, & far. Perhaps this is an affliction of every photographer?!
Vancouver is certainly a beautiful place but I'm positive that great photo treasures can be found anywhere!
I don't know which TV station these folks belong to but I'm quite sure they're famous in some corners.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Coal Harbour Panorama

Yesterday was the last day my friends from Finland were in town. So my mom and I took them for a long walk around the Stanley Park seawall. It's a must do for all tourists, especially on a sunny day!

Near the end of the walk we came upon the scene you see in this photo. It's actually not one photo but several. They're tied together with some really great software that came with my digital camera called WPanorama.

And So It Begins

Any semi-literate person knows that one of the main topics of discussion at this year's G8 meeting is the elimination of much of the debt in Africa. Whether this will help to solve the problems in Africa is up for debate but I'm sure that most of the left leaning groups would approve.

Yet at the same time there's a huge protest about to begin. And here's a quote from one of the protest groups: "Dissent! feels it is possible to gain a major and inspiring victory against global capitalism by directly shutting the G8 down by blockading the roads...while other groups go over the hills to enter Gleneagles." So, they're going to try to march into Gleneagles to accomplish ... what? To prevent the debt from being relieved in Africa? I'm sure the African people would be so happy to hear this.

Another interesting tidbit about this protest site: The protesters say the camp beside the River Forth will offer a glimpse of a better world - an environmentally friendly eco-village. Sure. Let's see a photograph of the place after the event and see if these over righteous, holier-than-thou, have-enough-time-and-money-to-be-over-there-protesting little weenies have enough wherewithall to clean up their mess. I very much doubt it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Hypocrisy of the Live 8 Campaign

So the concerts have happened. Hundreds of thousands attended. Many wore the now ubiquitous white wrist bands. They soaked in the music. They soaked in the atmosphere. They all felt good about helping end world poverty.

And then? And then . . . ? ? ? And then these people, most of them spoilt, overly pampered young kids headed home and will do nothing more to "help" end world poverty ... until there's another concert that is. Pathetic hypocrits.

Please be clear of one thing: I do NOT condemn the musicians in any way, shape, or form. I believe that they believe in this cause and sincerely want change to occur. But what they're up against is the selfishness of those attending the concerts and that is an insurmountable force to overcome.

Quick Prediction: Next Wednesday the G-8 leaders will be meeting in Scotland. Look for another group of young people to be protesting there. Protesting what, nobody's really sure. But as always, the protest will become the story, the G-8 leaders will likely accomplish little to nothing, and everyone will go home without anything changing. If aliens are watching us, they must surely be shaking their heads.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Batman Begins - Big Thumbs Up!

I just got back from seeing Batman Begins. What a pleasant surprise! If you're a tech-male like me then you've probably seen most/all of the Batman movies, the Bond films, and the Star Wars trilogies. But I've found that as I've gotten older, watching them again has greatly shrunk the pedestal I once held these films up to. Why?

One word: Story!!! In so many of these Sci-Fi / Comic type movies, the story is sooooooo lacking, almost always covered up by special effects. If it's a video game in front of me then I'd prefer to play it, not watch it. (Incidentally, the same philosophy keeps me clear of strippers, but that's for a whole other posting!)

Anyhow, Batman Begins is very different than most other films in this genre. The story and character development was clearly first & foremost in the film. Everything is believeable and realistic (within the bounds that such a film can be). The special effects are superb but don't play one of the leading roles. I hope that other filmmakers follow this as a textbook example of how to make a great movie!

Oh, and contrast this with the Dukes of Hazzard trailer we saw before the film. Rather than bore you with the details of how horrible it was, let's just say that if Hollywood makes more of this crap then it is doomed!

I'll leave you with one memorable quote from Batman Begins that could be applied to any city/society/country today: "The criminal element indulges in the sympathy of good hearted citizens".


I just watched Coach Carter, an inspiring film about a basketball coach in an inner city near San Francisco. It's a true story about Ken Carter, a phenomenal man who faced great adversity but stuck to his principles and succeeded. More importantly, he taught a number of young men with little to no future to believe in themselves.

In this film there was a superb moment when the following poem was recited:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
by Marianne Williamson

Friday, July 01, 2005

Canada's 138th Birthday

Today, July 1st, Canada celebrated its birthday. I had a great day! It started by having breakfast out with my friends from Finland, my mom, and a friend visiting from Victoria.

Afterwards the Finnish ladies headed over to Victoria for a few days. I put in a couple of hours of work and then strolled down to Granville Island to check out the festivities. There were more people there than I was comfortable with, but it seemed like a fun time was had by all. Here are some photos from the big day:

Reality Wake-Up Call for Vancouverites

Yesterday a ferry boat crashed at one of the two docks that link Greater Vancouver with Vancouver Island. In the aftermath of the accident I listened intently to what people were saying and then decided to chime in my own 2 cents. The following editorial of mine was read on CKNW 980 AM radio:

Today's ferry crash was a vivid, albeit mild, wake-up call for Vancouverites. Listening to some in our midst you'd think that ferries should never crash, planes should never fall from the sky, children should never be hurt on a playground, electricity should always be on, Cel phones should always work, and god forbid, a large earthquake should never dare hit Vancouver and disrupt their all too busy lives.

Well, sometimes bad and unexpected things do happen. Nobody wants them to but this doesn't stop them from happening nonetheless!

All in all, I think things were handled extremely well today. Nobody, as far as we know was hurt. And throughout it all, BC Ferries seemed to concern itself with safety first and getting things back on schedule second. The unionized workers and management of BC Ferries should be commended and thanked.

There will always be complainers but if those same people had been in charge, what miraculous things would they have done differently?