Friday, June 30, 2006

Goodbye Part 1, Hello Part 2!

I enjoyed an absolutely wonderful last day of the first half of 2006, setting the stage for what I know will be an even better second half! Hoping your 2006 - Part 2 goes well too!

Malcolm Parry Article

Here's a great article about my friend's new company, along with a colour photo I took at their launch party. The company in question is Elastic Entertainment, which I think is going to be a growing force in the months & years to come.

Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland!!!

Germany just beat Argentina in a hard fought game that ended up in penalty kicks to decide the victor.

I'm half-German so you know where my loyalties lie!!! :-)

I actually got up at 6:30am in order to go watch the game down at a pub-restaurant in Kitsilano, along with 3 friends, plus friends of theirs. Great fun!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Canada Day Quiz

Here's an interesting Canada Day quiz in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It was sent to me by a lawyer friend in Seattle. He got 70% right. I got 75%. And you?

Vancouver Handyman

One couple who received a computer from BCDD were Ales & Hana. They're from the Czech Republic and moved here with practically nothing. But they're prepared to work hard and build a life for themselves. Ales has gone into business for himself. If you need work done, I'd highly recommend you call him for a quote.

Flower Photos - Part 2

And here are 3 more:

Flower Photos - Part 1

I was out in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, visiting my uncle, and captured these photos in his garden.

Urban Beach Volleyball

There's an interesting set of volleyball courts set up beside the south end of Cambie Bridge in Vancouver. If you'd like to find out more, you can click here. Here are some shots I took there last night:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Upcoming World Cup Matches

I had so much fun this past weekend watching the World Cup that I plan to watch at least 2 of these 3 upcoming matches:

Friday, June 30 - 7:30am : Germany vs. Argentina

Saturday, July 1 - 7:30am : England vs. Portugal

Saturday, July 1 - 11:30am : Brazil vs. France

The times shown are Pacific Daylight Savings Time

Appearence on the Kelowna Airwaves

Yesterday, between 9:00 - 9:30am, I appeared on radio station, CKOV, in Kelowna, BC. I was interviewed by host, John Michaels. We discussed the situation that BC Digital Divide is receiving a growing number of applications from the Kelowna area. We have the computers to provide them but no way to get them up there (about a 5 hour drive).

As I had hoped, the publicity from the program changed all that. We now have 2 - 3 people who will be able to help us get computers to the needy folks of Kelowna. And in the community is a pastor named John Kellogg, who is going to help us with the distribution once the computers arrive. What's most interesting is that Father Kellogg was a big time techie before he entered the seminary!

Ultimately I hope that a few people in Kelowna can form their own little BCDD "pod" so that donations can be received and redistributed entirely within the community.

People helping people, albeit of their own free will - my kind of socialism!!! :-)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Live Theatre: Cabaret

I just saw the fabulous musical, Cabaret, at Vancouver's Stanley Theatre. The story is set in 1930's Berlin, Germany and was made famous by the 1972 Bob Fosse film featuring Liza Minnelli.

This Vancouver production is truly spectacular, featuring a great cast, a well designed set, and terrific sound. It only runs until July 16th. I'd recommend you go see it before it ends.

Monday, June 26, 2006

What's Up With These Hi-Tech Earbud Users?

Being a developer of wireless mobile software, I'd consider myself on the leading edge of technology. But even I think the new generation of Star Trek inspired earphones takes the term "Super Dork" to the next level.

If asked, I'd assume these Uhura wannabes would tell you that they look cool. But at a deeper level, I wonder if there's a parallel with drugs. Drug addicts have trouble coping with reality and their daily fixes help them separate themselves from it. Perhaps these earbud users also have trouble dealing with reality and their new affixed technology provides them with a coping mechanism?

What I fear is the next step forward into Dorkiness will be visors that provide real-time video of somewhere else ... anywhere else!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Celebrating the Portugese Victory in Vancouver

After Portgual beat the Netherlands 1-0 today at the World Cup in Germany, I'm sure the entire country of Portugal has exploded in grand celebration. Pretty much the same thing has occurred here amongst the Portugese community. My friend, Ravena, was down on Commercial Drive today and captured these wonderful photos:

Vancouver's Greek Day

The corridor along West Broadway, between MacDonald and Alma has had a long history of Greek influence. Unfortunately in recent decades, much of it has dissipated. But some influential public and private concerns have brought back Greek Day in a big way.

About 6 blocks of the West Broadway street were closed off to all traffic and people came out in droves.

This last one is a shot of Premier Gordon Campbell, along with Mayor Sam Sullivan in the background. Great to see these politicians of our great province joining in the fun!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Granville Island Snapshot

Here's a photo I took on the walk home from Bard on the Beach. I love the contrast of colours and various shapes.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Might a North Korean Missile Wake-up Vancouverites?

On a comfortable summer day like this, how many Vancouverites are thinking about a rocket being fueled on the other side of the Pacific Ocean?

Yesterday on the nationally syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio program, Canadian writer, Mark Steyn, pointed out how ironic it would be if the U.S. military shot out of the sky a North Korean test missile that was headed towards Vancouver. Why the irony? Because of the vociferous way our past federal government opposed getting involved in the missile shield program.

If you're interested, you can read more here. Just search for "Vancouver".

Special Delivery!

These might look like mere bagels to you, but in fact they are authentic bagels from Montreal and are ABSOLUTELY delicious! They were hand delivered by my friends, Micheline & Paul, who are gracing the Left Coast for the few days. Merci beaucoup, mes amis!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

God Help All Canadian Men!!!

Yesterday the Supreme Court of Canada threw out decades of precedence of a sensible no-fault divorce law by ruling that the bitterness of a B.C. woman must be a factor in deciding whether she continued to receive financial support from her ex-husband. Sherry Leskun's husband left her after 20 years of marriage and ever since she has been very bitter, supposedly incapable of working.

Ms. Leskun had a well paying job at a bank and succesfully argued on her own in front of the Supreme Court. So she is clearly not lacking in intelligence or drive. Yet the "higher minds" of the court ruled her to be a victim and thus deserving of support.

This surely must represent the pinnacle of twisted Liberal thinking: S/he who cries loudest is most entitled. Mark my words, this continued "be a victim, get whatever you want" thinking is quickly destroying the fabric of our society. Just look at the poor example it is showing to children: "Don't get what you want? Just threaten child abuse or human rights violation and all adults around you will give you whatever you want!"

When my own parents separated after 33 years of marriage, I stepped in, mainly to protect my mom's fragile mental state. But I didn't continue to coddle her forever because I intuitively knew that she eventually had to stand up for herself. And she did, stronger than ever. All of us play the role of the victim at times but it's completely unhealthy to keep on doing so in perpetuity. The fact that the highest court in the land is supporting this behaviour is not in the best interests of Ms. Leskun, nor anyone else.

I don't know about you, but I've met several drama queens in my life. I thus have to wonder if certain women are going to go into full actress mode whenever they appear in front of the court, playing up on what is clearly an anti-male bias. Don't believe me? Here are some quotes from a recent Barbara Kay column in the National Post:

  • Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin: "We have to be pro-active in rearranging the Canadian family"

  • Former justice minister Martin Cauchon: "Men have no rights, only responsibilities"

  • Feminist psychologist Peter Jaffe, a social-context educator of family court judges: "[J]oint custody is an attempt of males to continue dominance over females"

  • National Association of Women and the Law: "Courts may treat parents unequally and deny them basic civil liberties and rights, as long as their motives are good"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Is it any wonder why people love Vancouver?

I had a rather stressful day so I was itching to get out on my bicycle for a long ride this evening. I'm glad I did! Along the way I took a number of photos. What a beautiful city I'm lucky enough to reside in!

Monday, June 19, 2006

News Story Featuring BCDD

A nice story about BC Digital Divide was just published in this Kelowna newspaper. What we're hoping is that this article will prompt individuals or companies to help us transport computers from Vancouver to other locations in the province. If you know anyone who is heading up to Kelowna or Kamloops, please let me know!

Beautiful West Coast Day

Some friends & I joined my mom for lunch in downtown Vancouver today. We ended up on the roof of a parking garage, from where we had a spectacular view of the entire area around us. Here are some shots taken from there.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Street Racers on the Water

These two young men were undoubtedly up to no good. There's a strict speed limit as soon as one enters the mouth of False Creek - and for good reason! But much like the pavement-based road racers who don't give a damn about anyone else as they hurdle their sports cars on city streets, these two twits probably had much the same attitude out in the water. I hope their boats get confiscated by the police.

British Acrobats in Tights

I was down at Granville Island in the late afternoon and saw these two British Comedians/Acrobats. Normally I would not take photos of such fellows but I have an alterior reason for doing so.

My adopted sister from Chicago, Kristi, is threatening ... errrr promising to visit me in August. But she keeps hinting at excuses of why she might not visit. So knowing that she has a real weakness for English men with accents, I just could not resist snapping a few photos to give her an extra reason of why she must visit here soon!

Tip #1 from the Male Oprah

I have a buddy who constantly amazes me with his insight. This fellow spends more time contemplating the way women think, than women do thinking about the things he says they do. That last sentence is actually grammatically correct but you may need to read it 3 times to make sense of it!

Friday morning we were sitting in a local coffee shop and a tall, slender blonde woman came in. After getting her coffee she sat down at the table next to us for a few minutes and then left. He scolded me afterwards: "How come you didn't take the opportunity to chat her up?" I responded, "How on earth do you know she's single?"

"Oh, she is," he said, "I can tell." Then he added, "the best days of the week to meet a new woman are Thursdays and Fridays." I asked him why. "Because no woman who is single looks forward to spending the weekend alone. She might just be looking for dinner and nice conversation, but she'd much rather spend the time with even a mildly charming guy than on her own."

I have no idea if this is true or if he's just blowing smoke ... but I'll continue to post his many tips in the future. All comments from single women most welcome!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Albanian Encounter

This afternoon I had the great pleasure to meet some people from Albania. They were friends of a family that had been given a computer by BC Digital Divide. The family had bought a little webcam to provide live video with friends & family "back home" but couldn't get it working. I don't normally provide such follow-up service but this was a special case and I wanted to help.

So over came a father, his daughter, and his friend. The little girl was named Marcella and was just 3 1/2 years old. She was very tentative when she arrived. But I quickly switched into "Uncle Rob" mode and eventually won her over. First there was a game of "Bubbles" on my Pocket PC. Then I let her draw with a painting program on my computer. Next came a little stuffed monkey and plastic truck. Then I pulled out a foam baseball bat and ball. To top it off, I set her up with a Curious George website. Eventually she didn't want to leave. A job well done and definitely my treat.

This reminds me of something I've long known. Girls younger than 5 and older than 65 absolutely adore me. It's just those in between that I seem to have a great challenge with!

Vancouver Street Parking Meets the New Millenium!

I discovered something very interesting today. Vancouver City Hall is about to adopt a new option for paying for street parking. You'll still be able to deposit coins like before, but you'll now also be able to call a special phone number with your cel phone,specify the number of the meter (shown in red in the photos) and pay electronically. I'm not clear whether you have to give your credit card number each time or will be able to have an account with them. Another great feature which I hope will be present is for the system to automatically call your cel if the time is about to expire.

In point of fact there are many slicker ways that parking could be paid, but this is a good advancement for a city that is sadly behind in adopting modern technology for public convenience.

Kitsilano Beach at Night

I was bicycling past Kits Beach last night and saw the dramatic sky to the west. So I captured a series of photos and stitched them together into one panorama. I like how the end effect is mostly a series of blacks & blues.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The World of Media Is Changing ... Quickly!

Peter Day, my favourite BBC journalist has a fascinating radio program about where the Internet is heading. But it touches upon so many other things around us that are dramatically being changed, whether they like it or not. This includes television, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising, the film and music industries, and politics in a big, BIG way!

Indeed, these same sorts of things were said back in 1997 - 1999 but those predictions fell flat for a variety of reasons. Most people weren't ready for the change and in many cases the technology just wasn't up to snuff. But the economy and our world have since become very global. Much like the glass half full / glass half empty metaphor, the changes Peter Day investigates are exciting for some but terribly daunting for others. What is clear is that if any individual or company thinks they can rest on their laurels because there are few to no competitors in their community, someone from across the world may very well come out of left field and quickly put them out of business.

The next generation of the Internet is often referred to as "Web 2.0". The Internet is transforming and very quickly! If you'd like to see some examples, click here, here, or here.

Last night I attended a party celebrating the opening of a brand new company called Elastic Entertainment. It is focused on providing leading edge multimedia content for websites, be they viewed on a traditional PC, a Cel phone, or any other new device that comes along. It's run by a friend & colleague of mine named Rochelle Grayson and her business partner, Jennifer Ouano. Very, very cool stuff indeed!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Weekend Visit from an Old Friend

This past weekend I was visited by a longtime friend of mine named Melissa. She hails from Chicago, where we worked together in 1996, before we moved down to Mexico City to help build a startup advertising company. We've been good friends ever since and her family has pretty much adopted me. I was ecstatic to be able to show Melissa around my hometown. This was actually her first visit ever to Canada. Shown below are some photos from her 3-day visit: