Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
For his birthday, little Patrick asked for a 10-speed bicycle. His father said, "Son, we'd give you one, but the mortgage on this house is $80,000 and your mother just lost her job. There's no way we can afford it."
The next day the father saw little Patrick heading out the front door with a suitcase. So he asked, "Son, where are you going?" Little Patrick told him, "I was walking past your room last night and I heard you telling mom you were pulling out. Then I heard her
tell you to wait because she was coming too. And I'll be damned if I'm staying here by myself with an $80,000 mortgage and no bike!"
Posted by Robert W. at 8:50 PM
Last night was one of the interesting and spectacular I've had in quite some time. Around 5:45pm a friend & I grabbed a taxi and headed down to Cardero's, a popular restaurant-bar in Coal Harbour. We met up with another friend of mine, who had arranged for us to watch the fireworks from a Sea Ray yacht just like this. It was a pretty amazing experience!
We pulled away from the dock around 6:30pm, and headed toward the Lions Gate Bridge. I took all kinds of photos along the way, including some superb ones of the late sun glimmering down on the downtown Vancouver skyline. After passing under the bridge, we headed to a small dock in Ambleside, a beach in West Vancouver, where we picked up 4 more people.
Then we headed into the heart of English Bay to await the huge fireworks display, this time put on by China. Soon after we arrived, another Sea Ray yacht tied up beside us. And then another one. And then another one. Within an hour or so, there were 8 of us tied up together (back on land after midnight, we heard some people remark what a spectacular sight it was to see all these magnificent yachts in a row!)
At 10pm the fireworks commenced! They were absolutely beautiful from the vantage point we were at. There's just something surreal about floating on the water and having a spectacular light show encompass the entire sky in front of one's eyes.
Our hosts had brought some great sushi along, that they brought out after the show. That really hit the spot. I also munched on snacks provided by the boat owners beside us, a wonderful couple originally from Mexico City - a place I had lived for a year. They were such nice people!
As the evening wore on, one young lady unfortunately fell into the water. She was in no danger, but it was quite a sight to see. Three fellows quickly pulled her back in. She was soaking wet so she took off her outer poncho and I loaned her my fleece. Quite stupidly on my part, I didn't remove the items in my pockets first. Inadvertenly my camera got "misplaced". I'm hoping it is on one of the many boats but at this time do not know for sure. Besides the loss of the camera itself, there were some really great pictures on it!
The boat we were on was heading to Bowen Island, so we needed another way to get back to the city. The friend of one of the yacht captains pulled up on a HUGE tugboat called the "Imp". Four of us jumped onboard and were taken back to the city, though not to our original departure point but to Granville Island. This worked out better for us because most of us live near there. It was quite an interesting/amazing way to end what was surely one of the most memorable evenings in recent memory!
Posted by Robert W. at 10:46 AM
Friday, July 28, 2006
Today Vancouver was visited by the founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa. As expected, the powers at be told him that they weren't welcome. This is so disheartening that I felt compelled to send him this e-mail:
Welcome to Vancouver! My strong sense is that the majority of Vancouver citizens very much welcome you and the Guardian angels. I could have written the script of the negative reception you received from the police bureaucracy and certain government "elites". Please ignore them. As long as they're shuffling paper and driving around in their cars, they think they're doing a good job. Meanwhile crime has grown dramatically worse here year after year after year.
Vancouver recently gained the infamous title as the Property Crime Capital of North America. Rather than do something tangible about it, instead we get quoted endless statistics about how crime is apparently going down. And our police chief is occupying his time playing practical jokes on civil servants at city hall. As your colleague, John Batchelor might say, "Rome is burning but the powers at be have covered their eyes & ears and continued on as usual."
I live in the supposedly nice neighbourhood of South Granville, next door to the wealthiest neighbourhood of Shaughnessy. Yet on a regular basis there are open drug transactions in my alley, as well as junkies shooting up heroin from time to time. When I started seeing this, I contacted the police, offering them license plate numbers that I had collected. They weren't interested. When others have had their homes broken into, they had to beg the police to come over and investigate the crime.
But yet the powers at be have the audacity to say that the Guardian Angels aren't needed. Denial is clearly more than just a river in Egypt!
Welcome to Vancouver, Guardian Angels. May you stay here for a long time to come. We desperately need your help!
Posted by Robert W. at 2:31 PM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I just received this from a colleague:
Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today's world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such is the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn't give their domain names enough consideration:
1. A site called 'Who Represents' where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name is ... wait for it ... www.whorepresents.com
2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at: www.expertsexchange.com
3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at: www.penisland.net
4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at: www.therapistfinder.com
5. Then of course, there's the Italian Power Generator company: www.powergenitalia.com
6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales: www.molestationnursery.com
7. If you're looking for computer software, there's always: www.ipanywhere.com
8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is: www.cummingfirst.com
9. Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their whacky website: www.speedofart.com
10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at: www.gotahoe.com
Posted by Robert W. at 4:22 PM
There' s a little 24/7 Vietnamese restaurant at 540 West Broadway (1/2 block west of Cambie) that I tried today. Quite simply, they served THE BEST soup I've ever had in my entire life! I ordered the large Won Ton with yellow (egg) noodles and it was unbelievably delicious!! For another $3.00 I had a tasty meat sandwich on a toasted baguette.
They also offer the full compliment of Vietnamese offerings as well. Highly recommended!!
Posted by Robert W. at 3:23 PM
Though news of the Mexican electoral crisis have slipped from the headlines in most countries, it's still very much an issue in the country itself. I just heard from a dear friend in Mexico. She said that the economy has become stagnant with people holding off on major expenditures until the election is decided. You can read more here.
Posted by Robert W. at 10:31 AM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
This evening I went out with a friend of mine to watch a huge fireworks display. On the way back I had a burgundy & white Mexican blanket wrapped around my neck and over my shoulders. This seemed to cause very strange things to happen.
First, we passed this one young fellow, clearly inebriated on something. He asked us, "Either of you have an education?" We ignored him but he repeated the same thing. So I responded, "Yes."
He paused for a moment and then said, "So tell me, what does 'Hezbollah' mean?"
"Army of God", I said. He seemed puzzled that I would know this. Rather than wait around for more silly questions, he just speeded off.
Then after I left my friend at her place, a few minutes later a guy came hurriedly down the hill and blurted out, "Who is Eddie Van Halen's wife?"
I gave him a puzzled look and then said, "I don't know. Wait, it's Heather Locklear."
"No, no, no", he said, "she has dark hair and is Italian." I walked away but found the answer in my memory a few minutes later.
What I can't figure out is why a Mexican blanket around my shoulders makes these guys think I'm a Walking Google ! ! !
Posted by Robert W. at 11:51 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The current situation in Lebanon is causing great emotions amongst everyone. There are those who feel Israel is the aggressor, showing a "disproportionate response" to the missiles being lobbed at it by Hezbollah. Others staunchly defend Israel, citing the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon, only to get attacked in return.
Most everyone feels very sorry for the unfortunate Lebanese civilians who are caught in the middle of this, losing their homes, and in some cases their lives.
I've thought a lot and read a lot about the situation and asked myself, "What would I do if I were Israel?" We could debate strategy forever, but one thing is for sure: I would not stand idly by, while my citizens were systematically kidnapped & murdered and my cities had missiles launched at them. No responsible government would.
But rather than just focus on this particular skirmish, I think it's critical to look at the bigger picture of what's happening here. An important article on this has just been published by Mark Steyn. Among other things, he makes mention of the fact that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and others have primarily condemned Hezbollah, not Israel. Apologists for the terrorists have said that this is just because the U.S. is pressuring these Arab countries. That's simplistic and clearly false.
They know, as you should, that the biggest threat in all of this is clearly Iran. Most people don't want to admit this, let alone discuss it, but it surely is the case. If Iran does succeed in building nuclear weapons, we are all clearly in trouble, not just because they might use them or export them to their client terrorist organizations but because their very presence will allow them to continue propping up terrorist regimes until their funds from their oil reserves runs out. And they may take us well into the 22nd Century.
I realize that a lot of my friends on the left don't want to hear this and will condemn me for saying it, but the proof will be in what unfolds in the next 5 to 20 years. Unfortunately I think that such people will only wake up to the reality of the situation once a nuclear device is set off in an American city. Even then, apologists for the terrorists will still blame the U.S. gov't for such an action ... even if a hardcore left-wing Democrat is in power.
It's a beautiful, sunny day here in Vancouver but as far as our future is concerned, I see very dark, cloudy times ahead.
Posted by Robert W. at 8:55 AM
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Some friends & I went down to Kits Beach to check out a volleyball tournament put on by the BCVA and Molson. The play wasn't bad but the people running it were extremely annoying. They put 2 [drunk?] dorks in charge of the play-by-play. These guys couldn't even keep track of the proper score, let alone call the plays. And they just wouldn't SHUT UP for even a second.
They also chose to play a constant stream of "Gangsta' Rap": music full of F-bombs, S-bombs, and the N-word in every second sentence. I looked around at all the young kids and older people there - on a PUBLIC BEACH by the way - and just shook my head at the idiocy running this event. I wonder if all of this was okayed by Molson and the BCVA?!?
Posted by Robert W. at 11:52 PM
This rounded glass structure is apparently in Vancouver, but I don't know where. Do you?
The screen captures are taken from a commercial for a Mattel game called MadGab. To see the whole video, which includes many scenes from around Vancouver, click here. There's a big discussion here about whether this actress is the same one who plays Lala on the TikiBar video podcast.
Posted by Robert W. at 10:06 PM
I just discovered a weird and fascinating video podcast called "The Tiki Bar". It's a low budget production filmed in someone's apartment. And then later I discovered that it's filmed right here in my hometown of Vancouver!
One big mystery though is who is the beautiful brunette they call "Lala"? All of the other cast members are known, but not her. Most interesting!
Posted by Robert W. at 2:50 PM
I went to see this film with some trepidation. I was even more surprised that the lovely woman who invited me wanted to see it, as it seemed like a lowbrow flick, full of male teenage humour. But it was funny, really FUNNY! I was killing myself laughing throughout!
Checking the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes this morning, I was disappointed to see that it had only a 20% rating - very low. Oh well, it just confirms what I've long thought, that many of these high brow movie reviewers have a large piece of iron shoved you-know-where and can't let themselves relax and just enjoy a film for the simple pleasures it provides!
Posted by Robert W. at 10:27 AM
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I spent the last 3 days enjoying one of B.C.'s slices of paradise, aka "The Sunshine Coast". The area is actually part of the mainland but you [currently] need to take a ferry to get there. Here's a map showing its relation to Vancouver, with Gibsons being the extreme southern edge of this coast.
And here are some photos taken during my time there:
Posted by Robert W. at 4:15 PM
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Minutes after I woke up this morning I decided to take my bicycle out for a spin. It was about 8:30am when I headed out and there were few people about. Vancouver just isn't a "rise & shine" kinda place, doubly so on the weekends. The water was absolutely beautiful. It was warm, but not excessively hot.
Who were out & about were a flotilla of dragon boaters, practicing their craft.
Here's a shot of David Lam park in Yaletown. I love the vantage point of this area from the seawall. Marring the view right now is the leaky tower being repaired. Rumour has it that most all of the towers in Yaletown will have to be redone - with repairs to each condo owner often at $40,000+ each! But for political reasons they're only going to do one at a time. I'll be most interested to see if the green tarps move to another building after this one is complete.
Posted by Robert W. at 12:08 PM
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Yesterday I heard an interesting comment from a newcomer to Vancouver. She told a few of us "oldtimers" that she had noticed how Yam Fries appeared on most every menu in the city but this was strictly a Vancouver thing. First off, I had never noticed the appearance of Yam Fries but took her word for it. Now that she's mentioned it, my eyes are on the lookout for them at every place I eat.
This afternoon I had lunch at the Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood Pub at Clark & Kingsway. I found this to be a wonderful place but it's not exactly in the vicinity of Yuppie Central. Yet ... there were those darn Yam Fries glaring at me from the menu!!
Posted by Robert W. at 5:45 PM
Here's a fascinating article by the BBC's Peter Day about former Excite executive, Joe Kraus. Excite was a search engine, very similar to Google and once had 2,500 employees. Whereas Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are now billionaires, Joe Kraus is not.
In the article, Kraus offered up several great pieces of wisdom:
- Being early is the same as being wrong.
- The internet is a new sort of market place that needs new business plans to make it work.
- The 20th Century mass production world was about dozens of markets of millions of people. The 21st Century is all about millions of markets of dozens of people.
Posted by Robert W. at 9:55 AM
Friday, July 14, 2006
Every Friday I join a group of friends to go play volleyball down at the beach. Weather-wise, today started off absolutely miserable and got worse by mid-day. But the weather reports said it would clear up around 4pm. So I remained hopeful and optimistic. Legion of doubters thought we'd have to cancel our plans, but No, I said, No, we shall play volleyball! And sure enough, around 4:20pm, it cleared up magnificently.
Earlier in the day, to get people in the spirit, I wrote this:
"After a week of hard labour and toil, the good people needed relaxation. Great plans were laid forth for caravans to make their way down to the seashore where mighty nets would be hung in the sky and the magnificent ball of truth would be brought forth once again. But come the day of, gloomy clouds presided overhead, causing the good people much despair. But suddenly, in their darkest hour, a great wind arose and parted the clouds above, as if a large hand had reached down from the heavens. The good people rejoiced, as they were once again able to smack the magnificent ball of truth with great fury!"
Posted by Robert W. at 11:56 PM
My #1 Favorito, Mark Steyn, made mention of this blog by fellow Canadian, Kathy Shaidle. Interesting stuff. And it should put to rest persistent comments by my friends that I blog a lot!
Note to Ms. Shaidle: You may be the Relapsed Catholic but I lay claim and copyright to the term, "Recovering Catholic"!!! :-)
Posted by Robert W. at 10:21 AM
Give an offbeat white guy a video camera, a cool soundtrack, and a sponsorship from an American gum company and . . . . . it's amazing what he might accomplish!
Meet Matt Harding, a fellow who has travelled the world to film himself dancing in all kinds of exotic places. Quick note: He dances worse then yours truly. Yes, I'm insanely jealous that I didn't come up with this idea first!
Click on the image to go to his site to download the videos. You may also be intrigued to visit the website of Stride, the gum company.
Posted by Robert W. at 8:37 AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I truly lead a blessed life. Take today, for example. It kicked off with a client from Cincinnati calling to discuss some recent testing he had done with my software. Then I ploughed into some website design work I've been doing for another client. Around 2:30pm I received an unexpected call from a dear friend of mine who was in town from San Diego. Her name is Dr. Edith Eger and I built her website a few years ago. She was invited to Vancouver to give tomorrow's keynote address for the Young President's Organization (YPO).
I had never heard of this organization before. It's an exclusive networking group for people who have earned their first million dollars before they reached the age of 40. Some inherited it but many earned it from scratch. YPO arranged an amazing set of activities for them & their kids, starting off in Vancouver, followed by a train trip up to Banff & Lake Louise. Edie was invited as both a speaker and a mentor - in Vancouver and on the train trip.
During my visit to see her, she dictated to me her speech for tomorrow. I made a few suggestions but the bulk of it came directly from her mind, speaking in paragraphs. I had never helped anyone with something like that. It was a pretty profound experience. Here is the text of her speech. Just click on each page to see it full-size.
Posted by Robert W. at 11:03 PM
There's a wonderful article about BC Digital Divide in the new edition of the Langley Advance newspaper. It focuses on our Langley-based tech, Stan, and his family. You can read it here. Very, very touching! Don't tell anyone, but I found it difficult to keep my eyes dry while reading it.
Stan's wife, Thelma, was one of my neighbourhood pals when I was about 4 or 5 years old. My mom babysat her and we went to Kindergarten and Grade 1 together at what is now City Square Mall. We continued on to the same high school but lost touch after that. Then when I got some publicity on BCTV just before this past Christmas, she recognized and subsequently contacted me.
Stan & Thelma and their daughter are some of the finest people I have ever met. They're completely genuine and incredibly giving to their community, long before they got involved with BCDD. The article is a fitting tribute to these absolutely wonderful people! Vancouverites are often accused of being unfriendly and phoney. Perhaps so in a lot of cases, but there are some notable exceptions.
Posted by Robert W. at 1:38 PM
Do you remember a few years ago there were constant reports about various long distance companies switching customers to their service without any real approval from the customer? This most often happened when a telemarketer called up a customer and received little to no approval to make the switch, but did so anyhow.
Well, the same thing just happened to me ... and without any phone call whatsoever! I have happily been with Shaw for months when suddenly a few days ago the speed of my connection slowed down and I could no longer send out e-mails using Shaw's SMTP server.
I finally detected the problem and found proof in the process through a little known DOS command:
Tracing route to shaw.ca [126.96.36.199]
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 192.168.1.1
2 * * * Request timed out.
3 10 ms 13 ms 9 ms CABLE-72-53-32-1.cia.com [188.8.131.52]
4 22 ms 13 ms 12 ms colo.vanc.isp.cybersurf.net [184.108.40.206]
5 11 ms 10 ms 12 ms h66-38-129-158.gtconnect.net [220.127.116.11]
6 12 ms 14 ms 26 ms GE4-1-81.WANB-VANCBC.IP.GROUPTELECOM.NET [216.18
7 10 ms 10 ms 14 ms GE4-0.PEERA-VANCBC.IP.GROUPTELECOM.NET [66.59.19
8 19 ms 11 ms 24 ms GT-SHAW.VANCBC.IP.GROUPTELECOM.NET [209.139.199.
9 80 ms 25 ms 24 ms rc1so-pos11-0.cg.shawcable.net [18.104.22.168]
10 36 ms 22 ms 26 ms rd1so-ge6-0.cg.shawcable.net [22.214.171.124]
11 22 ms 26 ms 21 ms rd1no-pos5-0.cg.shawcable.net [126.96.36.199]
. . .
Line #3 above clearly should show "shaw.ca" or "shawcable.net" but instead it indicates that my service is being handled by 3rd party provider that goes under several names: "cia.com", "cybersurf.com", and "3web.com". I had actually tried them a while back but only stayed with them for a week because their customer service was so poor; typically one would wait in the queue for 45 minutes and then their system would hang up. Lovely. So I switched back to Shaw and everything has been fine ... until now.
I realize in the big picture of life how pathetic it is to be worried about one's Internet service but it has become one of those things we depend on, especially for home-based entrepreneurs like myself.
Posted by Robert W. at 1:13 PM
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I have friends visiting Roma right now and there's obvious delirium over there right now! But Vancouver had its own celebrations too. Here are some photos from the joyous outpouring earlier today:
To get a bit more flavour of the atmosphere, here's a short 7.5MB movie from the festivities. Your computer needs to have Quicktime installed to play it:
Posted by Robert W. at 9:57 PM