It’s Beachtime

Finally, just about a week of very good weather and today in the mid 20’s.

I just finnished reading James Crumley’s “The Mexican Tree Duck“. It wasn’t as good as his latest book and you could tell it was an earlier writing. What is interesting is to think if it ever became a movie who the cast would be. The main character would have to be Bruce Willis. Now most people can quickly see what kind of book it is.

This year for Mother’s Day I bought my wife 3 hanging baskets from Tangelbank Nurseries in Abbotsford. These things are unreal. I have never seen hanging baskets that keep growing with the amount of flowering. One is in the sunlight and the other two are in the shade. All three are thriving which is a rarity in our household. Besides the bees the hummingbirds seems to like them.

There seems to be more and more talk about blogging these days and the startup numbers are unreal. Anyone who reads blogs probably does so for a variety of reasons. I have 4 sets of blogs I look at daily.
1. The first group is about technlogy and Macs. It includes some websites and the blogs really add the personal expressions that you need to round out some of the company hype (or as Dan Watson puts it “management talk”).
2. The 2nd set are a group of blogs from people I met or heard at the Northern Voice conference. It is interesting to see what they are doing and you do get to keep the contact up.
3. The 3rd set are blogs from here, there, and everywhere. This group gets gleaned on occassion.
4. The last set has anything to do with GTD.
It is interesting that you tend to go back to these sites for long periods of time even if they are not updated because you enjoy reading the blog. That seems to be the key for me–the enjoyment of the writing and the perspective the person brings.


Yesterday I attended a meeting close to Granville Island. It was an all day event, dry at times but interesting. At lunch the surprise was a BBQ on the patio of the 9th floor of the building. The landscape picture above doesn’t really give the view it’s full reward. It was incredible! When you have lived here for a lot of years you pretty well have seen everything and it gets a bit boring. This view was totally unique. It is made up of 3 separate pictures put together. Yaletown, the Burrard Street Bridge, Granville Island and the full Granville Street Bridge all in one view. Then the fishing boats and pleasure craft. Personally all of these have a number of stories attached to them. Granville Island was were my mother and aunt worked during World War II. There was a dry cleaning shop on Granville Island underneath where the new bridge is now. (Everyone does know that there was an old bridge at ground level at one time, right?) An older fellow who used to work with them would say someday there is going to be a huge bridge above where the shop was and all of these buildings will disappear. Mom said they always laughed at him and thought him crazy. Most visionairies are considered crazy in their time though. I believe the name of the dry cleaning company was Granville Bros.

Trains and things

Here is an interesting concept. Put the cigarette ashtray at the exit door. That way people can smoke in the building and make sure they put it out when they get outside. Or could it be that to disuade smokers you put their ashtray at a doorway they can’t get back in? Why are smokers being treated with such disregard? Recently in Seattle I was in a restaurant eating and suddenly smelt tobbaco smoke. Just like old times. And have you noticed no one carries matches anymore? I haven’t seen a packet a paper matches for ages.

While down in the area of Granville Island today I noticed this train signal light on Fir Street just north of Broadway. Looks pretty standard, same as most others. So what train comes through there? If you look at the tracks it looks like the last train left Clarksville a long time ago. You can’t see the tracks for the overgrowth. Someone should put up a for sale sign on this set track alarm lights.


Just a regular day at the office

This is the office that I reside in most of the hours of the week. Those plants are the only living things that seem to appreciate my infrequent waterings. After close to 6 years they are hanging in there. Maybe something with a little colour would help. Though you can’t see it, the window at the top of the image has an unbelievable view of Mt. Baker. It is definitely best in winter—no smog.

We are making some remarkable headway with our IT setup at work. We have installed Java on the banking server which has allowed us to further install some interesting backup software. This software will mirror certain files on a production machine that will allow us real time (well a 3 minute window) SQL queries. Besides queries to the banking system we can also query the Sybase products database which includes binaries (graphics). With a few more completed paths to finalize the reporting system we have talked about for a few years will be available. We will move from combining datum from various reports and dbs to calling for a completed report with any type of information from a variety of sources. In any business the quicker you can retrieve specific information that you need to make a decision the better your business can be. The problem has always been how to accumulate this information so that various workgroups can garner the information they need without having to wade through moutains of peripheral information. It has been a long time coming but then it is just a regular day at the office.


Some people have stated that iTunes is clunky with a difficult interface to use. Maybe it isn’t the easiest program to operate but if you have used it for any length of time you can move around it pretty quickly. There aren’t too many features that are a surprise. It works pretty good.

The search feature is very good. It is quick and allows you to find the song that is so often rumbling inside your head. When you have a sizeable number of songs it is very easy to assemble a decent playlist. Right now I typed in ‘summer’ and have 23 songs for 1.8 hours in the play list. Everything from Lisa Brokop to the Young gods. Why summer? Well have you looked outside lately?

Here’s the list:

Summer Rain – Alphaville
Summer In The Circus – Bourne And MacLeod
The Last Rose of Summer – British Columbia Boys Choir
Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Red Summer Sun – Bryan Potvin
Thirty Summers – Cowboy Junkies
Sleep All Summer – Crooked Fingers
The Boys of Summer – Don Henley
Indian Summer – The Doors
Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran
Summertime Rolls – Jane’s Addiction
Summertime – Jane’s Addiction
That Summer – Lisa Brokop
Die In The Summertime – Manic Street Preachers
A Night in Summer Long Ago – Mark Knopfler
Starless Summer Sky – Marshall Crenshaw
The Last Rose Of Summer – Nina Simone
The Last Rose Of Summer – Nina Simone
In The Summertime (You Don’t Want My Love) – Prairie Oyster
High Summer – Van Morrison
Summertime – Will Smith
Action- Streetheart Summer Dock Party
Summer Eyes – The Young Gods

A fresh coast of paint

There really isn’t anything so inexpensive that changes one’s living space so much as a fresh coat of paint. I have officially given up on white and moved to any other colour but white. Our living room is now a two colour room, one large wall of a strong yellow and the rest a reddish brown. I forget what colour the yellow was (its too strong for Canary and more like Amber Light or Canadian Draft) but the brown is called Georgian Brick. You have to love the names of some of these colours. Our kitchen is light green – Pistachio. As painting doesn’t rank as the all time favourite of pastimes anything to make it easier helps. Here buying the best really helps. We have been using Benjamin Moore and though it is costs a bit more it just rolls on so nicely and you don’t get that roller spray. A good brush is important. When you are cutting those tight corners a brush that has all its bristles together is nice. Now I can sit back in this “new” room and count the little mistakes that no one except my painting friends will ever know.

Here is a question but no bets please – has summer finally arrived here in the Lower Mainland?

Powerwashers on Sunday

Nothing is more relaxing than spending your Sunday afternoon on your deck, good book and all, with the cacophony of the Sunday power washers. Their undying mantra – “must clean, must clean” is spoken throughout the neighbourhood. Suburbia at its finest. Now if tomorrow morning at about 6:36 a.m. I start to play Bach’s Christmas Cantata “Sehet, welch eine Liebe” at about 150 decibels do you think they will understand?

Summer seems to have arrived in Vancouver. “Seems” is the key word here as the weatherman has been fooled on numerous occasions recently. This next few weeks look like scorchers. Great time to be ending your holidays huh. It should change back to a normal wet summer in three weeks when I begin my next batch of non-working days.

A dead language

Something interesting occurs when you begin to write, be it blogs, letters, books or whatever. You sense the power of language and all of its interesting attributes. But there is a language that is used by many that is devoid of human expression and feelings — the languge of business, the PR language, the language that we hear so often that leaves us confused as to what is it that is really being expressed. This is the dead language that seems to continue in our society. Toni Morrison describes a dead language as “…a dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis.” How can expressions like “bottom line, change drivers, strategic implementation, empowered…” be considered anything other than words that seemingly are written and spoken to admire themselves? They have a shine of saying something but with further exploration their meanings are conceptually lacking any human experience. But their constant use tends to make us look upon them as key to understanding some remote concept. They are like a plastic veneer. Maybe we should use the minds God gave us and express what we really mean, in 25 words or less.

PR at its best – Spam

Gnomedex had an interesting session with Steve Rubel and his client Weatherbug. During the session you got the funny feeling this was a prepared pitch and had little to do with PR and blogging. Darren Barefoot questioned out loud what a lot of us were thinking. His point didn’t make much of an impact in the answer he got back from Steve.
Russell Beattie has posted some interesting post events concerning Steve. Like how Spam originates in this instance.

We need to begin to find some means to protect our inboxes because if you are like me I get over 100+ Spam that need wading through everyday. There are the tricks of the trade like getting a few more “secretive” e-mail address but if you have had e-mail for over 10 years and have handed out your address to a ton of people you are going to miss that attempt at contact by that person you would love to hear from. There is no algorithm to speak of that will fully keep the drawbridge manned.

First day of holidays

Finally, 10 full days off with no real time set for meetings, project planning, HR, business e-mails, telephone calls and general work issues. Maybe it is the age because holidays this year were something I actually looked forward to. At the end of these 10 days I will be roaring to get back to work. What does that say for one’s view of “retirement”?

Stil waiting for the sunshine here. The forecast looks good. Maybe just maybe summer is about to arrive.

There is an extemely interesting article in today’s Globe and Mail (Saturday issue) the Review section – Citzens of the world, report! It discusses the role of role of bloggers and citizen journalists as complementing main stream media on stories like the recent tragedy in London. Here is how Meil McIntosh assistant editor of Guardian Unlimited put it “…It’s very complementary in that I think the blogs look to us to get immediate news and we maybe look to them to get a little bit of the flavour of how people are reacting outside the four walls of our office.” They also discuss the difference between this with the news media in the U.S.

But if you read between the lines there is still a hesitation on the part of the major media to accept that a person’s view of any event is as valid as that of a newspaper article. They seem to deem only themselves as the official voice. And it is worrisome that there stamp of approval is all that is needed to make any viewpoint valid. Things change, ever so slowly.


Listening to Glen Gould playing Bach is always refreshing and when it comes to music these thoughts seem to unfold.
– music always captures a mood.
– it can present a memory as concise as a forgotten scent.
– music evokes an emotional response, sometimes quite rapidly.
– some music can be disliked or maybe that should read not appreciated as much as other music.
– it is sometimes quickly liked or it can be liked in greater amounts with prolonged listening.

With every generation music changes on the “outside” but it always remains the same “inside”.

Please, Tom

So Tom Cruise is now an expert on depression. What happens with these guys in Hollywood? Do their egos inflate to a size of a Zepplin? Why do they think making movies makes them that much smarter than the general poplulace? There is an overwhelming amount of ignorance about depression and some solid research is now beginning to augment and broaden what we already are aware of. Tom’s “expertise” only diminishes the discussion.

Tom–stick to the movies.