At the recent Northern Voice 2007 there was a presentation about the Toronto transit-camp and the possibility of one in Vancouver. If there ever was a city that needed something like this it is here. You can’t change the system overnight but there is the possibility of changing little things, bit by bit.

Here is Karen’s post.

There is always the challenge by those at Transit to think this is a challenge to what they do. I think Karen and Will stated at the beginning of their presentation, it was not a complaint session, but an attempt to make what we have better. If that key element is maintained much can be done.

Why do I get enthused about transit? Never used to but something changed. It is a great way to be part of the community. You can hear and see people. You can walk among them. Everyone has the energy to be going somewhere. Plain and simple. A car is like an island moving down a concrete river. No human interaction at all just rubber, gasoline, concrete asphalt and whatever is on your sound system. A vehicle seems devoid of anything.

productimage.jpeg The Discomfort Zone by Johathan Franzen. Great little book that tells stories of the author when he was a child. Reading it is like remembering your childhood. So there were others that felt very uncomfortable about going? Being found out that you were different resulted in Social Death. Good description at the time.

Dunach School

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 am the Dunach Elementary School PAC meets. This is the time of year the credit union I work for attends 3 PAC meetings of the 3 local schools. This is the first one. We’ve been going to these meetings for about 5 years now and are there for only 30 minutes or so. We meet with a few of the parents and the school principal is usually there. The three schools all have an enrollment around 100 pupils with Bradner Elementary School being the highest with maybe about 125 pupils. The reason we are there is to present the committee with a cheque. It is the same amount for each school. It is the same amount each year. That amount is $3,000.

Why do we do it? Because it is needed and it means that much less stress parents have in trying to make money for the school. There are other credit unions that put a small student run facility in the school. It is supposed to each kids about banking. I think it just gets the kids to open an account at that credit union which is in the school anyway. It is pretty crafty way to get members. There is a difference between advertising and donating. They aren’t the same. People put up with advertising. They accept donations.


There is a always discussion about how busy our lives are and that we need to have some balance. There is no strong definition of what this balance is and most sense it is similar to a scale, something like a measure of weighing that shows both sides are equal. But our lives are multi-dimensional, they do not consist of two areas that are in need of constant balance. My view is that life is like colours, sometimes a few, sometimes almost infinite, it just depends on the light and if you have your glasses on. It always is different as with each day.

We have obligations of work, family, friends. We view ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. And there is always the element of time. This seemingly is the most important because it is finite for all of us. How do we use, abuse or loose it? Taking these and other factors (emotions, age, culture, language, and more) and pretty soon we can just sit in a chair gazing out the window, overwhelmed by the variables that play and replay everyday in our lives. It seems with the attempt to make is simple (this balance) we end up realizing it’s complexity. Someone once told me at a seminar I attended in the ‘70s that no matter what you plan, no matter how hard you attempt to manage your life, you will never pick all the daisies.
The conclusion I have come to is that you can’t balance your life. Most decisions about what you want to do have passed through the priority channel. You end up doing what you at the moment thought best, sometimes those are wise decisions, most of the time they may not be that wise. You end up with consequences of those decisions and it seems you balance those consequences. Complete freedom to do what you want is impossible, but you still always have the complete freedom of will to decide.

If there was one thing that points to getting a sense of tranquility in your life it would be to make sure you take the time to rest. Keeping one day a week as free as possible gives you the time to reflect, to build, to heal and to think. We are meant to rest. And maybe the busyness we have is just a symptom of not resting.

The poster arrived

The poster for sponsorship of Northern Voice 2007 arrived this weekend. And it is pretty good. Mt. Lehman Credit Union is one of the sponsors of the event and last year our marketing materials were posters and buttons. Our sponsorship was not viewed as the ‘normal’ marketing means to bring a lot of business to the credit union. It was more to assist the Northern Voice conference in establishing a tone for the conference. How to do that is sometimes difficult because you need to really understand the group or audience that participates. And really how does anyone really understand blogging? The ‘culture’ or ‘tone’ of the conference is really set by the participants and the interaction of the people. Reading the blogs of the people who are putting this together does give you a good idea of what Northern Voice is and why it is different than say Gnomedex.

NV is much smaller and tends to focus on what I would call relationship blogging and the blogging community as it evolves.

Blogging is relatively new and it does tend to change. There are some things that you do and somethings that you don’t do. Kindness is appreciated. Openess to critiques is important. Acceptance of positive comments with humility goes a long way. Small graphics should always add to the discourse. Good writing comes from practice and is not a genetic condition. And blogging should always be fun.

When you put this all together blogging seems to be like graffitti or street art versus the paid old school media. Blogging tends to be honest enough to be disruptive. It is interesting that you can see ‘tagging‘ on buildings and signs throughout the Lower Mainland. It is an identity for some. And the blogging community uses ‘tags’ to associate groups or ideas. Blogging allows for events, cultures and ideas to be ‘interpreted’ and discussed. The poster Basco5 did for us hopefully is like that. A piece of work that can be interpreted and discussed and is fun. So how does that fit with a Credit Union?

Banking has changed. You don’t need to go into a branch all that much anymore. Technology has allowed this to happen. Some see this as increased revenue by decreasing staff (look what the Bank of Montreal announced last week). That seems to be a very short term position. What is needed in banking is the constant vigilance that banking needs to be established as a relationship. You trust me, I trust you. And you can only have relationships with people, not machines or technology. (see Jacques EllulThe Technological Society). A lot of times banking is based on trust. An institution that ignores this has missed what people really want.

Sponsoring this event was really to say that the credit union is a 65 year old institution that supports relationships of trust. Northern Voice is a 3 year old conference that is doing exactly the same. We are not much different.

Can you remember….

An old family friend scanned some old pictures and sent them to us today. It is scary to think that this picture was taken 35 years ago in Burnaby when I was dating Marjun. The darker haired woman on the left is my wife when she was 20 about 3 months before we were married. One look at this picture reminds me of why I left Canada to follow her back to Denmark. We were married 8 days after I landed there. We eloped. And she is as beautiful in this picture as she is now. The woman on the right is an old friend we don’t see much. It is funny how 35 years change some things and then don’t change anything.

Got invited to a bonspiel in Princeton this weekend. The last time I curled was at least 20 years ago. Now they have those push brooms instead of the straw type. Sorry if the curling lingo is wrong. What pain those blisters brought after playing all day. But this weekend we have 3 games guaranteed. We should be out of it after three.

This morning at about 7:00 am you could see the slight glimmer of light off in the east by Mt. Baker. Finally the sunlight is getting to us earlier and it is noticeable. You tend not to notice it with those constant days of rain we had. Now daylight savings time is earlier this year, I think it will start 3 weeks earlier on the March 3rd weekend. Our internal clocks will be upset again.