for more information contact skot@penguinstorm.com

current
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
How Can You Just Leave Me Standing Alone in a World So Cold
Today Was a Tough Day
The Resonant Frequency of Love - Rocco DeLuca with Daniel Lanois
Dan Mangan - Forgetery
Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016
Japan's Disposable Workers
Jeff Tweedy Plays Charades with Ewan McGregor
Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)
Wilco at the CityFolk Festival, Ottawa (September 20, 2015)


recent
Rice Lake, North Vancouver
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Running Away
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015
Chewie...we're home!
Patagonia - Worn Wear
Daniel Lanois - Burning Spear
I'm Not Some Kind of Nerdery Slut. I like Star Wars.
Via Rail's Online Advertising
Courtney Barnett - Depreston
Rocco Deluca - Congregate
This Hour Has 22 Minutes: Quebec and Canada
Disassembling an Automatic Wristwatch
Tina Fey: Comic Genius
Dig, If You Will, The Picture: Purple Rain at 30
Jian & L'Ecole Polytechnique
David Myles - Santa Never Brings me a Banjo
Two Words: Millenium. Falcon.
On Uber Being Disruptive and #vancuber
Major Depression on Vimeo


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You buy this ship - treat her proper - she'll be with you for the rest of your life.
Is A Conditional Discharge Real Punishment?
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I Am Skooter  So here's us, on the raggedy edge.

I crossed many states just to stand here now, my face all hot with tears, / I crossed city, and valley, desert, and stream, to bring my body here:
— Woody Guthrie, Remember the Mountain Bed
April 28, 2016
Daniel Lanois and his AC30

Posted by skooter at 2:34 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Daniel Lanois

April 22, 2016
How Can You Just Leave Me Standing Alone in a World So Cold

I was at work yesterday when the news of Prince’s death broke—on my way to a meeting walking away from my desk when someone said it. I’m old—almost 45—at a company where most of my co-workers are in their 20s. One of the ways this manifests itself day to day is in their drastically differing musical backgrounds to mine. Some of them weren’t even born when the Joshua Tree was released and they have no way to understand the cultural impact that album had. When Bowie died, they didn’t even notice.

Not so with Prince. The rest of the day—at leas the parts I spent at my desk—saw this cross-generational company’s staff singing songs that were written before the Joshua Tree. Purple Rain featured prominently, but so did Little Red Corvette and 1999.

Prince was an immensely talented artist whose music left a longer footprint than most. That music was like nothing else because it took everything else, put it in a blender and came out the other other end sounding like something that was uniquely Prince, always interesting, radio ready but not boring sappy pop music.

Purple Rain was everywhere in 1984. The movie may be a mess but the album remains strong and vital and fresh over thirty years later. Put the record on and play side two, which runs rom When Doves Cry to Purple Rain—and I dare you not to play it again, and again. It shares that with a few albums—Springsteen’s Born to Run, The Joshua Tree, Hendrix’s Are You Experienced, anything Mile Davis ever released. That’s pretty rare company, and it’s company that Prince deserves to be in.

He was a restless explorer who didn’t sit still and who pushed at the boundaries. Those people aren’t suppose to die, but they do and he has. The world is a poorer place for it.

Posted by skooter at 8:23 AM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Music, Obituaries, Prince

April 11, 2016
Today Was a Tough Day

Today was one of those hard days—the kind of day where you feel like you’re floating listlessly, and nothing you do seems to bring you back to the place you want to be and you kind of just throw your hands in the air and give in to it.

The thing is, it had nothing to with me. Not, at least, in a direct way. These days things are pretty good for me. The end of last year was tough but right now I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. There’s lots of reasons for that but let’s just leave it with a simple one: things are going very very well, and I’m lucky every day to be living this little life I’m living.

This morning I got a couple of messages from one of my closest and oldest friends. The first note was the sort of thing that sets you up for bad news so I sort of steeled myself for a followup. My first instinct was to think that one of his parents had died. We’re the same age but his parents are quite a bit older than my mother so it wouldn’t be unexpected.

I was wrong. His parents are fine but his marriage is ending after something like 17 years. There have kids and while there’s a big part of me that recognizes that it’s probably better for them to be apart then to be together and unhappy in their lives it’s still a hard thing to hear. I love those kids, and his wife and my heart sank a bit at the news. There’s no single big reason: no easy infidelity or big lie to point to as the cause. They just drifted, which sometimes happens.

Marriages start and end all the time. Mine did so long ago that it’s mostly faded. I’ve other friends who’ve gone through it more recently, and I know that everyone will be OK in the end but today—for at least a day—I was just sad thinking about the end of something that started so well. They’ll be OK, and the kids will too—but it’s still a change. Life does that and the only option we have is to keep moving forwards through it.

They’ll wake up tomorrow staring into a future that was never planned for or invited into their lives, and one that’s not going to easy in the short term. One thing I know is that whatever my friends need is what I’ll give them and I hope at least one of them knows that right now.

Posted by skooter at 8:50 PM This entry is filed under Friends. This entry is tagged: Marriage

April 8, 2016
The Resonant Frequency of Love - Rocco DeLuca with Daniel Lanois


“You can’t buy feel” Daniel Lanois’ has said on more than one occasion, and that explains much that there is to love about Rocco DeLuca musically. Their last Vancouver show ended with the entire band performing DeLuca’s Congregate and is one of my fondest memories of the last few years of many concerts. It made me put my camera down and just listen—and that doesn’t happen that often.

A new album from Rocco DeLuca and Daniel Lanois is truly something to look forward too.

You can see Rocco perform Congregate solo in another video here.

Posted by skooter at 9:19 AM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Daniel Lanois, Rocco DeLuca, Videos

March 28, 2016
Dan Mangan - Forgetery

Dan Mangan’s Club Meds was a slow burn of an album. It was a dramatic departure from his earlier work—full of rich electrified sounds and as heavily produced as his earlier work was sparse, it was challenging for some of his fans. When I first wrote about it, I was vocal about the fact that I thought Vessel was a poor choice for a lead single. Forgetery was a standout track from the album, and it’s nice to see it still getting support in the form of a beautiful new video.

Posted by skooter at 5:56 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Arts & Crafts, Dan Mangan

March 19, 2016
Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016

Birch Tree, Rouge Valley Birch Trees become a muse of sorts fairly often when I visit Ontario. We don’t have them out west—we have Aspects instead (or Poplars as they’re known in some areas.) Aspens are nice but their bark is more of a silvery grey colour and there’s something about the pure white of birch bark that I find appealing. I grew up around them, and they’re not really a part of my life anymore. I miss them some.

I’m in Ontario, and have been for a few days. As always, these trips are bittersweet for me.

Continue reading "Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016"

Posted by skooter at 6:08 PM This entry is filed under Family, Travel. This entry is tagged: Family, Mom, Ontario, Ottawa, Parliament, Rose, TTC

March 18, 2016
Japan’s Disposable Workers

Japan's Disposable Workers: Net Cafe Refugees from MediaStorm on Vimeo.

As a society, it seems like the west has been looking to the east for a glimpse of our future for a long time now—most specifically, Japan. With a housing crisis in Vancouver and salaries falling below where they do in much of the rest of Canada, it may not be long before we see the same type of situation as this video describes. There’s already a significantly outsized working poor population characterized by shared accommodations and lives lived in single room occupany hotels that are meant for, really, short term accomodations.

The future doesn’t always seem so bright, does it?

Posted by skooter at 6:55 PM This entry is filed under Technology, Vancouver. This entry is tagged: Japan, Vancouver

February 13, 2016
Jeff Tweedy Plays Charades with Ewan McGregor


Not being super connected to pop culture means this kind of thing slips past me a lot, so thanks to a friend for sending this along: Jeff Tweedy plays a games of celebrity charades with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Posted by skooter at 4:56 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music. This entry is tagged: Ewan McGregor, Jeff Tweedy, Tonight Show, Wilco

February 8, 2016
Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)

Steph Cameron at the Railway Club Steph Cameron at the Railway Club Steph Cameron, whose Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady was one of the best new releases of 2015 (I said so somewhere over at No Depression, back when I could find things there) played a show at the Railway Club a few days ago. I’m a bit behind with getting an official review up, but suffice to say for now that it was excellent. In the meantime, here’s a few photos here to help prove that.

Continue reading "Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)"

Posted by skooter at 9:07 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Railway Club, Steph Cameron

February 5, 2016
Wilco at the CityFolk Festival, Ottawa (September 20, 2015)


The summer of 2015 was a pretty stressful one all around for me. I’d been working on a major project at work for, frankly, too long. I was covering off most of the roles on the project (I wrote code, planned code, planned requirements and project managed it) and that all added up to a big bundle of stress.

So I took off and went to see three Wilco shows just before my birthday: Bend and Portland, Oregon were the first two and then Redmond, Washington was the last. They were outdoor shows, and I really wanted to see the outdoor show instead of Vancouver’s indoor Orpheum gig.

But this is the one I really wanted to go to and I missed it. It happened less than 2km from my niece’s house in Ottawa, and it was just after my birthday (and her father’s for that matter.) I’d have given anything to get there but I had to finish that project, and they had plans that weekend anyway.

One day, I’ll take Rose to her first Wilco show. Someone has to get that girl’s taste in music aligned and there’s nobody better than me for that job.

Posted by skooter at 8:57 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Ottawa, Rose Ellen, Wilco

January 15, 2016
Rice Lake, North Vancouver

Rice Lake Rice Lake

Sometimes, a walk around a small lake is what you really need.

Posted by skooter at 8:19 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver. This entry is tagged: Canon EOS-M, North Vancouver

October 28, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens


I’ve actually resisted watching this before today, but I figured I might as well. A ticket has been ordered and, yes, my mother is coming out for vacation and I told her she’d have to plan around December 18th, 2015 when she came.

This one’s going to be good.

Posted by skooter at 11:53 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment. This entry is tagged: BB-8, Millenium Falcon, Star Wars

Running Away

Signposts at Signal HillIt’s been quiet here for a long time now, and that’s not been planned. The reality is that work got very busy trying to finish a project and consumed a significant amount of personal time and energy. Only time will tell if it was worth it: I launched the project finally and things are going well, but it’s still early days.

Regardless, I ran away—about as far as I could, as it turns out. I’m in St. John’s, Newfoundland some 5,031km from home, give or take a few. This is a place that I haven’t been for a very long time and I’ve never particularly spent time in St. John’s at all. I figured it was time to get out of Vancouver and spend time with friends in one of the oldest cities in North America. Half way through the trip it’s been endlessly relaxing and I’ve no regrets at all—even if it did snow last night. (It made the hike up to the perennially windy Signal Hill interesting.)

I’ll write more about St. John’s later, but for now suffice to say that life is returning to a more comfortable level and pace and things are good. I’ve barely even logged into Salesforce all week—though I couldn’t avoid it altogether.

Posted by skooter at 4:46 AM This entry is filed under Travel. This entry is tagged: Canada, Newfoundland, Signal Hill, St. John's

April 17, 2015
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015

Stanley Rohatinski My mother, her brother and sister grew up with Stan Rohatinski in her life from a very early age. Stan and Mary were living next door to my grandparents at CFB Trenton and, as often happens, the two families sort of blended into one. When my grandfather would be away, Stan and Mary were always there helping take care of the kids. Stan’s kids talk about my grandfather in the same way.

Edmonton was their home, but they moved to Abbotsford which is where Stan ultimately retired from the Air Force. Mom and I always made it out there to visit when she was here. They moved to Kelowna last year, and we got news in the middle of March that Stan wasn’t well. He was moved to palliative and passed away at the age of 90 on March 17th.

Ninety years is a pretty good run, Stan, and you had an impact on a lot of lives. Rest in peace.

ROHATINSKI, Stanley

On March 17, 2015, Mr. Stanley Rohatinski of Kelowna, BC passed away at the age of 90 years.
Stanley is survived by his loving wife, Mary and his family. Divine Liturgy Thursday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, Star- Peno, AB. Basilian Fathers officiating with interment in Church Cemetery.
See more

Posted by skooter at 6:43 AM This entry is filed under Friends. This entry is tagged: Stanley Rohatinski

Chewie…we’re home!


From that sand swept crashed star destroyer to those words uttered by Han Solo, this is just so good. This is going to be a good Christmas.

Posted by skooter at 6:34 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment. This entry is tagged: Han Solo, J.J. Abrams, Star Wars

April 5, 2015
Patagonia - Worn Wear


I buy a lot of Patagonia gear and I take a bit of flack for it. The stuff’s not cheap,and the Patagucci moniker stings a bit.

The thing is the stuff is well made, and the company stands behind the product. I had a cycling jacket that I wore for at least 15 years and when the fabric started to delaminate I bundled it up into a tiny box and mailed it back, expecting…nothing, maybe? I figured it was worth a shot at the lifetime warranty.

Sure enough, three weeks later a new jacket showed up. No cost.

So I buy a lot of Patagonia products, because Patagonia products really are products for life and the company doesn’t just talk its values it stands behind its values. That’s important.

Posted by skooter at 7:55 PM This entry is filed under Marketing. This entry is tagged: Patagonia

March 31, 2015
Daniel Lanois - Burning Spear

Posted by skooter at 10:16 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Daniel Lanois, Videos

March 25, 2015
I’m Not Some Kind of Nerdery Slut. I like Star Wars.


This is, to be quite frank, better than anything George Lucas has put out in the last 20 years.

Posted by skooter at 11:38 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment. This entry is tagged: Animation, Star Wars

March 19, 2015
Via Rail’s Online Advertising

Via Rail's Online Advertising Fail The Globe & Mail’s home page has been overrun with advertising from Via Rail lately. Two people have been on trial for a plan to bomb a Via Rail train. When those two meet, the only word that comes to mind is Oops.

Posted by skooter at 6:04 AM This entry is filed under Technology. This entry is tagged: Online Advertising, Via Rail

March 18, 2015
Courtney Barnett - Depreston


Everybody loves Courtney Barnett right now, praising her deadpan lyrics and straightforward style. I’m not so sure but I do know one thing: Depreston is the most hipster song I’ve ever heard. From the theme of how depressing it is to live in the suburbs to the 23 dollars a week saved on latte’s, I think we’ve hit some kind of peak here.

I heard this on a drive down to Seattle for the first time as I was pulling into town. Maybe she’ll grow on me.

Posted by skooter at 8:34 PM This entry is filed under Music. This entry is tagged: Courtney Barnett, Depreston

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