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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
My true love drowned in a dirty old pan / Of oil that did run from the block / Of a falcon sedan 1969 / The paper said '75
— Neko Case, Star Witness
January 28, 2006

Penguins Singing

Once a male emperor penguin has completed mating, he remains by
the female’s side for the next month to determine if the act has been
successful. When he sees a single greenish-white egg emerge from
his mate’s egg pouch, he begins to sing. Scientists have characterized
his song as “ecstatic”.
- Harpers Magazine, January 2004

Posted by skooter at 6:15 PM This entry is filed under Penguins.
Tags: Penguins

Allan Rock for Liberal Leader?

Two words: gun registry.

He built it, and it spiraled out of control in the most unimaginable way possible.

Two more: legalizing marijuana.

Remember the experiment with “growing pot in a mine in Flin Flon”, in order to create a legalized crop?

Rock was responsible for the begining of both of these massively bungled programs. Don’t get me wrong: conceptually, I agree with both of them.

None of this matters: Rock is a guy with good ideas, and poor fiscal capabilities.

My money’s on Brian Tobin who has followed the Chretien pattern. Resign while on top, enter private life, make millions, re-enter public life.

Besides, those Captain Canada images are going to play as well today as they did a few years ago.

Posted by skooter at 5:36 PM This entry is filed under Politics.

January 26, 2006

Hudson’s Bay Company

Reaction to the news that the Hudson’s Bay Company has been purchased by an American business has been…interesting. What it hasn’t been is varied.

This from a self proclaimed political pundit:

This is just sickening. It is a Canadian tragedy of epic proportions.

Is a fairly extreme example, but only in its language.

Continue reading "Hudson’s Bay Company"

Posted by skooter at 8:18 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

Tiny Babies

I saw, for the first time last night, little Paige Wallace. Home from the hospital finally at the mellow old age of 5 days, I headed upstairs to visit.

Five day old babies are so small it’s almost unbelievable. A little bundle of peace and love in a basket at the moment.

My how they do grow up though.

Posted by skooter at 2:37 PM This entry is filed under Family.

January 24, 2006

Barenaked Ladies

Activity logs are a wonderful thing. You can, really, see just about everything that happens on a web site.

If, for example, the same person returns day after day and enters the same search with their caps lock key on, it shows.

Recently, someone searched this place for Ed Robertson which just seems odd, given that there are much better sources of information about him.

Continue reading "Barenaked Ladies"

Posted by skooter at 10:06 PM This entry is filed under Music, Technology.

Pixar: R.I.P.?

Disney has purchased Pixar. Steve Jobs is now the single largest Disney shareholder.

Is this the end of an animation legend?

Continue reading "Pixar: R.I.P.?"

Posted by skooter at 7:52 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.

Quadra down, election over.

Results are in, with a very slim Stephen Harper minority government going to Ottawa. Losing seats in BC is reason for concern. Serious reason for concern — especially when seats in the Valley go Liberal. That’s Conservative territory.

Vancouver Quadra went Liberal once again, to my personal disappointment. Navel gazing has already begun — it will continue for some time.

Our solution? We’re going to the motorcycle show in Abbotsford this weekend. Time to look around. Add to this a new baby coming home today and it seems like there’s probably better things to do than go to Ottawa anyway — it’s -1 there, and 10 here. I know where I’d rather be.

I think.

Posted by skooter at 7:53 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006

January 21, 2006

Welcome to the World

Official campaign announcement of the birth of Paige Wallace Rogers, 8 lbs. 3 oz.

Paige joins a large, loving and overjoyed family with a very tired mother. Pictures soon.

Posted by skooter at 5:18 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends.

January 20, 2006

Harper’s Diminishing Lead

That this headline:

Harper’s lead takes a hit
With Tory Leader straying from script, poll shows support for his party waning

Should appear in the Globe and Mail should come as no surprise. A move to the Conservative Party of Canada is a big one, and Canadians are bound to be a little wary.

It does not matter: the lead will not close enough to create a Martin minority government, unless Mr. Martin inks a formal coalition with the NDP, something that has become virtually impossible given the sniping back and forth between the parties.

Il est un fait accompli: Mr. Harper is our next Prime Minister.

I still don’t know about Vancouver Quadra though.

Posted by skooter at 8:17 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Stephen Harper

January 19, 2006

Pierre Pettigrew: Down for the Count

The story out of Montreal is that Pierre Pettigrew is down with certainty.

Yet another Liberal who I had pegged as a possible leadership candidate.

Interesting question of the day: Harper will be the first Prime Minister since Diefenbaker to come from the West — sorry Joe Clark, but you just don’t count — what impact will this have on our nation’s vision of itself (particularly if he is elected for a second term.)

Posted by skooter at 9:12 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Liberal

January 18, 2006

Paul Martin’s Public Image

Paul Martin’s voice is haggard, and rough. He’s unable to speak clearly anymore — sounding, instead, like he’s shouting into the microphone. The man is tired, and needs to be put out of his misery.

Keith Martin (no relation) on the other hand sounds like a desperate man. You’ll recall that Keith — the member for Esquimault-Juan de Fuca — was first elected as a Reformer. Like many others, he then supported the merger of the Progressive Conservative and Reform Party. Before the first election campaign run by the new Conservative Party Martin turned into a Liberal.

According to Martin, a leopard can’t change its spots and “if you scratch the surface of the party” it’s still the same old party.

What about the Liberals?

Continue reading "Paul Martin’s Public Image"

Posted by skooter at 7:04 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper

January 17, 2006

The Daily Show is Making Fun of you, Mr. Martin

Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Colbert Report are making fun of Paul Martin for bringing negative advertising and fear mongering to Canadian politics.

Yet another bad omen? Tonight’s Rick Mercer Report was pretty scathing too.

It’s much better to be laughing with the comedians — Chretien was very good at this — than it is to have them laughing at you.

Posted by skooter at 11:42 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin

Advance Voting

Conventional wisdom holds that heavy (relatively speaking) turnout at advance polls means a change in government — a rush for people who want change to get out and vote for it.

If this holds true, the current numbers do not bode well for the Liberals. Country wide - at a time of year when people are supposed to be less interested - 300,000 more people voted in advance compared to last year.

For what it’s worth, David Emerson appears to have given up and just thrown in the towel in Vancouver Kingsway. With it looking like an Ian Waddel riding anyway, why not? Who wants to go from senior minister to opposition in only eighteen months? He doesn’t have the temperment.

Posted by skooter at 11:36 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: David Emerson, Federal Election 2006

January 16, 2006

The E-Campaign

The NDP is winning the e-campaign.

Posted by skooter at 9:54 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Technology.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, NDP

Martin Luther King Day

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States, our neighbour to the south. A day when it’s important to remember that systemic racism is not long past, but a recent memory. A day to remember an American who felt things should change, and took it upon himself to change them through peaceful non-violent means. A day to remember an American who led millions of Americans, and showed the world that a society that preached freedom, integration and tolerance practiced anything but.

A day to remember a life lost in pursuit of a noble cause, killed in anger and hatred.

A day for pause.

Posted by skooter at 9:41 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

27 Days.

Well, mother nature pulled a fast one on us this weekend.

After enduring 27 days of rain in a row, Sunday was to be the big one; the record setting 28th.

I woke up in the morning to a glorious sun filled sky, with not a drop of rain to be seen. A trip to North Vancouver was in order, for my first Honey’s doughnut in over 6 months. Yum.

Lynn Canyon was next; that bridge is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and a little part of me is there. A great day to walk the trails out the back.

At this point I’m worried: still no rain. Nonetheless back to home for some aimless wandering around Kerrisdale and small item shopping until nightfall, at which point I settled into reading, cleaning up my small place and watching a bit of TV.

And then it happened.

2200hrs came, with less than 0.2mm of precipitation having fallen.

This means the current record stands, and Vancouver returns to normal…waiting for rain.

In one of those cruel twists of fate that nature often deals, it is — of course — pouring rain today.

Posted by skooter at 8:16 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

January 15, 2006

Crazy Liberal Attack Ads

These crazy Liberal attack ads are playing in extremely high rotation. It’s weird.

What’s most shocking, is that they’re just such horrible ads.

Continue reading "Crazy Liberal Attack Ads"

Posted by skooter at 6:38 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper

January 13, 2006

LaSalle-Emard

LaSalle-Emard is the Montreal area riding that Paul Marin calls home.

Ok — not really, but it’s the one he represents in Ottawa anyway.

LaSalle-Emard is in play.

Posted by skooter at 11:10 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Paul Martin

Fixed Election Dates? Ugh.

Fixed election dates are a very bad idea, my friend. They are, essentially, impossible in a parliamentary democracy as well.

As for Mr. Martin’s response to the platform? Lukewarm and tragic really.

Posted by skooter at 11:04 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Paul Martin

King Kong (2006)

The New York Times offers a well worded criticism of King Kong (2006) in an article about Terence Mallick’s The New World

These are signs of a director so enamored with his own clever accomplishments that he sacrifices the pacing of the film. Snipping a few seconds here and there would have made it a little shorter and much sleeker.

In particular, the dinosaur chase scene ran far too long. The fight between Kong and the Tyranosaurs Rex could have been shorter. The scene with the bugs was very creepy, but should have been shorter.

I still say it’s an eight dollar movie, not an eleven dollar one.

Posted by skooter at 11:08 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Movies

January 12, 2006

Heard, in passing.

“It’s a look that screams ‘You Democratic jack-offs are no match for Zanex and Talbots!’”
- The Daily Show’s Ed Helms, on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s wife

Posted by skooter at 11:09 PM This entry is filed under Politics.

Nikon Says Goodbye to Film

According to Wired Magazine Nikon is moving heavily out of the film business.

An excerpt:

Nikon’s Focus Turns to Digital

Nikon, the Japanese camera and precision equipment maker, said Thursday it will focus on digital photography and stop producing most of its film cameras, except for a few professional photographer products.

“Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories,” it said in a statement on its British website.

The company expects stock of analog products to sell out in retail distribution in the summer of 2006.

My concerns?

Continue reading "Nikon Says Goodbye to Film"

Posted by skooter at 10:08 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Technology.

January 11, 2006

I Am Canadian

Last night, while walking home from the bank — one of Canada’s big five — I realized something.

Getting screwed by one of the major banks on services charges is a fundamental right of all Canadians.

It feels pretty good to be paying that money every month again, with no interest in return. Sort of.

Posted by skooter at 12:20 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

January 10, 2006

Paul Martin’s Hail Mary

It’s been much written by now — over twelve hours later — that Paul Martin threw a hail mary in last night’s debate by promising to amend the charter.

What a stupid, stupid thing to do for one major reason: Quebec.

Yes, Quebec retains its role as the perennial excuse in Canadian politics.

Continue reading "Paul Martin’s Hail Mary"

Posted by skooter at 6:23 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Paul Martin

January 9, 2006

Weather

People in Vancouver talk about the weather a lot.

Of course, so do people every where. It’s a myth that we’re the only ones who do.

Today marks the twenty-second consecutive day of rain in Vancouver, and a heavy rainfall warning has been added for good measure. A couple of weeks ago a huge sinkhole opened up on a downtown street caused, in part, by — you guessed it — too much rain. (A dysfunctional civic government with poorly managed budgets for the last 3 years probably didn’t help either.)

It’s with this in mind that I have this to say: enough! We get it. Whatever we’re being punished for (it’s not our fault we live in one of the world’s most beautiful places) twenty-two days of straight rain (with a minimum of four more expected) is just not appropriate.

I’m going to start building an ark soon.

Posted by skooter at 9:28 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Rain, Tim Hortons

January 8, 2006

Santa Barbara Market

Santa Barbara Market I have only just discovered that my cell phone camera has a very slick little panorama feature.

This is grocery shopping, at the best little market in Vancouver — not as much of a secret as it used to be.

Posted by skooter at 3:04 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

Political Product Placement

From the Toronto Star. I swear I had nothing to do with it. Absolutely nothing.

See the rear left of the photo.

Posted by skooter at 2:52 PM This entry is filed under Penguins, Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Penguins, Stephen Harper

January 6, 2006

About Photography

“As time passes by and you look at portraits, the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit. Photography has something to do with death. It’s a trace.”
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

Posted by skooter at 11:43 AM This entry is filed under Camera.

Patronage? Only the Liberals? Nah.

Now I’m no fan of the current Liberal Party of Canada and the way Paul Martin hands out rewards like a pusher hands out crack cocaine, but are things going to be different under the Tories?

Not according to the Toronto Star

Continue reading "Patronage? Only the Liberals? Nah."

Posted by skooter at 6:16 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Stephen Harper

January 5, 2006

Maya

Maya Welcome to the world, little one. You have no idea how lucky you are to have the parents that you do.

(Note to careful observers of my life: this is not the new addition to the home I live in; this is a new citizen of the Province of Toronto.)

Posted by skooter at 9:36 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends.

Anthony Von Mandl?

You know, I’m watching CBC news right now and there’s a huge puff piece about Anthony Von Mandl, the proprietor of Mission Hill wines.

Everytime I read a local piece about this guy, I’m appaled by the lack of reference to the real founder of Canada’s fine wine trade: Donald Ziraldo. Ziraldo and his partner Karl Kaiser were producing quality wine in Ontario in 1975, six years before Von Mandl started.

I don’t mean to diminish the man’s achievements: he’s become the leader of the BC Industry, without a doubt. The provincialism that ignores that which went before bugs me a bit though.

Continue reading "Anthony Von Mandl?"

Posted by skooter at 6:35 PM | Comments This entry is filed under Vancouver.

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon’s health woes have brought back painful memories of my failed bid for the Palestinian Leadership in this last year; I thought I had put this past me, but the memories have come flooding back.

Whether you agreed with him or not, one cannot dispute the influcence that Mr. Sharon has had on this troubled region. An uncertain future looms ahead; a troubled past behind.

Posted by skooter at 11:27 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Middle East, Obituaries, PLO

Coffee: World’s (2nd) Most Valuable Commodity

Many people don’t know, but coffee is apparently second only to Oil on the world market. It’s amongst the world’s most valuable commodities.

This, then, should come as no surprise.

Espresso Huts Are Target, and Barista Tips Police
By L. D. KIRSHENBAUM
Published: January 5, 2006

SEATTLE, Jan. 4 — The culprits were not after cappuccino, but baristas figured prominently in their robbery spree across the Seattle area - and in their apparent undoing.

Continue reading "Coffee: World’s (2nd) Most Valuable Commodity"

Posted by skooter at 11:11 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: America, Coffee

January 2, 2006

Hedging my Bets

This, from today’s Toronto Star, is a good thing:

Poll finds little Tory fear factor
Jan. 2, 2006. 10:58 PM
JOAN BRYDEN, CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA Fear of a Conservative government is no longer a potent argument for re-electing the Liberals, a new poll suggests.

if it means that Canadians are taking a serious look at all the alternatives to the Liberal Party, rather than simply voting by default.

But what about those Conservative ads?

Continue reading "Hedging my Bets"

Posted by skooter at 9:17 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006, Stephen Harper

January 1, 2006

Happy 2006

It’s 2006, and I rang the year in quietly with a few friends over on Bowen Island with a great dinner prepared in a Moroccan Tajine by the lovely Marie.

Don’t let the understated way that I rang this year in fool you: whether you’re aware of it or not, 2006 is The Year of Skot. As the aforementioned Marie said, it’s been other people’s turns for quite a while — now it’s mine.

This year’s going to rock - here’s just a small list of things that need to be done — presented not as resolutions (which can be broken too easily) but rather as commitments, goals and things that will happen.

So, in 2006 there’s: a baby to be born (not mine, but one I’ll be close too); an election to be won (though chances are long); a job to learn at and grow in; a motorcycle to be purchased; words to be written; a trip to Toronto to make (hopefully including a tent, a canoe, and the kind of solitude that Northern Ontario’s lakes can provide); a momentous birthday to celebrate; fitness to be regained; meals to be cooked; much learning to be done.

Onwards and upwards, I say.

Welcome to The Year of Skot. You’re welcome to play too.

Posted by skooter at 7:45 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Bowen Island, Resolutions