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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
All the lonely houses stand like monuments / To thieves
— Neko Case, Tightly
September 29, 2006

Gotta Like Yvon

Patagonia Over the past while, I’ve crossed a lot of borders — more accurately, I’ve crossed one border many times. Sometimes for work, other times for short trips and others for longer trips. Every time is a bit different.

When I crossed on my way to California I was warmly greeted by a lady who was warm and effusives commented that it was almost my birthday. When I crossed to go to the Mt. Baker Hillclimb two older gentlemen joked with us while applications for a travel document were completed (“No sir, I have never been affiliated with the Nazi party” is an answer that most, although I suppose not all, can give in honesty.)

When I crossed today, the border guard was in a pretty cranky mood.

Continue reading "Gotta Like Yvon"

Posted by skooter at 9:25 PM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Homeland Security, Patagonia

September 27, 2006

The Political Process

The funny thing about the current situation with Storyeum in Vancouver (an excerpt from the article is below) is that the city is now saying the business is “not viable.”

Vancouver seeks to shut down Gastown tourist attraction
Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006
(CBC) — The City of Vancouver revealed in court Tuesday it wants a downtown tourist attraction that owes taxpayers $5 million shut down.

The owners of Storyeum, an entertainment complex located five storeys beneath the cobbled streets of Gastown, are in B.C. Supreme Court asking for an extension of protection from their creditors.

The company was granted a brief period of protection last month and Storyeum’s owners want to extend that to Oct. 28.

Storyeum owes the city nearly $5 million in back rent, loans and construction costs, in addition to $1 million the city says it has already written off.

When it opened, Storyeum boasted that it was a unique experience - a combination of live theatre and a museum where history came to life.

But a lawyer for the City of Vancouver said that Storyeum isn’t a viable business.

Of course, four years ago when the city was evicting long standing tenants from the Gastown neighbourhood to fast track the construction of Storyeum they seemed to consider it a viable business. The NPA bent over backwards to get this thing opened.

This is why politicians should stay out of business decisions.

Posted by skooter at 8:51 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: City Council, NPA, Vancouver

September 22, 2006

New Wheels

2006 Kona Sutra

New wheels. Next year, finally time to ride the Kettle Valley Rail Trail to Midway.

Posted by skooter at 7:45 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Travel.
Tags: Bikes, Touring, Travel

September 21, 2006

First Amendment

“There are some people who say you shouldn’t mix politics and music, sports and politics. Well… I think that’s kinda bullshit!”
Adam Clayon, Rattle and Hum

Music and politics have been inexorably intertwined for centuries — from Shostakovich to Bob Dylan to Live Aid the link has been undeniable.

Religion and politics have been linked for even longer, with the notion of a separation of church and state being a relatively recent invention (and not an exclusively American one either.) It’s a powerful ideal, and most modern democracies subscribe to it on some level.

These comments, reported in last weekend’s National Post are even more appaling as a result.

Bush says he sees evidence of Third Awakening
Sheldon Alberts, National Post, Saturday September 16, 2006

George W. Bush, the U.S. President, said yesterday he believes the United States may be experiencing a Third Great Awakening of religious fervour

“It seems like to me something is happening in the religious life of America,” Mr. Bush Said.

“I’m able to see a lot of people, and from my perspective, people are coming to say, ‘I’m praying for you.’ And it’s an uplifting part of being the President. It inspires me.”

There’s nothing wrong with a president subscribing and celbrating his personal religious beliefs, but he shouldn’t be trying to convert others to them.

Posted by skooter at 7:13 PM This entry is filed under Music, Politics.
Tags: Music, Politics, Religion, U2

September 19, 2006

California Photos

Welcome to California Photos from California are now up, and I’m begining to craft the tale of the trip. If you follow the photos in the following order, you’ll be roughly following the trip as it went.

Highway 395 was the begining of my trip, running along the eastern edge of the state and down through desert country.

Yosemite National Park is accessed through Tioga Pass by turning off of Highway 395 at Lee Vining. Lee Vining and Yosemite were the first missions of my trip.

San Francisco, that famous city by the bay, was my next mission and I visited it on my 35th birthday and got to see an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. The highlight of my trip.

Napa Valley and it’s world famous wines drew me in for a short mission prior to hitting the California Coast and that most famous of twisty roads — U.S. 1.

Heading north towards Canada led me to the Redwood Forest and finally back to Oregon and the familar geography of what we think of as the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by skooter at 8:56 PM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Motorcycle, Road Signs, Road Trip

The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West

Some will say that this is the best thing Chrysler’s done in years just as Ford’s earlier move to slash production by 20% was.

Seeing Huge Losses, Chrysler Slashes Production
By MICHELINE MAYNARD
Published: September 19, 2006

DETROIT, Sept. 19 — Dogged by slumping sales of sport utility vehicles, the Chrysler Group said today that it would cut production by 16 percent the rest of this year, and it confirmed that it expected to lose $1.26 billion on operations in 2006.

I would argue that if your company — once a pillar of the economic life of a continent — has gotten to the point where slashing production by 16 to 20% is the best thing you can do your company has made far too many serious mistakes, and is resting on the precipice.

There may always be an American auto industry, but it’s not likely to be owned by Americans for much more than another decade or so.

Here’s the real question of the moment: how long can Toyota avoid being the number one seller in the United States?

Posted by skooter at 2:44 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Business, Cars

Napster on the Block

Napster is up for sale again

Napster, the subscription music-download service, is looking for a buyer. The company, which got its start as a free music-download, file-sharing site, said Monday that it had hired UBS to find a major strategic partner or to be acquired completely.

The possible sale is the latest sign of the pressure facing music-download sites, many of which are forming alliances with makers of music-playing consumer electronics devices.

Does this mean that investors are starting to make sense?

Continue reading "Napster on the Block"

Posted by skooter at 9:32 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Downloads, File sharing, Music, P2P

September 18, 2006

Election Day in New Brunswick

And thus Bernard Lord is free to succeed Stephen Harper

Posted by skooter at 7:22 PM This entry is filed under Politics.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Title Card Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip premiered last night in Canada. Thanks to CTV, we get a 24 hour jump on the U.S. This is the new series from Aaron Sorkin — the man who’s brought the only two truly excellent TV series to the screen in recent memory (Sports Night and The West Wing.)

It’s a pithy show full of well written, witty dialog — Sorkin writes excellent dialogue, which I attribute to his past work in theatre. The first episode goes through the standard need to introduce a bunch of characters and back story, but was generally good.

My personal favourite line of the show was this:

MATT: So we make some budget cuts, we shoot in Vancouver.

DANNY: No, we’re not shooting in Vancouver. I’m drawing the line on the insanity. Vancouver doesn’t look like anything, it doesn’t even look like Vancouver. It looks like Boston, California

This is possibly the best, most accurate description of Vancouver I’ve heard in a very long time.

Posted by skooter at 6:20 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Vancouver.
Tags: Aaron Sorkin, Television, Vancouver

The Ethicist

A while ago, faced with a moral dilemma as it relates to work, I submitted my thoughts to The Ethicist at the New York Times

Today, I got this response:

I’d like to take up your interesting question in the ethics column. Is there a daytime phone number where a Times fact checker and I can reach you?
RC

It looks like I’ll be getting an answer.

Posted by skooter at 7:17 AM This entry is filed under Narcicism.
Tags: Articles, Work

September 16, 2006

Carolyn Bennett & Bob Rae

Carolyn Bennett has dropped out of the 2006 Liberal leadership race and thrown her support behind Bob Rae.

I’ve said before that there is very simple math to be done here: if the Liberals select Bob Rae as their leader, Ontario will vote Conservative and the next government will be a conservative majority. There is no doubt.

On a related note, Don Bell the Member of Parliament for North Vancouver has officially endorsed Ken Dryden This will, I suspect, have no impact on anyone outside of Bell’s executive.

Ignatieff is the next Liberal leader. The question is whether he can return the party to power or not — that one’s harder to answer.

Posted by skooter at 9:56 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Liberal Leadership 2006

The Greatest Story Ever Sold

A good review at the New York Times of a book by Frank Rich called The Greatest Story Ever Sold

The central thesis of the book is that politics is more like the theatre every day. This should be obvious to anybody who’s paid close attention to modern political campaigns in North America — the Bush campaign isn’t so much ‘scripted’ as it is pre-recorded.

There’s much more than this wrong though.

Continue reading "The Greatest Story Ever Sold"

Posted by skooter at 8:19 AM This entry is filed under Books, Politics.
Tags: George Bush, Reviews

September 14, 2006

Goldmine — Worst Contact Manager Ever

I have a curse in my life, and that curse is named Goldmine. The dialog box pictured below is a good example why.
Goldmine merge record

Continue reading "Goldmine — Worst Contact Manager Ever"

Posted by skooter at 8:44 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Databases, Usability

Zune

Microsoft is finally announcing the long anticipated Zune media player

Zune marks the latest in a long line of iPod killers. I’m reminded of a funny story for a year ago or so on Wired about how popular iPods were on Microsoft’s campus, and the brass’ attempts to squelch it.

Continue reading "Zune"

Posted by skooter at 11:13 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, Microsoft, Music

September 13, 2006

Three Year old girls make the world go around

Today I woke up to what some — not I — would cynically call an atypical Vancouver day. it was sunny and clear with not a drop of rain in the sky, although it was in the forecast.

As I gathered myself up for work and headed out to grab my bike from the garage my favourite three year old was staring through the window. I grabbed the bike, waved, got ready to saddle up and the door opened and out came Georgia and her father.

“Why are you riding your bike?” she asked.

“Because I’m going to work, Georgia” I explained. “I usually ride my bike.”

She came down the stairs while we chatted for a moment and then she waved and headed back up. I started for the gate as she got to the top of the stairs. She paused for a moment and turned around.

“Wait! Wait!” her little voice was full of urgency. “I have to give you a hug!” She did.

So that’s how my day started, and I can’t imagine a better way to do it.

At about 11:00 Pacific Time, news came through cyberspace that a gunman had entered a college in Montreal and killed two people, and injured more. By day’s end exact numbers still hadn’t been confirmed but it appears that 1 woman is dead, 19 are injured and the gunman was killed by police.

Sometimes the world just makes me shake my head.

Posted by skooter at 5:43 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends, Politics.
Tags: Canada, Georgia, Guns, Montreal, Politics

September 8, 2006

California, in Black and White

Tree, Pothole Dome Working, Yosemite National Park The Virago has entered the Forest

Posted by skooter at 6:13 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Travel.

Why Smart People do Dumb Things

The always interesting Guy Kawasaki writes a good article and (sort of) review of the book Why Smart People do Dumb Things and explains the importance of backing up your hard drive.

Which I, incidentally, have not been doing lately. In part I’m holding onto every last penny for a new computer, at which point a new backup drive will be required. This is a lame excuse.

Posted by skooter at 9:37 AM This entry is filed under Technology.

September 6, 2006

California, in Colour

Back from California, the colour slides come first. Many many more later. Odometer on the Virago reads 62,930.5 kilometres, for a total trip distance of 4,598.4 kilometres (or, if you prefer, 2,857.3 miles.)

Sunset at Westport campgroud, August 31, 2006 Seagull on the beach Julian and his Truck at the 395 junction Wine, coast, and a gear box

Posted by skooter at 7:39 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Travel.