for more information contact skot@penguinstorm.com

current
On Trump
Bob Dylan - Wisdom is Thrown Into Jail
Bob Dylan: Tempest
Adam West voices the Dark Knight
Apple's Calendar Inconsistency
Is Pono Dead?
Inbox Zero is Old News: Welcome to Inbox Negative One
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Effects Reel
Evolution of Stop Motion Photography
7 Story Cycling Centric Apartments


recent
What Happened to Jai Alai?
Greatest Text Conversation Ever
Quarry Rock in the Rain
Careless Reckless Love
Electricity, Heights and Women
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)
Rice Lake, North Vancouver
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Running Away
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015
Chewie...we're home!


archives
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
April 2015
March 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
July 2003
June 2003
January 2003
November 2002
October 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
May 2001
April 2001
January 2001
October 1999


categories
America
Books
Camera
Canada
Cycling
Design
Entertainment
Family
Food
Friends
Inanities
Marketing
Music
Narcicism
Nature
Penguins
Politics
Quebec
Science
Sports
Technology
Travel
Tweets
Vancouver
Words


randomness
your blue hood
Thin Systems
Listen to the Bell, Mr. Premier...It Tolls for Thee
Gordon Campbell Won't Run Again?
Bike Maintenance Lessons: Disc Brake Pads
Cycling is Mainstream Transportation
Brave New World: The Musical
Perennial Also Ran?
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
Dan Mangan - Forgetery

I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
If this were the last night of the world/ What would I do? / What would I do that was different / Unless it was champagne with you
— Bruce Cockburn, Last Night of the World
December 31, 2006

Baby Kuxdorf (and Highlight of my Trip)

The highlight of my trip: Isabel has her baby eight days ahead of schedule. I’m not sure if I’m going to have a chance to see her and the little guy before I leave, but I’m going to try.

Yesterday, December 30th at 6:16pm isy had a little boy, (currently still nameless) 7 pounds 13 ounces, 3.560kg. Isabel and baby are both perfect. Marco made it over from italy and arrived just after the birth.

Posted by skooter at 12:45 PM This entry is filed under Friends.
Tags: Babies, Trimark

i-CY

I have pretty good resistance to overwhelming my house with penguin things, and yet I believe I will want one of these when they are finally released in March.

Posted by skooter at 5:25 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Penguins, Toys

December 26, 2006

Cruising the 401

When the guy in front of you orders a Triple Triple you know you’re not at Starbucks. This is Tim Horton’s country, my friends.

If this is Horton’s country, it must be Ontario and three milks and three sugars in your coffee is perfectly fine. A bit unusual, but fine.

Continue reading "Cruising the 401"

Posted by skooter at 8:01 PM This entry is filed under Family, Travel.
Tags: Coffee, Grandma, Tim Hortons

Fred Bass for Mayor

According to the Georgia Straight

Former Vancouver city councillor Fred Bass says he wants to become the next mayor of Vancouver. In an exclusive interview with the Georgia Straight in a West Side coffee shop, Bass, a physician, revealed his intention to seek the 2008 mayoral endorsement of the Coalition of Progressive Electors and the Vancouver Greens. Bass, a keen environmentalist, ran as a Green candidate for city council in 1996, and was elected in 1999 and 2002 under the COPE banner. In 2005, he came 12th in the race for 10 council seats

Fred Bass would make a better mayoral candidate than Jim Green was.

Continue reading "Fred Bass for Mayor"

Posted by skooter at 5:12 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: City Hall, COPE, NPA, Vision Vancouver

December 25, 2006

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul

James Brown is dead, and I’m no longer certain what I’ll listen to while riding across the United States. Living in America is a pretty classic road trip tune.

My favourite quote from the New York Times article about his death comes from Chuck D. of Public Enemy

”James presented obviously the best grooves,” rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy once told The Associated Press. ”To this day, there has been no one near as funky. No one’s coming even close.”

No one near as funky indeed, and few as inventive.

Posted by skooter at 6:35 AM This entry is filed under Music, Travel.
Tags: Obituaries, Soul

December 23, 2006

Grandma Lobb, December 23, 2006

Grandma Lobb

Posted by skooter at 10:51 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Family.
Tags: Bubar, Grandma

December 22, 2006

Inflatable Christmas Decorations

The New York Times has an excellent article on Those Inflatable Santas

It’s not so much the article’s topic that makes it great, as the words used.

Those Inflatable Santas: Eyepoppers to Eyesores

By PAUL VITELLO
Published: December 22, 2006

HOLTSVILLE, N.Y., Dec. 19 — On a recent quiet afternoon, with few witnesses around, Homer Simpson, Santa Claus and a penguin perched on an igloo suddenly appeared here on the Long Island landscape as if from nowhere, unfolding slowly like Frankenstein monsters lurching to life on the table. As Homer’s extremities reached full size, his pink nylon fist puffed into Mr. Snow Man’s face — an involuntary attack, to be sure. Bop.

It’s that last sentence…that single word Bop that completes the article’s first paragraph so wonderfully. Without it, the paragraph would be flat and dull and technical in nature.

Both the author and the editor who left that in deserve a tremendous amount of credit for doing so.

Posted by skooter at 4:56 AM This entry is filed under Words.
Tags: Articles, Christmas, Penguins

December 21, 2006

Coming Home, Via Toronto

There’s a great song by Wilco called Via Chicago that’s rolling through my head now, and has been lately.

I painted my name on the back of a leaf
And I watched it float away
The hope I had in a notebook full of white, dry pages
Was all I tried to save
But the wind blew me back via Chicago

I know I’ll make it back
One of these days and turn on your TV
To watch a man with a face like mine
Being chased down a busy street
When he gets caught, I wont get up
And I wont go to sleep
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Via Chicago

For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been searching for a home, but not anymore.

Vancouver is home, but this Christmas I’m getting there via Toronto.

Continue reading "Coming Home, Via Toronto"

Posted by skooter at 4:18 AM This entry is filed under Family, Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Benjamin, Elizabeth, Georgia, Paige, Toronto, Wilco

December 20, 2006

Flying to Alaska

Alaska Airlines

More pictures from Alaska — my film, instead of the digital. I will post more soon in the galleries.

Continue reading "Flying to Alaska"

Posted by skooter at 7:25 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Planes

December 18, 2006

Licence Plate

Alberta licence plate ENF 155

This is the licence plate of the uninsured Alberta driver who decided it was OK to cross 6 lanes of traffic on Cambie Street at full speed, without checking to see if lanes were empty.

Beacause I was unable to stop, the front of my Volvo doesn’t look quite the way it used too and I have no car for the next little while, in addition to the pleasure of dealing with ICBC.

Posted by skooter at 9:45 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Cars, Volvo

Best Headline Ever

My favourite news story in quite some time:

Please Let It Be Whale Vomit, Not Just Sea Junk
By COREY KILGANNON
Published: December 18, 2006

MONTAUK, N.Y. — In this season of strange presents from relatives, Dorothy Ferreira got a doozy the other day from her 82-year-old sister in Waterloo, Iowa. It was ugly. It weighed four pounds. There was no receipt in the box.

Inside she found what looked like a gnarled, funky candle but could actually be a huge hunk of petrified whale vomit worth as much as $18,000.

Ambergris begins as a waxlike substance secreted in the intestines of some sperm whales, perhaps to protect the whale from the hard, indigestible “beaks” of giant squid it feeds upon. The whales expel the blobs, dark and foul-smelling, to float the ocean. After much seasoning by waves, wind, salt and sun, they may wash up as solid, fragrant chunks.

Posted by skooter at 8:48 AM This entry is filed under Inanities.
Tags: Articles, Whales

December 17, 2006

Film Speed Rating Conversions

After having an old Weston light meter donated to my photographic equipment, I needed to be able to be able to convert ASA information to Weston numbers. It would appear that this is less and less of a necessity, and there aren’t very many resources left to do so.

I posted this table a while ago, and it seems to be a fairly popular destination for wayward Googler’s, so I’m moving it to a new (and better) location.

Continue reading "Film Speed Rating Conversions"

Posted by skooter at 8:02 AM This entry is filed under Camera.
Tags: ASA, Film, GOST, Scheiner, Weston

December 14, 2006

PowerBook Brain Transplant

My PowerBook G4 is now almost three years old — it dates from March of 2003. Time for a brain transplant.

Some 30 screws needed to be removed, the keyboard and the trackpad to replace the 60GB hard drive with an 80GB Hitachi. Not enormous, but enough to give me breathing room until later this year when the time comes to buy a new one.

Posted by skooter at 10:49 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, Mac, Upgrades

December 12, 2006

Best Error Message Ever

Error messages can be funny sometimes, but this one takes the cake.

Windows Media Player Error Message Help

You’ve encountered error message 80042013 while using Windows Media Player. Additional information is not currently available for this error.

Of course, it’s such a cliche that it’s from Microsoft.

Posted by skooter at 4:27 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Microsoft, Technical Communications

December 11, 2006

Media Bias

Media bias is a common accusation in the world of politics. Welcome to the world of technology journalism.

This is probably the most biased produt review I’ve ever read failing even to mention that the Zune in question is a first generation unique, while the iPod is a fifth (or sixth, if you count the last revision which many people consider a “half” version.)

I’m not saying I don’t like iPods, but at least be realistic before we make comments like this:

And, obviously, there’s Microsoft. Can you imagine any other company whose corporate culture would allow it to release such a flawed product? What do you suppose would happen to an auto company that produced a car with no steering wheel or seats that spontaneously exploded after three uses or three days?

Posted by skooter at 1:12 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, iPod, Microsoft, Zune

The Sun Also Rises

It’s 0930hrs in Anchorage, and the sky is slowly turning a bright blue. This is not something I’m familiar with, and this strange world confuses me.

Posted by skooter at 10:41 AM This entry is filed under Inanities, Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Anchorage

December 10, 2006

Pictures from Alpine, Alaska

Me standing in front of the CD4 drilling rig Me standing in front of the CD4 drilling rig. This was the wamer day — -44 degrees Celsius — about 5 miles south of the Beaufort Sea

Continue reading "Pictures from Alpine, Alaska"

Posted by skooter at 11:53 PM | Comments This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, ConocoPhillips, Oil

Heading Home, Via Anchorage

Another 4 a.m. wake up call, and another day starts in Alpine. My last.

After a presentation on Sapphire (which I don’t need to attend, but will out of interest) I’ll be packing up our equipment and then my personal belongings. At 1400hrs, I depart on the twin otter and start the trip home with three flights stopping in no less than five cities.

I hope it’s warm in Vancouver tomorrow. I could use it.

Posted by skooter at 5:58 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, Anchorage, ConocoPhillips, Oil

December 9, 2006

At CD4. -48 Degrees Farenheit

I’m out, again, at the CD4 drilling well at the Alpine facility. I have no idea what the production of this well is, but it’s big.

It’s only -48 today, and the wind is less gusty than it was yesterday. This makes it much more manageable. At 0900hrs, the sky is still pitch black and the snow is blowing hard enough to create what they call a snow fog here.

While we’re waiting for somebody to caulk a seam, I’m sitting in a glycol heated trailer drinking fresh coffee and, of course, checking email and posting this note. It seems a bit bizarre.

Today is my last full day here. I got a baseball cap from one of the guys here. It’s a small souvenir, but a nice one.

Continue reading "At CD4. -48 Degrees Farenheit"

Posted by skooter at 9:47 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, ConocoPhillips, Oil

December 8, 2006

Staring Into the Wind

Today was my major day of work here in Alaska, and I woke up at 0430hrs. It’s now 2100hrs and I’m just getting to the end of my day.

But today was a great day.

I stood on the Alaskan Tundra north of the arctic cirlcle wearing a parka and a hard hat, and stared into a 22 mph wind which made the temperature feel like it was -57 degrees.

Continue reading "Staring Into the Wind"

Posted by skooter at 9:55 PM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, ConocoPhillips, Oil

Wind Chill

Everybody knows that weather all about windchill. Outside right now it’s “only” -7 degrees. Farenheit, of course.

The windchill makes it -57, thank you very much.

There is a lot of waiting around for people and things to be in the right place here.

The facility up here produces about 160,000 barrels of oil a day. For fire suppression, most areas are protected by the world’s largest fine water mist system installed by Dooley Tackaberry. The control room for that system is impressive.

I will be testing a new stabilizer module which is protected by Sapphire (or Novec 1230). The principle is similar to an alcohol still: a large, tall column separates the oil by temperature into different types. This module, when it comes online, will increase production by 6,000 barrels a day, or — expressed in more direct terms — US$360,000 of revenue a day. This makes my flight seem…cheap.

Posted by skooter at 9:38 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, ConocoPhillips, Oil

5 a.m., Alpine, Alaska

It’s 5 a.m. and my day is starting, or it’s already started. The current plan has me doing a test on at least two rooms, one of which may not be until 1830hrs. A long day.

The weather is howling today, with a wicked wind blowing across the Tundra. At about 1200hrs it should brighten up a bit to start looking like twilight. Until then the sky has a blackness to it that reminds you at every moment that there’s a whole universe out there and how small you are in it. It’s amazing.

I’m here at the ConocoPhillips Alpine facility, one of the most productive and profitable oil fields in North America. The facility is impressive, the food is good, the rooms are comfortable (but small.)

I will, hopefully, get some pictures today on a digital camera and see about posting them. The Nomex jumpsuit and down filled coat I’ve been issued need to be seen.

Internet access here is limited to two public terminals, despite the fact that there is sattelite TV. I will post a note later today when I get done with work.

Posted by skooter at 6:18 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, ConocoPhillips, Oil

December 7, 2006

Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: Someone Get Me a Low-Fat, No Whip Latte!

Landing in Prudhoe Bay is pretty special. This place puts the podunk back in “podunk town.”

It sure is fun though.

At the local Starbucks…oh…wait. There’s no Starbucks here.

At the local hotel, the buffet lunch is $15. I appear to be the only non-oil worker here. Non-hotel diners need to register at the desk…this is basically home for a bunch of people whenever they’re not actually in field.

At noon, it’s like twilight here. No dark, but definitely not light.

Prudhoe is the start of the Alaska pipeline, and as you descned into the airport you cross right over it. You can’t help it.

From a distance, it could easily be mistaken for a fissure in the ice, or maybe a recently cleared roadway. It’s only on approach that it becomes clear what it is. It runs like a scar above — not on, but above — the seemingly endless white Earth that surrounds Prudhoe Bay.

In just under 3 hours I board a Twin Otter and head to Alpine. It will be pitch black by the time I land, and I’m not sure about my Internet access.

Off we go.

Posted by skooter at 1:16 PM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Coffee, Oil

Heading to Prudhoe Bay

Anchorage Airport provides public internet access, although it appears to be port 80 only — no email, or instant messaging.

Running the ring of security here was pretty stringent. Boots off, everything in separate containers. My wonderfully luggable Patagonia Burrito Suiter garment bag is sitting in the hold, thanks to a single stick of deoorant. Welcome to the new world.

Especially when the Homeland Security Terrorist alert level here at Ted Stephens International Airport is Orange.

Orange.

Prudhoe bay in 4 hours, after two stops. The first in Fairbanks, the second in Barrow.

Alpine, Alaska is the land of 24 hour darkness. My ultimate destination. My Ultima Thule. For now.

Posted by skooter at 6:46 AM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Homeland Security, Politics

December 6, 2006

Alpine, Alaska

Tomorrow, I step out of a Twin Otter airplane and onto the Alaskan Tundra.

I’ve been here before but that was different. The Vollendam cruise was fun, and pleasant but it was summer. It was also a cruise, which meant a few minutes in over trafficked ports of call designed specifically to separate tourists from their dollars.

This is different.

Continue reading "Alpine, Alaska"

Posted by skooter at 10:03 PM This entry is filed under Travel.
Tags: Alaska, Alpine, Oil, Work

December 2, 2006

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

Congratulations are due to Stephane Dion but even greater congratulations are due to Stephen Harper who seems destined, now, to form a majority government in the next federal election.

Several months ago, I said that Michael Ignatieff was the only hope for a Liberal majority government in 2007. Ignatieff was different enough to shake up the election, and the possiblity that Canadians would open up to it was real. Slight, but real.

Stephane Dion is a Liberal from the past, not a Liberal for a new future.

Gerard Kennedy did, indeed, play the role of kingmaker although he did so in way that I don’t think anyone predicted. Dropping off the ballot when he was so close to third—a hair separating him from Mr. Dion—was the shock of the day. Given the result, expect Mr. Kennedy to play a significant role in the next Liberal government, whether they win or not.

Posted by skooter at 5:41 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Liberal Leadership 2006, Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion