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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see / I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.
— Woody Guthrie, Remember the Mountain Bed
November 28, 2007

Chocolate? What about gas!

A sure sign that the government has it’s priorities a little skewed: the chocolate industry gets investigated by the competition bureau while the automotive gas industry…doesn’t.

Chocolate bar makers probed over prices
PAUL WALDIE
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
November 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM EST

Is there something underhanded going on with the price of Kit Kat, Snickers and Caramilk bars?

Federal regulators have launched an investigation into allegations the Canadian divisions of Nestlé, Cadbury, Hershey, Mars and others have teamed up in a price-fixing scheme in the multibillion-dollar Canadian business of chocolate bars.

The Competition Bureau served search warrants on several major bar makers this week requiring them to turn over reams of documents on their pricing arrangements.

Here’s the puzzling question of the month on gas: gas prices went up as oil prices rose. Oil is priced in American dollars. The Canadian dollar is up 30% against the American dollar. Why haven’t gas prices in Canada gone down?

Gas is typically more expensive in Vancouver than Toronto due to a lack of refineries, but the rising dollar should still have benefited consumers here.

Posted by skooter at 1:45 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Conservative Party of Canada, Economics

November 26, 2007

McKenzie Barge & Marine, Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver

McKenzie Barge, Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver

Continue reading "McKenzie Barge & Marine, Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver"

Posted by skooter at 2:09 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Buildings, Deep Cove, Industrial, North Vancouver

November 25, 2007

Born to be Wild

Posted by skooter at 5:32 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Family, Friends.
Tags: Benjamin, Motorcycle, Park

November 24, 2007

Tearing Down Kerrisdale

This was my favourite house in Kerrisdale. It’s not like I’ve lived here my whole life and I know the whole neighbourhood, but I walk past this house all the time on my way down to the Choices supermarket. I love this house, because it has a nice quaint cottage like feel too it. The couple that owns it sits on the front patio every once in a while and has dinner in the summer. It’s nice.

It’s certainly better than the 1990s architectural nightmares that dominate the area, and the newer faux-arts-and-crafts things that go up today with dubious construction.

This is probably why it’s disappearing:
and that’s a good thing, but I’m still sad to see it go.

Posted by skooter at 10:32 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Construction, Houses, Kerrisdale, Vancouver

November 22, 2007

Censorship in School Libraries

Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass has been pulled from school shelves in some Ontario catholic schools.

School board pulls ‘anti-God’ book
RON BULL/TORONTO STAR
Philip Pullman’s works have often been criticized by the Catholic church.
Halton’s Catholic trustees and staff to review fantasy that is `apparently written by an atheist’
Nov 22, 2007 04:30 AM, Kristin Rushowy, Education Reporter

Halton’s Catholic board has pulled The Golden Compass fantasy book—soon to be a Hollywood blockbuster starring Nicole Kidman—off school library shelves because of a complaint.

Posted by skooter at 3:38 PM This entry is filed under Books, Entertainment, Politics.
Tags: Books, Censorship, Fantasy

November 20, 2007

Wave of Sorrow: 1987 to 2007

It’s astonishing to realize that The Joshua Tree was released 20 years ago: I have friends that weren’t born when the album was released. I last spent a lot of time listening to the album on a desert motorcycle ride. Brilliant.

Wave of Sorrow was released on Facebook, but I was pointed at it by Paste Magazine.

Continue reading "Wave of Sorrow: 1987 to 2007"

Posted by skooter at 4:34 AM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Joshua Tree, Music, Rock and Roll, U2

November 19, 2007

Hollywood’s Writers Strike

I don’t particularly mind the Writers Guild of America strike since so much of what’s on TV is utterly disinteresting anyway but when it starts to affect the good stuff, I get concerned.

Battlestar Galactica has wrapped production half way through a planned season. This was supposed to be the last season anyway, but at more than 13 episodes. Season 3 was less engaging than the first two, but still one of the only things on TV worth watching.

With 30 Rock having a limited number of episodes shot already, I expect it will go into repeats shortly. Blurg.

I suspect that this will allow me to dig into the growing pile of books on my shelf: I’m fairly happy about that.

Posted by skooter at 4:54 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, Blurg, Television

November 14, 2007

Poking Holes in Lululemon

The New York Times pokes a few holes in Lululemon.

‘Seaweed’ Clothing Has None, Tests Show

One of its lines is called VitaSea, and the company says it is made with seaweed. The fabric, according to product tags, “releases marine amino acids, minerals and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture.”

The New York Times commissioned a laboratory test of a Lululemon shirt made of VitaSea, and reviewed a similar test performed at another lab, and both came to the same conclusion: there was no significant difference in mineral levels between the VitaSea fabric and cotton T-shirts.

In other words, the labs found no evidence of seaweed in the Lululemon clothing.

“Seaweeds have known vitamins and minerals, and we searched specifically for those vitamins, and we didn’t see them,” said Carolyn J. Otten, director for specialized services at Chemir Analytical Services, a lab in Maryland Heights, Mo. that tested a sample of VitaSea.

When told about the findings, Lululemon’s founder said he could not dispute them.

“If you actually put it on and wear it, it is different from cotton,” said Dennis Wilson, Lululemon’s founder, chief product designer and board chairman. “That’s my only test of it,” said Mr. Wilson, known as Chip.

That last paragraph, the one where Chip (a very nice guy) says “That’s my only test” is not promising for the future of a company that’s known for making extravagant claims about the impact its products will have on your life.

Posted by skooter at 1:23 PM This entry is filed under Marketing, Technology, Vancouver.
Tags: Investing, Lululemon, Sportswear

November 12, 2007

You buy this ship - treat her proper - she’ll be with you for the rest of your life.

I’ve been cocooning with Firefly this weekend, for the first time since my DVDs were stolen. That line…the one above…starts and finishes what I think is the best episode of one of the best TV shows of the last decade.

Continue reading "You buy this ship - treat her proper - she’ll be with you for the rest of your life."

Posted by skooter at 5:46 AM This entry is filed under .
Tags: Big Damn Heroes, Joss Whedon, Science Fiction, Serenity

Bylaw City: Vancouver

This is my new favourite sign in the city of Vancouver. It’s better than that dog one out in Deep Cove, and it’s better than the other silly camel and moose crossing ones they have along the Seymour Highway.

The sign says (in case the flash makes it hard to read):

[No Parking] Except Residents of 1900 Blk. W. 47th Ave.

Why do I like this sign so much?

There is precisely one house in the 1900 block of West 47th Ave. It’s opposite Maple Grove school. There are in fact two residences, but one has an address on Cypress Ave. the corner, and the exit doesn’t front on 47th.

So there’s one house, but city council has somehow passed a bylaw that reserves this entire block for a single house.

That house, by the way, has a two car garage.

Posted by skooter at 2:51 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: City Council, Parking, Vancouver

November 11, 2007

Hope for the Future?

Britney at Number One It gives me little hope for the future to see that Britney’s newest album, the recipient of universally poor reviews, shot to number one of the iTunes Music Charts.

Posted by skooter at 4:43 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Britney Spears, Music, Pop

November 10, 2007

Fiery the Angels Fell

I was young when Blade Runner was released: only 11 years old. The directors cut was released in 1992, but I don’t remember seeting theatrical viewings.

Ridley Scott has famously recut the movie several times, culminating in the theatrical release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut

“Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled about their shores…burning with the fires of Orc.”

I had never seen this movie on the big screen: this movie was meant to be seen on the big screen. Every moment of every scene is rich with visual detail that a television set doesn’t do justice. Seeing the film with no voiceovers at all is a nice treat…they were famously added by the studio, and always ruined the tone of the film. All have been removed now, and the print is beautiful.

See this movie in theatres, if only to remind yourself of how far ahead of its time it was and how young Harrison Ford once was.

Posted by skooter at 3:32 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Firefly, Harrison Ford, Movies, Ridley Scott, Science Fiction

November 8, 2007

Cameras Are Not Computers

I never could figure out why anyone would buy a camera from a computer manufacturer.

HP zooms out of the camera business
By Agam Shah, IDG News Service

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced it will shift the focus of its digital camera business, jumping out of manufacturing, distribution and design, in order to concentrate more on its home photo printing and online photo services.

Posted by skooter at 8:52 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Cameras, Photography, Technology

November 6, 2007

Checking In on Radiohead’s Experiment

The New York Times has a reality check on Radiohead’s experiment with giving away their new album In Rainbows.

…most decided against paying, with only 2 out of 5 people paying an average of $6 for the album, “In Rainbows.” Here are the statistics, from a news release:

WorldwideU.S.Non-U.S.
Paid Downloads:38%40%36%
Free Downloads:62%60%64%

“That’s a large group that can’t be ignored and its time to come up with new business models to serve the freeloader market,” Fred Wilson, managing director of Union Square Ventures in New York, told Canada’s Financial Post.

I fall into the category of downloaded and didn’t pay. I also fall into the category of being fairly ambivalent towards Radiohead: I wouldn’t have bought the album anyway. (I don’t know why…I liked the first album, and recognize the talent…it just doesn’t resonate with me. Maybe not enough twang.)

It’s worth pointing out though that this experiment doesn’t mean much to the future of the music industry: Radiohead’s reputation was built by the old music industry, by a record label that actively and aggressively promoted them. The band is well established.

For bands of the future, the first hit is going to be the hardest one to find, not the seventh.

Posted by skooter at 2:24 PM This entry is filed under Marketing, Music, Technology.
Tags: Articles, Music, Online Marketing

Pakistan Attempts to Crush Protests by Lawyers

That Shakespeare was no fan of lawyers does nothing to legitimize Pervez Musharraf’s actions

In all, about 2,000 people have been rounded up since the imposition of emergency rule on Saturday night, lawyers and legal and political analysts said. General Musharraf said in his emergency edict that he was taking the action as chief of the Pakistani Army, not as president, a fact that made his move akin to martial law, said Daniel Markey, senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington

Posted by skooter at 2:09 PM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: America, Democracy, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics

November 5, 2007

Bourbon & Bluegrass

I have a fondness for good Bourbon (generally keeping a bottle of Knob Creek in my desk at home.) This is one of those great road trips I’d like to ride…

Bourbon & Bluegrass
By STEVEN KURUTZ
Published: November 4, 2007

ONE Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, while most people were at work, I stood in a room at Maker’s Mark distillery, in rural Kentucky, breathing in the pungent fumes of fermenting whiskey mash and feeling a kind of mild contact buzz.

Posted by skooter at 8:43 PM This entry is filed under America, Travel.
Tags: Alcohol, America, Bourbon, Kentucky

Cycling in Portland

Portland has long had a reputation for being an extremely bike friendly city—perhaps more so than any west coast city. San Francisco’s hills, it seems, plague it; Los Angeles’ traffic destroys all hope. Seattle and Vancouver have much in common with Portland (including the rain,) although the geography of both is bumpier.

The New York Times has an article on Portland’s cycling economy. What other city could have produced the phenomenal Full Wood Fenders from River City Bikes.

The cycling traffic jam I hit on the way home from work tonight was felt good, but they are rare here in Vancouver. Portland’s a great town.

Posted by skooter at 4:08 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Travel.
Tags: Articles, Bikes, Cycling, Environmentalism, Portland

Once More, We Play Our Dangerous Game

In Pakistan, a military dictatorship has been created by a man once considered a strong ally by the United States.

Let us not forget that Pakistan is, thanks in part to the assistance of the United States, a nuclear power.

Posted by skooter at 2:02 PM This entry is filed under .
Tags: George Bush, Middle East, Nuclear War, Politics, United States