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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
My sleeves have come unstitched / From climbing your tree
— Wilco, Muzzle of Bees
July 29, 2010

Dan Mangan at Shorefest

Dan Mangan at Shorefest Dan Mangan at ShorefestJon and Roy at ShorefestDan Mangan at ShorefestKendel Carson & Dustin Bentall at ShorefestDan Mangan at Shorefest Presented by the Shore 104 FM Shorefest showcases some of Vancouver’s best music as a prelude to the Celebration of Light Fireworks show in English Bay. Concerts are broadcast live on The Shore. Listening would, of course, require that turn my tuner dial to something other than CBC.

Tonight featured Kendel Carson, Jon and Roy and Dan Mangan. I swore I wasn’t going to go—the crowds on English Bay can be a bit much to deal with—but the prospect of a sunset show featuring Dan was too compelling for my camera.

The complete set of photos is on Flickr.

Naturally, by the time Dan took the stage the crowd was so dense I could hardly move. Travelling by bike? Great decision—next time I’m going to leave it with the Bike Valet and walk (although my shiny new kickstand was most useful in this case.)

July 27, 2010

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2010

I wrote daily wrap ups of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival for Beyond Robson (click to read Day One, Day Two and Day Three on the site) which kept me busy and up late during the festival itself, so I didn’t write much here. A week later, I’m finally getting around to it.

I have a full collection of photos on flickr to browse through. I’ll excerpt some of those here along with some thoughts. Read on.

Continue reading "Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2010"

July 25, 2010

Illuminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum Building

Illuminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum Building Illuminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum BuildingIlluminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum BuildingIlluminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum BuildingIlluminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum BuildingIlluminares 2010 at the W2 Storyeum Building Vancouver’s annual Illuminares Festival is one of the events that makes this city a truly special place. Traditionally held in the beautiful outdoor space of Trout Lake, this year’s festival was moved to the W2 Storyeum building on Cordova Street.

The move was interesting. The Storyeum space’s high ceilings certainly feel less enclosed than many alternatives, but something of the magic of the outdoor gathering was missing. The lanterns were beautiful but hourly processions that made their way outdoors into a Gastown alley fell a bit short of my memories of years past.

While I’d still happily attend the event next year if it’s in the same location, I’m hopeful that the city does something here to help the festival move back to Trout Lake, or find another outdoor space for it (perhaps Crab Park, though parking and transportation would be a nightmare.)

More photos are on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 10:31 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Illuminares, Lanterns, Public Dreams Society

July 18, 2010

On Bike Maintenance

Avid Juicy Brake Pads due to be changed Avid Juicy Brake Pads due to be changed Avid Juicy Brake Pads due to be changed I’m taking a little break from the Vancouver Folk Festival to chill out a bit for the morning and have lunch at home before heading down. According to Twitter this means I’m missing some great morning performances, but the afternoon and evening should more than make up for it. My photos from Day One and Two are here on Flickr and I’ll organize a few of them and post them here tomorrow. Between getting them on Flickr and daily articles for Beyond Robson time is scarce.

I need to do a little bike maintenance: one of the pads on my rear brake fell out on the road last night. I may just take a different bike down to the fest today, but I feel compelled to note that it seems like a fundamental design flaw if a disc brake pad is even capable of falling out of its caliper. Changing disc brake pads is a pain, so I tend to delay the change as long as I can. Just a little advice for those of you who do this sort of thing: if your brake pads look like the ones above, it probably means you waited just a little bit too long.

Posted by skooter at 6:59 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Cycling, Music.
Tags: Avid Juicy, Disc Brakes, Vancouver Folk Music Festival

July 16, 2010

The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre

The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010 The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre, July 15th, 2010

The New Pornographers played two nights at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre. Neko Case apparently missed her plane and didn’t make the first show, but was there in full force for the second one.

With the Vogue’s stage fill with nine of the finest musicians you’ll find, it’s hard to imagine a better band. Opening the show with the slow burn of Myriad Harbour (whose opening lyric I took a plane I took train / Who cares you always end up in the city seemed like a reference to Neko’s travel problems yesterday) the first song the band played from the brilliant new album Together was the pop masterpiece Crash Years. The show was a nice mix of new material (Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk, My Shepherd) songs and old (My Rights Versus Yours, All The Old Showstoppers) and the normally quiet Vogue crowd was on its feet for the entire time.

Continue reading "The New Pornographers at the Vogue Theatre"

Posted by skooter at 3:12 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Music.
Tags: A.C. Newman, Carl Newman, Neko Case, New Pornographers, Vogue Theatre

July 14, 2010

Hans Roling on Population Growth

“The role of the old west in the new world is to become the foundation of the modern world: nothing more and nothing less. But it’s a very important role. Do it well, and get used to it.”

Posted by skooter at 11:18 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Environmentalism, Hans Roling, Population, TED

July 13, 2010

Don’t Waste the Sunset

Don't Waste the Sunset

Posted by skooter at 4:28 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Creekside Park, Science World, Sunset

July 12, 2010

Tour de France Doping in the New York Times

It’s very telling how bad the doping problem has been in professional cycling that the New York Times is running its annual story on the topic, despite the fact that not a single cyclist has tested positive in this year’s Tour de France. (There is, of course, an implied Yet… at the end of that sentence.)

The notion that falling times on alpine climbs are as honest an indication of a reduction of doping as anything else is a good one. As the article points out it’s a remarkable event which produces remarkable performances, so any such measurements are a guideline only. If it helps avoid having this article appear again next year I say measure away.

Cyclists’ Alpine Times May Hint at Past Doping

“In and of itself, these racers are doing amazing, unbelievable things on a daily basis because they are already a tiny part of the population, a very small percentage of the world,” Lim said. “They are already different. It’s when a rider has no history of good performances, then has massive changes. Now that’s when you should raise a red flag.”

There have been some discussions among exercise physiologists of testing individual athletes’ peak performances to determine each one’s peak power output and use it as a baseline to determine possible doping. Any future performances above that output would raise a red flag.

But some say that would never work. The reasons behind amazing performances cannot necessarily be proved, they said. Sometimes, they just happen.

Lance Armstrong lost 12 minutes in a crash yesterday, knocking him out of contention in what he’s said is his final Tour de France. It’s a shame: it would have been nice to see Lance—who’s done more for cycling in North America than any other athlete—on the podium but this is how these things go. It’s a long race, with plenty of opportunities for problems and incidents.

No matter where he winds up and who wins this year’s race, there’s really only one thing to say about a remarkable ride of successes: Well played, Lance. Well played.

Posted by skooter at 3:42 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Sports.
Tags: cycling, Lance Armstrong, Tour de France

July 11, 2010

Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium

Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner CriteriumTour de Delta Ladner Criterium Tour de Delta Ladner Criterium

The 10th annual Tour de Delta runs all weekend, with the Ladner Criterium last night. I was personally disappointed that Team Jazz Apples wasn’t here again this year, but I suppose that’s the result of losing two out of four of the BC Superweek events that used to happen, including the Tour de Gastown which now seems certain to be gone for a while.

I will miss next week’s Tour de Whiterock, unfortunately, due to other commitments.

July 10, 2010

Headwater at Lynn Valley Library

Slide Guitar Headwater at Lynn Valley LibraryHeadwater at Lynn Valley LibraryHeadwater at Lynn Valley LibraryHeadwater at Lynn Valley LibraryHeadwater at Lynn Valley Library

Headwater calls their blend of roots and folk music tractor jazz. It’s pretty hard not to love these guys. I met a group of people who happened to be taking the ferry one day when Headwater were on the boat. An impromptu practice session started up at the bow of the ferry, and pretty soon the stern was almost completely empty as a crowd gathered. That’s how you make fans.

Last night was the first in a series of weekly shows at Lynn Valley Library and Headwater played for about an hour and a half. It is, after all, their local library.

More photos are on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 4:10 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Music.
Tags: Headwater, Lynn Canyon, Music

Chess Set at Ontario & 18th

Large Chess Set at Ontario & 18th Large Chess Set at Ontario & 18th

Posted by skooter at 4:06 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Chess, Ontario Bike Route, Public Art, Vancouver

Nooner at the Nat: Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears

Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears Vancouver Canadians vs. Yakima Bears

It was hot and there was an afternoon game at Nat Bailey Stadium. How could I resist? Happily, the Vancouver Canadians won the game. The complete set of photos is on flickr.

July 8, 2010

Spain Defeats Germany

Spanish Fans on Granville Street Watching Spain vs. Germany on Granville Street More photos are on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 1:22 AM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: 2010 World Cup, Germany, Semifinal, Soccer, Spain

The Malahat Revue on the CBC Plaza

The Malahat Review at CBC Plaza The Malahat Review at CBC PlazaThe Malahat Review at CBC PlazaThe Malahat Review at CBC PlazaThe Malahat Review at CBC PlazaThe Malahat Review at CBC Plaza

The Malahat Revue is a collaboration between some of Vancouver’s best independent musicians. Hannah Georgas, Jeremy Fisher, Aidan Knight and Said the Whale are embarking on a tour of British Columbia by bicycle. Jeremy’s toured extensively by bike before, but never with a group this large.

To start the tour the gang gathered at CBC Plaza on Hamilton Street in Vancouver and put on a free show. With summer having finally arrive in Vancouver, it was a glorious day.

More photos from today’s set are on flickr.

The Malahat Revue Teaser from Jonathan Taggart on Vimeo.

Posted by skooter at 12:29 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Cycling, Music.
Tags: Aidan Knight, cycling, Hannah Georgas, Jeremy Fisher, Said the Whale

July 7, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot and the Art of Roughness


Benoit Mandelbrot’s work in fractal mathematics was inspirational to me in my high school years, and instrumental in establishing the fact that computers were capable of producing works of true art with very little human input.

Posted by skooter at 6:00 PM This entry is filed under Science.
Tags: Art, Benoit Mandelbrot, Fractals, TED, Videos

July 6, 2010

Some People Call It Basil: I Call It Raw Pesto

Basil Leaf

Posted by skooter at 4:54 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Food.
Tags: Basil, Food, Macro

July 5, 2010

Salt Spring Coffee Asks How Much Carbon Is In Your Coffee

A fascinating video by Offsetters that provides some insight into the process of evaluating carbon impact. Salt Spring Coffee was the first carbon neutral coffee distributor in Canada. Not satisfied with this they wanted to know what the carbon impact of their coffee was through the entire life cycle. Salt Spring Coffee is now buying carbon offsets for the 2% of the carbon impact that their growers produce making them the first producer in the world to provide coffee that is carbon neutral from the moment it’s planted until it reaches the store shelf.

Everything after that? Well, that’s up to you.

Posted by skooter at 6:17 AM This entry is filed under Marketing, Politics.
Tags: Carbon Neutral, Coffee, Environmentalism, Offsetters, Salt Spring Coffee

July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to America

Posted by skooter at 4:26 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Politics.
Tags: Constitution of the United States, Star Trek, Videos, William Shatner

Current Swell at David Lam Park

Current Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz Fest Current Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz FestCurrent Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz FestCurrent Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz FestCurrent Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz FestCurrent Swell at the Vancouver International Jazz Fest

Victoria’s Current Swell played a live set at Yaletown’s David Lam Park as part of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival

More pictures are available on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 4:45 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Music.
Tags: Current Swell, David Lam Park, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Yaletown

Mimosa at David Lam Park

Mimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz Fest Mimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz FestMimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz FestMimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz FestMimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz FestMimosa at the Vancouver International Jazz Fest

Mimosa are a Vancouver based bilingual jazz(ish) band. They played a live set at Yaletown’s David Lam Park as part of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and were blessed with beautiful, rare sun throughout the performance.

More photos are available on flickr.

Posted by skooter at 4:29 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Music.
Tags: David Lam Park, Mimosa, Vancouver International Jazz Festival

July 3, 2010

Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre will Disappear

Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre will be torn down, a victim of the savage environment that this city’s Downtown East Side has become.

Roof damage caused when thieves dropped a parking meter from the neighbouring building has allowed water to seep into the theatre, causing much of the interior to rot.

There was some hope to restore the theatre, though even without the current damage the cost would have been prohibitive and it’s hard to imagine where the audience might have come from. The Firehall Arts Centre is just around the corner: a tiny venue, it attracts a dedicated crowd of live theatre lovers. The restored Rickshaw Theatre now operates as a live music venue in the same neighbourhood, but the acts are far from the mainstream. Neither of these audiences would have been large enough to support a costly renovation such as the Pantages.

Advocates for the DTES like to point out that it’s a neighbourhood, a community like no other where people help take care of each other in a place where no one else will. It’s also a neighbourhood that continues to eat itself. It’s hard to imagine a solution to this. It’s hard to see the end.

Pantages Theatre, 100 Block East Hastings, VancouverPeople cite the Woodward’s building as an example of what can work, and how great buildings can can help build neighbourhoods. The problem is Woodward’s doesn’t work: it’s a falacious example. A seemingly impossibly tall tower of glass and concrete is not a part of the neighbourhood. The residents may walk its streets but that’s all they do: they aren’t part of the community, sheltered in their half million dollar accommodations while people below them live in tents and out of shopping carts.

It would have been nice to have another theatre venue in town. It would have been nice to have another beautiful restoration in the Downtown East Side, because there are (or were) beautiful old buildings in the Downtown East Side.

It wouldn’t have mattered though. The theatre is too close to the street, and neighbourhood would have eaten it again eventually.

Posted by skooter at 3:20 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Downtown Eastside, Homelessness, Pantages Theatre, Vancouver

Stanley Park 9 o’clock Gun

Posted by skooter at 6:30 AM This entry is filed under Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Cannon, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Western Front’s Sonic Playground at the Roundhouse Community Centre

The Western Front is one of my favourite Vancouver arts organizations. Located in Mt. Pleasant, the front providers rehearsal and performance space as well as runs arts education programs for children.

The Front stages events in other locations, and this weekend’s Sonic Playground is happening at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Centre. It’s a participatory art exhibit targeting the entire family, and also a whole lot of fun.

July 2, 2010

Private Cloud Computing

Twitter sent me in the direction of an article about companies setting up their own private cloud computing environments. It’s a rather short article with not much in the way of content, but the tweet got the concept rolling around in my mind.

Firstly, I need to say I’ve never been comfortable with the term cloud computing. It’s a marketing term without much definition. Having caught on it’s easier to embrace the term than to fight it at this point.

The major issue facing cloud computing providers is security: with data from multiple companies on shared servers, customers need to be sure that only they can access their data. Protection from business failure is equally important: if your cloud provider goes out of business, you want to make sure that your data doesn’t get lost with them. Backup is always a concern, but the entire theory of cloud computing is that smaller companies gain better more reliable backup by being in the cloud. The bigger issue around backup is restoring your data which could conceivably take forever.

All of these things mean that the notion of a “private cloud” is perfectly reasonable, and the problem might be with the language. To me the central idea of cloud computing has never been the “shared” aspect—though that can be a key advantage for small businesses—but the “access” aspect. A cloud strategy should give your employees the ability to access their data from wherever they are, using any reasonably modern computing device. Chances are if you’re not doing this now, your staff is working around the limits anyway: USB Thumb Drives are probably the single largest security hole in most organizations.

Private clouds are a good thing for companies that can afford it. Smaller companies should look at a shared solution as a way of increasing functionality with a lower cost of access.

Companies start talking about their private clouds
By Joe McKendrick | June 25, 2010, 7:55am PDT

It’s such a classic enterprise solution to the cloud computing phenomenon. Build one yourself.

That’s the approach being taken by some leading names in the corporate world, and a new article in Information Age discusses some of these initiatives, based on presentations at a recent Forrester confab.

For example, Charles Newhouse, chief IT strategist for BAE Systems, a defense and aerospace manufacturer, now operates its entire IT department as an internal cloud provider — managed from the outside by CSC. “We began seeing our infrastructure as a commodity service and not a strategic asset,” he is quoted as saying. BAE’s IT services are now provisioned through a web portal, and each department receives a bill for their usage at the end of the month.

Posted by skooter at 5:40 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Cloud Computing, Internet Access, Small Business

July 1, 2010

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park Klahowya Village in Stanley ParkKlahowya Village in Stanley ParkKlahowya Village in Stanley ParkKlahowya Village in Stanley ParkKlahowya Village in Stanley Park The Klahowya Village is in the heart of Stanley Park, and celebrates the cultures of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh nations who once called the park’s lands home. There are more photos on flickr

Posted by skooter at 1:29 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Vancouver.
Tags: First Nations, Musqueam Nation, Squamish Nation, Stanley Park, Tsleil-Waututh