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I Am Skooter  So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
There are maybe 10 or 12 / things I could teach you / after that you're on your own
— A.C. Newman, There are Maybe 10 or 12
August 10, 2013
Conversations With...

So the week that was has passed and it’s been an interesting one. In addition to the normal busy work week—which this week included some root level Unix system configuration that I haven’t done in a very long time—I’ve been getting ready for an end of summer busy music season. Next weekend is the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues festival which I’m covering. It looks like a good one, and I can’t wait for it.

At the end of the summer I’m heading to Ontario to visit my newborn (and first) niece for the first time. She was born at the end of April, and I’m looking forward to that visit more than anything you can imagine.

I’m also stopping by the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic while I’m there, and in the lead up to that I’m writing an article about the festival that’s now in its third year. This means that in the last week I’ve had conversations with Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris and Pegi Young who are all playing the festival.

So that’s been nice and a real treat. They’ve all be lovely folks, and my Friday—they day I chatted with Lanois—was an absolutely inspirational day. We chatted for a while, and it was great. He’s a fascinating, open, affable, and very self-assured man.

That day ended as well as it started with an early evening visit to the stage at the bottom of the hill I live on where some music was happening. I sat with my bike near the front of the stage to listen and a few minutes later a little visitor dropped by—she was about a year old and walked right over to me where I was sitting and crawled into my lap before reaching up and put her arms around my neck. It was just about the sweetest moment I’ve ever had, and it was the absolute perfect way to end a perfect day. Her mother came by after not too long and my visitor disappeared, but that minute of cuddling was just about the sweetest I’ve ever had.

I’m looking forward to meeting this little far away niece, and hopefully there’ll be some moments like that on that trip because I love them so much and I don’t get enough of them anymore in my life.

July 12, 2013
It Rained Ten Years Ago in Vancouver

Twin Falls, Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver, BC When I say it rained ten years ago in Vancouver, I don’t mean “it rained a little bit.” I mean it poured: the day was mostly dry, as I recall, but the skies opened up at about 9:30 and a tremendous downpour ensued. It was pretty epic. It was also the last day of rain for about a three month period in Vancouver—we officially had a drought right after that. I could tell you a funny story about why I remember that, but let’s save that for another time.

I know this now not because I’m some kind of weather savant: I, in fact, am loathe to speak of the Weather Network and fail to understand people who watch it obsessively. Step outside. Live a little. Absorb the rain, the snow, the wind. You will be better for it. Don’t watch it on TV.

I know this because I got married 10 years ago, and that’s not the kind of day you forget—even if you try.

I moved to Vancouver in 2000 (though barely, arriving on Christmas Day of that year.) Kaye and I moved here following a job opportunity she had. The company I was working for in Toronto was failing to get its startup traction, and I had no compelling reason to stay so we headed west to grow up with our country. (Sorry about that Lucinda, but it’s a great line.)

It was good. Our first place here was literally out the back steps of Granville Island. I walk past that place on a fairly regular basis, in the vague way that you do when you wander around that neighbourhood. It was good.

We’d been together for a couple of years before we moved, and eventually—after being here a while—we decided to move and bought a house together. It was in North Vancouver, in the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood. It was a townhouse, to be precise, not a house but it was ours. We were happy, and it was quickly made into a home: we replaced flooring, bought new furniture, painted walls: all the things you do when you buy a place. The day we moved in, Richard died. When I got an email letting me know I crawled back into bed in tears. When I told Kaye happened, she told me to “Go to sleep.” I couldn’t. I got up and walked until the morning. I should have left that day. I know that now, but at the time I couldn’t see it. Being in love does that you. It makes you ignore the flaws. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

Not long after that we got married. Things were good, and she was happy. After debating a few options, we decided to get married in Lynn Canyon. We loved that place. The restaurant that’s there now had just opened. As I recall, we were their second wedding. My memory way be wrong on that, but there weren’t many before us.

It was a good day: she looked beautiful in a custom made dress—cut on the bias of course, though I’ve no idea what that really means to this day—and I was outfitted by Harry Rosen. We had about 30 friends there and a good time was had, I think, by all. We threw a small party, we paid for it, and didn’t expect a thing. Kaye later told me that it was the happiest day of her life—she really did. It was for me too. We had a small group of friends and family. There were a few who couldn’t make it, but that was no big deal. We’d see them soon enough. We were happy with the ones we could share the day with.

Five months later, she left. Five months to the day. I’m don’t think she planned that, but if she had she couldn’t have timed it better.

Why it ended I’ll never quite know and I’ve long since stopped asking. It was brutally hard at the time: the next couple of years were iffy for me. I scrambled hard to make a living—not having come here with a job offer, and it being the “dot com crash years” it was hard to find a steady gig, though I did freelance my way into income. I moved four times in one year. It’s a time I don’t like to think about. Those were brutal years. The fact that I’m still in Vancouver is a testament to a few good friends that I made in those years. They stuck by me through tough times: it’s a cliche, but that’s when you find out who your true friends are. It’s a reality of my life that some of those friends have disappeared in the years since. It seems to be my modus operandi: truthfully, I’m still working that out.

Ten years later things couldn’t be more different. July 12, 2013 in Vancouver has been a gloriously sunny day. I cycled across the Lions Gate Bridge to go to work at a job that I love. I own a place in West Vancouver that I loving living in. I have a newborn niece that I’ll finally get to meet in about a month. It’s a pretty good life, all around.

Complaints? I’ve got a few. Things aren’t perfect: this has been a hard summer on many fronts. The relationship that I started two years ago full of such hope and promise is not in a good place right now, and that’s led to me not enjoying this summer nearly as much as I want too. My fitness level isn’t where it should be. That job that I love? It’s new, and still feels like it has some risk associated with it but I’m not overly worried—I love the place, and the management team is solid. It’ll work out over the long term.

I’ve got no idea where Kaye is or what she’s done since I last talked to her in 2004. I don’t really care (though that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally wonder.) I hope she’s happy. I hope she finally found what she was looking for. It very clearly wasn’t here.

I wouldn’t go back ten years even if I could, but July 12 of 2003 is a day I’ll probably never forget. It rained a lot that day, and I don’t miss it one bit.

June 22, 2012
Every Jump the General Lee Made


I am of an age where this resonates with my childhood. Having pimped out my car with somewhat fancy rims, I may consider installing a General Lee horn.

Posted by skooter at 9:35 PM
Tags: Cars, Dukes of Hazard, Television

April 5, 2011
Interesting Times

Window If you believe that the often misquoted proverb that says may you always live in interesting times is a good one, my life has—of late—certainly been an example of why it can be a good thing. Things have been exceptionally busy, and interesting, and quite wonderful actually.

I’m working full time again, and for the first time in years I’m in a position where I can focus on what I’ve been trying to do for a while now. Vancouver is full of tiny companies where everybody has to do five different jobs: it’s a recipe for failure, unless you’re the person in charge of delegating everything. In the long run that kind of multi-taked unfocused job just burns people out, and I’m happier than I can say to be in a place that allows me to concentrate on doing what I do well instead of spreading me in a thousand directions.

Of course I don’t talk about work here, so that’s all we’ll say about it.

Over the past year I’ve been fairly active on Twitter and Facebook and working in a self-promotional way with both of them. It’s been fun, and I’ve met quite a few interesting people. I quite like them both, and yet in the past four weeks these things have been slipping away from me. I’ve been practically absent on Facebook, and relatively inactive on Twitter since starting work. I sometimes find myself wondering when I had the time to be there at times. I haven’t quite figured out where they fit into my newly restructured life. I suspect they’ll fade a bit and this site will move a bit more into the foreground, amongst other changes.

There’s an irony to my relative absence from Twitter too, recently. It’s one I won’t expand on yet.

Of course a sudden change means there are people who are disappointed. My time has become compressed and managing the free time—what there is of it—is a juggling act: I owe an email to Toronto, about two weeks overdue; There are people in the city that I haven’t seen in a while; I’m behind on some video editing, and trying to find a new outlet for photography work that I feel like I’ve been neglecting in my work over the last year. Everything is gradually falling into place, and I’m getting it all sorted out. It’s good.

I spent last weekend in Victoria. Not the whole weekend, I guess, but the Saturday night anyway. It was a wonderful luxurious day of wandering a city I’ve only been too a couple of times, dining at places I’d never have found and generally just being in the moment. It had the feeling of a new beginning, and one that’s had me in a particularly good mood since coming back. Everybody’s noticed—the ones who’ve seen me, anyway, which mostly means work colleagues—how happy I’ve been since coming back. I rather like that. I’m a pretty happy guy most of the time, though the last year has had moments when it’s been hard to stay that way.

Honestly, right now it’s hard to remember what those moments were. Things are good.

I haven’t been riding my bike to work yet and I think it’s important that I start doing that. I have an appointment after work tomorrow that’s going to make it hard, so I think Thursday will be the day to start. I’ve nothing scheduled so it’s time to put two wheels to the ground and pedal over the Lions Gate Bridge on a daily basis. The view from that ride by the way? Spectacular. Also, decidedly not Toronto.

Friday will be different though. Friday, I probably can’t ride to work because I’m heading over to Salt Spring Island for the weekend on a very late ferry ride. There are few things I’ve looked forward to as much as this weekend. It’s going to be a good one. I’ll likely be offline for two days, and it’s not often that I can afford that luxury. I’ll have my phone with me of course, so there’s that but I’m pretty good at ignoring it.

Interesting times indeed. I’d not have it any other way.

Posted by skooter at 11:09 PM
Tags: Salt Spring Island, Victoria

December 25, 2010
Today Marks 10 Years of Living in Vancouver

It’s Christmas today. For most people the day is one spent with family and loved ones reminiscing about the year that’s past. For me Christmas always marks an extra anniversary: the end of a long drive from Toronto when I crossed the border at the Peace Arch and moved here.

It was ten years ago today that I did that. I’m starting to write this at 7 p.m., and probably by the time it’s done it will be about 9:30 which is about the time I arrive…home…that day. I’d actually flown out for a weekend earlier in the month so I’d already been there, but there was something different about this arrival. This time when the border guard asked “Where do you live, sir?” (for they are unflaggingly polite, unless given a reason) I answered “Vancouver.” It felt right.

It’s been a long and interesting ten years. Looking back it’s hard to remember the person I was when I moved here, in that existential way that we become different people as we move through life. I often joke that I moved out here for a girl and it’s true, in its way. I was living with a woman I loved and she had a career opportunity that was worth pursuing. My work at the time was done remotely by phone and online anyway, so the move wasn’t too disruptive. I followed the girl, and even pushed her a little to make the move because she wouldn’t have done it without encouragement.

Ten years later, five or six addresses, a marriage, a divorce and many girls later I’m still here. Sometimes I wonder how it happened. No too often, but sometimes.

Vancouver is home for me now. Toronto—the only other city I’ve truly lived in, though there have been brief stays elsewhere—has faded from me. When I visit, the geography of the city has changed enough to be unfamiliar to me. I still know it, but not the way I used too: the ROM has a new edifice that I dislike, the AGO has a beautiful addition designed by Frank Gehry, the University of Toronto’s campus has changed, the home I grew up in is no longer the one my mother lives in and the neighbourhoods I visit aren’t the same ones they used to be.

I visit sporadically, but I visit because there are people I miss not places. James and Richard and Jamil, who are like brothers to me. I go long periods without seeing them but when we finally do see each other those periods don’t matter. I have no friends like these in Vancouver, and I probably never will: I’ve known those three since we were in Grade Five together. These are friendships that took time to develop.

I don’t miss Toronto, I miss the people.

I have a Grandmother who lives near Toronto, and thinking about her always makes me sad. Her health isn’t good and my last visit to Toronto was prompted by an expectation that she would pass away. She didn’t (she’s a tough old broad) but it will probably be the last time I see her. Age has been unkind to her in the last few years, and I’d like to think she knew that I was there but I can’t be sure. I think she did.

My Grandfather passed away a long time ago, and I’ve missed him every day since. He bought me my first camera and there is a part of him in every photo I’ve ever taken. I think he’d be proud of some of them. He would have loved it in Vancouver, and I would have loved to explore the area with him, our cameras in hand. I have the last camera he ever gave me and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

I have a Grandmother and Grandfather in Vancouver as well, and age hasn’t been any kinder to them in the last few years. To be honest I didn’t expect either one of them to still be alive ten years after I got here: I’m glad they are, though I haven’t seen them in a while. They live rather far from here, and I no longer own a car. It’s a challenge.

Vancouver has changed in the last ten years as much—perhaps more so—than Toronto has, and I’ve changed along with it. Last year’s Olympics had a dramatic effect of course but there have been other more subtle changes along the way. I’ve watched tall towers being erected downtown at an incredible pace and the I’ve moved four or five times into drastically different neighbourhoods, giving me an appreciation for the city’s diversity that I didn’t have when I moved here.

I’ve made and lost friends in those ten years, too many to remember. The last year has been a particularly good one for new connections. I moved a couple of times and with each of those moves things have changed. There are many people who’ve made the last year a great one and I hesitate to name them lest I forget a few. I trust that they know who they are and that they know how much I appreciate the role that they’ve played in my life in a year that has been at times immensely challenging and at times immensely rewarding.

I’ve explored up and down the coast I live on now. I’ve traveled through Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, and (of course) California. This home of mine has been good to me. It’s offered my camera and I the opportunity to see things I only imagined when I lived in Toronto. The words canyon and chasm and valley and mountain are part of my daily vernacular in a way they never were before. I’ve traveled by car, by train, by motorcycle and by bicycle. I’m hoping to spend ten more years doing the same. There are people I’ve met and places I’ve been that I’d like to see again.

It’s been ten years today since I moved to Vancouver. I’d like to thank the people who’ve made the last ten years special. I’d like to apologize to the people I’ve disappointed or let down in those ten years. I’d like to spend the next ten years trying to do better.

It was ten years ago today I called Vancouver home for the first time. It’s been a great ten years.

Posted by skooter at 2:54 AM
Tags: Friends, Narcicism, Vancouver

March 26, 2008
27.3 Kilometres

27.3 Kilometres is the length of a return trip on my new commute to work, largely along Vancouver’s Midtown bike route out to Boundary Road, crossing every major street in the city. It’s quite pleasant really, a bit hillier than I’d thought, but not too bad.

I pass a cemetery, several chinese restaurants, the Purdy’s Chocolate factory, the biggest liquor store in the city and the headquarters of Burnaby’s Electronic Arts Inc.

This is twice as long as my old commute, and it takes about twice as long to ride it (about an hour door to door, including time to get changed.) I’m not sure how it will feel when winter comes, with its relentless rain: new, more powerful, headlights might be a good idea but that’s a decision that can wait for a few months. Spring (with its promise of summer looming just around the corner), is a great time to change jobs for a bicycle commuter. It’s just nicer to ride with long days of sunshine (such as it is in Vancouver, of course.)

Tonight it rained on the way home, quite a bit as it turns out. I didn’t mind too much: at least I was on two wheels.

Posted by skooter at 2:01 AM
Tags: Commute, Cycling, Vancouver, Work

January 2, 2008
Top of Red Mountain, January 1, 2008

Top of Red Mountain, January 1, 2008 it’s cold up at the top of Red Mountain. Fast, packed snow and a steep hill made for a fun day.

Posted by skooter at 7:18 PM
Tags: Me, Snowboarding

October 21, 2007
Not For The Season

The carbs have been drained, the battery is out and being stored indoors and Sparky, my much maligned 1982 Yamaha Virago is in the garage for the year.

I didn’t ride as much this year as last, but next year looks like it should be a blast: a convention in Vegas in June means a long trip. There is, after all, only one way to get to Vegas.

Posted by skooter at 5:29 PM
Tags: Fall, Motorcycle, Virago

January 1, 2007
Step Aside 2006, it's time for 2007

2006 was year that started with good friends having a baby and ended with good friends having a baby and a visit to my Grandfather for the first time since he passed away.

In between I worked at a new job, took a motorcycle to California for my 35th birthday, bicycled to work almost every day, met some phenomenal and astonishing new people, took a very good and informative course at Simon Fraser University, logged significant quality time on Bowen Island and played a really small but enjoyable part in the lives of two other new babies — Benjamin and Elizabeth, and cheered as my friends had their own personal triumphs from taking part in marathons to triathlons to getting married.

If you’d asked me three years ago I wouldn’t have guessed it, but the year I turned 35 has been the best year of my life.

There’s a whole new year in town, and this means a whole new list of things to get done.

With baby Kuxdorf born, but my departure scheduled, I’ll probably need to make another trip to Toronto this year to meet the little man (in addition to another expected arrival) most likely in September or October this time.

Other plans include an off continent jaunt to drink a bottle of wine, finally cycling the Kettle Valley Railway, camping at least once at Garibaldi Lake, camping on Orca’s Island going the whole way from Vancouver by bicycle, paddling the Bowron Lakes Canoe Route with a bunch of friends, working with my camera quite a bit more, spending more quality time with the children in my life (not too mention their parents), a new laptop (but not a motorcycle…yet), continuing to focus on success at my current job while also getting back on track with my long term career goals and getting back into the kind of physical shape I’d like to be in for the long term.

It seems like a long list, but a year is a long time and I can’t wait to get started.

Posted by skooter at 5:18 AM
Tags: Cycling, Resolutions, Vacation

September 18, 2006
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
Tags: Articles, Work

July 30, 2006
Technical Changes

I’ve spent much of this sunny, gorgeous Vancouver morning indoors making some technical changes to the structure of the site. Things should appear to be completely unchanged — these are performance related improvements for the most part.

Some of the galleries have been relocated as part of a physical content restructuring which may affect any bookmarks. Apologies for any confusion caused.

Posted by skooter at 2:27 PM
Tags: Movable Type, Personal, Technology

October 28, 2005
Scooter Libby

With the resignation of Scooter Libby, I will resume my quest to become the World’s Most Famous Scooter (or Skooter, as the case may be.)

Posted by skooter at 2:48 PM

July 11, 2005
My Birthday's Coming Up

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the 31st but the 30th of August.

Looking for present ideas? Look no further.

Posted by skooter at 9:49 PM
Tags: Birthday, Star Wars

June 23, 2005
Seven and Three Eigths kids. Read on.

If the headline were 100% true, I would rule as your king.

GeekInformed.com | - Bigger Brains Linked to Higher IQ

The article takes a more realistic view.

Posted by skooter at 2:16 PM

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