Stressed Again Podcast for Capers

roundhouse community centre

Just posted the latest podcast for Capers Community Markets. It was quite challenging to record, and I opted for a shotgun mic on a stick (film style) so I could work the room.

The event was The Capers Community Café, an innovative way of approaching a discussion about health. Its free to attend, and Capers brings in its group of health professionals called the Capers Integrated Health Network. They span a variety of disciplines, and having five or six of them in the room together is a real bonus.

But it gets better. Instead of using a top-down approach, or a panel discussion, Capers uses the community café scenario to engage everyone in a conversation.

What it means is that the whole room gets into small pockets of conversation on a variety of topics related to the subject at hand. In this case, the subject was stress.

The process was really intrigueing to watch – and super hard to document – but I think it worked out ok.

You can grab the podcast here, or from the Caper’s RSS feed.

Recorded on location at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver.

Snakes, Dogs and The 2nd Last Woody Ever

Clearly, it’s TGIF.

Snake Story One – from Isreal. Just what you always wants as part of a relaxing massage…

For 300 shekels ($70), clients at Ada Barak’s spa in northern Israel can add a wild twist to their treatment by having six non-venomous but very lively serpents slither and hiss a path across their aching muscles and stiff joints.

Snake Story Two – from Malaysia. A 7.1 metre python with a healthy appetite devours 11 gaurd dogs…

I was shocked to see such a huge python,” orchard-keeper Ali Yusof told the New Straits Times in an article published beneath a picture of the captured snake, which was almost long enough to span the width of a tennis court and as thick as a tree trunk

Dog Two One – from Dallas Texas. “Yahoo Honey – lets me and you take doggie out to dinner”…

Eateries may now apply for a local variance to state laws that prohibit animals on restaurant premises, according to the measure, which passed 8-5 on Wednesday.

“Animals are their children. I can’t blame anyone” for wanting to dine with their pets, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia said. “You have a choice. You don’t have to be there. The standards are clear in this ordinance. More than anything, it’s an option for our businesses here.”

Dog Story Two – from Dorset, England, by way of France. “Yahoo Honey – lets me and doggie get married”…

Emma Knight, 41, was dumped two weeks before her wedding to Paul Fox, 37.
To cheer herself up she decided to go ahead with her wedding reception anyway.
She dressed her faithful dog Dennis up as the bridegroom and he was treated to a piece of the four-tier wedding cake. Emma wore the £1,500 wedding dress she had bought and partied until the small hours with her 100 guests

Woody be Gone – The Pros and Cons of Being an Iguana…

Mozart, an iguana with an erection that has lasted for over a week, will have his penis amputated in the next couple of days. Veterinarians at Antwerp’s Aquatopia had sought to treat the animal’s problem, but decided removal was the only solution because of the risk of infection. The good news for Mozart and his mates is that male iguanas have two penises.

Confessions of an RSS Junkie

I can’t imagine how I functioned before RSS feeds.

I’m in no hurry to find a seven step program, because this addiction saves me time, keeps me informed, and entertained.

The closest thing I can compare it to is working in a newsroom, where I had access to news feeds from a variety of sources. All that’s missing is the teletype clattering in the background (now I’m really dating myself).

If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, or haven’t ever used one, Wired news has a really helpful article out about RSS and how its going to become much more well known thanks to Microsoft’s new Vista operating system. It’s really due to Internet Explorer 7 which is bundled with Vista – it sports a built in RSS reader. The Wired article is a nice primer on getting started, if you’ve been hesitant, give it a whirl.

Google Reader is getting loads of great comments from RSS junkies everywhere.

Me, my RSS tool of choice is NetNewsWire on the Mac and from the same people, Feed Demon for the PC. Outstanding.

'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

sky chair

We had a great day riding the black runs off Sky Chair on Cypress this morning.  I’m stiff and sore from some crazy play in the fresh snow – it was snowing when we got there and snowing when we left.

Early in the day we hit Rainbow for some speedy trips through the fluff – there were hardly any people on the run so my occasional wipe-outs didn’t disturb anyone (but me). 

We interupted our Sky runs for a few romps down Humpty Dumpty which was a magic combination of kickers and deep powder.   


LEDs making their way to your house soon

My friend Andre from GreenTable was over the other day to borrow some gear, and he was telling me about some new LEDs that are starting to make their way into restaurants and other commercial settings.

They replace small halogen bulbs, providing the same amount of light with little or no heat, and with the added advantage of drawing very little power.

They’re still pretty expensive – in the 30-dollar range – but last 100 times longer than a typical halogen bulb. I’m looking forward to switching mine out for these when the price is right.

Meanwhile, one company hopes to bring much cheaper LEDs to market later this year…

The company, which specializes in light-emitting diodes, plans to reveal in about four months prototypes of a new style of white-light LEDs that would both cost substantially less to manufacture and provide more light than conventional LEDs.

Combined, the two advantages would enable light fixtures based on LEDs, which are now relatively expensive, to better compete with traditional lamps based on conventional glass bulbs and fluorescent lights, according to Cyberlux President Mark Schmidt. Full story at Cnet

UK – Higher Fees for Public, Less Money for BBC

Variety has a front page report on the funding situation at the BBC…

The BBC’s worst fears were confirmed Thursday as the British government announced the pubcaster’s funding for the next six years — some £2 billion ($3.9 billion) less than it had sought…BBC director general Mark Thompson said the deal was “a real disappointment” as media minister Tessa Jowell outlined increases to the current $258 fee payable by all U.K. households that watch TV.

The Fozzie Bear of Radio Shows

Lots of comments on the CBC blog about CBC radio’s upcoming changes.

Here’s one that’s succinct and to the point. If you don’t get the references, no worries, the pull quote is priceless:

Eric S. Smith Says:
January 18th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

So they’re ditching Brave New Waves, Global Village, and even Radio 3, but keeping “Go!”, which, I’m sorry, is the Fozzie Bear of radio shows, *and* giving us a Jian Ghomeshi OD?

Thanks for nothing.

If you follow the thread back what you won’t see is any kind of historical perspective on all of this. Basically, these changes complete a desire to purge CBC of programming and ideas that got a small toe hold in the late 70’s when pop music infiltrated the hallowed halls of CBC radio. Programs like 90 Minutes with a Bullet and The Great Canadian Goldrush originated from someplace other than Toronto (Winnipeg and Vancouver respectively) and put CBC on the map with a whole generation, despite the fact they weren’t on the air very long.

Brave New Waves came a bit later, but is the last remnant of that era. CBC Radio 3 is a virtual Johnny-Come-Lately having shown up in 2000, but had huge impact because of its forward thinking approach to the web and plugging into content creators directly.

Of course, none of these things should be on the publicly funded airwaves – far better to push them off to extremely limited penetration pay-services like Sirius and provide a sop to the rest of the audience by giving them an hour of podcasts every week. Meanwhile, a perfectly good FM network that stretches from sea to sea continues to serve a very select and particular audience.

Welcome back to the 60’s era public broadcasting in Canada.

Free is the New Paid

It’s the best quote I’ve seen in days…via the International Herald Trubune

After spending millions of dollars over the past decade fighting the free exchange of their products over the Internet, some media companies are now yielding. The best way to get something in return, they are deciding, may be to accept that consumers want to play but few seem to want to pay. If enough of them join the game, there can still be a payback — either from consumers themselves or, increasingly, from advertisers.

“Free is the new paid,” said Kenneth Parks, chief operating officer of Brilliant Technologies, a company based in New York and Melbourne that is developing a service called Qtrax, which will provide free music — legally — to Internet users.

Media, Meet Media

Accountability takes on many forms. From The New York Times, a story about bloggers making an impact with San Francisco media heavies…

via The New York Times

A San Francisco talk radio station pre-empted three hours of programming on Friday in response to a campaign by bloggers who have recorded extreme comments by several hosts and passed on digital copies to advertisers.

The lead blogger, who uses the name Spocko, said that he and other bloggers had contacted more than 30 advertisers on KSFO-AM to inform them of comments made on the air and to ask them to pull their ads.

Black Mountain Morning

black mountain

A good view of the runs on Black Mountain, at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, while riding the Sunrise Quad up Mount Strachan first thing in the morning.

The straight run at the far left, middle of the frame, is the new section that will be the moguls and aerials venue at the 2010 Olympics.  I’ve put a  larger photo showing more of the aerials and moguls section at Flickr.

Verchere and the Janitor

cypress mountain

Sunrise Chair – Cypress Mountain – 14 Jan 07

I ran into Ian Verchere at Cypress Bowl today. Ian’s the Chief Creative Officer at ShiftControlMedia, a great guy, and great skier.

I know him from my stint at Radical Entertainment in 1998-99, back when the company was still on Homer Street in Yaletown.

Back then, for some reason, I wore my keys on a carabiner on my belt, and when I walked they’d jingle-jangle-jingle.

Because of where our team room was situation, I used to walk by Ian’s office about 20 times a day, keys jingling all the way. He was always really polite about it, but I’m pretty sure for the first while I worked there, he was convinced I was the new janitor.

Ian’s written a great book about the glory days of Whistler, VON1B0.

There’s a review, excerpts and loads of pictures in The Tyee. It’s really valuable having Ian’s insights into the little town, the people, and the psyche of the place before it turned into the world renowned destination it has become, and in the process completely changing what it was.

Grab it will it’s on sale, either at Amazonor Chapters.Indigo.

CBC's Early Streaming Audio Remembered

CBC’s internal blog marks milestones in the company’s history. 

This weekend Tod Maffin posted regarding the program RealTime and its early entry into streaming audio on the internet.  Tod asked if I could paint the picture of what that was like.  The full post at

Our entire connection to the internet was a 14.4 phone modem in our offices on C-floor. CBC had no corporate internet connection then. We’d encode the files, then Loc would run out of the control room during the news and start a command line FTP program to send the files to Seattle, where Progressive Networks would mount them and serve them…

Our boss in Vancouver, the late Susan Englebert, was brilliant in letting us squirrel away in the bowels of the CBC building and running interference when someone tried to shut down the work we were doing. Audio streaming at CBC would never have happened if Susan Englebert hadn’t made it possible, simple as that.


Five Things I Know About Moose

canadian moose 

  1. In high school, our biology teacher Mr. Wally took us for a field trip to a floating bog in Riding Mountain National Park. Two major events happened during this outing.  One of our class members fell through through the delicate bog surface and almost disappeared into 5 metres of bog water. The other thing that happened was Mr. Wally’s moose-call. We all thought it was hilarious, until a mom moose actually showed up with calf, scaring the living crap out of all of us – Mr. Wally included.  Moose have this in common with side-view mirrors;  things are much larger than they appear. 
  2. Moose have bad eyesight. Really bad eyesight. They rely on smell to figure out if you’re a relatively innocuous backwoodsman or a scared sh*tless teenage biology student.
  3. In the summer, moose eat leaves, twigs, shrubs and water plants in great quantity. A large moose will eat 25 to 30 kilograms of stuff a day. They will also dive up to 5 metres to feed on lilies or any wayward high school biology students who may be found nearby.
  4. Baby moose look pretty wonky on their pegs, and are helpless for the first few days after birth. However, they quickly find their legs, and within a couple of days they can outrun an adult human. The only thing faster than a baby moose is a frightened teenage biology student.
  5. Northern Voice is an awesome conference in Vancouver that has a Moose for logo.  The mere logo itself instills fear in every one of Mr. Wally’s class of ’74 grade XII biology students. After years of therapy, many of us have learned to face the fear and Embrace the Moose!

Moose facts courtesy Hinterland’s Who’s Who (hum the theme, I know you want to).  No actual high school students were harmed during the field trip, but everything else is true.  Mr. Wally is a real person, and was the best high school biology teacher I ever had.  He was also the only high school biology teacher I ever had.  This post was inspired by kk’s reminder to sign up for Northern Voice.  I did, you should too.