Cypress Mountain December 28

The heavy snowfall the last couple of weeks is the prime topic of discussion on the lifts. Everyone agrees the conditions are the best they’ve been in years. Even though the season got off to a sketchy start, the last 2 weeks has brought fresh snow almost every day.

For more photos, visit my Cypress set at Flickr.

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The Cypress Mountain road this morning, well before the first big hairpin. Early this morning they were stopping cars to check for winter tires or chains, but the road seemed to me to be in better condition today than the last few times we were up.

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Loads of powder everywhere. We hit the first lift up again today.

Boxing Day Snowboarding

Great snow on Cypress Mountain this morning. MB and I managed to be first into a couple of different areas and enjoyed carving through the powder. There’s a ton of snow and the temperature is just above freezing – so it’s pretty comfortable riding except for the heavy fog this morning.

We head up for opening and usually bail by noon when the lift lines start to get too heavy. Nice to live so close.

For more pictures, visit my Cypress set at Flickr.

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First lift of the day, Lion’s Express chair, Cypress Mountain on Vancouver’s North Shore.

You can see how few people are there at 8:30 in the morning.

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Our 4th run of the morning, there’s still lots of powder to be found if you can see through the fog.

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Self, with the Optio W30 (waterproof) which spends the winter in my snowboarding jacket pocket.

High Risk Holiday Time

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Great.

The world is consumed by the holiday spirit.

Hey, lets be careful out there.

California:

Stranded in the snowy California woods for three days after losing their way while searching for a Christmas tree, a father and his three children fashioned a “Help” sign out of twigs on a nearby unpaved road, according to the helicopter pilots who found them. > more

Rio De Janeiro:

Authorities say a helicopter carrying a Santa Claus to distribute gifts at a Christmas party came under fire when it flew over a Rio shantytown. Two rifle shots hit the chopper in Sunday’s incident.
Police Insp. Aldari Vianna says no one was hurt and the aircraft returned safely to base. He says gang members apparently mistook the aircraft for a police helicopter. > more

Paris:

The state prosecutor for serious economic crimes charged the Christmas Tree Growers Association with anticompetitive price fixing and said he would bring the growers to court in the spring. > more


Spokane Washington:

A man dressed as Santa Claus was knocked unconscious by a thrown object that hit his face while he was riding on the back of a truck decorated as a sleigh. Kevin Smith says he never saw what hit him Saturday. Whatever it was, it broke his nose and gave him a concussion and two black eyes. > more

Hope Santa’s checking his insurance, twice.

A Furry Christmas on the West Coast

Ok Canada.

Time to laugh and laugh and laugh at people from BC, yet again…

A new Ipsos Reid poll reveals that six-in-ten (61%) pet owners in British Columbia plan to buy (or have already bought) a present for one or more of their pets this holiday season. This includes 68% of dog owners, 61% of cat owners and 54% of other pet owners (e.g. fish, birds, rabbits, hamsters). Women pet owners (65%) are more likely than men (53%) to say they plan to buy a gift for their pet. Full story here

The Ipsos story has more facts about the kinds of things pet owners buy. My favourite is “13% of pet owners plan to make their pet a special holiday dinner.”

Now I’ll admit that our family is a little abnormal, we don’t go crazy with presents at Christmas, so Ozzie the Cat, cute as he is, is getting nada from St. Nick.

This is a bit of a drag.

Being a west coast cat, he’d really like a new Prius to sit on.

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CBC to use UK based company to sell internationally

CBC plans to move it’s international sales out of house

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Fireworks International, a division of ContentFilm, today announced an agreement by which Fireworks will acquire the international distribution rights and assets currently managed by CBC’s division responsible for international sales. full story in Broadcaster

The Broadcaster story doesn’t mention how many folks in the CBC ‘division’ are affected by the change.  Fireworks and ContentFilm are based in London UK with an office in Los Angeles. From their web site:

Fireworks International, a division of the UK’s ContentFilm plc, acquires and distributes an extensive slate of television programs, feature films and digital content throughout the world. Fireworks’ library of over 2000 hours of programming includes BLOOD TIES, twenty-two hours of mystery drama with a twist of the supernatural; HEAVY Worldwide’s newest comedy and animated series as well as library from the highly successful U.S. digital brand HEAVY.com; kids’ gothic horror comedy series YOUNG DRACULA from CBBC; comedy series THE JANE SHOW and U.S. mystery drama series WHISTLER; along with action/adventure series Gene Roddenberry’s ANDROMEDA, MUTANT X, and RELIC HUNTER; children’s programs BLACK HOLE HIGH, 100 DEEDS FOR EDDIE MCDOWD, CAITLIN’S WAY; plus over 200 U.S. network miniseries and TV movies of the week; and over 100 theatrical feature films, and specials including the 2006 and 2007 Annual U.S. PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS shows.

And You Thought Canadian Musicians Had it Rough

Country music stars in Mexico are being killed at an alarming rate – 13 in the past year and a half, 3 already in December – in a trend that has gone hand in hand with the surge in violence between drug gangs here.

None of the cases have been solved. And all have borne the signs of Mexican underworld executions, sending a chill through the ranks of other “grupero” musicians, who sing to a country beat about love, violence and drugs in modern Mexico.

The full story in the IHT.

Lee Valley Tools Snowboarding Coolness

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So you just spent a couple hundred bucks on some super cool Oakley goggles, eh?

You just know they’re going to spend more time bouncing around in the trunk getting scratched up than on your head, right ?

Time to put the DIY back in boarding, don’t you think ?

These babies MB is modeling have plenty of air vents, they don’t scratch easily, and if some random wood splinters came flying at you while you’re doing some sick moves on a double-black-diamond – no worries.

All that and more, for just $9.95 CAN at Lee Valley Tools.

Coast Mountain Forced to Provide Service during Christmas Week

Looks like Coast Mountain has been forced to drop its controversial “holiday week” schedule. This update today in the comments section of my blog post from a driver:

We the drivers were against this from the beginning. Our union immediatly challenged this decision and put it to arbitration. The result is a good one. The holiday week has been canceled and should not rear its ugly head for the rest of our contract. This will probably become a heated issue during our next contract talks in 2010.

Just remember, they did NOT reverse their decision, they were denied from enforcing it. We. the drivers, and our union CAW111 had this thrown out.

All I can say is Horray ! and thanks to the drivers union for pushing this one off the Coast Mountain Table.

Flickr is Bringing On The Stats

We’ve always been able to get basic info on how many views photos receive, but now Flickr is introducing real stats reports. From the Flickr blog

We’ve introduced a new feature for our pro members: stats!
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you — we’ve launched another of our most often requested features. Yay!

and from the Flickr faq

[Stats are] designed to give you insight into the ways that people are finding your photos. There are stats available for people surfing on Flickr itself – where the referrer is flickr.com – and stats about people coming from other websites. We can show you the sorts of things people search for on search engines where your photos turn up, and tell you how many views your photos have in a week, or for all time.

Yah.  Can’t wait to start making graphs from the Flickr data.

We Need Snow on the North Shore Mountains

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Yikes. GB and I went up to Cypress today, even though we knew the only lift open was the Easy Rider chair which services the bunny hill (Runway).

I was really surprised to see how little snow there is on the mountain. Thanks to last week’s pineapple express, there’s no base left what-so-ever, even though the web site says they have 61 cm at mid-mountain. You can see from this picture at the top of the Easy Rider lift that the terrain above is pretty much rocks.

When you drive up you can see most of the way up the mountain, and there’s very little snow up there – the runs are all showing gravel or grass through the light dusting of snow. I actually think there was more snow in mid-October than there is today.

I gather they’re hauling snow up from the parking lots to keep the bunny hill open, which means it’s festooned with bits of rock and gravel. So if you’re going up, better buy some P-Tex. Better yet, leave your good board at home.

It sure brings home the vagaries of local weather. Last year, most of the mountain was open by mid-November.

I’m disappointed to hear the forecast calls for clearing tomorrow. Damn. We just need a couple of days of snowfall like we had a couple of weeks ago and we should be good to go.

I’m doing a snow dance tonite.

Naked.

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The Mac Messes Up Too

I’m about a year and a half into my Mac conversion (My name is Robert, and I’m a Windows User).

I’m crazy about my MacBook Pro, but I have to be honest, in terms of hardware and software issues, its probably been more trouble than any of my previous laptops.

First there was the battery recall. Then my “magsafe” plug burned up. I’ve also gone through 2 keyboards (not on the MacBook itself, but regular full sized and NEW Mac keyboards). And the click button on my MacBook is sticky and has been for ages now. By comparison, my old Sony Viao only suffered a battery recall, is 6 years old and still running great.

It’s true the Mac doesn’t suffer the blue screen of death. It has a much prettier version, where a multi-language notice comes up all transparent like and tells you the machine is shutting down. A crash that’s so graceful and pretty is, well, so un-crash-like.

Since updating to Leopard I’ve had a myriad of software issues. I also find that I have to institute Mac’s version of CTL-ALT-DEL pretty often, except Mac calls is ‘force quit’ and it’s, well, every so graceful as well.

For you PC users – does any of this sound familiar ?

I’m just saying.

But here’s the thing. I’ve never had warranty service as outstanding as Apple Care. When I was going to switch to Mac, my pal Loc said whatever I did, make sure to buy Apple Care.

I did, and I’ve not regretted the expense.

Why ?

Because when I call to get something fixed, they fix/replace it right away, no questions asked. And they do things fast. When I called about my burned-up magsafe plug, I received a replacement via courier THE NEXT DAY.

I’m sure there are loads of Macs that never suffer any issues. However, don’t buy the hype because I don’t think my experience is all that unusual.

The thing that’s saved the entire switch for me – Apple Care.

Former Prime Minister Assualted

Do you remember this man ? Obviously someone in Montreal does.

Joe Clark

We’re just finding out now about an incident in downtown Montreal that saw former Prime Minister Joe Clark get punched in the face

“A fellow called my name and said: ‘Are you Joe Clark, the former prime minister?’ ” Clark said in an interview yesterday.

“My initial response was to say ‘Hi,’ and off I went. He then came along beside me and repeated it. And I said, ‘Yes.’ And he then hit me once on the face. He then swiveled and was away quickly.” Clark said he was shocked but not severely injured. Full story in the Montreal Gazette

This happened the 3rd week in November – and Clark didn’t actually report it to police until two days later.

Terrible News from Scotland

I’m a Scot by marriage only, but this is devastating news

More than 10,000 bottles of single malt Scotch Whisky have been stolen in a raid, police have revealed.

The bottles of Bowmore Islay Single Malt, with a retail value of almost £300,000, were taken from a haulier in Hertfordshire on Tuesday.

The haul included various aged bottles of Bowmore, from 12 years old to 25 years old.

full story at BBC online

EB and I spent our honeymoon driving around Northern Scotland in a much-too-small rental car, and we did visit the occasional distillery.

You’d never drink the stuff if you had a wiff of the residue, but there’s something about a single malt that’ll make a Scot out of just about anyone.

A lump of coal for Christmas for the mastermind behind this cruel assault on Scottish sensibility (and good taste).

I think we should all visit the Bowmore web site and pay our respect.

Hang on, I see you can even order on line or rent one of their cottages.  Rent a cottage at a Scotch distillery ?  Hmmmm, I might be busy for a bit…

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