Summer Never Ends

We had every intention of getting up early today and doing a circumnavigation of Bowen Island.

But given that this is the last weekend before school starts, we decided to let the boys sleep in.

So we got a late morning start on the boat, and managed to catch some nice in-flow breeze in Howe Sound with Madsu cruising to weather at 5 knots.

Heading back to Horseshoe Bay at the end of the day we played with the cruising chute a bit in the super light breeze ahead of the shift to an outflow.

Nice way to spend another summer afternoon on the west coast.

Go Figure for Aug 27

  • Just how much traction has the organic food movement developed ? Apparently enough to attract Blueberry Hijackers.
  • Ever wonder why you keep getting so much spam ? You’d think those spammers would call it a day considering we throw all their stuff in the junk heap. Or do we ?
  • When times get tough, the rich go shopping. At Cosco.
  • Shopping for high end clothes will never be the same, now that Wallace and Gromit are on the case.
  • And they claim the cows are mad ? This loony British farmer crossed the Bering Straits in his Land Rover.
  • Still on that side of the pond… with the price of feed what it is, this makes total sense. I think. Tiny Household Cows.
  • I’m totally bummed about this cancellation, and I know my friend Dave T was looking forward to it as well. Apparently Nuns on the Catwalk won’t be happening after all.

Liquid Sunshine

The day’s rain scented the neighbourhood with freshness impossible to duplicate. Grouse Mountain was nowhere to be seen, engulfed in a thick cloud that drifted down to the street and hung on the neighbourhood trees.

So I turned my lens on what was close at hand, fruit and flowers hanging on to the day’s raindrops.

Sadly, many of our neighbours had their automatic-in-ground sprinklers running.

Pie In Waiting

Some of my neighbours find it odd that I’ve got fruit trees in the front yard.

They seem to think that front yards are for golf-course-like-manicured-lawns that you pour water and chemicals on all summer, and heaven forbid you should walk or play on it.

Not sure they appreciate the tether-ball in the front yard either.

Guess they won’t be getting any pie.

August Full Moon Sail

When I put Madsu in the water this spring, I challenged myself to get in as many full moon sails as I could this summer.

The weather has been super cooperative – with another clear night last night (August 16th) for my third full moon sail this summer (see June and July).

It was one of the hottest days of the summer and I’d hoped for a nice offshore breeze once the sun went down, but no luck – just a few puffs off the bluffs at Whytecliff Park. So, I didn’t get as much sailing in as past full moon nights, but it was still inspiring to see that huge orb slow rise over the West Van hills.

Perhaps as a way of making up for the lack of wind, there was a wonderful sunset. The sky over Bowen Island turned crimson and reflected back on Madsu’s wake. Nice. Also out and getting an eye full was the massive motor yacht Nova Spirit which passed me inbound to Vancouver.

Now if I could just figure out how to do a long exposure on a moving boat, maybe I could get an actual shot of the moon…

Hockey Stars from Citizens Bank launched earlier this week. It’s a fun tool for anyone playing hockey and I was fortunate enough to help with a small part of the site.

I recorded and produced the audio you hear in the flash movies – there are more of them once you’ve registered.

It was loads of fun to work on. Hanging out at the rink all day reminded me of when I was a kid and spending the day at the DMCC arena in Dauphin.

Here’s what the site is about:

HockeyStars is devoted to the real stars of the game. It’s a free online community for amateur hockey players, coaches, parents and volunteers.

It’s where players come to connect with their teams and others in the community, and where managers and coaches can use online management tools to make team communication and operations easier. HockeyStars makes it easy to share game schedules, statistics, photos, videos and messages with teammates, family and fans.

HockeyStars is powered by Citizens Bank of Canada, a national online bank backed by the ethical grounding that comes from being part of the Vancity Group. Formed in 1997, we have a strong focus on corporate social responsibility and are the only bank in Canada with a clear ethical policy.

What does banking have to do with hockey? Well, some banks open new branches to serve the community around them. We’re opening online branches—small, online communities built around a common interest, like hockey. Through HockeyStars we hope to give back to the community while helping to raise a generation of young savers.

Hilarious Community Engagement Trailer

James Glave is at it again.

Not satisfied with writing a wonderful book called Almost Green, James is also making some hilarious videos as a means of promoting the book.

Created with Cam Hayduk, they’re cheeky, gutsy and irreverent – 100% Glave.

The first two are online at his web site – I think there will be more coming.

Sleepy Bowen Island gets to be a star as well – not since The Beachcombers has that side of Howe Sound had so much attention !

Solar Charging My Mobile Phone

It’s a bit convoluted, but while sailing this morning I was also using the sun to charge my mobile. There’s something magic about silently ghosting along under sail – added bonus is charging batteries at the same time.

On a sailboat, you typically charge up your batteries while using the engine. Just like in your car, an alternator on the motor charges the 12 or 6 v batteries on the boat. But since there is no alternator on Madsu’s old outboard, the only way to charge the 12 volt batteries that run the lights and other on board equipment is to use a battery charger plugged in while at the dock. I do have a 110v AC marine trickle charger installed, but all last season and so far this season, I’ve relied on a 14 x 14 solar panel I bought at West Marine.

It trickle charges the batteries and I’ve not had to plug-in to shore power since I bought it. I put a switch on the panel so that I can send the charge to either one of the two batteries on board, and so far, I’m super happy with the performance of the little panel. I mount it on the stern pushpit, clamped to the rail mount I use for the Force 10 BBQ which is stowed unless I’m using it.

When it was on sale last year, I also bought a small (coffee cup sized) inverter. It plugs into the cigarette lighter socket on the boat and outputs AC. Today I used it to charge my cell phone. I don’t have a 12v charger for the mobile, and don’t need to buy one. The solar panel charges the batteries, the batteries provide power to the inverter, and the inverter outputs AC to my standard phone charger. Nice.

Canada’s Big Media Still Big

I know with the long weekend ahead, you’ve been wondering about the state of media in Canada – now you can rest easy and enjoy that extra day off.

Big Media in Canada is doing just fine.



The CRTC today released its Communications Monitoring Report. In the past the Commission published one report on the state of broadcasting, and one on the telecommunications industry, and this is the first of their ‘converged’ reports – presumably to reflect the state of the industry.

The report makes it clear that the Canadian broadcast sector is doing just fine, despite dire warnings of its impending demise thanks to the internet. The report also shows just how big a role the internet plays in our every day lives and consumption of entertainment.

Here are some facts pulled from the CRTC report.


  • Revenues for private commercial radio stations increased by 6.2%, from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $1.5 billion in 2007.
  • Commercial television revenues increased 4.3%, or $218 million, from $5 billion in 2006 to $5.3 billion in 2007. This was largely due to increased subscriber revenues of $152 million.
  • Revenues for specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services increased by 9%, rising from $2.5 billion in 2006 to $2.7 billion in 2007.
  • Revenues for private conventional television broadcasters went from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 1.3%. During this period, revenues for English-language stations grew by 2% to $1.8 billion, while those for French-language stations fell by 2% to $381 million
  • Online advertising continued to experience growth, with spending rising from $900 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2007.

English Canadian use of…

  • RADIO: 18.3 hours of per week
  • TV: 26.8 hours of per week
  • INTERNET: 13.4 hours per wee


  • The number of Canadians who have watched a video online has more than doubled over the past three years, with user-generated content being more popular than professionally produced programs.
  • Among the more popular online activities in 2007, 36% of Canadians watched a video, 16% listened to a streaming radio station and 17% downloaded music.
  • 11% of Canadians reported downloading and listening to a podcast on either their computer or an MP3 player, an activity that is seen as a complement to conventional broadcasting.

It may just be a case of bad timing, but just a couple of weeks ago, a CBC submission to the CRTC more-or-less argued Canadians aren’t using the Internet for entertainment. (you can read the CBC’s full position here)

Today’s CRTC report shows that we are in fact using the internet for entertainment. One of the most popular online activites happens to be…watching videos. At the end of the day, regardless of the facts, the CBC’s argument in it’s submission seems to be that since it hasn’t figured out how to make money online, online shouldn’t be considered a business opportunity for Canadian broadcasters.

Given that traditional broadcast is still showing yearly increases in revenue, I’m not sure they’re in any hurry to try figure out how to make money online, despite the fact that Canadians are consuming a huge amount of content online. To my mind, that bodes well for smart nimble companies that can jump into this obviously ripe market while the ‘big boys’ sit back and wait for it to be a more predictable business opportunity.

(cross posted here)