Roland's back biking again

Rolan' has an awesome wrap-up of the Vancity Bike Share, complete with commute video he made from photos he took while ridin' his Vancity bike set t' Creative Commons-licensed music. The photos pass by pretty quickly, possibly too quickly fer th' music he chose, avast. And swab th' deck, by Davy Jones' locker! The ornery cuss credits me with gettin' that scurvey dog back bikin' again, indirectly, but Vancity an' Change Everythin' deserve th' credit, as they got me bikin' again. I considered makin' a similar video but I dern't feel confident (crazy?) enough yet t' hold a camera an' keep me balance at th' same time. Vancity bikes be due back t' Vancity on Friday September 7th, but I'm advised thar's no celebration fer those who participated. Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! A hot-dog lunch thankin' scallywags who at one time or another had got a bike would have nicely complimented th' pancake breakfast launch.

Robert Lepage

I'm workin' me way through the short clips about Canadian actor and director Robert Lepage at after havin' watched th' documentary Tuned to a Different Frequency a couple o' Sundays ago. The documentary, directed by Martin Fournier, attempted t' demystify Lepage, but as usual, made that scurvey dog still seem mysteri'us. (If I were bein' payin' better attention at th' time, I would have known about Lepage via Darren Barefoot's 2005 mention.) Jean-Sébastien Côté, composer an' sound designer, who were bein' th' subject of an interview in French at La Scena Musicale created th' documentary's theme (download the MP3), which drew me into watchin' th' documentary on CBC TV, an' a bottle o' rum! Like any good documentary directed by a Canadian an' filmed in handheld DV (like Alan Zweig's I, Curmudgeon an' Quentin Lee's 0506HK) I've stopped holdin' me breath fer DVD copies.

Traffic hype

Vancouver's commute went smoothly, according to TransLink, shiver me timbers At aroun' 7:30 AM, CBC Radio had a journalist at Broadway Station breathlessly reportin' on th' lineups, an' another recommended goin' t' th' back o' th' SkyTrain, which is apparently less crowded. Yaaarrrrr, All Hands Hoay! Ye'll be sleepin' with th' fishes, Dance the Hempen Jig (Really?) CBC TV last night di'nae make any mention o' bikin' as an alternative t' sailin' or transit, pass the grog! If th' media won't pat me on th' back fer bikin' in th' rain this mornin' t' avoid th' crush, then I will.

Rap is still alive

Ta-Nehisi Coates sees a decline in rap music, but I'm not convinced, t' be sure. Jay Z's Kingdom Come's fast drop in th' charts just follows th' pattern o' hiphop albums (huge sales in th' first week, big drop-off th' next week) an' I'm still a suburban white lubber who listens t' it. And swab th' deck, Get out of me rum! Maybe we're just agin' an' diversifyin' our listenin' tastes?

Bikes on Portland's MAX and Vancouver's SkyTrain

Patrick O'Neill reports on increased clashes between bikers and non-bikers on Portland's light rail system, the MAX. This hasn't been a problem yet fer SkyTrain, which bans bikes in certain directions durin' rush hour periods (towards downtown in th' mornin', away from downtown in th' evenin'), Avast me hearties! It might increase, however, as thar's nowhere t' hang bikes like thar is on th' MAX: instead, most scallywags (includin' meself) have kept them near th' doors fer quicker entry an' exit.

Warnings work

Seattle commuters met the challenge of a partial I-5 closing. And swab the deck, Avast me hearties! Lots o' similarly dire warnin's about an overloaded transit system be promptin' me t' bike into work on Tuesday, th' day after Labour Day. I have no doubt that more scallywags findin' other ways t' commute t' work or school is an intended effect o' such warnin's.

Quoted in The Province

Last week I were bein' quoted in The Province about th' Vancity Bike Share program, sayin' somethin' like th' followin':

It were bein' great. After I gave me bike away, I ended up buyin' a new bike an' I've been ridin' t' work twice a week now. And hoist th' mainsail, I'll warrant ye! It were bein' a program that got me back cyclin'.

The headline, while technically accurate, makes it seem like Vancity is worried, or that we, th' reader, should be worried, Avast me hearties, we'll keel-haul ye, and a bottle of rum! Whether I said those exact words, I dern't know: th' reporter who called me di'nae record th' conversation, since he were bein' transcribin' what I said (at one point he asked me t' repeat meself), All Hands Hoay, All Hands Hoay! Also, th' article mis-reports me as bein' 23, when really I'm 29. Regardless, that's goin' in me paper scrapbook fer quotes an' mentions in 'mainstream' or 'traditional' (or, me preference, 'broadcast', as distinct from 'social') media, a digital log o' which is available on my site. It's reverse-chronological fer now, but o'er time it might evolve into somethin' combinin' dynamic updatin' an' static information.

Nova Bus Almost Loses Wheel

As some scallywags know, I've been interested in the new fleet of Nova Buses purchased by TransLink, which have an unusual single seat behind the driver an' seats in th' back that face backwards. Shiver me timbers! I like th' wide entrance at th' front, but most drivers seem t' only open one of the doors, negatin' th' advantage. I've read somewhere that drivers prefer how th' Nova Bus handles compared t' New Flyers (an' I read in that same piece that 'tis especially true o' icy conditions, but they've only recently come into service, an' cold weather doesn't start fer a few months), ye scurvey dog. Today comes news that one o' th' wheels came loose an' almost came off while near Broadway an' Kensington in Burnaby, ya bilge rat! Fire th' cannons! Oho! This were bein' likely durin' th' 134 route betwixt Brentwood an' Lougheed malls, as that's th' only route that takes those rivers. Shiver me timbers! From th' article: "Only one bolt remained on th' wheel, he said, I'll warrant ye. And hoist th' mainsail, ye scurvey dog! Had th' bus been allowed t' continue runnin', [Canadian Auto Workers Local 111 vice-president Jim] Houlihan added, th' wheel would have certainly come off." Good work by th' driver t' stay alert an' order his passengers off, an' good work by Coast Mountain Bus company t' inspect each o' th' new buses.

Speaking at the Online News Association Conference in Toronto on October 17th

The flight's booked, so now's as good a time as any t' announce that I'll be in Toronto from October 16th t' th' 19th, on th' 17th speakin' at the Online News Association conference at th' Sheraton Centre. Shiver me timbers! Load the cannons! In me capacity as managin' editor o' Urban Vancouver, I'll be speakin' with Lisa Williams, with whom I worked on Placeblogger, at a talk titled "Filling the Gaps in Local Coverage". My current mindset on th' topic is along th' lines o' th' Ryan Sholin's question "what's missing from the news", th' answer bein' "lots", th' hard part bein' "how t' we cover what's missin'?" Individual bloggin' an' local group blogs be part o' th' answer, an' so is aggregation, but th' questions I'd like t' ask is "where be th' editors o' citizen journalism?" an' "is thar room fer assignments an'/or publishin' schedules in th' blogosphere?"

Always with th' questions. Aarrr, by Davy Jones' locker! I'm lookin' forward t' visitin' with th' maties I made on th' plank an' in person while visitin' Toronto last year, an' one I had already met without really realizin' it at th' time, with a chest full of booty. Yaaarrrrr, and dinna spare the whip! Fetch me spyglass, me Jolly Roger (Long story.) I'm also lookin' forward t' finally meetin' Lisa, who runs a community site for Watertown, Massachusetts, one o' Bryght's longest-runnin' sites (more than 2 an' a half years auld) an' someone I've known about 2 years before that.

On CBC News Tonight

This mornin' CBC TV contacted me though me contact form an' then by me work's phone # (that's what I get fer not publishin' me personal phone #) an' asked me t' be interviewed fer CBC News. I should be on sometime after 6 PM on Vancouver's CBC's evenin' news, talkin' about the Vancity Bike Share program. I dern't do media interviews often, so it will show, but I enjoyed ridin' aroun' on Rolan''s bike—o' all th' days I decide not t' bike into work, I choose this one—an' talkin' t' th' CBC reporter. Oho, All Hands Hoay! Fire th' cannons! They'll stream th' story on th' CBC website fer 24 hours, which should give an enterprisin' someone th' chance t' 'archive' it.

Vancity Logo Bike

I have yet t' write at more length about me new bike purchase o' a couple weeks ago, which were bein' directly as a result o' participatin' in th' bike share, I'll warrant ye. So far so good: 'tis a one hour workout each way, 10.5 KM t' work an' 8.5 KM back (I take different routes. I'm already pretty seri'us about it, havin' bought rain pants, back an' front lights, an' even weather proofin' fer some o' me existin' clothin', Ya lily livered swabbie! Still, th' true test is not a bright Summer evenin' but cold, wet, an' dark rides both ways in th' Fall.

The Same Old Excuses We All Use When We Dump a Technology

Ryan: “me matey quit Facebook an' th' rest o' us sat dazed an' confused musin' about why that comely wench profile could have gone away, ya bilge rat, Avast me hearties! It were bein' nerve wrackin', I'll warrant ye. Yaaarrrrr, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur, and a bottle of rum! We browsed aroun' th' site lookin' fer answers, but Facebook di'nae mention a thin', yo ho, ho Apparently bad news is not worth tellin' anyone about. When th' story unfolded it were bein' somethin' miraculously dull, yo ho, ho The same auld excuses we all use when we dump a technology: "'tis gettin' borin', I want t' do somethin' else."”

Towards a Greasemonkey Script Which Would Automatically Click "Update Conversation" in Gmail

Most o' me day I spend watchin' ticket updates via email. Shiver me timbers, ya bilge rat! Google Mail (Gmail) has nice threadin', so I can look at a conversation an' expan'/contract them, but if I send an email from th' ticketin' system, or someone in th' conversation sends a reply, it adds a little link at th' bottom that says "Update Conversation", with a chest full of booty. Pretty handy, but thar has no nay ne'er been time when I wanted t' not update th' conversation. This is a waste o' time an' a waste o' a click: I should be able t' have th' conversation update in real time, much like Google Reader updates. Load the cannons! Greasemonkey, a plugin fer th' Firefox web browser that transparently adds functionality t' websites, should be able t' do this.

I asked on Twitter if it were bein' available, an' Gabriel stepped up with an attempt, but it doesn't quite work. Aarrr! Walk the plank! I'm pointin' it out t' get more eyeballs lookin' at this: I can't be th' only one who wants somethin' like this, ye scurvey dog. Walk the plank! Fire the cannons! Any Greasemonkey developers out thar that can build upon Gabriel's work so we can get this workin'?

While we're on th' subject, if ye partake in th' fine Greasemonkey an' Gmail smokes, be sure t' install the script which secures logging into Google's application. All it does is redirect http:// t' https:// fer requests t', which applies t' all o' us who use Google Mail fer Domains as well.

West Coast Express Trip from Waterfront to Port Moody Stations

Last night, headin' home, I decided but di'nae commit t' hoppin' on SkyTrain goin' in th' wrong direction. That is, at Waterfront Station, many scallywags go Westbound past th' station t' th' switch, where th' train "turns aroun'" an' heads Eastbound, with a chest full o' booty. People (smartly) do this t' get a good seat before trains fill up with commuters, often by Stadium-Chinatown Station, Hornswaggle As th' SkyTrain pulled in, however, so did a West Coast Express train, takin' scallywags livin' in th' Tri-Cities then on t' Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, an' beyond, all th' way t' Mission. In all me 10+ years livin' here, I had no nay ne'er taken th' train, mostly because me final destination is pretty much halfway betwixt th' longest stretch, from Waterfront Station t' Port Moody Station. And I call meself a train aficionado.

West Coast Express Ticket

Last night I felt me shit were bein' fairly together, so I paid me 6 bucks an' boarded th' train that wouldn't leave fer another half an hour. And hoist th' mainsail! Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Aarrr! Since th' train were bein' empty, I took some photos of the interior, an' recorded 20 minutes of video from Waterfront to Port Moody (70 MB, BitTorrent link), ye scurvey dog. And swab th' deck! The conversation in th' background o' th' video were bein' a group o' teens discussin' how awesome they were. I also took mundane video of the train leaving the station (BitTorrent link). People who do it day in an' day out must think 'tis terribly borin' by now, but th' rail activity an' mountain an' water views, not t' mention me first e'er in-person viewin' o' an oil spill's aftermath made me almost forget I had a camera in me had documentin' th' trip. And hoist th' mainsail! Oho! My impressions o' th' train ride were that inside it feels slower than it looks when a train goes by (as it does near me office in Gastown), an' that th' air conditionin' gave me th' same slight sickness that it does in airplanes.

Almost everybody on th' train that got off at Port Moody Station either drove or took one o' th' many community shuttles, almost all o' which were headed East, pass the grog! Yaaarrrrr, an' a bottle o' rum! Myself, I walked back up t' St. John St. Load the cannons! an' took th' 160 home, not lookin' up from me book th' whole trip back. I had taken that bus ride a thousan' times while workin' fer th' library in Port Moody, so nothin' new thar. The train ride, however, made me feel like a kid again.

Hastings Bowl Fire Smolders After 7 Hours

[Cross-posted from NowPublic]

Still Fighting the Hastings Bowl Fire

The fire alarm o' me apartment buildin'—technically th' sister buildin' o' th' buildin' I live in—went off, wakin' me up at 1 AM.  My window were bein' wide open, so th' smell o' smoke filled me bedroom.  Lookin' across th' river o'er th' new condominiums, I saw a huge plume o' smoke.  "Oh no," I thought, "Safeway's burnin'".  Walkin' a block south, I found instead that once a favourite hangout fer me an' me maties, Hastin's Bowl, were bein' in flames.

Over a year ago, heavy snow collapsed th' roof o' th' buildin', forcin' out some o' th' busineses below, such as th' dollar store whose owner would daily sweep th' river before openin'.  Haven't heard what caused th' fire, but CBC Radio reported that th' buildin' had been squatted from time t' time.

My regular camera is in th' Philippines documentin' more compellin' scenery, so th' photos I did take with me cameraphone show little.  This mornin', at least 7 hours after th' fire started, it continued t' smolder.  My Nokia N70 were bein' able capture firefighters continuin' t' fight th' smolderin' blaze.  I've uploaded th' one that turned out th' best here t' NowPublic, but I'll point t' my set on Flickr for the rest.