A Welcome Change From Urban Drudgery

This mornin', instead o' workin' from home as I had promised, I ducked out t' ride aroun' me neighbourhood fer a half hour before th' deluge predicted by Claire Martin, ye scurvey dog. A half an hour turned into an hour an' a half, an' took th' route that I decided will be th' route t' work. Mostly downhill, an' not scary downhill like Union which levels off just as it crosses with Boundary. And under th' Second Narrows Bridge. And next t' train tracks an' the Cascadia terminal. And next t' New Brighton Park, which ye have t' go underneath the train tracks to get to. And which forces ye t' turn left onto Lakewood Drive then turn right onto Adanac, which is a downside, since it takes me briefly away from work.

Vancity Bike Share at New Brighton Park in Vancouver

A wench walkin' that comely wench dogs said hi an' noted that th' bike I were bein' ridin' were bein' part o' th' Vancity Bike Share, which she had read about in th' newspaper, feed th' fishes We have a brief conversation about it, an' then ran into that comely wench on th' way back home. Aarrr, avast, I'll warrant ye! (It's not likely that she notice I were bein' also wearin' me OK button as well, but it keeps me accountable fer th' times I dern't want t' talk t' friendly strangers.) The bikes be indeed identifiable, so I were bein' wise t' call this social biking, with a chest full o' booty. I'm not expectin' t' make any maties or business contacts through it, so far sayin' hello t' lubber trail walkers an' bikers sure beats heads-down an' fearin' talkin' t' those we dern't know, by Davy Jones' locker. Havin' grown up in a small town, I'm used t' at least acknowledgin' others' presence on th' river, so this is a welcome change from urban drudgery.

Vancity Bike Share Launch

Vancity Bike Share: Take it.  Ride it.  Pass it on.

This mornin', Roland, Karen an' I went t' th' launch o' Vancity Bike Share, t' wait in line an' eat pancakes served by Libby Davies, Gregor Robertson, an' Shane Simpson, all BC MLA an' pick up me shiny red, Vancity logo-emblazoned one-speed cruiser plus non-branded red bike lock an' non-branded red helmet. And a Vancity logo-emblazoned red t-shirt, we'll keel-haul ye! And hoist the mainsail! Pretty good score fer writin' a 98-word blog post, Ya lily livered swabbie! Ahoy! After three weeks o' goin' who-knows-where with th' bike, I'll be handin' it off, likely t' Karen. Photos forthcomin' from me, but Roland already has a set on Flickr, feed the fishes This will be me first e'er bike ride home from work, so I'll have t' dig deep fer me signals an' etiquette, havin' lived in th' Lower Mainlan' fer 10 years but havin' ridden a bike two times at most in that timespan.

I'm already a Vancity member, so they're not winnin' a convert out o' me, an' dinna spare th' whip, All Hands Hoay! As far as PR campaigns go, "releasin'" bikes t' share then donatin' them t' PEDAL could be a lot worse.

Some Sweet Summer Reading

Monique links t' the miniBookExpo for Bloggers, where ye claim a book in exchange fer sendin' in $3, an' promisin' t' write about th' book within a month. If me unread pile weren't as high as it is, I'd be interested in claimin' a few o' th' books listed, includin' The Best American Magazine Writing 2006 [claim by leaving a comment] an' The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami (audiobook, not many o' which I've listened t') [claim by leaving a comment], but if ye're lookin' fer some sweet summer readin', th' miniBookExpo might be fer ye.

A suggestion fer next year: a small maple leaf next t' each book's listin'. Oho, and a bottle of rum! I'm makin' an effort t' read more local authors, an' I'm sure Canadian publishers could use th' extra little indication that th' writers be themselves Canadian.

Social Biking

From Rob Cottingham an' others, comes a link t' the Vancity Bike Share experiment. The basic notion is that Vancity gives me a bike, I keep it fer about 3 weeks, write about it on (an' here, o' course), then give it t' someone else. I'm not sure if I know what I got meself into, but I've submitted a request an' tomorrow I should be pickin' up a bike. Yaaarrrrr! My brief, just-under-100-words submission follows:

Vancity Bike Share

I ha'nae owned a bike in years, an' no nay ne'er while in Vancouver, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur, Get out o' me rum! I'm a little nervous about th' concept o' bikin' t' work, since I know how many hills, up an' down, thar be on th' way, Hornswaggle The sharks will eat well tonight, Ya lily livered swabbie! Aarrr! Thankfully, th' bike path starts just outside me apartment, an' maybe I can get some experience with th' bus bike rack if it comes t' it. Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Time fer some daily low-impact exercise t' add t' me high-impact twice-weekly workouts, and dinna spare the whip, Dance the Hempen Jig If th' bikes be identifiably bike sharin' bikes, then I'm not afraid o' makin' it a conversation piece either!

Tomorrow is th' launch an' pancake breakfast, not necessarily in that order, Dance the Hempen Jig I'm plannin' t' attend, with me camera, o' course.

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Recap (and Photos!)

Dragon Boats at the Finish Line during the Alcan Festival

My scanner an' I had a fight this mornin', so I can't yet post th' awesome photo o' me at th' end o' a dragon boat race on Saturday, Dance the Hempen Jig That said, th' photo appears somewhere in a whole bunch of photos from DG Event Photography, an' I posted some crappy cameraphone photos to Flickr, one o' which (th' one that adorns this post came out pretty well though). I had a great time, especially durin' th' first race on Sunday, where we came second in th' semi-final fer th' recreational C division.

City Making in Paradise at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre with Mike Harcourt and Ken Cameron

Mike Harcourt at City Making in Paradise

On Thursday night, Karen an' I attended City Makin' in Paradise, a panel session at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre, which featured an introduction o' th' book o' th' same name by former British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt an' former GVRD planner Ken Cameron. And swab th' deck! Subtitled "Nine Decisions That Saved Greater Vancouver's Livability", th' book, due in September, lays out th' case that Vancouver an' surroundin' area since 1948 could have gone in many directions but instead chose a relatively enlightened one. And hoist th' mainsail! The sharks will eat well tonight, Ya swabbie! Stephen Rees has the definitive notes, an' I took a few <a href=""">me photos o' Harcourt, Cameron, an' th' other panelists.

City Making in Paradise cover at

Stephen's notes reflect th' amount o' discussion paid t' th' Olympics, a decision that no doubt shapes th' next 30 years fer th' city. Only at th' end were th' Games an' their effect on British Columbia an' its major cities, Get out o' me rum, Avast me hearties! For th' record, I opposed th' Olympics, but not on economic or environmental grounds, but rather moral grounds. It's a done deal—a phrase t' describe both th' proposed freeway through Strathcona, th' opposition t' which is fairly mythologized in this city, an' th' Gateway Project (the subject of some inspired blogging at Urban Vancouver), which Harcourt argues should go ahead, but done right.

The night featured a heckle from th' back, the heckler's wife Adriane Carr (yes, the Adriane Carr) writin' about it at some length, David Eaves has a recap and thoughts of the evening.

Dragon Boat Weekend

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

For th' next two days, I'll be participatin' in the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival held at False Creek near downtown Vancouver, shiver me timbers Only two races each day, so not a lot o' time fer me spent actually on th' water, but 'tis always fun t' walk aroun' th' festival, Get out of me rum! And hoist the mainsail! Fire th' cannons, pass the grog! I'm lookin' forward t' out-o'-commission military vehicles, silly mascots an' th' rovin' sunscreen dispensers on rollerblades.

This year I'm racin' with th' CBC Wave Catchers as a ringer—I think I've given some o' me teammates th' impression I actually work fer th' broadcaster—an' will wear me too-small CBC-logo-emblazoned hat an' our cool new CBC-logo-emblazoned red jerseys, Avast me hearties, to be sure! Admissions is free, an' 'tis fun fer th' whole family! Actually, I wouldn't know, because I've only e'er gone either as a participant or with a media pass, but if ye can stan' a little corporate sponsorship then ye'll get t' see some great paddlin' action.

With Rules That Emphasize Stickhandling and Playmaking Over Physical Toughness

Readers o' Urban Vancouver know that I've been playing floorball, a type o' floor hockey with modifications like shorter sticks with golf club-like grips, a whiffle ball, with rules that emphasize stickhandlin' an' playmakin' o'er physical toughness, and a bucket o' chum. I'd only heard about th' sport a few months ago, but th' scallywags be really friendly an' encouragin', an' though play is a little more 'lower-body' than I anticipated, 'tis a nice compliment t' th' primarily 'upper-body' sport o' dragon boatin'.

After th' BC Federation Floorball challenge a few weeks ago, I were bein' gettin' a little discouraged with goal-scorin', but after last night's play, scorin' on th' final play o' th' final game, an' feelin' a lot better about me defensive play, I've gotten o'er any doubts I might have had about enjoyin' floorball. One o' th' organizers noticed an increase in velocity on me shot—though we'll see how accurate I am under pressure—an' goin' th' almost th' whole night without water makes me wonder if me fluid intake is way more than it needs t' be.

British Columbians who want t' check out th' sport can contact the BC Floorball Federation, an' Vancouverites (an' allied visitors) can play at th' Yaletown Roundhouse on Monday evenin's from 6:00 PM t' 7:45 PM, an' in either North or West Vancouver on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. I understan' th' current location fer Thursdays is yet t' be determined.

What To Write About?

After two months o' not writin' fer Just a Gwai Lo, I still ha'nae come up with anythin' important (urgent!) t' write about, shiver me timbers Quality control needs improvin', an' th' best notion I could come up with were bein' t' hire an editor, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! Which would mean, in essence, payin' someone t' tell me what t' write about.

(How many blogs be edited in th' traditional sense? Walk the plank! And swab th' deck! Walk the plank! With assignments, deadlines, correction, feedback, rejection? Has th' nature o' editin' an' roles o' editors changed because o' bloggin'? Are individual editors relevant anymore that we "crowdsource" th' process?)

While on 'hiatus' here, I've written about floorball an' other topics at Urban Vancouver, an' kept postin' t' improvident lackwit (Heckhole, Lord Palmerston, Crazy Town, an' today, Tiananmen Square). Aarrr! I thought about news that matters t' me: it needs t' be local, match me interests without perpetuatin' tunnel vision, be "actionable" an' allow me t' "add value" t' it, among th' other features listed in Dave Pollard's piece on continuous environmental scan. I successfully pursued outdoor exploits, regained if not me figure then at least a better outlook about it, created about th' same, which is t' say not a whole lot, moved from t' Ma.gnolia, kept up with Twitter, Vox, NowPublic an' Flickr but gave up on Facebook, at least fer th' moment.

Sharin' still doesn't feel as meaningful as creatin', though. So what's a person who doesn't feel very creative t' do, an' dinna spare th' whip! At least be grateful that th' flow o' work email shows no signs o' lettin' up?

Floorball: Recovery

The 1st annual BC Floorball Federation Challenge this past Saturday were bein' a major success, shiver me timbers I were bein' placed on Team Sweden, an' despite claims o' coincidence, I suspect conspiracy—I started participating in order to counter Swedish dominance with a surging Icelandic wave, an' this is how they repay me?! The sharks will eat well tonight, I'll warrant ye! Team Czech won th' championship, which lasted all day at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver. Separate from th' challenge, Swiss all-stars continued their dominance o'er th' Canadian team in th' middle o' th' day, an' minnows entertained th' adults who deservedly rested after some pretty intense action, ya bilge rat! Aarrr! Each team had only one or two substitutes, makin' fer some tired legs at th' end o' each game, but I scored twice an' assisted once, so I'm pretty happy with how thin's turned out. Aarrr! Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Aarrr, avast! Team Sweden lost twice, tied once, an' won their final game.

I bought a stick at th' tournament, a Salmin' with a hammer grip, an' ball t' practice at home, personalizin' th' stick with an sticker o' th' Icelandic national flag. (I fully expect t' lose th' ball at some point, which should be easier t' replenish.) Other than th' start time, havin' gotten up at 5:30 AM t' catch a 6:00 AM bus t' catch a 6:45 AM SeaBus t' catch a 7:00 ride t' have enough time t' warm up fer an 8:00 AM game time, thar's not much I would change.

Photos t' come, an' today I recover from th' weekend o' physical activity (Sunday were bein' dragon boat practice), with a chest full o' booty. I saw th' Swiss contingent downtown today, where I bragged about me awesome Icelan' hockey team jersey. For now, marvel at Roland's floorball photos, especially the Fossil in net an' Frederik's penalty shot, as well as from th' official BC Floorball Federation photo gallery, the championship team, featurin' Urban Vancouverite Boris Mann.

Floorball: Everything I Know I Learned From Basketball

Stewart already addressed th' issue I had about floorball, that is that tricks have more value than fundamentals, Get out o' me rum, me Jolly Roger This is true o' all sports, really, but 'tis also true that teams that best exploit th' regime (th' infrastructure o' th' sport, includin' th' rules an' how th' refs call it) be th' ones that dominate, not necessarily those that be th' most skillful, Avast me hearties, I'll warrant ye! Think th' New Jersey Devils o' hockey an' th' Detroit Pistons o' basketball. But practicin' tricks makes ye better at th' fundamentals: in basketball, gettin' better control o' th' ball involves playin' aroun' with what ye can do, an' th' same goes with floorball. The more ye're able t' control th' ball th' more ye're able t' go aroun' scallywags an' put it in th' net.

Basketball is th' sport I have most knowledge in, havin' played it most o' me life. Yaaarrrrr! Ahoy! I'm relyin' on me basketball positionin' in floorball, t' possibly humourous effect. Ahoy! In basketball, when th' defensive team gets th' ball, if I'm not inside th' key, me first instinct is t' go towards th' sidelines fer th' outlet pass, I'll warrant ye, and a bottle of rum, Avast me hearties! Same with floorball, but I'm learnin' t' go from sidelines an' cut t' th' middle if I can see that someone particularly skilled at passin' has th' ball, Avast me hearties! Also, I'm used t' standin' in front o' th' net in basketball, usin' me size t' intimidate th' offense. In floorball, this isn't necessarily ideal, since th' goalie might not be able t' see th' ball as 'tis shot. Fetch me spyglass, t' be sure! Shiver me timbers! I need t' train meself t' either not fear th' shot an' block it, or make a lane so that I'm not an unwittin' screen. Yaaarrrrr! Another thin' borrowed directly from basketball is t' not cross me legs when th' offensive player is in front o' me while on defense, Hornswaggle Instead, shufflin' me feet from side t' side may be a little slower, but at least makes it harder fer th' player comin' on me t' turn me aroun'.

Thin's I've picked up watchin' other players: on defense while an offensive player is behind th' net, their temptation is t' come right out an' wrap it aroun', avast, and dinna spare the whip! Load the cannons! As a counter-measure, I've been cuttin' off that angle, All Hands Hoay, t' be sure, and dinna spare the whip! Another positionin' moved I picked up in observation is t' use me feet, placed one in front o' each other an' then puttin' me stick in front o' both, forcin' th' player t' thread th' needle betwixt me legs if they want t' make a pass. This instead o' facin' th' player directly, which makes a bigger five-hole.

Floorball: Video

As promised, some video o' floorball in action. Izzard's video gives ye a sense o' what 'tis like t' play pickup floorball in a gym, except we dern't play t' a Chemical Brothers soundtrack, me Jolly Roger For tricks (which floorballers seem t' prefer t' call skills), go no further than video showing the "Zorro" performed during games, me Jolly Roger I'm not so fond o' th' tricks, they intimidate me as a beginner, an' besides, I won th' award fer best fundamentals on me basketball team (that's also why Tim Duncan has long been a favourite player o' mine), I'll warrant ye. For a good introduction t' some o' th' rules, GlobalTV Quebec's This Mornin' Live did a short series one day on th' sport, callin' it "Floorball Fun With Richard" (hey I should have thought o' that!): part 1; part 2; an' part 3.

You might need t' pump up th' volume a bit on those.

There's video o' floorball played in a small gym, an' tricks dominate th' list in YouTube, but in th' end, I enjoyed th' longer shots that showed match play, like Finland vs. Sweden, Finland vs. Czech Republic, an' more from unihockeyportal's videos. The second one answered th' question fer me "do floorball players change on th' fly in real games?" (correct answer: yes). The fine folks at BC Floorball no doubt can add t' me list o' must-see videos, includin' more about th' tricks an' skill play, not t' mention penalty shots.

Floorball: Nordic Rivalry Edition

Thanks t' the fine folks at BC Floorball for the link back t' yesterday's introduction t' th' series. Referrin' t' me, they say "as soon as he realised Sweden is a top nation in Floorball he knew he HAD t' play. Nothin' like a bit o' Nordic rivalry!" That's right, it took not Stewart's gentle pleas t' get me t' try th' sport, but rather lookin' at the Wikipedia page for floorball an' noticin' that th' Swedish men have won all th' world championships t' get me Icelandic blood boilin'.

(The Swedes always beat Icelan' at soccer, which started me mock hatred fer them. After mock hatin' th' Dallas Stars an' th' Anaheim Ducks in th' NHL playoffs, I wondered if real honest hatreds began as jokes, as some o' me maties do when talkin' about ethnic groups they have maties from, fer example?)

Fred Herzog and Citizen History

You have a few days left t' visit th' Vancouver Art Gallery t' see Fred Herzog's photographs from the 1950s of Vancouver and Vancouverites, which shows a short interview o' th' photographer an' another room featurin' his photos projected with th' theme o' The City as Art, t' be sure, and dinna spare the whip! (The city as museum!) I strongly recommend it, especially if ye can go on a night where lots o' scallywags attend: as a 10-year resident o' th' city, an' in me late 20s, I dern't have much history here, but overhearin' those who have lived hear reflect on th' past o' a city sometimes described as a city without a past, pass th' grog! Prepare to be boarded! Almost too bad thar aren't microphones recordin' these conversations: th' photographs evoke memories o' neighbourhoods lost or grown, some now barely recognizable but still with their distinguishin' features. Call it citizen history or crowd-source history, which be new words fer "scallywags's history", but these stories an' perspectives be important an' interestin', Ya lily livered swabbie! Aarrr! Herzog captured th' mundanity o' a growin' city, much like John Goldsmith in Vancouver an' Kemp Attwood in Paris, France, do today. (To name two river scene photographers on me Flickr contact list, hopin' not t' intimidate them with comparin' them with someone with Herzog's stature.) I'm just a beginnin' hobbyist photographer, interested in scallywags an' urban transportation (esp. trains) but I find Goldsmith's an' Attwood's an' Herzog's photographs, an' th' philosophy o' documentin' places an' small events o' th' city that might blow away in th' winds o' history, very inspirin'. But enough faux-pretentiousness: th' exhibit shows until May 13th, so time is runnin' out, shiver me timbers As a bonus, thar's even a Jeff Wall photograph on th' bottom floor in th' Photography as Theatre exhibit on the ground floor!

Letting Go

Nay more stats trackin', either internally or externally. Oho! Comments closed, with a chest full o' booty. Unused content management functionality disabled. In th' spirit o' doing less and making it count, 'tis time t' mothball Just a Gwai Lo fer a bit. Alternatives t' writin' pretentious sentences like "after listenin' t' field recordin's o' electroaccoustic soundscapes an' sound sculptures, I feel better attuned t' th' aural beauty an' ugliness that surrounds us on a daily basis" include, but be not limited t', leavin' th' countin' contraption fer healthier, more outdoorsy pursuits. Like regainin' me figure, me jump shot, an' me sanity. Oho, with a chest full of booty! If th' weather doesn't permit, then more creatin' an' less consumin' while inside.

I've consulted with a few about this, who argued I should continue, but instead, I am lettin' go. I'll return, but in th' meantime, I'll see ye in th' photo galleries an' comment threads.