CBC British Columbia
Bob's Blog

Children Category

Telescope Fever

bc-astronomy-nixon-100720.jpgLook to the stars!  Not the easiest thing to do in Vancouver for much of the year, but when it's clear the night sky does not disappoint.  Unfortunately, I am afraid that doing stories about stargazing has always disappointed me.  Television cameras never quite capture the awe inspiring majesty and brilliance that all those constellations and planets give to the human eye.  Pointing our lens into a telescope lens has worked no better.  But looking into a telescope yourself at the heavens is always worthwhile.  It's so big and we're so small. 

Given the technical problem of astronomy TV stories, it's always a challenge to do them justice.  Too dark to film the stars, murky sky buffs moving amongst the shadows - illuminated by our 'sun guns', which kind of defeats the whole purpose.   But when Simon Fraser University told me they were having a daytime sun gazing session, I said count me in.  Scientists there are trying to raise money for an innovative school outreach centre to attract young minds to science at an early age.  Had it existed in my day, perhaps I'd be a scientist now.  Nah, would never happen.  Sunny 'Scopes icon_video.gif

Friendly Rivalry

bc-rivalry-nixon-100709.jpgJudging by the number of yellow cards that were issued during the World Cup Soccer final on Sunday, it's clear the teams could have taken a lesson from these Vancouver neighbours.  They both originally are from the two finalists, Spain and the Netherlands.  Both are soccer fans and both live just a few doors down the street from each other.  They also happen to be great friends, noting that the last time Spain and the Dutch fought each other in war was more than three hundred years ago.  True, the war lasted about eighty years, but on this street - if not on the soccer pitch in South Africa - all is forgiven.  Soccer Neighbours icon_video.gif

Solar Blanket

bc-blanket-nixon-100702.jpgHave you noticed that children never seem to need as much clothing as adults?  It has always surprised me that kids wear t-shirts and shorts when the rest of us put on an extra sweater and a windbreaker and feel proud that we left the long johns at home. I realize children run around and play more, but seriously, how much body heat can sprinting everywhere, cartwheeling across lawns and climbing trees generate?  I don't know, because I don't do any of those things anymore.  I would not want to stretch or snag my cardigan.  But their superior cold weather comfort has made me envious. 

I confess, then, to feeling a bit smug when I spotted a young girl on the beach take measures to keep warm that frankly never occurred to me outside of the time I foolishly agreed to go winter camping near Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan one February long ago.  See, I thought, even kids can get cold on a sunny summer's day.  Cool Sun icon_video.gif

Barbarous Music

bc-bagpiper-nixon-100630.jpgIt was the 17th century English diarist, Samuel Pepys, who noted that bagpipes produced "at best ... mighty barbarous music'.  The best Pepys heard probably was not that good, for today bagpipes are known to produce an astonishing range of delightful melodies that stir the heart to noble heights and lofty emotions. 

That said, they can be rather vuvuzela loud, which helped when I wandered by Vanier Park and heard the far off strains of a piper piping.  There he stood practicing for Canada Day, his two children at his feet seeming oblivious to his playing - and everyone else keeping their distance.  Lone Bagpiper icon_video.gif

A Day at the Pool

bc-lifeguard-nixon-100613.jpgAs a kid, nothing outraged me more than having to prove to a lifeguard that I really could swim.  Sure they were just making sure I was not going to drown, but I saw it as a power play against me.  I was a little kid and this adult refused to believe me when I told them the truth - that I was a good swimmer.  I felt their true agenda was simply to torture me psychologically, make me feel weak and small. 

Watching this universal lifeguard/child drama play out again recently made me think that maybe I was not all that far off the mark.  Maybe in my day, lifeguards really were out to get me.  Because the way Gail the Lifeguard treats kids these days is quite different.  She gets them to think they're doing her a favour by demonstrating their swimming skills.  That could be one reason why she is a Lifeguard Champ icon_video.gif

Dance Limits

bc-streb-nixon-100122.jpgI have never admitted this to anyone in the past decade or so, but I may as well come clean for the sake of a blog intro.  Back in the 1970s, when I was just a wee jasper, I really liked slam dancing.  When the Damned were playing over the speakers, there was nothing quite like bashing into some other fellas on the dance floor who also did not know any real moves.  It satisfied some inner need to avoid the humiliation that I believed would ensue when a woman turned down my invitation to dance.  Ahh, youth.  Such fond memories!

If only the Streb Extreme Action Company existed back then.  I could have bashed my body for art, and maybe been a better man for it.  30 years on, this still looks like fun. 

Streb Extreme icon_video.gif

Crossing Guard

bc-guard-nixon-091218.jpgLike most of you, I'm one of those pedestrians who prefers only the briefest engagement with traffic.  At crossing signals, I wait for the pedestrian light to come on, make sure all the cars and trucks are stopped and then dash across the road.  If there's no signal, I make sure the cars have gone past me or remain a fair distance off before I dash across the road.  Dashing across roads is part of the routine, along with look both ways, and so on.  Never failed me yet. 

I say all this because it's one thing to briefly pick one's spots in the uneven contest between my beefcake and a few tons of metal and quite another to be responsible for taking on that traffic two hours every day as a school crossing guard.   Particularly on a busy street with no reduced speed signs.   After watching one such guard in action, I came away with a renewed respect for the valuable work these folk do,  and the dangers they face in ensuring kids get to class.  No wonder she received accolades that day.   Award Winner icon_video.gif

School Breakfast

It's foodbank week here at the CBC and I got the pleasure of doing a number of stories about this vital service.  Here's the first - most people know how foodbanks work - people donate food, the food gets collected at the warehouse and then given to needy people.  But as I discovered, that's not all there is to it. 

Ghost Train

Oh boy.  Do I ever love Halloween.  Always have, always will.  Sure it's not quite the same thrill since I gave up trick or treating when I turned 37.  But even giving out candy to the kiddies is a joy to me.   

In Vancouver, the Ghost Train at Stanley Park has become a Halloween tradition that thousands of people love.  Spooky lights, scary actors, and a different theme every year.  I just had to go down there and get a behind the scenes look at the show.  Underworld Demons icon_video.gif

Fiddle Kids

Remember that Beverly Hillbillies episode about the famous violinist taking up fiddle playing after learning the fiddle player made two million dollars a year?  A classic.  Well, here's yet another reason to take up fiddle playing.

Lemon Spray

Now here's just the thing to do on the hottest day ever recorded in Vancouver.

Hot Rink

Where can you go to cool off in hot weather?  A skating rink, of course.

The Tree that Won't Die

It has been knocked down, bucked up, made into a giant woody skeleton.  But is a big catalpa tree in Stanley Park still alive? 

Skimboard Craze

You take a sunny day, a really low tide, and some kids with oval boards made mostly out of plywood.  The result? 

CSI Burnaby

Who hasn't watched those TV shows and said to themselves, "Hey, I want to make crime scenes my life?"

Miranda's Day

I first met Miranda back in February when she had earned hundreds of dollars to give to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.  At the time she was strapped into this painfully frightening leg brace she has needed to wear for years. 

Lost Ball

One of the exciting dramas played out every day on the schoolgrounds of North America.  Yet how many get recorded by TV cameras? 

Wrestling Camp

Sport camps are a part of many kid's summers. If you're going to learn a sport, it's not a bad idea to learn from the best.