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Bob's Blog

Silly Category

Full Frontal Kneedity

bc-summer-nixon-100705.jpgI have been around this burg long enough to know that the best weather forecast involves taking a peek outside your window.   Not to denigrate the fine work that meteorologists do but, let's face it, predicting Vancouver's five day weather is like trying to say where an out of control firehose is going to spray next. 

Of course, broad trends can help out, such as the observation that the weather generally gets warmer and drier in the summer time.  That has hardly  provided much comfort this year.  So when the weather office predicted a whole week of hot weather - or rather sunny warmish weather - a skeptic could be forgiven for giving it little credence.  But then comes a telltale sign that maybe this time will be different.  Heat Wave icon_video.gif

Scandinavian Fathers

bc-scandinavian-nixon-100619.jpgIt can be said that finding stories where no obvious story exists is something of a challenge.  This tale is an example of this.  The idea was to find a story which informed people that the coming Sunday would be Father's Day.  As the majority of adult males are also fathers, this subject heading was sufficiently broad to allow almost any story that included men or women talking about Fatherhood. 

But that's the problem.  Sometimes the range of options is so broad that finding an interesting one that seems terribly difficult.  Do I head to the beach, a construction site, a stockbroker's office to find my fathers?  I was paralyzed by the possibilities until Christer, a son of Sweden and my camera operator, reminded me that the annual Midsummer Festival at the Scandinavian Centre also fell on Father's Day.  "Let's go!" I shouted with great zest and glee and the rest is video.  Midsummer Festival icon_video.gif

Summer is Here

bc-summer-nixon-100611.jpgI am intrigued by these phenomena known as sunshine and cloud.  It has been so cloudly this spring that many people seem to have got out of the habit of going outside, even though the temperatures are - if not hot - at least seasonable.  The moment the sun pops through the clouds though, we all head outdoors.  Even when the temperatures are the same, a sunny 17 degrees seems much hotter than a cloudy 17.  I should ask Claire Martin why this is, but because it has been so cloudy recently, I fear I would start shouting at her.  I know she's only the messenger, like me, but I can't rid myself of the notion that it's all her fault.  Volleyball Net icon_video.gif

Fun with Thread

bc-brow-nixon-100530.jpgRemember Hugh Griffiths?  Probably not.  But he was a Welsh actor with a slightly wonky eye that would have drawn your attention but for the man's amazing thatch of eyebrows.  They were so long the man could have braided them like Pippi Longstocking and tied them at the back of his head.  I do not know if this is a Welsh trait, but I've got a bit of Wales in me and have noticed that as the years go by my own brows have developed an unruly Griffiths like tendency.  Generally, I combat this unwanted growth with a pair of scissors which usually ends in exposed brow flesh or bloodshed.  That's when I ask my barber to do it. 

Now I discover there is an ancient technique developed in India that can control my Griffithsitis.  It's something South Asian women know all about - and other women too.  But it's not yet mainstream - though could that change?  Watch this and tell me what you think.  Brow Beaten icon_video.gif

Craft Beer Week

bc-beer-nixon-100511.jpgBack before I gave up the demon rum in all its forms, I used to make my own beer.  I read a book extolling its virtues with a line I'll always remember.  "Beer, wine, bread and cheese - the very first processed foods.  When I drink homemade beer, I commune with the ancients."  Considering my connection to the makers of pyramids almost made the awful swill I produced drinkable, but after a while I gave up. 

Others have not, and B.C. now leads the nation in so-called craft beer production, small breweries and brew pubs that oftentimes grew out of some ambitious home-brewers basement operation.  It appears a growing number of people prefer craft beer to the stuff major breweries produce, even though it costs more.  Witness the proclamation in Vancouver of 'Craft Beer Week'.  That was the subject of my story and all I can say is that - like beer - it packs a punch at the end.  Kegger icon_video.gif

Sunny and ...

bc-weather-nixon-100507.jpgHow many times have you looked out the window, saw that it was an absolutely beautiful day, headed out wearing not much more than a t-shirt and shorts, then discovered it was bloody cold out there?  I think that's a typical experience for Canadians, our optimism in the face of sunlight often is at odds with the reality.  Such was the case the other day when the daytime high was quite a bit lower than normal temperatures.  We still enjoyed it, but bundle up, folks. 

That was the story I wanted to tell.  But then I discovered this gosling trying to jump a curb and things took a turn.  Not So Hot icon_video.gif

Stolen Rabbit?

bc-auction-nixon-100428.jpgEvery year, the Police department auctions all the bikes and other stuff stolen off the streets but for whatever reason not claimed by their rightful owners.  Several times, I have wandered the aisles during the 'media preview', looking for something, anything that somehow might warrant more than the single line "the police auction is on this weekend ...."  on the nightly news.  Although there's plenty of material up for auction, most is rather ordinary.   Tools, a few musical instruments, old computers, bric a brak. 

But then I always seem to come across something that makes me wonder, "who would want to steal this?"  And the story flows from there.  Police Auction icon_video.gif

Kings Fan

bc-kings-nixon-100423.jpgI realize it is still early in the playoff and the high emotion that we might see during game seven of the final is still weeks away.  But when I ventured onto the streets of downtown Vancouver dressed as a Los Angeles Kings fan and proceeded to badger Canuck fans, I expected at least a little hostility.  Apparently Kings fans, desperate souls all, could be downright nasty about the Canucks, as Sporty Shane Foxman discovered when he travelled with team to cover the games in LA.  The Sedins got labelled the 'Ginger Twins'.  When the fans shouted Roberto's last name it came out "Lou-ser". 

Did we respond in kind?  I won't give it away, but I detect the Olympic sense of fair play - and maybe the memory of Canada's big hockey victory in February - lingers here still.

Go Kings! icon_video.gif

 

Look Waaaay Up

bc-bicycle-nixon-100416.jpgI often wonder if the world has more kinds of cycles than it has cars.  Unicycles, bicycles, tricycles, those quadricycles with the funny cabana style roof you find a beach resorts.  Within the bike category alone you'll find a whole range of options.  Tandem, mountain, road racing, triathalon, fixie, recumbent, cruiser, touring, BMX and many more can all be found on the streets of Vancouver. 

But I have not seen many in the class known as Tall Bikes.  In fact, the subject of my video story, Lyle Vallie (sorry about the misspelling in the piece) figures only ten such curiousities exist in the city.  His is probably the most remarkable.  It's lightweight abd engineered to position the rider in a normal cycling position, not the easiest thing to do when your seat is close to two metres off the ground.  Lyle is an engineer who, when he's not at his day job with the high end bike shop "Mighty Riders", designs and builds high end bike components.  So this is a pretty special bit of work.  But how does it ride?  Check it out, he said.  That was where my trouble began.  Tall Bike icon_video.gif

 

By the way, if you're into bicycle technology, Lyle's website is worth a gander.  Here's the LINK

Righteous Fury

bc-anger-nixon-100329.jpgI can understand it if a hockey coach gets angry when he thinks a ref makes a bad call.  In fact I understand alot about anger.  We've all been there, ticked off about dumb drivers, pet owners who 'forget' to scoop, journalists writing ungood English.  Oh it infuriates me. 

But when that Abbotsford Heat coach Jim Playfair melted down during an AHL game on Saturday, that sent me right to an anger management consultant.  Not for any anger issues I'VE got, understand.  Purely for the sake of this story.  I wondered, what is the appropriate way to express anger in such a case?  Anger Management icon_video.gif

Big Crowds

bc-granville-nixon-100219.jpgHere's something that happened on Friday night that we did not report.  The Vancouver police called CBC news and asked us about our microwave truck.  That's one of the vehicles we use for live hits with reporters and it is pretty big with one huge satellite dish on the top.  We had parked the thing on Granville Street near the Commodore Ballroom in preparation for our late night news. 

The police were worried.  Olympic crowds were not just big.  They were gigantic.  Tens of thousands of people were flooding into downtown.  So many people wandered about that the police had to expand the number of pedestrian only streets so they could find room for them all.  That move meant that unless we got our microwave truck out of there, chances were we would have alot of trouble doing it later in the evening.  Suggestions were made that if the situation got unruly, as sometimes happens with big crowds, our truck might become a target. 

So we moved the truck.  But all the while this conversation was happening, I was out on Granville Street having my own conversations with people in the big crowd.  They were anything but unruly - as friendly a bunch as I've ever met.  And those people ruled the day, and the evening too, as the much feared unruly night never materialized.  Street Walking icon_video.gif

Camera Crazed

bc-camera-nixon-100218.jpgThis is my first Olympics, and I'm sure it's a first for many people in Vancouver.  Even though they are in the city where I live, I confess that I watch these Olympic events the same way I have watched every single Olympics since Tokyo in 1964 when I was but a wee jasper.  That is - on TV.  I suppose some people are glued to their handheld pod gizmo, or streaming in the events via their computer.  I would too - if the pod was the size of my TV and my computer screen was positioned directly in front of my sofa.  But they're not and so I don't. 

But I notice wandering the downtown streets that people must be acutely aware that these games are being watched around the world on the tube.  So when they see a TV camera amongst them - it becomes an opportunity to, well let's say, reach out.  People do that in quite predictable ways, in ways that many might consider at odds with their usual behaviour, and that might cause them some embarrassment years from now when their grandkids pull up those images on whatever 3-d pod gizmo brain implant people will use in the future.  But for now, it is enough for me to ask these people "Why do you do that?"  Wahooooo!!!! icon_video.gif

Complaint Department

bc-complaints-nixon-100217.jpg

Have you read any of these articles in foreign newspapers deriding the Vancouver Games as the 'worst Olympics ever'?  I have met plenty of Olympic fans in the past while, and the most number of games any of them have attended is 15.  While that is quite a few (CBC's own Steve Armitage has covered 'just' 13), there have been several dozen more than that over the years, 21 Winter Olympics alone.  So worse than Squaw Valley?  Worse than St. Moritz?  Short of producing a 110 year old sports nut who has attended every one, this sounds to me like so much journalistic hyperbole.   Hyperbole in journalism?  Say it ain't so!  

Of course, an event like this is bound to create a certain amount of grousing, from the big questions like whether the Olympics is money well spent in the first place right down to whether the Bratwurst at the German Beer Garden is as tasty as promised.  Some complaints have even brought 'results'.  So I wondered - on the streets of Vancouver - do Olympic revellers have any other other complaints about these games.  Some surprising responses.  Thumbs Up icon_video.gif

Flag Fashions

bc-flags-nixon-100216.jpgIt troubles me that I was unable to film a fellow someone saw as I headed out to do a story.  This guy left his apartment in Vancouver's West End in a complete Batman costume, replacing his cape with a Canadian flag.  People hardly gave him a second glance and why should they during these costumed Olympics?  Everywhere one goes in Vancouver, people have adormed themselves in their national flag. 

Given that people ordinarily do not wander the streets with such paraphenalia, the question arises why do they do it now?  And more to the point, does it cramp or enhance their style in some way?  Because if it enhances, should we not all wear Batman costumes all the time?   These are issues I ponder as I head out onto the streets.  Patriot Parade icon_video.gif

Medal Hunter

bc-medal-nixon-100215.jpgEarly on in these Olympic games, I decided the time was ripe to search for people from other lands.  After all, for years we have heard about Vancouver welcoming the world in 2010.  Sure we have plenty of news crews from other countries reporting all about the sporting contests and how wonderful we Canadians are.   But I wondered just how many actual people from foreign countries are wandering our streets. 

I discovered, in a survey that is as unscientific as they come, that Canadians overwhelming outnumber foreign tourists.  That was the case, even when those tourists have something to celebrate - medal wins.   Now it could be these folk are trying to blend in by disguising themselves in sweaters that say Canada.  Or it could be they were all attending actual sporting events rather than strolling about cheering their nation's success.  Some countries might discourage actual displays of exuberance, much like this country used to do.  In any case, I was surprised with my findings.  Are you meeting many tourists during these games?  Tourist Chase icon_video.gif

 

Hats Off to Hats

bc-hats-nixon-100212.jpgI wandered around downtown Vancouver today going from pavillion to pavillion like the rest of the Olympic tourists.  One couple I spoke to had waited in line for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS to get ride the zipline in Robson Square.  Was it worth it, I asked?  "Best 30 seconds of my life," she replied.  I suppose if you're dividing your life into 30 second chunks, there are not too many standouts that would compare to dangling above a crowd of a few thousand people. 

Standing in line is a big part of this Olympic Experience.  At the Canadian Pavillion, people waited for ages to get through security.  Then once inside they got to look at some sports memorabilia.  Most headed over to wait in another line - the beer garden.  There are plenty of beer gardens to wait in line for. 

So I notice an awful lot of people decide not to stand in line, but wander about on streets where cars normally rule.  That is a pretty good 30 seconds, let me tell you.  It just feels so strange, seeing so many people about.  It struck me that Olympic crowds are mostly composed of people who are drawn to the action to see people drawn to the action.  We're all thinking everybody else is going to be interesting.  Once grouped together, we become mighty interesting.   Curious, no? 

So what interested me wandering one night amongst the crowds were the hats people wore.  Some people have strange headgear - strange enough to be drawn to the action.   Polish Cowboy Hats icon_video.gif

Birks Clock

bc-clock-nixon-net.jpgWho would have thought that a trip to watch a historic clock's return to Granville Street could turn into a lesson in the art of punning.  In this case, it's the Birk's Clock, that was removed several years ago when the Canada Line subway construction began and the venerable jewellry company decided to refurbish its giant time piece for the first time in almost 100 years.  They called in the best - and he delivered ... and then some.  A who really knows when the clock is ticking. Time Flies icon_video.gif

Sexy Seniors

bc-seniors-nixon-091217.jpgYou just have to love people who go out on a limb for a good cause.  In this story, it's a group of seniors at a Langley retirement home.  Each one was willing, rather almost willing, to bare all, or bare almost all, for a fundraising calendar.  Who doesn't need a calendar?  Who doesn't need to see half dressed seniors all year long?  A great bunch.  Calendar Girls icon_video.gif

Mushroom Hunt

Back in the 90s, I did a story about a group of people who hunt for mushrooms, year round, but mostly in the fall when the forests explode with fungal delights.  They tend to be a furtive, secretive bunch who keep to themselves the location of their favourite 'shrooms.   

Olympic Elbows

Talk about wearing your emotions on your sleeve.  Canada's atheletes are being asked to alter time honoured Olympic behaviour so they don't catch Swine Flu during the 2010 games.

I Wonder VIFF ...

The Vancouver International Film Festival is one of the biggest film festivals in North America.  And it's got big partly by showing one heck of a lot of movies.   This year is no different. 

Cannonball Champ

If you are going to engage in a high wire, potentially dangerous activity that could cause a fair bit of pain, then you might as well tell the world how great you are, right?

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? 

Too Many Strawberries

Beautiful sunny, warm weather is just great for strawberries.  Too great, it seems.  I got a near panicky letter from BC strawberry growers asking me to help them deal with their bounty. 

Manscaping!!

Now I take personal grooming very seriously, especially as it applies to other people.  For myself, it's shave, shampoo and I'm ready to go.  So when I first heard of this term 'manscaping' I was curious in a mildly repulsed way.  Nothing more than a mild shudder, mind you.  I'm no prude. 

Doritos Guru

A Vancouver man tries to win an online ad contest for a new corn chip.  I play the uninvited party guest.  

A Toss Up

Is this the best catapult ever built?  And if it is, what then?  Let's not put our blinkers on for this one folks. 

Love Birds

A sure sign of spring only with a twist.  Star crossed interspecies romance. 

Nazi Dinosaurs

The story behind the 20 dollar, made in Vancouver, hit youtube video.