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Strange Category

Sky Attack!

bc-crow-nixon-100607.jpgYears ago, an owl living in Stanley Park began to attack a few joggers running along the trails.  It would wait until they ran by then swoop down and latch onto their heads before flying off.  The bird was quite particular about its targets, choosing mostly women, almost all of whom had pony tails.  Experts decided the bird mistook that for a squirrel's tail.  Probably, the owl soon learned to distinguish between the two and the attacks ended as suddenly as they began. 

Switch now to Surrey and 77-year old Pearl Schweitzer, who has got a problem even worse than that faced by the joggers.  Unlike them, she cannot run away from her attacker.  The Bird icon_video.gif


fun-city100510_16x9_xtralarge_1.jpgVancouver's documentary film festival, DOXA, began on May 7 and I'm guessing that one of the scores of docs being shown, "No Fun City", will create a bit of a stir.  This Vancouver documentary was written, produced and directed by Melissa James along with co-producer and director Kate Kroll - two rising stars if this film is any indication of their abilities.  No Fun City speaks to the inevitable conflict between girls and boys who just wanna have fun and other people who wanna have quiet.  It documents the underground music scene in Vancouver and the loss of concert space available to bands.  That line sounds a bit dry reading it just now.  The film is anything but, a wild ride into a really vibrant world that remided me of my own wayward youth before I became the serious, no nonsense fella I am today.  No Fun City icon_video.gif

Autographs Anyone?

bc-authographs-030210.jpgStories sometimes change when reality strikes and this one is an example.  If you watched any of my Olympic stories for that Gold Medal program "The City" hosted by Ian Hanomansingh, you might have noticed I often visited the Olympic flame on the waterfront where people tended to congregate.  Congregate is a nice way to describe big, huge, crowds drawn like moths to the Olympic flame. 

After the Olympics ended, we gathered in the airy palace of light that is the CBC newsroom to consider mind movies.  Those are ideas in which we imagine how a story will look on television before we ever shoot a frame of video.  Some ideas are difficult to demonstrate, and the mind movie concocted for my story proved a case in point.   Find the post Olympic mood.  Mood.  Mood?  

What does a mood look like?  A glum face that the games are over?  A serene, satisfied demeanour?  Tears?  Joy?  Dancing in the streets?  Fury?  All of these were possibilities I prepared for as I headed back to the flame.   What I found there was mostly - emptiness.  People had abandoned the place.  What mood was that? 

But then I met the subject of my story - still cheerfully engaged in a project he had worked on diligently since the games began, and long before.   As he told me his story - and you really need to watch this one because it is quite a tale - I thought this is one Olympic mood there for anyone to see.  Olympic Record icon_video.gif 

Surrey Peacocks

bc-peacocks-nixon-100209.jpgWe city folk have a strange ambivalence towards wildlife.  We like most wild animals so long as they do not view us as dinner (bears and cougars), want to spray us (skunks), live in our attics (racoons and squirrels), bite our kids (coyotes) or poop on us (most any bird).   This list of caveats means many people do not like wild animals at all, if they happen to invade our urban environment.  But this happens rather regularly and somehow we manage to co-exist with many of the animals I just mentioned.  

Trouble is what is a pest to some is a welcome guest to others.  Witness the wildlife invasion in one Surrey neighbourhood.  Running a-Fowl icon_video.gif

Pizzazz Teaching

bc-science-nixon-100124.jpgScience World may be closed until March the eighth - but the show must go on for its annual Iron Science Teacher competition.  If you, like me, did not know there have been previous contests to choose the most informative and entertaining science teaching team in B.C., then have no fear!  Because - our top camera crews here at CBC managed to track down this year's event, not through deductive reasoning or wild guesswork.  No folks, we simply followed the instructions on the press release which directed us to the MacMillan Space Centre - also known as the planetarium.  Iron Science Teacher icon_video.gif

Frozen Paint

bc-ice-nixon-100117.jpgWhat Canadian has not made at least one snowman during their lifetime?  Even if you live in Vancouver, the winter generally provides ample opportunities to play with snow and ice.  Not so much this year, but as the Olympic folk keep reminding us, the snow is not over yet.  But one group of folk have been working in sub-zero temperatures for more than a month - right here in the lower mainland - creating a unique Olympic display.  It about coloured ice for a giant painting at Richmond City Hall.  I did not understand it either, so I headed down to see what was going on.  Ice Art icon_video.gif

Olympic Coincidence

bc-street-nixon-net.jpgI'm not going to give away the punchline on this one.  But let's just say it's in the same vein as the story about a fellow who leaves his town, travels half way around the world, moves into a house and discovers his next door neighbour used to be his next door neighbour in the first town.  I'm talking about coincidences, friends.  Strange little symmetries that make us scratch our heads and say "hmmm, that's odd".  Or "My, what a remarkable coincidence."  Usually it means nothing - and that's certainly the case here.  But still, I find coincidences fascinating all the same.   Don't you?  Odd and Fascinating icon_video.gif

Pressure Washer

bc-cleaning-nixon-net.jpgI wonder how many of us had New Year's resolutions that included pressure washing the mould and muck off the back fence.  That's some big job.   But not nearly as big as the one a fellow I ran into had.  Cleaning the entire side of a building of decades worth of grime, all because of one night's worth of grafitti.  But this was no garden variety tagging.  It was Olympic sized.  Graffiti Be Gone icon_video.gif

Doggie Spa

As a kid, we had a black lab named Skipper.  She was so smart that when I told her to go get her dog food, she would race down to the basement larder and pick out the Dr. Ballards from amongst all the niblets, peas and other can choices.  Could she smell the food through the tin, or did she recognize that German Shepherd on the label?  I never knew - but neither did I ever reward her for her ingenuity.  

Times have changed, apparently. 

Pizza Spinning Champ

So here I am, just back from my first trip to Mexico in 20 years and, for my first story, I get to meet a fellow in Vancouver who is from Mexico City.  This is not important to the story I did, except that within two minutes of it running on TV - I got an e-mail from a viewer in Palm Springs, California which I share with you now... 

Bedbug Bow-Wow

Hey, the idea of bedbugs creeps me out as much as it does the next guy.   I recall getting in late to a pretty well known hotel in Winnipeg years back that some rather nasty critters in the room they gave me.  What hotel - you ask?  Well, without naming names - it was close to the Forks - but they did give me another room that had no such problem, and it was years ago, so probably they got rid of the problem, within minutes of my complaint.  Really! 


Taxidermy Exhibit

I've reached the age when I can start puffing out my chest and beginning sentences with "Well, in MY day....."  and then go on to pontificate to young people.  Here's one I can use right here - Well, in my day - when we went to museums, we used to see dozens and dozens of stuffed animals.  Not any more though, most museums have long since relegated their menageries to the storage rooms - or worse (or better, depending on your view). 

Yukon Donkey Trek

Normally I don't take CBC cameras on my holidays.  But when the trip involves wandering a Yukon mountain with donkeys carrying the gear, why not? 

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. 

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? 

Jackson Memorabilia

>When the King of Pop died suddenly, online auction sites were swamped with Michael Jackson memorabilia for sale.  I wondered, where did all this stuff come from, and who was selling it?