Sunday, July 26, 2009

How to blogathon

This was my first time, and it could have been better with some more preparation.

Here are my take home lessons:

1. Have a pre-existing blog, that you have developed over some time;
2. Let readers know, well in advance, what to expect;
3. Line up content: interviews, guest posts, stuff you've thought about;
4. Help organize the blogathon;
5. Register on the blogathon site, before the cutoff;
6. Set a realistic fundraising goal;
7. Publicize your activities and those of fellow bloggers;
8. Bring something to share;
9. Pre-post some scheduled posts;
10. Plan to get some sleep at some point.

Thank you, donors. Thank you, Rebecca Bollwitt - Miss 604 for a well-organized, welcoming & enjoyable event. I felt well looked after. Isabella Mori for coming early, bringing breakfast & encouragement. Raul Pacheco - hummingbird604 for constant encouragement and good humour throughout the event. Sponsors, WorkSpace for providing a truly excellent venue, Dairy Queen for lunch and treats, Developmental Disabilities Association for dinner, mojaveband for inspirational music.

And to many others: interviewees, topic suggesters, commentors, friendly conversationalists, all those whom I have left out, thank you, too!

Brain scan

My brain:

I wonder how it looks now?

Recipe: favourite alcoholic drink

I like a coffee nudge, or a paralyzer:

Coffee Nudge:
3/4 oz dark creme de cacao
3/4 oz coffee liqueur
1/2 oz brandy
6 - 8 oz hot coffee
1 1/2 oz whipped cream

Combine all with coffee and top with whipped cream.

1 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Coca-Cola®

Build ingredients, in order, over ice in a highball glass, and serve.

Scotch on the rocks is good too!

Hard work - no pay?

Social- networking whiz- kid sought to work as intern at Cambodian newspaper


Recorded calls

"Hi, this is Mike. This is important info about your credit card..."

But I don't have a credit card. Click.

And I signed up on the Do Not Call - that was quite a while ago. How long does it take to kick in?

Oh dear me, what's this from the CBC...

Registered with the do-not-call list? Expect more calls, says consumer watchdog

Smart Cat

'Little Man', of 40 East Hastings St.

This cat has big paws.

Sundials in the shade

'Wasted Strengths'

I am enjoying an audiobook based on the Gallup Poll Organization's poll of strengths, Now Discover Your Strengths.

There is a StrengthsFinder Profile, apparently, that lets you figure out how best to apply your strengths, and avoid leaving them in the shade. There is quite a spiel about Warren Buffet and the system of investing in companies whose position he could predict in twenty years. Some areas:

. handling risk
. connecting with people
. making decisions
. deriving satisfaction

The point is that, if one is aware of one's strongest skills one can play to them; this is more important than shoring up weak areas. It is important not to simply take them for granted.

'Carve out a role that draws on these strengths every day.'

I won't have time to listen to & review the whole CD. It was on the bookshelf here, where I will leave it. It has an ISBN no. (or something like that): 0-7435-1814-4.

Eight favourite places to eat in Vancouver

My favourite places to dine in Vancouver (in no particular order:

> at home
> Nat Bailey Stadium
> Seasons Hilltop Bistro
> The Afghan Horseman
> The Stone Grill
> Cloud 9
> Harbour Centre Restaurant
> Chop steak fish house
> Wild Garlic Bistro

Friendster founder's fate

Pioneer ‘burned out’ on social networking

It may be possible to overdose, I will concede that (21 hours into blogathon ;) ).

I wonder if this represents a trend or a deliberate strategy in newspaper stories?

StarPhoenix telling us...?

Some Facebook users uncomfortable with site

Reznor deletes Twitter account

Hmm .. If I quit Twitter AND Facebook, I'd have a lot more time to read the newspaper.

favourite meal

"how to make your favorite meal" (suggested topic)

1. invite some friends
2. lay in supplies
3. clean up, prep
4. put it in the oven
5. set the timer
6. relax & refresh
7. play some music
8. laugh, talk, enjoy
9. be hungry
10. good eating :)

Extra points: on a boat, with a view, after a hard day's work

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tamara's walk

This year, Tamara is giving it another go and dedicating her walk to her friend Shari, who is currently battling breast cancer.

Sixty kilometers. Months of hard training. Fundraising that can feel like a never-ending uphill battle.

I have tried it, twice or more, and failed, but Tamara has succeeded. If anyone can do it, she can. I see her working hard at it every day: Writing letters, thank you notes, those difficult "please donate" emails.

She is committed. She will endure, and will do whatever it takes. If you knew Tamara the way I do, you would share my confidence.

I am very proud to support Tamara in The Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

Web crackdown shutdowns

Web crackdown shuts 2 more sites

I hate the idea, but I've reached the stage of weariness where I can't resist the phrase. Must be that language thing. It sounds like something from a fusion musical.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, all denied. Where will it end? What will be the effects? Increased sense of personal insecurity?

Do the tall trees of the internet nourish some deep mycelium that buds forth mushroom delicacies of thought? Or at that point is it just tasteless conk - and we're better off with a managed internet?

You would tell me, wouldn't you?

Couldn't be better

So far it has been excellent, two days of trepidation notwithstanding.

I have a file drawer full of unsent letters - condemned to rot by the internal censor. So, coming into the blogathon, the prospect of choking had me tied in knots. Also, the whole idea of blogging all day instead of, say, playing tennis, seemed fiendishly unnatural.

I'm glad to say though that, here at hour 16.5, it is starting to look like a high point for the year.

The bloggers (thank you Shane Gibson) are very supportive (not to mention bright and interesting), the food is excellent (thank you sponsors!), I've interviewed some articulate, opinionated folks and had a chance to share things that I feel passionate about. We just enjoyed a lightning storm followed by some of my favourite music, mojaveband, acoustic guitar and vocals. Followed by a skype chat with a friend from Mauritius, who is starting his leisurely Sunday with a nice cup of coffee. The perfect vicarious contrast.

(As for me, I swore off caffeine for the week and am doing alright).

Blogging for the long haul

Title: Blogging for the long haul (guest post by Tris Hussey)

In it for the long haul

You've heard the phrase time and time again. Were in it for the long haul. What does it really mean? What does it mean for something like blogging?

I started blogging in 2004 on a whim. I though, hey this might be fun, all the cool tech folks are getting into it, and I should learn about it to stay ahead of the curve.

So I did.

Before long, like about four months, I was doing it professionally. I was writing three posts a day on three separate blogs. Lots of work. I did it though, and kept up my own blog.

That was then, this is now. Today I try to stick to just one or two blogs. I know my limits. I like having a life. I like having the time to be creative, something I wasn't afforded trying to crank out that much content at once.

I was in it for the long haul.

Lots of people and businesses start out blogging like gang busters. One, two posts a day. Passion, enthusiasm and all those things that work in a new blog. Then the three month wall hits. That's when being it in for the long haul is hard.

The question then becomes, what to do next? Sometimes it's as easy as actually taking a break. Sometimes a rest will give you the energy. Ask some people for guest posts (just like I'm doing here). Maybe just making a schedule to post a few times a week. Write posts ahead of time and save them for later when you're busy.

It's the little things that help you make it through for the long haul.

Humans as Animals 2

Not about anthropomorphism - the idea of humans without technology

Vintage Keegan, throwing a monkey wrench with a topic like this.

After almost 15 hours blogging, humans without technology is starting to sound good.

I haven't decided whether we over or under leverage tech. I'm still on the fence.

I am sure that as we define technology we are defined by it, if not exactly as we are by language, culture, genetics and a myriad forces barely within our ken, if that.

Biologically we are animals, simple as that. Does it make sense in any scientific view to conceive that we are anything else? And yet, to seriously accept it, to make it a precept, would be most unsettling. How would I feel about another who held that view of me, even if they were the most ardent believer in animal rights?

And yet, is it right to make such an arrogant claim about our place in nature? Seems like hubris.


I could not resist snapping this image, reminiscent of a planet viewed from orbit - but with parking space in the background :)

Digital vehicle

‘It’s a social place, not a car’

Can you say 'kuruma banare'?

Seriously, what kind of crash test dummy do you use to test for this kind of design risk?

Elated News, part 2

(continued from Elated News, part 1)

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss points out the contradictions in our industrial age mentality of "work now, retire at sixty-five to enjoy life." It delves into various ways we can set up different income streams, so that we can really enjoy life, and do what we love now.

Tim goes into all kinds of communication strategies and ways to save time, and efficiently promote businesses. It was a revolutionary book when it came out.

It sounds very inspiring. Is that what set you on your path?

Dan: Not entirely -- though it was a component. There were other seminars and books that opened my eyes, but The 4-Hour Work Week was significant, for myself and many other people. I go to various entrepreneurial start-up and marketing groups, and usually just about everyone in the room has read it; it has come up in dozens of conversations.

It is a revolutionary idea. Four hours is so different from our concept of a work week.

I should qualify, as Tim does, that the definition of 'work' in the book is 'doing things you don't like to do, just to make money.' The point is to create your cash flow to minimize such activity. If you run an online vitamin store, for example, automate: Have virtual assistants process your orders, a shipping centre for distribution; that element would be four hours. You then do things like speaking or blogging, that takes up much more time.

So, if you love your job, the book is not encouraging you to stop working but, instead, to find out what you are passionate about. In the meantime, you set up a way to make all the money you need so that you are not stressed out and worried.


Recipe: Kansas City Steak Soup

3 C water, 2-4 T beef bouillon
1/2 C butter, 1/2 C flour
2 small onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 lb canned tomoatoes
1 tsp pepper
1 10oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1 lb coarsely ground chuck (or cubed steak), browned and drained.

Put all ingredients in big pot on stove at low for two hours. One hour before serving, mix butter and flour, add and stir until thickened.

Interview: Elated News, part I

Dan Johnston is a writer, speaker & coach dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed with their first business.

Dan, how did you come up with the idea for Elated News?

The concept for the paper is a focus on positive, actionable items -- both editorial and stories. There will be a range from local inspirational stories to editorials on relationships, health, business, and general / personal development related articles.

What kind of niche do you see for this publication?

It works for people who want more from their time. Traditional media often leaves you hanging: There is no action to take, no positive feeling. This is bad, both for the reader and also for the businesses supporting the publication. The last person you want to try to sell to is someone disempowered or deflated.

The concept behind Elated News is that people who feel positive and confident are more likely to spend money and support the people behind the publication.

Did that idea come from looking at what is available in the regular media?

Yes. First I went on a media fast (or media diet), about a year and half ago, after reading The Four Hour Work Week. Traditional media, be it the TV news, or many different feeds (obviously newspaper), while they do inform, often don't give you anything you can act on. And they clutter your mind with things that don't benefit your primary goals or objectives.

If your focus is launching a business, reading about all the different things going on in the economy -- albeit entertaining and good for some cocktail party conversation -- won't empower you: It doesn't help you achieve your goals. That was the theme of The Four Hour Work Week: It challenged readers to take a week off from all media and then evaluate whether they want to go back. I never went back.

The media fast lesson isn't a total blackout, but that there are other ways to find things out (for instance, through conversation or, for a high-end executive, having assistants do some research).

Clearly there is a niche for a publication that offers that empowering information.


Forest biology

Gerrard Olivotto, BA MSc RPF, is a specialist in forest economics and natural resource modelling, owner and operator of Campbell River Forest Research Ltd.

I asked Gerrard if he would expand on some of the themes discussed earlier today with Randy Marchand, that fell within his area of expertise.


Mushrooms come from mycelium, the fibers under the soil that connect to the tree. The mycelium looks after and supports the tree, and the mushroom is the fruit of what happens under the soil between trees and fungus. Fungi collect nutrients (phosphorous, ...) and feed it to the tree; the tree gets sugars from sunshine and gives it back to the fungi.

They are interconnected.

There is a big blossom of mushrooms in the Fall (except morels, which feed off the destruction from forest fires).

Mushroom growth comes in different stages depending on the age of the trees: Boletes (a delicacy, known as 'cep' in France) are found near trees of 30-40 years; chanterelles near 40-60 year old trees, and Matsutake (pine mushrooms) near trees 75-120 years old.

If the trees are older than 120 years, a non-edible fungus ('conk') takes over. You'll see it growing on the sides of the trees.

You can manage a forest and take down trees from 125-140 years old. That way you get really good timber and manage the regrowth underneath.

Deforestation completely wipes out the mushrooms. A mushroom compatible with a 75 year old tree can't live without the tree, although you might find some around the very edge of a clearcut (feeding on the remaining root system) for a few years.

The coolest thing is to get into a forest where selective logging has been done. All the roots become mushroom food.

I have done 25 years of field experiments, and some walk-throughs with major pine mushroom expert Shirley Pietla. The mushrooms break down root systems and feed the younger trees; everything grows very well.

Selective logging can be quite good for the whole system. Voles and mice love the mushrooms. As far as the vegetative system, you need some cover to distribute rain and snow, and to cool things down. Some biologists don't accept these observations, but mushroom production has tripled in areas where selective logging was done.

If you run around in the woods much it [global warming] should be obvious. Moss, the distribution of the canopy, the underground stuff are all affected. Lichens are a sign of dryness and cold (they usually grow on rocks and are very prevalent in the Northwest Territories, where reindeer feed on them).

Can you confirm what is happening in terms of reduction of forestry personnel in B.C.?

Gerrard: Yes, there has been a substantial reduction in forest science workers. The government offers retraining programs. Forestry is really shrinking, partly due to the softwood lumber situation, but the trees keep growing.

There is a huge concentration of just a few companies taking over all the little companies. They become conglomerates and have a 'corporate attitute' to land issues. Also, there is a huge growth of small woodlots getting hold of land and managing it differently.

The next 30-40 years will not be so good for mushrooms; the forests need to grow.

There are 28 or so Community Forest Licenses, for hundreds of hectares, for little towns, indian bands and such.

>> B.C. Mushrooms - a business perspective

New York Review of Books

The News About the Internet

Michael Massing provides some thoughtful commentary, such as:
The blogosphere, by contrast, has proven especially attractive to those who, despite having specialized knowledge about a subject, have little access to the nation's Op-Ed pages.
Massing notes that blogging, albeit subject to "polemical excesses" among other issues moves us from journalism's traditionally two-sided (at best) framework, to a multi-faceted discussion. At stake is who will dominate such discussions, and why.

This would be a good backgrounder for Media Democracy Day (November 11, 2009).

Team Derricott: Blogging brothers

Blogging brothers look for big break.

Canadian finalists in the 67 Days of Smiles contest put on by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Another defining moment in the rise of social media.

Bike Commuting Passion

Recently I have volunteered for the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition; if there is one thing that I am passionate about (besides my wonderful wife and son!), it is bicycling.

More specifically, commuting by bicycle. I have never undertaken a long trip or race (except for a triathlon in 1984), but I have 'cycled to work since 1982 and love it! It is better than ever now that showers are available at some worksites, buses are able to carry your bike, and bike lanes have spread through the city.

Working at UBC was excellent. I live at 49th and Fraser, so it was about a 10km ride and took just about as long as the bus trip. So why not enjoy public transit, read a newspaper and relax? Sure, if you can get a seat, if the bus actually stops (on 49th, before Langara, this is definitely not a given), etc. and so on.

By bicycle, I enjoyed a great workout morning and evening, beautiful homes & gardens all the way followed by the pleasant woodsy aroma, sights and sounds of Pacific Spirit Park. This is probably one of the best rides in town.

My current ride is a study in contrasts: The south slope's neighbourhood sprawl, followed by an adrenalin-powered surge over the Knight Street Bridge to Richmond, and past Ikea through a well-groomed semi-industrial area. Plenty of blackberries, free for the picking, along the way (I noticed some ripe ones yesterday).

And of course, there is the fascination of bike maintenance - but that's another post.

Recipe: Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese
(Much better than the pre-packaged variety)

9 oz macaroni (cooked)
2 C cheese sauce (i.e., white sauce with cayenne pepper & cheese)
1/2 C grated cheddar
1/2 C fresh buttered bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Butter 1-1/2 quart casserole. Put cooked macaroni in dish, pour cheese sauce over and mix with fork. Sprinkle grated cheese over macaroni & bread crumbs over cheese. Bake uncovered until top is golden and sauce is bubbling (approx. 30 min).

Serve with sauted kolbasa :)

Humans as Animals

Humans as animals. (Our true nature). That sort of thing. I'm not talking about anthropomorphism but of the idea of humans without technology.

Question: Is Language Technology?

If words are tools, surely the answer must be yes, in which case 'humans without technology' also lack language. In that case, are they truly human?

Looking at an individual, we might define them as human based on genetics, regardless of ability to speak or understand speech (or sign language). An alinguistic person is human because of their family connection. What about an isolated alinguistic group of people?

What about groups of language using 'animals' - dolphins? Gorillas etc. who have learned sign language? I think most would agree - not human, however deserving of 'rights'.

Thank you Keegan for suggesting this interesting topic :)

Today's news

Try this on for size: Sales tax on bikes returns, fossil fuels exempt

Plenty of unhappy comments today in response to this column about the B.C. Government - via tax harmonization - removing longstanding tax exemptions for, among many other things, bicycles.

BC residents will also pay higher taxes on:

. hard hats, safety boots, smoke detectors and items used in farm production, everything from fence posts to hog pens;
. restaurant meals, knitting yarn, and pollution control products;
. alternative fuel vehicles, jet aircraft, and a range of goods used by the aquaculture industry;
. energy-efficient products and other “green” goods.

Exemptions will be in place for only these items:

. Children’s clothing, car seats, diapers, books, feminine hygiene products, gasoline and diesel fuel.

Great blogging advice

Here is some good stuff for would-be bloggers:

Raul’s Top 5 Tips for Blogging for Small Businesses (Sponsored by Small Business BC)

Who was it that said "writing is re-writing?"

Writing is writing, blog posting is posting. The writing can be done beforehand (and even some rewriting). If I ever do this again I hope I can bear this in mind :)

It is almost time to celebrate the 7/24 mark.

Nearby street scene

Recipe: Lemon Pudding

Lemon Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 cup sweet milk
2 egg yolks
juice & rind of one lemon
2 egg whites

Beat egg whites stiff. Add dry ingredients.
Add egg yolks, milk and lemon.
Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes.

Saturday morning

A photo from this morning's bike trip downtown:


I must include a link to Isabella Mori's guest post.

As a sidebar to the Russian connection, my passion for languages had a similar origin (albeit sans ex-german-soldier teachers). I was very fortunate to study Latin in high school (elementary school would have been even better, especially if Greek had also been part of the curriculum). Typically, it was part of the 'alternative curriculum' and was not even offered in the main high school building - although I didn't mind trekking over to the nearby mini-school.

I am very glad that Isabella emphasizes the usefulness of studying these languages, and the way it can "open up language and make it easy".

After all, human knowledge and culture are almost entirely encoded in language.

The Russian connection

Thanks to Isabella Mori for this suggestion!
This also qualifies as a good childhood memory...

As far as I know (though at some point surely I must) I have no Russian ancestry. However, I was very fortunate, as a child, that my father made up stories for my brother and I (he refused to have a television in the house). In fact, Dad invented a mytho-comedic cycle that began on the Volga river and featured the famous boatmen of that area.

(I am not sure how he came to choose that setting, but I do recall a book of Russian folk tales that I read several times).

In any case, partly as a result, I was always curious about Russia. During the space race, that interest naturally grew. I remember visiting a booth at Expo 86 and purchasing a children's book by Yuri Gagarin.

Many years later, as a UBC employee, I was able to take a first year Russian language course. Since then I continue to take advantage of every opportunity to increase my vocabulary, although it is a slow process!

Recipe: Nanaimo Bars

Time for a change of pace!

Nanaimo Bars

Coconut Base:
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups graham wafer crumbs, not crushed too fine
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut

1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp. butter
4 squares unsweetened Baker's chocolate (or semi-sweet)

Coconut Base: Break the egg into a bowl and add butter, sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Set the dish in a pan of boiling water and stir until completely melted and mixed. Then add the graham wafer crumbs, dessicated coconut and chopped walnuts, and stir until completely mixed. Pack into a 6 x 10" glass casserole or a 9" square pan.

Icing: Cream the butter. Then dissolve custard powder in the milk, add it to the creamed butter, and add icing sugar. Stir until all mixed, and spread evenly over the coconut base. Put in fridge (not freezer) 15 minutes.

Topping: Melt the chocolate with the butter, and spread it evenly over the icing. Put it back in the fridge to set, and then cut into squares.

Interviewee #2 (photo)

Downtown Eastside (DES) resident interview

How long have you lived in the neighbourhood?

Well, I first got a hotel room down here in 1991, when the court ordered me to stay away from my wife. However, she found me. That was in the Hazelwood.

It wasn't long before I moved down here as a resident, into the Columbia Hotel, in 1996. I needed an economical place to rent.

And what were you doing then?

Landscaping. I was soon introduced to a quaint local custom of spending all your disposable income on alcohol and going to the food lines for your sustenance. My companions were unsatisfied with this acclimatization and began plying me with rice wine, a toxic brew that destroys the liver through agents other than alcohol. If it weren't for my various superhuman qualities, I would surely be dead.

I remember, one of the guys I knew at the Columbia used to walk up the fire escape to the roof and run around the parapet, with eight stories beneath him and hard concrete below. I see him from time to time on the street, and we always greet each other. He can barely walk now, and he trembles. He is covered with horrible scars.

If it were not for my well developed sense of nausea and vomiting, I would no doubt have suffered the same fate.

Now I have a mental health diagnosis. I resist the pills they tried to give me in the past, so now I take an injection - Resperitol Consta. I looked it up on the internet, and see that it is usually prescribed to schizophrenics, and there is a litany of side effects that are quite alarming, including fatigue - which, like any good hypochondriac, I can easily imagine myself suffering from.

All in all, I can say that I was less a victim of society than its parasite. Please do not crush me, however, for I have made valuable contributions to society in the past and, who knows? If I continue to be supported in my leisure, I may (emphasis) make further contributions.

Mushroom industry 2

(Continued from mushroom industry)

How does deforestation affect the mushrooms?

Randy: The impact of loss of tree cover on mushrooms is not known. Logging companies are saying that they come back, but the evidence is scanty. I have watched patch after patch of mother beds....

Island Lumber has harvested riparian zones, where you could find all that was left of giant fields of Matsutake (pine mushrooms). They harvest right to the river and lake edge. It is heli-logging, but that is what they do.

If you go to Paris, or many other small communities in B.C., the people will quickly tell you that they see many benefits from the mushroom industry. Mushroom pickers eat in their restaurants and stay in their hotels, providing instant economic benefits.

A logging company might spend three billion dollars on a machine and say they have contributed to the economy, but we don't sell those machines in Canada.

Is a low dollar better for the economy? It is for corporations who export our raw resources. But most Canadians, particularly small businesses, import. Small firms, who provide local jobs, are at a disadvantage competing with a large business that imports. For example, one out of sixty containers brought in by Wal-Mart will be inspected, versus every single container brought in by a small local firm. Inspection frequently results in expensive damages, which are not reimbursed.

So, you are saying that the mushroom industry would quickly blossom if regulated?

It would quickly blossom. In Matsutake mushrooms alone, 20 million dollars of product is shipped out of the province annually. That is the picker price; exporters charge at least a hundred times that amount. For every dollar per pound paid to pickers, one to two hundred dollars per pound is the price for the end buyer.

Unfortunately, the definitive information cannot be obtained. The companies involved are not Canadian, and so are exempt from Freedom of Information Laws.

>> Interview with Gerrard Olivotto
>> B.C. Mushrooms - a business perspective

Mushroom industry & BC forestry (interview)

Like many B.C. residents, I had often considered our forest industry, but never realized until today how it interacts with so many related industries. Today I spoke with Randy Marchand (KingMorel) of Enchanted Teak.

Randy is an outdoorsman who has prospected across Canada. He came to BC in 1988 in search of environmentally friendly work. After collecting mushrooms for local buyers, he was hooked, and still has a passionate interest in the subject. You can find several stories about his first hand experiences on his blog.


It is important to promote alternative resources you can get out of forests - mushrooms are totally sustainable, you don't have to kill a tree to take the resources.

However, government refuses to regulate the industry, perhaps because it competes with the logging industry. Those days may soon be coming to an end, though: There is nothing left for them to harvest!

If you fly to Japan, you soon reach a great height, such that you can see much of Vancouver Island and the BC coast from the air. You will be outraged when you see that they have taken everything - there is nothing left! You will be thinking, What have they done?!

Most of the logging companies are not Canadian and do not care what is left here. It will hit BC hard, in both the logging and government sectors. Why let business carry on in this fashion, when it will make you redundant?

For example, professional foresters are mostly data scientists. They work for the government, figuring out sustainability numbers, etc. There used to be eight to ten thousand such positions; now there are hardly any (although union numbers have been kept up artificially by including technicians). Most are unemployed.

(Link to interview with Gerrard Olivotto)



Pablo, Carlito. "Logging companies look to flip forests in B.C." July 24, 2008. Logging companies, Vancouver, B.C.

Blogathon 2009 blogroll

Time to check out some blogathon 2009 participants. Many are here in the room with me, but they are busy typing. In fact, it seems a bit strange to a neophyte. I will say this, they appear to be a very determined, well organized group of professionals.

I'll look online for that blogroll. It looks like Rebecca may have saved me some research ...

OK, I didn't find Rebecca's list yet, but I did find Raul's blog. Raul and I arrived at the same time this morning, and he was kind enough not to complain about being squished into the corner of the elevator by my bicycle.

Dr. Beth Snow is also here in person. She is well ahead of me by virtue of having some rough notes in addition to possible posting titles.

. . .

P.S. I eventually did find an excellent blogathon 2009 listing, courtesy of Shane Gibson: link.

14 blog topic ideas - blogathon 2009

"Thank you!" to everyone who suggested a topic, in case I run out of things to say.

Here is the list so far (more suggestions welcome!):

. Humans as animals. (Our true nature). That sort of thing. I'm not talking about anthropromorphism but of the idea of humans without technology.

. Endurance and it's many forms.

. promoting, enhancing and harvesting wild mushrooms instead of logging..... We would get "our" forests back, make more money from "our" land and help reduce global warming big time...

. Digital Newspapers

. your favorite places to dine in Vancouver

. how to make your favorite meal

. a place you would like to travel to

. good childhood memories

. Gossip

. Favorite alcoholic drink (how to make it)

. Call and interview someone for five minutes and write about that

. Comparison of your thoughts of Vancouvers last mayor and this new mayor

. Cool websites you enjoy

. Different developments in breast cancer

Blogathon 2009: Blogging to raise funds for charity

This is post #1 of 49 (starting late so I'll keep it short).

Through this year's blogathon I am seeking donations for The Vancouver Weekend to End Breast Cancer, specifically my wife Tamara's walk for the weekend: link

I am grateful to Rebecca Bollwit, Miss 604 for organizing this year's blog-a-thon.