Image: Family At The Beach

February 21, 2016

Family At Beach

The Thrill Ain’t Gone!

February 20, 2016

The defeat of our flu was magically celebrated this afternoon with bright sunshine. And to celebrate that, the NO TOWER campaign raised its Community Information table at Grandview Park for the first time this year. Along with the

Along with the irreplacebable Eric, the ever-loving and I took on the first shift. Almost immediately, and for the next hour that we were there, the table was visited by a steady stream of residents and visitors eager to learn about the plan to irreversibly damage the look and feel and character of the Drive with a 12-15 storey condo tower. We had debates with some, but the vast majority were keen to sign the petition against the tower.

And the numbers on that petition continue to grow, now well above 3,500.

Getting signatures is important. But the most valuable part of this entire exercise is making sure our community neighbours become informed on the developers’ plans for our neighbourhood — and it has to be us who tells them because the developers refuse to hold meetings accessible to the community to explain their plans.  That is why, even though I have retired from day-to-day campaigning, I will always be happy to lend a hand to this community awareness project.


Night Music: Into The Mystic

February 20, 2016

Flu For Fun and Profit!

February 20, 2016

After the damn flu came roaring back on Wednesday night, I was in no mood to do anything.  However, on the same day, I had received the last T4, T4A etc etc kind of documents I needed to complete our taxes. So I sat at my desk and decided just to do it.

I found that my heavy hurting head kept me from more interesting distractions, and plodding through the forms line-by-line was almost soothing.  Taking my time and drinking lots of tea, I spent a whole afternoon completing two fairly straightforward returns.  Keeping my mind on the task also stopped me from self-piteously concentrating on my stuffed nose, rheumy eyes, aching shoulders, and the growing pile of used tissues filling my waste basket.

By evening, both our taxes and my flu were behind me — a wonder cure courtesy of Revenue Canada!

Image: City Abstract #7

February 19, 2016


Night Music: The1975

February 18, 2016

Possibly better just to listen, then the jejune facial expressions etc won’t put you off what is not a bad song. This is their performance on SNL a couple of weeks ago.

Big Brother IS Watching #2

February 18, 2016

Do you remember Foursquare? I guess it is still around but I haven’t heard of it for quite a while. It was an app that directed you to stores and restaurants close to where you were physically located based on the GPS data supplied by your mobile phone. I was reminded of it when I read this article from Creative Review called Creativity and Programmatic Advertizing.  The article might be a bit inside-the-beltway for those not in the advertising and marketing business, but it includes some extraordinary insights into the kind of information databanks that corporation compile about you and me.

First of all, the definition of “programmatic advertizing”:

“Programmatic advertising offers the chance to connect with the right consumer at the right place and time … Programmatic allows you to run segmented work that will appeal to all of your audiences – it then optimises the creative to the version that best suits a media channel’s audience.”

There is nothing new about the first sentence.  If you are placing ads on the TV show “Sesame Street” you are no doubt aiming at a different audience than if you place the same ad on “The Batchelor,” for example.  Even the second sentence is unoriginal: the ad you place on “The Batchelor” will (or should be) different than the ad you used on “Sesame Street“.

The difference today is the matter of scale.  Old campaigns may have had half-a-dozen different sets of copy and images for various market segments.  Today, technology has exploded that almost infinitely.

“Unilever’s Axe brand in Brazil … recently used programmatic adverts to serve online viewers with up to 100,000 variations of its Romeo Reboot ad.”

The particular variation you get to see is not random, of course. It is designed to appeal specifically to characteristics about you that the advertiser already knows from your purchase history, demographics, browsing profiles, and a million other data points that you don’t even recognize you are giving away.

I have no doubt that within a few years almost every ad will say something like “Hello Jak, here’s a piece of cookware that we know you’ve been thinking about.”  We already get this from Amazon.

I don’t need or want that kind of omniscience from corporations. And it sure makes me think more fondly of those quaint old Foursquare days.

Image: Inside The Tower

February 17, 2016

Inside the Tower

Night Music: Zoot Suit Riot

February 16, 2016


The Flat-Out Flu

February 16, 2016

It has been quiet around here for a few days, and I blame the flu for that.  Both the ever-loving and I came down with what I assume is the flu and for several days we were flat on our back, sneezing and coughing and aching, and unable to gather two thoughts together (even more than usual).

Yesterday was a bit better, and today I even managed to get out to a meeting. It was a joy to be out in the sunshine, although I was exhausted by the time I got to the meeting place; even more so by the time I got back home.

If this flu comes knocking at your door, run away and hide; it’s a damnable affliction!

Hopefully, this is the end of it and I can get back to my usual slow (rather than glacial) pace.

Image: Standing Stones, Ancient and Modern

February 15, 2016

Standing Stones, ancient and modern_small


Click on image for a much better view.

Poem: Exchanges

February 15, 2016


Needle exchanges

are just

stock exchanges     really


stock exchanges

for those


those on the



like over-stretched


in a bare    market


leveraged hedges and

currency options



no different

than heroin from opium


stock exchanges

are just

needle exchanges

juicing up

a different



Night Music: Love, Look What You’ve Done To Me

February 14, 2016

One of the most romantic songs ever.

Night Music: You Are My World

February 14, 2016

Image: Arrow Lake

February 13, 2016

Arrow Lake_medium

Night Music: Mandolin Wind

February 12, 2016

The Very Smallness of The Very Large

February 11, 2016

I have for several days been awaiting the announcement that gravitational waves have finally been detected. I had wondered whether the proof would be conclusive enough to sway all reasonable professional observers — and it is, definitively so.  This is a most remarkable achievement and will certainly earn the project’s leaders a Nobel Prize.

There will be much to say about the anticipated future results of this discovery — how, for example, we will be able to see the universe in a completely different “light” all the way back to the Big Bang before there was light. But for today, I am still entranced by the staggering degree of precision their experiments provide:

“….an instrument so sensitive it could detect a change in the distance between the solar system and the nearest star four light years away to the thickness of a human hair.”

Just try to think about that almost unimaginable degree of accuracy for a while. Moreover, their specific discovery — the collision and merger of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away — took place over just 20-thousandths of a second, a period of time so small that it really is unimaginable to the average person.

None of this will cure the housing bubble in Vancouver or improve the price of cauliflower or stop the damned tower being proposed on Commercial Drive. But the excitement this kind of thing generates shows that life is a lot more than just quotidian concerns.

Image: Knot

February 11, 2016


Night Music: Natural Woman

February 10, 2016

Belated (yesterday) happy birthday to Carole King, one of the immortals.

Image: Street Art #19

February 9, 2016

street art 19