Twenty Years of Blogging

September 23, 2021

On this day in 2001, I wrote my first blog post.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, I had been running a few BBS systems, both for myself and for a couple of organizations I was involved with. Looking back on it, they sure were primitive compared to what we have today.

Later in the 1990s, I was heavily involved in some early online communities — Utne Café and Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms in particular. They were great fun and of immense value in opening up channels of intelligent communication. I also met people there (including the Everloving) with whom I am still in touch.

Finally, in 2001, I discovered Blogger and jaksview v.1 was born. A couple of years later I switched to Typepad for v.2 in which my entries were heavily weighted toward international politics. Unfortunately, I ran into some heavy-duty far right SOBs who started threatening me and my family and in February 2008 I felt it was the better part of discretion to scrap version 2. I started again with WordPress for version 3 — and here we are today.

I have been a writer in one way or another for most of my life and having a blog has allowed me to inflict my views, my poems, my art on a much wider audience than I might have had in any other way. Thank you for reading and for continuing to visit jaksview.

Anniversary Post

February 3, 2021

In the 1980s and 1990s I ran a number of BBSs (you have to be ancient to even remember what they were), and I opened my first actual blog in September 2001. This version (v.3) of Jak’s View from Vancouver is 13 years old today.

Over all that time, the top five posts (by view) have been:

Lucian Freud

The 2012 Summer Olympics Are Already With Us

Venice Becoming A Ghost Of Itself

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Les Sapeurs du Congo

However, since the beginning of 2019 when it was first published, this post about Love and the Oxford Comma has swamped all others with its popularity.

Here’s to another thirteen years!

Changes on The Drive

February 1, 2021

For ten years now, my Changes on the Drive column has always been published on the first morning of each month. However, have you looked out the window lately?

I’m feeling way too old and feeble to be tramping about in this weather, and so I will wait until Wednesday when we are supposed to get some sunny breaks.

Free Speech Is Not For Wimps Or Cowards

February 10, 2018

I believe in totally free speech. Everyone has, or should have, the right to say anything they want on any topic without sanction. That includes comments on this site, no matter how bizarre or off-base they may be.

However, I also believe that right comes with an equal dose of responsibility — that one own one’s own words.

It is not OK to hide your statements behind fake names. It is not OK to pretend to be someone else when making statements. It is not OK to give phony email addresses. Only cowards and deliberate provocateurs do that.

Too often lately, commenters here have hidden their identities, clearly unwilling to be responsible for their own actions. That stops today.  I have been persuaded that some people really need or prefer to use a pseudonym for their own safety (or whatever) and while I disagree with that, I will allow it.  But there is no reason whatsoever to give a false email address, and I will check every new address that tries to leave a comment. Those that fail that simple test will not be posted.

If you don’t like the new rules, don’t leave a comment. Your right to do or not do is completely unharmed.



Another Medical Hiatus

October 20, 2017

Well, my hope that I would get back to posting in real time foundered on some major infections and a week in Mount St Joseph’s Hospital who discharged me today. At least I can now add their wonderful staff to my praise of the BC Medical profession.

And thank goodness for the images, music, poems, and certain celebrations that I tend to pre-schedule sometimes weeks in advance for keeping the blog ticking over.

Finally back at home, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Happy Anniversary To Me!

September 23, 2016

On 23rd September 2001, I started my first blog. It was on Blogspot. In 2004, I switched to Typepad, and in 2008 came to rest at WordPress (thus, the v.3 in the title of the blog).

Before that, from the late 1980s through the 1990s, I had operated a number of Bulletin Board Services (BBS) both for myself and for others, and had then been active with some of the early online communities (UTNE Cafe, Brainstorms, etc).

So, today is the 15th anniversary of me on blogs. I’ve had a lot of fun and hopefully, if only for a moment or two, I have managed to reach out and touch someone.

Into Research Mode

March 11, 2015

Well, I’m back at my back at one of my favourite perches — looking at the minutiae of East Vancouver history (1888-1915) through the lens of the contemporary daily newspapers. That’s a good thing, especially for the new book I am planning. Trouble is, it takes up most of my time and most of my intellectual energy, so posts on other topics here may well be few and far between.  We’ll see how I do with that.

There will still be the music and image posts on alternate days; poetry on Mondays; environmental stuff on Fridays; Changes on the Drive on the first of each month, and posts on celebratory and other memorable days.  To my coterie of regular readers, I hope that is enough for the time being.

Thanks for viewing!

This Is Not A Newspaper

March 26, 2014

This is not a newspaper nor is it the CBC or the BBC.  It is a place for me to express my own views (thus the name of this blog) and to pass on observances that I think are of interest.  I do exactly as much research as I choose when writing these pieces. Nothing more should be expected of me.

When I write history pieces, the research will be as exact and accurate as I can possibly make it.  But when I write political pieces or articles on art, music, food or when I write general observations, what you see is what you get — my view with absolutely no guarantee that anyone else will agree.  Everyone is welcome to do their own research, their own reading, and make up their own minds.

I would have thought this was obvious.

But clearly some with a different point of view expect something else.  The comments that my post on the anal bleaching sign attracted are a fine example.  Obviously the commenter disagreed with my position and claimed I got my facts wrong.  No, I did not: I reported accurately on what I saw (the sign), I reported accurately on what I heard on the street (“I am told that” the PAC had objected), and I gave my own opinion on the issue.   No facts were harmed in the production of that post.

As I wrote to the commenter, the comments and my email are open for anyone to state their differences of opinion, but I expect something other than just “you are wrong.”



Happy 6th WordPress Anniversary!

February 3, 2014

Today is the 6th anniversary of the start of this particular blog.

It is the third version of my blog:  the second was on Typepad and lasted from 24th April 2004 until 3rd February 2008. Most of that seems to survive and there are some interesting essays on that site if I do say so myself,

My first blog was on Blogspot and has deteriorated over time.  I started it on 23rd September 2001 in response to 9/11, and transferred to Typepad in April 2004.

We’ve had over half a million views on version 3 of the blog which, I know, is puny compared to a lot of sites, but which seems like an awful lot of visitors to me.  I am truly grateful to each and every one of you who takes a moment or more to read these scratchings.

Onward for the next six years!

Missing In Action

December 20, 2012

It has been an age since I wrote.  I’ve been pretty good for the last few months at keeping this blog regular but I’ve been preoccupied for the last week or so.

Wooden_file_cabinetDuring the last twelve months I have undertaken a vast amount of research, collected a ton of images, and I’ve written scores of pieces in various formats; and it occured to me — when I couldn’t find something I knew I had — that I had allowed these hundreds of files and notes and emails to be scattered across the breadth and depth of my laptop and the external hard drives.  Stuff was everywhere and not at all handy.

So I spent the last week or more getting it all back in order.  And I can’t count the number of times I was just scanning a document to find its relevance when something attracted my interest and I took the time to re-read the whole thing — the long essays and the short texts.  The images and PPTs and other media needed to be catalogued, everything had to be read.  Each day was as filled up as the one before it with interesting facts, intriguing analysis, and colourful background.  And now its done and I have a long “to do” list based on what I found.

Which brings me to the point, I guess; my realisation that I will never again force myself into deadlines, even those of my own making.  This realisation happened immediately after I had made the decision to publish “The Birth of A Community: Grandview 1890-1915” in time for Christmas 2013, a decision I instantly revoked under the new understanding.  I will take my time, reflect, get it right.

While I take my own sweet time with the new book, hopefully some of that time will be used to keep up the posts here!

Head Down, Pounding Away

November 23, 2012

My ever-loving is away visiting family.  I have taken the opportunity of  her absence and the lashing rain this week, to stay in, to stay glued to my computer, bashing out my December 8th lecture and getting a good handle on the book that will follow. It’s been a lot like batchelor days at college. I’ve managed to keep the household going, with both the cat and I eating well; but the focus has been on writing and there hasn’t been any time for blog posts.

The plan for today is to finalize draft one of the lecture and complete a timed run-through.  Head down and push on!

I’m A Dell Guy

March 19, 2011

For the last couple of weeks my computer has been, to say the least, edgy.  I lost the use of my external mouse, the two monitors changed places within the system and refused to go back, the sound system was broken and the CD drive had never worked properly.  There was the more than occasional blue screen of death.

The problems began to crowd into inconvenience and I found myself more than once at building a shopping cart of items just to see how much it came to, with taxes and shipping.  On the third visit, I pushed the BUY button; and here I am, three days later, typing this on a spanky new small black laptop.

I feel comfortable using Dell. I’ve always had good service from them and this has been no exception. I’m a believer!

What An End To The Year

December 31, 2010

The day after I got back from hospital, my computer hard drive decided it just couldn’t go on.  Without warning it turned turtle and scuttled away into oblivion.  VCV Computer on Commercial is probably the best repair shop in the city but even they have to take Christmas off!   So it is only today that I have the machine back with a brand new — and empty — hard drive.

I have spent much of this NYE re-establishing contact with the system.  Luckily all my truly important files — the books I am writing, my photographs and art work — are on an external drive;  but I have lost years and years of email history and my carefully constructed and indexed thousands of Firefox bookmarks.  Oh well; as the headline on this blog says “the most important post-modern expression is the ability to just start again.”

Firefox, Skype and my second monitor are all working well, and I have an old version of WORD that should see me through. Losing my apps means I have to track down online or otherwise free versions of Excel, Powerpoint and Photoshop.  Now, if I could just get contact with my web cam and the external drive, I’d be in great shape.

Many cultures believe it is good to start clean and renewed for the new year.  With what the hospital and the computer have done to me this past fortnight, I should be in great shape for 2011.  Happy New Year!

No Time, No Time!

December 13, 2010

It seems to have been an age since I blogged here.

I have been gearing up the research schedule for my next book and I just don’t seem to get time or energy to post here so often. There is so much interesting stuff going on (BC politics, wikileaks etc) that I know I am missing the chance to have my say on important happenings, and I have to make a better effort.

However, having gotten back to it, I am reminded just how much I enjoy the research part of writing history books; every day I am surprised by new revelations, new insights.  I am also reminded how helpful and courteous the folks in the Special Collections Department of the main library are — it is a welcoming environment for researchers.

Back soon, I hope!


Catching Up (2)

October 30, 2010

Postings have been few and far between for the last few days. I have been heads down in preparing a book — not the one I am publishing in February — but an even grander undertaking that I am aiming for next Christmas.   It is one I began many years ago (intimately attached to the February book) and which, until I started to re-prepare it this week, I thought was rather further ahead in the grunt work than it actually is.  Darn it!

Still, having to do the fiddly details of the research allows me to re-connect with the material once again. I will complain about the tedium over the next few weeks, but it will all be to the good in the end.

Hopefully I will get bored enough at least once a day to come here and post something different.

Slow Blogging …

October 20, 2010

… this week while I do more work on my book in preparation for publication.   I’m working on the Index this week and that is thirsty work!  Be back real soon.


One Million Or Bust!

November 17, 2009

Sometime today, the 100,000th visitor will come to this blog.  The first 50,000 took 15 months to achieve; this second 50,000 has taken just 6 months, and daily visist numbers continue to grow.

Many thanks to everyone who has read my pieces, looked at my images, commented or not.  This has never been designed as one of those sites that get 100,000 hits a day, and I am pleased to see each and every person who comes here.  Welcome!



Who’s Reading What?

November 9, 2009

lucien-freudI was looking at this site’s statistics this morning.  I  wasn’t surprised to see that coverage of Lucian Freud over the last year has drawn most views — by many thousands:  he is a popular and controversial painter.

What did surprise me, though, was how popular the Les Sapeurs du Congo post has been.   They are a truly fascinating social phenomenon.

Other posts that appear in the top half dozen include my image of “54 Stories of Old Ireland” (no idea where this is coming from), and the post on a pizza machine!

I’m Baaaaack!

October 17, 2009

Just a little while ago, I was congratulating myself on 8 years of blogging. But the truth is, I haven*t been here in some months. I had been drawn away, first and foremost, by Twitter. After that was dealt with each day, I had neither the time nor the energy to sit and write blog entries.

And that seemed OK, for a while. However, after a month or two, it became evident to me just how much time I was spending trying to keep up with my Twitter feeds, how little else I was doing online, and how the novelty of Twitter had worn off. Last week I just had to shut it all down. For some days I didn’t look at Twitter at all — and I survived! I even found time to read other stuff. Wow! What a revelation of what I had been missing.

And as I started to re-visit the lively politics, arts and science sites that used to be my daily fare, I had more and more desire to share some of this stuff as I used to. And to write about it. Last night, as I rebuilt my Daily Bookmarks list, it was a joy to see some of those sites again. Made me excited after what I recognize as the torpor that Twitter induces.

My daughter in England and I have found Twitter to be a very useful way of keeping us in touch each day; and so we’ll continue to do that. I’ll spend some time winnowing down my Twitter “following” list to just those dozen or so artists that I’ve enjoyed interacting with. And that will be that for Twitter.

Happy Birthday To My Blog!

September 23, 2009

Today is the 8th anniversary of my blogging career.

On 23rd September, 2001, I was looking for an outlet to express my continued frustration with US foreign policy, to express some of my anarchist ideas, and to write/think about cultural and scientific advances.  The attacks on New York and Washington two weeks before had led immediately to an obvious boost for the neo-con adventurists and imperialists in Bush’s administration, and I needed somewhere to shout out my frustrations.

That early blog still exists at, though all the images and formatting are gone.   In 2004, a second version of Jak’s View began at  This was just a technology change, the content stayed much the same.  By February 2008, I was bored with the negativism and personal attacks that are inevitable for a political blog.  I’m happy to admit that the bullies beat me.   Good luck to them.

So, I changed platforms again, called the blog “v. 3” and decided to leave politics and current affairs alone.  I determined to concentrate on art and food and cultural signs; and I’ve pretty much stuck to that.  For whatever reasons, I seem to have gathered a small but regular crowd of readers, and Google treats me well with referrals.   Moreover, I am enjoying myself much more now than when I was dirtying my hands regularly with political mud.

I hope that those of you reading this continue to find Jak’s View of interest.  Thank you!

PS: I wrote this in advance, some time ago, before I stopped blogging. I’ll get back to it, I promise!