Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Epitaph Playlist

Since the unfortunate demise of mp3.com, I haven't really found anything else that let me stream lots of decent new music. I guess they're trying to resurrect the site as Download.com Music, but it's so lame compared to the old site: no streaming mp3s, no top-music lists, no user stations, individual downloads only (instead of being able to listen to all the songs from one artist).

I was looking at the the Epitaph site for the Weakerthans and realized that I could make a playlist from the free songs on the Epitaph site. There's tons of great music on there from Pennywise, Millencolin and a bunch of others that I hadn't heard much about. If you like punk, pop-punk, and general guitar rock, you'll probably like this mix:

m3u Epitaph Playlist
b4s Epitaph Playlist
pls Epitaph Playlist

Actually, this WebJay playlist is much better because it gives you all the song titles, direct links to download the songs if you like them, and you can play them in almost any kind of player...plus I put some better songs in there.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Freaky April

The weather has just been amazing this spring. Too dry, unfortunately, for the water-conserving, fire-frightened and anyone trying to grow anything...but I don't think we've ever spent this much time at the beach, biking and playing in the parks in April. Yesterday I discovered that I can ride quite happily and safely on my bike with Ivy in the backpack -- she was thrilled of course. Just before supper we tried it, toodling downtown in our t-shirts and shorts. Hit both playgrounds in a flash and headed home for our stir-fry feeling like we'd robbed a bank.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up

It's been a busy week. We bombed down to Vancouver on the weekend for my conference and squeezed in lots of other stuff down there too. Two short visits with Angelo and Esther weren't really enough, but Angelo and I got to go for an awesome ride on Vedder Mountain, which has some amazing trailbuilding going on with some big, smooth jumps and scary drops.

The hotel was nice enough and cheap for Vancouver. Ivy hit the pool every day and they even had a playroom for kids. Mark and Joel made us a feast at their place off Granville and we watched the Canucks take Game 6. We walked (not a great photo, but look how delighted Ivy is to be with her uncle) down to Granville Island to see the sights and cruised by the bobblehead billboard. It was one of those warm coastal nights with soft orange light and not a breath of wind.

The drives were uneventful, but the tunnel on the Cocquihalla always thrills Ivy. When we got back, Plett and Heather came over to check out our new place and watch the Canucks get eliminated in OT after tying it up with five seconds left in regulation. On Tuesday I had the day off, so we went to Shaughnessy's for lunch and did some wine-tasting at Sumac Ridge before heading up to Myron and Tracey's for supper. It was starting to feel like a houseful of kids.

On Wednesday afternoon, I picked Milt up at the airport and brought him to our place for a quick ride up and down Giant's Head. My folks came out to see him and help out with our chaotic household. After a pretty healthy winter, we're all fighting a cold this week, which isn't helping matters. Last night we were at the beach enjoying the warmth. Ivy was pushing Ella on the swing and coaching her to swing her legs back and forth. Ella was jammed into the swing so that it would have been difficult to do anything with her legs, but Ivy expected more: "Daddy, Ella only goes forth!"

We've been busy with the camera again. A few more random shots from the past few days:

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

BC Parks

I recently wrote to BC Parks to ask why mountain biking isn't permitted in the Brent Mountain protected area. I got an immediate response (from the government!) that actually made sense, although it didn't really offer me much help if I wanted to pursue the issue further. Anyway, some interesting stats from their site:
  • Visitor expenditures on parks were estimated to represent over 90% of total
  • For each dollar invested by government in the protected areas
    system, there were about $10 dollars in visitor expenditures.
  • Almost one-third of visitor expenditures, $148 million, are made by out-ofprovince
    residents. That makes the provincial parks equivalent to a significant
    export industry.
Somehow it seems so crass to view parkland as an exportable commodity, but I suppose it's true. If the parks system does contribute that much to the economy, it ticks me off that they're starting to charge parking fees in provincial parks this summer. Interesting that BC Parks has been growing their land base:
"Since 1991, the total protected area system managed by the province has almost doubled with government designating an additional 6.5 million hectares of land for protection, representing 457 new protected areas or major additions to existing parks. As of April 30, 2001, BC Parks managed a total of 807 protected areas totaling more than 11.35 million hectares and representing 11.8% of the provincial land base."

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Friends Online

I've been following Heather's Action Packed Plett Life, which regularly updates me on what's going on with my old buddy Plett back in Rosenort. Oh how I wish that all my friends would live online.

Easter Feaster

Stellar long weekend here, with ridiculously nice weather. Although Ella was mostly indifferent to Easter, Ivy was thrilled to hang out with Grandma Hiebert, hunt for easter eggs on Viewcrest and participate in the Summerland Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday morning. She seemed happily bewildered, as if someone had forgotten that Christmas and Halloween were already over and we were repeating them accidentally.

We had quite the shindig at my folks' place, with most of Aunt Lucy's clan joining us up there. Dad did his favourite meal, steak of course...and he and mom added a bunch of other elements to round things out. Reminds me that this may be our last Easter in their wonderful place, since it's now for sale. If you're looking for a gorgeous lakeview house in Kelowna, this should fit the bill. We'll miss this refuge, where we've spent so many relaxing days and nights and where Ivy was born...but wherever they end up next will feel like home to us too.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Welcome Back, Angelo and Esther

Well, our good friends have finished their trip to India. It sounded like a true adventure and we can't wait to see the photos and hear the stories that didn't make it into their excellent online travel journal. So nice to have them back home, and in the same province for a change!

Schwinn Sting-Ray

When I first saw Kona's BikeHotRod chopper-style bike, I thought it was kinda dumb. It's too weird to be a functional bike, but maybe not weird enough to really inspire anyone. But today I saw the new Schwinn Sting-Ray -- now that's inspiring, no matter how dysfunctional it would be as a bicycle that you actually wanted to ride around. Available at Wal-Mart and other lowest-of-the-low retailers for just over $200.

The Good With the Bad

Updates have certainly been infrequent here. I'm realizing that this journal tends to present the positive slice of our life, because it seems lame to complain online, but it's not really honest if it makes it look like everything's all good all the time.

This week has been less than ideal, with most of us fighting colds (Tannis), teeth (Ella), slivers and wasp stings (Ivy) and back trouble (me). Monday was our worst day in a long time. Ella was refusing to sleep at night, then screamed and whined most of the day. Then all of our patience gets stretched thin and none of us get along very well. I get greedy with my time, Tannis gets sick from lack of sleep and Ivy responds by raising the volume and frequency of her demands for all the things she knows she can't have.

In sharp contrast, our weekend was stellar -- is this the consequence of our work-a-day lives? We started the project to overhaul our hilariously tiny backyard and I didn't outright hate the "obligations" of homeownership. Of course I would have rather been riding or lounging or whatever, but it was very tangible work with fairly satisfying results.

And I did get to ride on Sunday, after an amazing warm morning on the beach. Some brave souls even swam at Sunoka, but we were content to wade around up to our knees, play in the sand and lie in the sun. Stupidly forgot to bring the camera. The weather has been unbelievable, helping facilitate our daily relaxing outside and picnics. Ella's really loving the sunshine.

Monday, April 05, 2004


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi interview, thanks to Chris Corrigan, who adds some of his own experiences with flow. He seems to be doing the kind of work that would make you lose track of time, combining challenge with reward in an engaging process (flow state).

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Work Crew

Neil posted some photos of our work crew before he hit the road for snowy Edmonton. Melodie is the latest addition to the crew, and I've been no better than an honorary member since I'm only in the office a couple of days a week. We did have our inaugural lunch outside by the creek last week, though. Ahh, summer is coming.