Baseball, Birthdays, Fireworks, Transit, Grateful Dead, Creative Commons and Geek Fests
Twas my brother Funboy’s birthday as well as Jerry Garcia‘s birthday, so i took a half-dayer to go see a Vancouver Canadians game at the tuned-up Nat Bailey stadium (and saw the curling rink under construction nearby).
The ballclub didn’t answer my request for free tix (since i am big shot sports podcaster and all) but the $8/ea. didn’t kill me. Beers $6 – choice of Granville Island Pale or Lager (Pale is better methinks).
The baseball game vs. Everett Aqua Sox featured sloppy defense, a grand slam, many runs, a big comeback and a loss to the homers in extra innings. The park is much improved with art, paint and moved in fences. The treed backdrop is a classic. The blogging Bollwits (Miss 604 and AudiHertz) were there too working on tans/burns while waiting for hockey season to start.
Miss 604 talked tenderly of their relations 99% of Champions over at Duane’r the drinkin’ codr’s blog (featuring crazy hyper-real HDR photos) and discourse on appropriate use under CC – Creative Commons, Flickr and You.
I’ll see them all at the upcoming Vancouver BAR Camp – which has something to do with drinking but not much to do about a bar per se. Unconference geekfest is what it is. Bring your own idea and $20 if you want a shirt (i don’t). I have a big idea i had best get writing about. – the Urban Vancouver TV Show – i have a smaller idea too … a “let’s write Wikipedia entries for one another’s companies/personalbrand” kinda powwow – signup! to participate in some documentary activity – while carefully avoiding conflict of interest.
Also coming up is Gnomedex (though my upcoming agenda is nothing like Krugger’s madcamp geek tour with Scales the international man of mysterious skills. Whenever i think of Gnomedex, (I’ll try not to tear up here, sniff, sniff) I think about the outstanding people i meet there (followed by the fine food and great partying), notably my amigos from Bryght who are *always* ready to brew up some activity no matter the topic as long as it touches on how tech effects the human social condition.
Though Gnomedex is gratefully not on Canada Day this year, there will be a strong Canadian vibe with Darren Barefoot and Derek K Miller making contributions. Bowen Island’s Boris always has something to say + ace technologist Roland (who did an interview with Len Edgerly that is worth a listen) who was such a mighty force for citizen media goodness during the Canucks playoff run.
I am also eager to hear Rand Fishkin – an SEO wiz from Seattle – I follow that kinda search stuff somewhat for my day-job.
Another Bryght guy Richard Eriksson is posting up a nice variety of topics i care about (and his subtle sense of humor cuts through the cutesy-asian decor ;-)): podcasting, bc transit and asking people to do stuff for ya.
I commented on his recent list of podcasts he listens to (thankfully including the Canucks Outsider (hosted by Bryght) but seems I haven’t enticed him to subscribe to the Choogle on or Postcards from Gravelly Beach feeds yet (acquired taste i suppose).
Anyhow, I commented about Cory Doctorow (who i go on and on about him in The Totalitarian Urge on Now Public from his spiel at SFU) (he also spoke at Gnomedex 05)’s podcast, Craphound podcast. In particular Cory’s recent lecture at UC Irvine talk on copyright and trade policy episode is brilliant commentary – so good i listened twice while rolling on tranist. Decent audio quality too (many audience recordings are well intentioned but hardly listenable) – maybe Cory could bring an M-Audio Microtrack and a decent mic and non-bootleg his own lectures for the Craphound podcast?
Anyhow, here’s what i had to say about Cory on Richard’s Podcasts, In Various States of ‘Listened-to’ and ‘Unlistened-to’ (easier just to paste cause i am at work yo!):
I would add a hearty recommendation for Cory Doctorow’s Craphound podcast. His feed includes a weekly show with him catching up on his exploits and then reading from his or someone else’s book – currently Bruce Sterling’s critical tome “The Hacker Crackdown” plus bakes in his various interviews at colleges, universities, radioshows, writer groups, etc. He is wicked smart on a wide variety of topics from global economics to quantum physics.
If there is a Cory Doctorow fan club, i wouldn’t join it, i’d make my own using the creative commons fan club license and then give away memberships (which do not require providing names or other identifying info) and then send the non-records to space in a Buckley’s cold medicine powered time capsule.
Of course Cory talks much about Copyright/Creative commons and how to bridge that into a business model (again some KK talks about with his fashion photography). One underused example (which i brought up on Roland’s Dogma Radio a while ago) of community driven, non-fascist, conscious capitalism business model in the creative space is the aforementioned Grateful Dead. They were successful both artistically and financially to say the least.
They ran their own label (with varying degrees of success), promoted on tours and produced dozens of spin-offs with different bands (JGB, Ratdog, Mystery Box, Phil and Friends …) before and after Jerry’s demise. Most importantly, they allowed fans to record shows resulting in a comprehensive musical record of their long, strange trip. The tapes could be traded but not sold. The anti-Metallica.
Use of band photos got a bit more dubious as did non-licensed t-shirts, … at some venues, security thugs would take offense and seize merchandise for sale (or hassle the people using the “donation” excuse) but this wasn’t necessarily the view of the band, instead overzealous promoters etc. but that’s a different story …
Grateful Dead was the first Internet search i did when i got online in Guam. Jerry had just died and at the impromptu candlelight vigil, i met some guys who had all the low-down on how and where, why etc. … this info was hard to source in a distant rock … turned out they worked for the largest Micronesian newspaper and had the Internet. Whoa dude. The Internet.
The local Guam ISP offered a “learn how to Internet” class and after learning about Trumpet Winsock and Gopher, I loaded up Dead.net over the 14.4kbps modems thousands away from any servers or backbone … then the power went out (brown tree snakes often curl up and gnaw at the lines resulting in a dead snake and spontaneous bar-b-ques to use up thawing meats).
Lots to do here: mark shows you attended for starters and explore the careful documentation of each setlist over a mighty history. Roll yer own account and hook up with people you actually have something in common with – collect photos of shows you were at, share ones you got, stoke out your show collection and indulge in reminiscing about veggie burritos, buses fulla hippie chicks and scarfing Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout and oranges after a 3-1/2 hours show in some state you’ve never been before (mentally and physically). Highest ratings indeed.
Finally, I started in on a lengthy spiel about local transit (i wanna love transit, i really do) inspired in part by the dialogue around Dave Olsen’s Tyee series about Free Transit and Darren Barefoot’s gutcheck reply and partly because my inefficient commute from North Van to the Cambie and Broadway conflagration.
In the meantime, here is a couple of comments i left at Paying for ‘Free’ Transit which will suffice – for the time being at least.
The “other Dave Olson” here chiming in with another example of free transit.
Indeed my (almost doppleganger) Dave Olsen was wise to look outside the country for positive examples of transit in action which can be found in the oddest of places.
While free transit (and quality transit in general) is oft looked at as a leftie-liberal utopian dream and conservative are wont to roll eyes and think of transit as the transport of the destitute and lazy, the “most conservative” city in America (that I’ve found anyhow) rolls the free buses and manages to do it clean and happily. Really.
Logan, Utah – where the hair is big and the trucks are bigger – is a university town (Utah State has 20K+ students) with only 2 bars (both closed on Sundays), a gleaming Mormon temple, a row of box stores, malls and fast food that even Surrey would envy, almost no crime and a massive police force (i know first hand ;-)).
There is little/no ecological bent whatsoever – the kids still rev engines and cruise Main on Saturday night and recycling means eating leftover casserole. Yet these hard-sells bought into free transit and – from the parents to the drinkers – love it. Go there and ask.
While I think free transit is a hard sell here, I would settle for a few improvements like clean buses (both exhaust and interior), customer-friendly drivers (I am talking to you on the 15!), and schedules posted at each stop (shelter would be nice too, it does rain here Virginia).
A little tinkering with technology would go a long way for the rider’s experience too – i.e. a website with some semblance of usability and SMS “next bus” service (some SFU students are doing this I believe). Realtime announcements at stops (like in London) would be nice too but I won’t hold my breath.
As for price, a roll back of fares which make it more affordable to ride than drive for starters. Say a loonie a ride. Now, if I wanna take the wife and boy downtown and back, I can roll transit for about $20 or drive for $3 of gas + pay to park and still come out ahead (I do roll transit anyhow despite being packed shoulder to shoulder with wet strangers whilst bounding across Lion’s Gate).
Also, as a monthly pass buyer, I do not understand the erstwhile availability limits (imagine my audacity trying to get a pass on July 2nd! Took 4 stops to find one) and the “discounted” faresavers are a joke too.
Finally (rant almost done – more on my blog) enough testing and thinking about it already – Get some new buses! We are often riding the same decaying sleds as we did in the 1980s when Vancouver was deemed North America’s best transit system. Well it ain’t now.
For the record, i grew up in Whalley (well before Skytrain) and the 316/312 was my escape pod from a crappy Jr. Secondary school to my beloved downtown. I ride transit 2-3 hours a day now and visited the rolling transit museum (geeky I know). I also own a car which i use for roadtrip – and the traditional bi-annual trip to Ikea of course.
I’ve traveled to 20+ countries and ride public conveyance most everywhere I go from Guam to Japan to Amsterdam and beyond. Translink needs help fast in order cease ghettoizing the humble and noble transit rider who should be celebrated not passed-by (like i was this morning while heading to the instersection of chaos of Cambie and Broadway … but that’s another rant, one about rider safety!).
This weekend will involve a visit to the Powell Street Festival celebrating Japanese Canadian culture plus the fireworks finale on Saturday which we’ll watch from the semi-secret spot. The Province has a (rare) good article about Vancouver’s Top Ten hikes, swims, paddles, skateparks etc. which is worth keeping handy in your ‘stuff to do’ stash.
This weekend is also Pride weekend in Vancouver so don’t be surprised at all the buttless chaps (not to be confused with the world naked bike ride last week). BTW, we cannabis legalization advocates could learn a lot about “coming out” from the queerfolk.
Finally, finally … a few shots from a quick trip to Dundarave to watch China’s go at the fireworks – the sightlines were as great for photos this time but China’s show was top notch as you’d likely expect.