so you think of how it should have been

It’s pretty much a done deal. I’m working on a new design to my site. To actually announce this and have it come to light are too completely different things. If I had all the time in the world, I could do this in a matter of days. Ok, that might be pushing it ever so slightly, but I could probably do it if I gave no precedence to anything else such as getting out of the apartment from time to time.

There are other, more pressing things going on right now that truly take precedence. Rebecca would have my head on a platter if I didn’t make it known that I understand this quite greatly. In a short matter of weeks, some of my family will be here for my wedding. Yes, my wedding. The Reverend Don Deeley will be flying in from Pittsburgh, Muffin and Bill! meeting up with David Duke in Seattle (where he lives now, I might add) to make the car ride up for the event. Planning, plotting, deciding, thinking, discussing, and lots of other things to get into place before the day. The day which is just weeks away now. Combine that with my online endeavors and there just isn’t a whole lot of time for anything else.

I’ve had a flood of thoughts coming from the Vancouver podcaster meet up on Friday. It was so surreal to be around such an incredible group of individuals, all with their own insights of what he or she wants to do with this new medium. From making money to just having fun, there are so many elements about podcasting that you cannot have one theory about. It’s kind of like life; it is what you make of it.

gather my brothers and sisters, together we will organize

I’m growing a little tired of Blogger everyday (not to mention that it completely deleted the podcast I uploaded last night from my feed). There is something inside of me that is ready to move away from the way I have constructed this site, but the work I have put into it combined with a complete overhaul is gathering in my head. There are so many elements to consider with what to do, more so with my picture gallery. So much of my site is custom built, and that’s no big deal to some people. I’m just a tad rusty with my web programming skills, but that itself is something that gives me this urge to get my hands dirty and go nuts. There are other pressing matters right now, so I have a few weeks to mull it over. Think of this as a summer project.

Last night we ventured to a little bar downtown to meet Vancouverites that are either interested in podcasting or are already doing such things. There was probably more people there that were interested than there were actually doing podcasts, but it was a pretty incredible night. I think for the most part, people who are comfortable and knowledgeable with blogging want to transpose those talents into the podcasting world. Everyone at the meet up last night were amazing people, and I’m really glad I had a chance to meet who I did. Lots of really great conversation and tons of enthusiasm for podcasting. What more could a person like myself ask for?

I am far from considering myself an expert about this, but I had a really great time talking to people about ideas, concerns, and questions, giving the best feedback that I could. The beauty of podcasting truly is that anyone can do this. From the most simple, archaic, and horribly sounding podcast to the slick and suave ones. Feeds, file formats, bit rates, and bandwidth are the most basic concerns that need to be addressed early. The one point that I cannot stress enough is that no one is a pro the moment they start producing something. Your idea grows, defines itself, and becomes a focus of an audience, no matter where that is or the size. Mistakes will happen, and you can only learn from them to make you better for the future.

In my endeavors with everything, three main types of people stick out to me. There are the folks who are really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about technology who really want to be apart of this new avenue of media, but are unsure how to go about doing it in terms of recording equipment and programming. Then the class of people that have this great idea, want to go forth with it, but that step of “going live” is a bit confusing because there are so many elements to consider; they need some more clarity before anything happens. Finally, the perfectionist. Either they want everything to be in place before they start doing a podcast, or they already think they know everything there is to know about podcasting. It’s that last type of enthusiast that can make the wide eyed newbie feel even more intimidated about starting up in the first place.

Whatever you do, no matter what it is, let it be something you are comfortable with doing on a consistent basis. Find your formula, stick to it, and your audience will follow. At the same time, think of your audience as a community. Use their feedback as a guide with where you want to go. Once you discover that people are actually listening to or watching what you are doing, everything starts to change. The constant that remains the same? Have fun.

Will I ever make a career with my podcast? Who knows? What I have learned and experimented with will help where I take my talents to next. That was my biggest piece of advice last night. The more you play, learn, and experiment, the better podcaster you are going to become.

We need to have more of these gatherings. I had a damn good time!

that’s when you know you have to fly

I had planned to take care of laundry today, but the toilet has seemed to sprung a leak. I’m at home taking care of other things in the meantime. There’s plenty to do right now, that’s for sure. I’m sneaking in what I can right now to make this post while getting those things taken care of as well as finishing off the coffee I made for myself today. French press is pretty great, but that last cup, of the two and half that I made today, always has that not so good ending. That mucky stuff at the bottom? I’ve learned to avoid that. More so for the reason that if I do ingest that, I get uber hyped up on caffeine.

Out of all the days in January, it has rained in Vancouver for 29 of them. Incredible.

I guess I didn’t have as much time today as I thought.

stuck with the heart of a sad punk

I took my first SkyTrain alone today. It was the scariest experience, but something I had never done before. While Rebecca went to her cousin’s baby shower, I came back downtown from Surrey. Heidi and Frank’s new baby girl is adorable, might I add. She’s just a matter of weeks old. Tiny, tiny, little thing, but a cutie none the less.

Back to the SkyTrain, it’s hard to get lost on when you are riding it. I mean, for a good portion of both lines that are currently running, it’s all above ground. You always have a good point of reference with where you are along the line. This is vastly different from the New York subways. That’s a counting game plus a visual check of each station as you go down the tunnels of Manhattan. Each time I went there, I was able to adapt to the system faster than the last visit.

The drawback of the SkyTrain is that there really are not enough lines in the area around Vancouver. That might sound whiny of me, but the potential of a line going all the way into West Vancouver seems like an efficient idea in my mind. Right now, you can take a SeaBus across the inlet to get over to North Vancouver, but even the communities around the inlet would be served nicely by another line. At the same time, I just love the idea of clean, mass transit. And trains.

Buses and boats are good, but something like the SkyTrain offers efficiency that can far surpass the other two options. It’s not just about fossil fuels either. Take today for example. A good portion of highway one was closed due to an accident on our way out to Surrey this morning. Luckily it was on the other side of the freeway, heading back into Vancouver, but the traffic back up was horrendous. And that’s just on a Saturday! Coming back on the train this afternoon, the radio still said to expect delays, but I was back home in 45 minutes. That’s pretty hard to beat. It nearly makes me want to never own a car.

we’ve brought someone in to shut you up

The rain last night fell sideways. I ventured to meet Rebecca after work for some retail extravaganza only to find that not only were my toes soaking wet, but so were my thighs, all the way up to my chest. I wasn’t soaked, but this is the first time the that rain had been this way. It wasn’t a downpour either. The winds were kicking up from the waterfront and playing with the light rain. Back in Iowa, I’m used to these types of rains, but I have yet to be stuck in a good downpour that can soak you in a matter of seconds. On top of that, I haven’t seen a flash of lightning since I landed here.

I’ve been caught up in the last few nights watching an amazing documentary about Auschwitz. It’s not the greatest of all topics to mention or even talk about, but for the longest time, I’ve been deeply intrigued by this dark period in human history. I think a lot of it stems to my fascination with psychology. I had always been incredibly interested about the way humans think and operate on a cognitive level. Why it is that we make the decision we do. That connection of your brain saying to your arm that you want to pick up your fork and eat your dinner. Taking that to the level of this madness that took over a generation of people to do the things they did.

The conditioning that went into this ugly era is unimaginable. I know it’s an old idea to be rehashed, but even time I stop to think about it, the thought confounds me. These stories and images are rough for anyone to endure, and Rebecca made me aware that she lacks the stomach to watch these documentaries while eat a monster of a veggie sandwich I made her the other night. It’s far from an easy subject to watch over dinner. I keep finding myself drawn into the stories. Every time, I’m reminded of the fright I had walking past the ovens at Dachau, but that experience doesn’t stop me from wanting to learn more avenues of those who went through these horrible events first hand. Every story adds to more and more about the whole ordeal. It’s not over-saturation. I just want to know more.

Have you ever sat down with someone in your family such as your grandparents? They tell you stories about the way things were long before you even existed. If you can take a moment to keep your eyes from closing and letting sleep take over you in the midst of one of these moments, this is what I am talking about. First hand accounts of people who have been through periods in history. Information that, if you don’t take the time to absorb, will pass you by when you are not paying attention.

What is more scary are those who say that these things never happened. That all of it is a lie. A made up tale to make people sympathetic to those who were persecuted in these atrocities. Iran has a leader who made such a claim just weeks ago. What’s more frightening? The documentaries that I just watched or the modern day anti-semitism?

can we find trust in our evening news

When you walk around downtown Vancouver, there is a different atmosphere than most large cities that I have been in. What I mean by this is by the people that are all around you. Cars wait for you in the crosswalk. People strive to keep the flow of foot traffic efficient by dodging you at the last second when you think that a collision is imminent. Notice I’m not talking about the more touristy spots such as Robson St. That’s a whole other issue entirely. Even compared to Iowa City, the whole hustle and bustle of it all is just more fluid and friendly. Perhaps it’s the difference between the cultures of our two nations. I’m just trying to convey the things that I notice.

My routes on my runs have been taking me a little more deeper into Stanley Park. The more I venture into the woods, which tend to always bring this thought to my mind of the forest of Endor, the more I become comfortable with the area. What’s even better are those rainy days which pretty much implies that there will be hardly anyone on the trail, if anyone at all. This time of year, nearly everyday is a rainy day. As soon as your clothes get muddy from what your shoes kick up onto you, the rain seems to wash away. On the final stretch home, run through the puddles to get your shoes clean. It’s a system that I’ve recently discovered. It’s pretty fun too.

I came across an owner and his dog on a trail the other day. This dog has issues. Social anxiety if I have ever seen it before. We learned about these types of conditions in animals in my psych classes, but I had yet to experience it. The dog saw me come around the turn and froze, looking up at its owner while the man did its best to console the little thing. For me, who has been attacked by a dog while running before but never since my days here, it was so strange. You could see the look of disgust on the man’s face, so this behavior is not only common, but annoying.

On my route today, I came up on a man with a bag in his hand, just standing in the middle of the path. This is not an uncommon occurrence as people often stop and check out the scenery. As I got closer, I figured out what was going on. Three or four squirrels running around as he threw them something they were stuffing their cheeks with. Totally against the law, and I should have been a good Vancouverite and said something. I didn’t. He looked at me with that I’m-not-doing-anything-wrong look on his face. I can’t blame him. I have this undying urge to do the same thing, but the squirrels in the park are HUGE because of this reason. Fat little critters that are over fed and possibly have rabies. It’s the only thing that stops me. Oh yeah, plus the whole against the law thing, too.

i won’t respond to prove them wrong

I’ve been through my first election process in Canada. I have to say that they experience, albeit brief, was incredibly interesting. I didn’t pay much attention to the press or what other people were saying prior to the election. I think I understand more of the issues of the major parties (Yes, I said parties. There were four major ones and several minor ones) were running on than I do about the debating of said issues and what the media was saying about them. In the states, you can barely watch any program without something being said about it. Of course, I still watch a lot of CNN up here, and they could care less about the elections in Canada. Obviously my choice of media outlet doesn’t help.

The Conservatives won, for the most part. At least (creepy) Stephen Harper will replace Paul Martin as Prime Minister. The one saving grace to the whole situation is that Harper doesn’t have the majority. The easiest way for me to equate this with what I’m used to is if the Democrats held in the power in congress with Bush in control of the presidency, which the opposite is currently true for congress. Back in Canada, this makes pro-choice and gay marriage safe for now, but the Conservatives would like to turn that around if they had the chance. How this all plays out will be incredibly interesting. The Bloc, the party predominately in Quebec that wants sovereignty for that province, even lost seats to the conservatives.

A lot has flipped and changed. With the scandal that hit the Liberals, voters are kinda looking at different potentials, but as we can see, another election can be triggered at anytime. A vote of no confidence in parliament can start this whole process over again, and many people are predicting that could happen within a year. To me, that signals a strength in this system, even though it has been a bit confusing for this guy from Iowa. I have a long way to go before I can say with true confidence that I understand the electoral system here, yet alone the way the government works through all forms that make it up, but what system of government isn’t difficult to understand? Even if you know how it works, the people pulling the strings still leave room to make you confounded about what’s truly going on.

you hit the target my pet regret

The situation with the job is still the same. There is no shortage of people who would like to hire someone like me in Vancouver. It’s the country that doesn’t want me to have a job here. There’s all these steps and headaches that you have to go through before you can get to the point where Canada decides that, as someone coming to this country from a “foreign land”, you can work here. The paperwork can get thick, and the process can take lots of time. Even though this country had a $6 billion dollar surplus last year, the process is still something painful when it comes to waiting.

One aspect of this whole process that I find interesting is that if I were a refugee coming to Canada, this process would be much more friendly to me. Coming from the U.S., it’s just not that easy. This could extend from that unspoken rivalry between our two nations, but it’s more so to the effect that you don’t want millions of Americans coming to this country, systematically taking it over. To maintain its sovereignty, the government here does all it can to ensure that Canadians are not overlooked before a foreigner is hired. I think that is incredibly fair by all means. At the same time, Hollywood farms out a crap load of production here simply because they can stretch an American dollar a little further. I’m sure the paperwork wasn’t nearly as complex to sort all that stuff out.

I’m doing my best to occupy this gap of income in my life with my podcast. Does that offer any money coming into my pocket? Nope. It’s more than something that occupies my time though. There are hundreds of people out there looking to make creating podcasts efficiently as possible, but the more I work with my setup, the quicker I can work through what I am creating. My production skills are getting back up to par with where I was before my days at WSUI/KSUI. I’m also not trying to create the most perfect podcast with every episode I create. I am creating content for people who are interested in listening, and will probably listen to a single episode only one time. With no one complaining, I have to believe that my talents are boding quite well.

Do I wish I could make money off my podcast? Yes. I’d be insane if I said, “No, I’d much rather keep doing something I love to do for fun and keep it at that. I like paying for my own bandwidth and server space.” It’s why I ask for donations within my podcast. At this point, I’d just like to cover the cost of what it takes to do a podcast, which isn’t much in the first place, but it’d be nice to have a domain that is specifically for the podcast. I have plenty of ideas. I’m just unsure if anyone out there really cares to invest, monetarily, in me.

i’ve got twenty four hours to go

The miracles of technology mutate and change every single freaking day. It’s gotten to the point where it’s not only about computers anymore, although it’s the computers that really allow us to make those great strides forward in the things we do. For instance, the face transplant. Yes, a facial transplant of human tissue onto another living human being. This doesn’t involve a pig or monkey at all. It’s straight up, taking the flesh of some one else’s face and surgically applying it to someone who might be in need of filling in some parts of their face.

If you haven’t heard, it’s already been done. A woman in France was the first candidate for this previously unthinkable procedure. For the most part, it has been a resounding success story. The woman was mauled by a dog, had injuries to her face that could not be repaired through plastic surgery, and had difficulty with doing everyday things such as eating and speaking. There were some issues regarding her psychological state that concerned some, believing the depression she was suffering put her at risk for a poor healing process. Regardless, a picture perfect case for this type of experimental, never done before, procedure, don’t you think?

This is France, however, and the woman, recovering better than most had hoped for and is fully venturing into public with her new look, has taken up smoking. At 38 years old, she still has plenty of life to live yet. It’s not like she was near death and close to taking her last breath. She had an injury to her face that was beyond repair only to be selected for this ground breaking opportunity to restore her opportunity to live the rest of her days normally after a fairly traumatic event. Now she’s smoking. A habit that is disgusting in the first place, but also puts her “new face” at risk while it’s still healing just a few weeks after the operation. That’s insane.

Europe in general has a different approach to smoking tobacco, and the french have this way of smoking in their culture that nearly makes me crave a good cigarette. Maybe all the depression was due to nicotine withdrawal. Whatever the reasoning, the skin takes time to heal, yet alone the skin that is on your face that doesn’t even belong to you in the first place. Or just maybe, it’s like that episode of the Simpsons where they transplanted Snake’s hair onto Homer, thus making Homer become “possessed” by Snake’s “spirit”. Now that seems more plausible. Mmmmmm… tobacco flesh.

looks like the holy ghost is gone

Why is it that everything Bob Rock tends to touch, he turns to utter crud? I think at one point, the guy truly believed in making music that was good. Music of substance and heart. He truly cared about making something that people would invest in because he himself was investing a passion of his own into the things he helped people create. Then the era of digital production came in. Pro Tools. Mass production that led to mass appeal. And then the dollars began to flow in as the formula struck a chord.

So much of what he gets his hands into has this slick, over produced feeling to it. It’s really not hard for anyone to recreate that within recording music, it’s just a talent of knowing how to do it without making the last thing you produced sound the same. That’s left up to the band that actually creates the music. After the creative process is over with, in his mansion in Maui none the less, Mr. Rock goes to work adding finishing touches with whatever nifty digital effect that he finds to be to his liking at the moment. Layer some vocals here and there. Remix a drum loop here. Splice and paste the bass line. Bam! A top notch piece of crap that is sure to sugar up the airwaves, or what’s left of them, and keep Bob Rock in the business of polluting the mainstream, creating masterpieces for the masses in order to maximize any record labels profits.

Don’t think for a minute that just because a band has it’s “hit” played on the radio fifteen times an hour for six months straight means they are going to be rich. They hardly see a dime. A lot of that cash is back pay the label put into the band in the first place, fronting the bill to just have you walk through Bob Rock’s front door. He has to pay for that mansion of his somehow. After all, he lives on an island. I bet the cost of living is horrendous.

I only say this because I once loved and cherished Our Lady Peace. Once Bob Rock came into the picture, guitarist Mike Turner bailed and sought other avenues in his life. In fact, I understand that he’s somewhere around Toronto with his own studio now and dabbling in the world of producing himself. I don’t blame the guy. OLP has two albums since the break, and I can’t get myself to whole heartedly enjoy them. It means a lot to me when I can’t like an entire album. I have a few favorites on both, but other tracks just bother me. It just doesn’t have that same feeling that I fell for in the first place, but Raine Maida has vocal stylings that keep me coming back to check it out.