Tuesday, April 29, 2008

not enough time

I didn't realize how long it has been since I have posted anything on this Blog but I have been very busy on other projects. If I can take some sage words from the "musings of an intrepid commuter" a BLOG IS A HUNGRY THING. You always have to keep your mind open for new topics. I am always on the lookout for new things to report and during the past month suddenly I have discovered YouTube, so all of my attention has been devoted to; learning how to work all those multimedia programs, slide shows, video editing which usually results in posting up on YouTube. I have been gathering more images from my weekend adventures and hopefully will find the time to post some interesting articles soon. While my videos are usually only around 5 minutes long, I recently spent 5 hours working on one of them.
Darn those hit counters. I know nothing about programing, web design or programming but I thought that it would be nice to have some readership statistics and be able to somehow track how many vistors I would have come to my site. During the time my Youtube videos got posted, I was getting more 'hits' on YouTube than here, so that is where I have been spending most of my time. I feel so honoured that viewers would click on my videos. Of course that is human nature to devote more time to where your audience is. That is . . . until I was identified with "3rd Party Content" . WOW, I was very worried at first, and YouTube also sent me an official looking email. So my research was on to find out what all of this meant, what reprocussions (if any), and what would happen. I have now spent nearly a week googling everything in sight to find the answers and since these videos are produced without any monetary goal, then they appear to be endured by the major music companies. As a matter of fact; EMI and Warner Music have already signed "deals" with YouTube to Identify 3rd party content (a soft word for "copyright infringement")and if I read correctly, they will Allow use of "their" music in these videos in return for a share of advertising money based upon number of views. UMG, United Music Group has not yet entered into any deal with YouTube, but in my case they have authorized the use of "their" music on one of my videos (for a share of advertising money) which I think is going to be paid by YouTube under some sort of advertising sharing arrangement.
Anyway, back on topic. I have been spreading myself thin working in different areas and none is getting the attention it should. Every day the temperatures are getting higher and I can almost feel that spring has arrived. That means getting back into the 2 wheel mode. That's not to say that I only ride (my Bike or Scooter) in fair weather, contrare mon ami, I ride all year but not when there is ice or snow, or fog or heavy rain (cars can't see your tiny tail light). It's just that I am getting tired of the rain and would just like it to stop for a while.
Sorry, just some ramblings to let you know what I have been up to. and to keep you hanging on . . .


what does this mean ? you'll have to stay tuned for next time

thanks for listening, bob

Monday, April 14, 2008

Caging it on a Sunday

Over the years we had established that Sunday would be family day, so no scooting today. I am more or less free every other day of the week to enjoy life on 2 wheels, but NOT on Sunday, unless of course it is a pre-planned day to a planned scooter event. In the post yesterday a small group of us, led by Reverend, Robert went across the Border in an attempt to view the Tulip fields in the LaConner area. LaConner is a small, seaside town south of Bellingham and connected by the famous Chuckanut Drive. Many things conspired to keep us away from the tulips. First thelong border line up ate up our valuable time, and also some of us had to return to Vancouver; one for a birthday party and another for a late meeting. And another one of us does not have the full motorcycle endorsement yet and was restricted to riding during daylight hours only, which means getting home before dark (or your scoot will turn into a pumpkin). So while we went with the expectation of seeing tulips, we didn't.

But on our local ride on Sunday, we did
This was in White Rock, BC just before you step onto the pier

there were tulips everywhere

There were even tulips covering the parking sign

Next time we should arrange a scooter ride to the Bradner area, which is the tulip capital of BC. We drove out to the (Fraser) Valley and travelled on a lot of backroads and everywhere we went there were tulip fields and tulips for sale.

It was such a nice warm day, actually warm in the sun but cool in the shade type of day. The forecast was for scattered showers but we didn't see any. It was just a day to aimlessly roam around the countryside but I decided that perhaps it would be better to enjoy the outdoors and we ended up in White Rock for an hour or two.

Not a lot to say today, that pictures can't convey. A picture is worth a thousand words.

The White Rock Pier

It's longer than you think. There is a sailing club moored at the end, a long walk to bring your supplies



Kayakers also enjoying a day on the water

The seagulls are also enjoying the day, with the whole beach to themselves

It was a great spring day

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tulips in LaConner, WA

Well, during the past few weeks the weather has been very un-cooperative, mainly rain and not really conducive for scooter riding, at least pleasurable scooter riding. Robert (the Reverend) had a yearning desire to see the Tulips down in LaConner, WA so months ago he posted a scooter ride for 12 April 2008. He is a very busy Reverend and this was the only day that he had available. All week we had monsoon weather and it really didn't seem like the weather was going to clear up in time for the weekend. Later in the week the forecast changed and Saturday looked like it was going to be the warmest day of the year. Now it was time to get my email working and some friends from the SOB's in Bellingham interested to join up with our group. Oh, SOB's are the Scooters Of Bellingham whom we met last year during the Hamster Run II.

here we are at our meet up departing point in New Westminster
at the church, New Westminster, bC

And here is our group leader; Robert, the Reverend

We finally made it to the border, but got stalled in a very long line up. You can't even see the end of the line


You still can't see the front of the line, we around a mile back
border Line up, Douglas border crossing

We had to wait around 2-1/2 Hours to actually cross. It doesn't really seem that they are trying to promote free trade between our countries, or hire more staff to make the lines go through faster. Recently I ready somewhere that for all the security checks they do; at airports, border crossings, bus terminals, checking transport trucks they have not really captured any terrorists. It's just a costly excercise in frustration, long line ups that really don't accomplish anything

As mentioned, Todd & Dorcie (SOB's from Bellingham) agreed to meet up with us and take us to Fairhaven on some scenic backroads. We jointed them at the new Birch Bay Square (coffee shop), and followed Portal Way south to Ferndale, then some neat roads which zig zagged from farmlands to rolling hills, along Bellingham Harbour and eventually made it to Fairhaven and we parked our scoots in front of Chispa


And here's a shot of Todd, who was kind enough to meet up with us and lead us into Bellingham

Here are all the scoots lined up in Fairhaven (Bellingham, WA)

Hope no one notices that we are parked in a Yellow Zone



We are preparing for departure and start our approach towards Chuckanut Drive

It was a great day to be scooting in the Pacific North West. It was a sunny, warm -summer-like day. What more could you ask for ? Good weather, good friends, good roads and riding your scooter

Oh, Oh . . . almost forgot, never made it to LaConner, perhaps another day . . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A new Helmet for Agnes

All week the weather was not co-operating. I had originally intended to go for a ride by myself on my motorcycle on the US side of the border and to meet some friends in Bellingham. I had noticed that the SOB's had intended to meet the SOS's in Burlington somewhere. I was hoping for good weather. I'm just so tired of the rain and was thinking that a nice ride in the sunshine by myself would go a long way into clearing my mind. Well, wouldn't you know, when Saturday rolled around the weather was iffy so I decided to just go for breakfast and go with the flow. I had posted on a local scooter forum that I was going to go to my usual place. I had no idea who was going to show up (if any) so what to ride. Over the past couple of months I had been getting my SV ready for the road -- you know, new tires, fluids etc which I had mentioned on an earlier post. But I wasn't finished, I still needed new front brakes, and then found out that I needed a new clutch. Finally after 2 weeks the parts came in and everything got installed. A new tailbag showed up a week ago from an unadvertised sale at a local motorcycle shop (under the Granville Bridge, on 4th Avenue). My bike was just sitting there begging to be used, so that is what I rode to breakfast. Onward to my favourite motorcycle cafe down in Kitsilano where I had been meeting friends for over a decade. All my friends know 9am every Saturday at the Flying Swan Motorcycle Cafe.
While waiting for breakfast a couple of members of our local scootering community show up (for food and a ride); Agnes and James. Well, now I have the wrong vehicle. Now we're getting ready to leave and get Agnes and James to follow me home to get my scoot. Here's Agnes (Vespa GT200) & James (Boulevard 150)


I have friends with both Motorcycles and Scooters, and some who have both. I always use the appropriate machine. If I am just scooting around town I would prefer to use the scoot, but on the highway you require more power to keep up with traffic. We get to my carport and now I have to dig the scooter out


Over the years I have discovered a lot of scooter routes to use within the city (of Vancouver). Less traffic and safer is better. I go by the " 3 rights = 1 left " theory. Bike routes are also good for making those crossings on busy streets where you just have to push "THE BUTTON" to make all those cars stop. You get into a different mindset when you scoot, you find that slower is better and the long-cut (as opposed to short-cut) is the preferred route.
I chose a route that would take us past 3 motorcycle shops that carry helmets and ended up here.


We were planning on going to a charity BBQ at a Suzuki dealership on Kingsway (Burnaby) and I knew that there would be unadvertised specials and I had the notion that it would be better to go to some places more or less on the way so that Agnes could try out the different makes/models before arriving at our destination. Did I mention that the Vancouver Firefighters were also doing a donation charity bike/scooter wash and both Agnes and James stepped right up to the front of the line.


Look at all the attention the scoots are getting:


I could be wrong, but I seems that Jame's scoot must have been dirtier than Agne's as there are 3 firemen washing his, and only 1 working on Agne's GT 200:


Perfect timing, they wanted me to take the group picture, so here are the Vancouver Firefighters and the Flying Swan Hot Chicks (Dallas is the one on the left who helped with the organizing):


It was just after lunch hour when we arrived and you could savour the smell of hamburgers. They had a tent set up for the BBQ. I went over and asked the fellow who was operating the BBQ and asked him what the options were. He said, "you have a choice of Hamburger, Hamburger or Hamburger . . . " to which I replied, "you can have any colour you want as long as it's black" So a hamburger it was to be.
After I finished my Burger and Beverage I looked around, but it seemed that both Agnes and James had disappeared into the store to check out the deals. You can see Agnes trying out one of the helmets.



Finally it was time for us to leave and Agnes decided that she had no clothes to wear and had to go home to do her laundry. James and myself decided to go for a ride and headed out in a southerly direction


We headed south over the Queensboro Bridge to River Road:


We were cruising scooter speed, stopping to take pictures, and just enjoying the scenery. If we hadn't made so many stops then we would have been the train:


We finally made it to Finn Slough:




We finally ended up at Pajos in Steveston, BC, a small fishing community just south of Richmond which boasts the BEST fish and chips in the area. and I must say they are very good and yummy.


Looks empty now, but watch out in the summer time. Long line-ups and no table space available.


all in all it was a good day for a ride. Chilly, cold but anytime it doesn't rain is a good day.

ps: almost forgot to mention, Agnes purchased her New Helmet and knee armour, and James purchased a new hi-viz vest. lately I have been spending $$ like water, so today I was the spend-thrift

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ramblings of a novice Blogger

Well, it's been a few days but I have been very busy advancing my knowledge of video, simple editing, freeware and hosting. There's just too many things to know and lots of places to divert your time - passwords, logins almost time to write everything down. I can see now that the more places the internet takes you, the less time you have. Time to make some paring down decisions. I'm spreading myself so thin that I have come to realize that perhaps less is more. I wanted to avail myself of the tools to make this BLOG interesting and interspersed with pix and videos instead of just ramblings of alphabetic characters and thoughts. Plus the fact that the riding season would be upon us very soon and I have a lot of plans to include a lot of new interesting stuff for you all to digest. What better time to explore the possibilities than during inclement weather. I must say that I have not really explored the possibilities of YOUTUBE, that is, until now . During the past couple of weeks I have completed a few projects from past events and posted videos on Youtube. I have found freeware which works and can mix video with stills and also able to add audio to the soundtrack. I have found hosting sites for the video projects, both public and Private. and also during my cyber travels I have discovered a site where I can host full resolution pictures for others to download (from), 'cause it's always a struggle to send these to everyone who wants them due to mailserver restrictions on attachment sizes. I am not a computer geek, but just merely one who needs to know how to use the resources available, and the main purpose is to make my BLOG as interesting as i am able.
Blogging is new to me. I have never expressed my thoughts in a journalist form before and as with any software you have to be confident in how it works and how to manipulate the add-ins, such as pictures and video (and where to host them). Well, I must say that I think I am getting more proficient and now when I see things I can visualize how they are going to turn out before I even start. Much the same as during my photography days when I could visualize the finished, framed portrait.
Actually the more I think of it, the more I can actually say, Less is More . I have always been a believer that More is better, but now I am not so sure. I can think of a few examples, but I will save them for another post.

ride safely, rubber side down, and pray for sun