July 11, 2016 17:46 +0000  |  Family Friends Lucy Vancouver Violet 8

christina-me christina-michael dad-lucy-mom grandma-jack grandma-lucy lucyfoot lucy me-sarah-shawna mom-violet-dad shawna shawna-sarah shawna-violet-matt violet-jack

Noreen keeps asking, and as it's quite possible that she's the only regular reader of this blog, I really should do what I can for her :-)

On June 17th, my contract with the British Government ended, and the very next day Christina and I got on a plane to Vancouver to spend some well-deserved relaxation time. I hadn't seen my family in about a year at that point, and Christina hadn't been in Canada since 2013 so there was much to see and do -- so much that I thought I might see about extending my stay by a few weeks (now that I didn't have a job to go back to right away). That all went sideways after the 23rd, but I'm getting ahead of myself.


I wanted to go hiking. I figured: this is the first time Christina has been to BC in the summer, let's show her how beautiful it is! The plan was to the Grouse Grind, or hike the Chief, or some other gorgeous and brutal experience, but jetlag is a harsh mistress and neither of us were even remotely interested in anything that difficult in our first few days. Instead, my dear friend Shawna, now living in Vancouver, back from Korea (yay!) drove us up to Squamish with her husband Michael and her friend Sarah for a leisurly ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola. There, for the ridiculous-but-acceptable-when-accounting-for-jetlag price of $40 each, we had a nice ride up the side of the mountain to a plateau at the top with little "hiking" trails (more like a stroll really) and magnificent views in all directions.

I didn't take a lot of pictures on this trip, so instead I'm just going to fill this post with lots Michael's shots from this hike. He's a pro photographer and he made us all look amazing. My new profile pic is one he took actually ;-)

A Quick Visit with Friends & Family

There wasn't much time for anything else in Vancouver this year. We had one day to (try to) recover from the jetlag, one to go Squamish, and one to visit with friends & fam. For this last case, we booked some time to meet with Ruth (Jeanie's mom) over lunch at Boston Pizza where we were treated to messy, sticky (but quiet!) children and good company. Ruth bought me chocolate (yay!) and gave us bubbles to play with, and we got to catch up on what was going on in our lives. Later that evening we did it all again, but with a larger group and in a noisier setting: Quinn, Jeanie, and Michelle met us for dinner at Milestones where we watched basketball and talked about what's going on in our lives. Chris and Trish were supposed to meet us there too, but their twins had the audacity to be born just a day or so beforehand so they had their hands full.

The next day Christina, my grandmother and I hopped on a bus up to Kelowna.

A Note About Greyhound

Holy crap is this the way to travel now. They've instituted express busses, shortening the YVR/YLW trip to just over 4 hours. During the trip you get:

  • Large, comfortable seats
  • A beautiful view
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • AC Power

Why would you ever want to fly?

  • 40 minutes to the airport
  • 20 minutes to check in
  • 20 minutes through security
  • 1 hour waiting for your flight
  • 40 minutes in the air
    • Turn off your laptop "for safety"
    • Tablets are ok, but not keyboards, they're dangerous!
    • Yes, I'm bitter
  • 20 minutes to deboard and collect your bags

=~ 3.5 hours and about 3 times the price. Screw that.


After having our schedule feel very pressed for the first few days, I tried to slow things down a bit in Kelowna. We had lots of slow nights doing family dinners, some lounging in the sun on my parent's patio, and a few shopping trips here and there.

The Engagement Party

Things got a little crazier around the 25th, as we were doing a joint birthday party / engagement party for Christina and me. It was only family at this shindig, but it was an opportunity for the fam to get to know Christina and see us together. We're still not sure how we're going to work out you know, actually getting married yet, so there were a lot of questions as to how the actual ceremony will happen. Would we do a Greek wedding? In Athens or on an Island? What about doing one in Kelowna and another in Greece? I think I'm starting to understand why people just don't bother getting married: the stress is insane.

Still, it was nice to be able to spend time with both of my grandparents in the same room again. We even had my grand-aunt June fly in from Ottawa this time around! It's been a really long time since all three have been together. I also got to see Violet & Ried for the first time which was fun, and despite Shawna being fresh out of the hospital with my brand-new niece, she was there and looking fabulous.


My new neice, Lucy Jane Quinn was born, 6lbs & 2oz, just a few days before we arrived. She was nearly a month early and so she had to be kept in the hospital for almost a week while she got used to being in the world. Mother and baby came out of it ok though, so all is good. Christina and I had an opportunity to visit her in hospital where tiny Lucy was bundled up in a box with tubes up her nose and down her throat. Shawna was there with a bundle of books and a laptop on hand: she was the food source so she basically had to set up shop there until the doctors let her take Lucy home.

She was released a few days after we arrived in Kelowna though, so the second time we saw her, she was at home with Mom, Dad, sis, and the dogs getting her immune system revved up.


When I booked the flight, I joked that I might leave one country and come back to a completely different one. Like most Britons I didn't actually think that that would happen. As the votes rolled in, my family huddled around the TV, dumbfounded by the sheer idiocy of the British public on this issue. Our jaws gaped at the fall of the pound, of the considerable sum of money I had personally lost in just a few minutes. Christina was in rough shape for much of the rest of the trip, and I cancelled any plans I might have had to extend my stay in Canada.

Idiots doing idiot things because they're idiots.


The only friend I have up in Kelowna is Melanie, who was up there finishing her contract with UBC. We went for some ice cream and then met her for lunch where I got her to take a picture with @travellingjack! Then my mom picked us up like we were still in high school to take us home. It was a nice day.

My Solar Desalinator

One project I've been toying with in my head for years now got to see the light of day for some time while I was in Kelowna. I've been working on a way to use solar power to desalinate water cheaply and pollution-free modeled after this power station in Andalucia.
Most of the progress on this front was talking to my father and brother about it, changing the model in my head, scratching bits out on napkins, and fiddling with a parabolic mirror in the backyard and almost setting the house on fire. Good times.

I've started fiddling with a proper 3d model in Blender, and now that I'm back in the UK, I've started poking around to find spaces that might be able to offer me the technical expertise I lack in this area. Something may never come of it, but you never know. For now, it's fun to think about.


The rest of the trip was largely a series of car trips: out to Peachland and Penticton to see my aunt and then brother's family, running through sprinklers with my neice and eating fabulous homemade ice cream. Other nights we drove out to Vernon to have dinner with my grandmother and grand-aunt, and still other nights we just stayed in, ate Dairy Queen Blizzards and bemoaned the future of the UK.

Canada Day

Canada Day in Holiday Park is a big deal -- by Holiday Park standards anyway. It's a villiage of a lot of old people with a lot of golf carts, small decorating budgets, and a lot of time on their hands. Given this equation, a golf cart parade seemed fitting for Canada's birthday. It was our last day in Canada, so we got up in time to see the show, after which I drove down to the Greyhound station to send my grandmother home. For the rest of the day we relaxed in the sun (or in my case, the house) and enjoyed the peace, quiet, and family.

I'm back in the UK now, and the Brexit mess is still in full swing. I decided to come home on time because I felt like I needed to be here in case shit, but that feeling of helplessness is as thick here as it was in Kelowna. I think in retrospect I wish I'd stayed a little longer -- I really miss my family, especially now that I've got two nieces who are just starting to grow.

Being an expat is hard.

January 25, 2015 23:51 +0000  |  Auckland Australia Austria Greece New Zealand Personal Life Ripe NCC Sydney Travel Vancouver 1

If there's any tradition that I try to keep on this blog, it's this annual post, the one that recaps the previous year and tries to sound optimistic about the future. I try to be thorough enough that someone might easily get a beat on what my life's been like simply by reading one post a year for the last 11 years. Of course, I've not been as disciplined as I might have liked on this front. I don't have anywhere near 11 "year in review" posts.

Looking back on some of those posts though, I realise that it must have been easy to write them: my life was either in transition, or just moving into or out of one. 2014 by comparison hasn't been particularly remarkable -- at least in the sense that one might be able to point to it as a time in my life that something was happening.

Mostly, 2014 was a year of being comfortable in my life here in Amsterdam. In much the same theme as the my life and theirs post from way back, 2014 has seen me get comfortable with the idea that I'm here for the long-term.

Christina and I are the real deal, with three years together as of February. We share a lovely place in Amsterdam with a beautiful view of the Ij and life here is pretty good. Work hasn't changed much either, but I'm comfortable in my role at RIPE and I enjoy working for a company that actually does Good for the world.

My life hasn't changed much at all this past year, but I still can report that my life is going well. I'll try to recap some of the highlights here.


As with every year since my moving to the Netherlands, 2014 had a lot of Travelling in it. Not as much as last year, but I did manage to seem some amazing places.


As is becoming tradition, Christina and I took the trip down to Brussels for the annual FOSDEM conference. There's not much to report on this other than that FOSDEM is amazing and probably the best conference I've ever been to. If you've never been, you should go.


Christina had a conference in Vienna in the Spring, and she took me with her so I could meet her friends Max & Julia who promised to give us a tour of the city. Vienna is lovely, and strangely grandiose, as if to give one the impression that The Empire was still alive and kicking. Wide open spaces surrounded by tall marble buildings, imposing in the shadow they cast on passers by -- it's not like any other city I've been to.

But the hotdog I had there, OMG. The best thing I've ever had from a street vendor. I ate something called a Bosna and every time someone mentions Vienna, I salivate.

Seriously, I'd consider a trip back just for that sausage if I could justify the environmental implications and financial costs.

Vienna from our hotel

Marseilles, Lyon, & The French Riviera

The other conference I attended in 2014 was DjangoCon Europe which, in 2013, was held in Warsaw, but this year they decided to host a 3 day conference on a tiny island off the south coast of France. I took the opportunity to do some sightseeing around Southern France and find myself surprisingly disappointed with Marseilles. Lyon on the other hand is beautiful and impressively both managed and designed. Photos from my trip can be found in my image gallery.


Manchester & Couch

Some of you may not know this, but Christina may have been born in Greece, but her mother is British, and the other half of her family lives in a sleepy little town called Chesterfield, or Couch as I lovingly refer to it.

Chesterfield is an out-of-the-way hamlet without an airport in the North of England. When I asked people what I should see/do there, locals would always say: "Have you seen the crooked spire?" When I replied with "Yes, anything else?" I was met with silence. Yes, Chesterfield is that boring.

I did get to meet Christina's other side though, so that made the trip worth it.

Thessaloniki, Athens & Nafplio

Amazing Graffiti in Thessaloniki

Christina had another conference in Thessaloniki (Θεσσαλονίκη), so we decided to take a couple weeks and see some more of Greece. This was my third trip to Greece, but my first time leaving Athens to see other parts of the mainland.

Thessaloniki is a town with a lot of promise, but the Euro crisis has taken its toll. Some (touristy) areas are well maintained and busy, but there were whole blocks with nothing but abandoned or condemned buildings. Some amazing graffiti though. I wish the graffiti artists in the Netherlands had half as much talent.

We stopped off in Athens for a week or so to spend some time with Christina's family, and then headed off to the Peloponnese (Πελοπόννησος). Christina drove us from Athens to Nafplio (Ναύπλιο) via Corinth (Κόρινθος), and we stayed at a beautiful hotel nestled on a hill surrounded by an orange orchard. We did a little touring in Nafplio (and lots of frozen yogurt), and also took a trip up to the ruins of Mycenae (Μυκήνες) where I was attacked by giant bugs and had a mild panic attack (good times).

Vancouver & Kelowna

Thanks to an um... lets go with scheduling conflict with my dear friend Jeong-Yeon, I ended up in Vancouver this summer, burning most of my vacation days and Jeong-Yeon was nowhere to be found.

Thankfully, I have lots of friends and family there, so it was hardly a waste of a trip. I spent some time visiting in Vancouver, and then headed up to Kelowna to help out around my parent's house and play with my adorable niece.

Photos are here for those interested.

Sydney, Auckland, and much of New Zealand

The Big Trip of the year, possibly the biggest for a long time, was my trip to the country I swore I'd never set foot in, (Australia) and a further adventure into New Zealand.

My travelling partner for this one was the ever-ready-for-adventure Stephanie, who had this whole idea in the first place. We did a few days in Sydney, where I was confronted with a GIANT FUCKING ARACHNID in our hotel room and was thoroughly terrified of the wildlife for the remainder of the trip.

We did yoga on Bondi Beach. I cannot begin to confer how beautiful Bondi was. I am forever indebted to Stephanie for convincing me to face my fear and visit such a beautiful place.

I got to pet a wombat, and a kangaroo, and an echidna, and a koala named Claire. I saw penguins, and a tasmanian devil, and a cacophony of crazy looking exotic animals that weren't trying to kill me, and then I ate a kangaroo burger. Stephanie drank All The Beers, and I watched her consume what would appear to be the finest beverage in the world... something called a rum old fashioned.

And that was just Australia.

Bondi Beach

We met Sue in Auckland, who was a welcome travelling companion for a few days. She drove us from Auckland to Hobbiton where we saw hobbit houses and drank at The Green Dragon, then onto the Waitomo glow worm caves, where we went cave diving with wet suits and inner tubes. Once again, Stephanie convinced me to do something I never would have considered and I am once again thankful for it. Imagine yourself floating in darkness with billions on tiny blue lights overhead surrounded by cave walls and cool water. It was amazing.


From there we headed to Rotorua, where we visited Te Puia, a Maori cultural centre, before heading back to Auckland and getting my picture next to the Xena Way sign. That was way more fun than it should have been.

We left Sue the next morning for the third and final leg of our trip: the South Island. In Queenstown I rode a horse for the first time in my life and was less terrified than I thought I'd be. I also got some really amazing pictures. We also took the long trip to see Doubtful Sound, an untouched wilderness of trees, water and wildlife, it was also the furthest South either of us had ever been. Indeed, it's the furthest South most people, alive or dead, have ever been.

The horseback trail

We rented a car in Queenstown and Stephanie drove us on the left up to Lake Tekapo where we hiked to the top of Mt. John (less impressive than it sounds, but still lovely), and we took advantage of the night sky reserve one night to see the Southern Cross and explore the night sky as we'd never seen before.

Stephanie with her Firefox ears, on Lake TekapoThe night sky in Tekapo

From Tekapo, Stephanie drove us up to Mt. Cook, only to be turned around by the weather. It would seem that we wouldn't get to see a glacier on this trip. Instead, we drove East to the outskirts of Christchurch, where there was no cell service and barely any people, so we could crash at a cool little place called SiloStay which, as it turns out, wasn't really all that awesome, so I'm not linking to them here. We did however have a quick dinner at a place called Hilltop Tavern, which had prettiest view I've ever seen from any tavern.

The next morning we drove to Christchurch to see what was left of the city after the massive 2011 earthquake. To say that the town was heavily hit is a colossal understatement, and I'm not convinced that they'll ever recover entirely. Three years later, and there are still houses and buildings everywhere that are just half-destroyed and abandoned. However it was nice to see how some were taking advantage of the opportunity to rebuild the city in a way that makes sense (more pedestrian space, better cycling infrastructure etc.). We visited the earthquake museum, learnt about the colourful use of the term munted by officials during the crisis, and then crashed at our guesthouse before getting on our respective planes the next morning.

It's was an amazing trip. It cost me thousands of Euros, sixty hours of air travel, and twelve timezones of jetlag, and I regret nothing.

Photos from all of this, save for a good many lost from my Bondi Beach trip, are available here.


Professionally, my life hasn't really changed this past year. The RIPE NCC is still a pretty good place to work, if for no other reason than that working there means that I don't go home feeling guilty every night. Instead, strangers thank me publicly for the work I do and my code is Free to share. It's pretty fabulous.


I did a lot of work this past year on a whole whack of mini projects. Now that I'm finally understanding and using git, a tool written by people who show very little interest in making tools other people can use, I'm now hosting a lot of nifty stuff on GitHub, including my ever-present side project, that mobile game Stephanie and I have been poking at over the years...


I got a lot of work done on this in 2014. In fact, I had a working alpha back in September, achieving my end-of-year goal months early. I managed this in part by finally saying goodbye to doing bits of work for Collin, and in part by getting some vitimin D into me. I got more work done on this project in 1 week in Athens than I did for most of the rest of the year.

The big challenge for 2015 is going to be:

  • Moving away from django-tastypie because it's effectively abandonware
  • Switching to 1.7
  • Getting some front-end working (coughStephaniecough)
  • Getting some artists to sign on to provide some character artwork

That last one is especially tough, because let's be honest, nobody likes to work for free, so I might just have to dip into my savings and pay for some artwork up-front. I dunno.

I also started doing a lot of work for my father's side-project,, an uncut lens reseller for retail optical stores. In the last months of the year especially, I've been working on getting a big feature setup, and once that's finished, the project should be mostly self-sustaining, so I can go back to my other stuff.


Sagan was my first "public" component for the RIPE NCC. It was fun to write, and it's been largely embraced by both the company and the community when it comes to do doing the stuff it was designed to do, which is honestly the best any Free software can ever hope for. That's pretty awesome.

Wrap Up

So, this is a lot of stuff to read, so I hope that if you actually read it all, you aren't bored by now. 2014 was good to me, albeit rather static. 2015 is looking good though: I've got a lot of travel planned, some more side projects, and maybe even dance classes. I guess we'll see how that all pans out in about twelve months.

March 05, 2010 01:45 +0000  |  Activism Homelessness Olympics Vancouver 0

Ask anyone in this town and most of them will tell you that the primary problems in Vancouver are homelessness, and the high cost of living. It's so bad that over the Olympics, the Pivot, an activist group based in the Lower East Side, held a sit-in protest in the form of a field of red tents surrounded by placards and signs with slogans like "homes not games" and "homes for everyone". (Flickr, Now Public) There were staged protests downtown and even a riot -- all for good reason: here in Vancouver, the disparity between the rich and poor is out of control.

So what do we do about this? Obviously the current tactics aren't working. The world came to Vancouver and no one cared to really do anything about our most desperate citizens. For the most part, that whole area was ignored and tourists were advised not to go there. What good is a protest if no one cares about what you're saying? A riot? That only fuels the opposition. No, what's needed is to move counter to the gentrifying forces in this city.

The problem is the location. Everyone in Vancouver knows that the poorest people live in the Lower East Side. We also know that that neighbourhood is something we want to avoid if we don't fancy the stench of human urine, or the sight of public drunkenness and dirty needles. The richest, most powerful people in Vancouver never go there. They don't even drive through Hastings if they can help it. What good is a protest if the only people who see it, are affected by it, are those who already support you? No, if you want action to be taken, you need to inconvenience people, you need to make people see what's going on and remind them that just because they've managed to ignore the problem, the problem hasn't solved itself.

The red tent protest was held near Abbot & Cordova in an empty lot opposite an Army & Navy frequented only by people who live in the neighbourhood. Given that fixing the homelessness problem will require action by a considerable number of people outside of this demographic, this is not a good choice for action. Instead, I think that the homeless population needs to get the held somewhere, anywhere that isn't the Lower East Side. Hold tent-city protests in David Lam Park (Yaletown has one of the highest per-capita incomes in Vancouver) or in any open (public) spaces south of 16th... you know, where all the rich folks who own most of this city live?

Sleeping in the street is an accepted norm at Hastings and Main, but about Granville and Broadway? Generally speaking, cities (especially Vancouver) like to corral their poorest citizens and then gradually push them from neighbourhood to neighbourhood through gentrification, never solving the problem. Therefore, the answer to newer, more expensive buildings moving into the Lower East Side shouldn't be to move East (as the powers that be are hoping), but instead to relocate to Kits and Point Grey so those responsible for the gentrification can experience the fruit of their labours.

The problem in Vancouver isn't homelessness and the high cost of living, it's not even that nobody cares about these issues, because thousands of people do. No, the problem in Vancouver is that the right people don't care about these issues because they don't have to. Fix that, and I'm sure something useful will be done.

February 24, 2010 23:56 +0000  |  Anarchy Multiculturalism Olympics Protests Vancouver 5

I'm trying to come to terms with the Olympics. I suppose that it's about time since the party's been going on for over a week now. The thing is, I've got two problems with the whole event:

  • I've never cared about Olympic sports
  • It's the ultimate smack in the face to the working poor in this city

Now don't get me wrong, I think that the Riot 2010 people are just silly, self-righteous, angry, rabble-rousers intent on breaking things in a fit of helplessness. I don't support them, but I also won't deny that many of their grievances need to be addressed.

The fact is that we've spent billions of dollars throwing a party for athletes, while in true Vancouver style, we've politely ignored the people trying to bring attention to the fact that those funds should have been spent elsewhere. Hell, we didn't even have the decency to kidnap the homeless population and intern them in Chiliwack for the duration of our capitalist shindig. No, we put up banners, threw a party and played music, right next door to the most desperate community in the country. We rubbed our disinterest in their faces and were then surprised and even outraged when a few of them got angry and started breaking things.

But this is nothing new really. The haves never care about the have-nots until someone threatens to cut off a few heads. You won't catch me marching with the Olympics Resistance Network though, because whether they want to accept it or not, this whole party became a force of nature the moment Vancouver won the bid.

It took me a few days to realise it, but despite our own transgressions mentioned above, there's still considerable good to come out of this and those who oppose(d) this event would do well to consider it. For the first time in over twenty years, Vancouver is actually multicultural again. There are Greeks, Swedes, Koreans, and even a few Ghanaians in this city for a few remaining days. Real German food can be sampled in their "house" and Russia has commandeered Science world to showcase itself to the planet.

We made the wrong choice. We should have supported our fellow citizens and used that fortune to build a city of which we could be proud. We didn't and we will reap what we've sewn for years to come, but there's no sense in shouting at the rain: take advantage of the fact that the world is here! Meet with foreigners, ask them how they build their cities and care for their people, and maybe, we'll find some opportunities to learn something new about how problems are tackled differently. Clearly, we could use some pointers.

June 14, 2009 18:40 +0000  |  Activism Public Space Vancouver Vancouver Public Space Network 0

The VPSN is holding a fundraiser / movie night this thursday that promises to be both interesting and fun. I'm going to go, and if you'd like to come along, let me know eh?

City Shorts: A Public Space Film Festival – Thursday June 18, 2009

Mark your calendars and join us for our first annual VPSN Film Festival and Fundraiser.

We've assembled an excellent set of short films that look at public space issues, Vancouver's urban scene and city life. Included in this diverse package are movies on urban greening, public art, urban exploring, parkour, billboards and corporate presence, graffiti, and more!

This is the VPSN’s first film fest and fundraiser and we hope you can all make it. It’s part of our strategy to use this excellent series of shorts to remind everyone that great city-making still lies within the hands of its citizens. Not only will you be getting an evening jam-packed with films on the public realm, but you'll also be helping the VPSN too. Silver screen action with an added benefit!

Thursday June 18, 2009. Doors open at 7:00pm, show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets: $10 / $8 Students and Seniors. VanCity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street

Liquid refreshments will be available for purchase. And there will be some lively post-film entertainment to take in as well.

May 30, 2009 19:30 +0000  |  Multiculturalism Vancouver Vancouver Public Space Network 4

I had a rather confusing experience last night that caused me to rethink a lot of the assumptions I'd made about this city.

Poesy and I had spent the evening in Chinatown's night market and were waiting at Terminal station to go our separate ways when an older gentleman appropached us and in very broken English asked us if we knew where he might find a hotel.

After some thinking on our part, we decided that the closest one we could think of was the Sandman near Stadium station and given the man's sketchy understanding of the local language as well of the area, I offered to take him there myself. It was sort of on my way anyway.

But this post isn't about Good deeds for strangers, it's about what it's like for tourists to try to experience this city and more to the point, what we can expect in 2010 when the world comes to our door.

This city is an embarrassment in the area of tourism. The transit system aside, just finding an intersection in this city is near impossible without accosting strangers, and in many cases, the strangers are hesitant to stop and help given their past unpleasant experiences with panhandlers.

There are so few wayfinding maps in Vancouver and a complete absence of them available in any other language but English. There are no tourism kiosks anywhere, especially after 5pm and all of this means that something as simple as finding a place to crash for the night becomes increadibly difficult -- even if English is your first language.

As someone who's done a reasonable amount of travelling in countries where he spoke even less of the local tongue than the aforementioned visitor, I can assure you that none of the places I visited, with the exception of Yeosu, Korea (a tiny town in a moncultural, insular country) did a poorer job of helping tourists than this one.

Now here's the kicker: the man who was curious about Vancouver and came here to experience this beautiful city but couldn't even find a place to sleep wasn't from Poland or even France. He was from this country, a little town east of Quebec City. In a nation that prides itself on having two official languages and in a city that claims to be multicultural this is very, very sad.

I'm open to suggestions here. Melanie has a plan to make wayfinding on Skytrain easier by creating (actually useful) route maps and pasting them up all over the place, but I'd like to hear some more ideas about how we could help guests like this man in the future. I'll bring these ideas to the next Mapping & Wayfinding VPSN working group.

April 17, 2009 22:44 +0000  |  Green Party Politics Provincial Campaign 2009 Vancouver 0

For those of you who have landed here looking for my official Green Party page, it's now up, complete with a bio and headshot.

April 07, 2009 07:41 +0000  |  Fun Stuff Public Space Vancouver 1

For those of you who live(d) in Toronto, and for those who are long-time readers of this blog, you're probably familiar with the concept of the Reverse Easter Egg Hunt. Newmindspace has been doing them for years and this time 'round Melanie has got it in her head that she and I should put one together of our own... so here it is:

Picture it: 3am on Sunday morning, a completely empty Granville Island, and a bunch of mischievous Vancouverites running around hiding plastic Easter eggs stuffed with happyfuneaster messages.

You could be a part of that. Doesn't it sound exciting? Sure it does.

We'll be meeting at 3am under the Granville Island sign. Bring some pre-stuffed plastic eggs of your own, or grab some of ours, and then start running around the island and depositing them anywhere that suits your fancy.

This event is free and open to anyone who wants to play, and will take place whatever the weather. We'll have plenty of eggs to share, but if possible please bring some of your own eggs, stuffed with fun and clever messages.

Some Do's

  • Do tell your friends and invite them to come along!
  • Do bring some of your own plastic eggs, if possible.
  • Do dress warmly - it will be the middle of the night and probably a little chilly.

Some Don'ts

  • Don't fill the eggs with any food items. People don't want to eat strange food they find lying around, and it may end up spoiling and attracting vermin.
  • Don't write messages that are hateful or offensive. The idea is to bring a smile to someone's face, so please write something that would make you smile.
  • Don't make a mess or cause any damage to the island. We want to brighten people's days, not piss them off.

If you're on Facebook, you can sign up for this event.

Yes, it's going to be at 3am, but it'll be really fun I swear. You should come! Bring your friends even! And if you're so inclined, we could really use the help actually stuffing the eggs this Thursday between 4:30pm and 9pm (come for all or a portion of the night) at UBC's Instructional Resource Centre (IRC), in front of the Woodward Library.

If you have questions just email me or comment here and I'll hook you up :-)

March 26, 2009 01:52 +0000  |  Activism Energy Environment Public Space Toronto Vancouver 9

I'm going to participate. I'm not really concerned about the effectiveness of that single hour's darkness on energy consumption as a whole, rather I'm more interested in taking a moment (or in this case, an hour) to reflect on our habits and maybe even convince others to slow down a bit. Besides, who doesn't love a party in the dark?

As always, Toronto is having a party in Nathan Phillip's Square while Vancouver still lacks any real public space capable of such an event. If you know of anything that Vancouver is doing that's interesting please let me know.

January 30, 2009 19:09 +0000  |  Public Space Vancouver Vancouver Public Space Network 2

One of the groups I sometimes work with, The Vancouver Public Space Network has been putting together a big competition that I thought I'd share with you called Where's the Square?. The idea is fun and Good things could come of its results so if you have a creative streak, you might be interested:

Have you ever dreamed of what Vancouver might look like if it had the type of celebrated public square or plaza that characterizes other cities around the world? Think of the festivals, markets and concerts, as well as the opportunities to meet friends, have a coffee and people watch! There's no shortage of reasons why good public squares are the most popular and memorable places to congregate.

So what about our city? Here's where you come in.

The Vancouver Public Space Network is currently running a Design Ideas Competition. The "Where's the Square?" contest is open to anyone who feels like they have a plan for a grand gathering place inside the city boundaries.

We're looking for ideas from city-lovers, planners, artists, philosophers, architects, urbanists, students of any discipline and visionaries from all walks of life. The competition has some fairly straightforward parameters covering the size, accessibility, programming and utility of the square... but after that, it's all up to you. Most importantly, we don't have a set location in mind. Instead, we're looking for entrants to come up with a plan for where the square could be situated.

The "Where's the Square?" competition runs until March 20, 2009 and is open to individuals or teams. There will be two prizes, based on a juried review of the entries as well as a "people's choice award." A variety of other supporting events will also be taking place throughout February, March and April.

Interested in participating? The Competition Brief and other related materials can be accessed at

One more thing: we're asking participants to send us an Entrant Form to let us know that they want to submit a plan. We're looking to get these by the end of the month. According to one of our participants, the record for completing and submitting an Entrant Form is under 60 seconds. If you feel so inspired (and we hope you do!), you can try and beat this time by downloading the form here.

For more information, please email info at vancouverpublicspace dot com or call 778-239-7544.