Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best of Bulletproofcourier 2008


Happy New Year everyone! Please enjoy these examples of my best work from 2008:

EXCITING NEW HELMET CAM VIDEOS

In 2008, I designed and built a helmet-cam mount for my mini video camera and began filming "helmet cams" as I cycled through downtown traffic in Vancouver. My two favorites are Dunsmuir Street Suicide Chute and Downtown Helmet Cam (note the quality improvement over time!):






EXCITING NEWS COVERAGE

In 2008, I had a lot of fun reporting on events like the Red Bull Soapbox Race...



...and my video of the H&M Breastfeeding protest got 27,000 views on Youtube! From 67 countries!




BIZARRE ENCOUNTERS 2008

I filmed a strange altercation between two cyclists at the Royal Bank on Denman Street...



...and a VPD investigation of a military weapons cache found inside a local truck:




SQUIRRELS GONE WILD, GIRLS GONE WILD!







More '08 highlights coming soon - send me your favorites and I'll feature them!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bulletproof Books


I was amazed to find how many are out there!

           

Interesting titles, and definitely food for thought for this writer. If you have any more bulletproof book covers to add, please send them in.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bacon Vending Maching at YVR


Airport Travel = Sizzling Nitrate Taste!



Friday, December 19, 2008

Cycling in the Snow


Yes, it's very difficult when everyone I share an elevator with chats me up about the weather outside. It reminds me of the last time I hiked a lake trail carrying a fishing pole over my shoulder: "Goin' fishin' eh?" Yes, yes, of course...

Meantime, I've successfully predicted the future! Earlier in September I posted my Winter Premonition, which has now come true 100 and 10%.


"Dear Diary: It seems that my many long years spent in the wild have endowed me with the clever ability to predict weather trends over the long-term."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doggie Booties Rule


What an excellent idea! If I was a dog, I would insist on wearing booties too, and be the envy of every other dog around:



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Youtube Video of Cyclist Assault = Felony Charges for Cop


NYPD Officer Patrick Pogan has been arraigned on two felony and three misdemeanor charges stemming from a July incident where Pogan was caught on video brutalizing cyclist Christopher Long during a Critical Mass ride:



Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said:
"All charges against cyclist Christopher Long have been dropped because they were fabricated by officer Pogan, who lied in his criminal complaint and other paperwork related to Long's [false] arrest. Watching the video, it's obvious [Pogan] singled out Long and purposely body-checked him off the bike."
Long will likely receive a substantial cash settlement, while Pogan faces 10 years in jail, a lifetime reputation as a crooked ex-cop, and a stain on his good family name.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Elevator Secrets #2 - The Pit


I snapped this behind-the-curtain photo today while a technician was working in "the pit":



Now that I've seen what's at the top and bottom, the only thing left to do is take a ride on the elevator roof. Stay tuned for that helmetcam!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's in Tayan's Thermos Today?


This jovial morning ritual features Tayan discovering what's in his thermos. Even he doesn't know beforehand because his lunch is prepared by a beautiful angel in the early a.m. - Lucky guy!



UPDATE: Episode 2 is now online!



Monday, December 8, 2008

Posing Pup


Although the day was cold my heart was warmed by this cute little guy, trained to sit and pose for photos:



Friday, December 5, 2008

Off-Leash Dog Parked


A dog in the driver's seat is always funny, isn't it?



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Photo Radar Rebellion in England


Happening now across the pond: citizens damaging speed cameras:



Sunday, November 30, 2008

If Batman was a Bike Messenger


His insurance company would be paying to replace a lot of side-view mirrors:



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Opera Singer Practicing in West End Window


Hearing the voice of an angel, I stopped to investigate:



Monday, November 24, 2008

That Shore is a Nice View!


The North Shore mountains looked beautiful in the crisp November air today. I decided to shoot a panoramic video instead of taking photos; can you spot all the landmarks? Seymour Mountain, Grouse, Cypress, the Lions, Stanley Park...

Also, as the camera pans across Hollyburn, you can hear banjo music coming from the hippie cabins!



Friday, November 21, 2008

Bike to Work Week Day 5 - Burrard Bridge Bike Sqeeze


Mission accomplished! Here's the fifth of five new helmetcam videos I promised during Bike to Work Week:



Strike a Pose, part 1


As a video journalist, I'm delighted when interesting or curious public events unfold before me, like this woman taking busty photos of herself while precariously balancing on a boulder in skirt and heels before the 2010 Olympic clock at the Vancouver Art Gallery:



Bike to Work Week Day 5 - Bike Theft Economics


The owner of this very secure bicycle tire once owned a whole bike, until thieves absconded with the rest:



Bikes that remain parked in one place for a long time are more likely to be stolen than bikes left unattended for a short time.

Bikes that are locked up with less security are more likely to be stolen (or robbed from) than bikes protected with heavy security....

If you commute to work by bicycle, it's very risky to leave your bike locked in a public place all day. I highly recommend tapping your employer about secure bike parking options.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Death by Bike Messenger


Bike messengers sometimes provide a humorous foil in popular culture, like this funny scene with Larry David, genius co-creator of Seinfeld (he's the bald guy):



Bike to Work Week Day 4 - Smoke on the Water


A thick fog rolled into town this morning before today's rain showers, reducing visibility to less than one block:



Bike to Work Week Day 4 - Dry Feet Advice


For keeping feet dry in wet conditions, Goretex socks are the only magic bullet known to me.



A pair costs $65 at Mountain Equipment Co-Op but they're worth their weight in gold and last a long time. I'm only into my second pair after five years' intensive use.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bike to Work Week Day 3 - "Howe Street it is"


This is a nice southbound corridor for cyclists, even without a bike lane. As the video shows, it's prudent to aggressively occupy the entire right lane of traffic to avoid getting pinched in by cars turning right at intersections.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bike to Work Week Day 2 - Easy Deal Down Hornby


This morning I test drove the Hornby street bike lane with my helmetcam recording:



This bike lane is much safer than the Dunsmuir Suicide Chute we saw in yesterday's helmetcam: buses are absent, right-lane obstructions are minimal; more road space allows everyone to maneuver more comfortably.

However, at about 0:45+ in the video you'll see me riding down the left lane of Hornby. The reason I'm doing this is because I'm approaching the intersection at Dunsmuir, after which traffic flow notoriously drifts right and obstructs the bike lane with cars turning eastbound onto Pender.

By carefully blasting off on the fresh green light (that postal van ran a stale red, by the way!) I can lead traffic to the foot of Hornby and proceed left, right, or centre without danger of being sideswiped by lane-changing cars.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bike to Work Week Day 1: Dunsmuir Street Suicide Chute


Happy Bike to Work Week everyone! To celebrate, I'll be posting an exciting new helmetcam video every day about cycling in the city.



This video demonstrates why the Dunsmuir bike lane is not safe during heavy traffic: cars are turning right, pedestrians are in the roadway, and buses are parked against the curb.

Fortunately, this video also demonstrates how to cycle quickly and safely through the downtown core: match or exceed the flow of traffic, pass cars on the left (especially at intersections) and always be looking ahead to anticipate trends.

For example, 0:34+ in the video looks like a risky move, but for me it's not, and in fact it saved me from crashing over the hood of that silver Honda that suddenly turned right after I decided to pass him on the left and squeeze between the two SUVs.

Also, observe the pinch situation that occurs at 0:48+ between the bus parked in the bike lane and the grey car initiating a right-hand turn - again I avoided a likely crash by eschewing the bike lane in favour of becoming part of left-lane thru traffic.

I must end with the disclaimer "please don't try this at home". Things that appear easy for me might be difficult and risky for others to attempt. My intention here is to provide a compelling example of what can be achieved by a practiced, vigilant cyclist using basic techniques to conquer city traffic safely and with confidence.

Good luck this week everyone!

Direct link to this post is located here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brave New Squirrel


They're evolving to be fearless!



Friday, November 14, 2008

Test Drive #5: False Creek Aquabus


From the south foot of Hornby street to Granville Island in 3 minutes:



Test Drive #4: Bowen Island Express


From Granville Island to Bowen Island in 20 minutes:



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vanity Plate Puzzler #14: TKTDEN


I didn't decipher this one until I viewed the full-sized photo at home afterward:



It's official: Internet ad blindness has crept into my everyday reality (click on photo to enlarge).

Monday, November 3, 2008

The danger of taking everything literally #6


When I walked into the office, everyone was standing around laughing at this cake that had just been delivered:



UPDATE: I've received several emails requesting an explanation of the humor here. If you know someone who didn't get it, please explain it to them :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bowen Island, briefly


I created a time lapse video of cloud movement over Snug Cove this weekend. The astute viewer will see many other things going on in different areas of the picture: people, trucks, waterfowl...



Friday, October 31, 2008

Everything but the ki-




This is indeed a good score for a self-employed metal recycler - no risk of being electrocuted to death while stealing copper.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Default crisis hits peanut derivative credit swaps


Squirrel: "Can you spare a 700 billion peanut bailout?"



Sunday, October 26, 2008

That's my bag, baby




Thanks for the custom bag, "anonymous donor"!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pappas not popular with protesting PETA people


Fur protesters assembled in Vancouver today to demand a stop to the Wedgewood Hotel's support of Guestlife magazine, which contains ads for Pappas Furs and Holt Renfrew.



I had an interesting moment at 0:10 in the video, when the VPD officer asked me "Any particular reason you're doing that [filming] sir?"

"For my news website" I answered, and he responded "Is it? Oh, okay."

???

Friday, October 3, 2008

Elevator Secrets #1 - A Humble Motor


I snapped this photo of a typical motor that powers the elevator systems many of us ride every day:



In spite of it's humble, "smaller than you'd think" size, this highly-engineered motor and it's high-tech parts (shown above in the crushed cardboard box marked "elevator") make modern elevators extremely safe. "mostly..."

Learn more about elevators at HowStuffWorks.com.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Needed: Urinal target to attract the attention of human males?


I saw this today in the third-floor men's washroom of Bentall Tower One (click to enlarge):



Capable males, familiar with the dribbled urinal failings of less-capable males, say "What man cannot stand in front of a wall and pee directly onto it? Surely, not a real man."

Regardless, perhaps building management should consider using a product manufactured under U.S. Patent# 4044405: Target in a bowl or urinal to attract the attention of human males. This is a real picture from the patent, with some hilarious quotes:

"...it is well known that the male will direct his urine at a target if one is presented to him."

"Attracting the attention of urinating males to help in toilet training or to aid in keeping toilets, urinals and the areas around them clean has long been known to be desirable."

"Parents, janitors, and others responsible for this cleanliness have often despaired the human male sloppiness of failing to direct urine into the proper receptacles."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama appears in Canada


Today I saw Obama bumper stickers on this Vancouver vehicle:



I was reminded of the Obama '08 booth I recently saw at the Davie Day street festival (0:44 in).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smooching in the streets


Today at noon a small crowd gathered at the intersection of Robson & Hornby to stop traffic and celebrate National Digital Media Day 2008 with a "flash mob" kiss-in:



"High tech = high touch" says JennyO from Elastic Entertainment, featured on today's front page of 24hrs.

My favorite scene is 0:12 - 0:16 in the video:
"Who's taking photos?"
"I'm taking pictures!"
"Awesome."
"Yeah."
How cute, and how thoroughly fitting for NDMD08 !

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

12pm city pic: Winter Premonition


I had a dream, and in my dream, Vancouver looked like this in December...



...Actually, I found this picture on the memory card of a busted digital camera I scavenged from the "free" box at a garage sale during my recent trip to Bowen Island.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pics or it didn't happen




Last week, one of my 12pm city pics was the Blood Alley street sign in Gastown, (not the photo above) with my comment "This is a street that obviously has some history behind it".

However, reader Chris pointed out:
There actually is no history at all to Blood Alley. It was just a name given to it in the 70's to make it appear that it had some kind of a history...
Indeed he's correct. When I googled "vancouver blood alley", result number three yielded an interesting, informative article at BeyondRobson.com bearing out exactly what Chris says:
What makes Blood Alley famous is not it's aesthetic appeal, but that it is home to perhaps the largest amount of rumours, myths, tall tales, and outright fabrications in Vancouver history.
That certainly makes sense. But wait! Another reader commented:
There actually is history behind blood alley. This is where out of town farmers used to take their livestock to be slaughtered over 100 years ago.
This jives with google search result number six, SeeGastown.com:
According to stories Blood Alley was the location for a number of butcher shops. At the end of each day they would be rinsed out resulting in the inevitable blood in the street. As if that was not enough they used to hold public executions in blood alley square.
What do you think - tourist trap malarky or genuine historical Gastown landmark? Or is it maybe - borrowing from Chinatown - a little from column A and a little from column B?

12pm city pic: Foaming action




Someone put a lot of soap in the Art Gallery fountain this morning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

12pm city pic: Bumper sticker goddess




Click to enlarge, of course - my favorite one is the music teacher.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bowen Island Boat Trip


Highlights from my trip to Bowen Island, part 1: Getting There



Friday, September 12, 2008

A peaceful US consulate, not so much...


I saw and heard this outside the United States Consulate at 1075 Pender street in Vancouver today:



"Today is a special day. We are marking the tenth anniversary of their illegal incarceration," said Noah Fine, protest organizer and head of the Free the Cuban Five Committee Vancouver. "Our demand is freedom for the Five immediately."

The U.S. consulate declined to comment, as seen in my video...

12pm city pic: Splicing things up


City engineers employ an optical fiber line splicer on the new east-west fiber highway running underneath the downtown core:



Thursday, September 11, 2008

12pm city pic: Expensive cab ride




"From New York to Vancouver? That'll be $12,000 plus tip..."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Retro Rider


Remember those early Penny Farthing bikes with a giant front wheel? It seems they're still around today, and fun as ever to ride:



12pm city pic: End of the line




The track terminus at Port of Vancouver with the Seabus walkway overhead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

12pm city pic: There will be blood?


This is a street that obviously has some history behind it:



Monday, September 8, 2008

12pm city pic: Cleaning the clock




The company doing the work said this latest clock vandalism incident cost several thousand dollars to repair.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soapbox Central


Wow, what a crowded event! Red Bull cans on sale for $2.50 seemed a little high to me, considering the promotional nature of the event. Instead I opted for chocolate milk.



Ensure High Quality video: during playback, HQ button in video player should be RED. If not, click it.

Direct link to this post is located here

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Davie Day Gravy


Here's the best of what I saw and heard at today's Davie Day street festival:



Basketball Jones was so entertaining, I just had include his show highlights. Here he is flipping a hat from his foot onto his head while balancing two spinning basketballs on his fingertips:



Friday, September 5, 2008

Just a trim here and there please


This car owner snipped the excess metal from his front license plate, leaving only the bare basics:



Obviously there's a fuel savings by removing excess weight. Perhaps it also reduces the return signal from a radar gun? Or foils the new automatic license-plate scanners being used by the RCMP and other police departments, to which some object?

Maybe the car owner prefers to drive around without displaying a government slogan on his car. If he is ever ticketed, it would make for an interesting court case: can the provincial government require citizens to display government slogans on their vehicles?

As it stands, most people don't object to driving around with "Beautiful British Columbia" stamped into their license plates. But what if the slogan was changed to "The Best Place on Earth"?

This is why we can't have nice things


Today I learned that elsewhere in the world, they have free book exchanges in outdoor public parks:


photo: Daniel Hamermesh

What a great concept. It would be nice have that here too, but unfortunately our city's not ready for it yet. Aside from a few esoteric or academic zones, I don't think an unattended bookshelf full of books would survive one day in Vancouver. The free books would become a panhandling industry, and the bookshelf itself would be stripped by metal thieves.

12pm city pic: Another good sign




Thursday, September 4, 2008

12pm city pic: Run for it!



photo: Mark Williams

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Saw, the movie


One of the loudest tools used in city engineering is this pavement chainsaw:



"Of course it's loud!" my friend affirmed at the top of his voice. "It's made to cut through concrete!"

However, one day in the future, I imagine a law requiring tools like this to operate at lower volume. If Europe can do it, so can we. Making urban tools and machines less noisy would improve everyone's quality of life.

12pm city pic: Keep on Trekkin'


Friday, August 29, 2008

An aptitude for altitude


This is a thrilling job, in my opinion:



I'm working on getting some POV film of being up there - helmet cams are great! - I know a guy who does this and he's promised to take me up sometime soon. Stay tuned!

12pm city pic: Beanstalk




The Shangri-la Tower - now the tallest building in Vancouver - assumes a magical aura today, rising into the clouds of a rainy west-coast afternoon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Worst episode ever


Vandals defaced the Vancouver 2010 Olympic clock again this morning in what some are calling the most vicious attack so far:



I shot this video in the afternoon - after the graffiti removal team had already been working for hours - so the clock must have been a pretty sorry sight this morning, before the pressure washing began.

UPDATE - Minutes after the early morning attack, Vancouver Police arrested three people nearby who were covered in white paint. Seriously, no kidding.

12pm city pic: NYPD on Vacation




I was expecting to get some gritty, shaky film of a deadly street shoot-out, but it was all part of a movie production filming down the road.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reflections of Downtown Vancouver 2


At long last I've finally managed to outdo my original Reflections of Downtown Vancouver photograph series. Please enjoy!



12pm city pic: $10 Saddle + $1000 Horse = 1 Stolen Pony




A $10 U-lock might seem like a good deal. Until a bike thief bashes it open with a spare pedal & crank and rides away on "his new bike", which is exactly what happened here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogging the blog


No video tonight, but here's an interesting image from my stats provider indicating cities and countries from where people visit this page:



How many countries there can you name? (click to enlarge) If it's 12 or more, give yourself a pat on the back, like I did:


United States Patent #4608967
: "Pat on the back apparatus".

12pm city pic: "ressure ashing"




Graffiti has existed since ancient times, so have companies like Goodbye Graffiti.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Paper Box Dance Party


Of course I had to film this when I saw it happening:



But he's not an escaped lunatic, or even an Emily Carr dropout gone rogue. He's Chris, the front-man for a local alternative band, filming footage for an upcoming music video.

"We're a band called Baboon Torture Division where I dress up in costumes and play music. It's pretty fun!"

12pm city pic: "Live and Let Live to Gather Nuts"




This unique sign by the Coast Plaza Hotel clearly demonstrates the friendly, quirky nature of Vancouver's West End.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Cleaner


Each month my neighbours & I team up to clean up our neighborhood and help Keep Vancouver Spectacular. I've also "adopted" my block, which takes about an hour twice per week.



Look here if you'd like to get involved in your neighbourhood.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scary Movies in Stanley Park


The Monsters in the Meadow free outdoor movie series is back again this year, compliments of the Vancouver Park Board.

Last night's movie was the original 1931 Dracula, based on the Bram Stoker novel. The creepy classic was shown on a 340-square-foot outdoor screen set up by Woodhouse AV, who did a fang-tastic job of the event. Here's my brief video of the venue and ambiance:


(watch in high-quality on youtube by clicking "watch in high quality")

The next and final outdoor movie will be on Friday, August 29th at 9pm near Second Beach in Stanley Park. See you there for Creature From the Black Lagoon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back in good shape


After suffering a miserable week with lower back pain, I'm feeling well enough to start posting again, thanks in part to a loyal reader who offered me a new computer chair - and personally delivered it to my place!


Before: bad chair, bad posture


After: good chair, good posture

Thanks for your "support", loyal readers!

(P.S. - recognize what's on my computer screen? Click on the photos to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008