Friday, June 30, 2006

Relocating Glaciers

I admit that my industry is not the most ecologically friendly. Mines are also not aesthetically pleasing and if you’ve been to the Kennecot copper mine in Utah you will agree. But, it’s hard to live without copper and even gold has its place in society so we keep building mines.
We have just started working with Barrick Gold on their Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine project in the Dominican Republic and so far this client is a pretty good one. So I try to keep up on other Barrick projects. Barrick is very active in opening new mines and they have an interesting property in the Chilean Andes at about the 5000m level. The problem at the Pascua Lama site is that the ore body is covered by three glaciers. No problem, say the Engineers, we can RELOCATE the glaciers. WHAT? How do we do that? Hair Dryers if time is not a factor, I suppose.
Construction is slated to start in September, but the Chilean Government has so far rejected the plan to relocate the glaciers. Barrick has started to refer to the glaciers as an “Ice Reserve” which environmentalists believe is a way to downplay the importance of the glaciers.
There is an environmental movement called “No Dirty Gold” which urges retailers to boycott mining companies that is irresponsibly mined. Tiffany and Cartier are committed to these standards. The Chilean local governments are very concerned about community impacts of this project and will likely fight it to the end.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Peruvian Dalmatians

My friend (and fellow dalmatian owner) Claudia just got back from her business trip in Peru. We sent her down there for three weeks so that she could help implement our new SAP accounting system.

When she was in the Arequipa office her window had a view of the alley (not the nicest view around).But look at the Dalmatians!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Airwolf - a great 1984 CBS production. It was a wonderful show and it starred the talented Jan Michael Vincent. The basic story was brilliant. It was a basic story of a helicopter with guns on it. So right there you know the possibilities for the show were endless. Plus it starred Ernest Borgnine, who I love. Such a character. And it was filmed in Vancouver (well, for season 4 anyways)

Alice Lake

Just got back from a fantastic camping trip at Alice Lake, near Squamish, with my brother Sean's family, and his inlaws, Bev and Rupert. I haven't been camping in 25 years! I had to go to Mountain Equipment Co-op and get a sleeping bag and a thermarest (a self inflating air-matress!) Rupert owns a camper trailer, and Sean brought up a 4 man tent and I was in a little 2 man tent with liz. The campsites are huge at Alice Lake and it's very private. It's a beautiful setting and so close to Vancouver.
Rupert is retired and now does a lot of hiking and camping. He took us on a nice 3 hour hike around the lakes then back to Alice Lake beach for some suntanning and swimming.
Camping was a lot more fun than I remember and next week liz and I will go up to Nairn Falls near Pemberton.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I take the occasional liberty at work. I have even defied the No leaving the building during work rule and in fact have crossed the alley, gone to the Royal Centre Starbucks and got a Soy Chai Latte. Lately I have ventured even further from the office and went to the 7-11 at the corner of Thurlow and Alberni to get a Slurpee. And I’ve now done that trip a few times. It’s not a problem yet (like my Slurpee addiction when I was a teenager. – “Mom, can I borrow the car to go um, study at Wally’s?” Then I would drive down to 7-11 and get my Slurpee fix.)
No one is going to comment if I have a Starbucks cup on my desk. Well, they might say, “where’s mine?” And I don’t really have a good response to that question actually, other than my vacant look. But I digress.
If I have a Slurpee on my desk I risk getting discourteous comments from passers by. Comments such as “good training food”, or “what about your Reflux?”. As an aside, if you drink your Slurpee too quickly you will get a headache. I have it on good authority, (the guy that sells Slurpee machines to ARCO gas stations) that you can get rid of the headache by pushing your tongue to the roof of your mouth and sucking. I have never tried this trick because as a skilled Slurpee drinker I do not get those headaches. Nor would I want to subject myself to one, even for the sake of science.
Two things come to mind about improper Slurpee enjoyment at the office. You should not rub the straw against the round top thus creating an eek eek eek eek eek noise. This is very annoying to coworkers. Furthermore, you should be careful when you are nearly finished the drink not to actually make that slurp sound. It’s just impolite.
I'm still watching my sugar intake and I really don't want to know how much sugar is in a Coke Slurpee, but I'll bet it's a lot.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I want to learn how to wink in a business setting. That is, instead of saying “hello, how are you” all I need to do is wink. It’s not that I’m lazy or dislike talking but I think this is a skill that I would like to acquire. Why do I think this is a good idea? Because there are two gentlemen on my floor that acknowledge me by winking and it kind of looks cool.
I practiced on the weekend but my first attempts came across as forced. I was using too many facial muscles and it just didn’t look good. Plus I don’t have the timing down at all. I mean, how long should I close my eye? I have come to the conclusion that the wink has to be very relaxed and it has to last long enough for the person to see it.
It’s funny that I never learned how to wink in elementary school. I distinctly remember where, when and how I learned to blow bubbles with gum. (not that I’m proud of that – in fact it is one of my pet peeves). The winking could have come in handy for my grade 4 crush on Cheryl Cunningham.
Perhaps I’m not old enough to get away with the business wink. I don’t want people to think that I’m odd - that would defeat the coolness factor.
Is it worth it? It would actually be pretty useful in an athletic setting. For instance if I were walking around transition area and I saw someone but I forget their name – I could wink. That would really be handy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I collect P.G. Wodehouse hardcover books. The first one I bought was when I was in Cairns, Australia in 1997 when I went into a used book store and just happened across it. The book was Uneasy Money and it only cost $2.00 Australian. However, this was definitey Easy Money! It's worth at least $100.00 Canadian! I'll never sell it though. This edition was printed in 1934 and it came with the cover.
When I came back to Canada I decided to start looking for other Wodehouse hardcovers. They are pretty hard to find, but they are out there. I have about 20 original hardcovers now. Of course I have most of the paperback copies of his books.
Hugh Laurie was the definitive Wooster, and he is now better known as Dr. House on the popular TV show, House. So funny to hear him with an American accent.
If they ever show the series Jeeves and Wooster on PBS again I highly recommend that you watch it. Very funny.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dream Project

I was looking at my brother's site today and had a flood of memories. Sean was talking about the Lotus Super 7 he has always wanted to build and I was reminded of my Kit Car project dream.
I am a pretty good car mechanic and have lots of patience for skinned knuckles and stripped bolts. My dad taught me many of the tricks (such as leverage) and which tools to use for which job.
I know how to change an engine or transmission and am not intimidated by the complexity of it. On older cars these tasks are actually quite easy.
Anyway, I always wanted to build a Kelmark GT.

You could purchase this car in various stages: the fibreglass body only was the least expensive way to do it. Then you would buy a Volkswagon Beetle, modify the chassis and use the VW running gear (engine and transmission)to power it.
Or you could buy the body and a tubular chassis. Then you just supply the running gear. Or you could buy it preassembled - but that was really expensive back in 1977.
I sent away for the information package and then planned how to build it. The Vega V8 engine looked like a much better choice than the puny VW 1600cc engine and they were easy to find.
But project Kelmark never really got anywhere especially when I bought my Mach 1. I did end up putting a fibreglass front end on the Mach 1 and that saved a coupld of hundred pounds. But it still wasn't really a sports car like the Kelmark.
There's one for sale in Winnipeg on EBAY! hmm.
Body and Tubular chassis!
If I had free time I would seriously consider it. Sean still has all Dad's mechanic tools in his garage.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Good Lord! Dull is the worst label you could give me! I have no problem with the other criticisms. But Dull! Sigh.
Anyway, here is a glimpse of my exciting life:

I have 21 dress shirts. But one of them is like Jerry Seinfeld's "Pirate" shirt and I don't wear it too often, so lets say I really only have 20 dress shirts. I actually like ironing - it gives me a sense of accomplishment. So Laundry Night (typically tuesday) is a pretty exciting evening for me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Oyu Tolgoi Update

My current project is a Copper mine in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. No, I am not going there, although I am sure there is an ex girlfriend or two that hopes that I do. The project is continuing well even though the Mongolian government is being difficult and just slapped a windfall profit tax of 68% on copper and gold once prices pass a certain threshold. I agree that countries such as Mongolia should get their "fair share" from foreign companies working in their countries. But I dislike governments that threaten Nationalization. It causes too much instability.
Not much to do and no scenery - it looks like a Mars landscape. It would be good training for Marathon Des Sables I suppose.

The site is looking pretty good these days - they even built a basketball court.
Not quite as nice as the swimming pool we built in Indonesia.
I couldn't imagine living there for a year.

Monday, June 05, 2006

What is a Swim Parka

No, you don't wear it while swimming. It isn't made of neoprene, nor is is lycra.
It's a long overcoat with a fleece lining. It is a very important piece of clothing to wear after getting out of an outdoor pool such as Kitsilano, or Second Beach pool when it is cold out. Here in British Columbia it can get still get cold at night at this time of the year. Not cold like in Ottawa but still maybe below 10 degrees.
Or I can wear it during a swim meet when I'm waiting around for an hour between swim events.
What's so great about it? It's got pockets and a hood and it's water resistant and warm. Sadly it's just not fashionable with the speedo stripe and all. Swimmers will appreciate the beauty of this jacket, but not many others would. It's not skimpy, but still I may be self conscious wearing it in public. But I have set a precedent by wearing my Nike jacket to work and therefore will likely wear the Parka downtown as well.

Jimmy Pattison and Me.

I now have a connection with Jimmy Pattison. For those not from British Columbia, Mr. Pattison is a famous British Columbia Entrepreneur who is credited with making our Expo 86 a success. He also built the Save On Foods grocery store chain and created Urban Fare, the high end gourmet food experience store.
Anyway, what do Jimmy Pattison and I have in common? Jimmy Pattison gets his hair cut at the Executive House Barbers in my building! I may have sat in the same chair as Jimmy Pattison!
By the way, the barber did a pretty good job; he worked on me for half an hour, and then gave me a scalp and shoulder massage all for $19.00!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dixie Chicks vs. Les Claypool

I would just like to clarify that I am NOT a Country Music fan, and therefore do no particulary like the Dixie Chicks. In fact I would probably mock any of my male friends that admitted they liked the Dixie Chicks.
And the Dixie Chicks were causing me a lot of grief and anxiety this morning. I ordered tickets to see Les Claypool (of Primus fame) through Ticketmaster and wanted them delivered in the mail. But the tickets never came and the concert is on Monday! I tried to phone Ticketmaster this morning but kept getting a busy line! Being unable to get through on the phone drives me crazy - and I was very anxious about getting replacement tickets. So I stormed down to the Ticketmaster main office to demand a resolution. It was then that I learned that Dixie Chicks tickets were just on sale and that was why Ticketmaster was particularly busy and that was why I couldn't get through on the phone.
Yeah, I know Rick Rubin produced their album - but still - it's country and I don't like it. Who goes to something like that anyways? Not me, even if liz asks! (Nor will I ever go to a modern dance event - just too painful!)
Anyway after a bit of wrangling with the Ticketmaster agent she produced two replacement tickets to Les Claypool! Yay!
The Tickmaster person was actually very helpful and I didn't have to have a temper tantrum to get what I wanted.
Les WHO? you are probably wondering. I realize I have eclectic music tastes, partially thanks to my brother Sean, and to CITR radio and I really like the alternative music scene.
Les Claypool is the leader and bass player for Primus. Primus WHO? They are a goofy progressive metal/funk jam trio and they wrote the theme song for the Cartoon show South Park.