2015 Vancouver Sun Run

23 01 2015

No going back now!

I’ve been running and to the gym every night this week… well, except last night (7:30am con call took it out of me a bit. What?! Hey – it was bloody tipping it down, OK! I might have drowned out there!).

There didn’t really seem any point to it all unless I signed up for this year’s Sun Run, so I did. Now I’ve spent money (and am from Yorkshire), I’m feeling a bit committed.

Only downside was being reminded I was now in the 50-54 age group now. :o(

2015 Vancouver Sun Run.

2015 Vancouver Sun Run

Vancouver’s Sun Run

17 years after world’s last airworthy Mosquito crashed, rebuilt Canadian ‘Wooden Wonder’ flies again

20 03 2013

As a kid, I used to have Airfix models of the WWII vintage de Havilland Mosquito. Such a beautiful shape. Second only to the Spitfire, in my humble opinion. Grace… with teeth. Powered by the distinctive RR Merlins too.  (See how the under-wing engines look like a pair of Spitfire noses?)


Read all about the rebirth of this little piece of Canadian history in the Vancouver Sun.

17 years after world’s last airworthy Mosquito crashed, rebuilt Canadian ‘Wooden Wonder’ flies again.

General background as ever on Wikipedia.

Falklands vote will not end dispute

13 03 2013

Politics aside and all that… don’t you just love the suit?!

Full story at the Vancouver Sun: Falklands vote will not end dispute.

Vancouver Sun: The suit to end all suits

Vancouver Sun: The suit to end all suits

Get out of THAT! This day in history: March 1, 1923

1 03 2013

90 years ago today, Erik Weisz hung upside down, shackled and in a straightjacket from the Vancouver Sun building in er… Vancouver, while crowds stood and stared. Perhaps not so weird when you know he preferred to go by the name Harry Houdini.

Here’s the story from today’s VS:  This day in history: March 1, 1923.

And here’s some photos of the event from Vancouver is Awesome!

This day in history: March 1, 1923

And who are you again?

29 09 2012

[Heavy Introspection Warning – lower humour quotient than usual. You have been warned!]

At first sight, the recent studies by Canadian scientists that male DNA can persist in female brains seems to be rich pickings for jokes of the “get out of my head”, “you’re always on my mind” kind.

Vancouver Sun – Male DNA found for first time in female brains.

There are a few theoretical ways a woman can absorb male DNA – from a male child, a male twin, even potentially an older male sibling via their mother’s womb (It’s rarely disputed that males are bad at clearing up after themselves – maybe it starts pre-birth!). The study also hints at a potential link to Alzheimer’s disease resistance.

But the interesting thing for me is the implications of “self”. Now I’ve never studied biology, psychology, or as the old BT advert with Maureen Lipman would say: any other “ology”. But even I know that we actually exist in what we blithely refer to as our mind – basically the software running in our brain. Now what this study shows is that the hardware itself – the brain – can have elements in it that are not even originally from our own body. Not just chemical, like a drug say, which is affecting how our own brain is functioning. No this is actually bits from ANOTHER body.  The study was limited, in that it was looking for male DNA in women because that was easier to spot than the DNA of their own daughter, but it’s a profound piece of data. This is different to our DNA being the result of our parents’ DNA being diced and spliced. This is separate DNA alongside that recipe we used to think of as “me”.

Not only can we change through the influence of new experiences, emotions and “data” for our mind, but perhaps the very hardware we’re running on is changing underneath us. Influencing the way we process that information.

This leads me to another discussion I recently had. One I’ve had a few times actually, about what we really are. I have this total fear of waking up completely paralysed and unable to communicate in any way. Being totally conscious and being able to sense and process my surroundings, but in no way being able to communicate with it. It frightens me. Mainly I think because I measure my worth as somehow being how I relate to other people. The implication therefore is that without being able to contribute my own thoughts, I become worthless, despite being totally cognisant and able to still generate novel thought and ideas. Would there be someone “out there”, outside my mind that would still value me? Somehow still be able to connect with me. Would I want to continue with no way of expressing myself to others? Yes – my mind has some dark little places in it. I rarely open those doors, but it’s dangerous to let things go too long without facing them.

So then if we take a less extreme situation and talk about mind-changing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, or even just getting old generally, we see the situation where one is still interacting with the world, but perhaps in a different way to what you used to. So are you still, well, you? Arguably a different you (not meaning to prescribe any relative value here – just a different you). It’s easier for someone who never knew the previous you to accept you as you are now, but this can be a really tough transition for family and friends that have seen the differences and can contrast them and inherently place a judgement of better/worse versions.

And this makes me wonder why. Every birthday marks off another year lived. Survived. Trains, cars and rock falls avoided. But also another year of experiences absorbed and processed. These experiences change us. We may see new perspectives, feel different emotions. Many things. Perhaps we know of people who didn’t survive that year, or just barely – that impacts us too. So are we tangibly different people? If so, it’s not just an annual occurrence. We change by the day, hour, second.

And in the end, does it matter?

I think so. I think we should spend a little while every now and then and just look around. Smile at a stranger. There is only now. In a moment you’ll be a different person.

Vancouver Sun: Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

12 06 2012

I don’t usually watch the news these days. Today though, I had a few minutes spare, so I turned it on. “Hey news – you’re looking really sexy today…” (The old ones are, well, the oldest.)

I was a bit sad to see that a humpbacked whale had been stranded on White Rock’s East Beach. It had been alive when it first landed early in the morning, but had subsequently died. Initial reports said it had been in distress for a considerable time and had its baleen ensnared in a commercial long-line which had prevented it eating for quite some time. Though it finally died at White Rock, its fate had been sealed a long time previously. It was quite moving to see ladies from the local Semiahmoo Band drumming a lament and sending its spirit away in peace.

As the tide returned, the carcass was towed away to an undisclosed location for tests and disposal. It looked almost like a submarine being launched with the flowers people had placed on the dead creature’s head to honour its death.

Many animals die on our beaches every day. Somehow though, the death of a large mammal seems to make us feel the loss more personally, and we feel the need to mark its passing. A reminder that all living things are connected ultimately.

Vancouver Sun: Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video).

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

Run, Fat Boy, Run!

6 05 2012
Film poster for Run, Fat Boy, Run - Copyright ...

Film poster for Run, Fat Boy, Run – Copyright 2007, Material Entertainment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So long-suffering readers will be aware I ran the Vancouver Sun Run back in April. Three weeks ago today in fact. I was disproportionately proud of my achievement. Especially as I did it in something over an hour, while the winner did it in 29:12!

Anyway, I finished it. I walked away under my own power, and by my reckoning, that was “a win”.

Basking then in this undeserved glow, I took a breather from the already far from strenuous training regime I’d subjected myself to. A couple of days slipped into a week, and so on. And then yesterday I woke up and felt, well, not to put too fine a point on it, “podgy”!

I’ve had a pretty hectic weekend giving and receiving adult training in my role within Scouts Canada, to-ing and fro-ing and meeting up with people from all over BC, sometimes until late into the night. But this morning despite being tired, I woke up and mentally hit myself with the spatula (watch the film trailer if you have no idea what I’m alluding to).

As a result, this evening I find myself on the successful end of a 4km run. The first time since the Sun Run I’ve attempted any exercise more strenuous than getting up in the night for a pee. You can not imagine how chuffed this makes me feel. Not only that I managed to ignore all the arguments I made for not doing it (we often argue – myself and I), but also for actually managing it non-stop.

Now I’m not saying I was in any danger of having The Guinness Book Of Records calling me for a statement, but I did manage to run the entire circuit without stopping, throwing my guts up, or otherwise disgracing myself in public. Of course, now I’ve done it once, I might have to do it again.

Good job I’m off to Germany for a week on business, and will be forced to drink copious amounts of fizzy German beer whilst eating far from lean Schweinshaxe, otherwise I might get fit or something…


Vancouver Sun Run

14 04 2012

So when I foolishly signed up for the Sun Run, I didn’t actually expect to have to RUN.

But now both daughters, their associated beaus and the good lady wife have signed up it looks like I’ll actually have to try hard. That and the fact my previous company paid my entrance fee! Duty bound and all that.

It’s Canada’s biggest 10km run, and has been going since 1985. (Not the same race, you understand… even I won’t take 27 years to finish!!)

I realistically signed up for the 1hr+ group it being my first time and all (wha?!), but was mortified to learn that my daughter’s less than fit boyfriend put himself in the sub-1hr group. I’m the one who actually hit the gym reasonably often (well more than once anyway), not him! Now, as we say in masculine parlance: “it’s on!” Instead of merely concentrating on not finishing up in a vehicle with blue flashing lights and sucking on an oxygen mask, I now have to actually try and prove my alpha male superiority over the youth who’s having carnal knowledge of my first-born. (Allegedly).

As for second-born – that’s an easier challenge. She’d easily be in the sub-1hr group, except her boyfriend recently had his wisdom teeth removed and has stitches as a result (I offered to pay the doctor to remove them via his scrotum, but was turned down). Apparently the stitches could pop if he gets his blood up, and has been forbidden to run. They’ll therefore skip gaily around the course, (no doubt hand in hand) in well over an hour.

Depending on whether first-born feels she should stay with her man, or (more likely) gun it for the line, that leaves only Mrs Elephant out of the estimated 40,000 starters that I need to try and beat. Fat chance too!!

The weather looks set to be reasonable, it’ll be a grand day out, and I subsequently get to wear the T-shirt for ever more to say “I was there”. Unlike the camping at -30C, this feels like something I won’t feel the urge to repeat. (Unless there’s lots of scantily clad women, in which case all bets are off).

Wish me luck. I’ll wave, if you watch it on TV!

Caffeine makes mugs of hard workers, but doesn’t have an effect on slackers – Vancouver Sun

30 03 2012

Thanks to MM for reminding me of this article I read in the Vancouver Sun yesterday.

Vancouver Sun: Coffee

Caffeine makes mugs of hard workers, but doesn’t have an effect on slackers.


18 02 2012

Yup – there’s actually a word for the fear of losing your mobile phone!! I’ve certainly seen the fear displayed – the sudden panic stricken look on a previously calm face; the manic delving into more pockets than any coat should have had in the first place; the return of calm to the face once it is located again (in the first pocket that had been examined… but not too well). Read the article about it from The Vancouver Sun:

Nomophobia — the fear of losing one’s phone — on the rise: survey.

VancouverSun: There’s a name for the overwhelming fear of losing your mobile phone and with it contact with friends and family — nomophobia — and the findings of a recent survey suggests it’s on the rise.  Read more: http://www.canada.com/Nomophobia+fear+losing+phone+rise+survey/6171812/story.html#ixzz1mmV22Zu1

VancouverSun: There’s a name for the overwhelming fear of losing your mobile phone and with it contact with friends and family — nomophobia — and the findings of a recent survey suggests it’s on the rise.