January 2010

Notebooks: Stanley Park

Sometimes your notebooks surprise you. Here I discover that my character Trout (a kid) from my novel Stanley Park, was originally conceived as a Manchester United fan.

The horror.

Posted: Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 9:15pm

The Wilde Room: Chapter 2

Smells and Bells
It was Dante who’d found the Professor’s body. Jeremy thought: of course. That strange friendship between his former boss and his father having forged hard after Jeremy fled his hometown. His two great would-be teachers seemed to have watched his flight leave together. Jeremy imagined them sitting in that little park at the end of the runway where the airplane nerds hung out. And after the howl of the engines had passed overhead, well, there seemed to be nothing left between them. They started playing chess weekly, as if the young man (young then) had been the very board they’d previously contested. He was gone. They needed a different board.
Posted: Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 9:11am

The Xerox Effect

From the December Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine
Marketers already know we're copycats at heart. Now science proves it
Most of us believe we make up our own minds in the marketplace: Apple or Dell, Brooks Brothers or Boss, equities or gold. But recent studies suggest we exert less control over these decisions than we realize. Or, at least, we may not make choices in either of the two ways we typically assume we do: that is, either in accordance with innate individual taste, or based on an objective appraisal of the options.
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010 2:16pm

Wacky Pack Stories: Kentucky Fried Fingers

It's 1972. It's West Vancouver. It's Gleneagles Elementary school and nothing matters more than Wacky Packs. The coolest kids have them. Your tomboy pal Carrie has them. So you buy gum just to get them. And you put them on your binders, your desk, your lunch box. Your parents hate them.

That part is key. Your parents hate Wacky Packs.

Posted: Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 10:17am

Learning to live with the Suicide Machine

It's hard not to twin the phenomenon of the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, as reported in Time this week, and the release of Jaron Lanier's new manifesto against Internet hive think You Are Not a Gadget.

On the one hand, you have long time technology analyst describing the ensnaring culture of the Internet hive-mind. On the other hand, you have a techology company offering a way out: kill your online self.

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 8:54am

Wacky Pack Stories: Hostile Thinkies

My best friend's name was Sten, as in Stendhal. As in Stendhal Beauregard-Vincent, his father having been important at one point in France. Then he (Sten's father) had decided to grow a beard, become a boat designer and move to West Van. He designed sailboats for quite a few famous people, including the catamaran that song writer was later found dead in, floating off Passage Island. The one the ferry hit. (That was the same guy who wrote the song Michael Jackson recorded. I can never remember the name, but the tune stays with me. Ba ba, baaa.. etc)

Sten and I, in school and around our street, were known as the Hostile Thinkies. I have theories where the name came from, but no real solid proof. It was from my brothers probably.

Posted: Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 9:36am

The Feel Good Economy

From the January 2010 Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine

"Paying it forward" is an old idea with new life lately. Brands as different from one another as Dove, Starbucks, TalkTalk wireless in Britain, and the Albertan credit union Servus have each launched promotional campaigns that blur the line between business and philanthropy.

Benjamin Franklin pioneered the idea more than 200 years ago when he lent a colleague some money on the condition that it be repaid not to Franklin but to someone else in need. Franklin wrote at the time: "This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money."

Posted: Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 4:13pm