Picture of the Day: Monserrate Bogota

July 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Picture of the Day: Monserrate Bogota

The amazing view from Monserrate mountain overlooking Bogota.

Monserrate Bogota by Carlos Bolivar on Flickr

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Twenty, Twenty, Twenty-Four Days to Go

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment

…I wanna be sedated.

Well almost 3 years ago to the day I went on the first eye-opening trip of my life (no offence to Europe prior, but Bangkok ‘Ping-Pong Shows’ are pretty damn eye opening…and immediately thereafter eye closing).

I was over the moon to find out Duncan would be down for joining me on this years trip 3 years after our Southeast Asian adventure (after missing out on the South America trip). He had (for yet unknown reasons) jumped off the bus and stuck by my side when the Vietnamese border guards yanked me off our coach and threw me into that god-forsaken hospital quarantine in the middle of nowhere. He had also been the one to restrain me when we had a knife pulled on us in Bangkok and I was popping off at the guys without seeing the weapon. So yeah, I pretty much want this guy by my side when this Bath-Salt induced zombie apocalypse goes down.

Now that I’m a working man (…get your minds out of the gutter) I am only permitted 2 weeks vacation throughout the year – add in the fact I need 2 days in September to fly home to Vancouver for a wedding and, well I can’t be doing no more continent-wide expeditions. A 1-2 country trip was all that could be done in such a short timeframe.  So we mashed together our top-5’s and were ecstatic to have Colombia come out on top.

So why Colombia? Well here’s our top-5 reasons for going:

  1. Guerrilla Kidnappings. Wait, that was put in the wrong context – we’re not wanting to get kidnapped by FARC. Over the past few years the government decimated there ranks, basically putting them out of commission. That means the one huge barrier to tourism is now out of the way, and this country can be explored prior to the tourist industry sinking it’s ugly teeth into it.
  2. The terrain. Jungle – Check. Mountains – Check. Waterfalls – Check. Beaches – Check. We wanted to do some trekking, and Colombia has some pretty cool treks.

    Picture by Andres Felipe Gomez Ortega on Flickr

  3. Cocaine. Okay see point one about context. Pablo Escobar was a polarizing figure – and still remains the face everybody thinks of when they hear ‘Drug Lord.’ I’ve heard many stories, read books and seen films on the man and can’t really grasp the true magnetite of his empire or his impact on the country. Needless to say Medellin, and Pablo Escobar’s old residences will be must-see’s on our trip.
  4. Untouched Beaches. Well, we experienced packed beaches in Thailand, and I’ve seen the most famous beaches in the world in Brazil. I need a beach that’s untouched by the masses, and Colombia fits that bill.

    By Fred Fraces on Flickr

  5. Girls. Colombia for better or worse (I’m going to say better, but if you catch me chatting up a hardcore feminist, I’ll be all over a ‘worse’ response) has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery usage throughout the world. I’ve seen Brazil, now it’s time to see if Colombia lives up to the hype.

I’m going to get this blog going to keep everybody up to date on prep for the trip, the trip itself, along with the follow-up.

Categories: Colombia

Fresh Start – Change #1: Video Production

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Well – I’ve been busy lately.  I just wrapped up my marketing coop work term and now am applying for marketing/advertising jobs, but I’ve decided to get more out of my spare time… What the heck as the saying goes: “I can sleep when I’m dead” – right?

So I’ve had to hit the reset button so to speak, and give myself a fresh start to coincide with the (inevitable) big change of a new job (whenever it occurs)… So here it is Change #1

I have to start practicing video production alongside my photography.

I cam across this amazing video of a trip to Vietnam (which btw – appears to have visited the exact same locations Duncan + I saw on our trip), and it makes me really want to improve my skills.

I really want to start bringing back material like this.  Sure, my sort of trips are infused with a huge serving of humour – as me and my travel mates always seem to come back with a ridiculously large amount of inside jokes/laugh-our-guts-out memories that can only be conveyed with video including speech.  But I think that’s the sort of thing thats gotta be kept special between the parties that were physically there.

There’s something to be said for this sort of travel video.  Having the visuals, with no vocals, and a nice background tune.  People are still captivated by the scenery – and it really is some quality work.  What do you think – good stuff? Or do people prefer corresponding vocals?

I love this sort of stuff and you very likely will see me + my  Canon T1i wandering the streets of Toronto as I start to gather video.

Monday Markets: The China Question

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I know the timing is a little late, but I finally got around to watching ‘The China Question‘ (originally airing June 3rd on CNBC).  I gotta say filmaker Brook Silva-Braga did a great job not biting on the surface assessment of the China vs. The West debate (cheap labour – destroying the western way of life).  He dug beneath the surface and looked at how history and the past interactions between the worlds two giant economies brought things to where they are today.

I gotta say it was an eye opener in some regards:

  • How freely American companies are providing product blueprints to Chinese producers – essentially rendering themselves obsolete in the near future as these Chinese producers begin to create the products for themselves. As a result:
  • America’s only hope right now for the future is constant innovation (Hello us young people!) and this time to keep a tight lid of the secrets behind them (as well as producing them internally).
  • How a strong majority of Chinese youth don’t know of the 1989 Tiananmen  Square incident.
  • How China is devaluing their currency to keep their factory-workers happy with their low wages, in an attempt to buy time for China to move towards a non-production, and more skilled/technical economy.
  • New Era hats (MLB’s official cap producers)… Sure they say ‘Made in America’ but the brand is secretly outsourcing certain lines of hat production to China – and yet still trying to play off as ‘homegrown.’

Other obvious questions were put forth, such as what’s going to happen if income levels rise to fast and there’s no workers left to produce the cheap factory goods before China makes the transition to technological production?

And will large-scale creativity and innovation emerge in China soon?

I now see the two as countries that need mutually each other now, yet desperate want to make internal adjustments to free themselves of this need in the future.  But there can only be one winner in this game – the worlds economic superpower.  In my mind the only comparison we can draw from history would be the crumbling of the Soviet Union – will one of these powers suffer the same fate?

There’s obviously more resources + wealth floating around, so the drop couldn’t possibly be near as bad, but in terms of a nation being cut out and left behind … It could very well happen

Here is a trailer:

An Irish Update for St. Patty’s!

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I thought this was absolutely great this morning when I read National Geographic’s St. Patrick’s Day 2011: Facts, Myths, and Tradition.

Who Was the Man Behind St. Patrick’s Day?

At 16, Patrick’s world turned: He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for seven years. (See Ireland pictures.)

“It was just horrible for him,” Freeman said. “But he got a religious conversion while he was there and became a very deeply believing Christian.”

Wonderful… we’re celebrating the Irish factor based around a man who despised Ireland because he was forcefully brought there!

In reality, it’s a celebration created by the Irish community within America.

Here’s  a link on more facts: Huffington Post

So in celebration, how about a quick update on what’s the heck’s been up in Ireland lately:

We all remember the economic problems/bailout by EU of Ireland, but we really haven’t heard much news-wise on what’s happened on the ground lately:

Well, for starters, the government was ousted last month. Edna Kenny and his Fine Gael party gained power in a coalition with Labour.  Earlier this month he unveiled his new cabinet. It seems like a team highly focused on the country’s fiscal problems.

Two big things are now happening: First, there is a big issue in terms of negotiating the interest rates charged on the bailout.  Greece recently got their rates changed, and Ireland looks for some of the same to make it viable in the long term.  Secondly, the bailout pumped $10 billion into the banks, with $25 billion set aside for contingency.  Finance Minister Michael Noonan is now looking to tap into that extra $25 billion, and there is a conflict over renegotiating bailout terms – only 4 months into the process… Things look dismal right now.

So – in St. Patty’s tradition- why not just drink these global problems away?

check out this St. Patty’s Beer perspective with a twist from Triple Pundit: Green Beer for St. Patty’s… But Green as in sustainable

Here’s the Link to Toronto’s own Steam Whitle and their brewing Practices:

The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at Steam Whistle Brewing

Their Official Website:

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Nuclear Plant Worries

March 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The devastation of this weeks earthquake in Japan has made the worlds collective jaws hit the floor.  In lieu of Haiti’s quake along with the recent Japan quake, people are paying more attention to seismologists.

This devastating event should get people to make more attention to another threat to humanity – this one man made: Nuclear Power Stations.

They have one of the more efficient lobbyists + PR teams in the world.  Most people seem to ignore this drastically irrational threat we create for ourselves… Why?  All you need to do is do a quick readup on the Bhopal or Chernobyl disasters.

Japan has 3 danger-locations near the epicenter:

The Japanese people should be up-in-arms regarding the concern/threat they face due to this facility – and possible repercussions of radiation if the worst-case-scenario comes to fruition.

I find it eerie that on Tuesday I watched Michael Madsen’s documentary ‘Into Eternity‘ about the Finish government’s plan to dispose of Nuclear waste (200,000 yr life) through the Onkalo Waste Repository.  It was an eye-opening film making you think into the future and making one think of how bad this nuclear technology can harm future generations – and even more creepy – future PEOPLES.  With such a long life – the ice-age will wipe out humanity living in locations such as Finland, Canada, Sweden – this nuclear waste will be around these locations longer than we humans will.

Here is the trailer:

I just can no longer see the benefits of Nuclear Power Plants/Reactors.  I’m taking a more Holistic/Universal view on this by saying in the long run – they risks outweigh the benefits.

What do you think???

It’s kind of scary knowing theirs a nuclear reactor nearby at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario – my old school.

here is a link to a video on McMasters reactor:


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TED Winner JR: I love this work

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

TED recently revealed their 2011 prize winner –  a French artist known as JR.

Aside from the fact JR is very Anti-Consumerism, I think his posters have the power to do two things: 1 – Put a face on a location, giving an aura of friendliness and 2- Put an aesthetic appeal to an eyesore of urban decay.

All in all it seems to break down barriers in my opinion, and I applaud his work.

Here are two video’s: The first is JR giving his thank you talk at TED in California:

Here is JR’s Vimeo:

Some of his work:

RIo Favela





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