BC Hydro where for art thou · 18 January 2015 by colin newell
We had a power outage from 7AM until around 11:30AM today.
And it was patently obvious that outages were widespread — but because of my naturally curious nature, I went over to the BC Hydro website to look at the outage map — and the site stated: If your neighborhood is NOT on the map, please contact us — which I attempted… via mobile phone…
and their system would not recognize my address or phone number… so I went to the website to report the outage online — which it would not let me do UNLESS I had a linked online account with BC Hydro — which I do.
So: In order to report an outage online I need to have a “linked” online account… which I do. But the website reported that I did not lave a linked account even though I was logged in and “linked”
Being an emergency coordinator with the CRD in Victoria, it is very important to me that people be able to report to the primary utilities that something is amiss – and the system needs to work. BC Hydro’s system, however, failed miserably.
For all I knew, there might have been a small handful of customers in my 1km circle out – in fact, there were hundreds of neighbors without power. I wonder how many of them, elderly and not-as-technicial, were fretting about when and if their power would come back on.
On the plus side, this was a good time to check my emergency radio equipment – and everything worked like a charm. I was able to reach out via our amateur (ham) radio community VHF/UHF repeater grid which allows me to talk to pretty much any corner of Vancouver Island with ease. As well, my HF (Shortwave) system allowed me to reach out as far South as California and out to Ohio in the East on very low power.
For those interested in emergency planning and ham radio: There are thousands of active (volunteer) radio operators in B.C. that engage in emergency radio networks on a daily basis, year around and even on Christmas day —
Ostensibly to help keep communities safe and connected.
Now if BC Hydro could figure out their system glitches that would be great – It kind of begs the question: With all these smart meters in place, why do I need to report anything online or via the phone?
Emerging talent - Kristina Helene - Bengal Lounge 2014 · 24 November 2014 by colin newell
I have been going to the Bengal Lounge for the quality atmosphere, entertainment, cocktail culture and great people watching since the early 80’s when I started attending to my post secondary education.
At the time many of the entertainers would have been middle aged men (aged 40 and up) tinkling away at an old piano and singing passable versions of the great American songbook. And yours truly, in his very early 20’s would have sat at the bar in a Harris Tweed coat, white cotton shirt, Hugo Boss tie and suitably matching pants… sipping on a skillfully mixed gin and tonic, hoping with all measure to look grown up.
Flash forward over 30 years and now, it seems, that the Bengal has an entirely new graduating class of star performers vying for our attention. Only difference is, the vocalists and accompanists of the 21st Century have some staying power… and talent.
A case in point: One Kristina Helene. A very-very early twenty something singer with vocal chops light years ahead of her chronological curve on planet Earth.
She dazzled a comfortably populated room at the Empress Hotel with a set of classics that would have been more at home in a much, much bigger club and audience in New York city or Chicago.
Accompanied by the very capable Thomas Kinzel on upright grande piano, Ms. Helene takes us on a sentimental journey of some of the greatest songs ever written – as originally performed by Sinatra, Andy Williams, Leonard Cohen, Bing Crosby and equally influential company. Her ability to finesse a song to greatness verges on the preternatural. Kristina has a sense of rhythm, timing and breath control usually reserved for artists twice her age – and yes, she started very young.
She performed three very tidy sets at the Bengal Lounge – and being the consummate professional gave her piano player a lot of room to showcase his ample grasp of the 88 keys. Kristina’s style defies exact definition in that she does not sound like anyone you have heard in the last 40 years or so. Names like Garland, Peggy Lee, Billie Holliday, Lena Horne and Nina Simone kind of popped into my head – but I could also hear a bit of Adele, Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse on a molecular level. It is quite unique. It is immensely exciting and demands your attention.
I had the pleasure of hearing Diana Krall play a small venue on Vancouver Island in the 80’s before she was discovered – this event with Ms. Helene felt exactly like that. So check it out!
Kristina Helene and Thomas continue at the Bengal Sundays from 7 PM until 10PM through December. Do yourself a treat and come down and check out what the future of jazz sounds like. Ms. Helene is a rising star that you should not miss if you have the opportunity. Check out her website over here – Kristina Helene has a stunning YouTube channel over here
Long time companion moves on to the infinite pasture of joy · 14 August 2014 by colin newell
Just got the news that my sister’s devoted companion of so many years, Sasha, has moved on to the next leg of her journey.
Sasha has been the family canine companion, living with my dear sister Lisa, for many a year. And as everyone knows, the family pooch is often the cornerstone of this thing we call home – often bringing everyone together, giving us all a reference point – focusing on the love, purity, devotion and pureness of heart that is the family pet.
Life often revolves around our domesticated charges – and so it should be, as these loving creatures have been at our side since the dawn of time. We depend on them as they do on us. We give them what we give them and in return, they give us the silent unspoken love and loyalty that is available from no other creature.
Sasha has been Lisa’s steady compatriot through her travels in and around Victoria – has seen a few changes of location, sunrises, sunsets and all manner of weather. Sasha was something of a rescue pooch – and from our perspective, she had the greatest life possible with Lisa. As has been spoken, “No one could have treated her better – and she could not have been more loved…”
Sasha now leaves us, moving on to her spiritual realm and within the living legacy of our memories for her. She will not just be missed but will forever change the fabric of the community in which she lived… and loved.
We will never forget you Sasha – and with all the love that we have left over, we will pass it forward to the next doggie needing our love.
Safe journey my little friend!
Victoria Farm Life - farmers downsizing - tools for sale · 11 August 2014 by colin newell
A colleague of mine is downsizing from her and her husbands farm for the time being.
And they have some great tools that need a warm new home – in the right hands, tools produce great things.
If any of these items appeal to you, send some e-mail to the address provided.
I have my eye on the compressor and nail gun… and I blame you Paul LaFrance and your endless patio/deck rebuilds!
e-mail [email protected]
Stihl MS200T limbing chainsaw – $400
Near new Stihl MS230 chainsaw $350
Sold — Craftsman compound mitre saw – $70
Rivet gun – $10
Dewalt 4.5” angle grinder – $40
2 Porter cable nail guns, with nails, two sets of hoses, and compressor – $200
Dewalt orbital sanders – $25 and $40
Sold — Rigid belt sander, used once – $125
Dewalt cordless reciprocating saw – $40
Dewalt cordless skillsaw – $90
Dewalt cordless jigsaw – $80
Interested in any of these items: e-mail [email protected]
Playing some acoustic guitar at a recent BBQ · 23 June 2014 by colin newell
Here is yours truly noodling on some open Hawaiian tuning on my acoustic guitar during a recent BBQ.
Light duty stuff indeed.
Living in Victoria - Fernwood Bites · 4 June 2014 by colin newell
Fernwood’s tastiest event, Fernwood Bites, is back for the fifth year in a row. In partnership with Cook Culture & local restaurateurs, Fernwood NRG is offering food-&-drink-lovers a chance to sample Victoria’s finest fare at its annual tasting event and fundraiser.
Happening in Fernwood Square on Sunday, June 22nd, the event will feature an evening of food and drink sampling, live jazz, and a silent auction of items donated by local artists and businesses. Proceeds will help fund Fernwood’s sustainable food initiatives including the Good Food Box, Fernwood Neighborhood Orchard, and Kitchen Garden Pilot Project.
Participants in Fernwood Bites include 10 Acres Bistro + Bar + Farm, AJ’s Organic Cafe, Aubergine Specialty Foods, Be Love, Bon Macaron Patisserie, Bona Vini Wines Co., Cascadia Bakery, Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen, Choux Choux Charcuterie, Cook Culture, Discovery Coffee, Fernwood Inn, The Hot & Cold Cafe, Hoyne Brewing Co., Lonetree Cider, Olive The Senses, Origin Bakery, Padella Italian Bistro, Phillips Brewing Co., Renaissance Wine Merchants, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, Silk Road Tea, Spinnakers, Stage Wine Bar, Stir It Up, Wildfire Bakery, Yates Street Taphouse, and Yonni’s Doughnuts.
Fernwood Bites will run from 5:30-8pm on Sunday, June 22nd in Fernwood Square (Gladstone at Fernwood). Tickets for this 19+ event are $50 and include all samples. Tickets are available online at fernwoodbites2014.eventbrite.ca.
About Fernwood NRG
Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group is a charitable organization that offers programs and services to the neighbourhood of Fernwood, including childcare, affordable housing, family support services, parenting groups, community recreation and celebration. Led by a membership of neighbourhood residents, Fernwood NRG sets as its highest goal social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Fernwood NRG believes that a neighbourhood society should be responsive, active, engaging and fun. For more information about Fernwood NRG, please visit www.fernwoodnrg.ca
For some more yummy looking photos of Fernwood Bites from last year – head over here
Colin Newell is a Victoria area resident and freelance food and drink writer – active in the Victoria area and Canada since 1995!