Projects Around The House…

Every now and then, something gets hold of me, and I have to “do” stuff.


Not that I’m not usually busy… but when the spirit takes me, I have to do something physically, or literally acting, as opposed to online “work.”

This is why the Posts have been a bit sparse, the last while.

Not sure what got hold of me, but I’ve installed the railing on the deck stairs, and put the facade on the deck planter stands… (after recently completing the Rain Chain)

…Cleaned out the garage, (including the incredibly tedious job of sorting all the jars of screws, nails and odd bits and bobs, from the last 10 years of projects) and built a custom built in bookcase in the basement…Basement Book Shelves -

These projects, combined with a Broken Blackberry screen…

Crackberry -… have conspired to keep me busy, and off-line for quite a few days in a row !

Whew !!!

I’m not sure where these bursts come from… probably the habit I had of going down and working on finishing the basement.  Which, now that it is nearly done, I kinda miss !!!

I think I’ve worn out that “project” need, for a while, and can get back to writing and Tweeting more regularly !!!

Cheers !



Good Friday #FollowFriday…

Hi –

Because it is a Holiday today, I, of course, woke up waaaay stupid early.

I thought that, rather than doing the Twitter #FF or #FollowFriday list, the traditional way, I would document my suggestions this week, in an expanded form… more than 140 Characters that Twitter usually allows.


@OwenGreaves – Owen Greaves is a smart, cutting edge fellow who talks about Business and Technology.  Forward thinker.  (Abbotsford)

@gmarkham – Mark Hamilton is a journalism prof at Kwantlen, and usually in the middle of smart debates.  (Vancouver)

@AnthonyFloyd – Anthony Floyd is a whip smart Tweep that is usually one of the first on top of information and stories. (Vancouver)

@RealReporter – Salim Jiwa goes not for fluff, but for the harder stories… and has brought them to us, on many platforms, for years.  (Vancouver)

@LisaSawyer317 – Lisa Sawyer knows a lot of good people, and adds a lot of great energy and inspiration on Twitter.  (Maine)

@AureliaCotta Plugged into Eastern Canadian Politics & issues.  (Toronto)

@JimBobbySez – Expressing loudly, the federal Liberal viewpoint.  (Nanticoke)

@StevestonSocial Kana is a great-hearted photographer, animal-lover and networker.  (Richmond)

@PeteQuily – Pete Quily delves into social media, politics and technology.  (Vancouver)

@TerryMcBride – Terry McBride is the Nettwerk Music Boss, and music industry maverick.  He is changing the business model of the Music Industry.  (Vancouver)

@RickHansenFdn – The Rick Hansen Foundation continues, 25 years on, to work on awareness of accessibility issues and Spinal Cord Injuries. (Vancouver)

@RickRake – Rick Rake is a retired print journalist from Abbotsford, who is busier than ever.  (Abbotsford)

@lacouvee – Janis Lacouvee is a scotch-drinking, arts-loving maven, who will shave her head to help people.  (Victoria)

@BuzzBishop – Broadcaster, dad and social media guy, formerly from Vancouver.  (Calgary)

@mashable – Pete Cashmore is a  Social Media and Trend guru.  (Scotland)

@Miss604 – Rebecca Bollwitt is plugged into what goes on, in Vancouver and the region.  (Vancouver)

@GlendaWH – Glenda Watson Hyatt lives with Cerebral Palsy, and reminds us about making the web and everyday life accessible.  (New Westminster)

@FredShadian – Fred Shadian is a guy taking on a different goal every year, and inspiring people every step of the way.  (North Vancouver)

@Kim23Supernova – Kim Woods is a lady trying to get her goals in life done early, so she can enjoy the ride !  (Toronto & Sarasota)

@SRobinsmith – Stacey Robinsmith – One of his many business cards says Political Junkie.  Also a fighter for the underdogs.  (Vancouver)

@CarolBrowne – Carol Brown is a wackycrafter, zany photographer, cat mom and pin collector.  (Vancouver)

@RoyAtkinson – Roy Atkinson is a renaissance man who throws out one LOL groaner, every day.  (Maine)

@BillyHost – Affordable and great-quality webhost and tech support in the Fraser Valley.  (Abbotsford)

@kk – Kris Krug is a self-described… “techartist, quasi-sage, cyberpunk anti-hero from the future”.  (Vancouver)

@DanGoodchild – Daniel Goodchild is another political junkie and techno guy.  (Niagara Falls)

@StacieBee – Heart on sleeve wearer.  (Vancouver)

@BarackObama – Inspiring change and making it happen, despite the doubters & the economy.  (Washington, DC)

@DavidSuzuki – David Suzuki’s bot, feeding nuggets from his various ventures and observations.  (Vancouver)

@craigkielburger – Craig Kielburger helped found Free the Children.  (Global)


These folks are not necessarily the Tweeps that I Tweet with the most, and I have not included any family or “friends.”

I have met a few of these Tweeps, I would like to meet them all, and have a Tea or a Scotch.

By including them, and NOT others, I mean no slight… it is just what I could come up with at 4:30 in the morning.

Follow them, go ye forth, and conquer the world.

National Politics, On A Global Stage… On My Blackberry…

In the past few days, we have seen a variety of events, playing out for our supposed enjoyment, or betterment.

The Paralympics wound to a close, and, as sad as we are to see the athletes go… all parties have to end, and so best it goes off when everyone is excited, energized and enthusiastic !

I was not able to attend any Paralympic Sporting Events, but through Twitter, I was apprised of successes and losses, and felt I was “part of the action.”

The Prime Minister of Canada, to much fanfare and hoo haw, made a big commotion about bringing his message to the people, and embracing social media… which proves that the wonks in the Conservative Party have NO idea how YouTube works.  They laid out an “unscripted” 40 plus  minute video.  With NO regard to the average length or attention span of the public… they laid out a long… dragged out… bilingual snoozefest.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a regular question and answer session, just released on Video… but waaaay too lengthy to go viral.

It was on YouTube, but QUITE difficult to find, by comparison to the Prime Minister’s foray into Pop Singer Territory, when he sang a Beatles song with YoYo Ma !

The American Government, amid much hue and cry, hand-wringing and name-calling, passed a Health Care Reform, which will (reportedly) extend Medical Coverage to help more people.

There were banners saying it was Communism… Socialism… Barbaric… Overbearing…

I find it ironic, that the country that leads the free world, fears putting into place a program that, at its root, tries to help people.

After the vote, President Obama spoke, and said, in part…  “We did not fear our Future, we shaped it.”Barack Obama - Yes we can -

Throughout the day, there was a discussion on Twitter, using the #HCR(Health Care Reform) hash tag.  Some were for, some against… but using the power of Social Media, I was again able, amidst other chores, tasks and programs, to keep up with the debate, and had tears running down my face, when I read the Tweet heralding their success…

I have a few American friends.  Some like this plan, and some fear it.

I believe time will show it to be a good thing… especially my friends who have serious debilitating diseases.

But if it isn’t ?  I bet I’ll hear about it on Twitter, first !



David’s Tea…

For a substantial portion of my life, I ran a Store.

Now, wherever I go, I am blessed and cursed with a hyper-awareness of retail situations.

David's TeaI’ve prevented shoplifting, gotten assistance for cashiers who were swamped, and written letters of commendation, when exceptional service is given.

One example of an amazing retail experience came this week, when I ventured into the Kitsilano store of David’s Tea.

I am frequently on Twitter, and have had a number of conversations with people about various beverages.  In one of those conversations, when the subject was tea, it was recommended that I should find my way to David’s Tea.

So, earlier this week, when I unexpectedly found myself in Vancouver, with a few hours to kill… it struck me that I should search this business out.

Through their website,  I found the store on the corner of 4th and Yew, in Kitsilano.  (Although there are locations throughout Ontario, and more locations apparently imminent.)

The store was very tidy, white and bright, with upbeat music playing softly enough to not be intrusive to conversation.

I was greeted politely when I stepped through the door, and the woman behind the counter came to personally greet me, as soon as she had finished with the customer she was serving.

She could doubtlessly tell from my overwhelmed expression that I had not visited them before, and as she handed me a complimentary sample of the Day’s Tea Blend, I confirmed it.

She gave me a tour of the store, explaining first, the various infusers, and then taking me through the vast selection of the Teas themself.

The loose teas are all stored in metal cannisters with sealed lids, and as she gave me their Tea Menu, she explained that their teas are organized into Groupings: Black, Green, Blooming Tea Flowers, Herbal, Maté, Oolong, Rooibis, and White Teas, (as well as various sub-groupings) which are clearly marked on the outside of the tins, with big letters and colour coded by group.

The tea is sold by weight, with prices on the Menu.  Smaller batches are sold in resealable bags, and larger amounts can be bought in smaller versions of the store’s tins.

David's Tea - Vancouver Location

David's Tea - Vancouver Location

(They also sell their products online, through their website.)

The fragrant Blends of Teas all have quite distinct frangrances, and are also available for purchase by the cup… for take-out, or to test a flavour of tea, in advance of a purchase.

As I’m writing this, I’m enjoying a large mug of Assam Banaspaty Black Tea, which (for example) is described on the menu as being: (Organic, reserve) From India’s famed Banaspaty Estate, this fair-trade Assam has a good malty body and impressive, full complexity.  

There are two counters by the windows, a selection of newspapers, many stools, and a complimentary wireless internet connection available… and I could see that on a busy Saturday morning, you might have to arrive early to stake out your spot !

Whether you are an ardent fan of Tea, or just an occasional sipper, I would advise you to head to West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, and talk to the folks at David’s Tea.  They have the right stuff to fill up your cup, and lots of friendly knowledgeable staff to help you on your Tea journey !

Cheers !!!

Anti-Social Media…

I love Twitter.

I believe it allows us to connect, and “meet” with people, and form relationships and sometimes even virtual friendships.

It allows us to support one of our community, when they are fragile… whether they are reeling from another sleepless night… a sick child who is inconsolable… or trying to get through the treatments to battle a life-threatening illness.

In that same way, each of us has Twitter families, that include our real families, but also extends to people outside our lives.

I can chat with Sergei in Romania, to find out if his leg is better…  find out what he thinks about my latest song… or I can send a Hi Howdy to my Sister up in Prince George, to find out how she is.  It is a real time connection with people from… anywhere !

During a Canucks Game, the Twitter stream is filled with “Go #Canucks Go… RT if you’re with me” !!!

During the recent Canada /US World Junior Hockey Tournament Final Game… those of us watching the Game, grew silent, as Canada fell two goals behind… then jubilant as the Game was tied, with mere moments to go… and commiserating with one another, as Canada lost in overtime.

Twitter can make experiences richer, by making the experience a shared on.

Often, I see tweets… “Has anyone had to...” and sometimes someone can help them, or make a suggestion.

Often you will see a follow up tweet… “Never mind” …because the act of having to put their question into 140 characters, has clarified the issue, and they have effected their own solution.

As you may have guessed, I am a fan of Twitter, and will often refer someone who is new to Twitter, to the Mashable website, for the Twitter 101 article.  I also try to suggest that folks who are songwriters, fill in their Bio information so that other Songwriters, may (regionally) be able to get together and support one another, like @BCSongwriters tries to do here in the Lower Mainland.

I believe that Twitter is an effective and beneficial tool for connecting with friendly people, or with people holding similar interests.

I love Twitter.

MY Twitter, is currently comprised of 711 folks I follow, and 854 that follow me.  I don’t have a lot of time for Tweeps who just push.  I’m not a big fan of Tweeps who send thousands of quotes, but don’t interact.  I like to believe I have a discerning eye for Tweeps who are going to become spammers, or just want a large following to brag to their friends.

In my Twitter, there is ALWAYS room for discussion and disagreement.  The form thrives in the forum, and the debate.

Late at night, the dark side of Twitter sometimes emerges, with the tweets becoming a deeper blue, from the daytime Turquoise.  Not my thing… but that is the joy of MY Twitter.  I am not obliged or compelled to participate in a conversation that doesn’t “speak” to me.

However, rudeness and ill will have no place on MY Twitter, and will not be tolerated.  It is called Social Media, and to my mind, the Number One Rule of Society is, and always will be, “Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated

I have, apart from Spammers, never blocked anyone, until a few days ago.

The individual in question insulted me, before engaging me in debate… and repeatedly ridiculed my points without providing any counterpoints.  In the end, I realized he was wasting my time, so I sent a brief “We shall agree to disagree” tweet, and blocked him.

Yesterday, using a different user name, I was assailed by the same individual. (Apparently he only has the one picture ?  Brilliant !)

I have heard from a few other Tweeps that they, too, have recently had similar experiences…  some have had someone RT (ReTweeting) tweets, but subverting the contents.

Being that I am civically minded, and tend to express my opinions… these incidents have, just for a moment, given me pause.

Not because I am being attacked and targetted, for expressing my opinions, in a Democratic Country… but because, in the same way that we can rally around Team Canada without being present in Saskatchewan in the rink, Twitter also offers an opportunity for those with ill will to gather, and sometimes apparently, to transgress the border, into MY Twitter.

I guess if it happens again, I will have to look into the Spam and Abuse rules.

In the meantime, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I love Twitter !!!

Would love to hear your thoughts…

Twitter, Tweets and Twits…

With all due respect to the fine work Mashable does, on an on-going basis, to keep everyone “on the path” of using Twitter in a socially acceptable manner…

… I would like to offer my own list of “Rules” which I use to guide my Twitter journey.


I realize some of you use Bots to send Tweets, find followers, acknowledge followers, or do other sundry tasks… but I have a 2 part request:

– If you stopped using Twitter in August… and haven’t Tweeted since late July ?  Maybe turn off the Follow Bot ???

– Tailor your Bio to reflect the actual, not project the possible.  I’m a big fan of “Fake it until you Make it” but if your User Name or Bio says you are a Twitter Marketing Expert, and the Tweets you’ve posted, still include your “Twitter is stupid… I don’t get it” Tweet… I would say that it marginally diminishes your Brand.

I also have a series of ever lengthening rules, which when I review your Twitter Page, may dictate that I’m not going to Follow you (or Follow you back) if:

a) You Tweet about getting whiter teeth

b) You obviously use trending topics and hash tags (other than #Canucks) to get “hits”

c) You Tweet about how I can make big $$$ on Twitter, like you

d) You are a Restaurant  3000 miles away from my home

e) Your User Name has the letters BRITNEY with interspersed punctuation.

(If you don’t understand what this rule means, you are either VERY lucky, or don’t review your followers)

f) You are a New York Rangers fan.  (And yes, I intentionally chose “F” for this rule)

g) You are following 6000 people, and have 12 followers

h) You are following 16000 people, and have only posted 3 Tweets

i) Your whole focus seems to be anger or frustration, over a cascading series of progessive Tweets, on various days.  (The OBVIOUS exception here is if that anger is directed at the New York Rangers… then, welcome friend !!!)

j) If you have (for example) Tweeted that you want someone to publish the songs you have written… but have no location, website or ANY information in your Bio that would enable someone else to know if they could or should possibly help you

I’m sure there are more… but this was written in the middle of the night, when sleep was an escape that seemed not to be an option, and I was looking at people who had followed me, who I STILL haven’t followed back… and these folks apparently, just don’t “get it” !!!

The other subject that personally is up for debate, is the Direct Message reply… (as opposed to a General Tweet or an @Message)   Some people have expressed an almost fanatical dislike for the DM reply, to the point where they will unfollow someone who DM’s them.  I don’t mind a DM, if it is a private matter, but get irritated when I get a DM that could easily be public, and sent by @Message.  The reason for me, is that I’m often on Twitter using my Blackberry, and NEVER check my DM’s on mobile.  It is also contrary to the very nature of Social Media, to hold private conversations about subjects that are public. (The Canucks played well last night, I tried a new Scotch, like your Blog, etc)

Whew… I certainly feel better !  (Not that ANY infringers are likely to stumble across my Blog, but…)

If you see any “Rules” I’ve missed, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will edit/amend as necessary !

If you are reading this, and not following me, providing you “meet the criteria” posted above, please follow me on Twitter… my user name is @BobSongs !

“Thank you for Following me… I look forward to reading your Tweets !!!”

; D