Wednesday, November 17, 2010

tomorrow's derby

Howdy y'all;

Tomorrow's derby will involve some tunes, some rejoicing about the weather, some lamenting about the state of the petro-nation, (probably) some funny stories about stupid things I've done in the past, an update on the Bike Root's struggle for space, and:

* TICH - hopefully it has to do with the Vanier Cup, dog mushing, or the Coleman Frog.
* Dinos Sports Update
* A piece on unschooling by Ashad
* An interview with Dianne Chisolm, and English Prof from UofA and tomorrow's main event at the UofC's Paget/Hoy Lecture Series. She'll be lecturing (and talking to me) on the topic: "Landscapes of the New Ecological West: Writing and Seeing Beyond the Wilderness Plot"

There ya have it,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

other incentives - and china banks

Hi everyone - 15 hours til the funding drive edition of the Derby! Kat and I are meeting this evening to align our ducks and tally up all the extra goodies we've gathered to encourage you to pledge.

There are a couple of recent developments (since the last post) that I'd like to share:
  • Our good friends at the Bike Root have donated a sweet, previously owned and lovingly restored bicycle, that they'd like us to add to our other "grand prizes" (see below). So for the second year in a row the Derby will be giving away a bike! Awesome? You bet it's friggin awesome!
  • I just got back from a visit with my pal Zev, who among other things works as the distributor for C1RCA shoes and stuff. Zev donated an awesome plaid jacket (in my part of the world we'd call it a "Zealand Tux" or a "Miramichi Dinner Jacket"), and a very rare print of a David Broach photgraph of one of the most iconic spots in skateboarding history - the China Banks. Here's Jake Phelps to break it down:

and here's some other hijinx:

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hi Everyone;

Well, it's that time of year again - CJSW's annual funding drive is going on this week, and ends at 6pm this coming Friday (October 29th). I'm writing to encourage you to do what you can to support this vital hub of the Calgary Community, and one of the best little independent radio stations on the planet.

It costs a lot of money to run a radio station - even one that is fuelled almost entirely by volunteer people-power. We're trying to raise $200,000 this week, which would cover the station's capital expenses this year and give us some cash to invest in a new transmitter, bringing more "wattage to the cottage", a broader reach into Calgary's rural hinterland, a clearer signal in the downtown core, and less interference from our neighbours on the FM dial.

CJSW has celebrated some major successes this past year:
  • After years of hoop-jumping, skulduggery, and inches of hairline recession on our station manager's scalp, in November 2009, we moved on UP! If you haven't already done so, Funding drive is a great chance to come check out the new digs and be blown away by our swanky, professional-looking (but still down-homey and honest!) studios. The new CJSW has been built almost entirely through the generous support of listeners just like you!
  • There have been a lot of changes to the CJSW broadcast schedule, and it's helped us become more dynamic, inclusive, and representative of the vast panoply of Calgary culture.
  • CJSW's news and spoken word programming has jacked it up several notches, including the award-winning daily "Today in Canadian History" segment and podcast, and unrivalled coverage of the 2010 Calgary Municipal Election. We interviewed every mayoral and aldermanic candidate that ran!
  • CJSW continues to build community through sponsorship of lectures, films, festivals, and concerts, including the flagship CJSW Summer Concert Series.
It's been a big year for the Soapbox Derby too - now in a new time slot (7-10am MST), the show has been honoured with sponsorship from the Arusha Centre, has started a collaboration and monthly feature with Alberta Views Magazine, and has hosted countless interviews with musicians, politicians, rabble-rousers, and the awesome people in your neighbourhood. Kat Lord has just started as an alternating host of the show, and she's all fired up to make things even better on the derby.

We'd love for you to pledge on our show this Thursday morning. As with the past few FD Derbies, our goal will be to get 50 pledges during the show - help us get there! Kat and I have prepared all kinds of special incentives to encourage and reward your pledge - here are just a few highlights:
  • This year there will be two grand prizes - custom knitting from me (choice of two: toque, mitts, or scarf), and a custom-made quilt from Kat and her Grandma. every $25 pledged on the derby gets you one entry in the draw. The draw will take place on air in early December, and the first name drawn will get first choice.
  • The good folks at Alberta Views are offering up a free 3-issue mini-subscription for every single person who pledges on our show! Holy smokes! They've also offered up two full-year subscriptions.
  • Other home-made goods including a dangerously delicious bottle of crabapple wine from me, some hand-painted stoneware from Kat, and hand-knit toques from my Auntie Annie.
  • Mix CD's from me (1) and Kat (2).
  • All kinds of other goodies: some clothing from Element, lots of commercial CD's and books, gift certificates for yoga, food, booze, etc.
  • Probably some other stuff that I can't remember right now!
Please Please Please, call 403.220.5000 and pledge your support for CJSW during this week's funding drive - you have to call during the Soapbox Derby to get at the extra incentives listed above, but I hope you call some time before Friday, and get behind radio that matters for Calgary and beyond! You can also pledge on-line at

Thanks a million for supporting independent radio in Calgary - and thanks a million more for listening to/coming on/supporting my radio endeavours in kind or in cash!

Talk to you Thursday!

PS Please pass this on to your friends and family who may also like to support the Derby/CJSW!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

out of the blue...

Howdy y'all;

After a long hiatus, I think it's time to revive the soapbox derby blog. There's a lot to say if I want to cover everything that's happened since the last time I posted here, but for now, I'll just tell you what's coming up on the show.

Here's what's on deck for this week's soapbox derby (Thursday September 30, 7-10am) - it's gonna be a busy show:

7:30 - Today in Canadian History! (in all likelihood*)
8:00 - Michale Lang, Executive Director of the Whyte Museum in Banff, is coming by to talk about the Whyte, and the role of art/museums in enabling social discourse. Heavy.
8:30 - I'm in a one-man tag-team (obscure cjsw programming history reference) against Mayoral Campaign front-runner and brow-furrower, Ric McIver. Oil and Water, my friends! Or hopefully, rubber and glue...
9-10 - My friend and Alberta Views Editor Peter Worden is coming by for the hour to co-host our regular monthly segment and talk about the upcoming October issue of ABViews. We'll also be talking (by phone) with two of the issue's feature authors: Sheila Pratt (about the muzzling/emasculation of the Province's outgoing Auditor General), and Ian Urquhart (about whether or not AB is a "petro-state"). And wanna know something cool? This ABViews hour of the show will be syndicated, at least to CKXU (in Lethbridge) and maybe to CJSR (in the "City of Champignons"). Any more pinko radio dominance by CJSW and CSIS is gonna start tapping telephones...

Hopefully I'll find a minute to spin a tune or two somewhere in there....

In other Thursday morning news (maybe this is no longer really news, but anyway...), Ola has flown the coop, and has headed over to Beijing for an internship. Kat Lord is the new alternating host of Thursday mornings (welcome Kat!), so look for awesome new stuff from her. Ola and I talked about maybe having her phone in once in a while to touch base, so hopefully we can make that happen.

Talk to ya Thursday,

* TICH will be on, provided Joe doesn't get hammered on Wed night and drop the ball. That would be a low blow, if it hadn't already happened to me. Twice. Okay, in fairness, Marc was the culprit one time. And I wouldn't really care except TICH is really cool and I'm bummed when I can't air it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Funding Drive CD

Hey Everyone,

So stoked for tomorrow!! Here are some pics of our funding drive CD.

Whoot whooot!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

pledge on the derby and you could WIN the raddest ride!

Joseph G - Bike Root Mechanic. A fine dude on a super-fine ride!

Howdy friends;

Yesterday I finished building the soapbox derby radio flyer - quite possibly the coolest bike ever - just in time to put in on the block as the grand prize on the soap/cold box/smoke derby's funding drive extravaganza this coming Thursday.

If you haven't heard, CJSW 90.9fm is in the midst of its annual funding drive. We ask the community to give us some financial support once a year, so's we don't have to ask corporate thunderwhores with nefarious agendas to do it. We are hoping to raise $200 g's over the course of the next week, and as of today (Sunday), we're well on our way with a $66,000 grand total.

There are a million reasons to pledge, but each and every CJSW programmer has also poured some heart and soul into their funding drive shows, and put some extra incentives on the table. So pledge early, pledge often - AWESOME!

The grand prize on the derby this year is a hand-built, hand-painted, unisex, one-size-fits-all, super-sweet cruiser bike. I built this thing from the ground up, from almost entirely recycled and painstakingly reconditioned (by me!) parts, at the Bike Root, One of Calgary's community bike shops, located on the university campus.

The whole thing took me about 35-40 hours to build, plus the cost of parts. Check a few posts back for the first phase of construction; here is the completion of the process:

Last Wednesday I came in for a few hours after work and build up some wheels. They're 26"ers, old-school chrome finish that I had to polish up with steel wool. I also put some fine german-made pedals on!

Then, while answering the phones (403.220.5000 is the funding drive pledge line) during a Friday-Saturday all-nighter, I finished polishing up the drive train - chain, rear gears, and rear derailleur. I went home for a few hours sleep, then back to the Bike Root to lay on the finishing touches and put it all together:

Built up the drive train, and cables and housing for gears and brakes,

then a classic black spring seat and old-school grips to complete the package! Slick!

And in case you were wondering, yes indeed! The argyle fender is still the classiest part of this ride - at least until you hop up on it!

It was a lot of work to build this sucka, I'm not gonna lie - but it truly is a labour of love! I'm super stoked that we've got this awesome incentive for y'all, and that some lucky derby supporter is going to cruise around on the fruits of my hard work, and that as a result we all get wicked, community driven, independent radio for yet another year. Everybody wins!

I almost forgot to mention - the prize includes a one-year membership at the Bike Root, so you can keep your new ride running smoothly!

"But how do I get the bike?", you ask?

Well, it's basically the same deal as last year: Every multiple of $25 pledged to the derby on Thursday gets your name in the hat once (so $25=1 raffle ticket, $50=2 tix, ... $300=12 tix, etc.). Your pledge has to be paid before your name is entered in the draw, and we'll draw for the bike live during the November 12th edition of the soapbox derby. My birthday is on the 13th, and I can think of no better birthday present than to give away an awesome bike! Plus, the 13th is the tentative date for the big move to CJSW's new space!

This approach seems to be the fairest to me - everyone gets a shot at the goods, your odds improve if you throw down more cash, and we eliminate the nastiness that comes with auctioning. I hope you guys can dig that.

Also, there are tonnes of other goodies up for grabs as pledge incentives on the derby. Ola is putting together an awesome mix CD complete with custom artwork! There are some yoga passes, art prints, Ola's home baking, commercial cd's & books, and lots of other stuff. We're even offering to take you out to dinner and a show if the price is right...

I'll try to post a complete list of incentives before the show - but failing that, please tune in Thursday, join us for the FUNding drive edition if the derby, and continue to support radio that really matters.


yarn-bombing and gulu walk - set list oct 15, 2009


Have you guys been listening to the Funding Drive? Lots and lots o' folks have been calling 403.220.5000 and pledging their support for free speech, tolerance and diversity, and the awesomest little radio station that could - we're up well over $50K on Sunday afternoon as I write this! More on FD later, including bike pictures!

See that sweater bike up there? It's an example of yarn bombing - graffiti done with knitting and crochet - and last week I had a chance to chat with some folks at the centre of the yarn-bombing movement. Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore wrote a book about yarn bombing, and they called in from Vangroover to tell us about it, about other yarnbombas (like these three), and yarnbombing resources.

Also, some folks came by to tell us about Gulu Walk, an event that happens every October to raise awareness and support for youth displaced by Uganda's civil unrest. Gul Walk was yesterday - I hope there was a terrific turnout, despite the less-than-terrific weather.

roustabout - old man luedecke
tell it to me - old crow medicine show
lowdown stank - breakestra*
lausd - jurassic 5
you already know - us3 feat. brook yung*
break - crown city rockers*
jerusalem - sinead o'connor
sister sinead - kris kristofferson*
somebody's gotta help you - bob brozman*
things 'bout comin' my way - alvin youngblood hart
we shall be free - leadbelly
obviously 5 believers - bob dylan
i see the light - olu dara
maama yatuzaala - bitone project
kamphopo - the very best*
ghosts we're buried on - the dudes*

Alright, that's that - stay tuned for some bike pics and more funding drive info, coming right up!

Support CJSW!