Monthly Archives: April 2010

Sometimes I am Ashamed to be a Human Being (But at Least I’m Not Tony Hayward)

Earlier this evening, I was on the treadmill working hard at losing the weight I put on when I fell off that bad pony last summer and broke myself. I had my MP3 on, but a there was a TV right in front of me and the news was on (which at first seemed like a blessing because usually the boys in the gym rule the media and it’s WWF or something equally inane).


I have been avoiding anything about the oil spill and BP – visit their website and you’d think they were environmentalists; they’ve got some awesome designers and content providers who really know how to spin. So, when Exon Valdez happened, I felt pretty sick about that and when the BC Government fought for drilling off Haida Gwaii and we let them I felt we’d lost our way and when the oil spill happened last year at Robson’s Blight it scared me in a way that I didn’t understand. I felt helpless and hopeless.

And yet, we keep hearing that drilling offshore will have a minimal risk for the oceans and in the end for us.

And now this. The BP Oil Spill 2010…do you know how many marine mammals will die because of this? Think about plankton and fish and those beautiful sea birds who don’t know what’s coming their way…

Obama has put a moratorium on off shore drilling.

We should too.
This should not be something we have to think about for more than a nano second.

Back to the news. This is what they said after showing obscene footage of the BP spill as it approached the shores of Louisiana (we are talking about millions of litres of oil and BP will cover that up, I promise you:

How Will Oil Spill Effect the Price of Crude?”

How Serious is this? It Will Take Days for the Markets to Answer This Question.

News Flash for all of you who think this is about cash. Those marine mammals and birds and fish and other ocean dwellers already know how serious this spill is; especially the ones almost dead or the ones choking on the oil slick.

So, when you vote for our next government, think about our Orca Whales and Pacific White Sided Dolphins and sea birds. They can’t. Their lives are in our hands. Too bad for them.

Honestly, there are times when I am ashamed to be a human being.

I Guess I Don't Count


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Julie’s Suite Articles

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Geist Workshop Review: Public Speaking 101

Last week I blogged about excitement about attending the Geist 3 hour evening workshop with Ivan Coyote called: The Art of Talking the Talk. I promised to report back on how it went and I’m here to say that, along with Toastmasters, Coyote’s workshop was probably one of the most valuable I have ever attended.

The timing was perfect as I leave for Ontario next week to visit and talk at High Schools for the upcoming White Pine Awards. Thanks to Ivan Coyote, the kids are in for a treat. Her tips on how to create and engaging, funny and informative talk were invaluable and included both the seemingly obvious and the brilliant. Here are a few examples:

1. Don’t just read from your book for a full hour (seems obvious, but I’ve seen lots of authors do this)
2. Don’t hesitate to adjust the microphone so you are not either bending over or standing on tip-toes because the last speaker wasn’t the exact same height as you
3. If you are giving 30 minutes to talk, don’t talk for 40 minutes or even 29 minutes. Leave room for questions and be respectful of other speaker’s time.
4. Enjoy yourself!

Those are only a few of her tips…I have spent the week writing my presentations and I know they are better because of that workshop. As Ivan said, “I’ve sold a lot of books just from being on stage and entertaining people – it’s a full time job now.” Isn’t that every writer’s dream – to not have a day job?

So, if you get the chance, take a workshop on public speaking – it’ll be worth the time and the money – guaranteed.

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Touring Ontario for White Pine

I’ll be heading to Ontario next Saturday for the White Pine Awards. While there, I will be visiting the following schools:

Monday May 10th St. Augustine Secondary School in Brampton
Tuesday May 11th Durham Catholic High School in Durham
Wednesday May 12th Harbourfront, Toronto
Thursday May 13th Dunbarton High School in Pickering

Friday is still open! No cross Canada travel charges so contact The Author Booking Service if you’d like a workshop/reading or presentation.

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WORLD POETRY GALA – April 26th – Vancouver

World Poetry celebrates it’s 9th anniversary. Join hosts Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea for poetry, music and an awards presentation. A tribute to past award winners and World Poetry ambassadors. Monday, April 26 at 6:30pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.


Youth Poetry Slam Team Finals featuring Nathaniel Larochette. Monday, April 26 at 8:00pm. Admission: $5. Cafe Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial). More information.

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The Art of Talking the Talk With Ivan Coyote

Even though I have quite a bit of experience with public speaking and workshopping, I am always looking to improve the necessary skill – a skill that is an unexpected requirement for most authors and writers. That is why tonight I am looking forward to attending:

A LIVE PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS AND POETS at the Listel Hotel, 1300 Robson Street. Vancouver, BC

“Join Ivan Coyote for a three-hour workshop that will help you transform your nervous energy into a memorable reading. Ivan will offer tips on selecting material, preparing your work for performance, memorizing (or not), and making your body language work for you. She will also share some stage secrets about microphones, sound guys and selling your books.”

The Best thing? The workshop is only $50 and includes a one-year renewal of my Geist subscription!
Workshop fee: $50 (includes a one-year sub­scrip­tion to Geist for your­self or a friend, or to donate to a Canadian pub­lic library)

I have seen Ivan live many times and am always entertained and amazed at her stage presence. Gimme some of that! As an author, about to go on tour again, I know this can only benefit both me and my audience.

Will write about the workshop later on.


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The Forgotten Legion, by Ben Kane

Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery after their mother is raped by a drunken nobleman on his way home from a good night out. At 13 years old, they and their mother are sold: Romulus to gladiator school, Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome, and their mother into obscurity and death in the salt mines.

Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior and soothsayer, born enemy of Rome, but doomed to fight for the Republic in the Forgotten Legion. Brennus is a Gaul; the Romans killed his entire family. He rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day – and mentor to the boy slave, Romulus, who dreams night and day of escape and of revenge.

The lives of these four characters are bound and interwoven in a marvellous story which begins in a Rome riven by corruption, violence and political enmities, but ends far away, where Romulus, Brennus and Tarquinius find themselves fighting against the Parthians and overwhelming odds.

Purchase The Forgotten Legion at or Amazon.UK

Look for’s Elizabeth Gregory’s review of Kane’s novel in the following weeks.

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What’s Goin’ on in Whistler?? GoWhistler Knows

My favourite twitter feed by far for information about Whistler Mountain has got to be, without a doubt GoWhistler
In fact, GoWhistler on Facebook is a must for skiers and boarders, but everyone already knows that. What they don’t know is that people like me (artists, writers musicians and culture hounds should be checking these pages out so they know exactly what to expect for “apres fun” on this amazing mountain.

Photos next week…

The Telus stage is rocking and has been since 2:30 today, so get up here for Saturday – no regrets, I promise. Gotta hit the hottub…tired after a massage, hydration and music…ah life is good.

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Fanatykco Whistler Mountain

I’ve been at Whistler for a week now and because I have not been skiing (still worried about the busted ribs), I have had loads of time to wander around Whistler Village and check out the shops.

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of ski boots as I plan to start skiing again next year (and might ride up on Saturday for the Telus Ski and Snowboard Fest). Not only have I been looking for good boots, but I’ve wanted to find a shop where the sales staff really knows their stuff and takes the time to talk and back up their product.

Fanatykco in Whistler village met all of my expectations. The guy who fitted my boots, Kevin, couldn’t have been more patient and helpful. Plus, I can take my boots back any time because they guarantee the fit. Fanatykco was the fourth or fifth store i went into and I knew within minutes of talking to the staff that I was in the right place.

So, I’m passing it on! Support this store – they deserve it.

Oh, and another cute quirk – one of the owners/staff just got a silver-haired lab and it has its own facebook page. How Whistler is that?

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Cuts to BC Teacher Librarians Shocking

BC teacher-librarians stunned by proposed cuts

Teacher-librarians across the province are stunned by proposed cuts to
teacher-librarian staffing in recent budget recommendations by Vancouver and
Coquitlam, said Heather Daly, president of the BC Teacher-Librarians’

“Once upon a time, the provincial government said they wanted BC to be the
most literate jurisdiction in North America,
” said Daly. “But now,
government underfunding is forcing school districts to lay off the very
people that help children learn to read.

“Teacher-librarians don’t just teach students to read, we teach them to love
reading. Teacher-librarians teach research skills and Internet literacy.
Without teacher-librarians, schools and students will lose a valuable
resource that will only negatively impact their learning.”

In Vancouver, the board of education has proposed:

– Reduction of 43.0 FTE teachers including resource teachers (ESL and
Special Education), learning assistance/skills development teachers,
secondary school counsellors, and teacher-librarians.
– This proposed reduction of learning specialist teachers including
teacher-librarians, with a budget impact of $2,911,530, is the largest,
single proposed cut within the budget recommendations.
– Elimination of the 1.0 FTE teacher-librarian consultant position with
the subsequent addition of a 0.4 FTE teacher-librarian mentor.
– Elimination of 0.4 additional teacher-librarian time at Britannia
Elementary, with 0.2 eliminated in 2010–11 and the remaining 0.2 eliminated
in 2011–12.

In Coquitlam, the board of education has proposed:

– Reduction of 9.0 FTE non-enrolling teachers including
– This proposed reduction, with a budget impact of $810,000, is the
largest, single proposed cut within the budget recommendations.

“The BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association is calling on all boards of
education to preserve school library services for students and reject
recommendations that will hurt literacy in BC,” said Daly. “Schools need a
library that is open all day and staffed with a teacher-librarian to ensure
students have the best access to books and research possible.”

For more information, go to the BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association website
at or contact Heather Daly at 604-937-6380.

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