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Adventures in personal lubricant

Don’t you hate when you finally find something long after you gave up looking for it? In this case it was an industrial size quantity of personal lubricant.

I worked on a TV movie called “Sorority Wars” a while back. One scene that took place in a nightclub called for a partygoer to barrel down a soapy slide into a pool of suds.


The foam party scene. Filmed at Sugar Night Club, Yates Street. I helped with some of the props and painted the big foam party sign.

The art director, wanting to ensure the stuntwoman didn’t end up with a head-to-toe rug burn declared that a vast stockpile of KY Jelly or similar product was essential and went about seeing if any Victoria drugstores carried lube in such quantities. I told him that I had no clue if it was sold by the jug although I confess that if I were aware you could buy bulk lube I probably would not have admitted it to the crew.

The search was fruitless, and he returned to set with a case of bubble bath, the next most agreeable substitute. The scene went as planned and the stunt went off without a hitch, after the stuntwoman determined that the run-up and slide would not actually be slippery enough to launch her straight over the pool into the stage Wile E. Coyote-style. You can see the finished scene here on YouTube by skipping to the 2:30 mark (safe for work–it’s not that type of movie).

Now, Nick Bergus alerts us to the fact that a massive drum of the slick product is available for sale at a reasonable cost, although the shipping would be killer.

One thing I learned working in movies is that if something is really needed, any reasonable effort will be made to get it. For example, I painted these plastic letters that were only on screen for a few seconds, seen from a distance. They were rushed to Victoria by float plane even though any local sign shop could have printed out a similar-looking banner for a fraction of the price.

So the moral is, always be inquisitive, as you never know when that knowledge will come in handy. And if you need a barrel of lube, try Amazon.

March 2, 2012 at 11:31 am 3 comments

Victorians to choose next Car Share purchase

My new article for is about a contest to find Victoria Car Share Co-Op’s newest addition to its lineup of borrowable cars.

The choices offered up for voting are the Nissan Cube and the Honda Fit. Both Car Share Co-Op members and non-members are eligible to cast ballots, with each vote entered in a draw for driving credits, Mountain Equipment Co-Op gift cards and other prizes.

VCSC Co-Manager Nicole Huk won’t divulge the leading contender but says entries are arriving at a good rate. The contest closes May 15, 2010. In early June, the Co-Op will announce the intended purchase at an event that will also unveil an updated branding for the 13-year old organization. The new car will join an existing fleet of 19 vehicles that are shared by the VCSC’s 400 members.


The car share has just over 400 members. Have you considered joining? Do you think it’s a good deal?

May 12, 2010 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

Emergency preparedness and Downtown’s missing hospital-in-a-box

In this Vibrant Victoria article I look into disaster preparedness; specifically the most likely of scenarios: a catastrophic earthquake.

Rob Johns has a tough task.

As Emergency Coordinator for the City of Victoria, it’s his job to educate local politicians and citizens on surviving a major disaster. The tough part is getting Victorians to take emergency preparedness seriously. Emergency Preparedness Week (May 3 – 8, 2010) was created to bring awareness to the issue.

Unlike calamity-prone states like Florida and California, southwest British Columbia has been relatively disaster-free in modern times. The last major conflagration in Downtown Victoria affecting multiple structures was the massive Five Sisters Block fire 100 years ago. Unfamiliarity to disaster gives way to complacency and Johns feels the lack of preparedness and dearth of trained post-disaster volunteers means Victorians could be in for a tough time after a major quake or other disaster.

Quake Risk

Most experts seem to think a major subduction quake—the type of long, rolling shaker that causes catastrophic damage—has about an 11 per cent chance of occurring in this region within our lifetime. And Johns says a new report due for release later this year states the most likely target on Vancouver Island is the Victoria region.

The Victoria Emergency Management Agency maintains a website with tips on what to do before, during and after an emergency. Households should plan for a couple of days of self-sufficiency. In the event communication lines are disrupted and relatives are unable to contact each other VEMA recommends families set up an in-town meeting place and an out-of-town contact number.

Is Downtown Prepared?

Scattered throughout various locations in the Victoria area are eight shipping containers, each filled with a variety of items essential following a major catastrophe—50 cots, 100 blankets, lighting, a generator, and basic first-aid gear. One on Menzies Street in James Bay is known for its colourful mural. Two are in Victoria West in the event the Johnson Street Bridge is unable to serve as an emergency supply route. One container was located beside the Northern Junk buildings on Wharf Street until it was relocated to Topaz Park in Saanich several months ago following complaints about the area around the container being a magnet for social disorder and the inability to find a suitable alternate location nearby. Although Downtown has lost its container, Johns is quick to point out planners intend that help will be no more than a ten-minute walk away for most residents. The exact location of any triage centres won’t be publicized before a disaster, as officials don’t want people congregating at a structure that could be structurally unsound. Instead, Johns strongly suggests residents invest in a battery or wind-up powered radio for official updates on where to go if aid is needed.

For more information on emergency preparedness go to the website of the Provincial Emergency Program or the City of Victoria’s VEMA page.

Copyright © 2010 by All rights reserved.

May 11, 2010 at 12:30 am 2 comments

Peace in our time?

I’m getting rid of a lot of old papers and miscellaneous junk right now, a lot of it from high school.

I came across a form letter from long-time NDP MLA Frank Mitchell, one of the letters of congratulations sent to all graduating high school students from their local Provincial politician. Dated July 1984, it includes this phrase,

“My greatest wish for you is that our world will survive and peace will become the norm”.

Rather alarmist for a routine form letter to students, wouldn’t you think? However, it’s easy to forget the context in which that sentence lies, especially for this Spring’s new crop of high school graduates (most of whom were born in 1992–a year after the end of the first Gulf War).

The first half of 1984 was filled with uncertainty on the international front. The unexpected death of the Soviet Union’s Yuri Andropov and the obfuscation surrounding his illness caused concern over who was running the country and more importantly, who had the finger of the nuclear trigger. Andropov’s equally feeble replacement would die just over a year later. Also in the news that Spring was Andrei Sakharov’s hunger strike, the Soviet Boycott of the Olympics and negotiations regarding weapons in space. Violence and terrorism in other parts of the world made headlines as well, but none had the impact like the ongoing tensions between the West and the Soviet Union and the threat of nuclear annihilation.

The world has survived so far, but have we achieved the peace Mitchell hoped would be the norm? The cold war of my youth gave way to a hot war–or more accurately, a simmering war–in Iraq and Afghanistan; a half-hearted crusade that has dragged on for the better part of a teen’s life with no clear resolution in sight.

Peace for our generation meant keeping the superpowers from blowing up the world. I’m not sure but I suppose today’s generation thinks of peace as something more complex; not merely the absence of war, but a global application of social justice.

In advance of Monday’s summit on nuclear security, CNN screened a copy of the old ABC TV movie “The Day After” for a group of Pakistani students. Their responses in a large part mirrored our reactions when the mockumentary first aired in the fall of 1983.

“Nobody wins, it’s a lose-lose situation,” said Saadullah Zia, 13. But when asked whether Pakistan should keep its nuclear weapons, he added: “Some of the countries right now have it, so if we give it up, nothing will happen. Instead, India will be more powerful than us.”

Let me know if you have a similar letter from your local politician that reflects (or ignores) the zeitgeist of your graduation year.

April 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment


Sorry, I haven’t been updating. I’m on a short-term job working in the art department for a TV movie being shot here in Victoria and spare time to blog has been in short supply. I did manage to give a brief update on one of the most popular posts on this blog according to search engine results: the Centennial Square redesign.

May 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

Taylor report update

City Hall released the executive summary of the Taylor report, along with their recommendations on implementing some of the ideas found in it. I’ll comment later when I’ve had time to digest it.

April 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm Leave a comment

Rob on C-FAX

Thursday, April 9 from 12:30 to 1 p.m., I’ll be a panelist on the Ryan Price show on C-FAX 1070 AM talking about random Downtown things. Click the link to listen live.

April 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

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