Friday, May 27, 2016

For Scotty On Denman....Wherever We May Find Him.


Saturday Morning post-Buckley Bay Tow-In Update...You'd be crazy not read Scotty's responses in the comments.


Who possibly could have predicted it...


Need a little context?...This.



e.a.f. said...

Saw it on the evening news and just howled with laughter. On one level its not funny, but I remember all the objections to this ferry. Lets see what we hear from the spin doctors next. off to a great summer start.

Scotty on Denman said...

Worry not. The good people of Denman---mostly---seemed to laugh off this inevitability---mostly---the satisfaction, after getting so little of it regards our transportation link, of saying, "I told you so" outweighing the inconveniences. Just a good thing there were no medical emergencies needing an ambulance to the Big Smoke. Still, we never forget that, in spite of the nasty way BC Ferry Services Inc has treated us and our neighbours on Hornby Island, the ferry workers struggling (and succeeding, I would say) to keep a professionally straight face, are our friends and neighbours, just doing their jobs---today organizing water taxis and explaining how passengers could retrieve their vehicles once the cable-ferry landed in Buckley Bay on the Big Island---which I think might have required backing off.

I bought a coffee from our lovely coffee-lady Tachi at her kiosk, and hung out long enough to get the gist of the problem which was first alerted by our ever watchful populace (whose eyes far outnumber the nine or ten BCFS Inc security cams clustered around the Denman slip) and posted on the Facebook DI Bulletin Board. This morning the simple post read something like, " Cable-ferry stranded in middle [of Baynes Sound], blowing smoke." This, some believe, was caused by a burst hydraulic hose which may have sprayed oil onto the hot engine which must run at higher-than-planned RPM to meet the hull-speed requirement of the transport licence, although what looked like smoke may have been one of the four the water sprinklers that's supposed to allow BCFS Inc to eliminate two deckhands (they still trying for three). The oil, I'm told, migrated onto the car deck and created a mess. Anyways, the particulars of the incident became smothered in stock speeches of incredulity at the boneheadedness of this whole boondoggle, the continual ironing out of what BCFS Inc persistently calls "perfectly normal glitches", the recounting and confirmation of countless anecdotal complaints, et cetera. By this time it was pandemonium as vehicles began to clog the parking lot, so I headed up the Ferry-Hill for another coffee in the Downtown precinct where we were enjoying an unusually quiet Friday (when touring-season traffic is normally heaviest).

Here I found out the Hornby ferry was free today. Great, I thought, maybe I should go---naw.

So the cable-ferry car-deck is so narrow it's actually possible, depending on the size of adjacent vehicles to be trapped, perhaps one side or the other, in one's vehicle during the crossing---the question having always been about passenger safety, and what does one do in an emergency. I've only gotten out of my ride once, just the other day to see if my new home-made mountain banjo could compete with the strange whine the cables make (it can't), and still haven't yet checked out the washroom---yes, that's right, singular, and I hear the door is so heavy most elderly people have a difficult time opening it---this told to me by someone who'd know. But I can't tell you the number of questionable-to-downright-condemnable problems there are on this cross between a boat and a kid's little red wagon. I finished my Downtown coffee as conversations turned to whether the thing is "over-engineered", "under-engineered", or even "engineered" at all.

One day somebody's gonna write a book about this unbelievable dys-management of our public ferry system (won't be me). It might include the story of BC Ferry Captain, now retired on Hornby, who is being sued by a current BCFS Inc employee for criticizing the cable-ferry---a classic SLAPP suit. He assures us he's prepared to "go all the way" to expose the idiocy and ideological maliciousness of this thing

Thanks for letting me tell this, Ross. I really think people should know what their government is doing to them.

RossK said...

Thanks Scotty!

Homemade mountain banjo?


Scotty on Denman said...

Well, homemade, anyway. Handed down through the generations from my great-great-great-great-great-internet connection.

Mine's made out of stuff in my tiny "shop", a wooden salad bowl, and a chunk of Garry oak my dear friend Eddie (RIP) and I milled up about 35 years ago---good and dry now---which I used a bench-vice and skilsaw to cut out, neck and headstock a single piece, shaped with a a spoke-shave; No. 1 plastic from a 2 litre pop bottle for the head (tightened with a blowtorch), couple pieces of spike-buck antler for nut and bridge, some bicycle parts and an old, pattern-engraved brass sewing-thimble, looked like my old buddy Jimi (RIP) used for a pipe-screen , but which I flattened out for the tuning-head finger-grip for the ringer (the short, fifth string), the tuning-heads from an old guitar (now a bird-house). Fretless 24" fingerboard, nylon strings (fishing line) and some decorative stuff (a copper pot lid, brass candle holder and a brass thing, looks like a newel off a grandfather clock. Sounds wonderful---just what I'd hoped.

Word got out; my very dear friend Benjamin actually came over to see it in the flesh, prob'ly the last outing he ever made. I took it to his memorial couple weeks ago down to the cobble beach facing Hornby Island, and we all had a pretty good time in his honour. I wandered the crowd with my walking stick, plunking away on my banjo (the exercise turned out too much for my trick back which has been down for the last week---just as well, it's been rainy and I gotta get started on my next banjo).

So this one was made to anticipate the myriad of little things that no book or Youtube demonstration ever reveals. And THAT worked: learned a lot---so much I'm surprised thing sounds as good as it does.
Anyway, the next one will be a "real" Appalachian mountain banjo like Rhiannon Giddens plays. I'm a use a real goatskin head (an $11 bongo head) and affix the neck (still got lots of oak) between the two wooden disks that squeeze the wooden spacer-ring (another salad bowl---bigger this time), the tone-ring (top of a tin coffee can) and head together at the same time. Might have to purchase a real ringer-string tuning-head---the thimble and bike-part one being difficult to accurately tune (I just tune the other four strings to whatever it happens to be). I use "open G" but leave the ringer on "C"---which drives other banjo aficionados around here crazy, but sounds very cool way I do it.

Had a regular fretted, steel-string banjo once; but it's too loud (how many gnarly old loggers bashed on the bunkhouse wall to tell me to shut up!) So I'm happy this one is so quiet. The fretless action gives it a ghostly quality, almost vocal-like, and reminds of the instrument's African roots. It's a wonderfully meditative thing that won't disturb the neighbours.

Today I'm looking for gourds online, gone make an akonting and prob'ly a gourd banjo (there are two halves, after all). After working on the album (still getting mastered) all winter, I swore I'd learn more about African folk music. Akontings look primitive but (thank goodness for Youtube) in experienced hands they make very beautiful music.

Nevertheless, every musician should have a mountain banjo.

All while waiting for a proper ferry.

Lew said...


More info and entertainment in your two recent posts than any of the newspapers I've cancelled in the recent past. And much better written.


RossK said...

What Lew said!


KFB said...

Who is the MLA for Denman Isl.?

Scotty on Denman said...

Hey, thank you, friends!

I cancelled MSM newspapers a few years ago which, at the time, cost me upward of about $800 annually---each. The savings bought me this here laptop (other things have been saved, too). Yet old habits die hard. I used to love nothing more than eating brunch out, preferably at a corner, plate-glass window looking out onto a busy downtown intersection---back when one could smoke at the table, lollardly perusing the news-rag whilst nursing a bottomless cup of oily Bunn-o-Matic coffee and sketching the great gams or limping, humped backs of passersby in the margins of pulp-craft paper. As I mentioned, much has changed since then (smoking, for example, is still affecting me even though I haven't had a puff in several years---had I known its longterm effectiveness, I would have quit after the fist cigarette), but I still buy the local Black Press rag on Thursdays, lasts me a week while I read every jot and tittle, front to back, just like in camp. In this particular rag I've noticed a conspicuous change of late.

Normally Black Press praises the BC Liberals and either ignores or derides the NDP, tree-huggers and First Nations. But lately the editorial tone has changed noticeably; with regard the cable-ferry, a number of critical news items have appeared consecutively, including editorial cartoons which level sarcastic slap-downs at Christy and her government. Of course Black still accepts and prints copy verbatim from BCFS Inc's PR department (otherwise known as propaganda). Makes one wonder whether the BC Liberals have fallen from favour after decades of relatively easy rides...

...or perhaps the consistently perfidious BC Liberals have finally crossed a line with a public-ferry fiasco that strikes anyone in the know (like Denman and Hornby Islanders) almost speechless with incredulity. But that's what print-journalism is supposed to do---articulate the reactions of puzzlement and outrage that we amateurs futilely over~ or under-express in words.

Plus it's nice to see Black Press doing what it's supposed to do. With a big year under weigh, we'll see if it can keep it up. They still publish Fletcher, let's not forget.

e.a.f. said...

Don't know which Black Press paper is published in Denman, but in the Comox Valley its the Comox Valley Record and the Comox Valley Echo. Both are delivered free to homes in the Valley.

The Record published almost all my letters to the editor, which were highly critical of the B.C. Lieberals, federal Conservatives and child poverty. Approx. 2 years ago Black Press issued an editorial which was quite critical of the B.C. Lieberals and their record on child poverty.

The cartoons are decidedly not so flattering of the photo op queen and very funny. Terry Farrell has been the new editor of the Record for the past few years and has been doing a decent job.

Don F. said...

It seems our little princess has lost favour with the CKNW crowd also. Small cracks in the foundation can lead to major problems.

Scotty, enjoyed your description of the fretless mountain banjo. Spent the better part of the day researching and am planning to build one. great Stuff!

Anonymous said...

did a ding ding din ding ding ding ding

delete delete delete

BC Liberals startes with 32 billion debt in 2002 now 65 billion in 2016

e.a.f. said...

Scotty on Denman, loved your post. Very, very informative. it would be fun to see it reprinted on the front page of the Vancouver Sun or Province.

The new cable ferry could sink, with all on board drowned and the current government and Ferry corp would most likely still say it was working out a few new kinks.

In my opinion this government would spend several million dollars to cut two positions and forget about how those positions might be needed to save people. The bubble headed premier is off to Asia to sell more land to more foreigners, or she has two real estate firm reps with her.

We won't be having to worry about using ferries anymore, we won't be able to afford to live in B.C. anymore.

Ernest RB Titcomb said...

BCF sold us the "Drag Queen" as costing $35 mil - now supposedly at
$70-80 mil and likely will be $100 mil when all is said and done. We will likely never know the real cost and the collective hubris of the BCF senior mgt. will NEVER admit an to an error in judgment All this to enable the sale of the route to the brother of the former CFO!!! Guess we should expect nothing less from a criminal organization such as the BC Lib. government

Ernie on Denman

Anonymous said...

export everything from BC to asia?
import everything else from asia to BC?
2017 4 more years repeat?
oh and add 10 billion more to debt to 75 billion dollars?

RossK said...

There's an Ernie on Denman too?

Who knew!


Scotty on Denman said...

Brother Ernie, you are, as usual, correct: the only way we'll ever see the true cost of this boondoggle is to sift it out of generally-cooked BCFS Inc books (that's what the frankenstein "hybrid" corp was imposed for in the first place)---meaning it won't be easily discerned, only that it will have contributed substantially to the general bankrupting of the ferry system---which, as you well know---is still 100% publicly owned. I mean, we're talkin forensics, to the max---but gotta dump the BC Liberals first.

Hey Don! Yeah man! Build a banjo---it's really rewarding, hours of pleasure on the veranda. I'm beginning to notice a bit of a trend, this DYI instrument stuff, especially cigar-box guitars and diddly-bows. My neighbour showed me about 15 of 'em made right at home, one real cool one with two dowels for a neck, s'posed to work amazing. Did you see that guy on Youtube made a brass-topped banjo? But I did like his wooden-top banjo, though. Good luck and have FUN!

Hey e.a.f. I gotta say I've been a fan of your letters to Black's dual-newspapers in the CV---you keep em on their toes! But down here we gotta pay $125 for the Record. I don't have a canary or budgie, so I don't normally get the CV Times, quit reading it after the strike shut its predecessor down and it changed its name. Remember the "Greensheet"---now there was a colour-misnomer if ever there was one, and I don't mean "red".

Ross: I confess, I knew---

e.a.f. said...

You gotta pay for the Record.................ahhhhhhh.

no longer live in the Valley, moved a tad south,Nanaimo, last year but still in Black territory. I don't know about the other papers. I had only been in the Valley since 2000 and for the first few years wasn't aware of much. Had a fun time writing those letters. glad you enjoyed them.

RossK said...


If you want to send me a couple of your best letters, with a little context, I'd be happy to reprint 'em on blog.

pacificgazette at yahoo dot canuckistan