Ira Glass Interview

Friday, 18 September, 2009

Search Engine’s Jesse interviews public radio star and statesman Ira Glass.

The Most Amazing – Voice Over

Saturday, 12 September, 2009

I have four more episodes to record and then I’ll have finished the voice over (and VO translation) work of the Cantonese edition of “The Most Amazing“, a “top 10 countdown” entertainment show.

You can watch the show across OMNI TV in Canada and also on OMNI TV (Alberta) . It airs each episode like a total of four times a week!

Here is a sample of the first aired Cantonese episode. (note: I think my voicing actually get better in later episodes.)

P.S. After recording the last four episodes, I will have done 52 episodes and thats a wonderful learning experience to have. It was a ton of fun working with the many audio-engineers and the people at the TV production company are great to work with.

For someone new to vocing, I am voicing like a “pro” now. :)

$100,000 An Acre in Alberta (Calgary & Edmonton) – Interview with Doug Kelly

Sunday, 30 August, 2009

$100,000 An Acre: A Candid History of the Land Development Industry in Alberta by you.Earlier this month, I had a great phone interview (mp3) with Doug Kelly to talk about his insightful and interesting book – $100,000 An Acre: A Candid History of the Land Development Industry in Alberta. Since 2004, Doug had conducted over 130 face-to-face interviews for the book.

Doug has divided $100,000 An Acre into chapters like “The Visionaries”, “The Opportunists”, “The Mavericks”, “The Executives”, “The Builder-Entrepreneurs”, “The Planners”, etc. Each chapter features a few key people in the category. The few pages devoted to each person reads like a fascinating mini-biography with the person’s involvement in the Land Development Industry in Alberta.

In the phone interview (mp3), Doug and I were able to talk about a few of the people covered in the book.


  • Ellis Vee (E. V.) Keith,
  • Ralph Scurfield (an elementary school teacher turns home builder),
  • Ed Davis (at one point, Ed had 34 acres of land in downtown Calgary near Eau Claire), and
  • Bob Orr (his Engineering Homes was one of the largest and world leader of manufactured housing components (walls, roofs, etc) in the 60s).
  • Edmontonians: Sandy Mactaggart, Jean De La Bruyere and Maclab Enterprises

Opportunists (not in a negative way): Johnny McLeod (created Calgary’s Thorncliffe neighbourhood in 1953)

Mavericks: Bill Jager (I am curious as I live in a Jager home).
The Ghermezians (Rezoning for West Edmonton Mall).

The Executives: Mike Rogers (+15 system in Calgary). People in “The Executives” section are the ones that Doug knows the best as he was one of them.

Builder-Entrepreneurs: Eric Weidman (built the first condominium project in Canada, which happened in Edmonton of all places)

If you are curious about the stories of the people who were key in the development of communities in Calgary and Edmonton, or if you are anyone working in fields remotely related to the Land Development Industry, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of $100,000 An Acre and learn from it. Have a look of the table of content and the first few pages.

Here are a few news articles about the book and Doug in the media: Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, and Calgary Herald.

From Doug’s bio,

Doug spent 36 years in land development, which gave him an inside view of its history from a developers perspective. During his career, Doug worked for four development companies and one land development consulting company in Calgary and Edmonton, with a short stint in Toronto. He has chaired both the Calgary and Edmonton chapters of the Urban Development Institute, and served as president of the Alberta division – the only member to have held all three posts.


Friday, 28 August, 2009

SoundCloud looks like a useful tool and it can be used in WordPress.

United Breaks Guitars: Song 2

Tuesday, 18 August, 2009

Oct 29, 2009 Update: United loses luggage of ‘United Breaks Guitars’ guy


Sons of Maxwell’s followup to United Breaks Guitars (viewed over 5 millions time!). From Dave’s video,

and the saga continues

On Tuesday August 5 we reconvened at the field behind the Station 41 fire department in Waverley NS to shoot the second video in the trilogy, United Breaks Guitars: Song 2. Once again, everyone volunteered their time and talent to produce an outstanding video; however, Song 2 was a much bigger production than United Breaks Guitars. In addition to the main roles, we had nearly 100 extras in the cast and in order to say everything we wanted to say with the video, we required a broken guitar, an imitation broken guitar, a 40 foot high scissor lift, a limousine (complete with secret service agents), one genuine imitation space capsule, a space suit, a tuba, 3 suits of German Lederhosen, a canoe, one white panel van and a woman willing to wear tights and a big dollar sign.

Very cute. Enjoy.

China Road – Ocean People meet Old Hundred Names (洋人遇老百姓)

Saturday, 1 August, 2009

I believe outsiders can sometimes look at things with a fresh pair of eyes and give us amazing insight. Examples include director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant‘s look at Britain. Sam Mendes‘ look at America.

I just had a listen of Rob Gifford‘s CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power and highly enjoyed it. Here is an excerpt from Rob‘s bio at NPR,

[Rob Gifford] came to London in 2005, after six years as NPR’s correspondent in Beijing.

[...] His first book, CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power was published in 2007 by Random House. CHINA ROAD tells of his 3,000 mile odyssey across China, following the country’s equivalent of the US Route 66 –- called Route 312 — all the way from Shanghai to the Kazakh border. The book is based upon a seven-part radio series that Gifford filed for Morning Edition.

Here are some praises of “CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power“,

““How I envy Rob Gifford and his journey along China Road. How grateful I am to him for allowing me to share the trip through his vivid writing and his deep knowledge of and great love for China. As vicarious enjoyment goes, this one’s a ten.”
–Ted Koppel, managing editor, Discovery Channel

“My gosh, I loved Rob Gifford’s book. His journey along Route 312 is a great road story–from Hooters in Shanghai to the Iron House of Confucianism. China Road is insightful, funny, analytical, anecdotal, full of humble humor and magnificent discoveries.”
–Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition and author of Pretty Birds

“Here is China end to end, told from its equivalent of Route 66 as Gifford journeys from Shanghai to the distant west, talking to truck drivers, merchants, hermits, and whores. Gifford portrays China with affection and humor, in all its complexity, energy, hopefulness, and risk.”
–Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University”

Check out Rob’s NPR free online seven-part radio series. If you enjoy the radio series as much as I did, I highly recommend you borrow or buy a copy of “CHINA ROAD” to have a read (or listen, the book is on a book CD).

Credit: I first heard of this wonderful book via “22 July, 2009, 蘋論–「西行漫記」新篇:中國紅星的殞落“. This is what Li wrote about Bob,

“作者齊福德( Bob Gifford)是哈佛碩士,學了 20多年中文,他在結束多年擔任美國國家公共廣播電台( NPR)駐北京特派員之前,決定獨自踏上 312號國道,一條從東往西橫跨大陸,由上海直達哈薩克邊境近五千公里路程,他一路搭巴士、貨車、順風車和的士,目的是要巡視一遍中國歷史與文化,尋找中國明天將會怎樣的答案。”

Note: “《 312號公路》年前出版的英文原書名是《 China Road》,副題是「 A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power」。”

Netflix Prize – The Ensemble interview @ Kempton’s Virtual Cafe

Saturday, 1 August, 2009

July-26-Netflix Prize Final Winning Leader BoardFew nights ago, I had the great pleasure to chat with four members of The Ensemble team, one of the two teams that beat the 10% improvement goal set by the Netflix Prize – million dollar challenge.

To make the Skype audio interview more enjoyable to you, I’ve edited the interview for length and also eliminated some dead air, silence and noise. (For example, I was a bit confused about the Prize solution submission process and got a nice explanation that I ended up removing for length reason.)

Here is the chat (in mp3 or streaming audio) with The Ensemble team’s Lester MackeyJoe SillCes Bertino, and Bo Yang in their own voices and words.

  • introducing themselves
  • talking about what they’ve contributed to “The Ensemble” solution
  • the computation resources used in achieving the results
  • how are the results from different team members “combined”?
  • talking about how the last 30 days of the final competition was like?
  • And how did the cooperation from various teams and people happen?
  • How did they create a cooperation agreement in the final days?
  • What was the process for Grand Prize Team and Vandelay Industries in their decisions to split the prize money amongst the team members?
  • Given that the “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos” team has been contacted by Netlflix to check their code and documentations, so BPC‘s likeliness of winning is pretty high, how do the The Ensemble team members see their experiences in the Netflix Prize competition?

I personally think both BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos and The Ensemble are developing and creating some cutting edge technologies. While the participants may not fully realize it yet, but their efforts are now part of some ground breaking computer science history!

Once the prize award/money has been settled, I hope both teams will consider writing up technical papers to share the insights they gained. And may be even share their software code under a suitable GNU General Public License or something like that.

Finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview as much as I in conducting it. And I want to thank LesterJoeCes, and Bo again for a wonderful chat.

P.S. Here is Lester writing about the “Final Submission Countdown“. And here is a link to a New York Times article, “Netflix Competitors Learn the Power of Teamwork“ plus an interesting post “What The Netflix Prize Tells Us About Innovation, Collaboration, Info Sharing And Game Theory“.

Twitter “Revolution” – A Moldova case study

Sunday, 19 April, 2009

Check out CBC’s audio show Search Engine’s “The Twitter Revolution in  Moldova“.

Scott MacIsaac plays Rachmaninov at 2009 Winners of the Calgary Concerto Competition concert

Sunday, 19 April, 2009

June 12th, 2011 update: See also (with video of piano performances),

Scott MacIsaac – Portrait of a Young Award-Winning Classical Pianist

Scott MacIsaac piano performance at University of Calgary (June 7th)


Scott MacIsaac plays at 2009 Winners fo the Calgary Concerto Competition concert

Yesterday, I was very much looking forward to a entertaining and enjoyable musical experience. Today, I can tell you that I was thrilled by the young talents I saw and heard.

My friend’s grandson Scott MacIsaac gave a truly wonderful performance and I enjoyed it very much. I am sure his grand parents, parents, brother and teacher Marilyn Engle are all very proud of his achievement at the young age of 16.

2009 Winners of the Calgary Concerto Competition concert

From L to R: Devin Franco, cello; Scott MacIsaac, piano; Danielle Wiebe, viola; Boyang Zhang, piano.

The following is a YouTube clip of the young Scott playing the first bit of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto in F# minor, Op.1 – 1st movement with the Calgary Civic Symphony.


Rachmaninov Piano Concerto

Saturday, 18 April, 2009

My friend is so happy and proud that his grandson Scott MacIsaac has won in the 2009 Calgary Concerto Competition. Scott also won in the 2008 Canadian Music Competition. Tomorrow, I will have a chance to listen to him playing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto in F# minor, Op.1 – 1st movement with the Calgary Civic Symphony.

Just for fun, here is Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 1: Ia (note: I don’t know if this is really Rachmaninoff playing)

Here is Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 1: Ib (note: Again, I don’t know if this is really Rachmaninoff playing)

Tuesday, 14 April, 2009

Former CNN journalist and HKU professor Rebecca MacKinnon’s online chat with a group of patriotic young Chinese people who run Anti-CNN.

Facebook ‘Unfriends’ Its CFO

Sunday, 5 April, 2009

Have a listen to NPR’s “Facebook ‘Unfriends’ Its CFO” (I have to link to it, I admit, because of its cute title (and great content)).

Panel discussion about GG’s decision to prorogue parliament

Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

UT Faculty of Law hosted a panel discussion about the Governor-General’s decision to prorogue parliament.

Note: Part of the audio is just horrible but skipping those, the panel discussions are still sort of understandable.

The Trudeau-Nixon tapes

Monday, 8 December, 2008

Profanity and paranoia on record in Oval Office“, a Canadian Press article worths reading and video worths watching.

Nicolas Sarkozy calls Sarah Palin from Montreal Canada

Sunday, 2 November, 2008

Even Guardian UK talks about “Nicolas Sarkozy” calling Sarah Palin from Montreal Canada. See also a report from CBC.

Cherie Blair – Former Second Spouse of Great Britain

Friday, 24 October, 2008

Cherie Blair, former second spouse of Great Britain, appear on Chicago radio Extension 720 with Milton J. Rosenberg. Great insights. Very good interview. Highly recommended.

P.S. In case you wonder, the first spouse of Great Britain was and still is Prince Philip.


11 Dec, 2008 Update: Cherie Blair chats with Charlie Rose (starts at 34:00 mark).

45 R.P.M. – Chat with David Schultz – 2008 CIFF

Sunday, 14 September, 2008

In 2006, my emerging producer class teacher Nancy Laing invited David Schultz to guest lecture and share with us his insights in making films. So it was my great pleasure to watch and review writer/director David‘s latest film 45 R.P.M. (see telefilm info) and chatted with him yesterday morning.

In 45 R.P.M., the two young leads (Jordan Gavaris playing Parry and Justine Banszky playing Luke) did amazing work like pros even they had never acted before. And the pros (Kim Coates playing the cop, Michael Madsen playing Major Baxter, August Schellenberg playing Peter Geroge, and Amanda Plummer playing Luke’s mom) were just amazing to watch as they all live and breath the air of this 1960 period “coming of age” film effortlessly. And the old songs, clothings, and set decorations from the time period also help us feeling we have traveled back in time to 1960.

Here is my extensive (~50 minutes), insightful, and probing audio chat with Dave (mp3 file). [Warning: This wonderful interview contains some spoilers.] You can also stream the audio interview here.

I really enjoyed the film and highly recommend you check out this film. Screening time of the film is available from 2008 Calgary International Film Festival here.

Here is a synopsis of the film (note: minor edits were made to remove spoiler info),

Goose Lake isn’t much of a town; about 200 folks and 700 miles north of nowhere which, to the satisfaction of the U.S. Air Force, makes it just south of the DEW line, a continent-wide chain of early warning radar stations built across Canada’s Arctic during the paranoia of the Cold War.

Parry Tender, 15, wants more from the town than he already has: an old Cree grandfather and his friend, [Luke ...]. So, when a fluke atmospheric condition allows a Manhattan radio station to reach the north and announce a contest to visit New York, Parry and Luke think they’ve found their ticket out. But the arrival of the pretty daughter of an air force colonel turns the spring of 1958 into one of love, loss and rock’n’roll.

Also check out this 2007 Star Phoenix article for more info about the making of the film.

Tiger Spirit – Chat with Min Sook Lee – 2008 CIFF

Saturday, 13 September, 2008

Nov 1, 2010 Update: You can watch the full version of Tiger Spirit online at NFB.

Nov 16, 2009 Update: Tiger Spirit won 2009 Gemini award (Donald Brittain award for best social/political documentary program) ***

I had a wide ranging interview with Min Sook Lee asking her about her film “Tiger Spirit“, the film making process, and asked a few interesting/fascinating follow up questions. The documentary is heart breaking and heart wrenching at places. The devastating impact of a war (over 55 years old) that divided the country and broke countless number of Korean families apart.

Here is my audio chat with Min Sook (mp3 file). You can also stream the audio interview here.

This is a wonderfully made and highly recommended documentary. Screening time of the film is available from 2008 Calgary International Film Festival here.

Here is the film trailer on YouTube.

Here is an excerpt of the film synopsis,

Korea is a divided nation. The psychic scar shared by millions of people, separated from their families during the Korean War in the 1950s, is symbolized by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing communist North from capitalist South. Here, along this infamous border, award-winning filmmaker Min Sook Lee sets out on a revelatory, emotion-charged journey into Korea’s broken heart, exploring the rhetoric and realism of reunification through the extraordinary stories of ordinary people.

Tiger Spirit begins in the Korean foothills, where the filmmaker joins former TV videographer Lim Sun Nam in his obsessive quest to prove tigers still live in the DMZ’s swath of wilderness. A powerful symbol of resilience in Korean mythology, the tiger once roamed the peninsula but is thought extinct in the region. Lim believes finding the tiger will reconnect Koreans to their spirit and fuel the reunification train.

But a tiger’s stripes extend beyond its fur. Inspired by her desire to understand the country she left as a child when her family moved to Canada, Lee takes us deeper than symbols, asking the crucial question—how will the two Koreas be put back together?

2008 CIFF – Five interviews in one morning

Saturday, 13 September, 2008

You see, the ball started rolling on Wednesday morning and Gordon Imlach (GForce Publicity) got me five of the 2008 Calgary International Film Festival films by Wednesday night to review. And based on my availability (I said Sat and Sun 6am – 12noon are OK, preferably Sat), Gordon helped me arranged 5 filmmakers interviews all in this morning, starting from 6am!

So film lovers, I will be posting my audio interviews with the directors of the following films soon. I will update the links one at a time. So stay tune.

  1. The Sweetest Embrace: Return to Afghanistan. Check out my interview with the film director Najeeb Mirza.
  2. Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma. Check out my interview with film director Patrick Reed.
  3. Tiger Spirit. Check out my interview with film director Min Sook Lee.
  4. 45 R.P.M. Check out my interview with writer/director David Schultz.
  5. The Real Place (a poetic short film about the life of John Murrell). Check out my interview with film director/animator Cam Christiansen.

Gordon, thanks again for your wonderful help.

P.S. If you need Calgary PR work for your film, I think you should check out and see if Gordon can help for sure.

P.P.S. Gordon, after the above blatant ad, will you promise to give me a deeeeep discount if I hire you for a future film of mine? (big smile) Again, your help is much appreciated.

Chatting with Tony Lacavera, CEO of Globalive

Friday, 12 September, 2008

Dec 14, 2009 Update: You can read and listen to my latest interview with Tony Lacavera, “Globalive Chairman Tony Lacavera interview (after government overturned CRTC decision)


I was impressed with Globalive‘s PR team in getting in touch with me very promptly after I posted a request yesterday to express my wishes to interview Tony Lacavera, CEO of Globalive (on Twitter, Facebook, and the blog entry “Searching for Tony Lacavera“). As a result of their prompt response, I was able to chat, late this afternoon, with Tony to ask him a few questions about,

  1. (I blogged about the top 6 recurring themes here),
  2. the wireless auction,
  3. the Telus/Shaw/Rogers’s challenge with respect to Globalive’s foreign ownership level, and
  4. the 2009 second quarter beta testing/testers.

Here is my audio interview with Tony (mp3 file). You can also stream the audio interview here.

Because of time limitation, I held back a few follow up questions and didn’t follow up on a few questions (e.g. if Tony knew the undesirableness of some of the top 6 recurring themes, and had planned to do away with them already, like the hated System Access/Hidden Fees).

I look forward to chatting some more with Tony in the future. And I would love to be a beta tester of Globalive’s services when it become ready in second quarter of 2009.


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