I'm in.

The Montréal International Film Festival has officially accepted my film into competition. For me this is a huge step. It means that I will continue to make films. It means that they will be really good, if not half decent. It means the door is open to growth in an talent that for the past 5 years I have been frightened to think of the possibilities and frightened that it is too late to pursue success. I have several goals (#29, 43, 69, 71) that involve film making and this film opens the way. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have made it, and for it to be shared in festival, and for people to purchase it on DVD, and enjoy it (I hope). Most people in the world don't have these opportunities.

My first film acceptance letter:

Dear Mr. Robichaud,

We are pleased to confirm that we wish to present « STRENGTH AND HONOUR : CYCLING CANADA COAST TO COAST », in the Documentaries of the World section at the World Film Festival which will be held from August 24th to September 4th 2006, in Montreal.

...[some words about what I do next]...

Waiting for your confirmation, we wish to congratulate you again for this great production.

Best regards,
Danièle C.

What have you always wanted to do, but have been doubtful of its success?

Papillon - Mariposa - Butterfly

We were in Honduras on the weekend (2 nights so we can spend another 90 days in Guatemala). The only thing we did besides walk around Copán Ruinas, eat in good restaurants, sleep, read, and watch movies in our hotel room (namely "I am David" and "Shawshank Redemption") was visit the Enchanted Wings Butterfly House.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Lots of different butterflies flying around in a little mesh covered garden. I saw a butterfly with wet wings climbing up a styrofoam wall - oh the struggle. The flora was breathtaking and so was the humidity. They also have a greenhouse filled with hundreds of orchids. Sadly only 3 or 4 of the orchids were presenting flowers at this time. Blaise really enjoyed it. Oddly enough, he doesn't get much opportunity to play outside - kind of dangerous with all the broken glass, dog poop, rubbish, and his penchant for stuffing diseased objects into his mouth with lightning speed arm jerks. This was a nice, controlled environment for him to relish. We let him eat a few flower petals (they're safe, right?).


I'm watching my son mature from a baby into a little boy. It is remarkable how he changes from day to day. I remember when it hit me that each day, he does something new, realizes something new, and that soon he'll be able to tickle me harder than I tickle him. His most recent endeavor is his addictive laugh - something like a giggle, but deeper.

He's not a baby anymore. He can almost walk on his own now and talking is around the corner. His desire for independence drives his every step. His desire to get what he wants drives his every sound. Hopefully, his desire to not wear a diaper will start kicking in soon.

Mud on the Highway

Rain = Mud on the highway.

Doesn't "Mud on the Highway" sound like it should be a song or something? Maybe I'll write one? Or maybe Alan Kydd should write one as penance for not starting his blog!


Día del Padre

My first as a papa. I spent my day hiking to the beautiful waterfalls at Chilasco with my 11-month-old, 23-lb son on my back for 3 hours. Amber made me delicious pancakes for breakfast and a mysterious dessert for this evening.

This was when my papa was the age I am now, back in 1980. I'm the short guy tapping him on the shoulder. We're at a Medieval festival in Florida.

Salto de Chilasco

130 M (426') - the tallest waterfall in Central America. We were there this afternoon. This shot was taken at the bottom of the falls. Very misty.

How to get there from our house: Drive on the highway southeast 41 km. Turn left and drive 14 km on the dirt road. Park and hike 3 km up and down a mountain. I had Blaise on my back, there and back.

Strength and Honour

Hey, I have to post this excitement. After posting a website for my latest and only film (so far) and sending out a mass email to everyone I know, I've received such acclaim that even if it doesn't get into either of the festivals, I'll be happy about making the film. And that's only after people have seen a 2 minute trailer.

The most exciting response has come from the 4 DVD orders I've received so far. The variety of people who have ordered is the coolest: a cousin I haven't seen in 11 years, a grade 12 classmate I've seen once since 1994, a missionary I served with in the Marshall Islands 10 years ago, and my most frequent blog commentator. I'm only allowed to release the DVDs after the film screens at the festivals, so I've chosen November 1. I'll mail them ahead of time so the DVDs arrive as close to November 1 as possible. You too can pre-order your copy today.

Only 999 996 left before I go platinum.

Some comments I've received about the trailer:

"the trailer almost made me start crying"
"Very cool! I look forward to seeing the rest."
"I'm definitely getting a copy"
"definitely one of the coolest things any of my friends have ever done. I look forward to seeing it, as well as hearing Jeffery's score!"
"Looks awesome! You are living the dream!"
"What?? Wow, I had no idea...that's shocking."
"Wow! Congratulations on the completion of your film!"
"That was soooo cool. Mightily impressed!"

From the stars of the film:
"Wow! I am very impressed with the trailer, and thankful you took the time to do all this."
"Such a teaser, I can't wait to see the real deal."
"AHHhhhhhh!!!! I loved it! More - more!! I've watched the trailer 5 times"
"lookin good!!!"


Blog Comment Olympics

In the spirit of the Soccer World Cup and NHL Stanley Cup Finals (GO OILERS!), I'd like to award those faithful blog commenters. Before I begin, I would like to say that I thought I should exempt myself, since I respond to many of the comments myself and figured I would naturally have the largest number of comments. Not so. But I'll exempt myself anyhow (I had 36).

with 46 comments
Lorne (Sirdar)

with 28 comments
Kevin (inspace)

with 23 comments each
Mom (littledeb) and April (Rob the Rocket)

Honourable mention goes to my wife Amber who was the only other blog commenter to comment more than 10 times and to my sisters whose combined efforts left 12 comments.

Thank you to all those who participated and who will participate. Remember, it's not often the quantity that matters, but how often you comment! Remember also that there isn't actually a prize for winning and really not any shame in losing.



Road Improvements

I'm not sure if the road is better than it was. Maybe.

(this is the road in front of my office)

Why post this? Because.

When I woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001 to the radio describing the attack on the Twin Towers, my first vocal response was "Bush is bombing his own country to start a war." Since then, it has only cost $287 billion and nearly 2500 US Soldiers to kill 40,000 Iraqi civilians (yeah, I know they killed a lot of insurgents too, who probably wouldn't have insurged without the great excuse of someone invading their country). While driving home alone one evening last year, as Amber was expecting our first child, I burst into uncontrollable tears thinking about the mothers in Iraq who lost their children - unborn or born - because of the bombings and stressful fears they were experiencing.

Loose Change is an online film that debunks the current accepted version of events from 9/11. They offer documented proof for every claim.

Of course, if they are right, which I think they are, nothing can be done about it anyway. Anyone want to prosecute the president? It was easier to attempt to impeach Clinton over lying about sex acts than it would be to try and impeach Bush over his lies. Why? One exerts more terrifying muscle than the other.

Of course, we believe what we want to believe, right? 1 Billion Muslims, Catholics, Hindus, and Atheists can't be wrong. So who am I trying to convince anyway?

When we give a small group of people absolute, unchallenged power, look out! Even more so when that power you've given them affects people that have no vote. I'm not an American, but...
"A big part of our lives has to do with America. In our country it is overwhelming. I feel there could just as well be an American military presence in Denmark. We are a nation under a very bad influence, because I think Bush is an a**h*le and doing a lot of really stupid things. America is sitting on the world and therefore I am making films about it. I'd say 60% of the things I have experienced in my life are American, so in fact I am an American. But I can't go there and vote. That's why I am making films about America."
-Lars von Trier
Director of Dogville, Manderlay and other super films

Last week I met an American woman who teaches in New Mexico. She said there were teachers in Albuquerque that were imprisoned and lost their jobs for speaking out against the war - Patriot Act. I'm a teacher and I understand the implications of speaking your opinion in a public classroom of children. But I also have a philosophy of education that permits discussion.

I'm not expecting much discussion here. People avoid my political statements. Oh well, I got to make that nifty Home Despot logo and I haven't preached a sermon in a long time. I do promise to be diplomatic though.

Bought Neil Young's Living with War album. I love it!




When I got home this evening from our 4 days on the road, there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me. Stretched over from the roof of my neighbour's house is a bright yellow ethernet cable. The cable descends over my roof and down to my window. You can see the splice that was done to either extend the cable the last 2 feet I needed or to get the clip onto the cable. The point is: I now have internet at home!!!

This has been a 2 month service in the making. My Internet Service Provider is my neighbour. He's not just sharing his internet with me, he's selling it to me. Yeah, it's actually his line of work. He has a fix-up-old-computers-and-sell-them shop in town and along with that, he sells satellite internet to 6 clients in town (I'm # 6). So far, I'm quite pleased with the speed and consistency. The internet is relayed from outerspace to a dish in the center of Tactic and then to an antenna on my neighbour's house and then wire to our guest room. The antenna on my neighbour's house is what took months to get working - I think Cesar tried 4 different ones before it finally worked.

Cheers to Cesar my ISP!

Wife, Son

Really like these 2 shots so I share them with you.

I also really like these 2 people.

The Horror

Mom and I eating at a really nice restaurant on June 2, '06 in Santa Catarina de Palopó

Severe headache in the afternoon followed by violent vomiting in the evening followed by dire diarrhea the next morning. I can definitely attribute the last two symptoms to the meal I'm naïvely enjoying in this photo. I know this because my poor mother suffered as well. It was made worse by the fact that the four of us (me, mom, Amber, and Blaise) shared a room that night - and thus the bathroom.

We have narrowed it down to either the raw spinach, the shredded beef, or the water.

Amber did not get sick.

The Oiler Fan

Amazing. Absolutely Astonishing. Awesome.

Oiler flag flying from my car in Antigua, Guatemala on May 28, '06.

I'll be listening to the game tomorrow night online.

You can see Oiler fans all over the world here.

The Grandmother and Grandson Reunion

My mum flew down for an 8 day visit to visit her grandson (Amber and I were an added bonus). It was great to have an extra person to look after the little gamin*. It was really good to hear baby stories about me and my sisters too. Moms love talking about babies.

I know now that in part, Blaise's superhero powers come from his paternal grandmother. Perhaps not the best known superpower, but certainly a very useful one, is to tread fearlessly and to do it without comment (or shrieks) when one is afraid of A: riding in a fast car through winding mountain switchbacks B: eating food that was prepared out of eyesight C: changing Blaise's diapers. My mom accomplished all three with admiral dignity - thanks.

We carted mom all over the country: Guatemala City, Antigua, Tactic, Tamahú, San Antonio AV, Cobán, Panajachel, Santa Catarina de Palopó, and San Antonio de Palopó. I hadn't been to 3 of these beautiful spots before, so it was a blessing to have the opportunity.

Dropped mom at the airport this afternoon.

* gamin (fr) = patojo (sp) = young feller (en)


To Antigua

Tactic to Antigua: 225 KM
Tactic to Antigua yesterday: 5 Hours, 14 minutes
Thats 43 km/hr.

Before leaving, I changed a flat and bought a new tire at the pinchazo in San Julian. Listened to some Ron Sexsmith, Arcade Fire, and a mix CD from Salomé.

I passed some trucks in the passing lane of oncoming traffic (there was no one on the road - at the same time someone passed me in the furthest lane to the left - that was a new experience for me.

At one point this white bus ahead of us appeared to be on fire.

Blaise is a little traveling champion.

Then we met up with Cosme, a Guatemalan baby being adopted by a couple from New Mexico. We met him and his new mom last weekend when we were waiting for my mom's luggage to show up (Continental Airlines).