• Digital summer

    Early September and time to enjoy the last of warm afternoons and get back into routines of work and school. Let me offer you a round-up of some of my favourite online brain candy to help get you through the transition. These are podcasts, blogs or vlogs that both entertain and enlighten.

    New to the podcast scene is SPiELSPiEL is hosted by Joanna Baxter and Dayna Mahannah, Vancouver writers who met at the Simon Fraser Writers Studio in 2018 and devised SPiEL as an opportunity to grow the local writing community.  SPiELitself is a quarterly reading event for those who don’t usually like reading events. It features writers, poets, and storytellers of all kinds in a fast-paced format. The podcast is a spin-off from the event and each episode showcases three five-minute readings from the live recorded reading.  The SPiELpodcast is quirky, fun, and serves up some damn fine writing.

    Speaking of serving stuff up, one of my all-time favourite blogs to visit is Cooking by Laptop, the online creative cookery home of Rebecca Coleman. In addition to being one of the region’s most highly regarded social media specialists, Coleman is the author of the Aquafabulouscookbook and is known for her delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes. Some of the recipes she’s featured this summer are sushi salad, pea gnocchi, and vegan bibimbap. Fresh, bright and seasonal, her recipes focus on local food and healthy options. Her fall line-up promises to be delicious. Coleman also recently launched a YouTube channel where subscribers can follow her food and travel vlog.

    If you follow this column, you know Steve Dotto is a perennial resource.  Celebrated as Canada’s favourite geek, his DottoTech platform has an international audience and more than 250,000 followers on YouTube. In late 2018, Dotto launched a new podcast called Grey Matters. Grey Mattersis for those in the “grey zone” primarily Baby Boomers and GenX, who are looking to remain relevant in the digital age. The podcast is about online and content marketing, and teaches the tools and techniques needed by boomers to take their experience and put it to work in the digital world. While the focus is on business and revenue-generation, Dotto’s style is fun and entertaining and his guests are always interesting, so it makes the list for late-summer listening.

    For something local to Maple Ridge (and only slightly nepotistic) my husband, Ian McLeod, writes a fascinating blog called Fraseropolis that deals with matters of land use, transportation, and urban life in British Columbia’s lower mainland. While this one doesn’t fall into the typical brain candy “infotainment” category of some of the other content featured here, it definitely provides significant food for thought. In his  most recent post, McLeod offers up a very interesting map imagining downtown Maple Ridge as a social services precinct. That’s my summer round-up of blogs, vlogs, and podcasts worth following.

    Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News.