Archive for November, 2006

Snowball silliness

The nice thing about snow in Vancouver is that when it comes around, it’s treated like a novelty. Unlike out east where the white stuff loses its charm very quickly, our own snow tends to clear up pretty quick (at least away from the mountains, where we like it to be). Hence, perfectly normal adults get in touch with their inner child on days like today.

Walking (well, sliding) through the slush this afternoon, I saw three guys on three different corners practicing their snowball-throwing skills on poor defenseless fire hydrants and a brick wall (I’m not really sure what the guy hitting the brick wall was going for, actually. Not much skill required there).

Have fun while it lasts… and drive safe, y’all. Tomorrow morning’s going to be a bad day for paying deductibles on your cars..

Vancouver’s first gift to the world: Flickr

Vancouver Waterfront

Originally uploaded by A guy with A camera.

For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Metroblogging Vancouver begins with Flickr.

I wanted a really good gift to the world to start off with for our Seven Gifts project [mbv]. Some other cities have decided to present the world with natural events [bla], and I’m sure famous people will be a popular gift but I really wanted Vancouver to start off the holiday season by giving the world something that they could take home and use. So I decided to give the world flickr [fkr].

Developed by Ludicorp in Vancouver Flickr was, and still is, a shinning example of the possibilities of Web 2.0. More than simply a store house for digital photography it’s an online community where you can meet and interact with a world of wonderful photographers and not in a creepy MySpace way. While the buzz of Web 2.0 has yet to really move beyond the techno-literate Flickr has reached the rest of the world and is still the only exposure to tagging that most people get.

The sale to Yahoo and subsequent relocation from Vancouver to the US caused concern, but so far nobody that we know of has been arrested by Home Land Security because of the servers moving down south and Flickr still keeps adding great new features (geotagging [mbv]) and staying as one of the most useful sites on the internet.

So while Flickr may have gone the way of all successful Canadians and headed to California it’s still Vancouver’s first of seven gifts to the world.

For all of Vancouver’s gifts to the world just click here.

Maui jail: where British Columbians go when it starts to snow


Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

So snow has hit Vancouver [mbv], and we all know that nobody here can drive when a light dusting hits the roads so the only thing to do is to leave. That’s right as of Tuesday I’m taking off and going to Maui, because that’s where you go when you want to throw back a few drinks and live out your Grand Theft Auto dreams [mbv] on the open roads of Hawaii [mbh].

This continues a long tradition of our folk going to the sunny islands when things get too cold here. From Captain George Vancouver in 1794 [bih] to Gordon Campbell some years later, we’ve always been the sort of guests that make the Hawaiians say, “Holy shit I hope those pricks don’t come back again.” At least I’m not expecting someone is going to house swap me [clv].

Depending on whether or not I get sunstroke and pass out, and what sort of internet access my hotel room has, I might be blogging on Metroblogging Hawaii [mbh] during my time there. So please while I’m gone learn how to drive in the snow? This interior boy finds the snowy traffic slowness of Vancouver pretty shocking.

Snow Hits Vancouver

In a row

There seemed no better way to spend a free Saturday than to check out some of the early snow on Vancouver’s local ski hills (well, one of them anyway — there’s only so ambitious a guy can be), and I can safely say it didn’t disappoint.

The snow at Cypress was nearly Whistler-grade, with fresh powder almost a half a metre deep in places, with a base of nearly 2 metres, and plenty more coming down during the day. And to think I’d nearly driven two hours to break in my new Whistler Blackcomb Edge card, when it was this good right next to home.

Imagine my surprise, however, at around 3:30pm when my poor out-of-shape legs weren’t going to tolerate any more boarding for the day, when I drove back down the mountain towards the city only to find that the snow . . . wasn’t stopping. Nor did it stop even upon reaching sea level.

Granted, it wasn’t sticking to anything then, but now, looking out at my car, it’s nearly completely covered.

. . . As was the cat, who chose not to come inside when originally called. A nice dusting of snow on his head sure changed his mind.

The end is nigh.. repent, sinner! the corner of Robson and Burrard, one earnest individual was busy trying to help Vancouverites save themselves from damnation.

I don’t think too many people were taking him up on his offer. Lazy sinners… bah!

While I’m not religious, I can understand the motivation of the people who do this. If I sincerely believed that my friends, family and everyone I see on the street would burn in agony for a million years if they didn’t pray, I’d be out there trying to win as many converts as I could, too.

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day

Originally uploaded by Bright Tal (Political).

Today is the annual anti-holiday holiday Buy Nothing Day [ab]. Born in Vancouver from the offices of Adbusters the attempt is to get people to stop buying things on the most popular shopping day of the year and thus send a message to corporations and to make the public think about just how purchase driven our society is.

The day is now a world wide event, as Adbusters intended (considering it was specifically schedualed for America’s most popular shopping day and not Canada’s). Whether or not it actually does any good, or just sort of moves around when people buy things I have mixed feelings. Does it actually make people who observe it consume less, or is it simply like declaring an area of town a “Drug Free Zone” and upping the police presence in that one area, it simply moves the problem elsewhere.

Event of social, poitical and global importance or a sign of a new red meanace? Either way it’s today. And here is a blurb from Adbusters on it.

Every November, for 24 hours, we remember that no one was born to shop. If you’ve never taken part in Buy Nothing Day, or if you’ve taken part in the past but haven’t really committed to doing it again, consider this: 2006 will go down as the year in which mainstream dialogue about global warming finally reached its critical mass. What better way to bring the Year of Global Warming to a close than to point in the direction of real alternatives to the unbridled consumption that has created this quagmire?

Vancouver is starting to look a lot like Christmas

The Christmas bus

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Vancouver is starting to put on its Christmas clothes and get all into the holiday spirit. If it weren’t for the fact that this signals the time when I can start to buy egg nog in the stores, I’d say it was too soon. Still with November almost over, I suppose it’s not as bad as it could be.

The hotel across the street from my apartment has it’s Christmas decorations up, so everytime I look out my window I get fed a big blast o’Holiday right into my eyeballs. Yet still I remain upbeat about the holiday.

I know, what a trooper I am.

P.S. The holiday bus that’s running routes is super cute. I’m not sure if it’s the only one or if there are a few that have been so X-Massed.

Vancouver featured in a new mecca for literature

There’s nobody left

Originally uploaded by dooda.

There’s a really interesting look at Vancouver up on [sc] (free but ad watching required) and it’s actually a very interesting read. It’s main focus is on the city’s literary nature, and it focuses a lot on Douglas Coupland and William Gibson, but it’s got a bit about the vibe of the city which I do think it hits nicely. If nothing else it’s probably one of the best non-Vancouver produced ads for visiting or moving to Vancouver that I’ve seen in a long time. In fact in a way reading it made me want to scrap my holiday plans and just stay home.

Consider the second paragraph:

Visiting Vancouver is like simultaneously taking a step forward and back. In its near-future, Vancouver boasts an uncharted, wet-lab urbanity that has inspired author and Vancouver resident Douglas Coupland to call it “the city of glass.” Its past, the deep native roots in the region, is also present, right from the international arrivals terminal. Air travelers are greeted by a dramatic installation, festooned with the First Nations iconography of totems, masks and canoes, echoing the aboriginal people’s distinct sense of place. Now the native Vancouverite’s reverence is for land value, the product of a generation-long development boom instigated by the transition of Hong Kong to China and the waxing of Asia’s economies. Vancouver is today among the select handful of world centers — think Geneva or Sydney — recognized solely by its livability: a happy accident of freeway-forbidding geography, Canadian social engineering and the best lessons of urban development.


Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling

“Bowl under laser lights and glow in the dark equipment while rocking to the latest music hits on the air.”

I don’t know if I can stomach the latest music, but glow-in-the-dark bowling?! Woo hoo! It’s almost as good as glow-in-the-dark mini-golf or rollerskating under a disco ball! I’d put on a pair of slime-oozing bowling shoes for that!

Willowbrook Lanes at the edge of the GVRD, in good old Langley, offers Extreme Bowling on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with weekend night bowling from 11 pm to 1 am.

Find the lanes at 6350 – 196 Street.

Surrey Girlz

If you’re like me and you like to experiment with different shampoos, conditioners and lotions, you too probably have a medicine cabinet stuffed with enough toiletries to start your own spa. What do you do with all this stuff when you get sick of bad hair days and go back to your favourite brand?

Donate it to the Surrey Girlz, of course.

A new drop-in centre for sex workers, Surrey Girlz is open two nights a week in donated space, where sex workers can visit for food, toiletries and bad date reports. There are also special nights when police or health-care workers attend to answer the women’s questions and receive medical help. The centre is volunteer-run: sex workers can sign up to help before or after the drop-in programs for $10 honourariums (sometimes this means they do not have to walk the streets for a night).

Here’s where you can help. Donate those sweaters, shoes, socks, umbrellas or jackets you no longer need, your new or partly used makeup, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. Want to get rid of your computeror your printer? Surrey Girlz could use one: they need to print up bad date reports and hand them out to sex workers.

For more information, call (778) 240-1055.

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