Archive for December, 2006

Chinatown video from Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Film School has a lot of really cool videos posted on Youtube. Here’s one that I found really neat, created by graduate Christine Lee. I like how the film (and most of the others that the school provides) show how the animation is done. It’s a lot more complicated than it looks when it’s all put together.

Bombs in Bangkok

A series of explosions have been going off in Bangkok today. Our Metroblogging sister site Metroblogging Bangkok reports “bombs have already gone off at Klong Toey, Vicotry Monument อนุสาวรีย์ฯ , Sapan Kwai, Payatai , and are being placed in trashcans all over Bangkok. It is 19:30 New Years Eve, so they’re a lot of people running around town.” [mbb]

The BBC is reporting that two have been killed by the explosions already [bbc]. A pretty shitty way to end 2006. Hopefully Metroblogging Bangkok will have updates througout the day.

Get Home Safe, Eh

Whether you’re partying it up downtown, going on a dinner cruise, making crafts at First Night Surrey or getting to and from work, on News Years Eve Translink is offering all services at no charge, starting in the evening.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Once again this year, TransLink is offering free rides on New Years Eve from 5 pm until the end of the service day, to make sure New Year’s revelers and everybody else gets home safely.

SkyTrain and SeaBus will run on Sunday schedules, but extending their service until 2:15 am.

Coast Mountain Bus Company will also follow the Sunday schedule, and extend service on some of its regular routes until 2:30am and in some cases 3:35am.

For more information check out Trankslinks website at [News1130]

It’s a much better option that passing out in the street, taking a cab (which you’ll have to wait hours to get) or crashing on my couch, cause there ain’t much room.

SFU logo a no-go

Simon Fraser University is erasing the two crosses from its coat of arms. University officials suggest that international students might be confused by the symbols and have the impression that the university is a privately-run religious institution.

It sounds a little fishy. First of all, international students are not idiots. Before they go and spend tens of thousands of dollars on tuition, they’re going to find out if SFU is an accredited university. The coat of arms is probably the last thing they would bother checking.

I suspect that this move may have more to do with the faculty’s discomfort with Christian symbols in general. Hopefully, that is not the case. Removing the cross symbols to avoid association with Christianity’s bloody medieval history makes about as much sense as taking physics off the curriculum because it was used to develop the atom bomb.

Face Lift for Bridge of Death

pattullobridge.jpgIt’s not that I enjoy writing about the “Bridge of Death” aka Pattullo Bridge [wiki], it’s that I feel I need to, really. First of all, who else will blog about New Westminster or Surrey, and the big ugly, rusted orange structure that spans the Fraser River between the two shores? [Bridge of Death]. Most would rather forget about it, and not consider it an option for daily travel, but there are some who really don’t have a choice.

Latest news is, the bridge will be getting some work done, which will make driving conditions slightly more pleasant but also more ideal for speed-freaks, don’t you think?

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – The Pattullo Bridge will get a new deck in the new year.
The mammoth task of rehabilitating the bridge deck and re-paving is expected to run into 2008.

Translink’s Ken Hardie says it won’t be an easy job, “The bridge deck, being built quite a long time ago, among other things, has asbestos in it, which means that extra care has to be taken when it’s being taken out, to make sure it doesn’t fly into the air or into the river.”

About $40-million worth of upgrades are currently underway.
There’s no word yet on whether Translink will install a permanent barrier down the middle of the bridge.

Hardie says a study looking into replacing the bridge will also continue in the new year, but warns a new bridge would cost $800-million. [CKNW]

I have a big problem with this entire issue, especially since the Lion Gate [wiki], a tall, green, lovely welcome to cruise ships and residents of the British Properties for which it was built, gets upgrades and a new coat of paint annually (or so it seems). Not that I’m opposed to it but really, shouldn’t all major thoroughfares get regular upgrades regardless of their landmark status?

The Pattullo is rickety, rusty and the railings and under side are painted some kind of pale blue you’d see in an elementary school bathroom circa 1950. The deck is far too small for the amount of traffic that crosses it daily, including emergency vehicles and commercial trucks. It’s overused and far far outdated. As for the repairs, well that’s great, but it seems like a band-aid solution for the time being. It hardly solves any of the major issues such as the width of the bridge and the dangers to drivers at all hours of the day, year-round. Lowering the speed limit from 60km/h to 50km/h didn’t really change much either.

I know I’m pretty biased, being born and raised on the other side of the Pattullo myself, but the problems are quite clear. Yes, it’s the taxpayers’ money, yes they just did seismic upgrades over the last year but the stats don’t lie [1, 2], the flowers laid in mourning every couple of months along the rails don’t either.

For more info on the effort to install a median: The John Heida Project.

Asbestos, I still can’t get over that…

First Night Surrey 2007

Ryan asked a little while ago what we’re all doing for New Years [mbv]. Well, here’s a great family-oriented, non-alcoholic option: First Night Surrey

Date: Sunday, December 31, 2006

Location: Central City Plaza – 13450 – 102nd Avenue, Surrey

Time: 4:00pm – midnight

Tickets: $10 for Adults – $5 for Children (6-10 years old) – 5 & under free

There will be ‘cosmic’ skating at the North Surrey Rec. Centre along with live music, craft tents, balloon art, etc.

There used to be First Night celebrations around the Lower Mainland and I believe there used to be one downtown as well. But I suppose the kiddies and family crowd doesn’t mesh well with whatever happens on Granville Street since we haven’t seen a First Night downtown in several years.

First Night Surrey is one of only two First Night celebrations, fully-sanctioned by First Night International, scheduled for New Year’s Eve in BC. Whistler will also be holding an official First Night celebration. First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art & music, ritual and festivity. First Night fosters public appreciation of visual and performing arts through an innovative, diverse and high quality New Year’s Eve program which provides a shared cultural experience, accessible and affordable to all. [CityofSurrey]

Vancouver Blogapalooza for December 25

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a roundup of the top holiday posts. Please note the Saturday Night Live sketch from Youtube, posted to provide some inspiration for those knuckleheads who now have four hours to come up with a gift for their special someone.

For some other Christmas gift ideas (assuming there was some SNAFU and you were unable to actually see your loved ones today or yesterday), Poppy at Beyond Robson has a few suggestions. I’m not really sure about a subscription for Bloodwars magazine, but to each their own…

Lights at English Bay inspired by the time-warp travel scene from a Space Odyssey – . Wild stuff. Thanks, Gus Greeper.

Happy Holidays 2006

With Christmas on the door steps it’s been relatively quiet here at the Vancouver Metroblog. “Not a creature was stirring, not even the Vancouver Metrobloggers.”

To all the faithful readers out there: Thanks for checking in on us, we all hope you’re enjoying the holidays. Have a great time with your friends and family this season.

If you know of someone new in town or not able to visit family or just don’t have very many friends, consider inviting them over for some eggnog or out for a coffee.

Ultimately be merry, enjoy the holiday and stay safe. You’ll definitely hear more from us soon!

PS. It’s not too late to go Elf Yourself.

Got wood?

Which is worth more – human beings or a forest?

It’s not an academic question, with so many charities asking for your donation right now. The devastation of Stanley Park has left the city’s Parks board with the unhappy task of asking for your help at the same time that people are going hungry and homeless on our chilled city streets. Out of a million trees in the park, a few thousand need to be replanted. Meanwhile, a few thousand human beings need something to eat and a place to sleep…

Meanwhile, Vancouver blogger Darren Barefoot has an excellent idea for dealing with all that fallen timber: give it to artists to carve crafts, furniture and art. Canada already has a terrible reputation for selling raw logs to other countries that export them back to us as finished products (at a value-added price). This would not only be good for the city; it might even set an example for our local captains of industry.

Santacon Vancouver: Update

beer_santa.jpgI had a post about Santacon a couple of weeks ago [mbv] which is a part of global Santarchy hijinx. Thanks to a tip from Keith, here’s an update on the event that took place Saturday, Dec. 16th.

BURNABY, B.C. (CP) – Even Santa can be a little naughty at times. RCMP were called to a disturbance at Metrotown Mall near Vancouver on Saturday and found a gaggle of 100 Santas carrying a gasoline container full of “a pungent mix of holiday cheer.”

“The Santas were relieved of their cocktails and sent on their way without incident,” RCMP said in a news release Tuesday.

“Santa was using public transportation and no reindeer were located. With the seizure of the Christmas spirits, police feel confident he will not be impaired at the reins and be on schedule for next week.”[Yahoo]

Naughty, naughty Santas. Did anyone attend? Feel free to leave a comment… names may be changed to protect the innocent

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