Archive for August, 2007

“Helping the Needy Get Nerdy. . . .”

Free Geek Vancouver

Who has handled over 8 tonnes of computer equipment since June of 2007? Not the kid down the street selling PS3’s on eBay, if that’s what you were thinking.

It’s the Free Geek Vancouver Technology Centre [link], whose coordinator, David Repa, contacted me after my post last week about the new BC electronics recycling program. Herbert had already written a little about his conversation with David Repa at the Massive conference earlier this year [mbv], but, when David offered to show me “a much closer to home recycling option,” I thought the program sounded interesting enough to get the full tour.

First of all, “recycling option” doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Free Geek Vancouver is about. Sure that’s where it starts: the 2nd Avenue facility (between Main and Quebec) accepts unwanted computer hardware, working or not, every week on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

But that’s only the beginning. . . .

Gone for the weekend, fend for yourselves

Valley View

Here at Metroblogging Vancouver we kinda, sometimes, maybe, blog about the rest of British Columbia, at least until they launch a Metroblogging Telegraph Cove we’re pretty much willing to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the GVRD. Having said that I probably won’t be doing any blogging this weekend while I return to the interior and spend the next four days in Kelowna.

That’s right I’m trading in rational public transportation for a grid locked floating bridge, a multi-cultural melting pot for a mecca-of sunburnt Albertans and Americans (there is not much difference) and no chance of being mauled by a cougar to a decent chance to being mauled by a cougar. Having said that I’m up on my cougar evasion techniques, and plan to use a pedal boat to get anywhere I need to go, so I should be good.

Take care of yourselves while I’m away. To quote Fake Steve Jobs [fsj], Namaste.

Cheapie Saturday: PNE


Date: August 18th
Time: 9AM – 12PM (NOON)
Cost: FREE

If you’re a Vancouverite, despite how much it may be the same year after year you still find yourself going to the Pacific National Exhibition aka The PNE. Well to mark their opening Saturday August 18th, admission will be FREE!

I’m sure it’ll be crowded as it usually is, but this is a great opportunity to get out and do something with minimal cost and damage. Beware of bruised ankles from all the baby buggies. The PNE is just so family friendly!

Apparently there will be an extra IAMS Superdogs and Peking Acrobats shows at 10AM so there’s definitely stuff to see and do on the opening day.

Welcome Metro Vancouver

Kent Brockman

Originally uploaded by tinchouse.

Urban Vancouver’s got a dead sexy poll on the potential rebranding of the Greater Vancouver Regional District to “Metro Vancouver” [uv]. I voted for the Kent Brockman quote myself.

It’s an interesting idea, but does it actually change anything? I mean when I lived in White Rock I told people from outside the lower mainland that I lived in Vancouver. Hell when I moved from Kelowna to France I told people that I was from Vancouver. So how is this exactly going to help anyone, aside from people in the media who would be able to avoid the mouthful that is the GVRD. Or am I missing something wonderful here?

The city blog scene

Vancouver along the sea

The blog business is a tough business my friend. You need to be Gordie Howie or Mark Messier when you go into the corners, elbows out ready to take out an opponent’s eye so that you can get the puck before he does. There is a war going on, to shift metaphors in mid-paragraph, and to the winner goes the prize of seventy-two raisins. Huh? What? There’s no raisins? So then why is everyone so angsty around these parts?

Since I get enough competition in my job as a trainer for the competitive Penguin Fighting League (West Coast Circuit), I’m not into recasting the local city blog scene as some sort of death match where only one can win. I mean I regularly see spitting mad spheniscus so how interesting are bloggers who haven’t had their am coffee to me?

As a sign that we at Metroblogging Vancouver have no real interest in this undeclared blog war I’d like to take this moment to highlight a few of the city’s other great group blogs. If I’ve left one out it’s because it’s just slipped my mind, and not because I was trying to suplex it into submission, so if there’s one you’d like to see profiled then shoot me a link [jks]. This doesn’t mean that I love everything about each of those blogs, like us here they’re all imperfect, but I’d rather build the local blogging community by being positive not by “winning”.

The blogs, after the jump.

Come see Vancouver from my balcony

The Westin Bayshore at the end of the world, or just in Vancouver

All of my photos that I’ve uploaded to Flickr have a Creative Commons licence on [wp], and thus can be reused by other people for various projects. It’s of course polite for those people to give me a heads up, so when I got a message from Schmap!! [wp] asking if they could use a few of my photographs in a project I was cool with it.

Schmap!! is a series of city guides built ontop of Yahoo Maps which give visitors to the city a way of exploring the town they’re looking at travelling before even leaving the ground. Their Vancouver site [sv] is quite nice, and if you’re looking to visit the city it’s worth checking out.

The odd thing for me, one of the pictures of mine they used was taken from my balcony as opposed to during a walk-about-town with my camera. So now tourists all over the world get to experiance Vancouver from the comfort of my apartment.

The Amazing Hunt is On

Being an avid Amazing Race fan, when I found out last year that there was a local version for Vancouverites I jumped at the chance to participate.

Since September 2004, The Amazing Hunt introduces this new racing style which provides an opportunity for you to discover a city’s hidden treasure… its culture, landmarks, and history. Our goal is to create a positive and healthy lifestyle in your community while promoting local tourism, business, and charity. [The Amazing Hunt]

Early this spring I had the chance to compete in the Granville Island edition. The Amazing Hunt operates a new race every few weeks, giving you the chance to participate in the region of your choice. Complete with footraces, eating challenges, brain teasers and obstacles of all sorts, the Amazing Hunt also includes elements of the TV show such as “Merge” and “Detour”.

Aside from being a great way to spend a day in the city, it’s also an excellent team builder for offices and groups alike.

The next race is August 11th in Vancouver, followed by September 8th in Surrey and October 20th in downtown Victoria. Visit the main site or blog for more details, I guarantee you’ll have a blast!

Krause Berry Farms

Krause Farms 2

Yes, the blueberries are ready for picking. There are wagons for the most enthusiastic of berry pickers. Good luck with the raspberries at this point in time, though. The donkey was hiding out, but the brochure assures that it is there. There are pies to be had, both fresh (phone ahead because they sell out fast) and frozen: raspberry, strawberry, peach berry (mmm) and others! Langley’s 30-year-old Krause Berry Farms has all that and a playground for the kids.

Yet…who cares about that?

The best things about the berry farm were these great examples of naïve art:

Chuck Berry


Marion Berry

Of course, you want to rush out to celebrate this exuberant local folk art! An easy trip off the Trans-Canada, here’s the complete address:

6179 248 Street
Langley, BC

Tel: (604) 856-5757

Let’s all waste power

Doors open at Roots

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Stores on Robson Street always have their doors open during business hours, so it was a surprise when I passed the Roots the other day and saw a sign in the window saying that they were keeping the doors closed to conserve on energy. It seemed like a great idea. With most of the stores running their air conditions a full blast to compete with the hot air wafting in from the street the idea of keeping the door shut to cut down on energy seemed so clever it could actually be obvious.

Since then I’ve been noticing which stores are keeping their doors open or closed during the heat. Some stores on Robson, like the Rogers on Jervis which I’ve worked at, don’t have AC so keeping their doors open is the only way the staff can keep from fainting from the heat. Others like Banana Republic always seem to have their doors closed. Most though have both AC and open doors.

Roots loses points for a) running an environmental campaign at the same time as keeping their doors open and b) clearly showing that they know better by making an issue out of having the doors closed one day but then not repeating that achievement regularly.

Note: My girlfriend will at some point in the comments call me a hypocrite because I keep my air conditioning on during the summer even at times when I’m not home. I however do not leave my windows and patio door open at the same time, and am not running a multi-million dollar environmental campaign to champion my green image.

MB Twin Cities: Bridge collapse coverage

Metroblogging Minneapolis is covering the 35 West over the Mississippi River collapse. The inital thread which they’ve been updating is here [mbm] and then they’ve got an open thread with updates and comments from bloggers and readers alike here [mbm]. I haven’t had time to watch the YouTube footage they’ve got up there, or watch any TV news on the disaster, but it’s sounding fairly horrific.

They also have information on the posts about donating to the Red Cross and local relief agencies.

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