Archive for September, 2007

The New Pornographers :: Commodore Ballroom


When I saw the New Pornographers in Seattle opening for Belle & Sebastian at the Paramount Theater, I was quite disapointed by the fact that the show was basically A.C. Newman [wp] and backing band. Their set was still good, and while many of my favorite TNP songs are from Newman, it was just missing a few key elements. Key elements like the rest of the supergroup. I was reluctant to shell out the money to see them again, this time at the Commodore, even with the knowledge that Newman would be joined by the full The New Pornographer’s cast.


Thankfully Lydia ignored my reluctance and bought tickets anyway, because The New Pornographers live with their (mostly) full lineup is a sight to behold. Sure not having been back home to Vancouver in awhile their stage patter was a bit out of date, I think we as a city are more concerned with the strike then the mayoral elections being rigged, and unusually for the Commodore the mix on the music levels were kind of treble-riffic but it was a great show.

The New Pornographers are by birth, if not by domicile, a local band with all of the major members having spent some significant time in the city of glass. If you’re not familiar with their sound they’re a power pop/rock group who according to the Wikipedia [wp] are:

highly influenced by such power pop bands as The Cars and Cheap Trick, although their songs are generally of a greater melodic and harmonic complexity.

After the jump there’s more on the show, more pictures and even video. Crappy video.

Dealing with garbage during the strike


Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

1) Malls have garbage cans. Walk around Metrotown, Oakridge or your local mall with a big bag of garbage and empty it as you should. Think of it as giving back to your local merchants, or reverse consumerism.

2) Use your empty beer cans, boxes and what we used to narrowly define as “garbage” to create art. Enter your creations into a found art event and maybe win a prize. Maybe sell your art/garbage to a wealthy art collector. Maybe get yourself a life partner who uses the word “po-mo” a lot.

3) Move to the suburbs. All the usual complaints about living in the city seem kind of quaint now that we’re up to our knees in our own shit, don’t they?

Cheapie Sunday: The Word On The Street

Date: September 30th
Time: 11AM – 6PM
Cost: FREE

I always enjoy a good book and attribute that to the great job the schools I attended did of encouraging me to read. I believe Vancouver schools generally do a great job of instilling a sense of joy in reading (albeit they do fight a hard fight with those pesky video games…Halo 3 anybody?).

Regardless this weekend on Sunday will be the 13th annual “The Word On The Street” festival. It’ll be around Library Square and out front the Canada Post thanks to the strike.

With Author readings, exhibits and other performances I suspect it will be another smashing success. The program guide can be found at local Starbucks if you don’t want to jump over to their site. Now get off the computer and go read a book!

Canucks on Your Dashboard

What’s the quickest, fastest way to look up schedule info when someone turns to you and asks, “is there a game on tonight?” Of course they *must* be talking about the Canucks right? But aside from having the Shoppers calendar handy, what else can you do?

I recently came across a blog post about a new dashboard widget for sports teams (this is the pro-Mac portion of the blog post).

With the hockey season fast approaching, like many Canadians, I’m starting to get psyched. It’s not enough that I have the Leafs schedule added to my Google Calendar, I have to have them on my dashboard too. Enter Conference Call Omni. Oh and yeah, it works with pro football (and lots of other sports/leagues). [SimpleHelp]


Okay so we’ll just ignore the fact that the author is a Leafs fan and I’ll tell you how simple it is to get the Canucks schedule on your desktop, and at your fingertips, on demand.

Conference Call OMNI provides a centralized source of schedule and scoring data for a variety of sports: Collegiate and professional basketball (men’s and women’s), Collegiate and professional football, Professional baseball, Professional hockey, Professional men’s soccer, Professional auto racing [DL & DS]

The widget is working great for me so far despite the fact that it’s linked up with Fox Sports. However I’m not sure if it displays results from past games and it’s not showing anything for the pre-season.

You can also get several versions of the schedule from They have iCal downloads for home and road games as well as snazzy “infuzer” schedules you can put in your Lotus Notes – there, something for the PC users out there.

For multi-platform formats they also offer Excel, CSV and PDF versions.

That should cover anyone but if you know of a better up-to-the-minute source for schedule and game information, leave a note in the comments.

Eleanor Roosevelt has died again: They Might Be Giants in Vancouver


Though there are still a few months left in 2007 we can all safely stay at home and not attend any more concerts until the New Year, because the best show of this one has already happened. They Might Be Giants may have had their swaggy merch seized by Canadian Customs but they managed to bring the noise and prompt me to dive deep into the rock and roll cliché box of tricks. Though perhaps too whimsical for some people, they had an extended dialog with Eleanor Roosevelt from beyond the grave (video from another show after the jump) and performed a song from one of their children’s albums, they are in fact far beyond some simple parody band or novelty act.

While playing hide the camera with the Commodore’s security staff the entire night, I was warned once about taking pictures with my small digital camera and was trying to get some bloggable shots without being ejected, I enjoyed myself quite a bit more than usual. The crowd lacked the usual idiots that end up thrashing about on the Commodore’s dance floor more intent on hurting those around them than enjoying the music, and the venue itself was a perfect fit for the band who I last saw a few years ago at Seattle’s Paramount. Rebecca has a really good post about the Commodore, if anyone’s interested [m604] in the building’s history.

What if Mulroney came to town, would we care?

Apparently not, at least not if the Mulroney is Brian and not Ben. Walking past the Chapters on Robson street while on my way to the They Might Be Giants show (more on that in future post), I spotted this sign in the window. Glancing at my watch I noticed that it was in fact the exact time the former Prime Minister of Canada was supposed to be speaking about his autobiography in that very store.

Let me tell you, the release of Harry Potter books gets more of a crowd than Mulroney because the store was dead. In fact if it’s possible he was actually repelling people because I’ve never actually seen the store that slow.

Is it just that Mulroney is the least sexy of the Prime Ministers? I’d like to think Jean Chrétien would have gotten a turn out. Maybe not Paul Martin, but like Kim Campbell we can’t really count him because he was just the chump left in charge until someone better came along. Al Gore comes to town and the former American Vice President and current coy Presidential non-Candidate is treated like a king. Meanwhile Mulroney draws less of a crowd than Sarah Vowell.

Maybe they should have made it clear that he was not going to sing.


Vancouver’s Dumbest Criminal?

On Friday, Workspace celebrated it’s first birthday. This open, creative, alternative working environment in Gastown has enjoyed a successful venture so far. Last week it was also named the best reason to get out of bed in the morning (and go to work) in the Georgia Straight‘s ‘Best of Vancouver‘. It has also been host to various tech community events such as DemoCamp and BarCamp – always welcoming geeks, nerds and tech evangelists with open arms and kick ass coffee.

Unfortunately last week someone broke in and stole 6 computers, including the big iMac at the front counter. You know… the one everyone uses for Flickrbooth fun?

They took with them four laptops and our two iMac’s. We have the crime on tape, but weren’t able to capture a high res. image. [billmcewen]

This morning Kris Krug was checking one of Workspace’s Flickr accounts and noticed something strange… a photo of a tattooed man, “me”, uploaded to the account. Sirens started to go off and everyone soon realized that this was more than likely the thief (or one of them). He was using the stolen computer to upload photos of himself to Flickr without thinking to log into his OWN Flickr account. Busted.


If you know this man, or his tattoos or anything that can identify him, please email INFO [at] ABETTERPLACETOWORK [dot com].

Meeting the Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels
After being invited to be a friend on facebook, I decided to meet the Guardian Angels in the flesh. I figured their uniforms (the hats, especially) would make for great photos. Also, I was interested in why someone would volunteer his/her time to walk the saddest areas of our city. I wasn’t clear about what they do, although I understood they weren’t the police. I knew the organization started in the US, but that’s about it. I did a little research and found a comment online that kept going through my mind – “I was happy to see the Guardian Angels on the skytrain many nights when I used to work the night shift.”

Steve invited me to go for a walk with them on a patrol so I packed up my camera and my husband and met them down at the McDonald’s at Tinseltown. We met up with Steve, Wally, Liam, Phoenix and a new recruit, Brandon.

Paid jobs posted for the Olympics

It was brought to my attention today that there are paid positions posted at the Vancouver 2010 website. I’m not sure why I assumed they were looking for volunteers only. When I lived in Calgary during the build up to the 1988 Winter Olympics, there was no shortage of volunteers – all in it for the red and white Canada track suits. It was cooler to volunteer than it was to get a paid job for the big event in town. Me? I ended up working at the concession stand at one of the venues where they had figure skating. It was fun, but sad when I got all my Olympic pins stolen off my jacket in the staff coat closet. Bummer.


If you haven’t heard the news, for the first time in over 30 years, the Canadian Dollar reached equivalent value to the US Dollar.

Soon it will be the Canadians, not the Americans, tossing out the other country’s change. “Damn worthless american nickels — I *hate* when I get these things.”

But other than that, and the pride and bragging rights of phrases like “The Almighty Dollar” now having a truly ambiguous reference, what does it mean to every day Vancouverites?

A disclaimer that calling myself any kind of financial analyst would be a stretch at best, there are still the less esoteric effects:

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