Archive for September, 2007

Trolleys, Reptiles, Perfume, Mexican Food & Boxes

Lorenzo's Mexican Restaurant

During the last week, I’ve built up quite a repertoire of interesting blog posts and new links from Vancouver’s bloggers. Time to close a few tabs on my laptop, so without further ado, have a look at these:

  • David of Loud Murmurs recently became an “online advocate for an improved transit system in Vancouver” in a recent article for the Westender. Read about the story behind the quotes here.
  • Our own Miss 604 wrote that the Surrey Reptile Refuge, open since 1992, is now closed due to lack of funding. How sad that another organization that helps unwanted pets is in limbo! Earlier this year, the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary had to leave its home and, though open, needs to find a new location. Hopefully the Surrey Reptile Refuge will find some way to open again soon.
  • Also on Miss 604, guest blogger Raul of the Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment blog (aka Hummingbird 604) rounds up Vancouver’s Mexican restaurants. Just like sushi in Vancouver – where it’s hard to find anything truly good and not frozen among all the fake, awful sushi places in Vancouver (I lived in Japan so I can be snobbish) – good Mexican food is quite rare. There’s even a card game called The Nacho Incident about Canada’s lack of good Mexican food. From the game’s description: “As Canadians have long suspected, Mounties have been arresting anyone caught with quality Mexican food since the 1970s.”
  • Malta-transplant Darren Barefoot blogged about strangers reading your supposedly anonymous blog using From the Grey Box as an example. This made me into an additional stranger reading the now less-anonymous blog too. Written about items found in a local apartment building’s giveaway box, the writer seems to be jolly and optimistic making the posts fun to read. Oh, and enthusiastic about the items. Yay for less cynicism in the world!
  • Finally, Monique of So Misguided links to another Vancouver blogger, this time a local perfumer who writes about her trade. Ayala Sender writes SmellyBlog about her company Ayala Moriel Parfums. Lately it seems to be updated about once or twice a week, which is perfect as some of the posts tend to be on the long side.

Enjoy reading!

(Above photo is of a Mexican restaurant, though not in Vancouver or even Metro Vancouver. It’s in Metro Vancouver’s honourary international suburb, Bellingham. Lorenzo’s is near the Bellis Fair Mall, good enough to make the drive, and represents the good Mexican food that rarely makes it over the border.)

As Seen From Capilano Suspension Bridge

This is the first and only ‘as seen from’ arrow that I have seen, but it appears to be a cheeky marketing campaign for Capilano Suspension Bridge. Has anyone else spotted these yellow arrows around town? If so, leave a link to your photo or Flickr photo in the comments.

Tree pointing to teeny tiny tree – on Mainland St in Yaletown

This is in your home right now, isn’t it?

Fruit Fly Bubble Blower

Originally uploaded by mplonsky.

With garbage collection stalled and private garbage collection companies starting to refuse to collect garbage themselves because of long wait times at the dump, we’re quickly becoming a city that stores its garbage inside, or possibly out back in the shed for those of us who have sheds.

Though we haven’t gotten around to bringing back the Black Death, we have really given a career boost to the hard working fruit fly. It used to be you didn’t really see too many of these guys unless you went over to that one friend’s apartment and looked in his kitchen. Now though they’re increasingly in even your clean friends’ places. At least my clean friends.

I hate to say it, but I think the Mayor has fallen under the influence of the powerful Fruit Fly Lobby. It’s the only explanation.

Looking forward to the Vancouver International Film Festival

On September 26th, Women In Film & Video Vancouver will be putting on a big networking event – Martini Madness – the night before the Vancouver International Film Festival starts on September 27th. Oh, how I would love to take photos Paparrazi style on a red carpet in town. But it’s not quite the star-studded event that the Toronto International Film Festival has become. I don’t think we’ll be seeing George Clooney in town for this event.

Judging from the website, there will be a good selection of Canadian movies. For some reason I’m curious about the documentary about Winnipeg. I think I’ll also check out Cochochi and Ballerina.

Between the networking events, the forum at the International Film Festival Centre PLUS all the movies, there will be lots of movie-related fun to attend.

Five songs about Vancouver

The Wheatpool

Originally uploaded by ‘daisies.

Five songs about Vancouver worth checking out:

– “Emily Carr” by The Wheat Pool [twp]: Just up on iTunes “Emily Carr” [itms], like most of the album, is a nice blend of alternative rock and prairie country music. It is perhaps the least Vancouver sounding of all of the songs that will follow in this list, owing more to the Edmonton birthplace of the band, but it’s subject matter holds true to anyone whose ever found themselves in Vancouver running away from the middle of the country.

– “Let the Ass Bray” by Spirit of the West [wp]: What’s more Vancouver than being miffed at an indie band refusing to enjoy their fame and just shutting up and playing their hit song? Years before Matthew Good was told to shut up and play guitar Vancouver band Spirit of the West was using a symphony orchestra to record a song about Thom Yorke being spoiled by Radiohead’s early “Creep” fame. One wonders what they thought of the Radiohead movie Meeting People Is Easy.

– “Vancouver Divorce” by Gordon Downie [gd]: Gordon Downie’s first solo album sort of got lost in the fact that he was also releasing a book of poetry to go with it, which is about as far away from the hockey arena venues of his day job in the Tragically Hip as you can get. When it stays on track though Coke Machine Glow is a really good album, or rather it has good songs.

– “Suburbia” by The Matthew Good Band [wp]: It might not say Vancouver anywhere in the lyrics, but one can’t help but feel that Matthew Good must have been writing these lyrics while riding the Skytrain, or taking public transit around Coquitlam. Still one of my favorite songs by the defunct group, “Suburbia” [itms] is really about pretty much everywhere these days.

– “Expo ’86” by Death Cab For Cutie [wp]: Though its hard to see how the lyrics directly relate to either Vancouver, or Expo ’86 the band is from Bellingham and the song is titled after our moment of pre-Olympic world fame. Though more about a failing relationship it’s title sets Vancouver as the backdrop said failing relationship. One imagines a music video complete with Science World and that robot.

Edit: The bonus number five song is after the jump. It was a terrible selection, and once I came up with Death Cab For Cutie I knew I had to move it away. However just so you can see how foolish I was the entry is saved in its original form after the jump.


The Canucks are kinda classy

Mario Lemieux vs. Dan Cloutier

Originally uploaded by GKYC.

I got an email from the Canucks human resources department yesterday telling me that I they were not interested in offering me the job that I applied for a month or so ago. This might seem like a little thing, but after a few months on the job hunt it’s actually one of the nicest things I’ve been able to say about a company.

For the most part people just ignore you unless they want to meet you for an interview. Which means that you’re never even sure if anyone read your application, or whether it got lost in an overly complicated submission system on some corporate website. That’s the norm.

The worst of course was when Apple did not contact me, but instead offered the job to two of my references. So I have to say that the Canucks are a bit better than any other company I’ve applied for.

NHL08 is some kind of greatness


Originally uploaded by gamertagradio.

Loads of great video games are developed in local studios, but nothing impresses our fellow Canadians like the fact that Electronic Arts’ Vancouver/Burnaby studios do the bulk of the work on their NHL franchise. If you’re like me you don’t get truly excited for a new season of hockey until you’ve lost a few hours of sleep trying to guide your team into the playoffs.

Critics, such as my former (freelance) employer IGN, have generally been a bit hard on the series for being overly arcade-y, especially when compared to the NHL2K series. This year though IGN is loving the EA [ign] and the game scored slightly better than NHL2K8.

Having picked it up last night and spent a few hours already, I must say the game is so much better this year than it’s ever been. The on-ice experience is splendid, and for the first time I feel like I’m actually playing a hockey game. Sure you can score the odd breakaway goal, but for the most part it’s about cycling the puck around the offensive zone before taking a shot instead of just setting up the glorious one-timer.

Oh and the Canucks’ much hated new jersey? It’s in there, but you’ll have to unlock it (and the other 2007-2008 shirts) with a code. Thankfully the code is after the jump.


Import the iPhone to Canada: the ultimate guide

iPhone Updated.

Originally uploaded by hamoozie.

With all the various unlocking methods coming out for the iPhone I was going to blog about them, but it turns out that Vancouver freelance designer Dave Shea has a very good post up on his own blog Mezzoblue [mzb] about how to get one of Apple’s new iPhones. Unlike 90% of the stuff that’s been in the local press about the issue of bringing an iPhone into Canada, his post is factual, understandable and helpful. It was so good it even got some link love from Daring Fireball [df].

The Province‘s article on the topic was hilariously bad, and ended up being just an ad for the over priced grey market stores that are selling iPhones locally for an obscene markup.

Meanwhile if you’ve been waiting for Rogers or Fido to get the iPhone in, my best guess is that you’re going to be waiting at least until midway through 2008. If they were going to launch them they’d want to get them out by at least October to maximize on the holiday season.

Myself? I’ve decided to wait and make do with my BlackBerry and the new iPod touch.

Are you Folding@home?


Last week I wrote an article about Stanford’s Folding@home distributed computing project [em], and got to wondering whether many people were doing it locally. I’ve been running the program on my PS3, letting it work through the night and when I’m out on the complex sciency stuff that it’s been assigned to work on. The graphical map showing where else other @home folders are shows that there’s quite a few other Vancouverites doing the same thing.

It’s nice to know that my Playstation is far smarter than me when it comes to the science, and it’s a game that I actually don’t lose all my lives playing. Given that we’re such a wired city, I’m interested to know how many Metblog readers are running the program on the PCs, PS3s or Macs. Any local folding teams out there?

For those not quite sure what I’m on about the Wikipedia article [wp] has this to say about the Stanford project:

Folding@home (also known as FAH or F@H) is a distributed computing project designed to perform computationally intensive simulations of protein folding and other molecular dynamics simulations. It was launched on October 1, 2000, and is currently managed by the Pande Group, within Stanford University’s Chemistry department, under the supervision of Professor Vijay S. Pande. Folding@home is one of the largest distributed computing projects. The goal of the project is “to understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases.”[

VIFF 2007

Alba Iulia Cathedral

Reminded by Oana of (and spurred on by the Georgia Strait‘s mention of the Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days), I bought my Vancouver International Film Festival tickets tonight.

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is one of the “must-see” films – finally! A Romanian film is the must-see film! A Palme d’Or winner, the films looks at a frantic girl trying to get an illegal abortion in the waning days of the communist regime. It’s supposed to be “harrowing” (according to the Herald Tribune), but a story that happened to a lot of Romanian women (and still happens in places where abortion is outlawed).

Also recommended is the cartoon version of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, itself a Cannes winner. If you haven’t read the book, Vancouver’s civic strike is no excuse. Use your Vancouver Public Library card to take it out from any other municipality’s library. Heck, take the Skytrain to the Metrotown branch of the Burnaby Public LIbrary. The comic tells the story of Satrapi’s childhood in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution.

I also guessed and bought tickets for five other potential goodies:

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