Archive for October, 2007

Meet Gassy Jack

It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Gastown, it doesn’t spew steam on the hour and it almost got run over last night. The “Gassy” Jack statue is the starting point for walking tours, seen in countless Flickr shots and photowalks but when I told someone the other day that Gastown is named after that man, they had no idea.

So just who is John “Gassy Jack” Deighton and why name a historic neighbourhood after him?

Photo Credit: Uncleweed on Flickr

Quick facts from the Wiki:

  • John started out as a Steamship operator for many years of his early life. However he was eventually forced to pursue other lines of work once he developed health problems (swelling of the legs and feet).
  • Between 1862 and 1867 John Deighton ran a bar in New Westminster, British Columbia. It was quite prosperous due to the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1862, however by 1867 business slowed down and he had to close it down.
  • He later opened a bar on the south side of Burrard Inlet at the behest of his old friend, Captain Edward Stamp (does Stamp’s Landing ring a bell?). He later named it the Globe Saloon.
  • Deighton was known as Gassy Jack because of his talkative nature and his penchant for storytelling

Photo Credit: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr

Little-known fact from

  • In 1867 when newly-arrived John “Gassy Jack” Deighton arrived at Burrard Inlet he told the mill workers there they could have all the whiskey they could drink if they helped him build his saloon. The Globe went up in 24 hours.

Now you know a bit more about the namesake for Gastown – and knowing is half the battle.

Popcorn for dinner

Last week, I got to see a screening of a movie called Things We Lost in the Fire courtesy of Women In Film & Television in Vancouver. I can’t turn down a free movie, but after someone told me the film was heavily approved by Oprah, I kind of knew I wasn’t the target market for the film. And honestly, after buying that crap book by the con man author (who shall remain nameless, but you know who he is) that Oprah brought on to her show twice – once to give him huge kudos and then a second time to rake him over the coals – I will always question her recommendations. My scathing review is here, if you’re interested. ANYWAY, the point is, I got to see a free movie and had popcorn for dinner at Tinseltown. I love that weird mall right near Chinatown. It’s such a mishmash of stores and empty spaces and has cool tiles on the main floor. It also has great Christmas decorations, not to mention those huge firecrackers and giant coins that dangle from the ceiling for Chinese New Year.

I did go to the mall over an hour early to pick up my tickets and then had some time to check out a new store in the mall called Yokoyaya 123. It’s like a mini-Daiso at the Aberdeen Mall (and looking at that website, it looks like they are owned by the same company) in Richmond. Everything in the store is priced at 1, 2, or 3 dollars. They have cutesy little Japanese tchochkes and other funky kitchen items and some special occasion decorations. It’s no Daiso – mainly because it lacks a good selection of crafty supplies, but it’s not bad in a pinch when you need some dollar store items. Or, when you need a big bag of jasmine rice for only $3.

The most interesting post about Vancouver’s strike you’ll read this week

No, not the one you’re reading right now, the one I’m directing you to at Beyond Robson.

It’s a member of the library union explaining her “no” vote in the strike. I suspect, especially on the pay-equity argument, she’s fairly representative of worker sentiments.

Oh, and hat-tip to ex-Metroblogger Travis for the pointer.

Does IKEA home delivery always suck?

Shopping at Ikea

Originally uploaded by tyfn.

I like IKEA. I’m not the sort of Tyler Durden whose going to blow up his apartment because the assembled Swedish furniture insults his political views. The furniture is generally pretty good, priced okay and who can get mad at the Swedes? Not I.

My recent trip out to the Coquitlam IKEA however was a bit more annoying than usual. Having bought something that was not going to be able to fit in my car, at least not with a passenger and the girlfriend just would not agree to taking transit back home, so I thought I’d give the home delivery a try. IKEAs in the lower mainland are always advertising the fact that home delivery anywhere within the Lower Mainland is only $39.

$39 anywhere within the Lower Mainland, except apparently Vancouver.

The strike rolls on and on

And on.

What seemed like a break in at least part of the strike ended up more a hollow victory than anything. The city’s inside workers returned to their jobs yesterday as their union decided to accept the city’s offer [cbc]. Except not at all locations, because anywhere that inside workers worked alongside outside workers is still a picket zone, and the inside workers will not cross the picket line. Which means that we continue to be screwed, and will continue to be screwed for the foreseeable future.

If this doesn’t end soon the city’s bloggers are going to run out of material.

Actually that’s already happening, the strike has gone on so long that the Vancouver blogging scene’s starting to recycle comedic material from other blogs. Maybe it was natural that using an animal related to the piles of garbage would be comedic fodder for personification, but now that Beyond Robson is using that shtick it’s hard not to conclude it’s jumped the shark.

From Metroblogging Vancouver September 17th:

“I hate to say it, but I think the Mayor has fallen under the influence of the powerful Fruit Fly Lobby.”

Later we revisited the joke at the start of October, in time for Beyond Robson to pick it up and run with it, substituting rats for fruit flies.

From Beyond Robson October 9th:

“Meanwhile the rats have set up blogs to try to influence the vote.”

They’ve gone back to that well a few times since then. At least recycling cuts down on the waste.

Destroyer and Vote Robot at Richard’s


Scratch Records [sr] is having a 20th anniversary show at Richard’s On Richards November 10th. The show is headlined by Destroyer but includes a smattering of other local and regional bands like The Pink Mountain Tops and every Kelowna indie kid’s favorite Vote Robot. That’s following their first 20th anniversary show on November 3rd with local group Black Mountain and Climax Golden Twins from Seattle.

Tickets for either show, or the middle show on the 9th, can be bought at Zulu, Scratch or Ticketmaster.

VIFF Reviews

With the Vancouver Film Festival having ended a little early for me (work is getting in the way), it’s time for wrap-up reviews:

Why aren’t our gangs still dressing snappy like?


Originally uploaded by darksandal.

Four girls all wearing purple just came into the store and my mind had a flashback to grade eight and our band trip where we travelled from Kelowna all the way to the big city of Vancouver. We billeted in with a school in Surrey, and the amazing thing we learned from all of our hosts was that when we went to Richmond we had better not wear purple.

Now it seems to me odd that all of the kids from the Surrey school who took one of our Okanagan Mission Secondary School band dorks felt the need to inform them that the colour purple was a gang colour in Richmond and that wearing said colour would get our asses capped. It seems so odd that reflecting on it now I have the feeling they may have been putting us hicks on.

If they were putting us on then it was a great joke, because we bought it. If they weren’t then I’d like to mourn the passing of a gentler day of gang warfare where instead of shooting up resturants at all hours our city’s gangs simply made sure they wore snappy gay positive colour schemes.

Anyone out there remember when purple was the big gang colour? Or anyone remember pranking a bunch of rubes from Kelowna?

Strike one out, two strikes remain

Dog and dog
So with one CUPE local ratifying, one CUPE local rejecting, and one CUPE local not ratifying enough, the strike is beginning to be less like a natural disaster (garbage everywhere) and more like a weather report (partly strike-y).

Being a dumb meatbag who would rather play Nintendo and teach my dog to not bark so much, maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention (I mean, what the heck, I live in the suburbs; I can’t smell the problem from here), but I have a few questions about the current state of the strike…

Christmas, go away you’re here two months early


Okay, I understand Christmas starting the first day of November. You’ve got Halloween out of the way and you’re looking for another reasons to decorate your apartment once the scary skeletons go back in the closet. I mean while you’re in the storage unit why not grab the lights and fake tree?

But the start of October? With IKEA already pimping the Christmas stuff, and egg nog already on store shelves [mbv] it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the fact that it’s not even midway through October is freaking me out. We should be trying to convince ourselves that we’re in the midst of an Indian Summer, not trying to down our sorrows out with images of chubby little cherubs praising Saint Nick.

So here’s the deal, if the city can’t get its act together and end this damn strike [cbc], then the very least they could do is pass a law banning Christmas at least until December. I don’t care if people want to give shopping a shot in the arm, we need at least a week between the end of summer and the start of Christmas and these days we’re losing that precious time.

Also anyone who has their Christmas lights up before November 1st, I’m going to find you and kick your plastic reindeer.

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