Archive for November, 2007

Once again we’re looking for authors

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Here at Metroblogging Vancouver we’re always on the lookout for a few good bloggers. That’s right it’s another author drive here at Metroblogging Vancouver, and we’ve got volunteers manning telephones ready for your call. Okay, so we don’t have anyone waiting for your telephone call but we are taking authors. That means if you like the vibe here at MB Vancouver, you can be a part of it.

We are currently looking for bloggers who can post about life in Vancouver three or more times a week. As part of the original city blog network your work will be exposed by a large international audience, we have regular readers from pretty much every corner of the world, and you’ll be a part of an exciting team boasting some of this city’s best blogging talent. It’s great exposure for your own personal blog, and as long as you’re writing about Vancouver we have no particular editorial mandate.

This is your blog Vancouver, and we’d love more of you to use it as your voice.

To join Metroblogging Vancouver please our application site [mb] or email me [jks].

Four years of Metroblogging

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Metroblogging [wp] is turning four years old today. Starting in LA with Blogging LA [bla] the world wide blogging network has expanded to over 50 cities dotting the world like the chicken pox dot a young child’s face. Though Vancouver’s planet in the Metroblogging universe hasn’t been around quite as long, we started just over two years ago, I am quite proud of the part we’ve played.

Some sites might claim to blog past downtown Vancouver, but with Metroblogging we’re part of a network that touches an incredibly diverse set of cities and different cultures. Being able to watch our Pakistan blogs deal with their recent political troubles [mb] was an incredibly revealing experience. We’ve been lucky in Vancouver, and Canada, not to have good blogging opportunities like that or the riots in Dublin [mbv] to challenge us. It makes me appreciate my ability to complain about the strike without having to worry about being hurt in the process.

We Like Roy

Ever been to a museum that had an admission fee that was by donation? Have you ever paid more than the suggested amount? … Ever paid less?

Simpsons fans will know the title of this post is in reference to the episode with Brad Goodman, a motivational speaker that encourages the impressionable townsfolk of Springfield to “do what you feel.”

A little while ago Radiohead introduced the same type of thinking when they released their new album online. The cost? Whatever you felt like paying.

Apparently this simple idea based on personal opinion and pretty much the honor system is catching on around Vancouver.

Instead of set menu prices, customers are encouraged to pay only what they think the meal is worth, by considering factors like ingredients, labour and service.

Vancouver’s own Rhizome CafĂ© is among the restaurants giving the idea a go and co-founder Lisa Moore says so far, she hasn’t lost any money. [News1130]

What could this type of thinking do to certain businesses in Vancouver? I really don’t think it will be very widespread, although the publicity and hype surrounding a promotion like this might pay off. There’s one thing I’m sure of, all those restaurants in Yaletown that charge $9 for a bowl of tomato soup might not get the returns they’d hope for.

Matchstick, please stop the spam

Matchstick is a promotions company, one that gives bloggers tech toys to play with in the hopes of them blogging about the experience and thus getting readers to buy their stuff. Some of us, including myself, took them up on their offer of a Nokia cell phone last summer [mbv] and they’ve been trying to recruit local bloggers to try out yet another failed Samsung MP3 player that’s half iPod copy and half DRM cage.

I turned them down this time around, as I think did some others. Today Yvonne from Matchstick seems to have spent most of her working day spamming our comments. The first time I asked her to stop but the same message kept appearing again and again. So now I’ll be clear, since I’m assuming you’re not a spam bot Yvonne, stop using our comments to advertise.

Thank you.

Olympic Mascots: it could be worse.

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Much, much worse. For your delectation, the Beijing Olympics present a gallery of the horrible ghosts of olympic mascots past.
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No, it’s still not coming to Canada


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Originally uploaded by shapeshift.

Hey bloggers, want some quick hits on your blog? Then just do the following, claim that the iPhone is about to be released in Canada and reuse the same fake ad that’s been floating around the internet for the past six months. I noticed a significant pickup in the number of people coming through the store asking about the iPhone the last few days and it appears that once again bloggers have faked a story saying Rogers is about to get it and that stores are taking pre-orders.

That’s completely untrue. I’d link to one of the blogs but a) I don’t want to give them the traffic since they’re just link bait, b) the site that I found it on keeps crashing my browser which is always a testament to poor web design.

If the iPhone was coming this year it would already be announced and on store shelves for Christmas. When/if it does come to Canada you’ll hear about it, and not just through bloggers that nobody has seen before, it’s not like either Rogers or Apple are media shy, they’re not going to sneak it onto the shelves without telling anyone. My guess is that the earliest we’d see it is Feb-March after Macworld. It’s possible that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will roll out the next set of nations ready for iPhone-age during his keynote address, but I am pretty sure that we won’t see it before then.

Still now all you new bloggers have the secret weapon to getting hits. Please use it wisely.

Olympic mascots are actually pretty good

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When I say actually pretty good I mean that they’re shockingly good. Olympic mascots don’t exactly have a history of being memorable, interesting or anything more than a way of selling some t-shirts but these are actually pretty cute. Which is to say they’re going to sell a lot of t-shirts. They’re really kid friendly and are pretty Vancouver specific, as opposed to say a giant spring or squiggle.

From the CBC [cbc]:

Miga is a mythical First Nations sea bear that is part killer whale and part Kermode spirit bear, “who lives in the ocean with her family pod, beyond Vancouver Island, near Tofino, British Columbia,” according to a VANOC press release.

Quatchi is a “young sasquatch who comes from the mysterious forests of Canada.”

The third mascot, Sumi, an animal-guardian spirit, is a Thunderbird that wears the hat of an orca. Sumi will be the mascot of the Paralympics.

Maybe it’s a case of lowered expectations, and I’m sure my praise of them is not going to be universal.

Plastic Bag Ban

Reusable Shopping Bags

With all the clamour about using cloth bags instead of plastic bags rising in recent months, more and more people are buying the recycled plastic heavy duty supermarket bags from Save-on Foods (and its stepsister PriceSmart Foods), Superstore and even smaller supermarkets like the three-store Tropicana Foods.

With Vancouver City Councillor Tom Stevenson proposing an investigation into plastic bag alternatives, I am personally hoping for a plastic bag ban throughout the GVRD, er, Metro Vancouver area.

I already use a combination of Saveon, Michaels and Telus bags; however, I often forget to bring the bags with me until I am already at the checkout. Thus, I end up with more plastic bags every third time or so when I shop. Unfortunately, while I never shop except for food and a few other essentials, the majority of people shop far more and thus use up far more plastic bags – not to mention the excess packaging and, quite frankly, the useless bric-a-brac that the actual product most often is.

Thus, a plastic bag ban would force all of us to re-think at least one portion of our materialistic existence. It would force people like me, who try but fail, to try harder and not fail so easily. Besides, if it was so easy for generations before us to live in a less disposable society, why can’t we do it? We’re smarter these days, have broader life experiences, and we’re not as naive as our grandparents.

The CBC site already has 42 comments on possible ban, with many that deserve further investigation:
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Used to ride around here up on my high horse


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Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

While blogging about Buy Nothing Day the other day [mbv] I had to stop myself from turning the post into a bit long rant about Adbusters and I wanted to seperate my rant about Adbusters from my general notion of being a bit perplexed that anyone really cares about Buy Nothing Day. What set me off on my anti-Adbusters rant, well their Blackspot Shoe brand.

No, wait, it’s not a brand it’s an anti-brand. Because if something is marketed by anarchists it’s not marketing or capitalism it’s Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Or something. I’m not quite clear on it, but apparently it’s the natural response to Nike buying Converse and nobody having anything socially acceptable to wear to watch Clash cover bands anymore. Sure it’s great to market an ethically constructed shoe, but didn’t Bono get mocked by the Converse wearing set for doing exactly the same thing [msnbc]? Aren’t there loads of non-sweat shop shoes on the market? Why does a magazine against consumerism need to become a company making consumer goods?

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Ban plastic bags now


Shopper’s dress, pie!

Originally uploaded by mleak.

With London becoming the world’s largest plastic shopping bag free city [lg] isn’t it about time that Vancouver got serious about the issue? Vision Vancouver councillors are in favour of it [cbc], and it would be a quick way for Sam Sullivan to pick up some good karma points after putting us all through the hell of the civic strike. With most major super markets already selling fairly reasonable priced reusable bags, there’s really no excuse to not implement it. True it might be a financial burden on some lower income families, but it’s really only a one time purchase of around $1.99 per bag, so maybe $10 for a moderate sized family.

Now it might be more of a symbolistic move, as opposed to solving all of the enviromental issues of the city, but it would be a nice first step. It would also be nice to have it in place for 2010, to highlight Vancouver’s progressive stance on the enviroment. Or to start the city having one.

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