Archive for January, 2008

So that’s where my $4/month is going…

The provincial government announced an ambitious $14 billion plan today to expand and improve transportation around the Lower Mainland and the rest of BC. However, there is mixed reaction from people and politicians in the Fraser Valley to the plan.

[SOURCE]

I hate to sound like a grumpy person, but since I paid $99 for the month of January 2008 for a two-zoner, I can’t say I’ve really noticed an increase in my satisfaction with the whole bus experience. Where I notice it the most is in rush-hour coming home from downtown. We are all crammed in the bus with the bus driver yelling at us to move back, “Keep moving back, people! WAY BAAAAAAACK!” It’s like this every night on the way home. The SFU bus clears out by the time it gets to Hastings and Gilmore, but up to that point, it’s not a relaxing ride.

Perhaps I could be a bit more patient then with the changes. I’ve noticed the newer buses on the route I take are hybrid buses (partial battery powered to cut down on fuel, so YAY for that!) but they include fewer seats so there’s more room for stand ups. I can see that being a bit more appropriate for quick downtown rides, but all the way out to Burnaby? Well, I’m back to being grumpy again. If only I could run the show, right? JUST KIDDING.

The $14 Billion Transit Plan

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The provincial government has announced a massive plan, with lots of money, to increase the amount of public transit infrastructure in the province.

Of course, by “in the province” I mean $2.8 billion in bus improvements, with much of that going to Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and $10.3 billion to rapid transit in the Metro Vancouver area.

The key goal is to get the proportion of trips in Vancouver that use transit from 12% (today’s figure) to 17% by 2020.
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Terrorist bombing in Lahore

From Metroblogging Lahore [mbl]:

Eye-witnesses claim to have heard the blast from at least a kilometer away and that it shook office blocks, shops, GPO and the Lahore High Court building in the vicinity.

City’s emergency service, Rescue 1122, claims to have picked up 22 dead bodies while at least 70 of the critically injured have been shifted to the Mayo, Services and Ganga Ram Hospitals.

It seems not a month goes by when I don’t link to our sister blogs in Pakistan as some horrible event shakes their lives. In a part of the world where we have the luxury of being fairly certain that we will never face something so devastating it’s hard to understand how anyone could live with such ever present danger.

As much as people in Vancouver might bitch about the little inconveniences that the city throws up at us, from high rental prices to an idiot mayor or not being able to turn onto or off of Cambie Street, things like this regularly make me grateful that it’s Vancouver that I call home and that I was born into a comfortable, bomb free life in Canada though no merit of my own.

If praying is something you do offer one up for the people of Lahore this morning.

The Year of the Rat

Rat Stamps

In celebration of the up-coming Year of the Rat, Canada Post has put out some cute stamps. Look! It’s rats visiting Vancouver with their umbrellas!

The Annual Chinese New Year Parade is February 10th this year. And, just in case you’re interested in what kind of year this is going to be, here you go –


In the Year of the Rat, we can expect 12 months of plentiful opportunities and prospects not to mention being relatively free of turbulence, (which is great to know especially if you’re planning on making some long-term investments, starting new projects, or keeping the home fires burning brightly).

The world is a fine place and worth fighting for

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In his book U2: At the End of the World, Bill Flanagan writes about watching Sinead O’Connor record the song “You Made Me The Thief of Your Heart” in a dimly lit recording studio surrounded by candles and flowers. It was, Flanagan noted, how he used to imagine how all of his favorite records were recorded before he became a music journalist and discovered that most of the time studios have very little of the magic to them that music fans would like to believe they have.

I mention this not because I’m pitching for a spot with Metroblogging Dublin [mbd] but because I know more than I’d like to about the recording of Matthew Good Band’s The Audio of Being, and for a long time that’s come between me and a really good listen to the album. It was not recorded in ideal circumstances, the Matthew Good Band was barely on speaking terms with one and other and broke up shortly after its release. It gets dismissed as the contractual obligatory record, or the one where everyone in the band went crazy and tried to buy the dolphins in the Vancouver Aquarium for the world’s most expensive sushi dinner (a completely untrue rumor of excess that I’m starting right now).
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Hollywood out / Canada in


jPod

Originally uploaded by mushon.

The writer’s strike that’s put pretty much every television show on your viewing schedule on hiatus getting you down? Well fear not, there’s always Canadian television. Typically a four syllable word “Canadian” television no longer equals terrible.

For the most part.

Starting tonight is The Border on CBC [cbc], which is about an elite team of border agents the Immigration and Customs Security Squad (ICS). Shades of CSI? Spend a few minutes on the official site and it’s hard not to shake the overall slickness of the show which is a hallmark of the CSI franchise.

Tomorrow night, also on the CBC, is the premier of jPod [cbc] the err…. sitcom based on Douglas Coupland’s novel of the same name. We mentioned this a few months ago [mbv] and I still have the book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, but it seems to be infused with the whimsical quirkiness that pervades pretty much everything Coupland does. It’s that sort of willful uniqueness that people either embrace whole heartedly or hate with a passion of a million burning suns. How much of that personality will make it into the show remains to be seen, though the CBC generally is better towards creators than Hollywood networks.

Also coming from the CBC this week is Sophie, which looks like a show about attractive quirky people sleeping with each other. Friends without Central Perk.

On Friday is the start of MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives [cbc], a show about hockey wives. This is a Canadianization of a popular show type from England the best example of which is Footballer’s Wives [fbw]. Essentially blond women and fit young men sleep with each other in a game of musical beds until someone dies of a drug overdose.

Who said everything on television in the UK was a genius comedy hit like The Office or Extras?

Of course we should not forget the king of Canadian television drama Degrassi: The Next Generation [ctv]. Beloved both by Kevin Smith and generations of Canadians the show isn’t just a teaching aid for safe sex, it’s a smart teen drama that shames me for my secret love of The O.C.

So if we want our comedy and drama doses over the next few months, we’ll have to start thanking the Liberals for keeping Can-Con requirements. Otherwise I’m sure Global [gtv] will have something from down south, a show about stars dancing with hobos or something. That is unless the ICS stops the show at the border.

Restaurant Review: The Press Box

My husband and I hopped over to the Rink on Renfrew today to watch the Vancouver Giants kick some Kamloops behind, 8-1. During the game we weren’t too hungry for any Triple O burgers but once that final buzzer rang, we needed nourishment before hopping on that bus back downtown.

What we came across the The Press Box, a newly re-opened establishment adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express on Hasting and Renfrew. Walking in we saw lovely photos of hockey heroes, brick walls, leather arm chairs and a lot of flat panel TV screens. We were probably two of 8 patrons at that time and the entire place was quiet and calm as Law and Order: SVU was playing on the big projection screen.

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Shortly after we sat down the TVs flipped over to Sports Center and we ordered a few drinks while I soaked up some Holiday Inn (free) wifi with my iPhone. The menu is pretty diverse, from pub fare (club sandwiches and fish n’chips) to pastas and curries.

My husband said the ceasar (drink) that he ordered was one of the best he’s tasted and once our food arrived it was pretty good. Our minds weren’t blown but it was pretty tasty and I couldn’t even finish all of mine – I’ll enjoy it again for lunch tomorrow.

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When the bill arrived the cost of our two meals plus two drinks was less than $30. Not too shabby. We’ll be back to try it again but next time it will be BEFORE a Giant’s game so that we can enjoy their specials and hopefully a little more ambiance.

The Press Box is located at 2889 Hastings Street East, Vancouver.

Filmed in Vancouver: Juno


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Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Movies filmed in Vancouver tend to range from the sort of indie fare that nobdy ever sees, to the big budget science fiction comic book movies that nobody ever cares about. Sure I love the X-Men films, but that’s because I’m a big comics nerd, but let’s face it they’re not exactly great art. It’s very rare that one of the year’s best movies comes out of Vancouver, in fact the last one that comes to mind is The Sweet Hereafter which was filmed aroud Merritt. The difference is that The Sweet Hereafter was a Canadian movie that caught Hollywood’s attention, as opposed to a Hollywood movie just using Vancouver to film.

Juno though is that American movie filmed in Vancouver that really manages to be an incredible picture. Though billed as a teen comedy, which puts it in a catagory with the American Pie movies, but it’s really a film about teenagers. Ellen Page, who before this was probably most recognized as Kitty Pryde in the last X-Man movie, gives a performance that is worthy of an Oscar and has already earned a Golden Globe nomination.

I don’t want to get into too much detail about the film, because I think that the more you can be surprised by it the more you will appreciate it. It’s one of last year’s best movies, and since it’s still in Vancouver theatres I feel a responsibility to make you understand that you need to see this movie. Seriously go see it. It’s a great film, one of the best that Vancouver has ever produced.

Dine Out Vancouver 2008


Dine Out at Cassis Bistro ($25)

Originally uploaded by w_yvr.

That’s right, it’s a new year and that means the Dine Out Vancouver menus are up online [tv] and it’s time to get your eat on. For those of you playing a long at home Dine Out Vancouver is a program by Tourism Vancouver where a number of local restaurants offer reasonably priced set menus (between $15 and $35) for a few weeks to give locals, tourists and others a chance to taste their fare, while bringing in business for restaurants during their slower post-Christmas period.

This is the program’s sixth year, and every year it gets more and more popular. I’d suggest getting reservations as soon as you can, especially if there’s somewhere specific you want to eat. Lydia’s already got a whole host of eateries booked for us, and she was online the day the menus came out to make sure we got to go where we wanted.

For our past bits on Dine Out Vancouver just check here [mbv]. From personal experiance I’d suggest Aurora Bistro [mbv] and Raincity Grill.

Dine Out Vancouver runs from January 16th until February 3rd.

Note: The menu pictured is from last year, please check the website for an updated Cassis Bistro menu.

Help Find A Local Vancouverite

You may have already heard about this, or you may have not. If you’re on Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, or practically connected in any other way online you may have heard about a fellow Vancouverite Hady Quan that went missing whilst he was helping rescue someone off the shores of Punta Cana.

Apparently there hasn’t been much official help on the other end in searching / finding Hady. As a result many of his friends have taken this online to help bring attention to the matter and hopefully put pressure on the local departments in hopes they’ll be able to help out and hopefully it’s not too late.
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