Archive for April, 2008

Tazzu WordPress Camp

Tazzu WordPress Camp, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

We were really packed in at the network hub tonight. Many standing, more sitting on the floor.

Rebecca – who also blogs here – live blogged the event on her Miss604 blog and also explained how to embed photos into a WordPress blog – with nifty tricks for those who do not use

I suspect that most people there use and want to make some income from blogging – John Chow seemed to get the most attention. You cannot, of course, insert ads into

Tourist Trapped Town

Tourism is the number one industry in these parts, which isn’t a bad thing at all, however some of the hot-spot destinations on the old fashioned trolley tour often leave locals shaking their heads wondering what the appeal could possibly be for a steam clock that no longer even operates on steam?

Photo Credit: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr

This morning while listening to the lovely Jeff O’Neil radio program on CFOX they mentioned an article on featuring the top 15 worst tourist traps in the world. Here are the top (worst) places in North America from that list:

  1. San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf
  2. Chicago: Sears Tower
  3. Washington, D.C.: International Spy Museum
  4. Las Vegas: Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
  5. New York City: Times Square
  6. Seattle: Experience Music Project
  7. Boston: Faneuil Hall Marketplace
  8. Los Angeles: Hollywood
  9. Orlando: Animal Kingdom
  10. Chicago: Navy Pier
  11. Las Vegas: Stratosphere Tower

Another quick Google search lead me to CNN’s list compiled last summer of the most “disappointing sites” around the world:

  1. The Eiffel Tower, Paris
  2. The Louvre, Paris
  3. Times Square, New York
  4. Las Ramblas, Barcelona
  5. Statue of Liberty, New York
  6. Spanish Steps, Rome
  7. The White House, Washington DC
  8. The Pyramids, Egypt
  9. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
  10. The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Let’s say there was a “top ten worst tourist traps” for Vancouver, which would you pick? I already stated one of my preferences for such a title in the first paragraph but I’m certain there are others.

Farewell to the E901 trolleybus

2707 at Marpole 20080427

While the last run in service was on April 20, some fan trips have been run to say goodbye to the type of electric trolleybuses that have served Vancouver for 23 years – well over their design life.

The old Flyer trolleybuses in Vancouver BC have now been retired. The process of replacement has been going on for some time with the worst examples taken out of service first and sent for scrap. At least one of the better examples will be preserved for the Museum fleet, possibly with another to provide spares to keep it running. Most of the rest are being exported to Argentina for further service.

A special, final fan trip was run today, and that will be the last we will see of these buses. The two that will stay here were joined by one of the old Brills for a network tour that started at Marpole Loop and took in 41st to Oakridge and then on to Dunbar, out to UBC and then through Kerrisdale with a stop for lunch at Tenth and Granville. The afternoon included Stanley Park and Fraser Loops before returning to Marpole.

The Brill was still the most popular choice for riders – odd given that rides on a 901 will not be available again soon, and we were supposed to be bidding farewell to them. I found the 901s to be much quieter, more comfortable, despite the hard seats, and smelled better too!

The image below is of the Brill leading the parade into Marpole loop

2040 at Marpole 20080407

Vancouver’s First WordPress Camp

You must know about WordPress. It is the leading blog software and also a terrific free blog hosting site. To get the software (which is all Open Source) go but then you will need to find a web host but you will have all sorts of options. A more limited but much easier way to start blogging is go to which is how I started. It is also where we do the Vancouver MetBlog.

A few months ago at the Northern Voice conference on blogging, the WordPress session was over subscribed, so a special boot camp for bloggers is being held here next week.

It’s on Wednesday April 30th at 5.30-8.30pm at The Network Hub 3rd floor – 422 Richards Street.

Here’s a list of topics and presenters:

Adding photos [flickr, permissions, links, gallery plugins, badges] to your WordPress blog. Rebecca Bollwitt

The Joys of Amateur Blogging. Bruce Byfield

How to make money using a WordPress Blog. John Chow

Blogging & Social Media. Monica Hamburg.

WordPress for total website development. Jeff Kee

Good Typography in WordPress. Greg Andrews

Using WordPress to create a custom library, catalog, or other mashup-type site. Kulpreet Singh

WordPress and mobile blogging – i.e. how to read and write from an iPhone. Duane Storey

h/t Pete Quily

BC 2546 JM 2008-04-22 1500

BC 2546 JM 2008-04-22 1500, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

This is a 2008 Honda Ridgeline. Its driver thought that he was entitled to take up four parking spaces (the front and rear both overhang the yellow stall lines). Everyone else manages to park in one space by parking perpendicular to the kerb. This genius had to park parallel.

This vehicle emits 6 tonnes of CO2 pa (source: Honda)

Canada has about 0.5 per cent of the world’s population but contributes about two per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions

Location Impark lot Gilbert Road at Westminster Highway, Richmond

Happy Earth Day, Vancouver!

Mow down air pollution

CAF’s Megan Bennett and Environment Minister Barry Penner 3, originally uploaded by DBarefoot.

Tip from Darren Barefoot [db]:

If you’re looking for a few ways to be a little extra environmentally friendly this year one place to start is by taking a look at what’s in your garage. No not your car, that’s obvious, but your lawn mower. That’s right, if your lawn mower is an old gas powered model it can be doing a fair bit of polluting every time you trim your grass.

If you think it might be time to be getting a new mower, then this is a good time to trade it in since The Clean Air Foundation [caf] is running a trade-in program called Mow Down which is offering a $100 instant rebate if you bring in your old gas powered pollution machine to Home Depot and buy a “new push-reel, electric, rechargeable or low-emission alternative mower or trimmer.”

The program was launched with a photo-op staring Barry Penner, Provincial Minister for the
Environment on April 17th and is going on until the 27th.

Wreck Beach Nudist: An Endangered Species

There hasn’t been a story about this beach here since 2007. I checked. So the fact that this one is a bit old, but turned up on the Tyee news summary for last Friday might be worth noting too. Before you click on the link at work, note that the story is illustrated, and I have not, in an excess of care for your welfare, not put any of the (I think rather nice) pictures in this post.

The source is also, as it happens, new to me. But I do like the idea of “Citizen News”. And as a transport economist and local transit activist, I am a bit perturbed that the idea of a ferry from Wreck Beach to Squamish had been proposed at all – and this back in November of last year – and I did not know about it.

How dare we enjoy ourselves for almost free, just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver? It seems to me this can no longer be tolerated by the University of British Columbia and its towers of mass destruction – their hopes for a ferry terminal that will one day expediently transport thousands of polluting tourists directly up to Squamish without having to go all the way around, through the city and across the bridge.

Now I am fairly sure that even if there are not (admitted) Wreck Beach users here there may be folk at UBC who know more about this and will comment. Enquiring minds need to know.

And yes, when I was younger and lived in Europe, beaches like this were usually on my holiday list. The topography of Wreck Beach, more than anything, has put me off. Up to now. For if there is anything that stimulates my interest in doing something it is when I learn of some officials who want to stop me. I read banned books. I go out of my way to see movies that have been prohibited. I support civil disobedience as a way of changing society – for it is the only thing that ever has. I just hope it gets warmer soon.

The old trolleybuses are gone

Regular operation of the 1982-1984 built Flyer E901A/902 trolley coaches ceased shortly after midnight on Saturday April 19 2008.


20,800 flushes can’t be wrong

Automatic public toilet

The CBC is reporting that the City has decided to install more of the automatic public toilets provided and maintained by CBS Decaux.

“Although the toilets have been criticized as smelly havens for drug users and homeless people,” – who by? How can they be havens when they cannot be occupied for more than 12 minutes? Since they clean themselves, as well as getting a cleaning crew visit 4 times a day, they are not smelly either. And how is it that what works in other cities can never be accepted here?

There is a desperate shortage of public facilities in this city, especially downtown. And the constant harping on about street people should not be an excuse for never doing anything for the rest of the population.

‘Foyles War’

The bus in ‘Foyles War’ ?, originally uploaded by Renown.

I am a bit late with this news which appeared in the Guardian on April 9. But I am sure there will be many fans of the PBS Mystery series who will delighted to learn, as I was, the even though the last episode of Foyle was on VE Day he may yet return.

The image, by the way comes from a bus restorer/painter in England. One of the appeals of British tv is the care and attention that is given to historic recreation in period drama. This really is a prewar coach, and yes, when the blitz damaged large numbers of London’s red double deckers, all kinds of other vehicles were pressed into service.

Now all I need is a plausible excuse for posting a picture of a steam train. Anyone want to see the world’s biggest coal fired cappuccino machine?

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