Archive for September, 2008

Vancouver online in 2001

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to celebrate their ten year birthday Google has put their oldest available search index online. Now for a limited time you can search their database that was active in 2001 [g01] as well as my hilariously ugly Matthew Good Band fansite and various student paper stuff [g01]. What will you find if you do? Well for starters you’ll find one of my first blogs [g01] as well as the fact that that other Jeffrey Simpson (a senior writer at The Globe and Mail) had a slightly larger web presence than I did, even though I kind of figure that he had no idea what the internet was at that point.

Give the search a try, and see what comes up. In 2001 for example there was no iPod. What a backwards age that must have been.

Vancouver comes up with not one of the very popular blogs that dot our digital landscape now, at least not on the first page. Who does show up? Well the Vancouver Grizzlies [g01]. The closest thing to the social networking sort of sites that we all laud now [mbv] is a now defunct page for the local chapter of IndyMedia.

These days you can’t throw a rock into the air without hitting someone trying to sell their SEO (search engine optimization) skills or a blogger fretting about Page Rank. 2001 seems so quaint and unspoiled, like an episode of Road to Avonlea.

Luongo made captain in decision only slightly against the rules

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t think the Canucks have been making very good decisions lately. The off-season has had the sort of amateur blunders that make Newcastle United look like a properly organized football team. But that’s enough mixing sports, we’re here to talk about hockey and the Vancouver Canucks and how they’ve just gone an appointed goaltender Roberto Luongo as their captain.

Now of course there’s a rule against a goaltender being a captain in the NHL [wp] that’s based on that fact that since the primary on-ice role of the captain is to act as a liaison between the team and the officials during the game, and that it would be too time consuming for a goalie to rush out of his net to argue with the referee every time he wanted to argue said ref’s decision. So Luongo won’t technically be the captain, he won’t wear the ‘C’ or take part in any official face-offs say if the Queen were to stop by to drop the puck.

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Happy Birthday Vancouver Sun – You don’t look a day over 115

On September 29th, 1888, The Vancouver World started printing, and 120 years later, The Vancouver Sun is still pumping out the news. I’m not a born Vancouverite, I converted ten years ago, so The Sun was a bit of a puzzle to me – in the rest of Canada (well, most of it), “The ____ Sun” is the tabloid press paper with a girl in a bikini on page 6. These were perceived as the fluffy paper, compared to whatever the rival paper was, which was almost always a broadsheet paper. So for example, there would be The Calgary Sun and The Calgary Herald – both fine papers, but was a bit lighter on the articles, heavier on the Brick ads and sports. In my opinion, anyhow. And that never stopped me from reading them both. And then I moved to Vancouver, and OOOoooh, the hilarity caused by my confusion. Actually, I don’t know where I was going with that – it didn’t take more than a week to rewire my brain to keep the two straight.

Man, that was actually a really boring digression. Anyhow, it’s the 120th anniversary of The Vancouver Sun, which is always of interest to me. I like to see how things change and how they don’t change. When the Royal Bank’s Cambie branch had their anniversary earlier in the year, it was amazing to see their photos of the corner of Broadway and Cambie, back when they were the only building of note. Big empty space where the Wendy’s would one day be.

As part of their celebrations, The Vancouver Sun pointed readers towards vancouverhistory.ca which is a treasure trove (2000+ pages, according to the Sun) of facts and photos about the city.

– Vancouver had Canada’s first gas-station.

– Vancouver named 8 city streets after famous golf-courses – Seigniory, Leaside, Uplands, Bonnacord, Scarboro, Bonnyvale, Brigadoon and Bobolink. I can find all but Seigniory on Google maps.

– The first Vancouver mayor who was actually born in Vancouver was hizzonor Bill Rathie, in 1962 (76 years after incorporation.)

– Whistler? Originally called London Mountain. The inspiration for the name it has now? A marmot.

– Marpole is apparently one of the oldest, settled areas in North America, with habitation evidence going back 3500 years. Also, they found 200 bodies in the midden (refuse dump) in 1930. I have no idea who made the dump and who dumped the bodies – Fail, Vancouver History! FAIL!

Anyhow, happy birthday Vancouver Sun. That Metro paper – she means nothing to me baby. Just a paper I met on the bus. You know you’re the only one for me.

Two food notes

1) All you people lining up outside Anton’s on Hastings in Burnaby: stop it. Go next door to Bombay Bhel and enjoy some very nice tandoori dishes. The bane of tandoori is creating dry, stringy meat (the Indian equivalent of overcooking calamari), and they just don’t do that here. It’s moist and lovely and flavorful, just as it should be. The platters are good value, and there’s no wait.

2) It’s hardly a secret anymore, thanks to the Straight’s Best of Vancouver issue,, but Sweet Revenge on Main street is a lovely little room to eat dessert in. I had the pear bread pudding and would not recommend it (it was small, bland, and expensive), but my lovely bride had the zucotto, and it was a treat. We will go back.

Just, you know, not for the bread pudding.

Vancouver Blogs: The Vancouver Sun knows the internets

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Maybe I shouldn’t be sarcastic with the title, maybe they do know the internet. I mean they at least know the fundamental fact that the best way to get traffic is to mention people by name. It’s the same thing we used to do in the student press, a front page picture of a rock band would only get picked up by fans of that band but a front page picture of a bunch of students would get picked up by the students, their friends and anyone who wanted to sleep with any of the students pictured.

It was circulation gold.

So when NowPublic, the people who don’t seem to understand Creative Commons licenses so spam you four times a week on Flickr asking to use your photos, the Vancouver Sun must have thought “Hey NowPublic is already repurposing all of our content as large block quotes and calling it ‘Citizen Journalism’ we might as well get involved in a link baiting scheme with them.”

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Hey Vancouver, make sure you’re registered to vote

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While it might not be as sexy as the election going on just an hour south of us, we’ve got our own federal election coming up and it’s a pretty important one.

While the election isn’t until October Elections Canada is out and about making sure everyone is registered to vote. I saw them at my local Urban Fare yesterday, and they’ll be there again today, so if you haven’t gotten your voter confirmation card in the mail head over to the Elections Canada website [ec] and see what you can find out about getting yourself on the voter list.

Vancouver’s new newspaper boxes

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Maybe I’m just a giant newspaper nerd, but I can’t help but think that the new distribution boxes that have been put out around some of Vancouver’s busiest streets are a great idea.  

So call me a distribution dork if you will but having one central box instead of a collection of run down boxes is a nice change.  The boxes have space for the free newspapers such as the free dailies like 24Hours and Metro which essentially just run wire service copy, The Georgia Straight and others with two pay slots for The Province and The Vancouver Sun.  The fact that there’s a space to put newspapers in for recycling is a great thing as well.

Ideally the project could be used as a reason to get rid of the free dailies street hawkers who stand around busy sidewalks blocking people’s way and trying to shove terribly typed tripe into people’s hands.  Ideally.  

Vancity Buzz (which looks less like vomit than it used to) had a post on the new boxes earlier this month [vcb].  The city apparently plans to deploy about fifty of the boxes around town, which is good news if it manages to cut down on litter and the wasted space of four or five newspaper boxes vying for attention on each and every corner.

Been gone so long

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Apologies for not posting for a little while.  First The Georgia Straight said they’d pay me to write for them, and I was sort of shocked by the fact that there’s money to be made in this writing thing, so I started doing that [tgs][tgs].  It didn’t help us win best local blog [tgs] but being paid in actual money is even better.

I’d like to thank Tim, Ryan and Castewar for keeping things going during my downtime.  It’s really great to have authors contributing to the site, and though I’ll be doing the typical recruitment campaign shortly it’s nice to know that the blog is in a position where if I get busy it’s not laying fallow.

Vancouver food blogs: like eating but without the calories

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Here at Metroblogging Vancouver we do a fair amount of food blogging [mbv], but we’re certainly not what you would term a food blog.  Increasingly though people who are in the know, meaning my fiancee Lydia [iatl], are telling me that there’s some pretty good local food blogs that I should be paying attention to.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical, I like writing about food but from my (granted limited) experience of food journalism most of it’s lazy, repetitive and cliche.

Surprisingly though there are some really good Vancouver food blogs, and after the jump I’ll talk about two.

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Canucks Season Preview: The hardest way to make an easy living

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Let’s face it this year has the potential to be a horrible hockey year for Vancouver. Pick up tickets to the WHL Giants because the Canucks have all the markings of a disaster about them as the year is about to begin. Making the playoffs will be unlikely in a competitive Western Conference where every team has strengthened while the Canucks have been throwing talent overboard as if hoping to right a sinking ship. The off-season has been a farce and there’s nothing to suggest that’s about to change.

How bad is it? You’ll find out after the jump.

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