Archive for October, 2008

Walk with the illuminated dead tonight

It’s the Parade of the Lost Souls on Commercial Drive (Grandview Park) this evening. Assemble at 6:30 pm, parade at 7. Shut-ins and the antisocial can watch the live stream.

Put an eye out or blow a finger off… legally!

It’s Halloween season, and that means many things to many people. Chills, both figurative and literal, candy, costumes, a sense of fun and abandon not found in most other holidays (particularly not one with no day off), and a particular favorite of mine, fireworks.

I’ve mentioned before, I spent a lot of time in Calgary and Halloween is often cold, involves three times as much walking to get half the candy, and fireworks are a no-no – by Fall, the grassy hills in and around the city are pretty much tinder, and fireworks just create headaches for firefighters and nightmares for home owners, so the town is pretty stern on the matter. In fact, these dry conditions have interfered with Canada Day fireworks on occasion, if you can imagine that.

But Vancouver doesn’t have that problem, presumably due to it’s damp nature. But, in the decade I’ve lived here, I’ve see the popularity of fireworks increase, and it was pretty much a given that sooner or later some lug-nut with a roman candle and an unwilling target was going to alter the game. And while I can’t confirm the existance of lug-nut or target, the game has been tweaked. As of this year the rules on who can buy fireworks has been tightened, requiring buyers to be over 19, have two pieces of ID, and a permit, which you obtain for free by taking an online test. Firework sellers in turn, have to make sure you meet these criteria before selling to you.

This is a minor change, but the major change, one which I’m curious to see it’s effect on the availability of fireworks, is that you can only buy during the seven day period between Saturday, October 25th and Halloween. Given that fireworks dealers in town sold, in some cases, as early as a month before Halloween, this may affect the number of people choosing to act as dealers. I also assume this is why I’ve yet to hear the typical, pre-Halloween, late night pops and bangs of secret launches.

OK, I actually just stopped right now to take the test and it’s a token step – a dozen questions with pretty apparent answers;

Q: To find out more information about firework safety, you should…

1) Read Vancouver bylaw XYZ.
2) Travel to the South American factory where they were made.
3) Eat pie in front of the TV.

So, everybody in compliance now? Everybody submitted to the city the address where they intent to launch the fireworks from? (Yes, the application actually asks you that.) Everybody ready for some Halloween fun!?

Well then, I’m Chris, an Android – I can put my arm back on, but you can’t, so play safe!

[NOTE] Other cities in the GVA have different rules, so read up. West Van has similar rules and selling period, but the permit costs $5. Burnaby appears to have the same selling period, but no permit. It’s not clear if someone from Burnaby would need to obtain fireworks from a vendor in Vancouver or West Vancouver, or if a Vancouver permit will allow you to by from a Burnaby vendor. Given that these steps seem designed mostly to make sure we’ve all read the rules, I’m sure I’m over thinking it. But I’ll get back to you all if I find out more (or, if you know more, post here.)

First Vancouver gets an Apple Store and now a… erm Newton Conference?


Story via Macbreak Weekly [twt].

As with everything there are different levels of nerds.  On one hand you have the people who line up twenty minutes early so that they can get into an early showing of the latest comic book inspired movie like Iron Man; they’re the daytripping nerds.  Maybe they’ve named their dog after Albert Eienstein or made a Back To The Future reference in a blog post, they’re kind of dorky but you don’t need to be afraid of them.

Then there’s the people who not only continue to use a ten year old handheld computing platform, but self-maintain their devices and hold conferences for them.  That’s right, ten years ago Apple stopped selling the Newton and apart from a now confusing joke on The Simpsons about handwriting recognition software, there’s not a lot of evidence that it was ever around.

You know apart from the Alpha Geeks who cling to it because… well I suppose because it’s either that or buy somthing new.  And no, I doubt anyone is saving money by keeping their Newton at this point.  If anything running a Newton is probably more expensive than buying a newer PDA, and certainly attending a conference about it is not a cost saving maneuver.

That’s right next July Vancouver plays host to the WWNC: 2009, the Word Wide Newton Conference [wwnc] and they’re looking for speakers.  So if you’ve been Montgomery Scotting a Newton so that it stayed active, you’ve got a chance to meet your own kind, trade stories and run web serves together. 

Whatever it is you Alpha Nerds do.

When Canada gets on TV

Picture 8

I was talking with a few people the other day about how Vancouverites, and we included ourselves in that category, always get excited when we get a mention outside of Canada.  Especially when Americans even acknowledge our existence it sends us into twitters of excitement. 

Maybe it’s just our Canadian inferiority complex, or maybe it’s just we’re kind of vain and self-absorbed.  I can’t imagine New Yorkers being excited about having their city mentioned in a CBC show, but boy was I excited when the Vancouver Canucks and their ’95 playoff run got an extended mention on the show How I Met Your Mother last week [stc].

It’s certainly probably one of the best Canadian references, aside from The Simpsons‘ nearly constant jabs at our country or Jon Stewart calling the Conservative Party the equivalent of the American “Gay Nader Lovers For Peace Party”. 

What’s your favorite Canada, or Vancouver, reference on American or European media?  The Lumberjack sketch comes to mind.


How To Kill A Rainy Day Part 1

Bleh. While we’re getting some nice, unexpected sunshine in the mornings, most days have devolved into a rainy mess pretty quick. Which means that the eternal question is upon us again… what to do on weekends when it’s cold and wet.

There are time honoured classics. Go to the movies. Stay home in bed. Stay home in bed and make a movie. That sort of thing. But there are other options.

Pop Culture Collectible Fair – Saturday, Octover 18th, at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial St. at 16th ave). Happening a handful of times through out a give year, this is a massive, multi-room gathering of vendors and vendees. The last time I was there, the treasure ranged from 60s kitchen kitch to GI Joes in Japanese packaging, and everything in between. Comics, records, toys, books, you never know what will be there. It’s like the flea market on Terminal, only smaller, and nobody is selling furniture. I don’t think. Free admission, and if you want to unload some goods of your own, tables at $40. For more information email funpromo at

Of Horrors and Heroes #10 – Sunday, October 26th, at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street). I missed the first nine, but I like the idea! From 11:30AM – 4PM, there’s a lot to see and do at this gathering of model builders and collectors of all manner of things. There will be panels on art/vinyl toys, collecting transformers and other die-cast toys, tips and tricks for building models, and a display of the various model kits of the Universal Monsters that have been produced over the years. Plus, there will be lots of vendor tables. It’s three bills to get in, or a loon if you’re under 14, forty if you want a table, and anyone wearing a costume gets in free! No website, but anybody wanting more information can email stanhyde at (or pick up a flyer in the Mount Pleasant area – I got mine at RX Comics.)

I’m trying to make a point of not holing up this winter. I mean, it has it’s place, particularly if you dig movies and video games like I do, but there’s something revitalizing about getting out once and awhile. So, if you come across anything that looks like fun, be sure to let us know!

Vote now. Vote today. Vote for…

2008-10-14 13:28:38 -0700, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

If you’ve not done so already then make sure you vote today. I don’t care who you vote for just that you vote. Well actually I do care who you vote for, I’m just realistic enough to know that if you’re going to bother voting you’re probably not going to vote based on what some jack-ass on the internet says.

At least I hope you don’t. If you are so easily swayed I’ve got a really great cellular plan on a three year contract to sign you up for.

If you want to read about my meeting with Stephen Harper a few years back then you can visit my blog [jks]. I was going to post it here, but since it all happens in Kelowna I figured it didn’t really fit.

The Stanley Park Ghost Train Rides Again

glowing skulls, originally uploaded by cathycracks.

Every year Lydia talks me into going into Stanley Park on a late fall evening and ridding around on the Ghost Train [vpb]. Since 1999 the train has run throughout the fall celebrating Halloween. Since I’m too old to put on a costume and go trick-or-treating it’s pretty much the only thing I do for the holiday. It’s a shot of child-like goodness, as the ride and the other things going on around the park really capture what made Halloween one of the best holidays back when we were kids.

If you’ve got kids then this is almost a must. Apart from free admitance into the petting zoo, and the chance to make their own pirate hats the ride is really for kids. It’s still enjoyable without children, as we’ve gone the last few years. If you don’t need to worry about getting the kids into bed by a certain time then going later on at night is a good idea because the lines seem to subside by 8:30.

If you do have kids this year is a pirate theme, and dressing up for ride is encouraged.

For times and ticketing information visit the Vancouver Park Board’s website [vpb].

Canucks win the Stanley Cup

Happy players at the end of the game, originally uploaded by Stina Magga.

Vancouver – Metroblogging News Service

The Vancouver Canucks last night became the first team to win the Stanley Cup, one game into the National Hockey League season, after smashing the Calgary Flames at home by a score of 6-0. The victory was so decisive that league Commissioner Gary Bettman felt that playing the remaining 81 games of the regular season, and the playoffs was pointless.

“Having reviewed the tapes of the season starting games it’s clear that there is no other team that could compete with the Canucks on the ice,” Bettman said in a press conference this morning where the coveted cup was awarded by podcast recorded from Toronto.

Bettman pointed out that the Canucks have always enjoyed strong season ticket sales, and after years of suffering with little to no playoff success the league felt it was time that the Vancouver fans were honoured for their bandwagon jumping.

Some hockey commentators have argued that there is more behind the league’s decision than one strong on-ice showing. The rumour is that the awarding of the league title is a signal to other teams to follow the board room examples of the Vancouver club.

“We’re seeing a lot of teams with a great deal of debt,” pointed out CBC commentator Ron McLean, “with the credit crisis building in the states there’s a good chance that we’ll see the league losing a lot of the newer expansion teams. To shore up support for one of the bed rock Canadian franchises, and to reward the fiscal suaveness of the Canucks the league decided to award the cup.”

McLean’s co-commentator Don Cherry disagreed, “They’ve got the most Europeans. They’ve got twins. That’s some kind of Swedish wet dream. You know what the Swedes make good, cheap futon frames that you can assemble at home, not hockey players. Hockey is Canadian like beer and repressed emotions leading to domestic violence.  This Stanley Cup heist by the league is just the latest in Euro-coddling.  First they make the boys wear helmets, and you know good old boys from Kingston don’t play with helmets.  Then they make them use these fibershade metal sticks and now this, all because someone in Zurich wanted it.”


The noise outside my window means Harper’s in town


Prime Minister Harper is in town doing the campaign thing.  I didn’t realize this until I tried to go home after work and found a man holding a very large sign that linked Harper with big oil.  I went up to my apartment and within three minutes someone had set off a very loud alarm across the street which continued on for about forty minutes, stopping only so that the same sound system could play “Amazing Grace”.

The protesters unfurled a banner, wore a polar bear costume and generally… well protested.  What they were on about, apart from the environment is good and Harper is bad, I’m not sure.  The news networks leapt all over them, so I’m sure their manifesto will be broadcast this evening just before the NHL pre-season scores.

Remind me to tell my Stephen Harper story later this week, the one where I had to interview him while drunk.  I was drunk, he presumably was sober.

Pictures of the protest, taken from my balcony, can be found here [fkr].  Please respect the Creative Commons do-dad if you want to use them.

Matthew Good Live At Massey Hall: Review

Matthew Good

“Hello Time Bomb” was at the top of MuchMusic’s charts when I tried to request it during a phone in request hour back in Kelowna.  I was working an extra long shift at the Uptown Cinema Centre, and wanted to hear the new Matthew Good Band track.  The DJ at The Lizard, which at that point was what passed for the alternative rock station, had never heard of the song.  He offered to play “Crash” by The Dave Matthews Band.

The Matthew Good Band was fast becoming one of my favorite bands, and since they toured British Columbia a lot more than U2 and charged a lot less for tickets I ended up going to a lot of shows.  At that point I’d already seen them at EdgeFest in Edmonton and since then I’ve seen the band and Matthew Good solo nearly twenty times.  My first time at the Commodore Ballroom was to see one of the band’s five shows that they played over the holidays between the release of Beautiful Midnight and The Audio of Being.  I’ve been to Kamloops and Penticton far more than I’d like simply to catch a show.

So Tuesday’s release of Matthew Good’s Live At Massey Hall album was an obvious buy for me.


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