Archive for November, 2008

Vancouver blog news

IMG_2171.JPG, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

There’s been quite a bit of activity on the Vancouver blog scene the last week or so, and since I’ve been busy the way I’m going to cover it is to throw it all online in a big’ol roundup of news. It’s like a Morning Brew [br] of slightly outdated Vancouver blog news.

– Morning Brew: the best MB title ever [br].

– Best of 604: we tried to do a best of Vancouver blogs thing here during the summer, but everything just sort of got overwhelming and I couldn’t hack it. Rebecca’s a professional blogger unlike me, so she’ll avoid making a complete hash of it [b604].

– Canadian Blog Awards: Apparently there’s a Canadian Blog Awards. I’m not sure if they’re any more reputable than the awards that were around in thet late ’90s when I won first place for design for my hidiously garish Matthew Good Band fansite that I made with Angelfire, but hey they’ve got a beaver logo. Lots of local blogs got nominated including the previously mentioned Rebecca and Raul who is always worth a vote [h604].

– Northern Voice 2009: I went to Northern Voice in 2006 and pulled a muscle from constantly having to roll my eyes [mbv]. I sort of fell between the target audiances of people who were super new to blogs and the internet and the type of people who wanted to spend an hour arguing about comment moderation software. Having said that it sounds like in recent years the conference has been stellar and I’m most likely going to be giving it another go this year. The conference is in late Febuary, and right now has an open call for speakers.

The Georgia Straight: I’ve been freelancing for the tech section of The Georgia Straight for the last few months, and now they’ve launched a dedicated tech blog [tgs]. On a related note if this roundup of local blogging news has gotten you freshly interested in blogs, it’s worth checking out my article on local bloggers that ran a few issues ago [tgs].

Finding diamonds in Canada’s north

C-FATO, originally uploaded by jspitfire.

There’s a fascinating feature article online from a recent Wiredabout University of British Columbia graduate Chuck Fipke whose discovery of diamonds in the north basically kick started the Canadian diamond industry [wm]. It’s an interesting read.

I went to grade school with Fipke’s son, and played road hockey with him a number of times. That was before the diamonds were discovered and the Chuck and his wife went through Canada’s costliest divorce settlements [nns].

In way of a factual clarification Cheetahs, the strip club mentioned in the article, is better described as Kelowna’s least skeevy strip club as opposed to its classiest.

Mount Baker

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Mount Baker, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

This image taken yesterday will be featured in the CBC Vancouver News at six tonight

Cold clear weather and a stray beam of sunlight through the overcast. Remarkable clarity. Taken from the eastern end of Steveston Highway

A tip about Bert’s

This isn’t a review per se, but rather a recommendation with caveat – on Main Street, at 13th, is a decades old, Vancouver establishment, Bert’s Restaurant. Bert’s is a greasy spoon, with all the pluses and minuses that brings. Old, style-free setting, quick and no-nonsense staff, and average food. That is to say, if you go in expecting The Food Network for your six buck breakfast, you’re setting yourself up for failure – if you’re looking for a solid, basic breakfast – eggs, side breakfast meat, heavy pancakes, etc – this is the place. And that it’s hopping every Saturday and Sunday morning backs that up.

This is my recommendation – Vancouver has a number of inexpensive hash-slinging establishments, and if you’re looking for one in the Mount Pleasant area, Bert’s will do. The caveat? Don’t get the hash browns – the menus offers hash browns and fried potatoes, and after asking for clarification, we were told that the hash browns were grated potatoes pan friend, and the friend potato wedges were, well, wedges that are deep fried.

Twice now we’ve ordered the hash browns and gotten mash potatoes pan fried – presumably if you’re not there early, the shredded taters run out and they improvise with the day’s mash. Curious, I asked for a couple of the wedges. And they are great – thick cut potato slices deep fried, essentially the thickest fry cut ever. And a great deal more satisfying than the hash.

There you are – you’ve been advised. That’s right. You just read a blog post about a side order of potatos.

(photo by Roland)

Music, Movies, and Madness!

Saturday December 6th, there’s a lot going on at The Rio Theatre (Broadway and Commercial), all of it part of Cthulhupalooza (kuh-too-loo-pah-loo-zah) – I’ll see if I can break it down for you.

For starters, there’s a Rock Band contest, sponsored by the game creators, Harmonix – if you’ve got some pals, and think you can rock it out, the contest is open to all attendees. Finalists get to rock it out on stage, and the winners, besides winning sweet prizes, can perform with The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. The Thickets have a track on Rock Band, so that’s the connection.

Then later there will be a screening of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s Call of Cthulhu (which is done as an old-school, silent movie) along with other visual fun.

And then the evening is capped by a performance by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets! Lead singer and chief instigator Toren was recently a guest-host on CITR’s We All Fall Down, helping to get the word out and drive some funds for CITR’s on-going funding donations (listen here.)

Besides being a barrel of monkeys, the event is helping to raise money for Child’s Play, which helps provide hospitals around the world (including BC’s Children’s Hospital) with video game systems, toys, and other fun things that make time spent in a hospital that much less sucky.

There’s a website for the event, which has information on where to pick up tickets (RX comics, Elfsar comics, Scratch, Red Cat, Zulu, and Neptoon records, etc. plus online sales via PayPal), how to enter the Rock Band contest, and more as the day of the event gets nearer!

Please spread the word, as the event benefits from having as many people as possible in attendance!

Full disclosure – I am helping to organize this event. It’s a charity event, so I’m not sure if you give full disclosure on that sort of thing. But let’s just say I a lot of my heart invested in this event, and I wish it to go well. Hope to see you there.

Best election ad ever?


This is by no means an endorsement, but this could very well be my favorite campaign advert ever.

World Diabetes Day Friday

From Buzz Bishop [bb]:

Vancouver Art Gallery

Friday is World Diabetes Day [wd], and there’s a few events around Vancouver to help raise money and awareness of the affliction. At noon there’s to be some hula hooping around the Vancouver Art Gallery and throughout the day Buzz Bishop will be talking about it on 95 Crave and doing interviews and auctions.

From World Diabetes Day Canada’s website:

Diabetes is serious
Diabetes is a serious disease that has reached epidemic proportions in Canada. If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications of including: blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and limb amputation.  However, with proper diabetes management, its complications can be prevented or delayed.

Update: The day is actually Friday, not tomorrow.  Hopefully I haven’t raised your awareness too soon.

Glen Anderson makes the Hockey Hall of Fame

Glenn Anderson.jpg

I want to like the Vancouver Canucks, I really do. I want to feel like they’re my team, and try I’ve given it my all to root for them [mbv]. For God’s sake I’ve lived in British Columbia for the past twenty-four years, it’s about time I consider myself a Canucks fan. Right?

The thing is those formative years spent in Edmonton are powerful, and especially during the time I was there. Memory and nostalgia are a hard thing to overcome, which is why the good ol’ days always seem better than they were. It’s even harder to put aside the past when the past could kick the present’s ass on the ice any day of the week.

It’s not the Canucks’ fault that they’re not as good as the Oilers of my youth, because… well because nobody is. The team that I grew up with was the greatest hockey team the world has seen, and probably will ever see again until the NHL shrinks down to a smaller size. All the big money teams that the Red Wings or Colorado might try to put together will never compete with the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, it was just so good.

How good was it? It was so good that even the people who lived in the shadow of the giants like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey are bound for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Yesterday Vancouver born Glen Anderson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame [nhl] as a further sign that there was something special about that team. He’s not the first name that pops to mind when you think of the Oilers’ dynasty, but he was an important part.

He was even a Canuck for a few days in 1996, though he was claimed by the Oilers on waivers.

While I’d love to see the Canucks lift the cup, and in a lot of ways I think there’s certainly a segment of the Canuck fans that deserve to see their team win, I have to admit I’ll never love them as much as I love the Oilers. They’ll never be as good as the team I grew up with, though let’s be honest the Oilers will never be that good either.


There’s always something left out

Iron Man Mighty Mug

Anytime anyone tries to do a definitive list of whose the best, most important, or drunkest, bloggers in Vancouver it always falls short.  It’s the nature of the beast, if you mention x number of people person x+1 will feel left out, and if you mention everyone then really you’re just doing a roll call.

It’s a trap that I tried to avoid when writing an article on the Vancouver blog scene in this week’s Georgia Straight [tgs].  I’m glad to have gotten a few people who don’t really get the coverage they deserve, at least not locally, involved in the article.  It’s worth a read, though since I wrote it I may be heavily biased.

Those who do read it might notice that I left out any mention of Metroblogging Vancouver.  I might have mentioned it briefly in relation to Beyond Robson [br], who’s Sean Orr I interviewed, but it took up quite a bit of words explaining what it was, what my role in it was and how it related to Beyond Robson and other Vancouver group blogs.

So if you were left out of the article and feel aggrieved, well so was I so suck it up.

Once again I’d like to thank everyone who agreed to be interviewed for the article.

City art – Eagles, bears, and tadpoles?

I’ve had in recent days three things sloshing around in my brain, all of which I only realized today are all thematically connected, as they are all, for lack of a better term, city art. Which is to say it’s not urban art (graffiti, posters, building murals), or art about the city, but art that exists only because the city allows it to exist as part of the city.

The first is an old throwback, which is one part world’s-lamest-scavenger-hunt (as there is only one thing to find and you win nothing… plus, I tell you where to look, so, not much actual hunting) and one part segue. Remember those Spirit Bears that dotted the city a couple of years back? Well, I think there’s one on the roof of the optometrist shop, South-East corner of Broadway and Quebec. It’s either that, or I’m hallucinating. Either could be fun.

[photo – City of Vancouver]
And there’s the segue, as this year the City of Vancouver and the BC Lion’s Society has unveiled the third animal in their Spirit of Art series (after the aforementioned bears and the Orcas from 2004) -the Eagle. I only became aware of this because you can’t miss the pastel blue bird sitting outside City Hall as you pass it. And as much as I’m in favour of helping the children (more on that soon), I’m not a big fan of the Eagles – the choice to put them upright on a wingtip seems awkward, and in fact it took me a second to register that it was a bird. But, there are still a lot of birds to go (the city will be rolling them out over 2009 and right up to the start of the Olympics) and part artists have made some amazing works – Darth Vader bear? Bookshelf Orca?

Finally, how did it miss that we have art manholes? Walking down Main Street the other night I literally tripped over the tadpole (frogs? fradpoles? togs?) design as I was crossing at King Edward (East side of Main, South side of King Ed), and a little research revealed there were two designs – anybody know where I can see the bubbles design?
[photo – me]

As cool as they are (well, the fradpoles at least), I like the traditional Chinese decorations in one. The salmon and raindrops on water is nice, and the woodgrain idea was inspired – totally should have gone with that one?

What else is out there? I think we should start sharing more of the artistic bits and bobs we see around town – send us your flickr links!

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