Archive for December, 2008

Outside the Lennox Pub on Granville

I didn’t have a chance to go in and check. It might have been a trap.

Christmas Stocking for Street Kids

I stumbled upon this group on Facebook and thought it fit nicely with the spirit of the season – it’s pretty much as the subject line describes. They’re looking for items, which will be gathered into stockings, and handed out to street kids. One of the organizers benefitted from a similar gift when they were on the street;

The stockings were awesome, they had a nice pair of gloves, socks, toques, soap, tooth brush/toothpaste, sanitary stuff for the girls, shaving stuff for the guys and of course some regular old fun stocking stuff to really make it feel like Christmas. I swear those were the best pair of socks I ever owned, they were so thick my boots stoped gouging into my heels and they kept me toasty warm. This made, what started out as a miserable Christmas Eve, into a much happier one.

The group is looking for particular items (as well as people to help hand the stockings out on Christmas Eve and Christmas day). Those items are;

Christmas Stockings
Rain boots
Gloves
Socks (wool or something thick and warm)
Gloves
Hats/Toques
Scarfs
Hand warmers
Rain gear (windbreakers, rain ponchos)
Vitamin packs
Healthy snacks
Christmas Items – candy canes, oranges, chocolates
Meal gift certificates
Hygiene products – deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, soap, cream, chap stick, qtips (all in travel sizes please)

There’s contact info on the Facebook site, or you can bring your donations to Free Store 2, taking place this Sunday, December 21st (more information on where and what exactly a Free Store is, can be found here.)

Your support is not only a big deal to the kids, but a big deal for the group itself, as they are looking to gain Non-Profit Society status for next year.

Looking back on Sam Sullivan

Though Sam Sullivan has been out of office for a week now, he’s been in our hearts and minds.  Well maybe he’s not been in either of those, but I presume his wife still loves him so that’s one person.  He was one of Vancouver’s most controversial mayors of recent years, from the manner of his election victory to his controversial decision to invade Iraq…

Wait that was the other guy.

Though there is no one defining photo-op of Sam Sullivan’s time as Mayor, no pile of rubble for him to pose atop or banner to pose under, there have been moments that have come close.  Accepting the Olympic flag on behalf of Vancouver in Torino, a clear symbol of the diverse and accepting makeup of our city was probably the high point.  It can’t be easy to be sandwiched in between a Mayor who had a television franchise based off his life, and a fruit juice magnet.

But yet there’s on indelible image I think that all Vancouverites are going to have of Sam Sullivan’s time in office.  One thing we’re all going to remember him for.

Roll clip.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJaDoTigvEI[/youtube]

Everyone in the nation is laughing at our driving right now

Vancouver in the Snow

If you’ve lived, and driven, anywhere else in Canada you’re likely going to spend the new few days groaning audibly.  See on the west coast we’re in the middle of what some of us might like to think of as a snow storm.  The definition of snow storm being when snow falls from the sky, lands on the ground and stays there.

Of course if you’ve spent a winter anywhere else in Canada you’re going to be laughing at first, because the snow storm thats going to see Vancouver hunker down in our homes with our gas powered fireplaces cranked up all the way, is a light snow fall anywhere else.  Hell in Winnipeg this qualifies as Spring.

Okay, maybe I’m indulging in a little hyperbole here, but trust me if you’re from outside of the Lower Mainland and this is your first time driving in Vancouver snow, you’re in for a treat.  And by treat I mean you’re going to pull your hair out as you watch a city full of people drive around like a half inch of snow might actually cause their car to flip and burst into flames.

It’s not the weather you’ve got to watch out for, it’s the drivers.

Christmas Socialism – Think of the kids, won’t you?

It’s the holiday season, when Vancouver is at its coldest of weather and warmest of hearts (yes, I did just write that little Hallmark moment. Just for you.)

Having just had a successful time helping organize Cthulhupalooza*, I thought it might be time to keep the good will rolling, and started looking for a toy drive. And once I essentially started what amounted to research, I figured I might as well share. So here are a few places that could use a bag of pasta or a couple of unwrapped toys;

Fill a Container with Christmas Dreams – Canada Place and the Vancouver Port Authorityare looking to fill one of those massive shipping containers with food and toys for the Vancouver Food Bank and other Lower Mainland charities! That’s a big container, so give what you can to help.

Nat and Drew’s Food Bank Fill Up – Nat & Drew’s annual Food Bank Fill Up will take place from Tuesday, December 9th to Friday, December 12th. Nat & Drew, along with the rest of the 95 Crave announcers will be taking their shows on the road, broadcasting live from various Safeway locations to help raise food and money for local food banks.

Child’s Play (BC Children’s Hospital Wish List) – This is a link to the wish list the BC Children’s Hospital put together through Child’s Play. It allows you to buy items from Amazon.ca for the BC Children’s Hospital, though you can always go to Child’s Play if you’d like to donate to another Children’s Hospitals. Or donate to both! There are a wide variety of item prices and every item helps.

There are undoubtedly more – many took place as early as October, but the drives do not end. Sadly, they don’t really ever end. If you know of a good drive, please speak up in the comments. And just for the sake of discussion; Drive boxes at grocery and toy stores – every bit helps, but a bit opportunistic?

Unrelated, but very of-the-holiday-spirit, the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver is having a Gingerbread house contest, which I stumbled upon completely by accident – so, if you like tiny, edible houses, you might want to check it out. If not, I took a picture of one for you. You’re welcome.

* Raising money for Child’s Play, and by extension, The BC Children’s Hospital – it went very well and we’re doing it again next year!

BC Police Pulling Tasers

So the various municipal police forces in BC will be pulling tasers from service to make sure they’re outputting the correct voltage.  However this only applies to any tasers they have acquired prior to 2006.

About time right?!

You’d think they do something like this after the question of whether a suspect died as a result of being tasered?

Well at least this is is headed in a better direction.  Testing has shown that the voltage occasionally exceeds the specs.  In addition to police, this includes corrections officers, sherriff’s services, and transit officials.

More details over at CTV

I knew I saw a bear

Remember I said I thought I saw a bear – no? Well, I thought I saw one of those Spirit Bears at Quebec and Broadway. And I wasn’t hallucinating!

There is a life-cycle to these spirit animals – initially they are paid for my sponsors, and put on display, usually near some location important to those sponsors. Then, once the display period is up, they are auctioned off, raising even more money for charity. And it’s at this point that they end up living in strange places, like rooftops on Broadway.

There is a Flickr pool for the bears, which I’m uploading my pics to – I’m hoping to convince that group to keep cataloging where they currently reside. And then I’m thinking about starting pools for the whales and eagles. Anybody interested in helping out?

Hey! Dispatch this, Pal!

Me “Hi, could I get at cab at 4480 Oak Street – I’m at the Chan Centre-”

Dispatcher (like talking to a child) “No sir, 4480 Oak is the Children’s Hospital. The Chan Centre is at UBC”

Me “I’m at The Chan Centre for Educa-”

Dispatcher (now grumpy) “Sir, the computer says The Chan Centre is at UBC.”

Me (equally grumpy and feeling righteous) “Great! Meanwhile, I’m standing in The Chan Centre for Education at the BC Children’s Hospital. I know, because I saw the sign on the way in. If they’re rich enough to build one building, they can probably build two!”

Dispatcher (redacting not one bit) “Where would you like to be picked up at Children’s Hospital?”

Me “I was hoping for The Chan Centre for-”

Dispatcher (sharply) “We don’t have that on the computer.”

Me “A driver dropped me off at it. When coming in off of Oak, turn left and it’s right there in front-”

Dispatcher “We can’t give drivers directions. We can pick you up at the main entrance or emergency.”

Me “Fine, I’ll meet it at the main entrance.”

Dispatcher “click”

Punchline – I walk 300 feet to the main entrance. The cab will have to drive past The Chan Centre to get there. As I turn the corner, I see the main entrance, brightly signed. And 15 feet away… Emergency.

Cab v. BC Children’s Hospital = FAIL!

Local gamers going all out for Child’s Play

December is the traditional drive to raise money for the Child’s Play charity, which raises money and toys for children’s hospitals around the world, including the BC Children’s Hospital, and as usual, BC gamers are stepping up and taking some big swings.

Victoria’s DesertBus.org is on their fifth day of playing the worst video game ever – conceived as part of a giant, video game joke by magicians Penn and Teller, Desert Bus is a “game” where you steer a bus, in real-time, between Tuscon and Las Vegas – a trip that takes 8 hours. And just to be mean, the bus lists slightly, so you can’t just start the drive and walk away, even though the road is straight. You have to stay and steer. Started last year, the charity drive went for a couple of days and raised $20,000. This year they’re onto their fifth day and they’re about to crack $60,000.

And this Saturday, Dec. 6th, Vancouver’s The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets are headlining Cthulhupalooza, a whole day event for Child’s Play at The Rio Theatre at Broadway and Commercial – tickets are $16 in advance, and the doors open at 5PM, when a Rock Band game contest starts. At 8PM there will be a movie program, including the modern silent horror film The Call of Cthulhu, and at 10, The Thickets take the stage. And along the way the event will be handing out nearly $2000 in prizes.

And just in case you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, charity events are all well and good, but after all that fund raising, I wish I could sit back and watch unique double-bill”, well, you’re in luck – at Midnight, The Rio will be showing a double-bill of Josh Gilbert’s documentary, AKA Tommy Chong and Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke. While not part of The Child’s Play event, The Rio is taking $5 off the double-bill’s $15 ticket, to anyone attending Child’s Play.

My apologies to Jeff, as I’m involved in organizing this event, and it has consumed a lot of my free time lately, but it’s for a great cause and I hope to see everyone there!

Vancouver’s new and old media face-off online

The Vancouver Sun [vs] has recently launched a new website, and in the world of city blogs Scout Magazine [sm] has arrived trying to bring the world yet another online magazine.  Is the Sun’s face lift just more rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg?  Is Scout Magazine just a blog with more obtrusive advertisements?  With the economy going the way it’s going, does it matter?

(more…)

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