Archive for March, 2009

Game Developers opt for Conference in Vancouver

Having just returned from the annual whirlwind that is the Game Developer’s Conference (typically held in either San Francisco or San Jose), I’m ready for a nap, even three days later. But, part of me is looking forward to mid-May, when the GDC comes to Canada. Recent years have seen a lot of shuffling in tradeshow circles, particularly video games, as several large, annual gatherings hustle to attract attendees, and GDC is in like a dirty shirt, splitting itself into the usual US show and adding shows in Austin, Europe, China, and Canada.

The shows, in short, are open to anyone and are designed to facilitate the opportunity to learn various tracks. There are seminars and sessions for artists, programmers, designers, sound engineers, management, business devleopment, and so on and so on. Shows are often an eclectic mix of established developers and publishers, along with students looking to make contacts and learn some things their curriculum won’t cover.

Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a basic expo pass, something that just allows people to wander the show floor, talk to companies, and see a few things they’re working on. However, the pricing, particularly the early pricing, for the fuller access passes is quite good. It’s still a ways off, but as mentioned, the pricing is better for early birds than waiting until we get to May.

This is a bit of an experiment – there hasn’t been a GDC Canada before, but it’s long overdue.

Off the beaten path – Vancouver ethnic food

I remember a little while back castewar wrote about a monthly perogy dinner at the Ukranian Orthadox Centre. Never got the chance to try it but it got me thinking of the many different restaurants available in the Metro Vancouver area.

I’ve had my joyful fill of Japanese, and so-called “West Coast cuisine”. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. But I was wondering if anyone in the Vancouver blogosphere could recommend something different, preferably not too expensive. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Indian Food






English Pub Food

Anything wacky, but great tasting.


Fame, it’s a terrible thing

A totally real photo of me the net celeb

A totally real photo of me Jeffery Simpson the famous blogger.

Link via Beyond Robson [br].

To be filed in the “completely too ironic interview” catagory, is this article on local internet celebrities, including Jennifer Lowther.  I’m not quite sure if Lowther knew how oddly clueless this was going to come off when she was talking to the Vancouver Sun [vs].  I don’t know her, I’ve never met her so it’s hard for me to judge exactly what she was thinking when she agreed to talk about how famous she is because of being on the internet.

I will say however that if you’re going to sit for an interview where you basically complain about the troubles of being “famous” thanks to your blog, Twitter and so forth aren’t you kind of asking for it?  Especially when you let the newspaper, which let’s face it still has a print run that rivals any local blogs, post a picture of you?

It’s a very meta-picture, because you can see the cameraman in reflection, it’s like a comment on how ‘net celebs get cyber.. not stalked.  But you know have people who follow them on Twitter.

And please someone explain to me this from Rob Cottingham talking about being a celebrity within your own circle, “”More interesting than the people who become instant celebrities are the people who become famous in a particular niche or within their own social networks. When you are able to rise to a level of prominence but just among the people you know.”   So when you become so famous that people who already knew you, know you, that’s real fame?

Back to Lowther, “People can know a ton about your life and you have no idea who they are.”

I really wish that emoticons were a respetable manner of conveying yourself in blog posts, rather than something used by tweens on Jonas Brothers’ fan boards.  If they were I’d use one of those smiley faces that shows deadpan blinking.

Is this really the stuff of newspaper articles in 2009?  I mean in 1999 I would have thought that this was all self-evident.  If you write a lot about yourself online then sometimes people are going to read it.  If you write a lot about yourself in the stalls of public toliets, some people are going to read it.

Now I’d blame this on the article’s writer Gillian Shaw, but from the (very few) conversations I’ve ever had with her (on Twitter / shock / horror) she doesn’t seem like she’s completely out to lunch.  Having written for tech for a daily city newspaper myself, not in Vancouver don’t bother guessing which, I have to say that this is probably not her fault.  By the time something filters up (or down) to the people who assign and approve stories often as a tech writer you kind of know that the world has moved onto something else but money is money.  Especially in this economy.

Now excuse me I have to go out wearing dress slacks and a pair of Crocs.  Oh my God, I hope nobody tweets about it.  Don’t worry, I only wrote it on this blog not in a bathroom stall.

MLS, seasons tickets and an underwear model

Martin Nash gets ready to kick

If you missed it yesterday Major League Soccer is coming to Vancouver in 2011 [mbv], and you can reserve your right to be the first in line for seasons tickets starting tomorrow at the official site of Vancouver’s embryo of an MLS team [vm11].  Meanwhile the Seattle Sounders, who last year played in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) first division with the Whitecaps, played their first game in the MLS having made the jump to the big leagues this year.

They beat the New York Red Bulls, though I haven’t been able to figure out whether or not former Arsenal winger and Calvin Klein underwear model Freddie Ljungberg played for them [av].  He’s been nursing an injury, and basically has spent the last few years of his career in various states of injury.  Arsenal fans will remember him fondly, especially for this great goal in the FA Cup against Chelsea [yt].  Here’s another video of it and this one includes Ray Parlour’s goal [yt] and some nice shots of Tony Adams being Tony Adams and thus awesome.

Hmm… sorry wrong blog for that sort of thing.

The MLS is coming to Vancouver

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

After years of rumours [mbv] it seems like Vancouver is going to get an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.  Granted it’s at a slightly low point for the MLS, after the David Beckham experiment which was meant to prove that soccer in America was on its way to becoming as much of a force as it is in Europe has failed.  Beckham’s decided he prefers playing in the semi-retirement league that is Series A in Italy and is paying out of his own pocket to stay there.

 Meanwhile what this means for the Whitecaps we’re not sure.  The ownership group of the new team is largely the same as that of the Whitecaps with owner Greg Kerfoot heading the group that paid the $35 million dollar fee for an MLS franchise, but it seems like it’s not a sure thing that the new team will be called the Whitecaps and there’s clearly not enough soccer support to keep the two teams going in Vancouver. 

The new team will play in BC Place as opposed to Swangard, because if you can’t sell out Swangard you’re might as well go big and not sell out  BC Place.

The example of Toronto FC [mbv] shows that a Canadian city can support professional soccer, but the population and demographics are a lot different in Toronto than they are Vancouver.  The success of the new MLS team is hardly a sure thing, on or off the pitch.

Of course now this also means that there’s no way that we’ll ever get any sort of media accreditation for the Whitecaps.  While the team is great at calling me back to renew my season tickets, they’ve never once returned an email or a call about press accreditation for covering the Whitecaps games.  Any of the photos for the posts on the team I’ve taken have been with a camera that I’ve learned how to smuggle into games.

As a former (damn economy) season ticket owner I hope the new team succeeds.  I do think Vancouver hast the potential to support another major league sports franchise in town, and this will certainly be less of a fiasco than the Grizzlies were, and I am very eager for some higher level soccer to be played in town.  Even if there will be no David Beckham.  Even if I have to assemble my camera in a washroom stall so that I can cover the games.

The Real Thing


“Love, marriage, fidelity – what’s the real thing? In this play of marital maneuvering, Britain’s preeminent playwright explores the mysteries of love, commitment, and authenticity.” – Arts Club Theatre. Generally, when I read a synopsis such as this, I cringe in anticipation of the pretentiousness I’m about to bear witness to. I caught this play last Saturday, and it is hilariously funny.

Written by Tom Stoppard (whose credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love), the play centers around Max and Annie, and their taste for infidelity. Think Closer, substituting tears for hysterical laughter.

Tickets range from 25-40 dollars, playing now at the Granville Island Stage, courtesy of the Arts Club.

Fireworks saved by food.

After it looked like the end of the road for Vancouver’s better-than-the-rest-of-the-world fireworks display, The Celebration of Fire Lights Festival, The Keg has stepped in to save the day. Details aren’t known, but apparently the old sponsors have signed back on as well, making it look a lot like they were previously willing to pay some, but not all of the pricetag, and the addition of The Keg’s support made it more feasible for all sponsors. So, get out your beach blanket, and fire up the police helicopters, the fireworks will be back this August!

Vancouver Five: new names for GM Place

GM Place

 With the fate of General Motors in doubt [nyt] the Vancouver Canucks’ home ice may soon be needing a new sponsor, or at least a new name.  Here are a few ideas for what we may be calling GM Place next season.

  1. Money Mart Place: In this economy Money Mart might be the only business with cash to spare. 
  2. Fat City Arena: See this eariler Vancouver Five for explanation [mbv].
  3. Rogers Place: There was a well fairly decent rumour that Rogers tried to buy the naming rights to BC Place, but the city would not let them change the roof’s colour to Rogers’ red.  But hey they need to do something with all that iPhone money.
  4. Happy Planet Juice Centre: I think the founder of that company might have some pull with city council [wp].  Plus wouldn’t that just please the pants off the rest of Canada who see us all as hippies anyway?
  5. Trevor Linden Memorial Rink: In the future when Trevor Linden signle handedly fixes the economy before leading the negotiations that see our alien invaders surrender, we’ll be quite happy to name the Canucks’ home ice after him.

Ever had lunch on the City Hall lawn?

Yeah, me either.

And yet Mayor Gregor Robertson is in trouble for proposing to turn some of the municipal HQ’s lawn space, which is currently lined up for improvement, into a community garden.

It might be just me, but isn’t turning it into a garden an improvement, and a good one at that? And also, it seems a little hair-up-the-nose to pick a procedural slapfight over a chunk of land none of us have ever really considered let alone enjoyed.

Photo by Dave Ho

Photo by Dave Ho

Coming on the thematic heels of Herb’s recent post, in a town filled with community gardens, isn’t it a good idea to promote the idea on the most high profile lawn around? And do we really want the mayor spending even a half hour debating this in council session, all things considered? Which is to say, isn’t this a non-issue?

Great places for local produce

BC Hot Hothouse Pepper

Photo Courtesy of BC Hot House

One of my most favorite places to get local produce is the Two E’s Farm at 16411 Fraser Hwy in Surrey. They grow a lot of their own organic fruits and vegetables. More importantly, they try to keep all of their food local whenever possible.  They’re the only place that I know of that actually tells you where the food came from, which is a big plus. They have their own farm on site, so a lot of the staples people eat (broccoli, Green Onions, Lettuce) are grown there as well. Tried Kale from Two E’s for the first time last year… very sharp flavour.

Did I mention that they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for their food? Yes, even the organic stuff.

Great produce, and great value… but make sure you pack your paid for produce in their bags… otherwise they’ll think you didn’t pay for them when you go outside. Also, no Credit Cards Either.

If you know of any other places around Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to get reasonably priced, high quality food, leave a comment. Currently, I’m looking for both an egg supplier, beef and milk source. Sometimes Safeway and the regular chain stores  can get quite expensive.

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