Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Olympocalypse! Andrew J. Koenig, missing.

I have a pile of things for another post, but I want this one to focus on just one news item.

I’ve mentioned a personal enjoyment of the Never Not Funny podcast and the show’s hosts when they come to Vancouver for the comedy festival. Well, the show’s engineer, Andrew Koenig, has disappeared here in town. Andrew has often expressed his love of Vancouver in the past, on the NNF show.

The parents of Andrew Koenig — who has reportedly been missing for the past week — described their son as “suffering from depression
” and “not doing good” in the days leading up to his disappearance.

Judy and Walter Koenig (who played Pavel Chekov in the “Star Trek” series) tell TMZ the last time they heard from Andrew was on February 9. They say his cell phone is turned off and that they have learned the last time his phone received a text was on February 16 in Vancouver.

They say he was last seen at a bakery in the Stanley Park area of Vancouver.

His partners at Never Not Funny made this post to Twitter just a few hours ago.

Please RT: Info about Andrew Koenig, missing 1 week? PLEASE call Vancouver authorities @ 604-717-2967 or 604-717-2534. Case #202029519.

A bizarre and sad tale during the Olympics. With so many visitors coming to town, how common is it for people to disappear during an Olympics? Who else has gone missing?

Please note the Vancouver PD contact numbers and case number above, if you have any information.

Countdown to the Olympics: Transit adjustments

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With the Olympics about to begin, the city – including those who saw the international games as a boon as well as those that originally expressed concerns – is starting to ask, “What effect, exactly, will the games have on the day-to-day living in the city?”

Well for starters, transit is gonna get weird – I don’t mean that in a negative way, but rather meaning it’s going to get shaken up, both good and bad. As in, there will be, they figure, a lot more transit users. This means potentially longer, frustrating waits for people who just want to get to work or school. The plan is to add more buses. This means potentially longer, frustrating waits for people who just want to get to work or school… in their cars.

And then there are transit fees – already, if you’re trying to use the Canada line out of the airport, the ticket price has gone up $5. Meaning, you pay the regular zone fare for the train (YVR is in a zone with Richmond, meaning travel into Vancouver or Richmond is two zones = $3.75) and then an additional $5 AddFare on top. $8.75 a person to get from the airport to their hotel or homes.

A cab from YVR to downtown Vancouver is approx. $35 (TaxiWiz puts it at $26 including 15% tip – this is because TaxiWiz is drunk… or measures linear distances only and cannot account for per minute charges while you wait at a light or two or ten.) Cabs can hold 4 people, so unless you’re traveling alone, the train might not be the best option.

It should be pointed out that this AddFare is for what TransLink calls CashFares. Meaning, any fare purchase right at the terminal – if you have a monthly pass, away you go. Mind you, as a visitor, if you’re staying in Vancouver, do you need a two-zone pass? And if you only have the one zone pass, then you’re paying the extra zone AddFare. This is around the point my head starts to bubble.

And there’s more!

TranLink is offering collector FareCards, which are on sale at all FareDealer locations now. The passes aren’t strictly speaking, monthly passes, but rather Olympic passes, covering exactly the period of time the Olympics and Paralympics are happening – February 8th to March 21st. Here are the prices on those cards;

1-Zone $110
2-Zone $149
3-Zone $204
Concession $63

And here is what it costs for a single month (consisting of +/- 30 days)

1-Zone $73
2-Zone $99
3-Zone $136
Concession $42

Looks like a deal, right! Yes! For people who will only be here for the Olympics!

Townies are out of luck, as the Olympic passes do not cover the first week of February or the last week of March, meaning you either pay for two regular passes, as you normally would (ie $146 for one zone), or pay for the Olympic FareCard ($110), plus two books of  FareSaver tickets (20 tickets for ten work days = $38), for a total of $148. God help you if you need to make multiple trips in a single day and two tickets will not be enough.

At this point I stopped trying to factor in things like the West Coast Express, buses to Whistler, HandyDart. All in all, the events will mean business as usual for Vancouver commuters, at best, and more likely than not it will mean exactly the kinds of hassles people hoped would not happen.

What’s got you worried about Olympic traffic and transit? How are you planning to weather the WorldParty?

Pixar looking for first hires for Vancouver studio

There has been talk for awhile now that Pixar was looking to open a studio here in town. It’s not a bad idea at all, given the high concentration of local tech and art talent. And it’s looking like those burbles are turning into action, as Pixar has apparently begun looking for some of their first hires – so far, these listings are through third-party job sites, and haven’t yet been confirmed or reflected by Pixar’s own job site, but Pixar watchers are saying it’s all for reals.

The first job listings for Pixar’s future studio in Vancouver, British Columbia have appeared on the web (here and here) at two independent websites (they’re not yet posted on the careers page at Pixar.com).

The positions Pixar is seeking to fill are Manager of Information Systems, Production Manager, and Layout Artist. The Production Manager will report to the general manager of the Vancouver studio and their producer in Emeryille.

Each of the listings term the satellite studio Pixar Canada, a “wholly-owned subsidiary of Pixar Animation Studios”. As we’ve known since the project was announced, “the Vancouver studio will produce short-form animation focusing on legacy Pixar characters from films such as Toy Story and Cars”.

A well-placed source confirms that the new campus will be up and running “sometime in 2010”.

[VIA Pixar Blog and Facebook (thx Roger)]

Fire at Main and Broadway – nobody hurt, coolness lost.

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photo by me

Well, Mount Pleasant just got a little less cool.

Last night, a fire of unknown origin, tore through nearby businesses, including Zocalo Mexican restaurant, Slickety Jim’s, Lugz Coffee, and Kishu Island Sushi. Fortunately spared was the apartment complex next door. Ironically spared was the old Scotia Bank building on the corner of Main and Broadway, which for the past year has served as a showroom, sales center for a proposed condo complex to be built there in the future.

While no one was hurt, thanks to the fast action and overwhelming force of the Vancouver fire department (the news says 8 engines from 3 stations were called to the scene), traffic was a pain all day, as rubble was hauled out into Main street, presumably to easier soak the debris without risking any hidden fire to spread. Both lanes were down at least until 3PM (and may still be blocked for all I know – I’ll have a look shortly.)

I liked Slickity Jim’s. I liked Lugz. And I had a decent, happy-hour special at Kishu a couple of times. So I’m sad to see them go, as they will no doubt be replaced by something far less funky.

Where were you when the Canada Line went on-line?

Photo by Uncle Buddha

Photo by Uncle Buddha


85,000 people took to the streets Monday, suffering hour long line-ups to be one of the first to try Vancouver’s new, expensive, Japanese rush-hour simulator – the Canada Line. I got to try the Expo line with everyone else at Expo – that was neat. Hopefully everyone that got to try the Canada Line – AKA “The path of least resistance to YVR or Richmond” – yesterday had a similar experience.

The Tuesday morning numbers were far lower, said Translink, which I’m assuming means it was merely a sane amount of travelers, and not 100 thousand gawkers. Translink however seems to think the numbers will increase in September, as the now redundant B-line buses are shut down or re-routed (mainly, the 98 B-line.)

For a flickr slideshow of people’s photos of the big day, click here.

How many shootings is it now? This has got to stop.

What’s going on here? I’ve lost count on how many shootings the Lower Mainland has had over the past month. Shootings happening in shopping centres, in broad daylight, directly in front of a four year old boy

Some say it has to do with a certain family with gang ties, others say it’s a series of revenge killings between the UN and Red Scorpion gangs. Some others say that it has more to do with silencing certain people before they go to the cops.

Why can these groups have free reign to spread such fear? How did it get to this point where these groups are left unchecked? Where are the laws that are supposed to protect us from these groups? Where are the deterrents? Are there deterrents? Why are those who deal drugs or commit gun crimes given such light sentences? I understand that there was legislation to impose maximum sentencing for crimes involving guns, but that it’s currently being held up by the senate.

Just a little frustrated… I’d like to know your opinion.

Pink Shirt Day – it’s like reliving the 80s for a good cause


I remember when the circumstances that helped create Pink Shirt Day first happened – it was one of the notable stories of the week, September of 2007. It had a John Hughes film quality to it – a new student attends his first day of classes at a rural high-school in Nova Scotia, wearing a pink Polo shirt. Fair enough – Polo is always a solid choice and in 2007, I think pink was supposed to be the new black.

No problem there, not counting the high-school bullies.

Surprising to nobody that’s ever attended high-school, they went to work on the new kid, verbally beating him down with the bluntest instrument in the vocabulary of teenage boys everywhere; homo.

The surprising, almost unbelievable part of the story is that two Grade 12 students took offence on behalf of the younger Grade 9 classmate, and using their own money, a discount clothing store, and online social networking, they bought 50 pink t-shirts and handed them out at the school door the next day. And the 50 was supplemented by even more students that wore their own pink apparel. It seems like an obvious twofer – get an awesome excuse to wear that pink sweater AND stick it to the thuggish common denominator at the same time.

Anyhow, happy ending – the new student’s confidence is restored, two grade 12 students are national heroes (Go Canada!), and the bullies are doing whatever it is bullies do when they don’t get their way. Smoking, carving things into desks, and punching one another in the arm, one would imagine.

But it doesn’t end there – an anecdote this perfect has, inevitably, become the focus of an new, annual campaign to take a stand against school bullying – the literally named Pink Shirt Day [PSD] on February 25th (yeah, I’m not sure why it’s not September either – I’m assuming there’s an awareness calendar and September was full.)

Most of us aren’t in high-school any more, but we were all there once. And at least in some small way, the kids around us aspire to be us – independant and critical thinkers. And to be honest, we’re all better looking people now anyhow. Plus black and pink looks awesome, hipsters. So, why not show a little support on Feb. 25th? Pull on some pink, and wherever possible, pass this along to your friends. The perfect Hollywood ending for this story is if the actions of two clever young men trigger and annual, international event.

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

Power out downtown Vancouver

I’ll be quick since I’m posting from my janky phone’s browser.

Power is out for most of Robson and a large section of downtown. This includes traffic lights, so avoid driving down here for the next while.

My office building was evacuated due a weid noxious black smoke coming from the side of the building. There are reports of smoke from at least one other office building a few blocks up.

The city has apparently said that power will be restored by 3pm.

Update:

Power still out. According to Twitter most downtown workers are part of an exodus back home as the work day is called on account opf rain… err… power oputage.

Happy Carbon Tax Day!

It’s kind of clever – diabolical even. Pick the one day everyone is outdoors walking around, pondering a hot dog and looking for the best spot to see fireworks, to launch the new provincial carbon tax on fuel sales! Brilliant! Oh sure, they’ll complain tomorrow, but day one will be buried under red and white flags, explosions in the sky, and photos of tots with ice-cream all over their faces (they may optionally also be looking at fireworks while holding tiny paper Canadian Flags.)

What does this mean to you? Do you have a car? If you’ve answered no, it means little to you, though in theory over time the tax will lessen personal and business taxes – time will tell on that. If you’ve answered yes, then it means from this day forward, you’re paying 2.4 cents per litre more for petrol – and that will increase another five and quarter cents per over the next four years, on top of wherever the price of oil takes us in the coming months.

Never has a hybrid looked so good, and the ZENN and Volt can’t go on sale fast enough! Save the petroleum for vital K-Way production, I say.

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