Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Elfsar Comics closing out sale.

May 1st, 2010 - special guest Alan Moore poses with costumed entertainers outside Elfsar Comics. (photo by Taylor Latour)

Seven years. I was one of the first people through the door. I was account #10.

And it was everything I wanted in a comic shop. Nice staff that could talk nerd with you at the drop of a hat, talk friendly and helpful to all folks that came through the door, and never talk down to anyone. Elfsar comics strove to have something for everyone and they were always happy to help you find it. And now it’s dead. Like someone poisoned, it will continue until May 23rd, but then it will collapse and be no more.

100 Best Local Places to Eat & Shop

I was recently given one of the most interesting takes on a coupon book I’ve seen. Instead of a coupon book with hundreds of “local” discounts on everything from drycleaning services to shock absorbers, this deck of cards focuses on what Vancouverites seem to enjoy most; eating out and shopping. The real treat is that every one of them is in Vancouver, with serious emphasis on the downtown core.

Categorized by neighbourhood (Kitsilano, South Granville), each card gives a synopsis and a price range, and some notable discounts. This is a wonderful pickup for foodies on a budget. Check out Joe Fortes or the Goldfish Pacific for some free “bite size chef specialties”, Stella’s for 25% off the total bill (alcohol excluded) or, if you’re in the mood for buying some exotic housewares, 50% off a single item at Nood.

My only real annoyance with the book is that the cards are double-sided, which can cause problems with a retailer’s lack of familiarity. It’s sometimes hard getting them back to use the other side. They’re also not sub-categorized to separate the food from the clothes, which can be a nuisance when you’re flipping for, say, a restaurant in Kitsilano.

Well worth their cost, you can pick these up for 11.95 at Chapters. Also available in Chinese or Japanese for a dollar more.

Travellers Deck.

Duthie books to shutter after 53 years

I remember way back when, after first moving to Vancouver, buying books meant one of two things; Granville Books or the Duthie Books at Hornby and Robson. I also remember when the big chains showed up, went online, and Duthie started closing up stores.

Then an equilibrium was found. Duthie ruled Kits at their 4th Street location for a long time, but that’s coming to an end. Citing being unable to compete price-wise and the beginning shift away from hardcopy to digital readers, the 4th street location will soon shut its doors forever.

We are closing now while we can do so in an orderly fashion and not under any pressure from banks or suppliers. Duthies went through a radical restructuring 10 years ago and frankly, we do not want to go through that again.

Our last annual sale starts Thursday January 28 with 40% off everything and further reductions in the following weeks. Please use your gift certificates before the end of February.

Anybody wishing to shop for old times sake (and to ensure a few books don’t end up being sold by weight to a discount book store), should make a note and check out the annual sale.

[VIA Miss 604]

Indie I Do – Vancouver’s 2nd annual alternative wedding show

indie_banner_webVancouver, at least to a larger degree than most cities in Canada, isn’t a traditional wedding kind of town. And by traditional, I mean, the consumerized* “traditional”. Tuxes and white gowns and cake and flowers, etc. Not that these aren’t fine options, but this is a town where a lot of people already have an alternate take on traditional; traditional Chinese weddings, traditional Hindu weddings, etc. Let’s put it this way – the last wedding I went to was at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, the bride wore white, then switched to red after for pictures, and the groom wore a kilt. It’s a mash-up kind of town.

And that’s before you get to the couples that wouldn’t be caught dead in a tux and gown, and are looking for something different.

So, one might say it’s long overdue that someone put on an alternative wedding show – enter, Indie I Do.

Brides and grooms who have a hard time finding the perfect item for their wedding will breathe a sigh of relief when they attend the second annual Indie I Do wedding event, being held at the Heritage Hall on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

Catering to a diverse crowd, Indie I Do promises something for everyone – be it an off beat theme wedding, same sex do, or simply a traditional couple looking to add a touch of their own unique personalities into their event.

Join the Indie I Do revolution! Buy your tickets now and don’t forget to join us on facebook.

See you at the show!

[VIA Senses and Styles]

*I made a word!

100.5 The Peak challenges listeners to find their $5

100.5 FM has an interesting idea for promoting their station – take a five dollar bill and then drop it. As people pick it up and spend it, it moves around the city. Now, if someone were aware that there’s a special bill out there and knew what to look far (say, they were to watch The Peak’s YouTube video on the matter) and was diligent in checking their pockets every time they got a new fiver, they might win $5000.

I’m wondering, how likely is it that someone will find the bill – certainly if everyone in the city knew about the contest, someone would find it quick, but I’m betting there’s a very good chance this bill will just wander off.


1 – Banks pull notes all the time. This may only temporarily remove the bill from circulation, but it could freeze it indefinitely, or even move it to another city where The Peak isn’t heard. And the longer this bill is out there, the more likely the maximum audience will be reached and passed before it’s found.

2 – Even more likely is the bill leaves the city on a person, headed on a flight to Toronto, a car-ride to Prince George, or traded in for American South of the Border.

3 – Fire. OK, I admit this is very very unlikely. I just wanted more than two ways the contest could end in nothing (and while I understand the purpose is to get the name of the station out, not for someone to actually win the five grand, it’s more interesting is someone does win.)

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.

Vancouver embraces Twitter

I joined twitter a little over a year ago as part of some school research in emerging technology trends. For several months, I only had three followers: my professor, a classmate and a good friend of mine – not bad considering the huge Facebook craze at the time.

For some reason, I thought, “Hey why not see if good ol’ (or god-awful, depending on your point of view) Gordon Campbell is on Twitter.” Sure enough, he was. What about good ol’ (or god-awful, depending on your point of view) Carole James? She’s there too!

I added Gordon Campbell (@g_campbell) to my list… and within two hours he added me to his. Still waiting for Ms. James (@carolejames) to add me to hers. But considering that she’s not following anyone at the moment, I don’t think she’ll be inviting me to her list anytime soon. Granted, they’re both probably written by party staffers anyway.

Buzz Bishop (@buzzbishop) of 95.3 FM Virigin Radio fame tweets quite a bit, and I find his them to be a great source of what’s going on in Vancouver… and a great source for good eats! Local Vancouver Sun writer Gillian Shaw (@gilliamshaw) is a great read as well… She taught me a lot about how Twitter works on her recent Twitter article. For you Vancouver talk radio junkies, CKNW (@cknw) and News1130 (@news1130) are on it as well.

I’m sure that there are a more Vancouver twitter accounts out there. If you know of any good ones that we can follow, please leave a comment… Bonus points for you if you could find one that covers Vancouver’s food scene. I’m looking for more great places to eat!

Riddle me this…

Ponder this for awhile, and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

[UPDATE] Did I say tomorrow? I meant… tomorrow after tomorrow.

As Ryan [MB] commented, those with a cellphone should take a look at Kaywa QR code reader – QR code is what you see above. There are in fact a number of different code formats, including ones that look like a beehive of hexagons or a series of circles. However, if you’ve ever looked at the labels or packaging for various foods and other sundries, you’ll most likely see a code much like above – a seemingly random collection of black and white pixels. Even the smallest of them can contain a lot more information than a best before date, including URLs. Some can even contain an image (there’s your Gibsonian cyberpunk moment of the day – escort ads that can “show” without getting into trouble. Or, fine. Kittens and puppies. The picture is of rainbows and ducklings.)

There are a handful of decoders for the iPhone, all of them capable of decoding more than just the QR code format, but they tend to be a little finicky. Currently, I’m getting the best results with BeeTagg.

And even if you don’t have a phone, you can still have a lot of fun making and decoding online. Here; go to this link, and then put the following URL in (it’s the address for the image above.)

Cool, right?

It’s possible that we don’t need this, but at the same time, I can’t help but think the uses are vast… up to and including pictures of dolphins covered in glitter. And really, they won’t take hold until people start thinking up some of those uses and acting on them. Got any good ideas?

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.

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