Archive for the ‘Skytrain’ Category

Best Of Vancouver is out

I didn’t win Best-kept Vancouver Secret, so I don’t care, but there’s a lot of other categories to go through – some are a perennial (Best Place For Cheap Drinks – The Cambie) and some are a surprise (Best Place to Pimp Your Ride – Canadian Tire. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s a surprise). Always worth a look – check it out online or grab today’s issue before they’re gone.

Anybody or any place that you’d recommend that didn’t win or get runner-up (either because there wasn’t a catagory for it, or the world is unjust and Vancouver wouldn’t know a good -insert store or job here- if they tripped over it)? I’ve got a few.

Hair Salon – I’ve got two, because my stylist moved shops. Mine Salon at Main and Broadway and Clover, downtown. I don’t need a stylist, if you’ve ever met me. I’m well past my hip prime and maximum hair potential, but therein lies the main reason I found and stuck to my favorite stylist after moving here – I can get a $12 haircut every two weeks and look like a mushroom half the time, or I can pay a reasonable salon price and it will be fine for two months, if worse comes to worse. Gentlemen… good advice. Think about it.

Comic Shop – Why was there no listing for Comic shops? I can think of five inside or just outside the downtown core. Personally, I prefer Elfsar (Yaletown) or RX (Main), but there are enough of them that a vote would be nice. And depending on how far out the net can be cast, there are a lot more that just five – with the new Canada Line, Imperial Hobbies in Richmond is just as easy to get to as Golden Age. Maybe easier.

Video Store – C’mon. We live in city that has managed to not only retain independant video stores, but it’s slowly expanding. Happy Bats (Main)? Black Dog (Cambie)? Grindhouse (W. 4th)? And Videomatica, of course.

This town is full of great places, I’m not sure I like the idea of narrowing it down to a list of three of four. It seems wrong somehow. But, it’s also nice to be recognized for doing a good job, right?

You’ve got another rethink comin’!

Many years ago, shortly after I moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in video games, a pal of mine moved here to join a young ad company. Sick of working for one of the international advertising big dogs, he picked up roots and moved to Vancouver to start small. The company, Rethink Communications, has grown into a sort of marketing cultural force – you’ve probably seen dozens of their ads, and probably talked about at least one around the watering hole. A&W, Playland, Science World, you name it, they’ve come up with a plan to promote it, stopping only occasionally to make their own beer brand or unique floor lamps.

They get a great deal of attention for their unconventional outdoor campaigns, like sticking a million dollars or some plants in a bus stop shelter, or covering a billboard with road-side assistance gear from Canadian Tire and an offer for people to help themselves (then over a few weeks, gas cannisters and tire jacks go missing from the board.) But what I love are their print ads – the moving picture of a commercial or even the narrative of a radio spot leaves a lot of room to get a point across. But catching someone’s attention, holding it, and making a point with a single image… that’s tough.

My current favorite are the new BC Lions ads, featuring traumatized players from other teams hiding behind various sideline personalities (camera crews, furry mascots, etc.) If you like funny and/or smart ads, and you want to kill a couple of hours, their online archives of their various campaigns are worth checking out!

Smells on the Skytrain

I don’t generally like taking the Skytrain during the hot weather.  As much as it can smell like wet dog on those rainy winter days when people’s clothes mixes with the heaters to create a pungent oder, it’s during the summer that people’s B.O. problems really stand-out.

Sure sometimes I don’t feel as fresh as I’d like, walking down Kingsway on my way to the station I can work up a sweat when it’s as hot as it has been the past few days, but I’d like to believe that I don’t cast a thirty foot protection spell of smell.  I’d like to believe that I’m invisible to your nasal nerves.

Maybe I’m not as silent smelling as I’d like to think.  Maybe I assault the senses of others just as strongly as the large man whose clearly seen a loaf of garlic bread more recently than he’s seen a shower or a toothbrush, though I do doubt it.   I think he’s some kind of terrorist weapon to make us lose faith in public transportation, to increase our dependence on foreign oil.

So despite the transit pass I’m walking as much as I can, at least until I can be assured that everyone on tram has met minimum levels of cleanliness.

What are your transit pet peeves that other riders subject you to?

Two turntables and a brass trombone

While the selection of Summer movies is starting to pick up, the weather is promising to be most excellent – so, given the choice between air conditioned cold in the dark for $12 and cool sunset for free, which would you pick? Oh, did I mention option B has live music?

Given the continued, ritual scarification of the city – better known as the building of the new Canada line – Yaletown will not be holding it’s annual outdoor car show this year (a terrible blow, as that’s when Elfsar Comics has its annual sale – hopefully some good news on that later.)

(photo by Urban Mixer)

Instead, they will be holding Hot Fridays, which are a series of live music performances on a closed off street until late August. Tomorrow… sorry, today, July 11th, DJ Leanne and friends will be spinning and winning on the 1000 block of Mainland (that’s by the Subway, at Nelson, I think.) Don’t sweat it, if you miss out this week, Leanne is up for the following two Fridays as well. No word on the bands playing in the weeks following.

And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is performing at Deer Lake Park on Sunday – I don’t know that much more need be said. People in evening wear playing a selection of very old, kind of old, and movie soundtrack music (in this case, West Side Story – do come and rumble, won’t you?) In a lovely park, for free – so, bring a blanket and nom noms, and enjoy.

Twitter saved my bacon, and it was up

twitter, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

When I’m not blogging here, something that I’ve clearly not had time to do the past week, I’m generally Twittering. The thing is I’ve had an awful hard time explaining why Twitter could be useful to people. Oh sure there’s a whole bunch of Web 2.0 bullshit phrases like “branding” and “community building” that I can throw out but when talking with people in the real world (not online) it’s a lost cause.

Today however Twitter actually was a fairly useful service for me. I was invited to a social gathering. The thing was though I had directions I managed to completely missed seeing the giant BC Hydro building when I got off the Skytrain at Edmonds’ station. I wandered around the Burnaby suburbs for about twenty minutes and then started to panic.

I realized that I didn’t have the phone number for my hosts, or anyone else who would be there. Without GPS or Google Maps on my phone I Twittered “Lost on foot in Burnaby, help!” Following this I Twittered, “Seriously if anyone has Google Maps a hand would be nice.”

About two minutes later my phone rang and Mark Hamilton was on the line to give me directions using Google Maps. I don’t know Mark, I’d never talked to him online or offline before that call, but it got me back on track. So thanks Mark, and thanks Twitter.

See now that’s something I can use to explain the power of the Twitter. You know, because nobody but us nerds care about “crowd sourcing”.

Game day Canucks train

Skytrain :: The Spirit of Kelowna

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson

I tend to finish work at around 6 on Sunday nights, so I’m always on the Skytrain just as people are packing into the train to get down to the Canucks game. Though the cars are always crowded by the time I board at Metrotown Station, I always enjoy those rides packed with jerseys.

I find that people are a bit more open then, and though I’m certainly not outgoing enough to talk to anyone, I enjoy listening in as people discuss the team’s recent form. Last night before the game against the Flames [vc], there were a few Flames fans dotting the car that I was in. Each time a red jersey would board the car high fives would be exchanged and the Canucks fans would grumble under their breath.

With the weekend death of an Italian football fan in sporting related violence in Italy [sh] it’s good to see that we can enjoy sporting rivarlies without anyone taking it too seriously. I mean, you know, except for the riots.

Vancouver Five: Canada Line Celebrations


The CBC [cbc] informed me that the city was celebrating the completion of the Canada Line tunnel today, bringing the most patriotic Skytrain line that much closer to completion.  Here’s five more things that we’re celebrating today.  Please insert sarcastic quotes where appropriate.

5)The Canucks loss to the Blackhawks [cbc]: Face it we’re not a city that’s comfortable with a winning NHL team, and so these overtime losses are making us feel safe.  When the team’s winning we start getting into debates with each other on the Skytrain and in line at the movies about ontology.  Now we no longer have to worry about Anselm and his arguments.

4)The Olympics are coming: Why did we have a two year pre-Olympic celebration and not a two year minus one month pre-Olympic celebration?  Is it just me or do the rest of you feel your very neutrons vibrating with eager anticipation?  If I get much more excited I might dissipate.

3)More Pickton [vs]: I have to pick the first season up on DVD before watching next year’s.

2) Conrad Black is going to jail [gs]: Happy days.  No sarcastic quotation marks needed here.

1) The Canucks again [exn]: They might not be able to beat an NHL team, but boy they can wipe the floor with the Hives.

The $14 Billion Transit Plan


The provincial government has announced a massive plan, with lots of money, to increase the amount of public transit infrastructure in the province.

Of course, by “in the province” I mean $2.8 billion in bus improvements, with much of that going to Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and $10.3 billion to rapid transit in the Metro Vancouver area.

The key goal is to get the proportion of trips in Vancouver that use transit from 12% (today’s figure) to 17% by 2020.

News: Skytrain service interuption

expo line

Originally uploaded by velkr0.

As of about twenty minutes ago Expo Line [wp] service for the Skytrain has been halted due to a medical emergency at 29th Avenue Station. All travlers are being sent to the Millennium Line or buses to get downtown for the fireworks. Or to get downtown to go home after work.

Again this information is about twenty minutes old, and I probably won’t be able to update this information because I’m going to be trying to make my way home by other means.

Update (9 pm): Trains heading into the downtown core seem to be pretty much packed. Check updates on the still closed line on Translink’s site here [tl].

Update (9:51 pm) The
Skytrains are running but it’s wonky and slow. I’d add 30 minutes onto any trip you’re planning.

Update (1:10 am) I made the following video from footage recorded during the kerfluffle. I make no promises about it’s educational value, nor its cinematography but it’s short. Photos of crowds of people standing around looking annoyed will be added after the jump, after they get loaded onto Flickr.


Bonus number 6: the readers’ suggestion

modern life

Originally uploaded by negzz.

My recent post listing five ideas to improve the Skytrain [mbv] has been getting some good feedback. A few readers chimmed in with a suggestion that I had considered before, but did not come to mind when I was writing the post. The Skytrain shuts down before the bars close in Vancouver. So add the following to my list of suggestions to imrpove the Skytrain, and thank our readers for bringing it up.

6) drivers not wanted: drinking and driving remains a problem and the fact that one of the major methods of public transportation shuts down prior to the closing of the city’s bars makes no sense. For two hours after 1 am, when the Skytrain closes now, riding the Skytrain should be free of charge and run on only a slightly reduced schedual. This can be paid for out of the millions of dollars in profit the train has made this year and by being better at making sure people buy tickets during the day.

Thanks to Sean Orr and Matt Simpson of Beyond Robson [br] for the suggestion.

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