Archive for the ‘Vancouver Life’ Category

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”.

Wreck Beach Nudist: An Endangered Species

There hasn’t been a story about this beach here since 2007. I checked. So the fact that this one is a bit old, but turned up on the Tyee news summary for last Friday might be worth noting too. Before you click on the link at work, note that the story is illustrated, and I have not, in an excess of care for your welfare, not put any of the (I think rather nice) pictures in this post.

The source is also, as it happens, new to me. But I do like the idea of “Citizen News”. And as a transport economist and local transit activist, I am a bit perturbed that the idea of a ferry from Wreck Beach to Squamish had been proposed at all – and this back in November of last year – and I did not know about it.

How dare we enjoy ourselves for almost free, just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver? It seems to me this can no longer be tolerated by the University of British Columbia and its towers of mass destruction – their hopes for a ferry terminal that will one day expediently transport thousands of polluting tourists directly up to Squamish without having to go all the way around, through the city and across the bridge.

Now I am fairly sure that even if there are not (admitted) Wreck Beach users here there may be folk at UBC who know more about this and will comment. Enquiring minds need to know.

And yes, when I was younger and lived in Europe, beaches like this were usually on my holiday list. The topography of Wreck Beach, more than anything, has put me off. Up to now. For if there is anything that stimulates my interest in doing something it is when I learn of some officials who want to stop me. I read banned books. I go out of my way to see movies that have been prohibited. I support civil disobedience as a way of changing society – for it is the only thing that ever has. I just hope it gets warmer soon.

Winter Farmers Market at Wise Hall

Winter Farmers Market until April

I had to see for myself what kinds of items were available at the Winters Farmers Market today. I was happy to support our local farmers by picking up some Russian Blue Potatoes, a big bag of carrots, apples, honey and some free trade coffee. I have plans to make some whipped blue potatoes for Easter dinner tomorrow.

The farmers market will be open a few more times at the Wise Hall at Adanac between now and the end of April. There are more details about the dates on this newsletter at the eatlocal website.

Have a good long weekend…

Dating lessons at the Bay

I’m at the Bay as a holiday vendor (don’t ask), and across from me is a middle aged Asian guy trying to teach a group of four men how to hit on women. It’s a real professional dating course right ouf of Magnolia. He’s just demonstrated by hitting on two women and is now giving them an assignment to go out and try to hit on as many women as they can and before they meet up later.

It’s absolutely surreal. He just hit on an undercover Bay security employee who probably should have thrown the lot of them out but didn’t. It’s completely mind blowing because I think these people are paying for this.

Of course I shouldn’t be surprised, I once went to Exectuive Search Dating [esd] when I first moved to Vancouver and was shocked to discover they had a $10,000 life time membership where they’d set you up on dates with young women for the rest of your life. This city is single, has money and needs sex.

Back to the dating team at the Bay, I feel like following them around with my phone and live blogging it.

Why aren’t our gangs still dressing snappy like?


Originally uploaded by darksandal.

Four girls all wearing purple just came into the store and my mind had a flashback to grade eight and our band trip where we travelled from Kelowna all the way to the big city of Vancouver. We billeted in with a school in Surrey, and the amazing thing we learned from all of our hosts was that when we went to Richmond we had better not wear purple.

Now it seems to me odd that all of the kids from the Surrey school who took one of our Okanagan Mission Secondary School band dorks felt the need to inform them that the colour purple was a gang colour in Richmond and that wearing said colour would get our asses capped. It seems so odd that reflecting on it now I have the feeling they may have been putting us hicks on.

If they were putting us on then it was a great joke, because we bought it. If they weren’t then I’d like to mourn the passing of a gentler day of gang warfare where instead of shooting up resturants at all hours our city’s gangs simply made sure they wore snappy gay positive colour schemes.

Anyone out there remember when purple was the big gang colour? Or anyone remember pranking a bunch of rubes from Kelowna?

Vancouver on the BBC

I’m not quite sure when this BBC look at the quality of life in Vancouver first aired, but it does feel a few years old. Still it was posted on YouTube recently thanks to the user “moremonkeybusiness” [yt]. Part one is above and part two is after the jump. It’s an interesting look at the city from an outsider’s perspective.

Vancouver gets angry

I’ve blogged about it before, but every so often Vancouver just seems to get really angry. It doesn’t seem related to the weather, though this time that could be part of it, nor the performance of the Canucks. It’s just every six months or so things just slip into angry violence.

I’m not talking about riots, but rather just absolutely ridiculous events on a small personal scale.

Yesterday for example there was a brawl between two customers outside the store I work at Metrotown with a much larger and older man tyring to beat the crap out of a young boy. The security guards then arrived and took about five minutes to seperate them, then had to pile of the young boy. Today a customer got mad at me and took a half hearted half swing across the counter and then stormed out.

A lot of this is working in the mall, Metrotown because of the weather is way too busy and the stress of shopping coupled with the stress of waiting in lines is probably wearing on some people.

Whatever it is once again there seems to be some bad mojo in the air. To use the word mojo.

North Shore Knee Knacker Race 2007

I had the pleasure yesterday of being one of the official volunteer photographers at this year’s KneeKnacker race on the North Shore. My spot was aid station # 7 – right on the trail at the top of the Seymour Demonstration Forest – 22 miles into the race. Our station was at the top of a long hill and those poor runners…ouch. The man that came in first place to our station arrived at 9:32 (by my watch). The race started at 6:00 am down in Horseshoe Bay. It took him 3 & 1/2 hours to run 22 miles of hilly and bumpy terrain. He stopped only for a minute at the most to have some water and then head out to run the rest of the 8 miles to the finish line in Deep Cove. All the finish times have been posted on their website here.

I was told this race “was a real puker” and it’s not uncommon for injuries to take place. I didn’t see any vomiting or injuries, but I did over hear things like, “Oh, I just got a call. He decided to run home from Cleavland Dam.”. One supporter got a phone call like this, “Oh no. Okay. I’ll go get him.” She then explained to me the person she was waiting for started getting sick on the trail and had to stop the race. I heard the race started out with about 250 people, and by the time the last person got to the station where I was, they were down to 196 people. There were racers from around Canada running and some international runners as well – someone came from Australia to run the race and another one from South America. Many of the runners from out of town had never been on the course before as they had been training elsewhere. The runners were troopers. And I would say 80% of them smiled for the camera! Ha! Running up hill, after all those miles and still, they see the camera and smile. Amazing.

This was a great event to volunteer for. They were very organized and professional and I even got invited to the banquet. I didn’t make it to the banquet this year, but next year, if they’ll have me, I’ll happily volunteer again.

I’ll be posting A LOT of pictures of this event fairly soon. I took over 400 so it was quite time consuming to go through them all. It was my first real action shot photography session as well and I’m pretty happy with how a bunch of my pictures turned out.

The livable city

Atlantans (that’s people from Atlanta, not to be confused with the extinct and water-logged Atlanteans) are learning from Vancouver about how to plan their city as a pedestrian-friendly urban utopia.

Unfortunately for the visitors, their big freeways are already built, just like in virtually every other city in North America, so they’re kind of stuck with them. Best of luck tearing them down, though.

Speaking of pedestrian-friendly, I took a jaunt from Granville Island to Kitsilano beach along the seawall recently. Best walk in the city, period.

Well, if you’re not a flesh-eating zombie.

Documentary Film Festival

The Documentary Film Festival is on. I suppose it’s long past time once more to fill up my brain with enough stuff to make me interesting at parties again.

I do like this one comment from audience member Helen Kuk about the docs on right now that gets straight to the point: “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen films as entertaining, eclectic and smart as DOXA’s, and it’s not because I don’t have cable”.

Helen, I’m glad you enjoyed the show. But who the hell doesn’t have cable? I’m pretty sure that’s just what people say when they want other people to think they read more. No proof. Just a strong suspicion…

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