Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Vancouver Blogs: The Vancouver Sun knows the internets


Maybe I shouldn’t be sarcastic with the title, maybe they do know the internet. I mean they at least know the fundamental fact that the best way to get traffic is to mention people by name. It’s the same thing we used to do in the student press, a front page picture of a rock band would only get picked up by fans of that band but a front page picture of a bunch of students would get picked up by the students, their friends and anyone who wanted to sleep with any of the students pictured.

It was circulation gold.

So when NowPublic, the people who don’t seem to understand Creative Commons licenses so spam you four times a week on Flickr asking to use your photos, the Vancouver Sun must have thought “Hey NowPublic is already repurposing all of our content as large block quotes and calling it ‘Citizen Journalism’ we might as well get involved in a link baiting scheme with them.”


Vancouver’s new newspaper boxes


Maybe I’m just a giant newspaper nerd, but I can’t help but think that the new distribution boxes that have been put out around some of Vancouver’s busiest streets are a great idea.  

So call me a distribution dork if you will but having one central box instead of a collection of run down boxes is a nice change.  The boxes have space for the free newspapers such as the free dailies like 24Hours and Metro which essentially just run wire service copy, The Georgia Straight and others with two pay slots for The Province and The Vancouver Sun.  The fact that there’s a space to put newspapers in for recycling is a great thing as well.

Ideally the project could be used as a reason to get rid of the free dailies street hawkers who stand around busy sidewalks blocking people’s way and trying to shove terribly typed tripe into people’s hands.  Ideally.  

Vancity Buzz (which looks less like vomit than it used to) had a post on the new boxes earlier this month [vcb].  The city apparently plans to deploy about fifty of the boxes around town, which is good news if it manages to cut down on litter and the wasted space of four or five newspaper boxes vying for attention on each and every corner.

Euro 2008 Final, where will you be?

Euro 2008 Final Arsenal Kits

We’re about one hour away from the final of the European Championships. It’s Spain against Germany. It’s the beautiful sport of football (soccer) and the question of the day is, where are you watching it?

If I wasn’t trapped inside working I’d probably be heading over either to the Dover Arms on Denman or the Library Square Pub to catch the action. Had Italy made the final the obvious place to go would have been Commercial Drive, which would have been overcome with celebration had the Azzuri [wp] won.

Also on Denman near Georgia there’s a new snitzle resturant, the name of which escapes me, which looked like a good German place to be watching the final. Any other suggestions for those who might be wandering around trying to get a cold beer and a view of the match?

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”.

I’ll try not to get star struck…

Big time bloggers, Heather Armstrong and Maggie Mason, are in town for VidFest this weekend. And they are scheduling a meet-and-greet over at Granville Island tomorrow from 5 to 7 pm. Here are those details:

Dockside Brewing Company
behind the Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston Street
Granville Island, Vancouver B.C.V6h 3R9

I’m going to hop on the Aquabus and take a ride over to Granville Island right after work. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll say yet, and I’m actually nervous at the thought of meeting them. I know, that’s silly, but it’s true. While I’m not a mommy blogger at all, I read both bloggers’ sites every day. And I really do like Heather’s photos.

Anthony Bourdain’s Vancouver visit


Former chef Anthony Bourdain is famous around foodie circles both for his books, the most notable being Kitchen Confidential, and the niche he’s carved for himself as a travel food journalist with his show No Reservations which is shown on the Travel Channel down in the States. The most talked about shtick on the show is when Bourdain will eat something stomach turning, presenting audiences with a reality television version of the monkey brains scene from Temple of Doom.

Vancouver seems an odd destination for the show, since it’s neither one of the major food capitals of the world nor a place where one is likely to find something quite so unusual as a cobra heart like he ate in Vietnam. Still our city was one of the destinations for the show on this season, and while you won’t find it on Canadian television thanks to YouTube we can watch the episode online (for now).

I’ve said before that having outsiders come to Vancouver is a great way to get a new perspective on the city, and see just how much other people appreciate what we have there. Granted some of the eating that he does in the episode is way beyond a lot of people’s pocket books (mine included) but it’s still a great indication of what we have in our city.

The first three parts of the episode after the jump.


Going to the Emerald City with Tony Stark

Iron Man, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Any comic book fan worth their weight in refried beans is heading down to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Convention [eccc] this weekend. Though Vancouver has yet to get a decent convention that attracts mainstream talent, Seattle’s convention has been getting better every year.

Since it’s not Vancouver related you won’t see me blogging about it here, though if you head over to our Seattle sister site Metroblogging Seattle [mbs] you’ll find that I’ll be doing some posting while I’m down there.

Anyone one else going down for the show?

The Mystery Garden on Hastings Street

Does anyone know who is creating this garden?

I noticed the garden in progress (shown above) on Hastings Street about a block down from Main Street on my way into work this week ala the SFU 135 bus. Last night after work, I decided to head down there to see if there was any information explaining this garden. Once I got to the garden area, I realized this was not really a good plan. I was alone next to an awful hotel and surrounded by people smoking crack and ranting. I continued walking as though I knew what I was doing, walked around the block and peaked down the alley behind the garden. It seemed mostly clear, so I walked down to the fenced off area and took pictures through the fence. There were people coming down the alley and a few people huddled behind a dumpster. I packed up my camera and headed off, my heart beating fast and feeling rather unsafe.

Nothing happened to me. I made it out of the area and I’m fine. Nobody even said anything to me. But that part of town is sad and scary.

This is what makes this garden interesting to me. As far as I could tell, there was no explanation about what was going on there. It’s a full lot and someone is building a winding path with bricks in there. There were wooden barrels planted in the ground and some plants. I saw a couple of wheelbarrows and even a hard hat. I think this may be a permanent garden, right in the middle of skid row. Who is creating this? I’m very interested to know who it is. I’d love to go back to the garden (with some friends. My decision to go alone was not a good one.) and take pictures of the garden as it progresses.

If anyone has any information about this, I’d love to hear about it. I did a quick search online and didn’t find anything.

My favorite restaurant in Vancouver is Toshi Sushi

Toshi's sushi

Toshi Sushi
181 16th Avenue East,
Vancouver, BC
V5T 4R2, Canada
(604) 874-5173

Growing up in the interior I learned to love decent sushi. Maybe you’ve had decent sushi, it’s good stuff, fresh and generally tasty. Like having a good steak at The Keg, or a good hamburger at Fatburger you eat it and enjoy it but don’t really ever crave it. There’s loads of good sushi places in Vancouver, and when I moved down town I ate at quite a few.

Toshi’s is not good sushi. Toshi’s is not even great sushi. Toshi’s is fucking great sushi.

Away from the downtown core it does not get much of the tourist traffic that downtown places get, and yet it’s always busy. The fact that locals flock to it, line up for it and keep coming back is a sign of a great resturant. Any resturant can get tourists to pack themselves into seats during the summer, but a place that can get the locals to wait in line outside during the rain and snow of the winter months is truely special.

I don’t know what to say about Toshi’s other than it’s probably my favorite restaurant in Vancouver. It’s also not just a once in awhile place, saved only for special occasions and birthdays because of the price. Though not cheap, if you define cheap as what you’d spend at a McDonald’s or all-you-can-eat-sushi places, it’s not so much that you’ll need to take out a second mortage for the night, my fiancee and I tend to be able to eat there for around $40 and still have a bit to take home.

Now the thing to know about Toshi’s if you haven’t been, is that unless you’re there at opening there’s going to be a wait. Don’t bring a large group, anything over 6 people will probably get turned away unless you’re willing to split up. If there’s a line at the door send someone in and up to the front to put your name on the wait list. Don’t wait for someone to address you, just go to the front and fill it in yourself. Then wait to be called. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

Don’t bother phoning in for reservations. Actually don’t bother phoning in at all during dinner hours.


Vancouver Marathon this Sunday

I’ve got two buddies running the marathon this weekend – one is doing the 1/2 marathon and expects to run 13 miles in about an hour and a half. And my buddy who’s running the marathon for the first time ever hopes to be done in about 5 hours. Me? I’ll be driving in, drinking coffee and waiting at the finish line for my friends to finish with camera in hand. What can I say? I’m no runner.

Be prepared for detours and roads to be blocked off on Sunday. They start running early on Sunday – 7:00 am for the full marathon and 7:30 for the half. There’s plenty of entertainment along the race course to look forward to as well. It should be a good time!

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