Archive for September, 2008

"Wait, is that mine…?"

It’s a bittersweet concept – kind of a circle-of-life thing in Vancouver. Buy a bike, it gets stolen, the police retrieve it, sell it, second verse, same as the first.

Every year the Police hold their bike auction, where recovered bikes that have remained unclaimed for three months go on the block – so, when you consider it, on the one hand, it means someone lost a bike. On the other hand it could mean a bargain for someone looking to buy a bike cheap. You know, in case it gets stolen.

So, US cities auction off cigarette boats and Tony Montana mansions, we auction off bikes – to the tune of $200K per year, apparently. I say they start a crack Bike Theft squad with that money – when the crack team can’t afford to run anymore, we’ll know they’ve done their jobs.

However you may feel about it, the next auction takes place tomorrow. Previews were today I’m afraid, but you haven’t missed out yet.

Van band + Rock Band = When fun becomes a good cause

As previously mentioned, I trekked my butt down to Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo a couple of weekends back, and I’m just now recuperating. I am not the young convention goer I once was.

Overall, an excellent time was had by all, but the surprise was that Vancouver’s The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, who were down to perform at the expo, found themselves as a downloadable track on Rock Band!

Basically, PAX and Harmonix (makers of Rock Band) arranged to release a song pack for Rock Band which featured music from three of the acts playing the weekend – Geek folkster Jonathan Coulton, geekier rapper MC Frontalot, and Canada’s own, The Thickets (who are, to be fair, geeks.) But wait, there’s more!

Besides becoming the first Canadian independent act to feature on Rock Band, The Thickets track is helping raise money for Child’s Play – the charity where gamers from around the world raise money for children’s hospitals. Fifty-plus internationally, four of them in Canada, including the BC Children’s Hospital. Money from each PAX Pack sold is being donated to Child’s Play – so, buck a song… minus Microsoft’s cut… then server overhead and production… that’s potentially some big bucks.

I’m betting that there are a lot of Rock Band rockers out there – what’s three bucks for some great tracks and making kids happy, right? You can preview the track on their MySpace page [ms], or, if you prefer, you can watch this blurry YouTube video of them playing/performing the song at PAX [yt]. Enjoy!

Metro Vancouver Trolley Buses Headed To Argentina

These New Flyer Trolley buses are now 25 years old and for many Vancouverites they have served us faithfully at one point or another during our lives here.

Unfortunately they’ve reached the end of their useful life here in Metro Vancouver. They simply don’t meet accessibility standards that we have. For example they have steps at the entries as well as poles in the centre aisle.  Since they were being phased out anyways, Translink managed to secure a deal selling them to the city of Mendoza in Argentina for $2300 a piece plus shipping.

The parade of them being towed/hauled from the Oakridge Transit Centre to the Fraser docks will continue on throughout Sept 11th.

World Class Chef Opening First Canadian Restaurant

Vancouver is definitely a foodie’s paradise. With some of the biggest variety in cuisines and restaurants that offer top notch renditions, we are constantly in the spotlight.

It’s about time another world class culinary star is opening a restaurant here.  I mean we have Iron Chef Feenie with his restaurant.  David Hawksworth formally of West opening up his namesake restaurant Hawksworth at the new Hotel Georgia in 2009. Now, we’ve got Jean-George Vongerichten opening up his restaurant at the new Shangri-la.

That’s right it’s the same Jean-George behind Jean-Georges, Spice Market, & Perry in NYC and Cafe Martinique at the Atlantis in the Bahamas, Rama in London, as well as other world renowned restaurants.

Apparently it will occupy the vast majority of the entire third floor of the Shangri-La when it opens in 2009 so there is still a bit of waiting to go.

Hopefully it’ll inspire other amazing stars in the food world to open some amazing dining establishments here in Vancouver that offer consistently good food.


Strange new PNE discoveries

One food vendor (the funnel cake people) was selling deep-fried Oreos this year. I could not resist.

Deep Fried Oreo

Alas, it’s two great tastes that are wasted together. The dough was quite puffy; I think a crisper, thinner dough would have suited the Oreos better. Not recommended.


This thing is a beehive. It was even better than the mushroom exhibit, which I believe is one of the highlights of the PNE each year.

And it’s hardly new, nor a discovery, but the bizarrely overproduced Superdogs show is always a charmer, if only because beneath the deeply layered hype, noise, and lighting, you’ve got a bunch of dugs, and they’re both impressive and random. My favorite moment of the show was the Jack Russell Terrier that ran straight at a three-foot-tall turnaround barrel, violently knocked the barrel over with its face, and then ran back to the start as if this was how it did all its obstacle runs.

Feisty dogs, those terriers.

So, anyone here win the prize home? A few nice details aside, it seemed a fairly shabby effort, with lots of little corner-cutting misfeatures and fair bit of tasteless decorating. The kitchen in particular was an ergonomic disaster: what kind of idiot architect puts the fridge nearly 15 feet away from the sink and main prep counter? It was as if the designer had anti-learned every lesson of the Frankfurt Kitchen.

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