Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

Fire at Main and Broadway – nobody hurt, coolness lost.

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photo by me

Well, Mount Pleasant just got a little less cool.

Last night, a fire of unknown origin, tore through nearby businesses, including Zocalo Mexican restaurant, Slickety Jim’s, Lugz Coffee, and Kishu Island Sushi. Fortunately spared was the apartment complex next door. Ironically spared was the old Scotia Bank building on the corner of Main and Broadway, which for the past year has served as a showroom, sales center for a proposed condo complex to be built there in the future.

While no one was hurt, thanks to the fast action and overwhelming force of the Vancouver fire department (the news says 8 engines from 3 stations were called to the scene), traffic was a pain all day, as rubble was hauled out into Main street, presumably to easier soak the debris without risking any hidden fire to spread. Both lanes were down at least until 3PM (and may still be blocked for all I know – I’ll have a look shortly.)

I liked Slickity Jim’s. I liked Lugz. And I had a decent, happy-hour special at Kishu a couple of times. So I’m sad to see them go, as they will no doubt be replaced by something far less funky.

Smile, you’re on Google camera!

Google Street View Canada went live today, which means that if you live in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, you can now spend countless hours looking online at all the places you can go look at first hand.
googlesnaps

This is one of the better views of the Google camera car that trundled around Vancouver this past Spring (judging by the cheery blossoms), popping 360 vistas of city streets (and a few alleys). It hasn’t been a perfect launch however, as David Loukidelis, BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has already launched a number of complaints regarding Google’s privacy measures not working as promised (I caught a shot at Thurlow and Robson, where a cab license plate is visible. Nearby, a city bus’ plate is clear, but the automated blurring system incorrectly blurred the turn signal light.) It doesn’t sound like he’s looking to pull the plug however, rather he’s just pushing for people’s protection.

“We acknowledge that this tool may be of interest to people, but at the same time under the privacy law in B.C. there are issues that have to be addressed.”

See anything cool? Anything touristy? Google maps has a link tool that will create a link for exactly the view you’re looking at – just use a link shrinker. Google map links are huge!

Please don’t take this person-aaaaaaallllllll

Never Not Funny Live

Pardo & Woods - the world's worst Vaudeville team. I didn't realize until later that Scott Adsit from 30 Rock was in the background. Ha!


Photo by Me!.

I’m always impressed with people who can maximize a festival, particularly the ones that go longer than just a day or two – like the Vancouver Film Fest or Global’s growing comedy festival. But, I do what I can and go when I can. Yesterday, Chris from the Speedway Squad podcast invited me along to a taping of Never Not Funny live. LA comedian (warm-up man for the Tonight Show) Jimmy Pardo and company sat down in a conference room at the Westin and yukked it up for well over an hour. Chris got to talk to Pardo et al, as well as get some words in with surprise arrivals like Scott Aukerman, and I got to clunk up the show by taking them serious when they said “What’s Weird Al’s real name – let’s look it up.”

It’s not my fault I have an iPhone. It’s… Fido… no, sorry, it is my fault.

The episode of their podcast that was being taped should be up next week – I’ll make you wait until then to find out what Al’s real name is. You will be disappointed. The rest of the episode, fantastic. And it’ll be just like being there, only you weren’t and that means you didn’t give Jimmy any money, you jerks.

I’m not sure how many people would consider themselves comedy fans, other than everybody insisting that they like to laugh, but if you’re not inclined to hit the Yuk Yuk’s every once and awhile, you should consider the Comedy Festival, seeing as it’s a one week period where a lot of heavy talent from around the world come to Vancouver to play.

The festival wraps up today, with David Cross, Steve Martin, and Carol Burnett – however, there’s a second show added for Carol Burnett this coming Tuesday, where the audience gets to ask her questions. A great evening for anyone over 40 or idiots like me that watched too much TV as a kid.

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?

Word Under, as well as On, The Street

Celabrate Literacey! C'mon... that was funny.

Celabrate Literacey! C'mon... that was funny.


Photo by Freedryk.

This Sunday, September 27th, the 15th annual Word On The Street festival is happening at the Vancouver Public Library downtown. As usual there’s a lot going on, from book readings, Q&A, a tent where you can write a postcard of encouragement to Canada’s Winter athletes, and even a stage where the Vancouver Comedy Festival is sponsoring some funny musical comedy and sketches. Basically, the block the library is on will be covered in tents filled with people, by people, for people, that like books and magazines.

But the best kept secret, is The Word Under The Street, which is the gathering of local comic and ‘zine creators and publishers in the Library basement – DO NOT MISS IT! If you’re planning on going down, don’t leave without swinging by.

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.

Reasons;

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.)

Photobooth Vancouver is the new hotness

Lydia and me in the photobooth

Lydia and me in the photobooth

There’s a hell of a lot of decisions to make when organizing a wedding, and for most of the important ones I had nothing to do with them for mine.  Probably the best decision made for our wedding, apart from the actual getting married bit, was hiring Photobooth Vancouver [pbv] for two hours of photobooth services.

Lydia had found them at a indie bride event at the same venue we were getting married, the Heritage Hall, and decided that they were the coolest thing she’d ever seen.  So for $300 an hour we had two hours of photoboothing for our friends and family to enjoy.

The guests loved it, and as with your traditional photobooths they all got their own photos to take and keep at no charge to them.  Then about two weeks later we got a disc full of all of the photos that had been taken through out the night so that we had a new and fairly novel way of remembering our wedding and those people who were there.

Granted I personally don’t look particularly good in any of the photos, having swelled to the fattest point in my life just in case I needed some extra padding for the wedding, but they’re still great to look at.  And trust me, the photobooth is about the only thing that anyone remembers about the wedding.

So if you’re organizing any kind of party or event I’d give serious consideration to having Photobooth Vancouver there.  It’s great fun, and it’ll be a great way to have a unique souvenier of the event.

Where were you when the Canada Line went on-line?

Photo by Uncle Buddha

Photo by Uncle Buddha


85,000 people took to the streets Monday, suffering hour long line-ups to be one of the first to try Vancouver’s new, expensive, Japanese rush-hour simulator – the Canada Line. I got to try the Expo line with everyone else at Expo – that was neat. Hopefully everyone that got to try the Canada Line – AKA “The path of least resistance to YVR or Richmond” – yesterday had a similar experience.

The Tuesday morning numbers were far lower, said Translink, which I’m assuming means it was merely a sane amount of travelers, and not 100 thousand gawkers. Translink however seems to think the numbers will increase in September, as the now redundant B-line buses are shut down or re-routed (mainly, the 98 B-line.)

For a flickr slideshow of people’s photos of the big day, click here.

Pimp my house

Photo by entheos_fog

Photo by entheos_fog

Vancouverites, you’ll have to help me out with this – this isn’t a phenomenon I saw much of growing up across Canada. Like, maybe once. Now it’s everywhere. People jacking up houses, entirely renovating the old structure into something new, and usually something with a basement suite to rent out.

I think the first one I saw was around 5 years ago on Elgin street and it kind of blew my mind. They weren’t just adding a new basement foundation, they were creating a whole new ground floor – and that’s a considerable amount of lifting, compared to propping up a house, maybe jacking it a couple of extra feet to allow bigger basement windows. It wasn’t until I saw the final result that I saw the point was to create one suite upstairs, and another suite downstairs that is almost as attractive as the upstairs as it is more a walk-in suite than a basement suite.

Now I’m seeing this everywhere. Is it zoning, as in it’s harder to get a new design approved for areas, but a literal gutting of a house, while retaining the original shape is ok? Or is it a cost thing? Is it cheaper to retain the frame of a house, than to tear it all down and start from scratch? Or a combo of the two?

I will have to look into this more, but I have to share this picture of what it my favourite reno job to date, happening on my street;

Photo by castewar

Photo by castewar


The house is almost done now, but imagine with me; take the right side of the building, as you see it. That’s the original house – the left is a mirror image of the right that didn’t originally exist. Instead it was some asymmetrical, narrower portion of the house. This whole house was jacked up, the ugly left cut off, a new basement poured, and then the right was mirrored, leaving a duplex with a basement suite. It is ingenious.

Anybody else seen any good renos in Vancouver lately?

Canada Line opens to public in two weeks!

Flickr photo by Rob Hernandez

Flickr photo by Rob Hernandez

First there was the Expo line, then the Millennium line, and now there is the Canada line. Thematically, I think they should have just called it the Olympic line and be done with it, but they didn’t. Now the next line will have to be called the Galaxy line. Or the Cyber line. Neo line. I like that one.

Originally slated to open a couple of months from now, the line is done early, and will open to the public on August 17th and for fun, you can ride it for free between 1PM and 9PM!

All 16 stations on the line, between waterfront station downtown, Richmond Center, and the airport, will be up and running. And the Expo rocket ship statue is back at Cambie and 6th Ave – here’s hoping they remembered to put the Expo time capsule back.

Where to get on;
-Waterfront
-Vancouver – City Center
-Yaletown – Roundhouse
-Olympic Village (Cambie and 6th)
-Broadway – City Hall (Broadway and Cambie)
-King Edward (Cambie and 24th)
-Oakridge – 41th (Oakridge Mall)
-Langara – 49th (Cambie and 49th)
-Marine Drive (Cambie and Marine)
-Bridgeport (SPLIT)

(YVR)
-Templeton
-Sea Island Centre
-YVR – Airport

(RICHMOND)
-Aberdeen
-Lansdowne
-Richmond – Brighouse

[VIA TransLink]

yvr

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