Archive for the ‘British Columbia’ Category

March in bloom

Warm Winter Day in March

A few weeks ago, Rebecca and I set out to venture around Burnaby for an event. I had to take a moment and do some photowalking around the area with all the trees in bloom.
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Squamish: The city between Vancouver 2010 and Whistler, B.C.

On the way back from picking up our media badges from the Whistler Media House, we made a stop over in Squamish, B.C. to tool around the town and see more than the two main pit stops that most people think of when they drive through.

Sunday in Squamish

It goes without saying that there is always more than meets the eye, but it was pretty quick to see why people who live here call this place paradise. Cinci from EAT Communications took us out on a personal tour of the area she calls home.

Sunday in Squamish

Sunday in Squamish

This is where the snow melts from the mountains, runs down their sides, and flows between these banks on the way to the ocean. The water here was crystal clear. You could see why this spot, not far from downtown Squamish, was one of Cinci’s favorite places.

Sunday in Squamish

China and Goose also came along for our explorations, running and playing the whole time in what would probably be like an amusement park for a little kid. This was as close as I could get to get one of these girls to sit still long enough for a shot.

Sunday in Squamish

The playfulness of the dogs was contagious, and DaveO couldn’t help but claim this rusted out jeep. I can’t fathom how it got there, but you just have to recall that this is the outdoor capitol of Canada. Wind surfing, kite surfing, rock climbing, mountain trails, biking, running, camping, etc. So the fact that this bucket of rust is here can’t be all that surprising.

Whistler Olympic Volunteers Boat

This cruise ship was brought to the dock in Squamish as housing quarters for Olympics volunteers in Whistler. Aside from the major road work that upgraded the Sea to Sky Highway that passes through the town, this is the main extent of involvement for this community even though its proximity is near geographically in the middle of Vancouver and Whistler.

The people staying here are apparently bused from this boat to the local Wal-Mart parking lot for staging. Volunteers stock up at the local superstore for everyday living as they go between the boat and Whistler Village, bypassing the core of the Squamish downtown community.

So what does downtown Squamish have to offer that these people might be missing?
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B.C. tourism commercial sums it up for me

I cannot help but let this 90 second spot get me more and more amped for the games. I’m not a fan of the millions spent on this ad campaign, but at least they did this one very well.

I think what’s more impacting is not only the beauty of B.C. that is showcased in this commercial but the way it’s delivered. I mean, if you compare those California ads with all the athletes, movie stars, and celebrity politicians, this is night and day. Some subtle background music, amazing shots, and, yes, some celebrities telling you how amazing it is here, but it’s done in a way that is very B.C.

I think the slogan used to be, “Beautiful, B.C.” This ad actually makes that slogan work now. If you don’t believe me, just look at what Rebecca did recently: outdoor speed skating, dog sledding, and, oh yeah, she caught the torch as it ran through Prince George, B.C.

That was all in one weekend.

This brings me back to my point: I’m getting really excited for the games. The city is buzzing, evidence is everywhere, and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things that can be seen, done, and hopefully documented over the next two months.

We have tickets to a few events, but I feel like the most fun will be what we are able to find away from the event locations themselves. Getting to those places sounds like a real adventure, potentially a nightmare, so we anticipate doing all we can by foot, transit, and probably more by foot on the other side of that.

I know they say you gotta be here, but here is just too broad when it comes to these games. Right now, “here” feels like I want to be everywhere and do everything.

Making time to be outdoors

Best photo from the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge

We took a hike yesterday with our good friend DaveO yesterday before taking in the Leafs and Canucks game on TV. He took us to the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge[wiki], and I challenged my fear of heights by standing in the middle of the bridge with rushing water, rocks, and trees nearly 50 meters below. I made it, but the decision to get to solid ground on the other side was an easy one.

Hiking = workout

DaveO

Waters better left untouched

Spare time has been tough to come by with the various sixty4media projects we’ve been working on. There is a certain point where you need to get outside and enjoy life so the creative energies can keep functioning. It’s also amazing that we can take a 30-45 minute bus ride to find some trails, get some mud on your shoes, and breathe in some amazing mountain air. Makes tomorrow being Monday seem not all that bad.

Picking our place to pan for gold

Welcome to Vancouver, Apple Store

In less than twelve hours, the first Apple Store in Vancouver will be open.

Apple Store Pacific Centre - Under Construction
Photo credit: gregeh on Flickr

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, the crowds will descend, a line shall form, and madness will ensue. In fact, people are most likely camped outside of Pacific Centre on Georgia Street at this moment. I would love to be there for an Apple Store opening and have heard nothing but cool things about it.

Sometimes they even hand out super fun free stuff, crazy discounts, or the odd gift certificate. Still, not enough to really want to make me suffer in line on a day off from work. Plus I’m holding out on replacing my Powerbook G4 with something more of a MacBook flavor, so that’s more of a priority in the near future.

There also won’t be any iPhones to speak of, but that will be changing in the very near future. John Biehler has more on that with some good points.

Unfortunately no details other than it’s coming ‘before the end of the year’.

The big questions to me are:

1. How much for the phone itself in Canada?
2. what does the data and voice plans look like? They better resemble the US pricing
3. How long do we have to lock in? Rogers seems to like 3 year terms
4. Will it be the rumoured new 3G model or as Rogers tends to be behind in releasing phones, will it be last year’s model [johnbiehler]

So an Apple Store within easy walking distance plus the iPhone on the horizon. Things are finally starting to happen for B.C. About freaking time, Apple.

This time, I’m covered

Examination Table

When I moved to B.C. in 2005, I got strep throat. Within a few weeks of settling in on Vancouver being my home, a soreness in my throat grew to proportions that I never knew could exist. It hurt so much that I finally bit the bullet and went to a clinic. It cost me $100 just to see a doc, and the meds cost just a little bit more. At that point, I didn’t care. Just give me something to help make this go away.

Unemployed and unable to work in Canada at that point in my life, it was a relief to have the access to care like that. The cost would have probably been twice as much in the states, and the USD was still a tad stronger than the loony. That didn’t stop the doc I saw from giving me a lecture on the importance of having a B.C. CareCard if this happened again in the future. Kind of a “no shit, Sherlock” moment if you ask me.

After an intense few weeks at work, all of the going-ons of Northern Voice last week, and an excursion with The Crazy Canucks to the Canucks Open Practice, a tickle in the back of my throat grew to the point where gargling with salt water and a variety of over the counter remedies weren’t going to cut it. I was in full blown strep throat yet again, but this time I had that damn medical card, plus benefits.

Medical things

I still made Rebecca go with me because I had no idea what to expect. Every medical place you go to in the U.S., there is paperwork to fill out. Medical history, etc. At the clinic, however, I gave them my card, they asked me to verify my name, address, phone number, and got my allergy to penicillin in their records.

That was it. No paperwork. Just have a seat and wait for my name to be called. The doc was brief and to the point of giving him the story of what was wrong with me, took one look at my “severely inflamed, very red” throat, and cut me a prescription for antibiotics which cost me $29 that my extended medical coverage will take care of.

20 minutes and I was back home to settle in with some tea, forcing everything down through the pain. So much pain, all on the day of our two year wedding anniversary. Oh happy day…

So there wasn’t anything great and grand about the experience other than it being quick, efficient, and made me better, even though I had to take the slow working meds because the faster way, the penicillian way, could potentially kill me.

Thanks for making me feel better, B.C. That was pretty awesome.

Spent the long weekend in gorgeous Victoria, B.C.

Far off waves crash the coast

I’m a little late in posting this, but the 52 pictures that I uploaded to Flickr is quite the feat in my department. When we decided to go over to Victoria[googlemaps] with Rebecca’s sister and her family as of the middle of last week, I told myself that I’d do more photo taking.

Flag on the back
Passing between Galiano Island and Mayne Island on the ferry

It was just Sunday to Monday, and we were all quite lucky to make it back to the mainland. The storm that slammed into the southern coast of B.C was awesome, hence the facetious “gorgeous” in referencing this last trip. I don’t mean “cool”, but more of a “holy crap”. Waves crashing on shore, winds howling through, rain falling from left to right… while driving down a street in the minivan, Sean rolled down the driver side window. I was sitting in the very back, third row, and the rain got me in the face.

We weren’t sight seeing as much as we were just exploring the island in the midst of a storm. Growing up in the Midwest, that’s pretty usual. It wouldn’t be until hell was falling all around you that the thought of, “Oh yeah, I should go somewhere so that I don’t die now” would finally cross your mind.

Remembrance Day ceremonies in front of the Parliament building
Remembrance Day ceremonies at the parliament building
The past era of silent film
A visit to the Royal B.C. Museum

Probably the coolest thing ever on this adventure was seeing my first lighthouse. The storm cleared enough that wandering down to the Fisgard Lighthouse wasn’t too bad, but the wind was biting something fierce. Inside was pretty neat, especially for being nearly 125 years old.

Cold and windy walk out to the lighthouse
Cold and windy walk out to the lighthouse
Postcard lighthouse
Fisgard Lighthouse
Stairs to the top of the lighthouse
Stairs up to the lighthouse beacon, locked off from public

There was also a defense outpost at this location, Fort Rodd Hill, originally built during British colonial times and then refortified and used during WWII to defend from possible invasion by Japan.

B.C. Parliament
B.C. Parliament in Victoria, B.C.

I feel like there is always something of interest for us in Victoria. We wanted to do more ghost explorations, but we’ll have to save that for another trip. There was some recording done for a future episode of RZ, but it would have been so cool to snagged some audio from a haunted building or something and then check it for EVP[wiki]. Yeah, I’m a geek that finds the paranormal fascinating, but those are ghost stories for another time. In the meantime, you can view the whole set of pictures on Flickr.

Rocking the Osoyoos

It’s been a whirlwind last week or so, but I want to make a mention of the excellent long weekend that we had in Osoyoos.

Vinyards down the hill

I wish I could say that we did a lot of really cool things, but there is something to be said about going on holiday. To me, that’s means not doing a lot. One could say that cooking good food and hanging out on the beach is a lot, but that’s the speed of things that we both needed for getting away, especially with the amount of workload that has come with my day job.

Penticiton is over there

On Sunday, we thought about doing some wine tours, but once we got into the car, it was tough to stop driving when we had some incredible, hot weather and good music going on the iPod. Instead, we ventured through Oliver and Penticton to explore the area some more.

Crusing misc. back roads

There is something to be said about getting on the back roads to get a true sense of the Okanagan, especially after you’ve done a handful of wine tours before. It’s not that I’m against them (or the sampling), but it’s almost more impressive to drive by as many operations that you can and see them from the outside than seeing just a few from the inside. And if you think that the valley is impressive from the bottom, get up on the hills. Very cool perspective.

Marmot pose

The marmots amazed me, and I realize that this makes me no better than the throngs of tourists who photograph the raccoons in Stanley Park like they are a dying breed. They were simply everywhere at one point. They’re plump and don’t move, even in the hot, hot sun.

When it comes down to it, numerous pictures of just hanging out on the lake just didn’t cross my mind. It was time to relax in the midst of all the busy things going on right now. As I write this, I’ve been awake since 3:30AM to work a remote until noon, only to have more things to take care of for future remotes in the afternoon. I knew this was on the horizon, so it’s why we took it very easy over the long weekend.

Gorgeous view of the valley

I’m ready for another.

Darth Vader Violinist

Darth Vader Violinist
Rebecca is in Victoria, B.C. for the weekend, but I got this sent to me from her cellphone while I was out for a run this morning. Too freaking funny.

After all, it’s just an advisory

Stacks of water at 7-11Rebecca hit the nail on the head when she called this boil water advisory blogging gold[miss604]. You might be saying that this is getting old and not worth reading about anymore. If that’s true for you, then skip this post. You can say that I’m whining, but this is more about documenting a short lived nuisance to exhibit potential bigger problems that I highlighted in my last post about this situation.

I bit the bullet today and started in on the pile of dishes in our kitchen. Quite honestly, it’s been driving me nuts. I blame my mother for instilling this element of a neat freak in me, nicely balanced by my dad’s ability to achieve zen through delicately controlled messes.

I did boil a large pot of water to fill up an empty gallon jug for various needs, mainly to make coffee. The water still smells a bit funky, even after boiling. I’m not brave enough to ingest it, and that includes cooking. Once again, it’s a matter of the smell translating into funky taste that steers me away just slightly.

A recent post on Metroblogging Vancouver caught my attention when someone posted the following comment.

I was talking to a hydrological engineer yesterday, and she speculated that the current water “crisis” has been blown out of proportion and prolonged to drum up public support for the expensive $600-million water filtration plant that’s currently under construction on the North Shore. She’s been drinking the water out of the taps for the past week and she tests water quality for a living. No contamination has been discovered in our water and no one has been reported ill. That’s pretty amazing considering 2 million people were under the boil water advisory at one point. Health officials have only ever reported “increased risk” of contamination.

Interesting theory, and one that she said was widely held at her office. I should note too that she supports the new plant, probably because it will create more work for her and the engineering consulting company she works for.

Posted by: Chris at November 20, 2006 07:42 PM [mbv]

I was waiting for the “theories” to start popping up, but there is a lot of truth in that statement. No one has been getting sick from the water, and there hasn’t been any evidence of harmful bacteria being found through testing.

On the same post, a recent resident to Vancouver from France is amazed at the poor response the city has given to the locals. They site that the city has done poorly to provide water to those in need, which is somewhat true. I’ve heard more reports of radio stations and businesses giving out free water than local authorities. I’m not going to lay blame anywhere, but it is interesting to note.

The advisory, for the most part, is basic over caution, but it’s expected to go on for a while longer than I imagined[cbc]. Several days? Couple weeks? Ridiculous. I doubt that all of this has been done intentionally for the support noted above. However, it has much more support than ever before, that’s for sure.

It’s just nice to have clean dishes again. With Thanksgiving coming up, of which we will be celebrating in this household, it will make cooking a tad interesting. Like I said, I’m not ready to drink it, and the leg of lamb we intend to make might take some careful prep. The side dishes will need a little finesse as well. Would the water give potatoes a strange tint?