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Great Rides with Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and MEC Contest

August 6th, 2009 @ 3:30pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This summer the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and Mountain Equipment Co-op have been presenting the Great Rides bike series.


Photo credit: chris5aw on Flickr

The goal is to invite riders from across the Lower Mainland to take park in group rides and discover new routes and outing destinations along the way. According to the VACC, the ride markings remain in place for future riders as well.

The next Great Ride is taking place in Pitt Meadows is particularly special as it coincides with the Honeyland Bees & Blueberry Festival. The Great Ride participants will have a chance to stop by and enjoy a picnic along the way. You can register online today for the August 15th ride.

I have a family pass to give away for this event which includes ride registration for one reader, their spouse (guest) and as many children under 16 as they can handle.

To enter, leave a comment on this post to express your interest in the ride or re-tweet this link. The winner will be announced Monday August 10th and please make sure that if you enter, you are free to use this prize and participate on the 15th.

Robson 5 Bus Route Changes

August 6th, 2009 @ 2:52pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This morning as the #5 Robson/Downtown bus turned right onto Thurlow, instead of heading straight towards Seymour, I obviously knew something was up. Usually when there are temporary route changes they take the trolley buses out of comission but this bus was following the lines down Thurlow, left on Smithe, and left on Burrard. The bus driver explained that due to paving and the completion of the Granville Street revitalization they aren’t able to cross Granville at Robson until further notice (or what he estimated to be a month). When I got home the first thing I did, of course, was to tweet this information and that’s when the trusty Buzzer Blog chimed in with the pertinent details of this route change.

Robson Bus Robson Bus
(Left) Normal Robson #5 Route Map (Right) Robson #5 Re-route Map

“Owing to construction at Granville and Robson, there will be reroutes for the 5, 17 and N6 for about a month: Monday August 3 to Sunday September 6.” You can read more, including updates for the bus lines, over on the Buzzer Blog.

Twitter is Down, What to do?

August 6th, 2009 @ 8:02am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

What does the population do when Twitter goes down? I’m not sure but hopefully they turn to blogs. This morning the microblogging service used by millions across the globe went down, and I’m not taking “Fail Whale” down.

The entire site is unavailable (as well as services that connect to it) so the best place to go at a time like this is the Twitter Status Blog:

  • Update (9:46a): As we recover, users will experience some longer load times and slowness. This includes timeouts to API clients. We’re working to get back to 100% as quickly as we can.
  • Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack.
  • Thursday August 6th: “Ongoing denial-of-service attack – We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly.” Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack.
  • Thursday August 6th: “Site is down – We are determining the cause and will provide an update shortly. Update: we are defending against a denial-of-service attack.”
  • Once they have the time to publish to the regular Twitter blog, updates will appear there as well.

    The morning hours on Twitter are usually rich with hot news topics of the day, and many just getting into work and publishing updates such as “why did I even come in today” or “the line up at Starbucks is huge this morning”. In case you’re missing Twitter, try watching “Real Life Twitter” once again. It’ll still make you giggle and ease of pain of not being able to Tweet at this time (and maybe commenting on a blog post will scratch that itch).

    Update: Here’s a bit more of an explanation about the nature of the outage (attack).


    HowStuffWorks.com

    A denial of service attack means that somewhere, somehow, an overload of computers is massively bombarding Twitter — making it impossible for them to manage regular traffic on top of this overload. This is similar to the attack notorious Canadian hacker Mafiaboy used to cripple Amazon.com and Yahoo years ago. Twitter is back up and running however services and programs that use its API (application programming interface) such as Tweetdeck, are having a hard time connecting. With the DEFCON hackers’ conference going on right now (and with Gawker, Facebook and Media Temple being other recent targets) fingers are pointing in all directions.

    BC Lions Tickets and Dinner – Quick Giveaway

    August 5th, 2009 @ 4:34pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    If you don’t already have something planned for this Friday night, consider taking in a BC Lions game as I have two tickets as well as $25 to spend at the Kingston to give away.


    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    To enter to win this combo (and to see the Lions stomp the Roughriders) leave a comment on this post or re-tweet this link. For a bonus entry into the draw you can donate a minimum $5 to my Blogathon campaign, which is still running online.

    Thanks to the folks at KidSport BC and also John Biehler who supported my Blogathon campaign by donating a prize.

    Twitter entries

    Winner will be drawn by 3:00pm on Thursday August 7th. If the winner does not claim the prize by 7:00pm that day, a new winner will be drawn.

    Update: The winner has been drawn and it’s Kevin. Thanks for entering the contest everyone!

    Where Will Winebard Wed

    August 5th, 2009 @ 2:30pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Social media experiments are popping up all over the place, from sales initiatives, to fundraisers and even selling houses through Twitter. Karen, a local wine blogger known to those on Twitter as Winebard, is conducting her own experiment for one of the most important days of her life.

    “I am inviting vineyards in Napa and Sonoma to consider hosting our entourage of four on August 18, 2009 for our vows. We seek a very intimate setting surrounded by the glorious beauty of vines so alive and ripe with symbolism.” – Where Will Winebard Wed


    Photo credit: miheco on Flickr

    She and her fiancé will be in Napa along with her dress, shoes, photographer, and all the wedding basics except for a venue. She’s started up this website to see if it can reach out to wineries and vineyards in the area and have them host her nuptials on their land.

    On her wish list she’s included the following required elements from the host location (although she is flexible):

    1. Rose bushes at the end of the rows of vines
    2. Picturesque location for Wedding photos
    3. Can accommodate four people for about one hour on Aug 18th
    4. No staff, or event space required from the vineyard
    5. BONUS: Will hold a video camera for 10 mins or be our witness

    If you are in the wine business in the Napa Valley and can accommodate this, be sure to contact Karen before August 14th. I’m certain your online exposure will grow (both on websites and Twitter) should you be able to host this event. Also, if you read about this campaign on Miss604.com, please be sure to let her know as I’d love to play a small part in making this happy day happen.

    Wednesday Morning Link Fest: Cooling Off

    August 5th, 2009 @ 11:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Still recovering from the whirlwind trip to the tropics, I’ve rustled up a Link Fest this morning thanks to reader-submitted emails and messages.


    Photo credit: UGM on Flickr
  • The stats are in and apparently Teens Don’t Tweet.
  • Kind of a cool site along the lines of How Stuff Works, this is Difference Between and it shows you the difference between things like HTML and XHTML as well as the use of Its or It’s.
  • The new site, or rather movement, called Pedal Etiquette hopes to better the relationship between cyclists and drivers (in a non-confrontational/antagonistic way). “Modeled after Critical Manners in San Francisco and Ride Civil in Seattle, this group will lead by example by demonstrating a code of conduct that will not polarize citizens by their method of transport but rather facilitate a better and more understanding interaction on the road.” Turns out there is also a Critical Manner group in Vancouver as well.
  • As the weather cools off a bit in Metro Vancouver fires are still raging out of control across the Province. Check the BC Forest Service’s site for details, active wildfires, and affected areas.
  • Local radio producer and comedic talent Art Factora is in the running to be Canada’s Next Top Comic.
  • The Re-Birth Fashion Show takes place at Modern in Gastown on August 14th. Proceeds benefit the Portland Hotel Society.
  • There will be a Tweetup for Breast Cancer on August 13th to help participants in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer raise funds for their walks.
  • On August 30th the Dragon Boat team “H2OGeeks” will be paddling in support of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation during Paddle for Kids. You can follow their progress, learn about the team or donate to their campaign online.
  • It’s been suggested that I consider joining Kayak for a Cure, a three-hour beach to beach tour to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society which is also happening August 30th.
  • Speaking of all these boating events for a good cause, a great way to brush up on your skills would be to partake in a Big Chop clinic. The next one happens this Thursday, August 6th.

    Metro Vancouver Park Series: Derby Reach

    August 5th, 2009 @ 8:04am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    We’d head out to Derby Reach as a family on a Sunday afternoons cruising past farms on back country roads, in those years before Walnut Grove had a space station movie theatre.


    Photo credit: sashafatcat on Flickr

    Derby Reach is tucked away along the Fraser River between Walnut Grove (Langley) and Fort Langley, which makes it accessible and a great addition to my Park Series.

    Metrics: 297 hectares / 733 acres with 9.5 km of walking trails, 4 km of horseback riding trails, and 4.5 km of cycling paths. The picnic shelter seats 60 and there are 38 unserviced campsites.


    View Larger Map

    How to Get There: From Highway 1 take the 200th North exit, and travel north to 96th Ave where you’ll turn and head East to 208th. Turn East on Allard Crescent and follow the signs to enter the park.

    Features: The park circles around wetland, tree-covered trails, the Langley Bog (currently not accessible to the public) and cranberry fields. Aside from the trail network, there is also fishing along the Edgewater Bar, picnicking, camping, and leash-optional areas for dogs. It is also the site of the first (original) Fort Langley.


    Photo credit: GreaterVancouverParks

    History: The 4km Fort-to Fort Trail begins at Derby Reach and runs from the original site of the Fort Langley trading post (1827) to the current National Historic Site (1839) next to the village [source]. The first fort at Derby Reach was the first permanent settlement and cultivation of land in the Lower Fraser Valley. The site was traditional hunting and fishing grounds for the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations.

    Notes: There’s a lot to see and explore in this park and what it lacks in shiny playground equipment or wading pools, it makes up for in its natural beauty and varied landscapes alongside the river with Golden Ears as a backdrop.

    The Cloverdale Blueberry Festival 2009

    August 4th, 2009 @ 9:59am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    A few weeks ago at the Surrey Fusion Festival I cam across this advertisement for the Cloverdale Blueberry Festival and was immediately captivated by the sight of a giant blueberry riding a hot rod.

    Cloverdale Blueberry Festival

    Turns out the image serves a dual purpose as the event next weekend will also include the Pacific Highway Show & Shine. On top of that, there will be a Blueberry Arts Festival at the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale, pancake breakfast, BMX stunt showcase, mini golf, talent search, and the obligatory bouncy castle.


    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    Of course there will also be blueberries — in jams, in scones, by the handful, and in pie eating contests. Things kick off on Friday August 7th with the Party in the Parking lot at Lucas’ Place (in the Starbucks Mall) with a BBQ and performance by the Trailer Park Playboys.

    Saturday morning at 9am the Pacific Highway Show & Shine begins as well as the rest of the festival at Cloverdale Village Square. The Blueberry Arts Festival at the Surrey Museum is from 10:00am until 4:00pm.

    On Sunday August 9th it’s the Party on the Hill at Hillcrest Mall and throughout the entire weekend there will be a trolley service available between events and locations.