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Vancouver Social Media Scene: Third Tuesday and WordCamp Fraser Valley

June 12th, 2008 @ 3:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s that time of the month again, the one that we actually all look forward to: Third Tuesday is back at the Network Hub with guest speaker Joe Solomon.

Nonprofits have been using social networks to get the word out since long before the Internet existed. So what happens when nonprofits combine the power of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to engage and expand their already-existent social networks? It’s kind of like a supernova of social change that’s addictive, fun, and often unexpected!

Joe will discuss amazing case studies of how nonprofits and social change makers are using Web 2.0 tools to get the word out and inspire action. [Meetup.com Event]

I will once again be a media sponsor providing a liveblog and offering up an Energizer Energi To Go iPod charger. Simply show up or follow the live blog and anyone who a) drops their business card into the draw or b) leaves a comment on the live blog will be entered to win.

Also of note, coming up next month (I believe July 16th) Gary is organizing a meetup for WordPress enthusiasts, users and developers in the Fraser Valley (yes folks, that means you have to cross a bridge to get there from downtown).

I’ve been asked to be a speaker but since I’ve already covered some neat photo blogging and photo plugins, I was wondering what my readers would like to learn about. Leave a comment with your WordPress questions that you’d like me to answer or if you think I should do my photo blogging talk again.

Breakfast with Jeff Pulver in Vancouver

June 12th, 2008 @ 10:58am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Breakfast with Pulver - Real-Time Social TaggingWhen you’re someone who co-hosts a weekly group podcast over the magic of Skype you better show up when a mastermind of VOIP comes to your town for breakfast.

Jeff Pulver currently travels around the world, hosting breakfasts with geeky-fun elements like “Real-Time Social Tagging” to spark networking and conversations. Prior to the breakfast at Subeez this morning I knew of him, I knew of his importance and contributions to the digital realm, but that was about it.

Pulver is the chief writer of what’s referred to as “the Pulver Order”, which was adopted in 2004 by the Federal Communications Commission as the first FCC ruling regarding internet protocol communications. The order ruled that computer-to-computer voice over IP (VOIP) is not a telecommunications service. He coined the term purple minutes to describe value-added IP network traffic. [wiki]

Breakfast with PulverWithin about 10 minutes of meeting Jeff, honestly I almost starting welling up because the words he was sharing with me were so inspirational and were also the verbal equivalent of the swift kick in the butt that I so needed to hear (especially given the week I’ve had).

When speaking to Jeff the most resonating word was passion. He clued into what I was passionate about and encouraged me not to ignore it.

You owe it to yourself to take a chance on yourself today and a bigger chance tomorrow. To feel more comfortable with change, try it gradually. Take 5 minutes today for yourself, tomorrow extend it to 10 and in a few days give yourself 15 minutes for yourself. You are the one in charge of your time and what you do with it. Give it a try and capture the feeling of personal liberation. If it worked for you, please encourage a friend to do the same. Do the things for yourself that nobody can do for you and watch to see what happens next. [Pulver Blog]

He even woke up one morning thinking about what Happiness Is, and put the call out on Twitter. He ended up with an amazing poem of sorts created by his social media friends and contacts. He truly is all about giving everyone their voice.

Breakfast with Pulver - Real-Time Social Tagging

I was also delighted to take in breakfast with some new faces (like Leah and Jess), and some of the usual crowd like Boris (who real-time tagged me with “Surrey”), Colleen (who real-time tagged me as “Fancy”), Monica (who real-time tagged me with “Classic Chic”), Roland, Ian, and notorious gals like Jenn and Nadia (sans cocktail glasses in their hands at this early hour).

Coming off of his Pacific Northwest tour in Seattle and Vancouver, Jeff will be heading back to New York to host breakfast on June 24th. He’ll be back in Vancouver someday and given that this was the poorest turn-out of all his stops so far, I expect Vancouver to do a lot better next time, and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Vancouver 2008

June 12th, 2008 @ 5:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It sure is a mouthful but North America’s largest multicultural festival is once again taking to the waters of Vancouver.

What: Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival featuring food, cooking shows, a marketplace, children’s entertainment and of course the dragon boat races.
When: Saturday, June 21, 8 am to 10:30 pm, Sunday, June 22, 8 am to 6 pm, Races start at 8 am, all other activities start at 10 am.
Where: At Concord Pacific Place, Creekside Park and the waters of False Creek.
More Info: The festival is completely FREE, there is no admission for any of the events including a free concert by Canadian rockers The Trews in the evening.

The main attraction is the Dragon Boat racing itself and this year we have 171 teams, from corporate groups to recreational clubs, who hope to paddle their way to victory. The 41ft boats have 27 paddlers, 4600 racers in total, and one lap of the course is 5kms.

The festival actually has a pretty interesting history and seeing as how this is its 20th anniversary, here are some notes from the organizers:

“Dragon boating was a demonstration sport at Expo 86 – a handful of paddlers got out in False Creek in two teak dragon boats sent over from Hong Kong. Vancouverites watched – then were hooked. By 1989 a few volunteers had assembled more teams and more boats and the competition angle kicked in. They created an event – offered food from around the world, live music and great kids’ activities. Every year since we’ve hosted the largest dragon boat race and multicultural festival in North America.”

Hopefully we’ll have some sun June 21st because it’s pretty much a perfect Vancouver weekend; food, entertainment, a little friendly competition between athletes, a free event, and a celebration of cultures.

Update: It was a record-breaking year for the festival [News1130]. Photos and video of the event can be found in my blog posts here and here.

WTS – What the Surrey #28: Pattullo Bridge Asbestos

June 11th, 2008 @ 9:49pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

What’s next? Dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you? Not quite, but something that should concern commuters yet again is the deterioration of the Pattullo aka Bridge of Death as it has recently been revealed that its deck contains asbestos.

The toxic material was mixed in with the asphalt and laid down on top of the original concrete deck during the 1980s. It’s complicating TransLink’s latest efforts to repave the bridge and better assess its structural safety.

Now classified as a contaminated material, the asphalt can’t just be ground up as it would in most other road projects lest it become a hazardous airborne dust. Instead it must be kept wet and be removed in sealed containers as part of specialized handling and disposal requirements that have kicked in. [Surrey Leader]

No seismic upgrades, no median barrier to prevent head-on crashes, lanes that are obscenely and illegally narrow, and so many lives lost. Translink has put all Pattullo renovations on the backburner so they can figure out what to do about the asbestos in the deck and until they receive reports about the potential widening or twinning of the Bridge of Death. I suppose until then we should all just hold our breath and focus our attention on the beaver situation in Surrey.

(Read any or all of my previous posts about the Pattullo [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9])

Vancouver Events and Some Tunes for June 2008

June 11th, 2008 @ 12:25pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The only thing that would complete our summer festival and event lineup in Metro Vancouver would be a spot of sunshine. Here’s a quick round up of cheap things do to in Vancouver this month:

Saturday June 14th is Joomla! Day Vancouver from 9:30am until 5:00pm at the Library. Tickets are only $25 and if you’re a developer, user, designer or fanboy of Joomla! it’ll be well worth it for you.

Also this Saturday there is a screening of the Canadian film Young People F*cking at The Ridge Theatre. This 4:00pm show will be followed by a “pillow talk” session with one of the lead actors from the movie. The evening is made possible and presented by the First Weekend Club, a non-profit organization that works to promote Canadian Movies.

This Sunday June 15th is Car Free Day in Vancouver with several neighbourhoods closing down roadways to make way for pedestrian fun times.

The following Sunday June 22 is Greek Day on Broadway from 11:00am until 9:30pm. The entire street from Blenheim to McDonald will be shut down and I have to say, you must try some of the delicious foods that are provided. I used to go to the annual Greek Festival in Surrey and man, that neighbourhood never smelled so good.

From: xkcd

And since Raul introduced me to Mixwit yesterday (and dedicated his mixtape to me) I’ve created my own. This accompanies a warm cup of coffee, the whir of a laptop fan, and a rainy June afternoon in Vancouver.

Happy Birthday Little Green House

June 11th, 2008 @ 8:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

In my daily quest to find history tidbits to share with my readers about our fair city sometimes the best leg work that can be done is simply, and literally, going for a walk. As I was walking down Richards street yesterday on my way to dinner I passed the large “Richards” condo development sign, next to Richards on Richards.

Happy Birthday Little Green House

If you recall last June the “little green house” at 1062 Richards street was sold to make way for development. The owner, Linda Rupa, held out for many years and finally sold her cottage and two 25-foot lots in 2007 for $6 million, which is a nice chunk of change compared to the $16,000 she paid for it in 1962.

Photo credit: jmv on Flickr

Putting it off for so long because she loved the house so much, the 80-something year old’s bank account finally caved and the $36,000 a year for property taxes on the lots proved to be too much (leaving her with literally pennies to her name) pretty much leaving her no other option but to sell.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’m just a Safeway girl, I worked for Safeways throughout my career. And the Army and Navy department store when I first came to Vancouver. In those days we only made 99 cents an hour. [Vancouver Sun]

Rupa watched as the properties around her were bought up and the landmark houses where her friends lived for 50 years were demolished one by one.

Photo credits: SqueakyMarmot and jmv

She reminisced in the Sun article, dropping names of her neighbours and fellow Vancouverites from back in the day.

It was a lovely neighbourhood, where people cared about each other,” says Rupa, who gives her age as “just about 80.” “Really a nice neighbourhood. Mr. Kripps on Granville street, who has the drug store, he’s an old-timer here. We had the Filippone and Iaci families.

You may recognize the name “Fillipone” or Philliponi which is the family that owned The Penthouse over the years [VancouverHistory].

The slick orange and white boards advertising the proud project by the Aquilini Investment Group sits next to the old night club and current live music venue however during my walk yesterday I spotted something taped to it that seemed a little out of place. Upon closer inspection I had found two birthday cards dated June 8th.

Happy Birthday Little Green HouseHappy Birthday Little Green House

The first read: “Happy 100th Birthday!!! 1062 Richards!!! June 8, 1908 – June 8, 2008. With love, (signed) xo xo xo xo xo xo”.

Directly underneath it, wrapped in the same protective plastic was another card, “Happy 100th Birthday little green house there’s been many warm memories of people and pets through the years. Enjoy your new facelift, (signed).

Pieces of Vancouver’s past disappear everyday, sometimes it’s for the best and shows our growth as a city, but many times we still need to slow down and appreciate where the city came from. I bet those little houses on Richards street sure could tell some stories.

If you’re interested in these shadows and traces of old Vancouver, check out the Flickr group Vanishing Vancouver.

Tuesday Morning Link Fest: Happyland Edition

June 10th, 2008 @ 10:25am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

When you feel your eyes welling up with emotion the one thing that tips you over the edge is actually talking about how you’re doing with someone. Yesterday after work I started texting my husband to see if he was walking home or taking the bus while I faught off some tears. As soon as I hit send, like a Mentos put to Diet Coke, the flood gates opened and I walked over to meet him in the rain, tears streaming down my face.

Photo credit: VancouverHistory.ca / VPL

Case of the Mondays, sure. Being back at work after a long weekend away in the wilderness, yeah. Rainy and cold, double-jacketed June in Vancouver? You bet, all things that could make me feel that way. I also kept thinking about how on Sunday morning at 5:00 John and I stood out by the lake and watched the sun crest over the mountains. We didn’t sit down as we were still in our pajamas and didn’t want to get them muddy, so we stood there holding each other. Honestly that’s all I wanted to be doing yesterday, and where I would rather be right now.

The break in the clouds comes in the form of an unordered list below. I’m going to warm up some breakfast, get some coffee in my belly, and list random things that currently brighten my spirits when I think about them:

  • Breakfasts. I love breakfasts. Metroblogging has a list from 2005 that is in need of an update, but it’s still pretty darn helpful (and mouth-watering).
  • My family and friends, especially my wicked-cute and smart niece and nephews.
  • Intergalactic Proton Powered Electrical Tentacled Droids.
  • Boris the cat lives! [News1130]
  • I got interviewed about real estate.
  • New Death Cab for Cutie… and the new single “I Will Possess Your Heart.” (See it performed on the Late Show here, shorter version)
  • Reading about Vancouver History, I can’t get enough. Did you know when Playland first opened it was called Happyland? (See photo at the top of this post). The name change then happened in 1957. Man, I can’t wait to go to Happyland.
  • David Sedaris has a new audiobook that he’ll be releasing DRM-free for download. [BoingBoing] There’s also an interview with him by Rick Mercer on the Globe and Mail site. Listening to Sedaris reminds me of two things: This American Life, and our trip to Iowa last fall – oh, and he’s brilliantly hilarious.
  • During these gloomy days, feel free to find some of your happy thoughts and share them in the comments, or write your own post because apparently blogging is good for your health.

    KD Lang at The Centre Ticket Giveaway

    June 9th, 2008 @ 2:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Singer/songwriter, Grammy Award-winner and Canadian folk music icon KD Lang will be playing two shows in Vancouver this week [Ticketmaster].

    I have a couple sets of tickets to give away to her show on Friday June 13th at The Centre for performing arts.

    Quick KG Lang wiki Facts:

  • Her career received a huge boost when Roy Orbison chose her to record a duet of his standard, “Crying”, a collaboration that won them the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
  • In 2003, she won her fourth Grammy Award, this time for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her collaboration with Tony Bennett, A Wonderful World.
  • She has performed and supported many causes over the years, including HIV/AIDS care and research.
  • On June 3, 2008, it was announced that she would receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame
  • As usual with Miss604 contest all you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post to win a pair of tickets. I’ll then draw the winners from the comments and you’ll have a pair of tickets waiting at Will Call for you on Friday night.

    Update: The contest is now closed, winner’s names have been drawn and will be announced shortly. Thanks to everyone that entered!!