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No More Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song

June 5th, 2008 @ 9:57am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s as Canadian as beaver pelts and Bruni Gerussi and more people can keep up with its tune than our National Anthem. However, the CBC announced recently that it will not be renewing the Hockey Night in Canada theme.

One of this country’s most familiar tunes may have been heard on CBC-TV for the last time Wednesday night when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins and won the 2008 Stanley Cup.

The Toronto agency representing the composer of the theme tune for Hockey Night in Canada says the CBC has declined to enter into a new licensing agreement for the song for next NHL season. [CBC]

In disbelief, many Canadians are shocked, outraged, and there is a huge reaction from the blogosphere. One of my teammates from January’s Test the Nation is even starting a petition:

If ever there was a sign that the CBC has lost touch with Canada, this is it… …are they mad? No, really. Are they mad? I mean, I know no one watches the CBC, but I thought that was a bad thing, not something to be encouraged by screwing with one of the few bankable properties the Corp actually owns. [There is a petition you can sign at the bottom of this post at Nunc Scio]

There are copyright issues, legal battles etc. but when it boils down to it, I truly think this tune belongs to all Canadians. When I hear the scratchy, “Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland,” intro I get chills. The tune kicks in and you know you’re setting in for a great night of hockey. There’s a even a Facebook Group dedicated to make the HNIC theme the song for medal ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

If you’d like to keep the song on air, sign a petition, write a blog post, create a Facebook Group and let your voice as a hockey fan and a Canadian be heard.

Update: “Contrary to published reports, CBC Sports hasn’t yet pulled the plug on the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

Scott Moore, the executive director of CBC Sports, told Newsworld on Thursday that negotiations for a new licence fee are ongoing with the representatives of composer Dolores Claman.

“We’ve been reaching out to [Claman] and her representative, and haven’t heard back,” Moore said. “We’re prepared to do a deal, we’re prepared to talk, but we’re not prepared to do a deal at all costs.” – [CBC Sports]

Update: CTV buys the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song: “Like an aggressive team snapping up a rival’s top player, Canada’s CTV television network has acquired rights to the “Hockey Night” jingle that has traditionally opened hockey broadcasts on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The move, announced by CTV on Monday, is a major blow for public broadcaster CBC, where the theme has acquired iconic status as the opening for Saturday “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts of National Hockey League games since 1968.” [Reuters]

Update: CTV/TSN buys the HNIC theme song “in perpetuity” [InsideTheCBC]

Stephen Colbert even chimes in about ownership:

The (Lost) Art of Customer Service

June 5th, 2008 @ 7:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

In this is the age of “do it yourself” with self-serve checkouts and the ability to purchase anything, anywhere, anytime from the comfort of our own living room with a computer, I actually really miss some nice in-person, good old fashioned customer service.

When I worked in retail (Surrey Place Mall represent!) we had a store rule of “10 seconds or 10 feet”. If someone was 10 feet in the store or had been there for 10 seconds, we were to greet them if even with a, “Hello.” This seems to be rarity these days. Either stores have elusive un-badged or unmarked personnel, or employees that circle you in vulture-like fashion waiting to tear apart your wallet for their commission. Here are a few mini-stories about some recent customer service experiences.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

On the bright side…
Duane recently wrote of his pleasant experience at the Apple Store in Vancouver, “The best part about the store is that every employee I talked to was absolutely thrilled that they were working there. And not just that — they were all extremely knowledgeable people. I had random chats about Photoshop, Garageband, the Apple Air, and everything else I could think of, and the responses I got from the employees showed that they were all serious Mac power users.” [Duane on MatthewGood.org]

Keira and I were shopping in a specialty store one afternoon and when we walked in (being the only customers at the time) the shopkeeper was on the telephone with someone who seemed to be inquiring about different sizes for various items. The entire time we were in the store (about 15 minutes) not once did the clerk recognize that we were there. We picked up some items (we had gift certificates so we couldn’t really just go anywhere else) and when we were standing at the till she was still on the phone until she realized that for my debit transaction she had to free up the line. Again, when I worked in retail 10 years ago we were told that the in-store customer always comes first. Take a name, number and message and return the call another time – there were always plenty of lulls in traffic throughout the day that were ideal for such a thing.

Since switching to a new host for my website I experienced about 12 hours of downtime within the first month. To me, it was pretty appalling and inexcusable but every time I called customer service they were so friendly and helpful, my rage subsided, I listened to their excuses and I hung up the phone every time saying, “I think I’ll give them another chance.”

John and I love breakfast, I think it’s our favourite meal of the day. As a result we’ve checked out numerous restaurants and diners around the Lower Mainland and know where to get the best pan fries, where you can sub hash browns for fruit, and who has (literally) the greasiest spoon. I once told him we can probably match up our favourites with the ones that keep the coffee flowing and refilled the most frequently.

Photo credit: Lloyd Budd on Flickr

Restoring my faith…
Yesterday I had to get some cash and the only ATM I could think of (close by on my lunch break) was a small independent one tucked away in the back of a convenience store in Yaletown. I choked down the $1.25 transaction fee and selected the $40 option from the machine’s menu. After a few clicks and whirs a 20 dollar bill popped out… and that was it. I informed the store owner and she told me that there’s nothing really she could do but call the machine’s company. She took down my number and I walked back to my office, down $20, feeling really stupid for using something so sketchy. I logged on to my online banking account, printed our a copy of the transaction and took it back to the store for their records. Back at the office again the store owner called and said she started looking around the machine and tucked up in the cash dispenser she saw my bill stuck between two metal plates. She said I could come back and get it any time so after work I headed on over for a third time. They handed me a crisp $20 from their till and even paid me back my transaction fee while apologizing up and down for my experience. If I could have skipped back to the office in my heels I would have.

Great customer service leaves the consumer feeling content and confident with their decision to deal with the establishment. Also, customer service is not all about tips, a steady and repeat customer-base is to be valued most and it can be gained no matter the nature of the business. You don’t need to bother the customer every minute or hold their hand while they browse the store, you should simply be available to offer advice and answer questions (I actually like to know a lot about what I’m purchasing). This ultimately provides the most positive experience.

Too Much Information Meme

June 4th, 2008 @ 3:17pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I admit I don’t get passed many blog-related memes much anymore but when I noticed an incoming link from Yatter Matters I had to check it out. When I saw that he referred to me as, “the best, most consistent social blogger I’ve met,” well that just sealed the deal.

Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

So here I bring you the Too Much Information Meme, things you may or may not already know about Miss604.

1. Who is your favorite musical artist?

I like all different kinds of music but since he’s currently on tour, is local, is my friend, and was one of my inspirations for blogging to begin with: Matthew Good.

2. Who is your favorite artist?

Van Gogh or Renoir. Although truth be told, we replaced the Starry Night print in our hallway with a Dave Olson original.

My mom like this one too
it reminds her of Jen and Me
Photo: AllPosters

3. Who is your favourite blogger?

Too many to choose from, I simply love reading my friend’s blogs on a daily basis everything else is a bonus.

4. If you could meet anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and what is the most interesting thing about them?

I’d hang out with my Opa in his carpentry shop and build a bookcase or something, cause the Cabbage Patch kids have all grown up and no longer need mini bunkbeds.

5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

My sister bet be $50 in 1984 that I wouldn’t grow up to be a doctor. I wanted to prove her wrong. Now I guess I owe her that money.

Dave's AWESOME Finished Piece
A Dave Olson Original

6. What is the most interesting piece of trivia you know?

I know lots of things so I share them on my blog daily, but I particularly enjoy history tidbits. Did you know False Creek actually used to be a creek? It was filled in by the railway companies to make room for their engine yards and terminals.

7. If you could live in any point in history when would it be and why?

1950s. I want to go to a sock hop, then go split a malt with Johnny. One glass two straws.

8. What is the most interesting job you have ever held?

Humble bloggers unite!
Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

The gig that took me to Boston being the production manager for the world’s largest webcaster of financial information. The financial information part wasn’t too interesting but it got me my start in professional geekdom.

Of course this wouldn’t be a meme without the inevitable “tagging” of others but I’ll leave it up to anyone who reads this to decide if they would like to continue… or I could just tag everyone on my blogroll, but I’m not that cruel.

Wednesday Morning Link Fest: Rooting Out Evil

June 4th, 2008 @ 8:06am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Welcome to Wednesday, the day before the day before Friday…. yes! Here’s what’s making headlines around Vancouver and the blogosphere:

– Today is National Clean Air Day. Here’s a list of what you can do to contribute and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

– Meanwhile, GM is reconsidering the Hummer brand.

Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr – View his entire FU H2 set

– Come September, High Schools in BC will have a junk food ban in effect. I know in Junior High our cafeteria sold cookies for a quarter… I have no idea what else was on the menu. In Senior High everyone’s favourite was the fries n’ gravy for $1. Vending machines were located directly outside the gym so Powerade and Doritos were the popular post-practice snack.

– Since Jim Hughson has moved on from Sportsnet to CBC for hockey coverage, it was announced yesterday that radio play-by-play announcer John Shorthouse will be taking his place on the small screen.

Photo credit: Tripleman on Flickr

– The Device to Root our Evil is no longer located at the foot of Broughton Street in Harbour Green Park. “In one of the more notable, myopic and politically correct blunders in memory, the Park Board has managed to lose an internationally recognized piece of public art.” – [Vancouver Sun]. The sculpture of the upside-down church received many complaints for being blasphemous, “…An even smaller group of condo owners in Coal Harbour thought the six-metre sculpture blocked their view.” After one final blow, it has now been dismantled and will head over the Rockies to be displayed in Calgary.

– The Stanley Park Ecology Society is looking for EcoRangers to lead tours and assist visitors to the park this summer.

Finally, our friend DaveO was on The Lab with Leo and his episode recently aired. It features one of my personal favourite works of Dave’s, The Pig Express and takes a journey along his publishing past while giving some great shout outs to Surrey.

Dreaming of Blogathon 2008

June 3rd, 2008 @ 12:08pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last year I participated in Blogathon, which is an organized event for a charity of the author’s choice which involves said blog author to post every 30 minutes for 24 hours.

48 blog posts in 24 hours is quite the feat but with the encouragement of the entire Blogathon community, your readers, friends who bring you coffee, and a husband that wraps a blanket around you while you stare at your MacBook at 2am… it’s not half-bad. I even got some nice press. The big thing is that it’s all for a good cause. You get to put in the effort and produce bucket-loads of content for your readers in hopes they will pledge and donate to keep you going.

– Read my 2007 Blogathon posts
– Raul’s 2007 Blogathon Posts
– Alanah’s 2006 Blogathon Posts
– Barbara’s 2006 Blogathon Posts

Unfortunately while looking up information on Blogathon 2008 I discovered that the official website (and pledge tracking system) will not be in operation this year. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to initiate a Blogathon on my own. I don’t have a fancy site that can track donations with a fun little thermometer but I’m working on setting something up with a local non-profit.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

With that being said… would anyone be interested in joining me for such an event? Not literally joining me on my couch at 3:00am… and 3:30am.. and 4:00am, but putting in a similar effort on their site. The logistics need to be worked out, pledges need to be tracked, and you will have to blog for 24 hours straight at one point this summer. However, the warm fuzzies will abound and we’ll be able to use our blogging powers for good.

Last year my amazing readers raised over $400 for the Surrey Food Bank. I’m hoping to shatter that record this year… you know once I figure absolutely everything else out.

When would you like to see, read, or write a Blogathon this summer?

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Update: So I was thinking since it’s just pledges I need to handle, I could create like pledge AT Miss604.com, then once the Blogathon is over I’d follow up with folks and provide the link to the online donation page of the non-profit of my choice. However, I’m not sure how this would work for *everyone* as then we’d all have to manage our pledges this way/create an email account. Hmm…

Update: Some people have picked up the ball and are going ahead with Day of Blogs on what would have been the same day as Blogathon 2008, July 26th.

What's the Deal with Advertising These Days

June 3rd, 2008 @ 11:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Photo credit: 604Photos on Flickr

Real estate blogger Matthew Collinge first brought this ad (left) to my attention. He asked on his blog, “what is this picture selling?”

As Matthew points out in his post, the photo is an ad for a development in Surrey.

I’ve noticed this a lot around town lately. The seemingly totally unrelated advertisements that don’t even feature the product they’re selling. Must be a new trend.

Here’s an add for Aldo, the shoe store (right) that you can find on bus stops downtown. It seems they’re selling the fun and playful lifestyle more than shoes although if you didn’t know what an “Aldo” was it could even be for cosmetics, clothing, some type of pill that makes you dance and be happy or a condo in Yaletown.

On that note, back to the real estate…

There’s a development on Davie and Howe called “Alto“, which boasts roomy 10 foot ceilings and a comfy downtown location. On the main Davie street-facing sign there’s a photo of a dog chasing a ball. What that has to do with the condos is beyond me. Better yet, on their website they have a photo of some of the promo buttons.

Again, these don’t quite get me thinking real estate. I suppose the idea is to get your attention and make you visit the website.

I remember in high school for Student Council elections one candidate’s campaign included a huge hand-painted sign hanging over the main stairwell. In big bold letters it said SEX and below it in fine print it said, “now that I have your attention, vote so-and-so for Student Council.”

I admit that I love a clever ad campaign (diamond Shreddies anyone?) as just yesterday I Twittered about the E-trade baby and the clown version of that series of commercials. At least we know what he’s selling eh.

Am I requesting that all ads be literal? Not really, but however witty and clever I think sometimes the silliness just gets taken a little too far. Do people like not knowing what the product is about when they see an ad? Does a photo of a woman in a bathing suit floating in a pool of tranquil water make you want a buy a home? I guess so, I mean at least the bloggers are talking about it so if the goal was to create a buzz in that manner, it’s working.

Vancouver Restaurant Health Standards

June 3rd, 2008 @ 12:10am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

On Saturday night before taking in the Von Bondies show at Richards on Richards, we walked down into Yaletown for a quick pint. Milestones looked packed so we walked about 200 yards past it and stopped it at another restaurant.

As the waitress was pouring John’s Guinness into his glass I noticed something and couldn’t get out the words, “ugh lipstick marks!” until it was too late. His glass indeed had lip imprints caked on by the dishwasher (at least we hope).

Not exactly John's shade

Henry sent me a link through del.icio.us to this CBC story on Friday, “49 Metro Vancouver restaurants have violated health standards since January.” Sure enough, I checked the attached PDF and Saturday’s restaurant was on there for “Pest infestation, Failure to maintain premises, equipment and utensils in sanitary conditions.” I wish we would have seen this before the weekend but I’m also pretty glad all we did was have a pint.

The PDF contains 48 more establishments around Metro Vancouver that have failed to comply to health standards over the last few months. It also lists the dates that these places were closed and reopened although unfortunately I think Saturday’s restaurant hasn’t quite learned their lesson yet. I suggest you take a quick look before planning your next dine-out experience.

Local and Vancouver Pitch and Putt Golf Guide

June 2nd, 2008 @ 10:16am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

A while back our friend DaveO suggested a grand tour of local and city-run par three golf courses in and around Vancouver. Seeing as how I’ve only played courses in Surrey, and one pitch and putt in Vancouver, I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to play and tell as we go.

Here’s a quick list of some local Pitch and Putts, all of which are low-dough (under $12 to play 18 holes).

  • Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch and Putt
  • Rupert Park Pitch and Putt
  • Stanley Park Pitch and Putt
  • Also of note, there are also two city pitch and putts in Burnaby, located at Kensington and in Central Park and they’re both under $10 to play.

    Yesterday the Olson/Bollwitt teams headed to Ambleside to play what has to be the most scenic pitch and putt course around.

    Ambleside Par 3

    Ambleside Par 3

    Ambleside Par 3

    Ambleside Par 3

    Dave’s #1 golf rule: “Fuck scores, make golf”. Dave’s #2 golf rule: Wear your best Hunter S. Thompson outfit (John needs to work on that one).

    Sunshine, fresh air, a lovely walk, a friendly game, what could be better on a Sunday afternoon? Stay tuned for more recaps this summer.