Thursday Morning Link Fest: So Little Time Left

December 20th, 2007 @ 1:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I wasn’t sure I was going to post at all today, really since yesterday I had a couple “meaty” entries. However, there are still links and information floating around so what kind of Miss604 would I be if I didn’t share with the masses.

  • Fellow Blogathon’er, Raul just celebrated 500 blog posts which is a great milestone. Head over to partake in any of the three mini-games/exercises.
  • I first heard about the “bad sweater party” on Victoria’s blog, but I’ve just learned about the one at the Commodore tomorrow night. “Party goers will be decked out in their ‘best’ Christmas sweaters. The dress code is mandatory. It is the uglier the better.” [News1130]. Man, that looks like SUCH a good time! It starts at 9:00pm and tix are $20.
  • The Vancouver 2010 Olympic events schedules have been released. Men’s ice hockey to compete against Northern Voice 2010 for Saturday slot.
  • Luongo is the 2007 goalie of the year in Goalie’s World Magazine. Now if he’d just stop by and say hi to me in Yaletown, where I keep spotting him…
  • Don’t know what to get for the person who has everything this holiday season? How about something that lets them give to those less fortunate with a Give Meaning gift card.
  • Celebrate winter solstice in your area by taking part in this luminous event happening all across downtown (Eastside, Strathcona, Chinatown, Granville Island, Yaletown, and the West End):

    On December 21st come celebrate the return of the sun with a glowing constellation of lanterns shining in six Vancouver neighbourhoods. These six little festivals are community-based and reflect the unique nature of each neighbourhood. Intimate and accessible, each invites participation and each holds special attractions. [SecretLantern]

  • Also, if you’re itching to get up to the mountains and carve up some of that snow that’s been falling like mad, check out the “Snow Reports” Facebook application for brief summaries of temps and base levels on pretty much any mountain in North America.
  • The Middle East in Cambridge and the MG US Tour

    December 19th, 2007 @ 1:29pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Boston and I had a tumultuous relationship. I moved there alone not knowing anyone or having ever visited the city before. I had a new role with my company, a new house, and new friends to seek out, which wasn’t easy. One thing that I was able to go out and do by myself (that lead to meeting all kinds of interesting characters) was going to concerts. Music has a way of bringing together longtime friends and loners.

    Central Square (in Cambridge) was hardly littered with pea-coat wearing MBA’s like the rest of Boston. It wasn’t pretentious – it had dive bars, diners, galleries, and great live music venues. From a couple Mighty Mighty Bosstones “hometown throwdown” shows to punk bands and lots of local acts, I checked out venues like TT The Bears and the legendary Middle East. This scene was mere blocks away from my old loft on Pleasant Street.

    Legendary Venue - The Middle East

    I loved living in the republic of Cambridge. Every now and then I pine for the life I lead there although I’m so glad I have already been able to share a slice of these memories with John.

    When Matt announced he’ll be playing a US Tour I was pretty much crossing my fingers that a Boston-area show would be included. Much to my delight, he’ll be stopping in Cambridge, at the Middle East no less.

    Funny thing is, when I lived in Boston I ordered Avalanche online and it almost became a soundtrack for those times. I can’t listen to “In a World Called Catastrophe” and not think about walking to work along the frosted brick sidewalks of Harvard with the Charles River following me every step of the way.

    If anyone didn’t know what to get me for Christmas I think a plane ticket to my former zip code would make me crumble into little bits of excitingness. Regardless, you can probably count on John and I taking a long weekend in March 2008.

    WTS – What the Surrey #17: Food Bank Follow Up and Wishing Well

    December 19th, 2007 @ 12:09pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Welcome back to What the Surrey! It’s been a while since my last WTS post because honestly I keep forgetting that I have this lovely category to which I can post all my Surrey loving rants and info. Gearing up for Christmas and some quality holiday time spent in my hometown I’m sure I’ll have more Surreylicious posts in the next week or so.

    Photo credit: jmv on Flickr

    A while ago I wrote a post on Metroblogging regarding local radio stations and their various efforts to raise funds and food donations for local Food Banks. Here are the totals for the week, generated by the gracious radio listeners:

  • Santa Fox Food Drive: 12,298 pounds of food and $81,712.82
  • The Beat Cares: Toy Drive @ Guildford mall generated 4,000 toys for the Salvation Army and over $14,000.
  • Nat and Drew’s Food Bank Fill Up: 50,000 lbs of food and $116,000.
  • It’s always been evident to me that the good people of Surrey are extremely generous. I was a little miffed that certain stations didn’t spend much time there during their food drives this year. In the past, their days spent in Surrey have been record-breaking for donations and I honestly think 95 Crave‘s outstanding total had something to do with being there. Unfortunately, as it usually goes, the need is far greater than all of that this year.

    …The food bank had set a goal of collecting 300,000 pounds of food and $300,000 in cash donations this holiday season, but only $80,000 has come in so far.

    …The food bank assists 14,000 people from Surrey and North Delta every month, with about 42 per cent of its clients being children and babies.

    …Every baby who comes to the food bank will receive a full week’s worth of formula, not just a couple of days, “And for [the food bank] to make that commitment means [they] need $100,000 just for baby formula for the full year.”

    The Surrey Food Bank is not part of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank – all money raised in Surrey stays in Surrey. [Surrey Leader]

    The Surrey Food Bank has an online donation page again but you can also drop off donations at 10732-135 Street Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm or at any Surrey firehall, Safeway, Save-on-Foods, IGA, Costco, Superstore, T&T Supermarket or Price Smart Foods.

    If anything, this should be a reminder that some charities are truly locally-based and need your support on a neighbourhood and city-specific level (see also, Tri-Cities Food Bank).

    Another way to give back to your community, is to participate in the new “Wishing Well” program. Through Wishing Well, individuals and companies can sponsor various facets of Surrey life, parks and culture. From goal posts at the soccer pitch and park benches, to pallet trucks and a new score clock for the local arena. I’d sponsor the Lacrosse Box if I had a spare $60K lying around. They currently have a Wish List up on their website, which includes more information about the program.

    Smiling Buddha Cabaret

    December 19th, 2007 @ 2:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    From the NEW Punk History Vancouver page.

    People often criticize the city for looking “too new” and not having “enough history”. That by being in its infancy on the world’s stage, Vancouver has none of its own culture, just a melting pot of others. It’s not that we don’t have history, it’s that we’ve glossed over several chapters that might not have been the most prim and proper.

    When I was a teenager growing up in Surrey there was nothing more bad ass than coming downtown on the weekend and cruising Granville Street. I’m not talking about ‘cruising’ down the bubblegum-peppered sidewalks in our stilettos, purchasing some designer sunglasses, having crepes, then going club hopping shaking our lovely lady lumps.

    The Granville Street that I remember was dark, dingy, grimey, and we felt like we were stickin’ it to the man when we’d sit on the sidewalk listening to a busker play rockin’ tunes at 1am, hours past curfew. But we were just posers. We weren’t the first wave of teenagers looking for economical entertainment. Just a few years earlier the dusky atmosphere of Granville that I revered was amplified with even more disreputable bars and even shadier characters.

    Vancouver is home and was birthplace of some of the creators and perpetuators of punk rock, and the founders of the hardcore sound.

    “Even when the “grunge” scene in Seattle went huge, Vancouver was more like “what’s new with that?”

    Not only was the city on the cutting edge of punk rock, it was held in such high esteem as London, New York and San Francisco when it comes to the cities that created and sustained this genre’s existence. Men with names names that contained “shithead” and “rampage” were held in the highest esteem, among several others:

    “The Subhumans and the handful of other punk bands that exploded into being in Vancouver as part of the world-wide punk movement, built a local scene that was wild, raucous, and tempestuous. Venues came and went after gigs that left audiences exhilarated and club-owners and police appalled. The now-familiar punk ethos that held that anyone could be in a band, and that any band could change your life, was new and shocking.” []

    Describing my peers and myself back then, I immediately think of a great article I read in The Nerve Magazine. It was an interview with Bev Davies, the photographer that captured the entire Vancouver punk scene like no one ever has or will.

    “…I spent a little while taking shots of rocks and birds and then I went to my first DOA concert and went HOT DAMN! No more ‘still life with fruit-bowl’ for me!”. [The Nerve Magazine]

    Bev was a regular at the Smiling Buddha Cabaret, which was was located at 109 East Hastings. In the Nerve article she talks about taking photos of DOA playing Friday night, go home and develop the film, then come back Saturday night with a box of photo postcards for sale. The Buddha was a dive and at the same time a mecca for local and international alternative rock acts. From The K-Tels, The Subhumans, DOA, or Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck, to Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane.

    Photo is property of Bev Davies on Flickr – Used with permission

    Vancouver’s music community thrived in the 70s and 80s, experiencing a city full of dank corners, sticky floors and the darkest of alleys.

    Artists were struggling, playing in dives, scraping together the dough to make albums themselves, and that’s what gave the city’s scene its character. This Vancouver was known for more than the Grouse Grind, organic produce and Robson Street shopping.

    The downtown east side was home to seedy clubs in which groundbreaking bands would play for college students before they hit it big. Granville street hosted cheap beer and pizza slices, and Yaletown was for sketchy after-hours parties in warehouses nobody would recognize or remember in the morning.

    For almost a hundred years Yaletown was the terminus for goods from back East, as they were stored in the areas many warehouses then shipped out at the port. Industrialized and abundant with manufacturing plants and mills, plastered in coal, dark wood and brick, these buildings budded up at the beginning of the century and polluted for decades to follow.

    A world-class fair arrived in 1986, bringing with it months of construction, expansion, development and tourists. Expo 86 was built on a 207-acre wasteland of property at the south end of downtown, bordering and wrapping around False Creek, although concentrated in Yaletown. It painted the city with a new brush, one that would drive up prices, pump in tourism and push out squatters of all kinds.

    “Then everything went teal.”

    “With Expo, Vancouver’s character changed with modern buildings and the outside world paying attention to this fresh, fabricated, fashionable facade which evoked cynicism from many locals. Suddenly, Vancouver went from a grimy hardcore town to a hot bed for hair-metal bands coming up for the peeler bars and top producers.”

    Afterwards, the Expo lands were vacant and displaced until foreign investors hopped into the ring and turned Yaletown into what you see today. No anarchists in sight.

    Photo credit: Squeaky Marmot on Flickr

    Warehouses were flipped into swanky office buildings while heritage houses, corner shops and live music meccas were demolished to make room for million-dollar homes, stacked and towering above the cracked cobblestone streets.

    Punk-enlightened venues started disappearing and being replaced with glazed condo developments, one by one. No more Luvafair, Town Pump, Starfish Room, and the ‘Buddha on Hastings finally closed down in 1993.

    “Venues like the “New” York Theatre closed down, changed formats and ownership and punk went back underground surfacing into the mainstream consciousness as protest music.”

    Today, it seems like dark corners of Gastown are transforming into upscale furniture stores, and greasy spoon mom ‘n pop cafes are morphing into bistros with pretentiously cut yam fries. Old brick buildings are being gutted and filled with million-dollar loft spaces. Looking back at the last few decades, it seems as though this city’s record is skipping.

    Vancouver has a culture, it actually has a sound and people who thrive off its community. We just need to remember just how far back this goes and that even the City of Glass has rebel roots that live on.

    Read more in this series on the NEW Punk History Vancouver page. Quotes in this post were provided by Dave Olson.

    Mason Raymond Mention on How I Met Your Mother

    December 18th, 2007 @ 11:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    In honor of our boys kicking some serious NJ Devil a$$ tonight, Luongo getting a shut out and Alanah’s live blogging, here’s a clip folks have been buzzing about lately: Mason Raymond is mentioned on the hit CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”. Yes, Neil Patrick Harris’ character disses the Canucks name-drop. Cool.

    Side note: If you sponsor me for the Skate for a Cure I may have the chance to meet Mason too!

    MooseCamp and Northern Voice 2008: Registration Time

    December 18th, 2007 @ 4:43pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It’s that time of year again folks, registration is now open for Northern Voice 2008, happening this coming February (alongside our wedding anniversary… awww!)

    What: “In 2005, the organizers of Canada’s first weblogging conference put on an event that was inexpensive, informal, and accessible to techies and newbies alike.” [NV - About]
    When: February 22 (MooseCamp) – 23 (Conference), 2007 NOTE: You can register for one day OR both days. Friday’s unconference is in ‘Camp’ style, while Saturday’s will have a schedule with specific track/session time slots.
    Where: Vancouver / UBC
    More info: Check out the easily digestible FAQ.

    Sign up if you’re a blogger, know a blogger, want to be a blogger, don’t like blogging and want to blog about it, like to take digital photos, like Facebook, are a podcaster, a pro or a rookie in most things to do with social media.

    John and I went last year, read all about it here – and view all the pics here.

    Tuesday Morning Link Fest: Baileys in Coffee at the Office Edition

    December 18th, 2007 @ 11:20am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Today is the annual Christmas pot luck at work. Unfortunately since my husband was unable to slave away making a tuna pasta salad for me to bring in this year, I stopped off at a grocery store downtown before coming in. I decided to duck into the new IGA Marketplace on Robson and Richards. It seems decent enough and sells lots of organic products with a heart-stoppingly good looking deli but its prices are what you’d expect for downtown (meaning, also heart-stopping but in a bad way). It’s pretty cramped in there so I would advise against doing any big grocery orders, two carts would barely be able to pass each other in an aisle. Watch for Homesense opening up above the IGA in the weeks ahead as well.

    Here’s what’s making headlines in my world this morning:

  • Sean goes off on Translink, Morning Brew style – awesome. Side note: Canada Line is the newish name for the RAV Line
  • Duane gives us a glimpse into the single scene online, which doesn’t look too bright – in all meanings of the word. [DuaneStorey]
  • Alanah shares “Trap it Like it’s Hot”… oh… my. [CanucksAndBeyond]
  • American magazine “Travel Weekly” readers vote Vancouver as their number one travel destination. [News1130]
  • Angus Reid polls show that 85% of Canadians think Christmas has lost its spiritual meaning, however 61% say it’s about spending time with your family. [News1130] In our home it’s kinda spiritual but mostly about the entire feeling of the season. From german Christmas polka albums on the record player in the living room, to finding out just how much tinsel the cat must have eaten. I also can’t wait for the “airing of grievances” this year.
  • Don’t give lottery tickets to kids as gifts this year [CKNW]. Especially not those Canucks ones, man I NEVER win on those.
  • If you’re leaving town for the holidays (especially by boat) check out BC Ferries holiday schedule [pdf], with extra sailings.
  • It seems like we’re two of maybe 4 people we know who are staying in town for the holidays. We’re gonna make sure to get in a twonie skate at the community centre, other than that… we’ll just be out in Surrey. For all those not going anywhere or jetting to far off places, what will you be doing in town this Christmas or for New Years? Any favourite Vancouver holiday activities or traditions?

    Christmas in Vancouver: Yaletown Gift Wrap and Green Christmas Guide

    December 17th, 2007 @ 2:43pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever done any shopping in Yaletown aside from the new Dollar Store I discovered but if you’re out and about downtown and need some of your Christmas gifts done up in pretty little bows, keep this destination in mind.

    For six glittering days from noon ‘til six pm, volunteer elves – direct from the North Pole – will be at the Yaletown BIA office to wrap up your holiday presents by donation. All monies raised will be donated to the Empty Stocking Fund and Yaletown House, right here in the neighbourhood. [YaletownBIA]

    Where: Corner of Hamilton and Drake [Google Map]
    When: December 20-22, 2007 from 12:00 noon until 6:00pm
    More Info: Visit the Yaletown Business Improvement Association website.

    Update: Here’s another program on Robson Street with all proceeds going directly to A Loving Spoonful.

    Where: Milestones on Robson Street
    When: December 17 to 21 – 5pm to 9pm, December 22 to 23 – 12pm to 9pm, December 24 – 12pm to 4pm

    While attempting to locate other by-donation gift wrap centres downtown I came across’s “Green Christmas Guide“. It offers up “Green Gifts” that you can purchase at various stores and also supplies some useful tips that would nicely compliment Keira’s pointers.

  • Dine by Candlelight – Instead of having your house lit up like a baseball field, turn off the lights and fire up the candles when it’s time to dish out the turkey and stuffing. BONUS: now you know what to do with all of those Christmas candles you have stashed away.
  • Turn off the TV – Do you really need to watch The Grinch again this year? Switch off the TV and engage in conversation with each other instead. Get the kids involved by swapping stories about your best Christmas or the worst gift you ever received. Another suggestion: buy a board game that the whole family can play throughout the day.
  • Recycle your wrapping paper – Instead of crumpling the wrapping paper up and throwing it all in a garbage bag, keep the paper to use for next year. You could also save for arts and crafts time with the kids. Another option: use gift bags or boxes that you can use over and over again. Cloth Christmas bags are also easy to use.
  • For more information and tips on having a “Green Christmas” visit