The Amazing Hunt is on for 2008

April 13th, 2008 @ 1:57pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last year my sister and I participated twice in The Amazing Hunt, once in a foot race Granville Island and the other in Surrey (with car travel). Fashioned after the popular CBS and Emmy-winning reality show The Amazing Race, this hyper-local adventure challenge tests your brains and brawn with tasks that take place in a handful of cities across Metro Vancouver.

The Amazing Hunt

Since September 2004, The Amazing Hunt introduces this new racing style which provides an opportunity for you to discover a city’s hidden treasure… its culture, landmarks, and history. Our goal is to create a positive and healthy lifestyle in your community while promoting local tourism, business, and charity. [The Amazing Hunt]

2008 Race Dates and Locations:

  • May 3, Vancouver
  • August 16, Langley and Fort Langley
  • October 4, North and West Vancouver
  • Bill Lin and his team also create special one-off events and races, which are ideal for company team building exercises.

    This morning John and I signed up for the Vancouver edition on May 3rd so we’ll be checking in on the blog closer to the date to find out our exact starting point in the city.

    Do you think you know Vancouver better than us? Do you think you can outrun John? Do you think you can eat more buckwheat honey by the spoonful in a single sitting than me? Sign up your team of two for any of The Amazing Hunt races this season and I guarantee you’ll have a blast!

    Fun with Flickr Video

    April 12th, 2008 @ 5:04pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    You may have noticed a small triangle popping up in the corner of your Flickr contact’s images lately. Fear not, there is no small grey triangle conspiracy, it’s actually to indicate that the image you’re seeing is simply a thumbnail of a brand spankin’ new Flickr Video.

    Video! Video! Video! The rumours are true and “soon” is now. We’re thrilled to introduce video on Flickr. If you’re a pro member, you can now share videos up to 90 glorious seconds in your photostream.

    90 seconds? While this might seem like an arbitrary limit, we thought long and hard about how video would complement the flickrverse. [Flickr Blog]

    Things I like about Flickr Video so far:

  • 90 second limit (less time to make a fool of myself)
  • Integrates right into your photostream so you have a bunch of your media in the same place, in one account
  • Easy to upload
  • Easy to embed videos
  • When embedding there’s an option to attribute the source ie. the video box on your blog will display a link to the Flickr account and original user/creator
  • It’s not YouTube (or YouTube-quality, which is a good thing)
  • The commenters are your friends and contact, and not spam bots (so far, anyway)
  • Dislikes:

  • 90 second limit
  • You can’t change the static image (like you can with etc.)
  • It’s been pretty fun during the whole two days I’ve been using it although there are Flickr purists who aren’t as pleased that the photo site is now intermingling with video.

    “The big issue is the way it was implemented,” said Jason Bouwmeester, a systems analyst in Canada and one of the group administrators for No Video on Flickr. “There was no public beta…. They just reset everyone’s settings.” Users have complained about the video features causing the whole site to slow down, a possible influx of YouTube junk and the deviation from Flickr’s original purpose — photography. [].

    Regardless, I don’t think it will replace YouTube by any means (or become YouTube-like), but since I was recently on the lookout for a simple alternative to online video sharing, I’m glad I now have this option.

    Unplugging, Birthdays, and the Stranger Photography Exhibit Opens Tonight

    April 11th, 2008 @ 3:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    What’s going on tonight? A lot actually but my husband and I will be taking a night off and having some time to ourselves. The dishes have piled up, and there are projects that need some attention but we haven’t been able to have any actual down time together in a while. However, if it weren’t Bollwitt Night, there are some other things going on around town worth noting:

    First, Happy Birthday to Alexa who is a Guitar Hero master personified and design guru over at Strutta. She’s celebrating with some of the usual suspects so I fully expect documentation of the fun times and debauchery to show up on Jaiku or Flickr tomorrow morning.

    Second, tomorrow is Dingo’s birthday. She’s such a kind person with so much wisdom and spirit. I’m really glad to have been able to get to know her at unconferences and through the blogosphere in the last few years.

    Last but not least, John Goldsmith (aka waxypoetic on Flickr) is celebrating opening night of a photography exhibit in Chinatown.

    Photo credit: WAXY on Flickr © Waxy Photography

    STRANGER: A photography exhibit of strangers and unfamiliar landscapes. The work is a diverse mix of the abstract, the dreamlike, and the street.

    Photographers: John Goldsmith, Marc L’Esperance and Lung Liu

    Dates: Opening Night: Friday April 11, 2008, 6:30-8:30pm
    Exhibit: April 10 – April 26, 2008
    Restaurant Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 6-10pm

    Radha Gallery | 728 Main Street Vancouver

    Opening night features a live acoustic jazz duet by Shannon Thue and Joel Kerr. Food & drinks are available for purchase. [Facebook event] [Website]

    John’s works are pretty amazing and capture a candid side of Vancouver few others can pull off. You can preview the show here, swing by tonight, or anytime before April 26th.

    RickRoll Flash Mob in London Today

    April 11th, 2008 @ 9:40am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    One week ago I wrote about a RickRoll flash mob taking place on April 11th in Liverpool St Station at 6:00pm. Seeing as how that’s 8 hours ahead of us here on the Pacific coast of Canada I’d say things should be getting underway fairly soon.

    Bring a camera, bring a detachable quiff, bring the lyrics so you don’t have to embarrass yourself or the dedicated Rickrollers by humming through the verses and only singing out loud when the song gets to the chorus… Get down there and share the love: it’s not rock and roll, it’s Rickroll. [Londonist]

    If you’d like to check out the live action I’ve been linked off a site that lists someone’s QIK video stream, and they hope to catch some of the hilarity that is bound to ensue.

    They only last a minute and a half but here’s a video of today’s Rickmob in London courtesy of Jamie Coomber’s Qik Stream.

    Club Seats for Seattle Mariners Tonight

    April 11th, 2008 @ 7:59am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Vancouver Canadians Home OpenerI think it was Boston that first managed to turn my disgust for baseball into a tolerance, however it wasn’t until I met John and his passion for the Cubs that I started to appreciate the game.

    Sitting out at Nat Bailey Stadium with Queen Elizabeth Park as the luscious green backdrop on a sunny afternoon, eating and hot dog and having a beer overlooking the city and cheering for the home team has now become a staple of the Bollwitt summer experience.

    I happened to get my hands on some Mariners tickets for this evening but despite the fact that we don’t have car and we’re saving up for our trip to Osoyoos in just a few weekends, things just aren’t going to work out for us. So here’s where my faithful readers come in:

    - Do you want to go to Seattle tonight @ 7:10pm?
    - Are you able to go to Seattle tonight?
    - You want to see the Mariners play?
    - Would you like two “Terrace Club” seats?

    If you answered “yes” to all of these questions leave a comment below and include ONE line (any line) from Take Me Out to the Ballgame…. well except that line – any other line in the song. The first person to successfully do so will have the tickets. No draw, no wait, you want ‘em – you got ‘em.

    Update: Christina would be the winner of the tickets but she’s unable to pick them up – yes, they’re actual hard copies, sorry folks! The contest is still on…

    DemoCampVancouver06 Live Blog

    April 10th, 2008 @ 5:11pm (PT) by Guest Author

    Unfortunately Rebecca is unable to attend DemoCamp’s Gaming Edition this evening so Nancy Zimmerman has been kind enough to take on the liveblog – thanks Nancy!

    What: DemoCampVancouver06 – Gaming Edition [wiki][Facebook event]
    Where: Workspace in Gastown
    Presentations Include:

    Bleeding Edge iPhone Development
    Parveen Kaler, Smartful Studios
    Self-Publishing Games Direct-to-Consumers
    Dustin Sacks, Sillysoft Games

    Starting out with a panel about gaming in general.

    How many people have a gaming console? About 15.

    How many people think of themselves as gamers? [oops - missed this response - typing!]
    Will discuss business aspects of gaming tonight.
    Dustin Sucks – owns Sillisoft games. Develops strategy games. Will talk about indie gaming.
    Jamie Change – has done retail, online, currently doing purely online pc, free to play. Will talk about economics of Xbox dev’t.
    Parveen Kaler – [oops - missed - will try to fill in]

    Q: Is indie gaming like indie films?

    P: Halo is summer blockbuster; but all games are ‘games’ – doesn’t like the term ‘casual’ games.
    D: Name ‘casual’ means it takes less up front to get into them. Not such a steep learning curve. More accessible.

    Q from audience: Do any of you try to bridge online/console/etc?

    J: hasn’t seen it work yet (eg. Majestic).
    P: benefit of iPhone is it has it all. May be more options.

    Q: Is gaming mainstream? eg. Halo

    Car Free Day in Vancouver Summer 2008

    April 10th, 2008 @ 10:37am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Last year I didn’t get out to every festival, parade, or community event however the ones I did attend like the West End’s Block Party were pretty darn fun. Over on Commercial Drive they’ve been closing off the road and celebrating the community on foot (for a single day without vehicles) for several years.

    In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community- driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver. The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street. Since then, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day. [Car Free Day - About]

    For a personal account, check out DaveO’s podcast from Commercial Drive last year.

    Photo credit: Stephanie Vacher on Flickr

    The Commercial Drive event has been such a success that they’ve expanded to several other neighbourhoods across the city for 2008:

    Cambie Street, Kitsilano, Main Street, Marpole, and the West End.

    Although the city-wide festival is months away, organizing committees for each neighbourhood are currently meeting. You can get involved by attending a meetup for your block, hosting your own party in one of the neighbourhoods, or if your part of town isn’t covered check out the block party toolkit.

    WTS – What the Surrey #26: Link Fest Hodge Podge

    April 9th, 2008 @ 6:35pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The WTS and a link fest? Combining two of my patented blog features? Yes, daring I know.

  • Surrey decided to one-up Vancouver’s smoking restrictions near entrance ways with their own 7.5 meter rule. [Surrey Leader]
  • White Rock (South Surrey Junior) will build their $500,000 Spirit Square right along the main strip, between the museum and the pier [Surrey Now]

  • Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr
  • “The number of street homeless in Surrey climbed by 15 per cent in the last three years.” [Surrey Leader] But isn’t it great that they’re bringing Yaletown to Whalley?
  • The Vaisakhi Parade will be taking place this Saturday April 12th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. “The Vaisakhi Celebration in Surrey celebrates more than just the birth of the Sikh identity. Gathering crowds of more than thousands, the Vaisakhi Parade symbolizes diversity and multiculturalism.” Expect traffic detours and road closures from 124st to King George and 72nd to 88th. [City of Surrey]

  • Photo credit: Stephen Rees on Flickr
  • You know there’s something wrong when your city has almost a half a million people and yet you can’t get a bus from point A to point B after 6 o’clock at night (regardless of said city’s area). “Surrey is “severely underserviced” by public transit and desperately needs more buses to provide an alternative to driving on congested roads, according to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar. Surrey has 83 buses to serve a population of 400,000. When Vancouver had 400,000 people there were 400 buses, the representative for Surrey-Panorama Ridge said.” [Metro Vancouver via Stephen Rees]
  • To wrap up on a brighter note, despite the need for more buses at least those doing the daily grind aren’t discouraged. “Of workers commuting to Surrey, 12.2 per cent (up from 9.5 per cent) used a sustainable transit mode.” [Surrey Leader]