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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!!

    Metro Vancouver Park Series: Blackie Spit

    June 9th, 2008 @ 10:25am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’ve been getting some excellent suggestions for additions to the Parks Series, the latest coming from Barbara of The Love Blog who shares some photos below from one of her favourite beaches, Blackie Spit near Crescent Beach.

    View Larger Map

    How to get there: Located at 3136 McBride Avenue, you can take the 351 Crescent Beach bus and get off at the corner of McBride and Sullivan. Driving along Highway 99 turn off on King George Highway heading South. From KGH turn onto Crescent Road then head all the way to the end, over the train tracks and right on McBride.

    Side note: This was also the starting point of The Amazing Hunt, Surrey Edition that my sister and I participated in last fall.

    Photo credit: Barbara Doduk on Flickr

    Features: A fully fenced dog off leash area, dog swimming beach, shelter, picnic area, washrooms, natural area trails, and walking paths. Home to the Surrey Sailing Club and Crescent Beach Swim Club.

    History: “George and Isabella Gordon were the first family to live on the waterfront in Crescent Beach. Gordon leased the land and buildings from Walter Blackie from 1896 to 1906… …Walter Blackie settled on the land, and built a log cabin and barn. The area became known as Blackie’s Spit. The cabin was located at what is now the south end of O’Hara Lane.” [George Gordon Family Site]

    Photo credit: Barbara Doduk on Flickr

    Notes: Today the park is, “one of the best bird watching areas in Canada with almost 200 species of birds recorded over the different seasons. The sandy spit, surrounded by tidal marsh and Eelgrass beds, is an important stop for migrating and wintering waterfowl and shorebirds as they make their way up and down the coastline of North and South America. Fall migrants start arriving in late August and September, with spring migrants arriving in mid-March and gone by the end of May. The park is managed as a wildlife conservation area and habitat enhancement activities are ongoing throughout the park. The sand bars are a favourite resting place for Harbour Seals and their pups.” [City of Surrey]

    Photo credit: Barbara Doduk on Flickr

    Barbara’s post from 2006 also suggests it’s a nice place for a calming walk. I know my sister loves taking the kids there as it’s nice and sandy (ideal for sand castles), the water is much more calm in the channel, and it’s far less crowded than the other beaches.

    Monday Morning Link Fest: Campfire Edition

    June 9th, 2008 @ 1:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I went more than two days without being “connected”. Even when I’ve talked about unplugging from the Matrix we still manage to find wifi at a hotel, in the condo’s common room, or at a highway rest stop. With nothing but giant Cedars, cascading raindrops and paper thin skipping stones surrounding me up at the lake since Thursday, my inbox and feeds are telling me this morning warrants a link fest.

    Rare Appearance by the Sun

    – First off, my photos from the weekend can be found in my set, John Biehler has his in a set, and my husband John has uploaded his as well.

    – I decided to post this video by Duane instead of the one where I fail chopping wood.

    – Tuesday June 10th is Nat and Drew’s Free Rice Day. At 11:00am PT people are encouraged to log on to www.freerice.com. “Take four minutes, play a word game, and help feed the hungry. The more words you get right – the more grains of rice are donated by corporate sponsors to the United Nations World Food Program.”

    – Want to follow all the Euro action? Jeffrey’s got a Vancouver TV guide to the game schedule over on Metblogs.

    YouTube has added video annotations, click here to see how they work and to play an interactive shell game.

    CoverItLive has added a new “branding” feature for its live blogs, as well as an iPhone viewer and intelligent live picture posting. I’ll have to give it another shot with these fancy new tools in place, who knows, after writing a third one maybe I’ll finally make their “recent reviews” section.

    Why and how Duane had an XP sticker on the bottom of his sock is beyond us.
    Photo credit: John Beihler on Flickr

    – Weblog Tools Collection is hosting a WordPress Plugin Competition. Prizes have recently been announced but you can still throw something in the ring to give the winner once determined.

    Seeing as how I made us all lanyards for camping this weekend, it’s only fitting that I end with The Nerd Handbook which includes tips like, “Understand your nerd’s relation to the computer,” “Your nerd loves toys and puzzles,” Your nerd has an amazing appetite for information,” “Your nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head,” “Your nerd might come off as not liking people,” and “Your nerd is f**king funny.”

    The Missing Link

    June 8th, 2008 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’ve noticed an overall trend in the blogosphere which involves a conspicuous decrease in link love. Blogrolls are disappearing and going the way of the hat tip.

    Photo © Waxy on Flickr – All Rights Reserved – WaxyPhotography.com

    Blogrolls are link lists often found on sidebars of blogs or websites that list other blogs. People can display recommended reads, useful website tips, show off their friends, and give some overall link love when using a blogroll. Lately I’ve noticed a trend of moving this off of the main page and having a “links” page instead. Here are some pros and cons of a “links page” that I’ve discussed before with Duane.

    Thumbs Up…

  • You don’t have to be limited to the sidebar width, meaning you can include little descriptions of the sites under their listing.
  • You can add photos or icons for the bloggers on your list.
  • You may be inclined to add more, which is always good for those you chose to mention.
  • Somewhere in the middle…

  • Your page rankings will probably go up. Technorati (although pretty much still a mystery to me) counts your “incoming” and “outgoing” links against each other, from what I’ve heard anyway. So if you have fewer “outgoing” links on your home page it works in your ranking’s favour.
  • Thumbs Down…

  • Do people look at other pages on your site aside from your home page?
  • “If everyone got rid of their blogroll it would throw Google Page Rank for a loop” – Duane
  • Some people can get very obsessed and possessive about their placement on your blogroll. Any sudden movements might cause disruption in the blogosphere.
  • If I didn’t have a blogroll on my sidebar it would look pretty empty, then I would consider removing it entirely. Then I would realize I like putting things over there, I’d miss it, I’d have to code it back in and really, it would really be a big waste of time.
  • I’m not going to be restructuring any time soon, I simply I put this out there to see what’s working for everyone in terms of link love – actively in posts or on a static sidebar or links page. In the blogosphere honor system, should there be an equal amount of give and take when it comes to links? Are there any rules or are links just from the goodness of one’s heart and no one is really obliged to provide info for any outside websites?

    “I just hope blogs, no matter how big they get, don’t forget that at one time they prided themselves on not being mainstream media, and likewise held themselves to a different standard, including a basic respect of the friendly, easy hat tip.” – [David Markland on LA Metblogs]

    Dandy Warhols at The Vogue in Vancouver

    June 7th, 2008 @ 9:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia is one of those albums you can and have to listen to all the way through in one clean shot. It’s one of those ultimate records that smoothly floats from beginning to end filling your mind with musical goodness.

    That was the sophomore album by The Dandy Warhols in 2000 and since then they’ve released four more records with another coming this fall called, Earth to the Dandy Warhols (which you can download and preview on their website).

    They’ll be in Vancouver playing The Vogue on June 18th and I would highly suggest checking them out while tickets are still available.

    WARNING: Video contains nudity!

    WARNING: Video contains nudity!

    John and I will have the pleasure of interviewing them for the RadioZoom podcast. Check out our last episode in which we played two DW songs back to back.

    Metro Vancouver Parks Series: Peace Arch Park

    June 6th, 2008 @ 9:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Photo: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    For about two years my husband was unable to travel back and forth between his home country and Canada due to his immigration processing. At one point however, we took a drive down to South Surrey and ended up at Peace Arch Park. He walked across the “neutral” lawn and when nature called he decided to hit up the restrooms that were on the American side of the park. I swear I heard someone whistling the Star Spangled Banner…

    Recently Dan posted about Peach Arch Park and took some excellent photos so I’ll continue the Park Series with his suggestion.

    Metrics: 9 hectares on the Canadian Side [Google Map]

    How to Get There: The park is about 40 km south of Vancouver and is situated on the International Boundary at the Douglas Border crossing. This is at the junction of Highway 99 in British Columbia and Interstate 5 in Washington State. [BC Parks]

    Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

    History: From PeaceArchPark.org: “The Peace Arch stands on the international boundary between Blaine, Washington, and Douglas, British Columbia. The Arch was constructed to commemorate the centennial (1814-1914) of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814.”

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    The American side of the Arch is inscribed with the words “Children of a Common Mother;” the Canadian side, with the words “Brethren Dwelling together in Unity.” Within the portal of the Arch on the west side are the words “1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914″ and on the east side, “May These Gates Never Be Closed.”

    Notes: From Dan’s Post: “Each picnic area on either side of the border has a large open space allowing for a variety of lawn games and clubhouse that can be reserved for large group gatherings. They’re equipped with full kitchens. (stove, fridge, microwave) as well as tables and chairs. The Canadian clubhouse has a fireplace with wood provided. If you’re on the Canadian side headed toward the park, turn right before the duty free to access the parking lot.”

    Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

    Dan also gives this tip, “You can cross back and forth across the border with ease as long as you don’t leave the confines of the park. If you do that, you have entered either Canada or the U.S. illegally.”

    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: