GPforMe

Miss604 Poll: The Price of Drive-Thru Service

December 11th, 2007 @ 8:46am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

On a trip down to Bellis Fair a few years ago, Tanya and I stopped by a drive-thru coffee shop to order some caffeine for the ride home. We drove around to the far end of a gas station parking lot where it was located and pulled up to the window to order. The barista asked if we wanted to win a prize and handed us a cup with several slivers of paper inside. Both Tanya and I chose our ticket and unfolded it to reveal what we had won: “full price coffee“.


Photo credit: RoadsidePictures on Flickr

You can pretty much use a drive-thru window to purchase anything nowadays. From burgers and coffee to movies and a marriage – in some parts of the continent. Drive-thru Starbucks are pretty big for commuters in these parts, and rumour has it that Wendy’s is usually quicker than McDonald’s with their orders. But the issue that’s been raised across Canada is, what about the pollution from all those cars in the queues?

At some popular fast-food restaurants across the country, lineups are so long they stretch out of parking lots and spill onto public streets, and politicians are eyeing the emissions spewed by all the idling cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Students at the University of Alberta monitored a popular Tim Hortons outlet in Edmonton last year for 54 hours and counted 3,756 vehicles idling for an average of more than five minutes each. The longest idle was more than 12 minutes. [CBC]

There are several reasons why I only visit a drive-thru maybe once every six months, the main being that I don’t own a car. However, I know some people actually rely on this method. It’s mentioned in the CBC article that drive-thrus are almost becoming an essential service to the elderly and people with small children.

I know my sister, with three younguns, has a heck of a time getting them rallied to head into the restaurant in a timely manner especially if they’re just picking up the food to take home. Having to unbuckle and carry the smallest, while keeping an eye on the other two means it’s taking her a long time to get the kids inside safely, meanwhile wrecking her bad back in the process.

I’m not sure eliminating drive-thrus would be a solution, however I am all for fewer cars and emissions. I like the convenience and the option to get things “on the go”, so how could we improve conditions? For starters, Tim Hortons says they’re going to have separate coffee stations at drive-thru windows, and are offering more ‘quick pay’ options. But what happens if drive-thrus start to disappear, would you really miss them?

Are you excited about the Canucks playing in the Heritage Classic at BC Place?

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To view and vote on past polls, visit the Miss604.com poll page.

Miss604's Blogiversary Contest Winner

December 10th, 2007 @ 8:33pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Thanks to everyone for entering my blogiversary contest. This evening I put everyone’s name in a hat and drew a winner….

Ariane from the West End Girl blog – congrats!

Monday Morning Link Fest: Last attempt to get you to enter my contest

December 10th, 2007 @ 8:22am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

We spent yesterday in Surrey and walked around Whalley for a bit (yes, voluntarily). I guess I never realized how many huge, tall old tress (namely Redwoods) there were in this particular area. They’re tearing most of them down in order to “Bring Yaletown to Surrey“, but a couple were left standing in order to be novelty greenery for the new condos.

It was a crisp and clear weekend for the most part, with patches of snow and frost icing the sidewalks and roads of Vancouver and surrounding cities. Here’s what’s happening in the news today:

- While the mainstream newspapers were pushing a story about a pet cobra on their front cover yesterday, I read online that the Pickton verdict was given. He was found guilty of second degree murder on all six counts. [CBC]

- Reactions to the verdict are pretty powerful. On Tuesday the families will get to read victim impact statements and there’s talk of a second trial in the future regarding the deaths of another twenty women. [CKNW]

- David Suzuki took part in a rally at the library, while we were at TransitCamp, on what was “International Climate Change Day of Action” this past Saturday [News1130].

- Speaking of, The David Suzuki Foundation is joining forces with the NHLPA in a Carbon-Neutral initiative:

The David Suzuki Foundation and the union announced plans Friday for a partnership that asks players to become more eco-friendly, both at home through their personal choices and in their professional lives through the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge.

The latter initiative involves players purchasing clean-air credits to compensate for the extra carbon produced by their extensive travels – a concept known as carbon offsets. All the money they raise will help fund three clean-air projects around the world through Montreal-based not-for-profit Planetair. [TSN]

- Canadian Idol comes to Surrey [News1130]

- And because we all know (or should know by now) that I keep a close eye on Stanley Park, the latest news to come out of Vancouver’s Crown Jewel is that one of its most visited trees is at risk of falling over:

Stanley Park’s iconic hollow tree — for over a century, a popular photo backdrop for countless visitors, their horses and even their cars — is leaning dangerously and may fall over.

Although the enormous Western red cedar was temporarily strapped to a nearby hemlock last week, it’s not yet clear whether the famed tourist attraction can be salvaged permanently, said Vancouver park board chair Ian Robertson. [GlobalBC]

- My contest closes TONIGHT. Simply make a blog post linking back here with a couple keywords OR post the link to your Facebook. FYI the Vancouver Giants tickets are for THIS Saturday vs Chilliwack and the Mt. Seymour passes are good for any day this season (rental included). I’ll make the draw before the Canucks vs Kings game tonight @ 7:30PM.

happyfrog testing team: the reusable bag

December 9th, 2007 @ 4:58pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Since DaveO bestowed $100 upon Keira and I to spend at happyfrog friendly and listed establishments I haven’t done much shopping. However, I bought something today and will deem is my first official purchase as a happyfrog tester, and it’s from a store you might not expect.

We’ve seen the emergence of reusable shopping bags around town, and there’s plenty of talk in the blogosphere as well about the important of reducing your plastic bag usage. (Metroblogging: Ban Plastic Bags Now and Plastic Bag Ban. Keira-Anne: Slopes and Totes).

John and I have cloth Safeway bags for our shopping, which are pretty great as they can hold the same amount of two plastic bags and are a lot more comfortable to carry on the long walk home. I now have something a little more universal which I picked up at Zellers. Yes, I’m mentioning Zellers in a eco-friendly blog post – here’s why:

Hbc is a recognized retail leader in sustainability practices in the areas of ethical sourcing, environment and energy, associate wellness and community investment. For the last five years, the Company has been one of the few Canadian retailers to issue a formal report on its progress in these areas. Going forward, all aspects of this program, as well as new policies and customer products will be part of the Global Mind brand…

…We will offer our customers environmentally friendly products under the Global Mind brand.Reusable shopping bags; Cold water detergent by Truly and Energy Star products will be available at stores across Canada. [Hbc News Release]

I picked up a nylon “Esprit Global/Global Mind” bag today for a whopping $0.99, which beats the heck out of some of those $40 designer go-green bags out there. I’ll toss this tiny, collapsible pouch in my work bag for impromptu grocery store trips on my way home, or for any time I just need something extra in which to carry items.

happyfrog purchase #1

It’s great to shop local and at mom n’ pop places but when you can find that the big wig department stores are also making an environmentally conscious effort, it’s worth noting as well. I found out that Hbc actually has an entire website dedicated to social responsibility [CSR] and better yet, they have added incentives for using your cloth bags when shopping at their stores.

The bags are available in select stores with broader distribution to all Hbc locations scheduled for November 1, 2007. Customers will receive 1,000 Hbc Rewards points when they purchase any of the Global Mind bags, and 100 points every time they use the bags while shopping at an Hbc store. [Hbc News Release]

I forgot my points card today but I’ll make up for it in the future when I whip out my Global Mind pouch for my next commercial excursion. And since the bag was so cheap, that means it’ll get a lot of use. Now, just 99.01 happyfrog dollars to go!

Keira and I will be blogging all of our happyfrog purchases. You can read our posts in our “happyfrog” categories:

Keira-Anne.com/category/happyfrog
and
Miss604.com/category/happyfrog

Successful First TransitCamp Vancouver

December 8th, 2007 @ 5:31pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Cool trains, nifty buses running us all over town, happy little sea buses carting us over to the mountainous North Shore, why wouldn’t we have a TransitCamp in this town? I think for the most part though, the main issues raised at TransitCamp were more buses, more scheduled times, more access and more info is needed.

Lovely Sponsors

This wasn’t a day to rant about Translink (for some people) but it was a day to talk, discuss, brainstorm, address hot-button issues and make some cool art. Some of the session titles were: Ask the Gurus, Best Practices, Car Free Day/Events, Transfers, Building a Community within the Community, Social Media for Transit, Wireless Everywhere Transit… and more.

Unconference Rooms

Roland captured most of it on his UStream, and John was able to make some really great summary posts.

Buttons, Conch, North Shore View

Here’s a short summary from the two sessions I attended:

  • Session One: Care Free Day & Safe Route Tsawwassen
  • Evolving from the free day we get on New Years, the topic of encouraging others to take transit instead of their cars generated much discussion.

    Should a group of individuals sponsor a pro-active campaign, handing out cards and fliers to riders to promote another “free day” of transit? Something like this would certainly be at a cost to Translink and offering pamphlets to commuters wouldn’t be very effective.

    The thought I shared with others in the room was to get Translink to participate in events instead of actually being the initiator ie. there’s a community festival out in Tsawwassen, and all those who attend are encouraged to come by transit. You could even have prizes for those who submit their fare stubs for added incentive. Translink could then be a PARTNER in the event alongside cycling coalitions or other societies and groups.

    Safe Route Tsawwassen

    We also had a brief presentation from Carol Vignale. Along with Ruth who is an Elder with Tsawwassen First Nation, Carol’s group partnered with a member of the CNIB, and the Delta Police/Community Police Station to create “Safe Route Tsawwassen”. The goal here was to reduce numbers of cars coming to schools, provide information about safe routes to schools (new lines, remove shrubs, crosswalks etc.) and to build up the community shuttle program for Tsawwassen.

    Safe Route TsawwassenCarol, who was also on the GVTA committee and helped with the community shuttle bus initiative, offered up some great information about their group. She was also a part of their local cycling initiative [Canada.com Article]. Carol’s initiative really provides a great module that other communities could put in place and build upon.

    A few more topics that came out of this session were: Getting better access to community data, an increase in dialog between riders and Translink, a summarization policies on their website ie. “What is Bill 44?”, and more communication about what resources are available, how they’re available and how Translink actually connects communities.

  • Session Two: Unwiring Transit and Other Public Places
  • T-shirt ConceptTopics for discussion: Why is it so hard to get wifi in public spaces (not just cafes or apartments)? Most are City, Translink owned spaces so herein lies the problem. Are we getting wifi on buses? No, a recent article in a local paper basically made it seem like it but this is actually an internal communication system for operators, which won’t be for the public. However when they implement GPS tracking for the public it will work hand in hand with their new scheduling system, which you can text to get ‘next bus’ information for the stop where you’re waiting.

    Back to the wifi discussion: Who would provide the blanket bandwidth at transportation hubs/stations? Who would provide the support? Where would it be, places you wait, places where you spend the most time?

    What about bandwidth hogs? Where would the hot spot be? Could Translink partner with local shops as access points? Dave points out that in all these scenarios the biggest costs would be tech support and bandwidth.

    This particular discussion seemed to really promote FreeTheNet Vancouver, then it turned into something about social networking and media then veered in all other directions before the conch blew announcing time was up.

    Sucks

    Things got a little scrambled in a few of the sessions, which mostly consisted of pockets of people in deep discussion, but for the most part things stayed on track. I ducked out before the arts and craft fun times but still got to experience some great conversations. I’m sure more summary posts will pop up, but here are some samples from my photo-documentation this afternoon – the rest are in the Flickr Set.

    Dave's Creation in the Works

    What About Surrey?

    T-shirt Ideas

    Transit Art

    Homemade Cards and Buttons with a Message

    Dave's AWESOME Finished Piece

    View more in the Flickr Set.

    Christmas in Vancouver: The Vancouver Masters Synchro Movie Sunday

    December 8th, 2007 @ 8:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’m all about the fundraising here on Miss604, but ya know I’m also all about Ralphie. That’s right, little Ralphie from A Christmas Story who wants, “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and ‘this thing’ which tells time.”

    It’s the lovable cinematic Christmas classic that my husband and I quote in everyday life year round and it’ll be on the big screen this weekend along with It’s a Wonderful Life.

    The best part? Your movie ticket helps get the Vancouver Masters Synchro team to the World Masters Games in Perth, Australia AND the US Masters Nationals in Las Vegas, USA

    What: Double feature big screen showing of A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life
    When: Sunday Dec. 9, 2007. Doors open at 12:30; First movie starts at 1 pm with a 45 min. intermission
    Where: The Frederick Wood Theatre, UBC [Google Map]
    How much?: $10/person; or $25/family (up to two adults and two children)

    For more information check out the team’s blog (which is built on Drupal… nice!)

    Chad Nantais: Zero Ground

    December 7th, 2007 @ 11:03am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Last night John and I ventured over to Flux Bistro in Gastown for the Zero Ground album release party. Man, there’s nothing like hearing and experiencing live music.

    Chad Nantais composed the entire album on his computer some time ago and after some suggestions from colleagues, he decided to bring it out into the real world. With a six-piece band, he delivered four of Zero Ground’s original songs to a very captive and crowded house.

    Zero Ground is the soundtrack to a modern world where machines allow one person to re-create what was once accomplished by an entire band, and technology can create as emotional a connection as a human.

    The tunes are instrumental with jazzy, funky riffs flowing from more than just guitars, drums, and piano. Chad has a history as a DJ, spinning hip-hop and house music but also a closeness to Motown since growing up back East. All of these elements come into play and it was really interesting to see it all meld together after only ever sampling a few electronic tracks online.

    I must say though, after his “War Games” reference before launching into the tune “Shall We Play a Game” I was pretty sold. There are definitely great things in Chad’s future and we were pretty lucky to be a part of his exclusive premiere audience last night.

    You can sample Chad’s tunes on his website or MySpace, but the CD is available for purchase at Zulu and RedCat Records. It’s also up on iTunes and CDBaby for online orders that ship by mail. He’s also up on the Podsafe Music Network so this could be very useful for all you podcasters out there.

    Battle of the Sexes on 95 Crave

    December 7th, 2007 @ 9:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The other day Buzz asked if I would co-host the Battle of the Sexes portion of the 95 Crave morning show. This week he’s filling in for Nat & Drew and collected some local female friends to come up with the “women’s” questions for the game.

    The goal is to have the female host ask the male contestant questions usually females would know the answer to, and vice versa for the male host and female contestant.

    Click below to listen to the audio of this morning’s Battle of the Sexes:

    First of all, it was pretty neat to be included in this group of women (Meg did a great job of it earlier in the week). Second, coming up with questions wasn’t as easy as I had thought.

    I’m pretty glad that the female contestant got the questions right as I was telling Buzz I usually get the men’s questions before I get the women’s. In case you don’t listen to the audio above, Buzz asked the following to the female contestant:

  • Who was NOT a coach of the Vancouver Canucks? a) Pat Quinn b) Scottie Bowman c) Mike Keenan.
  • I asked the following, and it seems I’m getting some heat from Disney die-hards:

  • Which of these Disney characters was NOT a princess? a) Snow White b) Sleeping Beauty c) Belle.
  • The answer should be Belle, as a quick look in wikipedia to verify assures me that Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were both born to Queens however Belle was simply a merchant’s daughter. However, one cold argue that when Belle and Beast hooked up she became a Princess but… were there any vows exchanged? Hmm. Hey, I could have used my other question: “Ballet, Mule and Gore are all styles of what?”

    Regardless, it was a good time, thanks again Buzz! Watch for 95 Crave remotely broadcasting from your neck of the woods next week with Nat & Drew’s Food Bank Fill Up.