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Friday Morning Link Fest: Power Blogging Edition

June 27th, 2008 @ 9:48am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Yes, that’s me on the cover of the 24 Hours, “right above the shirtless man with a hose,” as my husband stated.

Blogathon 2008

Even though Blogathon 2008 will not officially be happening, the good folks at Day of Blogs have picked up the reigns and I have decided to spearhead the Vancouver effort. If you are a blogger interested in writing for 24 hours straight for a good cause, please sign up on the wiki. On July 26 keep your eyes on the internets for some entertaining content from a bunch of great causes (mine will be announced soon). Feel free to contact me for more information or questions about donating.

Coming up July 16th we have WordCamp Fraser Valley, which will feature several speakers (myself included) with topics ranging from community blogging, switching platforms, and code.

Raul Pacheco – I Switched to WordPress, and So Can You!
Kerry Sauriol
– Building a Community Blog the Simple WordPress Way.
Kulpreet Singh – Secure your WordPress Blog from Hackers.
Rebecca Bollwitt – Custom Page and Sidebar Templates for WordPress.
John Chow – Evil Ways to Increase Traffic to your Blog.

Now for some quick links from this morning’s headlines:

  • Rogers iPhone Data Plans = Epic FAIL or see also…
  • Rogers iPhone 3G Pricing: Lube Not Included
  • Life-size statue stolen from Vancouver park
  • Zipline course opens tomorrow on Grouse Mountain
  • Unique Video Training with Special Guest GaryV (I had the chance to attend this weekend in Seattle but it’s my nephew’s 4th birthday… and he’s a little more special to me :-P)
  • Finally, it’s not often enough we get to take time for ourselves. I’ve been told by several people lately that I need to take more “me” time especially when I get a wicked cold like the one I’m currently battling. As a result I’m going to fully enjoy the sunny weekend outdoors and spend time with family (getting in some quality Surrey time) – have a great weekend everyone!

    Matthew Good at the Orpheum Tonight

    June 26th, 2008 @ 4:02pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Tonight there is a pre-show meetup at the Kingston (everyone is invited) then it’s off to the Orpheum to see Matthew Good play a hometown gig. He’s never played the Orpheum before so he said it will be a pretty special event. Although I have written about the venue before, I haven’t been there since I saw Les Miserables and before that it was for my graduation commencement ceremony for high school in 1998.

    Matt Good's Acoustic Show in his Home

    It should be a really great show and I’m just as excited to see him play the venue as he is to perform for Metro Vancouver. I’ve seen him play at The Vogue, The Pacific Coliseum, SFU, SE False Creek, Commodore, The Centre, twice in a living room, and twice in studio. True, over the last year we’ve spent more time with his boys Benji and Casey than we have hanging out with him (you know cause of that whole tour thing) but nevertheless we still consider Matt a good friend and wish him a great show.

    You can still scoop up single tickets for tonight, the concert starts at 7:30pm.

    Update: Duane took some great photos of the show, here are a few that can be found on his Flickr.

    Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

    Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

    Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

    Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

    It was also great to see so many people out at the pre-show meetup, including familiar faces like Amy and Kim, Phaedra, Dan, Jennifer, and Ariane and Scott afterward.

    Blogathon Vancouver 2008

    June 25th, 2008 @ 1:27pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It’s official, there will be a Blogathon in Vancouver this year (and by official, I mean that I created a wiki page with useful information and a sign up sheet).

    Based on the Blogathon of the past, which is not in operation this year, bloggers are encouraged to sign up, pick a non-profit of choice, collect pledges (which can be a flat donation, or a certain amount for every hour the blogger manages to stay awake), and blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight. No excessive post-dating entries, no making money (except for the charity) just purely and simply donating 24 hours of your time for a cause in hopes that your readers will pledge to keep you going.

    Last year my amazing readers raised over $400 for the Surrey Food Bank. I’m hoping to shatter that record this year… [Read my 2007 Blogathon Posts]

    I put the call out earlier this month and the response was quite positive so I have setup the wiki and we’re all systems GO for the weekend of July 26-27.

  • Sunshine Shift: 7/26/08 0500 GMT
    (10:00pm PT Friday until 10:00pm PT Saturday)
  • Swing Shift: 7/26/08 1200 GMT
    (5:00am PT Saturday until 5:00am PT Sunday)
  • Moonlight Shift: 7/27/08 0400 GMT
    (9:00pm PT Saturday until 9:00pm PT Sunday)
  • The wiki is there to get an idea of how many people are interested, and it’s also one big link-love blogroll. If you are not in Vancouver, you can still sign up and participate – this is simply the Vancouver initiative for the Day of Blogs a spin off of the original Blogathon which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities all across North America.

    I encourage all bloggers to save the date and make this effort to make a difference, especially at a time of year when charitable donations are at their lowest. You’ll have a support system of everyone else who is participating, lots of link love and many warm fuzzies.

    Sign up here

    Save the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park

    June 25th, 2008 @ 10:38am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    A few months ago the Park Board met to discuss the fate of the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park as it began to lean – becoming a safety hazard for visitors to its site. The results of this meeting in March had the Park Board come to the conclusion that there were only two options, the first would be to build a quarter-million dollar cage around the tree to prop it up, and the second would be to knock it down.

    Leaning Hollow Tree

    I had a poll on my blog regarding the 40ft tall red cedar and many were in favour of whatever was most natural given the options at the time.

    On Monday I picked up the Georgia Straight and found a small blurb about a group from SaveTheHollowTree.com who believed that the Park Board did not explore every possible solution. They brought in experts, arborists, consultants, engineers and produced an extensive report as they were unsure the Park Board considered every option possible when they came to their conclusion.

    Photo: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr

    The Hollow Tree is listed on the Vancouver Heritage Registry (like those plaques you can spot on the side of old building downtown). This is not just a tree but actually a protected piece of nature and as such for any significant changes a meeting must be held with the Heritage Committee. The goal of the report would be to find an option that best preserves the historic value of the tree as this step was overlooked by the Park Board.

    A report was presented to the Park Board on June 9th which contained a safe, upright, and practically invisible way to keep the Hollow Tree in its place using some degree of reinforcement – something that would be far more secure and pleasing to the eye than the current Frankenstein-like mess supporting it right now. They even looked into moving it if they no longer wants it in Stanley Park however, the report was ultimately shot down.

    Yesterday I had the chance to speak with Lorne Whitehead, Leader of Education Innovation at the University of British Columbia. Lorne, who helped coordinate the team of experts for the report, gave me background on the tree, and the Park Board meetings. “We don’t see a reason not to keep it up,” he said. The report shows that it can remain as-is safely, while being cost-effective, and so that we can all continue to marvel at this wonder of nature.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    Lorne said the form of support right now would be to visit the website and read up on the matter (and download the report in PDF). There’s no way to tell the next time this will come up on the Park Board meeting agenda but from independent surveys and public interest, it seems most cherish its heritage value and natural majesty and believe the Hollow Tree should not be tossed into the chipper.

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

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    Update: The UBC Botanical Gardens put an offer into the Park Board to take the tree and display it upright. The Park Board (or members at least since I don’t believe there was a meeting) rejected the offer this afternoon and would still like to keep it in the park in “one or two pieces” to use for ecological and educational purposes (Report from the CBC)

    Metro Vancouver Outdoor Concerts Summer 2008

    June 24th, 2008 @ 12:30pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Traditionally attending an outdoor concert in Vancouver means packing a garbage bag just in case you need to turn in into an emergency rain poncho. Hopefully this summer will be a bright one as there are so many outdoor events lined up, I’m not even sure I’ll get them all in this post but I’ll try.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival
    Location: Outdoor venues include Gastown at the Steam Clock, Granville Island Market Stage, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge
    When: June 20 – June 29
    Artists: Too many to list, check the website for more details

    Stanley Park
    Location: Malkin Bowl
    When: August 24 – Sept 18
    Artists: Blue Rodeo, Neko Case, Destroyer, Andrew Bird, Deehoof, Evaporators, The New Pornographers, Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian, The 1900’s, Visqueen (as a part of the Stanley Park Singing Exhibition), and The Raconteurs

    Location: Deer Lake Park
    What: 9th Annual Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival
    When: August 10 from 2:00pm – 10:00pm
    Artists: Colin James and many more – details are available on the festival’s website.

    When: August 5
    Artists: Feist with The Weakerthans

    Haywood Bandshell
    Location: Beach Ave @ Bidwell
    When: June 1 to July 31
    Artists: Dave Davies Trio, Urbana, Little Mountain Brass Band, Celtic Harp Choir, The Creole Jazz Band, Just Jazz Trio, Vancouver Thunderbird Barbershop Chorus, The Randy Bluegrass Boys, Rainbow Concert Band, Warren Nipp, The Tunemakers
    More information can be found on the official schedule

    Yaletown Concert Series
    Location: 1000 block of Mainland Street
    When: June 27 to August 15 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
    Artists:Dj Johnny D’erico and other live music and DJs

    15th Annual Enchanted Evenings Concert Series
    Location: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – 578 Carrall Street
    When: Jul 11, 2008 to Sept 05 from 7:30pm – 8:30pm
    Artists: Various

    Surrey Fusion Festival
    Location: Holland Park
    When: July 18 to July 20
    Artists: Jully Black and many more, information is available on my blog post and the official site

    Canada Day Special July 1
    Location: Cloverdale (Surrey)
    Artists: Loverboy, Payola$, Rymes with Orange – read more in my blog post or on the official site.

    Location: Canada Place, Vancouver
    Artists: 54-40 and many more

    Location: Waterfront Park, North Vancouver
    Artists: Pipe bands, dancers, and more

    Location: Steveston (Richmond)
    Artists: Choirs, dancers, singers and various others

    This post will be updated throughout the summer and I’ll pop it on the sidebar for easy reference.

    Firefox 3 Themes

    June 24th, 2008 @ 9:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’ve been using Firefox for about four years and they recently unleashed Firefox 3 which touts: Increased security, wicked-fast loading times, heightened security, and new UI improvements, including default themes for different operating systems and new download manager [wiki] not to mention basics like tabbed browsing and spell-checker.

    I’m a fan of “add-ons” like the del.icio.us toolbar and Firebug, and I use to be all over themes although not since my days of being a Windows user have I truly tricked out any application or got a new skin for Winamp. Now it feels as awkward as peeling the backing and placing that first sticker on your pristine Macbook – some say it enhances while other say it’s simply ruined now. However, what I’m hearing lately is that the themes for Firefox 3 are pretty freakin’ cool, so I’m willing to try out a couple.

    – There’s one that makes it look like you’re running Vista (if you’re on XP), and another that simulates XP (if you’re on Vista). These are also available on Kubuntu Linux.

    – There’s also an XP on Vista with a green theme.

    Andy wrote about some sleek Mac-styled themes for FF3

    Pimpzilla (themed for my pleasure) is hilariously fun – and note the leopard print.

    - CrystalFox Qute 1.0.3 is decent, although I like CrystalFox Modern a little more.

    – From the Top Ten Firefox 3 Themes, there’s also the nicely rounded AzertyIII.

    You can search for themes directly on the Firefox website and chose the advanced search properties to narrow down the results based on the version you are running.

    Things to remember when looking for a theme a) is it available for the current version of the browser you are running b) is it available for MacOSX (which pertains to me anyway). If you have a favourite theme for FF3, drop a link in the comments below.

    Update: Another form of customization is to change around the toolbars, giving you more browsing space. I found these tips on LifeHacker via Sameer Vasta over Twitter.

    Beer in Vancouver and the Canada Cup of Beer

    June 24th, 2008 @ 6:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’m always a huge fan of roadtrips that have a theme. It’s a secret desire of mine to drive across North America finding the “biggest” things ie. biggest easter egg in Vegreville, Alberta or the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota. A while back Metroblogging authors from DC did a Brewpub Tour of Vancouver:

    My first taste of Rickard's White

  • VBC Brewpub Tour – Granville Island Brewing
  • VBC Brewpub Tour – Dockside Brewing
  • VBC Brewpub Tour – Yaletown Brewing
  • VBC Brewpub Tour – Steamworks Brewing
  • VBC Brewpub Tour – Dix Brewing
  • It wasn’t until I saw these posts that I realized how much beer there really is flowing out of and brewing in Vancouver which leads into its (fitting) role as the host of the 2008 Canada Cup of Beer.

    To be a truly national competition we have invited brewers and beer importers from across Canada to the festival. A select panel of beer experts (you, the event patrons!) will judge beer in various categories and award prizes for a variety of beer styles, flavours and packaging. The awards won’t stop at just the beer, the Canada Cup of Beer will include marketing categories for t-shirts, and beer names.

    The event takes place at UBC Thunderbird Stadium on July 5th (B-Day aka Beer Day) from 1:00pm – 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) which include 5 sample tokens (1 token equals 1, 4-ounce sample, some specialty items are 2 tokens or available in 2-ounce pours). More info can be found on the official B-Day website.

    Summer Vancouver Charity Event Roundup

    June 23rd, 2008 @ 9:20pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    There is so much going on in Metro Vancouver this summer I thought it would be key to note those that were in support of causes around the region.

    Photo credit: Sokazo on Flickr

    Spirit of Stanley Park
    Last weekend of June, 2008
    Entrance to Stanley Park @ English Bay
    [More Info]

    No Pants Party for the Underwear Affair
    Thursday, June 26, 2008 9:00 pm – 2:00 am
    Cellar Nightclub Vancouver BC, 1006 Granville Street
    [More Info]

    Run for Canada
    July 1, 2008 8:00am (Registration begins at 6:30am)
    West Cordova St. & Bute St
    [More Info]

    Slice of Summer: A Summer Extravaganza (Killarney Youth Council)
    July 5, 2008 1:00pm – 5:00 pm
    6260 Killarney Street, Vancouver
    [More Info]

    ALS Adventure Challenge
    Saturday, July 19, 2008 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Panorama Park, North Vancouver
    [More Info]

    Rona MS Bike Tour
    Sunday, August 10, 2008
    Creekside Park, Science World
    [More Info]

    BCSPCA Paws for a Cause
    Sunday, September 14, 2008 10:00am
    Various Sites
    [More Info]

    Annual Terry Fox Run
    Sunday, September 14, 2008
    Various Run Sites
    [More Info]

    Walk for Mercy
    Saturday, September 20, 2008 10:00am-1:00pm (Registration begins at 9:00am)
    Stanley Park @ Second Beach
    [More Info]

    If you know of a non-profit event that is not included (or if you have more information about any of the events) please feel free to contact me regarding promotion and blog post coverage.