hittin the ice

November 23rd, 2006 @ 3:11pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This summer we enjoyed so many outdoor activities in Vancouver, that didn’t cost a thing except maybe bus fare if we wanted to venture a little further from home [miss604]. As the rain rolled in for fall and winter in the city, our beach time came to an end, walks are less frequent and we spend most of our free time watching hockey indoors.

Today, we discovered something (for under 10 dollars) that’s a GREAT way to spend a rainy day inside and get a workout. Ice skating [metblogs]

We’ve been meaning to go for a while and since I had the day off work and it was a Twonie skate at the West End Community Centre, we jumped at the chance. Lacing up the skates and getting out on the ice felt SO good. It took us a lap to get our skating legs into gear and we were off. 45 minutes later I was out of breath and just listening to the sounds around me. Ashlee Simpson on the loudspeaker, crunching snow and ice beneath the skates of school kids, tourists and old couples alike. Echos of young girls giggling when their friend would trip, the crunching of snow under the skates of the hockey star in the middle of the rink practicing his turns and stops. Man it felt good to get out there.

I was surprised that John did so well, although I shouldn’t be really. He comes from a climate where outdoor rinks would flourish in the winter time much more than they would here. He’s also got a lil hockey background. I felt empowered, being one of maybe two girls on the ice wearing “boy” skates although I think I lost my ability to hockey-stop. Regardless, we had such a wicked time.

On the way out of the rink, there was a display case mounted on the wall, just outside of the doors on Haro Street [view Flickr pics]. They were photos of Coal Harbour and the old Denman Arena. For those who don’t know – that’s the last place that the Canucks won the Stanley Cup in 1915 [read my metblogs post].

We’re set on going skating again, probably tomorrow. And I’m thinking of starting a new series of blog posts (since we’re kinda cheapskates) about things to do in Vancouver that are uber fun AND under 10 bucks. So let this be the first, and we’ll see how our season goes.

*View the YouTube video John took at the rink & my Flickr photo set.

The Vancouver Park Board Rinks: Britannia, Kerrisdale, Killarney, Kitsilano, Riley Park, Sunset, Trout Lake and West End Community Centres [VPB].

PDF schedule for all rinks in Vancouver.

spark a little snooping

November 22nd, 2006 @ 11:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

In October of 2000 I was working at a dotcom. It was me, 12 computers, 12 phones and a whole lot of conference call webcasting. It’s what eventually got me over to Boston a couple years later, and then back home a while after that. The way it all started, as some liked to say, was with shoelaces and bubble gum. The system was rickety, duct tape was often involved, and I would soon realize that the Burger King on Main Street, near 2nd didn’t serve breakfast at 4:45am, just dinner.

I got into the whole deal through some old friends that I’ve known since I was 8 years old. We kept in touch until my mid-teens then we didn’t see each other for a while. After couple years passed, one of them happened upon me online, recognizing my handle on Audiogalaxy (this was before the days of Napster and Kazaa). We then did a little catching up. They talked about this online broadcasting project that they’d just begun, I signed on and the rest is my geek history.

Currently, one of them is doing contract work over at Telus. John met me after work today and we Skytrained out to Joyce (since we’re cheap and only wanted to pay the 1 zone fare at the time) then walked over to ‘The Boot’ [GVRD].

‘The Boot’ is rather intimidating. Sitting atop the hill on the corner of Kingsway and Boundary is the multi-googo-mega Telus Corp. We went inside and got a tour of his new workspace – basically the encoding centre. Man, encoding centres have come a LONG way since my days of duct tape, Real Media editor and gentner switches.

I almost had to stop John from drooling over all the audio equipment (and the on-site fitness club), man we gotta get him a job soon.

From there we headed over to Lynn Valley to catch the game, since it was Pay Per View and the guys have the whole pre-paid package deal. Boy, it was well worth the money tonight… well okay the 3rd period was well worth it.

The following is a photo tour of our afternoon and of things I was comfortable snapping shots of in ‘The Boot’ before we vacated the premises.

We felt the love

Where some of the magic happens

“That’s not good enough! We want MORE asbestos! MORE asbestos!”


The escape route

Alternate escape route

The reward

The Crazy Canucks – Episode 8

November 20th, 2006 @ 10:33pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Everyone is back on the line for Episode 8. Talk of booze, fights on the ice, and JJ becoming our very own Canucks.com fan blogger all keep us chatting this week.

Although the water is still murky in Vancouver, the Canucks’ play has made everything a little brighter. After a dismal beating last week, our boys come back with two victories since the last episode.

Alanah is back online with the gang as we discuss our recent wins. J.J. recaps his experience at the game vs St Louis on Friday night and Dave gives us his perspective, after attending the Chicago match last night.

Record as of this podcast: 10-10-1 (3rd in the Northwest Division)

The quick little defenseman catching our attention, our fearless Captain almost getting a hat trick and Kesler’s right hook all lifted our spirits. With 3 more games this week, and no shortage of shots on goal, we know the Canucks have the potential to kick some serious butt.

Run Time: 26:20
The Crazy Canucks Podcast, Episode 8

Dictating Fonts

November 20th, 2006 @ 3:18pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

While looking over a new theme that we’ve been working on for a while, John and I got into a heated debate over fonts. Yes, our household is just THAT geeky.

I flashed a screenshot of the theme-in-progress to my co-worker, Chris who said there’s a part of it that reminds him of “that little tank game”, he then proceeded to demonstrate with his fingers, the movements of the tank and tag on some sound effects “eeeee oooooo crrhhgggglllhhhhhh!” I totally knew what he was talking about.tankwars.jpg

Way back when, my brother, sister and I used to have two games on our computer. One was with two gorillas on top of skyscrapers and you had to adjust velocity and angle, then toss a banana at the other person’s gorilla. Any banana that missed, left a crater and the cityscape would vanish around you, while battling. They also had a version of it on Intellivision [wiki]. Quality gaming, I know.

Another, was Tank Wars – the game Chris was getting at. All the computer-run tanks were named after dictators and warriors, Atilla, Musollini, Adolf, etc. To play a much-updated version of Tank Wars, visit a site that lives up to its reputation, AddictingGames.com.

Chris also says I should be a “Verdana sales rep” since I can sell anyone on it [previous post about fonts yes, I have a previous post about fonts].

Update: Found a forum post about the gorilla game, “Apes”. Someone actually re-created it, sweeeeet.


November 19th, 2006 @ 7:01pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Georgia street was closed for most of today because of the Santa Claus Parade. I headed out to start my shift at work and arrived about 45 minutes later. Normally, it takes about 10 minutes to get to work if I take a bus and 20 if I walk.

The #5 Robson bus is usually pretty efficient, but today it had to take many detours – it turned right on Thurlow and went all the way down to Beach Ave. Crossed over Burrard and turned left up Seymour where it met up with its proper route. 30 minutes later and I’m off the bus, wondering why the heck I didn’t just WALK.

Along Robson there were people handing out popcorn at the Bell store, Starbucks was handing out free samples of gingerbread lattes and every street was packed with either parade goers, shoppers, and football fans. Everyone who just wanted to get out on a sunny afternoon – knowing that the rains will come again.

trafficcams.jpgIt being Grey Cup Sunday, we take a slight pause from being Canuck fans and remember that we’ve also got a pretty kick ass football team around here. (See John’s CFL post if you are unfamiliar with our ‘Mutant Form of Football’). Being the heavy favourites and league dominators this year, our boys came out on top. Now it’s time to plan another parade route, which will cause another crazy day of traffic downtown.

The Canucks face off tonight in Pay Per View action vs Chicago. Even though Alex Burrows will probably be broken-hearted, with his Alouettes losing today, they should be able to steamroll over the hawks with some of that momentum from Friday night.

As for me? 4 more hours of work to go…

Clear Skies, Muddy Water

November 18th, 2006 @ 5:55pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This whole “don’t drink the water” thing is Metroblogging gold.

You still shouldn’t be brushing your teeth with the water or drinking it but seriously, you CAN wash your hands. We were out Friday night and 3 women in the ladies room with me got right out of the stall, headed to the paper towels and left. Um, I’d rather take my chances with the tap water + soap then uh… that. That’s just wrong [mbv].

This is something BIG happening to the city and even though it’s about a major public health risk, there’s so much to blog about. From news reports to peoples’ crazy behaviors. Maybe tomorrow we’ll be able to blog about the BC Lions winning the Grey Cup – but who cares about football anyway?

We’re doing okay here on day 3 without water, the dishes are stacking up [audihertz], we had to go grab some more bottled water but man the skies cleared today and the fresh air, sunshine and snowy mountain views just lifted our spirits. Even though I was out in New West serving tea on my only day off in two weeks, it was worth it.

We get to have a nice night at home tonight. We have beer in the fridge and leftovers from Flying Wedge. Mercy me that’s good pizza!

The Canucks won last night and even though I work from 3pm to 11pm tomorrow – hopefully I’ll still be able to catch the game on the radio. It’s another Pay Per View so I think John will be headed to our friends’ house in Lynn Valley for some munchies and male bonding.

I’m SO looking forward to this short week coming up – nothing to do except work for 3 days, plan a massive Thanksgiving dinner with my husband and hit the stores south of the border during some quality sister time with Jenny.

I started Christmas shopping already, got something for the in-laws and hopefully we’ll get a parcel down to the family soon. I can’t wait to have Christmas in Kansas City or Iowa, I’m sure John can’t either. Until then, we’ll enjoy the holidays up here with my family. My Oma’s health is failing lately, we have to get out and see her although I’m sure she’ll bounce back soon. She was all boisterous the other night watching the hockey game, “Oh those lousy Canucks!” She’s the Canucks’ number one 85 year old fan – it’s tough love, really.

The Crazy Canucks – Episode 7

November 17th, 2006 @ 8:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

With Canada’s largest ever boil-water warning in effect [gvrd], trees toppling down on to houses and power outages gallore, we braved the storm [mbv] in Vancouver while our Canucks did not-so-good on the ice this past week. We discuss it all on Episode 7 of The Crazy Canucks podcast.

Even though the last few games have all been losses, we still get together to record this episode because when it comes down to it, you can’t stop Canucks fan. Alanah was unable to join us on this episode due to technical problems, but the rest of the crew was here. We also experience some technical issues of our own during the podcast, but the cause was most likely due to an awful storm that hit Vancouver in the last 48 hours, leaving many without power and residents to boil their water until further notice.

Record as of this podcast: 8-10-1 (4th in the Northwest Division)

There’s only so much that you can say as to what’s going wrong with the team, but we all agree that the answer is simple: we need more scoring. Three games against Anaheim, Calgary, and Detroit all resulted in more numbers in the loss column, but there are always shades of positive points that keep things looking promising. We look at some slight changes to the roster, address stupid trade rumors, and do our duty of being faithful Canucks fans.

Run Time: 34:34
The Crazy Canucks Podcast, Episode 7

buses in the burbs

November 16th, 2006 @ 9:08am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Vancouverites complain about transit [mbv]. Bus drivers being rude, overcrowding, trolley buses falling off their overhead rails, and that ain’t the half of it. But when I think about taking the #5 (Robson) or #6 (Davie) downtown I think about how spoiled we are compared to every other transit-taker.

Recently, the federal government has dumped millions of dollars into Translink for security purposes [news1130] but how about just making sure that it’s an efficient, accessible system for all in the Lower Mainland?

busstop-paradigm4flickr.jpgFirst of all, I can walk everywhere downtown. I can walk to work or I can take a bus if I’m running late. We can walk to GM Place, to the store, to the beach or we can take a bus because, well they come every 5 minutes anyway. All those who do not have these options, have it the worst and most of them are out in the burbs.

I used to Skytrain to work every day. I knew that it would take exactly 47 minutes from the minute I stepped on the train at Gateway, to the time I walked out onto Granville street. Now, if anywhere in that equation I had to take a bus on the Surrey side, my travel time would vary from 1 hour to 90 minutes, who knows. My mother does a commute from Surrey Central to Burrard every single day. When she gets back to Surrey in the evenings buses are either non-existent, packed to the gills or 45 mins – an hour late. She lives about a 20 minute walk from the station but I don’t think anyone would want her to walk home, it’s not an option.

Buses in the burbs are scheduled between 10 & 90 minutes and that’s on a weekday. Don’t get me started on weekends. You have to precisely plan out your day or trip and just hope that the bus will actually show up. I’ve been waiting at a bus stop for 50 minutes, finally calling the transit information line and getting the “we can’t locate the driver” spiel. It’s happened several times before. Buses get caught in traffic, drivers go MIA and you just have to wait. Not everyone in the burbs owns a car. Seems like most people downtown can a) walk everywhere b) own a car or honkin’huge SUV c) can catch a bus every couple of minutes.

When we think about what kind of reforms we need on transit, how about making sure that the bulk of people traveling from the burbs, (Langley, Surrey, Burnaby, New West, Tri-Cities etc.) can get to work on time, get their kids from school, get groceries and be back home safe and sound.