Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama appears in Canada

Today I saw Obama bumper stickers on this Vancouver vehicle:

I was reminded of the Obama '08 booth I recently saw at the Davie Day street festival (0:44 in).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smooching in the streets

Today at noon a small crowd gathered at the intersection of Robson & Hornby to stop traffic and celebrate National Digital Media Day 2008 with a "flash mob" kiss-in:

"High tech = high touch" says JennyO from Elastic Entertainment, featured on today's front page of 24hrs.

My favorite scene is 0:12 - 0:16 in the video:
"Who's taking photos?"
"I'm taking pictures!"
How cute, and how thoroughly fitting for NDMD08 !

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

12pm city pic: Winter Premonition

I had a dream, and in my dream, Vancouver looked like this in December...

...Actually, I found this picture on the memory card of a busted digital camera I scavenged from the "free" box at a garage sale during my recent trip to Bowen Island.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pics or it didn't happen

Last week, one of my 12pm city pics was the Blood Alley street sign in Gastown, (not the photo above) with my comment "This is a street that obviously has some history behind it".

However, reader Chris pointed out:
There actually is no history at all to Blood Alley. It was just a name given to it in the 70's to make it appear that it had some kind of a history...
Indeed he's correct. When I googled "vancouver blood alley", result number three yielded an interesting, informative article at bearing out exactly what Chris says:
What makes Blood Alley famous is not it's aesthetic appeal, but that it is home to perhaps the largest amount of rumours, myths, tall tales, and outright fabrications in Vancouver history.
That certainly makes sense. But wait! Another reader commented:
There actually is history behind blood alley. This is where out of town farmers used to take their livestock to be slaughtered over 100 years ago.
This jives with google search result number six,
According to stories Blood Alley was the location for a number of butcher shops. At the end of each day they would be rinsed out resulting in the inevitable blood in the street. As if that was not enough they used to hold public executions in blood alley square.
What do you think - tourist trap malarky or genuine historical Gastown landmark? Or is it maybe - borrowing from Chinatown - a little from column A and a little from column B?

12pm city pic: Foaming action

Someone put a lot of soap in the Art Gallery fountain this morning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

12pm city pic: Bumper sticker goddess

Click to enlarge, of course - my favorite one is the music teacher.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bowen Island Boat Trip

Highlights from my trip to Bowen Island, part 1: Getting There

Friday, September 12, 2008

A peaceful US consulate, not so much...

I saw and heard this outside the United States Consulate at 1075 Pender street in Vancouver today:

"Today is a special day. We are marking the tenth anniversary of their illegal incarceration," said Noah Fine, protest organizer and head of the Free the Cuban Five Committee Vancouver. "Our demand is freedom for the Five immediately."

The U.S. consulate declined to comment, as seen in my video...

12pm city pic: Splicing things up

City engineers employ an optical fiber line splicer on the new east-west fiber highway running underneath the downtown core:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

12pm city pic: Expensive cab ride

"From New York to Vancouver? That'll be $12,000 plus tip..."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Retro Rider

Remember those early Penny Farthing bikes with a giant front wheel? It seems they're still around today, and fun as ever to ride:

12pm city pic: End of the line

The track terminus at Port of Vancouver with the Seabus walkway overhead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

12pm city pic: There will be blood?

This is a street that obviously has some history behind it:

Monday, September 8, 2008

12pm city pic: Cleaning the clock

The company doing the work said this latest clock vandalism incident cost several thousand dollars to repair.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soapbox Central

Wow, what a crowded event! Red Bull cans on sale for $2.50 seemed a little high to me, considering the promotional nature of the event. Instead I opted for chocolate milk.

Ensure High Quality video: during playback, HQ button in video player should be RED. If not, click it.

Direct link to this post is located here

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Davie Day Gravy

Here's the best of what I saw and heard at today's Davie Day street festival:

Basketball Jones was so entertaining, I just had include his show highlights. Here he is flipping a hat from his foot onto his head while balancing two spinning basketballs on his fingertips:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Just a trim here and there please

This car owner snipped the excess metal from his front license plate, leaving only the bare basics:

Obviously there's a fuel savings by removing excess weight. Perhaps it also reduces the return signal from a radar gun? Or foils the new automatic license-plate scanners being used by the RCMP and other police departments, to which some object?

Maybe the car owner prefers to drive around without displaying a government slogan on his car. If he is ever ticketed, it would make for an interesting court case: can the provincial government require citizens to display government slogans on their vehicles?

As it stands, most people don't object to driving around with "Beautiful British Columbia" stamped into their license plates. But what if the slogan was changed to "The Best Place on Earth"?

This is why we can't have nice things

Today I learned that elsewhere in the world, they have free book exchanges in outdoor public parks:

photo: Daniel Hamermesh

What a great concept. It would be nice have that here too, but unfortunately our city's not ready for it yet. Aside from a few esoteric or academic zones, I don't think an unattended bookshelf full of books would survive one day in Vancouver. The free books would become a panhandling industry, and the bookshelf itself would be stripped by metal thieves.

12pm city pic: Another good sign

Thursday, September 4, 2008

12pm city pic: Run for it!

photo: Mark Williams

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Saw, the movie

One of the loudest tools used in city engineering is this pavement chainsaw:

"Of course it's loud!" my friend affirmed at the top of his voice. "It's made to cut through concrete!"

However, one day in the future, I imagine a law requiring tools like this to operate at lower volume. If Europe can do it, so can we. Making urban tools and machines less noisy would improve everyone's quality of life.

12pm city pic: Keep on Trekkin'