Tag Archives: Vancouver 2010

Favourite posts of 2010

I thought I’d go through my year, and see my favourite posts from 2010. This is not a list of my favourite concerts, albums, etc, but rather my favourite posts.

Film

Food

  • POUTINE!
  • My first brunch experience at the Old Nick… I now go there weekly… at least.

Literature

  • A personal tale about knowing an author, Stacey Fowles, and then reading her novel. I would then embarrass myself by not recognizing her in a future meeting.
  • Reading about Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker.

Music

  • Questions about where the groove might actually be.
  • Dan Mangan performed at Trinity St. Paul’s.

Photography

  • This photo is my lock-screen photo on my iPhone.
  • Some of my best portrait shots are of Allegra.
  • I had fun taking photos of Natalia.
  • While the subject might not have been too fond of these pictures, I think they’re quite good. Sure, the subject is ugly1, but that doesn’t matter much.

Politics

Autre

Best insights into humanity, as written by me

  • “If you see a penis, it’s a comedy; if you see a vagina, it’s a drama. It explains why women laugh when I remove my pants.”
  • “Either I’m becoming a normal human being, or I have liver failure.”
  • “Her prose are compelling, straight to the point, and beautiful in their nude honesty.”4
  1. I know she’s not really ugly, but our friendship is based on mutual hatred. []
  2. Actually, I also proposed to Aviva. 2011 is sure going to be busy. []
  3. “Alone in a corner, surrounded by candy.” []
  4. Proud of that one, because of how true it is. []

Onward, Voyageur

I spent five days in Vancouver in July 2010, and picked up a handful of records, this is one of the many.

“Quicksand filled heart” are the opening lyrics to Onward, Voyageur’s self-titled debut record. If that was all I based the record on, I surely wouldn’t have bought it, but the fun pop music with a slight tinge of country makes it worthwhile. If they were a Toronto band, I’m certain they would be playing Rancho Relaxo monthly. They remind me somewhat of what The Cheap Speakers would be if they were fronted by a woman and with a bit less punch. Maybe it’s that Christine Choquette has a similar gruff to her vocals as does the Speakers’ Natalia. Or maybe it’s just not there, and I’m imagining it. Either way, I suggested that the promote for TWM at Rancho bring them to Ontario.

The vocals, both lead and harmony, are usually the draw to the record. But that’s not always the case, “The Leisurely Collapse” is definitely the loser of the record. The lead vocals on the track ruin it as she tries to put on a pseudo-country voice that doesn’t work.

“Eye To The Ground’s” jaunty guitar creates a fun atmosphere reminiscent of the ’90s east coast pop. “Hot Wheel”1 is a heavy rock-pop song which they pull off quite well, while still sounding like the band they are.

  1. I nearly typed Hot Burrito. []

Every Day And All At Once

I spent five days in Vancouver in July 2010, and picked up a handful of records, this is one of the many.

Jasper Sloan Yip’s debut record1 Every Day And All At Once is is foray into sugar-laced pop folk music. It starts off with the bouncy and fun “Kiddo” which sets a perfect tone for the entire record. With a nice mix of guitar and banjo, ukulele and violin, drums, bass and keyboard, Yip’s creates a nice playful sound that where all the instruments balance off one another without overpowering the others.

Yip’s style reminds me of a gentle Elvis Costello, and perhaps for a local Toronto appeal, a bit of Steve Singh.

“Key cuts” as we used to call them in the Being There days would be “Back and Forth and To and Fro,” “Kiddo,” “Shell,” and “Slowly.”

  1. Under his actual name, rather than The Blenheim Street Project []

Vancouver 2010

It’s Thursday morning, and I’m most likely asleep in recovery, reluctant to leave my bed. To most “Vancouver 2010” is a representation of the 2010 Winter Olympics which were held in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. To me, it represents Five Days In July in which I took in so much of this west coast beauty. Much like most of my posts, I’m writing this well in advance. I’m actually writing it so far in advance, that I’m still in Vancouver. It’s Sunday night, and I’ll be popping on an airplane in the next few hours to head back home to Toronto. I thought I’d fill you in on what I enjoyed while I was in this fair city.

Day one – My father picked me up super early in Toronto, and we headed out to Pearson. It was mundane and normal, and I waited and waited. Eventually I boarded a plane and eventually it took off. Once it took off, I read a book, and watched episodes of Peep Show. Hours later, I landed at YVR, I found my way to the Sky Train and took the Canada Line to the west end of downtown Vancouver.  There I tried to get into my room, but discovered that they didn’t love me enough to have my room ready for me. So I made my way out to a burger joint, ate a burger, gave iPhoto support to my sister, and headed out to a beach which may or may not be called First Beach. I read.

Eventually they let me in my hotel room, and I discovered that they upgraded me to a suite, which meant full kitchen and living room. Nice. Checked in, I unpacked, and eventually wandered around the city just looking.

Before I had left for Vancouver I asked my old high school friend Kelly for some advice. Seeing as she used to live in Vancouver when she attended SFU, and at the time, she too was a vegetarian1. The first thing she suggested to me was:

I was always a fan of The Templeton (1087 Granville Street) as it was the only place I knew of to get a vegetarian chili dog. Their grilled cheese was also super awesome:http://thetempleton.blogspot.com/

I made my way over there, and didn’t try either of Kelly’s suggestions, instead I tried their Macaroni and Cheese, and I must say it’s damn close to topping Cari’s. Definitely a place to check out when one’s in Vancouver. It’s a diner, don’t expect anything spectacular, but damn good food, and quite veggie friendly. However, Vancouver is a hippy town, so we all know that veggie-friendly is mandatory.

Day two – I started my day with a wander. I found myself at some shitty restaurant where I had hoped to find some breakfast. I found breakfast, but it was shitty. It was on Robson. I can’t remember the name, but then I wandered more on Robson. Went into the Shoppers, got some supplies2. I then continued walking through a street called Davie which reminded me of Church Street in Toronto, probably because they both host their city’s Gaybourhood. I saw some gays. After I got back to my hotel, I called a second Vancouverite named Kelly. This one is the sister of my ex-wife, not an old high school friend, and for the most part of this story will be the Kelly I refer to (the other one, we’ll call Kelly B., as she now lives in Toronto, and won’t play much of a role in this story).

Kelly and I went for a walk, we went along Denman to Robson, up Robson to Richards in search of Scratch Records which we couldn’t find. Eventually we found ourselves in Gas Town, which reminds me of a larger version of Toronto’s Distillery District, and then to Chinatown, which reminded me of a strange cross between San Francisco’s Chinatown and Spadina.

From there we took the Main Street bus until we got to Red Cat Records. I must give numerous thumbs up to this record store, it’s an absolute delight. Then we walked a bit up Main to Neptoon Records, where we were joined by Kelly’s fiancé and life-long boyfriend, Bryan. I must say I was thoroughly disappointed by Neptoon records, reminded me of Vortex, but less awesome.

From there we went to The Foundation, which I later discovered Kelly B. had also included in her suggestions:

Foundation (2301 Main) wasn’t bad, if you can take your vegan food with a hefty dose of self righteousness.

I didn’t find any self-righteousness, but I did find a tasty plate of nachos which three of us could not finish. I also downed a few hundred glasses of water, but you can thank the blazing heat for that.

I must note that for most of my vacation it was stupid-hot in Vancouver, but it was still 5-10 degrees cooler than Toronto. I laughed at all the people I heard complaining about the heat. These coastal kids know nothing about heat. From there, we made plans to climb Grouse Mountain on Saturday, and I would spend Friday on my own.

Kelly and I left Bryan and headed to Granville Island where we found the “100” pictured above.

Then we went to see Jasper Sloan Yip, who’s show I wrote about in a previous post, and who’s album I will write about shortly. His set was fabulous.

Day three: Goodbye feet – I went to Stanley Park, I decided to walk the 9 km around the entire park. I was most interested in the beaches. I went to Second Beach, and read. Then I got up and walked to Third Beach, as I was walking along the sea wall, I saw this beautiful site, but I wanted to capture it with my camera, and so I didn’t want the foreground of the photo to be the sea floor (the tide was out), so I went down the stairs, and started walking on the wet seaweed covered rocks. I only brought one pair of shoes, and Converse are not the greatest traction. They weren’t doing too well on the slimey rocks. The genius that I am, I decided that the better bet would be to take off my shoes and socks. I do that, walk to the water, take some photos, and start walking towards Third Beach. As I’m walking, I slip, my feet falls between some rocks, and it hurts. I pull them out, get to the beach, look at a pretty girl who was sunbathing topless, and put my feet in the slightly cold water to numb the pain. Then I sit down on the beach, and start reading. Then I notice that there’s blood on the sand. I put two and two together, and realize that open wound and sand are not a good combination. I walk to the lifeguard, tell him of my situation, he sends me to the station, where I wash my foot, they disinfect it, and give me some bandaids. HOORAY! I read. I then hobble some more around Stanley Park.

Was it worth it for this photo? Probably not, but you be the judge.

Food… what did I eat that day? I don’t recall, I don’t believe it was that thrilling then. Maybe it was the mediocre Indian buffet I found on Davie.

I did, however, tell Kelly and Bryan that I couldn’t join them Grouse on Saturday because of my feet, so we postponed it to Sunday.

Day four: Goodbye legs and back – I spent a vast majority of this day on a beach. I just sat and read, but I did a lot of walking, which adding to the already insane amount of walking I had done finished my legs. They were wobbling to support me. During my reading, I also was out in the sun, and so I got tanned, in many places; one place, however, got burned. That would be my back. OWE.

Then I met up with Kelly and Bryan at Zulu Records. Remember when I gave Red Cat numerous thumbs up? Add a couple dozen for Zulu. Zulu has the attitude of Soundscapes, the cool factor of Criminal, with the selection of Sonic Boom. A wonderful combination. I bought records, including a used copy of a Mark Berube record for Kelly & Bryan, as I assume Kelly will at least like it.

We were then also joined by Nathan, a nice bloke who’s friends with Kelly & Bryan. We went to a mexican place called las Margaritas where I enjoyed a tasty burrito and margarita.

From there we decided to stand at a corner waiting for a half hour for a bus to arrive, or until a cab came for us to flag. Neither of those two options happened, and so after so many futile attempts, we walked the two blocks to the cab dispatch where we found a parked taxi and offered him money for a ride to a Vampire Bar3. We drank. Mmm, beer. Both the beers we had were local B.C. beers, but neither of them floated my boat. We played with fire, mostly from a matchbook which Kelly gave me. The book was from The ANZA Club4, and my plan is to leave it at The TRANZAC when I’m next there.

Bryan, Kelly, and Nathan went to the Anza, and I went to bed.

Day five: The Grind – I went up Grouse Mountain, and to get there, rather than taking the lift, I moronically chose to do the Grouse Grind, a trail 2.9 km long which rises 853 metres. After all my injuries, was I bloody insane? Bryan seemed to power up the entire trail, I couldn’t believe it, but good on him. Kelly was doing well, but staying back to keep me company. I could barely move. It took me over three hours, and fifteen heart attacks to make my way to the top. I eventually did. Then I took the Skyride down.

From there, my reaction was BACK TO HOTEL! SLEEP! So I went to the hotel, swam and hot tubbed, to heal my aching body. Then I went out to Mr. Kumpir on Bryan’s suggestion. What is it? Well, it’s this Turkish franchise with giant baked potatoes, and they cover it in butter and cheese, and then you choose three toppings to add to it for five dollars. I chose mushrooms, jalapeños, and vegetarian gravy. OMG! SO GOOD!

Day six: Farewell – Now on Tuesday, as this has passed, I can actually write about the farewell. It wasn’t exciting. I walked along Denman in the morning to find breakfast, I didn’t find anything that floated my boat, so I made my way over to the Timmy’s where I had a bagel. Mmm, mediocre food. Then I packed. Then I went to the airport and eventually flew to Toronto. From there I got a ride with Mommy & Daddy to the Danforth. HOME! KITTIES! BED! STRANGE POSTCARD FROM WOODY!

  1. What kind of loser stops being a vegetarian? []
  2. I had a headache, I bought a small bottle of advil. []
  3. As Kelly liked to refer to it. []
  4. Australia New Zealand Association. []

Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker

[The Liberals]1 bit the dust because they treated Parliament with contempt.2

BT Richardson’s Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker is a book which isn’t so much about the then-Prime Minister, but is more about Canada in 1962. I thought it was really ambitious to write a biography of a sitting Prime Minister, but I was mistaken, Richardson wasn’t talking about Diefenbaker’s childhood and early years, he was talking about Canada. Even in the few chapters that did discuss Diefenbaker was more interested in painting the picture of a family living in rural Ontario3 and moving out to Saskatchewan to start a new life with free land and the great opportunities of this new western expansion. The specifics of Dief and his parents is barely touched upon, thus creating a classic Canadian story which could be related to by most 1960s Canadians. Instead of Diefenbaker as a person, Richardson discusses Canada’s place in North America, the Commonwealth, bank policies, the downside of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Lester B. Pearson4,

Richardson talks at length about James Coyne, who was at one time Governor of the Bank of Canada. His policies were at odds with the Tory government. Thusly, six months before his contract expired, Diefenbaker’s government passed a bill through the Lower House which would relieve Coyne of his job. It was vetoed by the Liberal-held Senate. His statements on the Senate seem to frame Canada in this frozen political landscape.

The Senate’s rarely used power of veto has never been accepted by the Canadian voters as a true curb on representative government. On the other hand, it has never been repudiated by the voters, either. The Coyne affair brought closer the day of Senate reform, which has never quite materialized.

The Canadian Senate has one hundred and two members5, when it has no vacancies, and its working force is only a fraction of that number.

And it doesn’t stop there. Richardson’s descriptive of his pre-centenial Canada’s issues seems to mirror many of the 21st-century Canada’s issues, but there are two distinct differences between between modern Canada and that of Diefenbaker’s Canada. We read about the Progressive Conservative party which Diefenbaker was the leader of, and we cannot help but see more similarities between that party and the Liberal Party than we can see between the PCs and the Harper led Conservative Party of Canada. Diefenbaker came out of rural Saskatchewan, and fought to make the PCs a viable party in a land dominated by the Social Credit party and Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (who would later become the NDP). Yes, western Canada was once dominated by the left-wing values of the NDP.

Finally, the other major difference is the Canada that Richardson knows is a Canada of pioneers who came from the United Kingdom and France. They colonized the lands we know now. The Canada I know is a land of immigrants. Canada has seen so many immigrants come into our nation that it is no longer English and French, it’s now every ethnicity known to man.

Another worry that Richardson was that Canada was slowly getting more and more confident and less and less of an inferiority complex, I’m not sure why he saw it leaving, but he predicuted that “the risk that Canadians now run is that they will present to the world the image of materialistic, loud mouthed people with pockets stuffed with money.” Something that only recently happened for the first time, and that was during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.6

I’m finally going to end with a quote of former foreign minister Sidney Smith’s which was quoted in the book. He was discussing Canadian and American cooperation, and these are words that I wish George W. Bush had taken to heart.

True Friendship cannot be wrecked by honest frankness.

  1. Specifically Louis St. Laurent. []
  2. The Liberals lost the 1957 election, but had been in power since Mackenzie King’s regained power in 1935. For those bad at math, that’s 22 years. []
  3. William Diefenbaker actually lived in Todmorden, which is a few metres from my Toronto house. []
  4. Something I hope he regretted when Pearson proved himself to be one of the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers. []
  5. One hundred and five today. []
  6. Can you blame us? We won the Olympics! []

Jasper Sloan Yip

I spent most of today wandering around Vancouver with my sister, or my sister-in-law, maybe my ex-sister-in-law, my Kelly. We had fun, as it had been a long time since I last saw her. We visited Gas Town, China Town1, Red Cat Records, was joined by Bryan2 for nachos3, and then finally we headed over to Granville Island4 to see a handful of bands, mostly Jasper Sloan Yip.

It was about a month or so ago when I first heard of Mr. Yip’s songs. I really liked the two or three I had come across and wanted to hear more. The next day at work, one of my coworkers asked me, “You know when you hear and song and really like it, but don’t want to like it because the band has the stupidest name ever?” I replied yes, and asked which band she was referring to. It was Jasper Sloan Yip. I then did a bit of quick research to double check and found that I was right, and Jasper Sloan Yip is not a band, but instead a person. She then concluded that it would be acceptable. She was right, because he’s quite a good songwriter, we can’t blame him for the mistakes of his parents.

Yip write pretty pop songs which are worth checking out. During his set, he also played Wilco’s brilliant song “Jesus, etc.” Though he was faced with numerous technical problems, mostly a lot of feedback, his songs shone through and made for a great night of music.

The other two bands I saw were okay. The River King wasn’t anything to write home about, I was bored through much of their set, and mostly was thinking about the visual of the band5 and thinking that there was no better definition of a hipster.

The headliners Closing Iris were quite good. I was enjoying what they had to offer, but it was 3am in Toronto, and I had just spent hours on end walking.

I took photos, those won’t be posted, or even processed until I’m back in beautiful, smog-filled Toronto.

  1. Which reminded me of Spadina. []
  2. Her fiancé. []
  3. Really, really good nachos. []
  4. Which isn’t really an island. []
  5. Hey! I’m a photographer! []

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman

Judging by the time, I’m going to guess that I’m somewhere over Saskatchewan12, and so far I’ve read more than half of Sarah Silverman’s debut book The Bedwetter. Last night3, I took a walk along the Danforth in Toronto to visit the bank, and on my way back, I popped into Book City.

I had two books to take with me on my trip, and though my trip is only five days, I tend to pound through the reading while on vacation, and if I’m going to attempt to visit a beach, I’ll need to find a way to not get bored, because beaches are boring. So here, I sit, laptop on tray, with a Canadian in hand4, pondering the meaning of Sarah Silverman’s book.

For those uninitiated, Sarah Silverman is a Jew. Oh, and she’s also a comedian, but do you really need to add that? Jew and comedian are practically synonyms, just look at me, and my hilarious Jew-ways. Silverman is the front-woman of her hilariously outrageous show The Sarah Silverman Program, and created the outstanding DVD of her standup Jesus is Magic.

The book is an autobiography, and though there don’t seem to be any major life altering events, it’s still an interesting read. Silverman’s humour shines through. It perfectly excels at what it aims to be, bathroom reading to make you laugh. The only difference being that I read it on an airplane rather than on the crapper.

OH! I think we’re over Alberta now, I see mountains.

That was a fun trip. I took the SkyTrain into the city, and my god, the TTC could learn a thing or two from Vancouver. Then I took a short bus5 around to the area where my hotel was. I was slightly confused by the walk, but it was cool. The hotel wasn’t ready for me yet, so I had to wait, I stowed my bag and headed to the beach!

So, here’s the thing about Vancouver’s beach versus Toronto’s beach. It’s a real beach. Theirs is on a bloody ocean, ours is on a lake, sure it’s a GREAT lake, but it’s a lake. It also kinda smells6.

While I was on the beach, I continued reading, and even finished the book. Hooray! The book continues and gets more into her career than into just her early life. It’s really more of the same, however what I really liked was the chapter about her being a Jew. Did you know she’s a Jew?

  1. Send someone to fetch us, we’re in Saskatchewan.” – Kermit The Frog & Fozzie Bear []
  2. Yup, it looks flat and boring out there. []
  3. Well, two nights ago, if you’re reading this when it’s posted and not when I wrote it. []
  4. Mmm, mediocre lager. []
  5. Not a school bus, but the buses we in Toronto use for Wheel-Trans. Weird. []
  6. Lake Ontario, not the Pacific Ocean []

Linky Link

  • Above, NPR inverview Stephin Merritt & Claudia Gonson.
  • Carrie Brownstein, will you marry me? Okay, we’ve never met, and it would be slightly awkward that my best friend has the same first name as me, and his wife has the same first name as you, but does that really matter? Your love of The Magnetic Fields is enough for me. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, your amazingness as part of Sleater-Kinney doesn’t hurt.
  • With a Gold in hand for Canada, 3000km away in the country’s largest city (and my city), the CN Tower goes gold.
  • Mechanical Forest Sound posts a new Gentleman Reg song. Thanks Joe!
  • Apparently Canadians handle their sticks with their left hands. Though I’ve never played hockey, I do hold a golf club and baseball bat left handed. (Yoinked from TIMMMMAAAAY)
  • A video illustrating Microsoft’s creative process. Best comment, “I will never think about MS Paint the same way.”
  • Who has a few million to spare? (via the article’s author… HI KATE!)