Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Vancouver Olympics – Day 4

Well last night sure sucked. I had heartburn and couldn’t sleep. So much for tacos. I dozed through the Colbert taping (which I’d been hoping to see) and I didn’t leave the apartment until 11:30 am.

I want to see the Saskatchewan Pavilion at some point, but right now I’m off to stand in the line for the Olympic Superstore to get a jacket for Mr. A. On second thought maybe I’ll wait until later tonight for that. I also wanted to see the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion.

There were 2 lines at the mint. One was just for the mint coin displays, and the other was for the opportunity to hold the Olympic medals! The lines were huge though. The one with the medals was 3.5 hours long! And the other line was 1 hour long. I decided to stand in the one for the medals. I had no solid plans, so I could afford them time.

As I waited in line, an alarm went off. It sounded like an old-time war bomb warning bell. Looking around, I heard “Canada has earned another medal!” from a loudspeaker somewhere and I spot people in a window above the intersection. Apparently it goes off every time we get a medal! So cute. People started cheering all around me!

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few days is that camera crews are everywhere. And not just English ones! Plenty of European companies have crews here as well. A lady in line in front of me with kids was interviewed by what I’m fairly certain was a Russian crew.

Another line started just beyond ours, for a coin exchange! The Royal Canadian Mint has issued Olympic themed coins for the past year or so, one for each month. You could enter the line and change your regular quarters for a new Olympic quarter. They are doing a different coin every day.

Finally I got to the start of the line outside and received a hand stamp. I was permitted inside, into another line. At the end of THAT line, you received a white glove and instructed into ANOTHER line upstairs for the medals room.

They had a fun projection on the floor that kids were playing in.

After about 4 hours total, I was finally given the opportunity to hold the medals. There were two engineers from the company that produced the medals answering questions, as well as displays showing the creation process. The regular Olympic medals are round and the Paralympic medals are square (with braille on the back denoting the Olympic medal type). The medals, when placed all together, can make designs! The regular Olympic medals make the square design, and the Paralympic medals make the rectangle one. That would be SUCH a fun puzzle to do!

The medals weigh between 550-580grams each (just over 1.2lbs). They’re the heaviest medals to date. The athletes themselves chose the weight in tests with prototypes, saying they liked how “substantial” it felt. It truly is! I can only imagine how good that weight would feel when placed around your neck.

You’d think that the gold medal should have weighed more, but if it were solid gold it would be VERY heavy (too heavy to wear). However, the gold medals are made identically to silver, but they’re gold plated. The medals are sealed with a proprietary polyurethane substance. Once sealed, the medals will never tarnish and finger prints will not affect the metal and the smudges are super easy to wipe off.

This is the first time in Olympic history that a medal company has been permitted to display the medals and their creation process, and it’s also the first time that the public have been allowed to interact with real medals.

I left the medal room and headed to the gold room. The gold room featured a .5 mil 28lb brick of gold you could hold (I elected not to, there was a line), as well as a million dollar coin! There were also lots of other products from the Mint on display.

I used a booth downstairs to send a video postcard to Mr. A and I took a picture.

I went to the gift shop and picked up a gift for my Grandpa. He’s a huge coin collector! He doesn’t have loads of them, but he really enjoys it.

I headed over to the Olympic Superstore, finding the line still way back down the block. These two were on their way to the hockey game!

It took me about 40 minutes to clear the line. Once inside I discovered that they were sold out of the jacket that Mr. A wanted, though they may get more later. Apparently they go through so much merchandise throughout the day that they have to empty 10 semi-trucks to refill it at night! Unfortunately they don’t know what’s coming from head office in the trucks, so they aren’t able to reliably restock everything.

Coke had a cafe set up and a pin trading corner! I may go back here and see some more of the pins…

I picked up a Miga coin purse for myself and an art print of the mascots for my Grandma (she mentioned that she liked the picture of them I had on my blog a few days ago, and it’s that pose of them).

I was bone tired by this time and headed home. Our buses all have little “Go Canada Go” messages on them, rotating with the bus information on their LED display screens. I’ll try to get a picture later to show you.

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Vancouver Olympics – Day 3

Day 3 was another beautifully sunny day. I woke around 9:00am but OH MAN was I SORE! My feet and hips were absolutely killing me. It’d been a long time since I walked as much as I did yesterday.

I grabbed a shower and headed out at noon. It was to be a short day out as I was hoping to spend some time with my grandparents. My first goal was to get to the BC Pavilion, as I missed out on it yesterday. We’ll see where I go from there.

I felt a bit like a salmon, throwing myself voluntarily into the masses of people. Going upstream as it were…

As the bus rounded the corner, I realized I’d left my cell phone inside and I tromped back upstairs to get it. I returned to the street to wait for the next bus and hoped that it was not a sign of how the rest of the day was to play out.

Feist‘s “1-2-3-4” started playing on my MP3 player as the bus appeared at the corner as if to say “cheer up and don’t fret”, so I decided not to! What happens, happens.

The driver smiled at me as I got on board and I recognized her as the driver from my trip home last night. I’m always polite to my drivers, greeting them when I board and thank them when I exit, and I wondered if she remembered. I think it always pays to be nice, of only for your own sense of pride and karma.

On my way downtown we went past the park Stephen Colbert was doing his taping of the Colbert Show in. It was quite messy!

I exited the train at the Granville St. Station and made my way to the gallery. On the way there I spotted this really cute table of hats and mittens! Apparently they’re knitted in Nepal and are part of the Fair Trade movement. I also passed by the same totems as yesterday, and some rickshaws. The crowds were intense.

I arrived at the gallery and the line was extensive. Even longer than the day before! It went all the way back down the block to the Olympic countdown clock!

I spent about 40 minutes waiting and chatting on various topics with a Vancouverite in line with me. One bag search later, I was in!

I went straight to the 4th floor and started making my way through the pavilion. The Forest Room was so cool! There were neat light effects, fish projected on the floor that responded to movement and a mist veil you had to walk through to get to the next room. We are a coniferous rain forest after all!

Once through the veil, you’re given an option to go through to the Green Technology room or wait in line for a 3D movie! They showed a little 2D movie of sights around BC. There was a very tall “You must be this high to take this ride” but then on the wall across from it, it said:

The 3D movie was presented by HelloBC.com and it took you through BC attractions using sound, vibration, wind and scents! At one time it smelled like wild flowers, and another time like pine. It was so cool!

The Green Technology room was a little meh. There was a cool thing where you could make your own e-postcard though and I did that. There was also a bus simulator, which kinda made me laugh. Whoo… green bus :P

I went into the Multimedia Room and it was so neat! There were touch screens everywhere, displaying work and technology created by BC companies. You interacted with the things on screen, making flowers appear on trees, making snowflakes disperse with your fingers, rifling through movie clips ala Minority Report style movements on the screen and even a huge painting screen! There was also a really cool mural projected on one side of the room, and light poles in the corners. I approved!

I headed back downstairs to gather the information about the art I liked yesterday. They are as follows:

Emily Carr ~ “Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky”

Emily Carr ~ “Above the Gravel Pit”

Emily Carr ~ “The Little Pine”

Emily Carr ~ “Old Time Coast Village”

Brian Jungen ~ “Cetology”

E.J. Hughes ~ “Mount Cheam and the Fraser River”

Beautiful aren’t they? That “Cetology” was MASSIVE. it filled the ceiling of a 40′ x 40′ room!

I left the gallery and headed to the skytrain station again. On the other side of the gallery I discovered that they’d put up huge flower panels! Aren’t they beautiful?

I detoured to the Pacific Center. It’s Georgia St. entrance has been done up like a giant igloo! Outside, a girl was shellacking an ongoing art feature of polar bears on an iceberg.

Stepping in, I saw another sport viewing area set up (it was showing hockey at the time), as they are all over the city. This one was set up by Bell. Looking around I spotted a line, but couldn’t really see what it was for. Poking around a bit more, I peered around and saw an Olympic torch! People were holding it and having their pictures taken with it! It was very exciting. Of course I hopped in line and got pictures after waiting through the line.

I continued my trek back to the Granville St. Station, as I was aching all over, having not recovered from the day before and done a fair bit of foot travel today. I hadn’t eaten yet either, and I was tempted to go to the food court. It’s between the Bay Centre and the Pacific Centre, right underneath the street!

On the way there, I poked around inside the Bay Centre, checking out the Canada merchandise that’s not inside the Olympic Superstore, as well as the International merchandise. I love the designs on the Russian gear. It’s super pretty!

They also had some really good merchandise displays up in the regular store areas. I guess it’d be stupid not to with all those people. This particular set up was next to a TV showing the Olympics and across from a pair of chairs! Good resting place.

The line for the Superstore was ridiculous. I talked to a staff member and it’s pretty much always like this. They have cool stuff in there though, so I’ll have to try coming back later.

I made my way to the food court and consumed some Taco Time, and FINALLY headed home, amongst the crowded transit system.

Vancouver Olympics – Day 2

Today is the first real day out in the Olympic city. I woke up just before 9:00am and lounged in bed, working on my computer until 11:00am. I wasn’t due to meet my friend Miss K at Metrotown at 1:00pm so I had plenty of time ahead of me.

I got dressed in my Olympic hoodie and toque, which I also adorned with a few Olympic and Canadian pins.

I went outside to wait for the bus. It was excruciating: someone was cooking with onions and it smelled delicious!

On the bus, I turned on my MP3 player, turning on my “Olympic Random” playlist and headed toward the Joyce St. Skytrain station. I had no firm plans as to our direction, but Miss K and I like it that way when we go on what we call “photo adventures”. As you can imagine, this means I have a LOT of photos. Believe me when I say that I’ve trimmed out about half of them. Even so, this is going to be a photo heavy post.

I got off the bus and entered the station, going up to the ticket machine to add funds to my ticket (Translink has a VERY smart transit system) to accommodate my continued trip. I went up the escalators after receiving my updated ticket and got on the train. I caught one of the Expo line series trains. There are 3 types of train cars, as each time they add a new line, they add new cars. The Expo line, built for Expo 86, the Millennium line, built for the turn of the century, and the Canada line, which was built to connect the airport to the Expo line.

I was only heading 2 stations down and my trip is quick. As I exited the train I heard an unfamiliar announcement and I took off my headphones. They’ve done new security announcements warning people to keep their bags closed and close to their person to prevent theft. I wonder if they’ll keep them after the Olympics are done.

I made my way through BC’s largest mall and as I did, I noticed a few Olympic viewing stations along the way!

I eventually made it to the far end of the mall where entry into the office level is possible, and waited for Miss K’s shift to end. She works for a major cell phone provider who’s offices are located there. Unfortunately the only way to access the office level is by elevator and where this isn’t normally a problem, one of the elevators was out of order. This was causing major backups of people and the people who get on are not observing the direction of the car.

What this means is that though the car indicates it’s going up, they press a button on the lower level and it takes priority to the up command, making everyone in the car go in a direction they never intended. This meant that I had to go down 3 levels once I’d entered the car before it returned me to where I started and then finally delivered me up to the office level.

I sat on the floor, as there are no benches, and I was struck by how different this level of the mall is in comparison to all the others. Chatter and noise still drifted up from the other levels, as this level was not enclosed, but the design was calm, centered and focused. It was also carpeted, which of course a normal mall is not, and the other levels sport tile. I wondered how many offices are there as I noticed a mix of dress style from casual to business formal. As I waited, my leg fell asleep. Boo. I hate pins and needles.

I shifted my position and noticed a technician arriving to address the frozen elevator car. He was talking on his cell phone and from what I could gleen from his conversation, his day had not been a very good one.

A security officer came around the corner and headed over to me. He ensured that I was not some ruffian, and I let him know that I was waiting for a friend to get off shift. Miss K arrived a few minutes later and we took the fire stairwell to the outside exit. We chatted as we headed towards the skytrain station and took a westbound train into downtown.

We started our day’s discoveries with Japadog. If you’ve ever heard of Japanese pizza, you’ll get the gist of it, but if you haven’t, it’s basically crazy flavour combinations on your hot dog. For instance, I had the “Terimayo” dog, which is a beef hot dog (smokie style) with fried white onions, teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo and shredded nori (edible seaweed). I absolutely hate (and my body revolts physically against) nori, so I elected to have them keep that particular topping off. It was extremely tasty! I plan to go back to have an “Ume” dog, which is a pork bratwurst with red and white fried onion topped with plum sauce.

Miss K got the same as I did, except with a veggie dog (and she likes nori, so she kept that too), and she also got a drink called “Ramune Drink” by a company called Shirakiku. Apparently this drink has been around for quite a while in Japan, and it’s quite popular to collect the marble inside.

As we were eating we saw one of the Olympic shuttle buses for athletes and officials pass us by. Neat huh? I love all the branding…

After finishing our dogs, we stopped at a corner store and I purchased a Coke and Aero bar.

Next we headed toward the Art Gallery and Robson Square.
There is quite a history with the Robson Square outdoor ice rink and I’m quite surprised that they managed to refit it in time for the Olympics, but refit it they did!

We passed by CTV on the way as well as their little centre on Burrard. People were lined around the block to get some free pin they were about to hand out but we decided not to bother. It was insane.

We arrived in time to hear the announcement that there would be a mascots on ice performance (in between performances it’s used as a public skate venue). Also in this area was the zipline by Ziptrek Ecotours which has been installed for the duration of the Olympics. It’s a free attraction for those brave enough not only to embrace the heights, but also the long queue. For us Canadians this isn’t a problem (being part of the British heritage it’s in our blood) but I imagine there were quite a number of impatient people in line.

Miss K needed to run off to find a restroom so I sat and took some pictures of the zipline and skating performance once it’d started.

When Miss K returned, we went to queue for the Art Gallery, not only for its DaVinci exhibit, but it’s also the location of the British Columbia pavilion. The line was long but it moved pretty quickly.

When we entered, we were presented with a lanyard and paper BC flag!

We started with the first floor, where the DaVinci exhibit was showing, and this floor also featured other human anatomy art. We progressed to the second floor (native BC art and artists) and third floor (British Columbian artists) but by the time we headed to the 4th floor (the BC pavilion) they had stopped entry to prepare for close! We were so disappointed. I’m going to try to go back tomorrow and get in, but I would have liked to go with Miss K.

As photography is not allowed in the gallery, this is one of the only pictures I got. It’s Miss K in a room where you could play with magnetic poetry. I was also permitted to take a picture of their great domed ceiling!

Some of the art we saw was amazing! There were two Emily Carr paintings we really liked, and one of Mount Cheam by an artist I don’t know, and a dinosaur-like skeleton constructed solely of white deck chairs! When I go back tomorrow I’ll get the names and link them.

Miss K and I were starting to get tired so we decided to head over to Chinatown as our last stop. Miss K is half Chinese and wanted to see if there was anything cool going on down there for Chinese New Year, even though we were technically a day late. We took the Knight St. bus from the Pacific Centre. There was a lot of neat displays on the way!

We got off the bus at Tinseltown mall and decided to poke around in the Asian dollar store. I LOVE Asian dollar stores. You can find the coolest stuff! They are fabulous sources of bento-making products, super cute stationary and other useless and adorable things. I wanted to get a lot of things, but I didn’t have the money to do so, so I had to be particular. I ended up buying a package of 2 blank puzzles, which I hope to turn into art, and a little note block with fishes on it.

We headed up to the food court and Miss K ordered us bubble tea while I took the opportunity to go to the washroom. When I returned, a delicious fresh honeydew melon slush was waiting for me! I don’t like bubble tea myself, but most of the bubble tea places also make fresh fruit slushes. Normally I get watermelon or kiwi, but I was feeling the honeydew today. I love them because it’s like biting into a fresh and invigoratingly cold piece of fruit. Miss K had a watermelon one with pearls.

While we sat and drank and rested our feet, we checked out the photos we’d been taking all day, and we checked our phones for texts. Mr A had been messaging me all day and I took the opportunity to text him back a bit. We really miss each other. Sappy, I know.

Finally, we popped into an art store on the same floor. It had amazing artists in it. There were a LOT of things I wanted, especially this LARGE format painting as well as a handful of other things.

We left the mall and started walking down Pender St. popping into a few Chinese gift shops along the way. These stores are always fun and full of neat Asian items and touristy knick-knacks. We spotted a narrow alley with lanterns hanging in it, and as we were taking pictures of said alley, the gentlemen behind us told us to go in; we did, although we were somewhat unsure of what to expect. We got past the area that had ceiling and it opened up into this amazing display. White umbrellas were strung across the heavens, some with a red light illuminating them, and others dark.

We found out that it was a presentation of “GO! GALLERY: A temporary gallery for permanent change.” I’ve copied the following from the back of their business card:

GO! GALLERY is a collaborative production comprised of light-based installations, video projections, performances, and community events which occur in the Yue-Shan building in Chinatown Feb 12 – 28. For details, visit www.asirarch.net. GO! GALLERY is part of “Bright Light” a city-commissioned public art program that will occur during the Olympics and includes 23 temporary art installations along Carrall St. www.bright-light.ca.

They have walking tours going on as well, which I want to look into before I go back to the island.

After leaving the beautiful setting, we set back along Pender toward Main St. Miss K stopped in at a Chinese bakery and purchased a number of things including lotus-seed mini mooncakes. She gave one to me and it wasn’t half bad. It’s no cupcake, but for a new and interesting substance, it was worth the nibble.

We headed down Main St. eating our pastries and passed by a Russian themed gift store. They had ALL SORTS of crazy nesting dolls in the window, including one of the last 5 presidents of the USA and one with Harry Potter characters!

We also went past the Pacific Central Station. This station has great significance for me as I spent a good 8 hours in it when I was 16 and ran away from home. I was waiting for a bus to Michigan. Long story. Don’t want to tell it. Anyway! It’s a BEAUTIFUL old building. Before it was the Greyhound station, it was the main train station for Vancouver after Via Rail moved the station from Waterfront Station, though it still handles the occasional train.

Finally, we made it onto the Main St. Skytrain Station platform and headed east, back to our respective stations. Miss K exited the train at the Commercial St. Station and myself at the 29th Ave. Station. I was tired and sore and eager to go to bed (even thought I’m NOT ASLEEP YET! Stupid blog – that was 4 hours ago!). I took the 26 bus back to where I’d left 8 hours earlier.

Strawberry Cookies

That’s right. Strawberry cookies. Not cookies that taste like strawberries, but rather ones that look like them.


Last week I was making sugar cookies with my friend Tally, and I started using a strawberry shaped cookie cutter my mother gave to me years ago. Honestly I hadn’t used it before, as I wasn’t thrilled with the stem pieces, but I found that if I cut off the tiny little point of a stem, they could be really cute!

I iced these myself and I hope to make plenty more. Tally has a blog about her craft exploits and I recommend you visit it!

Strawberry Sugar Cookies, you have made the grade!

Thriller

To those of you who don’t know me, or don’t know me well, one of my not-as-secret-as-it-should-be guilty pleasures is Michael Jackson. I remember being 11 or 12 and totally obsessed with the Heal The World album.

Thriller is one of the most iconic songs and THE most popular and iconic music video in music history. Even if you don’t like pop, you know the song, and likely know a few of the dance moves.

Regardless of your personal relationship with this song, it has an undeniable energy. I wanted to find some of that energy in the many many tributes on youtube and I think I found it.

Did it give you goosebumps or make you laugh? I know I did.

Some others of note are these two wedding tributes, the infamous Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates video and in case you want to learn the dance yourself, there’s a video for that too! (Tacky and hilariously bad 80s warning is in effect for this video)

Thriller you have made the grade!

Epic Win FTW

I know I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I committed to. I have to improve that. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been online! My photography blog has been getting updated daily and I’ve been scrounging around the internet for things that catch my attention.

The one that’s the most noticeable in the last few days has been Epic Win FTW (FTW being an acronym for “For The Win”). This site has pictures full of awesomeness that is hard to be quantified.

These are 2 of my favourites. I recommend checking out the site for other hilarious things, like stairs with slides and Star Wars strollers.

Epic Win FTW you have made the grade!

New Years Resolution

Do you have a tough time making and keeping new years resolutions? I know I do. These blogs and my updating are my resolution to myself. However, it appears I am also supposed to grow basil. Honestly that may be easier.

Click the pic to have Minina’s generator make you a resolution too!

New Years Resolution Generator you have made the grade!

Insanewiches are insane!

Today I found the most INTERESTING site. It specializes in bizzare and delicious sandwiches! I love me a good sandwich, but this teeters on the inedible!

There are some really interesting combos and creative ideas. Check them out!

Insanewiches.com you have made the grade!

Na naaa na na na na-na na na…

My fever broke! And I’m up and running again! Happy New Year everyone!

For Christmas this year, I received Katamari Forever from my in-laws.

I LOVE the Katamari franchise, and to date I own every Katamari game except for the one for the PSP (which is the only reason I would consider owning a PSP) and the Xbox360 (which should be rectified by the end of the day today).

For those of you unfamiliar with this line of games, the premise is fairly simple for every game. You are The Prince, son of The King and Queen of the Cosmos. The King is all knowing, but all bumbling and all buck passing to you. Whenever any crisis arrives, it’s up to you to solve the problem using your Katamari rolling skills (a Katamari being the sticky ball you push around that collects items relative to the size of your Katamari).

Each game has a variation of the theme, and each level is challenging, whether it’s theme items you need to pick up, or avoid, or collect other cousins (which allow you to change your character that is rolling the Katamari) or pick up presents (which allow you to customize your character). The music is fresh, and decidedly Asian with it’s quirky rhythms, but they match perfectly with the laid-back nature of the game.

Usually the goal is to collect enough items to make it to X size with Y amount of time. The levels I’ve always hated most are the Bear or Cow levels in which you need to collect the largest bear or cow possible. The problem with that is, as soon as you roll over ANYTHING bear or cow related, your time stops and your level completes. They hide things around ALL OVER that are bear or cow related. I was recently foiled by a cow patterned traffic pylon. Deviousness!

The game is fun, quirky and wholly Japanese. The original was designed after a school project at the Namco Digital Hollywood Game Laboratory (a sponsor school for game development) and was developed for under $1Mil after the in-class project was discovered by Namco. For more information, take a look at the Katamari Damacy wiki.

Being not native to Earth, the King will frequently misinterpret the purpose of items or functions of Earth things, leaving you confused but delighted and laughing at the same time.

In any case, For the hours and hours of fun you have provided Katamari, you have definitely made the grade.