Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Vancouver Fringe

September 14th, 2014 Comments off

This was the final full weekend of the Vancouver Fringe Performing arts festival. The weather was about perfect, the performances we saw ranged from “inventive and interesting” to one the Edmonton Sun called “Half William Shatner, half Zapp Brannigan, half blind and total alcoholism”. How could you say no to theater like that?

Granville Island

It’s not the Edinburgh Fringe, that’s a unique beast, but there was plenty to enjoy. And it’s always fun to spend a weekend in Vancouver.

Granville Island Hotel

Go Canucks Go

June 8th, 2011 Comments off

This is the banner draped on the control tower at Vancouver Airport, yeah it’s kind of a big deal…

Day 3 – How black can humour get?

June 6th, 2011 6 comments

Yesterday I spent a lot of time with friends. A little time sitting on the beach and a quiet drink, followed by nap (which came after day-2, I’m really appreciating naps again) and then an evening sitting on the deck with friends drinking chocolate Martinis, explaining cricket, looking at CAT scans, deciding who is getting what,  joking about work, telling rally stories and generally laughing my ass off.

It got pretty dark at times and it is a very different type of therapy, but damned effective last night.

Tracy get’s the Miata, she asked first. Carey gets the tools, he desperately needs some level of organization to his garage. Mindy gets to spread some of my ashes on my favourite rally stages, a little on Pikes Peak on the open hairpin bellow the W’s and a little more on the E-town stage in Maine, specifically on the “R4/C> !TREE OUTSIDE” (she was clear she needs some explicit instructions on the where). Mathew has first pick of my prints and on it went…

Yeah it was jet-black humour at times, but by fuck it was effective to know I have friends who know me well enough and were willing to go there. Being more of a quiet, sober observer last night perhaps made it even more effective.

And if the unsteady stagger to the car in heels was anything to go by (which got an ovation from those of us watching from the house, it was that impressive) at least one person will be keeping her husband awake tonight driving the porcelain bus.

Monday morning started way too early, as Mondays tend to do, with a drive to Vancouver to catch a direct flight to Toronto. The drive was almost spot on two hours and other than the early start a breeze. But in return for dragging my arse out of bed at 3:15 I was rewarded with a just magnificent sunrise over the Cascades.

The northwest really is a beautiful part of the world.

I sat in a restaurant in Vancouver Airport getting breakfast and the TV is on. The Canucks are playing for the Stanley cup and are up 2-0 in a best of 7 series with two narrow wins at home.

Game 3 is in Boston tonight and it seems like everyone who works in the airport is wearing a Canucks shirt or hat, all the screens in the airport have a “Go Canucks Go” ticker across the bottom

The first 15 minutes of the local news bulletins are about the Canucks, and even the local news is broadcasting from Boston today. This is a big deal, and it should be.

I digress and once again my narrative is non-linier (see I’m a writer, maybe not a good one, but I understand enough to recognise a non-linier narrative and yes the book is starting to get a little shape to it, thank you for asking).

As I was driving north this morning, just as the sun was peeking over the Cascades I suddenly felt absolutely over whelmed by what’s going on. I thought of my family in England, my just amazing friends.

A year or so ago my ex went into one of her monologues about how bad a person I was, how lonely and how sad my life was. I remember her saying that I will talk about my friends, but really I’m alone and sad. Classic ex for those who know her, making herself feel better by putting down those around her.

Something this morning reminded me of that lecture. Yes there is the irony is that as she is becoming more and more isolated as the year goes on, but that’s another discussion. Over the last year I seen time and time again that I have so many friends, some incredible friendships. I say this not to prove her wrong, as I stopped caring a long time ago, but because these people have always been a huge part of my life and there were times I let that get away from me a little.

I really do feel thankful for my incredible family and my friends that make up my surrogate family in the US. Thank you, no matter if you live in Washington, Vermont, Oregon, California or where ever, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

These are people that I believe in and in return believe in me.

I just started crying, I could not hold it in and had to pull over for a few minutes. The emotions were not of feeling sorry for myself, but being thankful for the richness of my life today. That I have so many people who get me and are willing to bring the discussions down to my level.

The support I’ve had over the last three years, especially over the last 5 days has been overwhelming and this morning the emotions got the better of me and all of a sudden it needed to come out. And it did while sitting on an exit ramp just south of Bellingham.

So to Tracy, Alex, Carey, Mathew, JB, Min, Rebecca, Mike, Carl, Bill, William, Roger, Kim, Tom, Deb, Kat, Andrew, Chris, Anna-Marie, Stephen, Bob, Rob, Rob, Rob and the rest of you, thank you so very, very much. Know the calls, the emails, your time and most importantly friendship is all greatly, greatly appreciated.

I have the richest and most wonderful life, and I appreciate that.

Nothing says Canada like…

March 3rd, 2011 Comments off

…Tim Hortons.

Categories: Pictures, Travel Tags: , , ,

Schedule announced… Finally

February 10th, 2011 1 comment

At last the MLS schedule has been released, there are a couple of games that clash early in the season with planned travel, but not too bad. May 14th and June 11th are going to be fun, as will the corresponding fixtures at Vancouver and Portland.

In addition to the two local teams an away trip LA on the 4th of July weekend was fun last year, that might work again. There are a couple of other away fixtures that would be fun to go to. However, there is Houston at the end of July, that will be warm.

3/15 LA
3/19 @NY
3/26 Houston
4/2 @San Jose
4/9 Chicago
4/16 @Philadelphia
4/22 @Colorado
4/30 Toronto
5/4 @DC United
5/7 @Columbus
5/14 Portland
5/21 KC
5/25 Dallas
5/28 @Salt Lake
6/4 @Chicago
6/11 Vancouver
6/18 @Toronto
6/23 NY
6/26 New England
7/4 @LA
7/10 @Portland
7/16 Colorado
7/23 Philadelphia
7/30 @Houston
8/6 @KC
8/13 Chivas
8/20 @Dallas
8/27 Columbus
9/10 Salt Lake
9/17 DC United
9/24 @Vancouver
10/1 @New England
10/15 San Jose
10/22 @Chivas

Five weeks until opening day!

Shankley was right, sport can be more important

March 9th, 2010 Comments off

I remember the ’88 Olympics from Calgary; being British hopes were never high for the winter games. Team GB had a little run of success in figure skating, the superlative performance of Jayne Torivll and Christopher Dean in Sarajevo followed on from the success of Robyn Cousins and John Curry in ‘76 and ’80 respectively.  However going into Calgary I recall no realistic medal hopes, which can lead to really good coverage of the marquee events.

Eddie Edwards provided some light relief and exposure for British winter sports, but as expected the British team returned from Calgary empty handed. Eddie Edwards took his ski jumping very seriously, but like the vast majority of British winter athletes at this time never had the money to do the job properly.

During some reading I discovered there was a fatal accident in Calgary, Jorg Oberhammer was the physician for the Austrian ski team and was preparing for the start of the giant slalom when he collided with another skier and was thrown under a tracked vehicle. This happened in front of Austrian world champion Pirmin Zurbriggen a few minutes before his run.

Every Sunday evening David vine presented Ski Sunday, I knew who Pirmin Zurbriggen was and that he was favorite to win the Super-G.

Under these incredible conditions Zurbriggen went on to take the bronze medal as real tragedy made it’s presence felt at the highest level.

That was 1988; today the death of Jorg Oberhammer is but a footnote to what was a very successful Olympics. Fast-forward twenty-two years to the Vancouver games and despite the outpouring of compassion and the questions raised, I doubt many outside Georgia will remember Nodar Kumaritashvili in a few years’ time.

Sport at its best

February 28th, 2010 1 comment

At its best, sport is about people doing something transcendentally brilliant, something that is amazingly skillful, disciplined, verging on the breathtakingly beautiful and in so doing is capable bringing enormous joy to the people watching.

I love the Olympics, the idea of the finest in a set discipline doing it, not for a pay cheque on that day (though it helps big time with endorsements and cash for medal exists), but under the banner of their country and for personal glory for an audience measured in millions.

I’ve watched a decent portion of these Olympics, both on the TV and in person.

Whether it’s been a curler keeping the game alive with a perfect final stone, a speed skater in agony as she finishes her race, or an aerial skier landing a 4 twist jump, it’s been sublime to watch and makes it easy to ignore the inevitable criticism that surrounds an event of this scale.


The excitement in Vancouver was palatable, you could feel there was something special in the air. Last night we sat in a bar with Russians, Finnish, Swedes, Americans, British, Germans and of course Canadians, all concentrating on a hockey game. These have been a great games, Vancouver a fabulous host and I’ve had a blast.

What matters to Canada

February 25th, 2010 Comments off

For the last two weeks Vancouver has been shown off at it’s very best. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time there, take in a couple of events and revel in the tremendous atmosphere created by something this big going so well.

There were problems early on, obviously the death of Nodar Kumaritashvil on the opening day will not be forgotten. However the luge track had been given the green light by everyone relevant and there are plenty of candidates to blame for the death of the Georgian slider, the organizers, to me, seem to be a far down the list. With a little hindsight it’s easy to say the track was too fast, but this is supposed to test the best in the world.

Then there was the minor failure of the Olympic caldron during the opening ceremony along with the usual transport issues that seem to plague every Olympics, perhaps every event of this scale. However I’m willing to wager the problems with getting around will be far worse in Delhi for the Commonwealth games in October.

There are still one or two questions to be answered as we head into the final few days. Most notably for the hosts is Mens Hockey, this is clearly the big one for most Canadians.

Team Canada and their NHL stars never hit the ice until the fourth day of the Olympics, for many Canadians that’s when the games really got underway. One newspaper columnist suggested that the country would trade everything else won as part of the “own the podium” campaign for the one gold that matters most.

After comprehensively out playing the Russians yesterday, Team Canada faces Slovakia for a place in the final on Sunday. If the Semi finals go to form they will play the USA for the gold in a rematch of the group game of only a few days ago.

While the “own the podium” campaign has not gone exaclty to plan,  as a Canadian citizen (thanks mum) I want nothing more than to see the men pick up gold. First there is the small matter of Slovakia…

Categories: Olympics Tags: , ,

Free Mukmuk!

February 22nd, 2010 Comments off

There is another matter that has got a surprising amount of attention in some quaters, the recognition of Mukmuck. For those not in the know Mukmuk is a sidekick to the three main Vancouver 2010 mascots Quatchi, Miga and Sumi.

Quatchi and Miga outside the curling, where is Mukmuk?

Quatchi and Miga outside the curling, where is Mukmuk?

Just for information Quatchi is a Sasquatch, Miga is a orca/bear crossbreed and Sumi is an animal guardian spirit.  All very worthy of mascot status and I’m sure they have shifted a lot of merchandise. Quatchi especially was very much in evidence in the HBC Olympic Store.

Mukmuk is a Vancouver Island Marmot, there are only a few hundred of these left in the wild. According to VANOC he is the “sidekick to the Vancouver 2010 mascots”.  His hobbies are “eating, burrowing, eating, making friends and eating” (seriously, it’s on the Vancouver 2010 site under mascots), and while these don’t seem to qualify him for much, I’m not seeing true endorsements of the other three either.

I’ve seen Mukmuk on the scoreboard at Canada place during Hockey and following the other mascots (pooper scooper perhaps another official task?) during the introductions on the video screens at the Olympic Stadium before the curling, but not on the side of the busses alongside the others.

So join the Vancouver Suns “Free the Mukmuk” campaign to get the little guy released from his cyber jail and let him be recognized as a true mascot and run free with the others.

Categories: Olympics Tags: , ,