Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photo of the Day : T-Minus 12

Bill Reid's Masterpiece, the Spirit of Haida Gwaii

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Even in the Rain, Vancouver Can Be Colourful

Vectorial Elevation: An Initial Glimpse

Looking at Vancouver's famous website this evening I discovered this interesting image:

I knew what it was only because of past reading.  Otherwise I would have thought that aliens had begun landing!  These spotlights are part of an art project called Vectorial Elevation, created by Montreal artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.  They must have been testing the lights for the February 4th launch.  Very cool!

The Olympic Torch Arrives in Prince George, BC

The Torch Relay from Barkerville to Prince George

Local resident, Kevin Stewart, reported than an estimated 17,000 people attended the festivities

Special Message for Visiting Team 2010 Volunteers

I've quickly discovered that there are several fellow local volunteers who are as enthusiastic as I am to show off our magnificent city to the many volunteers who are coming in from elsewhere to help us out.

Among other things, this often transpires in two ways:

  1. Walking tours of attractions throughout Metro Vancouver.
  2. Eating!
For who better to show you around than enthusiastic locals who know the area, know the history, and know where the locals eat great food at affordable prices.

I'd like to leave this thread completely open-ended as a place for visiting volunteers to list places they'd like to see, cuisines they'd like to try, etc.  Here are 2 links that might give you some ideas:
Submit your wish lists, folks.  We're ready to oblige wherever we can!  It's just our small way of saying Welcome & Thank YOU!


Robert Werner
Angelle Desrochers-Rosners
Todd Hochban
& others . . .

Acronyms Galore

The 2010 Winter Olympics has special names & acronyms for every venue.  Here's a list, courtesy of fellow volunteer, Ed Rogers:

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Olympic Village Vancouver (VVL)
Olympic Village Whistler (WVL)
Main Media Centre (MMC)
Whistler Media Centre (WMC)
Whistler Medals Plaza (WCP)
BC Place (STA)
Canada Hockey Place (CHP)
Cypress Mountain (CYM)
Vancouver Olympic Centre (HIL)
Pacific Coliseum (PAC)
Richmond Olympic Oval (ROO)
UBC Thunderbird Arena (UBC)
Whistler Creekside (WCR)
Whistler Olympic Park (WOP)
The Whistler Sliding Centre (WSC)
Killarney Centre (KIL)
Trout Lake Centre (TLR)
Britannia Centre (BRT)
Whistler Transportation Mall (WTM)

Brenda Chinn Carries the Torch in Northern B.C.

Brenda Chinn and I attended the same high school (Eric Hamber) a "while" ago. Today she was carrying the torch in Burns Lake. Here are some screenshots of her run:

Here's Brenda's recap of her great day:

Thank you to everyone for all of your well wishes. Having the opportunity to be a torchbearer and carry the Olympic flame was an INCREDIBLE experience. Here is a quick synopsis:

Four of my friends from Smithers (more about them later) drove me the 1.5 hours to Burns Lake. They dropped me off to find my meeting location. There were only two of us runners prior to the midday Community Celebration (2 of these per day: midday and evening). Which first of all made finding the meeting spot even harder as I was only looking for 1 other person. The information sent to both of us said “Recreation Centre at Spirit Square” but the only significant building at Spirit Square was a hockey arena so I went in there through a door marked “Performers Only”. I thought it was fitting. I found Matt (the other torchbearer) and we hung out there waiting for the organizers to show up who were probably still driving down the highway. A few of those who were to run after the Community Celebration were also milling about.

We got to the bus that is supposed to drive us to our run start destination. For those who have already run, you know that there is a lot of camaraderie and fun on the bus as people get dropped off and picked up along the run. Well.... there were just 2 of us plus the driver and “handler” so we whooped it up as much as possible. I laughed that Matt was even on the bus as I think he ended up running further than we needed to drive him.

As I was the 1st runner in the community I had to wait for lantern and flame keeper to light my torch which is why you would have seen a lot of standing around. Lighting from the actual lantern was pretty cool as the flame keeper puts a stick (I am sure there is a proper name for the thing) into the lantern and the people around me were trying to serve as a wind block. After they light my torch, there is the requisite ... Woo Hoo look at me!

I started to run but the trucks all stopped so I started to walk as I was only about 20 feet from the camera truck. Then we got going. The end of my run/shuffle it was a slight downhill and I can hear someone running with me say “Don’t light his torch yet”. With the timing of Matt to run into the Celebration, we were too early so there was a lot of dead time so I waved my friends from Smithers over and not knowing when they would say let’s go, I started urging them to hurry up. Normally you get hauled off to the side as soon as you are done and they extinguish your torch asap. So after the photo op and a little more waiting, we did the touching of the torches and passing of the flame.

A couple of my cousins videotaped the internet feed and have uploaded it to YouTube. Please turn down the audio as all you will hear are one of my cousins talking to her sister on the phone and her daughter talking to my aunt. As you will see, I got well over 6 minutes of internet time!

My friends Teresa and Matt Monkman were with me and taped this (edited version) so you can actually see the caravan of vehicles that go with you and the start and end of my run:

Thanks to them as well as Anita and Ruth for coming with me to Burns Lake and capturing tons of photos. I will get to these soon but I am currently working 9am to 9pm with my fellow NOC Assistants trying to get our area of the Athlete’s Village in Vancouver ready for Team Canada athletes and coaches who start arriving Feb 4th.

My flight home was a riot as our plane of ~50 passengers had at least 7 torchbearers (Olympians: Carol Huynh and Thelma Wright), some of their families and friends (for those who know her: Nadia M’Saffar was there as her boyfriend ran in Smithers), a couple of VANOC torch relay staff, provincial government staff and the provincial minister for the Olympics Mary McNeill.

Anyways ... I have to get going to my voly gig. I have a FANTASTIC time and it was truly an experience of a lifetime! Thanks again to my Smithers entourage for taking care of me and my cousins Lisa and Corrine for the video feed.


Photo of the Day : T-Minus 13

Sushi is a Very Popular Cuisine in Vancouver

In Memory of Jack Poole

Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Team

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Torch Relay in Northern B.C.

Inspiring Comment about the Olympics

Detailed Map of the 2010 Olympics

The Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee has created a detailed, comprehensive and colourful map of everything going on during the 2010 Olympics.

To make it easy to remember, even on a mobile phone, I've created this shortcut:

You can see this map on your iPhone but there are a few steps you need to take to do so:
  1. On your desktop/laptop go to the Google Maps page.
  2. Sign In or Create a Google Account.
  3. Go to Jeff Lee's map.
  4. Click on the "Save to My Maps" link on the left side, near the top.
  5. Now on your iPhone, ensure that Google Earth is installed.
  6. Start the Google Earth iPhone app.
  7. In the lower right corner press the "i" button.
  8. About half way down the page Sign In to your Google account.
  9. You'll be presented with a screen that shows your own custom maps at the top (if you have any) and custom maps created by others below that.  Because of Step #4 above you will see "Olympicreporter's 2010 Winter Games" at/near the bottom.  Select it.
  10. You'll be presented with the legend of the map.  After studying it a bit, press the "Done" button on the top right.
  11. Google Earth will slowly zoom into the Metro Vancouver region.  To make any sense of it you're going to have to zoom in more using the standard iPhone gestures.
  12. For Beginners:
    1. If Autotilt is turned on then the way you're holding your iPhone literally changes the way you view your map.  So it's advisable to first start with the device sitting on a flat surface!
    2. To see where you currently are in relation to the map, just press the circular compass icon in the lower left corner.

Vancouver's Evening Skyline

The Stanley Theatre

Here's a trio of photos of my favourite local theatre:

Incidentally, several of the photos on the Wikipedia entry for the Stanley were taken by yours truly.  A fellow contacted me out of the blue, said he was rewriting the entire article and wanted to use my photos.  I was most honoured!

South Granville is Showing Its Canadian Colours

And some Danish colours too!

Grouse Mountain Helping out Volunteers and Athletes

I didn't become an Olympics volunteer to "get free stuff" but I must confess that I'm definitely going to take Grouse Mountain up on this very generous offer:

Incidentally, some on Facebook have been incorrectly stating that there are a limited number of passes available.  This is absolutely FALSE.  I called up and spoke with William Mbaho, the Manager of Public Relations & Communications at Grouse Mountain.  He is the definitive voice for providing correct & accurate information to the public & the media on behalf of Grouse Mountain.

Here's what he said on this matter:

ALL accredited volunteers and athletes are most welcome to claim their free After Hours Pass for Grouse Mountain at ANY time.  There is no limitation on the number of passes being given out and there is no "first come, first serve".  So people can come & get them whenever they want.

Volunteer Profile: Fiona Scott

While many Vancouverites are spending much of their time complaining about the inconveniences the Olympics are causing them, there are others like Fiona Scott who are giving it their all to contribute and make a positive difference!

I deeply admire the Can Do attitude that Fiona and many other volunteers I'm meeting possess!!  It's a great honour for me to be working in the same organization as them.

Photo of the Day : T-Minus 14

Vancouver's Greek Day on West Broadway

Vancouver's Skyline

After going out for dinner with some old & new friends, I drove down to Jericho Beach and took some time-exposure photos of downtown Vancouver. If you'd like a hi-res original of the first one, you can download it here.

I also tried to get some interesting shots of the freighters docked in Burrard Inlet but the photos didn't turn out like I had hoped. :-(

Here are 3 panoramas, stitched together from some of the preceding photos:

And last, but not least, a video of the same: