Tag Archives: out n’ about

Fire On Broadway! Firefighters Douse a Sofa Store & Restaurant

One morning, while going for coffee we came across a fire just underway at a sofa store and Japanese/Korean restaurant. Dave gives play by play as firefighters bring out reinforcements and tools like axes and oxygen tanks.

Fusion Festival 2008: Where the Folk are the Audience

Note:

winner of tasty prizeThis article was written as a “Special Dispatch” for Miss604.com – published in July 2008 while Rebecca and John were elsewhere. Cross-posting here so i don’t lose track of it … and to get ready for sumertime out n abouts.

In the article, besides talking about food and music, I tease many of the Vancouver-area boroughs a wee bit including where i grew up (Whalley) and where i live now (Lynn Valley) which attracted some commenting about region/class misconceptions and soci0-economics.

My article sets out to make the point that neighbourhoods are never quite what you expect them to be and that fact is right-on with me. Again this is a late draft, not final edit – see Miss 604 for canonical version.

Fusion Fest 2008 – Where the Folk are the Audience
By Dave Olson

the festival grounds
Holland Park Surrey

All my hipster/greenie/crunchy/urbane pals were all bound for the luminary, venerable Vancouver Folk Fest this past weekend. I turned down extra tickets, rumoured media passes, friendly pleadings and erstwhile invitations cause i already had my weekend fest plans in mind – the Surrey Fusion Fest (see also: Greetings from Fusion Fest – video).

Sure you might think that i missed out on the awesome line-up and beautiful people on idyllic Jericho Beach but i spent scant ducats, saw great bands, ate well, and immersed myself in the ethnic re-mix that is the lower mainland’s super-diverse (and much maligned) municipality. Missed nothing methinks.

I made the lengthy transit trek (3 zones for the price of 2 on weekends) from my North Van sanctuary and spent Saturday afternoon/evening at the new Holland Park with my comrade Dan Funboy, and made the following observations:

  • No LuluLemon pants in the whole place, none
  • No whiny West-enders rolling their eyes about “the bridge and tunnel crowd”
  • No small dogs, nor matching small purses to match
  • Plenty of police but no incidents i saw (except for two cops rolling over curbs and gardens in quads, WTF?)
  • whalley little leaguers
    Whalley Little League
  • Surrey heritage signs celebrating Whalley Little League, early settlers on Old Yale Road etc. were cool bits of edu-tainment
  • Few trees in the expansive park – A nice fountain but not enough trees
  • Accessible viewing areas for wheelchair rollers to see the bands on the mainstage
  • Some real characters dancing and roaming the grounds but everyone was allowed to let their freak flag fly without hassle (Dancing to the Peruvian Pan Pipes – video)
  • Surrey is really making an effort to do something to provide a sense of belonging and community
inteprid reporters
Reportage for the People!

I am very keen on festivals in general and tend to hang out with the proletariat rather than fancy folks, but i also don’t make it back anywhere near Whalley Exchange these days – cause well, i’ve been there, done that.

But in spite of all the yuppie grumblings from the urban core (many of whom speak of tolerance and diversity while ignoring where it actually happens), this is really where many new Canadians live – and this is where the low-income families can come have fun, where neighbours learn about each other, and where you can enjoy a variety of music you’d otherwise never get to hear. At a thrifty (free) price.

I spent my entire $11 on food tickets (plus someone gave Dan 3 more gratis) and, with Dan surveying the menu guide, we foraged the international booths for the following tasty snacks:

  • Peruvian empanada (like a Cornish pasty with meat and olives)
  • Polish apple cake
  • First Nations salmon (somehow i don’t think the dill sauce and rice pilaf was traditional but sure tasty)
  • El Salvador tacos al pastor and papusa
  • Masala tea from India

Even a veteran linguist would be challenged to name all the languages overheard and foodies could sample some creative tasty bits and also check out cultural exhibits from each cultural region (not political jurisdiction as Persia, Palestine, and Taiwan were included).

surrey - a gleaming metropolis
The Mainstage

The musical line-up boasted a variety of ethnic and distinctly regular acts from a rock band you might see at a Bridgeview roadhouse (Rocking out while waiting for Salmon – video) to a bass player from the MicMac nation (via New Brunswick) who’s exclaimed that she’s “been in the business for 43 years”.

The Chieftains were the headliners on Saturday night which had a Celtic bent to it with the Connors before them (Introducing The Chieftians – video). The Dublin-based band were joined by some young Canadians who were dancing and fiddling and mugging for the camera with mucho aplomb.

The main Chieftain didn’t care for the cameras on the stage projecting the show onto video screens. The drummer got to sing one and managed not to incite a riot when encouraging people to drink a long with his whiskey song.

nathan - oh nathan
Nathan the band

The fave for me were Nettwerk recording artists, Nathan. A four piece with a country lilt and multi-instrument creativity. Switching between banjo, accordion and Theremin, acoustic and electric guitars, they sang tales of romance and deceit in a firm tender way, and even played a waltz. I am sucker for a quaver in a voice and i’ve listened to their plaintive, evocative songs on repeat today.

I planned to attend another day at the fest, but a lazy Sunday of watching the first Alpine stage of the Tour de France and unpacking at my new house (in North Van) won out.

Final observation (with my apologies to the do-gooders) while waiting for a bus at the Newton Exchange, listening to Angus (with a his can of Colt 45) ask a guy if the security guard uniform he was wearing was a Coast Guard uniform, i spotted a young woman wearing a shirt with iron-on glitter letters saying, “I was incredible in bed last night and all i got was this lousy t-shirt”

PS I coulda sworn i saw John Chow, the F*ck Art, Make Stats guy leaving as i arrived. Was that you?

BC Ferries in the Strait

Looking towards Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast behind from a park in Horesehoe Bay, West Van, BC as Ferries roll on by. Music by Larry Harper.

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim at English Bay, 2009

 On New Year’s Day 2009, I stroll along Vancouver’s Seawall towards English Beach to witness the annual Polar Bear swim with thousands of colourful Vancouver-ites gathering at English Bay, in costumes from clowns to bikinis, to start the New Year with a plunge into the frigid Pacific beginning with a a mass start from the snowy beach at 2:30pm on January 1st, 2009.
Once arrived to the festivities, i observe swimmers going in for a quick dip but also a few die-hards — including a Viking helmet clad yeoman — competing to be the heartiest participant.

Shot with a fish-eye style lens for a unique perceptive of the whole beach and ocean.

Seabus Station Evacuated due to Smoking Vessel

Seabus Station Evacuated due to Smoking Vessel

Seabus Smoking

The Seabus (not sure if it was the Otter or the Beaver) began smoking heavily upon docking at Waterfront Station. After passengers disembarked and crew investigated the problem, the station was evacuated and firetrucks responded. The counterpart vessel waited in Burrard Inlet and didn’t immediately dock.

Nothing more to report at this time. Video forthcoming.

Seabus Smoking

See also:

One SeaBus breaks down The Province, Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Uncle Weed Flickr photos tagged seabus

Working the Snowy Festivus Tree Lot

While a snowstorm dumps on Vancouver, Dave checks in while doing volunteer work at a holiday tree lot at Ikea in Coquitlam. He explains aesthetic and practical tree tips and reviews safety hints to do with highlighters, scissors and orange vests.

Documenting pleasing mundanity of Vancouver commuting

Chinatown GateTis oft remarked that what constitutes a commute in Vancouver, may be considered a pleasure sightseeing adventure in other cities.

My treks starting from the North Shore and heading across Burrard inlet via Seabus or Lion’s Gate bridge are certainly visually inspiring albeit a wee bit crowded at busy times (which are almost always in transit-hungry Vancouver).

As such, i often join the tourists in snapping pics along the way. Heck, i film Seabus voyages and Skytrain rides when i can score that very front seat.

Anyhow, along with a rabble of techies, I tested a Nokia N95 phone for 8 days and used it to create a group project so to speak in which Roland, Richard, Rebecca, Kris and I all documented part of the Vancouver commute experience in order to try out different features and engage with one another using mobile technology. The quest: Return and report both the phone’s functionality/usability as well as the mobile presence-ness mojo conjured up during the experiment.

sun building vancouver lovely north van commute
Of course, Canada’s absurd mobile data plans really limit the usefulness but the wi-fi ability and 5MP camera (with solid video) made for some fun times documenting and getting up quick. I connected to the freethenet.ca connections but having to go through the web screen caused an extra clumsy step.

I also extended the phone’s ability with Shozu which allows direct photo upload to Flickr. I found the tool useful but set-up painful and wouldn’t have pulled it off without the help of Shozu warrior Roland Tanglao. I wish there was a direct upload of video as connecting via usb and then dragging the vid files to the ‘puter and then ftp upload was more steps then i’d like. I also didn’t pre-tag in Shozu but did later in Flickr (typing tricky with small keys). Riding the Seabus

Really, the phone’s user interface lacks massaged usability polish which remove the intimidation for all but the geekiest users. We all provided frank opinions to Jean Hebert (great hockey name eh) who was research project dude for SFU at Harbour Centre. We also commented on what we’d like to have in a portable communications device. I want flexibility, versatility, ruggedness, ease of use, big buttons, quick response – not too much to ask right? {Gonna test an OpenMoko phone next.}

My artifacts from the test are the a stretch of 5 vidcasts — both from my commute from North Van to Gastown and also a roadtrip to Olympia WA where i saw The Dirty Birds rock out at McCoy’s and connected to Zhonka Broadband’s free wi-fi hotspots. There are also a solid batch of photos snapped from the office roof to the Trans Canada trail park by my house in Vancouver Commute set.

Dirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy's

Thanksgiving with Absinthe and Fungi Tea – Choogle on #54

On Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, Uncle Weed and friends enjoy Absinthe from Barcelona, with carmelized with raw sugar and a magic mushroom tea infused nature stroll with a strawberry-grapefruit joint under the Trans Canada Highway where 2 people fell through the gaps.

Pour a glass of Thanksgiving with Absinthe and Fungi Tea – Choogle on #54 (19:35, 17MB, .mp3)

Subscribe to the Choogle on feed, via Chillaxin’ feed, or in iTunes

Thanksgiving with Absinthe and Fungi Tea

Out n’ About with Uncle Weed – Travelin’ Man Vidcast – ShowFeediTunes
Cannabis Cup 2002 and Nederlander Stroll – Scenes of life at the 2002 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam plus trips to Deventer, Madurodam, Haarlem and just strolling the streets en route to coffeeshops. Featuring Uncle Weed, Cosmo G. Spacely and Gazoo.

Clubside Breakfast Time podcast – Cosmo G. Spacely’s and guests chatting about Olympia music, news, tasty food and miscellaneous sundry topics at Olympia’s Clubside Cafe or other downtown locales.

Dopefiend.co.uk – podcast network with Dopefiend, Queer Ninja, Lefty, Black Beauty, Zandor and more – see also The Grow Report

Absinthe FAQ


forgotten sippycup

Waiting for the Bus Again: Commute 4


A bus ride and stroll from a North Vancouver bus stop in front of a pet shop to downtown Vancouver’s rather seedy Main and Hastings and then into tourist-laden Gastown to 1 Alexander with comments on urban transition and the Nokia N95 phone.

Short Cutting Through Japanese Garden: Commute 2

In between gigs visit to a hidden and somewhat serene Japanese garden in North Van loaded with maples and the occasional transient seeking shelter.