Saturday, December 27, 2008

It was a white holiday

The holiday season was a little hit and miss for us. We had plans to visit friends for Christmas Eve - they cooked a 20 pound turkey and everything. We never made it.

Our plan was to take the Skytrain over to their place as they are across town from us. Snow laden trees fell on the tracks and stopped the trains from running. Then, when they did start again, they were stopping intermittently due to snow and ice in the switches on the tracks. This meant lengthy delays and fewer trains running. At no time was Translink ever able to tell us simply when we could expect another train - they just kept suggesting that we find alternate means of transportation to our destination. I'm not sure how they hope to cope with the Olympics, given that it is also a winter event. This kind of performance is not going to make the world proud of Vancouver. But I digress. Being the day it was, we also were not able to get a taxi and the bus schedules were all notably off due to the weather. Our only option was to retreat.

Things were running smoother the next day (Christmas) although it still took us twice as long to take the train to our destination, due to mid-station stops. We were also able to get a taxi to the train station. We did have a great dinner, gifts were exchanged and the host decided to give us a ride home at the end, rather than dealing with the train again. (I'm sure it's fine now, by the way.)

So overall, we had a 'white christmas' like so many people always wish for. This year, I think people got a bit more than they thought they were asking for. Honestly, if the train had been able to keep running, I would probably not have been that impacted by it, and it is fun when the snow is coming down hard and fast. When people's kids have grown up a bit, I would warn them of all the stories they will hear about the 'Christmas of '08' and how the snow was 'up to here' (hold hand up to your chest) in Vancouver of all places.

At least, that's the outcome I hope for, because it implies that winter goes back to normal for us next year. If this becomes a regular event, Vancouver is in trouble.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two days before Christmas...

Greg and I were arguing over what street this building was on. While I took the actual picture, he was right on the location - I was off by a block. So much for walking past it every friggin day on my way into the office. 

But nevermind all that, just look at the orange lights and a semi-frozen water fountain! Now you know why the rest of Vancouver shuts off their fountains in late November. But I'm not condemning this bank, I think it looked pretty neat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A little late, a little early

A few days ago I met my buddy Phil for lunch. During that visit he gave me a belated birthday gift, one that he had been holding on to for the past few months. (We don't exactly see each other every day, if you haven't already guessed.) Phil works at Rockstar and the game was released around my birthday. I remember him being quite excited about it at the time. Everything about the meeting was typical Vancouver: we met for sushi on a rainy day over lunch at a place close by our offices. In other words, it was fun.

The irony here is that I do not (yet) own an xbox 360 so I can't actually play the game. In that sense, this late gift is somewhat early. Phil was hoping that this would finally push me to get said console. Only time will tell, I guess. Speaking of timing, as it turns out the PC version of this game is now also available. Based on reviews though, it sounds like this version is still better and has fewer bugs in it. On the plus side, whenever I do get an xbox this game is on the 'must get' list, much like Halo or Gears of War.

Phil, thanks for lunch and the gift. It was a good seeing you again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holy Whack-a-mole!

We were out doing some gift shopping yesterday when we noticed a traffic slowdown. As we approached the scene, it became obvious why things were backing up. Normally I don't condone people slowing down to take a good look at accidents as it does hold up everyone else. But c'mon - look at how deep that truck crashed through this church. This had to be like a Ford missile launched by some drunk driving terrorist who.... oh wait, that administration has less than a month in office. I should probably update my rhetoric.

Anyway, the really fun part about all of this is that it happened a day BEFORE Vancouver got another small dumping of snow. Not a speck of the white stuff to blame this on. Real crazy driving. Oh, and thanks to my wife for grabbing these pictures, since I was driving. We weren't TOTALLY irresponsible, you know.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Strange Days Indeed

As a Canadian, all I can say is 'wow, 'eh?'

The political events of the past week or so have been nothing if not unprecedented, at least for our stripe of politics. I guess it just goes to show that our population loves nothing more than a good political fight, so long as it only goes as far as a war of words.

But let's notice something here: Jean Cretien and Ed Broadbent had to be called in because the leaders of the opposition parties were not up to the task. While everyone except Jack Layton can agree that a change in leadership is required tapping the shoulders of the guys from the last round was the wrong direction to go. I think it is long overdue for Ben Mulroney and Justin Trudeau to enter politics so they can fight it out. We need new blood, not old. I will be surprised and disappointed if at least one of them does not join a party soon.

Okay, enough political rant. The guy photographed today was standing on beams as the building next door was being erected. We are on the 4th floor, and this guy was standing taller than us, apparently unsupported. I guess you have to be born with that ability, as a couple of us in the office were commenting on how being in that situation would either make us vomit, assuming we didn't just fall off and die.

Somehow, I just love ending on a morbid note. So much so that I am not going to do a haiku today.