Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'd Read It

Stanley and the Magic Penny: Hitler's life story if he'd never been born, seen through the eyes of Dorothy Hamill.

To see the full "list of books written by Steven Wright that are available nowhere", click here*.

* clicking the link is entirely optional

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Snowshoeing to Hollyburn Peak

A few days ago, Wednesday the 23rd to be exact, Biscotti and I went snowshoeing with L&G. We had planned to do Cypress Mountain's trails, as the four of us did last year, but rather than repeating last year's up-the-east-side-down-the-east-side, we would go up-the-west-side-down-the-east-side. At least, that's what we originally wanted to do. Instead we snowshoed too far west, and were well into our ascent when we were informed that we were backcountry on BC Parks land, headed towards Hollyburn Peak, and that the Cypress passes that we had each spent ten dollars on were unnecessary. Oh well, it was the best mistake - and overpayment - we ever made; the day was perfectly clear and instead of being surrounded by trees the entire time, we were treated to billion dollar views. The Cypress trails allow dogs, but because they have to be on-leash at all times we had left our fat donkeys at home. The BC Parks trail to Hollyburn Peak, however, is off-leash, so we plan on going back real soon with our two four-legged canine companions. We're also planning on buying our own snowshoes. Mine I'll probably buy at Coast Mountain Sports with the help of a gift certificate that G&T&G&E gave me for my birthday - thanks! Click on the above pics to enlarge them, scroll down for three more pics, and click here to see more pics of the trek.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cut-And-Cover Ain't Boring

On the topic of the Millenium Line to UBC traveling along Broadway, I found the following passages from recent columns to be intriguing, especially the parts concerning Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation, which I've put in bold type.

First I read this, on page 7 in the January 17-24, 2008 issue of the WestEnder:

Although it has yet to be determined whether the extension will ultimately exist underground, at street level, or as a suspended light-rail system, merchants along Broadway are already nervous.
Vancouver city councillor Suzanne Anton said a SkyTrain-type line through the Broadway area is unavoidable because 70,000 people per day use transit along the route. “We cannot put any more buses on the corridor,” she said.

Anton does not envision cut-and-cover style construction — which proved so disruptive to Cambie — being used along Broadway, nor does she want it. “I’m going to guess that we would never do cut and cover again,” she said, “but, you know, all of these things are up for discussion.”

Although Anton’s words may be encouraging to Broadway merchants, Cambie business owners were told the Canada Line would be built through a bored tunnel until one week before the project began. However, Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon insists Broadway won’t be torn up at street level. “I can put that to rest real fast,” he said. “We couldn’t do a cut and cover in that area because it’s too dense.”

Then I read this, on page 9 in the January 18, 2008 issue of the Vancouver Courier:

As a business owner along Broadway, would you be willing to have the street dug up in front of your shop for months--maybe even years--to accommodate the construction of an underground rapid transit line from Commercial Drive to UBC?

Although Mayor Sam Sullivan didn't use those words, he asks in his "Millennium Line Completion Survey" whether residents want a tunnel, elevated system, light rapid transit or other along Broadway.

If you believe Sullivan's latest dispatch, which was emailed to the Courier Tuesday, more than 1,800 people responded to the survey and "support for completing the line to UBC was overwhelming."

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon has said the expansion of the line will most certainly be in the form of a tunnel, or cut-and-cover. That's the method being used to build the Canada Line, which has forced the closure of several Cambie Street businesses.

Sullivan says nothing in his dispatch about the impact construction will have on Broadway merchants. But he does say that he and NPA councillors Suzanne Anton and Peter Ladner have "initiated an outreach campaign to local Broadway businesses." No specifics are provided.

Then I read this, on page 10 in the January 18, 2008 issue of the Vancouver Courier:

The main prize for Vancouver is the new transit line out to UBC. You may recall that between them, the City of Vancouver and TransLink have invested almost $3 million in studies to determine, among other things, the type of technology that will be used on that route.

Never mind. Falcon has already made that decision. It will be SkyTrain technology running through a bored tunnel. We don't want to do to folks in the premier's riding what we did to those merchants on Cambie Street.

In my opinion, there is no portion of the Broadway area that is denser than Cambie Street from 16th to King Edward, so if that's the only reason Falcon is giving for why they wouldn't cut-and-cover maybe they'll announce a week before beginning Broadway's construction, after getting everyone on board with the project, that it is in fact going to be cut-and-cover. Now that would be shocking! And totally unprecedented!

Then I read this, on page 8 in the February 1, 2008 issue of the Vancouver Courier:

NPA Coun. Peter Ladner doesn't want the proposed Millennium SkyTrain extension along Broadway to be built with cut-and-cover construction. He's seen enough of what happened to merchants along Cambie, where the Canada Line is under construction. Businesses have closed and motorists are furious. Ladner hasn't made up his mind on tunneling, but the cost has him questioning the method. "At $235 million a kilometre, I'm not sure that you can justify tunneling all the way out to UBC," he said. "There are a whole lot of options."

Though no decision has been made on the type of construction, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon has publicly mentioned his preference for tunneling. How that method would be done without disruption is unclear.

So what's wrong with building a line above ground like most of the track that runs all over the Lower Mainland? It's less expensive. But what an eyesore, critics have said. There's also the fact the line will go through Premier Gordon Campbell's riding and that of the good burghers on the West Side.

When the Courier spoke to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan before last year's Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting, he wondered why his municipality had its SkyTrain tracks built above ground--and why the Canada Line was built underground. And then he answered his own questions. Because we're in Burnaby, he said.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Andy Kaufman on HBO (1977)

Part 1 of 4:

Part 2 of 4:

Part 3 of 4:

Part 4 of 4:

Saturday, January 05, 2008

3 Sleeps 'til jPod!

On Tuesday evening CBC debuts a new show. The show is based on Douglas Coupland's novel jPod and, fittingly, the show is called jPod. I've read the novel, and I urge you to too, before Tuesday at 9pm if possible. Click here to read a review of the show, and then watch the trailer below. Or watch first and read second, it doesn't matter. You could also choose to only watch or only read, or to neither watch nor read. You know what, I don't care what you do, as long as you don't interfere with my jPod watching.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cheetah Speed

We recently became acquainted with three Sh...'s, but might not ever see them again. During our brief acquaintance, talk of the cheetah came about and I told them that cheetahs are the fastest animals in the world. When they asked me how fast they are, I told them I didn't know and made a mental note to find out before day's end. My mind buried that note. It remained buried for a few days, and by the time it resurfaced, we had said goodbye to the three Sh...'s. It's doubtful that better late than never applies here, but for the record - and on the very slim chance they stumble upon this blogpost - cheetahs can reach speeds between 112 kilometres per hour (70 mph) and 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph). They have the ability to accelerate from 0 to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph) in three seconds. Also, for accuracy's sake, cheetahs are the fastest land animal. With a quick google search I found out that the Peregrine Falcon has been reported to reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour during vertical dives. [sources: this wiki page and this Australian Fauna page]