Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Olympics - Random pics & more doodles

Here are some random pics from my Olympics... This is Batman taking time out from his street art performance to interact with some kids on the public art. It made their day:
Emailing friends from the big screen down at Robson Square:
Musicians and ordinary folk dancing down at Robson Square....
Dudes dancing alone, you just don't see that every day...
Proud Canadians showing their love for our country at the ice skating rink down at Robson Square:
These guys weren't really street performers, I think they were marketing a play or something, but were fun to see nonetheless.... and I love what that one guy has done with his tail! ha!
On Robson at Seymour there is a big board where people can write messages to the athletes, it's fun to get up close to:

American cheeseheads at women's hockey at UBC. I don't mean to be mean, they were Americans and they were wearing cheese on their heads. Quite happily, I might say ;-)
I've been doodling all along, and finally got some more posted - enjoy!:

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Olympics - Victory Ceremony: Stereophonics

Last night my friend Kelly and I went to one of the Victory Ceremonies at BC Place, where we saw the Stereophonics. Neither of us knew them (we saw them because it was the only date with tickets still available) but totally enjoyed the music and the show:
This was also Yukon night at the venue, so we got half an hour of video and performances from the Yukon - with lots of cheers from the Yukon-heavy crowd next to us. We were surprised that - during a First Nations performance - to see a dog sled come out. It was beautiful and very special. Part of me was busy hoping that the dogs were happy (and not terrified), but they were wagging their tails;-)
Some hip hop dancers from the Yukon. They were shown first flipping off mountain ledges in the outdoors up in the Yukon, then they exploded onto the stage. Pretty darn good!
Was a bit disappointed that the night we attended the Victory Ceremony the were no local medals being given out, but we got to see the Whistler awards - incluing Jon Montgomery's gold medal. It was a proud moment, and I got to sing Oh Canada (and was suitably drowned out by the crowd, much to Kelly's relief... I gather my singing isn't so hot.... lol). Regardless, it was good to see the inside of BC Place all decked out for the Olympics - and it was cool to get a good event for only $22 in the nosebleed section.
I have been doodling, here's the next batch:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Olympics - City Scenes: Zipline

OK, I've officially abandoned my idea of a day-by-day post of my Olympic experience. Instead, I'm just going to post interesting stuff, from time to time, when I'm inspired. I got some good pics the other day at the Zipline down at Robson Square. This is me sitting below the tower that the very brave souls pitch themselves off of:
Here's a guy who just let go....
A couple people caught right overhead....
This gives you a sense of just how far up these folks are! Actually, I've heard they are 6 stories up for their 15 seconds of fame - or fear - or fun....
Looking up from atop Robson Square...
Looking up from the big screen area where I was watching the pairs figure skating short program. Below the screen is the line up of people waiting (the line is 2-8 hours long!)
Yeah!!!!! Cheering on a friend, I imagine....
If you've stood below the folks whizzing by in the sky, you may have wondered how all the equipment gets back up to the launching pad. The answer: muscle power. This is the easy part, so to speak, as it gets them up a floor or two. Still to go: stairs up to the platform...
Not a chance that you'd get me up there, but I am an enthusiastic supporter of this type of fun activity downtown in our city. This is the kind of fun activity this city needs, as it's as fun for both the observers and the participants. It's free for the Olympics, but I can imagine that with the right permits, that this could be a money maker anytime. Vancouver not a fun city? Well, maybe not anymore, if the energy that is happening downtown now is embraced and facilitated as just part of living here. Let's hope....

My Olympics - keeping up!?!?!?

My view from the "cheap seats" at a women's hockey game last night at Thunderbird Stadium at UBC. I was cheering for Finland, who won 2-1 over China.
It was quite a cool experience which I'll repeat again tonight (Slovakia vs. Switzerland) and tomorrow afternoon (USA vs. Finland). I managed to get "obstructed view" tickets for $41 each, which is defined as 10%-50% obstructed... I saw just fine!

I am amused at my vision of blogging daily about the Olympics, as it's time consuming and I've been out most nights doing something. Here it is Day 6 and my last post was Day 2. Heh. At this point, I am still planning to fill in the gaps, though at some point I might just admit defeat and do a catch up summary. LOL. Regardless, I've got some great pics I want to share... but, for now, it's time for me to get to my event! ;-)

In the meantime, I have posted my daily doodles:
Olympic Doodle - Day 3
Olympic Doodle - Day 4
Olympic Doodle - Day 5

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Olympics - Day 2: Silver!

Day Two of the Olympics was exciting with Jennifer Heil's silver medal in the women's moguls. Yeah Jen! Go Canada Go!!! This is a pic of Jen from the 2006 Turin Olympics, where she took gold.
Picture source: Wikipedia Commons

An interesting thing I discovered about Jen is that she is the Ambassador for Birks, Canada's historial jeweller. She even has a line of silver jewellry designed in her honour (how fitting!). Read all about it from this tweet from Jen on Twitter. Birks has a special place in the hearts of Vancouverites with the famous Birk's Clock, pictured below. I remember my mom telling me that when she was a young woman, she and her friends would say "meet you at the clock". If my memory serves me well, I believe the Birks clock was also frequently seen in pictures from the era, as the street photographers would often set up there. The clock was recently restored and reinstalled at Hastings and Granville, just in time for the games - here's the story.

Picture source: Wikipedia Commons

So, the rest of my day two of the Olympics. I decided to walk over the Cambie Street bridge to get a view of the Athlete's Village. As I walked along Broadway, I was struck by the enthusiasm by with so many of Vancouver's retailers are getting into the Olympic spirit with their store windows. Whether it's a simple flag or a truly creative display, it's nice to see the involvement. This one caught my eye and I snapped a pic (forgot to capture the name of the store, will do that at some point and come back and update this):
The bigger retailers are, of course, totally in the spirit and, although their displays are generally predictably grander or flashy, it still adds colour and energy to our city. The kind of stuff that makes me proud to be a Canadian. So, I was expecting to see a few biggies as I went on my walk. And, there it was, a huuuge flag was in my direct view as I headed down Cambie.
Now here's another company getting in the Olympic spirit. If the picture looks funny, it's actually not a blended Italian and Canadian flag... it's two huge flags flying back to back. I'm guessing the developer is Italian. Love the "I'm cheering both" spirit!
As I was crossing the bridge, I was passed by a crew of about a dozen cops cycling to their posts downtown ;-)
I did get a bit of a look at the entrance to the Olympic Village, but it was really just the car entry point. I want to come back another day when it's brighter and clearer to get more pics... but cool to see nonetheless.
Stopped by the 2010 ticket booth down near BC Place and discovered that everyone needs to stand in line to get their tickets. Heh.
If you are looking for the ticket booth, look for this tall gizmo that changes colours:
It was wiiiiiidny out!
LOVED these lights that a Yaletown resident had hung up to welcome all our visitors!
I found myself walking by the Bell Ice Cube on Beatty Street, and as I was cold and a little wet, and the line seemed short, I thought I'd go in.
This is what it looked like inside. Oh, and it's not a place to go if you want to .get warmed up. They call it an ice cube for a reason. They actually refrigerate it and all the staff were thick white coats. It does add to the atmosphere, and it was nicer than being out in the rain, but expect a chill. In temperature only. The people were plenty warm.
There are interactive displays on Canadian athletes, and plenty of big screen TVs that you can plug your free Bell headphones into if you want to hear the play by play. They are also cool to play under if you are one of the little people crowd ;-)
The biggest bonus of all, was a free performance by Naturally Seven. If you've never heard of them, do yourself a favour and do a little search on YouTube. AWESOME stuff. These seven hip geniouses make their music with their voices.... fab, fab, fab!

Naturally Seven performed around 7 or 7:30pm and said they will be there for the length of the Olympics. It's worth arriving early and hanging around to catch them. They did a decent set of 5 or 6 songs. And it was SO COOL (pun intended) to be standing about 4 feet away. It was after their performance that Jenn Heil won her silver medal, and I watched it live at the Ice Cube. It was my first experience of being with a crowd when a Canadian won a medal live - and it was a great experience. One that I hope to have more of!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Olympics - Day 1: Bittersweet

Where was I yesterday (February 12th) 1 hour, 34 minutes and 29 seconds before the games started? At the countdown clock, of course. It was cool, as I remember being here when there was 1 year left- click here to see those pics.

Today was bittersweet, with the tragic death of Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training run at the luge track in Whistler (click here for the story; note there is a video but I have not watched it, nor do I intend to, right now that feels like sensationalism, rather than respect, though I suppose I might feel differently later). Like most, I felt absolutely sickened by the news and so very, very sad. It was hard to get my spirits back up for the games, but that is nothing compared to what his fellow athletes must be going through. I had so much respect for the team as they marched into the opening ceremonies. They left afterwards, but they have chosen to stay and compete. Wow. So, what was to be a happy day wasn't so much. Really felt for John Furlong last night. But the games went on, as they should (sigh).

I must say, there was lots there to lift one's spirits watching the Opening Ceremonies. A big one for me was the cutaways to our Canadian troops in Afghanistan. At one point they showed a pic of the sky above the base where the pilots had shaped rings in the sky. Cool. It's so nice that the troops have something to look forward to that connects them to home.

OK, I cheated, and took a few pics of my friend's TV screen. CTV, I know you own these images. But as they are so poorly taken, I trust you will forgive me, as there is no way anyone is going to use them, and just maybe someone overseas will look up CTV online to see your coverage. Peace, ok?

Because, in the end, I couldn't resist this pic of Canada's awesome Clara Hughes carrying our flag. Clara the only Canadian and fourth ever athlete in history to win medals in both Winter and Summer Games (speedskating and cycling). You can visit her website and her blog here.

A couple of the Canadian athletes were carrying a flag of signatures. Makes me wonder what the story is....

OK, now some other moments from my day yesterday... I was watching the torch relay streamed live on my laptop (aka what a girl with no cable does!), and was delighted to see Sam Sullivan carrying the torch. Sam was one of three Vancouver mayors to play a role in our city's preparation for the games (the others were Larry Campbell, who was in office during the bid, and Gregor Robertson, our current mayor who saw the city through the final bumps to get us here). Regardless of what one thinks of Sam and his time as our Mayor, Sam did an awesome job as ambassador of the Vancouver Olympics. Click here to see a video of him accepting the flag in Torino, a moment that apparently stunned people in some parts of the world that could not imagine a quadraplegic holding such a prominent political office... and gave a new face to the Paralympic games. Anyways, I had been saddened to learn that he had no role in the games themselves, and had not even been given tickets. Geez. So, I was delighted to see him carrying the torch, how special for him! (Not in this pic, I also noticed that there was a disabled journalist travelling along with him, which I thought was a neat opportunity, as otherwise the relay would have been too fast for this kind of participation).

As I stopped to use the ATM at the Royal Bank on the corner of Georgia and Burrard Streets I noticed that they had a big screen set up and a bunch of easy chairs... Nifty. Tho now the secret is out...

A neat way to get around downtown these days...

Oops, a definite miss! Even I could have figured out we needed more garbage cans downtown. Doh. On a sidenote, interesting to see this crew of motorcycle cops at the ready - not a usual sight in Vancouver!

Encountered this guy was I was walking along Robson Street yesterday, all decked out with his cardboard/paper torch, gas mask and breathing tubes. He was all alone, but because he looked so hilarious, everyone looked and so he actually probably got his message out (oh, wait, what would that message have been?)... hmmmm...

This street band walking down Granville Street was featured on the news last night, apparently they were protesting all the protesters. Heh.

Oh, one more pic from the opening ceremony.... loved these fans!!!

A few pics from after the opening ceremonies now... This is the CTV news booth outside their studios on Robson Street. I don't think Pam is going to be all that happy, as the back of it is open and the wind was blowing her hair so that it was standing up on end during the broadcast.... I'm picturing a change by tonight. I doubt they'll cover the opening, so I'm guessing an Olympic toque, a hairnet or a pound of don't-touch-me-iron-hairspray.

The crowds on Robson behind the Art Gallery (between Hornby and Howe Streets) were insane. This was around 11, at least an hour and a half after the end of the opening ceremonies. Took about 10 minutes to walk a block, but the energy was very positive, so it was fun. I think there may have been a celebrity in this cluster, based on all the cameras clicking, people climbing fences and ledges to see, and the singing of the "Ole" hockey song (a Sidney spotting perhaps? naw, the crowd was too small, but something was going on!).

Howe Street, where I went to catch my bus. Hmmm.... There were busses sitting on the other side of those people, but the street was completely shut down. These friendly Sherrffs - who suggested I try Richards Street where the ones that didn't get stuci were apparently rerouted to - said they didn't know how long the street woud be shut. I gather it wasn't expected, but the crowd was just too big. But this is the very spot where the fireworks go off every night, so it's no surprise. Oh, on that note, about 15 minutes earlier, as I was approaching the area, those fireworks were just ending - with some huge round balls of fire that blasted up into the sky, like something I'd never seen before. Will have to go back to see the full show

I looked back again, and caught this great pic of Hotel Vancouver lightings up the sky behind the Robson Square area.

And this was the energy on Granville Street south of Smithe as I walked by. Nice vibe.

And I did another Olympic doodle: Olympic Doodle - Day 1, now posted.