academia aunty blogging awesomeness BC birthdays blog Blogathon Blogathon 2009 Blogathon Vancouver 2009 book learnin' Canada Canucks coffee doing good events family food friends funny geek Geekery hockey Longest Game Longest Game For CF NaBloPoMo Nerdery people who are cool enough to travel with me photos politics rampant consumerism rampant narcissism random rants running science shoes shout outs sports stuff on the internets tech stuff thesis travel travels Vancouver wtf
Half marathon #9 complete!
Here’s Alicia and I after the race:
If we look a little out of it, it’s only because we are. Thanks to the aforementioned not training enough, both of us wanted to puke. But we did it and our time was better than the last two halfs that I did, so that’s something. Official time: 2:17:25. Not great, but I’ll take it.
We also lucked up in that it turned out to be sunny instead of rainy. And the route was relatively flat, so that made me happy. And I saw fans holding up two signs I’d never seen before – one had a target on it and said “hit here for power up” and you could hit it as you went by. The other was a “1 Up” super mario mushroom. Both of those brought me much joy!
Also, another medal for me! Hooray!
So remember when I told you that you should support the Tyee, the award-winning Vancouver-based independent news magazine, to go national? Well I hope you have been procrastinating on actually doing that because have I got an offer for you!
If you go to this link to sign up to support the Tyee, then both you and I get entered into a draw for:
- Two nights for two at BriMar Bed & Breakfast.
- $150 gift certificate for Tofino’s popular Sobo restaurant.
- A daytrip for two to Hot Springs Cove from Ocean Outfitters.
Seeing as I’ve only been to Tofino to (1) jump into the freezing cold ocean in January and (2) run the most hilliest of half marathons ever, I think I really deserve a relaxing weekend there, don’t you? Of course you do. That’s why you are going to go to this link to support the Tyee.
So go to this link. Go there now!!
First of all, watch this video:
So, I’m sure you can see why this campaign appeals to me. Facts – I’m a big fan of those. In depth, well-researched investigations into news stories instead of sound bites of 140 characters or less – that sounds pretty cool to me. The world is complicated and nuanced and I appreciate having a news source that gets that. And yeah, maybe there’s a bit of BC pride in there – we’ve got something pretty cool, and it’s time the rest of the country got to join in too. And supporting The Tyee to go national is something where I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.
They are trying to raise $100,000 and are well on their way, but there’s only 14 days to reach their target. I hope you’ll consider support them and/or spreading the word!
And there’s an added bonus for any Canadian politics nerds out there that’s not mentioned in the video, but that you can see if you go to their campaign page: if you sign up to support them at a level of $15/month or more, you get paper dolls of the Canadian political party leaders, complete with multiple outfits. (Spoiler: Yes, the Stephen Harper one comes complete with kittens!)
In related news – expect to see some blog postings featuring those paper dolls here on NTBTWK sometime soon!
Thanks to a Groupon, I went to my first ever Vancouver Canadians game tonight, thus knocking item #65 off of my 101 things to do in 1001 days list!
For the uninitiated, the Vancouver Canadians are a baseball team that plays in the Northwest League1, and are an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. I’d never been to a game before and had heard they were a tonne of fun, so Cath and I decided to go. And we choose tonight because it was free beach towel night, and Cath and I are a couple of hoopy froods who really know where their towels are.
Cath and I, with aforementioned free beach towel.
The game was pretty fun – the pace was just slow enough to allow us lots of opportunity to catch up with another, but also fast enough that there was some excitement in the game. It’s been a while since I really watched baseball and though I was fine with all the rules and play, I found that I really had no idea why the crowd was boo’ing when it did. Sometimes they boo’ed when the umpire called a strike that was clearly a ball, but often times where was booing for no discernable reason. As for the game itself, the Canadians were winning for much of the game, but then the Hawks tied it up by scoring 3 runs in the 8th inning, and then the Canadians answered back with 1 more run in the bottom of the 8th and managed to hold the Hawks off in the 9th to squeak out the win.
Oddly, there was a foot race between two pieces of sushi and some wasabi, but apparently this is a common occurrence at Vancouver Canadians game.
For the record, Ms. BC Roll won the race. Here she is with her first place ribbon:
Loving my new beach towel!
- No, I didn’t have to look up the name of that league. I can’t believe you’d even suggest that! [↩]
Since the conference that I’ve been at this week is in Vancouver, I’ve been taking Skytrain. And I have to tell you, I so much prefer taking Skytrain to work instead of driving! I can read and drink my coffee and not have to worry about terrible drivers like I do when I’m driving!
Granted, it’s been beautiful and sunny these past two days, so it’s been great to walk between the Skytrain Station and the conference hotel – a little bit of exercise that fits nicely into my day! – and it wouldn’t be quite the same if it were cold and rainy. But still – better than driving. Also, the trip home this afternoon was in peak rush hour so I was sardined into the train so tightly I couldn’t even get my textbook out of my bag to read. But still – beats driving!
Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and since I have to go out to UBC afterwards, I’m driving instead of Skytraining it1. Driving into Vancouver during morning rush hour is craptacular, so I’ll probably go in extra early to avoid the traffic and work at a coffee shop until the conference starts. Because if I have to be sitting around, I’d rather sit around a coffee shop and get work done than sit in traffic!
But never fear, I have to go to Vancouver both on Thursday night and on Saturday, so my transit pass will continue to get a workout
- As getting home from UBC afterwards would take one million years if I were taking transit. [↩]
As you know from my constant yammering about it, I’m training to run the Victoria Half Marathon and my IT band is not happy about it. I had to run 18 km today – my second last long run before the actual race – and since the hilliness of New Westminster seems to be what’s being kicking my ITB’s ass, I decided that I should trek out to my old non-hilly stomping grounds to do this one. So I headed off to Vancouver to do a nice seaside run along the seawall that runs along the south side of False Creek, starting a bit east of the Cambie Bridge and going all the way to Jericho beach – and back! My knee definitely wasn’t 100%, but it was better than it has been the last few weeks1.
What wasn’t as successful, though, was my Runkeeper app. As I’ve mentioned before, I use the Runkeeper app on my iPhone which uses GPS/cell phone towers to track my runs; it periodically notifies you of things like how far you’ve run and how fast you’ve run while you are running by having a voice come over your headphones with said information. I usually set mine to notify me ever 2 km, but since this run was an 18 km one where I wanted to run 9 km (i.e., an odd number of kilometers) out and then turn around and do 9 km back, I set mine to notify me every 1 km instead. And it worked just fine until about 12 km, after which it went totally insane and told me every minute or so that I’d just done another kilometer. Now, as much as I’d like to, I really don’t run a kilometer in a minute. And its really super annoying to be trying to listen to your music and enjoy your run when a voice pops up every minute and a half telling you such lies. It also *completely* defeats the purpose of helping you set your pace when you have no idea how far you’ve run or what your pace is.
Essentially what’s happening is that the GPS/cell phone tower tracking is getting confused and thinks that I’m somewhere that I’m not and then finds where I actually am and thinks that I’ve run that distance in a split second. Here’s a section of the map it produced with its idea of where I’d run:
I can assure you that I did not, in fact, go for a swim through False Creek at breakneck speeds.
Notice that my pace is completely reasonable and consistent until about kilometer 12, at which point it goes apeshit.
I’ve had this issue on a few runs recently, but I thought it was because I was out in remote – and presumably cell phone tower-less -areas of Vancouver Island or because I was running under the Skytrain and my iPhone couldn’t “see” the satellites/cell phone towers properly. But this is a route that I’ve run many, many times in the past without incident2. What I also don’t get is why it was able to track my run along this route just fine on the way out, but on the way back along *the exact same route*, it suddenly can’t see the satellites/cell phone towers properly. Can any tech nerds explain this to me – or, even better, tell me how to make it work?
For the record, here is the section of that route as I actually ran it:
After a long day of class today1, I rewarded myself by buying a foam roller2 and then dinner at La Bell Patate, a Québécois restaurant on Davie Street. I had bought a Social Shopper (i.e., fake Groupon) deal for 2 poutine and 2 hotdogs at L.B.P., a place that I had only heard of when I’d Googled around to try to find if you can buy spruce beer anywhere in Vancouver.
The hotdogs – or “steamies” as they are called there (all dressed with sauerkraut and onions and mustard) – were nothing to write home about. Then again, I never had steamies when I was in Montreal as a kid like I did Montreal smoked meat or spruce beer, so I don’t have any nostalgia associated with it. But the poutine was divine:
And they did, in fact, have my beloved spruce beer!
It was even better than the stuff I had picked up the last time I was in Montreal. At least 87% more sprucey!
Picture it! Me and Cath are at St. Augustine’s and I can’t decide what beer to have. No matter! I choose “the Paddle” – which is a wooden paddle on which they place 4 small glasses of your beers of choosing. Photographic evidence:
The beers I chose were:
- Unibroue, EPHEMERE APPLE
- Alameda Brewing Co, MAPLE MILD
- Storm Brewing, SCOTTISH HIGHLAND CREAM ALE
- Driftwood Brewery, WHITE BARK ALE
The apple one was quite an interesting taste. I wouldn’t want a whole pint of it, but a small glass was nice. The maple one was good, but I prefer Granville Island’s Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale. The other two were also solid choices, but nothing to write home about. I may or may not have followed up with a Central City Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale.
So, remember how I mentioned that Devon has some mad bartending skills? Well, he picked up those skills when he lived in the UK, where he just so happened to be a bartender. And while being a bartender in the UK, he also picked up a love of Blavod, a jet black vodka that is made and sold there. Ever since he’s moved back, he’s been trying to find it here, but to no avail1. Until now. Because someone – who I think deserves the Girlfriend of the Year award – managed to track some down. In Port freaking Coquitlam!
I was able to track this little puppy down because I have connections. By which I mean an Internet connection. And I used that Internet connection to email the Blavod people. And, as luck would have it, the Blavod people had quite recently struck a deal with a distributor in Vancouver and had even more recently just shipped some Blavod here! After some waiting for the Blavod to clear customs and then more waiting2 because the BC Liquor Store through which I put my order kept saying that it wasn’t in the distributor’s warehouse (even though the distributor was all “uh, yeah, it is!”), the distributor put me in touch with a little liquor store in PoCo that had the goods!
So tonight after work, I told Devon that we were going on a little drive because I had a surprise for him! Because, did I mention?, Girlfriend of the Year AND I love theatrics! And off we went to the Select Liquor in Port Coquitlam, with Devon having no idea where I was taking him3 where I walked up to the vodka section, and there it was! I’d like to give props to the Select Liquor store, who actually carries this stuff, because wtf BC Liquor Store, who took my order several weeks ago and continues to tell me that their system says that the distributor doesn’t have any Blavod in their warehouse when clearly it does? They only had about 9 bottles in stock though – and we bought 2 of them – so if you want to get some jet black vodka of your own, I suggest you go their posthaste!
Sadly, tonight is a Monday and I have a bucketload of studying to do this week4, so we couldn’t just dive into the bottles and start making drinks of awesomeness. So you’ll have to wait for a future blog posting where you actually get to see the Blavod in all it’s Blavodian goodness!
- Well, other than that apparently you can buy it at some liquor store in Boston. You know, if you felt like driving 5,000+ km for a bottle of booze [↩]
- And all through the waiting I kept saying to my sister “omg, when is the Blavod going to get heeeeerreeee??? Because I was dying to tell Devon that I’d found it, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise! [↩]
- Though he did not that we weren’t too far from the shooting range we went to on my birthday! [↩]
- As I have two exams this weekend, plus a case memo due on Friday. [↩]
Why do people insist on referring to all of the city of Vancouver as “downtown”? I seem to have this equivalent of this conversation on a regular basis:
Me: Have you ever been to The Naam (or some other location in Vancouver that is not downtown) ?
Other Person: No, I hardly ever go downtown.
Me: Oh, it’s not downtown. It’s in Kits.
Other Person: ???
Then today, I saw this in an email from Groupon:
It’s called KITSILANO Laser and Spa Centre. Kitsilano is a neighbourhood in Vancouver that is *not* downtown.
There is a part of Vancouver – a very *small* part of Vanccouver, I might add – that is known as “downtown”. It’s written right on the map!
Here, I have annotated the map for you:
I trust this clears things up for everyone, yes?