Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's O-fish-ul

Well, I'm moving back to Toronto. I got a new job in the dot and I start in Toronto. Just thought I'd mention it on this guy. Before I leave I want to do some wrap up about my time out here and maybe a little guide on stuff I was stoked on out here.

But yeah, I'm on my way back to the middle of winter. Good foresight on my part.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

a slow end

Well, as you probably noticed, I'm not posting in this thing as much as I used to. There's a few good reasons for it. For starters, the format I've created with all the links to the pictures is a real pain to complete. Another reason is I find after a year of posting stuff I'm starting to repeat myself. For example, I went to Tofino recently, it was another awesome trip, but the pictures are very similar to ones I shot last year.

I've sort of found my niche out here and everything seems less foreign and interesting to me than it did before, as a result, I bring my camera less, and I generally don't find things as interesting.

The original purpose of this blog was to communicate what I'm up to out here with friends and family, So I wouldn't have to keep sending the same "what's new?" email back and forth over and over again. It served that purpose quite well.

As a result, I'm going to keep this going a little longer, but I'm planning to switch things up soon. I want to switch to something that's quicker, and a lot less PG. I've had a few people mention to me how dry this blog is. Trust me, I know. It's hard not to write down every fart joke I think up. That needs to end soon.

Moving forward, I have a question for anyone who has a more modern blog. Should I use Tumblr or Wordpress? I heard Wordpress is better if you're not just reposting, is that true or has anyone else had any experiences?

In the meantime. Enjoy fish. fish. fish. fish and more fish.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


When something cool happens usually I don't get as excited as I should, usually because things rarely happen out of the blue. Instead you start working at something and poof, it happens.

That's why I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be when I wrote an interview for Color Magazine. Then I saw the contributors page, with me and Ed Templeton book ending the thing and thought how stoked 16 year old Simon would be at seeing that. I mean the dude created Toy Machine and some of my favorite skate vids. So yeah, remember kids, even if you'll never land a 360 flip, there's other ways to share the limelight with your heroes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Where my dawgs at? Ben Meers edition

This one was like 4 months in the waiting. I asked Ben to write this a while ago but, it's worked out because he has been travelling a lot lately. I met Ben through 12 oz profit, which was (and still is) a big time community for graffiti writers. While I was down there on a business trip he showed me around and we basically stayed in touch since then, basically visiting each other whenever we wanted to take a party trip somewhere on the cheap. One funny thing about Ben is that he was the event planner dude for Blegojivich, he also confirmed that he was a pretty big douche before the whole fall out.

By now most of the people who read this have probably met Ben before. I give you Ben Meers.

Who are you?
Ben-- well, Texas Ben to most Canadians.

Where you live?
I just moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. Before that, I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a month after a year of living in England.

What you up to?
L-I-V-I-N. Cold lampin'; reppin' USA around the world. USA! #1!

Whats a cool thing(s) about where you live?

Bikes, blitzed babes at bars, beer, boats, burgers ... and that's just the Bs.

What's something you're excited about right now?

What am I not excited about? I live in the happiest country in the world, getting paid by the EU and am basically just relaxing. I also have a pretty good trip planned for next year.

Anything else?
I'd like to end with a quote: "Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, at least you're hangin' with the stars." - Tony Bruyn

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A trip to SF

Me and Christy went down to San Francisco last Wednesday for an extra long weekend. The principle reason was that an old friend of Christy’s from England was getting married to an American girl and we were invited to the wedding. Hey, any excuse to go to a city like SF is cool with me, and getting to see old friends we haven’t seen in a while makes it that much sweeter.

Basically me and Christy tried our usual thing of putting our faith in Priceline’s name your price option. Unfortunately we did it about 3 days before we had to leave and got shut out. Thankfully Mike Newland came up big and got us a discount at the Fairmont in SF. The hotel was absolutely ridiculous. The day we showed up Governor Arnie was actually there doing some press conference or something. I never saw him but I saw his army of security guards. Our hotel was also located on Nob Hill, in the middle of the city. Which is cool for scenic views and seeing everything, but a bit of a bummer when it comes to walking back up to the hotel. Seriously, the hills and that city are ridiculous.

On the first day we spent most of it walking around. Mostly the usual spots. Looked at a lot of cool buildings and stuff and also saw where the gonz gap used to be. Me and my bro went there when we were in our teens and basically all we did the entire time was get our parents to drive us to famous skate spots. The embarcadero, hubba hideout and the gonz were the obvious first ones to go to. This time around I was sort of surprised to see how skate proof the entire city had become. Another weird thing I noticed, for a city that was essentially a mecca of graffiti ten years ago, there wasn’t much at all. Most of the stuff I saw was legal stuff. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of AWR and MSK stuff, I even saw a giant peice, but I don’t know, wall productions and stuff never really get me all that psyched.

So yeah, went around the pier, the embarcadero, saw those awesome sea lions that hang out on the docks, looked out at the rock but didn’t bother with a tour or anything. We met up with Will in the Haight Ashbury area. Checked out Amoeba records and a few other shops, to be honest I’m a bit surprised we didn’t take any pictures. I was probably afraid some dirty hippy might stink up the camera. Seriously though, I was a little surprised hippies still hang out there, it’s not exactly a beacon of co-ops and freaky stores anymore. I mean there’s a few of them but there’s also a ton of boutiques and yuppie stores too. Than again, why would hippies do anything logical in the first place right? Man I hate hippies.

At the end of the day we met up with a bunch of the dudes and went to a Giants game. We sat in the bleachers right in front of that giant Coke bottle that Barry Bonds used to hit dingers over. All in all it was a cold night but it’s a pretty cool place to watch the game. After that we headed to the Tonga room inside the basement of the Fairmont. It’s basically like a Trader Vic’s type of bar. The coolest thing was it had the band perform on a boat in the middle of a fake lagoon. And it rained indoors. Pretty hilarious.

The next day was sort of more of the same. Walked around to the Mission first. During which a few really weird things happened. To anyone that has never been to SF, the city is really patchy. And by that I mean you might go 3 blocks of a nice neighborhood, then out of nowhere you’ll be walking through the middle of cracksville. Walking around this day, it just kept happening. We’d go to an area that we’d heard good things about, get there and be totally confused as to why we were recommended to visit such a shit hole, then go a block further and come across something cool. On our way down, through union square we had one gentlemen come up behind Christy and pretend to slap her butt, as he walked away we noticed he had a switch blade in his other hand. Just dangling it, no big whoop. So first we walked to the Mission (Mexican) neighborhood. Once again, after a parade of crack heads we turned off and found some cool shops and stuff. From there it was to the Castro (Gay) neighborhood. And then we too Market street back to the middle of union square and eventually our own hotel where we hung out in the back garden a bit. It was a sweet day, me and Christy are pretty stoked on walking around a city and SF is a pretty good walking city, like I said though, pretty surprised at the lack of graffiti and skaters

The next day was the wedding. It was a small ceremony at what was an old military chapel. For the reception we went across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley. The reception was at a golf course and was a wicked time. Lots of boozing and dancing specifically, which is usually good signs for any sort of Wedding, unfortunately when you go too far with both it can lead to trouble, which in this case turned out to be me and Christy falling on each other and Christy broke her toe. Hey no one said partying awesome was easy right?

Peace out SF. Not only were you an awesome host, but you were also witness to one of the best passes I’ve ever seen Brett Favre throw. Go Vikes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Home Pt 2

Though I was back in Ontario about 3 weeks ago now, a lot of stuff has gone on since then.

With that being said, I thought I should mention hanging out at Christy’s cottage a ton. It’s a pretty sweet place to generally just hang out and do nothing, it’s also one of the few places in the world that I can hang out without feeling like I have to do something. Courtney brought up “Settlers of Catan” as a gift for the cottage. That’s a pretty epic game. To be honest I think I could’ve played it the entire cottage time. I need to find some dudes who are up for an epic Catan night when I don’t have the money to go out or something on a weekend. Yeah I’m getting old and soft. No big whoop.

Also, while I was back home, a pretty intense event known as the League of Genius Fantasy draft took place. Being the 5th year of the draft it’s sort of become a big deal. On top of it being an excuse to get drunk, it’s garnered a bit of cache with a professional football scout and the official fantasy football guy for the score both being involved in it this year. Sick. It’s pretty awesome to beat either of those guys, I mean, they get paid to do it. Anyways it was a pretty awesome night once again. Lots of partying, boozing, stressing out about the draft picks, and watching people make bad picks. Honestly, it’s hard to explain how awesome a fantasy draft is to people who have no interest in the nfl, but yeah, it rules.

Also this last time back home I made sure to spend some time with my grandma learning how to cook a bunch of Lithuanian food. Granted, I will probably only be making this food for myself considering most people who try Lithuanian food get bummed out. Anyways, awesome.

The weekend after me and Christy got back from Ontario we took a road trip down to Seattle to go see Toronto FC take on the Seattle sounders. The border was a bummer, but once we go there it was pretty awesome. They play at quest field and the full lower bowl of 32,000 was full so it was a pretty rad experience. I hate to say it TFC die hards but it was louder than BMO field. Also, all the Sounders fans I met were really friendly and cool about the whole thing. Nothing bothers me more than north American soccer fans trying to create some contrived rivalry or “actin’ like propa’ geezahs” and acting like assholes. You see it a lot more on soccer forums and stuff than you do in real person.

Sorry if this entry is a little lame. I’ve been watching a pretty sweet documentary on heavy metal the entire time. Better post on Sunday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Alright. I’ve had enough. After years of having crappy cell phones and, for the last little while, no computer I’ve decided to get tricked out. By the start of the new year, I want to go from where I am right now, to one of those obnoxious dudes who twitters on his cell phone about how you punched him in the face for twittering while hanging out with you. Okay not that obnoxious but you get the idea.

Right now I have a cell phone that’s 7 years old. Sometimes when I pick it up it hangs up right as I answer the phone, other times when I’m writing a text if I press the ‘4’ key too hard it’ll just send my text mid-sentence. As for my computer I sold it a while back to get fishing gear. Honestly I don’t regret that one because fishing rules, and it was an old beast of a g5, I need something more mobile.

So here’s the scoop. I need recco’s. Right now I’m looking at probably getting a mac book. I’ve heard there’s rumors that the regular mac book might be getting upgraded, at least cosmetically, so I might hold off a month or two. I need something I can do a little bit of editing, photoshop and writing on, it doesn’t need to be a hog so I think I can get away with just a simple mac book. If I’m wrong in that assumption, let me know.

The second one is the phone. Right now I’m considering three options, an iphone, a blackberry and a cool android phone. Right now the iphone is enticing simply because I’m interested in some of the apps, however with android I’m thinking something backed up by google might get some real cool options available for it soon.

Anyone got any tips? I know, not my typical blog post, but any help is appreciated.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ontario vacation part 1 - Toronto

Everytime I’m sitting around on a Friday night in Vancouver with nothing to do, I reflect on my time spent in Toronto. Probably the time that I partied the hardest in my life. As a result I can find myself getting a bit nostalgic for the good ole days of partying all day and night. I guess it’s easy to selectively forget all those days afterwards of being super hung over both mentally and physically.

Going back over my vacation time I wanted to make sure I had a good amount of Toronto time. Of course a big part of this is the fact that a good chunk of my friends live in Toronto these days. As much as I’m stoked on all of the friends I’ve made out in B.C. there’s still something really awesome about old friends. I always find around those dudes laughing is a little bit easier, the drinks flow a little quicker and it’s all around just a little more lively.

Besides heading to a TFC game with Matt (which was basically an excuse to party) I spent most of the time either on a patio, at someone’s house drinking, or in a bar drinking. It worked out pretty much as I hoped for. The usual gang of thugs was always out, Matt, Dan, Mike, Harold, Ben as well as some surprises like Gordie, who was down from Montreal and was awesome to hang out with.

We went to a lot of the usual spots like sneaky dees and the tap, as well as just general hole in the wall type bars that we like to hang out. Once again the thing is, on paper none of this sounds exciting, that’s part of what’s so cool about Toronto: awesome things just sort of happen when you hang out with your best buds in a city that has people who like to party. Some of the awesome moments included an impromptu bubble hockey tournament, a serious pose off, a dance party, another dance party, and just general awesome times. Thanks again dudes for reminding me how awesome Toronto was.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I swear I haven't forgotten

I know I've been brutal lately. But expect a bunch of new posts sometime really soon. As much as I'm happy that other people read this thing, a big reason for it is to document all the stuff I'm up to, and lately there's been a bunch of cool stuff to talk about, unfortunately I've just been too busy with work to get to it. With that being said this weekend upcoming is labor day so I'm going to try and crush 2 or 3 posts.

Hope everyone had an awesome summer. Personally I'm kind of excited for fall.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

vacation time

I've sort of been hiatus from this thing simply because I've been so busy with work. Now I'm onmy way back to Ontario for vacation, got a bunch of good stuff planned and I'll come back in full force with this thing once i get back. I apologize to the 5 people who read this thing but, hey, i'm out for summer.

did anyone else watch the stamps eski's game tonight? Wow, that's why the CFL is awesome.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a quick one

Little update.

Lately, the weather here has been insane. Up to about 4 days ago it was perfect. But lately it’s been crazy hot. In the newspaper the other day it called it a “heat wave of a lifetime”. Seriously? Lets not go too nuts.

But yeah, the weather has been pretty sweet and unlike last year I feel like I’m getting a pretty awesome summer. I guess this is especially poignant if you’re reading this in Ontario where I’ve heard it’s been a pretty awful summer so far.

So last week I got offered a free ticket to go see Snoop Dogg at the pacific coliseum. It was through a client we have who has a private box there. It was, well, cool. To be honest I went to go see snoop because I felt like it was one of those things I feel like I should do. Basically it was like watching a cartoon. Exactly what you expected. One funny thing though, is that not only does he perform his hits, he performs other people hits. At one point he did “Jump around”. One funny thing about the concert is that it was filled with girls wearing tiny miniskirts and high heels. I guess every girl was hoping that despite sitting in the nosebleeds they thought they might be able to draw the interest of Snoop Dogg or something. Sometimes I pray I’ll never have a daughter. Another thing I saw a lot of was overbaked guys. Guys who stank like weed, were sweating like crazy with super bloodshot eyes and a deep red faceand were going to the bathroom all the time. It was actually pretty funny. Another weird thing, when you see Snoop perform you realize how dirty some of his songs are. Not to sound like a square, but it can feel sort of uncomfortable listening to snoop sing for three minutes graphically describing a blow job he got. Funny enough these were usually the songs the girls in the miniskirts were most into.

Fast forward to the weekend, specifically Saturday. My buddy John hooked me up with tickets to the Virgin festival. The weird thing is in Vancouver I think they had trouble selling tickets as I heard on the Saturday they only sold 3000 tickets. Yikers. I showed up in time to see broken social scene who put on an amazing show. I’d heard a lot of good things about them and they lived up to it. K-Os got on stage and rapped with them for a bit too but, I don’t know, give me rock, not rap rock, knowhatimsayin? I was sitting beside this dude with the best seat in the house. He was super generous too, making sure everyone around him had enough to eat.

One annoyance was seeing people practice yoga at the concert. Seriously Vancouver yoga nerds?! Can you not just get drunk like the rest of the world? Or would that ruin your cosmic energy or something. Read the rulebook on how to have fun.

Next up was Our Lady Peace. To be honest I was kinda surprised I hadn’t somehow seen them up to this point. It was weird, apparently they lost their last guitarist and decided to get howard stern to replace him. About 10 minutes into the set it started to rain hard. I took this as more proof that God hates Our Lady Peace so I heeded his warning and went home. As I started driving home the rain got worse and eventually became a full blown thunderstorm which is really rare for the city. The sky turned a really cool color and it was all sort of surreal.

A few hours later I went to the magazine release party for Color magazine, a skate mag out here that I’m actually doing a bit of writing for. They also have a lot of strange connections to a bunch of my friends, I think Cody is doing some work for them cause a bunch of people asked me about Cody and the Cocaine car while I was there. They also knew people I used to skate with in Hamilton. It’s a small world I guess. Anyways, the party was a really good time. Lots of drinking, old friends and new friends and some dancing.

So that’s a quick recap of last weekend, tomorrow I leave to go to Ontario for the weekend. Really really looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll have some stuff to report soon. Until then, peace out. Oh and if you haven’t checked out sky force yet, they have a new episode up. Simply amazing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sky force 6

friends from back home did this. Frankly speaking, it's probably the best thing you'll see all year. I saw slumdog finally on monday and this beats it

Sky Force 6: Episode #1 "Four Score and Twenty Migs Ago" from Matt Unsworth & Simon Bruyn on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So I guess I should get on to the actual competition we were in. Unfortunately, given that Jon and I hadn’t slept very well and it was a 9 hour time difference, me and Jon were struggling to stay up as much as we were trying to work to the brief. The competition worked like this, we had 24 hours to do an ad basically to tell people to stop buying poached animal souvenirs like elephant skin wallets and tiger fur and such. Long story short, we didn’t come in the top 3. In hindsight me and John new why but to go over it on this blog wouldn’t really interest anyone and probably make me sound like I was making excuses, but if you come talk to me about it, I can vent some of my frustrations about it. Needless to say, me and John both have a bunch of regrets over how we handled the situation.

Right after we walked out from handing in our competition entry we walked right into two buddies from Toronto, Joel and Chris. We figured the best bet would be to head off to our hotel and drink some cheap room beers before heading out for our first real night out on the town. After the first brews we went out for some pasta and met some English blokes who were actually in the same competition as us. We chilled at the dinner spot for a bunch, drank more beers than headed off to an irish pub. I know, really soaking in the French culture, but hey, it was the only place you could get pints for under 6 euro. After talking up a storm with all the new and old friends I think I had managed to invite something like 20 people to come to Vancouver and crash at my place. I was drunk and still all over the map mentally after a surreal 48 hours or so.

After the bar we went back to the hotel but first we stumbled into perhaps France’s best kept culinary secret. They have insanely good chicken shawarmas. I know, I know, not the most authentic again but seriously the shawarma’s were insane. Maybe it’s the proximity to the middle east, or maybe, it’s because the put French fries in them. Seriously though, they put French fries in everything there though. You can have the classiest meal and still they’ll stuff the frois gras with “frites”. It’s ridiculous, you can’t escape them. But in this instance they taste so wicked. Matt has his Peanut Butter noodles, I’ll take my French fry stuffed shawarmas.

At this point I could go on about what I did in detail every day but to be honest, Cannes isn’t that big, and by the 4th day or so it’s like the movie groundhog day, you just keep living the same day over and over and over. It goes something like this:

Wake up one of two ways:
a) Wake up at 6pm after a night of partying too hard, lay in bed with the fear and worry about how you got black out drunk the night before and probably told off a big shot in the industry and single handedly destroyed your career. Seriously I had a two days like this. Turns out both times I had nothing to worry about.

b) wake up at a decent hour, go to the festival and either watch some award winning advertising or go see a pretty famous guest speaker either talk to you about something interesting, show you something cool (seriously this touch screen tabletop thing was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life) or, sometimes, bore the living shit out of you.

Funny enough one of the most interesting and charismatic speakers I saw was Steve Ballmer, the new CEO of Microsoft since Bill Gates stepped down. I thought he’d be a bit of a maniac or a fish out of water but man, he handled a lot of barbed questions with grace and optimism. Advertising is such a pro Mac industry it was awesome to hear him deal with snarky pro-Mac dudes trying to blow holes though windows.

One of the worst was Lil Stevie, or Steve Van Zandt. Guitarist from the E Street band. It was kinda depressing listening to a dude who was part of a legendary rock band talk about how awesome it is for bands to do music for commercials, and how rock bands are excited to work with big brands. I mean I’m in the industry and to me he even sounded like a sell out. Then at the end of that he had one of the bands from his label come out and perform. Note to any band, never perform in front of an advertising audience that came for what they thought was a talk, in a room with no place to stand, so everyone has to sit. It was so akward for the band on stage trying to “rock the house”. It didn’t help that they were an Austrian girl band who dressed like pin ups. Soooooooo awkward.

So after that part of the day is done, first you might go explore the streets a bit but usually you’d either go with friends, or occasionally by yourself to a restaurant to take advantage of some of the awesome food France is known for. Once again, this was one of those things that was more awesome at the start of the trip than at the end, probably cause near the end I was served the most ridiculous portion of steak tartare I’ve ever seen. But still no complaints, food was wicked. Though I have no idea how anyone stays thin in that country.

After that, usually you’d try and sniff out somewhere to go have pre-pre-pre drinks, these were usually the low key type parties, sometimes they’d even just be in your room. Sometimes you’d get sniffed out by some weird advertising paparazzi people and they’d ask you if they could come with you (around the 1:30 mark, I was quite drunk and quite confused)

After that part there was usually a party on the beach somewhere that you’d go to. These parties were usually put on by a big production company or something so it would be pretty all out. Dance floors, loud music, probably something like a spring break, but instead of 20 year olds it’s got a lot more 40 year olds who like to dress like they’re 20.

Then the party always ends at a place called “The gutter bar”, which is actually quite a nice bar during the day. At night it sort of spills out onto the street so you don’t actually spend any real time in the bar. I think this is the place where a lot of the schmoozing happens as it’s sort of the great equalizer. You’ll see the biggest of big shots right beside some Czech dude desperately trying to get you to see his portfolio. It’s a pretty surreal place and sort of sums up well kind of how fun and a little silly the whole experience is.

All in all, after 9 days there I was happy to be going home,it’s a bit like Vegas where after a while I think you get a little grossed out by your lifestyle. I mean what kind of maniac would go to Vegas for 9 days? With all that said I wasn’t exactly depressed, I mean I was still in the south of france, surrounded by awesome things to look at, with a bunch of old friends I don’t get to see often as well as new ones. Plus I got to meet some other really cool cats.

Unfortunately the way home got all garbled up and I missed my flight due to a missed connection in London. But hey, that’s a story for another time.

Au revoir France, thanks for the good times, but don’t expect me back for a while unless the Canadian dollar becomes par with the Euro or something.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cannes part 1.....

Generally, when things get overwhelming for me, I like to split things up and break them down. In looking how many pictures and stuff I took in Cannes I thought I’d break up the post into chunks. This is the first one. To be honest, I could’ve probably done this all in one big post but I spent the day playing fight night round 4 and tiger woods golf, so now it’s 10:30 and I feel like I should at least make an attempt to start writing this stuff.

Me and my buddy John Murray won a trip to Cannes to compete in the young lions competition. On paper we were psyched because our competition was going to happen on our first day there. We figured we could do the competition then spend the rest of the week just partying and having fun and all that good stuff. However, after 20 hours of traveling, and a 9 hour time difference we realized our brains were pretty fried for the actual competition. It was unfortunate and I know the two of us still have regrets about how we approached it. Oh well, that hiccup aside the week was pretty awesome.

The flight over to Cannes was actually not as bad as we expected. The only bummer was that it literally didn’t get dark at all for the entire 10 hour flight. After a brief stop over in London we headed to Nice and finally took a cab into Cannes.

When we first got there we walked around for a bit, checked out a few things then went to a bar. We figured that first day we wanted to force ourselves to stay up until 9. The best way we could figure to do that was by going for a drink or two until then. We made it until 8:30.

The next day after a night of not really sleeping, we registered at the convention center where we got interviewed by people from the festival (warning, not the coolest interview you’ve ever seen, also note how they didn’t use any of Jon’s bits, poor guy is just trying to find somewhere to stare the entire time).

After registration we did a bit of touristy stuff for a little bit. Checked out a market and some cooler side streets, basically just wandered around, enjoyed some coffees. This was also my first time noticing some strange quirks about Cannes. Apparently they have a big problem with overweight dogs pooping. Also, saw a super powerful beer, with a super powerful name. And it was my first time noticing that apparently racism isn’t as much of a faux pas in France as it is in North America. All in all, First impressions, the town was very very pretty. You could tell it was a playground for the rich. There were yachts so big that they had pools on them with yachts in the pool (thank you, please tip your waitresses).

Okay, more to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Before I go.....

I’m about to leave for a week in Cannes tomorrow. Given, I’ll probably be quite busy during the week I doubt I’ll be able to blog from Cannes. However, I think I’m going to try and figure out how to use twitter properly and actually do some micro-blogging. If you don’t have a twitter account, don’t sweat it, you can read my updates here or you can just follow the twitter updates on the top right side of this page.

The festival itself should be pretty awesome. There’s some pretty big time speakers including Kofi Annan, Nobel prize winner and former secretary general of the UN; David Plouffe, the campaign manager for Obama; The CEO of Google Eric Schmidt and finally Steve Ballmer, head of Microsoft, or you might just know him from this amazing video. The whole thing is basically like the Oscars of the advertising world so I’m curious to see a lot of that glamour and such that this industry used to be known for. This is one of the few fossils of the old lambourghini owning, 3-martini lunch taking part of the industry that used to exist up until about the 80’s.

Needless to say, I’m pretty psyched to be going, the competition part should be pretty cool too and I’ve gotten invited to a bunch of ridiculous parties, so hopefully I’ll come back with stuff rife for an interesting story or two.

With all that about to happen I thought I’d do a quick post documenting last weekend. Me and Christy went down to Seattle to hang out with my mom for the weekend, who happened to be on holiday and had just come up from San Francisco.

After getting down into Seattle Friday night we cruised to the harbor area to grab some seafood. Admittedly it was a nearby touristy spot, by no means off the beaten path, and none of us were really into the food but it was quick and easy. One weird thing though, the portions were huge. Christy ordered the chicken and got 2 chicken breasts on top of a pile of asparagus. It doesn’t make any sense.

Another observation that probably has something to do with the portion sizes, and I wish it wasn’t the case, but man, there were a lot of fat people. And super fat people. Like when we were walking around there’d be times we’d have to slow down because they were blocking the entire sidewalk. It really pains me to say that too cause I’m often the guy defending the U.S. to snide Canadians, but yeah, lots of fatties.

So after a few more drinks Saturday was a pretty early night. Friday we got up early and started the day at Pike Place Market. Checked out the fish chucking stand, the first starbucks and grabbed the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had at a homemade cheese place. Also walked by this sweet food truck, shaped like a pig. One thing I will say about Americans, they are way better at gimmicks than Canadians. Seriously, the difference between this stand and any other is a dude who got some sheet metal and went to town. Also you always see signs in the states like “Best Pizza in Town”or “The place with singing waiters”, I like it about them, they’re not afraid to go out on a limb, maybe look a little silly if it’s going to be successful.

After doing the touristy stuff we went off the beaten path and headed up to Capitol Hill. Another observation about Seattle, it really feels pretty cool. And is a fun place to party. The place is really into supporting local microbrews and also offers cheap beers. I saw happy hour signs for dollar beers and $6 PBR pitchers. Sweet. It’s a real contrast from Vancouver. Where Seattle seemed full of sweet bars and that feeling of being on the edge, it really didn’t make it’s accessibility to nature as a focal point of the city. Seattle seems like a great Friday night city, where Vancouver is an awesome Saturday afternoon city.

On the way to Capitol Hill, we went up around Pike and Pine near Broadway and stopped at a pretty awesome diner for some food and beers. Along the way we saw some pretty cool public art stuff. It’s always nice to get away from the super touristy stuff to check out the neighborhoods of the city. Seattle didn’t disappoint. Along with all this stuff we stopped in some pretty cool shops, bars and restaurants, even a garage sale.

After a quick stop downtown to shop a bit the girls went to the hotel to take a nap. Knowing there was a soccer game going on that day (The Seattle Sounders have sold out over 30,000 every game this year) I went down to Qwest field to check out the pregame stuff. Unfortunately, it was 3, and the game was at 7:30, a little too pre-game. Still I sat at a sick sports bar, had a beer and saw some pretty hardcore soccer fans from San Jose (the visiting team). After that, grabbed a cheesesteak enjoyed the architecture and met up with Christy and my mom at the top of the hotel for some drinks and truffle oil fries (a little too intense tasting for me).

After that we went back up to Capitol hill for a burger and a lot of beers. The night was a lot of fun though I’m sure we all got more drunk than we expected to. Next mornings extreme hangovers were proof of that.

It was great to see my mom, and hang out in Seattle with her and Christy. Seriously I highly recommend visiting Seattle, the place is pretty awesome, I definitely need to go back and party hardy sometime.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday nightin’ it.

Okay this past week I didn’t have the excuse of being super busy to avoid updating this thing. In fact it was quite the opposite. Weather has been awesome and it’s the first time in a while where I’ve had the opportunity to leave work at 5 and just enjoy the evening.

For the weekends I’ve been spending a bunch of time trying to catch fish. Which is literally beyond annoying at this point. There were fish jumping everywhere but none of them wanted to bite my stupid hook. Next time I’m bringing dynamite.

In totally unrelated good news, me and Christy are meeting my mom in Seattle tomorrow and spending the weekend checking out the city. The one time I went there I spent the entire time either drunk, hungover or watching Canada lose to Brazil in a soccer match while drunk, so it’ll be nice to actually hang out and see what the city is all about.

I’ve also spent a bit of time skateboarding again. A friend who works at a skate magazine out here sent me a link to a few un-burly skateparks at my request. I’m stoked to roll around again. So far I’ve just been doing flat ground tricks so I think it’s time to take it to the next level and grind some stuff.

But perhaps the biggest news of the last few weeks is a little “gentlemens wager” I’ve set up with a few friends of mine. I happen to have two friends out here who compete in pretty serious beach volleyball tournaments, think kings of the beach or super spike V-ball for NES only less baseball hats with the brim flipped up and fewer dudes named sinjin. One of the dudes has won a shit load of cash in these tournaments so yeah, he’s a professional player by definition.

The other player also competes in these tournaments. In fact he spent basically the entire winter in Brazil training with some crazy beach volleyball coach down there. So yeah, not only is he a big time volley ball player, but he basically is pro-recession considering he took his Canadian dollars and spent them in Brazil. I mean I’m not one to throw around the words “freedom hater” but, I’m just saying…..

Anyways, with all that being said we’ve made a deal. Me (and my buddy Scott) Vs. Them. The challenge is I need to score one point in a game up to 25. But I need to cause the point. So I can’t just hope for them to serve it out of bounds. I need to get a point. Personally I’m hoping something awesome happens like I spike it down on them, but seriously it would only be fair considering they’ll probably spike it in my face 20000 times in a row. Did I mention they’re freedom haters? I think one of them was in Guatanamo under suspicion for a little bit.

So yeah. People’s champ vs. the 2 freedom haters. More details, and hopefully some coverage of this event to follow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

blowng my own horn again

A website called stimulant online asked me and Jon Murray (the dude i won the Cannes competition with) 5 things we thought were cool. Here they are. They're the 5 things across the top

Note: they edited our descriptions. Like where they say "Metal isn't our thing", I didn't write that, metal is my things. I love metal.

Oh yeah and went to the river again yesterday and didn't catch a fish despite seeing them jump everywhere. Soooo frustrating.

Also, got big news on a competition i'm going to be a part of with some friends out here. More on that when I'm not so busy with work.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Joy division art show.

This kinda irks me.

Unless you have pictures of Ian Curtis or something couldn't you find another name?

In other news I'm starting a clothing company called "How soon is now"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reality check

Just when I think this city might be kind of a cool place I see a local magazine with a cover like this and realize I might live in the most uncool city known to man.

Seriously sometimes this city makes me want to smoke cigarettes and get drunk in the middle of the day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I just went there

This city has decided to flick it’s fun switch. Like the rest of Canada, Vancouver is a completely different place when the weather gets nice. Another cool thing is, well, the wicked nature, which I’m admittedly a bit of a dork about.

With all that being said people here can still be a bit weird. I think I’ve revealed enough on here about how great the place is to gripe a bit now. For one, no matter what people say about the west coast this city is not full of relaxed, happy-go-lucky people. Far from it. Because everyone here is so athletic and beautiful they take themselves a little too seriously. There’s a reason you never see handsome comedians. If only they spent half as much time working on their fart jokes as they do on their beach bodies. I get it dude, you got a sweet six pack, but could you please stop recycling jokes from “How I met your mother”?

As an extension of that a lot of dudes here take the city too seriously. Say anything bad about Vancouver and it’s like you just took a dump on their first born.

This city is like one giant teenager, and in a way the metaphor makes sense:

1. Until recently it wasn’t really a big city. It’s almost like it’s going through it’s puberty from town to big city.
2. It takes itself too seriously, which is exactly like every teenager.
3. It really cares about being seen as cool, not as much about actually being cool. Which is basically what high school was all about. Seriously you see 40 year olds here dressed like teenage skaters, but at the same time it’s really hard to find a bar open late with cheap pints and a decent jukebox. Priorities people, priorities.

Hopefully this cities awkward, self-conscious phase ends soon and we can move on to the party animal university phase, the indy hipster phase and eventually the quarter life crisis phase.

Okay, now back to the fun, photo stuff.

Recently I’ve been trying to get out, hang out, do outdoors stuff like most of the world except for maybe Goths. Been a few places lately, thought I’d show off and include some photos and quick descriptions.

The Capilano river is right on the North Shore of Vancouver. It’s a super rugged river but super close to the city, what makes it so wicked is that since it’s still a super mountainy, cliffy river it can feel quite remote despite just being 10 minutes from down town. Lately I’ve been up there quite a bit scaling down the cliffs to the river to find nice quiet fishing spots. Was up there on Friday where me and my buddy Joel found a spot with smaller minnow sized salmon jumping all over the place, we had a feeling there were bigger ones forcing them to try and get away. Despite having fish following our spoon all the way to the surface, staring back at us, we couldn’t convince any of them to bite. Next time we’re bringing worms.

Recently went to Whistler with Christy and my buddy John. The funny thing about Whistler is how fake of a town it is. It gives Disneyland a run for it’s money. The whole place is so polished it feels like your visiting a theme park called “extreme town” or something. I guess the super rich chubby kids need to have a place to call there own where they can get decked out in mountain biking gear without being beat up by the kids who actually do mountain bike.

One other weird thing we saw was a mountain unicycler. In hindsight I can't believe i didn't take a picture but seriously the kid was like 16, old enough to know better. Seriously if my son came home one day and was like "Dad I think I'm a transexual martian" I'd be like, cool, we'll figure it out. but if my son came home with a unicycle I don't think I could ever forgive him.

We grabbed a few beers and nachos on a patio right near the base of one of the mountains. What was cool was that there were tons of people mountain biking down the mountain. They’d take the ski lifts up and bike down. We sat beside a couple of trophy wives doing a good job of neglecting their fighting kids while drinking wine and talking about plastic surgery. I wish I was making that last sentence up. Welcome to Whistler I guess.

After Whistler we headed up to near Pemberton to the Green River and a cool waterfall. Once you drive past Whistler the drive has a real intimidating feel to it, in kind of a cool exciting way. It’s like the Mordor of BC. The mountains start to look more intimidating, the road starts to snake more and it just generally looks a lot more untouched. You also see the odd orc or dragon too. The river had a pretty rad camping spot attached and was generally just a cool place to hang out and check out nature.

Me and Christy also did a day trip up to Squamish and a few surrounding waterfalls and lakes. Once again cool stuff to check out. I forgot to bring my rod this time but I went one spot where people were catching Rainbow trout. Blah blah blah nature nature nature.

So there we go. Blog entry done. One less thing to feel anxious about all week. Hope everyone isn’t still coping with the fear from drinking too much this weekend. Peace out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where my dawgs at? Daniel Bruyn edition

Continuing with the "Where my dawgs at?" interviews I've moved on to another Toronto resident. The interviews will become more regionally diverse soon, but in the meantime enjoy this one.

Dan Bruyn is my bro, I've known him since I was almost 2 years old. One of my first memories of him was when I was 4 and he was 2 and he beat me in a race on our big wheels, it's a harsh reality when your bro half your age proves he has more balls than you. Regardless I don't think there's another dude like him in the entire world.

1.Who are you?

I’m Daniel Anthony Bruyn – your brother.

2. Where you live? (city/neighborhood)

Toronto, ON. Little Poland – Roncesvalles. just down the road from High park.

3. What you up to?

I’m in sales. I sell software and hardware. Good environment – mostly smart, young people I work with – pretty high tech office too.
Were like a little gang , we drink beers after work a lot, then fight rival gangs. I think I have to stop after-work beers now that the suns coming out because I might want to take my shirt off.

4. What's something cool about where you live?

I spent an afternoon wandering roncesvalles, here's a few.

I’m pretty happy to be in such a mellow neighborhood that hasn’t been invaded by money or hipsters. Just an old fashioned kind of area. Kids play hockey on my street, people smile and sometime make dumb-cute jokes like ‘don’t go having a heart attack on me’ when your shoveling your sidewalk. There’s fresh fruit and veggies every corner for a fraction of Sobeys or metro (and far fresher) . I’m down with the polish – the food options are great:

I wanted kielbasa, so where better than ‘super kolbasa’? success. I wanted weird candy that I wouldn’t know how to eat – done.
I want baked goods fit for the pope. So I went where the pope got his baked goods when he came to town. Seriously – when Pope John Paul came to town in 2002 Granowska’s had the honor of making his bread. Look how pumped they were, the one girl is just adoring it. Kinda creepy, but I was sold. Twice.

There’s a good sushi place too but the chef is weird.

5. What is something you're excited about right now?

Summer: soccer league starting. Learning how to skate again. BBQing on my balcony. Making money and paying off debt. Drinking patio beer and getting fatter.

6. Anything else?

I’m going to start a blog soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where my dawgs at? Matt Unsworth edition.

Okay so given I probably know everyone by name who reads this thing and it's basically a way for me to stay in touch with people I thought I'd extend it to my friends as well. Basically this will be a reoccuring article that'll be a quick interview with one of my friends so I don't have to have those lame conversations the next time I see them. Also, because everyone lives in different places right now I gave it a bit of a geographical slant. So yeah, if you read this, there's a good chance I'll probably email you soon asking you to answer some questions. Without further ado, here's the first one.

I've known Matt Unsworth since I was about 11. When we first met I made fun of him for wearing a crash test dummies button to school thinking it was cool. Basically since that point our friendship has essentially been based on making fun of the other one whenever they think they're doing something remotely cool. He also runs a pretty hilarious blog which you can check out here

Also note he is literally the worst speller I know. I've left all his grammatical errors as is in the interview. enjoy!

This is what Matt looks like eating breakfast.

This is what Matt looks like the rest of the time.

1. Who are you?

Matthew Alexander Unsworth

2. Where you live?


3. What you up to?

A lot of TV shows on Itunes, did you know you can buy a show for 2 bucks? That combined with microwaved triscut nachos, I couldn't imagine a better way to spend ones time. I do work, but a lot of that time is spent in hotels of weird places that I don't know anybody, nor are they the types of places you'd see on WIld On, like Abu Dhabi. So that's why I spend a lot of time in hotel beds watching laptop tv and eating junk food.

When I am at home I spend most of the time putting my life back together after longs trips, that's almost a part time job, laundry, cleaning the apartment, email catch ups. It usually takes about three days for things to get back to normal, by the time its all done I'm usually off again. All the other time I spend writing (I have a blog and just started working for Toronto Life Magazine), hosting a film review podcast, and making movies that no one on the internet seems to want to watch but me. But I'm cool with that.

4. What's something cool about where you live?

Babe Diversity/babeversity, its the best city because there is probably about 4 girls to every guy, and 3 of those 4 are about an 8? You folllow me? It's kind of a shittier version of New York, only two types of people can survive in cities like NYC and TO, good looking people and smart people, which usually makes for a good scene. Like that guy from my wood shop class, Clint, he doesn't live in Toronto.

Getting back to Babeversity, it's great, if you want an Artsy girl, Queen west, Turbo hot/semi retarded girl club district, fun/college girls Humber bars, hippy keningsington, Girls that want to get married after the first date, little italy, desperate girls, sneaky dees 2:00 am

That's what's cool about toronto, the night life and the social scene, outside of that, this place is a steaming pile of dog shit.

5. What is something you're excited about right now?

I installed a HD projector at the end of my bed so it projects movies on to my ceiling so I can them while lying down. I found a way to be even lazier than a couch potato.

That and getting some projects done that have been on the burner forever.

6. Anything else?

I have an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo ds, and a sitdown pacman machine with every arcade, Nintendo and Sega game on it, and I never play any of them, ever. I don't really like video games, just the idea of them.

Matts ceiling projector:

Matts neglected Ms. Pacman machine:

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have been sadly not updating this thing as much as I probably should. But here's a quick update without pictures for the time being.

The weather lately has been pretty fantastic. Work has also been quite busy. As a result when I'm not working I'm generally outdoors doing stuff, especially hiking and fishing lately. In fact, it's quarter to 6 right now and Christy is coming to pick me up to go to the Capilano river to go fishing tonight. So yeah, get ready for a lot of posts about me fishing again I guess.

Truthfully the purpose of this blog is to keep people up to date with what I'm up to, so if what I'm up to isn't that interesting send me an email or something and I'll talk to you more personally or tell you a fart joke or something. Or you could always come out here. I got some people coming out here for the summer so it should be pretty sweet. Mom is out here in less than a month. Matt and Dan are out here in two.

Still think if you're interested in catching fish, you might want to consider coming out for the pink run. They're expecting 17.5 million returning fish!!!!

more updates, pictures and rants to come. Sorry for the lack of action.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

night in Kits

One sweet thing about being really busy at work with a crazy deadline is that when it’s over you feel no guilt going home at 5 and basically doing nothing at all. I know, I know most people don’t have a problem with this every day of their lives. Unfortunately I have a built in weird thing about work and wanting to not be a failure so on most days I usually just work a little late due to my own personal neurosis. I’m not sure whether to blame it on the University of Waterloo or a Lithuanian mother.

Anyways, today I got home early went for a jog then tried to take advantage of an awesome day in Kits. First I went down to Vera’s to grab a burger but it was too full. Okay, look at this logo. Am I the only one that thinks this place should be called “Rocky Dennis Burger”? Seriously, it’s a spitting image.

After not eating went to the beach and saw Scott and Ryan. Hung out there, kicked a soccer ball around. Then went up to the magazine shop, grabbed a few mags. On the way home saw a pretty sick throw up, as well as a cool poster for a show. Not a bad day at all.

Me and Christy got a “Back roads guide book” this week. It’s pretty awesome, it shows all sorts of old logging roads that lead up the mountains and towards some pretty cool spots. From glacier fed lakes to crazy hidden hot springs, it’s full of awesome adventures. Also a lot of lakes around the area recently got stocked with trout. Not big fish but I’m itching to get out there. Hopefully some cool fishing reports soon.

Blowing my own horn

So recently me and a friend in the ad industry entered the Young Lions competition. Well it turns out we won. Which is pretty cool, I got my name in the Globe and Mail today (Report on business, page B4) and had a few people talk about how they thought our ad was neat and stuff.

The best part is we won a trip to Cannes at the end of June for this global Young Lions competition that also happens at the same time as the big ad awards. The Cannes awards are kind of one of the last real throwbacks to the old school ad industry. Apparently theres some pretty extravagant parties and all that stuff so I’m pretty stoked. Plus anytime I get to drink French coffee I’m always amped. I’ll just be sure not to try eating pizza without a fork.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring hits Vancouver

More than any other city I’ve ever been in for any substantial amount of time living in Vancouver is like dating a girlfriend who’s a two face. When spring comes around life is completely different. Not only are the days longer but people are happier, food tastes better, the Canucks even win playoff games. Part of the reason is probably also due to the fact that fun in the area basically requires you to go outside. It’s hard to find a good bar to drink at and there isn’t much social life to speak of, plus I live 3 blocks from a beach so this area is basically dead until the beach starts hopping again. Thankfully that has seemed to happen.

I’m looking forward to beers at the beach during sunset, patio beers, fishing at a local river or lake, camping or hiking in the mountains, CFL football, Going to see a Vancouver Whitecaps or Canadians game, night bonfires on the beach, people watching at Granville island, boob watching at wreck beach, fish and chips at Jericho beach, road tripping to Seattle, Tofino and other places, seeing friends who have been hibernating over the winter, hanging out with Christy and the Captain, exploring more of the city, exploring more of the province and sweet sweet BBQ’s.

One funny thing I’ve noticed in reading all my friends’ blog is how regional they all are. It’s funny because when you move somewhere you think you’re the same person but just looking at posts, opinions and photos of my friends who blog I notice subtle differences depending on where they live. With that being said I have an idea to kind of involve some of my friends who I don’t get to see in my blog. I started this thing as a means of connecting with people (and basically avoiding sending so many emails) so I thought I’d go a step further and try and get some of my friends involved as well. More on this to come.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The problem with rooting for a 4th rate team

Right now in Vancouver everyone is going nuts about the Canucks. It’s been awesome getting caught up in it. To be honest it was pretty easy to drop the Leafs, I think like other Hamiltonians I’ve always had a nagging suspicion they were part of the reason why Hamilton can’t seem to get an NHL team. On top of that I’ve never actually seen the Leafs live. I’ve seen the sabers a bunch of times and even made it to a Chicago game, but no Leafs game.

You can definitely feel a vibe around the city, everyone is psyched and basically in a better mood. But that’s not what this post is really about.

This weekend the Blue Jays won a series against the A’s and are looking pretty awesome, especially considering they were supposed to suck this year. Arsenal, the team I follow in the premiership lost a crushing semi final game in the FA cup to Chelsea (thanks for that Fabianski). And finally AZ won the Dutch Eredivisie with 5 weeks left in the season. Despite all these sporting events taking place this weekend, none of these are the one that I’m thinking about the most right now.

To my extreme dismay I’ve realized this weekend that I am an out and out Toronto FC fanatic. I’ve known this was basically the case for a long time but this weekend I realized just how far gone I am.

I use Google reader to check the blogs I frequent, of the 9 sports blogs I follow, 8 of them are about Toronto FC (the other is about the Vikings). These aren’t even always just about TFC either, there’s one called MLS Rumors I follow that reports on, you guessed it, rumors about the league. This isn’t the premiereship so most of the rumors are about some strange kid from Ecuador I’ve never heard of, but I’m so dillusional I think these guys can turn my team around. People laughed at Man City supporters who thought Robinho could turn their team around. They’d have a field day with me when I was getting excited about Toronto possibly getting this guy. Seriously look at his hair cut! I even follow one called MLS Draft. I bet most people don’t even know (or care) that the MLS holds a draft.

After another crushing loss to FC Dallas, who hadn’t had a win until today against Toronto I’m at a serious cross roads. Given that Vancouver is going to be in the league in 2011 do I shift all my devotion to a team that I can almost guarantee will be better* ? I know it’s still 2 years away and god knows where I’ll be living, but how often are you allowed to do a team audit in your life? On top of that look at the teams I already root for:

Tiger Cats – nuff said. This team stabs me in the heart 9 years in a row, wins a grey cup every 10 then goes back to stabbing me in the heart.

Vikings – 4 time superbowl losers.

Blue Jays – man I love Cito but the AL East is no easy task.

Arsenal – ok this is a good team, but seriously can anyone watch the premiership without being a fan of the big 4? Picking Man U or Chelsea is like rooting for the Yankees and when I lived in London for a summer I was near Highbury.

I’m giving TFC an ultimatum. I will give them 2 more years of unyielding fandom but they better pull up their performance. Otherwise I’m going to make a move to a team that I’m sure will cause me less stress. There’s very few times in my life I feel I’m allowed to do this without looking like a jerk so I’m seriously considering it.

* How do I know the Whitecaps will be better than Toronto FC you ask? Well on top of Toronto being owned by MLSE here’s a few other reasons:

- The Whitecaps run hands down the best soccer academy in all of North America, it’s also one of the few residency programs in North America. In a recent tournament they beat out Manchester City, AC Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt and whole bunch of other big academy squads to make the finals which they lost to an Argentinian team.

- During the qualifications for the U-20 world cup almost half the team was made up of Vancouver Academy players. On top of that they had a player (Randy Edwini-Bonsu) who scored EVERY goal for them during qualifications.

- They have another player right now (Dever Orgill) in their academy system who’s already having rumors linking him to a premiership team. The dude hasn’t even played for them this season yet.

- They won the USL last year, yeah it’s a lesser league but the coach needs to know what he’s doing to win it.

- This isn’t why they’d be better, more just an opinion. I’d prefer to root for a team that was developing their own talent and on the forefront of developing the top Canadian talent. Though this isn’t entirely TFC’s fault, MLS has some weird rules about academies, the CBA is about to be negotiated again and Academy rules are about to change, even still TFC won’t be able to catch up to where Vancouver’s at anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A day in Toronto

While I was back in Ontario 2 weeks ago I managed to spend an afternoon in Toronto. Unfortunately it was on a ridiculously rainy day. It was a pretty awesome day none the less. Just getting to hang out in the city, I miss the real feeling of hustle you get from the place. It takes me going back home to realize how west coast I’ve actually become. I generally talk slower, walk slower and drink less than I used to. With that being said I’m also probably more relaxed than the older version of me. Hey, it’s a little silver lining, unless I plan on restarting up Avarice again.

While pacing the streets I managed to find a few sweet finds, like a pretty rad door, as well as some nice 007 inspired Obama apparel. I also managed to stop for a beer with Ben Mills. It was really nice to catch up, as well as just sit in a real bar, in a real brick building. It’s funny sometimes the things that you really miss when you move away, brick buildings and real bars are definitely two of them for me.

With all that being said, after picking up some TFC tickets at Sherway Gardens, I had to drive back to Hamilton. You Ontarians can keep your 2 hour commutes in gridlock.

Excuses excuses

I have this bad habit of thinking I need to always write posts with a giant summation of everything I’ve done since the last time I posted. As a result, when I haven’t written anything here in a while it starts to snowball and feel more and more like a chore. Combine this with what has been a hectic work schedule and it basically means I get home with no interest in doing anymore writing for the day.

So a change of strategy is due, I’m going to just try and write more in chunks about things that have been happening recently and hopefully get caught up sometime soon.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ll try adding some stuff to this tonight.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is Vancouver

Here’s one side of Hastings street, whereas on the other side you have this.

The developers are coming in on the slummier parts of Hastings. It’s too close to Gas town and downtown to let it just stay the way it is. Just up the street you see this across from this.

With that being said, I talked to someone who works as a social worker in Vancouver. Between the closing of a number of institutions for the mentally ill, and racism towards natives, it’s really quite tragic how some of the people end up in the situations you see them in. That’s not even to mention the youth on the streets, apparently one in five of the kids on the Vancouver streets were kicked out of their house for being gay. I just thought it would only be fair to offer some balance to my posts considering last post I wrote about the problems the business owners were struggling with. Obviously it’s a big, complicated problem.

On the brighter side of things I found a cool hot dog place I want to try. And the Ramen noodle joints are top notch. Come out sometime and visit, I'll show you all the spots to get a great meal for under $10.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vancouver state of mind

In the absence of having much to report I thought I’d just talk about Van City in this time before it becomes warm and gets to be a wicked city again.

I read somewhere that Douglas Copeland said his favorite thing about the city was something like “it hasn’t become what it’ll be yet”. At the time I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say but now I know what he means. One cool thing about this place is you really get the vibe that things are changing. A year from now we’re going to have the Olympics here, and from the sound of things the legacy wont be as terrible as some of the other Olympic tragedies – ahem, Montreal, Greece. For one, apparently all the facilities are going to be on budget, plus we get a wicked subway line out of it. Granted apparently the security is going to be over budget, but hey we can’t win them all.

The weirdest part of the whole thing is what they’re going to do about the east hastings problem. As much as it’s probably not the most PC thing to say, this city could use a little bit of Giuliani. With a year left before the Olympics I still don’t see how they’re going to sort out that whole situation. Sometimes in the press you’ll read about people complaining about the treatment of people down on skid row, the thing that the press always seems to mix up is the difference between poor people and drug addicts/crackheads/people with mental problems. They’ve considered offering affordable housing down in that area but every poor person who isn’t addicted to drugs just said “screw it, I’d rather live in Burnaby”. Other times you’ll see headlines like “East hastings residence protest treatment by police”. The problem is the stories will usually end with a sentence like:

“The man, who goes by the name ‘crunchy’ said the people of Hastings have had enough of their profiling by the police.”

Okay, I have a feeling “crunchy” probably isn’t a business owner, or a member of the local community board. Why aren’t they talking more to the honest business owners who are actually trying to turn around the neighborhood and see how they feel? The people who have to deal with Crunchy and others smoking crack in front of his business. God knows in the limited times I’ve been there I’ve seen people smoke crack in front of me. Most Vancouverites don’t say it in public, but in private it’s hard to draw up sympathy for those people.

With that issue aside there’s a ton of awesome stuff going on. Recently we got awarded an MLS team for 2011. BC Place is about to get decked out and modernized to look sweet. There’s also a real positivity around the city. As much as I often complain about the lack of nightlife and stuff, it’s also sort of because there’s so much awesome stuff to do during the day. Every time I drive more than 5 blocks I go by a skate park. There’s giant mountains everywhere, the pink salmon are going to run this fall (note: if anyone wants to go fishing, come out here in September, they say during the pink run you can walk across the river on the backs of the fish) and even the Vancouver Art Gallery has switched their focus from trying to get traveling group of seven shows to trying to push contemporary artists (Hamilton art gallery take note, you’ll never compete with the big boys, might as well try and show new and exciting stuff).

One funny thing about this place is I still miss the people of Ontario. At heart I really am a Hamilton guy and I notice it out here sometimes. People tend to be in their bubble a bit out here and a little unreceptive to strangers, it might also be because if you stop anyone on the street they automatically assume you’re homeless.

This city is like that party you go to where they have an open bar, wicked music playing and a dance floor choked with good looking girls. But for some reason unless you go with a big posse of friends you still somehow only have a good but not great night. The people can sometimes be a bummer.

Not really sure what this post was all about, just thought it was worth sharing a few opinions right before spring comes again and this city really becomes awesome again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks day

A holiday only people without jobs can enjoy, where they spend all day getting drunk. Man the collective fear coming out of the world tomorrow might turn the sun into a black hole.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A night on the town.

Another weekend in beautiful Vancouver. I was still recovering from a pretty serious cold so I decided to rest up Friday night. Not much to report unless you want to talk about how much time I wasted playing the video game Fable 2.

Still it was kind of nice to sleep in Saturday morning. The weekend before I had woken up at quarter to five to go out fishing with a seasoned vet of the rivers out here who was going to give me some fishing tips. The trip was pretty helpful and the guy was a real help, but I’m simply not the die hard fisherman who copes well with getting up at five in the morning. I’d rather shake off a hang over and get to the river at noon. But hey, that’s just me. Either way, being on the river for sunrise was pretty cool.

Alright, back to the weekend that just passed. Me and Christy decided to try out another burger place near by, Moderne Burger. Another place developing a rep for awesome burgers around town. The place is decked out to look totally like an art deco diner out of the 40’s or something. Really impressive especially with respect to their attention to detail. The only knock against it was the waitress who served us was wearing lu lu lemon pants. I mean, if you go all the way to getting an authentic jukebox into the place and original light installations couldn’t you drop the extra $20 on getting your waitresses to wear something more acceptable than a thinly veiled pair of sweat pants? The burgers themselves were pretty awesome. As were the shakes, which they give you with those metal cup things that they mix them in, so you get the extra little bit. Christy was pretty stoked on the fries too.

Saturday night me and Christy caught word from a friend who works at Color Magazine that Anti-Social (a big time skate shop out here, owned by Rick McCrank I think) was having an anniversary show at the Biltmore with Ladyhawk and some other band. And what was even better, she could get us in for free. Sweet! Little did I know this was only the beginning of the sweetness.

When we got into the place it turns out for the 7th anniversary of the store they were selling Pabst Blue Ribbon cans for $3.50. I got into them pretty fast. And kept going, and going and going. I could tell I was at a pretty exclusive party because of all the celebrities there. I saw Russell Brand hanging out with the asian dude from NERD, The Mac guy from the Mac and PC ads and even Doctor Who managed to travel through time and space to make it there. Oh yeah, and Party-squatch was there too, not to mention a dude with the most annoying looking haircut I could ever imagine. Also saw some sweet fashion, like a floating hood not actually attached to a hoodie. All in all it was a pretty good night, everyone was in a good mood, dudes were crowd surfing and it was nice to finally party at such a classy joint. Ladyhawk was okay, I don’t know all the bands kind of sounded like music from the 60’s or 70’s, no offence to my dad but I just ain’t into the same music he grew up listening to, but for some reason it seems to be all the craze with a lot of the hip kids these days. I don’t understand the kids these days, isn’t the point to rebel against your parents not be them?

Christy goes to Florida Friday. Party at me and Captain’s place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My local

For anyone who's ever been in Vancouver for more than in an hour, you recognize pretty quickly how crap this city is for drinking.

Luckily near my house there's a pretty sweet bar called the Kings Head. Part of the appeal of it is that it does look dumpy, but it's not real hastings-terrifying-homeless-guy-smoking-crack-in-the-corner dumpy. On the other hand in Van city you get a lot of "lounges". I have yet to figure out how people are able to lounge in a place where crap dance music is blaring but you're meant to sit at a table that's big enough to hold two beers at a time max.

So I think in the early 80's someone tried to make some sort of medeival themed bar but just kind of went half way on it. The place looks like a cross between a bar and the coolest tree fort you've ever been in. On top of that they have decent priced beer, a small patio and a decent breakfast for $3.99. If you're ever in Kits, check it out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Awesome burgers of Vancouver

Despite the fact that this city is full of health nuts it actually has a pretty serious number of burger joints. I’m not talking Mc Donalds burgers, but real, “dude making the home made patties in the back”, type burger places.

One of the first places I checked out on my search for awesome Van city burgers was the Tomahawk restaurant. The place is well known by most Vancouver natives. I checked out the menu online and realized pretty quick I had to try the Skookum Chief Burger.

The place itself is a bit of a blast from the past. It reminded me a lot of the Russell Williams diner in Aldershot but with a native American motif. I was filled with all sorts of native American stuff and even had a counter table – something I get really excited about for no reason in particular. Not to mention an awesome place mat, a fundamental piece of any diner experience.

The burger itself was a beast. Cheese, Yukon bacon (whatever that means), egg and even cut up wieners on top. It was awesome. The best I’ve ever had? Probably not, but for such a kitchy diner, the food followed a similar theme, really gimmicky and ultimately rewarding.

The quest for the best burger continues…..

Tomahawk diner facts:
- Brian Adams used to bus here.

- Narduar apparently had heart problems related to eating the skookum burger too frequently here. his picture is even up in the place, as well as a number of other 2nd rate celebrities.