CBC Nooners

Nooner concert series at CBC Plaza

So, I have not been blogging much.  Probably because I have either been chained to my desk or on the road.  I actually got away from my desk at lunch today, and headed over to the CBC building on Hamilton for their “Nooner” concert series.

Every weekday this summer, they are putting on a free live concert during the lunch hour.  Today, Juno award winning Greg Sczebel and his band played a rousing set.  It was a little rock, a little jazz, and a whole lot of fun!  Sczebel will be touring with Paul Brandt in the very near future.

The best part is that I was able to combine two of my great loves – the CBC AND good coffee!  Adjacent to the CBC’s outdoor stage area is a very quaint JJ Bean cafe, complete with green roof and patio seating.  Talk about a great location!

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CBC’s “Live Chemical Reaction” in Vancouver

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CBC Studios (Vancouver)

My wife and I had the pleasure of sitting in on a live taping of Go!  (CBC’s “live chemical reaction”) in Vancouver last Friday.  It was the western finals of the Canada Writes competition, and there were a few surprises in store.

The Go! cast warmed up the audience (and presumably themselves) with banter and a skit.  After that, the show started, and Brent Bambery soon introduced the guest judges.  The panelists included film maker Mina Shum, Spirit of the West frontman John Mann, and commedian Sugar Sammy.

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The Judges

The contestants were introduced, and they each performed a piece written earlier on the worst advice they had ever received (memorable among these were “dude, let’s take your Dad’s van”, and simply “jump!”).

In the second round, a vocalist delivered new lyrics that the aspiring authors penned for popular songs.   One hapless contestant had to rewrite the lyrics to a Spirit of the West classic!  After that, it was time for the first contestant to be ejected from the contest by way of the show’s metaphorical trapdoor.

The remaining contestants had to write a movie pitch in five minutes with assigned titles including “the Fourth Cauldron” (shades of 2010, anyone?), and then produced their shortest works of fiction ever (with a 60 second time limit, no less).

In the midst of all of this, John Mann performed two numbers, and Ian Hanomansing popped in to promo a new NHL themed game that he created.  By the end of the show, one more contestant had been ejected and the two Western finalists were proclaimed.

If you live in the Winnipeg or Toronto areas, additional Canada Writes shows are coming up, and tickets are free!

My happy place… : )

Whenever I am having a really bad day, I always joke that I am going to go to my happy place.  My happy place is more of a landscape than a specific spot – a body of water, with mountains rising up from the shoreline.  Generally, it is also sunny there.

Anyway, I took a walk during lunch the other day, and was astonished to see how much the North Shore mountains looked like my happy place at that particular moment.  The image of clouds lifting off the mountains against beautiful blue sky was breathtaking.  Unfortunately, my little webcam wasn’t quite able to do it justice. 

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It is true that my happy place doesn’t have convention centres in the foreground, or fluorescent 2010 rings floating on the harbour (I cropped the image, but they are just outside of the frame to the West).  It is also slightly less populated.  Alright, much less populated.  Nevertheless, the magnificent view was enough to lift my spirits for the rest of the day – and I wasn’t even having a bad day! 

A Very Vancouver Kind of Day

Why is it that I never hit any of Vancouver’s major sites unless we have visitors in town?  My wife’s cousin and his girlfriend have been visiting from Calgary for the last few days, and we’ve seen more of Vancouver in three days than we do in most months!

Today, we started by hitting the Vancouver Aquarium.  The $28.00 admission is a bit steep but, for just $56.00, you can get an annual pass.  We toured through the beluga exhibit first, and saw the new baby chasing her older sister around the tank.

Belugas can live anywhere between 60 and 80 years!  Apparently, the Aquarium pumps water into the exhibit from Burrard Inlet.  It is filtered, and then chilled to temperatures that they would experience in northern waters and estuaries (between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius).

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We also toured the Tropical, Amazon and BC exhibits.  The interpretive displays are first rate, although the Aquarium seems a little more commercial than I remember.  Ten fifty for a burger and fries!?!?  I suppose the cost of running a facility like that must be astronomical…

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After the Aquarium, we went to the Night Market in Vancouver’s Chinatown.  I avoided the mass consumer products – especially the knock off DVDs – but enjoyed looking at some of the cultural items and goodies.  We tried a few of the culinary delights – the most exotic fare being fried squid and some kind of fish (Sammi?) on a skewer.

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We started at the east end of Keefer Street and worked our way through the booths.  There was entertainment at the west end of Keefer close to the Monument of Canadian Chinese, but it was winding down by the time we worked our way to that end.

If you do stop by the Night Market, keep in mind that the bank machines in the area are locked down by 7:00 p.m. or so – probably due to Chinatown’s proximity to Vancouver’s Downtwon Eastside.  This was a bit inconvenient, but it did cut my wife’s shopping down quite a bit…