A Nice Foreign Invasion

FEBRUARY 5, 2010
I went downtown today to have a lunch with Simon & his brother. His brother backed out at the last minute, so Sim and I decided to try out Nuba, a lebanese restaurant I have been hearing about on Twitter. Oh my my my, it was so good. The baclava finale at the end of lunch wasn't exactly fitting with my new diet, but I am sure I burned most of those extra calories off.

After that, Sim and I parted ways as he had to get back to work. But I came downtown to go do some shopping. See, it's February 5 and I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping. Awful, yes I know. Everything was originally backed up because I made calendars and they took forever to be delivered. And then when I got the calendars, I got sick (I'll blog about that another time) and it kept me from doing much til recently. Today it was a gloriously beautiful day, and I was determined to finish it finally, damnit. 

So I got a bunch of Olympics swag for the family. Spent way too much money with my proud Olympic sponsored VISA card. But I think I finished the shopping. Tomorrow I get to pull out the wrapping paper and wrap everything. And perhaps I'll watch Rudolph while I do that.

After I fumbled out of the respective stores with large bags, I decided it would be a good time to take a few photos around Granville Street, which is currently shut down to road traffic and used as a pedestrian street. Lo and behold, I encountered some special tourists.

The Russian Olympiads

Oooooooooo! Actual Russian Olympiads! I zoomed way in on their badges after I got back home, and found out that they are Galina Likhacheva and Yekaterina Abramova, two of the women speed skaters for Team Russia!

Spotted some Russian Olympiads walking down Granville doing a bit of sightseeing

Immediately upon being spotted in their notable (and, might I say gorgeous) sports costumes, they were immediately thrust upon the Canadian masses, who treated them like superstars. I'm proud to say I was one of them. But I'm the photographer! And it's not like I stood between them and said cheese. This guy didn't hesitate, however. ;)

The poor girls were being bombarded with photo ops.

I'm sure it's pretty surreal for them. I stayed on the sidelines, though, because I can imagine it can be a bit much for them... especially as they seemed to speak only a little English. Oh, and the Coca-Cola (proud official sponsor!) people whisked them into their little circle for their own photo ops. Corporate whores... ;)

I know the popular thing to do these days is to crap all over the Olympics. Boo the commercialism of it all, boo the heightened security, boo the pricetag attached to hosting such an event. And I concur whole-heartedly. But when it comes down to it, it's all about the athletes. They've been training hard their whole lives for the chance to compete against the world's best in the Olympics. I'm sure it's a whole worldwind dream for them. And for them, I'm excited. And I'm pleased to also be a part of it. And I hope these next weeks will yield a couple gold medals for Team Canada, particularly in hockey.  (Sorry, Mom, but I must cheer on Canada in this case. They want it so bad.)  I hope these next weeks will be peaceful and not riotous, because although it's everyone's right and ability to protest, it's the right of everyone else to not be exposed to riots and oppressive police force using tear gas. And I hope these next weeks will yield me with some great photos, of which I plan to make a book from to remember.

You can view my whole pre-Olympics set here.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 12:52 AM on 2010-02-05 | permalink | comment

Green Olympics

FEBRUARY 3, 2010
Only nine days to go... and it's still quite balmy...

Winter Olympic host city Vancouver saw its warmest January on record, marked by a lack of snow and daffodils in bloom just days before the start of the Games, the Meteorologist Service of Canada said Tuesday.

The mean temperature reached 7.2 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit), up from a norm of 3.3 degrees for the month, meteorologist Matthew MacDonald, reached by telephone at the Vancouver airport, told AFP.

The previous record high of 6.3 degrees was reached four times, most recently in 2006.

Vancouver saw 13 days in which temperatures went above 10 degrees (50 degrees Fahrenheit) far more than the statistical average of three days. The mercury rose as high as 14.1 degrees and did not fall below -2.7 degrees.

Equally alarming, the city did not get any snow throughout the month, while it normally records 16.6 centimetres (6.5 inches) of snowfall in January. Instead the city and the Olympic venues have been drenched with rain, worrying Games officials, athletes and fans alike.

"It feels more like March or April, weather-wise," MacDonald said.

The mild January was partly due to the warm weather phenomenon known as El Nino that has swept over Vancouver since the beginning of winter, he added.

I'm just glad I'm not the one having to worry about mother nature. I'm too busy thinking about when I should start planting my seedlings... ;)

filed in Weather | by Christine at 10:13 AM on 2010-02-03 | permalink | comment

A New Year, A New Start

FEBRUARY 2, 2010
I'm truly trying not to be one of the casualties in the blogging world. There are mess of blogs that I read regularly that the person posted and posted and posted so often, they blogburned out and left the world entirely. I really don't want to join the ranks, although I know that my level of posting is ridiculous. And I'm semi-shamed. But it's okay, because I'm sure nobody is left even out there to watch my shame.

It's a new year. New beginnings. And I miss writing. So here I am.

I can say that during the Bush years, I found all sorts of blog fodder in the crazy things he and his administration would say. But I don't think I want to be as political as I was in the past. People who want politics can go to Daily Kos or Wonkette. Although I still see a bunch of crazy, I don't think I really want to write about that.

In truth, I want to go back to writing as I did in the early days. No, the early early days. The days when nobody seemed to be listening. It was just my little jotting down of daily events or thoughts or even rants. A little politics, of course, but more just random thoughts. Write like nobody's listening. For a time there, I was watching the stats closely and loving all of the banter. But now? Eh, I just want to write. What to write about? Well I'll figure that out.

So let's see- what's new? Well I'm 32, safely into my 30s. Trying not to let the baby mania that has hit all my 30'something friends also suck me in. I travelled to Europe again. This time to the UK (we photographed a wedding, like, as in officially!) and then went for about a week to Paris, France. I absolutely loved Paris. Just gorgeous gorgeous. Granted it wasn't perfect. I had a few rude waiters. I failed speaking French fluently, or even semi-fluently. My right foot was killing me throughout all the trip, making me slow and in pain. But there is an air of enchantment in Paris. The beauty of the city lit up. The pleasure of eating high-quality food. The history and the culture. I was truly in love. I can't wait to go back, for at least two weeks. We rented a tiny apartment through VRBO that was perfect for us, just minutes from Notre Dame Cathedral. We loved it.

And now, the 2010 Olympics are upon us. The Olympics that I remember announcing a loooong time ago. Vancouver is about to have an influx of tourists. Some people are excited about it, some people are deadset against it. I can see both sides. But I'm going to try to make the best of it. And as a photographer, it gives me the inspiration to go out and photograph anything I can. And it doesn't hurt that we have a couple hockey tickets, also.

Well, this is a silly stupid first attempt into the blogging world again. But it's a start. Where do I go from here? Who knows ;) We'll figure that out...

filed in General | by Christine at 4:33 PM on 2010-02-02 | permalink | comment

Lost in a Moment, with sushi

FEBRUARY 9, 2009
Nice timing, having had sushi for dinner tonight and all. Reminds me of the conveyor sushi place we ate at in London, it was the same sort of place. I wonder if there are any conveyor sushi places in Vancouver...

filed in Culture | by Christine at 11:41 PM on 2009-02-09 | permalink | 1 comment

JANUARY 20, 2009
One of my favorite quotes from President Obama's inaugural speech today:

"People will judge you based on what you build; not what you destroy."

filed in Politics | by Christine at 5:42 PM on 2009-01-20 | permalink | comment

1.20.09 is for 44

JANUARY 20, 2009
It's official, Barack Obama is now the President of the United States. It's a time of opportunity and, yes, hope. And hope is what we desperately need after these dark years. And for me, even more notable than Obama's inauguration is the goodbye to the 43rd president. The long and hard years with Bush at the controls has been damaging to our nation. Very damaging. With Bush, we've found ourselves accepting torture, pre-emptive war with another nation, destruction of our right to speak freely and our civil liberties, the shrouding and coverup of presidential matters, and the list continues on.

The sun is shining down in Washington, DC. And at least for today, it's a very good day. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 9:52 AM on 2009-01-20 | permalink | comment

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