Tagged: olympics

Olympic-esque Blog Day 17

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death is a big part of what will be remembered about vancouver 2010. Anytime an athlete dies that will leave a mark on an event. For me the Luge Federation’s horrible attempt to blame Nodar himself the next day is why I thought I’d open up the last blog with it. One of the lowest points of an Olympics I’ve seen.

Also saying the track wasn’t dangerous but then putting in various changes because it clearly was showed how two-faced they were. Case where I don’t blame the IOC but it fell on VANOC. Various racers leading up to these games warned them about it. Luge, Skeleton and Bobsleigh are treacherous no matter what. When they are worried about a track you listen and don’t blow them off. From Yahoo Sports.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news;_ylt=Alv.pDB1r3.MaOUfKofavKA5nYcB?slug=dw-winnerslosers022810&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

LOSER: Vancouver Organizing Committee

It was obvious they had built a sliding track in Whistler that was too fast and too challenging. Luge athletes were complaining from the start of practice. Then Nodar Kumaritashvili died when he was ejected from the track and into a steel pole. They slowed the luge track, yet then watched bobsledders struggle to make it down later in the Games.

Later, documents, emails and other smoking guns became public that showed concern about the track from officials, including those within the International Luge Federation. Luging is a dangerous sport, but there is no need to make it this difficult. The death of Kumaritashvili should be used to improve safety going forward. It was a terrible and unfortunately lasting moment from these Games.

Those athletes take risks everytime they race so it takes a lot for them to raise a red flag. Similar to race car drivers.

Takes a lot for me to agree with Jacques Rogge but I did in some quotes he’s said in the last few days. He said the IOC didn’t set the standards for the Whistler track.

“But we are morally responsible. Our responsibility is to make sure that no unnecessary risks are taken. There will always be risk in sport but it has to be reasonable. And the athletes take a lot of risk themselves.”

“The IOC has been very clear in saying to the Russians [2014 Winter Games] please deliver us a track that will be not hazardous. We never ask for more speed on the ice. Never. There has never been any requests to say you should go faster, it should be more difficult. This is something that clearly emanated from the international federation who approved the design.”

About Kumaritashvili’s death compared to other Olympic tragedies.

“It will be a part of the Games. It would be stupid to say the opposite. Just ask about what happened in Munich. What happened in Munich is part of the Games. What happened in Atlanta is part of the Games. There is no way you can isolate it.”

Rogge said the death affected him “very strongly,” and he didn’t sleep for two nights.

“In my profession, you are used to seeing people pass away, but for acceptable reasons, because of disease, because of age. [Rogge was a practicing physician.] And when you see a young athlete pursuing his dream of participating in the Olympic Games and end up in such an accident, it hurts.”

CTV Sunday morning had Rod Black and Jamie Cambpell on. I said before on the blog how I wasn’t a fan of his play by play. I do like him as a broadcaster. Always heard good things about people meeting him as well. Host asked them near the end what you would remember most about these games. Jamie gave the brutally honest answer.

The face of luger who died. Jamie was at the Broadcast Centre that Friday preparing for the sports he was going to call on Saturday. He saw the crash on TV, possibly before most of us had even heard about it. Once he heard he died he admitted he broke down. Betting CTV was looking for the first Gold Medal on home soil story from Jamie. Some things are more important.

Still haven’t watched an Olympic Gold Medal hockey game since 1994 between Canada and Sweden. Don’t like the professionals at the games. That’s it. I have to say the pros are the only ones who I saw cause anger in people the last 2 weeks. Where I work we had a lot of people come by and watch parts of the Olympics on a TV we have in the lobby. If Canada didn’t win in other sports no one got angry.

End of the Canada-Switzerland game which Canada won I saw angry people. Think I quoted this before but one guy before the shootout. “These Motherf$%kers get paid millions of dollars and they can’t beat the Swiss”. Didn’t hear anything like that if a speed skater finished 4th. More swearing at the team at the end of the Canada-Slovakia game.

Reading Twitter tonight and the word “relief” came up alot. Not happiness as much as people relieved they won. A bit strange. Felt much more happiness online when Moir/Virtue won. Tweets from women crying during that so it was memorable reading.

I’ll have one more Olympic-esque blog tomorrow as I catch up on things I missed. I’m a big sports fan but I know sports are a fun distraction. Nothing more and nothing less. Enjoy the game while watching it however it shouldn’t eat away at you if your team loses. Was my opinion of Canada or self worth going to change if the country didn’t win the ‘battle of the millionaires’ ? No, that be crazy. Tomorrow is another day win or lose.

In June it’s the world’s biggest sporting event of the year. 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Winter Olympics are big, but not World Cup of Soccer big. Don’t kid yourself. Those fans border on the insane from time to time. Killing a player for scoring on his own net for example. Not everyone knows the story about Andres Escobar. Scored on his own net against the USA in 1994. A month later in Columbia he was shot 12 times as the shooter reportedly yelled “GOAL!” after each shot. Whether the murderer was hired by Colombian drug syndicates who had bet heavily on the game was never proven. You can imagine that would be difficult and dangerous to prove in that country. The murderer was sentenced to 43 years in prison, then reduced to 26 years. And he only served 11 after being let out for ‘good behaviour’. No, that’s not fishy at all. To also show how big soccer is his funeral was attended by a few people. 120,000 to be exact.

Dark side of sports but let’s hope nothing approaching that happens this time. Does put “crazy hockey fans” in perspective though. Imagine a hockey player getting hurt at all for making a mistake. Unfathomable.

Remember Vancouver 2010 is not over yet. Even though some of the TV coverage would have you believe it is. The Paralympics start on March 12th. CTV/Rogers is doing more coverage than CBC has done. Didn’t see it but Brian Williams even said he’s hosting it. Glad they’re finally giving those games their due. I’ve tried to watch in the past but it would be tape delayed till late at night. CTV, TSN and Sportsnet showing it. We’ll see how they do. I’ll be here to write about it.

Thanks to Olympic Price Watch for linking to the blog yesterday.  I’ll post tomorrow any updates from the site.  Let’s hope the bad ones smarten up before the Paralympics start.

Quite easy to sum up the games’ ups and downs. Got the new Peter Gabriel CD as he covers various artists. Does a song by Randy Newman from 1968. Vancouver in one sentence over the last 2 weeks.

“Human kindness is overflowing and I think it’s going to rain today.”

Olympic-esque Blog Day 13-15 I think, starting to losing track

Soon as the ‘own the podium’ pressure got lifted all these medals start coming. Coincidence? Unless we’re talking about the ski team. They still have performed horribly. Speed skating was overshadowed Friday night but hopefully people found out about it this morning.

Olympic Morning still cringe-worthy. But Jay Onrait is trying his best. And he had some critical to say. Talking to a gossip reporter about who might appear at the closing ceremonies. Rumours Shania Twain is town and pictures of Alanis arriving in Vancouver. Then the part where Jay redeemed today’s show. About another rumoured act who might be there.

“Nickelback. That can’t happen can it? The world’s going to see Nickelback at the Closing Ceremonies, really Canada?”

Bravo Jay. If it’s true about Nickelback, my god. Let’s make Canada lame in front of the world. The Opening Ceremony did that in spades but the Closing can’t be worse.

The running blog will return for the Paralympics which start in a couple of weeks. TV coverage not as extensive but website says over 50 hours. Sure 99% of the media will hardly mention those games going on but I’ll try to pass along what I can.

6 crashes in the 4 man bobsleigh first run yesterday. So bad the Germans have said it’s dangerous. A coach and one of the bobsleigh pilots.

A good piece finally toning down the jingoism about Canada/US. CTV News had one comparing the countries to big brother/little brother. Best part was some intoxicated US fans in front of cameras after their win against Canada. Chanted “USA all the way” then one held up a Canadian fan and yelled.

“THANK YOU CANADA FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY! Thanks Canada!”

That was good to see.

Think I’ve seen more figure skating then hockey. They replay a tonne of figure skating overnight. Funny that I missed both the Canadians doing ice dancing and the bronze medal ladies performance. I’m at work and had to do something both times.

Hopefully CTV News learns not to anchor a local newscast in front of a crowd. Saw 2 nights ago a banner behind the 11pm pacific time Vancouver newsteam. “INVESTIGATE 9/11” popped up 3 times during the hour. I didn’t know that banner had appeared before in the previous 2 weeks. And again on Friday night. They’ve gotten to a point where they know where to stand to make it appear between the 2 anchors. Bet the director pulls their hair out every time he or she sees that.

Will write more tomorrow. Things wrapping up.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 12

Olympics = Money.

This can be taken many ways. For some the Olympics is about the endless ads and sponsors. Others the money it cost to stage the games and the debt a city can go into. These days the tax money that ‘own the podium’ has used comes to mind also.

But that equation came to my mind when Vancouver got the games. Was glad to see them get the games. Then the question came to mind. Hmmm, can I afford to go to the games? No. Short and to the point.

I know people who traveled to Vancouver during the Olympics, even some at the last minute. But Vancouver’s reputation as one of if not the most expensive city in Canada came to mind first for me. Which has come to pass in small ways at first. Like a parking lot going from $10-15 a day the week before the Olympics to over 90 bucks. That was Day 1.

One of those things where it’s different if you have a job or a career. Chris Rock had a great bit about that in his last HBO special. My version is a tad different. For those not familiar with the radio show, CFRC is volunteer work for me. Rewarding and enjoyable. Being part of Queen’s radio broadcasts as they made a run to the Vanier Cup was great. Hosting Salt Water Music is great on a weekly basis. So the radio stuff is separate from job vs career.

A career, you can save up money and vacation time and possibly make the trip. When you work a job, not so much. A career you can extra time off and they’ll welcome you back. A job, you will be replaced quite quickly.

If the Olympics are close to where you live that’s a different story. However flying halfway across the country? That takes some planning. Also with almost all of my family on the East Coast you think about the full trip since you don’t know anyone in B.C. to stay with. I know some people in BC but not enough to crash at their place.

Getting time off from work, flying out there, getting a place to stay, tickets to games if you can get them, food, traveling around, flying back and paying for all of this…… whew. Not happening. If I had a Scrooge McDuck vault in my backyard that had so much money I could swim in then that’s a different story.

Since Vancouver got the games I knew “I’ll be watching on TV”. Not a question of “if”. But that puts me in the boat of 99% of Canadians who can’t afford to go. That’s where the Olympics have gotten out of touch. In your home country and not even thinking of going to see it because it’s for people in another tax bracket. That’s too bad.

A lot of Vancouver restaurants and bars are doing what I thought might happen. Price gouging. Even a bit more than I thought. Not only raising prices but some have started adding an automatic gratuity on top of the bill. So bad service or good service, too bad. You have to pay up to a 20% tip either way. These links have a list of the ones doing that and ones that aren’t. Two people came up with the idea. Mark Prince who founded CoffeeGeek a local coffee website from Vancouver. And Rick Green who has the BC Brews blog.

http://www.coffeegeek.com/

http://bcbrews.wordpress.com/

Started writing the post on the weekend so funny how Mark’s words match to mine from a few days ago. My thoughts of Vancouver being expensive in the best of times. Along with worry about what places would do this month have come to pass. Here is from Mark’s post.


I have already been asked several times why I’m doing this – and the answer’s pretty simple for me. Vancouver’s already an expensive town. Cocktails are routinely $12 at a lot of places, mains are $25-$45 even at middle of the road restaurants. We have massive added on taxes (about to get higher with impending HST), and our servers in town are somehow trained to believe anything less than 15% tip is a slap in the face and an insult.

Jacking up prices, making “gratuities” compulsory – they all send a very bad message about this city. Tourists from around the world are visiting Vancouver for the first time, and if we send them home with memories of $7 “dollar pizza” slices, $12 for a plastic cup of Molson Canadian, and $35 prices for a $15 steak, you’re embarrassing us all. Tossing on a 20% compulsory tip at the end of the overpriced bill just adds insult to injury.

And, I might add, you’re damaging Vancouver’s reputation, long term.

Gouging list

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-16-2010_12-20am

Good Businesses list along with some bad ones

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-16-2010_12-20am

Real Reason for Olympic Auto-Gratuity

Another article on Spiffle specifically about restaurants in Vancouver and how management also dips into the “tip pool”. Except Revenue Canada in the last few years ramped up investigating servers and their tips.  But don’t with management.  So they get extra income without reporting it.  Things you learn during the Olympics.

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-19-2010_07-20pm

Latest update as of 6am est Wednesday morning with the good and the bad.

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-18-2010_12-15am

Thanks to the guys for starting out the idea and all those who contributed to the list. Great use of the internet to call out the bad places and praise the good ones. Which I’ll do at the end of this post.

Olympics have become out of reach for the average person. Honest examples from Bob McCown from the FAN 590 in Toronto.

http://www.fadoo.ca/blog/display/random-thoughts-from-vancouver-1510

If you watch CTV/Rogers coverage you would be led to believe that Hockey House is a great place. Wrong.

“Hockey House is pretty impressive, but very elitist. If you think you’ll be rubbing shoulders with famous hockey types when you get in…think again. The IIHF has their own space and “the common folk” can’t get in. Hockey Canada…same thing. Plenty of celebs are around, but you probably won’t even know who they are there. Too bad since this was a good idea gone bad.”

Only VANOC could mess up something called “Hockey House”. Bob had someone come up to him saying he had gotten a ticket to Canada-US hockey game. How much? $2300. I think staying at home was for the best. Credit to Bob also for pointing out where he’s staying. Rogers put him in a place that must’ve cost an arm and a leg. Bob was honest about that fact and even gave a picture of his view. Lot of complaints about how it’s an Olympics for the high rollers. Completely true. As of today McCown is the only media person to actually say how good they have it.

“Staying in a penthouse condo just a block from Robson Street (the epicentre of 24 hour lunacy) with a 270 degree view of English Bay, Stanley Park and the mountains. Trust me…this does not suck!”

Think Brian Williams is at a regular hotel room? No way.

Just found another person writing about the cost. ‘Vancouver Olympics Fancy Price Tag’ from Meena Mann.

http://aircheckerradioindustry.blogspot.com/2010/02/vancouver-olympic-games-just-like-any.html


The Olympic merchandise, the accommodations, eating out, and not to forget the event tickets can all add up to over $350/per day/per person.

The real drain to my bank account comes when I go out for lunch, dinner or even just a simple drink; the restaurants have definitely increased their prices for the Games. For instance, the first time I really felt the sting was when I had ordered one glass of house red at La Bocca. Upon receiving my bill my eyes popped out and my jaw fell to the floor. I couldn’t believe it, but that one glass of house red, which wasn’t even that great, cost me $16.67. Yup, that’s right. One glass of –house- is close to what the average 1/2liter would cost you. Hell, I’ve even seen wine bottles for less than that.

Another place which I found that has a high priced menu is Citta. It is located right across from La Bocca. Citta is a great pub environment, but the prices for drinks are way too high. I had ordered a bottle of wine, split between my roommate and me-just for the record. The bottle was no more than $25 but we had paid $56.00. I think that was one of their cheaper bottles as well.

Vancouver not really helping their reputations over the last 2 weeks. Not surprising to me, but still disappointing.

To close the list of GOOD businesses in Vancouver that aren’t being greedy bastards. I could use stronger words but I better not. Got to be semi-professional even on a blog. Each business has where it’s located and the source of the information. If you see something like @robertcarnell that is a Twitter account. Kudos to these places. I might not ever get out to Vancouver but at least this list can help some people. Either now or keep it for a future trip.

Long time listeners of the radio show might remember I haven’t been back to Newfoundland since 1999. That is also my last vacation of any length.  I realize 11 years is a long time when I write it down but don’t really think about it much.  So the list of good places in Vancouver to leave on a bright note.

Subeez Cafe, 891 Homer, Yaletown Great prices, no auto gratuity (one of the few Yaletown busineses to have #2010niceprices!). (source: @Network_Guy)

Sammy J. Peppers, Granville Island – prices stable, NO auto gratuity charged. (source: @hfguiere)

Ouisi Bistro, 3014 Granville Street – no price raises, great specials during Olympics, no auto gratuity. (source: me visiting).

Alibi Room, 157 Alexander in Gastown, prices stable, specials in effect, no auto gratuity, no cover charge. (source: @CAMRA_YVR)

On the Edge Pub, 303 Columbia Street (Gastown), Great prices (eg – $5.35 for 18oz of Phillips Blue Buck), no auto gratuity. (source: @ilford)

Black Frog Eatery, 108 Cambie Street, Gastown – No price increases, no auto gratuity, great beer prices in effect (as usual). (source: @loxyisme)

Pacific Culinary Institute, Granville Island – a favourite “secret” haunt of Vancouver locals, all prices etc as per normal even though Gastown is Olympics Crazy! (source: @SurreyMarket)

Irish Heather, Gastown no price increases, no cover, no auto gratuity – business as usual at this hopping Gastown favourite (source: @StephenLambie)

Salt Tasting Room, Blood Alley, Gastown – no increased prices, specials as per usual, no autogratuity. (source – personal visit)

Main Street Eateries on S. Main – word from a Main Street Restaurateur is that most, if not all Main St. eateries having prices as usual, no auto gratuities – Go Main Street dining! (source: @LatitudeonMain)

Urban Thai Bistro – Yaletown – featuring “as usual” happy hour, dishes under $5, no auto gratuity. Yay! (Source: @urbandiner)

Phat Sandwiches – Yaletown – nominal price increases, but Vancouver loyalty cards for locals to give a price break during Olympics. (was formely on negative list based on incorrect information via twitter). (Source: Global News Hour)

Au Petit Chavignol – nice discounts on weekends on fondues, wines during Olympics. (source: @petitchauvignol)

Incendio Pizza in Gastown – prices “as per usual” during Olympics, no autograt. (source: @IncendioPizza, @SBonnerABV)

Milestone’s in Yaletown – prices kept stable, $8 breakfast is available everyday. (source: @tellytelly

The Whip – 7th near Main has maintained their prices, service during Olympics. (source: @cbjerrisgaard)

The Diamond in Gastown has prices more or less stable. (source – me visiting)

Irashai Grill in Coal Harbour has promised to keep prices neutral during Olympics! (source: @Irashai)

Campagnolo on Main Street – reported to have no price increases, same service as always during Olympics. (source: @campagnolomain)

Refuel Restaurant and Bar keeping prices stable for some awesome food and drink. (source: same as previous)

Amarcord Ristorante of Yaletown – prices stable, no autogratuity for Yaletown! Yay! (direct from Restaurateur)

Provence Marinaside – removed – auto gratuity, realised it was bad policy – go Provence!

Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe, Thurlow at Alberni – no automatic gratuity, “launch” pricing in effect (they just opened), great service, killer deep bartending staff. (source: me, visiting).

Olympic-esque Blog Day 11

Gold medal in ice dancing for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Missed the Canadians skating. Usually don’t work Mondays but here I was at work. Had it on TV but got a phone call and had to go help upstairs for a few minutes. Came back down they had skated and were in first place. Lot of happy people on Twitter. Those who watched Canada-US probably felt a bit better. Nice also in that 2 people who have trained for years together won. Opposite of the “millionaires” tournament where you throw together NHL-ers from different teams and hope they quickly figure out how to play well together.

Ice dance the rare [or only] case where CTV pumped up expectations a bit higher than needed but won Gold. You could say that they did what the Vancouver Canucks never did at the Pacific Coliseum and that’s win the big one. [Low blow but true.]

Still the “own the podium” debate will not end anytime soon. Will start using lower case letters for “own the podium” since it’s become a bit of a joke.

COC finally admitted they will not finish first in the medal count. Fact they were somehow hoping to still finish first says a lot about them. They knew they had raised Canadians expectations too high. Anything less is disappointing. Tried to put off talking about that as long as they could. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports wrote a column about it. From an American perspective.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news;_ylt=AozIU_fHEs8WgadgYVn6_145nYcB?slug=dw-canadapodium022210&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

‘Canada struggling with high expectations’

Hoping to finally win Gold at home is one thing. But when they said the goal was to finish first in medals you are opening up Pandora’s Box. Most medals won by a Canadian team would be a high enough goal. They didn’t think so and now pay they have to pay the piper.

Strangely you have one of the athletes themselves blaming the increase in funding for their performance. Denny Morrison blamed ‘own the podium’ for his 13th finish. Why? Because he wasn’t allowed to train with his buddy Shani Davis of the US. Well then Denny, it’s amazing at all you even finished. Such a tough obstacle to overcome. Pretty sure the other countries who finished ahead of you didn’t train with Shani either. He tried backtracking on his comments after. Too little, too late as most Canadians would have seen his original comments and not his follow up.

Working on a longer blog entry for tomorrow.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 8 and 9

Friday night I was busy with radio and work. Long night from 5pm to 7am. Too bad the Queen’s hockey team didn’t show up for Friday’s playoff game. Outplayed by Carleton in a game in which they could’ve wrapped up the series. They play this afternoon in the nation’s capital in the deciding Game 3.

Saw the Gold medal in Skeleton live that night though. And him chugging beer out of a pitcher while walking to an interview. Looked like someone who was really enjoying himself. That seems to be the last bright spot for Friday and Saturday.

Had 8 women around the TV at work watching the speed skating final. Two Canadians in a group of 5 in a final. I thought “Canada should win a bronze” and that was too hopeful a prediction. Nothing. Two brothers got out in front but were all passed by the 2 Koreans and Ohno. Women watching were in shock. Nothing?

Story of the games so far. Expectations too high, but results much lower than expected. From a hydraulic part not working in the Opening Ceremony it has gone downhill. Talking about downhill, no medals at all for the ski team.

COC Chief Michael Chambers is either in denial or doesn’t understand sports. Said he still think Canada can finish 1st in medals. That’s just crazy talk. Not a question of Canada doing better but also having all the other countries in front not winning. US, Germany and Norway are not going to go on a cold streak. Even Korea is in front of Canada tonight by 1 medal.

He also thinks the federal government is not going to cut funding to Own the Podium after the games are over. Now that is rather funny. At this rate Canada will have less medals than in Turin. Simple equation for any government. Increase in funding = less medals. That does not compute. From what I’ve seen from Canadians watching these games is that they are not happy with bad results. Especially with their tax money going towards it.

Skiier Emily Brydon said Own the Podium has helped at the World Cup level and it should continue. But we all know nobody in Canada follows World Cup skiiing. If it doesn’t translate at the Olympics then it is looked at as a failure. Cold but true. Like the Indianapolis Colts or Atlanta Braves. They are good teams that choked time and time again. Emily didn’t even finish her run so she might not have been the best person to talk about keeping funding where it is. She called Saturday’s performance for the team a “train wreck”.

And I do use the word “choke” about more than a few of the bad results. If you finish 8th and that’s the highest you’ve ever placed that’s great. All you can ask of someone. However if you do well at World Cups and don’t finish in the top 10? That’s more of a “choke”.

Congrats to Rob Faulds for his call of the Skeleton win for John Montgomery. Much better than Jamie Campbell’s play by play of some medal performances. I felt it was like Jamie was auditioning for an Olympic ad instead of calling what he saw in front of him. Guess what I saw tonight? A McDonald’s ad that uses Jamie’s commentary from the first Gold medal. Hmmm. I think Jamie does a great job hosting/anchoring but I did not like his cheerleading play-by-play. Over the top. And completely different from his call of the Blue Jays. Which as you saw in ads on Sportsnet is now being filled by Buck Martinez. Read an article that Jamie’s contract is up in October and he still wants to do baseball. So maybe he thought this was a chance to audition for a job elsewhere, who knows. Not like he’s had much to get excited about with the Jays the last few seasons though.

Hey Rosetta! has been playing in Vancouver the last 2 nights. Great reviews and they play Sunday night at Atlantic House on Granville Island. Stephen Brunt from the Globe and Mail on their Friday gig.

“Heard Hey Rosetta! last night perform a very strong, very well-received set opening for Stars at the Orpheum.”

From Atlantic Canada House’s Twitter and Facebook page.

“Hey Rosetta was unbelievable. If you’re planning to see them Sunday night, be here early. Word’s out – they rock!”

Play tonight at Granville Island Back Stage, Monday at Whistler Village Square Stage. Finally Feb. 27th at the Surrey 2010 Celebration Site. From local Vancouver writer Kristina Campbell on Friday’s show.

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/olympics/2010/02/20/hey-rosetta-shines-brighter-stars-vancouver-orpheum-show

Hey Rosetta Shines Brighter Than The Stars At Vancouver Orpheum Show

Last night’s duo of bands at the Orpheum had a clear winner: Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta shone with the energy of up-and-coming stardom while Montreal indie-rock veterans The Stars executed their lineup of beautiful, anthemic music with an undercurrent of jadedness that left many sitting, and few dancing.

Even if it weren’t for the 6-member Hey Rosetta’s soaring melodies and crash-tastic build-ups, even if it weren’t for delicious cello and violin undercurrents and lead singer Tim Baker’s heart-stopping smirk, there would still be the voice. Baker’s voice has a way of sounding like what he’s singing about requires your urgent attention. One moment he had everyone in the room hushed and hanging on his quiet melody, and the next moment he was belting out a note at the top of his lungs with a vital capacity that would put some opera singers to shame.

Click on the link to read the full review. When you get a glowing review compared to the main act that’s a sign you’re doing well. Given everyone on the West Coast enough of a heads up to their gigs. No complaining if you miss out.

Back Monday morning with another post. Probably some reviews overnight from the concert tonight if I can find some.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 6 and 7

Changing my sleeping hours to watch Olympic Primetime didn’t quite work out.  Was a quiet night on Wednesday.  When CTV is reduced to showing 5 minutes of the Team Canada practice you chose the wrong night to watch.

First thing I saw on Primetime was Ben Mulroney so that was a bad sign from the get go.

“Own the Podium” isn’t working out.  USA right now has almost tripled the Canadian medal total.

Skier from Norway Askel Svindal talked about it after winning a medal.  In particular not letting other countries train at the facilities. Which after the death at the luge course has been something pointed out by many.

“I just want to make something clear. It was VANOC (the Vancouver organizing committee) or Own the Podium or something. It wasn’t the Canadian ski team.”

Before the games he said: “I was supposed to train with the Canadian guys. But then some, like, big dude from VANOC told the coaches that they do a lot of funding for the training and that I wasn’t allowed to be on the slope. I thought it was ridiculous but, whatever.”

Toronto Sun article pointed out something I had forgotten.  Norway helping Canada out. It was the coach from Norway who helped Sara Renner by replacing her broken ski pole in the 2006 games which helped her win a Silver medal.  VANOC really seems like the Keystone Kops of Olympic Organizers at this point.

And it’s VANOC not Team Canada as he went on to talk about.

“The Canadian team and Alpine Canada are great to work with. Erik Guay gave me a great report on the hill while I was here. I want to thank the Canadian ski teem. It wasn’t them who kept me off the hill.”

And Norway is ahead of Canada in the medal standings.

Congratulations to Christine Nesbitt on her Gold medal.  Saw her medal presentation last night.  Sure it’s been overshadowed in the Canadian media today because of hockey.  One reason I don’t like the pros at the games was the possibility of taking attention away from others.  At 6am when Olympic Morning began hockey was the top story.  Guess I imagined a Canuck won a Gold medal.

Getting back into the swing of things after a couple of days away.  Hoping to keep putting a post each day during the games.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 4

With my strange midnight hours it led to some weird tv watching. Family Day meant almost everything was closed. When you hear Walmart isn’t open that’s a sign there is not much to do in the city.  Stayed up into late afternoon then fell asleep.  Working 11pm-7am means your day is backwards.  Get used to it but your first night off after a work week you just kind of do nothing but rest.

Flicking around around 3am and I find the Gold medal presentation on NBC Detroit of all things. Overnight they are re-running the primetime show with Bob Costas. So I got the “Live” version just a few hours later.

Kudos to Costas for saying that Australian got rich from an “online internet scheme”. Other stations say it’s a business but it’s not. Online advertising that’s been linked to invasive software and spam. That’s a version of a con-man I would say. ‘Click here you might have a virus’ or something along those lines I imagine.

Lost in all of the Canadian coverage is that….. the Australians don’t like him either. Their media is the one who found out about his interent business and a headline ran “Spam Man Wins Gold”. And this from another Aussie newspaper.

“Has there ever been a more unloved, more unlauded, more unpopular Australian Olympic champion than Dale Begg-Smith?”

Sometimes things do work out in sports. Alexandre wins the Gold and the jerk doesn’t.

Saw the 500m rerun. Jeremy Wotherspoon finished 9th. His first Olympics he finished with a Silver. Since then it’s like he’s had a mental block. Falling down at the start in 2002 and admitting to being too cautious in 2006 with another 9th place finish. World record holder in the 500m and all the fans were cheering for him. Even fans of other countries, He’s a skater with more World Cup wins than anyone else. His competitors have said before they are all puzzled by his struggles at the Olympics.

Short post today. Slept through most of the coverage. Catching up now.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 3

Glad the first Canadian Gold Medal went to someone that the media wasn’t expecting. 4th time the charm for Alexandre Bilodeau. Didn’t qualify for 1998, broken neck in 2002 and battling mono in 2006. 13 years on the team and his first Olympics.

As for the reaction I saw where I am in Kingston, one word “quiet”. Mainly because of timing. Here in Ontario, Monday is a holiday. Family Day. It was really quiet due to the holiday. Myself, I woke up after it had happened. I stayed up to watch some afternoon events but I work at 11pm so I did have to catch some shuteye. Men’s Nordic Combined had a great finish. Top 4 raced to the line and all finished within a second of each other and collapsed.

As for the Gold in the moguls a couple of people came by during work and asked about it. Both were from Quebec and had my reaction. Glad but more relieved that we I don’t have to hear all that talk.

Woman I spoke to said “I’m happy I don’t have to hear Canada has never won a gold medal at home anymore.” Not the reaction I think a Gold Medal is supposed to have. Thanks CTV/Rogers for running the ads so much you made us sick of the Gold Medal talk. Bravo. Relief is a strange emotion to have after someone winning something.

I bet if Canada gets a second Gold people will be more excited and happy around here. They’re going nuts in Vancouver but with the holiday it’s been subdued. Saturday night a lot people coming by asking about what medals were won. Sunday I spoke to two people.

Walking downtown after work and the majority of places are closed downtown. Even a convenience store and Indigo Books. Only thing I saw open was the fast food joints.

Wonder if the other sports today had anything to do with it. TSN wasn’t “Canada’s Sports Leader” Sunday. Olympic coverage? Not Sunday afternoon. TSN showed Daytona 500 which you could get on FOX. I change it to TSN2 and get the Pebble Beach Pro-Am which was on CBS. Huh? If I have TSN I have CBS and FOX.

Sunday Night TSN continued with non-Olympic programming with the NBA All Star Game. At least with the NBA case TNT is not available in Canada. But showing all that on Sunday during the Olympics seemed a bit much. I have TSN2 so the NBA could have been put there. I know not a lot of people have TSN2. Basketball fans should since Raptors get bumped to TSN2 a lot.

Some blogs about the weekend coverage. Chris Zelkovich from the Toronto Star, once a guest on CFRC Offsides with Tyler King. Julie Stewart-Binks who worked on our CFRC broadcasts. She’s currently in England. Finally William Houston with the same thoughts I had about the “choking” comment during the moguls on Saturday. See yesterday’s blog for that. I’m not the only one who used the “if NBC had done that Canadians would’ve went nuts” line. 🙂

http://olympics.thestar.com/2010/article/765675–ctv-cheats-viewers-of-full-olympic-experience

http://abgy292.portfolios.cutlines.org/2010/02/1st-weekend-update/

http://www.truthandrumours.net/2010/02/14/ctv-over-hyped-jenn-heil-and-the-telecast-suffered/

Bad luck so far for these games. Weather causing headaches and they’ve canceled 4000 tickets for events at Cypress. Too bad if you had standing room general admission. Because you will get a refund but no chance to watch. Heavy rains have washed away so much snow they had to cancel tickets. That’s $400,000 in sales that will have to be paid back.

Not the only problems at Cypress. Buses running late and drivers getting lost. Not a shock because Kingston Whig-Standard had a story about Kingston Transit drivers going to Vancouver to drive buses. Drivers from across the country came there to be part of it. Great for those guys. However if you are not from an area and get their shortly before an event that is not a recipe for smooth transportation. You take a wrong turn you might not know how to get back.

Some quotes from Renee Smith-Valade of Vanoc about what’s been going on.

“Cypress is like your special child. Your special child that’s bright and talented and good-looking and causes you all kinds of worries, but they’re still your special child. So that’s what Cypress is.”

That’s strange enough I don’t need to make another comment.

Sounds like they might smarten up about one really silly thing. Having a fence around the Olympic Cauldron keeping people from getting to it. This is where I can blame that ugly design for part of it. Clearly someone who might be intoxicated might attempt to climb it. The way the logs [or whatever you want to call them] are at an angle makes it easy or at least inviting for troublemakers.

Fencing it off though has been bad P.R. The point of the cauldron outside is for the public. The IOC mandates it has to be outdoors. Which has never been an issue till this time. Decision to hold it indoors at a stadium that sucks like BC Place is still mind boggling. See Jody’s article I put up on Day 1. I thought too that Vancouver getting the games meant a new stadium. Wrong.

If you don’t know they are putting $200 Million worth of renovation into BC Place. After the Olympics. Don’t bother trying to figure that out. Call me crazy but I would want to put money into something before the world comes to visit. Not afterwards.

Leave to Atlantic Canada to bring a tonne of talent to the Olympics. Anyone in BC should visit Atlantic Canada house.

http://www.atlanticcanadahouse.com/en/daily-schedule.php

Amount of music there is huge. Tonne of people I’ve played on the show since I started. This is the list of ones that have been played on ‘Salt Water Music’ that are playing vancouver over the next 2 weeks. I must have a good memory.

Amelia Curran

http://www.ameliacurran.com

Grand Theft Bus

http://www.myspace.com/grandtheftbus

Tim Chiasson and Morning Fold

http://www.timchaisson.com/

Sloan

http://www.sloanmusic.com

Lennie Gallant

http://www.lenniegallant.com

The Trews

http://www.thetrewsmusic.com

Vishten

http://www.vishten.net

Jimmy Rankin

http://www.jimmyrankin.com

Meaghan Blanchard

http://www.myspace.com/meaghanelizabethblanchard

Sherman Downey

http://www.myspace.com/shurmann

In Flight Safety

http://www.inflightsafety.ca/

Hey Rosetta

http://www.heyrosetta.com

Jessica Rhaye

http://www.jessicarhaye.com

The Irish Descendants

http://www.irishdescendants.com

Matt Andersen

http://www.stubbyfingers.ca

Rawlins Cross

http://www.rawlinscross.com

Jill Barber

http://www.jillbarber.com

Ron Hynes

http://www.hynesite.org

Catherine MacLellan

http://www.catherinemaclellan.com

Chris Kirby

http://www.chriskirbyonline.com/

Wintersleep

http://www.wintersleep.com

Shanneyganock

http://www.shanneyganock.ca

Rose Cousins

http://www.rosecousins.com

The Olympic Symphonium

http://www.myspace.com/theolympicsymphonium

Matt Mays

http://www.mattmays.com

The Navigators

http://www.thenavigators.com/

Jim Payne & Fergus O’Byrne

http://www.singsonginc.ca/bios/biofergus.html

http://www.singsonginc.ca/bios/biojimpayne.html

Whew. And there are even more artists. That is a big list.

Luckily I have 3 days off from work so I can watch more of the events live.  Saw many things but just replayed on overnights at work.  Not quite the same but at least I get to see them.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 2

Silver but not gold. That sums up the side effect of all those annoying ‘I Believe’ ads and the ‘Own the Podium’ program. Expectations have been raised a bit too high. A Silver medal at any other games would make people happy.

Day 2 and at work we had the moguls on TV. Few people watched Jennifer Heil get a medal. Their reactions:

“Silver is nice but she was supposed to get Gold”

“So we spent millions of dollars for Silver”

That is from regular people. Not the media, just some regular Canadians. It is a tad harsh on the first day of competition. However you get what you asked for. You can’t pump people up for a long time and not expect them to be annoyed when you don’t deliver. Oh wait, am I talking about the Opening Ceremony again? No, but I could be.

My Mom did watch the entire Opening Ceremony. She was underwhelmed. That’s my barometer of doing a good job at these things. If my Mom stayed up through the entire thing and still didn’t like they did a bad job.

That’s not even discussing CTV’s coverage so far. Tried watching Olympic Morning after getting home from work. They had someone from E-Talk discussing whether Sarah McLachlin is single or not……. years of preparation and this is what they come up with. Going to be a long 2 weeks if this keeps up.

Heil’s medal even had some suspect commentating. I know you want the event you’re covering to be the one where Canada gets a Gold but setttle down. Before Hannah Kearney, the American who won, started her run CTV Commentator Veronica Brenner said something. “She has a history of choking”. Choking is a strong word and if an NBC commentator said that about a Canadian in Salt Lake people imagine the reaction in Canada.

Sportsnet still comes across as, well Sportsnet. Even in Vancouver they have problems. After an Olympic sportscast they go to Sean McCormack doing one with other sports news. Starting off sounded like an audio problem then the camera that is moving starts to shake. Not good. Moves again in a jerking motion then zooms in quickly on him. Wow.

Hopefully the weather helps out with other events on Sunday. However figure skating also starts. [shudder]

Trying to see if I can find footage of MuchMusic’s contribution on Friday night. Body shots in a hot tub and asking girls to “drop their gear for beer”. Guessing they might not pop up during the closing ceremonies.

From what I’ve seen so far NBC’s production has been more professional and smooth. Just put it on Olympic Morning again. Still not good. A very “herky jerky” feel to it. They’ve said they spent months getting ready and rehearsing. I don’t see it yet. The morning show especially is painful at times. Right now some people from MTV Canada are attempting some “comedy” about figure skating with Elvis Stojko.

Finally the Olympic cauldron looks ugly. I don’t mind saying it. Read it described as a bunch of logs leaning against each other or on Yahoo Sports some joints. Drug humour about B.C.? I’m shocked. lol.

I would hope the TV coverage improves but so far it shows they are really out of touch with what viewers want. Comedy pieces and gossip about singers is not what people are watching for.

Olympic-esque Blog Day 1

Don’t think I can do a blog post on each day of the games but Day 1 was a big one.

First for the bad news of the death of the Luger from Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili.  Heard about it before I headed to the station last night for my show.  Had to mention it during the show since I’m sure some listeners would’nt have heard it before they flicked it on tv  that night.

Olympics will do things that just make you go nuts.  For instance overnight they put out an international press release pretty much saying the accident was Nodar’s fault and not the track.  Somehow the investigation has wrapped up in less than 12 hours and they’re going to run on the track as scheduled today.  They go from honoring him during the ceremony to throwing his name under the bus.  Classy.

I’ll move onto a lighter topic the Opening Ceremony. I don’t sit through opening or closing ceremonies of any Olympics since Salt Lake in 1996.  Had to draw the line in the sand after the “talking dinosaurs” that year.  Which lives on thanks to YouTube.  Donny and Marie Osmond as Dinosaurs.  Nothing in Vancouver’s opening or closing will top this when it comes to embarrassing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13_bjK_QjOY

Wow. How that got through a planning stage and part of an actual event is amazing.

Saw bits and pieces of last night.  Some East Coast content.  I would like to say Sarah McLachan “sang” but you can’t escape the lip synching at these things.  Last night seemed like a bad night for all of them.  Always heard BC Place was horrible for acoustics so it was fitting in a way.

Oh…. the torch hydraulics screw up at the end.  You’ve got to be kidding.  $20 Million spent on the ceremony last night but not apparently enough on a little detail at the end.  The lighting of the damn thing.  You might want to throw some cash that way to make sure it works.  Insane.

Gretzky being the choice at the end I thought was wrong.  Betty Fox all the way.  They went with “most famous” as opposed to anything else.  Wayne didn’t even medal in the one games he competed in.  Some will say he put together the Gold medal team.  Picking a bunch of millionaire hockey players to compete against other millionaires isn’t that impressive to me.  He also put together that team that finished 7th place 4 years ago too.  They don’t like to mention that.

I’ve never followed Men’s Hockey at the Olympics since the pros came in.  Didn’t even watch 2002 US-Canada Gold Medal game.  Our rich guys better than theirs?  Who cares.  At their own tournament that’s one thing.  But the Olympics are different.

Also the hockey overshadows the other sports for Canadians.  Most people remember how well or badly the hockey team did in a given Olympics first. “Did a speed skater win some medals last time?  Ummm, ya I remember that a bit.”

Not a very positive post to start things out but you can’t blindly be “rah-rah-rah” less than a day after the death of an Olympian.  I’ll leave you with a column Jody Vance wrote two years ago.  Saying Jody’s not a fan of BC Place is putting it mildly.  It was built in 1983 and I think that had something to do with the problems.  I read last summer an elevator used by CFL staff wasn’t working for close to 3 months at the stadium. Jody got the Super Bowl wrong but she got this right.

How can Vancouver top Beijing?

The big Olympic hand-off from Beijing 2008 to London 2012 went like everything else in China did over the course of the ’08 Summer Games: Like clockwork.

But before the Brits take over, in just 18 short months the Olympic torch will be lit right here on Canadian soil when the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics begin.

I’m nervous. Are you nervous?

Can Canada top what was achieved in China?

Beijing proved to be pretty close to perfect over the course of the Olympics of 2008 — it’s an almost impossible act to follow.

Follow it we shall.

My biggest worry is the opening and closing ceremonies in 2010. Did you know they will, in part at least, be held at B.C. Place Stadium?

B.C. Place is, hands-down, my least favourite sports venue on the planet. It’s void of personality and, for now, has an immovable roof — in a city where the temperature rarely dips below -5 C!

Yes, there are plans for a retractable roof as part of a renovation outline that’s also key to Vancouver’s MLS bid, but I didn’t like this place when it opened as the jewel of Expo ’86 and after years of covering sporting events there, I like it even less today.

How can B.C. Place deliver an experience even close to that of the likes of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest?

It boggles the mind that landing the Olympics wasn’t considered the ideal opportunity to knock that sucker down and put up a stadium worthy of both beautiful British Columbia and the Olympic Games.

It’s too late now, of course, and the compromise is that the opening and closing ceremonies will be “split” between downtown Vancouver and Whistler.

I have great faith in the Vancouver Olympic Committee and its plan to present a seamless and stellar experience showcasing the ultraunique culture that is the Pacific coast of Canada.

But, to get past that whole B.C. Place vs. Bird’s Nest thing will be next to impossible.

Olympics Almost Here

The Olympics in Vancouver are about to begin. Finally, those CTV/Rogers promos were annoying the hell out of me. A few times a day would be one thing. But I work overnight and we usually have one of the sports channels on. I saw them every hour multiple times. A bit much fellas. Think Canadians know they were coming up.

British Columbia on the world stage for the next 2 weeks. B.C. not new to TV audiences with such television programs as X-Files being shot there. But this is a Canadian blog. I know the West Coast from such fare as The Beachcombers, Danger Bay and Zig Zag. Good ole 80’s CanCon.

Onto YouTube for some clips. The Beachcombers ran 17 years for 387 episodes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FteZimbz59I

Danger Bay ran for 6 seasons and rerun well into the 90’s.  Canadian content always last a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-m5J10e2Rg

Zig Zag for 8 years. Some longevity with shows from the left coast. Yes, this is Terry David Mulligan in the opening credits. This is the best opening of the three. Simply because of the 1980-era shorts the kids are wearing. Hard to describe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd1czn0cZY0

The Biff and Bart show section of the show has its own YouTube channel.

http://www.youtube.com/user/biffandbartfan

Take too long to explain each show for those that don’t remember them. Wikipedia is a good source. 🙂

Tomorrow night the second CFRC Funding Drive episode.  Had one caller last week, my Mom.  But that counts.  Especially on Day 1 of the drive.

Hockey game on Saturday night as well at 7:30pm against Nipissing.  Last regular season broadcast.  Might be doing some playoff games but that’s to be determined.