The Joys of Online Shopping

As I have written about before, our household has embraced online shopping. When the kidlets need new swim suits, it is off to Amazon dot com. Once we bought a half wheel of parmigiano regianno from Amazon – yes, the Canada Post dude carried 20 lbs of parmesan cheese up the walk to our front door.

Costco is another retailer who has a fabulous online shopping experience. What have I bought from online shopping at Costco? Well, a thousand live ladybugs is one thing. And a massive bucket of laundry soap – why would I carry a 50 pound bucket of soap home when Costco will deliver it for free?

I have also previously confessed my passion for online shopping for handcrafted leather and waxed canvas bags and briefcases.

You can’t really go wrong with buying leather bags and briefcases online, especially if you are buying top quality gear such as Marlondo Leather, Bexar Goods, or Koch Leathers. That is in part because they have such great webpages or Facebook pages to communicate with you about their products, but also because there is a significant secondary market for leather briefcases. Who knew, right?


Another item that is great for online shopping is modern furniture. You can quickly and easily look at what brands and what styles of furniture the retailer has before going into the store and doing the real-life test of the furniture.

Once in store you can lounge on the couches and sit on the chairs. You can even lay down on the beds in store and fall asleep! You can’t do that when you are shopping online.

However, the fact is, not everything is well suited for online shopping. I spend more time returning shoes to the post office than my wife actually spends wearing shoes she purchases online.

If I ask why she doesn’t just buy “the right size” the first time I get that withering look. Apparently there is a unique language dedicated to shoe manufacturers – some fit “according to size” while others “fit large”. And others? Yes, some “fit small”.

The bottom line, we will continue to shop online for all sorts of things including leather bags, swim suits, and ladybugs. And yes, much to my chagrin, my wife will continue her online shopping for shoes.


Open House to Explore Brunette Interchange Options

Although there are some people who live in New Westminster who would rather have all links from neighbouring communities completely severed, that doesn’t appear to be one of the options being considered by BC’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Brunette Interchange
Brunette Interchange

There will be two open houses at which the public’s feedback regarding the future Brunette Interchange on Highway 1 will be “heard”.

A third open house will be scheduled for later in the year to give the public additional time to review the designs and ask ministry staff questions.

There are three design options for the future interchange, which will be presented at the open houses.

Option A: Brunette Interchange with Separate Municipal Connections and United Blvd. Connection – The main crossing of Highway 1 is separated into two corridors – a two- lane corridor for local traffic and a four-lane corridor for regional and provincial traffic.

Option B: Blue Mountain Interchange with United Blvd. Connection – This option extends Blue Mountain St. over Highway 1 to United Blvd. Interchanges become the main access to Highway 1.

Option C: Blue Mountain Interchange with Braid Industrial Area Connector – The direct connection between United Blvd. and Brunette is replaced by a two-lane connection from Blue Mountain St. to Columbia St. via a new connector with a two lane tunnel under the rail lines and Brunette River.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the open houses scheduled for:

  • First open house: Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Maillard Middle school, 1300 Rochester Ave, Coquitlam from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Second open house: Thursday, Nov. 3, at Sapperton Pensioners Hall, 318 Keary St., New Westminster from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Third open house: Early December. The ministry will provide details on the third open house once it has been scheduled.

Ministry staff will be on hand to answer questions.

In addition, the B.C. government has launched a new public engagement website, for people to learn more information about the project and to provide feedback online. To go to the new website, click here:

Arts Club Theatre Takes Baskerville On the Road

After a successful Vancouver premiere at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the Arts Club is taking Baskerville on tour.

Five actors play over 40 comical characters, filling the stage with suspects, allies, and heirs in this zany whodunit based on the Arthur Conan Doyle classic. When the wealthy Henry Baskerville is threatened by the fable of a bloodthirsty hound on the moors, Holmes and Watson are on the case to sniff out the culprit. The game’s afoot in this hilarious thriller that’s anything but elementary!

Director John Murphy states, “Baskerville is definitely a comedic romp, but the play also maintains the original story’s Gothic feel, so there are moments when we hope to scare the bejesus out of people. As Conan Doyle said, ‘There is no horror without imagination.’ We’re going to do everything we can to engage the audience’s imagination, by using the most rudimentary theatrical tools— like shadow puppetry—to put people in a place where they can believe that a mythical, murderous hound actually exists. And, of course, we get to spend an evening with the most iconic, quirky, neurotic detective of all time. Jessie Award winner Alex Zahara returns to the stage to bring this wonderful genius to life. Should be quite a night.”

  • Baskerville, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery will be at the Evergreen Cultural Centre from October 25-30 with an 8pm start.
  • The Saturday and Sunday performances will begin at 3pm.

What Those Signs Really Mean

As an observer of people and peoples’ behaviours, I have noticed something funny going on in our society; people do not seem to understand the meaning of some of the signs that are frequently posted around our communities.

Even if we totally disregard the fact that very few drivers understand that a yellow traffic light means stop if safe to do so and that a red light means stop, there are some more signs that people do not seem to understand.

Crosswalk Sign
Crosswalk Sign

First off, let’s say what the sign in the picture above does NOT indicate – it does not mean that every car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle operator will see you if you are pedestrian and will therefore stop. The hand of God or some other Supreme Being is NOT going to reach out of the sky and stop all vehicle traffic.

It does mean that it is safer bet to cross the street at this point than most other points.

And as a car or truck driver, it does mean that there is a higher than average chance that a pedestrian is going to be stepping out and trying to cross the street near a sign like this.

Wheelchair Parking
Wheelchair Parking

Here is another classic sign that is so often misinterpreted. This sign does NOT mean you can park here because you are going to “just run in and grab a whatever it is you are going to grab.”

Typically this sign is posted at parking spots which are reserved for people who have mobility issues. You know the type, people in wheelchairs or the elderly who cannot walk far.

Swimming Pool - No Shoes
Swimming Pool – No Shoes

My favourite sign most often posted at swimming pools. Once again, here is what this sign does NOT mean – it does not mean that you can keep your shoes on as you tiptoe across the pool deck.

It means take your shoes and socks off because this is a pool deck and your shoes may have fecal matter (poop stuff), sharp objects or other stuff on the bottoms that will hurt childrens’ little bare feet.

So that is it. These signs are typically posted for a reason; pay attention and do what the signs say.

Race Car Drivers and Commuting 

The following is an open letter to the young man driving the hopped up import car with the super fat muffler that sounds like a jet engine running down the street in front of me. Seriously dude, you remind me of a young Mario Andretti. Maybe even an Al Unser. You control your car in a way that is rarely seen on our city streets.

The way that you are able to weave in and out of traffic at such an incredible rate of speed is absolutely amazing.

You are able to come up behind a vehicle at an incredible rate of speed and then wheel around them so amazingly quickly. Your reflexes are second to none.

And your ability to follow behind somebody else’s car, not even a few centimetres off their back bumper? Wow. You are amazing. Your reflexes must be superhuman.

And of course the car you’re driving is an amazing piece of engineering as well.

Your tinted windows make it almost impossible to see who’s inside, but I know when you pass me in your race car, I know that you are one incredible driver. It really is too bad you are not on a real track.

I love the fact that your car is so hopped up that it would be a natural for the race track. You have it lowered to within mere centimetres of the road. And those low-profile tires? Wow. Again. You are amazing. And your car is equally amazing.

However, there is bad news for you.

You are not actually on a race track. And the people driving cars around you? They are not nearly as qualified and competent behind the wheel as you are.

In fact, some of the drivers, even people like me, are not giving their full attention to the road.

Some of us are sleep deprived. Some of us are worried about our kids or our jobs or the cup of coffee we are trying to balance on the steering wheel while watching the road and mediating a fight that the kids in the back seat are having, and trying to ignore the fact that we are probably going to be late for work because the kids could not find their clothes and are therefore distracted from the actual race event that you believe you are in.

Yes it’s true, distracted driving means more than just using a mobile phone in the car.

Even though you are an amazing human being who has the ability to control your hopped up, super engineered race car, the vast majority of other people on the road are a bunch of distracted slobs driving poorly tuned vans with many other things on their mind than the race that you believe that you are in.

So in short, slow the fuck down, quit tailgating me, and get your noisy piece of shit of a car off the street in front of my house especially when my kids are trying to have a nap.

Burnaby Art Gallery; Art in the Community

The Burnaby Art Gallery is continuing their tradition of taking art out of the gallery and into the community with two new exhibitions opening next week at local libraries.

Set to coincide with the start of the school year, Ben Duncan’s Ever Onward will explore the long history of the art of the doodle at the Bob Prittie Library (near Metrotown) from September 19th to November 15th 2016.

Catherine M. Stewart is an artist featured in the City of Burnaby’s Malaspina Printshop Archive. She also has a background in physics and mathematics, which have influenced her artistic practice. Her exhibition, Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings will run at Burnaby’s McGill Library.

Ever Onward is a presentation of new work by Ben Duncan in the longstanding tradition of the doodle. Whether in the ancient papyrus loose leaf notes of the Babylonian magi, or the hastily jotted, nearly illegible plans of the great scholar Dapti, crudely scrawled drawings and scribbles abound.

This showcase honours those whose artwork earned them the “easily distracted” distinction in their report cards and presents a loosely tied narrative of pilgrims, denizens and otherworldly entities who dare to venture ever onward.

With a humorous bent, Vancouver-based artist Ben Duncan focuses on a variety of themes, including but not limited to cartoonish displays of explosive violence, surreal gang culture and an insectoid value system applied to traditional human societies.

The Catherine M. Stewart exhibition titled Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings continues the BAG’s exploration of the Malaspina Printshop Archive. The exhibition runs from September 20th to November 16th, 2016 at  the McGill Library, 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby

Catherine M. Stewart’s Distillations differs from the other Malaspina Printshop Archive exhibitions in that the artist herself has chosen the works to be displayed from both the Malaspina Archive and her own collection.

Stewart earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Her early exposure to science and mathematics continues to be an influence that resurfaces in her artistic practice. Her work has won awards and been shown locally, nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions.


Riverfest at the Fraser River Discovery Centre

The Fraser River Discovery Centre is pleased to announce the return of its annual RiverFest, Metro Vancouver’s biggest celebration of the environmental, economic and socio-cultural importance of the Fraser River. Riverfest will run from September 22 – 24th at the New Westminster Quay.

Presented this year by Port of Vancouver, RiverFest 2016 will open with the Canadian premiere of YAKONA, BC Director Paul Collins’ multi-award winning film about Texas’s San Marcos River and its relationship with the world around it.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s festival, which attracts over 10,000 visitors to the Westminster Quay,” said Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC) Interim-Executive Director Stephen Bruyneel. “Adding to the excitement is our opening night event – the Canadian premier of BC Director Paul Collins’ stunning film YAKONA.”

YAKONA follows the San Marcos River from source to sea, through the changing seasons, interpreting the river’s time and memory and documenting this relationship between the natural world and man. The film has won five major international awards since its release, including the coveted SXSW Visions Audience Award at its World Premiere in Austin TX.   

“While YAKONA focuses on the San Marcos River, it can be seen as a metaphor for rivers all around the world,” added Bruyneel. “It serves as a reminder that rivers must be shared and cared for by all users as a tribute to those who came before, and those who have yet to experience their glory.

RiverFest 2016 will continue on Friday night with the annual *click* photos of the fraser exhibit, which brings together an assortment of perspectives of the Fraser River from the Rocky Mountains to the Salish Sea. Each year a new selection of photographs is unveiled on a different theme, which this year is “Time”.

RiverFest is always one of the region’s premier events, both because of its family-focus and due to the fact it is held in conjunction with BC and World Rivers Day,” concluded Bruyneel. “The Fraser River is an economic, environmental and social icon for the Lower Mainland, British Columbia and all of Canada and we invite everyone to join us in celebrating our mighty river!” 

RiverFest 2016 concludes on Saturday with its signature outdoor festival, which includes music, food, activities and the famous Lucille Johnstone Work Boat Parade.

The Evergreen Cultural Centre Celebrates 20 Years

Here is the TLDR for this blog post: The Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their 20th anniversary as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off our new season with a dance party featuring SweetPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse.

Celebrating 20 years as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities, the Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their season launch party on Friday, September 16 @ 7pm. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off the new season with a dance party featuring SweatPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse. A silent auction will also be available for patrons to bid on great items from community partners and sponsors.

“All of us at the Evergreen Cultural Centre – staff, volunteers, and board members – are extremely excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary,” says Doug Matthews, Evergreen Cultural Centre Society Board President. “Over this period, the number and quality of our performing and visual arts presentations have grown considerably and we are proud of the fact that a diverse group from the Tri-Cities area use our facilities on a regular basis. As well, our professional theatre, comedy, dance, and musical presentations are among the best in the lower mainland, and our art gallery shows are of the highest quality found anywhere.”

SweatPea Swing Band

The SweetPea Swing Band has been performing their own unique brand of traditional jazz in and around Vancouver for many years. The band repertoire contains a lively collage of hot jazz music dating back as far as 1916. Although the band’s music is firmly rooted in traditional jazz, The SweetPea Swing Band presents their music in a hip, modern style that continues to incite audiences into a dancing frenzy.


Brickhouse is one of the most uniquely “Vancouver” music experiences – seeing Brickhouse Live is one of the “Top 10” coolest things you can do in Vancouver. With their brand of original, funky tracks and cleverly covered classic R&B tunes, Brickhouse blends classic and modern (Blue Funk) with ease and makes hearing and seeing Brickhouse an addictive experience.

Tickets are only $20 for this great event!

Contact the Evergreen Box Office at 604-927-6555 or visit for tickets and more information.

Keith Langergraber at the Burnaby Art Gallery

Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) present Betrayal at Babylon, a new installation by Vancouver-based mixed media artist Keith Langergraber that will be held at the gallery from September 9 to October 23, 2016.

Investigating the impermanence of language and the complexity of human myth-making, the exhibition merges historical and fictionalized narratives set in British Columbia and beyond.

Reinterpreting the biblical Tower of Babel as a western mine and ghost town, Langergraber’s sculptural work fuses spiral train tunnels, dilapidated rigging systems and downed power lines. The show incorporates a series of large-scale mixed media works on paper, scraps of handwritten journal entries, detailed drawings of fossils and relics, and maps of natural terrain and settlements.

For the project, Langergraber worked with Carl Alexander, an elder from the Nxwísten (Bridge River) Indian Band in Lillooet to explore traditional St’át’imcets place names and provide an account of the impact of industry—dams, forestry, mining and the railroad—in the region.

Double Negative, Double Whammy (2016), a short film by Langergraber, screens as part of the show – following a gang of meteorite hunters across a surreal landscape, the film draws on motifs from sci-fi, western and disaster film genres. A mythic tektite meteorite also stands on display.

Betrayal at Babylon examines not only the construction of language, but also demonstrates the limitations of language in conveying environmental issues that have occurred through natural forces over time as well as through more recent human-driven exploits.


  • Opening Reception | Thursday, September 8 | 7-9pm | FREE
  • In the BAG: Family Sundays | 1-4pm | FREE
  • Sunday, September 11 – Drawing Spaces
  • Sunday, October 9 – Mapping Terrains
  • Artist Talk + Film Screening | Saturday, September 10 | 2pm | FREE
  • Art Tour Tuesday | Tuesday, September 20 | 12:15pm | $5 | NEW PROGRAM
  • Tour & Tea | Tuesday, September 20 | 2pm | $7.50 | NEW PROGRAM
  • One Place, Many Names Talk | Sunday, September 25 | 2pm | FREE
  • Culture Days Guided Tour | Sunday, October 2 | 2pm | FREE

To learn more about the Keith Langergraber exhibition and other shows at the Burnaby Art Gallery, you can visit their webpage.