As we head into the weekend, the 21st Winter Olympics will draw to a close, marking the end of an amazing two weeks here in Vancouver. Though the Paralympic Games are still to come, Sunday will definitely mean an end to some amazing competition and events. Some of the pavilions and venues will pack up and close, while the many visitors to Vancouver will begin their journeys back home.

If you live in Vancouver, I encourage you to get out and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and spirit that has permeated throughout this city. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Vancouver so go out and enjoy it for one last time.


This evening, a co-worker and I decided to have a few drinks at Joey’s on Burrard, just a few blocks from the Olympic cauldron and the international broadcast centre. While we were discussing the results of today’s Olympic hockey games, I noticed a quiet and unassuming gentleman returning to his seat at a table not far from ours. The gentleman was Teemu Selanne, current player for the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL and even more currently, Finnish Olympian in the sport of ice hockey.

Selanne had just arrived at the restaurant/lounge from his team’s 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic out at the UBC Thunderbird Arena. I guess the team didn’t linger out at UBC because he was downtown well before 11pm. Selanne went relatively unnoticed for the most part. He shook a few hands and a few people gave him a thumbs up from outside through the windows. The most overt bit of gawking came from a few young Canadian males who cautiously came somewhat near his table and took some pictures, much like a person takes a picture of a deer in the wild. I tried to be discreet while taking the above photo of Selanne from my own table. My co-worker and I debated the merits of approaching him but decided he deserved to have his privacy.

We left before Selanne did but he appeared to be quite relaxed as he enjoyed a beer with his two companions. With the sheer number of athletes and celebrities in the city, I wish I’ve had more brushes with greatness over the last few days. The Olympics aren’t quite over just yet, so let’s see what happens.


We’ve been working really hard to get skate 3 out the door and to show their appreciation, management arranged to have a massage therapist come and work on our tense muscles. To be clear, we were offered 15 minute sessions so these are short intervals to help us quickly relax. Your usual spa type massages last much longer but with so many software engineers on our team, it’s not practical to spend that much time with each person.

My first massage was on Friday and while I was on the chair the nice massage lady asked me if I played a lot of sports. I told her I hadn’t participated in sports in many, many months. She then said she had asked because the muscles around my right shoulder showed the same amount of development as people who played racquet sports. I kinda laughed because I used to play lots of tennis but it’s been a good year since I stopped that. I also mentioned that my mouse arm is my right arm. She said that could account for the muscle development, given the amount of time I spent at the computer.

The massage lady returned again today and I was fortunate enough to get another session with her. This time she had the full table so she was able to work on my legs a bit. This time, she asked me if I played soccer (football for you Brits) because according to her, my leg muscles showed signs that I participated in athletic activities. I again laughed because I’m essentially a sloth for nearly the entire day as I sit at my desk. I told her again that I just at my desk all day.

She explained to me that some people have muscles that retain their state to a certain extent after levels of exercise, even if a lot of time has passed since the last bit of athletic activity. That made me feel good about myself, even though I’m still quite tubby around the middle. I wondered out loud what would happen if I actually exercised on a regular basis. The massage lady suggested that maybe I should give it a try and find out.

I’m going to open a bag of chips, watch some TV, and think about that.


I finally found some time to upload my pictures from the hockey game that I attended last Thursday. If you’re keeping score, this game was the start of the stumbles that Team Canada had that has led them to their current predicament. Had they just beat the Swiss in regulation but still lost against the US, they’d be facing Finland, not Russia, should get past Germany today. While the Finnish team is still quite good, I think Russia has an edge on them. Well, it won’t matter if we don’t even get past the Germans.

Click here if you want to see the pictures.


Through luck and the generosity of others, I managed to go an Olympic hockey game for three straight days in a row starting on Thursday. The game on Saturday night was a complete surprise as I didn’t even know I was going to that game until less than three hours before game time. A friend of mine suddenly got three tickets when someone he knew couldn’t use them. He decided to give one ticket to me and another to my co-worker.

It turned out we had tickets to a women’s ice hockey game out at the Thunderbird Arena at UBC. My two previous games were at Canada Hockey Place, so I welcomed the change in venue. The rink out at UBC is much smaller than CHP but it’s much more intimate so you can really see the action up close. The concessions are also much more reasonably priced out at UBC. While you’ll be ripped off for food and drink at CHP, the items out at UBC don’t appear to have an “Olympic” premium placed upon them.

The game itself was between Russia and Slovakia. Both these teams aren’t on the same level as the US and Canada but it was an interesting game nonetheless. Early on, it was clear that Russia had an edge on the Slovakian team which caused me to cheer for the Slovaks the entire game. In the end, Russia won 4-2. The Slovakian goalie was very busy and played very well. She was a victim of a few unlucky bounces.

After the game, we just left the campus as the arena is really the only Olympic thing out there. It’s weird since if you exit CHP after a game, it’s downtown and there’s everything related to the Olympics around you.

My luck ran out today as no one offered me tickets to anything! Though to be honest, I’m kinda glad I didn’t get to see Canada play the US today. It was disappointing enough to watch it at home, I can’t imagine how much it probably sucked to watch it live at CHP.


Today I attended my very first Olympic event as I had a ticket to the Canada vs. Swiss men’s ice hockey game. At the game, I was going to meet up with my sister’s boyfriend and a mutual friend of theirs.

Since I didn’t know how bad transit and the security checkpoints would be, I left plenty of time to spare. Skytrain heading west was definitely crowded, especially for a Thursday afternoon. While it was crowded, it didn’t prevent me from getting on the first train that arrived. I even had the luck of getting on the same car as Gordie Robertson, one of the members of the gold medal winning Canadian hockey team in Norway back in 1952. The 83 year-old was quite gregarious on the train and had his gold medal with him, allowing me to come closer to a gold medal than ever before.

It turns out that clearing security wasn’t a big deal at all. Since I didn’t have a bag, I was able to use the express lanes where I didn’t even have to wait. I went straight to one of the many open lanes where I emptied my pockets into a tray, airport style. I then proceeded through a metal detector and then collect my belongings on the other side. I breezed through in less than 30 seconds.

What did take long was what awaited me afterwards. Spectators that cleared security are herded into a waiting area just outside Canada Hockey Place. The reason for this there is usually a game going on beforehand and officials needed to clear out the arena before letting spectators in for the next game. So I, along with many other people, waited. We waited for well over an hour on our feet. Once we were allowed to proceed, we were in for more patience testing procedures. Though there were hundreds of people in this waiting area, we all needed to go up a single, narrow staircase that crossed the street and then went back down to street level to the arena. It took me fifteen minutes to get to the staircase from the time people were allowed to proceed.

From there it was clear sailing into the arena as I didn’t even have to wait to get my ticket checked. My seat was excellent, lower bowl, row 17 at one of the ends of the rink. During the warm-up, I remarked at the amazing job VANOC had done with transforming GM Place to Canada Hockey Place. Usually, GM Place is the home of the Vancouver Canucks. As such, the arena is decked out in everything related to the Canucks, from logos to signs to colour schemes. Canada Hockey Place, however, is now a completely neutral site. There is not a shred of Canuck materials visible anywhere. Everything inside and outside the arena has now been branded with Vancouver 2010 images and colours. If you didn’t know any better, you’d be hard pressed to even guess which NHL team usually plays here.

I was also impressed with the business-like nature of conducting an Olympic hockey game. There are no national anthems to be sung. There are no pre-game ceremonies. There are no video introductions to be watched. There are no corporate sponsors to thank. After the warm-up, the starting lineups are announced and then the puck is dropped.

Now for the game itself. I got worried about five minutes into the first period and the worry never left me the entire game (even when Canada was leading 2-0). On the official scoresheet, it will read as a Canadian shootout win over the Swiss but let’s face it, the real winners here are the Swiss. The Swiss team played a near perfect game for them that followed their strategy down to the letter. They needed to rely on a hot goalie, keep close to the Canadians, and capitalize on their chances if some came their way. That’s exactly what they did. If I were the Swiss team, I’d be going to bed tonight thinking the Canadians were certainly beatable.

Whatever chemistry, flow, and confidence that Canada exhibited in the last two periods against Norway was visibility lacking in the game against the Swiss. Their passing was not crisp. Some defensive giveaways gave people like me in the stands fits. They passed way too often in situations that just called for a simple shot. Meanwhile, the Swiss did all the little things right, seemingly winning all the small battles for the puck. They also appeared to be in the right place on the ice, exactly at all times.

The Swiss are currently ranked 10th in the world in hockey. Canada made them looked potential world champions tonight. After I left the game, there was a lot of cheering going on in downtown Vancouver. I wasn’t in a cheering mood as tonight’s game made me realize there might be some difficult times ahead for the men’s team. Canada will face the US on Sunday and let me be clear, the US are a far better team than the Swiss. If the same Canadian team shows up on Sunday as it did tonight, they will get a beating on the ice that will embarrass Canadian hockey throughout the world.

Despite my disappointment in the Canadian team, I was otherwise delighted to be at such a high-profile Olympic event, something I’ll never forget. Thanks once again to my little sister for making that happen!


The Olympics in Vancouver are now nearly a week old and many people I know have been lucky enough to attend several events, ranging from hockey games, curling, figure skating, half-pipe, to the medal ceremonies. While I’ve been downtown three times in the last five days, I myself have yet to attend any of the ticketed events. That will change tomorrow as I will take in one of the Olympic ice hockey games.

Because I have the best little sister in the world, I am going to the game featuring the Canadian men’s vs. the Swiss. I’d be thrilled to be going to any hockey game but considering this one features the very best Canadian players, I am super excited. Normally, people would go to a Canuck game just to see one superstar on an opposing team but the Canadian team is a team of superstars. Canada is expected to beat the Swiss but let’s not forget what happened the last time these two teams met in Olympic competition. In 2006, Swiss hockey history was written when a Swiss team led by the goal tending of Martin Gerber defeated the mighty Canadians 2-0 in a game that embarrassed our nation. Since then, Swiss children are told the story of that day in between their watch and chocolate making lessons.

Team Canada is a very different team this time around though. While I expect the Swiss to not be pushovers, I think the odds of another miracle on ice will be very slim. It should be a good game. I am quite excited for my very first Olympic competition. Thanks once again to my sister for making this happen!


One of my cousins flew into Vancouver yesterday for a short two day stay to take in the Olympic city. We met up for a few drinks in Yaletown tonight. He was quite impressed with the party atmosphere that prevailed throughout the downtown core.

Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we basically just walked through Yaletown, then down Granville, to Robson Square, and then to Burrard where the CTV late night newscast was going on. It was there we saw Bill Good and Pamela Martin. I was able to see Blake Price up close as he finished the sports. As soon as he was done, he ran out of that holding pen they have out on Burrard and quickly went back inside the CTV building. He’s a lot shorter than I thought he would be.

After that I took my cousin towards the outdoor cauldron near Coal Harbour. I had to go after that. I’m still amazed by number of people who are downtown on a nightly basis. For the next two weeks, there are no real weekends, it’s busy every night.


In all of this Olympic excitement, I totally forgot to make a Valentine’s post on the weekend. As some of you know, it’s been a near annual tradition where I write something about my Valentine’s Day. Usually the post describes how I make a fine meal for myself, drink alcohol, masturbate, fall asleep, wake up, go to 7-11, and buy three litres of pop for myself. In any case, read one of my earlier posts here.

Just to finish up, if you’re out and about in Vancouver taking in the various Olympic related events, do ensure you check out the Vectorial Elevation light show. It’s free and best of all, there are no lineups, you can see it from many different places in or near downtown Vancouver. If you can’t get to it, at least view it from a web cam. It’s stunning even from your computer.


Odds are that if you’re Canadian, you know the Olympics started this weekend in Vancouver. The opening ceremonies on Friday night became the most watched television program in Canadian history. I thought the ceremonies were well-done for the most part. I really didn’t have high expectations though, as I didn’t think anything could turn BC Place into anything other than a block of concrete. I was wrong though, as the aging stadium was almost unrecognizable (in a good way). There must have been some crazy expensive projection technology being used because it quite impressed me (especially the whales). I also enjoyed the large bear whom I thought might actually animate. Props to the person who decided that a slam poet was a good thing to have at the Olympics. Shane Koyczan is going to be a popular guy going forward. I only wish two things could have been different that night. First, I wish that fourth arm of the cauldron would have worked. Talk about a logistical nightmare. Second, when Gretzky was on that pickup truck, someone should have held back the unwashed masses that tailed the Great One almost the entire way to Coal Harbour. Overall though, it was a good show.

If you’ve lived in Vancouver for any appreciable time, I must say if you can, you have to see what this city is like right now. It’s unbelievable. Downtown Vancouver appears to be just one giant party now. There are people everywhere. The vibe and atmosphere is quite positive and nearly everyone is in a great mood. I’ve lived in Vancouver for many years and I don’t think anything comes close to what I’m seeing now. While in any normal circumstance, it’s fun to live in downtown Vancouver, it seems like such a special treat to be living there now. I’m quite envious of some of my lucky friends who make their home there.

The downside of all this activity is that there are long, long lineups nearly everywhere you go. The free pavilions, exhibits, and shows don’t have just reasonable lineups, they have stupid long lineups. Some of my friends watch the entire opening ceremonies while waiting in line for the German Fan Fest tent. The consensus was it was not worth queuing up for three plus hours. That was a reoccurring theme that I heard from many people over the weekend. The waits were so long, what was waiting for you when you got in just wasn’t worth it. Take for example, the free zip line ride across Robson Square. It looks super fun as everyone can watch people fly through the air over one of the most popular destinations downtown. Unfortunately, people are waiting up to five hours for 15 second ride! Five hours. That might be your entire day right there.

The key to seeing everything without lining up too much is to time it right. If possible, don’t go at the busiest times. Yeah, that sounds too simple but it’s true. Take for example the Saskatchewan pavilion. On Sunday night, the lineup was less than ten minutes. Go when people are at work if you can. It’s in this regard that I envy a friend of mine who’s currently unemployed. He gets to go to everything anytime he wants, without major hassles.

The city is alive with excitement and the actual events have barely started. Could this city become even more electric?