Monday, August 20, 2012

Inertia In Action

A few months ago while I was unemployed and seeking cheap ways to entertain and educate myself from home I discovered a bunch of interesting YouTube channels with a science slant to them. One such channel turned out to be by a guy from West Vancouver, Derek, and he had a video from his home area. The video was about the Earth and why it rotates, and used a very cool looking object located at Dundarave Pier to illustrate the reason.

As soon as I saw it I wanted to visit it, so last weekend, while Claire was playing DnD, I ventured north and west across the bridge. It was as cool as I had hoped, but I had no-one to share it with. So today I dragged Claire and two friends back to see it again, and we all marveled at the two and a half tonne granite wonder. I even did a quick video blog, my first in over a year!

Here is Derek's video featuring the globe, from his channel Veritasium. Check out his stuff, it fun and informative, and I've learned lots from watching everything he's done so far!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Baby Beluga

Last Sunday Claire and I went to the Vancouver Aquarium to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. While there, we enjoyed seeing all the various animals the aquarium has to offer, especially the beautiful arctic water beluga whales.

We made sure to stop by their enclosure for their show, but while it was informative, the whales did very little. Now, they're never as active or as dramatic as the dolphins, but the show is usually fun to watch regardless. On Sunday, however, the belugas simply swam round the enclosure, and pretty much ignored the staff for the duration of the short show. Something was clearly wrong.

From where we were sitting we could see a third beluga swimming in a separate area, and, as it turned out, this was the problem.

Last Monday Vancouver Aquarium's oldest beluga, Kavna passed away. She was thought to be around 46 years old, much older than the expected 20 - 25 years a wild beluga can expect to enjoy.

Before starting work in Vancouver, I had heard about belugas, but never really thought much about them. But the white whale holds a special place in the hearts of children across Canada, and especially Vancouver. It's all thanks to a children's musician called Raffi and his beautiful song, "Baby Beluga". I first heard it sung to the toddlers in one of the centers I work in and immediately fell in love with the tune.

In honor of Kavna, who, according to Raffi, inspired the song, here it is, as sung live by the man himself.

RIP Kavna

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Permission To Proceed

It's been a while since The Dark Knight Rises hit theatres everywhere. Even on the first weekend I had started to see people complaining about the movie online, and while I had my fair share of issues with it, I felt it was unfair to potentially spoil the movie for anyone at the early stage.

However, I did write a long email about the many problems I had with the movie and I do want  to clean that up somewhat and to post it here. So I'm asking now: Do any of my readers who have yet to catch TDKR still plan on seeing the third act of the trilogy, or has everyone seen it already? Can I go ahead and post my grievances here, or would you prefer I waited until after the DVD release?

Speak up now, or forever hold your peace.

I'll leave this sit until this coming weekend, and make my decision then.

Monday, August 06, 2012

History, With A 14 Minute Delay

Four Hundred And Four

Incredibly, this is my four hundredth post on One Terrific Day! When I started all of this back in May of 2006, I never dreamed I'd still be using it this far along, over six years later, with 400 posts!

But while I might feel content with that anniversary, there's a far more important one that I celebrate on this same date.

Four years ago today I married my long time girlfriend, Claire, in an unforgettable ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada! I've described the day in a previous post, and still remember it today with perfect clarity. I remember how nervous I was at the time. I can still recall how amazed I was when the doors opened and I saw Claire standing there, even though I had been with her just moments before. And I'll never forget that first kiss as husband and wife.

To celebrate the day, Claire and I started out by heading into Downtown Vancouver to see the annual Gay Pride Parade. It was... colourful. In more ways than one! The costumes, floats and displays were fantastic. Everyone was having a great time and the sunshine was beating down as the temperatures reached 28 or 29 degrees! This allowed for some extreme costuming choices, such as the various girls that went topless, with just some bodypaint across their chests, or the one that we saw that could spin the tassels on her nipples by just moving her body in a particular way. Of course, the guys were just as free with their choices of clothing. There were unending displays of topless males, from chiseled chests to less than muscular bellies. There was even one guy who was just all out naked. Given his age and physical condition, it was an image I could have lived without seeing, but it did bolster my confidence in my own assets. Claire, thankfully, completely missed him.

After the parade we walked on to Stanley Park and found our way to the Stanley Park Bar & Grill for two of the most delicious burgers we've had in a long time. I got my usual, a bacon and cheese burger, and Claire got her own usual, grilled chicken. They were really yummy. Given that our wedding dinner was in Quarks Bar on DS9, which also consisted of burgers, I think we're building up a tradition. We cooled down a little after our time in the sun with homemade lemonade slushies at the restaurant too.

After feeding and watering ourselves we headed to the wonderful Vancouver Aquarium. Thanks to being friends with a staff member, we had two tickets waiting for us at the reception, picked them up, skipped the queue and headed in to the cool temperatures of the main building.

We got to see the belugas, the dolphins, the baby porpoise and the newest addition to the aquarium, the African penguins. The penguins were just as adorable as expected. The aquarium is also home to a cheeky otter who loved to show off and perform for the viewing public.

Apart form the aquatic animals, the aquarium plays home to several other animals, including snakes, bats, tropical butterflies, two large, beautiful blue parrots, several small monkeys and, according to staff, three sloths, though we only saw one while we were there.

Just before we left, I got to go into the wetlab and watch the dissection of a herring and a squid, two of the foods that almost all the animals in the aquarium eat. Claire opted out of that experience!

Then it was a short walk to the bus and we headed back home. We had a cool shower to wash away the sweat and heat of the day, before settling in to watch some YouTube over dinner before experiencing part of Earth history: The landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover.

It has been a good day.

Four hundred posts, and four years of love, respect and happiness.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fizzle, Flash, Bang, Boom

Last night myself and a friend went to see the final night of the Vancouver Festival of Lights fireworks display over the harbor by Kitsilano Beach. The ideal location is actually English Bay on the other side of the waters, but that would have been crowded to standing room only across the entire beach area, and also would have meant crossing the bridge both there and back again, adding a lot of time to our travels, especially with the crowds on the way back.

As I still don't own a camera, I don't have anything to show for it here. Claire stayed at home as we were house-sitting a cat for a friend, and she was feeling the effects of the days heat at that point anyway.

On the way to the beach, Jordan and I got lunch at a delicious noodle bar, and then I got a refreshing homemade lemonade from some young entrepreneurs on the sidewalk for just 25c. In a stroke of genius on their part, they had added mint leaves to the drink, and by the time I had finished my cup, I wanted to go back for seconds.

Instead we continued down to the beach and walked around for about 45 minutes before picking a spot, sitting on the rapidly cooling sand and waiting for the show.

The sun set over the waters, casting reds, oranges and yellows across the sky, and as the last bright rays of colour faded, the fireworks began.

There were massive spheres, small rockets, tiny pops, loud bangs, amazing ones that fizzled into smaller and smaller snowflake-like sparkles, hanging in the calm night air. There were twizzlers and spinners, and explosions of every colour! Reds and greens were the most popular, interspersed with blues, and golds. Toward the end there were heart shapes and disks, and even a very impressive set of staged rockets, that flared with each stage ignition, reminding me of the air distortion when a jet crosses the sound barrier.

In short, it was truly awe-inspiring. I'm  sure we missed out on some of the patterning from the angle we watched it at, but I didn't care. There was music to accompany the whole show, which lasted half an hour in total, starting at 10pm, but we could only hear hints of it from our spot on the beach.

Anyone planning a trip to visit us next summer should consider arriving for the start of August and getting to see one for the nights of fireworks. I'm glad I went to it last night, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again this time 12 months.

Post Script: This is my 399th post on this blog! The next is going to be legend... wait for it...