Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catie's Olympic Event

Yesterday our Granddaughter Catie had her very own Gold Medal Performance. She mastered the 2-wheeler!

Go Catie Go!

Ready, set, pedal hard!

Pappa running along behind. Like any Olympian, she has her own personal trainer, her Pappa.

She needed a little hands on to make the curve around the cul-de-sac, but she made the turn and off she went again!

"She took to it like a duck to water", said her Pappa, who has I believe, also taught her brother and 2 sisters to ride. 2 more to go in Catie's family Pappa. Can you do it? Yes, I believe he can.

A tired, but happy little girl. That smile says it all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Olympic Fever all on My Very Own

Yesterday (11th) I had an unplanned trip downtown to take in some of the Olympic sights. I was all on my own in the big city. Took the Canada Line down and spent about 5 hours just roaming around like a lost dog. It was exciting to see so many people downtown in their olympic gear. Lots of foreign languages were overheard. On many corners, police were there in twos watching, directing. It seemed that at almost every location there were lots of "officials" chalking out and discussing future plans and events, shots. The big party is less that 24 hours away and there was still lots to be done. Many workers putting on the finishing touches to sites. Miles and miles of chain link fences covered with Olympic colours, orange cones and barriers abounded down Georgia by the viaducts. The most disappointing thing was the Canada Pavillion. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, it's a TENT! How sad that we are to be represented that way.

Below is a mini-pictorial of my day.

At the North side of The Vancouver Art Gallery. The Countdown clock, displays and a photo op bobsled!

As the countdown clock said: Only 2 days, 7 hours, 33 minutes and 22 seconds until the Olympics begin. Remember when they erected it? That seems like years ago, wait it was years ago.

The south end of the plaza between the Art Gallery and the Court House. I believe the white structure at the top is where Squire Barnes hosts the O Show.

An interactive "touch-me" screen. When I was there, no one was around so I had some time to play. Then a man from GE walked me through the screen and told me I could e-mail a picture of me to my family. So I did. That was fun.

More of the screen's display

Shot this just after my "picture" disappeared! Oh well.

The line up went on and on and on with people waiting to purchase Olympic tickets. You can make out people at the back curve of the skating rink. I hope they had tickets left!
The new "plastic ice" had just been installed and it really looked like ice which surprised me. It wasn't quite ready for prime time yet.

The "bird" watching the people line up for Olympic tickets

All of the steps are covered like a snowy mountain. This poor man was climbing that mountain, I wonder for how many times he scaled it that day!

Almost at the top!

Looking down at BC Pavillion

On Robson Street another photo op. "You Gotta be here" and I was! Got someone in a group of people to take this picture of me in exchange for taking their group shot.

Artist's video outside of The Vancouver Art Gallery

A very tiny patio with a big heart full of patriotism along Hornby Street

This reminded me of the UN with all of the flags flying

A closeup of one of the gigantic commercial installations on a Vancouver building.

The bigger picture

"Lantern display" made by children from China

The boards at the base of the lanterns. As people walked along them, it made a clomp, clomp, clomping sound.

Place your head here!
All along this section of Granville Street they had various Winter sport "cutouts" for people to squeeze into for photo opportunities which was fun.

Thought I'd take the back shot, while she was being photo'd from the front

Lantern display along Granville Street, north of Georgia

Canada Post got into the act too

Hamilton and Georgia Street, a sight you rarely see-no cars!

Aboriginal Pavillion on the promanade of The Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Only a part of of it was open for visitors. Sadly, not the "show".

Looking out the window towards CBC Corp. from inside of Aboriginal House

Everywhere you look people are very busily putting the last minute touches to the displays

All along the main streets you see plastic cones dotting the lanes. No cars in sight.

Hamilton and Georgia by the main Post Office. Note the plastic garbage bag recepticles on the lamp standards.

Popped into The Bay to purchase a few items, including the famous $10.00 red mittens. The place was swarming with customers. This group is in the first line-up to pay for Olympic items. The line-ups are broken down into 3 more lines. Crazy busy, but only here at The Bay, the rest of the store deadsville!

One of the artistic video presentations inside the Vancouver Public Library "corridor"

This was fun. You folded up paper airplane-like structures and inserted it into a long clear vaccuum tube approximately 3 storys high. It was sucked it up, up, up, then it popped out the top and floated down to be caught in a net below.
If you look closely, you can see one being sucked up the tube. (Just below the black ring)

People very busily folding their planes
In it goes!
The floaters caught up in the net. So much fun to watch. People were cheering.
This concludes my pictorial adventure-for now. My beloved and I are hoping to make another day of it while the Olympics is in full swing and then hopefully at night, to get the full Olympic experience sans tickets! I am so glad I got the opportunity to experience Vancouver in preparty mode.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Olympic Symbols

Pappa thought it might be a fun thing for the kids to make a stab at interpreting the Olympic rings. This is what a couple of them came up with.

Carly's version of the Olympic rings

Cameron went for all of the symbols

The "official" rings!

Olympic Rings as interpreted by Pappa and Claire!

Pappa and Carly's verson of the the flames

An "Un-Believer's" Olympic Experience

This is a blog I'd never thought I'd write.

Perhaps it was because we hear all of the negative things about VANOC: massive cost overruns, homeless people being banished from view, autocratic decisions being made. Lawsuits over using the "official" words and symbols by the small business person. Even winning the opportunity to host the Olympics made me mad. I mean how many Februarys can you name that aren't usually snow free on Cypress Mountain? And just the other day hanging the huge Australian Kanagroo flag was a no-no. Happily for all that decision was changed, even a denial that it was a problem at all! No fun Olympics! Well let's just say, I was jaded, I was sarcastic, I was skeptical. Don't get me wrong, I love to watch the Summer Olympics, and the Winter Olympics on TV. But, each and every time the ads run on TV, do you believe, I said: NO! I Don't believe.

Today a new day dawned and I've changed my mind. The torch relay was scheduled to be run just 2 blocks from our house, and after a little debate, we thought, what the heck, let's go for the people running. Cheer them on. Support them. So we went.

We arrived bright and early. The torch was due to pass over the Golden Ears Bridge at 8:45 a.m. On the way down to the route, we passed a new housing development. Management in their wisdom handed out balloons and small paper Canada flags. We each took a flag and walked down the road to stake out our space.

Since we had some time to kill before the torch arrived, and commuters were travelling to their destinations, I started waving my little paper flag and waving at cars and trucks as they passed. A surprising thing happened. People smiled. People waved. Some of the people passed by and did nothing. Some of the people passed by and were on their cell phones-tsk tsk. But mainly, people honked. People gave me the thumbs up. Heads nodded. People called greetings out of their open windows. A VANOC bus went by with all of the torch bearers in waiting. They were all smiling and waving. Waiting for their turn at history. Best response of all? A car from the New West Police Department, waved, smiled and put on their colourful lights just for me! No, not to take me away, but in response for a smile and a wave of a hand, of a flag. The Olympic experience. My experience.

The crowds grew, people were friendly and in a happy mood. The coke truck passed and handed out more flags. People wore flags. People wore red. People wore white. Hockey jerseys. Olympic hoodies. Olympic gloves. Olympic hats, you name it! Everyone wanted to come to the party in their own individual way. This was my olympics after all. I know this is as close as we'll get to all of the action except for watching it on TV. Everything is so close by, yet so far removed from us. But not the torch relay.

Get ready. Get set. Here it comes now!

Anticipation. . .

The music was blasting off this truck, people were dancing.

And right behind, more of the official sponsors. You can see the flags in the kid's hands.

Amy do you dispatch this group too?

This young man was just given a high-five by a member of the Fire Department. He's waiting to run his 300 meters. Waiting for his time in the Olympic spotlight.

There she is now!

Murphy's law!!! Woulda, coulda, shoulda have been a great shot of the torch bearer!

Then the handlers made the group beside us move back and the camera focus was too close. Oh well. She was happy. Sadly the workers didn't know who she was! But she did awesome. She did us proud.

Over too soon!

But wait . . . the exchange!

Awesome. See the van filled with photographers and videographers capturing each and every handoff, each and every step along its' journey across Canada.

Time for her last pose!

And away he goes down 96th! Sorry we didn't know who either of these torch bearers were, but we know people were cheering.
And that my friends was the Olympic Torch Experience, run over a thousand times before this one. What a well oiled machine. What planning. Nicely done everyone! Thanks VANOC!
Now only 5 more sleeps to the biggest party BC has ever hosted. Enjoy it everyone. And if you still have a chance to "participate" in the Torch Relay. Go, you won't be sorry you did.
Go Canada Go!