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The end of the Santa Fe apartments drags on


A worker installs an alarm system in what is now only a storehouse of scrap metal.

The Santa Fe apartment building at 2975 Oak Street has now made the transition from being affordable housing to being a relic — an object surviving from an earlier time — with only historical and sentimental value.

When the market, i.e., a developer, decides a building’s productive life is over it is demolished and replaced. In all important respects that is what will happen to this 86-year-old building.

The owner, Aquilini Developments, will be tearing down the 14-unit, three-storey walk-up to build a 40-unit, 11-storey tower. Read more…

Snapfish — my first catch of 2014

mc-snapfish-1zl57qjlkkI’m posting an image of my first Snapfish instant win sticker in the Canadian McDonald’s 2014 Monopoly contest. Feel free to redeem the prize — $5 toward a Snapfish photo book.

Don’t know what Snapfish is? See my explanation. We’re two weeks from the end of the contest on November 3. Still hoping to get an instant win sticker for a Polaroid Cube! Click the image to enlarge it.

More cheap thrills from Jonathan Rogers Park


Jonathan Rogers Park is less than two block away from the Go Green bottle depot so I ride by it a lot. I also stop and enjoy it from time to time.

The park boasts a washroom, soccer goal posts, a small children’s play area, a concrete wading pool which has not deliberately been filled in living memory and a small community garden. Mostly it is a one block rectangle of grass fringed on two sides by trees — and residents seem to like it that way. Read more…

Fight junk mail with a junk email account


Sometimes you want some freebie a website is offering — a music file, a report, perhaps a technical preview of their new operating system. Often as not the website requires you to signup and provide personal details such as your name and email. Quite likely the whole point of offering the freebie is to harvest your personal information.

Before it will hand the thing over, the website may further insist on sending you a message with a link you have to click on to verify the email address you supplied.

You can avoid unpleasant repercussions from your casual Internet liaison, such as a lifetime of spam, by using a disposable email address service (DEA).

There are many free disposable email services. Each provides you with an instant free web-based email address and inbox. There are no signups, logins or passwords. Disposable email services do not allow you to compose new messages and all inboxes are publicly accessible. Read more…

One of the ultra tiny spiders of Vancouver


This afternoon my attention was captured by a tiny spider scampering across the rough surface of a wooden utility pole in a Fairview back alley.

Mostly I was interested in it because I could tell it wasn’t a European garden spider — for a change.

From a quarter block away the markings on its white abdomen looked like brown chevrons.

Up close — 15 centimetres close — I could see that the spider — not much more than five millimetres long — had a dark body and legs which were mostly covering with thick white hair. It’s abdomen was covered by white and brown hair giving the appearance of brown stripes on white. The pattern was symmetrically mirrored along the axial centreline of the spider’s abdomen. Read more…

Old and new coffee shop murals of Cambie St.

The new mural on the Starbucks at Cambie and 19th.

The new mural on the Starbucks at Cambie and 19th.

After the coffee house chain JJ Bean angered many Cambie Village residents this last August by destroying a popular mural on the side of their new Cambie Street location, the established Starbucks coffee house a block away has created a pleasing new mural of their own.

The mural is on the south side of the Sturbucks coffee shop on the southeast corner of Cambie Street and 19th Avenue. It depicts a view looking north down Cambie Street towards Vancouver’s downtown skyline.

The mural seems finished but for a large white oval hole which is the exact shape needed to contain a Starbucks logo. In fact the entire mural is painted almost exclusively in the colour palette of the Starbucks logo: black, white and green.

Branding aside, the trees and green in the design nicely echo the three green wooden benches flanked by large trees. All in all the mural makes a fitting backdrop to the popular sitting area. Read more…


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