January 31, 2010

January 29, 2010

context






Today I moved downtown to my home for the next month; I have to say, my expectations were pretty skeptical based on some of the TripAdvisor reviews of where we are being housed, but maybe because of this, the hotel is pretty damn nice and definitely better than I expected. (It does smell of new carpet and paint, so perhaps we're benefiting from a remodel for the Olympics - either way, I'm pleasantly surprised.) The view in the top pic is from my room. If you notice the lights on the top of the mountain, I'm guessing that's a ski area (with your eye you can see the cut paths of snow glowing in the light). What I don't know is whether its a venue for an event. I'm kinda hoping so because it really gives another layer to being here to see that right outside your window. In Torino, the mountains were so far away that we rarely even saw them from the city, and we certainly couldn't see any mountain venues from the city. Something about seeing those just adds another emotional and creative layer to why being here matters, though there are certainly plenty of venues and energy within the city as well. For those not following at the time, we did the Beijing games from New York, and while I would say it was certainly successful and it worked well, it also just felt different to not be around the environment. Tomorrow I start my work for NBC, I'm excited to jump in.

January 28, 2010

nightside






a gallery of slivers from tonight in Vancouver...

January 27, 2010

other side







It was another mild day in Vancouver. The day was pretty much wrapped up with work, but I managed to get out early in the day for a stroll along the other side of the "island" (it isnt't) before spending the rest of the day and night inside. More and more Olympic crew are becoming visible, as well as plenty of last minute construction. The stroll through the neighborhood away from commercial businesses and development was nice too - almost strange how only a couple blocks away puts you into a quaint old neighborhood. As the free days dwindle before I begin my Olympic work, I have to confess to feeling like I haven't done or seen much, but I guess even having a bit of groundwork of the city is a nice and comfortable advantage to have. Even just the change of scenery has made for a bit of a nice mental break.

January 26, 2010

see wall






I finally made it out to see some of Vancouver in the daylight today (which isn't necessarily saying much - it seems to get dark here around 4:30pm), but I took a good long stroll along the SeaWall and through some neighborhoods, which were definitely beautiful. I also have realized that I somehow had my East and West mixed up, thinking the ocean was on the other side of the island. And while its plenty chilly here for me, apparently its unseasonably warm for here. It seemed like everyone was out to take in a walk or bike or skateboard or play hockey or lacrosse. A lot of people mention being worried about the weather for the Olympics (with it being so warm), though I could swear that seems to be an issue every time. I'm sure they'll pull it off just fine. If not, it may just be too beautiful for anyone to even notice.

January 25, 2010

fido





Apparently fido is a mobile phone company in Canada. I know nothing about their service or the phones they carry, but I'd probably want them just for the name. It looks as though they were once a separate company that is now just another part of Rogers Wireless, so are little more than a marketing branch, but still... rawf! Yes, I'm a sucker. I like it.

January 23, 2010

o canada






So as you may have gathered via Twitter or elsewhere, I am now in Vancouver for a few weeks. I'm up here to work with NBC Olympics again as I did for the Torino and Beijing games. My work for them doesn't begin for another week, so I came up early with the intention of having some time to see a little bit of the city and get acquainted before work begins, since once it does, we're on 12 hour, 7 day/week schedules. As it turns out, I still have a project that hasn't wrapped, so that's probably going to end up filling most of this first week. Luckily, that's easier done from here than, for example, Germany. The apartment I rented is great and in a perfect location bordering their downtown and West End neighborhoods. People are friendly and you can feel the Olympic energy starting to ramp up a little. So far I've learned to distinguish my Loonies from my Toonies (much easier than the European 1 and 2 dollar coins), caught some curling on tv, and discovered some decent lagers (that didn't take long huh?). And word of warning: ignore me in two or three weeks when I hit my burnout stage and start whining about it, its just part of the normal cycle of the gig. This city sparkles. I think this is gonna be a good experience.

January 20, 2010

January 19, 2010

wave on wave







Yup, more waves. I'm gonna be away from these for a few weeks, so indulge me a little. Unfortunately, photos just never do justice or show the size of these like seeing them in person does, but one of the cool thing about storms like those we've been having in Southern California (tornadoes even. crazy!) is their effect on the ocean. The waves were plenty big and rough today. My neighborhood, El Porto, is one of the prime surfing spots in SoCal, but today everyone was just coming out to watch the waves by themselves. From some of the comments, it sounded like a lot of the viewers were surfers. I guess even when you can't be out riding the waves, its still hard to resist their pull. I can relate.

January 18, 2010

spotted: new orleans


Sorry the pic isn't clearer - just a fun sign spotted in the restroom of a bar in New Orleans...

January 17, 2010

cleanup on aisle 4





There's something I enjoy about catching package redesigns - especially when I find both the old and new on a shelf together. Seeing both designs in the context they were made for is always better than seeing studio shots of them. While this is no Coca-Cola redesign, I noticed a nice update to Nabisco's 100 Calorie snack packs the other day that I assume will start appearing across the line. The old design was typical of most grocery packaging - overdone typography with shading, outline, highlight, drop shadow and every gimmick in the book, multiple unrelated typefaces, and too many elements arranged in ways that give no clear hierarchy or natural way to guide the eye. While the new one maintains some of those, they are mostly reduced to the product logo. The product itself now gets more prominence by eliminating the unnecessary distraction of the bag label and cleaning up the surrounding elements to make the label easier to read with clear priorities. Most importantly, they have given greater priority to the 100 Calorie pack branding with a much cleaner and pretty nice typographic arrangement that shockingly has no edging, shadows, etc. I'm a little unsure of the tricky slicing out of the center 0 from the other numbers. I'm sure it was a solution to ease someone's rejection or discomfort of the extreme tight letterspacing merging the numbers together, but is it also showing the center 0 to be fat? On a calorie-conscious package? Regardless, the disappearance of the typical tricks and gimmicks and appearance of some nice typography is to be applauded and hopefully a sign of a new trend.

January 16, 2010

truck stop






Today while running some errands in Santa Monica I was lucky enough to catch a food truck mini-meetup - 3 of em in one place. It really isn't all that uncommon to find many trucks at once, but its a first for me. Several of them often merge in the same area during lunchtimes in certain areas or for street festivals, and several parking lots are in the process of securing permits to be able to have food truck food courts in their lots (after an attempt at that was shut down recently in Santa Monica). It was my first chance to try India Jones (Indian food) and Barbie's Q (barbecue). Both were good, but since I had a smaller taste of India Jones, I'm anxious to try more, because the lamb "frankie" I had was really good. I did learn today that Hermosa and Manhattan Beach don't allow food trucks, though hopefully as their popularity continues to grow, perhaps that will change. Until then, I'll keep chasin em down when they come nearby to El Segundo, Hawthorne, or Marina Del Rey.