In the past, I’ve had serious issues with my cable provider. For a person that doesn’t find change (of any kind) an easy thing to handle, nothing has pushed my buttons as quickly as finding that my TV channel lineup has been edited/shifted around yet again. I started out with the 3-tier package, simply because it included some sports stations that aired live feed of F1 racing.

For the last two years, they’ve been “encouraging” me to upgrade to a digital box. Not necessarily a good thing to suggest to a technophobe who already watches too much television. So, bravely resisting all temptations to upgrade, both from my current provider and their competitor, I was content with the cable channel package I have now; the one that evolved from the 3-tier super-duper one I originally had eons ago.

But earlier this week, when I went to change the station, I keyed in a wrong number. Instead of saying that I need to subscribe, it actually displayed a TV programme. Twenty minutes of exploration later, I found a lot more cable channels than I thought I was getting. By now I was curious – were the extra channels perhaps a preview promotion for a limited time only? After visiting the cable provider’s website and reading the channel listings for my area, I made the happy  discovery that these “extra” stations have been part of my regular lineup since March 25.

Since Thursday, except for a couple of outings and watching the fireworks, I have been (literally, or at least it feels like it) glued to my TV. My favourites so far appear to be GameTV, Spark (they better renew Twisted), WMovies, Nickelodeon (I know it’s for kids but it kinda fun) and  SundanceTV.

Of course, I can’t see myself abandoning the old standbys – AMC (Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire), any TV channel dedication to airing movies, Knowledge and the 2 PBS stations I watch faithfully. Hopefully my cable channel adventure doesn’t end up to be yet another case of too much of a good thing.

Street Fair on Granville

Last month I discovered the Busker Festival by accident – I was out and about downtown Vancouver that Sunday for a totally different reason. I mentioned to someone that my biggest beef with Vancouver is that I always seem to find out about events that I would have liked to have attended if only I knew about them before rather than after the fact. She recommended the Vancity Buzz website as a place to find out what is happening (it is now bookmarked and I have since gone to a couple of events listed on their webpages). Pretty much the whole of Granville Street was blocked off. This is one of the vendor stalls found in the 800 block between Robson St. and Smithe.

Canada Day at Canada Place

This is another photo op from my Canada Day 2014 adventures at Canada Place.  I couldn’t resist this shot of a baby in a stroller trying to take the family dog for a walk.

Canada Place Main Stage

Wandering around Canada Place on Canada Day, I had just come outside in front of the Main Stage when this band was introduced. I had never heard of Said the Whale before. This indie rock band is from Vancouver and in 2011, they won a Juno for New Group of the Year. I stayed for the full hour set. I thoroughly enjoyed their music. Said the Whale  has a new fan to add the their following. Jaycelyn Brown/keyboards, Spencer Schoening/drums, Tyler Bancroft/guitar-vocals, Ben Worcester/guitar-vocals and my sincerest apologies to Nathan Shaw/bass but this picture turned out to be the best one of the bunch (and with most of the band members in the same frame).

Busker Festival 2014

Sunday morning, on my way back from returning an overdue library book, I noticed that Granville Street was blocked off. So I went to investigate. Turns out, I had discovered the Vancouver International Busker Festival (day 2). Local entertainers to performers from as far away as Australia and New Zealand took part.

La Chocolateria Booth

There were plenty of street vendors to add to the festive atmosphere. But of course this one, La Chocolaterie, especially won my heart. If you look at the front row where there is only one container, the chocolates are in the shape of vegetables (including broccoli and carrot) and apparently taste like the veggies too. I had to ask the owner how popular they were – and he replied “Very popular.” After several samples, I chose the mango (white chocolate) and ginger (dark chocolate). I don’t usually enjoy white chocolate because it tastes waxy to me, but the mango sample was so smooth and tasty I had to have more.

2014 Busker Fest

The busker called Byron from England (red shirt) is actually from Vancouver. Here he has persuaded a volunteer from the audience to climb on the pole, which will then be lit on fire. I’ve seen him perform before, mainly on Granville Island. On Sunday, he didn’t disappoint; he was as funny and entertaining as I remembered.

She is seven, in some class – she can’t remember if it’s Social Studies, History or English – some class they are asked to relate a personal encounter with a hero. Her classmates share their stories about how strangers or family members saved them from accidents and other bad situations. She racks her brain for her own story, but nothing comes to mind. Apparently she is a boring, safe person to whom nothing interesting happens. Now it is her turn and she stands, hoping the panic doesn’t show in her face or voice.

Then she is speaking. She tells them the story of her mother and the girl in the water. Her family is at the beach; they are in the middle of a picnic lunch when it happens. Her mother, chicken salad sandwich in her right hand, looks out at the lake. Suddenly, her mother drops the sandwich, running like a maniac into the water, pushing people out of her way. She finds the log of the girl bobbing in the water struggling for breath, swims frantically towards her and fishes her out, dragging the child back to shore.

At supper that evening, she asks her mother why she never goes into the water when they spend the weekends at the beach. “Well,” her mother replies with a nervous laugh, “I’ve never learned to swim, and to be truthful, I’m a little afraid of the water.”

Peacock Wicker Chair

In the 70s, this style of wicker chair was known as a Chinese reading chair. And I wanted one for my bedroom – a chair dedicated to the pursuit of reading seemed like a wondrous thing to own. It never happened until I had been living in Vancouver for about three years. Accompanying a friend on a trip to a thrift store, I spotted one tucked unobtrusively in a corner. It said “Buy me.” I did. But when I tried to make it fit into my bedroom decor, my peacock chair wouldn’t cooperate. So I put it out on my balcony, where I can look up from my book and see the ocean when I want a break from reading.

Over a year ago now, I was working at the computer when I glanced up at the wall above the couch. I’ve been trying to capture it “on film” ever since. In the late morning, the sun threw the shadow of the wicker chair on my balcony onto the living room wall. Finally, the other day I captured an image I was somewhat happy with.


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