Monday, February 28, 2011

A Night At The Oscars

So as most of us are aware (except for maybe those folks who couldn't give two hoots about the glitz and glamour of the happenings in Hollywood-gasp!) last night was the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Deciding that we didn't want to watch the glamorous event live screening from our laptops, Sinead & Myself opted to head out to Zemra Bar Lounge to watch it on the big screen.

There is something about the Oscars that is just so terribly exciting to watch, it feels like being invited into a world that most people can only dream about being part of- The spectacular dresses, the charismatic actors & actresses, the cheesy but delightful presentations. Ahhh...

I was so happy to see Shaun Tan win the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It's not that I'm overly patriotic, but last year Heath Ledger and this year Shaun Tan- both from my hometown of Perth, Western Australia. Makes me feel all gooey inside (-:

Zemra had Oscar inspired cocktails... nice touch

How adorabe was James Franco and Anne Hathaway!

Sinead with her voting ballot

Javier Bardem... so lovely

We were given photo's of ourselves with our own Oscar Awards

A furry friend that followed us home

Friday, February 25, 2011

Visions of Vancouver - Edition 1

I recently realized that amongst my talks of cities and towns I have visited in the last few years, I have failed to really mention a whole a lot about Vancouver- which besides from Perth, Western Australia where I grew up, I have spent the most time inhabiting on this big planet full of places.

When talking about Vancouver I'm not really sure where to start, it was a city that definitely creeped up in my heart. Being the first real stop on my worldly adventures, when i arrived I wasn't really sure if this was where I wanted to be, it was beautiful yes, but it wasn't what I imagined the rest of the world to feel like, a bit too similar to home. This ideal soon changed though, the longer I stayed, the more I got to love Vancouver and see it is a city like no other.

So here it is, to rectify the situation my first edition of some of the things (places I went, activities, etc) I did whilst I was living in Vancouver. Some of them are a bit touristy, but heck there is a reason why some tourist things are there to do in cities- because they're awesome and we can't all be having 'off the beaten track' / Jack London type adventures all the time.

Okay, so for anyone who grew up in place that snowed regualry, winter activities like tubing are probably just a common occurrence that are taken for granted- something that comes with the territory, much like beach activities are for me. But for a previous snow virgin like myself- anything to do with snow was terribly exciting! Tubing is pretty much like sledding, except you go down snow slopes in an inflatable tube instead- so much fun!

Trout Lake
My apartment in Vancouver was located in East Vancouver, which just happen to be a ten minute walk from Trout Lake- a lovely little park. During the summer I would often go on little picnics there and there always seemed to be something going on- whether it was musicians playing, circus folks practising or just cute pooches running a riot. So pretty.

Stanley Park
Right at the waterfront of Vancouver is home to Stanley Park, which is actually even bigger then Central Park in New York City, it stretches on for acres & acres- I went there quite a bit and I doubt I still even touched the surface of all the trails, lakes and secrets that the park has to offer. It's also home to the Vancouver Aquarium and Totem Poles at Brockton Point.

I am a massive fan of anything to do with Carnivals, Fairs or Amusement Parks of any shape or form, something about getting to act like a kid again makes me happy- so of course when I found out that I lived only a little while a way from the oldest Amusement Park in Canada I of course had to go! They also host Two weeks of Fright Nights around Halloween and the entire park is decked out like something from a Horror Movie with all kinds of creepy activities- so much fun!

House Parties - Vancouver Style
Something I noticed about Vancouver is that the folks there are very big on their house parties and secret after hours bars. I met some of the most wonderful people by just being open to invitations for different gatherings of sorts or after parties when the bars would close. I spent many a night taxi cabbing it home while the sun was rising after a night of endless conversations, sing-a-longs and massive consumption of various substances.

Grouse Mountain
Before coming to Canada I had never really seen a proper mountain in real life and boy oh boy what lovely mountains they have! One of these such mountains is that of Grouse Mountain, which has a little day type resort on the top. You can opt to take the cable cars up to the peak or attempt the Grouse Grind - not for the faint of heart or extremely unfit, as I soon learnt.

Granville Island
On a clear blue day when the sun was shining in Vancouver, a good way to spend the day is by catching a little sea bus across to Granville Island- if not just for the view of the city from there. There's a lot to explore around there including the Public Markets, cute little shops and you can even stop into have your palm or cards read by a psychic- if your into that kind of thing.

While in Vancouver I was delighted to stumble across the little shoppe of Original Cupcakes by Heather & Lori. I think there may be a few of their cupcake shops spread out about the city- if you happen to pass one, do yourself a favour and indulge in the sweet taste of their delicious cupcake goodness. Nom Nom.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
So Capilano is pretty much the most touristy thing you can do in Vancouver- not for those afraid of heights. It is a suspension bridge that crosses 230 feet up of the Capilano River- and for those not good with measurements, lets just say if you slip over the edge your not coming back up again. It also has a cool little tree top walk and different activities that you can do as well.

The Biltmore
Although there are a lot of cool bars and clubs that I could mention in Vancouver, I'll end today's edition with what was probably one of my favourites- The Biltmore. It's a groovy (yes I just used 'groovy' as a describing' word), retro little bar that host awesome live music, events and burlesque shows. I had the pleasure of seeing Born Ruffians, Warpaint and Andy Rourke perform there. The DJ plays wonderful tunes to dance the night away to as well and there is usually a hot dog vendor set up right out the front as well... for those late night snacks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sheesha & Apple Cider

To celebrate the long weekend that lay ahead of us, Sinead and myself decided that we would venture out into the haunting night and try something new. In this case the something new being Sheesha, as we had passed a sheesha lounge down the road from us earlier in the week on Ossington/ Bloor and were intrigued.

We opted to sit in the back section of the cafe where they had soft black couches set up in tents, for a 'more authentic' Seesha experience. Being a novice to this ancient custom, I had no idea what or if there was a proper technique to smoking sheesha, so it was a bit of trial and error before I didn't feel like a complete moron.

After we were all smoked out, we walked a bit further down the road to a little bar called Disgraceland and met up with Bryan for a few drinks before heading home and calling it a night.