sia at the commodore ballroom

August 23rd, 2011 Posted in gigs, sia, vancouver bars | No Comments »

After a week of early starts, Friday could not come soon enough! I was wrecked. A friend of my parents was in town visiting her son, so they took me out for dinner on Thursday night. It was nice to get a free meal and also meet the woman’s son! Hopefully I can catch up with him & his friends in the next couple of weeks. They seem like a lot of fun. I slept in on Friday and got some chores done before going downtown (on my bike) to try to get some work clothes. I’ve been finding it hard to find clothes I like over here, and I’m sure I’ve already mentioned how much I miss Topshop. If I haven’t…I MISS TOPSHOP! It was a roasting day, and it was so nice to get out on my bike. I’m not sure how long the cycle downtown is, I must check next time I do  it. It’s all downhill though, so it’s a lot of fun!

I picked up the things I needed, ate a delicious veggie hotdog for lunch and got the bus back. I needed to figure out how to bring my bike on the bus with me so I thought this would be as good an opportunity as any. There is a bracket on the front of buses here for bikes. You pull it down, if it’s empty and put your bike up on it. You then clip the bike in. It was actually harder than it looks, but I think I have it figured out. I had Shelley, my housemate helping me this time so I’m not too sure how I’d do if I’m on my own. At least the bike is pretty light, it would be awkward trying to get my steel framed Dawes Duchess up there!

Vancouver Bus Bike Racks-http://www.velo-city2012blog.com

 

Friday night, I had a ticket to see Sia Furler at The Commodore Ballroom in Downtown Vancouver. I didn’t really know that much of her music, but she did the vocals for Zero 7’s album “Simple Things”, which I knew & liked. The Commodore is a cool, quite intimate venue and it has about 6 bars so there are no lines! She is a pretty quirky character, and apparently has had some medical issues so she’s retiring from showbiz as she’s sick of being famous! Vancouver was the last gig of her tour which was pretty cool. I really liked the show. She has a nice voice, but one thing that annoyed me was I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I didn’t know the lyrics of her songs before going to the gig, and I definitely didn’t know them coming out of the gig! No idea what she was singing about! She was chatty & whitty between songs and did an interesting cover of Madonna’s “Oh Father” which I liked.

Sia at the Commodore Ballroom

Sia-The Commodore Ballroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the gig, we went to Peckinpah, Gastown http://www.peckinpahbbq.com/ , one of my favourite bars in Vancouver-I don’t like BBQ sauce, but theirs is like a bottle of BBQ heaven. I could actually drink it.

The night ended with Shelley & I singing “More Than A Feeling” & doing air guitar in the taxi. 🙂 Success!

Amers

x

 

 

 

a river wild

August 18th, 2011 Posted in rafting | No Comments »

Saturday was rafting day! I’ve never been rafting before, but living in Vancouver makes it hard to not want to do these kinds of activities. I had booked to go rafting with group on the Chilliwack River. Chilliwack is about 1.5 hours drive from Vancouver. I think one of the major appeals of Vancouver, is that it’s so easy to take weekend trips outside the city to places where you can do lots of outdoor things. The scenery on the way to Chilliwack was gorgeous. We passed lots of huge farms with acres of corn fields. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t know what the security would be like once we were out on the river so I don’t have any photos. Once we got to the rafting centre, we were actually running late so we had to rush our lunch, hurry into our (disgusting) wetsuits and get moving! Since I’ve never been rafting before, and I don’t exactly love being in the water-river or sea, I picked the more scenic trip that had less rapids. The stretch of river was 14km long and there were rapids at intervals rather than constantly. It was such a fun day out! I’ve never really done an activity like that before, and it was really exhilarating. I was totally out of my comfort zone at times, terrified of falling into the river. But the combination of fear and adrenaline made me feel really alive, and honestly I felt like I’d really accomplished something afterwards. Especially because near the end, before the biggest rapids, we were given the option to get out and walk back to camp. I was really tempted, but decided to not take the easy way out-something I very often do.

Not Actually Me (photo courtesy of Chilliwack River Rafting)

Unfortunately, the daughter of the owner of the rafting company dropped their camera into the river so there is no photographic evidence of my rafting trip! Oh well, I don’t think it’s something I’ll forget in a hurry.

Have you done anything recently that really took you our of your comfort zone? What last gave you that adrenaline rush that really made you feel alive?

Amers

x

alibi room

August 17th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Since my last post I have managed to get a job! It’s only a 5 week temp job, but it’s something! Really glad to have money coming in!

I’m working in BC Children’s Hospital just doing admin stuff. Not very exciting, but as I said it’s $$$! It’s  a little bit depressing being in a children’s hospital. Even though parts of the hospital are happy places, I keep seeing kids in wheelchairs, incubators & signs to “Embryo Pathology”. There’s also an area that has tiles on the wall commemorating babies that have died, 🙁 All those things are really sad and it kind of reminds me on a daily basis that whatever problems I might think I have, they’re nothing compared to what some people have to deal with.

I discovered a cool bar/restaurant in Gastown on Thursday night. 3 of my housemates and I decided to go downtown for a few drinks so we went to Alibi Room http://www.alibi.ca/ They had a pretty decent beer menu and I had a glass of the tastiest cider I’ve ever had. I can’t remember the name now, but next time I’m there I will need to take note of it. It’s so light and fruity-it almost looks like white wine. Very refreshing!

Alibi

Alibi Room -via lisatemes.com

On Friday, which is the start of my 3 day weekend (I only have to work Mon-Thurs in my job),I bought a bike! It’s a Trek hybrid, and so far I’m loving it. It’s a lot different to my steel framed, dutch style bike I have at home! It has proper gears and is much lighter so it’s easier to get up the Vancouver hills! I bought it over on the North Shore (I live on the South Shore) so the cycle back was a bit gruelling in the baking sun, but it was great to get out on a bike again! Once I have a few pay cheques, I’m going to kit it out a bit with mudgaurds, a rack for the back and maybe even a pannier. I don’t think I’ll get a basket for this one, but I did get a bell & a bright pink helmet! It’s a boys bike, so I need to give it some girly touches!

I met up with some friends on Friday night (2 of which are Canadian’s I knew from Dublin who are now living in Banff-Aaron & Christine). We returned to Alibi Room for some of that cider 🙂 and stayed there for most of the night. Aaron’s brother joined us-he’s in a band called Brasstronaut http://www.brasstronaut.com/ who I’ve seen play in Vancouver. Their music is really cool & interesting. After the Alibi Room, we tried another few locations, but the lines (queues) were massive everywhere. I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve been out in Vancouver and I’d forgotten about the wait to get into bars & clubs! Very annoying. We ended up in a really lame, pretentious bar called Diamond, where the staff were rude and the drinks were expensive! I won’t be returning there in a hurry.

I am loving my 3 day weekends. I should probably make the most of them while I can as I doubt I’ll find another job that has that luxury. The only snag is that I have to get up @ 5.15am for the 7am start! The Friday feeling I get on Thursday though is totally worth it!

Amers

x

geek love <3

August 6th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

A friend tweeted this and I thought I’d share. It’s really sweet!

http://juliewillyoumarry.me/

 

Love!

(Source: weheartit.com)

 

Happy Friday!

Amers

x

 

 

5 favourite things about vancouver, so far.

August 5th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

My 5 favourite things about Vancouver, so far (in no particular order):

1) The skyline.

Skyline at Dusk

 

2) The bus service. One thing that drives me CRAZY about Dublin is the public transport system. It’s so poor compared to many other European cities and honestly, I couldn’t even compare it to the bus service in Vancouver. When I’m ready to get a bus, I text 33333 and include the stop number in the body of my text (the stop at my house is 50490). Within seconds, I receive a text telling me when the next few buses are due. They are always on time. As someone who regularly gets the bus, this is a luxury.

3) Sushi/Asian food- There is a massive Asian population in Vancouver and with them, they bring excellent sushi and food in general! There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. I’ve only tried a few, but I’m looking forward to trying more!

4) The fact that I live in a city where I can be on the beach one day & on the mountains the next. When the weather is good, you can really appreciate this more but it feels like everything is accessible in Vancouver.

5) Peanut Butter M&M’s. I’m surprised that I haven’t taken advantage of this more, but the fact that I can just go into a shop and buy Peanut Butter M&M’s is very exciting!! They don’t have these in Ireland, so just to know I can get them anytime I want is nice 🙂

Amers

x

 

 

busless in seattle (yeah, I know. terrible.)

August 5th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The plan for Sunday was to drive to Seattle and hang out there for the afternoon before I got my bus back to Vancouver. It didn’t work out like that though but the Mexican food was definitely worth it!

Yakima didn’t have much in the way of gourmet eateries so we had to settle for what we knew was going to be OK food for an OK price. We picked “The Olive Garden”. I’d never been to an Olive Garden, but I had it on good authority that they give complementary breadsticks & salad so I was sold. We ended up ordering way too much food! They give such big portions! I also had my first taste of Hot Artichoke & Spinach dip, which I loved. It was pretty similar to “The Old Spaghetti Factory” I’d been to in Whistler.

After lunch, we left Yakima for the drive to Seattle. The drive took about 3.5 hours and we got to Seattle in plenty of time to look around and for me to make my bus. We decided to go to the “Experience Music Project”. It’s a music museum that has a lot about the Seattle music scene (mainly Nirvana & Jimmy Hendrix) and a lot of cool interactive music things. It was fun-they had a lot of different guitars which were interesting and a lot of  cool Nirvana memorabilia (the jumper Kurt Cobain wore in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video and the guitar he played in the video too).

Driving into Seattle

 

Seattle Space Needle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the museum, we walked to Pike Street Market to see some fish throwing! Unfortunately, we were too late and the market was finished. The building was pretty cool though-

 

Pike Street Market

While deciding where to go for dinner, we popped into “The Pike Brewing Co.” for a taster tray of their beers. For dinner we decided on “El Malacon” Mexican restaurant. When we arrived, there was nobody in the place and we were about to leave but the waitress had spotted us so we had to stay. I’m so glad that we did-the food was delicious. Really tasty Mexican food and the waitress was so friendly & nice. Due to the fact that the food was so good, I totally over ate! I had a veggie burrito that had enchilada sauce on it and finished the whole thing! I was in a food coma and struggled to walk back to the car. We typed in what we thought was the train/bus station to Google Maps and ended up in the wrong place (with 15 mins until my bus left). After finding the actual location of the station, we found ourselves lost on the myriad of one way streets that is Seattle! At one stage, we could see the station but wouldn’t figure out how to get to it! Needless to say, I missed my bus but Amtrak were so helpful and I just transferred my ticket to the next available time (which was Tuesday). Woopsies! Back to Portland we went! The trip to Seattle was a little unnecessary in the end but still a lot of fun! I’ll be back soon Seattle!

Amers

x

 

gig at the gorge

August 5th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Saturday morning was road trip time! We were heading to Washington for a concert at the Gorge-Soundgarden supported by Mastodon & Queens of the Stone Age (I know, some might think I’m stalking at this stage…). The drive there was beautiful. The scenery went from the green, lush mountains of Oregon to the stark desert of Washington.

Washington Wind Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount St. Helens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got my very first Taco Bell on the way! I got a veggie taco and it was so cheap & honestly not bad! I’ve had worse (more expensive meals) in restaurants!

Taco Bell Taco

The journey was a bit of a disaster-half way there, we realised we’d forgotten the tickets!! Luckily, we called and they reprinted them and left them at the ticket booth at the venue. We also drove 30 mins in the wrong direction thanks to weird road turns and poor navigation by yours truly. Eventually we made it to Yakima which was where we were staying. It’s about 1.5 hours drive from the venue. We met Jeremy’s friends Mike & Lisa there, dumped our bags and then set out for the Gorge! I was really unprepared for the concert. I couldn’t find my sun cream (it was about 32 degrees) & I’d worn too many clothes because I thought it would get cold once the sun went down (it didn’t). Once we got there & parked, we bought some ridiculously expensive drinks ($10 for a vodka & orange juice), picked a spot & settled.

Mike, Lisa & Jeremy

The gig was honestly one of the best I’ve been to. Mastodon (who I don’t know very well), rocked. Queens of the Stone Age made up for the poor show in Portland and then some! They were amazing!

One more!

The venue was totally stunning. When the sun started to set, it looked like this-

Sun Setting at the Gorge

Soundgarden played last. Being honest, I don’t know that much of Soundgarden’s music. They were around when I was in school, and I remember liking them but mainly for their song “Black Hole Sun”. Even though I wasn’t familiar with all the music, it was a really cool gig. Chris Cornell’s voice is awesome and seeing “Black Hole Sun” performed at a venue like the Gorge is definitely in my top 5 gig moments that make my hairs stand on end.

Black Hole Sun

Epic gig at an epic location! I’m definitely keeping my eye on any upcoming gigs at the Gorge!

 

Amers

x

monkey on my back!

August 5th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

"Monkey on my back"-graffiti on Alberta Street

Friday was a pretty lazy day. We decided on a plan late in the afternoon and ended up going to the Chinese Gardens & then back to the Brewfest for awhile. The Chinese Gardens were peaceful & tranquil! The opposite of the Brewfest!

Flowers in the Chinese Gardens

 

 

Chinese Tea & Nibbles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked around the gardens and got some tea, sake, mango juice & Chinese nibbles in the Teahouse. Then, on for Brewfest Part 2! Friday at the Brewfest was CRAZY! There were way more people than Thursday, and because it was late in the day the lines for the beers were massive. It would have taken too long to queue for tasters so we just got full mugs of the beers we knew we liked from Thursday! I read on their website that they will have to change a few things around next year to deal with the ever growing crowds that flock to it! Maybe they’ll get bigger tents and more beers 🙂 A fun part of Brewfest that I forgot to mention are the “Spontaneous Woos”. Basically, a person or group of people raise their mugs in the air and shout “WOOOOOOOO” and everyone (in theory) joins in. It’s like a Mexican Wave, but it’s a Mexican Woo!! Hope to see you next year for OBF ’12!

Amers

x

portland-beer & josh homme

August 4th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Portland

 

Since coming to Vancouver, I’ve visited Portland twice and had a great time. It’s a really cool city-very relaxed, friendly and has copious amounts of amazing food to eat! I think it is nearly impossible to have a bad meal in Portland (not quite impossible though-more on this later). One of the main reasons for this visit was the Oregon Brewer’s Fest:  http://www.oregonbrewfest.com/.  I’d heard lots of great things about this annual event, and since I was so close I definitely wanted to check it out for myself this year. It’s a 4 day event, but we decided to only go for 1.5 days. I arrived in Portland on Tuesday afternoon and we decided to go to Apizza Scholls for dinner (http://apizzascholls.com/). It’s one of the best pizza places in Portland/World-their pies are MASSIVE and so tasty! The last time I went, I chose my toppings badly (I went for the New York White Pie with added sauce and it was a little bland) so I was determined to get the right ones this time. I usually get pineapple, olives & onion on my pizza but they had an onions & peppers pizza on the menu, so I went with that and added pineapple. (Incidentally, I asked for olives too but apparently they only allow 3 toppings/pizza!). It did not disappoint. The pizza was amazing! Nom nom nom…

The following night, Jeremy hosted a BBQ for some of his friends. I was on onion ring duty (I had made Ina Garten’s onion rings during my last visit and they turned out awesome!). I realised I’d need an apron! After a quick dash to the local vintage shop (I picked up a cute 1950’s floral apron) I was ready to cook! The burger recipe that we used was also from The Barefoot Contessa. The BBQ was a success, my onion rings turned out to be onion strings as I think I cut the onions too thin, but they still tasted good!

Me in my apron with an octopus on my head!

Thursday was Brewfest day. A group of us heading down for about 1pm and it was already quite busy at that stage! The way it works is-free entry, buy a plastic Brewfest cup for $6 (I think?!), buy wooden tokens ($1 each), exchange tokens for beer. You can get a taster of a beer for 1 token, or a full beer for 4. We tried quite a few beers that day! Some I liked, some I really loathed. One that comes to mind that I know I really liked was the Laurelwood Organic Pale Ale. One that comes to mind that I know I really disliked (so much so that I poured it out) was the Dogfish Head “Black & Red”. I had a great time at my 1st Oregon Brew Fest!

Drinking the "Black & Red" (before I realised how bad it tasted).

We left the Brewfest at about 5.30pm because I had a date with Josh Homme…I mean…we were going to Queens of The Stone Age at the Roseland Theatre. Before the gig, we stopped for dinner in Clarklewis (http://www.clarklewispdx.com/). As mentioned above, it is possible to have a bad dining experience in Portland, and so far this is mine! We should have known once we went in that it wasn’t going to be for us. The average age of diner was 65! No offence meant, but we had just come from a beer fest and we were going to a rock concert! This somehow didn’t fit in with my vision of the day! The food & service were mediocre. I’m just glad we were paying happy hour prices!

After dinner, we went to the gig. The Roseland theatre is a really nice venue. It was intimate enough that we didn’t have to squeeze up to the mosh pit to enjoy the music. The gig however, wasn’t great. I’d seen this tour already in Dublin and it was actually better there. The venue in Dublin (The Olympia Theatre) was even smaller but the band (ie Josh Homme) seemed more into it. I didn’t feel that they engaged well with the audience, and Josh just looked a bit bored!

Queens of The Stone Age

All in all, it was such an enjoyable day-great weather & great company (and some great beer!). Hopefully see you next year Brewers!

Amers

x

amy+skiing

August 4th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Seeing as I talked about skiing in my previous post, I thought it best to get everyone up to speed on my history with skiing. I’ve been once…and let’s just say it didn’t go too well!

I LOVE the snow. I love kicking it, I love throwing it, I love crunching around on it…I’ve even been known to make it into the shape of breasts! (Snow boobs). When the chance to go skiing with school came up, I was super excited. There was just one hurdle I had to overcome before being accepted on to the trip-passing a bleep test. I won’t go into too much horrific detail, but the bleep test involves running back & forth, keeping up with a bleep…that keeps getting faster. Otherwise known as HELL. Anyway, we had to get over a certain score to qualify for the trip, which I did (for the 1st and only time in my life). I was going skiing!

When we arrived in Italy, unfortunately there was little snow. The slopes were really icy and this definitely didn’t help! On one of the days, my group went up one of the bigger slopes (we graduated from the bunny hill/baby slopes). Once we got up there, I was terrified. I don’t like heights at the best of times, but when I’m on two slippy skis that could take me zooming down the mountain at any time, I like them even less! Long story short, I took the skis off and plonked down on my bum in tears. I refused to go down the hill, there was no way I was skiing down. Then, out of nowhere…my knight in shining armor appeared!

An old Italian man skied up next to me, seeing that I was in distress, he declared “Get on my back”. “What?!” said I. “Get on my back” said the swarthy, wrinkled, 5ft 5 Italian man.  I was stunned, he actually wanted me to hop up on his back and ski down the mountain like that! OK!! I couldn’t see any better way of getting down! Surprisingly enough, it was actually a lot of fun! One of the highlights of my trip. And my family still get lots of laughs out of it!

Anyway, when I came to Canada I had to get specific travel insurance and I had the option of getting a winter sports add on , which I did. When I told my Dad, he asked if it covered skiing on people’s backs! Hopefully “Whistler Winter ’11” will hold many more (positive) skiing adventures & blog opportunities for me. I have high hopes for my winter skiing career (read: hot chocolate drinking career). Watch this space!

Amers

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