Tag Archive | Helen de Faye

Live@Squamish!!

On August 18th, just for fun, I entered a Facebook wall contest from Vancouver, Coast & Mountains (VCMBC) to win a pair of tickets to a music festival called Live@Squamish, or Live at Squamish…whatever.

I’d seen ads for this concert for weeks and weeks advertising the awesome line up at this 2 day festival and promptly checked what tickets cost…only to realize they were a little on the expensive side for me – $149 and I don’t think that included camping. I let the thought of me attending slide right back out of my head and proceeded to just glare at the ads in envy. I had really wanted to see John Butler Trio, Weezer, Metric, Girl Talk, Stars and Hey Ocean (those were the main ones I was interested in seeing – I knew John Butler Trio after my time in Australia, and I know Metric, Weezer and Girl Talk. I was interested in seeing the last 2 after doing a wee bit of research.)

So when I was cruising Facebook at work, while waiting on hold during a phone call I was making, and I saw VCMBC’s facebook post:

“Six hours to win 2 tickets for Live at Squamish Folks! Leave a comment on this post, we pick one winner today, 3 pm!! Ticktockticktock…”

And figured “Ahh what the hell” and added my comment. “OMG Whenever I see the billboards for this concert I get GREEN with envy! Metric….John Butler Trio….Girl Talk…those are some of my favourite musicians!!”

Later on during the day at 3pm I was on another phone call when I got a Skype notification on my mac, but being on the phone call I decided I would check it after. About 5 mins later Helen stuck her head into the room where I was working, saw I was on the phone and deeked out again. This is when I thought that notification might have been important so the called ended and I saw Helen’s comment, which was copied and pasted from VCMBC’s Facebook wall – “Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Congrats to Dana Marie – you won 2 tickets for Live@Squamish this weekend!”

Needless to say I had a small freak out. Fortunately Patty was happy to come with me and Helen and her boyfriend Adam were going as well, so we started making plans to carpool and camp together.

Neither Patty and I had a tent, and fortunately Canadian Tire was having a sale, so on Friday we went out and got some camping gear – Tent, tarp, LED Battery operated lantern etc. We packed everything up that night and then hit the road Saturday afternoon when Helen and Adam came and picked us up.

There was an initial hiccup once we got to the Logger Sports Grounds, where the festival was being held. My camping pass was for on-site camping and Helen and Adam’s was for off-site camping…which was about 10kms up the road!! This really didn’t fly with us so Geoff – the head campground guy – came and checked us out, figured it would be fine and swapped the off-site camping package for an on-site package so they could be with us! It was super cool of him and definitely was an excellent start to the weekend!

After we had all set up, we simply sat around for a while, made friends with the 2 Russian guys camped next to us, and had a few drinks. The concerts didn’t start until 3:30 and were split between 2 different stages. We didn’t end up heading into the grounds until after 6pm, we caught the tail end of Hey Ocean, followed by the Stars and then my favourite of the whole weekend – John Butler Trio.

Girl Talk was after John Butler Trio, but I left to go hangout at the tents with the 2 Russians, since you could hear the stage just fine from the tents instead of being in the press of the crowd.

The following morning, with a minimum of hangover damage to myself, we did the whole thing again! I was up at 9:30am-ish, so were the 2 Russians next door, so we sat around, had breakfast and enjoyed the cooler morning after the heat of the day before. Our group walked down to a nearby river with the intention of swimming…but it was mountain melt water so it was bone-achingly cold. We didn’t end up doing more than wade up to our knees and splashing about a bit.

We packed up the majority of our camp things before heading into the grounds later that afternoon, and we met up with another coworker – Phil, and then we all cruised the various vendors around the grounds, something we hadn’t done the day before. Then our group split up, Patty and I headed back to the tent (which we hadn’t taken down yet) and ended up playing cards games with the 2 Russians, who taught us a Russian card game called “Durak” – a lot of fun! After we finally tore all our stuff down, we trooped in to see Metric perform. We didn’t stay for Weezer, since they were playing too late for us to still get back to Vancouver at a decent hour, unpack all our stuff and then still be up for work the next day.

All in all it was a very awesome first time experience for me! I’ve been to music concerts…but nothing like this, so it was definitely worth the trip, and I was lucky enough to go on free tickets!!

A BIG thank you to Vancouver Coast and Mountains!!

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A Taste of Naples

Wednesday last week (March 23rd) was probably the nicest day I have experienced all winter. The sun came blazing in the windows all along the backside of the Think! office and filled the entire space with warmth and natural light! It finally started to feel like spring (although that’s changed now that the weather has reverted back to being grey and dreary).

Some of our colleagues were in snowy, cold Vulcan, a small Alberta town, so we gave them the Vulcan salute in the sunshine on our way to the restaurant

Earlier in the week Ben had invited everyone at the office out to lunch at a newly opened restaurant on East Cordova in Gastown called Nicli Antica Pizzeria. We had planned to go on Wednesday, and since it was such a beautiful day, instead of driving we decided to walk (Thank God I wore comfortable shoes, the walk took us 25 mins!)

For those of you (like myself) that have never heard of Nicli Antica Pizzeria, it is probably due to the fact that they opened about 6 weeks ago. They make authentic and traditional wood-fired pizza in the Naples-style (Neapolitan pizza…I’ll explain later on, and no it has nothing to do with the ice cream). They make their pizzas using only the finest and freshest traditional ingredients and their wood-fired oven, is authentic too – made from the stone of Mt. Vesuvius. Nicli’s pizza is formed by hand and cooked in a 900ºF wood-fired oven for roughly 90 seconds. This creates a pizza with the following:

  • A light and fluffy crust which has a tiny bit of crunch
  • Flame blackened blisters may appear along the crust
  • A soft thin centre
  • 27-30 centimetres in diameter

This is the wood-fire oven in the back of the restaurant. I liked being able to see them make the pizzas

We got three different pizzas to split between Ben, Paul, Helen, Robyn and myself. Originally we only thought to get two pizzas…but they all looked so good that we figured we’d get the extra one and just have some excellent leftovers…but as it turned out there were no leftovers! The first pizza we ordered was the Capricciosa made with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte (soft type of mozzarella made from cow’s milk), prosciutto cotto, artichokes, funghi, black olives, and basil. The second pizza we ordered was the Diavola with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, sopressatta (hot salami), parmigiano, basil, and finished with chili oil. And my personal favourite was the last pizza we ordered, the Bianca with extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano, roasted garlic, roasted onion, oregano, and gorgonzola.

From left to right: Robyn, Myself, Helen, Paul (nearest) and Ben (furthest away)

An interesting thing to note is that with the Nicli pizzas (or any authentic Neapolitan pizza) the addition of sauce, cheese and other toppings creates a pizza center that is generally soft and moist.  Because of this, Napolitanas traditionally eat their pizzas uncut with a knife and fork, or tear them apart manually and eat them folded “libretto” style. Now if you’re eating a pizza by yourself I’m sure this is a great way to do it…but when you’re sharing pizzas in a group this is a little awkward…I think we all would have appreciated a pizza cutter!

 

Ok, so now to explain a little more about Nicli’s and traditional Italian pizzas…what is Neapolitan pizza or pizza Napoletana? This is Naples-style, traditional pizza…nothing to do with the Neapolitan that is associated with Neapolitan ice cream. In Italy, there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas that followed these guidelines can be called “traditional Italian pizzas” in Italy.

The owner of Nicli’s – Bill McCraig wants to have Nicli certified as a Vera Pizza Napoletana establishment (there is only one other certified VPN in Canada and that’s Libretto in Toronto so Nicli’s would be the only one of its kind in Vancouver). The first step of this journey is to go down to California and take the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association course – which McCraig has done. According to the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association, a genuine Neapolitan pizza must consist of the following:

  • Dough consisting of wheat flour (usually type 0 or 00 – all this means is how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed), natural Neapolitan yeast, salt and water.
  • The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer.
  • After the rising process, the dough must be formed strictly by hand, and may be no more than 3 mm (⅛ in) thick.
  • The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.
  • When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.

Quite a few of these guidelines are things that Nicli’s already does, so in my books they shouldn’t have any trouble getting the VPN certification (if they don’t have it already).

The following are a couple other pictures I took of around the restaurant. They’ve furnished it quite nicely even if it’s a little small (and always busy!)

Right across from us was the Bar, complete with wine selection

Off to my left was the storefront and the row of tables against the wall where we were sitting

 

Cool things at Think!

So now that I’ve been at Think! for a week I’ve come to like quite a few things about the office and the people of course.

Today, I finally got to meet William Bakker, one of the chief strategists at Think! although not for too long since he had something else to go do with Rodney. I also got to meet Ben Vadasz last Friday, although that wasn’t for too long either, since I had to leave to catch the ferry for the Island.


The urgent "To Do" list

At the office they have some really cool knick knacks floating around! Such as this really cool “To Do” list:


Most awesome stamps ever

And there is also their really cool Facebook “like” and “dislike” stamps! Needless to say I’ve stamped a couple things…

I also finished off quite a few tasks, on my first week so far I’ve done:

  1. 11 pages of tourism and business media in North America, Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
  2. A media list of supporters and opposition for the Calgary Stampede.
  3. Tweets and Facebook posts for Camping and RVing BC Coalition and the Travelling in BC pages.
  4. A list of blogs in the Calgary area (similar influence as Miss 604 in Vancouver).
  5. Researched the locations, contact info and dates of State Tourism Conference’s and/or Governor’s Tourism Conferences for every State in the USA.

So it’s been a great start. I’ve enjoyed working at Think! so far because I haven’t been given menial tasks to do! No paper shredding, coffee runs, or other secretarial tasks…I’ve simply been handed a real task and that’s that…as you can see in the list above. We all work in one big off so I have no problem asking questions if I have them. Everyone has been super friendly to me and they’re quite a fun, and easy going group considering all the work they do!

I have some pictures of the work space at Think! so here they are:

View from the entry way of Think! The office space and extends more to the right around the corner of the Boardroom. The Kitchen is on the left around the corner of the counter. Through the little doorway you can see 2 of the team members at Think! Phil, and Rodney.

This is the view to the right of the above image, the main workspace at Think! and I sit at the back right corner of this table

And this the view to the left of the first image, showing a bit of the kitchen space. This is also the view from my seat.