win more stuff

The very moment I was publishing the previous post, the mail arrived. Guess what was in it? Another PETA pin! Now I have two! And as promised, I will give one away!

.. but that’s not all!

I’ve also got my tiny, tiny hands on two extra sets of the beautiful Apple pins, AND some of the McDonald’s Olympic toys. I will choose three winners at random, and each person will get a set of pins and a random Happy Meal mascot toy!

Here are some important contest details:

  • Enter to win the pins/toys by leaving a comment below!
  • I’ll make the draw for the pins on Tuesday February 23rd
  • Please leave your email address in the comment so I have a way to reach you! Nothing will be done with the addresses; I’m an individual who has no time to spam anyone at all
  • This contest is SEPARATE from the mitten contest – enter to win one of two pairs of Olympic Mittens by commenting on this post
  • I ship worldwide, so don’t worry about entering from faraway places!
  • Everything given away on Delicious Juice Dot Com is purchased or obtained by me personally – I am 100% NON-SPONSORED, and pay for everything out of my own pocket because I really do love sharing and everyone could use some random love

So .. have at it! Leave a comment below to win some exclusive Olympic swag, and here to win some mittens!

more olympic fun

I got a present in the mail yesterday:

olympic shame is made of false facts

Oh yeah. You know you’re jealous. Actually, I am too – I heard from several others who received their pins that they got TWO of them. I only got the one, which makes me sad – if I had two, I would give one away. As it stands, you will just have to admire mine from afar and wish you were as cool as I am.

I’m finding a happy niche for myself in sharing Olympic information off the beaten path. Today’s tips:

  • The red mittens are available at every Bay and Zellers – if you can’t get downtown, try a store out in the ‘burbs. The Zellers in Lynn Valley is full of red mittens in all sizes! (the Bay is out of L/XL mittens)
  • Unfortunately, some businesses in Vancouver are seeing the Olympics as an opportunity to gouge both tourists and locals. Driven by user-submitted tips and Twitter, Spiffle has created a handy list of both places NOT being greedy (#2010niceprices) and those who are raising prices and/or tacking an automatic tip onto your bill (#2010profiteers). Check the list out and keep an eye out for other places that deserve a jeer or a cheer – I’ll be making a point to avoid the nasties after the Olympics are over, and supporting those who didn’t milk the cash cow instead.
  • I thought I had found the most expensive Olympic souvenir, the $695 Team China track suit – but OH, how wrong I was:

for that price, the damn jacket better wear me

A $1200 leather-sleeved Team Russia jacket.

I should buy two!

sharing the olympic love

I got the equivalent of a Twitter fortune cookie (or possibly a demand; it’s all in how you look at it) suggesting that I do something to help others today, so here:

If you’re looking for official Olympic souvenirs, you’ve got several options. The official online store has some neat things, and offers free next day shipping to people in BC. It seems like VANOC slapped their name all over everything, and as absurd as some of the products are – you can get an official Olympic pepper grinder for only $63.99 – people seem to be snapping them up like mad. The most expensive thing I found on the site is a $500 14k gold coin, which is out of stock so someone is buying these things. You might as well get in while you can.

If you’re actually in Vancouver, people are selling things on almost every street corner. The big draw for official gear is the Olympic Superstore in the Bay, but bring a Visa and a lot of patience – there is a lineup to get into the store all day long, and it’s even worse inside. I can’t imagine how they’re keeping things in stock, because people are grabbing everything they can get their hands on. I wanted to poke around and see how much the cool Canada quilted jackets are, but I couldn’t get anywhere near the place without a long wait in a line with pushy people so I gave up and headed elsewhere.

“Elsewhere” turned out to be the 5th floor of the Bay, which is where they’re keeping the Olympic gear for other countries. There’s also a small selection of Team Canada stuff, so if you were just hoping for a hoodie or hat, try the 5th floor – the crowds are much, much more manageable and you can be in and out in minutes as opposed to hours.

I’ve heard some people complaining about the price of the Olympic goods, and I agree – some of the items are really pricy for what you get. However, don’t disparage the price of the Team Canada gear: believe me when I say we’re actually lucky that the Canadian gear costs what it does, because it could be a LOT worse.

Remember how I was coveting the Team Russia line? It turns out I can’t afford to defect to another country; not when the hoodies sell for $298 apiece. There’s something seriously wrong with buying something to advertise another country when people actually living there would never be able to afford it. Team Russia has a large booth set up on the 5th floor of the Bay, and everything is outrageously expensive: $79 for a t-shirt. $50 for hat or scarf. $159 for a cheap-feeling polar fleece vest. By contrast, the Team Canada gear is so much more reasonable: $20 t-shirts, $50 hoodies, and hats starting at $15. Don’t forget our mittens, either – those are $10 and are being bought by the literal armful by tourists and residents alike.

The other countries aren’t faring much better when it comes to affordable pride: $198 will get you a bright orange Netherlands pullover, or $150 for a long-sleeved t-shirt. However, those prices are NOTHING compared to what it costs to be a fan of Team China:

really?

REALLY??!

$545 for a puffy, floor-length, (faux) fur-trimmed, red and gold coat. $695 for a Team China track suit like the ones they wore in the Opening Ceremonies. How many people in China could actually afford these things? 1%? Maybe 2? Wow.

If you’re not picky about which Olympics you’re cheering for, you actually have another option: the 5th floor has a section dedicated to historic Olympic gear. I wasn’t expecting this, and was pleasantly surprised by the variety and price points. I was sorely tempted by the sleek navy jacket commemorating the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France for $120, or the snazzy red and white track jacket from the Sapporo, Japan games in 1972. The focus was on the Winter games so I wasn’t able to find anything from Montreal’s ’76 games, but Calgary ’88 was representing all over the place. I’m still giving some serious thought to the Paris ’24 gear – no one said I had to be celebrating THESE Olympics. So what if I want to cheer for 1924? Who’s going to stop me, you?

these prices make quatchi sad and sweaty

If you’re truly on a budget but want something cute to remind you of the Games, I suggest you head to a McDonald’s. They’re currently doing a series of mascot-themed Happy Meal toys (in Canada only, apparently) that are friggin’ adorable, and only $2 each. Mukmuk gets no love, but you can get toys of Quatchi, Sumi and Miga doing various winter Olympic sports and being all cute and licensed and stuff:

taken by sonson

SO! After all that, I thought I’d try to bring a piece of the Vancouver Olympic Games to you, the general public. I’m giving away two pairs of the Red Mittens because I love my readers and maybe sometimes your hands are cold and full of love for a country that may or may not be your own. Leave a comment below to be entered in the draw, which I will make on Sunday – two winners will receive a pair of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Mittens and some Delicious Juice Dot Com pins! Hooray! Free stuff! Spread the word! Enter below!

there are no kittens in these mittens

want vs need

I’m a covetous person by nature. I like things – pretty, shiny, cute, useful, throbbing. Of all the things, there are very few I actually need– but my want list is large and greedy and usually unobtainable. Some of the things I want make sense: an iMac and a Pentax K20D. I like gadgets, see, and those are two gadgets I do not currently own. I’m well aware that I already HAVE a computer – or 7 – but I’d like an iMac so I can make full use of my new discovery (I’m not afraid of Photoshop anymore!). I also have a camera (okay, 3 cameras) – but the K20 is better than all of them put together. These are logical, if wholly unnecessary, things to want.

Other things I want are less easy to come by. This is the complicated list: I want a pug and a Jeep. Difficult, but not impossible – after all, I once had a Vespa 250 on that list, and a house. I got both of those things; why would I not assume that I will eventually get the others? I may not have the patience needed to wait, but I have the gift of glib and an amazing ability to justify out loud.

Some things I want, however, will not be as easy as relinquishing my iron will over my credit cards. These are the impossible, the fanciful, the never-gonna-happen-without-bending-the-laws-of-physics kind of wishes made idly while lying naked in nest of damp laundry and covered in pudding:

I want an entire outfit made of the same material as the pants worn by Azerbaijan in the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony.

taken by zanthinegirl

These are amazing. I yearn for these pants. I was excited when I saw them on TV, but that excitement rose to a fever pitch when they showed a close-up: the pants are paisley, man. I LOVE paisley.

taken by zanthinegirl

Azerbaijan ROCKED the ceremony with their outfit, blowing the rest of the world away with style and aplomb. I am jealous that I’ll never be able to get my hands on some Azerbaijanian Glory without going back in time, taking up a sport, mastering it, and relocating to wherever the heck Azerbaijan with enough time to be declared a citizen and qualify to compete at the Olympics. It breaks my heart just a little to think about what could have been, if only. I love you, Azerbaijan Pants. Please be mine.

I’m also kind of coveting the uniform worn by Team Russia – I love the red and yellow swirlie things. Yesterday we saw a Team Russia SUV decked out in swirlies and the Sochi 2014 mascot, and it looked really cool. I’m thinking about visiting the HBC Hellhole downtown to see what they’ve got for Team Russia – I’m not holding my breath that they bothered to stock the amazing Azerbaijan Pants – but it depends on how long the line is. I’m fickle, and I hate crowds. I’m not even remotely Russian, not even a little – but I find the accent sexy, so that has to count for something.

I really wish I had known how exciting this would all be: I’d have taken some time off work so I could experience all that the city has to offer. I’d love to be able to bring more coverage of the crazy things going on with my own unique flavour, but by the time I’m done the work day I just don’t have the energy to hunt out the fun. It’s kind of making me sad – this would have been a great opportunity to expand my content (because there’s SO LITTLE OF IT), but I just didn’t know.

Next time the Olympics come to Vancouver, I’ll be ALL OVER IT.

Although I haven’t been to any sporting events or venues, I’ve still gone to a couple events. The first was the ill-fated dress rehearsal before the Olympics even started, and while I managed to keep my promise of not sharing any secrets (you have no idea how much it pained me to not say a damn thing about the four enormous ice  boners erecting from the floor), I still got an update or two out of it. Last night was another first – I was there for the medal ceremony where Alexandre Bilodeau received his gold medal for Men’s Moguls. I’d never been to anything like that before, and it was amazing – the place went wild, and it seemed that every person in attendance was screaming for joy. Hearing a crowd of 20,000 singing O Canada is pretty unbelievable – I sang along with the rest, completely caught up in the moment. It was really something else, and I’m so glad I got to be there. We often laugh at patriotism and seem somewhat ashamed at admitting pride for your home country, but there it is – I love Canada and being Canadian, and I couldn’t be happier for the successes had at these games.

Even if I think Team Russia’s uniforms are prettier than ours.

medal ceremony for men's moguls

pride of the nation

a first

You know, I’ve never blogged from a Winter Olympics medal ceremony before – especially one where Canada is getting a gold medal on home soil

Oh, wait.

THIS IS AWESOME!

I have my camera out and EVERYTHING and no one is kicking me out! Okay, none of my friends will sit with me – they’re all in row O and I’m the only seat in row N – but Olympics! In Vancouver! Gold medal! Guy in a hoop! An upside down girl wearing sexy PJs! This is so cool!

I love my friends – Reilly, Miranda, Josh and especially Shan – thank you for sharing this with me!

French people are crooning passionately at us!

the pin heard ’round the world

The Olympics are like a 2-week orgy for people who are into pin collecting. There have been hundreds if not thousands of different pins – some Olympic-themed, some not – created for the sole purpose of distribution and trade amongst the rabid masses. I do enjoy collecting things (if it’s small and cute, chances are I have a collection of it somewhere), but I’ve never really been into the whole pin thing. Standing in line for hours for free crap seems like an epic waste of time to me, and a little greedy – I’ve seen how crazy some people get when free things are on the line. I love swag as much as the next person, but I’m not going to humiliate myself just to get a free t-shirt or bottle of water.

That being said, these are really cool:

shiny!

The black Gastown pin is courtesy of the Gastown Blog, but the two red ones are from the Apple store in Pacific Centre. They’re free; you just have to ask an employee for a set. I actually didn’t even need to ask – I went to the mall at lunch and arrived just as they were handing them out to people as they walked in. Score! They’re very cute and not covered in ugly text or logos. Word on the street (the street being Twitter) is that the Apple store in Oakridge Mall is giving out a different pin altogether, so if you’re into this whole “collecting” thing you may want to get over there soon as I imagine supplies are limited.

There are a few pin trading events going on during the Olympics, so if you’re really into this you should keep an eye out. The Fluevog store in Gastown also seems to be getting into the game – now these, I want. They’re exactly the kind of pin I collect for my jar:

this jar has actually been replaced with one twice as big, and is almost full

guess where i’m going

I may not be attending any sporting events during the Olympics, but I somehow still get to go to all the good stuff.

Cypress Mountain offered a special deal to people willing to buy passes to the shortened season: live with the fact that you can’t use the hills for all of February, and get two tickets to a Victory Celebration. Josh, Shan and Reilly all bought season passes, and collected a total of 6 tickets. They asked if all the tickets could be for the same night (you weren’t allowed to specify which night you wanted; they were distributed at random), and were given 6 for the one night where the performer hadn’t been announced yet: February 15th.

Not knowing who was performing was a minor bone of contention as we scoured the internet for any clue. The 15th is Quebec night, but VANOC didn’t necessarily stick to the celebration province when picking performers. As of right now, we still have no idea who will be the musical guest this evening.

Then again, who cares – we get to attend the ceremony that will give Canada the first gold medal earned on home soil.

WOOOOHOOOOO!

It’s funny – I don’t give most of a damn about sports of any kind, but there’s something seriously fantastic about watching your country kick some ass surrounded by friends. We all watched Alexandre Bilodeau win last night, and we cheered as though we had any idea what we were looking at; as if we understood the rules and scoring and minor mistakes made by others that gave Bilodeau the glory. We were totally into it, and all our natural cynicism was set aside to be truly excited for the skinny guy on skis who is apparently better than the rest of them. It was awesome.

And tonight, the night where medals for only one event are being awarded and for all we know Nickelback could be headlining, we get to be there in person as they raise our flag and Canada gets their first home-grown gold medal. I could not be more excited and thrilled that I get to go – even the thought of the national anthem (the proper one) being played and sung by thousands is making this snarky hipster nerd a little choked up with emotions.

I haven’t yet had much time to join my city in Olympic celebration, but that all changes tonight. I’ll be spending much of this week downtown, standing in lines with the best of them – I think I almost understand what this is all about, and I choose to cast off the shackles of jaded oppression and throw myself into the party. GO CANADA GO!

Internet Olympic Hilarity: Renee happened to be on the Wiki page for the silver medalist from Australia, and captured this seconds after Canada won and seconds before it was removed:

oh snap! (click for big)

it’s like bedazzling ‘o canada’

My route may have been a little convoluted, but the first official scooter commute of both the New Year and the new house was a success. I dodged a lot of traffic and abused the Olympic Lane more than once (I also cut the post-event Skytrain line last night – I’m already on the VANOC shitlist; I might as well use the opportunity to break as many rules as I can), but I got to work only a few minutes late. If I had taken the bus, I wouldn’t be at work yet – there are incidents going on all over the place, and the buses are backed up and issuing alerts. Transit is going to be an exercise in angst during the Olympics – I just hope the weather holds so I can just scoot everywhere and laugh.

There are a few observations I wanted to add to my list from last night:

  • The individual singing the national anthem has a gorgeous voice, but I did NOT like what they did to the song – our anthem (any anthem, actually) does not need vocal embellishing; it takes away from the overall effect
  • Russia had an impressive string – 3 people long – but the USA had 4
  • Canada’s string may not have been the longest, but it was clearly the best and accompanied by 30 people
  • They weren’t kidding about airport security – be prepared to have your belongings scanned and manhandled, and your person wanded by a 16-year old girl
  • Did I mention that you should be in line already?
  • WEAR COMFY SHOES! The VANOC-approved exit for BC Place forces people to walk to the Main Street Skytrain Station, where you will wait in almost as long a line to get onto a train
  • When I emerged at the Burrard Station last night, there was a 3-piece band doing a banjo/bongo/guitar cover of BEP’s “I Gotta Feeling” – it was kind of awesome

The inauspicious end to last night’s festivities really did a number on my excitement about the whole thing, but hopefully I will get some of my mojo back before things start for real. The torch comes very close to Sparta on Friday, so I will try to get some pictures. Maybe the torch contains my happy. We shall see.

walking the sea wall