Local, national or global stories that are fairly interesting, screwed up, or guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Stan Lee passes away at age 95

Stan Lee at Alamo City Comic Con in 2014

Stan Lee at Alamo City Comic Con in 2014.

Stan Lee, the mastermind behind some of Marvel’s greatest superheroes, passed away Monday at age 95.

Lee, who worked with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, created new superheroes under the Marvel banner, many of which continue to star in print, digital and film to this day, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron Man.

Continuing to work into his twilight years, Lee made appearances at fan conventions and cameos in movies based on his characters.

Source: CBC

Helping those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey

Many Texans along the Gulf Coast need help because of Hurricane Harvey. Texas has treated me well when I’ve visited and now they need the support to get them back on their feet.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations online through their web site to aid those affected by the hurricane.

HMV to close, depriving Canadians another place to buy anime

An HMV store on Robson Street

An HMV store on Robson Street

Another Canadian retailer is exiting the market. HMV, purveyors of all things entertainment, is winding down its operations and closing all 102 store locations over the next couple of months. It also marks the end of the few physical merchants selling anime products within Canada.

Aside from grabbing the latest movie, or that classic vinyl record, HMV had a fairly decent selection of anime. While many other shops hosted a limited choice of more popular titles, HMV could be counted on for a wider assortment of anime, albeit at a higher price. Plus, they also sold various collectibles and knickknacks including mugs, posters, apparel and plushes.

The closure announcement came on January 27th, 2017, due to competition from online sources that could offer more items at lower prices and on-demand streaming services with vast libraries of music and video at modest monthly rates.

HMV’s online site is no longer available for browsing. Stores remain open to clear out remaining inventory on discount.

Source: HMV

Helping those affected by the Alberta wildfires

Our friends and family in Alberta need our help to overcome the devastation caused by the wildfires that have displaced whole communities.

The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations which both the Alberta and the Canadian government will match. To make a $5 donation, text “REDCROSS” to 30333 from your mobile phone.

Helping those affected by the earthquake in Nepal

The earthquake that struck Nepal and portions of India, China and Bangladesh on Saturday, April 25th, 2015 has killed thousands and left countless more homeless and in need of support.

There are ways you can help; both the Canadian Red Cross and American Red Cross, along with Doctors Without Borders in Canada and the United States, and UNICEF are accepting donations to provide assistance to those affected the most by this disaster.

Four Pennies and a Funeral

If you hadn’t already heard, Canada is phasing out the penny. Long maligned and ignored, the tiny bronze-coloured coin will no longer be distributed as of February 4th, 2013. Despite its impending doom, the penny won’t be disappearing any time soon — that is, if retailers and other institutions choose to accept it (it’s not required by law). Regardless if a merchant welcomes it or not, existing one cent coins will continue to be a valid form of payment for the time being. Retiring the penny will save Canadians an estimated $11 million a year.

The Royal Canadian Mint is asking businesses to round their cash payments, either up or down. For example, a total that comes to $9.48 would be rounded up to $9.50 where as a total of $9.42 would be rounded down to $9.40. So, any total ending in 1 or 2 will be rounded down to 0, with 3 and 4 being rounded up to 5. Totals ending in 6 and 7 will rounded down to the nearest 5 with 8 and 9 rounded up to the nearest 10. This will take some getting use to.

Transactions that are paid for with a debit card, credit card, or cheque will not have the final total rounded. Electronic transactions (e.g. bank transfers, Paypal, etc.) will not require rounding.

An example posted by the Mint:

Coffee:		$1.83
Sandwich:	$2.86
Tax (5%):	$0.23

Total:		$4.92

If you’re paying with a debit or credit card, your account will be charged $4.92. If you’re paying with cash, the total would be rounded down to $4.90 as the 92 is closer to 90.

Still have plenty of pennies lying around the house or car? You can still take them into the bank, exchange them for a wish at a fountain or well, donate them through a charity coin drive, plus many other useful applications.

For further information on the elimination visit the Royal Canadian Mint web site or call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232).

Helping those affected by the earthquake in Japan

We’re all aware of destruction that has left the north-eastern portion of Japan in utter ruins. Thousands have perished, many more missing and millions without water or electricity.

There are ways you can help; both the Canadian Red Cross and American Red Cross, along with Doctors Without Borders in Canada and the United States are accepting donations as are many other local charitable organizations.

Have family or friends in Japan? The Google Person Finder can help you locate loved ones.

The Anime News Network is also publishing a list of manga artists and other members of the anime inustry who have checked in after the disaster. Various artists are also working on a collaborative doujinshi with profits going toward relief efforts.

Earthquake in Japan

For those living in a region prone to seismic activity, it’s incredibly sobering to see images from Japan where safety is ingrained into their culture. While many of the buildings did not collapse from the initial shaking, the second punch in the form of a tsunami finished off what the quake started.

The west coast of Canada has been fairly complacent in its standards and with an ever increasing building boom, Metro Vancouver may not even hold up to a medium or larger sized tremor. This reality is very unnerving.

All that we can do is ensure we are prepared and hope that we may never have to experience the same destruction that plagues those who live in an area like the Ring of Fire.

Check out this post on Gakuranman for photos, videos and Twitter updates from Japan.

The Canadian Red Cross is also accepting donations for aid in the stricken north-east region.

Paying for the Evergreen Line

Ever since the Evergreen Line was announced, one of the largest questions surrounding the proposed line was “how much?” (the other being “when?”). The $1.2 billion extension already has $800 million from both the federal and provincial governments, with the remaining $400 million to come from TransLink.

In order to support the new SkyTrain extension, which falls under the 2011 Supplemental Plan, the transit agency needs to come up with funding. TransLink’s Board of Directors has approved two 2011 Supplemental Plans and is asking for the Mayor’s Council to approve them. If no alternative funding is found, property taxes would need to be increased to cover the costs.

The base plan includes the Evergreen Line and the first phase of the North Fraser Perimeter Road while the second plan includes the first two projects, increased bus service and various improvements to infrastructure in the region. TransLink is pushing for the second plan, which is the most expensive of the two.

The Mayor’s Council are scheduled to vote sometime in December 2010.

Sources: TransLink, News1130

TransLink fare increase

SkyTrain at Waterfront Station

It'll cost more to ride public transit again

Starting April 1st, 2010, passengers who take the bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line, West Coast Express and SeaBus will be paying more for monthly FareCards and FareSavers. TransLink is increasing the cost of these fares to help pay for new and extended services.
Fares purchased at vending machines in stations or on the bus will be unaffected by this. Visit the TransLink web site for further details and price structures.

Monthly FareCards
1 zone $81.00
2 zone $110.00 ($46.50 concession)
3 zone $151.00

FareSaver Tickets
1 zone $21.00 ($17.00 concession)
2 zone $31.50
3 zone $42.00

All Zones: $9.00 ($7.00 concession)

NOTE: above listed prices are for adults. Concession fares (for seniors and students) are listed in brackets when applicable.

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