Celebration of Light – South Africa

South Africa's performance.
South Africa's performance.

Both Mother Nature and South Africa wowed Vancouverites with a double show over English Bay. A summer storm rolled out from the east in the early evening before the team from South Africa started lighting up the sky with their fireworks. Spectators braved the rain and wind to watch the impressive show.

The United Kingdom performs on Wednesday night and China wraps up on Saturday, August 1st. Pictures are now available on Gallery. Visit the Celebration of Light web site for additional details.

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So long Sears Tower

Sears Tower
Sears Tower

Since 1973, Chicago’s Sears Tower has set the skyline over the mid-west city, easily trumping the AON Center (ironically, which was previously known as the Standard Oil Building) and John Hancock Center in its shadow.

Today, the British insurance firm, Willis Group Holdings Ltd., started moving in after purchasing 140,000 square feet of space in the landmark earlier this year, along with its naming rights.

In the late 1960s, Sears Roebuck and Co. commissioned the construction of the 110 story tower as a way to consolidate a considerable chunk of their operations into one building. However, Sears moved out of the building in 1993, leaving the name (and empty offices) behind.

The Willis Group obtained the naming rights during their purchase as Sears’ rights had expired in 2003.

Chicagoans, will you call it the Willis Tower? Or stick to what everyone knows it as? It’s still the Sears Tower to me, so let’s hear what you have to say on this.

Canucks 2009-2010 schedule available

The new 2009-2010 season has the Vancouver Canucks starting off in Calgary against the Flames on October 1st followed by a stop in Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche on the 3rd. The Vancouver team returns home on the 5th to play the Columbus Blue Jackets before the Montreal Canadiens fly in on 7th.

The Canucks will face off against all teams in the league at least once, so it will be an interesting season to say the least. The full schedule is available on the Canucks web site.

Portable Xbox 360

Portable Xbox 360
Portable Xbox 360

Benjamin Heckendorn has been working on a little project of his own, modifying Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console to be a little more portable. From the results of his fifth revision, I’d say he’s done a pretty damn good job.

The modified console features a built in LCD monitor, ethernet jack, wireless connectivity, infrared and two USB ports, and a stylish white and blue case while keeping it functional and appealing. There are multiple vents to allow sufficient air flow to keep it cool while you chill out playing Street Fighter 4.

As far as I know, these units are not up for sale.

Chicago Cubs back in local hands

Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field

The current owner of the Chicago Cubs, Sam Zell and the  Tribune Co., has finally reached an agreement to transfer the team and Wrigley Field to Joe Ricketts’ family for $900 million USD.

The transaction has been passed to Major League Baseball and is pending review, so it’s not entirely official. Neither side wished to comment since the terms may change.

It looks like the sale to the Ricketts family is a good thing since they are Cubs fans. About time too.

Source: MSNBC

Raycroft comes to Vancouver

After back-up goaltender Jason LaBarbera signed with the Phoenix Coyotes on July 1st, the Canucks needed to fill the gap. Today, the Vancouver hockey team announced that Andrew Raycroft of Belleville, Ontario, was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche.

First drafted 135th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1998, Raycroft has played with the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs and has played over 230 NHL games. He has also been awarded a Calder Trophy as rookie of the year for his performance during the 2003-2004 season.

Source: Vancouver Canucks

Second Amtrak Train between Vancouver and Seattle

After months of hope that the federal government in Canada would drop the $1,500 CAD fee on a second train, it was announced that the second train would be part of a new pilot project. The additional train would give visitors to Vancouver the ability to extend their stay in the city as well as those heading state-side.

The second train will run from August until the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and if there is enough positive feedback, the service would be kept.

New SkyTrain map display

With the new Mark II series cars being rolled out, TransLink posted a video of the new display maps over the doors. The maps feature an overlay and LED lights that show the line, station and direction of travel. You can also hear the announcements as they cycle through the different recordings. Keeps your ears opened for some of the lesser heard stations and warnings.

Ohlund signs with Tampa Bay

After spending his entire career with the Vancouver Canucks, defenseman Mattias Ohlund became a free agent and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ohlund’s new contract will net him $24.5 million over the next seven years in Florida.

Ohlund was first drafted 13th overall by Vancouver back in 1994 and had accumulated 93 goals through his career, six of which are from the 2008-2009 season.