Monday, December 15, 2008

Olympics! Penguins! A Plague Of Locusts (kinda)

What a weekend, where to start? Winter Olympics? Snow? What else happened? There was something else... never mind, it'll come to me. Guess I should do the Olympics since I put this one off already. Friday night we bundled up the kids and headed off to the official opening of the Richmond Olympic Oval. The Canadian speed skating team has been practicing on it since October, but this was the first time the public was allowed in. The mayor was there, some city councilors, gold medalists and the Premier (US viewers-read governor). The Prime Minister was supposed to be there, but I guess he was too busy trying to figure out how to keep his job to show.

We've been able to watch them build it from the beginning because we have to drive by it most days of the week and it's on my bike route as well.




I'd like to tell you I took these amazing shots, but it was actually somebody from Reuters who probably wasn't using a Sony Cybershot. The majority of my shots sucked, but I did manage to get a few good ones.



The roof on this building is amazing. It's almost 6.5 acres in size and made up of a million board feet of pine which is the equivalent of 6000 trees. Whoa! Easy there, tree hugger, wait for the rest of the story! Those 6000 trees came from the interior of our province and were all killed by a rotten son of a bitch bug called a pine beetle. The trees were salvaged by the government in an attempt to show these trees can still be used commercially. Otherwise they'll just have to be burned. Sadly an area almost the size of Colorado has been devastated by the pine beetle and aside from cutting down the trees and burning them, there's not much else to do with them, so this is a good thing.


The picture above is a storm water runnel which captures run-off from the roof. The roof, because it is so big, collects a lot of rain water, and instead of just siphoning it all off into the river it is diverted into a big sediment pond beside the oval. Some of the water is brought back into the building and used to operate toilets. It's also used for some other stuff as well, but damned if I can remember what. Whatever, I know two little boys who enjoyed playing in them.


The most memorable part of the evening though would have to be returning to our car. Because the building isn't finished yet, it doesn't have a parking lot. Oh, and there was only room in the grandstands for two thousand people. And it was raining. We parked a few blocks away and walked along the dyke to get there. When we left the rain had been joined by gale force winds and the wind chill had to be somewhere near what emperor penguins have to endure in Antarctica. De-light-ful. I typed this holding a pencil between my teeth.

35 comments:

  1. I love the Olympics. I can't wait! Curling! Our plague has been the emerald ash borer. The main street near my house used to be lined with beautiful, tall, fifty-year-old ash trees. Every last one is now a pile of wood chips and dirt from a stump grinder. Why bio-diversity is important?

    FIRST, SUCKAS!

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  2. WHOOO! What a cool design! I like those big glulam arches holding up the roof. The pine is a an astute use of a resource that would otherwise go to waste. LEED and green design is all the rage these days, for good reason. And the detail of the stormwater leader: Awesome! Those roof supports on the outside are pretty cool, too. The wood/metal combo is very attractive.

    The (unemployed) architect in me is jealous! (Sigh) If I was designing, that's among the many things I would want to BE designing. Thanks!

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  3. That building is awesome!! And it's cool that they were able to recycle the damaged trees.
    I think you should really try and get there and get on camera during the Olympics, k?

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  4. Pretty building. It's nice that they went for the whole eco-friendly thing. With the exception of the Lay's Potato Chip plant all the buildings in the Phoenix area are designed to take up tons of space in the desert and be totally unsustainable.

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  5. Sounds like you should get a medal just for attending!

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  6. That building is gorgeous...I love that they used trees that would have been destroyed otherwise.

    So...you have room for me and my family during the Olympics so we can see it in person? Great, thanks...we'll be there!!!

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  7. Very cool! Can we look forward to seeing you in the stands for the games?

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  8. My PETA, Greenpeace, tree-huggin ass loved that post. Even though your kids loved playin in the toliets? I'll let that slide since you had to walk through cold. ; )

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  9. OMG MAG! Curling! I LIVE for it! Unlike you, I have no idea what is going on, I just think it is a RIOT! So you watch it for the sport, I watch it to make fun of the sport...but WTF, we are still watching! :) Capt D - sorry about your cold weather...let's see...it is about, ohhhh 70 degrees here this morning. Ahhhhh, I LOVE IT!!

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  10. Wow great building -
    I don't think I knew where the Olympics were going to be. Golly, some times I am so out of touch.

    I do love me some winter Olympics. I wonder if Michael Phelps will be there with no shirt on??? He could totally Curl with no shirt on.

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  11. We don't have cool stuff like that here. Sorry you had to face such fierce winds and cold!

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  12. Neat!! That'll pry be something the boys remember for a very long time.

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  13. no picture of the pine beetle?!

    very cool that they thought to salvage the wood that way.

    and good luck to canadians for the silver ;)

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  14. Beautiful!!!
    Oh and I think you mean the PM is too busy not doing his job to attend ;)

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  15. The speed skate venu does look
    very impressive. Wonder how much the tickets cost for that. Would love to see some of the Olympics,
    once in a lifetime opportunity.

    As to your cold weather walk, as the brave leader you got all safely back to the warmth of the car. Good Job.
    Wanna come up here this week, At
    7:30 am it was -30 degrees with a
    slight wind blowing. Incredibly blue sky and the landscape is beautiful, I would enjoy it more as a postcard sitting on a beach in Mexico, but ah...
    Tomorrow we may have to go up on the roof and shovel snow, oh wait,
    no we were going to wait a week or
    so for your brother and you to have an outdoor adventure together.

    Pine Beattle-we had a lovely wooded area between our house and
    "downtown," now it barren and ugly.
    Once you get up into the Chilcotin and Cariboo it is absolutely devastating.
    l

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  16. The boys were playing with toilets? We Canucks know a thing or two about cool architecture.

    We had a Frenchman design the ugly bowl of a big O. Yuck!

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  17. Oh...how I loathe my Sony CyberShot. CyberShit. That's more like it.

    that looks like a very cool structure. Pun not intened, but what the hell. It made me chuckle.

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  18. And....@ Irish Gumbo...
    You're an unemployed Architect as well?

    We should start a Bowling league.

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  19. To clarify, the boys were not playing in a toilet. The big gutter things divert water into a pond. That water is then sent back into the building to be used in toilets. Not that I'd put playing in toilets past them.

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  20. Very cool pictures. Also cool about the pine trees (the salvage part, not the decimation of the species part). I was a little sad that they weren't all just chopped down for fun, though.

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  21. Sounds awesome! I'd love to see it. Don't feel like driving that far north to experience such cold temperatures just to see a big stadium...but maybe when it gets warmer outside.

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  22. uhg, sounds like the end wasn't much fun. the rest of it was good though :-) hope you regain feeling in your fingers SOON!

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  23. That is so freakin awesome. You know they are having the summer Olympics in London in 2012. I am hoping I can score some tickets!

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  24. awesome. can not wait for the winter olympics.

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  25. gosh i dont' know how you guys do the cold, though, that building is awesome.

    i'm craving a trip to dubyai... anyone up for it?

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  26. Cool beans! Looked like it was fun (although cold and wet...)

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  27. Brrrrr!! Makes me cold just reading about it.

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  28. So...is there room for 4 more during the Olympics? I promise to bring sleeping bags and liquor.

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  29. That's great the used the trees damaged by the beetle. Not so great was the walk to the car. I didn't know about the warming properties of pencils. I'll have to forgo hot chocolate next time and give that a shot.

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  30. Brrrrrrrrrrrr! I can totally relate! My hands were frozen when I got home from work today. I would have welcomed some penguin company! :)

    That stadium is phenomenal!!

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  31. Dude, your pictures are awesome. As well as the description of the building, very cool.

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  32. You had me at penguins. I just love those funky little birds.

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  33. BTW, my parents went to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal...and conceived me.

    Gross, I know.

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  34. Daaaaamn. That looks JUST like me when I skate. Or, actually, I should say, when I photoshop my face on this pic.

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Come on, sailor. I love you long time.