December 15, 2010

My complete list of pocket luxuries came out in the Vancouver Sun

Read the online version here (hip hip hooray) - but it lack pictures.

So, here are a some of the items (abbreviated) in living RGB colour.

At Crabtree and Evelyn, West Vancouver, Kent hand-made comb with case. The comb-maker of seven British monarchs. Brush your hair like you're Prince Harry. William, well, he doesn't have enough to use a comb, now does he ($29.75)?

UGG Australia's super comfortable Ascot slippers in suede with shearling. Wear them in our out. Can be found at the Australian Boot Company $149.95.

Designer Paul Smith, while visiting Vancouver's Holt Renfrew, put things this way: "Be brave. Do things more punchy, more special." Smith's signature stripes and bashful cowgirl hit the mark (at Holt Renfrew, starting at $105). They're dry and wry and give man jewelry a good name.
Killer dice at Birks, $125. The glinty numbers are crystals. Box is crocodile stamped leather. For the nerdier Dungeons & Dragons-type man, ie me, we can only hope Birks come out with a 20-sided version next year.

December 12, 2010

Metrodome collapse - would be no surprise to roof's designer

Three years ago, BC Place stadium experienced a roof failure.

As CBC Vancouver's design columnist, I spoke with one of the designers of BC Place's roof, Horst Berger. As a partner in the engineering firm of Geiger Berger, they designed several air-supported roofs including Minneapolis's Metrodome.

Here's the original piece:

"Original BC Place roof engineers split over design issues

(This Vancouver by Design column originally aired On The Coast on CBC Radio One in Vancouver)

January 9, 2007 - Vancouver - One of the original partners in the design company behind BC Place's roof told Vancouver By Design he left the company precisely because of a dispute over the design of such structures.

Horst Berger was one half of Geiger Berger - the company which designed the stadium's air supported roof; it collapsed last week after tearing.

Described by local engineers, as "daring, innovative, and pre-eminent" in the field of fabric roofs, Berger ended his partnership with David Geiger in 1983, the same year BC Place was completed.

Berger, 80, spoke to VBD by phone from his residence in New York state. When told about the tear and subsequent deflation, Berger said, "I'm not surprised."

"The air-supported structure depends on a mechanical system and that is it's Achilles heel."

Membrane roofs like the one on BC Place require pumped in air to keep the dome inflated and further require heaters to melt the snow.

Berger says, "You can not possibly design it [an inflated roof] to counteract a snow load. And I'm a conservative engineer. I want my design to last a thousand years."

But Geiger Berger's inflated roofs are entirely dependent on building owners following maintenance and operation protocols to keep the them up.

"And that's why I broke up the partnership," says Berger.

According to tent designer and engineer, Gery Warner of Tentnology, a large tent design firm in Vancouver, engineers specialized in the field of membrane or fabric roofs considered David Geiger, who is now deceased, as the "air-supported guy and Horst Berger as the tensile structure guy."

In tensile design, cables are used to hold the membranes up. Air-supported membranes use cables to keep the roof from billowing up - this cheaper technology was actually the brainchild of David Geiger.

But Berger says, "The structures are too unstable. It has to be air-tight to perform. Once there is a tear, it loses stability and the roof fails."

"That's why you haven't seen new ones being built."

After his breakup with Geiger, Berger started his own engineering firm with a focus on tensile structures like the sail-like roof of Canada Place in Vancouver, which Berger designed while at Geiger Berger. Berger points to the Denver International Airport, which he designed, as an example of the comparative robustness of tensile design. Denver has experienced record snowfalls this winter.

It is still unclear why BC Place's roof has failed though snowload and high-winds are possible causes.

Technically speaking, the present deflated position of BC Place's roof makes it now a tensile structure. However, in that position the roof will not be able to used its heaters to melt any accumulating snow and as of Tuesday night, the forecast is for up to 5 to 15 cm of snow.

Geiger engineer Kris Hamilton, based in Bellingham, Washington, says the roof in its inverted condition can sustain a snowload of 12 pounds per square feet. Under the building code, structures in Vancouver are required to endure snowloads greater than three times that amount.

BC Place general Howard Crosley told CBC Radio reporter Terry Donnelly the roof will not be damaged by the expected snowfall."

December 9, 2010

Apparently, this is the Pantone colour of the year...Honeysuckle (aka I used to call it fucshia or fuchsia or however you spell it)

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.” 

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”


The Blackfeet Indian Pencil - I own only this stub now. It is no longer manufactured on the soil of the Blackfeet Nation. It has a natural cedar finish. The graphite is dark and smooth -- sometimes lesser pencils have grit in them.

A favourite followed by the Dixon Ticonderoga natural finish with a green and yellow ferrule (the part that holds the eraser).

December 8, 2010

Number 3 - Filson Zipper Tote

The 12 - little things that count

Instead of making a list of new things I want for the holidays I'm reflecting on the dozen items that make a difference to me - kind of like counting blessings.

December 3, 2010

I'll be at the Vancouver Foodbank - CBC Open House today at 3:50 PM


I'll be there by 2 PM with a fashion treat for the right donation!!!! Our Foodbank show is on right now!

"MAN “Fix your Falalalala Face” with JJ Lee!
Prize: Personal style and grooming session with JJ Lee just in time for the holiday season!
Value: $800
Description: CBC Fashion expert JJ Lee will guide the lucky winner with a new look, focused on putting your best face forward. 
The package will include a men's hair treatment, cut and style at holts salon & spa. JJ Lee and will then assist the winner to choose a new designer shirt and tie from  menswear at Holt Renfrew. 
The winner will also leave with a gift back our some of our favorite men's shaving, grooming and fragrance products, for a total prize value of $800.
Information: This prize has no cash value, is non transferable and valid only in the Vancouver store. Appointments are subject to availability and certain blackout dates and times may apply. 
Prize may be redeemed after January 15, 2010. Selection of merchandise must be made from regular price store stock.
The session with JJ will be approximately 1 hour long."