Hurray it's Friday! AND it's also a long weekend. Woohoo! A few of the most anticipated summer events are happening in this last weekend of July.

Powell Street Festival

Saturday July 30 & Sunday July 31, 2011

Oppenheimer Park (400 Block Powell Street)

35th annual Powell Street Festival is a Japanese Canadian arts & culture celebration attended by thousands each year. There will be dance, music, film and video, visual arts, martial arts demos, amateur sumo tournament, craft vendors, traditional displays, and delicious Japanese food available.

Illuminares Lantern Festival 2011

Saturday July 30, 2011

Along the seawall of Coal Harbour and Canada Place, Vancouver

This Lantern Festival is in its 22nd year and this year there will be a fantastical 30-foot illuminated heron puppet leading the lantern procession. Public Dreams will also be hosting workshops and performances.
Check out the full list of workshops and schedule here or on the Public Dreams Facebook Page.

Smoking Sausage BBQ Competition Cook-off

Saturday July 30, 2011

Laneway west of Main Street between Broadway and 8th

Not exactly a free event but it is quite low cost and all proceeds go to the Vancouver Food Bank. It will cost only $3 to taste all the original BBQ sausage creations made by several Mt. Pleasant's top restaurants competing to take first place. Coffee and bread will also be offered.

Celebration of Light

Saturday Jully 30, 2011

English Bay, Vancouver
Best viewing spots at English Bay Beach, Vanier Park and Kitsilano Beach, and Jericho Beach.

The ever popular 21st annual fireworks competition will be held over three nights starting with China on Saturday. Beaches will fill up quickly so make sure to go early and take transit!

Vancouver Pride Parade

Sunday July 31, 2011

Begins at Robson and Thurlow and travels through the downtown core, Vancouver

Rainbows will fill the streets of downtown Vancouver when the 33rd annual Pride parade marches through on Sunday! This spectacular event will feature colourful floats, marching bands and more than 100 community group.

BC Place Open House 

Sunday July 31, 2011

BC Place, Vancouver
Enter through the West Entrance (adjacent to Expo Blvd near Smithe)

This iconic Vancouver building had been under construction for the past year and this Sunday they will be opening doors to let the public see the progress of the construction and how different the building now looks from the inside. Visitors will be able to walk onto a section of the floor while workers continue construction of the retractable roof.
A lone cowboy (Daniel Craig) wakes up wounded in the desert having no memory of how he got there or why he is wearing a strange metal band that he can't take off. He stumbles into the nearest town of Absolution where he quickly makes enemies of Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford)'s son Percy (Paul Dano) and is recognized as the wanted outlaw Jake Lonergan. Before he could be shipped off to be tried in the city, strange flying planes come out of nowhere causing mayhem and abducting townspeople. Jake's suddenly bracelet activates and he is able to shoot down one of the marauders. Now Jake carries the only hope for the townspeople and he must band together with Dolarhyde and his men and with the help of the mysterious traveler Ella, launch a rescue mission and uncover his past along the way.

The title says it all. You get some cowboys and some aliens and you'll see cowboys fighting aliens. The end. That really is just it for the whole two hours. In theory you'd think a genre mash-up like this would be cool. It is, but it suffers from bad writing and a silly random plot. It started promising but the plot just went spiraling like one of the airships that Jake shoots down. Could have been great but falls short of expectations. I really wish there was more story development especially around Ella and Jake as well. Ella just seemed to be put in as eye-candy. Of course she does have a significant role in the movie...but it is primarily eye-candy and to stare at Jake creepily. Some of her lines are just horrible...honestly, who writes this stuff?! The movie also suffers from a disappointing ending.

Despite all its faults, Cowboys & Aliens was fun to watch. Daniel Craig makes such a better cowboy than he does James Bond. There is action and lots of explosions. And more explosions. Did I mention explosions? The aliens themselves where quite interesting anatomically. It's not a horror movie so you see how the alien looks like half way into the film; maybe even earlier. So if you're the type that can overlook the absurd plot and is just there for the action (and perhaps to see Olivia Wilde ;P) then you'll like this movie. For others, my advice is to just run with it and don't ask questions, you might enjoy it but no guarantees.

Cowboys & Aliens opens in theatres July 29, 2011.

Warning: there are what I consider spoilers in the trailer.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) seems to have everything: good job, a house, married to his high school sweetheart, Emily  (Julianne Moore), with perfect children when Emily drops a bombshell on him and announces that she wants a divorce. Cal hits rock bottom wallowing in self pity when he meets womanizer Jacob (Ryan Gosling) at a bar. Tired of watching Cal tell his sob story to no one in particular every night, Jacob teaches Cal the secrets to get women to be attracted to him and open up a whole world of possibilities. It is a success but Cal still feels unhappy as he still has feelings for Emily. Cal isn't the only one with relationship problems: Cal's 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) pines over his 17-year-old babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) while Jacob is questioning all that he has taught Cal after meeting Hannah (Emma Stone) who makes him into a one-woman man.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a funny rom-com filled with laughs as well as endearing moments. The superb cast makes make this film this awesome. And yes, Josh Groban is in this movie! Steve Carell makes you be able to pity him by just pure body language and his expressions were hilarious. Ryan Gosling is a dream and plays the handsome player very well. I loved that exotic music and slow-mo embodies the sexiness of a person in this film but my favourite scene was the surprise at the end. I think others will agree with me that it wasn't expected at all. There are some cheesy moments but overall it is a funny, feel-good movie that leaves you satisfied leaving the theatre. 

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is in theatres Friday July 29, 2011.

Or at least near Vancouver. Strange that both locations are not in the city of Vancouver when they advertise it as such.

This is the final destination of the Mobilicity Prove It Tour across Canada. This one-day only customer appreciation BBQ will be held at two stores: 10255 King George Hwy, Surrey & 139-6200 Mckay Ave, Burnaby from 1 to 5 pm tomorrow July 27. I was told CEO Dave Dobbin would be at the Surrey location. Not sure if he has any plans of visiting the Burnaby store as well.

There will be hamburgers served and Mobilicity will be offering deals for new and existing customers of Mobilicity though it seems new customers have the better offers.

After paddle boating on Saturday, we had lunch at Oyama Sushi located on Kingsway near Metrotown. My friend tells me that this place use to be a funeral home! Inside it was anything but dreary though. It had nice ambiance and wasn't too crowded. Each of the tables were adorned with some pink flowers.

I ordered the salmon and tuna sashimi and split a Red Dynamite Roll with a friend. Service was fast and presentation was beautiful. I must say that I didn't expect portion of sashimi to be that big! It tasted fresh and delicious and was well worth the price. Mmmm. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back for some more! Great sushi place!

Went paddle boating at Deer Lake, Burnaby on Saturday. There was beautiful weather the entire day - a welcome change from the dreary weather we'd been experiencing this past week. It was very peaceful to be on the lake. Many people also came out to enjoy the weather. The boat rental place was very busy and some people were even fishing!

Thousands of lily pads framed the peripheral of the lake. There were a lot of blue dragon fluttering about especially near the water's edge. There were also moths that loved to land on our boat...and us. My friends didn't really like them for this reason. I think they look cute! We also saw a few huge black and white dragonflies. Those kind of scare me because they are so big and when they come near you can hear the sound of their wings buzzing. They look pretty cool though.  

There were many Canada geese on the lake. We liked to herd them around in our paddle boat. They don't seem afraid...I guess they are use this type of behaviour from silly humans all the time.

I loved being out on the lake. Though I think I prefer kayaking. Paddle boating is so noisy and slow!
International Autonomous Robot Racing Competition 2011

Saturday July 23, 2011
9am-8pm (first race starts at 2:25pm)

University of British Columbia campus, plaza area North of the Student Union Building (SUB)

This is pretty cool. It is a competition that promotes research in autonomous mobile robotics technology. The course provides students with real world, hands-on challenges for engineering design challenges. The robots that will race will need absolutely no human guidance or control! Very impressive. If I didn't already say yes to paddle-boating I'd totally be here.


Saturday July 23, 2011
10am-5pm (market), 7pm-8:30pm (concert)

University of British Columbia, 2nd floor, Ballroom

If robot racing isn't geeky enough for you, happening at the same time is MiniComi! It's a 1-day artists market inspired by those in Japan (eg. Comiket). There will be a lot of artists selling their wares which may include plushies, comics, prints, pins, jewelery and much more. There is a high probability that there will be Cosplayers around too. Final aNix will be performing a concert after the market portion is done.

Caribbean Days Festival

Saturday July 23, 2011
10am Parade usually runs 1.5 hours

Sunday July 24, 2011
Time Approx. 1pm Children’s Carnival Parade

Vendors and Markets open both days 10am to 7pm

Waterfront Park, North Vancouver

Enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of the Caribbean at Lonsdale Quay in North Van. There will be a parade, international food fair and craft market. Judging by the photos from the previous festival, this is a very popular event!

The parade on Saturday begins at Victoria Park (Keith Road & Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver). It winds around the park on the West side, and then turns South on Lonsdale. From there, it heads down Lonsdale to Esplanade, then turns West to arrive at Waterfront Park and terminate at Forbes & Esplanade.

Khatsahlano! The West 4th Music + Art Festival

Saturday July 23, 2011
11am - 6pm

Kitsilano, between Burrand & MacDonald

It's a BIG street party featuring 5 stages of live music, sidewalk sales, patio parties, food and Kitsilano's largest garage sale! RVSP at the Facebook event here.

Vancouver Draw Down Finale

Saturday July 23, 2011
Various Times

Various Locations

It's a major collaborative drawing event for people of all ages. No drawing experience is required, just your imagination and enthusiasm. Each drawing is started with one stroke and at least three people required to finish it. See the website for specific times and locations.

Crazy, Stupid, Love will be in theatres Friday next week (look forward to my review of it on Wednesday) and to celebrate its release Warner Brothers is inviting couples to show how CRAZY, STUPID, and in LOVE they are! The Competition takes place on Tuesday July 26 at 5:30pm at David Lam Park

Couples will be competing in a series of couple-themed relay races (think three-legged race, egg toss & newlywed game) couples vie for the ultimate date night: dinner for two, advance screening passes to the July 27th screening of CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and a one-night stay at a downtown hotel!

It is quite a good movie, you won't be disappointed. So don't miss this opportunity to get advance screening passes and swag!
For more info or to register, contact The registration deadline is July 24th 11:59pm so make sure you apply now!

Sweeet. These definitely are the droids you are looking for! Microsoft introduced this beauty today at this year's Comic-Con convention. (WHY AM I NOT THERE?) It features a R2-D2 design on the console with a gold C-3PO controller. It has 360GB of  memory and an all white Kinect sensor. What's even more awesome about this console is that it actually makes R2-D2 sounds! How cool is that?!

Friends with Benefits is a romantic comedy about two people who learn the hard way that getting physical will always lead to complications. Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) are done with romance and dating when they both suffer disastrous breakups. They meet each other when head hunter Jamie convinces Dylan from LA to transplant to NewYork to work for GQ as art director. They quickly strike up a close friendship and decide it would be a good idea to add pure physical sex into the mix since it'll relieve them of their frustrations without the problems that come with relationships. It works great for them both in the beginning but things get complicated when Jamie decides to go back to dating and Dylan realizes that he has fallen for her.

Movies about "friends with benefits" seem to be popular right now. This movie is very similar to the recent No Strings Attached and Love and Other Drugs but may be the best of the three. There are lots of laugh out loud moments. I just love Justin Timberlake in comedies. He is always so hilarious and he doesn't disappoint in this movie. The rapid fire witty banter between Dylan and Jamie is very entertaining to watch. Since it is that kind of film, bedroom scenes can't be avoided but even then the banter continues. It is actually hilarious to watch. However, you can tell where the overall story is going and there isn't a lot of surprise when Dylan acts the way he does in the end. Overall a light and fun rom-com and for those interested, you get to see a shot of Justin Timberlake's butt. =P

Friends with Benefits opens in theatres Friday July 22, 2011.

Have you seen the new Samsung Galaxy S II? It will be available tomorrow Thursday July 21 from Virgin Mobile and Bell Mobility. It looks like an awesome phone. Vivid 4.3" SUPER AMOLED Plus display, super fast dual core processors and beautiful slim design. The more I read about it the more I want it.
Some time after the second movie, the Autobots are now assisting the US government in ending human conflicts and Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is jobless living with his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). During one of their missions, the Autobots discover that the humans had previously encountered Cybertronian technology before...during the Apollo 11 lunar landing of 1969. They realize that what they have is part of a ship that contained a technology that would have helped them defeat the Decepticons during the Cybertron war - something that the Autobots thought have been lost forever. They race to retrieve technology and its inventor and keeper, Sentinel Prime, the former leader of the Autobots before the Decepticons can. Meanwhile, Sam is still craving adventure with the Autobots and is unhappily working as a mailroom boy when he uncovers a Decepticon plot to take over the Earth that involves the technology the Autobots now have. Now they will have to again work together to save the Earth from the Decepticons...before its too late.

Let me start by saying that this is a pure action movie and should not be watched for its storyline. The visual effects are amazing but I was disappointed by the 3D effects once again. The movie was full of action sequences that came one after another in an never ending glorious wave of chaos and destruction. Lots of fight sequences between the sentient machines will please anyone looking for action. The last hour of the movie was entirely made up of fights and explosions.

If you like an intelligent storyline then Transformers 3 is not the movie to see. It seemed that the story was just an after thought to the action scenes. It felt like this whole movie was just an excuse to show off some awesome fights, action and special effects. The motives of the characters didn't make sense and dialogue left a lot to be desired.  

As for the characters, Sam Witwicky seems to have gotten more annoying. He seems to think he deserves to be continually treated as special and has developed an attitude to those that follow rules and regulation. He doesn't seem to be a hero at all. And Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's character was just put in for eye candy. One scene even has her just standing still not even blinking or wincing while large things crashed and exploded around her in slow motion. Optimus Prime seemed to become more cruel as well.

Overall, A+ on the visual effects but C on the story. But I'm sure a lot of people are just going to watch for the action, so if you are one of them, this is the movie to see.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is now playing in theatres everywhere.

I had an awesome time at the racetrack today. It was so crowded because of the wiener dog races. There were a lot of dogs around because yesterday's heats were cancelled due to rain so all the heats had to be run today. The dogs were so cute! There were all types of dachshunds around. Short hair, long hair, wire hair, large and small ones. I like the long haired ones the best.

It was very funny to watch them race. Many of them didn't know what to do and ran in different directions! Two time champion Joey took home the Top Dog trophy again this year. Roger came in a close second.

Joey, Top Dog!

Roger, second place!

 Here's a clip of the final race: