The Church of Pyro

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Don’t slam the door, you’ll ruin my balloon!

Posted by Office-Bob on 07 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro, FX

In addition to doing pyro for the opening ceremonies, I was assigned – along with another local pyrotechnician – to work with 3 Finnish pyros who were involved in the Russian part of the closing ceremonies…the “handover,” if you will. The pyro itself wasn’t very spectacular as it consisted of helium balloons, 4 foot in diameter, which were loaded with confetti; where it got interesting was in the number of balloons required – 150, plus spares – and how we reused the flare wands to trigger the effect.

When I arrived at BC Place the day before the show, I was introduced to the Finns who had been spending the last 4 days getting confetti into the balloons using a combinations of funnels, empty pop bottles and sticks - and, no doubt, a lot of cursing. They were (top to bottom) Markku, Kimmo and Teppo:

Once that was done, the balloons had to be inflated. To accomplish this, we had banks of helium tanks.

In order to avoid overinflating the balloons and popping them, we set up a rig consisting of two vertical poles set a specific distance apart (you can see one in the picture); once the balloon’s diameter reached those poles, we stopped inflating them. After inflation the neck was tied off and a pre-made harness, consisting of two e-matches connected together by a length of wire, was tied to the balloon. The wired balloon was then connected to the firing system, for which we used the flare wands from the opening ceremonies (See? I told you I’d be talking about those again). It took 7 hours to inflate and connect 160 balloons – 150 for the show, 10 spares, plus 4 that popped during inflation (they weren’t over-inflated; we suspect manufacturing flaws).

The two e-matches were taped to the surface of the balloon at opposite sides of the “equator;” the idea was that the spark and flame from the e-matches would be enough to pop the balloon and let the confetti flutter down. There were a few tweaks that needed to be made to the system, however, mostly because the number of balloons in play – 150 – meant that there was a distinct possibility the head of the e-match could be knocked out of position, thus reducing the chance of a successful firing. The solution to the problem was to wrap a length of flash string around the head of the e-match before it was taped to the balloon; this ensured that as long as the match fired, there’d be enough flame and spark to pop the balloons.

Here are pictures of the balloons which show the e-match positioning as well as the flare wand firing systems. Most of the wire used to connect the balloon was wrapped around the wands so they could be easily moved around; once each performer was in position they unwound the wire and let the balloon reach the correct height before triggering the effect.

Trivia: Did you know that the sound of a slamming porta-potty door is almost exactly the same as an exploding helium balloon? Our prep area was located behind a bank of porta-potties that were reserved for the athletes so we found this out rather quickly Fortunately, other than a single mishap before handout (I won’t say who did it other than it wasn’t me), all of the balloons survived.

When the show started, we set up a distribution line with the help of some volunteers; we would bring out a balloon, hand it to the performer, remind them of what to do (keep it close, keep your distance from anything that can pop the balloon, don’t unwind the wire until you’re in final position, remember that the arming switch needs to be pulled out a bit before it can be flipped) and get them into position. After they finished they brought back the wand, with its attached wire and balloon spoor, which we collected and then started the tedious process of disconnecting the wires from the wands and tossing the garbage into cans for disposal.

Because we’d made spares, most of which hadn’t been used, we now had to deal with the question: how do we dispose of them? We thought about carefully poking a hole in the balloons and letting the helium out in order to try and eliminate the release of confetti…but that didn’t work very well, not to mention it was time-consuming, so in the end we just said screw it and popped them ourselves.

Of course, we have videos:

Balloon test

Kimmo doing two at once

One of the volunteers having fun

Yours truly setting one off

After we swept up as much of the confetti as we could we put the wands in their holders and took them out to the storage container. After that, other than saying farewell to our new Finnish friends (who had an early morning flight) and helping with some additional teardown, my Olympic experience was at an end.

It’s been a week since I left BC Place and I still feel a bit of a disconnect; part of me has a hard time believing it happened, another part is saying HOLY SHIT, DUDE, YOU JUST WORKED ON THE OLYMPICS!

However, there will always be a part of me that knows…

THE BEAVER IS WATCHING.

Popularity: 100% [?]

It’s a nice day for a White Weirding…

Posted by Office-Bob on 06 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro, FX

If you have worked in any sort of backstage capacity you’re likely to know the term “stage blacks,” meaning the all black clothing worn by stagehands so you can’t be seen by the audience. For an event such as the Olympics, where most of the behind-the-scenes action occurs below the stage itself, blacks weren’t needed – but if there was a possibility that you might be seen by the audience, or (Heaven forbid) be caught on camera, you needed to be wearing all-white. Since I had to keep “my” tappers and fiddlers in sight when they were on the stage it was possible for the audience to see me - plus I was a backup operator for the emergency cutoff switches on the flame bars - so I was issued a set of “Olympic whites.”

Not only did this just seem downright unnatural to people like me who are used to wearing black, the outfits we were given obviously weren’t designed with pyrotechnics in mind as they were 100% synthetic. In case you don’t understand why synthetics are bad, I can give you two reasons:

  • Synthetic fabrics can melt, or even burn, if exposed to flame.
  • Synthetic fabrics can generate static electricity.
  • Neither of these scenarios is desirable when working with items that are designed to burn, and which you want to have only burn at a specific place and time.

    Fortunately our crew chief had planned ahead in case the outfits hadn’t been provided in time and had given us all a pair of white cotton “painter’s pants.” We wore those instead of the synthetic pants, and I only wore the jacket when I was on the entrance ramp doing the fire watch. If something had gone wrong and I’d had to use my extinguisher, I’d have removed the jacket first.

    Here’s a picture of me in my whites; feel free to laugh – I know I did.

    After donning the outfit, my first thought was that I looked like the guy from the SpongeTowels ad…

    …while a co-worker said it looked like what Admiral Ackbar wore in Star Wars.

    You be the judge.

    Next time, I’ll talk about the closing ceremonies and how I came to hate helium balloons.

    Popularity: 54% [?]

    Hey, leggo my Wago!

    Posted by Office-Bob on 05 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro, FX

    After 640 dreamstars, 700 flares, 140 (or thereabouts) wiring harnesses, 36 helium tanks and 164 helium balloons, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are finally over.

    That’s only the stuff that I was directly involved with/responsible for; additional pyro included waterfalls, airbursts, confetti mines, stage pyro, roof pyro, barge pyro and no doubt other goodies that my mind has decided to blank out. In this entry I’ll try to summarize what went on behind the scenes – or at least my small part of the process.

    My first day on the job consisted of the previously mentioned “induction training” and building airburst harnesses out of CAT5 cable and some nifty devices called Wago clips. I couldn’t find a listing for the specific model of clip we used, but this will give you a general idea of what they look like; imagine a connector with both ends like the clip on the right and you’ll be good.

    The clips are great; you attach one end to the harness wire, plug the airburst lead into the other end and…instant connection! Plus, they’re reusable! We also used them for the flare wands, which were aluminum tubes housing a battery pack, arming switch and firing switch. The flares were a custom formula designed to give a specific shade of red and burned for 30 seconds – they were secured in a foam collar, which fit inside the wand, and the e-match which was taped to the flare was connected to the firing circuit using the aforementioned Wago clips. There were 163 flares used for the maple leaf pattern on stage, plus another 16 needed for the snowboarder’s ramp used at the start of the ceremony. Between rehearsals and performances I calculate that I set up just over 700 flares.

    I didn’t get a picture of the wands as used here but never fear, there will be pictures…later.

    The tappers and fiddlers had a different setup. The tappers had dreamstars (small tube fountains about 4 inches long) mounted on the soles of their boots; a copper tube had been glued next to the raised heel so there was sufficient space for everything to fit yet still allow the tappers to walk and dance. Each dreamstar was connected via e-match to a wiring harness which consisted of a battery pack with arming switch on one hip and a firing button on the other, with wires running down each leg in their costumes. We would attach the e-matches to the harness using crimp-type connectors, which had to be cut off after each performance. There were 27 tappers, each with 2 dreamstars, so when you need to assemble that many devices - plus extras because due to manufacturing variances they didn’t always fit into the copper tubes that held them in place - it adds up to a lot of pieces to be built.

    (Click on an image to enlarge)

    The fiddlers had a different firing system; it was self-contained on the bows so while the dreamstar was also secured in a copper tube at the end of the bow, the wires were connected via screw-down terminal blocks.

    (Click on an image to enlarge)

    The bows were prepped ahead of time in assembly line fashion; one person would do a circuit test on each bow to verify that it was functional (including the safety features), another would slide the dreamstar into the copper sleeve and screw it down; another would wind the e-match wire around the bow, and another would connect the e-match to the firing system. As the bows were readied they were hung on racks which would be wheeled to areas under the stage where the fiddlers would be issued a bow before they made their entrances.

    Prepping the tappers was a bit different; because we couldn’t connect the shoes to the costumes until the tappers were dressed, we did things in stages. The first stage was a circuit check on the firing systems which not only allowed us to verify that everything worked but also gave us the opportunity to extend any leg wires that needed it – since we had to cut the connections off after each performance, eventually the leg wires became too short to use and they needed extensions. We couldn’t use Wago clips because of the amount of movement; there was too great a risk of wires being pulled out of the plugs.

    The next stage was to place the dreamstars in the copper sleeves attached to the soles of the boots; after they were screwed down, the e-match wires were run up the “inseam” side of the boots and taped into place.

    Once the tappers were in costume they’d come our prep area, sit down and put on their boots. Once this was done we’d run yet another circuit test to ensure nothing was damaged when they put on the costumes, and then we’d connect the dreamstars to the wiring harness and tape the wires onto the tapper’s legs so the wires wouldn’t tear loose – and in case you’re wondering, we weren’t taping down to their skin.

    Once a tapper was fully connected they would move to the green room where’d they remain until it was time to go to their staging positions. As they moved from place to place I went with them as their safety person, looking oh so cute in my whites while lugging a fire extinguisher.

    Oh, yes, the whites…that will be covered in my next entry.

    Popularity: 77% [?]

    Yes, as a matter of fact, they DO need to see our stinkin’ badges.

    Posted by Office-Bob on 04 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro, FX

    Now that the Olympics* are over and my life is returning to what passes for normal, I can start updating y’all about what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

    As you may recall from a previous entry I had to submit paperwork and photos for a security screening in order to get my Olympic accreditation, which would allow me access to BC Place so I could work there. It turned out that getting the accreditation was only the first in a number of steps.

    On my first day at BC Place I had to attend an “induction” meeting where the various site safety regs were discussed – hi-visibility vests, hard hats and safety boots where needed, shirt sleeves must be at least 6 inches long, never go into an area cordoned off with red tape or you will be immediately fired. It got interesting when the Chief Safety Officer asked everyone at the table what they did:

    “Lighting.”

    “Rigging.”

    “Sound.”

    “Pyro.”

    You can guess who said that.

    The CSO seemed a bit surprised to hear this, though I can’t imagine why as I wasn’t the first pyrotechnician to attend one of these training sessions. From that point on, for the rest of the session, he called me “Sparky.”

    Sigh…before you ask, No. You. May. Not.

    At the end of the session we were all given another piece of ID to hang around our necks; this one to be worn until Feb. 4th – if you’re keeping score, I now had 2 neck lanyards.

    The pyro crew chief handed out another piece of ID later; a photo ID card that allowed us onto the actual Field of Play, i.e. the stage itself. This card was attached to the site safety ID card. Current score: ID 3, lanyards 2.

    Because we were working with pyro we were expected to carry our pyro licenses with us, so that was another set of ID to be worn. Now we’re at ID 5, lanyards 3 (I keep my indoor and outdoor pyro licenses on a single lanyard).

    Still another ID card was required if you were working after 9 pm, which in our case was quite often because we were handling the gas supply to the four flame bars around the Olympic cauldron. To get this ID card you went to the Production Office and signed it out – and you also had to turn over your cellphone; I guess they were worried that someone would leak info about the cauldron. Once you were done for the evening and turned in the ID card, you got your phone back. Since that card was a temporary measure, I’m not including it in my ID/lanyard count.

    Speaking of cauldron security, I should mention that not only were the practice runs performed late at night, but we never referred to it by name over the radio…only by code words. If the producer had been in possession of an ENIGMA machine I’m sure he’d have used that, too.

    In case you might be wondering why I didn’t just attach the extra IDs to my accreditation lanyard, it’s because we were told that we couldn’t – anything added to your accreditation would invalidate it. We were also told that the accreditation lanyard was part of the accreditation and therefore you couldn’t use a different lanyard with the card itself. Of course, after the opening ceremonies were done the rules on this were apparently relaxed a bit as a number of people – myself included – attached their FOP ID card (and the late shift ID if used) to their accreditation lanyard with no hassle.

    Then there were the stickers.

    There were two dress rehearsals, and before each rehearsal we were given a sticker to be placed on our accreditation card. There was a sticker that had to be applied for the opening ceremonies, and there was another sticker for the closing ceremonies. I think if I’d received 2 more stickers, I’d have gotten a free dessert with my next Olympics (of equal or greater value).

    Here is a picture of my accreditation with certain details obscured:

    Here’s a picture of the FOP card:

    Click on an image for a larger version.

    Now that I’ve covered ID, let’s discuss the actual process of accessing the venue. Every time you entered the site the barcode on your accreditation was scanned, the picture displayed on a computer was compared to the picture on the ID, and then it was compared to the face of the person wearing said ID. After that you walked through a metal detector – except for a couple of days when they let me bypass it for some reason I don’t comprehend – and put your belongings through an x-ray machine – except for a couple of times when they let me bypass it for some reason I don’t comprehend. Of course, wearing steel-toed boots and a bunch of neck lanyards with metal clasps is pretty much guaranteed to set off the WTMD – except for one time that it didn’t beep at me for some reason I don’t comprehend – so I got used to automatically stepping over to the side of the security tent and “assuming the position” while I was checked with a handheld metal detector. After being wanded, and occasionally being asked questions about my tools (I tried to leave them on-site but sometimes I’d forget and take them home at night), I’d be allowed to go about my business.

    The first time I went through with tools (nothing special - connector pliers, a multi-tool, flashlight and small screwdriver in a belt pouch) the person running the x-ray machine called out, “HE HAS TOOLS!” and I had to explain why I needed them and what a pyrotechnician was; the person asking me thought it had something to do with computer repair (the hell?) so when I explained it to her I mentioned fireworks instead of my usual response of, “I blow shit up.”

    One interesting aspect of the security checks was that the only time I was patted down was on the last day for the closing ceremonies; I guess the opening didn’t rate “Level 4 security,” whatever that is. Oh well – being Canadian, they asked me if I was okay with being patted down. Being Canadian, I complied. Being from the Greater Vancouver area, I wondered what would have happened if I’d refused and then pondered what being Tased might feel like. At least “Level 4” security didn’t include snipers on nearby roofs, as were in place during the opening ceremonies - that was a somewhat disconcerting sight for the crew installing pyro on the roof.

    All of the security people were polite (and/or Canadian), and their training was apparently so ingrained that even when entering the site at 10 in the evening when there was nothing going on, I was told to “Enjoy the Games!”

    Leaving the venue was easier; all you had to do was figure out where the exit was (the fencing they used to channel people offsite seemed to get rearranged on a regular basis). There were no security checks when you left so with a big enough bag, you could have taken anything you wanted offsite and no-one would have known.

    I see I haven’t mentioned the site sweeps yet. The site sweeps were a 2-day process: on the first day, the outer areas (prep areas, office trailers and such) were checked and because they couldn’t be accessed for the 24 hours it took to complete the sweep, if you wanted to be able to work during that time you had to move anything you needed to within the venue security area. The next day was when BC Place itself was swept; if you wanted to be able to work during that time – oh, hang on…we can’t work because WE CAN’T GET INTO THE VENUE. Hey, everybody, we get a day off!

    That’s enough mind-numbing stuff for now. In my next entry, which should be posted in a few days, I’ll actually tell you what the hell I did.

    *Olympics, Olympics, Olympics…suck it, VANOC, I’ll use the word as much as I like!

    Popularity: 44% [?]

    VISU…it’s everywhere you don’t want it to be

    Posted by Office-Bob on 09 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro

    Last Friday, I received an email from one of my pyro contacts that began:

    As you know, you will be working with us on the Games in February

    Truth be told, I didn’t know this for sure. Don’t get me wrong; I was certainly hoping to be working with this particular group as it meant that I’d be involved with the opening, closing and victory ceremonies (I’m okay with doing nightly barge shows over the course of the Games, but I’ve done plenty of barge shows already and it would be good to allow others to work those shows so they can get their barge endorsement), but up to this point I only knew I’d be working the Games in some capacity. Still, even though I don’t have all of the details yet, including dates - which would be nice to know ASAP so I can book time off from my day job - this is better than nothing.

    Included in the email was a copy of the information sheet for the Olympic accreditation process which set out what I had to provide in order that the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit, aka VISU, could run a security check on me which, if I passed, would get me a lovely card to be worn around my neck at all times to ensure that I was allowed access to wherever I need to be. Despite the fact that the information sheet was 5 pages long, most of it was an explanation of the process; the relevant parts consisted of one page detailing what sort of ID was acceptable (passport, driver’s license, etc.) and the information that was to be supplied (name, birthdate, current address, blah blah securitycakes) and another page showing examples of acceptable and non-acceptable photos - that’s right, folks, one month after getting new pictures taken for my indoor pyro license renewal it’s time for another edition of…

    CRAPPY PASSPORT PICTURE THEATRE!

    Since I had to provide the information, including a digital copy of the photo, no later than 9 am the following Monday, this meant a weekend trip to the mall. One of my co-workers said that London Drugs could provide me with a digital copy of the photo so I decided to go there instead of the usual place I have my passport/pyro photos taken.

    Sure enough, London Drugs was happy to provide me with a digital copy of the photo at no cost - although, after seeing that the digital copy consisted of scanning the photo and uploading it to their website, I realized I could have done the scanning part at home and saved some time. Still, it cost me nothing so it really doesn’t matter in the long run.

    I sent off the info and photo on Saturday and now it’s just a matter of waiting until I find out if I passed or failed the security check and, if I pass, going to the accreditation office to pick up my card. Once I have the card I’ll show you what it looks like but for now, I will leave you with a shot of my ugly mug as taken last weekend.

    No, I will not be paying for your therapy.

    Popularity: 43% [?]

    A Pyro Looks at Fifty

    Posted by Office-Bob on 21 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro

    I turned 50 a few days ago. No big deal, numbers don’t bother me and overall I’m happy with how my life has turned out.

    The best birthday present I’ve received so far, other than a new shipment of black pepper soap (Thanks, E!), is confirmation that I will be part of the pyro crew for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

    Details are still to be worked out but what I know so far is that we’ll be doing nightly shows for one of the local “Live Venues” where people can hang out, party, and watch events on the big screen. We’ll be shooting from a barge, which I’ve done before, and it will be interesting to see just what sort of security procedures will be in place - especially when you consider the paranoia that’s already present.

    They’re already conducting practice exercises, one of which was aborted due to a backhoe…but that’s another story, one that I’ll let you look up for yourself. I’m not worried about passing any security checks that may arise - I figure that if I survived the NEXUS enrollment process, Olympic security should be a piece of cake.

    I will do my best to keep you updated as my Olympic involvement unfolds, giving you a behind-the-scenes perspective to the best of my ability.

    Popularity: 26% [?]

    So much for the off-season

    Posted by Office-Bob on 10 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro

    I seem to recall saying something to the effect that once I finished with Celebration of Light, things would be fairly quiet until Halloween and (possibly) New Year’s Eve. Well, that seems to have gone the way of the passenger pigeon. Things have been picking up recently, to wit:

  • Canadian Country Music Awards in September
  • Recognition dinner at UBC next week (the day after Thanksgiving, thank dog it’s a small show with minimal prep)
  • My school Halloween show (which is actually going to be held on the 30th in order to coincide with an already-planned event)
  • And now…

    A few days ago I received an email from a fellow pyro who’d been talking to a fireworks company who was looking for licensed shooters; he told them about me and suggested I contact them. I did, and even though I’m only available on the 31st for any Halloween shows they might have I was immediately told to consider myself booked for the 31st, details forthcoming.

    I certainly wasn’t expecting to have 2 back-to-back shows but overall it’s a good thing; even though I might only be crew for the second show it’s always a good idea to keep your name out there, especially when it’s with a new company which increases your chances of getting extra work. Who knows, perhaps I’ll have two New Year’s Eve shows to choose from this year?

    Popularity: 21% [?]

    Break’s over…everybody back on your heads!

    Posted by Office-Bob on 24 Sep 2009 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro

    Summer is over and with it, the busiest part of the pyro season has come and gone. Canada Day and Celebration of Light may not seem like much - after all, it’s only two shows - but even a relatively small show like Canada Day takes days to set up and tear down, and CoL is actually 4 very big shows compressed into a 2 1/2 week period.

    I was also involved with the Canadian Country Music Association Awards which were televised live from GM Place; there wasn’t a lot of pyro and it was only during the opening number but ah, the joys of live television!

    Anyway, now that Fall has arrived I can start working on my Halloween show - I received confirmation that my budget is in place and is the same as last year, which means that barring any last-minute price increases I should be able to put together the show I was hoping to do. Burnaby residents, you have been warned.

    I could be doing two Halloween shows this year, since my regular school show is going to be on the 30th - they’re already hosting a party that night and asked if I’d be willing to shoot on the 30th instead of the 31st, so I’ve been putting out feelers for the possibility of doing something on the 31st. If I get a show that’s great, but if not I’ve offered to assist a friend with his Halloween show that night. Either way, I get to blow stuff up and it saves me from having to stay home and deal with trick or treaters (more candy for me!).

    I’m hoping that by late November I’ll have confirmation as to whether or not I’ll have any Olympic gigs - the odds are good but you can’t depend on anything until the contracts are awarded and the papers signed. If I am working the Olympics it means I’ll have to pass on next year’s Western Winter Blast, but something like the Olympics doesn’t come along that often so if there’s pyro work for me, I’m going to take it.

    I also won’t know for a while if I have a New Year’s Eve show this year but I should be able to pick up a show someplace else if I like, or I could stay home like I did last NYE - staying indoors where it was dry and warm, and being able to drink, wasn’t such a bad change of pace.

    Oh well, can’t worry about that now; I have music cues to work out and fireworks to order.

    Popularity: 21% [?]

    Canada Day 2009 (GRAPHIC-INTENSIVE)

    Posted by Office-Bob on 05 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: The Church of Pyro

    Since I have some breathing room between Canada Day and Celebration of Light, I thought I’d take time to post some pictures and video of my Canada Day show.

    For the third year in a row we had two barges - one in Vancouver, the other in West Vancouver - firing simultaneously which involved using iPods to run music and a total of 59 cues fired “by hand,” which means that one person on each barge was listening to the cues and pressing the buttons when required. I fired the West Vancouver show.

    First, some pics of the barge before the show (click on each image to see the larger version):











    After we finished setting up, I mounted a small video camera on a railing so I could get footage of what a show looks like while it’s being fired; there’s lots of video of the fireworks themselves but I thought people might like to see what it’s like when the shells are being launched.





    Once everything was set up and we were towed into place, there was nothing to do except look at the scenery:

    If you click here you can watch the video (31MB, approx. 20 minutes) of our show…and if you listen closely at the beginning you can hear the first audio cue.

    Popularity: 23% [?]

    Here comes the 2010 ticket tape parade…

    Posted by Office-Bob on 03 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: General Craziness, The Church of Pyro

    I decided to put in a ticket request for the 2010 Winter Olympics – personally I can take or leave live sports, and I’m hoping to be doing pyro during the Games which would keep me from attending any events, but since this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (since the rest of our lifetimes will be spent paying off the Olympic-sized debt we’ll be stuck with) I thought I’d give it a shot.

    Since my brother-in-law and his wife are into curling and I’ve also been known to watch it from time to time, my wife and I decided that we’d order tickets for some of the qualifying and semi-final rounds…between not asking for medal round tickets and the fact that curling isn’t as popular as hockey or skating, we figured our chances of being awarded tickets during the lottery period were higher.

    We got tickets, but not exactly what we’d ordered. More on that in a moment.

    When I placed my ticket request I also ordered some official Vancouver 2010 Ticket Lanyards (complete with souvenir pin) because hey, who doesn’t want to be able to display their precious Olympic tickets around their neck? I don’t know when tickets will be printed and shipped but I’ve already received the lanyards and pins, and I noticed a couple of things.

    First, take a close look at the pin itself:



    To me, it looks like Quatchi and Miga are saying, “HEY, BITCHES, WE GOT TICKETS AND YOU DIDN’T!”

    Just the thing to wear in public…stay classy, VANOC.

    Second, look at the back of the pin:



    What’s the point of making the pin back in the shape of a maple leaf, especially when production was outsourced to China? I don’t think Chinese factory workers are going to be feeling any sense of Canadian pride, particularly about something that the average person won’t even see.

    The True North, strong and free made by the lowest bidder.

    Regarding the tickets themselves, consider the following:

    Me, wife, brother-in-law and BIL’s wife makes 4 people. We ordered 3 different sets of 4 tickets, one set for each specific round, and we listed alternate events in case we couldn’t get our first request for a total possible of 12 tickets. Seems reasonable to assume we could get 4 tickets for one event, no?

    Er, no.

    By the time the dust had settled and the tickets were allocated, we ended up with 6 tickets in total…2 tickets each for 3 different events, with each event on a different day (at least 2 of the 3 events are happening in the same week; the third takes place a week later).

    4 people total, 2 tickets per event…you do the math.

    Right now we’re waiting to hear from the BIL which set(s) he wants and once that’s taken care of we’ll figure out how to handle the rest. As I said, I hope to be working the Games and if I am, we may have a ticket or two to dispose of - but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    I will say that the hologram on the back of the pin card is really neat…it shows the Olympic Games logo when you hold it upright, but turn it on its side and you can see the Paralympic Games logo.

    Let’s hear it for modern technology!

    Popularity: 35% [?]

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