Thursday, 28 May 2009

Conundrum #1

What's more important: Hope or Trust?

Hope is holding on to the fact that Something might happen...


Trust is knowing that this Something is true...

Hope is airy. Trust is solid. Both are important. Which is better?

Tell me your thoughts.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

World Peace

We're a conflicted bunch. Always have been and, if history is any indication, always will be.

Life is fueled by drama – drama between nations, between neighbours, between siblings. The belief that we’ll all one day get along is absurd. Unless we program all newborns to eradicate from the cerebellum Jealousy, Hostility, Prejudice and the mother of all negativity, Fear, we’ll be coveting thy neighbour’s wife and getting even for it for-freakin'-ever. Whatever forever may be.

Even “peaceful” nations such as Canada can’t maintain a dispute-less order. Quebec has a been a constant thorn in the sides of legislators trying to develop a sense of unity and national pride – or, as the Quebecois see it, Anglophone Canada has been a prick in their ass while they try to develop their own national/cultural identity. Our nation was built on this conflict. Just as Europe’s foundation was built on one tribe tackling another. We’re slaves not only to our genetics, but to our history as well.

It will take something cataclysmic – like a race of superior alien beings threatening a nuclear strike – for us all to buck up, set aside our differences and work together to overcome this new obstacle facing us all on Planet Earth. Like in the Watchmen. Not the movie, the book. Read it! And read Bertrand Russell as well. He knows the score.

In any case, as it stands now, this pettiness we’re dealing with in racism and xenophobia and on and on and on is mere sibling squabbling on a very large scale. Humans (men especially) have a difficult time letting their influences, biases and pride subside to see the larger picture. We’ve developed in a particular way that doesn’t allow for us to take the Other into account. What is different is to be feared, and what is to be feared is to be overthrown, subdued or destroyed.

The bottom line is that humanity probably isn’t capable of harmony. On top of that, world peace would be boring. The arts would be banal. Journalism would be non-existent. Sport would involve a lot more hugging. Anything breeding conflict would be outlawed, which is exactly why it wouldn’t work. The act of Outlawing anything is an act of conflict in and of itself.

As Bertrand Russell once wrote: “[…]Evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.”

And maybe he’s right. World peace is possible as long as we’re not around.

Friday, 22 May 2009


Libraria should be a word. I'm submitting this to Oxford.

LIbraria is, by definition: "The essence, air and reality within a library's subculture, made up of librarians, bookshelvers, circulation staff, janitorial workers and other employees of the facility."

It is a world unto itself. Librarians are its philosophers, professors and engineers. They have cultivated and perpetuated Libraria. The Chief Librarian is the chancellor of Libraria.

Bottom Line: it sounds too much like Liberia to be a real country.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Apple Sauce Container

On the rock is the empty apple sauce container that Jonny the Photographer had ravaged and left for scraps a few moments earlier.

Because I'm carrying the empty beercans in my knapsack, and because the container is slimy with Jonny's saliva, I say: "I don't want to put that container in my bag." I look around but of course there are no garbage cans around here – not on this remote Gulf Island beach.

Jonny says: "We could let it float into the water with a little note in it. 'I am here, where are you?'"

"I like that idea. Let's do it!"

We didn't do it.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

My Idea

Yes, every day I will post a new idea. Some may be part of the Bless This City / Curse This City series. Others may be some random musing.

This way, I can build a readership that will check back every day for a fresh dose of nonsense.

And yes. This will get me rich.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


The idea of New Ideas is to go as far with it as you can.

And milk it for all it's worth.

Once the teet is dry, find another and sell that one out as well.

And on and on we go.

Monday, 18 May 2009

New Toys

Remember when you were young and Ma n' Pa bought you a new toy or a new bicycle?

And remember that inflated selfishness you felt over that new toy or bicycle, not allowing anyone else to touch it?

And remember how you couldn't let go of it – how you wanted to sleep with that new bike, to cuddle it all night long?

Did that end once you discovered masturbation?

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Bless This City: A Kitsilano Bum

A man in derelict clothing has his legs spilling onto the sidewalk. He's reading a Bryce Courtney novel, sipping from a Starbuck's cup and using another as a tip cup. Using the world as his lawn chair. Soaking in the sun while the rest of us pace back to work or the the grocery store or wherever. This isn't a downtown hobo. He's not even trying. This is something else all together.

Bottom Line: If you can read a novel, you can read the McDonald's janitorial handbook.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Bless This City: Japandroids.

Pitchfork gave these local boys a glowing review and so I figured, meh, might as well check 'em out. I gave Post Nothing a listen and...meh.

Now, the Georgia Straight has run a feature cover story on the new 'Buzz Kings' detailing their recent cancellation of half their summer tour because of a near-death experience, their sudden blast of fame and all that jazz (check it out here). I figured, meh, I'll give it another listen. Taking bike ride along Point Grey Road. Sun beating UV bliss. Wind-blowing in my hair....aaaaaah.....

And the Japandroids are all fuzzy and free-wheelin' but serious about their fleeting youth and they're sleazy enough to make them fucking cool. And they're just as confused and frustrated by the times as everyone else their age. Just two guys working their asses off, paying their dues, feeling like it's not getting anywhere.  They write and record create this brilliant epoynmous statement displaying that tension.

And so the Japandroids have Done It. For every city at a certain time, there is an album. Black Mountain pulled it off in 2005 with their debut. Now, we have Post Nothing for 2009.

Now, this city isn't void of crappy bands, by any means. SSRIs, Sex With Strangers, No Gold ( all playing at the Musical Waste festival in June – check the line-up here), and the mother of local indie rock, Black Mountain, are keeping Vancouver a haven for bright and progressive talent.

But now we have a new buzz ban, an act that – if all goes well – will put a good face on our music scene. "Oh, the Japandroids? They're from Vancouver, yeah?" And visa versa

I feel like a bandwagon jumper falling for them AFTER the buzz I should have known all along that this golden nugget was living in my very own city. But I had no idea that they existed. Better late than never, I suppose.

Bottom Line: I think Afghanidroids is cooler name, but whatever.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Quote of the Day

"What's that in your hair?"
"It's meringue, I swear!"

Curse This City: Cocaine

It's everywhere. Still. People at bars and parties slipping each other little flaps, giving each other handshakes on the sly.

At a party and people are leaving in threes down the stairs. On the sly, of course. Coming back up with bulging eyes and dilated pupils, black as Satan's bowels. Eyes relaxed and focusing on nothing. Grinding their jaws, slowly churning 'em. Lolling back their heads like they're struggling to keep them up while some forceful gust of wind is pinning them backward.

That goddamned cocoa. The definitive symbol of all that is rotten in this world. Right down to how it's harvested, in the blistering fields of rural Colombia. And these people are shoveling into their faces by the eightball.

"They're all high out there," I say to my friend, who is looking in the mirror in another room.

And I see a finger picking at the crust of the nostril and, maaaan, my face turns red.

See, I'm the weird one, isolating myself from the social circle because I hate that drug more than anything else on this planet. I have lost friends – and am in the process of losing others – because of it. I have seen the world through those eyes and it's a superficial landscape. I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.

Bottom Line: I wasn't long for that partay.

Bottom Line: .

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Hard Times: #1

These days must be hard times for panhandlers. I saw one outside the liquor store the other day, sitting in a wheelchair, both palms open and placed on the armrest, I'm guessing to avoid unpleasant cramps in the wrist and forearm.

He asks: "Spare change."

And I say: "Sorry man. There's a recession on." I stop, open the door to the liquor store and say, "I'm probably as poor as you!"

It wasn't a nice thing to say, by any means, but I wasn't necessarily in the wrong. The truth is, the homeless have it easier in some ways. Not many ways, but some. First, most aren't restricted by any sense of decency. Second, they don't work – and judging by the frequency of sightings of certain individuals milling about Kitsilano, day after day – they have no ambition of seeking work. They live mostly off the kindness of strangers (and, maybe, the kindness of taxpayers in disability and welfare cheques).

But the Regular Folk (myself, you, you and you), are feeling the squeeze during this Economic Downturn. We have rent or mortgages to pay; car payments, gas bills, bus passes to purchase; at least one mouth to feed, three times per day. We don't have excess income to be spending on panhandlers.

Students and recent grads, single parents and the elderly are especially feeling strapped during this Economic Crisis – with limited government assistance, job loss at every corner, and a barren job market, most of us are living off of bread crumbs and birdseed. Well, I am anyway.

Jobs are very, very limited in Vancouver at the moment. Whatever openings there are, they're swallowed up immediately by a) an experienced Somebodies who've recently lost their jobs due to company cutbacks, b) someone with very decent connections, or c) someone else who isn't me.

So, yes. I am poor, as are many Canadians during this Economic Meltdown. I can barely afford toilet paper or dish soap. Do I have a dime to spare? Please.

Now, some of you may be asking, "Why are you buying booze when you can hardly afford to feed yourself?" And this is a fine question, though I must say it's none of your business.

But if I must answer, I will say that during an Economic Apocalypse, alcohol is one of the few human inventions that temporarily washes away any feelings of discontent, maladjustment or whatever and helps those of us get through the night (or day, depending on who you are).

Which is exactly why the wheelchair-bound-man and myself found ourselves outside of Darby's Cold Beer and Wine on a Monday night. Only I can barely afford my drink and he certainly can't at all.

Hard times, indeed.

Curse This City: the Canucks

The final minute bleeds out into the double eggs and those of us still holdings brews are sipping feverishly to relieve the tension. To stave off the burgeoning sorrow.

And then the count was down. It was over: 7 - 5. Over and out. I could hear my father, 30 km or so away, cursing up a storm.

People throughout the bar start chugging back the last of their drinks. Others stare into the ether, lost in disbelief. We're all reassessing our commitments to this team – bandwagon-jumpers and fanatics alike. Faced with the what we've known all along – understood in our hearts without acknowledging it – that this team of ours are a pride of losers. The Canucks? Pffffffff...

The crowds around the tables wake from their daze. Slowly, they turn their neighbours. Engage in disheartened conversation. "I just wasn't ready for that yet," I hear someone say. "I know they wouldn't win, but I wasn't ready for it to end so suddenly."

Well cold turkey has slapped us all very hard. Now it's time to watch baseball.

Bottom Line: now we have to talk to each other at the bar.

But on the bright side....

Bless This City:

....when I asked the server for another pale ale, the bartender screwed up and poured two. She hands me one, comes back minutes later with another frosty glass of amber liquid and she says: "This is your lucky day," and only charges me for one.

"Yes. Too bad about the hockey game, though..."

And, also, when I had arrived at the bar, I locked my bike to a parking metre but the bastard wouldn't stay upright. Bound by gravity and those damned wheels. So I just left it lying on the sidewalk, like a toddler worn out after a tantrum.

When I checked on it hours later, some kind soul had picked it up and parked it the way it should have been. There it stood, gleaming in the setting sunlight, beautiful as ever.

Bottom Line: some stranger probably wants my bike.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Curse This City: Library Edition.

It was already trickling but as I pass the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library, the rain starts coming down in fat drops like translucent cockroaches.

I don't have a jacket on so I duck into the building. The powerful stench of B.O. slaps my face, fills my nostrils. It's warm. Sicly sweet. A dozen scrubby men fill the chairs and tables around the magazine section. The smell is overwhelming, no doubt emitted from two or more of these vagrant types – Kits residents who probably can't afford their rent.

The rain is beating heavy but the dark spot in the clouds is small, with rays of sun breaking up the cloud cover moving towards us. I walk around, look for a place to write, to wait out the downpour, but all seven desks in this cramped building are full. I look for some books by Bukowski, Updike, Rushdie. Nothing. Even the Nora Roberts collection is relatively shabby.

The smell wafts down to the back of the room, the Kid's Section. Poor kids, with their sensitive noses. This will no doubt form their impression of public libraries for years to come.

I finally find a seat at a desk between the cooking section and books about South American art. The chair leg wobbles when I move it closer to the desk and the pressure of my not-so-bulbous body threatens to topple this miserable wooden construction to the floor.

I'll brave the rain. The smell is too much. I get up to leave, scour the place for young women to ogle. There are only two: pne with meaty arms is teaching (who I believe to be) her grandpa how to do long division, and another is as skinny as an English lamp-post and dressed like a Montreal skid.

Bottom line: this library is totally useless.

Friday, 8 May 2009



What has pessimism ever done for anybody...?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Future Looks Good

Listenin' to local radio this morning while driving around on errands. The lady with the nice voice said that the future looks good – according to an index by RBC, consumers in the US are optimistic about their futures and don't fear losing their jobs. This brings back spending that we all know we need in order to save ourselves from this dreaded financial apocolypse.

Well, of course the future looks good. We always work through ups and downs. It's like happiness. It's a mountain range. Haven't we learned that yet? Of course it won't stay bad forever – it's silly for anyone (media included) to tout that. It will get better at some point and then some time down the road, it will get bad again. And on and on it will go.

But WHEN it gets better this time around is another matter altogether...but Vancouver doesn't look that bad on the surface. Construction projects are still on the go. Two men were installing a sign at the base of the Arthur Lange Bridge leading towards YVR, which seems like a frivolous expenture, given the rough economic times. Nearby, VANOC installed a behemoth Olympic symbol facing the airport, and it couldn't have been cheap. Companies are still hiring new employees – and while certain sectors are chaffing their asses by cutting costs to keep afloat, the public sector, it seems, is having no trouble at all.

So that's good news.

On another note, there are NO NEW CASES of Swine Flu today.

And I sigh with relief...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


It's been way, way too long, I know.

A few notes: I'm graduated now. It's been incredibly tough finding work. This rotten economy has left all us newly-graduated feeding for scraps in the job market, foaming at the mouth with the whiff of possible job opportunity. With that, I've been dealing with the post-grad "What Now?" blues that many of us are undoubtedly feeling.

But enough about personal matters...

I'll be updating this blog semi-frequently. Stay tuned...?