Wednesday, 7 December 2011

'Tis the Season

It has been a long time since I have blogged. I blame video games. For those of you that don’t know, I am a gamer. Autumn means the release of new games. As a result, autumn also means that my social life, creative activities, and general cleanliness suffer as a result of even more time being spent in front of the PC.

Now, we are headed into winter, and we are being bamboozled by Christmas. Christmas means something different to everyone. Some people have family they only see around the holidays; some have children who excitedly await a visit from Santa Claus. Others embrace the religious aspect of the holiday, and many take the opportunity to give to less fortunate people. The majority of people will spend some time eating drinking and being merry.

To me, Christmas doesn’t really mean anything. Having grown out of religion, having minimal family (although eternally thankful that the one member of my immediate family shares my views on the holidays) and despising the cold of winter, there is no cause for me to eagerly anticipate the holidays.  The infectious spirit of giving, in my opinion, should be present year round. The fact that there are people that have lost loved ones, are suffering financially, or are far away from home reminds me that these circumstances are constantly present; people shouldn’t feel more forlorn or hopeless simply because it is Christmastime. The commercial aspect I find ridiculous. Even though I have partaken in the past and enjoy selecting gifts for people, I don’t like to expect something equal in return, nor do I like the guilt that accompanies a lavish gift bestowed on me by another. The entire concept of the gift exchange makes me uncomfortable.

That being said, I am not a scrooge either. Christmas just isn’t important to me. Aside from joking about hating Christmas whilst ordering Vente extra hot Eggnog lattes which I spike with whatever liquor I can find, I don’t regularly speak ill of the holidays. In life, it is the simple things that really inspire merriment for me: sunny days, good health, the internet, and my loved ones.  I don’t wait until Christmas to reflect on how lucky I am to have these things. I don’t humble during the holidays: my 1st world problems still exist. I miss my sunny days, but enjoy the long weekend that comes with the holiday.

Today’s blog post is inspired by my current Facebook Status: "There are 2 things that I like about Christmas: Starbucks and the man collecting for Sally Ann that sings at Waterfront Station." I admit, it is annoying that Starbucks starts in with the Christmas theme much too early, but I really really like (spiked) eggnog lattes and Christmas Blend. I like the little butter tarts. I like the eclectic Christmas music blasting through their speakers. For those of you that commute in Vancouver, you will know who I speak of when I mention the man that sings at the station. For as long as I can remember, he is there every morning throughout December, shaking his bells, and singing traditional songs. The acoustics in the Marble floored building are one of kind, and even being of average talent, he sounds amazing. It reminds me of something out of a movie, and I am sure it strikes the giving chord in many of the busy morning commuters.

Due to December being a three paycheque month, I have done some shopping, mostly for myself. I have gotten a couple things for others, but would have done so regardless of the season, and of course I adhered to my commitment to simplicity in all aspects of life. I am ready for the holidays to come and go. I am ready to enjoy this season, as well as the next with very special people in my life. To all my readers, I apologize for my sloth and inability to prioritize, and I encourage everyone to eat, drink and be merry throughout the year. Cheers!

Thursday, 17 November 2011


The snow starts falling, the trees break down
The moment I needed, the one I had just found
Ripped away suddenly, no warning, no sound
With anger and frustration, my heartbeat pounds

I find solace in solitude, in silence I stay strong
I should have been prepared for this, I knew all along.
The minute the cold comes, I feel it won’t be long.
My life now has no meaning, in my heart there is no song.

How long will it take for ‘normal’ to return?
What should I do in the meantime, what have I learned?
I exercise some patience, I ignore the yearn,
I wish I could go back; I would have taken my full turn. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Soap Suds

All of you ladies out there, and any man that has a lady (or ladies) around, will have to agree that we women love bath and beauty products!  Recently my friend told me about this new soap that she had tried. She said her skin felt nice, it smelled good and that it has olive oil in it. That was enough for me! I made a mental note to get to that store ASAP!

The store is Lavan. It is located in downtown Vancouver, and we are the hosting city for the Lavan line. It is made in Israel, and they use minerals from the Dead Sea in their products. The Shea butter soap, which is what I bought, is “bases also on olive oil and coconut oil.” Another key ingredient is the aromatic oils that are used in their products, creating an beautiful, subtle fragrance.

So, last week during lunch, I took the Canada Line train to Granville St. to check out this new store.
I walked in, and was greeted by a woman, and offered an in-store hand scrub. They have a fountain in the middle of the store, and I took the 5 minutes to try out the scrub. My hands felt absolutely amazing when I was done. She gave me a dollop of body butter and I rubbed it in, and then went to pick out my soap.

I ended up buying 5 bars of soap and nothing else. I had come for soap and am trying to become more disciplined on my spending (except at book sales). The bars are $7 each and if I bought four, I would get one free. It seems a little pricey, but I am used to paying a similar amount at Lush and to me, it is worth it. I love to look forward to my shower time!

I will return for the scrub and body butter. When I got back to the office, I made everyone feel my hands, and they agreed that they felt really smooth and nice! I just have to run out of what I am using now (another pat on the back for showing restraint!)

In store hand scrub fountian

Shea Butter soap. Lovely!

Soap rolls for making your drawers smell nice.

Jar of body butter

Loofah Soap!

I am absolutley in love with the soap! I think I will go shower now!
Do you have a fave product? Or something you recently discovered?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Back in Action

I have been a very bad blogger. I haven't posted since Labor Day, and the month is already over. My excuse: I have been sick. I didn't recover from my mystery illness until today, pretty much. After being on 3 rounds of antibiotics, having several blood tests and throat swabs, trying Traditional Chinese Medicine, Brazilian Propolis, and Apple Cider Vinegar (all super nasty, but down the hatch they went), and popping a ridiculous amount of vitamins and echinacea, I finally came to a conclusion: It's allergies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine: Herbs to make putrid tea!

Of course, I wasn't sure, but there had to be some explanation as to why I was suffering throat pain, lethargy and swollen glands. All the blood tests came back normal (good news!) and I had stopped thinking it was Mono. So, I dug through my bathroom cupboard and found some old Benadryl. Took one, passed out, and woke up the next morning with considerably less throat pain! My constant, perennial, mild allergies, that I have had for the last 10 years were not allowing my throat to heal! I continued with the Benadryl over a few days to ensure that I wasn't simply reaping the benefits of the placebo effect, and then made an appointment with my Dr.

Of course, I didn't just come to this conclusion myself. The internet helped. Once I thought that it could be caused by allergic complications, I immediately turned to cyberspace to provide me the answers to my many questions: Can post nasal drip cause throat irritation? Can allergies cause your lymph nodes in your neck to swell?  Can this constant infection cause exhaustion? Yes, yes, and Yes! I was so relieved, especially since my frequent visits to health forums in the past two months had so far done nothing but convince me I could have Cancer, or some sort of chronic virus!

Anyway, I was going to post about a new product that I like, but instead I decided to tell you about how I feel better. I am so happy. Health really is #1. Before money, before love, comes health. Health for you and the ones you love. Once you or someone you love loses their health, you will feel petty and silly for ever worrying about money for whining about work, or for letting silly disagreements bring you down.

I have still be reading your blogs, I just haven't been commenting as much because it would prompt you to visit my site, and I was embarrassed by the gross neglect that my blog has suffered. I was simply too busy pitying myself to write; I was negative, lazy, and completely uninspired. I have been on a high-calorie "I feel sorry for myself cuz I feel like ass, but still have my appetite at least" diet. Now I am getting back to normal, and I am excited to be back in blogging action!

Hope you are all well. I look forward to catching up and being a part of the blogger community again!

One more thing: A brave gal that I went to high school with is Running for the Cure, A cure for Breast Cancer, that is. I think there isn't a lot of time left to donate, but I was inspired to share this link since I am so thankful for my health, and really realize how important it is. She is a survivor at the age of 29, which is really an eye opener. It can affect the young as well. Please visit her page here and donate if you can. Thanks!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Happy Labor Day

I honestly feel that one of main components of my misery is disappointment. I mean, I’m not a miserable person per se, but we all have our moments of frustration and sadness. I find that for me, those instances are most likely to occur when disappointment is involved.

My current disappointment is caused by ruined weekend plans due to sickness. I was all packed and ready to go, but unable to do so due to exhaustion and the possibility that I’m contagious. This form of disappointment is one of the most frustrating, as I have no one to point my finger at. I must simply try to be patient, but as you can read here, patience is a constant challenge for me. To be angry and my unknown sickness is futile; it just breeds more negative energy inside of me.

So, I am trying to keep myself amused, alone and forlorn on this sunny Labor Day long weekend. Here are some of my tools. 

Star Wars Mod for Call of Duty 4!

Good old Family Guy (and Simpsons) reruns always cheer me up for a bit!

Gotta trust the herbs!    More on the benefits here!

My throat is really sore. I like the cherry ones the best!

Here's one of the things I missed out on:
  Doesn't it look yummy? I luv America Cake!

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend! I am getting a ton of rest and doing my best to enjoy my relaxation. Oh and if for some reason you're bored and want to read about something on the internet, read about ginger . It's super yummy and great for you! I've been drinking a ton of tea that I make with it. Cheers!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tweet Tweet!

Well, I finally decided to see what this Twitter thing is all about. I was actually inspired by a fellow blogger Lydia's post. She had just signed up for Twitter, and after working through the initial struggles, she seems to ghave gotten hang of it right away! I started to sign in weekly and check out the “Twitterverse”, rather than semi annually. I still didn’t really get the reason for using @, or the #. I would update my status with a random comment, and sign out. I was trying to treat it like Facebook, which I spend a ton of time on, but it is actually really different, almost incomparably so.

The other night, I had some spare time on my hands and decided to figure it all out once and for all. I was stuck and didn’t know who to follow, what to say, when to use the #, or why I was even there! Then I remembered. One of my Twitter loving friends told me that as a blogger, I should be on there. Of course, I am just getting started and only starting to build my readership, but she said that if I advertise it on Twitter, I’d be sure to gain followers!

So, back to the other night. I was sitting in front of my huge computer screen (as I am in need of a new laptop, and to cheap to get a real cord for my old one) mulling, and reading, and clicking on things that piqued my interest. I would go to the profiles of my very few followers and see what they did. I just grew more confused as I surfed.  Then, I Googled “how to use Twitter”.  When in doubt, Google! Alas, there were several tutorials and explanations on how to become a part of the Twitterverse. I clicked the 1st one and only read some of it, as I knew that I just wanted to get started. I’m also not very patient, as I explained in one of my older blog posts...

So, some of you will see me attempting to Tweet and make sense of the whole thing. Since I only half read the tutorial, I may be doing some things wrong. Forgive me if I am. I am honestly a little overwhelmed by it! I cannot keep up with all of the tweets, and I’m following less than a hundred people!  It’s only been a few days and I’ve already wasted several hours on it… Twitter has become part of my daily social networking routine. Next on the list? Google + ( I have an account, but only 2 friends…), but that is a whole other quagmire.

Soon to come: a "Follow me on Twitter" button!!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A Pic and a Poem

I know that I haven't been blogging much lately. I blame it on summer. Here is another easy blog post, but something different as well. I found a poem that I wrote that isn't stupid or depressing (I've been writing since my teens), and a picture I took this summer that I love! With you, I share.

Honesty comes over me
but we're not face to face. 
How different would this all be
If my reality was your embrace. 

This feeling is so pure and serene
stemmed from commonness, likeness, and respect
Like a tranquil, temperate, tantalizing breeze:
A soulful encounter that I didn't expect. 

Your presence is a cliche to me
Roses are red after all,
The cherry blossoms for the Japanese, 
the long cozy Northwest fall.

You look at me, and what you see is me
you know exactly how to feel. 
I can hardly breathe, need to count to three
It almost all seems to be real! 


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Hawaii Post!

As some of you may remember, I took off for a week in Maui back in April. It was an amazing trip, and I picked a few of my fave pics to share!
Of course, this is a very small selection. One thing I want to ensure that all potential Maui visitors know is that you really should do the Road to Hana. It is one of the most amazing drives I have been on. Maui is breathtaking, the temperature is perfect, and it is the epitome of paradise. Now, to get my shit together so I can move there.... :) I hope you enjoy the pics!
On the way to Haleakala Crater

Beautiful flowers growing everywhere!

Near the top of the crater!
Beautiful sunset at 10000 feet!

Enjoyed a great dinner at at fancy restaurant on the beach!

View from our table at Bubba Gump's in Lahaina

Got lucky and saw a rainbow while on the dinner cruise!

Wildlife sanctuary that we frequently drove past.

On the Road to Hana, one of the many stops: a black beach.

Volcanic rock combined with crashing waves and amazing turquoise water = beautiful photo ops!

example of the many falls we drove by on the Road to Hana
Still on the Road to Hana: taro fields.

Freshly baked!
Really cool building we drove by after passing the turnaround point in Hana.

Hana Highway. Yup, highway...     

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Putting it in Perspective: A Bad Day.

Yesterday, I had a bad day. As you know from reading my post here I take the train to work 5 days a week. Well, yesterday the train was delayed, and my fellow passengers and I were to be transported to downtown Vancouver on city busses. Now, there is a drastic difference between the train and a city bus. The train is 1st class public transit. It is temperature controlled, clean, comfortable and fast. I also don’t experience motion sickness on a train. So, I got on the crowded, humid, smelly bus, where I was unable to place my train blankie to get some rest and tried not to vomit for the duration of the jerky trip. Then, I got dropped off quite far away from my workplace and had to walk many city blocks, late for work and in need of coffee. I had no time to stop because Mondays are rough as it is in the office, and I didn’t want to abandon anyone as I am the person they count on to open on Mondays.

So, as you can see, I was indeed having a rough day. Then, I found out the details of the train delay. Someone (jumped) ended up in front of the train and died. Terrible. Of course, I made fun of the incident a bit because that is how I deal with tragedy, but really I was sickened by the whole thing and felt like a douche for being so irritated by my morning delay. I mean, I am only human and am entitled to my (many bad) moods, but still. That dead guy had a way worse morning than me. Whether it was a suicide or not, to be depressed to the point of ending your life is tragic, and although I don’t understand and barely tolerate depression, I still pity it, and I am still glad that my life is free it.

The rest of my day was tainted by a melancholy air. This is unusual for me mid-cycle, and I blamed it on the tinge of motion sickness I experienced from having to text message while on the bus. I started to read the news, trying to find out what happened that morning on the tracks. I ended up reading a bit about the humanitarian crisis in Somolia, where innocent people are suffering famine, drought and genocide. Now, I know that it is kind of old news, and that many of us easily turn a blind eye to the crisis’s in Africa, but it really bothered me to read it, and view the pictures of the children suffering from malnutrition. I follow the news on the Human Rights Watch website so I have somewhat of an awareness of the trials of the Somolian people and the terrible conditions of the Kenyan refugee camps. I think the reason that reading about it yesterday affected me more than usual was because I had been soooo upset that morning about being late for work and missing my breakfast and coffee, but really, I have nothing to complain about.

I missed one meal. These people walk for days on end with no food or water, abandoning weaker loved ones on the way. The world is so full of human suffering: of people losing loved ones to famine, disease, or suicide; of women suffering rape and countless forms of abuse in societies where such treatment is the norm. I live in a society where I actually get to complain about being fat. Where the food on my plate is full of nutrients and tastes amazing. A place where I get to both drink and wash my car with delicious, clean, fresh water.  We spend countless precious hours of our lives crying over relationship problems, whining about going to work for 8 hours a day, yelling at our fellow humans for poor service, stressing about not having enough money to buy all the excessive things that we think that we need. All of these negative actions will eventually affect our health, and trust me, when your health goes, you will feel like an idiot for ever worrying about money.

I made it through my bad day. A client came in and started yelling at my colleagues over something so trivial that I had to leave my desk, or else she would have got a lecture on the trials of the Somolian people. The minutes ticked by and eventually I got to board the comfortable, modern, immaculate train to go home. I reflected on how lucky I am: not only am I lucky to have been born here, where my job involves zero physical exertion, and where I get to drink fresh spring water all day at my desk, but also on how happy I am with my frame of mind. I rarely stress about the little things, am healthy (knock on wood) and have surrounded myself with good people who are loyal and that I care about. We all have bad days, or days where we feel sad or angry, and we are entitled to feel that way. I guess my message is to just not let it get you down too much, and try not to sweat the small stuff, because when put in perspective, most of the things in our lives that upset us, are quite small indeed.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Facing Fears (well, one of them)

I was spending time with my man a couple weekends ago, and he has a motorbike. He has been saying for a year that we are going to go for a ride, but never got around to getting it road ready. I pretended to be genuinely fearless, and agreed that when it was ready, we could go for a ride. In reality, I am scared shitless of anything that goes fast, except for my Honda when I am in the driver’s seat. I was secretly assuming that he would continue to procrastinate and that I would remain off the hook for the time being. Well, finally, it was ready. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. I lied and said “Yes!”

Me getting ready to go
Being a couple days shy of summer solstice, it was sunny and warm and many motorbike enthusiasts were out and about. So, he got the R1 all ready. By all ready, I mean, filled up with gas and oil, scrubbed own and towel dried, triple checked to ensure spotlessness. It did look great, as good as new! I was content admiring it from the garage, but it was time to stop admiring it and get on the back. I was instructed that I would need to wear jeans, a long sleeved shirt, socks and proper footwear. Flip flops apparently aren’t proper footwear. When I asked why I needed jeans he said “because it gives you more protection if we crash”

I responded “But, we aren’t gonna crash”
“Just in case” he said, hopping on the bike.
I didn’t care for the “just in case”. I know that accidents are called accidents for a reason, and that no one intends to crash and that sometimes it’s unavoidable; otherwise they would be called “deliberates”. But still, I was hoping that he would offer me a guarantee that I would be absolutely safe while trying to enjoy the ride.

After a quick lesson on how to be a good passenger, we were on our way. I was scared of the 1st corner, because I had been told to just go with the turn and not fight it. I didn’t really know what that meant, having never rode before, so I was afraid I would screw it up somehow. I took to heart 100% the instruction to hold on tight. I became exhausted from holding on even before we got to the real road!

As for the real road, I was not impressed. I was hoping he would take me on some traffic-less back roads, perhaps through the country where there were minimal turns and practically zero chance of colliding with another vehicle. Nope. We went right through town, stopping at stop lights, turning with arrows, and changing lanes. Whenever any of those situations would occur, I would almost hide behind him, careful not to focus too much on the other cars, maintaining such a tight grip with my arms and my legs that I started to get sore. I figured, oh well if I survive this, as least I’ll have gotten a workout out of the deal!  At one point, I looked around from behind him and noticed that we were turning onto the highway. I was really not cool with that. As soon as we got on and he started going faster, I started to regret the decision to go on the bike. I am terrified of almost everything and I was craving the safety of my little Honda.

 As we continued on, my confidence slowly started to increase.  I eased my grip and started to look around a bit. I noticed that the riders of every other bike that passed, whether a sport bike or a hawg, would wave, and he, in turn would wave back. I found this to be an interesting part of the motor bike community!

We ended up at a nice pullout overlooking the Columbia River.  At that point, I wanted to continue riding, and go explore more scenery, but it was time to go. The way back was much easier. I only cringed a little on the turns and I wasn’t deathly afraid of stoplights or the cars around me.  At one point I even caught myself thinking about how bad the wind must be for my hair! I realized that my thoughts had migrated from fear for my life to fear of damaged hair, and I felt immensely relieved. I started to almost feel cool!

When we got back to the house, I was exhilarated and satisfied that I had finally experienced something new. I had faced one of my fears, and was back safe and sound. A couple weeks later, we ventured out again, this time going on a longer ride. It was amazing! I loved being able to feel the coolness of the foliage on the side of the road, and I no longer felt unsafe at all, having survived the last ride. The destination was stunning: a small hike through a forest to an impressive lookout where 5 different mountain peaks are in view. I thoroughly enjoyed being a passenger, and only feel hindered by the fact that my clothing options are limited when going for a ride! My butt got really sore after the long ride, but I can tell that in time that will ease up.  I feel safe on the bike now that I realize that I am probably safer on there with a helmet on than I am in my Honda, protected by mere fiberglass and a seatbelt!

I had been on the back or a motorbike before, in Southeast Asia, but this bike is much faster, and going for a ride for pleasure is different than using it for a short trip to a specific destination. It helped that my man is an experienced rider, and that I know he will be extra careful with me on the back. I am looking forward to the next chance to go for a ride, as this is just a new addition to the many things that I love about summer!

Hope everyone else is having a good summer too! Cheers!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cheers to all!

Being Canadian, I am seldom offered the opportunity to celebrate my country or act patriotic. Sure, we have Hockey but if you aren't aware of how we react to our national sport, read my previous post here. July 1st is Canada day. It is the day that marks Canada's birthday. This year, my country turned 144 ( I think), and the day was marked with celebrations including parades, fireworks, a stat holiday (on a Firday, yippee!) and some moderate drunkenness. Some say it is akin to the July 4th celebrations int he USA, but I beg to differ.

This year was the second year that I missed out on my nations birthday. Instead, I have  been in the USA to celebrate their nations independence (well that wasn't my reason for going to the USA, but it just worked out timing wise.)  I don't really get it, having only a slight clue ofwhat it is all about (I am neither a history buff or American) but I do know that it is one hell of an excuse to party! This year, I spent the day floating down the Clackamas river getting daytime drunk. It was hot hot hot out , around 30 C, ( I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit) and it was the perfect way to celebrate summer, regardless of my nationality. At night I celebrated by going on a motorbike ride (as a passenger, more on that in an upcoming blog post) to watch some fireworks.

The 1st thing I noticed when driving through the state of Washington on July 1st was the numerous places to purchase expolisives. I mean, at home we have a handful of places to buy fireworks around Halloween , but nothing for Canada day. We do have fireworks displays, but no one really ventures out to blow up their own, instead flocking to the city or the town square to watch. In the USA, everyone has fireworks! Days before the 4th, the sky will be randomly lit up with colour, even in quiet neighborhoods, and there are people on every corner holding signs to direct traffic to the nearest place to buy them. We went to watch a display, but there were numerous private diplays in every direction. On the ride back, while on  the highway, the sky was constantly lit, until after midnite. On the way back from the fireworks show, I noticed that the places to purchase more fireworks was still  open even though it was 11 pm! I suppose there could be a few patriots that were runing late and still wanted to blow shit up in the last hour of the 4th... I personally love fireworks, and think it's great that so many people were putting on personal displays. I continued to watch through the window after returning to the house.

So,  I didn't end up getting as drunk or partaking in a BBQ like I did last year, but I smelled BBQ everywhere I went and went for a wonderful patio burger at a pub situated on the Columbia. I feel a tad guilty for missing Canada day 2 years in a row, but I'm sure that my absence went un-noticed.  Here is a small shout out to my nation:  link to a post by a fellow blogger listing some wonderful canadian creations.

I am proud to be North American, proud to be Canadian, and proud of the Americans for partying harder than us on their July holiday. Cheers to all, even if it is a little belated ( I am on vacation and there is a keg of raspberry flavoured beer here....)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Public Disgrace

Here is an unfinished post from last week, when my city was alive and joyous due to the NHL playoffs:

My city is alive with Canucks fever! If you want to know how I got my seat on the bandwagon, read my previous post here. They set up big screens and hundreds of thousands of screaming fans flock to the streets to (hopefully) celebrate a win. Last Friday, we won game 5 on home ice. I didn’t even see the winning goal, as I was a bit far back from the screens. I still knew we scored because it suddenly got so loud! Horns and screams and people holding up their huge homemade Stanley cups. I personally had blue pom poms that I hoarded from my workplace during the Olympics. I had meant to bring some bam bams that I also hoarded, but I forgot.

I sincerely hope that my city can continue to celebrate in such an orderly fashion. I mean, it was incredibly crowded, and there were a lot of intoxicated people, and a huge police presence, but everything seemed calm and orderly. There was the odd person that felt the need to disrobe and climb something, and the police would urge them down, and it was usually slowly done and the police didn’t panic.

The Olympics really taught Vancouverites how to party. North America is one of the only places that prohibit drinking anywhere outside of a restaurant or bar. Many countries have public celebrations with beer kiosks on the streets (mind you, these countries also have a more efficient transit system that runs much later than ours). Vancouver has been labeled “No Fun City” in the past, and any celebration that drew crowds had the police in a panic, resulting in a negative atmosphere, and intoxicated people pushing the limits, fighting, littering, and eventually getting arrested.  The leeway that the police showed us during the Olympics encouraged people act civilized.

A picture stolen from The Province newspaper, taken on a night prior to the evening of the riots. Wanted to demonstrate the magnitude of the crowds, but there were many more people out on the night of Game 7.

I decided to wait to complete this entry and post it, as even at the time, I was unable to believe the words I was typing. Turns out I was right. I was afraid that the actions of my fellow Vancouverites would render me incorrect and embarrassed.  It is a good thing I waited. After game 7, on June 15th, riots broke out in downtown Vancouver, resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage, countless injuries, and a complete abandonment of civic pride.

 I am seriously sickened and upset; it’s an interesting feeling. I haven’t been this disappointed in a long time. I compare the feeling to that of being cheated on. Simply betrayed. I couldn’t tear myself from the television, watching the horrific scene unfold. Hoards of people were causing 1st degree mayhem: smashing everything in site, flipping over cars and lighting them on fire, looting form numerous stores.  At first I thought that the police were panicking when they started to unleash tear gas on the crowds and that it was a bad idea that could result in trampling. I also assumed that it would increase the anger in the crowds and that the anger would now be specifically directed at the police. After watching a bit more and talking to people who were stuck in the crowd, I changed my mind… it would have been a tough situation, as it was so crowded, and all police wanted was people to leave.

Young people have always had a bad name. As a semi-young person, I always disagreed, and would think “were not all like that”. The thing about last night is that it wasn’t just a few people acting out. There were over a hundred thousand people crammed into our little streets and it was more than a handful of people damaging property, fighting, throwing Molotov cocktails into stores, looting, blowing up cop cars, and trying to fight police… there were thousands of people protesting nothing. I think that they thought that they were going to “fight for the right to party” but really, they already had that right and will no longer after the other  night’s debacle.

My frustration grew as I  heard the newscaster state that it was not safe to get fire and ambulance crews into the downtown core to put out the numerous fires that had been started on the streets (cars, practically every garbage can, and miscellaneous bon fires),  but I think that it was less safe to have these fires burning. People were drunkenly beating each other, and several people had to be hospitalized. The ambulance should have been on site in case someone was critically injured. I broke out in goose bumps as I saw the image of an alleged Bruins fan laying on the ground after being assaulted by several men.

A quote form one of the news anchors: “people were so excited for their beloved Canucks” but this had nothing to do with hockey at all. This was the animal inside of us coming out. It was classic mob mentality; we see it at protests and during wars. This was neither of those things. The images of people running around, looting stores and breaking windows with balaclavas on their faces and t shirts over their heads reminded me of a war zone. It looked like we were under attack by some sort of shady militia. These people came out to the city (for the most part they weren’t downtown residents) and were obviously prepared for mayhem. A bus driver from Surrey was on the news stating that she overheard several conversations while driving people from surrey out to the train stations. The disaster that erupted was completely pre-meditated. Truly 1st degree. . They were armed with hammers and miscellaneous weapons. They were obviously armed with explosive liquid for Molotov cocktails ahead of time, as it would have been difficult to obtain during the riot… there were countless being thrown into building, police cars, etc. This would have happened even if we won the stupid hockey game.

In a situation like this, people look around for someone or something to blame. It wasn’t hockey, it wasn’t the police. It was partly the thugs that insisted on gross misconduct, and it was partly the fault of the city and CBC for encouraging people to assemble on the streets and assuming that they would simply have a good time. I think that most to blame is the internet revolution. A lot of bystanders remained, causing a lot of congestion in the crowds. They were all taking video and pictures, immediately uploading them to Facebook, Youtube, etc. they didn’t want to leave because the wanted to catch the next big thing that happened on film. They wanted to be the 1st to post it. I may have done the same thing if I was there. Or not, it’s hard to say. I’d like to say that I would have been so disgusted by the scene that I would have attempted to leave. I like to think I am  smart enough to not ignore the riot act “ if you leave we will eave you alone, if you stay further action will be taken and you will be arrested” but, perhaps the journalist that dwells deep inside of me would have been compelled to stay. All I know is that if I was in any way participating, it would have been caught on camera. I would get fired from my job in an instant.

I shudder at the thought of all the suburban people that came out to cause trouble, drinking all day in the city and then getting in their cars and driving home. If you are intoxicated enough to burn police cars, then you probably shouldn’t be driving. I fight tears when I hear of critical injuries and stabbings. I am appalled by the thought of the normal families that were attending the show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre that weren’t allowed to leave and were locked inside for hours because it was not safe to leave. All of this started to happen in broad daylight! None of the participants even considered that they weren’t anonymous.

I am trying really hard to stop dwelling on the events of the other night. I try to tell myself that since I wasn’t a participant and neither were any of my friends, that I shouldn’t be embarrassed, and that I shouldn’t hate my city. The thing is, a country, a city, a province, a state, a county, is all defined by its people. Now, in front of an international audience, we have defined ourselves as uncivilized primates, with absolutely no patriotism or pride. It really is a shame, and it will certainly take a long time for us to regain our reputation as The Best Place on Earth.

This picture (stolen from Facebook) really puts it in perspective.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

What I'm Reading

I am currently reading “Paradise” by Toni Morrison. This author is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Some of you may have watched the movie “Beloved”, which I recall as being complex, dramatic and peculiar. I didn’t know that Paradise was written by the same author as beloved when I picked the book off my shelf.

I rarely buy books from a bookstore at full price (unless it’s a Haruki Murakami  book, because those are seldom given away or sold for cheap). I think that I acquired this book from a huge clearance sale at a mall bookstore. I had gone to the mall to go to Cobbs Bread, and spotted tables set up in the middle of the mall. Turns out, the bookstore was clearing out all their old stock for unheard of prices. Books were being sold for as little as one to three dollars a book, brand new, and some hardcover! I went to town! I grabbed two big boxes and started filling them up with random books. I would give it a short glance to make sure it wasn’t a romance novel or self-help book, and throw it in the pile. I ended up with a couple cookbooks, some interesting non-fiction, and countless novels, including Paradise.

Now, I am not ready to fully critique the book just yet, as I am only half way through. It is taking me awhile because it is tedious. I have read some literature, a long time ago. I like to genre-hop and can basically read anything. I do, however, really like to indulge in some good spy-fiction. I like my books the way I like my meals: indulgent, savory, and satisfying. Paradise, so far, is proving to be the opposite. I wouldn’t say that it bores me, but I am definitely not excited by it. I often find myself confusing characters, or drifting off while reading poetic descriptions of how conversations are being held. I am longing for basic descriptions of the characters and setting, so I can quickly form a picture in my head to have while continuing to read. To me, it is about the character and the story, not by how well it is written.  I almost feel as if I should be taking notes while reading!

I was starting to feel inferior. Am I really that out of practice? I have read quite a few heavy books, including ones covering slavery, and the holocaust…have I really dumbed myself down that much by neglecting my bookshelf as of late? Perplexed by these questions, I did what I always do when I am in doubt: I consulted the internet. I immediately felt better after reading the 1st review (I can’t recall the site offhand; I was reading on my iphone browser while commuting). The reviewer was equally confused and irritated by the book. Then, I went on to read the rest. Most of the readers loved the book and gave it a high star rating, and all the same readers found it to be challenging and confusing at times. Many have read it over, and almost everyone said that it was a challenge worth accepting.

I try to keep these reviews in mind as I trudge through the book. I try to enjoy the language and view it as poetic instead of condescending. I try to choose to read it over napping on my evening commute. I hope that in the end, my effort it worth it. After this, I think I may have to pick a Robert Ludlum off my shelf!

Have any of you read this book, or this author? Or had a similar experience with literature? Please share!