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Traffic is moving a little too slowly. What the hell happened?

Ah, it’s raining a little. It’s been sunny. Therefore, there’s probably been an accident. Why are people so stupid? Why don’t they be a little more careful?

Oh look, the street’s been blocked off. Must be a doozy. Should I turn around, or follow the traffic along the detour? Looks like a few people are turning around. Hmmm. Nah, I’ll just run into traffic somewhere else.

Why did I decide to drive somewhere at 4 pm on a weekday?

You know, it didn’t used to be like this, all this traffic everywhere.

Isn’t it Bike to Work Week this week?

I hate each and every one of you, especially those of you in front of me. Why aren’t we moving?

Back in the day, I always had these boyfriends who lived in Burnaby, even though I lived in North Van. And because I was in University, I had evening jobs. So I could go to my boyfriend’s house in the afternoon, and make it to my job in North Van in about half an hour, in rush hour traffic (unless there was an accident). Hah, just try to make that trip in under an hour nowadays.

That lovely bike lane sure is empty. I’m glad, though that no one is driving in the bike lane, because that kind of entitlement attitude sucks. I wish I was riding my bike, right about now. And I too, would be smugly sailing past all of these people sitting there putting wear and tear on their gas beasts.

Can you ride a scooter in a bike lane? Not legally, but I would if I had one, admittedly, just to get out of here.

How long have I been sitting here? Gas, clutch, brake. Crawling, crawling. Oh, am I just uncoordinated with the clutch and gas, or does that jumping mean the clutch is going. Noooo! I need a stretch of good solid driving movement to cool her off. How I long to move, to get out of here. The next turn off from this road is… too far away. I’m stuck. Hope the car holds out.

It’s a good thing I’m listening to this calming Be Good Tanyas CD.

This is taking far too long, even with an accident. Move it, people. Let me out of here!

The Car is Dead. We’re on the Road to Nowhere. It’s either move to a smaller town or just ride everywhere on two wheels.

I’m only driving alone because I had to go an appointment in another part of city, anyway. Surely the rest of you could have carpooled.

Please stop reproducing. You’re annoying me. Your children are annoying me. I’m stuck on a planet with too many of you. Yesterday a small child threw a stick at me as I was walking past him. It was just a twig, but it was deliberate. The parent said nothing to me, or to the child. I weep for our future.

No more driving in rush hour. Not on my otherwise beloved standard tranny, anyway.

I really understand that Michael Douglas movie, Falling Down, now. Shall I act out the home version?

And I’ve broken free.

On my way home. Thank god.


For some aimless afternoon fun, I braved walking into Holt Renfrew downtown. Normally when someone who looks like me walks into a store like that, the staff sends out some sort of pheremone to dispatch the haughtiest amongst themselves to follow me around. But that did not happen, and I wandered freely amongst the two-and-a-half floors of the too-bright store full of ridiculously expensive things.

I walked past racks and mannequins, shelves upon shelves of handbags, cases full of shiny things and fine timepieces, and shoes by the pair. And makeup counters, but I always avoid those in any store. Two whole floors of women’s things, a half floor of men’s – and suddenly, it hit me while staring into a great big backlit display of sunglasses – wall o’ shades – everything here is just decoration for the body. Expensive objects to cloak the body and things to wear for awhile until they go out of fashion, nothing more.

I have no money to spend on such armour – how Carrie Bradshaw could afford multiple designer ensembles on every danged episode of Sex and the City is a complete mystery to anyone who has actually tried to live off their writing – but even if I could buy things at places like Holt Renfrew, I would still find it strange that you can’t buy anything there like art for your home or implements for a hobby, like silver pens or cashmere yarns.

Nope, it’s not about beautifying your world or taking enjoyment in doing, this stuff is all about you, the hobby of grooming yourself continually and elaborately, like a big expensive monkey.

But we all like pretty things and I guess I can’t fault Vancouver’s richies and pretties for liking the pricy stuff. (Another thing about HR I found odd – no price tags visible anywhere…) So I’ll end this post by giving a little shout out to a shop called Room 430 where everything is designed and made in Vancouver, and not only that, the designers help dress those of us who can’t dress ourselves. It’s my favourite place to get something special when I do actually need to look nice.

In the wake of a fare increase for transit in Greater Vancouver, the new Translink Board has decided to give themselves a big raise. They’ve increased the per-meeting fee from $200 to $1,200. Sources aren’t commenting on whether this is to compensate for the extra money it now takes to ride the bus and SkyTrain all the way out to North Surrey. However, it is meant to compensate the new group, made up of the target bus riding public of executives, accountants and engineers, for dedicating themselves solely “to making sure that they can provide the best transit advice possible,” according to Mike Harcourt, who chaired the advisory committee that approved the fees.

Well, Translink, you guys have got brass balls. In the last month, y’all have raised fares in every category (always telling us it for better service), announced billions of dollars of giant capital improvements, most of which have a) already been announced (Evergreen line) or b) won’t kick in anytime in the next ten years (Rapid buses) and c) already exist (twinning the Expo line? WTF?), and made me late and/or pissed off countless times.

It it were up to me, I’d give the whole whack of them $5 extra per meeting to ride transit to and from their meetings (and what would you like to bet it would the only time these people wade onto the proletariat chariot), and then perhaps we’d see some transit improvements, like buses that come on time, sensibly designed and plentiful bus shelters, handholds on SkyTrain, and security presence at ALL stations and bus exchanges, especially after dark.

Of course, I have no illusions that this band of nine also will be able to effect these kinds of changes no matter how deep their hands are in my pocket. So, I encourage you to visit We Ride and sign the call to action for better funding and political commitment from all levels of government to make better transit (and lower fares!) a reality in our smog-choked paradise by the sea.

I may be an idealist, but I think that riding the bus can actually be, well, pleasant. Sometimes the stars align to give you seamless transfers, non-annoying fellow passengers, good weather and happy bus drivers. And sometimes meteorites fall to the earth. You just have to get on the bus and take the chance.

I can’t wait until it’s bike riding weather again, actually.

The 2007 edition of Fugue, an anthology of creative non-fiction by UBC Creative Writing students, is being launched this week. I bought the 2005 edition, and it’s high-quality reading, my friends. Check it out. Here are the details of the launch event, according to the Georgia Straight:

Hear from tomorrow’s authors of travel writing, memoir, and more at the launch of the 2007 edition of Fugue, the school’s creative-nonfiction journal, on Wednesday (June 13), at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street), beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free and no registration is required; no word on whether there will be a refreshment stand. The last time I went to the party for this, they had it at the lit-friendly Crush Champagne Lounge. Good times.

I’ve seen this ad for a writer’s assistant on Craigslist a couple of times now. Typically it offers no pay, but promises to provide “valuable experience” working with 2-3 professional writers. One line in particular puzzles me: “Although there is no direct remuneration for this particular role there will be opportunities to work on some projects that may offer payment.” What does this mean? Do you get tips for blowjobs? Can you keep the change from Starbucks runs? Will you dance the hokey-pokey while they throw quarters? Also notice the hedging – although there WILL be opportunities, there are only SOME that MAY be paid.

I have heard of this type of arrangement before, where an established writer takes on a new writer and helps them break into the business of selling novels or screenplays. But I think it’s more common in the US (read:***Hollywood***) and perhaps includes room and board in the bargain.

I’ll bet I get to provide my own rent with these people.

A year ago, the Vancouver Art Gallery mounted an exhibit called Massive Change. This year, they will open one called B.C. Binning. The first one was on the future of design; the second is a survey show of Bertram Charles Binning’s works. Oh.

B.C. Binning. Given the city-sanctioned binners program in Vancouver, I might expect to see something quite different in a show by that name. Found art, perhaps. Or modified bicycles and other wheeled delights. Just yesterday, a guy zoomed past me on the street on a bicycle fitted to tow a big blue recycling bin. That’s much cooler than balancing several bags of pop cans as if they were giant saddlebags.

I can just picture VAG’s curators standing on the front steps, yelling “Gentlemen, start your shopping carts! B.C. Binning is here!”

Interestingly enough, the convergence of art and binning and street life in Vancouver has lead to an innovation: a recent graduate in Industrial Design at Emily Carr has developed a shopping cart-like vehicle especially for binning. Quieter than a conventional shopping cart, it can be pushed or towed, and collapses for storage. Binners like it, too.

It’s hard not to get excited about snow when you live in Vancouver. We don’t get much of the stuff, and when we do, a romantic tableau of fallen snow is usually quickly replaced by torrents of rain. So when the snow falls and falls and falls and you can walk on it with that satisfying crunch under your feet, it makes a person very happy indeed.
The snow gives us a good excuse to park the car and go nowhere for awhile. The roads may look passable, but everyone knows Vancouverites can’t drive in the snow. They aren’t such hot shit drivers in the rain either.
No, a snow day is best for staying home and going for a occasional walk with the dog. We went for a few today to let Levi run and roll in the snow the way only a dog can. We returned quickly for hot chocolate with Baileys, made with real Mexican chocolate (thanks, Texan).
The snow seems to have tapered off this evening, but it’s still butt cold. The forecast calls for light snow. The question on everyone’s mind is: “Snow Day?”
Please please please.
What dogs do in the snow

I’ve just learned today that one of my favourite places to shop for new and used books and magazines has closed up shop. Granville Books suffered not so much from competition for sales from the behemoth Chapters store around the corner, but from the high rents and gentrification pushing their way up Granville Mall scattering Future Shop and Winners in it’s wake. Several eclectic and independent shops on the same block have moved or gone out of business in recent weeks. The best shoe store in the world is right across the street from where Granville Books (sniff) used to be. I think I had better keep an eye on it.
Downtown Vancouver is transforming so quickly. The sounds of construction are on every corner in the heart of the city, but they are building condos, not offices or shops. The condos come with fancy names (Brava, the Hudson, L’Hermitage) and marketing campaigns tugging at buyers with images of the live-work-shop urban lifestyle downtown. At the same time, businesses are finding it harder to get office space and my friends the bookstores and clubs are falling down. Two of my former clubbing hangouts have been demolished for big condo towers filled with people who make more money than sense.
Should I fear for my other favourite bookstores in case their streets become the next city clean-up/trendification/beautification projects of planners and shoppers alike?
Whatever, I’ll miss those grizzly guys at Granville Books and overhearing their charged political debates while perusing the shelves. I’m sorry I didn’t buy more magazines.

“Now you’re just ordinary people. Ten seconds ago you were gods in the flesh!” yelled the man walking in front of Waterfront Station.
Everyone turned around to look, as they do at the shouters and shufflers in this city. It struck me as profound a statement as it was random. Then I thought, it seems like a familiar statement. Had I crossed paths with the shouting man before? (One does run into the same homeless people again and again.) Was he quoting something? (Google turned up nothing.)
What if I do possess some hidden or forgotten creative power that I’m currently burying under a pile of life’s likely excuses? to paraphrase Lester Burnham, the anti-hero of American Beauty, I know I don’t always have to feel so sleepy and what I had, and lost, I’m going to get back.
That goes double for my bus pass, by the way. I lost it last month, right around this time. Damn if it didn’t turn up 3 weeks later in the most bleedin’ obvious place.

Last night I was in a Japanese restaurant picking up some takeout sushi. The staff did not look or sound Japanese, but I couldn’t tell which language they were speaking. Just before bringing out my order, a staff member standing by the kitchen door talking to the servers made a stomping and squishing action with her foot and pointed towards the back.
I’d say it’s a good thing they forgot to add the tempura to my order. And a good thing I forgot to tip.

Flickr Photos