Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

BC Forestry invades downtown Vancouver.

There are many strange events going on in Vancouver, and not everything makes a whole lot of sense. The complete lack of logic and absurdity is fun, although I'm a little bored of it at this point.

One of the oddest and least advertised events was put on by BC Forestry, and I had the best view in the city. Through the magic of youtube, you also can enjoy a shittier version of what I saw.

I shot this from the control tower overlooking Coal Harbour.

Currently I am very frustrated with youtube. I searched for the above video and could not find it. Granted, it isn't my finest work and the encode youtube puts on an already encoded file does do it any favours, but I get 5 hits at the time of this writing, 2 being mine for testing purposes, and a crappy video taken from North Vancouver where this huge bomber is only a dot gets 45.

Youtube is showing me that the power of the internet is not something one can always control and leaving things up to the masses is risky business. On that note, the Olympic Dissent documentary I put up is currently stalled at 301 hits, which I was proud of until I found other shitty videos on the side bar getting several thousand hits... and they had no interviews. Just shots of cops grabbing idiots who chose to attack said cops.

Really? Is this how shallow the public is? Cute kittens, porno and people doing stupid shit, is that all the internet is? And I had such high hopes with wikipedia and the like.

I believe me and the internet will soon be parting ways.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

olympic dissent.

You may be wondering what I've been up to given my erratic posts.

You may also be wondering why I haven't rambled on and on about the olympics (I prefer calling them the 'pics).

Well, I have been busy working with an old friend on this blog here It is largely an image based blog.

We are both trying to remain neutral, which has been surprisingly easy. It's so much easier to observe a protest than to be a part of it.

You can view it on the vancropolis blog, or just watch it here. My favourite moment has to be the confrontation with the people in black. These represent the small minority of protesters that were out looking for confrontation. They were not peaceful, not friendly and rather silly in terms logic.

I encourage you to comment here or on youtube.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

time to lay off the president.

Ahhhh, America.

My natural web habits lately have involved a quick stop at my news RSS feeder... or whatever the current jargon for such things is. I can’t seem to help myself. I blame it on my parents raising me with CBC always on the radio, a year long job in the media industry, and a sick need to always know as much as possible... mostly about things that will only marginally affect me if at all.

At the moment it is the current opposition to Barak Obama that has me transfixed with wide open eyes of incredulity.

Just one short year ago, everyone down south of me (and maybe 5 people in Alaska) was so excited about all the ‘change’ that was coming down the road. It was the second coming of the messiah - an appropriately bi-racial one at that. I was never quite sure what Obama’s race had to do with anything. Nelson Mandela was also black, and so was Idi Amin. Race got nothing to do with how well or poorly you manage a country.

But I recognize that humans in mass form are notoriously stupid, and thus race often becomes part of the equation. I don’t agree, since you can’t do very much about how you were born, but I also recognize that I’m in the minority here. If you read this blog regular like, then I expect I’m preaching to the choir.

I guess America, and for some reason the Nobel committee, decided he really was the black Jesus, and big things were expected. Change.

I should also point out that I’m fully against one word slogans that are largely meaningless, but that is another post.

Well, Mr. Obama applied for, and got the crappiest job ever. He’s in charge of a mess that he did nothing NOTHING to create. He knew that going in, and I suppose I just assumed that most Americans were quite aware that the majority of them voted in an self-admitted c student frat boy a second time after George proved that he was not quite competent the first 4 years.

But now, according to the many news items I have been absorbing, America is no longer thrilled with Mr. Obama. Some still think he can do no wrong, which is moronic since he is a politician after all. However, even more are angry and disappointed. Apparently Mr. Obama is somehow to blame for the recession, the two ongoing wars, and pretty much anything else bad in the world.

This story from the Washington Post claims that President Obama is out of touch with the middle class, and if you bother to read it, goes on to explain how he rides around in Air Force One and has snipers around him and has a limo caravan... and thus he is out of touch with the common American.

I’m not really sure what happened to logic in the US media. Perhaps someone lost it these past 10 years or so, but let me clarify this ‘issue’ if only so my own brain can process this: The man is raised by a single mom, who does a pretty good job of making sure the boy does well in school, only ends up smoking a little pot, goes to a good school, turns down the richy rich jobs and instead works as a community organizer, has a wife and kids and I presume in-laws from the working class that drive him crazy when the stop by for a visit, becomes president of a mess.... and he’s the one that is not in touch with the middle class? Are you shitting me, Washington Post?

He doesn’t get to say no to security and all the other supposed perks. I would agree that the level of security is disproportionate to the risk and terribly wasteful, but does the american public really think that he can ask the Air Force to proved a cessna prop plane instead of a 747 to get around? Do they really think that he can force the secret service to change the huge limo for smart cars?

And if you think he is all powerful, remember that Barak can’t just get up one morning and say, ‘I’m gonna sleep in today, go for a quick walk around the park, maybe have a beer with my lunch and feed some ducks.’ Nope. To do that would create a commotion of secret service guys, helicopters, media... critiques of what beer he had, “was it an import beer? Oh my god, it was a Heiniken. He hates America. why does he think he gets to sleep in on a Sunday? He works for us. Why is he feeding ducks? What was the name of the duck, and what does it mean?” And so forth.

That is not power. I have more power over my day than that. So do you. (Unless you happen to be reading this Mr. Obama.)

It is beyond belief what the public has done to this guy. Build him up to something that is impossible for anyone to live up to, offer him a Nobel prize for peace before he has time to even figure out the mess of bubble gum George left him under the desk, and then get unreasonably mad at him for not being in touch with the supposed ‘common man’ of America.

If the story wasn’t enough to enrage me, I unwisely clicked on the comments section. Comments from the ‘common folk’ he’s supposed to be in touch with.


Had I not done that I wouldn’t be writing this now.

One of the nastier comments accused Obama of being a communist. Another said he was a socialist, a liberal. It goes on and on, none of it making much sense.

There is nothing wrong with being a communist. It is just an economic/political model. I realize that many still believe in those moronic statements by Mr. Reagan, but a political theory is not in itself evil. On paper (paper only mind you) communism is actually a pretty good deal for those of us who happen to be lazy. It mostly doesn’t work in practise, but history has largely taken care of that. Get a grip.

Regardless, Mr. Obama is not a communist. He may indeed have socialist leanings, but America, look north a moment, we (Canada, I’m canadian... not proud, just am) are a socialist country, current idiot in charge not withstanding. Socialism is not a dirty word. Medicare is a good thing. It is considered progress when most of a population can get medical help when they need it for mostly free. Free is good. If your local Walmart gave away free hotdogs, I bet most people would think that was a pretty damn fine deal. Ultimately there is a price, but for an entire nation that has an obesity problem, I really thought you’d all be pretty excited about this.

I don’t think it is reasonable to expect perfection out of a politician ever. It isn’t even all the reasonable to expect honesty out of them. They got to say bullshit because the average citizen of anywhere demands that they promise things that they can’t possibly deliver.

I think the thing to do is not put the dude on a pedestal, since that creates the illusion that he is somehow better than you, but be reasonable. Keep the critiques logical and on topic. I am a firm believer in reasoned dissent. Maybe it turns out he is a jerk, but so far, he is doing a much better job than the last US President. You’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise.

Monday, February 01, 2010

about catcher in the rye.

A very fine friend of mine has written an excellent post about Catcher in the Rye and its recent deceased author.

There are many things that ought to draw me to Catcher in the Rye. First of all, it is somewhat short. My reading habits as an adult have suffered a great deal. I would blame tv, but I can't do that to my precious picture box. It is my problem with sitting in one spot and only reading. Got to get over that.

The second point is that my favourite people have talked about this novel a great deal. Wes Anderson was inspired by it for the character in Rushmore. Holden Caulfield is referred to by many people. I see it all over the internet with handles that must be in the thousands now.... h_caulfield_1887 and so forth. Clearly there is something about the literary figure that has caused so many to believe that they don't merely relate to Caulfield, but that the character was written with them in mind.

Probably the biggest potential draw is the author. I admire anyone with the restraint to fall for allure of fame. I didn't think JD Salinger was alive at all. I had heard so much about how mysterious he was... much the way I've heard so much about Thomas Pynchon (which I also have the guilt of never having gotten past page 287 of Gravity's Rainbow... another failure of reading on my part). I adore mysterious people. Those who insist on being different, who embrace their less endearing qualities, who are comfortable accepting others calling them assholes. I'm genetically predisposed to becoming a crazed hermit, so it makes sense that I study such people. I may find myself living at the top of a mountain in a comfortable little shack myself.

I feel like I'm missing something because I can never be bothered to get past the first 3 chapters. For whatever reason the writing did grab me at first. I've had a copy that I've kept with me and travelled great distances with, and yet have never finished reading.

My friend suggests that reading Catcher in the Rye should be done in one sitting... I suppose that is the problem for me. Despite many grey days here in Vancouver, and no employment at the moment, I still cannot relax with a novel. What happened to those long days at the family cabin where my mother could never get my nose out of a book? I used to absorb anything that came along. I started with Hardy Boys, but when I discovered dad's copy of victorian erotica.... well I learned a great deal more than a 13 year old boy ought to about sex. The knowledge that humans are all perverts and that it has been going on a long time didn't help me much through the trials of junior and high school.

I do remember three novels that did impact me and I must have read in my early 20s when my university english prof was inspiring for a time. Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers was tough to get through, but ultimately made some sense. I'd have to re-read it to explain more... but I did like the idea of being a beautiful loser myself... which gives you some sense of the damage ultimately done by the aforementioned junior and senior high years. I also read and re-read A Soldier in the Great War. It explained to me at least the simultaneous disgust and adventurous draw towards violence. I am now so grateful that violence in my life is mostly limited to video games. And the final novel that I can say has had a lasting impact was/is Been down so long it looks like up to me by Richard Farina. He only published this one novel, to my knowledge, and then died after a fight with his girlfriend and an unfortunate motorcycle ride... which to me is number two of the most tragic deaths that I have heard of. (number one is still too personal).

Farina's novel was possibly the most inspiring read for me, and I read it because of a fellow treeplanter, right in the thick of questioning my existence. Those hard days seem so simple now in hindsight.

The point is, I've lost my reading habits and my love for literature, but clearly I long for it. I must get back to reading before I get too much older.

Currently I'm reading Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, in hopes that it will re-inspire my love of stories. Otherwise, I fear becoming dull. I'll try to read faster. I've got a few Salinger novels to absorb.