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A strange, devoted artist

By rosslaird on June 18, 2004 - 11:09am

Next time you’re walking in the downtown area — Commercial Drive, the West End, Howe Street — look for castaway slips of paper, cardboard. or stickers that say "repent sinner" on them. No one knows who produces these, but some strange soul devotes countless hours to making thousands of individualized slips with identical messages. I have heard that as many as a hundred may appear along a single block. And I have heard, but cannot confirm, that sometimes the message is scrawled in graffiti on sidewalks and buildings. Who does this?

I imagine a man, late fifties, living alone in a small walkup apartment. He doesn’t sleep well, has few acquaintances, and has spent some time in hospitals. At night, when the city sleeps (as someone once said), he goes to work: spending the time in the devotions of his faith, meditating, repeating, inscribing.

Then he goes out, early, around 5am. Before the street cleaners start up on Robson. Sometimes he sees the Sun trucks delivering their bundles, and once he saw a man in Oppenheimer park with a knife in his throat. He sees many more things, but he tells no one about them. Instead, he walks.

And he delivers his tiny messages, not knowing how people will respond to them. Perhaps he doesn't care about this. He walks, and scatters, and is gone again.

Roland Is Blogging From the NMC Conference at UBC

By Richard Eriksson on June 17, 2004 - 4:08pm

Roland Tanglao, who blogs here at Urban Vancouver as well as many other places (check the sidebar of his personal site for his other weblogs), is blogging from the NMC Summer Conference at UBC. There is also an RSS feed available of his NMC Conference notes.

Smoking Dope: Vancouver's Favorite Pastime

By rosslaird on June 17, 2004 - 9:46am

In Vancouver, smoking a joint is part of everyday life for almost everybody who owns a mountain bike and an iPod. But most folks who use marijuana don’t know the whole story about its risks and effects. At the addictions clinics on the Downtown Eastside where I supervise counsellors, we frequently see habitual pot smokers who struggle with anger and anxiety when they reduce their use. It seems that marijuana is good at managing emotions; but, like most substances, not good at teaching emotional management. Once you quit, you’re on your own emotionally, and this can be overwhelming.

It has been a hard sell to convince habitual users to tone it down (or to quit). But recently a slew of studies has yielded some new and disturbing results.

Just Ask Weasel

By Boris Mann on June 17, 2004 - 7:42am

Anyways the first thing you should know about Vancouver is it is a cultural mosiac. I am not kidding, each area has its own unique culture and quirks. Find you hate it where you live, well it ain't vancouver that sucks, just that neighborhood. Stop whining and move to another cultural microcosm.
A Weasel's World: Just Ask Weasel

A great little rant on the best place to live in Vancouver.

Another great quote from the entry is on "culture sucking yuppies" moving into the Commercial area: "Sure they are quiet, pay their bills and don't fight on the front lawn but what's life without a little debauchery".

I was blind, but now I see

By Alawrie on June 16, 2004 - 10:49pm

Finally, after at least a decade of wearing glasses, I brokedown and got myself some contacts. I decided awhile back that I should take the plunge, and I actually went thru with it. I have to admit that I was a little scared and repulsed by the thought of something sticking to my eyeballs, but the pain of wearing glasses was too overpowering.

So, tonite I went down to the optical place and had my little lesson in putting in and taking out the lenses. What an ordeal that was. First the guy wasn't there, he was on his break, so I checked out some stores, came back and he was still on his break, so I checked out a few more stores and then when I got back there, there was a line-up. So typical. So I waited, and finally got to talk to the contact man. He said that first he was going to put them in for me, and then let me take them out, and then put them back in. Sounds like a nice simple plan, right? That's what I thought, but my eyes rebelled. ACtually the right eye cooperated, but then the left eye knew what was happening, so it went a little crazy and I could not for the life of me open it or make it stop blinking. So, first the guy asked me if I had done some weight-lifting with my eyelids last nite to prepare for tonite and then let me take over. That damned eye just would not cooperate! It took me nearly 15mins to get the bloody thing in, but it finally worked.

I rejoiced and rewarded myself with a strawberry julius from the food court and read up on some contact lens care.

Some of the principles behind UrbanVancouver

By Roland Tanglao on June 16, 2004 - 5:06pm

Here are some of our "design principles" for UrbanVancouver (check out my post on rolandtanglao.com for more details):

  • RSS feeds put your headlines on readers' desktops (don't worry if you don't know about RSS; it's basically an automatic way of quickly surfing websites - this is something UrbanVancouver provides for the power users today and the rest of the world tomorrow)
  • Comments let your reader participate directly in the reporting process - We here at UrbanVancouver believe in the two way web! Why shouldn't every piece of content in a newspaper have a place to offer comments like UrbanVancouver? The letter to the editor model no longer works in 2004.
  • Archives should no longer be in a separate database - Amen! Storage and bandwidth are cheap and getting cheaper. Archives shouldn't expire or be behind a subscription wall in 2004 and in Urban Vancouver, they aren't and won't be.
  • Your community should be the focus of your site - Yes, Vancouverites are a focus of this site and we invite all interested Vancouverites to join this site (it's free) and to contribute their writing and photos and in the future audio and video

Welcome to my Urban Vancouver blog

By rosslaird on June 16, 2004 - 1:14am

I'm a writer -- and if you've seen "Wonder Boys," the finest film about writing in a long while, you know the mantra: A Writer Writes.

So here I am. And elsewhere, too (on the weblog at my own site). I'm writing for Urban Vancouver because this town is my home, like the Springsteen song says. This is where, more than a hundred years ago, my grandparents came to live in a small house on Davie street (across from what used to be Hy's Mansion) and rowed across to West Vancouver for camping trips.

I've lived here all my life, and I've come to know this city. I've been inside the secret World War II gun turrets on the UBC grounds (designed to halt the feared Japanese invasion). I know where the walled-up rail tunnel is near GM Place, and why there's another tunnel that runs all the way from the main post office building to the waterfront.

I know the best place to spot aliens (at a certain location on Granville Street), and I know exactly where the secret, unmarked (not even an address) cheque-clearing building is on Main Street. Millions of cash dollars pass through there every day.

I know there's a huge aquifer beneath VanDusen Gardens, and I know that the architect who built the Sun Tower fell to his death down the spiral staircase he designed. I know lots of things about this city. And I worked at Expo 86. No greater initiation into the life of this city could ever be had.

Stephen Hui Interviews Bill Siksay, NDP Candidate for Burnaby-Douglas

By Richard Eriksson on June 15, 2004 - 3:35am

Via Stephen Hui, who posts excerpts of the interviews and articles in Seven Oaks magazine on his weblog, comes an interview with Burnaby-Douglas candidate for MP Bill Siksay (I once overheard some kids liken the name to "sexy" but they pronounced it "sexsay"). The riding, Burnaby-Douglas, is held currently represented by Svend Robinson who is stepping down after admitting stealing a ring, and Siksay compares his community service to the other candidates:

I understand what it means to be an advocate for people in the community. I don’t think Bill Cunningham understands that. Clearly, as a high official in the Liberal party, he didn’t understand how to advocate for members of his own party who were seeking the nomination, and had filed proper nomination papers, and didn’t even get an answer on that.

In terms of the Conservatives, I’m really concerned about their platform, and I think that people in Burnaby-Douglas are concerned about the direction that they’re heading in. Their main plank is massive, billion-dollar tax cuts. People in B.C. know what happens when you do that. They’ve got the example of Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberals, who went down that road, and we’ve seen how it’s devastated so many important programs for people.Seven Oaks interview with Bill Siksay

OK Tell me it's not a panacea

By Ian Bruk on June 14, 2004 - 11:47pm

Children as young as seven in one British school are using weblogs as part of their normal routine, and are doing better than non-webloggers as a result, their teacher says.

Link to article.

Darren Barefoot Recommends the Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery

By Richard Eriksson on June 14, 2004 - 7:02pm

The Vancouver Art Gallery is showing another Warhol exhibit. Actually, it may be the same one--they don't say. I highly recommend it. In particular, I'd suggest it to those who maybe don't go to a lot of galleries because they find the art stuffy, irrelevant or pretentious. You might find something in Warhol that you haven't seen before.Darren Barefoot: Warhol in Vancouver

Roland recently took a photo of a Translink bus promoting the Warhol exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Although I haven't (yet) seen the Warhol exhibit, I second Darren's recommendation to go to the Art Gallery because it's a nice atmosphere to quietly reflect on some of Western society's cultural icons. I viewed the Emily Carr exhbit last year--or was it the year before?--and saw Kahlo Carr O'Keefe which was very enlightening.

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