Archive for the 'News of the world' Category

Paris is here, wish you were beautiful.

Friday, August 10th, 2007

When I got into Paris I got ripped off by the cab driver. He was one of those guys who stands in the airports asking dumb foreigners (like moi) if they need a taxi. He charged me eighty euros for the ride from the airport, which should have been more like thirty or forty, tops. Don’t get me wrong, he was friendly and all, and made conversation to the extent that his English and my French allowed (not very far at all). So, being a clueless North American, I tipped him! Because that’s just the kind of fish I am.

It wasn’t a huge deal, I mean I’ll just expense it to the company anyway so no big whoop. The problem is that these fake-o taxis aren’t insured as taxis, so if we’d gotten into an accident I’d’ve been fucked. Lesson: learned. My co-worker fell for the same scam I guess, because she’d emailed me before I left Vancouver saying that I should expect to pay around 85 euros for the cab from the airport. So that was was that.

I also got here right when the Tour de France was going on, and i had to cross the Champ Elysees to get from the place where I picked up my apartment key to the apartment, carrying all my luggage through crazy nutty tourist craziness. It took me ages to figure out how to get into my apartment because the directions I was given were completely wrong and I spent half an hour trying to open the wrong apartment door, until I was able to convince myself that No, objectively none of these keys fit in this door, I’m not just stupid. After I had the brainstorm of matching the name on the keys to the name on the door, it worked — eventually. A sticky locking mechanism nearly reduced me to tears.

Anyways, not to go into all the dull touristy details, Paris is a nice place to walk around. But of course, I always want to see the seedy areas because those are the places that are the most fun to people-watch, so I liked going down to Pigalle and having a beer on a terrace in the evenings. Pigalle was called “Pig Alley” by the American soldiers in the second World War, because that’s where all the prostitutes hung out. Nowadays it’s mostly sex shops. I only went there once or twice, until I was warned off by a resident co-worker, but I have to say that the dodginess had nothing on Vancouver. No hordes of cracked-out zombies like we have. Mostly a lot of this:

I’m heading back to Vancouver on Sunday, and I’ll be glad to be home in my own apartment and bed and routine. One thing that bugs me about Paris is that I can’t get a big fat-ass honking cuppa joe in the morning to bring to work, as is my custom. They only serve these gay little espresso drinks. Maybe that’s why the French are never in a big hurry.

I made a faux pas (that’s French!) the other day by ordering some cheese after my meal and an espresso at the same time. The waiter was like You want espresso with your cheese??? And I was like Is that not done? He said A French person would not do zis, but you are not French so ees ok. (Another odd thing is that as soon as I would say Bonjour to a waiter, they would immediately start in with the English. My pronunciation must be terrible.)

Ok, that’s all. Here are my pictures.

The Only Party

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Hey are you doing anything Saturday night? You should come to the Only Magazine website launch party and benefit at the Emergency Room in Strathcona. I’ve been a big fan of Only since their first issue. Great coverage of local events, music, and art helps me pretend that I’m hip, with-it, or otherwise in-the-know; reliably funny and interesting essays by Amil Niazi, Chuck Ansbacher, Alan Hindle and others reliably keep my condescending hipster smirk firmly in place. It’s seriously the only (hurhur) free mag I’d go out of my way to find, and my only (teehee) complaint is not enough columns by Rhek.

So, who wants to be a rapper? Too many people. There’s far too many rappers today. We need more rap fans and less kids who freestyle at me. More White kids need to start playing guitar again – that’s a real skill to have. You can entertain at campfires and you can grow your hair long and your mom can say “… and no guitar for a week!” when you get grounded. Being able to go, “I’m flipping the shit and ripping the shit and dipping the shit and taking a shit – straight off the dome, yo!” while imitating a rapper you saw on a SMACK DVD is not a real practical skill. Seriously. And anyway, if you wanna be a real rapper now you gotta pay your dues as a crack dealer. Crack dealers are the new rap superstars.
Crack and rap go together like tiny old Chinese ladys who’s language you can’t understand and empty beer cans worth a nickel. And if you 13 and you live with your two Dads who still take you to soccer camp, then technically you’re not a “hustler” yet.

Oh, and they launched their new website and it’s marvelous.
Anyways, come out on Saturday and see some bands I’ve never heard of.

Not sure if there’s actually a secret band, or if it’s a band called “A Secret Band.”.

Loose Change

Monday, February 26th, 2007

On my way back from the grocery store on Saturday there was a hippie bus parked on the street outside my building. This was unexceptional. Outside the bus were a man and a woman, he was tall and thin with a short beard and long black hair tied back, she wore a long printed dress like you’d see in Amish country; he was playing guitar and they were both singing what I assumed were religious songs, judging solely based on their blank, earnest stares. This was also unexceptional. What struck me as unusual, however, was that they didn’t sound terrible. On the folding table next to them was a stack of pamphlets. A pale, skinny young kid got right in my face with a huge smile, handed me one and said “Here! It’s really good reading material!”

“Ok! Thanks!” I said, and left it on my kitchen table for two days. It’s titled We Need A Radical CHANGE, and on the cover is a black-and-white illustrated collage featuring: a race riot; the word HATE; pills; a man grimacing with his eyes tightly clenched and fingers grasping at his temples; an angry black preacher. Turns out they were from the Twelve Tribes community out in Nelson, which, from the sounds of it, is a group on the model of the (mythological) early Christian church, who live according to primitive biblical commandments, particularly those that relate to the position of women.

The first essay, entitled “When the foundations are DESTROYED,” discusses the breakdown of social norms and the foundations of family life. The first instance of rampant moral decay brought to the reader’s attention begins: “Not long ago it would not have been allowed to show a woman with nothing on but her underwear. The town would have boycotted such a store or perhaps the police would have even put a stop to it.” Ah yes, the glorious Godly days of the morality police. “A woman with nothing on but her underwear,” the author huffs, “right there in front of everyone.” Other societal ills include women working outside the home and women taking pain-killers during labour. (The pain bonds them to the child, you see, and the husband is bonded to the wife by empathizing with her suffering. The intelligent designer sure did think of everything!) In fact, the only instances of moral turpitude in which women (as such) are not specifically implicated are high divorce rates (which should really maybe count for half) and our lack of a death penalty for murder.

Needless to say, I was disappointed. I thought I’d finally found the agrarian end-times cult for me, but guess I’ll just have to start my own. In my cult, women will not only be allowed but encouraged to take drugs while only wearing underwear, and even also to have sex with other women, to whom they may or may not be married. My cult will rule! It’ll be just like the sixties, but without the hope.

The Water Situation

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

The drinking water here has been a bit sketchy since that storm blew in off the Pacific last week. The massive rainfall stirred up all this junk in the tapwater, making it turbid and brown. Right now we’re clocking in at around 24 nephelometric turbidity units (NTUs), well above the Canadian Drinking Water Guideline’s recommended 1 NTU. There have been fistfights outside CostCo over bulk bottled water. Can you believe that shit? I wonder how these people would behave in a genuine crisis.

But it’s not a big deal; it’s just minerals, sediment, organic matter and such that got washed into the reservoirs. I’ve been showering and brushing my teeth and doing my dishes without problems. Really, this is just a little taste of how most of the world lives. Do you know how thrilled people in China or Iraq would be if their tapwater was only a little bit brown and cloudy? They’d be pretty fucking happy.

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Congratulations North Korea

Monday, October 9th, 2006

N. Korea detonates a nuclear device. According to seismic data, the underground detonation was between 3.8 (S. Korean data) and 4.2 (US Geological Survey data) on the Richter scale, which translates to approximately a 1 kiloton bomb. Which means the device probably failed to achieve critical mass. So that’s good news, I guess.

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