Round Up: The Week That Was

I have worked every day for eight days, writing for a few hours on all my off days, so, the blogging force is not strong in me right now, Young Jedis. This may be the way of the Steff world for a while, but after so long running the financial tank on half-empty, I’m trying not to gripe about the opportunities coming my way. It’s a great change. Right? Sure.

But… there’s a lot going on in my/our world, and if I don’t stop to take a writing break, none of it will ever get my attention.

In such a blah news week, why not a quirky old picture? Celebrating what it is, a Beetle reportedly crossed the Irish Sea from the Isle of Mann in the '80s(?). Apparently sailed by Malcolm Buchanan.

So, the week that was, then, except for Norway because I’m still processing this because I’ve been working too much to follow it. It deserves more than a passing comment.

Amy Winehouse, Forever 27

I don’t know what it is about that age. Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Cobain, Janis Joplin, Basquiat, and now Winehouse, all dead.

I’ll confess I’ve never really listened to her. I have a hard time getting into people I fear won’t be alive long, since this reputation long preceded Winehouse’s death.

Russell Brand really said everything that needs to be said about Amy in this shockingly good blog post.

And I promise to spend a rainy night sometime learning about her music, thinking about the prices paid for having an artistic predisposition — since artists are more likely to overdose and/or commit suicide than most. Just another brilliant mind gone far too soon.

Jack Layton, Cancer

I’m much more upset by the news of Jack Layton’s second instance of cancer, a new kind too, than I thought I would be, and angry he’s so gaunt so soon. The Left needed a more energized and optimistic voice in Canada, and despite how badly the recent national election went, I was optimistic that Layton could bridge the divide between all the left-of-centre voices in this country for a stronger political opposition as time goes on.

And maybe he still will. But let’s be real, it’s cancer, and they’re not saying what kind. That’s probably not a good sign.

This itself is becoming a controversy. Are we, the public, entitled to know what the opposition leader’s specific cancer is?

You know what? No. Fuck it. Why? Why do we need to go there? We don’t. It doesn’t change anything. He’s stepping aside. Shut up and let the man fight his fight.

The media’s prying because they want the meaty story. What about all the stories on X-cancer and Y-treatment options? How in god’s name will the networks ramp up their viewership if they don’t have specifics?

Well, fuck you, media. I don’t want the specifics today. I want Jack to get well. I don’t want the public jumping to conclusions on treatments for X-cancer when others’ cases might be different. I don’t want cancer sensationalised or peppered over the news yet again.

Layton’s shooting for a return date of September 19th. With everything I have, I hope it works for him. I didn’t vote for him, but I greatly admire him, and he’s a great Canadian.

Yo, Vancouver, What’s the 311?

If you live in Vancouver and you haven’t discovered the 3-1-1 City Services number, it’s among the best “service-related things a civic government has done for this city in my lifetime, I would say. Put down the blue pages, don’t dare Google that number — if you have a problem with ANYTHING the City has a department for, call 3-1-1 and report it.

One number, every solution. It makes every corporation in Canada look like an asshat for making phone customer service so onerous (I’m looking at you, Telus and Fido).

Every time I’ve called, I’ve been helped in 5 minutes or less. In the last month, I’ve called about:

  • tubs of black mystery liquid abandoned in my alley (picked up by sanitation next day)
  • an eroding bike lane (fixed later that week)
  • a small “pocket” city park whose lights had blown out (called to say wiring had shorted, it got repaired that weekend)
  • finding a cockroach in my apartment (I called on Saturday, city inspector called me for details Monday, by noon)
  • an injured, possibly rabid urban coyote in a cemetery (they said a conservation officer would see if he could heal & carry on with life, or not)

So, when they say it’s a one-stop dial-in shop for civic services, the City of Vancouver doesn’t lie. Stop thinking it’s impossible to affect change at an on-your-street level because, clearly, them things they are a-changin’.

Pride Week

Here, in Vancouver, it’s Gay “Pride Week.” Click here for events scheduled.

While I’m not gay, I think it’s a great opportunity to remember that being yourself makes living your life a lot easier. Be honest about who you are, what you want, what you love, who you love, and how you want to live.

Life spend half-honest, or full of compromise, is a life left unlived.

For every person I turn off or push away by “being my blunt self,” it’s one less person I need to worry about pleasing in the future, and those who remain are further proven to be the ones I need be concerned with keeping.

  • Celebrate who you are.
  • Celebrate who others are.
  • Embrace diversity.
  • Encourage individualism.
  • Don’t apologize for being different.
  • Don’t tone it down.

And keep on keepin’ on, my fine, diverse brothers and sisters. You make life more fun, and you’re welcome in my world.