Tag Archives: 2010

Olympic Autopsy

65258063The biggest party in the world shut down a little after 2am Monday morning, as the last revellers in Vancouver staggered out of the downtown core, leaving the wake of their destruction for the hardest-working city clean-up crew ever.

The Olympics are gone.*

17 days of madness, medals, and mountains have come to a close, and the emotional fall-out is like nothing I could’ve prepared for.

The last seven years of our lives here in Vancouver have been dominated by the controversy and catharsis of a city trying to get ready for an epic event that’d bring millions into our town for the celebrations.

Seven years! Planning, fighting, dreaming, waiting. They came, they saw, they used their Visa cards.

All done now. All over but the fallout and numbers.

Looking at headlines since, it’s clear the world got impressed with our desire to have a good time while the Games were in town.

But it sure as hell didn’t start out that way.
Continue reading

An Open Letter to Anti-2010-Olympics Protestors

Hi. I’m Steffani, and I’m a lifelong Vancouverite.

I voted “YES” in the Olympics plebiscite “back in the day,” when we lowly democratic peons had the chance to vote on the once-every-four-years-party that, you know, would cost a few bucks to put on.

Now, I know, that voting day was such a sunny, beautiful day so many years ago that we didn’t even have a majority of our citizens turn out.

You know what? Not MY problem.

Because I fuckin’ voted. I did my job. Continue reading

Cashing My Reality Check

Whew. Here we are. January 4, 2010.

I’d given myself a good excuse not to write this morning: “I don’t feel like it”; but now I feel like I need to put some stuff down. Not for you, not because I said I’d try to write 10 pieces on Getting Shit Done in 2010, but because I just need to say a few things to myself, for myself. You’re just the fly on the wall.

I’m genuinely daunted by all I know stands before me this year. I’m scared as fuck about what it is I hope I will have accomplished when I’m standing on this date come next year. Continue reading

10 for 2010: Mindset for the Munch-Challenge

Weightloss is one of those things. Some fail at it — or almost succeed then fail — repeatedly until they finally Get It. The disease of morbid obesity, or even the dreaded beer-belly syndrome, is almost always as a result of one or both of two things: ignorance or lack of accounting.

Me, I was both ignorant of just how bad my diet was, and dishonest about to what extent I was misbehaving. That was then. Now I’m only ever guilty of the  lack of accounting. Ignorance isn’t such a problem anymore.

But that’s the thing with weightloss. Everyone talks like it’s only about the diet or the exercise, but, for me, the head game’s been at least 50%, maybe more, of my success.

I doubt I’m alone on that. Continue reading

10 for 2010: Programming My Life for Health Success

Prologue

Today, it’s the start of a whole new thang. It’s 2010.

This is a loosey-goosey promise ‘cos we all know weeks can go off-the-hook in a hurry, but I’m gonna try my damnedest to have 10 days of 2010 — postings big or small about either reflecting on the Year That Was or projecting on The Year to Be. They’re not written yet, hence the iffyness of my promise, but it’s exciting to think what crazy direction such an unplanned writing promise could lead me in. I prefer writing such things in the thick of the moment; it’s more honest and raw when I do. Here’s hoping. :)

The Meat

Here in Vancouver, Canada, it’s Olympics time. The big winter show rolls in this February. Everyone’s gonna get higher, faster, higher, stronger. Citius, altius, fortius, baby.

2009, my goal was to continue my weightloss and take another 50 pounds off, like I had in ’08. Unfortunately… Continue reading

When Will It Change?

I work a couple blocks away from one of the nastiest parts of my beloved city, Vancouver, Canada. It’s like a whole other world when you stumble into the Downtown East Side, just two blocks east of my office, a place that held, in the early ’90s, the highest urban rate of AIDS and HIV infection on the globe.

People like me who’ve lived in this city our whole lives know more about the disenfranchised in that area, and I have my own speculations on how it’s gotten so out of hand, but I’ve never looked into it all that much.

Suffice to say that at that two-block point east of here, it’s like an invisible wall has gone up. People sleep on streets, heroin is shot in alleys, fights break out over drugs, and everything’s out of control.

This area houses most of the prostitution and all of the meth and heroin junkies in the city. The mentally ill who are deinstitutionalized run rampant in this hood, and I’m faced daily with heartbreak and hopelessness when I see how much work is left to be done to help all these impoverished, seemingly forgotten members of our city.

We’re beginning to get a reputation internationally for what’s largely gone unchecked in this city, and that saddens me, considering all else this city has to offer — the natural beauty, the unforgettable cuisine, the multicultural population, the sports, and more. What the world doesn’t see and doesn’t seem to understand is how stacked against success the odds really are in dealing with this travesty.

This city is a magnet for the nation’s homeless — even for America’s homeless. They all want to be here because the climate is so tolerable year-round and because the cops tend to empathize rather than penalize these impoverished people. After all, if you’re homeless, where would you rather be in the winter, the snows of Toronto and Montreal, where it can go far below freezing every winter, or in the temperate climes of Vancouver?

Add to that the fact that so many drugs land here in Vancouver, where an average of 150 million massive cargo freights pass through annually, where we barely have the staff to search them, and where drug laws are so much more relaxed than in America, and you have a ticking time bomb that no easy solutions will patch.

The world’s about to hear more regarding this harrowing part of Vancouver, though, with the release of a controversial new “fictional” horror film by Australian filmmakers that focuses on one of the most legendary bastards ever to live in this province. Robert “Willie” Pickton is facing trial for the brutal murders of 26 Vancouver-area prostitutes, but is suspected of killing more than 125 of these women over the course of 20 years. A pig farmer by trade, Pickton covered his ass well by having his pigs devour the corpses of these women. As a result, little DNA evidence was recovered by what was the largest criminal investigation in Canadian history.

I’m saddened by the news that the families of these missing and dead women will have to endure a film that will probably sensationalize these brutal murders. And while I’m further saddened by the continuing downward spiral of this incredible city’s reputation, perhaps international attention will finally convince both the British Columbian and Canadian governments that this absolutely is NOT a problem that can be solved by Vancouver’s government alone. Our cops are stretched as thin as cellophane and there’s no money to be had.

In less than four years, the world will be on our doorsteps when the 2010 Olympics unveil. And what will have happened to the disenfranchised and forgotten by then? God only knows, but many, including myself, suspect they’ll be shifted out of the downtown core, pushed off to the side just to become some other neighbourhood’s problem. Out of sight, out of mind, and, possibly, out of hope.