May 24, 2012
So, it’s become evident to me that I’m a pretty shit blogger these days. I can never find the time to write even a few paragraphs. Granted, Twitter has taken a good chunk of the communicative energy that I used to devote to this blog, and that’s good in its own way, but the results speak for themselves.
Art is just as much about limits as it is about skill, inspiration and social commentary. And this is perhaps why this blog has failed over the past year. Ever since I returned from France at the end of 2007, I haven’t had much reason to report on anything.
But now, I feel that, for both personal and professional reasons, I now do. Being over 3000 kilometers from home means that there will be a captive audience of sorts, and moving upward from what is essentially a pleasant backwater to the social, cultural and economic heart of this Great Country means that the needs of performing with purpose and achieving success instead of failure will simply become even more critical.
So, no – this isn’t quite an ending. It’s actually an exciting new beginning. But it’s one that will require a certain degree of finality in order to start on the right foot. Thus I sign off of Twilight City with one of my favourite quotes:
“…and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written.”
February 25, 2012
i don’t need much. i have been lucky in life.
i don’t have to feel a certain way. i have freedom of conscience.
i don’t want the same things that others do. i make my own decisions.
i don’t seek ropes to tie me down. if they ever come, they’ll take me without consent.
but sometimes, i don’t know what i’m doing with my life.
sometimes, i don’t know what direction to steer myself in,
and sometimes, i don’t know how i will do it alone.
man, i really need to contribute to this blog more often.
quick update on my life if anyone still reads this:
- pride was stressful, but we pulled off two killer events, and i am proud of my accomplishments with quinn. plus, we sent a message to the gay mafia: that we will not be intimidated, especially not on our own turf.
- i ended up finding a very sweet man and falling in love. and i still love him. but i realized over the better part of a year that we are not meant to be together – our paths lie along two different roads in life.
- i am working for vision vancouver, a municipal political party. i’m pretty damn stoked on this – i’ve actually wanted a job with them for a long time. they’ve been treating me very well. even though the workload can be heavy and thankless at times, it is one of the only jobs i’ve ever had where i truly look forward to going out for drinks with my colleagues. it’s probably no coincidence that it’s also one of the only jobs i’ve ever had where i feel that my opinion is genuinely considered and respected. also, i get to wear a superhero costume from time to time.
- i’ve also been working for jennifer mascall, a highly talented contemporary dancer and choreographer, as a project developer. while the job is very challenging, i have learned much from it and am glad i accepted the posting.
- i’m still working for julie connolly – the crazy and fabulous woman who ran the irish house during the olympics – this time at her new venture: the jewel ballroom. working there is like working with family. i feel extraordinarily lucky that julie brought me on board.
- SPIT is still going strong. there will certainly be a number of administrative changes happening in the coming months, but they are all to make the party even better.
now, there are some downsides. life has made me very self-aware in the past weeks and months, and i am even more aware of my many shortcomings than ever. i am starting to see my selfish side manifest itself in the world around me, and i am conflicted on how best to manage this. i have also accepted that i’ll always be a bit of a body fascist, and that i’m not getting any younger, so more discipline in terms of my diet and exercise will be required in the near future. however, i have taken some advice from a friend and have started to embrace my body hair. i must concede, it’s rather liberating to run your fingers through your own chest hair.
i suppose the biggest challenge for me in the next while will be trying to balance my social life with my career development.
but that is not as big of a challenge as finding out where the hell your place is in life.
finally, the gears have engaged. let’s hope they keep shifting upward.
June 21, 2011
portland seems to me like it’s this miniature version of new york city. of course, never having been to the big apple, i can’t be sure. but though the scale of the city cannot even compare, there is a solid refinedness and sense of identity here that is hard to find in vancouver.
i could go on for hours about the wonderful food, the fascinating people, the delicious beer and coffee, the music and cultural scene, but then it wouldn’t be easy to distinguish a weekend here from a weekend back home. consumption is consumption, regardless of what you want to call it. not that such is inherently bad, but it’s probably best to call it for what it is.
rather, what i am really interested in here is that portland’s biggest stereotype is its people. there is a lifestyle here that is just so perfect. many might call it banal – these same people probably did their MBAs and will easily eschew critical thought for cash. and it’s partly true – sometimes it seems like nobody ever works in a “big boy” industry here – no finance, no big real estate. it’s almost like everyone works at a bar, or in a coffee shop, or in a bookstore.
but that’s what makes this place amazing. that observation might just be largely true.
social stratification is relative. it doesn’t seem that portland’s working roots have been uprooted. this place has preserved its middle class with dignity and grace, in style and with a good deal of plain old weirdness. that economic ubermensch crowd doesn’t exist here in any big numbers. and it shows. and it makes portland shine.
i could live here in a second.
trains may go fast, but that’s hardly what matters in rapid transit. you can build the best subway system in the world, but without support, those trains will run empty. for example: imagine shanghai, with one of the fastest growing metro systems on earth. now, imagine having to navigate the system using this map – not as easy if your mandarin is rusty. without a well-functioning information system, the actual transit system is for naught.
another example, to get from my uncle’s place in thornhill to my grandmum’s place in north york requires paying twice: $3.25 for YRT north of steeles, and $3 for the TTC in toronto proper. by comparison, to go from my grandmum’s place to union station in downtown toronto would only cost $3 while being faster, more convenient (i.e. not requiring a transfer) and going over 3 km further. same problem – lack of support – different day.
the key thing in my mind is interconnectivity. if a transit system doesn’t take people where they want to go in a seamless, integrated fashion, people will not use it unless coerced by lack of better choices.
it’s for this reason why i support an extension of the millennium line (page 9 of 28) underneath broadway to UBC. though it may be expensive, and there may be inconvenience in the short term, the investment will pay off in the long run with shorter commute times, lower operating costs and a system that functions so smoothly you hardly know it’s there.
the other options just do not stack up. with the exception of bus rapid transit, we will be keying ourselves into a system that we’ll want to be tearing up in 15 years.
let me say this: if we end up paying millions of dollars for a system that is running over capacity from day one, i will be the first one to be laughing as i bike past.
April 4, 2011
in the past, BC voters have tended to buck electoral trends. this anti-bellweather province has only elected most of its of MPs for a governing party twice between 1968 and 2006. however, in an era of repeated minority governments – a supposed anomaly under our first-past-the-post westminster system – pundits and party operatives have looked to BC as a coveted (and thus highly contested) region.
many ridings, such as my own (vancouver-east, an NDP stronghold), are well entrenched in their voting patterns. but many of the country’s dramatic races will be happening here on election night, as a number of very interesting ridings are up for grabs.
BC’s status as parliamentary kingmaker has led to an increase of its influence within the confederation, along with an increased profile. however, that spotlight will shine brightly only as long as this province continues to vote erratically.
in that light, here’s a list of ridings to watch:
- burnaby-douglas: the NDP is counting on SFU professor kennedy stewart to hold on to this working family riding. although considered a safe seat for the NDP, it has increasingly become a three-way race between the liberals and the conservatives. prediction: NDP hold
- vancouver-kingsway: much like burnaby-douglas, this is another three-way race, this time in the heart of vancouver. this riding has tended to vote NDP or liberal, with a fairly strong conservative showing. prediction: NDP hold
- vancouver-south: the conservatives came very close to taking this riding from former premier ujjal dosanjh in 2008; the liberals are not going to risk this one again. prediction: liberal hold
- west vancouver-sunshine coast-sea to sky country: this riding lumps together communities as different as powell river and whistler, squamish and the british properties. though this tends to be a conservative stronghold, i wouldn’t call it safe: the liberals took it last time. prediction: conservative hold
- esquimalt-juan de fuca: this riding has been held by keith martin since 1993, under 5 different banners – reform, alliance, conservative, independant and liberal. now retiring, this is a tossup. my guess is that this will be a conservative-NDP race, especially with this being both a working class and military riding. prediction: NDP gain
- saanich-gulf islands: this might be the most watched riding in the country. much like west vancouver-sunshine coast-sea to sky country, it consists of the hippie-life gulf islands, the retirees of saanich and the professional civil service in victoria. the reform/alliance/conservatives have held this riding since 1993, but the intense media attention provided to the greens and their leader, elizabeth may, has made this an unpredictable race. prediction: green gain
my guess is that BC’s 36 seats will break down as follows: 21 conservative, 10 NDP, 4 liberal, 1 green.
it will be interesting to see what comes of this election, as it has the potential to become a redefining moment in our history. potential, however, does not always translate into action; beyond whatever the politico-types will have you believe, it will probably be remarkable for one thing only: a record-low voter turnout.
November 25, 2010
as many of you know, i am a relatively recent graduate from UBC with a B.A. in human geography. it’s a very special field, in that, due to its sheer breadth, it can possibly be said to be the ultimate social science. Yet – somehow – it manages to escape classification as an academic “discipline” for the very same reasons. kyle macdonald, the author of one red paperclip (and, somewhat unsurprisingly, another alumnus of UBC’s geography department) once referred to it as “the study of the obvious.” others have said that it’s the study of space and place, and how the two play out against each other. wikipedia describes it as “the study of human use and understanding of the world and the processes which have affected it.”
i prefer to describe it a bit differently differently, in a way that emphasizes the human aspect of it: human geography is the study of relationships between man and everything else.
of course, I do have skills outside the geographical world: i have run events, managed businesses, worked promotional and political campaigns, been a community advocate and – having grown up in vancouver – slung a lot of coffee. for all of my pseudo-hippie side however, i am no enemy of the corporate world; i believe that business has a big role to play in changing the world for the better, and i would love to be a part of it. (plus, i look surprisingly good in a suit.)
so as much as i have had a great go at living the bohemian life over the past few years, i am ready for a change, and i want to do that through the world of work. and this is where i ask you, my readers, for some help.
what follows is my CV – please look it over and keep me in mind over the next days and weeks. if you know of, or come across, a company, an organization or a job opportunity that you think i would fit well into, please let me know about it. and, hey, maybe you’d even put in a good word about me. (i.e. tell them that i make a killer mezze plate and mix a mean mojito.)
[CV available in PDF format; follow the jump for the text-only version.]