Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is Vancouver

Here’s one side of Hastings street, whereas on the other side you have this.

The developers are coming in on the slummier parts of Hastings. It’s too close to Gas town and downtown to let it just stay the way it is. Just up the street you see this across from this.

With that being said, I talked to someone who works as a social worker in Vancouver. Between the closing of a number of institutions for the mentally ill, and racism towards natives, it’s really quite tragic how some of the people end up in the situations you see them in. That’s not even to mention the youth on the streets, apparently one in five of the kids on the Vancouver streets were kicked out of their house for being gay. I just thought it would only be fair to offer some balance to my posts considering last post I wrote about the problems the business owners were struggling with. Obviously it’s a big, complicated problem.

On the brighter side of things I found a cool hot dog place I want to try. And the Ramen noodle joints are top notch. Come out sometime and visit, I'll show you all the spots to get a great meal for under $10.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vancouver state of mind

In the absence of having much to report I thought I’d just talk about Van City in this time before it becomes warm and gets to be a wicked city again.

I read somewhere that Douglas Copeland said his favorite thing about the city was something like “it hasn’t become what it’ll be yet”. At the time I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say but now I know what he means. One cool thing about this place is you really get the vibe that things are changing. A year from now we’re going to have the Olympics here, and from the sound of things the legacy wont be as terrible as some of the other Olympic tragedies – ahem, Montreal, Greece. For one, apparently all the facilities are going to be on budget, plus we get a wicked subway line out of it. Granted apparently the security is going to be over budget, but hey we can’t win them all.

The weirdest part of the whole thing is what they’re going to do about the east hastings problem. As much as it’s probably not the most PC thing to say, this city could use a little bit of Giuliani. With a year left before the Olympics I still don’t see how they’re going to sort out that whole situation. Sometimes in the press you’ll read about people complaining about the treatment of people down on skid row, the thing that the press always seems to mix up is the difference between poor people and drug addicts/crackheads/people with mental problems. They’ve considered offering affordable housing down in that area but every poor person who isn’t addicted to drugs just said “screw it, I’d rather live in Burnaby”. Other times you’ll see headlines like “East hastings residence protest treatment by police”. The problem is the stories will usually end with a sentence like:

“The man, who goes by the name ‘crunchy’ said the people of Hastings have had enough of their profiling by the police.”

Okay, I have a feeling “crunchy” probably isn’t a business owner, or a member of the local community board. Why aren’t they talking more to the honest business owners who are actually trying to turn around the neighborhood and see how they feel? The people who have to deal with Crunchy and others smoking crack in front of his business. God knows in the limited times I’ve been there I’ve seen people smoke crack in front of me. Most Vancouverites don’t say it in public, but in private it’s hard to draw up sympathy for those people.

With that issue aside there’s a ton of awesome stuff going on. Recently we got awarded an MLS team for 2011. BC Place is about to get decked out and modernized to look sweet. There’s also a real positivity around the city. As much as I often complain about the lack of nightlife and stuff, it’s also sort of because there’s so much awesome stuff to do during the day. Every time I drive more than 5 blocks I go by a skate park. There’s giant mountains everywhere, the pink salmon are going to run this fall (note: if anyone wants to go fishing, come out here in September, they say during the pink run you can walk across the river on the backs of the fish) and even the Vancouver Art Gallery has switched their focus from trying to get traveling group of seven shows to trying to push contemporary artists (Hamilton art gallery take note, you’ll never compete with the big boys, might as well try and show new and exciting stuff).

One funny thing about this place is I still miss the people of Ontario. At heart I really am a Hamilton guy and I notice it out here sometimes. People tend to be in their bubble a bit out here and a little unreceptive to strangers, it might also be because if you stop anyone on the street they automatically assume you’re homeless.

This city is like that party you go to where they have an open bar, wicked music playing and a dance floor choked with good looking girls. But for some reason unless you go with a big posse of friends you still somehow only have a good but not great night. The people can sometimes be a bummer.

Not really sure what this post was all about, just thought it was worth sharing a few opinions right before spring comes again and this city really becomes awesome again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks day

A holiday only people without jobs can enjoy, where they spend all day getting drunk. Man the collective fear coming out of the world tomorrow might turn the sun into a black hole.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A night on the town.

Another weekend in beautiful Vancouver. I was still recovering from a pretty serious cold so I decided to rest up Friday night. Not much to report unless you want to talk about how much time I wasted playing the video game Fable 2.

Still it was kind of nice to sleep in Saturday morning. The weekend before I had woken up at quarter to five to go out fishing with a seasoned vet of the rivers out here who was going to give me some fishing tips. The trip was pretty helpful and the guy was a real help, but I’m simply not the die hard fisherman who copes well with getting up at five in the morning. I’d rather shake off a hang over and get to the river at noon. But hey, that’s just me. Either way, being on the river for sunrise was pretty cool.

Alright, back to the weekend that just passed. Me and Christy decided to try out another burger place near by, Moderne Burger. Another place developing a rep for awesome burgers around town. The place is decked out to look totally like an art deco diner out of the 40’s or something. Really impressive especially with respect to their attention to detail. The only knock against it was the waitress who served us was wearing lu lu lemon pants. I mean, if you go all the way to getting an authentic jukebox into the place and original light installations couldn’t you drop the extra $20 on getting your waitresses to wear something more acceptable than a thinly veiled pair of sweat pants? The burgers themselves were pretty awesome. As were the shakes, which they give you with those metal cup things that they mix them in, so you get the extra little bit. Christy was pretty stoked on the fries too.

Saturday night me and Christy caught word from a friend who works at Color Magazine that Anti-Social (a big time skate shop out here, owned by Rick McCrank I think) was having an anniversary show at the Biltmore with Ladyhawk and some other band. And what was even better, she could get us in for free. Sweet! Little did I know this was only the beginning of the sweetness.

When we got into the place it turns out for the 7th anniversary of the store they were selling Pabst Blue Ribbon cans for $3.50. I got into them pretty fast. And kept going, and going and going. I could tell I was at a pretty exclusive party because of all the celebrities there. I saw Russell Brand hanging out with the asian dude from NERD, The Mac guy from the Mac and PC ads and even Doctor Who managed to travel through time and space to make it there. Oh yeah, and Party-squatch was there too, not to mention a dude with the most annoying looking haircut I could ever imagine. Also saw some sweet fashion, like a floating hood not actually attached to a hoodie. All in all it was a pretty good night, everyone was in a good mood, dudes were crowd surfing and it was nice to finally party at such a classy joint. Ladyhawk was okay, I don’t know all the bands kind of sounded like music from the 60’s or 70’s, no offence to my dad but I just ain’t into the same music he grew up listening to, but for some reason it seems to be all the craze with a lot of the hip kids these days. I don’t understand the kids these days, isn’t the point to rebel against your parents not be them?

Christy goes to Florida Friday. Party at me and Captain’s place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My local

For anyone who's ever been in Vancouver for more than in an hour, you recognize pretty quickly how crap this city is for drinking.

Luckily near my house there's a pretty sweet bar called the Kings Head. Part of the appeal of it is that it does look dumpy, but it's not real hastings-terrifying-homeless-guy-smoking-crack-in-the-corner dumpy. On the other hand in Van city you get a lot of "lounges". I have yet to figure out how people are able to lounge in a place where crap dance music is blaring but you're meant to sit at a table that's big enough to hold two beers at a time max.

So I think in the early 80's someone tried to make some sort of medeival themed bar but just kind of went half way on it. The place looks like a cross between a bar and the coolest tree fort you've ever been in. On top of that they have decent priced beer, a small patio and a decent breakfast for $3.99. If you're ever in Kits, check it out.