Sunday, November 15, 2009

"The Future of Vancouver a Model City or Urban Gated Community"

Ah Vancouver, my city by choice like so many others. A town that is always on the some publication's annual  "Best City", or "Most livable City" list. In some ways it is, great views, access to the ocean and stunning nature, a amazing culinary scene. Yes this is a great city.....for now....
 With sky rocketing real estate prices that run from bat shit crazy to just plain Lindsey Lohan on meth crazy. This week there was a report that by the spring the average price for a detached single family home will be $900 grand! And for you who do not live here just google "Vancouver Special" to see what just shy of a cool million will get you today in crow city.
"Vancouver Special"

  A few years back  the city sold it's soul to Concord Pacific in return for an experiment in Modern Urban Density. Soon we became a city of glass fish bowl condos. They all look similar, Mc Condos, with out supersizing. Sure Condos in and of themselves are not bad. Home ownership is a good thing, but for alot of people they do not want to own, or cannot afford to own. So they rent.

 Rentals in Vancouver are scarce, you might have  a better chance of seeing Big Foot or John Gosslin not wearing a douchy Ed Hardy shirt.  The city has chosen condos not apartments for this city. Thus turning us slowly into the largest urban gated community on earth outside Dubai.
 Vancouver will become an elitist Tower filled country club where we have to bus in the people who feed us, sell us stuff, and  who also work below management levels.

 Condos are not the answer to a successful City / Urban experience. A mix of rentals and ownership, market price and affordable housing makes for a dynamic diverse community. Not a Island of Glass fish bowls and hot yoga studios.  Just look at our city they have pretty much torn down every old building, and as a New Yorker it is kinda unsettling and sterile. We do have areas that are still real city, gritty interesting but they are quickly dying.

 Vancouver will to me only really be a world class city when, it is a place of economic inclusion, a place that gets rid of it's draconian booze laws so we can have more live music, arts and culture and not just one large dance club downtown. A place that can celebrate its economic diversity as much as its cultural diversity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day 10 "You have Cancer...Now What?"

Last week I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma, and after years of wanton sun worship and growing up when no one knew of skin cancer we all lathered our bodies up with baby oil on the beach. There were even oils with crystallized crap in them to amplify the sun for a deeper tan. No days that is crazy talk in line with Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.

 After I found out my mind went thru it's usually line of thought, from why me?, to time for bucket list. After I settled in with my turn of fate the toughts have normalized into "what should I do with the dead hookers in my closet".. No No i joke..... But I have thought about what I should be doing with my life in the near future and here is what I came up with so far;

A) I will continue to work. I love my job so I will work flex time ,some office ,some home on my boat / refuge.. I will video conference wearing nothing but a tie & shirt no pants.

B) I will get to know some new people outside of my job. I do not have many friends outside of work. It is like a living on the small inbreed island of Pitcarn ( that is where the Bounty descendants live) . So I intend to get to know some of the people I have met on twitter, like, Monica, Kimli, Gus Greeper and her husband, Emme Rogers and the like.

C) I will help Gus Greeper aka Corinna Carlson get her Bali Charity off the ground. I love that part of the world and I feel my connections, and inventiveness could be an asset to her in her cause.

D) I love Public Art...always have, i feel it is a wonderful way for people of all walks of life to experience art in their own way. So I plan on putting together a photo project of all of the public art in Vancouver and creating a website so anyone including schools can find our cities public art.

E) I will buy a new camera and get back into Photography. My late wife was a professional photographer and always amazed me with her talent and humanity in he work. I always loved to take pictures and wanted to get more serious about it now I will.

F) Reconnection with old friends... It is time to re connect with people i loved in my life. Now that I may not have a long lifetime to do this I plan a"Moose Tour" so that I can get as many of my old friends as drunk as I can.

G) Easy part! I will strive to be nicer, more open and better member of my community. To be a participant in life and not just an observer / consumer of it.

That is it for now, I hope you all choose to follow me in my new journey of self exploration, and maybe just maybe be inspired by it.

VIVA LA BADGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaBloPoMo day 9 " When is a Blog not a Blog but a HTML Infomercial?"

 This post is bound to get me sent to the Blogger version of the misfit toys from x-mas island. It is just a personal observation and snapshot of my views of  social media life.

  I am new to blogging but I have been a avid web browser / lurker since Mosaic was still a browser and all you could find were animated gifs and gopher sites (cira 1993) which in web years might as well be before the baby jebus.... I have seen so much bad internet it is sick. I was even a subscriber of AOL for 2 years til it almost drove me to kill. I am also a working journalist / producer. I do not write about it because it is my life so much of the time i need a break once and awhile.
  So when is a Blog a Blog? When does it cross from social media to social marketing? And should bloggers get paid to advertise products or services in the guise of reviews when by the fact of receiving payment of money or goods and services still be considered blogs.  I do not have a problem with people making a living blogging, if you have a service or product go market it. If that product is you even better I support that fully. Social Media is a great place to market in and around. I have plenty of friends who do this and do it very well.

 The difference is when the line is blurred. Blogging about that wonderful resort or restaurant you went to is great, But if you got your hotel stay for free for the blog post or your diner free to pimp for the eatery. I start to have issues. Some will say that I am jealous, but i am not. I cannot take payment or service for a piece I do not because I am a a professional Journalist and that would be intellectually dishonest, and professionally immoral. I do think that people who pimp for businesses and services should state that they were paid for the article in the post. Or they run the same line as infomercials that pretend to be news shows.... which is very intellectually dishonest.
 Please understand fellow bloggers, I do not have a problem with people "Self Marketing" or "Marketing for friends". But some blogs and bloggers are not friends with every biz in town (especially the really trendy and hip ones)
 These forms of HTML Infomercial, tricks the reader into thinking it is a honest review, a real experience, one persons interaction with some thing they paid for. It is nothing else but dishonest. I have read some of these blogs and i find it easy to figure out quick. there are never any medicore reviews, everything, at everyplace they visit or product they use is Fabulous and not to be missed.

 Are these bloggers parasites? yes to a degree, it is that they feed their wallets off of businesses who are willing to pay, feed, cloth, and house these tape worm bloggers. By no means should we run them out of town with pitch forks and torches, we should just call them what they are. social media infomercials. Bloggers who are just like Shlomo the Sham-wow guy, minus the hooker beating. or the late billy Mays. They just do it in a slick, internet based way. And we do not even have to pay shipping & and handling.
  There are also blogs written by big Biz as well. Disguised as consumer information blogs when again they are just shills.

 I will continue to support bloggers who write because they like to, or write because their minds make them. I will also support anyone who markets themselves and their product in social media. But for me soon it will be open season on blogger infomercials, just like so many of us bag on their television equivalents.  I hope I still have some online social media friends after this......

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day 8 " I am a Locavore! Eating within 100 miles for the environment & Health

 I am taking a break from my usual Snarky Post to talk about the environment. We all know that the environment is a major issue, alot of use have switched from Plastic bags, to cloth ones, or have bought a hybrid car. Some of us buy Carbon Offset Credits, switched our light bulbs, recycle or try and buy green products. This is all good, a nice start and very politically correct. It is hard to sift through all the green washing and figure out what we can do to really have an impact on our planet and community.
 I will not dive into green washing that will be a later post but I will talk about Thinking & Acting locally to save our big blue marble and our health.
  Around a year ago I became a Locavore, what is a Locavore you say? It is eating local food, food grown and raised within 100 to 200 miles from where you live. The environmental impact of food that is produced and shipped from far away is just as bad as that Hummer your local douchebag is driving. It is also not as healthy, as much of what we eat is over processed, full of salt and chemicals to preserve it and does not support local businesses. I am at home 80% local because I just cannot do without Bananas, mangos, Kiwis and and some veggies that you cannot get locally. I also have a addiction to kraft dinner deluxe.  When I dine out I am around 50% local, I will not go to big chain dining establishments like Olive Garden, as the food is processed, shipped, and the money does not stay in the community.

 Yes, if you decide to live this way, you are locked into seasonal fruits and veg, but you also unlock yourself to wonderful local growers, Artisan Cheese mongers, Bakers, and Butchers. Wonderful food that is healthier, tastier, low impact and keeps your money in the community and out of the hands of huge multinational companies. You may not be ready for this, it was easy for me because Since I started to eat this way i lost 85lbs!!!! not strange dieting, not starvation. I eat what I want and do not gain weight.

 With us getting closer to peak oil, where gas will cost 4 to 6 bucks a gallon and a lot of the food we eat will become prohibitively expensive we will be forced to eat this way. It is the way our ancestors ate and then Obesity was not epidemic, and food had flavors other than salty. You may say you shop organic but that is not always local. Because I buy organic Mangoes and the last time I checked they did not grow in Canada. Organic can  also be greenwashing, as it is easy to put that label on lots of stuff that is not really healthy.

 So if you want to be kind to the planet, enjoy your food again, be healthier I will put a few links below for your grazing. Happy Feeding everyone...................................

Canada   a Canadian local food / slow food blog full of resources a Vancouver Locavore guide  a great British Columbia guide to Local eating & shopping

 New York 

The U.S. 

Locavore Restaurants, Vancouver  Probably the best Local food Eatery in Vancouver & the best Local       Wine cellar in BC  another yummie place to eat in Vancouver

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day 7 " A Farmville Intervention"

"Farmville" and other Facebook apps have become a scourge worse than meth, crack and lotto scratch off tickets of addiction. Removing friends from any social interaction other than, "Hey  have you seen my lost pink cow?" It seems 80% of my facebook friends have been sucked into this data mining  game .Playing it for hours on end, in some hypnotic stupor leaving them unable to communicate outside of Facebook Apps.

 Has Facebook failed as social media by giving us boring, slow moving, pointless yet addictive games like, "Farmville, Yoville, Mafia Wars, ect.... Most of these games like "mafia wars" are just a reskined version of of the same game yet everyone seems to play each of them like it is a full time job.  When i sign into FB i usually have 60 to 70 requests for these games by my friends! For alot of them it is the only sign of life on facebook I see.
 I like computer games! But ones that give me feedback, or involve skill or problem solving. These games give you none of that, they only give you a virtual cash payout. And some people spend real money on fake money on facebook apps. A true fact as painful as paying to get told you had sex without actually bumping uglies. They are the Thorazine of the game world.

 This is plea to my friends, stop this insanity, please.. I am truely interested in what you have to say... I do not need any pink cows, or maifa slum apartments.  Do I need to call A&E Intervention for you? I am really amazed at the control these games have over people. So share your feelings, or play with your kids, maybe graze some harmless internet porn but please for the love of God stop sending me Pink Cows!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5 NaBloMo " A Few Reasons Why I Think Oprah is Evil"

image from

Ok, before hoards of you attack me on my boat with rolled up "O" magazines and and subdue me with book club stickers hear me out.....

 Is Oprah Satan? No, but she is evil. She did not start out that way, she began a humble journalist, a TV pioneer bringing us stories of triumph and hope. But as he empire grew so did her madness, the first sign of her impending eviltude was Steadmen her version of Katie Holmes, a beard so she can run around with her lover BFF Gail. Then she single handedly became the decider of what we should be reading by bringing us her exclusive "Book Club" and her non-narcissistic magazine "O" in which between ads for feminine hygiene products, her image appears on every page and her name on one count was mentioned over 1200 times.
 Then she went really mad, bring on Dr, Phil...... A un-licensed  shrink who just may love himself more than Queen "O". He is a polished trailer trash shrink who will shove his opinionated head into any media circus he can find, while he keeps his wife behind him with her stepford wife smile.
 Next up was another pop Doctor. DR. OZ who's name sounds like he should be a prison inmate doctor on a softcore gay fetish porn tv show. Dr. Oz who seems to be a specialist in every medical specialty and oddity has become more trusted and quoted than

 She fools us into thinking she is sweet by once a year giving away cars, fridges, vacation, and other stuff that her sponsors actually pay her to give away to screaming soccer moms.
 So yes here I lay the proof that Oprah is evil. She will not destroy the world or kill puppies but she has become a master of TV cheese. Dumbing America down, and has really just became a caricature of herself, feeding crap and we eat it. For Christ sakes she brought us John & Kate that should be proof alone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 4 NaBloMo "Why I Love Social Media"

 I hear from alot of my friends, "Steve why do you love Twitter, Blogs & Facebook so Much?"
I have thought alot about it. I have been an internet geek for a while my first browser was mosaic and I remember when internet media high tech were animated gifs. I never lost interest in the net and it still holds me captive by it's ability to allow people to share their pain, joy, humor, craziness and stupidity.
 Once we trolled chat rooms asking A/S/L and flavicons. Alot of us suffered the horrors what was AOL and could tell how fast our connection would be by the sounds our modem made when we connected.

 Now it the number one place for news, shopping naked, booking vacations. and porn of staggering varieties. But the changing force to me has been both twitter and facebook. Social media allows us to bypass the cacophony of noise we do not want to hear and allows us to connect with people who we want to listen to. It brings people together, lets us know we are not alone in our own thoughts.
  Recently I have discovered how true this is, as this week I discovered that I have cancer. I announced it to the world on Twitter and Facebook. I was blown away by the support of people who have never met me yet took the time to offer support. People who also share the good things of social media as place to find people who think like you. I have virtually met some amazing people. like Monica Hamburg who shares my inerests in the weirder side of the web, or Beth Snow who i learned is a DR, plays hockey, names her material items. Or Kimli who loves games, has horrible people who live below her and also names her material items. Or Gus Greeper a fellow lover of sock monkeys. I have thru blogs or twitter  virtually met some of the most interesting people i could imagine. I am grateful for these people in my online life they bring me smiles, laughter joy and encouragement. They redefine my love of people and belief that we can be kind unselfish and still stop to enjoy the little wackiness in the world. The internet is not  a lonely place. Or a place for lonely people It is a place for rich, dynamic people to share ideas and hopefully change the world. I know this is a ramble but i needed to post today for NaBloPo and i am on some serious painkillers........

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloMo Day 3 "Smells like Transit to Me"

 I will take a day away from talking about my cancer experiences to discus Public Transit...
Vancouver, BC has a pretty ineffectual public transit system, especially to me a guy from NY whose transit is almost good enough to have a stop right next to your bed or local pub.
 We have five modes of transport Typical diesel buses, electric trolley buses, the Sky Train (which is not in the sky so not very cool) community buses and the sea bus.

 Now living in NYC or Chicago, Boston, London or any other real city with transit the people learn the basics of transit etiquette. You wait to the side of the subway doors for people to get off, you fold your newspaper as not to poke the eyes of the potential serial killer sitting next to you and you never, never make eye contact with strangers. Some things are the same everywhere the smells that range from rotten garbage, spoiled milk, spoiled milk festering in underarms, wafting male crotch stink, the universal urine and desperation stink that somehow is the tranist equivalent of that new car smell.

 The smells I can get used to but what makes me want to release 200 hungry rabid badgers loose on my daily commuters are these little nuggets;

Old Asian Ladies: They are the zombies of Vancouver transit, they do not move fast, will push thru a crowd like linebackers, scream gibberish all whist wearing those welders mask / sun visor thing in order to keep the sun from turning these scary ladies to dust.

Homeless Bottle collecting binners / dumpster divers: Last year after a few drivers were called bad names, spit on and a few punched they no  longer require them to enforce fare collection. So now our buses are a parade of hefty bags full of beer bottles, cans and the areas backwash through the bus. They will beg for change, poop and piss their pants and usually harass nice young girls or anyone they think may have a cigarette.

University Students: Every fall brings the changing of the leaves, pumpkins, rain, hockey season and the Bataan death march called the U-Pass. The U-pass is a bus pass for university students it allows them to hog up all th bus space, continually beat your face while you sit with over sized north-face backpacks and force upon us the Jody Foster in "Nell" like conversations on their i-phones. There are some bus routes i will not ride on from Aug. to May out of my own fear of being trapped between some babbling coeds in a bus crash while waiting to be extricated.

Stroller Parties!: Ok I know i will get a beating from mums on this one but! If you have your little pride and joy which sprung from your womb and now rides in a hummer sized stroller. please either do not get on the bus at rush hour, or if you have to invest in a nice small folding stroller. You do not have more rights to a ride because you decided to have a child. And if a bus come up and there are already two strollers onboard....WAIT TIL THE NEXT BUS they run every 5 to 10 minutes.

ESL Students: Yes I know it is ok in your country to squeeze as many people onto a bus or train like some kind of Octomom Vaginal Clown Car but not here please. I know you travel in packs of 20 or more. I think it is a law in the Hello Kitty handbook. Also the bus / sky strain is not a photo studio having a photo shoot in front of the exit doors on the #5 Robson Street bus will get you pushed off the bus onto the pavement and most likely in a pool of spit that your class mates created at the stop while waiting for the bus before us.

To Translink: who operates our transit, why do you stop the subway a hour before last call in the bars? do you also own the local taxis or dui lawyers?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 2 of Nov Blog a day "Screw You Cancer!"

 I had an appointment today from my great GP about a couple of biopsies that I had on my back and shoulders that were done 2 weeks ago. When my DR does not come in the exam rooms smiling and stating that I am his favorite crazy jew. I worry. I had a right to it seems that I have developed a case of
Skin Cancer!!!!!!! So after only the embarrassing things I have done passed before my eyes I found out that I had the most serious type of this kind of noma. I have Melanoma.

 I am no stranger to cancer it took my beautiful wife way before her prime in a very cruel way. I watched her deterorate into what i still can not put into words. Cancer took my Mum quick, so quick that I was not able to say good bye or go to her funeral.

I always thought I would get it. I just thought i would be old and It would be lung cancer, or some kind of cancer you got from drinking and eating fatty food. Not from enjoying the sun.

But I will not let this stop me...maybe I will not be sitting on the beach in Mexico. What I will do is continue to live, love and approach life with my known dark humor.....So Screw You Cancer

Sunday, November 1, 2009

100 things you may or maynot know about me part 1

1) I have been married twice. Once to a Borderline Personality Disorder, Bulimic, abusive women and again to a magnificent partner in crime, friend, lover, lousy cook, compulisive sock folder, and amazing artist. And best of all she loved and enjoyed crazy me.

2) I live for food! a devoted carnovore and dedicated locovore ( food from withing 200 miles of my home)

3)I currenly listen to mostly female singer song writers ranging from Nanci Griffith, to Kate Rusby to Patty Larkin.
4) I love dogs especially border collies, as they are smarter than most of girls in Kitts and wear less lululemon.
5) i am owned by a oratorically offensive Yellow Nape Amazon Parrot named Randell.
6)I will steal the skin off of extra crunchy KFC chicken
7) I have a un-natural fear of crows and clowns
8) I am Bi-Polar and proud
9) obsessed with everything odd and disturbing on  the web.
10) I live on a boat
11) I am both very social and shy
12) I believe that dogs were placed here to show us pure love & and cats to show us pure codependency.
13)I have a huge crush on Flo the progressive Insurance commercial girl
14) Born in Montreal General Hospital and have loved poutine ever since
15) Does not understand love less marriages
 16)Have now been to every continent next goal visit every dollar store that actually which everything is actually dollar, from China and covered in lead paint.
17) I have met Bill Clinton
18) I have got drunk with Chelsy Handler (and possibly snogged her)
19) Favorite Sandwich "The Patty Melt soon to be followed by the :Monte Cristo
20)  I own a snuggie
21)I have tried and failed at Internet dating
22)Has been known to drink way too much but still keep it classy
23)  Still believes in Love
24) Is find funny women sexy
25) I really do like people