When It Snows


A laughably inaccurate perception exists that all Canadians embrace snowstorms with rugged practicality indicative of life above the 49th parallel. Misconception oblivious to geography or temperate zones, woefully misinformed generalizations held by those who haven’t witnessed mayhem unleashed by a Vancouver snowstorm.

Want to freak out British Columbia Lower Mainland residents? Mention snow. Want to watch a preposterous comedic symphony of incompetence? Let it snow, let it snow. Trust me, it’s hysterical.

Snow paralyzes our transit system, schools close, public safety warnings urge residents to stay home, highways & major arteries aren’t plowed, ice bombs falling from suspension bridge cables assault commuters – Canada’s third largest city grinds to a halt! Abandoned vehicles dot city streets, slightest inclines defeat motorists while sidewalks turn into ice fields. Snow-wise Canadians beyond our delicate rainforest bubble must be shaking their heads. I’m shaking my head, wanting to scream – take a run at the hill, don’t slam on the brakes gear down, take your foot off the gas and steer into the slide. It’s insane! A spectacle so un-Canadian all I can do is laugh.

Best laugh of the week came after a mid-week dump of 10 Cm or so – organizers of a snowball fight at the University of British Columbia called it off due to snow!

A video from 2017 cracks me up. Granted, there isn’t a salt shortage this year but worth a watch to put Lower Mainland winter circus act in perspective –

As I write snow flurries fall without regard for Vancouver’s inability to cope. Giddy local meteorologists embrace one last round of fear mongering before warm Pacific air overtakes Arctic outflow. By morning I could wake to mounds of fresh snow, freezing rain or a steady downpour.

2020-01-15 17.59.52

A day from now icicles under my back deck will surrender to the great thaw. We’ll spend a few days complaining about gargantuan slush puddles, exhale relief over return to familiar patterns of dreary West Coast rain, pat ourselves on the back for surviving the storm of January 2020. The city won’t acquire more snowplows, residents won’t consider buying winter tires, public transit won’t implement snow event improvements, people won’t buy salt or snow shovels until panic stricken. Life goes on. Nobody learns a thing, let alone feels sheepish for exhibiting such a poor display of winterization. Sigh.

Facebook Anti-Propaganda Propaganda


On January 8, 2020 an article appeared in Teen Vogue titled “How Facebook is Helping Insure the Integrity of the 2020 Election” followed by “With the company’s huge platform comes huge responsibility”. The article interviewed five women who work on Facebook’s misinformation team. It read like a press release – Facebook has your back, we’re so wonderful, totally dedicated to eradication of misinformation, go team! The piece went to great lengths to illustrate how Facebook is tackling misinformation.

Several hours later Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg posted – “Great Teen Vogue piece about five incredible women protecting elections on Facebook. Since 2016 we’ve worked to stop the spread of misinformation, fight foreign interference and voter suppression, improve transparency, and encourage people to vote. There’s more to do and I’m so grateful we have this team – and hundreds of people across the company – working every single day to do it.”

Astute media watchers weren’t swayed by Facebook saccharine. Why no byline? Who wrote this? Something smells rotten. Rotten indeed – seems Facebook paid for the article, but rather than admit it, a line appeared on Teen Vogue reading “Editors note, this is sponsored editorial content”.  Facebook stayed the course, admitted nothing, apologized for nothing. Facebook paid for propaganda about how they’re combating propaganda! That’s not normal, or is it the new normal created by social media behemoths like Facebook?

Over the past few years work has allowed glimpses into hallowed halls at Facebook. Security is intense, it takes 15 minutes to secure visitor credentials. “Wear your lanyard at all times, stepping off concrete onto carpeted areas is forbidden, do not discuss Zuckerberg – it will be heard and not taken lightly. WTF? Beyond entrance formalities a bubble of extravagance erases any doubt Facebook has power and money to do what they damn well please. Motivational slogans of empowerment ripple seamlessly from futuristic team building hives to ping pong tables, $10,000 fresh squeezed orange juice machine, thirty foot wall of yours for the taking employee snacks, light meals, fresh produce and beverages. Who are these people?

In my opinion that’s the million dollar question. By all appearances Facebook culture embodies a young techno savvy millennial’s wet dream. Geek chic unleashed without cognisance of immense power and influence along for the ride. In a nutshell – Facebook wasn’t equipped to fathom a leap from social media army to commander in chief of global perspectives. That said, there’s absolutely no excuse for paid propaganda used in a anti-propaganda campaign.

 

It’s Gettin’ Tough


It’s getting tough out there. 2019 went down for the count in clutches of an impeachment maelstrom, ushering 2020 in with invitation to poke sticks at the Middle East. Tough indeed. Remember the adage “when things get tough, the tough get going”? Allow me to introduce Vancouver, B.C. cowboy surf rock band, The Modelos. Ponder the power of music to raise spirits. Allow The Modelos to plant an earworm and know you’re not alone. It’s gettin’ tough, time to get going.

https://www.the-modelos.com/about-us

Return Burn


I’m not much of a online shopper, but time restraints in early December led to ordering boots online. They were expensive, ordered directly from the manufacturer and arrived promptly. They might have been out of box for two minutes, tried them on, didn’t like the fit, registered a return online, printed a pre-paid return label, dropped them off at UPS a few days later. An effortless process, out of sight, out of mind, not out of pocket another cent.

A few days later my husband mentioned an article he read explaining what actually happens to online returns. Nowhere in internet retailer fine print does it say “returned goods will be incinerated or dumped in a landfill”. My heart sank, grappling with realization I’d unknowingly contributed to a shadowy behemoth environmental calamity.

Roughly 40% of online purchases are returned. In Canada alone, an estimated $46 billion in goods were returned in 2019. That’s a 95% increase in the last five years, a staggering spike resulting in drastic measures. Bottom line – major retailers can’t be bothered to inspect, re-package or return to inventory the mountain of customer returns. To do so would require scores of additional employees, bottom lines deem it cost effective to incinerate or dump most apparel returns in landfills.

Bracketing is common practice of savvy online shoppers – free returns mean buying a small, medium and large, keeping what fits and returning the other two guarantees a garment that fits. How many know returned garments are dumped in landfills?

Upscale retailer Burberry and retail brand H&M admit to incinerating merchandise in order to maintain brand perception. Perish the thought “wrong people” could diminish their brand if clothing was donated to charity. Not only is the practice disturbing, environmental impacts are staggering.

Had I known my ill fitting boots were destined for the dump, chances are I’d have donated them to charity or consigned them to a second hand store.

 

I Didn’t Mean That


Archon's Den

Contradiction II

Here’s a list of words that don’t mean what they used to.

  1. Nice

The original meaning of nice used to be, well, not so nice. The adjective actually comes from the Latin word “nescius,” meaning “unaware” or “ignorant.” When it was picked up by the English language in the early 1300s, it described a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person. Ouch!

2. Awful

Nowadays, if you say something is awfulyou’re not being kind. However, back in the day, it was actually a term that people used to praise things, seeing as it literally meant that someone or something was “worthy of awe.” As awful became more negative, the word awesome largely replaced it in terms of its original meaning.

3. Flirt

Flirting with someone in today’s sense is what most people would consider to be flattering. However, if you were to flirt with someone based on the word’s original…

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Notes New Years Eve Playlist


New Years Eve 2019 finds me enjoying a private dance party. I’d like to think diverse musical tastes mirror my world view. With that in mind I’ve chosen three songs to help ring in 2020. No political messages or hidden meanings, simply three songs I’m enjoying tonight. Happy New Year from Notes.