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.

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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.

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

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.

 

Ponder What Matters


As 2019 draws to a depressing conclusion, forget Trump, divisive partisan media jibber-jabber and political fear mongering. Put aside religious, racial, political and sexual bias – ponder what matters. Every last one of us has a choice – to open our hearts and minds, or languish in perpetual darkness of rigidity.

Playing For Change embodies the essence of equality through the power of music. If you’re unfamiliar with Playing For Change, get on board.

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. – https://playingforchange.com/

Ornamentals


This afternoon work asked me to manage the funeral of a middle aged man with Downs Syndrome. Funerals are tricky, all I knew going in – the church was Catholic. Catholic services take time, I was prepared for anything from open casket processional to body of Christ sacrament. Thankfully all we had to do was brew coffee, set-up food and assure a rather uppity priest we wouldn’t let heat escape through open doors. We took care of our end, then waited for guests to arrive from services in the main church.

The deceased struck me as a remarkable man. He represented Canada at the Special Olympics in Nagano for skiing. His artwork was exquisite, poignant watercolours brightened a rather dreary church hall. I felt at peace, remarkably contented with the life of a man I didn’t know.

As we waited for services to end two church employees who had been acting as ushers entered the hall looking for coffee. No problem, have a coffee, are you hungry? We exchanged pleasantries, fed and watered both gentleman. For reasons I can’t fully explain but instantly recognize, hospitality is an elixir which erodes propriety, replacing it with often unwelcome familiarity. After his third curried chicken tea sandwich one of them said, “there are a lot of retards here, can I say retard?” He looked annoyed when I told him “retard” was insensitive.

He poured another cup of coffee, stuffed another sandwich in his mouth and blurted – “What about ornamentals, can I say that?” Excuse me? Ornamentals? He chuckled, “ornamentals, you know, the Chinese”. WTF Catholic church dude! No I don’t know! “You must have to deal with a lot of greedy Chinese, can’t call them Orientals so I call them ornamentals” he smirked, ever so pleased with himself. Enough Catholic dude!

Retards, ornamentals? I don’t care how old, white or Catholic you are – get out of my sight before shit hits the fan! Fortunately the dearly departed watercolours reminded me how perfect an imperfect world can be.

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Exploding Kittens


Over the years card/board games have evolved into an integral part of Christmas Day. Without fail a new game appears under the tree, we know enough to realize game play is the only way to bypass convoluted rules. Never let it be said initial impression has any bearing on entertainment value. With that in mind we embraced a round of Exploding Kittens. Oh my, suffice to say it was painful. So bad each of us hoped an exploding kitten would end the misery.

See the source image

Time to dust off Werewolf – players draw one card, that’s your character. Every character has specific powers to switch other player’s cards or draw a new card during an opening round dictated by a game app instructing all players to close their eyes, followed by instructions for specific characters to open their eyes and switch character cards etc. Everyone opens their eyes and you have 5 minutes to figure out who the Werewolf is. Sound lame? It isn’t! It takes nerves of steel to lie convincingly to people who know you well – so much fun!

See the source image

It wouldn’t be Christmas at my house without card games. That said, Exploding Kittens is one game destined to gather dust for all eternity. Happy holidays from Notes.