Not So Smart Car?

cars

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This was the sight I was treated to on a small trip to Steveston, just south Of Vancouver Canada, a former Japanese fishing village. The rest of Canada holds us in contempt, with our laid back and chill attitudes. This picture will not help matters.

I wouldn’t like to be near it on the highway if a stiff breeze suddenly launched it skyward. Despite what you may have heard, we no longer commute by kayak up here. Still, it made us smile.

Street Art

art

Here is a picture of a delightful mural. At 21 metres (over 65 feet)  it is, by far, Vancouver’s largest such public art.

Ocean Concrete has long served as Granville Island’s  last tie to its industrial past. It’s six grey concrete silos are being transformed into a piece of public art by a duo of innovative Brazilian street artists.

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Os Gemeos are identical twin brothers from Sao Paolo, making a Canadian debut with their biggest work to date.

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Note the detail. The pair gained international acclaim during the 2014 World Cup by designing the FIFA World Cup Boeing 737.

The mural is part of the Vancouver Biennale’s 2014-2016 exhibition, a non-profit organization that celebrates art in public spaces.  Public crowd source funding is helping to offset the cost of the $125,000 project.

I love these, no surprise, and would like to see more of this in our increasingly monochromatic city. Do you have any cool public art in your city that you love or, God forbid, hate?

High Pool Confidential

humor, Vancouver

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Here is a nice little luxury at one of the apartments in downtown Vancouver.  This is an area of real estate for anyone who has their own personal shower in a plane. It is a pool that extends into thin air, giving the public at large a sight of your ballooning swim trunks and un-Phelps-like doggy paddle.

I imagine, of course, a strict dress code would be in place so as not to offend looky-loos (with their telephoto lenses) – bathing attire from the 1890s, or those full body sunscreen suits that make you look like you just fell in the pool, would be acceptable.

A better idea would be to make it into an aquarium. I don’t mean with a shark and periodic kitten feedings but a genuine world class tropical fish tank where they are fed with a t-shirt gun.

Hey, just running stuff up a flagpole, seeing who salutes. One thing for sure, there will not be any cetaceans. Our local aquarium has been banned from having any in captivity. Thx for reading! Hope you are enjoying your summer!

My sis guest-blogs her nightmare parking experience!

family, humor, life, parking, security guards

We attended a Christmas concert presented by our own VSO (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), a rare treat for the three of us, my younger sister, and our mum. It was a great experience that overshadowevso.jpgd the fact that we ended up at the wrong church at first. With our rare talent for avoiding future inconvenience (some refer to it by another acronym), we had strategically parked near THAT church. Everything thrown into disarray right out of the gate.

The ‘right’ church was a ten minute walk away (mum was not happy) and, as a result, we ended up way at the back where they ran out of pews and threw down some chairs. The symphony was loud and clear although it was hard to discern facial features and any instruments smaller than a cello. As I said, we enjoyed the performance enormously, and put us into the proper Christmas spirit. This was good, because it would be needed later, as you shall see.

An hour and a half of squinting and letting the beautiful orchestral music wash over us, it was at last concluded. The conductor took a bow, which reminded me of the old cartoon, where the conductor is referring to a sheet of paper upon which the instructions were writ: “Wave stick about madly. When music stops, turn around and bow.” We were sure there was more to it than that, my sister and I, but damned if we knew what.

Everyone poured out of the church, rushing to get home. You see, we had that rare meteorologic treat for Vancouver, BC. A dumping of snow that we had not seen in such volume since about 2009. wcB9KAjZPOJbZiUZcElD.jpgA white Xmas here happens every ten years or more. To put it into perspective, it is not a drought of L.A. standards, but merely a drought of snow, something we Canadians feel we are entitled to. We are, quite correctly, the laughing stock of Canada when it comes to negotiating such weather in our vehicles. We all use ‘all season’ tires, and nothing short of a snow apocalypse will entice us to put on snow tires. Abandoned vehicles litter the sides of highways, buses become stranded diagonally on any slight inclines. ‘Gong Show’ is an apt description.

We scuttled down the street, the three of us, through the slush and congee-like mess that the snow had become in the elevated temperatures. I had driven mum, and my sister was going to take her home after. We said our good byes and parted ways to our respective vehicles, our heads full of orchestral music, and general goodwill towards Man.

I left without incident, got my car, after a stop-off at Tim Horton’s, the Canadian coffee chain. Little did I know, to borrow a hoary phrase from some pulp fiction, that my sister’s evening was about to become another level of interesting. And now, my sister will guest-blog and relate what transpired after we parted ways . . .

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Sis’s part:  We parted ways with my older brother first who had parked a little farther away from the original church we thought we were going to, which ended up technically being closer to the church we ended up at.  “Damn” I thought, still another 2 long blocks to go.  Mom and I trudged through the slush chatting away as we do and arrived at the door where I had come out of the parking lot all those hours ago.  Locked.  “WTF” I thought, while crazily looking for a sign on the door or SOMETHING to tell me where to go next.

Information, I was starved for information on how to get to my vehicle.  I looked wildly around for a human, suddenly the busy streets where I cursed umbrella points catching my hair earlier, were nowhere to be found. images-1.jpeg I’m surrounded by banks, you would think there would be at least 1 security guard SOMEWHERE, but no, not a soul.  I ran down some stairs that led to the Bentall centre, but they too, were locked.  Everything was shut down.  I started thinking that it was locked because I must have stupidly missed a sign upon entering that said you must move your car out by 9pm or it’s locked there until the next day.  “No, that’s just stupid, it can’t be like that” I thought.

Looking back at my mom who was desperate to help but in the form of words, I started to walk around the building looking for some other entrance.  Locked.  Locked.  All the doors I came by were locked.  Still not a soul around to ask.  The banks in this block were massive and thinking of having to walk all the way around the back of Thurlow Street where I drove in made me anxious, but I knew that was the only place I knew how to get in.

“C’mon”images.jpeg I beckoned to my mom who was still a ways back probably hopeful I would back track, sadly no, “we need to go all the way around this place because I can’t figure out how to get in”.  Of course there were loads of profanity thrown into that sentence that, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, I chose to leave out.  I was pissed by this point, it seemed F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to walk all the way around, as if the block was expanding as I kept walking.  I could not keep the leisurely pace of mom, as bad as I felt for being so far ahead, and after awhile I broke into a run riddled with anger and anticipation at what I would find when I got to the door I drove in.  Finally rounded the last corner to the dead end lane that I had drove up 2 hours earlier, where previously the parking lot to the right had an attendant, now long gone, no doubt enjoying some hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire while I stood staring at the gate that crossed the entrance where I had driven in.

“Shoot’ I said (well something like that)  I looked desperately for a phone number, ANY number to get a hold of a body, “this is insane, I can’t get my vehicle out, what am I supposed to do”.

I was on the phone when someone picked up “Security” he said with a typical “security man voice”.  I told him my story how I’ve been walking around in the rain trying to get into the parking lot with my mom who can’t walk far and asked him how to get my car.  He was extremely calm, totally unwavered at my frustration in my words and asked where I was.  I actually had no idea where I was, was I facing east, west, north, I had no fricken clue!  I tried to tell him where I was and then he told me to go up the stairs to my right, go right again and then hit the intercom to the door there and he’d let me in.  Thankful that he did know where I was, I thanked him profusely and by then mom and caught up to me, just in the nick of time to…..keep walking!

I ran up the stairs and found the door and intercom and cheerfully thanked the security guy once again when we were buzzed in.  “Floor 2” I said to mom who habitually goes the wrong direction.  “I at least remember floor 2”.  Down the stairs, we started at floor 6 and finally the door to floor 2.  I open it to find the lot almost deserted of cars, so I figured it would be easy to find mine.  Walk walk walk, around floor 2 and no sign of the truck.  Up another floor, up two, OMG, where is my vehicle?????  The lot did not look the same, but was it just because there were no cars?  I was getting totally bewildered and disoriented.  “Where’s the exit” I bellowed at no one in particular.  “Where’s the bleeping exit??”  I followed the signs as if I was in a car, round and round the pillars driving my invisible car with my mom in tow.  FINALLY.  An exit.  All barred in of course, and what do I see as I pressed my head against the jail-like bars.  The entrance across the street where I first STARTED.  “We’re in the wrong bloody parking lot” I said to mom, we need to be over there, I pointed through the bars.

I looked around and we were in a mouse maze of gates and bars, no way out.  Back to my phone, “what would I have done without my phone???’ trying to instill positive thoughts in my head.  “Security” the same man answered, I said “this is your worst nightmare calling” I said, “we are in the wrong building, we need to be in the building opposite to where I am”.

Again, the professional sounding security guard said he’d come down and escort us over to where we needed to be. Unknown.jpeg I hung up thinking how mortified I felt, never am I in such a predicament because I over-examine the unknown until it’s known like the back of my hand.  Anyway, the security guy came downstairs and let us out of jail and walked us to the other gate.  Mom was peppering him with questions of which he had no good answers that I remember, I didn’t care anymore, I was now rifling through my pockets to find my ticket so I could pay and get out of this nightmare.  No ticket.  Oh but, there’s the truck, “hallelujah”, the excitement already pre-ruined by my lost ticket .  But I’m ALWAYS so careful to put things like that in pockets that have a zipper.  Ah yes, but similar to how I just spontaneously picked this parking lot to park at, I must have carried that care free attitude when putting my ticket away.  I looked in vain through every pocket in hopes it would just appear, but sadly no.  Must have put it in the side pocket which I was constantly putting my hands in and out of, and it must have fallen out.  Resigned to the fact I actually had no ticket, I said to the security guy, what do I do if I’ve lost my ticket?  He said, “you need to go to the exit gate and call security down, and they will take your details and “FOB” you out.  Off he went.

“Why couldn’t he just do it” I thought as we got into the truck.  I drove down to the exit where the unmanned booth was and called Security, yet again.  “Security” the same guy answered as if he wasn’t expecting me to call.  I retold him I lost my ticket and he said he’d send someone down, it’ll be a few minutes.  I asked if I should not block cars by stopping at the gate, he said “there’s rarely any traffic movement out of the parking lot this time of night”.

I hung up and looked in my rear view mirror as 3 cars were making their way to the gate.  “For EFF sakes” I said while backing up and moving over to the other side hopeful no one needed to use that particular exit point.  Bleep, open, Bleep, open, Bleep open.  “Must be nice” I thought, how I envied the entire planet but me at that moment.  Mom, again trying to be helpful with words saying, you should just run through the gate when someone goes through.  With the luck I was having tonight, THAT was not going to happen as much as I wanted to just escape.

Minutes passed and a security guard came in from the street quite properly holding an umbrella.  He came to the window and said words which had a hint of English, I told him my whole sob story hoping amidst his tears NEvEed3i8iR1xD_1_b.jpghe’d just “FOB us out” but no luck.  He said he needed to get the special book to take down my details so off he went to some room to get it.  Back he came with some NCR pad and proceeded to rifle through his jacket looking for a pen.  He pulled one out and noticed his 3rd finger had what looked like a pin prick and blood coming out of it.  He said some words like “bug” or “bite” and then asked for my name, I handed him my drivers license.  I was watching him and he kept pausing to look at his finger.  He then asked for my phone number where I showed him my number on my phone.  The less words I speak to this guy, the quicker this will go I thought.  He kept looking back at his finger. In his terrible English, I eked out that he couldn’t write anymore because there was blood coming out of his finger and he needed to call another security guard.  OH MY GOD.  I looked at him and said “can’t you just let us out, you’ve already spent way more time than the parking fee is even worth!”  He smiled that smile that people do when they don’t know what the bleep you just said and proceeded to call someone else.  I literally put my head in my hands and just sat there in disbelief.  In the distance, I heard sirens, I humorlessly said “they’re coming to fix that guys finger”, mom laughed.  No word of a lie, it was the size of a pin prick, but the guy was obsessed with it and baby’d it with a 12.jpggiant napkin as if it had been amputated and he was holding the two pieces together.  FINALLY, the other guard came down with a giant first aid kit.  I laughed out loud at the insanity of this, and the whole evening.  He pretty much walked over to the machine and waved his FOB over it and the gate opened and I simply said “THANK YOU SO MUCH” totally unaware of whether I’d get a call to pay for a day’s worth of parking or what, I had hoped the guy saw my head in my hands and just let us go feeling like we had paid our penance.

FREE!!!!  We were free at last.  I felt so much better to be driving in the free world again.  The whole ordeal must have taken an hour.

I drove mom home without incident though rounding the turn just after the Lions Gate Bridge landed us in a counter attack operation (for drunk drivers).  “Wow” I thought, what a perfect place to set up, cockily happy that I had nothing to drink and was innocent of everything by that point.  2014Nov28.jpgI wanted to say to the officer “I wish I HAD been drinking” but thought the better of it the way things had gone tonight.  We got through that lightning fast, and FINALLY, mom was home.  I apologized for the ridiculousness she went through with me, mom being mom said it was most entertaining.

I Saw the Royals today oh boy!

family, humor

Saw the Royals

I live in Canada.  We have strong ties to the British monarchy, not to everyone’s pleasure,  who consider it, what’s that word for something that is archaic, oh yeah,  a load of shite.

I am not one of them, and in fact,  enjoy the royal family. Queen Elizabeth has been a fine queen, not many could sit on the throne over 60 years, although sometimes my kids say I do. (rimshot)

William and Kate, needless to say, were highly anticipated. He is heir to the throne, and who am I to miss a future king’s visit?

I dragged my wife with me to Canada Place, the port in Vancouver to which they were arriving from Victoria, for their week long visit in BC.

1050am was their scheduled arrival, we were there at 8am or so, with the other die hards. There was a huge media presence as well as various dignitaries.

We were right at the front, and the crowds started building up behind us. With ten minutes to go, a young man asked if he could squeeze in. I said ‘sure’, he was but a lad of eleven or so, after all. (I have a son of 11 who likes the Royals but not enough to wake up early on a weekend) He then bombarded me with questions such as,  had I been to England before (yes) and was that person I was with my daughter? (no) could his cousin squeeze in too? (no)

Then I heard a woman behind me say, ‘let’s rush to the front, it’s only women in front of us, anyway.’ Sigh. It was not untrue,  a good percentage of the contingent WERE women. I, however, was not one of them.

With little preamble and no indication by the burly and besuited security men, the Royal Couple came out. On a tight visiting schedule,  but still moving at a casual pace, with the odd word with onlookers, they glided down the makeshift carpet.

The pictures are inadequate, to be sure. One picture is of an elderly lady’s hands with the Royal Couple in the background. Hello Pulitzer.

Still, there was a frisson of unreality at their appearance and subsequent disappearance in a phalanx of black SUVS.  It was fun in spite of being mistaken for a woman and my wife being mistaken for my daughter.

 

Enough about me, what do YOU think of me?

family, humor, life, Vancouver

Hi It’s Wilt! A bit about me. Born and raised in Winnipeg (holidayed in fine style in such exotic cities like Thief River Falls, Bemidji, Minot, Rapid City, Morris, Moose Jaw, St. Paul, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Kenora, the Badlands, Flin Flon, Sioux Narrows) moved to a small town called Vancouver BC. My mother is English, father is of Japanese descent.

I love drawing comics, as you can see. It has always been a way of blowing off steam, trotting out some silly ideas, escaping Swiffering round the house, my kids. The enjoyment I derive from creating a comic almost, AL-MOST makes me feel guilty! Nothing absorbs me more fully, although if I had a PS4 game console I’m sure that would do the trick.

Anyway, I have always been a comics person. More a maker of them than a reader of them, I am embarrassed to say. I made comics of Wile E. Coyote when I was 5. Needless to say, they are moldering away in some landfill, along with a lot of ‘underground’ comics that my wife threw away many years later. They’d be worth thousands by now, I am often heard to say.

wile-e-coyote-chasing-the-road-runner

Here are some of my favourites: Peanuts, all New Yorker cartoonists, (esp Roz Chast}, Monty, Garfield, Freak Bros, Zippy, and, of course, Peanuts, because comics begin AND end with Peanuts. I am overwhelmed with admiration and respect for Charles M Schulz. His genius was in how he distilled reality through the characters, and made them breathe, and live. My humour is informed by the Goons, Monty Python, stand-up comedy, the dry wit of the Brits, IOW my mother’s side of the family.

I worked on and off in the graphics industry, including making some T-shirt designs for a mountain bike company that were distributed throughout Canada with a signature character, Felipe. None exist today, unless my mom still has some. Anyway, they were done in the 1990’s, before we started documenting everything we do.

I have a family now, with a boy and a girl, my forays into artwork are for pure enjoyment, not commerce. I carry a small sketch pad around, since I can’t afford an SLR. I occasionally paint but it is more the action of it than the final product which, for me, is always dissatisfying! IOW I enjoy the act of doing it but when it’s over I’ll relegate it to the closet or a dumpster! Comics are more cathartic for me!

Oh and love dogs. Always one in the house growing up, cocker spaniel, cockapoo, labrador, fox terrier. Ok the last few I owned vicariously through family. I love cats too but pretend I hate them for form’s sake.

Love

Wilt

Take our Vancouver weather. Please!

humor, life, Vancouver, weather, Wilt's Blog to the World

This week’s irritation is the neverending inclement (Vancouver) weather. Ah, you say, but at least you get the change in seasons. Yes, raining with warm temps in summer, raining with recurring crap on TV in fall, raining with good chances of slipping and snapping a vertabrae in winter, raining with college grads looking for nonexistent jobs in spring. If these are the changes that are so coveted, you can have them. With my blessings, though I am not an ordained minister. We’ll take your year-round balmy weather anytime.

Ha! I’d take some Minnesota weather: weather where there is an outside chance you may die is good. For character, or whatever. But this monochromatic palette with little chance of anything happening except getting wet, uncomfortable, and smelling like that fetid canvas tent of your childhood. Or, if you plan to see the Olympics on the cheap, the smell of your current home.

Indoor activities? I am almost at the point of buying those purple properties in Monopoly, if only to prolong the game. And actually working out 10% of my assets, instead of paying $200 for tax. I have played so many hands of solitaire that I break out in a rash whenever I have to play cards with more than one person. I have spread Nutella on almost everything but drink coasters for a snack. There are so many used teabags in my sink that it looks like, well, a sinkful of used teabags – something that I am sure looking at takes years off your life.

I have taken to staring at my bright livingroom lamp in an attempt to minimize the seasonal disorder thing. All I can think of is how much better it looked in the Ikea showroom. All curtains are, of course, drawn, because who wants to see that high-pitched-whine-TV-test-pattern weather? I am not at the point where I read that fine print that flashes on the screen during car commercials. But getting close. Real close.

Screaming into a pillow in Vancouver.