Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

A Certain Ennui

March 24, 2008

I haven’t written much lately.  In fact, aside from yesterday’s brief observation of global conquest, it’s been a week.  I’ve been feeling a kind of malaise, a lack of motivation to write posts even though I’ve commented on a few other people’s.  I just haven’t felt like writing.

I couldn’t even be bothered to finish any of the partially written posts I have saved just for such occasions.  Yes, I’m familiar with the concepts of forward planning, putting some away for a rainy day, and having a ‘Plan B’ in your pocket.  Imagine you’ve been putting money in the bank just in case you ever need it one day.  Then, when that day comes, you can’t be bothered to go to the bank to get it.  That’s how I’ve been feeling about blogging this past week.

There could be other explanations.  As my blogroll grows, I find myself reading other people’s work more, leaving less time to write.  I’ve also been trying to teach more online.  Since the students are in Korea, the classes are late at night and in the early morning hours.  That means I’ve been sleeping well into the day.  When I can fill the whole night, and I’m told it will get busy in April, it’ll pay off.  Right now, I’m just tired.  Then there’s the fact that my mind drifts to what I’d like to do.  Torn between what I want to do and what I have to do, I don’t put enough time or energy into either.

But, I’ve also been procrastinating.  I sometimes wonder if the time of year has something to do with it.  As far as I can remember, March has always been a slow month for me.  Even in my senior executive level negotiation days with an international publisher, I don’t think I ever closed a deal in March.  Budget and fiscal issues may have played into it because April was usually good, but I still feel below par in March.

I started to feel this way about the middle of the month.  Now, I even have a mild cold or flu to recover from.  Beware the ides of March, indeed.  Maybe its the darkness before the dawn – the final days of winter just before spring, the time of renewal or return to life.  Most cultures celebrate this time of year for that purpose.  Easter was actually hijacked from an earlier pagan celebration, Eastre, as many religious holidays are.  Of course, some will say that is not true – Easter is a unique celebration of the rejuvenation of a corpse and its ascent to heaven.  If this be true, I be Caesar.

As I look around my one bedroom East Van apartment it’s apparent that, not only am I not Caesar, it’s also in need of a spring cleanout and renewal.  Whatever.  I’m just waiting for April to roll around.

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Passport To Everyday Life

February 5, 2008

I just went to get a passport photo.  I even put on a tie, a rarity in Vancouver.  Although I don’t have any immediate plans to leave the country, you never know when you might.  Hey, it’s possible that I could win a fabulous vacation somewhere warm and exotic.

Imagine it happens to you – and you don’t have a passport.  What if your prize has to be claimed within a limited window of time?  Or you want to take it before winter is over.  Have you seen the lines of people at the passport office?  Have you heard how long it takes these days?

Ever since the Americans decided that Canadians would need a passport even for day trips, there’s been a huge backlog.  That kind of annoys me because if I did  go somewhere, it wouldn’t be to the U.S. – not without a specific reason, anyway.  No offence to any American readers, but it’s just not exotic enough.

Florida?  Seen too many pictures of other people ‘relaxing’ there.  Vegas?  I spent the longest week of my life in a casino here, one night.  The thought of a whole city like that makes me appreciate other possibilities all the more.  Hawaii?  Hmmm… maybe, but if you’re going to go that far, why not carry on to Tahiti or some other Pacific paradise?

It’s not really a vacation if you go some place you see every day.  The U.S. is all over the media.  It’s in the papers, on TV, in movies, on the internet.  Shit, I even just excused myself in advance because I assumed they would be reading this.  If I were to go on vacation, it would be to get away from ‘them’.  Is there a corner of the world that hasn’t heard of them yet?  Some place that doesn’t cover the entire year long campaign before they actually hold an election?

What the fuck is a primary, anyway?  And why the fuck should an American even care, let alone me?  Why can’t they just get down to it like civilized people and say, “Here they are – Asshole #1, Asshole #2, Asshole #3, and Asshole #4 –  pick one.”

Anyway, as I said, I have no plans to go to the U.S. or anywhere else, right away.  But it seems we need photo ID for so many other things these days, and my old passport expired.  So I have to spend ten bucks on photos and another hundred on the application, just in case I ever need it.

Enough Snow For One Winter, Thanks

January 31, 2008

The snow is finally starting to melt.  I can see the deck and roof outside again.  The familiar Vancouver puddle is returning, and not a minute too soon.

I’m not a winter person, as you’ve probably figured.  The fact that California and Arizona are on the wrong side of the border is nothing short of a travesty of international justice.  I’m still waiting for our government to take action at The Hague.

Sure, winter snow is great for the skiers and boarders, but I’m not one of them.  Besides, there’s still plenty of snow on the mountains over on the north shore.  At least, I assume there is behind that low cloud cover obscuring the view of the top half of the mountains.

The season has its benefits, of course.  I love hockey enough to endure the kind of abuse I took from some idiot on the Skytrain yesterday for wearing my Canucks toque after they lost again, continuing their current bad stretch.  But, if I’d wanted a ‘Canadian’ winter I’d have moved to the prairies.  Prairie people know what I’m talking about because half of them are here.  Every other person you meet in Vancouver is a climate refugee from Alberta, Saskatchewan, or, occasionally, Manitoba.

It’s only the end of January, and we’ve already had more snow on the ground down here near sea level than we usually get in an entire winter.  Several days of snow cover and freezing temperatures is just not natural here.  I know we have it easy compared to everywhere else in the country – except Victoria, maybe – but I still expect the worst precipitation induced obstacle I encounter to be a puddle.  Damn you, El Nino!  Or is it Nina?

Normally, I say I could do without the rain and puddles but, after the cold spell of the past week or so, they now seem pretty palatable.

Crisis? What Crisis?

January 23, 2008

So, the world is in crisis.  A global market meltdown has stocks tumbling on exchanges all around the world, like dominoes.  Obscene amounts of money have simply evaporated.  There is talk of recession in the U.S.  So what?

The sun was out in Vancouver in the middle of winter, yesterday.  In this, the week including what is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, it shone gloriously and gregariously on us, permeating everything, penetrating even the most sullen eyes in an orgy of retinal stimulation.  It had to be enjoyed.

Coming out of a seminar, I had a couple of hours to kill.  Under a cloudless sky, I walked through downtown.  I decided to walk past the construction site of the new tallest building in the city, to take a look.  Did I need to?  Had I never seen a highrise under construction?  Of course not.  Vancouver is a forest of construction cranes.

Then I decided to look for a coffee and wandered a bit, before remembering I had no cash.  That required a detour to the bank and it’s cash machine.  A direction to go in for a while.  Sights and sounds.  Girl in extremely short skirt and high boots.  Those legs must be cold.

Cashed up, I casually meandered in the direction of a coffee shop, looking in some shop windows and bars along the way.  When I reached the coffee shop, I looked in the window and found all the comfortable chairs were taken.  An excuse to keep walking.

At the corner of Granville and Drake, facing the open space over the bridge, the sun was blinding.  I had to avert my eyes, it was so good.  Crossing Granville Bridge, I could see Mount Baker, in Washington state.  Another country!  Miles and miles away!  Visibility was fantastic.  I looked down at the boats below, over at Bowen Island and the mountains on the far side of Howe Sound.  A decadent feast for the eyes.

Cold?  What cold?  I didn’t want to be anywhere but outside, in the sun.  The crisis would either solve itself or still be there tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s here, now, and there’s frost on the roof outside.  The puddle off to the right is frozen.   Cold, by local standards, but there’s not a cloud in the sky over the north shore mountains.  I might just take another walk today.  The crisis will still be there tomorrow.

Move Over Chicago, There’s a New Windy City

January 15, 2008

Another wind storm tore through the city yesterday and into the night.  They seem to be happening more often than usual.  I don’t recall the weather being as windy as it has been lately, in general, let alone the kinds of storms we’ve experienced over the past year or two.

It was about a year ago that the wind devastated Stanley Park, blowing down thousands of trees and causing a landslide that closed the seawall.  Then, in September, just after the seawall finally reopened, there was another one that closed it again.  I wonder what the damage is this time…

Downtown, Georgia Street was actually closed at rush hour because a window pane was flapping around in the wind on an office tower.  A couple sheets of plywood were blown off a highrise under constructon and landed on cars below – one of them occupied.  People trying to get home to the north shore had serious problems, since Georgia Street leads to the causeway through Stanley Park that leads to Lions Gate Bridge.

My own inconvenience was limited to the incessant flapping of the plastic sheet that was tied down over my bicycle where it’s locked to the railing on the deck outside my window.  This was my ingenious design to allow me to store the bike outside the apartment this winter, rather than inside like last winter.  A great space saver.  I guess a couple of the strings broke.  I try to help the environment with pedal power and what does it give me in return?  It’s a good thing the whole thing didn’t break free or who knows where it could have gone or what kind of damage might have resulted.  Can you imagine a big sheet of plastic landing on your windshield while you’re driving? 

Something like that happened to me once years ago in London – on my MOTORCYCLE.  But it wasn’t even clear plastic.  There I was just riding along and, suddenly, THWAP!  Where is everything?  Where did this plastic bag come from?  Fortunately I managed to pull it off before anything else happened.

Oh, there was another noise that I heard last night.  I heard something falling on the deck.  That’s not unusual – things fall off the balcony above me every once in a while.  I went outside this morning to see what it was.  This one was a little unusual.  It was a table leg.  I wonder where the rest of it ended up…

A Winter Morning

January 9, 2008

It’s a grey, wet day in Vancouver.  Nothing unusual about that, in January.  Typical, in fact.  Welcome to winter, west coast style.  From November through April, this is what to expect.

The rain was the second thing I heard early this morning, after the rude awakening of the alarm at 5:30.  It was splashing down pretty hard on the deck and roof outside my window, like a sound effect in a moody, atmospheric song.  Then came the coffee machine, beeping, as I’d set it to.  Good timing.  No milk.  One mug of black coffee later, I’m sitting down with a refill to face my webcam-topped monitor.

I have to confess, I get a kick out of the fact that I meet face to face with people in Korea half an hour after dragging myself out of bed.  It’s way more interesting than the various places I’ve worked around town, and more time efficient.  Commute time?  Thirteen steps from the bed to the coffee machine and eight or nine from there to my desk.  Doing business with Korea is easier than doing business locally!

I tried to go back to bed after the session but couldn’t sleep.  So, I got up and showered and here I am, eyes burning.  I was considering a matinee, but sleep has to come soon.  Batteries must be recharged.