Newspaper Horoscopes: Premium Disappointment

Horoscopes, who doesn’t get a kick out of reading them? The other day one of my friends, Hairdevil Pennysworth, brought in two newspapers. These weren’t the kind that are desperately thrust into hands at train stations with the promise of going home once the stock is depleted. These were of the rare kind that are desperately thrust into hands at train stations, but other schmoes had to pay money for. That’s right! Hairdevil Pennysworth brought in real newspapers that he didn’t have to pay a dime for.

We have a faux-tradition in the cube, where we sporadically read the horoscopes out loud. All while having fun bending and forcing something into being explained by the horoscope. Plus, it’s always a good time to know how far off they are. None of us are believers. However, we all believed that reading ‘scopes from premium newspapers was going to be quite the experience. With this much money, these ‘scopeists must have a direct line to Jupiter, Hell, or wherever?
Instead, something else happened. Something that left me with a negative feeling, a case of the Williams. It was kind of like when I was a kid around Christmas time and I would see two Santa Clauses in the same day. That always threw me for a loop. Made me question the big man’s existence. Why was one skinnier than the other, why did one have a fake beard, and why did one look cheap? My parents tapped danced around many questions like this.

“Tonight the sex will be abundant!” One of horoscope columns said. “So much passion you better wear cargo pants to carry it all!” While the other was all, “Finances, jobs and education.” Clearly the former was more fun to read. Regardless, how could there be such a huge discrepancy in the horoscopes? How could one see us having tons of passionate sex – separately, in our respective private lives? While at the same time the other was seeing us going back to school, experiencing career growth, and retooling our finances.  Are the stars that far out of unalignment? How could the heavens be so withholding of secrets?

What are people who enjoy horoscopes, who believe them, supposed to do? Just pick the nutter who sews theirs oats and turns their knobs? If knob turning isn’t their thing do they go with the milder and more finance and career aligned astrologist? Do they throw caution to the wind and mix both together and become a stripper who dresses as a teacher or investment banker?

If anyone has any insight, please let me know.

Pulled Out of A Nose Dive

There was a time when I used to say that Friday was the most awesome day of the week. People would look at me funny. I knew what they were thinking, “But we are at work.” They had a point. However, I always thought of Friday as some of the final moments of Die Hard 2 where John McClane kicks somebody into a freakin’ jet engine. In my metaphor, that somebody is the work week.

That wasn’t how this Friday went down, not in the least. I showed up early to get a few things done. This only enraged my computer who decided that it was high time for my hard drive to quit working. So, I sat there while some guy held my hopes and dreams in his hands. He worked tirelessly to clone my hard drive, but my hard drive was having none of it. Which was kind of what I suspected would happen. In fact, I kind of wonder why there is even an option to clone. It never seems to work.

Anyway, sometime between me sitting there and getting the final word my drive was hosed, I received a phone call from my wife. Apparently, there was a leak in our place and the plumber had to get in immediately. I packed up the dogs, dumped gasoline all over my desk and pitched a match at it. Once again this is a metaphor.

The leak was by our main shut off valve in the entryway closet. We were made aware of its presence by the water stain appearing on our downstairs neighbor’s ceiling. However, we are still trying to figure out if any walls or flooring in the closet needs to be replaced. We have tried to help the situation by having a fan blowing into the closet all weekend long.

Despite how Friday went, the rest of the weekend turned out pretty well. My wife took me out for dinner and a donut Friday evening. On Saturday we had a little BBQ in honor of Jacoby. I called it, a JacoBBQ or JaBarbeCoby. I could never make up mind. I squeezed in 11K this morning and had lunch in the park with my wife and dogs. We also went for a walk in our old neighborhood which I have always found to be very therapeutic.

Vancouver is gorgeous in the spring. It is basically the only time of year that I totally don’t care about the ludicrous cost of living or incessant douchebaggery. Almost everything is green and the cherry blossoms are blooming. There is still enough rain to knock the smog out of the sky and give everything a rinse. To top it all off, Jake sat by me on the patio’s loveseat the entire time I wrote this. I think the only way this moment could be ruined is if Andrew Dice Clay kicked in my door in Delta Force style and gave me a subpoena. “You’ve been served. Ooooohhh!”

Two Homeless Guys On A Bus

It came to light this week that two homeless men from Saskatchewan had ridden a bus to British Columbia. That doesn’t sound very interesting, but the why and how is. The Saskatchewan government provided the tickets. This is apparently not that unusual. Provincial governments have been known to purchase bus tickets for people who are out of province and need to get home. However, in this case the one-way tickets were out of province bound.

On the surface, it seems sleazy for a province to export its homeless. At the same time, the reason for all of this was a cut to funding. These two men had nowhere else to go. The spaces they currently had, had no more resources for them. They were getting kicked out and cut off. Climate wise, it would seem far better to be homeless in Vancouver than Northern Saskatchewan.

There were several soundbites regarding this issue. A lot of people were pissed off, as one would expect. Provinces should simply not export homeless to another province with no notice or plan. However I have a feeling that, if proper communication channels were used, the B.C. government would have ultimately shut it down. All the while these two men would have been fending for themselves.

Vancouver already has a homeless problem. A problem that it can’t seem to fix outright. A problem whose epicenter is right where everyone wants to develop. Which seems to be the only reason why the government cares in the first place. To that end, the municipal government’s solution is to load people up on buses and drop them off somewhere else. Basically, to thin the problem by spreading it out. There is one such example, literally two blocks away from the Vancouver and Burnaby border. Pretty much as far as they could legally move them. Out of sight, out of mind. That is the thing with Vancouver. The only reason why it wants to “fix” this issue is because it is right where the money is. As soon as homeless are out and zillion dollar buildings are going up, the issue will probably be considered resolved.

At the same time, British Columbia recently opened its doors to Syrian refugees. Exactly how many, I’m not certain. Definitely more than two. Is there a good plan in place to get them set up with places to live and work? Mostly, yet some still haven’t found a place to permanently reside yet; Vancouver housing problem much? Those relocated to other areas of the province seem to be finding residences and work. I am sure a few more logistical issues will arise as it seems impossible to transplant that many people smoothly.

What I am getting at is, if a country as a whole can bring in 10,000 refugees in with a plan that will work for a majority of them, then a municipal government should be able to handle two guys. I mean, it isn’t like they really care anyway. They will more than likely give them a bit of funding and a hand with the paperwork, then plop them down somewhere, never to think about them again. I guess accepting homeless guys just isn’t that trendy.

Bike Nuts, The Gun Nuts of the West Coast!

There seems to be three kinds of people in this world: people who love guns, people who love cycling, and people who don’t give a flip about either. At the moment I belong to the third group. However, I have been teetering around the border of the cycling enthusiast group for a while now. What is it that has been holding me back from taking the plunge? Dressing like an aerodynamic dork for one. Followed by my lack of a sense of superior ownership of the road. A sense that apparently needs to be ten times greater than the one possessed by motorists. I love the smell of burning rubber!

I live in British Columbia. In the part that is pretty much always warm. At least warm enough to don some full legged and armed tights and hit the road. Perhaps there are four days a year that are too snowy to exercise outdoors. Look, we can pretty much get out and do whatever we want, whenever we want.

For this reason we have a lot of cyclists. A lot a lot! Sure there are some that are really good. Those who follow the rules, come to complete stops, and use proper hand signals. I have probably driven passed one and simply ignored them because they were so good. However, for every one of those cyclists there seemingly has to be a zillion terrible cyclists. I mean how could there not be. It rains in Vancouver all the freakin’ time. And Much like a mogwai, when good cyclists get wet, other cyclists start shooting off their backs. Then all it takes is the one with the douchebag haircut (I know, like there will be only one, right?) to get them to eat after midnight.

Ta-da, bad cyclists! Hot rodding on sidewalks, popping wheelies through crosswalks, and using Idaho stops even though we don’t live in the great state of Idaho or have the procedure legalized – although we should. In other words, being a vehicle yet behaving like a pedestrian. Either they are uneducated or, worse yet, educated and simply do not care.

To add to the hot mess, no one else knows what the hell cyclists are supposed to do either. Pedestrians and cars just roll the dice and scream “Evasive manoeuvres!” every time they have an encounter with cyclists. Cyclists do the same. Although they shouldn’t when it comes to pedestrians. I don’t care about crushing records or maintaining momentum. Pedestrians get the right of way!

With all of this in mind – and the fact that the city needs money – it is no wonder that the city council is proposing bike licenses. Although, educating may be simpler and all that is truly required. Education on everyone’s part. Pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers should all know the rules. Hell why not throw in some motor vehicle rules as well. Like how a freaking four way stop works!

On the other hand, licensing could open the way for insurance, which I do believe cyclists should have. There are a lot of them and they are all uninsured. If an accident happens it is up to the other persons insurance or pocket to fix it.

I don’t know if there should be a difference between athletes, commuters, and casual cyclists. I don’t even know how to enforce it. I also don’t know how six year olds who are learning to ride are going to be licensed. I don’t even know if kids ride bikes anymore or just hang out inside for five minutes between piano lessons, soccer, karate, art, hockey, and school. Honestly, it sounds like a logistical money pit!

What I do know is that when news of licensing got out, the arguments sounded similar to those of gun enthusiasts. “You can’t take my bike!” “Good luck licensing me!” “You’ll never take me alive coppers!” Were all yelled at the top of the gluten free, physically fit warriors lungs as they stormed city hall with rolled up yoga mats. Prepared for glorious battle. Prepared to ride the bike lanes of the afterlife.

Light Up Laughing Shirt

I heard on the morning news that some Vancouver science students have invented a light up shirt. Apparently the shirt will light up, laugh and in general throw a fit as people pass the wearer on the street. This is supposed to show that the wearer of said shirt is fun and approachable. Open to conversations and what not.

The light up laughing shirt is supposedly a cure for the quiet, stuck up, unapproachable Vancouver stereotype. Which is a fair stamp to slap on the city and its citizens. We are like that and we do give off that vibe. However, it seems like something that we could treat in a different way.

There are other solutions we could try instead of a jack ass shirt that makes one – unless people are aware of what the shirt is supposed to represent – look like a psychotic shithead. Since the transit plebiscite was clearly a demonstration that we have money to burn, perhaps we could hang up a few posters that say, “We aren’t bunch of dicks!” “Say hello to the next person you see!” “You hate translink and so will the next person you see, already more in common than you thought.” “We all just want to talk and maybe get a hug.”

Whatever! I am just spit balling here. Vancouverites have managed to bestow the title of a stuck up city upon ourselves. I don’t think we really are, I just think we have heard it one to many times and tell ourselves that everyone around us is stuck up. When in reality, we are just a bunch of people that want to connect and interact. Seriously, how can one city be full of pretentious snobs? If New York, which is a zillion times bigger than Vancouver, can be friendly, so can Vancouver! Without a light up laughing shirt, buy someone a beer instead.

Internet Vigilantism

Here in Vancouver, on the same day the world was swept up in the story of Cecil The Lion, another story broke. A video had been posted and picked up by a local media outlet. In the video a man is continually berating a woman who had opened his car door to provide temperature relief for the dog he had left in his car. Word has it that when she posted the video, she didn’t think it would blow up the way it did. Apparently she hadn’t been on the internet at all in her life or realized that, as a species, that is what we do. Judge the shit out of people based on the little context and few bits of information we have with little empathizing. In the end the video kind of disappeared because the guy has some sort of mental issue.

Also in Vancouver, water restrictions have been in effect for the past month or so. God help people that have green lawns for whatever reason. For instance living on a downward slope that is in shade most of the day can prevent the grass from being sunscorched and give the appearance that it has been watered. Some people are assholes and if are caught watering should be reported to the proper authorities, not on social media. Who knows if said asshole will even see the message. I think that is the point. We want to tell someone, but don’t have the chutzpah to report them to the authorities. If we don’t have the testicular fortitude for that, we certainly do not have enough to actually go knock on someone’s door and tell them they are being assholes.

We’ve evolved just enough to invent pitchforks, torches and the internet. Really quite amazing that we don’t hurl our own fecal matter. Point at something and tell us to hate it and we will. Oh boy will we hate the shit out of whatever it is. The dentist that killed the lion has shut down his practice, his house has been graffitied. I assume his family is also suffering from his stigma.

Don’t get me wrong for what I am going to say next. I was angry when I heard about Cecil. As a vegetarian it seems my blood sugar is always a little low when I hear about animal issues and I tend to get a little hot under the collar. At this point in time though, the doctor has been harassed enough. The wheels of justice have started to turn. He may face extradition charges and that is up to the legal system to decide what to do with him. It is time for everyone outside of his house, business, and everywhere else to move on.

Can’t wait for a few months when we all put on our pink shirts and tell kids to quit bullying each other. To tell them to not make fun of children, to not form groups that attack the few and weak, to not harass them on the internet. I know the media outlet who picked up the video of the guy yelling at the girl sure will be touting that.