Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Stone Roses

Two days ago I brought in a couple of CDs from home to play on the stereo. Having done the rounds and got the approval of the lads to play the CDs on the communal stereo I got the thumbs up with The Who's Live at Leeds and an Uncut compilation 'The Devil's Music - Keith Richards' Personal compilation of blues, soul and R&B classics.

I decided to step it up a gear and take the stereo speakers a degree further left field with the Stone Roses debut eponymous album. It was well received and one of the lads is borrowing the CD this evening. Nice one lads.

A beautiful day

Today turned out to be a beautiful if one was to take a look over Vancouver after noon and well onto dusk. The sun shone and I snapped digital pix along Clark. But today was beautiful in another way. It is almost as if my metabolism had somehow altered. I felt fresh and healthy. Wearing glasses really has altered my perception of life. It is almost as if I am somehow more complete. I have gained peripheral vision and two days ago when a friend gave me a ride to first avenue in her car I noticed that I could scan the street without having to turn my head.

I guess what I am really saying is that the last few days have given me boons which culminated in my sense of ease and happiness today. In addition to the glasses my dentist told me yesterday I need no treatment and just need to come in for a check up in March. I was so happy at that point I felt I could cry. Really. This may sound melodramatic but when I first visited the dentist here in Canada and they criticised my teeth and the dentistry in the UK I was catapulted into a state of extreme gloom.
What else? Well spent the last few evenings with NDP comrades phoning party members and renewing their memberships. A real sense of optimism and feel good gripped our group of volunteers. We are on our way, our way to saying goodbye to Gordon Campbell and his Liberal regime. Not even the fact that en route to last's night session I dropped a case of beer could dampen my spirits. I picked up the eco-friendly bag containing a pack of six Granville Island English Pale Ales only for the handles to slide through my fingers and crash to the concrete just as the bus arrived. The driver waited but I had to say I will get the next one. I was left picking out 3 of 6 good bottles and mopping up.

But the single most important factor putting a smile on my face today is that today was the day that I submitted my two weeks notice at work to quit. I had my draft letter written weeks ago and knew that this day was coming for weeks. So at tea time today I popped into the office and handed the boss the letter and told him exactly what it was too. He then surprised me by saying that you can make Friday your last day. Oh no!

Drat. This was not what I wanted. I told him that I would really rather work up until the 14th. He then said well you're 35 days are coming up and he didn't want me to pass that and told me without even looking up my details that I currently sit at 29 days (as of tomorrow). So first thoughts are; "hang on, was he planning to lay me off?" "Was he only intending to keep me up to a maximum of 34 days and then getting rid of me to avoid me gaining permanent status (35 days) and thereby avoiding the wrath of our union"? Not sure however that wrath and our union go into one sentence. Foolishly I said that it wasn't my intention to give he any grief on that issue and that if I could work as long as possible that would be really good for me and my budgeting and then said that next Friday would take me to 34. He agreed.
It buys me some time and the ability to negotiate further next week. If I lose out and lose that last week of work before my departure for England then so be it.

Going back to the cutting table I felt a little deflated but worked out the last half hour of the shift with brief words to the shop steward and a copy of note for him and also updated the department head of my plans.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reasons why I love the DTES #'s 2 & 3

#2 - Yesterday Sunday standing at the bus stop on Hastings at Carrall. I look across street at a guy selling his wares out of a bag. Nothing unusual in that in this part of town. He's selling work coveralls, interesting perhaps? What's that wording on back on coverall? Coroner. One punter notices, laughs and politely refuses. A second punter measures length of leg against his own but doesn't turn coverall around. My bus arrives. I snicker away.

#3 - Today walking east on Hastings from Columbia I draw almost level with a woman who turns and shouts to a guy singing on the other side of road, "that song was in my head too." She laughs and then says to no one in particular "Don't give up the day job". I say "that's for sure." She says "aint that the truth" and knocks me sideways with her beautiful smile. What a wonderful sparkle too in her eye. She is so thin and her rain coat sits like a tent.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Tasers

Really that is the only option for Canada. The total elimination of tasers. The death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski is a tragic tragic event.

My view at the time of his death was that there is a problem with the training methods of the RCMP. Further information has come to light since Robert's death: that the police officers used the taser more than once and within half a minute of arriving on the scene and without attempting other restraining methods.

That last sentence suggests that Robert was a dangerous individual. Not so. He was a traveller in a secure area of the airport. He had passed through immigration control and was at the baggage pick up area. This area is not accesible to non-traveling visitors at the airport and is only accesible to international arriving travelers.

How could Canada do this? He came to Canada to be with his mother and start a new life in Canada. Where are the famous "Canadian Values"?

We can never bring back Robert but we can do something - ban Tasers.

Belgique 12/9/92

"Don't you love her madly", most recent blog posts here have been fuelled by music inspiration. This post is no different and The Doors, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and the Tom Robinson Band this time provide the momentum in the form of a cassette i rediscovered while tidying up tonight.

I compiled the cassette many moons ago, 12 Sept 92, to be precise from the record collection of truck driver Serge. He had picked me up from the side of the road a day or so prior. I was hitching out of Paris with the view to get to Calais but found myself extending my Euro 92 trip by a few more days.

That was more than 15 years ago. Today I attended the BC New Democratic Convention as a delegate from the constituency Vancouver Hastings. I am proud and very happy member of the NDP right now. We passed some great resolutions and are firmly on course to defeat the Liberals on May 12, 2009.

In less than a month I will be in England with my family and taking things a little easier than I have done over the last year or so. It is an exciting time. When i tell people I am headed for England, the first question asked "for good?" No. I am beginning to feel established now in Canada and having gone through a separation and a divorce things were a little rockier than I had anticipated when I set out on this Canuck adventure in the winter of 04.

I am aware that my last post was a bit of a teaser, sorry about that. I am working for Media Maintenance. Vancouverites and beyond might be a bit more familiar with the name Patterson on billboards all over town. As a member of the painters union I got the job about a month ago. I like the work and it's a heck of a lot easier on the body than my last painting role a la industrial. I can still smell sulphur on some of my work clothes. It is only a temporary post into the new year but having already bought my plane ticket to England prior to getting this job I will be leaving sooner. I get to cut and paste billboard posters in prep for display. I have also worked 'on the road' twice putting up the posters. And a few weeks back now I accumulated a few more painting hours painting the steel frames Patterson Brown.

Of course it will be back to the drawing board on my return to Canada but I am happy to say that I am a lot more confident about that time than when I have previously been in that position.

As for college, that will be later now, possibly April.