Archive for the Written Diarrhea Category

Domineer of Tomorrow

Posted in Written Diarrhea on 5 December, 2009 by Troy

I’ve looking around lately at the world around me, the people in power, the companies that dominate their respected market, the organizations that govern and how they seem so antiquated in this day and age.  They all seem to be relics of the past, left over from a post-cold war world.  I look at it all and wonder who it is that will dominate us in years to come.  The current world situation seems on the brink of waiting for someone to come along, grab the bull by the horns, lead innovation and take us into a new direction.

NATO is showing its age and faults in Afghanistan and the post-cold war world.  The UN has been looking useless the last 15 years.  The world climate conference starts in the next couple days and governments seemed tied and useless to make a decision on what to do or come up with a consensus as to what to do.

The corporations that are the leaders in their respected market places were all started and made by self-made people that started off as small businesses and built corporate empires around them.  They took huge amounts of risks and gambles.  Many failed and a very few came out on top as true testaments to capitalism and the American way.  Now those same corporations are so focused with turning over as much profit as possible, they refuse to make and try those same innovations and risks that brought them to power in the first place.  And the irony is, so many of the people who would normally have become the self-made starters now work for those same corporations, potentially never going out to make their innovation. 

I look at the companies, organizations and alliances that dominate the world today and I don’t see one of them being the in same position in 20-30 years time.  It’ll be interesting to see what company, alliance or person comes along with that new invention or ideology and dominates the world of tomorrow.

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Organic Fair Trade

Posted in Written Diarrhea on 5 December, 2009 by Troy

I was walking down Commercial Drive today, enjoying the lack of rain and I suddenly became aware of the number of coffee shops, cafes, health food stores and restaurants all advertising that not only did they serve coffee but Organic Fair Trade coffee.  I haven’t been ignorant to the number of places advertising and boasting the certifications of their coffee but for some reason at that moment it seemed so much more prevalent and ridiculous.  Now by no means am I against, look down upon or dislike the organic or fair trade movements, in fact I fully support them.  What what really struck me on the head when I looked around at all the FTO advertising was how people will make such a big issue of it when it comes to coffee but remain ignorant and uncaring when it comes to food.   They’re willing to pay more for the coffee too but still expect rock bottom prices when it comes to food.

I’ve been reading a lot of food related non-fiction lately; Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and recently Fast Food Nation.  All are great books that have for me, shedded a light on a group of people who have been forgotten by the whole Fair Trade movement; the North American farmer.  In the race to make the world a better place for people half way around the world, we’ve forgotten about people in our own backyards.  We’ve forgotten to ask if they’re getting fair trade for their products.  From what I’m reading the answer is no and they seem to be getting taken advantage of as much as coffee farmers and other poor farmers in developing countries. 

Even the whole local foods movement, seems to be more geared towards reducing the environmental impact and reduction of greenhouse gases, the potential health benefits of eating fresher foods, and as alternative to the industrial food complex.  From my experience of working on farms in Australia, it’s the small farmer that needs a lot of help too.  Unless they’re going industrial, farming in general seems like a wasted venture and the only ones that seem to be making a go at it are the ones going after a niche market.

Support your local farmer.

Vancouver, BC. Canada?

Posted in Written Diarrhea on 12 November, 2009 by Troy

It’s very orange in my street with the pseudo-cherry tree leaves changing.  It’s “fall” in Vancouver or so some trees and days tell me.  Other trees are still full green and some days feel like Spring in Edmonton (or even a cool summers day). 

This leads me to an idea and thought that’s been on the tip of my brain lately.  When I first moved here my roommate, who’s from Iran and had lived in different cities across the country noted that Vancouver doesn’t feel like Canada.  At first brushed off this notion as I had only been here a couple weeks and had only ever lived in Edmonton before.  A year later and I’m starting to understand what he was talking about and alluding to. 
Vancouver seems to be a contradiction to what most people think of Canada.  I close my eyes and conjure up an image of Canada, it’s people, climate, landscape, mentality… Vancouver doesn’t fit that image.

The weather is unlike anywhere else in Canada.  No winter in the true sense, lots of rain, blurred seasons, little weather extremes…it’s really quite pleasant actually yet people still bitch about it.

The landscape is fitting, mountains, evergreen trees but the population density isn’t.  I’ve heard that the downtown core of Vancouver is the most densely populated areas in Canada, over taking Toronto this year (not 100% on this one).  This is quite unlike the majority of Canada with its wide open, sparsely populated regions and cities. 

The demographic of the people living here isn’t all that true of Canada either.  Traditionally Canada has been a predominantly white country but in the last 10-15 years that’s changed drastically, making Canada a more cultural and racial mosaic.  I went to Toronto in ’04 and was amazed by the diversity of people living there.  It was a good mix of everyone; white, black, asian, middle-eastern, indian… My last visit to Edmonton left me thinking the same thing.  White people still hold a strong 50% plus majority but until recently there’s a much greater mix of other peoples, resembling what I saw in Toronto.  That’s what I think of Canada at least, a mosaic.  Here in Vancouver on the other hand its white or asian.  Yes there is a much higher percentage of visible minorities here but it really lacks that broad-spectrum of people.  The other day I saw a troupe of Air Cadets marching around and doing a fundraising drive and I swear that maybe 6 kids out of the +50 that weren’t asian.  It was kind of a funny sight actually, it really reminded me of when I was in China and seeing the hundreds of school children in their military-like school uniforms marching through the streets off to school.
I’m sure I sound like some bigot now and see people only by the colour of their skin…

To end my rant and bitching I’ll finish off with the mentality of people here.  Maybe it’s BIG city mentality compared to Edmonton smallish city mentality, but it’s definitely different and not what I think of when I conjure up images of Canada’s snowy fields and great outdoors.  I think to best explain people’s mentality here is horse shades; the kind that horse’s wear in transport in order to not get spooked.  People seem to go out of their way to ignore you and in return the town is very cold and impersonable.  I’ve been brushed off asking for the time.  I wonder at times if it’s to do with the number of dodgy and homeless people on the streets constantly asking for money, smokes or something, anything.

On my last rotation at the hospital one of the patients was an English women who came to Canada over 60 years ago.  She had moved from England directly to Winnipeg spending over 30 years there and then move to Vancouver for the next 20 plus.  I said to her that it must have been a culture shock moving from England to Winnipeg.  She said that she adapted quite well to Winnipeg, loved it there and that the people were very down to earth and honest.  I asked her about Vancouver and she said, “I don’t like it.  The people are uptight, snooty and it’s never felt like home here even though it’s been 20-some years.”  That sort of nailed it on the head for me.

All in all I’m going to miss it here.  The great weather, the mountains, the bike-abilty and the great little corner grocery stores like the Korean market down the street (where am I going to get my wakame?).  It’ll all be missed.  I do my best to truly appreciate it and try to cease those moments that seem to be precious and fleeting.  My 6:30 morning bike rides to work, those brisk mornings with the cloud shrouded mountains showing a fresh sprinkle of snow or the rainy days inside looking out a window drinking coffee.

Halloween

Posted in Day to day, Written Diarrhea on 31 October, 2009 by Troy

I’ve just come to the conclusion that I don’t care about Halloween.  It’s not that I hate it or don’t like it, it’s just that I don’t care about it.  I think it’s fun for the kids and “big kids” but I just can’t get behind it.  In months prior to Halloween, I look ahead to October 31st and think, “Halloween’s a couple months away.  That should be fun.  I should think of a costume.”  Days roll by and turn into weeks, which turn into months and the next thing I know it’s October 29th, I have no costume, haven’t even the faintest idea of what to be and quite frankly don’t care.  So I go down to the thrift shops looking for inspiration and ideas to a cheap costume but typically walk away empty-handed, or in this year’s case with a food processor.  It’s not that I don’t like costumes and dressing up, in fact I love themed costume parties such as 70’s, 80’s or white trash nights.  I like having something to work with and those nights usually require very little planning and effort to pull off plus it’s fun to see other people’s best white trash or interpretation of the 80’s.  I also really like parties and events that you dress up for, put on a nice shirt and your best digs but those seem to be so far and few.  Halloween on the other hand turns into a huge production that people work and plan toward for in months in advance all for one night that often ends up being not as fun or grand as many would hope.  All that build up with a fizzle at the end.  The same can be said for New Years.  In the last 10 years I can honestly say I have dressed up twice and they were last-minute things.  This year I’m not even going to try nor make excuses.  I can’t justify spending $40 on a shitty costume or crappy second-hand clothes.  I’d be better off, if I felt so benevolent and generous, donating that money to UNICEF and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  I’m just not behind Halloween.  I’m happy you are but I quite frankly don’t care. 

It’s great we live in a country where we have the rights and freedoms to dress up and have this type of day but I’m going to exercise my rights and freedoms to abstain from this day.

Edit:
Well I ended up par-taking in Halloween, attending a party and even dressing up.  I didn’t spend a dime though and assembled my costume with clothes I had at home, going as a used car salesman.  Kind of sad that I managed to use my wardrobe for that costume…

The Lost Art of Conversation

Posted in Life, Written Diarrhea on 30 October, 2009 by Troy

What did we ever do before radio, TV, internet and video games?  Whatever happened to just getting together with a group of people in a room, around a dinner table or in a living room and simply sit around and talk without the TV on, without playing a video game or without pounding music that requires people to yell small talk to each other? 
Some of the best “parties” I’ve ever been to or nights I’ve had have involved people just hanging out, having some drinks and talking to one another or was around a dinner table involving food and good drink.  No loud music, no TV, no video games, just people.
I’m obviously old.

beligerance – belligerence – belligerance

Posted in Written Diarrhea on 27 September, 2009 by Troy

I just noticed that I spelt beligerance wrong when starting this blog.  I see there’s 3 different spellings that come out correct on goggle but only one that comes up with a link to dictionary sites (belligerence).  I suppose this is kind of funny and could be a play on world of me being so belligerent that I just don’t care how you spell it.  Or it could be me and my terrible, terrible grammar and spelling.  But, really who needs proper spelling and grammar (or is it grammer?) when you have spell check?