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.


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.


Posted in Likes on 14 November, 2009 by Troy

I’ve been addicted to the PBS public affairs documentaries Front Line this last couple weeks, probably because I have too much time on my hands and like the news too much.
Bush’s War is awesome.

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.

To Do List: Life

Posted in Life on 7 November, 2009 by Troy

I’m a big fan of lists.  Grocery lists, chore lists, restaurant to eat at lists…they’re great at helping to remind myself of things to do and things I need.  Another list that’s very useful to make and have is a Life List.  A List of things that you want to do, accomplish or experience over the next few months, next year, years or even decade.  They can help make structure to your life and give you direction.  Now that list and the points written should by no means be written in stone, but should be followed as closely as possible and allow for divergence and variations.  Life is too complex to not alter or revise those goals and achievements, but wherever life takes you, you should remember what it is you’re working towards.

I first made a Life List at the beginning of ’04.  I had just finished a course in multi-media that didn’t get me anywhere, had just moved back to Edmonton after a failed attempt of making a living in Vancouver, was unemployed, flat broke and in considerable debt.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do and simple had no direction in life.  I was not in a happy place and I look back to that dark winter as a major low.  I had a general idea of the things I wanted and that I saw that I needed to do to potentially be happy and act as a sort of guide for life.  I didn’t know how long it would take me to finish that list, accomplish those milestones and have those experiences or if I’d ever finish them but I made that list anyway and put it in my wallet as a reminder.  I have by no means followed that list to a tee or as originally planned, letting life take me where it does but all the while that list was slowly being completed as if I were guided by an invisible hand to finish it.  Here I am nearly 6 years later, that original list lost long ago and I’m realizing that with the completion of school in the next couple months, I will have completed that list.  I’ll be happy to be done school but at this point I almost feel more compelled to finish just so I can have it done and accomplished more than to go out and work and make a career out of it.

Life has taken me to some strange places as I have worked on that list.  I never imagined I’d discover something I’m passionate in along the way or that I would move to Vancouver and by no means do I think that I’ve lived for or treated it like it was written in stone.  I think it’s amazing that I’ve managed to even complete it but here I am.  I’ve tried to add onto that it or make additional lists with other goals, milestones and experiences but no others have stood the test of time that simple 4 point list has.  So here I am with a completed list, some general ideas of things I’d like to do, accomplish and experience over the next number of years and decade.
Maybe I should make a list…


Posted in Likes on 6 November, 2009 by Troy

No I’m not talking about Five Man Electrical Band’s classic song or the 2002 blockbuster craptastic, I’m taking about signage on the streets, on buildings, businesses and the likes.  Since Portland I’ve been very aware, interested and in love with older  50’s era, Americana style signs.  There was tonnes in Portland, some new in that style, others the original being refurbished or left as is.  Portland’s done a great job at maintaining and preserving those old signs adding a lot of character to the city.  I was outside of one building that had an old movie theater sign above it.  As I got closer to the building I realized it used to be a movie theater but now it was a Lush soap shop.  Even regular stores use the style making them look very cool.  Not knowing what it was at first, I passed a building and thought, “wow, what is that place?  It looks so cool.”  It was a laundromat.

I’ve been made more aware of this style of signage since Portland and have been trying to keep my eyes open for them since.  There are a few around Vancouver that I’ve seen but not many and what ones that are still standing and often covered up by their new occupants;  i.e. there’s a great one on Broadway that is now partially covered by a Toys-R-Us billboard.  You can see the original peaking through but in the end it just looks ugly.

My last trip to Seattle had me keeping an eye open.  I saw quite a few and manged to get some shots.

Is it Wednesday yet?

Posted in Life on 1 November, 2009 by Troy

I was digging through some old computer files today and I found a file I made July 2008.  It was to be the start of a personal journal but it only got as far as one entry.  I started other personal journal/diary in a notebook soon thereafter.  I find it nice to look back to those old entries to see what was going on, what you were thinking and what was happening in life.  Time erases the small details of everyday life and it’s minor thoughts so looking back at older writings can be very interesting.  I guess that’s one of the main reasons I started this journal.  It’s much less private and it’s sort of a benchmark as to what was going on in my life and head even if it’s just the mundane bullshit.

Anyways, the old entry post read as:
July 20, 2008
Is it Wednesday yet?  I suppose I should study.  I’ve been thinking about where I want to be in a number of years and what I want to work towards and such.  I definitely see myself opening my own cafe/espresso bar.  For now I want to learn as much as I can and expand my knowledge and passion of what I do.  I see nursing as a “fall back career” that’ll help me make money and save up for that cafe, kind of like how I once viewed drafting as a means to travel.  That all said, with all the change in the midst, new life and opportunity ahead of me I do feel that undeniable fear that I suppose is only natural.  What I’m not afraid of is the change per say; new job, people, surroundings, worries about bills, making a go at this crazy plan and the chance of failing at it.  No, I’m not afraid of any of that.  What I am afraid of is things remaining the same regardless of what changes I do make in my life.

 I wanted to go to back to KI the other day not because of great friends and the fun I had there but to be alone and relive the month I spent there by myself, sometimes not see another soul for a week on end.  It was strangely refreshing, almost like leaving your body and not having to deal with matters of the flesh but just being you in your own personal light and glory.

It’s funny to read what my thoughts were at the time in regards to coffee and nursing.  I had completely forgotten about that entry and that mindset and here I am a little over a year later and I’m thinking much the same thing like it’s a new idea.

I have an old travel blog I kept updated for over a year, it would be interesting to take a look at that too…