Summer 2018: Tale of a Scorched Earth, aka We Are Nero

It’s been hot as fuck here lately. It’s been hot as fuck almost everywhere lately — BC is on fire, Ontario is on fire, California is on fire, Russia is on fire, heatwaves are killing people in Montreal and all over Europe, cities and towns in the US and Africa are literally running out of water. Every year, it gets worse and worse.

And yet most people who aren’t running from fire or dying of heat stroke thinks this hot weather is just super. They’re thrilled there’s an abundance of beach weather these last few years. They’re possibly ignorant and definitely unconcerned about the amount of waste and pollution they are personally responsible for every day and how those things feed our gradual, consistently warming climate.

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Usually I choose pics I find funny but also illustrate my point. This one isn’t funny but I like it enough to go with it anyway. It’s fucking depressing.

Virtually no one gives a shit about just how bad things are getting even though it’s all over the news. It seems like most people aren’t going to care until they are actually evacuating their homes, running for their lives from flames, just like all those other poor bastards not so far away.

It reminds me of the story of Nero, the Roman emperor who supposedly fiddled as Rome burned. Nero is a notorious character of history — a madman, a villain — and yet all of us are doing the exact same thing as him right now. Except it’s not just Rome, it’s the whole planet.

We’re fucked, and I mean that as in both ‘stupid’ and ‘doomed.’

nero-fiddling

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I don’t like the Langford Cineplex

Last night, Jenn and I went to the Langford Cineplex movie theater to watch the new Jurassic Park flick. Normally, I would insist on going to the Duncan Caprice theater but we had a gift card for Cineplex to use up, and she loves dinosaur movies. It was an unpleasant experience.

To start with, the guy who sold us our tickets and snacks was fucking weird, and terrible at his job. He looked young, about 17 or so, and it’s July now so maybe he actually is that young and is just starting a new summer job, but it’s not like he was trying hard to start with. He was really bored and disinterested in his customers and everything he was doing, and absurdly slow and inefficient at every task. When people ordered their snacks, he’d tilt his head to one side, put his arms straight down by his sides, heave a big sigh, and sluggishly shuffle over to the popcorn machine. He honestly looked like a kid having a minor tantrum about having to do whatever he was doing. And if he had a group of three people ordering three popcorns, he would do this three separate times for them. I wanted to fucking scream.

Then after he finished with those customers, he would do his head tilted, arms straight down shuffle to the employee area in the back for a minute before re-emerging in the exact same fashion and then beginning the plodding performance all over again for the next customers. I wondered what he could possibly be doing in the back. Probably checking his god damned phone, or stuffing some free popcorn in his chubby face. Oh, he had that gross, low muscle tone thing going on too. Every inch of his body looked so fucking soft. You knew just by looking at him that he would absolutely be the first to die if shit hit the fan.

We finally made our way past the gate troll and watched the horrible garbage movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I won’t bother tearing this worthless piece of trash apart because anyone with a modicum of common sense should be able to see it for the steaming waste it is: terrible typical story arcs, terrible typical characters, terrible acting. But I did just see that it’s dominating the weekend box office ratings or whatever they’re called. How reassuring to see that vapid people still love vapid movies.

The worst part of my experience at the theater last night was the popcorn. It was as dry as the desert. Yes, it was yellow and tasted (sort of) like butter, but it was so dry and un-greasy that it seemed like they used some kind of seasoning rather than any butter- or oil-based topping. Or maybe they’re just cheap and don’t use enough butter there. Regardless, greasy fucking popcorn is, to me, one of the most important reasons to go to the movies, so this was unforgivable. When I go to the Duncan Caprice theater, they offer to layer the butter on my popcorn — that is, to half fill the bag, pour butter on it, finish filling the bag, and pour more butter on it. That’s fantastic. That’s what I want. When I eat shit, I don’t want to do it on moderation. I want to be a full-on glutton, and the Duncan Caprice theater indulges me in that regard. The Langford Cineplex, sadly, did not.

When Jenn and I got out of the theater, there was a smell of wood smoke and the sky was red and hazy with brown-ish clouds. It seemed like the summer wildfires had started suddenly while we were watching that piece of shit movie, and we had exited to find the world on the verge of the fiery apocalypse yet again — just another summer here in BC, the new normal around in these parts.

So overall, it was a really lousy experience. I hate the Langford theater, I hate the new Jurassic Park film, and I hate summer.

On the bright side, we’re past June 21st so the days are getting shorter again. Praise Baal for that. Bring on the cold and dark. Until it arrives, I’ll be hiding in the cool, air-conditioned Duncan Caprice theater.

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Oh, the perfect hideousness of it all.

oh boy

today i went to a town hall meeting in nanaimo with canada’s prime minister, justin trudeau. it was pretty neat. i’ve got a lot of thoughts on it.

first, although i think trudeau has really fucked us over on a few extremely serious fronts (like promising electoral reform and then doing an about face on the topic), i think it’s great that he goes places where anyone can put their hand up and ask our prime minister any question they want. there are a lot of countries in the world where that would be a laughable, absurd notion, but i think it allows people a chance to really connect with our leader and ask him tough questions, which every good leader should be able to answer. i love it and i hope that future PM’s continue with it.

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he’s typical political scum but i like the town hall thing.

next, this particular town hall took place on the campus of vancouver island university, which may have accounted for why so many college kids were there. man, were they fucking annoying. not all of them of course but a good number of them, for sure. i was (miserably) seated next to four or five of them and they were so odd — awkward, gangly bodies; overly enthusiastic about everything (“joel! joel! like, fucking, dude! joel’s here! joel, i am so pumped that you’re here!”); mocking people they disagreed with (namely, most of the people who were unhappy with trudeau) and jumping up and trying to start multiple standing ovations when people said things they agreed with; ill-fitting dress pants, muddy sneakers, and a buttoned shirt tucked in at the front but perpetually hanging out the back…yuck. they were so intensely dislikable. i bet their mothers can’t even stand them at this point in their hideous, arrogant, annoying lives.

there were other people there i disliked. there were a lot of angry people yelling about their disapproval of the kinder morgan pipeline, which trudeau is insisting will be built, and some of those angry people were eventually escorted out by police. i understand the strong feelings those people have about such issues but being a belligerent asshole doesn’t convince anyone to listen to you. you could have the soundest argument in the world but the ‘angry yelling’ approach turns everyone off instantly so it would go unheard, making your efforts a complete waste of energy. even worse, it reflects poorly on other people who share your view, and on the movement as a whole. it paints a picture of everyone who is opposed to the kinder morgan pipeline being a belligerent asshole, which undermines the movement. very stupid.

but i also thought the people reacting to the belligerent assholes sucked too. there were lots of people shouting “shut up” and “losers” in response, which is just as bad. the whole place descended into a circus-like atmosphere because of everyone trying to shout over each other. it was chaotic. it reminded me of when a big fight would break out at junior high school and a crowd would go nuts, basically screaming for blood. i was so disappointed to see how quickly and easily seemingly good, normal people interested in politics got worked into a frenzy and turned really fucking stupid. god, people suck.

on a lighter note, i saw a lot of people wearing glasses like these:

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i’ve never noticed this being a trend before so maybe it’s new, or maybe it’s just a certain group of people i don’t hang out with normally really likes them. either way, i wasn’t a big fan of the style. a little too art chic for me.

something i liked about the event was hearing all the concerns that random canadians have. there are just a few issues i care about a lot, and the rest doesn’t mean much to me at all, so it was surprisingly eye-opening to see people whose biggest concerns were things i’ve never even considered. that was probably the most valuable aspect of the experience for me.

i think that was everything worth noting from the day. oh, i almost got to ask trudeau a question. i had my hand up and he pointed in my direction and said “you, sir” but it was for the guy sitting directly behind me. so close! i was going to ask him about his bullshit rationale for his 180 on electoral reform. i wasn’t sore though because the guy behind me was great. he was very respectful, mentioned some excellent pertinent facts, and asked a tough, thoughtful question, which is all a person can hope for when someone has the opportunity to ask the prime minister a question.

well done, guy behind me.

spring a ding ding

lately i’ve heard a handful of people say stuff like, “holy hell, when are we going to get some warm weather??” as if they expect beach season to begin in april. comments like that lead me to believe that the last three or four years of droughts and heat waves have warped peoples sense of seasons to the point that they now expect to jump straight from winter into summer.

that bums me out. i like having a normal spring, with cool days that can be sunny and warm one second and pissing rain the next. i like it because, even though i hate that kind of inconsistent weather, it means we are that much closer to avoiding yet another drought this year. i’ll take rain in april and may in exchange for decent water levels and less forest fires in july and augst. i mean, shit — a few years ago we had a stubborn forest fire just a kilometer or two from our fucking house because the summer had been so damn dry and hot. that was really scary. the real, legitimate terror inspired by that kind of event is not worth the luxury of tanning in april.

so yeah. there isn’t a damn thing wrong with the spring we’re having on vancouver island so far. everyone can stop complaining about it, and find something else to complain about that i can then complain about.

nowhere left for rednecks to get coffee

bill, riley and i used to go to robin’s donuts in duncan. we loved it because it was darkly lit, had a gross orange and brown 70’s decor, and was mostly frequented by kinda rough people — working men and the like.

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drool

generally speaking, we liked robin’s because it was shitty in a funny way, and unpretentious.

but it’s long gone now. the old robin’s building has been a ‘serious coffee’ place for many years, and they of course cater primarily to yuppies and other people who like to pay $5 for skinny caramel macchiatos with extra whipped cream — in other words, detestables.

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i don’t want to hang out at places like this, with people like this.

so when bill and i were talking over the last few days about finding another gross coffee shop to go to, i realized that there are no more gross coffee shops around here. why? because while our town used to have a lot more rednecks and working class types, it has slowly gentrified (well, a little bit anyway) to the point that there are more yuppies and hipsters than working men. there’s not enough business for the dirty, gross coffee shops of the 70’s. they’ve had to get with the times and pretty themselves up, get wifi, and start making frappuccinos, or get left in the dust.

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ah, the good old sayward mall. home to…well, nothing, anymore.

that bums me out. it’s just another reason to move north sometime, to find another place that still retains its working class roots, even in the year 2016. a place like sayward or woss. a place where we can get coffee and baked goods around people who are comfortable making inappropriate jokes, people who aren’t terrified of offending every hypersensitive dickhead. simple folks who aren’t so fucking irritating.

i sure do miss robin’s donuts.

tra la, tra la

it’s so great to be home from vacation, reading disturbing news articles and getting worked up over them.

this morning, i just read that BC is now liable for up to $508 million to cover the costs of cleaning up after industrial companies that can’t afford to clean up after themselves.

that simple statement seems completely illogical to me. isn’t cleaning up after yourself an intrinsic part of doing business? what legitimate business model includes ‘make fistfuls of money and then declare bankruptcy before having to pay for cleanup’? if companies are operating in a field where expensive cleanups occur with any regularity, why wouldn’t they set aside a contingency fund to cover the costs of those cleanups before they begin operation? and failing that, why wouldn’t the provincial government insist on receiving a similar sort of damage deposit from such a company before the the company starts any work so that, in the event that the company creates a mess it can’t afford to clean up, we taxpayers are not left to cover the costs?

i believe the reason we let companies get away with this shit is that we have a culture where people are so paranoid about ‘job creation,’ ‘sector development,’ and paying their bills today, that we are willing to not only turn a blind eye to environmental catastrophes caused by offending companies but to also cheerfully subsidize those very companies — we let them get away with murder, and pay to let them do it.

we are groveling, sniveling worms at the feet of multi-million dollar industries, and it makes me sick.

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oh goodie. more jobs.

big smoke

last week, we went to victoria with some pals to take part in a ‘horror escape’ thing. it’s like a series of interactive puzzle rooms — figure out the clues to unlock the door and move on to the next room. it had a satanic/exorcism theme. it was awesome.

after that, we all went to a bar. then jenn, gen, and i were walking to my car when we stopped at mcdonald’s to get some garbage food. we stood in line and some really tall, happy, weird dudes who appeared to be high on MDMA were in front of us. when they got their burgers, they started eating them right then and there with big smiles on their faces, and sort of dancing. one of them came over and was dancing right in our faces as he chewed a huge mouthful of cheeseburger. i know, i should have punched his goofy face out. but i didn’t, i just laughed about how much he was enjoying his burger. it was funny.

then we met gen’s bf matt outside mcdonald’s and hung out there for a minute. while we stood there, a mint condition ford aerostar — a sport edition ford aerostar, no less — stopped at the traffic light in front of us. being connoisseurs of ugly older vehicles, matt and i couldn’t help staring at and discussing the aerostar. the pretty blonde woman driving it noticed us, and we exchanged a wave. she rolled her window down and said in an english accent, “do you like my minivan?” we said we did. she said, “it’s a ford aerostar, 1995.” the light changed and she, her aerostar, and her amused passengers putted off into the city night. this was also funny.

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aerostars are still turds, though.

neither event was particularly crazy or interesting, but both stuck out to me as kind of neat. and we didn’t spend hardly any time in vic that night yet we still managed to come across two amusing little episodes that we are (or i am, anyway) likely to remember for a long time. so it struck me that it’s amazing how much more goes on in the city: surround yourself with more people and more stuff going on, and the law of averages dictates that you will likely encounter more noteworthy human interactions. i guess i would spend more time in the city if i was lonely.