I have to accept that other people don’t care about the same things I do…or do I?

I’ve been emailing with a guy in the provincial government regarding the government’s woodstove exchange program, trying to tell the guy that I believe there are some glaring problems with the program. It’s not going well, and I’m not sure what to do about it at this point.

I’ll tell you about what I’m not seeing eye to eye with this guy on. The way the program works is: if you have a woodstove 5 years or older, the gov’t will reimburse you some money if you have a new, cleaner form of home heating installed, like a heat pump, and have your old woodstove removed and destroyed.

I like that the gov’t is offering incentives to encourage cleaner home heating, but I don’t like that part of the program involves intentionally throwing out and destroying something that still works and can serve a purpose. I think that people who take part in the program should have the option to keep their woodstove since it would still be useful during prolonged power outages (like we just experienced two months ago), and I think that emergency preparedness is something the provincial gov’t should be extremely concerned about too.

So I emailed, uhhh, “Buddy,” let’s call him. I explained my point of view. He responded that the purpose of the program is to improve air quality, and if people were allowed to keep their old woodstoves, they’d probably still use them instead of their new heat pumps and our air quality would continue to suck.  He didn’t address my concern about giving people the choice to keep their woodstoves as emergency heat sources.

I responded and said that didn’t make any sense, that there is no reason people who just paid thousands of dollars for a new heat pump would continue to use their old woodstove instead as their primary heat source. I also reiterated my emergency heat source concern.

Buddy responded that it doesn’t make sense that people would keep using woodstoves if they had heat pumps but he insists they do. I don’t believe him at all, but continuing on — addressing the emergency heat source thing, he said if people want to keep their woodstoves, they shouldn’t participate in the program. I had also bitched that destroying woodstoves that still work and serve a purpose is incredibly wasteful, and to this he replied, “that’s what happens when something newer and better comes along. If a woodstove has been used for a few years, it’s not really just being thrown away.” I rolled my eyes with a haughty air of superiority at that.

That’s where we’re at now, and I don’t know what to do at this point because I feel like Buddy is just not hearing half of what I’m saying. Like a caricature of a gov’t employee, he doesn’t care about the bigger implications at all — it seems like he doesn’t really care if the program makes sense or could be improved; to him, the program is how it is and that’s all there is to it. It’s like he’s deaf to the idea that the program has some shortcomings and could be tweaked, even though I’ve said just that, verbatim.

So I started writing yet another response that will probably fall on deaf ears, but stopped short of sending it because I’m not sure what I hope to achieve — Buddy clearly doesn’t care about the bigger picture that is paramount to me, and I don’t care about the program that is paramount to Buddy. Is there any point to me writing him a third time? Am I likely to finally get through to him then? Will this email finally make a difference? Probably not. He’ll probably be just as annoyed and stubborn about his position as I’m being about mine. Looking at it that way, I think I’ve already done my civic duty here, I tried, time to move on.

But on the other hand, I think about how fucking stupid and useless gov’t often is, and I think this program is a good example of that. So why should I pay taxes to my gov’t only to have them do stuff I think is flawed? Why should I let them get away with bullshit? I should be as annoying as I want. Squeaky wheels get the grease, after all.

I’m torn.

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lol.

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I’m never leaving home again

I just got back from a trip to Victoria. It sucked. It was a rainy day that wasn’t good for doing much outside at home so I thought I’d make the best of it and head to Victoria to take care of five errands I had gradually accumulated.

Alas, memory is short, and I had forgotten just how godawful and downright tedious driving in Victoria is. It’s fucking gridlock from Mackenzie all the way to Dallas Road. Plus, I neglected to consider that we are only a week away from Christmas, and every other jerk like me was out there, madly dashing about trying to find gifts before zero hour arrives (only one of my errands was picking up a gift but that still makes me one of the hoard).

I could have been ok with the traffic if my errands had gone smoothly, but they didn’t. One by one, they each went progressively worse than the last. On the first one, I accidentally drove past my destination and wound up driving several extra kilometers on a bunch of stupid one-way streets, doing numerous U-turns before I finally got it right. Not terrible, but annoying, for sure.

On the second errand, I had to park three blocks away from the Dutch Bakery and hoof it there through torrential rains and hurricane winds. I forgot both my reusable shopping bag and to put money in the parking meter so I turned back, prolonging my time in this soggy hell. As I walked hurriedly, the top of my umbrella bashed the low-hanging awning of a shop and it in turn bashed my glasses into my face. I played it cool because I was in public but I was secretly murderous. Then the debit machine at the bakery had a tipping option and I gave a 15% tip solely because the girl who served me was attractive, and I hated myself for doing it. I wish all servers were hideous old people so that I never felt this yearning to appease attractive people. It’s fucking absurd but it’s a tough bastard to shake. I think that’s a blog post in itself.

Then I went to The Turntable in Fantan Alley. I was looking for a particular disco compilation record called Don’t Walk, Boogie.

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This is an unreal disco compilation, and the genesis for my love of disco music.

They didn’t have it. This errand really wasn’t so bad because the owner of the shop was quite determined to eventually find it for me in his never-ending record hunting, and I happily hung out and chatted music with him and a few other guys there for a bit. I love that shop, and Fantan Alley in general. Such great vibes there. But keeping in the theme of this post, I did not find what I was looking for so this mission was a complete failure.

Next, I went to Chinatown to find kitchen chair cushions made of straw-like material, like this:

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Or this:

Corn-bran-Straw-Seat-Cushion-Handmade-Round-Futon-Cushions-Japanese-Style-Tatami-home-decor-FREE-SHIPPING

I went to numerous shops but none had anything close to what I was looking for. A kind woman overheard me and suggested I try Capital Iron. I did, and they didn’t have shit either. I was really hoping to avoid buying these things online, waiting months for them to actually show up, and then only to find they don’t fit on our chairs or are only 1/4″ thick and hard as rocks, but I guess that’s the route I must now go.

Then I went to buy a vintage home stereo amp from a guy. His ad said “works well, clean condition,” but when I showed up he casually mentioned that the lights on it didn’t work, and would be a real nightmare to replace (he did some work on the stereo but didn’t bother with the lights because they were too much of a pain to access even when he had it all apart). Well, shit. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to him that I wanted the fucking lights to work but when I told him I was going to pass on it, he gave me that bitchy, passive aggressive, “no, no, sure, yeah, no problem, yup, nope” response, ie thanks for wasting my precious time here, now I’ve missed 10 minutes of Duck Dynasty for nothing. He’s not the one who drove all the way to fucking Victoria to fight traffic and get fucked around and disappointed by every jackoff he dealt with so I don’t know why he was so upset.

Then I fought traffic through the pouring rain all the way home. That was my trip to Victoria today.

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 think 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

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:

glasses

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.