Jul 052018
 

So there’s efficiency and then there’s having vultures eagerly circling, just waiting for the injured, limping animals to die.

The Safeway in my Point Grey neighbourhood was one of the 10 targeted for shutdown a few months ago. To be fair, it’s never been the best Safeway around: it’s much smaller than the more modern ones, and its selection has always reflected that.

And god knows I’ve felt a certain disquiet with just how much a sense of loss I’ve felt since the closure was first announced. But given I’ve lived in Point Grey for 13 of the past 23 years, it is more “my neighbourhood” than any other single area of Vancouver. And while I’ve known Safeway as a corporation is as horrifically corporate as they come ever since I first worked for them as a young, idealistic co-op student in their then-corporate headquarters on the outskirts of just-being-reborn Yaletown in 1994, I am still overcome by a horrible sense of emptiness at the thought of this silly, outdated, overly-small supermarket shutting down.

And tonight, not even two hours after it shut its doors forever at 6pm, the vultures were out, stripping it of any corporate branding. And as strange as it sounds, it makes me want to cry.

It’s not about the corporate loss. I would be just as upset by the closure if we were talking about a Save-On Foods or a Choices. It’s the loss of a community lynchpin that’s been here long, long before I ever arrived on the scene when I first left home and moved into a basement suite here in 1995. At that point, the Safeway had already been here more than thirty years, far longer than I had been alive.

No, it’s the fact that a store like this, a supermarket, serves as a community and commercial focal point. As they say in shopping mall-speak, the Point Grey Safeway is well, was—an anchor for the quaint shopping district that springs up all around it.

I mean, don’t worry about me personally. I can just jump on a 99 bus and go to the much larger, more modern Safeway at Broadway and Macdonald. Yes, it will suck not being able to stop in at Safeway on my way home from work, or run over to it at 10pm at night (in my pyjama pants, slippers, and my “I’m lounging at home” sweatshirt fully dressed with proper shoes on) when I’m craving carrots ice cream and cookies, but in a practical sense, I will not noticeably suffer anything more than some very minor inconvenience.

But three years ago, when I was deathly ill from mono in the heat of summer, having a supermarket where I—as a single person who lives alone—could get everything a person needs to, you know, keep themselves alive half a block away was a godsend. If I got that sick now, I would need to rely on my friends to keep me fed and supplied with things like tissues and over-the-counter medications. Even at my lowest point physically, I could summon up enough energy to shuffle half a block to Safeway, shuffle around picking up the odds and ends of subsistence, and shuffle home. So I can’t help but worry about the many seniors who still live in this area, for whom hopping on the 99 and whooshing away to the shinier Safeway down the hill in Kitsilano may not be an option. How much will this closure shrink their world and curtail their autonomy, which has no doubt already been steadily chipped away at by age?

And permeating all this sadness at the loss of something in the community you didn’t realize was central until you heard it would disappear is the knowledge that this casualty is yet another victim of the scourge of gentrification that is hollowing out the city of my heart. Even in the land of protests against a property surtax that will only hit those with homes valued at over $3 million,1 gentrification is rearing its ugly head, because the land this somewhat dilapidated, hasn’t-been-upgraded-since-the-early-1990s Safeway sits on is worth merely a paltry $140 million, so while the corporate types claim it’s being closed because of low profits, any 10-year-old could spot the lie there. In the short term (as is always the context for these decision in the modern corporate calculus), the land on which this shabby Safeway sits is a far more valuable asset than even a thriving supermarket would be, let alone a middling one.

So, perhaps strangely in such an affluent neighbourhood, the death of a run-of-the-mill supermarket signals far more than you would think. RIP supermarket of my youth,2 community asset… you will be missed for far more than your convenience.

  1. all detached homes in Point Grey are basically in that category at this point []
  2. My answer to the “where were you when you heard” question of my generation, which would be “where were you when you heard Princess Diana had died?”, would be “at this run-of-the-mill Safeway it would take me twenty more years to realize held a strange place in my heart, with my boyfriend Kelly” []
 Posted by at 10:17 pm
Nov 302016
 

So I think if I just stick to the lyrics of modern songs, we should avoid the sadness I was experiencing earlier when I was trying to draft an entry about lyrics that either I find really clever, or evocative, or both. Mainly both.

It seems like an appropriate title, since blogging is all about words and writing.

Of course, my first entry isn’t modern really. But it does come from the musical that’s had the most impact on me, ever.

take my hand
and lead me to salvation
take my love
for love is everlasting
and remember the truth that once was spoken
to love another person is to see the face of God

That’s from Les Miz… the finale. Yes, very Christian, but I love it nonetheless. Because even if I don’t believe in a monotheistic, “old man in the clouds,” god, I think the sentiment is perfect. Plus, harmony from my two favourite Les Miz characters, Fantine and Eponine.

 

and sometimes when we touch
the honesty’s too much
and I have to close my eyes and hide
I want to hold you ’til I die
’til we both break down and cry
I want to hold you ’til the fear in me subsides

Okay, this isn’t modern either… but I swear all the others are!

You’d have to be of a certain era to get this one… it’s Dan Hill’s most famous song (some would say one-hit wonder), Sometimes When We Touch. Basically I love it because my mum loved it, and it always makes me think of her. But on top of that, it does a great job of describing love.

Also, please don’t die of the cheese factor of this particular video. Shot in Hell (aka Toronto) apparently. I suspect Krista will enjoy. LOL

 

Although it’s true I was never attention’s sweet centre

THIS LINE. THIS ONE LINE. Possibly the best single lyric I’ve ever come across, so no surprise it’s from modern-day poet Sara Bareilles. Lucky me, I got to hear it belted out live by Jessie Mueller in Waitress on Broadway. The show, while not perfect, was worth it just for Mueller’s performance of this song. While this lyric stands out like a beacon, the entire song is fantastic.

 

And all those things I didn’t say
wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
can you hear my voice this time?

this is my fight song
take back my life song
prove I’m all right song

my power’s turned on
starting right now
I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
and I don’t really care if nobody else believes
’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

This is Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. “Wrecking balls inside my brain” of things I stopped myself from saying is pretty much exactly what it’s like to be me 90% of the time.

If you need a little pick-me-up in terms of your self-esteem, I recommend putting this on repeat, putting in your headphones, cranking up the volume, and hiking along an urban parkway in Paris.

 

You’re from the 70s but I’m a 90s bitch

Hmmn… someone might identify with this song, I think. It’s from I Love It by Icona Pop, btw. While I was born in the 70s, I may have mentioned that I hate that decade, and when I first heard this line, I interpreted it as “time at which you came of age,” and if I’m a child of any decade, it is the 90s. So picturing myself sassily tossing this off to someone brings me great merriment. ??

Maybe there’s a way out
of the cage where you live
maybe one of these days
you can let the light in

show me
how big your brave is
say what you want to say
and let the words fall out
honestly
I want to see you be brave

and since your history of silence
won’t do you any good
(did you think it would?)
let your words be
anything but empty
why don’t you tell them the truth?

Oh that parenthetical remark… is she talking to me?! “She” being, once again, Sara Bareilles, in this, her most well-known song, Brave. Totally a coming out song, which she’s confirmed, not that you’d know it by either the lyric video or the official one. (I do like the “girl power” theme of the lyric video, though, so that’s the one I’ve included.)

Like Marvin Gaye, like Hathaway1

you’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
thinking I was born
in the wrong time
you’re one of a kind
living in a world gone plastic
baby you’re so classic

out of my league
old-school chic
like a movie star
from the silver screen

A star in the 40s, centerfold in the 50s
Got me tripping out like the sixties hippies
Queen of the discotheque
A 70s dream and an 80s best
Hepburn, Beyoncé, Marilyn, Massey2
Girl you’re timeless, just so classic

This is MKTO’s Classic, hereinafter and forever referred to as the Melia song, after my friend Melia who it so perfectly encapsulates. Melia3 could have easily stepped out of the 1920s and she is maybe the classiest person I know, so this extremely clever “let’s review the glamour of the entire 20th century” song is perfect for her.

And we certainly do live in a “world gone plastic.” That’s why anyone who isn’t plastic (e.g. Melia and all my other friends) is so precious to me.

And that, my friends, is it. A perfect note to end on.4

  1. when I first was listening to this song, I was like: what does Anne Hathaway have to do with Marvin Gaye?? []
  2. Just a warning: be very leery of trusting online lyric listings, because this was alternately transcribed as “Marilyn Manson” and “Marilyn, Massive.” Thank goodness I found a better source and was able to cross-check the name Massey. []
  3. of “I can’t stand it that people in Vancouver wear Birkenstocks to the symphony” fame []
  4. and yes, I do see what I did there ? []
Nov 292016
 

[Alternate title: “Penultimate” is such a cool word, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure I should use it, and ante-penultimate (which means “third to last”), in my blog post titles.]

You’ll forgive me if my post titles are getting a little meta—I blame Beth. Actually, Beth is to blame in many ways, because she seems to have mastered the knack of writing short-and-sweet postings and if I were a lesser friend, I would totally rib her for that making NaBloPoMo SUPER-easy for her… oh wait, I just did. ?

Me, though? I feel like if I am going to put something up here for “the public” (all 2 or 3 of you) to read, I should really put effort into making it somewhat substantial. And I don’t mean blog post substance is only possible with length… I just mean… I don’t know. All my shorter entries seem very perfunctory and flat to me. I think maybe I’ll blame sociology: I always want to connect whatever I’m writing about to larger themes or at least a few other topics. As I was writing yesterday’s post, there were several points where I wanted to elaborate or at least make fairly involved asides. And that post didn’t even end up being that short!

It’s probably because I’ve always tried to write like I talk, and I am not clipped when I talk to people, not people I like and whose opinions I value. As much as I might not be great at imaging the perfect supportive audience for my writing at all times, I must be getting part of that right, because the only time I’m regularly curt with people in person is when I can’t stand them and I want any conversations between us to end. In fact, you could probably pretty easily tell exactly how much regard I have for people just by observing how willing I am to speak with them at length.

For instance, I will always remember the aforementioned Beth and the first time she visited me when I was living in Toronto and I am pretty sure we talked non-stop for 12 hours straight. Without running out of things to say. Because we really do find each other that interesting. That kind of conversation is a true joy and there are very few people who I could imagine having that much to say to, and whose own stories would spark detailed commentary from me.

And what is a blog for, if not to share your thoughts and observations on the world, right? Because I sure as hell ain’t trying to “build my brand.” LOL

Nov 282016
 

Yes, it’s getting to that point in NaBloPoMo where trying to squeeze out more blog posts seems harder and harder. The ever-longer titles don’t seem to require too much, but actual content that someone might want to read? Oi.

So how about a feel-good story?

This past summer, I attended (as I usually do) the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.1 I saw a lot of shows, but one that really stayed with me was the documentary Southwest of Salem.

It’s the story of 4 lesbians from Texas who, in the mid-90s, were accused, tried, and convicted of the Satanic sexual abuse of the two young nieces of one of the women. So yes, just some light, frothy viewing for the summer.

I highly recommend the film because it looks into a phenomenon that I lived through as a kid but had kinda forgotten about (because it’s so ridiculous): the period in the 80s and into the 90s where Satanic ritual abuse was on all the afternoon talk shows and nightly news broadcasts and it seemed like it was just popping up everywhere. I’m sure it was more muted in Canada and that’s why it didn’t stick out in my mind more, but yeah, that was a thing; at times it felt like roving bands of Satanists were waiting around every corner and, if you were a kid and you weren’t careful, they were going to scoop you up.

The film basically positions the trial of the 4 women as the last gasp of that particular, ultimately discarded as wildly exaggerated, phenomenon and further ties it to the kind of hysteria Arthur Miller so vividly wrote about in The Crucible, the witch-hunts in Salem. The fact that 3 of the 4 women were Latina and all seemed to be solid working-class gets explored too.

Anyway, spoiler alert, the documentary focuses on what a total farce the charges, trial, and insane sentences were—the woman identified as the “ring-leader,” the aunt of the two girls, received a THIRTY-SEVEN year sentence while her 3 “co-conspirators” got 15 years each—and more recent efforts to have the women exonerated. There’s even a pretty cool Canadian connection.

The film ends on the biggest documentary cliffhanger I’ve ever seen: the four women get released and are allowed to plead their case, asking for full exoneration. The initial judge (who for some reason was the same judge who tried them??) could have exonerated them then and there… but (shockingly! *rolls eyes*), he doesn’t… he does agree the matter requires more consideration and passes it on to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest court on criminal matters in Texas, and essentially their last resort).

AND THAT’S HOW IT ENDS!!! ??????

It ends with no resolution because by the time the documentary was finished, that’s where things were.

Well last week? The verdict came down, and I’ll let you check it out yourselves.

Even in victory, these women lost over 15 years of their lives (each) and several of them didn’t get to see their children grow up. But it’s such a relief, because exoneration was no guarantee. This is TEXAS we’re talking about and there were three possible outcomes, and only 1 was good: they could have just been sent back to prison, they could have had to endure new trials, or what did happen: full exoneration. And full exoneration means they can go after the state for compensation, and while money won’t give them back the time they lost, hopefully it will help make their new lives a lot better.

  1. can I just say I have to admit I really love that they don’t namby-pamby around the word “queer” and actually just call themselves the VQFF? []
Nov 272016
 

Recently I tagged an entry here as “painfully aware.” You might be wondering what the particular tag is referring to, or if you aren’t wondering, you might not realize it’s a reference to a very specific tagline that has to be one of the best, most true, most suitable taglines I’ve ever encountered. So let me tell you the story:

Long, long ago, in the 2008/2009 academic year (which really, I mean really, shouldn’t be as long ago as it is so can someone please do something about that? thanks!), I was back at school getting another degree. Unlike some people, my degree of this era was not in the most evil, horrible field ever—unless you ask Stephen Harper. That’s right: I was learning how to commit *gasp* sociology.

And while learning how to commit this most heinous of crimes, I joined up with the Sociology Students’ Association.1 And this group decided to print some club t-shirts. And on those t-shirts, they included the group’s logo and its glorious, glorious tagline, which as I’m sure you determined by now is this:

painfully aware

If you know anything about sociology, you can probably figure out what those two succinct words are getting at. If you are a sociologist—or, perhaps more accurately, you are someone with a sociological orientation or a sociological worldview—then you see that phrase and you recognize immediately how perfectly it sums up what I shall pretentiously label the “sociologists’ condition.” (it’s really not exactly the condition of sociologists; it’s more about the condition of having learned enough sociology that you just can’t turn off your sociologically-informed viewpoint)

You often hear writers or critics complain that they can’t properly sit back and enjoy writing or whatever art they are consuming as, let’s say, laypeople. Once you know a certain amount about a field or domain, you can’t help but look at it differently. For instance, when I watch TV or film or see theatre, a lot of times I will find myself thinking, “Good grief, this actor must be ecstatic over getting such good material!” That’s for a variety of reasons, stretching waaaaaaaay back to my childhood when my mum did community theatre. But basically, I know a lot2 about acting and TV and film production. So when I enjoy TV or film or theatre, it’s not, usually, because I’ve lost myself in the magic, or at least, it’s not because I’ve lost myself in the magic effortlessly. It takes a really powerful performance (like when I saw Wicked the first time in London) to simply overwhelm my critical faculties3 and keep me “in the moment” as an audience member. Either that or I have to essentially consciously make myself unconscious of all the extra stuff I’m observing and evaluating without even trying to.

When you are sufficiently immersed in sociology, you are pretty much constantly painfully aware.  Aware of what? Aware of all the crazy institutional structures that are embedded in our everyday lives, aware of all the subtleties of the various forms of oppression present in society, aware of how various forms of oppression can interact with one another, aware of how difficult it is to effect change in the world on any kind of large scale, aware of how language is made and re-made to suit various agendas, aware of exactly how complex life and its problems can be, and how small we as individuals are. It can be terrifyingly paralyzing.

I think, though, that the fact Harper exhibited such an apparently irrational hatred of sociology in general, and sociologists in particular, is telling. Sociology is a way of looking at the world that pushes you to see holistically, to uncover complexity, and—maybe most importantly—to see the interconnectedness of all things. To me, it’s the antithesis of conservative thought, because I’ve never read or discovered one conservative position that isn’t, at its core, founded in the idea of selfishness. Maybe not individual selfishness, but certainly fairly limited group selfishness. Family selfishness, racial selfishness, economic selfishness, gender selfishness… find me a conservative idea that isn’t about benefitting a group of haves to the detriment of a group of have-nots and I’ll eat my toque.

This is not to say that all sociologists are “bleeding heart liberals.” Oh no, there are some marvellously delusional schools of thought in sociology, like structural functionalism and rational choice theory, that actually dovetail quite nicely with conservative ideologies. Indeed, perhaps they were promoted and gained attention within the field because of these “fortuitous” alignments. But the fundamental perspective of sociology considers how groups of people act and interact, and that perspective, as certain people say about the facts in general, has a “liberal bias.”

I think there’s an explicit reason sociology isn’t taught as its own discipline (generally) in high school and I think it’s because it encourages a worldview that is perhaps a bit too likely to cause people to challenge authority. This isn’t to say everyone who studies sociology becomes some kind of enlightened left-wing activist who magically eradicates all their prejudices… but if ever there were a field of study that puts all the right tools at people’s disposal to at least start breaking down their bigotry, to start questioning why things are the way they are in society, to start cutting through everything in society designed to distract us, to start making connections that—to borrow a very famous idea from a very famous sociologist4—perhaps the power elite don’t want the rank-and-file asking, then sociology must be it.

And somehow, all of the above, along with innumerable other multitudes, is all contained in two small words: painfully aware

So next time you see someone you know is studying, or has studied, sociology, offer them a hug—because buster, you better believe they need it!

  1. note the proper use of the apostrophe to form a plural possessive []
  2. for a person basically untrained save for participation in some school musicals []
  3. as in, able to critique and analyze, not “unable to say anything positive about” []
  4. that would be C. Wright Mills in The Power Elite []
Nov 262016
 

A friend sent me this article to read: It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump

I sent her back my thoughts and she seemed to think they were cogent, so I’m sharing them more publicly. (Thanks for the encouragement, kele!)


Not sure I agree completely (and it’s a bit self-serving since the Leap Manifesto is Klein’s baby) but it certainly encompasses how we’ve seen the NDP sputter federally and politically here in Canada.

But Hillary Clinton was definitely part of the problem… not because of past scandals or being a woman, but because of the Wall Street coziness aka neoliberal championing. It would have been really interesting to see a Trump/Sanders face-off, that’s for sure.

I think, though, that racism and misogyny are probably stronger forces here than Klein cares to admit in this article. Neoliberalism has put people in more precarious positions and that has heightened their fears, for sure, and when people’s fears are heightened, they are more likely to lash out, blame others, and not listen to their better angels… but it’s not like neoliberalism created racial and gender divisions to start with—it just creates scenarios where people can exacerbate them for their own gain (Trump and the Republicans).  You could dramatically improve the economy for the working class white male and that wouldn’t make his bigotry disappear, just go underground.

And I still think the media issue is a HUGE issue.  But ultimately the failure of the press could be seen as a direct result of neoliberalism, it’s true.

Ugh.  Not sure how we get people to realize the huge problem of neoliberalism.  Capitalism just enjoys this insane position of power and favour in our society and it’s hard for people (without a very specific background) to understand how capitalism in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s is vastly different from capitalism since them.  The dramatic shift towards neoliberal policies is so cleverly positioned as just the “natural evolution” of capitalism, the “inevitability” of globalization… *sigh*

It comes back to how things like “the market” are just presented as these somehow “natural” forces that are outside human control, their own living breathing things.  ALL of this is under our control.  It only exists because we choose to allow it to exist, to make and enforce (or not enforce) laws that allow it to exist, to build (or demolish) institutions that are essential to it existing.

Nov 252016
 

Yes… I thought for the final eight entries (Wed to the end of the month) I would actually post “on the day” as opposed to back-dating but now I’ve screwed up “today” and “tomorrow.”

*sigh*

Basically my idea for today’s entry was to list some of the song lyrics that I’ve found particularly amazing/emotive—so I started going through songs that are on my current “songs I like playlist” but then I thought I shouldn’t just include recent songs, so I started listening to artists from the 90s who I used to listen to quite a bit but don’t really that much anymore. That was a bit of a YouTube “rabbit hole” and hey, it turns out a lot of the music I listened to in my 20s was pretty melancholy. Before I knew it, it was past midnight and technically November 26. So that was a bit of a failure. A minor failure, sure, but it disappointed me.

Ugh.

If I knew I was going to react that way, I would have just kept things more recent.

Have I whined yet about how blogging every day is hard? Oh wait… I don’t think I have! I can get at least one freebie on that front, right?

Nov 242016
 

So there are a lot of things about myself I don’t like to admit. I’m assuming this is the case for most people.

I don’t like to admit how much I like stupid dance movies like Step Up 3DCenter Stage, and Save The Last Dance where at least 90% of the time, the story is the boy/girl from the wrong side of the tracks who dances “street” teams up with the classically trained/ballet/true artist girl/boy dancer to shatter the snotty, uptight expectations of the “art world”/establishment and win the dance scholarship/competition/world prize (see also Pitch Perfect and Bring It On for variations on this theme). I don’t like to admit how powerless I am in the face of my serious bubble tea addiction. I don’t like to admit how happy such bubblegum pop neoclassics as Shake It OffCall Me Maybe, and Kiss You make me when I listen to them. I don’t like to admit how much I hate things many people adore, like Star WarsBook of Mormon, Firefly, and Lord of the Rings. Oh no wait—I do love telling people how much I hate that last group of things.

But you get the idea… I mean, obviously there are far more serious things I don’t like to admit about myself that (shocker) I will not be writing down here and putting out into the public sphere. But one thing I will cop to is that I do not like to admit where I’m from. I do admit it (because I don’t believe in being evasive/coy about stuff you might not like but didn’t choose and can’t change) but I don’t like it. Not one bit.

Hi, my name is Kalev and yes, I grew up in Surrey, BC.1

I can’t tell you that I always knew how awful Surrey was. Growing up in Surrey, I just didn’t really understand there were (vastly) other ways to live. Given I was in deep denial about my sexuality until I was nearly 20, I didn’t experience the place as particularly anti-gay (even though Surrey is, to a remarkably disturbing degree). And I’m not ashamed to be from Surrey because it’s the default butt of every redneck/dumb or slutty blond joke in the region. I’m not ashamed because of the stereotypes about Surrey, because every region has a municipality like that.2 No, I’m ashamed to be from Surrey because of how it has been and acted, historically, and how it still is. And it’s a lot more than uncomplicated stereotypes about the types of people who live there—which could, to be fair, be made about nearly any community far enough out from any urban centre—that underpin my ire.

My deep and abiding contempt for my hometown in based in a variety of reasons, many of which relate to it embodying values that are completely antithetical to my core beliefs. But perhaps the one aspect of Surrey that most upsets me, that makes my blood boil, is that the city and its residents are constantly whining about how they pay SO. MUCH. for transit (not directly, but via things like property taxes and gas taxes)3 and yet they are so desperately shortchanged in return for their selfless sacrifice.

(Let me tell you, just as an aside: on a variety of fronts in my life, I am getting damn sick of people complaining about problems that are their own damn fault and which they could damn well fix if they damn well shut the fuck up and worked on the problem instead of bitching about how it was someone else’s fault and out of their control.)

And this unpleasant caterwauling was out in full force yesterday in the comment section of the livestream of the joint Mayors’ Council–TransLink board meeting where the 10-Year Plan was approved.

To wit:

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-40-13-pm

So to give you a bit more context on why that comment should have come with a Kalev trigger warning™,4 I’ll share the response I wrote to it, which summarizes why I hate Surrey on this particular front:

Surrey can have SkyTrain when it starts acting like a real city and implements this crazy thing called “urban planning” instead of its continued and appalling suburban sprawl. It doesn’t have anywhere near the density to justify SkyTrain and it has certainly never demonstrated the political will to develop communities where transit can be effectively delivered. When SkyTrain arrived in central Surrey, a few towers got built… and then NOTHING for the next 15 years. Meanwhile, the sprawl continued unabated.

Further, LRT5 is not some cheap-out alternative to SkyTrain. It’s an appropriate mode of rapid transportation for the city given its current state and it’s widely used across the world.

Surrey should count itself lucky it’s getting ANY kind of rapid transit beyond what it already has. The notion that it’s needed more in Surrey (which is completely laid out around car use) and not along Broadway (all the way to UBC) which is the single busiest transit corridor ON THE CONTINENT is ludicrous in the extreme.

Let’s put it this way: you guys are lucky you’re considered fertile ground for BC Liberal and federal Conservative politicians because otherwise this wouldn’t even be a conversation.

*mic drop*

  1. Happily I at least wasn’t born there. ? []
  2. I’m looking at you, Scarborough! ? []
  3. which is also a lie since, as I’ve mentioned before, property taxes in the Lower Mainland are shockingly low for a region of our size, population, and complexity—and Surrey is not the exception to that rule (in a relative sense, White Rock is) []
  4. as should any articles about the housing market in Vancouver *sigh* []
  5. light rail transit []
Nov 232016
 

So about two days ago, I got an email about a particular item that was now for sale. Not like “on sale” i.e. cheaper than it used to be, but “for sale” as in “previously this was not available for purchase.” And I was so excited, because it would serve as a great gift for at least 3 or 4 people I like to get Christmas gifts for… and then I read the whole email and realized that while you could buy the item now, it wouldn’t be shipping until February. February! Somehow that seems to suck some of the whole “Christmas spirit” out of the gift. I mean, it’s still a great gift and all, but by the time my friends receive it, it’s not going to be beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. February is too early an availability to make it a good Christmas gift for next year (it’s potentially somewhat of a time-limited thing) but more than a month after Christmas 2016 is a letdown.

Arrrghhhhh!

Still, it’s hard to come up with gifts for most people once they’re adults so I’ll likely still go with this option. Finding a good sub-$50 or even sub-$100 gift for most people? So very difficult! That’s why I never mind it when people get me gift certificates or gift cards because honestly, in most cases, I can’t do better myself. I’m not craft-y,1 so I can’t make them something. And while you usually can figure out a certain thing or theme people like, buying that same thing—or gifts in that same vein—over and over again over (hopefully) years of friendship gets a little bit old in most cases.

The only time I kinda raise my eyebrows at gift cards is when someone who knows me gets me one from a store that I am super-unlikely to patronize. Like, for instance, if someone got me a gift card for SportChek instead of, oh I don’t know, Cineplex. Or they got me one from a restaurant known for its meat dishes. I don’t mind when people don’t know exactly what to get me but I would like to think they are trying to be in the right ballpark. That’s certainly what I aim for if I’m going the gift card route.

I used to think I was really good at getting good gifts for people but in the last decade or so, I feel like I’ve really lost whatever magic I used to have. That’s why I was so thrilled when I saw this item would be available… and then so miffed when I realized it wouldn’t get to anyone until February. February! Who wants to wait until then for their Christmas gifts? ?

  1. I’m possibly not crafty either ? []