fear & loathing in Lotusland

Two Suits

by Zbigniew

Overheard, two suits on Georgia & Granville:

Suit One: “Nordstrom’s is open.”

Suit Two: “Hmmmm.”


Suit One: “What’s the valuation of The Bay?”

Suit Two: “One hundred fifty million.”

Bay Logo



by Zbigniew

Beeba BoysBeeba Boys

Deepa Mehta, Canada, 2015, 103 MIN.

“Vancouver finally gets its answer to Goodfellas and it comes from a somewhat unexpected source. Internationally renowned for thoughtful dramas such as Water, and having previously made a successful foray into comedy with Bollywood/Hollywood, Deepa Mehta now seamlessly transitions into adrenaline charged crime cinema.”

Vancouver International Film Festival, 2015

Alas, a slap-chopped clump of cliché, under-seasoned, under-cooked, and underwhelming.

However: featuring obliquely motivated and unsympathetic characters acting out a coke-fueled consumerist fantasy punctuated by violence and bad dialogue against an attractive vista of golden hues, with an incoherent sense of both local geography and social realities -in its own, inadvertent, way -a quintessential Vancouver film.

And the “Winners” are … the Worst of Vancouver, 2015

by Zbigniew

Welcome to the third annual Worst of Vancouver, where we pay tribute to the river of bullshit that flows through this burgh unimpeded by rational discourse, political structures, or social forces.

To those of you that participated in the survey, a heartfelt thank you. Your wit and humour are the canoe and paddle that greatly mitigate the unplesantries of my daily commute up Shit Creek.

As in previous years, there were 10 questions -a limit set automatically by the free version of Polldaddy.

As some questions generated heterogeneous answers, in these cases the  -uh- winners were determined by the Anonymous Kangaroo Court of Inebriated Judges, hand-picked by yours truly. And a sorry lot they are.

And so, the results of the 2015 Worst of Vancouver Survey …

Pedestrian AccidentsCrashes Involving Pedestrians, 2009-2013, Insurance Corporation of BC

Sometime in the early 1980s, I was cycling west on 12th Avenue. Where the road narrows up the hill to Fraser, the cars slow, and pass without hurry or horn. I wear no helmet.

In contrast, I recently witnessed the operator of a vehicle honking at a pedestrian with the right of way crossing Main at Terminal. The car sped past, an “I Heart Yoga” sticker on the bumper.

Therefore, given that we take our life in our hands every time we approach an intersection,

The make & model of car most likely to run you over. The winner, by a nose:

BMW (possibly an M5, possibly belonging to Bob Rennie)

Runners up:

  1. Audi (“Driven by Francesco Aquilini, with Brian Jackson riding shotgun and the Mayor tucked into a child seat”)
  2. Mercedes SUV
  3. Hummer, particularly the one “with the ‘Namaste’ bumper sticker”


“Some rustbucket of a taxi driven by some poor, over educated PhD from eastern Europe who fled war and famine to Canada only to be told that his credentials are worthless and he needs to eke out a living by indentured servitude in a rotten, corrupt system driving a condemned contraption of a Honda or something.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to get hit by a MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra) before a car these days. Then again, most MAMILS drive, too ….”

Patient Zero: “I’ve been hit as a pedestrian three times in Vancouver. Twice by a Subaru Wagon, once by a pedal bike.”

Namaste Hummer

PS: On September 14, 2015, “Downtown Deer,” a young black-tailed buck that took up residence in and around Stanley Park the previous summer, was struck and killed by a vehicle on the Causeway. The make and model of the automobile responsible could not be ascertained from media reports.

downtown-deer The Downtown Deer, in happier times

Before the freakishly warm weather, and between oil spill-induced beach closures, the cliché par excellence of Vancouver’s experiential lifestyle suggested that you could “ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon.” Or some such nonsense, anyway.

“Vancouver, where you can __________ in the morning & __________ in the afternoon.”

The winner, by unanimous decision of the Kangaroo Court:

“Vancouver, where you can be renovicted in the morning & drive your oldest friend, who is moving somewhere cheaper, to the airport in the afternoon.”

Some of the many other contenders (NB: it’s fun to ‘mix and match’):

work your first job needed to pay your rent

work your second job needed to buy food

drink mediocre, overpriced ‘organic’ coffee

drink mediocre, overpriced ‘craft’ beer

get tattooed

give blood

walk your chihuahua

boot camp

be vacuous

be an asshole


raise rents

be evicted

get run over by a BMW

be passed up by a B-Line

be trapped in a sweaty, overcrowded Skytrain

get stuck in traffic

get stuck in traffic

endure a soul crushing commute

abuse controlled substances

smell pee

smell rendered chicken

watch your local cobbler close up business

watch a “McCannabis” shop open

walk around looking for housing

still be looking for housing

witness extreme poverty

live in extreme poverty

Ski and Knife FightRod Filbrandt, Tar Paper Town

There are many tower projects being erected in Metro Vancouver, casting long shadows both real and metaphorical. Which of these towers do you find the most egregious?

Survey says: the winner, by a substantial length of comb-over hair,

The Trump Tower, aka “The Chump” Tower

“Now that the dipshit is running for President, it’s even worse.”

Close contenders:

  1. The Independent, by RIZE, at Broadway & Main
  2. The Boffo Tower, at Commercial & Venables, “[A] giant fuck-you-too to the core supporters of the Vision junta”
  3. “That shittastic mega block” on Main between 1st and Terminal

Comments & wiseholery:

“All of them”

“I find Vancouver house to be the most eyeroll inducing. Personally I’d be embarrassed to live in a giant wang, even more so if it was costing me a ridiculous amount of money.”

“Ian Gillespie/Westbank’s tower on the SW corner of Main and Keefer. It menaces Chinatown from a great height, like Godzilla, and has completely destroyed the human scale of the historic neighbourhood.”

“Bob Rennie’s Towering Erection”

dawn-of-the-dead1978Dawn of the Dead (1978)

The zombie apocalypse hits the Lower Mainland! Where’s ground zero?

The Kangaroo Court says:

McArthurGlen, aka “the ‘Designer Vomit Outlet’”

crowds-outside-magPhoto credit: McArthurGlen


“Wherever Diner en Blanc is being held”

“Chip whatsisname’s house”

“A stalled and crowded SkyTrain. Though that’s also possibly a containment strategy as well.”

“Hipster & Main”

“How could you tell the difference?”

Speaking of zombies, which Vancouver neighbourhood best resembles a safety deposit box vault?

Survey says, by a healthy marginal return on investment:

Coal Harbour

The also rans:

  1. (Southeast) False Creek: “Overpriced boxes on an exorbitant lease schedule in an impenetrable concrete surrounding, overseen by bankers.”
  2. Yaletown
  3. British Properties, aka “Asian Properties”

You’re stuck on a stalled & very crowded Skytrain for 60+ minutes. How do you kill the time?

“It’s Vancouver; time is already dead.”


Helpful suggestions for those less existentially focused:

“Espying on the neighbourhood below, I would count how many real estate signs are put up and taken down in that hour.”

“Use the lowest common denominator of shared hatred for Translink to get to know my fellow citizens.”

“Tweeting with the hashtag #Translinking.”

“Watch the self-involved taking selfies of themselves looking beautifully annoyed at being trapped on the Skytrain.”

“Get high.”

“Masturbate while smoking weed. No, that’s at the office.”

“Probably Twitter, complaining as we always do, at least until the battery runs out. Then, the zombie apocalypse breaks out.”

“Scowl and breath loudly in a passive-aggressive manner.”

“Read a day old copy of metro that has footprints all over it.”

“Record people wigging the fuck out.”

“Pee myself.”

“Anxiety attack.”


“Filling out this survey?”

Bob Rennie: Man, god, or goat?

According to survey results, Bob Rennie is six parts goat, two parts man, and one part god.

Of the images produced by “Satyr + glasses” this one seemed to resonate with the  “Worst Tower” wise ass commentary and those remarkable devil statutes that have been making the rounds.


Compass: myth or propaganda?

By a margin of two to one, those surveyed believe Compass to be propaganda over myth. I read this Compass being “tangentially associated with reality.”

And so it is. Right around the corner, on October 5th Compass rolls out. Two years overdo, 100% over-budget, for a glitchy system, produced by the Municipal Industrial Complex. What could possibly go awry?


Complete this sentence: “Vancouver ain’t got no ____________________.”


Self-depreciating sense of humor

Good guys at City Hall

Working class spirit

Affordable housing


Natural breasts

Social Capital







And, finally:

Vancouver IdleWhat’s missing from this picture?

So much:

“People who are not white?”

“Oil spill”



“Yoga pants”


“Dope smokers”

“Marijuana dispensary”

“Vision election signs”

“A redevelopment sign”

“A rampaging T-Rex. Or, Bob Rennie. Come to think of it, have you ever seen them in the same room?”

“Homeless person”

“The 45 of my friends who have moved to Berlin or Toronto. Or Calgary. Or effing Saskatoon”

“Upper Class white people overdosing on Fentanyl”

“The 500 car2go’s parked on the road”

“A frappaccino”

“Oil booms, an abandoned Coast Guard station, douchebags playing shitty amplified music, a medical marijuana shop, a coffee roaster, a Starbucks next door, and a craft brewery kiddicorner, and an ‘EntitledBaby Outlet Bazzar'”

“British Properties?”

And the winner:


Never Say Never

by Zbigniew

Beneath the colonial motion picture economy, there’s another narrative, sub rosa, virtually invisible, revealing itself only in glimpses. What characters and conflicts populate that world, I wonder?


Vancouver Sometimes Plays Itself: Vancouver as Vancouver on screen,” Craig Tekuchi, Georgia Straight, April 8th, 2011

At the Margins

by Zbigniew


A moment of quiet contemplation, induced by late summer sunshine diffused by a Sytrain’s hazy window, is suddenly pierced, popped.

It’s not right.

The sound I mean -the cue that precedes the station announcement. It’s been altered, slightly. The tone has changed. When did that happen? Why? This new version sounds sluggish, tired. An audio metaphor for Translink’s fatigued operations.

The next station is … Stadium/Chinatown

I’ve never understood the need to include “the next station is.” What else could possibly be on the agenda? The next station is … my arse. I’m offended by the redundancy.

I prefer the London Underground approach –or, the Underground as I once knew it: Embankment. Cannon Street. Monument. Right to the point, with none of this bullshit helpful/friendly/nonsense/noise.


Christ but it sounds like a worn out cassette tape recording.

The next station is … Main Street/Science World … transfer here for long distance train and bus connections at Pacific Central Station

What’s with the remedial information? Who needs to know this that doesn’t already know it?

Tourists, I suppose.

And the new, tentative, residents. These are tourists, too, but of indeterminate duration. That endless stream of suckers and/or investors –monied or leveraged- that have parked their dreams or swollen their portfolios on sales pitches and branded lifestyles. The ones that are here until things go sideways. A teeming mass of marginal inhabitants directed centre stage by a lopsided economic imperative and obsequious tips directed over a transit public address system.

At least until a long, grey and dank fall-winter settles in their bones. In a crowded train car that offers little warmth, where they tune-out the helpful tips now directed at the latest arrival and move a little closer to me, out here on the margins.


Seen in Passing: Quebec & W. 2nd

by Zbigniew

Vandalized Public Piano

Scat III

by Zbigniew

Scat III

Seen in Passing: Venables & Kaslo

by Zbigniew

From concept, to construction to contents: the saddest of book exchanges:

Saddest Book Exchange


by Zbigniew

Kaslo Street & 22nd Avenue:

“Constable Brian Montague, a department spokesman, said in an e-mail Wednesday that the goal is to ‘provide the good and law-abiding residents a community that they feel is safe and a community they feel they can enjoy without the fear of gangs and guns.’

“The officer, who would not agree to an interview, did not link the installation of the cameras to a specific event, and there do not appear to have been any high-profile incidents in the neighbourhood in recent weeks.”

“Surveillance cameras on east side used to deter violence: Vancouver police,” Sunny Dhillon, Globe & Mail, August 26, 2015


Vancouver Police Monitor Gang Activity Using Ensol’s Hybrid Video Trailer

“At Ensol Systems, we work with the latest technology to develop innovative solutions for remote power, surveillance, communications and safety. Our systems are used throughout the construction and oil and gas industries as well as by law enforcement agencies to save time, money and to improve safety.”

Worse Still: the 2015 Worst of Vancouver Survey

by Zbigniew

It’s that imprecise time of year, when your friends at Scamcouver offer you an opportunity to channel all that corporatist, post-democratic, corruption-induced angst and emotionally defecate on our Terminal City cum “Vegas-on-sea,” through a few simple loaded questions.

Special thanks to @IngeFinge, Ms. Demeanor and DJ Clueless for input, general wise assery, and smokes.

Please, have to, and don’t spare the snark.

Survey closes at 23:45, on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.