I’m being tremendously lazy today because I spent far too much time trying to get iTunes to do what I want it to do, which is move certain songs off my CD drive onto my iPhone without erasing every song on my iPhone right now or forcing me to upload to the iPhone all the goddam ABBA and crap that’s on the hard drive, but Nooooooooooooo, Steve won’t have it.
Seriously, you KNOW you’ve put your stamp on a company when even their smallest products reproduce your pathologies in perfect detail.
Anyhoooooooo… Today, thanks to Sam Macmillan at 6S and Michael Allison at the Wilcox Group, I got to ride in the convoy of the Olympic Torch today, although I did not actually see the flame, which is neither here nor there but somewhere else, which is where it would be if it was, isn’t it?
Now, perhaps we need a little background…
I live on the Downtown Eastside, and the Olympics have, for literally the past 2 years, been a huge political shitstorm of Katrina-esque proportions. That the Olympics would take place regardless of how popular the No Olympics movement became was clear from the beginning and if there’s one thing my time working at Greenpeace taught me, it’s that by participating in useless protests that will never result in change, people bleed off their urge to act and, thus, prevent themselves from changing the world.
And I have a problem with that.
So, surrounded as I have been for the past 24 months by nonstop political sloganeering from all sides of the issue, essentially all of the mindshare I’ve given the Olympics has been equal-opportunity pushback, as in “WILL YOU ALL SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE? AND YOU! THERE! SUCK IT UP, THE OLYMPICS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN WHETHER YOU WHINE ABOUT IT IN PUBLIC OR NOT! AND YOU! THERE! MY WHOLE GODDAM COUNTRY IS A FREE SPEECH ZONE SO SUCK IT YOU’RE NOT IN BEIJING ANYMORE!” and equally pointed words to those effects.
Although it was cool when my boy Bono said “No Olympics on Stolen Land” in the concert to which I didn’t buy a ticket to because I assumed, wrongly, that they’d be too expensive. Which they were not, and serves me right for not investigating, but oh well, such is the cost of pessimism.
So, as I remarked over at Trueslant, my ability to get past the politicking to connect emotionally with the actual sports and internationalism has been crippled (yes, deliberate word choice, suck it). Then again, apathy is a national characteristic, so maybe I’m just being a Good Canadian.
So, it was both nice and remarkable that, given all that backstory, Michael and Sam decided to pick me as one of the 2 bloggers to get a ride-along today (the other was the (in)famous John Chow) but they did (boy, I sure snookered them, didn’t I, and now I’m gonna hear from all the “billiards” PC-ists, aren’t I oh yes I am).
So, behold the live-tweeted timeline of a conversion. I’m really, truly grateful to them for inviting me along, because not even a cynic like me can resist seeing, say, 10,000 people in a single block in Deep Cove, all dressed in red and white and cheering their semifrozen faces off and freakin’ cowbelling like their lives depended on it.
Stuck in traffic behind #Olympic torch on The Reservation in North Van can’t see a darn thing
@JohnChow we will see you soon. Why didn’t they pick speedy runners? Even I can run this fast!
Pretty thrilling, no? #Olympic #van2010 http://twitpic.com/12fbe0
@lussobaby yes the cherryblossoms behind Firehall Theatre are always the first in the city
Well @michaelallison says he can see the flame! Good eyes http://twitpic.com/12fd4n
Listening to thestory of how the #Olympic caravan saved a disabled driver who went off the road in Renfrew Ont thx to OnStar
RT @VANobserver RT @MargaretAtwood: Striking a blow for free speech: Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran http://tinyurl.com/yek2qag Yikes!
Coca Cola is the longest running #Olympic sponsor
Convoy vehicles are called Happy1 Happy2 Loonie and Toonie. How Canadian is that? Kids are all cheering the Coke trucks looking 4 freebies!
2techs and 5 detailers 110 vehicles altogether, over half are GM #Olympic #van2010
We are rolling with the #Olympic #van2010 torch
Um we just passed the torch. Are we supposed to do that? http://twitpic.com/12fl1g
Ha @johnchow is driving the crowd wild yelling “you’re on YouTube!” #Olympic #van2010
In Dollarton abt 5 minutes ahead of the #Olympic #van2010 torch. Now I know how U2‘s warmup act feels
[seriously, it’s like we know you’re wondering who the hell we are, but YAY, huh?]
Apparently schools go wild and so do some malls when they see the #Olympic #van2010 torch but Dollarton is too dignified
In Saskatchewan some ppl wheeled their granny out to see the #Olympic #van2010 torch and sstuck her right in the middle of the tracks!
3schools ina row coming up
I’m finally learning how this whole RELAY thing works #Olympic #van2010
Awesome job the announcers have whipping up the crowd for 110 straight days. WOO! Cowbell #Olympic #van2010 #olympics
@OkanaganWriting I’m riding with one of the GM guys and he says half [of the vehicles are GM]
Somebody is ringing the churchbell and someone else is waving a Molsons box! #Olympic #van2010 #olympics http://twitpic.com/12fokt [missed the picture, sadly; t’was funny]
@busybeeblogger It IS fun, I’m really glad I got the chance
@jeremylim you can ask I guess. They picked me out of thinair as far as I know [in reply to the obvious “how do I get in on that ridealong action question]
@WoundedCrane are they fancy? [she said she wanted Swiss cowbells for her dogs; I thought maybe Swiss House had special commemorative cowbells, or at least commemorative cows]
Cheers #van2010 #olympics #olympics http://moby.to/rqf86o
More cheers and now Journey on the stereo. Hair bands ftw http://moby.to/3j7ce5
Holycrap people actually singing along. That never happens in Canada #van2010 #olympics http://twitpic.com/12fqiw
[another sunny day in Deep Cove]
Deep Cove #van2010 #olympics http://twitpic.com/12fqtx
The royal bank was giving out noisemakers and boy howdy are ppl using them. But I do think cowbells win #van2010 (cont) http://tl.gd/87jop
Somebody just yelled Nice Coat at me. Real Cowichan FTW! #van2010 #olympics http://twitpic.com/12fs8t
@yurechko I’m with @michaelallison and @johnchow
@WoundedCrane deep cove [in response to “where are you that it’s raining?]
@jeremylim thanks you will get there [in response to “Nonsense. You’re highly prolific and very much loved. Wish I were the same so I could get in that van!”]
John chow says 300m is one Vegas block and I say 2 furlongs we all have diff frames of reference #van2010 #olympics
@WilcoxPR thx 4 the rt. 10,000 ppl in deep cove on just 2 blocks [the PR agency behind the ride-along starts contributing to the convo]
Explaining the Raven pub to my carmates for #van2010 [specifically, their Stupid Hot Wings. Story goes; they have 5 levels of heat, and if you can eat the Stupid Hot Wings plate, your whole meal is free. Nobody’s ever won. Waitress says “why do you think they’re called STUPID hot?]
RT GM_ArtAndSerge @raincoaster and @johnchow with Art! http://tweetphoto.com/10968091
@WilcoxPR loved it, thanks 4 making the ridealong happen. Now I’m off to blog it
RT vanmediacoop upcoming – VIVO media arts “evening news” events to discuss Olympics, convergence, media & movements http://bit.ly/a2yrHt #report2010
I have NO collector’s sensibility. #Olympic swag commemorative aluminum Caffeinated Swag cracked. I’m thirsty! http://tweetphoto.com/10980949
if you’re going to be out and about in such inclement weather then you need to have the proper winter attire to keep your head and face warm. >:>
Oh yes, I DEFINITELY need that! Thanks!
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Great post! Now that the Olympics are here, I hope people can all just get along and relax… Though, I guess people will just choose something else to be uptight about.
I have to say that while I feel a little childish being happy that we’re having winter-less winter olympics – that I think it’s very important to be in touch with your inner child.
BC is paying for Olympics that not only are we not invited to, but we’re also not supposed to go to work or about our lives if they include being near Olympic venues.
And, as I recall, when Calgary had the Olympics – they were always the Calgary Olympics.
So, why now when it’s the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics – is it the Canada Olympics?
and, why does having this roman circus event that’s supposed to celebrate the best of ourselves – does the best of ourselves suddenly not include freedom of movement, assembly and speech?
So, I see the Mountain Walruses have done a successful anti-snow dance. This means the tree octopi will not be hibernating and so will be out hunting.
Downtown Eastside has been getting a bit of publicity here (for all the wrong – or are they the right – reasons) and I keep looking for a familiar face in the crowds. So far you have avoided the cameras.
Amazing energy and action – this is a great Olympics warm-up act!
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I don’t really care whether Vancouver or Canada get the credit for the Olympics; why don’t we wait and see if they’re a clusterfuck before grousing we aren’t getting the credit/blame? It’s not like anyone is mistaking the event for the local sporting championships at Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump. As for our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, I intend to go about exercising mine as if nothing were happening and, should something happen, blogging the hell out of it, which is a course I recommend to all.
Archie, the New York Times did a really good, quite balanced piece on the DTES: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/sports/olympics/05eastside.html Make no mistake; this is no paradise, but it’s a neighborhood or rather collection of neighborhoods with history, parks, community centres, families, elders, and not to be mistaken for Detroit circa 1974.
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