Frances Bula header image 2

My new year

January 12th, 2010 · 12 Comments

For those of you who are wondering why I haven’t been posting as furiously in this post-Christmas period, I have to mention that I have, without making a formal resolution, seemed to have slipped into a slower, more gracious life for the year 2010.

I am knitting, as previously mentioned, and am now on my fourth scarf. I’m sending out hand-written thank-you notes for dinner parties (though it was such an unusual occurrence that it alarmed my reporter pal, Kim Bolan, who thought it must be a threatening letter from a gang when she got one in the mail). I have returned to writing in a journal as part of my impulse to form a new “slow writing” movement. (I should actually say “slow and long,” as opposed to fast and twitter.)

I think it might be a way of life we all want to take up as the Olympics descend upon us. After all, if there’s no parking anywhere, if a simple trip to Costco entails having to drive by military vehicles and miles of chain-link fencing, if the bridges are closed and the streets are filled with mobs of aimless revellers — doesn’t it sound like a great idea to just shut yourself up in your house and do some needlepoint? Read the collected works of St. Thomas Aquinas? Put all of your pictures from years 1997 through to the present in photo albums? I think so.

All right, I know this will pass. I’ll get swept up in the frenzy of life and the Olympics soon enough. (I feel as though it’s practically a civic duty to go to at least two cultural events a week throughout February, just so all those ballet dancers and singers stampeding into town for the Cultural Olympiad aren’t lonely.)

But it’s a lovely few moments of quiet.

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  • Lewis N. Villegas

    Frances, you might reconsider. I’m going to move the family into our condo and take a 2-week holiday in Vancouver during the Olympics.

    My sense is that the place will be transformed by the sheer influx of people. Just injecting tens of thousands more sentient souls into the streets and places we all know will transform them. If you are interested in the feel of the city, the two-week Olympic spree should be like Robson Street Boxing Day times ten.

    For 14 days in February Vancouver will catch Expo Fever all over again. God help us if the men ‘s and women’s hockey teams both win gold. Or, worse yet, if the festivities are interrupted by some crazy, criminal plot.

    Like it or not, we are going to be under the hot lights of the world media review, and all that hankering to be a “world class city” will come true for a fortnight.

  • grumbelschmoll

    How can you resist when the city comes alive? This will be a Vancouver none of us have ever seen. So often I wish for that, to see Vancouver as if I do not know it. This Olympic Vancouver I do not know, and it will tell stories that are important: people lining up for hours, security forces acting as if, crass branding and marketing, conspicuous consumption of products and spectacles, an abundance of civilities, and many heartfelt moments of connecting. If you want to learn about us and the place we inhabit, then you’re gonna have to be out there. Write about it.

  • Well Frances, I’m with the previous posts. I think it will be a very exciting time and while there will be lots of inconveniences and concerns about the loss of civil liberties, ultimately, I am planning to overlook and accept the disturbances, in order to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience.

    I will cut back on trips to my downtown office, and work from home. However I plan to spend lots of time in public gathering places to celebrate the accomplishments of people far more athletic than me, with people I don’t know.

    While I too am concerned and yes, disgusted with the outrageous amount of money having to be spent on security, I am hoping that our city will show well, and visitors will be pleased with what they find.

    While I don’t expect the positive impacts of the Olympics to be as great for as our city as the legacies of EXPO 86, I do believe our city has benefited significantly over the past 5 years, and will continue to enjoy other benefits.

    We should not underestimate the importance of tourism and the benefits that can come from foreign companies that want to invest here, or set up shop. Especially in the ‘green capital’ program.

    The one thing to which I am not looking forward is the antics of ‘activists’ like Wendy Pedersen who was on the radio yesterday announcing her intentions to be disruptive .

    If I thought her desire was to help the disadvantaged in the DTES, I wouldn’t be so critical. But having watched her over the past two years, and listening to her yesterday, I am convinced she is more enthralled with the opportunity to be a star on the world stage, rather than perform in a theatre where many of the audience are getting tired of her show.

    (As an aside, I agree completely with former Premier Glen Clark when he recently told Rick Cluff on CBC that one major disappointment is that the Olympics did not have the beneficial effects on the DTES that many of us hoped for. Yes, a lot of hotels were purchased by the government, and some last minute shelters have been created, but the really important needs have not been met.)

    But Frances, I am not going to let this or other protesters clambering for the international spotlight spoil the experience for me. And I hope that you and other readers of your blog will also accept that warts and all, the show is coming to town and we should enjoy it, and do our best to ensure that Vancouver benefits from all the efforts and money spent.

    Lets not cut off the nose to spite the face!

    (“Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the source of one’s anger.)

  • Bill Lee

    Air Canada, the people’s ‘favourite’ airline, has emailed the suckers today of Vancouver Specials, cheapish flights from Vancouver just before theNaziolympic period (dozens of jets arriving but no one going out)

    “Special Vancouver Sale
    Discover the US with our special sale fares. Depart Vancouver between February 5 and 14 and return anytime between February 23 to March 8, 2010. Book by January 26!

    Knitting on the beach in Honolulu anyone?

  • Frances Bula

    I trust that everyone here knows that I am really a party animal and will be out there living it up for every day of the Oly festival.

    I was being a little funny in my post, and mostly expressing some relief at the delicious quiet for a few short days.

  • FBT


    I came across the following “sarcasm” punctuation mark (sarcmark) that you may consider purchasing and using on your blog. Your wit seems to fly right over many of your readers and for just $1.99 it may be a worthy investment.

    You’d think the guy could have come up with another mark for say – stupidity – and included it as a bonus (ala infomercial style), but thats just the marketer in me.

    And no, I am not afiliated with the person(s) who are selling this. I just thought it may clear up the seemingly endless confusion that occurs at times.

    Excuse me while I go and start working on a stupidity mark now.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The New Yorker Thought of the Day

    “If I could only post a cartoon…I would draw one, caption it, scan it and then send it to all of you naive party goers!”

    However, not being able to do that, I’ll describe the cartoon for you. Picture this:

    One foggy night; we see the Titanic approaching the ill-fated Iceberg. Dozens of sailors, officers, party goers are out on the deck taking pictures, dancing… A small crowd, hats in hands, is looking up from the Third Class in complete astonishment. Up at the First Class, inside Suite No. 2010, a crème ala crème party is going on. Apparently, undisturbed by the events unfolding; we are able to see that, through the large French doors of their deluxe suite. Tuxes and long evening silks, with not a worry in the world are moving around. The piano player plays something smooth. I think.
    An old couple is seen enjoying their drinks outside, on the patio. We know that, from the flute shaped champagne glasses held delicately by their bony hands. The look of priceless pride and total stupor on their faces is visible through the fog. Both of them are looking proudly towards the bulging piece of ice.

    “Oh, Amelia, Daharling, you shouldn’t have, what I said was “Iced wine” not “Ice-berg”…“
    “Sigmund, Daharling is it safe… to look?”
    “Don’t worry Amelia, Daharling; the Captain has assured me personally, Titanic is indestructible and unsinkable!”
    “Sigmund, Daharling, it smells like smoked sockeye in the air. Can you ask the maître d’ to bring me some?!”
    (write yours)

    That’s what I would send you, if only I could attach a cartoon.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    One more thing, if you didn’t know, the Olympic was the Titanic’s sister ship. Ironic, don’t you think?

  • gmgw

    I’m quite encouraged by the unexpectedly early closure of Cypress Bowl that has been necessitated for snowmaking purposes, as for several years I’ve been hoping and praying for the mother of all Pineapple Expresses to take a firm grip on Southwestern BC during the entire month of February. Besides the sheer schadenfreudal pleasure I would glean from the sight of major network commentators trying to do standups in Whistler in conditions resembling a tropical monsoon (with a freezing level of 3000 metres, please), a steady two-week downpour of Noahesque proportions would discourage all but the hardest-core party-hearty morons from turning the city center into a 24/7 New Year’s Eve. God, how I wish we could afford to spend the next six hellish weeks in Provence… ..ah, well, there’s always the tiny passive-aggressive surges of pleasure I’ll feel when flipping off every goddamned limo that roars past in the dedicated VIP lanes as I’m walking to and from work across the bridge(s). (I might throw in an occasional “va fan’gul” if I’m feeling especially surly, but I draw the line at BAs or anything else that might risk getting me shot by a nervous sniper) .

  • Marcella

    Enjoy the slow Frances…you’ve more than earned it!

  • Paul


    You are a gem of a neighbour.
    Your anger and vitriol makes this a better place.
    Thank you for all you do for our fair city.

    Yours in turmoil, hatred, and disrespect.

  • gmgw

    Why, thank you for the generous compliments, Paul. If you’d like me to come and present my popular workshop entitled “Curmudgeonry & Common Sense: Appropriate Responses to Multibilliondollar Boondoggles” for your group sometime, do let me know; my rates are quite reasonable.

  • So Lewis, dear friend, will you once more into the breech and, ” . . . move the family into (your) condo and take a 2-week holiday in Vancouver during the Olympics.”

    While Michael, my long-time and distant acquaintance, you sir, ” . . . will cut back on trips to (your) downtown office, and work from home” . . . far far from the madding crowd . . .

    May it behoove you both to empathize with Wendy who is not so lucky . . . . . . and come to realize the stench of this rotting Olympic corpse will hang around for a long, long time and actually effect your lives . . . quite not to your liking!

    What Michael? “While I don’t expect the positive impacts of the Olympics to be as great for as our city as the legacies of EXPO 86 . . . “.

    Oh dear, what benefits are you actually talking about? Surely not naive small town Gracie giving away the store to a bunch English trained ignoramuses who, and indeed are still intent upon, desecrating the north shores of False Creek, while a bunch of slow-dancing eunuchs and their distaff equivalent hallistas are enabling the whole stinking charade.

    . . . both of you . . . try not to be so smug . . .