Was it a Riot? My City is in Shame.

When I got home from work, I prepared myself for the game, as millions of other Canadians did becuase this was the final big game to prove which team was number one. Hockey is, after all, Canada’s game; our favourite past time as most of us as kids played some form of it at one time or another. In anticipation, I made my dinner early and made sure that I was not going to not be disturbed while watching the game. I did, however, know that the momentum of the Vancouver Canucks was on a downwards roll, so everything was on this final game to decide who was going to take home the cup.

I also knew that Vancouver has a history of rioting after such events, for example,  back in the 1994 Stanley Cup play-offs, when the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers, people turned into hooligans then and went on a rioting rampage through the streets causing millions of dollars in damages. But every city has had its share of riots in one form or another. What makes this so embarrassing is that Vancouver was just on the world stage hosting the Olympics, and that seemed to go fairly smoothly with just little hiccups from a few idiots. So what happened to our peaceful attitude?

Some say, from my Twitter stream, that it was from not enough police on the streets, to the police and the city totally under estimating the potential for such violence to occur. Either way, it did, and we now have a huge P.R. problem becuase of it. But could the police have gone further to at least contain last night’s situation?

I argue that, no, the Vancouver Police could not have gone to point that they could have totally stopped the violence and rioting that we seen last night. Controlling that many people would have required something on the order of what we seen in the G20 protests in Toronto several months back, and that would have being very unacceptable both in terms of Vancouver’s image, and the cost to the taxpayers.

What was intriguing was the use of social media that was given to the police, by the public, so that the police could start identifying and using these images, and videos, as evidence in order to prosecute the accused for their acts of hooliganism. So the age old question of private freedoms versus public rights popped up. The terminology that was used by my Twitter friends was the use social media as a form of surveillance in such cases as last night riots to lay charges by the police.

I am in full complete favour for the use of such media as a tool for laying criminal charges and the prosecution of such individuals by the police. My argument is two fold.

First, police already use such tools out in the public sphere for catching and bringing to justice people who are committing a crime. The courts are already equipped with the tools in the justice system to handle the difference between arbitrary issues and the weight that such evidence is placed against the accused. Photographic evidence is very difficult to use in the courts as it is. The photographer literally must be there as a whiteness if the image is in question, but then now you have a whiteness, which is the strongest form of evidence there it in Canadian Courts, testifying against the accused.

Second, as the use of cameras from smart phones and other devices become the mainstay of everyone around the world, so too does the way these tools are used by all parties in cases of criminal events like rioting. Perhaps the court of public opinion is the most serious for seeing the electronic eyes of these events. The the armchair philosopher who is tying to critically analyse these images, this is secondary to the pure entertainment value that the media gives them while these scenes are played repeatedly every hour of the day until the news losses its splendour. You do not go to a major event without your social media device. Protesters use them, police used them, and the value that we give them changes, from recording history making events, to tools for presenting your side of history, from your point of view. So now the question of surveillance rears its ugly head from the use of social media.

Like yourself witnessing a criminal event, the electronic eye’s gaze is also a party to the criminal event, and at a moral level, and under law in our Criminal Code, you do have an obligation to come forth and  present what you have seen to the police and court of law. But people seem to have a fear of authoritarian governments, and the use of surveillance over the general public they seem to bring with them. (See the movie, or read the book, 1984 as an excellent example). I believe today that the conditions have being met in Canada that justifies the use of such tools for bringing to justice those who cause such damage during acts of great civil unrest. We have balance in our justice system, and a very strong media and public process system that polices the police.

I strongly request that anyone with images of rioters from last night come forward and share your eyes with the police so that justice can be served. For the few people to created such distasteful acts in our city is unacceptable. There is a moral judgement that each person must make, and it is between the public good versus the private rights that each Canadian holds dearly. I hope I have convinced you to make that choice and move forward with it.

Lunch with Mother: Planet Java 50s Cafe

Yesterday me and my mother went out for lunch at the Planet Java 50s Café in Fort Langley, BC just on Glover Road in down town. I thought it would be a cool place to eat becuase it is set up like a restaurant from the 1950s, decked out with a statue of Elvis, and 50s music playing all the time. The look and feel is seemingly authentic, according to my Mother.

 

The meals are not quite what you would have gotten in the 1950s, but it tries to be as authentic as possible. You are not going to buy a meal for $0.35 here.

My Mother loved the table top music selectors they have that only cost $0.25 for each song at each booth. She tried it. You gotta love chrome!

The only glitch we had here was the server got our order mixed up. My Mother wanted the chefs salad and I wanted the Elvis Burger, but instead we both got Chefs Salad.

Mom in the Fort

Since after the Convocation from Wednesday, me and my visiting Mother did some sight seeing around Fort Langley, BC. I have no vehicle right at this moment, so I could not take to her places that I wanted to go, so we did lots of walking and local sight seeing. We went to places I have not gone to in years. Yesterday we did the Fort Langley “Fort” heritage park, and the Fort Langley Farmer’s Museum.  It was amazing how much time went by when we were finished.

 

Above is a panoramic photos of the Parks Canada Historical Fort Langley.

We first went to the “Fort” where we could see what it was like to live in the 1820, or an re-enactment of life back then. I have to say that Fort Langley has quite the history, and I learned lots of interesting facts that I did not know about our little town up until now. The exhibits and the history of people there were very good and well put together. It was an awesome place to go and be, and very family friendly too!

Above, according to what I have heard from the tourer, is that this building is one of the oldest–still standing building in all of British Columbia circa 1830s 1840s (according to the handout Parks Canada gave me about the Fort). I have to do some more research to check into this, but I can say, the building is built out of the huge cedar planks, so it could have another 200 years before it starts rotting!

Then is was off to the Fort Langley Farmer’s Museum. This was a great place to walk around becuase they have everything form old farming equipment to general every day household times from the 1800s right up to the 60s and 70s.  Most of the times came from donations right here in the town of Fort Langley and the surrounding area.

This one made me laugh. It is a gasoline powered MayTag washing Machine (circa 1940s). Just imagine the excuses you could have with this unit!

“Mom, the washing machine will not start. I think it needs a new spark-plug!”

“Yeah, who forgot to fill up the washing machine… with gas.”

“How come the cloths are not done”? “The washing machine ran out of gas…” LOL

“Don’t over rev the washing machine – it’s not a race car!”

A Hot June Night – I Love It!

Now that is what I am talking about. Finally! A whole day uninterrupted from wind, rain and cold. Yes. It was our first nice day in so long, I cannot even remember?

The CBC weather guy said that this was Vancouver’s first day of 20C plus weather since last October. I just counted that on my fingers and it works out to almost eight months of cold.

I went is did a short walking down to Breay Island along the hiking trails to see nature in full bloom. The vegetation was huge, well probably normal, but being that we had such crappy weather for so long, lots of vegetation was a sight for sore eyes.

However, with such nice weather, comes the little pesky flies who do not hold back when wanting to bite me for a teeny-weeny drop of my blood. I hate them. I got several fly bites tonight. A sign, a very bad sign indeed.

Update June 5 2011:

We did not break the 20C temperature mark as promised. However, we should see it broken today, June 5, 2011. Needless to say, yesterday, and today were great!

Less Than a Week Until Grad

Oh, is time ticking away. In less than week to go I will cross the stage to receive my papers and congratulatory handshake, deck out in academic regalia, to be formally welcomed into the world as a graduate in academics. Though not quite at the pinnacle of academia, but a full fledged graduate nonetheless. I have so much to do until then.

Yesterday I was swamped with both work and that huge “to-do” list in lieu of preparations for next Wednesday’s event. I had to brave the rain, or near record rain fall, by bus to get the tickets so that I can invite guests to the graduation/convocation ceremony. I was completely soaked by the time I got home. I smelled so damp, it was sicking. I even thought I was coming down with something after that little ordeal when I got home. I cannot wait until I get my truck back on the road. But anyway, I have the tickets for my friends, and Mom, who will be there to share this moment with me.

To get those tickets, I had to stop off  at Kwantlen Polytechnic University at the Langley Campus. When I went into the admissions offices, I was shocked to find the whole place completed, fully redone, with a brand spanking new look!  Yes, I snapped a few photos. It reminded of a lobby in a convention centre.

When I got home, it started to rain even harder. It was an awful night.

I spent about five hours emailing people. Mostly about the graduation, but I had so many emails from other issues that I finally gave up on the rest and just deleted them. I was getting frustrated. There is so much going on in my life right now, and I was getting frustrated about it all. Oh, do not worry, I only deleted emails that served little purpose and that were not part of my friends and family circles. But I needed sleep.

The Test Trip – Ft Langley to Walnut Grove and Back.

Today, not only being the first day of June, but is also the first trip shopping using only BC Transit as my means of transportation. I have to say that it was a resounding success, accept for a minor inconvenience, it rained like crazy on my home, but this could easily be overlooked as not being long term problem. I was really impressed with this. The round trip took 41 minutes from leaving my door to returning back home. This includes the short wait at the bus stop, the actual shopping in Walnut Grove, and riding the bus home and walking to my door at home.

I think for future trips I will take an umbrella with me if it looks even remotely close to raining. Although there are now shelters at each stop that I was at, you really need the coverage while walking from the shopping centre to the bus stop.

My shopping time can stretch out to about 15min giving me plenty of time catching the return trip. Today I did manage to catch the very same bus for the trip home.

Above, at the corner of Walnut Grove Drive and 88 Avenue. The rain was pounding the pavement just as soon as I left the store. I should of had an umbrella with me.

Final thoughts on Translink’s transit system

Since the days when I first used the buses in Fort Langley, BC, the system really, well, sucked, for lack of a better word. It was atrocious and not really worker-class friendly, so it suffered from lack of rider ship as a result. It really served no purpose for me using it to go to work. In fact, back in the 1990s, employers would often say that they are not accessible by transit, which was code for, “we are not interested in you if you are taking transit.” So adopting the vehicle was an necessity.

Today, I have to say that Transklink has at least improved its service to a workable level. The idea of having more trips per day, leaving every half hour during peak hours, has really made the system workable for using it for regular activities during the day. However, its service still needs improvement during the early hours as I still see very few people riding it to work, such as shift workers, who start at hours such as 7:00am to 8:00am.

I also like the idea that your transit ticket is good for 90 minutes. So my round trip cost only $2.50 for the trip! That is cool.

The Fort Langley 2011 Mayday Parade

It was a great event this year. The weather held up, and there were some good participants involved this year with many cool looking floats. I took some amazing photos, and when it was over, I had well over 500 photos. I have included them in my photo gallery which I will link to in this post.

Because of my tight schedule and lack of time, I am a bit behind on all the things I wanted to do on this post. So later on today, and possibly tomorrow, I will be adding more information and photos to this post. Please check back by tomorrow as more information will be added by then.

Above – the Coast Capital Credit (Bank) float. It was one of the best floats, in my opinion, in the parade. Spongebob Squarepants is not in this one.

Above – A young girl beaver wondered off from the Fraser River lodge, no doubt looking for some yummy tree snacks from the local bark mill, but her parents could be out looking for her. She somehow got stuck in the parade as she tries to escape through the crowd. Poor thing. Below – is a bad case of Fort Langley Mad Cow.

Below, is a slide show of the Parade, there are over 200 images so it may take about 10min to view them all this way:

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Here is the link directly to the gallery of the MayDay parade : GALLERY – Mayday Parade 2011

 

Countdown: Fort Langey’s Parade!

With one more day to go before this long weekend ends I thought that I would post to remind everyone about the Fort Langley May Day Parade which starts tomorrow around (11:00pm) festivities start at 9:00am, and runs up until about 3:00pm. I hope you can make it down!

Tips for the parade:

  • Make sure you get into town early. Parking is limited if you want to park your car within a good walking distance to the parade route. The town will shut down for about 5 hours for the parade and street vendors who will be part of the celebrations too will also be on some side streets.
  • Claim your spot early along the parade route. Getting that front row, kerbside spot, makes all the difference for enjoying the parade. Also, it is good that people who do sit along the kerb, sit down, so that those behind can also see the event.
  • Bring a blanket. It is still cool out. Even when the Sun comes out, there is a risk of lots of clouds tomorrow.  Consider an umbrella too if the unthinkable should happen.
  • Bring some snacks and drinks.
  • Charge up your camera(s), and make sure you have lots of memory for it too. Taking pictures of the parade is perhaps a photographer’s dream for public events. Nothing worse than having a dead camera half way through it.
  • Be prepared to do lots of walking afterwards. After the parade there are the May Pole Dances at the main park about 3 blocks from the down town area. This park, by the high school, includes where most of parade floats and museum pieces are located too.
  • Once the parade is under way, the town is shut down. The main roads are blocked except for the side streets, so if you are planning on leaving early, plan your exit route carefully.

The parade is a family event, so bring the whole gang out. It is also advisable not drink alcoholic beverages too, as public drunkenness would wreck it for everyone. There are food and drink tents in various locations around town also, so try those too. Have fun, and take in all the sights!

The Transit Experience: Langley Style

Now that I am using the transit system, again, it does not appear to be as bad as I thought it would be, but time will tell. I did take transit many many moons ago, back in the days when I first moved to Fort Langley. Back then, I had no vehicle, so I had no choice but to take transit then until I earned enough money to buy one, but that took a while. So I used the bus system a lot.

So anyway, here is what my day looked like at the crack of dawn. I was the only rider catching the very first bus of the day out of Fort Langley. This would be the 6:06am bus heading into Langley Centre from Walnut Grove.

About twenty-seven minutes later the bus dumps you off at Langley Centre where I waited. I have a choice at this point. I can jump on the 314 bus which will drop me off at the doorsteps of work, or I can hang around town, wait a bit, and walk that whole distance. My shift does not start until 7:30am, so I have over an hour to kill.

I bet you are asking yourself why I do not catch a later bus?

The next bus that leaves Fort Langley is a 7:06am bus which would get me into Langley Centre with just over ten minutes to travel a five km distance, so the 6.06am bus is my only option. Today I used my walking time to stop and take pictures. And I took several.

This image, (above) is Glover Road and Fraser Highway, standing in the little park. Note: the number of cars and people around. Even the vagrants are not up yet?

This photo makes me laugh: the broken water fountain (above). I have never seen it working.

And finally, on my way to work, looking at Langley City Hall, we have the sign and entrance. Do not tell anyone, but I think the lettering is real gold… <_< …>_>…?

So, I tried to take as much time as I could, and I still ended up arriving at work a half hour early. It was a good walk. Took lot of pictures, and enjoyed the early morning sunshine, but hanging around in an empty building was not much fun either.

And this was my morning commute into work today.