You’ve likely heard of Vancouver, British Columbia. Surrey? Maybe not: it’s a city in its own right and a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Surrey’s got an unfortunate reputation for crime due largely to occasional targeted daytime gang hits and the omnipresent narcotics trade. I lived across the bridge from Surrey for close to a decade. I always felt safe there and enjoyed the food, culture and good times that Surrey had to offer.
But now that I know that it’s infested with feral peacocks, I may not be back.
According to the CBC, Surrey city officials believe that Surrey residents living between 150 Street and 62 Avenue are being forced to cope with the presence of between 40 and 150 feral peacocks roaming the streets. Yeah, peacocks are gorgeous when seen in a zoo and hilarious when used as an alarm system by Hunter S. Thompson. But for a bunch of renters and homeowners who just want to live their lives with a minimal amount of bullshit, they’re sort of a nightmare. Peacocks are loud, aggressive and, like most large birds, leave massive amounts of greasy shit everywhere they go. The problem with the birds has gotten so bad that some residents have started taking matters into their own hands.
Shit has gone down, friends.
This past May, in a fit of peacock-induced rage, a man cut down a tree where an ostentation of dozens of the birds had decided to nest, every night. There was just one problem: BC’s kinda touchy about preserving nature. Read the rest
Kristjan Gottfried and Michelle Hurtig were first the waiting list for Vancouver's Marina Housing Co-operative, a nonprofit when the volunteer co-chair of the admissions board told them that their new home couldn't be confirmed until they found out the sex of their unborn baby. When they found out they were having a girl, they were refused a place to live. Read the rest
For the past two years, Adrian Crook's four eldest kids (aged 7-11) have ridden Vancouver's public transit to school together, traveling as a group from the bus stop in front of his condo to the bus stop in front of their school. Read the rest
Many thanks to the good folks who came out to Bellingham's Village Books for last night's Walkaway event; tonight, I'll be appearing in Vancouver before flying home to Burbank for an event at my local Dark Delicacies on Saturday and then going straight to the airport for the start of my UK tour. Read the rest
More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest
Vancouver has been wracked by a white-hot property bubble driven primarily by offshore speculators, mostly Chinese, who have driven up the price of housing beyond the means of working Vancouverites, crippling the city's daily life as workers, students and families struggle to find somewhere -- anywhere -- to live. Read the rest
A leaked Vancouver internal police bulletin sent the city into a tizz when they learned that the cops were trying to locate three "Middle-Eastern" men who'd been taking a suspicious amount of photographs of a shopping mall. Read the rest
Umbracity aims to solve the problem of unexpected urban showers with a shared-umbrella service. They've rolled it out in soggy Vancouver, and the deal is that you get to use an umbrella from any of their kiosks for free for 48h, but if you keep it longer, it's $2/day to a maximum of $20. Read the rest
Link: the artist is Eric Brunning of Vancouver's Adorned (via JWZ) Read the rest
As the tour with my graphic novel In Real Life draws to a close, my next tour, with my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free kicks off with stops down the west coast. Read the rest
Brady Marks exhibited his We Are with You, Mirror at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire; it uses spinning light-up persistence-of-vision pixelboards to create a low-rez holo-tank mirror. Read the rest
More news of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's disastrous car-wreck of a life. After swearing off drugs and alcohol (and insisting that he didn't have a problem with either), he's not only been getting so loaded that he finds himself transformed into the lead in a terrible one-man amateur production of "The Harder They Come"; he also was allegedly so drunk after a family funeral in Vancouver that a cop gave him a ticket for public drunkenness and jaywalking. You'd think a man devoted to ending the "war on cars" would be more deferential to their place in the road.
Ford claims he wasn't ticketed for public intoxication, and that all he'd drunk was a "diet Coke." Read the rest
The City of Vancouver -- Canada's only city with its own building code -- is mandating that new doors be fitted with lever-handles instead of doorknobs. The move is intended to increase accessibility -- a doorknob requires substantially more dexterity and strength than a lever -- but it will also make things easier for people with full hands. Doorknobs will remain in use for decades in Vancouver, of course (housing stock has a long shelf-life), but over time, they will dwindle away to historical curiosities. (via Hacker News) Read the rest
Hey, Vancouver and Victoria! Today I wrap up my Pirate Cinema tour weekend in Van with an appearance for the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Centre for Digital Media at 11AM at the Great Northern Way Campus, then I jump on a sea-plane and head to Victoria for a talk tonight at Bolen Books at 7PM. Tomorrow I'll be flying to Seattle for a pair of appearances there (University Bookstore at 1215h, Elliott Bay Books at 19h). From there, it's on to Toronto for a talk on-stage with China Mieville at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors, and then I'm in Boston for the Boston Book Festival. Here's the whole tour schedule. Read the rest
I'm having a pretty great time in Vancouver this week on the Pirate Cinema tour. Granville Island has lots to recommend about it, but I'm especially taken with the electrocution hazard glyphs on the access-plates set into the sidewalk. They even beat the lightning bolts that leap out of electric risers on the streets of San Francisco. What is it about the Pacific Northwest and awesome high-voltage signs, anyway? It's like this is some kind of lost valley where the coelacanth ancestors of Reddy Kilowatt never went extinct.
Electrocution warning icon, market, Granville Island (Vancouver Writers Festival), Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
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Yo, Vancouver! Thanks to all of you who turned up to both of the sold-out events yesterday at the Writers Festival. If you missed out, I've got another event tonight, at Kidsbooks at 7PM, and I'll be at the Great Northern Way Campus Centre for Digital Media on Monday at 11, before I head to Victoria for a 7PM event at Bolen Books. From there, I go to Seattle, Toronto and Boston (Here's the full schedule). Read the rest
Hey, Vancouver! Quick reminder: there are still some tickets left for my appearance with William Gibson today at the Vancouver Writers Festival (the conversation with Margaret Atwood is sold out, alas), and I'll be around tomorrow at 7PM for a Kidsbooks event at the West Point Grey United Church, and then on Monday at 11AM at the Great Centre for Digital Media at the Northern Way Campus. The full schedule (including my stops in Victoria, Seattle, Toronto and Boston) is here. Read the rest