Tag Archives: olympics

oh geez, the olympics

here is something a friend of mine wrote. i’m reprinting it because, well, i’m not a big fan of the olympics here. (yet? maybe i’ll change my mind? there’s a few days yet to go …)

right now the city is in the midst of preparations, and deep collective angst, for the games that will be descending upon us in less than three weeks. things are already getting interesting. on my way back to work after lunch yesterday when i was walking over the cambie street bridge (which, for those who are not familiar with our fair city, is near both the police station and the olympic village) i saw myriad upon myriad of white cars parked below the bridge. on closer inspection i saw that they were all police cars. i have never in my life seen so many cop cars in one place! there were hundreds and hundreds of them. i guess our men and women in blue want us (some of us anyway!) to feel real extra safe during these games.

in other news i attended my first anti-olympic demonstration in the downtown eastside which is our poorest neibghbourhood and canada’s poorest postal code. the theme of this demonstration was against police brutality and oppression against anyone in this city who is against the olympics. as many of you will know many many individuals here have been targeted, visited, harassed and interrogated by the police and by border officials over their alleged opposition to the games and a lot of us are getting pretty sick of this.

it was quite an angry protest and while i can’t say that i endorse everything that was said (for example i am not about to do my part to help smash the state or overthrow the capitalist system, much as i also disapprove of them), i understand and empathize with the anger and the emotion being expressed. of course the games are being held on unceded native land and no matter how much spin we are getting from the media it appears that our first nations peoples are still getting a very raw deal, particularly with the environmental degradation, lack of respect and policies of exclusion that the games are going to foist on all of us who don’t have the money to pay for these events nor to participate in many of the celebrations.

bye bye B-line

a tugboat on the fraser river in richmond

a tugboat on the fraser river in richmond

for a while now, i have been working part-time for the mennonite central committee in richmond. i’d get on the 49 bus to granville street, and then take the 98 B-line down granville. granville is one of the older streets of vancouver, and that stretch down to the fraser river is lined by old trees, venerable mansions hidden somewhere between tall hedges, and further down, there’s a friendly little shopping neighbourhood. i’d always try to get a seat on the bus that faced west so that, when we had reached the end of granville and crossed the fraser river, i’d see the wide waters flowing along under the bridge, perhaps with a tug boat schlepping a load of logs; the expanse of the fields leading up to the airport; and the north shore mountains we were drawing away from as we headed closer and closer to the US border, just 30 km further south. then a loop to skirt one of the airport hotels and up over another, smaller bridge crossing another arm of the fraser river, dotted by boats of all stripes, and flowing pastorally off into the distance. two minutes later, the bus would plonk me down right by my place of work.

that bus ride was one of the many perks of working at MCC.

“was.”

by september 7, i will be forced to trade beauty for efficiency.

the olympics are upon us. in february, we’ll be hosting the winter olympics and in preparation for that, we finally have canada line, a rapid transit system going to the airport. it takes you along cambie street, parallel to the 98 B-line, and so the B-line will be scrapped.

yes, taking the canada line will shorten my commute by about 10 minutes each way. in exchange, i will have to endure 10 minutes of ugliness. the train stations look like they’ve been built by architects who normally design prisons, the trains – admittedly very roomy – have the charm of 99-cent tuna cans, and when they finally exit the tunnel, they emerge into a drab, industrial tangle of concrete, rails and unidentifiable stuff-that’s-lying-about. (a far cry from the nostalgic, semi-abandoned, wild urban nature that used to surround the rickety old rapid train system in east berlin in the 60s, 70s and 80s that inspired one of my first short stories).

oh, and to top it all off, the first stop in richmond conveniently has an exit that goes right into a casino. i’m really, really not a prude when it comes to gambling but, people, IMHO, there’s something incredibly cheap and wrong about a public transit system feeding right into a place where people lose their homes and marriages on a regular basis. (people addicted to gambling, btw, supposedly commit more suicides than people with any other addiction).

sigh.

i guess i’m what new yorker writer adam gopnik calls a “frivolous aesthete”. my life is going well, i am not pressed for tiny bits of time or money, so i can afford to value beauty more than 10 minutes here and there. it is in an environment of abundance like this, hypothesizes gopnik, that novelty and creativity thrive, contrary to the saying that necessity is the mother of invention.

how many poets have been inspired by a friendly journey along the old maple trees on granville street?

how many will write odes to the cambie street station?

image by stephen rees

carnival of eating disorders, august 2008 edition – part 2

okay, here we are with part 2 of the 19th carnival of eating disorders. part 1 was about anorexia; this one contains articles on overeating and body image.

overeating

cravings

cravings – your biggest motivator is the title of FitNChic’s article:

most people give up their efforts after a while because they feel they are depriving themselves of all the good things in life without significant results or because they have cheated once (read: ate a piece of cake!) and don’t want to start the process all over again.

but, by using cravings to motivate you, you are consciously eating (not cheating) whatever you really like once a week. there is no doubt you are going to stick to your routine the rest of the week.

well, i don’t know about “no doubt” but it’s certainly worth trying; moderation usually works much better than deprivation.

reframing

sandra ahten from reasonable diet talks about the use of reframing in dealing with weight issues:

“my doctor says i better drop 15 pounds if i want to avoid having to take a medication.”

reframed: “my doctor says i get to drop fifteen pounds in order to avoid taking a medication.” with this statement, my mind is also able to say, “whew! i caught it in time that i don’t have to treat it with medication; thank goodness it is a condition i can do something about.” i might even add: “it is only 15 pounds!”

reframing shines a light of positive attitude. reframing enables us to look for what we are willing to do instead of just rebelling against what someone or some circumstance is forcing us to do.

obesity and poverty

tiernan o faolain from american red tory has an interesting list on the connection between obesity and poverty, another issue that is often overlooked. here are some points:

# supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
# sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “screw it,” and indulge.
# for those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, whole foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
# and even if they were, who can afford them?! health food is more expensive than the crap.
# as the salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost. (talk about gummint programs!)
# historically speaking, before the enclosure of the commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot. here in america we never even had a chance!

read here for tiernan’s complete article on what makes poor americans overweight.

the political psychology of fat

in a similar vein, erin and philip have a series on “political psychology”. here is an excerpt:

a 2006 washington post article conservatively estimated that producing the foods that generate so much of america’s obesity, then treating that obesity, would be a $315 billion enterprise by the end of that year. in 2004 alone, americans spent $37 billion on soft drinks, $3.9 billion on cookies, and $6.2 billion on potato chips.

… the citizen is someone who fully inhabits her or his life-starting with what and how much we eat and exercise. to put it bluntly, we-our bodies, to include our brains and the minds and souls they house-do not exist to consume garbage for the sake of corporate profits. we exist to live as strong, intelligent individuals at home in our bodies. the consumer-whose normal human emotions, insecurities and weaknesses are manipulated into eating vast quantities of processed foods and chemicals, then buying a host of gadgets in an almost inevitably futile quest to lose the weight overnight (when it was not so gained)-is antithetical to the citizen. …

and there is a simple way to start acting as citizens. we have ourselves sufficient power to bring all those who want us fat-and so lazy, stupid, hurt and sick-to their knees. all we have to do is eat less-and eat more local, unprocessed foods, especially fruits and vegetables-and exercise more. …

when george bush told us to go to the mall, he no doubt also meant the food court. we did. so the next time you’re at the food court in the mall, spend a moment as a citizen, looking around. and if you see it with new eyes…that’s a start.

body image

body dysmorphic disorder

sandra has an informative video on body dysmorphic disorder. (not only is it informative but also very well done technically, and even my cranky laptop, which often gets hiccups from video providers such as youtube, likes it)

olympics and the body

this is an interesting collection of links about how olympic athletes and the general public view and treat athletic bodies. laura’s final observations are that about the paralympics and special olympics. you may have noticed that i did not write a thing about the olympics. i did, however, have an article that related to the special olympics, and am looking forward to writing about the paralympics.

that’s it for this time. the next carnival will take place on september 30 – and it will be hosted by the very laura collins i just mentioned. laura is the mother of a someone struggling with an eating disorder and feels passionate about involving parents as much as possible.

in the meantime, if you have an article you’d like to see here, please let me know, using this submission form.

light a candle for tibet – and for so much more

today, august 7th 2008, is the day before the opening ceremony of the olympic games in beijing. on this day, millions of people from all over the world will light a candle and say yes to freedom in tibet! find out more here on the candles for tibet site.

i know, this is a bit of a repeat from my post yesterday but this is important enough to repeat it.  important things need to be repeated, and thought and talked about over and over again.

what i’m thinking today: yes, this is about tibet.  about lighting the candle of freedom in the black night of oppression.

it’s also about lighting the candle of peace activism in the dim chaos of war, aggression and lovelessness.

it’s about lighting the candle of thoughtfulness and reflection in the shadowland of olympic consumerism.

it’s about lighting the candle of beauty  amidst despair and bleakness.

and because it’s also about lighting the candle of healing in nights of pain and sorrow, i’d like to invite my fellow hosts from the carnival of healing to rise up together and each to bring healing thoughts and light to the world on this special day.

here they are:

jaelin k. reece
christopher stewart
evelyn rodriguez
lucy macdonald
elisa camahort
brendan mcphillips
jacob
scott k. smith
dr. deborah serani
edward mills
hueina su
cindy hebbard
katelyn at life without memories
cardin lilly routh
clara myers
meredith
tupten choepel (tc)
mary guarino kearns ramsay
debra moorhead
jessika d’arcy
sharmila
ife oshun
eric gray
astrid lee
lola fayemi
dee savoy
jacqueline
paula g
john robben
janet dagley dagley
daylle deanna schwartz
julie meyer
jenn givler
yael ernst
joe lasiter
tonie konig
cynthia quarta

a candle in the window for tibet – almost wordless

candle in the window

tomorrow, august 7th 2008, is the day before the opening ceremony of the olympic games in beijing. on this day we aim to create the world’s greatest LIGHT PROTEST, when at least 100 million people from all over the world will light a candle and say YES to freedom in tibet! find out more here on the light a candle for tibet web site.

(image by crimsonsilk)