Sunday, September 6, 2009


The very kind folks at This is What We Do on Weekends have given very kind shout-outs to this humble blog.

Thanks Jeremy, one half of the blogging team over there, for letting me know about it.

Also, thank you to Matt at Vancouver Slop for mentioning this blog to your illustrious and hungry readers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gripping stranger #14: Nazi bike courier- A special guest blog by Jordie Yow

I see you riding every day while you deliver the mail downtown. I don't believe you are actually a Nazi, but if you stood next to a random sampling of Vancouver bike couriers and told someone to pick out the soldier of the Third Reich they would pick you every time. With your perfectly upright posture, utilitarian wireframe glasses, muscular build and close-cropped hair no one could help it. It might say something about me that I see you biking around in your courier uniform and immediately think "Nazi". I have seen too many movies with Nazi villains. That might be it. The fact that you wear a bike helmet in the shape and colour of one on the head of many nameless soldiers in Band of Brothers, always makes me wonder: is your appearance a conscious choice or merely an unfortunate coincidence?

To access more joy that is the Jordie Yow experience, check out his blog and Discorder magazine, which he edits.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gripping stranger #13: The Yawner

I was standing on the crowded 99 B-Line down Broadway yesterday as it headed west through midday traffic. Everyone was reading the daily commuter papers, listening to their iPods, staring out the window. Silence. Then you yawned so hard and with such catharsis that you sighed a big "oh, yeah" because it felt so good. The "oh yeah" was completely unaware of itself, and for that reason, utterly brilliant.

Gripping stranger #12: Goth girl

Once you appeared to have a leg injury of some kind, but that didn't stop you from donning massive black faux-leather knee-high boots with thick rubber soles fit for the most industrial of fetish nights in the city. I am always in awe of those who invest such effort into their appearance as to favour fashion over function at almost all costs (in your case, you continued to wear the boots despite injury that caused to you to limp painfully down the street, your black trenchcoat gaining momentum in the wind). Sometimes I see you with a partner, pulling an appropriately black rolling cart behind you, ostensibly to carry groceries. The black cart matches the black boots, black pants, black trenchcoat, and shock of short crimson hair. Despite your dedicated preservation of the goth aesthetic well into the 21st century, I do grin at the sensible practicality suggested by the grocery cart. After all, everyone needs some fresh vegetables in their lives. Everyone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gripping stranger #11: Indie Rock Makeover

Drastic image changes among men fascinate me. In my experience, I've known more women who like to change how they look from day to day or year to year--several women I've known over the years have experimented with different hair colours, clothing styles, and so on, but overall men tend to seem more consistent with the way they attire themselves. But who am I to judge, really. It's literally a Christmas miracle that I am out of bed and at the appropriate destination in the morning, and therefore I consider myself relatively gross-looking on many weekdays and probably underdressed for most occassions, and I would rate my own style of dress as "compotent," but using the strong crutch of a relatively creative job to excuse me of business casual obligations (I am so happy that I can wear jeans, t-shirts, and colourful sneakers to work every day and am prepared to do so for the rest of my life). Anyway. All of this preamble was leading to something. What I'm talking about is you, who has been a gripping stranger through the duration of my undergraduate career as a sociology major at UBC. I believe we might have had a similar academic specialization because I shared a number of classes with you. I remember the Kappa Sigma t-shirts, the awkward bright-white shoes and straight-legged jeans that resembled the wardrobe of a Vancouver Canuck on the offseason, and your predlicition for hanging around with other dudes who seemed to get all the ladies. The perpetual look of excrutiating tentativeness on your face suggested that you had yet to grow into yourself--I think the tendency for people in that stage of their life to glom onto louder, more outgoing friends is common. I was like that in high school. But then, years after graduation, something changed. I would see you every once in a while around the city, evolving slowly into what seemed to be the person you were hoping for all along. It began with a shaggier haircut and grew into skinny jeans and, upon my most recent sighting, a vintage 1970s road bike upon which you zipped along the Seawall on a Sunday afternoon. You had transformed from fraternity member to Main Street hipster in a matter of three years. I wonder if you now feel more comfortable in your own skin, or if you'll always carry that burden of anxiety that seemed to plague you those years ago. I don't find that the core of most people tends to change drastically over time, but it sharpens. I hope at least now your life consists of a better soundtrack.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gripping stranger #10: Unabomber

Are you a eunuch? Are you a 24-year-old in a 12-year-old's body? What makes you laugh? These and other questions may remain unanswered forever, but I can't shake the feeling that you could play a heavy hand in the demise of a society. The trenchcoat, the sunglasses, your 5'2 frame with short, soft blonde '80s hair and the flip flops and short-shorts you wear to the laundry room--your very being feels like a spy movie from another era. The woman who lives with you is equally mysterious: a girlfriend? A sister? A madam? She looks at least 10 years older than you and has similar blonde hair, sunglasses, and, when you go out on Sunday afternoons, a matching beige trenchcoat. Sometimes I see you walking home in your trenchcoat and khakis, carrying a plastic bag containing a styrofoam take-out container. I always wonder about its contents and what day job you could possibly be returning from. I have seen your face only a few times after seeing you fairly regularly for almost a year. The face is that of a freckled young boy's, but I know that you are not a child. You have small, piercing bright blue eyes into which I can see no soul, but that only makes me wonder what happened to form so many inpenetrable layers, layers covered in soft cotton, covered in khaki, covered in penny loafers and business wear.

Gripping stranger #9: Mod bus girl

I always feel as though we could be friends if one of us was a little more outgoing. But we are both a bit shy, which is why we would probably get along in the first place. We share the same bus route in the morning if I am running late. You probably start work at about 9 and I am supposed to be there at 8:30, and because of the recent construction on Davie Street, I am often mistimed and delayed. You tend to be quite punctual, I think. I always wonder if you work at a nearby book or record store, because I feel like such an environment could suit you very much. You have lovely sunglasses, wonderful red sneakers, and an overall black and red clothing motif. Sometimes you and your partner ride the bus together in the morning. I am always curious about what people do all day and how they make a living. To me it seems you two share a well-deserved, peaceful existence.