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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Skiing, snowboarding, and paying the rent

Imagine, for the sake of argument, you play the drums. You love playing the drums, it's one of the few things that make you happy. Not that there's anything wrong with playing, say, the piano or trumpet, but for you it's drums all the way. Now say you live in, I don't know, a really musical town, Seattle in the 90s for instance. You're hanging with your other musician buddies at a coffee shop (because why the hell not? You're in Seattle after all). One of your drumming friends brings along a guitar enthusiast, and when it transpires her musical preference, another guitar player in your group gives her props for "playing a real instrument", or something along those lines.

Absurd, right?

You'd think so. Apparently, here in Whistler a certain holier-than-thou attitude exists within the community, with respects to skiers vs. snowboarders.

Now, don't get me wrong, of course not ALL skiers hate ALL boarders, and the opposite is also true. And of course, what with the way snowboarding entered the culture through its "movement" - that is, punk music, baggy pants, partying etc. - a certain number of elder people are biased (intimidated?) by this relatively new sport. Before that, skiing was (and still is) a rich person's game: the majority of people, myself included, cannot afford to buy a condo in Aspen, so the hills were saved for the elite. "Those snowboarders" became as commonplace as "those damn kids".
The problem I have is with those people who have picked up or embraced skiing in its renaissance - with fat skis for powder, twin tips for switch, and huge contests with mad rails and novelty cheques - and still hold onto the notion that they are playing the respectable game.
This perspective, much like racism or sexism, is self-perpetuating. It will only go away when the barriers have been broken. We are all here for the same reason - the snow, or maybe more specifically the mountains. Can't forget about the bikers! That's why I love Whistler so much: it attracts those of a similar mindset, which adds to the amazing community feeling here. Stop putting up walls, and the doors will open!

Speaking of real estate, here it is Mid April, months after the Olympics, and most landlords have recognised that the show is over. Rent is finally starting to come down, as many predicted and I hoped it would.

You may have noticed I said 'most landlords...'

Who are these jack offs still asking $900, $1000, $1200 per month for a room? I have seen more than one offer for a room (unshared) for literally half that amount. It seems to be getting better, but there are still those slum suckers frantically casting their reels in the hope to rake that final cash grab before people wake up to the fact that, hey, you're paying way too much to live!

Also, the playoffs are on. Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal all made it in (no Leafs, I hear you ask. Ha fuckin ha.) Let's have a Canadian team bring the Cup home, just to cement our status as the best.

See that? Breaking down walls.

By The Way DOUBLE STUFFED: Books books books! I praised Dan Levitin's This Is Your Brain On Music way back when, and I have just finished another of his. The World In Six Songs shows how base categories of music can convey emotion, as well as have shaped humanity as we know it. Highly recommended.

This one is probably a little late, having been on all kinds of bestseller lists, but Max Brooks' World War Z is a fictionalised account of the Zombie apocalypse. The author is said to have been collecting data for an empirical study for historical archives, and has taken survivor's stories and collected them into a surprisingly interesting read. I'm not one for memes (fuck vampires) but it feels so real reading the tales and failed attempts at containment.

Sanyika Shakur, born Kody Scott, alias Monster, the last handle being the title of his autobiography. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, he got his name from his penchant for grisly acts of murder and brutality. This guy was brought into the Crips at the tender age of 11 - the book opens with his initiation, cutting down a group of Bloods (Brims) with a pump action 12 gauge shotgun. This is heavy shit, he isn't afraid to talk about his friends dying, and discovers the New Afrikan Independence movement while in on one of his prison sentences, becoming a warrior of the people and not the streets. MONSTER: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member is literally one of those books you won't put down until you realise you're late for work.


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