This is us?

Take a close look at the back of the tickets the Co-op is handing out for their Fuel Up to Win contest. You’ll see the logo of some of the biggest food conglomerates in the world, busy pushing sugar, GMOs, worker exploitation and industrial agrobusiness as only soulless multinationals can.

According to the Federated Co-operatives Ltd. website, Co-ops “are unique in the business world because they are owned and controlled by the people they serve.”

Tofino, i have to ask: Coca-Cola, KRAFT, P&G … is this what we stand for?

Co-op Fuel Up to Win ticket 2014-03

We suck!

Five toga-clad revellers pulled off a coup that stunned even themselves in the Oyster Slurping Contest at last Friday’s Mermaid’s Ball. — the costume-party element of the (in)famous annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival.

Left to right in the pic (which is one of the least scandalous of our slurp posted on Facebook by Ed Henley) are winning team members Kim, Josie, me, Katie and Lyndsey.

Josie was the organizational brain behind this … triumph? Spectacle? Debacle? Whichever, i’m sure we all take great pride in the victory, and comfort in knowing that what happened at the Mermaid’s Ball … stays at the Mermaid’s Ball. Right, townsfolk?

For those at the raucous event who did not hear Cameron reading our  explanatory speech (i.e. everybody), here’s the text:

Friends, Tofitians, countrymen … Centuries ago, the ancient Greeks instituted a festival of sport.

YEA, in the very shadow of noble Mount Olympus, home of the GODS, they held a yearly contest of physical prowess FREE of cheesy corporate sponsorship and obscene insider profit at taxpayer expense.

This ancient, shining civilization — the very birthplace of democracy itself — NEVER compromised its citizens’ civil rights as they enjoyed their traditional sports of naked wrestling and WOMEN’S SKI JUMPING.

NOW, in a tribute to their TRUE spirit, we present the long lost opening event to those ancient Games … the OLYMPIC OYSTER RELAY.

And the sign that Josie held up at the end read:

This Olympic relay cost taxpayers $0!

In a lovely touch, it was printed in the Coca-Cola font. We rest our case.


Borrowing a page from my good friend Vancouveriste , i shall blog occasionally about unusual or significant foodstuffs i run across (in V’s case, often chocolate).

I’m in the habit of lugging around far more food than i need, as i travel. This is the result, i think, of my deep-seated anxiety about the instability and hostile nature of the world (something i am actively trying to reverse), and an entirely reasonable leeriness over what’s likely to pass for food at most of the rest stops. Anyway, in prep for my 22-hour Fernie-to-Regina bus marathon, i stockpiled these necessities:

  • baby carrots, nectarine, 2 tangerines, apple, banana, kiwi, dates, sunflower seeds, almonds
  • 2 bagels; wedge o’ spiced cheddar
  • bar of dark chocolate

Regarding the last, it was a Hershey’s Extra Dark Reserve 70% cacao. As friend Tim said long ago, “I just don’t feel the need to support [insert name of corporate food giant].” I concur, but this was a last-second impulse purchase from a rack right by the checkout. At 100g for $2.19 the price and bar size were right.

It didn’t live up to the hype on the overpackaging, though. Few interesting overtones, slightly burnt aftertaste, surprisingly bland for 70% chocolate. Plus wih the glaring absence of any “fair trade” copy on the packaging, you just gotta know the beans were picked by some poor 6-year-old in Africa. I’m no connoisseur of chocolate, and i just can’t get my head around trusting anything about food multinationals, so this review is biased. There you go.


I’ve been reconnecting with old friends at a variety of java joints all over town, and guzzling in the process larger-than-usual quantities of tea, steamed milk, chai and (once) Perrier, but never coffee. I’m talking (or at least trying to talk) more frankly than is my wont, and deliberately asking about schools, spiritual paths and whatnot. I’m not much for small talk. Rather, i tell myself frequently that i’m not much for small talk, so i more or less believe it. Important distinction.

It’s interesting how easily i can slip back into old patterns with people, even after years’ of absence. But at least i’m more or less aware of it now. That’s a priority on this walkabout: No unconscious slippage.

There’s the aforementioned (in this blog) Ms Erica, driven to understand and apparently doomed never to understand. She’s pretty much the wisest, most delicate chick i know. Strong like glass, but fragile. We’re opposite-sexed doppelgangers, E and i, both members of the Church of Bumble.

Pure HelenHere’s the bubbly, adventurous, adorable Tofitian-at-heart Helen (a.k.a. Pure Hel), ‘nordinately proud of her new camping stove. She’s a force of nature in the department of relentless cheer. About anybody else that would be a mild insult; about Pure Hel it’s a statement of admiration. I mean really.

Jocelyn & Robert Here long-ago housemates Jocelyn and Robert are about to be thrown out of Starbuck’s, shortly after we were all thrown out of the VAG‘s KRAZY! exhibit. (Go see the show, but know that it’s huge — two or three visits would be best. And Tuesday is the cheap day, not Thursday.) Sometimes it amazes me that i am capable of sitting in civilized company and not making an ass of myself. These two make it easy.

BonnieAnd Bonnie, my oddest acquaintance in that i don’t know how we became friends, or even why we’re friends, just that we are friends, and have been for years. We agreed tonight that she’s a DQ (drama queen), but man is she smart in the way of the world. Good for advice. Dang, i forgot to ask her about schools.

All these people mean something to me in the merry-go-round of existence. It’s weird how some people do and some people don’t, and that nothing seems to characterize one group or the other.

Most of the above being women, i know they’re going to read this blog entry and their Machiavellian, multiply interconnected, hyper-intuitive female minds are going to be incensed, wondering Is that how he thinks of me? The answer is no, that’s not how i think of you, but i’m a man so that’s how it comes out. No offence, we’re still friends, i don’t hate you, it’s not over.