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Jody Vance

Jody Vance

Positive Parking – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Eric Woods

Here’s the scene.

I had a wee fender bender (my fault) a couple of weeks ago and had a loaner car from Jim Pattison Toyota Downtown while they fixed “said bumper”.

That little Corolla was a godsend in getting me to and from all of my planned meetings and such.  I’d added the loaner license plate number to my pay-by-phone parking app (if you don’t use this app, you should!) so it was easy to hop in and out of various busy streets.

I parked my loaner a tonne over the four days I used it — and then I picked up my happy little 2016 Prius before heading out for my planned lunch with my very pregnant friend Robin.  Congratulating myself, I found sweet parking on Granville St – used the app to pay – and headed over to Heirloom.

Tangent: Heirloom is our fave spot to fit Robin’s cravings (can you say apple and old cheddar grilled cheese with home made hot sauce?!).

Two delicious hours later, I returned to my car with 5 minutes to spare on the app.  Fluttering in the breeze was a ticket.  (!?!)  I eye rolled to myself as it dawned on me that the app was still set to my loaner car plate.  DAMN DAMN DAMN!  There was $100 I wasn’t planning to spend on lunch…..

Just for the hell of it, with nothing to lose, I called the City of Vancouver.  For as much as folks bitch about City Hall I must say that every time I’ve called there the customer service has been quite stellar.  After explaining my situation, taking full responsibility for being an idiot with regard to the plate mix up on the app, the woman helping me said, “Oh my gawd, I’ve done that! Stand by.”  She put me on hold for 2 minutes and then came back.  “I see you did pay for the spot you are on, I will cancel the ticket.”

I felt a bit like I’d won the lottery.  There is actually technology for brain farts when parking. It made my day.

I texted Robin to tell her what had transpired and her reply was: “good things happen to good people.”  I laughed to myself as I saw how this unfortunate ticket had actually turned into a nice little silver lining.  Sometimes there are good stories to be found in this world of road rage and price gouging parking.

What’s next?  Well, I may just see if folks let me merge onto the Lions Gate Bridge — go big or go home, right?

Find the silver lining in your Saturday, it’s there, sometimes you might just have to go looking for it — after an eye roll.

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Jody Vance

Live TV is the BEST – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: MARK RALSTON

Having spent the better part of my career doing live TV I can attest to it being quite a rush.  It’s amazing when it goes well and when it doesn’t, as long as the subject matter is not life or death, it’s an adventure.

Last night’s Academy Awards certainly counts as an adventure in Live TV.

First, it must be said: I loved Jimmy Kimmel hosting.  Jimmy looked comfortable and prepared — I very much enjoyed his Matt Damon schtick. He seems unflappable even on that massive stage known for swallowing up even the best of the best.  Full disclosure, I wasn’t much for the tour bus segment, but that’s just me. Schtick like that seems like a massive time-waster.  You cannot tell me those weren’t plants….etc…etc.  I thought Kimmel was on point with his Trump jabs too, they were hilarious and yet not hateful. (#merylsayshi)  The candy stuff added quick whimsy.

Today, of course, no one really remembers much of that …everyone is talking about the Final Act of the Oscars 2017. Even if you didn’t watch it live, you now know how La-La Land producers were handed the Best Picture Oscar when, in fact, Moonlight had won it — on paper.  What a fantastic train-wreck to witness LIVE on TV.

Everything goes still.  Awestruck wonder hits.  Could this happen to Hollywood royalty the likes of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty….there to present Best Picture, on the 50th anniversary of their film Bonnie and Clyde?  The golden age of Hollywood represented as the biggest award in Hollywood is presented — that’s when the train goes off the tracks?

Their introduction was classic, filled with that slow cadence saved for stars who owned the screen when silence was golden.  There was Beatty’s quasi-political statement of tolerance and equality, followed by the usual produced piece introducing the nominees.

Cue the Live TV drama.

Did you see it as it was unfolding?  Some suspected that Beatty might be having a bit of a “senior moment” during an, almost uncomfortable, epically long pause.  Did you see the confusion?  The look into the camera (to the control room) then to the wings (to stage managers) his silent cry for help?  Some assumed it was a bad joke .. him stretching his time on stage, but no.  His last gasp for assistance was to show Dunaway the card he’d pulled from the red envelope — unfortunately she was in the Oscars Presenter’s Moment (likely assuming that he was giving her the honour of announcing the winner.) He wasn’t — he was looking for her to HELP HIM handle a highly unusual situation.

The card read: Emma Stone – La La Land.  Dunaway read: “La La Land”

Beatty appeared to be giving show producers every signal in the playbook that “something isn’t right here”.  When he tilted the card to Dunaway, he was looking for an opinion – not an announcement – but how was she to know? When has their ever been a WRONG ENVELOPE at the Oscars?

You know what happened next, the Producers of La La Land rejoiced and gathered on stage. Only to notice that there was chaos ensuing behind them. The Representative from PricewaterhouseCoopers lurking with the stage manager and Kimmel…  Live TV baby!

“Moonlight won”.  The very eloquent Producers of La La Land made it clear, and gave us all an incredible Oscar Moment.  Snatching the gilded card from Beatty’s hands and dramatically turning the official placard to camera, as proof.

Everyone in the audience had their phones out to record the moment. (as if it weren’t covered by a zillion cameras!)  The Oscar Gaffe of 2017 will have folks talking Oscars for days/weeks/months/years to come.  It’s now eclipsed the Snow White Open debacle from 1991! 

Today it is the folks from PricewaterhouseCoopers who are in a spotlight they really don’t want.  This their statement today on Twitter:

We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred,” the accounting firm stated. “We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and [host] Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.

This is Live TV people.  Anything can happen.  This is why it’s such a rush to pull off a “well oiled machine” show, like say, Hockey Night In Canada.  Broadcasters (indeed The Media) make this look easy, it’s not.

Hilariously off the cuff – Jimmy Kimmel blaming Steve Harvey was so defusing.. (referencing his Miss Universe debacle of a winner announcement)  Warren Beatty standing tall to the microphone and being very crystal clear on what happened, and why, explaining himself immediately, the viewer along for the ride.  Live TV.  Don’t you love it?

We re-watched it all, did you?  Are you still talking about it today?

 

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Jody Vance

11th picture challenge – by Jody Vance

 

I’m fighting the third nasty bug to hit our house — this time a chest cold — so, today’s blog offering is a little fun inspiration to chew on.

As I sip my 5th Red Rose Tea with honey and lemon…..perusing Facebook I come across a thread by a friend asking “What’s the 11th photo in your library, right now?”  I decided to play along, and loved my 11th so much I decided to share the post on my timeline. Honestly, I’m absolutely beaming (between coughing fits) at the pictures filling up my social feed.

Words cannot convey how nice it is to take a break from the political news and views swallowing up our social media pages.

Please accept this simple post as a reminder to look at your life — the unedited, unfiltered, unposed.  Just take a look at photo that just happens to be the 11th, and post it here in the comments.  Feel free to give it some context — or just let it be — up to you.

This is my “current 11th”….

I love that is shows something that I do every day.  I walk the dogs, I breathe in the fresh west coast air, I reflect on life — where I want to go, who I aspire to be.

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Jody Vance

Explaining the inexplicable, to kids – by Jody Vance.

Every time my fingers touch this keyboard I’m drawn to rants about the latest actions of 45.  There’s always something to comment on, react to, fact check — we are all a bit fixated, aren’t we?

Wait, what’s happening here?  You need to listen to the ENTIRE news program, on radio OR TV, to get past 45.

Yes, it’s been a chaotic month of 45….

What is it doing to us?  Are we being desensitized? Are we becoming, on some level, accepting of the open ugliness that this Administration is putting forth?

What’s it doing to our KIDS?

Not sure about yours, mine is watching — and he’s stressing about it. He talks about it daily.

Rightly, or wrongly, I involved him in all of the run-up to November 8th election, we watched the coverage and discussed what we were witnessing.  He mused about many things: “Why isn’t Hillary Clinton doing her concession speech first, isn’t that how it’s supposed to go?” – the first of many questions (since) that I’ve had trouble answering.

While many “boycotted” the inauguration, we watched it.  We talked about it.  He noticed that 45 is “kinda all about himself and not really about the People.”

I’m beginning to have similar issues with what’s happening here in Canada.  There is a concerning narrative blooming in our country.  You can feel it too, right?  We cannot ignore that.  The USA got 45 because folks assumed that ugly narrative “couldn’t possibly win power”.

Indeed, we have our own issues to “stand up for” and it’s scary how some of the ideals of south of the 49th are creeping into our Canadian culture.  To be clear, this is not a reference to PM Justin Trudeau, love him or hate him, he’s been cooooooool under some serious political pressure so far.  (In particular I enjoyed him holding his ground on 45’s signature handshake, but I digress…)

Have you seen the photos/stories (Huffpost is one) of the asylum-seeking family coming across the boarder, in freezing weather, in Quebec?  Heart wrenching, gut-punch of reality, isn’t it.  Can you imagine being so scared to stay in the US, so desperate to leave, that you are willing to wrap up the littles and walk — in subzero temps — to get to Canada.

I’m trying to explain to a 9 year old why these families are fleeing the United States of America!  How do you do that? It’s mind boggling to me that we are in a time where folks feel the need to escape the United States OF AMERICA.

It is with this in mind that I’m shocked, seriously stunned, at the latest poll in Canada asking about our country taking in refugees.  This is not cool.  I’m not showing this to my kid, mostly because I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s my sincere hope that this poll doesn’t dominate the news cycle, on our Canadian Broadcaster, (we watch a lot of CBCNN together) as it’s just that “flashpoint story” that fans the flames of racism and bigotry.

I know my wee lad will ask: “How do we not open the doors to those fleeing danger, fleeing bombs, fleeing dictatorships committing crimes against humanity?”

What the hell do I say to that?  “Well, son, the 40% are mostly entitled, spoiled, racist, un-educated, healthcare-covered Canadians who fear people?” (very much a question of an answer).

The negativity is frustrating.  The narrative is appalling.

I really don’t know what to say on this topic except — where is the humanity?

C’mon Canada, we are better than this.

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Jody Vance

Petitions to get BC in line. – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Chris Cheadle

I love my family, and anytime I can spend with them — I will take.

With that out of the way, I think it’s STUPID that BC’s family day is on a different Monday than the rest of the country.  Ya, ya, businesses here offer “deals” to BC Families (on the ski hill) because they want to sell out TWO weekends rather than just one — yadda yadda…that’s corporate Bullsh*t.

What about families who are split between provinces? They don’t even get to have family day together for an extended long weekend!  What about those who “have to work” because their companies are based in, or affected by, other provinces?  The “down-sides” go on and on. Our Premier, Christy Clarke, says that public consultation showed that we didn’t want to stand in line with other vacationers from Canada (and the US, as they celebrate George Washington’s Birthday), well guess what: The mountains were packed, we all stand in line.

There is a petition to have family day changed to line up with the REST OF CANADA...find it here.

This is just one more of the ever increasing head-scratchers that come with living in my home province.

After living in Ontario, for 9 years, I had a major view of how very different the rules are there vs. here.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s necessarily “better” in the east — but there are a few things that, perhaps, BC could align with.  IE: FREE MEDICAL for ALL RESIDENTS.  It’s called OHIP.  You live there for 3 months and you get your card.  No “monthly fee” — none of that.  I cannot wrap my head around how the BC Government (whomever is in power, whenever) can argue that our Province needs families to pay monthly fees when the rest of the country doesn’t!  This is an issue we should all be marching for.  Being lucky enough to be able to afford MSP this isn’t something that hits my family — but I do imagine just how many are stretching their grocery money “that much farther” to cover the family’s MSP payments.

You can join 65,000 others on the petition to fix THIS in BC, here. 

End rant (for this Hallmark non-holiday).

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Jody Vance

Poor Ivanka? – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Mark Wilson

Let me begin here: I’ve never considered purchasing Ivanka brand – anything – ever.

As we all hang on for our “dear-mental-health-lives” in this constant tornado of Trump — I ask you: is it weird that I actually find myself feeling sorry for Ivanka?

What I mean by that is I feel sorry for her like I would feel sorry for a Sea Org kid who has no clue what he/she signed up for.  How putting pen to paper on that “Billion Year contract” with The CoS means cult for life.  Does Ivanka need a Leah Remini moment?

Sure, like you, I see Ivanka’s smug “pseudo first-ladylike” smiles, and cringe a bit.  It makes me kinda…..nauseous….to be honest, but somewhere deep down I feel as though Ivanka needs rescuing.

Does Ivanka realize what she’s hooked her wagon to? Does she actually want all of this?  Maybe she’s trying to save a shred of dignity for her family name?  (I want to think that is her motivation) Or, she’s been caught in this storm, since birth, and doesn’t know any different?

At the root, I find myself trying to imagine what her life has been like – even with millions of dollars – I can’t imagine it’s all that pretty “Being Trump”.

Think about this: Donald Trump is her Father.  E v e r y  d a y.

You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose….but…..wow, would she really pick Donald Trump to be her father? Is she treading water with this man, is she “keeping her enemies closer”? Consider how we’ve all had a clear glimpse of how Trump operates when faced with even the slightest bit of push-back.  Never to be challenged, never to be told no — never EVER to be told he’s wrong.

He’s like an evil, and orange, version of The Fonz.  (with all due respect to Fonzie, who I love)

Let’s consider just a couple of highlites of Ivanka’s upbringing….

This woman was a mere 9 year old when her parents had their uber public split, she witnessed one of the ugliest divorces in history of socialites.  Can you imagine, watching the photos of “Dad” romping with Marla Maples fly across the NY Post front page – while Mom holds it together on the home-front??  Add to that to have her mother actually accused her father of forcing himself on her, sexually.  It’s all been sweep, sweep, sweep, under the rug.  It’s a horror story of the Rich and Famous.

No amount of money can erase these awful truths.  No amount of celebrity. No amount of global power.

Is it just me, or does Ivanka seem to be a bit — what’s the word — assimilated?  Like The Borg in Star Trek The Next Generation.  Ya, I said it, LIKE THE BORG.

Certainly she has benefited from the money, and status, over the course of her highly entitled upbringing.  She’s the “favourite daughter” – the one to walk in his footsteps.  The one with the successful Husband (real estate developer and now senior advisor to the President) Jared Kushner. They look quite step ford, very Ken and Barbie, plastic, trained.  Dead behind the eyes.  It’s creepy.

Are we missing their signals? Do they need rescuing?

Ya, maybe not….but I do ponder these things.

Finding the silver lining in this Trump Tornado, does make one appreciate the simple life.  The vacuuming that needs doing — the dishwasher that needs emptying, the dogs that need to be run in the pouring rain….

The White Spot for dinner – ya, that is tonight’s dinner plan.  My kid’s gonna love the surprise before swimming and the lack of paparazzi.

 

 

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Jody Vance

Broken Promises – by Jody Vance

Vanity Fair: Jonathan Becker

Justin Trudeau’s back-track on the promise to end “First past the post” elections in Canada, is weak. 

He promised.

He campaigned on being “deeply committed” to it.

The Video says it all.  He promised to make “every vote count”…..to “restore democracy” — to “fix what is broken”.  Wednesday he said, via newly appointed Democratic Institutions minister Karina Gould, that he’s changed course because Canadians don’t want to change the system. 

No one asked me, did they ask you?  Which Canadians? I think the landslide of Liberal votes that promise garnered spoke on behalf of Canadians, didn’t it? 

If you search “Electoral reform – Liberal Party of Canada”, this short cut comes up in the search:

Electoral reform – Liberal Party of Canada

https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/electoralreform/

We will make every vote count. We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal electionconducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.

(Open the webpage and all references to this promise have vanished.)

Am I surprised? No.  Am I miffed? Yes.  Do I think he’s a liar? No, not really….I think he’s a politician who — like so many before him — say whatever needs to be promised to get elected. 

Back to the announcement on Wednesday.  I watched it all Live on CBCNN.  The reaction to the back-track was swift. 

I sat, rather stunned, as NDP Minister Nathan Cullen stepped out of Chambers and outright called the Prime Minister of Canada “a liar”, in so many words, it struck me as remarkably Un-Canadian.  Do we do that now? Is that the government we want to show the world?? That within our country we call our PM a liar? 

Where are politics going? Are we becoming the lowest common denominator? Are we destined to continue to follow the US to new levels of low?

Federal Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, handled it with aplomb.  She’s clearly, and rightfully, pissed off, but she kept it cool-Canadian.  Ms. May spoke her mind about the issue of “first past the post” back-peddle as well as the “feminist Prime Minister who threw two, young female cabinet ministers under the bus.”.  I’ve always had such great respect for Elizabeth May and her mission to give her party a voice in this country…..hers is the party that would certainly benefit most from changing the electoral system in Canada to an “every vote counts” scenario.  

I’d like to be able to vote in an election where I did not need to do so “strategically”, I’d like my vote to be just that….. ONE VOTE for the leader I support.  Imagine that….oh wait, we did imagine it, in 2015.

NB:

In the current global political climate, I’m finding it difficult to slight the Canadian Government for much.  I remain so grateful that we aren’t facing what our neighbours to the south are.  

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Jody Vance

Learning from History – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Peter Langer

My Mom was born in Dubrovnik, her sister in Copenhagen. Their parents, my maternal grandparents shared in that heritage, my Grandmother the Dane — Grandfather the Yugoslav.

We have deep European roots and have reflected that here in Canada.

This is not an immigration blog — believe it or not, this is about having grown up watching a “change of Government” change a country remarkably quickly.

My Mom first took us to Europe in 1975. It was a magical trip.  Family, friends, THE FOOD, all of it was remarkable — and such a learning experience for my brother and I.

I had my 8th birthday in Copenhagen.  A beautifully spotless, not to mention safe, metropolitan city – Mom let us free-range.  We had been taught just enough Danish to get by.

On top of learning that Copenhagen had the best Playland (Tivoli Gardens) and the best hot-dogs EVER (Pölsa), we learned Denmark was so organized, so clean/safe/beautiful because of “very high taxes.” and great government.

We soaked up seeing that “1/2” of our heritage and were excited to explore the other 1/2.

Off to the warm and beautiful, but Communist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where we would “likely need to line up for gasoline.”, the adults forewarned.

After an epically beautiful, 2-night, train ride to Zagreb …. and ridiculously long/hot/scary-cliff-hugging bus ride to our destination, we arrived in Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia — near Dubrovnik.

Our massive extended family rolled out the slavic red carpet — my Grandfather’s arrival, the eldest son, garnered a hero’s welcome.  We were whisked away to the family compound.

Not fancy, it was rustic and hearty.  “Over there” is where 95 year old Nana was born (a stone structure).  “Over there” is the main house, with the open kitchen, that never stops baking/cooking/frying/doing. “Over there” was “our house”, on the far side of the massive vegetable garden.  (think: classic yard veggie garden x 20 .. home to the best tomato I’ve ever eaten….and onion you could eat like and apple.)

Yes, we quickly confirmed that indeed gas was lined up for.  Add to that: the handful of grocery stores were lean on stock, at best.  The people of Yugoslavia lived at the whim of the government.

While there were “big fancy hotels” near by, we would forage for our food – literally.  Diving for octopus, pulling mussels from rock faces or fishing – coupled with plucking veggies from the family garden for the side dishes.  Our aunt Maria made delicious bread each morning.

We were immersed, there for the better part of a month.  No tv’s, clearly long before cell-phones and wifi, we spent the evenings sitting around a fire pit, under grapevines, listening to/telling stories.  I alway had the prime spot: my Grandfather’s lap.

It was there that I overheard countless stories of the Yugoslav communist government ruled, with an iron fist, by Pesident Josip Broz Tito. Tito was appointed President “for life” in 1963.  He was far from perfect, but somehow he kept peace in a place where Serbs and Croats  insisted on continuing their religious war. “Most don’t even know what they are fighting about anymore, they are just taught to hate.” (For the record, if you asked my Grandfather if he was “Serb or Croat” he would push out his chest and answer “I. Am. Yugoslav”.)

Tito was both loved and hated by his people.

That stayed with me.

From Wikipedia:

“According to official statistics, from the 1950s to the early 1980s, Yugoslavia was among the fastest growing countries, approaching the ranges reported in South Korea and other miracle countries. The unique socialist system in Yugoslavia, where factories were owned by workers and decision-making was less centralized than in other socialist countries may have led to the stronger growth. However, even if the absolute value of the growth rates was not as high as indicated by the official statistics, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were characterized by surprisingly high growth rates of both income and education during the 1950s.”

When Tito died in 1980, the unrest came quickly. Ethnic tensions were at the centre of the storm.

My Grandfather passed away in 1985, he didn’t see the brutal war fought between Serbs and Croats, destroying his stunning jewel – the walled ancient city of Dubrovnik, and for that our family was thankful.  As a Yugoslav, he would have been crushed by the spectacle that was this “Post-Tito Era”.

That era was smudged with shame thanks, in no small part, to Slobodan Milošević who eventually took the reigns of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia.  What unfolded under his rule is nothing short of shocking.  Ultimately, the world would see him charged with war crimes including genocide, and crimes against humanity, in 1999.  After Milošević resigned from the Yugoslav presidency – amid demonstrations – he was arrested by Yugoslav Federal authorities on suspicion of corruption, abuse of power, and embezzlement.  That was March 31, 2001. (not all that long ago!)

The Yugoslavs, who were crushed by the political changes there between 1980 and 1999, were not ignorant to the dangerous dynamic growing in their midst over that time — but they were powerless to stop it.

Yes that leader was ultimately punished, but the damage was beyond comprehension. Unfixable for millions.

So, as we look on with grave concern over the massive changes taking place in the USA we must be diligent in our actions and reactions to the power-plays.  We must use all available resources, and our collective global voices, to hold accountable those seemingly drunk with power.  The Coup that more and more appears to be unfolding before our eyes is frightening.  The US government inner circle is shrinking, the infrastructure created to add checks and balances to constitutional laws are being eroded.  This is a loud call to all of us – as a global society – to not loose site of the true impact history shows us this will have, long term.

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