Monday, January 18, 2010

Carnegie Holding 30th Anniversary Celebrations

This week, Carnegie Centre is holding 30th anniversary celebrations all week.

The primary celebration will be this Wednesday. They're holding it on welfare cheque day, a day when the fewest possible poor people will show up.

The Olympics are Here and so is the Fear

This evening I went to the salad bar at Whole Foods at Cambie & Broadway, and afterwards went across the street to Wendy's restaurant for coffee. There were people in there with a range of accents, and a group of Quebecers speaking French, leading me to believe that some of these people were early arrivals for the Olympics.

A Chinese man who spoke perfect English, dressed all in black with a pager on his belt, walked up to the manager and told her that a "suspicious item" had been sitting on a table by the wall for some time with nobody around. He laughed nervously and said, "It could go boom!", throwing his hands in the air.

I knew a guy who lived in Israel who told me that suspicious packages left in public places there got noticed and reported, but I'd never seen this happen in Canada.

I looked over at the item on the table. It did look suspicious. There was nothing else on the table, no food or drink, just a flat black plastic box about the size of an old fashioned portable cassette tape recorders. The manager walked over and looked at it, but somebody called out that it was theirs.

Nobody treated the guy who reported it as though he was paranoid. The manager walked back past his table and said, "Thank you, sir."

We of course have Islam to thank for this fear.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Missing Women Stop Traffic at Main & Hastings

Girls and women missing or murdered on the Highway of Tears were a focus of a gathering at around 4:30 p.m. at Main & Hastings on Sunday. Traffic in the intersection was blocked briefly.

Above photo: Gathering for missing women at Main & Hastings, with Carnegie Centre in the background

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dean Dies

There are some sad people at Carnegie. Dean Obrol, a longtime musician in the Carnegie Music Program, has died. Dean wasn't a drug or alcohol abuser, so his death came as a surprise to Carnegie members. He was found in his apartment in a social housing building on Hastings.

Dean had worked in a fish clearing house in the past, and now was often seen playing his guitar at Carnegie or sitting in Waves coffee shop surfing the net on his laptop. He was always eager to get paid gigs playing at events in the Carnegie theatre.

Some musicians and other Carnegie members had known him for over two decades.

He was born July 25, 1954 and died Dec. 3, 2009. He was 55.

A couple of months ago, Dean was saying that he regularly bought multi-vitamins on sale at one of the large natural food stores downtown. "So I'm covered", he said. Looks like he wasn't covered.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frustration Mounts at Carnegie over Blocking of WiFi Access to Poor

John B. is one of many Carnegie members expressing frustration at the decision by City management at Carnegie to block the poor from accessing WiFi at Carnegie. As reported earlier on this blog, people like John can no longer sit on the third floor at Carnegie and access WiFi with their laptops or netbooks.

The only WiFi access remaining at Carnegie Centre is in the tiny Vancouver Public Library reading room on the first floor. But John points out that the library WiFi is "not designed to carry the load". He says that after 4 or 5 people are signed on, he can't even get on.

Another man who regularly volunteers in the Carnegie computer (desktop) room for 80 cents an hour in food vouchers, says he is frustrated at the blocking of WiFi access at Carnegie for people with laptops. He now has to go to Waves coffee shop with his laptop. He sits in the back and avoids purchasing a coffee.

John hopes to start a petition to take to City Hall to have Carnegie staff share the WiFi signal with the poor.

But John has decided that his first step will be to talk to Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty. He did not know Whitty's name until today when another Carnegie member gave it to him. The member reportedly warned him that he would get nowhere with Ethel Whitty.

A third man, a longtime Carnegie member sitting in Waves using a laptop, was pessimistic about getting Carnegie staff to share WiFi access with the poor. "They don't care. From Whitty on down, they don't care."