fear & loathing in Lotusland

Month: February, 2014

The Cringe: Wrecking Ball

by Zbigniew



Construct, aim, release & …destroy!

Swing learning into action with the KEVA Wrecking Ball!

Construct and engineer – Sharpen essential skills like following directions and reading diagrams, as you construct a working Wrecking Ball using the architecturally-inspired blueprint instructions.

Experiment and Destroy – Once built, test the principles of physics by adjusting the length of the Hoist Rope, swinging the Wrecking Ball as a pendulum, or free-fall crashing into towers assembled from KEVA planks.

Build bigger towers, buildings and monuments to knock over with our 200 or 400 plank KEVA Structures sets.

MindWare – Brainy toys for kids of all ages

Made in China


by Zbigniew

There’s dread, and then there’s a very particular type of dread associated with a lifestyle magazine featuring a cover story of your neighbourhood.

Gail Johnson, the designated fluff-hack for the condo-ad dependent Georgia Straight, gives East Hastings the promotional copy once over in her “Hastings-Sunrise basks in the area’s rebirth” (February 20-27, 2014).

She opens with some tired quotes (“The city can’t grow any more to the south because there’s a border. It can’t go anymore to the ….” blah blah etc), pays lip service to history, and references new eateries, “districts”, and proximities as breezily as possible to get to the prolonged climax: a comprehensive inventory of the local condo developments coming on line. The whole tired, saggy mess is sandwiched amongst and between ads for even more condos and laneway house constructors.

Dave and Candy lived across the alley for years: avid gardeners and professional musicians, great neighbours and lovely people. The house sold and they moved out to deep Burnaby.

The first order of business for the new owners was to cut down the fig and persimmon trees to make way for their camper van -which I’ve never seen moved.

Yes, it’s their property. Of course, they can do as they please. I said hello.

She talked of how conveniently located the neighbourhood was to downtown and the north shore, and they  sure are doing a lot of renovations, and how often do you see persimmon trees. And I miss Dave and Candy.

Postal Zones

by Zbigniew

Postal Zones

Send in the Drones

by Zbigniew

Thefts and break-ins, drug use and drug deals, as well as prostitution continue to haunt the downtown area.

Vancouver? Surrey, maybe? The teeming cesspit of crime and depravity in question is Maple Ridge.

To the rescue rides Westridge Security, with its generously open-ended commitment to “fulfilling the needs and interests of all our clients” and its latest value proposition: unmanned aerial vehicles. Westridge will be the first private security firm in the province to operate drones.

They’re equipped with infra-red cameras, but no worries: the drones can only be deployed when “requested by an agency.” We can rest easy, knowing that our precious and increasingly delicate privacy is in the firm grip of the federales.



Skymount Unmanned Systems is a Vancouver-based company providing commercial aerial drone services.

From the company’s decidedly slim FAQs page:

“Are Drones dangerous?

“Unfortunately the first widely publicized use of drones was for military purposes, so most people equate them with large aircraft carrying weapons. Civilian drones are very different: they are small, lightweight, quiet, electric powered and are very unlikely to cause any harm.”


Real estate hacks “the Mcnabs” are “upping their game” with a DJI Phantom Quadcopter drone: “now we now have a million more options and angles to help promote our listings!”


Security imperatives, capital investiture, private property preoccupations, brought together into a unholy nexus of bolstered profit margins. How might this play out in the Wild West that is our Terminal City?

Seen in Passing: NW Marine Dr. & Newton Wynd

by Zbigniew

ChopEmDownCourtesy Johnny Drift

The Remainder Binning

by Zbigniew


“Binning’s approach to colour was now deeply influenced by his study of the regional character of the natural context of the city. He was convinced that the most appropriate colourization of buildings in Vancouver would best enhance the the urban scene by harmonizing with the northerly latitude and climate of Vancouver, with its surrounding rainforest, interlacing waterways, mist catching mountains and greyer skies. Binning’s attention to architectural colour now began to emphasize greens, blues and greys, the scheme he applied to the new B.C. Electric Building and to the revised colour coding of the three-dimensional ‘mural’ of its contiguous substation.”

Abaham Rogatnick, “A Passion for the Contemporary,” in B.C. Binning, Abraham Rogotnick, ed.

binningBinning House, via Coast Modern

“Bert Binning felt the need to build a house that would serve as a direct example of the new possibilities and give tangible evidence of the qualities they were advocating, and therefore set about designing one for himself …. Considering other houses built in 1942, this house was a radical and pioneering project.”

Douglas Shadbolt, “Postwar Architecture in Vancouver,” Vancouver: Art & Artists 1931 – 1983

“Glass doors are flung open to a swathe of giant conifers, while on the terrace, a man and a woman bask in domestic languor as sunlight pours into the room. The man and woman seem to be both outside and inside; even the living room carpet, mottled by sunlight and speared with the shadow of leaves, reads like moss-cover in a forest. The image is a luminous vignette of post war Modernism …. Such is its venerated status that to a cult of architectural critics and admirers, it is known simply as ‘the House.’ It has stood serenely in this leafy slop of West Vancouver for the past sixty-five years, even as the neighbourhood transforms harshly around it.”

Adele Weder, “The House,” B.C. Binning, Abraham Rogitnick, ed.


“Binning has been commemorated by UBC by the B.C. Binning Memorial Scholarship …. As well, his name has been given to the larger exhibition space of the civically supported Contemporary Art Gallery built in 1999 in Vancouver. However, the construction of a new University Fine Arts Gallery remained at the bottom of UBC priorities until 1995, when a new gallery opened. Largely subsidized by a private donor, and named for the donor, it omitted any mention of Binning. The moment, on the occasion of Binning’s retirement, that Alvin Balkind melancholically labled ‘the end of the Binning era,’ was already a thing of the past.”

Abaham Rogatnick, “A Passion for the Contemporary,” in B.C. Binning, Abraham Rogotnick, ed.


According to its blog, “The Land Conservancy is a non-profit, charitable land trust working throughout British Columbia.  TLC protects important habitat for plants, animals and natural communities as well as properties with historical, cultural, scientific, scenic or compatible recreational value.

“We are here for the long term.  When we take properties under our care, our goal is to protect them in perpetuity.”

That’s not going so well.

One of those TLC properties is the Binning House, at 2968 Mathers Crescent, West Vancouver, willed to the Conservancy following Jessie Binning’s death in 2007. Come 2013, with its finances in shambles and $200,000 needed to maintain the property, TLC attempted to sell the House to Bruno Wall, President of Wall Financial Corp., who had offered $1.6 million. With the home in private hands and public access and protection no longer assured, a British Columbia Supreme Court challenge resulted in the sale being blocked. The future of the home remains uncertain.


Binning Tower at Wesbrook, University of British Columbia (UBC) is an unprecedented investment in the future – a lifestyle defined by education, arts, culture and recreation – from the team that also founded The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies in the cultural heart of UBC. The same team was responsible for Wall Centre Downtown, Yaletown Park, Capitol Residences and Wall Centre False Creek, and is currently developing Shannon Wall Centre Kerrisdale and Wall Centre Central Park.”

The 217 units range in price from $529,900 to over $879,900.

There’s not a mention of one Bertram Charles Binning.


Let Them Eat Imports

by Zbigniew

On the Friday, February 7, 2014, edition of CFRO Co-op Radio’s Media Mornings (starting at the 41:18 mark) Harold Steves -one of the architect’s of the Dave Barrett NDP government’s Agricultural Land Reserve, a long time Richmond City councillor, and an active farmer- noted that Port Metro Vancouver has quietly purchased 226 acres of farmland in Richmond as part of its planned Delta Port expansion on 2,600 acres of farmland in Richmond and Delta.

How will we address the incidental negative externalities, such as a reduced capacity to feed ourselves? The Port has a solution:

A Food for the Future rally will take place on Monday, February 10, 2014 -Family Day- at the Legislature, in Victoria.

Against Delta Port expansion? Have a look at Against Port Expansion in Delta.

Olympic Detritus: 2010

by Zbigniew

To mark the latest incarnation of the global jock sniffing corruption frenzy, a brief trip down a trash-strewn Memory Lane*:


A few details:

The Best




* NB: While they are in my possession, none of the objects depicted were purchased by the author.

World in a City

by Zbigniew

City of Vancouver Archives (AM1553-8-S13-: MI-34)

On Expo’s eve:

“Vancouver: gateway to British Columbia and to Canada -a city as cosmopolitan as you would find. No matter what your interests, what your taste, you will find it here, somewhere in this … World in a City.”

Refuge: Bright Future

by Zbigniew


Bright Future

Bright Future 2

Bright Future 3

Friends of 439