Meagan #3

I was walking by the Vancouver Art Gallery on a cold, sunny day when I spotted Meagan, standing at her post on a construction job. The first thing I noticed about her were her beautiful, aqua coloured eyes. The second thing I noticed is that she looked a little bored.

Me: Do you like your job?
Meagan: No, not really.
Me: What do you want to do?
Meagan: I don’t know. That’s why I’m working here.

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Good answer. Thank you Meagan for being my third stranger.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. – Audrey Hepburn

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Self Defense or Looking for Trouble?

The stabbing death of a pit bull on Kits Beach this week has been all over the news the past few days.

I had heard the story, second hand, that an elderly man had been walking his Pug off-leash along the beach when they encountered an on-leash Pit Bull. The two dogs said hello, which led to an altercation (as all dog owners know, it sometimes does) and the Pit Bull ended up clamping down on the Pug’s neck and would not let go. The 72 year old man then pulled out a knife and stabbed the Pit Bull to death, doing what he had to do, he said, to save his dog.

My first thought was, how sad. As a dog owner I could empathize with both parties. I have had someone kick my dog in the past and I became fearless, rushing towards the man, who looked like he also wanted to hit me, yelling at him and threatening to call the police. So I get the instantaneous reaction of defending your dog against harm no matter what. But, that said, something about this story raised a red flag for me. Why was the pug (who sounded aggressive) off-leash in an on-leash walking area? Why was a man, out for an afternoon walk with his dog, carrying a knife in his pocket??

I have a small dog who hates Huskies and German Shepherds with a passion and there is no way I would let him off-leash in an area where these breeds may be present. Things can get ugly pretty quickly as my dog, Nicky, loves to get in Husky and Shepherd faces and bark and growl at them and in a fight with either of these breeds, no doubt Nicky would lose… badly. So, my question is, What was this man thinking?

Then I saw the Pit Bull owners on television last night, clearly traumatized. Through their perspective the off-leash Pug charged their Pit Bull, Pandora, and would not stop barking at her. Pandora grabbed the Pug’s ear in her mouth, correcting the Pug’s behaviour as all dogs do. The Pug owner then pulled out a knife and stabbed Pandora twice. She fell to the ground. The Pug owner then stood over her, stabbing her eight more times yelling “You deserve to die”! That description chills my blood.

As we all know, there are many Pit Bull haters in the world. There is, in fact, an entire facebook page dedicated to the best ways to kill Pit Bulls. It is horrific but speaks to the amount of people in the world who hate Pitties and desperately want to hurt, maim and kill them. The more I read about this incident, the more I think that man was walking his dog off-leash with the full knowledge his pug may start a fight with a Pittie and he was ready, knife in pocket, to do harm. If the Pug’s medical report comes back with minor injuries this man needs to be arrested and charged with causing the death of this companion animal.

If I were the woman, watching a man stab my best friend 10 times while she laid bleeding on the ground, I would be completely traumatized and demand justice.

If I were the man, whose dog instigated a fight and I retaliated by stabbing someone else’s dog 10 times as she lay bleeding and whimpering on the ground, I would expect consequences. Harsh consequences.

R.I.P. Pandora

Pandora the Pit Bull with a friend

Pandora the Pit Bull with a friend

http://www.news1130.com/2013/11/21/pitbull-stabbed-to-death-on-kits-beach/

Jacob & Stewie #2

Walking by a downtown hair salon, I peeked in the window and saw the most unique looking pair. My second strangers, I thought to myself as I walked through the door.
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Jacob (human) and Stewie (canine) run SIR Modern Barbershop, in downtown Vancouver and were nice enough to let me take a few photos of them between clients.

Being an animal lover, I immediately fell for handsome Stewie, especially with his mellow demeanour. He’s a six year old beauty, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and now happily living with his dad, Jacob, here in Vancouver. Stewie spends his days greeting clients and overseeing operations at the busy salon.

As Jacob and I chatted, I sensed that I was in the presence of another doting dog parent. Then Jacob undid the top button of his shirt and showed me his Stewie tattoo. I was impressed. There’s no way around  it. That’s pure dog dad devotion.

Thank you Stewie and Jacob for being my second strangers.

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Angela #1

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Rushing to work, running late as usual, on a grey, soggy, Vancouver day, I looked up and saw a woman with cherry red hair and porcelain skin walking towards me. I stopped and stared, then looked at my watch. Could she be my first stranger? Do I have time to photograph her? I couldn’t let the moment pass and see her walk away.

I showed her my “100 Strangers Project” card and asked if I could take her photo. She looked at me, paused for a moment and then said yes. My first stranger! I was elated and hoped my camera and I would be able to capture her beautiful, Mona Lisa smile.

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I couldn’t for the life of me think of an interesting question to ask her so I complimented her on her beautiful hair colour instead. She laughed and said it used to be rainbow coloured but she decided to tone it down.

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Thank you Angela for being my number one.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/

100 Strangers

Last Sunday my photowalk group decided to meet in the Business District of Vancouver, one of one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. It was an architectural walk and our focus was on the beauty and detail of the historical buildings that surrounded us.

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The buildings were absolutely lovely but what really interested me were the men and women I saw walking down the street. I found I had to keep holding myself back from photographing people as I struggled to concentrate on the buildings.

An attractive, middle-aged couple, who looked like they should be strolling along 5th Avenue in New York, were walking their gorgeous, black poodle and I stopped to chat and pet their dog. I almost asked if I could photograph the three of them but, unfortunately, let the moment slip away. The few people I did photograph inspired me to buy the book “Humans of New York” on my lunch hour the next day and I became instantly obsessed with the images and narratives in this work. I showed it to a friend at the office who also loves photography and a few minutes later she emailed me a link to the 100 strangers project on flickr. As I looked at the images, I thought, “Why am I not part of this?”

So now I am part of it and I’ll be photographing and chatting with various strangers I see on the street and posting the photos and stories here and on flickr. The rules of 100 Strangers Project state that it is a learning experience, not a race to take 100 photos and if you aren’t learning anything, you must leave the group. So I’m in, I’m ready to learn and I cannot wait to get started on this journey. As my friend, Sandrine, posted on facebook today: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

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I love his expression. Happy and proud.

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Happy hipster heading to Gastown.

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I wish I had asked this man more than “Can I take your picture”? Who is he? He’s so talented. How did he end up on the street? I’m going to go back to look for him next week.

Chip, No You Didn’t!

“Hello, I’m Chip Wilson. I’m founder of Lululemon athletica. I’d like to talk to you today about the last few days of media that’s occurred around the Bloomberg interview. I’m sad. I’m really sad. I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions. I’m sad for the people at Lululemon who I care so much about, that have really had to face the brunt of my actions. I take responsibility for all that has occurred and the impact it has had on you. I’m sorry to have put you all through this… For all of you that have made Lululemon what it is today, I ask you to stay in a conversation that is above the fray. I ask you to prove that the culture that you have built cannot be chipped away. Thank you.”

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I love my Lulus. I hike, do yoga, walk on the beach, laze around the apartment and grocery shop in them. The flagship store is only one block from my house and I visit regularly to drool over the new colours and styles. I haven’t bought yoga pants for a while so I thankfully missed out on the see-through fiasco, but I have noticed that the quality has been slipping a bit the past few years. Never mind though, I’ve remained a faithful customer. I also live to hike and some of my best memories involve me sitting on top of a mountain dressed in head to toe lululemon, with my sweat whisked away by the magic of luon:

Then, it all changed. And the thing that changed it  was Mr. Chip Wilson’s mouth opening and his foot landing directly inside. There was nothing wrong with the quality of lululemon’s pants, Chip said (btw now manufactured in a sweatshop in Bangladesh), the problem was women’s thighs rubbing together causing pilling along with trying to squeeze into a size too small. Sigh. Lululemon, he explained, isn’t made for every woman’s body. Now as much as I love my lulu’s, I hate exclusionary, misogynistic corporations even more. See interview here.

And a few days later Chip issued the statement at the beginning of this post as an apology that wasn’t an actual apology. Well, I guess it was an apology to the people who work at Lululemon. It’s an interesting strategy to only apologize to the people who work at your company but, not so effective for everyone else, I’m thinking.

So my love affair with Lululemon is fading quickly. As a woman, I’ve been through far too many struggles with food and body image to let a clothing company tell me there is something inherently wrong with a woman’s body shape or movement in a lame attempt to cover up a decline in the quality of their product.

Also, I did a little poking around the internet and found a whole boatload of gems spewing from Chip Wilson’s mouth on fastcompany.com and here they are:

Chinese people prefer inhumane working conditions:

“In Canada for instance, 99% of our factory workers are Chinese women sewers. If you were to work them eight-hour days, they will be mad at you. If you only work them five days a week for only eight hours, they’ll say, ‘What are you doing? I don’t want to work for you.’ If you do only work them that much, they walk out of their shift at four o’clock and walk across the street to another factory and work another six hours. This is in Vancouver, in Canada.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I really think that the only people desperately wanting to work 14 hours a day, six days a week are people being paid poverty wages and actually have to work this much to survive.

Birth control causes divorce:

“Females no longer had to ‘make’ relationships work because with birth control came a sense of financial and life control. A sense of equality was established because women no longer had to relinquish their independence to a male provider.

“Women’s lives changed immediately. Men’s lives didn’t change however and they continued to search for a stay-at-home wife like their mothers. Men did not know how to relate to the new female. Thus came the era of divorces.”

Really Chip? I’m starting to think that the best form of birth control is your personality.

Breast cancer:

“Breast cancer also came into prominence in the 1990s. I suggest this was due to the number of cigarette-smoking power women who were on the pill (initial concentrations of hormones in the pill were very high) and taking on the stress previously left to men in the working world.”

And, have we heard of the increasing xenoestrogens in the environment. The scientific community agrees that this is the major cause of  he breast cancer epidemic, not working women.

It’s “funny” how Japanese people have trouble saying Lululemon:

“It’s funny to watch them try and say it.”

Factory workers in the “Orient” are in it for the vast riches:

“Ninety-five percent of the factories I’ve seen in the Orient are far better than ones in North America. In China, many people come from the western provinces and their goal is to work seven days a week 16 hours a day, because in five years they want to have a pile of money to go home with and start a business.”

I have only one thing to say about this statement. OMG!

Fat people, all of them, are “sensitive.”

“Plus-size people are sensitive.”

So, Mr. Wilson, all things considered, I think it’s time you exited the company, for its good and your own. You’ve made a ton of money. You have your concrete compound on Cornwall Avenue. Retire. Go hang with the Chili Peppers. Lululemon needs to evolve and it looks like it can only evolve without you.

Your customers are real human beings not barbie dolls. The sooner you figure that out, the better for everyone because, unlike Barbie, sometimes our thighs rub together. And when they do, it would be awesome if our pants didn’t fall apart.

Namaste.

lulu

Wanderlust

Noun: A very strong desire or irresistible impulse to travel.

Wanderlust. I am enchanted by this word. I love the way it looks, the way it rolls off the tongue and, most of all, what it stands for. It conjures up images of VW vans, 70’s rock anthems, sunny days and hair blowing in the wind as you hit the road on an epic adventure.

Lately I found myself eyeing a turquoise Westfalia van in my neighborhood and dreaming of the freedom it embodies. My friend Sam and I ended up having a long conversation about my hippie van fascination and desire to go on a roadtrip, Jack Kerouac style, and it turned out he was feeling a bit of wanderlust too. After much discussion about where our destination should be, we decided to pile three canines and two humans into his jeep and head south to the Oregon coast.

And this is what we found…

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“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  – John Muir

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/daily-prompt-travels-2/