The Ducks 5, the Canucks 1

Maybe we should just be happy to have made the 2nd round. This Ducks team has the size and skill that the Canucks could have taken to the finals in 02 or 03. (Hey – they have the same GM too). In fact, the Ducks remind me more of the Canucks of 02 or 94 than this years Canucks squadren does. I’d be almost embarrased to make the 3rd round with this lame duck team anyway. Division smivision – all year we bragged about how great our division was, and then Calgary and Minnesota are easily ousted. I’m calling the detroit-san jose series to be much more exciting than ours. Ducks in 5. Canadian offense has all its eggs in Ottawa this year.

Nucks Today

Alright,

I’d really love to watch the game today, but I don’t have a TV, and I’m too poor to keep going to bars. Anyone want to invite me over? (Angela, I’m not asking you, I understand you’re ultra-busy/stressed, but thanks again for last time)

So… anyone up for watching the game? I can bring official hockey refreshments.

Strathcona Park

I’ve lived in Mount Pleasant for ages now, and I’d never been to Strathcona park.

Not that eventful a park, really. Some nice community gardens. But what really interested me is this:

It’s a 3/8ths mile oval that held racing between 1954 and 1962. It was a dirt track up till 58 and then it was paved for its final few years. I don’t know why it was shut down.

Today the paved track is still intact, and has been repaired (probably 20 years ago) with modern patches of asphalt. I rode around it on my bike, but most others walked dogs. Much of the track is much too rough to ride quickly, but one straight and the following corner are still quite smooth so I tried to get up some speed and get some idea of what it would have felt like going around the track quickly in a 50s hot rod.

Sadly, the track will be riped up to make way for a speed skating oval for the olympics. So, I encourage everyone to go visit it soon, before this little bit of Vancouver racing history is no more.

Canucks, and a defense of Hockey Fanatacism

Go Canucks Go

Or, lose Canucks lose, save money on police overtime. And besides, Pro Sports are just distractions from the real local political issues that actually affect our lives.

But, the larger issue, is it wrong to emotionally identify with something so materially disconnected from your own life? Certainly grieving for Princess Diana is absurd and a little bit pathetic, but it’s also normal and appropriate for a time when people identify so personally with images, which is the essence of celebrity.

But, isn’t Sports Nationalism slightly different from celebrity identification/worship? Film is the realm of stars, but sports is the realm of Heroes. While at the same time being an example of image based emotional identification, it’s a communal emotional attachment that serves as a focal point for community. It’s the same as hero worship at a rock concert – everyone identifies with each other through a universal affirmation of the musiciens on stage. Sure it produces ignorance towards your own location, body, and duties (it is an escapist experience after all), at least in the moment (afterwards, perhaps some interpretive reflection on personal success, trials, and failures might be possible, but these are by nature personal whereas the communal emotional identification is non-reflective, merely the “YES”, or the “Awwww”.

At Shambhala last summer I discerned a continuum of communal identification, ranging from the Rock Concert where people identify with each other only through the infinite affirmation of the rock God, to the de centred electronic dance, where the DJ is not a focal point, and Dance becomes an excersise in personal becoming interpersonal awareness (and the mind/body begins to break down).

So, while Sports Nationalism is shallow and petty, it seems as such only in relation to deeper awareness of your own body’s presence and it’s interrelation with others. In relation to individual automatons working in high rise buildings and never speaking to anyone on the subway, it’s a huge improvement.

The Meaning of Nihilism

I sometimes use the word “nihilism” in everyday speech. This creates a lot of problems. For some reason (which is actually immediately understandable), people take offense at being called “nihilists”. I think people in general take “nihilism” to mean something like a disbelief in all institutions, theories and facts. Nihilists think science is all bullshit, think there’s no point in voting. Nihilism is a kind of apathy. However, this is not the sense in which I ever employ the term nihilism (except perhaps if I’m discussing Russian literature).

The term nihilism in my training has a very technical meaning, which is understandable to anyone once clearly explained. It means the lack of belief in any inherent meaning in Being. For example, Hegelians thought being was something like “spirit”, an over arching power that holds sway over matter and thought, which comprises the dialectic of matter evolving, and eventually coming to know itself in human philosophical knowledge. Another example of a non-nihilistic framework is schelling-Freudian psychology, where a mythic origin of the universe is posited as a trawma experienced by God, a trawma which works itself out in human culture, and for Freud, in psychological trawma.

So, when I call people nihilists I do not mean that they do not have any beliefs, but rather that they believe only what they see – they are empiricists. They don’t believe in any kind of metanarrative, any over arching mythic order which could bring light on individual occurences. They don’t think the problem of humans coming to have knowledge of being in anyway “puts a rift” in being, and makes humans anything special in comparison to rocks. The “nihil” in nihilism is the annihilation of Being, the forgetting of the question of Being, the question of Spirit, which is always also the question of God. This is why nihilists are always essentially atheists, and non-nihilists always respect Gods, even if only as focal points for human culture and interaction, as hypotheticals.

Christians, and people of other religions, which turn God into a being amoung other beings, or even a supreme being, are nihilists inasmuch as they abstract a difference between being and God. “God in all things” – belief in being. However, if this becomes a mere slogan, and God becomes an abstract personal relationship, ousted from everyday life by commodity which is the turning of things into the infinitly replaceable images of themselves, God is already dead.

Westwood Raceway

When you think of Vancouver and racing you probably think Richmond and street racing. Or, you might think driving all the way to mission just to run 1/4 mile times or their lousy road course, which is at least better than driving all the way to Seattle for the nearest real road course.

What you probably don’t think of, unless your much older than me, is the Westwood Raceway. Built on the Westwood plateau in the now suburban nightmare of coquitlam, it was the first road course in North America to be built and run by a club. To be more specific – by 2 clubs in conjunction – the BC sports car club, and the BC motorcycle club. The course was famous for being interesting, fast, and not that safe. Mostly because its straightaways were very fast, and not very straight. Also, it had a ‘carousel’ – yes like at the Nuerimburg ring. It opened in the 50s, and was closed in the 80s when the BC government refused to renew the lease, because they could make so much money selling the property as suburban sprawl.

So, when you think of how great EXPO was, remember that it killed the Westwood racing circuit, and then by causal link, killed a lot of innocent bystanders in richmond because the kids had no where to learn how to drive. Especially the motorcyclists – it’s even more important for them to have a purpose built racing circuit to – amoung other things – learn how to fall properly of a bike at 100mph. (Not that you’d do this on purpose, but apparently with modern clothing, walking away from a properly executed fall at that speed is possible).

link:http://www.etracksonline.co.uk/Features/stories/canadaspioneer.html

Also, Vancouver’s been home to various other racing circuts over the years. In Strathcona park there’s a 3/8ths mile paved oval that operated between 57 and 62. Track is still intact, but don’t go driving around it unless you want your car impounded. In Langley there’s the “Action Racing” 3/8ths mile banked oval, which is still in quite good shape. However, it’s now in Campbell Valley Park, so there’s little chance it will ever serve as more than a venue to display stupid old american cars on car show days. (On the Park Map it’s called the “little river bowl”, and it’s worth a visit if your in the park already).

There are actually a bunch of other tracks in Vancouver and the Vancouver area that operated in the 50s and 60s. The point being, Vancouver was once a racing-friendly city – a place that provided venues for people to have fun with their cars. Now you can own, for reasonable money, cars much faster than the racing cars of the 50s and 60s, but of course there is no where to drive them. Except on the street, so they do, and they crash, and we blame the indivudals involved. Fair enough, but maybe if we weren’t obsessed with noise pollution, we could have a little fun, and not die.

Woman from Langley: “Having a racetrack in your community is like peeing in your own soup”