I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Monday, February 8, 2010


The Olympic Torch comes through our town today. I set the alarm so I am up in time to get ready and walk the couple of blocks to the street it will come down. When I get there, there's only about 30 people standing waiting. I join them. As I wait, I look down the road to where the torch will be lit for this leg. I was disappointed to find out that the torch itself does not travel every mile across the country. I always pictured the torch being passed off to the next person and that isn't the case. So then I thought that one torch must be lit from another, but that's not the case either. So I imagined that the flame that started in Athens, Greece must be kept alive in the van or bus they use to travel along with the runners, when there is one. Maybe in a lamp or bowl or something.

I decide to walk down the street to the bridge where I read on line that they will start this leg of the run. As I get there, I see there is a small bus parked off to the side and just then a girl gets out dressed in the white track suit that all the torch bearers wear. And she is holding an unlit torch. I also read that each torch bearer gets to keep their torch. That's a great keepsake, I'd say.

A woman is taking her picture. I think it must be her mom. They cross the street to my side and take some more and I take a few myself. There is also another woman and two boys with them. The mom comes up to me (I am wearing my Olympic workforce jacket) and asks if I am there to film it. I tell her no, I am just there as a spectator and don't work for this part of the games. I ask if she is the mom and she says she is. She goes back to her daughter and then asks the boys if they would like their picture taken holding the torch. They would. Then she takes a picture of the other woman holding it. I get a little excited. Maybe... maybe I can hold it? "Can I?" I squeak out. The mom turns to me. "Would you like to?" "Oh yes! If you don't mind." So the girl passes the torch to me and I pose for a photo. As I am holding it, the convoy of vehicles is coming down the hill in the distance. I hand it back quickly as I don't want to get in trouble for Olympic sacrilege or anything.

The first group of vehicles containing RCMP and other officials goes past. Then another group comes. This is the corporate sponsor convoy. Royal Bank, then Coca Cola, and then a fire truck. They keep going and all grows quiet. "They forgot to light your torch." I say. We laugh at that. Then another convoy of vehicles appear and stop. A group of people get out of a small bus and jog over to the girl. They take her to the middle of the road. They light her torch. WITH A LIGHTER!! So what is all the fanfare about bringing the flame from Athens all about?!? I just am at a loss to understand what I am seeing. It's. A. Lighter. Probably a BIC.

Anyhow, she sets off at a jog and the flame is carried on down the road and heads into Fort Langley. There is a big celebration planned for when it gets to the fort but I have other plans so walk back home.

I drive to Surrey and meet Olga. We are heading into Vancouver on the SkyTrain. We are both very unhappy with the agency, Angus One, that hired us for the games. I have tried emailing and have gotten no response so now I am going down there for a face-to-face. Then we plan to walk around and absorb some of the Olympic buzz that is going on.

I called ahead earlier to make sure the fellow that hired me is in today. He is. They must have warned him I was coming because when we get there and are asked to wait, he comes out with his supervisor, Joanne, in tow. We are escorted into an office and the four of us sit. I lay out in plain language, politely, why I am there. I lay it all out - the cut in pay from what I was told I would get, the cut in hours from 48 a week to 40 for one week and 30 for the rest, the cut from two months of work to one, and yes, the disappointment of going from a job I couldn't wait to do to moving buses - and then wait for them to make it right. The only thing they offer is that they might be able to find me a position at the Paralympic games once they find out what positions need filling. That's it. Olga is upset because the team she supervises was hired by a different agency that pays better so she is making the same wage they are. My team was hired by Angus One so they make $10 an hour, Olga's make $12. They say that they placed a bid for the work and they guess they underbid. I'd say so. They don't offer either of us anything. I tell them that, if they look at my resume that they have on file, they will see I work in TV. I say that I know a lot of people in town that work at the various networks. And if I don't know them, I know people who do. When the games are over and it's time to deconstruct how it all came off, I will be talking to those people and telling them how Angus One completely dropped the ball where, not only I am concerned but where everyone, including Game Day, is concerned. That I have not heard one good thing from anyone on how they handled this whole contract. I say that maybe they are only used to placing receptionists in offices for relief work and this time they bit off far more than they can chew, but whatever the reason I have been handled badly and I am very unhappy with them. Joanne apologizes but does not offer anything. I leave feeling disappointed but satisfied that I presented my case well and that they were left with no doubt as to how we felt.

That nasty bit out of the way, our first stop is Robson Square to the main ticket center so that Olga can pick up some tickets she bought on line for an Olympic concert or something. That takes about half an hour, as the line is fairly long, but it grows three times as long in about 5 minutes after we get in it. That done, it's lunch time and I haven't eaten yet today so we head over to Robson Street and into Cactus Club for a bite. Then we go to Vancouver Art Gallery to see about the free admission to the da Vinci exhibit but it's not free until the 12th. So we leave there and stroll about taking in the atmosphere. There is media everywhere you look. Huge digital cameras, HD cameras, tripods, groups in matching jackets that say CBC, or CBS. One group is from Japan and set up the HD camera and a boom and start filming a diminutive and very pretty woman as she smiles into the camera and jabbers away in Japanese. Along Robson we see an athlete from the USA in his team jacket posing for a photo with what looks like could be his coach. I suspect from his short stature that he might be a figure skater. There was a time I knew every figure skating contender but I don't keep up with it anymore so I would have no idea if one was standing 3 feet away from me.

As we stroll along, we get caught up in a throng of people all heading in one direction. They fill the street so we go with them to see where they are heading. It turns out, they are ticket holders for the rehersal for the opening ceremonies. No point in following them then. As we walk along, I see a group of guys up some stairs and recognize one as a driver I have worked a lot with on set. I call out to him and his face lights up when he sees me. He comes over and we hug. I am so happy to see him. But since the last time, his sixteen year old son was killed in a car accident. He always used to talk about his son and he was so proud of him. I ask how he is doing and he says he is doing alright. I introduce him to Olga and tell her he is a driver from film and of how he always takes such good care of me. He is working for the games as well but I am not sure in what capacity. He is really happy for the work though, and says it pays well. He isn't wearing the uniform most of us wear so it must be with a private company.

I wanted to go see my son as he will be working at the downtown stage for the games, doing sound. He's in there somewhere today doing some sound checks with the equipment. But the stage area is cordoned off as they are still constructing it so we can't go in and find him.

It's a huge venue at the Canada House pavilion and a great opportunity for him. I will come back next week. So much isn't operational until the games start so it will be great to be back when it is.

The stage where my son will do sound 7 days a week from 8am to 11:30pm for the next three weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I had another good look at the video today and see that the guy that runs up from the van when the runner is moved to the middle of the road is holding the flame that he brought with him. So it wasn't a BIC after all and I retract that observation. I am so relieved!


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