Aug 202012

My latest article is on the City of Vancouver, after years of non-enforcement, starting to enforce zoning bylaw for adult stores.

This means, interestingly, that stores like London Drugs (which are basically department stores) would be classified as Adult Retail Stores because, right above the condoms and lube, they sell vibrators, discretely packaged as “personal massagers” and often with no illustration or photo on the box. Under Vancouver bylaws, those are “sex objects” and selling those makes your store an “Adult Retail Store”. The law was set in 1995, and since then there have been a lot of upscale adult boutiques like the Art of Loving or Honey, or feminist-oriented adult stores like Womyns’Ware. These stores fit just fine into residential neighborhoods like Kitsilano and Commercial Drive.

Sketchy stores like Fantasy Factory, where they have peepshows in the back, are becoming an anachronism in the age of Internet porn. The guy who runs Fantasy Factory says that 60 per cent of his customers are women buying vibrators and other toys. This is a case of the law not really keeping up with the times.



Jun 212012

My latest article is about a new video game lounge trying to get a liquor license that lets them have game consoles at the tables where they serve food and liquor. I don’t drink, so this is an academic issue for me, but I don’t like arbitrary and restrictive government regulations.

I do like the idea of a place where you can try out video games. I’ve never owned a video game console, nor do I currently own a PC that could really provide the full effect of a video game experience. (I also don’t have the time or the money really). However, I feel like I’m missing out on a medium that means a lot to a lot of people. It’s a generational thing, I think: millennials relate to Mass Effect and the like the way my generation related to Star Wars, but on an even more intimate level. I watched Mark Hammill and Harrison Ford as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. People today design their own version of Commander Shepherd and control him or her.

This was also an experiment in decreasing my turnaround time for articles. One of my biggest time sinks and also the most tedious part of the business is transcribing interviews from my digital recorder. I usually do very thorough transcripts, with an eye towards using the same research and interviews to write a different article for a different market. For the last few pieces, I’ve been trying to only transcribe the good quotes and just convert everything else to notes, to save time and aggravation. It seems to be working, as I did the last few articles much faster than I usually do.