Maxed Out 

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The overarching rhythm of Whistler is fast paced and frantic. Urban playful. At least it seems that way compared to Smilin’ Dog Manor where the overarching rhythm is one that makes cultures generally thought of as operating on the mañana principle seem frantic.

And so it was that I took advantage of a rainout in St. Louis Monday night to slow the pace down, catch my breath, kick back and watch things unfold s-l-o-w-l-y.

I attended council… at least the first several hours of it.

Almost immediately I noticed a palpable change in the power atmosphere in MY seat of local government. Council chambers buzzed with excitement. You could smell the anticipation. There was the biggest crowd I’d ever seen at council on a night nothing on the agenda screamed out “CONTROVERSY.” I got comfy, broke out my snacks, settled in for some hummin’ entertainment.

Paying rapt attention, I quickly realized almost everyone was there to get a plaque to honour the outstanding commitment the group they represented had made to implementing some element of the action plans of Whistler 2020,   aka The Plan. Most of them, showing the abundance of common sense that’ll help make The Plan a screamin’ success, left immediately thereafter. The rest followed soon enough.

Speculating on the motivations of the five of us remaining who weren’t on the muni payroll, I cracked open the JuJubes and felt a growing admiration for Mayor Ken and the Group of Six. What deeply-rooted sense of civic commitment, service, lust for power, pride, glory, satisfaction and whatever else spices the motivational soup of the human soul drives these people to spend the time and energy to do the underpaid, underappreciated work they do?

My gratitude and admiration was brought quickly crashing and burning back to reality as soon as the first PowerPoint presentation fired up. PowerPoint! Arrrrgh! Proving once again that perhaps one in a hundred people actually know how to use PowerPoint effectively… no one used it very effectively. Thankfully, there weren’t 100 presentations made to find the exception to the rule. It only seemed that way.

Not wanting to digress too much, I won’t get into the whole tell-your-story philosophy of effective PP shows. That is a mountain too big to climb. But I will pass on this single chestnut of advice to anyone who hopes to become that one in one hundred who actually lets all their good work — and there was some very good work being presented — shine through a PP presentation instead of being rendered mind-numbing: DON’T READ YOUR SLIDES! Those of us still awake will read the slides; you expand on their meaning, tell their story, sing their praises.

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