COLUMN: Characters abound in the New Westminster Twitterverse
New Westers like to gather, and they love to chat.
And Twitter is no exception.
If you seek out the #NewWest hashtag—which is how conversations are organized by topic—you'll hear people chatting about all the goings on around town. Restaurants worth trying, festivals coming up, where to get that thing-a-majig you were seeking.
They debate, argue, vent, and talk about ideas.
One of the most humorous aspects of Twitter in New West is the "personalities" you'll find, real and otherwise.
Did you know Judge (Matthew Baillie) Begbie is on Twitter? He's been dead 12 decades, but his statue by the steps of the New Westminster courthouse tweets up a storm as @Judge_Begbie.
"I'm 119 years young," states his bio, "like music, and enjoy bringing down the swift hand of justice. Also I like Bellinis."
He's a romantic: "Ladies keep asking, "Begbie, paint me like one of your french girls"," he tweeted recently. "But I'm a gentleman so I (usually) decline."
He's fond of puns: "I'm looking for a lady who will stand by me. Literally."
A bit vain, perhaps: "You'll marble at my abs this summer. Watch out #newwest."
And corny: "Something just fell on my head. Fowl play is suspected #hilarious."
And he likes to tease his friends: "Which fish can perform operations? A sturgeon!! @sturgeongeorge that was for you buddy."
Which of course means that, yes, George the Sturgeon of the Fraser River Discovery Centre is on Twitter too.
"I used to swim in the Fraser River, but now my home is inside an interpretive centre," states his Twitter bio.
And like the Judge, he has a weakness for puns: "Update on my pet salmon: I ate it :( It was delicious."
And: "To the tiny human who tried to nibble on my barbels today, I bring you an important message from @DisneyPixar: fish are friends, not food!!"
Like Begbie, George is romantic: "I've just started dating a pretty sturgeon from the #ColumbiaRiver. It's long distance, things are complicated"
And you can't talk about New West's Twitterverse without mentioning @HULKPARKADE, who'll surely drum his Caps Lock key into oblivion some day soon.
"ME PARKADE LIVE ON WATERFRONT!" states his Twitter bio. "PEOPLE NO LOVE HULK! $7 ALL DAY! BRING CAR! YOU TRY SEE RIVER HULK SMASH!"
He's not happy with my columns celebrating plans to tear down the waterfront parkade.
"@HULKPARKADE SMASH COFFEE WITH WORDBOY ANY TIME!! NO-ONE EVER TELL STORY FROM @HULKPARKADE SIDE!"
Hulk even waded into the Hyack controversy last year.
"SOMEONE LEAVE LONE CRYING MAN IN PLAID JACKET BEHIND COLUMBIA THEATRE LAST NIGHT. PLEASE PICK UP. MAKING @HULKPARKADE SAD!!!"
He's an emotional fella, too.
"SMASH! @HULKPARKADE REALLY NEED THIS SHOWER. RINSE OFF SOOT AND RUST AND MEMORIES OF TIME WHEN @HULKPARKADE RELEVANT."
And there are many other Twitter personalities with a New West flavour.
"Ahhh," it tweeted recently. "The warm weather, when everyone has their windows open and the birds are twHOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!"
And another: "Oh! @thefrdc you have an event today? I’ll Just park here. And Idle."
Even the Tin Soldier (@SgtMajorSoldier) by the River Market is online. He's a man of few words but can be quite clever.
"Bunch of kids dancing up a storm on the boardwalk. Or maybe last night's storm danced up a bunch of kids? Either way I'm a better dancer."
"When your truck is about to stall," the bridge said recently, "make sure you come say hello. You can park riggggggght in the middle. That's the best spot."
(UPDATE: Turns out there's a properly spelled @PattulloBridge too, but the misspelled one is more irreverent)
And of course there are the two "urban chickens" that share an account, @NOODLEandGIBLET. Sapperton residents Ross and Jen Arbo's chickens apparently love taking selfies and the occasional video, often showing off their egg of the day.
Some call Twitter a big waste of time.
But the New West folks, as in the offline world, are always up for a good chat and a laugh.
• Chris Bryan (@chrismbryan) is editor of the NewsLeader.