I blame Trump

…because I am now so disinclined to write.  About anything.  It’s all his fault.  He ruined it for me.  It sounds silly but let me explain:

I write because I have to.  It’s in me.  I have to get it out.  It’s cathartic, therapeutic and freeing to let the demons out.  To let the anger out.  “If I unburden myself, I will remain sane.  If I bottle it up, I will go insane”.  So the personal logic is clear: ‘SPILL’.

Spill for health!

But, of course, there is an obvious ‘condition’ or caveat to that stress-release mechanism and that ‘catch’ is that the rant or expression has to be true.  At least it has to be MY truth.  Why?  Because all therapies are about getting to the truth about things.  This is my truth and I am telling you like (I think) it is.  Screaming truth is the goal.  Finding the truth is the work.

But Trump has turned all that on it’s head.  He blatantly lies, threatens and commits acts of madness without any kind of normal-level retribution.  NO work involved in finding that truth but there are surprisingly NO CONSEQUENCES for him!  People are basically just TAKING IT!

But this is NOT really about Trump.  It is about me.  And, going back to my truth-seeking, it seems I am weak.  Or at least confused.  I am so gobsmacked by the lunacy, the idiocy, the corruption, the illogical and the blatant violation of all that is good and decent, I am literally struck dumb.  “How can this be?”

You can imagine what the election of Jason Kenney and Doug Ford added to the mental and moral violation I feel of all that is right.  You can imagine what Alabama’s new abortion law does.  Imagine William Barr playing hide and seek with the Mueller report.  There has been quite a sequence of insane, inexplicable events these past few years.

And Trudeau and Norman didn’t help.  Trudeau and Alberta didn’t help.  Trudeau and his mother’s one-act stage play doesn’t help either (shades of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat……).  It’s as if NOWHERE IS SANE!!!

It’s mystifying.  It’s almost as if the majority of people can’t speak up to it either.  It’s as if they are going along with it even tho they KNOW better…. as when the naked Emperor paraded around in invisible clothes and everyone pretended he was clothed.  “Why is this happening?”

Seriously…why isn’t there a gunman on a grassy knoll somewhere?  Several, in fact?

There are a lot of answers, of course.  We’ve all taken a run at trying to figure it out…“Hmmm…why are bigots and deplorables getting so much air time?”  “Why are they so angry at brown skin when the collective violation they feel was so clearly executed by white CEOs..?” “How can they see a hero in such a liar, pig and con-man?”  And on and on and on…..

So…bottom line, I am not writing while I remain confused.  I do NOT have a grasp on truth, mine or any other.  I simply do NOT get it.  Why is this happening? is the question and I do not know is currently my answer.

And, of course, it is NOT just Trump or Ford or Trudeau.  It is T-F-T in the time of Cholera or, better put, in the time of climate change, saber-rattling with China, economic chaos, growing societal degeneration and loss of natural habitat with the added and tragic loss of 80% of the earth’s animals and creatures.  We are dying in front of our own eyes and killing all the innocent bystanders at the same time!  And the band plays on while the naked king plays golf.  This is as close to a Nero fiddling and Caligula cavorting as one can imagine in the 21st Century.

This is nuts!

Ravens and whales are good.  Chores getting done.  First of the visitors looming.  Sal still perfect-in-every-way.

But I’m a bit ticked…..

 

Blowin’ in the wind

We are.  It’s howling.  Gusts past fifty.  Steady at 35 to 40.  Sky is bright, clear and the clouds up here are just scudding along.  Very cool.  I love windy days.

I was down at the beach yesterday moving boulders around (don’t ask) and I heard a gasp-puff and spun around to see a big Humpback cruising by not thirty feet away.  So close I could see the barnacles on his/her hump.  It came.  It went.  And I just stared at the empty sea……and then ‘whoosh-puff’ a second one came by right on the tail flukes of the first.  Very neat.

Sal and I are working on the lower cabin/boatshed right now but she was away on the other island so I moved boulders.  It’s a one-man job.  It would be better as a two or more person job but Sal told me that boulder moving was man’s work.  Nice to know.

Here’s something weird…..I am also installing hand rails on the steps up to the second floor.  I need ’em.  I have NEVER needed hand rails.  EVER.  But, well, never say never ’cause now, after a tiring day, I stiffen up a bit and going down stairs is not such a sure thing all the time.  I need hand rails.

NOT happy about that!

Here’s something else.  I went over to the other island the other day.  A neighbour asked me to pick up some gasoline.  Two five gallon jerry cans of premium.  It was a $1.80-something a liter.  He gave me $100.  I thought I’d have change.  I did not.  I put about 25 liters in one and maybe 23.5 liters in the other and the pump shut down at $100.00.

Ten gallons.  $100.00.  I know, I know…..“Life, Dave.  The price of things goes up.  Get used to it.”  Well, the older I get the more ‘sticker shock’ I feel over things and this one caught me wholly by surprise.  But..well, ‘what are you going to do?’

Stealing is an option, it seems.  One of our neighbours had his 5 gallon gas can stolen yesterday and the whole fuel tank went with it .  The boat was at the community dock about 25 or so kms from anywhere.  There were a couple of other boats.  The neighbours came back from town to find their boat – docked remotely – without fuel.  Without even a tank!  There is no cell service out there and so their only alternative was to drive back to town, buy a tank and a jerry can and fill them.  Then go back out the same logging road to the remote dock so that they could get home. 

Seems like petty theft for most people.  And I guess it is.  But it feels worse.  It feels as if the bastard thieves could have left enough fuel for them at least to get home.   But NOW knowing that the gas alone was almost $100.00, the fuel tank was likely $75.00,  the jerry can was at least $25.00 and the travel back and forth another $25.00 at the very least and the ‘petty’ part starts to feel more like grand theft.  

The thief likely came by water.  Which is also weird.  Boaters don’t usually do that sort of thing.  But who is going to drive down 25 plus kms of logging road on the off-chance of stealing a can of gas?  Makes no sense…UNLESS..you are already out there and decide that it is an opportunity too good to pass up…?

Anyway…we think it is a boater.  NOT from around here but still, not from very far either….all small boats on the water right now…….

Sal said, “I wish this was an open-carry province like Arizona.  I’d blow the bastards away!”  Sal is getting ornery, it seems.  Which is good.  I need railings on the stairs so being mean may now fall into the category of women’s work, don’t you think?

Coming home to a baby Octopus

Sal and I went south to see our grandson and to celebrate Sally’s mother’s 91st birthday.  It was all good.  Tiring.  Expensive.  But all good.  Our grandson is the cutest child to have ever walked the planet and – gasp – he is getting cuter every day!  It would be unbelievable if his grandmother (Sally) had not already been born with the same traits.  She, too…cuter every day!  It runs on that side of the family.

Sadly, I am the yang to her yin.  I seem to be getting uglier every day, I guess.  Mind you, I am old.  White.  Male.  And that contingent are not held in much regard at the best of times these days so I am OK adjusting to my increasing undesirability.  I still have some dregs of self esteem although, according to most women, I should not.  Still, a young female woofer was watching me rather closely last week when a group of us were working on the beach clean-up.  I could see that she was interested.  So, feeling a little frisky, I went over to chat her up.  But when she saw me approaching, she ran to a group of older women and pointed at me.  They reassured her that I was a community member and basically OK but they advised her to keep her distance, just in case.

Like I said…I am yang.  I should wear a bell.

Speaking of yang……I have a lot to say about Trump and Trudeau as you might have guessed but I will spare you.  I will only say that, maybe, to some extent, the system’s built-in checks and balances augmented by special investigations and Trump’s deteriorating brain have combined to neuter him enough and, of course, Trudeau didn’t need even that – no brain to worry about, his feet stuck firmly in his mouth all the time, his true colours showing through and his desire for the cameras have pretty much stalled Trudeaumania.  Which is good.

But Ipsos pollsters just revealed that 48% of Canadians are living within $200 of their monthly income.  They are ‘existing’ paycheque to paycheque and it’s getting worse.  One big car repair and they are insolvent and having to borrow…..having to borrow on top of already being under record debt loads.  (And, lets be honest; nothing can be repaired on a car for $200.  Those folks are fully enslaved to a system that is keeping them alive JUST to work).  

This fact has to show up….and it is.  Seems there is a minor urban exodus happening amongst Millenials who have ‘given up’ finding a place to be, live and work in the city.  They are heading OUT.  Small towns are seeing a bit of an influx.

I think that is good, too.

“So, Dave…you sayin’ all is good?  You sayin’ that you haven’t written much because you are so busy and all is right with your view of the world?”

Not quite…not THAT rosy….there are still problems I have to comment on.  BIG problems.  I know that.  But, I confess that having some sunshine, some projects that need gettin’-to and a calendar virtually half-full all the way to October already is keeping my mind off the BIG topics.  Plus – my own path in the bigger scheme of things is increasingly clear.  I am an OTG’er and I really gotta keep my head in that game.

Reading a summary of Jared Diamond’s new book helped.  His latest, UPHEAVAL – Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, is his take on the change/shift/mood/transitioning/rebellion-thing I have been musing over for the last year.  Not quite the same…but similar.  Same but different.  Jared sees big change, too.

Oh yeah…the Octopus!

……my neighbour is a fabulous grandfather.  He and his partner often host their grandchildren and, of course, no cell phones, no TV.  Fishing, hiking, climbing, fort-building and all the ‘old’ kid activities come to fill their stay and they absolutely revel in it.  They are GREAT kids doing great KIDS things.  They are 13 and 11.  It’s lovely to see.  Yesterday, when we arrived at the dock (sinking under a great load in a small boat) they were there with their new aquarium.  New to them.  Partner had picked it up at a thrift store and brought it to the cabin and a battery pump water source was employed to fill it with sea water.  Rocks and such were gathered for interior design purposes.  The glass box was two feet by two feet by one foot and it soon accommodated three prawns, a starfish with a clam firmly in it’s grasp, several small urchins, a crab and – the star of the show – a baby Octopus.  The little guy – all spread out – wouldn’t reach the edge of a dinner plate.

It was fascinating.   And the kids were busy.  And…well, I envied them.  All that fun.  All that learning.  All that natural beauty and a baby Octopus.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Yeah…I know…pictures….I didn’t take any but the kids mom did and promised to send some….

 

 

Surviving made happy

It’s kinda weird but gettin’ in the prawns, catching a Ling, getting some crabs, oysters and clams….produce from the garden……well, it’s happy-making.  It really is.  Crazier still, you get into it and look at eating other wild stuff.  Berries.  Nettles.  We have a veritable cornucopia of sea cucumbers out front right now and they have heretofore NEVER been looked at as appetizing but, well, I seem to be on a bit of a roll…….

My friend, John, and I went out prawning the other day.  Did boffo.  Gangbusters!  Got our limit and did my freezer proud in two days!  We are good for a year of somewhat regular dining on prawns (once a month plus dinner parties, appetizers and Sally Special sea-food chowder).  And the meals are generous!  Then – just today – John went out and caught two big Lings and we are the happy recipients of one of them.  All this a week or so from getting in crab from Great Scott.

As the year wears on the garden will also produce.  The neighbours will share.  And people will bring.  That’s how it’s done out here.  And we try to do the same.  But it’s not about equalizing…not about X$ worth of something to equal the same $ of the other thing.  There is no value attributed to anyone’s gifts and yet, as the saying goes, “It’s all priceless.”

Mind you, I have a veritable ‘printing press’ of ‘value’ in the kitchen.  There is very little the locals won’t offer up in the hopes of getting some of Sal’s baking with the ‘chocolate stuff’ most coveted.  Some preppers hoard guns and ammo, others fill barns with dried foods and MRE’s (meals-ready-to-eat).  Still others learn to eat worms and sleep in swamps and nonsense like that.  Us?  If it ever comes to the ‘end of days’, we’ll load up on chocolate and turn Sal loose in the kitchen.  Survival guaranteed.

This BONUS VIDEO LINK features our local airline and postmaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5yp85OYkKc&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop&persist_app=1

 

A minor thought…not to be taken too seriously

It is likely more a function of what I have been reading lately, or the watching of the hysterical series, ‘Doomsday Preppers’ (what a bunch of loons!)….or, maybe, it is just the continued aggravation with Trump/Trudeau and their points of view…maybe it is just me getting old…I dunno…but……

More and more I am beginning to think we are in the midst of the first stages of a very quiet revolution of sorts….it’s more a feeling than much else….

Clearly, Capitalism isn’t working anymore.  People ARE NOT happy with more ‘stuff’ from Walmart, bigger houses, more expense….the rat race isn’t paying off – not at the personal level.  NOT for the majority.  NOT for most people.  Even the .01%’ers are not worth envying anymore.  Who wants to live and be like Trump?

Modern consumerism just isn’t working either…..and that doesn’t bode well for the future, that’s for sure.  It not only does not make us happy, it is polluting and killing off the planet.  Consumerism is unsustainable.  Consumerism creates too much waste.

Survival of the fittest does not mean that the most aggressive and mean-spirited thrive. Ferocious predators need something gentler to eat.  The strong and the weak are co-dependent.  Survival of the fittest is a term that applies to those who endure – whether they killed others and the planet trying to get there or whether they just found a better way.  I suspect that the ‘fittest’ will be those who just found a better way than the dog-eat-dog way so promoted in this, the first and ‘modern’ world.

This, the modern world isn’t working either.  The ‘phone’ addiction, the ‘internet of things’, self-driving cars, planes that fly themselves into the ground, GMO foods, oceans of plastic.  Drug addicted citizens.  Cops shooting citizens.  This modernity-thing isn’t making us happy.  Or safe.  It may be better in many ways but fun and happiness are not much present.  In fact, most of what passes for happiness is purposeful unconsciousness.  Escapism.  It’s a form of madness to continue to pursue it as we are, actually.

I know I have said all this before in different ways but it is starting to gel for me.  I am seeing what I want to see, maybe, but I am seeing more and more resistance to the way of things.  And I am seeing the way of things come under more and more assault.

Jody Wilson-Raybould deviated a little bit…..

Sal and I never went OTG to be ‘preppers’.  We had a vague sense of the ‘system collapsing’, I guess.  A sense of pending doom but ‘way, way off in the future.’  Probably after we had passed on….something our kids and their kids might have to face.  We SHOULD do and DID do something about it for them (vote Green, build here, recycle..blah, blah, blah) but I honestly did NOT think ‘the end of the world as we know it’ (TEOTWAWKI) would come to pass in my lifetime.

Now?  I am not so sure…..

The pace of ‘doom-on-a-cracker’ is accelerating.  Canada (of all countries!) is heating up climate-wise at twice the rate of the rest of the world and our far North is heating up even faster.  I don’t care what Trump and his ilk are saying, the climate is changing.

And (prime indicator) the economy is confused.  There is not a lot of confidence being expressed in the system or the systems.

People are also increasingly agitated.  Some are revolting.  Some are fleeing.  Governments are losing their ‘control’ because the people voluntarily gave control to them but only in exchange for ‘the general good and security’ and that is currently perceived by everyone (Trumpists and anti-Trumpists) as sadly wanting.

I think we are engaged in a transition…a major contextual shift…a subtle revolution of some kind.  Something is happening here and we don’t know what it is….

….anyway…..that is partly why I haven’t been writing.  I have been pretty busy doing chores and I will write more ‘happy’ stuff soon…but…in the meantime, I am inferentially scanning (unconsciously being aware of trends, indicators, tastes, fashions, news, movements and then, after a while, consciously trying to see a pattern) and then drawing inferences, observations, weak conclusions…..

NOT to be taken too seriously.

Spring has sprung a leak and we are listing

Chores abound.  So much to do.  Sal and I made a list…some thirty items on it.  Things we must do – and SOON!  Then we got down to fixing the plumbing and making that all good.  And, it is good.  Now.  Bloody marvelous.  After a few days I looked over at Sal and she had the chore list out and was adding something…..”Adding a new chore…?”

“Kinda.  I just wrote down ‘Fix the pump and water system’ so that I could cross it off the list.  Crazy, eh?  But I like to cross things off the to-do list even if we do them and they weren’t on the list.”

“That’s insane!”

“I know.  Anyway…what’s next?” 

“Lower stairs to genset shed and a new approach deck.”

“That’s not on the list.”

“I just stepped through one of the stair treads and checked the others.  They’re all gonna go.”

“I’ll put it on the list.”

We are currently in the middle of that chore.  Sal can hardly wait to cross it off the list.

Yesterday we took a day off and went to clean up an old community building.  The local government is buying it for us (the community) and we are planning on restoring it to heritage standards.  But, in the time between it falling into disrepair and being bought was almost ten years. It was never in great shape, having been built in the 30’s.  Worse, in the last few years it was occupied as living quarters by a squatter who was deranged, unhygienic and disreputable in the extreme.  Part of the deal was the community would clean it up.  It was a horrible mess.

The building is about 25 by 40 give or take and it is sagging and leaning and is all sorts of rotten.  Plus it sits on piles.  It was ‘home’ to a genuine nutter who resided without running water, good heat, refrigeration and none of the mod cons one would need to exist out here.  But somehow he did.  For at least two years–without even taking out the garbage once.  AND he saved his used toilet paper as fire starter.  The place was rodent infested and disgusting.  About 14 or so people showed up and worked for about four hours simply to ‘bag’ all the crap and make the place clean enough to walk around.  Some of us wore paper masks to keep the Hantavirus and Ebola at bay.  NOT ON THE LIST!

But some things NOT ON THE LIST are good chores anyway.  A good neighbour gave us six good sized crabs the other day.  We cleaned them and turned a couple into crab cannelloni.  We were too busy snarfing that down to add ‘crab-cleaning’ to the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANYWAY….the point: a lot to get done and we are doing it but it seems that we are doing much more than is on our list.  So…..what is the point of the list….?

I dunno.

We’ve been busy lately….

…fixing screw-ups.  Alas.  Such is life as a pair of OTG doofus’.

I am NOT really being too hard on myself but the truth is the truth and some inadequacies manifested during our building years are coming back to haunt us.  We built to the thirty year rule and that was 15 years ago.  But, as it turns out, some of the building was inadvertently done to the 15 year rule because we were too doofusy to really KNOW how to achieve the thirty year standard at the time.  I can now see a few things done to the 20 year rule, too.  But, as Sal says, “Oh, well!”

When you build and do so under the combined pressures of inadequate skills, absence of knowledge, limited funds and a somewhat pressing issue of time (nowhere else to live), you are prone to making some errors.  That’s kinda fun, part of the adventure and, eventually it becomes the ‘education’ and hard-earned knowledge one was was seeking in the first place.  In fact, we figured we actually built this house twice already at the very least.  First you build something, realize that you made a mistake, take it apart and do it again.  Often three times.  Then, if it is functional but still not-quite-right, you move on to the next task saying such phrases as, “Oh, well.”

Or, as we learned to say from real construction guys: “No one will ever see that.  The trim will hide it.”  Or; “It’s good enough for the girls we go out with!”  

I was always amused when Sal uttered that last one.

Our latest ‘work party’ (these past two weeks) was a combination of our previous and current doofism and the nature of inanimate systems.  Our water system would not function upon our return from Arizona.  That can be a smidge aggravating because part of the malfunction caused the main (and previously full) cistern to drain away.  So we had no water either.  Well, we did.  We had the emergency cistern which was mostly full but then, in our haste to access it, let half that drain away, too.  Doofism comes in threes.

With that fixed, we realized that the creek wasn’t flowing either so the week of frozen creek did not add to our sense of well-being or personal hygiene.  It was good to get water flowing to the cisterns again.  But, lo and behold….wouldn’t you know?  The pump all-of-a-sudden wasn’t working right.  So, it had to be taken apart and fixed and so it was and yet, it STILL did not work properly.  Pressure just would not build.  Flummoxed, I started to replace various components of the system including the float valve in the toilet which, mysteriously, did NOT shut off.  And on and on and on we went with this plumbing mystery.  First this, then that, then a new one of this and then a new one of that.

I am not really the patient type.  Finally, I said, “To hell with it.  I am redesigning the entire system and buying new components.  Time to go big!”  

And so the last week was spent doing just that.  It’s all new.  If it ain’t new, it has been ‘refurbished’ and/or ‘reconfigured’.  A lot of spare parts have been accumulated (because a new part was bought and the old one was fixed).

But here’s the real news, the point of the story, the bottom line……with the exception of a lower ball valve freezing and allowing all the cistern water to drain, nothing was really done wrong.  NOT really.  Well, kinda….but not entirely because of us….here’s what happened…..

We get stream water.  Stream water has sediment.  We have a few sediment catchers.  We caught some of the sediment.  Turns out, we did not catch enough.  We had sediment in our pipes like 80 year-olds have cholesterol/plaque in their arteries.  The sediment was everywhere.  The interesting thing about this system is that, if I had cleaned it enough, it would have made the thirty year rule.  So, I screwed up but, well, in much the same way as I am likely screwing up my own arteries.  I was good.  But I was not good enough.

Plus I let the ball valve freeze.  But that was – in a way – a bit fortuitous.  The ball valve leaking and the subsequent ‘rebuild’ of the system happened when we are capable of making a ‘full recovery’.  Had it happened five or more years from now, we may have been much less able to get the job done.

Age.  Age and the thirty year rule……