Morphing Smaller and experiencing many changes

It’s weird, but my thoughts, dreams and interests are shrinking, narrowing, even disappearing in a few instances. It could just be age; could come from living OTG, or it could just be the times they are so madly a-changing.  Bottom line: I am also changing.

Where once I was interested in everything everywhere, I am now interested in little except learning stuff, ‘my’ people and what is around me out here. Ravens and whales, cod and oysters, logs roaming freely and good ol’ Sal.  Lately, it has even included mushroom cultivation, fer Gawd’s sake!  In effect, I have been more dislodged from my head and forced to live and think more in the moment.  It was a slow progression.  And it has taken awhile.

Readers might think that I may be forgetting about all the goofy-politics I write about but really? Believe it or not, this is a severely reduced level of my previous interest in politics by at least 75%. Trump, of course, is so outrageous that I am still interested in him (sociologically and psychologically) but more for the incredible level of madness and dysfunction he creates in the world rather than any one political policy…..and, anyway, I have studiously avoided the T-word for some time now.  He’s bad for my ‘chi’.  

I am not really interested in prices, making a buck or ‘getting ahead’ at all either (get ahead of what?).  I am not interested in fashion or trendy things. I have almost stopped dreaming about boats (keyword: almost).  I have even felt the waning of my previously strong wanderlust. Travel is no longer a strong draw (mind you, January and February weather is still a very strong repellent so the end result might look much the same).

Living OTG has really changed me.  I do less but still feel busy…..well, busy enough anyway.  I think more and yet worry less.  I love Sal more and more but also see fewer others and don’t miss ’em as much (a bit) except for Leo and Eli, my grandkids.  And I personally hate routine just naturally but I am in a very nice routine now and it is surprisingly good.  Seriously, I am different.

I’d like to think it has changed me for the better but that’s a subjective call and I, personally, do not think the differences, while significant to me, makes this new Dave better or worse than the previous Dave. Just different.  Mind you, Sal is getting more and more reluctant to take me out in public so that suggests something…..

Sal may have an opinion on all this, too, but I am not gonna ask and invite that cat out of the bag.  I have not changed so much as to become stupid!

I still get my dander up over government stupidity, my own inadequacies and the direction in which we are headed as a planet but all those are issues way too large for me to address effectively, especially my own inadequacies (Sal’s on it, tho, still working for change).  It just may be time for me to ride the horse in the direction in which it is going.  Go with the flow, kinda-thing.   Resistance is futile.  However,  this current horse is deaf, dumb and blind and headed for an exterminating cliff-plunge so I am glad I am not fully committed to passively being on it’s back with the rest of the hoi polloi.  Or so laid back that rigor mortis is the next inevitable stage of modern-living sloth.  I do not want to go easily, ya know?  I am keeping some resiliency in reserve – just in case.  First step (for me) in resiliency was to go OTG.  Second step was to learn like hell.  I am still at stage two.

Probably the biggest change is my point of view.  I have always looked outwards (mirrors are always a nasty surprise for guys like me).  I always lived in the future.  I always had goals I was pursuing.  ‘Here’ and ‘now’ always needed improving.  But, these days, here and now is pretty damn good most of the time – if not all the time.

I might, just maybe, be content…..?

My window of ambition is, obviously, a function of energy, time and opportunity all of which are now greatly reduced to ‘low’, ‘short’ and ‘few’ respectively.  Thus, my ambitions are lower, too.  I now look forward to mostly dinner, scotch and a cheap B movie where all the cars blow up.

No!  That does not mean I have one-foot-in-the-grave but it has led to me having more feet in the garden.  So, that is a notable step in the direction of becoming loam and composting, I suppose.  I am standing on the banks of the River Styx.  It’s a slippery slope, gardening is……next thing you know, you are really into the  soil…..six feet under.

Our poor leaders are sooooo incompetent…..

Apologies, dear readers. This blog is a bit bleak. I do not want it to be but, well, I write what I see and this is what I see. But, but, but…it is NOT as bleak as it sounds. There IS an answer! It may NOT be the one we all want but, in the fullness of time, there is always an answer and I can see one looming……, here goes.….(continuing from the title)

….but that is not news, not really….c’mon. Incompetence is the norm in politics (except in authoritarian regimes). Dysfunctional is likely the prevailing theme in all modern politics – especially democracies – and, of course, is especially manifest in all those we elect who do not really see their role as working to benefit the people. Their role is to support their party, big business, friends and cronies and, of course, to get re-elected. Put another way: Democracy is an ideal that has never been reached and is currently more corrupted than ever.

I honestly cannot recall a single selfless, honourable, decent politician in my lifetime and I am no spring chicken. Well, there was Emery Barnes back in the day.…….Old EB was a very good and decent egg who worked for the people but he was pretty much marginalized by the party (NDP) and, because of that, largely ineffective. I suspect that the good ones of our more recent era are ignored, too. Mind you, we have a local politician in our area for the Regional District who is quite exceptional – a really great frog in a way-too-small-pond. I suspect that many who are tarred (by the likes of me) with the incompetent brush were/are good people, uncorrupted and sincere but also excluded from the back rooms where the REAL decisions are made.

For example: I like Elizabeth May but, of course, she was never part of the ‘IN’ crowd and never would be. She was a Greenie. And then there are the NEW Greens – currently AWOL from environmental concerns when they are most needed – who have opted for ‘other priorities’ than their name would suggest and, for the time being, are basically done as a party. They are beyond incompetent, they are suicidal. Total nincompoops. Very sad.

But, let’s be fair for a minute. Could anyone be a good leader under our current conditions? John Horgan, battling throat cancer, has been in charge during the ongoing Covid years, the two worst wildfire seasons of all time and now the worst flooding since 1948. He’s got the plague of fentanyl, the all-but-unstoppable inflow of ‘dirty money’ from China being laundered, a veritable museum of fat and decadent institutions and, of course, a rapidly decaying society in an industrially altered environment. A legislature of Einsteins couldn’t deal with all that.

Trudeau needs no similar description even if the result is the same. Justin is basically just an elite removed from reality and simply gliding through his sense of the universe unfolding as it should.

And Biden is playing out typically American. The US is becoming even more selfish in more and more ways (hard to believe) and two of the three amigos no longer get even neighbourly consideration.

And then there is the worldwide looming climate Armageddon and a UN of countries that keep dropping that ball……

We do not have a leader for any of that. We do not even have a leader for any of that in our country or province. IRONY…….the biggest leader on the biggest threat is little Greta Thunberg!

I may be exaggerating a little but, at a cursory level, that is what it looks and feels like to me. Inadequacy, incompetence and evil rules the planet and the challenges continue to go unmet. There are no leaders.

Racism, political correct-necrosis, corruption, greed and a pantheon of ugliness abets and supports that omnipresent bleakness every day according to the news. The challenges we all face are now daunting if not impossible. They seem to be headed for the decidedly impossible – the point of no return.

Woe is me! …..but there is some good news!

The good news is that all the old, rotten bastards will soon die off. Even if they are NOT rotten and corrupt, they will die off if they are old enough. We all get old and then we die. Nature’s turnover and possible renewal. Composting on a larger scale. The good, the bad and the ugly all die eventually. Keep a happy thought.

The flaw in that universally natural solution is our legally created ZOMBIE-creeps or, as they are more commonly known as, corporations. Corporations don’t die. We can kill ’em but they wouldn’t die naturally from old age. In that sense, they are immortal. Like the church but now better funded and diversified, they go on and on while the people who started them are long past. That zombie-ism perpetuates the problems we created longer than Nature would but it does seem as if Nature is trying to catch up.

That is also true for all institutions and all legally created structures. The Red Cross, the Community Chest, The UN….the list is endless….’lifeless creatures’ conceived in love and lofty ideals eventually exist well beyond their ‘natural time’ and live primarily for their own sake even when the goals that their founders originally set have been achieved (or lost). It is an exceptional organization that truly renews it’s purpose every now and then. Most just get hoary, moribund and self-serving. And the status quo slowly petrifies.

And that just might be the diagnosis for our larger, all encompassing first-world way of doing things. Governments, institutions, corporations – all unsustainably self serving and getting longer-in-the-tooth, and heading for petrification. We may really be overdue for a cleansing, purifying, idealizing revolution of some kind.

An apocalyptical end-of-days scenario seems a bit extreme but it is pretty clear that the ‘old ways’ are not working very well anymore and may, in fact, be so rotten that renovation and patchwork is no longer an option. We may have to rebuild.

The problem with that (and, trust me, I know) a new build is less work than a renovation but there is more down-time ‘without’ as you start anew. A rebuild or new build starts with a tear down. Then there is clean-up and then we go to building the basic new foundations. Building usually ends well but costs a lot in money, comfort and time. A build is hard.

In fact, a new build is so hard and so expensive and so time consuming most people ‘put it off’. And the old building/constructs eventually gets passed on to the youth and they, maybe, have the energy….maybe not. And so the whole thing repeats and slowly rots until a fire or an earthquake or a drunk driving a big truck takes it all down. In other words, there is plenty of precedent that procrastination and catastrophe are the real leaders in the modern world. We can’t seem to lead ourselves out of dead-end alleyway so we need Mother Nature to start the process by destroying everything we are clinging to……TEOTWAWKI.

Problems? Or opportunities?

The little boat engine is now running but rough. Really rough. Plus, of course, it will not idle. And so off comes the carb for the umpteenth time. Into the sonic cleanser. Lots of buzzing. Sometime in the future this little Suzi outboard is gonna run and life will enter another era…the post Suzi-dunking era (PSDE – a close cousin to PTSD).

We will never get to a post Sally dunking era ’cause Sal goes in the chuck more often than the Canadian Forces Submarine division.

Here’s a lesson learned……there is a fuse in the system that I had no idea about. It had popped. Thus the loss of spark. Jus’ sayin’….

Anyway, it is a typical day in the neighbourhood. Light rain. Spurts of sunshine. Sal has to go up YET AGAIN to clear the water intake. Maybe tomorrow. This has been the most demanding intake maintenance year by far. A dozen or so times already. She’ll get wet again, of course. It’s all fun.

I have rekindled my interest in mushrooms and, this time, I have learned more. In fact, I have to start by dropping a few alder/birch trees so as to ‘season’ them for Shiitake implants in the early spring. And I have to get wood pellets and spawn and misters and all sorts of crap which is hard for me… see, I walk through little patches of ‘shrooms all over the damn place ’round this neck o’ the woods. All the time. Lots of different kinds. Some of them have to be safe to eat. Mind you, if I am wrong, I might enter the post David era and that would cramp my style considerably.

Almost every mushroom I have ever picked and brought home to the library, I could not identify by the pictures in the book. And the ones I thought I got close on, turned out to be the extra poisonous ones. So, current events and common sense suggests that Mother Nature is fighting back on all fronts and only a fool would roll the dice with her today. I am pretty sure she is really, really ticked with us as a species. I will start by growing my own ‘shrooms.

Speaking of the species……the three dumb Bubbas who killed the student jogger for running-while-black were convicted by a motly-white jury of murder in Georgia. Minimum sentence is life-in-prison. Seems as if the right thing was done…kinda….I mean, I am in no mood to defend the neighbourhood Klan but the story has the father and son McMichael doing the chasing and shooting and a neighbour followed up and took video footage. It just seems a smidge over the top that the third guy goes up for life……jus’ sayin’…

(PS – edit update). Umh…what seeeeeeeemed like the right decision was not, after all, the right decision regarding the Georgia State legal system. Mr. Ahmaud Arbery (the victim) was shot and killed in February. The Ga district attorney BURIED the crime and did not pursue it until the video was released in May. That means that, if you scratch a Bubba state, you will still find a Bubba world in which the law is perverted and corrupted. That means that the verdict may have been right but it was correct IN SPITE of the system.

I guess I am losing patience with the Bubba crowd and the Trumpists (not that I ever had any). I am just kinda fed up seeing that clown’s face all the time. And that includes all the dumb faces of all the Bubbas of which there seems an endless supply. How did mass stupidity become a celebrity? But what about poor Wim and the European hoi polloi? Those folks are getting a double dose – more Covid AND more Covid restrictions complete with restriction protests! It’s like the slow unraveling of sanity being played out everywhere and every day right before our eyes.

On the plus side, the Swift Fox has made a comeback from assumed extinction. That’s good. Problem: they chose southern Alberta in which to debut their return. Dumb fox will likely go extinct again.

In closing……BC burnt in the summer and flooded in the late Fall. Towns razed and highways washed out. Prior to and during that hellish time, we indulged the Covid pandemic and it appears we will continue to do so. Now even the deer carry Covid! Already disrupted supply chains and weak and ineffectual governments prevaricate but prevail as inflation rises. And a number of Conservative MPs lied to remain unvaccinated. The cost of living is going up while the chances of living are going down. Bubbas and Conservatives still make the front page every day in one stupid way or another and division and separation are spreading like another virus.

And the stock market is gangbusters.

Problems? Or opportunities?

Into Every Ocean a Little Outboard Must Fall…..

I have the best partner in the world but that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t happen…..even regularly scheduled ones. ‘Cause they do.

When we lived in the city, I would stop every month to pick up a box of a dozen crystal wine glasses to supplement the always diminishing inventory in our cupboard. Living with Sal is a delight, a lot of fun…not unlike a Greek wedding, if you get my drift. Every day and evening, something crashed. She just drops things.

The other day we were hauling her admittedly heavy (100 pounds) Suzuki outboard up on the highline (like a kid’s zipline). It needed some servicing and it hadn’t been running for some time. She maneuvered her little boat into place, unbolted the motor and she sat down beside it. It just sat there safely on the transom awaiting me to lower the pulling line that rode on the fixed highline. Attached to the pulling line was the chainhoist. One would simply attach the hoist, haul the motor up off the back of the boat and I would take care of the rest. But before the pull line had finished lowering the hoist and with my back turned, I heard a splash and then more than just a few expletives. I turned to see the outboard lying on the bottom of the sea (shallow – about three or four feet under the boat).

Sal first looked around for help but there wasn’t any. I was 150 feet up the steep hill operating the winch. She cursed some more and then jumped in. Chest high. But then she bent at the waist so that she then had her face just breaking the surface of the water. With a Herculean grunt, she grabbed the outboard and lifted it on to a shallow rock. It was still wet but some of it was out. She grabbed the end of the chainhoist, connected it to the motor and hauled it up in the air. I winched it up. The motor, on the verge of being ruined, drained spitting and leaking as it came up the hill. Sal followed spitting, leaking and ruining the English language.

When the two of them were at the top, there stood Sal clad in shades of black and grey and soaking wet beside her similar hued black and grey outboard both showing the effects of an extremely recent complete immersion. Two drowned rats.

I got the motor over to the shop while Sal squidged and slopped her spongy self to the house to change. Then we did what we could to save the motor – drained all the water out. Dried everything off. Drained, flushed and changed the contaminated oil from the sump, dried the electrics (hair dryer) and drained the carb. Then I had to remove the starter motor but, of course, nothing is that simple. First you remove the top flywheel/pull-start assembly so that starter motor bolts are accessible and, of course, you have to first remove the carb, too….same reason.

Within a few hours, we had the motor dry, fluids changed and the big stuff largely disassembled. The cylinders had also been oiled (with some varsol first, new oil after) and the plugs removed so that the pistons could be pulled up and down to spit out what they might have drunk. By then it was dark.

A new motor is $4000 to $5,000. This could be a total loss. No matter what I did, I could not get electricity into the motor. Strong battery, cleaned, dried and well attached wires directly from the battery to the starter and it clicked over – a good sign for the starter (one of the more vulnerable parts) but, as soon as the starter was mounted onto the motor, nothing. It was as if the juice just disappeared. There may be a black box somewhere. I am gonna be on YouTube for a while.

“What happened down there?”

“Nothing! I swear. It just fell in. I did nothing. Honest.”

“So, you are saying that a 100 plus pound motor sitting on the transom and hooked on by it’s motor clamp just upped itself four inches and jumped in?”

“Well, I don’t know. But it must have. I just know I didn’t drop it.”

“Inanimate objects are not, generally speaking, suicidal. Right? And you do know how gravity works, right? I am pretty sure you know all-too-well how denial works. Now you just may have to learn how rowing works.”

“I hate you.”

PS. This is not an unusual dialogue for us. We’ve been together for over 50 years. We have gone through thousands of crystal glasses, and maybe millions of assorted other ‘fragiles’ no longer with us. This is simply the price paid for living with an angel suffering from Tourettes and Carpal Tunnel. I am a saint!

Rittenhouse in America (see postscript)

Writing about the Kyle Rittenhouse case is silly. The law is one element, the circumstance is another and, of course, the facts presented are more complex than what the average reader knows. Second guessing trials is basically disrespecting the entire process. Kangaroos make poor judges.

That doesn’t stop me from adding something, tho. And, NO, it is not a rant about ‘Merican gun culture, nor a plea for a young man of limited capacity being driven to the protest zone by his own mother! It isn’t even a blog about this case illustrating the great divide in US society (along the lines of pro and anti-vaxxers, races, Red and Blue state politics and Trump-types vs the rest of us). Nope. NOT any of that. Well, maybe ALL of that. And more.

This blog is about the parts that they are NOT writing about, NOT publicly looking at, NOT addressing and that is the incredible dereliction of duty as manifested by the Kenosha police department, the perverse parenting values of a so-called mother, the bizarre but inadequate support of his ‘fellow militia-troops’ and the stark differences in how dumb, underage, white gun-carriers are treated compared to unarmed black men. This blog is about the social madness deep and prevalent in that increasingly crazy society called ‘Merica.

The scene: There is a protest. Fires burning. Shadowy figures running around causing domestic fuss in the night. Kyle Rittenhouse (17) shows up with an assault rifle and over 30 rounds of ammunition. His cap is on backwards, of course. He approaches the very large and ridiculously over equipped police assemblage standing by a block or two away. Underage and armed, he chats up the cops. They ask him nothing, they inquire about nothing, they do not identify him. They sit in their large, armoured vehicles drinking coffee and eating donuts while the protest rages on. Seventeen-year-old Kyle wades into the protest zone.

Overhead, an FBI chopper shoots infrared film. There is no other police presence save for the chopper and armoured vehicles and such a safe distance away. Rittenhouse has an altercation, kills two people and wounds a third. After that incident he is seen by the crowd as an ‘active shooter’ and they chase him. He runs back to the police. They did not come to him. They were sitting in their donut vans. He ran to them.

So, Rittenhouse is a young simpleton caught up in some kind of quasi-militia society, armed and literally driven to the ‘battle ground’ by his own mother, no less! He parades and preens around the local police before his incident. They do nothing. Two other militia-types are loosely accompanying Kyle but they are not really together. One said, “He (Rittenhouse) was underequipped and under-experienced.”

Just to make my point regarding the police: the protest that night was about the previous (4 months prior) Kenosha police shooting of a 27 year old black man by the name of Jacob Blake. He was shot seven times in the back. He is now paralyzed. No charges were laid against the police. Blake was charged with resisting arrest!

So, who is on trial here? Really? Obviously Rittenhouse is on trial but he has a great defense: “Your honour, I identify as a policeman and self identification is real now. I was armed but that is an American’s right. The police, sir, knew I was there and encouraged my presence. I did not hide my gun. In fact, sir, my mother drove me there. I had parental permission. I was accompanied by two Wisconsin militia and they supported me as did my brother-in-law who bought me the gun ’cause I was underage. My defense, sir, is simply this: is this not the American way? Have I not been raised and encouraged to do this? Have I not been supported by friends, family and police officers?

I would definitely convict if I was the judge. (Judge Kanga Roo) Firstly, I would convict the mother for parental neglect, child-abuse, failure to provide….etc. Then I would convict the two militia dickheads for being at large, armed and stupid, aiding and abetting a juvenile to commit a crime and generally promoting camo-idiocy detrimental to the public good. Then I would convict as many Kenosha police for dereliction of duty before and after the incident as I could. I would charge them with misappropriation of public funds (armoured vehicles are not for dunkin’ donuts). I’d definitely revisit the Blake shooting. And I’d fire the chief.

Then I’d convict Rittenhouse. (Sentence him, actually. The jury decides on conviction). If the jury rendered a heavy judgment based on the charges, I’d give a sentence on the less severe side of the ledger. He is a young fool badly parented and led in all the wrong directions. If they came back with one or more of the lighter charges, I would give something longer than just a light sentence. If they come back with a verdict: ‘innocent’ of all charges, I’d demand a retrial. (Yes, even if I was the presiding judge.)

But mostly, if I had the power, I would convict the society at large of gross moral neglect, promoting stupidity, violence and a toxic gun mentality. The USA has gone off the rails completely and that shows up in this instance but, even worse, they are not looking at this case that way. They are only looking at Rittenhouse. These fools think the main crime was Rittenhouse shooting other idiots. The real main crime is ‘Merican values and a rotten police culture.

Ignoring all that is willful blindness and societal neglect to the point of gross dysfunction. And that dysfunction is still growing.

PS: I am not so sure it really changes anything but, in the interest of being as factually honest as my biases will allow, it has been recently revealed that the reports of Kyle’s mother DRIVING him to the protest were wrong. She did NOT drive him to the protest. She encouraged him and supported him but she DID NOT drive him there.


I am a major Greenie, liberal-conservative socialist (who lives off the grid). Or, better put: non-partisan in every way. No party says what I want to hear, no party does what I want them to do and all the parties seem to stumble and fail. Worse for me, I do not trust them. And that is even true for MY own levels of government – it is even worse when trying to relate to foreign governments. So, being in relationship to my ‘system’ or our ‘institutions’ is very difficult for me. Relationship to say, Russia, China or even the bloody US of A is impossible.

Modern 1st world relationships are now mostly just built on shallow, superficial, transactional communications anyway. We message, we e-transfer cash, we order on Amazon, we work-from-home, we give our help through charities! In the old days, relationships were built on shared community tasks, mutual suffering and hardships (like war, famine and natural disasters). It included the influence of family connections, neighbourhoods and regions, religion, occupation and culture but those bonding influences have waned considerably in the last few decades. We don’t have that anymore.

With Covid, we do not even have the option! In-person verbal/written communication has moved away from proximity and the nuances of body language and facial expressions so basic to human intimacy and trust building. If we don’t at the very least have dialogue/conversation/proximity/involvement, we cannot have any kind of meaningful relationship. And, for touchy-feely folks like me, conversation by email, phone and ZOOM fail to make the grade.

And it is getting worse. Zuckerberg and his ilk are leading the push to AI (artificial intelligence). Call centres (a major spoke in the Consumer wheel) defy almost all the communication basics with culture, region, nation, language and commonalities abandoned for ‘canned’ questions and answers. And (a personal aside) I cannot stand FAQs and Chatlines either.

In many ways, it is all illustrated succinctly by modern surveys. The questions asked often have no relevance to the answers the participant wants to give. We fit our opinions on a sliding scale of one to five based on chosen ‘issue’ that is incidental or irrelevant to our real concerns. It is almost as if we designed these surveys to confuse and mislead rather than enhance information exchange. I obviously don’t trust surveys either.

Politicians nowadays know this instinctively and have evolved a form of communication that says nothing and means nothing. They can’t risk real communication because, as elitists, they have no common bonds with the people. No relationship. When they speak, they do not communicate.

Thank God Trump was basically a horrible person, communicator, speaker, writer but he has the instincts and skills of a good con-man. He stayed close to his base. He schmoozed ’em. He kept a human toe in the pool with his rallies. He communicated with skillfully rehearsed body language and buzz-words, slogans and a visceral appeal to those who exist at primarily a visceral level. He was and is a Machiavellian populist. Trump is a populist pig but he could oink and wallow when needed. The pigs understood what he was saying…… They enjoyed his company. But he did that for the con, not relationship. He has no real relationships.

So, where does all that leave us? Well, we have clearly abandoned the ‘getting-to-know-you’ part of relationship these days…..and we have eliminated the ‘need-to-trust-you’ in relationship with e-transfer and Pay-Pal and lawyers. We have, instead, embraced “I-want-your-money” as a sufficient common denominator but it is NOT relationship. It is not community. And I fear that it is so ‘not-strengthening-society’ and that our common-ness is being eroded more and more. We are losing community, society and humanity as we keep going down this road to ‘economic efficiency’. Basically, we are quickly losing touch with one another and the society we built.

Probably nothing says that more clearly than Facebook. There is a medium that requires no personal, intimate, sincere relationship whatsoever and yet it has largely replaced many levels of relationship except for those who work or live closely with one another. You no longer need to know your neighbour – they are on your Facebook page. That’s good enough.

The point: we may have, as a species, shot ourselves in the foot. At a point in history when humanity is facing the largest existential threat ever (the 6th Extinction is the name given), we can’t communicate. We are NOT in relationship. There is little trust and lots of polarization. We do not have a plan. We do not have leaders. And we are running out of time.

“Dave, why say that? What good does it do?”

I dunno…..just a thought, I guess. But, if there is anything to what I just said, then this is the message: get off of Facebook and Twitter as a form of communication. Get off social media as a means of acquiring information (OK, ‘cept for me, of course!). Use cash more. Drop chit-chat and introduce REAL talk that emotes, feels and strives for understanding, empathy and intimacy. But, given the timing, this might be the time to also up the output of ‘real’ messages to your politicians and eliminate any dissembling in your own life. We just no longer have time for BS and ignorance.

Drama or just life-as-we-know-it? And, is there a difference?

Thirty years ago I experienced a full-blown gallbladder attack. It was pretty bad. So, I went to the local hospital and they said they’d schedule me in for immediate surgery. I declined, “Unh, I would prefer to keep my organs, ya know?”

The ER doc replied, “You won’t feel that way at 2:00 in the morning.”

At 2:00 a.m. the pain was so intense, I cancelled the ambulance Sal called because I was sure I’d be dead within minutes. I lay prostrate before the great Porcelain God and passed out. But instead of my passing really out (dead), I only passed the stone and fully recuperated. Mind you, it felt like I had experienced a hot spear stuck in my chest for the better part of six hours prior to that. All in, from start to finish, my first encounter with Gall stones was something like 8, maybe 10 hours.

Last week I got some kind of chest pain/inflammation and that, coupled with inexplicably intense bursts of pain, made me think about Shingles! Don’t ask why…that was my first thought. The next few thoughts got impressively bleaker. But, after a few days of increasing discomfort, I realized that I was experiencing yet another gall bladder attack. And every day the pain got worse. By last Saturday night, I was not surprised when the hot spear feeling returned…with a vengeance. I called the local doctor.

Long story short: a ton of heavy drugs (with a large handful of Oxycodone before midnight and Morphine injected at 3:00 am) and I ‘rode out the worst of the storm’. But this time I did not pass the stone…..probably just dislodged it back into the bladder…..only to have it likely rise again another day.

You do not want to eat anything at a time like that. And that has been going on now for almost four days. I drink only mint tea. Sal gave me the shots (and two other injected muscle relaxants as well). On the superficial face of it, it was kinda macho, true grit, OTG stuff.

“OOooohh…I could never live way out there without a hospital nearby or something…”

But here’s the surprise: my local doctor said that common initial therapy has the patient infused with pain killers and relaxants for a period of time (72 hours max) and this often results in the stone passing of it’s own accord. If the stone does NOT pass, they go in and take out the gallbladder.

In other words; if you had a gall bladder attack in the city they would ‘process you’ the exact same way as I was. The only difference is that my stone eventually subsided and I stayed home the whole time. You would be first going to see a doctor and waiting patiently in the waiting room, then going to the hospital, then you would have waited patiently in the hospital emergency room forever and then you’d be on some gurney for a few hours and then they would have sent you home or, in 10% of the cases, to the surgery.

I dunno…I’ve been down both roads now on gallbladders and this way strikes me as the more sane.

I do not feel good enough yet to feel ‘pleased’ about whatever the outcome might eventually be and I still have to go for scans and ultrasounds and crap but medicine OTG is not a great deal harder or worse than in the city*. And that is NOT the way we think about it, is it?

* I think it is actually better because our local doctor knows us all personally and acts in a manner logical and consistent with the circumstances and constraints we are all under. And he never wanders off during an examination. During those same days, we had the ‘big storm’ and even tho I would go anyway if I had to, he was aware that traveling in a storm using small boat and logging roads would be uncomfortable. He simply transferred the hospital treatments to me and Sal. The ‘drug deal’ took place half-way from his house to Sal in the middle of the forest just before dark. It helps that Sal worked in a hospital for decades. That kind of relationship is HUGE!!!!

The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation is a recent term used to describe the somewhat* surprising overall reluctance of ‘people’ to go back to work. Economists are trying to figure it out. Why is there a labour shortage all of a sudden? (* it is not surprising to me)

A lot of surmising and guessing have postulated a few theories such as ‘Covid burnout’, too generous unemployment/pandemic benefits and the like. But those are short term influences. I think it is a bit deeper in the bone than that. I think there has been a measurable perspective or paradigm shift and a catalyzing moment that rocked the status quo thinking.

In other words, there are a lot of pressures out there and they have, over time, created a mountain of ennui and despair amongst the vast majority of people. Then we hit a tipping point for that slag-heap resulting in lack of commitment to the system, to work, to the establishment, institutions and especially government. We have collectively maybe* lost the faith? (*as you know, I have definitely lost faith in the system – it is unsustainable at the very least)

The buildup of this fuel-for-depression has been ongoing since maybe the 1950’s? And maybe Vietnam was the first match thrown….? You know? The hippy anti-establishment movement that eventually petered out? Anti-materialism that morphed to ‘greed is good’?

Oddly, I think Trump (corrupt, lying, rich pig succeeding) was the first match lit that caught fire in this era, Covid was like oxygen on the flame and the immense, aging, hoary, rotten ‘system’ is the fuel source. Those three elements combined with the steadily encroaching climate threat, emergence of China as an enemy and, oddly, the simple aging of the baby boomers and we now have the perfect storm. A perfect storm of confusion, antipathy and fear?

No one wants to venture outside anymore. And, if we do, we want to venture really far and by ourselves outside into nature and not go to the office or the shopping mall.

The Great Resignation may just be the Great Awakening……?

I have had a good work ethic, eventually morphing into a typical work ethic and finally I achieved a GET OUT ethic. I have been a good worker bee, drone and I still do stuff. I write and carry heavy things for instance. Build sheds. But I checked out of the establishment mentally and spiritually 20-something years ago and physically 18 years ago. And I had been suspicious of the system for a long time. I like to contribute to my community and friends but I’d prefer to do it on my own terms and, fortunately, being well paid for it is not important. I work out of interest not acquisition.

But I bring all that up (about me) because I did not want to ‘go to work again’ and my financial situation did not determine my decisions. I simply and quietly resigned (easy to do if you work for yourself). I quit the rat race. But, oddly, I also experienced an awakening, an epiphany, a paradigm shift. I learned to love nature. I now love the forest and the sea way more than anything societal. I do not need a bigger TV or a newer car. I do not like restaurants or canned entertainment. I don’t like anything about the city. I have changed.

The point is: I changed early but I think it is the same kind of change that the Great Resignees are feeling today. I think the Great Resignation is the Great Awakening and, even tho we will still have to work to consume, the rat race will be slower, the merry-go-round much easier to get on and off of and the ladder of success will become a step-stool.

Well, let me re-phrase that: those lifestyle choices will be chosen and forced on us if we are going to survive.

Endemic Fear or adjusting to the crazy….the new normal?

When a pandemic or epidemic does not go away, it is referred to as ‘endemic’.  ‘Commonly present’. And that means; ‘This is the new normal’Do not be afraid, we are just gonna have to live like this for a long time.  Covid, the gift that keeps on giving. 

It is pouring down today.  Really wet.  We got togged up like the Franklin Expedition and started the trek up to the village centre for our annual Flu shot.  There is no centre and there is no village but we have a community building and that fills the role of downtown for us.  Sal and I slogged 500 yards to the boat, pumped it out, got the motor running and headed up coast in the ‘declared’ storm (it was miserable but it was NOT a storm to us). 

When we got there the community dock was kinda full.  I squiggled our boat into a small space and we tied up.  Other outer Island residents were arriving and departing. The public health nurses were keeping warm and busy up in the Bunkhouse (a few hundred more yards up hill) and a small crowd stayed waiting socially distanced just outside in the rain while the needles were given.  We wore masks.  A busy day in November. 

Eventually Sal and I got in to the day-clinic.  We de-layered.  Hat, gloves, rain jacket, vest, shirt….down to the t-shirt.  After the usual Care-card rigmarole, ‘in-line’ socializing and the odd side joke with the nurses, we were done.  We had also taken fuel up to the car, put it in, started it and ran it a few hundred yards up and down the road just to keep the cobwebs out of it.   Then, we trudged down to the boat, a few more chit-chats with the comers-and-goers and then into the boat and we headed home.  It was still coming down buckets. 

Two hours after we started, we were home making tea.  Sal laughed out loud…….   “I was just thinking how lucky we are and how convenient all that was given that we all live off the grid!  We even got a Tetanus booster.”

“Why is that funny?”  

“Well, it took us two hours even tho I admit that we kind of dawdled a bit.  We schlepped about a mile or so over rough terrain and then we ran about four more miles by small boat.  We did a bit of car maintenance, socialized in a downpour and waited about twenty minutes for procedure and protocols to pay out before being jabbed.  We did it all during a gale warning although it was actually pretty calm by our standards.  By the time we were done, I was thinking how convenient that was and then I recalled the same procedure when I was working in town.  This way was two hours of hiking in bad weather including sea-travel by small boat, the city procedure was maybe 15 minutes down the hallway and yet, for some reason, it all feels so much more convenient out here. Hard to explain.”

Basically, Sal was describing the new normal for us.  OTG normal.  We schlep and slog around to do just about anything.  I carried the 25 pound gas can down to the boat and then up the hill to the car and that was likely the lightest load I have carried in a long time.  Before we left, Sal had climbed down to the lagoon to tie up an errant log.  Something as simple as ‘going to the nurse for a shot’ was pretty good exercise.  THAT is our normal. 

We have adjusted well over the past 18 years to our OTG normal and I can see the same kind of subtle ‘adjustment’ we are now making for COVID.  We are still adjusting but we have more than adjusted somewhat to the Covid pandemic. 

I asked the nurse: “Do I really need to get a Tetanus shot?  I am not an antivaxxer but I am an anti-puncturist.  It does seem as if I have been jabbed a lot lately…ya know?”

“Well, sir, do you work outside a lot?  Do you use sharp tools?  Are some of your tools and materials rusty at all?”  And she said all that to me with a straight face.

I laughed and adjusted my attitude.  “OK.  Hit me”.

Is that the way we all die…….quietly adjusting to the warm bath as the heat is incrementally raised until we boil away like the proverbial frog?   Am I just adjusting to everything and yet everything is really out to get us?  Is that nurse to be trusted?  Did the Chinese make that Flu vaccine?  Sheesh.      


The day starts right: all misty and grey……oooohh.……and Sal comes out in the morning, “Did you clump around in the closet just now?”

“No. Been sittin’ here. Why?”

“I heard something big moving around in the closet!”

“Well, open the door and check…..”

“Are you CRAZY!!! What if it is a bear?”

“Fine! I’ll check.” And, I get up and open the closet that has only one access – from inside our bedroom. I wanna see the bear that can hide in the closet but who also sneaked past us in the night to do so. And I open the door.

“See anything?”

“Nothing………bit of bear scat is all…..”

And so our scary day has begun. I have never been a big fan of All Hallowed Eve or Halloween. Not even when I was a kid. Too many stale handfuls of popcorn and bare apples! And some of them reputedly had razor blades in ’em! And too much of that cheap orange triangle candy that tasted like wax. In my neighbourhoods (‘hoods), the kids Trick or Treated alone or in packs o’kids but parents were not all backed up in the dark on the sidewalk. It was just kids. The scariest thing for us was the bigger kids all backed up in the dark behind us waiting to steal the good candy.

I only began to like Hallowe’en when I could give out the candy. The little ones were adorable and usually more than a bit confused about the whole thing. They were the only sensible ones.

Every year some parent or teen set themselves, their dog or their neighbourhood on fire in some creative way. In the latter days, it was by way of cheap off-shore fireworks. I think that is when the Chinese government realized they could wage war on another country by strategically using cheap exports.

Kids do not trick or treat much living OTG. Too far between houses. Too wet between islands. Too many really big kids dressed as bears. It must seem like a veritable wild place to a new kid. “I ain’t going out there! Are you mad!”

But this year, we have so many new parents and kids (at least another four this year) that a small group is going to ‘inner-circle’ trick or treat around a small cluster of full-on family houses. And then they will all gather later at the old misty ‘Blockhouse’ remote and deep in the forest. The blockhouse is surrounded by a small orchard. If there is mist, I wouldn’t go. WAY TOO SCARY! One of the island cougars lives near there. And I mean the feline variety.

“Maybe we should venture out to the blockhouse this year. It would be fun to scare the little kids. More fun to scare the parents.”

“How would we do that?”

“Still got our old full-bear costumes?”