Home Sweet Home

I tend to romanticize living OTG.  I know that.  If I forgot the truth of it, I was definitely reminded of it coming home this time.  It is now Monday as I write this blog.  We arrived Comox after a very long 3-legged flight that had us arrive at 11:00 pm on Wednesday night.  That’s right, it has taken me that long to have a chance at blogging.  OMG!

We were picked up by a friend at the airport who, surprisingly, wanted to drink scotch that night.  And so we did.  Very nice that night.  But (not-so-much) the next day….so, in the snow, we headed over to Costco for the thrice yearly $1,000.00 stock up, then up to Campbell River for the $200.00 top off (so that NOTHING except a couple of Higgs Boson particles could get into the old Pathfinder) and we beat our way over to the community dock.  Another friend was there to drive Sal to get our boat but he insisted on being the ferry (thank God) and we were over to Home Sweet Freezer and unloading in the frigid temperatures before dark.  Which is OK…..everyone in Canada is living in freezing temperatures.

But so was the house!  Sal started the stove at around 5:00 pm Thursday night and the house hit 68F virtually 24 hours later.  We cranked that wood-gobbling puppy up and it took a whole day to get the place warm!  The house was 39F when we arrived!

That, however is just colour…fun stuff….the real stuff is the water system.  Properly drained it should be fine.  I missed a spot.  The valve cracked.  The water fled the scene.  The scene was the large cistern.  When we got home, it was empty.  But, but, but, I am only partly stupid (or so I thought) and so we switched over the pipe to the emergency cistern.  It is smaller but it would serve – I thought.  So, we got the system working…kind of….seems something was wonky in the pump (even tho it pumps) and the switch will no longer switch off…….. and so….after a bit we noticed things were NOT so good…went out and found another leak and we had lost half the emergency cistern in the meantime…..not good.  Full-on stupid rating now.

Today..we are down to about 300 gallons.  That will get us ten days or maybe two weeks….no pump….except by hand….

Getting the water from the creek flowing is priority #1.  Kinda.  My boat has to get launched from being up on the hard.  Problem: the tide is not high enough except at 5:00 in the am.  Which is about -8C.  And dark.  I am not launching the boat standing on slippery rock surfaces in the dark and in the cold only to die in some new fangled way.  The weather has to warm up and I am happy to wait a week until high tide shifts to 7:30 am.

In the meantime, we have no boat save Sal’s little skateboard.  And I avoid that as much as I can.  Oh yeah…forgot…when you refill the pipes, you have to warm them with heat tape and so I got out the genset and pulled a few times.  Didn’t start.  So, I pulled a few more.  The rope-pull snapped off.  And so I took that apart and put on a new rope.

And, oh yeah…Sal’s boat wouldn’t start at first but we knew that coming home (and told a friend who knows more than we do who came over and fixed it all while we were away except for a couple of needed parts) and so we picked up the parts to fix it in town.  Used the serial numbers and everything.  The supply house screwed up and gave us the wrong parts.  A phone call and the right parts came by float plane on Friday.  In the meantime, Great Scott and I (mostly him. I just cracked jokes) re-used the old parts and tried and tried and tried to get it going and…..at the last moment before we admitted defeat, it started up!

Litany of woes?  Nah.  Just part of the adventure……mind you, it is very nice to be home, warm and writing about it rather than actually fussing with it.  Tomorrow, we start on other things…getting the water flowing would be a good start.

Leaving Arizona

It was good.  The weather was, anyway.  Very nice.  It was actually bloody ‘mawvelous, dahling’ when you consider what most of the continent went through these past two months- still are.  Still, I am pleased to be heading home.  But first, a few more observations:

Our American neighbours, the ones around me in southern Phoenix, seem to have it a lot better than we Canucks.  Economically speaking.  Gasoline is $2.30 a US gallon but, if you have a ‘club key’ or XXX card or a ‘swipe’n go thingy you can get as much as 20 cents off that per gallon price.  That means that a swipe ‘n go member down the street fills up for $2.10 a gallon on a good day.  Mind you, their gallons are approximately 20% less than is our Imperial gallon (and 4 liters is 1.05 imperial gallons) so one could use 2.10 plus 40 plus to get about $2.50 a Canadian gallon for gasoline.  BUT!!!  Our dollar is also worth less by about 30% so it would take another 80 cents to get the equivalent or $3.30 give or take a few cents.  As gas prices sat when we left, we were paying damn close to $5.40 cents per four liters and so – doing all the math (roughly) means a straight-up comparison between Canadian car drivers and American car drivers means we pay $2.10 a gallon more.  40+% more for the same thing. 

‘Our’ neighbourhood

But who cares, eh?  It’s only money.  Let us look, instead, at housing.  A brand new 2200 sft home in a stunning sub-division, NOT packed in tight, and enjoying numerous parks and several community centres with pools and all the amenities you could imagine costs the American maybe $250,000.  They enjoy 30 year fixed term mortgages and similar if not slightly higher interest rates but with virtually no money down deals.  I worked it out.  Twenty percent down ($50K) and the monthly payments were just over $600/mo.  NOT quite true…..the ‘gated community’ fees were $127.00 for everything….and so say, with any and all bells and whistles I don’t know…say about…$750.00 a month for a fancy new home (Can$1000).  That payment is tax-deductible, by the way.

Lots of open space and sports facilities

Average income in this here neck of the woods (cactus): US$85,000.

Play areas such as these are every few blocks

I won’t bore you with the price of produce or groceries or even scotch which was $17.00 for 1.75 liters or half what it is at home.  Like the wine..sometimes less than half.  Do not even ASK about cell phone costs!  Doesn’t matter how you cut it, living in Arizona is about half the cost of living in say, Victoria or Nanaimo and maybe a third of the cost of living in Vancouver.

But – you knew that.  Most people know that. And yet, we prefer Canada.  Right?  Why do we?  Why do we prefer paying twice as much for everything and sometimes more?  Why do we prefer harsher weather?  Why do we prefer less free time, less rules and even much less ‘disposable income’?

Why do we prefer our trans Canada highway to have two or four lanes instead of 16 or more?

Surely it is NOT because we believe our government is any less corrupt than theirs?  Surely it is not because we like our ‘way of life’ more than theirs – they are pretty similar except, perhaps, their MAGA contingent is larger.

I don’t know the answer for most people.  I know the answer for me.  Oddly, I prefer cooler, wetter and wilder environments WITH ocean but, of course, that doesn’t apply to most people who live in cities. I know I feel safer in Canada but that makes very little sense….I do feel safer but there is no real statistical difference.  It’s just me.  I like the basic Canuck…..but, then again, I like the basic ‘Merican….they’re mostly pretty OK, too.

I really do not have a good answer for you on this…..but I will repeat: I AM HAPPY TO BE GOING HOME!

Apologies….this is a poll of sorts…

When I wrote about living OTG and telling stories and all, readership was good.  It tapered a bit downwards over the previous year or so (2017/2018) but, to be fair, I wrote more and more politically and philosophically.  That stuff does not appeal like ravens, whales or even sex, boobs, guns and bullets.  And most people like pictures.  I really do not do enough pictures.  My bad.’

‘Ya want readers?’  Open with a picture of a buxom lass in a torn, wet t-shirt holding a gun and with a lifted truck in the background.

But I want readers, not mouth-breathers, (not because I don’t like mouth-breatherssome of my best friends…..) because I really like feedback, comments, a bit of give-and-take.  Don’t forget: I live remote. I like to socialize a bit. My blog is my chat-line.

Lately, I have noticed that anti-Trump rants are being somewhat well-received.  So is a good piece on economics and/or some other political, social phenomena or trend.  The response is NOT like before the Russians stole my previous blog (pre-2017).  But good enough.  Good fun.  Good feedback.

The OTG stuff now gets poorer numbers.  Unless I write about Sal doing something heroic.  THAT usually goes over well.  

That is all on me, of course.  Fer sure (it is my blog, after all) and I have shifted the main topics quite a bit these past two years.  The purely OTG audience has left for better OTG blogs.  I get that.  I am NOT entirely OK with it because I see all topics as relevant to all of us but I get it.  People have to make choices where they spend their time.  I just don’t like losing people…..

So?  The ‘poll’ part…….?

If you are willing, please list your top three topics of interest. And put it in the comments.  NO!  We all know a scantily clad lass is number one (for the guys) out there*. So list #2, #3 and #4 if you will.  Please.  Even if you don’t normally comment, listing three words won’t kill ya…..Philosophy?  Politics?Economics?  OTG?  Anecdotes?  Zombies? Trump?  Money?  OTG Villages?  Sally heroics?

The really interesting change for me has been the new ‘commentators’ this recent last few months.

NB *Sal added (for the guys out there) so that there was no misunderstanding….as if?  I mean….who doesn’t like scantily clad, gun-toting, truck-driving gals?  

 

 

Frankenworld

Another ‘fun-blog’ conceptual stretch……..

……..we have created a monster.  Worse, we created one from bits and pieces.  We have patched, altered, legislated, regulated and otherwise tampered with society for a long time trying to make it work better….and we have been somewhat successful in some areas (IT’S ALIVE!) but, overall, we have failed – just like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.

Income inequality, chronic ills from lifestyle and pollution, environmental degradation, failed states and all the other ills and evils that one might use to measure real success indicate that we could have done better.  A lot better.  Maybe it is time to recognize that and acknowledge that the ‘system’, as it is, is broken.  The global culture, as it is, isn’t working.  Capitalism kinda works but not for all and it is killing the planet in the process.  We need to change.

The real ‘revelation’ here for me is that the question of change will never be answered by the sick system perpetuating it.  Even the greenest of Greens won’t turn anything around.  The corporations won’t.  The institutions are in the very business of maintaining the status quo.  The police enforce it.  There is simply no force out there that would change the basic system and it is the basic system that is causing the problem.

Think about this (fantasy scenario#1): China and Russia declare WAR on the USA (or vice versa) and all hell breaks loose.  Eventually some radioactive winners crawl out from their blackened bunkers, rally the remnants of their armies and RULE THE WORLD.  Oh, goody. What is the first thing they will do?  Extort from other survivors and maybe, eventually, start up a new ‘way of life’ that is polluting, craven, greedy and elitist.  And chapter ten in the never-ending human story begins……

We have to change this trajectory.  And it seems we have to start pretty soon….if the climate is a factor – which it is….

Here are a few sacred cows that may have to be slaughtered before BIG change can happen.  Peaceful protest doesn’t work. We may have to employ strategic violence.  Big government doesn’t work for the people.  We may have to start smaller societies and organize only locally.  Money kinda works but any entity controlling money undermines it’s neutrality as a simple medium of exchange.  We may have to revert to a simpler money/barter system where the financial institutions are no more. And on and on and on….

“Hah!  Dave!  You must be mad.  Keep adding to that list and you will be carted away and I will help them tie you up, you poor, demented fool.”    

I understand.  I will shut up.  I was just having a mental stretch.  Don’t pay me any attention.  I am sure we will fix what ails us by doing more of the same stuff, keeping the same values, following the same leadership models and ignoring the planet on which it all takes place.  I mean, maybe the banks and governments are just not trying hard enough….?  Maybe the corporations will start working for all the people instead of just their shareholders?  Maybe the politicians are honest and the second Coming of Christ  will soon fix it all……

In the meantime, just for fun (conceptually) think about how you could extricate yourself from your own ‘grid’ and rebuild a lifestyle around something more healthy for you, your family and your neighbours.  Just have a fun little mental exercise while you are commuting to work, paying taxes and buying crap at Walmart….you know…..in your ‘downtime’?

“Oh, Man!  Is this your idea of a sales pitch?  You still marketing living OTG?”

No, actually.  This blog comes at that issue entirely from a different perspective.  I occasionally read other writers and I am about to embark on another Mark Boyle book (Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi).  The first chapter prompted this blog.  Stephen Hren reviewed the book:

Mark Boyle has penned an incendiary fulmination against the aggression of consumer capitalism. In this provocative polemic, he calls us all to account for our lack of violent resistance to the ravages occurring on every corner of the globe to feed our most trifling wants. Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is solidly written in easygoing prose, and on a fundamental level forces the reader to dig deep into the bowels of their consciousness to question how we can let such slaughter occur in our name.

His main point of contention is what he perceives as a commitment to nonviolence by the vast majority who espouse preserving the environment. Boyle finds this nonviolence to actually play into the hands of those who are the most rapine, as its toothlessness provides almost no brake to the incessant wanton destruction, while allowing cover in the form of greenwashing to carry on business as usual. If for nothing else, the book is worth reading to force us to confront a most profound philosophical question: At what point does stopping the destruction of the earth, upon which all life depends, become self-defense and hence justify violent resistance against the forces that are destroying it?

Me, too!?

This blog dances along a dicey path that my wife thinks is off-base.  She thinks I am trying too hard to draw a parallel between two entirely different topics. Usually I take her word for it because I am limited to about 750 words and that, in itself, limits accurate communication.  She is also eminently sensible and I am NOT always.  Still, I am going to post it and see how it flies…please read it as a blog making a statement about the new-world of allegations rather than anything else. 

                       _____________________________________________  

Apropos of very little lately written, I must point out that in the Me, Too movement currently, an allegation of misconduct by a woman is deemed sufficient to convict the man. Our Prime Minister has said as much (‘we must believe them’). He was not alone – almost all the M2 movement is based on believing all sexual allegations made by women without questioning.

Now the following is a bit of stretch and I am not accusing JW-R of doing this or purposefully using the Me, Too mindset. I am, however, saying that the Me, Too mindset is at play here anyway.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I think so.  My wife thinks not.  

To wit: JW-R alleged by her actions and subsequent strategic silence that she, too, had been Me, Too’d (politically) and she expects that we will all believe her. (And most of us do to some extent). Butts likely thought so as well, so he jumped. “Why wait for the facts? The allegation is out there. I’m done!”

The truth could very well be that Butts or the PM talked about SNC-L to W-R and they may have had some heated words and, possibly, they did NOT put any REAL provable pressure on her…

……BUT, BUT, BUT she definitely ‘heard’ it that way. She heard directly or in nuance and tone and, as a result of that hearing, ‘did NOT feel comfortable’. And then, like when a movie producer chooses another actress for the lead, she KNEW when she was demoted that she had been ‘propositioned’ and subsequently punished. And she reacted by resigning her portfolio.

Now, when a woman claims a Me, Too experience, I tend to agree with her simply because I know men often make the first move clumsily (often many times) and they are not always the best communicators – plus testosterone is a powerful force in nature. So, the initial proposal can sometimes be ‘seen and heard’ in a way that wasn’t really intended. (Certainly NOT enough to be called assault or harassment as much as it seems to be these days (‘course, as a male, I am blind to this…..so that is part of the weakness in this blog)).

And, of course, all men are pigs at times so they are sometimes guilty as alleged.  NB:  NOT ALWAYS.  But sometimes. In addition: to distinguish between something normal but not welcome is entirely in the hands and head of the recipient of that attention. The proof of that is in the classic, “He made me feel uncomfortable”.

Now, Me, Too is generally applied to ‘proposals’ or worse of sexual intimacy. If Jane receives the proposal well, a pleasant encounter may occur.  No story to be written.  If Jane does not find the proposal attractive, she seems to have the power to allege being made to feel uncomfortable and the fellow has to lose his career and reputation. And, of course, hundreds of degrees of human interaction in between can and does occur.

Yes, I know I am painting a worst case scenario above but there have been more than a few miscarriages of justice in the NEW RULEBOOK FOR MEN as written by Me,Too. And, hugely ironically, one of the males-in-the-movement is our own self-professed feminist, Justin Trudeau. He supports allegations as being sufficient to convict – when a woman says them against a man.

So, how might that work in another realm?  Politics, perhaps…..?

Enter Jody W-R. This recent case is NOT sexual in nature but it is still unsubstantiated allegations having the same effect – a man resigns. Another is in deep political trouble. Careers are derailed. Reputations ruined. The world goes nuts. AND THE REAL IRONY here is that JW-R didn’t actually say a word (officially). She merely acted as if she had been propositioned and then later made to feel uncomfortable (by her demotion).

The allegation is in the implications.

To be clear: I am NOT accusing JW-R of doing this on purpose to Gerald or Justin. In fact, I am sure she didn’t. Nor am I saying the ‘boys’ are innocent of the allegation. Maybe they are guilty.  But the weird ‘mood’ we have created around female allegations has certainly exacerbated the very normal and common, ‘He said – she said’ dynamic of life. This time at the political level.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to beat any detail of the actual Jody/Justin/Gerald situation to death except to point out the newly altered weird and unholy power of unproven allegations.  In fact, with this president, Fox, the internet, trolls, twitter and all social media, we are seeing a revolution of sorts.  Lies, spin, deflection, rumours, gossip, tweets, allegations (and the list goes on) have ascended in the minds of people to the point that not only are they confused and left unknowing on most everything, they are also losing trust in the Rules of Evidence, due process, institutional trust and the role of the media.

Jus’ sayin’….

Kicking Butts, Taking Names

Gerald Butts resigned today and, make no mistake, it was staged.  Trudeau did not throw Gerald under the bus.  Gerald leaped.  But you need not worry about GB.  He will do fine operating the puppet show from the darker shadows of a back room somewhere – but still within blue-tooth range – because Justin can’t think straight (if he can think at all).  This resignation was a ‘show’.

And he did it to take the heat for the AG Jody debacle.  Somebody had to and it couldn’t be another women – i.e. Katie Telford.  Bad optics.

Jody Wilson-Raybould TRULY resigned and she did it for reasons mostly political but I may have to concede some principle may have also been involved.  Her unchecked ambition and ego plays a large part but so does her otherwise strong moral character.  We’ll know soon enough.  She wants to be the leader of the party.  I do not think she can wrest that away from the pretty boy.  A lot of big Libs put him there.  So, we’ll see how that plays out.

I mention all this because I do not think Gerald (aka Severus Snape) is truly evil.  His resignation letter, I think, says it – he worked for the good of all Canadians.  The problem is that Gerald’s sense of what is good for all Canadians is entirely derived from his own egocentric constructs.  He thinks he KNOWS what is best for all Canadians and the PMOs office has operated from that ‘mindset’ since Trudeau has been in.  They are simply smarter and holier than us and went about ruling that way.

Gerry may be smart.  He may be good.  He may even be doing God’s work but he sure as hell didn’t listen to Canadians.  Gerry and Justin are both silver-spooned Easteners who are steeped in privilege and elitism.  And one of them is extra stupid.  And that showed from the get-go.  They did NOT listen and they came from EGO.  One of them is smart, the other an airhead. The marriage was doomed.  It was a natural conflict of substance and vacuum.  They were bound to trip up.

Where does it all go from here?  I imagine the puppet strings will still be pulled and the captain will stay at the ‘stage-lit’ wheelhouse (shirtless, of course) guessing at where he is…..and I suppose that JW-R will continue to be a burr under the PMOs office.  Sheer will go nuts, set his hair on fire and make another stupid racist, sexist, corporate-based statement.  And Singh will continue to dissolve into a puddle.  It will be steady as she goes but, but, but…

No Butts to kick around anymore.

 

Concept/Proposal…please critique

Before opining on this, please first imagine that you ‘want’ a cabin or a place to relocate off the grid….you can be old or young but probably not likely mid thirties to late forties (those folks are typically on the treadmill and running as fast as they can).

If you are old, you are thinking (maybe), “I would love to have a little retirement cabin somewhere…maybe move there… something small….”

But, because you are getting on (55+) you are also maybe thinking, “Oh, man, I don’t even know where to go, what to do, it likely costs a fortune, I might hate it, and who needs wood-chopping, anyway!”

If you are young, you might be thinking, “I’ll never get a foothold in this urban market.  I hate the city, anyway, it’s too expensive.  I’d love to be a hippy-back-to-the-lander but that’s just plain silly and, anyway, I have to work and can’t afford that lifestyle either.”

So, that is the dilemma facing our two groups…..and so….here’s the concept:

Offered up is a lot on the ocean.  NOT huge…..maybe 50 x 100′.  The lot will have water, sewer and a deck (that will already be built by the local community so that it is ready to be used).  Attached to the deck will be a shipping container.  The prospective buyer will pay say, $20,000 down for the ‘package’ and they also enter into a LEASE for the lot for twenty years.  Cheap payments.  Maybe $1200 a year (just enough to keep the water and sewer going).

The idea is that the container will hold your tools and your tent and camp stove and be able to provide the young/old couple a ‘foothold’ in the area.  Young people will use that ‘foothold’ as a stepping stone to buying their own property somewhere nearby but having a home-base as they slowly build that ‘permanent or retirement home’ they envision.  Alternatively, some young people might choose to build a more permanent (but small) structure and simply ‘live small’ in the waterfront village.

If someone wanted the lot and NOT the deck and container, that would adjust the price downward but there has to be some up-front commitment to ‘making something happen’ so the deck and container idea is really just a way to give people a ‘leg up’.

Yeah……there will be maybe ten or 15 such lots in the area which is say, 6 or 7 acres….the rest will be common area….

Older people might adopt a winter/summer schedule and live half-time OTG using the original ‘basic package’ as their summer home.  Maybe upgrade to a nice Yurt?  Or they may have a small, better structure built (or they build it) and they simply live OTG in the village not requiring longer tenure because they are already old.

And, of course, any variation on that basic concept will be considered.  Leases can be broken if the lessee eventually builds elsewhere.  OR extended if a couple of 55 year-olds figure on staying for more than twenty years.  All flexible.  All adjustable.  All for the purpose of building a small village as inexpensively as possible.

And there are builders on the island should you wish to ‘farm it all out’.

“Dave, why imagine this sort of thing…?”

Because we NOW have six or so acres on the waterfront and we (the community) are ‘imagining’ it’s potential use/development.  I like the idea of a small village.  Some might prefer a park or something else.  It won’t be my decision.  It will be a community one but we are all going to propose something.  I will propose this.  No idea where this is going but I thought I’d ‘float my idea’ to the outside world as well to see if it has appeal to anyone else but me.

If the idea is considered a bad one, please tell me why.  And, one last thing: don’t fret about the details….this is JUST a conceptual idea….