I’m adequate……

…..or so said one of Sal’s women-friends last year when she said goodbye to us both after staying with us for a few days (90% of the time sitting on the couch drinking coffee and yapping until it was time for wine and dinner). “Thank you, Sally. You were wonderful and (turning to me)….well, David, you were…..well….adequate.”

In the moment, it seemed a smidge ungracious but well, over time, I am forced to agree with her. In fact, when it specifically comes to f’glassing, I am barely even misandry-level adequate. Sub adequate in f’glassing I most assuredly am but, perhaps, a bit extra good when it comes to cooking steak (or so said another of Sal’s woman friends who also later came to stay mostly on the couch with coffee and then wine while she awaited her cooked-to-order steak dinner). So, it all may balance out to be a generalist’s adequacy. Or, in the eyes of the hard-put-upon fairer sex, barely tolerable male inadequacy. Our bar is set pretty low these days (whew!).

My excuse? That’s right! I am a generalist! I try to be able to do everything somewhat adequately well altho, admittedly, the desire to do any of it GREAT is just not there anymore. Adequate is just fine now that I think about it. And so I describe my new roof-in-the-making for the new boat………

It is adequate. Mission accomplished! It will do the job for as long as I navigate this mortal coil. I think it is good. It is almost complete in it’s components but it has yet to be fitted-in-place and, when that happens, we’ll know just how adequate I was.

The thing about boat building/altering/repairing (for me) is that nothing is square, everything is ‘formed’, it has to be strong and sea-worthy and, hopefully, adequately pleasing to the eye. But none of that can be done in situ down at the dock (no power there and all my tools are 200 yards uphill away). Plus I am a wood butcher who seems to do everything for the first time. A boat roof is a daunting challenge.

This roof is only 36 sft or 3 sq meters? I ‘sandwiched’ and glued doorskins to get the curve. I salvaged old wood to make the frame. I used galvanized plumbing tubes for supports. And then I f’glassed the roof once the shape was formed. I later sanded and filled for a bit until I thought, “Well, that should be adequate.”

Next in the progression is painting. I will put on one coat and then sand. Then I will put on the second coat and, no matter what, call it adequate. Adequate is a standard to which I am becoming more than comfortable. Whatever possessed me to try to do better?

Speaking of comfort, I currently do not have any. Nor does anyone else out here. It is 91F at our place today. It was 91F yesterday. 33C! That is hot! Some neighbours inland ‘up the hill’ hit over 100+ yesterday. They are pushing past that today! Mind you, the silver lining is that any f’glass work has definitely kicked off.

And so might I if it gets any hotter!

This is really hot for me but the pooches sport black, curly hair. A lot of tongue is showing. A lot of panting is heard. A whole lot of water is being drunk. They are still puppies (8 months old) and somewhat leery of the ocean unless coaxed. They will eventually learn. But, so far, they have not. This kind of weather is just not typical of what it has been in the past but I suspect that it is going to be more and more like this as the years go by. We, as a species, didn’t learn either.

Climate change….geez, who knew? Well, OK, there were the many reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has been screaming warnings for over 30 years (first one in 1990) but who listens to scientists these days, eh, when you can get the abbreviated (and distorted) version from FOX News? No reading, thinking or even considering real news. I wonder what Tucker (annual salary $6M) and Sean (annual salary of $25M) have to say about it all?

Anyway, I will, like millions of SE Asians, Northeastern ‘Mericans, Sou’western ‘Mericans, Europeans…well, you get the point….. just carry on carrying on and hope it passes soon. I’ll get my adequate roof on the modest boat soon and then I will no longer cook while going in it….the very definition of a mediocre man adequately adapting and quietly denying the obvious truth all at the same time.

“Theory: there is an undetected force at work out there that is confusing and overwhelming a lot of us.” (Cox)

It is a pretty sad blogger who quotes himself but I thought I’d do a third in the series of the ‘Confusion’ amongst us. This time not from a general, human basis (i.e. me), but, rather, from the perspective of economics (sans the boring details). Of course, economics is simply human behaviours as manifest in data and numbers so it is still human behaviour, but it is spoken in the language of numbers. Being confused is human, being unreconciled is economics. Basically that is the same thing to me.

It is one thing to admit to my own confusion and another thing to note that others around the world also feel that same way but hard data and accurate statistics are supposed to behave in relation to one another and give us the bottom-line facts. We are either having a bad time economically or we are not.

And we expect that the ‘truth’ we seek will show up in charts and numbers, GDP, data, stats, interest rates and all that. But this time, not only are we confused, our metrics are as well. The charts and stats do not reconcile (Krugman). So, if you are wondering why you and all you know are confused, you can take some solace in knowing the economic data is just as mixed up as we are.

A few more confusions: Covid is on the rebound. It is surging somewhat up here in the NW corner of nowhere, too. What’s it doin’ in New York, Geneva or even Moscow? No one is reporting it? No one is addressing it? We are just gonna go to the pub?

We also got ourselves some kind of Monkeypox goin’ on and, tho not rampant, it, too, is slowly increasing. Then ya got yer new Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola waiting on deck. As Andrew Nikiforuk put it: We are in the era of the Forever Virus. That may not be confusing but it is definitely disconcerting.

How ’bout them airports, eh? Can’t even find the luggage! Can’t fly on schedule. I dunno….seems kinda odd that something that worked then doesn’t work now and can’t seem to get fixed no matter what. Jus’ sayin’.

Two cops just shot another unarmed black kid to death (within 5 seconds of arriving on scene). Again. Like…number 350 or something so far this year. That may NOT be confusing since we are all getting used to it but it is very confusing that the PO-lice are still doing that sort of thing. Every day! After all this time, all those protests, all that ‘investigation’ and all that promising to do better, they are on pace for another record homicide year. Are they just stupid, or what?

Here’s something I find confusing: The US Supreme Court ruled some time back that police are not obliged to serve, protect, defend or keep safe anyone but themselves while enforcing the law. But they can and do kill unarmed civilians. So, all those women being stalked and assaulted are simply wasting their time calling the cops. Waddamysayin’...we are all just wasting our time depending on the Po-lice!

But remember: ‘do not take matters into your own hands lest they throw you in the slammer’. I dunno….I think that can get confusing….

Hmmmm…..Po-lice do not have to serve and protect, Conservation officers usually just kill the animals and lawyers are often the biggest criminals. And God knows, nurses don’t nurse, they just write in the file and go on stress leave (that has been my direct experience way too many times). And teachers may teach but the level of education in the US is beyond abysmal. That is all kind of confusing to me. Shouldn’t those folks be doing their jobs?

But all that general confusion aside for a minute…..waddabout the craziest lack-of-any-kind-of-logic to date? Trump. Four years of grifting, lying, incompetence and treason culminating in an armed insurrection and yet not one single charge has been levied. Not even one single subpoena to the Orange Moron. I know, I know, the DOJ is keeping all their cards close and tight but well, why? He was rotten from day one! They either have a humongous, Everest-sized case or they do not. Why not give us an hors d’oeuvres? Give us a taste. Prosecute him for illegal parking…whatever!

Nothing from the taxes?

One last crazy-making anecdote for ya. A male friend married a foreign woman. She lives in another country. They have been separated by Covid for over three years! This guy is wealthy. This guy is smart. This guy is healthy. This guy pays taxes in greater amounts than I have ever earned. In excess of 100’s of thousands a year!!!! Immigration keeps turning her down. Each application takes months. Each application demands information (and more taxes are getting paid). Each time, Immigration says no. They do not believe she will go back to her own country! Duh! Wives are not supposed to! This guy can and will support her forever. She is not a criminal. She is not a drain or a threat on this country. He cannot have his wife. His taxes help pay that bureaucrat’s salary. Confusing or just cruel?

Am I confused? Well, I am if I believe in logic, fairness and due uncorrupted process. But since I have not seen much of any of that for some time – anywhere, I am not as confused as I might be. You see, it is increasingly apparent the world (as I know it) is going to hell in a handbasket and, once that is accepted as a fact-in-the-making, it is no longer quite so confusing. Chaos has ensued. The end game is on. We are simply done. Game over soon. Fini!

No, I am not being negative. I am just ranting. Back to fiberglassing and dogs and whales and the Adventures of WonderSal coming soon to a blog near you.

Our last week, give or take….

Mel (our first W’fer) left about two weeks ago. She was good…helped us get started on the summer chores. Then a couple of guests for a few days. Then a few more guests-of-neighbours. Some of our close-by summer residents also arrived. Then our second W’fer came about four days ago. Bottom line: all the winter wood is in, all the last two weeks of groceries have gone out.

In the meanwhile, I did some prawning in the new boat and gathered about 25 pounds of beauties but half were given away and most of the other half are in our freezer. Firstly, two pounds of prawns are eaten already by ‘folks’ and the ‘red tide’ warning was lifted and so we have a lot fewer oysters as well. Sal also made her famous clam chowder so the clams are fewer, too. Mind you, all guests brought wine and scotch and so the larder is well, almost full. It seemed to go almost as quickly as it came, tho. People and wood come in, shellfish and wine goes out. Some scotch comes and goes. The circle of life.

I made several attempts at forming a roof for the new boat but the first two efforts were for nought. Kinda wasted some hard-got plywood. But third time is the charm (maybe) and that last effort is looking like it might work. We’ll see.

Two long blogs were written over this past week. One on economics and how all the charts and graphs are moving in irregular ways but WordPress, me, my computer, the computer Gods or maybe just Murphy erased a long and well researched post and I did not have the heart to start again. Count yourself lucky. Bottom line: the various charts and numbers are not moving in unison like they normally do. The economists are also confused. The second one was all philosophical and gooey…..I got sick of myself half-way through and quit it. Count yourself doubly lucky. That one will hopefully never surface again.

And then we had the Congressional hearings into the madness that was Trump during the last days of his malignant presidency. What a gong show! What a total farce! What a house of scumbags! I am even more stunned at how low the office, how putrid the administration, how rotten the people and how close the US came to being dismantled by a total idiot. And it makes me wonder……

This insurrection attempt, as amateurish as it was, ran pretty deep. Still is! There are a lot of players, a lot of helpers, a lot of supporters and a lot of money behind destroying the USA from the inside out. The president tried to kill the country! AND THE SECRET SERVICE erased all their emails on that day! Just how rotten is their government when General Flynn, a bunch of congress people, Fox News, Capitol police, the resident family scum, a pack of mental lawyers, quasi militia thugs, various police forces, state governors and even election officials are in on a coup!? The depth and breadth of this scurrilous plot is mind-blowing.

And the beast is STILL not dead!

(‘Scuse me….I have to count to ten….1…..2….3……4….. ……..)

Our community folk built a pavilion. It is beautiful. It is a hexagon shape with about a 25′ diameter. Heavy beams, timberframe style. Open. Very nice. I’ll send pics when it is done.

The community is a’hummin’ and things are gettin’ done, guests arriving and leaving, water taxis, planes, friends and acquaintances meeting up again…..it is all good…..almost….

It is not so good for visitors by car. BC Ferries seems to be drowning in their own mismanagement. We had two replacement ferries built (overseas, of course) and brought to BC. Our current ferry could not be gifted to a 3rd world country – it is so overdue for retirement. We greatly anticipated the swap-over from one rust bucket to two, cleaner, newer, more-frequent, safe ferries. And the ferry traffic has tripled in the last few years. They are very overdue. But, in their wisdom, BCF did not have staff ready (hired or trained) for the deployment of two ferries on our route, so they loaned one out for another route and the second one sat at the dock all alone and empty. Going nowhere. And that has been goin’ on now for months. Meanwhile the traffic is backed up the hill, around the corner and along the approach roads. Three sailing waits are now to be expected. Coming by ferry should be 15 minutes, 30 minutes max (for buying a ticket, etc). Now it can be three hours. That makes a lot of folks more than a bit angry.

But not me…not so much…’Cause I do not go anywhere. I hated the rat-race before. But I would be catatonic waiting three hours for a 15 minute run. So, I stay home. Sal has forbidden me from leaving and mingling with the public anyway. So, all in all, it is still all good…just so long as I do not have to ‘deal’ with the world anymore. Thank God for OTG.

Seems a bit odd….

….but NOW is the time for us to consider winter.

We used to leave for a month, sometimes two, in the dead of winter. That was our ‘vacation’ time. Of course, living in paradise for ten months prior was also like a vacation and so we rarely, ever, had to ‘tough it out. We were spoiled rotten.

And then along came Covid.

Mind you, we usually spent at least one winter out of four just to ‘earn’ and keep our OTG cred because, as they say out here, “You are not truly living OTG unless you spend the whole year here.”

We were bona fide OTG BEFORE Covid but after Covid, we were so bona fide we got a bit of cabin fever. Especially this last year. Sal got grouchy! 2021/22 was a relatively hard winter (for paradise) and, as it turns out, it was our third winter in a row. We are overdue for a winter vacation.

Standard operating procedure is to go somewhere sunny and cheap. Foreign culture is a definite bonus. But Mexico is a failing narco state and, anyway, we’ve been all over Mexico numerous times. Same thinking applies to the Central American countries. We still like it down there but I am disinclined to mingle with the various cartels so, Mexico and it’s neighbours are a pass. Same with good ol’ Thailand. It’s very nice but been there, done that. And no one is going to Hong Kong these days. And, anyway, Asia is a very long plane trip and I am even more disinclined to airports and the chaos that is air-travel right now. Shades of spoiled brat are surfacing…..

In theory, that leaves Arizona (we have a welcoming place there anytime) or Hawaii (may have to splurge a bit for that). But, bigot that I have now become in my latter years, I do not want to give the US any kind of support or tourist dollars (I am not a big spender but that is the way I feel). It is really hard to go to the USA without screaming at everyone. And we all know that won’t go over well….especially at airports.

Portugal sounds nice but there’s that ^%^$#@! plane ride and a possible nuclear war that may happen not far away (not far enough, anyway). It just is NOT calling me enough. Nothing is calling to me, to be frank. I yearn for none of it much anymore even though I will whine (like a spoiled brat) if I spend a fourth February in cold mist.

What to do?

Basically, this is a ‘First World Problem’ for spoiled brats. But, I am one of those and so this is all a problem for me.

I was kinda thinking I might try to find a nice house-sit gig in Victoria. It is not much sunnier and it is NOT cheaper but it has two wonderful little grandchildren to see. That’s a huge plus. I could always go to Alberta and see my daughter but, after three days of Alberta, the cartels in Mexico seem do-able. Even Arizona is almost do-able after Alberta.

Anyway, I have some time to sort it out. I will continue to ponder. India, perhaps? It is a hellishly long way to fly but I have never been, so there is that. I am keen to see Japan again but winter in Japan is not a lot better than winter in Canada and it is a lot more expensive. What we need is something like the Canary Islands or a few Caribbean Islands just off the coast of Oregon but unless the San Andreas kicks some up, that’s just a fantasy.

Catalina Island has some appeal geographically but all the reviews say that it is definitely worth only a day trip, three days at most. Plus it is the USA. And the average rent is US$800 a night. The marketing department kinda dropped the ball on Catalina.

If there is no answer, then the answer is to stay home and just chop more wood. And that seems like the inevitable future of winters for me if I do not get creative. If I am not destined to age-in-place and get ‘bushed’ every winter, I have to get creative NOW not later. If not NOW, then near-later. Sheesh.

When they say it is a small world, I really did not see it that way until now.

Changes

I wrote something like this on June 16th but the issue is still on my mind…..sorry….

The only CONSTANT in life is CHANGE (Heraclitus). And changes to living off the grid are inevitable (which is good and makes life interesting). Of course, Sal and I tend to invite and experience more change than many and some of it is uninvited but, regardless of how it happens or the frequency thereof, change happens and keeps happening – whether you want it to or not. Right now the only change we want to see is just a little stability and sameness – the one thing that rarely happens!

Please! Gimme a couple of weeks of same ‘ol, same ‘ol!

The dogs are change-agents, to be sure, but that is not surprising. Puppies grow into adult dogs and that means all sorts of canine/family/scheduling/etc changes but we can handle that. We have guests arriving all the time and they are all different but we can handle that. The house is getting on to twenty years old and that means repairs and we can almost handle that, too – even the electrical system recently glitching out on us and no clue as to the problem…… but, well, we got that sorted out (I had a short in the workshop that somehow sent a message to the solar inverter and it registered ‘FLAW’ and so I kept looking at the inverter instead of the workshop. Who knew?).

The new boat still needs attention but I enjoy that……

I think, in general, change is a major spice in life and I usually like it. As a rule. Mostly. But not all change is good. Russia invading Ukraine, inflation, climate change, drought, flooding, hurricanes, viruses, catastrophes of various kinds….not all change is good. In fact, the occurrence of change, if too rapid, can go from being spicy to being discombobulating. It is hard sometimes to keep up. Which is the real topic of today’s blog…..

My brain has always been quick-ish. I was born with a better-than-average-Intel processor chip. My daughter’s is even faster. Ooohhhh, can we process or what!? But processing is not nearly enough. Processing does not make you intelligent or even smart. Processing is simply rpms. Useless for it’s own sake. And both of us can spin past the redline a lot (and we do) but what is gained? We just get to the WRONG answer faster! Without the right information (data) we get garbage in and garbage comes out. Processing speed just isn’t enough. Ya need the right information.

And that is what I am seeing right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of garbage to process and one is still left confused. i.e. Roe v Wade reversed – Scotus is now corrupted? That was a surprise….didn’t see that coming. The Canadian government deciding that First Nations children need another $40 Billion!? What is that really about?The Conservatives shooting themselves in the foot even BEFORE they get close to being elected (they always shoot themselves in the foot and go to jail after they have had power but before...)? Trump actually being revealed for the collosal crook and con-man he is? I honestly didn’t think that would happen. The rise and fall of real estate values? (I did not see that happening when it did. I thought it would stabilize but falling is a rare occurrence) Covid coming back like a bad guest? (I am stunned to learn that Covid is still here and still just as contagious but we are carrying on as if it wasn’t?) Constant rain in May, June and July? Price spikes in so many things but not all of them? All those changes may be a bit much but I kinda feel that I used to be able to juggle all that…..

…I do not feel that way any more! It kinda feels like my inner hard-drive and my RAM is too damn full. I do not want any more information!*

A younger friend of mine often uses the term, “I just do not have the ‘bandwidth’ for that right now”. Another younger friend seemed overwhelmed by a seemingly mundane issue but I realized that that issue was really issue #93,641 for him and it was the accumulation of issues that was getting to him.

Theory: there is an undetected force at work out there that is confusing and overwhelming a lot of us. It is more than just information overload. It is more than social media. It is more than DIS/MIS information. Maybe it is just me being in my mid 70’s (a group not known for being all that ‘hip’ and ‘on the ball’ much) but it feels as if everyone I know is feeling it.

What to do about it all, Dave”? I dunno……I simply do not have the bandwidth for that right now.

*I usually read at least a dozen sources of information a day NOT counting YOU TUBE DIY instructionals. Right now, that seems like too much.

The vet thinks our pups are healthy but….

….”they are huge!” Seems Gus is projected to now top out at over 100 pounds and Daisy will be 80 to 90. That is 40 to 50 pounds of dog MORE than we anticipated at the outside, wildest, full-grown ‘advertised’ weight! Worst case was supposed to be 160 for both. At 7 months plus a week, Gus is 75 pounds, Daisy 65.

And our routine is still full-on puppy chaos starting around 6:00 in the am. Sal usually gets up with them and sits on the outside wicker chesterfield as they lick and jump on her for at least five minutes every morning. “It’s a puppy attack!” she shrieks every time. That was mildly amusing but Sal weighs under 130 and they now weigh a combined tonnage of just over 140.

They are progressing nicely despite their recessive Wooly Mammoth gene starting to show. Gus is actually swimming. And he has such thick and curly hair, he seems to float a few inches above the water like a dry log or maybe a basking Orca. He can really move. Daisy? Not so much. She’s been in. She gets wet. But water is not her thing. Not yet, anyway. She’s just not keen. The irony is that, despite being more athletic than Gus, she has fallen in about five times and, of course, she swam until she was hauled out. Gus has not fallen in at all but he still does a face plant every day in some activity – just on dry land instead of the dock or from a slippery rock. He is kind of a Goofy Gus, still-a-puppy-clumsy but his athleticism is improving.

Both dogs are slowly changing colour (that was predicted) with Gus getting a dull-brown effect on his mid-to-back end and around his muzzle. Daisy has a sexy silver thread thing going on with sprinkles of silver-white all over her back – kinda like a canine version of wearing diamonds. Very pretty.

They are eating a ton! And neither has an extra pound to spare. NOT fat at all. They are just growing! Having said that, Gus has loose skin……I do not know any other way to put it. If I grab some loose skin on his left side (say, mid-torso) and swivel it to the right, I get no real resistance until that handful has rotated over to the other side. His skin swivels over half his body girth! We really hope he doesn’t grow into it. If he does, he will weigh 150.

They are very gentle and Sal calls them ‘chill’. They do not bark much. They never get angry. They socialize fabulously with everyone and with all the local and visiting dogs save a couple they encountered on a walk a few weeks ago. Those two ‘bad’ dogs were just protecting their property and Gus and Daisy were chased right back all the way to the boat. One of the ‘baddies’ even jumped on the boat to drive the point home but that was an error in judgment. My daughter was on the boat and she is not afraid of dogs – even charging, barking ones. She moved to intercept and, in that move on a rocking boat, her head and the ‘bad dog’s’ head collided. In effect, my daughter head-butted the bad dog off the boat. Problem solved.

Gus’ head is bigger than Sally’s!

On another note, the propane fridge is flagging. Not as cold as it should be. So, we took it out and cleaned it all up and flipped it upside down a few times to ‘burp’ it and, when we put it back, it was worse! Consequently, our kitchen ceiling sooted up and cleaning it just made a mess. We needed to paint the downstairs, anyway. Sheesh.

So, Sal wanted a new fridge before this ’cause propane fridges are NOT self-defrosting. We ordered an LG 12 cu. ft unit (2 cu.ft larger than the propane one) and it is now ‘on order’. ‘On order’ means we may get it sometime in September. Maybe. An all-too-common fridge is almost 3 months away down the supply chain debacle (SCD)! I mention this only because everything, it seems, is screwed up due to the Covid/SCD. Get this: I ordered two galvanized plumbing pipes six feet long. No one had ’em in Campbell River. “We can order them in for ya but most things are taking a few weeks and that is if they are in the province!”

The SCD is manifest even when there is NO SUPPLY involved….a friend has a friend who wants to come to Canada. That effort has been stymied for closing on THREE YEARS!!! Bureaucrats in Canada are in short supply, I guess, or else they are on stress leave….whatever….. We have gone from a working economy that was annoying enough in good times to a weird, delayed, insufficient, very expensive economy in the space of those three years and there does not seem to be an end in sight.

So, my blog is primarily about dogs today. So much more pleasant than most other topics on the go (like Trump, January 6th, etc.). And I also mention the fragility of the system in matters economical. So much of the news is unpleasant. I could include the BC Ferry system, the Health system, and, of course, the airline industry…..a whole new level of schmozzle, but I’ll leave it at that. Not so interesting a blog, I suppose, but it does kinda tell you where our heads are at…..

I am having some trouble wit’ Mericans right now….

….and, I must admit, this blog is yet another rant about a basic non-issue. No one deserves that. But, whattayagonnado? I have a near-to-bursting spleen to vent and this is it.

I am having some trouble wit’ Mericans. I guess we all are. ‘Cept for the ‘Mericans themselves, of course, but 60% of them are having trouble with the other 40% (and vice versa) so the ‘Merican problem is spread deep and wide – even internationally speaking. I have avoided the topic because, well, it is all being played out front and centre and on the news everywhere so what can I possibly add? However…….

Yesterday, CNN added an element that simply blew my mind. A reporter called Klepper goes to a Trump rally in Mississippi……………

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR_BG3Ksr9c&t=98s

And, of course, you will be shocked at the insanity in that video clip. But one interview shocked me enough to write this blog entry: Two young women (late 20’s), attractive in an American kind of way, are asked about the January 6 riot and the resulting Congressional Hearings. They looked completely blank. Keppler said, “You know, the riots at the Capitol?” The ‘pretty girls’ just look confused. When asked about it, they said they had no idea what the reporter was talking about. No idea that a riot had happened and no idea what Hearings he was talking about. And yet, they were in attendance at a Trump rally.

What kind of an ignorant, ill-informed life must a person live to NOT EVEN KNOW that January 6th was an historic American/world event!? How is that even possible? January 6th has been in the news for 18 solid months!

OK, maybe you are just another air-head and you do your nails and hair and giggle all day. Fine. And, of course, you graduated from some Red state school with a degree in cheer-leading and do not have job or a desire to get one. Maybe in a beauty parlour…..and you just LUV Kim Kardashian. You are on Facebook all the time. You are a bona fide ditz and do not even know about Roe v Wade and the SCOTUS decision…..you are an American woman (Stay Away From Me! The Guess Who/Burton Cummings). And you are so stupid, the reporter’s brain hurts.

Sally said: “I hate this. It makes it sound like women are stupid!”

My response: “I am saying ‘Merican women are stupid. But, in a way, you are right. Those other interviews made all the men sound stupid, too. I am jus’ saying’ those two young women seemed stupider than I could ever imagine. And I am not changing this blog.”

There is a lot wrong with ‘Merica but nothing wronger than that! Too many ‘Mericans are too stupid for words. You cannot have a country populated with idiots lead the world in anything (well, except gun ownership, I guess).

Lest you think I am overreacting, take a listen to Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Boebert (any topic), two ELECTED congresswoman!! Or that other super-ditz, congresswoman Mary Miller, declaring the SCOTUS reversal a victory for “White Life and the second amendment”!

In sum, I am having trouble with the incredibly super-dumb and they seems to be ‘Ever-present, everywhere‘ (Van Morrison). Is this how Teotwawki happens? By way of an Idiocracy? Is this the gestation period for real Zombie-ism?

The winter firewood is almost in…..

… a few more rows to go.  In total we have a bit more than three cords.  Ten rows. Three hours to split and stack a row. We will go to four cords (12 rows) if we have the logs.  Sally and M, the one-week-stay Woofer, will finish it off as soon as I cut the remaining logs into rounds.  That chore goes much quicker with three people.  And Sal and her helper get faster as they go – they get into a rhythm. Split-stack, split-stack, split-stack. 

I’ve been using my new-ish, small Stihl 271 for the past two years and it is a good chainsaw.  Well designed.  But the best part of the Stihl line, in my opinion, is their new sharpening file.  It is really good.  It takes a lot of the guesswork and skill (that I never had) out of the equation.  A few strokes of the new file and the teeth are sharp.  The only challenge now is to get ‘er done before our backs give out.  It is gonna be close.

A Woofer is almost always a treat.  M is no exception.  She is 23, from Germany and very pleasant to have around.  We like her.  But the dogs love her!  Yesterday, I taught M how to use the dog clippers and she and Gus had a spa-session and he was content and almost fell asleep as she mowed the thick lawn that is Gus’ coat.  That guy can really grow hair!  Daisy had a go at it, too, but she remains somewhat impatient with the whole process.  As a consequence, Daisy is only ½ done and even Gus has a few bushy patches.  They look a bit lopsided. Today or the next we will finish that chore off. 

The electrics on the boat are now done.  That is good.  There is a bit more to do overall but I have to build a roof and windshield over the helm next and then put a solar panel on that roof before the last of the electrics are completed.  And lots of details still need doing.  The boat is not finished but it is completely functional right now and I returned some visitors with it yesterday.  The boat does not have two hours of use on it yet.

The garden has ‘caught up’ somewhat.  We had so much rain and cold this Spring, the garden didn’t get started until about June 1.  Now, three mostly sunny weeks later, the beds are getting full and salad produce can be harvested soon.  We are gonna be OK. 

T’is Guest Season and Sal informs me that we will have four free days near the end of the month.  “What about Mike?”  “Oh, yeah.  Make that two free days near the end of the month.” 

This has been an odd year.  Mostly bad and unusual weather.  Few whales (about 25% of the usual traffic).  Maybe one sea lion.  Only one squirrel! Even the ravens are staying away (altho the dogs kind of explain that).  The sea star/star-fish population still has not shaken off their ‘wasting’ disease and so we don’t see much of them either.  The commercial prawn guys even had a shorter season.  And tourist boat traffic is easily down 50/60%.  Only ‘Mericans moving big yachts. The fauna seem very much reduced in presence and we assume that means much reduced in numbers but we do not know.  It does seem as if this is the year that just did not quite get off the ground.  Not yet, anyway.

June 21 and it is raining again – Sal just took M back to the ferry.  We’ve had sun but we have also had record rains.  It is a very odd year – in so many ways.  Politically, economically and climate –wise, this is the year when nothing seemed quite right.  Right on the heels of two years when nothing WAS right!  And we still have pandemics to contend with, wars, shootings and all the usual ‘concerns’.  We feel somewhat shaken AND stirred. 

I confess to anticipating some ‘shaken’ times (Pre-Teotwawki) but I never quite envisioned what it would actually look like (well, except for the zombies, of course).  And I do not know if these past few years are going to be the new normal or if this last three year period was just an aberration.  One thing is for sure, our collective fragility, vulnerability and sensitivity has been revealed and we are not really ready for much more change.  So, we’ll see.  From now until 2024, it looks like the natural order of things is NOT natural, normal or predictable. 

Still, it is all naturally beautiful, the dogs are fun and Sal is keeping the world-we-call-ours in good shape. 

Stupider and stupider or is it something else?

Some recent British study concluded that most of us feel overwhelmed, sad and confused these days but it was not – so much – the evil times in which we live but rather it was the disruption to our way of cogitating. We no longer think in the same manner as our species has for centuries. We now ‘process’ differently and that difference is resulting in a fragmented collective mindset in the larger society.

Put more succinctly, we are having a harder and harder time thinking, concentrating, focusing. No one, it seems, really truly multi-tasks more than two thought processes at a time and even two is uncommon. When we claim we are multi-tasking, we are really focussing on one thing for a short time and then focusing on the next thing for a short time before going back to the first thing to see how it is doing. A chef might look like he/she is multi-tasking but, really, they are tasking only and focussing on one thing while the other dishes simmer on the stove. In other words, we are not multi-tasking so much as quick-shifting-focus. And, while that, in itself will not make a short-order cook or a juggler depressed and confused, it will do that to them if they then spend every other waking moment on their phone accessing FaceBook, Twitter and such.

Our brains are not getting enough downtime.

It seems we are being subjected to too much stimuli and just can’t get away. Some people seem to handle it but the researchers say they are anxious and unhappy. It seems some people know that is a problem in their life and attempt to reduce the stimuli but that seems to just result in a bit more ‘down-time’ gained and how do we tend to use that downtime? By accessing our phone, of course.

The ‘study’ laid it all on a bit thick, to be fair. They then bunched in all the other attention grabbers in society from street and store signage to phones, from TV and radio to living on top of one another. You are a limited human-being utilizing 20% of your brain trying to juggle so many balls all at once (some of the stimuli you are aware of but others are playing in the background like MUZAK, lights, sounds) and the result is a lessening ability to focus. Seems people cannot concentrate on any one thing for long anymore….or, better put, not for as long as those people did fifty years ago.

I recall very distinctly – about ten years ago – when I was lying in bed after waking and I just lay there thinking. Sal said, “Want tea?” I said, “No, thanks. I am just gonna lie here for awhile and think. I cannot believe I have not really had a minute these past 40 years to just stop and think…you know? Think freely. Think whatever my brain suggests. Just free-wheelin’ thinkin’. This is an incredible luxury. I am not used to it. I am just gonna lie here and think. I can hardly believe how I was thinking all the time but never for fun, never freely, always with duties, responsibilities and chores. Finally, I can just think.”

Get this: According to research, our attention span has markedly decreased in just 15 years. In 2000, it was 12 seconds. Now, 15 years later, it’s shrunk significantly to 8.25 seconds. In fact, scientists reckon we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, who are able to focus on a task or object for 9 seconds.Jan 24, 2022

And another source: “COVID led to many people experiencing cognitive overload, whereby our brains become short-circuited due to being inundated with information our brains are trying to process,” says Crystal Burwell, director of outpatient services for Newport Healthcare Atlanta.Dec 22, 2021.

None of this really news-news but, when I stopped to think (that first time while lying in bed and ‘free-wheelin’) I was stunned at how liberating, freeing and pleasant it was. And do not confuse this kind of free-thinking with sitting in your car in traffic waiting for the light to change. That AIN’T IT. I am talking about something more profound, quieter and contemplative. I am talking laid-back, nothing-pressing thinking. I do not do it quite so much anymore (I guess I rested up enough) but I still do it once every two weeks. I really think it helps keep one sane.

For those of you who struggled with the length of this blog, the 8.5 second attention span website is for you: https://www.wyzowl.com/human-attention-span/

So, imagine, if you will…..

…..that these really are the END TIMES. I do not think they are, myself, but I do think TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) may, in fact, be nigh. Not imminent so much as near-on-to-nigh…this is what tipped me off a bit…..

Question tangent: If these are the End Times, or maybe if they are just a trifling TEOTWAWKI, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, bad boy, bad boy?

I have a couple of male friends in their fifties. One is single, the other with a family. One poor and the other rich. Both intelligent. Both good eggs. No major flaws (well, they ARE male, so there is that). Both balanced and healthy. And both NOT media/trend/future watchers. They do not even follow the news. Whenever I mention something current, they inevitably say, “Oh, I didn’t know that. Who are we talking about again?” They are hip in business and smart and observant in their sphere but not ‘au courant’ or even aware of most current affairs. They do not travel internationally.

One of them even likes country music!

But are they, perhaps, canaries in this global coal mine? Both have recently made moves to fix their current points of view on all things which were, up until-now, ignored. To me, that is telling. One is up here looking for property (but he lives in a city) and the other is planning on ‘getting out’ of the city, too, but is maybe a step behind. Regardless, they are both looking outside the urban box. Don’t forget the salient fact: they are just barely in their 50’s.

Neither of these two guys have been subjected to my constant harangue (Get Out! GET OUT NOW!!) — you know, the one that you guys suffer every blog or two (I reserve the badgering for those already so inclined to hear it). Neither think in terms of ‘End of Days’ but they are now thinking of having an ‘alternative place’ whatever that means.

Neither of them reads the blog. They got there on their own.

One called the other day. The other has called almost every week for the last few months! I listened while one of them ranted about the world going to hell in a handbasket. “How long has this been going on!!??” “Well, I said, I have been ‘seeing’ what you are now talking about since the first few years of this century. I got a boost in that point of view when the 2007/08 financial debacle happened in the States. Then there is climate change, Trump, China and the rise of extremism. Then you got your Covid, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and now Monkeypox. Lots of crap goin’ on, man. Very little has happened to dissuade me from my main survival concerns but a lot of crap and chaffe have piled on to muddy my perspective. To be honest, I think it is steadily getting worse. Don’t you? You might be a bit late to the party but better late than never.”

“What do I do?” “I have no real idea. I preach getting out of the city but, to be honest, the impact of climate change will affect us all. A third world war will affect us all. Hell, inflation is already affecting us all. And Covid altered the world quite a bit already. I do not see a real cover-all-the-bases solution. Still, I do not think the city is where you want to be.”

“But, if I sell now, I might take a hit financially….and my wife loves her neighbourhood, my kids go to the school…..what about my business…?” “Good questions. Most people would have to make some hard decisions. But, you are wealthy enough. You can implement a Plan B and ride the current wave you are on for as long as civilization holds together. Plan B may be expensive but you can do it.”

“What’s Plan B again?”

And therein lies my point. Once we build an edifice of any kind, invest heavily in the game-of-the-day, buy into the mainstream, carry deeply our faith in the system, we are not only committing most if not all of our energies that way, we are blind to seeing other things. Ya hafta keep asking yourself: am I all in for this? Am I all in for THIS!?

I am not suggesting one approach is wrong and one is so much more right….who knows? But one thing is clear, these guys have had a comfort blanket around them for the last couple of decades and it is currently making them now somehow uncomfortable. That is a ‘canary’ to me. They are even wondering about a Plan B.

They are where I was back in the early 2000’s.

Interesting, don’t you think?