Well, well, wouldn’t you just KNOW it!

I am disinclined to formal religion. I think it is archaic, formulaic, unconscious and corrupt. But that’s just me. I know a lot of nice people who are religious but, well, church isn’t for me. Do not get me wrong. I have a faith. It’s just not in religion. I have a faith in God or, better put, a higher being, a spirit of sorts…..well, we’ll just let it go at that, shall we…..just a belief in something much bigger than me, ya know? The universe unfolding as it should, maybe?

My go-to statement on religion is: Religion is to God what Safeway is to food. Just a marketing arm.

But I must admit, the more I read the current news, the more Revelations and Ezekiel come to mind (never having read them, of course). Revelations is in the New Testament and Ezekiel and Zechariah are in the Old Testament and neither of them seemed relevant to me….until, well, lately. Both those Testaments posited that there would be an Apocalypse of sorts. An End of Days kind of thing. TEOTWAWKI.

The New Testament lists the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as conquest, war, famine and death, while in the Old Testament, it’s the Book of Ezekiel and Zechariah that threaten with the sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence or plague.

It still seems pretty far-fetched and typically Wrath-of-God, magical thinking kind of stuff but we are definitely feeling some kind of apprehension. Aren’t we? To be honest, if four guys on horses showed up, I’d freak out (bear in mind I live on an island). And if I had lived through the mouse and rat plague of Australia, I’d have been hysterical!

“So, what’s the point, Dave?”

One of those horsemen is pestilence. Another is War. A third is famine and the fourth is Death which seems kind of redundant to me. Wouldn’t the first three combined kill you dead? Whatever. And the devil, of course, is the Prince of Lies. Haven’t y’all noticed the ascendancy of lying lately?

I think you know where I am going with this……

Covid is being followed by Monkeypox and now, get this: Polio! Polio was eradicated in the US but it is now a clear and present danger in New York state. Seems two counties in upper New York are largely anti-vaxxers and they got hit hard by Covid and now their waste water is testing positive for Polio (tested because somebody recently became paralyzed by the disease there).

And then you got your China flexing their missiles over Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan. And Ukraine is fighting Russia and Russia is now fighting the West in every other way. And the good ol’ USA is always good for a little gunfire home and abroad.

I suppose not being able to get dried sour cherries, lemon grass, avocadoes or cauliflower does not really qualify as famine but famine is happening again in Africa and, of course, the Russian conflict closed the ‘Breadbasket’ of the world in Ukraine’s wheat. That is still hardly world famine but, with Climate Change a lot of large commercial gardens are going dry. California is literally toast. Rivers are drying up in Europe and the US. Plus the oceans are going dead. NO fish. NO avocadoes. NO mustard. NO wheat. Jus’ sayin’….

….and the biggest all-time liar in history NOT in a mental asylum was recently the president of the United states. And Alex Jones, a dissembler and racist and bully and supporter of the January 6th insurrection is worth over $300 million – all from being good at bad stuff.

Am I sayin’ anything important? No, not really. I am just sayin’ that a guy who doesn’t put much store in the bible, has maybe read 5% of it (I was much younger when I made a stab at it and the language was just too boring) and can’t accept that a bunch of scholars hundreds of years after Christ died wrote God’s word is NOW, of all times, having those weird thoughts.

I’d consider starting the Church of Dave but I fear it is too late…………………………….

Lyin’ for money

As we all know, the media is less-than-perfect. We do not believe most of what we see and hear. Some of it is really, really bad and the rest is worse. We are just not completely trusting of the news anymore. In fact, the remaining BIG news outlets, in an effort to regain some lost credibility, now run ‘fact-checking’ segments.

We do not have faith in mainstream news media and we have virtually none in the internet ‘personality’ outlets (but some are definitely entertaining). The reason we even check in with any of them is simple: where else do you go for info? And some of it is basically, generally kinda true. Probably. Check in with enough sources and you might get some kind of ‘overall’ picture. Maybe.

For example: I know there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine. I know Russia started it. I know the west has imposed sanctions on Russia and is half-supporting Ukraine. I know a lot of Ukranians had to leave the country. That much I know. After that, it gets a bit blurry.

I know extreme weather events are increasing and increasingly severe. I believe that is happening all over the world. But that is all that I really know for sure about the current state of the climate except that is changing.

And so it goes for some politics, some religion (i.e. pope visits, Dalai Lama, a rogue Islamic cleric, etc), and the economy. I say ‘some’ politics because 80% of the world is not reported on at all (I guess nothing ever happens in Mozambique, Montenegro and Mongolia). Ninety-nine percent of religious issues go unreported (which is a blessing) and, of course, the economy is a mystery at the best of times and especially so in at least 85% of the world. Our understanding of what’s up is still very, very limited and, tho I sense a renewed effort at some fact-finding, I still have much less faith in the media with very few exceptions.

Why is this? I assumed that my cynicism was the result of 74 years on the planet and having been involved in more than a normal person’s number of news stories. Every story I was intimately familiar with, the news got it wrong. After awhile, that inclination-to-error adds up. I started to have doubts on other stories based on virtually nothing…..well…there was one thing that assisted my suspicion and that was that so many stories in so many news outlets sounded so much alike.

And that is because there are only three main news aggregators or wire services that western media utilize.  Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Reuters. Basically, those three (all good, mind you) find, filter, edit, summarize and distribute NEWS from around the world to their news-distributor customers. They may be good but three is also very limiting. Only local news outlets escaped that giant wire-service filter primarily because the local fry was so small, they slipped through the larger netting.

But – and this is the point – local news was usually more factual on local stories. It has always had a bias that slanted towards the nearest big corporation or advertiser but the weather forecast was accurate, the quotes from the mayor were accurate, the local hockey game scores were right on. News on the local economy, on the other hand, was only so-so. That’s because news runs off of ad revenues and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Industry and business (Chamber of Commerce) pushed for discretion at the very least and suppression on many things (like pollution, gouging, fraud). Local news was good for local human interest, car accidents, plane crashes and police related stuff but noticeably absent from investigative stuff that involved politicians, corporations, government, institutions, and bigger social issues. The sometimes exception to that was the editorial and some special columnists (previously referred to as reporters).

But over the last thirty years or so all that has changed. Firstly, the vast majority (well over 50%) are no longer with us. They were bought up. The remaining have no reporters. There are no editorial opinions. These ‘news’ sources are now just two and three person, employee-run (owner elsewhere) weeklies that only print what is given to them and, of course, sell ads. The editorial is given to them.

Why? Well, it is cheaper that way. More money is made by simply regurgitating pap and PR. No staff required. Radio stations went that way, too (run by computers and robots). Even local television stations only hires pretty faces and simply delivers what their owner feeds them. NO reporters. Journalism is close to dead. Distrust and doubt results from that and distrust and doubt also results in a smaller audience.

News is corporate but we just aren’t buying it like we used to. Instead, we are shopping elsewhere. And the internet wannabes rushed in to fill that demand. Of course, the unqualified and unregulated knew that the audience wanted sensationalized stories, intrigue and expose’s but, not having the resources to do that, they just made crap up. That became so successful a model, Fox rose to the top of the heap and gave rise to second tier liars and fabricators (OAN, Epoch Times). They, in turn, grew a single-guy-with-camera-and-mike junior farm team complete with fake news desks just waiting for their big break. We now had a gutted ‘legitimate’ media supplemented by a cheaper-to-run, more profitable, lying media that is a succeeding rival and a growing group of opinionators like me just adding to the noise.

And it is does NOT stop there. How do the liars and the weakened legitimates get non wire service content? Seems they get that ‘content’ from PR firms issuing press releases. A press release is cheap (free), well-written and, of course, 100% favourable to the client issuing it. Corporate interests now owned the media and the content. Worse, the legitimate news providers also publish and broadcast PR originated pieces! Your ‘news’ is the corporate message ‘merchandised’ to suit your tastes.

There are now thousands and thousands of new PR firms. They are filling the role of the old, hard-drinking, street-crawling, investigative reporters of yesteryear whose stories too often cost too much, ended in dead-ends and caused lawsuits. So much better business using an ‘attributable’ source that gives up the content for free AND buys ads.

The only cost to your news business is that they lie.

PLEASE NOTE There are a few notable independent news gatherers at all levels from the NY Times (big) to the Tyee (small). And some little farm-team wannabes that have a truth conduit in some narrower field (Heather Cox-Richardson, Beau of the Fifth Column). These outlets mentioned are the exception but the exception includes many more unmentioned. One has to select.

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.