Two were in their very late 60’s…..

The rest of us six, were and still are in our 70’s with one of those – the birthday boy that very evening – turning 81. A very ‘boyish’ 81, I have to add. That is 8 really old people having a dinner party. The meal was spectacular, the wine flowed freely and so did the conversation. It was all good. I think. My hearing is a bit off and I had forgotten my hearing aid so I am not totally sure. Still, one does not have to be able to hear while drinking wine and so I was doin’ just fine for most of the evening.

Two of the people are summer folk and are leaving soon. They are headed back to the big city. She’s keen to find a level sidewalk and a Starbucks. He’d prefer to be here. But his biggest thrill is going to the university library he visits frequently and we do not have much in the way of libraries out here. All our books are still in the trees.

Boyish 81 and his wife are also summer folk but they are ‘hangin’ in a bit longer this Fall. They may even try on a bit of living some part of the winter OTG. Given that ‘home’ is Ontario, winter here is considered snow-birding to them.

And that is the theme for today’s blog……snowbirding is getting harder and harder. (Is it just me or is travel overall getting harder and harder?) Of course, the hardest part of snowbirding/traveling is the cost of it and the logistics. Ya just don’t teleport to Costa Rica, ya know? If we set aside the cost (so easy to say) you are still and increasingly challenged (as you age) by the logistics of it all. Throw in a pandemic, vaxx-passports and the price of gasoline and the snowbird flocks are staying at home in droves (that HAS to be a redundancy, right?).

We did. We stayed home. A flock of two who drove nowhere! Last winter was tentatively planned as a getaway year. The previous one was the obligatory one-year-in-four we spend at home and so we were ready for a getaway. Very ready. Three years out of four, we usually go to where the sun DOES shine. But last year was Covid year one. This is Covid year two. We be stayin’ put again this winter.

I am basically OK with that but, I must admit, I do not like having my options limited. I like having choice (you know? Like in voting?). Choice makes me think I have some control in my life, silly as that may sound. But, honestly, I have very little control and I know it. Not a lot of choice either.

Firstly, I am inclined to ‘listen’ to travel advisories and they are generally always bleak. “Don’t travel to San Lopez without first getting the series of twenty four inoculations against the hundreds of deadly diseases they have there!”

Secondly, I tend to look on-line for vacation ‘deals’ and, increasingly, dirt poor countries like the fictional San Lopez seem to now rent out out mud-hut haciendas with no running water for US$250.00 a night. Globalization first means greed and unrealistic expectations – you know? The American Dream!

Thirdly, there is the gauntlet that is now the average airport. Hours of torment and hell followed by fatigue, disappointment and lost luggage. Maybe a little Montezuma? The hurdle required to get off the ground is so daunting I do not even want to attempt it anymore. Levitation is for the birds!

The countries we generally visited in the past were usually ‘poor’ in the sense that the average person there earned much less than we did. So….we went there to exploit them! (but, of course, we are ‘nice’ about it, eh?). The problem is that 1st world capitalism has been embraced by all three worlds (only three?) and so some historically poor countries now operate on a psuedo-first world basis. They charge what the market will bear and double that for tourists – triple that if they are white tourists. And their original culture is now basically just for the tourists. More and more of their genuine, real-life, very-different culture is being replaced by McDonalds, Nike and Coca Cola and, of course, cell-phone culture-madness.

It is patronizing, condescending and likely racist of me but I kinda liked the third-world countries of yesteryear that still employed beasts of burden, wore traditional garb and their economy was really just the public market place complete with live chickens and baskets of eels for sale. I was in China in the early 80’s and it was water buffaloes, mud-huts, open sewage and collective farms. People got around on tractor-pulled hay wagons. It was virtually medieval.

Today, only forty or so years later, I might be run over in China by a Tesla, a Rolls Royce or Ferrari. Or all three at the same time! And I am likely now amongst the poorest in the new giant marble and glass shopping mall they just opened…..

Travel is starting to lose it’s appeal…….

What a mess!

Turn your back for one minute and, VOILA! The workshop is a mess.

OK, I admit it. I messed it up. I had to build a new boat-roof and that means carpentry and f’glassing and sanding and painting and well, it just never ends. This is a miserable little project but I will share it with you.

I (we) drive a small runabout. It’s fine. Nice little boat. Great engine. It’s all good but, of course, small runabouts are ‘convertibles’ as a rule and, if there is any kind of shelter tacked on, you can’t see through the windshield in bad weather and so those little covers are more trouble than they are worth. Unless, of course, it is dark, freezing and the howling wind is slanting the ice-rain in your face. That usually brings a few second thoughts.

One of our neighbours dealt with the problem very nicely. She has to do a ten mile run just to get within hailing distance of another OTG’er and so her boat trip is a bit more challenging and a lot more wet than ours. We travel faster, for a shorter distance and the waters are not usually too crazy. She, on the other hand, has to navigate ‘Crazy’ Channel and, in the winter, she has had to detour around water spouts sprinkling her designated route. Little water tornadoes 20 plus feet high! Several of ’em! She has had ice forming on her boat! Her little boat is maybe 14 feet long, very low in the water and has no ‘protection’ whatsoever. No lights either.

Anyway, she wears a motorcycle helmet in the winter, complete with ‘visor’ or ski goggles. And that, she claims, is all that is needed. That and multiple layers of clothing under a top notch wet weather outfit (and a little fluffy dog stuffed in there somewhere).

I thought I’d try something else. Last year I built a little metal roof-support structure and, on the top, placed a lightweight plywood roof. Small. Two feet by 5 feet. It sits higher than normal little rooftops so that I can get in and out without hitting my head and so that I can still see over the windshield in bad weather. It was good. But, but, but…..

Good isn’t always good enough. I did not f’glass the first ‘prototype’ simply because I did not expect the first one to be perfect. And it is not. It should extend a bit further out over the windshield, be a smidge wider and, since I wanted it light, I used only ‘doorskin’ for the roof and just painted it. This time, all those deficiencies have been corrected. Within a week I will have a better roof over my head. And, of course, I’ll send a pic.

But here’s the point of the story – not that there is much of a point at all – I undertook this new project without double checking my materials. I figured to ‘cobble’ it up if I had to. But Sal went onto the neighbouring island the other day and came back with some doorskins for me. Wahoo! I was ‘on my way’. And I progressed rather quickly…….(quick is very unlike me but the workshop was clean and ordered and that really sped up the process….who knew?). I already have the roof half-made. And yesterday, I started to f’glass it.

So, who has a bunch of resin and mat and cloth and, most important, hardener for the resin on hand….just layin’ around? Turns out…I do!

Yeah. In my ‘accumulation’ of bits, parts, supplies and crappola over the years I have also added all that is needed for f’glassing. Not enough resin to do anything HUGE but I have enough cloth and mat to build a small boat! Of course, it was not readily found. Sal and I first went on a ‘hunt’ for what we ‘kinda felt’ was there somewhere. And we found several stashes of f’glass materials and enough resin to do the job. Having all the stuff was very, very satisfying.

“Dave! That is NOT a story!”

I guess not. Apologies. It is just that Dave’s hardware collection has not let me down in 18 years. I have junk. I have stuff. I have crappola. My work may suck but I can keep on going and that’s half the battle.

The other half is keeping the workshop tidy….

PS: minor dilemma……….the catalyst may have gone stale over time. I may have counted the drops per ounce of resin out wrong. It may be too cold in the workshop (altho I fired up the kerosene heater and it felt warm)….regardless…..it has been almost 20 hours and the ‘glass’ has not fully kicked off. It’s half-set but not hard-set. That is a setback. I am gonna crank up the heat and NOT work on the roof today….give ‘er a chance to set up. I hope. Please God. If the workshop is a mess now, a half-set f’glass project is a colossal mess!

PPS: There is a God! It kicked off! All is good. Well, it is still really bad workmanship but good enough for the standards I work to…..virtually none….if it stands on its own and doesn’t fall down, it is good enough!

Tabletop Maker (to be sung to the tune of Paperback Writer)

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Dave
And he needs a job
So he’s gonna be a tabletop maker…….table top maker….
Tabletop maker is a sawdust story of a sawdust man
And his brilliant wife who doesn’t understand
He had a job working for the rats
It’s was a steady job but he’d had enough of that
He wants to be a tabletop maker….
Tabletop maker

I cobbled up a table from that ‘patchwork quilt’ of wood bits yesterday. It looks good. I am no fine-carpenter but it would look ‘at home’ in any remote Siberian village or, perhaps, some inbred, poor section of Appalachia. My aesthetics are crude, my skills are lacking and my standards are a smidge low, I have to admit to all that.

On the other hand, I am now almost done with the obvious, trip-over-it projects still sprinkled willy-nilly about the place – for this year, anyway. There are no more in the workshop (save for saw-blade sharpening). I have a couple more shelves to do for the new shed. And I still have 18 lengths of logs to pull up and stack. Plus a boat roof to f’glass soon. Plus, plus, plus….but…..

Every year there are plus-plus-plus projects that do not get done. They get ‘held over’. They will be amongst the list of things to do when the weather/season improves. I have a five month reprieve before the pressure starts to build again (such as it is) and that means more like 6 months before anything actually gets done. Still, Thanksgiving is generally regarded as a seasonal shutdown date. Give or take a week, depending on the weather.

Last night we had the all-out, fantastic and traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with our older neighbours. She’s hampered by a gibbled hip and he is 81. Still, they came for dinner, enjoyed yet another Sally feast and, after the evening had carried on socially for awhile, they got ready to leave. But it was a-howlin’ outside. Black, dark, rain-a-pelting down they trudged back to the dock in full-weather gear and set out in their 17 foot boat. It was blowing maybe 25. I left the outside lights of our house on because they provide a reference point for a boater when you can barely see in the dark. We watched them disappear into the night as the wind cried Mary.

In and of it self no big deal……but….consider the facts. A limping Septuagenarian and her Octogenarian husband trekking through the woods in a storm to get to their boat so that, through the pelting rain they could slowly buck and plunge their way home through the ice-cold seas.

Oooooh, c’mon….ya don’t get that kinda fun in the cul de sac!

And the wind screams, “Mary”

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age and its wisdom
It whispers, “No, this will be the last”

And the wind cries, “Mary” (Jimmy Hendrix)

OMG! Order from chaos!

The workshop is cleaned up. There is still much to do but walking in and being intimidated by the array of tools, materials, glues and such, all higgle-de-piggeldy everywhere is over. Sal hit it like the HER-icane of order that she is. I helped, of course, but Sal seems to have an inner software program when it comes to tidying up. God, it feels good!

I confess that, after we had cleaned up and stopped for the day to drink wine, I got up and wondered back out just to gaze on the sheer beauty of a tidy workshop one more time. “You should forbid me from ever going in there again, ya know…..I make an unholy mess….”

“Can’t do that. It is your workshop! You make stuff. You fix stuff and I now know where all the crap is….knowing you, you’ll claim you don’t know where anything is and will try to make me do it!”

She’s smart, That Sal. That thought had already crossed my mind…..

In most ways, we did OK this summer. A ton of guests. Got all the wood in, did some much needed maintenance, built a new shed and put everything away. Water system is great! I have a whole tool maintenance regime to get going on; a slew of sawblades to sharpen, a few things to fix, more logs….you know, an OTG’ers work is never done. Except for the naps and wine-drinking, of course.

But, in a few ways, we did badly. Lost John. Didn’t see the grandkids. Living a Covid life. Gettin’ old. There have been some ‘downs’. There have been some ‘ups’. But losing John coloured the whole year black and it still weighs heavily on us both.

UAE’s J & H visiting was a great treat, however. So were all the old gang that usually come to visit – and did. My grandsons are reportedly going gangbusters – growing and happening and doing it all happily and with joy on their face. There was huge loss but there was positive gain, too. It was NOT a typical year but ‘typical’ might not come along much anymore. I cannot see a path-to-normal anytime soon.

I guess you could summarize the year with that old refrain, ‘take your victories where you can’.

Lemming Face-plant

I never subscribed to Facebook. From the get-go, it seemed a dysfunctional thing for me to do. It just never appealed. To be fair, the initial description I received when querying was something like, “Oooh, it’s great! I sent all my friends pics of me having breakfast!” ……..and that didn’t seem like a really fascinating pastime to me, either as a sender or a receiver. I never signed up. Call me anti-social.

But my resistance to peer-group pressure was not absolute. In a moment of weakness, I joined Linked In and, in a quickly dawning awareness, immediately dropped out of it within hours. But, once in, it is not easy to get out. I still get L-In crap and I have never participated in it save for rarely contacting a few friends who, like me, never use it either.

I came to this slightly suspicious feeling of joining social gatherings/groups honestly enough. One day in the 60’s, I passed a storefront featuring a pair of tin cans attached to what looked like a lie-detector sitting alongside a few toy frogs and an assortment of books. Some guy named Ron Hubbard, it seemed, was selling science…..something to do with frogs…and tin cans. I went in to find out. Got a Scientologist sales pitch and left. I received Scientology crap for twenty years!

Despite my anathema to joining and cults, social media is here to stay and the fact that Facebook (likely) got hacked today is some kind of harbinger. Something is up. And that something will continue, escalate, erode, corrupt, pollute or otherwise add more rot to the already eroding system. And make no mistake, Facebook is a huge system within a huge system. Lives are engaged in, involved with, dependent on and vulnerable to social media and especially Facebook. Politics, business, communication and even countries are reliant on Facebook for a lot of their activities. Mark Zuckerberg is worth billions and it is all because of exploiting the human need to ‘belong’.

Fact: belonging to Facebook is NOT really belonging to anything (possible exception: Team Lemming). We have a ‘fake’ membership in a ‘fake’ community and there are a bazillion bad people with weird agendas trying to take a pot-shot at you and your ‘friends’. Why would anyone see that as a good idea?

I understand, of course, that it has it’s appeal. It’s kinda like being able to lightly and quickly chat with dozens of ‘friends‘ who ‘like you‘ but well, I have sheds to build, oysters to chase and logs to chop. Facebook is an illusion of community. Key word: illusion.

And my community is smaller now that I am feral and it has even shrunk somewhat more lately. Covid kinda did that. I certainly have fewer and fewer friends nearby who like me (I think Wim is the closest and he’s in Belgium)! I have also kinda rejected ‘chatting’, too, now that I think about it. Chit chat in any form is basically a waste of time to my way of thinking. But remember: my way of thinking is in it’s twilight. I am old. I have less time to waste and now I have fewer people on whom to waste it.

Nature has a way……

OMG, the time I wasted as a high-school teen listening to ditzy girls saying giggly-gibberish just on the remote chance of maybe having sex with them someday makes my head spin! I have wasted way too much time. And I no longer have it to waste.

Long way of sayin’: Facebook ain’t my thing and I am glad I stayed away. I think more and more trouble will ensue from social media and I think Facebook being hacked is just proof that there is something to be immorally gained at the expense of the ‘membership’. Be careful out there, guys. It feels like the Matrix is heatin’ up.

Where in the World is Dave?

I guess it is time to make some changes in our lives. It feels as if we should. Minor changes, to be sure, but some changes nevertheless.

We are well into Fall and winter feels close-on-it’s-heels (we’ve even been setting a morning fire this past week). A feeling of routine is settling in. Normally, after a busy season, that feels comforting. This is usually the time of year when we ‘plan’ our winter. We will be doing Xmas off-island, of course, so that part of the plan is in place – but it is less than a week.

Then we usually go away somewhere sunny and warm for a bit and then we come back and then we do Spring set-up chores, plant gardens, gather logs for later chopping and then there is the summer season…and, well, summer is a whole new-kind-of-busy and so it goes. Every year, mostly; same but different. Even tho it is all an adventure, it is a predictable, seasonally based adventure…..for the most part.

But this year feels a bit different. This year is kind of a deja vu – a watch it all over again kind of year. By Xmas, this past year will be Covid year #2. No travel. No change. Two years of lock-down. Mostly. I mean, admittedly it is kinda hard to tell a lockdown with us. We are living OTG and are semi-isolated anyway. Throw in a restrictive pandemic and we have been ‘out of it’ for some time. We are no longer in any loops. No longer hip! And my sociability index has been waning for some time, too. Diagnosis: long-GOMs. Extended grouchy old man syndrome coupled with a pandemic and a world gone mad.

I love people, ‘specially my chosen peeps, but, well, I can love ’em from a distance, too. Email is also good. I just kinda feel like I gotta get away, right now. Go, go, go. I feel like going somewhere different, somewhere foreign….. I feel like gettin’ out of Dodge. ‘Cept for one very basic thing: I really do not feel like traveling.

It is hard to go somewhere without moving. That little mental conflict presents quite a conundrum, don’t you think? Of course, I know that I cannot go somewhere without moving so which is it? Do I go or do I stay? Why is that even a question? Shouldn’t I know whether to go or stay? Have I lost my ability to make executive decisions?

Or is this just another manifestation of that pervasive ‘state of confusion’ I have been talkin’ about? It is NOT ambivalence. I still have feelings. I just have the opposite ones, too. I still have wants…I just don’t know what they are, currently. I feel the pressure to move but I have not decided where to go. It’s a crazy state of being. What does it all mean? Is it just the aforementioned long-Covid mixed with Long Goms in a-state-of-flux world? Or is it all just in my head and everyone else is focused and ‘going forward’ (as they say ad infinitum)?

Let me summarize this drawn-out angst: The economy does not seem to know whether it is coming or going; the Canadian electorate just erased the purpose of an election by voting to not change a thing (in a world needing huge change); the Covid-virus is still the BIG story and seems to be planning a whole new season of fun and games all ’round the world; a lot of people have stopped working but do not have the money to do so; school is in…then out….then back in…well, who knows where the school-thing is these days? House prices? Food prices? Aging? Tic tock, tick tock?

And millions still support Trump, anti-vaxxing and all sorts of incredibly stupid Bubba crap. How does any of this make any sense? I am open to hearing a logical outcome…..

Island Time

When I first came here and couldn’t really do much of anything OTG very well, I kinda compensated for that by working hard and doing as much as I could as fast as I could even if it wasn’t all that good in workmanship or even function.

The theory behind such madness was this: “I am not very good at this so I will at least be quick. And we will at least have something to shelter under….then, probably, it will stand for awhile, later to droop, tip and eventually fall over. By then, I might have learned enough to fix it properly.”

Planned obsolescence? Basic rationalization? Realism? I dunno….But one thing is clear: starting stupid is not a good plan. I did not know what I was doing back then and I am no expert now. And now I am a lot slower.

Turns out the magic is in the pace…….

About four months ago, I was stumbling around my workshop and wondering why everything was so messy and I could hardly move. (Part of the reason is that Sal is a bit of a neat freak and anything she deems unsightly gets put in my workshop). That is nowhere near the entire truth or reason, however. The bulk of my excuse lies in my tendency to work until I am tired and then, when I go to clean up, I am too tired to do it right and things are just piled up on the bench….and then I have to pile some of it on random shelves or open spaces and then….maybe the floor and…then…well, I begin stumbling…..

It is kinda pathetic.

Anyway, one of those stumbles prompted me to declare the need for another building in which to store some of the larger items currently stored in the workshop. Of course, it had to look like it was part of our other buildings, the construction ‘family’, and so board and batten was going to be the style. It would be small (8 x 8) because it was just for storage (hard to fix stupid) and it should not take too much time. That declaration was four months ago. We still ain’t done. But we are so close, it is ‘close enough’ to warrant a blog.

This one is mostly just pictures.

Every day I add another few hooks, a shelf, clean up some tools, lube a few things, organize some more, put stuff away…you know…the usual…..but, at the rate I am putzing and fiddling, I have a good week ahead of me before I am done. Just sharpening saw blades takes forever. Some things surprise me, tho….like I have 3 containers of chainsaw bar oil, I have two and have containers of jack oil (for jacks) and more cans of weird stuff than I ever realized. And oh, man, do I have glues and adhesives!

Sal is somewhat amused by my ‘process’. She tells others that, “Oh, he is just outside, walking around, staring at space and thinking up what to put there. Then he goes to look at what he has. Then he thinks. Then he comes in for tea”.

The nicest thing about Island Time is that their is a huge time and space allowance…I just may be able to get something done…..

Autumn falling, Winter looming and Covid blooming

Interesting combination, doncha think? Howzat all gonna show up by next spring?

People have been slowed, isolated and/or locked down for well over a year and not-so-much because of official mandates from the authorities – people just kinda shut down on their own. Even the anti-vaxxer, disease-flaunting, deniers of authority and logic have been somewhat shutdown simply because so many others are. And every time they open another restaurant, school, a stadium or a motorcycle rally town, the numbers just climb higher.

The USA has suffered over 600,000 deaths since Covid arrived and still adds over 120,000 new cases every day. Canada has had almost 28,000 deaths in total and gets 5000 new cases every day. And the governments continue to relax restrictions! That is unnerving, to say the least, and portends a bleak winter by simply projecting the numbers.

But what does it really mean? What happens when the world runs on fewer cylinders? It would seem that food and energy imports are amongst the first to feel the increased demand when supply chains are already reduced and labour is mostly AWOL. So, those prices go up and those inventories are strained. Example: (two weeks ago) my daughter and wife went to the neighbouring island, split a sandwich and had a milkshake each, before coming home. The bill was $30.00. Earlier in that day, my daughter sat at a coffee shop and had a toasted bagel and a Chai tea. The bill was $20.00.

Covid is going to get more expensive.

And fewer children are attending schools. More children at home means more parents at home. More unemployed. More debt. More handouts. And that means less GDP. So currencies will likely drop in value as does the country’s economy.

The above two paragraphs suggest stagflation – reduced growth or even shrinkage of the economic output while prices are still going up on the fewer and fewer who can afford them.

Mind you, real estate is still going up in value. New cars cost more. So, it is not all linear, predictable or logical. In fact, it is kinda crazy, if you ask me.

If you dig a smidge deeper, nurses and doctors are fading. Some are quitting or restricting their output and still others are going on ‘leave’. The healthcare line of defense is weakening. Already normal operations and other pressing health issues are being affected by the demands of Covid and the staff are burning out. That is not good. If our healthcare professionals are our first line of defense, then we are truly in trouble because we do not really have a second line. Well, there is Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine but, for most people, those options are unacceptable. Same for injecting bleach…..

But I must say, I am encouraging of Trump to hold more rallies and hope he continues to advocate for injecting bleach. Preferably in Sturgis, Florida and Texas. Maybe a guest rally in Alberta? Free bleach and Ivermectin!

But solutions aside, what other impacts are we gonna feel over this continuing Covid problem? Well, taxes have to go up. Trudeau and the other so-called leaders have been spending big-time to ease the viral discomfort as they try to keep the ship steady-as-she-goes but that bill is exorbitant and we could not afford that kind of largesse even that one time – twice will be impossible.

Anything else? Well, the effects of Covid (and our response to it) are continually surprising us so more surprises is a logical prediction. The desire to deny science and to favour conspiracy theories and false orange-hued idols is also a trend that is unpredictable. How can that madness manifest more in the future?

Put more succinctly, the Covid Party is not over. In fact, it is just getting started. When it started (early 2020), I predicted the USA would suffer 750,000 deaths. They are not there yet but I fear my prediction was overly optimistic. I also suggested that, surprisingly, Covid might be our TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) and that is even more of a possibility now.

What do we do? Well, Sal and I will carry on carrying on. We are just finishing the new shed. See pics next blog. We won’t go to Costa Rica or Thailand this winter. We’ll hold down the fort again and hunker-in-the-bunker. Right now, it does not feel inviting in any way to go anywhere.

Do you think that will change anytime soon?

Much Ado About Nothing

Erin O’Toole moved a smidge left. Annamie Paul has to move out. And Maxime Bernier can’t move at all. Poor Jagmeet Singh is still just running in place and our darling princeling has a new lease on life-as-only-he-knows-it. Elections Canada (which may take up to four days to count all the ballots) has given the interim results of the latest election and it is clear: Canadian voters are matching wits with Floridians. And losing!

Admittedly, few want to change horses in the middle of a pandemic. I get that. Most people get that. But Trudeau didn’t and he is our dear leader. Mind you, Trudeau does not get much of anything, really. So, basically, it is the same ol’ status quo with the same old imbecile at the helm. What a fiasco!

On the other hand…….? Well, Canadians voted for ‘same ol’, same ol’ and that sorta says something…doesn’t it? Satisfaction? I do not think so. It could mean, “Hey! We’re busy trying to survive here and the clown Prince wants a show of affection? I am not gonna do that. I will just vote ‘my party’ and let it go at that.” It could also mean, “Well, Trudeau is no good. O’toole hasn’t won my heart. Jag is typically NDP oriented. Nothing new here. In any of them, really.”

The only conclusion I can draw is somewhat similar to my previous observations about the greater confusion in everything. These are confusing times. We have no dreams. We have no overarching goals. We are all just ‘surviving’. There is no grand vision.

And, of course, my usual old saw, “Political leaders are not real leaders, anyway. They are followers. They don’t have courage, vision or competency. They are figureheads for the backroom crowd.”

Do I care that prime grade sheep lead us? Not really. Sheep are generally harmless. They ain’t gonna take you anywhere but the field is nice, the shepherd is kinda blank and the grass is plentiful. What’s not to like?

But, if we are faced with real challenges or need to make real changes to the system, well, we need real leaders, real people, real doers, real thinkers. Sheep won’t do. We are woefully ill-equipped in the right-stuff department and worse, we actually do have real challenges right now. Covid is a problem. Climate change is a real challenge. And look at how the leaders of the world have addressed that.

Only Angela Merkel in Germany showed real social leadership on climate change and she is quitting. She’s tired. She has to be. And she did not accomplish all that she set out to do. For me, that is very discouraging. The good ones couldn’t get the job done, the bad ones stay in power and where’s the future in that?

I write, therefore I am

I almost always write about what is currently mostly on my mind. But not always. Sometimes I sense readers need a whale or a raven tale, an intrepid Sally story or maybe a ‘holy cow’ chore like wrangling a forest of logs. You know, setting and character development-type stuff?

Of course, my mind naturally inclines to politics, economics, construction and sometimes an amateurs examination of the human condition. I love living OTG but some of what I love is that it is relaxed and stress-free. And relaxation (and napping) is not the usual fodder for writing much of anything. Living OTG is fabulous but is not a story every day. And the older I get, the less I do, and the less I do, the less OTG’ing there is to report……ergo I may have to change the title of this blog to Napping OTG.

I just do not have much for you lately……

Some of the summer folk are readying to return to the city. I find that odd. Who would want to rush back? Still, there are social obligations and habits, not to mention a dark and gloomy season ahead out here. By the end of the month the summer ‘force’ will have basically left. By the end of October, it will be getting dark earlier. Already most of the marine traffic has stopped. Summer is definitely on it’s last legs.

On the plus side, plenty of water is now back in the ‘giant sponge’ semi-swamp which is our water source way back up in the hills. That natural sponge keeps us in water all year long and even during the heat dome times, it was was still trickling. That is a huge natural blessing.

The whales finally came back. Not so much in the early or mid-summer but, in the last few weeks, we have seen them more frequently but that is somewhat offset by generally seeing less of all kinds of other wildlife this summer. This year was not a banner year for wildlife encounters.

It was not a banner year for our garden, either. We have cherry tomatoes up the wazoo and volunteer potatoes like never before but so much of the standard kitchen produce was underperforming this year. Mind you, we had giant cucumbers – a real surprise. But lettuce and broad leafy stuff was way down.

Fish and shellfish were also down but that’s mostly because I can’t catch fish and can barely catch oysters (they are quicker than they look). We kinda rely on the kindness of friends to give us fish in exchange for Sal’s baking. But this has also been a less than social year. Covid, ya know?

Sal got off the rock and went to Victoria for family a few weeks back but I stayed behind. I haven’t been off the rock in a long time. Maybe three times in the last 18 months? And I am perfectly OK with that. So is the rest of the world.

What is on my mind today….? Not much of anything…not really….stunning and stubborn stupidity showing up all over the damn place from Covid to politics, the surprising phenomena of a Trump or a Trudeau succeeding at anything; private space companies headed to Mars; the desperate longing for normalcy for some people to the extent of risking one’s health to attend a restaurant or a stadium? I suppose the thing most on my mind is how little of what’s going on I understand. People protesting vaccines outside a hospital? I am feeling like a student of the human condition failing the course.

If I have anything new to say, it is this: there have been articles about the changing attitudes of those generations coming up (the generations listed below in bold type are the ones most often referred to):

  • Baby Boomers: born 1946 to 1964. …
  • Generation Jones: born 1955 to 1965. …
  • Generation X: born 1965 to 1980. …
  • Xennials: born 1977 to 1983. …
  • Millennials: born 1981 to 1996.
  • Generation Z: born 1997 or after. …
  • Generation Alpha: born 2010 or after.

It seems the writers of the articles have detected a shift toward socialism. The X, Z and Millenials are not satisfied with the rigors of Capitalism (especially when it comes to housing) and they are somewhat less driven to compete. They are a bit more selfish and self-centered but it is showing up mostly as insisting on ‘having a life’ outside the simple pursuit of filthy lucre. Hard to argue with that.

Why mention that? Well, I am not a 100% bona fide socialist. I appreciate the need for incentives and motives and I know that all men and women are NOT created equal even if they should be treated as equally and as respectfully as possible. But ideals are not realities. Greed, ambition and aggression are also human conditions and, without those traits, would we have Elon Musk, the Rolling Stones, Amazon and Costco? Probably not.

I guess what I am saying is: If the planet survives (or better put: If WE survive) then the future generations are likely to be more cooperative, less greedy, more peaceful, less materially driven. Maybe. Or maybe they will just be easier to conquer by the next horde of greedy pigs. Hard to tell.