Sunday, October 30, 2011

Princeton BC - Late October Hunting 2011

It was a late night drive from Vancouver to Princeton.  I stopped outside Hope and phoned the pet friendly Sandman Inn. Angela was really pleasant and assured me she'd hold a room.  I wouldn't make it up there till midnight after beginning my work day at 7 am.
It was a horrid night of torrential rain, turning to sleet then snow. Those last few miles of mountain cliffs were treacherous tired as I was. I was certainly woken up by a truck just like mine overturned on the road.  He'd been towing his ATV and the jacknifed trailer was on it's side as well. They'd been lucky not to go over the sheer cliff.   All the rescue vehicles were there.  Ambulance and police.  No stretchers and no bodies so I didn't feel a need to stop.
In Princeton I filled up across from the Sandman and n ambulance was filling up as well. I figured they'd brought the driver to the hospital earlier.  At the Sandman a gentleman got up to register me. He asked about the road. I told him about the overturned vehicle. "They had a big rig crash earlier tonight," he said. I remembered my days doctoring in a small town ER nights with multiple vehicle crashes.  I didn't envy them this night.

Around 6 am I watched CTV news while dressing in Camo before loading the guns into the vehicle. I have the Ford F350 diesel truck with the Polaris 500 ATV in the back.  . Gilbert had had his piss and took the co pilot spot.  We drove to A&W where I got the Sausage and Egger with coffee, double double, filling a thermos as well.  Gilbert had the sausage patty.  The A&W crew were  the best.  Surprisingly chipper first thing in the morning.  Gilbert thought the sausage done just right too.
I continued east down the highway to the Forest Service main road that lead off to the Rattler Forest Service Roads..  I unloaded the ATV and buckled Gilbert behind me.  We drove all over that backcountry in the chill and snow but didn't see a thing.  Not even a grouse.  Spike Fork Moose, Mule Deer Bucks, White tail bucks, and black bear were open too.  Lots of great scenery though.   Winter in the high country. I did do some fine target practice. I'd brought the 223 and shot up so much paper and cans I had to stop in at the Princeton Outdoor store for some more ammo before going back to the hotel.
Back at the Sandman I had a pizza from their excellent cafe then settled into my room for some R&R.  I fell asleep after the pizza and missed the evening hunt.  I only had time for a hot bath and some television before falling asleep again.
In the morning I loaded up all the gear before driving over to the A&W for Gilbert and my breakfast. After that we drove west  to Whipsaw , the first Princeton logging road I hunted back in the late 80's with my beat up second hand VW Rabbit.  I've shot deer up there and a whole lot of grouse.
This time I spooked a couple of big boy elk, one with 4 point and the other with three.  t  They're magnificent animals.  Only 6 point had been open this year and the season for this region closed the week before.  I still enjoyed seeing the game.  After we headed up Sunday Summit.
I saw more does.  These were crossing the road. The week before I'd seen some 20 or so mostly in groups standing alongside the road in the snow.  There was a little sleet this day but mostly sunny.  One grouse that appeared, I missed.  Gilbert looked all over for the bird looking askance at me for not bringing it down when I had the chance.
The trip home was uneventful.  Raining some and sunshine at other times. The snow from the night before almost all gone except clumps here and there. I stopped outside Manning Park's Eastgate to clean my rifles and put them away.
At Hope I washed the truck and ATV.
Halloween.  That's how I spent mine.  Spooky.   DSCN9732

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do I know you?

Talking with Elizabeth, she said, "I like that God isn't concerned so much with what I did or didn't do.  I believe the main question he will ask is, "Do I know you?"
The questions of human freedom and God's plan are true sticklers in Biblical study and theology.  Clearly God knows all the possibilities being in and outside creation.  If there are an 'elect' as some believe then they get to heaven and the rest of us go to hell.  As one wag said, if those are the 220,000 going to heaven, I'd rather not go there.  "I'll take the next room, thank you as 'in our Father's house there are many mansions."  Perhaps we are get to pass on to a better place.
I fear I'll not get my ferrari here on earth so hope for an extension on my ferrari acquisition project. Universities are forever offering students extensions.  Could not God have a heart as wishy washy as the spineless politically correct college professor of modern day.  Why be good today when the outcome is chosen and if God truly loved me he'd find a way to help me redeem my multitude of errors.
These are the thoughts of 'end game'.  Meditate on death is a prescription from ancient times.  Certainly an action  worthy of all soul's day.  This time of year the worlds of here and now and then and earth and heaven and hell were thought so juxtaposed that much mixing was possible.  At this time soul's could cross over or know the other realms.
Why not give up and die if I'm going to die anyway?Why be good if it's foreordained that I'll be bad some time in the future?  Why not kill myself now, early in the day before I've had a chance to wipe out this goodness of morning?  Why live to be a jaded old man bitter at life's failing and angry that God did not give me the ferrari of my dreams.  (The ferrari represents whatever one believed they wanted and did not get.  Much like the offerings of the devil to Jesus on the mountain.  True love, respect of fellow man, high position, wealth, eternal youth, whatever your ferrari might well be.)
What ever was God's idea of creating me?Rather than wrestle with this most difficult question I might choose to run from it and say instead, there is no God, there is no plan and I am just a random fluff in the universe.  But what if there is a plan and what if there is a God?  That's certainly the mathematician Pascal's question.
In the 12 step programs one prays to know God's will this day and to have the power to carry it out.  I might not know the destination for next year but today I ask for guidance in my every move.  If I pray and meditate I might be still and thereby hear the 'wee small voice of God'.
"Be Still and Know That I Am God."  I love this round.  I think too that if I remember I am a child, and Jesus said that we must be like children again then ,I can accept that I will cling to the skirts of my God this day.  I surrender the 'tough guy' and the 'loner delusion' of Hollywood false history.
We are all interconnected. I'm not asked to be Atlas but rather just to hold up my little bit of the end.  Indeed I'm mostly asked to just hang in there. Live.  It's enough.  Maslow's hierarchy of needs have several stages before self actualization.  I'm taking care of business before I can even think of rapture.  The rapture would be fine but in the meantime as my friend, Willie, would say 'pass the butter."
Happy Hallows Eve.  Just as Christmas isn't about consumerism, neither is this day.  The ancients celebrated the harvest and then the end of life and coming of winter with it's death before resurrection themes. A time of faith.  A time when all seems lost only to have it all  rise again like the phoenix.
The leaves turn colour and shed only to sprout again in spring.  Faith.  We are at the cross roads again.  The end of summer's day and beginning of winter's night.  Awake in the wonder of change and know the love of God is always present even in the darkness.  Light shines from within.

May the long time sunshine, always surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way home.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanks, God

I give praise today for life!
I am thankful for creation,
That  I might participate in this wonder.
Thank you God for all the blessings you bestow.
Thank you for the sun and the rain, the night and the day,
For autumn leaves ripe with colour,
For the chill heralding winter soon to come,
The sound of traffic in the distance,
The gentle rolling of sea.
And thank you for your love, your holiness,
For the dance and  the song;
I praise you Lord. Hallelujah!

The New Administration Class

There is really nothing new about the "new administration class".  In the old days leadership and management simply went to the person with the biggest muscle and biggest club.  The survival of the tribe depended on the 'strong man' and his 'medicine woman' and having an "MBA" didn't add much to the equation. (I believe an MBA might well be highly beneficial but I don't know that an Administrator today would necessarily take advice from any such animal.)
 Subsequent to Agricultural Times the raising of armies occured.   This was the beginning of administration, per se.Jared Diamond in his seminal work Guns, Germs and Steel described the development of agriculture as a necessary means for raising armies because farmers could supply food for many making possible the societal specification resulting in a warrior class who could then enslave the farmers and all others in fact.
Who knows if this has changed?  Confuscian times in the east were equally important administrative times. But mostly Confuscians had to behave with good manners beaurocratically  In the Feudal world the King would grant land to his fellow warriors who would then extract work and taxes from the serfs.  If the warrior was a better killer than manager he would presumably hire someone to manage the lands
In those days brute strength, fighting prowess and loyalty to the leader resulted in administrative leadership.
Yet somehow in the 30's there was this idea that the best manager was someone who had come up throug the ranks or worked in the bottom of the factory. This persists with the English Monarchy sending their sons to the military for training through the ranks.  Administration is hierarchal and based in this warring world on military models despite all said against.
The result of administration is maximizing profit or tax for the crown's benefit, and keeping problems from going to the top so that the leadership if not the head administrator can be freed from dealing with lesser trivial matters which can be solved by lower ranks.
Alot of corporations and historically the sons of business leaders wanted their children, like Prince William today to be a member of the ranks to learn the 'trade'.
In Canada leadership required a person to have skills in the area of which they were minister, hence the minister of agriculture was usually a farmer, the minister of health was a doctor, the minister of mines, an engineer.
It seems that went out. I'm not sure it ever was "in".  The rich man has always been able to have his 'idiot' son in a position of authority.  Often the rich man acquired wealth only to have the family squander it.
In Canada, Allan Rock was the lawyer I remember being made Minister of Health. I don't know he was the first non medical person to be in that position.  It's just that having met him I thought, now why is it the Attorney General is a lawyer when clearly a farmer or a doctor could 'judge' just as well. Leadership in scientific fields was clearly the most benefitted from by knowledge of science but the ruling classes had returned to feudalism and a rotating portofolio. Why is it too that increasingly lawyers have been Prime Ministers and had positions of power. One reason might be that some lawyers see themselves as the new non violent military using their wits to win where generals used their brawn. Generals have, by the way, always thought it was their 'wits' that won wars for at least thousands of years.
 Indeed the idea in government today is that a politician doesn't need to know anything except how to get into power, not disimiliar to the first warrior class.  Then the civil service can be the brains for the brute buffoon.
Today the minister of health is next day the minister of education, next day the minister of agriculture.  But what are the exceptions.  If the minister of churches was always a priest then we'd say there was a likelihood of a 'theocracy'  wherein the clergy ruled.  Today that's not true.
I don't know if knowing pigs makes a better farmer or a better leader in agriculture anymore than knowing medicine makes a better doctor and a better leader in medicine. The world ran well enough when a stupid grunt with strong arm told everyone what to do and killed those who didn't do it their way.
It's just that there's nothing democratic about a tyranny and there's nothing democratic about a theocracy.
I don't know what we have politically but it's evident it's not working very well and yet politics is about the least worst choice since it's never ever about the best choice.
It seems to me that the 'new administration' is nothing more than the 'old administration' which has been around since the first guy figured he could enslave the farmers and everyone else.
With power you can be ignorant of everything and still remain in power.That raises the question then as to whether God need be smart or stupid?  Even world leadership that claimed to be divinely inspired (Nero thought he was God) wasn't all the bright from an historical perspective.
Administration might well be about what you know but more and more it seems it's about 'who' you know.  Loyalty to the throne counts so much that an English Premier is famous for saying "I don't need you to agree with me when I'm right, I need you to agree with me when I'm wrong."
Regardless, I believe God's in charge and as such the world is unfolding as it should.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Human Freedom

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", was the chorus line of the popular Bobby McGee song I sang hitch hiking across Canada and the US before bicycling across Europe. It was a good travelling song back when the culture claimed the new God was "erotic love of a woman or woman".  The Beatles song said it all, "All you need is Love" and the song wasn't talking about Agape.
 Those were the days before divorce and the guilt and shame of the social devastation of realpolitic, legal theocracy, rabid materialism, individualism and the destruction of family and community. All this gave the  state unprecedented power over the individual. Whereas the totalitarianism of communism had set out to intentionally destroy family as the greatest threat to state power, in the west the unrealistic expectations and divinization of the romantic love and erotic love effectively did the same without any apparent 'intention'.
All the while, the individual in the play of events of life felt they individually were 'choosing' a mate and freely choosing a career.  Today the guilt and shame is as great for the failure of career after career in the economic downturns brought on by the corruptions and white collar gambling of wall street, no different than the gangster backed earlier unregulated casinos of Los Vegas.  Just when anthropologists were describing North America as a culture of serial monogamy the pundits of the work force were letting graduating students know that they'd not have one career but three at least.  Whole industries were disappearing like spotted owls while as more strove to save the habitat of an unknown neut, ghost towns flourished where people once dreamed.
In all there was the 'guilt' and 'shame' associated with 'choice' and the all powerful claiming arrogantly their 'success' at the "game of life'. Both were just rolling the dice and the House had the fix in on the game.
The religious speak of grace where the irreligious speak of luck.  The spiritual pray and the aetheists buy more insurance and see psychologists to reassure them they maintain their saniety no longer trusting 'allighment to god' as a measure but instead relying on statistics and means.  Normalcy, that ever changing elusive butterfly, is chased with nets all the while the bats are free in the belfry.
But I did not choose where I was born.  I do not choose where and when I die.  How strange that lacking any real choice over these imponderables I should conclude I have choice or which stick of gum I buy.
However if I believe, as eastern religions teach, that we are reincarnations and as a group collect together in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Bardot, to plot this present life, or drama, then perhaps I had choice before this life.  The murderer one life, murders, while next she is murdered.  The linearity of the reincarnation ideology, extant in old testament and new is limited by the dualistic minds of the human instrument.

If there is a God and God is omniscent then he knows past, present and future. Further if I know God I might well know how the story ends so might change it if there are indeed miracles.  The whole shebang hinges on the idea of choice and freedom.
The Darwinians and especially the pseudoscientists of similiar ilk would dictate determinism not as a pillar of scientific rationalism but as it's own religious doctrine.  Yet determinism was but  the limited tool of analysis, never meant to be the end all and be all of existence but rather a measure against which to judge data.  As so often occurs in the sciences when they are imbued with religious fervour by their lesser adherents, determinism becomes 'fate' and hearkens back to the ancient Gods and the ideas of 'pride'.
Meanwhile Christians believe in 'divine will' and 'god's plan".  And all along we are encouraged to choose 'right' from 'wrong' and do 'good' rather than 'evil' and especially today ensure our science is 'evidence based' all the while the courts flounder in the death of 'facts' and a failure of the very process  to stay abreast of the physics and discoveries of neurology that challenge daily the process of political and judicial systems. The very fabric of the 'systems' are judged inadequate by prevailing social movements and vague 'protests'.
It is not surprising that new nations reject the appearance of 'democracy' for 'sharia' law because freedom may well be an illusion. Is this then reactionary?  Christianity replaces animism in Africa and Communism in the East.
So what is freedom.  Is the only freedom I have that which Milton said that Satan refused to take.  Satan in "Paradise Lost" was described as prefering to look at his own shadow rather than the light of God.  Arrogance and individuality are the antithesis of community.  In the secular this once sacred notion becomes the State against the Individual. But do either have any real freedom.  We may only be observers with little capacity to 'change' the events of our individual lives versus our collective lives. All the while  our 'narratives' may express the grandiosity of individualism.
I may well be the 'voice over' on the cartoon of my life. This 3 d holographic game I am a part of may well have players outside the realm of my understanding so that today's computer once again gives us the view that there is another world out there no differnt than the child's realization of the life within the pond scum of the science kit microscope.
The question Is there a God is naturally followed by 'is their freedom'.  For I can have no 'pride' without choice' and can I truly have 'guilt' or even 'shame' without choice as well.  I might have 'subjective' experience, being a 'legend in my own mind' but in the community of 'objective' reasoning with so many conflicting imperatives I might well not actually have any real 'choice'.  There are astrophysicists who questions the very notion of 'motion'.  Perception is such a powerful constraint on the ancient ideas of the 'way things are'.
I exist amidst happy cabbages who like me struggle to collect as many toys and the appearance of power before death which is inevitable yet is it an 'end'.  And  I did not choose where I was born so what choice do  I truly have when I can't even choose where I die. I have met so many suicides who found to their dismay like soldiers the bullet did not have their name on it and they woke alive though broken or wounded, but more often than not, having survived their momentary insaneity ,wanting to live.
In terror we linger long over the choice of one breakfast cereal over another and claim to have picked a mate or an automobile, a job or a house, but did we? And is it true or illusion? And if it is just distraction then what really is the purpose, if there be one, of this existence.
C.S. Lewis, asked "why are you talking to the wall, when you really want to talk to  the architect?"  If I have a choice I surely would ask, "Take me to your leader" because I so often feel an 'alien in a strange land' and would ask directions of the way 'home'.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fusion Lunch with Mark

It was good to see Mark again.  He was young, healthy and handsome as ever.  An entertaining conversationalist, he was a delight to share a meal with and catch up on years gone by.  I'll never forget his help raising money to keep my office open at one time while he also worked tirelessly with charity foundations to rainse money for underpriviledged youth.  He was in town for the Rhinestone Phoenix Charity Foundation fund raiser pageant, the annual crowning of Mr. and Ms. Gay Vancouver.
I was sorry I missed this as it's been an annual occasion for me.  I'd have so enjoyed mingling again with MLA's, the Mayor and all the paparazzi that are drawn to this community dress up event. One west coast wit called it the prime celebrity event for gowns and tails 'with emphasis on tails', he chuckled.
Mark caught me up on the activities of Lighthouse of Hope, now meeting at St. Margarets  as well as having hospital services.  Mark and my friendship began in our church affiliation and love of Christ.  Mark was closely involved with Pastor Dylan's inspirational mission when we met and he came to work with me. Since he returned to Alberta where his family is, he's continued his Christian ministry.  He's also studying for social work and had just had lunch with our mutual phd friend, Barbara, both of us encouraging his natural healing talents.  He's continued connected with the Haven, hoping to complete their counselling training as well.
A talented writer, he was researching male sexual abuse , especially in the church and family, as a book project   I encouraged him to contact Ben Nuttall Smith whose new book "Secrets Kept, Secrets Told"  was about this very issue.  He remembered Ben from scheduling my attendances at  the Canadian Author's Association.
Still single, he said, "I don't have time." Yet, he and friends had made  time to spend half the night of Halloween a couple of years back helping me move my apartment to storage and my expeditionary gear onto the sailboat.  How many times have people told Mark he must make time for himself rather than burning the candle at both ends helping others.
I told him about Ballet BC's bringing the Alberta Ballet here to do Love Lies Bleeding, the extravaganza production based on Elton John's life and music.
Talking with Mark I remembered the CBC interview of Alberta's new premier Alison Redford who had mocked an Ontario newspaper heralding her election as evidence of Alberta finally joining civilization.  Premier Alison Redford went onto say that Ontario had a long way to go to catch up with the Alberta whose citizens had long been at the cutting edge of culture, society and change.  As an Albertan, Mark certainly was his own man.  I couldn't help but think that given his diversity of interest but ever guiding Christian influence he represented the new life that Redford spoke of comparing the vitality of the west with the oftimes stifling stodginess of the east.
Shaking hands we parted, he to a plane flying east, and me back to my eastside Vancouver clinic.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Princeton, BC - Hunting

Princeton was one of the first places I hunted in BC back in the late 80's.  I was driving a old VW Rabbit then. I tried to get up the icy logging road without success.  I parked the Rabbit and hiked the trails.
Another time I'd get caught on the top of a mountain when a blizzard came in.  I had to hike back to the Astro Van I had at the time.  I had chains but the road down was icy from the sleet and snow. I skiied and skidded down the mountain switchbacks thankful to get to the highway at the bottom alive.
I've shot mule deer here.  I've shot a lot of grouse too.
I've camped in little tents and stayed in several of the hotels and cabins in the area.  Princeton has great accomodation.
This time I 've come with the Ford F350 diesel 4x4 Harley Davidson Edition truck and the Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV.
The Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV has been serviced and all souped up since my last time out.  The guys at FiveSports in Chilliwack put in another gun rack, a gas can and rack, as well as a windshield and heated hand grips as well as a heated thumb throttle.  I love it.
The rain turned to sleet this morning and when the sun came up there was no heat till the afternoon.  DSCN9707
DSCN9712I'm staying at Canada Best Buy Princeton Inn. It's pet friendly and has a hot tub.
DSCN9711Today it was cold in the morning. I had a slow start so was able to get sausage and eggers for Gilbert and I at the drive through A&W.
I saw several doe but no bucks. I actually came on a herd of 8 does at one point. I sure was trying to put horns on one of those.
A doe and young one waited in a field for me to take a picture of  the young one.
DSCN9717At noon I was back in town getting an Elk tag at the great Princeton Outdoors Store. I bought my three piece cammo hunting outfit there and have used it for years. They're as knowledgeable and helpful with hunting information as they are with trout fishing.
DSCN9720I shot a grouse. I shot it in the head with my Ruger Stainless Steel Semi Auto 22 Rifle.  Gilbert was ecstactic. Perhaps tomorrow I'll find the elusive immature moose or a buck or a 6 point elk.  I could even shoot a bear if I found one.  The later in the season, the more inclement the weather, the more game possibilities.   DSCN9719DSCN9723DSCN9724

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flu Shot

I got my flu shot today. I'm disappointed that I haven't had any of the popular psychosomatic hysterical reactions that I was supposed to get. I have developed an extra purple head that is speaking to me in an alien tongue but I've also noted that my feet have become mellons.  I actually feel pretty good. I don't know if I'll wake from sleep.  The doctor was really professional and didn't look like he was getting kickbacks from large pharmaceutical companies. I didn't get a handshake from Dick Chaney.
Last year I had the flu bad and I didn't get a flu shot.  This year I made a point not to miss it. I'm really glad my parents got me measles and mumps shots as a kid.  I didn't get any of the tropical disease when I went overseas and took all the preventions recommended.  This flu shot is the latest in science.  Even if it is Halloween around the corner, offered the choice between the space shuttle and a broom for a trip to outer space I'd still take the space shuttle.  Thanks for the Flu Shot. I'm feeling really good about having had it this year.  Maybe it was the doctors technique but my arm hasn't swollen and doesn't hurt either.
My goodness it's all rather mundane with the potential benefits being awesome.

Dinner at Athenes

As usual the lamb was delicious.  We discussed the seminal work of Ferenzi, the new atypicals contribution to mood therapy, the effect of premature ejaculation on women, and the success of his family. He'd just attended a performance of the National Ballet. His friend Karen Kain had introduced him to Emily Molnar.  "I really am enjoying what she is doing for Ballet BC," I said.  We moved on to talk Of Mice and Men, the play he'd enjoyed performed at the Stanley.
We talked of motorcycles some. and the True Grit remake. "I've always loved westerns," he said.  Not surprising given his love of horses.  I told him about my cowboy uncle.  Together we laughed at the New Yorker cover of Steven Jobs. We both heard his remarkable speech 6 years before when he'd thought he had the cancer beaten.
Discussing lapses of memory I told him.,  "I couldn't remember my past lives at all." I suspected he didn't remember when he'd been ruller of the universe either.
As I was leaving I told him that people would think all we'd talked about was women and sports.  And in a way, I guess, we did.

A Step into the Darkness - film

A Step into the Darkness was just one of the many films I picked up in the discount bin at Rogers so I could have something to watch while I ate dinner on my sailboat I'm not connected to cable or satellite for television shows and movies.
It's a film by Atil Inac.  If I'd seen the trailer I might have thought it was something I'd like to watch on the History or  Discovery channel. The filming of the countryside of Iraq and Turkey is worthy of National Geographic.
The cover shows an outstanding single woman carrying a bundle, looking perplexed in the dessert. I might have thought it a feminist pity pot movie with that overplayed communist twist of the plight of the underdog.  I might  even have thought it was a Disney creation where the little train that can does.  There's that kind of promotion in the thing.
But the movie wasn't any of these.  It was something far more.  It opened my eyes to the war by those who have no 'sides', the real casualties of conflict.  This really is about 'collateral damage' and the human spirit.
It moved me in a way few movies can.  It was that different and that deeply sensitive with enough action and intrigue to keep the plot ahead of the tears.
Subtitles and English.  It was billed as "A unique film shot on location inside Iraq in the midst of an ongoing war".
Suzan Genc, the star, won the best actress award at the Ankara International Film Festival.  The movie itself won several international Best Pictures.  But what do critics know.  I found it in the discount bin and watched it with rapt attention through all the drama, character unfolding and excitement to the extraordinary unpredictableending.
I'm telling you it's good.  It's really good.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Venison Stew

I just ate last nights venison stew left overs.  It was terrific.
Venison stew is a delicacy of the first order. It's only comparison is moose stew but I prefer venison stew  to moose stew.  Moose steaks and roasts are better however than venison.
In Europe only the aristocracy was allowed to eat venison, peasants being predominantly vegetarian, having weekly chicken and the occasional pig.  The Kings and Queens, Lords and Lairds owned all the deer stock  because all the hunting rights in all lands was privately owned.  Poaching was the illegal taking of private game and punishable by imprisonment and even death.
To make venison stew you must first have venison.  Ideally you shoot the deer yourself.  Farmed deer isn't the same as wild mule deer.  Gifted venison is a delight but never as good as venison you've harvested yourself.
To that end you should obtain a firearm, ideally a long rifle. I've hunted deer successfully with bow and arrow but rifle is the way I most commonly obtain venison.
To own a rifle  in Canada you need a Possession Permit. To obtain this you have to demonstrate on an exam that you know rifle safety.  Most people today take a course in firearms before taking the exam.  The course in firearms costs a couple of hundred dollars while the test costs about fifty dollars.  The license then costs another fifty or so dollars and requires good reference and a police check.
I challenged my rifle test without taking the course but then I'd received my first firearm safety diploma by the age of 16 years old.  My Dad enrolled my brother in hunter safety courses at the local hunting club we belonged to as a family. Back then before the rise in fuel costs, vehicles and cost of skyrocketing beaurocracies and government debt to pay for them, hunting was a relatively inexpensive past time for the few who were skilled and proficient.
Once you have a firearm license you can buy a rifle. I shot my last deer with a Mossberg 30:30 but most of the deer I've shot with a Browning 30:06 or a Ruger 30:06.  I hit a deer with a black powder bullet once but the bullet bounced off and deer, rather startled, made a quick exit.
Most good deer rifles new cost about $500 to $1000 but second hand can be bought for a few hundred dollars.  High end rifles run tens of thousands of dollars.  Ammunition for deer guns is often anywhere from fifty cents to $2 a bullet.  Targets cost a dollar each.  One exmilitary hunter told me he didn't think hunters should be hunting unless they shoot a thousand rounds a year at targets.  I usually shoot dozens of shots at targets to sight in my scope each year but do most of my target practice with a 22 rifle or my 223, light load shells, the first not for hunting deer and the second which can be used for hunting deer. Both have inexpensive shells, 22 long rifle can be pennies a shell where as 223 can be 20 cents a shell.  Hunters often stockpile shells because you can get deals as good as a tenth of the standard prices when stock is on sale.  I probably target practice a hundred or two rounds a year and think I'll do more. My friend Richard though admits to winning awards for target practice but finding it very difficult to hit game.  Buck fever refers to the moment before a shot when a hunter can become so exciting their rifle starts to wave about the air. My older friend Bill taught me always to use a rest, lean gun or self against something, before a shot, if possible, to steady oneself.  Forget about what Hollywood shows and watch the Discovery Channel instead.
Once you have a rifle and have target practiced with the rifle so you can hit bulls eyes consistently and your pattern of shells is consistently in a tight grouping an inch or so apart at most at 100 yards you're ready to  do the CORE program. This is a course on wildlife and hunting safety. It's designed to help you recognise game, not kill cows or horses or your neighbour.  The course is alsa a couple hundred dollars with an exam that probably most pass right off if they take the course.
Increasingly there are women gun owners and women hunters.  In addition immigrants from eastern Europe and other areas have like some Canadians been raised on hunting and firearms so are attracted to the great wilderness in Canada.
You will need in addition to a general hunting license a tag for hunting mule deer, about $25 and a tag for hunting white tail deer, the same price.  There is a limit of 1 or 2 deer of each species throughout British Columbia except on one of the islands. Bow hunting season usually opens a week before rifle season. Mostly you're only allowed to shoot mature male animals. The Wildlife Conservation folk keep track of the numbers of deer in an area with a variety of spotting and counting and estimating measurements which result in the limit setting for each region each year as well as the numbers for the lottery for limited entry hunting.  Three of us won a moose lottery at $20 a ticket but none of us shot a moose this year in the area and days designated.
Once you have a firearm license and hunting license you can obtain the Hunting Regulations. These almost require a lawyers assistance in deciphering. They tell you what game, what age of game, what gender of game, where the game can be hunted and how many of the game can be taken in any specific very limitted area, and time. Sometimes an area will only open for a week of hunting, other areas are open for three months. Most deer hunting starts late August and ends in December.    Some areas bucks are allowed whereas other areas a few miles away only 4 point antlered bucks are allowed.  It's necessary to have an area map and follow the outlines of the hunting districts to know what is legal when in your hunting district.
Hunting is done in the country.  I suspect you could take a bus to get to the hunting area but you couldn't bring your dead deer back on the bus. Canada, unlike olden Mexico, doesn't allow for dead carcasses or live chickens on the bus.  So most people who hunt have a car or truck.
A 4x4 car or truck is the favoured machine though increasingly off road motorcycles and all terrain vehicles are the ticket. I've horse back hunted once with aboriginal friends and loved it. Today I love my Polaris 500 cc Sportsman ATV.  Most of my hunting though has been done in my Ford 4x4 Broncho II, or the Volkswagon Vanagon, the Astro 2 wheel drive Van, the Toyota 4x4 Truck, the Ford 4x4  Ranger truck or the Ford F350 Diesel truck.  All the 4x4 vehicles served to get me to and from work as well but I bought them knowing I'd be using them also in the back country. The Vanagon went amazing places but it's real advantage was that it had a heater and bed.  Lots of hunters like trucks with campers so they can get as close to where they are going to hunt, park and walk from the campsite.  I've done that mostly.  This year though I hauled an RV into the backwoods and returned to luxury at the end of the day of hunting. Other times I've stayed in cabins I've rented in the backwoods or towns close to where I've wanted to hunt.
I hiked all over God's half acre and carried deer on my back miles to the road. I 've quartered game and hauled it out. I've dragged a deer all day to get it back to a road. where I could bring my truck in.  Shooting deer is for most of us hunters is considered the easy part.  There's a brief 'rush' and  satisfaction in the 'kill' but it's far from hollywood. Once the game is down the real work begins.
Before I shot my first deer I was an accomplished back woodsman.  I knew all about survival and living in the woods and living off the land. I'd been a cub scout and a boy scout and was raised Canadian style by my hunter father having spent time on my grandfather's ranch as well.  Knowing animals and birds and stars and tracks was just part of my childhood. We camped every summer and hiking with Dad and my older outdoorsman brother, Ron,   was one of the great pleasures of my childhood.  I brought to hunting generations of knowledge and experience from childhood.  I then as a teen ager began hunting upland game birds and ducks with my father as well as belonging to Outdoor Hunting clubs and Gun clubs.  Eventually I'd do wilderness medicine as well but that's a whole different story.
4x4 vehicles are more expensive than standard city cars for purely functional purposes. The backwoods puts tremendous stress on these vehicles. When I lived in Kitsilano I noted almost everyone had a 4x4 but mine was the only one that had been taken off road into logging trails. You can tell by the 'bush burns' on the paint job.  Driving along these trails the bush rubs the sides of the vehicles.  Break downs and paint jobs can add a whole other dimension to the cost of hunting. I blew an engine in the Broncho II when I was swept downstream in a torrential rain storm.  I broke an axle on another vehicle and ripped a hole in an oil pan on another. That's besides all the dints.
Today just the price of gas is prohibitive. I spent nearly $500 in fuel costs for one hunt recently, just the fuel to get to the spot and then to drive around the territory. The advantage of ATV's is that the wear and tear goes to the lesser costing machine and the fuel costs of travel from base camp are significantly reduced.
Hunting for a city boy is a very costly sport. My friend who lives in the country shoots deer out his back acre the way I used to shoot rabbits and pheasants in my back yard when I lived on Vancouver Island.  Just to get to a likely area where hunting is possible around Vancouver involves at least a 100 mile drive for most of us.  In the country guys usually just shoot a deer on the weekend and rarely have to take significant time off work for deer hunting.  There's often an annual moose hunt when deer can be shot as well but the city hunter often has to take days off work to off set the travel time and cost involved.
Once you have the rifle license, ammunition and hunting license and deer tags, regulations and a vehicle to get you to the hunting grounds it's usually days or sometimes weeks of hunting before you are individually successful. Prospective hunters often prefer to hire a guide or stay at a hunting lodge, either costing usually $1000 to $3000 a day or thereabouts.  A week of hunting at a good lodge for $5000 is a very good deal in British Columbia.  $10,000 a week is reasonable. The guide knows where the game is spending their time, year round following the game.  They guaratee a shot.  That's essentionally what a thousand dollars buys. Guides don't guarantee a 'kill'.
I had several of what a guide would reasonably call a 'shot' this year and missed them all.  It was a bad year for misses despite my high accuracy with targets and coca cola cans.  Other years I've hit nearly every bird or animal I've shot at.  The guided experience has a lot to say for it and British Columbia has some of the finest guides and most impressive hunting lodges in the world.  It's a major aspect of BC Eco tourism.  People come from all over the world to shoot mule deer or white tailed deer in British Columbia, hunting magazines carrying countless stories of the great hunts outsiders have known here.
I was fortunate young to meet Bill Mewhort here in BC.  He was a guide when he was younger but we just met and became friends and hunting buddies. He taught me some of the greatest basics of deer hunting as well as some of the secrets.
One simple thing is that deer come down to drink at night and go back into the mountains in the morning. That alone helps one figure where the greatest likelihood of finding game relative to water is at what time of day.  I've seen Bill call deer in and almost had wild animals eating out of his hands.  His skill as a hunter is legendary. The pictures he has of hunts he's been on and the game he's killed is reminscent of an earlier century.  Today we'll lucky to see bucks and even luckier to shoot them.
I am thankful to my father and to Bill that I've been fortunate enough to shoot usually one big game each year of the last half century I've hunted big game.
Once you find a buck and shoot it, you have to gut it and field dress it. This is a skill. Bill taught me on site but my Dad had shown me how to skin a deer he had hanging in the basement. He insists it was in the garage but my brother and my friends remember that deer hanging in the basement.
The internet has some very good you tube videos showing how to gut a deer, core the anus and pull out the bladder without spilling urine. The gutting of the deer is removing the stomach and intestines so the enzymes don't spill on the meat and taint. The same goes with ensuring the urine doesn't spill in the cavity.  I've only gut shot one deer and regretted it since it was a poor kill, a mess and I had to do a lot of cleaning to salvage the meat.  All the other deer I've shot in the heart or chest or head the places where  it's best to shoot deer.
How well field dressed game is, how clean the carcass is kept defines how well the meat tastes. Though sometimes when a person says they had 'gamey' meat it reflects what the animal was eating most often it reflects how the meat was cared for and later how it was prepared.  I heard of a guy last year who shot a deer in late august, hung it for a day or two and the meat was rancid by the time they got it to the butcher.  In the heat flies lay eggs in the carcass.
The idea once the deer is field dressed is then to get it back to the camp.  Some people throw deer in the back of truck bed where there's been grease and oil and what not and wonder why the meat doesn't taste sweet. I always use a clean tarp.  I hang the game and skin it and try to avoid leaving hair on the meat. Sometimes if I'm transporting the game I put the carcass in cheese cloth to protect it. If I'm not getting it to a butcher that day I hang it. If it's warm weather I get it to a butcher that same day. In cold weather I've hung the carcass a day or two, high, so wolves and bear don't get at it.  Mostly though I've taken it out to a wild game cutter the same day. This time I used Johnston's Meats in Chilliwack.
I've butchered a half dozen deer my self but prefer the professional game cutter. I like the labelled brown paper packaged cuts better than my rougher butchered cuts.  I started out in surgery but there's a lot to be said for professionalism in any field, practice and the right tools and space.
Venison stew requires cubed meat.  I've marinaded all my wild game at times in the past in a mixture of half red wine and half soy sauce with a tablespoon of honey.  I don't tend to do that these days and rarely marinade stew meat. Instead I sautee onion and garlic in a frying pan, put that in a pot, then sautee the venison cubes in the same pan. I use a combination of virgin olive oil and butter for brazing the meat.  Then I put this in the pot.  I commonly use canned crushed tomatoes. I've done everything from scratch and grown my own vegetables in the past but  I like Italian canned tomatoes just as much so now often just add one or two fresh tomatoes. I often boil potatoes and cut them up in small bite size bits adding this and the potatoe water to the stew.  I usually add a stalk of celery. I almost always use carrots, usually green peas and sometimes corn.  This is a base and then I add whatever vegetables, sometimes, nuts, and other things I have around. If I have beans I'll add these and tend the stew to a chilli. If it's going to be a stew I then add salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano, basil in teaspoons or a tablespoon amount in my palm. I taste it as I go along simmering and stirring.
There are some great books on cooking wild game. I generarlly tell seasoned chefs to cook it like lamb or goat.  It's that kind of meat.  If I want it hotter I add some cayenne pepper.  I'm adding spices from the time I begin brazing the meat.  I always add a tablespoon of honey and soy sauce.  I like tabasco sauce as well. Each stew is a unique experience and decidedly medicinal for me. It reminds me of the concoctions I made years back in chemistry and biochemistry labs. I 'm cooking and praying and generally making food for the heart and soul.  It's a sacred and divine matter, cooking wild game you've killed yourself.  Alot of essence happening.
There are some great recipe books specific to wild game. Karen gave me one one year that was the best of it's kind but I've not got it here to know the name. I usually peruse them to see if they're making stews in the ball park that I am and find out if they have any other neat ideas.  I've used olives, corn, almonds and as I've said whatever I have lying around.
I simmer the stew for a couple of hours usually.  Venison stew made in a slow cooker crock pot is one of my favourite.  I've also loved pressure cooking venison stew as the meat becomes so tenderized that way. These days living on a sailboat I'm doing one pot cooking on a gas stove.
I then add more spices near the end since the original spices I've added are usually taken up in the meat and such. This last bit of spice gives some zip to the flavour.  Like the French I like to add a table spoon or two of butter to my venison stew.
I serve the stew when I can with fresh baked bread. I used me make my own bread and it was best then.  This year I've had fresh bread from a baker which has really added something to the meal.  I like diet coke with venison.  What can I say? When I drank wine it was cabernet I had but wine tends to blunt the taste more than improve the palate.  We certainly didn't have wine with the venison stew I had growing up. That's still some of the best in my memory.  Admittedly coca cola is better than diet coke but that too is a whole other story most chefs will identify with.
I like the left over stew even better than the first day. I usually make enough so that I can put away several portions for 2 or 3 more meals which I freeze in tupperware.
After a long day of work there is simply nothing like the nutrition and uplifting spiritual experience of having venison stew that has been left out in the day to defrost before re cooking on the stove or taken  right out of the freezer to be microwaved.
There's just something about left overs! I think it's just the time that's allowed for marinading and for the spices to really soak into the food.  There's tenderizing that can go on too. All wild game can be a bit tougher and certainly is leaner because the animals aren't just standing around fattening up for the slaughter.  They're living a full and spectacular life free before they come to the pot.  That's why I used to marinade the meat overnight in a jug in the refridgerator before using it for the stew. This process increased the tenderization.  Now I don't bother, liking the taste just as much though admittedly like the leftovers better, and I've noted I'm lazier now than when I was younger. So maybe left overs taste better because the work that went into the stew preparation is just a memory.
Venison Stew usually isn't given away easily. Rarely are others invited into the homes of hunters.  It's like bankers rarely invite others to see inside the vault.  Rarely is this delicacy shared except among other hunters who appreciate the gift. Why throw pearls to swine.  Why waste the divine on the unwashed?
 City folk who don't know what they're eating from the store and live lives of quiet despiration convincing themselves their faith is well founded in much handled and far distributed food, usually lack the education to truly understand venison stew .  It's like caviar.  At most people might appreciate it for it's rarity and expense but they are unlikely to grasp the full meaning of a home cooked venison meal provided by the hunter.  When I eat my venison stew there's no middle men except sometimes the game cutter.
It's far more expensive than caviar per ounce usually too. Maybe a thousand dollars an ounce begins to approximate the cost.  This year alone I put 20 days on weekends including a week hunting before I shot one deer.   The hunting day starts at 4 am and ends at dusk.  Success comes with dedication, training, stick to itness, and then plain good luck or what we choose to call "God acting anonymous. Admittedly I love the wilderness and outdoors, sitting in silence, stalking silently or putting or roaring around on my ATV.  Most deer I've shot have been in cold wet weather when even a dedicated hunter would rather be inside in the warm.
Golfing in contrast to hunting is for commoners. It's a sport for boys and girls.   Hunting is truly one of the most exclusive of adult sports by comparison.  Golfing being of Scottish descent though redeems it as worthy of adults but barely.
Deer hunting is a spiritual pursuit as well.  I'm not surprised that more women are coming to the hunt especially those who are choosing bow hunting over rifle hunting. I must admit the deer I shot with bow was probably one of the finest tasting deer of all. The noise of the gun is what scares game as much as the bullet. When my arrow hits the deer it can continue to eat before falling over.  The fact is I have had to be infinitely quiet bow hunting and get within 50 yards of the animal.
These days I take my silly young dog with me and we rather cavalierly go for treks about the forest shooting deer only when God decides. Then I like a rifle that can shoot a deer at 200 or 300 yards. Most of my shots though have been around 100 yards.  One deer I got on a hunting trip when it ran in front of my truck as I drove at dawn to the hunting spot I'd planned to climb to. Nothing wrong with roadkill if it's that fresh.
That said there's something special about venison stew and it's even more special shared with someone who can appreciate it's finest qualities.  Too many people have been trained to only like meat if it retains the taste of plastic cellophane from the factory packaging.
This fall Victor gave me some venison before I shot my deer.  It was only a couple of years ago another friend shared some of his venison stew with me. I felt blessed on both occasions. I am ever so thankful to the deer whose death gives me and my loved one life.  I love venison stew.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

Stanley Park is simply beautiful.  I've enjoyed Stanley Park since the very first time I came to Vancouver decades ago.  Then it was Prospect Park with the view of English Bay, Lion's Gate Bridge and the sailboats, tankers and luxury liners using the passage or travelling across the blue water. The snow capped mountains lie  to the north and the islands like hazy to the west. When I 've always loved bicycling the seawall but walked it most when I lived on my sailboat in Coal Harbour. I roller bladed it when I lived in the West End. It's always been this sacred place where exercise combines with spirituality.
I've loved the duck pond taking hundreds of photos and just enjoying the changes with seasons.  Then there's the paths which run through the forest which Emily Carr so captured in her paintings on display still in the Vancouver Art Gallery.  They're haunting and serene at the same time.  Old forest.  Ghosts of natives long past and the first white men who met them on these shores. Hundreds of years of human history with thousands of years of earth history more before that. It's all here in the middle of a city vibrant and alive with commerce and trade. Jimmy Patterson, the famous entrepreneur, helped save the park when hurricane winds knocked down so many trees.  Volunteers and lovers of the park have always come forward to help.
The Aquarium is here. I love when children come to visit me as there's no place like the Vancouver Aquarium to take them.  There's the minature railway to enjoy as well.  The Totems are a special toursist spot. But I don't need guests to come here. I enjoy the park so much that it's a usual for me to complain that though I live so close I so rarely make the time to enjoy this outright natural luxury that any Vancouverite can partake of if every their day is down.  Today I enjoyed watching the children play at Second Beach and remembered how I used to swim at the pool here.  I've certainly enjoyed many a summer hour lying on the beaches. Each has it's own personality.
Today I just enjoyed driving my Ural Patrol Motorcycle around the park with Gilbert in the side car.  I did this tour on an electric bicycle, before I got a 50 cc Aprillia Scooter, before the Honda Ruckus, the Buell Blast, the Harley Roadster and the Electroglide. I've enjoyed this drive in all those motorcycles just as I enjoyed the seawall on bicycle. The restaurants in the park have been marvellous places to eat and take friends.  The galas I've attended there have been the best.
I'm thankful for Stanley Park.  It's just one of the far too much that I take for granted.  God has created such beauty with such diversity and it's readily available anytime for me to enjoy.  The City of Vancouver and the friends of Stanley Park have all done an incredible job of saving it and keeping it the paradise it is. I'm so thankful for all those unseen souls who now and before have done so much so that we can have this glorious gift.  I love you Stanley Park!IMG 2163 IMG 2156

Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle

The Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle is turning out to be all I could have hoped.  Gilbert, my cockapoo companion needed his own space. A real trooper, he'd been riding on the back of my motorcycles but was long overdue for his own command position.  It's long been known that he's the general and I'm just the major driver. I bought the Ural Patrol, "the Cossack Motorcycle" from Shail's Motorcycle.  I was able to capture a picture of Shail moving the motorcycle out of his Powell Street showroom.  He has specialized in BMW for 30 years. They're apparently moving out to Motorcycle Central in Langley on the highway where Barnes Harley, the Victory motorcycles and others already have relocated.  Shail also imports the Royal Enfield Bullet, a British motorcycle with sidecar now made in India.  The Royal Enfield Bullet he had was 500 cc whereas the Ural Patrol is 750 cc. In addition the Ural Sidecar Motorcycle has a 2 wheel drive capacity in which the sidecar wheel is engaged to help get the bike unstuck or through a very bad area. This feature is not meant for normal driving.
The precurser of my 2009 Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle was the BMW R71 produced in 1939.  The first Russian copy was the M72. This was the Russian motorcycle used in WWII on the front for reconnaisance and mobile troops. It continued to be made for the military and domestic use.  In 1998 the state owned factory was bought by private interests with new management and upgrades. .
"The main bike models built in the plant today are the heavy-duty Ural sidecar motorcycles, designed with rough Russian roads in mind, and the custom Wolf. There are many places in Russia where only horses and Ural motorcycles can be used to transport gear where you need it. Ural motorcycles are equipped with four-stroke air-cooled flat-twin engines, a four-speed gearbox with reverse gear, shaft drive, two disc dry clutch, spring shock absorbers, and drum brakes."
"Like most motorcycle manufacturers, Ural now sources pre-made components in many cases — buying alternators from Nippon Denso, brakes from Brembo, handlebar controls from Domino, forks from Paoili, ignitions from Ducati Energia, etc. The company still makes the frame, the engine, the transmission, the body parts, and the wheels."
Gilbert loves the motorcycle.  A human would find the side car comfortable too.  There's a lot of storage in the feet area and in the box behind the passenger where there's a spare tire. There's a rack on the spare tire for further storage.
The bike has a reverse.  This is like the Honda Goldwing.  It's a feature I've used and enjoyed having because one tends to park the bike like a car. If it's flat it's easy to roll the bike back in neutral but if it's a downhill slope the reverse is the way to go.
Driving it is more like an ATV quad than a motorcycle. It's like a trike.  I'm not leaning so much as turning.  There's a bit of a tug to the right driving which is counteracted by a little push on the right handle.  Turning to the left is fairly standard but turning to the right, counterintuitively can cause the side car to lift in the air. It's a bit disconcerting at first and can be counteracted with more weight in the sidecar.  So far I've been slowing to 30 km/hr for turns off the freeway and having had problems.  It's happy at 80 km/hour and a delight in the city.  I haven't put it past 55 mph feeling a bit anxious as yet at higher speeds. It's certainly not my Harley Electroglyde which was made for the Amercan freeway and comes alive over 100 km.  This bike was clearly not made with the Autobahn in mind.  I haven't had it off road yet but everything tells me it's going to be a delight on a gravel and dirt.  It's really heavy duty made and I like that.
So far I've driven it all over Vancouver, driving down Robson and Davie, around Stanley Park, out to West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Kitsilano and Commercial Drive. Everywhere we go we get smiles.  Guilt expects this as he's been a biker dog sensation for some time but it's another level of entertainment for others.  When I've parked the bike people have come up and talked to me about it more so than any motorcycle I've had. I really appreciated the really old fellow who said he remembered them from Russia when he was a kid.  Right now I've left Gilbert in his side car seat while I've stopped at Starbucks.  Passers with dogs have let  their pets sniff Gilbert. He's appreciative of the visits.
I love having a motorcycle in the city. My truck is too big for the city and parking in general  in Vancouver is such a hassle that I'd just avoid downtown were it not for a motorcycle.  I've ridden year round despite the rain the last couple of years and hope to do the same this year. Gilbert needs a sweater and fleece lined jacket for the 30 to 50 mph trips. If I were to take to the rode I'd have to get himself something warmer.  Today he has a Martha Stewart sweater and an BC rain slicker. I'm just dressed in standard biker wear.  Admittedly I don't look so tough with Gilbert in the side car wearing designer motorcycle duds.  He refuses to wear a helmut and goggles so I'm glad the Ural side car has the windshield. Shail has ordered one for the main bike.  I'm loving the Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle.
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God's Plan

A central belief of Christianity is that God exists, that God is in relationship with us, individually and collectively, and further that God has a plan.  A plan is a concept that is difficult to sink one's teeth into given the qualities of God that include omniscience and omnipotence.  God is in time and out of time.  Time is a creation of God.  It is not as Einstein portrayed a fixed reality as in E=MC2.  Neutrino research shows even this equation may be limitted by the conception of the mind of man.  This reality is further but a minor reality in the potential of God's reality.  The obvious proof of this humbling reality is the child's microscope and the pond scum.  We naturally may be such to a greater reality or may be in parallel. Given the infinite nature of God all is possible.
So why is plan a problem.  God, being omniscience and omnipotent, knows all, present and future.  The potential possibilities for my life, if I include the reality of miracles, possible even in the physics of string theory, then those possibilities are infinite, limitted only by my imagination.  Today could be a day of spaceships and blossoming cathedrals, house shaped butterflies and infinite love in the universe.  All's possible with God.
So God's plan is something that is.  My life is but a thread and series of points in this tapestry of colour and sound and sense.  I am a part of a greater experience. My role is light in the darkness, I hope. But as all is God, the canvas, the darkness and the light, only I am necessarily moving towards the light as one moving away from pain.  There are those that would say embrace the pain and darkness and don't fear death as there is no 'real' death in the eternal God.  Eastern religions believe in reincarnation. Early Christianity shared this theme.  Waste and lack of respect for the present made discouraged suicide in the west yet left it as acceptable in the east, from a strictly intellectual basis.
God's plan is said to be the return of Jesus, messiah, healer, son and love incarnate.  Theoretically I should or could allign my life with God's plan by following as well as I could the Bible which is the world of God.  A Hindu similiarly might follow the Bhagadvagita. A Moslem, the Koran.  Each, religiously would be acknowledging a reality greater than their own mere conception and seeking knowledge of God's plan through the writing and teaching of those who devoted themselves to this or had inspiration and insight they believed was from God personally.
I'm praying for the knowledge of God's plan for me personally.  I want to know what God would want me to do even today as God is the potter and I am the clay as the song goes.  I am by the best of my intellectual reckoning a second thought.  The prime mover,God, is not limitted by the nano seconds even of Ideation.  God's plan is instantaneous.
My friend Tom and I were talking about character defects some years back. He told me that he figured that he had some black marbles in a jar of otherwise fine white marbles. He'd been trying to get the black marbles out, first by trying to shake them to the mouth of the jar, and then by spilling the jar on the table, trying not to lose white marbles that way, and picking out the black marbles.  Then one day he figured that since God was all he could pray to God to turn the black marbles white and save the wear and tear on the jar.  He's been doing that since and last I heard was flying at the speed of a volkswagon bus in a plane somewhere over Alberta.  Tom's kind of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull sort.
I personally am reading the Bible and Millard Erikson's Christian Theology along with Emmett Fox's insights on Biblical wisdom. Today, being Sunday,  I'll go to church and join others in the celebration of their experience of God, search for God, desire for God in their lives, the experience of God in community and hear if the priest has anything to say about God's plan, especially God's plan for me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ballet BC - Elton John

Tonight's ballet was a one in a million.  Emilene Molnar, artistic director of Ballet BC, welcomed Alberta Ballet to Vancouver. "Love Lies Bleeding"choreography and libretto by Jean Claude Maitre , featuring music of Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin was a resounding success. Costume Design by Martine Bertrand was way over the top, just the way Elton would have liked it. Set design by Guaillame Lord was equally spectacular.  With all the glitz, verve and downright sexy show biz, the incredible form and style of the impressive dancers still shone through. "Rocket Man" was my favourite but then I've loved always loved the song. The  choreography and starlit dance  added a whole new dimension to my appreciation of the genius of Elton John and Taupin.  I'm sure the pas de dieux of two men was the most elegant I've seen in modern ballet.  I was almost in tears at the performance of "Someone saved my life tonight" It's a show not to miss. Packed audience tonight but another night to go with a few seats left.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Canadian Authors Association - Vancouver Branch - Oct. 12, 2011

It's October 12, 2011. The Vancouver Branch of the Canadian Authors Association is meeting tonight at 7 pm in the Alliance for the Arts building on Howe Street beside Waves Coffeehouse. I got an email from Ben Nuttall Smith saying that he and Bob Mackay were talking on publishing.

I'm a blogger. Who needs a publisher. Ha! I don't even use an editor.  Ha! Ha! And no deadlines either. Ha! Ha! Ha!

I don't get fan mail like a Published Author.  Only comments. I have to respond to comments or the comment might overshadow the piece I've written.  Commenters are often more pithy than bloggers.  They're the blogger world's equivalent of the critic. But I even get to censor the critics in blogger world.  Published Authors don't have that luxury!

Bob and Ben, however,  since they published their books last year have had women chasing them.  Bloggers don't get swarmed, like Published Authors. You'd think it was the Vancouver Sun Run the way the Published Author Groupies charge, whenever Ben and Bob make a public appearance.

Bloggers don't have to do those public appearance things, either.   It's highly unlikely that Harper, Obama or Oprah are going to phone up this blogger. In contrast Ben and Bob live at daily risk of having CBC call them and ask them to talk about their books.
Published authors.  I'd not be surprised to see those letters after their names.  Bob Mackay, PA.  Ben Nuttall-Smith, PA.

As a blogger I don't have to re write. I don't even have to 'proof' my material.  It's a bit like going to the opera in one's underwear, mind you.

Ben and Bob's writing is so much more presentable and polished.   A bit posh really.  Complete sentences. Actual story lines.  Meaning.  Big words and catchy sly bits.
Apparently people liked their story telling even  before they  got published.

As a blogger I could go from an audience of none to the whole internet of billions, not that anyone needs to take notice of a blogger.  Blogging is democratic and subtle that way. Not in your face like a real hard book you could hold in your hand. Not even something that would get on Kindle.

Bob and Ben's books, Soldier of the Horse and Blood Feathers and Holy Men, respectively,   actually have beautiful covers and jackets.
 I might be able to spiff up my blog a bit but it's never going to adorn a coffee table, unless it were a virtual coffeetable.  Everyone has been gifting their friends with Bob's book or Ben's book but I don't even know if I can give my blog away.

Google doesn't pay at all like a real publishing house does,either.   My on line income from blogging has a certain elusive quality like the media itself.  Money always did have that here today, gone tomorrow aspect to it for me. But Google's not actually given me any real money.  Keeps telling me I have to score 100 before they'll give me the 20's they owe me. A bit like Los Vegas.

I was kind of hoping to hear from Ben and Bob about all the real money Published Authors make.  It's a paper business. Those publishing houses should be able to print their own money.

Now that Bob's a real Published Author and Ben is too, I expect they'll be telling us about their yachts and lear jets. Maybe I'll go tonight and hear what it's like to "get your money for nothing and your chicks for free'. I keep thinking there must be life after blogging.  A Published Author's life, perhaps.

I went.  Jean Kay, Perry Wilson, Anthony Dalton, Bernice Lever and all the other "usual suspects" were there. The room was packed.
Jan Furst had died just short of 100 so stories were already being exchanged about this delightfully remarkable Norwegian Bowen Island character, much loved in the author community.
Patrick Taylor, author of the Irish Country Doctor series, read from his latest in that series, A Dublin Student Doctor, set in 1930 and just out for publication this week. 
It was a glorious night.  Ben and Bob both humbly shared that if they could get published so could we.  All it took was a good idea, a draft, a manuscript, editting, rewriting, an outside editor, perhaps, a good query letter, maybe an agent if he wasn't a complete dodo, a willingness to self promote, and a powerful publicity machine helped. Then a publisher would likely consider your work if that publisher  actually published romantic goth fiction. In Canada no author ever admits to sleeping with the editors of Pen and Porcupine but it's been considered.
Blogging was recommended as was a web site. The Surrey Writer's festival was coming in 2 weeks and it was also recommended. As was the CAA December social and AGM as well as a 500 word Letter to Santa contest.

Dear Santa, I want to be a Published Author but I'd also like a Lear Jet even if my publisher can't afford one. My character isn't developed as much as the characters of the Published Authors I heard tonight so you might want to add that to the list. A plot would help too.  I'm still not sure you can get from here to there.  The CAA is truly inspirational and it's evident that Authors Helping Authors works.  But Santa I could really use a bit of extra help from you.  Has Rudolf got out of celebrity rehab yet?  Bill  

Honeymoon Cystitis

Cystitis refers to urinary track infection.  Honeymoon cystitis referred to the common phenomena in the past of girls developing cystitis after their honeymoon.  The female uretha is short, merely a few centimeters.  Most urinary tract infection occurs because bacteria which are normal for the outside skin get in to the usually sterile urine which is a particularly attractive soup for bacteria growth. The most common cause is E. Coli.  Sexual intercourse because of the action tended to pump bacteria on the outside into the bladder.  If a girl didn't pee before sleep the bacteria had all night to grow.  Hence the 'honeymood cystitis', there being excessive sexual activity at this time.
Antibiotics are the treatment of choice and work well for treating cystitis. The symptons of cystitis is burning urination with a desire to go more frequently. If back pain is noted in combination there is concern that the infection may have traveled from the bladder up the ureters to the kidneys. Kidney infection is called pylonephritis and is a more dangerous condition and the reason for treatment of bladder infections.
Preventions for bladder infection in women is remembering to urinate after sexual activity.  Further it's important to ensure that fecal content (poo or shit) from around the anal cavity isn't tracked into the urethra. To this end women and girls especially those who have acquired a urinary tract infection wipe from front to back and not back to front.
Cranberry juice is still a good prevention though there are controversies around why.
Urinary tract infections can be treated with a one to three day dose of trimethoprim/sulfmethoxazole (160/180) or a ciprofloxacin 250 twice a day for three days. Nitrofurantoin 100 twice  a day was an old standby that is again being used because of bacteria being drug resistant to the newer drugs.
The treatment for 'acute cystitis' is relatively straightforward and commonly done by family physicians.  Recurrent and chronic urinary tract infections because of their risk for pylonephritis are usually referred to gynecologists or urologists for more definitive investigation and treatment.
Men shouldn't get urinary tract infections even if their urethra's aren't as long as they may claim.  Urinary tract infection in men is different and should be treated as such.

Methadone "Carries"

When people begin on the methadone maintenance program to stop opiate drug use, especially IV heroin addiction, they are required to get their methadone daily. It also must be witnessed daily by the pharmacist dispensing the methadone.  This is called DWI, or daily witnessed ingenstion.
"Carries" refer to the "Carry Policy" of the Methadone Maintenance Program. A carry is a dose of methadone that is mixed in Tang and dispensed at the drug store but the patient is allowed to take it home rather than ingest it there.
As with the whole methadone program, it is a privilege and carries are a 'priviledge' which reflects that a person is doing well with the program.
The criteria for initating carries require that the doctor decide that 'carries' are both safe for the patient and safe for society.  A person must be clinically stable, well established on a methadone dose which eliminated craving and also withdrawal symptons.  The patient must also demonstrate social, cognitive and emotional stability.  Egs which doctors use for this include, appointment schedule maintenance, reports of improved social relationships, better mental status examination, no illegal behaviour.  Most importantly a person must have urine drug screens which are free of all mood altering substances for a minimum of 12 weeks.
In addition they must have the ability to store methadone safelty.  The methadone must be stored in a safe and secure place where it will not be stolen and is not a danger to others especially children.  This requires that a person be in safe, supportive housing.
Reasons for giving carries are school, work, caring for young children, travel etc.
It is further recommended that carries not exceed 4 days or 400 mg whichever is less.
If a person has had methadone carries and relapsed the carry privilege must be reassessed.  They must then return to daily witness ingestion and demonstrate that they are 'stable' again. This includes at least 4 weeks of urines which are clean for mood altering drugs.
Further urine testing is being done not only to ensure no drug abuse but to confirm methadone in the urine indicating that it isn't being diverted.

Projection and Projective Identification

Projection is a psychological defence or coping strategy. We all use it to varying degrees. The truly mentally ill use it more often than not.  In the case of projection I attribute my inner world to the external world or interpersonally, you.  In the classic example a paranoid is afraid of nazis so attributes anti semetic intent to everyone.  A woman afraid of rape accuses you of wanting to rape her.  A republican afraid of democrats accuses you of being a democrat when you question his or her authority.  An overly sexualized pervert accuses you of sexually wanting them when you're really not at all interested.
In all these cases there is 'false accusation'.  It's also commonly coupled with a generalization that is made specific.  Philosophically illogically, "all men are rapists, You are a man. Therefore you are a rapist."
As for projective identification, there was a meeting of psychoanalysts once, asked to give a meaning and the multitude of meanings was so diverse that rarely thereafter was the term formally used.  My own take on it was that if you acted afraid of me I might act differently in a way to increase your fear, identifying with the projection.  The idea is that you somehow get caught up in the the stronger projections. This is especially seen in 'folie et dieu'.  In folie a diew, the more insane person convinces the weaker person of their projections and the two live in a shared paranoid reality.  In one home visit I made to the proverbial old ladies with cats, they were eating the cat food with the cat food because human food was poisoned. They were also spying on their neighbours because they were anti semetics, perverts and communists. They'd never met any of their neighbours but the severely disturbed one had intuited this from the way they carried their groceries in and out of the house.  As a result they had to keep their blinds drawn and couldn't go out in the day because the neighbours were spying on them.
Hospitalized together on the psych ward they remained certifiably insane. However once we separated them the lesser disturbed one came to her senses and told the story of the increasing insaniety and her getting caught up in it.  Despite medications the other lady never did return to normal. She remained high suspicious and quick to incorporate some innocent activity you might do into her 'scheme' of things.  She never acknowledged her neighbours were innocent. It's very hard for many people  to admit they were wrong, something ironically is true of both the most ignorant and the most insane.  Admittedly I never did poll the neighbours to see if they were individually anti semetic, perverts or communists.  Perhaps they were all spies and personally out to get this one little old lady whose life without her delusions was rather barren and deeply sad.The other lady returned to normal life in the community and remembered these years much as a bad dream.
Projection is part of the 'group hysteria' that results in places like the Jones town massacres.  On a smaller scale it's seen in petty jealousies, body insecurities, and issues of self esteem.  "They don't like me because I'm not loud like they are," incorporates projection in a particularly twisted and sublte way.
As infants our mothers are part of us and we don't know where we begin and leave off.  Slowly but surely over time we appreciate how we are individual and interconnected.  Drugs cause a break down and regression to infancy with loss of separation of self and others.  Smoking pot or crack one or heroin one can believe all those smoking together are like a 'family' or 'friends' when in fact the group together only has in common the addiction.  As the brain is altered by the substance it is open to all manner of insaniety with projection and projective identification being common.
Patients who have had traumatic pasts often project under stress.  A woman sexually abused as a child might suddenly hit a man on a date claiming he tried to rape her when he was just helping her on with her coat. An ex military man may believe for a second a waiter is the enemy when he comes up behind him and startles him bringing the menu.
When the Nazi wanted to kill Freud and friends helped him escape to England he said, "Maybe the paranoids were right".  It's only paranoia if they aren't out to get you.  The joke also goes, 'what's the opposite of paranoia? Thinking you're following someone."  Projection is part of our mental make up and certainly a significant part of our community and a major part of regressive politics.  It's a useful term and worthwhile to be aware of.  Good friends are often helpful to tell a person when their past is being played out in their present and they're making their future a replay of their past just to prove they were right.  It's been said that the mind is a dangerous place and not somewhere to go alone. Certainly it can be such some nights.

More Clinton Pictures

These are just some more pictures I took while travelling the back country around Clinton.  It really is horse and cattle country.  I talked to a beautiful lady cashiering at the Irly store. She daid, "We came here a few years ago.  We love the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling. There's so much to do." The local newspaper Laura and I read at the Cordial Restaurant came out monthly. Not a place where too much happens quickly.  Certainly a bit of God's wonderland, though.DSCN0446DSCN0444DSCN0442DSCN0433DSCN0431DSCN0440DSCN0451

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clinton Mule Deer Buck

It was more than 25 years ago that I first hunted Clinton area with Bill Mewhort from Gold River and Campbell River.  I had hunted prairie chicken and ducks with my Dad on the prairies. He hunted deer, moose and bear like my rancher grandfather before him. I didn't stay at home long enough to hunt big game with Dad though we'd duck hunt and prairie chicken hunt  with my brother's red setter, Tartan,  years later.  I loved those autumn dawn and dusk walks together across the Manitoba stubble.
So it was with Bill Mewhort I shot my first deer on north Vancouver Island.  Then I'd shoot my first moose near Clinton the year we stayed together at the Circle H Mountain Lodge.  Since then we've been back together and I've been able to come up on my own always enjoying the cowboy ranch grass lands and sage  with evergreen, and poplar woods.  The autumn golden and green colours are spectacular.
This year I was with Laura and Gilbert. We had the Forest River Mini Lite  notor home  at the Gold Trail RV Park enjoying the luxury living compared to the old days of back packing and tenting.  I was mostly driving about the back country in my Ford F350 Harley Davidson Edition truck.  Laura came along for the ride a couple of times. Gilbert was at the window with his nose navigating scents. We saw some grouse and only interested in head shots I missed them all.  Gilbert meanwhile tore up the whole back country with circles and spirals and every genetic bird finding tactic hardwired into his little cockapoo hunting body.  He was pumped.  A little disappointed with my showing, mind you, but well pleased with his splendid efforts on behalf of the hunting team.
When Gilbert and I were alone we walked some, stalking silently through the woods.  But we didn't sit in ambush this trip. Bill thinks that's the best way to hunt. As a master hunter with game galore to his credit I've never doubted his wisdom.  Hunting for me is as much about nature and exploring the country, getting exercise and just walking the dog.  A mostly desk job can diminish the joy of meditative sitting waiting for the deer to make their appointment.
Driving around in a great Ford truck, drinking thermos coffee, listening to western radio,  Gilbert manning his window, and endless rolling hills, meadows, streams and forest patches, seemed just the thing to do at dawn Thanksgiving morning.
That's when the 3 point antlered  mule deer bounded across the road in front of my truck.  I stopped, grabbed my Mossberg rifle, jumped out of the truck, saw the magnificent animal look back as I was loading a single cartridge.  I'd missed a moose earlier this year loading two cartridges.  As the big mulie bounded away I lifted rifle with scope sited on the heart and fired in one fluid motion.  The deer was in mid air when my shot took him and he collapsed. I could almost see him bounding away but he didn't rise and while I let Gilbert out of the truck to help me find the body, I loaded another shell and headed across the sage to where I'd seen him go down.  I found him before Gilbert.  Short of the woods, collapsed in a heap, still breathing.  I put another shot in the head.  He kicked in final spasm and settled. I gave thanks to God.
Gilbert, for reasons unknown to man, only known to little dog brains, launched himself onto the head of the deer.  Stuart, my scotty terrier, had kicked dirt on the head of a bear I'd shot.  What is it with little dogs and big game? My big dogs never behaved so weirdly.
I cut my tag and quickly field dressed the deer. Then I dragged him down  to the truck. It's always smarter to shoot animals on the uphill plains.  He was heavy. I was wheezing.  It was suddenly a very hot day for a cold autumn morning.  I backed up the truck to the wooded area where I pulled the deer onto the road.  I couldn't lift him onto the tail gate. Thanks to the Polaris ATV winch I was able to get him onto the truck gate.  He was heavy. I tied him down with a tarp over and continued along the Circle H Ranch Road to Big Bar Lake remembering the first moose I'd shot here.
I was also praying and thanking God for his abundance.  I believed going to the Clinton Catholic Church on Sunday for worship had certainly helped.
At Big Bar lake I filled my container with water and rinsed out the cavity. A few men with a half dozen boys were there. They'd been hunting and not got any deer themselves.  I told the 6 year old to watch out because my daddy had taken me hunting first at his age and I was still hunting more than a half century later. The boys were really excited to inspect the dead deer.  They had to get by Gilbert first. Without my knowing he'd set up a perimeter and was guarding us with ferocious barking.  I called him off and the whole crew came over to look the deer over.  One of the guys took a picture of me with my deer on the back of the truck.  I was happy about that.
Driving away with the deer now on a fresh tarp beside the ATV all clean and dressing complete, I felt pretty stoked.  Gilbert and I were quite a team.  Laura was having her first coffee when I got back.  But an hour later the RV was stowed and we were on the road by noon.  It was a long drive down the canyon towing a trailer but I felt good with what I was carrying.
I phoned Victor when I got to Chilliwack to find out who his game cutter was .He'd shot a deer earlier in the year and given me some fabulous pepperoni. Curt Crack had done his game but when I phoned Curt he said he'd  had so many carcasses brought in that weekend, his hanger was full.  He gave me the name and number for Johnston's Custom Meat Cutter's on Vedder Road in Chilliwack.  Sure enough, they could take me.
It was quite the sight to be hold seeing my beautiful animal go into cold storage.  What cuts would you like? Roasts, Steaks, Chops, Ground, Pepperoni?  Yes, everything. And I'd like the pepperoni hot., I said.  I could already see the neat labelled brown packages in my freezer and almost taste the stews and curries I'd make all fall and winter.
I could tell Gilbert couldn't understand why we were leaving his kill.  I tried to  reassure him but  I could tell he was still awfully suspicious.  He'd feel a whole lot better when we returned in a couple of weeks.  What a great thanksgiving this day was.  My body ached from head to toe with exertion but after prayers I slept like a prince.  DSCN0454