Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vancouver Police and Police Dogs

I was disheartened to hear CBC news going on and on about some poor fellow who was bit by a police dog.  To hear the story I was left with the impression that Saint Theresaa and Queen Elizabeth  had been attacked by a police dog while having tea in a church somewhere.  Typical of CBC left wing politically correct yellow bleeding heart liberal journalism they had the story all wrong.
It turns out a young man, not a child, or a little boy or girl, but a man had been bashing a street bus with his skateboard threatening the driver and others about..  He'd been doing this not once but umpteen times.  He was told repeatedly to stop his angry bullying aggressive destructive behaviour.  He did not listen to authority or reason. He was a law unto himself. Clearly he had never till this time been socialized. He is likely the kind of person who pees on toilets seats and shits in the kitchen. His behaviour was by all intents and purposes feral and barbaric.  The police arrived and told him to stop and he fled.  The police dog followed him.  Note a police man running or a police car is least likely to catch a man on a skateboard.  However this punk, this thug, this bully, this mean little shit, didn't anticipate the police dog.  He didn't think. He might well have been high on drugs and impaired. Likely this was the time he was caught and there were many other times that he was not caught. His arrogance speaks to that scenario.
The police dog caught him.  Police dogs are trained to stop a person and bring them down.  If the person attacks the police dog the police dog defends himself and holds on.  Police dogs don't have guns or tazers. They have teeth. One dog against one human and the human has the distinct advantage.  Dogs need a pack to be effective. Police dogs alone against a man with a skateboard are in lifethreatening situations. One whack with a skateboard can kill a dog.  Indeed a skateboard is a deadly weapon against a police man. It's a bit like that weapon the Klingons used in Star treck.  It's a lethal weapon.  If a policeman or a police dog is faced with a belligerent aggressive angry hostile man with a skateboard then the dog or the police man is at high risk.
Now this police dog bit this criminal who had committed a crime, put others at risk, whoever was in the bus, those around him, some man going wild and apeshit with a skateboard defying the police and trying to hurt a police dog, a domesticated loyal animal in the midst of a busy street with all manner of innocent people about who didn't want to be drawn into this bullies personal drama who just wanted to get on with their business.  They had to witness this horrible situation of a man with a skakeboard trying to kill a dog and the dog just doing it's duty.  The man wanted to kill the dog.  He would claim he was solely interested in his self defence.  But the fact remains he wanted to kill a police dog after he'd tried unsuccessfully to kill  bus.
He was taken to hospital by the police. His hospital care was paid for by us, the citizens who he had harmed.  CBC seems to be a law unto itself.  It doesn't realize that we as tax payers pay for it's journalists and it's coverage of the news.  We pay for city buses. And we pay the high cost of having police dogs and the high costs of having police.  The Vancouver Police Dog contingent is world reknowned.  We have the best trainers and the most humane practices.  Our police dogs are the best in the world. This man tried to destroy a bus and  would have killed a  police dog.  I would have been delighted if the CBC reported the story as a success for a dog that survived and a success for the police who stopped public damage and the man trying to harm the dog so he could get away scot free..  The CBC doesn't seem to remember that hooligans like this man destroyed the city after a silly Vancouver Canucks game. We're still waiting collectively for justice to be done in that case.
Now the best part.  This man is suing the city of Vancouver, which is us, and the CBC people who live in Vancouver too, claiming that the police should have sent a gerbil after him.  Maybe a gold fish should have been sent by the police. Maybe a chihuahua.  Anything but a german shepherd so this man could have killed a little dog and made his escape to destroy people's livelihood and threaten bus drivers, bus passengers, and police men trying to protect us from this kind of dangerous sociopathic behaviour.  I personally would suggest that the Vancouver Police get pitbulls, great danes and rottweilers rather than the toy poodles criminals would have the police have.
We still haven't seen the Canuck rioters go to jail and jail in Canada is better than what the elderly who worked all their lives often get too, even without the new jails promised.
I think CBC should be ashamed of itself.  I think it's tragic when a person gets hurt but the age old message to criminals and taking a skateboard and attacking a bus and bus driver and passengers and tax bought city property is criminal, well, 'if you can't do the time, don't do the crime'.
Hopefully this fellow will learn something from his running amok. Maybe not to do it again. Maybe others who think they should be able to destroy whenever they please will also learn that the police will stop them.  This isn't an airport incident with a man having difficulty with language and understanding and threatening three armed policemen with a paper clip holder. This is a man with a skateboard weapon swinging it about with extreme violence and prejudcie and then defying police and wanting to escape to do more destruction another day. This is the story of Lassie coming to the rescue of the police, the bus driver, the City of Vancouver and all the people who live and work here without destructiveness.
Now in a sane world this man would go to court and the judge would find that this suit was more 'mischief' and he would be required to do more time or pay more cost for continuing to defy society and believe that he has the right to destroy people's livelihood and threaten us with his skateboard.  Then use the courts for his own criminal gain. My fear is that the judge, judges not riding in buses or walking about the streets of Vancouver where normal people live in fear of dangerous men high on drugs weilding skateboard weapons or whatever else they can get their hands on.  Judges like the CBC are too often uncaring about the rest of us who walk the streets of Vancouver or don't because we are afraid of the hooligans.  We depend on the police but increasingly feel they are muzzled like this sociopathic criminal would have the dog muzzled so he could have bludgeoned the poor dog to death with his skateboard and made his escape to go on to bludgeon a police man next time.
I am hopeful for the courts.  The lawyer who took this case must be hard up for work and embarrassed.  I can only hope a judge who has walked downtown recently takes the case.  I am thankful for the Vancouver Police and the Vancouver Police Dog contingent.   I would prefer that criminals hurt in the pursuit of crimes have to pay for their healthcare.  I don't think I should have to pay for health care and know that guys who attack the police and get hurt get their health care paid for.  They could at least get a bill for the damages they do. I've been hoping to hear that the Canucks rioters will have their incomes garnisheed for the next 5 years at least to pay for some of the damages businesses and tax payers and volunteers have had to pay.
CBC stopped being silly and stupid.  The vast majority of us are not criminals and we are the ones that are paying your salary.  Stop smoking BC Bud and report the news straight.   CBC stop supporting the violence and hooligans because your cheerleader is going to policemen and citizens killed.  A note should go out if the police are called up upon to help the CBC they should bring only goldfish, gerbils and toy poodles as back up. Better too, muzzle the goldfish.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Robbie Burns Dinner .m4v

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Robbie Burns Dinner - Moray Nairn & Banff Society - Scottish Cultural Centre

Another great year of Scottish Dance, Song and Haggis. The little gold medalist  dancer Erin was tremendous. The Stave Falls Scottish Dancers were incredible.  Bagpipes and the piper were the best.  Laidlaw's Ode to the Haggis a true treat.  Mad Celts music rousing.  Lorne came in from Chilliwack. Judith flew in from Australia. Laura and I love the Moray Nairn and Banff Society. Each year their  Robbie Burns Dinner at the Scottish Cultural Centre seems better than the year before.  I love Haggis!IMG 0554IMG 0555IMG 0560IMG 0564IMG 0578IMG 0579IMG 0581

Friday, January 27, 2012

How to get A's at University #2

Assuming now that you are attending classes, doing assignments and studying sufficient time , 1 hour per class for a B, 2 hours per class  for an A and three hours per class for an A plus, then there are ways to improve your efficiency at study.
1) Know your reading time.  Most of University is listening, reading, talking and writing.  Given case assignments such as read up on how to genitally garrot your pesky neighbour you would necessarily want to have some idea of how much time such an assignment would take.  The chapter on genital garroting of pesky neighbours is 100 pages long. How much time are you going to devote just to reading this material?  To know that, you have to measure your reading time.  My reading time for scientific material, studying, not just perusing, is roughly 10 pages per hour ie chemistry and physics, mathematics etc. .  My reading time for Art material such as a novel is 40 or maybe 50 pages an hour.  History and anthropology I read somewhere in the 20 to 30 page per hour range.  Knowing this I can estimate the amount of time I will require for an assignment. In Pathology we had a professor who needed genital garroting in the womb.  He assigned routinely hundreds of pages of reading which if we were to do would take up all the spare time any medical student with a dozen classes could have.  He had a megalomania complex.  Students failed that year's pathology becuase they tried desperately to meet his wholly unrealistic sadistic and ignorant demands.  Smart students however recognising that sleep was required in their lives quickly got a the equivalent of 'coles' notes for pathology reading that instead.  Normally though it's just recognising that if  4 books are assigned for a semester in a subject then as each book is a couple of hundred pages plus each course might involve a thousand pages of reading. One can then plan how much time one has to do in terms of simply reading the assigned material.
2) It is better to hand in incomplete work than not hand in anything at all. Manny students, especially those suffering obsessive compulsive disorder, think that something has to be 'perfect' so don't complete things. The key is to plan out how much time is required and set a reasonable deadline. The deadline for completion of assignments is not the day they are due but a week before the day they are due because an alien might well appear two days before the assigment is requiring completion. Aliens commonly abduct students for suctioning of sexual fluids and anal probing.  Since no one knows when this is going to occur smart people ensure that their deadline for completion gives them a couple of days lee way for potential alien abduction. That way they don't have to show up with a medical note saying they had a suicidal psychotic break and can they have a few more days to complete their assignment.
3) Undergraduate school is kindergarden. High school was nursery school.  You're not at university to invent a new wheel or find the meaning of life.  That's left for the phd programs. Their thesis's proving the existence of God and providing sustainable perpetual clean energy from fish farts are filed in all the libraries of all the universities all the world over.  The principle expectation of the undergraduate program is that it allows the university to market and sell higher education.  That's why people remember university undergraduate years as the best time ever and people do drugs, play bridge and make ski movies and still pass.  If you have a father who owns a corporation this is a good thing to do.  But if you are at university with the hope of going on to higher education and real learning and want to be first selection to real universities and real jobs it's good to get A's at university. Smoking dope and getting A is maybe possible in psychology but not in microbiology.  So stay straight and focus on study.  The strategy for success is the do as you are told.  Most undergraduates can't shit when and where they are told so they're not ready to be trusted with nuclear warheads or business proposals involving real clients.  So listen in class and learn exactly what the professor is saying. If the professor really was top themselves they'd probably not be teaching undergraduates but would in fact be designing the space shuttle and teaching the president in advanced classes called 'briefings'.
4) Demonstrate that you can listen and do exactly what the professor asks.  Teachers usually have low self esteem and need their ego stroked. If they ask you to describe the culture of Italy they don't want you to tell them about the 'history' of Italy alone. Use a dictionary. Most undergraduates are illiterate and high school as a nursery school which was developed to allow their parents to go to work, not worrying about the rug rats, doesn't prepare most people for university. University entrance exams were developed when it was collectively recognised that high schools were giving politically correct diplomas to utterly ignorant students who were likely to collect welfare and run meth labs and be consumers of beer and cigarettes.
5) Read up on the professor.  Find out everything you can about the professor.  If they wrote on Marx as the best latin lover be prepared to celebrate the lack of need for viagra in Castros cabinet. However if they wrote an undergraduate paper on the power and purity of Ronald Reagan don't dare say anything good about Che.  The arts are always political whereas the sciences are often political. If you agree with your professor given that they are teaching and don't really have a real adult job, like planning the mass murder and such things, knowing the 'position' your professor has taken in their training or their writing will go along way to getting an A.  In psychiatry I watched a Freudian psychiatrist become livid when my classmate tried to argue Jungian ideas about child development. He couldn't have been stupider if he'd argued on behalf of Victor Frankl.  The prof did not celebrate the pig headed student.
6) Priorize the material you need to study.  Put more time into the subjects you don't like. Most students put time into the subjects they like with the result they have A's B's and C's.  To get all A's you have to distribute your study time to your weaknesses.
7) Write down everything the professor says in class whether it seems important or not.  You don't know what is important. Having a great set of notes is very important. I copy type and all my classmates grabbed copies of my notes. Today I'd sell such gold for hundreds of dollars. Back then I was just another good guy.. It was the era of peace and love and we didn't know about global politics , psychopaths and sociopaths and such.  After you have a great set of notes, read them over within 24 hours of taking them underlining or highlighting what you think after the class is important, ie might be on the exam.  Later in postgraduate you will probably write in a book. rather than have two sets of notes.  In memory studies reading over material within 24 hours and then reading over the synopsis within 1 weeks results in the material being laid down in short and longer term memory.  Studying then in the week or two before an exam will result in that material being available to memory at the time of exam.  Read up on the latest research regarding study and memory and not the elaborate memory techniques but the 'concepts' so that you can apply this to your own stjudy.
8) Reading, highlight and underline. Books for university where possible are to be used as texts of study. When I studied the Bible at the University it was hard to make notes on the page and underline but I learned to do it and decades later that study Bible with my notes is still one of my all time favourite Bibles.
9) The reason for highlighting and underlining is that you will not be reading anything over except your highlighting and underlining so that a page on a text should be reduced to at least less than a quarter of the material preferably an eighth thereby highlighting the most important memory parts of the text.  The abberviated text then can be used as notes.  If you have a lot of highlighting it indicates you don't really understand what's important here.
10) There are now excellent 'how to study' courses at the university. 20 years  ago when I began treating geniuses who were getting poor grades these weren't availalb.e I've reviewed the local college preparation courses, Langara College had a superb one, and these 1 semester non credit courses were worth their weight in gold if you graduated from a lower end higher school with less than stellar grades. If you did a lot of drugs and alcohol in school then theses courses should be considered mandatory.
11) Don't plagiarise. Don't cheat. I don't care what the Fascists tell you.  You'll spend the rest of your life saying you're okay when you know you're not.  You'll have to buy a lot more toys and have a lot more facelifts to make up for being a sucker in undergraduate. However never turn in material without having it editted. If your father or mother knows the editor of New Yorker ask them a favour if you're in English 101 and expected to hand in an essay on Kaffka versus Camus and whether Hemmingway was a closet homosexual.  Get a tutor if you're having trouble in a class. Get one early. Use editors, professional or otherwise.  This is not cheating.  It's what all smart writers do.
12) If you have a multiple choice exam go with the first thought.  If you have time to review your answers don't struggle over which is right or wrong but reread the question to ensure you didn't miss the negative or positive twist on the question. It's found that most studnets make wrong as many questions as they make right in review.  If the question is short answer or essay then your preparation must include writing long answers off the top of your head and making lists of priorities to remember. It's not sufficient to read to prepare for essay and short answer material. You actually must apply pen to paper.
13) Form a study group of 3 to 6 students ,ideally in the same subject but if not mixed subjects work. Meet weekly for a coffee hour and during that time ask each other questions about the material. If you are in different courses switch text books and ask each other questions randomly from the material prepared or from each other's notes.  Alot of students 'put' information into their brains but don't teach their brains to release that information .  Discussing and answering questions about the material prepares one for the 'extraction' phase which is the essence of the examination.
14) Give up friends and families not involved in school if you need to focus. Friends and families who care will be glad to put the relationship on hold from semester to semester. If they don't they're selvish and probably will pull you down. Cut losers from your life or simply be selfish and reestablish the friendships and family relationsips at the end of the semester or end of the degree.  You simply have to priorize your work to get A's.  Tough.  If you don't or can't do that then don't bitch about the guys who develop space programs getting paid more than you in your car wash job.  You made your choice in that critical window of time. And there are critical windows.  You can't be a professional ballerina if you put off your dance training till 50 years of age.  I know the politically correct say you can but we're not going to pay the same to see a fat balding  middle age swan.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to get A's at University

How to get A’s at University
The average IQ is 100.  University is established at the level where a person with an Average IQ will pass if they attend class and complete the assignments.  People who have completed high school usually have established that they have a 100 IQ.
The University is a business and it’s selling education as a product. It is no longer ‘exclusive’. Everyone can get a university education if they are willing to do the work.  Most people who ‘fail’ university in my experience have been those who did not attend class, do their homework, or show up for exams.  Others have gone to very poor high schools and been passed when they should have had remedial training.
THere are Arts courses and Science courses.  Science courses are by design more difficult and more demanding.  It’s much harder to get by in Science by ‘who you know’ versus ‘what you know’.  I can fake ‘literary criticism’ but I can’t ‘fake’ making nitro glycerin in the lab.   At the higher levels of Arts and Science studies the two become equally difficult but generally speaking a Bachelor of Arts degree is far easier to obtain than a Bachelor of Science degree.
Assuming that there are 3 hours of class per arts credit per semester, and five credits per semester for roughly 3 years or 6 semesters, to get a basic Bachelor of Arts, one has roughly 5x3 or 15 hours a week of university ‘work’ to do to get a degree.  This explains why so many people do their Bachelor degree at night school.  Attending the classes and doing the exams and assignments to complete a Bachelor degree in 3 years with summers and holidays off for work and vacation, one has roughly a 15 to 20 hour work week.
It is not surprising that most people who have government jobs have got them by having a Bachelor of Arts degree.  It’s also no surprise that people in the ‘private’ world look at most low level government jobs as ‘cozy’, ‘overpaid’, and mostly ‘secure’ but for ‘stupid’ people without alot of motivation.  It’s better to have people employed in government and union positions than to have the same people out in the community unemployed causing trouble.
To get a ‘B” average at university, all one has to do in Arts is to study one hour for every hour of class room time. Note “1 hour’” of study is ‘1hour” of study, ie sitting upright at a table or study cubicle with a computer or book focussed on the subject material with pen and note pad or tablet at hand.  This means that person is doing 30 hours of study a week for a 3 year arts degree plus doing exams and assignments.
People who do this are more likely to advance in Government positions based on meritocracy rather than ‘years in”.
If one wants to get an A average in Arts all one has to do is study 2 hours for every hour of classroom time resulting in the average 45 hour work that people who work in the private sector of society do as matter of fact for any income over $50,000 gross a year.  They are working 60 hour work weeks as students.  Not terribly onerous but the basic minimum work week of the leaders of private sector business.  In government these are likely to be supervisors and upwardly mobile.
People who gets A’s in Bachelor of Arts degrees usually go on to do another year Honours and commonly advance to Masters Degrees.
To get an A plus one simply has to study 3 hours for ever hour of class room time making an average work week of 75 hours.  Considering the average work week of all ‘professionals’ has been said to be 80 hours this is not an onerous beginning. Work is required to be an engineer, doctor, accountant or lawyer.  It’s not required to be a low level government worker but it certainly is required to be the assistant of the premier or prime minister.  Watch “The Devil Wears Prada”.  The star was a lawyer working in business.  Every industry has leaders like this.  Only in government or unions can you expect to get paid for dollars for work. That’s the ‘blue collar’ idea. I get paid by the hour.  In the ‘white collar’ one is rewarded by the willingness to do work for free and as a result of this initial committments fame and fortune follow.
In the Sciences there is another factor that makes them more difficult and onerous.  Sciences have a lab each week in addition to three hours of class room. This makes science courses in general ‘more work’.  Instead of 3 hours of class a week, there are 4 hours of class a week. Hence to get a C one has to do 20 hours of work attending 5 courses for 3 years minimum plus completing assignments and showing up for exams.
In addition to just ‘talk’ like politicians and ‘salesmen’ and ‘administrators’, the sciences require that you actually can ‘make something’.  You must be able to ‘do’ things. You can’t be all thumbs and the making of a nuclear warhead in the class room isn’t a matter ‘of opinion’. Either the product blows up the world or it doesn’t.  There’s no ‘political correctness’ in the Science lab.  In Arts one can be wildly insane and delusional and get an A whereas in Science there’s a basic need to be reality based. Gravity ‘limits’ political thinking.
To get an A+ average in the sciences then one has to assume 4 hours per class study and attenance x 4 x 5 = 80 hours/ week. I think I did the math wrong and it’s even more.
The idea here is that as Einstein said, Genius is 99% perspiration and 1 %inspiration.
The number one reason for students not doing well in school is lack of study time.  Use of a timer and a set study place with mapping of the hours of study is the best self assessment process. Most people over estimate their study time and want to get something for nothing.
This may sound ‘harsh’. It’s clearly not ‘politically correct’.  Political correctness is for losers and whiners.
If you get an ‘A” and ‘don’t need to study’ then you’re doing a ‘too easy program’ or ‘too easy university’.  I got straight A’s at university but at Medical School was 1 of 15 straight A’s of the 100 students in the class.  It’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond.  The olympics and the top universities and professional sports are places where the competition is ‘humbling’.  The same is true for the ‘rich and powerful’. I’ve never met the ‘idle rich’.  If you’re lucky enough to be rich you’ll going to have to work to stay rich because everyone else wants to take your wealth or power.
If you have say 130 IQ  or greater then you will get Straight A’s with simply attending class. If you don’t get straight A’s you’re usually not as smart as you think.  Arrogance is the other principal reason for people doing poorly at university.  It’s not rocket science but ‘laziness’ and ‘arrogance’ do exist and are common and are common ‘reason’s’ for failure. If you are a genius after you get straight A’s in an arts program you might want to get transferred to Stanford or Harvard or do a dual honors degree at University of Manitoba or Saskatchewan.  Idleness is the ‘devil’s playground’. Alot of previously likely to succeed people were under achieving and ended up doing drugs, gambling, watching tv, having all consuming self aggrandising romances or whatever.  Later they said ‘poor me’.
A minority of people have difficulties for other reasons. The majority of people have difficulties because of laziness and arrogance.  Laziness and arrogance are common.
This is not a politically correct attitude. It is common though in those who are ‘achievers’ and do well at university.  They don’t believe someone else should take care of them and they don’t believe they should get something for nothing. They do have a very good ‘work ethic’.
I will elsewhere explain how one can succeed once one has a positive attitude with a positive work ethic.  If a person is doing the minimum numbers of hours of study and still not achieving it may not be because they’re ‘stupid’ but rather because they’re ‘studying wrong’.  Once you’re putting in the time the refinement can be made but until you’re actually putting the hours in the ‘refinements’ can’t be done.  The brain is like a muscle.  If you’re not working out regularly you’re not going to succeed.  Efficiency of study is done after the person is putting in the hours, not before.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Returning to Vancouver

I was ready to come home.  I really enjoyed the Spanish group.  I study well and work well.  When the weekend came and I had time to myself. I was glad to do the things I did but was ready to return to work.  There's a lack of purpose in being simply a tourist.  I remember bicycling across Europe that by three months it was a kind of life between lives and I was glad to get off the bike and take a job. A tourists flits about like a bird.  There's a relationship with other tourists which is itself superficial and passing.  In work one is in the depth of a place and culture.  The relationships aren't purely consumer.  As a tourist I begin to feel a bit like royalty must feel, other than.  I would have liked to have gone on the river boats and taken more pictures of birds. I would have loved to have driven to the capital. There's so much more to see in Costa Rica. I really hope one day to see the Caribbean side too.  In Quanacaste those I talked to enjoyed the hikes and I 'd have like to do that.  Maybe it was because I was alone.  Alone I'd done enough.  Even together when I was sailing for months I was glad to return to the routines I associate with work.  Were I independently wealthy would I worry about money going out and none coming in. I suspect so. There's something in the Scottish blood that doesn't like that equation.  It just seemed the break had done what it was meant to do.  I'd go back another winter for sure and ideally would sail to Costa Rica.  l loved studying Spanish.  I think learning another language teaches one so much about culture, anthropology, sociology and psychology. There's a real doing in the experience.  So many of my patients have English as a second language and when I've been learning Spanish I relate so much better to all of them after that because I really appreciate how much effort they are making to communicate with me.  When we went to Italy last year we didn't take a course in country but before going studied the phrase books and tried to speak Italian while we were there. That makes the whole tourist experience that much richer.  Language is such a window to the people of a place.  I enjoyed the teacher and the classmates.  Taking a course right off puts me in a relatiosnip with others and these people were great. I enjoyed we were all medical and had that in common plus our study of Spanish.  When I'd studyied Spanish in Cancun my classmates and I subsequently rented scooters and went off on a day of exploration and Spanish speaking. It's a great way for a lone person to meet others. This time we all dispersed but it was from the other doctors I learned of the Swiss Tavel tour that everyone had loved most.  I was the only one interested in Scuba Diving but would gladly have told everyone about Resort Divers of Quanacaste.  In Israel I was staying in the Anglican Church hostel and having breakfast there. This caused me to meet a group of ministers on vacation and we'd breakfast together sharing our days experience with exploration. It was the same when I stayed in youth hostels much younger and playing chess met other tourists and linked up with them to go to different places.  I liked all that about travelling. Travelling alone is more exposed and spontaneous so it's less buffered.  I've liked the Joni Mitchell "Freeman in Paris" experience of travelling alone but missed the good company of going with a friend.  Certainly ex wives and girlfriends have added to travel experiences in the past as did sailing the Hawaiian Island with Tom and then returning across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver with him. Very different experience than when I sailed solo to Hawaii in winter that other year.  There's a lot to be said for the variety of travelling experiences. I enjoyed this.  The everything included Hilton Package and everything one could want onsight at the Hilton Papagayos made it an adult playground. I felt a bit like I was in a precurser to an adult nursing home with all my needs and wants cared for. I simply had to take my body to the pool or the restaurant or the bano.  It was all there.  Most people didn't leave the gated community.  Were I to do one of these again I think I'd do just that too.
I was glad to return to English speaking world.  I have difficulty after a time with money and the second language issue.  That sense of being an alien that causes 'culture shock' which results in admission to psychiatric wards for immigrants seems to touch me.  I feel alien.  Certainly being alone increases this. But it's around money that I become slightly paranoid.  Everything required division by 500 since 500 was $ 1 roughly. I think those who do well with arithmatic in their heads do better with this bit of travelling. I begin to worry I'm being ripped off at little purchases.  I then pull out the calculator and see that what was my fear of losing large amounts was only in truth cents because the $5,000 colons was only $10.  I hate it most with tipping.  I had the paper money figured out in the week but the coins were difficult still.  Then too in Quanacastre American money is used equally to Colons so sometimes I 'd be using American dollars and other times I'd be using Colons.  Then I'd be worried I was 'being "taken advantage of" or being 'cheap'.  I began to worry what  I was thought of in these silly transactions.  Yet the whole business is to get the tourists money. Especially in the little shops in the shopping malls the potential for 'deals' was incredible. So buying a trinket for $10 was disappointing when a round the corner it was sold for $1.  I had to psychologically adjust to these things in a way that I don't have to in Canada. I like 'fixed' prices.  I don't like bartering on every transaction or thinking like 'sharp' businesman on every transaction. I don't like the 'paranoia' that is the basis of 'business' and it tires me to function in this mode. I can function is this mode amazing well but to me it's like being an assasin, I'd be great at it, really, but I'd much rather be a healer. There's a better feeling I have inside and I like to focus on feeling more like that. I like to look for the common hunanity and not compete to take advantage of each other in every business transaction. I don't like that after I am a 'mark' or a 'sucker'.  Very quickly I'm not interested in playing the game.
So I was missing Canada the day I departed. Arriving in Houston I liked that I was in an English speaking country. It reminded me of the wonderful feeling I got returning to England after months in Europe and hearing English being spoken all over on the streets. I liked that in Houston too.  But it wasn't Canada.  America is more barbaric and wild and raw and I always want to be carrying a glock with a lawyer chained to my wrist and a half naked woman with me beside a ferrari. I feel like the society is blatantly hollywood at times with so much emphasis on the superficiality of power and money.  That's in passing. When I 'm passing through in the airports that's my feeling of America.  Not in the street. When I'm in the states travelling on my Harley or in the truck or going to medical conferences it's a whole other things. My american medical friends and my other american friends are like brothers and sisters to me.  Yet in the crowd there's that other thing I can't put my finger on. Something about the collective.
I like Texans too.  Yet when I landed in Seattle I felt closer to home.  I've spent alot of time in Seattle and love it.  But getting on the Air Canada Jazz jet and hearing the stewardess speak Canadian and watching her politeness and concern for others made me feel at home. Canadians really are a well mannered bunch. There's a whole different thing going on in Canada that was apparent to me on that jet. We do have our assholes no doubt but overall there's something about Canadian culture that really attracts alot of people here and makes it hard to leave.  It's definitely not the weather that makes Canada so appealing. So it must be the people.
I loved coming home.  I liked the familiarity of the Vancouver airport. I liked the Punjabi taxi driver. I liked the multicultural experience that I encountered immediately that carries alot more mutual respect and appreciation somehow for Canada. I"ve met the occasional Chinese or Indian or Russian person who would like to change Canada to their country but mostly there's an appreciation for what people are leaving.  Most people I know want what is here and don't want  what they left. There's that sense in the community of Canada as alien as it can be. I think that's different from what I saw in Latin America and in the US. There's none of the poverty and hopelessness here that is there either.  In Costa Rica people were moving all over the country looking for work to pay the rent. Here it's a very different kind of poverty.
I didn't see a drug problem in Quanacaste. I didn't see a public drinking problem there either.  In fact if anything drugs and alcohol were pretty much frowned upon and discouraged in a way alien to pot head BC where the whole idea of the populace at large seems oriented to getting stoned or drunk.  I'm sure there was drinking and drugging but it wasn't mainstream like it is here.  70% of the country is Catholic and that conservatism seems to have protected the mainstream from the secular rave.
It's all superficial generalizations that one makes as a tourist.  Observations mostly made on ones own past. I didn't like being disconnected from the internet. $17 a day for connection. I realize I check out facts hourly now with my iphone here and didn't there.  I want to know things now.  I saw birds there that I didn't know the name of but here if I don't know something I learn it now.  So I really appreciated returning to the free wifi of the airport and the whole attitude of Canada and the United States regarding education. I don't know any country in the world where the Smithsonian would be free. That's what makes America the greatest country in the world. It's this desire to learn and the support of learning.  Free education is Canada was what made Canada a world class nation and the exclusion of the majority from higher education is going to be the downfall of our nation.  Only in the inbred wealthy children of England in the end could compete with the raw self educated Americans in their Revolution. The same is occurring now.
The whole scholarship thing was what got me my education. Meritocracy is what is necessary to make a nation strong.
I see that in all the free wi fi spots in America and Canada.  I see that in Blenz coffee shop free wifi. I can go there and have the world's libraries at my fingertips.  It's happening elsewhere. Cellphones were ubiquitous even with the young people of Liberia.  So it's happening. Its jsut happening faster here.
I was glad to be back 'on the grid' when I arrived in Seattle. I'm glad to be on the 'grid now'. I 'll be phoning my dad today and glad that the whole phone communication thing won't be so much of a challenge as it is elsewhere.
I was really glad to see Gilbert. He went berzerk.  It's the longest we've been apart and he was running in circles and squealing for ever. I felt fairly welcome. Angel was rubbing up against my leg and it was good to hug Laura too.  I feel alone in the cosmos alot and it's moments like this returning that I feel special and connected.  I don't think people care for me that much. I don't think people are very connected. The sense of life's journey as being born alone and die alone is with me much more especially as a result of the horrors of divorce.  I believed in community., love and all those other human creations before divorce. But divorce is that utter destruction where the person who you trusted most and knew you most intimately turns into Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. It's learning that living with people they can suddenly become psychotic and change to swamp things and unrecognisable mutants from another planet that makes living itself among humans terrifying. I never saw it coming. I never thought that my 'true love' could be a Sigourney Weaver Alien killer. I suspect that my partners felt the same for me too. So I think those who don't divorce can keep a higher measure of self worth and the worth of the fellow man. I'm paranoid of people since my last marriage.  I believe she was trying to kill me and almost did.  I believe my friends were rather impotent to deal with authorities on other occasions and that community is a frightening place.  I know patients who have been jailed for questionable reasons, seen people throwing into psychiatric hospitals and horribly abused, known patients from other countries who were tortured.  Humans can be very un nice.
So I really appreciate friends I have today.  I really do care for the guys I know. But the fact is every time I meet someone I look at them carefully because I wonder at some level if they are 'infected'.  Maybe it's my work that has made me so sensitive to the changes.  But I've been talking to beaurocrats and watched them 'lose it'. Suddenly I'm their mother or their ex husband or something and I see the change. I start ducking and worry how can I get away from this mad person. It's safe in my office because madness there is about people who have some insight. They're seeking help. But the madness in the street is terrifying.  The madness in beaurocracy is the worst because these people have a whole lot of power. So suddenly I'm talking to an armed policewoman with kevlar and she's checking my passport and I'm more concerned with talkign softly to her than any rattler or grizzly bear I've been with. She might jsut lose it here and then I'm caught up in her personal dram.a.
In other countries and other languages I'm not as 'fine tuned'. I'm like the fool in the tarot deck where as back in Canada I'm watchful and can be careful around the children with power and arrogance.  I'm safer in a way but much more alert in a different way.  I had great encounters with all the authorities on this trip and wondered what it was about me, them and the weather that resulted in this positive experience.   Other peoples emotional states are often like weather to me and yet sometimes I'm the one causing the storm in the tea cup.
A Chinese lady in the airport dragged her suitcase over all of our toes and hit our knees in this little space she had chosen to find a seat in.   She was with a surly husband who dragged his big suitcase to the same place but didn't hit anyone. I figured what she was angry at him for wanting to go to this seat and therefore hit all of us.  Her look was blaming and angry acting like she was the perpetual injured person while all of us were looking up at this rude unsocialized child. She was obviously wealthy but probably never toilet trained. Nonetheless it was that experience of 'bullying' I didn't encounter till I was back in the US.  The Latins were so gracious by comparison. When we bumped each other everyone said 'excuse me'.  Not at all like this woman who appeared to think we were an offense because we were 'in her way'.  I'm sensitive to these things and had to stop myself from acting on behalf of the half dozen injured people rudding toes and knees.  I wanted to get up and talk to her and her husband but then thought , whatever.  Children.
Now I'm back in Canada. I feel home. I got the sunshine I needed. I really felt after last years long last flu andwinter sickness I needed a bit of sun.  I could well have gone to los vegas for a quarter of the price if not less. I could have taken spanish classes there too so will think about 'getting the sun'.  Also I know in the past going skiing at Whistler and Blackhomb gave me the 'sun experience too so it's not just going south that will do it.  In Winnipeg if we got out cross country skiing enough on sunny days the winter was so much beetter.
The other culture makes me see my own differnently and I admit I have a whole new appreciation of my own surroundings.  I always return to Canada with such appreciation for this plac.e.  Vancouver is a beautiful city and it's a blessing to live here.
Time to go.  Enough rambling.  Work to be done and the routine to be re established. Normally getting off a week as a doctor requires doing twice thew work the week before and three times the work the week of return. I've had colleagues who stopped taking vacations because they couldn't stand the overwork required when they left the office.  I was taking emergency calls and emails the whole time I was away so have some second thoughts about connectedness.  Still I think that means that some of the work that might have been horrible isn't. In my first years of practice I returned to a death from every vacation I took. Somebody died and usually because they were turned away at the hospital or there wasn't any cross coverage.  I'm always afraid to walk into the office and see what has occured while I was away.  These days I'm hopeful though.
I'm looking forward to going to work. I'm glad to be back.  I've slept alot while I was away too.  Lying napping in the sun reading books I enjoyed.  I think everyone here should have a SAD Lamp. I really must gett to a tanning salon. Laura says I look so much better tanned. She looks great always.
Thank you Jesus for the blessing of time off from work, study, travel and sunshine then the blessing of return to friends and Gilbert and Angel.

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Birds of Quanacastre, Costa Rica

I took the Swiss Travel Tour to the Verano private ranch.  It was horseback riding and zip lining, hot springs and great dinner.  I happened to have my long bird lens along so got a few more bird pictures.  I had to leave that camera with the driver along with my bag because the zip lining through the jungle wasn't a place for a big over the shoulder bag. A packsack with two shoulder straps would have been fine.  I certainly didn't need the big zoom for the shots of that tour. The guide, Allehandra, figured the best birding pictures would be on the river boat tours.  As it was I got some interesting DSC 0381bird pictures so am adding these here. I love the white throated magpie jay. The white winged dove . DSC 0386DSC 0383I couldn't figure out for sure what this little brown bird was though it may be the clay coloured robin, the Cposta Rica National Bird.DSC 0390DSC 0395I liked the group of big birds which were either black or turkey vultures. DSC 0394

Zip lining Canopy Tour- Quanacaste - Costa Rica

I had a great day zip lining with Alehandro from Swiss Travel Tours and young people from Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It was wild.  As an old guy I kept up with the young, barely.  They were smiling and laughing a lot more. It took me a couple of trips before the terror of the first go turned to excitement and real fun. Allehandro took pictures and caught me looking pretty grim.  I actually smiled alot, especially after I got off.  I didn't ever get to the horsing around phase though that the young guy did. The girls were clearly immortals as well. The burn nurse told me she actually liked jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.  DSCN0093It's really safe with safety lines and such that still doesn't sink in psychologically on that first run. It was strenuous by the end but what a great day.  After we luxuriated in the hot springs before having the most magnificent 6 course lunch mostly produced by the ranch itself. DSCN0071 DSCN0072DSCN0075DSCN0077DSCN0079DSCN0080DSCN0081DSCN0085DSCN0086DSCN0088DSCN0089DSCN0103DSCN0102DSCN0104DSCN0114DSCN0117DSCN0127DSCN0124DSCN0107IMG 0535DSCN0113DSCN0133

Costa Rica - Swiss Travel Tours - Horseback Riding - Zip Lining - Hot Springs

I loved the day long tour arranged for about $100 with the Swiss Travel Tours.  Alehandra was the tour guide. He was fun and a wealth of information about local sights and customs.  I was the old guy with a terrific group of young people from Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Nurse, OT, Executive Assistant and Financial Planner.  As representatives of todays young adults there is serious hope for the future.  My office assistant Joanne had said her parents loved the zip lining through the jungle heights. I'm now convinced they are younger and in better shape than me. I had the idea of something less exciting and less strenous.  It was way more fun. I really loved the horseback ride. The whole tour occurred on a private ranch. I'm pretty sure it was Verdanna.  This is a terrific place, a functing farm that produced most of the food we later had for a magnificent meal at the end of a great day.  The white hatted cowboy - horse master - really was the real thing. The horses were obviously family. Nothing 'trail ride' about this group. Really well cared for horses which the family themselves were riding about their fields.  It was a thoroughly beautiful ranch near the volcano.  Great to see this beautiful countryside .On the ranch horses were an active means of transportation. As grandad was a big northern rancher I really appreciate cared for horses and ranch and farm folk that really take pride in their world. One of the sons accompanied us on the ride and spoke with enthusiasm about building an additional water slide complex to add to their already luxurious hotsprings complex. The water is natural mineral healing water but it's heated because it cools off getting to the pool. I liked the honesty. I liked everything about this. The company was funny too. I wished I'd had more time for more tours. The river boat tours were popular and Alehandra said these were great for bird pictures. DSCN0025 These are horseback riding pictures.  I have to put the zip lining ones on the next blog. DSCN0015 DSCN0023DSCN0022DSCN0017DSCN0030DSCN0026DSCN0027DSCN0024DSCN0042DSCN0056DSCN0058DSCN0059DSCN0065DSCN0061DSCN0064DSCN0063DSCN0066DSCN0069DSCN0068