Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Threat of Aging

The threat of aging?

Talk of threats:
Cold war missiles,
Expanding conventional wars
World wars, smart bombs;
Holocausts, genocide,
Flu Herpes, HIV, SARS,
Marijuana, Crack,
Cigarettes, Heroin;
Terrorists, foreign and home
Eco terrorists, Cyber villains,
Acid rain, ozone depletion,
Floods, Tsunamis, Earthquakes.

I'm not afraid of old age
Old age is a luxury.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


If you believe you are first
Remember that experience
Of belief, or self
That grokking whatever
Took nanoseconds to know
Neurochemical synapses
Take time
So I am but an after thought
Of that first thought.
In the Beginning...


Waking again to  mystery and wonder
Sunshine through window
Old body not yet worn through
Bits of memory
Fragments of dreams
Routines as glue
Holding me
I pray
Another day
I've forfeited life
Yet wake undeserving
Blessed  I know not how
Seeking stories of meaning
Join with others in  speculation
And laugh in gratitude
I am just a guest

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Circle William

I'm enjoying reading this superb thriller by Bill Harlow. I'm half way into the book and loving the characterizations.  Schmidt brothers, one a White house press secretary in Washington, the other a maverick destroyer captain in the Mediterranean..  Terrorists and high tech. It's written in 1999.  Ghaddafi is still alive and some of the background I didn't know about Libya comes clear in the novel. I really want to go to the south of France for a vacation now too.  Capt. Bill Harlow was 25 years in the Navy and Chief of Public Affairs for the CIA.  Now that makes a real kind of authority to attach to a decidedly talented writer. Enjoying Circle William so much I definitely plan to see if Bill Harlow has written anything more recent. I suspect his take on matters will keep the air of authenticity. I hope his characters continue too as other heros of the sea have like Richard Bolitho.

Travelodge Frostbite, Chilliwack, BC

Everyone can have a bad day.  An individual doesn't necessarily represent an organization.  I was not at my best. I have a cold, with a little fever and chills.  I chose the Travelodge in Chilliwack for rest and recuperation. If I wasn't sick I might well have camped out in the blizzard. I've made and stayed in Igloos. I'm no hot house plant by any means.  I'm a survivalist and wilderness ready.
A blizzard had struck the interior that  morning. Arctic air was flowing through the valley.  I had left the cold coast to come to the colder interior.  I nearly froze leaving the car and going into the hotel.  Registration went normally, though. I should have listened to the music that played in the background.  It's the same music that is played in movies when a woman is in the shower and the shadow of knife is moving across the wall.
I went into the room.  I had the false expectation of comfort.  I saw my breath. This should have been a clue. Instead being a person  generally considered computer  savy I had a go at the thermostat Hal.  The fan blew cold air and then colder air.  Standing still in my coat, having had to take off my gloves to push the buttons, I called the front desk. She told me that I had to increase the temperature in increments of 4 degrees or the machine got angry.  I didn't want Hal angry.  Doing exactly as she told me, I increased the thermostat incrementally while feeling the fan blowing colder air.
I called her back.  She said that I must be doing something wrong.  I felt stupid and looked at Hal,digitally grinning. She said she'd send housekeeping.  House keeping arrived and cranked up the thermostat to 80.
 I told her, "the girl at the front desk said that wouldn't work. She said it would make it go colder."
The house keeping girl  went over to the fan and said ,"see it's already getting warmer".  I felt it and the air seemed colder but I was having fever and chills so couldn't be sure.   When house keeping left, Laura felt it and said ,"It's still cold."  Gilbert, with a full coat of hair, was romping about thinking this was the coolest room.
"Let's go to the restaurant. It should be warmed up when we get back, " I said. We dropped Gilbert off in the truck as yet unable to convince restaurants he's a person trapped in a dog's body.
Lunch at the Pantry was great. Our men's Bible study used to meet here years ago.  I liked the very pleasant young man who efficiently served us. When it came time to pay for our food though the line up of people wanting to pay their bills went around the building.  "The debit card pay machine is pretty slow" he said with knowing understatement.  I knew we were in the country but this was Deliverance slow technology.
We collected Gilbert from the truck and headed back to our room.  It was even colder than we'd left it.  There was now a snow man with a carrot for a nose between the beds.  I phoned the front desk to say that the room was still freezing. Obviously something was wrong with the thermostat,  Hal was actually digitally singing and omninous noises came from the keening fan. I told her we needed another room or we'd have to go to another hotel. "I'm sick. I have  fever and chills.  I need warmth. It's colder in here than outside."
"If you wait a minute, " she said, "I'll see about finding you another room."
I sat looking at my breath watching Gilbert bounce about,  either because it was so cold he felt invigorated or because movement kept his blood flowing. I felt awful.  I really felt awful. I waited.
I opened the door to let the hallway heat in.  The girl from housekeeping was there, standing with a guy and the two just looked at me, like I was some sort of alien.  These  couple of Invasion of the Body Snatchers sorts staring at me like I am a major inconvenience didn't make things better.
We waited.  I told Laura.  "I can't stay here. I've got to go out to my truck and get some heat happening."
"It's been long enough for them to do something." Laura said.
We picked up our bags and headed to the front desk.  As I was passing housekeeping, I said to the girl, "the girl at the front desk said that you were wrong to increase the heat to 30 because it only works if you increase it by 4 degrees at a time. "   She actually rolled her eyes,  turned her back and walked away.  I realized Hal was capable of a whole lot more than what the front desk girl believed. Housekeeping obviously knew the room was haunted.   Laura and I walked on to the front desk.
"I called because there was no heat in our room," I said.
The girl at the front desk became very haughty indeed.
"I had another guest  to check in.  I couldn't deal with you right away."
"Well, I'm going to find another hotel then. "  I said. "I've phoned about this problem. It was supposed to be fixed. It's not. And you told me you'd get me another room right away."  I seriously can't remember when I've expressed such displeasure with service.  I think the last time I got as upset was 40 years ago when I was bit by bed bugs in overseas hotel room crawling with cockroaches.
"I've talked to the house keeping girl and told her how you have to increase the heat by 4 degrees only or it turns on air conditioning ." she said.  I thought that the strangest thing since to get the room warm I'd have had to stand there increasing the heat 6 or 8 times to unthaw a human body. Down the hall the house keeping girl was staring at us with a serious pout and hands on her hips.
"It's been our second call and a couple of hours," Laura said.
"It wasn't me," the front desk girl  pretty well shouted back at Laura.  Laura was suddenly even more unhappy than me.  "It doesn't matter that it wasn't you."  she said, aghast, "We are the guests here.  We've spoken to the front desk several times about this problem."
"It wasn't me you spoke to" the girl said looking livid, "  I don't know why you are being so difficult with me. I just got on and you're causing me all this trouble.  You're being so unkind when I've got  you another room. I'll show you."
Somewhere during this little girl's defensive self pity rant, Laura had turned on her heel and walked out of the hotel.
"I've got you another room with heat right next to your room," the front desk girl said frantically to me. I thought this would have been useful information earlier.  "I don't know if it's heated up now but you can look at," she said.  I was exhausted so followed her into a room that seemed warmer. I couldn't see my breath at least.   I went back to the front and called to Laura saying they have another room.
Laura was outside by the truck and responded. "You're going to stay there after she practically shouted at me. The way they treated us, why would you want to stay there."
I realized that this was just how people travelling through towns staying in strange hotels woke up without body parts and strange surgical scars which hadn't been there the night before.
I certainly wasn't going to go back  there.
I said to the girl, "I'm afraid we're still leaving."
I asked if there was some cancellation or anything as I'd made reservations earlier in the week, given her my credit card, signed away my life, given buchal smears for DNA testing, a sample of the dog's blood, as well as paw prints when I checked in.  She said, "there's nothing and there will be no charges."
We called the Comfort Inn.
"Yes we have rooms and are pet friendly, " Selena said.
"Yes, all our rooms have heat." she added, a bit surprised by the question. After her answer I presumed that other hotels in Chilliwach probably provided heat as well and only the Travellodge considered that an optional winter addition.
We drove to the Comfort Inn, Chilliwack BC, next to the Sears off Hwy I on Luckakuck Road that runs parallel to Hwy I, beside 'Ricky's Restaurant'.
Selena, the young attractive woman who was working at the front desk was a charm.  Professional, capable, welcoming. We told her our story of being put in a butcher's meat locker at the Travelodge and how we were now convinced that the place had been taken over by cannibals.  She good naturedly assured us, the Comfort Inn was only about what the name implied.  She was a very human and warm hearted young woman.
The room was magnificent. It was warm and comfortable, a large suite with lovely decor.   Gilbert immediately lay down at the foot of the bed and went to sleep.  Home Sweet Home.

77 Percent of Canadians are Christian

In the last census 77% of Canadians claimed they were Christian.  Some 15% more from other religions clamed they were theists, that they too beleived in God and spirituality.  At one time 'Science' was the playground of Theists.  Newton and Einstein were very godly men.  Just because science is a game requiring we play within the arbitrary limitations of materialization, empiricism and determinism doesn't mean science or scientific method can 'deconstruct' God.  As C.S. Lewis would say, why are you looking in the wall for the Architect. There are scientific questions and spiritual questions.
Why is the media so aetheistic?  However aetheism by denying God implicitly insists on the existence of God.  Logic says if I say, 'the dog isn't there' by citing the Dog' I've given it's existence.
But what force or forces would de Christianize the greatest country on the planet. I can understand a Buddhist agenda that would have Christians become Buddhist but no Buddhist would destroy a Christian's faith in God. Neither would a Muslim or a Jew for that matter.  So what force is intent on destroying Christianity or more specifically Canadian Christianity?
Admittedly Christianity has done a fair job of boring people with televangelist nut cases and nutbars only beatable by the immans who speak on behalf of Allah like Allah was as much a fool as they are.
Communism was a religion. Reason was it's God and the ego was it's Christ.  Communism continues to affect Canadian thinking. Communism is not socialism and is not democratic.  Communism is a 'curse' that says we are all paranoid, trapped in dualism, forced to fight one against the other until  there is a one class society ruled by the rulers.  It's a retreat to feudalism and has returned those countries where it has prospered to warlords or gangsters and everyone else. It's dictatorship of the proletariat.  In contrast socialism is a democratic meritocracy that doesn't have a religion attached to it like the dialectic war of words that fuel the silly slogans of communists.  Instead socialism speaks to the highest principles of people and asks questions like who would best be the shepherd not whose cousin or brother would best be the shepherd.
There are choices to the 'survival of the fittest' which was the aetheist Darwin's contribution to the world. The biggest lizard wins.  American Idol and Hollywood as a template for creation. God as a ratings board.
I don't think so.
77% of Canadians are Christian.  Christianity brought stronger than all other religions the idea we are all equal before God and that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. More importantly the Bible said that through prayer and meditation we could have direct contact with God and the history of the church is rife with people who had visions and served others as a consequence of what they called a 'calling'.
We criticize Christians for not being Christ like.  We criticize emperors for failing to dominate the world.  Emperors fail because they are not brutal enough or loving enough. Christians fail always by not being loving enough.  A very different kingdom, the Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of the World.
77% of Canadians are Christian.  The largest growth in Chrisitanity is in the protestant new churches and the new thinking catholic churches. The mainstream thinking has lost an amazing number of adherrents. 10's of thousands.  People believe they are Christian but like fans of the Canucks who would say they are Canucks fans fewer attend the games for various reasons.  The Canucks games are exclusive.  The churches are exclusive.  Canadian politics are exclusive too.  Minorities want to rule the majorities everywhere we look but don't really want the majority opinion or participation.  Corporativisms with wild CEO's representing absentee boards and shareholders.
I am an ecumencalist and that means I'm big on agreeing with what we all can agree on.  Maybe Canadians believe we're Canadians only because we inhabit a longitude and lattitude. Maybe Canadian Christians believe that we are Christian because we were born in this great land of Christianity where the Christians built the cities and railways and made Canada the polite apathetic nation that claims multiculturalism despitet the fact that multiculturalism so easily devolves into the un-cultured and uncouth.  The Christianity of Canadians is by nature 'inclusive'.
I'm a Canadian Christian too.  As such I disagree with other Canadian Christians who would say that their Canadian Christianity is superior to my Canadian Christianity. Canadians have a provincial and federal system.  Like Christianity there is orthodoxy and spirituality.  The provincial Canadians outnumber the federal Canadians though of course the Quebec Christians would be a smaller number than the Federal Canada Christians. Canadian Christians can think in these terms. We don't all have to goose step to a single tune . We don't want to blow up our neighbours. We are trying to love one another.  Our Jesus was a god of love in that sense.  He said Love is more important than fear.  The Beatles were popular as a British group with Christian origins because they said "all we need is love'.  That made their essentially Christian message resonate with the Hindoos and Buddhists who also didn't want a revolution.  Sufi Muslims have long loved living in Canada because they know the Love that the highest of Wicans espouse and that the finest of pagans can aspire too.
Spirituality is central to Canada where the soul of the wilderness we live so close to speaks to the hearts of even those living in the centre of the city.  St. Francis, St. Theresa of Avila, all of the saints and all of the apostles have a place in Canada. Thomas Merton was the Canadian Christian who touched the core of the eastern teachings and showed where the similiarities lay.
God smiles on all as the sun smiles on all.  No wonder Constantine favoured his father's sun till himself faced with the darkness of death where a spiritual son shines more bright. Milton said that God never stopped smiling on Satan but that his angel son turned his back on the light and preferred to revel in his shadow.  The arrogance of man is that he forever wants to claim the child's belief that he is the sole creator of the poop in the toilet or the artistic sandcastle or the empire for that matter.  But nothing occurs without God who is the fabric of all.
And God is love.  Jesus also taught  the parable of the Prodigal Son.  Thank God!

The Problem with God

The problem with me is fairly straightforward.  The answer to that question would best be put to my ex wives, my former teachers, present administration and any enemies I've collected in this short but interesting lifetime. I've had alot of ideas about the problem with me and tried in various ways to correct the more obvious deficits.
The problem with God however is a bit more difficulty.  Obviously he is a supreme being, the one from which all things emanate.  He is my creator.  He or she is my source of energy and power.  I am nothing without God.  I think because of God and feel because of God and exist because of God.  God is all that is within me and without me.  God is everything.  God is also nothing. God is within and without and beyond all I perceive and know. God is unfathomable.  Yet I have this belief that there is a place where God and I can meet.
I would be in this place always. When I'm there my life and feeling and thought seems in the 'flow', in the 'present' and right.  Yet somehow the nature of this being that God created is unable to keep track and focus on this almost bouncing ball relationship with God.
I want to be more with God and have God more with me. I want to trust more and be less afraid and know God and feel God's protection and safety. I want to soar on Eagle's wings. I want to be uplifted by God. I want to know God and be reassured by God but often feel so far apart from God and not knowing how to return to God.
I feel God is the good times when indeed God is all time. There is no time without God. I want God to take away some pain or discomfort without realizing that pain or discomfort proclaims the existence of God. I would know God in the cozy cuddly sense but God knows me in my whole being and would have me know God is with me always, in sickness, disease and poverty as well as wealth and health.  God is ever with me but I've limitted the experience of God or God has created me with this limitting capacity.
The problem with God then is me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Romantic First Date Questions

1) Why is such a beautiful obviously intelligent person such as yourself single at your age?
2) Why is such a handsome intelligent person such as yourself single at your age?
2) What did your ex say was wrong with you?
3) Did you take care of your dying parents?
4) How many sexual partners have you had, really?  Intercourse?
5) Do you have any transmittable diseases?
6) Do your children, parents, friends still speak to you?
7) Do you believe in God?
8) What do you worship?
9) What is your work?
10) How long have you been there?
11) What is your longest sexual relationship?
12) What is the longest time you have been in a sexual relationship?
13) Have you ever killed anyone?
14) Have you been anally probed by blue aliens?
15) Have you ever been treated for addiction?
16) Have you ever been arrested?
17) Have you had an abortion? How many?
18) Do you want children?
19) When was the last time you were with children?
18) What do you and your friends like to do?
19) Are you a terrorist?
20) Who did you vote for in the last election?
21) Do you wear depends?
22) Do you think the man or woman should pay for the viagra?
23) Do you floss?
24) How far did you go in school? Why did you stop?
25) What trophies, medals or awards have you got?
26) What demeanors, failures or negatives have you faced?
27) Do you believe in life after death?
28) What is your best sexual relationship experience?
29) What is your worst sexual relationship experience?
30) What is the longest time you have gone without sexual intercourse?
31) What is the first name of your banker?
32) Why did you take so long in answering question_____?
33) What would cause you to break up a relationship?
34) How many of your friends are divorced?
35) How many of your friends have successful long term relationships?
36) Did your parents divorce?
37) Can you show me a picture of your mother/father?
38) What do people find unappealing about your parents?
39) What do people find appealing about your parents?
40) What is the first name of your lawyer?
41) Do you believe the CIA are controlling your mind?
42) Are you an environmentalist?
43) Are you a whacko?
44) What are you not telling me about yourself that's going to hurt me eventually?
45) What's the longest time you've spent in hospital?
46) What little things upset you?
47) Do you snore?
48) What do you do after you fart?
49) What is your favourite joke?
50) Are you, your family or any of your friends cannibals?

Sunny Spring Day in February, Vancouver BC

I'm inside working on this sunny day. It reminds me of when I was child at school looking out the window. I wish I could be like Tom Sawyer and go fishing. It's that kind of day. Sunny days in February in Vancouver are harbingers of spring.  There's the smell of promise in the air.  It can still rain and snow but we're over the hump. I want to catch the rays today, surf the sun, ride the light.  It's that kind of day.  Instead I'm in an office waiting for someone to come suspecting they're playing hookey. I did that in high school. Skpped classes on glorious spring days just to walk in the woods by the river.  I would definitely like a walk in the park.  Crocuses are probably showing. I saw cherry blossoms in Stanley Park last week. If I was a hibernating bear I'd smile and roll over.  March here the spring gets fairly constant.  Stable and predictable. More nice days than sad.  Today is so refreshing because its still a surprise. Yesterday was miserable with cold and rain. Today it's bright and sunny. I love the spring in Vancouver. Such a mixture of tease and promise.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Harm Reduction Strategies and Palliative Care

Harm reduction Strategies are all the rage in government health circles. That's where tax payer money is going. The adherents of this religion are in the ascendent and have been for a long time.  It is important to understand that this all has followed on the success of abstinence strategies and spiritual programs that proved addiction was a treatable and curable disease.   It's further not seen purely as an 'individual' treatment as with 'alcoholics anonymous' which was aimed solely at the individual alcoholic.  Harm Reduction Strategies are principally a 'public health program', not a traditional 'therapy' per se.  In traditional medicine 'harm reduction strategies' have been called 'palliative care'.  There is nothing new or sexy in the model despite the 'spin doctors' sales propaganda.
I first studied "Harm reduction' as a Community Medicine resident 25 years ago in my Public Health program.  My Family Practice and Psychiatry training were principally aimed at curative or ameliorative strategies and principally concerned the individual.  We learned and practiced 'harm reduction' and 'palliative care' but only as a 'last resort.' They were never proposed as the 'principal' treatment or 'alternative treatment' or 'primary treatment'.  They were an approach to care when it was thought in most cases 'death was inevitable' and all we could do was to make the person 'comfortable'.
Harm reduction strategies are exceptionally good public health.  Unfortunately they are often 'spun' as the best thing for a patient.  However, it's important to note that patients with addiction are by nature fairly psychotic.  By the standards of the community they are clearly out of touch with reality.  They drink and drug themselves to death and cause major societal concerns and the courts even let them off crimes because their reasoning was impaired.  Indeed the modern MRI shows that reasoning deficits last after a person stops the subtance of abuse approximately 3 months.  Experienced addiction personnel note that the greatest vulnerability for relapse, ie recurrence of the psychotic behaviour, last for at least a year or more.  During this time a person's capacity to judge the 'safety' for themselves of a substance of abuse is subjectively at great variance to the objective reality of friends, family and society at large.
Given this I have actually wondered if addicts shouldn't be assigned lawyers to help them make decisions about their health care in face of the increased pressure on impaired individuals to accept 'harm reduction' which is clearly more beneficial for the community.
Harm Reduction is a Public Health measure that 'colludes' with the patients insaniety about their ability to practice doing heroin 'safely' or drinking 'safely' or smoking 'crack' safely.  The very term 'harm reduction' doesn't suggest 'safely'.  Palliative care was a much more honest term and is used for all other areas of medicine.  So why not in addiction.
In medicine we have a term called 'treatment of choice'. This refers to the treatment that has the highest likelihood of success.  Harm reduction strategies by comparison have the least likelihood of success for the individual however from a public health perspective they may have the greatest appeal.
If there are two programs available, one which is 'curative' and 'abstinence' based for addiction therapy, and one which is 'harm reduction' the former therapy is more costly whereas the latter is 'cheap' by comparison.  In the treatment of appendicitis, surgery is the treatment of choice for the individual however surgeons, surgical theatres, OR nurses, aseptic fields and anesthestists are all terribly expensive.  If one doesn't have surgery a harm reduction approach to appendicitis is to just give antibiotics. This is surely better than nothing and some people indeed get better with this approach alone.
The key here is that 'harm reduction strategies' are cheap.  The principal fear of an insurance monopoly is that the economists and investors would eventually see that the greatest profit lay not in 'curative' therapy but in 'harm reduction' therapy.  Ultimately 'no therapy' becomes harm reduction.  Beurocrats have long known that their greatest rewards come when the emperor has no clothes. In this case, it's the patient.
Never forget that from a public health perspective 'euthanasia' is a 'harm reduction' strategy because it reduces 'harm' to the community.
It's further to be remembered that only the doctors, nurses, health care providers, and not the 'administrators' or 'economists', have codes of ethics that mandate caregivers to put the well being of the individual at least on par with the concerns of the sometimes 'for profit' insurance concerns.
I was trained in harm reduction and palliative care over a quarter of a century ago. I've practiced it ever since. I was further trained in curative and restorative and rehabilitation models and always opt to offer these first.  Some 'harm reduction' and 'palliative care' models actually buy time for an individual waiting to get the 'treatments of choice'.  However increasingly I see 'harm reduction' presented as a 'superior model'  or an 'equal' but 'alternative' model and certainly those 'promoting it' are considered sexier and get paid far more than those in the front lines providing scientifically proven therapeutic care.
This was always a point of contention with the government when it was noted that alcohol and drug counsellors with greater training and equal experience were paid far less than the people selling alcohol in the Canadian government controlled outlets.  Given that our government benefits from the taxes on sales I"m not surprised they want to keep people drinking to the very last sip.  That was the experience we had with the government around smoking until decades after all the 'harm reduction' strategies were used up and the government had moved it's tax base elsewhere did definitive legislation come in that helped individuals and public together.
I just read of the latest harm reduction strategy. It's called "MAP" a rather cute acronymym. It's basically a 'drink your way into sobriety' program like the new 'shoot heroin safely program.'
I express my cynicism because my colleagues who promote them and get such accolades never mention how 'cheap' these services are and also don't care to mention that they are getting the money for these programs from 'therapy' and 'health care' programs that were not specifically allocated for 'public health' or 'law enforcement'.  Indeed, Drug Court is a highly effective 'harm reduction' strategy I fully support but it's funding doesn't detract from family medicine.
The fact is that all the 'tools' in the 'tool box' are what are needed however the 'celebration' of 'harm reduction' and the spin doctoring around it sends a very questionable message to children, and the community at large.  Something about 'palliative' care' never did this.  Mind you I've been highly suspicious of government and beurocratic language since the same folk in the 60's gave us the 'Peace Missile'.  What concerns me is that we will one day have to pay more taxes to clean up after the priorization of harm reduction programs just as we all paid more taxes to clean up the excessive missiles which now are the reason for the excessive costs of security. Government bearocracies have a long documented love for short term success projects that have long term negative consequences.  Their favourite is spend our way out of debt, a political harm reduction program that is causing Greece and others like it a little concern to put it nicely.
There's something to be said for competition in health care insurance.  Harm reduction is necessary and certain harm reduction programs like drug court, and methadone maintenance,  are highly beneficial.
The WHO supports harm reduction but only as a stepping stone to abstinence.  I don't see that being the agenda of many of the programs that are promoted as really 'sexy'.  They seem unfortunately to be putting today's problem off till tomorrow.  That sounds to me like 'let's make the  children and grand children"  pay for the government's spending schemes.  Harm reduction is simply palliative care. Is there a plan as the WHO would demand that these approaches ultimately lead to abstinence or is this just a way to have the government get more of the highly lucrative turf of alcohol marketting and street drug dealing. Great public health but please don't say 'it's for the patient's own good' without ensuring that poor girl or boy has a lawyer representing him.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Harrisons Hot Springs, BC

I have three favourite places at Harrison Hot Springs. The Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa is a spectacular retreat.  The mineral springs are right there in the hotel.  The Copper  Room has the finest dining and great entertainment. I love the times I've eatten and danced the night away there. Nothing like getting up in the morning and taking the waters to cure a late night too.  The shops in Harrison's are equally top drawer. I've come for conferences, for individual romantic retreats as well as bringing family when I really wanted to show off a treasure of British Columbia so close to Vancouver.
I love the Ramada Executive Hotel. It's not as expensive as the Spa and it's right down town across from the public pool.  It has underground parking, sauna, whirlpool and steam room.  We order food from the fine dining restaurant downstairs called Rockamoles and have had the best in room meals watching movies.  For breakfast I walk a half block across the street to Cookin Kim's Country Cafe where they have the best in house and take out country cooking.  I like the public pool for a change.  And being in the village we are more likely to walk Gilbert around the town enjoying the wonderful view of mountains and lake.  I love the view from the room of Harrison's Lake too.
Then there's the Bungalo Motel. I've been coming to those for decades just like the Harrisons Hot Springs Resort and Spa. I only found the Executive one time when both the others were booked and I lucked out in finding another great retreat in Harrisons.  The Bungalo is quaint little cabins right next to the beach and across from the lonely town church.  They're incredibly cozy and the owners have an office where they dish out ice cream in a dozen great flavours.
Now I'm suspicious that there are possibly a few other places, perhaps not so unique and perfect for my tastes, but equally interesting and accomodating. The town has literally a dozen or more accomodations but I've been more than satisfied which the wealth of comfort and charm I've found in these three.
There's also a provincial campground  along the lake and I've actually camped there. We've tented in several places near by and all have had their specific merits.  Right now I am loving the King Size bed in the Executive and thiinking of walking across the hall for another work out in the whirlpool .  It's raining outside and while I have rejoiced in the smell of wood smoke and pine I think today, at my age, I'm going to enjoy wood smell of the sauna better.
Obviously Harrison Hotsprings has something for everyone but when I'm here I get that sneaky feeling it was made just for me. IMG 0692

Christie Blatchford and the Mutiny in the Canadian Courts

I just read Christie Blatchford's Comment, "Minimum jail time tests court's powers' in the National Post Saturday Feb,18, 2012. It was very informative.  It seems that the courts are in 'mutiny' against the elected parliament and elective legislature. Thanks to the wit of Christie Blatchford  we see the the pout and tongue sticking of the big girls and big boys  of the courts wagging their ears at prime ministers and premiers.  Now what will we do?  Personally I think we should call in the 'military judges'  to set the matter right. It's pretty obvious that there is civil disobedience in the courts.  Troudeau brought the tanks out against the people. So isn't it time that Stephen Harper and Christie Clark bring in the military to address the overt and covert 'strike' of the courts using all manner of passive aggression, slow down,  and misinformation, and babble gook  to literally defeat the elected governments of the day. Christie Blatchfords suggest that the judges run for office but I'd rather see them 'elected' if they are going to act above the law.

Cookin Kim's Country Cafe, Harrison's Hot Springs, BC,

IMG 0695IMG 0696
Cookin Kim's Country Cafe has hands down the best morning coffee and take out bacon and egg sandwich in town.  I've just finished a grilled cheese sandwhich  and chowder soup lunch take out and it's been unbeatable too.  Were it not for Gilbert, whose company we adore, Laura and I would have sat inside and enjoyed the cozy atmosphere at the Country Cafe.. However, we have a lovely room at the Executive Hotel where Gilbert is most welcome.  Hence the take out. And the immense appreciation for such fine home cooked meals.  The service at Cooking Kim's was quick,  friendly, pleasant, informative about the locals, and definitely  pretty. .

Val Lougheed, Motivational Humor Speaker

I attended the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference. It was excellent. These are the brief notes I took for one of the presentations. I was thoroughly impressed by Val and her presentation, her slides, the material and how it connected with my work.  The conference was a great success. These are just 'notes' I took on my iphone but I know what they mean and the references and those working in this field would too.

Val Lougheed
Michael Sullivan McGill 2006
Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzach gate theory pain research
Scn9a g &m2007 mar 24
Glial cells sc american
Poppy Seeds Calgary synthetic
Survivors feel unsafe in their body  -Herman
Trauma can permanently change the limbic system
Trauma is a biological problem
Trauma brings with it dissociation
Fight flight or freeze
Amygdaloid implicit memory roschild 2000
Hippocampus explicit memory
My life is dominated now by safety, survival, trust
My system is on high alert
My world is black and white - trust - love
Don't trust - hate
Candace pert - psychoimmunoendocrine
Pedro - crawling - complete recovery - autopsy - massive destruction
Paul Bach y Rita - neuroplasticity
Merzenich - acetylcholine
- focused thinking eg line dancing
- cognitive retraining
Recovery happens for rest of life
Optic genetics
Emotions and disease are connected - sternberg - cortisol can reduce healing
Quantum connection the living matrix - Braden 2007
Photons and DNA -
Reorganization of self - creating need for change -
It takes a village
- flexible, creative, adaptable, learn from experience
- criombez 2003
Healing - focus on person inside

Facebook Censorship

The new censorship is to say that an individual is 'unsafe'.  I have been deemed unsafe. I can only believe this is because my writing has consistently been against the 'politically correct' and indeed questioned the politics of facebook itself. Naturally if you question a god like institution that has power well beyond the CIA, then you will be eliminated.  Historically the 'smear' to any ideas, and my ideas only became smeared when I questioned the extremism of the radical left, the radical feminist agenda  or the use of 'dirty political tricks' like the Julian Assange honeypot. I'm interested in the technique of calling anyone who criticizes Israeli high seas piracy as 'anti semetic' even though within Israel huge numbers of jews objected to international terrorism by the state.  Equally I objected to the 'protection' of the Jews having sex with children by calling the critics 'anti semetic'. I object no less to the shaming of those Iranians who object to their leadership by calling them fallen muslims. All this 'ad hominem' rhetoric in politic needs to be seen in the light that if there was a sound argument it would be used instead. When people stoop to low blows they have indeed lost the high ground. Censorship is a form of 'low blow'.  The Iron Curtain was established to keep people from leaving just as the Bamboo Curtain defines the area where Christians are persecuted and the Holy Bible is not allowed.

I don't think there is a 'centre' in facebook that does this censorship but the 'politically correct' 'profit only' facebook has this 'safe' feature which like 'crime stoppers' encourages people 'report abuse'. Yet individually I've never learned what the 'abuse' is or why repeatedly I'm 'black listed' only to be restored later at some point presumably when the 'facebook police' investigate and find that my only abuse is to be individual.  Also it may be Facebook wars with Google and the blocking of bloggers, interfering and messing with them to encourage them to write on Facebook rather than simply cut and paste.  This may be Facebook business policy and given their history is a reasonable explanation.

That said, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, if a single mother objects to anything politically her political opponent will report her to the child protection services as a bad mother.

This is what has happened to Julian Assange.  He's a ccused of rape because the condom broke having sex with a woman. Were it not for Naomi Wolf's quick response on behalf of women and dismissal of the honeypot I'd believe that women really shouldn't have been given the vote. That said I'm living in Canada where despite years of vapid radical feminism we've had a Queen who is by no means male and right now the richest person, a multi billionaire, in Australia is a woman. So the whole premise of the need to 'protect the girls from badness' and that whole era of false chivalry is deplorable as a parady the real chivalry of old when women and children were valued.

Facebook, until it addressed this area of radical abuse, is complicit in the censorship and the frightening thing is that anyone or group or Facebook itself can use it to ensure that only 'politically correct' communication occurs.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

National Post and Andrew Coyne

I never seem to have the luxury of lying in bed reading the newspaper.  Gilbert licks my face. If I'm not at Laura's or awake before Laura I have to get his bladder and bowels outside. Then I'm usually downing a morning coffee, showering and shaving and rushing off to work. On weekends there's as many chores and activities that follow the slobbery dog tongue to face alarm clock.
This weekend we are at the Ramada Executive Hotel in Harrison's. I'm fighting a cold and my back is  still recuperating from rolling an ATV.   Rest and relaxation has been forced on me.
After the slobbery tongue alarm clock I walked the dog across the street to the cafe and returned with life refining coffee and delicious egg and bacon breakfast sandwiches. The Ramada had a complimentary National Post newspaper.  I don't usually read the newspaper. I've taken to getting the news via the Economist, BBC on line, CBC driving to work though that as commonly angers me, and word of mouth leading to google searches.
With sandwich done,  still drinking coffee I "read the newspaper'.  Who would have known?  
I was blessed to grow up in Winnipeg and read the Winnipeg Free Press. Travelling in my 20's overseas I fell in love with the Manchester Guardian weekly.  Living in San Francisco I read the Chronicle and actually enjoyed a weekly diet of Hunter S. Thompson in the raw.  Back in my University heydays and former luxurious marriages I even lay in bed weekend mornings reading newspapers from around the world I'd picked up on the way home Friday night from news sellers. I always read news magazines, The World Press Review a favourite when it lived, the Economist a mainstay, and Manchester Guardian Weekly, with Le Monde and Washington coverage thrown in.  But living in Vancouver I was more likely to appreciate news written in the Georgia Strait than the Sun or Province.
Nationally the Globe and Mail floundered and occasionally I'd glance at the Post but never really read it. Like my father read the newspaper, cover to cover.  Dad read the Winnipeg Free Press as a ritual and today at 93 remains  perhaps the wisest man I've ever known not because of arcane knowledge and bits of pieces of jargon or celebrity names but because his remarkable critical thinking.
The Winnipeg Free Press was really an education in critical thinking and probably explains alot about the sometimes brilliance of Winnipeggers when it comes to understanding and assimiliating diverses topics from politics to law, religion and medicine.
I've just read 2 full days of the National Post and damn if it didn't take me back to the halcyon days of the Winnipeg Free Press.  The spread of information was encyclopedic but the relevance was profound. Every one of the stories I'd heard this week were touched on but expanded on in a way that radio sound bites simply cannot do.
I don't know who the editor is but he's obviously a genius.  Some of the best writing I've read in years was represented. Fascinating story about a white guy whose family history from DNA turned out black and jewish because of grandparents who fled persecution.  The Vic Toews case. The Saudi funded Missassauga Iman who spews anti Canadian rhetoric to promote a narrow 'fundamentalist' Moslem viewpoint that inflames youth to acts of violence. A great discussion of the discrimination against mentally ill in media.  The fall out from the Squamish alpinist purist taking garbage (Italian spikes)  off an Argentine mountain top causing international furor.  All really captivating stuff.
But the creme de resistance is this fellow " Andrew Coyne".
In a discussion of Justin Troudeau's rant and retraction Coyne made this comment that really captures the problem of the New Canada.  "the seeming inability of many members of the Liberal party in particular to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Conservative government. They are not merely a government whose policies some find disagreeable - they are beyond the pale. They are quite literally, anti Canadian. This is what comes of spending time with people who think in exactly the same way as you. It becomes impossible to imagine how any rational person could think otherwise."
How perfectly Andrew Coyne has captured the new Canadian mindset of psychotic paranoia masquerading as intelligent dialogue.
Andrew Coyne has speaks to the balkanization that lost the liberals the election and stole it from the grasp of the NDP despite the profound efforts otherwise of Layton.  It gets down to 'shame'.  If you disagree with me your 'opinion' isn't just wrong 'you are wrong'. This was the cornerstone of the radical feminist movement and central to the gun registry folk who profiled anyone who owned a gun as a white male and a baby killer.  Meanwhile Canadian women are takin all the awards for marksmanship around the world while their bitching sisters don't acknowledge them because they don't fit their 'profiles'.
Piagetian psychologists studying adults found that few had progressed to the 'abstract thinking' that Piaget noted in his very bright children by early adolescent. Most in fact stayed in 'concrete idealization' black and white categorization without any comprehension of the range of possibilities. That said 'relativism' the 'whatever' of today's pot head teens is not evidence of critical thinking.  Acknowledging diversity doesn't mean everything is 'equal' but rather that differences exist and are to be celebrated. However, Goreski remains the best hockey player not the best baseball player.
Now I learn that the great anti tobacco lobbyist Dr. Mark Segal who cost that satanic industry 10s of billions of dollars has pulled away from the extremism of the anti tobacco lobby because it has gone beyond science denying people the individual right to smoke outside.  There's no science to saying your smoke outside is hurting me yet there are those people who would argue that 'difference' is dangerous and deny any difference. They want us all to believe as they do and have no respect for diversity.  If you are conservative then you are the anti christ. If you are Christian you should be shot. The odd thing about this rhetoric is that 77% of Canadians are Christians and some 95% of Canadians believe in God.  Those whose 'religion' is 'aetheism' would claim this is 'secular' when to be 'secular' is not to be aetheist by any means.  The vast majority of Canadians decidedly spiritual collectively operate in a secular society but are wearied by the aetheists, materialists and the stupid bullies who batter with shame and rhetoric as logic and critical thinking seem quite beyond their primitive adolescent tribalism.
The Winnipeg Free Press taught a province how to think and I personally would today have Andrew Coyne required reading in all Quebec.  I fear that would cause more scandal than asking the belabored Quebec intellectual romanticists to read about transexualism on Valentine's day.  
I may just subscribe to a newspaper again, the National Post,  for the first time in a decade. Admittedly I prefer the delete button on my iphone and ipad to carrying old newspapers out to the garbage. Gilbert however would prefer  we make more outdoor excursions so perhaps it's the least I could do to read more Andrew Coyne. Critical thinking does come at a cost.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

David Maguire

David Maguire sustained brain injury in 2005 and was told he might not walk again. He not only walked again but ran a marathon a day across Canada. 'A Run to Remember' ! He did this for brain injury. In 2007 he approached brain trust for support. David was inspired by the Terry Fox Run.

'after brain injury there are a lot of failures and self doubt ... The belief that I couldn't do it helped me to do it...I'm glad to be a Canadian and can complain about it... I had brain surgery...some places I'd be left to die...others I'd have years of debt...this is phenomenal"

David was the final speaker at the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference 2012.

'my brain developed a bleed and I had seizures breaking up my was thought I had been robbed and my love Mandy and best friend were arrested...because Mandy and I weren't married my parents I hadn't seen since 15 were called about the decision to open my skull and treat the bleed'

'Mandy didn't know what hospital I was in'"

"I went to Twassassen to live with my parents who were nearing retirement... It was a defining moment in my life...I had to take a bus for an hour and a half to get anywhere .., I began to run"

'thinking about what I could do and what I couldn't ... I thought prisoners come out of jail in better shape from working out ...I began running but I'd get lost and I'd forget to stop'

'I began running with a running group and I liked that because people would tell me David stop running...I eventually got a gps'

'when you have a brain injury everything is about me.. My hat is off to my wife and you who are here..when I could get out of myself for a bit I could see how difficult I was for others'

When they closed the brain injury resources I looked on google to see what was available for brain injury people and found out all that was available was downtown east side, homelessness and chronic care facilities.

I became political

That's how the run came about because I thought about all the people who didn't have anything. I was comparison I was high functioning "

'there is legal discrimination against brain injured people... one of last of known disabilities ... doesn't occur if you are blind or deaf'

'people with brain injury end up in jails ...because of legal discrimination"

"so many brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmut"

"put on a helmet"

"the run started out of anger and frustration because no one listened... The run changed me..,pushed me to limits...made me realize awesomeness human potential ..I wanted to raise awareness"

"I asked politicians to ask how many people in their office had a stroke, a concussion, a car accident, or head injury so they would have a sense of just how many of us there are , how many people may have the experiences I am having'

'I really appreciate humor today ..,
'the advantage of short term memory loss is that I can laugh again at every episode of family guy'

'my biggest problem is memory so I have post it notes to remind me to read my post it notes'

'I have a lot of perception systems full on all the time because my filter isn't working well...I can be hearing everything, smelling everything, seeing everything at once"

'my concern today is finding employment"

"but before my injury I don't think I had purpose I have purpose

"I am a different person than I was before and I think too much of brain injury assessment is about how much of your old self returns without looking enough at the new person you can become'

'looking forward to having kids but figure that will present challenges with memory - mommy, daddy said I could'

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Ecology began as a very positive buzz ward. It's the same as psychology. Then one day we hear that psychology is being used for 'brain washing' and 'torture'.  The same occurred with 'nuclear energy' which suddenly was followed by 'nuclear bombs'.  Everything it appears has the potential for harm. The most recent of these has been the 'eco-extortion' movement. In this case someone tries to build something or change something and some group finds a spotted ant that they say may not be happy with the building or change.  They never say they are themselves self serving but they are usually relatively rich and aiming to be richer.  They say they are the representative of the left fern bilobed red fern frond and suddenly they are asking for a million dollars from a kid who just wanted to build a go cart that just might be going down the road where this ubiquitous, really. fern exists.  The cost of doing business suddenly goes to millions.

In medieval times it was safer to sail from the Mediterranean coast to Ireland than to cut accross country because even 10 miles a thug  would demand money for the poor in the neighbourhood of his castle and wealth and army.

Freedom of movement, freedom to communicate, freedom to do business, these are all freedoms which are now being challenged based on any minority interest who can claim the courts, not the parliament or democratic interests of society, but the lawyers predominantly, and special interests groups, especially, need to be 'paid'. It comes down to money.  It's baksheesh! Institutional baksheesh.

So building doesn't get done. Jobs aren't made. And progress doesn't occur while an ant or fern frond or a vista or something else is 'protected' until the 'price' the 'protector' is holding out for is given. THe 'other guy' is always called ''big business', 'big corporation' etc.  Like the Romans who had to build roads so trade could occur accross Europe and of course they did come into conflict with the local warlords.

So today the local warlords claiming to be eco-saviors are using historical extortion techniques and what was once called piracy and brigandry to become fat cats themselves.

Just suggesting that this is not about spotted ants and fern fronds but about one group wanting the money another group has is 'sacriledge' but really , it's about money. Clearly the trees and flowers and the oceans need friends just like the medieval people needed their local war lords to negotiate with the Roman army. It's just that I don't really want to see the dark ages occurring because everyone with any sense just goes elsewhere and in a global economy we might want to question whether a minority which is already a fat cat should be deciding whether we should collectively be forced to have them in charge or have the Romans with their highway and economies of scale.

Thanks to a very rich and powerful minority a whole lot of poor people are going to be needier because the very rich people don't want to do business with the very greedy less rich people.

Look beyond the 'rhetoric' and ask, do you really want to support 'eco-extortion' , piracy, and brigandry.   Obviously there's a whole other 'ecological' issue that is important but it's not what 'activists' and their 'lawyers' are really on about alot of the time. I'd be an 'activist' but I've got to go to work. So "activism' Is lucrative and lawyers don't work for nothing and beurocrats are spending our money.  So remember watch the money trails and really ask yourself if you want to die for a fern frond because in one of the many equations involved in these complex issues, this is the one I never hear because it challenges the very notion of the 'do gooders' income.

That said Joni Mitchell's song, They paved paradise and put up a parking lot remains one of my all time favourites. Just beware of eco extortion and lets see how much everyone is getting paid because the spotted ant and fern frond are definitely not collecting a pensioned salary. The advantage indeed for a certain type of person who represents quartz and antique bird shit sites is that they don't have to share the take in the end. These 'activists' ride on the tails of the real activists who fought for children and black people and street prostitutes who at the end of the day had to get part of the 'cut' and tended to stay around and ask why the political lawyers and politicians who 'won' the case for them got all the money.  Ferns don't complain. It works both ways. They haven't a voice but they can't complain and they don't need to be paid in the end.

Meanwhile ferns and spotted ants can be costing a lot in human life.


Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference 2012

The Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference Feb 15-17, 2012,, opened last night at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.  It's the first time I've attended this conference and the first night's speaker, Val Lougheed,  made the whole conference worth it.  Patti Flaherty  and Geoff Sing Chairs of the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference and Society are to be complimented on all their work on behalf of brain injury survivors but especially for the organization this insightful conference. It's theme is "Real People with Real Lives: It Takes a Village.  Val Lougheed, herself is a social worker and president of the Northern Lights organization, involved in rehabilitation and care.  She suffered a brain injury as a result of a near fatal car crash.  Today she tells her personal story with modesty and incredible humor coupling the very human message with a wealth of data regarding the advances in treatment in all the dimensions of the car of trauma patients. Hearing her story was so uplifting as her story mirrors so many of the patients I see who face her struggles. The conference is itself a celebration of the very fact that professions are listening and the tremendous scientific advances in this field are being brought forward despite lingering beaurocratic obstacles from jurassic days.
The conference addresses Concussions in Sports, Neuroplasticity, MRI and Recovery, Brain Injury Associations, Head Injury and Addiction (Dr. Gabor Mate)  and swell as Navigating through the Complexities of Life and Brain Injury.
Poster presentations were especially interesting as they spanned the realm of neurological advances, military medicine findings, brain infections, self help groups, and  meditation and community gardening projects.
The conference is well attended.  Looking about at the range of skills and backgrounds represented it was obvious that a whole 'village' of care was required to help each individual survivor. Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation medicine, Rehavilitation services, Kinesiology. Chiropractors, Social Workers,  Lawyers, Nurses, Pastoral Care Workers, and the list goes on.  This conference goes along way to addressing the need for "village' work even beyond the socalled' team approach.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

St. James Anglican Church, Feb 12, 2012

We were late again for church, arriving in the Ural Sidecar Motorcycle. Ambivalent with the drizzlec onsidering catching a nearer service at 11, we opted last minute to go late to the church where we all, including Gilbert, feel increasingly at home. St. James is a warm and friendly church. I feel welcome. I'm sorry I missed the sermon.  Coming from a Baptist background though I feel I've had far more sermonizing than any Anglican or Catholic can imagine. The Prayers were particularly poignant today.  Gilbert was delighted to see his friend Elizabeth and later to jump on her partner Phil.  Alice always makes him feel at home. The choir at times like today helped me feel as sense of the awe that the church must have brought into the lives all before the advent of modern electronic communication. Somewhere in the Mass I actually slowed down from rushing and business and felt the peace of being at church. Then it was time to join the ritual in person going forward to connect with clergy at the altar.  Notifications included Leah's Spiritual Autobiography writing group beginnings Feb. 25.  Then a call for palm Sunday crosses for the burning before Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.  When I asked Laura, with her devout catholic roots, what it means, she said, "It kicks off Lent".  I suspect there's more to it than that but that's why I go to Church.  This week Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins explained why we don't applaud or for that matter 'boo' in the church service. "Everything we do from serving to singing is done for the greater good of God."  IMG 0680

Confessions on a Sunday Morning

I loved hot dogs with mustard and relish at baseball games.  I loved candy floss at the circus. I loved the Monkeys when they first appeared on tv.  I watched the Dick Clark Bandstand and loved Herman Hermits. My friends and I went to the Beatles movies and watched the girls scream and complained we couldn't hear the movie because we were looking for meaning.  I wore bell bottoms. I wore flowers in my hair and had peace symbols painted on my face.  I marched in peace demonstrations. I was against nuclear war.  I learned to bicycle without training wheels but wanted them.  I didn't like liver and onions. I got tired of eating moose as a kid one year and tried trading moose meat sandwiches for peanut butter and jam.  I wore my brothers hand me down clothing when I was a kid and my clothing was given to my cousins.  I shopped in second hand stores. I stole a chocolate bar and later stole a playboy magazine. I skipped out of school to go to the coffee shop. I liked sex.  I didn't fake orgasms. I drank milk out of the container in the refridgerator.  I hitch hiked.  I rode on ice flows in break up polling in the river.  I said  Iwas going to church when I went to a friends.  I smoked cigarettes.  I hung out with left wing radicals and right wing radicals.  I didn't always do what was right. I was suspended from high school.  I lied when I was young.  I told the truth when I was older and a lie would have saved me so much more trouble.  I have got into more trouble being good than I did being bad. I haven't been particularly good at being bad and envied people who were really bad.  I have regretted a conscience.  I have had too many second helpings. I liked watching Jerry Springer.  I have watched soap operas. I've slept in on Sunday and missed church.  I've been a poor husband.  I 've failed some times in most things that I've done but I've kept doing them and usually got better.  I'm still muddling along.  I 'm on my way to church this morning.  I might nod off or think about other things during the service.  I'll probably look at my watch sometime too.  IMG 0657

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ural Sidecar Motorcycle Day

It was a perfect Vancouver day for motorcycling.  I started the day taking the Ural to Richard Cho, the chiropracter at Willow and Broadway.  Richard is resolving the last of the rolled ATV episode.  Lovely to visit with his wife Reese and leave them some elk meat from that great but painful  adventure.
On the way back I stopped in at Broadway Cameras to see if they had the next generation of Nikon zoom pocket cameras. They expect them out by March.The new professional Nikon SLE is due out in the $6000 range while the new semi pro camera  SLE will be $2 to 3000.  I'm glad the pocket zoom cameras sell for less.
Leaving there I checked the time and it was 10 am, perfect timing for a visit to the Alano club. Great meeting.  Great club.  I had a coffee  with Antonnio. He had tickets for the North Shore Round Up, at the Hyatt Regency, April 6,7 and 8 so I purchased these.  Then I saw Kim for the first time in at least a couple of years.  She's as bright as ever and looks more beautiful every year. Now she's working at Salvation Army.
I'd bought Laura a new queen sized futon at Magestic Futon, 4th and Burrard.  They couldn't believe I was going to take it home in the Ural sidecar but helped by giving me the binding twine I needed to secure the futon.  I jested that I'd be irresistable to Vancouver women, a biker with his own futon.  Very sexy.
Laura was happy to get the futon, saying she'd rather get a futon than a bottle of wine from a man.
I dressed Gilbert in his Canucks jersey and harness so we all could head out to Stanley Park. The skies threatened rain but none appeared.  Instead we circled Stanley Park and took Gilbert for a couple of walks as well as a photo op at Prospect Point.  It was great to see the first blossoms of spring, too.  I even dropped in at the Rowing Club.
Then we crossed back to South Vancouver to shop for pate, cheese and bagettes at a delightful like specialty shop across from my favourite knife and sword store on Cambie beside the Park Theatre.  I got Laura something from Honey too, to go with the cheese, pate and baguettes.
Then we just had to pick up the laundry to complete the Saturday chore list.  Nothing like a Ural Sidecar Motorcycle for doing all this.  We certainly got a lot of smiles, people pointing and some taking out cameras to get pictures of Gilbert and Laura.  I'm just the driver.IMG 0656 IMG 0655IMG 0659IMG 0661IMG 0660IMG 0667IMG 0665IMG 0668IMG 0671

Majestic Futon, 4th and Burrard, Vancouver

Majestic Futon is where Laura got her bedroom suite. It's this upscale Kits place with lovely wood boudoirs and couches.  Gilbert sleeps over at Laura's often.  Angel, another regular house guest, appreciated the electric blanket that she and Tiffany, Laura's cat, consider theirs.  We were concerned that Gilbert though might not be as tough as Laura who loves her firm single futon mattress.  Committed to children and pets and rangy things she agreed to sacrifice a little by allowing a second futon mattress to be added to her bed.  This way Gilbert's back and hips would have more support. Angel and Tiffany thought it a good idea too.  So Laura and I went back to Majestic and bought a new futon they make up from scratch themselves.  A few days later the lovely friendly helpful people there phoned to say the futon was ready.
So having just visitted the chiropractor, Dr. Richard Cho and not having Gilbert in the Ural Motorcycle IMG 0655side car I picked up the futon and brought it back to Laura's.  She's making the bed up right now with the help of Angel and Tiffany while I'm keeping  Gilbert with his dirty paws and filthy ball out in her backyard. He prefers to help Laura by standing in the centre of the bed and supervising but Tiffany and Angel are vying for that job right now. Gilbert hasn't learned to wipe his paws either.  I may have to lie down on it myself and see if it's safe for Laura, Gilbert, Angel and Tiffany.  I've volunteered for the first trial, being daring, courageous and extremely concerned for others comfort.
IMG 0656I told Laura that I saw all the gorgeous Vancouver women looking at me as I drove back to her.  A biker with a futon in his Ural motorcycle side car is almost irresistable to Vancouver women. Laura says she'd rather a man give her a new  futon over a bottle of wine any day. .

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vancouver Boat Show, BC Place, 2012

This is definitely one of Vancouver's best shows. Vancouver is a port town and British Columbia has some of the greatest coastal waters as well as well stocked inland lakes and streams.  It's a fishing man's paradise and everything to do with fishing was represented. That said all the other aspects of pleasure boating were also there.
I am a coastal and offshore sailor with a Folkes 39.9 foot sailboat. I've had it for a couple of decades and am on the third generation of equipment. Steveston Marine, West Marine, and PocoMarine equipment have all proved to be suppliers of really tough and fine equipment that has stood the real test of harsh wear.  I've survived knockdowns and storms and crossed ocean worrying about workmanship only to have my Yanmar Motor,  North Sails and Pro Tech rigging serve me well.  Tonight I was able to get a replacement sailcloth for my Hydrovane self steering unit that served Tom and me so well coming back from sailing the Hawaian Islands.  I got Laura a new Mustang floater jacket. I live in my own Mustang floater vest and can swear by the Mustang Integrity Survival Suit as I lived in sailing down the coast to California in harsh winter weather.
Tonight I replaced my old and patched dinghy which frankly has got decidedly heavier over the years.  Only last year I replaced my outboard.  I started out with a Yamaha 9.9 horse power motor and found it got too heavy to lift onto the deck of my sailboat from the dinghy. Then I found the 8 hp too heavy and replaced it with a 6 hp that got heavy too. Right now I have a Yamaha 4 hp that I find just right for lifting in and out of the sailboat to the dinghy alongside. The only trouble was the dinghy, a hard bottomed son of a gun. My new  Achilles is a 68 lb skookum air bottomed dinghy at a $500 boat show saving.  Kits Marina has always taken care of my dinghys so I was glad to do business with them yet again.
Graeme and Laura held me back from buying an ATV toy trailer motor boat that could land on beaches like a miniature D day tank lander. It would allow me to drive my ATV right off the boat and  onto land chasing a big moose. .  It struck me as something every hunter needed. Fortunately someone bought it day 1.  Graeme and Laura were further not having anything to do with my idea that a monster beautiful speed boat that slept 8 and cost $100,000's of rock star dollars was just what I needed as a 'dinghy'.  In the end I was really happy with the Achilles.  I'm seeing my chiropractor in the morning and he'll no doubt agree that I made a wise choice.
I renewed my membership with CTOW , the on water tow insurance.  For $125 a year it's paid for with one tow.  They come by and jump dead  batteries too.  Not that I know anything about this.  I just heard it had happened to an unnamed sailor.
It was good to see the Mumfords and Copelands at the boaters books shelf too. I enjoyed talking with the Coast Guard and RCMP . These are the  great folk that help keep all us boaters safe.  I didn't attend any of the presentations but they're always good.
The Vancouver Boat Show is an annual event and I've been dozens of times and found great deals.  This year was no different. I even got the latest AIS radio. This is an amazing advance since 9-11.  To protect against terrorists and pirates all big boats must send out an electronic message giving their location and name. The VHF radio antennae receives this information and plots it with gps on a screen showing the distance to the boat.  Proximity alarms can be turned on too. Sailing solo alot as I do this is godsend technology. I'm forever concerned when I snooze or when I'm at sea actually sleeping for an hour at a time that I'll run into the big vessel.  I've had some harrowing close calls too. The proximity alarm on my radar required too much power. This radio with gps and AIS from Standard Horizon marine only cost $350 dollars.  My old mounted VHF which this will replace is a radio that is some 15 years old and worked questionably last year.  For the last few years I've mostly used my hand held ICOM radio which can't be beat.
So it was a good trip.  Laura and Graeme and I  had a good time walking about dreaming, and talking.  The only sad part is that they don't allow dogs so Gilbert, my cockapoo, couldn't come with us. He is definitely my first mate while my  cat, Angel, my longest sailing companions, is definitely the Admiral.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Breaking "Bad Relationship" Addiction

The hardest thing about getting healthy is giving up all the unhealthy things that one is attracted to.  In relationhships one has to accept that their "picker" is broken and they will choose abusive relationships because that is their tendency. It's no different from children picking with diabetes and hypertension being left to pick the food they find most tasty. Naturally they will pick sugar and salt both of which are unhealthy.
People who have had bad relationships are 'attracted' to bad relationships and find 'good' relatioships 'boring', 'bland', 'dull', 'unexiting', 'not sexy', ie 'unnattractive.'
Healthy relationships don't involve all the 'drama' of the soap opera set. People who are good in relationships don't sleep with your sister or boss because they're angry with you. They don't punch you in the mouth. They don't send pictures of you in sexually offensive positions to the internet. They don't phone your place of work and say that you are a pedophille when you aren't. They don't tell the customs agent you're a terrorist.  They don't bring over friends that make bombs in the basement. They don't ask you to store their stolen drugs or stolen cars. 
Healthy people are really rather dull and boring by comparison to all the other 'exciting' people who have a shallow superficial attaction.
People who make their money through hard work don't throw it away.  "Big Spenders" and "High Rollers" are commonly 'criminals' because their 'money' often coming from 'ill gotten' means was 'easy come, easy go'. 
Normal people like 'gifts' but question 'largesse'.
If the girl or guy has sex with you the first night they probably will have sex with Adolf Hitler or Ava Brawn the first night. It's not because you're so attractive, it's because they're cheap or loose or make bad choices like you do.
Good relationships are 'simmered' like a good stew. Don't burn the roast.  They don't have to be eatten right off the stove.  Let them cool a bit and the flavour will keep.
Yet if you've gone out with a woman who stole from you then you will often be attracted to a woman who steals.  Attractions are linked.  Pavlov showed that ringing bells and giving dogs steaks resulted in them salivating when they heard bells.  If I have sex with a person who steals I will be attracted sexually to thiefs. If I have sex with a woman who in rage attacks beats the crap out of me I will be attracted to women who are dominatrix material.  If a girl has sex with a man who intermittently beats her she will be attracted to men who have that 'look' that normal women shy away from. Abusive men and women have a certain 'immaturity'. They're not socialized or toilet trained and adults don't 'choose' them because adults want healthy relationships so avoid men and women who do drugs and alcohol and crime and all that exciting sexy stuff.
So make a list of 10 minimum requirements in a mate.
It's not rocket science.
1) She or he doesn't have a drug or alcohol problem.  You go out on enough dates to see if they do drugs or alcohol peculiarly before you have sex.  You ask questions and you listen to stories. 
2) You avoid people who are 'victims'.  It's a pretty big clue if the guy or girl was beat up psychologically or physically by all their previous partners. Figure you'll be the next 'abuser' because immature people see themselves always as victims, and children and never accept 'their part in it'. 
3) Ask about previous break ups and beware of cliches. "we didn't get along",  "we weren't right for each other'.  "he wasn't ready for committment'. These are the new politically correct ways of saying he or she was a jerk. The "paranoid position' , otherwise called 'immaturity' is 'I'm right, they're not".  Watch for people who tell stories in the "I'm right , they're not" or the variation "I 'm okay, we're weren't'". Find out what the longest relationship was. This indicates clearly the 'distance a person can do'. It's like their 'marathon' capacity.  I have the fondest memory of a woman I knew for 6 months.  She had a history of 6 month relationships, I'm more like 10 years myself, but she was superb for 6 months, a terrific sprinter. But like a sportscar she broke down on the NASCAR before the first pit stop. 
4) Dont' read women's or men's magazines about relationships. They are written usually for losers.  This is written for losers.  The best way to know about good relationships is to spend time with people who have good relationships and ask them about their long term deep committed relationships.  People who say they want long term deep committed relationships are commonly liars. They really want sprinters and sportscars but they say they're looking for a long haul truck. Right!  Women and men lie equally.  No gender or race or religion has a monopoly. Stop being sexist and racist.  Accept your own failures and successes and admit to your own limitations. People who are successful in relationships choose someone with common goals and then do what successful people do.  My friend who is one of the most long term committed successes I know told me the most absurd thing I've ever heard about relationships. "I dont' argue with my wife" he said.  I always argued with my now divorced wives. What a bizarre man.  Yet if that's the 'counter intuitive thing' that works maybe I should try it. 
5) Don't listen to people with less years of relationship experience.  People who do are downright silly.  If you want to fly you don't listen to a tree climber about how to drive a plane.  Relationships are skill sets. Everyone can be good at a one night stand. Look at all the losers in Hollywood. They make it look good even. They even make a virtue of necessity. Lots of losers there but in fairness the business of Hollywood is intrinsically anti marriage and anti family.  So it's not surprising few Hollywood marriages are compared with Billy Graham or Queen Elizabeth or Hillary Clinton.  Quality and quantity go hand in hand.  "Strange" makes for good short term relationships.  It's actually biological and driven by a cocaine like substance in the saliva that wears off after months or at most a year or two. After that marriage and relationships are 'committments'. They often don't 'feel' good and most people in long term committed deep relationships have had many times when they didn't "think' it was a good idea.  Women talk about 'committment' alot but their track record is as bad if not worse than men. Much of 'feminism' was 'social communism' and attracted women by saying they were the 'proletariat' and men were the 'bourgeoisie'. Feminist died when half the women were rich and abusive to men and overnight the whole 'communist paranoid ideology' fell with the Berlin wall.   Beware of idealogues of any kind.  These are people who argue with a lawyer on their shoulder.  If you disagree they will quote scripture, Marx, or their mother to prove you're wrong. Normal people disagree and agree to disagree without chopping the heads off others to make themselves right. In relationships both people are commonly wrong and together usually get it right.
6) Divorce is failure. The first baby of a relationships is the relationship.  It takes two to divorce. If you are divorced you killed the baby.  You're a baby killer.  If you say the other guy killed the baby then admit you picked the wrong baby sitter and ultimately are responsible for the death.
7) Acknowledge 'fault' but don't wallow in guilt.  The trouble with the legal system and "Deny, deny, deny, lie, lie, lie" religion there in is that if someone doesn't admit wrong in building the bridge bridges keep getting built that fall down. So commonly in relationships people keep picking the same ninja over and over again and complaining about being attacked in the night by Bruce Lee. 
8) Once you have a list of minimum requirements, priorize the list.  Yes I want a 6 foot tall partner but not if they have a history of serial murder.  On the other hand if the fellow I like is Danny De Vito and I want a 6 foot talk guy Danny's sense of humor (hilarious) may swing the equation. But this should be considered' raltionally' because I can't trust my 'emotions' because they are 'damaged' by bad relationships. I always have to consider that I'm prone to make mistakes if I have had relationships previously that weren't what I wanted. They may well have been what I needed but in getting needs and wants connected I have to seriously look with humility at my choices.
9) People are most commonly disappointed by unrealistic expectations.  Not surprisingly I've found women in general lacking when I compare them with Angelina Jolie as a  'brand'.  For all I know Angelina beats Brad in the bed room but her 'brand' is not helpful if I compare 'real women' against that. 
10) Real people are a gestault. They are a package.  When people argue they commonly isolate one trait rather than seeing it in context. If we did this is sports even the best football player or hockey star would be found lacking somewhere in the play. A great baseball hitter may be a poor catcher and still end up in the hall of fame. When I see ugly people together I just assume they probably are amazing in bed or maybe one is a great parent or a good cook. It's something that's the glue and I don't criticize other relationships and try especially not to criticize my partners these days.  People who criticize their partners should accept that they bought the lemon and don't really know what's a good person so if they get rid of the lemon are most likely to get another.
11) Co dependents Anonymous is a good organization to start addressing relationship issues without spending an arm and a leg.
12) Better to do marriage therapy when a good relationship falters than to talk ad infintum with a counsellor about relationships when single. It's good for the counsellors but it's like doing a lot of time in ground school when a person's real problems are flying the plane.  Get on a horse and then get advice about riding but don't pick the mean horse.  For that a counsellor can help you.  Get advice on how to fix the picker.  One fixes the picker by going out with 'unnattractive people' .  It's like learning to eat non greasy food. At first it tastes bland and unnattractive then after a while you wonder how you could ever eat that greasy shit.  You act your way in to right feeling and right thinking but it all begins with the acceptance that you've a broken 'picker' and the problem lies within not without.  Change and the world changes with you. 

Thursday in February

We had a really sunny warm day this week. It was sneaky indeed. Had me believing for that day summer had come.  Then the next day it rained. Doom and gloom. The crashing depression of seasonal affective disorder struck and all across the city heads dove under sheets and no one wanted to leave their pillows. I thought I was coming down with a fever and a cold though it was all merely psychological. The self pity on a rainy cold February day in Vancouver is palpable.  Driving was dangerous too because everyone was suddenly suicidal.
The weather report promised dry spells today. The RV show was last week with it's promise of summer camping. This weekend it's the Vancouver Boat Show with its tease of fair winds and following seas, the thought of sailing in the Strait, the winter storms all gone.  But winter lingers in Vancouver to March. The rest of the country is blanketted in snow and cold but they have the light. Here the sunshine only really comes for sure in April but more and more there will be days of tease.  Harley Davidson motorcycle drivers had their bikes out of storage this last week getting out on the road styling. But March and April it's going to be a veritable blitz of motorcycles. Then the convertibles and bonfires of old umbrellas.
I'll phone Dad in hospital in Ottawa. That will be a good start for today. The little guy, Gilbert is keen for play and the cats Angel and Tiffany are prowling about.  They're always hopeful and optimistic about the day.  Gilbert's enthusiasm is infectious.
It's going to be a good day. It's a Thursday and Thursdays are sweet. That's what Rogers and Hammerstein in Pipe Dream said and when were they every wrong.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Poem

Tuesday poem
-William Hay (Feb.7,2012)
I longed for a song to open Tuesday
With more than a thought of a half price movie
Something to spring me from bed
And turn my head to prayer and life
But Cat Stevens said Tuesday was Dead
Tray Anastasia only talked of Tuesday evening
Rolling Stones did well to give us Ruby
No doubt by now a beautiful grandmother
No one would admit
That Tuesday was an orphan
Except George Castanza on Seinfeld
Claiming Tuesday had no feeling.
Tuesday lost somehow in the week
Of days with more significant meaning
Yet chosen incongruously often for
Presidential elections
Opening  before the hump
This little lost waif of a day
After Monday the only passage to Wednesday
Without there be dragons
Thank God for Tuesdays with Moray
Not a song but a book at least
That could elevate this otherwise
Potentially muddled little day.
The Pogues and Cowboy Junkies
Had their way with you
As did Metallica
But still you hung in there
I love you, Tuesday.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

St. James Anglican Church, Vancouver, Canada Feb.5, 2012

Another great day at church.  The St. James choir was glorious as usual.  Incense and ritual.  I actually found myself making notes on the sermon. Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of her Diamond Jubilee then discussion of obligations of Christians.  I was poking at my iphone so only got a bit of it. Not too different from my own Christian walk as a result.  If I'd had a whole keyboard I'd have got it more accurately. But then I'm a master of excuses. I'd be a better Christian....if aliens hadn't abducted me the night the dog ate my home work....Nonetheless my notes give some indication of what  was going on.
What are our obligations as baptized Christians
1. Be at mass on Sundays and study the teachings and pray daily
2 live in power of holy spirit, daily examination and repentance and yearly participation in repentance service
3 read scriptures daily and live by grace
4 love your neighbour
5 be self compassionate
6 be merciful
7 give alms
8 strive for kingdom of god
Christian lead life of obligation as duty and joy in service of Christ
Obligation authenticates our promises

Mark Greenaway-Robbins sermon feb512
When I carried Gilbert up for communion I noticed the other parents babies were shaved.  Gilbert is by far the harriest one in the church besides his friend Phil. Trying to be solemn and resist dancing, being brought up Baptist, the temptation to dance in church is almost Davidic, I was amused to see that Gilbert thought the kneeling rest was a pillow for his chin. After almost everyone had gone down stairs for coffee I got a picture of the great hall.  I love when they ring the bell in the church service.  IMG 0614
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Someone's Coming - song

Someone's Coming
 - William Hay

Someone's coming
But we don't know when (3)
'C                          G
He's been this way before

We killed him then
Will we kill him again  (3)
C                                        G
Though you know he can never die

Em7                                 C
His gift for you and me

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Em7                  G
Love will never end
C                           G
His love will never end

(repeat first verse)