Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Flying to Reno for IDAA 2018

Laura came by this morning to take care of Gilbert and George while I was away. I enjoyed showing off my new KTM 690 Enduro Motorcycle.  “I”d like to ride on the back of that on Saltspring Island,” she said.
Mack said, “I like that. I’ve been riding off road bikes for 30 years. Had 500 and that’s even more powerful. I’d love to ride that in the mountains.  The big Sasquatch race with thousands is held each year by Yale. You should go."
I was sorry to leave Laura, Gilbert, George and the  Austrian (the KTM).  My Harley didn’t seem to mind having a little brother parked next to him. After taking me to and from Surges and keeping me safe for thousands more miles he’s got nothing to prove. No doubt he’ll tell the young KTM a story or two while I’m away.
I’d packed last night and drove the Mini Cooper S to the Airport Jet Setter parking lot.  It’s a routine now. Today all that interrupted it was a comatose man on the street. I arrived along with an off duty police woman riding her Harley. No one saw how he got there. I checked for lateralization, a pulse. Breathing was obviously fine.  But he was unresponsive till the experienced and very beautiful police woman 'caressed' his chest to 'wake' him. His eyes came open and I saw pin prick pupils. Then he was spluttering and paranoid.  I asked for any other medical causes, asked what drugs he'd done but he wasn't helpful. I asked if 911 was called when I arrived and another woman was calling.
 The fire department arrived and took over while he was moving about and talking lucidly. The 'discrete' police woman hopped on her bike and headed out as I got back in the Mini to head on to the airport.
Now I'm waiting for the bus.  Getting off at the terminal.  Passports, tickets, check in, luggage.  I’ve done it so many times with Gilbert that without him it’s a lot less work.  Laura has come with me on the international jaunts. This little Alaska Air hop to Seattle and then Reno is nothing like the Alaska Air flights I made to Japan when I worked in Saipan.
I was late for my flight and Alaska Air was very accommodating.   With an  upgrade to first class got me on the otherwise full  later flight.
To pass the time I bought Laura some Miss Dior and got Pacific Northwest Maple Smoked Salmon gifts for friends.. I sat in Starbucks and ate sandwiches and drank Mocca coffee. Airports have tired air. They’re a bit like space ports.  I’ve not known space ports yet but feel the comparison fits.  I like airports.  I like planes. I still retain the adventure of flying. My father took us up in little planes when my brother and I were children. Now I’ve taken so many flights in bush plane taxis when I worked as a fly in doctor in Northern Canada, weekly flights then monthly flights for years. Later I’d do the same in the Marianas Islands. I took my first international flight to England when I was 20. Now my nephew is working there.  I’ve loved returning to London and look forward to it again.
This IDAA conference is an Oasis in my year. I’ve been listening to the tapes of the meetings for the last 2 years. The USB sticks work great in my Mini and in my Ford F350 truck. I love the CME in Addiction Medicine but mostly like listening to the friends I’ve made over the last 20 years of attending this conference regularly. They’re the leaders in the field and I’m honoured to know them.  The psychiatrists I most admired here are older and retired. The psychiatrists I know and most admire in IDAA continue to come back even when they retire.  I love seeing the internationals too. Steven   from Australia and Alistair from Scotland are especially amazing. Steven doesn’t fight crocodiles but at least Alistair like me hunts deer.  Not only that he maintains the herd.  Steven has always been a source of inspiration, one of the finest human beings I’ve even known and a fine academic and clinician.
I so look forward to to seeing Art and Carole. Art has been a wonderful source of sage knowledge about the practice of psychiatry. He bow hunts elk and has arrived with fresh jerky.  An Air Force Colonel.  Amazing. His wife is so beautiful and life wise, the mother of adult children I’ve met and enjoyed.  Cheryl and Dick are another couple I am truly blessed to known.  Cheryl is so spiritual, a minister and an amazing runner.  Dick is just plain delightful, a glorious raconteur and leader among leaders. Gordie, a surgeon followed Dick as the leader of IDAA, their leadership in their outstanding careers in medicine being turned to making this organization one of the finest in the world.  I would never have been able to tolerate the dirty politics and corruption of medicine were it not for the inspiration of these men and women.  Ray and Graeme and Dave from Canada are often there and remind me that there are “like minded doctors’.  The “Like Minded Doctors’ group actually began there ,clinicians concerned that the humanity of medicine was being lost to the bean counters and robber barons.
I’m isolated by my own morality and ethics, devastated by the lies and callousness of administration and horrendous plight of those of us on the front lines with the patients suffering most.  Here I find those who’ve carried on. I love that Nathan another psychiatrist held true to his ideals despite the financial losses.  There are just so many here. Ever since Hank and Art, and then Hal took me under their wing I’ve tried to carry on inspire of my ever present desire to flee the abuses.  These men and women here help me remain sober minded when my thoughts ping pong between homicide and suicide in the Being John Malkovich mind I have.
Between meetings I keep in touch with Cyberdocs, our on line private community of doctors sharing their trials and tribulations and questions about sanity in face of the bureacracy, the holding onto hope when patients and family are dying, the carrying on without resources, the struggle and also the gratitude and grace that we experience. I am forever uplifted by the sense of community this on line experience gives me. Right when I’m all alone I get on line and see how people like Steven and Nathan carry on despite the burdens they face. I’m a whiner and complainer , a screamer and
a wailer yet there’s Art and Dick and Gordie all stoics of the first order. Tom is great.  Bobby makes me laugh.  She and Carole and Cheryl got me entering the 5 km run walk each year and now I enjoy that.
I feel badly as there are so many I am close to and it’s these that come to mind this moment. I hope George makes it, the altitude tough for him last year.  Brett seems to thrive on altitude. I’ll miss Dave.  In another moment there will be a half dozen more I’ve been close to over the years, going for dinner, meeting up, having coffee with,  writing emails back and forth, discussing cases, getting advice, talking about the death of family, sharing ignorance about love and women and hearing how others raise their children. All these loving people. And Jerry Mo and those family members and friends. We gather and support the next group as we were supported, passing on hope. I’m so looking forward to it as I am each year.  I hope Julie is here. I miss Beth.  Randy is fantastic. I laughed hearing him introducing speakers on the USB collections of the meetings he hosted.
I’m just so honoured to be a part of this. I’m so priviledged to be told toe ‘keep coming back’ .  I’m so glad that I laughed at the jokes of ‘some are sicker than others’.  It’s really a blessing. I like to be spiritual alone on a hill, or off at sea or roaring down a highway on my motorcycle. But this community is strangely my monastic retreat, a collection of truly brilliant men and women who are for me the Glass Bead Game, Narcissus and Goldmund, the actual hewers of wood and carriers of water who make up the action part of the spiritual life. I think of Merton and Brother Lawrence and know each of these are ‘doing’ love in that hands on way that we do.  We come together in mutual support and see relationship for the spiritual boost we once sought but didnt find elsewhere.
The plane is descending now into Reno.  It’s always a thrill to see who makes it again.  I look forward now to the hugs.  I’m pretty stand offish in my own way, aloof and comfortable mostly with so very few and even then a tad paranoid given the hurts I’ve cause and hurts I’ve had.  Now I’m going to a safe place.

Religious Hurdles with Christianity

1. God.  All religions, including atheism, a ‘non religion’, or ‘anti religion’, contemplate the ‘existence or non existence of God'. Apologetics in Christianity provided an extensive lists of ‘arguments’ for God coming out of the rationalist period.  ‘Superstition’ refers to the ‘natural religion’ common to all people. To date ‘tribal societies’ have had a sense of ‘connectedness’ to the universe, planet, network, matrix, flow, plants, animals, rocks and soil.  Locally natives refer to this ‘relatedness’ to ‘all my relations’.  The ‘division’ between ‘mind and body’ with the development of ‘intellectualism’ and ultimately the narcissism of atheism was a late hot house plant in the millions of years of creation, and the last quarter million years of apparent civilized d the human sentience.  But our predictions of the past are limited by our perceptions of today.  Martin Buber described the  ‘individual’, itself a very recent concept historically, as “I and It or I and Thou”.  He saw the fundamental development one of fear and superstition to love and religion.  Communists the greatest proponents of so called ‘atheism’ called the State, God, in all but word,  and really shared the ‘nihilism’ so common to atheism compared with the Grace which is known in Christianity.  

2. God or Gods:  Monotheism.  The ‘great’ religions of the world have been Christianity, Hinduism,and Buddhism.  Paganism could be considered here too. Judaism from which Christianity evolved is limited by ‘tribal’ blood connections. Status within the religion is greatest for those whose mother is Jewish.  It’s roots are in this world.  Christianity and Hinduism and Buddhism are world religions.  Islam is also a world religion but is entwined in the political message of Mohammed, world conquer.  Zorastrianism which was all but destroyed by Islam is the world religion that came out of Persia.  The main monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It’s hard to say that Paganism was ‘polytheistic’ because within most of paganism was a ‘ground’ or overlord or central religious figure. In the Japanese, Shintoism is the hearth religion with Shinto as the source of the interconnectedness of all.  In local native tradition, the Creator, permeates all the polytheistic elements of the traditional aboriginal religions.  In this way, the polytheism is not that much different from the ‘saints’ and their ‘actions’ within the Roman Catholic tradition.  The key though in all is the belief that “I am not God….I may be of God….I may be a child of God….but God is greater or other than me”.  A classic text on spirituality is ‘Not God,” by Kurtz.  He and Ketcham also wrote the “Spirituality of Imperfection’.  Spirituality has been said as God given whereas religion has been described as Man made.  The truth is that religion is to god knowledge and experience as libraries are to books and study.  A lot of today’s ‘spirituality’ unfortunately is egotism masquerading as Godliness whereas religion goes beyond the fool on the hill to address the politics of relationship whether it be embracing peace or making war.

 3. Having decided that there is a God what action does one take to know God more fully.  Interestingly the collective religions despite their different end points encourage similar practices which include prayer, meditation, fasting, praise, worship, gratitude, celebration, congregation, coming together,  building together, community, etc. Child sacrifice and sacrifice of virgins is thankfully passe, though there’s a ritual religious quality about the fear driven abortion sacrifices of the last decades.

The study of God results in a profound ‘aha’ experience resulting in people describing the god experience as akin to the transformation of a caterpillar and butterfly.  The poem ‘Hound of Heaven’ speaks to the central idea that while a God seeker, seeks God, God is seeking the god seeker. The classic image of this is on the Celestine Chapel ceiling where Michelangelo has Adam reaching up to God and God reaching down. There’s a sense of this earth and air or body and spirit, and the lightness of being.  It’s been called a ‘leap of faith’.  It’s complicated  by the notion that without believing one cannot know.  It’s similar with love. I cannot experience love without participation and the depth of love I can experience is limited by my trust.  The atheist and his friend the agnostic are the great fence sitters who want ‘no risk’ and ‘fearfully criticize’ those who jump in the living waters and shout for joy at how wonderful the experience is.  Those on the shore insist differently but don’t know. Pascal the great philosopher described the ‘gamble’ of religion.  

But Satan was described as God’s first Angel who preferred to admire his own shadow than look to the light of God. Atheists are like this so much. They want attention and get it emotionally by a big ‘pout’ intellectually.  Amusing. The best and latest  perhaps was Hitchens but Buddhists, very godly, have gone beyond the westerners like him who Trungpa described as mere consumers and wanting to consume ‘religion or no religion’.  Spiritual consumers.  They stand around the heat or away from it and discuss it but can’t participate fully in the experience because of their ‘monkey mind’.  Robert Heinlein the great science fiction writer described the ‘experience’ of Grokking’ creating this word to address the diminution of the word ‘knowing’ in modern western society. Knowing was a hierarchal many facetted word which like most words in the west lost it’s sacred or holy, highest meaning in the ‘materialism’ of the conceited atheist consumer societies.  

4. Having accepted a God and trying to know God who is this Christ figure.  Jesus was an historic man 2000 years ago in Israel, a Jew, a son of a carpenter. The Messiah was the idea of God coming again to the world.  Jesus was thought to be a ‘prophet’ by Mohammed later and by the Jews of his time. But the Christians accepted his teaching that he was indeed God come to experience human life whose death would change the cosmos. The humans of the day in the Gospel, the teaching of Christians, actually crucify Jesus.  Typical of human despots and totatalitarian human regimes they think they can resolve their difficulties by censorship and killing competing ideas and their proponents.  But in the death of Jesus the Cosmic Christ arose and gave the power of life to followers who believed in Jesus.  He died. He rose.  Believing in Jesus I will die and rise again. There is a message of ‘everlasting life’ and heaven and eternity for Christians.  

The ideas about life after death abound and frankly the Viking Valhalla is a lot of work.  By contrast the Christian Mark Twain Captain Stormfield heaven is more appealing.  Brother Lawrence the great Christian monk described the experience of the present and God in now as beyond the thought of a ‘future’ after life experience.  By contrast in Hinduism men have grown with each reincarnation to become god like Avatars and eventually returning into the great sea of god. Buddha grew up in this tradition. The Jewish God, more tribal than individual and political in a sense like Islam doesn’t really have much ‘heaven literature’. Christians by contrast in the tradition of Trungpa’s consumerism have described playing harps on clouds and great orchestra parties with God whereas Islam has offered Virgins and Oasis to it’s best followers.  These are all ‘details’ which can be embraced or possibly not once one has accepted God. In Christianity we say that one is born again, born in the spirit as opposed to born in the flesh, when one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord.  

If one believes that Jesus was God and his life and teachings direct from God then one has the making of a fundamentalist. The Holy Bible is two books, the Old Testament which the Jews collectively agree on including as it does the Torah and prophets and the New Testament, including the 4 Gospels, the witnesses to Jesus and his early days and those right after and the teachings of Paul, whose writings expanded on the Gospel and Revelation.  Fundamentalists believe the Holy Bible is the ‘word of God’ and that by studying the Bible one knows God.  There are those who believe in the ‘literal truth’ of the Holy Bible and that means if it says ‘a day’ then it’s an earthly day as we know it. Other’s are for interpretation.  The Catholic Church emphasized tradition and the teaching of the church whereas the Protestants following Luther emphasized the teachings of the Bible.

5. There are a lot of churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, sweat lodges, altars and high hills, all which are places of ‘worship’ and individually are devoted to ‘God’ and are used by the vast majority of people and have been for hundreds of thousands of years.  By contrast atheists are a very tiny recent loud minority of critics of religions and the process, including criticizing prayer and meditation and singing and all the activities which have been part of the process of religion for time immemorial. The atheists want to destroy religions and God and the idea of God and usurp all the contributions to humanity of God and religion and spirituality.  The religion of atheism to date is communism.  Humanism is an atheist philosophy but has never grown to expression like communism which is indeed the main religion of aetheism.  

The question of which religion to choose is a recent phenomena that has come from the migration of people as most religions arose in a part of the world and spread out from that. Islam still focuses on Mecca.  Hinduism is predominantly in India but Indians are all over the world and adherents are of every race and colour. Judaism’s growth is limited to the ‘genetic’ proposition of ‘lineage’ despite it’s spread secularly and spiritually  in the great ‘diaspora’ throughout the world.  Ghengis Khan and his brothers had the greatest number of progeny in history and spread the seed literally and figuratively along with first a pagan religion and later Islam.  Islam embraces Polygamy politically while in the west monogamy is associated with reduced political numbers.

6.  Homosexuality was outlawed throughout history principally because children were the tools of , agriculture, war and industry and homosexuality could interfere in the success of a nation.  Greek sparta was an exception and Alexander the Great had homosexual relationships.  There was really historically no major issue with it except perhaps related to disease spread and social divisiveness as long as Kings produced children.The argument against  homosexuality is it’s inability to ‘reproduce’.  It’s parasitic on the main stream society and certainly adds colour and perspective but the whole issue of minority and majority and leadership is raised independent of religion.

With the advent of DNA testing and the finding that 50% of children of divorce aren’t their fathers there is a whole new modern issue with progeny and family which religions, historically the domain of family and afterlife , are just beginning to face.  Each aspect of religion has a history and a time related to it’s development. The taboo against eating pork is considered related to the parasite that pork carried that could invade humans and the tendency of pork to spoil in heat first.  Much of historical writing of religious nature is thought today to be early medicine and public health.  Transexualism isn’t discussed in modern religions in generals.  In the play the great Kahunna, there is the great line of all time, “Jesus said nothing about women in business suits.”  The history of all religions shows adaptation to the times and reinterpretation of the language and times and meaning of religious texts.  Churches divided over the represntatiional art long before the advent of HD and Digital imaging. 

7.  C.S. Lewis, the great Christian writer/?saint, encouraged one to consider whether Jesus was God or just a man and that this was the central question.  Historic figures like Zeus and all the characters of the Golden Bow are different from this ‘historic’ figure Jesus.  Similarly the ‘sainthood’ of the Gurus of the Siks or the Catholic saints like St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis, or St. John of the Cross.  These are recent and speak to the miraculous. Scientifists have historically been mostly religious until recently with the onslaught of atheism in it’s aggressive critique of humanity, but today Scientific Materialism prophesies all manner of things and sometimes makes the Big Bang, just another name for their ‘god’.  Evolution is not inherently ‘aetheistic’ as it comes from the idea of religion, the movement from the Old JerusalemJerusalem  to the New Jerusulem. It’s just one of the ‘utopian’ fantasies.  It doesn’t explain ‘fractals’ or interspecies evolution or a wide range of things which we ‘accept’ in sciences as ‘empirical’ and don’t dare question but rather move on as we do in religion since these ‘detours’ can be addictive like atheism, and it’s criticism, but difficult with creation.

 CS Lewis wrote “mere christianity’ and ‘surprised by joy’ and discussed Christian orthodoxy, as there have always been schisms and divisions which the creeds have attempted to address, contributing to the evolution of Christianity, much as the commentaries have contributed to the evolution of the Torah.

8. Code. The 10 commandments. Morality. Right and wrong. There are physical ‘laws’ like ‘gravity’ so jumping off bridges is likely to hasten death. The issue of ‘spiritual’ or community laws like don’t eat pork , don’t have anal sex without washing, don’t cut your wrists, do’s and don’ts of society.  Even in the animal kingdom there is evidence of the ‘wise’ animal and that ‘sage’ come with length of learning.  Every revolution and every generation goes through a learning period with hundreds of millions killed by the aetheistic communist ideology rejecting the learning of religion and history to impose from above ideas that usually include censoring and killing off any who disagree. The essence of religion has been to study the ‘code of living’. Divine inspiration and prophecy and meditation have all given rise to insights that have contributed to present day civilization. 

9. Is it spiritual or insane?.  The difference between delusion and insanity has been decided not by the ‘experience’ but rather what is the product of the experience. If a modern day pharmaceutical religious journey adventurer drops LSD and cuts off his testicles as a result this is not considered a ‘religious insight’.  It’s delusional. Inherently there’s an element of “L’chaim’,’ ‘to life’ versus to ‘death’ so if a communty practices a policy of infanticide it dies out and is thought insane.  Much of history is insane and trial and error.  Religions record the social and experiential in the central ideas of community and family.  

10. Today the media is as often part of a war of misinformation and disinformation.  Free will and fate and choice are all central religious concepts which apply to the sixties idea of ‘feed your mind’ ironically. What we focus on is what we get.  The university was once of place of ‘higher learning’ but with atheism comes the idea that there is no ‘higher or lower’.  Discrimination is frowned on so ‘discernment’ is the baby thrown out with the bath water. Bill Cosby had an hilarious skit I heard in my youth about how man learned to eat meat and the mistakes that occurred. Tired of eating bushes the early man tried eating a saber tooth tiger who objected to be eaten so the men went back to eating bushes till the idea of eating meat rose again in a ‘refined’ way.  Religion on a societal level has been trial and error and individually is a matter of trial and error. 

11. I believe in God.  I don’t think I am God. I believe in the interconnected relational world and the abstract.

12. I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and I believe the Gospels teach me what God wants me to do.  If I follow the teachings of Jesus I can have a reasonably good life here on earth and be assured continuing life. I believe that evolution is occurring for humanity and spiritually,I have faith.  I study the Bible and the Creeds and share and commune with other religious people.  I believe that we are progressing forward, as in evolving, as a people, with occasional set backs, epicurean cannibalism, as an example. However, mostly we’re following in the steps of Jesus. This is good. Thank you God for your guidance. Thank your Jesus.




Monday, July 30, 2018

KTM 690 Enduro Motorcycle 2018

I am so enjoying my new 2018 KTM 690 Enduro Motorcycle.  Derek at Holeshot Motorsports in Langley took a trade of my Honda Pioneer 500 Side by Side Quad.  I really loved that machine until Gilbert, hunting cockapoo, hurt his back and also became blind. The Pioneer just took up a lot of storage space and only got used for a couple of weeks in fall. I”d only put a thousand km on it in 2 years.
When I’d had a Honda 250 CRF motorcycle I’d loved it for hunting and used it year round as it was street legal. 250 cc is more than enough for all the off roads needs but it was a little light on the highway, able to just make 110 km on the flat but really screaming, not good for passing up hill. I have a Harley Electroglide 1600 cc and that is the ultimate freeway machine. I loved riding from the west coast to Sturges one year on that and still love it. But it’s a bit big for a commuter and I store it at Trev Deeley for the winter because the leaves make the streets too greasy for the Harley but not  for an enduro.
I read all the reviews and sat on the choices in that category.  Kawasaki’s 650 is a beauty but heavier. The BMW was fine and I liked the Triumph.  Suzuki’s 650 is sweet and for the price the best out there. But KTM just grabbed me at the Abbotsford Motorcycle Show.  Everyone I talked to loved them.   The adventure bikes were the best to sit but I didn’t need another big machine.  I wanted a bike I could carry on a hitch rack off the back or front of my truck. The KTM 690 is only 300 lbs.  The hitch mount is good for 500.  I’d bought a second hand Palomino Maverick truck camper so had no room to carry a motorcycle like I had the Pioneer in the box of my Ford F350 long box truck.  I loved reading of all the races the KTM had won.
Leaving Holeshot with the bike on the rack at back I worried some it would fall off. I then picked up the Camper mounting it myself for the first time without any destruction. With the help of a young guy, son of the Chilliwack RV Storage, I loaded the KTM on the hitch rack.  I was all geared up for a long weekend.
1 am in the morning,  I pulled into a wilderness campsite off the road short of Princeton.  It’s great to be able to pack and sleep.  Gilbert and my alarm had me up at 7 am.   I had planned on camping beyond Princeton near Stemwinder where there are logging roads.  I found the perfect camp site.  Setting up the camper, putting out the slide, levelling the camper and stowing the food I’d bought en route in the fridge I unloaded the bike. The hitch extension I got from Burnaby Hitch allows me to open the back door with the bike in place.
It’s a tall bike. Mounting it I was taken back to a ballet class too many years ago.   Riding the Pioneer was like driving a little car about in the backwoods.  I’ve got a truck for that. This motorcycle thing is a whole other level of adventure. I pulled out of the campsite onto the main highway surprised at how fast I was at  70 then 90 km.  Then was backing offf having to let cars by so I could turn onto the logging road.
That’s where the KTM 690 got stupendous.  The KTM is the most amazing off road motorcycle. I just stayed on logging roads.  This can do deer trails. I did those with my Honda 250 CRF. But this is another level of design. It just feels right.  I was going 80 km an hour on the straights, faster than I’d normally go in my truck. It likes speed and hugs the road. But where it really performed was in the sand. I was fishtailing and thought I’d lose it a couple of times in these new corduroy soft roads with sand and lose gravel, doing about 50 km hr till I slowed to 30 and the bike took care of me.  It was work. I had to focus.  I had ridden to the top of the mountain on a spur to where there was no more road.  I was a little concerned about going back down that last stretch but the bike was amazing in first gear. I loved how it walked down the mountain.  I could give it gas and it would be off to the races but without gas it just hummed along safely walking down the mountain. Now that’s what I like in an off road bike.  I prefer safety to speed coming down and the KTM gave me that.
What I also liked was the brakes. Normally I have to balance the back brake with a little front brake. On all my bikes the front brake has been a real stopper and the KTM was no different there. What was different was the back brake. Normally they’re just not so sure.  The KTM back brake gripped perfectly. Not too much. Not to little. Brilliantly engineered for off road conditions. A big black cow startled by me coming around the corned jumped into the centre of the road and looked like ti was a bout to charge. I had to slow down fast and then deake around the big beast. That’s when I noticed how perfect the back brake was set up.  No collision between bike and cow and no me going over the handle bars or dropping the brand new bike.  Just a really good feeling.
It was a couple of hours of fun. Some racing. Some moseying along looking at the spectacular mountain landscape.  Purple, yellow, white flowers. Pine, Spruce and Fir. Great views.  The air smelt so good.  I love riding old logging roads without encountering another soul.
Today I drove the bike the hour drive along the river and old paved road.  Great winding 80 km highway.  Sunshine. Little traffic. Lots of folk along the river. I love all the ways people carry their gear and the tents and RV’s , the kayaks, bicycles. I passed several campgrounds.  Just enjoying the winding ride.  Nice bike.  Light maneuverable.  I’ve ridden my Harley on this road and loved it , probably more but this was a close second.  Kind of a European sports car to my comfortable big cadillac Harley motorcycle.  It’s less Easy Rider and younger, more enduro.  In the town it was easy to park and shop.  Getting my leg up and over was still a challenge but with a potential audience I did the Swan Lake thing swiftly and without the groans.  It’s going to come easier. I liked the lightness of the bike in the traffic. Tourist town summer.
Then back on the highway.  That was exciting.  90 to 100 km/hr it was a happy machine. I need a windshield. I love wind therapy but at high speed, and I was doing 110 and 120 passing, I really missed a wind breaker.  Still it was intense.  Nice machine on the highway at high speed with lots of power for passing. I liked that.  Passing with the Honda 250 or the Yamaha 250 I had wasn’t great except on back roads, not on the freeway. This bike will do any asphalt and performed just fine though it’s real glory was off road.
Now I’m back at the camp. I’m going out on it again. But it really is sweet. I’m pleased. ith the simple Quad you can stand up and it’s a whole lot less daunting.  I’d rather load this motorcycle and this rear hitch mount from Princess Auto is quite ht thing.  I’m really satisfied with the KTM 690 Enduro.  Years of fun and joy. Now to begin the slow process of accessorizing, first the windshield then the luggage. I already have the protected handle bars and like them.  I like the wide range of choices that come with enduro motorcycles.

Thank you KTM.

Sunday Morning in Paradise,Similkameen Valley, BC

I sure slept well.  I love the mattress in the Maverick camper. Quiet night. I was reading late and noted the neighbours in their campers and tents were all lights out by then.  In the distance there was the highway with an infrequent vehicle passing.  Night bird sounds.  Some breeze in the evergreens.  I dreamed fine dreams of friends and fondness. I awoke with light and fell back to sleep. More dreaming.
Then Gilbert grunted softly, his way of letting me know he was awake and bored.  I got up then and liked my little house on wheels.  Used the in house toilet. Then carried my little blind dog outside.  It was a moment of synchornicity.  My two nearest trailer neighbours were exiting their mobiles at just that moment. One had a coffee. The other was walking down to the creek with his towel.  I felt like I’d linked into the tribal consciousness.  We were the single guys here. The trailer with all the kids is still quiet and it’s been an hour or so.
I walked Gilbert. The older couple in the tent were up walking their little dog.  It seemed the thing to do. I thought yesterday was Sunday and fussed about going to church.  Only late in the day when I rode into Princeton did I realize it was Saturday.  Now it’s Sunday and the thought crossed my mind to take the KTM 690 and go to church but I expect I’ll pack up leisurely instead.  Another neighbour has come out of his trailer.  That’s the fellow with the pretty wife. The two played horseshoes down at the pit.
Gilbert liked the walk. Even though he was blind he handled walking among the rocks and boulders down to the stream where he had a sip of the water. Yesterday I’d washed him with Irish Spring soap, him standing belly high in the creek.  I threw water on him and rinsed him with crows flying overhead.  I was having a time with my flip flops getting stuck in the sand.  He got out ahead of me and proceeded to roll around in the sand before being visited by a really big German Shepherd.  Gilberts a social little fellow so having a meeting made up for the torture of being made to smell pretty.
I used the last of the ground coffee to make this morning’s cup.  I made toast on stove top toaster then smeared the four pieces with peanut butter.  With a couple of Iogo Yogurt I sat outside eating breakfast watching the birds flitting from tree to tree.  I finished off the Texas Paladin Rides Again western wondering about the minds of the guys writing these.  Pure fantasy.  Man hunting and killing and coming back to the bad woman turned good with marriage.  The marshall and the ex whore.  The marshall kills the man who reminds her of her past.  It’s horses and simplicity and revenge and morality.  Easy reading beside a stream surrounded by pine and fir.
I rode the KTM 690 again last night.  After barbecuing a couple of steaks I had with sticks of carrots and celery, Gilbert shared the steak but had no interest in the vegetables, I took the Ruger 22 Rifle and rode out on the bike.  Gilbert with a full belly was left to guard the home.
A Stellar’s Jay has just landed on the tree and then the ground in front of me.  Black tufted head and blue body.  Lovely bird. I’d been watching a couple of them flitting between the trees, now thankful to have this one come closer.
I rode the KTM up the mountain road, annoyed with the fresh gravel that makes the road a bit of a challenge. Cordoroy and lose gravel.  Once I got to the steep part I had more traction.  I decided I didn’t want to go all the way up and turned about to take the trail into the first plateau, chickening out with the first major dip off the road.  Further along I took an easier path only to end up in bog.  Now here I liked that the KTM was only 300 lbs.  I dismounted and  was just able to pull the bike out of the mud and turn it enough that getting back on I could gun it out of the mess I was in.  I gave up finding a place to target practice up there and headed back to the highway in the other direction.
I remembered a Canyon road from years past and headed up there as the sun was setting.  I’d not have a lot of light for shooting.  I also had to take a cattle trail up to the rock slide clearing maneuvering around big boulders. I stalled a few times still getting used to the gears and fearful of giving it so much throttle that it would send me off the road and down the mountain.  I really was pleased with the bike when I got to the plateau.  I’d brought a target and put that out where the rockslide would be a back drop.  I’d carried the break down Ruger in it’s soft case on a strap over my shoulder.  I put the pieces together and loaded in the Ruger semi auto clip.  Right off I was hitting the target at a 100 feet.  I set it out at the distance I’m mostly shooting grouse and rabbits at.  I was shooting a nice pattern but all a few inches low so I adjusted the sights till I was consistently putting a grouping just a half inch from the centre. I could have started on another box and got the grouping right around the centre itself but while a few had hit bullseyes the majority were still a half inch low.
Standing shooting I remembered my brother and I as kids competing for our target shooting diploma. I got the bronze for lying prone shooting, my brother got the silver for kneeling.  The range was indoor and up the street from us like a bowling alley would be.  As kids we loved it. I doubt the young people would have access to this now in Canada.  Sad really.  I remember my brother, Dad and I having a good time in that range plunking away at targets.  We didn’t have paint ball back then so maybe that’s the thing today. Different attitude.  Fantasy and war. Target practice was more precision,  like golf and putting and driving ranges.
I’d watched the sun go behind the mountain and the clouds go pink with colour. It was dark but still light enough to see when I broke down the Ruger and loaded it back into it’s soft case.  Getting back on the KTM I turned on the light and enjoyed the wide beam.  Riding over the open field trying to avoid boulders and pot holes and cow paddies I liked that light.  Going down the hill I really was cautious, first gear, braking with my right foot toes touching with my light grip on the forward brake, hard to see the rocks and holes in the increasing dark. Glad to be back on the Canyon road, pretty much a trail itself but really well lit up with the beams of light.  I liked that light beam  stretched right across the road. I worry about animals bounding out at night and a narrow beam wouldn’t pick up their eyes in the light. The KTM light was perfect. The high beam was fine too but I used he low beam as I rode out admiring the view of the winding river below as it appeared between the trees. .  Back on the highway I gunned the bike to 90 km and was back at the camp in no time. Gilbert was pleased to see me and we settled in for the night.  He stretched out on the floor. I lit a candle and read more about Jubal Cole in the western.
I’d read a couple of chapters of Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules.  I liked his reflections on the divisions of gender, yin and yang, then the next division, parental.  There’s depth in his writing.  An antidote to the superficiality that happens with so much history forgotten and all news apparently questionable as truth no longer is agreed and arts stadents want to argue the ‘facts’ of science. Fantasy so much easier than physics and chemistry.
Perhaps too many leaders are parachuted to the top.  I think of the British Navy where everyone rose from the ranks and even the admirals had climbed to the top of the rigging in the tall ships. It’s not just the radical feminists but more so the lawyers and bureaucrats who believe they can lead without experience.  So many political leaders with no experience of real life or even a sense of history. They sit in board rooms and come up with ideas and tell people what they want like the communists with their plans that lead to millions of Ukranians starving to death.  Mind and body. The drunks and addicts with all their ideas and over and over again the sober say, if you talk the talk, walk the walk.
I’m no longer a leader. I once was but didn’t like the politics I suppose.  A while back sitting in a cafe, a nearby man asking what I did wanted to talk to me about addiction, spouting lines from the media, ideas of marketting marijuana and I didnt want to discuss it.  I tell him that subject is work to me. I want them to register that when I an old man say, I’m a psychiatrist that I’m aware. He began to ask questions and showed the inherent disrespect for knowledge. I played the verbal ping pong, ask him back what he does. Do that dance for a bit but register the ‘social’ and ‘salesman’ ‘getting to know you’ and realize I don’t want to ‘make friends’. That’s so often my experience with strangers. I’m wrapped up in myself. Intensely with people in my work so off work at lunch in a coffee shop I want privacy and peace.  I can see the guy was miffed. Like paparazzi, he felt entitled to another time and space but wasn’t paying. I wasn’t buying. He was miffed.
I am glad however for the neighbour here.. He is a good neighbour and when he asks me what I do I say but also say I don’t want to talk about work,  he backs off. Nice man.  Lived in Mexico.  Works here.  I realize how ‘prickly’ I am.  I like the proximity of others now. Camping with Laura I’ve appreciated her pleasure in this but I don’t want to ‘get to know you’.  I’m too much with people, intensely, deeply in their lives, daily.  I want to be aloof here.  Enjoying my own company, the quiet. But interested in liking a picnic table and the proximity of others , each campsite a few hundred feet removed from the next.  I’d not like to be closer like other campsites. This government built one shows the wisdom and sense of our beurocrats in the ministry of outdoors and tourism.  I knock bureaucrats too much .  They do fine work but there are too many of them and I’m just disheartened by all the taxes and their tendency to vote for fools who give other peoples money away to lackies and other countries.
Yet here  I am enjoying the product of government, the clean sites and well arranged camps. All along the river there are places like this. Same for the Duffy lake  area. I like all these government wilderness campgrounds with just out houses, picnic table and steel pit for campfires.  I like the local woman who comes by collecting the $6  (regular $12 but as a senior I get half price)for a night maintenance fee.  I could have stayed where I was the first night for free but I’ve enjoyed this social experience.  On my motorcycle I’ve been off alone in the back country, at times thinking if I hurt myself how long before I’d be found.  I had some near misses on the motorcycle almost careening off the mountain as I gained experience with the new machine, the brakes and gears.  A couple of moments of very steep learning curve. My muscles ache today from the exercise and use of joints not pressed into such hard service for some time.

It’s been hot. Very hot. I’ve drunk a whole lot of pop and enjoyed the bottles of flavoured Perrier water. I get too much sugar in the canned drinks.  I’ve gained a manly pot myself and would like to see the pear shape go.  All this exercise helps. Just climbing in and out of the camper, riding the motorcycle on the trails. Lots of upper body action I can feel today.  Counter balance to the gluttony and sloth of winter.
I see fisherman out on the stream down from the rapids. I’ve got my fly rod and spin rod but have been lazy about getting out there. If I wasn’t packing up today I’d go now.  The sun is hot already.  Cleared the tops of trees and landing warm on my side.  Work tomorrow then I’m off to Reno for a few days of medical comference. Laura staying with the home and pets.  She finds being at my place holiday from her city life with all the traffic and people. My little community is off the grid.  I’ve liked places like that in the city. Staying at the marina I never felt the pressure I did living in an apartment downtown. The same is true for my place in Burnaby.  I liked the quiet beside the river, with the walk in the woods for the dog.
It’s been great. I could see just going across country like Brian did.  He loved that tour. That’s the dream.  Now I’m just outfitting for the adventure.  Open ended time. Like the summer vacations of childhood.  Off the clock and off the calendar.  My neighbour had already set up and is attaching his Scamp to the jeep.  I’m impressed with the speed. I’d better follow his lead and begin to load up. I’m worried about the bike.  I’ve yet to push it up on the back hitch all by myself.  This will be the third time. I’ll see if I can do it.  If I can it will be a good thing. Part of being here is knowing I can ask another human for help. It’s not a muscular thing, more about stability. I’ve got to be holding the bike while tying it down. It will go well. God is good.
Thank you Jesus.

Picard Creek Campground, Shame, Death, and Psychiatry

I like being in this campground.  I could have stayed at the wilderness site but didn’t. I experienced a degree of anxiety alone there which is unusual for me.  Here there are others three of whom I’ve spoken to and actually liked.  A shy European accented gentleman was interested in my new KTM 690 and gave me a hand unloading it.  My neighbour a jolly Abbotsford realtor asked if his running his Jeep to charge his batteries bothered me. Of course it didn’t. I got out my generator and did the same.
He had talked of his success in real estate, retiring to Mexico for a number of years only to return and again be successful.  “I’ve made heap loads of money,” he said.  The problem arises when they ask what I do.  I answer, “physician’.  If it were stopped stop there it would be fine.  But they go on to ask 'what specialty or interest?”  And I answer, ‘psychiatry and addictions’.  This time I said, “neuropsychiatry and addictions’.  Yesterday I’d been treating head injuries.  I believe I’m ashamed of being a psychiatrist.
I felt so proud and good doing surgery and later as a country gp.  When I think of psychiatry I think of abortion, adultery, sexual abuse, homosexuality, drug abuse, divorce, constant surviving corrupt administration, seeing the underbelly of the beast.  Psychiatry took my innocence, what little I had .  Now I’m nearing the end of my career and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much.  I thought I’d somehow know God and plumb the depths of human existence in some way, and I have.  It’s been a mostly thankless task as was promised. I remember that first interview, the psychiatrist wondering why I wanted to be one, as much asking me as asking himself what he was doing.
Psychologists amuse me. They seem so proud of themselves.  There’s a proximity to the sciences that bring confidence in the arts crowd.  Yet here I am feeling so different from my colleagues in the world of ‘real’ medicine.  It’s a matter of validity.
I think I saw my surgeon friend from Saipan in Chilliwack. I recognized him and shied away as I do from all I recognise but don’t know instantly. I fear they are a patient and that there will be an awkwardness.  When I was a gp patients were glad to see me but as a psychiatrist I bring up issues often forgotten and gladly left in the past. We dig up graves in my work, examine the bodies and bury them again. I’m a reminder of the grave robbing, the night time tasks.
The surgeon is a Christian. An artist. Adept with his hands and mind.  A wonderful wonderful man.  I so admired him but I was distracted, trying to get all the bits of a strict learning fast learning curve together and ‘miles to go before I sleep’.  We were in a grocery store Friday night. I believe he was with his wife but I did see him looking at me and I still hadn’t figured out who he was, until I’d paid and was leaving. Then it dawned on me.  A colleague.  I’ve known only a few well, avoiding them since I had sex with my psychiatry professor.  I love the Third Day song, “I carry the shame”.  For decades now I’ve straddled the chasm that time opened.  I left heterosexuality and became intersected then.  “He tried to breed you,” my friend crudely commented one night when I was sharing.  It was a wound but I’ve never known if it was a wound like the broken cup or the crack repaired the Japanese saints speak of.  I became binary then.  Double minded. Demon possessed.  Alt gender.
This surgeon operated on my anus.  Repaired the tears.  I was again a tight ass for years after till once again “I shared a bum’.  I was no longer drunk or stoned but anxious, afraid and so very very stressed.  There was comfort there.  I worried then about sex addiction. Would I do this again or was that just a test, the ‘hair of the dog’.  Most think of me as heterosexual, but that’s true of all of us who have been abuse, the ‘confused’ and what euphemistically are sometimes called the ‘curious’.
Was I merely a hedonist. Was this just seeking pleasure in all it’s form. The Apple core experience.  I’d left the alcohol and marijuana. I’d thought I might be trans.  I’ve thought so often about a sex change known it’s not so much about sex as identity. Like the Leonard Cohen song, "Lover, Lover, Lover, come back to me…..I want a new face.”  I want a new identity.
I pray to God to free me of the shame.
“Taking estrogen for me was like smoking marijuana. I lost the edge I’d had. I became more accepting, less driven.”  she said.
I wondered then if I missed smoking marijuana, that sense of ‘blatto’, the feeling of being female or receptive, yin rather than yang.  I used to smoke marijuana and play guitar or want to languish in sex for hours at a time.  Sober it was a more rushed affair.  I don’t ooze through life. The edges are sharp. Testosterone is ‘testy’.  It’s demanding.
“I never wanted to cheat on my partner till I started this testosterone,” he told me, “Now all I want to do is mount young girls."
I play with my nipples and wonder if the pleasant feeling I experience releases prolactin and increases my maternal instincts.  In a Brave (and frightening)  New World, men will breast feed children so their wives can manage abortion clinics.
I can hear a colleague, saying “Get over it. Get on with it.  Make a decision.  You’re either he or she.  Decide.”  He’s a little square box man. He’s lived safely in control and authority.  I see the terror in his eyes.  I frighten people with the breadth of possibility.
Psychological mindedness is the ability to tolerate the tension between opposites. I”ve stood in the middle of everything since psychoanalytical training, seeing ‘both sides now’ to quote Joni Mitchell. I envy the ‘solids’ , those ‘black and white’ , ‘concrete thinkers’,  Piaget’s ‘pre abstract’ set.  They’re in this world.  The boy with the most toys wins. They’re the chivalrous ones.  They care for their women and children and have certainty. Their seed is planted in good ground.
I’m the ‘other’. Alien.  Priest scientist.  My struggle is with me always and I limp away from the combat on a daily basis.  That’s why I like addictions. I understand the core debate.  St. Paul said it, “I do that which I don’t want to do and I don’t do that which I want to do."
The division between body and mind.  The man condition.  It’s not just sexual for me. It’s everything.  Split person.  I reflect on that anal intrusion.  I’ve not done that to a man though a woman asked for this. I’ve done what women asked and regretted it. They’ve taken houses and lives and played with me like I was Ken doll in their make believe world without a sense of shame or concern for consequence. I’ve been thrown away.  I feel they’re wired differently. I thought it was just one but I’m not sure any more.  Their love of children is a wholly different thing from their love of partner.  I called them ‘babe’ and they liked it but I wasn’t their baby. I was mostly a tool to that end.  A stepping stone.  But the abortion lingers.
So much death.  At the end it’s the death that remains. The parts are linked in various ways. We make a story. A narrative.  We say A lead to B.  The abortion did this or the adultery did that or the lie lead there.  The shame is the conscience.  So many lack that level of morality.  What feels good, do it.  The opportunities are lacking for those living ‘lives of quiet desperation’ but I became unhinged from the pack early. Maybe that was the effect of drugs, or leaving home or being expelled from school or failing. The cost of difference. Being a genius. Being an adventurer and explorer.  I dared to be different and it lead to psychiatry.
I loved surgery.  It’s a thing out there. Like the motorcycle this weekend.  I’m not the machine. The machine is something I manipulate. In surgery I was not the body or the knife but removed, separate. But in psychiatry I’ve joined with the patient.  The psychopharmacologists are afraid. They throw little coloured pills at the disease. But I’m a psychotherapist. I wanted to heal with relationship. I wanted to change the course of the person’s life through psychotherapy. The pills were a tool in that process, not the thing. I truly ‘walked a mile in their footsteps’, entered their ‘nightmares’ and laughed consoled, convinced them that life was worth living.  I’ve stood alone on the edge of the abyss so it was nothing to stand with them and admire the view.  Without that insanity I couldn’t really help the insane.  I could put a band aid on it but I wanted to free them. Not of the human condition but of the fear.  I joined them in that point of fear and anger.
My sutures were laughter often.  Black humor.  Whatever works.  Whatever gets us to walk away from the edge.  Back to the hewing of wood and carrying of water. There’s a death waiting all of us. Why rush it. Slow down.  Smell the roses.  I entertained my patients and they came back for the next installment. Eventually they lived with me and then moved on to live independently again.  Broken minds so little different from broken minds. I was glad to treat them both
I guess I wanted your approval God. I know I have your love.  But would you validate me.  I think that having children does that for people, maybe not women as much as men. It gives purpose.  It gives belonging. Even my dog Gilbert joins me with life. I would not suicide today because he needs me. A relationship with a plant can bring life.  So much of it is getting out of self.  Egocentric. Narcisism.  I call the drug addiction mental masturbation. Isolation rather than participation.  Rejection of the community. Rejection of the government. Rejection of fellow man. My patients play with fentanyl like a child playing with a very sharp knife.  I see cutters too. They isolate the artery on their wrist and wonder in the blood.  The demolition man blew up things.  The sadomasochist was fine hurting himself and then began hurting her.
I like the blue jays in the wiley spruce tree before me. The tree stands close to the rushing river.  A massive upheaval of rock and soil forms the mountainous hill beyond.
God man.  That’s what we are.  Our minds capable of any range of fantasy but our bodies limited in space.  There are consequences of decisions. They are outcomes to be considered. My mother would have wanted me to marry the girl in the church and had some babies as she and Dad had done.  Like Cat Steven’s long, “settle down, get a job’.  I wish that I was that way inclined. I tried marriage and I tried to have a job and now I’m nearing an end. Alone in this space.  With my blind dog sleeping beside me, at this campsite. I liked the name Picard.  Captain Picard of Star Trek inspired me. “To go where no man has gone before.”  And to confront the Borg.  Communism and Democracy.  So often it’s played as ‘communism and capitalism’ but really it’s ‘communism and democracy’ But the naming of the thing was what Adam did with God.  In the garden.
We name things disease and disorder.  Those in control cut the bad things out.  They’ve made a clear choice. In administration the conquerors are surgeons, they destroy the cancerous rebels to make their revolt work.  Control. Dominance.
When he mounted me something was crushed within. Seduced he’d say.  But then he was victim of terror. Afraid of the night.  I walk in day and night. The moon was full and the camp so quiet last night when I woke and decided to let my blind dog walk a bit.  He doesn’t know what time of day it is.  We  both stumbled about in the dark.  I had a flashlight I could use. I’d put a light on the back of his harness so I could find him.  I called and he came but big boulders and bushes got between us.  Returning to the camp I carried him.  He’d had enough and was glad to go back to sleep. As was I.  To sleep.  But to dream is the rub.
God is the dreamer and I’m a co dreamer.  Each of us dreams.  I can leave it as a nightmare or embrace it as a moment of learning. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.  I’ll ride my new motorcycle today.  The KTM. Austrian. The Nazi’s invaded Austria first.  They were so similar and so many welcomed the Fuhrer.  There were those who didn’t.  That was nationalist socialism, but socialism all the same. Central authority. Control dominance.  Upper hand.  Goose steps then gulags. Fascism and communism two faces to the same totalitarianism.  One sidedness.
Now I surrender to God. God is my saviour. A light breeze washes my face. Later I’ll ride the motorcycle and it will be wind therapy.  A couple of times I nearly crashed yesterday.  Fishtailing in the sand. The uncertain road.  The speed necessary to get through a patch too much for the next.  The delicate challenge of balancing forces.
I am a psychiatrist.  I prefer being a physician.  But I am a psychiatrist.  And an addiction medicine specialist.  Hierarchies and economies.  Right now I’m a camper and one day I’ll be retired.  That’s what people ask me now, “Are you retired.”  And I don’t remember when the first time that question preceded, "What do you do?”  So often I’m not paying attention.
The blue stellar jays have flown away.  The crows remain.  I’m due for another coffee.  It’s morning and other campers are up.  Making breakfast preparing to carry on.  I like that I prefer the company of others.  At least here, at a distance, in our own space.  It’s taken a long time to come around here again.  The blue stellar jays have returned.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Morning with Gilbert, Maverick and the Austrian

The Austrian is the new KTM 690 Enduro I bought yesterday at Holeshot in Langley.  The bike needs a name and that will have to do for now.  The salesman Derek Vanderkooy really knew his motorcycles. He was incredibly helpful with my trading my Honda Pioneer 500 Side by Side Quad ATV for the KTM 690 Enduro.  I liked that at Holeshot I could sit on and compare the KTM, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda machines.

It was a truly a whirlwind day. A call from Belinda, the office manager, saying the clinic had computer problems so the afternoon was cancelled.  Belinda’s husband has the KTM Adventure.   When I was asking around and comparing motorcycles I told her, “I think your husband’s right about the KTM being the best off road on road motorcycle today. Besides a man who picks a good woman is likely able to pick a good motorcycle.”  Belinda laughed. She’s amazing managing all the doctors and patients and the constant flow of data and people. Now she would have IT  there all afternoon.  What a nightmare!  I felt sorry for the patients but a sunny day and a motorcycle waiting. Well I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Thank you Jesus.

I finished my morning clinic and made a quick run with Gilbert to the storage locker to pick up old motorcycle gear.  I’ll likely need to get new luggage and such fitted for the KTM but wanted to see if the old stuff fit before giving it to Paul. He has a big Triumph and it looks like my old Harley Roadster soft luggage and leather will serve him better than me now.  Part of the trading in the Pioneer was lightening up.  It sat in storage all last year only being used a couple of times for hunting.  Only a 1000 km.  If the Quad’s could be street legal like they are in Europe I’d get a lot more use out of them. That’s the beauty of the KTM 690 Enduro. I can use it as a commuter in the city and off road hunting and just having fun.  

Gilbert used to hunt with me in the side seat of the Pioneer but now he’s blind he’ll only come along in the truck.  

The girls at Holeshot were really efficient and friendly handling the finance and licensing.  As always there’s some extra to pay but the convenience and savings from a tax point of view for a trade makes the whole thing better than my trying to sell the Pioneer first and then buy the KTM with the extra money I’d make eventually. Dave, the big bearded, laughing, father of Gilbert’s buddy, Emory,  was glad to offer his help.  He’s  got a Harley and an ATV and has been doing this for years so is a terrific source of information .I even got to discussed it with Mack, the father of Max, Gilbert’s neighbour. They bark together when ever anything new comes round.  My neighbourhood friendship network is defined by dogs and vehicles.

The KTM 690 Enduro has won all the really tough races over the last few years.  The UTube videos of these crazy guys on their variety of machines going over huge rocks, straight up little trails and across desert has been a staple in recent years, not that I plan to imitate these nut bars but it’s amazing to see what the Bikes can do.  Evil Kneevils of the motorcross.  

When I was in Saipan my friend Frank and his son did motorcross like this.  I’dwatch them together, father and son, going around the course and think Frank was crazy.  

I loved reading the Bikehedonia Grace MacDonalds Wordpress  blog this beautiful young Australian girl, travelling through Malaysia alone on her KTM 690 , something about beautiful women with their own bikes makes the tale so appealing. I confess too that I’m always dreaming of such adventures , whether it’s sailing across the Atlantic in my sailboat or driving down to South America with the motorcycle. I’ve got the truck and camper now so anything is possible.

After buying the bike at Holeshot I had to load it on the hitch carrier I’d bought at Princess Auto and put together myself with wrench and ratchet.  It sure helped to have Derek pushing the bike up the ramp and steadying it while I strapped it down.  Mostly I appreciated his reassurance that he figured it wouldn’t fall off.  And it didn’t.

I drove out to Chilliwack, to the RV storage, where I unloaded the KTM so I could load the Palomino Maverick Camper. I’d never done this on my own. Laura had previously stood at the back guiding me.  So here I was loading and off loading a 300 lb motorcycle then loading the camper. It’s all a matter of lining it up and gingerly backing up with my heart in my throat.  It just seems like it would be so easy to knock the thing over as it stands so talk and vulnerable on it’s struts.  

The owner’s son came by to let me know they were locking up.  Tall handsome bright young man with a fair resemblance of his father. We were putting together the hitch coupler, the hitch being 2 1/2 inch so needed a sleeve to change dimension to the 2 inch carrier.  It was a challenge to line up the holes and connect the pieces “If your dad were here he’d know the trick to coupling these things.”  “He would at that,” he said.

Nonetheless we got the bike strapped in behind the camper and found that the extender even left room to get into the camper with the bike out back. It’s awkward so I’m still considering a hitch at the front so I can carry the bike out front to balance weight and leave the camper easily accessible.

9 pm and I was just leaving Chilliwack. I’d wanted to get to Princeton where I could camp on the river and ride the logging trails I know up there.  I picked up food at the Superstore and thought for sure I saw the incredible Surgeon and Artist I’d worked with in Saipan.  He was with family and I wasn’t quite sure and I was on a mission. I loaded up and drank a Red Bull knowing I’d regret it when I was ready to sleep. But it was past my bed time already.  The full moon was beautiful in the night sky. Gilbert was sleeping on the seat beside me. I felt pretty good with my accomplishments, getting the bike loaded and off loaded and the camper loaded and the camper water tank filled, gassed up and rolling down the highway.

That’s how I ended up here , camped by this stream off a logging road this side of Princeton.  I just love being able to pull off the road and get into bed.  Gilbert liked the walk at night.  The KTM 690 looked great on the back of the white Maverick camper in the light of the full moon alongside the stream, pine trees all around, the air so fresh.  

I didn’t sleep easy thanks to Red Bull.  I forgot to turn off my iPhone weekday alarm too. So 7 am the alarm sounded and Gilbert began barking and oh well, I did have to pee. What a beautiful morning, sun rising over the dark green forest. This incredible motorcycle hanging off the back of the truck and camper.  Paradise.  

I’ve made myself stove top espresso with canned milk and honey.  The heater is making me hot water for a shower.  I’m thinking I’ll continue on to Princeton and the campground I’d planned to say at. I’ve got two full days.  I could stay here but I like going with the plan where possible.  Today’s big event is riding the KTM. Ready to Race. I won’t be racing but I’m sure going to enjoy exploring the back country.  I’ll also be able to drive into town leaving the camper on the truck.  By fall hunting season I may even have most of the kinks out of the system so that I can actually focus on shooting a deer with my bow or rifle. So much of the fun is the preparation and planning. I was as successful hunting when I had a Broncho II and a pup tent, rose before dawn and stalked the woods or lay in ambush.  Now I’m outfitted for an expedition. It’s not more fun. It’s less productive from a hunting perspective but it’s sure a lot of fun in so many ways.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Winter Christian in Summertime

I’m feeling a tad guilty.  Sunday morning really is Church going time for me. It’s a good habit of quality living. A lot of my life I’ve enjoyed attending a church, first with my family, later alone, and later with friends. The music really appeals to me. I like the thought provoking sermons about matters we’re actually told not to talk about, God, death, morality, ethics.

Yet here I am with dog, Gilbert, and cat George, and I just woke late. I watched the movie Majestic Seven with Denzil Washington, Ethan Hawks, Chris Pratt,and Haley Bennet.  An evil outlaw baron kills farmers in their town and church to take over the valley for his slave mining operation.  Haley Bennet plays Emma Cullen and recruits the magnificent seven, a group of bad ass men of varying character but retaining a shred of humanity and willing to come to the town’s aid.  Matt Bomer plays Mathew Cullen who has been gunned down by the Bartholomew, the evil industrialists,  villainously played by Peter Sasgaard.  Mathew Cullen had been verbally defending the town pastor who Bartholomew had dragged from the church and was having  being beaten to death by his gang.  Obviously the church plays centrally in this movie, burnt by Bartholomew and later as the steeple sniper tower for Ethan Hawks and Lee Byung-hun. I’d seen the movie , this one and the even earlier version.  Despite Hollywood’s  cultural Marxism propaganda, it’s ignorance of Christianity and it’s twisted Jewish revenge motif it’s actually a very good pagan proto Christian movie. Besides all western’s are Godly along with space movies which are really glorified westerns.  Actually any movie with horses is good and even better if there’s a dog.  It ran past midnight.  I like movies where there are guns and things that blow up. 

I slept in.  Gilbert even joined me on the bed using his dog ramp and lying down beside my face to lick it and let me know what time we get up usually during the week. He really needs to learn days of the week.

He’s just bored.  The cat puts him up to it too because I feed them both when I get up. Gilbert wants to play ball but the cat really wants to ensure he’s got his food for the day. Once I’m up they go back to sleep

I start my day, after the toilet, where I read the inspiration for the day as well as do the “other”, unnamed,like politics and religions , which could well be construed as number one and two, simplify the teaching of children.  

Then I meditate. I’m not very good at it. I began doing it in adolescence and have trained with the greatest and practiced ever since but really it doesn’t come naturally.  I come and go with it too. I was doing it sitting in chairs for a long time, back straight.  But then I got back to cross legged which hurt my knees to get down there but now is working out pretty good. I feel good about myself physically.  My mind still wanders but I figure it’s a clear invitation for God, Holy Spirt, peace, higher power, Jesus, Holy of Holy, to come in. Look no thoughts, come Holy Spirit come!
Meditation is listening to God. Prayer is talking to God. So I do the mindfulness meditation focus on breathing, sometimes the mantra meditation ,Herbert Benson MD,  focus on a word or phrase, sometimes both, and observe the monkey mind. “Creatures of thought and thinking’ that aren’t ‘myself’ but ‘constructs’ and relax and wait.  It’s waiting for Godot and today I was mostly interested in the fan in the refrigerator.

Gilbert, my sensei, realized I was useless at this and much more useful playing with him. So my meditation session stopped when he climbed in front of me and put both paws on my shoulders and licked my face.  Hard to ignore. The cat had been behind me rubbing his back against my back.  
I played with them both, scratching George’s back, and rolling Gilbert over to scratch his belly. We’ve played ball some, pretty good for a blind dog, and I’ve had my coffee.

If making and drinking coffee were a sacrament I’d be holy.  I’m really an adept at making coffee, stove top espresso machine, honey and milk , nice blend and a favourite heavy solid mug.  I may well get to heaven and find that God was coffee or manna from heaven in the OT was coffee.  More likely God is chocolate or ice cream.  Skip the comparisons of the Song of Songs,  food analogies work better for me than sex analogies.  

I’m in a long t shirt. I picked it up in San Francisco knowing it was kind of sexy girlish and yet it was a ‘night shirt’ in the old medieval sleep wear manly sort of thing. I’m ambivalent about my bisexuality.  I’ve enjoyed men and women sexually and admitted it to get out of the victim role. Indeed I’ve been working on a spiritual exercise of embracing all that has occurred in my past believing that God is good and all that has occurred in my life is God.  It’s all that caterpillar butterfly thing.  Even loving the ex wives and sometimes forgiving the government but rarely getting that far. At best I pray for the forgiveness to forgive this government. 

I’m old now. I can honestly recommend that young people aim for the straight and narrow. Mainstream is tried and true.  I ended up off in the rough looking for my golf balls a whole lot of times on my course of life.

But it’s not a race and I don’t really believe in a loving God and heaven and hell in that ‘concrete’ piagetian developmental delayed way. I’ve studied Hebrew enough to know the mistranslations of phrase and time. If we do the best recommendations of good parents and a good society then we will be mainly in the ‘church tradition’, not the ‘letter of the law’ but the essence of James in the New Testament.

I love that the 12 step programs grew out of the reading and interpretation and life of the Oxford movement. There’s so much hope and inspiration there.  I’m abstract.  I”m a scientist. I love the Celtic Christian understanding of the truth of nature with it’s DNA and fractals and all that good stuff whicheaetheists rejects. I love God of the Big Bang. I like the Dance of Love, the Dancing David and the Jesus who likes little babies and his fishermen friends.  

Over the years I’ve cross dressed.  In theatre, in dance, in kilts, with long hair and earrings and even attending annual balls where the girls wore tuxes and the guys wore gowns. I loved wearing a klush gown and  having my hair and nails done. I miss the theatre.

I’ll forever remember the day I bought my first ‘stretchy material’ blue jeans.  As a kid I read science fiction novels where the men and women had unisex spac suits which fit their bodies adjusting naturally to hot and cold and were protected from the elements in every way. I’ve been ‘functional’. I wear ‘suits’ to work and that whole ‘masculine leader’ role is a burden.  I have open toed sandals and close toed sandals and feel better at work with the latter. Yet when I come home I’m down to men’s shorts and a tshirt. When I sailed in the tropics I lived in my shorts.  Clothing is functional in my books and for comfort these days. I don’t even like the constraint of waistbands and in the tropics was satisfied with the wrap.  I don’t think any of that has to do with masculine or feminist.  There is a part of me that envies the women their obvious clothing for sexuality which of course the perverted lying feminists deny.  So much of female garb is relational and art whereas men’s wear is functional and work.  

So a lot of my staying at home is unwillingness to get dressed. To go to church I would have had to walk the dog, and showered and shaved and then I’d be obliged to dress like I do for work.  Shirt and slacks. It’s not at all demanding like the 19th ventury and even the 50’s. I do miss the tie. I liked having all these groovy ties and could make a statement “I’ve dressed up for this occasion’ simply by the choice of tie. I wore jeans and plain shirts and added the accessory tie and that was good. I love jeans , mostly for motorcycles and falling down and using wrenches and grease and stuff and black shirts. I love black shirts.

I see white pants and white shorts and white shirts as distinctly feminine.  I can’t have a Burger or a hotdog without mustard jumping on tto my shirt.  So every once in a while I do the zen like awareness of my body and clothing and focus on my space and environment like dance but I could never do this and get any of the things done that society associates truly with manliness and work. Those these days all the girls are doing the manly things and getting praise and downplaying the achievements of men unless done by women and I sew and cook and do all the traditional female things but with no support from a society reveling in the destructiveness of Marxist chauvinism and cultural communism.  A man is praised for pushing the baby cart while the woman is praised not for using a wrench but for her ‘superiority’ , the whole feminist thing is only about control and power.
I enjoyed using a wrench yesterday with all the importance of the tool manipulating monkey and loved the movements muscles and the activity and held it like a violinist holds a violin bow.  Men appreciated their ‘crafts’ and celebrated the ‘craft’ and once women did too.  But feminists are heartless aberrations of humans totally caught up in dominance control and power.  So seeing a man pushing a baby cart isn’t about shared parenthood but rather about freeing the woman for the board room. Because that’s where the feminist wants to be and would never understand the billions of men who love their ‘work’. Narcissus and Goldmund the great tale of the 30’s is beyond the feminist mind.

I want to carry less burden, fight less and stop having to push back when bullies of all sorts especially those in administration burn down the church and throw their weight around. I want to do my ‘craft’ and my ‘purpose’ and my ‘calling’ and my ‘duty’ and I could do it nude if it weren’t for the bullies who have me wearing jeans so I’m always ready to get down dirty with those fuckers. Because they play war in the board room and wear white shirts and grow their fingernails long to show they don’t have to work.  But I like my hands knowing work.

If I was in church I’d be hearing about peace and turning over my cares to Jesus.  I’d leave my burden and confess and together pray for a good week.  I’d have to get dressed though.
I’m here whining and moaning and reflecting on not writing the great Canadian novel and how I could get up and walk the dog and go to the hot tub. I’ve  aches and pains and lay in bed enjoying the freedom from bodily awareness.  Cycling yesterday did it.  Exercise leaves me the next morning hurting. I don’t know if it’s good pain or not.  When I was young all pain fo exercise was good pain.  Now I can’t tell the difference between pain and strain.  

God is this creation ,this dream this holograph and existence I’m in. It’s all the culmination of the ‘collective consciousness’.  Owen Barfield one of the C.S. Lewis crowd wrote of this and how God was the ground. The potter and the clay. The individual as co creator. I’m responsible for my life and the blend of fear and love that coexist day to day. I see the church as a safe place. I may make the 4 pm service or compline later today.  I’ve missed the first call to church but it doesn’t mean I can’t make a later one.

I feel better if I get out. I will shower now. Cleanliness is next to godliness.  Shaving is good. I’ve been more conscientious regarding shaving since my beard became grey and white.  Neither Bruce Willis or I unshaven today look like the young guys with their sexy stubble. 
I often wonder if the desire for a sex change is just a desire for youth again. I don’t think any one except youthful idiots wants to be old, to have the problems of geriatrics.  Oh dear, let’s have sex change to an old lady and worry about pissing yourself when you sneeze.  That’s not the marketing ploy that the gender surgeons use. Neither is the idea of getting prostate disease and incontinence or erectile failure what motivates women to be men.  So much of the attraction for those older is the idea of ‘youth’.  To be a young and fit anything is appealing to the over 50 and over 60 crowd.  I think the Hindus with the hope of reincarnation have a more positive outlook.  I’m likely coming back as a dog and that’s okay.  I’ve watch my blind dog adapt to blindness whereas I’m still bitching about my knee.

I see the Hollywood movies promoting the young men and young women sexually.  50 years for the women and there’s  the movie REDS with the old ladies and old men of spy days and they’re sexy but still we’d want candlelight and incense especially for the bald guys.  Thirty year olds have a fairly universal appeal. And the 40’s are delightful but 50 is the over the hill on the sexy scale for men and women functionally or just to look at. Generally stripped naked men and women stop looking great older. If we can add character with an expression as a photographer might the 60 year old nude has appeal. But not in a police mug shot lighting of the whole body. A 25 year old yes, she or he can look sexy in that flat lighting we associated with the morgue. But not old people with worn out parts and wrinkled skin and stretches and spots.

I love the old. I can see the beauty ‘in’ the old but not the superficial way that Hollywood does.  So a 60 year old offered a ‘sex change’ or a ‘youth change’ might well take the latter rather than the change of genitalia.

Such considerations are like religion and politics not to be discussed. 1 or 2. I did know several bisexuals who thought that they’d be more ‘popular’ if they expressed their sexuality in the other way only to find that regardless of their orientation they were not liked.  I was interested that in therapy they found a way out of their ‘unlikeableness’ and a specific ‘line of development’ and this had a specific ‘efffect’ on their sexual orientation.  There are those hard wired heterosexuals and hardwired homosexuals though the latter would argue all homosexuals are hard wired and the hardwired heterosexuals would too but it’s in nature as spectrum and in cultural history often opportunistic.  Right now there is a ‘halo’ effect around certain ‘choices’ or ‘alternatives’ and without that ‘halo’ effect the distributions would change.  Just as the threat of aids turned many off to gay experimentation and use of needles. Multiple factors affect behaviour despite the propaganda.  In science we are always learning in comparison to politics where there are those who insist they know it all.

I think I’ll go get showered.  I’ve got to find clean clothes. I don’t know where the ‘fat shorts’ are, probably in the laundry’.  I find it easy to get into the fat shorts a t shirt and the open toed keens sandals and walk the dog. He likes that.  That’s a plan.  I did have toast and jam so don’t need food. I don’t know what I’ll do after that. I like the freedom of a Sunday like this without plans, my weeks and work are highly regimented, whereas church would galvanize me and I’d have a more productive day but really what’s productive at my age.

I’m in God’s waiting room. I’m waiting for death in some ways. So many I know have died ‘relatively naturally’.  I could be growing death right now. I would not be too greatly mourned. Yes I ‘d like another 20 years but it’s not like when a 30 year old dies.  I’ve lived a good life. I don’t have to ‘hustle’ .  I can get a sex change anytime. I don’t have to write the great Canadian novel to day. I don’t have to sign up for foreign missionary service.

I could pray and meditate more but I don’t think it’s going to ‘speed’ anything up.  It’s coming for me. I’m old enough to slow down and accept both the hound of heaven and the grim reaper.