Saturday, November 21, 2020

Smothering Instinct

I'm extremely forgetful. Perhaps because of my tendency to look below the surface of things and not to stay on top of things? Whatever the reasons, I depend on careful organizational skills and when I find myself under the thumb of the pandemic and not going anywhere there's a tendency to forget about my daily planner which contains (or is supposed to) all my project intentions, chores, appointments and recurring events: everything from teeth-brushing to garbage day to NFL Opening Day.

I sometimes forget to take my meds; both for blood-pressure and the miracle sleep-enabling drug.

Sometimes I forget a couple days in a row and things get sketchy. Recently I went three days in a row without the miracle pill due to a combination of sleep irregularity, lack of organization and terrible service hours/closures of the pharmacy from Friday through Sunday.

The result was the same as the last time I went on a three-day bender. My emotions went right into hyer-drive. While I am always missing a few very dear loved ones and have so since March, a kind of panic sets in in the above circumstance. I feel like something is going to go wrong and I'll never see them again; never hug them; or perhaps that my absence will lead them to forget about me or perhaps to not need me? I don't really understand it. There is no logical interpretation of what I feel; just an extraordinary yearning for certain people.

Certain best friends who I have had in life slipped away from me and lost interest in me despite my continued interest in them. That's probably part of it.

And also being a person who had to fight his way out of the closet in a much earlier day there remains a life-long liability which few straight people could fully comprehend. It lies, normally unwoken, in the pit of every such person who has suffered this adolescent trauma in a less-kind age; as the Eloquent Potter puts it: the fear of being de-grouped. If you know a gay person and you want to utterly kill them just make them feel unwelcome in their established peer group. For us there is nothing crueler.

Now that the internet has given us all a soapbox for preaching our advice any old time at all there's a great tendency to indulge (like yours truly, especially!). But sometimes there's a resentment if we feel that the advice to embrace sacrifice is coming from those who have less to sacrifice. We feel like the call to sacrifice is much stronger when it comes from those who must sacrifice more. This does not reflect on the accuracy or wisdom of the message though!

For instance I am full of parenting advice which I believe in confidently but I rarely ever breathe a word of it because I've never suffered the things which parents must suffer. So my voice is a weaker one. That doesn't mean I'm wrong. It means I'm less trust-worthy.

That's actually a poor example. Here's the point. When my excellent brother and other folks tell me here is the sacrifice we must make in order to ensure our parents health, there is a part of me that knows damn well they are right. But there is another part of me that says "Okay but by the way, go to hell because you have a wife and kids for you to love in your household! I have no one!"

I have a housemate who sleeps two floors above me and a there's her dog too, but these relationships are tricky ones and the love there is not of the sort that seems to keep me alive; not like my family and such dear souls as the Eloquent Potter or Aqualad or Neo for instance.

As much as I adore them, by the way, no one comes close to my Mom. She is number one; our relationship is sacred. But luckily I see her about every five weeks and we either call or skype at least three times a week.  

I found out with certainty after near-thirteen years with Long-Time Companion that the standard relationship model in our society is largely nonsensical to me and that I suck at it either way and since then I cherish close friendships with whom I can share anything (and even the odd one which has edged into sexual behavior though my interest in sex is well into its final hour) and multiple best-friendish companions have in essence replaced the idea of a spouse.

Phone calls and video chats with great friends are great!  But as a person who is starved for physical contact at the best of times these events are simultaneously a reminder of what I am missing.

In my drug-starved despair I hit the facebook status alarm bell, worried or perhaps offended some dear people and an hour later tried to trust my logic and issued a retraction. But the damage was done. Friends of a masculine-problem-solving nature be they men or women; those who rush to fix things as quickly as possible rather than pause to understand them, tried to give me advice; advice I already knew and knew could not satisfy my instinctive perception of my clobbered needs, but bless their kind souls for trying.

Telling a starving man that you have no food, that he'll have to be happy with cigarettes or chewing gum or a harmonica, solves no problems.

I'm a few days back on the pill regular now, and I still miss these people (and some others) quite terribly. But I feel again that this hell-born Covid disaster will surely pass at some point and I will just have to hang on, one way or another, and take my damn pill every day, and pray a vaccine comes to the rescue.

And when this is over I'm coming for you with a giant hug so brace yourself, and just like the childless female penguin who competes so desperately for an available orphan, I'll try not to crush you to death.

Building the Map Room

Monday, November 16, 2020

Yep. It's Pandamondayum.

Here's a somewhat longer piece of panda therapy I cobbled together mostly from clips from the It's A Pandaful Life! documentary by Russia Today.

The track is Epona by Enya from album The Celts. Granted pandas do not self-identify as Celtic as far as we know but they're far too lazy to object.

Child of Nature

Urge Kijiji to join the growing movement against brutal puppy mills and the proliferation of euthanasia of friendly adoptable dogs.

SMP map room construction begins

Friday, November 13, 2020

Gender Schmender

We know that diversity is king.

We know that genetic diversity produces the healthiest offspring in mammals.

We know that diverse interests produce the most intelligent minds and emotional health and neuroscientists understand why.

We know that biodiversity is key to the biosphere and the potential survival of every doom-pointed mammal (all of us) on this crippled paradise of a planet.

We know that cultural diversity breeds cultural health and understanding and shines light on the darkest bleakest xenophobic redneck minds.

And I know - I know - how diversity in personal style avails joy and celebration in living every day. As such I don't care what you do with your clothes and your hair and your skin paint and your bits, bobs and bangles. Just do what you want, regardless of your sex. Whether you look like a boring traditional male or traditional female or somewhere in between, just please follow your inklings and be original. Be yourself. I won't judge you. Why the hell would I? What could I possibly have to lose?

We know that little girls and little boys are virtually identical in their gender-role-based interests until such a time as adults begin to impart arbitrary traditional roles upon them.

So if you want to "identify" as a male or female or neither or something in between then please do! Think of yourself the way you are inclined to think of yourself, by all means! And express it any way you're inclined.

And I will think of you how I am inclined to think of you, by all means, though I won't care about it.

For goodness sakes try to be a strong. I know it must not be easy sometimes, but looking for help by dictating pronouns is a dangerous game. If you're a close friend and you talk about yourself in such a way that my instinctive view of your gender changes then I will fall into line. I have a friend who went through a full surgical transformation and I no longer think of her as "he" and I instinctively refer to her as she. It just happens. She is very feminine in appearance. And I have other friends whose appearance does not convey to me one role or another very strongly, and so I think of them as I always have since my first impression when we first met.

I don't actually give a damn about the label; it's just instinctive and the only reason it comes to light whatsoever is because of language. There is no genderless form of the words he or she. Them is plural in most contexts. And pronouns are not words we think about when we talk. They pop out instinctively. But he and she means the same damn thing. Can we please learn to think of them as interchangeable? Instead of using them as affirmation? They are a shit tool for affirmation. Can we please not use them to test people? Trying to constantly think about pronouns when speaking is a matter of exhausting mental gymnastics.

When I say he or she it is not a reflection of what you are. It is a reflection of which way I instinctively interpret you lean. And if my interpretation differs from yours, so what? It's just me being honest about something completely void of importance to me. It is not an insult. That doesn't mean that your struggle isn't important to me. There are just other ways I will demonstrate that.

Our language has flaws. It has always been imprecise. We must do our best to communicate effectively, clearly, accurately prior to using language as a tool to show how nice we are.

Not too long ago I visited a drive-through and the person who handed me my lunch had the most beautiful appearance - in my own subjective view of course - that I have ever perceived at first sight. So beautiful. Stunning. Breath-taking. I was unnerved. It was almost tragic. I dearly wanted to linger and to ask this gorgeous creature if I could take them out for dinner. I wanted to know all about this person. I wanted to look at that face. I have no certainty if it was a girl or a boy under that hair and those clothes. If I had to bet I would say she was probably - either currently or originally - anatomically a boy but I really did not care. I did not want in her pants either way; only to bask in her light. This was a surprising experience. I never would have predicted this. And if we went to dinner I would not care what clothes or hair this person showed up in; which gender tradition they presented. I drove away feeling very very sad that such a joyful admiration could not be expressed because I was too scared to challenge our piece of shit societal expectations and superstitions.

Diversity is king.

Dress You Up

Help rescue LGBT+ students persecuted by Turkish police

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Keeping it in

Recently binged this Netflix serial The Keepers and it was a very tense and intriguing true crime deal featuring the catholic church, some scandal of the type you'd predict plus a whole lot more. It features some very sober; sometimes chilling perspectives on the proven phenomenon of repressed memory.

Recently I witnessed something which led me to look at another form of repression; clearly related. I won't go into that directly but instead offer a more simple example to follow.

What I realized is that when the mind represses certain thoughts (current; not memories) from surfacing because they are... too dangerous to immediately contemplate it might not be able to remove the reaction to them; the pain, but merely to delay it.

Take a look at this video: a well-meaning and perhaps misguided attempt at fun by loving parents who think they understand their child and probably don't always. They are perhaps tickled at the tears of joy they produced in their boy's eyes, without realizing that these are actually tears of pain which only manifested after it was finally safe to let them out. Meaning: The pain was delayed and muted but not fully extinguished. The source of the pain is the sudden irrational fear that he may not be loved - or loved sufficiently, which is, again, probably never fully appreciated consciously, but enough to manifest a shadow of despair which is only freely felt once he perceives it was a false alarm.

Boys Don't Cry

Save some bees. You know it's them that feed you eh?

Sunday, November 08, 2020


I was thinking about empathy and was suddenly surprised I had not considered something before: That the development of this capacity to generate feelings spawned by another person's experience and not our own - should hardly be surprising; that this capacity and the capacity to appreciate our own experience may in fact be nearly - or else exactly - the same thing.

Identity is a strange thing and largely warped from illusion. I must wonder if feeling something for our own self is (at least for empaths) in fact just empathy - because a human being is not a solitary party. The conscious and extinctive minds are not the same thing and are (I'm inclined to say "in fact") so obviously separate that they must communicate (or more likely eavesdrop) in dreams. 

We do know for fact that the brain is a collection of agencies which lack a stable hierarchy. They have to send communications back and forth.

I know that when I feel strong emotions (good, bad or neither precisely) in regards to my own experience it feels very much like an empathetic experience because I rarely feel much liability if any. It's merely the context which moves me.

I mentioned this to the Eloquent Potter - that I wondered if empathy and attached feelings were in essence the same thing and he seemed to agree. He claimed that empathy was in fact egotistical in nature. I see the point. Common empaths are not psychics. We don't actually feel another's feelings. We feel our own but which are stimulated by the ponderance of another's experience as we interpret it, no matter how close or far we are from the mark.

"Egotistical" sounds like a harsh criticism when I think of some empaths. One dear friend who identifies as such seems never to look down on those she empathizes with but in fact seems to suffer for her gift often more than the actual sufferer does. In fact there are infrequent occasions where I will withhold from her my own unfortunate experience because I feel certain she will hurt for it much more than I am! I'm talking about Dog Whisperer and I freely name her because credit is due. I know she is sincere in her empathetic offerings. She regularly handles her own suffering as well as that of others with generous grace and aplomb. There's a good soul in that woman and I hope she knows it.

Ganges Delta Blues

Tell Biden we don't need another pipeline at an extraordinary expense to the biosphere

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Out-foxing youtube

Here are three little improvements in my life right now besides the solid health enterprise: I'm blogging fairly regularly. I'm exploring music regularly on Spotify. Music that is new to me along with dear old songs from the past that did not make it in to my personal collection as yet. And three: I'm putting a social consciousness to work much more regularly. And as a bonus the mindcrack addiction is a little more under control.

As you can see I've been folding this recipe together with useful petitions at the end of my posts. These are worthwhile movements which I have supported with an easy few clicks of a button.

The youtube links are songs which I have listened to recently on Spotify and which lyrically say at least a little about a subject at hand.

If you're following the links and getting ads then please make that stop. My method is by using Firefox browser and employing a Firefox add-on ad-blocker. If you have any trouble finding or downloading this excellent free add-on please leave a comment and I will post precise instructions! 

Shock the Monkey

Save forests and caribou

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

My dreams of you

The last four dreams I've had which were recalled by waking memory were all dreams of old friends: writers, gaming buddies and such loved ones as Earth Writer, Aqualad and Dog Whisperer. Covid has insidiously revealed, to my surprise, a capacity for loneliness.

Some friends (and family) I may have inadvertently alienated long before.

Facebook had become a force of unbearable toxicity to me and in a period of desperation, when it had become a source of anguish to my troubled sensitivities, I began severing connections. Stupidly; very very stupidly, I unfriended those who were avenues to subject matter I could no longer bear to think about. There were such better logistical solutions to deal with that but I was not very savvy at the time, and somehow did not consider that I might be insulting them. I had no such intention. Before long I realized my mistake and was too cowardly to go around apologizing. And a short time later I just left facebook altogether, which probably should have been my initial act.

But later the new "Scooterville Tigers" Marketing and Media gig seemed to necessitate that I embrace all social media and so I returned. Since then I have learned how to use facebook more positively, sparingly and safely.

It's November and NaNoWriMo has begun, hampered of course by the pandemic. My world now is small. My confidence is small. Health recovery is my only real bag. Commitments outside of that would be monstrously daunting. One step at a time.

But my thoughts are joyfully with writer pals this month and I hope to do some vicarious living through them, and one such friend is Sick Boy; a victim of my facebook purge. I don't know how well apologies might be received, but if you're reading this, Sick Boy. I hope you are still running the HamNaNo group. I will be coming around online to say Hi to everyone; not to participate though, and for what its worth, I love you and I miss you. And I'm very sorry.


Help 4-yr old Daksh be reunited with his Canadian-resident parents

Tuesday, November 03, 2020


I need to shower. I need to brush my teeth. I needed to get the bins out for collection day and didn't. I desperately need to go get groceries. I need to do laundry and other neglected chores around the house.

There is no sign that any of these things will happen. They all involve some pain. Some just a little and some a lot. I have no courage today. I am not at peace with discomfort today. I'm trapped in bed.

I forgot to take my pill two nights in a row. This is probably why.

My housemate tells me to ask for help when I need it but for some reason I don't.

I chatted with an excellent friend online moments ago and her problems are surprising similar to mine in places. She tells me I find it hard to ask for help.

Do I? I was not aware of that. I really don't know if that's true. But today I am happy for online communication.

Take a pill, Rich. Ask for a sandwich. Start getting your shit together again. Go East. One step back. Two steps forward.

Draggin' the Line

Stop cellphone price-gouging

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Custom noise

Another aid which is now helping me sleep on occasion, such as those in which I expect significant dog and house noise, is the delightful website; the Cadillac of white noise providers. 

It cites various focuses and maps each to a collection of worldly (and some other-worldly) sound environments for which high-quality sound recordings have been gathered. For instance, weather and wildlife sounds and many body-of-water effects. There are also random melodic generators.

Among the focuses are treatment for ADHD and tinnitus; aids for sleep, meditation or for focus in places too noisy or too quiet, and accompaniment for meditation or to spawn inspiration. There are even background soundscapes for roleplay gamers.

Every individual track has its volume control. With an upgrade purchase you can even control frequency. I like to open multiple environments in separate tabs and choose a variety of tracks to produce my own custom environments.

Here is an example from the I Need To Calm Down focus. Japanese Garden features such tracks as wind, stream, waterfall, birds, cicadas, windchimes, rustling bamboo leaves and a Shishi Odoshi.

This is a fun site and useful to almost anyone for at least one reason or another. I hope you check it out:


Save some foxes!

Monday, October 26, 2020


 Another one-minute panda therapy compilation I threw together. The music here is by Deerhoof: Patrasche Come Back from 2016 album The Magic.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

This finally

Uh. Hi. Anyone still coming around here?

Lets try to make this quick. Here's what I've been up to in 2020:

- Had to give up my security gig at the War Lab because of increasing pain/mobility issues.

- Ceased working at the welfare office when it closed mid March due to Covid. That same day my Poseidon Security-provided cell phone went tits up. With no home phone I went into complete isolation.

- The War Lab brought me back to work in their small Toronto location where they didn't particularly care if I did patrols or not. Their camera coverage is excellent.

- Developed a subconscious anxiety around my breathing which has been chronically hampered by sinus issues but which had never posed much of a problem before. The CPAP machine is absolutely critical, treating my severe sleep apnea by forcing me to breathe only through my nose. After several virtually problem-free years suddenly I could rarely remain asleep more than a second. I would immediately wake up in a brief panic attack thinking I was suffocating. This became the norm night after night. It was absolute torture. I began avoiding sleep as much as possible to avoid this torture but that became a torture of a different sort. My physical issues and my brain suffered in extreme sleep deprivation. I seemed to know with certainty that I would be dead soon and I welcomed it. I never considered suicide, only a certainty that I could not survive this way and that I did not want to. Working in Toronto paid very well but I was a terrible danger to myself and others by driving in a sleep-deprived state. I had several tricks to manage this without disaster. I was desperate for the income. But it was wrong of me.

- A friend - we'll call her... Julie, was certainly of clearer mind than I and gave me a cell phone so I could get back in touch with my doctor, dietitian and Cat Man, my counselor. I begged them to get me into an institution full time. It was the only way I would survive.

- The doc insisted I give up the Toronto gig if I wanted to keep my license. I did not argue for a moment. 

- An institution was probably not going to happen but the doc put me on a miracle drug. Miraculously: I seem to be breathing a little better. The suffocation anxiety has almost entirely vanished. I sleep plenty now, albeit in erratic short stints day and night; an imperfect but utterly joyful improvement. And my monstrous appetite has been cut in half. And this drug is not even expensive.

- I have a walker now. It's the only way I can get around for more than a few steps. Hopefully I will not need it for long. Physiotherapy is available to me when I am ready.

- I began enrollment in a bariatric program at a clinic which will closely monitor my diet and exercise for a year and a half followed by surgery which will dramatically reduce the size of my stomach.

- I am still on the books for two security companies but inactive and juggling disability, EI and welfare balls trying to get some kind of income.

- I have a shitload of work to do to get my life back. And the false starts are over. I am one hundred per cent committed to this. I did not think I'd ever see November. I will do the work. Covid did not infect me but it pushed me to the bottom of the barrel finally. And finally I'm on the way back up.

Hey blog.

Monday, June 29, 2020

This again

Are we bored yet of me coming on here once in a while to speak of new momentum? New signs that things are going to improve? Inevitably they never do for long eh?

If (miraculously) we are not:

I saw my whole family yesterday at the family farm. I guess this is irrelevant to the subject but it sure felt nice. It's been months of course. I'm getting my very own cell phone shortly which is a little gross but it's the only way I can participate in society because - in case you haven't noticed - we now live in a dedicated cell phone society. It's no longer an option. God help us.

Had a great talk with the housemate last night and discovered a lot of opportunity to help each other overcome common problems.

Today I have left the cozy prison that is my bedroom, ascended Mount Staircase all the way to the second floor and am working (working?) at the dining room table while the ceiling fan blows cool air on me and whips my ridiculously long hair into my eyes. Need a headband or haircut apparently.

I just typed "Hope you're all still alive out there" and then realized that of course not all of you are.

Love FWG

Monday, May 25, 2020


Hey hey... just my little weekly personal panda therapy. But this is my best little compilation yet. I hope you give it a look!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sleep Wars

I have been hugely sleep deprived for at least two years with very rare inexplicable hibernation periods of a day or two at a time. This has made me permanently groggy, stupid, lazy, unwise, petty, intolerant, impatient, unloving, unproductive, crippled with pain, financially handicapped and fatter than the average oliphant. Why some of my friends have stuck by me through this I do not know. They must be fools.

The challenges to sleep are: sleep aopnea (a CPAP machine), lack of financial commitment to service it properly, compromised lung capacity, breathing issues from dust and allergies, erratic shift work, daylight infringement, hip, shoulder, back and ear pain, an uncontrollable noisy dog and other house noise, other discomfort issues and subsequent secondary issues deriving from this list.

The specific battles which manifest from the above, and combinations of the above (negative feedback loops galore), make for an even longer list and the specific tasks I must achieve in order to fight all these battles and make good sleep possible or even probable is so long you would not believe me if I told you. Usually, to this compromised brain, it feels impossible to even make an attempt.

I realize with more and more certainty that sleep is the central battle of my “life” (or rude facsimile thereof).

I basically cannot walk anymore but awkward painful specialist appointments all fail to explain precisely why. I feel like a crash test dummy on the verge of hitting the wall, and frankly I don’t know what happens after that. To be honest, I wish I could be institutionalized and forced to submit to some horrible therapy of diet and exercise.

However! I have made inroads of late that feel to be of a different nature. I have summoned some real commitment two days in a row and made some real progress against the hoarding barrier. I have also tinkered with strategies around pillow arrangements, CPAP machine therapy settings, and more effectively managing my (thoroughly standard) caffeine addiction and nutritional balance so as to more optimize my pitiful energy levels, which is key to the prospects of interrupting this giant vicious circle. There have been other small inroads around preventative stretching and exercise.

It feels certain to me that this is my last chance. If I fail now… life as I know it will be finished. I don’t say this with dread, but with real optimism.

If you know me in person, please do not be kind at this time. Kick me in the ass as hard as you can and tell me to get my shit together. Thank you.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Then they get you...

The bi-weekly dinner-and-reflection gatherings at the church where I am not a congregant but through whom I volunteer, have become virtual gatherings for the time being (of course). Here is the latest reflection:

"...You are invited to share an experience, observation or story where you felt a special connection to another, or others by reaching out or helping out;  or where you have been inspired or moved by the way others have reached out or helped out in a special way."

My response:

On the last day I left the house I ran into trouble with pain and mobility issues at the specialty grocery store. I used the shopping cart as a sort of walker and prepared to get through it. A cashier saw me as I approached and grabbed a chair and brought it to me, then took the cart with her, scanned my groceries, bagged them and returned them to me. I paid when I was ready and at the door another employee stopped me from pulling the bags from the cart and accompanied me to my car instead and brought the cart back to the store for me.

Then at the liquor store (ahem... I just go there to buy the gift bags; yeah that's the ticket) I waited in my car out front for 25 minutes for the store to open. In that time about 35 customers arrived and lined up, distanced, on the walkway. Then an employee emerged to gradually invite them in. The line kept refilling, and I began to wonder if I'd get in all day. The employee saw my parking tag and invited me in at once. I said "No but pick a spot down the line for me and then let me in when my time comes." Immediately all the people near the front of the line objected and insisted I go ahead. So I did.

As I struggled to carry out my bags a young man ran over and carried them out for me.

Arriving home there was no parking spot anywhere near my home but a neighbor saw me (I don't even know his name) and rushed over and said "Hang on. I'm going to move my car. Take my spot." I refused immediately but he wouldn't hear it and moved his car.

I have vowed to stop slamming the human race for a little while.

"Yeah, they're horrible but the problem with human beings is, as much as you may want to dislike or disapprove of them... then they just do one wonderful thing and they get you back in again. It's an abusive relationship."--Jerry Seinfeld (to Ellen DeGeneres; Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee)

Friday, May 15, 2020


Almost every day I am either at home with all of my time at my discretion, or on a security gig getting paid to be there with my lap top and nearly all of my time at my discretion. And in non-apocalyptic times I do some volunteer work as well.

One result of all this time on my hands is that I do a ton of research. And as such I often have excellent advice to give. Solid advice. But rarely, I think, do people take my advice. Because people are absolute shit at making wise decisions for so many reasons.

Case in point:

Okay maybe that wasn't the best example.

Monday, May 04, 2020


And on a Monday even.

I finished my April A-to-Z "challenge" for maybe the third time in seven years? Something like that, and completed my modest April camp goal (15K) at about 15,500 words. Now to keep some momentum going.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Vitality… painted over

Hey so back over to the A-to-Z we’re finally unveiling the previously postponed V-Day. The assignment was too good not to treat right. It came from the valiant, vibrant, venerable, infrequently verbose and too-frequently valedictory; my very valuable friend, life coach and visionary, the venturesome Vietnam Vagabond; the Eloquent Potter. And it is:


Varnish is the shit…

…that is everywhere.

Let me look back at just the last, oh, thirty-six hours.

I watched a video about quantizing and auto-tune. Exactly how this shit is done. The anatomy of this phenomena that has made the overly-safe, overly-simplified, corporate-dictated pablum we call main-stream music so grotesque to my ears; so obscenely, vulgarly, morbidly anti-human. Why modern mainstream music reeks of death. It is not real. It is varnish. The musicians who are tricked into selling out have suffocated within this varnish. Of course the saving grace is that there are heaps of amazing music being made every day. You just have to hurl your fucking radio into the fires of Mordor and go looking elsewhere. Bandcamp for instance. Soundcloud.

I stopped for gas and saw that my drink was on sale: three for seven bucks. Varnish, it turned out. I went inside, picked my three and was charged not $7 but $13.

“Huh?” I says.

“Oh the special isn’t working,” says the corporate slave.

The special isn’t working.

When I was young no one ever uttered the words the special isn’t working. No context existed where such a phrase could bear any meaning. If I had said to my English teacher for any reason “the special isn’t working” I would certainly expect to be told I would be repeating the grade.

Oh we had computers when I was young. But computers were still tools at the time; tools which served the user; the human being who operated the computer tool; the human being who still maintained sentience. Today a gas station cashier is literally a tool of the computer.

Of course the pumps themselves are varnish, aren’t they? This is not where oil comes from. It’s ripped out of the ground in manners which compromise the biosphere, it is taken from a place where it served the biosphere as a filter and then it magically makes our car go zoom zoom zoom (a little TV varnish) and what we don’t see through that particular varnish is the cloud of toxins formerly filtered from the ground now being burned and fed to the sky where it will fuck us over real good.

Yesterday morning the alarmingly nervous, high-strung, OCD basket case of a day shift guard came in to relieve me and spotted my coat hanging from the back of a chair. She sputtered and agonized trying to find words for the occasion, finally pointing: “That doesn’t look good!” Coats over chairs is not proper varnish. The reality is that we all use coats. They are not hurting anyone (in the office I mean). If you could actually follow the trail of your coat’s creation you will find harm somewhere. I guarantee it. If not a furry animal or sheep or a sweatshop third world in-effect-slave there are still more avenues of suffering in the trail of a textile factory. Suffering we do not see through the layers of varnish.

I saw the faces of Ford, Trudeau and Trump because you cannot access the internet without their weaselly little faces weaselling onto your screen one creepy way or another. Their entire existence is varnish. They are the curtain between we and those who have our money and control us. They are talking idiot-boxes. They are court jesters, juggling their balls and pretending that they are the real show while they are not.

Maybe we don’t mind living this way. Maybe the varnish is nicer than the reality. And here’s where I get stuck. I know very well that the rewards for embracing reality are so much finer. But to fully explain why will make me sound like religion, when I am not. And so people will turn away. Oh well. Fuck em.

The Venturesome Vietnam Vagabond is an angel to me at times. He is not fooled by anything - anything external anyway. I think he knows that reality is better than varnish.

“Do you have a coaster for me?” I asked.

He laughs and gestures at the grand wooden table with its myriad of markings. It is a mural; a family history. And tonight we will eat well and drink copiously and add another stroke or two to this wooden canvas; this time capsule. And we’ll say not a word about sports, weather or headlines. We’ll unearth more reality and lay ourselves bare. Thank heavens there is still a place to do this.

I could go on and on. Anywhere you look you are seeing varnish. Give it a thought and you'll start to realize the illegitimacy of anything you happen to witness.

Varnish is the shit that is everywhere. It is what we have built our society out of, instead of celebrating life. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The ecZiting A-to-Z conclusion

Let’s see: I postponed the letter V essentially for health reasons, I declared X-Day a holiday (it’s not a real letter) and to complete the cop-out trilogy I’m outsourcing Z to the youtubes.

I never did assign Z to a friend. I kept it to myself and here’s what I have to say:

Thiz guy iz my new favourite youtuber becauze he crackz me up. He’z got a few little enterprizez going on as he getz a bit of cred az a major influencer and internet reporter. But what I like bezt iz hiz straight-up commentariez.

He’s got a great sense of humour, a great accent, he’s not afraid to liberally apply the F-word, he’s got a brain and a social conscience. He is:

OZZy Man

Yogi, Smokey, Boo-boo and Pooh

Hey hey kids… it’s Y-Day today because Y-not? And we have been enthusiastically directed by the yellsome yackity youngster who is my three-year-old nephew. And he has dictated the subject:


So I give you a silly poem. It’s a little A-to-Z within the A-to-Z!:

This is an ARCTIC bear. He’s learning how to swim
Because his snowy home is now in terrible danger!

This is BOO-BOO Bear. He is Yogi’s little friend
He has to warn him often: Don’t upset the ranger!

These are the CHICAGO bears. They are football players
Thirty four years ago they won the superbowl

This is a DO-IT YOURSELF bear. You donate the labour
Then you get to keep the bear but sixty bucks in the hole

This is Marian ENGEL’s bear. He has some troublesome habits
He likes to hang out in libraries among the shelves of books

This is jokester FOZZY Bear. He likes to draw the laughs
But all his jokes tend to get is lots of funny looks

GUMMI bears are colourful and sweet
While they’re gummed up in your maw

HUGGY BEAR had the bum’s eye for clothes
But his profession was against the law

Tanner is an INFIELDER for the Bad News Bears
He is a little scrapper who’s always getting dirty

JACK Nicklaus is the Golden Bear, a golfer yes he was
He would score lots of pars and also lots of birdies

The KOALA bear is not a bear at all! It’s true!

Some bears you find in bars for LGBTQ!

The entire MOVIE “The Bear” was framed from bears’ points of view
It was filmed in the Dolomites in Nineteen eighty-eight

In NATIVE Legends there are no symbols
But the Bear so mighty and great

OWLBEARS are monstrous things
They’ll engage you in a hostile fray

PADDINGTON is a gentlemanly bear
He lives in the U.K.

The Bear Creek QUILTING Company
Will service your quilting bee

You’ll find The Bear RADIO station
At one hundred point three

SMOKEY is a safety bear
It’s forest fires he dreads

TEDDY is the kindest bear
He’ll cuddle you in bed

The UNIVERSITY of Alberta
Has Bears in the basketball game

The VANCOUVER Grizzles, mind you
Once did just the same

WINNIE the Pooh bear’s always getting stuck
But fear not, he’ll be okay

eX-BEAR Ditka is on the TV
With always much to say

YOGI Bear just might be
The most famous bear of all

While the Z-BEAR builds you home-made bears
You can give him a call 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Screw you, X. Nobody likes you.

You’re not even a real letter.

All you do is team up with the CTRL button to delete things. Well guess what Mother Trucker? Today I'm deleting you! From A-to-Z.

Welcome to A-to-Z-except-for-X. Have a great day!


If you know me in real life this post is not for you. Be a mature adult, take my warning and just go away and forget about it.

For those who don’t know me, it’s W-Day:

Weary, withering, wasted…

The wonderful, worldly, we-oriented, World Citizen has whisked these words along from the west coast:

Wake up! 

And it is magically, hilariously, precisely relevant. I am absolutely one atom away from being asleep right now. My brain is a wreck. Just coming up with the above alliteration has drained me for the day. After an almost-week of mildly less then normal sleep performance I have spent a couple days doing almost nothing but sleeping, and yet in the few-hour segments in between epic naps I remain dead tired.

I will catch up on the V column one fine day when I can almost-function again. For now I take this critical W assignment and give it a quick hatchet job as best I can. Ready?

Environmentally you could say there are two kinds of people in the world; those who are apparently ignorant or uncaring with regards to the “planet” and the future of humanity, and those who appear to care but are deluded as to the reality of the situation.

Many of the nicest people I know are online getting all romantic about the environment and how it is getting a much needed break from us. And some jump to the absurd notion that we are starting to wake up! (and smell the coffee environmentally)

It is the death of all hope if the people we count on to lead us to salvation have no idea what they’re doing.

For countless reasons, over and over through decades, thousands have said "People are finally waking up!" No we are not. At best, precious minorities of people have woken from deeply deluded dreams into slightly less deluded dreams. In general we are more asleep than ever and falling into impossible traps to escape from. The very best and very worst case scenarios for Covid-19 are the same scenario: That the human population, beautiful, pitiable and perfectly insane, will be drastically alarmingly reduced.

Have I lost the last reader now? Good. ‘Cause no one will want to read this:

These messages I hear about how great it is that mother nature is getting a well deserved rest is precisely this:

A Nazi shoots a machine gun into a crowd of prisoners as they gradually tumble to their deaths. But then he throws the machine gun to the ground, pulls out a hand gun and begins killing them one bullet at a time. And one well-meaning stander-by says “Ah, how great they’re getting a well-deserved rest.”

I can’t seem to find another human being who actually understands how causality works (they all think they do) or another human being who understands the complex components, system and fragile configurations of the biosphere, which humans, even at this moment, are systematically dismantling it at an utterly unfathomable speed by any realistic cosmic context.

Am I going to do anything about it? Of course not. But I’m also not going to hide from the truth. And I’m not going to hide from the truth because I have a relationship with truth which no other human I know appears to have. (Tolle does, by the way). As for the biosphere’s plight; I am useless. Group one above is also useless as is group two.

Am I angry about this? No. But sometimes I am frustrated because communication with other people about the core dramas of our reality is fucking impossible and there is a kind of loneliness there which sometimes frustrates me. A lot of that frustration is aimed back at myself: for why have I failed to teach anyone anything despite all the research I do?

Here’s a great bit of comedy: Michael Moore has released a film Planet of the Humans. I haven’t watched it yet even though, as my brother noted in an email about it, it’s right up my apparently-narrow alley.

It may be vain and foolish to assume the film will only reveal the epic load of crap I already know, such as the preposterousness of practically every mainstream green organization and the utter fallacy of “industrial green clean energy.” All industry is a bullet to the head of the biosphere, including windmill and solar panel industries. There is no escaping this reality. But I can’t help instinctively making that assumption and I don’t feel quite in the mood just yet for going down a dark ugly rabbit hole that I already know like the back of my hand. (I promise to report back once I actually view the film.)

A part of the problem is that I assume that Moore (knowing how he rolls) will get caught up in the facade and guilt of things which I don’t really care to get wrapped up in. I don’t want to point fingers. Global human insanity starts at the core of the illusion; the gap between real instinctive mind and our outrageously flawed stuttering early evolution of consciousness. And we’re all in this together.

For a long long time as I say little about this matter, sensing no will around me to hear it, I have held a vain hope that some genius would come along and tell me why I’m wrong about the simple reality of biosphere and industry and just the other night I managed to get in on a webinar regarding green economy (what a wonderful fantasy) with none other than Noam Chomsky the special guest.

This could be my big chance! To get this question to him?

But the question panel grew fast and immediately and I realized I had no chance. But half way up I found a very similar question, framed around the claims of Moore’s The Planet of Humans. I discovered that one could comment on a question though it was rarely done. So I did: “I pray this question gets up-voted. It is critical!”

Lo and behold the comment, regardless of its content, visually drew attention. And immediately people were hitting the vote button and the question gradually rose to the top and was addressed. The host completely bungled it. It was not worded perfectly and the host made it worse. Chomsky gave an awkward 3-or-4 word dismissive response.

Thanks host. Thanks humans. Thank you for being so reliably; so tirelessly useless.

But did Chomsky fully misunderstand the question? I don’t really think he could have. Why did he not try to address it better?

Could he still be in the dark, environmentally? Brainy as he is? Perhaps?

Or is it this?

Does he see the same dilemma which concerns me?

Does he feel that to communicate every truth to the masses, were it accepted, result in complete despair and disorder; chaos?

Even if climate change is largely a red herring (not for being untrue but for being ultimately irrelevant), is it a placebo in effect which might keep cold-hearted humans acting responsible because there appears to be hope?

There is another reality here, perhaps most important of all. Nothing is immortal in this universe. Not humans, not Earth. Not the sun. But our living experiences are immortal because we experience no beginning or end. We are not aware of our own birth and death. That makes for A LOT to think about.

The end is inevitable even if sadly coming way sooner than necessary (except perhaps for the lucky grandchildren of the ultimately criminal super-duper-pooper rich who have been stealing from us all and will afford trillion dollar seats on Elon’s Mars rockets maybe?) well so what?

Why not exist at or near the inevitable end? Why take it as tragedy? There is still opportunity to evolve our minds and to love and to seek survival within whatever like-minded community we arrange ourselves. And if necessary to go out not with a bang but gracefully; respectfully; lovingly.

Have I been at all coherent? I don’t know why I write this. I don’t want to stomp on people I love who have been writing so hopefully and romantically and with flawed logic. They are good people. But I do get deeply, unwisely, lonesomely frustrated sometimes. I am far from the top of my spiritual game…

Stuff to think about.