Wednesday 29 June 2016

Stewart Canyon

Just a quick one today since I left it too late once again.

It was a good day today; we drove up to the Banff area and did a short hike to Stewart Canyon. The weather was perfect and of course the scenery magnificent. There was a herd of goats that crossed the bridge over the canyon in front of us. It is nice to be that close to wild animals and neither of us showed any fear. There were some tourists that happened to be on the other side of the bridge and they are sure to have some wonderful memories of their hike in Stewart Canyon.

I sometimes get a little irritated when an area I want to visit is crowded with tourists. I can remember times that we had free reign for most of the year. Today wasn’t terribly crowded, but more so than I would have liked. I guess it isn’t surprising that others want to do the same things I want to do for exactly the same reasons. I guess that is something I need to learn in this life.

We met three Germans on the trail and had a very nice visit with them. They loved the mountains and had another two and a half weeks of vacation left. Where I thought there were too many people, they felt the trail was theirs alone. In Germany, there are a lot more people wanting to be on the trails than here. I guess I am going to change my attitude in the future.

Well, busy day…tired at night. Sleep well all and enjoy your tomorrow. 

Friday 24 June 2016

Liquid Bread

I have been thinking about alcohol lately, not drinking it but how it affects the human species. I am aware that at certain times every year we can find drunken animals because they have eaten fruit that has fermented and developed a slight level of alcohol. It is pretty funny to see a bird fall off of his perch. Some people will give beer to their dogs and once I tried to get a cat stoned. I never knew if the cat got stoned because they are always so laid back. I suppose that I could have put some potato chips and candy bars in front of him to see what would happen, but if I had chips and a candy bar at the time, I would have been quenching my own munchies.

Perhaps the reason I have wondered about alcohol recently is that I saw an ad for beer $38 for 18 cans. That seemed like a lot of cash to me and that was a sale. If I were a beer drinker, I am pretty sure I would be making my own to cut costs. I am aware that people prioritize their recreational spending and $40 or $50 a week isn’t too much to spend for something you like. You work hard after all and deserve to get a little buzz on at the end of the day. Maybe you just love the taste; I have friends that can’t wait for the day to end so that they can kick back with three or four beer. Why not? They don’t get behind the wheel and operate heavy machinery, the worst most people do is to think they can dance or sing Karaoke.

Most people…

Some people do drive while drunk, some pick fights with people for reasons that wouldn’t make sense if you were sober. Some force their affection onto others, some forget to be a good role model for their kids and some just forget how to be decent human beings. That is sad.

What I have been wondering about is how this love affair with alcohol began. Did someone watch a bird fall off a branch and think “Hey, that looks like fun. Gimmee some of those berries!” I am pretty sure that in our hunter-gatherer stage the only people that would use intoxicants was the shamans who were trying to get a direct line to whatever God they worshipped to bless the hunt/baby/upcoming battle. The use of these intoxicants was restricted to those deemed responsible. That was sensible, no one should ride a mammoth stoned.
It was civilization and specialization which made it possible for the masses to get drunk. I have heard that the Egyptians made a heavy beer that the slaves and workers would drink. It was considered to be liquid bread due to having a high nutritional value. Of course it also gave the workers something to fill the times when they weren’t working. That way they wouldn’t question why they spent every day for thirty years pushing blocks up a ramp so that some King/God could make his final journey to the nether world in style.
Today not much has changed. Well, we don’t work pushing blocks up a ramp, but most jobs are at least as boring and meaningless. I suppose the difference is that we are no longer supplied with alcohol by the masters; we pay for our liquid escape from reality from the money we earn by working for the masters. Strange world that we live in.

In 2010, the cost of excessive drinking in the United States was estimated at 249 Billion or $2.05 per drink. That works out to about $807 per person, every person whether you drink or not. The costs include loss of workplace productivity, health care expenses, criminal justice expenses and motor vehicle crashes. Sad really.

This kind of makes me wonder just what it is about our lives that we are more than willing to continue drinking in spite of the physical and psychological costs. What is wrong with our lives that we need an alcoholic escape? Could you do without the support of a drink to get you through the day? Would you?

Somehow, I doubt it. We will just keep pushing that block up the ramp.
Image result for egyptian beer

Monday 20 June 2016

Ties and Tools

Well, Father’s Day.

To tell the truth, I have never been that comfortable with having a day for fathers in general and myself in particular. Perhaps that feeling stems from my wanting to keep a low profile, the less people see you, and the less blame can be attached. I put up with father’s day, for the kids, they want to show how much they love me.

At first of course, it is the wives that celebrate the day on behalf of the kids and over the years the kids take over the duty. Personally, I think that Father’s Day was created to sell ties and tools and also maybe the Moms felt a little guilty having a day and the dads didn’t. I guess that in the end people will do what makes them feel good about themselves.

Maybe it says something about me that I don’t feel I deserve any gifts or accolades for doing something that I love to do. Yes, there have been times when I have been disappointed in the behaviour of my kids, but I find that I have been more disappointed in pretty much everyone that I know. No one is perfect and yet I find that I would like them to try a little harder. My problem, no one else’s.

Anyways, my hats off to the kids and thanks for being people who I can be proud of and that I don’t have to visit in prison.

Oh, thanks to my dad for setting the bar so high.

Thursday 16 June 2016

One Mans Garbage

As much as I don’t like to admit it, there are some interesting things on Facebook. I know what I said the other day, but that was then and this is now, many hours apart.

I was watching a video posted on the American Wayfarers site. I guess the Wayfarers are a couple walking from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I had assumed that they would have stopped on the west coast, but it seems that somehow they were able to walk halfway across the Pacific and managed to end up on Oahu. Good for them! Lucky them! If they can walk on water, can they also turn water into wine that would make them very popular amongst more than a few of my friends.


The video is of Makapu’u Beach Park which is just up the coast and around the corner from where we once stayed. This video shows the tide line and the detritus that the ocean left when the tide receded. There was the usual amount of sea weed and I suppose dead or dying aquatic life. There were also all sorts of bits and bobs of coloured things. Some of it looked like sea glass, some plastic and probably plastic bottles and flip-flops. There was a lot of stuff on that beach.

I think that the take away of the video is that aren’t we horrible to have dumped all of this crap in the ocean and now here it is washing up on the beaches of Paradise. Well, the American Wayfarers also washed up on the beach in Paradise. My favourite pastime when I go to a beach is to walk along the high tide line and look at the neat stuff that has washed up. As a general rule, Hawaii doesn’t have that much really interesting stuff, but still enough to pique my interest, and of course you are walking along a beach in Hawaii.

The beach on the west side of Vancouver Island has much more interesting things. Once I saw a ball of twine/string/rope that was the size of a small car. I spent a few minutes wondering how long it would take to unravel it, but I doubt anyone could. I had heard that once a ship carrying hundreds of thousands of Adidas running shoes capsized and the shoes all washed up on shore. People spent hours trying to find pairs of matching shoes of the correct size. Once when I was hopping from rock to rock, I hopped onto a dead, bloated seal that was fun. Often I would see bottles and cans from foreign countries that had been tossed over the side of a ship. The lucky few have found glass buoys from Japanese fishing boats. I don’t think they use them any longer, but maybe.

We have beaches here in Calgary,

But as you can see, only one really qualifies as a beach and that one is shut down half the summer due to fecal contamination. Also, there isn’t really a high tide line and nothing of any interest ever washes up on the shore.

No, ocean beaches are the way to go, and we should stop dumping garbage in the ocean. But, as the saying goes “…one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure…”

Monday 13 June 2016

Lesser Beings

I have a theory that you don’t retire because you have the requisite number of years or the “right” amount of money, you retire because you have had enough of the bullshit. Young people can take the bullshit, but as you get older, your tolerance for bullshit lessens. Also, the young people have no other option. Of course you have to have the years and finances in order as well. I feel sorry for the kids that have a lifetime of working ahead of them and even sorrier for those who have to keep working due to finances. Thank God I was too lazy to look for a “better” job after I was hired on at the Post Office.

Today and for the past few weeks, I have developed a theory about dying. It is pretty much the same as the retirement theory, but with death you have little or no control over it. I often haven’t liked the presidents that the US have elected, but I knew that they were relatively intelligent and after all was said and done, they wanted what was best for the country. Oh, and their corporate puppet masters of course. With the rise in popularity of Donald (F**KING) Trump I have lost all respect for the US political system.

I haven’t always been a beacon of light to the gay community, but I have always felt that I don’t care or want to know what your sex life is about and I am sure that most sensible people feel the same way about my sex life. I don’t understand gay bashing and I sure as hell don’t understand why someone would want to kill random people just because they made him feel uncomfortable. It is a strange world that we live in.

In some ways I hope that there is a Heaven and that you have to justify your life and the things you spent that life doing when you die. I suspect that Donald Trump will be sent back and told “…in this life, don’t be such an arrogant asshole!” That guy that killed all those people in the nightclub I hope that in his next life he will get the opportunity to live an alternate lifestyle.

I’m starting to feel that I have had enough of the bullshit. I suspect that when I am judged I will be told that I should be more tolerant of other lesser beings.

Sunday 12 June 2016

Character Flaw

I don’t know, maybe I am just getting too old. I’m having trouble keeping up with pretty much everything now.

I don’t appreciate a lot of the new music, some I can’t relate to, not being a teenager in love. Some of it talks about troubles that I as an older, white, middle class, male just don’t have. Some of the new music is just plain bad, poor musicianship and even worse lyrics. I kind of expected that I would feel this way as I aged. I suspect that we relate best to the music that we hear in our formative years when our dreams are possible and love hurts. I remember that mom and dad liked the Big Band music, getting all starry eyed when a Benny Goodman song came on the radio. It’s nice to know that things don’t seem to change as the years roll on.

What I really am having trouble with is Facebook. I have always liked Facebook; it allows friends and family to share memories with their loved ones and good friends. I have a friend that is on Facebook just so that she can see the latest pictures of her grand daughters. That is how Facebook works for you.

Unfortunately, Facebook has changed into something that I am not really prepared to handle.

Business has realized the potential of reaching millions of potential consumers with a cute video that tugs at the heartstrings. I can block these “Suggested posts”, and I do. I suppose there are those that take advantage of the ads and buy something from those companies. Advertising agencies are always going to reach out in whatever ways that they can to sell, sell, and sell.

What also bugs me is that a lot of my “friends” aren’t really friends in the traditional sense. They are friends because they want as many people on their friend list as is possible and when they sent the friend request I didn’t know how to refuse without being rude. Now I have a lot of “friends” that play mind numbing games and want me to see how well they did. Some “friends” Think I need to see pictures and videos of every activity that their kids are in. Your kids are really only cute to family, to the rest of us they are just kids being kids. I really don’t care what your political views are because if I agree with you then you are a broad minded human being and if I disagree with you then you are just an uninformed asshole. Incidentally, there are more assholes on facebook than broad minded individuals.

I really don’t like those posts that attempt to get me to re-post if I want to stay on their friend list. Take me off, I won’t play that “please like me” game. I haven’t blocked you, so you still have some value to me.

To tell the truth, facebook is getting so full of crap that I just don’t think it’s worth checking it out any more. I still facebook (is it a verb?), but I have a fundamental character flaw, one of many.

Wednesday 8 June 2016


They say that life starts at the door where you are born and ends when they close the lid of your coffin, in between we travel along many paths that lead us inevitably to that final door.

Today, Buster and I were walking a path that we have walked many, many times. It is filled with many interesting smells and is just long enough that I feel I’ve had a little exercise. Most of the way is on sidewalks with a grass verge, I prefer to walk on the grass and Buster for the most part likes the sidewalk. I like walking on grass, it must be in my Postie DNA and I think Buster likes the concrete because it keeps his nails trimmed and pads tough. He could just be a lazy little doofus though. One section of our walk the verge becomes enormous and we both have to walk on the grass, because one of us likes to and the other is at the end of a leash. Interestingly enough, there is a path that has been worn in the grass and Buster will walk along the packed dirt while I still prefer the grass. There are obviously more people that agree with Buster than agree with me.
Many years ago we were lucky enough to spend some time in Saskatoon. The university there was relatively new and when they put in new buildings they just laid grass without any sidewalks at all. Within a few months it became apparent where sidewalks were needed because of the paths that the students took to get to class. The sidewalks were a trifle odd looking, but quite effective. I’m sure that such a clever, innovative idea has since been forgotten in favour of the more traditional idea.

When you backpack up and over Assiniboine Pass, you get there following a path that goes from below the tree line to above it. If you are anything like me, you would have arrived tired but energized. The campground is nice and waking up surrounded by some of God’s most amazing creations is beyond description. After packing up you follow the trail over Wonder Pass and come to a spot where you can look down on Marvel Lake like a God of old. If there is indeed a heaven, then the path will lead over Wonder Pass. 
Gloria Lake, Mount Gloria, and the Gloria Glacier
The path through the pass is a very sensitive eco system and can be damaged just by walking along. You are encouraged to walk in the dirt path where others have walked before you so that your “footprint” is minimal. Of course many haven’t wanted to walk in the muck and have made other paths so that when I walked there it looked as if there had been a number of cars driving over the pass. Hopefully, people have become more sensitive over the years.
 The post on the pass
I had other “Path” tales, but the memories of Wonder Pass have banished them from my mind.

May your path through life be long and interesting.

Monday 6 June 2016

Karmic Points

I have been pretty busy the last few days. Not busy like normal people, but busy for me and my sedate lifestyle.

On the weekend I had the privilege to watch Hurricane at his guitar recital. He did really well, and I am so proud of him. Of course there is room for improvement, but I went expecting to spend most of the time with my fingers in my ears and looking for the closest exit point. There was quite an assortment of performers and some were pretty good. One little girl did an amazing rendition of Halleluiah, but I’m told she was a bitch in daycare so we shouldn’t like her. Other than her, I am allowed to like anyone. One little kid changed the music to suit his style. His style was crap it seemed, but he was thrilled and had a cheek to cheek smile.

I look forward to Hurricane having a successful career in music and keeping his Poppa in the best home that money can buy. Okay, I’ll be happy if he gets joy from the music and finds time to visit me in the home.

During the past couple of days, I have been getting ready to do battle with the high heat I expect we will have this summer. I went and bought a small air conditioner for the bedroom window, the price was right and I like to be comfortable when I sleep. Yesterday I spent a few hours making a frame to accept the machine. The frame has a screen for those days when fresh air is desired and today I put in a plexi-glass insert for those days when it will seem that winter is coming early.

I also installed the larger air conditioner in the kitchen today. I have had a few years experience and it goes in pretty easily. I should call Brendan over to help carry it, but he is busy and I want to do it when I want to do it. I had no problem and aside from serious grunting and huffing, but I do that putting on my shoes in the morning.

The thing about doing chores around the home is that they never end…never! You need to keep on top of the chores though or else when you finally do get around to doing the work it seems like…work.

My buddy is on a short vacation in Saskatchewan. I know, who in their right mind would go to Saskatchewan for a holiday? He has grandkids that are attending a dance recital and he is making lemonade by taking the trailer and camping for a week. Of course, he needs to get some donkey to water the plants, check the mail and cut the lawn. Guess who he picked? I’m just building up a few Karmic points; I suspect I will need them eventually.

Sunday 5 June 2016

Dream Garbage

Today is garbage day. Actually, every Friday is garbage day except for those rare occasions when Christmas falls on a Friday and then it is on the following Monday and once we had to wait another week to have it picked up. We don’t generate very much actual garbage any longer, what with the kids making and dealing with their own garbage now, so we can afford to wait a week for pickup.

We can, but since I am paying for the service, I expect to get service. We also have a recycling bin ($8.50/month) and sometime in 2017 the city is rolling out a compost pick up ($6.50/month). The recycling is done on the same day as the garbage, but I understand that come 2017 the garbage will be picked up every two weeks and the recycling and compost every week. Well, I hope the compost will be picked up weekly or else our back alleys will be filled with interesting odours and attracting some of the less desirable wildlife. That’s progress.

Just a grumpy old man’s complaint….I already compost in my back yard and don’t see why should have to pay extra. They should reward me for years of keeping my compostables out of the city dump. There are things the city can compost that I couldn’t, and it will be nice to cycle everything back to planet earth I suppose. Things change, we adapt or die and then get composted.

Last night I was dreaming about garbage. It was my garbage bin, but for some inexplicable reason it held an amazing amount of stuff. There were the typical bags of rotting veggies and normal household waste of course. I noticed a human body and a few small animal carcasses, some auto parts and yard waste. You know…normal stuff.

The things in there that disturbed my dreams happened to be from my garage. They were items that needed to go into the trash, but I wasn’t quite ready to part with them. Small bits of wood, too big to throw out and too small to use. An assortment of metal that might have a use some day. There were some large sheets of card stock that I was saving to make patterns for as yet undetermined wood working projects. Louise had also thrown out my clothes! Not just some of my clothing, but all of it. I will admit that at least half deserved to be there, but a lot of those items had sentimental value for me.

The bodies I can live with, I’ll just cover them up with an old blanket so that the garbage man doesn’t see them and call the cops. Now, I will have to start collecting small bits of wood, a new assortment of metal bits and the worst part is now I have to go to the second hand store to buy new/old clothes that some other wife donated instead of tossing them in the bin. This is starting to feel like a nightmare…

Friday 3 June 2016

Saint Ken

In my late teens and early twenties, I fancied myself something of a hippie. I wore the typical jeans and t-shirts, sometimes tie-dyed, I listened to the best music of the century and I believed that my generation had the opportunity and will to change society. It was a wonderful time and I retain wonderful memories.

We didn’t change the world as much as it needs to be changed, but that’s what happens when life gets in the way of living. Historians will tell the tale, but I suspect that we will be a footnote in the gradual change to become Aquarians.
One thing I could never do that kept me from thinking I was a full fledged member of my generation was wear those cool buffalo sandals from India that head shops sold. I could never get comfortable with the thong thingy going between my big toe and the one next in line. I tried many, many times, but I could never buy a shoe I knew I would never wear. I wore sandals, but they were the type with a band across the top of the foot and a heel piece. Old man sandals! The only thing missing was black knee high socks.
 Image result for old man sandals
It may seem like a small thing, but I knew that I would never be a messiah sent by God to teach the people a better way of living. All messiahs wear sandals, the kind with the thong thingy. No self respecting saviour would wear Reeboks or Nike runners when feeding the masses, healing the sick or raising the dead. A career in the spiritual world was out, all because I didn’t like how a particular type of shoe felt.

Fast forward forty years and those buffalo sandals have been replaced by flip-flops that come in all the colours of the rainbow and many different styles. Sure there are flip-flops that have a band across the top, but they aren’t cool or stylish. I still have my old sandals and some Teva sandals that are sort of cool when you look like you are about to go into the back country, but people wonder why you are wearing them shopping when you could be wearing flip-flops.
 Image result for flip flops
I thought that I had come to grips with my footwear shortcomings. I live in a cold climate for the most part and no one looks twice when you are dressed for cooler weather. It is Calgary after all and the temperature is known to fluctuate hour to hour. Besides, cowboy boots are more than acceptable year round.

Then we went to Hawaii for a vacation. Can you imagine? I was in a place where EVERYBODY wears flip-flops. The whole state, all nine islands! They call them slippahs there, but flip-flops they are. I had my big old clunky Tevas, and a pair of water shoes but they really don’t make the grade in Hawaii. We have been there a few times and every time I keep thinking that I will be asked to put on a pair of slippahs or leave paradise. Maybe Karma is holding me back from spending more of my life in paradise because I can’t deal with that thong thingy between my toes.
 Image result for tevas
Today I decided that Karma and God won’t have that to criticise about me any longer. I bought a pair of cheap flip-flops and come hell or high water, I will learn to wear those damned things. So far I have managed to wear them for a while but they feel very weird and every now and then I am tempted to toss them in the garbage. Most martyrs have had to put up with discomfort, some live in cool damp caves, some wear hair shirts, some live with lepers, prostitutes and orphaned children. I keep telling myself that I will be able to wear them for another few minutes, and hour, tomorrow and maybe even Sunday. They may never be comfortable, but in time I will get used to them.
Who knows, maybe I will someday live with leprous, child prostitutes in a cave making clothing out of my own hair. There will be a place for Saint Ken of the Flip-Flops in Paradise!
Image result for flip flops in hawaii