Sunday, August 21, 2016

The swirling eddy of apprehension

I love my dad Harry, don't get me wrong! Well...I love his memory is probably more accurate I guess. He's been gone these last 20 years. SHIT I'D LIKE A COFFEE DATE!
I don't think Harry had a ton of confidence in me as a kid. I don't hold it against him, but I felt that I never REALLY measured up. I mean he wasn't cruel or anything, he just never really said that he was proud of me you know? Must be "the English way".
 He taught me how to ride a bike and he showed me how to respect women. That man loved my question! NOTHING came before my mum in his life. Nothing came before Harry in mum's life. That's damned near magic pixie dust shit right there. They must have communicated?
However they decided to "be married" it worked.
Death parted them.
Growing up, I was never encouraged to GO FOR IT whether it was a drivers licence, traveling, a job or anything risky.
In fact, to this day, mum worries about me riding my motorbike, living on my own, my wanting to ride my bike to Guatemala...
She'd rather I sit indoors with the curtains drawn and the doors locked. I only do that when bouts of deep depression freezes my heart and brain.
I get it! Mums worry. After all, I'm "her baby".
Mum was protective! I get that!
But so far, in my life, a few people have chided in with acidic negativity that I believed.
In the not to far away past, I've been told that everything I set out to do, I fail. That was a lie.
I've been told that everything I start, I don't finish. That's a lie.
I've been told that I'd be better off "not risking it" That's a lie.
I've been told that I'd never amount to anything. That's a lie.
You (we) must weigh this sort of information though mustn't you? Good God! If friends and family utter these words...shouldn't we listen?
My first reaction is to "turtle" because the vitriol comprised in the words seep deep into the soul...
However, a sober, sane pause might lend clarity to the moment. (ignore throat lump, think about it)
Was the oracle delivered by a sane person?
Was it delivered by a wounded person?
Was it delivered by a person in authority over you?
Was it given by a bully?
Was it said by someone you respect that doesn't respect you?
So much to consider.
Let's not exclude passionate words that can't be taken back!
You can tell that I work with adolescent humans that are in the care of the Ministry can't you?
All this to say...
Whether you're pissed off, wounded or feeling smugly superior...think before you speak.
Because that person you're facing just might believe you...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Living by fiction

NEWS it has been said, is the original idea of the gathering of information from areas North East West and South. It is stories brought by runner, horseback, falcon, smoke signal, beacons, radio, telephone, television, internet.
Good News seems to be passe' and always gets trumped by the ugly bad News. I don't know what it is that causes humanity to cling to the bad News forgoing the good but every succesful (if I can use the definition) News agency knows this.
A quick look at any American feed reveals a macabre narrative of all the wrongs from everywhere on Earth...converging into perpetual questions: Can it happen here? Are we safe?
Canadian feeds are quickly catching up with the trend too.
CBC for example, is quick to give the headline with little deep information and no follow-up.
So I ask the question: Why our "train wreck" mentality?
What is it that causes us to create 45 minute traffic jams as we pass an accident but blast past waterfalls, vista points and wild green spaces with nary a care?
Are we really in that much need of misery that we'll forfeit joy?
Can we only relate to agony and heartbreak because we too quickly have forgotten all of the good, timely blessings life tossed our way?
Donald Trump's latest speech was full of hate, anger, fear and "vitriol" ( currently my favourite word which is new to me) to which legions of his followers cheered and jumped about. He chooses a frightening way to ralley the masses, but it works!
Trump KNOWS that too many people have a need to cling to a victim mentality* forgoing any other characteristic of self identy. Many of us cling to Global bad news and agony in our lives, make it our narrative and stupidly set it up as a sextant by which to travel. I shake my head.
I work around a lot of hurting people that are gripped in addiction, mental health issues, poverty and disease and many of these people STILL NOTICE JOY!
I look at a lot of local News. I look at foreign web sites to keep myself "in the know" so as to relate to my fellow human in their suffering and JOY!
This exercise has often helped me to be available to help others when called upon as if I know what they're going through.
In saying that, I must refresh myself outdoors away from all of that bad news.
So heres the application:
Cling to all that is good, learn from the not-so-good and go out of your often way to help someone else in word and deed.

Victim mentality is an acquired (learned) personality trait in which a person tends to regard him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave like it were the case—even in the absence of clear evidence. It depends on habitual thought processes and attribution.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

trump card


A trump card, as you know, can be played as ANY card at any time. It has no definitive identity, forever changing, never lying, never the same.
Would you place a bet in a card game knowing that your opponent had 1 or more trump cards? If you would...lets play poker!
The latest race to the White House down South has been nothing less than the worst in American Reality TV.
Republican Frontrunner Donald "Trump" Drumpf is very much like that card. You'd have to be one very mentally unstable individual to have any faith in this guy...but, as the numbers show, Republicans are gushing over him!
How many groups, people and Nations has he publically slandered now? 199 and rising?
The thing is, whether you love him or hate him, he says things that, apparently, millions of people subscribe to. Right leaning people in any event.
Over the years, I've heard some really crap things first hand that people have said with the caveat "I'm not prejudiced...but"...Many of those people identified as Christian!
When I was a Pastor in Alberta, I was challenged several times after giving people grief for their ugly comments. I never let that poison attitude go unchallenged!
(I was going to site a few examples but thought better of it.) Usually someone would run off to a Senior Pastor and tell a rather one-sided story. I don't make promises...but I promise that I will NEVER take on that role again! Heart breaking!
I was speaking with a pensioner recently about Trump, she said
"Well, people are tired of immigrants taking jobs, buying all the houses and everything, spending top dollar making everything unaffordable. Bringing in drugs, making gangs. They disrespect our Country by not learning and using our Language, disregard our laws and bring their cultural violence here. At least He (Trump) will do something about that in America when He's President"
...WHEN he's President. Apparently this woman has made her mind up. If she were American, she'd vote for him.
I'm sure you're aware of some of the things he's said he would do when elected. If you are NOT familiar with those things, I suggest that you take a lingering sober look into it!
If this man is given the most Powerful title on Earth, the ensuing result will be calamity all over the Globe!
But in all reality, that will NEVER happen. Every Democrat will vote Blue and probably half of the Republicans will follow suit or stay home that day.
So, what type of person backs Trump?
I know, quite well, a Redneck guy here in Vancouver that would. He's a 2-faced, lying, spineless weasel of a man.
He called a man from Iran a "sand nigger" behind his back. I called the guy over and said "Hey ----- tell him to his face what you called him.
You should have seen his denial, back pedaling, grunting, uneasiness! I looked at him and said "Yeah...I thought you'd react like that."
I lost respect for that man on that day. I've heard him utter other poison over the years and called him on it. He denies it all the time!
So yeah. Thats the type of person I think will back Trump. Those spineless jellyfish types who's bark is much louder than their bite.
As far as Trump goes?
He's just the same! He flip flops more than the best of them.
Time will tell.
In the mean time, only if you're safe, would you PLEASE call out anyone talking garbage like Trump does?
(I just TOLD a kid to change the music he had on at the grouphome. "I'm gonna fuck that bitch, gonna get some dope, make 'em choke..."  What ugly garbage!)
My fear is that the Trump brand of "talk" is going to become as acceptable as the lyrics in today's Rap Music. That poisonous Leadership from the Head of State can only lead to a greater disrespect for people, violence towards people and a complete shift of moral fibre cleverly shrouded in Domestic Security...
God balm America!


Monday, January 18, 2016

The immortal are dying?

Did you hear that Ian Fraser Kilmister died? David Robert Jones died a short time after him.
Their families knew them. Their closest friends knew them.
I'm sure that they are well mourned.
Incidently, I mourn the loss of David more than Ian. I figured Ian would die eventually. But David? David seemed larger than life!
Certainly larger than cancer.
Cancer. That shitty little silent killer that doesn't put up a fair fight. No one is immune.
So yeah...people all over this every shrinking World that have never met Ian or David are rushing to specific areas and lighting candles, leaving notes, dropping off flowers, tying balloons to things and taking selfies at these places in a sort of...wake? We're leaving beatuful words all over social media for people that we have never ever met.
Name me either man's favourite colour or food.
Yes,  I realize that each one contributed an emence catalogue of "flare" to this planet for which I am grateful. little heart didn't break. My head did a sort of "low brow" though.
Their deaths started me thinking. If you know me (that is, know my favourite colour and/or food) you know that I think too much.
We are all living in this brief moment of instantaneous gratification where apparently, life is only meaningful if we amass loads of "goods" that we don't realy need and can't afford anyway!
Oh cards. Finance your dream in this fleeting vapourous life. Tell you what, the newest iPhone shouldn't be something to tick off of your bucket list!
The people at the top of the food chain that run the show are busy as hell telling their people to tell their people what exactly to spoon feed us and when.
So heres my point.
2 people have died. They were complete strangers to you and me, and they never once invited us to their table.
Yet we light candles, tear our sackcloth, learn cover tunes and quickly buy albums...
May I tell you the truth?
These 2 were mere mortals just like you and me.
Indeed they were gifted in unique ways and "loved us" so much that they chose to share their talent...for which I'm ever grateful, but people die every single day of every single month of every single year and precious few drop a flower or set free a balloon.
There are over 7.2 billion humans standing on this Earth and I only know a few. I haven't the time to heave anyone onto a pedastool, its really a far better use of MY precious days to treat everyone the same.
I'm willing to bet that Lemmy and Bowie would agree...


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The relentless clacking of East van taxis

Ever spend time around the bitter end of Vancouver? Not sure? Need a reference?
The misery oozes along Hastings St. which seems to be the main artery. You've no doubt seen miserable cretans pushing East Van Taxis through alleys filled with bottles, metal scrap, clothes and whatever else. The taxi wheel's clacking muffled only by the stolen shopping cart's metal frame protesting under weight.
Waaaaaaay back in 1867, Hastings Mill, started by the Englishman Edward Stamp at the foot of Dunlevy St. was more than an early settlement so I've read. It was in effect a company town. People shopped at the Hastings Mill Store and sent their children to the Hastings Mill School, milled about and innocently played. All seemed well.
Turns out that good jobs bring good money which in turn brings alcohol, bawdy houses, and lousy dives to sleep it off in. Did you know that Early Vancouver was Opium rich?
Lots has changed in Vancouver...but some of these skid row attitudes and rooms still exist today in all their pungent, miserable glory right under the nose of our Mayor and Premier.
A little nugget for free: The term skid road originally referred to the path along which timber workers skidded logs. It is said that the area's seedy origins date back to the early concentration of saloons in pre-Canadian Prohibition (1915–1919) and its popularity with loggers, miners and fishermen whose work was seasonal and who spent their salaries in the area's cheap accommodations and public houses. The infection of "nastiness" spreads tightly along Hastings East to Clark St. West to Carral St. and a few bitter blocks either East or West to this day!
This area, known as the Downtown East Side (DTES) is the poorest urban area in Canada. read that right! Smack dab in the RICHEST part of our Province we have this kind of misery!
There is unfortunately a market for everything down here. Do you know that the youngest prostitute "rescued" from a shitty area called Lowtrack was only12 years old?  Yeah...I heard of her during my first year working in group homes in 1990. The oldest was 67 for the sake of balance...
So why dear reader am I telling you these less than uplifting stories?
The truth is that I'm ashamed that I haven't done more over the years. I can't share details about my shift tonight at the Grouphome but it wasn't pretty to say the least and the this evening and my typical work week started me thinking.
Do you reaize that you needn't start out as a pathetic, stinking, lying, stealing, sickly zombie of a human to get hooked on dope?
Nope...truth is, it could happen to YOU right now! I've yet to meet a junkie who's life's dream was to become a junkie whos living half hour to half hour. None of those pathetic creatures studied up on how to become zombie.
I see it first hand birthing in teen-age kids! It frightens me. It crushes my heart!
Why did I decide to post this?
Tonight at a gas station after midnight, I asked the attendant in the clostrophobic booth who appeared older than I  "how is your night? How is your shift?"
His reply?
"I work to feed my family. I do what I must do."
All this to suggest that before you ridicule or pity the non-white dude at the local  7-11 or gas station you visit and stagger into after a night out on the tiles or your own job, understand that he/she may be doing this crap job that you'd never do in order to suport their family amd keep their kids off of Skid Row.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

distraction vs destruction

    I've been picking up a few shifts at the grouphome lately along with my usual Monday to Friday full-time work. In fact, I'm working 57 "shifts" out of a possible 61 days over October/November. I justify the work load by saying that we need the extra money or that the extra can go into my "bike fund". Truth is, both jobs are low paying so this extra I dream of is not really worth my exhaustion.
I really like both jobs so there's that, and I do have a list of things that are needed vs wanted that cost money, but honestly part of the truth is that I get bored too easily.
I really need to find a hobby that I can sink my teeth into because I'm alone far too often and I don't enjoy being alone.
I've got the usual list of excuses: Stuff costs money. Its dark by the time I'm home, I'm too tired to actually go and DO something...
More truth is that I fear that I'm simply sinking into an apathetic rut which I can't help think is perhaps why a dependence upon drugs or alcohol is formed by so many people or why that deep overwhelming feeling of depression clouds over and smothers clear thinking.
So yeah, I work.
Its become very clear to me that I can't rely on other people to "make me happy" or meet my needs so I've come to the conclusion that I must make some changes in my own life in order to not go completely mental!
I have several friends that live in single room occupancy hotels in the Vancouver skid row area and being alone, bored and unmotivated is their biggest complaint.
Their deep personal emptiness has a greater negative effect on them than even their utter poverty. I've heard it over and over again how each one has slipped so deep into sadness that they simply "couldn't leave their room".
I get that. I can really understand what they mean. That all consuming despair that everyone else says "snap out of it" is bigger and heavier than most other things we go through.
So...I must find a hobby that can be done preferably outside of my home which doesn't cost a ton of money.
Hopefully a few things that are on my radar will soon be within reach after another "extra money" payday at the end of the month.
I'm working 13 days of the next 16 so I'll be plenty distracted for now.
We'll see what December brings.

Monday, October 12, 2015

As we moan about over-full bellies

I know a guy, well...more than know him but I'm not about to give away anyone's details without them knowing first hand.
In any event, this guy that I know has a 911 Porsche that I promise you he's earned. He's a gentle man, a clever man, a loving man. He's what you'd call Self Made. I admire him! He said that he LOVES driving it.
Anyway, I saw the car and I was truly happy for him but it got me to thinking; What do each one of us have that we fall back on as luxury, therapy, getaway, fun or relaxation?
It's an interesting topic.
I have a motorcycle that I ride all year as most of you know and its my main form of transportation (more than my legs which is a crime to be honest) but, after the necessary mental gymnastics,  I'm able to separate COMMUTE from RIDE.
What I mean in that is that when I ride at the Week End or after work, its all beautiful therapy. I ride slowly with no aggression, sucking in the oxygen and counting all of the colours I notice along the way. Its my downtime, reboot...whatever you wish to call it. To be honest...once in a rare while, I sneer, curl my lip and give 'er shit! My bike can really fly when I have no fear...hell, I even growl!
What do you have?
Where do you go?
What do you do?
This is encouragement time!
You got a horse? Convertible? Fishing spot? Instrument? Writing?
Do you people watch?
I know a heavily tattooed local author that runs and writes and runs and writes...he STILL manages to fit in time for his boy and his "woman".  I could learn from Chris and plan to...
My wife plays this dumb ass (imho) game on her phone. Balloons crushing candy or something? Keeps her sane whilst juggling me (thats a chore), her full time music stuff and her full time work acting stuff whilst being available to several Doula's for child minder and being in local plays to boot.  (the woman seems to be on call more than a dial-a-bottle driver)
She seems to hold her sanity by picking on instruments and humming. (to be rather candid, I think she's borderline crackers...but what do I know?)
Me? I ride my motorbike all year, visit the river several times a week and SUCK IN MORE OF MY SHARE OF OXYGEN, walk DTES alleys and chat with desperate humans who's only thought that matters is how to get the next "rock" of Crack. (join me one day. You'll be surprised at the humanity...I promise) Buy 'em a coffee, Native smokes or a slab of shitty, sweaty pizza.
What do you do?
What ARE you doing to maintain mental health?
It could be ANYTHING!
You know your strengths, weaknesses, available resources and skills. Only you know what causes you anxiety and where your comfort level is.
Dare you step towards what stretches you?
My latest mental challenge is trying to step out of my comfort zone. I'm so chill holding a girl's purse whilst she administered heroin into a vein in her neck (true moment) or the time I pondered buying my wife a cool belt buckle at a street market on the infamous Hastings Street Sidewalk Sale  while the owner of said buckle emptied a poppy filed syringe into a damn near dead vein in his thigh.
"dude, what do you need for the buckle?"
"fuck man. Hold up I just got a hit"
For me...thats easy.  I've helped sex trade workers get dressed after being chucked out of cars after a "bad date".
So where's  the point where I'm personally stretched? Need I go into the business district and park Audis?
Do I have to shine Italian stitched leather shoes?
Must I take my holier than thou attitude and shove it deep into the sewer?
So yeah....a 911 Porches that is probably very far from entry level but in all honesty easily within my friend's means doesn't seem all that extravagant in the big picture. In fact, I'm envious because I have a 17 year old shite van and my 12 year old loving-it-to-death motorbike which I can barely afford to keep on the road and his stuff is so fresh.
But the bigger picture?
I spend time on the river with Brock. Brock is 27. Mum of his daughter left him and now he lives in a tent along the Fraser River (won't tell you where exactly the full story isn't mine to share) and he looks likes shit! Last time we bumped into each other was just after he got his welfare cheque. He gave most to his daughter and then bought tobacco and shite beer.
He offered me one of his cans of Wildcat as we sat on the river bullshitting... even though its damn near the worst beer on the BC market in my opinion, that one tasted to me like one of those uppity $1000 bottles of champagne that South Vancouverites line up for. Is it the flavour?
The name?
The region?
What your friends see that you bought?
Sticker price?
Or do you honestly prefer it?
In fact, I was warned by an in house expert to ignore the recent 2012 Bordeaux release unless I was a Collector. Buddy in the know said that he could give me several "better options" than 1 $180 bottle of this stuff.
I giggled and paid my $11 for ale.
So i ramble...I'm known for it.
What do you do to reboot?
Who do you help?
Are you happy?
How may I help you?