Why does it feel like that time Dubya got in?

drumpfI hate Donald Trump. There is enough dirt on this guy, and his despicable moral compass, to think he would have no hope in hell of winning an election; let alone be the President of the USA!! And, the guy hasn’t ever been a politician!?!

Really America, what the hell are you smoking? Don’t answer that…

Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive as a Canadian who could not believe people actually voted for Stephen Harper, our right-wing conservative Prime Minister. Luckily for us, he lost this time around. Well, lucky in the short-term because the long-term implications of having a anti-science, religious semi-dictator in power running a country; is terrifying for me.

Our environment is damaged. Our reputation is damaged. Our ability to help those in need is damaged. It will take time to repair our country.

And Harper is not a fucking loonie like Trump is!

Please citizens of America, do everything in your power to fix your corrupt electoral system, and don’t vote in a fascist asshole. You just got rid of one, remember?

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Big Bob with the Big Bat

New_years_rideSo, one night (one of many), my friend Peter and I went for a gorgeous night ride in one of our favourite riding spots. The Abyss…

It was January, and recently we had been experiencing snow, so the opportunities to put mountain biking rubber down on grippy forest floor were slim and spotty depending on the weather forecast.

We went out for our weekly (sometimes twice weekly) late evening ride. Our standard, “meet at the Gate at 9”, with the night as our oyster.

The night did not disappoint. We hammered through protected and forested lush single track; with sections of pillaged clear cut and slushy, snowy lines in between. I, as usual, chasing the rear wheel of my super fit riding buddy; hoping he was going to choose a good line through the narrowly lit path I was blindly flying through just behind him.

At the end, we both rode as fast as we could down our last trail, to finish off yet another fun, and exhilarating ride.

After, we took some time at “the Gate” to catch up over the last few days. It’s like our debrief on all the stresses of the last week, and how we are handling this thing called “life”. Probably successfully considered to outsiders as male bonding time. Peter is like a brother, and our conversations together end up meaning as much as the time we spend snaking around on our favourite trails together.

While talking about law, politics, juicy new bike parts and frames, our relationships, we saw a shadowed figure approaching. He didn’t look meek. In fact, as he came closer; it was quite clear this guy was big…

And, he had a bat.

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Yup, I’m sitting here in my ‘counselling session’ and now; well, I’m about to die. Fuck.

I say hi. He replies with equal friendly gratuity.

He says, “oh, i see we have some enthusiasts!” ; while shining his flashlight back and forth between our cars and illuminating our freshly muddied bikes attached to the back of each.

We start chatting. He’s the neighbourhood ‘watchdog’. We chat about some idiot that parked his truck in the same spot as us, and proceeded to steal tools from a neighbour back in the new development on the other side of our forested trailhead. That there have been a few teen aged partyers around in the forest from time to time, and that his next door neighbour had a bunch of things stolen from his garage.

I sensed his frustration. I understood the large bat accommodating Big Bob. But at the same time, I felt at ease with Bob. He was a nice guy. One of those people we all wished we had as neighbours.  We all introduced each other, understanding that we were all innocent folk, and chatted a bit more.

Bob told us about how long he’d been in the neighbourhood, a few other things in making idle chat, and then mentioned those pesky problems his area had been facing.

He mentioned one night a few months ago, coming out in the dark with his bat and flashlight, and saw a mini-van, “with kids car seats in the back”, and a bike rack sticking out the back. He was worried. So, he called the cops. This person, possibly a mom, was out in the forest. At night. In the fucking dark. With his/her bike.

This couldn’t turn out well. What the hell would someone do that for? They may never return.

So, Bob called the cops.

Right away, I saw the connection! I drove that minivan!!!

A few months back, I had my regular bike rack break off the back of my car. As I was just in between some expenses, I used the van instead of my car to get out for my regular night ride. I had gone out for a gorgeous fall ride; and just like normal; I finished the ride with a grin on my face, and texted my sometimes-concerned with what the hell I’m about wife, I was alive and coming home.

The place where we park is a dead-end road slash cul-de-sac. I was doing a U-turn as I was leaving, and saw a local RCMP car parked doing some paperwork.

At 11 o’clock at night…??

I thought that was odd, but went on my merry way. Home to my family, and happy that I get the both of best worlds. Time to see my kids grow, time to hang out with my super supportive wife, and that special time I have hammering through the forest with only the part of trail my light can keep up with, in front of me.

I am one lucky man. Bob didn’t kill me with his bat. I have friends, family, kids, and a wife that supports my passion. And I am fortunate to experience the magic that is night riding!

Is the Internet dying?

Do you remember the good old days? The days when the internet was awesome? Un-censored, free, and enticing…

Now, we have this…

WSJ

If I want to read articles online, not only do I have to use pop-up blockers, ad-blockers, and reload java & flash applets, I also need to subscribe and pay!? The funny part about the above snippet is that it links to an article about how the web is dying, and blames “apps”…But you need to pay The Wall Street Journal $$ first before you can find out how your evil phone is killing the web…

Content is filtered, censored, and only available in certain locations. Not to mention how personalized the internet is becoming. Google & Facebook only show you what they think they want you to see. And in most cases, they know you REALLY well! During Christmas, my wife was leery about loading up her Facebook News Feed, as EVERY SINGLE TIME it fed her an ad for something she was shopping for on another site! Surprise kids, you are getting a hockey net. Facebook is shitty at keeping secrets…

You start to get paranoid. Did I search for those shoes on a site, on did I see them at a store, and Facebook knew I was at that store? In the same colour none the less?

I think it is fair to say that the glory days of the Internet are coming to an end. Retailers, Search Engines, Copyright holders; they are all looking to sell, sell, sell.

The internet started out communist (for the benefit of all), and has been taken

www.ddg.gg
http://www.ddg.gg

over by capitalism (for the benefit of a few).

Maybe the internet isn’t dying, it’s just getting creepy…

Time to create a fake name, and switch search engines?

 

My old fountain pen lives!

IMAG2674 A couple of years ago, I blogged about my trusty old fountain pen that I purchased when I first attended university in the late 80’s. (https://pakos.me/2013/06/15/i-bought-a-pen-24-years-ago/).  It has followed me around over the years through various careers, kids, and umpteen moves.

In the age of the internet, with many people discussing and worrying about the death of handwriting; it was ironic that my pen would be reborn and live again! Ya, that is probably the first time I have mentioned being reborn on this site… 😉

My blog post above must have attracted the interest of someone in the Netherlands (thank you Google…), and one day I received a message from Rachel, saying she also had an old Elysee fountain pen! She wasn’t using the nib anymore, and offered to send it to me for the cost of shipping!!

Here it is! nib

I received it a couple of months ago, and wanted to say a big Thank You to Rachel for breathing new life into my old friend. 🙂

A show before bed. Oh things have changed

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The way we consume content has changed so much over the last ten years… Continue reading “A show before bed. Oh things have changed”

The Silent Threat with the 2015 Canadian Federal Election

nomoreharperIf my Facebook News Feed was the barometer of the federal election outcome this fall, I would be able to lay my fears to rest…The NDP are “soaring” in the polls, everyone hates Stephen Harper, and it is time for a change…Except for one thing I can’t seem to shake… Continue reading “The Silent Threat with the 2015 Canadian Federal Election”

Slowly learning to be more selfish

This year, after taking some time off to manage my life better (or more accurately manage it at all) , I have decided to focus a bit more on me.
The start came from a very unexpected and generous gesture from an anonymous friend…

Back in the spring, I was struggling to afford to fix my mountain bike. I had really screwed it up by ripping off my drivetrain. The $200 repair bill was too much to rescue my best inanimate friend from its bike shop prison.

My favourite bike shop wasn’t the issue. They have always taken such good care of me, and go the extra mile to save me money with my biking addiction.

The problem was cash flow, as is always the case with a single income and a large blended family.

I was avoiding calling the shop out of embarrassment. When, after 3 weeks, Jim from Experience Cycling called about my bike, I started to apologize for taking so long to pay. He stopped me mid sentence to say it had all been taken care of!?! A friend had gone into the shop and paid my bill! Mind blown…

It was like I had won the lottery! Except better. It wasn’t luck that got my bike out of the shop. It was a friend. A caring friend that knows me well enough to recognize how important mountain biking is for my sanity! I cried. Yes, it meant that much to me.

It has felt like a turning point in my life. I have been quite down over the past year, and here was a moment where a caring person was essentially paying to get me back onto my bike. Since that day, I haven’t gone more than a few days or nights without getting out for a ride.

I have been out at least twice a week for the last few months. I’ve lost over 20 pounds, and felt the fittest I’ve been in 5 or more years!

It does come with some guilt though. There are only so many hours in the day, and only so much energy I have to do all I need to do in the day. And this is what I thought I would blog about today, after over a year being on hiatus from blogging. I struggle with learning to be selfish, to say no, to accept criticism, to speak up, or to put myself higher on the priority list; for my own mental and physical health.

I also have to set priorities for my activities. Blogging has suffered. So has the time to sit down and read, go out with friends or have a date with my wife.

I think writing has a place in my busy life. I hope to be back soon with another post! 🙂