Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stressed out

One thing pisses me off about my family is the way they can't deal with things. Everything has to be a big drama.

Went to Mount Washington Ski resort for a spot of snow tube fun which turned out to be anything but; Wife and Stepdaughters couldn't do a thing for themselves without making an unnecessary fuss. They assaulted my ears with a litany of complaints. All they could do was complain about the cold, about the queues. They really annoy me. All they can do is whine. I don't get to choose where and when I go. I thought I could deal with it. Not so.

Then when I get home, Wife asked me a question about accumulators which Mother in Law was rambing on about.
"What do you mean by accumulator? A bet?" I asked. It took me five long minutes to prize out of them what they were on about. Wife had got stressed and was taking it out on my hide, and even when I gave her the correct answer (An accumulator is a battery) she was still in a strop with me. Fuck a duck.

Half an hour later my pulse is hammering around 120 and doesn't seem to want to stop. This echoes symptoms I had thirteen years ago when my job at the time sent me screaming up the wall. Over these past two months I've been repeatedly backed into a corner with no way out. No recourse, and my own good nature won't let me hit back.

I am rapidly falling out of love with my family. No money, no help, no one to talk to. Well if the old ticker gives out and I die, that will get me out of it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I drive therefore I am

Day trip out to Victoria today with a vanful of five females bent on shopping. Age range mid 80's to late teens. Driver, age 50, male. State of mind; sarcastic, irascible and tiring rapidly. Weather conditions deteriorating. Navigation skills of co-pilot negligible.

The run down from Nanaimo was a bit damp and dreary. There was noticable sleet hitting the windscreen until we cleared the Malahat. By the time we arrived in Victoria, it was dry but as grey as an English summer day.

The next four hours were punishment detail, being taken from one clothes store after another. On the bright side, I did get a brand new leather car coat out of the trip which cost CDN$225, marked down from CDN$680.

One thing that puzzles me about my little clan; how on earth do they find so much to bicker about? It's like English winter drizzle, it gets worse, then it slacks off, but it never stops altogether. Even when everything is laid on to perfection, all they can do is whine at each other (And me). Home is set in minor piece of British Columbian paradise. All in whinge mode. DVD's are exactly the ones they wanted to see. Continuous state of discord. What is wrong with these people? Wife is like a Tiger bumping the bars of a cage, Stepdaughters are as querulous as a troop of chimpanzees, mother in law playing the victim card at every juncture like it was some kind of trump for all life's problems, sister in law as bad as wife. Me keeping my head down and wishing for a flak jacket and kevlar helmet.

This isn't the family Christmas I signed up for. I think the coat was the consolation prize.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Real men cook

Stormy day outside, with a gale pushing the tide up the narrows. There are whitecaps out in the straits and next time I go walking in the woods I expect to see trees down.

Damn it all I feel tired. I'm stone cold sober and have been for three days. Not a drop has touched my lips.

Sobriety? At Christmas? WTF is wrong with me? The answer is I'm driving again today as it is both Christmas day and Wife's birthday. We have to visit sister in law as we did last night, which is proving a little stressful.

I'd like to give up this Christmas lark as, being the cook of the household, I seem to end up at everybody else's beck and call. The mirror is doing me near favours either, I have bags under my eyes that were not designed by Louis Vitton. I seem to have aged twenty years in less than a week. Not a happy state of affairs.

Was I looking forward to this? Jesus H Christ I'm bloody exhausted. My sleep patterns are more disturbed than a psychopathic schizophrenic on amphetamines. I'd like to find out if the drugs were working, but nothing seems to help. I need to work solid for a few days with no interruptions to kick my system back into it's usual hyperactive groove.

At the moment I'm cooking Christmas lunch. Dessert is a complete experiment because youngest whined about pre prepared pudding. A sort of apple and batter slice with maple vanilla ice cream. Real men can cook, but I'd really like to have some privacy for a while. Just to work. Failing that, a bullet in the brain might be nice.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Who am I?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I love these quizzes. Apparently I have a similar psychological profile to this character. Now all I have to do is start a war, shag an alien hybrid, get killed, then come back to life again. I'd forgotten how much better Babylon 5 was than Star Trek. Better characters, less preachy, better dialogue, broader story arc and all that jazz. One day I hope to rival J Michael Straczynsky's epic.

Hi ho. The festive season is upon us, and I'm getting absolutely no work done at all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Night and Day out

Today has been spent ferrying Wife, Mother in Law, and two Stepdaughters around. We ran into snow on the Parkway heading up to Woodgrove Mall, and I had a few nervous moments on the slush, made worse by four back seat drivers as I felt the back wheels twitch and skitter on compacted snow. Despite that, I kept the old Ford under control and we got to where we were going safely. Went home and walked the dog, allowing myself an hours peace and quiet before heading back up to the Mall to pick up my passengers. By noon the snowploughs and traffic had cleared all the roads and it was a much easier journey.

Last night was better. I attended my first ever Canadian Ice Hockey game between the Nanaimo Clippers, and the Victoria Grizzlies. My main impression of the game is that of speed and testosterone. The Fast and furious, with plenty of speed, because ice hockey as a game is incredibly fast. The action happens at a 'blink and you've missed it' pace, and those guys are fast, in both forwards and reverse gear. As for furious, players are regularly sent off for trying to turn each others lights out, rather like these guys pictured below.Picture 1 was taken when two of them got into a barney over a foul.
Picture 2 is when the fight was properly underway.
Picture 3 is where the Umpire and Linesman rugby tackled the combatants to the ground as their scrap was holding up play. None of this tap on the ankle and dive to the ground screaming, like 'professional' Football (Soccer) players. These guys take their lumps and that's that. I'm impressed. I think I shall be going again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More bad news folks

I've been browsing around various environmental web sites and came across this one, The Climate Skeptic which I think I'll post a link to for my own convenience. Whoever writes this stuff definitely knows what he's talking about as he is quite good at debunking all the horror stories in the mainstream news.

Where this all comes to is that the 'science' of the global warming lobby appears to be more a 'political' science which owes more to the writings of Nicolo Macchiavelli than physical science, which is the practice of structured experiment, argument and discourse to establish incontrovertible fact, or best of all, continued tenure at the University of your choice.

The recent Bali conference on 'Climate change' or 'politicians jolly' seems to have come up with the assertion that unless those naughty Westerners (Specifically the citizens of the USA and Western Europe) stop using so much of the earths resources, we will all drown when the seas rise, burn when the ozone layer is depleted, and all those cute cuddly Polar Bears, who are one of the few animals that will actively hunt humans, will all die. They tell us that the Antarctic ice is shrinking (Overall in Northern Winters this is not true), that the Arctic ice is shrinking (Also not true, the ice is mostly thickening), and that the sea levels in the Pacific are threatening to inundate the Islands of Tuvalu (Not true either).

Methinks if these politicians really cared as they say they do about the world and it's climatic variations, then all 15000 of them should have stayed home and done it all via video conferencing links, thus not polluting the air of our planet with quite so many extra unnecessary flights. Me, I'm still persuaded that the variations are primarily 'natural' (Solar variation, orbital tilt, orbital variations, magnetosphere variation, cyclic nature of climate, volcanic activity, variable nature of global climate) and that the human influence on Earth's natural processes is a very thin scum on this particular pond. You only have to look at Earth's chronology to accept this rough proof. After all, we're a fairly new species, having only been around in our current form for less than half a million years.

Whilst we should, as a matter of principle, try to be as clean and non wasteful as possible so as not to spoil the earth we live upon; I think the huge guilt trip that certain parties are trying to lay upon the Western Nations is a bit of a con. Don't know what the 'sting' is, but I've been around a while and think I can smell a snow job like the one Al Gore and his fellow travellers are trying to pull. I think he still considers that he should have been President of the USA and not George Bush, so this is how he gets even. In the meantime we all get shafted.

For my own part, I live fairly frugally, recycle as a matter of habit, have few possessions to lug around, and wear the Earth lightly. It's just how I was brought up. I do this in the sure and certain knowledge that the universe is vast and hostile to my continued existence, because conditions for my well being only exist in a relatively thin layer of the biosphere surrounding this planet. I also think (Being a practising personal environmentalist) that the 'Greenies' are lying / incorrect / fatally deluded about the effect we have on the climate.

Adopting the Kyoto protocols won't make a spit of difference either. The climate will 'change' no matter what we do. The climate has always changed, you only have to look at the fossil record to see that. Our arrogance is in the ego trip of asserting that it has all that much to do with us. The day mankind vanishes from this planet, all trace of us will be gone inside of a few millennia.

That's enough for now. Back to the MSS.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wet and wild

Bit of a breezy day today out in the Straits and the Narrows. Lots of whitecaps being driven north by the wind. Plenty of sediment being stirred up, and a fair few logs bobbing around. Not a day to be trying to get anywhere fast on the water. Not if you wanted to keep your hull in one piece. Some of those logs weigh over two tons.
Took Dog for a hike in the woods while Wife got our place ready for our two (and Mother in law) to visit from the UK. While crossing Canada we heard lots about the damage done by various beetles to trees, noting that it was an offence to take untreated logs or bark from province to province. Took this photo to show what the larva of these nasty little so and so's have don to the local tree population. On this particular specimen they've chomped rather decorative channels through the inner bark and killed the tree in the process. It's not the only one by any manner of means, within twenty paces of entering this particular patch of woodland I could see at least four or five similarly damaged trees.

Hopefully the recent frosts and snowfalls will cull the culprits so the pest populations won't be as large next year. The forecast is for snow by the weekend, which our kids are looking forward to. Even if it means a hike to Mount Washington to go 'Snow Tubing' which sounds like fun.

Have been busy over the past few days going to various functions and friends houses, so the Novel MSS has been lagging behing schedule a little. Got to work out a game plan for my new job too. There's a lot to be done, and only three of us to make a dent in the tasks at hand. I know there are quite a few challenges to be faced, but I reckon I can crack it if I put my head down and graft.

I haven't looked forward to Christmas and New Year like this since I was a boy. God bless Canada.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I see Eagles

Dropped Wife off to do her voluntary work, did the recycling and returned a few books to the Library before returning to walk Dog. Landladies gardening chap was busy chopping back the apple tree that has left so much fodder for the local Deer population. Stopped to pass a word or two in greeting and as I looked up saw one of the local Eagles lazily swoop down to the top of a precariously leaning Douglas Fir upslope from the waters edge.

"You know, it still knocks me out to see that." I remarked.
"Oh yeah, the Eagles, they're back again, eh?"
"Yeah, where I come from all you hear is sirens all hours of the day and night. This place just bowls me over."
"Great, isn't it?" He grinned back.
"Yes." Another two of the big birds, probably it's mate, wheeled around unconcerned in the sky while a pair of crows challedged it's casual mastery.

Not much of a day news wise, but after yesterday, I'm feeling pretty relaxed, and for a change have very few earthly cares. My home country seems to be sliding downhill rapidly from a socio-economic point of view. That no longer bothers me overmuch. The finger waggers and critics have won and much good may it do them. To quote a couple of people I've come across recently; "England isn't England any more."

Glad I'm out of there.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Red letter day

Today has been a day and a half. Today we got notice from our Solicitors that the buyers of our house in the UK have exchanged contracts. Today I got word from the Immigration people that the job I have been offered is worth a work permit and that they do not need a HRSDC Market opinion on the job. Today I got my job offer confirmed. All I need now is for a publisher to tell me they want my latest manuscript to publish as a book. Although I do not mind if I get another rejection letter.

This, despite the rain, has been a very good day for me. I love Canada.

The news from the UK isn't good. The Police are threatening to go on strike, the Western economies look like they are in for a banking meltdown. The current Prime Monster of the UK has just signed away their national sovereignty. Christ knows what else is going to go pear shaped over there. I just thank the Lord I'm over here.

I still think my good news is all too good to be true. Maybe God has decided that it's my turn to have a really great day. If that truly is the case, then thank you God. Thnak you. I really mean that.

Wife loves me, my kids think I'm an okay sort of guy, Dog loves me, my cup runneth over. Of such things is true happiness constructed.

Now watch some bastard try to rain on my parade.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More bad news

I'm really going to give up reading the on line UK Newspapers. If you believe all you read, then the country I was born in is going to hell in a handbasket like a greased pig on glass. The Police, Teachers and everyone else have their hands tied by a politicised bureaucracy, the armed forces are under resourced, the economy appear to be in danger of going bust, and the political masters are as corrupt a bunch of cheeseparing incompetants as it is possible to be.

I have a book to write. All this stuff is distracting and very, very disturbing. To think I have to go back to that mess for a week in January is somewhat disturbing.

Sent off the first three chapters of MSS to UK publishers yesterday while I go and poke a metaphorical stick at the story and see if I can't ginger it up a bit. Maybe I've been working on it too long and I'm getting bored, however, the opening chapter is truly dramatic and every time I start reading it, I keep on needing to finish off going through the whole 100,000 words, so perhaps it's just me. Maybe one of the major publishing houses will take it up if they find it as compelling. Who knows?

Wife is off doing her midweek voluntary stuff. I have to get back in the groove. Must say this 'getting it off your chest' style of writing lets me unload and frees up the logjams in my head. Back to work.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Odd noises

Sitting down and hitting the keyboard with a vengeance this morning when I was disturbed by a muffled tapping noise. Ignored the incessant tapping until it annoyed, then wandered out of the office to see what Wife and Dog were up to and see if I could get them to stop. The moment the office door closed behind me, the noise disappeared. Mildly perplexed, I went back in and sat down. There was that wretched noise again.

Looked around. The noise wasn't coming from inside, it was just outside the window. Took the camera with me to record whatever fault there was with the guttering of the apartment, only to find the Woodpecker as pictured above feeding off the bark of the old apple tree outside the back of our apartment.

Haven't a clue what species it is. I think a trip to the library is in order to see what the local species are.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Front Window

Another weekend, another fall of snow. This is the view that greeted me when I got up this morning. Wife giggled with delight when I gave her morning tea and biscuits. She says it reminds her of Quebec and Ontario when she was a little girl.

This isn't the mood of grey and miserable English Decembers. This is something else.

The kids are going to love this when they get here at Christmas. Dog likes it too.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Curses foiled again

Gorgeously sunny today, though a little chilly. Definitely saw Orca's out in the Narrows this morning. Too far away to take a photo, even on full zoom, but it looked like there were two or maybe three of them zipping around after something piscine and tasty down towards Round Island.

Lots of tell tale fin wakes and blowing. Boy can those critters shift! There was a big Whale watching boat shadowing them, but that was well over a mile away when I dashed out of the house with Dog drushing excitedly around, trying to trip me up, silly mutt.

Have done the Christmas socialising at our respective voluntary venues. Got an e-mail about the potential job with a load of attachments that I have to read and digest. All makes work for the working man to do as they say in 1960's comedy songs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A different kind of fishing

Looks like no fishing until at least Sunday. My favoured perches are still crammed with log debris, and there's way too much floating in the channel to cast over or around, so without hiking a mile through the woods to find another good perch, I'm going to have to wait for conditions to improve, and the tides to settle the debris out of the way. It's just a blasted nuisance.

My good news is that there may be a job in the offing. Not one that pays awfully well, but still enough to cover a few bills like heat, light, Internet, and phones. Not sure of the ins and outs, but my extended skill set might just be a very good fit for what these people want. That and the book, which is fairly rocketing along at present.

Something has freed up between my ears recently and I'm finding it much easier to think clearly. Time to start preparing samples for prospective publishers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Not with this wind or this tide

What with all the weather changes over the past few days, my cherished ambition of spending a day standing on my rocks with my rod in hand has had to go begging. Instead I've found myself writing, running errands and shopping.

Took a hike down to a neighbours vantage point late morning and looked down. The southerly winds and tides have driven a lot of log boom debris into the little corner I'd planned to daydream a day away on. I could have chanced it of course, but some of those logs bobbing and rolling happily away in the surf weigh over a ton, and would do my delicate pallid flesh no good whatsoever if I took a tumble. Wife does not look good in black, and Dog might not be so pleased either, so today I'm back at the keyboard and drinking lots of tea while hammering my story out on the anvils of narrative. At least that seems to be going well.

Up the road are a crew from BC Hydro, BC's main electricity suppliers, busily clearing a tree away that was in danger of coming down and taking some of the local power lines with it. They have been merrily serenading us with a melody of chainsaw and wood chipper since eight, although by the sound of things they're packing up and getting ready to find other nadirs.

Tomorrow I have an important transatlantic phone call to make and a 'do' to attend. Wife is out and I shall be shuttling back and forth to Nanaimo, which will rather set the scenario's for the next couple of days. I will make time to think a few things through, so I shall not be spending all of my day at others behest.

Have just finished 'Farnhams Freehold' by Robert A Heinlein. One of his books that takes a sideswipe at the issues of race relations and power structures of society. Some of the physics was a bit space opera, but nonetheless a good, generally unchallenging but enjoyable read.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Raining again

There's a saying on the Island, "If you don't like the weather - go indoors and wait five minutes." Certainly true of this weekend. If it isn't snowing then the sun comes out, then it buckets down with rain (Like this morning). Lots of wind and rain coming in from the south and west. Fishing not possible as the tides are sweeping over my favourite perch at the waters edge. Have elected to be chicken today and sit indoors listening to the rush of the tide through the narrows. That and read up on fishing in these waters.

Lay awake in bed last night listening to the rain on the skylight with a quiet smile on my face while thinking about the latest turn in my current manuscripts narrative. Word count is something like 2000 a day, and despite my personal misgivings it reads well and has a certain tide in the story that pushes things along nicely.

Wife has made me promise not to get any more Grishams as she is developing my habit of devouring a whole book in a day. Not having a TV helps of course. We have debated having one with a DVD player, but tell you the truth I'm not really interested. Book first, other stuff later. TV is such a leech on one's leisure time.

Have just noticed that someone has left a comment on yesterday's diary entry. I shan't read it. I'm sure it's someone disagreeing with what I wrote about all this global warming panic and at present I'm just not interested in debating the issue. I've got other things I want to do. Life, as the saying goes, is too short.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Global warming - my arse!

I'm quite amused with all the nonsense talked about 'Climate Change' and 'Global Warming'. If those naughty Americans don't stop driving their SUV's it will be the heat death of us all.

Well if the last twenty four hours are anything to go by then the panics all just got turned on their head and the climate has gone 'business as usual' and here on Vancouver Island and all points east is snow, snow, snow.

Dog loves it and has just whinged to go out and chase snowflakes, despite a good play in the white stuff this morning. Oh well, what the hell, I'll just have to towel the dumb mutt off when he finally wants to come in.

Yes, Deer

Got woken up in the early hours by two hinds outside our bedroom window. Wife is always gobsmacked about there only being a thickness of plasterboard, rockwool and timber cladding between her and the local wildlife. The wildlife is only concerned about getting enough to eat. I would like it better if they ate a little more quietly. Especially at four in the morning.

Lots of Deer tracks all over the place. I would have taken a picture and posted it, but Dog has elected to run all over the Deer tracks, sniffing madly at these new scents, so no pictures worth taking. Still snowbound, but the actual snowfall has stopped, and a slow thaw is in progress.

The novel progresses in fits and starts. The characters feel solid and do change as humans do when pressured by circumstance. I reckon it's going to be spring before I have anything worth submitting to a publisher. As for my other blogs, I've shut them down because they get in the way of the novel and it's so easy to get sidetracked and distracted from my main focus. Besides, the writing style is very different, and mucks up what I'm trying to do.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More snow

This photo was taken four hours after the first one posted earlier today. There's about seven centimetres on the ground as opposed to the one and a bit around 12:30. Wife took photo of me and dog after we went out and had a snowball fight in the driveway like a couple of kids larking about. Neither of us can throw for toffee, and so we came back in mostly unscathed but slightly out of breath. Sent photo's via e-mail to kids with the tag line "It's Snowing!"

Ferry services and airport out of and into Nanaimo are all shut down, and there's an RCMP roads warning out. Around two o'clock you were only allowed on to the main Trans Canada highway to Victoria if you had a 4x4 or snow chains.

At the bottom of our drive were a set of tyre marks where a neighbour from further round the road had begun to drive towards town, only to look at the way the snow was building up and pull a U turn and go home. Sounds like a plan to me. I've no intention to go out this weekend.

Don't know what's happening over on the mainland, but we're snug and cosy over here.

Weather forecast is for more snow turning to rain in the early hours of Monday morning. Well, we'll believe that when we see it.

Snowing again

"Stay home." Was the advice one of the guys I do occasional voluntary work with gave me yesterday when we were talking about snow and driving. Today at 12:30 Pacific time I took the above picture from my front window.

Looks as though it's set in for the day. The snow warnings are out, so I've elected not to be, ergo no fishing. Tea is brewed. We have cookies. Just finished 'Dreamcatcher' by Stephen King. I'm developing a serious Grisham and King Addiction, but that could be because they are so good at what they do. Time for a mug of tea and another book then.