Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin,

Maybe it has to do with my brothers recent birthday (26! Way to go bro bro!) or perhaps my impending one (27 here I come), or my current plentitude of time, but I've been reading through my old notebooks/journals/thingymabobbers. I use those little black and red notebooks you can get at the pharmacy.

My first BRJ (Black Red Journal) spans 2003-2005. From just after finishing CBC, through till the end of my time working for CMU's Outtatown program. I went from 23 in Abbotsford through Western Canada, South Africa, and Guatemala. Tonnes of new friends and intense times and challenges.

The second goes from June 5, 2005 until the end of May 2006 when I left my job at LCBI in Saskatchewan and headed back to camp. Going from the summer in Hope when I thought I'd be going to Seattle in the fall (which didn't happen), ending up a volunteer firefighter in Yale, wintering at camp, and spending 3 months in Sk.

The distances I've covered in that time are stunning. Physically, mentally, emotionally, metaphysically, I've crossed a lot of terrain. And the books contain some of that. At times I cringe inwardly as I read some of the things I've written. At times I want to destroy the book, rip out pages, and pretend they never existed. But I don't. My struggles with self, with my concept of God, with my relationship with girls, with life, all stare back at me and sometimes I do feel slightly embarassed as I read. Yet it is all part of who I am and who I am becoming. All of the things I wrote were true to the time and view point I held when I wrote it. And it's of worth to keep and look back... even though there are some classy lines in there. Now they bring a chuckle. Then they were penned with frustration and fears, trials and tears. You bet I'll keep them. After all that pain and struggle at least I've got something to look back on.

And then there's all the other kinds of memories in there. Songs written, stories mentioned, memories recorded, quotes preserved, doodles drawn, poems penned. During those transient periods those little black/red journals have been one of the few things recording my wanderings. One of the few things that have stayed with me during my journeys other than my trusty backpack.

So perhaps I'll start a series now... going back in time... some moments from my little black/red journals.

....To Be Continued....

oh and lets post a picture for fun shall we? Sticking with the back in time theme.. here's a classy picture from my time at Camp Kawkawa with the Africa Outtatown team. Good old James and I. Gotta love his 'stache and burns. Oh James. You rock!

click on the pic if you want to see it bigger

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Martin

So who is Martin? I'll get there.

Incase you've been living under a rock I'll inform you that it's snowed a bit today. It was also the last day of my Intro to Massage weekend course. So when it came time for lunch and people looked outside saying "but it's snowing.... we're not going out there" I boldy proclaimed that I was in fact going to Wendy's for lunch (baked potato and bowl of chili each $1.59) and that those who wished could follow. An expedition was soon formed and with the girls (4 guys, 26 girls in the class) deciding to use me as a wind shield we started the epic 2 block journey. We arrived hungry and snow covered. We ordered. We received. We ate. Then we headed back towards the college. As we were walking, dodging snow, getting slush splashed as trucks drove by, a guy was walking the other way, towards us. He was dressed fairly poorly. When he passed by I could smell the alcohol. I wondered and hoped he had a warm place to stay. As he walked by he proclaimed "The biggest guy gets the big snow flake" and proceeded to make a snowball which was lobbed in my direction. Well the others fled but I stood my ground and we gently tossed snow in the air at each other for about a minute. Then he came up and he told me that he danced for the snow this morning. His name is Martin. It's his birthday and he wanted snow for his birthday so he did a snow dance this morning. He had a huge grin and was very excited. I introduced myself, we shook hands, we laughed and made some comments on the weather, and we walked our ways. Me back to my class and him down the street looking for someone else to pelt with birthday snowballs during this birthday snowstorm.

So sure there are lots of unhappy people out there. Of course there are often unhappy people out there. And you can meet them and see them all over the place. It's easy to gripe and complain, to bitch and moan. But I think it's better to remember other aspects as well. Like the joy today's snow brought to Martin on his birthday, and his willingness to share that joy with anyone else. I know it made me smile.

Oh and if you were wondering I passed the Intro Massage weekend course. I can now do a decent (so my partner said) full body relaxtion massage on a massage table, with proper draping techniques, and an awareness of some of the main principles at work. Hah! Those who mocked my hands (you know who you are.......) may now know that the instructor said I had really good hands for doing massage techniques. Yeah. So ptttthhhbt. (That's the sound Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes" fame would make when he stuck out his tongue).

ps Ok.. really seriously bedtime now.
pps Oh yeah and I'm still unemployed.. but have learned some massage skills.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More Starbucks thoughts.. and a trip to the beach

Nov 21st

The sunlight is fighting its way through the clouds again. The few trees furtively attempting to cover their seasonal nakedness are made more noticeable by the beams drawing attention to the few bedraggled leaves hanging off of their skeletal frames.

A crow perched on the power line but now it is gone.

The wind pulls at the remaining leaves with a lover's gentle caress. The breeze whisperingly invites the foliage to descend at gravity's call.

Three crows fly overhead, and away, upon that same breeze.

The wind now increases it's effort and gustily buffets the remaining few that still hold on.

Perhaps the tree, not unlike a balding man with comb-over, is not comfortable with the thought of loss. Perhaps it is living in a deluded state, thinking that the seasons will not go on, or that it will not be lovely without it's leaves. Perhaps the tree needs a hug. And to realize that beauty is more than leaves.

A crow drops out of sight in front of the window, to perhaps scrounge for crumbs. Passing people give it cause to fly to the road. A passing car gives it cause to fly to the street sign on the corner. The white droppings on the stop sign evidence that the crows commonly perch on the corner of Pendergast and Cock.

Later on Nov.21st

Twelve crows perch, fly, watch and stare. Blue sky appears in the distance. A crow calls. A crow struts. Two crows walk the planter with petunias. A man attempting to parallel park his Nissan Sport Wagon succeeds in backing up onto the curb as a blonde lady with a black handbag in a red top strides by with purpose and no time to spare for crow observations. One crow on one power line, one on another. And sparrows flit by in the blink of an eye doing tight formation maneuvers. Bundled up black jacket and baggy blue jeans on a bearded man as he huddlingly hastens along. The wind wiggles the few leaves left on the tree that grows above the close cropped bamboo The bamboo that remains green. An inattentive man with a pony tail, a green ford truck, and a matching canopy, reverses rapidly towards an accident but it is averted by another's attentive awareness and response. Did the inattentive man notice? I don't know. He's gone now, left when I wasn't looking. Blue sky gone a heavy rain has started. It isn't a thick rain now, but rather a heavy rain with large drops. Upon encountering the puddle across the way in back of the Pic A Flic by the blue BFI dumpster the heavy drops raise up many rounded bubbles. Monuments to the raindrop's journey from above and the ending of it's individuality. A crow on a sign. A crow in the tree. A crow leaves the planter to walk down the sidewalk. Two crows by the dumpster. Three in the planter moving around leaves. The rain has decreased in size but increased in intensity. A turquoise rain jacket, blue backpack, and lip ring, head towards the intersection. I wonder if you had a lip ring in long enough if you could take it out and shoot water out the hole like a water gun?

Nov 22nd

Over the crashing of the waves a helicopter can be heard. It descends out of sight behind the Dive Centre Cafe that rests at the foot of the Ogden Point breakwater. Soon I will walk out that breakwater. But not yet. Instead I stand perched atop a retaining wall as waves crash and run by my feet. The rise and fall, the occasional surge and splash accompanying this high tide that liberates several large pieces of driftwood and floats them out on their journey. Thirty feet in front of me the waves are rolling a log over and over. It looks like a fir log that has seen it's share of adventure and abuse. The pounding this log has received leaves hairlike pieces of wood sticking out in many directions. It has also been burned in three spots.

Four giant seals emerge from the water. The sunlight gleams off of their black neoprene skin. They remove their neon yellow flippers and oxygen tanks, and then walking to the foot of the breakwater, descend out of sight. Still the waves continue to pummel, churn, and impact the wall at my feet, then direct themselves to my right where a twisted and tangled ball of bull kelp awaits. The waves keep coming but it is time for me to go.


Relocated I sit on the rocks at the foot of the breakwater. The gulls cry at me from their rock. Be it greeting or warning I know not. In either case I still enjoy the sound. Wings furled and feathers puffed up, they stand on their splayed webbed feet. One preening itself with it's beak. The other beak parked behind a wing for warmth. Or maybe it's shy and self-conscious? Or attempting to be alluring? My money's on warmth. Four pidgeons have landed around me. A nervous man could be intimidated by this sudden shift in numbers. Zero pidgeons to Four in the blink of an eye. But in another blink they are gone. They knew they had met their better in me. Across the straight a sunlit line of clouds glows in front of the snow capped, cloud shrouded, peaks. And a Canadian Naval boat cruises through view. The sun goes behind a cloud and I notice the chilliness. Time to move again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jordanic Ramblings from Starbucks Visits

There are 2 here. One from Nov 9th, and one from the 12th. The first one is kinda conceptual with description at the end. The Second one is more my observations on what I saw around me. If you're looking for a lighter read I recommend the second. Not that the first read is particularly heavy.

(Nov 9)

I'm sitting in the Starbucks in Cook St. Village. There is an amazing diversity of people in here: age difference, income difference, style difference. There are people in a hurry, and people who are taking their time. For some people this place is a pit-stop; for others a destination.

Many standards and rules are externally taught and fought to be maintained. They are not natural realities but alien ones. Constructs created to assist but once the creators forget their role in creation the creation itself controls.

Realizing this, moving forward, is a part of the learning and discerning that is the progression of living.

External standards of beauty presented and imposed by culture, are taken and embraced by populace. What is beauty really? It is difference. It is diversity. But it is more.

Beauty is, and we are blessed that looking see.

Beauty is all around. In the growth, death, and rebirth. In cycles. In the complexity of life, and the simplicity. There is beauty in the alpine meadow, vibrantly aflame with vast tumultuous waves of wild flowers, sparse stands of spruce sentinels green with stubby short branches, and grouse making funny grouse sounds in the bush. There is beauty in the muddy, slimy, odorous fen, alive with vast numbers and kinds of organisms constantly at work in the processes of decomposition, growth, life change, beauty. The diversity, beauty, and colours, present when the rain falls and out forth burst funky fragile friendly fungi. The birds that flicker and fly about, consuming the numerous insects and fruits of that festerous fen, overlap and entwine in the complicated rhythm of survival. Death that life may live.

(Nov 12)

I'm sitting outside, under an awning, in a chair, while a steady light rain falls to the ground, that which surrounds Starbucks.

Across the Cook Street divide lies an alternative coffee shop. The Mocha House. Their outside patio is larger, more permanent, and provides great protection from the elements.

A little bird, followed promptly by more little birds, flys to the ground near my feet. Now they roam and graze like so many little bison; with wings.

A little old lady walks by, umbrella in hand. Grasped tightly in the other are a series of boxes, 3?, and she attempts to protect all under the inadequate protection from the rain alighting down on high. Why? Because even though perfection will not be attained she and her charge will arrive home drier than otherwise. So it is a success.

We've now left the open noise and traffic's whir for the cloistered cacophony of voices and dishes, chair scrapes and spoon stirs, that surround and immerse inside. From the one corner a wheeze becomes a laugh which transitions into a cough. The rainy season has come and the colds, runny noses, and seasonal assorted fluids, are not enough to dampen spirits. Of course we're less than a month in. The veterans of this west coast life are tempered and prepared for what will come with the wisdom and experience of years. Whoa to the poor people who will fight, complain, and attempt to change the natural and necessary by railing against the Sky Gods. Their prayers, though fervent, may they be unanswered.

A lady walks by hand in hand with a gentleman. This is cute. Is is nice. However the first thing noticed in this distinguishing looking couple is the lady's wet coast flair; a bright neon orange rain poncho. Both the poncho and the pair bring some radiant brightness to the street, contrasted against the subdued gray of above and the victorious light that, having won it's way through the clouds, dimly illuminates that which surrounds Starbucks.

Across the street the neon red/orange and blue open sign proudly proclaims the status of the Cook Street Village Wine Works. Inc.

Meanwhile some intrepid puckish sort of individual, having taken their wit and will and combined them with a dash of humour and what appears to be a jiffy marker, has altered the second "o" on the Cook Street sign marking the corner intersection of Pendergast Street and Cook Street.

Here ends my description of that which surrounds Starbucks. Now found at the intersection of Pendergast Street and Cock Street.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Multi-Cultural Meals and More.. plus more pictures of me found on the internet

So.. Multicultural meals? Oh yeah. Yesterday for lunch (after visiting costco) we went to a chinese place for food. It was good. Raymond's.

Then tonight we went for dinner to The Blue Nile which served Ethiopian food. I love Ethiopian food, as well as eating with the bread. Two thumbs up.

Speaking of Costco... yesterday was a very special day for me. 3 new pairs of socks and 3 new pairs of underwear have now entered the rotation. Oh Prodige, girding men's loins all over for quite awhile now. Seriously.. we did a spontaneous camp poll and everyone there was wearing prodige. Oh how Costco and Prodige have teamed up to corner the underwear market.

I've recently joined Facebook ( at ) and have thusly unearthed more pictures of me that I didn't know existed. Here is one that is very special to me. Very near and dear. It's from the Halloween of 04 when we went trick or treating as we drove from Vernon (I think) to Alberta and stopped in Golden (I think) for some Trick or Treating it up. My co-worker Ben (The Butterfly) was in charge of getting my costume at VV (Value Village). I'm not sure what I'm sposed to be exactly but it was really cold there (below zero... maybe -5) and I wasn't wearing any pants. Don't worry though. The picture is SFW (Safe For Work). Oh and Jesus (Chad) went all out with the authenticity. Not only is that his real kick butt beard. But if you look closely in the basket, around the candy, you'll seem some fish and bread that we bought at Safeway. Eric (Humpty Dumpty) was worried that he wouldn't have a costume at all, and thought it didn't work out that well, but I thought that his costume was one of the best. I love his use of fabric to tie the top to his head and fashion suspenders to keep on the bottom. All in all.. we were one very festive group. I wasn't about to use my bambi pillow case so I got a plastic bag from the local Overweightea (however you spell it....).

Maybe I'm a hairy Oma or something. I think it was, at one point, a night gown. I was wearing some bling.

Anyhoo... I leave you with someone trying to modify one of the greatest quotes of all time. (Sneaky sneaky.. can't get by me).

"If you're not stretching your fascia, your not really stretching."
-Brian Dawkins 2005 Super Bowl and Pro Bowl Safety, Philidelphia Eagles

He's good.. but he's no Ian Brown.. who well before 2005 coined this beauty.

"If you're not thinking foodsafe, you're just not thinking."
-Ian Brown, Man of Wisdom and Pithyness

So Mr.Super Pro Bowl.. better luck next time. (And thanks for the tip.. everyone.. remember to stretch your fascia too when stretching. Seriously.)

Oh and BTW (By The Way) I'm reading a book on stretching. And also using more acronyms because I'm playing WoW (World of Warcraft) with Kendall (Former Outtatown Africa student/current friend from Saskatchewan.. though he's in Florida at the moment)

Ok and one more picture for the road. This one was found on the interweb and I'm not wearing a dress! I am fully clothed! Yes there are pictures like that of me out there also. B-Rent and I pulled a little swap-a-rooney. In this picture he's wearing my old hat and jacket.. and I'm wearing his!! Oh the zanyness! And if you're wondering if we're at the Winnipeg Zoo? You'd be right!

He's even wearing my watch. It's the little details that bring authenticity. I think I was attempting my "I'm very unenthused" face. In fact I was being Brent and he was being me. It's eerie isn't it?

Well all this fun and excitement has me exhausted. Time for a nap. Ciao!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

To My Buddy Jason B in the States

Jason is no longer with us as his network was changed the other day and now he can no longer access blogs or other personal webpages. Alas poor Jason. I knew thee well.
Thus today's post is dedicated to his plight.

Highlights from yesterday include....
Seeing a hawk flying 40-50 ft above me... circling.. menacingly... as if I were soon to become carrion. I think it's gone now though. So I can leave the house.

Seeing 3 people I know on the news. In the section on global TV about the flooding in Hope and rising river heights. Here's a compilation photo I've made to commemorate that splendid occasion.

(I don't know if the picture appears black to you. It does to me. But when I clicked on it it opened in all of it's glory. And in the first picture.. I know the guy on the left.. not beard guy.) (Oh and I really like how in the centre photo Tim has the top of an umbrella balancing precariously upon his noggin through no apparent means.) (Oh Tim Umbrella Head. You are Hope's newest Super Hero!) (Protecting those smaller than himself from the pelting of rapidly descending water in it's various forms. Rain, hail, snow, sleet, slush, and more.)

Rejoice with me for I have found my lost thermos!
Well I don't actually have possesion of it yet. The last time I came up to the coast I got a ride back from the ferry with some lady that knew one of my friend's younger brothers that I ran into on the ferry. We got rides back to West Sechelt. But I accidentally left my thermos in the truck. At church the other day I was told that it was awaiting me at my friend's house. Of course I bought a new thermos on Friday when we cruised by MEC in North Van... so now I have a spare! (dang nabbit spending money.. grrrrr..)

And now I must get ready for I've a meeting arranged in town in 25 minutes. And then back to pack and sort for tomorrows move to Victoria.

Goodbye and adieu!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Weekend In Review

On thursday I met some new Manitoba people who are now living in Abbotsford. I went to their place and watched some hockey, drank a beer, played some guitar, and had a good time.

Friday a few of us were going to head up to the coast. 2 people decided that they just couldn't manage the trip just now but were still helpful enough to give the rest of us a ride to the ferry. With a brief stop at MEC in North Van.

So Joleen got the super special ferry loading experience. The one that not just anybody gets. But I've had before. We arrived at the terminal with very little time left and they'd already raised the foot passenger walkway so we had to go outside into the rain, go down some stairs, and walk on from the bottom ramp. That's how it used to be done when I was a young lad.. last century. ;) There really wasn't a view on the trip over due to the fact that there was quite a bit of weather blowing down Howe Sound. So it was a fun trip with a little bit of rocking and a tad bit of white caps.

Once we hit the coast we took a couple hours to drive home after doing quite a tour of the lower coast. Showing numerous houses we'd lived in. Sharing stories and tales from our family's history on the coast. It was neat.

Saturday I was thinking about a trip out to Smugglers even though it was raining very heavily (I thought that could be sweet too!). However my stepdad wanted to take us out for lunch down to a local pub. So we went down and had lunch and then went to check on the boat with all this rain. We took the boat out for a little brief putt around. Nothing too much as it was still rather windy on the inside.

The wonderful menu consisted of friday night having ling cod, saturday having cod chowder, and my mom made homemade muffins for breakfast that were so very very yummy. She makes great muffins.

All in all it was a great weekend and I enjoyed getting to share my family with my friends, and vice versa.

Gotta jet!

ps on Wednesday I'll be moving to Victoria.