Monday, 29 June 2015

Fine Days, Flags and Five Chapters

The word of the week is fecundity.

June 22 – Do The Right Thing

Here’s a textbook definition of good karma.

Last week, a homeless man in Langford found over $2000 cash in a parking lot and turned it in to police untouched. His selfless act quickly garnered him praise from the community, who in only a few days had raised more than twice the amount he had found using a fundraising website.

Now the man has asked that the funds raised be donated to local food service providers who distribute food to local homeless, insisting that the funds raised would be better spent there and that all he really wants is a job.

It impressed me know when to see someone who could obviously have used the short term cash not only do the right thing but continue to think of others before himself. It has impressed the local RCMP branch, who after managing to contact the homeless man will be looking to assist him in finding employment geared towards his particular challenges.

I hope that more good karma comes his way soon.

In the evening, my family and I went to Ithaca, a Greek restaurant just up the street to celebrate Father's Day a day late, as my dad had been working yesterday.

It was a splendid experience!

Right from the start, we felt welcomed by the owner’s son and staff, all of whom were extremely attentive and friendly upon learning it was our first time in their restaurant. We had a table by a window, which let in a lot of the gorgeous day outside and brightened our dinner time. The food itself was delicious and provided in generous quantities for very reasonable prices: all key factors to both impressing us and convincing us that we'd be back again soon.

June 23 – Confed Confiscation

Social activism can be a funny thing: sometimes, it can sneak up on you.

When it does, you realize that the issues have been there all along and it simply reaches a critical point where people have to do something about the problems in the country they live in.

One of those tipping points was reached this week regarding racial tensions in the USA. The Confederate flag has been long-held by advocates of racial parity( not purity )as a symbol of that  lingering stigma that has carried over to modern times from before the Civil War.  

This week, things came to a head, as retailers and companies across the USA pulled the Confederate flag from their stock and other places where it has been displayed. Even video game companies pulled the flag from their products, citing it could only be displayed in a ‘historical’ context. The bravest act was when activist Bree Newcome, a black woman, climbed the GA State Capital flagpole and removed the Confederate flag.

I see this as a sign of progress, as a groundswell of social awareness sweeps aside past hatreds that have no place in a modern country with an educated populace.

June 24 – End Of Vacay

Well, that’s it for my vacation: I returned to work this morning.

And it was a busy morning too, right from the get-go. Things didn't start to calm down and so late afternoon and I was amused that I had returned to be dropped right into the boiling water, so to speak.

What did I get accomplished on my vacation, you might wonder?

Aside from relaxing and recharging, I managed to complete five entire chapters of my second novel’s first draft. I consider that a major accomplishment and a big push towards finishing the book in the next three months or so. Ideally, I'd like to start in on the fourth draft of my first novel sometime this fall, so there's real time pressure to get my second novel's first draft completed.

All in all, it was a very good vacation. I smile to think that like all vacations, it always seems too short when it's done but you always look forward to the next one: I have another week in August that is not that far away and I plan to likely use it again to further my novel.
Hopefully by that time, I'll have another five chapters completed!

June 25 – Too Early Rising?

Part of the reason I’ve been so tired lately is that I’m waking up too early.

Used to be, I could wake up around 7am and feel, if not refreshed, then ready for the day. In the last few weeks, with the advent of the early sunrises, I’ve been waking up even earlier than that.

It’s not fun, as it’s messing with my biorhythms.

Adding insult to injury, there’s a few folks with loud vehicles who head off to work between 6-630am. One in particular rides a bike that I swear he’s sawed the muffler off, as I always hear him through a closed window, two sets of blinds and earplugs, not to mention a white-noise unit.

That’s too dang loud and just plain inconsiderate of hard-working people trying to sleep a bit.

Anyway, be that as it may, I’m trying to go to bed earlier so that I can get more than 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It might be the summertime weather, but there’s been an abundance of late-night chatterboxes as well, strolling along with their conversations at full volume as they pass by.

All this pointing to me either moving, or finding a way to keep cool with my window closed in the summer. Neither of which is a pleasant alternative.

June 26 – LGBT Pride

This has been quite the week for sudden changes in the world – for the better, thankfully.
In addition to the surge in disgust for the Confederate flag, another celebration was had today when the US Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. It is a landmark decision, one that has been a long time in coming and is quite frankly long overdue.

Of course this has lit the fires of those who oppose same-sex marriage, but there’s little they can do save appeal the ruling in court; good luck with that, thou close-minded folks of fossilized mind.

That's all right, though: freedom’s what the USA is all about. Freedom for all, mind you. If the world chooses to damn itself based on wanting people to love each other for who we are, not on what we demand each other to be based on our own beliefs, well...

Those of us who choose to keep demanding that of each other will find a nice little lonely corner of the world to occupy and trade dogma with each other in, while the rest of us get on with making the planet a better place to live without bigotry, hatred or fear of the unknown.

June 27 – Sweet Summer Sweat

It was another perfect day that even the soaring temperatures couldn’t dampen.

My lady and I lunched, then attempted to enjoy the afternoon in the cooler sections of Beacon Hill park, as the sun was blazing in a bright blue sky. Unfortunately, it was really blazing, so much so that all the shady spots of the park were fairly well-crowded with people and those areas further afield were swarming with insects who also understandably wanted to be in the shade. It made for a sweaty and uncomfortable time, which was not how we wanted our day to go at all.

We switched out plans and instead went to see Jurassic World after dinner, which was a wise choice: the film was great! In addition to being a decent action film, it had many small nods to the previous films in the franchise which I and my lady appreciated. There were even a few spots that made us both jump: not easy to do, in my case! Chris Pratt was fantastic, playing a badass dino-wrangler and his love interest, Bryce Dallas Howard, was a surprise in the way she transformed from a corporate shill into someone who sav… er, well, I won’t spoil it for you. Go see it!

My lady and I wandered off a short ways downtown to ensconce ourselves on the patio at Garrick’s Head Pub, getting the last table that was tucked away in the corner – perfect! The temperature outside was perfect and there were crowds of people everywhere, taking advantage of the still-light skies until well after 10 PM.

I didn't really notice, as I was sitting enthralled on the patio, sipping beer, nibbling trip bites and thoroughly enjoying every minute I spent with my lady.

As I said: it was perfect.

June 28 – Hot In Oz

It was pleasantly warm today, not hot, as the sun wasn’t around for half the day.

The skies around here turned dark this afternoon, a thunderstorm threatening to dampen the day, but nothing happened save a few locals getting excited: we don’t get those storms here often. We sure could use the rain though: it’s a dry, dry summer here so far in BC, with an extreme risk of forest fires in many areas and the Island itself is so dry that a campfire ban is in effect as of today.

There’s more hot weather coming though, so it’s going to be fun to keep cool in my place, which doesn’t have air conditioning. Doubly difficult with the front windows closed all the time, due to the smoke coming in from upwind – it’d be great to have those cool southerly breezes, but not if they’re laden with carcinogens and induce migraines.

Just to end the week on a bit o’fun, here’s a fantastic mashup of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron… and The Wizard Of Oz!

That's all I have this week; staying up until 12am took a lot of willpower and I hope you enjoyed this week's blog!