Just returned from a week hitchhike of alberta, and dispite
the warnings of my rasist housemates and work friends, I wasn't
mugged and rapped by angry Indians and Rednecks. I've returned with a
sad understanding of this Albertan economy: oil and gas, indirectly,
directly, these people are embedded in it. Talking with so many
workers with such vested interests in the industry, I now realize
that this place will tolerate the most noxious denial of global
warming, least the cognitive dissonance drive them insane. Aren't we
all though, as bad as Albertans? Though our values are different from
these oil-barrons, in the end, our behaviour is the same: "keep
on truckin'." I made it as high as High Level, but the muskeg
coolness was making me wary tenting it. Heading down to the peace
Rive country (land of the 12 foot davis), the temperature was as high
as 20, beatiful. Grande Prairie sucked (ugly sprawling oil
boom-town), as it was the longest I had to wait to catch a ride down
to Grande Cache, and it seemed like everyone who passed me by was
also given me the look like "what a fuckin scum bag, as if i'd
pick him up!" Camping by Grande Cache was great, in the
footfills of the Rockies, given the lord's blessing from a driver. Of
course, the route from Jasper to Banff was stunning, and I camped by
the most idyllic lake, with violent spirally mist over purple
twilight water, with the brooding grey fortress of the rockies in the
background. I even got a pretty girls number (there always seems to
be at least one chick who picks me up on these silly
Perhaps the best was meeting my 2nd Cousin, David
Rankin, and his family, in Ghost Lake. Ah, I thought I a freak of
nature in my family; at last, someone who shares my moral
disposition! A fellow lefty, post-modern optimist and social justice
activist. I was a little anxious at first, David being a minister,
but, of course, what other profession is a better vehicle for helping
those in need. His family was also great. Meeting my Godmother was
great too: another aware and conscientious individual, living in
Calgary, home to 20000 Amreekans, and has lapsed into a level of
rightwing acquiecence approaching 1935 Nazi Germany (they call
Edmonton Redmonton! Us, communists! Us!)
great. I do it because a) it is the most intimate form of
transportation with total strangers, b) you really see Karma in
action, c) cheap d) frivilous travel in gasoline cars is spit in the
face of our grandchildren, but sharing rides lessens the burden.
SEP 19 04
I ran the terry fox run today, on a gorgeous
fall day. I enjoy the change of the seasons the anticipation of
change, however good or bad. Tomorrow is my birthday. 22. And I feel?
What will I do, Irish dancing, oh yeah.
SEP 5 04
received my 4-season tent, and I am scheming a chilly hitchhike up to
yellowknife. Hopefully. Though, I must admit I am a bit anxious. All
my racist albertan coworkers warm me that i will get hurt from the
natives and hicks up there. I can't say, but, knowing the provincial
worldview of albertans I hope that peace and compassion will see me
safely up there, or perhaps i am naive.
I also have my guitar
now, and, alas, i barely leave my basement room, wanting only to fill
lonely place with beautiful creations.
AUG 21 04
got bored and actually added another section: biography.
The mornings are cooler, the evenings darken quickly, and
the last summer festival is wrapping up. I must endure another 4
months in edmonton, at my Laboratory. It is like an assemby line of
chemical tests. Look around you, North Americans, and know that the
high standard of living, as economists define, brought about by high
productivity, that is, less resources for more national output, and ,
therefore, lower costs, has been possible because of dehumanising
jobs. I guess too, a clean environment, by my creative vacuum of a
JUN 05 04
Some introspection: what is the purpose in
life? I used to be such a driven person. I delved into the
intellectual mysteries of physics, psychology, and religions;
deliberately subjecting myself to any and all stranges circumstances,
bizarre experiences like a koan to attack the comfortable norms and
mental heuristics that blinded me from that nascent Truth of
I think i looked into the heart of one of the
shallower stages of enlightenment once, while meditating But i was
scared, and chose not to. It would make me peaceful, yes, but I
needed the unconscious rage to fuel ambition. I am an intellectual,
not a sensitive yogi, not a nurturer, and I have much need of
ambition. For what??
Im not too sure. But from my endeavours in
religion, i picked up a lot of compassion.
"from the clouds
of wisdom, let compassion rain down indescriminantly upon all
MAY 30 04. Go OPEC go!! Oh, I love high gas
prices. And I hate cars. More people in ontario die from poor air
quality than breast cancer, and most of that is more private
Ventured out into some of the edmonton meat
markets last night, though im hardly a wooer. Now im tired as hell
and have to go to work today, sunday. At least i can listen to the
cbc there, and not be bothered by all the weekday staff. Go OPEC go.
Fuck car culture.
MAY 12 04
Zen at work in a lab coat.
Boring coworkers. Sigh, and I need to find someone to belay with!!
MAY 05 04.
I want to bike across Canada and give
environmental workshops along the way. I need funding though. If you
want to join me, send me an email.
Anyway, I had my third day at
EnviroTest Laboratories in Edmonton Alberta, as a BOD analyst, which
is a really mindless position, actually. I am oddly surrounded by
asian and polish women, one or two of them who are cute. I wonder how
I will manage to survive this silly job, how I think back so fondly
about my time in Niagara-on-the-lake, living with Mexicans, teaching
ESL, being outside all the time, and loving my friend Sophie.
About a week now in Edmonton. Truly a land for cars, and
very anti-pedestrian. I finally landed a place to live, a rickety old
store-converted into a college house. The housemates seem nice,
though I always wonder how i'll relate to them in the long run.
was afraid that I how have to eat industrail-feed, but met a girl
Emma at the local farmer's market who told me all about all the cheap
organic spots. Now, I will go eat an organic orange, yee-haw! I LOVE
ALBERTA BEEF---> prominent bumper sticker, must destroy!
16 04. Well, just finished my first year at SFU. Now, Im off to the
island, and then onto Alberta!
APR 3 04.
Added some more
MAR 29 04.
I am wrapping up here at SFU. I am
changed, but not for the better.
OCT 17 03.
section is up.
SEPT 21 03.
The summer is over and I miss
all my friends back on the peach farm in Niagara-on-the-lake. I had a
great time living and working with mexican migrant workers, and doing
ESL lessons in the evening. Now, i am on my way out west to study
environmental science at SFU.
Saturday, 28 April 2007