Wayside

My blog entries have slowed to meanderings and I have fallen by the wayside.  Re-reading my old posts, especially some of those on my first blog,  made me realise that sometimes in my writing I was almost achieving what I once aspired to, but I am not any more.  An old friend’s Facebook posts recently have driven home that she is a better writer than I and indeed a better person with a more interesting and worthwhile story to tell.  She should be writing a blog.

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Tui in a Kowhai Tree

I feel I am at a dead end.  My life has been one of neophilia and hodophilia, the love of new things and of travelling to new places.  I believed, or told myself,  each new adventure in a new location was also a way to do something good.  Maybe it was.  Maybe it was actually just running away from old places.  Most of the major moves I have made have been after events I would rather forget.

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Battle Hill Stream

That raises another disturbing thought.  I spend a lot of time remembering things I would rather not, and trying to remember things I cannot.  Odd.  Mnemophobia is a word that means both the fear of memories of past events and fearing memory loss caused by mental illness such as Alzheimer’s.   The irony of the duality in that word, and in my current frame of mind, is not lost on me.  I have already written that one of my greatest fears is Alzheimer’s.  I have also written, sometimes obliquely, of the memories I wish I did not have.    Then I remind myself that I am writing this blog principally for some future me so I might remember.

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Owharoa Waterfall, Karangahake Gorge

I watched  Hunt for the Wilderpeople on Google Play last night.   I really liked the movie.  I never read the Barry Crump novel on which it was based, but Taika Waititi made a gun movie from it.  Not flawless, but  so very very kiwi and so very entertaining.  One of few films that can make me laugh out loud, and one of many that can make me weep.  What was interesting was that it was not the poignant heart-rending scenes that caused the latter reaction, but two simple things – or perhaps three; Kiwi humour in a kiwi accent, and the New Zealand bush.  This made me realise something.  I think I may be homesick.

I pondered this for a while and this morning I think I have pretty much come to the conclusion that as soon as I have a few more grand stashed away, I am going home to retire.  Maybe next year.

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Roadside Grass near Thames, Coromandel

These are four of my favourite New Zealand photos.  Each a pleasant memory.

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Going Up

Back on the Pregabalin.  After a couple of days the woozy lightheaded feeling passed and I regained my faculties.  I also lost much of the chronic pain I was feeling before.  Clearly the doc was right and it was originating in my back, not my legs.  Science is a wonderful thing.  I still feel the grating pain in my knees, but it seems less debilitating and I can walk further now.  With the use of my beautiful crocodile and snake carved walking stick from Solomon Islands I am venturing around the community more.  The uneven ground is why I need the stick.  A misstep causes me to stagger and nearly fall when my knee gives way.  There are no paved surfaces here.

I have set up a gym kitset on the deck outside, and in the evening when it is a little cooler (and when there is no one around to watch) I do a few upper body exercises for half an hour or so.

The problem with walking and exercise in general here is that the temperatures are now already reaching 40 degrees C during the day and will soon be going higher.  Neither Zeus the dog nor I are overly keen to venture out in the blazing heat.  Neither are the children after school, so I am having a fairly quiet time.  I see some of them for a while in the evening and we talk about the things they want to do, and what we shall do soon but they are not very interested in my company once they learn I can no longer take them out bush or anywhere else in the troopy.

We had an edict from on high a week or two back advising us that we were no longer to transport anyone in the back of the troopies and only one passenger was to be in the front passenger seat using the lap and diagonal seat-belt.  It seems that liability issues are catching up.  I know Northern Territory has already outlawed the troopy with sideways seats in the rear. Lap only seat-belts are not acceptable either.  It has always been a concern with me, and I have always driven most carefully whenever I have youngsters with me anyway.  The consequences of harming someone are unthinkable.

I have always known my main value to most of the youngsters was that I was a means of transport for them to get to the bush for bush tucker or to the lake for a swim and to football games.  I hope I can re-engage with them once I have all the new toys and kit I am expecting.  Meantime I guess I have a little time on hand to get on with my study for Cert IV in training and assessment. I have now completed successfully six of the papers. Four to go.

As a diversion I am spending half an hour a day learning Irish. For no other reason than it is the greatest challenge I can think of at present.  And because it is a beautiful sounding language.   And because otherwise I would probably go spare alone every evening here.  Doubling the dose of my fluoxetine has certainly helped me to cope better with that.

On the wildlife front, the King Brown snakes are out and about.  There are quite a few young ones recently hatched too.  There are bush turkeys gathering in expectation of the plague of locusts that will likely hatch as soon as the rains set in and the vegetation starts growing again.

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Full Moon Rising 

Coming Down

Almost like the Lost Weekend.

No snakes came out of the walls, no bats flew around my room.

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Scene from The Lost Weekend, a Billy Wilder film starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman (1945).

But I had some really weird dreams and I was pretty much incapable of doing normal things without being clumsy.  I walked into walls and felt disoriented. On the up side, I felt none of the usual leg pain.  That was remarkable.  It was actually a pleasant buzz and I sort of liked it.  But I was fully aware that I was not in operational mode and should not, for instance, be driving a vehicle.  The GP did not mention any side effects like this when she prescribed this medication.    I learned about it on the web.

Maybe the GP did not anticipate my reaction at the dose prescribed.  Perhaps I am sensitive to this drug, or the other medications I am on interacted in some way.

Whatever, this morning I still felt a bit wonky so after tending to the laundry, feeding and playing with Zeus, I spent much of the day in bed enjoying some more weird dreams.  All a bit surreal, if not psychedelic.

Before I did I spoke to the neighbours who were up early raking up leaves in their yard. They asked how I was and I told them I was still a bit stoned and told them why.  My natural honesty and frankness coming out.

It may be coincidence, but shortly after I spoke to the neighbours, the boss called on the phone.  I told her about the state I was in and why.  She was very supportive.  I promised to get back to normal before I drive up to town.

I shall not be taking any more of these pills until I have spoken again with the doc.

When I was 16 I had a similar experience taking some medication prescribed by one Dr. Ogg at the Bexley clinic in Remuera.  He was supposed to be curing my stammer.  I know he started me on Mogadon, then switched me to something else.  I don’t know what it was; the pills were stamped with the letters OCPA.  I was stoned out of my head for months until Peter Gruebner, my form teacher and subsequent friend and role model, contacted my mother to say the school thought I might be a drug addict.  She flushed the pills down the loo.  I went through a difficult withdrawal period.

Mind you, I never stammered while I was taking those pills.

I was riding a 250cc Triumph Tigress at the time.  FSM only knows how I stayed alive.

I did not like giving them up though.  The withdrawal was difficult.  I don’t remember much about that time, except while coming down I had a fight with my brother for some reason I do not remember and smashed my guitar over his head.  That ended my future as a rock star and set me on a different path.  I never did learn to play.  A tragic loss to the world of music.

That is not going to happen again.

 

Cowards, all.

There is not much to report.  The first thunderstorm dropped a little rain this morning.  The goannas are now awake.  I now have a Staffordshire bull terrier named Zeus.  He helps me through my darker days.

I haven’t commented on world politics much lately. There seems little point. The US has the biggest clown laughing stock president ever and is rapidly becoming a running joke.

I had a little revelation watching a Netflix series last week.  The death toll amongst bystanders in almost every scene in almost every series where the good guy goes after the bad guys is seen as mere collateral damage, and reflects nothing more than the true value of human life as seen through American eyes.

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

If a Muslim shoots someone, an entire religion gets the blame; if a black man kills someone, an entire race cops the flak; but if a white male shoots someone he is merely a disturbed “lone wolf”.

And to some, it is all just a matter of opinion.

Some people are not qualified to have an opinion, because opinions are only valid if they are rational.  The opinions of pig-ignorant arseholes do not qualify.   Don’t.  Just don’t.

These opinions echo my own:

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 Today I cried for those whose lives have been taken and those whose lives have been irrevocably changed.

I’m sick of prayers and crying. I’m sick of us innocents being terrorized by mentally sick White Male Terrorists.Call it out. Say it loud. The statistics do not lie. They are our ISIS.

The news orgs are all participating in a mass lie by not calling it by its name. White Male Terrorism. Yes it is uncomfortable to see truth, but worse is a bullet in your flesh. Be BRAVE!

We need to call it what it is otherwise we will never be able to fix the problem.

If this terrorist were a black man, or an Iraqi that slaughtered so many innocents, do you really think the news orgs would be calling them ‘lone shooter?’

The answer is no, of course not. By (literally) whitewashing the problem of white male terrorism it continues its cancerous growth.

We must SEE AND SPEAK the TRUTH. OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT.

 

David Gerrold

But I’ve also blocked over a dozen people who’ve posted on other people’s threads. I don’t feel like arguing with pig-ignorant assholes. I have better things to do.

Now we know what the USA looks like as an open-carry nation. It isn’t working, is it?

The NRA propaganda is a large part of the problem. As far as I’m concerned, they’re an organization that fosters domestic terrorism.

And the cowardly republican congress is a large part of the problem. Bought and sold to the highest bidder.

And just in case, the above isn’t clear — this isn’t an invitation to argue with me. 90% of what I do for a living is research. It takes a little longer sometimes, but it makes my job easier — I don’t have to make up as much stuff.

And that’s the problem with all this anti-gun-regulation and anti-gun-safety bullshit. People are making shit up to justify waving their guns around.

And this is what I say to those who repeat that shit: “No, it’s not about guns any more. It’s not about the second amendment and it’s not about your right to protect yourself — it’s about your cowardice, your fear, and your inability to get along with other people. Instead of creating a world based on partnership and contribution and connection, you want to live in a society of fear and hatred, division and violence. Fuck you — not for your guns, but for being so fucking stupid that you can’t see how you’ve been used.”

31 people die every day, 20 schoolchildren get gunned down in a classroom, and now 58 concert-goers are dead and 550 more injured — because the NRA makes a profit telling ignorant assholes that they need to protect themselves from the rest of the world.

You want to argue with this? Do it on your own fucking page. I ran out of patience in 1969 …

 

The German philosopher Josef Pieper, in his work  The Four Cardinal Virtues  says the connotation of prudence as caution, or aversion to risk, is a modern invention. “Prudence” comes from the Latin “prudentia,” meaning sagacity or expertise. The earliest English uses from the 14th century had little to do with fearfulness or habitual reluctance. Rather, it signified righteous decision making that is rooted in acuity and practical wisdom.  Pieper argues that we have bastardised this concept.  We use prudence as an excuse for cowardice, hiding behind the language of virtue to avoid what he calls “the embarrassing situation of having to be brave.” The correct definition, he argues, is the willingness to do the right thing, even if that involves fear and risk.

 And lastly:  My thoughts on “Thoughts and prayers”:

Odyssey

 

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Herbert James Draper – Ulysses and the Sirens – 1909

Sing, through me, O muse, the famous story

Of he, the wily wanderer far and wide

Who – after Ilium was lost – did travel

Through distant lands and cities; there to learn

The manners and the mysteries of men.

Though oceans overwhelmed his troubled heart

And waves of sorrow rocked him now and then

All his companions did he not abandon

He found his way, at last, back home again.

Homer –  Odyssey – 1st stanza, retold by me 2017

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Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed

And genius versatile, who far and wide

A Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,

Discover’d various cities, and the mind

And manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.

He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,

Anxious to save himself, and to conduct

His followers to their home.

 

Homer – translation by William Cowper, 1791

 

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Henry Fuseli – Odysseus facing the choice between Scylla and Charybdis, 1794/6

 

 

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.

He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.

Homer – translation by Robert Fitzgerald, 1961

 

It is never too late to begin an odyssey.

I have poetry in my soul.