Good-Bye Stephen…and Thank You!


Stephen Hawking passed away this week.

When I heard the news there was a certain element of sadness…which was more for his family than anything else.

This was a man who lived a remarkable life…to its fullest!!!

And what a life!  He was a remarkable human and man who had a remarkable career.  He was funny, charming and immensely inspiring.  Stephen leaves a legacy where he challenged all of us to think, to really think.  Deeply!

Despite his physical ailments Stephen enjoyed life through 76 years on this planet.

Some of the things I loved about this man was his humility and humour.  He did not swell to the ego of academia.

His writings reached out to all of us and invited regular folk the opportunity to really understand on a level never before offered to ideas never before contemplated nor comprehended or shared before.

That was his brilliance in a nutshell.

Stephen was challenged constantly by his peers and always answered them with quiet honesty and fact.

I loved his curious mind and his desire to explore one of our most baffling and intriguing frontiers…the space time continuum.

At times in my life I have felt an connection on some strange level to Stephen because of my own interest in time and its very concept.

I am certainly no physicist…and so far from the very notion it is just crazy!

You see I had a fear of numbers in my youth.  I am a visual learning.  Text books back in the day did little to impress formulas on my youthful self.  Memorizing things was the way to go for a time, though what practicality of what I was trying to embed into my neurons made little to no sense and consequently slipped into the depths without consequence.

I did come to realize that this world we inhabit is ruled by numbers to a certain degree and in many ways I felt I’d been left behind as I just didn’t get it.  Not at all.

As I got older these interests that I had in time, in space  I began to embrace in my late 30’s.

I began picking up books and those books, such as ‘A Brief History of Time’  I read with a voracious appetite.  Not only were doors opening but ideas were springing forth and thoughts with regard to exploring the ages.

I watched shows, documentaries and I  hungered for knowledge.  Wanting, desiring, needing.

Like billions of people before me and I am certain the billions that will follow, I wanted to know where we came from and what our purpose was.

I was a single mother with a beautiful child.  I can recall, on one of those nights when sleep just would not come, I slipped from the house in my red velour house coat and sat on the curb in front of my rental home with smoke in hand gazing up at the stars above.

And I looked up into the night sky and pondered for a moment if another being was gazing out from their home planet into this great expanse we call space wondering if someone was looking out at them just as I was.

Pink fuzzy slippers peeked out beneath  the house coat as my cigarette burned down and then I ground it out after one last drag.

I wondered if they ever felt the way I did, and in that moment which is about 28 years ago, I felt an energy move through me.  Powerful, quiet and remote.

With the underlining message ‘I was not alone!’

And I felt mesmerized, connected and defined all in one swift moment.
I’ve had these sensations a few times, though they’ve been sparing, in my quest to connect.

Perhaps it is just the human condition.

Yet these moments are, in my mind, defining ones.  They are moments that give me pause and shape and direct or re-direct my life.

And Stephen Hawking is one of those whose energies, just by the words he has written touched me a way I had never known.

Having read his work I realized the things I thought about, the things I was ‘secretly’ exploring were not foolish or stupid notions and they certainly were not secretive.

In fact, Stephen Hawing’s work confirmed that my odd curiosities had merit.  Maybe, just maybe I had the makings of a brain after all.

And this came from a girl whose beginnings were demeaning, from a girl who had not had the privilege to finish high school; this from a girl who had been homeless at 16 years of age….and from a girl who was trying so desperately to  be a woman her young daughter could look up to and respect.

The way I saw myself back then was dismal at best as I lacked self-confidence in the worst way.

Yet I read and those books, articles and everything in between they stamped their collective meanings and interpretations on me.

Some I  held fast to these readings, dissecting and  observing everything, while others I questioned and reviewed before I spit them out.

Even those that I did not agree with helped me to learn and grow.

I look at someone like Stephen Hawking who had this fabulous mind, so well tuned, and it was this muscle that rendered him genius.  Those neurons that fired collectively from abstract thought to cohesive and formative ideas that were then developed into factual principles that challenged all of us.

Stephen has offered this world a deeper, more complex understanding of our own  humanity in many ways.

And here I am on this Friday evening after a long week at work, in a local pub and some four beer in, considering this planet, this thing we call space and the concept of time itself.

What does it mean?  What is it?  And where does it go?

Considering this thing we call life, I ask and challenge myself, here and now, what can I do to give back to this world, this planet to make it better?

Is it even possible?

Still the chance that there is some simplicity to all this  that we must try.  We are increasing in numbers on this planet,

Perhaps if we all try to:

  • Respect each other
  • Respect this planet we inhabit
  • Conserve our usage of her resources
  • And never ever forget to love!

We can make it a difference.

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Happy New Year! Welcome 2018!


 

A full moon beams down on this clear and cold winter’s night.  Fog is beginning to roll in and the moon will soon be a silvery shadow if we see it all.

It is New Years Eve and I am staying at home this year.  This will be a quiet night.  A time to reflect on the year that was.

I’ve got cheese and wine as well as beer.  I’ve got a blanket wrapped about me.  I’ve taken in a movie and am watching the televised celebrations in downtown Vancouver.  I like that they have it on T.V. now.

As the countdown began I raised my glass up and shouted Happy New Year!  I made phone calls and texted as many people as possible then watched the fireworks display before going to bed.

Welcome 2018!

2017 had begun with a sense of desperation and an overwhelming exhaustion carried over from years prior.  I began the year by withdrawing from so many activities and organizations I’d been involved with.

Still I recognized that depression had once again settled in.  I was isolating myself.  All the insecurities and yearnings once again tossing me to the curb with all my perceived inadequacies washing over me.

I found it difficult to post any of my writings last year as well.  A notebook is always with me ready to record anything that I need to purge onto the page, however, those ramblings were often sad and coming from a dark place inside me.

I thought of Gloria Vanderbilt talking about how the rainbow comes and goes.  I’d read that particular book in 2016 and there are a few passages that resonated with me and still do.

Mid-year I began to emerge from this bout of depression.  I am focused on the new job I began nine months ago.

I’ve started a new book.  I am hoping to have the first draft completed by Spring 2018.

I need to become more disciplined and dedicated to my writing. I’ve got so many stories  I want to tell. Time to get to it.

I am focused on my health as well.  The vehicle accident back in 2015 mucked me up big time.  Now I need to just try and find a level of fitness that I can maintain.  I need to continue to work on my emotional well-being as well.

Time to get to it.

I hope that 2018 is a stellar year for everyone!

Happy New Year!

Peace.

 

Conspiracy me this….Batman!


We are living in uncertain times it would seem.

Or are we?  Riddle me this Batman!

I am curious by nature.  Currently I am working on my second publication which is purely fiction.  Still I’m doing a lot of research to support the story I’m telling.

I want this story to unfold with a  degree of authenticity to it.   Use modern information, etc.

In my travels over the world-wide web recently I have been coming across several conspiracy theories.  The most recent is the Flat Earth Society.  I’m not sure who began this, or if it has simply remained in place since the beginning of  our kind, but the belief is that the earth is a flat and immobile.  Someone has managed to convince a few high-profile athletes such as Shaq O’Neal that this theory is in fact truth.

An odd thing happens when a ‘celebrity’ weighs in on something.  Suddenly the preposterous can seem plausible.    Why is that?

Shaq states he has driven from Florida to California several times and it’s always been flat.  So…that means the the world is indeed flat.  Alrighty then.

Stating that this planet of ours is stationery and that the sun does indeed revolve around us at a distance of only 3,000 miles and is really  just a little bigger than our moon sounds ludicrous at best.

Then of course the fact that NASA is completely fabricated and designed to hide the truth from us.  The Flat Earth Society insists there has never been any space travel…ever!  So no images of the earth from space have every been taken.  All of the images we’ve viewed have been fabricated.

The Mars rover is on a dessert somewhere or maybe in Arizona and the images are then adjusted to give the appearance of other-worldliness.

Hmmm!

My question would then be why would governments go the expense to fabricate such lies?  And honestly, I don’t want to know what theorists’ reasoning would be for this.

I watched a You Tube video today, 32 minutes in length, that insisted after viewing this video I would know that the earth was indeed flat and accept this notion as fact.

Nope! Didn’t happen.

The person narrating gives no comprehensive evidence.  We do not learn who he is or what his credentials are or how it is has happened upon this information. There was no mention about weather, tidal activity, gravitational pull, earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc.  There is no physical information to support this theory. At one point the argument was that we should feel ourselves moving through space if in fact we were rotating around the Sun and spinning like a top to boot!

And surely when we look out upon the horizon, we should see the curve!

Now I’ve flown in an airplane.  A Boeing 747 travels at approximately 567 miles per hour at 35,000 feet.  Do I feel like I’m hurtling along at an insane speed?  No.  In fact, it feels like I’m hardly moving at all.

This of course has to do with the laws of physics, speed, velocity and all that other lovely mathematical things that I have always been fascinated by even though I’m not quite wired to understand it all in depth.  Still, I get it.  And I’ve been on an airplane a few times.  I’ve seen the earth’s curvature as well.

I’ve photographed the moon and caught the various stages in all their glory.  The moon is definitely round.  Why then would the earth not be so?

Still,  Flat Earthers will tell you that the moon is not round and we only see one side of it.  And they do not offer explanation as to the various moon phases.

Still the questions that have arisen are not answered with hard core fact and proof.  For example, Flat Earthers insist that Antarctica is the end of the world and giant wall of ice some 350 feet high  is at the earth’s end to which it is unknown what lays beyond.  This sounds like an episode from  ‘Game of Thrones’.   And gravity does not exist, at least not in the way that we have been told.

Again no offer of what gravity actually is…just more vague rhetoric.

More concerning, however, is the mindset that happens when a conspiracy theory develops roots.  Why are we questioning what has been proven?  And why are there those among us who refuse to accept fact and choose to instead believe in information that, if anything, lends itself to something of a paranoid state?

If we’ve been lied to about the ‘planet’ we live on for all these years, what else are the powers that be not telling us?

Oh the horror!

In all seriousness, such groups are a little scary to me.  And now a Flat Earther has declared that the no forests exist on earth.  They are gone!

I have added the link to a wiki page link.  It simply has some question and answers.

Have a great day everyone and may the earth continue turn, round and round and round….

Peace.

 

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Flat_Earth#But_star_trail_photography_proves_that_the_Earth_doesn.27t_move.21

A Pledge


 

Sunset, November 28, 2016 in Richmond , BC

I have not written much in the last six months.  In fact, I’ve not been writing much at all in any capacity.

Understand that it is not a lack of ideas.  This head of mine never turns off, and there are times where I dearly wish it would take a break.

No, the ideas just pile up.  When I slip into bed they fight for position and I promise to commit them all to the page so that I can get some much needed rest.  At some point I will.

Been a tough year and half though.  And at some point I had to finally accept that I am human after all.  And I’ve been far too human for the majority of my life.  What do I mean by this?

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The pain of being incomplete…at least in my head.  The pain of rejection, of not being loved by those who would impact my life directly (i.e. family), and the desire to just be whole.

So the quest was taken on and in 2010 such a major breakthrough!

I was soaring.  Finding aspects of myself I’d never known and growing in every way imaginable.  I was tearing down walls and breaking chains that had confined for a lifetime and I was scared shitless at all the emotions and moods that were enveloping me.

I produced my first book, was running 1/2 marathons and taking control of my life in a way I’d never done before.  I liked who I was becoming…loved the direction I was moving in.

Then physical ailments hit me.  Heart issues…a stent was inserted and then uterine cancer.

But I took these on the chin.  I wasn’t prepared to let them take me down.

In January 2015 I had been working with a trainer for 3 months and had started back with my running group when the car accident happened.

'I can never do anything with my hair phobia.'

‘I can never do anything with my hair phobia.’

But it wasn’t just that.  It was being let go from a position I’d held for 5 1/2 years because chemo had messed up my focus.  It was taking on a job that was far too stressful considering my physical issues…it was the a back injury that compounded  all the issues and then the condo I owned having no hot water and a serious special assessment needing to be paid out.

I’ve never had a back injury.  Finding myself in a position where just going for a walk left me in agony was so tough to deal with.  I was trying desperately to hang onto what…I wasn’t too sure.

2015 was such a bad year for me.  I toughed it out though. I had to.  In typical fashion I figured I could do everything myself.  HA!

Oh yes, I kept records for ICBC.  I tried to get back my health only find I was worse off.  Then depression hit.  I was sinking.  I was let go from the stressful job unceremoniously and without cause.  My confidence was non-existent.

Between Cancer treatment and my pity parties I had put on 80 lbs.  I felt and looked awful.  I was in pain constantly and started to wonder if it all the shit was worth it.  I was spending money irresponsibly.

I found another job after a few months but I was scared. My old place was sinking me and I was drowning in debt.

In the New Year I saw my place fixed up and sold it by mid-April.  Paid down a big chunk of my debt and got set up in my new home, which I love!

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Still, I was moving a frenetic pace.  A new program at work…a reunion,..getting back on track with my health and trying to deal with behaviours that had reared their heads once again.

And now I’m sitting here hoping that my tenacious attitude to try and deal and resolve all this will succeed this time.  And I pledge that I will never give up on whatever it is I am supposed to give back to this world.

Peace out!

 

Grievances…A History Of Sorts


 

20160929_072536After a year and half the American election finally came to bitter end.   The outcome was not what anyone expected.

We watched closely up here in Canada as the ugliest campaign in history unfolded. I could not believe that a man such as Trump could even be considered.  He has legal cases pending in court, he is loud, obnoxious and has virtually no experience in the political realm.

He’d somehow become something of a celebrity with his show ‘The Apprentice’.  The Donald, as he sold himself some 20 years back,  has an insatiable appetite to be in the spotlight.

What you have to understand is that it’s not just the U.S.A. that is experiencing radical change.  There is global unrest and a lot of it.

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We should be coming together as a global collective to remedy the issues that exist, and I fear with the choice Americans made on November 8, 2016 that the shock waves will be felt for years to come.

What I have seen my neighbors to the south try and hold onto is the old adage that they are the greatest country in the world and they have this ‘American Dream’ thing that, like their love guns…they cannot dismiss or let go.

And what is the American Dream?

Here is Wikipedia’s description:

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[1]

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[2]

There you have it.  Yet it seems that for many, the factory workers, those who were not has fortunate somehow felt cheated to some degree.

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The ALMIGHTY ECONOMY (a.k.a. Oil) became the ruler of the day after the Second World War.  With technology advancing at a rabid pace from the 1970’s forward tens of thousands of factory workers found themselves out of a job.  Small towns became ghost towns as their citizens lamented over the good ol’ days.

Several economic recessions and the crash back in 2008 left many with absolutely nothing.   No educational options, no retraining options, no jobs, no home, no nothing.

Meanwhile in other countries such as Bosnia, Ruwanda, Lybia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, etc. corruption and war had made it impossible for their citizens to eek out a living.

The exodus began as refugees sought out new lives for themselves and their families here in North America. The American dream has been sold globally and many made their way to Canada and the United States to begin a new life.

For many of the citizens down in the U.S. with no job and having lost so much, they found the idea of immigrants coming to their country as offensive.  These people were stealing their jobs, their livelihood.  Even worse were the ones who gained entrance illegally.

Storm 3

The setting was ripe for a man of Donald Trump’s nature to come in and tell these U.S. citizens that he was going to build a wall to keep out the illegals and toss out all the aliens who had come to America.  Yet he could walk across the street to a different rally and feed a line of bullshit to that group, even if it contradicted what he had just spoken about, and quite often it did.  In fact, the contradictions were absolutely astounding.

Riots were breaking out at his rally’s.  He was having people tossed out and continually made derogatory remarks about women.

Women became the devil and he was running against a woman.

And yet the Republican party, even though many didn’t like him, didn’t want him to lead party allowed it anyway.

Trump may think he can build a wall, tear up trade agreements, trash the U.S. healthcare system, send immigrants packing  and repeal women’s rights in order to make ‘America great again’ but those are not things that can be done with the snap of the fingers.

Trump had best be careful as all those people who voted him in may turn on him when he doesn’t deliver their brand of justice.

Let’s hope that President-Elect Trump doesn’t do anything rash out of the gate.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Human Touch


I met a friend for dinner this evening.  We met after work down at Kits Beach at The Boathouse Restaurant.  Jayne and I always have great discussions.

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I mentioned that I’d been downtown shopping a couple of weeks ago and I had seen the ‘Free Hug’ people in front of the London Drugs at Granville & Georgia St.  I told her how I stood waiting for the light to change, my spirit feeling  considerably  lighter at the idea of a stranger willing  to put their arms around me and share a moment.  I told her that I simply opened my arms and was hugged first by the woman and then by the man.  hug 2

I was surprised she’d never heard of this.  It has been in Vancouver for quite some time now.

Just an act of kindness and a moment shared through human touch.

There is something so intrinsically beautiful and simple in this act. As we parted ways and I made my way home through the streets of Vancouver to the North Shore where my daughter lives, I got to thinking about the people that touch our lives on a daily basis.

I thought of the friends I have, the jobs I’ve held and those who have entered my life and left leaving lasting impressions.

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I thought of people from my past that I’d tried to please who seemingly caused me to bleed the energy from my soul and wondered why I had given this so freely?

Truth is I wanted, craved, desired, needed the basic interaction of human touch.  To feel genuine caring and to feel loved.

I think we all do.  And every once in a while getting that ‘Free Hug’ reminds me that I’m not alone and that I do belong to the collective known as the human race.

Namaste.

Guns, Guns & More Guns?


Semi 1

I’ve voiced my opinion on the whole luv-a-affair Americans have with their guns a few times..

And I just don’t get it.

You claim to value life, yet mass shootings have become commonplace in your country.   After the Orlando shootings the reports that came out were poorly researched and  somewhat sensationalized as a ‘terrorist’ attack.

And despite the fact to the contrary it is still being sold as a terrorist attack.

The individual responsible was in fact an American.  Born and raised in New York with a license to carry a concealed weapon as he had been working as an armed security officer for some time.  Apparently a background check was done back in 2013.  I’m not sure what that entails but from what we have come to know he was an abusive individual with severe emotional issues.  Because he was of middle-eastern descent, it was assumed he was a ‘terrorist’.

New York_1 324The Occupy NY movement in Timesquare, Sept 2011, photo taken by N. Pilling

The tragedy that occurred has once again brought up the all too familiar issues surrounding gun control.

They cannot even get a bill struck down that will allow them to study gun violence!

‘Former Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas authored an amendment that restricted funding for research into gun violence and its effects on public health. Dickey tells Steve Inskeep he now has deep regrets.’

For the entire interview the link is below.

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/09/447098666/ex-rep-dickey-regrets-restrictive-law-on-gun-violence-research

Four days after the Orlando tragedy, they tried to again just have this clause removed.  They just want increased funding to study it!!!  It would seem the NRA has a stronghold, however, and it was shot down in a heartbeat.

Pun intended!

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Shops in New Westminster, BC  Canada step up to show their support during Pride, photo by N. Pilling

I just watched an interview with Chris W. Cox who is at the top of management in the NRA’s organization.  According to Mr. Cox, guns are not the problem. It is the ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ that are the problem.  It is the government that is the problem.  Americans have a God given right to defend themselves.   This phrase caught my attention.

Let me ask Mr. Cox this.  Should all of us not have the right to protect ourselves under the eyes of God?

Are we not, according to any number of religions around the world,  of one God?  Yes, the prerogatives of ‘God’ seems to have been lost in translation as well.

Chris Cox states that restricting the type of weapons Americans can purchase has been tried.  I find it really difficult to listen to this kind of rhetoric.

I live in Canada where we do have gun control.  I’d like to see it toughened up even more though.  I completely understand those that live in the rural regions of our country may very well require shot guns and some high powered rifles.  They come into contact with animals in the wild far more frequently, and if they have livestock then they need to be able to protect.

I get that totally.

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Timesquare, New York, NY  Sept 2011, photo by N. Pilling

What I don’t understand, will never understand is why any person living in an apparent civilized society needs to be in possession of military grade weapons that can mow down a room full of people in a few minutes.

When the 2nd Amendment was enshrined in your constitution back in the 1790’s, just six guns made worldwide in the 1700’s.

1717 – Charleville Musket/ Muzzle loading Musket – France
1720 – Blunderbus/ short ranged musket – Netherlands
1722 – Land Pattern Musket (Brown Bess) – Britain
1730 – Kentucky Rifle/ Muzzle loading Musket – U.S.
1750 – Sea Service Pistol (Flintlock Pistol) – Britain
1795 – Harpers Ferry / Springfield Model Musket – U.S

The other popular weapon of the day was the cross-bow, and while they were effective, guns provided a higher degree of accuracy.

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Taken in New Westminster, BC, Canada in support of Pride, photo by N. Pilling

‘The Second Amendment was based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.[8]

Well, it is safe to say that guns have evolved.  I have to wonder if the forefathers of America would have put this in place had they known the impact it has had on their country.

What I would like to know is why my American neighbors feel their rights are being infringed upon by being restricted from purchasing guns of this magnitude?   The ones of military grad.

If they want a gun, why can they not be content with a hand gun or a rifle?  Regular rounds…whatever that may be. Six or something like that?

It almost smacks of paranoia that Americans are falling over each other to add to their arsenal.

I feel a sadness for my neighbors as I don’t know what it is like to live in fear that I will be attacked or hurt at any given time on a daily basis.

Once again to the families and friends who lost there loved ones in this senseless act I offer my prayers and condolences.

Peace.