Friday, January 27, 2006

Good Morning

When I used to see these kinds of scenes, sights that would make time slow down, take my breath away and make me feel like a giant and insignificant at the same time, I would normally try and call someone to share the moment with. With no one to call these days, I figured I'd take a few pictures (while driving) and share them with you. :D

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bat W

I love this picture. Old Man Rivers drew it for me on a bebo whiteboard, or in this case, blackboard. I have to admit that in my dreams (both night and day) I shed inhibition and all seriousness and assume the role of Bat W, an Indigenous, monastic colonial-crime-fighter. says I like women too much though, to assume such a solitary and lonely, albeit noble existence. When Dubya's heart heals, I will no doubt have a different perspective but the potential effect of myth and symbolism are darn appealing. And this is not to suggest that we still do not aspire to the discipline, integrity, honour and understated power of such archetypes.

In seriousness worthy of Kumtux I do believe that those who would be protectors of their Indigenous communities must strive for a more noble, honourable and respectful existence. We must be strikingly upright (can anyone guess where that quote is from?), shed the colonial-paternal conventions that have long plagued our families and be men. I know there is lots to say about this, but I will save that for later. Initially, I just wanted to share the cool pic. Bat W

Monday, January 23, 2006

Indigenous friends don't let Indigenous friends vote

I'm serious! You can read my previous thoughts on the matter here and here. Below is an excerpt from a recent e-mail to a good friend:

You said, "I want to vote in this next federal election because I do not want to leave my fate to the non-Aboriginal community that does vote." This implies that by voting, your fate will not be left to the non-Aboriginal community that does vote. It also implies that your vote, or heck lets say that all the Indigenous votes will have an impact. Theoretically, if we voted 100% what would the results be? I bet we would have a handful (out of about 300 seats) of Aboriginals in office and another handful of somewhat friendly-ish non-Aboriginals.

Now just to get as far as they did, they will no doubt be Liberal or NDP (although I did notice a hereditary chief from Bella Bella was running for the Marxist-Leninist party this morning). Like all other MPs they will have to tow the party line - certainly none of them are gonna go crazy revolutionary and actually speak their mind, lest they endanger their pension or potential senate appoinment later in life. So what impact will they really have? I guess their kids will eat well, and go to good private schools and I'm sure they will be invited to some of the swankiest parties in Ottawa, as long as they don't rock the boat too much. If they do forget (their Canadian) selves you can be sure they will be out the door the next round.

I agree that we are political people. Actually a famous German (or perhaps he was Austrian), Karl Von Clauswitz said, "war is the continuation of politics by other means." Somedays, I would prefer more assertive forms of contention than what we come to accept as radical these days (organizing to vote, protesting, letter-writing etc.)

Finally, you refer to learning "their rules" and how this is not assimilation. Not all acts are assimilative and not all assimilative acts are necessarily bad either. I think we need to measure each act, each tool, against our own, revived Indigenous principles. It's like choosing to buy a honda civic hybrid as opposed to a Hummer...I mean we do have to make decisions about most things but I also challenge you to determine what truly is "inevitable" or "unavoidable" or "necessary."

Have you heard how travelling circus' used to train elephants? When the circus would receive a new elephant, the elephant obviously would not want to be there and wanted freedom. The elephant would be chained to a metal post driven deep into the bedrock. There was no way the post was going to move no matter how much the elephant pulled. Eventually, the elephant gives up and accepts the fact that he will never be free. When they get to the next town and unpack the train, the caretaker drives a wooden stake into the ground about 2 feet. If the elephant wanted freedom, he could easily pull away, but he does not because he already accepted the fact that he will never be free.

Indigenous friends don't let Indigenous friends vote.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dropout Bear No More

After years of encouragement from mom, aunties, friends, comrades, PhDs, and ex-girlfriends, W is indeed returning to school. I start an online course: IGOV 384: Resistance and Renewal tomorrow! (I have plans to return fulltime in September to begin finishing my BA in Political Science).

After a couple years of Career Limiting Moves (CLMs) I am returning to the University of Victoria. I even get my old student number back, which begins with a 93, giving you an indication of the last time I was there. I am looking forward to this, but I must admit to being a little nervous as well. My Nuu-chah-nulth name: Na'cha'uaht, means Everyone is watching you and given the company I keep there will be significant expectations for me to do well and go far.

And you thought I was educated already...haha.

Stay tuned avid readers. The adventures continue. W.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I shall continue to walk the earth...

haha, sometimes it's just fun to be dramatic. Well, a prospective employer in Mituunii, that shall remain nameless has decided to pass on yours truly and hire someone else. After taking more than a month, calling two of my references and ultimately me calling them back this morning, I was told that while they appreciated my application and efforts, they gave the job to another candidate.

In some ways I don't feel as bad as I normally might. I mean after waiting a "couple days", then being told to wait "another 3 weeks", then "over the weekend", then "tomorrow" it was almost a final act of mercy to hear a "no." And if I had in fact been told no back in December, a day after receiving my "dear Dubya" e-mail, it could have been more than I could handle.

"aa-nii-kwa" (It is that way/so it is/c'est la vie in Nuu-chah-nulth).

I am grateful for all the people who were pulling for me on this one - a record level of support I think. I am truly a fortunate man and I shall continue to walk the earth and read and write and think and do.


Monday, January 09, 2006

tick, tock, tick, tock...

It's lunch time in the boardroom. All I can hear is the ticking of the two clocks, slightly out of sync. I sit here and wait. I have been waiting since December. I may fool you with my calm, icy-cool exterior but inside I'm going crazy. I am not a patient man. I want change now. I want good to start, bad to end, today, now. In some ways it is comforting to know I have always possessed some revolutionary capacity or mind-set or maybe it's just mild ADHD.

Still, I wait. I hear some positive signs, but not definitive. I look at my phone. I keep peeking at it, just in case the air waves shift or I walk through some sort of communicative void and I miss a call. I can hear someone stirring in the kitchen now. It sounds like they are getting some coffee. I would get some too, but I don't think my knee needs any more encouragement to keep bouncing.

Time is a funny thing. When I applied for this job I was kinda single, but not really. Since then I have become definitely single. When I applied for this job it was another year, another season. I was a slightly different W. Observe limbo-W, stuck between the past and the future, not fully embracing the present, although I know better.

Dozens of friends and family members are cheering in silent chorus, sending vibes and prayers and everything else down to Mituunii. They would be crazy not to hire you! You are obviously the most qualified! ...and smartest! Sigh. It's nice to have friends and family so supportive.

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

When I know you will know.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In a Ditch With Fish

It was pouring rain last night as Fish and I drove back from the radio show. As we ascended the "hump" the rain turned to wet snow. By the time we leveled out near the southbound truck brake check area, the road was white with heavy wet snow. At this point you might remember a post I did awhile ago complaining about my underperforming tires.

What happened next was a little surreal. Most of you know me as a pretty cautious, thoughtful guy and this is reflected in my driving (don't laugh). I was going pretty slow - about 40km, maybe a bit less. I began to drift a bit out of the tire tracks onto the pure white stuff and that is when I lost control. Neither Fish nor I said anything at first as the car seemed to drift over where I suspect the centre line was hidden under the snow. Thankfully there were no oncoming vehicles at the time.

The first thing I tried to do was down-shift, 4th to 3rd, to 2nd. I turned the wheel a bit. I gave it a little gas. Nothing seemed to make a difference. Still I said nothing but was thinking, "ok, uh Fish, we're drifting, shifting, wheel, gas, ok, losing control here, sliding, drifting, hold on, uh..." Later, I learned Fish was thinking, "ok, losing control, sliding, get control W, get control W..." and as we neared the ditch we found our voices and were like a chorus of "Whoa, whoa, whoa." It all seemed like it happened in slow motion.

We missed a reflector post by about a foot. I'm not sure if that was good or bad. I guess good, cause I'm sure the momentum would have carried us right over it, but not before leaving a nifty little dent on the passenger side. When we hit the grass and gravel on the shoulder, the back end swung around and we slid front-forward into the ditch. Huh.

After we climbed out and called a tow truck Fish said, "I think that is the safest car accident I have ever been in" and "at least it was a ditch and not a cliff!" So much for all those childish (recent even) jokes about falling off my name. Well, Fish and I are ok, my car seems to be as well, I am fifty bucks poorer (tow truck) and I will be buying some new tires in a couple days. Oh, and props to all the good samaritans out there. Practically everyone who drove by stopped or slowed down and asked if we needed help. One guy even got out while some giggling passengers snapped photos. Fish offered some action shots saying, "He (me) can lie down on the ground for you."

All fun and games until someone drives over a cliff. :I

Your life is ending 1 minute at a time

Peter: "We don't have a lot of time on this earth. We weren't meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to 8 different bosses drone on about mission statements."

This quote from Ron Livingston's character in Office Space, goes out to all you cubicle dwellers. I feel for you. I spent at least 4 years in the shizza with over 3 different employers. Now I am free. Now I work for First Nations administrations...haha :I

Monday, January 02, 2006

give and you shall receive...

Among the loot I was spoiled with this year, I received two books: The Biker Code: Wisdom For The Ride edited Stuart Miller and Geoffrey Moss and The Che Handbook by Hilda Barrio and Gareth Jenkins. It takes some thought to give a book as a gift and I smile when I think of the love and acceptance that came upon my sis and pops as they made their selections. Many Klecos Ger and Dad =) I love you lots!

The Biker Code is a compilation of advice from Harley and sport riders, men and women from all walks of life with riding experience from a year or two to over 60. Here are some of my favourite quotes so far:

"I am a quiet person. When I'm riding, all of that goes away. I enjoy taking risks and having the skill you need to stay alive."

"Make a decision, keep your head straight, relax, go."

"For some there's therapy, for the rest of us there's motorcycles."

"Bikers are some of the funniest people I have ever met. I love being around a lot of down-to-earth people."

The Che Handbook is a like a mini-encyclopedia of Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna's life full of quotes, pictures and other tid bits. Those of you who know me, know that I am a big fan of Che. Those of you who really know me know that I believe we must seek to fully understand the man. It is important to reach beyond his visual iconic status and appreciate not only his uncompromising, charismatic nature, but also his single-minded determination, for the better and worse.

As I leafed through the book I found a quote I had not read before but liked immensely:

"And if it were said of us that we're almost romantics, that we are incorrigible idealists, that we think the impossible: then a thousand and one times we have to answer that yes, we are."

Who knew W was a romantic? :I

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Polar Bear W

Last week while at my uncle Russ' place for dinner, another uncle, Arnie announced that he was having a New Year's Day Polar Bear swim at his place. more ways than one. I am always game for jumping into some chilly water believe it or not, and also an opportunity to knock item #16 off my list.

There were 9 polar bears this day, in front of my Uncle's house at Shell Beach in Chemainus territory on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Uncle Frank (who did not participate other than snapping some pictures) said a few thankful and encouraging words before we ran in. I was not the first in. In fact by the time I ran far enough to dive in, some people were already on their way out. Frida's brother and I stayed out for a bit, swimming a short ways, at least a minute or two. Boy what a shock to the system! Do you ever feel alive when you come out - all your senses feeling on fire. After the dip we enjoyed some home-made clam chowder and bannock. :d

Last night I rang in the New Year (sans kiss) with some good friends in Mituunii (Victoria). Tonight, my sis, bro-in-law and I will take our parents out for dinner. I'll also be thinking of some sort of retrospective on the 2005 of was quite a year.

P.S. For those of you who missed it, that old school dance I was doing a couple of posts ago was the "Cabbage Patch!" :p