NOT politics

Once again; I am happy to be here.  Honest.  Nice place.  Nice change.  Please believe that.  BUT…some things are different (as you would expect) and it is that difference that I find so interesting and am writing about today.  Well, to be honest, it is the differences that I find weird, even off-putting that interest me the most.  Sal likes quirky.  I like weird. Go figure.

So, the first oddity noticed is on the TV.  It’s the ads.  I swear to god, the ads for pharmaceuticals far and away dominate all commercial air time.  By a huge margin. Way more drugs than Doritos.

I once watched ten dreaded-conditions ads in a row – complete with the rapid-speak, fine-print talking about gruesome side effects. When it is not about disabling symptoms, it’s about local lawyers urging you to sue someone or local hospitals that will sculpt your body or treat your addictions.  It seems 90% of the ads are about industrial, commercial, corporate health product and service providers.  Very strange.

We rarely watch the damn TV but, during the inauguration, we did.  And because of weird thing #2, we watched it for five evenings in a row.  Weird thing #2 is the weather.  We are in the desert and it has been raining here three days out of five.

Now, to be fair, Arizona rain is a good thing and, anyway, it seems to lack real volume, real wetness.  Each drop feels like it’s a half-size and a half-step behind our guys back home.  To get an inch of rain in the desert takes hours.  We can get an inch in a few minutes in BC. Still, there were puddles in the yard!  And there are cactus near the puddles!? That’s kinda odd, don’t you think?

Seems the desert forms a surface crust and, when it rains, much of the water cannot penetrate down.  So they get flash floods on less rain than we would handle with our normal drainage systems on a normal rainy day.

Temperatures are around 60F in the day, 35 in the evening and, up north near the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, they have accumulated many feet of snow!  So, Arizona really does have a noticeable winter even by my BC standards.  And I can finally imagine how the aquifer they rely on might have a chance at being at least partially replenished.

Just to be clear: I am perfectly OK with this kind of winter.  I like 60-65 degrees F.  I have never been a fan of 80-85F/30C.  So, this is good.

Weird thing #3.  More and more grocery stores down here are emphasizing health, too.  Lots of cheap good produce. The fruit is wonderful.  Everything is organic and gluten free. Meats without hormones and that sort of thing.  Think Whole Foods.  And the people shopping there are healthy looking and reading labels just like us.  A Sprouts Store (best for organics) is a replica of a Thrifty’s or Whole Foods in Vancouver or Victoria.  Same people. Same emphasis on produce.  Less ‘processed’ foods.

But most restaurants are filled with BIG people. Some are really big.  Dwarfing-the-scooter-riding big.  We went to one nearby Mexican place rated well and I left a third of my dinner behind.  I NEVER leave a tasty dinner uneaten.  But there were so many Jabba-the-huts around us, I just felt that I had to get away and, to be honest, the portion was big enough that I could have left half behind.  And I had the smallest entree.  Sal stuck with the appetizers.  We both felt that we had way too much food.  C’mon!  That’s weird.

I am also having some feelings about these modern adobe-style suburbs.  There does not seem to be a very high occupancy.  If there is, the people don’t go out much.  Not even the kids. Few, if any, people walk.  There is little visible proof of real people living here except when ‘garbage day’ rolls around, every house has their two incredibly immense cans (each could hide the two of us and our weekly output of garbage) out ready for pick up.  They gotta be in there…………………?

There’s room in here for you, David!

Our obligatory Mexican gardener showed up today.  Packing a blower.  He walked around the yard blowing leaves.  That was a surprise for two OTG’ers.  Sal had just mentioned the other day about cleaning up some leaves but I said, “It’s fine.  We’ll tidy up before we go.  Anyway, the lawns are plastic. The plants are cactus.  We’re good.”  Seems I was wrong.  We needed a good cleaning up.

This one is also kinda odd: rush hour is really clogged.  Freeways.  Main streets. Side roads. Rush hour starts about 5:00 and lasts for 40 minutes.  Tops.  Maybe less. For half an hour, you crawl.  All other times, you can fly along on near-empty roads.  If caught in rush hour, stop at the nearest shopping centre, buy a quart of milk and then continue on virtually empty streets.  It’s actually more like a traffic swarm than it is a traffic jam or a congestion by Vancouver standards.  Everyone must get off work at exactly the same time. Weird.

I can’t see doing too much reporting on this part of Arizona, really.  Scottsdale was nice. Expensive homes. But nothing really. We are in the urban heart of Arizona and well, you know what that’s like….urban is urban just about everywhere you go.

BTW:  I measure my writing by how many comments I get.  The last two blogs only generated 5 comments and I was half of them.  So, clearly, Trump, Arizona and whatever it was before that, is not resonating.  I am OK with that.  I do not resonate with everyone all the time.  That’s OK.  BUT – is there anything you WANT to know about?  Meaning of life?  Is there a God?  Best wine under $10.00?




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About JDC

Late sixties. Short, thick, brutish, mildly amusing when not angry or depressed. Married. Two kids - both great! Twelve years in social work. Ten years in real estate development. Last 15 as a chartered arbitrator, chartered mediator, roving trouble-shooter (Have problem? Will travel), China volunteer, traveler and amateur handy-guy living remote and experiencing regular emergency medical care as a result. Fiscal conservative, cultural liberal, institutional anarchist and social pariah. Not to be left alone with the vulnerable, the stupid, the greedy or any member of any government bureaucracy.

24 thoughts on “NOT politics

  1. Don’t you just hate that? Go on a suncation and get clouds and rain. Thanks for the OTG book recommendation a few posts back. I really enjoyed it, especially the parts about their homesteads. – Margy

    • S’truth…Honest….I love it. It will be plenty sunny for most of the time but rain in the desert is really neat. I am definitely OK with it.
      Yeah, Ron and Joanne…Northern Saskatchewan, fer gawds sake…..That’s a cut or two tougher than us, that’s for sure. I don’t even like driving Northern Saskatchewan.

  2. Hi JDC,
    I am probably the most overdue for a comment than all your subscribers. I too have been busy, working away at my own stairs/rails for a cart system ( funicular?) and other associated OGL infastucture. I am so fit right now, as all the work requires rudimentary labour…! Which I find adds to your insights of the feelings of fulfilment a person experiences while working to selfsustain. Sometimes almost euphoric. Such a sense of achievements.
    I have chuckled about how when I want to get a good lowdown on what’s going on in the ‘advertised’ world, I go to an off grid guy! I also have grown to expect and appreciate the timely, almost dependable updates, rarely am I disappointed.
    Would this be the season that I get to meet you two??!

    • You in Arizona?
      Glad to hear you are progressing! Good on ya. And thanks for staying in touch. Of course we can meet up You have my email. Use it. For the record, there are three readers actively working to get OTG as I write this. Various stages of progress. I won’t say who – they can do that if they want – but three guys are making moves. One is on the other side of the continent. With luck, there’ll be more bloggers coming as a result.
      And thanks for that… Inspirational.

  3. Ok, I owe you a comment so here it is…
    I read everything you write and enjoy it all. You are the most active blogger I currently read and I know I can count on you every couple of days. The topic is almost always interesting, but your delivery is what works for me. It’s just fun. More importantly, that Sal is a really good sport.


    • Thanks, Ted. Sally is a saint and a good sport. Good carpenter, cook, first aid attendant AND editor, too. Mind you, the garbage bin pic was her idea. She’s living proof: girls just wanna have fun. “Hey, look! A squirrel!”

  4. I’ve been reading your blog faithfully but I threw out my back at work on Sat so
    ( if you can believe this) even typing is a chore…..(and if you dont believe that …try a 4am pee when your back is in agonizing spasms and you’re too young for Depends! Too much info? 🙂
    However, I have discovered Robax and Vodka seem to have a somewhat “numbing” effect on the pain……which is to say, colors seem brighter, you seem funnier and most importantly……. Doritos seem tasty-er(?)

    • P.S.
      aaaaannnnnd why is Sal in the “Recycling” bin?
      Are you OTG’ers so gobsmacked at the sight of large ,clean, empty plastic containers you feel you must climb in and check ’em out?
      Or are there other, more diabolical connotaions involved?
      Inquiring minds wanna know!
      Ya shoulda done a “selfie” Dave with BOTH of you in there……

      • I know. Shoulda. But my son suggested it and I just could not see giving him the satisfaction of carrying such a pic around to all his buddies. He thinks I am a bit odd as it is and that would just confirm it.

    • Well, I would normally suggest a cure but if I seem funnier to you, to hell with it…………..
      …….OK, what you really need is a massage therapist who comes to your door with all the oils and stuff. You already have the Vodka. Pick one that actually CAN do massage this time.

      • Hmmmm.
        Any personal recommendations for the Burnaby OTG wilderness?
        Which “raises” another question……..
        How does one convince a massage “therapist” to go OTG?
        Money? Herbs? Lifestyle? All three?

        • P.S.
          My nephews wife is a registered massage Therapist and after one 15 minute “session” years ago with her boney , satanic…… sadomasochistic fingers digging deep into my back….
          .Never…….. ever……… again.
          Evil personified. In excrusiating pain OR I’m a pain coward that likes combining drugs and alcohol….
          Take your pick…… cause I’m both

          • Been there. NOT fun. Brutal. But I’ve had a few with great hands. They performed miracles. Kim in Campbell River is magic…..Can make the dead dance again.

        • Convincing doesn’t work. Just go up to the most beautiful massage therapists you can find and say, “How’d you like to live on a hardscrabble farm raising puppies and chickens? I’m there to build, make the bed and do the dishes. You in?”. Take the first one who says yes and go. Ask two a day and you’ll have three to choose from within a week. Use Sal as a reference…….

  5. Gosh, I’m sorry about the weather, and the lack of comments. The weather I can’t do anything about, or rather I can’t do anything about the weather. We suffered through two weeks of minus 20 but are in a trough of ‘hovering around zero with lots of sun’. Cancelled plans for Ecuador on account of its only two months ’til Spring. So we can do something about our weather – stay or leave. We just can’t do anything about your weather!
    Comments on the other hand are our forte. Does content, brevity, relevancy carry any significance? I’m somewhat perplexed as to how you can be half of 5 comments? Either you’re 2/5ths or 3/5ths (40% or 60%) but NOT 1/2. But maybe that was a figure of speech?
    On the other hand (I have five fingers). I know, I’ve used that before.
    Commentary enough? I’ve got to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

    • Thank you, JA. I was thinking that very thing as I wrote it. But I have the answer: The last TWO blogs were not commented on. Each had a total of five. Or, in math terms, ten in total. And I did half of the ten.
      But thanks. Pithy observations are needed. That’s what Sal says when she is nagging me. ” I am merely observing the fact that you are wrong again. No judgment. That’s still to come!”

  6. Comments are not much of a basis for evaluation of solitary posts. The big picture is lots of folks read you without commenting. But they read you. Put a meter that counts the clicks on your post if that is important. Silence is silence but one must not infer disapproval. Do you want the banal cheerleading? Many of you posts write about stuff that some might not feel qualified to comment upon. Take the epiphany post. It was difficult comment on you epiphany. So personal. But we still want to read about. We love you eh!

    • Dawgs! Thanks for that. And I am not quite as insecure as it might seem. Close. But mostly it’s because, when writing or speaking, you can sometimes say the exact opposite to what you mean. For instance, Secretary Spicer, (Trumps new White House spokesman) said to the press corps today, “I do not ever intend to lie to you guys.” How is THAT even possibly gonna turn out to be true? He lied with THAT statement!
      So, I feel the need to check and comments are that check.

  7. I don’t think you should judge readers interest strictly by replies.
    I am enjoying the “Arizona” chronocles. We were there four years ago in the Tucson area and found it quite an interesting place.

    • Well, I AM finding it interesting…just not….you know…..desirably so. But, here’s news: The people are just great. Old, young, Latino, Black, Bubbas………..everyone is very pleasant and eager to chat. Dozens of churches bigger than BC Place stadium kind freak me out but churches have always made me feel uncomfortable. I need my own.

  8. Glad you’re having fun! And an escape for a while is always good. Afraid Arizona suburbia is just not close enough to “off the grid” to be remotely interesting, though. It’s awfully close to what I’ve always been running away from, anyway. I look forward to you getting back to the real world rather than the plastic, trump’ish place you’re currently perched!

    • I feel the same way and even feel the need to say it….but, that’s not fair. Some people must love it here. And I actually LIKE it for the ‘change of scenery’ that it is. I am just biased, I guess. I like Heaven over Hell….so, sue me.

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