Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category


Image result for the front runnerThe Front Runner (2018) is based on the true story of Senator Gary Hart’s second attempt to become President of the United States of America in 1988 (watch trailer here).

Gary Hart was an intuitive and well thought out politician, and political thinker. He had been a senator for almost 20 years, and had placed second in the 1984 Democratic Primaries. At this point I have to admit I was unfamiliar with this story, but honestly I do not follow American politics as closely as I do Canadian, and dudes I was 6-10 years old at that time.

It was the Cold War, in 1988 the closing days. The Berlin Wall had come down, Communism had been bankrupted in the arms race. It was time for America to dream a new way. Gary Hart was seen as the person to do that by the Democrats. Literally they joked his hair was worth 12 points in the polls. He was late 40’s in age. The heir apparent in the Republican Party was George H.W. Bush, former head of the CIA, and President Reagan’s Vice President.

On policy and charisma, even as the primaries were set to begin it was looking like a change in the White House was imminent. Now remember in the 1980’s infotainment was not a thing, 24 news networks were on baby legs, and certain things like sex scandals and celebrity gossip was still firmly tabloid territory. Old school journalists spoke later in memoirs of the gentlemen agreements between them and politicians to not report of family or their philandering.

Then Gary Hart’s campaign and the walls would come down. A mistress. A battle line is drawn between the old way and the new emergence. Hart holding to the facts of life as he had been raised with that his family and personal life was none of the public’s business when it came to serving them. There is truth to that. It was amazing how rabid the news media became chasing the story, harassing his wife and daughter. How quickly, the mainstream became paparazzi with this story. Watching it play out (Hugh Jackman is a great actor) and seeing the literal light switch go on for a whole new world. Where the debate of ideas and vision began to crumble away for gotcha bedroom politics (which I am sure anyone can look to any recent elections to see the outcome 30 years on).

Hart almost got a head of the scandal, until a Washington Post reported asked him if he believed adultery was morally wrong. It is a loaded question, for it first insinuates that everyone’s concept of marriage is a traditional 20th century construct of 1 man, 1 woman with 1.2 kids. For even the word traditional (or Biblical) is loaded as there are many different variations of genders involved, levels of spousalhood, concubines and mistresses, what of a tradition of taking on another relatives spouse when they are widowed as your own?  So what is a moral marriage? What is adultery? It does raise some ethical questions to be answered that religion does not give an easy answer to, nor does politics. Adultery is a rationale for dissolution of a marriage under civil law, yet it is not illegal in of itself. It does harm to many, yet it does not come with a fine or jail time. Yet in the era of the supreme Religious Right, and those in the public eye regardless of profession coming to understand they are never off camera it led to a decent candidate for Presidency to step aside. Two key points: a mysterious envelope anonymously arrived at media outlets showing another affair, that one editor commented it is suspicious that the competition used to head the CIA and this happens, and the other being that harassment of his daughter is presented as the true tipping point for his decision to step down.

I raise this, as we move 30 years on, and look at those who have run for office. Who are under criminal investigations, who bully-mock those who are different, who brag of rape or side wink sexual assault of interns, and they are celebrated and elected (sometimes for more than one term). Yet in 1988, this ended a run, not because the general public thought it was wrong (at the time 64% of Americans polled believed the media had gone to far into his private life), but because the media had found they could. Not a bad thing to investigate for actual criminal activity, for character, assessing policy, and reporting factually on behaviours, but what should have been a footnote stopped someone. Now I am not condoning extra-marital affairs, but that is between those married how their house functions.

For me, it is the ethical question on what standard we hold our media and politicians to?

What standard of privacy do we expect of our private lives, to get the best possible candidates to step forward and run to serve and represent us the people? What is the line in the sand drawn? How much information is too much, and actually distracts from that which matters (i.e. the actual vigorous debate and dissection of platforms and policies)?


P-N-E-S.

What is it?

Simply put, it is an acronym that stands for Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures. It is 25% of the seizure cases that the Calgary Epilepsy Program sees. It can go un(mis)diagnosed (meaning you are being treated for Epilepsy) on average between 7-20 years. It is essentially what comes with Epilepsy without the Epileptic electrical brain activity. It is a convergence disorder, that 90% of the time is associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a freedom, and a fear in knowing what it is, the freedom is that you do not need the harsh anti-convulsion or anti-epileptic medications (unless it is co-occuring with Epilepsy), the fear is that treatment is a journey within your own self.

Image result for psychogenic nonepileptic seizures by myersLorna Myers Ph.D (2014) Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures: A Guide is an exploration of the basics. It aptly points out that in one point and time in history these were known as pseudo or hysterical seizures (and even demonic possession), which is a misnomer as they are not false but the physiology of the person experiencing them they are real. Though I must admit watching a serial killer documentary with the wife when the Cannibal stated that it was pseudo-seizures, did cause me to almost do a spit take. I digress however.

I was a lucky one, it only took about 2ish years to diagnosis, and this was after finally getting the gold standard of testing, the observed EEG in hospital with audio and video. That was in September 2018, and in February 2019 I entered into the psycho-therapeutic treatment. It is two pronged, as there is also going to be in depth intervention for PTSD later. Myers does allude that PTSD treatment should come before PNES treatment. I wrestle with that, because if one cannot control or mitigate the dissociative and/or convergent episodes, how are they going to root out the memory ingrained pain to heal appropriately. To each their own, but this inversed path appears to be working.

Myers text for the laity (or patient) walks you through treatment options. That range from Talk to CBT to DBT to exposure therapy, each step of the way pointing out the need for this to be happening with an appropriately trained mental health practitioner in PNES. She points out the role a psychiatrist, psychologist (Ph.D.) and possibly, social worker would play in each role.

In a typical American based fashion she gives a nod to continue working with adjustments while working through the PNES treatment (if possible is a side note). What is needed though, in my opinion, is a grasp on something that gives meaning. Myers notes if one cannot work (as in my case due to the PTSD being linked to the work) then to find meaning in life elsewhere…for me it has been my family, my writing, and a renewal in my reading, and a safe zone in our home church.

The walk will also take you through the role Anger, Depression and Anxiety play in exacerbating the PNES, but also that in the case of Anxiety there can be other psychogenic effects to your system as a whole. It was a good notation, as the wife and I had noticed an increase in frustration and anger over this time. In the complementary treatment section it explores the pros-cons on one’s health of herbal and health supplements, touches on spiritual practice, yoga and Tai-Chi as being beneficial to centering, grounding, and releasing of stress tensions. Basics around healthy diet, good sleep hygiene, hydration as well in the healthy body section. Myers shares some online resources she has created as well.

It is a beginning point of a journey, that encourages self-exploration. Not everything everyone will suggest will work for you. Part of the journey of understanding the triggers and precursors to events, working to interrupt and cessate the events, is discovering what works for you.

It is introspective work. It goes deep, because like Gremlins and Saboteurs in life coaching, the episodes have a benefit to your system. For me it is about efficiency is a word that keeps coming through. I strove so hard to protect my friends and family from vicarious trauma of the work I did, it became so internalized that when something went awry, the efficient way for my body to expel the crud is through convulsion.

There is a fear of what lurks beneath, but also a fear that is created within myself and my family as a result of the episodes. In a way, the efficiency my biological system created to protect me, has created a system that can traumatize, doing the direct counter of what I was seeking to avoid.

Even though it may feel on the journey like there was a freedom, it was a false freedom, for instead of integrating and processing the pain. As the glue that held teams together, that ensured everyone was taken care of, in the moments when other crisis would arise I would compartmentalize to come back later, something was missed within my own soul.

The true freedom, is going to come by confronting the fear, to have an new release. A new lease on life. It is easy to jump ahead to what comes after, but in the jumping ahead excitement and endorphins can continue to mask the sorrow, can continue to suppress and compress the pain. It is being present in the journey, wrestling with the pain, integrating it into the pilgrimage of my whole self…

For the new-best me, awaits on the other end for my soulmate, and kids…and for me.

Out with the Old

Posted: January 19, 2019 by Ty in Musings
Tags: , ,

I am blessed in the fact that I am raising my kids in the house I was raised in. The house I was brought home from the hospital to, and have called home my entire life. As I sit here the new living room furniture and kitchen set is coming in (Thank you Brick and your delayed payment events!). As I had shared with my wife, it is not that I dislike new, or change in the home environment, it is after all our home.

The challenge is in the short term watching what is so familiar go away and the new come in. Quite a metaphor for the change-grief process of life. The old fades away to a memory as the new reality solidifies. Bless her, my wife said we didn’t have to get rid of X, Y, or Z but then we just wind up storing that which when paid forward can bless another family.

For that is the story of this old house.


Good Night,

Sleep tight,

don’t let the bed bugs bite.

-Ancient bedtime incantation against the blood sucking buggars

Image result for bed bugsBED BUGS! Feel it. That uncontrollable desire to itch or scratch? Don’t hide it. I know you did. I spent years being the go to in infestation control for multiple buildings. It is a creepy feeling. I have seen infestations so bad that there was a symbiosis created by tenant and insect, to the newest ones that are picked up in life transit.  We have all heard the news reports of the explosions of bed bugs on airplanes, in churches, movie theatres, low rent motels, high rent hotels, and schools. These are travelers, see bed bugs are searching for hosts. They love our carbon dioxide. The ones in public spaces are seeking a person to take them home. There is so many because 1000’s can literally be born in days. The female bed bug is impregnated by thousands of mates all at once, and births the babies in a cycle.

They are translucent until they feed. There source of food? Us. If there is a huge infestation, and they cannot sufficiently feed I have seen situations where they will feed on a pet, but usually a pet in used as a public transit mechanism for them to go to other places and spread their colonies. By what are they making a comeback so strongly in Canada? Well, we had them obliterated, unfortunately the chemicals used to wipe them out were also wiping us out via carcinogens. Dang it.

Image result for bed bugsBy mechanical function how early an infestation is detected states how many sprays are needed (minimum usually two). If you rent, the landlord in Alberta is responsible for footing the bill for the spray (sorry homeowners, its on us for our own). The responsibility of the tenant (and the infested if you own) is to promptly follow through on all instructions laid out by the pest control company to ensure the efficacy of the sprays.

Appears very simple. One notes like the picture above or less and calls in; or has noted 3 clustered bites (breakfast-lunch-dinner)together resembling small or large mosquito bites and calls for pest control (keep in mind not everyone shows bites, for the bite showing is an allergic reaction so you can be being feasted on and never even know it, it is why in communal living like hotels, condos, and apartment blocks random inspections help by trained pest control).

Yet this is not a simple carpet beetle infestation where carpet replacement or vacuuming will cure, or flour beetles that require cleaning and food disposal. This is a very intimate type of infestation and that can be missed is that part of the process is mental health supports. Sadly in 2013 in Montreal, a gent with pre-existing mental health conditions completed a suicide due to recurrent Bed Bug infestations. Though I can attest one does not need pre-existing mental health or health conditions to provide an unkind end.

Image result for bed bugsBed bugs get in your most intimate spots–truly. They disrupt sleep. They interrupt sexual relations. If you talk to others about it, they recoil and stigmatize you. See we assume bed bugs equate to dirty lifestyle or living. That is a fallacy. Bed Bugs are seeking food (us), they do not care if you are a hoarder or a minimalist, hospital clean or junkyard mucky, young, old, senior, Millennial, wealthy or poor. They just want your blood.

One would then think, well treatment happens it ends right. No, it does not, one is encouraged not to abandon their resident during treatment cycles as you are literally the bait to contain the infestation. Best case scenario, after two weeks it is free and clear with maybe a lingering of psychosomatic itchiness. Worst case scenario, multiple sprays and many if not all belongings disposed of to ensure reoccurence stops. Literally losing one’s life (material, or completed suicide).

What can this do? Lack of sleep is never a good thing for the human body. Isolation due to stigmatization is never a good thing. Fear of an area of the house (usually happens with where you sleep), but can happen with the whole residence. During treatment cycles, prep, stress, already existing mental health concerns can be exacerbated or new ones can be created: panic attacks to psychotic breaks are not out of the realm of possibility for a rather mentally healthy individual (recurrence after treatment has also been termed Post Traumatic Bed Bug Stress Disorder). For addictions, they can get worse and reach crisis levels, most prevalent being gambling, alcoholism, and drug use. One can also become more open to addiction symptoms to deal with the stress and trauma of the infestation. Sadly as well, pre-existing domestic violence can increase rapidly around this as the infestation can become the focal point of rage and blame.

Knowing that inspection brings people into one’s sanctuary (home); treatment brings others into the sanctuary and tears it apart; living with the buggars has its own terrors. Is it any wonder that mental health is something that needs to be navigated, acknowledged, and treated during and after this time? If we ignore it, we are simply ignoring what is right for our neighbour and ourselves.

Best pest control company I have worked with in Calgary is Martin’s Pest Control.

Image result for bed bugs

 


A host of randomness, because, well its my site and my mind lol.

NDP MLA Stephanie McLean resigns her seat, though she has been MIA by the sounds of it since the spring session. The Speaker stipulates not going forward on releasing the names of the 2 NDP MLA’s who were investigated for misconduct, a weird start to an election year for the governing party.

Kenneygate continues on Twitter with more coming out about non-disclosed/reported donations and donations in kind.

Looking at the governing party, and the supposed government in waiting, is it no wonder I am leaning towards Alberta Liberal or Alberta Party for my vote.

Two endorsements, sadly for ridings I do not live in, but if you do:

Calgary-East vote Gar Gar (Alberta Party) a tireless community builder, and investor in the next generation.

Edmonton West Henday Vote Leah McRorie (Alberta Liberal) a tireless advocate of humanity, inclusion and disability rights. She is a voice our legislature needs to ensure all Albertans are heard from.

Now a shift to pop culture. I must be one of the few Trekkies left on the planet not to see Star Trek Discovery Season 1 (it is on order from my wonderful Public Library). What i have is read the first Discover novel by David Mack, and this past Christmas Season, the two comic collections (some would say graphic novels, but for an oldster like me those were special one of stories while collections were numbered issues brought together as a trade paperback).

The first one I read was Succession. What drew me to it was my love of the Mirror Universe. For the uninitiated (or new reader to the site) the Mirror Universe is exactly what is sounds, the shadow reflection of the main Trek-verse. Instead of a Federation, it is a Terran Empire. Succession brings forth the best of the Mirror Universe in all its genocidal glory, originally was a 4 issue mini-series. The collection also had a bonus annual, that was a love story of what brought a scientist (Lt. Statmets) into Starfleet. Not wanting to give any spoilers, but it is Trek at its best.

The next was a solely Klingon adventure- the Light of Kahless. A religious-philosophical exploration of the Klingon Empire that has fallen into corruption, and what a dishonoured-minor house can do to redeem the Empire. Exploring the Klingon Monastery on Boreth, and what exaclty the reincarnation of Kahless and his light is for the Empire through main character T’Kuvma. The journey feels like a spiritual-political fable, at times reminiscent of the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter, Redemption; and at other times of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes focused on the clone of Kahless.

Solo a Star Wars Story was fun. I know many did not like it, but it was a fun adventure-treasure hunt. What else would one expect from the younger days of Han Solo? Donald Glover as Lando is priceless. Go in looking for a fun movie and that is what you will get. Go in as an over-serious fan-boy, and yeah be bitter. I prefer to love fun.

Four episodes into the twisty-turny Netflix series, YOU. Yes, I will be nice and give the trigger warning for those who have ever been stalked this may not be for you. Why? It is the story of two stalkers, both trying to bring out who they believe the main character Beck to be. Don’t want to give any spoilers, but it is done in such a way as good writing is that you feel for the main character, being Joe (think of how Harris humanized Hannibal Lecter).

Just some meandering thoughts as we enter 2019…as for Oprah’s Greenleaf in season three, one episode in and I do hope it picks up as it has lost the pinache that made a good show.

-30- for now.


Some say that you can re-wire your brain by taking time each day to reflect on the 3 things you are grateful for. I would start team meetings with this, as it shifted the energy in the room. It shifts you from a mindset of stress, defeatism and negativity into a place of…oh yeah. There was also 2 other questions that I would pose, so here is your New Year’s Eve Soul Work:

  1. What are 3 things you are grateful for in 2018?
  2. What is something you learned in 2018?
  3. What is a new (or renewed) piece of self (soul) care you will take with you into 2019?

And yes, for regular readers, this can be part of a daily examin  exercise so the day reflected on just doesn’t become a “how did I screw up today list”…which is not the purpose.

Tonight at Midnight…welcome to 365 new opportunities to create the new chapters in your new book of life…


A random collection of thoughts that don’t really fit anywhere else. What one would term a true free fall if you will. Letting the thoughts tumble out of your head.

The joy of Boxing Week movie bins brings you John Wick 2. A sequel due to well John Wick doing so well. It is much of the same on this assassin’s journey to escape his past life that just won’t let go. Where Wick 1 would be a 4/5; I’d say 2 is about 3.5/5. Fun, but the originality has worn off. The ending is pure production company where it could end there, or leave the door slightly ajar for a 3 depending on box office.

From Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3 gem’s (thanks Netflix). “Deja Q” that brings up the ultimate philosophical question what makes one human? This is not done through the usual foil of Data, but rather the Q-tinum has grown tired of Q’s chaos across the universe and punted him, his last thought was to be human. He is now on the Enterprise, and trying to discover among many things the joy of 10 chocolate sundaes, what it means to be human? (oh and feeling pain, and fear of death).

“Yesterday’s Enterprise” is a time travel episode, where a past Enterprise-C is thrown forward, and due to not completing its rescue mission the new reality is a timeline at war with the Romulans. It is the episode that brings Tasha Yar back to life, and the deeper question about life…what happens if a death doesn’t mean anything? How does one ensure their entire life from cradle to grave has meaning?

I do know it was an empty death, a death without purpose.

-Guinan, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”

The newest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich finally made the pick up shelf at my library. I discovered Evanovich during my time working at Smithbooks, and then Coles, at Sunridge Mall way back when. She has a quirky-dry sense of humour for her Trenton, NJ lingerie salesgirl turned bounty hunter with the former working girl sidekick Lula. Look Alive Twenty-Five brings the between the numbers mystery magicus, Wulf, to the numbered books as he involves himself in a weird mystery. Plum & Lula are now managing a deli, where managers have a tendency to vanish by the dumpster leaving behind only 1 shoe? And what does a grunge-rock band, a pickled senior wanting her cat back, and a chicken breeder that runs a breakfast burrito truck have to do with the mystery? Oh and as always there is Ranger and Morelli, attempting to keep Plum safe from Plum luck.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Paramount’s Star Trek movies reboot. To hear though that the fourth may be scuttled because of Pine and Hemsworth not signing on, I think is a loss on what could be a new direction. Off-camera promote Kirk off the Enterprise. Make Sulu the captain, you can do either a Harry Mudd as antagonist movie, or a Guardian on Edge of Forever movie. I did not find Pine embodied Kirk, as well as the other cast had taken to their roles, and seeing Sulu as captain would allow for new helms and navigator, with where CGI is at would be great to see Arex come to life on the big screen.

Ontario Federal riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes by-election was no surprise with the Conservatives holding this extremely safe party turf. What was a shock was the 24 votes seperating the deadlock for 3rd place of the NDP and Green Party. It could be a sign that the supporters of the Greens (really a Red Tory-Blue Grit party to use old vernacular) may not abandon their party at the polls. The Greens have always polled decently between votes, but on vote day have a knack to collapse. Here’s hoping 2019’s federal election can see them scoop votes from both the old 2 mainliners and present well, the diverse voice is needed in the House of Commons.

Finally, it was worth the wait. The Equalizer 2, Robert John McCall is back after Denzel Washington’s first tour in the film reboot of the old television series. This time the fun has a bit of international flare for the man who sends the most convoluted mixed messages when attempting to help. It was worth the wait, and is definitely a good movie that holds ones attention. From the subplots of the help he spreads throughout the main plot of the movie as someone strikes close to home for him. A bit more of his mysterious past is revealed (and yes I am trying not to give away spoilers). Though flour ignites beautifully.

May your 2019 be better than your 2018.