Monthly Archives: May 2015

Making an attempt to recapture a golden age in my life

dis old house

Went out betimes last evening and attended a presentation on Transcendental Meditation. Why? You might be driven to ask.

Two reasons. The first one being that friends who swear by it find it a great means of alleviating life stresses. And that leads me to the second reason, which is, it vouldn’t hoit, just like chicken soup.

Life has its clutter and junk and sources of tension and I think I handle it moderately well these days, despite human nature tendencies to sink into despondency or fly into blind rages. Actually, I don’t do either of those so much, though I am victim (much too often) to insomnia. But, otherwise, no mammoth crying jags and my dear wife and I rarely berate each other. Transcendental-meditation

In years gone by I dealt with stress in a time-honored manner, I’d get shitfaced drunk. But such a highly negative means of agony dealing passed by my personal scene 18 years ago (on June 5th, as a point-of-fact). It will never be a welcome guest to my liver any longer.

Anyway, unmystical sod as I might be, I nevertheless have always had a fascination with TM. I plan to make no attempt to channel George Harrison, and John Lennon thought that the Maharishi was a bit of a fraudster. My person jury remains out in that regard and, well, a fella has to make a rupee wherever he can. Regardless, the process is age-old and its curative powers cannot be derided because I have seen it work with people.

So, I went to the session.

One of the suggestions posed was for those present to think of a time in their lives when ‘all was good’. The quest should be to recapture that feeling. I have had moments when all of life (albeit briefly) seemed blissful, such as certain instances on different travels, or when I would fall in love (with my propensity to fall really hard when I do), or that brief microsecond just before orgasm, and finally a short duration period in my life.

And I found that time within my memory bank.

It was a brief time period around when I was 5 years old. And as I look back to ‘then’ it was golden in my memory. We were living at the home of my grandparents while my dad completed construction of the family home a couple of blocks away. tram

So, what are those golden memories of a blissful time?

– we were living with my grandparents whom I adored. Adored much more than I did my parents, if truth be known. That was never to change for me.

– loved the big old rambling farmhouse with its multiplicity of rooms. Have no nostalgic attachment to my parental home, interestingly enough, but I do to the old long-gone ‘manse’.

– I was not yet at school. Life was never to be the same after that intrusion in my life.

– I took my first trip, with my Grannie to Hornby Island where her brother lived and had a farm. We went there on the Princess Mary, which ended its life rather ignominiously as an eatery in Victoria.

– In my (obviously false) memories it was always sunny and bright, except for the winter in which it snowed for days and days and I found, even though I was a child, I grew tired of it and wished it would go away.

– I still recall two dreams I had at that tender time in my life. One so vividly I could paint a picture of what I saw.

– Meanwhile at night I would hear the lonesome whistle of a steam locomotive as it passed through the valley below the house about a mile away.

– rail travel meant a lot to me and a particular pleasure was riding in one of the great red tramcars of the Burnaby Lake Line with my grandmother after a day’s shopping in downtown Vancouver.

My good and transcendental time. I’d like to try to get some of that back.

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The corner of “heartattack and vine” and other nightmare scenarios of middle age

heartattack and vine

This item is a chapter from the manuscript I am about to send off. Tell me that you really, really like it and think it may be the best thing you have read this year.

There once was a time when three a.m. called for a few slices or more of ultra-spiced pepperoni pizza following a festive evening of consuming considerable quantities of beer. Today, that same scary hour of the night is compelling me to rummage in the darkness of the night table in search of the hiding Rolaids bottle because I had dared to have raw onion on my hamburger at the barbecue earlier in the evening.

You all know what wee small hours heartburn feels like — it feels ominous and maybe lethal. You imagine the all major signs of an impending coronary feel exactly the same. A coronary of the sort that is known as ‘the big one’. The one that’s going to take you out, just like the one that killed your colleague Ralph — who was two years your junior – the previous year. But, probably it’s just heartburn.

Nevertheless, the heartburn warns that you must learn to be prudent in your eating habits. As everything in your life changes through your middle years, so does your relationship with food. What you put in your mouth may seem like a trivial consideration, but it ‘s not. It’s a reality that terrible eating habits kill a bunch of us every year and also contribute to a many chronic health problems, that range from obesity to arteriosclerosis to diabetes. Any refusal to temper the way we nosh is, as with so many elements of aging, yet another form of
middle age denial.bad grub

Men are more adept at denial than are women, especially when it comes to our relationship with our physiognomies. A woman, no matter what she looks like, thinks she is a dog, and is chronically resolving to bring about some changes. You look at your lady and see (with pleasure) a rear and tummy that seem tight, and breasts that would shame females a decade younger. Even if such a Madonna bod is not exactly the case, that’s what you tell her because you still adore having intimate encounters with this person. Really, though, what you say doesn’t matter. She looks at that same body in the mirror and sees Ma Kettle on a bad day.

A man, on the other hand, a man can scope out his body in the mirror and
even if he’s built like a sumo wrestler, he’ll nod in approval and utter, “Looking good, dude.” What’s more, he’ll believe it. Yeah, maybe a little extra avoirdupois around the middle, but don’t most guys have to buy new belts periodically because they’ve run out of holes on the old one?

As men’s relationship with their bodies is different from women’s, so is their relationship with food. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, while not unheard of in males, are much less common than they are in women. Likewise the majority of vegetarians and vegans are female. Sometimes males are forced to go along with such faddism if they live in a household crawling with nutrition-angst-obsessive females, but the general masculine need for sustenance involves something of the meat persuasion.

What is the male’s relationship with his grub?

Males develop their strongest affection with food in adolescence. Many teen boys sport tans throughout the winter due to their tendency to stand and gaze longingly into the refrigerator with the light glaring in their faces while they seek out the voluminous quantities of those fabulous foods that never seem to actually exist in the home icebox. Those foods only live in fast-food emporia, and that’s why adolescent males are so cherished by McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and the like. While girls may frequent these eateries as often as boys, they don’t consume the mammoth volume in burgers, shakes, fries, and onion rings that the lads do. Boys are mouth at one end, gut in the middle, and alimentary canal and ejection port down below. Teen girls, already obsessed with looking like Paris Hilton, guzzle diet colas, and then step outside to smoke. Smoking is good for for losing weight. Start at age fifteen and continue over the next few decades, and eventually you’ll lose every single bit of your weight much sooner than you’d anticipated.

Back to the boys. Any foodstuff is fair game for the male, and no apparent discomfort seems to ensue regardless of what is tucked away. Heartburn and dyspepsia are long in the future. Also, since the majority of males are still in
growth-spurt mode when their appetites are at their greatest, they don’t really put on girth of the paunch sort. They build up bulk but generally don’t get slobbish.

Then it all changes. Very rapidly. The first twinges of heartburn awaken at night. Certain substances begin to have the same effect as a trip to Mexico on a tourist. The middle becomes thicker, and thicker to the degree that maybe even the ‘D-word’, formerly restricted exclusively to females, enters the consciousness. An actual diet likely won’t be acted upon at this juncture, but it has become a consideration for future reference. It falls into that generalized ‘soon’ category that also applies to: quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking, exercising more, and going for a medical check-up. “Soon, hon’. I promise.”

The metabolism changes, you see. No longer can huge amounts be tucked away
without it affecting the scales the next morning. In fact, with middle age, men become aware there actually is a bathroom scale, and perhaps begin checking their weight. Something they’ve either never done, or for the more athletic, haven’t done since active participation days when a certain weight was needed for a specific sport. The cruel irony being that back in those days the guy who wanted to get on the football squad sometimes didn’t because he was too light.

Another vicious change in a man’s relationship with sustenance is that he finally in his middle years learns to appreciate certain gourmet delights. Burgers and fries, or even steak and baked potato aren’t the only items to be savored during our passage on earth. There are the ethnic cuisines of Europe and Asia. There are menu items he has only read about, or heard his wife talk about.

Furthermore, as his taste buds diminish in discriminatory powers with the
passage of time our boy wants his food to be spicier. Curries and Cajun become irresistible. But with the curries, for example (the hotter the better, no doubt) comes the other side of the scimitar. There are the calories in the meals; and the distress. Curry, our subject learns, is just as hot coming out as it was going in, leaving the sufferer in some situations with a bad case of ‘Bengali Bum’ as a result of the brutal passage of assorted blends of cloves, garlic, fenugreek and all the other savory stuff that goes into the mix.

At a personal level, I’ve had to cut back on the volume, and I’ve had to cut back on the carbs, which are my downfall. And most galling of all, I’ve had to cut back on, or cut out, many the things I truly like, or feel are integral parts of particular dishes.

A few examples: Raw onions and I severed our relationship over a decade ago. Sporadically I will make the attempt. I always regret it, to my chagrin. Green peppers went far away probably twenty years ago — about the time I realized I could still taste them three days after they were consumed. I became afraid that if I ate them just one more time, the reminders would stay with me forever. Potato
salad I adore. I also happen to make very fine potato salad that has been
praised by all and sundry (throw in a little horseradish, that makes all the difference). Unfortunately, I have no discretion when it comes to consuming PS and can eat pounds of it. It’s very weight-inducing. Consequently, and it hurts, I only make it three or four times a summer now, in very small quantities. It’s a painful thing to be so limited in my consumption, but at least having a little bit
enables me to carry on with some small hope. What do I want in the end, after
all, vats of potato salad or to appear smashingly soigné?  Vain jerk that I am,
I’ve opted for the soigné.

My fondest foodstuffs however lie in the wonderful category of dessert. From
pastries to cakes to ice cream to puddings to pies to whatever is sweet and
tempting, I love them all. I could forego the main course any time in lieu of dessert. My wife, stepdaughter and I once went to a beautiful restaurant in a hotel on Maui. It was a seafood smorgasbord. We took a stroll around to see what fruits de mer were being offered before we actually picked up plates. As we got near the end of the main course smorgie, there were the desserts! Everything from Baked Alaska to Pavlova to French Pastries were sitting there in their glory. Through our main course as we gnawed on crab legs and scarfed down mussels, oysters and mahi-mahi, I remained obsessed with the fear that some bastard or other was going to take all the good desserts before I got to them. It didn’t happen, but that’s the allure that ‘afters’ have for me.

Now it can only be a once-in-a-while small treat after a sumptuous meal.
And, of course, once the little bit of dessert is consumed, the guilt immediately sets in because I know I’ll have gained at least two pounds.

So, can I say that our relationship with food gets better as we get older?
Yes, probably the relationship does, but the ingesting of it (in all its
ramifications) gets worse, far worse.

Sorry, I didn’t ever suggest that getting older was necessarily better —
just different.

I do hope you will be proud to say: “I knew him when he was still a nobody. Cool, but a nobody”

02_Book_Publishing

There is a book manuscript out there sitting with a publisher and the MS has my name on it. They emailed me and told me they had it – many months ago– and I have heard nothing since.

That may be a good thing, or it may be a bad thing. And, I gather from writerly friends that such inaction is kind of the norm. So I’ll live with it and see what happens.

And, forever resolute, I have another manuscript that I am about to send off today. And I’ll see if I hear about that one – or not. Once that one has gone I only have two to go as I lay myself bare to the fates and whims of the gods.

And so it goes. But I am going to be positive about it all and I am going to fantasize that they love the MS as much as I do, and as I have shown through my dogged editings of the sort, again known to writers, as a powerful means of procrastination. If you are editing you are doing something productive and you are also avoiding laying your soul raw to the whims of some publisher.

But let us conjecture that in the best of all possible worlds, they love it and want to publish it. I mean, other people get published – people get utter shit published, so why not me? Not that my manuscript is utter shit; it’s brilliant.george-orwell

So, they publish me (in my fantasy), what will that bring me? Here is what I conjecture the fallout should be.

– Fame: I will be written up in the press and will be interviewed by the media, both print and electronic. You’ll see me time and again on local news broadcasts to the excessive degree that you will be prompted to ask: “Is that asshole on again?”

Wider Fame: When I take time out from my book signing chores I will likely be invited onto the talk show circuit. I am only sorry that Dave retired but perhaps they could bring him back for a one-off, just to boost me and my book. CBC will, of course, be a natural and I can be as pretentious and pseudo-intellectual with the rest of them, as seems to be their wont with a lot of author guests. The rest of the time I will be wined and dined by notables and invited to chi-chi cocktail parties in the Big Apple and in Mayfair. A presentation to the Queen may be a bit much to ask for, but you never know.

Groupies: Rock stars get groupies so why shouldn’t I get intellectual and soulful sweet young things throwing themselves at me and making offers of favors that can only make me ask myself, why didn’t I get into this racket when I was younger, unmarried and maybe a teeny bit more studly?

Icon status: The idolatry accorded certain authors is much deserved. It’s a hard job of work writing a book and I am always prepared to accord favorite writers whatever kudos I can. I am only sorry that Douglas Adams has passed from the scene for I know I would kiss his ring finger if I could.

Hanging out with the Big Guys: Once I am a respected author I can wander over to Bill Bryson’s house, have a coffee with him and the two of us can ruminate on the wonderfulness we have brought to the world of readers.

– Get back at all who doubted me: I can turn to all those former teachers and academics and say: “In yer face. I’m a famous writer and you’re not. Nyah!”

If you love the ocean you will clean up after yourself just like Mom said

DSCN0586Surrounding the island of Rarotonga well off in the tropical South Pacific is a crystalline lagoon called Muri. Muri Lagoon is what you have always dreamed such a lagoon should be — clear, warm, and pulsating with finned creatures the colors of the rainbow and more; angel fish, Moorish idols, wrasses, trevallies, puffer fish, cornet fish, parrot fish, the odd ray, and even sharks and barracudas in the darker depths. The decor is punctuated by corals of again magnificent hues. It’s heavenly.

On the far side of Muri is a network of tiny islands — known as ‘motus’, in Maori — and they look like everybody’s image of the tiny tropical desert island: white sand beaches surrounding a dense jungle of palms, hibiscus, frangipani and hundreds of other tropical plants.aerial-muri-lagoon

We took little kayaks over to one of them on a particular day. When we disembarked we stood on the beach and practically orgasmed over the absolute stunning beauty of it all. How could it get better than this? We knew not how.

Since the motu wasn’t so very large, we decided to walk right around it. We pulled the kayaks well up the beach towards the jungle so the tide wouldn’t catch them. We then beat a hasty retreat back towards the water, since the mosquitoes were attacking us in droves — hey, even paradise can have a downside, like dengue fever and malaria, and we weren’t about to take chances. Anyway, back closer to the water, the ‘mozzies’ were no problem. We set off on our trek.

On the Muri side the water was still and serene, but as we rounded the bend we could hear the ever-increasing roar of the open Pacific. The Pacific is hardly ‘pacific’. It roars. It sounds like a 747 taking off. Energy spawned by thousands of miles of water finally finding a point of land tends to lead to a thundering presence that is mind-boggling. You could not sleep on such a beach, so great is the magnificent crashing of the waves.garbage

We wandered along in sheer delight, but then I noticed there was a downside in being on this open ocean side. The ocean is not clean. All along the beach there was garbage, the effluvia of humanity. I don’t shock easily, but I was shocked, nevertheless. How could this be? The Pacific is so massive. Hawaii is five hours flying time to the north, and the mainland of North America five hours more. French Polynesia is a few hundred miles to the east, but it’s pretty small geography-wise, so it couldn’t produce much. Australia and New Zealand are a few hours to the south and west.

I looked at the crap — cartons, bottles, disposable cigarette lighters (lots of disposable cigarette lighters), even tampon injectors. Those that had discernible labels had writings from around the globe, Asian languages, English, French, German, Russian, Polish. And, even more distressing, fish nets. Tangled and ugly fishnets. We were in heaven on earth and were also up to our ankles in the shit of earth. And, I could only conclude that this shit is all coming from ships. Our waterborne transport believes it has the right to jettison it’s crap into this exquisite and huge ocean. Problem is, even it ain’t large enough to handle our ‘disposables.’

A few weeks ago I watched a documentary concerning an expedition made to the northwest Hawaiian Islands by a Cousteau group. And there, on Midway, Laysan, Hermes Reef and French Frigate Shoals, it was the same old shit. We, with impunity, fill the ocean was stuff that is not only unsightly, but a huge risk to wildlife. The beautiful green, sweet and benevolent sea turtles, with eyes too sweet to ever be in the head of a reptile, think that plastic bags are jellyfish — a mainstay of turtle diet. Plastic bags aren’t jelly fish. Turtles eat them and either choke to death, or tie up their guts. Makes you want to weep, those of you who have ever swum with turtles.

Wayward fishnets, meanwhile, snare dolphins and turtles, and even whales, since the hideous craft that deep net fish (often illegally) will cut off the nets rather than risk arrest. If that isn’t their fear, they will also cut them off if they get snarled.

I don’t write this is a rabid environmentalist, and I do get tired of those who would politicize that which should just be common sense among the less than brain-dead, but goddamn, when I see the disrespect we have for a huge body of water, and the way in which we violate it, I am saddened and can only conclude we deserve whatever is coming our way.

Don’t have an organics orgasm unless that’s what rings your bell

cornucopia-fresh-fruits-vegetables-18121786

You see it in your supermarket produce section. Yours eyes light on wilty looking swiss chard, and wizened raspberries that cost twice as much as the regular offerings elsewhere in that department and you know that you are perusing ‘organic’ items.

Yes, it does cost more and looks rather tawdry but, my heavens, it’s organic and such purchases are much like praying as they just might put you nearer to the godhead and your conscience will be cleansed because you are not buying into the vileness of corporate ‘Amurka’, or Canada for that matter, since these days it’s difficult to tell the difference.chard

Now, despite your suspicions, I am not about to go all cynical and curmudgeonly and with a sense of superiority, inform you that the whole organic thing is a ruse and that it’s basically a bullshit rip-off – well, I am not going to entirely say that in the sense I respect your right to waste your money as you choose. On the other hand, there are considerations to be reckoned with.

We tend to think that organic food is more environmentally cuddly, and in one sense it is and that is because it doesn’t contaminate with pesticides, chemicals and other evil stuff. But the downside is that it doesn’t grow as productively as more conventionally grown veggies and hence demands about twice as much land for the same harvestable crop.

As far as being more nutritious, there are no studies that confirm that your organic corn is better for you than Monsanto-tainted GMO stuff, but chacun a son mythology. If eating inferior sized and expensive ears makes you feel better about yourself, then fill your boots.cfia-canada-organic-logo-24

Does it taste better? Well, shelf-life is shelf-life and it’s all a matter of buying what is good in season. Organic will taste much like inorganic, there’ll just be a bit less of it for your buck. If the organic comes from elsewhere it’ll be just as travel-weary as any other product.

Some believe it is cleaner and perhaps you needn’t wash it. Not so fast. It may not contain directly applied pesticides and herbicides but you have no way of knowing what is in the runoff water draining into those untainted fields.

You might think you are supporting small farmers. Think again, the big corporate cereal companies push a lot of so-called organic brands like Cascadian Farms for General Mills and Back to Nature, owned by Kraft – the same people who make that yucky agent orange Mac and Cheese.

If you are making purchases from local farms for products that are labeled ‘organic’ you can be sure it’s the real thing as the rules for such labeling are very stringent. But, for commercial products it’s a bit different. Products labeled organic must consist of 95% organcially produced ingredients, but those that tell you they are “made with organic ingredients” only need to be 70% pure in that regard.

Eat healthy, folks, but as the old adage states Caveat Emptor.

If we know nothing else we do know the simple truism that holds that everything must end

fall guy

I am rarely completely faithful with any television series. I’ll like something for a while and then grow weary of the characters and their shenanigans and move on to something else.

I watched Downton Abbey for its first seasons and enjoyed it well enough. They production values were good and the acting excellent and the story lines, at least up through the First World War tended to, if not rivet the viewer, at least interest.

But, this year I had had enough. I watched the first episode and DVR’d the rest. I realized with that first one I was nearly bored to insensitivity. It came to me that I didn’t give a damn about a bunch of heedless toffs or their toadying underlings downstairs. So I think I’ll probably scrap the unwatched episodes and won’t feel bad about doing so.madmen

The other series I watched (almost) in its entirety, was Lost. With that one we come to the crux of this discussion – finales – last episodes – how do the people who make these vehicles pull it all together and leave you feeling satisfied. In fact, they don’t. The final episode of Lost, frankly, sucked. Much as did the final episodes of other beloved long-living series like MASH, Seinfeld, or Friends. To bring a vehicle to an agreeable, non-cliche conclusion seems to be beyond TV creative ‘geniuses’ and that is irksome, and it brings me to today’s topic. Mad Men.

I can say with no equivocation that I watched every single episode of the series that concluded this past Sunday. For seven long years I followed the trials, tribulations, boozing marathons, chain-smoking and fuckaramas of Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Pete, Peggy, bountiful Joan and the rest and didn’t miss one of them.Coca-Cola-Bio-Cooler-4

And then we came to the grand conclusion. How were they going to pull all of that together and leave people satisfied? Well, I guess they couldn’t. Or, at least they didn’t leave this faithful viewer satisfied. Mainly what they left me was confused.

At the final scene our beloved rogue Don is at a hippie retreat in N. California, obviously modelled after the Esalen Institute. He is at one with all the meditators as they sit on a bluff at an exquisite hillside overlooking the Pacific and in unison uttering their “omm”. What, Don Draper doing this? Or so it seems. He had just completed a Kerouac-style trans-continental journey that saw him shuck all his worldly possessions after having walked from his job. Ultimately he ends up in LA, ravaged with alcoholism and shitfaced drunk at the home of his hippie female friend from a few seasons ago. He’s a mess. Long story short, she takes him to the retreat – where they got the money there is no indication – and he gets his head together.martooni

So, you think he has maybe shucked the Madison Avenue bullshit? Maybe, or maybe not. It’s left to you. Right after the Omm moment that image passes to one of the most famous ads of all time – Coke’s “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing”, and Coke is Don’t account.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Is he saved or is he going to continue being the same callow bastard he was all along.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the gang – Roger Sterling (whom I grew to like more and more) ends up with Don’s ex mother-in-law and seems very content with this ‘older’ woman. Peggy links up with her creative partner; lovely Joan starts a brilliant business of her own, and a slightly redeemed Pete gets back with his ex and we are to assume they all live happily ever after – or not. The one who seems to end up on the poopy end of the stick is Don’s ex, Betty, who is dying of lung cancer. Hardly seems fair somehow. And if she’s dying of cancer, why isn’t Don dying of cirrhosis?

Some found Mad Men a little too dark to be an entertainment. Some had such a visceral loathing for the Don Drapers of the world, they chose to watch something less dispiriting in lieu. I get that.

But, for me, having been a young man during that era, I got it – and at two levels. I got the lifestyle, and feel blessed in having gotten out of it alive. And even though I was never in advertising, I was closely associated with it in all my newspaper work, and was once even married to somebody in the racket. It, to an outsider, is a challenging and often soul-destroying calling – just like on Mad Men. Therefore in their striving, and sometimes in their excesses, I can give them a nod of understanding, if not approval.

This will likely be the most awesome thing you have ever read — or at least have read today

Awesome11

So, I got myself out of bed this morning, went for a pee, turned on the coffee, had a good jolting cup of dark roast, made a soft-boiled egg for breakfast and had some toast with it.”

Awesome!”

Then, once finished I went and took a nice hot shower. The water was soothing and pleasant and I hummed a solo from Parsifal whilst I tended to my ablutions.

Awesome!”

You will be familiar with this, in which virtually every statement or happenstance in life is responded to, far-far too frequently with a word that was henceforth reserved to the most astonishing events imaginable.

Awesome in its true context refers to something breathtaking, staggering, pee-in-your-panties stunning, a first glimpse of the Taj Mahal amazing, a peer over the precipice of the Grand Canyon riveting. youre-awesome

It does not need to be applied to your neighbors’ new Hyndai, or his new girlfriend for that matter even if she is constructed like Christina Hendricks on Mad Men. You don’t have a fine meal that is awesome, it might be tasty, it might be delicious, it might be the best grub you have ever scarfed, but unless, in tasting that first morsel, you heard heavenly choirs and the voice of God, it was not fucking ‘Awesome!’ OK? So stop using that term when you are applying it to the prosaic happenings of life.

Nothing wrong with nice, swell, dandy, tickety-boo, great and so forth.

This is not to say I am arrogantly suggesting that awesome must never be used, but save it for the good stuff. You know, it’s a bit like the cheapening of the word ‘fuck’ in recent years. Both should be reserved for the good stuff.

Have I had experiences I would describe as awesome in that they evoked a sense of personal awe? I have indeed. Some of them were:

– Seeing the Roman Colosseum floodlit at the end of a dark street at twilight.

– The Na Pali coast on the north side of Kauai

– happening upon a rehearsal of the King’s College Choir in Cambridge

– watching the voracious crocodiles in Costa Rica

– Muri Lagoon in Rarotonga

-the Schoenbrun Palace in Vienna

-Michelangelo’s David in Florence

– Flying over the Comox Glacier in a T-Bird jet

Those are some of my visits with awesomeness. Otherwise it’s just a matter of degree and if we continue to overuse a word it loses its impactful value.