on the res

the forecast is not looking good

You remember my last couple of photos i posted with me or my bike against some blue sky? Yeah, they're the only couple of days in the last month or so that we actually had a blue sky. For the rest it's been wildfire smog. And i'm not talking, like, pretty orange sunset kinda smog. I'm talking there are literal flakes of ash floating in the air, visibility less than 1km, throat-choking, eyes-watering, clouds of doom. Every. Single. Day. Sun? I don't remember what the sun looks like. Don't be fooled by the weather reports showing clear skies. They're only clear above the smoke.

This is going to be a big challenge for cycling east. It's the same for hundreds of miles around. There are people still living outside right now, but they're definitely not having a fun time of it.

Here are some of the different routes i could take.

There are fires everywhere that isn't a major city.

I was planning to avoid major cities.

The landscape here is super hilly, lots of little canyons with steep sides. The railroads and highways tend to stay in the canyons as much as possible, and so does the smoke.

A whole bunch of national and provincial parks are closed. There are standing evacuation orders in several towns and evacuation warnings ("keep a go bag packed") in many more.

The local rez (where they found the unmarked graves) has been accepting evacuees from surrounding villages and reserves. We are a regional center, so it's quite likely that a bunch of the people living on the streets here rolled in from surrounding communities where the fires are raging even harder. Apparently this happens every few years, it's just part of the deal of living in a dry, warm place with a bunch of wilderness around it.

It could last all summer. But i don't have a house all summer.

Yesterday there was a memorial ceremony in the yard for my landlord's brother, who died suddenly a few months ago while there were still pandemic regulations against gatherings. Her brother was an adopted indigenous kid, so a lot of visitors were First Nations, and a local musical group played frame drum and sang songs. I felt a bit like i was imposing, because i never met the guy, so i retired back to my room. But aside from social awkwardness, i also needed to go back inside because the smoke was hurting my eyes.

There is a parallel story here about my woes with the eye doctor, trying to get everything sorted before i go. I can't find a contact lens that fits any more, they all itch or hurt, but i can't tell if it's because the smoke has irritated my eyes or if these newfangled brands just suck.

I am almost at the point where i just want to say "fuck it" and wear glasses, then get laser surgery at the first damn place where i stop long enough to do the recovery. I remember as a young 20something getting my first serious, well-paying jobs, and so many of my peers got laser surgery and said it was the best thing they ever did. And i was like, nah, can't be bothered, contact lenses are no hassle at all, they're cheap, they don't hurt, it's not a big deal. But the older i got the more they started to bug me. Now i wish i had done the surgery when i was a 20something because they really have been nothing but an annoyance in my life, and now trying to do some "active travel" in hostile conditions, i want to rip my eyeballs out and throw them into the river it's that fucking bad.

Anyway, today is another busy day because the house is in the final stages of being sold, and an independent inspector is coming through. "In the morning." It's 8am. So i think i have at least an hour to shower and get dressed and try make the house clean. But i still need to eat breakfast and drink coffee too. We're not allowed to be here when they are. So i will pack a bag and bike out into the smoke to try figure out what to do all day. Maybe i will go buy some N95 masks and look into the UPS box. The shops are on opposite sides of town, and one of them is on top of a hill. Good practice for cycling through this shit.

So, i'll either be back at the end of the day with a bottle of pepper spray and a respirator, or i'll be dead from smoke asphyxiation. Good times.
on the res

i'm getting itchy feet

I am ready to go!

All of the stuff that i really needed to start this bike tour safely has arrived. The only things i don't have that i probably should still get are bear spray and some N95 masks for the wildfire smoke.

Yesterday felt like the end of an era. I put a bunch of goodies in the backpack that has traveled with me all over the world and left it with the local street outreach team. I hope they can pass it on to someone who will appreciate it. I still have a few other things to give away, but they're all smaller or less unusual things that i'll just leave by the river or in one of the other spots where i know people who can use it will find it.

The only major thing i still have to figure out is my mail solution. I would prefer to get one of those virtual addresses where they scan, hold or forward your mail, but most of them only have Vancouver locations, which feels wrong to me. As much as BC has become my Canadian home now, i am definitely way more comfortable in the interior than down on the coast.

Let me digress a bit, because that's worth talking about. I try to avoid referring to myself as "from" any particular place, because i don't really feel like i belong anywhere. But after Brexit happened, rendering my European citizenship worthless and my British citizenship thoroughly embarrassing, i adopted a traveling identity of Overseas Canadian. Up until the pandemic i had only lived about 4 years in Canada, but that was long enough to qualify for citizenship, and i liked the spirit of Canada as a place that's explicitly multicultural and migrant-friendly, so i became a citizen. But i never really felt at home anywhere in the country. Because most of the country is cold and wet and full of mosquitoes.

And then i came to this corner of BC, and i found a little piece of Canada that is... well, okay, it's still cold in the winter. But it's not wet and full of mosquitoes. And the people are friendly and down-to-earth. I do love big cities with vibrant rave scenes, but Toronto and Montréal are pretty much the only cities in Canada that qualify there, and to be honest neither is really as exciting as even smaller towns in Europe. So you're not really losing much in Canada, stepping down from a big city to a small town. But you gain the ability to literally walk to the edge of town and end up in nature. That's pretty awesome.

I suppose the downside is the usual rural stuff. Some people still go to church. They like driving trucks and riding quads and going hunting. By big city standards they're a bit rough round the edges and un-PC, but i choose to believe that's more because they're ignorant than because they're bigoted. I hope that just living my life as a minority in a place like this helps to reduce that ignorance. On the flip side, there's less of the cognitive dissonance that happens in bigger North American cities where you get lots of relatively wealthy people lamenting the state of racism and democracy and the environment while simultaneously driving their SUVs to the mall to buy a bunch of made-in-China tat, or stepping over homeless people to get to work.

I'm not sure why i find North American cities so jarring in that way, and why it doesn't feel so bad in Europe.

Anyway, the point is that i found this little home in Canada, in this "flyover town" that people driving by don't even bother stopping at because it's not scenic enough compared to the next one up the road. When the news came out about the graves at the residential school across the river, it felt like i shared in the grief. With the wildfires burning up homes and ranches around town, the loss hits me too. Maybe because it's a smaller town it all feels more personal, even though i don't have any connections here. Whatever the reason, the end result is i have developed a bit of local area pride, or solidarity with the community, or something.

So when it comes to establishing a legal (but otherwise imaginary) home base, i feel like i'd rather set my address here than in Vancouver. And because it's a small town, that means there is no company offering virtual addresses. The choices are PO box or UPS box. And that's where i will mail all the documents that i am not taking with me. So if i get halfway across the country and realize i need my birth certificate, well, fuck, i'll have to come all the way back here to unlock the box. Or send the key to a local area lawyer, perhaps.

I suppose i could send all my shit to my friend R in Windsor again, but i feel like i have leaned on her way too much. Also, Windsor is cold, wet and full of mosquitoes.

Whatever i end up doing, i need to do it next week. Because come August, i am outta here. With the wildfire smoke blanketing the whole region it might be a hellish first week or two, but i suppose that just gives me a reason to come back and see it all again when the smoke has cleared.

I just wanna get on the road already.
on the res

Also, the trans community isn't bullshit.

I mean, we're not a monolith. There are left wing trans people and right wing trans people and activist trans people and politically disinterested trans people and religious trans people and nonreligious trans people. There are all sorts. We don't agree on much. But there is one thing that i think most of us agree on, and it's that we all sometimes get really fucking exhausted hearing the endless firehose of ill-informed opinions about trans people.

Dear lord. What other 0.5% minority attracts this much attention from the peanut gallery? Why does every damn person in the world need to make their opinion known about how parents of the 0.5% should raise their children? Why does everyone need to have a "nuanced conversation" about the 0.5% of sportspeople (or, actually, much less than 0.5%)? Like, is this really one of the big fucking issues of the day? Do we really need to have countless thinkpieces written about whether the 1.5 million Czech Americans should count as real Americans or actually still Czech? Do we need to pose Very Serious questions about whether the couple million people with Celiac disease deserve to be covered by medical insurance? It's just absurd.

And then when you try to be understanding and say "well, i respect that you're not transphobic, but you are still trying to exclude trans people from XYZ space where they currently already exist" then it's like "no, we're not trying to exclude trans people, they can live their lives however they want, we're just saying they should do it in ABC space instead", which, like, is the exact fucking definition of exclusion.

"Yes, here are the toilets for the 99.5%, they're the toilets that you used to pee in, by the way, but now we're making toilets for the 0.5%, and you are banned from the 99.5% toilets, you should go to the 0.5% toilets instead. We're treating you with great fairness and respect."

And people are so, so, so hung up about it. Like, they won't let it go. It seems to disturb them so much that they can't bring themselves to step back and say... Hang on... Who fucking cares? It's America, man. Freedom, man. Don't let the government control my life, man. You do you, man. Live and let live, man. Nope. Can't do that. Gotta legislate. Because... something something pedophilia? Or something something rapists? Or something? Because when it comes down to it, the fear is that trans people are secretly sexual deviants who are preying on children, or violent perverts who are trying to abuse women. And then, well, now there's your phobia, isn't it? That's the literal definition of transphobia.

"Oh, no, but you got it all wrong! I'm not scared of actual trans people, I'm only concerned about the massive flood of violent criminals who would pretend to be trans in order to gain easy access to victims. That's why we can't allow trans people anywhere where women or children might be present. Even one abused child is too many, you see. We can't tolerate any kind of law that might endanger a child. In fact, just to show how much we care about child safety, we taught our kids how to shoot guns, so they can protect themselves from these bands of marauding rapists. Rapists are literally everywhere, you know. But, not in our family. Or our church. Definitely not there."

If you weren't scared, if you weren't trying to be exclusive, you'd just let trans people live. Serious. We don't bite. We're not freaks. We're just like everyone else. That is, mostly boring. And mostly not criminals.

on the res

Dear Americans,

Please write your representatives and ask them to open the goddamn land border.

From August 9, fully-vaccinated Americans will be allowed to visit Canada. Over the land border. From September 7 we will open up to people from every city, from every nation, from Lake Geneva to the Finland Station. But American lawmakers have decided that Canadians are still not allowed across the land border, until August 21 at the earliest.

Of course, people who can afford plane tickets can apparently fly over, avoiding the whole thing.

Great pandemic controls, everyone. Slaps on the back all round.

I suppose i don't have to mention the difference between infection rates in urban areas where the international airports are and rural areas where most of the land crossings are.

(I'll deliberately ignore the related vaccination rate discrepancy, since i'm having a rant.)

Anyway. No borders. Kein Mensch ist illegal. Smash the state. Etc etc.
on the res

went out for a test run

This was almost entirely fully-loaded. The only thing not in there is my tablet and charger (fairly small), my toiletries (very light) and food.

To simulate having food, i put 2L of water in my water bag (inside one of the panniers). If i go fully into the desert, i will probably need both 2L in the Nalgene bottles and 2L in the bag, plus food. In most places, though, i guess i will not need to carry a full water bag, since there should be plenty of water sources around.

Anyways, i went about 40km, mostly bike paths and back roads, with some gravel and singletrack (mountain bike slang for a rideable hiking trail). No big hills. Everything stayed attached. It was okay. Even small hills are tough.

I am feeling a bit better after almost falling off the edge the other day.

Basically from now until August i just need to do a few more of these trial runs, fine tune my gear, and stay doing a good enough job at work that the door will stay open for if/when i want to do some more hours in the future. If i can just make it through till then, i will be okay, because then i will be on the road, and absorbed with seeing new things and staying alive instead of sitting here being a basketcase.

The PM says they're talking about reopening the border mid-August, which would be grand. America's COVID numbers are rising again, though, which might throw a spanner in the works. As of today Canada has a higher vaccination rate than America - and that's for both shots. We passed America's one-shot rate 2 months ago. I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news for the reopening.

Of course, all this reopening chatter is Poor People's Problems because the air borders never closed. People who can afford to fly been going back and forth the whole time.
on the res

i was doing so well

It's been a few weeks since i drank more than one or two beers. Like, that's how i control it, i only buy one or two, and then i only drink one or two. And, lately, that's only been once a week or so. Alcohol fucking sucks.

I have this problem where if i look at something then it manifests. I can't remember what the prompt was to listen to The Cure last night, but then autobiographical association happened and Alien Sex Fiend came into my head, and specifically the song Manic Depression, and now i can't get it out of my head.

I'm not ignorant. I know that spending months barely leaving the house and feeling unmotivated to do anything was about more than just winter and the pandemic. I know that this rapid turnaround into buying more shit than i have bought in years is not just savvy travel planning. That's part of it too, of course, but it's not the whole story. It's the insidiousness of mental illness, i suppose, how it wraps itself around your everyday life, and people on the outside looking in just think, meh, that's normal, no big deal.

But, i mean, i did get diagnosed by several different specialists. I was on medication for many years. I did spend time as a psychiatric inpatient. That stuff happened. It wasn't just a weird phase in my 20s. I still live with those emotional shifts, i just manage them much better now because i don't have any friends or family to shine a light on it.

Most of the time i never think about being trans, or manic depressive, or whatever. Because most of the time it doesn't really make a lot of waves. I live a simple life, i live like a hermit, nobody really has to put up with my shit. When strangers get too familiar, when i start getting recognized, i leave. I don't let myself get defined by how other people see me.

But sometimes - not often, because i've gotten good at avoiding it - something triggers a bit of introspection. A deeper form of introspection than my mild navel-gazing of the past few years, something that digs up old memories of gender dysphoria or depression or mania or delusions and then it sends me spinning. And then the emotions domino and i feel right on the verge of cracking. And then i get that thing where you're on the edge of a cliff, and you just wanna jump because - fuck - it's going to feel incredible, for a brief moment, isn't it?

This is what i mean where if i look at something then it manifests. Choosing not to look at certain things isn't me trying to escape my truth, or avoid dealing with my problems. I have done more than enough of that in my life, thank you very much. It's just a coping mechanism. It's how i have learned to live without medication, it's how i have learned to live relatively happy, stable and at peace. I won't make apologies for it.

But... that said... doesn't mean that the madness isn't still there, that these things don't impact me, quietly.

I need to go outside and get some fresh air, try to break out of the spiral. But outside the air is thick with wildfire smoke. I can taste it in the back of my throat, even inside the house with all the windows closed. The hangover isn't helping either.

It probably wasn't a great idea to watch the live stream hosted by Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc about the findings on the site of the residential school just across the river.

Although... it does provide some perspective. Some have been through a lot worse than me, and they kept going. So will i. The only way out is through.

I gave my notice. I will be out of here by August 15.
on the res

the trans community is bullshit

Except... it isn't quite bullshit.

I am done being trans. Being trans was so fucking 20 years ago. I decided i wanted to be a girl, i did my transition, i got my surgery, the fucking end, i'm done with being trans.

Except, i suppose, you're never really done, are you?

Last month was Pride month, and my oldest friend jenndolari answered a whole month of candid questions about her experiences as a trans person. I was thinking about doing the same questions but then i was like, nah nah, i can't do that. I'm over it. I'm past it.

But i'm fucking not.

It's not my fault, really. It's society's fault. It's society that jams this concept of gender down our throats. Some people like to say oh, well, gender is just a function of hormones and evolution and bla bla bla but FUCK YOU.

Gender is stupid. It always was stupid, it always will be stupid, and i wish i lived in the universe where it never existed.

Another LJ friend recently made a private post sharing this nifty pop philosophy video about social constructs. I want to share it because it touches on a lot of the things that i have spent way too much time thinking about over the years.

Social Constructs | Philosophy Tube

I am in tears right now because YOU GUYS, I HAVE GENDER DYSPHORIA.

I still do. Still today, after i transitioned, after i became a woman legally, after i got the surgery, and then i was like, holy shit, being a woman sucks in different ways from being a man, but it still FUCKING SUCKS.

I bought a couple of stand-to-pee devices recently, as part of my prep for my bike tour. I am perfectly capable of squatting to pee - hell, in China that's the standard stance - but when you're halfway along a trail with a pack on your back, or when you're on the side of the road with cars blasting by, it's still more convenient to just whip it out and piss on fence post, instead of dropping trou and hiding behind a bush from the wild roaming rapists of America, then getting your ass chomped by a dozen insects anyway.

Stand-to-pee devices are the baddest ass fucking shit. All penis-lacking people should get one, or at least try it. It's liberating. My current recommendation is the pStyle, but that might change as i try a few more.

Of course, if you don't pay attention, things go south. Although... i suppose that's how it is for people with penises too.

Anyway, the point is there are aspects of being a woman in society that are fine and sometimes pretty neat. But there are also aspects of having transitioned to a female-ish body that are a massive pain in the ass. Like not being able to easily stand and pee. But then there are aspects of have a male-ish body that suck too, like unwanted erections. Or, just the penis in general, to be honest. It's terribly inconvenient at literally all times that you are not peeing. And, i guess, men have a social pressure too - to be masculine - which fucking sucks also. It all sucks.

And it doesn't need to be that way. It really doesn't. We don't need to divide our society like this. Biology be damned. Gender is fucking stupid.

And then i got drunk, not from personal choice, but because my landlord bought me liquor as a thank you for letting a prospective buyer come through with less than 48 hours notice. I've told my landlord i'm an alcoholic, but i don't think she really understands my problem. If there is alcohol in the house, i will drink it. Till the end. That's just how it works. I am not the kind of alcoholic that will run out every single day to buy more booze. But if it's there, i will drink it. Until i pass out. I will drink everything. That's how it works for me.

So, i got drunk, and then i was watching the new Leverage (which is great, by the way), and then Charlotte Sometimes came into my head, which i don't even know why. Probably because the last 24 hours i have been watching fucking Philosophy Tube (whose creator came out as trans earlier this year) and yesterday i got my second shot so i am kind of delirious and i'm boozed up and, fuck.

And Charlotte Sometimes, the original song, i don't like it as much as the version on the 1984 concert album. Here it is.

THE CURE Charlotte Sometimes Live Oxford

I cried and cried to that song as a young, confused trannie. The funny thing about the song is that it was actually written about some time travel novel that i never read... but the lyrics speak to this sense of alienation, of feeling outside yourself, or outside everyone else's understanding of who you should be... So it fits very well to the trans experience. And, you know, the first person who ever introduced me to The Cure was a trans person.

When i first met her, she was a he, and she had this idea in her head that trans people must all be sex workers or weird kinky people or something. And then she met me and she was like, wow, i didn't realize y'all could be just normal. And we shared an enjoyment of John Varley's 1992 novel Steel Beach, where the main character changes their sex on a whim and it's no big deal.

That friend, she ended up going much more hardcore into the "trans community" than i ever did. We were both tech workers, and we were both trans, but she bought into that whole social justice angle and trying to be out and proud and fuck anyone who disagrees because they're fascists and bla bla bla. We lost touch. Because in the end i saw being trans as something more like John Varley's take. It should just be some cosmetic surgery that you do and nobody should give a fuck because gender is stupid.

Gender is stupid.

I didn't realize that at the time. I thought it was so very important at the time. Gender was everything. But later i realized it was stupid, and i realized that my motivation to change my sex was never about gender, it was just about getting rid of sex hormones, because sex is stupid too.

I am so happy to not have any testosterone, or estrogen, and just be a blank. Except society still forces me to be one or the other, so according to the law i am an "F", and have now spent the majority of my life as one. It's too much hassle to change to an "X". Even though i think everyone should be an "X".

Pronoun declarations are stupid, just like gender. Everyone should be a they. But they aren't, so. Yeah. Here we are. Forever reinforcing this stupidity.

all the faces
all the voices blur
change to one face
change to one voice

Sometimes i'm dreaming, and those times are better.

I don't know what my point was. I needed to write something to stop myself from crying. When i started i was just crying and crying for a girl who died so many years before.


Dysphoria fucking sucks.

I need to get out of here.
on the res

getting prepped

I am in a strange weekend limbo.

For the past two weeks or so, little packages have been arriving from Amazon and various outdoor outfitters and bike stores with bits and bobs to convert my backpacking setup into a bike touring setup. I am keeping things fairly minimal - i don't want to sink a grand into bike touring gear and then get a week in and decide i hate it, and then i wasted a grand. But also i don't want to bodge together a bunch of trash with duct tape and a prayer and then break down in the middle of nowhere and die because i was an idiot. Almost everything i am getting is dual-use for overnight hiking.

The most unusual and almost certainly useless thing that i have bought is an Ursack, which is a bag made out of some kind of indestructible material that bears cannot get into. I bought it because i am terrified of bears. I am terrified of all animals either faster or heavier than me, and bears are both. Anyway, an Ursack is a thing that you are supposed to put all of your food and toiletries into, then tie it to a tree somewhere far away from your camp. When the bear smells your food, it will spend a couple hours squishing your Ursack, instead of squishing your tent. If you bought food that is squish-resistant, it should still be edible when you head over there the next morning.

The reason it's almost certainly useless is because i do not intend to sleep anywhere where bears are more likely to show up than local area kids or homeless people. And, close to town, any bears are more likely to investigate a backyard garbage can full of goodies than a backpack with a jar of peanut butter in it. I suppose rats are far more likely midnight visitors, and their little teeth can spike through otherwise indestructible Ursacks. But rats are small and relatively slow so i am not terrified of them. Anyway, whatever, this stupid bear-proof sack gives me peace of mind.

I suppose i should get bear spray in case i meet one in the day time, but it seems like an annoying and dangerous thing to carry around. I hate weapons and do not like the idea of having to fight anyone or anything when i am supposed to just be enjoying a journey.

My panniers (fancy cyclist word for saddlebags) arrived the other day and i did a really quick check to see how many more bags i would need.

This is a picture of my bike with two panniers and my non-waterproof daypack (which will soon be replaced by a larger, waterproof daypack). All of the clothes that i own are in there. And my sleeping bag. And my tools. The only things that aren't in that picture that i plan to bring are tent, sleeping pad, food and toiletries. Most of which should fit into the extra space in the bags, since i did not pack them full.

The good news, then, is that i almost certainly will not need to also buy front panniers, which are a bit fiddly (and expensive) to set up on a bike with front shocks. What i will try to do, though, is find a way to strap my sleeping bag (or possibly my tent) on the front. (Poles will go strapped under the bar where the lock is now.) I think i could probably jam everything on the back, but it would be nice to have a bit of spare room in case i realize i really need something that i don't have. Most likely more water (if it's dry) or a poncho (if it's wet). Also hardcore cycle nerds say it's better to put weight on both the front and the back instead of just the back.

I dunno, it all feels a bit hypothetical at the moment. Like, i have all this stuff, but will i really do this?

The weird thing is that i don't feel like this when i backpack normally. I just walk out of wherever i was with my backpack and... keep walking. Usually then i jump on a train or a bus. Then i walk some more. It's not a big deal. But for some reason, putting all the stuff onto a bike, it feels like a much more adventurous thing. I am a bit worried about it. I guess because - especially here in the North American west - the distances are longer, and you're liable to be on your own a lot more.

But, i suppose, if i never try it, then i'll never know.

I really um-ed and ah-ed about getting a car. Theoretically it makes getting to places where there is no bus easier. But i just can't see it as a fun and relaxing way to travel. Even if i try to ignore the pollution factor, cars are so expensive to purchase and maintain. And they're so much paperwork to set up. Licensing, registration, insurance, you can never really be an anonymous drifter when you have a car. I feel like a bike will give me all the perks without all the stress.

But if i really can't do it, maybe because my body is too decrepit, or because i find passing cars to be even more terrifying than bears, or because i find futzing with flat tires to be too much of a hassle, then, fuck it. I will go back on foot.

Which is where i am at right now. I pulled up at the bike store yesterday and asked for a full tune-up before i load it up and start stretching for longer distances, and they said it'd be a few days. Grumble grumble, my bike's in the shop and now i can't fantasize about my grand tour, or even practice hauling gear close to home.

Here is a picture of my unloaded trip up to the grasslands the other day. Due to the wildfires the rangers turned me (and lots of hunters/fishermen) around.

I sat by the creek instead. If i was on the road for real, i could fill up a water bag and filter it in a spot like this.

Next Tuesday i am getting my second shot, so by end of July i will be fully vaxxed and ready to roll. If they open the border too, i will be thrilled.

Am i nuts, you guys? I just wanna travel again.
on the res

like ash on the wind

After the heat wave ended, the fires came.

The air has been thick with smoke for three days, and it doesn't look like it will let up till next week.

A few days ago we had a storm cloud go over, and i saw lightning strikes start fires just a couple miles from my place. Where i live is probably pretty safe, but the fires are a real worry for people living on the edge of town. Same night the lightning came, 200 people got evacuation orders in a suburb up the road. The government is advising everyone in the region to have a go bag ready.

My regular day pack i take everywhere is sort of a mini go bag, for biking and hikes. It's got a head lamp, power bank, energy bars, multitool. I always carry a liter bottle of water for every trip further than to the grocery store. Two liters on hot days.

I've been thinking about go bags and survival gear in general as i plan for this bike ride. I have read way too many fucking articles about tarps vs bivys vs tents, and sleeping bags vs quilts, and down vs synthetic, and all of that stuff. It's exhausting, and i've realized i don't really care. I just want gear that will keep me alive in a pinch, and stuff i can realistically carry under my own power.

Reading these endless articles and threads, i've noticed that hobbyists are all the same. Doesn't matter if they are outdoorsmen, doesn't matter if they are gamers, doesn't matter if they are petrolheads, doesn't matter if they are musos... People spend a fantastic amount of time and money on their hobbies, way more than i ever care to.

I almost kind of wish i could get that excited about something. I definitely dipped my toe in a few times. But i never get in too deep, because once it goes past the casual stage, it feels like too much of an investment. The gear gets too expensive. The people get too cliquey. There is too much arguing over shit that really doesn't fucking matter.

This seems to be my personality. I don't like to get involved, i don't like to get stuck in one place, or too much into one thing. Sometimes i think it makes me a boring person, or someone who doesn't really have much to be passionate about.

But i am passionate about some things. Politics, and specifically the politics around immigration, colonization, land ownership and freedom of movement in general. I care about the future of our species, and i care about how my ecological footprint might impact that.

I like other things too - electronic music and science fiction and spicy food and linguistics and all the other stuff on my LJ interests page. But do i like any of them enough to invest thousands? Do i ever put my neck on the line? Do i care that much about anything?

I mean, maybe, not really. If the house was burning down, what would i take? My passport, my phone, my computer. That's it. I need my ticket to travel, and i need a tool to connect with the people and information in the next place. The rest doesn't matter. Water. Sleeping bag, i suppose. Just don't die.

But if i do die, i won't leave anything behind. People will say i just floated around and disappeared, not like a dandelion seed that makes a new flower, but like a flake of wildfire ash that just melts back into the dirt, as if i was never there at all.

This post sounds kind of grim, but i'm actually in an alright mood. Just in a bit of a holding pattern over the next few days till the smoke clears and my panniers arrive so i can more pragmatically plan out my setup.
on the res

air conditioning is bollocks

So, it's another 45 degree day here in my little BSk desert strip of the BC Interior, and it is toasty out.

One thing i find infuriating is that it's pretty well-established that these high temperatures are a result of human-caused climate change... And so of course the first things that humans do when they encounter higher temperatures is turn on the air conditioning.

Like. What part of human-caused climate change are people missing here? Let's solve an excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by turning on devices that belch out even more greenhouse gases? For fuck's sake.

This is why humanity is doomed. People see the effects of climate change right in front of their noses, but instead of taking that as a warning to lower their emissions, they literally start emitting more, because it makes their day a little more comfortable.

Don't even get me started about people watering their gardens when there is a drought. The selfishness is off the charts.

Fortunately, i do not live in drought country here. Or, not exactly. The river that runs through town is nearly overflowing because the higher temperatures melted a bunch of snow on the Rockies that doesn't normally melt. So i don't feel too bad about drinking a bit more water than usual, since otherwise it would just flow down into the sea. But i still think it's a dick move for people to leave their sprinklers on all day to maintain green lawns in a part of the world where the native plants are bunchgrasses and sagebrush scrub and that's fucking it.