Monthly Archives: December 2001


I know I said I'd write a Christmas story, but I'm caught up in the BME redesign and that unfortunately has to take priority. You'll appreciate the new search engine though far more than you'd appreciate a little story… But I'll give you some puppy-related pictures as an alternative.

Ouch! Even when an implant is removed it swells up and gets irritated long afterwards… It's a Boxing Day miracle! It's snowing big fluffy snow. My favorite present — beer making toys! Start planning to get very happy on Victoria day!

Apartments in Miramichi are literally a third the price they are here, so we'll probably move out there sooner rather than later… But before we do, expect one last big fireworks party on Victoria day (May two-four weekend) here in Toronto…

Send good thoughts

A good friend of mine, and a good father to the heavy modification / cutter community has had his appendix rupture and is in the hospital in serious condition. He's a wonderful warm caring man (even when he's poking needles into someone's balls) that has given new hope to many through his work and words. He's responsible for procedures on many of the better known older people in this community, and there are many of us sending good thoughts his way. Get better soon Don!

Another one

I wanted to share with you another potentially great property we've been considering. This one is even more aggressively priced, plus it's on the ocean. It's also in a region that's offering massive tax incentives for tech companies. It's located in eastern New Brunswick, just south of the Acadian Peninsula.

41.2 acres. Roughly one thousand by two thousand feet in size, made up of a gradual southward slope with panoramic views. Access is by a summer road roughly two hundred feet off an all season maintained road. Deer and moose are common with tracks visible in the sandy soil. Two miles north of the Little Southwest Miramichi River and twenty-five miles west of Miramichi on the Atlantic Ocean. With thousands of acres of Crown Land abutting this acreage, the new owner can explore the adjacent undeveloped area of forest covered hills. Price: $5,993 CDN or $3,850 USD.

That's about what most people pay for six months rent. Now explain to me again why we're living like this? Freedom is there waiting for you — go take it!

Drop out!

So that lakefront property that we've been looking at is I suppose best described as a boutique property, in that we're playing a high premium for it's location. It's very close to urban centres while retaining “remoteness”, and has gorgeous waterfront. That said, the land itself is poor and wouldn't be easy to farm. 100 acres for about $50,000 US is the price.

Here's another option. This one is very remote — VERY remote, up in Northern Ontario. I should say that there are literally hundreds of lots just like this — this pricing is fairly typical of big Northern lots:

176 acres. This large tract of land measures one half mile on each of its four sides. The terrain is rolling with a slight southward slope and has a few acres in the centre of the south quadrant which may be wet in season. Laval Lake almost touches the northeast corner, with quick access via Crown Land. Lola Lake Provincial Nature Reserve Park abuts the north, west and south sides of the property.. The north side also offers access to thousands and thousands of acres of Crown Land allowing one to enjoy the dozens of lakes located nearby. Enjoy the solitude. $16,992 CDN or $10,900 USD

So… we could own almost 200 acres of beautiful forest and rolling hills for the cost of a year and a half of rent. A lot like this has big game hunting, land to farm on, clean water access, and pretty much everything a person needs to be happy.

And why am I living here?

Book review

I want to thank Sten for getting me the book Shamans Through Time. It's a collection of short writings over the past 500 years tracking Western culture's relation with and attitude toward shamanic peoples. I've been enjoying it immensely, and I think it's probably been helping me as well. I read the following passage in it last night, and I wanted to share that with you here. If you like this, you'll like the book. This is Knud Rasmussen in 1930, quoting Inuit shaman Igjugarjuk about how he became a shaman:

“When I was to be a shaman, I chose suffering through the two things that are most dangerous to us humans, suffering through hunger and suffering through cold. First I hungered five days and was then allowed to drink a mouthful of warn water; the old ones say that only if the water is warm will Pinga and Hila notice the novice and help him. Thereafter I went hungry another fifteen days, and again was given a mouthful of warm water. After that I hungered for ten days, and then could begin to eat…

“These days of 'seeking for knowledge' are very tiring, for one must walk all the time, no matter what the weather is like and only rest in short snatches. I am usually quite done up, tired, not only in body but also in head, when I have found what I sought.

“We shamans in the interior have no special spirit language, and believe that the real angatkut do not need it. On my travels I have sometimes been present at a seance among the saltwater-dwellers, for instance among the coast people at Utkuhigjalik. These angatkut never seemed trustworthy to me. It always appeared to me that these salt-water angatkut attached more weight to tricks that would astonish the audience, when they jumped about the floor and lisped all sorts of absurdities and lies in their so-called spirit language; to me all this seemed only amusing and as something that would impress the ignorant. A real shaman does not jump about the floor and do tricks, nor does he seek by the aid of darkness, by putting out the lamps, to make the minds of his neighbors uneasy. For myself, I do not think I know much, but I do not think that wisdom or knowledge about things that are hidden can be sought in that manner. True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman must seek his wisdom there.

“But during my visits to the salt-water shamans…I have never openly expressed my contempt for their manner of summoning their helping spirits. A stranger ought always to be cautious, for — One may never know — they may of course be skillful in magic and, like our shamans, be able to kill through words and thoughts. This that I am telling you now, I dare confide in you, because you are a stranger from a far away country, but I would lever speak about it to my own kinsmen, except those whom I should teach to be shamans. While I was at Utkuhigjalik, people there had heard from my wife that I was a shaman, and therefore they once asked me to cure a sick man, a man who was so wasted that he could no longer swallow food. I summoned all the people of the village together and asked them to hold a song-feast, as is our custom, because we believe that all evil will shun a place where people are happy. And when the song-feast began, I went out alone into the night. They laughed at me, and my wife was later on able to tell me how they mocked me, because I would not do tricks to entertain everybody. But I kept away in lonely places, far from the village, for five days, thinking uninterruptedly of the sick man and wishing him health. He got better, and since then nobody at that village has mocked me.”

The line that really stood out for me, and that I really believe is true, was “Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman must seek his wisdom there.” This seems to be a universal concept — even in many Western religions. Is there a single saint who didn't lead their life this way? In any case, I do highly recommend this book. You can get it on Amazon here. While I'm at it, I want to also recommend again Tears And Saints — these two books are perfect partners.

And now I'm off to do laundry.

PS. Good work arresting those tai chi terrorists!
PPS. Good work hiring those Israeli spies to run your wiretaps!