FOX News: “Not Racist, But #1 With Racists”

My bible the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I’m not a racist.  But am I an anti-racist?

I believe I am.  I hope I am. 

Here’s the checklist:

If you watch FOX National News, you are a racist. You enable racists like racist President Trump.

2020 USA – What’s Going On?

I was offline cycling for 6 days of the protests and riots, folks angered about American police brutality against African Americans.

Happy to miss so much of that pain and anger. Actually.

It’s not easy to see any way the USA will be less divided anytime soon. If 40% of Americans still support Trump after his gross incompetence, they’ll go to the grave believing he was some kind of genius.

Marvin Gaye:

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, yeah

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Thanks Jane.

Cycling Nanaimo Lakes, Cowichan, Port Renfrew, Shawnigan, …

My 4th bikepacking trip of COVID-19 was longest yet. And best yet.  Departed May 26th.

Campgrounds still closed.  That meant I had to tent on crown land.

A big loop, Nanaimo return. Well over 500km with side trips.

6 days, 5 nights.

Dad dropped me in Nanaimo, a great place for cyclists.

I toured Colliery Dam Park for the first time.  Lovely day, this was the busiest park I’d seen so far during COVID-19.

Click PLAY or watch dogs swimming on YouTube.

Fun, hilly bike paths take you all over Nanaimo.

It’s easy to connect to Nanaimo Lakes road, a great ride with little traffic, other than cyclists.

For the second time I tried to get through Nanaimo Lakes to Cowichan by remote, private logging roads. I made it further this time, but still didn’t get through.

Folks living at Second Lake scowled when I got to the second closed vehicle gate.  They were about as happy to see me as this mama with only 1 chick remaining.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Happily, I knew of a lovely remote creek campsite nearby I’d used before.

Turning back next morning, I headed to Cowichan via the normal route: Nanaimo River Road, Highway #1 to the lovely Cowichan Valley Trail which starts close to Duncan.

I always try to avoid traffic, but it’s inevitable here to share the road with logging and gravel trucks.

I was tired this day by the time I finally set up camp.  105km on mixed trails and roads.

By all the bones strewn nearby, I assume this is a popular area with hunters during season.

A perfect cycling road is Cowichan to Port Renfrew: paved 2 lane, no traffic.

There are a couple of campsites en route. And the Harris Creek Sitka Spruce. For some reason in the late 1800s, loggers spared this one tree.

Port Renfrew, like Bamfield,  has a large First Nations population most cautious when it comes to communicable disease.

I felt quite unwelcome on arrival.  Everyone there told me to return after June 7th when it planned to open.

I was keen to do some hiking on famed Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

The signs still said CLOSED, though most Provincial Parks trails were already open.

Checking it out, the biggest mistake of my trip was rolling downhill from the highway to the Parkinson Creek Trailhead.  It’s a long, long descent.  I ended up pushing my bike uphill on the return.

I’d never seen so much bear scat at any one place, one time.  Seems without humans this season, bears have taken over the coast.

Al saw several near here in 2018.

Carrying on down the highway, I finally got a flat tire. My first of 2020.

BUT was quite pleased with myself that I seemed to repair it efficiently.

Since I’d taken the gear off the bike to fix the flat, I decided to camp in the trees right there.

Surf was up next morning. So there were plenty of young people on the highway with boards and surf kayaks.  The beaches seemed to be still officially closed, but it was not being enforced.

I stopped often on this highway as there are many highlights between Renfrew and Sooke.

After finally reaching a Tim Hortons, I continued up the Galloping Goose to impressive Sooke Potholes, my first visit.

I camped at the end of the trail at Leechtown.

A ghost town now, it boomed when gold was discovered 1864,

My maps said I could continue to Shawnigan on logging roads, yet I couldn’t seem to find a way through past Kapoor. Everything was fenced off protecting the Victoria drinking water supply.

No worries. I backtracked on the excellent Galloping Goose towards Victoria, cutting inland to the fantastic Sooke Wilderness Trail.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Sooke Hills is one of the best sections of  Canada’s Great Trail. It connects back up to Cowichan, the western terminus. Very scenic.

My first bear of the trip.

My first rain of the trip.

Happily you can get out of the rain in the Pacific N.W. by setting up your tent under big trees.

It was a nice night. Stag Chili for dinner.

I’m still gleefully carrying a lot of weight on the bike. Volume and weight are SO much less an issue for cycling than they are for hiking.

Awoke early feeling great. Decided to make it home same day, no matter what.

It was a long but relaxed day. Quite a few highway miles getting back towards Nanaimo.

WHAT!? … A second flat rear tire. This time my repair did not go quite so well.

Delayed about an hour with that, Dad drove out to pick me up at the Nanaimo airport in the early evening.

Mission accomplished. 

related – the best cycling trip to-and-from Victoria would be the Cowichan Valley 8 Bikepacking Route

The Secret Commonwealth (2019) by Philip Pullman

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were great friends—both Oxford writers and scholars. Both important to this day.

Philip Pullman is another Oxford man, one who believes he should be ranked with those great writers.

I wouldn’t go that far.

Certainly Lyra in The Golden Compass (also known as Northern Lights) is one of the great children characters in fiction.

Certainly Pullman’s invention of the daemon is one of the great fantasy inventions.

A film adaptation of Northern Lights, titled The Golden Compass, was released in December 2007 by New Line Cinema, starring Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, along with Daniel CraigNicole KidmanEva GreenSam Elliott and Ian McKellen. Though it was a financial failure, I personally like the film.

That all said, the plot of this other world is simply too scattered.  Seems he started without knowing how it would end.

Secret Commonwealth is 5th in the series, and weakest so far

Super fan Rine Karr posted the best review I’ve read. She was disappointed. The book is too preachy:

Racism, xenophobia, and the refugee crisis. Sexism, violence, and rape. Propaganda, the suppression of free speech, and religious fundamentalism.

Recall Pullman’s His Dark Materials series:

  1. Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass)
  2. The Subtle Knife
  3. The Amber Spyglass

His The Book of Dust series is a prequel and sequels:

  1. La Belle Sauvage (2017)
  2. The Secret Commonwealth (2019)
  3. … TBD

The Secret Commonwealth follows Lyra Silvertongue and Dr Malcolm Polstead, both at Oxford; she as an undergraduate at St Sophia’s college and he at Durham College.

It takes place twenty years after the first volume, La Belle Sauvage and seven years after the conclusion of His Dark Materials.

The setting is a world dominated by the Magisterium (commonly called “the Church”), an international theocracy which actively suppresses heresy. …

The relationship between Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, has been severely strained …

This is my least favourite of the 5 books, so far.  Too confusing.  Too random. I certainly hope book 6 wraps up Lyra’s endless and seemingly pointless journey in some satisfying way.


Broken Harbour by Tana French

The fourth novel in Tana French’s excellent Dublin Murder Squad series sees evil break into a Dublin family’s dream home.

Atypically for me, I quit after finishing 63% of the book.

Got sick of the lead character, Detective Scorcher Kennedy. His mentally ill sister was even worse.

In fact, the only appealing character is the rookie partner, Richie.

Very well written, the story was too slow for me, as well.

I’m in the minority. Most folks loved this book as much as the rest.

Guardian review

why I switched to the BREAKER podcasting app

Apple popularized podcasting. But they’ve never been very keen. Not enough profit. Most podcasts are free, you see.

The default Apple podcast app has never been one of the best.  For years it was iTunes. Then they finally spun off a dedicated Podcasts app.

In 2015 I tried and failed to switch to better alternatives:


Sadly, I couldn’t see enough advantage over the default Apple software.

Happily, I’ve now switched to the Breaker app on IOS.  It has a more confusing interface, but it’s well worth switching.

  • improved sleep timer
  • speed up podcasts by 1.2x or 1.4x.  The apple default only offers 1.5x.
  • easier to share a specific episode in many ways

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.